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ArtCraft Developer
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Everything posted by jtoddcoleman

  1. I'll see if we can allow nobles to do it. Todd
  2. we could, but that doesn't sound very optimal. I've also toyed with the idea of making uptime per day based on investment / management of the EK -- i.e. tie it to the parcels and buildings you have installed there. that would be relatively easy and I don't think the folks who really want it (srathor, etc) would have any issue with it. they are playing that game already. Todd
  3. we could adjust the time before an EK spins down. I hate to have people logged in but not playing, that costs money in terms of both bandwidth and server cycles. T
  4. I don't know, something like 5 or 10 minutes? Todd
  5. Wow, so I just ran down the hall to ask QA "what happened to our AFK timer?" and apparently only half of the functionality is in and working (the disconnected player zombie state) -- I thought we had this in and working since hunger dome testing (and that it just didn't trigger for me because I was an admin account, which is the correct behavior). But no, it's not happening for anyone. that's a HUGE problem, and I can't believe that I missed this. I'll get it into the system and get it fixed asap. Todd
  6. great thread, and btw, your overall critique/problem has been on the top of my mind for a while now. it's an interesting wrinkle that comes from the nature of a dynamic world where the passage of time and the actions of the players dramatically change the game universe. it raises the obvious-on-reflection question: what happens when those two things conspire to make a game is that absolutely un-friendly to new players? I have a solution for it, and in fact we intended to talk about it yesterday in the live stream (before I got sick)... so we'll schedule another time to talk about it as soon as possible. Todd
  7. we're pushing as hard as we can to get the new server performance improvements out to you guys, because the higher the cap, the less this issue will matter. we could put in a temporary faction cap (something like 33/33/33) but my fear is that people would just abuse this with alts and it wouldn't actually help the situation -- in fact, it would make it worse, as everyone would be forced to queue pretty much all of the time. we're aware of the issue, and absolutely understand that it's incredibly frustrating. if there was more that we could do, we would. server and client performance is our #1 priority for the next milestone. once we're on the other side of that improvement, I'm more than happy to look at separate queues for different factions (or maybe just enforcing that during siege windows), but I want to stay focused right now 100% on improving performance. Todd
  8. I'd absolutely love too -- but the charts still show a few (not many, but a few) hitches on the server that need to be addressed before we will feel comfortable increasing it. We have a (fingers crossed) MAJOR performance update that we're been working on for a few months now, but it touches so many different systems that it is highly likely to break everything the moment that we launch it. so we're putting it through a lot more testing cycles, in the hopes of minimizing that pain. We know that the zones work reasonably well right now at 100. The problem is: if you jump it up, even a little, then you aren't just risking a bad experience for those 10 players, you're jeopardizing that play experience for everyone on that server. So while queueing absolutely sucks (and yeah, I know it does) it's actually the lesser of the two evils right now. We're working on the real fix, and I think we have a handle on it. It's working its way through the process and hopefully you guys will see it soon, and your patience will be well rewarded. Todd
  9. Hey gang, let's take a quick walk down memory lane. WAY, WAY back in Shadowbane beta (I’m guessing this was 2002?) we had an interesting thing happen. Our testing community was heavily guild-focused; teams from UO and new groups were waging war and building cities and sieges were happening and, in spite of the bugs, the game was kind of working. Guilds were going at each other, vying for domination of the Aerynth, the Shadowbane world. And then, one day, the fighting just stopped. A couple of the top guilds decided that, instead of fighting each other, they would work together in a big mega-alliance. They had enough manpower and enough skill to take over the server. That guild was called the Rolling 30s, led by a guy named Bone Dancer, and they did a pretty good job of locking the server down for a while. I'm looking at the state of the Trials of Malekai campaigns, and one of them looks strangely familiar. So, I have a few thoughts. First: if the game literally gets to a point where it is mathematically unwinnable, we can always end it early. This is testing, and the goal of testing is to (1) find bugs and (2) learn things so that we can iterate over the design. If we hit a point in this campaign – or any campaign – where we aren’t learning anything useful, then we can (and will) shut it down and move on to the next test. Second: while I know this can be aggravating, I want to make it clear that this isn’t a player problem; it’s a design problem. And it’s not an unknown out-of-nowhere design problem, either… as I said, I’ve seen this before. One of the