Saturday, 19 July 2014

Folk Tale Dev Blog 25

by Simon Dean, Project Lead

Welcome to Folk Tale Dev Blog 25. With Patch 0.2.7 recently released on Steam we've got lots of improvements to share with you today. In an experimental change to our regular format, the video is the most recent Dev Hangout live stream where I explore the patch in detail. It's much longer than usual clocking in at over 100 minutes, so feel free to skip bits.

Sandbox continues to progress in leaps and bounds, with city building and economy moving beyond that of the original Tutorial. The first change you'll notice is that resources are now important, and you won't be able to construct larger buildings until you've harvested enough resources.

The Woodcutter Hut now produces an additional product, Firewood. Firewood is required by buildings to keep the occupants warm. If you're producing too much or too little firewood, you can toggle production of Planks and Firewood in the Production Tab of the Buildings Dialog. Not producing Planks will double the output of Firewood, and vice versa. Allocating potential work output between production and research is also working, and you can now start accumulating research points which are shown on the top bar. We'll be adding research options to spend those points on in a future patch.

Villagers collect Firewood direct from the Woodcutter's Hut, or a Storehouse if you have one, and carry it to their home building. In a future update delivering Firewood to a building will cause chimney smoke to rise as the wood burns. Once the fire goes out, villagers will need to collect more Firewood. Being cold for too long will have an adverse affect on the happiness of a building's occupants. For now though, they may stockpile Firewood in their homes.

We've capped the number of trainable professions per building to a very low 2. We had meant to increase this to 5, but unfortunately it didn't make it into this build. For now, if you want more of a profession, simply build more of that building type.

Economy chains are now in, including the Farmer growing Wheat, milling it into Flour in the Windmill, before carrying it to the Storehouse. The Baker will collect the Sacks of Flour and bake them into Bread at the Bakery.

The Hunting Lodge now supports roaming Hunters who will kill Deer and carry them back to the Lodge for skinning, before carrying the carcasses to the nearest Storehouse. The Butcher will collect the carcasses and carry them to the Butchery where he'll chop them into Raw Meat.

The Monastery now farms the Bee Yard for Honeycomb and brews Barrels Of Mead which the Monks carry to the Storehouse. The Innkeeper collects the barrels and carries them to the Tavern for selling on to villagers.

In the next patch we'll add the final economy part which is where villagers have needs and will visit each of the vendors to purchase finished goods in exchange for gold. For now though we've given you plenty of starting gold, and if you run out hold down G,O,D on the keyboard to replenish your coffers.

While I'm on the subject of the Monastery, we've added Prayers to the top bar in preparation for the next patch. Villagers will have a need to worship the Holy Toast, and will visit the Monastery to pray, generating Prayers. These Prayer points, simply referred to as Prayers, will eventually be spent on Miracles which will appear under the Monastery Building Dialog in place of the crafting tab.

As your village expands, you'll be needing a steady supply of Peasants to train in new professions. Population expansion has been added, and building five or more cottages will now lead to new peasants appearing in your village. In testing I've had over 200 villagers and lots of buildings, but currently the frame rate will drop. We'll continue to optimize throughout development and the frame rate will start to recover. For now though, you can try reducing your settings, which will help if your PC is limited by the graphics card.

There are a number of other changes in the village, including Wells which are now constructible but not functional. In time these will supply water for economy production and putting out fires. The other changes I'll leave for you to discover.

Combat is fleshing out nicely, although the monsters are currently over-powered so you need to be tactical with your pulling, and go mob-handed by building lots of Barracks. Tower-mounted Trebuchet now target enemy units and do area damage, and we've updated the Repeating Crossbow asset and made it functional, reining down bolts at approaching enemies.

Professions are now attacking with the proper weapons and animations. Farmers fight with Pitch Forks, Butchers with Cleavers, Bakers with Rolling Pins, Innkeepers with Broken Bottles, and so on.

New Monsters have been added or made spawnable in the Editor, including Wolves, Giant Snails, Swamp Beasts, Skeleton Warriors and Necromancers. We'll be adding Earth Mothers, Forest Imps and the Goblins in subsequent patches.

