Daggerfall Unity September 2018

New Builds For September 2018

First builds of the month are now ready on Live Builds page. There are some great new features this time around, so let’s take our time unpacking them.

 

SDF Font Rendering

One common feature request is to improve quality of fonts in the game. This isn’t a trivial problem to solve as Daggerfall’s text formatting is hard-coded in books, quests, popups, etc. to line-wrap at certain points. There’s a very tight relationship between Daggerfall’s regular pixel font widths and how many characters appear per row. For any font upgrade to fit seamlessly within classic user interface, it must take this into account.

My solution was to completely overhaul the way UI renders text and support Signed Distance Field (SDF) fonts in addition to classic pixel fonts. This works by first performing a virtual layout for text elements then rendering either a standard pixel-font character or SDF-font character into the layout using a fast GPU shader. The end result is smooth high-resolution fonts at any resolution that follow the same layout rules.

You can toggle SDF font rendering in the startup UI or at any time in game with shortcut Shift+F11. SDF fonts are modable by dropping replacements into the StreamingAssets/Fonts folder. I will post an article dedicated to creating an SDF font atlas suitable for Daggerfall Unity soon. SDF fonts will be visible wherever text appears in the game – with the exception of text that’s “baked in” to UI elements. This needs to be modded out a different way and is unrelated to text rendering.

Below are some examples of book text at 4k resolution (click for full size).

 

 

New Spell Effects

Some powerful new spells are available in these builds that can make a real difference to character survival.

 

Water Walking & Water Breathing

In classic Daggerfall, water walking is more like a swim speed effect. I’ve tweaked this so you actually run over the surface of exterior water while keeping the usefulness of swim speed in dungeons. I’m likely to add the ability to stand on surface of dungeon water volume sometime in future. Water breathing will suspend your need to take breath while swimming underwater.

direct link to gfy

direct link to gfy

 

Magical Concealment

Fragile mages and nightblades rejoice, for now you can slip unseen past dangerous foes. The effects Chameleon Normal/True, Shadow Normal/True, and Invisibility Normal/True are now available. Credit goes to Allofich for implementing the back-end of these effects and AI behaviour of mobile enemies.

In case you’re not sure of difference between Normal/True for these effects, a normal strength effect will break when you attack something, and true strength effect will not. In the first of following two videos, I torment the city watch by going invisible (true) and using fireballs to distract them. They can see where the fireball originated from and will run to that spot. In the second video, I use an AOE effect to turn city watch invisible (normal) so they reappear as soon as they strike me. I don’t last very long against invisible knights!

Regardless of your concealment type, if enemies get close enough to you, they will be able to sense your presence and take a swing. It still pays to be a little careful.

direct link to gfy

 

direct link to gfy

 

Climbing

The climbing effect increases both your skill at climbing and the speed at which you climb. For characters that spend more time studying than working on their core strength, this could save them after falling into a body of water needing climbing to escape. In the video below, I climb normally then again while enhanced by the climbing effect.

direct link to gfy

 

Jumping

There’s nothing more satisfying than leaping from rooftop to rooftop. With the jumping effect, you can propel yourself to heights out of reach even for skilled acrobats.

direct link to gfy

 

Identify

Now that you can find magic items in treasure and on slain foes, you need a way of identifying those items in the field. Thanks to Hazelnut, you’ve long been able to identify magic items in Mages Guilds. The identify effect allows you to identify items from anywhere. This effect just opens a free identify interface as if player is inside a Mages Guild, which is only partially how this effect should work. I will return to this later and refine it to work more like classic.

 

 

Initial Magic Item Support

Magic items make their debut in this build with support for “on equip”, “on use”, and “on strike” spells. Only effects that have been implemented will function on magic items, but that’s almost at the 70% point now so most magic items should work. And thanks to Allofich, you’ll find magic items in loot piles and on the corpses of slain monsters. These magic items have random effects assigned using same process as Daggerfall itself.

Magic items are far from complete, however. We still need to support special powers that work like advantages/disadvantages, and link all this up to the magic item crafting station in Mages Guilds. But just having a good chunk of magic item support available opens up a lot of new gameplay.

