Draconia Dev Blog #4

Hello and welcome to our fourth blog post!
We have less visuals to show to you this time, but that doesn’t mean we have made less progress!

Quests & Story 
Right now, one of our main topics is the lore of Draconia and we have started to create characters and simple items, we worked on their background stories and their purpose in the game, this includes the quests they will start. So we have been writing the first quest descriptions, worked on rewards, which the player will receive for completing them and where these quests should lead to if they are part of a longer quest line.
However not every quest will focus on the main story. We want the world to feel alive and give the player more information about its fauna and flora even if it is just about the purpose of a seemingly unremarkable mushroom.
The inhabitants have been living there for a very long time and all of them left footprints, which have a story to tell.

Leveling & Map Setup
Another interesting and important topic is the aspect of developing your character and keeping players challenged and engaged even after they have reached the max level.
Draconia is an open-world game, but players will still have to level their dragon through fights, side quests and other tasks to be able to unravel Draconia’s story and accept main quest lines and participate in certain events.
The map is separated into different sections, each with its own level range. That doesn’t mean we visually split the map, but players will run into stronger enemies the closer they get to the end of the main story line.

These sections have been changed a couple of times to avoid players of a certain dragon class having access to specific game content earlier than others.
Main character story lines and locations like the nesting grounds and re-spawn points have also played a huge role in the separation of the map and we think we found the setup that keeps every player happy no matter which species they choose to play as.
Despite the separation into different level sections, players will still be able to pick where they want to level, to some degree. This basically means, if you are tired of leveling in a forest, you can instead go to the plains and level your character there and maybe even find a new friend of a different dragon species (and maybe even a hatchling, which got abandoned).

A huge question from the community has been: “What challenges are there after I reached the max level and finished the story?”
Of course we don’t want players to finish the game and then just have them sit around all day, not knowing what to do.
There will be larger goals and rewards the player can work towards, without spoiling anything. These goals will be optional. So if you would rather just hang out with your friends and RP or do other things instead, you can just do that.
But even if you reached the max level, you won’t be able to one-hit creatures in low level areas. Instead your characters level gets scaled down to a degree that still makes you feel stronger, but not too powerful. This, together with a couple of other features, which are still being fleshed out at the moment, will add a constant challenge to the game even after completion.

Nesting Ground Rework & Raising Hatchlings
A rather problematic topic has been the events involving the nesting grounds.
Originally we planned to have players fight over 2 nesting locations (3 species per location), but a large portion of community members didn’t like the idea of forced PvP, so we changed the concept and turned it into a pure PvE experience.
The new concept adds one nesting location per species. However players will have to clear these locations of AI to be able to claim them, which can only be done during events. To avoid performance issues, only one event will take place at a time and the game will rotate through these nesting locations one after another.

Just like IRL, raising children is a challenge, so players won’t just be able to claim that nesting spot and hatch a dragon.
The “parents” will actually have to gather materials for the nest, have to incubate the egg, defend it from attacking enemies, feed their hatchling, keep it entertained and healthy and make sure it doesn’t run away. In other words: The players have to be good parents! In return they will receive a new follower, which will support them in fights and maybe even find something for them every now and then.
A lot of these ideas came from the community in a very spontaneous meeting this morning and we think they add a lot of depth to the whole “raising-a-dragon” process.
At this point, we want to thank you for all the input we have been getting, not just about the nesting process.

Golems
One of our wild life creatures is the Golem, which got a complete overhaul, since the original design wasn’t very popular and also led to some issues on the development side of things.

We re-designed it to look more intimidating and agile than it used to be and also added different variations, which you will run into. It also received its animations and is already fully playable, but still needs quite a bit of work in terms of animation overhauls, sounds and other little details as well as the integration into the character system, which we will use in the future. However it won’t be available as playable character until this process is complete.

