Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel


Hi Caverns fans!

Update 0.1.10 is focused on reducing the minimum system specifications for the game, optimizing the game on existing systems and fixing bugs which impact playability.

Optimizations

Frame stutter has been reduced by modifying the render pipeline to prevent GPU stalls. This issue was especially apparent when new chunks were loaded. Additionally, a large amount of redundant interpolation has been removed from our deferred lighting system, further improving frame rates.
Finally, we made the VRAM requirements of Caverns more flexible, allowing large performance gains at lower resolutions.



Fixes

A large number of gameplay issues were fixed with this update. Some highlights are:
  • Fixed ores only breaking when a mining tool was equipped
  • Prevent catastrophic failure if Sticky Keys are enabled while in fullscreen mode
  • Fixed mouse position, Mining, and Placing items when in non-1080p resolutions
  • Fixed Treasure chests/Items cannot be clicked when in non-1080p resolutions
  • Fixed bug where it was impossible to move window in windowed mode, even while paused.
  • Fixed Craft Menu bug where recipe list would reset after every craft. No longer occurs.

For the full list of changes, see 0.1.10 Patch Notes.

Here at Tetravoxel Limited we would like to thank the community for all their suggestions, bug reports, and support. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :

Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel


Hi Caverns fans!

We are happy to introduce our second mob to the realm of Caverns: the Acari.

These small creatures are known for ambushing unlucky Spelunkers. A short stature and fast movement speed allows Acari to prey on unsuspecting victims. Watch out for their drill-like snout which they use for a strong piercing attack!



In this update, besides adding the Acari, we also overhauled our path-finding algorithm used by all enemies - including the ant-like Poneroids. Our new approach helps enemies navigate complex terrain surfaces to reach and attack Strato. As shown in the image above, enemies can now dynamically change their path to reach you as you're moving.

In order to accomplish this, we have implemented a pathfinding algorithm based on D*-Lite, extended to work with agents that can navigate on walls in 3D. This new system works well enough, but it still has some issues to iron out. In other words, you can "confuse" a large group of enemies if you try! Don't get used to it - as we iron out the flaws, you may find it harder to confuse them.

Implementing such an system may seem overkill, but we have a good reason for it. As each new enemy we introduce has it's own method of moving around, implementing a customized pathfinder for each would be incredibly time consuming. H* was designed to work with any method of movement, in any number of dimensions, with no changes. This means we only have one pathfinder to maintain, not several.

The next update will bring additional capabilities to the Acari, such as jumping off ledges and, time permitting, underground sneak-attacks!



Here is a greater list of additions for this update:

  • Fixed problem with looping SFXs not terminating
  • Poneroid and Acari eye colors can change from yellow to red if aggro'd
  • Adjusted Poneroid spawn numbers and stats, adjusted CavernWeed stats
  • Fixed Enemy shake when hit by Strato
  • Remaining stat Points are now displayed upon leveling up
  • Prevent most cases of mob's "lining up to attack"
  • Improve accuracy of mobs pivoting to point at their target.
  • Allow large numbers of mobs to "gang up" or "mob" the player without lag occurring.
  • Rewrote wandering system to use less resources, get stuck less often.
  • Created path debug HUD system for displaying AI thought patterns over the environment in real time (with command "showpaths").
  • Implemented H* ("Hippocampal D*) algorithm, rewrote AI scripts to use it.
  • Fixed dug-out objects (non-ore) floating in the air, they now have physics as expected.
  • Fixed spastic health mushrooms healing Strato multiple times a second

For the full list of changes, see 0.1.9 Patch Notes.

Our Discord Server is now properly configured, so feel free to give us a visit at our Discord!

Here at Tetravoxel Limited we would like to thank the community for all their suggestions, bug reports, and support. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :

Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel


Update 0.1.8 Enemy AI Re-haul

Hello Everyone!

Over the past few weeks we have been working day and night to re-haul our core AI code base, which is what allows enemies to be scripted in various complex ways. The new, polished framework has allowed us to identify and fix several behavioral issues with our enemy AI.

Much of our work has been laying the foundation for an increasingly complex set of enemies. The first of these new enemies, the Acari, will be available within the next few updates! We also fixed two major bugs affecting item drops.



Voxel Script 3
The first question you might as is "Why 3.0? What happened to 2.0?". Originally, Voxel Script was a Domain-Specific-Language (DSL), with it's own custom interpreter. Near the end of Voxel Script 2.0's development, it was discovered that the latest version of Microsoft's Roslyn toolkit was fast, reliable and customizable enough to replace a DSL. In fact, the speed and reliability was so great (after some tweaks), we decided to use the Roslyn-based implementation as Voxel Script 3, skipping 2 altogether!



