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Aleš Ulm

Ylands Team
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About Aleš Ulm

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    Creative Director
  1. Dev Diary #61

    Hey there, fellow ylanders. Some of you have asked when we’ll discuss what we have planned for the rest of 2019. We are still fine-tuning some of our plans, but we’ll be able to present you with some information really soon. Let’s start with some good news. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve made some very nice progress with fixing the ships (and even improving how they sail) and you'll be able to see the results in the 0.12 update. We are now testing the first version of the rewritten pathfinding which, when we’re done with it, will enable us to make the Explore mode much more interesting. As you can see, debugging a pathfinding system is a ton of fun We have made a long list of features and issues which the new Ylands players find confusing or difficult to understand, and which made many leave the game without even realizing that there’s more to it than picking up stuff and crafting very primitive objects. We will be going through various actions that are not intuitive and making them more user-friendly. Also, we are making sure the radial menu becomes much more useful than it currently is. We are further tweaking the combat based on the feedback received, so that it is faster and snappier in 0.12 while retaining some tactical elements. More and more things are becoming accessible via Visual Scripting in the Editor, so Creators will have much more creative freedom in the upcoming update than ever before. We also understand that GUI still needs a lot of love as well, and very soon we will be able to show you some images which we hope you’ll like. And that isn't everything by far. Now let's spend some time over your questions: Are farming activities and animals planned? Chickens, cows and such. Yes. Not before 1.0, but this is actually one of the first things we plan to add after the game is released. Are procedural terrain brushes planned? We are definitely not happy with the current terraforming options. The brushes we currently have don't allow the creation of natural looking terrain. Also, the newly painted terrain doesn't allow a good enough blending with the existing terrain. These things are already in our 2019 roadmap. Any plans to make the power barriers cooperative? Can we lock them and give keys to friends for example? Even though this is a topic for another time, I think it's quite obvious that what Ylands heavily lacks and needs before 1.0 is a better way for friends to play and communicate among themselves. Since nothing like that has ever been done in any game, let's call it - I don't know - a "friends list" (wink). We will be adding this to the game, and once we have this, various in-game features will be linked to this. That’s it for today. Have a great weekend, ylanders, and as always - stay classy!
  2. Dev Diary #60

    Hi guys. I'm sorry that I didn't get to reply sooner. @bb cakes_P1 Sure thing. I can definitely see us doing something about those sails Actually these things are something that are solvable without having first person camera (Assassins Creed Origins - just from the top of my head) @TheSparkPlug I'm pretty sure that improvements we're working on won't make things worse - those are pretty much standard features used in in many modern games. @RedEagle_P1. We definitely have some more plans for the barriers. I don't have any ETA for that but, more we're already working on giving creators more control over ylands creation.
  3. Dev Diary #60

    That's, unfortunately, not an option - having a message visible the whole time doesn't solve anything as long as the mode is accessible in the very same way as other, finished features. A fully published game is something completely different than EA version. I honestly don't remember ever seeing a full release of a game where an important feature (we do know that this is an important feature, no question about it) would be half-baked with a "unsupported" note. Fully published means all present features finalized. If we can't pull off something in time, it shouldn't be there. Also imagine this - we do this, a lot of creators start working on games requiring fps camera (we know some of you already have) and then, we we come out with the final implementation of the first person camera it might work in a slightly different way to the old one. Maybe in a tiny way, but big enough to break some specific games. That's something that must not happen once we release the game. Bear in mind that the current state isn't in any way final - the new camera (to be released in the next update) should make moving around in tight spaces better, the feature I mentioned in this DD will make a lot of things easier as well. There's always some space for improvement, but there's one thing that we won't do and that is put something that is not good enough into Ylands 1.0. To put it very bluntly - releasing Ylands 1.0 without 1st person camera is not such a big issue, because it's not that important in Explore (and will be even less with the improvements I mentioned), creators can create games that that don't depend on it (while maybe putting the rest on hold if they really can't be played even after the changes we mentioned) and things can get only better later, when the camera is re-introduced. It's not ideal, but it's no tragedy either. Asking players to pay the full price for a full release of a game that has unsupported, broken features present... is. I understand that you may see the situation in a different way, you would plan/do things differently and we respect that, but this is how we see it. That being said, it surely isn't a reason for considering this topic closed - I just feel the discussion will be more relevant if we have it once 0.12 is released and the planned improvements are released. (and regardless of how you feel about this topic - have a great weekend! )
  4. Dev Diary #60