UI Work
Some more work has been done on the UI side of things and we are close to finishing the basic work on the most important interface elements, such as the crafting menu, clan menu and other, smaller elements.
These menus will undergo some changes with the addition of new content and mechanics in the future or if players find them too confusing.
Below is a preview of the clan interface, which we kept very simple and in a more commonly used style.

Lindworms!
Some of you might already have seen it on Twitter or Reddit, but we started working on the Lindworm model to have one flightless dragon to work with. This guy is going to be a large challenge for our animator, since there are barely any existing animals, we can use as references. We already have a couple of concepts for how the Lindworm could move, but the final decisions will be made once the animations are being worked on and we can actually see results.

Next Steps
Over the coming weeks we will continue focusing on writing quests, stories and item descriptions and everything related to these things, but we also want to hold at least one more meeting with the community to discuss the PvP aspect of the game, since PvP is barely existing in the current multi player concept.
Another plan is to have a larger meeting with the team in November to go over all the mechanics and features on our dev board and to work on the crowdfunding goals, the stretch goals and the minimum goal we have to reach to make the game a reality.

If you want to participate in the community meeting(s), please join our Discord server: https://discord.gg/Bhx4F8M
We have a text channel specifically for those people, who don’t want to talk or can’t, but still want to participate and ask questions.

We hope this dev blog was informative and answered a couple of your questions. If you are still not sure about something feel free to ask about details on our social media pages, in the #questions channel on Discord or in one of the upcoming meetings, which will be announced in the #announcements channel.

P.S. Once we hit 1000 Discord members, we will announce a new creature for the game.

Draconia Dev Blog #3

Hello everyone

Thank you for all the feedback on our Discord server over the last couple of weeks. We have added a couple of your suggestions to our to-do list, some landed in the “maybe” section, but your input has been very helpful and we hope we can make Draconia an enjoyable experience for everyone.

More Eggs & Nests
The eggs of our dragons have been getting a lot of love during the last weeks. The eggs of the Quetzalcoatl and the European dragon have been completed, while the Lindworm nest got a small visual overhaul to look more appealing.
The appearance of the Aztec god’s egg is rather odd compared to the rest of the eggs we finished so far. It got a very bright sun-like shine, since Quetzalcoatl often gets described as “the new sun” (or earlier “son of the sun”) and will also be of the “light” element.
The egg of the European dragon is also quite shiny, but not as hot as the sun. It earned it’s fiery appearance through the stories around the European dragons and their connection to hell or rather the magma moving inside the earth. But, don’t worry, that does not make our six-limbed children evil.

Lindworm & The Burrow
We have been starting to work on the Lindworm model to have a dragon that is unable to fly as the next character in the game. We will feature the model in a future dev blog once we have made more progress. However the burrow of our flightless reptile has been completed. Since it is the weakest dragon in the game, it will get a special ability, which allows it to temporarily escape from attackers, if there is no other way out. This feature will undergo a lot of tweaking, because we don’t want Lindworm players to be immortal or always be able to escape from fights.

Animations & Fire Breath Attacks
Our animator has been quite busy, but is currently working on the European dragon animations. We have shown a few of them on our social media already, but they all are still work in progress, so expect some updated animations some time next month.

One thing we really enjoyed playing around with is the fire breath attack, which is still a work in progress.
We plan on making different attack variations, including spitting fire balls for those who don’t want to replay the end of Game of Thrones and burn everyone and everything in their path. (It is really satisfying though!)

Dragon Dens
A highly requested feature that we started to work on is the dragon den. Only the owner and their friends will be able to enter the den, granted they are not in combat and have actually unlocked them. Since they will come with their own indestructible storage room for materials and food, they will require quite a bit of work to be unlocked. They will also feature a couple of trophy spots and a few other things that will make your dragon life easier.

We hope you like the new things we are working on and are looking forward to reading more of your suggestions and ideas on Discord:
https://discord.gg/Bhx4F8M

Draconia Dev Blog # 2

Hello everyone,

It has been almost two weeks since the last dev blog was published. Some of you may have already seen a few screenshots of what has been worked on during that time, mainly on Discord, but we didn’t go into any details so far.

