Dec 21, 2018
Days of War - Driven Arts



Dear Supporters,

Thanks to everyone who signed up to help us test this next release. We got a lot more signups than we expected.

Another thanks to those who responded to the survey we sent out. We got some great data and lots of thoughtful responses.

It’s no secret this industry can be difficult but we’ve been grateful to have so much support, be it money, time, or raw enthusiasm. We’d like to remind you as we remind ourselves, neither Days of War nor Driven Arts would exist without your support and we will continue to work hard in return.

Today we are breaking for Christmas, and will be returning in January ready to hit the ground running once again. 2018 was a great year for the industry, for UE4, and for Days of War, and its looking like 2019 might be even better. We’ve got a lot in store for you next year: some complete, some planned, and some we probably don’t even know about yet.

So with that we offer you our immense gratitude once again, wish you a Merry Christmas, and look forward to seeing you next year.

Driven Arts


P.S. Can you guess what the theme of the next map will be?


Dec 4, 2018
Days of War - Driven Arts


We're almost there.

Two summers ago we had planned to do a free weekend, which we cancelled to go back into full scale development. This was because we knew we were a long way off from the game we wanted to make and were capable of making, and no amount of promotion would solve that problem.

We have spent the past 18 months rebuilding Days of War. Piece by piece we have reinvented the game, throwing out what didn't work, polishing the core that we loved, and continually adding content and new features.





For us 2018 was largely about making the game feel better, smoother, more fluid. This meant more than just more frames per second, but polishing everything from the UI, to the sounds, to the animations, to how the Steam Workshop works. 2018 was a very good year for the underlying tech and we’re taking advantage of everything we can in the latest versions of UE4.

We've admittedly done a poor job at communicating with you during this period, but that's primarily because we didn't feel we had much to talk about until we could come back with something we were proud of. We think our next release will make up for that.





To deliver this release we need your help testing it. We plan to do this in a staged rollout starting with isolated tests that have clear goals. The first tests will be gameplay focused, seeing what works and what needs tweaking. We've worked a long time to get it to a place we're happy with and now we need to see if you're happy with it too.

If you would like to take part in these early tests please drop your email in this form, otherwise stay tuned for our community wide testing in early 2019.
https://goo.gl/forms/bQlw37SCYApCGCqz1





We are aiming to deliver everything we’ve promised and more. It will take us a little longer, but we're getting very close, and we're excited to share it with you.

-Driven Arts



Days of War - Driven Arts


Hey everyone, we’re still hard at work on a whole slew of maps and features, many which have been previously mentioned and a few new surprises.

We wanted to give a very frank recap of the past year and share our studio’s outlook for the next year. We've seen a few common questions and concerns over the last few months which we'll do our best to address. If you have any more feel free to leave them in the comments.





Why hasn’t there been a patch since June?
In June we decided that instead of dripping smaller updates as we had in the first few months of Early Access, we wanted to do a lot of work and come back with something exciting.


What are you doing with my money?
Because we’ve been quiet in our communications and our updates, we’re aware that some people are assuming we ‘took the money and ran’. This couldn’t be further from the truth, we continue to be 100% focused on Days of War.


Why haven't you just given up?
Most people probably would have. It's hard to revive a game, even though we technically haven't released yet. The way we see it, we owe it to all of you to both finish the game and do our best to revive it. We still think we're in a genre that is massively under served, and we think Days of War has a lot of potential. If we didn't think this, we wouldn't be here.


Why is it taking so long?
We are, and have always been, a small team. Since June we have had all 4 of our developers full time (1 Programmer, 1 Technical Artist, 1 Designer, and 1 Environment Artist who started in March).

Where we are able we’ve continued to contract out art assets, and hired programmers to help build our VOIP, AI, Map Editor, and Stat Tracking System. We’ve elected to keep the core team small because it gives us more control and lets us stretch our dollars much further, even though it means we move a little slower.


