Dear Extraordinary Survivalists
There's been lots of curiousity over what the next update will be and when it will come out. I've been sharing bits and pieces of that on discord mostly, but at this point in time it's deserving of a dedicated blog post.
Our goal for 1.18 is to significantly advance the game's lore, a goal that has been part of our mission since the inception of Vintage Story. The VS team is very excited to fully dedicate an update to this, as we have been holding it off for a very long time.
Ultimately we want to tell an extensive story, not only through text, but also through the game's atmosphere, fully within the spirit of a open world sandbox experience. It's up to the player if and when he wants to advance the story, or completely ignore it if he desires so. The story's end will also not obsolete your current savegame - much rather offer more interesting choices for you to make.
In more concrete terms, and what I already partially showed off in #devlog, this will include the following:
Disclaimer! In-Development content ahead! Things may get changed, improved or outright removed until release! Also this is a non-exhaustive list!
1. A NPC Dialogue system, this lets you talk to traders, and possibly other new NPCs, to ask them about various things. Likely will include an occasional fetch/reward quest. Some of the dialogue will likely also be personalized to your character class and the personality of the NPC.
2. Interactable books and bookshelves that you can scavenge for old stories, but also write your own lore!
3. Treasure maps. Traders will sell maps that add a waypoint to hidden treasures to your world map, or possibly locations of major dungeons?
4. More underground content. Most importantly one very large underground structure present in every world for you to explore, solve challenges in and uncover more about the world you inhabit. This is the one feature the team is currently spending most time on, and the one we are most excited about, I believe
5. Lore related gadgetry. New blocks and items that will unlock new abilities or assist you in your survival endeavours
6. Improved surface structures. Not sure how far we get, but the goal is to add a lot more atmosphere and symbolics to our overground ruins and trader structures.
7. Other stuff
Beyond that, and not really related to the lore update, there will be a ton of other goodies as well, such as many new types of blocks, over 150 new types of butterflies, the ability to catch them, a tutorial system, an auto-updater for Windows game clients, improved gui visuals, many improvements to world generation, angled wooden beams with a whole new placement system, completely overhauled doors and a completely overhauled chat commands system that will bring us much closer to adventure map making capabilities for players.
As for the release date, we hope to get all this new content in a "release candidate" state by Q1 2023. Release candidate means all new content is done and our focus will shift to bugfixing.
What about my old worlds?
You can still play on old worlds in 1.18, but this is the first time I would recommend starting a new world. The world generation changes might create jarring chunk borders when discovering new terrain in old worlds.
We are treading in lots of new territory with this update, so it took us a while to nail down the direction we want to take, but by now we have a pretty good plan on where we want to be. Now, as we have mostly fixated on a plan for 1.18, we started some initial discussions on what 1.19 will be and the consensus is that it will be another dejank update - "Dejank Redux" so to speak. We also plan to do some intensive playtesting with the VS team for 1.19. Personally I would also love to have a stronger focus on Players vs. Environment type survival. Quite possible that we also add one or two lore things that didn't make it into 1.18. Time will tell