Here are a few videos of magic items in action. First I try out a pair of “on equip” pants of water walking. Then I heal and cast a fireball with “on use” toga and armbands. Finally, I paralyze the city watch with a Dwarven dagger of cursing.

 

direct link to gfy

 

direct link to gfy

 

direct link to gfy

 

Buy Spells

A small but important addition is you can now purchase standard spells available in Mages Guilds across the Illiac Bay. Only spells that have been implemented are available for sale, but this sits at around 70% now. With all the upgrades in these builds, the magic system is finally starting to become fun and useful.

 

What Else Is New

Many other refinements and new features have gone into these builds that aren’t so easy to screenshot. It’s also important to credit those who have added work.

  • Enemy AI improvements (Allofich)
  • Recreate classic random enemy selection in dungeons (Allofich)
  • Implement classic melee timer and reflexes (Allofich)
  • Magic items with random spell effects now available in loot drops (Allofich)
  • Magic items imported correctly from classic saves (Allofich)
  • Climbing fixes and improvements (MeteoricDragon)
  • Underwater fog in dungeons (MeteoricDragon)
  • Swimming improvements and fixes (MeteoricDragon)
  • Gold in wagons can be deposited directly into banks (Hazelnut)
  • Improvements to mod system (TheLacus)
  • New console command “add magic [n]” where [n] is number of random magic items to add

 

Bug Fixes

  • UI fixes for for custom class creator (Numidium)
  • Save Explorer tool window fixes (Allofich)
  • Fixed out of bounds error in older saves (Allofich)
  • Fix for weapon hand when loading saves (Allofich)
  • Fixed several portraits showing “oops tell Mark now” (Nystul)
  • Fixed “unknown-guild” text in Talk window (Nystul)
  • Fixes to message block handling in quest parser
  • Potential fix for Mac crash on start due to shader compile errors (note: may break compatibility with some mods on Mac)

 

Known Issues/Limitations

Please don’t forget the game is still in pre-alpha. Here are some known limitations of new features in this round of builds.

  • Spell icons for equipped items expire, even though effect is permanent while item remains equipped
  • Magic Item and Potion crafting UIs still under development.
  • Not all effects implemented. See Effect System Status roadmap for more. Any magic items requiring non-implemented effects will not function.
  • Only first “on use” spell on magic item will be cast on use.
  • SDF font not supported in exterior automap name plates, or wherever text is “baked in” to UIs.
  • Identify effect does not work exactly like classic.

 

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and follow the progress of Daggerfall Unity. I’m incredibly grateful to have so many awesome devs attach themselves to this project and help make it into a reality. For a big game remake that began as a single person’s hobby, it certainly has taken on a life of its own!

With the great people involved and the progress already made, I can’t see any technical roadblocks between now and reaching parity with classic Daggerfall sometime in the next several months. All of the really challenging problems are solved and the bulk of features are now in reasonable working order. From here it’s just an incremental run to the end as all the missing pieces come together.

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.

Daggerfall Unity August 2018

New Builds For August 2018

New builds are now available on the Live Builds page.

What’s New

  • Implemented custom class creator UI (Numidium) – Note: most advantages/disadvantages still pending implementation as part of effect system rollout
  • Implemented outdoor swimming (MeteoricDragon)
  • Implemented item power information on “Info” messagebox popup (Allofich)
  • Magic items and their powers are now generated in random loot and in merchant shelves (Allofich) – Note: magic item powers are not functional in game yet

Bug Fixes & Improvements

  • Improvements to smooth height changes (MeteoricDragon)
  • Easier to mute sound or music volume (MeteoricDragon)
  • Fixes to crush detection to prevent accidental deaths (MeteoricDragon)
  • Smooth status change feedback added to health, fatigue, spell points bars (MeteoricDragon)
  • Bug fixes to arrow weight handling (Hazelnut)
  • Fix exterior music playing in dungeons and other interiors (Allofich)
  • Fix for music volume incorrectly influencing UI windows (Allofich)
  • Fix for doors rotating incorrectly on load (Allofich)
  • Fix for opening books imported from classic saves (Allofich)
  • Restored several variant changes in item templates overwritten by a previous change
  • Fix for quest parser not detecting end of final message block if empty line not present
  • Clothes in stores now have a random variant assigned
  • Fix for mouse not being captured after alt+tab – clicking in game window should recapture mouse
  • Fixes to “add armor” and “add cloth” console command to correctly use player gender and race

