Six Month Progress Video!
It’s been a little over three months since we released our 3 Month progress video, and we’re excited to share the progress we’ve made since then. We encourage you to set your playback quality to HD, switch to full-screen, and enjoy our six month progress video, narrated by Richard “Lord British” Garriott!
Here is a time index for the main segments of the video:
- Cities: (0:00) A tour of the scenic waterfront village of Kingsport and the larger, heavily fortified Owl’s Head (1:08). Shows the exteriors of several player houses and the types of property lots to claim for player’s homes.
- Parade of Homes: (2:32) A look inside the Edelmenn and Viking (2:50) homes, Wizard’s Tower (3:19), Druid House (4:22), Town Tower (5:11), Lord’s House (6:12), and Lord of the Manor Keep (6:52).
- Basements: (8:12) An exploration of the sub-levels available for housing and various sample ways to personalize them.
- Home Decorating: (9:38) A demo of item interaction and home decoration using convenient parent/child object manipulation.
- Conversations: (11:38) A peek into the full sentence conversation system for interacting with NPC’s.
- Crafting: (13:13) Richard explains the phases of crafting and walks through the process of creating some items. (Chicken killing 15:06)
- Adventuring and Combat: (15:20) A brief exploration of a prison, known as The Clink by the locals, showing off dungeon mechanics and a look at some very preliminary combat action (16:33). Some further exploration and preliminary combat in the Old Forest (17:03). Afterward, a look into some natural caverns occupied by kobolds, bears, and glowing fungi (18:42). Finally, a look at the Dragon Field (20:28)[NOTE: Our combat system is in very, very, very early stages of development, so please understand that it will continue to evolve as it is developed, tested, redesigned, etc. We will welcome backer feedback once we've released the combat prototype for play-testing and are prepared to keep enhancing the design until it is fun!]
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues - All News
Thursday - December 12, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Early Access Preview
Tentonhammer has a new preview of the Early Access version of Shroud of the Avatar.
I went up to Austin last week for a first look at the new release and my experience started the same way as many will their first time into the game, in the soon-to-be infamous “chicken room.” Logging in to a single room with a torch, a chair, and a couple wandering chickens was an unusual experience. At first, I looked around trying to figure out if I’d just been allowed in on some sort of inside joke, the sort you find in every gaming community. After a minute or so of being mildly amused and not a small amount of confused, I reminded myself that I had a job to do and I got serious.
The second more serious look was when this room started really making a little sense, and I think shows some seriously deep thought on the part of the developers. In this simple room, you’re exposed to the quintessence of what Shroud of the Avatar is. It actually heightened the experience of wandering the larger world a short while later, which everyone else will have the opportunity to do on Thursday.
I also have a new movie as a bonus for those interested in watching Lord British roleplaying the Avatar.
Sunday - December 08, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar
It's time for another update for Shroud of the Avatar were Portalarium talks about Pre-Release Access, Kariela’s Song, Crystal Sword, Skinning Knife, and more.
Early-Early Access to Pre-Release 1 for Dev+ Backers Starts Today!
Chris Spears put out a call on the Dev+ Forums today, to all backers at Developer pledge level or above, to help us test our installer and patcher before we open Release 1 to all 25k+ backers next week. Here is what he posted:
Hello Dev Plus people! Today we have a special surprise for you! As you likely know, next week we are opening Release 1 up for the weekend so you guys can help us test a few things. Before we do that, we wanted to do a smaller test and let you guys help us test our installer and patcher system so we can verify it works for the vast majority of people and fix any major issues that come up before doing a larger roll out. If this all goes well then we’ll put out another patch early next week and open login to a small scene to verify dev plus people can login successfully.
You will not be able to login today but feel free to try. Early next week we’ll enable dev plus login only to help us test that system before Dec 12th.
Since you guys are dev plus and we’re trying to share as much dev stuff as possible I’ll give you some info on how it works. There is a standards installer that runs first and installs the app. When you run the Shroud app it starts up a bootstrap patcher that checks to see if the patcher needs to be updated and updates it if needed and then relaunches. Once you have the current patcher, it will start patching out the full game.
The patches are all deltas of previous versions and then compressed to keep them as tiny as possible. We also can package multiple updates into a single patch. Today’s path will be a “0 to 40” patch which means versions 0,1,2,3,4,5… 40 all rolled into one patch. We can also do things like a patch to take you from 40 to 50.
As for bandwidth, that is part of what we’re experimenting with today. To maximize patch speeds and minimize costs, by default the client uses a torrent like system so you’ll see that you’re uploading as well as downloading. In case you’re wondering, YES, we could track how much people have uploaded and yes, we’re talking about awards and achievements for people who upload the most. For those who are in secure locations or locations that try and block torrent traffic through packet inspection that mistakenly block the client, after 5 minutes of low or no downloading it switches over to a fallback. The fall back uses a more standard http type download direct connection through port 80.
For seeding, we’re using 5 dedicated boxes each with dedicated 100mbit connections in a few different locations. Depending on how much sharing we see, we might add a few more seed boxes before release 1.
Sadly, today’s test will be for Windows only.
Chris “Dippy Dragon” Spears
BurningToad (aka Ken Pfile on the server team) further explained in the thread that “After patching completes, it should run the game, bring up a screen with a play button, which you can then click to get to a login screen. So if that works, then the patch testing worked, but yes… sorry that you can’t login just yet“.
So, if you are a backer at Developer pledge level or higher, please join us in testing our installer/patcher. If all goes well, a new pre-Release 1 version will be released early next week that will allow Dev+ backers to login to a sample scenario (endearingly referred to by the dev team as the “Chicken Room”).
Thanks to all our Dev+ backers for helping us work the kinks out of our installer/patcher/login process before we open the full Release 1 to all 25k+ backers on December 12!
Friday - November 29, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar
Portalarium has posted the lastest Update of the Avatar with news about the Blade of the Avatar novel, combat design, immortality fruit, and black friday goodies.
Blade of the Avatar Novel, Installment 1 – Prologue
The first installment of the serialized SotA novel, Blade of the Avatar (BotA), written by Tracy Hickman & Richard Garriott, is now available for download! Digital version of BotA is included as an Early Founder reward at all pledge levels $25 or higher, and is also available in the Add-On Store for everyone. Early Founders can download the first installment at the new Early Founder Rewards area in the community forums (accessible to Early Founders only; Early Founders are backers that pledged any amount by May 20, 2013). If you are a Kickstarter backer you’ll need to have your Kickstarter account linked to the SotA website (click here for instructions to link your Kickstarter account).
If you purchased BotA in the Add-On Store, then you will find a download link for the first installment on your personal SotA account page (log into SotA website and click on “Account” in the top-right corner).
- If the deck system ends up not being fun, what will you do with combat?
- Will I be able to build multiple decks?
- Can I switch decks during combat?
- When can I try it?!?
- I worry the UI will draw my attention away from combat
- Why do some things make skills “Noble”?
- Combos sound cool, is it always just 2 skills or do they go deeper?
- Can skills be used out of combat?
- How will I set “Locked Slots” and how do they relate to the number of skills in my deck?
Head on over to the public forums to read the entire post and share your feedback!
Black Friday Weekend Promotions
We have some great promotions lined up for Black Friday Weekend (& Cyber Monday)! Check these out:
15% Pledge Bonus on all New Pledges and Pledge Upgrades!
For all new pledges or pledge upgrades that you purchase for yourself, or as a gift, between 12:00 am CST November 27 and 12:00 am CST December 3, we will add an additional 15% bonus to your pledge account! For example, if you purchase a new Founder pledge for $65, we will add an additional $10 to your pledge account ($65 times 15% equal $9.75 rounded up to $10; our pledge package doesn’t handle cents so we round up to nearest dollar).
NOTE: The 15% bonus pledge won’t show up in your account immediately. Give us about a week after the end of the promotion period to tally everyone’s purchases and add the bonus pledge to your account.
15% Discount on Add-On Store Items!
We’ve dropped the prices in the Add-On Store by an additional 15% during the promotion period, so now would be a great time to get that special item you’ve been drooling over (or as a gift for some lucky person).
The Return of the Darkstarr Metronome and Moondial at a 33% Discount!
If you missed your chance to get a Darkstarr Metronome or Moondial back in July then now is your chance to grab one (for yourself or as a gift)! We’re bringing them back for Black Friday weekend only, at a 33% discount from the original price! Reserve yours now!
50% Discount on Viking Village Home!
The Viking Village Home was the first home we made available in the Add-On Store, and it has proven to be quite popular. For Black Friday Weekend only we are re-introducing the 50% discount off the regular price!
15% Discount on T-Shirts and Challenge Coins in the Merchandise Store!
If you don’t have a SotA T-shirt or Challenge Coin yet, or want to get one as a gift, then head over to the Merchandise Store and get them 15% off regular price!
Thursday - November 28, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Video Interview
The Spoony Experiment has posted part two of thier interview with Richard Garriott talking abut his upcoming game Shroud of the Avatar.
Sunday - November 24, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Video Interview
Portalarium has posted Spoony's "Britannia Burns" video interview with Richard Garriott that was part of the games kickstarter stretch goals.
Britannia Burns! The Long Awaited Spoony Interview/Roast!
You wanted it! You earned it in our Kickstarter Stretch Goals! You waited for it! Well, wait no longer! Presenting… Spoony meets Lord British, Part 1!
Tuesday - November 19, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar
Portalarium has posted the lastest Update of the Avatar with news about the Scene Jam & Recruit-A-Friend Winners, Skills Design, Windmill Home, Basements, and Taming Turkey.
Magic, Combat, and Crafting Skills Design
Executive Producer Starr Long shared the dev teams design notes for the Magic, Combat, and Crafting skills in a comprehensive public forum post earlier this week. Here is a brief excerpt from that post:
As we have described previously we want Shroud of the Avatar to be a classless system that allows players to define and play any role they choose. We also want a clear path for growth and specialization while also maintaining opportunities for competition and cooperation. This is our current thinking on how to accomplish those goals. Remember this is just current thinking and we will probably change many of these details. Note that we use the term “skill” to cover all player abilities including spells, combat moves, etc.
Windmill Village Home
Ever wanted to live in a Windmill? Well here’s your chance! Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutchison have designed this 2-story Windmill Village Home, with a comfortably sized room on each floor and an external stairway leading to a wrap-around deck on the second level. And yes, the windmill blades actually spin!
Tuesday - November 12, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ Game Industry
So, big picture, how is development on Shroud of the Avatar going?
Very well. Almost every day I see the output of our team, and am constantly reminded about how much faster this development process going in any other game I’ve been involved with in decades, and largely thanks to Unity. We’re just now about a hundred and twenty days in, and it would be hard to find something to complain about.
We do have a lot to accomplish within eighteen months or so, so we definitely feel the burn of the urgency of getting things done, but it's so far so good.
We're hoping that even by this Christmas, Decemberish or whenever we can, we're hoping to put a version into players’ hands.
That version will probably be more of a technical demo. It wouldn’t really be fair to call it an alpha or a beta, but it's enough to where we can exercise the multiplayer system—I hope—and the combat and the crafting and player housing and some of the other core features that we need to get into the players’ hands to even know if they're working properly, and then we’ll probably take it back down for a month or two at a time and have iterative times when it’s up to test out new systems.
So what are you most excited about in the title right now?