Additionally, Voxel Script now has Video Studio Code integration, and supports loading external scripts and content packs. This sets the stage for modding to come to Caverns in the future!



Bug Fixes
A couple of major fixes ship with this update:
  • This update fixes an issue which caused Poneroids to drop unusable tools and weapons - all drops are now usable by the player.
  • Grappling Hooks had no variability to their stats - their Range and Cooldown can now vary with quality.
To see the full list of changes, please visit 0.1.8 Patch Notes

Here at Tetravoxel Limited we would like to thank the community for all their suggestions, bug reports, and support since Caverns' release a little over a month ago. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel

Update 0.1.75: Visual Combat Indicators

Hello Everyone!

Update 0.1.75 brings two important features of any RPG:
  • Critical Hits: Weapons now have a chance to do bonus damage based on the player's "Critical Chance" and "Critical Bouns" stats.
  • Enemy Loot: Slain enemies now have a chance of dropping items, materials or potions.
We have also made changes to the Stats Menu to improve the readability of player stat values.



Critical Hits
Whenever a weapon is used, it now has a chance to do additional bonus damage. The chance depends on the player's "Critical Chance" stat, which can be increased using the "Luck" attribute. The amount of bonus damage depends on both the weapon's original attack and the player's "Critical Bonus" stat. This stat can be increased by putting points into the Strength attribute.

Enemy Loot Drops
Previously, enemies only dropped experience, health, energy or fatigue orbs. Now, some enemies have a chance to drop loot in the form of equippable items, potions, or materials! Some items are more likely to be dropped by specific enemies, and the loot is randomized.



Status Menu Changes
The Stats Menu (seen above) has been improved to make the detailed text on the left panel more readable. Additionally, the names of various stats have been revised to better reflect their usage. There are similar changes in the Item Description section of the inventory menu.


Bug Fixes
Several bugs have been fixed in this update, including a user requested fix to improve the "durability warning" sound effect. The warning beep now only plays for a short time, and only after using the item. Additionally, Poneroids are now oriented correctly when walking on ceilings.
The following issues have also been fixed:
  • Fixed Poneroids walking upside down appearing in the wrong orientation
  • Fixed Treasure Chests and Plants appearing to be inverted when spawning perfectly upside-down
  • Changed durability SFX implementation so that it only plays for ~1 second after use
  • Fixed a bug causing armor and shield defense not being factored into damage calculations
  • Fixed a combat bug where activating one weapon's skill would lock out Strato using any other weapon's skill until the cooldown reset
To see the full list of changes, please visit 0.1.75 Patch Notes.

Here at Tetravoxel Limited we would like to thank the community for all their suggestions, bug reports, and support since Caverns' release a little over a month ago. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel


Update 0.1.7: Visual Combat Indicators

Hello Everyone!

With the latest update, we have introduced visual combat indicators! Now you can see how powerful your new sword is, how much experience an enemy has dropped, how much a potion heals you, and more! Most actions in Caverns: Lost Sky are now accompanied by a visual display, an example of which is shown above. We also fixed a critical error that could cause items in the inventory to disappear if the user pressed up against the loading boundaries.



Combat Indicators

During combat, any damage dealt by your primary skill will show up as floating numbers. The color will gain in intensity, changing hue as the amount of damage done increases. Additionally, any time Strato dodges or blocks an attack, a visual "Dodged!" or "Blocked! is displayed. Any status effect incurred (Poisoned, Paralyzed etc.) also has it's own visual indicator. Damage received by Strato is not shown, as it would be confused with damage dealt to an enemy. Instead, the top-left status bar flashes red.



Mining for Ores
Ever wonder just how much damage you're doing to that stubborn piece of Aeronite? Now you can tell! While mining ores, plants or rocks a yellow-blue indicator now appears telling you how much damage you've delt. This should make deciding what tool to use much easier.



Stat Indicators
Experience gained, along with Fatigued, Energy, and Health points restored all show up with visual indications on the screen. This happens whenever you make contact with the corresponding orb, or if you use a potion (eg. to heal yourself).

Bug Fixes
A critical error was reported by one of our players whereupon pressing against one of the chunk boundaries caused the inventory to be deleted, potentially rendering the game unstable. This has been fixed in this release, as well as the following issues:
  • Fixed Poison and Paralysis effects from not being applied.
  • Fixed Aeronite Wind effect and increased its strength and radius of effect
  • Fixed total armor defense calculation, where each item's stat variability was not being factored into calculations
  • Fixed pre-set starter chests and torches not being able to be dug out
  • Fixed deleted inventory items/ crashing when traversing freshly loaded areas at a high speed
  • Changed weapon damage sound to only play when the weapon is less than 15% durability, instead of 30%, and decreased the sound.
  • Adjusted weapon damage calculation which better takes into effect the skill's damage multiplier
To see the full list of changes, please visit 0.1.7 Patch Notes.

