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Week in Review is development update blog located at Gilded Games' Patreon Website.

-Launcher Improvements

Written by JellySquid

The launcher has also seen a handful of general improvements, the most notable being some new animations. Fortunately, even with the new eye candy, performance has only been improved!

  • The news view has received a small facelift
  • Scrollbars are now properly styled, and lists now have scrollbars
  • Large assets are now loaded in the background, speeding up startup
  • The titlebar's buttons are now better spaced and give feedback when pressed
  • Animated indeterminate spinners have been added to progress views

We've got lots planned for the launcher, with changelogs and a console view coming soon.

-Terrain Generation

Written by Brandon Pearce

The changes to Terrain Generation in the Aether probably deserve an entire post of their own, but here's a quick rundown of what I've been doing thus far!

  • First of all, islands in the Aether are now controlled "objects" that we can reference in code.
  • This means we can develop gameplay mechanics that directly interact with islands (such as their location)
  • One of my favorite examples of what we can do with this change is NPCs that can transport you to a nearby island, perhaps through a flying carriage.

Another thing to note - we now have Quicksoil Coasts! These line the edges of islands.

Currently, islands are all the same size, and are distributed into "sectors" in the world which resemble in many ways a "grid". This is VERY temporary, and I will be developing a new distribution algorithm very soon!

-Schematic Generation

Written by Brandon Pearce

One of the cool things we've been focusing on with the rewrite for the mod is transitioning a large majority of our generation features to schematic files. Now, of course the first concern many people might have is that many of our features (such as trees) will look too static without any variation. This is a very valid concern!

Thankfully, however, I have developed a little developer-only block called "Wildcards". These Wildcard blocks can be used to randomly distribute one block type out of a group and place it upon generation. This means we can do things like randomly grow moss on holystone walls, and have more random/natural trees - all while keeping these features under the schematic format!

This is great for many reasons:

One, we keep our game data out of the code, which is always great,

  • Two, this allows us to give the artists of the team more freedom with designing new biomes!
  • Finally, they will be able to hand-craft the new structures and trees you'll find in future biomes.


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-Crafting Recipes

Written by Brandon Pearce

Before I get into the details of this upcoming system, I'd like to preface this post with a bit of context when it comes to the team's opinion on Minecraft's crafting system.

First of all, I think all of us generally agree that the shaped crafting system has this wonderful sense of discovery when playing Minecraft for the first time. A lot of the starting recipes are generally quite intuitive and easy to learn - relying on people's perception of certain objects. In particular, no on can argue that the crafting recipe for a Pickaxe is challenging; if anything, it is quite easy to predict.

However, after a lot of discussion within the team, we've found that the crafting system poses a very difficult design challenge for the Aether experience. While a lot of Minecraft's crafted objects are grounded in reality (such as Pickaxes), a lot of the objects you can craft in the Aether are grounded in fantasy. While we do our best to make the crafting recipes and the subsequent objects as "logical" as possible, we feel like Minecraft's crafting system presents too many problems for the experience.

So, after some thinking, we've decided to implement a system which utilizes a page from the "Traveller's Guidebook" (An expansive feature planned for later implementation, similar to the "Book of Lore" idea from earlier development) into the Crafting Tables that you can find in the Aether.

This Traveller's Guidebook will appear to the left of your Crafting interface, and provides you with a list of crafting recipes that are available. These recipes are calculated from the items you have in your inventory. It will also show you recipes that you have some of the materials for, but not all - these are greyed out in the recipe list. When you click on one of these recipes, it will automatically assemble the materials in the crafting matrix for you - you just have to click on the result stack and you're done crafting that recipe!

While we don't think this is a perfect solution to our problem, we feel like it's a necessary mechanic going forward. We plan to implement MANY new recipes into the Aether as we expand the world, and we don't want players looking up recipes on a Wiki or, worse, simply never finding out that certain recipes exist.

-Masonry Bench

Written by Brandon Pearce & Hugo Payn

Another mechanic we've been designing is a new utility block called the "Masonry Bench". This block will use the same Recipe system as above by displaying the Traveller's Guidebook to the left of your interface.

The Masonry Bench is a mechanic we've wanted to implement into the game for a long time. We really love decorative blocks in Minecraft, but often times we feel it is too punishing for players to create these blocks. Another problem in the base Minecraft game is that there are only so many different recipes you can create for visual variants, making it quite difficult for new players to understand how to create these decorative blocks.

