Today, we'd like to detail our plans for the upcoming releases of Full Invasion: Osiris. As mentioned in the last article, we are nearing the end of development on Osiris, at least relatively speaking. We've been working on Osiris for over 1.5 years, and we've certainly come a long way in that time. After creating the basic features of the mod in the first period, we've now mostly moved to adding factions, rather than features. In other words: the skeleton of Osiris stands, and now we're adding the meat.
Those of you who've been keeping up with this blog know that we've provided Preview builds for our Patreon supporters. So far, we've released five builds, each building upon the last. We started with a Preview build that showed off the new invasion mechanics, and only had one map, one defender faction, and one invasion. We've since slowly added more content to finally come to the point we are now.
Which leaves us with the future! The fifth Preview build had the majority of the factions we want to have in the full release ready. Therefore, this is what our schedule looks like: (NB, these are only estimates! We hope to reach these goals, but if we have to delay, we will)
Early July: The Final Preview Build
The sixth Preview build will be the final Preview build we release. This build will include all factions we want to have in the main release, the implementation of several of our Patreon rewards, and more features. As usual, this build will only be available to our Patreon supporters.
2 - 3 weeks later: Full Invasion: Osiris - Closed Beta
The weeks after the last Preview build will be used to complete the final features we want to have in the mod, and to squash the bugs that will undoubtedly show up. After that, we will release a Closed Beta release of the mod. This version will be available for invitees only! This includes our Patreon supporters, active members of the community (mainly on our Discord Server), everyone who's helped make the mod, and people who can provide us with good feedback. This beta will contain all features of the full release, and will be used to determine the balance of the mod with more than 10 players, as well as its stability.
2 weeks - a month later: Full Invasion: Osiris - Full release
Depending on the amount of work that comes from the beta, the full release of Osiris will be a few weeks to a month after the beta starts. Those of you paying attention will have noticed this means we put our estimated release date somewhere in August. Full Invasion: Osiris will be released both here on ModDB, and on the Steam Workshop.
We'd like to reiterate that these dates are educated guesses, not deadlines! We're not releasing anything before it is in the state we want it to be, so this is just a rough time-line of when we expect the releases to happen.
Now with the Osiris hype train having received sufficient fuel, to calm it down a bit we'd like to share some background improvements we've made to the mod that have only recently been found. This is all background information, but we thought it might be interesting to share!
The Dreaded "L bug"
Anyone who has played Amber or Amber 2.0 will have noticed that, as the waves of an invasion progress, your performance will gradually go down. Where you'd have 50 FPS looking at a small group of enemies, a few minutes later you'd find yourself only having 30 FPS. This bug came to light shortly after the first version of Amber launched. Some quick testing by both developers and players showed that opening any window that completely closes the game, such as the Reports screen (opened with the L key), and then closing it again would "reset" your FPS back to its normal level. Because players had to regularly open the Reports screen with L, this bug became known as the L bug. Further testing on our end showed this bug originated from the code used to draw the healthbars that were introduced in Amber. Our brilliant script magician, Borridian, looked through the code, and could not think of a way to fix the bug without removing healthbars entirely. Considering the added value of the healthbars, we chalked the bug up as unfixable, and let it be.
Now, however, with almost 3 years more experience modding the game, Borridian decided to have another crack at this bug. To do so, he has completely rewritten the code that creates the healthbars and the minimap (a monstrous bit of code any way you look at it). The result:
Before the fix, FPS would go down to 1/3rd its normal level after 10 waves. After the fix, the FPS drain is completely gone. The healthbars and minimap look the exact same, but the bug is completely fixed!
Loading Time Woes
One of the major pain points of Full Invasion has always been its loading time. Starting up the mod could take up to 10 minutes, depending on your computer. In previous versions of the mod we tried in several ways to cut down this loading time. We did succeed to a degree, though loading times remained long. Now, about a month ago, after we heard a rumor about the way the game loads textures, we set out to test a hunch regarding the loading screen. With some testing, we found out that the engine of Warband can only load one texture or part of a file per frame. As we had over 8000 textures, it's not strange to see why it took long to load, as it could only load 60 textures per second. However, the maximum FPS of Warband can be changed in the launcher. So, after changing the maximum FPS from 60 to 999, our loading times went from 3 minutes and 10 seconds to... 33 seconds. Changing one setting in the launcher had removed a whopping 82% of the loading time!
So, take this as a general piece of advice: if you want your loading time to improve, change the maximum FPS setting to 999. It won't have any (visible) effect on the game once you've loaded in, but it cuts down on loading times a lot.
That's all for today. The next blog post will likely be at the launch of the Final Preview. If you'd like to keep in touch with us, join us on our Discord Server. We will be inviting players to the Beta from there too, so if you'd like to be a part of the Beta, make sure to join us!