Here at Tetravoxel Limited we would like to thank the community for all their suggestions, bug reports, and support since Caverns' release a little over a month ago. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel


Update 0.1.6

Hello Everyone!

Today's update focuses on performance improvements and bug-fixes. After Update 0.1.4 we have been testing Caverns on many different computers, and we identified several performance bottlenecks. This week we rolled out a large number of changes designed to eliminate those bottlenecks.

Stutter Reduction
In the past, witnessing the green loading barrier usually meant you were in for a bad case of the stutters. This caused major playability issues, especially if you were under attack at the time. The latest build fixes these issues by removing almost all stuttering while new chunks are loading! Combat, mining, and movement and no longer impaired by sharp lag spikes.



New Features
Treasure Chest Improvements
During internal playtesting, we discovered that requiring the user to put away their current item to open a chest quickly became irritating. As a result, Strato can now open chests while wielding a weapon or a tool.

Crafting Improvements
The crafting menu has been re-arranged so that you can see the recipe list right under the "Craft" button, instead of forcing the user to scroll. Additionally, the status bar (upper left-hand corner) now flashes red whenever Strato takes damage for poison, enemy attacks, or high falls.

Bug Fixes
This week we also fixed a number of bugs, including an annoying issue which allowed Strato to kick a treasure chest over and over again. Only when the user stopped would the chest open. This has been fixed - one kick is enough!

Here are some of the highlights:
  • Fixed Strato being able to kick a treasure chest over and over before the popup opens
  • Fixed an issue which might cause voxel script entities (such as Poneroids) to freeze indefinitely in cramped spawn zones
  • Chunk loading barriers no longer appear when mining a chunk which has already finished loading.
For the full list of changes, see 0.1.5 Patch Notes and 0.1.6 Patch Notes.

Here at Tetravoxel Limited would like to thank the community for all their suggestions, bug reports, and support. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel


Caverns Reloaded.

Hello Everyone!

Today we are happy to announce that our players will never have to wait through an application restart again! In previous versions of Caverns: Lost Sky, getting a game over or reloading your save meant waiting for the game to restart. Now, game over brings you instantly back to the title menu. Additionally, loading any saved game for a second time is twice as fast!

Improving the gameplay experience by eliminating application restarts was the main focus of this update. However, this isn't the only change to look forward to - we have also tweaked the combat systems, added block and dodge, implemented more bug-fixes and improved performance!



Combat Improvements

Block
Equipping a shield now allows Strato to dodge enemy attacks! This action happens automatically. All you need to do is have a shield equipped and a weapon currently out. The shield's "Block Chance" stat determines how likely it is to block an attack. Every time your shield takes a hit its durability will deplete, but it blocks all of the damage. Better shields have higher durability and block chance.

Dodge
Have no shield? Don't worry, not all enemy blows are destined to hit. Based on your Dexterity and Luck, Strato may automatically evade attacks without any special equipment!

Control Improvements
We've tweaked the combat system to be more intuitive and user-friendly. Previously, attacking an enemy meant you were a sitting duck while you wait for the attack to finish. In this update, you can now move the camera, switch weapons, and target at all times. The only actions which are prevented during an attack are walking and jumping.



Bug fixes and Performance Tweaks

Performance Tweaks
We are always aiming to improve the performance of Caverns: Lost Sky in every update we push. As Caverns runs on our own self-built custom engine, we have ample room for optimization and tweaks. During this update, we modified several aspects of the core game loop to reduce stuttering and increase FPS during chunk generation. While the game is not lag-free, Update 0.1.4 presents a large improvement over the previous build, especially while chunks are still loading (indicated by the green "loading fields" seen over unfinished chunks). Additionally, a large amount of refactoring was performed during this update. This should make further speed improvements should be much easier to come by.

Bug Fixes
A large number of bugs found by our players and by internal testing were fixed during this update.
Some of the highlights include:
  • When a weapon breaks, your next weapon is automatically selected, if you have one. It can be taken out by pressing 'E'.
  • You can no longer save while falling to your death... Only saves on solid ground are possible. This is to prevent players from saving in a situation they cannot escape.
  • Poneroids, Cavern Weed and anything picked up from the ground no longer re-appears when you reload a saved game.
  • Items placed on the ground, such as torches and beacons, are now saved properly.
For the full list of changes, see 0.1.4 Patch Notes.