In Progress

  • Implement Illusion effect back-end behaviour – still needs to be wired to front-end effect (Allofich)
  • Certain time-limited items such as summoned items now supported in back-end (Allofich)
  • Started work on potion back-end for recipe handling

Looking to the near future, my personal workload has started to shrink again and I will continue work on rolling out spell effects soon. I somewhat prematurely celebrated my larger July projects wrapping up, only to have some of the smaller projects drag on much longer than expected. We should see a return to more regular incremental updates to magic & effects very soon.

On the plus side, the other developers have continued to work on systems and fix bugs. I’m particularly excited to see the custom class creator and outdoor swimming in this round of builds, as well as magic item drops for loot and stores.

Something that’s hard to describe in point form is all the incremental changes forming the rungs of a ladder towards a fully functional magic system. All of these seemingly minor back-end changes such as potion recipe handling and magic item drops, and magic crafting stations, are all important building blocks towards our goal.

I received a little bit of disappointed feedback when potion and magic item crafting stations came online before potions and magic items were ready to go. And I imagine the feedback will be similar now that magic items are dropping but not yet fully functional. The thing to keep in mind is that once all of these threads come together, the final stages of fully opening up spells, magic item, potions, advantages/disadvantages, diseases, etc. will coalesce very quickly.

I’ve linked the Black Triangles story before, and it’s well worth a read if you haven’t already. It perfectly describes all the work that goes into making the back-end of a game functional while not much interesting is happening on the surface. The same is true of Daggerfall Unity as the various moving parts begin to mesh.

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.

Daggerfall Unity July 2018

New Builds For July 2018

These are the first round of public builds after upgrading to Unity 2018. There are some general changes in these builds related to updated engine version you should be aware of.

  • Some mods might not work under new builds. Check the Released Mods forum for an update and please let the creator know if any problems running their mod in latest version.
  • Enhanced Sky is probably the main mod known not to work with this new version. You will just see a pink background instead of the sky. Nystul is currently working on an update for Enhanced Sky compatible with latest version of the game.
  • For Windows users, the “output_log.txt” file is now in your persistent data path (same place as settings.ini and save games). Please refer to this link to find where your Player log is saved based on OS. The included manual still needs to be updated with this information.
  • For Windows users, you will also see a couple of new files “UnityPlayer.dll” and “UnityCrashHandler32/64.exe”. You can ignore these and just run “DaggerfallUnity.exe” as normal.

What’s New

Besides the update to Unity 2018 for builds, there are some new features and bug fixes.

  • Improved near death experience (MeteoricDragon) – Introduces a subtle pulsing warning when player is at extremely low health. Can disable from Advanced settings at startup.
  • Magic Item & Potion Maker crafting stations in progress (Hazelnut) – Work has started on these crafting stations and the general UI is now available. They are not yet completed and currently cannot produce magic items or potions.
  • NPCs no longer stop when player’s weapon is drawn (MeteoricDragon).
  • Reputation propagation is now implemented (Allofich/Hazelnut). This means when you complete quests for certain reputation groups, your reputation gains/losses will influence related groups as per classic.
  • Sorcerers no longer regen spell points, just like classic – recharge now available at Mages Guild (MeteoricDragon).
  • Fixes for enhanced scroll list bugs (Hazelnut).
  • Fixes for sound effects not respecting global sound effect volume (MeteoricDragon).
  • Discovered locations are now imported from classic saves (Allofich).
  • Console command “add [item] [qty]” now supports “add gold [qty]” For example, “add gold 1000” will give player 1000 gold pieces.
  • Console command “reset_assets” will clear mesh and texture caches and refresh scene by performing an in-place quicksave then quickload. This uses the “QuickLoad” slot, so make another save if you don’t want to overwrite this slot.
  • Console command “setmqstage 1” no longer forces player level 1. You can now use this command to restart main quest at any level. Caution this will also reset reputations and global variables.
  • Bug fix for travel map opening map IMG files in read-write mode. This would cause a black screen when opening travel map on some systems depending where game files were stored. Changed this to use read-only mode as intended.