We've also added a number of new terrain tiles, including 1/4 and 1/2 height waterfalls, and full height stone stairs cut into cliffs. You can check them out by opening the Human Village map in the Editor. Bridges have also received a navmesh fix that was preventing villagers from crossing in certain positions.

I'd also like to announce the Sunday Dev Hangout stream on Every Sunday I'll be streaming live, playing the latest dev builds, designing levels in the Editor, and answering community questions. You can find our channel at where there is a schedule for different time zones, and a number of earlier streams including a play through of Patch 0.2.7. Creating a Twitch account and following the channel will send you an email notification when we're about to go live. You can also follow us on Twitter (@gamesfoundry) account, where we announce streams just before we go live.

Thanks for watching - especially if you made it through the 100 minute video!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Folk Tale Production Status: July 2014

by Simon Dean, Project Lead

If you would like to be notified when the production status mini-blogs are published, you may want to follow us on Twitter (@gamesfoundry) as we don't announce these mini-blogs on Steam Announcements ( although we do post in the forum ).

Current Tasks Being Worked On
- Monster spawning and attack waves system inc. Editor extensions;
- Migrating Editor UI over from NGUI to uGUI for better performance and flexibility;
- Making buildings attackable and the game losable;
- Groundworks to show where buildings will be constructed;
- Modelling and texturing Wooden Palisade ( level 1 walls );
- Ability to destroy wall sections;
- Modelling and texturing Weaver profession;
- Modelling Weaver's Hut building;
- Herbs and Cotton crops to grow in field ( both 0.3.x );
- Reduce the poly count on LOD2 villager heads ( when in the far distance );
- Adding LOD models to grassland animals and monsters ( Bear, War Pig, Deer, Fish, etc );
- Migrating goblins over to sandbox;
- Animations: carrying water bucket, carrying firewood, picking up deer corpse
- Making Wells a constructible building;
- Building research icons ( most updated on website );
- Writing the dialogue for all the new professions ahead of scratch voice recordings;
- Sound effects;
- Soundtrack: more grassland neutral tracks;

In The Near Future
- Enabling wooden palisade walls and upgrading to stone walls;
- Adding progress loading bar to Sandbox Player;
- Scratch/Placeholder recordings for villager voice over;
- Exploration of kill-synced finishing/special animation moves during combat;
- Add Fisherman's Hut and Fisherman profession as well as the Shoal Of Fish where fishing happens;
- Herbalist profession ( works at the Apothecary making potions used during adventuring and to cure population of ailments );
- Add Herbalists building;
- Add Witch and Warlock profession ( enchanters who live at the Crooked Kettle );
- Add Crooked Cauldron building;
- Bazaar/Marketplace human building;
- Allowing players to specify which crop is grown in a field: WheatPumpkins ( Vegetables ), Herbs ( for Apothecary potions ), Cotton ( for clothes );
- Adding crop blight;
- The addition of Belief Points ( generated through prayer at the Monastery driven by the need for worship/faith ) which can be spent on Miracles such as Bountiful Harvest;

In The Distant Future
- Crafting;
- Enchanting;
- Dungeons;
- World Map;
- Heroes;
- Special Abilities;
- Sandbox save games;

Current Priorities And Goals Summary
Combat is improving every week as we continue to build in the AI. We're in the middle of adding in spawn points and wave management which requires new code and extensions to the Sandbox Editor so that players can set up their own for testing. The Sandbox Editor still uses the older NGUI framework for UI, and its time to migrate it over to the new uGUI so that we can start to build in some of the inspector dialogs where designers will be setting parameters such as monster health, spawn formations, etc.

Once we've got wave spawning in, when combined with attacking buildings that should provide an ongoing player challenge for Patch 0.2.7.

Production of post-0.3 assets continues with more buildings and professions being worked on. While these won't flow into the game until after Patch 0.3, it does mean we can maintain a regular flow of new assets shortly after. Right now we've frozen the buildings/professions for 0.3 to free up the Programming Team to focus on combat and economy.

A fair bit of work is going in to creating all the research icons for the buildings, many of which are now available in the Game Guide on the website. With these nearing completion it means we'll be able to unlock the research tab for many of the buildings in 0.3, providing another aspect of gameplay.

