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  1. (*Editor’s Note* When Mat and Jordan went to XPO festival, one of the things that people seemed to enjoy most was a little behind the scenes look at how our art assets are made. We asked James to write a few words with some explanations on how he does his work at Frostkeep Studios. If you have any further questions about this, please reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, and even the Discord.) When working on Rend, textures and assets are produced employing a variety of methods, from hand painted to procedurally generated textures, using Photoshop, Zbrush and the Allegorithmic Substance suite. A node graph for a procedurally generated texture from Substance Designer. At Frostkeep Studios, we focus on aspects of the game that will have the biggest impact on the quality of the player’s experience. Instead of spending copious amounts of time creating textures for assets that players breeze by when playing, we utilize texture sheets containing common materials generally needed to make most common props in the world. A procedurally generated and hand-painted asset side by side. When we are looking to create a set of base building assets, the first thing we do is gather reference and create a new texture atlas to use on new building pieces. The texture consists of the common materials from the tier of the structures we are working on. A simple texture used for base building assets. Once we have a texture to work with, we get creative and try to come up with as many assets as we can with this texture sheet we’ve created. The 3D Studio max base-building geometry library, all utilizing the texture pictured above. Unreal shader node integrating vertex color into the texture sample. Using secondary textures and vertex coloring we can create variety in the assets through carved runes and color variations. All meshes are composed of vertices that contain an RGBA value that can be used to influence the appearance of the mesh in a variety of ways, such as tinting the color of a texture. The same asset with and without vertex coloring. Once the meshes have been created, they just have to be hooked up into the data tables, which is a lot easier now that Ron has organized them neatly for us. From there things like names, health, crafting costs, icons and other values are defined, and then the asset is implemented! A sneak peak into one of our many datatables. So there you have it. A quick peak into one of the many ways that we create art at Frostkeep Studios! read the original article
  2. Drop the Base, Raise the Roof

    Howdy folks, my name is David and I’m an engineer here at Frostkeep. I’ll be giving you the lowdown on the new base building systems the team has put together over the past few months. One of the primary goals with our updates to Rend is to increase an individual player’s impact on the world. Previously, base building was restricted to the immediate vicinity around a faction’s Divinity Stone, so contributing to the construction process was limited to players who had acquired enough faction reputation to place items within the shield boundary. This led to a situation where most players never experienced our base building system, and in many ways reduced a lot of players’ sense of ownership within the faction. They hadn’t built the base, so they didn’t care about it, and the only private area they had was a small, protected stash attached to the warehouse building, which didn’t feel significant. To rectify this we’ve enhanced our base building system to allow individuals to stake out their own plot of land in the world so players can build whatever they want. We’ve also added new systems that not only make base planning and building easier, but also allow anyone in a faction to contribute to shared structures in a meaningful way. We’ve made some significant modifications to the structure components themselves, the first being the addition of full foundations. Previously we only had wall foundations and if players wanted to build an enclosed structure, they had to connect a bunch of wall foundations and place platforms on top of them to create full foundations to build on, which was a little involved and not very intuitive. We’ve also added pillars to support larger additional floors and compact stairs to get to those floors, which replace those pesky bulky ramps from before. Finally, we’ve tweaked the aesthetics of every piece, streamlining everything to work in the context of any possible structure players may want to build. In order for players to start piecing together their very own domicile, they first drop a seed into the ground, which will transform into a special foundation piece. Around the seed foundation is an invisible grid that players can place structure components within. The grid is limited in size at first, but can be upgraded later to expand the potential building zone for a player’s base. The seed is a limited-availability item and our plans for it are still under discussion. Its purpose is to limit the number of structures that any one player can erect, preventing the common occurrence that players often experience in other survival games where hundreds of half-built, abandoned player structures dot the landscape. Players will get a free seed for their first base, but subsequent seeds may be locked behind a faction reputation threshold or acquired through progression. For the construction player experience we’ve diverged quite a bit from the norm in other survival games. Instead of crafting individual base building pieces like foundations and walls and having to carry them around with you, we’re introducing a new tool called the Construction Hammer. Once equipped, players choose a material that has been researched by their faction such as wood, stone, or metal. Then the player selects a structure component, like foundations or walls. Each component requires that players have certain resources in their inventory, but assuming players have enough, they can then place that component in the grid and the required resources will automatically be consumed. The process of planning out and building a base is much quicker now, and players won’t have to worry about crafting enough walls or ceilings to complete their base. The components that get placed down in the world are what we’re calling frames, which are incomplete structure components that functionally act like normal components, but have significantly reduced health. These frames can be upgraded via our new structure upgrade system. Each component in a structure can be upgraded to that material’s next tier by depositing the required resources into it. Anyone can deposit resources and multiple deposits can be made so multiple players can provide the necessary resources to upgrade an individual component. Placing components down still requires elevated privileges, however now a few people can plan the base out, construct the framing, and then any member of the faction can harvest resources and contribute to upgrading the components in the base to complete it. We’re currently working on the user interface to support these new systems, and we can’t wait to show them off. Stay tuned for more info because we’ve got some awesome stuff in the works that we’ll be talking about before we reopen pre-alpha this winter. Quality imagery and puns provided by James. read the original article
