Notebook, Enemy Spellcasting, And Bug Fixes

To cap off a great month of progress, we have one more round of builds for October. This was going to be a solely bug-fix build, but amazing work kept on rolling in and I’ve decided to get these new features out to you now rather than wait until November.

 

Enemy Spellcasting (Allofich)

Building on top of my work on the magic & effect system, Allofich has wired up foes to hurl spells back at the player. This means ancient liches and vampires are serious threats again, imps are more than just a nuisance, and scorpions and spiders will just wreck your happy feelings with paralysis.

A lot of work was required in enemy AI to select spells based on touch or range. Enemies might stand their ground and hurl a fireball, or approach and attack player with a touch spell. And unlike in classic where the monster’s entire payload of spells are released instantly, they now make more intelligent decisions and release spells at sensible casting intervals. I can’t put into words just how amazing Allofich’s work on this has been. Magic in Daggerfall Unity suddenly doesn’t feel quite so one-sided, and magical encounters have become very dangerous again.

Here’s a short video where I pick a fight with some denizens of Mannimarco’s lair. Everything goes about as well as expected.

direct link to gfy

 

Player Notebook & Journal Upgrade (Hazelnut)

The Notebook feature (default key N) didn’t really do anything in classic Daggerfall and did not exist at all in Daggerfall Unity until now. This is one of those features I didn’t know how much I needed until I actually played with it. In typical Hazelnut fashion, he hasn’t just implemented a basic notebook, he’s completely upgraded the quest journal and carefully thought out how everything fits together. Here are the highlights of using our upgraded journal.

 

Record Conversations

If an NPC drops an interesting rumour in conversation, hit “copy to logbook” button to make a note of it. You can copy just the most recent message or the entire conversation if you want.

 

Travel Helper

My favourite new feature is the ability to click on an entry in Active Quests to initiate fast travel to that location. This is a huge quality of life improvement over remembering name and entering it into the “find” box on travel map manually. Just click the journal entry and hit Yes to load up the location for fast travel.

 

Completed Quests

Rather than vanish forever, you will now have a record of quests you’ve completed. This is nice way to look back and see what you’ve achieved with the character so far.

 

Map Log

Sometimes you will find maps in the game, or they will be given to you as a reward from a quest. Up until now, you’ve had to write these down and track yourself. In a perfect example of rounding out a feature, Hazelnut’s upgrade will track maps given to you from all sources. This feature even required improvements to quests, there’s no question he went the extra mile on this one.

 

Cycle Through Journal Windows

No matter if you open the quest log or notebook, they’re all part of the same UI. Click the “dialog notes” button to cycle through Active Quests, Completed Quests, and Notebook. Everything is nicely integrated. Of course if you open the Journal log (default L) it will go straight to Active Quests, and if you open Notebook (default N) it will go directly there instead.

 

Arrow Counter (Hazelnut)

A small but very nice feature is an arrow counter next to compass for archers. This is on by default, but you can toggle off using Enhanced > Interface > Arrow counter in startup UI.

 

Geographic Backgrounds (Hazelnut)

This feature is off by default and can be enabled from Enhanced > Interface > Geographic backgrounds. It repurposes the racial background portraits to instead display based on where the player is in the world. Here are some examples:

 

Woodlands

 

Dungeon

 

Town

 

This feature so seamlessly reuses those background portraits it’s hard to not believe they were designed for this in the first place. This feature was created after a suggestion by Helegad in this forum post.

 

Improvements

Other than new features above there are many smaller improvements in this round of builds.

  • Upgrade to use new VideoPlayer class for modded videos (TheLacus)
  • Mesh and texture injection renamed to AssetInjection and is now enabled by default (TheLacus)
  • Can now import books from modded locations (TheLacus)
  • Can now change name from character sheet – note this will change how subsequent saves are grouped for this character (Hazelnut)
  • Click and hold on up/down spinners to automatically keep increasing values (Hazelnut)
  • Can now use Ctrl+Click to split item stacks (Petchema)
  • All sounds now respect volume slider, including UI and movies (Allofich)
  • Can now open spellbook from character sheet (default F5) and spellbook (default Backspace)
  • Implemented “sort” button in spellbook. This currently sorts by alpha

 

Bug Fixes

And a good number of bug fixes too! Thank you everyone for pulling together and prioritising bug fixes, the game is better every day thanks to you all.