Composing the soundtrack is going well. Mag, our musician, composes short taster pieces for early review. At this early stage, we either scrap the track, or provide feedback on how it should evolve to ensure it fits mood, game pace, and the overall sound of the soundtrack. Successful pieces are then extended to around 3 minutes and undergo an iterative round of review and improvement. Once we have a batch of several tracks, they go for a first master where the tracks are given an overall consistency. They'll undergo a final master once the OST is complete.

And finally we're exploring live streaming in the Dev Hangouts on Content will include how we use the Sandbox Editor, and previews of some of the stuff we're working on listed above including the soundtrack mentioned above. If you're interested, why not follow our channel on the Twitch link above so you'll receive the announcement of when we go live? You can also check the forum topic.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Folk Tale Dev Blog 24

by Simon Dean, Project Lead

Hey guys. Thanks for dropping in for Dev Blog 24. Today we’ll be looking at the recently released Patch 0.2.6, and the new website packed full of useful information.

Patch 0.2.6 is available now on Steam if you want to try it out for yourself. We’ve added a raft of new buildings and professions that are going to make the first playable sandbox content in Patch 0.3 a deeper and more enjoyable experience.

The Hunting Lodge is home to the Hunter profession, ranged bow units that hunt Deer and Boar for raw meat and hides. For the next patch we’re focusing on making the new professions work-enabled. That means the Hunter will go about his daily routine of hunting nearby animals, and take them back to the Lodge for skinning.

In an example of one of the economy chains we’re introducing, once the Hunter has processed the carcass, they’ll pass the meat over to the Butchery. The Butcher’s job is to process the raw meat and make Steaks, Sausages, and Meat Pies for selling on to your villagers at a healthy profit, swelling your coffers, filling their bellies to stave off starvation, and keeping them happy.

The Farmer, Windmill and Wheat Field have been in for a while now, and with the addition of the Bakery we’ll soon be able to complete another economy chain. The Baker mixes flour from the windmill with water from the well, and bakes it into tasty bread. The Baker will also be able to craft luxury items including cakes and toast ( both of which require butter as a crafting ingredient from the Dairy which we’ll be adding later ).

In a previous patch we added the Monastery, Monk and Bee Yard for brewing Barrels of Mead. With the addition of the Tavern and the Innkeeper, tankards will soon be clinking to the sound of merriment as the Mead flows into the gullets of thirsty villagers. The Tavern will also be where you’ll hire heroes for adventuring out into the wilds in the RPG side of Folk Tale, but for now we’re focusing on citybuilding, economy and RTS style combat.

In the latest patch we’ve also added in basic combat. To help testing, we’ve made monsters selectable and movable, so you can either send a group of City Watch and Hunters out to find them, or throw monsters against your City Walls. It’s very rough at this stage, and we’ll be improving combat with each subsequent patch.

The Hunters are the first ranged unit to be added to sandbox, and as you might expect, we’ve gone the extra step and made sure the elevation of their arms matches the arc of fire. If you looked closely at the goblin archers on the Barbican in the old Tutorial, you may have noticed that even though they shoot down, their arms remain straight, which looks terrible and breaks immersion. In Sandbox, we’ve sorted that, and ranged units now adjust the angle of their bow arm, so when they are shooting down from elevated positions such as city walls, they look the part.

The Character Designer has now been updated with all the latest profession uniforms, and we’ve added in a couple of new hair and beard styles. Longer term we intend to support loading and saving of characters so you can play sandbox games with your favourite bunch of villagers, as well as sharing and downloading characters with the community.

Lighting has a new high quality setting for high-end PC’s that adds proper lighting to the night windows. It’s purely aesthetic but does add to immersion at the cost of some performance.

There’s no more ALT F4’ing or command-Q’ing to quit out of sandbox player, with the escape key now bringing up a quit to desktop option.

And finally one of the biggest changes is that we’ve swapped the default public version of the Windows build over to 64-bit. Most players are already using a 64-bit edition of Windows, and for those it brings the benefit of fewer memory related issues including moonwalking villagers after loading a Tutorial save game.