What have we learned this year?
When we came to Early Access we didn’t have enough maps, had too many bugs and performance issues, and lacked polish in many areas that all summed up to an experience that simply wasn’t fun enough to keep people around.

The game was over priced for the experience at the time, which also hurt our sales numbers and meant we weren’t bringing in enough new blood to keep the servers full. We could have started discounting, advertising, etc. but we wanted to bring the game quality up to the asking price first, because that’s what we promised.

The upside is, we learned our lesson – which is why we don’t want to ask people to try the game out again until we think it’s good enough. This is why we haven’t released any updates, or done sales and free weekend promotions.

If we had to do it all again, we probably wouldn’t do it any differently. While not ideal, we would never have been able to diagnose our biggest issues and priorities without the sheer volume of feedback and data that we received in the first few months of EA. We learned more in 1 week of Early Access than we did in 9 months of closed testing.




When is the next big update coming?
We’re calling the next big update DoW 2.0, because it's practically a new game.

Originally, we were targeting to release it right about now, but last month we reviewed where we were at and decided it’s in everyone’s best interest to continue to work on it for a little longer.

We could release a major update right now, but as we’ve learned before, more content, features, and polish never hurt, even if it means waiting. We didn't deliver the first time, so we're gonna make damn sure we try our best on the second swing.

There’s no arbitrary timeline constraint for us, which means no exact date. What we can say for sure is once everything is ready we’ll be testing it live with our existing community before pushing it out and resuming efforts to grow the community.


What’s in the DoW 2.0 update?
A few things:
  • 6 new official maps. (4 complete, 2 in progress)
  • A completely reworked recoil system. (Done)
  • Bots so you can practice on your own. (Done but not good enough, still improving the AI)
  • Map Editor and Steam Workshop support. (Very close to done)
  • Discord powered VOIP. (Very close to done, quality is amazing)
  • A progression system. (In progress)
  • A new user interface. (In progress)
  • Some major performance upgrades across high and low end hardware. (Still experimenting with some new configurations, but have had very promising results so far)
  • Some visual quality and visibility improvements. (Still testing new methods)
  • A new game mode.

Some of these items are already complete, some are functional but just need more love, and the rest are in various states of “almost ready”.

All in, we set out to make sure DoW 2.0 feels like a completely different game than the one we released last January, one that’s not only worth the price tag, but gives enough reason to play indefinitely, and sets a new foundation for the future.





What about ______ issue that’s been bothering me for months?
First, as mentioned above, before we release the 2.0 update we will be testing all the changes with you so we can do another pass on gameplay and lingering bugs. We’ve changed a lot over the last few months so gun mechanics, recoil, and movement will all be subject to change further. As a team we are happier with the state of the gameplay mechanics than we ever have been.

Also we are aware we still have a bunch of legacy issues that fell by the wayside. Because we have many pending changes, we don’t want to start taking feedback again until we can test the 2.0 updates.


After the 2.0 update
If we (and you) are happy with the state of the game, we’ll begin actually marketing it, if not, it’s back to work.

We’re taking a long term approach with DoW. Even after the 2.0 update there are still a lot of things we feel we need to add and polish to bring the game up to the standards of a modern FPS. Our best estimates are at least another year of development just to get to that point, which means we're going to be working on DoW for at least another year, and probably even longer than that.

After the 2.0 update we will have more capacity to work on whatever we want, like working with you to develop cool stuff for the game, or even extensions of the game.


What about release?
Release will be sometime in 2018, when we’ve decided that the core of the game is solid, and not subject to any more foundational change. Our plan has always been to develop past release, so we see full release primarily as a signal that the major stuff won’t change much.


What about ADS?
In our current internal build, ADS is turned on, and it will remain turned on until we put it in front of you for feedback. We think it meshes very well with our new recoil, and is close to what we had initially set out to accomplish.


