Illuvium
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Illuvium

Illuvium Dev Blog — January 2022

Intro

While the beginning of January undoubtedly sucked, we hit many significant milestones by its end. The two hacks caused delays to essential products, but we always push through.

I prefer to look at the positives. The breach allowed us to understand how to upgrade our community management. The Discord is cleaner than ever and still has a few upgrades in the works that will make it even better. The sILV exploit led us to get support from one of the best solidity auditors in the world, and he is currently looking through our code and has taught our guys some valuable lessons. We are very confident in the security of this upgrade to V2 staking.

Probably the most exciting news is that we pushed the internal Beta to all team members, including comprehensive bug tracking. The game is still not polished, but this Private Beta is not about polish. It’s about functionality.

We have over 100k applications! So there is some interest and not all from the crypto community.

Enough preamble. On with the updates!

NOTE: You may notice a slight change in the layout of these updates. These changes represent our move from team-based task management to a more product-focused system now that we are getting to the point of having many products.

Illuvium: Arena

(Tentative title for the auto battler)

Survival Mode is the most exciting update of the month. The Combat Engine functionality is near completion. I cannot stress enough how big of a milestone this is. We have built a fully deterministic, data-driven battle simulation, usable by every Auto-Battle game mode we create. The Combat Engine is the heart of PVP and PVE in Illuvium (for now). So what was the progress?

  • The UI is nearly done. Health bars look cleaner. It will still look ‘beta’ when you play it, but you’ll see how clean it looks overall. UI is a time-consuming process and requires us to get feedback from players before we make the final adjustments, but I’m very confident we’ll have something easy on the eyes and easy on the brains.
  • Movement optimisation is acceptable now. We managed to get a 10x efficiency increase. Efficiency probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but because we compute the battles in the cloud, they must take as few resources as possible. Reducing overheads means more money for the DAO, which means more games with more features.
  • The music and sounds are fantastic. We haven’t integrated everything, but it doesn’t need to for Private Beta 1. The sound team has done a tremendous job.
  • The different power-ups are now all in the game except Augments. And due to the delays, Augments might be available very soon after the start of PB1. They all work on the same underlying modular system, so expanding the functionality is exponential. That’s an excellent thing.
  • We are now in the final stages of making all the synergies work.
  • Added a new Bug Reporting/Crash UI available in the game at any time that will create tasks directly from player feedback.
  • Lots of bug fixes. Building the Combat Engine outside of Unreal means that we don’t need to use traditional servers (which is why we can save matches in tiny files), but it also means a lot of complexity under the hood. I look through the bugs to determine how to clean up the game design. Bugs aren’t always the fault of developers. Often the game design is at fault. The game should easily be bug-free with a clean design, so when it isn’t, I’m to blame. The goal is to have zero tech debt by the time we get out of Beta. We want to focus on new games, which is vital to the project’s success.
  • The game backend is complete, and the team are working on hooking up the client right now. Things like the scoreboard and the next wave are all grabbed from the server to thwart cheating. Remember, there will be an in-game yield for high scores on Survival Mode. It has to be reliable.
  • Auto balancing of the Combat Units is getting close to feature complete. The frustrating part is that this data is not super helpful until we have all systems in place. There’s no point worrying about Rhamphyre being OP until we know how it plays with augments, synergies, and hyper all working in harmony. But at least we know it works and can switch it on when ready. As of today, my pro-tip would be “Titanor OP”.
  • We have gone all out with the VFX. You will notice that some will be placeholders for those who get to play the Beta, but we’ve decided that FUNCTIONALLY we should have something that kicks ass. VFX provide subtle cues to help you decipher what happens in battle. A large team of VFX artists (which we don’t have yet) is required. You will see some placeholders for now, but we are committed to making the experience as immersive as possible, which means going all in.

Illuvium: Overworld

(Extremely tentative title for the adventure game)

Our Gameplay Reveal Trailer taught us how many people want to explore the Overworld. We are going hard on the four regions we need to launch (including Sanctum Mesa). It’s been a challenge because we first have to present a world to you that is completely isolated, shattered, and desolate but then also allow for updates in the future to show the towns and the players settling in. A simple example would be that the main ship will be a broken vessel when the game starts. But over time, it will be built into the Leviathan Arena. It’s quite a complex task.

So what have we worked on this month?

  • We revised the mining flow to feel more responsive and fun.
  • We implemented a swathe of map improvements, including a heat map showing areas with a higher concentration of loot. It’s something you will be able to upgrade to get more accuracy.
  • Inventory is functional, and we are starting to hook it into the backend.
  • Storage locker and skins initial implementation is complete. (For those that don’t know, you can’t sell something unless it’s in your storage locker)
  • Server mocking infrastructure for mining/harvesting/inventory is complete. Once the backend is live, we will replace the fake data with the real stuff.
  • The data team is working on crunching the numbers. Things like how many deposits should spawn, what they contain, what we expect their value to be, what it should cost, etc.
  • We now have four outsourcing teams to help speed up the production of assets. The first three regions are starting to take shape, with the Crimson Waste (Private Beta 2) nearly complete.
  • We have some new props that you have not seen before, which will significantly enhance the world’s mood and make players ponder “what the hell happened here.”
  • The battle boards are now procedural, and as such, it will be easy to keep them in sync if we make changes. They are looking fantastic.
  • The songs and ambiences are coming together. We have a larger team here, all extremely talented. They push themselves and each other to get better all the time. The ambience will very much define the Overworld.

