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By Damis

Covenant Football League Started For Season 2019

Covenant Football League
A new season is about to start for our Fantasy Football League.  Currently, all slots are full, but some may open up on Monday, August 26, 2019.  Anyone interested in joining the league should reply to the Discussion thread.  A second league could be created if there is enough interest. 
Keeper Deadline
The deadline to select keepers is Monday, August 26, 2019.  You can make and edit your selections until 11:59 PM PT on Sunday, August 25, 2019
Choose your Keepers here: https://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/787185/5/keepers
Please remember that each team is allowed only TWO keepers, unless your name is Xalt, who gets THREE keepers because he won last year's team pick-em.
DRAFT DATE
 Saturday, August 31,  2019:  7 PM PDT | 9 PM Central | 10 PM Eastern
Discussion Thread
 
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By Damis

Fractured MMO

Fractured is an open-world fantasy sandbox MMORPG which blends action combat with fully interactive environments, appealing equally to lovers of competitive and cooperative gameplay. Jump right into the fray from day one. Defeat your enemies with skill and wit, not equipment or level. Gather resources, craft, trade and venture into legendary travels as a solitary hero, or start a settlement with your guild and grow it into the next empire. A true sandbox MMORPG, Fractured lets players pursue the gameplay they enjoy, create the type of character they enjoy, and focus on doing what they enjoy. 
Fractured Key Features
Unique And Dynamic Setting – Explore the universe of Fractured, which is spread across three planets – Arboreus, Syndesia, and Tartaros. Travel is an important part of the game experience; unlike many traditional MMORPGS, players must find a way to survive as they traverse the worlds. In addition, eclipses, unique PvE events, have a huge impact on the lives of demons and humans. The state of the universe, and even the position of planets, matters!
Race Is More Than Cosmetic – The race you belong to has an actual impact on game mechanics, from the type of society you live in to the ways you can interact with other players. Choose a human and live in – or at odds with – a feudal society. Be a beastman, and live in harmony with nature. Or, choose a demon, and slake your thirst for blood and revenge!
Crafting That Matters – Finding a broadsword in the corpse of a rat sounds a little unlikely? Forget about old RPG clichés and enter a world where every item is crafted by players. Exploit the uneven distribution of resources to get high profits when trading at faraway markets – but make sure you reach your destination alive!
Get Into The Action – You do not need to grind zombies for 80 hours or reach some level limit before you can join your friends on adventures. In Fractured, you can take part in any content from the first day in the game! The Knowledge system offers power and flexibility, allowing players to develop exactly the character they wish to play.
Action Combat Evolved – Fractured melds the combat style you’ve loved in single-player Action RPGs with a complex sandbox universe. Learn to aim, dodge and master over 400 abilities and 40 unique status effects: only your skills and tactics will lead you to victory! The environment is fully interactive, and can be used to give you an edge in your adventures.
https://fracturedmmo.com/
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By Damis

ESO: SCALEBREAKER DLC GAME PACK

The Scalebreaker DLC game pack brings two new Season of the Dragon dungeons, expanding upon the events of both Wrathstone and Elsweyr. The Dragons are free from the Halls of Colossus, and now you must deal with the fallout of their release. While these stories are part of the year-long saga, you can enjoy both without having completed either of the year’s earlier content—enjoy!
Lair of Maarselok
For centuries, Maarselok slept deep in the mountains between Elsweyr and Grahtwood. However, upon the opening of the Halls of Colossus, this monstrous Dragon has awoken, and now threatens to spread his corruption into the domain of the Wood Elves. Only with the help of the Warlock Carindon and the forest spirit Selene can you defeat this terrifying new Dragon!

Hunt the great Dragon Maarselok!
Moongrave Fane
Hidden within a fallen Khajiiti temple, the vampires of the Hollowfang prepare to perform a terrible ritual. Joined by the former Dragonguard Grundwulf, they wish to drain the blood from a captured Dragon! You and your team must fight your way into the fallen ruin and put a stop to their plan before it’s too late.
Both dungeons can be attempted in Normal and Veteran difficulties, with a Veteran Hard Mode option available for those looking for a challenge. Brave delvers can discover new rewards up for grabs in both dungeons, too, including new item sets, Achievements, collectibles, and more.
PURCHASE DETAILS
The Scalebreaker DLC game pack is free for all ESO Plus members and available for purchase for 1,500 crowns from the in-game Crown Store (listed under DLC).
https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/home
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By Damis

Starsector sandbox space sim

Starsector is an open-world single-player RTS space-combat game with roleplaying, exploration and economics from Fractal Softworks. You take the role of a space captain seeking fortune and glory however you choose.   

