Conan Exiles Dev Stream - Update 2.6 and DLC
Funcom Full Youtube Link (Starts at 07:34): 10/15/2021 - Written Summary
Funcom staff sightings for this stream were
- Nicole Vayo (Community Manager) - On stream
- Andy Benditt (Community Manager) - On stream
- Kris Hammond (Art Producer) - On stream
- Dennis Douthett (Lead Designer) - On stream
- Ignasis - (Community Support) - In chat
- Mayra (Community Support) - In chat
- Dana (Community Support) - In chat
- Natascha (Community Engagement Director) - In chat, always watching…dun dun dun
Here are relevant links for this stream.
Temple of the Gods Winners (Screenshots of the Winners and Additional screenshots submitted by players).
Shout out to Testerle for his usual supply of the Twitch chat logs so that relevant quotes can be included in this recap.
At the Art Producer position, standing at an unknown height, sitting in a chair over at his house, making his very first appearance on a Conan Exiles stream. I give to you, the one, the only, Kris Hammond (insert crowd noise here).
For those who considered this the most ultimate vital information of the stream in Conan Exiles history, Kris is an aquarius. Kris has been with Funcom for 8 years.
Dennis has already been formally introduced a few times in past streams. But here’s one vital piece of information left out in past streams! Dennis is a Virgo (or as Dennis called it, Voigo, which is a reference to the Waterboy movie).
They are next door neighbors to Aquilonia, and are considered a weaker nature to the military power that is Aquilonia. Both nations have been in constant battles throughout Hyborian history. When Conan becomes king, the Nemedians are featured prominently in the “Hour of the Dragon.” (Spoiler Alert, if you want to call it Spoilers for a book that came out decades ago. Nemedia temporarily takes over Aquilonia, and King Conan does his Conan thing).
As with most (or all) cultures in Conan lore, Nemedians draw from historical inspiration. The Nemedians closely resemble Germany in the Medieval periods (Kingdom of Germany) and the Holy Roman Empire (not to be confused with Ancient Rome or The Roman Empire). There are also some inspirations drawn from the Celtic people as well.
That said, there are a lot of different influences for Nemedia. Kris mentions, as an example, how there are Roman inspired soldiers mixed with Germanic inspired architecture. Finally, while some players saw Viking influences in some of the designs later shown in the stream, the Viking era wasn’t what they felt fit thematically with what they were trying to accomplish (though Kris did say during a part of the stream that he would love to do a Viking theme if the opportunity arose. “Maybe someday.”)
The intended release date for both the 2.6 patch and the DLC is on October 21st. As always, this is subject to change based on any variables that can occur (last minute issues found, certification problems, etc). It’s also their effort to release updates to all platforms at the same time whenever possible.
Dennis pointed out that the 2.6 update is going to be lighter from a new feature or design perspective. The next several patches between now and their next “major release” are going to be smaller in terms of significant balance changes, there won’t be any full weapon revamps, and etc.
They are putting a lot of work into what they call the 3.0 update. Dennis said that the 3.0 update will be massive, one of the largest if not the largest update they have done for Conan Exiles to date. So if players are feeling nervous about 2.6 and other future updates being smaller than they are used to, Dennis asks to keep 3.0 in mind and all the hard work that the Development team is putting into that patch.
And no, before anybody asks, there wasn’t anything shared about what’s coming for this 3.0 update. Dennis said he would love to share, but he can’t say anything currently other then that it will be awesome. About the only thing that was shared was that Dennis pointed out that a new Lead Content Designer was recently hired, and to take that for what you will.
For 2.6, a particular patch highlight is the ability to pick up buildings that are at full health. They took it a step further as well, in which if you pick up one building piece that other pieces get destroyed (loss in stability), those pieces will automatically be picked up and returned to your inventory. Dennis said that they initially planned this feature for 2.5, but just ran out of time to complete it.
Example: Picking up a foundation in which a wall is placed on it. Both the foundation and the wall will be returned to the inventory.
Edit: It was later confirmed after the stream that the expanded “cascading” pick-up is not coming with 2.6. The 2.6 patch will only include the base feature currently available on Testlive.).
Andy brought up how features like the pickup of buildings seem simple, but a lot of work goes into a feature like that.
Even if it’s as “simple” as just clicking a checkbox (that is previously coded as even a checkbox still needs to be coded in; which it rarely is that simple to begin with), it still needs to fit into the release schedule. That is, the project needs to be assigned, then submitted, then QA needs to test it to prevent other bugs from occurring. Finally, it all needs to be packed for release on all platforms (and certified where appropriate). Kris added that something even as innocent looking as a checkbox can create a whole bunch of other problems that weren’t anticipated.