I’d say there are three areas I’m most excited about right now. The first is working with Tracy Hickman on the story. I'm a big story guy, story is hard to do well. I think I do it reasonably well, but I'm not a professional writer, so having a top notch writer in my corner can really help that a lot.
I'm really excited about the conversation system. The fact that we are not doing what most roleplaying games do these days, which is menu-based conversations that feed into a menu-based quest system that feed into repetitive level grinding… There are arrows on the map that lead you to the repetitive level grind. We are not doing that. Instead we are going a little old-school with a little bit of new tech, with the conversation where you just walk up to NPCs and converse—as in, to type like you would to any other player in the world. And the fact that it can also extract multiple sentences the time… to respond to multiple queries concurrently… It wasn’t something I asked for from the designer, he just made it so. It’s just great when you stand in front of an NPC, and say “Greetings, bartender. My name is Richard. What kind of beer do you have on tap? I am especially interested in an ale.” And the bartender will respond to all of that.
The third [feature I’m excited about] is the crafting system. And we still might even expand it from here, but the basis of it is allowing us to create many, many more discoverable and shareable recipes for doing things.
So, if you go back to Ultima Online. Ultima Online was one of the best MMOs for living in a diverse world, beyond combat, and I think we’re going to beat that mark pretty well with Shroud of the Avatar.
So, not only will you be able to go out into the world and gather raw materials, but that raw materials list is much broader than it ever has been before. And raw materials are usable in a number of crafting trees concurrently. You then refine those resources, meaning that you refine ore into ingots, you can then pull it through wire molds, or sword blanks, then you go to a blacksmith hypothetically, and then forge those into other things. We’re even making all the tools that you need for all these sorts of processes things that you make through other versions of the processes, and keep them all in good repair, and in working order in things you do with each other’s’ things in an interconnected way.
And because of the way that falls out also, the recipe itself is not a requirement, and so you can discover good recipes, so to speak. Which means that we can also invent new recipes later, and just not tell anybody we did it, and someone may or may not figure it out.
Monday - November 11, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar
Portalarium has posted the lastest Update of the Avatar with news about the Scene Jam IV Winners, Story Sneak Peek & Map Reveal, Early Access Release Schedule, and the Baron Home.
Unity Scene Jam IV Winners!
The challenges for the first three Scene Jams were:
- I: Build an ancient lunar rift
- II: Create a catacombs
- III: Build a village
For Scene Jam IV, the challenge was to pick any piece of Stephen Daniele’s concept art, create it in Unity, and tell the rest of the story. Show us what lies beyond that mouth to the cave, what is behind those ruined castle walls, or what lies deeper into that forest.
Once again, we had many exciting submissions! After long and careful evaluation, we are pleased to announce the winners of Unity Scene Jam IV:
- Third Place (score 82) and winner of a $50 pledge: Paul Drotleff (Thoreandan)
- Second Place (score 83) and winner of a $50 pledge: Mike Headley (LoneStranger), Nicholas Colla (Kilhwch), and Matthew Compean (Syipress)
- First Place (score 88) and winner of a Knight’s pledge: Justin Eslinger (jeslinger) and Kevin Eslinger (KEslinger)
Congratulations to the winners and our deepest thanks to all of you that participated!
Be sure and check out next week’s project update where we will announce the overall Grand Prize Winner of the Unity Scene Jams!
Founder Baron City Home
Next in our parade of homes is the Founder Baron City Home, only available as a Founder reward in the Baron level pledges. Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutch have knocked it out of the park again with this gloriously elegant dwelling, custom-crafted to befit a Baron’s regal status. A spacious three-story mansion with two front entrances and a rear exterior stairwell to the second floor, comprised of nine rooms, with open-air decks on the second floor, third floor, and roof-top!
Friday - November 08, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Early Access Schedule
Shroud of the Avatar is the next RPG planning to use Steam Early Access according to a forum post with their Early Access schedule.
We are incredibly excited to get Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues on your desktops very soon! As you have seen via our updates and progress videos, we have been making steady progress since our successful Kickstarter earlier this year. We have built out sections of the world while also developing housing, combat, crafting, conversations, AI, story and inventory. As our backers, you have a critical role to play in our development by providing feedback on design and soon the game itself.
As a crowd funded and crowd sourced project, we feel it is incredibly important that we provide our backers with information and access well before game studios would normally do so in a traditional development model. Traditionally, the players are given information and access only after the development team has already decided exactly how things will be done and even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public has access to the product, there is usually no time to meaningfully react to the public feedback.
Shroud of the Avatar is different than the traditional model, as we intend to offer our backers extremely early access to information and even the game itself. With that said, we also want to be very careful that we only provide access to portions of the game when they are ready for a wider range of feedback. If we can play it internally and we know it is not ready, then there is nothing to be gained by having a wider audience come to the same conclusion. In fact, it could be quite damaging to do so.
Our strategy over the next few months is to provide you with focused and iterative releases of content. Your feedback during these releases will be critical to making the final product the best it can be and we appreciate that you are all so willing to devote your time to helping us. With each release we will have specific tests we will ask you all to make. As we get closer we will send instructions on how to download, install, report bugs, etc. The first few releases will be very tightly scoped so access will be confined to a few days. After each release we will review the results and reevaluate the plan including the duration of availability of each release. With Release 4, we will have a representative game loop and we will increase access time. Please note that game data will be wiped periodically during early access.
Wednesday - November 06, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Editorial @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a short article on the reaction to the new six month progress video released earlier this week.
The combat system is a first draft, so to speak, but even with that knowledge it’s not particularly inspiring. Killings things is always the worst part of this sort of game though, I find, so perhaps it was wise to concentrate on housing before moving on to the tedium of hitpoint-reduction systems.
I’ll admit to being surprised that a lightning strike only did two damage to a bear. That was probably the most unexpected part of the hacky-slashy part of the video.
Comments that the game looks ‘dated’ and suchlike are entirely expected, however, and they’ve been spattered across the internet like the contents of a Saints Row septic truck. Next to The Witcher 3, Shroud looks like the product of a union between two ugly sticks that have been bopping each other and bumping uglies all night, but so does every other game. Shroud’s goals are different and if it can offer a world that responds to the presence of players in meaningful ways, backed up by a variety of possible virtual lifestyles, I won’t give a hoot what it looks like. Well, to a point. If every NPC was replaced by a crude 3d model of Danny DeVito, the game might well suffer. Then again, it’d certainly grab some headlines.
Sunday - November 03, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #7
Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the new Progress Video, Story Sneak Peek, Founder Starter Shield, and Fishing Pole of Prosperity.
In case you missed the video view yesterdays post here.
Saturday - November 02, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Progress Report Video
IGN has a new video of Richard Garriott showing what his team has accomplished after six months of development.
Lord British himself, Richard Garriott, shows off new features like housing, crafting, creatures, maps, combat, magic, and more in this progress report of the upcoming RPG, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.
Monday - October 28, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #6
Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the Unity Scene Jam #3 Winners, Story Sneak Peek, City Basements, Wizard Tower, and a new Baron 3 Pledge.
Unity Scene Jam #3 Winners
The Unity Scene Jam #1 challenge was to build an ancient lunar rift. The second scene challenge took a step forward in time to when people retreated underground and created the catacombs. For Scene Jam #3 we took another step forward in time to when people moved back to the surface and rebuilt villages and towns, so the challenge for Jam #3 was to build a village scene.
Next we get a new story sneak peek.
Welcome again, traveller. I am Arabella, and I have been sent to guide you…
Earlier, I described to you the choice you face initially; which path to take in your journey into the lands of New Britannia. Now, I will endeavor to shine some light on those choices, and the impact upon you and those you will meet. The first, your possible pathways among the seekers of Truth.
Among the truths you will learn is that much of our knowledge of the land of New Britannia is lost to the ages. The survivors of the Cataclysm four centuries past have settled in the land we call “Novia”, a large island which, while bearing the scars of that time, still harbors enough life to support our people. And others, as well… many of which you will meet on your travels. The Vertas people that live in the Forsaken Vale, for example, a new race borne of the Cataclysm which we have grown to call “elves”; Lord British has told me this may be reference to a long-distant legend that the people of Novia have since forgotten. The Vertas elves for their part are like men, but different… different enough. They struggle to live alongside the rest of us, but where a man might burn with emotional fire, an elf will be cold, distant. They worship history, knowledge and truth, and those who wish to learn the wisdom they hold would do well to discover the ways of these people. It is certain you will encounter them on your way.
The elves are not the only new race you may encounter, traveller. The lands of the southwest are rich and full of life, and that is rare in Novia. Men and mythical creatures mix throughout, and that brings conflict, as it always does. As our numbers recover from the Cataclysm, the settlements of various races meet, and begin to argue about land and water and right and wrong and truth and lies. Peace lies on a fine edge; it is an edge you may have to walk along. And always the Fomorians, remnants from the Dark Armies of wars past threaten; from their strongholds in Blackblade Pass they often strike looking for prey.
You will see many wonders on your path, traveler; the fauns of Midmaer and the barrens of Quel, the sailors who brave the Bay of Storms (whose name is well earned) seeking to take travellers to the legendary lands of Elysium, where lies the halls of Artifice. There, your destiny will take you, traveller, though it will challenge you in ways you do not yet expect.
This, then, will be one of the challenges facing you as prophesied – the journey of Truth. Will it be the Truth you wish to find? Or will it be the Truth that you wish would be? Or, will you see the Truth as it truly is? The choice will be yours…
The rest deals with housing and pledges.
Sunday - October 20, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #5
Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the Lord of the Manor Home, Crafting Sigil, Story Sneak Peek #2, Avatar Outfits, and much more.
Here is the story sneak peak as the rest is the usual housing and item news.
Story Sneak Peek
“…it shall come to pass four long centuries after the fall
There shall come one from beyond the circles of the sundered moon
Who shall bind the world together once again
From its shattered stone and boiled seas…”
– The Dire Prophecies
Greetings, traveller. I am Arabella, and I have been sent to find you. There are those who believe you are the one of whom the prophecies speak. A great burden, and a great destiny, if in fact you are the one foreseen…
In this appointed hour, we have been taught to expect one from another world, one distant from ours in both time and space… the world of Earth, of Lord British. Yes, he remains with us, and if all goes well, he hopes to meet you on your travels…
Yet, there are paths that you must walk, as the prophecies foretold. There are many who would challenge your place here, in the lands of New Britannia. There are many who have forsaken the virtues, and embraced a world out of balance. This, too, was forseen.
However, what you must always remember, traveller, is that prophecy is but a guide. Your destination may become clear, but what you make of it, and how you shape the world in your wake, is up to you. I beseech you, always remember this… and let it guide you. Always remain true to yourself, and to the virtues. For the sake of New Britannia, you must.
Where shall you begin then, traveller?
Among the seekers of truth, the elvenfolk of legend, lost in the mists of their own illusions? Can you find your way, the way of Truth, among so many who have lost their own?
Or what of the shields of courage, the brave lords of the northwestern lands who act as bulwarks, fighting in the endless war against the kobolds who shape technology and magic to challenge the dominance of man? Will you have the Courage to understand why they still fight, and will they?
Perhaps your path will begin where the dead rise again in torment, the undead armies of Spite, who have stolen compassion itself in a cold fury aimed at everyone yet alive? Can you find Love in a land so stricken with hatred?
