This Week at Lavaboots: Story and Cartography

6:24 AM willsterling23 2 Comments


Hey everyone!

It's been a fun week over here at Lavaboots with lots of stuff going on. We've been hard at work at a few different things and I wanted to give you a brief overview of some of the content we've been working on.


Cartography


John and Rob have been continuously working on the upcoming cartography update. If you don't know much about that yet, we are essentially designing an in game chart/map that you can use to mark locations of islands and information about those islands. We are making good progress on this and can't wait for you guys to try it out! 

This week John has been focusing primarily on the design aspect, creating icons and the look of the map. I have to say it is currently looking really nice and will fit well with the rest of Salt's UI theme. Rob has been working on map functionality features, such as map zooming and things of that nature. We want to make the map smooth and fun to use and so we are spending time polishing it's look and functionality. 


Main Story


This week I have been primarily focusing on design work for the main story. One of the upcoming updates we'll be working on soon will be implementing the remainder of the main quest line. Our goal with the main quest is to give you a sense of linear direction in otherwise open game, and give you some information on the backstory of the world as well. When we implement the remainder of the main story, we'll also be adding in a quest journal to help you more easily keep up with the tasks you've been given. 

Since Salt doesn't feature any voice acting, I've been spending a good bit of time re working old dialogue and writing new dialogue that is more concise and easier to digest. My goal is to find the balance between not having to read a wall of text, but getting a sense of personality and depth to what is going on. This can be a challenge but we've got some ideas and I think the new dialogue achieves this fairly well. 


As always please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments. We love hearing your feedback! 


- Will Sterling (Game Design and Sound Lead)

2 comments:

Friday Dev Update: A Closer Look At Cartography

12:20 PM Unknown 3 Comments


The cartography update is underway. This week, I want to discuss a little bit of what to expect with regards to the new mapping functionality coming in the next major update.


Marking Your Map


The core of the map functionality is actually very simple. Initially the map will be blank. It is up to you to mark the map however you see fit. In addition to marking where islands are in the world, there will be a number of other map mark icons available to you that you can place on top of the islands. For instance, if an island contained pirates, you can mark it with a pirate icon.


Sharing Your Map


Many players enjoy making their own maps of the Salt world, and they have been doing so on paper or third party apps. This system intends to take the same philosophy of hand-drawn maps and provide an in-game system to accomplish the same goal.

There are many players who prefer to reference maps that other people have made, and on the flip side, there are players who get a lot of enjoyment out of making maps with the intent to share with other people. We will make it fairly easy to transfer map data by having each game’s map data stored in a single file, which players can exchange.

Another thing to note is that the map data itself will be stored in a commonly used plain text format called JSON. This means that third party apps and websites will be able to easily read map data.


Map Customization


In addition to icons in the map, we plan to add the ability to make custom notes tied to islands as well. This is something that ties in heavily with the Player Journal, which is something that is planned for a future update. Being so, the custom note functionality of the map will be released along with the Player Journal update instead of this one.


We will continue to keep you updated with the progress and features of the map update as development continues.



- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

3 comments:

Friday Dev Update: This Week at Lavaboots

8:44 AM willsterling23 1 Comments



Happy Holidays!

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. All of us on the Lavaboots team definitely did but we're glad to be back to work. Here's a quick update on what's going on at Lavaboots.

New Boats and Stars Pushed


You've probably already gotten your hands on the update, but if not, be sure and download the latest patch to get the brand new boat models and to experience the starry night sky. With this update we also added some other additions such as updated icon resolutions, new tree models, new lore books, and more. You can read the announcement and patch notes here: 


We also want to say thank you to everyone who ops into the testing branch and helps us knock out bugs before patch releases. The feedback we get from you all is extremely valuable and makes our updates much smoother. 

Cartography


Our next update will feature an in-game mapping system that will allow you to chart your adventure. This week we've been working on some systems in preparation for this upcoming update. We are very excited about finally allowing you to chart your world in-game and some of the possibilities that come along with that. We'll be sharing more info related to this as we get closer to the patch release so keep an eye out. 


Thanks again for your feedback and we hope you all are enjoying the new boats and stars! 


- Will Sterling (Game Design and Sound Lead)




1 comments:

Update 1.6.1 on Testing Branch!

7:48 AM willsterling23 3 Comments


Hey everyone!

Our latest patch, Update 1.6.1 is now available on the Steam testing branch. We will be fixing last minute bugs you find and pushing to the public branch next week. This update brings a lot of content we've been looking forward to. If you want to hop in the testing branch, you can find instructions on how to do so here:

How To Access Steam Testing Branch


What's New


With this update we've added brand new boat models, which are a huge improvement over the previous ones. Some of these new models replace existing ones, but we've also added in color variations that can be obtained in new ways.