Concept Art does not mean final result. Throughout the stream they showed the Concept Art for many designs (buildings, placeables) for this DLC. The word Concept is a key word here. Many people in chat were confused and thinking that Funcom had 3 or more sets of every building and placeable finished and just sitting around, or were part of the DLC. That is not how Concept Art works. For a brief rundown, you can read more about Concept Art on the wiki here.
I took screencaps of all the Concept Art. When available, I circled in red the final Concept Art chosen that the 3D artists ultimately worked off of.
The chosen inspiration for this DLC that they landed on is derived from the Late Celtic to Medieval Germany eras. In actual history, this would be after the fall of Ancient Rome and the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire. Kris said that they drew from various Celtic design cues, and obviously Germanic Architecture.
Many of the designs they landed on are a type of herringbone pattern. This is first seen in this Concept Art, where option 2 was chosen. This DLC also introduces several unique pieces to the set, such as the pointed roof caps and the “kick out windows” that Kris described as a sort of “juliet balcony” design.
Also new are the “roof windows”, which Kris said was one of his personal favorites of this DLC. Naturally, anything new will need custom collisions made for them, and to ensure that they work within the modular system like all other building pieces. It was asked in chat, but Andy clarified that these are “functioning” windows (where you can see out of them. Later in the stream it was discussed whether or not they can be shot out of, and nobody seemed 100% certain on that).
Note: The chosen Concept Art wasn’t given here.
Note: The chosen Concept Art wasn’t given here.
Kris said that they decided to go with a rounded gate for this set to help add variety. Dennis added that they had to create some “rules” to this particular gate to prevent it from being used in other gate frames.
Andy added some additional thoughts where he made it sound like there were other exclusive restrictions to the Nemedian building sets to prevent use in other pieces (it’s possible Andy was just meaning he felt like overall design didn’t fit with anything else except for Nemedian). But Kris said it was all still “highly modular.” Still, something to keep in mind in the future if you discover some restrictions.
Kris and Dennis both talked about how the whole set really specializes in “castle building” and that anybody who wants or enjoys building that sort of design will really enjoy this set.
With vaulted ceilings, they wanted a more “open” feeling, while still giving that Germanic type design. The exposed wood beams in particular are what Kris pointed out here as being Germanic like.
Andy also talked about the whole Concept to final design aspect here and what he enjoyed about it. Rarely does art have one concept and one final design with Concept Art. Many sketches are usually done, followed by further narrowing down from there. Dennis added that it’s often difficult for the Art Director to choose one design, and would rather choose them all.
And of course, everybody has their own opinions on what they feel is the best design, or the one that fits the intended theme the most (feel free to leave your comments at the bottom on what you think.)
As in the name of the DLC, “People of the Dragon”, dragons are prominently featured in Nemdian symbiology.
Kris said that the crafting table is a good example of where some Celtic influences got folded into the design (such as the Celtic knot on the front, and the dark wood used for the table).
Unlike what chat believed when they were told to guess for these tables (mostly C, with a few A’s), the concept chosen was B. Kris said that it was chosen because it felt like it best went cohesively with the rest of the DLC set.
Dennis also mentioned that “C” is actually part of the Watcher/Twitch drop set. The DLC itself has been in progress for quite some time. And a large reason for that is because of the allocation of resources that goes into game development. They had artists working on the DLC, but would then need to pull them off for other projects (such as when creating Siptah). During this process, they took several of the pieces that were designed for the DLC and made them available via the Twitch drop event. This also required them to go back and redesign several of the pieces for the DLC itself.
Another Celtic inspired piece is the chair.
A unique choice here. The bed is obviously meant to be used in a higher roof design, where at least 2 wall pieces in height will be required for it to fit. Kris said that initially they were hesitant to go this route, but ultimately decided it was worth it (Kris for his part, said that he always builds at least 2 walls high on his own base designs in the game).
This is a wall decoration (not to be confused with a shield type weapon). The human avatar to the right is used to show the scale of the decoration.
Another theme of the Nemedian DLC are a lot of animal references. This piece in particular showcases that.
Avid social media players will recognize this piece, as it was teased last week on the various social media platforms. While a human avatar was not present in this slide for scale reference, Kris estimated that a typical Conan Exiles player would reach about the height of the stone base at the bottom of the banner.
Players who enjoy lots of noise will like this placeable. Kris estimates the height of this dragon gong to be about the same height as a player avatar.
Shown in this slide is the detail that the Concept Artist came up with for this Fireplace, which was later created into an actual texture. Also viewable is a 3D blockout concept, which is hugely helpful to 3D artists. 3D artists of course have their own challenges and different things that come up during the stages of development. The important takeaway here is that having talented Concept Artists helps remove a lot of the obstacles that would otherwise hinder development.