  • Fix for old saves throwing an exception (Allofich)
  • Fix no miss sound when player dodges (Allofich)
  • AI fixes (Allofich)
  • Can now sneak while riding again like classic (Allofich)
  • Fixed wrong text on Pacify effect (Allofich)
  • Stop fast travel countdown when cancelling (Allofich)
  • Fix starting skills rollout to classic (Allofich)
  • Only show “you feel somewhat bad” HUD text when player is poisoned (Allofich)
  • Fix for travel costs being negative (Allofich)
  • Fix parsing character background questions (Allofich)
  • Fix for enum that broke old letters of credit – note that new letters of credit since this bug must be discarded or manually fixed in save (Allofich)
  • Fix shop titles with %rt macro (Hazelnut)
  • Handle certain bad faction data by gracefully logging error rather than throw exception (Hazelnut)
  • Fix special handling of temple buildings – can now Akatosh Chantry by visiting Order of the Hour (Hazelnut)
  • Fix stat allocation for custom characters to cap at 75 and allow pool to go negative (Hazelnut)
  • Catch exception when weapon breaks (Hazelnut)
  • Fix travel from ship to use boarding location (Hazelnut)
  • Fix entrance/exit marker not showing on dungeon automap (Nystul)
  • Fix for automap freeze when tooltips disabled (Nystul)
  • Fix reputation change box not appearing (Numidium)
  • More fixes to item stacking – will no longer stack equipped or enchanted ingredients (Petchema)
  • Workaround for Unity 2012.2.x input bug under Linux where Shift/Tab/Alt, etc. show up as ? – note this can still happen in console UI
  • Fix for spellbook not being imported from classic saves
  • Fix for duplicate building key 0 causing certain buildings not to be displayed in Talk UI
  • Fix for HUD closing after accepting certain quests
  • Fix incorrect item generation from biography questions resulting in blank items

 

Conclusion

After such a huge month, I’m taking a short break from the magic system and will instead prioritise several fixes to gameplay and quest system. We must have a nice tick-tock between adding new features and fixing problems. And after so many ticks in one month, we really need to catch a breath and just settle into a stable build. This means the next month or two won’t be quite so flush with new gameplay features, instead they will continue to improve the experience we have so far.

I feel this release is probably very close to 0.5 stable. We’ll be rolling into 0.6 very soon, which kicks off the final push to feature parity with classic Daggerfall.

 

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

Daggerfall Unity October 2018

New Builds for October 2018

New builds are available on the Live Builds page now. This has been another huge month for Daggerfall Unity. We’re quickly closing the gap towards major parity with classic Daggerfall and exiting pre-alpha. The magic system has taken another big jump forwards this month with the number of implemented spell effects crossing the 90% complete mark.

I’ve also updated the main Roadmap and shifted a few magic-related items out of 0.5 into 0.7. This is so I can create a stable 0.5 build and start the downhill run towards exiting pre-alpha. I don’t think we’ll spend very long in 0.6, 0.7, and 0.8. These milestones have become more a formality at this point.

Alright, let’s unpack what’s new in October!

 

Automap SDF Fonts (Nystul)

The new SDF font system is now functional in automap UI. Now the fonts look smooth whether you’re zoomed all the way in or out of the map.

 

Advanced Climbing System (MeteoricDragon)

Daggerfall Unity isn’t just about reproducing classic 1:1 with quality of life features and mod support. We’re also adding depth to parts of the game that needed a bit more love in classic. If you’re the type of Daggerfall player who enjoys the Acrobat class, you probably want to make sure this option is enabled at Advanced > Enhancements.