The map lies open before you, traveller. It is only for you to choose the path of your destiny. For at your path’s end, as the prophecies have forseen, you must face the hidden ruler of this world, and then you will need all the wisdom our world can teach you…
And at that time, only fate can know what time holds in store for you. For us all.
It is time to choose, traveller…
Friday - October 18, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Video Presentation from NYCC 2013
Richard Garriott's Panel from NYCC 2013.
Lord British himself discusses the art of making games and what he and Portalarium have in store for Shroud of the Avatar.
Sunday - October 13, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #4
Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the combat sigil, story sneak peek, basements, druid home, and bonus rewards.
Now I'm going to skip the housing news and go straight to the story part.
Story Sneak Peek
Very little has been revealed of the Shroud of the Avatar story that Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott have been crafting. They are ready to start revealing snippets of that story a little at a time. Here is the first tantalizing morsel:
“Few know the tales of the dark times, much less what happened before them. Since the great Cataclysm 400 years ago the world has slowly recovered but much was lost…”
Where do we start, when telling a tale? We would start at the beginning, but so much of those days have been lost to us. We can see the fragments of the world that came before all around us; under a hill near a quiet village there might be a ruined building, made of alabaster and marble, speaking quietly of days past and glories lost. Occasionally an inscription can be seen carved in a wall, a fragment in a language similar to ours, yet different enough to be unclear.
The ruins of the world past tell us little, so we turn to myth, prophecies and legends retold. They speak of a cataclysm long ago, when the sky burned and the ground tore itself apart, and the long years afterward, the cold, dark famine. The stones of the past tell little of who survived and how. The legends tell us only that so very few did.
We know a little more of their children, the men and women who rebuilt our world from the shattered past. They were a practical people, those who passed through far more than we can imagine. They left few grand monuments; you could say that their greatest monument was their own survival.
And of their children, we know more. The desire for power and control returned, as it always does, to consume the weak and the strong. Wars were fought then, amongst the ruined cities of their forefathers. New magic came to the world then, as warlords vying for power sought any advantage over each other. New, terrible monsters thought only whispered legends began to walk the earth in those days, serving their purpose in the endless conflict, even if that purpose was only chaos.
And their children understood it could not continue, and united to defend themselves against the warlords and the sorcerers. The city states arose in those days, and we learned that together we could defend ourselves. Yet still the darkness and the chaos pushed at us.
We are still a practical people, traveller. We do not think much about the why, only the how. We are young, after all, and it has not been very long in the shape of things that we have had the luxury to breathe. We are still building our world back to where we can shape our own monuments of alabaster and marble.
Legends and myths tell us little traveller, but they are very specific at times, and those are the times when legends can frighten you. I tell you this, because there is one legend in particular that should interest you. It tells that the world will begin its next cycle, led by a power horrible and great. It is very specific as to the year, traveller. And I think you can guess which year that is foretold.
And that, traveller, is why we fear you…
Friday - October 11, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Preview @ Ten Ton Hammer
Ten Ton Hammer has a new preview of Shroud of the Avatar about how crafing. Look on the brightside at least it's not another house update.
Starr Long says, “We don’t want the world to be filled with stuff we made. We want the world to be filled with things that the players made.” And I think that really sums it up very nicely. In the end, I think that’s what we all expect and will likely find in Shroud of the Avatar. Those small touches that don’t really seem all that significant on the surface, but that give the in-game world more depth and texture. Touches added not because it was the shortest route to completing that piece of the game, but because it gives players that greater sense of ownership of the world.
Crafting is a direct extension of a development team’s philosophy, and by looking at this system we can see more directly than anywhere else what the motivation behind the game is. It’s the foundational component used by developers to empower their customers to own the product, and from what I’ve seen so far, Portalarium wants you to have as much ownership over the in-game world as possible. They have some pretty cool ideas and only time will tell if they can live up to them or whether they fall beneath the Axe of Deadlines. I have a good deal of hope for them, though and I think they’ll find a large number of fans are rooting for them as well.
Sunday - October 06, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #3
Shroud of the Avatar has another update with more details about the games Founder Lord Home, Benefactor Edelmann Home, Avatar Outfits, and Scene Jam #2.
Founder Lord Town Home
Artists Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutchison came up with a dignified design for our Founder Lord Town home! Only available to Founders (included as a reward in the Lord level pledge). An extremely spacious two-story dwelling, with an open-air roof deck suitable for crafting or entertaining:
Benefactor Edelmann Village Home
Here is Bob’s finished design for the Benefactor Edelmann Village Home. This home is available to both Benefactors and Founders (included as a reward in the Edelmann level pledge). It is a single-story dwelling, similar in floor space to the Founder Edelmann Home:
Female Avatar Leather and Plate Armor
Isaac Oster and Geoff Mellon have been working on new avatar outfits, and they’re looking pretty sweet! Here are a couple samples of the leather and plate armor female outfits.
Wednesday - October 02, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Editorial @ TenTonHammer
TenTonHammer has a new article about Shroud of the Avatar that talks about how the game makes you the developer.
With everyone churning out games cut from the proven mold, it’s been a little hard to get excited about a new MMO in the fantasy genre. I’ve been a Richard Garriott fan for years, but that didn’t keep me from being skeptical. Until now I have to admit that I’ve really only been that excited about Shroud of the Avatar because of the name attached to it.
My recent trip to Austin sort of started changing my mind, though. I’m a big fan of the open-source movement and what I see here is something cut from the same cloth. It’s not enough for the guys at Portalarium to just make a game, they want to empower the community around them, and that’s something I can respect.
It may seem odd to some folks for that to be the sort of thing to change a person’s mind, but to me it shows a guiding principle that I’m glad to see the game being built around. A game that empowers the players to take ownership of everything from development to eventually creating their own story is the sort of game that I’m really excited to see made. Plus, the spirit of community you find in the development team is definitely something I think worthy of a little support.
Saturday - September 28, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar #2
Shroud of the Avatar has a new update for once doesn't include housing. Now joking aside the update covers the Sigil of Magic, Collector’s Coin, Crafting Stations, and Unity Scene Jam Winner.
Unity Scene Jam #1 Winner
Our first Unity Scene Jam was a great success! This scene challenge involved a design that included a “Lunar Rift” and the ruins around it. We asked for the Lunar Rift to be one up on a plateau or at least on top of a very steep hill (see challenge design description here). We received a total of 48 submissions, with some awesome talent participating!
It was tough to choose the winner from among the top entries, but after much deliberation, Richard, Starr, and Chris unanimously chose Richard Matey as the First Place winner of our first Shroud of the Avatar Unity Scene Jam! Chris Spears prepared this video walking you through Richard Matey’s sweet looking scene. So crank the quality up to HD, switch to full-screen, and enjoy!
Next they talk about the sigil of magic with various screenshots on the website.
The Sigil of Magic
There are nine schools of magic in Shroud of the Avatar: the eight elemental schools of Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Sun, Moon, Life, and Death with the ninth school of Chaos in the center of them all. Each school has a focus. Fire magic, for example, directly damages your enemies but also has a tendency to light them on fire, prolonging the damage dealt. Water magic on the other hand is about slowing your opponents with ice and healing your allies with soothing rains. The sigil represents how all the schools relate to each other and it will appear inked on parchment, carved into stone, sewn into cloth and minted into metal coins.
Then we get a glimpse into crafting with more screenshots on the website also.
Cooking Up Some Crafting Tables
Just as with all Lord British games, crafting plays a big part in Shroud of the Avatar. As described in our recently updated FAQ:
Players will be able to make almost anything in the game including furniture, consumables, and equipment. The results of all crafting elements have value as consumables and components in the combat system, as well as maintenance and upgrade elements for housing and cities.
Also explained in the FAQ, you can allow your friends to enter your property and use your crafting stations. And you can have NPC vendors stationed on your property to sell the goods you craft to other players.
Scott Jones (environmental artist; known as Scottie in the forums) has a great thread in the Dev+ forums (and reposted in the Founder Developer Blog) discussing his ongoing work with the crafting stations.
And for last they have a new FAQ to answer various questions that people have asked.
New and Improved FAQ
Starr Long (Executive Producer) recently updated and expanded the SotA FAQ. Many of the questions we receive on the forums and in support tickets have been covered in the revised FAQ, so we highly recommend that you check it out if you haven’t seen it lately. Here are a few juicy morsels to whet your whistle:
- Will there be moral dilemmas like previous titles by Richard Garriott?
- Are offline characters and online characters separate?
- Will Lot Deeds and Houses work differently for offline characters?
The Housing section of the FAQ has been greatly expanded, so check it out if you’d like to learn more!
Thanks go to rune_74 for sending in the link.
Monday - September 23, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar has another update about the Decorating Demo Video, Edelmann Home, Tower Homes, & Unity Scene Jam!
Decor of the Avatar
For many of us, home decorating is central to our role-playing experience. It affords us the opportunity for self-expression, a display of status, showcasing the spoils of our adventures, or advertising our craft. The home decorating system in SotA continues to evolve both in power and ease of use. Mere words cannot do it justice, so Rick Holtrop choreographed this video demonstrating the latest progress in our home decorating system, narrated by Lord British. Enjoy!
Founder Edelmann Village Home
Bob Cooksey (environment artist) modified his concept of the Founder Edelmann Village Home based on the results of the community Poll in our Dev+ forums. Here is the revised version, only available to Founders (included as a reward in the Edelmann level pledge). It is a single-story dwelling, comparable in size to the Founder Citizen Village Home.
Get Your Tower Home Now and SAVE 50%!
For a limited time we’re offering a 50% discount on the Tower Homes! The Tower Village is available for $50 (regular $100) and the Tower Town is available for $75 (regular $150)!
• You will need a Village, Town, or City Level Property to place the Tower Village home in-game, and a Town or City Level Property to place the Tower Town home in-game.
• Citizen Level pledges and higher will still receive the home included in their rewards if they purchase the Tower Home as an add-on.
Friday - September 20, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Avatar Unity Scene Jam
Shroud of the Avatar is hosting a new contest starting tomorrow. Head on over to the games webpage for more information.
The Shroud of the Avatar has been involving fans in the creation of the game since the start of the project. Now we’re giving you a chance to contribute in a whole different way! On September 20th at 6PM CST (UTC-6), we will kicking off the first in a series of Shroud of the Avatar Unity Scene Jams!
Before we dive into the details of what it is, let me tell you why you should keep reading. The overall winner receives:
Unity Pro License – $1500 value
Oculus Rift – $300 value
Alienware Grab Bag (Backpack, mouse, keyboard, headset) – $350 value
UnityVS 1.2 License – $249 value
Shroud of the Avatar Duke Pledge – $5300 value
Interested? We thought you might be! For all the details, head on over to the 48-Hour Scene Creation Challenge of the Avatar contest page!
Sunday - September 15, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Knight’s Home & Property Deeds
Shroud of the Avatar has a new update with information on the games website for the knights home, and how property deeds work.
Founder Knight Village Home
Here is our unique, upscale, Founder Knight Village home, only available to Founders (included as a reward in the Knight level pledge). A two-story dwelling, with a split-level roof deck:
200 Village Property Deeds Available in Add-On Store
We have added 200 Village Lot Property Deeds to the Add-On Store at an introductory price of $150 (a 25% discount off the regular $200 price)!
Village lots are located in almost every village, town, and city across New Britannia. The Village Property Deed in the Add-On Store includes the Shingle-Roof Village Home, shown here next to an empty village lot.