Kris and Dennis mentioned that they attempted to create a full working chimney with this placeable, but were unable to complete the challenge due to the building modular system. Kris said that it created too many bugs and potential bugs that would require additional allocation of resources and time to solve. Both Kris and Dennis would like to visit the idea again if possible with other future assets. Dennis felt it would be fun to have a chimney with smoke coming out of the top of it when the fire is turned on.
Finally, for all the Pumbaa worshippers out there, the boar statue. Kris estimates that this statue is a little bit taller then a typical player avatar.
Like previously discussed in the stream, Concept Artists start with rough sketches and build up from there. This is an example of that stage. The line art seen here has been drawn on previously screenshotted player avatars.
Kris said that he believed that these slides were from before they even settled on a general theme with the building set. The armor influences derive more from Roman, rather then medieval Germanic.
Once the Art Director picks a few to further explore more in depth on, then they start to use material callouts and references. From there, the final concept art is eventually fleshed out.
This is the Concept Art for the light armor. The leatherwork is Roman inspired, while getting what Kris described as a little bit of Scottish Tartan with the cloth draped over the shoulder.
This is the Concept Art for the medium armor. Kris feels this is one of his favorites in the set because of the unique metal discs that set into the leather.
This is the Concept Art for the heavy armor. This set was heavily influenced by the written descriptions in the “Hour of the Dragon.” Conan escapes from Belverus (capital city of the Nemedians). When Conan runs into a soldier, where Robert E. Howard describes the soldier’s attire.
Nemedian armor in general is more rough around the edges compared to their Aquillonian arch rivals. Still, while not being as a dominant military force as Aquillonia, engaging with a fully outfitted Nemedian soldier is not what one would desire to run into in a dark alley.
The following are several screen grabs from a castle build made by a Funcom employee.
Seen here are the walls with the small windows. Like many other wall styles with this small window, it is not possible to shoot an arrow through. However Kris said he believes it can be done via the larger windows (the unique window styles in this DLC talked about earlier) seen in the various screenshots above and below.
Andy joked about how Nemedians have a Katana when it doesn’t quite fit the lore for them to use such a weapon (Kris joked, “how do we make this look German”). In this case, it’s a game design decision so that it gives players more choice in what weapons they want to use.
While Andy initially said that a Javelin would be showcased, as is standard with all past DLC’s, no Javelin is part of this set. Though Dennis did mention a certain mod author who gets on his case about it.
Andy briefly brought up the challenges of coming up with inspirations for various designs when they don’t have full descriptions to go off of. Sometimes it requires taking cues from specific descriptions and interpolate from there. Kris said that the “How of the Dragon” is one of Robert E. Howard’s longest works, but still leaves the Nemedian culture with a lot of mysteries in a lot of ways.
New Saddles appear to also be part of this DLC (as Andy very briefly mentioned them), but were not shown on the stream.
In the last building contest, mods were allowed for the PC competition for the first time as consoles were judged individually and different from that on PC. Funcom reached out to a few of the winners and finalists to gain access to their database files so that they could do their own fly throughs of the bases on Funcom’s end. Unfortunately, they were not able to acquire recordings and the necessary database files for consoles to showcase those building contest submissions.
Thus, the next few screen grabs are from PC and with mods used. The showcase has 4 builds in it, including the grand prize winner for PC.
Andy noted that this build had so much stuff in it (fog, etc) that it made their capture PC struggle with capturing the videos. So they had to do everything in slow motion, and then speed up the recording for the stream.
Andy and Nicole talked about this build’s “life and death” side that Demiwolfe did. Nicole shared that the build had a “very NSFW” room that they could not show on stream. Not even to showcase on imgur.
Andy added that it is highly unlikely that they will ever implement such “NSFW” mod features into the base game.
(Personal Note): Key feature about this build that Deaso made is that the landscape has been custom sculpted by him. He took a rather basic looking area in the snow, and turned it into what you see now.
While the building contest submissions were being shown off, Dennis answered a few questions from chat.
Some players have expressed their dislike of the Spear move set since it was switched to a primarily single target combat move set many patches ago. Dennis said that they are not doing this immediately, and it’s not been scheduled, but that he has been talking to one of the Conan Exiles designers about adding an alternative move set between pikes and 2 handed spears.
In a recent update, they made it easier for them to design more move sets or weapon classes (which also helps mod authors a great deal). This will allow them to do additional things like make certain axes have different move sets then others. That gives players the choice of not only using a weapon because of different stats, but also because of different move sets.
Once again though, none of this is scheduled or is confirmed to be coming. It’s simply something that is now much more possible now compared to when it had many restrictions before.