  3. Post XPO Fest

    Last week, Mat and I got to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to show off Rend at XPO Fest. When we signed up for this originally, Rend was going to be released and we were going to have the game available to play there. Because we decided to delay release to make the game better, we sadly didn’t have a playable build there. We had lots of people stop by the booth to chat and watch Mat art Mat shows off some of the art tricks he learned over the years to one of the artists on A.N.N.E up a few models for one of our new biomes. People seemed to love learning how the sausage is made, and we were able to teach anyone who wanted to listen. We had a great time there. A few of the highlights from the trip: 1. Mat got conscripted to play in the League of Legends tournament and helped his team place 2nd! They didn’t know he used to work at Riot until he showed off every skin of every character on his account. 2. We got some concept fanart from the best fanartist ever. I wish I had gotten a picture of Ava the awesome 3 year old who came by and drew us a Unicorn! Hopefully we can get Ava’s unicorn in game at some point. 3. Mat was on a panel (To the Point: Industry Pros Discuss the Biggest Gaming Trends) about current gaming trends with some other devs and influencers at the festival. 4. We met a lot of amazing devs and players who are now super excited about Rend! A few twitch partners stopped by and couldn’t stop staring at Mat’s genius A quick update on the happenings in the office right now! Dave is working on making the combat feel much better. James has been working on weapon models (some sweet designs coming out). Nick has been concept arting some of the armor that you’ll be crafting in Rend. Solomon has been working on creature animations and helping me with UX (!!). Mat has been hard at work modeling resources for different biomes (more about these coming soon), and texturing up the biomes. Travis has been hard at work making the world and modeling some of the armor that Nick has been drawing up. Jake has been working closely with Tyler to create new talents for our class system. Ron and Tyler have been working ridiculously hard on all the other systems in the game. I’ve been working on a content plan (to have more regular blog updates) and UI (as per usual), maybe I should do another blogpost about the UI. As usual, you can find us on the community discord, Twitter, Facebook. We gearing up quickly for pre-alpha testing to start up again. So sign up! read the original article
  4. 2 New FKers!

    A few exciting things happened over the past few weeks that I didn’t mention before because we were getting ready for and talking about PAX. The first is that we hired two more developers at Frostkeep Studios! Don’t worry, we’ll get headshots and a new team page as soon as we get a better camera. Without further ado, here are the bios of our two new FKers! Jake Strapko Jake is known for breaking game mechanics in Rend and exploiting them to his advantage, in that order. With a lifetime of experience in competitive gaming, Jake grew up in a household where LAN parties were the norm. He competed against his brother and father in popular online games like Quake, Command: Modern Air Naval Operations and Conquer Online before eventually shifting his reserves to focus on Counter-Strike. Jake is formally trained in graphic design, product branding and apparel design, and has also ventured into competitive teams with Counter-Strike 1.5 and playing on multiple tournament teams during the Overwatch Beta where he was one of the top 500 players for Seasons 1 and 2. As one of the most active players in the Rend pre-alpha, Jake can be found streaming on Twitch and helping to build game communities. His focus at Frostkeep will be on making Rend as fair and balanced as possible. Michele Cagle Known for “making lemonade” and finding the good in everything (as Bob Ross would say, “there are no mistakes, just happy accidents”), Michele Cagle is a seasoned communications executive with nearly 20 years of gaming, corporate, entertainment and consumer products experience. Michele previously led global communications efforts at Sony Online Entertainment, Daybreak Games, THQ and Mattel, including corporate communications, brand PR, internal communications, influencer relations and events. When she’s not off saving animals or channeling her inner Bruce Lee to execute awesome campaigns, Michele can be found chasing sunsets, eating mangos, and getting salty with her family at local beaches on the mainland and in Hawaii. The next thing that happened was that we were put on Tech Raptor’s top 10 games at PAX West! This was a huge surprise and an incredible honor, especially when looking at the other games on that list (Dead Cells is sooooo good). We’re so excited to show off the game, and can’t wait to open up the pre-alpha servers again. As far as happenings around the office, I’m still plugging away at the UI rework (we’ll get another UI blog later). Tyler and Ron are working on AI and Item system design. Jake is doing some super secret work as well as focus testing and balance design. James is working on new prop items. Travis and Mat are working on making the map bigger and all the cool new biomes. David is working on some performance things regarding base building. As always we’re here answering questions from the community on Twitter, Facebook, Steam and the community Discord! Come join us! read the original article
  5. 2 New FKers!

    A few exciting things happened over the past few weeks that I didn’t mention before because we were getting ready for and talking about PAX. The first is that we hired two more developers at Frostkeep Studios! Don’t worry, we’ll get headshots and a new team page as soon as we get a better camera. Without further ado, here are the bios of our two new FKers! Jake Strapko Jake is known for breaking game mechanics in Rend and exploiting them to his advantage, in that order. With a lifetime of experience in competitive gaming, Jake grew up in a household where LAN parties were the norm. He competed against his brother and father in popular online games like Quake, Command: Modern Air Naval Operations and Conquer Online before eventually shifting his reserves to focus on Counter-Strike. Jake is formally trained in graphic design, product branding and apparel design, and has also ventured into competitive teams with Counter-Strike 1.5 and playing on multiple tournament teams during the Overwatch Beta where he was one of the top 500 players for Seasons 1 and 2. As one of the most active players in the Rend pre-alpha, Jake can be found streaming on Twitch and helping to build game communities. His focus at Frostkeep will be on making Rend as fair and balanced as possible. Michele Cagle Known for “making lemonade” and finding the good in everything (as Bob Ross would say, “there are no mistakes, just happy accidents”), Michele Cagle is a seasoned communications executive with nearly 20 years of gaming, corporate, entertainment and consumer products experience. Michele previously led global communications efforts at Sony Online Entertainment, Daybreak Games, THQ and Mattel, including corporate communications, brand PR, internal communications, influencer relations and events. When she’s not off saving animals or channeling her inner Bruce Lee to execute awesome campaigns, Michele can be found chasing sunsets, eating mangos, and getting salty with her family at local beaches on the mainland and in Hawaii. The next thing that happened was that we were put on Tech Raptor’s top 10 games at PAX West! This was a huge surprise and an incredible honor, especially when looking at the other games on that list (Dead Cells is sooooo good). We’re so excited to show off the game, and can’t wait to open up the pre-alpha servers again. As far as happenings around the office, I’m still plugging away at the UI rework (we’ll get another UI blog later). Tyler and Ron are working on AI and Item system design. Jake is doing some super secret work as well as focus testing and balance design. James is working on new prop items. Travis and Mat are working on making the map bigger and all the cool new biomes. David is working on some performance things regarding base building. As always we’re here answering questions from the community on Twitter, Facebook, Steam and the community Discord! Come join us! read the original article View full news
  6. 2 New FKers!

    A few exciting things happened over the past few weeks that I didn’t mention before because we were getting ready for and talking about PAX. The first is that we hired two more developers at Frostkeep Studios! Don’t worry, we’ll get headshots and a new team page as soon as we get a better camera. Without further ado, here are the bios of our two new FKers! Jake Strapko Jake is known for breaking game mechanics in Rend and exploiting them to his advantage, in that order. With a lifetime of experience in competitive gaming, Jake grew up in a household where LAN parties were the norm. He competed against his brother and father in popular online games like Quake, Command: Modern Air Naval Operations and Conquer Online before eventually shifting his reserves to focus on Counter-Strike. Jake is formally trained in graphic design, product branding and apparel design, and has also ventured into competitive teams with Counter-Strike 1.5 and playing on multiple tournament teams during the Overwatch Beta where he was one of the top 500 players for Seasons 1 and 2. As one of the most active players in the Rend pre-alpha, Jake can be found streaming on Twitch and helping to build game communities. His focus at Frostkeep will be on making Rend as fair and balanced as possible. Michele Cagle Known for “making lemonade” and finding the good in everything (as Bob Ross would say, “there are no mistakes, just happy accidents”), Michele Cagle is a seasoned communications executive with nearly 20 years of gaming, corporate, entertainment and consumer products experience. Michele previously led global communications efforts at Sony Online Entertainment, Daybreak Games, THQ and Mattel, including corporate communications, brand PR, internal communications, influencer relations and events. When she’s not off saving animals or channeling her inner Bruce Lee to execute awesome campaigns, Michele can be found chasing sunsets, eating mangos, and getting salty with her family at local beaches on the mainland and in Hawaii. The next thing that happened was that we were put on Tech Raptor’s top 10 games at PAX West! This was a huge surprise and an incredible honor, especially when looking at the other games on that list (Dead Cells is sooooo good). We’re so excited to show off the game, and can’t wait to open up the pre-alpha servers again. As far as happenings around the office, I’m still plugging away at the UI rework (we’ll get another UI blog later). Tyler and Ron are working on AI and Item system design. Jake is doing some super secret work as well as focus testing and balance design. James is working on new prop items. Travis and Mat are working on making the map bigger and all the cool new biomes. David is working on some performance things regarding base building. As always we’re here answering questions from the community on Twitter, Facebook, Steam and the community Discord! Come join us! read the original article
  7. Post PAX West

    So it takes a lot of work to get ready to show off your game to show off to press. We didn’t have the new map completely done so we couldn’t show that off yet, but there were a bunch of cool things that we had implemented and were really excited to show off to people. Personal base building – We got a lot of feedback from players about the lack of personal impact on the world. Yes, our faction base building worked and was fun, but only a few people per faction could be trusted with something as important as protecting everything. In addition, it took so many resources to build the base, that players never felt like they progressed in building up the base. A personal base in the valley, plus a photobomb by Mr. Elk We, also, got feedback about players not having a place to store their more valuable resources. Lastly, we found that there was a severe lack of reward for exploring in Rend. So, to combat all of those points of feedback, we are re-introducing personal base building back into Rend. Personal base building will provide more tangible and accessible base building feedback for all players. It will also allow a player to keep control of those valuable resources that are too valuable to leave in the communal chest. And now players will explore the world of Rend looking for places to build a personal base, as well as look for opponent’s personal bases. When we took personal base building out of Rend, it was a design decision based one of the major pain points in the survival genre is logging off for the night, then logging back in and your base is completely gone. You’ve lost all progression and it could take you days to get back up to speed. But, when we took personal base building out, we also lost out on the raiding mindset. No longer was their any incentive to explore the map, because you knew where everyone would be. Knowing that we wanted to add personal base building back in without adding in the pain of losing so much progress, we came up with a design that we are excited to share. It stemmed from a conversation we were having about raiding, and one of us just asked, “Does raiding have to be a zero-sum game?”. A zero-sum game is a scenario that means as many resources that the attacker takes, the defender loses. So we had to come up with some resource that the attacker would want, but wouldn’t push the defender back to the stone age. That was the concept of “research notes”, which we will get into in the next system. Personal Crafting – Previously in Rend, crafting recipes (and therefore crafting progression) was nearly entirely gated by faction technology level. This meant that as soon as your faction unlocked the tech required to make a crafting station, anyone could make that item at a crafting station. To help players specialize their role in their respective faction, we introduced crafting The control point from above. Revenant build up the base, Order now controls it. skill trees. Players will place a personal crafting station in their personal base, and then place a plug into it to provide access to different crafting skill trees. These will allow a player to make choices to specialize their specific bow and provide them the opportunity to become known as the “bow crafter” in their faction. Raiders of personal bases can come up to these personal crafting stations and steal the research notes off them (passively gained through crafting) to help them become more skilled in crafting skill trees. This research notes system, combined with the fact that items that do siege damage will require a huge amount of resources to craft, means that raiders are incentivized to keep raidees bases up and running, rather than leveling them down to the ground. Control points – To further double down on the PvP in Rend, we added control points around the map. These control points will be neutral to begin with, and once a faction claims one, the faction can build a base there. These will provide a bunch of different types of bonuses (a valuable resource node, soul collection well, etc). They are also not protected by shields like the faction base is. This means that players will be able to attack them at any time. If one faction takes a control point from another faction, they will then gain access to everything built up around that control point. Turrets that were A control point owned by Order placed by Order will now be controlled by the Conclave captors. This will encourage more strategic infiltration into the control point to capture it, instead of blowing everything to smithereens and rebuilding from scratch. My favorite part of the control points system though, is the role it plays in the Reckoning. Every Reckoning will spawn Lost Ones to attack the faction base, and every controlled control point. That means that the faction that captures all of the control points, has to defend against the lost ones at every control point. Hopefully they didn’t bite off more than they can chew. We had a wonderful time at PAX West. We spoke to some old friends and made some new ones. So far, we have had some great articles written, and I recommend you check them all out. Here are the ones that I’ve seen so far (hat tip to Zedd for the aggregation): PC Gamer Massively OP Gizorama Game Informer MMORPG.com read the original article
  8. Refactoring the UI: Part 1

    Well now that the website is finally back in order, I feel like I can blog about Rend again. I apologize that it’s been so long since I last posted. When websites break, I get called and blogs get delayed. Today, we’re gonna take a look at what I personally have been doing. Everyone else has some amazing things to show off, but we’re saving that for a big reveal, while no one cares about the UI (*sniff*). Rend has a lot of familiar systems to survival players. These players logged into Rend for the first time and were met with a relatively familiar albeit complicated HUD. And that’s about where the similarities ended. From the get go, we had decided to design UI widgets from a more MMO standpoint. This meant to have individual windows for each widget. You would have a crafting widget, which could be opened without opening another window. Having been MMO game developers this felt natural to us, and the UI was designed and developed with that in mind. However, one of the biggest pieces of feedback that we received from players was how confusing and un-intuitive our UI was. A large part of this was the how we conveyed the information (the recipe unlocks system was a major offender of this). So Sol and I took a step back and re-evaluated the whole UI to figure out the best way to lay things out. This will be the first part of a multi-blog series about my developing the UI and our decisions on why we decided to lay things out the way they are. As always, I am available to chat with you on the community Discord, and our social medias, Facebook and Twitter . To start, we decided to change the widgets from solo windows to being in their own menu. The reason for this is two-fold. If we decide to release on a console at some point, we won’t have to change the UI around too much (though that’s a future us problem). The second and much more important reason is this: By choosing which widgets to show with which widgets, we can help the user determine what is important. With our previous UI, the amount of information that a player could have on the screen was overwhelming. By only showing widgets that interact directly with other widgets, we can simplify the UI significantly, without simplifying the systems that it is supposed to convey. We want our game to be deep and complex, not impossible to interact with due to the complexity. The first grouping that we are going to look at is the Inventory grouping. When a player accesses the inventory, there are a few things that they’re looking to do. The first is to see what’s in their inventory, so we should probably have all the inventory slots available. The second is to equip an item from the inventory. So we had to show equippable slots (both equipment slots on your character and action bar slots). Lastly, if we’re showing the equippable slots, the player needs to know what stats change when they equip the items. The end result was this mockup. As you can see the top tabs will have grouping for different UI groups, and the Inventory group is selected We have the inventory on the left, the paper doll (equipment slots/actionbar slots), and the stats on the right. Looking forward to hearing feedback on our latest iteration! read the original article
  9. Our last month

    Well well well. I figured now was as good as any to give you a look into the happenings at Frostkeep over the last month. Unfortunately, I’m not going to go into details on what exactly we’re doing (Need to save those for later blog posts when we have the designs/implementation more finalized), but I will provide some hints. One thing I want to do is introduce all of the new FKers that joined since the last blog post. In order of hiring: Travis Inman: Some of you may know him as FK_EvilRadish in the discord. Travis has been a contract artist working with us for the past 9 months. He played the most during our pre-alpha and was invaluable in fixing art bugs and interacting with our players. We’re very excited to have him here. I can’t wait to get our current players into the game (and new players) because they’re gonna be blown away. You can read Travis’ bio over on the team page! Nick De Spain: For the last 12+ months, our artists have operated without a concept artist. That needed to change, so we went out and found the best one! Even better than being a concept artist, Nick has experience with outsourcing and is highly interested in UX design and art. We’re very lucky to have him. I can’t wait to show some of the concept art that he’s already come up with. Needless to say, Rend will be teeming with a higher variety of fauna when we open up the servers again. Nick’s bio is over on the team page! Ron Roy: Whenever someone who has worked with or works with Ron is asked about him, they always talk about the same thing. His foot pedal. You see, the left shift key on a keyboard puts a decent amount of strain on the wrist, and programmers use shift a LOT. So Ron bought a foot pedal, and uses it as his shift key. The best way to describe Ron is that he thinks in multi-core processors, while the rest of us think in single core processors. His ability to multi-task and fix bugs is astounding. Ron will absolutely make Rend a better game with his engineering ability, and his game design sense. You can read more about Ron on the team page. Tyler Fuchs: There are a handful of people in the world who I would play the game they created without question. Tyler is one of those. His ability to wrap his mind around games is astounding and whenever he says that a game should be played, I know I need to go play that game right now. The most recent example was a game called Dead Cells (highly recommended btw). Tyler brings some much needed player psychology analysis and systems design to Rend. We’re looking forward to seeing the systems that he designs and builds. Tyler’s bio is over on the team page. As for what is being worked on in the game. There’s no problem with my talking about what I’m doing right now, because it’s not very exciting. I’ve been reworking the UI menus in Rend with the purpose of simplifying the experience of a new player without hiding too much information from the veteran player. I’ll happily go into more detail in a later blogpost if there’s interest. read the original article
  10. Announcement regarding launch date

    Hello everyone, We have some exciting news and game updates to share with you today. First, thank you to everyone who is participating in our pre-alpha. Your feedback is valuable and helps us to improve the overall game experience in Rend. As mentioned before, we created Frostkeep Studios with the hope and vision of evolving the industry forward, specifically with the survival genre. Our goal with Rend is to present a fresh approach to gameplay and exceed players’ traditional expectations. The excitement around the game has brought our studio an amazing opportunity to take Rend to the next level. With this new support, we are re-evaluating current development plans and exploring ways in which we can deliver an even more robust in-game experience at launch. Our team is incredibly grateful for this new opportunity to make Rend an even better game than we originally envisioned. Given these significant updates, we have shifted the early access launch date on Steam to later this year to factor in time for adding in these new features and mechanics. In the upcoming weeks, please expect ongoing updates to the game. This may include dark periods where the game is not accessible. We will be in touch soon to share more of these updates as they are available. Thank you again for your support – see you in game. The Frostkeep Team read the original article
  11. Another Week, another Reckoning

    Another week another reckoning. So we’ve now had 2 weeks of Reckonings on our test servers. That makes 4 Reckonings over all. There have been some highs from them (the first Reckoning on the NA server had an epic battle between Order and Revenant). A secret room in Order’s base. It seems to be where they store all their valuables! There have also been some lows (we discovered some network issues during the most recent Reckonings which we now have to fix). But what I want to talk about today is base design. Base design was something we were excited to see when we were developing Rend last August. We wanted to see what players would do to beat the waves and also what they would do to combat opposing factions. Whenever we built bases, we made a simple box with some turrets because it was easier. But we were very curious. Before we had Reckonings, I had a chance to see a few bases. They were built mostly for cosmetics (and sadly we didn’t get to test them against the Reckoning to see how it would fare). The most impressive one I saw was Order’s ziggurat. It was awesome looking and one of the most aesthetic bases I’ve seen so far in Rend. The other faction’s bases were also impressive but sadly I didn’t get any pictures of them. A view from the top level in Order’s base. They placed diagonal walls at the top for shooting out. They also placed turrets looking down on the Divinity Stone to kill anything that makes it inside. Then we introduced the Reckoning. The Order built a base that seemed to fare really well. They built mostly a box but they had walls A view from the top level of Revenant’s base. The ramp on the right is used for cover in a firefight as well as providing the ability to see over the wall to shoot out. alternating, it looked like battlements and provided excellent cover. When they went to fight the Revenant, an epic battle ensued at the Revenant base. During the battle, a Revenant player accidentally opened up the gates. Order players hesitated, unsure if it was a trap or not, and charged in, decimating them. This event caused Order to re-evaluate their base design and came up with the one in the pictures in this post. They also decided to put chests in the middle of the foundations since they have a decent amount of health. I don’t know if it’s a good idea, we’ll have to see. The grates looking down at the lower platforms. I love this design. Revenant also had a brilliant idea to put the gate in front of a foundation you had to jump over to actually get into the base. Effectively stops demons from getting in if they bust open the gates. But even more important, if a player gets through the gates, they have to jump over foundation (during which they can’t fire) to see anyone to shoot at. I love it. They also put grates on all 2nd floor platforms so that they can shoot down at any demons below them. They just have to be careful, cause if the walls that support the grates are destroyed, those grates fall also. As always please follow us on our social media accounts (aka Twitter and Facebook) for more updates in the future! Don’t forget to sign up for pre-alpha. EA is coming soon, but we’ll do another invite wave before that! read the original article
  12. Artifacts :)

    Lightning Hammer charging up! If only there were enemies (or friendlies) around to release the destruction on When I played Vanilla WoW, there were two weapons that everyone knew by sight. Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker, And Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros. If you had one of those you were the envy of the entire server. It is how legendary weapons should be, rare and beautiful. In Rend, we wanted to do something similar. We wanted to have weapons and gear that players sought after and made you feel powerful enough to warrant using them. We wanted artifact gear that made you the envy of both your faction and your enemies (especially your enemies). If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve already seen some artifact gear in action, but I’ll be sure to discuss them more fully right now. The first one we’ll talk about today is the one that everyone asks about. The mighty hammer (name coming later) is a one handed warhammer that crackles with some form of purple electrical magic. Even though it’s extremely intimidating just wielding it, charging the hammer is a warning to all your enemies that they should run… immediately! Once you’ve fully charged the hammer, it calls lightning down on all the enemies around you hitting them for TONS of damage (shoutout to Phreak). The second artifact item is also a weapon. The trailer barely shows it off, but it’s currently my favorite. It’s a bow of insane knockback (I’m really honestly clever with names, ask anybody! Except my coworkers… they don’t like my names most of the time). This bow is clearly taken from the horns of one of those beautiful elk that dot the Valleys. It’s bright shining light makes you a target for any enemy especially if you pull it out at night. But it’s true power is when it shoots and hits a target. The bow does an insane amount of knockback. In the trailer you can see it in action when it shoots someone off the side of the wall. The opportunities are endless for a bow like this, and I look forward to getting it and destroying Order with it. The awesome bow of insane knockback (I swear I’m good at naming things). Also, shoutout to EU Order for letting me use their base! The next two items are equipment rather than weapons. The art for these two pieces aren’t quite finalized so I won’t show them off at all, I’ll just describe what they do. The first is a chest piece. This chest piece grants the wearer an huge increase in jump height (combined with the Assassin jump perk and suddenly you are practically flying). Think super man jumping over a building in a single bound. Sure, it’s OP, but if you’re jumping over the opponent’s wall, you better hope they don’t kill you before you land. The second item is a pair of boots. These boots make you sprint super fast. Think of the Flash (huh, I guess we have a bunch of DC fans in the office). They are fantastic for getting to or running from places very quickly. Of course, it comes with a drawback as well. Don’t accidentally run off the edge of the map or you’ll lose your awesome boots. That brings me to my next point. We are a full loot survival game. So if you happen to come across one of these weapons in the hellscape (the only place to find one), you will be extremely powerful. But! If you happen to die while carrying it around, you will lose it to your killer. Having one of these artifacts is beneficial, but makes you a prime target for your enemies. I look forward to hearing the stories of taking one of these “raid boss players” down and finding epic loot on him. It’ll be an amazing story. I know, I’ve only talked about 4 so far. And these 4 are already seen in the trailer. But, we have the systems in place to make these very quickly. We also love to hear ideas from people. In fact we already have a few ideas about artifact weapons from the community that we’re planning on implementing. Rend is all about collaboration with the community. So we’re looking forward to hearing all suggestions, whether it’s on our Facebook, Twitter, or on the Community discord. Don’t forget to sign up for pre-alpha! We’ll be doing another wave soon! read the original article
  13. Getting ready for the Reckoning!

    It happens suddenly, even though you’re expecting it. The night grows cold and an eerie red glow fills the sky. Lightning flashes against the sky, but you don’t see any thunder clouds. You hear shrieks in the darkness sending chills up your spine. A tall slender humanoid figure is suddenly lit up by the red lightning… The Reckoning is here! James made an awesome wooden “murder hole”. Yes, you can walk over it and shoot through it! As your friendly neighborhood dev, I’m here to suggest a few things to prep you and your faction for the Reckoning. No, I’m not going to provide strategy at this point. That’s for a later blog post, but I will provide ideas and guidance. I mean, we wouldn’t expect the Spartans to defend Thermopylae without some form of training. The first thing that we’ll cover is base building. Now, at the moment, Rend has only a few options for walls and base building. To start with, you’ll need to build foundations on the ground. These foundations are what you build walls and platforms on. The current strategy is just a surrounding of the base with foundations and then start building walls from there, and it looks like a legit strategy to me. Once you have foundations down, walls and platforms are next. The coolest looking base I saw was Order’s before the most recent wipe. Crafted by the talented Mathulasa (no relation to the Methuselah from the Bible as I recall), it was a giant ziggurat and looked very impressive from the outside. Of course, it never got tested in a real reckoning (though it did suffer heavy casualties during a surprise reckoning due to a bug). However, most teams seem to move in favor of a more box like structure. One of the designs I saw during the smoketest of Reckonings was a battlement style. This faction has erected walls in a rectangle, effectively doing the box that most factions do. But they put walls at every other slot. It looked a little like battlements. But the clever part about it was that they put ramps up to each battlement which allowed them to have nearly full coverage of all sides without foregoing cover for the defenders. I like that style. One of my favorite parts of working at Frostkeep is the sheer amount of ownership that we each have as a team. When we were playtesting the Reckoning internally, James noticed that he got irritated about not being able to shoot down at the melee monsters attacking the walls beneath him, and he was right! It’s rather awkward. So, he went and made balconies. These allow you to step further out from the wall to shoot at people. But, that wasn’t enough. So at the behest of Mat, he made murder holes. Now, he didn’t know what murder holes were at first (clearly he never played Age of Empires 2 growing up… younguns), but he quickly got the idea. And now we have grate platforms that you can place to shoot down at people (or lost ones). It’s awesome, and a daily reminder of how special it is to work here. An iron murder hole! I think James understands murder holes now! The next thing you’ll have to worry about during the Reckoning is ammo. I know, players always carry an abundance of ammo on them, but I think you’re going to need a lot more than that to take these creatures down. As a dev, I’m highly recommending that you stockpile ammo. I mean, it’s always useful even if you don’t need it during the reckoning! Another thing to remember is that even if you don’t die to the demons, you can be attacked by your opposing factions. That’s a terrifying thought, and should you die, you want to be able to get geared up quickly. I would highly recommend having a chest (and in the future some sort of armory/weapon rack thing) that everyone can pull from to ensure you have a fighting chance even if you just respawned naked a second ago. There’s nothing worse than having an opposing faction infiltrate your base and you can only run around punching them! To sum up, make sure you have plenty of spots to shoot from during the reckoning. Without that, you won’t be able to protect your base at all! But, they don’t have as much health and armor as normal walls, so you can’t make everything an opening. Be strategic! Make sure you have plenty of ammo and supplies. Lost ones can be tanky, and you could find yourself in a firefight with an opponent. You don’t want to be completely defenseless if you die either, so make sure you have a stockpile for everyone. Our first official reckoning is happening on Thursday at 7pm at the respective times for the server. I hope our testers are ready! read the original article
  14. But what about the studio?

    Let’s do a quick update of what’s been going on at Frostkeep the last few weeks. Since we’ve been focusing on the systems in the game, I figure we can take a quick breather to talk about what we’ve been doing. Starting off with the big news. We hired another developer! His name is David Talley, but he prefers to be called Javier*. Both Jeremy and I had the good fortune of working with Jose* while at Carbine where he worked on the server and networking team. I consider myself lucky to have gotten to know him since we would play volleyball on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He had a unique way of hitting the ball back over the net by just sticking his mighty paw out and somehow it would just work. Never seen someone do that before. In his short time of being at Frostkeep, he’s already provided us with some fantastic ideas and suggestions on server systems to greatly improve Rend. In fact, in the first few days he’s been here, he’s improved our production speed significantly! I’m sure all the testers will see his work very quickly in game, and you all will appreciate him when we launch! I’ve been asked a lot over the last few weeks about invites, and let me explain what’s going on here. We have had some fantastic testers in the game right now. They’ve provided us a ton of bug reports, as well as feedback and suggestions on systems that we have in the game. We’ve actually wiped the server once to retest progression after some significant changes. We’ve been seeing the concurrency on the game that we wanted to see to test the current iteration of the system. However, we want to get much This is how James gears up for the Reckoning play tests more testing and many more people in to help us guide Rend into early access launch this spring. The reason we haven’t opened up another server yet is because we want to get the Reckoning into the pre-alpha first. We need the next wave to test progression with the Reckoning to see how that affects everything. We’ve been testing the Reckoning a lot internally, and it’s getting much closer to sending it out to the pre-alpha testers (which is when we’ll do another wave of invites). If you haven’t signed up already, you should go do so now! We’ve gotten a lot done recently. We’re switching up the reputation system to be more of a static bucket size instead of reliant on a bell curve. The reason for this was because the bell curve indirectly put players in competition against each other as faction members. We want to encourage cooperation rather than competition against each other. Another big reason why we made this change is how it’s messaged to the players. Players were having a hard time understanding exactly what was happening and I ended up explaining it a lot in the pre-alpha Discord. This new change will help out a lot. James got a sweet sweatshirt, that I love. Maybe he’ll leave it lying around in the office, and I can borrow it for the day. Sorry this one is so short, I have a more Rend focused one for next week, but wanted to give you all a quick studio update. As usual, check us out on our Twitter, Facebook, etc. We also hang out in Discord, on the subreddit, and on the various community sites around. In fact, a sweet Russian one just sprung up recently. *Jose/Javier is not his real name. But I figured he won’t read this, so he won’t mind. read the original article
  15. Whenever we tell someone about Rend and we explain the faction system, they always ask us the question, “But what’s in place to protect the players?”. It’s a fair question, and one that we analyzed and discussed extensively. In fact, we had to expedite a few of the systems due to some griefers in pre-alpha, so thanks to them for discovering it early! A look at the Conclave base The system that we designed to combat griefers in your faction is called the Reputation system. Since you’re joining a faction, unless you’re on a private server, you will end up with some random people on your team. Some of my favorite experiences in online games are meeting new people, and I’m excited to hear some amazing stories about people meeting others in Rend, but we all know that there are griefers online. It’s our job to come up with a system to protect the faction from the single person hellbent on destroying it. Obviously this system will require an amount of iteration, which our current pre-alpha testers are helping us out tremendously. The first aspect of the reputation system is the permissions subsystem. Your faction reputation level dictates what permissions you have. These permissions allow you to do things that directly benefit the faction. Like placing a chest or building in the mid level, or placing walls in the next tier up, or destroying walls in the top tier. The purpose is to have only the people who have top reputation to be allowed to remove walls. It would be a terrible thing if someone removed a wall in the middle of the Reckoning after all. Not currently implemented, but definitely in the works, is the player guidance system. Basically, players above a certain rep level will be allowed to flag resources that the faction needs. Other players will be able to go look at the warehouse and see which resources are needed. Depositing those flagged resources into the warehouse grants the player more rep for doing so. This will give new players guidance, as well as help the faction work together across different play times. I’m inside Revenant taking screenshots! Your faction reputation level is determined by how many things you’ve done to help your faction. In pre-alpha right now, there are only two ways to gain reputation. The first is to use your own resources to research tech for your faction. Technology is how your faction gets to the next tier of weaponry/gear/structures. Without using your resources to research, you’re liable to fall behind. But it’s clearly a balancing act because your faction will need to spend resources to build the base, craft gear for everyone, and do research. Finding the right balance is key. The other way to gain faction reputation is to deposit resources into the warehouse. While it’s still being iterated on during pre-alpha, the general idea is that anyone can deposit resources into the warehouse for reputation. Then, players who are above a certain rep level, will be allowed to craft faction beneficial items or research tech for the faction. They won’t get the reputation for doing so because they’re using the faction resources. The idea is that new players won’t be able to log in, loot the community chest and immediately log out effectively removing a significant amount of resources from the game. But the warehouse will still act as a community resource deposit so new players don’t have to hide their loot. I wish I could have taken a video of Order’s base. It’s awesome looking. I can’t wait for the Reckoning to blow it all up! At the moment, we’re iterating heavily on the reputation level subsystem. In its current state, the levels are dynamic in size. Using statistics to determine who has “done” the most for the faction over a period of time provides us a bucket. Think of it like a percentile. The top 90 percentile have permissions for everything. The next 20 percentile have permissions for most things, and so on down the list until you get to the no permissions bucket (usually reserved for people who shoot teammates or talk during movies at the theater). But, you can always raise your permissions again using the warehouse. This is one of those systems that has to be iterated on a lot. We’ve already changed a few things about it in the week that it’s been live in pre-alpha. This was one of those systems that we had to design on paper due to the size of our team, and I can’t stress enough just how awesome the community has been in helping us test, providing us feedback and suggestions, and just playing Rend over the last month. I know that a lot of you are chomping at the bit to get in, and we’re sending out more keys soon, go sign up! read the original article
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