If you’re on the forums, you can discuss this release in this forum thread.

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.

Get Ready For Diseases

Unlike later games in the series, diseases in Daggerfall are more than a mere annoyance. They mean serious business and could spell a permanent end to your adventures if left untreated. Diseases will sap your attributes to nothing and even kill you in a matter of days if you don’t manage to get cured.

So good news everyone! Starting with latest Live Builds you can become infected with diseases in Daggerfall Unity thanks to dirty creatures like bats, rats, and mummies.

Diseases actually began development a while back. Most of the research and back-end framework was built out by two rockstar contributors you should already be familiar with: Allofich and Hazelnut. Diseases have just been waiting for me to implement effect system to handle their payload and support their curing by spell effects. This is another great example of a successful collaborative effort for Daggerfall Unity.

Rather than roll out a dry article about implementation details, I’ve decided to use the Visual Diary format to tell a bit of a story and show all the different parts of the disease system in the context of normal play. I’ve decided to create a fictional day in the life of your average character to show how he might catch a disease and find his way to a cure. This is also great opportunity to show just how far gameplay has come, as everything that follows is something that could play out in Daggerfall Unity right now.

Let’s begin.

 

Continue reading

Updated Builds May 2018

A new round of 0.5 builds are available from Live Builds page. Here’s an overview of what has changed in this version.

New Features

  • Spellmaker now shows gold and spell costs. Spells will remain free to buy and cast for testing purposes.
  • Casting spells now deducts spell points from player, but can continue to cast spells at 0 spell points for testing purposes.
  • Crime & Punishment updates with more work on Court UI in progress (Allofich).
  • Implemented Drain Attribute, Paralyze, Levitate effects. Check these Twitter links for short videos of Paralyze and and Levitate in action.
  • Started work on Heal Attribute effects and resistance back-end. Currently only Heal Strength is available, will build more soon.
  • Can now open spell book from character summary UI.
  • Using smaller SoundFont “TimGM6mb.sf2” by default to reduce distribution size.
  • Can now use custom SoundFont by placing .sf2 file in StreamingAssets/SoundFonts and setting SoundFont=filename.sf2 in settings.ini.
  • Active spell effects are now saved/loaded.
  • Allow mods to save/load data (TheLacus).
  • Updated player headbob, smooth crouch, and other movement mechanics (MeteoricDragon).
  • Implement town NPC dialog to include “Where Is > Person” queries (Nystul).
  • Implement spell icons for active spells. Includes tooltips while game is paused.
  • Updates to ensure default materials always have glossiness 0 and metallic 0 and alpha channel available. This is groundwork for using later Unity versions.
  • Attacking civilians with offensive spells is now considered assault. Killing civilians with offensive spells is considered murder.

Bug Fixes

  • Fix bug with loose file asset injection (TheLacus).
  • Fix bug where player could not delete spells from spell book.
  • Fixes for enemy turning (Allofich).
  • Fix mobile NPCs “skating sideways”. Still some mobile NPC pop-in to resolve.
  • Fix guild membership lost after loading a game (Hazelnut).
  • Fix weather manager causing a crash after loading interior save, and preventing future saves.
  • Fix enemies shooting bow too much (Allofich).
  • Fix %god macro causing a crash in popup dialog. This would become evident when player could not complete quest or rest after bug occurred.
  • Fix certain quest NPC placement tracking to support dialog system.
  • Fix certain town quests starting and ending instantly due to travel time not being calculated (merchant and commoner quests are still in progress).
  • Fix bug where player could melee attack at bow range after changing hands from a bow attack.
  • Fix travel map border not disabling when zooming in.
  • Minor quest fixes.

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.

First Look At Spells

I recently demonstrated spell missiles and discussed the back-end framework driving magical effects in Daggerfall Unity. I’m happy to report that it’s now possible to create custom spells and hurl sparkling death at your foes! As my last article was a bit dry and technical, I’ll start this one off with a short video of spells in action.

 

New Builds

You’ll find all new test builds on the Live Builds page as usual. Here are the key features of this release.

