Hey everybody, Keeko here, writing to you on behalf of the Primordial team. It's been a couple months since our last blog post and development has been progressing steadily. There's not a lot to talk about, but given the uptick in "when 2.2" questions in our Discord server and elsewhere, I figured it was about time.
BEFORE THE BETA
We recently ended our first round of internal Alpha testing where a select group of players (mainly friends of the dev team) got to play through 2.2, from start to finish, with all content implemented and functional. We gathered a lot of feedback, some of it negative, most of it positive. Not to toot our own horn here, but we're very happy that 2.2 is good. That may seem like a given with how much we've been hyping it up and how long it's taken, but when you're making something as huge and complicated as Drehmal, it's hard to know if what you've made is ultimately worth people's time. I am extremely proud of the team for what they've accomplished!
Recently, DomeMaster, the coding team, and myself got together to formulate a plan of action - how do we get from Alpha to Beta? We figured out exactly what issues we wanted to iron out before getting it out to you guys, much of it being balancing, a few rewrites, and a handful of mechanical changes. Also bugs. A lot of bugs. At the time of writing this, we have 94 open issues labeled "For Beta" on our GitHub repository. There will no doubt be many more when a couple hundred people devour the map over the span of a week.
For those out of the loop and are especially eager to play 2.2 early, yes, you will be able to play it before full release. We will be dropping a public Beta for anyone to play in our Discord server when it's ready (and we don't know when that will be!). This is what we did for 2.1 and it's how we'll do things in the future. The full release will come... who knows how many months after, but we have plans to spread word of the map and we'll get a fancy new trailer for that, too. If you're hesitant to play the Beta over fears of bugs, I get it. I'm personally confident that the Beta will be polished and stable, but you never know what'll creep up in the last moments of game development.
Fortunately for you guys, we do have some unexpected new stuff to show off right now!
There are a few parts of Drehmal's landscapes that I particularly dislike. And I'm not talking areas with few structures/points of interest in them, I'm talking boring, repetitive terrain. There aren't many areas that are flat-out bad, just needing some extra love and time, but there's one corner of the map that I've always hated: the two northeastern extremes, the Highfall Tundra and Frozen Bite.
One of the new things we've done with 2.2, as shown off in our Q&A and some spoiler images, is do terrain touch ups. These have been minor changes/additions, such as the new pocket of desert sandwiched between Veruhkt and Highfall, the updates to the beaches west of Anyr'Nogur, or even the small streams seen in the demo. This terraforming effort has been spearheaded and done largely by NaterGator with some assistance from the team here and there.
When discussing what other terrain updates we wanted in the future, the #1 must-revamp region was that northeastern pair. We planned on saving such a massive project for 2.3, but after dedicating some extra time to polish and Nate being an insane WorldPainter machine, we're happy to include the remake in 2.2!
It seems... bigger, doesn't it? That's just because it's far more detailed. Nate's passion for all things geographical is in full force here, with an immense amount of thought put into every sub-biome and terrain feature. The land now shows its history through the natural processes that formed it and the magical catastrophe that destroyed it.
The lusher zones to the south are vestiges of a time before the Frostfang's might. Lichen plains that once covered most of the north are now contained to a flat glacial basin. At the tundra’s center is a shallow lake, its banks housing evergreens and volcanic hotspots. To the east are the highlands where glaciers still carve away at mountainsides.
Far north is the Frozen Bite proper, a marshy, frozen lowland bordered by intimidating chiseled mountains. Few throughout history have settled here even in the time before the Catastrophe. Beyond its shores lie barren waters populated by icebergs and islands that were once fjords. Southerly is a region of intense volcanic activity, enclosed by the rim of an ancient caldera. Between Highfall and the Bite is Homli's Pass, where travelers march through fierce winds into Faehrcyle, the land drowned in snow.
There is more I could show, but I'll leave it there. The new Highfall Tundra and Frozen Bite are twice as detailed and twice as varied as before, and we're super satisfied with the work Nate has done. Keep in mind - there's a chance this doesn't make its way into the Beta. It will without a doubt make it into full release, though! Also, if you're wondering about the lack of structures in the screenshots, that's because we have yet to transfer them over.
We plan on doing more biome overhauls in 2.3 and beyond. We've already done a couple others that we haven't shown off, so keep an eye out for those. None will ever be as drastic as the Tundra/Bite, however! These biomes were, at their core, very boring and lacked a proper layout, so they needed to be torn out and redone. Future overhauls will keep the same overall structure, just changing individual sub-biomes or adding more detail.
If you can think of any biomes you'd like to see overhauled, let us know! It can be anything from an empty corner only a 100 blocks wide, or an entire 1000 block region. We have some in mind, but community feedback is always appreciated.
THE FINAL SPOILER IMAGE
Weekly spoiler images have always been difficult to get right. We don't want to show off too much, but we still want to get people excited for the update. This was fine a year ago when we still had a lot to showcase, but now we've well and truly reached a point where we do not want to show off anything you guys haven't already seen. And you guys have seen a lot. A spoiler image every week for two and a half years is a TON of content. Tuesday excitement is at a low point because of the oversaturation of spoiler images.
So... starting two weeks from now, we'll be moving solely to old spoiler images with lore captions biweekly. No more new spoiler images will be released after that point. But that means you'll get one more - the last one before 2.2's release. Will it be crazy and show off your wildest dreams, or will it be incredibly mundane and forgettable? Who knows! You'll just have to see it.
And that concludes the latest development update. Entire biome remakes, news on the future of spoiler images, and 2.2 is still... yes, still being worked on. I'm tired. We're all tired. We want it out too. But it's gonna have to wait.
Thank you for your unending patience.