Island Diary June 16, 2017

Greetings contestants!

Summer is unofficially here and it’s scorching hot. Weekly Diaries are our way of sharing what’s new and popping here in the office and giving you a little glimpse as to what can be expected in the near and distant future.

But, since it’s so dang hot, we thought we’d quench your thirst with a little bit of a more substantial leak. This week we’ll be giving you a sneak peek of what’s to come in our next patch which should be arriving very shortly. We expect the patch to arrive in the next couple of weeks on PC, followed by the Xbox version shortly after.

Until then, here’s a little extra to wet your whistle!

Patch Preview

  • Revised Aim Assist - We have heard tons of feedback regarding the aim assist on the Xbox One and we’ve made a few key changes: Rotational assist (where we snap the crosshair onto your target when you zoom a ranged weapon) has been reduced in both duration and sensitivity. You’ll have to be more closely aimed at your target before the assist kicks in and the assist will only last for a brief moment.

    On the other hand, we’ve made the aim sensitivity assist (where we reduce your thumbstick sensitivity when your crosshair is close to the target) have a larger maximum area to help you manually aim your shots.

    Most importantly, we’ve fixed the bug that made aim assist target your teammates, making coop a little more.. cooperative.
     

  • New Sensitivity Option - Expect to see a new “Iron sight sensitivity” setting that works with both controller and keyboard/mouse. You can tune your desired sensitivity while in aimed mode with ranged weapons, giving you more control when you need it.
     

  • Bug Fixes - Considered the meat and potatoes of the changes, the next patch will address key issues across both platforms including snare placements, freezing, repeated basic tutorial, saved controller settings, crashes, teammate invites, clothing errors, loading delays and more.
     

  • Linux/Steam OS - After much investigation a solution has been found and will be implemented for a bug that prevented this variation of the build from launching properly.
     

  • Filters - Coop will be set to off by default in filters. Most players who want teams matches join the queue with a teammate, so this will help ensure solo players get into the solo matches they prefer. Simple, but efficient.


New Match Events

We’re happy to share that there are several new Match Events currently in development.

Though we cannot go into specifics on the exact amount and variety of the events, many of the new additions include concepts and mechanics that have never been seen in The Culling.

One that we’re particularly excited about is Blood Moon, which sees the sky bathed in scarlet moonlight, which reveals red outlines on all contestants across the map. Despite what you might have heard, in Blood Moon there’ll be no hiding, so we recommend that you run, because every contestant is marked, no mantracker required.


Look to hear more about Blood Moon and other match events as we head towards future patches. It’s going to be an…. eventful future.

Closing

So that’s this week in the books. Fin. Complete. Done. We hope that you enjoyed the extra sample of what’s to come, because we look forward to sharing them each and every week.

Expect to hear more about diaries and patches very soon.

Until next week,

See you in the Arena.

Weekly Island Diary June 9, 2017


Greetings contestants!

What a crazy week! Thank you for bearing with us as we’ve beefed up our server infrastructure to handle the demand from our new Xbox audience. The level of interest in the game exceeded even our hopeful expectations. It was touch-and-go there for a while, but we think our servers are ready to handle all of the murderous mayhem you can dish out moving forward, so hop on in and feel free to bring a friend!

As the Xbox audience continues to grow, we are likely to experience a few more hiccups, but we have been hard at work for the last week to implement measures that will keep the gears turning (picture Frank furiously pedaling a bicycle with wires poking out in all directions).
 
We’ve enjoyed watching a new crop of players jump into the arena and experience the adrenaline rush that is Battle Royale and we can’t wait to see more of your kills, thrills and victories over the coming weeks and months.

While it’s fun to reminisce about the exciting times we’ve already had together, we’re always looking towards the future. We have a few cards up our sleeves, and we don’t mind tipping our hand every so often.

So let’s get to showing some cards.

Bug Fixes

This one may seem boring, but it’s important. Whether you’re slaying PC or kicking some rear-end on Xbox, you’ve likely come across a bug or two. One of the great benefits of Early Access and Game Preview is the ability to source feedback on a scale that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to, pulling in reports of bugs both minor and major. 

A portion of the team is working on addressing crashes, usability issues, and regular ol’ bugs. We tend to focus these diaries on new features, but we also know that fixes for common issues improve quality of life for players and have a big impact on the overall experience.

Please keep the reports coming in on all platforms and we’ll do our best to listen, resolving them as soon as we can. As a small team we can’t do everything all at once, but your reports help us to prioritize the major issues that matter to you.

Seasonal Leaderboards
 
One new feature we’ve been excited about for quite some time is Seasonal Leaderboards. This system adds an extra layer of competitive play for newcomers and grizzled veterans alike. It’s been a long path to get here, to say the least!
 
More than a year ago we introduced “Trials of the Isle.” The game awarded Trials Tokens for wins in regular matches, which could be used to enter ultra-competitive Trials matches where players competed for exclusive loot. We loved the added competitive aspect, but the system didn’t work well with everyone’s play schedule, it wasn’t easily accessible, and it fragmented the queues.
 
With lessons learned from the Trials system, we considered several alternatives and ultimately decided on a seasonal leaderboards system. Each of your matches is scored based on placement and kill count (with a few other factors thrown in to spice things up), and your best matches of the season form a cumulative season score that determines your leaderboard rank.
 
Whether you’re a brand new player looking to break out of Bronze or a wily vet vying for the top of Diamond, each of your matches provides a new opportunity to improve your standing.
 
You can expect to hear more details about Leaderboards soon, but until then we’ve decided to give you a sneak peek of what they could look like. Keep in mind, these mock-ups are works in progress, so the final result is likely to change.

DontReadthis1
FollowThatBSharOnTwitter


Closing

That’s all we have for this week contestants. Make sure you come back each and every Friday for even more insight into the future of The Culling.

See you on the island!

Weekly Island Diary June 2, 2017

Greetings contestants! First off - HAPPY XBOX ONE LAUNCH!!!

Wooo, yayyyy, ahhh!!!! (that’s us in the office making excited crowd noise)

From its inception, The Culling has always embraced the spirit of Battle Royale and has helped pioneer a genre that has grown to heights that we’re not sure anyone could have predicted. It’s an absolute honor to usher Battle Royale to console via Xbox One.

The response so far has been overwhelming. The Xbox community has smashed our expectations, going so far as to bring down our servers as a flood of new contestants entered the fold. As of writing this, we’re still actively working on the issue but are confident that it will be resolved soon. 

We think that it goes without saying that the Xbox launch is exciting, but in the arena there are no chances to relax and it’s time to get back to the nitty gritty. After missing last week’s journal, we have some juicy updates to share with you that all contestants will really enjoy.

One thing to note, however, is that many of the topics this week are subject to change as in many cases they’re in the earliest stages of development.

With that out of the way, let’s talk shop!

Airdrop-Exclusive Weaponry
 
Combat in The Culling is aggressive, in your face, and deadly. When fights are this intense and visceral, it’s paramount that they have a degree of predictability. At a glance, you should be able to assess your opponent and be prepared for most of the potential outcomes.

At the same time, too much predictability can make encounters feel stale. We’ve utilized modifiers such as perks to help spice up gameplay and to introduce a variety of ways to approach each match. While we’re continuing to expand upon perks, Airdrops are another avenue we’ve been pursuing.

Many of our match events bring in Airdrops, but those drops pull from the pool that players can select. What if there were weapons you could only get your hands on by contesting a match event drop? Not only would that make the match events more enticing, but it would spice up the combat encounters that involve those weapons.

We’re currently in the early stages of working on an arsenal of new Airdrop-exclusive weaponry that are part weapon, part perk, and all awesome. These new tools of destruction are like nothing you’ve seen before. 

Truthfully, we’re slightly hesitant to expand on this too far at this point of development, but here are a couple of conceptual examples which are currently being discussed as templates of these special items that can only be acquired through airdrops:

Spirit Knife - A blade for the ninja at heart. Not only is it deadly, but the Spirit Knife allow bestows its master with the ability to double-jump, allowing you to get to traverse the arena with quickness and grace.

Vampire Bat - A baseball bat imbued with the power to drain your opponent’s life force, stealing health with each hit.

Infected Hatchet - We’ll be honest, the arenas aren’t sanitary. The Infected Hatchet is riddled with bacteria. Bacteria which can be used in your favor as you slice open your enemies and infect them with a violent and immediate sickness effect on each hit. 

Keep in mind that these are both currently works in progress and though they may make final cuts, they may also endure some changes. But we do hope that you got the idea and we hope that you’re as excited as we are to see these new concepts come to fruition. We know that competition is the pillar of The Culling, but we also know that we all crave excitement and new items such as these will expand upon your abilities as a player while remaining airdrop exclusive and having a limited impact on how the base game functions

Closing

That’s just a taste of what we have in the works and rest assured that there’s more to come. While you wait for our next update, we would love to hear your constructive feedback and suggestions. This week’s journal was very forward thinking and there’s still a lot of runway for new ideas or concepts.

Whether you’re new player on Xbox or have been here with us since day one - thank you for being part of the Cullmunity. We’re excited for wild ride that awaits us and we’re thrilled to have you with us as we map out the road ahead.

Until next week,

See you in the Arena
 

Weekly Island Diary: May 19, 2017

Hello fellow contestants! 

It’s Friday, which can only mean one thing. More inside info from the team here at Xaviant.

