Devlog #4: Kickstarter-exclusive objects, AI training and more!
Hey everyone. Another month, another update! Here's what we've been up to lately.
Personal life, and going full-time
When we started our Kickstarter in February, we were doing Dungeon Alchemist as a side project during the weekends, as both Wim and me had full-time jobs. After the Kickstarter blew up, we realized this wasn't a maintainable situation in the long term, so we started to phase out our other engagements. We couldn't quit right away, as that would have put the other companies we worked for in a very difficult position. But today we are excited to announce that, after a few months of transition, we are now both working on Dungeon Alchemist full-time! This will speed up development substantially in the future.
With all that going on, I also have another big personal announcement. While I was dealing with the aftermath of the Kickstarter, my wife was growing a tiny human being, and she's expected to give birth to our first child in a few days! Exciting times :).
We've been hard at work at making the remaining Kickstarter-exclusive objects for the Dungeon Master tier or higher. In addition to the Dragon Statue, Orrery, Automaton and Rocket Launcher, here's a selection of new objects that will only ever be available to people who pledged that level (or who will upgrade to it):
If there are times you want to open up a direct line to the Gods, and you want to do so at an annoyingly loud volume, the Celestial Organ’s for you! 32 pipes of potentially divine harmony.
You know when you need to forge something, but kinda need to bind some demonic forces at the same time? Introducing the Demonic Furnace: 5" steel cover, withstands temperatures up to 1800°, 3"Ø link ground anchors for intense binding.
Remember looking up at the birds, soaring through the sky and thinking: “Will man ever do the same?”. The answer, of course, is a resounding “No”, but the ornithopter will allow you to die trying. The tail can be adjusted by a wood lever and pushing the pedal with your feet makes the wings swoop up and down. If not flying, you’ll be plunging gracefully.
Looking to stash a particularly demanding familiar? The cage has got you covered!
Always wanted to lecture people, but your current platform does not allow you to really hammer your point home? Introducing the lectern, the supellectile equivalent of a barbershop quartet. You’ll be just as annoying, but now you’re annoying in style.
Blend maps for terrain
We've also been working on outside terrain for the forest theme. One of the biggest challenges with environments such as forests is how to make them look organic. In a mansion, it's logical to place stuff on a grid, and floors that are aligned to the grid make perfect sense, but dirt roads that follow a straight grid pattern don't look natural at all.
That's why we developed a blend map system, which allows us to blend different terrain types together, so that you get a smooth transition from grass to flowers to dirt and so on. This makes for much more organic-looking terrain.
Here's an example of a garden designed with our new blend map system:
In our last update, we explained that in order to build the examples for the AI, we needed a robust map editor to make them in. Since we arrived at that point, we moved on to creating the examples that will feed into the AI system.
The basic idea is that we will create a set of examples for each room type, and the AI will learn based on those examples. Then, the system will generate a set of rooms, and we will rank them in terms of quality. The AI will then re-learn itself based on this new information. This way, we can refine the room generation without having to make hundreds of examples per room type.
Here's an image of the initial examples we built for the Tavern Great Hall:
The examples define the type of objects, walls, floors, doors etc that can appear in this room. Each room type will have a different set of examples with a different selection of objects to learn from.
Because I'm expecting a baby any time now, I realized that I wouldn't have time to continue development of Dungeon Alchemist and the AI all by myself. That's why we brought on board a team of machine learning experts who will assist me in the AI development. Please welcome ML²Grow to the crew! They'll be speeding up progress on the AI front significantly.
Last but not least...
We’ve created an active, wonderful community on Discord for Dungeon Alchemist, and we’d love for you to join us. All your questions regarding the application will be answered there, and thoughts, suggestions and random roleplaying related topics are discussed on a daily basis. We will be less active in following up the questions in our inbox on Kickstarter, so if there’s anything you’d like to discuss, please head on over to https://discord.gg/mbupphnVjs.