    Hey there, fellow ylanders. Today I would like to discuss what we’re planning to do about the first person camera, that we removed some time ago. Since we won’t be able to bring it back for quite some time (definitely not before 1.0) - as this would require both programmers and animators to focus on that during the time when we need to fix critical issues - we would like to at least make things easier for you (and just to note: we are still improving the building mode and the 3D person camera a lot, so even those aspects will see an improvement). Let me tell you what we would like to put into the game and how we think this might help: There are situations where switching to first person camera made things much easier, like when you’re trying to build something, move through tight corridors or interiors, etc. Then there are situations where no matter how good the 3rd person camera can become - it still won't be good enough. Controlling some devices (for example firing cannons through hatches) or simply interacting with some elements in the level (imagine a machine with small buttons) are examples that come to mind. Specifically because of this, we would like to add something we are internally calling the “Interaction view”. In essence, we would like you to be able to switch to something similar as the first person view. However, its purpose would be to perform interactions such as operating devices, interactions with levers, buttons, picking objects and some other actions. We are positive this feature will help to alleviate a lot of the problems you are experiencing right now. Of course, as this is something different from the original 1st person camera (which as you might recall, had to be removed because of some issues with fighting animations, interactions, etc.), let me tell you how we imagine it would work: in this new camera mode, you'd see the world in 1st person but won't be able to move around or fight - only interact with objects around you. We want to give you back as much of the first person camera functionality as possible, available through a key press and not just an unsupported console command. This is our idea as the first step on the road to a proper first person camera support, please do let us know what you think about this! We don't have cool raytracing reflections... but some players always find a way! (Raytracing reflections courtesy of @Bob Salvador) Since this has been quite a long Dev Diary already, let me pick just a couple of questions to answer: Are you considering adding quests to your game with rewards for completing the quest? It seems to be lacking once you have discovered all the islands and caves. No exactly “quests”, but we’re already giving the game some sort of “story” where you will be rewarded as you go through it. When are horses going to be "fun"? Good question. We’ve had new animations ready for some time now, and we know how to make horses more fun, but because many more important things that need fixing came up, this was put on hold. It is, however, in the 2019 roadmap. We will talk about that soon. That’s it for today. Have a great weekend, ylanders, and as always - stay classy!
  5. Dev Diary #59

    an estimate of when 0.12 will be released- we learned the hard way not to give any estimates, but at the same time I don't want you to expect this update to be released any time soon. Since 0.12 will be a very large update (note that that they get larger and larger) once again with more fixes and improvements than ever before, it will take some more time, especially since we will be doing a lot of additional MP testing etc. Because of that I think it would be reasonable to expect it around late February. Will there be a better way to aim cannons? Yes, that's one of the situations we would like to fix (I will tell you more this Friday) an official wiki. Hopefully I can help with the creation of it We do hope that in future this wiki will be mostly edited by the community, with us providing all the support. We just want to create few topics (templates) for every major section, so that the editors have something to work with while making sure the formatting stays consistent etc. We will create a specific FAQ covering this later this week. consider also players who wants the game to be a bit more challenging The challenges Ylands presents you with at this point are pretty poor. The game was always meant to be more difficult (with few options that you can set it to make it easier). We won't be making it into a hardcore survival sim, where you have to spend most of your time looking for food or fixing your wounds - this part we're quite happy with. What will change before 1.0, though, is the level of danger you're in at certain times. Nights will be much more dangerous. Venturing into caves even more so (but also more rewarding). There will be enough incentives for players to travel more among the ylands and explore. Which gets me to the second part of you question - the ylands showing in the compass area is only a temporary solution. We added that because we realize that lot of players either could find many of the ylands or, unfortunately, haven't realized there were more than one yland in the game. This is really just a quick fix, which I believe will be removed once we're ready to give players more realistic and engaging means of finding another ylands. That being said there's definitely no harm in looking into it and check if even this temporary solution can't be made a bit more challenging.
  6. Dev Diary #59

