Blog

Thrive: HLtC Dev Diary | Art Team UPDATE

Thanks for dropping by!  

We are swatting bugs and polishing the Playable Proof of Concept (PPOC) 2.0 so you get a pretty picture of the World of Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown. The launch date is Wednesday, June 24 at 4 p.m. MST exclusively for the Discord Community. (discord.gg/VESRyBM)

But fear not Non-Discordians! The POC will be available via the newsletter Thursday, June 2 at 1 p.m. MST.

Now here is an update from Ryan and Rob on what the Art Team is working on to tell the visual story of Thrive: HLtC:

UPDATE FROM RYAN PADAYAS |
LEAD CONCEPT ARTIST/ILLUSTRATOR | ART TEAM

Hey Gang,

Here is an update on what I am working on:

  • Creating concepts of "destroyed buildings" and giving them a final polish.
  • Brainstorming illustrative segments to help create a motion comic within the world of Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown.
  • Finish remaining concepts.
  • Finish promotional material.

I am working hard to stay consistent with how I approach each building while expressing their individuality. Switching up the types of references and inspiration that I use helps create striking concepts while staying true to our evolving visual identity. The goal is to create unique visuals that will define Thrive: HLtC and entice the player to dive in.

Cheers,

Ryan

UPDATE FROM ROBERT TSANG |
CREATIVE DIRECTOR | ART TEAM

I am working on creating our second round of 3D Models for our buildings and texturing them. The buildings were created quickly and with a lot of restrictions on polycount and map size.

This ensured the buildings were represented in a low polyform and could run smoothly for our early builds. Since these buildings have fewer restrictions, I can create them to a fuller extent of the concepts that Ryan had proposed and are able to have larger and more unique texture mapping. I am also creating transparent PNGs for the Ground floor and for other pieces like foliage and thatch.  

We will have to implement a LOD system for these buildings as well which will be an interesting challenge. I have created the second round of the blacksmith building, the research buildings and the tailor building and are currently working on the masonry and Grain Mill.

Regards,

Robert

Visit thrivehltc.com for more information.

Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown’s Dev Diary #3A

Thanks again for stopping by and checking the progress of Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown (HLtC). We have a special announcement before we get into the nitty-gritty of it all. The Thrive Scribes are excited to share the team is hard at work updating the Playable Proof of Concept for Thrive: HLtC Community members. Proof of Concept 2.0 will contain bug fixes and the following new additions: 

  • New Save/Load Feature 

  • Updated Military Unit Models & Animations 

  • Random Events 

  • Enemy Kingdom Battles & Encounters of the Tile Map 

  • Updated Tile Map Interactions 

  • New World Map Building Constructor 

  • Buildings Can Now Catch on Fire 

  • More Enemies to Battle 

  • Updated UI 

  • Kingdom Minimap 

The update will be available in early June. Stay tuned for future updates and details on how to access the latest version of the game! 

Now let us get to some updates. First, we have split the Thrive Team into two groups (Alpha & Bravo) so that the updates are briefer and more palatable.  

Here is what the Alpha Team are working on:

UPDATE FROM GARRETT HAU | 
CTO & LEAD PROGRAMMER | DEVELOPMENT TEAM 

My priority lately is creating a World Map Building Constructor (WMBC) to the game. The WMBC will create self-sustaining settlements on the map to gather resources on tiles. The tiles are more abundant than what is near the castle and will help provide the player what they need to build their kingdom. 

The settlements will have homes for the workers, wells for drinking, and food production so that the workers can survive and THRIVE on their tiles… See what I did there?

Best Regards, 

Garrett Hau

UPDATE FROM MIKE AMAT | 
PROGRAMMER | DEVELOPMENT TEAM 

I am working on replacing the placeholder Military Unit UI with the Actual UI that Robert with the Art Team has designed. It looks fantastic and I am excited for you to experience it. 

There is now a functional minimap and sprites for all the buildings, resources & sprites for said map. As well, I am updating the units to include their final Proof of Concept 3D Models & Animations.  

Regarding some less visually exciting stuff… I have started working on a Save/Load in the game so players will finally be able to keep a persistent kingdom across play sessions ... Sorry to dash your dreams Rogue fans, but it’s what the people deserve! :) 

Take care, 

Mike 
 
UPDATE FROM KEVIN DECOVERLEY | 
PROGRAMMER | DEVELOPMENT TEAM 

I am smoothing out the Enemy Kingdom, player army creation and World Map Battle system. The Enemy Kingdom now creates/deploys and uses its armies. Knights flank and join battles after they start so be careful, Bishops wish for nothing but blood and go straight to your keep, Rooks stay on standby to offer defences for their kingdom, the Queen is a powerhouse which will be fluid around the map and finally the King stay home as the kingdoms final hope. I am confident that this will add another element to the game for players to experience.  

Signing off but not signing out,  

Kevin deCoverley

So, there are the things Alpha Team is bringing to the table. Do not forget to join Discord for all the latest updates and email steven@zugalu.com if you have any questions. 

We have the honour to be your obedient servants, 

The Thrive Scribes

Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown’s Dev Diary #2

Hello Again!

Welcome to the second entry of our Dev Diary. We’re honoured that you came back to hear how Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown is coming along. So, let’s get to the updates:

UPDATE FROM RYAN PADAYAS |
LEAD CONCEPT ARTIST/ILLUSTRATOR | ART TEAM

Hey Gang,

Here’s an update on this week’s workload:

  • Design concepts for the Neutral Units.
    • Add some finishing touches/details.
  • Continue to work on in-game buildings and give them a FRESH coat of “paint.”
    • Add narrative elements or embark on a complete redesign.
  • Brainstorm/create promotional material.

I’m going back to some of the earlier concepts of our in-game buildings, exploring narrative and polishing some details. The little things matter like adding dirt and footprints to a trail. However, it can be tricky to not get caught up in the details and lose track of time!

UPDATE FROM ROBERT TSANG |
CREATIVE DIRECTOR | ART TEAM

Designing the player interface was an interesting challenge because of how iterative the process will be. So much will depend on the response from players but will also depend heavily on gameplay. The gameplay and UI need to change if the player doesn’t see value in them. No matter how gorgeous the UI is. This is also compounded by innovations and eventual limitations by the development team to determine what is possible in the time allotted.

Unlike web and mobile application design, the scope of the UI is larger and more intricate and integrated. There are vaguely similar games and therefore vaguely similar UI elements that we can use as inspiration but because a lot of our game elements are our own so must the UI. This creates an opportunity for daily problem solving and creative acrobatics because the target will be continuously moving throughout the months by many of the factors listed above. The user interface needs to be beautiful, simple, elegant, intuitive, and above all, useful. Balancing all these elements in a very complex system is a challenge the art department relishes.

In terms of pure aesthetics, the goal was to implement as many medieval fantasy elements as possible while still using modern-day UI techniques to efficiently communicate with the player. For example, many of the arrows, icons, boxes, and outlines have subtle flourishes on them reminiscent of medieval art. The balance was that it was enough to make these elements uniquely our own while not directly bringing attention to them.

The Heading One and Heading Two fonts use an embellished, whimsical serif font, while the body copy uses a very clean san serif font for easy reading. The general colour scheme was chosen for clarity but also to imply something being aged, hence why all the browns and Yellows. Old paper texture is used in a lot of the overlay boxes to imply that they were carefully drawn onto a scroll by artists. The overlay to select buildings is represented on top of a long piece of scroll paper. The buildings themselves on that scroll paper have an oil painting application reminiscent of that era. For the world map, the main inspiration was to make it seem like board game pieces like Settlers of Catan. The tiles represent different land artifacts like mountains and lakes and deserts etc. The goal was for them to look like wooden pieces crafted by an artisan.

The wonderful thing about this project is that none of the elements we’re creating have been set in stone. It will be iterative based on need so we will continually evaluate and change this UI based on player response and gameplay elements. Pushing and pulling things until there’s no more room for changes. Players might not consciously even notice all the subtle nuances in the design but subconsciously it will add to the total of our game’s ability to transport the player to another world.

