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2.2 Development Update

Hey everybody, Keeko here, writing to you on behalf of the Primordial team. Bet you weren't expecting to see one of these, huh? After our delay announcement in September of last year, we decided to take a more opaque approach to communicating our timeline. We didn't want to give any promises, deadlines, or release windows. That much is still true, but I'd like to give some updates about where development is at, what our most recent hurdles have been, some significant changes to Drehmal's requirements, and to answer the question - no, not the one about a release date - that YES, we're still working hard on getting 2.2 out for everybody to play.



Before I dive into the finer details, I'd like to confirm that 2.2 is FEATURE COMPLETE. Everything is done and has been for weeks now. Building, writing, puzzles, artifacts, artisans, runic catalysts, music, coding, devotion, and textures are done. You can play through the map from spawn all the way to the credits. All the systems work, all the items are in, all of our changes to old content and everything related to new content - it's done. Many of us on the team are saddened that the update is not in your hands yet, but the hard part is over.

So... if the content is done, what's left? Bugs, glitches, exploits, and more bugs. In the past month we've gone through nearly two hundred issues, big and small, making sure that the overall experience is fully playable and mostly bug-free. I am sure the Beta will have plenty of bugs. Whatever testing we do with a dozen people is nothing compared to hundreds of our players.

There's been plenty of polish during this time too. We rebalanced some emerald/Runic Catalyst prices, balanced some dungeons/equipment, added some small new features, and managed to cram in more of Nate's terrain changes last-minute. We even managed to cull a ton of unused chunks and brought the file size down from 6gb to 4.5gb. There were... an unexpected amount of empty chunks beyond Drehmal's borders.

A few of us even spent the time to just... play the map casually. Funnily enough, I've never properly played Drehmal before. I mean, why would I? I know the location of everything, I know all the secrets, the surprises, how everything works inside and out. But I decided to sit down and spend the time to pick my way through the map from the lens of a new player. It was a fantastic time. A lot of the systemic changes we've made to loot have made exploration so much more rewarding. Emeralds are now actually useful with expensive new equipment to buy, Runic Catalysts are an exciting find, and getting your first Runic Vessel feels like a real achievement. I believe, more than anything, those two systems will drastically improve the overall experience.



One thing that reared its ugly head in the past few months has been a severe memory leak problem. Minecraft already has some memory issues, but we discovered that due to the sheer size of the datapack combined with OptiFine, memory usage would skyrocket and rendered the map unplayable for less powerful computers. Fortunately, we were able to cut all unused content from the datapack and perform some much-needed optimization that seemed to fix the memory leaks.

Later on in internal testing, more memory problems began cropping up. Some devs with mid-range computers were finding the map unplayable about halfway through, or even as soon as they started. Eventually I started running into the same issues ~20 hours in, and my PC is fairly high-end. Removing OptiFine eliminated these issues.

After that, we have made the difficult decision to drop OptiFine support and move to Fabric-based alternatives. For those unfamiliar, Fabric is a lightweight modding API that has exploded in popularity in recent years. This has been the trajectory for many content creators as OptiFine has begun to show its age as a decade old, closed-source rewrite of Minecraft's engine.

In order to ensure Drehmal is easy to install for all players, we will be making a custom installer that'll automatically install Fabric and all the necessary mods to your Minecraft. This may not be available by the time of the Beta, but we'll make sure it's there for full release. We have a rough, work in progress Linux version right now:

A Linux installer was fairly simple and easy to make, but we know the majority of our playerbase may not use a Linux OS. Our first priority will be creating a Windows installer that works with the same level of simplicity and ease as OptiFine’s installer. Our goal is to make it so that all you need to do in order to get your Minecraft Drehmal-ready is run a program and click a button that creates a new profile for you in the Minecraft launcher. We hope to create a Mac-supported installer at a later date. Of course, manual installation instructions will also be provided here on the website.

There are many other upsides to switching to Fabric. We've already observed drastic performance improvements (sometimes double the frames!), and this broadens what our resource pack will be capable of. However, and I want to make this clear, Drehmal will always be a Vanilla+ experience, first and foremost. Fabric will be utilized for two things: performance and visuals. Do not expect full mods that significantly change the core gameplay of Minecraft. We’re hoping to move away from mod dependency in the future as Minecraft expands its vanilla toolset, but there’s no way to know if that’ll be fully possible.

Because of this transition, we have been spending time converting the resource pack to Fabric alternatives and fixing any issues that arise (thank you Mouton for leading the charge here!). We have no concrete timeline here because there's always new unexpected hurdles in game development, but we're hoping to start our private Alpha soon and the public Beta soon after. So, all things considered, 2.2 is Soon™.



And that concludes our 2.2 Development Update. Pretty short, I know, but it contains some crucial information and brings you up to speed on what we've been up to. 2.2 is still being worked on, and it will come out! I don't have any cool new things to show as a send-off, but I know there's a few of you who haven't seen/don't remember the 2.2 teaser trailer, so... here you go!

Thank you all for your undying patience. We're forever grateful that you've stuck with us for this long. It only gives us more motivation to keep trudging forward. We'll let you know when 2.2 is ready. Again, thank you for your time.

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