Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Roundtable with Kyle and Rob - VIP Roundtable
Disclaimer #1. Nothing new here. Just relaying the audio notes from the recent Pantheon Rise of the Fallen VIP Roundtable with programmers Kyle and Rob.
Disclaimer #2. This blog is neither associated with, nor employed by, Visionary Realms. I am a fan!
Disclaimer #3. This is not word for word what was said in the video. I tried to sum it up and include the most important parts in a concise way.
01:00 - Have you given thought to future tools you might want to build for real money transfers (RMT)? Kyle - I like RMT in games but Pantheon isn't ready to discuss that yet.
03:00 - What is the most challenging ideas you've been asked to program? Rob - it's been more time time consuming than difficult. Pretty good so far. Kyle - Our designers are pretty reasonable in the programming that they ask for.
05:11 - What is the most exciting challenge you've overcome? Kyle - Networking. Getting our network code to play nicely with Unity has been fun. Rob - writing our own blueprint system which controls a lot of the features in the game.
06:27 - How is it even possible for two programmers to write an MMORPG? Kyle - the big mountain of work comes from the content development as opposed to the coding. Rob - your framework must be setup properly. It leads to be able to expand the team later easily. We also work insane hours.
09:20 - What's the secret to getting past a problem when you don't know what to do? Kyle - sit in the pitch black and listen to Itunes. Then let his imagination go wild. Rob - I just ask Kyle.
10:08 - Can you provide an example where you overcame a roadblock? Rob - Biggest roadblocks have been our networking code. Kyle - Refactoring systems once I joined on the team.
12:30 - What is your favorite feature you've implemented. Rob - I'm going with the build machine. I wrote a solid build machine that really helped us out. Kyle - I love the ability system tool that we made and networking code.
14:28 - What is the feature that's not yet implemented that your are most looking forward to working on? Rob - The new terrain pipeline. It takes the data from Jimmy's creations and streams it into data that are build able pieces that can be used in game. Kyle - Implementing the streaming terrain system. That takes the pipeline information and creates the world. This makes the zones run more smoothly and use less game resources.
17:27 - What is your involvement in testing session? Kyle - I'm in every testing sessions. Always monitoring performance. Rob - I like to jump in on the back end and monitor performance.
19:30 - How did you arrive at your estimate to complete the net code? Kyle - The network refactor is being done in stages. A lot of work has already done. We are kind of rebuilding the car while it's moving.
22:25 - What attracted you to this game and working or VR? Rob - A friend worked at VR and I wanted to work with him again. I also love the lore. Kyle - Jason pulled me in. The project pulled me in because it was fun.
24:25 - How important are the tools you have been making for the team? Kyle - Very important. Rob - Very critical. The better tools we have the faster they can create content.
26:15 - What type of specific tools have you used to help the team? Kyle/Rob - Anything that you see is created by a tool. All the quests, abilities, perception pings, everything.
27:14 - How does the development of URP (Universal Render Pipeline) affect the development of Pantheon? Kyle - It's huge a step in bringing on artists and also rendering of the game.
28:25 - How has the work on the network stack affected development? Kyle - It helped us optimize/reduce 90% of our server load.
29:13 - Joppa mentioned that monk, ranger, and summoner are very important to implement. Can you explain why? Kyle - Not as well as Joppa could. Kilsin - More classes means a greater variety of gameplay and have all the classes working together.
31:17 - Kilsin do you have any programming experience? Kilsin - None.
32:29 - Is it difficult to have corpse retrieval in the game? Kyle - No it's not difficult or server taxing.
33:38 - Is it possible to make a map mechanic that is tied to perception for players to "fill out" an ingame map. Kyle - Technically possible but it's more of a design question of "if" we want to do it.
34:45 - Why has the additional resource for Shaman (vision) proved difficult to implement? Kyle - It's not difficult. It just hasn't been implemented yet.
35:43 - Why did you choose to work on a MMORPG over other types of games? Rob - My last job was a pay to win mobile game. I wanted to work on something that wasn't pay to win. Kyle - I like working on multiplayer games. I love large scale networking.
37:08 - While the network stack is being done what other work can be done by the team to progress the game? Kyle - Right now we are more focused on tools for developers as opposed to the completing the network stack. Once that's in a good place I'll refocus on finishing the network stack. Rob - I'm not working on the network stack. So I will constantly working on tools for developers.
38:50 - How do different types of zones affect the server performance? Kyle - Servers see dense forest with swaying trees only as collisions zones. The tree graphics only appear on your PC. NPCs more heavily affect server performance because they must run code to respond to events and check their surroundings. Harvesting happens as a one off thing. So it isn't a heavy load on the server.