In addition to the new boats, we have also added in stars! Stars really add a sense of scale to the world and make night time sailing and exploring much more enjoyable.



This update also includes a bunch of other changes such as new sailing and boss music, brand new lore books, new dynamic wind features, and a lot of other fixes and changes.

For a full list of the patch notes, click below:

Update 1.6.1 Patch Notes


If you aren't on the testing branch then you can look forward to this update some time next week. Also, we have already begun work our next update, which will feature a cartography system and a way for you to chart your world! Stay tuned for more news on that.

As always, we'd love to hear your feedback!

Cheers,
Will Sterling (Sound Lead and Game Design)

3 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Music, Stars, and Boats

7:46 AM willsterling23 3 Comments


Hello everyone!


We hope you’ve had a great week. This week at Lavaboots has been fruitful and we’ve got a lot of good stuff coming up! Today I want to give you a brief overview of what we’ve been working on and a little insight into what’s been going on at Lavaboots Studios.


New Music


This week I’ve been mainly focused on creating music for the new Jungle Queen boss. The Jungle Queen is a jungle island exclusive boss, similar to the Spider Queen but a good bit tougher. She’s currently in need of some boss music and so I’ve been putting most of my time into that endeavor. I’m a huge fan of boss music in games and I like to make them somewhat themed based on the enemy type. My goal with this music was to keep it in a similar vein as the Spider Queen but with more ethnic instruments and jungle themed sounds.


You can listen to the new Jungle Queen music here:

Starry Night


This week Robert has been working on a night sky, which means stars! We are very excited for stars and it’s something that will make night time gameplay a lot more enjoyable. Here’s a sneak peek at an early prototype of the starry night:




New Boats


John has been working on readying the new boats for testing branch, as well as designing some new ways to get boat variations. As you may have read before, some of the boats have color variations and we are adding some new and fun ways to obtain those in the game.





All this to say we’ve got some pretty cool stuff coming up! The next thing releasing very soon is the new boat models. I’ve been testing them out this week and I have to say, they are awesome. We think you guys are really going to like them so be on the lookout for those to hit the testing branch soon! After that we'll be starting on cartography.

Thanks for reading!



- Will Sterling (Game Audio and Design)

3 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Jungles, Ships, and Maps, Oh My!

7:48 AM willsterling23 1 Comments



Hello fellow seafarers!

We hope you all are enjoying the recent jungle island update. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to log in Steam or the patcher and download it! This recent update features a ton of new content. (You can read the patch notes here: Update 1.6 Patch Notes)

In this update we've added two new npc’s: The Fisherman and The Huntsman. Both of these new fellas have a set of new quests and items to trade for. We also added in tigers and poachers which are exclusive to jungle islands, as well as some new bosses and goodies. Remember that these jungles only start spawning around 50 units out, so you’ll need to armor up and head into the deep seas to find them. If you still are having trouble finding them, remember you can ask the innkeeper for directions (for a price of course.)

New Ships



I think we need more sails. 

Now that the jungle update is pushed and complete, we are working on rigging up the new ship models to replace the old ships. John talked about this a few weeks ago in a blog post, but in case you missed it, here’s the gist of it.

We are replacing some of the older boat models with new, much improved models. On the current replacement list is the Maiden, Pardon Pusher, and Abandoned Ship. The raft and regular sailboat will stay the same. In addition to replacing these boats, we’ve also got some new color variations that we will add in soon, including new ways to obtain these new ships.

If you haven’t seen what the new models look like, you can view some screenshots of them here:


We think they look pretty awesome and are very excited for you to sail and decorate them!

In order for the new ships to be implemented, some work must be done. First on the list was creating a way to recover all of your ship upgrades/customizations from your old ship and replace them on your new ship. Since the models vary in size, the locations of your upgrades would have been all askew, and so we had to rig up a system to do this. John finished this up recently and this feature is actually available now, but will be primarily useful once the new ships are implemented.


Gotta love an x ray of a boat. 

Right now we are in the process of rigging up the new ships with colliders and making sure their physics are correct. This will ensure they float correctly and things of that nature. Once that is done, we will test them and release them for you to sail yourselves!

Cartography


Once the new boat models are in, we will begin work on our upcoming cartography update. This is something that has long been missing in Salt, and we are very excited to finally begin implementation of this. We are still in the process of laying the design foundation for the update and figuring out exactly how it’s going to work, but the general idea is to allow you to create your own charts in game, adding information about the islands you visit and so forth.

We would love your feedback and ideas about this upcoming patch and we’ll be keeping you up to date as we progress along it.


Thanks for reading and as always, we would love to hear your feedback on any of the current content in the game or upcoming content. Cheers!

1 comments:

Update 1.6 Blood Jungle Now Available

7:24 AM willsterling23 0 Comments


Hey everyone! 

First off, thanks to all who helped us during testing with this update. We always love your feedback and help polishing up updates before official release. 