Players who find Folk Tale no longer works after Patch 0.2.6 are most likely on Windows 32-bit. Don’t worry, we’re still supporting a 32-bit build, but you need to opt-in to a special build under the Steam beta’s system. Instructions on how to do this can be found in the Announcements tab of the community section on Steam.

And that leads me nicely on to the next announcement we have today; the overhauled website. As development of Sandbox continues, we needed somewhere to provide all the information that players will soon start asking us for. What buildings are available? What function does each building have? What character professions are available? What loot items are available and what are their stats? We’ve set the foundations early so that we can continue to add meaningful content to the website, including Tutorials on how to use the Editors.

You’ll also find a development roadmap on the website. This is a high level overview of what features and content are coming in each patch.

In the next patch we’ll be introducing more of the economy, making resources more important, improving combat, and bringing more monsters to life.

I’d like to say a big thank you to the 875 play ers who completed the Player Satisfaction Survey. Your feedback has been important in helping us understand where we need to increase our efforts and make changes. Hopefully you’ll notice some of the changes resulting from your feedback, including the Production Status mini-blog where we look more closely at what’s in production, and a continuing drive to reduce patch times, down from once a month to around three weeks. Hopefully we can continue this and have the next patch out in the first half of July.

Your role as part of the community and your continued support during development is very important to us. We always try to listen to the voice of the community, and do our very best to respond to the feedback provided by taking actions that make a difference. Thanks for taking this journey with us.

Until next time, bye for now.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Folk Tale Production Status: June 2014

by Simon Dean, Project Lead

A significant portion of the community let us know in the Spring Player Satisfaction Survey that you would like us to blog more often, but not at the expense of quality. Producing the monthly video blog requires a great deal of time, a new batch of features and content, and for those features to be in a working state that I can record. It's just not feasible given the team size to produce two video blogs a month without compromising quality.

What I'd like to try as a compromise is publishing a Production Status blog in between the monthly video blogs. The purpose is to share what we're working on right now, and what you can expect in the coming weeks and months. They won't be published via Steam Announcements as they lack the broader appeal of the video blogs, but we will be announcing them via Twitter if you want to follow @gamesfoundry.

Current Tasks Being Worked On
- Basic combat, including monster spawning and attack waves;
- Debugging city walls and pathfinding;
- Recast navmesh generation evaluation;
- Adding Hunting Lodge and Hunter profession as well as the Hunting Ground where deer are;
- Adding Bakery and Baker profession;
- Adding Tavern and Innkeeper profession;
- Adding Butchery and Butcher profession;
- Starting to tie together the economy chains;
- Creating handheld items for all the professions so that once basic combat is in, we can add loot, and players can equip characters with weapon and tool upgrades that show in the character's hands;
- Making resources important;
- Capping initial resource stock piles, raising cap by building additional Storehouses;
- The need for warmth causing villagers to need firewood, produced by the Woodcutter Hut;
- Animation blends for archers so their arms swing up/down when aiming a bow;
- Loot, inventory and research icons;
- Sound effects;
- Soundtrack: more grassland neutral tracks;

In The Near Future
- Adding Fisherman's Hut and Fisherman profession as well as the Shoal Of Fish where fishing happens;
- Herbalist profession ( works at the Apothecary making potions used during adventuring and to cure population of ailments );
- Apothecary building;
- Witch and Warlock profession ( enchanters who live at the Crooked Kettle );
- Crooked Kettle building;
- Bazaar/Marketplace human building;
- Allowing players to specify which crop is grown in a field: WheatPumpkins ( Vegetables ), Herbs ( for Apothecary potions ), Cotton ( for clothes );
- Adding crop blight;
- The addition of Belief Points ( generated through prayer at the Monastery driven by the need for worship/faith ) which can be spent on Miracles such as Bountiful Harvest;

In The Distant Future
- Crafting;
- Enchanting;
- Dungeons;
- World Map;
- Heroes;
- Special Abilities;
- Sandbox save games;

Current Priorities And Goals Summary
At the time of writing the programming team are engaged in a series of short sprints aimed at reaching Patch 0.3. Sandbox Player is approaching a stable state, and the addition of basic combat will add another aspect to gameplay. Once combat is in and a few more buildings and professions added, we need to give resources a more important role, and at that point we should have a playable sandbox experience.