  • Create custom spells in the Spellmaker UI (invoke using “showspellmaker” from console).
  • Spellbook UI where custom spells are saved with your character.
  • 3x magic effects are currently available for testing:
  •     Continuous Damage Health (a damage over time effect).
  •     Damage Health (a direct damage effect).
  •     Heal Health (heal yourself and other entities).
  • All elements and target types are available (as appropriate for effect) when creating spells.
  • Smooth crouching, head bobbing, and head rocking when damaged (Meteoric Dragon).
  • Sound and music volume sliders (in progress). Some effects not wired up to volume slider yet (Meteoric Dragon).
  • City Guards and crime tracking, starting work on Crime & Punishment (Allofich).
  • More mod support in the back-end (TheLacus).
  • Various small bug fixes and improvements.

While only 3x effects are available at this time, this doesn’t nearly do justice to the progress that has been made. Spell effects are actually very small scripts – usually no more than a few lines of code and some properties. What really matters is the framework driving magic in Daggerfall Unity has finally progressed to this point. The previous article has more on this if you’re interested.

 

Testing

The purpose of these builds is to test the magic & effects framework is well-behaved and usable in its current state. What I’m looking for are crashes and other unexpected behaviour in the framework. Once this is working well, I will continue to roll out more effects in future builds. To keep testing as focused as possible, here’s a summary of what you can expect from this release.

  • Create and cast spells using the starting 3x test effects above.
  • There is no spell absorption, reflection, or elemental resistance at this time.
  • You can select elements to change appearance of spell and missile, but all elements are equal in terms of damage.
  • All target types (caster, touch, target at range, etc.) should be working.
  • Spells do not yet increase related magic skills of character.
  • Spells are all currently free to buy and to cast – so make them as weak or powerful as you like.
  • All of these free spells will be expired at some point closer to 0.5 stable.
  • Magic items are not implemented yet, this will come much later in 0.5 cycle.

Note: Due to changes in the modding system older mods may not work in this version. Please revert to build #105 for any broken mods until creators update for current version.

 

Feedback

For discussion on these builds, please head over to the forums. If you want to report a bug, post this to the Bug Reports forums. If you’re not sure if something is a bug or just not implemented, don’t hesitate to ask in Help & Support.

I hope you enjoy this early preview of spells in Daggerfall Unity. Have fun!

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.

Daggerfall Unity Now Playable Start to End

That’s right! The main story quest in Daggerfall Unity is now completely playable from start to end. I’ve spent the last couple of months playing through the story quest, building out engine support, and fixing all the major bugs I could find. It’s true this game still has a distance to travel (spell system is next major journey) but this is a huge milestone in the project’s life cycle. It’s no longer fair to say Daggerfall Unity “isn’t playable yet”, that’s not even close to accurate anymore. And thanks to regular contributors like Nystul, Allofich, Hazelnut, and Lypyl, some of the later features on the roadmap are building out ahead of schedule.

The quest system has consumed around a year of my development time to bring to this point. It represents the single largest group of features in the project so far, and drives almost every other gameplay system forwards. I feel confident in saying the magic system probably won’t be anywhere near as challenging. And once we pass that milestone, everything else is on the downhill run.

 

Getting Started

After you grab the latest DragonBreak build from Live Builds page, there are two ways you can play through the main quest. You can either start a new character and play normally (using quests offered by any Fighters Guild to help level up between main quests) or use the “setmqstage n” console command to force the game to a specific point along the main quest process. There are 7 total quest stages, thus “setmqstage 1” through “setmqstage 7” are supported. Each stage is a chain of around two to six quests that represent a particular story arc in the game. If and when new problems are found with main quest, testers can quickly restart and test just that stage without playing through the whole game from the beginning.

If you want to play the game as normally as possible, start a new character. Playing the game from start to end normally is also an important and time-consuming part of the testing process, so your time here is valuable, even if something breaks and you need to start again. But if you want to perform focused testing of the main quest, grab a high level character save and use the “setmqstage n” console commands. I’ll post more details in this forum thread as time allows. Please offer feedback in that thread or ask general questions, and post to Bug Reports forums with obvious bugs.

 

Stable Builds

The next step from here is to work towards a DragonBreak stable build and complete the 0.4 cycle. This might take several weeks as the main quest is a massive and complex system, there’s no telling what problems testers might run into. Once the stable build is ready, work will proceed on the spell system and 0.5.