    Hey there, fellow ylanders. I hope that the beginning of the new year has found you well and you are ready and willing for new adventures. This is the year when we will be releasing Ylands 1.0 - and later this month we would like to tell you more about what you can expect, and what updates and features we would like to release in the following 12 months. In the next Dev Diary, we will address once again some of the specific issues and features, while today we’ll concentrate on the questions you sent us over our social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram) as well as the questions you asked on game / Steam Ylands forums. Here’s what's keeping you awake at nights: OS X release for Christmas please? While we understand that there’s a significant number of players who wants to play Ylands on Macs, the truth is that the number isn’t large enough for us to implement this version at this moment. Before we consider having the OSX version of Ylands, the game needs to be polished and become somewhat more “established”. Any plans to add railways and carts? Let’s just say that you shouldn’t miss some of our upcoming Dev Diaries where we'll be discussing this (among with a lot of other cool things). Will it be possible to have better tools to navigate because it's a pain to find new ylands. And some kind of visible barrier so one knows when to stop looking for the islands. Definitely. In 0.11 we’ve introduced a new feature where nearby ylands can be seen on the compass. This however, is more of a temporary solution. We are working on improvements that would eventually allow us to show ylands at large distances and improved maps. The fact that there is no clear indication when you're leaving the area where the ylands are located (you should at least get a warning right now, but it’s neither intuitive nor very elegant solution) is something we indeed need to fix. There are so many stories around us - like the one about Philip and his Happy Pets store (Happy Pets courtesy of @Spyler.X) When will you release the offline mode? Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any progress regarding this topic - we still don’t plan to work on this before we release Ylands 1.0 (long story short: while this is an important feature to many players, our priority remains to deliver Ylands in the best possible shape in 2019, and any non-critical complicated tasks will have to wait for that). Is there (or will there be) abilities to freeze freely placed items? Yes. We understand that often it’s quite annoying how easy it is to unintentionally pick up something carefully placed and positioned. Few months back we internally discussed a way of being able to “glue” such objects so that they can’t be (or at least not easily) removed, but it was put on hold in favor of other features. We definitely plan to return to this. Will the first person mode be supported again? The first person view as you know it from other games won’t be added before Ylands 1.0. However, in the next week’s DD we will present you with something that you will very likely find handy in most of the situations where first person camera was (or still is) helpful or even required. We do understand that such situations still exist and don't consider this matter closed in the least. Will you be fixing the lag on ships? This is the biggest issue with the game. I would say fix this before you add anything new. We’re already working on this and we believe the next update 0.12 will fix this. Any chance we will see musical instruments with or without an ABC notation system? We would definitely love to have this (I still remember very fondly how much fun I had with this in Lord of The Rings Online ). But there's one more thing that we would like to share with you in this week's Dev Diary - some time ago we have started working on the Ylands Wiki. At first we have focused on Visual Scripting, so there's not that much else in there yet, but that will definitely change during this year. Very soon we will be posting a document about how you can help us with that - in the meantime go and check it out yourself at https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/Ylands. That’s it for today. Have a great weekend, ylanders, and as always - stay classy!
  7. Dev Diary #58

    Hi there, fellow ylanders! The year 2018 is about to end and I think I can safely say that it was a good year for Ylands. The team has grown, we were able to release several great updates, fix some of the most burning issues, and make great progress with fixing most of the remaining ones. We have entered the polishing / fixing stage, which will culminate in a few months with the release of Ylands 1.0. At that point we will start promoting Ylands fully, and new players will start pouring in... but we’ll just keep on going. We already know what 1.1 will bring, 1.2, 1.3... and soon you will know as well. Some things obviously didn’t go that well - we expected many things to be finished earlier. We have been waiting for what seems like a millennium to introduce some very cool things to Explore, but because of the very buggy AI and pathfinding, we were unable to do so. Fortunately, things have already started moving in the right direction, so in 2019 Explore will get the HEAPS of love it deserves. Yay! Ylands songs were played during a high-profile Christmas concert in St. Salvator Church in Prague As you all know, we had some difficulties communicating some of our steps, but hopefully we have learned from our mistakes and we'll do our best to make sure everything is as clearly communicated to you guys as possible. On behalf of the entire Ylands team, let me thank you for staying with us. There are literally tens of thousands of games out there - many of which are just breathtakingly good - and so we DO immensely value the time you spend with us, especially now, during Early Access. But even though we love working on Ylands and believe we still have a lot to show and achieve, we understand that in the end it’s just a game, and some things are way more important than that. With that in mind - let us wish you a great New Year in 2019. May you, your family and friends have love, happiness and good health. Stay classy, ylanders, and we’ll see you in 2019!
  8. Dev Diary #57

