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Aleš Ulm

Ylands Team
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About Aleš Ulm

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    Creative Director

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  1. Hey there, fellow ylanders! A lot of you have been asking about what will the updates beyond 1.7 bring and so today I would like to give you some information about 1.8, which will be mostly focused on polishing and adjusting. As you know, we have been working really hard on making Exploration much better and some quite radical changes have been done. So far, you, the players, seem to like where we‘re headed, which is reassuring. However, the game can't be made better just by throwing in massive changes. So far we have received literally thousands of pieces of feedback. Ideas on how to improve features. What you are missing. What you don‘t like. You might have noticed (at least we hope you have ) that in every update we try to react to such feedback, but it‘s not enough. Because of the major features and big changes, there‘s usually not enough time to fix smaller things. Some may think that these things are not that important, that we would be better off adding feature X or Y. But the truth is that when there are many such things (and there are), the overall experience suffers. This may not be such a problem for a long time Ylands players who are already accustomed to some of our weird quirks, but this is something that needs to be taken care of before we try to attract more players back to our game. And that‘s why 1.8 will be mainly about polishing. We are going through your feedback and deciding what are the things that you (and the game) need and which we haven‘t managed to fix. It can be a small annoying UI thing or something that a larger game system is missing (how can one have naval battles when ships can‘t be damaged...(sad) ). Just to give you some examples - an easier way to share games with other players, building improvements, being able to carry a torch while holding a weapon and much more. So what would YOU like us to fix? With 1.8 released we expect to feel good enough about the game so that we can start actively bringing new players into the game. We consider that a whole new chapter for Exploration. So, that‘s it for today. I will see you next week and until then... stay healthy and classy, ylanders!
  2. Hey there, fellow ylanders! The regular streams we‘re doing with Naru are a lot of fun and we get to answer a lot of questions from you, the players. Unfortunately, sometimes it‘s impossible to provide all the information you seek because it first needs to be consulted with the team. So today I‘ll post answers to such questions here and the next week we‘ll return to talking about the cool Exploration / Editor features, which the 1.7 update is going to bring. Q: Can the Ylands Team add random encounters without uploading the game client? Or was that just for Custom Scenario islands? A: At this point, it is possible only for custom scenario ylands. Q: Will we be able to customize the appearance of the new vendors? A: Technically it is definitely possible. We‘ve put it in our suggestion list, but it has a low priority. Q: Can we change the terrain to y=0 in Editor? A: To put this simply - the visible mesh is calculated from voxel terrain data and there is certain imprecision that is difficult to get rid of. So, unfortunately, there is currently no easy way for us to align the terrain precisely with the plane at zero y coordinate. Q: When will the players be able to transport tamed animals and vehicles by ship? Is there an estimate for this time? (yes/no is ok) A: We‘ve already tested various solutions and there are some serious issues with this (not unsolvable but requiring substantial time that would have to be taken away from other features) so in the end, we are leaning towards the idea of allowing (un)summoning those instead of transporting them. We would like to have this feature in the 1.8 update. Q: Can the players have a branch of the tech tree for refining oil? A: This is a neat idea and we‘re storing it for later (possibly when we do a major update of energy) Q: Are we bringing back the repair system? A: What is a very high priority for us is being able to repair ships so that players can engage in naval battles. We‘ll try to bring this to the game as soon as possible (sometime past 1.7). The damage/repair system for items is something that we would like to bring back at some point but in a different, more interesting way. However, it‘s not currently slated for either 1.7 or 1.8. Q: Can we have more slots in the toolbox? A: That is definitely a problem and we‘ll fix that in the upcoming 1.7 update. Q: Can creators get the hit position for thrown objects (grenades and arrows)? A: This is currently not possible (basically right now whenever an object is fired/thrown it becomes a different entity and is stripped of most of its data), but we understand that this can be very handy and so we will look into it some more. Q: Can creators create groups using scripting? A: Not really. At this point the groups don‘t exist in the game, they are just a helpful way of putting together objects in the Editor and in the game this information is not present. Q: Can players add grass terrain (like sand/dirt) in Exploration? A: This is something we are currently discussing - not only this type of terrain but maybe also being able to „pick“ some water and drop it someplace else. We‘ll keep you posted. Q: Can creators get a better raycast for where the players are looking A: TL;DR: Right now it‘s not possible, but it should be in future. Detailed answer: This is a good question because it touches an „issue“ that affects a lot of scripting done by creators. The way things work in Ylands is, that in the multiplayer, absolute majority of the game is simulated on the server and very few on the client. When you play a single-player local game, this isn‘t an issue. But when it‘s multiplayer, it‘s when things get ugly. For example, all the scripting is performed on the server, while the camera is handled only locally and the server doesn‘t have any information about where each player is looking (because it doesn‘t really care about that and in MP you always want to send as little data between a client and a server as possible). This is also why it‘s not easy for us to add some specific instructions. Imagine you would want us to add a feature where you would (on a mobile device) want to evaluate a pinch gesture to say, zoom your camera. While this would work well in locally run singleplayer, in a MP game we would have to send the current gestures data to the server, it would act based on that and send back the result to the client. If your latency is high, say 150ms, it would take 300 ms for you to see the effect of your action. Be assured that if the game took one third of a second to react to your gestures (or even more) it would be useless. There are two ways of solving this. Firstly it‘s some sort of prediction (which we already use with some things like player‘s movement) but which needs to be specifically tailored to every feature/use case or by allowing some scripts to run locally and perform some actions without having to communicate with the server. If you‘re among the creators that keep running into this problem you may be happy to hear that we are already discussing how to implement some sort of "local scripting" and even though I can‘t give you any timeframe at this point, we feel that this is extremely important and want to have it in the game as soon as possible. Q: Can the players use a compass while riding/flying potion/driving? A: Sure, we‘ll add that. So, that‘s it for today. I will see you next week and until then... stay healthy and classy, ylanders!
  3. Hey there, fellow ylanders. A couple of years back we had to do something that was quite unpopular but, unfortunately, necessary. Ylands maps got smaller. The reason for this was related to some inner workings of the Unity engine (or, to be precise, something that every engine has to deal with to some extent). In a nutshell - the further you get from the of your world, the less accurate some computations are. At some distance from this scene origin, the shadows started acting weird and other issues appeared. Ylands wasn‘t the only game to experience this. In fact, every larger Unity-based game at that time suffered from this. And to make sure players didn‘t run into various problems in these more distant areas, we decided to make the maps smaller. It wasn‘t a popular decision by far, nevertheless a necessary one. Why am I bringing this up you may ask? Unity engine has come a long way since then and so I am happy to announce that with this issue gone we plan to make the maps bigger again. Consider this yet another step we‘re doing to get Exploration back on the right track. Speaking of things that have improved and allow us to do things we were not able to do before: The mobile devices (even the average ones, not just the top tier) can now handle even demanding, sophisticated games and so it‘s my pleasure to announce that Exploration is coming to mobile devices as well. We see this as an opportunity to let more players experience it so that we can keep focusing on it more and more. And just to be perfectly clear - the existence of mobile Exploration won‘t affect the PC version in any way. PC players will still experience the game the same way they always have. We will release more information about mobile Exploration specifics in the upcoming weeks. That‘s all for today. As always - stay safe and classy, ylanders!