 

The Advanced Climbing System allows characters with a high Climbing skill to not only scale walls, but to move in any direction, wrap around corners, cling to the wall, grab walls in the air, and leap off walls. A Khajiit with a high Climbing skill and magic can scale over practically any surface in the game. You can even climb out of water now, rather than face certain drowning.

direct link to gfy

In latest builds, you can rappel down walls by walking backwards off the top. I remember looking everywhere for that rope mentioned in Daggerfall’s manual, only to discover it wasn’t in the game. Well, who needs ropes when you can rappel?

direct link to gfy

If you’re a classic purist who prefers just scaling walls, all of these features are optional. Simply disable the Advanced Climbing System in settings and things are back to classic. The Advanced Climbing System is currently enabled by default for testing – and because it’s really fun to play with.

 

Biography Questions (Numidium)

These randomise your character a bit at the beginning of your adventures, changing starting gear, reputation, and more. You can either randomise biographies in a single click, or answer a series of questions. With this feature, custom character creation is now all but complete.

 

Character History (Numidium)

Hand-in-glove with biographies comes your character History, activated from a button on your character sheet (F5). This is an automatically generated background to help give you some role-play hooks for your character. This is mostly for flavour, but it’s a nice pen-and-paper RPG touch unique to Daggerfall. Note that only new characters generated from these builds will receive a full history. Existing or imported characters will have a blank history page.

 

Starting Spells & Magic Skill Tally (Numidium)

New characters now also receive their starting spells loadout. Missing these spells is a small thing easily overcome by a trip to the Gothway Garden Mages Guild, but they can be a nice starting point and help new casters escape Privateer’s Hold.

 

It’s also worth mentioning that casters now receive skill tallies when casting spells, it’s finally possible to level up your magic-user the normal way. And spell point costs are now enforced like classic as we tear off the “test” label and start considering spell casting in full production.

 

Enemy Target Selection & Infighting (Allofich)

Another enhancement not found in classic. Enemies will now select non-allied targets to engage in combat. Enemy allies are considered to be on same “team”, such as “undead”, “vermin”, and “daedra”. They might fight the player or engage with another monster not on their team. This brings a new dynamic to dungeon crawling where the inhabitants aren’t just standing around waiting for the player, they will also fight each other. In the video below, I kite that skeleton in Privateer’s Hold upstairs to the Orc in a nearby room and get them to fight each other.

direct link to gfy

If you prefer the classic system, this feature can be disabled from Advanced > Enhancements > Enemy Infighting.

 

Poisons & Elemental Resistances (Allofich/Interkarma)

As if diseases weren’t bad enough, poisons make their debut in October builds. Enemies will have a chance of carrying a poison weapon that will inflict player with a deadly poison. This is where your spellcraft or class immunity might come in handy. Poisons can end your adventuring career very quickly, so try to have a Cure Poison spell or a recent save handy.

 

As part of adding poisons, elemental resistances and their saving throw formulas have been implemented in these builds. You can find these spells available in the spellmaker (more on this below).

 

Ambient Light Scale Options

If you feel that dungeons and night-time are too bright in Daggerfall Unity, you can now adjust these with new sliders in Advanced > Enhancements.

 

You can set the ambient scale for dungeons, night-time, and the player’s personal light. These can be set from 0.0 (off) to 1.0 (normal). The lower you set these sliders, the darker these environments become. Setting dungeons to near 0.0-0.2 makes for a very claustrophobic experience. I show an extra-dark dungeon below in the video for the Light spell.

 

Hazelnut Updates

I’ve had some help writing this article, and Hazelnut was kind enough to outline what he worked on in the October builds. I’ll be back after his part of this update to outline all the new spell effects in these builds.

 

Hazelnut – Intro

After my initial foray into contributing with horse riding and ships, I turned my attention to all the logistics systems in Daggerfall. These fall under the following main categories:

  • Contextual macro replacements (quests, message boxes, talking etc)
  • Item management (inventory, wagon etc)
  • Commerce (trading, repairing etc)
  • Guilds (membership, quest dispensing etc)
  • Services (curing, potions, guild perks etc)

After having a bit of a break due to real life commitments, I recently returned to fill in the gaps in these systems. With the exception of some magic related parts, I think they’re pretty much complete now. So let me tell you what have I contributed recently…

 

Art Appraisal

A bug report was submitted pointing out that the info on painting items was not working which brought it to my attention. Rather embarrassingly I’ve since found that it had already been pointed out to me twice in other threads and I’d just forgotten all about it. However, with hindsight that was probably for the best because I might be bald from tearing my hair out if I’d tried to implement this before the amazing Allofich had reverse engineered the classic Daggerfall code and posted it to get me started!

