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.

New Options For Downloading Builds

The 0.3 release should be wrapped up in the next week or so, provided nothing comes up in testing to cause delays. Along with 0.3 there will be more options for downloading builds to better cater to various groups in the community. Read on to see what’s coming up.

 

 

get-play

 

If you just want to take a quick look at Daggerfall Unity, and avoid the hassles of a test setup, then 0.3 might encourage you to try it out.

  • New standalone builds will be made available for each platform (Windows/Mac/Linux).
  • Standalone builds are self contained and do not require you to provide Daggerfall game files.
  • Standalone builds will be updated less frequently but will generally be more stable.

 

 

get-test

 

If you’re an existing tester, or would like to help catch bugs, then I have some good news.

  • Test builds are now automated using Unity Cloud build and will be updated approximately weekly, or daily during heavy development.
  • However, test builds are based on live code and will not be as stable as standalone builds.
  • Test builds are cut-down for smallest download and will require you to provide your own Daggerfall game files (just like previous test builds).

 

 

get-mod

 

The biggest feature in 0.3 is Lypyl’s mod system, which he introduced a few posts back. The mod system allows you create asset bundles containing code, textures, sound, etc. that can change how Daggerfall Unity works.

  • Modders will need a copy of Unity3D 5.3 Personal/Plus/Pro and a copy of game files.
  • Modders are encouraged to clone from git (tutorial coming soon), but just downloading a zip of current project should be adequate.
  • New forum areas will be opened to help modders find each other and collaborate on projects.

 

 

get-contribute

 

If you would like to contribute to Daggerfall Unity, and have a good understanding of both Daggerfall’s inner workings and Unity3D, it will become easier to contribute from 0.3.

  • Full Daggerfall Unity project is now on git. Contributors should create their own fork of project.
  • Contributors will need a copy of Unity3D 5.3 Personal/Plus/Pro and a copy of game files.
  • Contributors will also get new forum areas for discussion.
  • A Trello page is in the works to help contributors find tasks they may be able to help with.

 

That all for now. Hopefully 0.3 will represent a new stage in the development of Daggerfall Unity, with even more options for gamers, testers, modders, and contributors.

 

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

Daggerfall Unity 0.2 Release

This post is a mirror of the new standalone download page. Please refer to this page for the latest version.

Daggerfall Unity 0.2

Daggerfall Unity 0.2 is now available for general download. Key features of this build are:

  • Nearly complete item back-end. Monster loot and treasure piles coming soon.
  • Inventory UI.
  • Setup helper UI.
  • Persistent data for settings, keybinds, and saves.
  • Hundreds of small bug fixes and enhancements.
  • Travel map (Lypyl).
  • Almost complete support of dungeon actions (Lypyl).
  • Updates to enhanced sky (Lypyl)
  • Dungeon and interior auto-map (Nystul).
  • Realtime reflections (Nystul).
  • Animated grass and birds (Uncanny_Valley).

 

Download

Current version: 0.2.9 (9 April 2016)

Windows
Download Daggerfall Unity Test (Windows)
Linux
Download Daggerfall Unity Test (Linux)
Mac
Download Daggerfall Unity Test (Mac)

Note: Mac build is experimental as I don’t own a Mac to test on. Please let me know how you go with it on forums (see below).

 

Game Files

For convenience, here is a universal archive of compatible Daggerfall game files. This is primarily for platforms where installing Daggerfall is more difficult (e.g. Linux) but can be used on any supported desktop platform.

Note: This download contains game data only for Daggerfall Unity. It is not a standalone version of Daggerfall.

DaggerfallGameFiles.zip (Google Drive link)

 

Controls

General

  • Mouse to look.
  • W, S, A, D to move.
  • C to toggle crouch.
  • SHIFT (hold) to run.
  • SPACE to jump.
  • LEFT-CLICK mouse to open doors, enter dungeons, operate switches, etc.
  • ESC to pause game or go back to previous window.
  • F5 to open Character Sheet.
  • F6 to open inventory.
  • M to open interior automap (indoors only).
  • V to open travel map (outdoors only).
  • ` (backquote) to open console. Enter help to list console commands.