Dragon Eggs and Nests
The dragon eggs and nests have been something we worked on and off. A lot of players are excited to build nests, but they are not really part of our main focus at the moment, since the dragons themselves aren’t ready yet.
However, some work has been done and we finished the Eastern dragon nest.

In Draconia, the Eastern dragon represents the water element like it often does in the Asian culture. Since water is an essential source for every living creature, the Eastern dragon’s strength will mainly lie in abilities which regenerate health and remove or weaken negative status effects instead of its defense and attack stats. Even though it is often describes as powerful, it will be a rather gentle creature and we wanted to represent this characteristic in the appearance of the Eastern dragons nest by giving it a lotus-like appearance.

Ka’sai
A not-so-official species of the game are the dragon people, also known as “Ka’sai”. Reptiles with humanoid features can be found in several mythologies, but they are often a result of shape shifting and don’t have their own category, so we let the community decide over their name.
To answer the often asked question, if they will be playable: It will mainly depend on how well the crowdfunding campaign goes. The Ka’sai are a vastly more complex species than our regular dragons and they should be treated like that, which means, they would get their own special skills and mechanics, which aren’t easy to do, especially when it comes to interacting with the dragons. Both live in the same environment and should therefor be able to interact with each other in either beneficial or destructive ways depending on the players play style. Regardless of the outcome, they will be found in certain parts of the map and even guide you on your way.
The image you see below is a screenshot of the work in progress model of the main character “Taruk”, which has been worked on as well, but is still far from being finished.
His model will get more attention once the European dragon is done.


The European Dragon
The low poly version of the European dragon has been completed and is now undergoing texture work.

The pattern colors can be modified later in the customization menu and the dragon will receive more patterns as the development continues. In the above screenshot you can see the dragons maximum size. Your character will be rather small at the beginning and grow and get stronger with each level. However, we are playing with the thought of adding in-game items that temporarily set the character back to a weaker level, which should mainly be interesting for role-players.

Level Art
Lots and lots of work has been done on the level art side of things.
Since the Ka’sai are part of Draconia’s world, they will need places to call their home. Players will be able to find several of these points of interest, which can be (but not only) villages, camps or monuments created by the Ka’sai. Many of these locations will tell a story about how the Ka’sai live and what happened to them before the player entered this world.

The village above is a very early example of what such a point of interest could look like.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will add more buildings and smaller details as well as some things that will make each place feel more alive, unique and interesting to explore.

That’s it for dev blog #2! With a bit of luck, we will be able to show you the first animations of the European dragon in dev blog #3, so make sure to keep an eye on our social media or join our Discord: https://discord.gg/Bhx4F8M

Draconia Dev Blog # 1

Hello all and welcome to our first dev blog!

We usually tag everyone on our Discord, if there is any news, but a Dev blog is a good way to sum up all the major and minor things we have been working on recently.

Dev blogs will be posted based on progress, so there is no fixed day when these will appear. Everything we post here is subject to change and we will also post about mechanics or content that may or may not make it into the game in the future, which means: Unless we officially confirm it, it is not set in stone.

The European Dragon Model
The high poly model of the European dragon has been completed and it is now our task to work on the low poly, rig, textures, animations, etc.
This model is to be seen as another placeholder until it gets an overhaul down the road to improve its visual quality. However the overall appearance of it will stay the same.
The horns you see in the preview below are based on the default design, but there will be more variations, which will give the player more freedom to customize their creature apart from colors and patterns.

Materials & Resources
An important thing in the game will be the the use of materials. Of course you can play entirely without the crafting system and just fly around and be a dragon, but using it will make your life as a dragon much easier.
Now you might be asking yourself “How does a dragon craft things?”. Crafting is a term that shouldn’t be taken too literally. It is a general title for creating things in Draconia. These creations can be simple burrows, nests, hoards or even objects with magical properties.