Why didn't you answer my question on _______?
We'll try to answer as many as we can in the comments below and on the Discord channel.

chat.playdaysofwar.com


The roadmap is out of date
Yes it was, apologies. It's now updated. Votes have been reset so we can reassess relative demand and priority.

roadmap.playdaysofwar.com


Thanks as always for your support and we can't wait to see what 2018 brings!
-Driven Arts

Oct 2, 2017
Days of War - Driven Arts



Hey Everyone,

This months update comes a few days late, so we'll dive right in. First thing up is a discussion about recoil.



Recoil

We are big fans of games that are "Easy to pick up, Hard to master"

We've always thought that DoW should have challenging recoil, and when we say challenging, what we really mean is “difficult to master”. We think having this challenge is an important part of what keeps a shooter fun, by raising the ceiling of how good you can get.

Currently, we think our recoil is difficult to master and also can be difficult to pick up, especially for those not used to the mechanics from other similar games.

With this in mind, we set out earlier this month to look at our recoil system with a pair of fresh eyes and try to rebuild it from the ground up with two goals in mind: 1) make the recoil more “masterable”, meaning more predictable and less random 2) make the recoil easier to pick up, and more friendly to folks with lower mouse sensitivities who don’t want to pull down so much.

Our new experimental recoil system relies much less on vertical recoil management and more on side to side, especially when spraying. Even our preliminary internal version feels like an improvement in a lot of ways. By not relying so much on vertical recoil we can still keep a higher skill ceiling on our autos while solving some of the problems that make our current system hard to pick up.

Though we aren't stopping here, we want to introduce hardcoded recoil patterns that are more predictable, thus making the automatic’s recoil more learnable and less random. A few days ago Rainbow Six Siege announced they were switching over to recoil patterns, so if it's a topic that interests you there is plenty of discussion in their communities about the feature.

Our hypothesis is that the combination of both changing the recoil shape and reducing the amount of randomness will satisfy our two goals, and will generally be an improvement over our current system.

While going through this process we had another interesting development. As you know we’ve taken a hard stance on our removal of ADS on autos since our update in June. Obviously this was a controversial decision, and not one we made lightly. Our primary reasoning behind the decision was we couldn’t find a good way to reconcile our recoil system with an ADS mechanic that functioned well and wasn’t overpowered. However, with the advent of our new recoil experiments, it seems the situation has changed.

Based on some preliminary testing ADS is definitely back on the table.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean ADS is coming back for sure, it only means it is back on the list of things we are considering.

In the next month or two we will announce an event to test our new recoil system with ADS turned on. We want to gather feedback from all points of view, whether you are completely pro or anti ADS, and we will use that feedback to determine the best path forward.

We were hesitant to announce this until we were totally sure, at the risk of seeming like we are flip flopping on our positions. And to some degree we are. As we are going through early access, we are learning a lot, and we are not afraid to change our positions based on new developments. Gun and movement mechanics are extremely nuanced and at the end of the day it just needs to feel right.

We will announce the new recoil system test here and via our other channels. So if you are interested in participating keep an eye out.




Next map - dow_riverbed
The next map is a farm town built around a dried up river bed.

All shots below are preliminary: art, lighting, coloring, and post process not final.






Bots
v1 of our bots is now fully functional, meaning the animations are fixed and all basic behaviors are working properly. Now we are in the process of tweaking values to get them to feel more human. It is possible they will make an appearance when we test the new recoil system.

Below is a complete feature list of bot attributes and behaviors to date:

Objectives
  • Bots go for different objectives, but also will prioritize nearby objectives, to not ignore low hanging fruits
  • Bots running for an objective will be interrupted if they encounter an enemy. They'll face the enemy first. Once out of combat, they will recalculate what to do, with a greater weight on going after the original objective.
  • Bots may decide to hide near a captured flag they want to guard. They will pop up once that flag is being stolen.