    I would definitely love to see something like that in Ylands! @bb cakes_P1 It's not not only about blocks, it's more about the colliders - most objects in the game have them (with the exception being things like grass etc.) and most of them have one collider each. But to simplify this a bit let's say that you have only blocks in your game. You create 250k of them (=250k colliders) and then you keep adding. What happens is, that the blocks added once the limit has been reached don't have any colliders attached to them so the avatars can walk/fall through them. Also every single block over the 250k limit generates a warning into the game's log (Unity does that, not us) when the game starts so if you have a lot of blocks over that limit it will severely impact the loading times of your game - with a lot of blocks over the limit your game can load real slow. That is what the situation is now. In 0.12 when we add colliders optimizations there will still be that limit of 250k colliders but it should be quite difficult to reach it. Imagine that you have a large wall made out of,say, 250 blocks. If it's a flat wall in the ideal world it should be possible to optimize it so that it's a single large collider. Obviously, this is an ideal situation since buildings are usually much more than just few primitive walls and so you can apply this ratio to your whole scene - but still the the optimization should allow you to create MUCH more complex games than before. Also I believe this limitation in Unity will eventually be made less strict or removed since in the last few years the engine has been becoming more and more powerful.
  9. Dev Diary #57

    @RedEagle_P1. I believe they do, but I can only speak for Ylands. This is actually a very complex problem and it depends on lot of factors (as I, a non-programmer, believe ) - the engine they're using, how is their world simulated, how does their MP work etc. Actually this would be quite easier for us if we adjusted (as in "made more simple") some of the games features but we decided against it.
  10. Dev Diary #57

    Making thunderstorms lethal: I can't promise it will be present in 0.12, but we do plan to make the game a bit more dangerous and one of the things we plan is for thunderstorms to sink small ships / rafts etc. Optimizing buildings: you're right in guessing that those objects that will be internally "merged" together will be indivisible and destructible only as whole. However, it is perfectly fine (and it is actually how we'd like the creators to use it) for you to "merge" only some parts of buildings like walls, leaving some parts out - like all interactible elements but also things like windows so that those can be broken etc. And since you mentioned groups - if you're looking for a better control over your creations in the Editor, I believe that our 2019 Roadmap that we'll talk about early next year has something you're gonna like. Is that a challenge? Well, wWe can always use something complex to test our new features
  11. Dev Diary #57

    Hi there, fellow ylanders! Well, what do you know - Christmas time is once again upon us. If you‘re among those who celebrate it, let us all wish that you spend this special time with your close ones (if you manage to survive the regular shopping Armageddon), eat, rest, eat some more, and play some games! Since the team will take some much-needed rest from this weekend till the end of the year, you may find that your requests and questions on forums stay unanswered for a longer time - but we will still check it and will be ready to help you if something critical comes up. But until the Ylands factory engines stop for maintenance, they‘re still going strong. One of the things we‘re working on these days is the long promised fix that should remedy the issues with ships. Saying this is a "fix“ is a little bit like saying that a nuclear plant is a slightly more sophisticated steam engine. A lot of things had to be changed, improved, or rewritten so that this issue (or group of issues) would be eliminated. Let me tell you a bit more about what‘s causing this, what we‘re doing about it and how it‘s going to affect the gameplay. Basically what happens is that whenever you build on a ship‘s hull, we want the objects to have colliders so that your avatar can‘t walk through your cabin walls, tables and more. The problem is that Unity isn‘t such a big friend of the idea of hundreds of blocks, each with its own collider, placed on a moving platform. As you might have guessed, the same goes for cars, but there the situation is quite better because you usually don‘t create your cars out of hundreds of blocks. The solution is to combine the colliders into few larger ones so that the general shape of the ship (or, more specifically, the part placed over the hull) would remain the same. That is not a trivial operation (especially when you need the number of resulting colliders to be as low as possible). But this is something that is a problem that programmers have been working on and have made a really nice progress so far. The second problem is that you don‘t want your ship to stay this way forever, because at some point you may want to remove a block here and there, replace it with something else etc. At that point the combined colliders need to be broken down back again into the original state. And on top of that, this operation takes some time, it‘s not instant. Have a classy Winter Break, everyone! So what we‘re going to do about this is that we will provide you with a (single-click) way to "optimize“ your ship whenever you're done building it. Within the next few seconds, all the colliders will be optimized and you will be good to go and sail the sea with almost no impact to performance (which is currently easily dozens of fps). When you feel like building some more or changing what you built so far, you will be able to "de-optimize“ the ship, perform any changes necessary, and bake it again. This "optimization“, however, won‘t be important only for ships and cars. The Unity engine has a limit as to how many colliders can be active in the scene, and it‘s 250 000. That may seem like a lot, but if you imagine a large city and think how many bricks (=colliders) one small wall has, you‘ll see that this limit can be reached pretty fast. So we will let you (in the Editor - unlike with ships and cars where you will be able to do this in Explore as well) optimize whole buildings, which will effectively fix this issue. That however isn’t the only thing we’re fixing about ships – as you are well aware, ships have had their share of MP problems in the past, most notably the disagreements between the client and the server on where exactly a character should be. This would cause teleportation and, more often than not, unfortunate man overboard accidents. Starting with the next update, it should be smooth sailing from here on out, with the disagreements happening much less frequently, if at all. And finally, we’re making overall sailing improvements across the board – better ocean wave simulation, smooth wind intensity transitions between ylands, and different weather presets… There’s definitely a lot to look forward to! And that‘s it for today! Have a classy Winter Break!
  12. Dev Diary #56