The message that we need to increase patch frequency came across loud and clear in the survey. To address that I've reassigned one of the artists from the downstream content team ( who worked mostly on RPG content ) to assist with the Human professions. We have a backlog of human buildings that are ready to ship, but are currently missing profession characters. The extra pair of hands will have an immediate impact and we should be able to include four new buildings and associated professions in the next patch.

As we strive for increased patch frequency, gameplay elements may creep into builds in a very early state, for example combat. In the current dev build we're able to select several monsters and actually control them in a similar manner to villagers, except that they will attack your villagers ( who fight back ). This enables the testing of combat mechanics and monster movement, and we're going to leave it enabled in Patch 0.2.6 so that you can tinker.

As we continue to expand the village and economy, gameplay duration is going to keep extending, and with the lesson learned from the Tutorial, we're going to add sandbox load/save in the 0.3.x release cycle, hopefully in time to prevent players going stir crazy.

Thanks once again to the survey, you told us that RPG gameplay is equally as important as city-building, and it won't be overlooked. However with a limited team size and a need to ship playable content now, I'm making city-building, economy and RTS elements the short-term priority. Once those aspects of gameplay reach a decent state, we can gradually shift development focus over to RPG.

And finally, once we refresh the website, we'll be publishing a product path so you can see what we're aiming to deliver in each patch over the coming months.

I hope this new mini-blog format goes some way to providing more information to those who expressed a desire for it. Please join the debate over in the Steam Forum on ways that we can improve the format.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Folk Tale Player Satisfaction Survey Spring 2014

by Simon Dean, Project Lead

To mark our Early Access anniversary, we wanted to ask as many of you as possible how we’d performed over the last twelve months. We launched the first ever Player Satisfaction Survey, and you sent us some very clear messages.

We received an impressive 500 survey submissions, with participation split evenly between active community members, and those who prefer to follow progress on a more casual basis. 9 out of 10 participants own Folk Tale.

UPDATE: The final count is 875 submissions, 375 of which were submitted after this summary was produced. The results have shown a slight overall improvement on an already positive set of results, but nothing that significantly changes the results presented in this blog. All these submissions will go towards forming the benchmark we'll use for the next survey.

Key Messages From Our Community
Here’s what you collectively told us through your answers and personal feedback.

1) Hurry up!;
2) You’re doing a great job in keeping us updated and being transparent;
3) Patch more often;
4) We want village building and RPG adventuring the most;
5) Most of us want sandbox, but there’s strong interest in a campaign-style storyline;
6) Half of us are interested in both playing and creating content;
7) Folk Tale has loads of potential, and we have confidence that you’ll deliver;
8) Blog more than once a month, but don’t compromise quality for quantity;
9) Overall we’re satisfied but there are clear areas for improvement.

Which of the following game modes would you most prefer?

Having marketed the game as sandbox, this question wasn’t so much about the sandbox answer, but how much interest exists for a more campaign-based experience similar to the Tutorial. With 35% expressing a preference for campaign, it’s worth us investing time into the Encounters system, our primary means of introducing storyline into sandbox.

Multiplayer continues to languish in third place, echoing the sentiment of the Steam Greenlight December 2012 Poll - that Folk Tale should be a single player game.

Which element of gameplay do you expect to find the most appealing?

Short term our focus is on village building and testing sieges ready for the Patch 0.3 milestone. That echoes the leading answer. When grouped with Economy Management and RTS, we should be meeting the needs of 64% of the audience with Patch 0.3. Our plan to then cross over to the RPG side of the game will ensure the needs of the remaining 35% are catered to. New environments, monsters, loot, heroes, levelling up, special abilities and quests will all be part of that.

How likely are you to use the Sandbox Editor to create your own worlds?

The community is fairly split on this. At least half have expressed an interest in creating and sharing worlds, and the easier we make it, the more community content is likely to be produced.

4 out of 10 are either unlikely or will never use the Editor. By meeting the needs of the half who have expressed an interest in creating worlds, and including a comprehensive world designed by ourselves, we should be able to meet the needs of those who prefer to spend their time playing content.