Dennis wasn’t positive if the fix was part of 2.6 at the time of the stream. According to the Testlive patch notes (previously linked at the top), this fix is planned for 2.6.
Animation improvements and new animations are things they look to do whenever they can. But as they talked about before with the artists and the DLC, that means they have to take the animators off of projects like the 3.0 update. Dennis said that the team is “relatively small” so whenever they move people around, it’s a big deal.
Dennis says that they have nothing scheduled for this right now. They do have an internal paper design of things they are wanting to look at (though as with any paper design, it’s vastly subject to change).
Originally when the game launched, religion was supposed to be a huge part and one of the main identities of Conan Exiles (which is why Avatars are showcased in a lot of the early marketing videos). Dennis said that he knows that when you play the game today, that there isn’t a lot of depth to the religion system. Their future goals is to make religion a bigger part of the game, and someday that may (or may not) happen.
Dennis didn’t have anything to share yet about the Server Transfer status at the time of the stream.
Spawns missing in Single Player for Siptah is something that is high on their list of priorities to fix. (Personal Note: I tested this a little while ago with the 2.6 Testlive patch. Initial tests seemed fine).
Dennis brought up that typically, if something is in the Testlive patch notes, it usually makes it to live with the planned update. There are exceptions of course, with things getting cut at the last minute or patches delayed when issues are found. He further added that whenever they add something new or fix any bug, something that they always ask themselves, “is it better then it was before?” And if that answer is no, they will back that change out.
That’s the intention of the server transfer system. Players can and should travel between the two maps to learn the recipes that are exclusive to those maps. Dennis said that in the current system he realizes it’s not ideal for that, but ultimately the goal is to allow people to jump back and forth so that you can get what you need and return to the map you want to play on.
One of the downsides to the cooldown system and not being able to transfer when over-encumbered is you can only bring so much stuff back, and you have a limited window in which to do so. Dennis said that’s something they can definitely think about and tweak the numbers more (once the server transfer system is working again).
They don’t have any current plans for that specifically.
As discussed in various other developer streams, there is still technical limitations for allowing armor displays (Dennis said similar to torches and other placeables). Of course, as many players know, the mod Fashionist allows for Amor Displays, so why can’t the base game? It basically comes down to performance. When you add that many types of assets to one area, it causes the game to hitch. Dennis said that they need to continue to do performance optimizations before they consider adding an Armor Display.
(I’ll note the irony of this question when players repeatedly beg for mod features to be added to the base game).
Dennis said that similar features in mods get added to the game a large part because over half of their player base plays on consoles. And consoles don’t get access to any mods. Dennis said adding mods to consoles would be something he would love to do. However, the game currently uses so much memory that it would be nearly impossible to support.
With that said, he didn’t completely shut the door on mods being added to consoles in the future. They have been working hard on cutting down memory costs across various patches, so it’s not hard to stretch the idea that it maybe someday might be possible to add mods to console.
Otherwise, mods are an excellent resource for the development team to look at to see what players like and want to be added to Conan Exiles. They watch mod authors making things and players using those things. It’s basically a great feedback system for the dev team to mull over and decide what of those features should be given to everybody.
Dennis is a big fan of PvP in Conan Exiles. (And yes, he loves PvE too. Dennis has talked about how he has played on modded PvE servers in past dev streams. So please, no “devs only care about PvP/PvE/RP” stuff this time, ok?)
One of the things that Dennis has shown as Lead Designer for Conan Exiles is a lot of attention given to the PvP community and their feedback. He feels that a lot of feedback from PvPers have positive and far-reaching effects across the whole game (and not just something that affects PvP gameplay only).
Dennis said that he tries hard to keep all players in mind: the roleplayer, the builder, people who enjoy dungeons, the PvPers, and etc. He knows that Conan Exiles is a game for all those different personality types and feels he is everybody’s best pal when it comes to the changes that they make.
Bonus Bonus Questions
The following is anything I felt was relevant or interesting pulled from Twitch chat.
Q: How do all those Thralls hold their pose in the screenshots?
Dennis: We use the Pippi mod and development tools that aren’t released to make content for marketing.
Q: Will there be new mounts in the future?
Dennis: Almost definitely!
Q: ETA for 3.0?
Dennis: No ETA as of now.
Q: Will the Twitch drops be fixed on PS4?
Ignasis: We have a fix for that! (see 2.6 Testlive patch notes, linked at the top of the page).
Q: Is the DLC for both official maps?
Ignasis: The DLC is available to all players who purchase it for any map.
Q: Fix bugs, stop making new content.
Ignasis: The patch has bug fixes too (see 2.6 Testlive patch notes, linked at the top of the page).