This month we will be covering a selection of topics, including a much-requested gameplay change, some under-the-hood changes that will improve player experience in and out of the game, and another look at the UI changes coming with Controller Support.
That’s right; animation cancelling is coming to Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem! It is still in the testing phase, but we want to give you a quick overview of the changes we are planning to bring about this much-requested feature.
Wolcen’s combat is designed to have a deliberate and measured style and requires the player to consider their situation before using an ability or moving. With patch 126.96.36.199, we changed potions so that they could be consumed at any time, and now with animation cancelling, we are freeing up player agency even more for those who want it whilst still retaining that distinctly Wolcen-esque feel. With animation cancelling, combat will become even more dynamic, faster-paced, and yet still require clever thinking and planning for the player to succeed, let alone survive, moment-to-moment.
To give you an idea of how it will work, any action (an attack, a skill, etc.) will consist of three phases:
- and Backswing.
Depending on which phase you issue a second action in, you will either cancel the first action and commence your second action, or queue your second action. Moving or dodging can also serve to cancel an action.
- Issuing a second action during the ‘Anticipation’ phase will immediately cancel the current action and commence the ‘Anticipation’ phase of your second action.
- If the current action is in the smaller ‘Hit’ phase, your second action will instead be queued and will trigger once the current action’s ‘Hit’ phase is complete.
- If the current animation is in the ‘Backswing’ phase, the first action’s animation will cancel, and your second action’s ‘Anticipation’ phase will begin.
A skill cancelled during its ‘Anticipation’ phase will not consume resources or trigger a cooldown, whereas once a skill reaches the ‘Hit’ phase it will consume resources and trigger a cooldown. Channelled skills in the ‘Hit’ phase will consume resources until interrupted.
We will be continuing to test and refine this new system for the moment and hope to get it into your hands as soon as possible. These changes will fundamentally broaden the possibilities of Wolcen’s combat and we’re very excited to see what you do with this new tool in your arsenal.
Other Behind-the-Scenes Changes
Two important but overlooked systems are getting massive overhauls that will result in a smoother experience for players across the board.
- Firstly, the Transparency System. This system is responsible for hiding objects/surfaces/walls between the player and camera and has been completely rewritten. You may have noticed that the current system can occasionally fail to dissolve objects and thus obstruct player view, as well as having some limitations of performance. The new system is bug-free, smarter, more flexible, and will give players a smoother and faster experience.
- Secondly, Navmesh Pruning. This is a very important system despite sounding suspiciously like something related to gardening. A navmesh determines what areas of an environment both the player and enemies can spawn and move on. You may, on occasion, have noticed an enemy hiding just out of reach behind a wall, or found yourself stuck on an unescapable ledge. This was due, in effect, to insufficient or inaccurate pruning of the navmesh. The fixes we’re putting together will allow for far more precise and performant pruning and will ultimately result in a far cleaner experience for both players and their unfortunate enemies.
Both of these systems are still undergoing testing and we will announce when they are ready for deployment closer to the time.
Patch Size Improvements and Delivery
We have made substantial efforts in recent hotfixes to address a long-standing issue: patch sizes. The days of 15GB hotfixes are no more, thanks to modifications done by our Build Delivery team.
They began by examining the previous large hotfixes, determining what elements were essential, and where optimisations could be made in terms of file size, moving, and copying. The main obstacles to decreasing patch sizes were the large PAK files: the archive files used by CryEngine to store game data in bulk. They tested new ways of optimising PAK creation, grouping, structure, and various encryption methods, by systematically generating and testing new internal builds.
A large number of iterations and branches were tested, along with isolated portions of code, all whilst simultaneously building patches for actual release and avoiding potential issues or conflicts. This required a great deal of brainstorming, interdisciplinary communication, joint investigation, and painstaking testing.
With these changes, we can push out exponentially smaller patches far more regularly and effectively without impacting the player experience. With that achieved, we are entering a production cycle where you can expect small bug-fixing patches on a regular weekly, or fortnightly, basis.
Controller Support and UI Changes
Last month we gave you your first look at the UI changes that will be accompanying Controller Support. For those of you with a stylistic flair, this month we will be making a trend of it by showing you the new cosmetics screen. The main improvements outside of the updated visuals are:
- Dyes are now sorted by colour and then by shade. No more scrolling up and down trying to find that specific variety of teal!
- Each colour slot on individual armour pieces has a numeral indicator, allowing you to cross-reference when trying to match colours across duplicate armour cosmetics.
- Pets no longer live on their own but now have their own tab in the cosmetics menu, allowing you to access everything fashion-related with a single button press.
That’s all for this month, folks! As usual, feel free to join our Official Discord if you want to engage with our community, send us your feedback, or send us direct messages regarding anything Wolcen related!
Have a fantastic day!
Created: 10 months ago