General combat
  • When engaging an enemy bots may act aggressive (run-and-gun) or conservative (hold position, take cover). If a bot loses sight of an enemy he may hide temporarily
  • Bots will react to sound and notice enemies more often who are running or have recently fired
  • Bots will change targets based on level of threat to themselves
  • When a weapon needs to be reloaded, the bot decides with a chance either to hide and reload, swap to pistol or swap to knife. When out of combat, they will switch back to their best weapon.

Defense
  • Bots now only "crouch and hold" in combat when on a nav mesh polygon that doesn't have more than 2 neighbors. This means they only crouch near walls and pillars.

Teamwork
  • Bots have a random chance to follow nearby human players. They will engage any enemies encountered and will periodically consider breaking off to go solo again.


Map Editor
The map editor, steam workshop support, and getting both the game client and servers to support custom maps were the highest engineering priorities for August and September. We only have a few finishing touches to add. This effort took 2 programmers 2 months of full time work to complete, so it was not a small task. We still need to QA the entire custom map pipeline, as well as optimize the editor so it doesn't take so long to run on first open (UE4 issue, not so much we can do about), so the editor release is still TBA.




-Driven Arts


Aug 26, 2017
Days of War - Driven Arts




Hey Everyone,

Last month we showed a few previews of what we are now calling dow_cathedral.

We finished the map a couple weeks back, and wanted to show some previews of the final map







While it has been ready for testing for a few weeks now, we have held off conducting a test until we could do a few other things like upgrading to UE 4.16. We are using our tests of new maps to also test other underlying engine changes, fixes, and features, which means we will not always be testing new maps the minute they are ready.

In the past month we’ve also begun work on a new map, experimented with some new lighting methods, done top to bottom art optimization passes on Carentan and Kaysersberg, and made some progress on some major features that will be detailed more below.

As we mentioned last month, we are working towards a big update where we plan to release a batch of new maps, new features and polish. (Amalfi and Cathedral are maps 1 and 2)

As we work towards the next big milestone things will be a little quieter, so in this update we also wanted to reiterate what we are working towards.

A few months back we really locked in what we needed to do with the game. This was based on everything we learned from our Kickstarter thru several months of Early Access, both player feedback and our own experience experimenting with and playing our own game.

Originally we had a fairly loose vision for Days of War, and we simply could not continue down that path of straddling so many lines, we had to make decisions on what to focus on, what to cut, and what to change.

Some results from that:
  1. No more bigger open maps. Sticking to traditional close quarters lane based maps designed for no more than 32 players.
  2. A focus on more traditional skill based gameplay. To us, this means high recoil, no ADS, high damage, relatively quick movement, and the map design mentioned in #1. If you absolutely need ADS to have fun, we recommend checking out pretty much any other game out there.
  3. A focus on the 5 flag capture game mode. This one was more painful, as there is so much we want to do here but keeping multiple game modes (and map types) as we build out the game was simply too difficult.

Now we admit that this effectively narrows the scope of the game, at least in the near term. We want to be clear that this does not mean we have abandoned some of our ideas and experiments completely, but we have reprioritized to make sure we first hit the mark on whats laid out above.


Last month we mentioned we had a big announcement coming. Part of the reason this update is coming so late this month is we were waiting for the green light to go ahead. The announcement is still coming, but we regret to say that due to some developments we cannot make it this month. This announcement is going to be primarily for the players who are dissatisfied with the direction of DoW as laid out above. Some of you were our earliest and biggest supporters, and we have not forgotten about you.



We also admit that our refocusing efforts have extended our timeline a fair amount. We’d rather take longer and deliver something quality than deliver a half-assed attempt sooner.

Our main bottleneck is still maps and content, but we have a few things cooking right now in the meantime...



MAJOR FEATURES CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS

Map Editor and Steam Workshop Integrations
We realize this has been a long time coming, but we have been taking our time with the map editor for good reason. This means making it more accessible and usable than other UE4 editors out there. The editor itself is actually the easy part, its actually supporting all the custom content in game and in servers where most of the work lies. We’ve made more progress on the editor in the past month than in the previous year and it is the highest priority new feature right now.


