Starting Alpha 12 wip cycle

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

Download links to new Alpha 12 wip builds will start to appear in the Discord #new_versions channel (along with changelogs). Give them a try! I’m looking forward to your feedback on Discord

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.

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17 Responses to Starting Alpha 12 wip cycle

  1. Lautaro Zualet says:

    Right, but, here’s what your team needs to make Knights Province playable:

    for the animations you need Cascadeur, for the buildings that are included in the game you need blender, and for the environments (Trees, Plants, Bushes, etc.) you need plant factory.

    what do you think?

  2. An No Nymous says:

    Hi, I played the last version a bit. Firt: I really like it, the sheep are really cool to watch I wait for kettle, tree cutting animations… nice, waterfalls and proper seabed… cool.

    Some things I noticed:

    Sometimes, trees/houses that were destroyed by constructers/soldiers remain on the map, blocking ways and selection although they are not there anymore. I hat double trees were two grew inside another.

    Positioning troops works worse than before, sometimes i have to try 4 times before they accept a new position and orientation!

    Could you keep symbols longer on the map? Like an attack or the hunger of a troop? I had the problem yesterday that i was in a mayor battle and simply didnt see that a troop was hungry because it was there too short? Maybe you can keep the symbol for half a minute or until you look at the part of the map? Would it be senseful to create a symbol for enemy sightings? So you could tell troops to stand guard and report enemy sightings with a sound and a symbol on the map?

    Suggestions:

    – more troop orders:
    — let it patrol between two places, this would let the army look way more alive. one could for example make maps where you have to slip between enemy patrols to reach a goal
    — let a troop guard another troop(follow it) /building/region. so in case enemies approach the guarded object/region, the troop automatically steps in. this would automatize military organisation a bit and you need the commands for the AI anyway I think

    – At the moment the AI is not grouping its soldiers. thats somehow strange, it worked already before that they group and wait outside the village. now each alone waits at the barracks and they blocvk the whole village.

    – The AI at the moment has large problems with forrests. it looks where it can construct a building without removing stones/trees. that gives quite disfunctional villages. upon reserving a forrest area for tree planting, AI could handle trees not as blocking but simply remove them, easing AI village construction a lot in case of a forrest close to the starting point.
    – more troop lineups:

    • An No Nymous says:

      Oh, I forgot the troop lineups:
      when placing them diagonally, you have free places. Could you make extra buttons for loose/packed slodier positioning? loose: you can place e.g. a mixture of melee/anti-horse
      more packed: your troop is smaller and more soldiers can attack immediately

      maybe allow other shapes than just rectangles, e.g. a hollow shape to surround another unit that has to be protected in a mission?

      In case you like the idea:
      think about grouping several troops to a larger unit (division, whatever) that has a shortcut as a whole and is positioned together. i often have more than ten troops and cannot give shortcuts to all and the fighting becomes a mess.

  3. An No Nymous says:

    Since you started with the sheep, I guess you might add pastures for horse and cow breeding aswell?
    For all of these, I suggest a tiny feature for the animal growing up: Why not scale its size when aging? Like from 20% when “new-born” to full size upon getting of age?
    Would be nice to watch the babies, i always really liked that in knights and merchants.

  4. An No Nymous says:

    Bug: Non-finished buildings like a barrack just began to build count for the winning check, meaning a barrack with 50/400 HP which was just started tu build prevents you from winning although its totally useless.

    Feature: Can you make civilists flee from soldiers? You can defeat an enemy by simply placing 3 soldiers in an enemy city and after a while, all serfs are dead.

    • Krom says:

      Citizens will run away from soldiers when attacked, unless they have jobs to do. After all it is quite vital that Serf will try to bring weapons to houses and Blanks will try to come it so that warriors can be trained.

  5. An No Nymous says:

    – If you kill a treecutter while he is felling a tre, it keeps trembling forever
    – In the stats, you can have more lost citizens then trained ones? and two more buildings lost then constructed when starting only with a camp?

    – when changing between skirmish/story mode in a map, i noticed that AI used the positions i made for the soldiers in skirmish mode! if not placed, the soldiers stayed at ther creation point. could it be you mixed story/skirmish ai?

    • Krom says:

      1 – fixed, thanks for report!
      2 – will need to look at the savegame, but those numbers are not always in sync (friendly fire, demolishing and etc can skew them)
      3 – story mode NEEDS defence positions, skirmish mode CAN use them too if said so (there’s a MpEd option for that)

  6. An No Nymous says:

    I have another suggestion for you to for the moment improve the AI city construction without too many work: When looking for a good position for a building, rate each possible position with the distance wares have to be transported to there from its source and from there to the next target, multiplied with the amount (3 sausages…). This way AI would improve its cities maybe a lot, because quite a lot of the AIs cities die due to starvation for me…

  7. An No Nymous says:

    I started to prepare a long campaign and made some maps, but I somehow lack an overview into your skripting. Is somewhere a summary for the scripting language?

    • An No Nymous says:

      Okay, I’m sorry, found it!
      But one other thing:
      To boost story possibilities, could you make some special units one cannot normally build? Like a King/wizard/…? Then one could play a bit with them.

      Can you allow to change Health points/strength of a single unit?

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