We have now officially pushed Update 1.6 for all to play. This is one of our biggest updates yet featuring a ton of new content. We've added a brand new island type, the jungle island, with multiple new enemy types, new wildlife, new traders and npc's, new resources, new fish, quests, weapons and armor, and secrets! We've also made a lot more balancing changes and fixes as well throughout this update. 

You can read the patch notes here: 

http://steamcommunity.com/gid/103582791436522199/announcements/detail/115199797487267669

These jungle islands are our first content exclusive to the deep seas as well. This means you'll have to travel far out into the ocean to start finding these islands, and they will be quite tough as well! We hope you enjoy them and as always we would love to hear your feedback!

0 comments:

Friday Dev Update - Blood Jungle On Testing

9:29 AM Unknown 2 Comments


Update 1.6 - Blood Jungle was released on the Steam testing branch last Friday! Thank you to all of you testing branch adventurers who brave the bugs to help us polish Salt in its roughest moments. Sometimes you endure tragic crashes, while other times you reap the rewards of herds of infinite incoherent deer. Whether your reward is pain or plunder, we greatly appreciate your help.


This will be a fairly short blog post just as an update. This week I have been working with our generous testers to polish up the patch for full release. During the downtime while recent changes are being tested, I have started working on the next mini-patch, which will replace the old boat models with new ones.


When the new boat models go in, your current boat furniture and upgrades will be who knows where - in walls, under the floor, floating in the open. So, the first order of business is to create the ability for players to recover all of their placed boat upgrades from a given boat. This will be accomplished by inspecting the boat item from your inventory, and clicking a new button that will be there.


Once that boat upgrade recovery system is in place, then I can begin setting up the colliders and floating functionality of the new boats. Finally, I’ll test them and release them to the testing branch as per the normal process. The models that will be replaced will be the abandoned pirate ship, the pardon pusher, and the maiden. The small sail boat and raft will remain as they were before.


Once that mini-patch is pushed, we will start full development of the mapping/cartography system. This is one that I have very much looked forward to for quite a while, and I think it will make a big difference in the game.


If there are no more major issues, you can expect the Blood Jungle update to make its full release next week.



- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

2 comments:

Dev Update: Testing the Jungle

5:36 AM willsterling23 5 Comments



Hey everyone!

We just wanted to let you know that our latest update (Update 1.6 - Blood Jungle) is now available on the Steam testing branch. If you'd like to opt into the testing branch and help us knock out any last minute bugs, here's how you can access it:

Accessing the Steam Testing Branch

This update includes a ton of new content including a new jungle island with new wildlife, enemies, npcs, quests, items, and mysteries to explore!

Keep in mind that these islands can only be found in the deep ocean, so you'll need to voyage out to at least the 50 degree mark before they start popping up.

Happy adventuring!


- Will Sterling (Game Design and Sound Lead)

5 comments:

Jungle Island Coming to Testing Branch Next Week!

8:37 AM willsterling23 12 Comments

Warning: screenshots incoming. 

Hey everyone!

The Jungle Island is nearing completion and will be coming to the Steam testing branch by the end of next week. All of the content is essentially made, and we are just doing some last minute testing and balancing before we push to the testing branch. We will need your help to test as well so if you want to opt into the Steam testing branch, here's a link explaining exactly how to do that:

Opting into the testing branch

Once the update has been pushed to testing, we'll see if you guys find any glaring imbalances or issues, fix those, and then we'll push to public!

My main goal for today's blog post is to go over some of what this jungle island update is going to include and share a bunch of screenshots with you so you'll get a good idea of what to expect! Do not fret though, there will still be secrets and content you won't know about as well.

Lush, Big Trees, and Post 50

Tarzan is up there...somewhere...lurking...

It's important to note that jungle islands are only going to spawn past the 50 degree mark. So get your sextants out and start heading into the deep seas. Once you get past 50 degrees in any direction, you will be able to find these islands. We thought this would be a good way to encourage and reward players for venturing far into the seas. 

One of our main goals visually with this island was to have really big trees and lush plant life. We wanted you to feel like you were under a canopy of trees where you could barely see the sun. As you can see in the above screenshot, the trees can get pretty big and it really gives the island a much larger feeling than the tropical islands you are used exploring. We've also littered the ground with plant life so that the island really feels lush and thick. In essence, we want you to get lost on these islands. 

The Tiger

Okay now I really could use Tarzan's help. 


Lurking on these jungle islands will be a tiger. These will be quick and dangerous wildlife that will kill you on sight. This is our first introduction of enemy wildlife (excluding the giant spiders at night) and we feel that they will fit quite nicely on the jungle islands. As with most things, there will be quests and rewards for killing these tigers so always be on the lookout!

The Huntsman

Presenting the award for most glorious mustache. 