Weapons

  • Z to unsheathe / sheathe weapon.
  • H to switch equipped hands.
  • RIGHT-CLICK and drag mouse to swing weapon.

Save/Load

  • F9 to quick-save.
  • F12 to quick-load.

Note: Keys can be rebound by editing keybinds.txt. See manual for more details. A full key-binding UI will be implemented in a future release.

 

Manual

A PDF manual is included with the download, but you can also download a standalone copy.

 

Feedback

If you would like to offer feedback and bug reports, please use this thread on the forums or contact me directly.

Setup Enhancements In 0.2

There are a few areas where setting up Daggerfall Unity could be a lot easier:

  • Obtaining Daggerfall’s game files. There is no easy way of obtaining Daggerfall’s game files for non-Windows users. You basically need to install the game on a Windows PC then copy game files to your platform of choice.
  • Using the right game files. Most setup issues boil down to the game files being a CD-based version (movies not copied into arena2), not patched to .213, or game files have been modified over the years and don’t work as expected.
  • Settings not persistent. Every time you download a new version of Daggerfall Unity, you need to configure your settings.ini and keybinds all over again. There is no way of pushing out new settings without giving you whole new files each time with all default values.
  • Unclear when something goes wrong. If you start the game without setting your Daggerfall path, or if files are missing, you just see an unhelpful black screen or an obscure message.

Starting from 0.2, I will try to address the above problems with the following changes:

  • Providing game files download. Starting from Daggerfall Unity 0.2, I will provide a download archive for a known-good set of game files. This archive can be unzipped and used on Windows/Linux/Mac. You can still point to your own installation as before, so this download is completely optional, but it will be the recommended source of Daggerfall’s game files moving forwards. As Daggerfall’s game files are static, you will generally only need to download this archive once and it can be used for all future versions of Daggerfall Unity.
  • Settings will be persistent. The settings.ini and keybinds files are now deployed to Application.persistentDataPath, so you will keep your settings whenever upgrading Daggerfall Unity. New settings will be automatically synced without changing your other settings.
  • Setup UI. The new Daggerfall Unity game setup UI will be a friendly starting point guiding you through first-time configuration. If there are problems with your game files, the setup UI will try to point you in the right direction. This will evolve over time based on user feedback.
  • Options UI. Coming later in 0.2 cycle will be a Daggerfall Unity options UI. Most settings can be configured without opening settings.ini or keybinds files at all.

More news on the 0.2 release will be posted soon.

Back On Deck For 2016

Happy New Year everyone! I’m back from holidays and almost on top of my RL workload again. That means a whole new round of updates to Daggerfall Unity and DFTFU are about to begin. I’ve picked up where I left off last year with the item and inventory system, and will be posting more on this shortly.

Sometime in the next few weeks, I’ll start adding new test builds leading up to the 0.2 release. Key features of 0.2 will be:

  • Basic inventory system and loot tables. Import items from classic saves.
  • Travel map interface (by LypyL).
  • Dungeon and interior automap interface (by Nystul).
  • More bug fixes and incremental updates.
  • Some more community resources for contributors.

I’ve also made a small new year’s resolution to post more technically-minded articles in 2016, as I let this slip with all the rapid-fire updates leading to 0.1. It was quite a shift for me going from pure tool development to building a game, and I rather miss just talking about what I’m working on.

Thanks for all your patience during the holiday season. I look forward to reading your feedback with the next round of updates.

Daggerfall Unity 0.1 Release

DaggerfallUnity0.1Release

 

After several test iterations, Daggerfall Unity is feeling reasonably solid across the two main platforms Windows and Linux. A huge thanks to all testers who helped discover early bugs and quirks. There’s obviously still more to fix, and a lot of game features to implement, but we have a pretty good starting point with this build. At some point, I need to push a stick into the ground and say “it starts here.”

