Solace Crafting - Malkere
This patch should bring multiplayer back to near where it was prior to the first 0.6.4 patch. There are still some minor improvements to be coded for saving speed, and server-side world generation queue priority management, but most things are back to working as they were before. Towns still have some problems, and there are some other minor reports, but I should be able to clear those up tomorrow.

I'm always inclined to talk up "what's next!" but honestly it works better if I talk about things after I patch them in as the hours and the days don't always end up going in a straight line, if you know what I mean.

As always, thank you to everyone participating in early access, and especially to everyone posting bugs and helping me track stuff down in Discord!

v 0.6.4.5 2020.06.01
- Fixed Enchanted Stones spawning in swamps, Spider Nests spawning in Mountains, and Coal Mines not spawning
- Fixed a type of tree not spawning a collider
- Fixed some trees not properly removing from terrains after harvested
- Fixed projectile skills not working
- Fixed held equipment not showing properly
- Fixed furniture reloading after being picked up
- Fixed storage chest and sign color and labels not updating immediately in multiplayer
- Fixed storage chest and sign color and labels not updating after picking up and repositioning
- Fixed facility upgrades not saving properly
- Fixed transmogrifiers not saving their contents properly

v 0.6.4.4 2020.05.29
- Fixed multiplayer servers not properly resetting the world generation queue when new clients connect

v 0.6.4.3 2020.05.29
- Fixed another world generation queuing issue
- Fixed placed facilities reloading position rounded to the nearest meter
- Fixed facilities not properly saving their contents
- Fixed dropped items not saving properly
- Fixed an eye type causing character creation to lock up
- Fixed free mode placed building reloading even after deconstructing

You may need to restart Steam for the update to begin.

To opt into Beta you only need to go to your Steam Library, right-click on Solace Crafting, select Properties, click on the Beta tab, and opt-in to the beta.

Interested in supporting development of Solace Crafting?
Please consider becoming a patron via Patreon!
Solace Crafting - Malkere
On Tuesday night I patched in 0.6.4.1 which stabilized the new generation engine, which was having some priority/queuing issues. Finalizing that system brought up a new problem causing certain terrains to not render at all. Unfortunately this took me a long time to figure out, as it's just not something you would run into in almost any other game out there due to the multi-layered terrain system that Solace Crafting uses to "fake" long distance scenery. In short, the distant shader was overriding the near shader causing it to fail and simply not draw the near terrains at all. Two seemingly unrelated systems ended up costing me a lot of effort to fix.

That should be the last of the major problems allowing me to now focus on a variety of "smaller" problems that have been reported with the new code. Most notably there seems to be some saving issues causing stored items to go missing. This is no doubt a result of the new save and load code and should be an easy fix for tomorrow.

v 0.6.4.2 2020.05.28
- Fixed terrain shader instancing problems

v 0.6.4.1 2020.05.26
- Increased Hippopotamus and Crocodile attack range
- Changed horseweed, knapweed, cattails and small swamp mushrooms to allow movement through them
- Fixed a number of world generation queuing errors causing a variety of problems
- Fixed Swamp and Desert biomes

You may need to restart Steam for the update to begin.

To opt into Beta you only need to go to your Steam Library, right-click on Solace Crafting, select Properties, click on the Beta tab, and opt-in to the beta.

Interested in supporting development of Solace Crafting?
Please consider becoming a patron via Patreon!
Solace Crafting - Malkere
Beta v 0.6.4.0

Last night I pushed 0.6.4.0 to beta. In short it's a complete rewrite of the main foundations of the game for a number of reasons. I've posted about the changes a bit in the past, but first and foremost I want to make it clear that there are some pretty serious bugs, and I don't recommend players trying the current beta branch out without the clear intention of "bug testing". Now, the bugs aren't "difficult," it just needs work, and the best way to narrow down what needs to be worked on is to test it. In other words, Solace Crafting is my baby, and it scares me sometimes to let other people play it, but it's coming along.