One new friendly NPC you will encounter on jungle islands is the Huntsman. He will provide you with quests and act as a trader, rewarding you for certain goods you find. Be sure to look for him while you are adventuring on these islands! Just look for the mustache and the hat. 

The Fisherman

Bait? Nah. I just whistle and they come swimmin. 

Fishing is a really fun part of Salt and we wanted to give players even more reasons to fish. With this update, we've added new fish and a new NPC called The Fisherman that spawns on jungle islands and offers quests and rewards for catching rare fish. He'll usually be hanging out on the shore with his fishing pole and fishing hat. 

Additional Content


In addition to the content listed above, there will also be a new enemy AI that we are calling poachers. They are dangerous and will be roaming these islands so be on the lookout for them. Also with this update will be more secrets and things to discover on your own. We can't wait for you to set sail for your first jungle island and explore the new content is has to offer! 

After the Jungle Update


Once the Jungle Update is pushed, we are going to start working on replacing the current boat models with the new ones (you can view some of those here .) We are also going to start working on implementing an in-game cartography system. This is something that has been missing from the game for quite a while and so we are real excited to finally get it implemented! Being able to chart and map out your world in the game is going to add a lot more fun to exploration. 


As always, please let us know your thoughts and feedback! 


- Will Sterling (Game Audio and Design)

12 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Secrets of the Jungle

6:24 AM willsterling23 4 Comments


Hello fellow sea farers!

Our jungle island update is almost finished. We're putting the final touches on it and polishing up all the content that is going into it. It's going to be a big update and we are very excited about it. Today I wanted to talk about one particular aspect I'm excited about in relation to this update, which is secrets!

Since Salt is primarily about exploration and the freedom to adventure out on your own, we wanted to make sure there were mysteries and aspects to the world that you actually wanted to discover. We didn't want Salt to be just about going from island to island and gathering loot. We wanted you to have an adventure, and an adventure means figuring things out on your own. With this in mind, we knew that Salt needed secrets.

Encouraging Exploration Through Secrets


I won't spoil it, but if you've played Salt for some time and been around on the community forums, you've probably heard of The Dark Guardian. The Dark Guardian is a secret boss in Salt that requires a set of secret steps to be completed before he can be found. We knew that this content would likely be missed by a lot of players but that the reward someone would feel for discovering it on their own would be worth it. This adds a layer of depth to the game that you didn't know was there otherwise. 

This depth is something we strive for in Salt. We want Salt to constantly unfold more and more layers of depth as you play. We also want you to constantly be on the lookout for new secrets, and so we believe that by adding secrets into the game it encourages players to continue exploring and to look more closely at the world. 

Encouraging Community Through Secrets


Another great feature of secrets in a game is the encouragement of sharing these with the community. Lets say you did miss The Dark Guardian and never even knew about him. Well perhaps one day you are browsing the forums and all the sudden you see a screenshot of a boss you didn't even know existed. Perhaps you thought you had completed all the quests and content the game had to offer. Now all of the sudden another layer of depth has unfolded and you want to go back into the world to explore again, looking for something you may have missed. 

This encourages players to share their experiences with others and talk about what they have found. It gives you a sense of pride if you find it on your own, but even if you don't, it gives you a desire to go back and discover content you didn't know was there. 

Get Your Tin Foil Hats


One of my favorite results of having secrets in a game is what I call the tin foil hat response. Once a player discovers that there are secrets with hidden rewards, they will begin to question and look more closely at everything. That quest you did for the merchant ten times already? Maybe there was something you missed (lower your tin foil hats for this one, it's just an analogy.) That statue you thought was just something visually in the world? Maybe there's something to that. 

This also goes back to community involvement where you can discuss your theories with other players, trying to figure out how to unlock these secrets. One of my favorite aspects we see this occur in is fishing. We wrote fishing with a lot of conditions that need to be met to catch certain fish. I'm always seeing discussion on the community about how to catch certain fabled rare fish such as the blue crab or the dragon fish. These moments add a degree of depth and immersion to a game that goes beyond the gameplay itself. 



With our next update we will continue to add more secrets into the game for you to discover. Even after this update we plan to always add more secrets to Salt so you'll always be left wondering if you've truly discovered it all. 

- Will Sterling (Game Design and Audio)

4 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Closing In On The Jungle

8:13 AM willsterling23 12 Comments


Hey everyone!

Our next update is starting to come to a close and we can't wait to release it to you! This has been one of our biggest updates yet and we are chocking it full of content. In this post I wanted to give you a brief update on where we are currently and a few of the things we have left to do on this update before we push it out. I won't give you every specific detail, as we want you to discover a lot of it on your own, but I will give you an overview of the content to come.


The Jungle Island


The main chunk of content in this next update will revolve around the new island type: the jungle island. We wanted this island to be lush and full of plants and trees. Sometimes you can get bored of seeing tropical island after tropical island, so we wanted to add in some variety and a change of scenery. Not only will this new island feature new visuals, but it will also only be able to be found far out at sea. This is one of the first introductions of what we are calling "post 50 content." 

