Hail and well met, Elyrians!
Has it been a fortnight already? The busy bees here at the studio are pollinating the flowers that have blossomed with more buds peeking up each week!
As the Game Master of this campaign, I've increased the challenge rating for the parties by demanding that their work be shown in full motion whenever possible, through videos and gifs. Let's check in on the adventures already in progress and see how they are faring...
Members: Mudokon, Racronos, Irreverent, Vanimus Prime, Souzou, Wiz, Raevantiel
When last we spoke, the Society was thick into three major areas: anthropology, zoology, and botany.
In the Anthropology Department, Racronos and Vanimus Prime pieced together many skeletons, hair and skin samples, and facial recreations on the various tribes, but have had to send off samples of their findings to the Tribe Foundry for verification. The end result, full depictions of each tribe, will be on display at the Chronicles of Elyria Museum (sometimes called the "website" which, I can only assume, has something to do with spiders) following the dissertation on June 8th.
Mudokon heads the Zoology Department's efforts on Elyria's varied creatures. The Dryas Elk will be the first to complete the full process of modeling, texture and fur, animation, and sounds to the level of detail Mudokon demands of his team. The Ursaphant, Flower-Cup Porcupine, and Trison are coming along, mostly with their animations, but the Canis Rabbit - the first of the Elyrian creatures ever modeled - is undergoing an update to bring it inline with the improved procedures the team has developed over the last year. In particular, the paws are being adjusted to account better for the way it uses its claws in hunting, it will become leaner and more defined as one would expect from a grasslands pack predator, and it's getting a bit of a haircut. Vanimus Prime is also beginning to model the Otter Bear!
Souzou, Wiz, and Raevantiel are continuing to catalogue the Lower Montane Forest ecology. They've identified seven plants, fourteen trees, eleven creatures, and some local insects that are keystone species in this biome. Chief among these is the sturdy Mountain Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and Jeffrey Pine trees, which make up the the bulk of the forests that blanket these regions. These trees make an inviting home for owls, rabbits, beavers, chipmunks, deer, chickadees, and king snakes while also providing excellent camouflage for the Conifer Rat. Mountain meadows contain a variety of wildflowers such as the blue penstemon, astrantia snow star, and hearty breed of violet that provides both food and cover for the Flower-Cup Porcupines that call the region home. Otter Bears populate the rivers that wind through the steppe and feed on fish and the occasional, inattentive land animal that stops by to drink from the cool, mountain rivers. Canis Rabbits also range into this biome as well as the lowland plains. Farmers in Titan's Steppe know well the cutworm moth, as well, whose larvae can easily destroy entire crops if not kept in check.
Members: Caspian, Heat, Souzou
As mentioned above, this party is verifying the Society of Elyrian Ecology's findings with their own records. Caspian has a Design Journal about the Tribes of Mann and how they were developed that you can sink your teeth into, which will be soon followed by write-ups and concept art on each of the twelve tribes over the next few days leading up to the Q&A. I'll update this post with active links to the tribe postings when each is available, so you have an easy reference for locating each one.
Members: Cynax, Tripnull, Glaive, Michael
Player states are further being handled through the server and Tripnull is working on providing similar functionality for levels. The Goldilocks Principle applies when it comes to which things are handled on the client versus the server, with the Right Amount™ being enough that data is secure and the server is the authority, but not so much that players are bogged down with latency or see others teleporting around on their screen. Some initial stress tests have been done on the client-side to get a baseline for the number of characters that an area can support at 60FPS and similar tests will be occurring on the server-side to make sure we are hitting that Right Amount™.
Michael and Glaive are also building an event system and action system to coordinate movement, jumping, combat, flower-picking, etc between all the players in an area. That way the Unreal client can handle playing the right animation, facing things the correct direction, playing the right audio, and more, for anything a player encounters when they come into an area.
Beyond that, the visual style for the MUD is being developed with Glaive and Tripnull making a few shaders that we are exploring that might make getting more detailed objects and characters into the MUD for next-to-no-effort by the art team. We always intended the visuals for the MUD to be trivial to make and ultimately disposable, which is why it was originally envisioned as text-based. After digging into SpatialOS's architecture back in December, we realized that we could gain additional feature-testing benefit with a simple 2D, or even 3D, representation instead. We still want that to be trivial and disposable, and we think we're on to something using WebGL and three.js to create a voxel-based version of the world. Prototyping quickly moved into architecture for that engine and I'll have some video of that to share later in June.
