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Aleš Ulm

Dev Diary #172 Bigger ylands

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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.

ylands_2021-04-15_15-29-31-21.jpg

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!

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4 hours ago, Aleš Ulm said:

 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 will release more information about mobile Exploration specifics in the upcoming weeks. 

Most players will be interested in the maps getting bigger, but this is a very promising for me! 

I said on multiple occasions that I play Minecraft quite a lot. By that I did not mean the Java (PC) Edition but the mobile version. By my estimate I have about 200 hours in the PC version and about 1500 hours on mobile. It's more comfortable for me. Inbetween airplane transits, when I'm sleepy, whenever I don't have my computer with me. Also, I'm very average user of computers but I would say I know my way around Androids 😁 Which means that my phones are no way much behind my computers 😄 

I didn't find the right reason for me to keep more than Gb on my phone occupied by Ylands app. If it has Exploration? I'm sure it will be amongst the first apps I would install on a new phone. Even with lesser graphics or limited multiplayer 😛

Looking forward to it! 

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5 hours ago, Aleš Ulm said:

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.

Very interesting, I always thought the map size limit was due to performance issues 

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Please, please, bring back the more jagged islands, with the high spot in the middle, and the old style death caves.

Also, looking at that picture it reminds me of something I meant to write about.  The lighting situation.  Is it possible to not have the light "stack" one work station is fine.  Try to use two or more and it's the brightness of the sun.  Same with lanterns and really any light source.   We used to have some subtle options (glowing mushrooms and clear ice blocks to diffuse the light) but those got nerfed along the way.  I often design builds with light and shadow in mind.  It's impossible in the game as it is.  

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1 hour ago, bojo2736 said:

Please, please, bring back the more jagged islands, with the high spot in the middle, and the old style death caves.

 

Hi bojo, we asked about this in the Q&A and they are going to ask the cave/topology designer what is possible. They are worried if the caves are too uneven, the AI will get super confused, but they will try to push this with the Custom Scenario handmade islands, so the players still get interesting handmade caves.

1 hour ago, bojo2736 said:

Also, looking at that picture it reminds me of something I meant to write about.  The lighting situation.  Is it possible to not have the light "stack" one work station is fine.  Try to use two or more and it's the brightness of the sun.  Same with lanterns and really any light source.

This is a great question and I will make sure it gets included in the next Q&A if Aleš doesn't respond here. I know they plan on reworking the lighting from the torches, but I think that is to increase the lighting so we can see in caves, etc.

1 hour ago, bojo2736 said:

We used to have some subtle options (glowing mushrooms and clear ice blocks to diffuse the light) but those got nerfed along the way.  I often design builds with light and shadow in mind.  It's impossible in the game as it is.  

What about blue or yellow crystals? Or even red/ylandium if you want to go that direction?

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7 hours ago, zarwil said:

Very interesting, I always thought the map size limit was due to performance issues 

I agree. I really thought the big maps were super unstable. I would rather have small maps that are stable than big maps that most computers can't handle. Exploration is unlimited in size because of how many islands are possible, but some computers can only handle rendering a bit at a time, so I actually appreciated the small maps.

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We have no choice other than have a better computer, Ocnog. I really want to see more bigger and jagged ylands.

Gaming is always developing, so its mandatory to have the computer up-dated.

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But having bigger maps isn't needed for bigger islands. Just have less sea... and maybe only 1 big island on the map instead of 4 🤔

My computer is fine btw, but we can't demand everyone get a RAM upgrade like Spirit did.

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For the record, I hope everyone disagrees with me and thinks their computers can handle it.

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1 hour ago, ocnoglittle said:

For the record, I hope everyone disagrees with me and thinks their computers can handle it.

My computer took about 30 minutes yesterday to launch Chrome, so... 🤔😅

(I smell factory reset incoming 🤫

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Just now, ocnoglittle said:

My computer is fine btw, but we can't demand everyone get a RAM upgrade like Spirit did.

I think most people should be fine, given that Ylands is supposed to be runnable on phones. If your PC is slower than an average phone, then you shouldn't expect it to be able to run games very well. Just my 2 cents. 

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Why do we need larger maps in the new exploration? We can travel wherever we want. Our world is almost unlimited. I think that's better for performance too.

Addendum: My computer has no problems with it, but I have some doubts whether the game will make it. Please also consider the players who do not have such powerful computers.

I think there are more important things at the moment.

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Posted (edited)

I just wish you couldnt see them all from spawn. I miss the adventure of finding them. Ships were required if you wanted to get off the starter island. Now, a raft (or horse) are really all you need. Heck, with no sharks, I have even swam.

Edited by bojo2736
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