At 20 x 30 meters, there is ample room for a variety of homes, including the spacious Knight Village Home and Viking Village Home!
There are many benefits to being a property owner in SotA, including:
- Having a permanent residence, a place to put down roots, to hang your helmet, to decorate to your taste, to invite your friends over to hang out.
- Provides a location for you to have a vendor to sell your wares.
- Provides a location to set up private crafting stations, saving you the trouble of visiting public crafting stations to produce your wares.
- Plant your own gardens to grow whatever you need.
- Dramatically increases your storage space. Your house can be filled with decorations, and you can place chests at your house to expand your backpack inventory.
Saturday - September 14, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #38
Shroud of the Avatar has another post-funding update with a variety of new topics.
Greetings Fellow Avatars!
More cool stuff to share with you this update, including Geoff Mellon's revamping of the male avatar outfit, Bren Wilson putting some moves on the avatar attacks, the Edelmann House Poll, Tracy Hickman's awesome Sojourner Tales Kickstarter campaign, and changes to how project updates are being shared.
The Edelmann House Poll
The rewards for the Edelmann Pledge Tier included "Unique, upscale, German Benefactor/Founder Edelmann's home (German home styles to be submitted and voted on by community; available only to pre-launch backers)"
Bob Cooksey (senior environmental artist) has generated his recommendation for an Edelmann home, and you can vote on his version, or alternate versions, at the Edelmann House Poll thread in our forums.
Project Updates Transitioning to SotA Website and Emails!
Since we completed our Kickstarter campaign on April 7, 2013, we have been double-posting our project updates to both Kickstarter and the SotA project website. To help consolidate our communications with our community of backers, we will start posting the updates only on the SotA website, but we will continue to send an email version of the updates to all of our Kickstarter backers using the email addresses provided to us by Kickstarter. This way we can consolidate all of your replies and comments to our updates in one place.
Please Register on SotA and Link Your Kickstarter Account!
Stay on top of all the latest game development news by registering on our website, https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com. And if you have not already done so, please be sure to Link your Kickstarter Account, so we can ensure that you receive all of your backer rewards as soon as they are ready to roll out!
Thursday - September 05, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #37: More About Homes
An update was made for Shroud of the Avatar showing various houses that were designed for the game, including de houses that are available on one of the pledge levels and a house that you can buy for half its price. Although I don't see myself pay the $50 to own this house (or any other house) in the game, you might.... or not.
With this next house, we experimented with something that allowed for a larger variety of color, yet still appropriate for the time period and overall art style. This Viking Village home is a two-story dwelling, with a single large room downstairs and a wrap-around loft on the second floor:
Wednesday - September 04, 2013
Telethon of the Avatar - Results
A tremendous thank you to everyone pledged, participated, donated, or was otherwise involved with the Telethon of the Avatar. With your help, we raised $12,999. It was, in so very many ways, a rousing success.
However, I now must sleep for I've been awake for far longer than I care to admit. Please allow me the next several days to rest, recover, and comb through the spreadsheets, emails, and handwritten notes to sort out everything, and to finish making the Virtue and Legends of Ultima Cards. Once that is finished, the final drawings will take place and the orders for the cards will be placed. The Digital Locker should be available by the weekend. Ideally, everything will get to you by the end of September.
Thursday - August 15, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - News Roundup
It seems Richard Garriott is going to Attend the Telethon of the Avatar.
Rustic Dragon could barely contain his excitement on Twitter this afternoon:
"Rustic Dragon @RusticDragonHear ye! The #HearthOfBritannia proudly announces that @RichardGarriott, Lord British himself, will be visiting the #HoBTotA! Welcome!"
Portalarium have uploaded another version of the female Avatar from Shroud of the Avatar, shooting her bow once more
Tuesday - August 13, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Telethon of the Avatar
Ultimacodex brings word of a telethon to raise more funds for Shroud of the Avatar.
Rustic Dragon had something…massive…planned for later this month. All the anticipation, all the teasing, has been build-up for this:
That’s right…Rustic intends to hold a 24-hour marathon fundraising drive for Shroud of the Avatar, and aims to raise $1,000,000 more for Richard Garriott’s upcoming project.
Now, it goes without saying that what Rustic Dragon is doing is in no way officially affiliated with Portalarium or development on Shroud of the Avatar. However, Rustic Dragon would like to see that project’s coffers enriched, and is putting on this event to stoke more interest in Shroud of the Avatar…and to encourage people to pledge (or pledge more) to its development. He won’t be collecting pledges at his site; pledges should be made to Portalarium at the Shroud of the Avatar website.
For more details, check out the FAQ page that Rustic Dragon has set up. And get ready for August 24th; it’s going to be a big day!
Wednesday - August 07, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - About the Music
Richard Gariiot was hanging out at Google+ and shared his views on the music in Shroud of the Avatar.
If you can't be bothered to watch the video, there is also a brief summary available.
For Shroud of the Avatar, I have musical goals which include inspiration from Ken Arnolds work in Early Ultima's, historical style pieces akin to Iolo's Stones and other work. http://www.moongates.com/music/
I still have a strong affinity for the early Ultima music scored by Ken Arnold, that even with only 3 voices, had great memorable melodies. Don’t listen to the simplicity nor the instrumentation, just the fact that they have memorable simple melodies.
My favorites for inspiration are:
· Captain John’s Hornpipe
· Worlds Below
Other Music that inspires me while working on SotA
· AWOL Nation – Sail: Love the power, instrumentation and melody, lyrics unrelated.
· Beats Antique – Beauty Beats : Love the instrumentation and melodies
· Beats Antique – Mission: Ditto
· Synthetic Dream Foundation – The One Eyed Maiden: Ditto
· Steam Powered Giraffe - Automatonic Electronic Harmonics: Ditto
· Metallica – Enter Sandman: Metallica Power Ballads fit the melodic, powerful style I would like to achieve for some parts and the “intro” theme song.
· Metallica – Unforgiven
· Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
Found at UltimaCodex.
Tuesday - July 30, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - First Developer Asset Kit Released
Ultimacodex has news on the First Developer Asset Kit Released avaiable to those that have pledged more than $450.
The Shroud of the Avatar Facebook page has some good news for those of you who have pledged at least $450 to Shroud of the Avatar:
"Exciting News for Dev+ backers! Our first Downloadable Asset Kit is up and ready for you to download! Log into the Dev+ Forums for more information and to get your Dungeon Kit Assets today! *Note* ~ The Dungeon Kit and Dev+ Forums are available only to backers who pledged at Developer level and above."
To get access to the kit, head to this section of the Shroud of the Avatar forums (only available to Developer-level backers and above); you’ll have to fill out a survey to get access to the asset kit. At this time, the asset kit is not available via the Unity Asset Store. Portalarium technical director Chris Spears also put together a handy tutorial video showing how to use the assets in Unity:
As well, Portalarium are actively looking to crowd-source dungeons for Shroud of the Avatar, and have published a set of guidlines for prospective builders to follow:
"We’re looking for prospective dungeoneers to help create some of the dungeons within Shroud of the Avatar…We’d like each submission to include a short document walking us through the dungeon you created, the modified scene containing your dungeon layout using the provided dungeon kit, and any other extra assets you may have used or created for your dungeon."
"Each dungeon scene is a mini-story that should take about 5-30 minutes to complete. Think of these as an encapsulated adventure taking place within the world of Shroud of the Avatar. These will likely contain a little story of their own."
A link to where you can submit completed dungeons is also provided in the forum post linked above.
Wednesday - July 24, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #34
For those of you planning to play virtual instruments this mechanical metronome can help keep the tempo! Place this in-game decoration near your instrument, set the desired beat, and start the scythe to swinging! At over 8-feet tall and swinging a blade, this Grim Reaper apparition can also double as an intruder deterrent! The Darkstarr Metronome is included as a reward at the Virtual Collector level pledge.
Like with the Darkstarr Moondial, I also get the feeling with this Metronome that I just can't wait not to get this decorative item with some functionality that I don't think I'll miss not having. But that is me, I'm sure it will get them more funding for the game as there will be plenty who will buy this as an add-on.
Monday - July 22, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Darkstarr Moondial
Ultimacodex has a post about the Darkstarr Moondial baker reward.
Portalarium’s technical director, Chris Spears, posted a video to the Shroud of the Avatar forums, in which the current in-game model of the Darkstarr Moondial backer reward gets shown off a bit:
"For those who were following this thread, just thought I would share that I actually put the moon dial into the game engine earlier and captured it. Before anyone says anything about no AA, I was using 8X AA, the jaggies are from Youtube compression. I do think we need to turn up to the normal map a bit and maybe was to a specific metal shader but that can wait till tomorrow.
Here it is on the upstairs balcony of your future house… if you like trees at least.
…it isn’t 100% done. The pivot points are off just slightly which gives each ring a bit of a wobble. I actually kind of like that but I would really like to be able to make the planet in the middle rotate as well."
Thursday - July 18, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ MMORPG
MMORPG has the latest interview for Shroud of the Avatar with Executive Producer Starr Long. As usual it covers only the online side of the game.
MMORPG.com: Shroud is a very different approach to a fantasy online game. Tell us how you approach development, what is your process when looking at a new world?
Starr Long: I believe in establishing a core vision and then getting to a playable version of that vision as quickly as possible. From there you iterate until it is the best it can be. Now with our incredibly tight communication loop with the community they can have direct input on those iterations.
MMORPG.com: What elements of the game will you be working on directly? Do you have your team in place already?
Starr Long: I will be managing the entire project including milestones, budgets, etc. I will also be heavily involved with all aspects of game design. There is already a very strong team on Shroud, which is part of why I was so attracted to the project. We have a very small, tight team that works great together and we hope to stay very lean.
MMORPG.com: Where do you see the MMO genre going over the next few years? How does Shroud fit into this future?
Starr Long: I feel like we are seeing the MMO genre diversify and disperse itself amongst what were more traditionally multiplayer games. I think we are seeing the boundaries of what an MMO like experience can be. Games like Shroud and Destiny are great examples of taking MMOs in new directions where you can have a “massive” experience while still having the opportunity to enjoy a more intimate gameplay experience.
Friday - July 12, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Narrated Demo by Richard Garriot
Ultimacodex has a new demo video and screenshots for Shroud of the Avatar.
Thursday - July 11, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Hangout of the Avatar
Shroud of the Avatar has a new video in their Hangout of the Avatar updates. This time the team plays an early demo of the game, and answers questions. It comes with the usual warning of not to watch, unless you have more than 30 minutes to spare.
Wednesday - July 10, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Richard Garriott Convinced Me
Twinfinite has an editorial were the writer tries to convince us that we should all care about Shroud of the Avatar.
I understand the appeal of online RPGs. I bought one a long time ago, and I instantly understood every positive and negative moment I could find in an hour or two. Then, I put it away, never wanting an online RPG again. The reason is because picking any online RPG is a commitment. You don’t play these games. You live them. I just don’t have that kind of commitment to any one game.
In effect, I tend to ignore much of the news about this genre. When I found out about Richard Garriott attending and presenting his new RPG to the RTX crowd, I was conflicted. The aura of Lord British’s legacy in gaming makes him a sort of rock star. He actually went into space. It’s exciting to watch a man unveil his product for the first time to an audience of people walking around with boxes of Ultima under their arms. However, he is talking about an RPG focused on online.