  4. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #171 Crafting improvements

    @spiritchaser28 How will the specific things unlock is yet to be finalized/tested, but we definitely plan to keep adding recipes for items that don't have them, some of them in 1.7. @jar.janca Known recipes will be reset only when starting a new game
  5. Hey there, fellow ylanders. We are currently finalizing a patch that will fix some things that have popped up since we‘ve released update 1.6 and are fully focusing on version 1.7 so it seems like a good time to start discussing some of the features (or changes) we are currently working on. One of the things we would like to address in the next update is crafting recipes and how you learn these. We already have a huge number of items you can craft in the games (and, as promised, will be adding recipes for more existing objects based on your feedback). Right now there are over 2000 recipes in the game - which is quite a lot. Being able to craft so many things is good, but working with so many recipes is not an easy task... and neither is learning them. In the past players used to learn those gradually based on some relationships between the objects they crafted and those unknown to them. This, however, wasn't working very well, so currently, the players have access to all the recipes right from the beginning. Even though they are divided into categories, finding what can be crafted can be quite painstaking and not fun at all. Also, and that‘s actually the most important thing, there‘s no fun in uncovering new recipes, no awarding those that deserve it. To improve this game part we plan to do the following: * dramatically reduce the number of recipes available right from the start. We will divide all the recipes into two categories - let‘s call them „core“ and „fun“. The core ones (mostly things needed to progress through the game) you will know right from the start. The rest (the absolute majority) you will uncover during your travels. So those, who explore, will have more interesting clothes, prettier houses, finer statues. * group some entities even further, so instead of 20+ hay building blocks blocking (pun intended) what you see in the list you will see one „hay building blocks“ group * do some UX tweaks to existing UI We believe this change will have a major impact on gameplay. The exploration will feel much more rewarding, players‘ clothing and housing will be highly differentiated. This is also the reason why we won‘t let players choose when starting a new Exploration game whether they already know all the recipes - we want the world to feel real and plan to add the possibility of sharing the recipes with others. That's it for today and we will talk to you again in a week. Until then, as always, stay healthy and classy, ylanders!
  6. Hey there, fellow ylanders! Update 1.6 is out and based on the initial feedback it seems you like it. There are some things we surely need to look into (yes, the propeller pack 😊 ), we need to fix some things here and there but in general, we think this was, once again a step in the right direction. So what‘s next? Our quest for better Exploration continues. Our plans for 1.7 are, among other things, to give Exploration more meaning, give players more incentive to explore and progress. We are also planning to introduce some major changes to the crafting system so that it‘s less overwhelming and more rewarding. And as I already mentioned before, we want everyone to be able to give Exploration a try and see for themselves, if the changes we‘re constantly making have made it good enough for them to invest in by buying the Exploration pack. Editor and platform will see some cool improvements as well - we will, for example, finalize the text scripting, which we think will give creators better tools to create complex games (speaking of scripting, you may want to check scripting.ylands.com to see for yourself if it‘s something you‘d be interested in using). With 1.6 released we are gradually starting to talk about the specific 1.7 features and plans (and even the roadmap for the rest of this year) and there‘s definitely much to look forward to. And last but certainly not least, today we welcome our new Community manager Nikki! Let‘s give her some space to introduce herself: Hi everyone! What a huge honor to be joining this awesome community! I can´t wait to get to know you better and join you in your continued efforts to push Ylands towards even more awesomeness. A few words about myself: I am a geeky nerd who loves D&D, plays Quidditch and reads lots of books and plays lots of (board/video) games. At the same time, I love good fun (and a good prank here and there) so the fact that I´m joining on April Fools Day is very fitting and I´m sure it´s also a sign of all the fun that the Ylands community has to offer! So, that‘s it for today. I will see you next week and until then... stay healthy and classy, ylanders!
  7. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #169 Come talk to us

    @spiritchaser28 What you see in the screenshot was created in the editor (it's one of the custom maps). But it's true that we are currently working on improving the terrain generator to be able to create more interesting landscapes (but I can promise that this will be present already in 1.7). @bojo2736 I think you don't need to worry about that We're not trying to force players into doing something they wouldn't want to do. If anything, freedom and exploration (so, sandbox game features in general) are what we want to strengthen. The progression we talk about will be more of a side-effect of the things you already do in the game than making you do something very specific and not-fitting in the game just for the sake of completing a task.