Last week we kicked off our weekly edition of the Island Diaries and we have been excited by response it has gotten. You’ve made it clear that you truly appreciate a peek behind the curtain, and there’s plenty more to come.

Obviously we can’t exactly let you know what has happened to Frank… for legal reasons… but there’s plenty we can share as we move forward. Did you know that our Communications Manager, Brian Sharon, smells like old pierogies? That’s the kind of hard-hitting info that you’ve come to expect. 

Joking aside, updating you on what’s going on here in the Xaviant office is not only a great opportunity for you to know what’s on the horizon, but for us to pick your brains and to hear feedback as we develop new content. 

So without further adieu let’s get right into the meat and potatoes!

Is anyone else hungry all of a sudden? No, we aren’t either..


Matchmaker Changes

Over the past several weeks we’ve been observing a ton of discussion surrounding both queues and Lightning Rounds. It’s clear that for most players, the tried and true Classic game mode is still the major draw. At the same time, many players also appreciate the diversity of play that Lightning Rounds offer. 

Additionally, we realize that most players who want to play teams matches queue with a partner. Signing solo players up for frequent teams matches by default isn’t providing the desired experience for many.

Knowing the above, we will be making some overall tweaks to how the matchmaking process operates.

Moving forward, the matchmaker will have weightings. What this means is that regardless of your filter selections, the matchmaker will prefer Classic Matches over Lightning Rounds. The matchmaker will also prefer Solo Matches unless you queue with a teammate.

This means that leaving your filters alone will give you mostly solo classic matches, unless you queue with a teammate, which will give you mostly teams matches. Leaving all of your filters active will mean that under certain circumstances, the matchmaker will periodically place you in a teams or lightning round (think once every 5 or 6 matches instead of every other match).

New Perks

Last week we introduced you to our newest perk in production, Jump Start. While we have other perks currently in production that we will share with you in the future, we thought we’d share a little bit more behind some of the concepts behind their construction.

One of the most unique aspects of The Culling in the world of Battle Royale is the ability to outfit yourself with badass airdrops and perks that allow you to shape how you play. At the same time, introducing so many new wrinkles and modifiers has the opportunity not only to unbalance the game, but to create “go-to” perks that render an entire field of options all-but useless.

We’re currently playing with some ideas for perks that could be described as “double-edged swords”. A non-specific murdered uncle once said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. He was probably wrong, but we are still willing to run with the idea. 

We still have a long way to go and we’ll be sharing more information on perks in the near future. We’d love to hear what you have to say on this topic so please do jump into our Discord and let us know

Xbox One

If you read the previous Island Diary you know that we revealed that The Culling was in the process of Xbox Certification. The team couldn’t be happier to give you a quick and concise update on this situation:

We are thrilled to announce that The Culling is officially out of F.U.N.C.’ing certification and is officially on it way to Xbox One.

“That’s awesome, but what’s the release date?!" I had a feeling you’d ask that question.

You can expect a release date next week. 

That’s right. We’re going to be revealing the release date in less than seven days!

So be sure to stay tuned because you won’t want to miss it.

Closing

That’s two weeks in a row. That makes this an official streak.. That can only mean one thing…

We’re going streaking!!!

Seriously though, thank you for returning to our diary and for supporting all things Culling. There are exciting things ahead and we can’t wait to tell you more. But, that will have to wait until next time.

Until next time !

Wait.. didn’t we just say that? Is that, like, grammatically incorrect or does it just make us sound less cultured? 

Either way…

UNTIL NEXT TIME!

Weekly Island Diary: May 12, 2017

Why hello there. Fancy meeting you here. It’s us, Xaviant - developers of The Culling

How have you been? We’ve missed you. We’ve been so busy here in the office, which means that sometimes keeping up to date with our friends can get a little rough. 

Actually, that reminds us - that’s why we’re writing this. We can be so silly at times. We were thinking the other day, what if there was a way that we could let you know was hip with us kids on a weekly basis? You know, what’s #trending in the offizle and what’s the latest shizzle that we’ve got going on! 

Welcome contestants to a new chapter in The Culling.

Each and every Friday we’ll be updating this little blog of ours giving you a bit more insight as to what’s being worked on and what players can expect on the horizon. These aren’t patch notes (which will still exist). This is an extra look into the development of The Culling.

Obviously, we can’t spill all the beans, Frank needs to eat something, but this should open the valve to some of the leakiest leaks since the great Pump House leak of 2729. 

We really wa… hmm… you know what? Screw it. No more intro, let’s get right into things.

Major Bug fixes

The last update brought a whole new version of our game engine along with a complete rework of the input system, so there were bound to be some bugs introduced. It has been our priority to deal with all of the reported issues head on and we’ve been making some major headway.

Among the most notable improvements are fixes for the Fatal Error/Crash bugs, as well more mechanical issues with input systems; such as attack queuing and more. This is a positive first step as we move forward and iron out any other lingering issues. 

We’re also currently investigating a critical obstacle that has prevented many Linux/Steam OS users from launching the game. While we do not have an ETA at the moment, we value the Linux community greatly and we’re working hard to resolve this as soon as possible.

We can’t stress enough how helpful the community has been in helping us find and address many of these issues. We encourage you to continue reporting bugs on all of our official platforms, as well as sending in tickets to our support team directly at help.theculling.com.

Post Free Weekend

With the launch of the Combo Breaker patch we also ushered in a Free Weekend on Steam. This promotion, along with a significant sale, ushered in thousands of new players to The Culling. During this time we were able to gather valuable data, as well as helpful feedback from the community.

In response to some of this information, we have plans to make some significant changes in the future. 

Arming New Players: One of the major lessons that we’ve learned is that even though we’ve added Survival Mode, Offline Matches and Tutorials -most new players jump directly into the action without arming themselves with the knowledge to make them successful. By making new players complete the Tutorial prior to playing online, new players will find themselves better equipped to both understand the basic mechanics as well as to compete with the other, more seasoned, contestants.

On the topic of competition, we will also be reintroducing skill-based matchmaking. The system will evaluate player skill and match players up accordingly, offering players a field of opponents who are in their weight class. With that said, we are aware that instituting a system of this type has the potential to slow down queues. So, with that in mind, we have also designed the system so that it will only kick in when there are enough players in queue to allow multiple matches at once. This means that Matchmaking should have zero impact on queue times.

Changes/additions: In previous iterations of The Culling, matches trended towards being slightly over-aggressive. With the latest update, new layers have been reintroduced to complement more varieties of play. We’re planning to expand upon this.

Soon, a delay will be added to the timing of the gas closure at the beginning of the late-match phase of a match. The concept behind this being to offer contestants more opportunities to call in air drops and to participate in late match events.

Additionally, we’re thrilled to reveal that we will begin to expand the perk set in the near future.

Jump Start is the first of these new perks. A utility perk, Jump Start spawns players with a random Tier 1 weapon. In the hands of a fresh Contestant it can act as an early leg up on some potentially fierce competition, as opposed to the sticks and rocks we’ve witnessed some new players using. Moreover, though it comes at the cost of a perk slot, having a Tier 1 weapon to begin a game can be a lucrative gamble for aggressive players as well. Some might even say, it adds a little Jump to the Start of your match.

Speaking of starts, we’re also going to be making a slight tweak to how Lightning Rounds begin. 

Though it may seem somewhat straightforward to experienced players, a large portion of new players tend to miss out on the ability to call their free airdrop in the first moments of a Lightning Round. To help curb this, Lightning Rounds will soon begin to deliver airdrops immediately as you exit the booth. This is a small tweak that leads to a far better understanding of how Lightning Rounds operate and increases the efficiency of play overall. Because let’s face it, a Lightning Round without a free air drop is more of a static shock. 

Xbox
At E3 2016 we were proud to announce that we expanding the arena by bringing The Culling to Xbox One, but we didn’t have a release date. Earlier this year, we pulled back the curtain a little bit more, revealing that The Culling would hit Xbox One Game Preview program in “First Half 2017”.

We’re happy to announce that not only are we still on schedule, but we’re currently in the process of certification with Microsoft. 

We can’t go into much more on this topic just yet, but it’s safe to say that you can expect more news about this very shortly.

Closing

Phew, that was a lot of info. But we’re not done yet. There’s still a lot more going on here at Xaviant and we’ll have more to share in the coming weeks. Expect to hear more about Matchmaker Changes and some exciting new features in the works for The Culling very, very soon! Very.

Until next time contestants,

See you in the Arena!
 

Big Picture Update: Birthday Edition

Big Picture Update: Birthday Edition

 

Greetings Contestants!

Earlier this month we reached a big milestone: The Culling has been in Early Access for a full year! It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in the last twelve months. With endless hard work from our talented team and unwavering dedication from the community, The Culling has really grown up. Mom would be so proud! Even after 365 days of murder and mayhem, our passion for The Culling hasn’t dulled in the slightest, and we’re thrilled to share a few of our plans for year two.

Without further Mountain Dew...

Xbox One

Perhaps the biggest item on the list for 2017 is the Xbox One launch.

Bringing The Culling to a new platform means a whole new audience will get their hands on the game and we couldn’t be more excited to see people bring BR, into the LR. That’s Battle Royale into the living room.

We’ve dabbed. We’re Hip.

Although UE4 makes it relatively easy for us to add a platform, it’s true that some of our attention will be divided moving forward. With that said, we remain dedicated to the PC and continuing to make smart development decisions that benefit the game’s global audience, ensuring that the Xaviant team can continue lavishing the community with updates for a long time to come across both platforms.

