Where we stand

Where we stand

Hi again. Since the site and Patreon launch are done now I figure it’s time we talked about the nitty-gritty of this project. That is, we’re going to talk about where the project is now and what our plans are for the immediate future.

State of the project

As some of you may know this project has been in development for quite some time now. Most of that time was spent prototyping. We tried different approaches, from isometric graphics to rigged sprites, to see what will work for this project and what won’t.

As readers with IT experience may know, prototyping is a messy business. The goal is to try as many things as fast as possible. That means implementing ugly hacks and shortcuts that would never make it into a production release. This is great when you’re just experimenting, but it has its limits: imagine you’re in the wilderness and it starts raining. You throw together a quick shelter just to have something over your head. Then you find you need more space and quickly toss up some planks. One day you add one more thing and your entire jenga tower collapses.

Laying the foundation

Making a proper home takes forethought and a strong foundation. Thanks to our prototyping work we now have a good idea of what we need to do. Now it’s time to lay a solid foundation on which the game can stand.

What does that mean in practice? We need to take the prototype we have compiled and clean it up. Throw out all the hacks and replace them with solid features. Additionally, we intend to migrate our code to Unity’s new Entity-Component System.

If you don’t know what ECS is, don’t worry. What you need to know is it is a way for the Unity engine to process large amounts of data in a quick and parallelized fashion. For Ascent of Ashes that means we’ll have some additional programming effort as we learn the new system, but in return we get multithreading and extremely fast processing of large amounts of data.

As those of you who came here from other management sims may know, games in this genre tend to be very CPU-limited. ECS will allow us to support larger maps with more objects, better AI, faster load times. Spawning hundreds of shell fragments from a mortar shell might be a challenge for older game engines, but we will be able to handle it with no performance issues at all.

Early Access

You’re probably wondering when the first Early Access release will reach our patrons. Suffice to say, our number one priority right now is to get our prototype polished into shape so we can get it out to our supporters. The main step on that road will be the above-mentioned ECS migration and fixing up the existing features.

Unfortunately we cannot give an exact time frame as a lot will depend on the amount of support we can generate. While I will be coding away at this project no matter what, additional funds will free up more of my time and also allow us to hire additional coders to create a higher quality product.

State of the Team

This brings us to the final point for today: the team. In order to support our development we are currently looking for an additional concept artist, modeler or coder. If you’re interested or know someone who might be, feel free to contact us at contact@vivid-storm.com

This concludes today’s update. Our current goal is to release one such blog post per month, updating you on our general progress and future plans. What do you think? Would you like to see more updates in this style or rather we focus on something else? Let us know in the comments or on Discord!

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