Shards Online: Roadmap and Updates

Citadel Studios adds another pre-alpha testing phase, details harvesting and more.

Citadel Studios released its latest Shards Online newsletter yesterday, giving fans an update on the upcoming RPG's development progress. The team has added a Pre-alpha 2 phase, pushing Alpha 1 back a bit to Fall 2015. Another roundtable is coming up in April and a system has been created for resource gathering.

Every time a new feature goes in for our upcoming "Pre-alpha 2" release, I get giddy. The modding documentation is nearing completion and it is so cool to see all of the functionality we have packed into the engine on “paper”. We here at Citadel are constantly making mods to prove the system and find the bits that need improvement. Our last mod, “SpawnWaves”, sent waves of cultists at our playtesters and I won’t say too much about our next one, called “Infection”, but it involves a zombie plague.

Equally exciting, is the progress on our first true map, Celador. As you can see from the screenshots, the cultist ruins are taking shape. We also have spent some time on the AI for the animals that roam the map. Now they are smarter, they age and grow over time, and have rare spawns like the menacing dire wolf. To top it all off, we’ve added over 20 different harvestable resources to the map!

I’m happy to be able to say that we finally have an updated development roadmap for you. As you can see, we’ve added an additional pre-alpha release in between the Modding Preview and our official Alpha 1 release. This pushes Alpha back into later in the year, but it allows us to get our pre-alpha testers into Celador to hammer away on it before we release it to a much larger audience. Our Alpha 1 release is what we use to prove to the world that this game needs to be made. So we need to make sure it is completely ready, which means it is as solid and stable and packed with features as we can get it with the budget we are working with.

The updated roadmap, which now includes Pre-alpha 2, is available here. Those who missed the previous community roundtable can watch it on Twitch, and make sure attend the April 11th roundtable at 1pm ET.

Derek "Supreem" Brinkmann then explained resource gathering in Shards:

One of our focuses this milestone was resource gathering. Crafting is rather useless without resources! Our initial goal was to make resource gathering fun and challenging while still maintaining that immersive sandbox feel. The solution we came up with involves a combination of the following concepts:

  • Resource sources - A resource source is an object or location on the map that you can harvest resources from. Some only offer a single type of resource, others have rare resources that can be gathered if you have enough skill. There are many resource sources even on our first alpha map Celador. Currently there are over 20 different resources available. A resource source contains a finite amount of resources which is depleted as players and NPCs harvest from it. Some resources never run out like sand and stone, others like trees will naturally regenerate over time, and still others will disappear and respawn in another location on the map like wild vegetables and iron veins.
  • Resource gathering skills - We are starting with the following skills: Mining, Lumberjacking, Foraging, and Butchery. Your skill level determine what types of resources you can harvest from a given source. It also affects how long it takes you to harvest one unit, how much of the source is consumed to retrieve one unit, and your chance at gathering certain rare resources.
  • Harvesting tools - Each type of resource source requires a specific tool for harvesting. (In some cases, like foraging, it is your bare hands) Harvesting tools have different qualities. This quality affects how long it takes to harvest one unit and how much damage is done to the tool each harvest. For example, if you are using a battle axe to gather wood, it will take much longer to harvest a single unit of wood than it would with an axe specifically crafted for chopping trees. Also, a master-crafted axe will be able to harvest much more wood before requiring repair than a simple axe crafted by a novice.

These concepts, while simple, create a very dynamic system for gathering all sorts of resources without breaking the immersion. We are dying to unleash you, the players, on this system to see how it plays in reality.

Even if you missed the Kickstarter, you can still support Shards Online. Tiers include various rewards such as a digital copy of the game, alpha access and more.

Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor


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