Development Update #22

Welcome to the Mankind Reborn community :)

Be apart of something great, join today!

Not open for further replies.


el creador de la humanidad renace
Mankind Reborn Staff
Jun 1, 2017
Guns of the Conclave

It's been quite a while without a new development update. I originally planned this one to be a video, but since we don't have many visuals to show (And I don't want to burn your brains with explanations around thousands of lines of code improvements), the text would be more effective in conveying the information.

Back to the forums?​

First of all, you might be wondering why the forums and not our website, our previous website was handled in WordPress and we moved on from that, in the process we lost the blogs features which are where our old developer updates were handled, there are a few ways to handle that moving forward, either implementing a new blog system or figure out a way to keep using the WordPress blog feature with the new website, either way, website focus right now is allocated to something else that has higher priority and we'll eventually restore them.

What happened over the last year and a half?​

I took a long break from Mankind Reborn starting around midway through 2021 and the entirety of 2022, so there's been almost two years of no development progress from my end until 2023. I have spoken about this multiple times in the discord and I believe I touched on the topic a few times in previous development updates, but I'd like to reiterate this again. Since 2017 I have been working on this game non-stop, I'm talking about 8+ hour days alongside a full-time development job, so around 16+ hours of game development, 7 days a week, fully caffeinated and stacked up on nootropics, I'd take small breaks obviously, but most of my time was allocated towards this project, which I don't mind because it is what I love doing the most and I'm still doing so.

We got a huge reality check after the pre-alpha, a small taste of what to expect when running a game on an MMO scale, while it was one of the most exciting moments of my career, it was also extremely stressful, I was essentially releasing daily patches, working on new content, dealing with community issues and more, while also balancing out IRL. After years of non-stop development, I eventually cracked and experienced firsthand the famous game dev burnout, asides that, a perfect storm of issues compounded on top of each other, mainly our backend provider shutting down, which meant I had to re-write the entire backend implementation of the game again and also the website needed to be rebuilt, plus a ton of other issues with the game, not counting IRL, which was pretty rough at that time.

I'd figured, fuck it, let's do our own backend, and so we did. I spent thousands of dollars creating the thing from scratch, but it proved to be unsustainable in the end, it was just too much to handle, so with a few thousand dollars down the drain and completely burnt out, I decided it was time to take a break and work on something else while I figured out ways to keep the development going in a sustainable way. At the time I had a small horror project that I did for a game jam, which ended up going viral, so I directed my attention toward that project and worked on it for the next year or so. The new project garnered a lot of attention, my Twitter grew drastically, I had big content creators foaming over the project, and got the attention of two big indie publishers who were highly interested in fully funding the game, it was the perfect situation to be in as an indie game developer.

I managed to build a solid prototype, reusing a lot of code from MR and improving it along the way. As mentioned before, everything was falling into place in a perfect manner, but my itch for FoM just grew bigger during this break, I'd be binge-watching FoM videos, listening to the OST while working, watching MR videos, and getting all nostalgic over the project. During this period I eventually figured out a path to move forward with MR, and at the peak of my success, I decided to put a pause on the horror project and jump back into the fiction.

With an absurd backlog of development issues, massive tech debt accrued over the years, a budget of 0, and low morale, how the hell would this even be possible? where do I start? I just disregarded the issues and just jumped into deep work starting with the highest priorities, the backend. We decided to move forward with Playfab and I rewrote all the backend from scratch, removing all traces of Gamesparks and also implementing things in a better and more sustainable way that will future-proof our needs with Playfab and also if we decide to move into something new. This was huge, our biggest blocker for the past year and a half was finally removed, and we were able to move forward.

But instead of moving forward with new content, I decided to allocate most of the year to refactoring most of the game, most of the core mechanics, that being controls, camera, movement, stats, animations, items, etc, were built sloppily during the early days, during the time when this was just going to be a FoMbat simulator and not a fully-fledged MMO, and thus I went back into old systems and started breaking things apart and re-building them with better foundations and modern patterns, at the same time learning new systems from the latest versions of Unreal Engine and implementing them. If we would've retained the previous work and just moved forward, yes we would've been playing the game already, but essentially setting ourselves for failure as the game would've essentially exploded on itself due to the accumulated tech debt and its better choice to allocate all that time now so we don't have to worry about it in the future once things come back up online.

So, what has been done since January 2023?​

I'll keep it short and in bullet points, even if there have been MASSIVE reworks that moisten my glands but it would be too much techno-babble and it is something you'll feel during the next playtest, hard to explain, but let's just say the game will just feel and look 100x better, fewer bugs, less lag, fewer exploits, etc, and obviously help us scale further into the future.

  • Refactored the entire backend implementation and moved it to Playfab
  • Replaced the old characters with Unreal Engine's metahumans and also refactored all underlying character customization code
  • Implemented new character customization
  • Implemented new animation systems (similar implementation to the Unreal Engine 5 Lyra sample), this highly improves the animation code performance and gives us a solid foundation to add new animation content without much overhead
  • Implemented a new "Action" framework, which is a lightweight system very similar to Unreal Engine's Gameplay Ability System, essentially a gameplay framework that allows us to create new content, read up on what the design pattern of GAS is to understand what this does
  • Implemented a new "Status" framework, similar to Unreal Engine's Gameplay Effects, like the above, it gives us a solid framework to implement stats into the game, this is also a precursor to the new drug creation system that will be coming soon
  • As of recently, I started a massive refactor of the item systems (items and containers) which will make items much more modular and lightweight, taking advantage of new networking improvements of Unreal Engine. Items were a large culprit of scale and optimization, also the previous method allowed for multiple exploits, the new method will make them much more lightweight on the CPU/networking, allowing us to increase player counts drastically and other improvements
  • Migrated the project to Unreal Engine 5
  • Getha is back in development and getting better
  • Fucktons of other miscellaneous fixes and improvements
  • Faction lore reworks and new logos
  • New people joining the team
  • Allocation of a bigger personal budget for the game

I don't give a shit about any of this, where are faction mechanics?​

Most of it is written in design documents but not implemented in code and will not be touched until I'm done with the previously explained refactoring. In order for roleplaying and politics to work, the game needs a solid foundation of core mechanics, if the game lags, is exploitable, crashes, and doesn't scale properly and it is not fun to play, none of this will matter. My focus will be set on the faction mechanics once the game is back online, until then, patience and understanding.

What now?​

Things have been rather silent and vague on purpose, there's a lot of work left to be done and I need to be highly focused to get these things done as soon as possible before re-opening the flood gates, there have been insane amounts of progress in the past few months and I intend on keeping the train going. There's no ETA on when I will be done or any public roadmap, I will be sharing progress in Discord as things move forward and you can always check the new #dev-feed channel in Discord to see what's getting added to the game. Personally, I've never been more excited about MR's future as of recently and once we're back online, you'll understand why.

Not open for further replies.