At this moment we’re still weighing whether to support cross-platform play due to the implications of competing with a controller vs. keyboard/mouse, but full controller support is a feature we know many PC players will be happy to receive. As you can imagine, making the game feel good on a controller is more than just mapping buttons and we think we have a handle on how to let players enjoy both ranged and melee combat using a gamepad.

Invert-able thumbsticks? Check. Dual-zone look sensitivity? Check. Aiming sensitivity and rotation assist? Check. Selectable control scheme presets? Check.

Combat

We have a few important changes coming to combat - and they’re coming with the next patch.

The first change addresses the weakness/feeble wounds. After observing the latest combat iteration, we’ve found that skilled players are able to consistently avoid taking damage after receiving a weakness wound, which means blocking still doesn’t offer a significant advantage in combat. We’re upping the intensity of the micro-stagger that accompanies weakness, so that blocking a player’s attack creates a true opportunity to capitalize.

The second change slightly more intense(and still subject to change based on internal play testing before we put it out in the wild).

At the upper levels of competition, players are taking advantage of the fact that being in a fully charged attack state is tremendously powerful, leading to stalemate scenarios (i.e. one player holds charged attack while the other player holds block) that aren’t fun to play or spectate.

TL;DR: Good players do this weird dance combat that’s as awkward as watching your dad try to both whip AND nae nae.

To address this, we’re no longer allowing players to hold a fully charged attack. Once a melee attack reaches full charge, it will execute automatically. Further, players will no longer be able to cancel an attack by blocking. While this technique can create some interesting moments, it doesn’t fit our overall vision of combat. Charged attacks should be very powerful for capitalizing on an opportunity (i.e. against a staggered or unaware opponent), however, they should also be risky under normal combat circumstances due to a likelihood of being blocked.

Finally, we are removing the non-obvious mini-stagger that occurs if you are struck by an attack while you are shoving. This was implemented some time ago to discourage players spamming shove, but we don’t think it has a meaningful place in the current combat system.

Balance

There are a few more balance changes that will be finding their way into the next patch:

  • Dig Deep will restore 10 HP (instead of 20), properly plays SFX when it procs

  • Leg Day is being removed

  • Speedy Spear now improves movement speed by 5% (previously 7%)

  • Duration of the expose wound (imparted by Axes) is now 4 seconds (previously 6 seconds)

Economy and Progression

We have quite a few changes planned for the economy and match progression.

  • Early match airdrops are being removed (this will be included in the next patch)

  • Airdrop purchasing will be based on FUNC accumulated, not current FUNC balance, meaning you can spend FUNC on crafting and healing without impacting your ability to call your Airdrop

  • The Airdrop list will be revised heavily to include fun themed options as well as vanilla choices similar to the ones that currently exist

  • Mid- and Late-match events and airdrops will be triggered primarily by player attrition. Mid-match begins after 4 contestants die, Late-match begins after 8 contestants die. Timers will still be used as backups for slow-moving matches.

  • Tier 2 weapons no longer spawn in lockers, only found in green crates.

We believe these changes will make Airdrops more accessible and desirable (regardless of the pace of the match) and also ensure that each match has two match events to spice things up.

Under the Hood

Although we’re continuing to work on shiny new features and balance work, there’s a lot going on that won’t be visible to the naked eye. We’re upgrading to the latest version of the Unreal Engine (4.15), which brings with it a host of optimizations that should improve load times, memory footprint, frame rate performance, and networking efficiency for many users.

We’ve also done quite a bit of targeted optimization of our client-side network behavior, resulting in a major reduction in the number and size of messages being sent to and from the game servers. This has allowed us to increase our server tick rate substantially, and should provide a better online experience for everyone.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in a block or taking an action you didn’t intend? We’ve rewritten our input system to be more robust and eliminate the types of bugs that occur when you switch weapons or change states during combat. Hopefully you won’t feel much of a difference, but you’ll find the controls to be consistently responsive and reliable, just as you’d expect.

New Features

The Big House update brought with it lots of new features, and throughout 2017 we hope to introduce many more. Two of the most critical are matchmaker filtering (allowing you to specify teams vs. solo and classic vs. lightning if you choose) and seasonal ranked play.

Matchmaker filtering will be coming with the next patch and ranked play will follow soon after the Xbox One launch. We are also excited to expand our private match feature set to allow more customization and better support of community tournaments.

We’re also excited to experiment with new game modes. We’re even working on a fast-paced offline horde survival mode that’s intended to let novice players hone their combat skills against waves of mandroids and provide veteran players with a challenging diversion.

As we knock out the big features on our list, we’re looking forward to engaging the community about what you’re hoping to see next.

Leaving Early Access

The Culling will be exiting the Early Access program in 2017. We don’t have a date to share just yet, but our goal has always been to officially launch the game when it’s ready. For us, Early Access isn’t a permanent label, it’s a phase of our project that we’re using to release The Culling in the best possible form.

That means that the coming months will see lots of polishing and bug fixing as we strive to attain the level of fit and finish we think the game deserves. To that end, we’re working to build a small in-house QA team to help us discover issues, vet community bug reports, and verify our fixes to provide our future updates with a higher level of quality and stability.

Once we exit Early Access we’ll continue to patch and update the game, but those updates will be geared towards adding content, features, and variety, rather than fixing bugs or iterating core features.

The community has been invaluable so far on our Early Access journey and we will continue to rely on your feedback and support as we move forward.

Live Streams

In the year that we’ve been in Early Access, we’ve seen the cullmunity create some incredible content. On platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, players have put together montages, hosted tournaments and have even held regular roundtable discussions centered entirely around the game.

Now it’s our turn to return the favor.

We’re excited to announce that starting next week we will be launching weekly Official live streams. Viewers can expect to not only learn more about The Culling as a game, but also get to know the developers behind it and the community that supports it.

We will have more information on this very shortly, so make sure you’re following us on Twitter, Facebook and Twitch for the latest!

Update Schedule

So when are all of these changes coming?

The next patch will include matchmaking, combat changes, removal of early airdrops, and a few other balance changes. It should arrive next week (March 22nd). Look for official patch notes as that date nears.

There will likely be one more patch after that before the Xbox One launch. That patch will bring the live PC version up to date with all of the under the hood (Unreal Engine 4.15) and economy / Airdrop / match progression changes detailed above. We’re not ready to estimate a date for that yet.

We will patch the PC again to coincide with the Xbox One launch, and from there we expect ongoing updates every 4-6 weeks, with smaller hotfixes as necessary.

Conclusion

The Culling had an amazing first year. Our little team never imagined the response we would get when the game first launched, nor did we fully grasp the magnitude of the task that still lay ahead. This journey has been a wild ride, an unparalleled learning experience, and an absolute joy. You, the cullmunity, have made it possible. We thank you for your passion, your feedback, your kind words, and your uncanny ability to smash, shoot, poison, and slash each other to death.

We’ll see you on the island!

Filtration System

Greetings Contestants!

Thank Frank it’s Friday, are we right? Even though the weekend... the sweet sweet weekend... is approaching, we wanted to talk to you quickly about a little something that has been the topic of many a conversation.

Queue filters.

We originally planned to have an announcement about filters for you this week, with a patch coming next week. Although it seems like a simple feature, queue filters required a rewrite of our entire matchmaking system, and that work, at long last, is nearly done.

But life happened and we’re having a baby.

Okay, okay. Maybe we’re not having a baby, but the engineer behind filters is. His wife has been, as Dr.Frank describes her, “hella pregnant”, for quite some time and had to go into induced labor almost two weeks early. We wanted to make sure that all was well before we shared this info with you. 

Don’t worry, Mom is fine, Dad is fine and there’s a brand new healthy contestant in the world today. We’re all thrilled and excited for the happy family.

This does, however, mean that it may take us a little longer to get filters out the door than initially intended. We know that’s not soon enough for many of you, including for some in our office, but that’s simply the reality of the situation.

In times such as these family comes first and we hope you understand.

The Big Picture: Christmas, Combat and The Culling 2016

It’s hard to believe that almost one year ago we decided to go the route of Early Access for The Culling. After working on the project for a little over six months we realized we had something that could be very special on our hands. Our 16-developer studio had a 16-player game that we playtested several times a day, quickly making it our favorite competitive title.

We realized that our 16 individual opinions about aggressive, player-versus-player combat were simply not going to be enough. Despite our collective years of experience, it was clear that we needed to include more viewpoints if we were going to make any changes with confidence. Hence the decision to release in Early Access - a choice that would afford us not only the freedom to experiment, but the opportunity to refine.

Since that initial release of The Culling, we have always worked hard to make it a more fun, engaging and meaningful experience. Sometimes we got things right, sometimes we got them wrong. There is no doubt this game is in a much better state than it was nearly one year ago, thanks in large part to the feedback from the community, confirming that Early Access was definitely the smart decision.

This January we will reach a milestone in our development. It’s a giant step toward what we would call our “1.0 Release” of The Culling, a goal that we’ve been striving towards for quite some time.

As we approach that exciting group of features and additions, we wanted to take one more hard look at our melee combat experience - something which has been hotly debated topic since people started playing the game. In looking back, we see one glaring truth that stands-out:

Players spend too much time “disabled.” It’s as simple as that.

The fact that a basic attack can easily lead to a hard stun is so utterly disruptive that it is simply not fun. Not for new players, not for skilled players, not for anyone. According to our data, the average melee fight in The Culling lasts about 30 seconds. We estimate that players spend about one-third of that time completely stunned. We need to reduce the number of those disruptive moments to improve the overall experience.

