A'therys MC Development Update

News

A'therys MC, the spiritual successor and evolution in all parts of all previous versions of A'therys is now in development proper.

Taz
Shawn

A'therys MC, the spiritual successor and evolution in all parts of all previous versions of A'therys is now in development proper.

TL:DR

  • We are nearing completion of prepping our Heroes testing environment "The Hall of Heroes", and are looking forward to launching it in the near future once resources are put into updating our combat systems.
  • We've locked in the future look and feel of Ithero, and have started building the next building set for future towns, cities, and capitals.
  • The team is wrapping up our official game design guideline that highlights the broad strokes and implementation details of the next iteration of A'therys MC from server meshing, level design, gameplay loops, narrative injection and more.

What's going on with A'therys MC?

A'therys MC is currently in development with a lot of work being done discussing the fine details of developing a truly unique and incredible experience for players to sink their teeth into. One that balances the gameplay expectations of players across a variety of groups; PvE, PvP, RP, RPG and beyond.

The experience we're working towards does our best to address the wants and needs of each group while providing a fair and enjoyable experience for all. In an addition to ensuring that our new-user experience is one that puts previous iterations of A'therys to shame, as we all know a smooth onboarding will improve retention, and good retention will sprout a healthy community of new players dropping in.

Level design workshop graphic that shows multiple iterations of layouts and concepts

Below is a summary of some highlights of our work as we establish a new baseline to build from:

Design Imperatives

As a product, A’therys MC is developed with certain imperatives in mind. They are listed as follows:

  1. A’therys MC is a game, not just a Server - Every feature present in the game is there because the development team understands its strengths and weaknesses, and has made a conscious choice to include it. Base Minecraft functionality is not exempt from this rule, where possible. Players will enjoy the Experiences that the game provides directly to them and will not be able to direct major developmental decisions.
  2. The game design must be scalable - Every design choice, from world building to combat systems must have some form of expandability and customization to enable future iterations to be improved based on constant real-time player feedback. Our core levels should be replicable and be connected to the rest of the experience through the broader server mesh.
  3. We must take into consideration multiple play styles and either balance or cater to them - In a sandbox MMORPG environment that leverages the mechanics of Minecraft and the inspiration of other RPG games, we need to take into account the broad strokes but also deep preferences of certain groups and try to provide a welcoming and enjoyable experience to each major group of players.
  4. Nations are a gameplay add, not a requirement - All gameplay will be made available to players no matter which nation they select. Nations do not need physical presence in the server in the form of Levels in order to affect gameplay, as this dynamic has been accounted for in the base design of the game. Players may enjoy all hard gameplay features as Nomads, but many soft gameplay Experiences are gated behind the choice.
  5. Players may build anywhere that building is allowed - Minecraft is a building game and this functionality is to be preserved in A’therys MC. In Levels where players may build, and outside of Towns or other restricted areas, any player may place and destroy blocks. Breaking blocks is allowed in some Levels where building is not.
  6. Level of Detail is considered when planning Experiences - To help players enjoy A’therys MC as the developers intend, Level planning takes into account a set of predetermined render and simulation distances.  All Levels and locations will be built with the render distance of 12 chunks and simulation distance of 6 chunks in mind. Additionally, the latest version of the official A’therys MC texture pack will be used in all development activities.
  7. Instant gratification lowers retention, gameplay loops should have depth - The idea that players prefer to access end-game content immediately is a falsehood, players enjoy deeper gameplay mechanics that pave the way for end-game content in a way that is varied, exciting, surprising, and memorable. Progression won’t be a grind but a series of steps players should take leading to greater and greater outcomes.

Systems we're currently developing and will be providing updates on soon:

1. Server Mesh

A’therys MC comprises multiple connected Servers (i.e., Minecraft world files), themselves running on multiple Boxes (i.e., physical hardware handling the files). Servers host Levels in which the game is played, with the ability for players to travel between these Levels being a key feature of the A’therys MC Server Mesh. The Levels are divided into types which describe the tailored gameplay Experiences available therein, inspiring players to venture across the Mesh to enjoy all the game has to offer.

2. Experiential Balance

Because gameplay is split across Levels in A’therys MC, these various Experiences can be tuned to address specific player interests. The goals of each Level place them on a continuum between combat-oriented Experiences and questing/roleplay-oriented ones.

3. Fast Travel

Each Level may have multiple connections to others within the Mesh. To ensure players are properly accounted for during their travels, A’therys MC makes use of the Permissions plugin to track movement through the assignment and removal of permissions. At any given point, players carry permissions which recall the last Level they occupied, the last Hub they moved through, and the location of their Town if they live in one. With these three states logged, players can be sent to the correct Level based on their departure from a previous connected one, or be returned to the correct Level if they die or their current Level becomes unstable.

4. Level Types

To cater to the diverse audience that A’therys MC will attract, the Server Mesh will constitute many different types of Experiences. These will be hosted in Levels arranged carefully around the Mesh to ensure maximum accessibility to players. Some of the levels we'll provide details about in the near future are as follows:

  1. Hub
  2. Heartland
  3. Frontier
  4. Battlefield
  5. Adventure
  6. Trove
  7. Dungeon

5. Conflict at the National Level and National Influence

The Influence system is the primary metagame available to players of A’therys MC and is the primary way through which nationality is expressed. Players simply experience the world around them through exploration, PvE, and even large scale combat in Battlefields may contribute to this system. By completing certain actions within the game, players will accrue points of which rewards and renown will be shared to those who contribute the most on a regular basis.

What is the Hall of Heroes?

While developing the previous iteration of A'therys MC, it wasn't uncommon to see our gameplay development team working on future updates to our Hero classes in a testing server with the community. It was awesome to see players fight it out with new skills and abilities in small rough-and-tough arenas tailored to PvP.

The Hall of Heroes is our official extension of that genuine organic experience and giving it a space to for players to test in style, with easy ways to try new classes and skills with ease!

The Hall of Heroes lobby sign
The Swamp PvP Arena
The Village PvP Arena
Selectable Hero's Class NPC's standing around the central atrium.

A vision into the future: Nations updated

Our team is hard at work updating the look and feel of our beloved nations, bringing them up to a more modern and evolved style that re-introduces all of what made these nations incredible back to their roots. Our creative director will follow up with more regular updates on how Nations will evolve over the next few months as they are developed.

Workshop graphic for the nation of Ithero

Maintaining a Regular Update Feed

This time around, unlike previous versions of A'therys development, we want to ensure that our active and dedicated community feels informed, and involved in the development of this next iteration of A'therys MC by maintaining a regularly updated channel that acts a place to drop imagery, stream of thought, or anything about the project from the entire team.

This is accessible to all members of the community in a channel called Dev-Updates in our discord server.

Head over to our discord to join the conversation.

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