22 November 2007

The update

Everything is ready for the update, except for the Linux and Mac client. Hopefully, we'll have the Linux client by tomorrow, and the Mac client in a few days.
The final release for this update for windows has been released so that people can predownload, and if the stuff is not ready by Friday, we'll push the update to Monday (I don't really want to do it during the weekend).

Most of the PK server maps are almost done as well (mainly changing them all the PK, with the exception of a few maps), and we are expecting the PK server to go in some testing mode in early to mid December (we'll have a one or two weeks beta, with an item wipe at the end of it, so that we can test various variables that will need to be adjusted).

18 November 2007


A few weeks ago, we started a new 'tradition': During the weekend, we'll have a No Drops Day (you don't lose your stuff when you die, monsters don't drop anything). During the NDD, there is a general invasion for everyone, with monsters ranging from Spiders to Giants and sometimes Dragons, and this invasion is free style, pure hack and slash fun, almost no rules (although we encourage players to fight monsters their own levels, and not kill the monsters designed for the newbies).
The second part of the day is a big invasion on one single map, where we start with 520 giants, 60 red dragons and 20 black dragons (the numbers can vary a little).
The objective is to clear the map in a given time period (around 4 hours). If the players manage to do that, then the next weekend they get a similar event. If they fail, then the next weekend they will get a weaker invasion, and no No Drops Day. However, if they do kill all the monsters in the allocated time, they get another NDD next week.

Until now, we had the final invasions in Bethel, a small desert map which is mostly.. deserted. Being a small map, 600 monsters are allover the place, and it is very hard to kill the first 100 or so (you basically die within the first 1 to 10 seconds in the map). However, after the monster density decreases, it's relatively easy (ie. not insanely difficult) to kill the other monsters.
Given the fact that most of the fighers enjoy No Drop Days, they work together as a team, regardless of their alliances or wars. Lower level players that normally can not kill giants also participate in the invasion, either by acting as cannon fodder, and/or mages, harming and poisoning the monsters.

After the last invasion, one of our players, Conavar, came up with an idea on how to spice up the invasions.
He suggested that there should be some secondary objectives to an invasion, that would give the players some bonus such as extending the deadline, removing some monsters from the map, give the players access to some hidden supplies, and so on.
The secondary objectives could be escorting a player to safety, having to kill a player, etc.

I immediately fell in love with this idea, mainly because it reminded me of one of my favorite childhood games, Tie Fighter, which is a futuristic combat flight simulator. I am not sure how many played that game, but the idea behind it is that you pilot various ships and you need to accomplish some well defined goals. Goals like destroy a certain ship, protect/escort another ship, disable one ship and then protect it, and variations on this theme. Those missions were very well constructed, and made the game really fun. Most of them had a primary goal that had to be completed, and secondary, or bonus goals, which were optional.

Because Bethel is such a small map, it was impractical to run any side missions there, since the monster density won't allow it. So instead we used Idaloran, which is a BIG map. There were two announced secondary objectives, one of them being that in 1 hour the city must be clear from any monsters, and the other one was to find and escort Gicu (the character I run invasions with) to safety. The first secondary goal failed, but the second one was completed. Near the end of the invasion, I added a 3rd secondary goal, where two black dragons in another map had to be killed in 30 minutes. Players completed that goal as well.

Overall, it was a very nice invasion, and pretty much everyone who participated enjoyed it. A lot of good items degraded during the fights, which contributes to the economy and our pocket :D Many health essences and rings and mana potions were also used, which contributes to the economy alone (not to our pocket).

I'm looking forward to the next weekend, and have to come up with some new ideas about secondary missions.

11 November 2007

Update status

Short update about the.. update.
Most of the bugs were fixed, and the only thing remaining to be done is finishing the new file management system.
Basically, on Windows, the settings, counters and logs will be saved somehwere in c:/my documents/elc/ (for Linux and OSX, there will be no significant change).

The main reason for this is that under Vista you do not normally have permissions to write in c:/program files/, where EL is normally installed. Another reason is that we finally want to unify stuff so they work the same on all the OSes we support.

This will complicate things a little for the end user, but it's not our fault that all the modern operating systems require applications to write their data somewhere else. Besides, most of the programs already do that, so who are we to disagree?

We will probably have a final RC in a few days, then, if there are no problems, we'll have the update in a week or less.

02 November 2007


A few days ago we uploaded the first Release Candidate for the update.
The biggest new feature is the sound, which requires a lot of testing. Other new things include the support for engineering objects (mines, snares, etc.), lots of clothes, a menu system that the server can send to the client, support for the tailoring skill, and a new file management system.

Most of the tests went well, but there are some bugs left, so we'll need at least one more RC. The good thing is that we don't have show stopper bugs.
The way things are going now, we should have the update by the middle of this month, although we do not make any promise, as Murphy never sleeps.