Custom content in Hytale
When we announced Hytale, we said that we'd be providing players with all of the tools that we've developed in order to create the game. Over the last couple of months, we've received lots of questions about what that means for modders and content creators.
In the past, we've discussed how the Hytale Model Maker allows creators to build and import their own models, textures and animations into the game. We've shown off character customization and demonstrated both how blocks work and how you can build with them.
This is far from the full extent of the tools and options that we have planned for Hytale. In this post, we're going to explore some of the things that are possible using Hytale's in-game customization tools. These will allow modders and content creators to fundamentally change many aspects of the game without having to directly edit files - or even close the game itself!
All of the images and clips in this post represent work-in-progress interfaces and functionality. Both the game and the tools we provide are likely to evolve between now and launch!
Customizing the weather
Hytale's weather system makes a huge difference to how an area feels. In creating zones and biomes for adventure mode, we've already outlined dozens of presets that change everything from the color of the sky to the specific textures used for different phases of the moon. In the image below, you can see the same landscape at different times of day and under different weather conditions.
These presets are configured using a powerful in-game asset customization menu which allows creators to tinker with almost every aspect of the game. Here's an example of part of the weather customization interface:
In this example, you can see how different colors can be set for different aspects of the weather at different times of day. Using the bar at the top, creators can cycle through times of day to preview their changes. The menu on the right provides access to other aspects of weather customization, including swapping skyboxes and starscapes - all without quitting the game.
Best of all, these changes can be experienced by everybody connected to the server. Once presets are created, they can be switched using simple text commands or bound to a keypress. Here's an example of weather presets being cycled in zone 3:
This is only one example of what can be done with the asset customization menu. While we're not quite ready to show off the rest of the user interface yet, we are going to spend the rest of this post illustrating other things that it can do, and the power it grants to modders.
Live texture changes
Changing the weather is one thing, but if you really want to customize an environment then you'll want to change textures. Hytale's in-game tools allow you to change the textures associated with a particular block or model on the fly, to a granular level of detail. Want to change how a particular kind of stone looks? You can do that. Want to change the color of the grass at the top of a grass block without changing the color of the soil? You can do that too. Then, you can watch your changes take place in real time as the update takes effect for every player.
Advanced building tools
We're also working on tools that'll help builders to quickly construct sophisticated creations. These include copy-paste functions that let you replicate complicated arrangements of blocks, as you can see below.
Combining these techniques with the options provided by live asset customization gives builders a huge amount of power. In the example below, world team member Otium uses several different techniques in order to quickly expand and refine a complex build.
Custom weapons and effects
In-game customization also extends to items, weapons, particle effects, and gameplay. We're going to dig much deeper into this in a future blog post, because it's a massive subject - but for the sake of demonstration, here's what's possible with a custom model and a few minutes of in-game configuration:
The model and animations for this laser rifle were created in Hytale Model Maker for the modding segment of the Hytale announcement trailer. All we needed to do to turn it into a new weapon was assign projectile and on-hit particle effects, establish damage values, and test it out on some zombies. It'll be easy for modders to customize all aspects of the combat experience and test their changes live.
Changing character models
Customization doesn't end there - player models can be changed on the fly too! Take a look:
Almost all of Hytale's creatures and characters can be made playable with a button push, and the attachment system - last previewed in our introduction to Hytale Model Maker - means that they can even equip weapons and armor and perform actions that those creatures would never normally do. These changes can then be applied to a single player, a group, or even everybody on a server.
Do you want to play a game where deadeye pigeons toss throwing knives at distant targets? Probably not. But we did that anyway.
The crucial thing is that we give modders and server operators as much freedom as possible to use their imaginations, push the limits of the system, and experiment without having to rely on external tools.
Besides - what's the point of filling the game with monsters if you can't play as one from time to time?
To download a zip containing the screenshots and short video clips featured in this blog post, click here!