Birthdays, Potential, and Direction, oh my!

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Cervator, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    Time for another big update! This one is a little more philosophical in nature, looking at the big picture in addition to bits of recent stuff :)
    • Birthdays make for good reflection
    • Other voxel games make for good inspiration
    • Milestone completions make for good organizing
    • Badger badger badger badger
    • ... then incentivize?
    Yay birthday! We can has sleep nao?

    So we had a nice birthday event a while back, which was relaxing. Maybe a little too relaxing, mixed with some hectic fun in RL which got me from mostly-Terasology-filled evenings to rarely getting a chance to get much done. Add to that a slew of new (or newly discovered) games in our little genre here and a pile more concepts and mod ideas popping up in our forum and on IRC and you have the perfect mixture for "wandering mind" syndrome ;)

    We can't quite rest on our laurels yet though, we're not even in Alpha yet! One of the main challenges facing us is trying to pull off an open source game with little to no financial incentive (unlike lots of the other games being worked in the genre). That usually means a potentially large pool of widely different contributors with lots of good but different ideas and usually odd patches of availability. It can be easy to lose your way with a setup like that, especially with our September "Everybody looks to be freeing up, woo!" replaced with the dim realization that RL is still RL and manages to find ways to keep you busy anyway :)

    The last few months in particular we've been spiking out all over the place on tangents for certainly interesting ideas (cubic planets and fancy gravity, space, dragons, etc) with lots more misc content in the recent past before that, but most not really central to the narrow path toward a niche we can call our own. There's absolutely explosive growth going on in this genre and we need to focus the core of our game toward some solid content and novelty.

    Make no mistake - I still love all the ideas being brought up and want to see them get worked on - but we need to work harder on pushing forward on the truly important areas we need, like multiplayer and creature-centric content :rainbowdetermined:

    Other games in our sphere of interest - err, cube of?

    I've been running into more and more new entrants to our growing genre lately and still am keeping a bunch on the radar, looking forward to playing all of them. These are all looking great and worthy of their own spot, and I'm sure we can learn from them all and find our own place.
    • Dysis (link below) - Looks like Minecraft meets Total Annihilation (robots!), which is an interesting take
    • Blockade Runner - voxel-based space ships? Sure!
    • ScrumbleShip - also in space, notable for its interesting way to melt holes into blocks
    • Cubeworld - mentioned before and nicely polished, focusing toward RPG elements and multi player
    • Castle Story - cutesy and colorful, focused on fortifications on floating islands
    • Timber and Stone - like DF in nice 3D, single player
    • Gnomoria - also DF, with Gnomes, isometric-style. Still single player :(
    • Towns - also also DF, with humans, in single player as well
    • A Game of Dwarves - bit more like Dungeon Keeper, but with dwarves, made by Paradox (Woo! Released just a couple days ago) ... and still single player ;)
    Every last one of these (unless I've missed something) is a single or small group of indie devs (excepting Paradox, but they're great enough to be grandfathered in), usually following the MC model of preordering the closed-source game with updates expected (or releasing for sale normally). And plenty of success among them, with 4 and 5 digit kickstarters abound. The DF trending ones in particular are close together and all stick with single player and a single race the player is managing from a 3rd person perspective.

    Especially A Game of Dwarves is interesting to me due to its full 3D and non-isometric world view (free camera available - or almost free, anyway). Definitely can recommend getting this on Steam and playing with it to get a feel for lair management across multiple height layers with visibility extended beyond one layer when appropriate. It is a little quirky and reminds me of some discussion from a while back about the difficulties of marrying first person personal MC with third person DF/DK disembodied creature organizing.

    It still appears rare if ever truly managed to merge multiplayer and full 3D with the true DF experience including its ridiculous depth with liquid pressure systems etc. This is still what I believe we should be aiming to pull off long-term. In the meanwhile we have some more realistic big milestones to reach.

