August Dev Update

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August has been a super productive month for Castaways. We’ve made a lot happen and in regards to our road map we have travelled miles in a short time. We’re really happy with the progress we’ve made this month and we’ll be aiming to get a similar amount of progress if not more throughout September.

Weapons and Tools Reworked

We have reworked a number of the weapons and tools that we currently have in game. We’ve also adjusted how they are equipped so now when you equip any of the weapons or tools, they fit the characters hand much better. Finally hammering of certain building elements has been implemented as well as the chopping of trees.

Crafting System Reworked

To coincide with the reworking of weapons and tools we have also reworked the Crafting System. I say reworked, but to be honest its always been extremely basic. Now the crafting system allows you to browse a list of all the items your player can craft and see an image and description of each item. You will also see the resource costs of the selected item along with the corresponding resources you have in your inventory, if any.

Build Mode Changes

After a lengthy discussion we have decided to introduce basic buildings in addition to the current build mode. The difference between the both is that the basic buildings will allow you to craft things wherever you are with the resources you have in your personal inventory. The advanced buildings will demand more resources and can only be built with the resources from your team inventory. The advanced buildings will also take much longer to build, so its not something you would really want to do away from your camp.

New Buildings Added

With the introduction of the basic buildings we have added two new basic buildings and one new advanced building.

  • Basic Shelter – Useful for resting when far from your camp. It requires very little resources, all of which are easily accessible while out in the wild and it will be designed to be destroyed so you can get some of the resources back once you are done using it.
  • Gathering Area – The gathering area is the basic version of the Storage Hut. Its only requires four wood and is extremely easy to build. Upon building a gathering area your team can access it and deposit a small amount of resources into the Team Inventory. From there you and your team can begin building the larger Storage Hut or other buildings that use resources from your Team Inventory.
  • Signal Fire – The signal fire has been introduced as an advanced item that will consume wood from your Team Inventory. Campfires have been set as a basic building and consumes resources from your Personal Inventory.

Camp Fires, Torches and Signal Fires Implemented

We have now introduced fire to Castaways. Camp Fires, Torches and Signal Fires can now be set alight and will burn for a set amount of time.
Camp Fires will primarily be used in small camps or while in the wilderness. Camp Fires will be required for cooking as well as keeping yourself warm if needed.
Torches will be used for setting up a perimeter around your camp. This perimeter will keep certain enemies away while allowing you to spot other enemies. We’re also considering implementing a somewhat fog of war but for first person games. This means at night your view distance will be pretty small but lighting torches will allow you to see as far as the torch.
Signal Fires will act as a navigation system. The concept of Castaways is to leave groups of players stranded on an island. We didn’t really want to introduce a map or mini map system anytime soon as we want to leave players as lost as possible in each environment. The problem with this is we always wanted to let people have a way of finding their camp. Signal Fires have been coded to produce a lot of smoke which can be visible from all around the different environments assuming your team keeps it burning. This will allow your team to easily find their way back to camps regardless of where they are on the island. The signal fire will also have other uses which we will discuss at a later date.

Storage Hut and Gathering Areas Implemented

Storage Huts and Gathering Areas have now been fully added to Castaways. Its now possible to build these structures as well as interact with them and deposit or withdraw resources that have been stored. Each structure you enter will allow you to deposit either everything, all of a certain type of resource, or each resource one at a time. Currently this seems to be working really well but we’re prepared to improve on this in the future.

Team Inventory Implemented

The Team Inventory has been created as well as a very simple but effective user interface. Whenever a member of your team deposits either wood, stone or leaves to any of your storage areas, the same number of that resource is added to the Team Inventory. Your team can then build using these resources regardless of whether they were the person to gather or deposit them.

Event System Added

We have added an event system to the whole game which allows us to print important messages to the in game chat box. Currently this is being used to let users know what they’ve created, when they have picked up items and so on but in the future this will also be used as a chat box.

Over the next month we will be finishing up some minor things that we’ve been meaning to do but then we’ll be looking more at the gathering resources. We really want to make resources as unique and fun as possible. We’re also in the process of making a new island.

If you got this far, thanks for reading and remember we would love to hear what you have to say so catch up with us on Facebook and tell us your thoughts!

Video Dev Blog – Build Mode

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As promised we have finally got a bit of footage together for Castaways. As mentioned in the video it covers the build mode pretty briefly but if you have any more questions please get in touch. Would love to hear what you think.

We are aware of a shader problem and for now we are avoiding it for want of a better word. We know what the problem is but since the games not going live any time soon we’re focusing our efforts elsewhere. We know that when the time comes to fix the shader it’ll fix everything.

We would love to hear what you guys think of the build mode so far and if you have any suggestions please throw them our way.

July Dev Update

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The past month has been pretty hectic. Towards the end of June I quit my job to focus 100% on developing Castaways and so far the only regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner! Development for Castaways is flying. In most cases there isn’t much to see, but the framework for everything we have planned is really looking good.

Build Mode

At this point the build mode is looking extremely good. There are no problems with it that we know of and its designed so that we can add as many build-able elements to the game as we like. It only takes around 5 minutes to add a brand new building to Castaways which has shaved quite possibly hours off the original time.

At the moment we have 5 buildings, 2 props and 3 defensive structures fully working. This means the player must collect the correct resources for the structure or prop they want to build, find a place to build it and construct it using whatever tools that are necessary. So far its looking really good but we wont know fully until we have implemented the team inventory which is whats currently being worked on.

In addition to the build mode taking life, we have also implemented a land flattening solution. When placing anything in build mode, there is a check to see if the ground is relatively even. If so, it flattens it out just enough to place the structure or prop where you like. This means when playing Castaways you can build almost anywhere assuming that its not on the edge of a cliff.

Character Rigging and Animation

We have finally given our character arms! They aren’t the best looking arms but it finally allows us to start adding things such as hammering and cutting down trees. For now it works perfectly but its definitely something we want to improve on in the future.

Playing with fire

In a combination of both the character animations and the building, we’ve now implemented the creation of fire. Once you have equipped a torch or build a camp fire / standing torch, you can now light each of them assuming one of them is already lit. Once lit the fires eventually die out after a time limit but are easily re lit using your torch. Its not a huge feature in regards to development but its definitely fun to play with. Oh and it looks great!

We’ve also made a start on a range of other areas but for the most part they aren’t really worth talking about. Next month these things should be finished and definitely worth mentioning.

Over the next few weeks we will be working on the Team Inventory as well as finalizing how we use resources. With this also comes a complete overhaul of the interface. At that point it will be time to start looking at getting a demo out for people to play with.