So I sat in front of a crowd of people genuinely excited about a product that I could care less about, just to see what Richard Garriott can do as a creator. I left that conference genuinely interested in Shroud of the Avatar. I was shocked, to say the least. He shocked me by showing me his concept of an RPG that exists in an online world. Its not an MMORPG (or at least not what I think of one).
Sunday - July 07, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Demo From RTX 2013
As a followup to the other announcement Richard “Lord British” Garriott showed a gameplay demo at RTX 2013. Just a word of warning the video is over an hour long.
Richard “Lord British” Garriott talks about the next generation of Game Development, The power of Crowd-sourcing, and play though a Demo of our latest progress on Shroud of the Avatar at RTX 2013. If you missed the presentation, you can catch up right here!
Shroud of the Avatar - Starr Long Joins Portalarium
Ultima Online Project Director Starr Long last collaborated with Richard Garriott on Tabula Rasa,has joined the team at Portalarium. He is to work on the upcoming Kickstarter-funded Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues as an Executive Producer.
Starr Long Joins Shroud of the Avatar Development Team at Portalarium
Starr to team with Richard Garriott on crowd sourced game; Duo collaborating for the first time on fantasy RPG genre since Ultima Online
AUSTIN, Texas, July 5, 2013 — The last time Starr Long and Richard Garriott teamed up to create a fantasy role playing game (RPG) was 1997. That game, Ultima Online, quickly became the first commercially successful massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) and many credit the duo with reinventing the RPG with that ground breaking product. Now Richard Garriott and Starr Long are preparing for yet another collaboration to reinvent the genre, this time on Portalarium’s™ Shroud of the Avatar™ PC based game. Starr was announced today as the project’s executive producer.
The announcement was made during RTX 2013, currently taking place at the Austin Convention Center. Garriott is a guest speaker at this year’s event. He is showing a demo of Shroud of the Avatar during a special presentation at 4:30 pm CDT, Saturday, July 6, in room 19 of the convention center. The entire presentation will be live streamed on RTX Live. Additionally, Garriott will be formally introducing Starr during his talk.
Starr is a 20-year veteran of the gaming industry. He started his career at Austin’s legendary Origin Systems studio where he worked directly with Garriott to produce and create Ultima Online, which continues its position today as the longest running massively multiplayer online game ever. In 2010, Ultima Online was inducted into the Online Game Developers Conference Hall of Fame, becoming the first MMO to be so honored. Starr later helped co-found Destination Games with Richard and Robert Garriott (the company was soon acquired by NCsoft) and as producer he again collaborated with Richard Garriott on the futuristic MMO game, Tabula Rasa. In 2008 Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer magazine named Starr Long as one of the Top 20 Most Influential People in the massively multiplayer online industry.
Saturday - June 15, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Post-funding Update #31
Shroud of the Avatar has a new post-funding update and it's a long one. The topics cover the new monthly payment layaway plan, new public & private forums, and team bios.
Monthly Payment Layaway Plan Goes Live!
During our Kickstarter campaign we received many requests for a monthly payment plan from backers that couldn't afford to pay for their desired pledge all at once. In Update #25 we mentioned we were working on a Layaway Plan that would provide for recurring monthly payments toward a desired tier. We're happy to announce that our Monthly Payment Layaway Plan has now been rolled out!
Can I Make Monthly Payments Toward New Pledges and Upgrading Existing Pledges?
The monthly payment plan is available to new backers making their first pledge, as well as existing backers that want to make monthly payments toward upgrading their pledge. You'll notice the changes on the front page of the SotA site, right side-bar, where it says "Select Full Payment or Monthly Payments". The drop-down menu now has a new item, "Monthly Payments - CreditCard". If you select that, and click on Pledge, it'll take you to a new Monthly Payment page, allowing you to select a new pledge to start making payments toward, or upgrade an existing pledge (if you have one) with monthly payments. It'll automatically show you the lowest monthly payment amount based on how many months are remaining until September 2014, however, it won't go below $10 per month. You can adjust the monthly payment amount, and the number of months to reach your pledge will automatically change.
What's Up With the Service Fees?
There is a monthly service fee associated with the Layaway plan, thus increasing the overall amount paid for a tier. Part of this service fee goes to cover the monthly charges passed on to us from your payment provider (credit card, PayPal, or Amazon), part goes to cover our additional processing costs, and part covers the extra benefit you receive for reserving a potentially limited tier, and getting the rewards for that tier, prior to actually paying the full amount for that tier. For example, if you decide to make $80 monthly payments for the $800 Knight tier, we have to remove one of the Knight's pledges from the limited pool, and you immediately have access to the Private Developer Forums, even though you have only made one $80 payment. This would be unfair to all the backers that paid $400 or more in a single payment, so they could have access to the Private Developer Forums. The additional service fee you are paying each month covers these benefits.
Tracking Developer Posts
Many of you asked for a tool to help you find forum postings made by members of the SotA Development Team, so we added the "Developer Tracker" button to the forum menu. If you're logged in, it'll list every developer posting, sorted by date. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
Private Founders Developer Blog
In the past week, we've also added the private Founders Developer Blog, which is available to all backers at the Founders tier and above. The Dev Team will be making regular posts in this area (including the transcript of our daily team stand-up meetings), so come check it out to see what the team is up to.
New General Forums
We have also completed the migration of all the public general forum posts over to the new forums, and have closed down the old forums, so head on over and check them out at https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum (or click the "Forum" button on the SotA home page).
Checkout the Team Bios!
Our Dev Team has grown considerably in the past 2 months (we're up to 22 now)! For those of you that want to get to know our Dev Team a bit more, we just published a Bio for each and every one of them on our new SotA Developers page. We'll add new bios as we add new team members (we just interviewed a new artist intern, so look for her bio shortly).
Wednesday - June 05, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Post-Funding Update #30
There is a new update for Shroud of the Avatar on their Kickstarter page. This time it is about the developer forums, amazon payments, new team members and more.
The Development team at Shroud of the Avatar is delighted to announce that the private Developer Forums are up and ready for everyone who pledged at the Developer level and above. If you already have a Shroud of the Avatar forum account, getting started is as easy as signing in at the new address: https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php. You'll need to bookmark this link until we modify the navigation buttons on the SotA website.
And just in case there is a lost sole who wanted to pledge but was unable to collect enough money for it for a single pledge, you can now set a small bit of money aside on a monthly basis instead:
The Layaway Plan we first mentioned in Update #25 is almost ready to launch! This plan is for backers that can't afford to pay for their pledge all at once. There will be a monthly service fee associated with the Layaway plan, thus increasing the overall amount paid for a tier. The monthly payment plan will be available to new backers making their first pledge, as well as for existing backers that want to make monthly payments toward upgrading their existing pledge. The monthly payment system is currently being tested, so look for an upcoming KS Update in June announcing when it is ready.
Saturday - June 01, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Video Updates #2
Shroud of the Avatar has a few more videos again, but this time dont worry there is a recap for the impatient viewers.
Shroud of the Avatar Dev Hangout
To busy to watch? Then be sure to check out the recap, complete with screen captures, on Forsaken Virtues!
Pen of the Avatar
In today’s Pen of the Avatar, SotA Concept Lead Stephen Daniele created the first concept piece for an alchemist shop nestled in a grand hollowed-out tree. Also revealed were some first looks at the way lot sizes and housing styles compare in Villages, Towns and Cities.
Sunday - May 26, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Video Updates
Shroud of the Avatar has two more video updates in the last week.
Dev chat with Richard and Tracy!
Questions will be taken in the chat room for this one. Richard Garriot, Tracy Hickman, Chris Spears, and Mojito Spears will be on camera!
Pen of the Avatar
Our next Dev Chat feature with Stephen Daniele in Pen of the Avatar
Saturday - May 18, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Dev Chat #3 And Tier Changes
Thursday - May 09, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Request for New Tier Titles
It seems Lord British wants your help renaming the tier titles for new and old backers.
Greetings and Salutations!
Lord British has a request to make of you, his Royal Subjects. We are in the process of defining the new titles for new tiers and would like your input! Our current thoughts are to add the prefix Royal to many of the Kickstarter only titles, making the basic title available to any new pre-launch pledges. We would like to know what you think of that!
And then, there are a few titles that just didn’t seem to work with the Royal Prefix, like Lord (and have been left blank in the chart below). So we would like some feedback as to what titles should be given to new backers for those tiers.
We are also open to considering new names for the existing tiers. For example, during the Kickstarter campaign, some players suggested that “Lord of the Manor” be changed to “Archduke”. So if you have any suggestions for alternate titles, now is the time to share your feedback!
Please leave your feedback in the comments, or preferably on the forums in the following thread: Community Feedback Request for New Tier Titles.
Saturday - May 04, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Art Time with Stephen Daniele #2
Shroud of the Avatar is back with another video in their weekly dev chat. This time it's Art Time with Stephen Daniele #2.
Wednesday - May 01, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Tracy Hickman Video
Shroud of the Avatar has a new video with Lead Story Designer Tracy Hickman discussing the story behind the game.
Friday - April 26, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Housing Developments and Upcoming Guild Features
Shroud of the Avatar has a new video talking about housing developments and upcoming guild features.
Wednesday - April 24, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #28, Translation To German and a New Tier
If you want you can still pledge for Shroud of the Avatar. As they are translating to German first, they added a 'German' tier as well.
$550 EDELMANN TIER - The Edelmann Village House Tier contains the following:
- INCLUDES ALL THE REWARDS FROM DEVELOPER TIER
- Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Edelmann" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player)
- Rent free, Village Level House Deed, transferable between players
- A special, commission free Vendor!
- An upscale, German Edelmann's home (German home styles to be submitted and voted on by community)
- A waterfront, German-style Cabana, sitting on stilts, in the water, attached to your Village property by a bridge (**Village waterfront lots available to Village, Town, or City property deed holders; higher value pledges have lot selection priority over lower value pledges**)
- Unique Beer Brewing Ability adhering to the German beer purity law, Reinheitsgebot. Only you will be able to teach this unique beer formula to others!
- An animated, German Automaton house decoration (we are inspired by the Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Munich)
- Unique, in-game, Deutsche Dogge house pet (or maybe a Dachshund)
- Special Founder Level plaque as a digital, in-game decoration for your house
- Printed Shroud of the Avatar novel signed by Tracy Hickman and Richard Garriott!
- Printed Village Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott
There will also be an all digital version of the Edelmann tier available for those that do not want physical goods shipped to them:
$545 EDELMANN - ALL DIGITAL TIER - Contains only the digital rewards of the Edelmann Tier
Also Garriott is talking at the Quo Vadis German game conference.
Shroud of the Avatar - Art Time with Stephen Daniele
Shroud of the Avatar's website has posted a new video with Stephen Daniele. The video showcases the various artwork in the game.
Join Stephen Daniele and FireLotus for another Art Hour! We’re looking for a groovy new title for our weekly art hangout, so come prepared to offer some suggestions!
Saturday - April 20, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Interview with Richard Garriott
Here is another Pure Sophistry's interview, this time with Richard Garriott. He talks about Shroud of the Avatar, why graphics aren't that important and moreover about Kickstarter and gaming. The interview is part of a larger sets of talks and this specific interview can be found at 31:30 (The Witcher 3 interview is also on this and can be found at 21:00).