So this leads us to two significant changes for our last update of 2016. Although the changes themselves are small, we think they will have a big impact on combat in a positive way.

First, we are removing the hard stagger associated with attacking a Block. Blocking a melee attack will still stop all damage, but it will no longer stun or disable the opposing player.

The second change is that players can no longer interrupt the charged Power Attacks of other players. When an opponent charges a melee attack, your only recourse is to block, leading to more exciting moment-to-moment confrontations.

All other aspects of combat remain the same. In our early tests in the studio we found these two changes to be incredibly positive to the overall experience, even at this preliminary stage.

Now, we want to put it in your hands to see what you think.

We just ask one thing: If these changes concern you, play before you judge. Bring your constructive criticism to us with some time spent playing with the new changes. It will make that feedback much more effective.

With this patch we wish you all Happy Holidays. Expect to hear more about it soon.

We look forward to seeing you during the break as players and after the break as we work to finish-up our exciting new features we will bring you in January.

Signed,

Xaviant CEO
Michael McMain

 

Cullclusion Pre-Qualifier Event

Greetings contestants!

There are few things we like here at Xaviant more than a spectacle. As we have our heads down, spilling blood sweat and tears, nothing gets our creative juices going more than a good show.

Since our Early Access launch a special group of contestants have fed our blood lust, putting together exceptional Cullmmunity tournaments with big stakes and real-world prizes. We are proud to reveal that we will be helping to make their next event, The Cullclusion, the biggest and best event yet.

Running from November 18-20th, The Cullclusion will feature the biggest prize pool in a Cullmmunity event to-date and even more prizes are going to be revealed in the future. 

Entry is only $2 USD, with proceeds will be going to the Texas Homeless Network,  which means that each entry goes to a good cause, helping those in need during the holiday season and beyond.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

For the first time ever, we are announcing a Pre-Qualifier Event

The Pre-Qualifier is an opportunity to join in for Cullclusion fun by paying in blood, not money.

Every weekend from now until the tournament, you will have a chance to lock down one of twelve slots for VIP entry into the brackets. That’s it. That’s all it takes. A spear through the heart here, an arrow to the head there, and you could be the next contestant on The Cullclusion

Each weekend leading to The Cullclusion (November 5 & 6 / November 12 & 13) a window will open at 12pm EST and will close at 6pm EST. During this time period, the behavior of contestants who register for the Pre-qualifiers must meet the minimum requirements to be entered in the running:

Minimum Requirements:
-Play at least 10 matches during the time period
-Win at least 1 game
-Get a minimum of 3 kills in a single game
-Sign-Up here with your information


The top twelve performers each weekend will be notified that they have locked in a free entry to Cullclusion, and the dirty dozen will be formed. Just kidding, we know you’re mostly clean. Probably.

Register today, kill tomorrow, and don’t miss your chance to be remembered as a legend forever. The Cullclusion is here.

For more information and to purchase your ticket for The Cullclusion - Click here
To register for The Cullclusion Pre-Qualifiers for free - Click here

 

The Big Picture: Roadmap Update - A Well-rounded Arsenal

Greetings contestants! It’s time for us to cuddle around the bonfire, make s'mores and to talk about some of the additions making their way to the island in the near future in the latest entry of our Big Picture series.

In the wonderful world of The Culling, our island is your playground. But, what playground is ever complete without a bunch of toys?! Adult toys! No not those adult toys, the ones that wound, puncture and cause excessive bleeding! Wait, those might be the same thing… We mean weapons!

Our slave.. elves have been hard at work in the Cullco warehouse making all kinds of goodies for you good little boys and girls and we thought it was time to show them off. 


Introducing the Camp Hatchet, Pike, Survival Axe, Yari and our personal favorite - the Pitchfork (it’ll really fork you up)! 

The inclusion of new weapons not only gives contestants more options to take out their opponents, but will also mean rounding out the current arsenal. Some existing weapons will also shift in tier and overall availability - meaning that there will be more balance among the different types. For example, these changes create a tier 1 for each weapon type that can be found in lockers as well as two tier 2 and tier 3’s that can be found in green crates, red crates and airdrops.

In a previous posts we also did our best to peel off the layers and to show off some of our weapons skins. Well, we’re not ready to show off everything, that costs extra, but we wanted to talk a little bit more about how they’ll work.

Weapon skins are selected similarly to Character Customizations, which you may know from our pre-game, totally not virtual doll, dress up simulator. 

Once unlocked and equipped, if you find one of the weapons you have skinned in the game, the skin will be applied for the rest of that match. If you’re killed or if your weapon is stolen it retains the skin you applied to it for the rest of that match. And yes, that does mean that for the rest of the match people will be running around wearing your skin - a creepy but strangely exciting fact. 

How does this happen you ask? What’s the logic behind persisting weapon skins? Good ol’ nanites, you should see how fast they can paint a house. Hint, it’s faster than Frank that’s for sure. HURRY UP FRANK THIS ISN’T A UNION JOB.

Ahem.. sorry about that.

Back on track, these are just a small piece of what we have in store for the major updates ahead. We are always excited to share the amazing stuff we’re working on and we want to thank you for your patience and support. Our goal is to deliver the content that both The Culling and the Cullmmunity (no, we’re never going to stop calling it that) deserve. 

We’re a small team and we know that some of the bigger things may take some time, but we promise it’ll be worth the wait! 

Until next time contestants,
See you on the island!

The Big Picture: Tease of Things to Come

Greetings Contestants! 

We hope you’re enjoying the latest balance patch, we’re sure to have more little tweaks and adjustments coming your way soon. In the meantime, we wanted to shine a little more light on some of the bigger features we have coming in the future.

Let’s start at Player Experience and Leveling. Culling contestants will soon be gaining experience from matches and their murderous exploits within the matches. That experience is applied to the player's’ level. The level representing how much time and tears you’ve put into The Culling.

As players level-up they’ll be rewarded with a crate, that’s right a crate! And what do you need to open that crate?

You need a key!

A key made from the blood and bones of your opponents. Just kidding that’s gross. You don’t need a key, you just open them and get your rewards. 

Really, there is no key. We’ll even drop the humorous pretense just to say it clearly. 

We have no plans to monetize these crates right now, we haven’t changed our launch strategy. We’re not going “F2P”. 

The crates provide a nice, clean, way to provide packages of loot with variable sizes, (maybe 1 item, maybe 3). It's a singular self contained “package” as a delivery method to provide the Cullmmunity with rewards. 

What’s inside these wondrous, never before conceived, crates of booty? Really, we’re not sure why no one has thought to put game rewards inside a crate that pops open before. Anyway, what’s in them? Customization options! A great deal more than you’ve been exposed to up to this point in The Culling. We’re talking about; clothing, hats, helmets, hair-dids, furry animals, weapon skins, taunts, pleasure devices, victory animations and culling cards. (There is currently no real plan for Furry Animals or any kind of devices pleasurable or not)

You’ll also find in game currency...and, what do we do with that? Players can use the currency to purchase the customization pieces that they haven’t been lucky enough to get from those crates full of booty.

This way, through luck and murderous villainy you can build your character out to look however you’d like.

And for you grisled, chewed up, salty, beef jerky like veterans don’t worry, we have a couple hundred new items coming to the fold so you have plenty to earn and save up for. You should see the tactical gear, that shit is so dope, and the post apoc stuff and the mankini’s...yum.

Okay, one last thing, Trials Tokens

Once all these big new features roll out, we’ll also be providing a method to convert your Trials Tokens into either account experience or currency. We’re still working out the details on the economy and exchange rates, but, the goal is to give contestants some choices in conversion.Players will be able to either exchange for XP, crates, or use the in-game currency to purchase exactly what you want.

So that’s what’s coming for XP, Leveling and Rewards and Token changes, we’ll have another exciting sneak peek behind the curtain coming up soon. 

See you on the island!

Mantracker Gets the Runs, New Meta-altering Update on the Way!

Greetings Contestants!

If you’ve read our previous Big Picture blog post - and if not, go do that now- you know that we have some MAJOR features in the works that we won’t be ready to release just yet, but are excited for nonetheless.

Yet, we couldn’t live with ourselves if we didn’t continue to update. To beat the summer heat, we’ve been devoting a lot of attention to bugs and game balance, and we are already finishing up a new patch. Highlighted by a complete rebalancing of The Culling’s arsenal, the new patch will have a significant impact to the current state of the game.

So let’s get this out here right away:

This update will arrive on Wednesday, August 10th. Servers will be down starting at 8AM Eastern for up to 4 hours.

Our goal is to become even more transparent with our updates and their schedules. We want to continue to do Early Access right, and that means shining some light into the present and the future of The Culling.

While our Big Picture post was a good start, it doesn’t necessarily reflect everything in the pipeline and you can expect to hear more news, regularly, here on The Culling.com very soon!

See you on the island!

-

Balance and Gameplay

  • Lightning Rounds are being retired temporarily

    • Dev comments: Lightning Rounds proved to be immensely popular. We’re taking them offline for maintenance, but we expect they will be back eventually with some new twists.

  • Longshot Perk now grants bonus damage to targets beyond 35 meters (previously set to 30 meters, despite UI text stating 40 meters)

    • Dev comments: Longshot has been set to 30 meters since prior to Early Access launch, but we failed to realize that until it was pointed out by the community after the last patch. This would ordinarily call for a simple fix to the text, but Longshot has gained enough popularity since the last patch that we chose to extend its range to 35 meters (and update the text to reflect that).

  • Mangler and Submission reduced to 80% bonus Stamina damage (from 100%)

    • Dev comments: Mangler and Submission skyrocketed in popularity after the last update, so a small adjustment is in order.

  • Crafted Hatchet Expose and Crafted Cudgel Cripple wound intensity reduced by one

    • Dev comments: A previous effort to improve the popularity of Axes and Bludgeons included a step up to tier 2 wound intensity for the crafted versions. Cripple and Expose are now powerful enough that the base level wounds are appropriate for the crafted weapons.

  • Regenerator Perk increased to 1 hit point per 4 seconds (from 1 per 5 seconds)

    • Dev comments: Regenerator is one of our least-utilized Perks. We are hesitant to give it a major boost, but we hope a moderate buff will make it appealing, at least to certain play styles.

  • Bow ammo capacity is now 18 arrows (from 24 arrows)

    • Dev comments: We’ve heard several calls from the community that arrows are in too much supply, especially at the end of matches, so we’ve reduced max ammo that can be carried - which should allow for more wrinkles in ranged play.

  • Dig Deep now restores 20 health when taking fatal damage (from 25)

    • Dev comments: The buff Dig Deep received with the last patch skyrocketed it in popularity to the top of the Perk list, so we’re bringing it down...a notch.

  • Mantracker can be used while moving without requiring the Mantracker Perk

    • Dev comments: Feedback from users is that the Mantracker is unintuitive to use when it requires the user to be stationary, so we’ve removed that requirement.

  • Weapon Damage Rebalance Pass

    • Dev comments: We have long wrestled with the challenge of how to provide significant variety across melee weapon types (and individual weapons) and still achieve a state of overall balance. What we’ve learned through multiple iterations and experiments is that pure DPS is king when it comes to players’ weapon choice. Even the mighty cripple wound on a Bludgeon cannot compete with the raw damage dealt by its Axe counterpart. As such, we’ve adjusted damage and wound intensity for a large number of melee weapons in order to achieve nearly equal DPS (our calculations take bonus damage from bleed and expose into account) output. We believe that this will free players to choose the weapon they feel offers the best synergy between play style, Perks, and Airdrop, or go for a generalist build that allows them to play effectively with whatever they happen to come across in a match. The list below includes all the parameters that were changed. You may notice that in order to achieve the desired balance, we’ve broken the long-standing rule that fully charged attacks deal exactly 3X jab damage. We don’t expect this pass to be the final word in balance, but we do hope that it will provide a solid baseline that we can use to make smaller corrective changes and quickly arrive in a happy place.
      Changes (only values that have changed are represented here):

      • Crafted Hatchet: 6-16 Damage, Expose Tier 1

      • Crafted Cudgel: Cripple Tier 1

      • Crafted Knife: 6-17 Damage

      • Crafted Spear: 6-18 Damage

      • Ice Axe: 7-20 Damage, Expose Tier 1

      • Cleaver: 7-19 Damage, Expose Tier 2

      • Machete: 7-22 Damage, Bleed Tier 2

      • Tanto Knife: 6-19 Damage, Bleed Tier 2

      • Javelin: 7-22 Damage

      • Tomahawk: 7-21 Damage, Expose Tier 2

      • Bowie Knife: 7-23 Damage

      • Kukri: 8-24 Damage

      • Sabre: 7-23 Damage

      • Tactical Machete: 8-24 Damage

      • Survival Spear: 9-27 Damage

      • Fireman’s Axe: 9-25 Damage

      • Katana: 9-26 Damage

      • Trident: 10-30 Damage

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where .357 Magnum and SMG would play their SFX/VFX twice with each shot

  • Fixed a text bug where Basher Perk erroneously stated it reduced melee charge time by -20% (actual reduction is -30%)

  • Fixed a text bug where Disability insurance said it applies to Gas Grenades (it doesn’t apply to Gas Grenades)

  • Fixed a bug where Trapper Perk wasn’t properly reducing trap placement times

  • Removed Golden Crowbar from the map (this was an unintentional preview of a prototype match event)

  • Removed Taunt prototype (whoops, you weren’t supposed to see that yet!)

The Big Picture: The Culling Roadmap Update

Greetings Contestants!

With Lightning Round out of the gate, this is the perfect opportunity to update you with what’s going on in the world of The Culling in Early Access, as well as share some of our big plans moving forward and invite you to share your opinions and ideas.

First off, Early Access has been a wild and exciting roller coaster ride for our small and passionate team here at Xaviant.

Since our launch at the beginning of March, The Culling has been updated, patched, and hotfixed 18 times. That’s an average of nearly once a week over the course of the first five months of Early Access!

Those are some serious changes!

While we’ve introduced several new features (Trials, Showdown, and Lightning Rounds to name a few), our efforts have focused primarily on the core gameplay experience: combat mechanics, game balance, bug fixes, optimization, and finalizing artwork.

As we’ve worked furiously to improve the fundamentals of the game, we’ve also been looking at the bigger picture.

What does The Culling need to transition from its current Alpha state to Beta? What is the next big step towards a full release of the game? We think we have some answers to that question and in the coming weeks we’ll be sharing those answers with you to gauge your feedback and generate input.

In general, we believe that The Culling needs to offer compelling reasons to keep players engaged and returning to the game. This applies to newly recruited contestants and grizzled veterans alike.

Here are some of the systems we’re currently developing to support that goal:

  • Seasonal Ranked Play: Offer a higher level of competition for players who want to see how they stack up against other psychopa...err..contestants, while also letting new players get their knives wet.

  • Challenge System: Deliver fresh in-match objectives that extend beyond simply winning, provide accomplishment and progression that isn’t exclusively linked to wins, and encourage players to experiment with a variety of play styles.

  • Player XP and Leveling: By playing matches, players earn XP and Levels, unlocking rewards and bragging rights along the way. You hear that Frank, we’re better than you!

  • Player-Facing Stats: Allow players to see their stats. How many matches have they won? How many kills have they gotten? How many times have they accidentally slipped off a cliff and ruined an amazing win streak?

  • New Cosmetics: Our contestants are characters and need to express themselves. Look for some unlockable Taunts, Weapon Skins, Victory Animations, and Culling Cards.

  • Match Events: The Culling is a murderously hilarious game show, and what are game shows without wacky gimmicks?! Adding to the likes of Loot Pinata, it’s time to add some more spice to this meatball.

  • Revised Rewards System: A whole new scheme for rewarding match performance that, among other things, converts duplicate cosmetic items into currency that can be spent to unlock the items of your choice. Basically, no more sloppy seconds.

  • Optimization: You SHOULD be aware that The Culling will be entering the Xbox One Preview program soon. One benefit this offers for Early Access players is that graphics and memory optimizations for the Xbox One will have immediate benefits for PC players. Yes, you just read that, a console version will actually help the PC version. Mind. Blown.

In the coming weeks we’ll be drilling down on each of these features and sharing more about the philosophy behind them and the details of their design.

These are big new features, bigger than anything we’ve added to the game so far.

Big features like these are difficult to segregate from the rest of the game while they’re in development, which means the pace of our updates will slow while we focus on getting them ready for you to try.

In the meantime, we will continue to address critical bugs and make adjustments to balance of weapons, perks, and the FUNC economy.

While the next couple of months will be a bit lighter on game updates than usual, we will take extra measures to keep you informed.

We assure you the wait will be well worth it.

See you on the island!

 

Trials Retirement and Lightning Rounds

Greetings Contestants!

No island is without its fair share of rest and relaxation opportunities, but we say screw that nonsense! The team is hard at work on our next update and we thought it was time to reveal some of what we’ve been working on, both short-term and long-term.

Our long-term plan is to improve the game’s lasting appeal for hardcore competitive players and also hold the interest of new contestants. To accomplish those goals, we have several big new systems in the works. Those systems are early enough in development that we’re not ready to announce details just yet - booo! - but you'll be hearing more about them in the near future.

In the meantime, we do have some exciting news to share. The game’s Trials mode was something we initially intended to retire after 6-8 weeks, and despite its ongoing popularity we’ve reached the point where something else is ready to take its place.

This weekend will be your last opportunity to play Trials matches. We know the first question on many of your minds is, “What do I do with my Trials Tokens?” Don't fret, we're not forgetting about you. We will be announcing plans for existing Trials Tokens soon. Note that this is your last chance to win the cosmetic items that are only available through Trials matches, these items will not drop in other modes.

After Trials is officially retired, we’ll be releasing an update that includes our latest experimental mode: “Lightning Round.” This mode was born from the need to create a demo-friendly version of the game that’s currently available to play at San Diego Comic Con, so those of you in the area can get a sneak preview.

An even more aggressive spin on the Culling’s battle royale formula, we had so much fun testing Lightning Round internally that we decided to release it in the live build. While our other modes still represent the core Culling experience, we think Lightning Round offers a fun new twist and we’re dying to see your reaction.

We’ll have more news about Lightning Round and the rest of the changes coming with the next update soon. Very soon.

We’ll see you on the island!

The Culling Combat - Skill vs Luck

Hi everyone!

Recently, a group of members of the community on the forums have raised the question “Is combat in The Culling skill or luck?”. While there may not be a consensus on the answer, I wanted to give you our view of the system here at Xaviant, and some reasons as to why it is the one we chose.