major reasons that we pushed off the First Sanctioned campaign is because we didn’t have a rewards system in place that would help keep this from happening (the other major reason, of course, was performance.) Will the reward system absolutely fix it? No, probably not… but it will certainly help. Right now, the reward system is about as simplistic as a reward system can be: players on the winning team get a gold badge, everyone else gets silver. EVERYONE gets the badge. So, it really shouldn’t be a shock that players are working together to get the gold… because why wouldn’t they? A better solution, and one that we’re in the process of implementing, uses a combination of Multi-Vector Rewards and Reward Scarcity. I was holding off on discussing this because I wanted to lock the rewards down first, but it seems like a number of people are concerned, so let’s go ahead and talk about it now. Reward scarcity is just that. If every person competing at the Olympics could get a gold medal just by holding hands with their fellow participants, we’d see a lot of gold medals and a lot less competition. So, step one is to limit the number of players who can earn any given reward. On top of that, we need to have Multi-Vector Rewards; not just a single “do-this-one-thing-and-only-this-one-thing-to-win” rule because single vector problems are the easiest to game (and as I noted above, this reward system is about as simple as it gets). So, here’s an example of a better reward structure (and it’s JUST an example): 1. Gold medal for the top 20 players in the winning faction 2. Gold medal for the top 20 individual contributors across all factions, in killing/captures/harvest/craft Even this super-simple example is better than the “everyone hold hands” model we have on ToM… and more vectors, with varying levels of enforced scarcity, would be even better because it drives players to have to make hard choices to “win”. Between now and First Sanctioned, we’ll be spending a lot of time working through the rewards design to help offset this behavior – and once we have more players (and more campaigns running) that will certainly help, as well. (Dregs will, too, because guilds are more willing to form alliances than they are to form “mega-guilds” as that requires giving up their guild identity.) As I said, if the situation on any Campaign gets bad enough, if the game literally gets to a point where it is mathematically unwinnable (i.e. another variant of the dreaded Uncle Bob Scenario) then we will end the Campaign and put up a new one, making whatever adjustments we can. I know I could probably step in and ask the main guilds right now to stop holding hands and fight each other… but I’m not going to do that, because it would skew the test and any learning we might take from that test would be flawed. The simple fact is: our design needs to stand up to actual player behavior, not player-behavior-when-we-ask-them-to-play-how-we-want-them-to. Once we launch, we can’t expect players to treat our design with “kids gloves” just because we asked them nicely. I know that it can be really frustrating to test an unfinished game, and for that I can only say: I get it, I hear you. All I can offer in response is: we’re watching, we’re learning, and we will continue to do the best we can to adjust and iterate as quickly as possible. Thanks for sticking with us as we work through these issues.
  10. Yeah, I have a problem. I have two different design goals and they are diametrically opposed. I want to be able to expose the strategy game information to everyone, even to people who aren't even playing in the Campaign -- but if I show the maps, that makes it pretty impossible to hide them at the same time. So instead I was leaning towards a hybrid approach: show the maps and the major features (mountains, roads, strongholds, etc) and hide the details until someone claims them (outposts, etc). I could also throw other things into the mix, like resources and mob spawners -- you'll probably recall they had them in previous versions. We had fog of war, and it was kind of cool, but frankly it didn't last more than hour once a new map came up. so when I hit the conflict between these two design goals, I decided that showing the strategy game was more important, and I gave that priority. I like the idea, though, so I will continue to look for opportunities to use it (or a variation of it) in the future. Todd
  11. Yes -- that's what the multiplier is applied to. Todd
  12. Yes, my capacity to get things fixed this week and next are certainly diminished -- but agreed these are issues that need to be addressed. Todd
  13. https://venturebeat.com/2018/07/10/crowfall-studio-artcraft-will-license-its-mmo-making-tool-artisan-engine/ Hey folks, This morning we announced a new division of ACE -- ArtCraft Technologies. This is a long-term strategic move for our company; the intent is to build a technology base that we can not only leverage internally on future titles, but that we can also license to other studios. In the short term, this also provides two immediate, impactful benefits: 1. We signed our first major customer, and the funds from this will be used to hire a "core technology team" of 6 to 8 senior engineers. These individuals will be tasked, first and foremost, with bolstering and optimizing the Crowfall technology base in preparation for alpha, beta and launch. 2. To run this division, we recruited Josef Hall, a name that some of you might remember from my previous Murder of Crows videos. Josef was the co-creator of both Shadowbane and Wizard101. We've been business partners for 15+ years (every company until ACE, in fact) and not having him here at ACE for the last few years has felt, for me, like I was fighting with one arm tied behind my back. His experience, design acumen and technical chops are a huge win for our team. I believe that Josef and his engineer team are going to be a force multiplier for Crowfall, and for our future game titles. Simply put, I can't imagine a better addition to our executive team. Todd
