Weekly Pupdate (6/30/20) -- Major Update #4


SHAKE THAT DERRIERE

This week, we deepened the gameplay of Ephemeral Tale through the addition of a skill tree. These changes went through a good 3 weeks of testing, but you guys will easily eclipse that amount in the first day of playtime under this system, so I’m sure there’s going to be hiccups and bumps along the way with regards to balance. Feel free to tweet at me, email me, ping me on Discord, or post in the forums with feedback! As of today, you should find that there’s a new balance feedback thread up for these sorts of things, if that's more your style. Now, shall we hop straight into the juicey-juicey?

Ephemeral Tale 1.13.x Changelog -- Major Update #4

  • You now level up in a more traditional manner
  • There is now a skill tree that spans from Lv. 1 to Lv. 50 (cap)
  • You can acquire skill points from the Keeper
  • You can spend these skill points at any bonfire
  • The Mute Mountains are now available for exploration once all three major companions have been unlocked
  • As such, there's new gear to be found and enemies to be fought
  • Adjusted the color grading of different item rarities to improve legibility for the colorblind players out there (I gotchu, boo)
  • Fixed an issue where Shelldon's quest could reset during certain combat encounters
  • Adjusted drop rates for Shell Fragments during Shelldon's quest to improve consistency between post-battle reports and final results
  • Fixed an issue where players had 15% lower hit rate if they were by themselves
  • Fixed an issue where Darune had a significantly higher hit rate than intended
  • Fixed a bug where the game could crash if this._footSteps was instantiated incorrectly on legacy saves
  • Lowered Bouldercrash damage output by 5% per hit (from 0.25 damage multiplier to 0.2)
  • All enemy weaknesses are now set to 150% (was 140%)
  • Freeze now has a chance to fall off on damage taken
  • New methods for rendering critical hit texts and Arcane Bolt’s attack animation, these should be significantly less resource hungry on legacy hardware
  • Changes to window assets to improve contrast
  • New graphic for the smol-gurl fairies in the Forgotten Forest
  • New graphic for the skully-bois in the Corrupted Castle
  • Another round of balance & gameplay adjustments for the Lost Caverns
  • The primary trio of companions have gotten a significant buff to their health pools (roughly ~25%)
  • Further changes to address pixel size discrepancies (I see your feedback, ”7th Guest.” Working on it!), mostly in the following regard:
  • A bunch of revamped & replaced animations
  • NOTE: I’m not done changing animations yet, but there’s a lot that goes into the process. This will continue to occur intermittently for at least a few more weeks. Feel free to point out any that I miss!
  • Changes to passability settings throughout various areas
  • Yet another sound effect pass
  • A handful of minor bug fixes

SAVES STILL LIVE


There’s a lot of tech behind the new skill tree that I wrote about a couple of weeks back-- lots of loading new files, attaching them to the save file, stuff of that nature. While wrapping up this patch, I began to experiment with a re-instantiation method, as I wanted to test out what would realistically happen if I had to change the skill-tree in a future patch. This experimentation part of development is always crucial, as it helped me learn a number of things:

1.) Tweaking the skill-tree in a "live-fire" fashion causes issues
While hypothetically tweaking the skill-tree should be as simple as swapping out the file behind the tree, in practice this causes pretty substantial crashing. [b][i]However[/b][/i]...

2.) If we let the tree live on the character itself, we can just "reset" the character
I'm not gonna lie, this one surprised me! Turns out, you can have multiple versions of the skill-tree living in harmony by having the characters data hold the tree, rather than just holding a reference to it. Then, if you need to update the tree, you just treat it as a new tree entirely by re-instancing the player character! re-instancing the player character is a lot easier than you'd think-- granted, it still has its caveats.

3.) Re-instancing the player causes minor inconveniences
This isn't actually that shocking, to be honest. Considering what re-instancing a player character means, minor inconveniences are kind of anticipated. In lay-mans terms, here's the whole process:

  • Remove all companion party members
  • Save the players most important information (their name, and level) in a drawer somewhere
  • Additionally, save how far they were in the skill-tree
  • Un-equip the players gear, sending it to the inventory
  • *Remove the player* from the party
  • Re-add the player to the party as a new version of the player, like if they started the game fresh
  • Go to that drawer, grab their old level and slap it on the new character, same with name
  • If this is a future patch that involves changing the skill-tree, grant skill gems equivalent to how far they were in the skill-tree (since as it's a new character, the tree is reset)

All of this ties into the biggest revelation:

4.) Through this method, we can actually maintain compatibility with legacy saves
Yes, it's true! I've tested this across several of my own saves, and saves from the community. I've had a 100% success-rate in being able to get these up and running under the new patch, so the previously announced save-file breaking is officially cancelled.

Yep, your legacy save files will continue to work! I didn't think that they would (hence my saying as much a few weeks ago), but I was able to get it functioning. There will still be sore spots, of course-- for those who are pretty deep into their runs, you may find that Scrolls of Power are now a fantastic way for you to put a dent in the skill tree.

TIME FOR CHANGE


We're finally at what I believe to be a major turning point in the development of Ephemeral Tale-- the major gameplay systems have continuously been improved & iterated upon over the past several months, and I'm now able to buckle down and develop side content to continuously deliver fresh items and gear on a more regular basis. Next week will bring another new quest, and I presume balance changes as well.

So, if you would be so kind, leave me some feedback! What you like, what you dislike, what you wish for, and I'll see what I can do! Until next time, stay safe and have fun!

-- Ryan
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