First let me start with the priority of any combat system in a game: It must be fun. It doesn’t matter how real it is or how easy it is to use, if it isn’t fun then there is really no reason to play it. According to Marc LeBlanc there are eight kinds of fun: Sensation, Fellowship, Fantasy, Discovery, Narrative, Expression, Challenge and Submission. Our entire game focuses largely on Challenge, so the combat should as well. 

For challenge to be “fun” you need to be able to experience winning and losing and feel like your skill contributes to each result. The “challenge” is in trying to win more than you lose.

In real life, combat is broken into two components; mental and physical. You need to have the raw physical prowess to swing a weapon effectively and you need to have a keen mind to read what your opponent might or might not do. Games can’t embody the complete physicality because all we need to do is click the mouse or press a button. So we can only experience the mental component of combat.

When we started looking at combat, we began with a system of “I click, you see my animation, you click before my animation is done to stop it.” Many games have done this, but we felt it really only works well in single player scenarios. This is because a system like that goes from a player experience of “I can never react in time to anything” to “I can now react in time to everything.” In single player, that is great because it means you have mastered the game and now totally “pwn” the AI. Nobody cares if the AI has fun, so it works great.
 
However, when it is a human being on the other side, then they both need to have fun. 

If you take a system where everyone can read every attack perfectly, then you simply have a combat of stalemate - every attack is blocked, every opportunity seized, etc. There would be no surprises. It would be like Tic Tac Toe: every game leading to a draw.

So this led us to the system that we call our “Rock Paper Scissors approach to combat”. Many people feel as though RPS is “purely random,” but in actuality, it simply isn’t.

 Both people get to decide which choice they are going to make. They aren’t rolling dice, they are choosing a result and hoping it beats the opponent. There is a mental aspect to it that is similar to the mental aspect of combat when you try to “get into his head and see what he is going to do.” 

Many of the physical components of a fight happen too quickly for someone to react without some level of anticipation. Our RPS approach tries to embody that. The goal of the system is to make it where someone says “Oh yeah, I had a feeling he was going to block, that is why I shoved!” When you are right you get to celebrate a little win and you know you just got in your opponent’s head. When you are wrong, it gets in your head. It affects your decision-making.

With all this said, we aren’t pure RPS either. In actuality, we are a variation of it. 

In our RPS, we let you hold an action (block) if you want to lure someone in. We let you decide when the RPS moment happens by shoving or jabbing on your timeline, not the 1.. 2.. 3.. countdown like a real RPS game would have. Like RPS, we give you the ability to punish someone when they lose their round in a way that hurts more (virtually of course) than a two-finger slap on the wrist.

Is there some luck to it? Of course! But that doesn’t negate skill. 

Poker is a game of luck that has rules to allow skill to become a large factor. Poker lets you bet in disagreement with the strength of your hand. That tiny nuance is huge to people who understand the game. If the rules of poker said, “You must bet big if you have a good hand and you must fold if your hand stinks,” then it would be pure luck. In The Culling we have this little bit of RPS surrounded in ways you can break the rules of RPS: throwing, grenades, guns, traps, power attacks, kiting, strafing, running from the fight, blinding, switching weapons, other combatants joining the fray, etc. It is combining everything you have at your disposal in that given moment that determines your skill at defeating someone. It is not just randomly choosing jab, block or shove.

Despite all of our hard work and all of the incredible feedback the community has delivered, there are still things we need to refine and we will continue to do so. We will improve the netcode, refine animations, fix edges cases where block or shove doesn’t work, etc. However, we feel the RPS system we have in place now is the foundation for a skilled, yet fun, multiplayer experience. 

From this point forward, this is The Culling.

Michael McMain
CEO Xaviant

 

Test Servers Live Now!

Greetings Contestants!

Summer is officially upon us, which means we’re lining up a patch this week. Before we roll it out to the live servers, we’d like to try out a few more changes on the Test Servers. The new Test Server build is available now and the Test Servers are up until Midnight (EDT) tonight. We hope you’ll come out and join us!

We will have devs in DISCORD to hear your feedback.

In addition to the changes we tested with you last week (read about them here), we’ve got a new batch for you to check out:
 

Test Server Changes

  • Matchmaking system that matches players of similar skill level

  • Increased FUNC cost for Carjacker, Guerilla, Pothead, and Trapper airdrops

  • SFX pass for Gas Grenade

  • SFX pass for Auto Bow

  • Added some limited-time 4th of July (American Independence Day) hats

  • Improved start of match spawn box behavior

  • Art pass for new alternate center arenas

  • Removed UI crosshair from Auto Bow

  • Changed crafting recipe for Smoke Bomb to Rock + Gas Vent and Gas Grenade to Smoke Bomb + Gas Vent, with pricing adjustments to maintain the same total cost

  • Tutorial polish pass

  • Visual improvements to holo-spawners

  • Reduced Bleed wound applied by Bows to Tier 1 (6 damage over 10 seconds)

  • Reduced crafting time of Hatchet, Spear, and Cudgel

  • Showdowns will no longer trigger at end of match

 

Test Server Bug Fixes

  • Fix for right click interrupting Stun Gun / Pepper Spray attack

  • Fix for test server bug where animations didn’t play when throwing a bow

  • Fix for bugs that allowed players to break out of stuns

  • Fix for test server bug where spawn-with perks were not behaving properly in offline mode

  • Fix for test server bug where pre-opened lockers appeared closed in offline mode

  • Fix for test server bug where Bait Crate would explode ALL THE TIME in the main menu

  • Fix for bug where stamina would fail to regenerate if a player dropped a weapon while blocking

  • Fix for bug with Auto Bow reloading and ammo count behavior

  • Fixed recycle value of Gas Grenade

  • Fix for hits from Auto Bow interrupting movement

  • Fix for bug where players would pick up crafting materials when attempting to craft

  • Fix for test server bug that was allowing bonus backstab damage for fists, branch, and rock

  • Fix for bug where Auto Bow was not properly attached to the player model when equipped

  • Fix for bug where Shove would sometimes fail from certain angles

  • Fix for bug where some items’ physics behaved badly when dropped

We’ll see you on the island!

Test Server Instructions
Anyone who owns the game should find “The Culling Test” in their Steam Library (you may need to restart your Steam client to see it). Once you’ve installed the test build, you will be able to join us in testing during designated times when the test servers are live. Solo, Teams, and Private Matches are all available.

Test Server Session Today

 

 

This’ll be a real Gas, if you’re having trouble smiling we have the Grenade (get it? Grin-Aid?) for you. Welcome our new Auto Bow and Gas Grenade to our family of weapons.

 

Greetings contestants! Welcome to the Island Diary for June 16, 2016.

 

This has been an exciting week here on the island. At E3 2016 we announced that we’re working with Microsoft to bring The Culling to Xbox One’s Game Preview program. We’ll have more details on this partnership soon, so stay tuned to our social channels for the latest.

 

Additionally, we have some other fun to share. Auto Bow, Gas Grenade, Jab Back, Locker Bug, Net Code. Come and test with us tonight, The Test Servers will be live today from 4PM until Midnight (EDT). We’ve made some significant netcode improvements, added some deadly toys, balanced out some OP weapons and fixed some nasty bugs.

 

We hope you’ll come out tonight to spill some blood and join us to test a few changes.

 

We will have devs in DISCORD to hear your feedback.

 

Thank you for your incredible support!

Your favorite murder supplier,
Xaviant
 

Test Server Changes

  • Netcode performance improvements

  • With our netcode performance improvements we believe we’ve seen the last of the late item spawn bug.

  • Welcome the Auto Bow. The Auto Bow allows a quick burst of three shots before a somewhat lengthy reload. The individual shots deal only a fraction of the damage from a Compound or Recurve bow, but if you hit with all three the damage is comparable to that of the Compound Bow. This behavior makes it roughly equal to the Compound Bow. Although not a devastating weapon, it’s quite demoralizing taking so many shots in quick succession and suddenly feeling like a porcupine.

  • The Gas Grenade allows you to craft a new type of grenade off of a gas pylon. When deployed it creates an area of gas very similar to the one created by the gas pylons themselves, just a smidge smaller and shorter lived. (Rock + Pylon) For only 15 Func.

  • Smoke Bomb recipe changed to Rock + Explosive Barrel to make room for the Gas Grenade’s new recipe.

  • The Culmination will now be one of three different layouts, the original that we’ve come to love and two new configurations. You never know which Culmination layout you’re going to get until the match starts. The new configurations are using placeholder art, but that’ll get revved soon.

  • New Airdrop - Demon Hunter - Auto Bow, Smoke Bomb, Caltrops x2 (175)

  • New Airdrop - The Imp - Auto Bow, Crafted Armor, Tomahawk (225)

  • New Airdrop - Viking - Tomahawk, Crafted Armor, Muscle Man Milk (125)

  • FUNC Survival Bonus - The player is now awarded with 25 FUNC after 3 minutes alive, 25 FUNC after seven minutes alive. And 50 FUNC is awarded after eleven minutes alive.

    • Why? We like the pacing that was created by our last updates to the FUNC economy. We’re no longer seeing endgame weapons appear so early and late game airdrops being called in within the first 2 minutes of the game, those are positive changes. That’s great for the pacing in general, however, Airdrops can be difficult to work up to currently and often you finally reach your desired FUNC right as the gas rolls over your Airdrop Pad. We were also often in a position of feeling unwilling to craft or spend any FUNC early game because of the high prices on some of the Airdrops. Now you can get your early crafting and scavenging game on, while not completely ruining your end game Airdrop plans, assuming that you survive that long.

