As many of us are aware of whether it's from being an old or new member of this community is that this game has experienced quite some heavy growing pains over the years, all of which might not always be that easy to sort out or fix in a good manner. Even though there's many things that will still linger around not directly to be fixed by a mere patch, we hope that at the very least it will paint a welcoming road ahead for the future of this game but also it's players.
It has been 5 years this game has been up and running and there's been tons of players coming and tons of players leaving, be it for various reasons. Players that might like and dislike various things is something most of us staff has been placed in a position to deal with or in general just look over, and it's not always we can please the people that play the game. For the last 5 years the game has been up, we've spent 4 of them without any signs or words about the game continuing moving forward or getting fixes and we've more or less been made to think that the very game we have now, and the problems it has is something we will need to live with as long as we try to take care of it. It's a bit of a helpless situation since a good majority will place the responsiblity and questions and concerns for the game on "us", even if we by no means have the tools to fix them or it's out of our reach.
We have been, and always will be a random bunch of people online who's dedicated to to the game, and since we are we sadly will fall in the line of fire when people are unhappy about matters around the game. Making a patch adding new content into the game and change some things around to avoid deep issues that has been haunting this game and players for a long time is a fine idea, but just as a game doesn't take care of itself, neither does a patch make itself where there's many pitfalls and problems that needs to be taken into account. Even if we're standing on the doorstep with a game update we cannot know for certain what will happen, but sitting around and being beaten by a stick for something out of your power is not exactly fun either.
In the end we've decided to do something and it has now been about 2 years since this project started to take shape as the scale is actually quite big(Who would've thought, derp). We know that not everyone will like this certain direction we're trying to take with this update and might just be stuck in time just like the game was, but we believe that this is what the game needs however, what you all need, what we need, and so this project has been kept alive and slowly making it's way here despite what might've gone on at the time during it's making. The game and it's codes are still the work of KovuLKD and by no means has this patch changed that.
We've reached out to quite some different people to assist with this task of making an update, many not even having a proper clue for what as this update changes a lot of things, markings, animations, textures, interface, meshes, and maps. With this help we've reached even higher up and been able to take some already heavy weight off our shoulders, you guys are the real MVP's and we appreciate it.
Some changes has been done to the game and it might be in order to explain more in detail and some reasoning behind these changes, feel free to read up on this if you'd like.
We can start off with something that has been eating us for quite some time, and that is the buttswing animation. For years now we've had the problem of users either not reading the rules or disregarding the rules all together, going around using the "buttswing" animation in what could be considered a bad manner. Even though I personally and many other people do not have a direct problem with it, as we are trying to run a game we've been forced to take measures to prevent people using this animation inappropriately that could get the game itself in problems. A year long ban is not exactly a stranger around FeralHeart, and many users do not even understand or realize what they've done until it's too late. It's a situation where we get penalized for trying to keep the game up and running with the animations it has and in all honesty it's something we want to get away from.
In this patch/update we now got a moonwalk to replace the buttswing all together, and also the headbang has been modified to not have any hind motion. Even though this by no means will prevent people from being inappropriate or breaking rules it will make it so we don't need to ban users for a long time over something like a buttswing "done wrong". Don't get us wrong though, you'll still get thrown off the game for being inappropriate for things like chatting, character name etc, but as far as the whole buttswing matter goes, we will be able to avoid a lot of inappropriate situations in which we have to take action, and that will directly affect users and make it so they cannot make some mistake they will pay dearly for. Everyone wins. The only real problem is that we cannot change the name of the animation in the game itself as we have no source codes so you will still see the animation being called "Buttswing"(something modders already know of), but the animation in the game itself will give you a new fancy moonwalk to enjoy. There's been some changes done to the headbang aswell to make sure it's not going to be used instead of buttswing to cause problems, but it is still going to represent a headbang to most.
