Greetings, BYONDers! We're rounding out the summer in style as it's still ridiculously warm where I'm at. I suppose I can't complain, but I will say that I'm quite excited for Fall. As to BYOND, we still have the excitement of 515's beta in front of us, as Lummox JR continues to beaver away at issues that pop up in the alpha builds. Heh, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's dive in to this month's Within BYOND!
Future benevolent supervillain and BYOND developer Lummox JR has been working tirelessly, pushing out the first couple 515 alpha builds. SS13 was unable to play around with it until a couple new builds were released, but they finally got their hands on it, and immediately Lummox JR noticed that Goonstation in particular was taking entirely too long to compile, and set to work improving the compiler's parser and a variety of other compiler components to vastly improve compile time for large projects. Switching gears a bit back to 514, Lummox JR has set plans for another maintenance release before the 515 beta is out. Lummox JR also mused about a Goonstation-specific init issue and about the possibility of upgrading his PC setup, as it's grown woefully out of date recently.
For all the joking around I do on this panel, this part is serious. Lummox JR's wife recently had a very important and life-altering surgery. The surgery did go well, but it seriously threw off previously-anticipated timelines, and introduced some finance-related stressors. If you or someone you know has been positively impacted by BYOND, consider supporting BYOND either via a direct donation or via Patreon or SubscribeStar. Both of the latter options allow you to join the Patron-only Discord server where you'll get a more direct line of contact to Lummox JR and the rest of us Patrons.
This month, I feel honored to be able to cover Within BYOND's previous author, Higoten, in his efforts to give Gestalt an update! Gestalt was previously built on a test-based map, but it now features 76 images generated by DALL-E 2, an image-generating AI. Toying with AI isn't all Higgy's been up to, though, as he's also significantly increased the text narration's font to be much more clear, and the storyline's been updated after some review. Higoten did also decide to remove existing sound effects as he felt they took away from the game's experience, but he does plan to replace them in the future with more fitting, ambient sounds that support the game's feel. Overall, a pretty neat and unexpected update from Higoten!
Soma Ryudo is turning up the heat in Tales of Mana! Soma Ryudo has added a new difficulty to Tales of Mana called Chaos that will likely require 5 players succeed against. Some encounters are slated to require this difficulty to encourage teamwork! Also changed were some balancing around Mystic Artes' potency and overlimit gains. Soma Ryudo also dove into the UI, making some accessibility improvements in the form of a new menu button in the top-left of the screen along with some usability improvements. Also added was some new functionality that allows gamepad users to double-click the Gamepad button in the Control menu to easily switch between Xbox and Playstation control schemes. Solid update!
Higoten isn't the only one who's been playing with AI, as Zelldot has created AIChat, the Game Plugin! AIChat is an integratable AI chatbot that's advertised as being usable for your game's NPCs, and also has a variety of controls to contour your AI experience. It's a bit weird hopping into a test project with AIChat, setting it up, and having my BYOND project have a full conversation with me, but if you're interested in making your NPC's dialog feel entirely too organic, then I suggest you visit the Adamai website and try AIChat out!