    Milestone 4 complete

    So we haven't really done any serious milestone discussion or completing lately, but we've still pretty much managed to finish Milestone 4 - Interaction. The big deals here were our initial creature system, fully functional and custom GUI (no more placeholders!), a nice block picker for easy "free style" construction, fully functional inventory, fancy blocks like chests/doors, and tons more. You can actually use Terasology reasonably for stuff now! As such I've rearranged a few remaining stray items from that milestone leaving it complete :)

    Coming up in milestone 5 - Extensibility is a focus on making it easier to add content to the game. Immortius has gotten us started nicely with his mod arc changes moving most the existing content into "mod" sub projects that can even be enabled/disabled at world-create time (excepting the very core stuff). Code can work outside the main source tree, although currently it is still a little tricky to compile everything just right in IntelliJ. May have to right click each individual mod directory and compile once manually - we'll sort this out soon, do let us know here or on IRC if you hit issues!

    More work to make modding friendly (and named right, since really any content will be a "mod", even internally) will keep coming and we might prep some other architecture, maybe even start tinkering with multiplayer soon. The other half of that milestone will be content content content - of relevance to the core game, so creatures, workshops, crafting, and assorted world features to help support everything and make the world even more vibrant

    The big future milestones include fleshing out "Free Style" a bit more, getting mobs working as enemies out to trouble you, and Untrue Tao. Not to mention multiplayer, of course. And we still have the interesting potential of playing with the Ouya (I'll have a dev kit in December!) and Oculus Rift (Also December, for begla !)

    Badgering Hunter Team

    Introducing a new concept - the Hunter Team! The purpose of which in a nutshell is to badger people in an assortment of ways ;)
    • Help keep tabs of our own contributors and poke them once in a while to see what's up and if anything is needed. It is very easy to miss times when contributors are doubtful or looking for something to do, we'll want to help spur activity anywhere we can
    • Hunt down interesting people out in the world - maybe authors of smaller voxel world projects that are stalled or not going anywhere, mod authors looking for something bigger, bored IT people looking for something to do, etc :)
    • Dig up useful projects, libraries, addons and so forth that might either offer us inspiration or even outright code to reuse - don't reinvent the wheel, literally, if somebody has a nice vehicle simulator in Java!
    • Attract players with videos, tutorials, screenshot galleries, articles, and similar material
    • And perhaps most entertainingly - play games! Like the list posted above :) Play, enjoy, have fun, and take notes! We want to know more about what's out there so we can position ourselves to not step on the toes of other projects (we don't want to clone) but instead stand out in our own spot (be inspired to innovate)
    So in other words it is all about outreach - a more boring term for some of it is marketing, other parts research. But hunters sounds cooler, and we can have SuperSnark make a nice Robin Hood Gooey who rolls for all the weapons ;)

    Badger.jpg
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    Incentive? What is this I don't even

    While we aren't in a position to join the utopian kickstarter crowd pulling in 4-5 digit sums like candy I think we can still improve what we can do to incentivize and reward our contributors. As a simple and easy start to that I've been talking to my wife and SuperSnark about doing a few home-made Gooey plushies we can hand out either to contributors or donors. My wife has done similar stuff before and just a few isn't a lot of work. For instance she made a Nyan-cat whiteboard marker holder:

    NyanSmall.jpg

    She's also playing with the idea of a simple web comic with Gooeys and living world blocks - posting one or a few of those a week might be something nice to look forward to and keep you coming to the site :D

    Finally, having written this mega post I'm reminded we probably need to do more frequent smaller post than this three-evening-monster. When I started this A Game of Dwarves hadn't even been released yet, I've since picked it up, played, and neglected my responsibilities for it - namely finishing this post :twilightblush:

    (Yes, I had to split this post into two because it is too long ...)
  3. DashofLoyalty

    DashofLoyalty New Member

    Derpy Hooves also had a birthday days ago :3:derp:
  4. A'nW

    A'nW Member Staff Member

    I heartily agree with everything in this mega-post. :laugh: Particularly needing to stake a niche and develop in that. (Space, full cube planets, etc are cool, but not real applicable me thinks...).
  5. Janred

    Janred New Member

    The hyperlink for Dysis leads to Gnomoria :)
    Timber and Stone seems cool.
  6. Cervator

    Cervator Project Lead and Community Wizard Staff Member

    Thanks for the catch - I attempted a fix, but amusingly the longer link pushes my post back above the length limit :rofl:

    So here's the Dysis Link separately instead with the bad link above broken

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