The idea here is that these islands will only start spawning past the 50 coordinate marks. This will encourage players to head out farther into the seas and give them a reason to explore the distant oceans. 

New Quests and NPC 


We love to add rpg elements in Salt and so with this update we wanted to add some new quests. These new quests will of course come from a new friendly npc. You will only be able to find this npc on the jungle island and he will act as a trader of sorts, giving you awesome gear and loot that is exclusive to him. 

New Enemies


In addition to new quests and a friendly npc, this island will also feature new enemies! We have added in a new enemy animal that will be exclusive to jungle islands and a new enemy humanoid. Each of these enemies will have a specific loot table featuring new weapons, armor, and items. In addition to this, we've also added in a new a boss. He will be tough to defeat. That's all I can say. 

New Fishing Content


With the new jungle island update we are also adding in some new fish that you can catch around these islands. In addition to the new fish, there will also be a new fisherman npc. He will act as a trader that will give you really nice loot in exchange for those super rare fish you catch! 

New Secrets


We love secrets in Salt and this update will certainly feature some of those. These secrets will be hard to discover but reward you nicely should you figure them out. Our goal by the end of development is to have a lot of secrets in the game so you'll always be left wondering if you've truly found them all. 

New Tree Rendering


This update will also feature some improvements in the ways trees render in the game. This will improve the way they look and will improve performance on islands with a ton of trees. You can read more about this here: Speed Tree



Over the upcoming weeks we'll be adding some final touches to this update such as a way to get the new boat, some new resources, and balancing and testing. We will keep you updated and will likely be pushing this update to the testing branch soon. 


- Will Sterling (Game Design and Audio)

12 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Cartography

11:09 AM Unknown 12 Comments


Progress Report


Progress this week has gone very well. I finished up a new friendly NPC, his quest line, and items associated with that. I also worked on a new enemy, and some of its associated content. One of the new items created is the first upgradeable item in the game, meaning after you get it, you can do something to make it better. It represents one of the first fruitful results of the change to the way items were saved internally in update 1.5. Previously, there was no support to save additional special data about a specific items. After the changes that we made in 1.5, however, we can save all kinds of data on them. Our primary goal for that change was for the possibility of upgradable items like this one.


Cartography


As the content of this patch is flowing nicely, and we are getting closer and closer to its release, we have also been brainstorming what would be best to work on for the next patch. One strong contender is a cartography / mapping system, so I would like to take a moment to discuss that.

First of all, here is the general vision. I envision the core joy of the system to be in filling out the map, and the reward of being able to use the map that you worked to create. The process of filling it out should be somewhat manual and fun. Perhaps it can be a blank grid system where the player is free to mark the locations of islands as he or she sees fit.

I would also like the ability to somehow take note additional information on the map, such as marking where you found a pirate captain and so forth. I personally would find that extremely handy and satisfying.

Additionally, I could add in some items in the game that would make the cartography system a little easier for those who put forth the effort to seek them out. For instance, say to mark an island on your map, you have to open up your map interface, and click on a square to mark it. I could add in an item that you could hotkey that would automatically mark what is at your current location on the map so all you have to do is land on the island and hit that hotkey for it to be marked. I’m sure there are a lot of other cartography-associated item ideas that I haven’t thought about yet.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on the matter of cartography in Salt. It’s absence really stands out in such a large world, and I can’t wait to remedy that.



- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

12 comments:

A Look Back On Year One

7:33 AM willsterling23 7 Comments


It has now been just a little over a year since we released Salt as an Early Access title. Today I want to look back on the past year, some milestones we hit, and some of the content we've added to the game so far. I also want to talk about what the future holds for Salt.

The Road to Steam


Nowadays Steam can be pretty crucial for your success as a small independent team. When we originally released Salt we weren't on Steam, but quickly realized we needed to be. And so we launched a Greenlight campaign and watched as our little Salt game garnered interest and eventually was Greenlit! We were thrilled to say the least and were very excited to be able to bring Salt to the Steam community. 

Updates, Updates, and Updates


We're a small team (three people and only two coders) but we knew we needed to work on getting new content out for Salt and pushing the game forward. Some updates went quicker than we expected and some took a lot longer. Overall though, we're pretty happy with a lot of the changes we've been able to make to the game over the past year. Thanks to the very constructive feedback from the community we've been diligent on trying to make the game more fun, adding more content and polish to the overall experience. Here's a look at a few of the major changes we've made over the past year: 


Update 1.3 - Merchant Quests



Early on we knew we wanted Salt to be more than just exploration. We wanted Salt to have adventure, and this meant adding in a lot of RPG elements as the game developed. One of the first RPG elements we added were merchant quests. Originally, merchants just sold items and didn't have the little question mark you see today. Adding these quests opened the door for us to add purpose behind a lot of the content in the game, give you direction and a sense of objective, and reward you for taking part in these quests. 