Why the big rewrite? In truth a good portion of what I "rewrote" I actually wrote for the first time because up until now I was using third party software. This has the benefit of letting you focus on other things, but over time it can turn out to be a wrench in the gears where you find yourself repeatedly trying to force code into places it was never meant to be. The new world generation system is entirely custom, and built specifically to be the biome based, runtime, infinite possibility spawning game system that Solace Crafting really needs.

So what's wrong with it? There's a lot of math involved, specifically in understanding where players are in the world, and what needs to be prioritized for spawning and despawning things around them. Currently the system is a little out of control, spawning more than it really needs to, and not in the most logical of order. The base functionality is all there and running much faster, teleporting 1000km can take less than 2 seconds, but it needs tweaking.

There's over 10,000 replaced or rewritten lines of code and I spent almost every waking hour working on it on Friday, so despite it being a bit of a mess, I'm going to wait until Monday to jump back into polishing it up, but wanted to at least make it clear what's going on for anyone that is used to trying out the beta builds. The past 10 days or so have also been a constant stream of "just five more minutes" and I have neglected the Steam forums during the bulk of that. My apologies to the questions and suggestions waiting for me on there still.

Wishing you and yours the best!

v 0.6.4.0 2020.05.22
- Complete re-write of world generation, save file management, file compression, and object management
- Grass, caves, towers, and floating islands disabled temporarily
Solace Crafting - Malkere
This patch is an accumulation of fixes that have been implemented on the beta branch over the past couple weeks. There are a few concerns I have related to problems Unity has been patching into their engine lately, but hopefully they won't affect many, and nobody very seriously. The problems in question have a patch from Unity scheduled for later in May, but I want to explain them clearly here should anyone run into them, and if they look to be causing more trouble than expected I will put forth the effort to roll Unity backwards to before the problems were occurring. I should also make it clear that I do not develop using "beta" releases of Unity, I only use the LTS (long-term service) releases that are supposed to be stable..

The biggest problem has been with caves locking certain computers up. I was able to narrow down the problem to an engine-side method related to shadows, and have subsequently added the option to disable shadows completely. If you run into caves locking up on you, please try turning shadows off before you enter, and I will update the engine as soon as the patch is released.

The second problem seems only related to certain Radeon graphics cards and has cause a big stir among the Unity community the past couple weeks. This can cause a "d3d11" and/or "vertexBuffer == NULL" error, the former of which can cause a crash. This too is said to be fixed in the patch due for a May 20th release, but again if it's causing frequent crashes for anyone I'll roll the engine back until I can confirm it's fixed.

Besides all that, a lot of the fixes in this patch are related to Multi-player, which I was hoping to let sit for a bit longer while I focused on getting 0.6.4 ready for beta, but there were some debilitating bugs making the game unplayable in certain situation. There's still a lot of small upgrades I now know will become important in time for multi-player performance, but 0.6.4 for improved world generation is also very important not just for single player but for multi-player as well.



This patch also includes the reskinned interface, and adds some small "feedback" sounds to a lot of the interface buttons. Fishing, a new music track, and sound effects for monsters and animals are also underway, some of which will be included in the first 0.6.4 patches.

Big thanks to everyone supporting development via Patreon!

Once again, please be safe, wash your hands, and stay positive!

v 0.6.3.23 2020.05.09
- Updated Unity to 2018.4.22
- Reskinned UI
- Added video setting options for anisotropic filtering and shadows
- Updated inventory, equipment, and wardrobe network synchronization methods
- Non-dedicated multiplayer hosts will now also output server logs

- Fixed large player buildings over 15kb in data not transferring properly across the network
- Fixed torches always turning off when clients connect to multi-player
- Fixed town buildings not placing properly past 8km for clients in multi-player
- Fixed shadow settings not saving between sessions
- Fixed returning to the main menu from in-game causing UI buttons to not respond
- Fixed the crafting interface not including crafting skills into equipment stat previews
- Fixed resource scanners not saving range properly
- Fixed ice spikes spell not working in caves
- Fixed some spells playing audio twice immediately
- Fixed town citizens sometimes not loading properly when loading into a cave beneath them
- Fixed summoning circles causing "unable to spawn" errors on multi-player clients
- Fixed a common server side RightClick on inventory slots bug
- Fixed a multi-player client split bug
- Fixed a multi-player client right-click into facility bug
- Fixed interacting with furniture in multi-player
- Fixed swamp animals spawning in the snow (and not in the swamp)
- Fixed multiplayer town data not compartmentalizing itself across networks
- Fixed the chat window minimize button going too far down
- Fixed ladder popup text and interaction
- Fixed containers dropped into tombstones upon death becoming unusable

You may need to restart Steam for the update to begin.

