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Kenshi - An open ended, squad-based Strategy RPG
New World
Friday, 04 July 2014 00:00


Over the last few months, Olly has been working hard on the new world map - a whole world, 4x bigger to completely replace the current one. This will have a great variety of different biomes: Swamp Lands, Savannas and Tar Sands... just to name a few.
To all the fans of the current look though: don't worry, there will still be a desert biome as well. Check out some of Olly's experimental work-in-progress landscapes...

Experimental biome
The process involves selecting a small area of heightmap (a huge greyscale texture) from the main world map, and loading it into ZBrush. Here, Olly sculpts it into it's basic shape, for example cliffs, hillocks, dunes, bluffs, gulleys, cracked planet skin, arid features or swampy bogs. He then uses another editor, World Machine, to play around with features like erosion and terraces, before tweaking a bit more in ZBrush again.
Eventually during these process, he'll need to render out a heightmap  and various textures  - colourmaps, convexity maps, maybe angle, splatmaps or other information from macro's in that program. Then, this new heightmap would essentially be 'sewn' back into the original super-huge world greyscale heightmap.

The textures are added after developing the overlay map - this gives the land surface it's basic colour. Loose stones, sand, mud, dried lava flows, cliff beds etc, can all be then be added as textures for the surface of each individual region.

Early stages of a volcanic crater

These and the normal maps that go with them then get applied to the world surface super easily thanks to the mapping systems of the Kenshi coders, Sam and Chris. Olly will then rebuild the world and load the game to check the results. Often excitement then turns to a huge list of fixes...
Remember - all of the above images represent an unfinished, experimental state; they are not a final representation of the finished world map.
Update 0.69.0 Experimental Version
Friday, 20 June 2014 10:24

The next update (Steam Experimental version) is now available:




-Big frame rate boost!
-Totally revamped wall placement system
-Slightly better building placement in general.  Easier to place furniture inside buildings.
-Toughness now affects degeneration rate, meaning that rookies are more likely to die than veterans when defeated.
-Difficulty settings added to the New Game and Import Game windows.
-Added an "Amount of death" slider to the new game options to increase difficulty.  Setting it higher than 1.0 makes ALL characters in the game more likely to die from their wounds (eg 2.0 means bloodloss + wounds degenerate 2x faster).
-"Easy prospecting" option: resources are adjusted by biome only.
-Multipliers for research, building and production speeds
-Some subtle tweeks to the combat AI to help characters deal with being outnumbered slightly better.
-Bandits can now catch you if you are running away and can't run fast enough.
-Strength improves slightly faster from encumbrance
-"Max blood" stat is now influenced by character's strength.
-Heavy club was a bit overpowered, so I turned it down.
-Added Splint Kits to the research list
-Forgot to mention in last update, gun turrets now have an advantage when placed at a higher altitude than their target.  Put them on hills, on walls, and it will make them much more effective
-You can now upgrade or delete a whole chain of walls at once



-Fixed the "reset position" for game imports
-Fixed some characters being invisible when dead or paused
-Fixed outnumbered characters causing a big freeze-up mid-battle
-You can't run away mid-stumble anymore
-Skin tone wasn't being randomised properly for NPC generation.
-Fixed a bug where splint kits sometimes cause healing to get stuck
-Fixed the high-velocity ragdolls bug
-Fixed research ETA, also daytime speed was running too fast when time was speeded up

First Beast: In The Making
Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:00

After an unbelievably generous contribution from Linda Macgill (AKA Methelina and CEO of Bug Zen), the beastiary is now making smooth progress.

As mentioned in previous posts, having creatures modeled and skinned by freelancers can cost up to a few thousand dollars each. At such a high cost, progress with the beastiary would have slowed until Oliver had more time to finish them in-house, or we may have even had to have cut some of the creatures from the game altogether... But, thanks to the awesome kindness of Linda and her team, we now have help!

Basically, we've now formed an alliance with the super talented team at Bug Zen, a small indie game development group. They've begun modelling, rigging and animating some of the beasts for free for us. For free! Man, they're crazy! Not to mention that Linda has also given us code for rendering technologies - this will help with progress massively in the future. Linda has already finished designing and modeling the first giant too - here are her work in progress models:


Giant beast


Giant beast


Below, you can see Linda's model with the final texturing and details - all that's left to finish it now is the animation stage. Special thanks to David Alexandersson (aka Tiwyll) for it's rigging and animation, and Stephan Samosevich (aka Link) for the texture adjustments.




Massive thanks to Linda and the team for making the full beastiary possible...

You can see more of Linda's work on her Deviant Art page here

Pathfinding Delays
Monday, 16 June 2014 13:33

Our immediate roadmap has changed lately, and I'd like to show you guys how and why.

The new pathfinding system has been pushed back behind 2 other features.  First is the new wall building features, which has now been made waaayyy more user friendly and will be in the next update.  This was a major source of complaints and I wanted it thrown in sooner because it was only a weeks work and otherwise would have had to wait many more weeks for the pathfinding to finish.

Secondly we are working on making a 64-bit build, which is super-high priority as it will fix Kenshi's biggest problem right now: the "super crash", which is the game crashing due to reaching the 3.5gb memory limitation of 32-bit windows.  This is a bigger job as our terrain engine is a closed-source 32-bit library.  Which in layman's terms means that we have to replace it 'cause we can't get inside it.  Don't worry though, it will still look pretty much the same and have the huge view distances.

Then we will finish off the pathfinding system.  Because of the nature of Kenshi, incorporating a path-finding system into it is a seriously huge and fiddly job. This is mainly due to the seamless terrain being combined with the player's ability to freely place buildings, hence altering the landscape. Adding path-finding to a concept like this is no easy task, as any kind of building placement greatly affects the way the path-finding works.  On top of that it needs to analyse wall layouts and calculate in real-time whether things are inside or outside various configurations of town walls, and deal with characters moving long-range all over the world.  This hasn't really been done before... it's kinda groundbreaking stuff!

These are our highest priorities right now and we really do appreciate everyone's patience on this.

For the time being, you can find help on path-finding related bugs and fixes here. And don't forget, the next update (due tomorrow!) will include a huge frame rate boost - the game should run a hell of a lot smoother and speedier from there on out.

AI & Performance Boost
Thursday, 12 June 2014 08:08

The next mini-update should be out in about a week, this will make the game run real nice and fast. There's going to be a big frame rate boost; a couple of extra difficulty settings in the options and game-start scenarios; plus a few AI tweaks to make things a little more realistic and challenging....

Just a few examples:

  • Bandits will now be able to actually catch you if you have a lower running speed, are injured or are stumbling
  • Toughness and Strength stats will have more of an effect on degeneration rate and max blood. This means rookies will die more easily than veterans
  • Fixed bug where characters 'freeze up' in battle.
  • Improved combat AI for outnumbered characters
  • Running Away

The big path-finding update is still to come in a month or so, so for now please be patient with the weird catapulting characters and walking through wall bugs... These will fixed with the new Havok AI system but for now, if you have any problems, here are a few common issues:

  • Unconscious characters teleport when picked up and put back down
  • Characters ignore orders to close gates
  • Characters walk through walls
  • Characters get stuck in buildings & doorways
  • Characters get stuck together

If a character gets stuck, try the following:

  • Pick up and put down stuck character
  • Import/load game and check "reset position only"
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