Update 1.3.1.0 - Ship Customizations


Mmm...cozy. 

This was perhaps one of my favorite updates. In this patch we added the ability to customize the ships you create and find throughout the game. This meant you could add beds, paintings, tables, storage chests, and more. Ship customizations really allowed you to personalize your boat and make it your home. 


Update 1.3.1.1 - New Island Generation System and New Grass



John liked to refer to this update as the Cataclysm. Essentially with this update we made some major changes to the way the islands generate, allowing for a much more robust system and much better looking islands. Since the entire world is basically procedurally generated, we wanted this system to be the best it could be. We also updated the grass in this patch and made it look way better. This was a highly requested feature and we were glad to finally be able to bring this to the game. 


Update 1.4  - Dawn of the Story


This was probably one of our largest content updates in the game. Our desire with this update was to implement the first portion of the main quest and storyline. Although Salt is very much an open and free to do what you want game, there is a story and purpose behind the world. We wanted to give players a way to discover this story and progress along a main quest line. In this update we added inns, new quests, new enemies, and a lot of new rewards. 


Update 1.5 - New Interface



Our original interface was pretty bad and was merely meant to be a placeholder. This was an update that we, along with the players, were definitely looking forward to. With this update we completely overhauled the user interface and inventory system, allowing for more organization, intuitiveness, and completely new content such as player stats. Though we've still got a few tweaks we will likely make to the interface, this overhaul was much needed and I feel really progressed the game forward in terms of polish and experience. 

Update 1.5.1 - New Models


I won't lie, the old pirate models still hold a certain place in my heart. They were so horribly ugly and disfigured that you really couldn't help but like them. That being said, we knew we needed to replace these models. Our goal with the new models was to keep the look in the same art style of the game, but to have them far more polished. We are very happy with the way the new models turned out and with the new animations they have as well. 

More To Come


In addition to a lot of these major changes, we've also done a lot of work under the hood and work to spread out the content in Salt. Over the past year we've added new island types, new enemies and bosses, secrets, a ton of new items, lore books, quests, and of course a lot of bug fixes and improvements. 

We've still got a good ways to go, but we are excited to work with the community through this process and make the game as fun as possible. Here's a list of just some of the content we'll be adding to Salt in the future: 

- More island types
- Multiplayer
- Remainder of the main quest line
- Weather
- Factions

We sincerely want to thank all of you who have played Salt and helped us guide the game in the right direction. There is absolutely no way this game would be where it is if it wasn't for the support of our community and the feedback we get from you guys. As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts! 


- Will Sterling (Game Audio and Design)



7 comments:

Friday Dev Update: New Trading and Fishing

8:38 AM Unknown 7 Comments


One Man's Trash


There are merchants in the world of Salt that deal in gold, but what if there were others that were interested in trading with another medium? Last week, I implemented a system that allowed for just that. Using it, we will be able to create new types of traders that can ask for any type of item in exchange for their goods.
 
We are making use of this new trading opportunity in the upcoming patch. This also opens up some fun possibilities for the future. For instance, we could create a strange hermit that believes himself a reincarnation of the great pandas of legend, and thus, insists on a strict diet of bamboo. He would have an inventory full of glorious shiny items that he will only trade for copious amounts of bamboo. 

As I said, we are already making use of this new system in the upcoming patch. There will actually be two new NPCs that make use of the system. The way it works is very similar to the way you are used to dealing in gold. Talk to an NPC to open up their merchant interface. Then, select the item you are interested in. Where you would normally see the gold icon, and the price, the gold icon will instead be the icon of the item that want in exchange. You’ll be able to mouse over the icon to see exactly what they want.


Fisherman's Delight


For those out there that enjoy fishing in Salt, I have some good news for you. There is some new fishing content coming with the next patch. The jungle islands will introduce a number of new types of fish to catch around their shores. Some will have special effects when eaten, some used to craft new potions, and others will be valued by a particular new NPC that is all about fishing.

Fishing in Salt is largely a game of learning and chance. Many fish have different ways that they can be caught, or are more likely to be caught. Figuring out what fish can be caught in which way requires some trial and error. What I want to do with the new fishing content is to apply a little touch of direction for some of the fish. This means there will be some fish you can learn about and hints at how to catch them before you catch them for the first time. I think it would be fun to know about a fish you want to catch and make it your mission to catch it. I’d also like to apply this same philosophy to some extent on some fish that are currently in the game. Perhaps a lore book or an npc that give some information on some fish.