Wednesday - April 17, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update # 26 & 27
Well we missed two updates on this popular Kickstarter. So without any further delays here is the news. Update #26 is called Welcome to your new Home.
We have great news for all of our Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter Backers! We are now ready to merge your pledge information on the Shroud of the Avatar Website. And the process couldn't be easier!
If you are already registered on our official website:
Log in to www.shroudoftheavatar.com.
Click the account button at the upper right corner of the screen.
Select the "Link Kickstarter Account" button.
- Follow the instructions. That's it, you're done!
If you haven't already done so, we really need for everyone to register on our site and link your Kickstarter accounts so we can manage your pledges and rewards going forward!
Update #27 is called Extended Grace Period and Ongoing Kickstarter Integration.
We had a pretty exciting weekend after launching Kickstarter integration functionality on the SotA website last Friday! Due to email exchange glitches, many of you had trouble receiving confirmation emails allowing you to register on the SotA website and link your Kickstarter account. Fortunately, we were able to track the issues down and get that email pipeline unclogged by Saturday! As of today, there are over 13,000 registered members on the SotA site, and more coming in every day!
There are over 22,000 Kickstarter backers for SotA, so we still have over 9,000 backers that haven't registered on the SotA site and linked their Kickstarter account. For those of you that haven't linked your Kickstarter account on the SotA website, please click here to do so at your soonest convenience!
Extended Grace Period
It is taking us a little longer than expected to get everyone migrated across and the new tier functionality integrated into the SotA website. We expect to have the new tiers ready to go early next week, so we are extending the grace period until then. Once that integration is complete, all Kickstarter backers will be able to purchase/upgrade to both the previous tiers (pending availability of limited tiers), and the new tiers, whereas new backers after the grace period ends will only have access to the new tiers.
So, tell your friends to come take advantage of the few extra days that the Kickstarter Tier Rewards are still available!
Wednesday - April 10, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #25, Thank You
A big thank you and information on what is next is provided by the Shorud of the Avatar team.
Wow! Words can't adequately express how overwhelmed we are with the incredible outpouring of support and dedication that all of you gave to the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter campaign, and to all of us on the SotA Team! Because of your incredible support, we raised a total of $2.03M, double our original goal!
We were totally amazed by how many stretch goals we blew past in our final 24 hours! We began Saturday morning at the $1.5M stretch goal, and were really, really hoping for some miracle to get us to the magical $1.8M stretch goal (yeah, along with all of you, we really want Tracy Hickman's prequel novel, plus all the other cool stuff in the $1.6M & $1.7M stretch goals)!
Quite honestly, with only 24 hours to raise almost $300,000 we felt the $1.8M stretch goal was out of reach. Boy, were we wrong! You guys showed us the incredible power of community! Reading through all of your comments going into the final stretch, the relentless cheering, challenging, shout-outs and sharing, it was apparent that all of you created the rocket fuel that caused the pledges to explode like nothing we could have imagined! You not only drove us to the unexpected $1.8M stretch goal, but your infectious enthusiasm propelled us past the $1.9M stretch goal, and with less than an hour before the end of our campaign...because of all of you...we pushed past the $2M stretch goal!
We couldn't have gotten this far without you, and together we will continue this incredible journey! We have learned so much from you about what this game should become, and we very much look forward to continuing that interaction, so please continue to discuss your ideas with us on our official site at ShroudOfTheAvatar.com! We’ll have regular updates and information for friends old and new. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter, or tweet us with #LBSOTA to keep the conversation alive!
Together, we will craft Shroud of the Avatar to be a truly unique, amazing, and FUN gaming experience!
For anyone who missed the final moments of our 24-hour, Kickstarter Live Dev Cam, here it is, forever archived for your enjoyment!
Sunday - April 07, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Updates 23 & 24
With four hours to go there are a few updates for RG's Kickstarter; one update with property and another with concept art and videos. Update 23:
We're down to less than 20 hours to go for our Kickstarter campaign, and we need everyone's help for our last big push! We're adding even more bonus rewards that make for some juicy upgrades!
Waterfront! Waterfront! Waterfront! Houseboats, House Ships, Lighthouses, and Even Island Castles! Yeah Baby!!!
You asked for it, and here it is: we've added waterfront property options to villages, towns, and cities, allowing you to live on houseboats, ships, and islands! Oh yeah!
We received feedback that the Baron 2 tier is priced too high compared to the Baron 1 tier, so we're juicing up the rewards for the Baron 2's! Now you get a huge, double-decker Galleon to moor on your waterfront property, and you'll be the talk of the town when everyone sees the uniquely glorious crown perched proudly atop your avatar's head!
We are in hour 10 of our 24 hour sit-in here at the Portalarium offices and we are so very humbled by your continued support and feedback! If you haven’t swung by the Kickstarter page lately, we are hosting a continuous LIVE Dev Cam as we count down the final moments of the campaign with you, our community!
We also have some new Concept Art and special videos to share with you!
The Forgotten City: New Concept Art by Stephen Daniele
In the arid lands to the East lies a forgotten city filled with magic and wonder. A place where few venture and even less return. Are you ready to accept the risk for the chance of reward?
Friday - April 05, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #22, More Bonus Rewards
With little over 2 days to go this update for Shroud of the Avatar brings us more bonus rewards, like these.
Many of you may get all glassy eyed and nostalgic when you hear we added a special Crystal Sword to the $60 tier that has the ability to kill almost any enemy you encounter (single use)! And with Early Skill Access available at the $50 tier (and above), you'll be the envy of all the players when they see you wielding new skills they don't yet have access to!
Not only are we crowdsourcing content from users but we're also crowd sharing! At least once a month we will release Unity content packs for download by those at the Developer tier (and above)! These Unity content packs contain a large number of game assets which can be used, free of charge in your own creations. Now that's a sweet deal!
Many of you suggested we add a tier to bridge the gap between the $500 Village house and $1500 Town house tier, so we added the $750 KNIGHT tier, which comes with a high-end, unique Village level Founder's home, appropriate to their stature as a Knight, complete with their very own house servant!
We also added a bunch of new rewards for all the SotA Homeowners, including unique high-end houses, house pets, house servants, unique furniture, and special Founder's Expert-level Crafting Stations!
So, without wasting another second, check out all our exciting new bonus rewards and pick your upgrades! And remind all your friends that haven't already pledged to come on out and get in on these Kickstarter-Only pledges before our campaign ends on Sunday morning!
Thursday - April 04, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #21, Their Art, Your Art and Emotes
With 3 more days to go, this update for the Shroud of the avatar Kickstarter brings us a piece of artwork.
If you want to leave your mark in the game you can also provide them with your art.
With Shroud of the Avatar, our team is breaking new ground in crowdsourcing art through the Unity Asset store AND the crowd sharing of assets to help build a powerful community! During the prototyping phases of SotA we found the Unity asset store immensely valuable. After seeing how the use of informal crowd sourced art and code from the Unity store enhanced our team’s velocity during prototyping, we decided it was time to take the next step and formalize the process.
We want our players to have a hand in creating content for the game. Our plan is to put out calls for art on a bi-weekly basis and then take submissions over the two weeks following the call for art. To help artists better understand how to create their pieces for SotA, a full art style guide will be published on our website, a SotA asset starter pack will be added to the Unity store before the first calls for art, and a detailed description or concept art for the piece we’re in need of will also be included for each new call.
If any submission is selected for use in Shroud of the Avatar, we will not only pay the artist four times the Unity store price for it, but you will also be rewarded in-game with appropriate trophies, or in some cases, a statue version of your art for display.We will also announce the winning art on our website and include it in our art blog with full credits to the maker and include them in the credits of the final game. And you continue to own the rights to your work, allowing for you to sell your piece in the Unity store, where it will include a “Shroud of the Avatar Approved” art banner.
For quality pieces that are not accepted, we will provide constructive feedback from our veteran art staff to help with future submissions.
Our next goal is targeted at our Developer Level Backers ($400) or higher, and is the addition of monthly Unity asset packs that include a variety of SotA in-game art assets! While the SotA Unity art packs won’t include 100% of our assets, it will include the majority of our non-quest related elements as well as some code systems. This will only include assets created within Portalarium, and not user submitted assets.
The assets will be useable and royalty free in any project the backer is directly involved in and will only carry the requirement that Portalarium is listed in the credits! Our goal is to get professional game assets in the hands of our most ravenous fans and indie game developers.
For indie game developers or small game teams, this gives them access to a stream of top quality fantasy content for their own creations. For the super fans out there, they can use the assets with the free or paid versions of Unity to make their own fan applications! Fans who are developers can also submit their own scenes created with the assets for use in the final game! Look for more details on the scene submission process and rewards after our Kickstarter ends!
And ther is a video on the emote system.
Wednesday - April 03, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #20, Crafting and an Interview with Warren Spector
Update number 20 of Shroud of the Avatar offers the opportunity to enter a contest involving a video you should make related to SotA and information on crafting.
When we started the crafting design discussions there were a number of differing opinions on how to attack the problem a design standpoint. One idea was essentially work in reverse and figure out the outputs we wanted from the system and design the crafting system around the outputs. Another important voice on the topic was that crafting itself should be able to stand on its own without regard to the output because if not we could be asking a whole class of players(crafters) to endure a system that was designed only with another class of people (adventurers) in mind. Finally, some voices believed that we should address it from the head and base everything on realism because that is what people will expect from a Richard Garriott game.
In the end we feel have a system that will please most everyone and, most importantly, is a solid foundation from which to build on for future expansion. During production we will continue to tune both the systems, the inputs, and the outputs based on both player feedback and player behavior.
So now that we got all that BS out of the way, let’s get to some of the reveals!
We’ve split the large category of “Crafting” skills into two major categories of resource production and crafting. While we haven’t revealed much information on the skill system just yet, players who prefer to split their time between crafting and adventuring will be happy to hear that the crafting skill trees and adventurer skill trees are completely separated and do not share skill advancement points in any way. In other words, working on crafting skills will not hinder your combat or magic skills in anyway other than the time you lose to crafting!
Each of the five categories for the resource production is split into a gathering skill section and a refining skill section. For instance, for mining, there is one skill tree dedicated to the collection of ore and gems, and another for the refining of those into final forms for use by the crafting skills. This same idea is mirrored for the other four categories of hunter(skinning/tanning), forager(herb collection/preparation), woodsman(lumber collection/lumber cutting and planing), fishing(fish catching, fish cleaning).
Skill trees for each of the above categories has branches for faster collection/refining, more output from each collection/refining, higher quality collection/refining, and greater tool endurance for collection/refining.
The output from the above sets of skill result in the majority of the input for what most people think of as crafting. The major categories for crafting are Blacksmithing, Cooking, Tailoring, Alchemy, and Carpentry. The outputs from crafting are any of dozens of various recipes but the the outputs tend to fall into the categories of consumables, wearables, and decorations. They also generally fall into one of three categories for durability which are hard goods (never breaks), soft goods (wears out through use and needs maintenance), and consumables (use it is gone).
More info in the update, which also offers more information on Farming. Besides that you can also watch this video
And to wrap things up Richard Garriott has interviewed Warren Spector.
Tuesday - April 02, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #19, New Stretch Goals and Bonus Rewards
You can't have enough Kickstarter bonuses and stretch goals, so here are a few more for Shroud of the Avatar.
