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!