So, as you might have guessed, the Masonry Bench is our solution to this problem. When you have constructed one, you can craft a huge variety of visual variants to existing blocks. Right now, the ones we've started with are Holystone Bricks, Quicksoil Glass and Scatterglass. We'll detail those below!

The great thing about the Masonry Bench is it doesn't require you to have a huge selection of materials to create these decorative blocks. 1 Holystone Brick can be worked into 1 Holystone Pillar, for example. We believe players should have the freedom to create these decorative blocks with ease.

-Decorative Blocks and Visual Updates

Written by Hugo Payn

While Brandon has been developing the systems above, I've been busy polishing some of the art for the project and creating some more visual variants. These visual variants are constructed in the Masonry Bench. While I've only started with a few, don't fret because we have many more planned in the future!


The visual variants you can create with Holystone Bricks are:

  • Holystone Base Bricks
  • Holystone Base Pillar
  • Holystone Capstone Bricks
  • Holystone Capstone Pillar
  • Holystone Flagstones
  • Holystone Headstone
  • Holystone Keystone
  • Holystone Pillar


The visual variants you can create with Scatterglass are:

  • Skyroot Frame Scatterglass
  • Arkenium Frame Scatterglass


The visual variants you can create with Quicksoil Glass are:

  • Skyroot Frame Quicksoil Glass
  • Arkenium Frame Quicksoil Glass

Additionally, I've been working on various texture updates and polishing, new models (such as the Masonry Bench mentioned above and for the Icestone Cooler) and work on improving sub-biomes and biome structures such as the unique trees.

Overall, the world is really starting to come together nicely. Showing just how much variety we can achieve in one Biome so far is really encouraging for later down the line as we develop n totally different ones.

-Environment & Atmosphere

Written by Brandon Pearce

This week we've been switching gears a bit and focusing on improving the general atmosphere and aesthetic of the Aether world. We have many different ideas of how to do this, but here are some that we've been working on at the moment:

  • Glitterwings! There will now be a variety of flying and crawling insects like the Glitterwings in the Aether.
  • These critters don't have any function - they're purely for show.
  • Rocks and pebbles. You can now find a variety of these blocks on the floor. For the most part these are just to improve atmosphere, but they also give you a Holystone block if you mine it with your fist.
  • Skyroot Twigs! These litter the island floors, especially under trees. Like the rocks and pebbles, mining these will give you a Skyroot Stick.
  • We've now split "Aether Grass" into 3 different types: Short, Normal and Long. This means you'll find a variety of different grass lengths in game. Jungles and Forests have much longer grass.

-Moa Feathers

Written by Brandon Pearce

Along with the above improvements to atmosphere, I've been working on a small "quality of life" adjustment to the feathers that Moas drop. They now drop their own Moa Feather item that represents the color of their coat. It's a small change, but it's nice to see in-game!

While it's not confirmed, I've also been toying with the idea of crafting these colored Moa Feathers into Dyes. That could be a fun idea to play around with.

-Cloudwool

Written by Hugo Payn

While Brandon has been working on the environment, I've been implementing more decorative blocks to the mod. One change we've made is that Kirrids now drop Cloudwool. This can be used to craft Skyroot Beds, but it can also be used to craft into Cloudwool Blocks and Cloudwool Carpets as a result.

We're excited to be adding more interesting visual blocks like these.

-Agiosite & Skyroot Variants

Written by Hugo Payn

Along with the new Cloudwool material, I've developed a new material called Agiosite. This is a material that you can obtain by smelting Holystone in your furnace. It's got a deep purple hue to it and should go well with some of the other visual blocks we've designed for the mod. With this new material comes many more Masonry variants for it as well, as shown below:

Along with the Agiosite variants, I've developed a whole set of variants for Skyroot Planks! These, again, are obtained by using the Masonry Bench:

-Porting to 1.11

Written by Jellysquid

As development continues on the content of the project, I've been focusing on future updates of Minecraft. So far, the 1.11 port hasn't been going so well; there are a lot of changes to the way Minecraft handles ItemStacks in the code, and as a result a lot of our code has broken functionality. Despite this, I'm working as hard as I can to get the project to 1.11 while the rest of the team is hard at work on features.

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