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Aleš Ulm

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About Aleš Ulm

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  1. Hey there, fellow Ylanders! We're very excited to let you know that update 1.10 "Ymproved Ylands" has left our doors and after it goes through some external checks, you will get your hands on all the cool stuff it brings (*cough* FPS camera *cough *). I realized that it might be interesting to explain what is going on with the game build now, and what it has to go through before it gets to you. So let's do it. At some point, when we feel confident enough about the current state of the game version we're planning to release, we do what is called a "submit". At that point, the version of the game exists in a specific development "branch" called RC - Release Candidate. This branch is created from the current game code branch that is generally called "trunk" when the data lock happens - when we reached a planned moment when we say "from now on, no new features will be added to the planned update and we just focus on testing and fixing bugs". At that moment, we copy the whole game source code and create the RC branch. It is necessary because some devs are already working on features meant for future updates and the last thing we need is them changing the game parts that have already been tested and approved for the release. So once we're happy with the state of the RC branch build, we say that it's ready to be released. "Happy" as in "there are known issues, but they are not critical and there are about a million things we would have liked to squeeze into this update as well, but it's too late", not as in "there are zero bugs we're aware of and the update contains absolutely everything we wanted it to contain". Next, we do what's called a "submission". All platforms have some rules you have to follow and an automatic process that checks your build before it lets you make it public, so we first need to send the game update for approval. On one side of the spectrum is Steam, where you can send pretty much anything and players can access it almost instantly. On the other side is Apple, where the guidelines are very strict and they change quite often and it can take days to find out if there's some issue, so every submission is, for the lack of a better word, fun. Once we've been approved by all the platforms, we can do the actual release. We let you know that there will be maintenance beforehand and when the time comes, we prevent you from running the game. Every major update requires that we upload it to the backend (pretty much the game servers) and run it there. If we didn't do it, you would download version 1.10 which would try to communicate with the servers running version 1.9 and the game wouldn't work that way. The actual update process is quite fast so the most of the two hours the game is unavailable to you we test if the connection with servers is working correctly and everything runs as expected. If we find a problem we fix it and if it takes a longer time than expected, the maintenance window is made longer. So now, when you (hopefully) see the maintenance message sometime next week when you run Ylands, you'll know that somewhere in Prague, in a large glass building we are frantically trying to make things work so that you can enjoy "Ymproved Ylands" (the update, which, by the way, was originally named "Balanced Balance" ). That's it for this week and we'll talk to you again soon. Until then - stay classy, Ylanders!
  2. Hey there, fellow Ylanders! Today we would like to tell you something about new assets that you will be able to find in 1.10. You will be able to find a lot of new underwater objects such as Giant Starfish, Giant Sea Cucumber, Giant Sea Urchin... and many more things that may or may not be also Giant. Speaking of underwater assets - we are fully aware that in the 1.9 we pressured players too much to go into depths and get ingredients for various recipes, even such that would be possible to craft without those. That is something we are planning to adjust for 1.10 as part of a massive rebalancing which, we believe, will address a lot of issues you've been reporting. We plan to talk about that in the next Dev Diary. To make travelling the seas more fun in 1.10 you will also find new ornated ships bows, big steam and ylandium engines and a brand new motorboat. To make it easier to sail to other ylands there's a new primitive ship waiting to be crafted. Based on your feedback we'll be releasing also objects that are not related to sailing such as a glass door or a scroll. That's it for today and we're looking forward to talking to you next week when we'll discuss the general improvements planned for Exploration. Until then have fun and stay classy!
  3. Hey there, fellow Ylanders! Most of the features and tweaks and fixes you find in Ylands' updates do come from your feedback. However - we are players as well. And we play Ylands as well. And yes, from time to time we too get angry and frustrated by what we experience. Some time ago we had an internal poll where we asked the team what small, easy to fix things annoy them the most. Because those are minor issues that shouldn't take that long to fix or implement, you will very likely see some of them fixed in the next update. So, here are some examples of what the devs themselves put on that list: Show particle/visual effect on workstation while something is being crafted in it When I travel into a new Yland, spawn the ship in the 'free-to-travel' zone instead of outside of it so that I can change my mind and immediately travel elsewhere without needing to turn the ship around and sail into the travel zone again. Be able to light a torch in hand without going to inventory Button to dismiss all "NEW" notifications from crafting Allow players to change weapons when reloading (crossbow or any weapon). Often I'm stuck reloading when I want to fight. Make it more obvious that the player is receiving damage Do some of those annoy you as well? Are there other things that you think could be easy to change but would make a difference? Next week we can talk about any ideas you throw at us. Until then stay healthy and classy!
  4. Hey there, Ylanders! If things go right, the next Dev Diary you'll read will be about the successful release of update 1.9. Once again, it is a big one. For a long time, the seas were just dull places with not much to do. With 1.9, though, you will get various gorgeous underwater biomes with interesting Random Encounters and resources. You will craft pieces of diving equipment to reach deeper places and travel to other regions to get specific fish while avoiding deadly sharks. All this - and all other features and fixes both big and small - are based on feedback and wishes you've provided us with. Also, many of these features were tweaked based on the specific feedback you provided by playing the Experimental build of 1.9 in the past few days. These adjustments are either already present in the 1.9 update you'll get later next week or they're being tested and will be introduced in some of the future patches. This time many of you decided to help us with fine-tuning the update before its release, so let us thank you again. Getting your feedback is a tremendous help and that's why for 1.10 we will focus on cooperating with you even more and in earlier stages of the development process. We hope that when you get your hands on Ocean Odysseys you will like what we've created together. So see you underwater next week and until then... stay healthy and classy!
  5. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #214 Update Lore