  • Blue Crates have been retired and replaced with Holo Spawners, very similar to the Culmination Holo Spawners. These new Holo Spawners will have the same loot table and same cost (100 FUNC) as the old Blue Crates, but now you’ll see exactly what you’re going to get. Holo Spawners decide what they’re going to provide at the start of a match, but each match will be different. Holo Spawners currently spawn: Tier 3 Melee Weapons, Orange Juice, Dynamite, Impact Grenades, Compound Bow and the Auto Bow. Known bug: Dynamite spawns are offset incorrectly, and will be fixed in a future patch.

  • Suiciding into the gas will now reward your kill and FUNC reward to the person that most recently dealt damage to you in the area near your death. There are restrictions on this based on time and distance. So the small skirmish you had with an opponent at the start of the match won’t give them the kill or FUNC if you suicide into the gas 5 minutes later on the other side of the map.

Balance Changes

  • About half the weapons have had their damage adjusted up or down a step to better account for all the combat changes we’ve rolled through in the last patch or two. In some cases we were over-valuing certain aspects of a weapon’s balance, either speed or wounds. We’re now accounting for those things having changed in value with our combat changes. So weapons that have previously been “OP” should fall better into line with their tier mates. We’re not looking to re-balance everything so it was generally only weapons that were out of line and we tried to only touch their damage.

  • Backstab damage has been reduced to 50% for all weapons. Sneaky Poker and Brutus have been increased to 50%. We’ve run the numbers and incredibly devastating hits are still very possible, but it brings us a step away from the one shot kills, which we’ve never been fans of.

  • Throw Damage values have been adjusted slightly, in general throw damage was reaching beyond where we wanted to even without Golden Arm.

  • Golden Arm changed to +25% velocity, +100% damage for thrown weapons (+50% for crafted). Golden arm is still very strong and valid even with the perk change and the throw damage balance changes, but it will be a little more challenging in the early game and you’ll need those late game weapons to get the kind of damage you’ve become accustomed to.

  • Jab-Back, as it's fondly being referred to. This is the phenomenon within a melee fight where one player has been staggered by a “bad” action, like attacking a block. The stagger plays out its duration, while the opponent is charging an attack. The charged attack lands on the staggered opponent invariably within tenths of a second of the stagger ending. The staggered opponent takes the charge attack as he should, but since the stagger ends, he can immediately start a new action, while the guy who just landed the charge attack has to finish his animation and start a new one. So the guy who was staggered retaliates with a jab and gets damage that feels “free”.

    • We’ve been looking at this a lot. We believe it's working technically correct, but still just doesn’t feel good. So we’re going to adjust it a bit with two timing adjustments, one to stagger length and one to charge time of all weapons.

    • The combination of these two changes is a slightly longer stagger, and a slightly faster charge attack. This allows, in testing at least, the guy charging the attack to get another action in just before the stagger wears off of the staggered opponent. So the charging guy gets his half to full charge attack off, and then can get a block up just in time to prevent the jab-back.

    • If you charge too long, you’ll still experience the Jab-Back, because the stagger on your enemy has ended. If you decide not to block after your charge attack, you can take another action instead like pushing or jabbing based on what you think your opponent will react with.

    • We’ll refrain from giving you the actual math on the numbers we’ve changed because we want you focused on the feel, does it feel good or bad. Better or worse. Suffice to say, that we’re dealing with tiny fractions of a second here, and have only made very small changes to an already very fast system.

    • If you feel like Jab-Back can still occur to you too much, try charging a little less, there is a sweet spot there that you can find with all three weapon speeds that prevents Jab-Back completely, and will allow you to get inside your opponent's head once again.

    • This might not 'nail-it' but we're looking to take a small iterative step in the right direction with this change and not change the entire feel of the combat system. Your feedback on these changes will help us continue to tighten up melee combat.

 

Other Changes

  • Fix for picking up materials instead of crafting with a resource that was just spawned

  • Aiming sensitivity with ranged weapons is now adjusted properly when zooming, which broke last patch

  • Weather and Observation have had their art passes and are looking sick (like rad sick, not sick sick)

 

We’ll see you on the island!


Test Server Instructions
Anyone who owns the game should find “The Culling Test” in their Steam Library (you may need to restart your Steam client to see it). Once you’ve installed the test build, you will be able to join us in testing during designated times when the test servers are live. Solo, Teams, and Private Matches are all available.

Test Server Session Tonight!

A throwdown, a showdown, no we won't slow down!

Greetings contestants! Welcome to the Island Diary for May 27, 2016.

The sun is shining and flowers are blooming and so we’ve decided to SPRING a surprise on you lovely savages! The Test Servers will be live tonight from 9PM until Midnight (EDT). Test Servers are located in the North America East Coast region. This latest session is an early look at some key changes and a brand-new solution that we hope will forever change The Culling for the better.
 

We hope you’ll come out tonight to spill some blood and join us to test a few changes.

We will have devs in DISCORD to hear your feedback.

Thank you for your incredible support!

Your favorite murder supplier,
Xaviant
 

Allegiances on the Island are about to get more interesting, and bloody.

  • Teamwork is good, except when it’s bad. The top cause of angst in the community lately has been the rising prevalence of teaming (both ad hoc and premeditated) in Solo and Trials matches. After much deliberation between Chas and Frank, we’ve decided to add a new match event to Solo and Trials matches: SHOWDOWN.

  • Rather than trying to prevent teaming completely, we’ve decided to try a method that prevents it from being a winning strategy. When you’ve been flagged as colluding with a teammate, attacking another player will spawn a SHOWDOWN arena. If you are tagged in a showdown, you must quickly enter the arena and fight your former ally until one of you is left alive. If either player attempts to escape the arena, they will be executed. When one of you dies, the SHOWDOWN ends and the remaining player is free to proceed in the match. If neither player dies before the timer runs out, both of you will be killed.

  • While we’re not going to delve into all the specifics of how the system works, we have taken pains to ensure that non-teaming behavior will not be misconstrued as teaming (i.e. chases, stalking, temporary truces, etc.). If you do find cases where the system fails to catch teamers or misidentifies teaming activity, please let us know!

 

Combat and Netcode

  • Our approach to combat netcode relies heavily on client prediction to allow for the smoothest, most responsive experience possible. When you press a button, your client expects those things to happen when those inputs reach the server, and will start playing animations in anticipation. The reason actions have some windup time (in addition to looking better) is to allow some wiggle room to allow for players of differing pings to both participate in the “shared illusion of playing a fun game together.” Most of the time this works flawlessly and neither player knows the difference. Unfortunately, this prediction can break down in some situations, such as when both players are simultaneously sending block and attack commands which are going to pass each other in flight to the the opposing player. Those situations end up with results that can feel arbitrary at best, or infuriatingly buggy at worst (“HOW DID HE PUNCH ME THROUGH MY BLOCK?! *ragequit*”). It isn’t an easy problem. For those of you who are so inclined, here are a couple of overviews that begin to scratch the surface of the forces at work and the wide variety of issues that present themselves in the process of solving these issues:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTH2ZPgYujQ
        http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1014345/I-Shot-You-First-Networking

  • The underlying netcode has been modified to favor accuracy over input responsiveness (subject to further iteration, of course). Most players should hopefully not notice a huge impact on their play, but blocking may end up feeling more sluggish for players with higher pings. We await your feedback before we invest more time in polishing the presentation of this approach.

  • Being struck in melee while shoving will stagger the shover.

  • When equipping a bow, you now need to nock an arrow before firing.

 

Perk Changes

  • Defensive perks are firmly in our crosshairs. Defensive perks have been over represented in every match, they also extend the length of fights and upset the general balance because there aren’t offensive perks strong enough to counteract them. Adding offensive perks that just increase damage isn’t the approach we want to take, it’ll just exacerbate the problem of feeling like defensive perks are a must have, or creating a glass cannon vs. tank approach leaving everyone in the middle feeling terrible. In addition, any perks that have no active gameplay component like Big Boned (you take it and get all effects without any action required) are reduced even further, these passive bonuses should not be as effective as those that are conditional or situational. Be, aggressive, B-E aggressive.

  • Big Boned hitpoint bonus reduced to 10.

  • Tough Mother mitigation reduced to 10%.

  • Thick Skin mitigation reduced to 30%.

  • Thick Skin has had the firearm component removed from it, which has been moved to Bomb Suit.

  • Bomb Suit now affects both explosive damage and firearm damage, and remains at 50%.

  • Trapper no longer increases damage of traps, but instead applies a 50% Expose wound to a target that has triggered your traps.

  • Trapper now also includes the bonus from Faster Trapper +75% increased deployment speed and increased disarm speed.

  • Faster Trapper has been combined with Trapper and removed.

  • Cannibal health regained reduced to 25 and stamina regained increased to full stamina.

  • Maniac has been removed.

  • Leather Hide has been removed.

  • Blowhard redesigned to increase the sickness applied by the blowgun to allow for two vomits.

  • Man Tracker perk now allows you to move while man tracking, in addition to spawning with one.

  • Dig Deep health regained from Dig Deep reduced to 15 and Dig Deep now triggers when the player hits 1 hitpoint allowing it to be triggered by bleed, but removing the bleed in the process.

  • Angry Octopus cooldown increased to 120 seconds, either that or two minutes.