$1.5M: Content is King + Iolo + Spoony interviews Richard
- Denis Loubet Cover art! (Denis made every Ultima cover except Ultima 2)
- New David “Iolo” Watson musical composition! (Iolo created “Stones” for Ultima!)
- Noah “Spoony” Antwiler interviews (roasts?) Richard “Lord British” Garriott
- 20 additional unique scenes including arctic scene sets
- Starting continent doubles in size
$1.6M: Shipping Lanes Open for business + New Island Content Set + Soundtrack
- New “Mysterious Island” content, city, and scenes
- Ports with boats that run on schedules to transport players to areas beyond the mainland; Safety not guaranteed! (In short, be prepared to defend your vessel!)
- Trans-Atlantic shipping lanes open the way for localization to other languages (languages for consideration based on player support: German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, etc.)
$1.7M: Dynamic and Contested Resource Nodes + Optional Minimap System
- Meteorites, volcanic eruptions, outbreaks of rare plants and animals can appear and vanish suddenly (online and offline) for those who are paying attention. Some PVP focused resources appear in tile
- Optional minimap system for the directionally impaired!
- The Lost Vale - A new mini-adventure centered around a lost valley previously hidden to players, now visible only during special astronomical alignments.
$1.8M: Tracy Hickman Novel + Catacombs + Apprentice System + Cloaks!
$1.9M: The World is a Stage!
$2M: Players Take over the World!!!$2.25M: Mod tools + Unique Art Creation skill + Expanded Player Customization
$2.5M: Full VR Treatment!
If you like to see more details or would like to know about the additional bonuses, check their update page.
Monday - April 01, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #18, Terrain and Weather
The terrain and weather systems are the most important parts in update #18 of the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter.
Let's start by talking about Terrain. As you know, we are working with a hex style map. One of the things we've done to streamline content development is to assign hexes with terrain presets, such as swamps, forests or mountains. Each terrain type can then be assigned primary characteristics such as height maps, textures, basic physics, which allows for simplified world building. In addition, the hexes are also meshed to give them a certain unique look and feel. These hex presets allow engineers to take what the designers want and easily translate it into the game world. Whether we want to add an ancient, forgotten desert to explore, or remote island ruins filled with treasures and peril, this tech allows us to change one tile and change the world!
We also want to focus on maximizing player performance as well, and have developed several systems to optimize data flow. Overall, hexes will be processed in 3 x 3 chunks for basic rendering, and only the data currently onscreen is processed. Behind the screen, we will be utilizing two different styles of GPU acceleration, which will automatically adapt based on your hardware specs to ensure the best possible performance while allowing for breathtaking visual impact.
A great example of this tech in action is our new Weather system, which we were able to implement partly because of these presets. We want the weather to look and feel real, while also having a meaningful impact on the player. Our weather will be simulated to not only look realistic, but to provide for evolving weather patterns that influence other aspects of the game. Weather, along with the day and night cycle, will be an important part of each scene. For example, perhaps a player can only approach a secured location under the cover of darkness, or maybe there is a rare herb that can only be gathered during a thunderous rainstorm.
Saturday - March 30, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #17, Summary and Character Concept Art
In the latest update a summary of Shroud of the Avatar is can be found:
Shroud of the Avatar is the “spiritual successor” to Richard’s previous work in the FRP genre. Our primary objectives are to tell a story even more compelling than Ultimas IV-VII, create a virtual world more interactive than Ultima VII, develop deep rich multi-player capabilities beyond combat akin to Ultima Online, and offer a bold new approach to integrate them with “Selective Multi-Player”.
- Shroud of the Avatar is infused with rich storylines, deeply integrated into game play, developed by Best Selling Author Tracy Hickman and RPG legend Richard Garriott.
- Players will adventure in an interactive world where their choices have consequences, ethical paradoxes give them pause, and they play a vital part in weaving their own story into the immersive world and lore surrounding them.
- Shroud of the Avatar is a Selective Multiplayer game, allowing players to choose how they want to play! Whether in Single-Player Offline mode or any of three online modes, the main quest line will provide greater than 40 hours of focused, story driven content.
- Shroud of the Avatar can be played as an offline DRM free solo experience or online, where our servers will enable player to player transactions, group finding, patching, streaming of dynamic content, and exploit prevention.
- Built using the Unity Game Engine, Shroud of the Avatar will support Win/Mac/Linux for official launch.
- Players can specialize in a wide range of combat and non-combat skills, provided by a robust, classless skill system, and full-featured crafting and housing mechanics. Play the way you want to play, molding your character into the hero, anti-hero, or artisan you want to be!
- Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue is the first of a 5 game series of full-length, stand-alone games (each using the same game system), referred to as Episodes 1 thru 5. Estimated availability of Episode 1, Forsaken Virtues, is October 2014, with Episodes 2 thru 5 estimated for subsequent yearly releases.
- Shroud of the Avatar is a “buy-to-play” game that, once purchased, does not require a subscription to play!
Also a new tier has been added at $80, which gives you episodes 1, 2 and 3 as a reward and some new concept art is given.
Now we know that there is really no NEW information in there, so we wanted to give you something else! For those of you who have asked, “Will I be able to play as a female Avatar?” Yes you can, as seen in this new Character Concept art! (The full sized version can be downloaded from the Shroud of the Avatar Media Gallery.
Wednesday - March 27, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #16, Bonus Rewards
Update #16 brings us more bonus rewards: future episodes, new tiers, immortality fruit, indestructible artisan tools, unique taming ability and more.
We received great feedback on our forums for additional Pledge rewards, and based on this feedback we're adding lots of new bonus rewards!
Two frequent suggestions included access to future episodes and a bridge tier between $60 and $100, so we combined those suggestions and added a great new tier! We are introducing the reward-packed, $80 Royal Artisan Tier! This tier is loaded with goodies, including full access to future Episodes 2 & 3, a David "Iolo" Watson-designed range weapon, indestructible artisan tool, unique (teachable) emote, and special ability which will allow players to tame a normally untamable monster!
We also added a new $50 tier, the Immortal Adventurer, that includes an awesome, one-of-a-kind Immortality Fruit, used with the farming craft to sow a regenerating seed and an edible fruit that grants a full damage heal!
Tuesday - March 26, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #15, What Influences Art and a Video
The Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter enters its 15 update and brings us news on how design and story influenceses art and Garriott answering the Popeye question.
This piece of concept art, by Stephen Daniele, was a truly collaborative piece and has gone through multiple revisions. It started with the ideas that the statues could have been part of a large promenade that led to the citadel at the base of the volcano. That is where a closer look at the lore introduced the idea that they were part of an ancient culture that had harnessed the power of the volcano using it as an energy resource.
That idea led us to contemplate; if this ancient race of monument builders were able to harness the power of the volcano, what were they like? What imagery and symbols would appeal to that society? Perhaps Dragons and Succubi!
But these powerful, ancient society flourished during a time long past. Now, the statues are in a semi-ruined state, cracked and somewhat broken up with rock caked around their bases. They are standing in the lava because they have been there since before the lava flowed freely from the volcano. So what would compel adventurers to traverse the dangerous landscape?
Riches beyond imagine.
What if this area was the only source for rare resources? Obsidian, diamonds, rare metals not found elsewhere in the land! What if some, very rare resources could only be gathered in extremely dangerous areas, like a lava field? One thing we are confident of, is that resourceful players will find a way.
And then there is news on the AMA at Reddit we already posted about and the video where LB answers the Popeye question.
Also the $1.3M and $1.4M stretch goals are announced:
$1.3M Interactive Music Instruments
Shroud of the Avatar - Reddit AMA
As mentioned before Richard Garriott did an 'Ask Me Anything' session at Redditt, which you can read here.
Good day Richard Garriott. Are you planning to have the farming system work along with the seasonal weather system? it only seems logical to me. plant in spring harvest in summer :D also the hexes surrounding the villages would make good purchasable farming plots.
Wow, great idea... my team (or at least Chris Spears) will freak out on that one... I do hope we get to the weather stretch goal ($50k to go). If so, I will look into "seasonal" influence as well!
Excited for your responses and loved your Matt Chat interview My question: Played UO when it first released and use to get murdered by PK's all the time and hated it. Turns out I now miss that in games. I miss the literal fear I would have for my things and the loss that would happen if I died. Why are games so easy now and will Shroud of Avatar have PK's running around murdering me?
We fully understand the potential horror as well as exhilaration that comes from being in full PVP. We are working hard to properly thread the needle, such that newbies don't get ganked, and yet mature players are encouraged to become exposed to PVP risk, such that the feeling is returned. We know this is a hot button issue, and we are working hard aon what we hope is an elegant answer!
Monday - March 25, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Matt Chat Interview
Matt Barton has interviewed Richard Garriott on Shroud of the Avatar and him being one of the first making role playing games.
Sunday - March 24, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #14, Paypal and Virtues
Update #14 brings us news that you can now pledge through Paypal.
The tier rewards are identical both on Kickstarter and at our Shroud of the Avatar store. It is simply an alternative that will allow new backers to pledge using PayPal as a payment option.
Then there is a video on virtues where Richard Garriott asks on of their programmers a set of questions about player virtues. If this video makes it past 25000 they will post Richard's answers in a future update.
Also, Richard Garriott will be hosting a IamA session on March 25th at 4 pm CST. Join him here: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/
Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ Dagon's Lair
Dagon from Dagon's Lair informed us that they had the opportunity to chat with Richard Garriott with a focus on the single player part of Shroud of the Avatar. The inhhteview comes in two parts and is available in both French and English (part 1 and part 2).
So in essence, the way you do it so that the single player experience is not say gimped by multiplayer is by building the multiplayer around it?
That’s right. That’s exactly right. And I also think than when you think of multiplayer, the… in a multiplayer sense, it’s actually very uncommon that your actual friends, people you actually know will happen to be online at the same time you happen to be online. You know if you think of your friends in the world. Most people have maybe a hundred people they would really call their friends and maybe only thirty of those people are actually as hardcore gamer as you are, and so the probably if you log on every other night, once every other night let’s say, the probability of you and your other thirty friends being online at the same time and in the same city at the same time is not a very likely occurrence. It’s actually, you know, it’s not something that will constantly be happening it’s something that’ll only occasionally happen and so I actually think as much… I want to convince people first of all to play online, not offline. But also by the way I think there is no reason not to expose yourself to letting your friends and you see each other because it’s not gonna happen that often, and whenever you happen to be in the same town, or happen to be travelling across the same part of the map, what a great joy it is to say, “Hey Bob, Chris, you know, what’s up? Hey how are you doing?” and make a celebration of the fact you found each other in this virtual world. Now if what you don’t wanna do is play with thousands of stranger tromping across your map, and killing all of your monsters, and getting all the loot ahead of you, and struggling for limited resources and you don’t to play that what I call competitive aspect of what sometime happens in multiplayer games, then don’t. We have a very simple slider that you move and set anywhere you want between travelling literally alone to only with people you know, to only with people you know and the know, so kind of two steps, or frankly anybody that happens to be nearby and so you can adjust and choose your level of comfort and you can change it on a daily basis. You can be going like you know last time I played I went ahead and slide that slider to let other people play and I didn’t like it. Well okay, you‘ll slide it back to solo player, no harm.
For those who don't like to read, there is also an audio version available on Youtube.
Friday - March 22, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #13, Housing
It's all about housing.
As promised, we’re ready to reveal more design details. Based on feedback from the forums we’re revealing some details on housing!