 

Thank You

I also want to thank all of Daggerfall Unity’s contributors, supporters, mod-creators, and community members. You are all responsible for this project’s momentum, and for keeping morale high during those bleak periods of solid development where nothing visible seems to be happening. I am very excited for the future of Daggerfall Unity and the community building around it.

Cheers everyone!

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.

 

Vengeance Build 81

New builds are now available on the Live Builds page, bringing us up to build #81 across all platforms. A lot has happened over the last month, with steady contributions from long-time Daggerfall Unity developers Lypyl, Allofich, TheLacus, and Nystul. I would also like everyone to welcome on board new developer Hazelnut, who has built many valuable updates over the last month.

I’ll post a more complete list of updates towards the end of this post, but want to start with the big visual stuff that’s changed since last update.

 

Main Quest

The complete main story quest is now offered when starting a new level 1 character. Please keep in mind this is still under construction, so you are likely to reach a point where you cannot continue and may need to start fresh later (or use a console cheat). It could be another few months before all main quests are in a passing state, but I felt it was important to start offering to new players.

Continue reading

December 2016 Test Build

Hello everyone! This will be my last post for 2016. It’s been a great year for Daggerfall Unity with solid updates across the board. I was hoping to have basic quest support in by now, but sadly not everything goes to plan. This will return as a priority early in 2017 so watch this space!

One thing that always amazes me is the quality of work this community is willing to put back into Daggerfall Unity. It’s always a pleasure to find a new pull request on git from someone willing to contribute their personal time to make this project even better. So this post is going to focus almost exclusively on contributions from community members. It’s time for kudos and credits all around, and you’ll see very little of me this post.

 

Texture & Mesh Replacement

This feature began with Uncanny_Valley and has lately been updated and maintained by TheLacus. It allows for runtime injection of new textures and meshes into Daggerfall Unity’s scene builders, setting the stage for updated models, higher resolution materials, and improvements to Daggerfall’s vanilla UI. It’s still early days but the potential is incredible. Here’s a few screenshots of new assets by community members.

 

At time of writing, mesh and texture replacements aren’t quite ready for download. But now support for this is baked into the core, you should start seeing community-created packs in the near future. You can read more about mesh and texture replacement in this thread on the forums.

 

Early Bow Combat

New contributor electrorobobody added basic bow combat to the lineup of supported weapon animation. No counting arrows yet, and you’ll need to roll a new character for your free silver bow, but it’s awesome to finally burn down enemies with ranged kiting. Looking forward to bows becoming a strong part of the game in future.

 

Save & Load Weather

Daggerfall Unity added basic weather events a while back, but they would not be saved and loaded with your games. Thanks to midopa, the current state of weather will be saved and loaded. This will only get better once correct weather events are wired up based on climate and season.

 

Enemy Steering

Another epic update by midopa. He added a little steering to enemy AI to prevent enemies from stacking on top of small creatures like rats. As hilarious as this problem could be, it’s good to see a workable solution for this bug. It’s still possible for enemies to slightly stack in edge cases, but the problem is much improved and they will no longer ride around on each other (imagine skeletons surfing rats and rat-rat-rat stacks).

 

Potion Recipes

The perennial InconsolableCellist returned with some amazing updates for us. Credit goes completely to him for working out potion recipe format and integrating with Daggerfall Unity. This also means potion recipes will display properly in inventory, and they’re even usable to see the individual ingredients. This is really important ground-work for a bunch of other things down the line.

 

Books

I wrote the initial book reader UI ages ago, but InconsolableCellist wrapped it up along with random book drops in loot, correct tooltips, and all-round awesomeness. Books currently exhibit the same formatting problems as classic (because it’s the same book data). That’s something yet to be fixed.

 

Exterior Automap

Nystul has done it again with the perfect companion UI to his dungeon and interior automap. Yep, exterior automaps are now a thing! It even supports proper tagging of buildings, zoom, and rotation. As always, I’m completely blown away by how complete this is right from the start. It’s still waiting on full building name integration and building identification in scene, but that will come. For now, all the buildings are tagged by type. Go explore!

