Monomyth Update - Video Devlog 3.0: Beta Update 3
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Rat Tower Software's latest Kickstarter update for their dungeon-crawling RPG Monomyth showcases the game's latest beta build that features plenty of new assets and a more refined approach to development.
Afterwards, we're treated to a quick look ahead where, following another beta build and some extensive polishing, the game will be approaching release. Although at the moment it's still unclear whether this will be a full or an early access release.
Here's the video part of the update:
And the text transcript:
Hi, dungeon-crawling fans!
It's time for another project update! In this one, we will be talking about the latest beta patch and how development will continue after that.
Sorry for the delay this month. I wanted to make sure that the patch was largely finalized before creating the update. As always you will find the video transcript attached to this post!
Time just flies! We are already in April but the development of Monomyth continues. The time to really wrap it up is drawing near, but there is still some stuff to do. So in this update, we will be talking about a massive amount of content that will be added to the game shortly and how we will continue from that. At this point, I don’t want to spoil too much, but I want to keep you updated on the latest work that has gone into the project. So let’s take a look at that.
I have been working on Beta 3 roughly for the last two months and it’s now close to completion. Right away I can say I am glad that for a change I have listened to my own advice and I learned from the mistakes made during the development of Beta 2.
Beta 3’s development was much better planned, much better scaled and unsurprisingly much better executed. I built most of it based on a blockout I did earlier in development, even before the refactoring. As a result, I didn’t go overboard in terms of scaling, and the geometry plus detail passes were done much faster.
This gave me a lot more time to make some unique assets that would add personality to the area. It also gave me time to implement more intricate and polished designs. This is reflected very well in the general engagement with the game environment. Or in other words, Beta 3 features more detailed level mechanics. This goes from secrets, to traps, to what I tend to call environmental sidequests or challenges.
I also had more time working on enemies and enemy encounters. So Beta 3 actually features multiple new enemy types, some taken over from older work I did, some made completely from scratch. None of these have been in the game so far.
There were some new enemy types in Beta 2 as well, but I couldn’t put as much work into them as I wanted so I pushed some of that into the polishing phase. Luckily some of the work I did for Beta 3 overlapped with that work and now all it requires are some finishing touches. That much just as a side note. All in all the new enemies should give you a nice, fresh challenge.
In this context, I should also mention I slightly adjusted my workflow for character creation. Now if you have been following these updates for a while, you know I have been rambling about the troubles of custom character creation for UE4 in the past. Without any tool support, it can be quite challenging to bind a custom character mesh to the standard UE4 skeleton. In the past, I have done this with a mix of vertex data transfers and weight painting. This method was rather restrictive when it came to humanoid characters that weren’t perfectly proportional. I have now replaced parts of my original workflow with a tool called AutoRig Pro and that makes things a lot easier.
Now what’s left for Beta Update 3 are a couple of narrative assets, meaning some dialogue and documents, as well as item distribution throughout the new area. After that, the patch will be uploaded to the beta branch and the beta-level backers will be able to test it. This should be done within the next week or so.
That’s another step on the roadmap I showed you during the last update - so what’s next?
In Beta Update 4, I will mostly focus on the game’s main social hub. I have already built a good portion of that level so geometry and detail passes should be done pretty quickly. The main part of the workload will revolve around implementing the main quest as well as a new trading system. There was an old trading system on the original codebase - you can see it by trading with the rat NPC in the demo - but this one will be replaced by a completely new system.
I will also include some new features concerning inventory management, among other things a separate inventory for quest items.
Once that is done the polishing phase will begin. Polish will cover pretty much everything from item balance, to AI. Two major tasks will be improving the Lysandrian Heartlands and the mines. Both areas are perfectly functional in terms of mechanics, but they need a bit of a workover to be on the level of beta 3’s quality. In this process, I will probably split the mine up into two areas. You may remember this area was overscaled. This also came with some technical issues which I seek to resolve.
As I said in the past, at this point of development I will bring in more people. The first step here will be an open backer beta.
After that, I will have to look at how I am going to release the game to the public. There are basically two ways to go about this. Either I will still implement the last portion of the game as well as the backer content and release the game in full later this year, or I will release an Early Access version and implement the final content patch during that phase. Currently, things are scheduled in a way that the latter is more likely, but it also depends on the backer's feedback.
During all of this, I will see whether I can release an updated demo. Maybe I can deploy a separate build once things are properly polished.
All in all, there is still a good bit of work ahead but we are getting closer and closer to a public release. As always I will keep you updated and I will see you next time.