  • Armorer now spawns you with Crafted Armor instead of Body armor.

  • Red Gunner now adds *Bleed, *Expose, and *Cripple to your shots. (And alarm gun ammo can be crafted with Rocks, Nanites are crafty!)

  • Faster Crafter has been removed

  • Stealthy can again craft quietly

  • Master Crafter damage bonus remains at +20% but now also increases crafting speed by Faster Crafter perk values at +50%

  • Longshot now makes an audible bassy noise when you hit a target at greater than 40 meters, so you know it’s working and when.

  • Ol’ Painless reduced to 10%

  • In general this perk pass has been a long time in the works, but we needed to get closer on other larger issues in order to focus on the perks. We have more changes planned for perks and more perks in general coming for the future including more interesting things and more offensively focused perks. So we have plans for the future, but we need to get our stock batch in order first.

 

Other Changes

  • Culpepper Outfitters has had a full art pass

  • Fix for point of aim not matching point of impact with bows

  • Replaced Gold Crates with Holo-Spawners. These appear as the match nears completion and preview the item you can purchase for 100 FUNC.

  • Overhauled drainage tunnel under the mountain to include more gameplay elements

  • Reduced interaction time with FUNC barrels and FUNC piles

  • Increased Medkit application time to 4 seconds from 2.5

  • Fix for bug where control sensitivity did not reset when being disarmed while aiming a ranged weapon

  • Improved visuals for being struck while initiating a block to communicate better

  • Increased Stun Gun recycle value to 20

  • Reduced Recurve Bow recycle value to 20

  • Fix for axe weapons applying the wrong wounds when thrown

  • Fix for the crafted knife and crafted snare so they can now be picked up with the number keys

  • Fix for disarmed snares leaving a trigger volume behind in some situations

  • Lowered audio volume in lobby

  • Lowered volume of first-person movement sounds while stealthy

  • New locations in South East and South West corners of the map

  • Removed “Grab My Package” match event for now (too similar to “Loot Express”)

We’ll see you on the island!

Test Server Instructions
Anyone who owns the game should find “The Culling Test” in their Steam Library (you may need to restart your Steam client to see it). Once you’ve installed the test build, you will be able to join us in testing during designated times when the test servers are live. Solo, Teams, and Private Matches are all available.

 

New Test Server Build is Live Now!

Greetings contestants! Welcome to the Island Diary for May 18, 2016.

Last night’s test was phenomenal in terms of turnout from the community as well as feedback. Your voices have been heard and things are about to get REAL.

With this new set of changes we think we may have a solid candidate for a live release, but first we need another round of Test Server murder. We hope you can come out and join us! Unlike our previous Test Server experiments, we are going to leave this one live from now until Midnight (EDT) tonight. We will have devs in DISCORD to hear your feedback.

These changes are in addition to the previous updates we’ve made to the Test Server build, so please review the other Island Diary entries for more details if this is your first time joining the Test Server.

Server News

  • Test Servers are located only on the East Coast of North America. If you’re joining us from elsewhere in the world, please be aware that your network performance will be less than ideal

  • Reminder: We’re planning to roll out West Coast servers for North America with our next live update!

Combat and Balance

  • Shoving an opponent who is not blocking will no longer cause a stagger. This was an effective experiment to counter shove-spamming behavior, but with the mixed feedback we received from the Test Server sessions we’ve switched to some subtler changes that should achieve the same effect in a more intuitive manner

  • Shoving now costs 20 stamina points (instead of 3) to encourage players to be more judicious with their shoves

  • Holding block now slowly drains 3 stamina per second

  • Shoving an opponent who is not blocking will no longer visually appear to damage the receiving player (we think this was confusing some shoved players into believing they had been attacked, which naturally led to blocking, which encouraged shove-spamming)

  • Jab animations no longer scale based on weapon speeds (this was intended as part of the May 17th Test Server update but wasn’t working properly). The goal with weapon speeds in this iteration is to provide consistent attack control feel for all melee weapons (equivalent to the Early Access launch build) while requiring greater skill to maximize charged attack damage against a staggered opponent using slower weapons

FUNConomics

  • We (and you) generally like what was accomplished with the recent changes in terms of making Tier 1 and Tier 2 weapons more valuable in the early stages of the match and delaying the appearance of high-tier weapons, but there was definitely room for tuning based on the Test Server response

  • FUNC Bounty on death. The base reward for killing another player is back to 25 FUNC (from 50), but a player’s value increases by 15 FUNC for each kill they’ve earned during a match (i.e. a player with 2 kills is worth 55 FUNC if you take them out). Keep an eye on the scoreboard to see who the juiciest targets are

  • We’ve done a full pass on the Air Drop values, bringing most of them down moderately while boosting a few.

  • Gold Crates remain at 200 FUNC but no longer contain guns or Tier 4 melee weapons. They now contain items that might give you an edge if you have FUNC to spare going into the final stages of the match: Body Armor, Orange Juice, Dynamite, Med Kit, X-plosive Runs, Stamina Boost, MuscleMan Milk, Iron-4-Skin (all with an equal chance to drop). Expensive? Yes. But at the end of the round, what are you saving all that FUNC for anyway?

  • Ammo reload for guns now costs 100 FUNC (previously 75)

  • FUNC recycle value for all crafted melee weapons has been normalized to 4

Other Changes

  • Reduced duration of Stamina Stim to 30 seconds (from 2 minutes)

  • HUD tooltip now shows updated damage number for Crafted Explosive (35 instead of 20)

We’ll see you on the island!

Brand New Test Server Build TONIGHT!

Greetings contestants! Welcome to the latest entry in our Island Diary.

We have a new round of changes for you to try on the Test Servers tonight (Servers will be live from 9PM-12AM EDT), and this update is even bigger and bolder than the last one. If all goes well, we’ll consider sending this build live later in the week.

As always, these changes are experimental and not guaranteed to make it into the live build, so make your voice heard on DISCORD tonight. We want to know what you think after you’ve had a chance to play at least a handful of matches.

Server News

  • Test Servers are back in the East Coast North America location for tonight’s test. If you join us tonight from a high-ping location, please include that info when reporting your experience with the match.

  • Drum roll: We’re planning to roll out West Coast servers for North America with our next live patch!

Match Progression/Economy Balance Changes

  • We want to slow down the weapon progression in matches. The current 50 FUNC cost to open a Blue Crate is trivial and has a decent chance of equipping you with a Tier 4 weapon within the first few minutes of the match. Our goal is for each tier of weapon to have its place within the match progression, with Tier 4 melee weapons and guns appearing closer to the finale. We’ve made a few changes to nudge things in that direction

  • Kills now award 50 FUNC (previously 25)

  • Blue Crates now cost 100 FUNC to open (previously 50)

  • Blue Crates no longer have a small chance to spawn a Tier 4 melee weapon or a gun

  • Gold Crates now surround the central arena. These cost 200 FUNC to open and contain guns and Tier 4 melee weapons

  • Airdrop FUNC costs have been rebalanced. Drops containing Tier 3 melee weapons require a minimum of 150 FUNC, Tier 4 melee weapons and guns require a minimum of 250 FUNC

  • Destroying a red barrel awards 5 FUNC

  • Crafted Explosives now require 30 FUNC to craft. Damage has been increased to 35 (from 20) and radius has been increased to 6 meters (from 4 meters) - This increases the time required to open a Red Crate at the start of the match

  • “Loot Pinata” event now spawns one crate instead of two

Combat and Balance

  • All weapon attack animations and timings normalized to match the *** speed weapons (set to Early Access launch values). Weapon speed rating applies only to charge time. The behavior of charge time has been modified to give a linear damage increase across the range of the charge, allowing slow weapons to achieve higher damage values with charged attacks if the player is skilled enough to find the appropriate charge threshold before the opponent can raise their block

  • Being shoved when you are not blocking no longer gives the impression that you’ve been struck for a mini-stun

  • Golden Arm bonus damage now scales with charge percentage (no bonus damage is applied if the throw is not charged at all)

  • Reduced Crafted Blowgun max ammo to 6 (from 9)

  • Reduced Crafted Blowgun sickness duration to 10 seconds (from 15 seconds) and allow a single vomit per sickness (instead of 2)

  • Increased chainsaw damage

  • Adjusted chainsaw attack timing to avoid unresponsive attack input

  • Increased cost of crafted knife to 7 FUNC, reduced crafting cost of spear, hatchet, and cudgel to 0 FUNC

Other Changes

  • Max FPS is unlocked by default

  • All Airdrops are available by default on Test Servers

  • Stun Guns now spawn in Green Crates and no longer spawn in Blue or Red Crates

  • New announcer VO for Med Stations

  • Removed Cheapskate perk

  • Revised scoreboard visuals

  • Bridges now have Airdrop landing pads with shorter flight paths (but more exposed to other players)

  • Fix for a bug with broken snare spawning from Cyclops Airdrop

  • Fix for a bug where invisible player collision would remain after death

  • Polished spear attack animations

  • Fix for bug that allowed players to interact with Airdrop landing pads through barriers

  • Fix for bug where starting with Mantracker or Alarm Gun in practice mode positioned the item incorrectly in the player’s hand

We’ll see you on the island tonight!

Test Server Instructions
Anyone who owns the game should find “The Culling Test” in their Steam Library (you may need to restart your Steam client to see it). Once you’ve installed the test build, you will be able to join us in testing during designated times when the test servers are live. Solo, Teams, and Private Matches are all available.