    Oh, I forgot about one more thing - we're received some games from our community to check why are they still running very slow. So far the main culprits have always been (just as we expected) ships. Even if you have one ship in your scene - even if doesn't move, if it's SP, it can slow the game down easily by several dozen fps. This is something that will be fixed in 0.12 and I will talk about it in the next Dev Diary. If your game doesn't perform well enough even without ships, please send them to me via PM, we're always ready to check the out. Thanks again!
  13. Dev Diary #56

    FPS cam will be back, it was removed for fixing until 0.12. Now that is not entirely accurate . It will take much longer for us to bring fully working and polished 1st person back (a LOT of things will have to be (re)created - pretty much every avatar animation will have to be changed, combat will have to heavily adjusted etc.). As we said when we removed it - we don't have enough resources (people/time) to do this before 1.0 so it will definitely come at a later date (just like the water simulation). It's true, though, that for 0.12 we are planning something related to this, but I would like to address this in one of the first January Dev Diaries.
  14. Dev Diary #56

    I am guessing the person in charge of the Ylands development team is a rabid raccoon with a magic 8 ball Now that would be a fun (although somewhat unpredictable) boss to have Seriously, though, we've not yet reached 1.0 (we still have few months ahead of us) but we will be fixing and improving things even beyond that. I understand that removing 1st person view wasn't a popular move, but switching to it because there may be some issues with 3rd person view during combat isn't really a solution. If there are issues present, we'll find them and fix them. If you like the game and want to help us with that, you can report those issues or create a post with feedback. As for the Tencent Ylands version: players are indeed required to have WeGame client installed (which is similar to Steam). You don't have to worry about them having access to something present in the video that the Steam version doesn't have - in the trailer they are showing how they see the future Ylands games, it's a vision of things to come. We really like what they've created and who knows what Ylands games / Explore worlds will look like in the next few years?
  15. Dev Diary #56

    Hey there, fellow ylanders. For a long time we have tried to separate general topics and those that covered upcoming features into two specific types of posts - Dev Diaries and Sneak Peeks. Lately the difference has started to become less and less apparent, so we believe it’s time to continue with just Dev Diaries that will, from now on, contain everything we want to tell you at that point. In other words: the name will always be Dev Diary from now on, regardless of the actual content. Now let’s move over to more important things - actually to VERY important things. This Tuesday, Ylands has been released in China as a part of Tencent’s Early Access programme. Below you can see the release video. Tencent's artists created an epic vision of what Ylands can become and we'll do our best to get there. (big grin) Jokes aside, this is a big moment for us. Getting to this point was anything but easy, but if we succeed in China, Ylands will get yet another boost that Steam players will benefit from - the team can grow even larger, issues are reported and reproduced faster and the game will become more "visible". It may sound like a cliche but we truly are extremely excited about this. It’s a great satisfaction to watch the first Chinese streamers play Ylands - even though we have no idea at all what they’re talking about, it’s obvious they’re having a good time playing the game (and so are we while reading texts shown in their channels "translated" by Google Translator - so unless Skynet is going to eradicate humankind with poorly translated jokes, the AI will have to evolve a bit more before it becomes an actual threat (smile) ). Chinese Ylands Early Access trailer (link leads to Tencent's online video player) And last but not least - Ane and Marci (in other words our "Ylands Community and Marketing Department") have started posting more interesting content through our social channels, from time to time we are releasing short Instagram stories where various Ylands devs talk about what they’re working on right now, and there’s some other interesting content being posted as well. If you want to know more about us and about what we do, don’t forget to check those once in a while! Speaking about being more informed - next week I would like to let you know what’s causing all those darn issues related to ships, and what are we currently doing to fix it. That’s it for today. Have a great weekend, ylanders, and as always - stay classy!