Let me jump right into the stuff you guys really want to hear:
- House maintenance and acquisition can be paid for with in game currency (KS houses have no upkeep cost ever)
- House deeds can be traded between players
- Houses are 100% secure for items stored in them though not always 100% accessible due to nasty sieges by evil forces
- Houses exist in shared spaces (not instanced) and everyone will see your house and its decorations
- Houses can be decorated both inside and out
- Houses will be fairly limited but more will be added over time as we grow the world
- City houses > Town houses > Village houses
- Vendors for houses will be paid a percentage of the item that they sell (KS vendors will not take a cut of the profits)
Ok, hopefully that answered 80% of the housing questions we've received! For the other 20%, here are details, in written and video form:
Thursday - March 21, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #12, Art Direction
In update number 12 of the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter the art direction is discussed.
When we first started discussing Art Direction for Shroud of the Avatar, we felt it was critical that the virtual world be steeped in a traditional medieval fantasy feel, but have added a modern twist that we think will be a real treat for players to experience, taking them into something fresh.
There are an abundance of medieval fantasy games out there—so we asked ourselves how do we set the game apart, how do we create a unique and marketable identity in an oversaturated market? The answer came in Richard’s natural storytelling ability. Over the last few months, Richard developed a complex, rich story in which two worlds collide, the ancient world melding with the modern, and the world art we’re creating will reflect that in a fresh and unique way.
We started with traditional medieval elements and layered in elements of a primitive electro-mechanical future. Our objective is to create a visual aesthetic that is both familiar and unique. And now with the addition of Tracy Hickman to the team, his vision for the story will continue to evolve that world, and in turn, evolve our depiction of that world.
Richard’s attention to detail and sense of direction demands that all characters, weapons, objects, and buildings need to “make sense” and not just exist as eye-candy. We are creating a world that sets Shroud of the Avatar apart from the pack-- but also one where form always follows function. We believe this design process will create believable, fascinating worlds and our art will follow that vision.
Shroud of the Avatar - Sharing Stories
Richard Garriot share stories on the Ultima games, ducks and Shroud of the Avatar.
Tuesday - March 19, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #11, Stretch Goals and Bonuses
Now that Shroud of the Avatar is officially funded it is time for some stretch goals.
$1.1 M PET SYSTEM!
- One word, "Pets!" We're adding both social and combat pets which players can control using simple commands
$1.2 M SEASONAL WEATHER!
- Grab your cloak, because we're adding Weather to the game!
$1.3 M To Be Revealed!
And the following tiers have received one or more additional bonus rewards:
$60 Tier (FOUNDER) - Founder level now contains:
- NEW: Special tunic for your in-game avatar to wear, proudly displaying unique symbology identifying you as an early Founder of the game.
- NEW: 2 starter melee weapons, uniquely identifiable as Founder weapons
- NEW: 1 non-combat pet (out of 3 to choose from; dependent upon reaching $1.1 M Pet System stretch goal)
$100 Tier (VIRTUAL COLLECTOR) - Virtual Collector level now contains:
- NEW: You will receive the box cover art as a digital, uniquely framed, in-game decoration for your house.
- Added 3/12: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Royal Archivist" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
$125 Tier (EXPLORER) - Explorer level now contains:
- NEW: You will receive the new world map as a digital, uniquely framed, in-game decoration for your house.
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Explorer" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
- Added 3/12: Special Collector's Box
- Added 3/12: Recorded media game (format of recorded media TBD)
- Added 3/12: Recorded media game soundtrack (format of recorded media TBD)
- Added 3/12: Old-school style, illustrated, printed manual
$150 Tier (COLLECTOR) - Collector level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Royal Curator" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
- Added 3/12: Mysterious physical artifact! (Is it an ankh? Is it a serpent necklace? What could it be?)
- Added 3/12: Special Collector's Box
- Added 3/12: Recorded media game (format of recorded media TBD)
- Added 3/12: Recorded media game soundtrack (format of recorded media TBD)
- Added 3/12: Old-school style, illustrated, printed manual
$200 Tier (PATRON) - Patron level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Patron" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
- NEW: You will receive a digital, framed certificate of your inclusion in the Domesday Book, as an in-game decoration for your house.
$250 Tier (ANCESTOR) - Ancestor level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Ancestor" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
- NEW: You will receive a duplicate of your digital tombstone as an in-game yard decoration for your house.
$350 Tier (NAVIGATOR) - Navigator level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Navigator" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
$400 Tier (DEVELOPER) - Developer level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Tinkerer" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
$500 Tier (CITIZEN) - Citizen level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Citizen" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
- NEW: Printed Village Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott
$1,500 Tier (LORD) - Lord level now contains:
- NEW: Printed Town Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott
$3,000/$3,500 Tier (BARON/BARON 2) - Baron/Baron 2 levels now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Baron" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
- NEW: Printed Town Property Deed, hand signed by Richard "Lord British" Garriott
$5,000 Tier (Duke) - Duke level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Duke" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
$10,000 Tier (LORD OF THE MANOR) - Lord of the Manor level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Lord of the Manor" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
$10,000 Tier (LORDS OF THE MANOR) - Lords of the Manor level now contains:
- NEW: Your in-game avatar will receive the honorific title of "Lord of the Manor" to be proudly displayed for all to see (title visibility controlled by player).
Saturday - March 16, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #10, Selective Multi-player
Update on the modes of play for SotA.
Single player offline:
This is the DRM free, completely off-line version of the game. Your character is stored on your computer and can not be used in any of the online modes.
Single Player Online (SPO)
In the SPO mode you connect to the server, receive content updates, and can see the long term changes others are having on the world. However, you are not visible on anyone else’s screen, nor for grouping, and you don’t see anyone else in the world. You can switch from SPO to FPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or overland map. Some parts of the main storyline quests may temporarily force the player into SPO mode for some parts of the quest.
Friends Play Online (FPO)
In friends play online, you only see people you have flagged as friends in the game and only they can see you. Like single player, this is just a server side filter. For those who prefer the quieter game with friends or maybe for those who prefer a more focused role playing experience, this lets you enjoy a more limited online experience. You can switch to SPO or OPO modes whenever you like while in a city or in the overland map.
Open Play Online (OPO)
In OPO players will see everyone that the server thinks they should see. This will not necessarily be all people in the area but should be people you care the most about based on what we believe is their relevance to you.
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #9, Tracy Hickman
Tracy Hickman joins the team as Lead Story Designer.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to create something meaningful, challenging and wondrous in Shroud of the Avatar,” Tracy said. “I’m thrilled to play a part in it.”
"Tracy is not only a good friend, but also a master storycrafter whose writing I've greatly admired for over twenty years," says Richard Garriott. "Tracy’s talent will add a unique richness and depth to Shroud of the Avatar."
Friday - March 15, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update #8, The Fallen Keep
In the eighth update for the Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues Kickstarter some concept art for The Fallen Keep is shown.
One of the scenarios we are building starts with the player outside of a former keep. The dark forces that lay siege to this keep, eventually overtaking it, now defend their spoils against your attempts to retake it.
Below is the latest concept art from Stephen Daniele depicting the Fallen Keep. If you look closely, you will see that while it was under siege, one of the towers was badly damaged. This will allow the clever player (with ranged attacks) to attempt to drop the drawbridge by destroying the crank seen through the gap at some angles. There are other, less obvious ways, into this keep, to be discovered by the more exploratory player. Those other ways may leave the keep more defensible when the tides are turned yet again!
Thursday - March 14, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update 7
Dual Scale vs Mono Scale Maps in this update by Chris Spears.
Wednesday - March 13, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar From Vision to Virtual Worlds
In a developer blog, Shroud of the Avatar developer Rick Holtrop shares with us on how an idea is transformed into a virtual world.
This scene started from conversations with Richard about the gypsies who will live in this world. A very early first pass resulted in a large camp where many gypsies lived and sold their wares. Richard felt that this didn’t quite match what he had in mind for this. Instead he had envisioned a much smaller, temporary encampment, possibly even a single gypsy family.
Once I started to visualize the scene in that way, ideas came to mind much quicker and more easily. This is a family that would almost certainly come under siege by a small group of monsters, they probably don’t have much in the way of money, and they probably had their own family issues to worry about.
We settled on two stories to represent here, one “local” and one “global.” Locally, the family comes under ambush from a pack of skeletons just as the hero arrives. This is a nice, quick little piece of gameplay that leaves the player feeling a sense of reward and accomplishment.
On the “global” scale, one of these gypsies has a wedding ring and offers it to the player as a reward for helping. On the surface, this appears to be an easy, extra reward for the player, but there is actually a great deal more happening here. The player has found himself or herself in an ethical dilemma, and that’s only apparent once the player has explored more of the world and uncovered more of the ongoing story. In this very organic way, quests can have both a long term and immediate consequence for players, and represents much of what questing means in a “Richard Garriott RPG”.
Shroud of the Avatar - Update 6
Collector's box and new tiers.
You asked for a box, so you're getting a box! A Collector's Box is one of the most frequently requested reward items, so we're creating a special box to hold your physical goods! We'll update you with more information about the special cover art for the box in a future update!
We're also adding several new bonus rewards to the following pledge tiers:
Tuesday - March 12, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Update 5
Some DRM, offline/online and microtransaction questions answered in the latest update for SotA.
First, the game can be played offline, no connection required. The character used for the offline version of the game will not be useable in the online version of the game for obvious exploit/hacking reasons. We are going to investigate ways to export your online character to the single player version of the game but the offline character will not be importable into the online version.Second, the offline single player version of the game for those who purchase it through KickStarter will not use any form of DRM. We had been holding off on committing to that because we don’t know what our final distribution system (Steam, GOG, etc) is going to be and some of them use DRM. We may have DRM of some sort on post-KS sales but we’ll commit to keeping KS versions DRM and “phone home” free for the single player version once launched.Third, the offline single player of the game will not have any microtransactions. We know this is kind of a no-brainer since it is offline but we wanted to be perfectly clear on that since there was some vagueness in a few statements in one of our video chats.
Saturday - March 09, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues - Kickstarter Updates
We are hosting a LIVE Developer broadcast today at 3pm CST at our Portalarium Studio. You can steam it on our Ustream channel (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/portalarium) and will be able to post questions directly to Richard and his team. Hope to "see" you there!
Update: Update 4.
We promised that when we hit the halfway point of our Kickstarter goal, we would post an exclusive Video Interview with Iolo, the beloved Bard, and Companion of the Avatar from the Ultima Series. Here it is!
Friday - March 08, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues - On Kickstarter
Richard Garriott's new Ultima'ish game is up on Kickstarter.
Richard Garriott, the award winning designer and creator of the Ultima franchise, makes his triumphant return to the genre that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Shroud of the Avatar is the first installment of Richard’s new vision and represents the reinvention of the classic, fantasy role-playing which he pioneered. A fantasy role-playing game that will focus more on player choices and discovery than on level grinding.
Shroud of the Avatar general features:
From Lord British's Treatise on "What is an Ultimate RPG?":
- Fully interactive virtual world - If it looks usable, it should do something
- Deep original fiction - Ethical parables, cultural histories, fully developed alternate language text
- Physical game components will be available: Cloth map, fictional manuals, trinkets
- Multiplayer Online Game - which can also be played solo player / offline
Information aboutShroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues
SP/MP: Single + MP
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Unknown