 

Basically the info for paintings uses one of 7 variations of title stored in text.rsc at index 250. These messages contain various permutations of the macros %sub, %adj, %pp1, %pp2, %an (subject, adjective, prefix1, prefix2, artist name) which need to be replaced with the correct context text for the specific painting. The Daggerfall random number generator is seeded from a field on the item called ‘message’ that contains a random number applied when the painting is created, and everything is generated from this single number using a specific algorithm. It’s important to match classic so that the title matches the image displayed, the alternative would have been to create a new algorithm which was consistent but didn’t match classic. There were a few gaps in Allofich’s description so it took a bit of back and forth, plus several hours of experimentation on my part, to nail it. Now painting info should match classic, so please let us know if it doesn’t.

Part of the algorithm indexes an image from one of the many painting image files. Interkarma added the ability to add images to message boxes which I then used to display the correct painting above the title. Last thing was to correct the text to display in the info panel properly. Quite a nice example of teamwork I think, and very satisfying indeed. Here’s an example:

Painting Info

Painting Info

 

Shoplifting & Fences

Next on my todo list was to finish the trade window implementation, specifically the steal button. This required a new formula ‘CalculateShopliftingChance’ which uses the number of items and their combined weight with the players pickpocket skill to give a chance of success. Like most of the DFU formula, it can be very easily overridden by mods like the Archaeologists Guild mod changes the language pacification formula. Since Allofich had already implemented spawning of city watch guards, implementing failure was quite straighforward.

Then I moved on to the other side of the Thievery coin and implemented the Thieves Guild fence service which allows players to sell magic items. This needed a new mode for the trade window so that it could filter on item enchantment instead of type. It currently uses the default sell formula, although UESP hints that it may need updating to take into account reputation with the TG Fences. That will happen once we have concrete info and is simply a case of creating & using a new formula method.

 

Daedra Summoning

The last guild service, that is not tied into the magic system (still under construction), is summoning Daedra. I had no idea how this worked since I only ever got to level 2 in classic, so some research was required. After a while it became clear that at its core the service was really just a fancy quest dispenser, albeit with quests from Daedra to find magical artifacts. Thankfully UESP had good details about price, chance and summoning days so getting the initial part done was fairly straightforward and used standard parchment style message boxes as seen throughout the game.

Daedra Summoning

Daedra Summoning

 

Getting a quest off a Daedra Lord or Lady is a bit special and has an animated image of the Daedra with the text overlaid at the bottom. This required more work to create a new custom display method that had to split each message into chunks of 4 lines. Each click displays the next chunk and the quest can be accepted or not by pressing ‘Y’ or ‘N’ keys. Luckily Interkarma had also just posted about some code that Lypyl had written back in 2015 that played the related video files, and swiftly worked this into the codebase for me. This meant that adding the video player in the background was a breeze. Thanks Lypyl, very much appreciated!

When summoning works:

Daedra Summoned

Daedra Summoned

Do watch out if summoning fails, or you refuse such a powerful being, you may have trouble on your hands!

Well that wraps up my recent contributions, thanks again to the other members of the DFU team for their help and assistance. Except for fixing bugs in the core codebase, my focus will now be mostly on the Archaeologists Guild mod.

 

 

New Spell Effects

Another care package of spell effects has landed in October. Spellcasters now have more utility than ever to survive dangerous encounters, and some new threats as well.