UPDATE FROM MIKE AMAT |
PROGRAMMER | DEVELOPMENT TEAM

This week, I have been working on setting up some basic UI elements needed for combat. Unit portraits, mouse icon changes, mouse interaction feedback, saved unit icons, character portraits, etc.

It may not seem that exciting, but these basics will create a strong foundation for in-game combat. Oh, and we nerfed the guard towers. They’re no longer autonomous killing machines and they need archers to function.

I hope you’re enjoying the proof of concept and stick around for our updates in May!

UPDATE FROM KEVIN DECOVERLEY |
PROGRAMMER | DEVELOPMENT TEAM

I am implementing the enemy kingdom for the player to beat. The kingdom now shows the population of the enemy villagers and units. As well, the enemy now sends scouts to survey your Keep.

Here are things I have worked on this week:

  • A Scouting System
  • Goals where the kingdom is given to search around their keep
  • An available but not accessible Battle System
  • Battle length ETA
  • Subtasks
  • Fixed a bug where the Donkeys would not return with resources from the world map.
UPDATE FROM GARRETT HAU |
CTO & LEAD PROGRAMMER | DEVELOPMENT TEAM

Here are the things I have worked on:

  • Added random event processing, handles displaying random events and the available choices for them.
  • Added equipment to units so their weapons and armour will degrade from use.
  • Optimized some performance bottlenecks.
  • Research into some more performant pathfinding methods

Units will now have armour and weapons that will degrade from use when there armour or weapons break they will need to be resupplied to keep fighting. This will help with the realism of the game and help to focus on the supply chain aspect of all the buildings.

Random events will now appear in the game when their conditions are met, these random events will have choices with moral and resource consequences. Lastly, I investigated a potential new way of performing navigation.

Currently, the navigation requests are causing a bit of a bottleneck when your population count grows over a couple hundred. This may or may not make it in the next update as I am still in the investigation phase of it.

UPDATE FROM GREG FORSYTH |
GAME DESIGN AND PROJECT MANAGER | DEVELOPMENT TEAM

The last two weeks have been a fun process, creating how the transition will work for your troops from the castle's map to the world map and making more scenarios for the player to make decisions on.

We wanted to make how the troops move from the kingdom to the world a realistic process that would include giving them the supplies they need for their journeys.

For example, if they are to survive for months on the road, they will at least need the food to do that. This also means that along their journey they can collect precious goods which can then be transported back to the kingdom.

So, there are some things that Team: Thrive: HLtC is working on this week! Drop a line to steven@zugalu.com if you have any questions.\

Want to get the latest news and chat with the developers in real-time? Join our Discord Channel for all the latest updates!

That’s it for now. See you soon!

We have the honour to be your obedient servants,

The Thrive Scribes

Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown’s Dev Diary #1

Hello Founders and Supporters of Thrive: Heavy Lies the Crown (HLtC),

Welcome to our first DevDiary!

This diary will be updated every two weeks with what we’re working on. We’ll share as many details and updates about the game as we can and keep you in the loop about how development is coming along. Who knows? Maybe there will be a sneak peek or two along the way?

So, here’s what the team’s been up to:

Update from Greg Forsyth | Game Design and Project Manager | Development Team

I have identified two priorities for the updated Proof of Concept release coming in Spring 2020:

  1. Create encounters in the world that will give players a reason to explore the map. Complete production chains.
  2. Collaborate with the programming team to build an editor to create events and determine when and where they will occur. As well, event authors can determine if they will be randomly generated or related to a specific occurrence. This opens the world up and allows us to finally explore the moral decisions players will need to make.

We want to complete production chains already integrated in-game before we create additional ones. We decided to add a Mill, Tailor and Tanner. The Mill will grind flour and bake bread. The Tailor will then turn materials such as leather and wool into clothing. The Tanner will create leather from the hides you collect from hunting/gathering. It’s exciting to see the game move forward. I look forward to testing and tuning the new buildings and the events editor soon! 

Cheers,

Greg

Update from Garrett Hau | CTO & Lead Programmer | Development Team

Here are the things I have worked on lately:

  1. Fixing bugs in the proof-of-concept
  2. Implement Random Events
  3. Create an editor for anyone to author in-game random events

The work I’m doing will allow anyone to author random events in-game and add a story to the world of Thrive: HLtC. I’m excited! Stay tuned because the next steps are to implement some basic random events in the game to fuel decision making and have our players able to find out whether they rule with an iron fist or a peaceful hand. I am looking forward to hearing about the other awesome things the team’s up to.

As well, I am looking forward to spring and finally being able to see the sun!

Best Regards,

Garrett

Update from Kevin deCoverley | Programmer | Development Team

I am implementing the Enemy Kingdom for the player to defeat. The enemy will advance on its goal-based system, with its goal being complete and utter domination. The Enemy Kingdom will help create a purpose for players to explore and use the world map.

The things I have worked on lately are:

  1. Create goal-based Enemy AI systems
  2. Create AI resource systems
    • Treasury for managing taxes and the enemy’s income
    • Population Simulator to grow the army’s and villagers’ sizes
    • Resource Manager to use for the storage of necessary items.
    • Building Manager to maintain the Enemy Kingdom’s buildings. These are necessary to create certain units.
    • Store to transfer funds, resources and villagers into items/units or buildings.
  3. Enemy World Map Ui
    • A new tile meant for the Enemy Kingdom
    • A display that shows the progress of the Kingdom
    • Shows Enemy Kingdom
    • Villager Population
    • Army Population
    • Wealth
  4. Help the Art Division with tasks such as how world map art is currently implemented so they can best design non-placeholder assets.

Signing Off,

Kevin deCoverley

Update from Mike Amat | Programmer | Development Team

My focus is to make the Real-Time Strategy (RTS) combat fun and engaging. As well, I am trying not to get distracted by Doom Eternal or Half-Life Alyx! They’re just one click away since I am working from home! It’s so tempting…

What if I just played a little right now, and worked on the weekend?

Hang on… I am making lunch and will be right back!

*Goes for ‘Lunch’*

Okay, I’m back, and lunch was fun! I mean…tasty.

 Anyways, I've been building a system so enemy towns on the world map can spawn units in our kingdom. Putting enemy units into squads and giving them an AI controller makes the units a little bit smarter.

As well, I've also been playing some Realtime Strategy games to distill what makes combat fun. What makes combat fun for you? Leave your responses in the comment section below!

Talk to you soon!

Mike

Update from Robert Tsang | Creative Director | Art Team

I finished creating the female common workers, variations of skin tones, clothing and hairstyles.

As well, I was working with the Development team to see if we could streamline the textures below the buildings.

Currently, I’m working on a second pass at all the User Interface treatments. This process will be ongoing because it requires a ton of testing and readjusting. As well, I am finishing off the building overlays and everything looks amazing.

I’m excited to have everyone test it out and hopefully, it will help improve the user experience.

Enjoy!

Rob

Update from Ryan Padayas | Lead Concept Artist/Illustrator | Art Team

There’s a couple of items on the go lately that we're tackling right now from concepts of evil buildings to the look of the neutral units. For the evil buildings, the focus is on creating visual interest and upgrading the core materials from wood to stone etc.

I’m focusing on are Swordsmen, Cavalry and the Archers. What I have below is a snapshot of the EARLY stages of the Art Department’s process. We start with research, sketches, comprehensive roughs, colour and final design.

My duties go together with Rob’s, who turns my concepts into 3D assets that they can be used in-game content or for promotional material. The whole process as you're about to see soon is very much a collaborative effort and your feedback is essential for all of us creating something that works in a video game.

Hope everyone is enjoying the Thrive experience :)

Ryan Padayas 

So, there are some things that Team: Thrive: HLtC is working on this week! Drop a line to steven@zugalu.com if you have any questions.

Want to get the latest news and chat with the developers in real-time? Join our Discord Channel for all the latest updates!

That’s it for now. See you soon!

We have the honour to be your obedient servants,

The Thrive Scribes