    Hey there, Ylanders! We have finished the Ylands roadmap that we will be sharing with you very soon, but before we do that, I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about our plans in a more general way. Firstly what happens this year; instead of having four major updates a year, beginning with this one, we're going to release three. This doesn't mean that you will get fewer goodies than before, the updates will be larger - the upcoming 1.9 will give you some idea as to what I'm talking about. Pushing more into fewer updates is important because it will give us more time to test. (screenshot by jrock) Even though it may sound like if the overall amount of things released during the year is roughly the same, there should be no difference if it's released in three or four updates. The truth is, that every single release creates a massive overhead just by itself (all the processes that go with it), that this will help us a lot. Probably the most important thing, though, is, that we will have more time to discuss the features with you as they come to life. There are already some things in this update based on what you suggested when we told you about how we're currently implementing them that this should help improve the quality a lot. As for the content of those updates - there are currently four priorities that we have when it comes to deciding what will be added, reworked, tweaked or fixed: Things we've either promised you in the past or ones that you've been asking for for a long time. Fixing things that annoy you, make the game confusing or hard to enjoy (especially when it comes to multiplayer issues). Keep tying all the loose ends in the game, all the stand-alone systems, so that they work and work together with the rest of the game to create one seamless experience. Not only Exploration features themselves but allowing you to utilize the power of our Editor to make your own Exploration experiences. Give the game a sense of goal for those who seek it, something to look forward to. Something to achieve by going through all the hardships. By bravely exploring new worlds, crafting advanced tools and weapons. By fighting monsters. The last two points lead me to something we have started working on some time ago and that you might be able to notice in small amounts in 1.9 already and which will be much more present with every following update: Ylands lore. A thing that will make you understand the Ylands world better and, most importantly, allow us to create some pretty cool end-game content. This is something we are extremely excited about and hopefully something, you will like. And that's it for today. We will talk to you soon so until then - stay healthy and classy!
  6. Aleš Ulm

    Zoo Jumbo

    Wow! ?
  7. Hi there, fellow ylanders. One of the updates in the past has brought a very unpopular change to the game - the maps and ylands got smaller. It‘s something we had to do due to a bug in the engine we‘re using, Unity, which caused various problems as the players got further from the center of the map. This was something that many (quite understandably) felt was limiting the Exploration experience. It was a tough, very unpopular call but one that had to be made. It is with great joy that I can announce that in update 1.8 you‘re going to see large maps return. With the issue on Unity‘s side mostly fixed and some clever programming our smart guys did we‘ve fixed yet another problem that prevented you from enjoying Exploration to its fullest. Not only are the large maps returning but they can be even bigger than before. How big, you ask? Currently, we are still experimenting with filling the larger area with content. It would be easy for us just to spawn a lot of similar ylands across a larger map but we feel that true Exploration comes from reaching new interesting places and facing new challenges so the last thing we want is for you to feel like we simply „stretched“ the current maps. It‘s possible (actually it‘s more than likely) that the larger maps won‘t be used to their full potential in 1.8 and this feature will become more apparent when we also do the planned changes to landscapes so that it‘s generated more unique and interesting, but you‘ll surely start seeing the results of us getting past this issue in the upcoming update. That‘s it for today and until we talk again - stay classy and healthy!
  8. Hi there, fellow ylanders! Here we are with yet another bunch of cool features you can expect in update 1.8. Because we plan to share some pretty cool 1.8 Exploration features in the next diary, today we‘ll take a look at the Editor, namely Visual Scripting. So what new tools will those of you who create great new things expect to find in the next update? Find out what platform is a player playing on and adjust anything in the game accordingly. Maybe you want to make something a bit easier for mobile players to compensate for the lack of precise controls? As always, we will provide an extension of your event listeners so that you can react to even more events than before. And you know what‘s super fun? Now you can enable a ragdoll mode for the player's character and apply a force to it. Getting hit by a giant pendulum is way more fun if it makes your character fly across the room! The last thing we‘re going to mention here is something that those who script games will surely love. A brand new panel displaying not only all the game errors (this much you can already see in the console), but something much more advanced, which lets you pick an error and see its details - specifically what instructions were processed before the game ran into this problem. If you are familiar with how a stack monitor works in Visual Studio or other similar programs, you surely see how much this will make your life easier (if not, just take our word for it ). Long story short - if you‘re creating and like to play with the Editor and Visual scripting, in update 1.8 you will find dozens of new features, improvements and fixed (and we still have something truly awesome left to show you some other time ). That‘s all for now and we will talk to you next week. Until then - stay classy and healthy!
  9. 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!
  10. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #174 Stream Q&A

    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!
  11. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #172 Bigger ylands

    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!
  12. 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
  13. 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!
  14. Aleš Ulm

    Dev Diary #170 1.6 is out

    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!
  15. 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.