Hail and well met, Elyrians!
As the days grow longer and warmer, the team grows larger and faster. We are encouraged by the warm rays of the sun and our game garden is sprouting like mad! The blooms we planted back in April are going to be beautiful.
We've brought another engineer into the fold! Victor "Sekmu" Rachels is our new Senior Client Engineer and brings with him a wealth of experience with game engines. He hails most recently from Konami, where he shipped Metal Gear Solid 5 and Metal Gear Online, but has also worked on a variety of other interesting projects such as Lost Planet 3 and VR game ArcSlinger. He's a serial-team-player, and his dedication to quality and integrity really impressed the team. He's excited about working on the experiences that you, as a player, will interact with and creating tools to unleash our content team. We're excited about that too!
When he's not programming, he has a cornucopia of hobbies both in-and-out of doors. In the outdoor variety: hiking, kayaking, and travel. Of the indoor variety: minis and books. And of course he's a gamer, where he enjoys both digital and analog varieties including: MMOs, co-op games, adventure games, and board games. He's currently playing one of the most ancient and challenging games ever created: Fatherhood.
Please give Sekmu a warm welcome!
Now, let's check in on our brave adventurers...
Members: Wiz, Raevantiel, Vanimus Prime, Irreverent
Their adventure is complete! This brave party was rewarded with the admiration of their peers and satisfaction of a job well-done. They have bonded through this experience and, rather than move on separately, Irreverent and Vanimus Prime have recruited Wiz and Raevantiel into their other party and successfully negotiated the expansion of the Elyrian Zoological Society into an organization that considers all aspects of the natural world. Henceforth, the group is now the Society of Elyrian Ecology.
Members: Mudokon, Racronos, Irreverent, Vanimus Prime, Souzou, Wiz, Raevantiel
This group's contract was expanded to encompass all the flora and fauna of Elyria, including its peoples. Anthropologically-speaking, the group is investigating the links between the Tribes of Mann and the legend of their shared ancestry. Is Mann truly the father of all Tribes, what of their mother(s), and what of the whispered rumors of another lineage? By examining their skeletons, facial features, physiques, and other characteristics, we may finally know...
In concert with this, there is work being done on the Horse, Dryas Elk, Canis Rabbit, Ursaphant, and Flower-Cup Porcupine. How they move is of primary interest, but the Society is also recording the sounds they make and detailing their musculature.
Souzou is leading the efforts to catalogue all the aspects of the Lower Montane Forest ecology: the plants, animals, and insects that live there; the weather patterns; the natural resources that the tribes in the area make use of; and everything that lends itself to the balanced operation of the region. Wiz and Raevantiel are now assisting in the catalogue, making sure that all the pieces of the puzzle are accounted for. The Society dreams of cataloging all of the Elyrian biomes in due time but are focused on the Titan's Steppe area because it's where the Prologue takes place.
Members: Strider, Tripnull, Sekmu
Our newest addition to the team is consulting with the small party tasked with moving around Elyria. Having got basic walking, running, and sprinting into good shape, they've focused their recent efforts on improving crouching and falling. With the work on the horse by the Society of Elyrian Ecology, work on mounting and riding is imminent as well. The horse will have its own gaits (walk, trot, canter, gallop, swim, jump, etc) that the rider will be able to control, so the team needs to make sure that silly things don't happen while in the saddle.
Members: Caspian, Heat, Souzou
The final details about the tribes are nearly complete! The Society of Elyrian Ecology has provided some of their research to this endeavor and we've seen all of the tribes begin to take actual, if crude, form in the world. This party will have completed its current adventure with the culmination of the upcoming Q&A on Tribes.
Members: Cynax, Tripnull, Glaive, Michael
The foundation started a couple weeks ago has become pretty solid. Already we've got Unreal and SpatialOS running in concert, multiple characters running around and animating, entities persisting after logging off (the way OPCs will), colliding with one another without passing through, and server-side authority of location and other data such as character vitality.
Currently, the party is adding the bricks for generating equipment variations for crafting, sending character appearance, loading and instantiating levels from the server, and providing additional design tools for creating and managing objects and entities in the world. All of these lead toward a glorious future where the game client on your computer is able to take the data sent from the server and provide you a persistent, living world that is always in sync with those around you. When the server is the authority, it means that there is less opportunity for hacking and exploiting. We think that this is a very good thing!
