Shroud of the Avatar – Update of the Avatar #266

Greetings Friends! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

Game Development


The Making of South Midmaer Way

South Midmaer Way used to be the location of a thriving city with lovely canals on the shore of a large lake in an otherwise arid region. The city grew rich on trade through the area as it sat astride the main road. The rulers of the city built tombs to themselves amongst the cliffs and hid their treasures in them, defended by traps of course! However the lake dried up and the town was abandoned. Now opportunistic Satyrs have set up a bazaar in the ruins and Plunderers raid the tombs.

[From a A Dev+ Forum Post by Chris “Sea Wolf” Wolf]

Hey folks, I have a few screenshots to share of our updates to South Midmaer Way. The visuals are inspired by African grasslands like the Kalahari, as well as the ruins and rough terrain of the Valley of The Kings. A Satyr bazaar lies at the heart of the grasslands, nestled within the canals of an ancient city. In the mountainous ravines, plunderers and Satyrs alike are raiding the tombs of ancient kings which are scattered throughout the map.

Satyr Bazaar

The Grasslands

The Plunderers’ Airship

The Tomb of the Child King

Chris Wolf
Level Designer

The Making of South Fetid Swamp

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here to give you the latest on my newest map: South Fetid Swamp!

Located on the western end of Verdantis it is the site of an ancient siege now littered with pungent skeletons, battered siege machines, and moss covered encampments. Methane is known to come out of the bog from time to time and produce small fires on the surface of the water.

The Ancient Siege of Castle Irvine

After a prolonged siege the attacking forces, consisting of elves, assaulted the South side of the castle. Waves of boats crossed the swamp but upon landing on shore they were met with unrelenting arrow fire. Few managed to get ashore and those that did then had to scale the mud cliffs. The slippery damp mud made utilizing ladders and ropes difficult. Casualties mounted but a brave few managed to break inside the castle courtyard…

A mysterious mudhouse dwelling deep within the fetid swamp.

Many of the swamp locals like to keep to themselves in this neck of the woods.

Inside of the mysterious mudhouse dwelling.

Looking down the heavily forested swamp littered with cypress knees, fish can be seen through the green water.

Stay tuned for another update on South Fetid Swamp!

New Bears to Roam New Britannia

The bears, like many assets purchased early in development for SotA, have been in need of a major update. This is something I know I am excited for. I am just hoping the textures models look amazing once the final versions are put together. The bears below look very flat, texture wise, but I hope they look far better in game.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

We originally purchased our bears from the Unity Asset store to save time and money, but they were not visually competitive. To address this shortcoming Kevin @UglyFist Wells completely rebuilt the bears for Release 51 including all the variations, the bear headdresses, bear mask, and the bear clan barbarians. 

Brown Bear:

Grizzly Bear

Polar Bear:

Patriarch Bear:

Obsidian Bear:

Vendor Variations & Improvements

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

In Release 51 we will begin improving Player Vendors through a series of technical and visual improvements. The first thing we will try to improve is visual variation. Long term we plan to support customization of vendors via equipment choice but for now we are focusing on providing that visual variation through our pattern system.

These patterns will include a female version of the current vendor, a completely new outfit based on Victorian shopkeeper uniforms (with gender and skin tone variations), and a cash register that will act as a fully functioning player vendor (even though it does not appear as an NPC).

We are also moving player vendors to actual NPCs with AI behaviors (vs just being interfaces) so that they can animate, sit down, etc. (instead of being statues that are just interfaces). This will allow us to do things like have vendors who don’t have inventory or haven’t had any sales in a long time sit down as an example. This is part of a much larger (and VERY cool) tech task where npcs on lots and towns can now act independently of their owner. This is going to allow us to finally have pets move and behave when the owners isn’t around instead of just being statues.

Finally we are also adding a new date column to the vendor UI so you can sort by the latest item added. This is just the first of many interface improvements that will be coming. Later we plan to do some major improvements to permissions and controls in vendors.

As part of all this we will be posting here some shots of these visual improvements as they are completed.

Merchant Cash Register & Pattern: This is a simple in-game commision charging version and will be available for purchase in-game in the same locations you can purchase in-game vendors now. You can also purchase the pattern to apply to any existing vendor (commision or commision free).

Ornate Cash Register & Pattern: This is an ornate commision charging version and will be available for purchase in the Add On Store. You can also purchase the pattern to apply to any existing vendor (commision or commision free).

Bundle Cash Register Pattern: This is a pattern that comes with bundles. Note that pledges that came with vendors will also receive one of these patterns. 

