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Dev Diary #309 Not all work is visible

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Ahoy Ylanders!

In game development, not everything we do is immediately visible or playable in the upcoming updates. We often find ourselves preparing for future features, creating tools for designers, or making adjustments to NPCs, resources, or gameplay mechanics to enhance the player experience. Sometimes we need to get back to the old features or technology and rewrite the code or change the graphic assets so it fits the game better.


Gameplay adjustments

Gameplay adjustments are often necessary during the development to improve the overall player experience and ensure a fun and engaging gameplay. Let's explore an example of gameplay adjustments made for Ylands, specifically related to the introduction of the Tech Tree and resource placement. When preparing to release the Tech Tree, a significant improvement for Ylands, the design team had to carefully reconsider the placement of resources throughout the game world. The goal was to create an experience that encourages players to explore the Ylands world, discover new recipes within the Tech Tree, and ultimately, have fun.

New tools for designers

Luckily, not everything has to be handled by the programmers. They often cook up some nifty tools that designers can use to sprinkle in all sorts of stuff into the game without any coding. Adding a quest into the handbook can be a good example. That way, the seasoned programmers can put their focus on the really important stuff while the game keeps getting cooler. Yet, creating tools like this is not instant and starts delivering visible impact exactly one update later.

Technical debt

It is not uncommon for game developers to introduce a completely new feature, only to realize during team feedback or playtesting that it requires a few additional elements to enhance understanding and enjoyment. At times, these additions can be quickly implemented. However, in other cases, programmers may resort to "hacking" or applying temporary fixes, these deviations are often responsible for bugs in the future. Therefore we need to rework this code in the future updates, as they can hinder the implementation of new features. Additionally, when extending an existing feature, developers may discover that the initial code was flawed or some important aspects got overlooked. This realization requires reworking the code to address the shortcomings and avoid accumulating technical debt.

Have fun with any new update

We hope that you enjoy every new update even if there is no "flashy new feature" and we "just improve" something for you. All the changes, whether they are small or feels invisible are made so the Ylands could be an even more awesome game than it is now.

Thanks for understanding and Stay Classy!

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