Interested in supporting development of Solace Crafting?
Please consider becoming a patron via Patreon!
Solace Crafting - Malkere
There have been a few players having trouble with multi-player. This is causing the client to server connection to hang while the server to client connection remains active, resulting in the client not being able to do anything. I do not yet have a definite solution as to the cause, though there are a couple of different courses of action I've planned out not only in order to fix the problem, but to improve connection performance and stability in general.

There are a number of differences with 0.6.4, which I've been working on, that will also improve multi-player performance. I may look into fixing farming and containers on multi-player, but want to try and finish up 0.6.4 as soon as possible as it heavily improves the single player experience as well.

I've not yet returned to full-time develop after injuring my left arm, though it's nearly fully healed now.

No serious problems reported with the new UI. I will most likely push this patch live.

v 0.6.3.19 2020.04.30
- Updated Unity to 2018.4.22
- Non-dedicated multiplayer hosts will now also output server logs
- Fixed summoning circles causing "unable to spawn" errors on multi-player clients
- Fixed a common server side RightClick on inventory slots bug
- Fixed a multi-player client split bug
- Fixed a multi-player client right-click into facility bug
- Fixed interacting with furniture in multi-player

v 0.6.3.18 2020.04.22
- Fixed swamp animals spawning in the snow (and not in the swamp)
- Fixed a server <-> client sync bug affecting some players in 0.6.3.17

You may need to restart Steam for the update to begin.

To opt into Beta you only need to go to your Steam Library, right-click on Solace Crafting, select Properties, click on the Beta tab, and opt-in to the beta.

Interested in supporting development of Solace Crafting?
Please consider becoming a patron via Patreon!
Solace Crafting - Malkere


This patch brings in the new user interface skin. It's still a work in progress and I'm very much open to feedback and suggestions. There are parts of it I like, parts of it I've already changed, and parts of it I'm planning on changing yet. Some of the buttons feel a bit overactive in my opinion, and some of the backgrounds a little too "cartoonish". All in all a lot better than the default grey we were rolling with I think. Please let me know what you think.

v 0.6.3.17 2020.04.21
- Reskinned UI

You may need to restart Steam for the update to begin.

To opt into Beta you only need to go to your Steam Library, right-click on Solace Crafting, select Properties, click on the Beta tab, and opt-in to the beta.

Interested in supporting development of Solace Crafting?
Please consider becoming a patron via Patreon!
Solace Crafting - Malkere
I'm back in the driver's seat! My left index finger is still half numb on one side, but my back and shoulder are much better. I'm still going in for therapy every day, but it's only 30 minutes or so. My apologies again for the lost time in development.

There has been an increasingly common problem with some people crashing while trying to enter caves, that I've added some things to try and better track down in this patch. I've got a helpful player in Discord right now trying some things out for me, as unfortunately most people do not encounter the problem, myself included. If I can reproduce a problem I can go straight to the cause and fix it, but some things aren't quite that easy. (Update: It seems to be shadows causing the crashes. I will continue to dive further into fixing that. It might be only certain graphics cards or drivers)

There is also an upgrade to the multiplayer method that sends town data from the server to clients, which was previously going over the single packet limit for fully populated towns. This patch fixes that so they will now compartmentalize the data when necessary.

I've also updated Unity from 2018.4.16 to 2018.4.21 though it has a known bug that spams the player log with an unnecessary warning... I've blocked it from printing "an error has occurred" in-game, but until they patch it, logs might be a little messy. I didn't notice any actual performance or visual changes caused by the bug thankfully.