The Making of The Lost Vale (continued…)

“The Lost Vale” is a new adventure area (originally promised during the Kickstarter campaign) that is accessible only during special astronomical alignments. Note this is not to be confused with the Hidden Vale which is an entire island of both adventuring areas and towns that is accessible at all times.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Heraldry Items (cont.)

This week devs iterated further on the armor to ensure that the Founder versions were visually distinct and the Founder Cloth Heraldry Armor is making it’s first appearance.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

UPDATE Feb 8: Founder heraldry items will have unique visuals including collars on the tabards, longer bottom cloth sections with angled designs, shinier cloth, thicker/more detailed edging, and other details. We have updated the pictures in the post and the Sketchfab links with these updated visuals as well as adding the latest version of the Founder Cloth Armor.

Founder Cloth Heraldry Armor

Founder Leather Heraldry Armor

Founder Plate Heraldry Armor 

Founder Chain Heraldry Armor 

R50 Postmortem Telethon YouTube Video & Missed Questions

YouTube: Devs got the video of the Postmortem posted to YouTube for those of us who missed it. (Not surprising the first few minutes were cut off due to “technical difficulties”).

Missed Questions: Devs had pages of questions left unanswered after the R50 Postmortem! They were able to get to those questions and posted them to the forums Thursday.

[From a Forum Post by Starr “Darkstarr” Long]

Here are the questions that we did not have time to get to during the R50 Postmortem. I tried my best to answer these (with help from the rest of the team) but some we just don’t have details yet to provide. I probably won’t have time to do any follow ups to these. The community did a great job assisting us this telethon to make sure we didn’t miss a single question.

Please note I deleted a bunch of duplicated questions and also deleted any questions that we answered with the Q1 post or with the release of R50 or that we answered in previous postmortems. Also note that we are generally going to stop answering questions about “when?” as those are answered by our quarterly schedule posts and any other answers are going to be either “No ETA” or “soon” or “will update with the next quarterly post”.

A final thought: we see a LOT of repeat questions and requests. Please consider reading one of the other missed question posts, watching one of the previous post mortems, reading one of the post mortem transcripts, and/or reading our Post Episode 1 plan post before posting a question. Your question might have already been answered.

Elgarion: Can you please explain how looting/pickpocketing players works now? Especially in regards to a large stack of items–let’s say the person has a single piece of ore next to a stack of 500 ore in their inventory.
Atos: Choosing ransomed items now only includes the first item of a type in its list of choices. So having 200 unstacked worms only counts once. We didn’t get in the stack splitting but it does favor medium size stacks of stuff over giant ones. It can still pick a giant one but just less likely. I don’t think we are going to reveal the exact math but feel free to go experiment with a friend and see what you think!

Uncle Sven: What other reflex / twitch combat features do you intend to implement?
Atos: I plan on continuing to add more 2-3 second window situational or response skills BUT as with past skills, I try to make this optional. While I like to reward people who do like that aspect I don’t want to make it so powerful that it is required to be competitive. I have hooks for checking time since you criticaled hit or were critically hit, since you block/parry/dodge or were block/parry/dodged, and plan to more options of that sort over time. For the most part between now and launch my focus will be on Masteries (now calling them proficiencies), a small number of new skills, combos, and balance.

Xee: Can we have the ability to place things on castle walls and in the castle wall towers?
Starr: We have done some experiments with this but there are some serious visual issues. The main issue is that walls and fences have very “soft” collision to make them easier to place partially inside of each other to make perimeter fencing easier. Unfortunately this means items placed “on” them will appear partially “inside” the walls/fences. We don’t have an easy way to fix this without creating two separate collision layers which would be performance expensive. With that said we do want to make this happen eventually.

Mia Sway: after geming weapons and getting “on hit” then geming ring and necklace to do more damage, Does adding that gem to your chest add anything ? if not should it ?
Starr: Yes there are lots of gem enchantments tied to the chestpiece.
BCotton: Armor procs are unique to chest armor and require them to be gemmed. Chest armor has enchantments just like all other slots.

Seferfantasy: Will the taming system be adjusted anytime soon?
Atos: My belief is the concerns with the taming system are largely caused by people comparing it to the UO system and the power it gave. The difference is in UO, you had to give up a LOT of other skills to be a master tamer. In games like WoW or EQ, the classes are designed around whether they have a pet or not so they can make the pet more powerful. In SOTA, we let you learn any and all skills so if we made pets powerful, they would be essentially mandatory for play and players wouldn’t have to give up anything for them. We tried to balance this through focus costs and consumables but still didn’t get to a point where old tamers were happy. I will be introducing a new proficiency system (I was calling it masteries) and it will finally bring choice and also more power to tamers. It will go live in R51.

Alley Oop: what’s the demonym for residents of the hidden vale?
Starr: Good question. Hidden Valley Ranchers?

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