How important is it to have the ability to beautify your village with plants, benches, street lamps, and paths?

With only 22% of respondents declaring the feature as not important, we need to do something to address the preferences of the remaining 78%. So we’re going to introduce plans for beautification to improve villager happiness. While it won’t be a critical high priority feature, it will have a minor impact on gameplay, and hopefully make you more proud of your village.

How satisfied are you with the current dev blogs?

Blogging is certainly one area where you rate our performance, with 87% of respondents positive. More than half of the community are either satisfied or very satisfied with the content and format of the blogs. Almost half of the community regularly check the dev blog, with 94% having visited at some point during development.

While 7 out of 10 respondents rank quality over frequency, 6 out of 10 have expressed a desire for a new blog either fortnightly or weekly. Unfortunately due to budgetary constraints, it’s not practical to offer a high quality video blog more than once a month. However, in an effort to meet some of that additional demand, we’re going to pilot a text only mini-blog in between the monthly video blogs. We’ll iterate on the format with your feedback, and hopefully together can arrive at an acceptable compromise.

How satisfied are you our level of community engagement and communication?

Since launch we’ve endeavoured to include the community in the development process. The daily forum posts, one-to-one technical support, and high quality video blogs have reaped dividends, with 90% of respondents having a positive response. 65% are either satisfied or very satisfied with our level of engagement and communication, which is terrific.

How satisfied are you with the frequency of patch updates?

It’s been a challenging year since launch during which we’ve been focused almost exclusively on building the sandbox foundation which set us back an entire year. That means for a while we were unable to provide substantial updates, for which we suffered. While 66% are somewhat satisfied, satisfied, or very satisfied, 34% have been left dissatisfied. Your message that we must try harder has been received loud and clear.

Since the release of patch 0.2.0 in December, the patch situation has been gradually improving as promised, and as we approach patch 0.3 we’re achieving monthly patches. With a solid sandbox foundation now in place, we’re in a good position to push forward with meaningful content updates. Being one of our key performance indicators, I plan to invest greater effort into improving our lacklustre performance in this area, in the hope we can perform better when we repeat this question in future surveys.

How satisfied are you that Folk Tale will live up to the potential?

It would appear that the original creative vision remains firmly intact, and that development is progressing in the right direction. With 84% expressing a positive opinion, and 60% either satisfied or very satisfied that we’ll deliver on the game’s potential, it appears as a development team we have your confidence and backing.

Would you recommend Folk Tale to your friends?

I was pleasantly surprised by this result, re-confirming that while we need to do more to improve patches, we’re doing a respectable job. I’d expect more no’s as the survey extended to less engaged members of the audience, but even still this is a strong endorsement.

As an Early Access title, how do we fair when compared with other Early Access games?

This was perhaps one of the trickier questions to answer. It’s not uncommon in the forums for comparisons to be made with other developers in Early Access, so I was keen to understand how you felt we were measuring up. It’s prone to skewing, and isn’t one of the most robust of survey questions, so I’ll simply present the data as is, and leave you to draw your own conclusions.

Have you left a review on the Steam Store Page?

As much as I’m a fan of Steam, I’m no fan of the review system for Early Access games. With long development times, developers can end up with a handful of opinions based on very early builds that often bear no resemblance to the current state of a project. On Folk Tale, we’ve suffered at the hands of a few negative reviews posted before any sandbox tech was released. Those sometimes misleading reviews now hog the limelight, turning away potential backers who could help make the game you support even better by funding a larger team.

Based on the results of this survey, I’d really like to encourage you to read the reviews - both positive and negative - and if you agree with them, consider rating them up. As it stands, the reviews that are hogging the limelight don’t appear to be representative of the opinions that you have expressed in this survey.

Reviews can be found at the bottom of the Steam Store Page.

How satisfied are you with the overall development of Folk Tale?

With 78% of you expressing a positive opinion, we really feel supported by the community. We’ve got more work to do, especially when it comes to patching, but with your continued support, together we can push on and deliver a fantastic game.

Thank you.