The UI reskin has also been largely completed and I hope to push it to beta tomorrow to get some input before moving on to finishing up 0.6.4.

I'm also behind on the Steam forum posts and plan to set aside time tomorrow to go through them all.

Thank you everyone for your understanding with my injury and need to take a few weeks off to heal up.
Stay safe, and wash your hands!

v 0.6.3.16 2020.04.20
- Updated Unity to 2018.4.21
- Fixed multiplayer town data not compartmentalizing itself across networks
- Fixed the chat window minimize button going too far down
- Added video setting options for anisotropic filtering and shadows

You may need to restart Steam for the update to begin.

To opt into Beta you only need to go to your Steam Library, right-click on Solace Crafting, select Properties, click on the Beta tab, and opt-in to the beta.

Interested in supporting development of Solace Crafting?
Please consider becoming a patron via Patreon!
Solace Crafting - Malkere
First off, my apologies 0.6.4 has been delayed and there are a couple of problems with the current patch that I have been unable to promptly address.

The reason for that being that I had a bit of an injury, which I mentioned in the most recent post. Unfortunately, the morning after I mentioned it, I woke up to a numb left hand and a lot of pain in my left arm and back. I went in to a clinic and got some x-rays and shots, and while it was determined as nothing serious it looks like I suffered some nerve damage which unfortunately takes a long time to heal. Meaning, I would have liked to take some medicine and get back to work, but I was unable to type with my left hand at all for about 12 days after that.

I've recovered a lot since then. Yesterday I was finally able to start typing again, and I've been working for a few hours here now though my arm is starting to feel tired. My left index finger is still partially numb, though I don't really have any pain that is constant any more, just a lingering sort of sore feeling. So I still need to take it easy for a few more days at least, but at least I'm able to put in a few hours here and there as I'm very eager to get 0.6.4 out as soon as possible.

The compression script being used in the current patch has been really problematic for some people all of the sudden and has even started acting weird for me. I've all but completely removed it from 0.6.4, and it only remains to upgrade outdated player files which are currently being compressed during saving using its algorithm.

There are still a few things left to do to get the first beta patch out for 0.6.4, but I really don't like leaving anyone in the dark and wanted to at least post an update on the situation. My apologies again for the unintentional silence, and the delay in progress. You guys are the reason I have a salary and I'm very grateful to be able to continue working on Solace Crafting!

Stay safe, wash your hands, and happy gaming!
Solace Crafting - Malkere
As posted on Patreon

It's been a crazy start to the year! We've got an outsourcing agency working on reskinning the UI, adding UI sounds, and programming the fishing system per my directions. I've also been hard at work on a number of big changes to different systems that the game uses both for performance reasons, bug fixes, and looking forward towards the future of Solace Crafting. I want to go over some of the more major improvements quickly, and hope to have to patch out in within the next couple of days.

1. World Generation

I've been using a 3rd party tool to help generate the game world since day one. In short, it's a tool that lets you organize a variety of objects onto a node based graph, and then outputs the actual game world data for Unity to generate in runtime. It was helpful to get going, and it is definitely a powerful tool. The more objects and biomes I add to it though, the slower and slower it has started to run.

In lieu of this and the need for a number of improvements, I've been working on replacing that tool with my own custom system built specifically to cater to our needs. I made a short clip (see below) to show how it's working thus far and you can see an improvement on my 6 core CPU from about 34 seconds down to around 6.5 seconds. The older version running at 34s is however using 5 of my 6 cores to generate the data. If you were running on a 4 core CPU of equal GHz that time would be roughly doubled. If you were running on a 2 core CPU of equal GHz that time would be roughly quadrupled. So you can see why I decided it was time for an upgrade. The newer version is actually currently only generating on a single core, so that 6.5s, will be 6.5s, regardless of how many cores someone with equal GHz has. I should mention also those were both recorded in the Unity editor, which makes things a bit slower as it's recording and logging a variety of data for real time development.



Though I don't quite have buttons and knobs for everything yet, this system will also allow for much more fine tuning of render settings, letting players with stronger or weaker machines specify rendering distances for grass, trees, resources, monsters, terrains, buildings, and so forth each individually.