  8. Hey there, fellow ylanders. Hopefully, this will be the last Dev Diary before we release update 1.6. Not that long ago, I (Аles, Ylands Project Lead) was in Naru‘s Tuesday stream and tried to answer as many questions (both asked in advance and during the stream itself) as possible. If you‘re interested in learning more about what we discussed, you can take a look here (huge thanks to the incredible @ocnoglittle). It was great and we would like to continue doing this on the regular basis every two weeks. So, if you have any questions, comments or criticism, you‘re welcome to join next Tuesday‘s stream here. With 1.6 almost out of the door, it‘s time to start talking about what‘s next for Ylands. In a few weeks, we plan to release a roadmap for the rest of the year but I think we can already give you a rough idea about what 1.7 will be about. Update 1.7 will once again, focus on Exploration. We are slowly getting to a stage where we feel good enough about the Exploration experience, and can actively start bringing in more players. And to make that a reality, with update 1.7, we would like to focus on: * giving Exploration gameplay some sort of progression, with a clear path/goals to follow * making it more friendly & welcoming towards new players * making it easier for players to socialize there * add some sort of Exploration "trial" for those who may wish to see, what is the new Exploration about * bringing in more interesting, unique handcrafted ylands to make exploring much more fun and rewarding * fixing / improving some of the things mentioned by the community on a regular basis But our Editor team will definitely keep working as well. You can expect further improvements to text scripting, many quality-of-life improvements as well as enhancement of existing features. That‘s it for today and the next time we will talk some more about 1.7. Until then stay healthy and classy, ylanders!
  9. @Yo HasLEGO So some of the blocks are light and some are dark intentionally? I think we misunderstood the feedback in the beginning - we thought that originally you had all blocks painted with the same color, but you had some lighter, right? The problem is, that the light block are now lighter than before?
  10. We have checked the stone blocks and they all seem to look the same in 1.6 (lighter, but all have the same shade of grey) @Yo HasLEGO - can you maybe send us your scene? Are the brighter/darker blocks setup in a same way? I mean no change in color, intensity etc)
  11. Hi! firstly I apologize for not including the note into the changelog right away - the changelog for Experimental version is always completed in hurry and is not checked as the one that is made public with the official release - we added it as soon as we noticed players mentioned this. There are two reasons for this change - firstly we are optimizing the block and we are also (as @spiritchaser28 mentioned) fixing some blocks that were setup in a different way, were always darker and painting them didn't yield the expected results. Those are the blocks that now look brighter. HOWEVER - we optimized whole groups of these blocks, so where some stone blocks appear brighter, they should all be brighter, no just some. This looks like a bug and we'll look into this right away. Also if a collision box isn't shaped as the actual objects then it's a bug and needs to be fixed. Thank you very much for your feedback!
  12. Hi there, fellow ylanders! Good news - we are now mere days away from releasing 1.6! We've just recently released the PC-only Experimental build and you have already reported some issues, which is great and we are very grateful for your time! This update is packed with Exploration features as well as with some pretty cool things Creators will love and since there are still some we haven't mentioned yet, let just quickly go through some of the remaining features. One of the coolest features of this update is the possibility of "inviting" vendors to your ylands. After you create a specific workstation, you can make vendor banners that can be placed anywhere on your yland. What vendor comes to settle on your yland depends on the type of banner you create. You can use this feature in many ways - not only for yourself but to create a trading hub where other players can trade with your vendors, for example. In future updates we are planning to enhance this feature even more - for example, allowing the vendor owner to set prices and get profits from sold items. Unfortunately, we have witnessed many times players that join a game not to experience Ylands but to annoy and harass others. To make sure this happens as few times as possible, we have implemented the Player reporting tool. Whenever you're in the game and someone harasses you or misbehaves, you can report them along with the reason. This will be sent to us along with a screenshot and recent chats of the reported player. We will look into this, see what has happened, and take appropriate measures. We've already mentioned this before but only partially - in 1.6 Creators will be able to import midi files and use those as music in their games. Not only they will be able to use single songs, but we've added an option to set up playlists that you can later play in your games. We noticed that letting you use your custom bitmaps in games resulted in some awesome things so we are enhancing this feature even further! Now you will be able to scale, rotate and flip these images... and also position them from Visual scripting. Last, but definitely not least there is a brand new Custom controller. What is it good for? Well, this allows you to re-route the controls from a character to any custom object in the game. So now you can easily control, say, a rocket. But the best part is, that this feature comes with client/server prediction, which means, that using this feature even with MP games (or any games not hosted on your client) will mean way less lag than you would normally get. This really opens the door to some new & exciting game types. That's it for today! Hopefully, we will release 1.6 as soon as possible and can start talking about what cool Exploration and Editor features we're already cooking for 1.7 (and Exploration fans are in for a big treat (wink) ). Until then, as always, stay healthy, and classy, ylanders!
