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Development Update #75

 December 15, 2022

A whole lot going on right now at IT Roy HQ. Besides the dog demanding belly rubs and treats, the game is receiving a lot of improvements. Chapter 10 saw a big code overhaul that I planned to do over several releases. I quickly realized that doing it all at once (minus a couple of small things) was the best path. My tremendous thanks to my beta team that had quite a bit on their plate with extra testing for that. Many bugs were found and squashed.

Instead of looking back though, let’s cover the future. My goal in 2023 is to try some new things and see how they pan out. Here’s what I’ve got planned for 2023.

Animations

Yes, they are coming, if the main menu in Chapter 10 wasn’t a clue enough. Hopefully as soon as Chapter 11. I’ve found a few ways to make the process much less painful. In any event, it is clear animations are the next big hurdle to improve the game. I’ve already started work on these, and I hope to have them for key events in Chapter 11. The plan right now is to go back and add them into Volume 2 over time, so that all of Volume 2 will have animations by the time it is finished. When that happens all depends on how things go with the early animations. The animations will, of course, be available through the replay gallery, so you won’t need to start over just to see them.

I have invested substantially (you do not want to see those receipts) in new hardware so that render times for animations don’t slow down the development timeline. The key time commitment, at least initially, is the time it will take me to setup and perfect (as well as I can) animations. As with anything 3D, they will get quicker to setup. The Chapter 10 main menu animation went a lot more smoothly than I thought, and from here on out it is getting practice and developing my eye to spot problems.

Completed Volume 2

Once complete, Volume 2 will launch on Steam, and it will then receive all the new changes, even going back to Volume 1. Then it is on to Volume 3. With the massive expansion of To Be A King’s story (and it is quite the expansion now), I am not sure how many more chapters will be in Volume 2, but it will be at least two more. Plan is for a complete Volume 2 before the end of 2023.

Code refinement

The big job of code overhaul is done, but there are still a few more things I want to implement. Add to that a few things that need testing to see whether they actually work and are fun, and the code work marches on. No more to say on this until these things are locked in. So many ideas in my head sound great, and then they suck when implemented.

Daz library improvements

This is really a never-ending process, but I’ve got a few more things on this list here. Nearly every release seems some improvements or reworking, but there are some major things that remain. I need to expand my custom pose library, get some presets for animations, and update some presets for things I use regularly in scenes. 

I’ve become addicted to presets, as they both reduce errors and speed up development. They take some time to setup, though not much more than doing it a couple of times without them, so the payoff is worth it. Preset everything you can, fellow Daz artists. Then update your own presets, as needed.

Website improvements

I finally have a proper blog on the website. I have been wanting to move things away from Patreon exclusively, and now is a good opportunity. It’s been a great platform, and I’m not planning to abandon it. But it is never good to trust a platform outside your control more than you need to. See Twitter.com. I’ve got a few other small things planned for the site, and most blog content should be posted over there regularly.

Custom outfits

I am not a seamstress, but I have been experimenting with Marvelous Designer. I’ve got plans for custom outfits for a few characters. I’m tired of trying to use more modern stuff and hoping for the best or relying on the same three outfits. In addition, I plan to make better use of Zbrush to add a bit more customization to existing outfits with my own morphs. You’ve seen the early fruits of that labor in Chapter 10.

Environment improvements

Fear not. I am not going back and redoing existing environments (at least not anything significant). But I have some fun things planned for new environments. One of these things was already added to a new environment for Chapter 10.

Quite a bit to get done, especially as a single developer, but improvement marches on. It’s going to be an exciting ride to get to the end of To Be A King. When will that be? I think either with the heat death of the universe or when a gigantic meteor takes us all out.

That’s likely all from me for a few weeks, except for dropping the special renders for this month. Since it is Christmas soon, I’ll have another holiday themed render set of some of the ladies. My plan is, after those renders, to mostly take the rest of the year off to recharge for a bit. I’ll be back at it in January working on Chapter 11, especially since that chapter needs a lot of prep work. Have a safe and happy end of 2022, and I’ll be back with another development update in 2023.