What about the "need for a number of improvements"? I started writing the core code of Solace Crafting back in 2016, after years of refining ideas and honing my amateur skills as a programmer. Some of that code was just frankly wrong, and a lot more of it was not smart. I've replaced a variety of poorly written sections with improved code in the upcoming 0.6.4 patch, and will continue to upgrade a number of internal systems as we move forward with the 0.6.4 branch.

2. Compression

Since the beginning I have also used a compression tool that is free for anyone to use and so hey, sounds great right. It does the job, often turning 150kb data files down into 10kb files helping out with disk usage a lot, and personally I've run into very few, though not zero problems using it. Unfortunately this tool does not seem to work on all machines as intended, creating problems for a very small number of players, as well as rare but very real input/output problems for a small, but still noticeable number of players.

I've thus replace all usage of this tool with a paid and actively supported compression tool with a much more intelligent workflow. Hopefully this will see the end of all compression based errors for all players.

3. Save Files

Recently we turned on Steam cloud save files, but it's been a bitter sweet outcome. The main problem stemming from the sheer amount of files that I've been using to store data, not necessarily their size. To remedy this, I'm consolidating what was previously up to 129 files into a single file per "chunk". This should speed up cloud sync a lot, and is also in thanks to a pretty heavy restructuring of save data and runtime data management. This is still an ongoing "upgrade" but is already resulting in faster, more intelligent saving and loading.

4. Biomes

Biome generation and management is something I'm very serious about and have tried to improve a number of times without ever quite reaching a final solution. Having rewritten the bulk of world generation over the past few weeks I've had time to re-approach the problem of, how to allow for an infinite number of biomes, and have come up with a new approach I'm currently putting the finishing touches to for the big 0.6.4 patch.

Previously we went from mishmashing biomes all on top of one another, to each "chunk," an 8km square area, being assigned a specific biome. Chunk based biome generation certainly worked a lot better than mishmash, which can in no way support unlimited biomes nor does the double layers of noise that a lot of games like Minecraft make use of, but was very... chunky, to be honest, creating very sharp edges, and lacking in control.

The new system currently being implemented is still chunk based, but it generates patches of biomes at random within each chunk, overriding what is otherwise a default noise pattern of lakes, grasslands, and forested areas. That means it can be circular, square, or even non-uniform, and of varying sizes, so long as it does not breach the outer border of it's 8km square chunk. This way a chunk can actually have multiple non-default biomes within it, depending on how the chunk rolls to generate itself, and also allows for me to specify certain areas to generate as specific areas.

Two of the problems with the current 0.6.3 build are how flat the starter area is, a math error from yours truly, and how long it takes to get to any of the other biomes from the starter platform. Now I can specify that there always be a bit of mountains in one of the first terrains, for example, making sure players can experience different settings much quicker, and still leave the rest of the world to randomize itself based on the world seed. This will also allow for a lot more world settings in regards to biome control, letting players create water worlds, mountainous worlds, etc. I've also fixed the extra flat starting area, back to a 100m radius from the start like it used to be.

In closing...

There's still a bit of biome work to do, and I do expect some new bugs to crop up with so many changes to the way saving and loading data is now managed, but hope to have a patch out in the next day or two. Having said that, I had to go to a chiropractor today for some x-rays and shots as I messed my back up pretty bad somehow last week, and trying to just stomach the pain actually ended up making things worse. Thankfully it doesn't seem to be anything serious, something along the lines of, I probably shouldn't sit in front of my monitor for 100 hour a week or something like that, but you know, priorities =D

Please be careful out there! The Corona virus is very real, and we're not yet sure why it hits some people so much worse than others. Wash those hands, and keep on gaming!
Solace Crafting - Malkere
Some more small fixes for a couple reported problems.

The big beta patch I'm working on is taking longer than I had hoped! C'est la vie. It's a weird time depending on where you live. Stay safe out there!

v 0.6.3.15 2020.03.23
- Fixed ladder popup text and interaction
- Fixed containers dropped into tombstones upon death becoming unusable
...

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