Nightwraith | Friday, June 23, 2023
Howdy! This is Nightwraith again! It's been awhile, hasn't it? I'm still not 100% recovered, but I'm feeling healthy enough to release this update and write this post. In addition to the normal information about the most recent update, I'll also cover more details about my medical emergency and ongoing recovery.
This week, you'll find another bounty of new weapons in Acatriel's shop in the Afterlife.
Like the last batch of items, these are also tagged Rare, so they're an excellent way to boost your collection and rarity score!
For a very long time, there has been an experience cap on the amount that can be earned through a single duel victory. Normally this wasn't an issue as the cap war rarely hit, even with boosting, However, since I set Power Hour to run throughout my absence, this has made it possible to exceed the limit regularly. To address this, I've raised the cap substantially from 210 to 610. This should make it possible to shoot through the levels very quickly and earn Legendary ranks faster than ever until Power Hour reverts to its normal schedule.
In addition to being responsible for this release, Lodrian/Acatriel has been busy creating content for the next battlepass! Check out this preview of new content that should be arriving within the next few weeks!
Because I'm still not 100%, I don't want to set a firm launch date for the new battlepass, but thanks to Captain Rhubarb, we have more tools for adding content more easily than ever so that should help avoid many expected bottlenecks.
As mentioned in Beleen's update almost a month ago, I had emergency surgery to fix a retina detachment. How did I notice this was happening? Well, I was going about my business one Friday afternoon when I noticed something "off" about my vision. I started developing a headache and just dismissed it as eyestrain and assumed it would be better the next day after a good night's sleep. I was mistaken.
To give you an idea of what I saw out of my right eye, a grey veil slowing descending over my eye, I've created this visual aid:
After some quick Googling, I determined this was a classic symptom of a retinal detachment. Every article I browsed offered the same advice, "SEE A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY!" This is because the condition progresses very quickly and can lead to total vision loss in the affected eye within a few days or, in some cases, mere hours. What causes them? Sometimes age. Sometimes head trauma. Sometimes just a random bad RNG from life.
Unfortunately, I found this information on a Saturday, and most doctor's offices are closed on weekends. It's also very difficult to even get an appointment with a specialist without a referral. My only option was to immediately go to the emergency room of a local hospital. After a few hours meeting with some very nice doctors, receiving a battery of tests, and finally consulting with the staff ophthalmologist, the medical team finally reached a consensus that my retina had indeed detached, but the soonest they could address it was Monday.
With a formal diagnosis, I messaged the bad news to Artix and Alina to determine the best course of action. Based on what I learned about the surgery and recovery, it could be at least a month before I could return to work so I was extremely worried how this would impact EpicDuel, its ongoing development, and the players. Thankfully, Artix and Alina were very supportive and understanding of my situation, and we were able to brainstorm a plan of action for the next few weeks while I recovered. Lodrian, Captain Rhubarb, Alina, and Beleen rallied to the cause to help with Design Notes posts, database updates, and art asset creation to make sure the game didn't just lie dormant for a month. We realized that fully formed weekly updates were not possible, but one content release every two weeks would allow enough time for everything to be prepared and tested with light guidance from me.
When Monday arrived, I endured another round of tests, but this time more specialized for eyes. Emergency rooms have access to a lot of technology, but they tend to check EVERYTHING to get a general idea of what your problem is and to rule out other potential problems the patient may not have considered. Since I already had a diagnosis, the specialist could just focus on my eyes. The doctors and technicians thoroughly examined both of my eyes (retina detachments have about a 15% chance of occurring in both eyes eventually), and they confirmed the initial diagnosis: Not only was my retina detached, but it had been detaching for a while, just very slowly. Good! Excellent! I was nervous, but very excited to have this problem corrected to save my vision. Then...they told me to see another doctor on Wednesday.
I was disheartened, and asked the doctor if she was confident the retina wouldn't detach fully while I waited. She assured me that because the detachment was on the bottom of my eye (I saw the grey veil at the top of my vision because everything you see is flipped and reversed), gravity would hold it in place for a while.
Wednesday finally came, and with that, another round of tests. Though frustrated, I was relieved to finally be at an endpoint with this journey and that I still had some vision left to save after so many delays. The doctor was very nice and reassuring in his confidence that my problem could be corrected. Within a few hours, I was being prepped for surgery. For a detachment, doctors describe the worst-case scenario to prepare you for any outcome because they simply don't know the extent of the repair they'll need to perform until they actually get inside your eye. Fortunately, I only needed a scleral buckle procedure along with some cryo therapy to close a few tears and weld the retina to my eye again. A scleral buckle is a thin strip of silicon that's threaded around your eyeball and cinched like a belt to bring the retina back against your eye to allow it to heal. This is permanent. My eye has a belt forever. How did they get the belt around my eye? I made the mistake of watching a video. I do not recommend this. You ever tried peeling a grape?
I don't remember any of the surgery because I had general anesthesia and was asleep for the whole process. The aftermath was also very fuzzy, but the pain was much less than I expected. On a scale of 1-10, the pain level was probably a 4 at most. Surprisingly, the doctor removed the bandage the next day. I was dreading what horrors lurked beneath the gauze, but to my relief, it just looked really red. My vision, however, was extremely blurry. My doctor told me that I could expect some improvement, but not much because my eye was a completely new shape. To this day, my vision still looks a bit like this:
However, my eye is much, much less red now, and the spooky grey veil that threatened to steal my sight is gone. There is a fairly high recurrence rate for detachments so I will become very good friends with my optometrist and ophthalmologist to continually observe any changes in my vision. I continue to use medicated eyedrops and have a pack of ice nearby constantly to relieve swelling. Also water. Lots of water. For many years I foolishly substituted caffeine for real hydration under the "lol game dev life!" mentality, but that era is over. For the first few weeks after surgery, I avoided screens as much as I could, and even now my monitor can give me a migraine if I look too long. Though I'm now rocking a trusty eyepatch, I can still feel my right eye try to move and scan text and focus in unison with my healthy eye which causes a decent amount of discomfort.
The healing process is long, delicate, boring, and frustrating. My body feels ready to resume normal activities, but I can feel my eye lagging behind. "Strenuous activity" now includes carrying more than 10 pounds or walking to fast as I can immediately feel the pressure around my eye. I'm still a few weeks out from receiving new glasses to correct my vision. I haven't been as excited for anything so mundane in a very long time because now, my combined vision looks something like this:
My vision was already far from perfect, but now everything kind of looks like late 2000s video games with bloom everywhere or like watching a 3D movie without the 3D glasses. Text is still a major pain which really hurt my plans to catch up on reading throughout this recovery (thank you, audiobooks). That said, everything is getting better day-by-day, and this whole Nightwraith: Repair Mode saga is nearing an end.
I'm thankful for Artix, Alina, Lodrian, Alley Cat, Captain Rhubarb, and everyone else at AE who rallied behind me to help support EpicDuel through this trying time. I'm also thankful for the players who stuck around and offered well-wishes and didn't instantly bail when they heard EpicDuel's main dev would be down for the count for many weeks. I'm anxious to return to full-time development soon, and I once again thank you bearing with me as I share this journey with you.
Take care of your eyes, and duel on!