Development Update


The update progress for 1.6 is going quite well. We’ve worked on AI to facilitate some new behaviors for jungle island NPCs, created new foliage, trees, and other visuals, implemented new NPCs and merchants, and  number of new equipment items, fish, and lore books, and coded a new system for trading with currency other than gold.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be working on adding in new quests, secret content, more items, sounds, and finally testing and polishing the new content for release. I'm looking forward to getting this out to you all.



- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

7 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Into the Undergrowth

12:42 PM Unknown 4 Comments

Hey folks!


We’ve been making our way toward the coming update, and now I get to share with you a bit of what we’ve been working on. John has been hard at work adding several NPCs and a new type of enemy for the new island, as well as several other small improvements and under-the-hood work. Will has been creating new sound effects and lore books. I have been in the bushes, adding new kinds of foliage for the new island. Since we’ve made some good progress, we’re finally able to reveal…







Jungle Islands!


These islands will be dense and dangerous, with new friends and foes alike. We’re all excited about the new content to be found on these new islands, but I can’t reveal much more yet!


What I can reveal is a powerful new tool I began using this week, and one we will likely be using going forward. It’s called SpeedTree.


SpeedTree is a tool for building trees, bushes, and other foliage. Since Unity 5 was released, SpeedTree has made available a version of its software that works directly with the Unity editor, allowing quick, high quality asset generation. It includes a customizable Level of Detail system that works a lot better than what we have now, so you’ll have better looking, better performing trees. Here’s one of my test trees going through its LoD transformation:




I plan to make SpeedTree versions of all the trees currently in the game to maximize the performance and visual upgrades that SpeedTree provides. My love for SpeedTree has taken root!

Over the next few weeks we'll be revealing more details about the jungle island, so stay tuned!

- Robert Gamble (Game Design, Coding, Environmental Design)

4 comments:

This Week at Lavaboots: Music, Lore, and More

8:53 AM willsterling23 1 Comments


"Better get my climbing boots."

Ahoy, Mateys!

We've been hard at work this week on getting a lot of the technical and architectural foundations ready for the next update, which will feature a new island type! I can't go into many details yet, but we are very excited about it. We don't just want this new island type to be visually new, but to also be filled with new content and features to explore.

This week John has been hard at work on revamping our AI code for better functionality and features, and Rob has been working on the visuals for the upcoming island. Here's a few things I've been working on.


New Music


We get a lot of requests for the soundtrack to Salt, and I promise it's coming! We really want to wait closer to release so we are sure what songs we wish to finalize and include on the soundtrack. In the meantime however, you can stream a lot of the current in-game music for free here - 



One of my goals for this week (and this next update) is to get more new music in the game. I've been currently working on a new song for when you are sailing the seas, and I'm pretty proud of it. My goal for a lot of the music in Salt is to make you feel inspired and epic as you are traversing the ocean. The new song I've been working on is called 'Wonder' and you can listen to it early here: 




Player Instruments


One feature we will be adding that soon that I've been working on are player instruments. We haven't completely worked out the design of this yet, but basically you will find instruments throughout the world (lutes, drums, pan pipes, etc.), and you'll be able to click on them and play a tune. I want to also add variations as to what can play based on the instruments. So if you find a rare lute, it will play a unique sound and so forth. This will act as an immersive way for you to control when music happens in the game. Perhaps you just want to walk around your ship cabin and listen to some tunes while reading a lore book or fishing. This feature will allow you to do that. 


New Lore


I say this a lot, but I love lore books. They add a deeper element to the story and narrative of a world, yet remain completely optional and doesn't force you to experience it. This week I've been working on a new lore series called 'The Philosophy of Time.' This will be a multiple part series that not only tells an interesting narrative, but gives you insight into some of the secrets behind the world of Salt. 

Our goal with lore has been to not only provide brief stories for entertainment, but also to provide a deeper look into the mythology and purpose of the world you are exploring. 



 - Will Sterling (Game Audio and Design)

1 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Patch, Models, and AI Code

9:19 AM Unknown 5 Comments


Here is what has been going on this week at Lavaboots Studios.

Patch 1.5.1 Pushed


First off, we got update 1.5.1 pushed live, which feels great. I’m glad we chose to go ahead and get that patch rounded off and pushed separate from the new island patch we are working on. 1.5.1 introduced the new humanoid models, rendering pipeline, and added some new content.


New Boat Models


Also this week, I have been collaborating with our modeler on some boat models! As part of the next update, we needed a new boat, so I contracted him to make one for us, which he did an excellent job with. The new boat makes the other boats in the game look unprofessional. And rightly so, as I modeled all of the other boats in the game myself (I am not a modeler). After seeing that, I immediately contracted him to model some more ships to replace some of the ones that I made. From what he has done so far, I think you’ll be pleased with the change when it comes.


Changing current ship models will, of course, ruin the placement of ship objects such as torch holders, beds, etc. I’ll come up with a way to handle this. I’m thinking I could add an option when inspecting boats that allows you to retrieve all attached upgrades to that particular boat.