I’d like to thank every one of you who took the time to complete the survey. You’ve provided us with a clear picture of where we need to direct our efforts, and where we’ve been doing a good job. Once we’ve had a chance to make some changes to our process, we’ll repeat the survey later in the year and hopefully we’ll have improved.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Folk Tale Dev Blog 23

by Simon Dean, Project Lead

Following the release of Patch 0.2.4 towards the end of last month, the team have continued to work in two streams: Patch 0.3 enhancements, and downstream content.

Patch 0.3 Enhancements

While combat and monster spawning is being worked on in Sandbox Player we're adding the final touches to the Grassland Kit, the environment where Patch 0.3 will take place. If you recall the village in the Tutorial, we have shoreline with sandy beaches. Because we want to migrate the Tutorial over to sandbox tech, we want to recreate all of the biomes as Kits. Sandy shoreline also gives us a number of options for Patch 0.3.x. Initially we'll have a beach spawn point where Goblin Warships will have landed, dropping off waves of goblin invaders. In later patches I'd love to have beach landings, and the possibility for your Trebuchet to sink ships before they have chance to disembark. But I digress.

To achieve the shoreline effect, we've created new shallow incline tiles, which can be combined with steeper hills to introduce deeper water. Using the Paint Tool we paint our beach tiles with the sand texture. Add in some water tiles, and a few new wave particle effects, place a couple of random rocks, and we have a nice looking shore.

Part of making the village feel more believable is the addition of colliders. In earlier builds it was possible for the camera to move right through buildings and city walls. We've now added physics colliders to buildings, so the camera should go up and over rather than through for a much more realistic experience.

In Patch 0.2.4 we had a number of bugs with City Walls which have now been fixed. Characters can now approach and walk up City Wall Stairs without issue, and will happily walk through gatehouses and turrets, allowing you to run all the way around your walls.

And finally, work is progressing on large-scale background props such as mountains so that location maps don't abruptly end at the boundary of the playable area.

Downstream Content: Swamp

Downstream Content is a term we use internally to refer to any content that won't be added until after the Patch 0.3 milestone. That includes the Kits for the different environments including desert, snow, lava and swamp, and the inhabitants that live there. The design of each environment biome begins with a concept diorama designed to communicate mood.

When the diorama reaches a state that we're happy with, work is branched into four tasks: textures, characters and architecture, loot, and soundtrack. The first is the production of a series of low resolution textures using the diorama for reference. Adding in basic lighting and painting some quick terrain geometry, we're able to confirm color, contrast, and scale before scaling up the textures and painting in the high resolution detail. Generally the Art Team work at a higher resolution and then scale down for the final texture.

With each biome being home to beasts and intelligent races, the second parallel task is to define what lives there, how, and the relationships between them. Having introduced Goblins in the Tutorial, we're expanding their culture to incorporate their habitat. What sort of things do our Goblins eat? How does environment influence architecture? Do they have a belief system? Do they have any natural enemies? All of these questions feed into creating a consistent racial story.

While the budget does not currently permit us to make the Goblins a comprehensive playable race for launch, we are able to introduce a believable AI-driven village while keeping the option of a playable race open for DLC.

We all love loot, and the RPG element of Folk Tale would be incomplete without it. Having defined a culture, we look at the items a race use. We wouldn't want Goblins dropping useless items, so instead we focus on weapons and armor, crafted items, and finally legendary items that form a race's back story. Concept sketches become loot icons, and once signed off handheld items are produced as 3D geometry and hand painted.

Finally, the diorama is provided with a written brief to the Audio Team. Several draft ambient tracks are composed, and the best elements combined into a final composition which then undergoes several iterations. Using the themes developed in the ambient track, a battle variation is produced which is cross-faded in during game play. Once both the ambient and battle tracks are complete, we test them in game to ensure they aren't too distracting to the player. You can hear the swamp ambient and battle music in the video at the top of this blog starting at 5'40".

Following community response, we also plan to add in an option to disable battle music if players find pounding drums too distracting.


Folk Tale Player Satisfaction Survey

It's the first ever 2-minute Folk Tale Player Satisfaction Survey. Tell us what you think of development so far and where we can improve. It's totally anonymous, and has 18 easy to answer multi-choice questions.

Take the survey now by visiting: