Podcast 4 (structures) by: Forged Chaos

Podcast of 11 february 2013 (crafting)

transcribed by Ildefonse

Please let me know of any inaccuracies or mistakes.

Brax: This time we're going to be covering structures. We've got a lot to get to, and I'm going to start us off with the overview, just to hit a few quick bullets, and then we'll move into the details.

But first, real quick, we're doing the same type [podcast] format but a little different. I'm going to involve Loesti & Varl a lot more in the conversations and it may sound like we're going off-topic here and there, but it's mostly to also cover your questions. I know we're not doing a direct Q&A anymore, but we  do want to hit all your questions. So with that, here we go.

Number one, we're not going to put physics into structures. They're going to be static models. You're not going to build structures like you would Lego's. It's just going to be a model, but we'll get into how to build them in just a few minutes.

You'll be able to pick from about 20 private and 20 civic structure designs. Some examples, you're going to have small/medium/large houses and shops. Civic structures will include things like walls, towers, gate houses, barracks of various sizes, keeps, different designs for keeps, the treasury and also an arena. We're going to put an arena in the game, where you can excercise your combat prowess on one another without taking a negative reputation hit on the settlement. A lot more detail on that will follow later on.

Probably one of the biggest bullets that I want to cover before we get into the details is something that we call portalling. When you enter a house it's not going to be seamless. You'll hit a load screen, and hopefully that load screen will only be anywhere from 1-3 seconds. We're doing this to save CPU cycles and framerates when you load into a settlement. Essentially by the compromise of having portalling when you move into or out of a building, we're allowing you to have these big massive sprawling cities, with potentially hundreds of buildings within. So keep that in mind. We wish we could have seamless entries and exits out of buildings, but we're just going to err on the side of caution and go with portals.

With that, we're going to move into the details. We're going to step you through what it takes to place structures, to build one, what happens when it takes damage, what happens when you abandon it, what if you want to destroy it yourself voluntarily... all that. So with that I'm going to turn it over to Loestri and he's going to talk about how to place a structure.

Loestri: Hello everybody, Loestri here, and I'm going to be speaking about placing your structures. Of course Brax pointed out that there are two kinds of structures, one is civic and one is private. The private structures are going to be able to put on plots or in the wilderness areas. The civic structures you can place inside of the settlement area, but they have to be on non-plotted areas. Those are strictly for the private buildings.

Engineering skill is used to draw up the blueprints or structure plans of the buildings. They don't have a say in the quality of the structure, that's left up to the skill of the carpenters or tradesmen doing the work. As far as where you can place your structures, there's no terrain morphing. So if you put your blueprint down it will throw up a ghost image [of your structure], and you're allowed to move that image around to place your building. You'll have to be aware of things such as slope and terrain anomalies like rocks, trees, bushes and that kind of thing. You're not allowed to displace those. So if you need to put a structure somewhere you'll have to get rid of those or place your structure somewhere else. And when you're moving your ghost image around, it will be red in those areas where you cannot place your structure, and as soon as it turns green you're allowed to go ahead and select it again, and that will place your structure.

As far as the contracting out of labour to create your structures, you can, as the owner, setup contracts at the treasury to pay for each task that you need completed on your structure. So you're basically contracting out individual tradesmen to come in and do the work on the structure itself. And those tradesmen will have to provide the materials neccessary in order to complete that task. However, as the owner, you can set certain permissions and parameters on the contract, such as things like who can work on the structure and other details that we don't have time to get into today. As the owner though, you are required to pre-pay for each of the contracted markers that are set on the structure. So that those folks who do work, get paid for it.

That pretty much covers the placement of structures and I'm going to turn this back over to Brax who will talk about building the structures.

Brax: Okay, building your structures. A lot to it, so this may take a little bit, bear with me. 

First of all, like Loestri hinted at, you will see a ghosted image of the final structure that you want to place. And once it's placed, you'll see essentially a bunch of stakes and rope as the model. It's stakign out where the model of the structure is going to be. But it also essentially represents the first stage of the model. Now, a few things to keep in mind, each structure is going to limit how many builders can be working on it at any given time. This is by design, so we don't have what we called "zerg constructions". We don't want houses going up in a matter of minutes. We want these things to take time, so the way that we're throttling this is to limit the number of builders that can work on a structure at any given time. That number of builders is based on the structure itself. A small house will only be able to have two or three people working on it at a time, but a big keep you can have fifteen, twenty people working on it.

You guys asked what kind of materials you can expect to be using; the basic stuff: wood, stone, metal. This is certainly an opportunity for innovations. But you know us, we're not going to reveal our innovations, so...

Ok, you've got the stakes and rope model placed, and you went to the treasury and you've put in the money that you want to have others come and work the tasks on your structure. What will happen, is that floating construction markers will appear throughout random points on the model. These floating points will represent different skills, like you will see stone masonry, carpentry, that sort of stuff.

You've got to get your character close enough to one of the build markers to execute the task. The first crafter that gets to that marker and executes [the task] will essentially lock that marker up and prevent other people form using it. We'll probably give some kind of visual indicator to show that it's in progress. Anyway, a skill check is done, and if you pass the skill check a certain amount of hitpoints are going to go towards the building. The better your skill check, the more hitpoints are going to go towards the building. And another thing that will impact the number of hitpoints is obviously the resource type that you're using. Stone is going to give more hitpoints to a building than wood will.

Once so many tasks are completed, the 3D model of the structure is going to change and it's going to show as more complete. Essentially it's going to change stages. So instead of the stakes and rope model, you'll get a model of your house that's about a third of the way built. Again, these are static models, this isn't a Lego type system where you build each individual piece. We'd love to do that, but I don't think technology is there to be quite honest with you.

This process continues, until the model is complete. Some structures, like a small house, are only going to have three or four models, whereas large ones, like a keep, are going to have anywhere between twelve and twenty models. And you can look at hundreds of tasks for a small house, and you could look at a lot more for things like keeps, in the realm of thousands to tens of thousands of tasks. We want it to take you a long time to build these things. Not just to slow you down so to speak, but there's some strategies involved there and also some immersion. You come into a town and you see a keep that's a quarter of the way built. You can tell it's a quarter of  the way built, it's kinda cool. Then you come back a couple of months later and it's three quarters of the way built. So you get to see progression of civilization.

Each model is going to have a lot of these build markers on them that are going to randomly show. And some of them are going to be inaccessible to you, like from the ground. Especially for things like keeps, these markers are going to be on top, so you have to figure out how you're going to get up there. We're going to provide scaffolding at launch, but it's not part of the model, you have to build that seperately next to the model so that you can get your character up to get to that build marker.

Also, if that includes magic to get you there, if we have a levitation spell, or a fly spell, so be it. However you can get to that build marker, then that's what you've got to do. This is another place for us to have opportunity to introduce innovations. A crane, a lift of some sorts, so all kinds of opportunities there.

The crafter can go collect his money for the tasks that he's completed at the treasury at any time. He can complete one task, then go to the treasury and pick up his money, or he can complete 500 of them and then go collect his money. Remember that the structure owner has already placed the money into the treasury via a contract for the building of his structure. Something to note is that the owner doesn't have to place the entire amount of money that he wants to put down. Say he's only got enough nuggets to have maybe a third of his building built. Well he can go ahead and put a third of that money into the treasury, and the crafters come around and they complete all these tasks, up to one third. Now the money has essentially ran out, so the building markers are not going to show anymore. In that case the structure owner would have to go back to the treasury, add more money to his contract, and the build markers would be able to show again.

Somebody asked about some fluff items, like fences and lamp posts on the outside. We're going to have a few, but honestly the list is going to be extremely thin. We would rather focus a lot of the fluff items on the interior, which we will get to shortly.

I think that just about wraps up building of the structure itself. I'm going to throw it over to Varl, he's going to talk about what happens when your building takes damage.

Varl: Hello everyone, this is Varl. I'll be going over structures and how they take damage, and the repairing of that damage to structures.

First of, taking damage, the only type of damage structures are capable of taking, are from siege weaponry. Melee weapons, fire, will not be able to damage your home. Magic, maybe. Later on when there's certain types of magic that we deem as siege capable, it could damage your house. But that's still to be determined.

Whenever your structure takes damage, it will show smoke emitters to let you know that the structure has been damage. These smoke emitters will probably be consistent throughout the staging of your structure as it's being built. Now when your structure takes damage, damage does not cause a structure to revert to its previous model stages. So if you have a structure in it's second stage of construction and it takes a significant amount of damage, you won't see it revert to stakes and string. It takes full destruction of the model for the entire model to disappear and basically implode on itself.

A damaged or destroyed structure doesn't output resources to salvage, meaning at no time will you be able to recycle resources from a damaged or destroyed structure.

On to repairing of a structure; reparing of siege weaponry damage nearly mirrors the building concept in use, by using repair markers randomly shown throughout the model. So we're going to be using a lot of code reusability here, when it comes to repairing your structure. You'll see similar flags as you'llsee for construction. 

A structure can't be repaired while it's actively under attack. Just as with healing and melee combat with player characters, you're not going to be able to heal them while they're in combat. Same thing with structures, you can't repair your structure while it's under siege. A visual clue you'll have for that is, when you see the smoke emitters coming from the structure, you'll know that you won't be able to commence repairs upon it while it's under attack, so to speak.

And that covers structures taking damage and repair of those structures. Next up will be Loestri with abandonment.

Loestri: Basically abandonment is pretty much the same as it is in some other games, where if you are the owner of a structure, you have to visit it from time to time to do some upkeep and everything. If you don't, then that structure will begin to decay and collapse. We'll have additional models that basically show that kind of decay, and it might be something like moss or vines growing on the house to make it look like it's not being upkept. And basically, there will be different stages of that. So you're going to want to make sure, if you want to keep that structure, that you visit it from time to time and do the repairs and that kind of thing.

The decay will happen slowly at first, until it gets down to a certain point, in which case then we will leave those models there for quite a while. What this will allow us to do, is to place ruins, either as a GM event or basically, if you decide that you want to build a structure out in the wilderness and you either forgot where it is, or decide not to upkeep it, that it will turn into a ruin naturally.

Brax: But you guys are creating your own ruins.

Loestri: Yeah, so don't let it get to ruin unless you really want it to.

Now on the other hand, if you decide to build a structure and don't like where it's at, or decide that you actually want to upgrade it, say from a small house to a medium sized house, then there is an option for demolition. Basically demolition can happen if the owner of that structure marks it for demolition via contracts. And the contracts of course can be fullfilled at the treasury. The only difference here is that the person who is doing the demo-ing will actually have an opportunity to gain the resources that were in that structure to begin with. Of course the higher the skill level of the crafter, the more resources that they can retrieve. So keep that in mind when you're demo-ing a house. Keep your skill level as high as possible in order to gain as many resources back out of that structure as possible. And then of course you can use the same resources to [make a new structure].

Brax: A real quick interjection, with demolition you're going to have demolition markers just like you're going to have build markers and repair markers. So essentially you'll be demo-ing it in reverse of the way you constructed it. So again, a stone mason demo marker might show up, followed by a carpenter demo marker, it's essentially building in reverse.

Loestri: Cool, so we've basically innovated reverse engineering! :D

So with that, I'm going to turn it back over to Varl and he's going to talk about interiors.

Varl: Hello again, going over structure interiors and customization. How we're going to implement is, is using a modular system where the walls can be placed where desired (for the most part), as well as implementing different looks. We'll include quite a few extras, including archways, doorways, stairs, secret doors, all manner of different interior structure models that will allow you to customize and orient the interior of your building however you desire. We're really stressing this as a critical option in allowing you to structure the interior of your house the way you would like.