 

Detect Treasure

This effect helps you find nearby treasure piles. A small arrow is displayed above your compass to guide you towards any treasure within range. In the below video, I’ve stashed a few treasure piles around the Mages Guild and use Detect Treasure to find them. Watch the compass at bottom-right of HUD to see the effect in action.

direct link to gfy

 

Detect Magic

If an enemy suddenly turns invisible, you might still be able to detect them with help from the Detect Magic effect. In this video, I turn a few mobile NPCs invisible and use Detect Magic to locate one and talk to them. They don’t know they’ve been turned invisible, and aren’t harmed by the spell, so it doesn’t register as a crime. This spell will help you locate magic effects running on any nearby mobiles.

direct link to gfy

 

Detect Enemy

You can hear that skeleton, but is it on the other side of the wall? With Detect Enemy, you can find out just how screwed your character will be when you open the next door. In this video, I round up a few enemies to test the spell. That’s a lot of markers!

direct link to gfy

 

Lock & Open

Use your magical prowess to secure doors against foes and open all but the hardest locks.

direct link to gfy

 

You can even use Open to break into locked buildings at night.

direct link to gfy

 

But some magical locks remain beyond your skills.

direct link to gfy

 

Light

Summon a magic candle to light your way in the darkest of dungeons. And for players that really like dark environments, there’s even a new feature to turn down ambient lighting to suit your tastes. Here’s a video of the Light spell in action inside a super-dark dungeon.

direct link to gfy

 

Elemental Resistance

Poisons are only the beginning. Very soon, enemies will be hurling spells back at the player and fireballs aren’t so much fun when you’re on the receiving end of them. To help the player make their saving throws against magical attacks, you’ll find elemental resistances available in the spellmaker.

 

And if you fail your saving throw vs poison, you can now create a Cure Poison spell at the spellmaker.

 

Pacify

Sometimes it’s better to make friends than risk combat. With the Pacify effect, you can now get certain foes on your side – provided they don’t resist your spell. Pacified enemies will not attack you again unless you accidentally harm them in some way.

 

Free Action

This effect will make you immune to paralysis for its duration. If you still have a paralysis effect active when Free Action expires, then you will become paralysed again. This is like a brief reprieve rather than a cure, for which you have Cure Paralysis. This might be useful when you come up against spiders and scorpions one day soon.

 

Slowfalling

Levitation is great, but sometimes you just need to glide to the ground. The Slowfalling effect does exactly this. If you find yourself slowfalling downhill like in the video below, a quick Dispel Magic on yourself will cancel the effect.

direct link to gfy

 

What Else Is New

There’s also a range of improvements and minor new features in these builds, more than I could cover in detail.

  • Game Settings window overhaul (TheLacus)
  • Mod localization support (TheLacus)
  • Mobile unit flip now applies to modded enemy sprites (TheLacus)
  • Music selection now matches classic (Allofich)
  • Race and gender attack/hit sound effects (Allofich)
  • Name generation of NPCs is closer to classic (Allofich)
  • Moving platforms now collide with player while levitating (MeteoricDragon)
  • Player no longer falls off those steep ramps in dungeons when running down them (MeteoricDragon)
  • Mouse-over highlight in list boxes (MeteoricDragon)
  • Can now climb out of water while over-encumbered (MeteoricDragon)
  • You will now receive a warning message when entering water while overencumbered (MeteoricDragon)
  • Your arrows are automatically plucked out of corpses, a QoL improvement for archers (Hazelnut)
  • Shoplifting using the “steal” button in stores (Hazelnut)
  • More text macro support (Hazelnut/Numidium/Nystul)
  • FLC file support, used by summoning service
  • Support for string literals in Table class, used by mod system and eventually other localization
  • Lunar phases now tracked in DaggerfallDateTime class (guess what this will be used for later) 🙂
  • Disabled movement acceleration/deceleration by default, can still be changed in settings window
  • Added a small amount of forward momentum on jump – jump and gravity still not matched to classic
  • Improvements to Heal Attribute effects to allow healing attribute damage from poisons

 

Bug Fixes

Lots of bug fixes this time around. Because we’re getting close to 0.5 stable, we’ve all spent a lot of time fixing problems and on quality control. Thanks to everyone below for their efforts. Bug fixes aren’t glamorous, but they’re very important.

