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)

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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)

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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)



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