It’s been a long time since Alpha 11, but at last, Alpha 12 is entering its public Wip cycle! Starting from today, you can find a link to fresh Alpha 12 wip build on Discord.
Long story short – lots of coding, game design, artists interactions and debugging went into Alpha 12 over the past year. There are several new big changes and improvements in the game:
- Sheep farms, Sheep, Pastures, Wool, Gambesons!
- Reworking object picking (aka hitboxes) UI/UX
- Reworking HUD UI/UX
- Waterfalls and multiple water levels
- New text localizations – French, German, Spanish, Polish and Turkish
- And as always – a lot of smaller features and improvements
Here’s a video highlighting main features by Wychor on the official Knights Province channel – make sure to subscribe!
Now let’s look into these features more closely.
As always, a word of caution – anything described below is not final and can change during or after Alpha 12 release.
Sheep, sheep farms, pastures, wool and gambesons
One of the things that bugged me from the early days of this project, was that Leather Armor, albeit looking cool in all those modern movies and TV series, was not actually period correct. It is Gambesons that were mainly used. Now with Fences that were added as a prototype in Alpha 11 we can finally do that – add Sheep, Wool and Gambesons. Each piece deserves a separate paragraph to introduce and to explain:
- New kind house is added – a Sheep farm (this is one funny name that may stay or go). There works a Breeder who tends to the Sheep. Sheep farm has a new unique thing about it – it has a backdoor, through which a Breeder can access the pasture.
- A Sheep farm needs to have a pasture next to it. Pasture is an area on terrain next to the Sheep farm, enclosed by natural obstacles or other buildings and fences. Pastures can be shared between several Sheep farms, but as playtesting showed, they work out best when they have size restrictions of 4 – 80 tiles.
- When the Sheep farm is complete and has a breeder inside and enclosed pasture next to it – then Breeder can bring out baby sheep! They will graze in the pasture slowly growing up and growing wool on them. The rate depends on the pasture terrain – unfieldable terrain tiles provide 0 nutrition, fieldable tiles are x0.5 nutrition and grassy terrain tiles are x1. However, the main source of sheep nutrition is grain that Breeder gives them.
- Once sheep are mature and wooly enough, a Breeder will come inside the pasture to trim them for Wool. Raw wool gets processed right in the Sheep farm by the Breeder and gets turned into hanks of wool (called Wool in the game, for short). It’s a new ware in the game. Wool is produced two at a time.
- Now serfs can take Wool from Sheep farms and bring it to a new house – Clothmakers, where a Tailor (new profession) will take the Wool and turn it into Gambesons.
- Gambesons are now used instead of leather armor to equip tier 2 warriors in the Fort.
With that in mind, the old leather production chain (CowFarm -> Cowhides -> Tannery -> ArmoryWorkshop -> LeatherArmor) is no longer in use. Cowhides, Leather and Leather Armor and Tannery become obsolete and are removed from the game. The sheep concept is a testbed for all other animal breeding concepts. So changes to the meat production line and stables are also on the roadmap.
Better object picking
With fences having a bigger role now, it was time to rework object picking – a way game detects what object should get selected when a mouse click occurs. Now you will be able to select more of in-game objects – fences, trees, ore decals. Selection precision was also improved – now the objects are being selected by their shape, not by the footprint on the terrain. Here’s a developers view on the object shapes:
Updated objects HUD
There is also a new HUD for selected objects. It has more focus on the object’s avatar and is intended to be closer to the final looks it will get in the future. It is still in the prototype stage.
Sidenote: Apparently, finding a good UX/UI artist is really hard. I have been searching for several months now with mixed success.
Waterfalls and support for multiple water levels were added
Now there can be up to 4 different water levels (each with its own waterbody setup). Water shader was also slightly improved. Setting up waterfalls is a chore, but I’m hoping to improve and streamline that process based on your feedback.
This change also caused the rework of the way waterbeds and shorelines are set up – now it’s dynamic and depends on the actual tiles that are covered with the water. So there’s no more “underwater” surfaces. Any surface can be a waterbed now – even hot lava xD.
Among other noticeable improvements
In-game changelog – now you can see what is new and what has changed since previous builds.
Improvements in AI city planning – e.g. now AI will try to restore road/building plans if the worker building them dies
New music track (Bells) by Juan I. Goncebat
New maps by Wychor (Lake Plateau, Erlond, Nile)
New animals for new waterbodies
New terrain surfaces, including cave floor with 3 different stone densities (had to revive my Substance Designer skills)
Grain fields render performance improvements (from 9 fps to 46 fps!)
Further Alpha 12 plans
- Playtesting and tweaking sheep/pastures/fences/AI interactions
- Upgrading all the missions to the new non-leather/gambesons flow and non-singular waterbodies setup
- Creating a sheep-oriented mission for the Introduction campaign
- Fixing Alpha 12 bugs (https://github.com/Kromster80/knights_province/milestone/9)
- Getting HUD wrapped up (continuing the redesign and/or adding missing bits)
- Lots and lots of smaller fixes and improvements
There’s also a new channel for Knights Province videos – The videos on the channel will be about announcements, development updates, map highlights, and more. Right now the channel already has some playlists with mapmaking, development and gameplay videos made by other KP community members. Let us know if YOU are someone who makes KP videos and would like them featured in the official playlists.