 

Spotlight: Allofich

I can’t give Allofich high enough praise. He has worked incredibly hard tuning up different areas of Daggerfall Unity to make it more true to the original. He fixed a wide range of UI problems, identified sound effects, linked sounds to their correct actions, fixed clothing and item problems, and so on. Check out his full list of commits here. It’s hard to show these off properly in screenshot form because the changes are either subtle improvements or related to audio, but below is one of the UIs he has cleaned up. Note the poor texture joins in the “before” image (circled). Huge props to Allofich for his work!

 

Thanks To: AnKor

OK this is embarrassing. I was looking everywhere for the animations used when player was riding horse or cart. These turned out to be in the overlooked CFA image file format. Somehow, I had completely disregarded these files which are a format holdover from Arena. Yep, I’m only human. Fortunately, AnKor pointed this out on the forums and I was able to implement CFA support in no time. Now we have this:


It’s only a short jump from here to having these transport options in the game.

 

Thanks To: Testers

I also want to send out a huge thanks to all the amazing people who tested Daggerfall Unity in 2016 and reported the bugs and problems you found. There are simply too many people to list, but you know who you are. You’re on the forums, and Twitter, and Reddit, and sending me emails. You guys rock!

 

Bugs and Problems

Yep, we got ’em! Any large update like this will bring its fair share of new bugs. If you come across a bug during tests and would like to report it, please lodge this in the Bug Reports forum. Don’t forget to read the Guidelines to help you provide the best information to developers.

Contributors, please keep an eye on the Bug Reports forum for anything that might fall into your wheelhouse.

 

Where To Download?

You can always download the latest version of Daggerfall Unity from the Live Builds page. If this is your first time downloading Daggerfall Unity, welcome! Other information on Live Builds page should also help you get started. If you have any troubles, or just want to discuss updates, please go to the December 2016 Test Builds Updated thread on forums.

 

That’s it for 2016! Thank you everyone for visiting and all your kind words of support. Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and all the best for 2017!

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.

Standalone Builds Update

After launching Live Builds a week ago, I’ve been very happy with the ability to push out small incremental changes. Besides the streamlined build process and less of a wait time, it also means I’m not overwhelmed with bugs every release. I can now tackle large problems fast and keep track of smaller problems for when I have the time.

This ability to turnaround builds so quickly has lead me to rethink the standalone builds (for now) and continue with the leaner, more agile cloud build process. I will revisit the standalone builds later in Daggerfall Unity’s life cycle. Here’s a summary of how to get Daggerfall Unity moving forwards:

  • GitHub always has the most recent code for developers.
  • The Live Builds page always has the most recent builds, and links for getting Daggerfall.
  • I will start to tag specific live builds as “Stable”. This means that everything implemented so far is generally working as expected.
  • I will restore the Daggerfall Tools for Unity pages as soon as possible, including updated tutorials.

If you were waiting for the convenience of a standalone build, I apologise for changing my plans. Daggerfall Unity is very much a living thing, both in terms of development and community, and can take up a large amount of my personal time. Anything that saves me time I can put back into gameplay, or spend with my family, is extremely valuable to me.

The good news is that pointing Daggerfall Unity to your game files has never been easier. The setup helper introduced with version 0.2 makes it very easy to get up and running, and you only need to download the game files once.

The first 0.3 stable build will be tagged soon. Lootable monsters just went into the latest live build and is with testers now. I only have the Rest and Keybind UIs to go and I’ve hit all the feature milestones planned for this release.

Live Builds Now Available

live-builds-header

Get Up To Date

Live builds based on latest code are now available to testers, as described in this blog post.

Check the forum topic State of 0.3 for information on 0.3 at time of writing.

 

Get The Latest Test Build

You can download latest builds from the all new Live Builds page.

 

Provide Feedback

Use the Bug Reports forum to log bugs. Please read the Bug Report Guidelines topic first.

 

Stable Builds

The latest stable build is still version 0.2.9 from 09-Apr-16. This version will be updated to 0.3.x in a few weeks once the majority of bugs have been found and eliminated.

Quick Update – 1 August

Short Delay

The 0.3 test cycle has been delayed slightly due to changing from Unity 5.3 to Unity 5.4 and less than typical free time on my end. Things are back on track for now and I estimate first 0.3 test build should be ready in approximately 7-10 days. I will update you in the case of any further delays.