VOIP 2.0 and Discord Gamebridge
Our new VOIP system is powered by Discord and also includes many capabilities beyond traditional VOIP communication. We are huge fans of Discord and happy to be partners with them in this new offering. We’ve invested a lot of resources in developing this integration since the spring as we think it has big potential.

You can learn more about Gamebridge here: https://discordapp.com/gamebridge


Bots
We were originally iffy on the prospect of developing bots considering we had limited in-house AI expertise. We found an excellent programmer who was very interested to take the job and we have determined bots are worth the investment for both our players and for our team to use in development.

Here are a few of their capabilities so far:

* Different states include hiding, attacking, flag capturing and flag defending
* Bots go for different flags, but also will prioritize nearby flags, to not ignore low hanging fruits
* Depending on the task at hand, bots will engage enemies on sight or only fire at them while continuing towards their objective
* When engaging an enemy, he might run-and-gun but he also might hold position
* Bots may decide to hide near a captured flag they want to guard. They will pop up once that flag is being stolen.
* Bots may decide to go hide when he loses sight of an enemy that he's fighting
* Bots have a random chance to follow nearby human players. They will engage any enemies encountered and will periodically consider breaking off to go solo again.

You can see a preview of the bots in action below, please note many of the animations are broken.

https://youtu.be/Bry2qgMMdos

We still have a lot of work to do to make them smarter and we'll be updating you on the progress as we go. It is possible we begin testing an early version of them before they are final.



Stat and Progression Systems
Earlier in the year we broke ground on the backend of this system which will be the foundation of our player stat profiles and player progression features.


New UI
Because we have many several features that required new UI we’ve decided to do an entire UI pass to give the game a fresh face. The concepting stage has already begun.




This isn't everything, as we like to keep some things a surprise.

This also does not include many of the very important smaller features like bullet penetration, steam integrations, recoil patterns, etc.

Lastly this doesn't include the long list of gameplay rebalancing and refining items that we plan to start ramping up before our big update lands.

-Driven Arts
Jul 11, 2017
Days of War - Driven Arts


We've got a new map inbound! This next one will be an urban map based around a bombed out french cathedral. Please note, lighting and post process is still WIP.

The map will be ready for testing soon, we will be posting an announcement here when it's time.






Going Forward

Over the next few months we plan to continue to churn out maps and test them during scheduled events. We won't be releasing them fully until we feel we've amassed enough new content to justify a significant game update and free weekend, when they will be released as a batch. This is not because we want to withhold content from you, but because we want to have a compelling reason to come back and try the game once its ready.

During this period we will continue to update the game, tweak the guns, polish rough edges, and add new features from our development roadmap (Map Editor, VOIP, Bots, etc.)

Next month we plan to have a big announcement that we think will please a lot of you - so make sure you pop back then.

We are also including a list of recent FAQ below, mostof these are questions we've answered in these monthly updates but we wanted to lay them out in an easy to read format.

-Driven Arts




FAQ

What is the state of the game?
We are in Early Access, meaning we are still building essential features and refining the core of the game while also creating the bulk of the map content. The game is still very much in development.

Why aren’t you running Ads or other promotions to try and get more people to play the game?
We are not trying to bring in new players now because we have a list of things we want to accomplish first to improve the polish and replayability of the game for it to be ready for the next milestone.

When will the game be “ready” for the next milestone?
When it’s ready. We want to have a big batch of new maps and we have a wishlist of features we want but we cannot predict exactly when that will be.

When will ____ map be released?
We will not release any more maps until the next major game update when they will be released as a batch. We will be doing limited testing of new maps in the meantime. For reference, we are averaging a new map every 2 months, and that speed tends to increase as our art asset base grows.

