Dev Update #18: Secrets of Gloomrot
Posted on March 9th, 2023 12:37 PM EST
Welcome, night kin, to another Dev Update.
Tonight we will discuss some details of the highly anticipated multi-floor castle improvements coming to V Rising in our first major content update, set for May. However, before we get into all of the new stuff, we’d like to ensure we’re all on the same page about the upcoming free expansion of the game and what you should expect.
Let’s have a look at what’s coming!
The official name for our first content update and the new places to explore!
Enter Gloomrot, a land of equal parts filth, ambition, brilliance, and madness! Navigate polluted valleys and lightning-scorched highlands to face the uncontrollable horrors of the Trancendum’s mutated experiments alongside the mechanical wonders born of their twisted imaginations. Suck the blood of the brilliantly insane to gain their knowledge and enter a new age of technology.
This new biome will be almost the same size as Dunley Farmlands and is divided into two unique sections, Gloomrot South and Gloomrot North. Each area will bring a new wave of challenges, technologies, and enemies, both great and small, with plenty of space to stretch out and settle your multi-floor strongholds.
More on Gloomrot as it comes. It is, after all, The “Secrets” of Gloomrot.
Gloomrot: A place of mad evolution and poisoned valleys north of the great expanse of Dunley, between The Silverlight Highlands and The Cursed Forest.
In May, it will be one year since V Rising launched into Early Access, and we’ve been well in tune with the ever-growing chorus of voices that is our community. We have heard what you have been asking for.
You want content.
We’ve been making it.
This update is more than a big patch; it will be an expansion-level event and a wide-scale update of the complete current state of the game. We’ve been steadily unveiling more and more of what we’re planning to release. So far, you might recognize some coming features as…
Dev Update #15: Future Visions « Stunlock Blog
- New weapons and weapon skills, such as the much-requested Greatsword.
- Changes to the current map to make it more visually attractive.
- New areas and points of interest.
- New enemy varieties in the current biomes.
- Changes to progression to make the whole journey smoother.
Dev Update #16: Experiments, Creations, and Dreams « Stunlock Blog
- A brand new biome with new enemies, factions, and V Bloods.
- Multiple castle floors.
- Expansion of Dunley Farmlands, such as the Quartz Mine and Glass Factory.
- A new spell school.
- Quality of life improvements.
- Trading Posts to buy valuable goods with your silver coins.
Dev Update #17: Dark Magic Designs « Stunlock Blog
- The Jewel system, which will allow you to customize your spells.
- Large overhaul to the entire spell system and spell schools to improve combat.
- Legendary weapons.
- Territories, a revamp on the land claiming system.
These are all features we plan to include in Update #1: Secrets of Gloomrot, when it launches in May.
There was a little confusion after the last blog, with some Vampires thinking they were only getting the spell updates mentioned last time, so we want to be clear that there’s a lot more coming. What we’ve shared so far is certainly not everything, either.
Update #1: Secrets of Gloomrot will be the first of three upcoming content updates planned for the foreseeable future. Update #2 will most likely be our full release and with every patch we aim to improve the vampire experience, getting the game closer to our grand vision.
Now let’s take a deeper look at our new castle-building features!
Castles are getting taller than ever, and we’re delighted to bring you the tools to build them. Adding a new verticality to your Vampire lairs will open up a world of possibilities in opulence and strategy alike.
How will it work? Let’s talk about building in the new age of Vardoran.
We’ve updated the stairs to work a bit differently. No longer are they simply the staircase that it took you about twenty hours of playtime to realize could only be placed on ramps, but now they’re much more. These new, bigger pieces are gateways to your upper demesne. Placing one of several new staircases allows you to walk to a new level, and once on that level, you’ll start placing floors to build out the shape of your second story.
Ascend to new heights within your stronghold.
Build an outdoor altar.
Different stairways to suit your style.
These staircases are critical. Once built, they’ll be your link to the higher levels and are thus indestructible during a siege. So even if enemy vampires take down every other wall of your castle, the presence of your staircase will keep the rest of your building standing. Gravity is a trifle in the face of your powerful architectural Vampire magic, and your incredibly stable staircases will be able to hold up a castle up to three stories tall.
Witness your domain from above.
Your new castle also comes with sorcerous safety features. Using the same technology we currently use to draw those lovely blue lines when you place territory, your castle will detect where you’ll need a railing. Your castle will simply construct the railings for you, preventing clumsy Vampires from tumbling over the edge. Don’t worry; you’re still free to leap over the edge. The railings also have defensive capabilities and prevent any attacks from crossing between them. No throwing spears at Vampires on upper levels, nor combusting them with mystical assaults.
Roofing still works much the same in practicality, forming naturally wherever you’ve got four walls or archways enclosing flooring. You can create grand palisades, rooftop gardens, or balconies to act as an entrance and exit when you take to the skies. The layout of your castle is now far more your own, with plenty of ways to create a structure for your greatest aesthetic desire or convenience.
Of course, with all this space, it needs to get a bit more convenient to get around. For this purpose, we’re introducing castle teleporters! No, not the massive structures you can use to teleport throughout the world, but instead smaller, localized paired teleporters. After finding the appropriate recipe and learning to craft them, our clever little sorcerers can create these magical passageways, allowing them to instantly warp from one to their twin. Don’t rely on teleporters during a siege, though! When your castle is breached, it will lose its functionality.
Getting from the first floor to the third floor has never been easier. Or possible, really, but now it is also very easy.
When Secret of Gloomrot emerges this May, it will include a wide array of structures to make better, more organized outdoor areas. With Territories allowing us to capture areas as a whole, our Vampires will be freer to use their open space. We’ve seen what you’re all capable of in creating massive and sweeping incredible gardens, and now you’ll finally have the tools to do it properly!
We’re also experimenting with major quality-of-life building features and trying to improve the overall experience by leaps and bounds. Instead of having long lists you must scroll through, we’re looking to condense building into a modular design. That means there will be one item with color and style options that you can improve by adding other items to it. Much in the same way you can add a set of drapes to a window, you’ll be able to hang blood rose vines on a standing planter.
This should simplify navigating the UI and allow us to add even more color variations without worrying about overwhelming the player! So more options for diversity in your building pieces are accessed more easily.
Now in Vampire Pink.
Some of you enjoy getting a peak into the more technical aspects of our shadowy ritual work, so for all of you Vampires out there that like to get your hands dirty with the raw and gritty details, this section is for you. Let’s take a peak behind the curtain into the oft-obscured world of the challenges of breaking the reality of your game until it works just the way you like.
Adding more levels to castles on its face sounds like a completely reasonable challenge to overcome. V Rising isn’t a two-dimensional space, after all. They’re 3D models traveling up and down ramps, jumping off cliffs, and using felled trees to cross bottomless ravines. Anyone who’s snuck into the center of Vardoran and traversed the misty ruins within (shame on you, you rascal) may have discovered the pain of trying to jump their way out, only to get stuck on a cliff with no path downward. What’s a more 3D experience than that?
Well, allow me to lift the illusion! V Rising is an isometric game that behaves entirely on a 2D plane. The floor only appears to rise and fall due to illusions regarding how edges work and as a matter of perspective. If you’ve ever had the experience of jumping off a cliff and over another player or object, you’ve had the experience of becoming immaterial so that you could pass through them, with the artistic illusion that you’re leaping while doing it.
Think of the world of Vardoran as a thrall. The thrall only understands what we teach it to understand, so it doesn’t really have a concept of ‘3D’. It only understands things two-dimensionally, which is how it was built to think. So the challenge of making multiple levels work is describing an incredibly diverse, complex, fundamental principle to our little servant.
Look at Gerald. There is barely a thought in his empty little Thrall head.
To make multiple levels possible in V Rising, we had to build in that third dimension with a series of exceptions and tricks. To make the game work and behave logically meant a massive revamp of how the space within castles work– and so far, only within castles. To do it in the greater world would be a whole other bag of issues to tackle, so we limited our scope to just the player-buildable space for now.
One of our most complex systems is our “placement rules,” which determine how objects in the world can be placed. This determines where rocks, trees, and bushes can spawn, so it may, for instance, prevent a tree from sprouting up straight through the floor of your castle. It also restricts where you can place and dismantle objects, helping recognize how objects are related to each other, snap into one another, and how they’re related to the environment. This huge rule set had no concept of up and down or multiple overlapping layers.
2D collision map. Red tiles represent barriers, places you cannot walk.
3D collision map. See how they overlap?
The fog of war that prevents you from seeing past objects had no concept of height. That meant no matter where a wall was, above or below you, it would block your line of sight even if you weren’t sharing a floor with it. There were also plenty of technical adjustments to how fade-outs work and what objects, units, and players can be affected by fade-outs, which is pretty important in a top-down game where you need to see what you’re doing!
Let’s not forget to mention entirely new processes that had to be made whole cloth. One example is how walls weren’t designed to stack on top of each other, so they looked awfully weird when you did. New systems had to be designed to understand how all of these art objects fit together in a way that looks natural and stylish. It’s extremely important for your castle to be as good-looking as you are!
Placing floor tiles on a brand new second level. Work in progress.
These are just a few problems that scratch the surface of this huge undertaking, and one we did not take lightly or without risk. The complexity meant that there was some possibility that this task could prove too much to complete in a reasonable amount of time, but we’re proud to report that our warlocks have conquered the day!
In only so many months, you’ll be able to sink your fangs into these new features we’ve been working so hard to bring you. Seeing what our kin do with these new tools will be worth the effort, as has been proven to us in the past. We have faith that you’ll make the most of the opportunity and showcase your most outstanding architectural achievements!
We hope you’ve enjoyed the summary of what to expect in “Secrets Of Gloomrot” and some deeper insight into the improved building and the challenges of piecing together a seamless world. If this blog didn’t cover what you were looking for, fear not! Plenty more information will be on the road to this update’s release.
Goodbye for now, Creatures of the Night!
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Lots of love and a pint of blood,
/The Marketing Team