But in order to make anything you will need materials, such as wood, rocks, bones, ore and so on. To make it easier to explain the potential effect of materials, we will use the “Hoard” as example.

The hoard is simply a type of chest in which you can store your gathered resources, since you won’t be able to carry much as a dragon.
The model in the middle represents the most basic form, which is made of bones, a few rocks and branches.
Since we don’t want players to hoard immense amounts of loot that is untouchable by anyone or anything, these will be destructible and even start to fall apart like they would naturally. The players task will be to maintain their hoard by adding materials every now and then to repair it.

Now you might wonder if there is a way to improve your hoard, so you can worry a bit less about your treasures.
Yes, there is!
Here you will have to decide what is more important to you though: Do you want your loot to be hidden or do you want your hoard to have a higher resistance to damage?
– If you want to add some camouflage to it, because you don’t want to guard your loot all the time, you will have to upgrade it with branches and wood, which makes it look a bit like a bush.
– If you are the type of player, who is never gone for very long but worries about others destroying the hoard in the meantime, you can improve the damage resistance by upgrading it with rocks, which are obviously harder to break.
Both variations will still be decaying and you will have to add the same materials you used for the upgrade on top of the base materials, so there is a cost for every upgrade you make.

This is a basic example of how the different materials affect the things you make. How in-depth this will be in the future is not decided yet, since we want to give the player something to work on apart from story and character progression without making things complicated.

That being said, here are the in-game models for the more common ore, copper, silver and gold, which have recently been finished.

Ores in-game
Concept of future materials

These will be relevant for dragons with a higher level and a potential species, which would be able to work with them in a more complex way from the start. The rocky base they are placed on will be the same for all future ores. The thought behind this little design decision is simply that players shouldn’t be forced to run around, hitting everything they see, to figure out if they can gather materials from an object or not.
We have been playing around with them in-engine and made them break apart to see if we want to add this as a visual indicator when the entire node has been mined, but this is further down the line, since we will have to test the performance impact of such simulations on actual servers with players.

Character Selection
The UI of the character selection might not be the most exiting thing in the world, but it is still a rather complex thing to work on, since it needs to be appealing and simple to use. For now we will just stick to the topic of selecting your character without going into the customization part.

Above you see the part of the UI where you select your dragon species, which is located at the top of the screen. Instead of using a preview image of each type, we use the symbols that represent them, which can also be found in-game. Hint: If you want rare loot, these will be relevant to you.
Some people have been asking, if we will make the wildlife playable as well and the answer is yes, but it won’t be nearly as in-depth as the main characters. So the next step will be to integrate each animal into the character selection without them distracting from the 6 main species. The idea here is to place their icons in-between the symbols, but rather inconspicuously. It needs to be obvious that these animals are just there as a bonus and are not as in-depth or relevant as the dragons.

Character Movement
Since the game is currently getting an overhaul in a new engine version, the old version is being used for tests such as movement code. The most important part is the flying movement. The controls should be simple and the movement should feel natural, which is harder to achieve than it sounds. Unfortunately our placeholder dragon doesn’t have a very large set of animations, so we are working with what we currently have until the European Dragon is ready.

Concepts From Another Dimension
One of our Discord members mentioned that it would be fun to have some sort of war paints for your characters. This is the moment, where we have to dig in our “Maybe, Eventually Box”, where we store all the things that might be added depending on Draconia’s future.
These concepts were made for our potential dragon-people species, but there have been thoughts of adding the same for dragons. The reason we didn’t handle this idea with more interest is simply that war paints should rather be added in two cases:
– The dragon people (Ka’Sai) get added as playable species, which can interact with the dragons and apply these war paints
– They get added to represent clans and will only be available to them instead of banners, which you can find in other games.
This isn’t a “No” from our side, but it is something that should be looked at when the game is more developed, because war paints only have a minor cosmetic importance.

That is all for today’s dev blog. Make sure to join us on Discord for more frequent updates!