  14. Yeah, I do hate water. we have some generating in some of the parcels -- it's just not working great, because we haven't spent any real time on it. Flowing water, in particular, is annoying, because it causes issues at parcel boundaries (which is why the "riverlands" tile set is currently dry.) I'm sure we'll have to make it better eventually. just not high on my list. Todd
  15. I'm a big fan of dwarven crossbows (my Battle Master in my current 5e campaign has a repeating crossbow right now, in fact). Probably not in the cards pre-launch, but certainly on my radar for later. Todd
  16. yeah, I hate the way it feels, honestly, and we need to fix it. it just hasn't risen to the top of the priority list. Todd
  17. It seems to be intermittent. Glad it was resolved for you; we'll keep looking for it to hopefully stop it from happening again. Todd
  18. Yeah, I feel like we need to add low quality items (or components) to the loot tables to drive exploration and scavenging. Right now we have a technical limitation (oddly enough, items that are created outside of the crafting system can't be assigned attributed!) but obviously we'll fix that at some point and it will open us up to be able to make scavenging a viable activity. Todd
  19. I'm not opposed to expanding on the sacrifice system, but under-the-covers the disciplines are equip'd items (runestones, just like Race & Class). so an easier mechanism to achieve what you're suggesting would be to add a generalized system for getting items as a result of sacrifice -- and then including those Discipline items as rewards in that system. Certainly something worth considering! As you said, I am in favor of moving more of our advancement from the "passive" to the "active" column. Todd
  20. We usually wait until a release settles out a bit -- while "generally available" works for most projects, we're stressing Unity in a lot of unique ways. More stable version = more seamless integration for us. We will jump to 2018 at some point in the next few months, I imagine. Todd
  21. Still trying to figure out how to make roads worthwhile. Ideally I want some kind of a travelling or caravan benefits (reduced stamina, increased speed, increased caravan or mount speed, etc) so that using a road is a risk/reward mechanic. I hate water in games. It looks cool, but mechanically it's a huge (read: expensive) pain in the ass that rarely gives you enough "fun" for the effort. Boats, on the other hand, are awesome -- but having done an entire game about piracy (Pirate101) they are an even more expensive and bigger pain in the ass. so: yes, we have to do something with water, but don't expect a lot before release. I'd rather spend that time and energy on something more impactful. Todd
  22. I agree -- I actually think this may be one of our biggest, most unique features! It's been a huge investment of our time and resources, getting here -- but it hasn't surfaced yet... the worlds are built out reuseable parts, but we haven't had a way to put together those parts in a streamlined fashion so the payoff is still coming. Hopefully we'll start to see the fruits of this effort soon! Todd
  23. Our approach on building the procedural world generation is to go "bottoms-up"; instead of starting with the world cluster and working down, we're starting with the most atomic unit and working our way up. This will make the game more playable as we go, and it will give us the maximum amount of time / iterations on the randomization of how-we-place-stuff-in-the-world, which is most important for the moment-to-moment experience. That means the order is roughly: - spawners randomized wiithin dioramas - dioramas randomized within parcels (from a parcel deck), - parcels randomized within the zone/continent (from a zone deck), - cliff parcels automatically placed to wrap the parcels at the world edge (from a tile set), - "themes" that can be applied on top of parcels (canyons + spiders, canyons + zombies, canyons + lizardmen, etc). - randomized parcel networks (dungeons, canyons, etc) - continents randomized within a world/cluster (from a world deck) ...while the rank information flows top down (from cluster to parcel to diorama to spawner). To your question (where are we in the process), the 5.6 map has parcels placed by hand, with all of the elements inside them drawn from various appropriate decks, the rank information being passed down the chain as expected, cliff edges being applied automatically and the "theme" system to be able to use a base parcel (like canyons) with different prop and monster sets (spiders, zombies). Next up is parcels-in-the-world, which is what this meeting was about. After that we'll tackle zones-in-the-world-cluster. (and after THAT we'll look at the history generator... eventually.) Todd
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