Illuvium: Zero

We will have some updates for you in the next few weeks. We’re nearly feature-complete. Most of the remaining issues are art-related (and I believe getting done today as I write this) or balancing the costs and timings. The game design team continues to focus on the Auto-Battle, and even though we have a different team on Illuvium Zero, we need to cross-check to make sure the two games sync up well in terms of design language.

Private Beta App

(This will eventually become a fully-fledged game client for all the titles.)

We launched the registration phase and will continue to improve it over time. The team did a great job here, and we have had minimal issues. This app will eventually grow into the client for the whole ecosystem. It will be where players can download the game, see the latest patch notes, log in to their accounts, and other functionality.

Staking V2

Staking V2 should have been a fantastic upgrade that happened nearly two months ago. The audit concluded long ago, but we rethought it entirely after the exploit. There is a long explanation for why we reconfigured things, but the short version is that V2 needs to do more heavy lifting to be functional, considering the state of V1. Samczsun is auditing it now, and our team is confident that he won’t find anything, which is a bold statement. Some changes are required to get it all working, but we’ve done everything we can to mitigate their inconvenience. An IIP will go out as soon as we are confident of the final feature set post-audit.

The UI is 90% done, and the only outliers are waiting on the final audit before we have the green light to implement the user experience.

Land Sale and IlluviDEX

We are so close. We are looking at a couple of Layer 2 solutions to reduce the gas fees and should have that sorted out soon. Depending on the decisions relating to Layer 2 solutions, we may pause some features to work on others and speed up the time to get to a functional state. If we choose Layer 1, we will have to build out all the features. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that we can’t iterate as much and instead need the whole system working at once.

We completed another big integration piece in the backend, taking events from various sources (some user-driven, some blockchain-driven) and combining them to provide the front end team with a single queryable data set. Not easy, but it is working.

It will be ready very soon but is dependent on Staking V2, which needs to happen so that stakers can claim their sILV2.

Illuvitars

Nearly all the art assets for the first sale are ready to go. I was worried that this would be the last thing prepared with the scope of the art required, but it seems like it might be the first to be completed. Having the art ready is excellent because it gives us some time to refine and tweak them so that the workload is sustainable long-term.

The Solidity features are not quite as advanced, but they won’t be a blocker. The UI is also near complete.

DAO Dashboard

Most people don’t know about the DAO dashboard. It goes a bit under the radar considering the games and the DeFi elements. However, it forms a vital part of the overall ecosystem. This dashboard will be where voting takes place, IIPs and ICCP, and many other systems that currently happen in Discord.

The UX is complete, and the UI phase will start next.

General Updates

Story

As always, I can’t give much away. But our outsourcing studio for cinematics has started the initial phase of the release trailer and research into a series of content that will be very important as the story unfolds. There are three movies worth of content that sits as the backdrop for Illuvium. The player will only see a fraction of it, but it will make the experience richer as time goes on. We continue to crank up the emotion by adding small but impactful additions. I want to see people cry.

Governance

Governance took a back seat for January. However, February will include quite a few proposals. You might know the results when reading this, but I don’t. So this is one of those rare times that you have more information than me. That makes me smile, though. One day you’ll understand.

Marketing

We produced our first official on-camera video to reveal Private Beta 1 and have a premium land sale explainer video locked and loaded for that launch. Additional premium explainer videos for Staking v2, video ads, interview clips, PR reels, and official tutorials are on the way.

We’ve partnered with new guilds totaling nearly 1 million members and even Travala.com, the world’s leading cryptocurrency-friendly hotel booking service. It’s a long way off, but this will be crucial in giving you convenient ways to pay for affordable travel for events.

Business and Partnerships

We had over 160 applications for partnerships from influencers. We only select the highest quality talents willing to commit to Illuvium and expand our reach. So far, we have secured 17 influencers across six languages. We will soon announce an exciting new way to reach more influencers far more effectively. We think you will love it.

Production

We are well into the transition to product-based teams. Long term changes such as these are essential in keeping core contributors accountable, and hopefully, that will allow us better estimates. The team will grow this month to enable more communication with the player base. Eventually, it won’t just be Kieran, Grant, and myself giving updates.

Infrastructure

Our main security improvements are complete. The team (now that it is a team) does a great job of making sure everything else runs smoothly. As you would expect, there is work to do when you grow by over 100 people in just a few short months, but we are happy with the progress.

Summary

While January sucked at the start, we got up off the floor, dusted ourselves off, and got on with the work. Since then, it’s been our most productive month, even though some teams have had dips in functional output due to handling the hacks. The unfortunate takeaway is that even though we are happy with the state of the project and more excited about its quality than ever before, we’re not going to hit our deadline. In the background, we have been working on ways to mitigate the impact of this. There is a solution that will make everyone happy (or at least as satisfied as they can be considering a delay), but I can’t go into details now.

Additionally, we will probably open up the game to a large audience (possibly unlimited spots) as Private Beta 3. Everyone could experience the game, even if they weren’t playing for keeps. We will confirm details ASAP, as we are committed to full transparency.

So there you have it. January in a nutshell. If you wish to stay entirely up to date, join us in our Discord, where the team regularly interacts with the community. This blog was born out of suggestions from chat, so please understand that your voices are heard and valued.

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