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Moving On...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007 11:37am
jeff
Lead Developer
Yesterday's post may have been a little overly emotionally charged, but these are emotional times. While some excellent and inspirational posts have been made in the forums, they really can't change what has happened. These changes certainly will have a large affect on Antilia - but a larger affect on Right Brain Games. For now, this project is solely in my care, and I am moving on.

The Community Relationship


The first thing I'm changing is the community relationship. In the past, we have kept too many secrets in the names of perfectionism, professionalism, or plain old paranoia. Protecting the 'company image' is gone now - it's just me - and I need the community's feedback too greatly to keep secrets. (I will still be keeping a few story-related secrets for the time being... that's just part of good storytelling. As I probably won't be able to keep these secrets for too long in the light of testing and development, expect them to be revealed in future lore posts.)

To that end, I aim to post some sort of progress update or news to this blog every week, preferably with a screenshot - even if it doesn't display anything new or particularly exciting. While an individual post risk being too technical for some of the community, the idea of a 'development journal' by which people can track the project and see how it is progressing over strikes me as a good thing. You don't, afterall, have to read it.

Examining the Pieces


So, starting this tradition of more open communication - let me describe where I am sitting in development right now. Now, obviously yesterday's decision wasn't made overnight - it is the result of weeks of growing stress and turbulence - so I've had a little time to foresee this potential outcome and prepare myself to keep this going.

Shane has left me with an excellent repository of code. As Antilia sits right now, it includes our most advanced server, our most advanced client, and our best content to date. Really... it's a terrific place to pick up from, and I don't intend to go back and change much if anything. I spent last week collecting all the pieces of the project, assembling them in one spot on my PC, and reading them to be changed. So, all the scaffolding is basically in place. I just have to decide where to build.

On the server end, we have a robust server that's really been spectacular compared to previous server attempts. So far, we've connected up to 4 or 5 computers across the internet without any problems at all. It is designed to scale, and while I'm sure will present new challenges along the way, I am very confident with it.

The client features a login screen, a 'create new character' screen, a download screen where it automatically downloads zones that have changed, players can walk, chat, and currently invoke a gesture animation. Collisions are fully implemented against static objects like buildings and trees. It includes a dynamic sky system with a day/night cycle... it's nearly a presentable 3D chat room at this point.

I also have a robust set of editors for creating trees, terrain, and scenes.

On the content side, we have a couple character models that are a good start. They could use some clothes, since the paint-on undergarments are rather silly and distracting.

The New Plan


The new plan is simple. Throw out the concept of a normal mmorpg launch, and go with an incremental launch. I will initially spend some time working to get everything to a sort of 'platform' state. There won't be any gameplay, just a basic 3D chat-room, really. I will ask for volunteers in the community with appropriate computers and communication skills that can participate in weekly or semi-weekly test and feedback sessions.

As we add more content and features, the number of testers and testing opportunities may grow. When the game is sufficiently solid and the game has enough of an audience to justify full-time availability, we will move to a permanent server and deal with the bandwidth costs.

Latest Changes


Changes made so far this week have focused around concerns that the gameworld appeared too dull. It's something that had been grating on me for some time, but hadn't been a priority. I am also currently working on a new lore post, the first part of a short story. It will hopefully make it's way to the Lore gallery soon.


Large Version

In conclusion, I'd just like to say thank you to the community for your patience while we work through this transition, and please try not to be overly discouraged by it. Ultimately, the old system wasn't working, and I believe Antilia still has a bright future ahead of it.
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