  • Fix for classic spawn check result getting stuck (Allofich)
  • Fix legal reputation persisting into older saves (Allofich)
  • Fixes to enemy animations and mirroring (Allofich)
  • Fix reading classic magic item names (Allofich)
  • Fix free room for member of knightly order region (Allofich)
  • Fix bank manager exception when no gold in wagon (Hazelnut)
  • Fix for magic item lists in merchant windows (Hazelnut)
  • Fix message shown when a house is already owned (Hazelnut)
  • Fix being able to jump with cart (Hazelnut)
  • Fix greetings in talk window and quest givers in relation to guilds (Hazelnut)
  • Fix text macros for temple rejection or identify (Hazelnut)
  • Fix items not being offered for repair (Hazelnut)
  • Fix Mercantile increase when identifying items via magic (Hazelnut)
  • Fix climbing teleport into air bug (MeteoricDragon)
  • Fix slow crouch bug (MeteoricDragon)
  • Fix horse stuttering down rolling hills (MeteoricDragon)
  • Fix gravity when climbing and slipping (MeteoricDragon)
  • Fixes for quest items stacking with normal items (petchema)
  • Fix for “restore anNPC” quest action pattern not compiling
  • Fix for speaking with certain NPCs in castles
  • Fix for issues where quest NPCs are assigned to home building instead of quest target building (e.g. Thieves Guild initiation quest)
  • Fixes to crush detection while levitating, swimming, and outdoor swimming
  • Fixes for loose objects such as towns not cleaning up properly, leaving floating cities, etc.
  • Fix HUD crash when faction has no children
  • Fix stacked exhaustion popups
  • Fix monsters that spawn while resting being improperly tagged to quest system
  • Fix spell missiles colliding with nothing in some dungeons
  • Fix magic items with “on use” not being useable while equipped
  • Fix spell icons by equipped items ending prematurely
  • Fix spell icons not blinking before expiring under certain conditions
  • You can now exit the level advancement screen when all of your attributes are at 100

 

Conclusion

That’s everything for now. Even as project lead, I’m often surprised by how quickly things are moving. It has become a challenge just to document and credit everyone for their efforts. We may not be at the finish line for a while yet, but Daggerfall Unity is piling on gameplay weight every day. It’s only a matter of time now before it reaches major parity with classic. If you’re willing to overlook a few missing pieces and inevitable bugs, the game is in a highly playable state. Exciting times ahead!

 

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

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.

 

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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.

Magic & Effects Back-End

In my previous article, I showed progress on the visual side of spell-slinging and had lots of fun with casting animations and throwing around missiles with lighting effects. Now I have to regard the business end of the spell system and how all of this holds together under the hood. This article will be a lot more tech-oriented than my previous one, but may still be of interest if you’re curious about how spells will operate in Dagerfall Unity.

Please keep in mind this is all under active development so concepts discussed here are likely to be refined or expanded by the time everything rolls out.

 

Magic & Effects System

One major shift in this process was changing how I think about the spell system. I have a long list of goals I want to achieve during this stage of development, above and beyond just emulating Daggerfall’s classic roster of spells. Primarily, I want to create a central way of handling the majority of effect-based gameplay. This means advantages/disadvantages, diseases, poisons, spells, magic items, potions, and so on should all come together under the one system or group of related systems. Once I had made that decision, it no longer made sense to call it the “Spell System” as spells are just one part of the collective. So the Magic & Effects System was born.

This is why you won’t see the word “spell” very much moving forward but you will see the word “effect” a lot. In this context an effect isn’t something visual, it’s how something works. For example, an effect that heals the player is a script which increases their current health. This naming is taken from Daggerfall itself where spells and magic items reference effects directly using a type and sub-type.  You can read more about classic Daggerfall’s spells and their effect indices on this UESP page.

You will also see the term effect used by Daggerfall’s Spell Maker UI when creating a new spell. You can add up to three effects per spell as shown in screenshot below from classic Daggerfall (spell maker is not yet implemented in Daggerfall Unity).

 

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Guild Systems

Hi everyone, Hazelnut here. Interkarma has asked me to write a blog post about some of the work I have been doing recently, so for this post Daggerfall Workshop has been taken over by me! Muhahahaha… etc. I’m sure your regularly scheduled Interkarma posts will return soon, so don’t worry.

Anyway, allow me to introduce myself, you may know me from such features as horse riding, inventory upgrades, shopping, persistent state, icons, tavern rooms, ships and houses, as well as various other bits and bobs. So why did I spring up from nowhere and start contributing to DFU?