42:06 - Will programming the offensive or defensive targets be challenging? Kyle - The reputation system in the game allows you to fight friendly NPCs
43:19 - Will it matter what server we choose to play on (lag, ect)? Kyle - There are physical limitations, but if you really want to play on an aussie server you can.
45:48 - What's the coolest new tech that has been created while working on Pantheon? Rob - The new client and server patcher are very cool. Kyle - Very technical stuff (I couldn't even begin to understand)
49:05 - Some MMOs have abilities that are broken for long periods of time. How do you avoid that? Kyle - Through the tools we create we put up guard rails to prevent this type of thing from happening. We give them flexibility without giving them the power to blow their own foot off.
53:27 - What will be the most complicated class ability in the game? Kyle - Traversable abilities. Vine Bridge. Rogue Rope. Summoner Raft.
54:35 - What are you currently working on? Rob - I'm working with Jimmy on the terrain pipeline, the build machine, and also crafting mechanics. Kyle - Class specific animations. Specifically Monks.
55:49 - Are you planning on adding doors and lifts and boats? Kyle - We already doors. We will be adding more "interactable" stuff in the world.
57:08 - What feature was most satisfying to complete? Kyle - Ability system. It's cool how much Joppa and Saicred can run with abilities. Rob - Flow Graphs. The things that designers have come up with for small quests has been really cool to watch.
59:34 - What feature are you most looking forward to implementing? Rob - Working with Jimmy on the Terrain pipeline and removing the greyboxing.
1:01:14 - Can you share any details about making the character control or camera control system? Kyle - I rebuilt the character control in my free time and showed it off to the team. Everyone loved it so we went with it.
1:02:00 - Are you using DOTS/ETS programming with the Unity System? Kyle - It's already being used heavily.
1:03:25 - Will we be able to drop things on to the ground of the world? Kyle - Probably not. You can't can't plan for players dropping massive number of items on the ground.
1:04:21 - What are the top three editors issues with Unity? Kyle - Editor performance. Animation System. Rob - Lighting system.
1:08:50 - Is the ability to change keybinds challenging/coming soon? Rob - It's already in the game. Kyle - I require hover casts in the game.
1:10:25 - Does first person and 3rd person views create challenges? Kyle - Rendering in first person view so you don't get the inside of people's head. It's pretty easy. Rob - Just making sure it can't be exploited (seeing around walls/ect).
1:12:27 - Does working on the network stack feel new and exciting? Kyle - Yes Rob - If you want to hear Kyle giggle like a school girl talk about networking in MMOs.
1:13:41 - Have either of you pulled any practical jokes on the VR Team? Rob - It's a bit hard when we are all remote all over the world.
1:14:42 - Joppa has said you are amazing ... are you amazing? Kilsin - Yes they are both amazing.
1:15:02 - What are some things you've done to make the programming team easier to bring new people on? Kyle - We've moved away from spaghetti code. We now have event based system. Jr's could come in and not have to dive into the code to make changes. They can use events to edit code. Rob - Now the game is stable. We can even create documentation.
1:17:50 - How would you describe entities for the common audience? Kyle - A network enabled object. Something that can send and receive network messages.
1:18:54 - Can you name a fun tool recently added? Kyle - Optimizations that went into Odin. Rob - Ability loadouts.
1:19:50 - How much of the alpha list have you completed and have you completed banking system? Kyle - We can't discuss alpha road map. Banking design doc has been created. Standard MMO banking.
1:21:28 - What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into game programming? Rob - Watch a lot of YouTube tutorials and create demos. Stick with it. Kyle - Find simple things that are interesting to build now.
1:24:15 - Has any work been done on a /follow system? Kyle - No work has been done on it. Still to be decided.
1:25:32 - Are there any new unity features you guys are excited about? Kyle - Animancer (animation) Rob - Unity 2020
1:26:36 - Will there be layered music and sound? Rob - Yes we are working with people that are doing that on a trial basis to see if we are a good fit.
1:27:37 - Is the development time/process for Pantheon normal? Kilsin - Yes high turnover and long time is normal. Kyle - The game was a rolling demo and is now a solid game with a firm foundation. Rob - part of being crowdfunded is you are exposed for things you wouldn't normally see.
1:31:19 - How is the work on damage meters going? Kyle - Implemented but hidden from the players.
1:32:43 - Have either of you played The Drone which is done all in Unity. Kyle - I haven't played it but looked at it.
1:33:20 - Do we know why zones were crashing in the last PA session? Kyle - It was related to the new AI targeting code. There was an error that was causing the crashes. Rob - it was Kyle's fault.
1:34:43 - Is VPN and net bios tunnels used for security or performance gains? Kyle - You can use them but not for performance gains.
1:36:17 - Will damage meters including healing? Kyle - DPS - Overal Damage - Healing Done - Healing Per Second are being tracked currently.