  13. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #167 Fixing Exploration

    @Vega3221 I don't understand what made you so angry - I didn't say anything about us being fine with that and I think we can certainly keep doing videos without saying "Jesus". On the other hand, since doing this wasn't surely intentional I find your reaction unnecessarily aggressive. Also, we didn't do anything about your reputation - all changes in reputation are caused only by other players rating your posts. And finally, if you feel like discussing this topic further, I would like to suggest creating a new thread in the General section or PM me directly because this thread is meant for discussion about other things. Thanks!
  14. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #167 Fixing Exploration

    @Vega3221 Hi. I am sorry if you got offended by what he said, but I think that making assumptions about what he's going to say next (F-word) based on his saying "Jesus" seems to be a bit far-fetched. We've been communicating with our players for many years now (both through videos and writing) and this, as far as I can remember, the first complaint of this kind we've received. However, it's good to know that you will keep monitoring our videos - if you ever hear any "ugly" words, please feel free to create a new thread about it or send a private message directly to me. Thanks @others: Thanks for your questions/feedback - I will do my best to react to those on Monday or Tuesday. It seems the situation with our CM should resolve quite soon and we will be able to respond faster
  15. Hey there, fellow ylanders. Today I would like to continue talking about some of the concerns you have voiced and the problems that you’ve faced. One of the most common complaints was about the quality of the servers; progress being lost or wiped. I know this did happen quite often in the past (especially with Exploration games after 1.5 - that’s one of the reasons Exploration was marked as “experimental”) but with several fixes released post 1.5, we believe this shouldn’t happen anymore. There still may be some hidden bugs that under some circumstances require a server restart, but I promise we'll do our best to eliminate these as well. Due to how the game works now, even if a restart happens - in no case should the player lose more than around 10 minutes of the progress. If your current experience differs, please let us know on our forums and feel free to PM me. I will do my best to help you with that. Another thing I promised to talk about is the size of the Ylands community. By focusing on the platform more than on Exploration in the last few years we've lost a lot of the players we initially had. We also made some unpopular decisions such as going F2P, that caused the community to shrink further. At the same time, we didn’t really try actively to bring more players to Exploration because we wanted to fix it, improve it ... but never really got to it until now. So our plan right now is to release 1.6 before the end of this month. This update will bring a lot of cool new features to Exploration and fix many of the issues you've reported (missing smoothing tool, overpowered propeller pack, and more). We hope that by fixing and improving Exploration, we will eventually get to an amazing experience that you all be happy with. We have already started working on two major features for 1.7, which are directly based on your feedback and will, without any doubt, make Exploration much better and closer to what we all want it to be. We will start talking with you about those immediately after 1.6 is released. We are so confident about 1.7 being a major Exploration improvement that we are planning to actively start bringing players into Ylands again. At that point we would like to ask those who have left at any point, disappointed by the state of the game, to come back and see what we’ve done with it with the last 3 updates. At the same time, we will let even those who don’t own Exploration to try it in a limited way (currently we’re thinking of limiting them to their starting yland, however, we will allow other players to visit them - if they own the DLC). So that’s our plan. I understand the disappointment of those who were more interested in Exploration than Editor, but I truly believe that if they spare a few minutes to check out the new Exploration this summer, they will be pleasantly surprised. That's it for today - next week I will tell you more about what great Exploration features you can expect in update 1.6. Until then, as always... stay healthy and classy, ylanders!
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