I bought Daggerfall on xmas after its release and played like crazy for 7 days until the end of the christmas break, then stopped. Because it’s such a huge game, never really got back into it for years due to lack of time & small children – until shortly before Morrowind came out. By then the game was simply far too dated for me to persevere, especially because I forgot about the WSAD option and I was using the default control scheme of stupid mouse pointer arrows to move. So I’ve actually never played beyond the first couple of character levels. Always wanted to, and do intend to once DF Unity is done. This is why I am absent for any discussion or work around the main quest! Spoilers! Yep even after all this time.

While the progress has been fantastic (Interkarma has Orc level stamina apparently) it’s a big project and takes a long time, and since I’m a software engineer for the past 2+ decades who now does software design so don’t get to write much code at work… I figured I’d see if I could contribute. Also my kids are all teenagers now, so I have more free time than I’ve had for 2 decades. I had no knowledge of Daggerfall and its data structures, hardly ever touched C# and never used Unity before, so it’s been quite a learning curve. Anyway, after I finished my work on ships, houses, shops and taverns I asked Interkarma what he thought I should tackle next and between us we decided it was time to implement guilds. I’d already done some work with the guild services menus, but now I needed to create the guild membership systems.

Guilds

Guilds in Daggerfall follow some common rules for promotion etc but offer different services and quests. The first thing to focus on was ranks and building some foundations that would make each guild easy to implement, allowing the common behavior to be shared. I also wanted to ensure that new guilds could be added by mods, as I was sure that several people in the community were keen to add new guilds having seen discussions on the forums, and I had some ideas of my own that would be best integrated into the base game by adding a new guild. I decided early on that the guild code should be designed to support modding from the start, and the only way to ensure this was to actually implement a guild mod early on to prove the concept.

So, quite a lot to take on. Fortunately I had 3 solid days free coming up to get started on this. The fighters guild is the simplest of them all so I started with that. First step was to test classic and see how guild membership worked with rank changes etc. To support modding, the guild classes are designed so that they know about the players membership status, rank, and what benefits and services the guild provides at that rank. Service and guild management code asks the guild class by calling the appropriate method when they need to know. They also supply guild specific messages to the ranking system which is shared. This means that a new guild can simply be added by implementing a new guild class and registering it with the guild manager.

Now by this time you could join the Fighters guild.

Join Fighters

Joining the Fighters

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Spells: Front-End Graphics

It’s finally time for spells to get the treatment and become a regular feature in Daggerfall Unity. I have decided to approach this feature-set in a more visual way than I did the quest system, which involved several months of back-end work before I could even show a single screenshot. This time around, I want the process to follow the visual diary approach from day one to make it more interesting to watch things unfold. This also helps me stay motivated as it’s a lot more fun to hurl around glowing balls of magical death than build a runtime compiler for the quest system.

There will be some more code-oriented articles later in the series, but for now let’s take a look at the front-end graphics of spell-casting animations and missiles.

 

Setup

Before I can do anything else, I have to implement the basic cast/recast loop. Thanks to Lypyl, a baseline spellbook interface is already in the game. It doesn’t have any actual spells yet, just some temp line items, but that’s all we need right now.

I wired up the spellbook to the “cast” key (default is Backspace) so player can select a spell from their collection. It doesn’t matter which “spell” you choose at this point. Just double-click any item to let the game know you’ve selected something.

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Taverns, Custom Loot, Climbing, Languages, Mod Features

A new round of Live Builds are now available with some great new gameplay and mod features to enjoy.

Tavern Rooms, Food & Drink

Thanks to Hazelnut, it’s now possible to rent a room in taverns. And thanks to Allofich, you can also purchase food & drink for RP purposes. During your tenancy, you’ll be allocated a bed and can use that tavern as a home base. Just talk to any friendly bartender across the Illiac Bay.

Rooms are saved with your character, so if you leave town and return later before your tenancy expires, your room will still be available. This all ties in perfectly with Hazelnut’s world persistence. You can leave loot piles in your room and return later to retrieve them. Just don’t forget to pick up your loot before your room expires or those items become property of the house. No refunds!

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