Welcome to the first post of 2020! Over the last few months, our focus in Daggerfall Unity has been on bug fixes and refinement. This isn’t the most exciting time in a game’s life, but it is key to long-term success. Daggerfall Unity is now starting to feel more like a game well into a long beta rather than one freshly in public alpha. I’m in fact very confident we’ll be calling beta sometime this year, and it’s likely to be a short beta thanks to the time we’re spending now.
It’s incredible to think the main quest has been fully playable since 2017 and all classic gameplay features since July 2019. If this was any other game, we’d be beyond 1.0 and well into post-release support by this stage. But Daggerfall Unity isn’t just a game, it’s also a platform. This title is a superset of classic Daggerfall plus many more features not present in classic. I’m talking of course about quality of life refinements and mod support. This requires an extended development process well in excess of classic, because Daggerfall Unity is today a larger and more ambitious game than even classic Daggerfall was. That might not sound like much in 2020 compared to the wildly ambitious original way back in 1996, but it still represents a real accomplishment that everyone involved has brought this game so far and delivered on so much. For something that began with a single developer, this game has grown into a monster that only the combined efforts of dozens of people could have achieved. The fact we’re all doing this as unpaid volunteers in our own free time out of love for this game speaks volumes about how passionate this community is.
Before I get into the new features in current release, I wanted to recap some news from the last few months.
Daggerfall Unity Is On Nexus
In case you missed this one, we now have our own Daggerfall Unity page on Nexus. The number and quality of mods has been growing steadily and there are some real surprises in there. You should explore this page yourself to see the amazing work done by our community, but here are just a few highlights.
- Quest Pack 1 – Hundreds of new quests offering stories and experiences not found in classic Daggerfall.
- D.R.E.A.M. – New textures and materials to uplift the visual experience.
- Handpainted Model Replacements – Replace many low-poly models and sprites with beautiful hand-painted 3D models.
- Decorator – Place furniture, containers, lights, and even crafting stations into your home.
- Archaeologists – A whole new guild of explorers with custom guild halls, quests, and items.
- Roleplay & Realism – Advanced encumbrance, horseriding, usable bandages, and more will make your journey more challenging and fun.
- Climates & Cloaks – Seasons and climates now matter to the player. Plan your journey and dress appropriately for the world around you.
- Airships – Purchase your own airship to fly around the Illiac Bay, or just charter one for a journey.
- Harvestable Crops – Gather plant ingredients for potion making from farms and other locations around the world.
It’s also worth mentioning the Nexus Vortex application supports Daggerfall Unity to help making downloading and installing mods as easy as possible.
Past Release Recap
Most of the updates since the last article in November 2019 have been bug fixes, but some new features have made it into the game as well. I can’t cover everything, but here’s a quick recap of some key new features:
- World data replacement and variant system allowing for mods to change the world based on a quest or some other logic.
- Many new quest actions for use by quest packs and mods.
- Enable mods to add new merchant services.
- Fire Daedra and Atronachs now emit light.
- Improved support for formulae override in mods.
- Magic item degradation now working for items when an “on held” enchantment.
- Enemies now take fall damage.
- Cemeteries now play creepy ambient sounds like classic.
- Mods can override starting equipment and spells.
- Better footstep detection to play more appropriate sounds based on surface player is walking on.
If you’d like more detail on recent patch notes, click through to the forum News area and read the summary posts from November 2019 (0.10.13) to February 2020 (0.10.20).
So what’s new in the March 2020 Live Builds?
Screenshots – Thanks to new contributor jefetienne, you can now take screenshots anywhere inside the game using the F8 key. They will be saved to your persistent data path (same area as Saves, settings.ini, etc.) into a new folder called “Screenshots”.
If you want to disable the HUD for your screenshots, use Shift+F10 to toggle HUD visibility.
The screenshot keybind can only be changed manually at this time, but jefetienne is also working on the new keybinds UI that will allow some of these bindings not present in classic (so not on the classic keybind UI) to be changed inside the game.
Equip a bow in left hand only – Enabled from an option at startup, Hazelnut’s new feature tweaks equipment handling so you can equip a bow and a one-handed weapon at the same time. This makes switching between bow and melee much faster to give archer/melee hybrids that extra “edge” in combat when their enemies get too close.
This is what we call a click-saver QoL enhancement. It just saves you all the steps of going into inventory to swap between bow and melee and simply alternate between these weapons with the “swap hand” key (H by default).
General Fixes & Improvements
0.10.21 builds bring the usual payload of bug fixes and small refinements.
- Improve keybind data handling (zaklaus)
- Add version label to startup UI (jefetienne)
- Open some UI class field protection to better support UI mods (Numidium)
- Fixes to player object activation (Pango)
- Further shader improvements to help fix “water everywhere” tiles for people with lower-end hardware (Pango)
- Fix mobile orientation “blind spots” (Pango)
- Prevent collisions between missiles (Pango)
- Improvements to enemy pathfinding through doors (Pango)
- Ensure scaling vectors are correctly initialised and improve serialization (Hazelnut)
- Fix marker assignment availability in Orsinium to prevent quest item landing in void (JorisVanEidjen/Interkarma)
- Do not allow rearm of EndQuest action to prevent looping performance drop (Hazelnut/Interkarma)
- Allow replacement potion effects (Hazelnut)
- Fix building data duplicating building name (Hazelnut)
- More texture fixes to classic models (Ferital)
There’s some cool stuff coming up on the horizon. I’ve dedicated March to start building out the localization features more completely, jefetienne is working on initial gamepad support and new keybinds UI, and there are already more bugfixes waiting to approve.
We’re also getting very close to upgrading project to Unity 2019.4 LTS (once available) and switching over to a linear lighting model. The first change will update Daggerfall Unity’s engine baseline for the next couple of years, locking that version in for mod creators. The linear lighting change will unleash several subtle improvements to the lighting appearance in DFU, while related changes will remove the minor “material shine” users might notice when playing Daggerfall Unity with classic textures.
Once the localization features and new keybinds UI are locked in, I’ll shift focus back to the large HUD and the final few Alpha items remaining on the roadmap. We’ll be hitting Beta releases later this year and finally seeing the light of 1.0 coming up shortly afterwards. After almost 5 years in development, this wonderful journey is entering its final stages. Congratulations to everyone that has helped this game come so far. I’m looking forward to discovering what the future will bring.