I don’t yet have an ETA on the ship changes, as our previously planned content for next update takes priority. But I expect we will get them in either with the next patch or shortly afterwards.


AI Code


Other than pushing a patch and collaboration, I have been deep in the code this week. The new island is going to have a new NPC that will require different AI logic than what we already have in Salt. In order to facilitate that, I have been fixing up the system that we use for AI (we use behavior trees for those that are interested). I hurriedly left the system in a sort of a hackish state when I last worked on it, and it needed some cleaning up. That has been going quite well, and having a better underlying AI system will also serve us for the entirety of development.


Sounds And New Island Visuals


As for the other Lavaboots team members, Robert is diving into the visuals for the new island, and Will is working on sounds and music. Some new items we are going to add in the future are musical instruments that play songs when you use them. Will wrote a really cool pan pipe tune this week that we are going to use for that. I’m listening to it as I write this and it has me all relaxed.



- John Gamble (Lead Developer)

5 comments:

Friday Dev Update: Player Feedback and Future Content

8:26 AM willsterling23 12 Comments


                                                                            "What are you looking at with those soul piercing eyes?"

We've always had a philosophy as a business that we should be as transparent as possible and always listen to our players. This is something we constantly strive to do because we believe that the community built around a game and player feedback is crucial to creating a game worth playing.

Today I just wanted to talk about some of the feedback we get from you all and discuss some of the future content we plan on working on. Before I do that though, let me give you a quick update on our current stage of development and what we'll be working on next.

Quick Update on Development


We've currently pushed our next update to the testing branch to squash out any last minute bugs, and we'll be pushing to the default branch for everyone to experience really soon. This update features brand new humanoid models, a new structure to find throughout the word, and other changes. You can read more in depth details here: 


This update will act as a sort of "in-between" patch before our next major update. Our next major patch will feature a brand new island type with a ton of content to experience. I can't go into the details just quite yet, but it will feature new enemies, bosses, a slew of new items, resources, quests, and secrets. We are very excited about it and will give more details soon! 

With all that said, let's move on to player suggestions and future content. 


Our Vision and Your Feedback


With Salt, we have an overall vision for the game in mind. This includes the type of game we want it to be, what aspects we want to focus on, and what kind of content will be in the game. Since Salt is a huge game with a near infinite amount of possibilities, we have to pick and choose what content to focus on and what we have to leave on the drawing board. With limited manpower and time, we can only focus on so much. This is where your feedback comes in. 

We get a lot of feedback for Salt, both good and bad, but almost always helpful. You guys have always been very open about what you love and what you don't love, which helps us to steer the course of development in the right direction, within the vision of the game. This is one of the huge perks of doing Early Access. Having your feedback with every update in development helps us to ensure we are guiding the game in the right direction. 


Future content


I want to now go over some of the content we plan on working on as the game develops. Before I do this, you may want to read this blog post, which answers a lot of common player questions about the game and the future of development. 

Finishing the Story


A few months back we implemented the first portion of the main story. In the upcoming months, we will be working on implementing the next portion which in and of itself includes a lot of content. I won't go into too many details so as not to spoil anything, but as the story gets implemented so will a new expansion of content such as island types, enemies, items, and things of that nature. As always, the main story is completely optional but there if you want to experience it. 

Weather


Weather is probably one of our most requested features and it will be coming soon! I'm personally very excited about weather as it will add a sense of dynamics to the game that isn't there currently. As we implement weather we will also be adding in clouds and stars which will breathe new life aesthetically to the world. 


Armor and Weapon Stat Rebalancing


We realized recently that our current armor and weapons stats are in desperate need of rebalancing. Since we've thrown new items in every month or so, it's easy to lose sight of the big picture and for things to get off balance. We will be rebuilding from the ground up the armor and weapons statistics as well as adding new statistics. We plan on adding stats such as dexterity, agility, strength, defense, and things of that nature that will allow you to really tailor your gear to your playstyle, and even see overall damage and dps. I love this aspect of games because it encourages you to try out different armor sets to suit your own unique needs. 


Ocean Content 


We get a lot of suggestions for more ocean content, and rightly so. This is something we are still brainstorming and coming up with ideas for, but we will definitely be expanding upon it. Let us know your ideas for what kind of content you'd like to see in the deep sea! 


Multiplayer


By and large the most requested feature is multiplayer, which will definitely be happening. Multiplayer will be a very fun aspect of Salt, but also optional. We've had a lot of questions concerning whether or not multiplayer will be required and the answer to that is no. Multiplayer will be more of a cooperative mode that you can play with your friends. We don't have all the design details worked out yet, but we will let you know as soon as we start working on this. 



As always, we would love to continue to hear your feedback on what type of content you'd like to see in Salt as the game develops! 






12 comments: