A fourth developer diary for the "London 2038" multiplayer reboot of Hellgate: London is now available, with this entry sharing the considerable amount of progress that has been made over the last several months of the closed alpha test. In short, the fan-run server is now much more stable, all the Stonehenge content is fully playable, the Abyss content has been introduced, major bosses now feature their proper loot tables, and the team is paving the way toward open alpha testing. Here's the main gist of what's going on and what is planned:
What has changed/been fixed/released since last dev diary
The team has been working at a furious pace on fixing the major bugs that still exist in the game, and has made major strides forward. The lists below are not exhaustive, because we have made so much progress and have had amazing alpha testers reporting previously unknown issues. MarCNeT has finished a marathon of programming to get some tooling finished which allows us access to the inner workings of the game data; MMan lent his massive brain to help solve many tricky issues; NiteHawk got Champion Mobs working, continued work on the Consignent House, and helped massively with the readiness of the Abyss expansion; SanGawku added changes which massively increased stability and single handedly developed a tool to make my life 100x easier when inviting Alpha testers; and last but not least, mcenal dug in to the server to work on tools around server and player management.
One of SanGawku's fantastic contributions since the last dev diary has been to write a tool for us to easily select and invite alpha testers--it generates the invitations, accounts, passwords, emails, etc. As I mentioned in the last dev diary, we are working on a dedicated london2038.com website. This is still the plan, and now we plan to migrate the features of the account management tools into the new website, so going forward testers (and eventually all players) can apply, be accepted, and manage their accounts in one place online (including changing their passwords; yes, I have heard your cries about long auto-generated passwords). In addition to some account management tools, the new website will feature an up-to-date skill tree/skill calculator which will accurately reflect the state of skills in 2038 so players can experiment with builds. Furthermore, we will be launching a wiki so that testers (and all future players) can collect knowledge and tips about the game in one place.
- Champion monsters now spawn perfectly (elite, epic, rare, etc) - Big thanks to NiteHawk!
- No known errors crash the server or cause instability - Awesome work by SanGawku
- The Abyss is now open and being actively tested (rifts work, bosses spawn, quest works) - This was a great feat of teamwork, great job everyone!
- We can now completely unpack and decrypt all game data into plain text (quests, items, mechanics, skills, NPCs, maps, models, etc). This is a HUGE accomplishment and means we can make data modifications to fix bugs, address balance, add content, and so much more. - This was an absolutely Herculean effort taken on single-handedly by MarCNeT--hundreds of man hours and many thousands of lines of code went into this feat, and it is going to be the basis of our team truly mastering the game and making it the game we all want to play. Cheers Mark!
- The attribute retrainer merchant now offers the correct price (he no longer wants 1.3 mil palladium to retrain an attribute at level 1 - Thanks to MMan for this fix
- Skills no longer cause NPC lag
- All known quests are totally completable without issues (including our arch nemesis from the last diary, Embankment Redoubt)
- Named monster quests no longer cause issues when partied
- All Stonehenge quests and mechanics work properly
- The Desiccator and Moloch function correctly with the correct loot tables
- The server handles dozens of testers playing normally without any noticable hiccups
- Many, many small improvements - overall stability and playability is very high
What Doesn't Work/Is Being Worked On
We are hot on the trail of an open alpha. We need to address some of the biggest known issues, and nail down some existing issues in the recently-released Abyss expansion, as well as continue to improve our tools, but overall the server is extremely stable (very, very high uptime and generally good ping/latency for players in both Europe and the Americas). We expect playability to accelerate, as well as our overall insight into the mechanics of the game to improve due to our ability to decrypt the game data and assets completely. Please keep your eyes peeled both here on hellgateaus and especially on Discord to keep up with the latest developments. Thank you all for your support!