Both of us at Tetravoxel Limited would like to thank the community for all their suggestions, bug reports, and support. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel
Hello Everyone,

Patch 0.1.3 is finally here! This patch address several performance and game-play issues, and contains numerous improvements to enemy AI and combat mechanics.

Included in Patch 0.1.3:
  • The game now plays battle music when enemies have targeted Strato and are nearby
  • Numerous threading tweaks behind the scenes resulting in large average FPS gains while chunks are loading
  • Loading chunks now have an invisible boundary preventing the player from entering the chunk until it is loaded
  • Enemy animation sequences now loop correctly when the same animation repeats consecutively
  • Poneroid attack patterns have been tweaked so that they aim properly at Strato, and do not intersect each other.
  • Some save corruption issues resulting in missing equipment when the game is saved and exited too quickly
  • A crash on some systems within the options setting screen has been resolved
  • Note: If you have previously installed Caverns: Lost Sky, you may need to reset your music volume in the options screen as a result of these changes.
For the full list, see: 0.1.3 Patch Notes

We've also increased the length of the spawn "treasure trail" - follow the torches for some surprises!

Our next update (Patch 0.1.4) will finally change the game over mechanic so that you automatically load from your last save file - without restarting the executable. Patch 0.1.4 will release next week, by Friday.

As always we thank the community for their suggestions, bug reports, and support. Together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible!

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel
Hello Everyone,

We have released Patch 0.1.2, containing much requested fixes and changes to the Options screen, including Mouse Inversion, Mouse Speed, Resolution settings and Particle System settings. This update also contains several performance tweaks, which should hopefully help smooth out or eliminate input lag due to stuttering.

In addition, we fixed an issue related to the Inventory Screen which could cause the game to crash, as well as a bug which causes equipment durability to decrease incorrectly in some cases. Some equipment (eg. Armor) did not break upon reaching 0 durability. This no longer occurs, and these items can now be broken.

The changes in Update 0.1.2 include:
  • Added Mouse Y/X - Axis Inversion Setting
  • Added Mouse Y/X - Axis Speed Setting
  • Added Resolution Setting
  • Added Particle Density Setting
  • Added Particle Enable/Disable Setting
For more details, see 0.1.2 Patch Notes in the Change Log forum.

Also contained in this update are several behind-the-scenes changes to prepare for the replacement of the "application restart" game over mechanic. Progress on this feature has been smooth, and we are still on track to enable it within the next couple weeks.

We would also like to thank everyone for their feedback and suggestions - we consider our user's feedback the most important information we can receive, and together we hope to make Caverns: Lost Sky as fun, satisfying and rewarding as possible.

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
Caverns: Lost Sky - Tetravoxel
Hello Everyone,

First, we would like to welcome everyone to the Caverns: Lost Sky community, and to thank everyone for their interest in our first game! We have been slow to post in the past few days as we have been working hard to address the issues and suggestions we received following release.

The first patch, which was released on Monday, fixed a large number of release issues. These fixes include:
  • Fixed the ability to leave full screen mode
  • Fixed several lock-on targeting issues when switching weapons
  • Fixed losing your recently equipped weapon or tool on save
  • Fixed a number of issues related to Poneroid attack patterns
  • Fixed a crash when your third weapon was equipped and breaks while opening the inventory simultaneously and clicking on the (now destroyed) item
Please see: 0.1.1 Patch Notes, in the Change Log forum, for the full list.

In order to effectively communicate which fixes or features are planned in future updates, there will be a post (for each update) in the Suggestions Forum detailing what will be changed.

We have received numerous concerns about current missing features that our user greatly require, and we hear you.
Our next update will consist of an overhaul to our games settings screen, allowing the user to select critical features such as: Resolution, Mouse Inversion, Mouse Sensitivity, and a particle limit. Following this announcement there will be a post in the Suggestions Forum with more details.

Additionally, we are currently working on the permanent replacement for our temporary Game Over solution. We acknowledge that the current solution (restarting the executable) is far from ideal. This solution is a temporary patch while we resolve a critical error with the automatic-reload feature. This error had a small chance of corrupting the user's save file. Due to this issue, we made the call to have the executable restart, as a temporary stop-gap measure.

The automatic reload feature is currently our highest priority, and we expect to push an update to enable it within the next couple weeks. Rest assured that we are not spending time on anything that does not implement this feature, besides additional options to allow users to optimize their experience as is.

Once again, thank you to everyone for your interest in Caverns: Lost Sky. As our first game and our first self-published software project, we are extremely appreciative of your suggestions and feedback. Please look forward to much more frequent posts in the future.

- Team Tetravoxel ( :
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