Items like furniture and other internal accessories will be able to be placed where you want and moved at any time. So that will further allow you to familiarize and customize your house as you want. 

As far as accessories go, it's our intent that we're going to implement as many as possible, including beds, cupboards, cabinets, rugs, pictures on the walls, tapestries, you name it. Whatever we can think of, we're going to try and implement in order to give you as much possible customization as we can allow.

And that does it for interiors, I'll be sending it back to Brax now for a lot of miscellany that we may not have covered.

Brax: Ok thanks Varl. We've got a lot of miscellaneous bullets here to cover, again mostly because you guys were askign questions that deal with structures. But we really wanted to hit on the details of what it takes to build, tear down, demo, all that stuff, so here we go.

Someone asked about roads, if we plan on implementing buildable roads. The answer is yes, post launch. We would love nothing better than to allow you guys to build your own roads. We might, time and budget allowing, we might allow one or two types of bridges. It just really depends.

I think Varl hit on this earlier, but I want to make it very clear. You cannot burn structures. It's just too exploitable, because fire spreads very quickly, and if we went the other way where fire didn't spread, it would just seem kinda hokey. So I just made the command decision that fire will not impact structures.

There's no expanding of buildings, you can't expand/upgrade a small building for it to become a medium building. You have to tear down the small building [first] to [then] make a bigger building.

Somebody asked if you first have to grind before you can build structures. The answer is no. Some structures are going to be harder to build than others, and the tasks within will have their own skill difficulties. The point being is that you can start building from day one, but it will be the simpler buildings. Again, we're not stopping your from attempting to build the larger buildings, it's just going to take you a lot more resources to finally hit the succesful skill check.

Somebody asked if you can have merchants in your house. The answer is, in your private house no, in your shop, yes you can. That's what shops are for. You setup a shop and then you determine the type of NPC merchant that you want to hire and that NPC merchant will only buy and sell stuff associated with their trade. So don't expect to hire a tailor merchant and him to sell your swords and armour. You'd have to have a smith merchant for that. You can have multiple types of NPC's in your shop, but the cost will get exponential for you, because you will actually have to allocate rooms for these merchants. They need a place to live, and they'll own a room, and they will live right there in the shop.

Varl: So we can have a butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker in the same shop? :)

Brax: Yes you can, at that point in time you're probably gonna need like a medium sized shop because you need a number of rooms. Again, each NPC will require their own room.

Somebody asked about signs and the options that we're going to allow. We're going to allow for a number of different shapes of signs, we're also probably going to give you a lot of kinds of emblems, thinks like mugs, forges, spinning wheels, to really indicate what your shop or house is. At the same time you can also label it with any description that you want. Now that doesn't mean that you're going to visually see that label just by looking at the sign, that's just kind of beyond what we want to tackle, but when you reticule over the sign you're going to get a little bubble that reads what the description of the sign says.

Somebody asked about underground structures. At this time no, for launch, no. We have some really exciting ideas for underground structures. I'm going to be the bad guy and not explain them to you tonight... but we've got some really fantastic ideas for underground structures, we just don't want to reveal them yet because I don't think it will make it into the initial launch.

And finally, somebody asked if status and monuments are considered structures. And I'm gonna drop a little bit of a bombshell on you. First of all, yes they are, they are considered structures, you will build them in stages just like a house, and the bombshell is this: at a certain pledge level in our kickstarter reward list, we will make a statue of a character for you. And it will be named as such.

We realize other games have done this as well, but what they haven't done, is they don't allow other players to build your statue. Your statue can be built in many different towns and settlements within TerVarus.

Alright guys, that about wraps it up. I want to thank everybody for listening. I hope you got through all this and that we're clear in our explanations. If not, post your questions on the boards, we'll get to them if we can and if we feel comfortable answering them. So on behalf on all of us, thanks a lot!

The End