 

It Starts Here

Daggerfall Unity 0.1 is now available for general download. Key features of this build are:

  • Create a new character or load an existing character from a classic Daggerfall save.
  • The entire world of the Illiac Bay is ready to explore at 1:1 scale to Daggerfall itself. Go anywhere, enter any dungeon, and explore any town.
  • Quick-save and quick-load your progress.
  • Dungeons are populated with fixed and random enemies just like in Daggerfall.
  • Basic combat mechanics with the ebony dagger.
  • Game console for enabling god mode, setting run speed, teleporting around world, etc.
  • Lypyl’s enhanced sky mod with dynamic skybox, procedural clouds, and even phases of the moon!
  • Nystul’s beautiful far terrain mod and improved terrain generation.

 

Download

Updated to 0.1.1.

Download Daggerfall Unity 0.1.1 (Windows) Download Daggerfall Unity 0.1.1 (Linux)

 

Manual

A PDF manual is included with the download, but you can also download a standalone copy.

 

Feedback

If you would like to offer feedback and bug reports, please use this thread on the forums or contact me directly.

 

What’s Next

I will be a little quiet the next few weeks due to current work commitments, but rest assured the next release is already being worked on. I will soon repeat the process of dropping test builds leading up to the next release milestone. Here’s a list of features scheduled for the next release.

  • Early item support! Inventory will be imported from classic saves.
  • Ability to open inventory window and equip items.
  • Loot enemy corpses and treasure piles.
  • Full save/load UI allowing for multiple saves.
  • In-game options UI for changing game settings.
  • The ability to rest to recover health.
  • More contributor mods.
  • More bug fixes.

There’s a lot of open source activity happening at the moment from contributors, so it’s possible we might end up with more features in the second release than listed above. I will reveal these on Twitter as they become ready to show off.

Upcoming Leave Time

Hey everyone! I’m putting the wraps on the second test build of Daggerfall Unity, which should be ready sometime in the next 24 hours.

Before then, I wanted to take a minute to let you know that I’m heading to Melbourne next week for PAX Australia. We’re going for the whole week, not just the PAX weekend, which means I won’t be around to answer emails, drop by the forums, or commit any changes to git.

So if you don’t hear from me and everything seems to go quiet – don’t worry! I’m just taking well-deserved break and will be back to work starting in early November. I will still answer any forum queries I can if I get some spare time in the evenings.

I also wanted to extend a huge thank you to everyone who sent me their feedback on the first test build. You have helped me find several bugs and other problems that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. When the first true release hits, it’s going to be that much better for your time and information. I’m looking forward to repeating the process on the next test build.

All the best!

Daggerfall Unity Test Build

Sometime in the next 7-10 days, I will release a test build of Daggerfall Unity as part of my lead-up to first release. Everyone is welcome to try to the test build, but testers should be comfortable with editing INI files as this build will not include a launcher. I’m hoping to get valuable feedback and squash as many bugs as possible prior to first release. Test build will be available for Windows and Linux.

The first release of Daggerfall Unity will carry the moniker “Outer Loop” as this best describes the work so far. The outer loop is that essential framework of game startup, character creation, free roam, save/load, basic combat resolution, resting, and player death. With this framework out of the way, I can start work on individual systems that exist inside of the outer loop. For example, quests, inventory, and loot tables are systems that will be incrementally added over time. Systems with a high number of dependencies (e.g. quests rely on many other systems) will arrive later than more atomic systems with a lower number of dependencies.

Once the first release is available, I’m hoping to set a release schedule of every 4-6 weeks at most. I’m planning out the work in small dependency-aware chunks that should be achievable in those time-frames. This means releases will generally pendulum back and forth between small features and large features.

I have tried my best to create a versioning save/load system so that your saves from older releases can be loaded by newer releases, but it may become necessary at some point to set a minimum supported version for saves. I will mention this in the release notes if and when it happens.

As always, life has a habit of getting in the way despite best intentions. I will let you know whenever there will be delays due to personal issues or scheduled leave time.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement so far. I look forward to hearing your feedback if you decide to play with the upcoming test build.

Twitter Reminder

Just a reminder to anyone hungry for more news, my day-to-day progress is posted to Twitter @gav_clayton. I post small updates and screenshots almost daily (sometimes multiple times a day) whereas this blog is generally for detailed updates and major milestones Even if you aren’t on Twitter yourself and can’t follow me, the feed is visible to everyone.

I’m moving rapidly towards first release of Daggerfall Unity and will have more updates for you soon. Stay tuned!