Though they are working well to complete their adventure, I wouldn't necessarily say that all the members of this adventuring party are lawful-good. Glaive, in particular, is a bit of a maverick and keeps roping in others to game jams on the weekend. This has resulted in both new advancements toward ElyriaMUD, but also questionable "games" about dancing dinosaurs. With the backend being cleverly constructed the way it is, though, we can see the online players represented with the same data in either the Unreal client and the simpler, voxel-based client that ElyriaMUD will use - so that's pretty neat! Since ElyriaMUD is designed for us to get much of the gameplay tested and iterated on before we match it up to the full, 3D experience in Unreal, seeing this come together with the same data in the backend is exactly how we planned to do it from the start. In the immortal words of John "Hannibal" Smith, "I love it when a plan comes together!"
Members: ZRO, Death, Cynax, Glaive, Scarlet, Michael, Serpentius
Now on to the heroes of the hour! This group has been slaying monsters left and right, cleaning up the website and providing numerous improvements. The citizens of the Elyrian forums have been made safer and happier as a result. With the most public contributions out of all our adventuring parties, these intrepid adventurers have been putting it all on the line!
This week, the functionality to contribute Tokens to settlement and organization leaders will bring communities closer together. Other improvements have also come out recently. Work continues in earnest on forum organization and pledge package inventory, as well.
Their primary objective is still the V3 version of the website and the wireframes for this experience are nearly complete, but already the members of the Order of Online Play are conforming the backend structures they've created for the game to the backend needed for the website. Ultimately, we are driving toward a fairly thin veil between the game and the site. We want many aspects of the game to be accessible via the forums, be that organization management and recruitment, server-specific feeds of major events going on in the world, communicating with players in and out of game, and more.
Serpentius has been a fine addition to this party, as well. Already an experienced online warrior, he has jumped right into tackling support and community issues with gusto. Many of you have seen him around the forums and Discord. He and ZRO have been a dynamic duo, investigating many-a-wacky-bug affecting some folks. Beyond making sure folks are getting the support they need, thought is getting put toward more community-focused things such as affiliate programs, player-sourced content, community events, fan site kits, and other fun things to get involved in.
Members: Irreverent, Tripnull, Wiz
This party is undertaking a crucial mission that will lend itself to several, future endeavors including character customization and crafting. In past updates, you've seen a variety of clothing and armor. You've seen different hairstyles and different genders and different body types. Until now, those combinations were relatively random. As we nail down the tribes and begin to populate more data from the server, we need to be able to reconstruct different combinations for data integrity across the server, as well as validating how equipment works across different proportions.
Enter the Proto-Tailors, who are stitching these things together, beginning with a wardrobe tool to construct all the types of wearables with all the different materials we've got. This lends itself to the type of equipment-crafting experience we will want for pattern-creation and crafting. The next step is adding the tribes and all their unique proportions (ex. longer than normal legs or arms, more gaunt or more stocky) and then it's on to things such as skin color, facial features, hair, and other visual aspects of character-creation. Though not every tribe will feature in the Prologue, the technology that supports the tribes needs to work across the board because of our breeding and genetics system. To that end, the next set of assets that we generate will be based on the Neran who are the dominant culture in Titan's Steppe.
The last Q&A was of the Open Topic variety. We really covered a broad set of questions, and you can watch the entire 90-minute session here. If you'd just like the highlights, though, we've prepared a pared down version. Head on over to our YouTube channel and watch the Open Topic Q&A in Brief!
The next Q&A is on Tribes which, if you watched the last Q&A, should be no surprise! The next Q&A will be held on Thursday, June 8th at 1PM PDT / 4PM EDT / 8PM GMT / 8PM UTC. I'm not posting a question thread yet because we haven't released the tribe details yet, so there's not enough to ask about. Rest assured, the details will be posted in the next couple weeks so you'll have ample time to read and digest the information before posting your questions and tuning in to the Q&A.
To reiterate, Tribe details will be released in the next couple weeks. In the meantime, practice your pronunciation of the Tribe names with this handy recording!
That's all for this update, but we've still got plenty of other things going on in May. We're halfway through our anniversary promotions with more announcements coming soon. The Token Contest is imminent (AKA tomorrow, May 18th) and there's still the mystery about the Week 4 promotion. Stay tuned for that, Tribe information, and more...coming to a blog near you!
Pledged to Your Continued Adventures in Life, Both Actual and Fantasy,