When will ____ feature be done?
We will continue to update the game adding new features in, but can’t promise what will happen when. There are several long term projects that are partially complete, so its possible they all come together at relatively the same time. We reallocate development resources based on what our priorities are at any given moment.
Jun 25, 2017
Days of War - Driven Arts
Made performance optimizations to new animation system, will be testing at 3pm Eastern Time Sunday 6/25
Days of War - Driven Arts
Hey Everyone,

This Sunday we’ll be testing Amalfi starting at 3pm ET (19:00 UTC).

In addition to testing the map itself, in the past week we’ve been ironing out performance bottlenecks in our new animation's C++ code and want to ensure everything runs smoothly under full server load.

See you out there!
Driven Arts

Days of War - Driven Arts
After this past weekend's preview of Amalfi, we are more excited than ever about the future for Days of War!

In the last week we have made some directional adjustments to DoW’s gameplay and tested our new map. In this post we want to explain some of our learnings and rationale behind the direction of the game.

When we set out to make Days of War we had a very ambitious goal of pulling influence from our favorite classic WW2 shooters (DoD, CoD, MOHAA, ET). Our hope was that we could pull the best aspects from each of these shooters to make a game that everyone can enjoy. We took influence from DoD's recoil and flag capture, CoDs ADS and fluidity, MOHAAs cinematic battles, and ET's classes and objective based multiplayer.

Detailing what has worked and what hasn’t would be a much longer post, so today we want to focus on two aspects we feel are in direct conflict with each other, recoil and ADS.


About ADS
We love the penalty of high recoil in games like DoD/CS that require you to control your gun as you fire. It creates a high skill ceiling that is rewarding to master. Going forward we want to continue to devote attention to make sure our recoil is fun to master and less random.

We also like games with ADS and feel it is practically a standard feature for a modern shooter. We’ve had ADS since day 1 in Alpha and have seen several iterations of it while we tried to hybridize high recoil and ADS.

We had versions that were closer to CoD style ADS which slowed the game down too much by encouraging people to sit and hold, and we had superficial versions which were effectively only a zoom in.

But we never got to a place we were totally happy with, and we think that having ADS created confusion about what our game was. There are many games, both realistic and arcade that rely heavily on the ADS mechanic, the most notable being the upcoming CoD WW2.

As a small studio, we need to offer something unique and think we are better positioned if we focus on recoil being the area we add depth to the game instead of ADS. We personally enjoy this style more and think the continued popularity of CSGO is a good indicator that this can still have appeal today.

We should note this doesn't prevent us from offering a simple zoom only ADS for all weapons as a custom server setting sometime after release of the game. But we are going to establish our core gameplay without it.


The Identity of the game
We’ve learned a ton from Early Access, via a lot of trial, error and experimentation but this past weekend we got an awesome glimpse of the game that Days of War can be!

We made these gameplay changes in advance of previewing Amalfi because we feel the identity of our game is mainly defined by the movement, gunplay, and map/art design.

Our most recent gameplay changes combined with our new map are the closest we have come to the game we want to deliver. We need to continue to add more maps in this style, refine and balance the gameplay in this new direction, and polish tons of other things, but in a few months this game is going to look and feel VERY different, and we believe that is a great thing and worth the wait.


Free Weekend and New Map
We announced last week that we would hold a free weekend for Days of War and we got a lot feedback from players who believe a free weekend would be too premature. After playing this past weekend and seeing how close we are to a much more fun game, we’ve decided we wholeheartedly agree.

We are going to postpone the free weekend and wait until we have more content that reflects the identity of the game and will present Days of War in a much stronger light.

The release of Amalfi is still TBD, but if you want to check it out we recommend watching this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv2XKC4VLdw

We've got a busy couple months ahead of us but we cannot wait to deliver on this vision for the game.

-Driven Arts
Jun 10, 2017
Days of War - Driven Arts
  • Fixed multiple crashes
  • Reduced character brightness on Kayserberg
  • Fixed issue with Omaha terrain deforming
  • Enabled Amalfi for testing
...

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