Interiors -- the last remaining world building focus for the game -- have been added, though at the moment we'll be needing the proper time to populate them. These structures don't have any electrical power, making most indoor exploring pretty dark. This is where lighting comes into play, as several darker areas both interior and exterior can be lit by various spells and objects to grant better visibility and ease the search.
There's been plenty of character focus this past update as well: Perma-death and crafting in their basic forms are now in place, along with a working system for producing a unique set of stats for each individual character. A neutral Skelebot that works as both playable character and as a non-hostile NPC, a dynamic character name generator, and NPC dialog have also been thrown into the mix.
New music, regions, improvements to shadows and particle effects, a new lamp object, and two new spells: "shrink" and "flash of light," round out the sizable list of update highlights. Check out the latest gameplay video showing off everything mentioned and more here (in HD): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24qWu6TPdpE&hd=1
And to make up for the lengthy radio silence, we have three new developer journals available. A breakdown of the video as well as a detailed explanation of the aforementioned features, additions and improvements: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2011/03/valley-without-wind-pre-alpha-7.html
Arcen head Chris Park goes into his approach to the design process of AVWW as compared with past works: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2011/03/a-valley-without-wind-design-process.html
Lastly, Chris discusses horizontal versus vertical game development phases, and wonders why indies can't explore the latter as much as they do the former: http://christophermpark.blogspot.com/2011/03/horizontal-vs-vertical-game-development.html
That's all for this process improvement focused update. Come back next time for an update heavier on the art advancement. A Valley Without Wind is currently set for official release on PC and Mac later this year, with a playable Alpha build available to customers who pre-order coming in April.
About Arcen Games
Arcen Games entered the PC indie scene in 2009 with their cult classic AI War: Fleet Command, which was named the 40th best-reviewed PC game of the year by MetaCritic. Their second year was a busy one, seeing the release of The Zenith Remnant, the first full expansion for AI War; Tidalis, an innovative block-based puzzle with casual appeal and hardcore depth; and Children of Neinzul, a micro-expansion for AI War with all profits benefiting the Child's Play charity, of which Arcen is a platinum sponsor.
AI War's third and largest expansion Light of the Spire marked Arcen's first release of 2011, and now the company has shifted its focus and excitement to the development of A Valley Without Wind. Originally a one-man shop, Arcen Games has grown to have half a dozen part-time or fulltime contributors to its various titles.