 

More Information On Test Builds

I’ve had a few queries via email and Twitter about how test builds will work from 0.3. I’ll try to clarify this now. If you need more details please don’t hesitate to ask.

The short answer is that not much is really changing from your side. If you’ve tested with 0.2 or earlier the process for you is basically the same. The key difference is how builds are generated and how frequently I’m able to put a new build into your hands.

In 0.2 and earlier, I had to manually create a build for each platform, package to a zip file, upload to my host, then configure new download in WordPress and update related pages. This isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming when rapidly turning over bugs. In many cases a bug could be fixed much faster than I could work through the manual build process. So I tended not to generate new builds until a larger block of work was completed. This ultimately means you had to wait weeks or a even a few months to see fixes.

 

Automatic Cloud Builds

Enter Unity Cloud Build. This service allows me to setup an automated build process for Daggerfall Unity’s target platforms. Cloud build works by periodically checking the git repository for changes and automatically spits out a complete new build for each platform. The download is also hosted by the cloud build servers. All I have to do is share the build and give you a download link. Here’s how it looks from the back-end:

CloudBuild-BackEnd

 

One a build is ready, I can either download a zip to test for myself, or share out a link to the public. The public link is what I’ll give to you, which takes you to a page like below. This is your front-end to the cloud build process.

CloudBuild-FrontEnd

 

To make this process even easier for you, I will setup a permalink page from dfworkshop.net that always points to the latest shared builds. I plan to update this page frequently. If the code on git changes, you’ll have a new test build not long afterwards. More information for this will be available with 0.3.

 

Rolling Builds

This is where things get interesting. Instead of waiting months for next test cycle, testers will now have a direct pipeline to code updates as they are generated. If you’ve ever played an Early Access game on Steam that gives you an “experimental/unstable” option for rapid updates, my rolling test builds are fundamentally the same concept. You will now get to play with new code as it’s being developed.

The main downside to this style of rolling build is that you will be playing with live code. Usually things will work as expected, but sometimes things that were working will break. For example, quicksave was briefly broken while I was overhauling the save interface a few weeks back.

The key is for testers to understand what is a bug and what might just be broken because it’s in the middle of changes.

 

Watching Git

To this end, I highly recommend testers keep an eye on the commits page on git. These commits tell a story of what is being worked on and what has been recently fixed. If you see that I’m working on a big system (like saves or looting), then you can bet something will be broken in that system until work is complete. I try to keep my commits exclusive to a specific update and provide good descriptions. I’ll continue to work on improving the quality of my checkins as time goes on.

 

Providing Feedback

As before, the Daggerfall Workshop Forums are the correct place to log bugs or ask questions about a feature. Specifically the Issues & Support forum. If you aren’t sure if a feature has been implemented yet (e.g. quests), please ask before logging the absence of this feature as a bug. Daggerfall Unity is a live work in progress and some features are much further down the pipeline than others.

At every major milestone, I will post some information on things that need the most attention from testers. For example, the loot and inventory system was the major component of 0.2.

 

Stable Builds

If you don’t feel up to watching git, downloading test builds, testing features, and providing feedback – that’s OK! I will occasionally release a “stable build” at major milestones where everything is more or less running as expected. Not everyone has the time or interest to be a full-on tester, and that’s all good. Just grab the stable builds when they’re available and let people know about Daggerfall Unity.

The first 0.3 stable build will be available a couple of weeks after the first test build. This gives me a chance to nail any show-stopping bugs before putting the stable build into your hands. I’ll post an update on this when available.

 

Conclusion

I hope that clarifies the new build process more thoroughly. In summary:

  • You’ll get new builds almost as quickly as code changes. The latest build might be awesome or it might not even run.
  • I will provide a permalink page on dfworkshop.net that always points to latest several builds.
  • Keep an eye on git commits to see what’s being worked on.
  • Post feedback, bug reports, and questions to the Issues & Support forum.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to you joining me for the next big step in Daggerfall Unity’s development process.

 

For more frequent updates on Daggerfall Unity, follow me on Twitter @gav_clayton.