Members: ZRO, Death, Cynax, Scarlet, Serpentius
You are most likely familiar with the exploits of this notorious adventuring group over the last few weeks, as much of it has ended up being released on the website: the token exchange feature, pledge package gifting, and splitting out the server-specific forums. There's still much more to do! New game guide pages for the upcoming Tribe reveals are in the works and ZRO is chomping at the bit to start building the first pages out for V3. Death has just finished the last of his wireframes and we've approved the homepage and game guide wireframes internally. The next step is for Scarlet to create the graphics while ZRO puts it all together. The backend is essentially ready to go for the V3 efforts at this stage, so Glaive and Michael have parted ways amicably with the Protectors to focus on their efforts in the Order.
Members: Irreverent, Tripnull, Wiz, Sekmu
Sekmu has signed on to this party in order to develop the simple wardrobe tool into the character appearance and crafting tools that I mentioned in the last update were the logical next step. Irreverent has prepared the wardrobe, while Wiz is standardizing character textures to work across all the models. In a couple weeks, we should be able to generate a wide variety of characters with the existing assets. Then it's just a matter of making more hairstyles, clothes, armor, scars, and other features to be able to populate Elyria with greater and greater variety. Below is an example of some of the existing assets and the variety of shapes and textures this party is developing.
Members: Tripnull, Sekmu, Wiz
The studio was suddenly attacked by a multi-headed monstrosity known as Unreal Fourpointonesix. This creature appears every few Elyrian lunar cycles and its presence always brings about change - usually for the better - though it's not always a painless process. The Build Hellions are a mysterious group of sorcerers that appear to see us through the advent of this beast. The battle this time was prolonged, if not fierce, but we're nearly through the cycle and a new ritual has been developed to manage the chaos and distribute the technology this creature bears on its winged back.
Members: Strider, Tripnull, Sekmu
The improvements to crouch and jump are in and Strider is adding better transitions between moving and stopping, especially when running or sprinting. We want there to be a little bit of a deceleration as you come to a stop so that it feels natural. Though Tripnull and Sekmu were largely involved in their sacred duties mentioned above, in order to help with reviewing animations in-game they added in the ability to run around as an animal and toggle the camera facing. Being able to see the front of our characters is coming soon to a screenshot near you!
Members: Scarlet, Heat, Death
A new party has been founded to right the wrongs of the past and bring us into a glorious, new future full of modern graphic styling and exquisite information architecture! Though this party has ties to the Protectors of the Web, their quest goes beyond to bring unity to the interfaces you'll experience on the website and in the game. The first step in their mission is to develop the look and feel for these interfaces. It should be timeless and distinctly Elyrian, so Scarlet is creating some samples based on the interface design of Death and the artistic aesthetic of Heat. The first pass will be done later this week.
May has been an exciting month thanks to our anniversary promotions and more details coming down from the Creator about previously undocumented areas of the game and pre-release experiences. More information has been revealed about Exposition Points, about Villager and Guild Tokens, account merging, pledge package gifting, title gifting, and now Tribes. It is, perhaps, the most data-packed month we've ever had!
While we don't intend to stop barraging you all with information, the promotions will be coming to a close. As of June 1st, the 10% off of pledge packages and EP, the $200 limited time EP pack, the 2X referral bonus, and Token Contest entries will all be ending. Okay, I know a lot of you people probably like to wait until the last minute. Well, this is it! This is the last minute!
Fear not, brave ones. Giving of thine Tokens and Pledge Packages shall remain for the foreseeable future. It just would not do to hinder such honourable folks such as yourselves in the fair establishment of your own player-run communities. Thou hast our blessing to recruit among thine peers and passers-by, provided they are as trustworthy and respectable as thee.
Don't forget! As promised in the last Q&A, our next topic is on Tribes! Tribes in Chronicles of Elyria are a little different than the different races you might be used to in most MMORPGs and fantasy games or novels. Read Caspian's Design Journal on Tribes to learn about how they were developed. Specific details about each of the twelve tribes will be released daily over the next few days as well.
The Q&A will take place on our Twitch.tv channel on Thursday, June 8th at 1PM PDT / 4PM EDT / 8PM GMT / 8PM UTC. We will be taking questions primarily from our own forums on this thread. Head on over and post your questions or vote up the ones you want to hear answered in the Q&A.
For those who miss it, the recording will be watchable on Twitch.tv for a limited time afterward and on our YouTube channel forever. So even if you can’t make the live session, your question from the thread may still be answered.
Please follow these rules when posting questions for the Q&A.
Don't forget, many of the most common questions about CoE can be answered by reading over our design journals. If you're new to CoE, there is a wealth of information to begin with there.
We hope you'll join us Thursday, June 8th at 1PM PDT / 4PM EDT / 8PM GMT / 8PM UTC!
Pledged to Your Continued Adventures in Life, Both Actual and Fantasy,