I mentioned earlier about users not reading the rules or disregarding them all together. Our rules has always been listed on the site since they never got implemented in the game or got the chance to. I think most people can agree it would make sense to have them listed somewhere if they are going to be applied in the game. We've now made it so a summary of the official game rules are listed right infront of your noses when you spawn into Lonely Cave, and they can always be found there again. Hopefully this will keep a bigger scale of the users informed of the rules and make them easier to find. We know this will not stop people from breaking rules but it will hopefully improve general awareness of the rules and prevent new users from making mistakes they will hate the game or staff for later, not themselves.
One of the biggest changes done to the game is the maps and worlds. Not only have we added a lot of new maps but we've also removed the majority of the old ones to get a fresh start, but also for other reasons such as bearing of maps and their directions were very misleading and confusing(you'd head one way and end up another, or go from warm climate to ice), and object groups used for the old official maps causing more clutter than good when cleaning things up. For reasons like those listed, we started fresh and tried to keep as many things in mind as possible such as map sizes, amount of decoration, usage area, directions and whatever might be worth considering when making a map that loads of ferals are going to run around in 24/7 to make it as interesting as possible.
We made cape a little more welcoming for mapped roleplays to advertise in, we've made the first few maps from lonely cave a little less "dense" on objects to hopefully make them easier to run with lots of users in them, and we've really tried to make some interesting environments for you guys to run around and explore in. The way the maps are laid out now should hopefully also leave room to add more maps in the future. Sadly we're going to be missing some jumping action from Ascension Island or Shivering colds from South pole now as we do not have such environments in the game currently, but we wanted to work more on quality over quantity, and so the maps you will find should be a welcoming addition and quite the upgrade. The environmental changes should be more gradual now rather than instant, and if you end up going north for example that's where you'll end up, all to make the game seem like a world, rather than just maps.
We've also re-worked the majority of the markings in the game that you can apply for the characters. Even if they are new, the markings should still ressemble the old ones fairly well where a ring is a ring, scar is a scar, tiger markings are tiger markings etc. The reason behind remaking the markings is mainly because of problems we've faced when some of the game markings has been "off limits" for users to use outside the character creator, and sometimes we've had users being forced to remove or edit their presets when they taken help of existing markings. Not only is it a bit tricky for us to police this, but we wish for users to be able to use the markings provided by the game to come up with a design or preset if need be. We now have new markings that will allow the users to use them more freely.
You will also find that most of the media(textures, items, objects etc) in the game folder has been cleaned up, this will make it a bit easier to navigate(mostly for modders) and install new things to the game. The object groups for map making has also been cleaned up a bit and boast some new meshes in there, so even if you don't know how to properly add meshes and make object groups yet mapping should be more of a breeze! Also for those who are concerned, your custom maps should still work as is. If you made your custom map with only the default groups and didn't add any special meshes to the default groups like (mytrees, myrocks, because you shouldn't anyway), these maps will work after this update.
Other than that we've done some quick changes like cleaning up the character selection map to give the focus more on the making of a character, changed the position of the minimap and buttons in the game to give more room for an extended chat, added some items that work well for both Feline and Canine characters, and in general just cleaned up things and made them nicer. Sadly any Modifcations such as marking packs and item packs and emotes must be re-made to be compatible with the new version of FeralHeart. DO NOT INSTALL CUSTOM MARKINGS ITEMS OR EMOTES UNLESS A NEW VERSION COMPATIBLE WITH THE NEW UPDATE IS RELEASED as it will display things in the wrong order. You have been warned.
These are probably not all the changes that could be mentioned but it should be a hefty amount of what you'll realize upon playing FeralHeart from now on.
On a personal note, this patch has been more about fixing and creating a good base to continue working on for a future FeralHeart, rather than just filling the game up with sparkles. It has been quite rough if I will be honest. I cannot stress enough about how tricky it is trying to take care of a game and it's players as you're trying to balance whatever is going on in your life, all while working on a patch that needs your outmost attention and care to not go wrong along the way. But now I cannot do anything else than give a pat on the shoulder and say: Look, we did it. It's not something that requires rocket science but rather hard boiled dedication and will to shug through, and since we're here now, That says something.
-And of course, the FH staff for ther involvement, work and testing with the patch.