Current Features
Develop your character into a hot-shot pilot, a smuggler, a stern admiral, an industrial magnate – or anything in between Pilot your ship in top-down 2D combat Command your fleet in tactical battles Gain experience to level up your skills Detailed space combat mechanics Customize your ship’s loadout before battle Outfit ships with your weapons of choice and add hull modifications to create devastating tactical combinations Hire officers to give skill bonuses, pilot auxiliary ships, and oversee your operations Explore war-torn star systems Exploit events to trade goods for profit Win the favor or scorn of powerful factions Discover new worlds and salvage lost derelicts Mod support for diverse user-made content Claim new worlds, build outposts and industry Cripple core world supply lines to create easy prey for piracy or bolster the rule of law and try to reverse the Sector’s descent into chaos Survey forgotten worlds and establish new colonies among the ruins Use lost and forbidden technologies to advance your cause – can you afford to pay for the consequences of your hubris? Leave your mark upon the world and determine the fate of the Sector with your decisions
Still in its alpha phase, this one looks to be something to keep an eye on moving forward.  If you preorder now, you pay $15 – 25% off the final price.
What you get:
Early access to the game, starting with alpha builds – available now! Discounted price The full version, when it is finished You help support the development of Starsector http://fractalsoftworks.com/
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By Damis

War Thunder - Free to Play

War Thunder is a free-to-play vehicular combat multiplayer video game developed and published by Gaijin Entertainment in cross platform format for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Shield Android TV.
In War Thunder, aircraft, attack helicopters, ground forces and naval ships collaborate in realistic competitive battles. You can choose from over 1,000 vehicles and an extensive variety of combat situations many of which are exclusive. You can find yourself blasting your pursuers from a bomber turret, defending your teammates on the ground from an air raid with anti-aircraft guns, shooting down enemy planes with a firestorm from multiple rocket launchers, or trying to sink an enemy warship with a torpedo from a fast attack boat.
Features include:
Seamless cross-platform gameplay between Windows PC, Linux, Mac, PlayStation®4 with Xbox One users being included in PC battles – everyone on the same server. Over 1,000 highly detailed aircraft, helicopters, tanks, warships and other combat vehicles crafted carefully from historical documents and surviving sources. 80 maps representing the main historical battle theaters.  Intense PvP experiences in full-scale combat missions at various difficulty settings for all play styles and degrees of experience.  Rich PvE content including dynamic historical campaigns and solo missions.  Regular content updates including new vehicles, maps, missions and nations.  Astonishing graphics, authentic sound effects and beautiful music creating an atmosphere to fully immerse yourself in.  Create custom content for War Thunder and share it on War Thunder Live, with the prospect of earning real money through the Revenue Share Partner System! Free to Play Download
https://store.steampowered.com/app/236390/War_Thunder/  
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Ztuke's Blog

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Have you ever thought about creating a...?

Ztuke

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Welcome, what follows is, what I hope, a reasonable account of what or an attempt there of, can be involved in taking an idea from the mind to the finished product. I know I skip all sorts of steps but I hope it gives you the reader an idea of just how much can be involved.

 

If not I hope I provided you with a solution to that nighttime insomnia.

 

* * *

I know many of us have watched a movie, a television show even a play or sat down and read a book or played a computer and come away thinking, "I could have done better", but could you?

 

It is easy to say such things, but be honest have you ever actually sat done, maybe with a pen and pad of paper to hand and actually tried to work through what is involved?

 

Let me use as an example, a computer game.

 

Okay, you have an idea for a game, you grab pen and paper and jot it down, now what?

 

Well how about a plot, not just a general overview but a plot that starts with the players entry into the game, but their passage through it to an end?

 

Is the end finite? Does it signal the completion of the game or is it just the end that you can think of at that stage?

 

Ah, that opens up the next question, is the game linear or open, if open then how open?

 

Next, the stories, yes I know you have a plot but what about all those other characters that the player may meet in the game, are they just faceless drones or do they have stories? Ah now we find ourselves expanding the plot line. we have characters we meet, some are trivial or minor characters there only to provide a clue or piece of an answer, but what about others, those who play a more pivotal role, do they have a story, do they NEED a story?

 

Okay now you have the plot line, major story and basic sub stories fleshed out it is time to start getting into the nuts and bolts of making the game. But wait, you have to create at least the background of a world, what does it look like, what different environments are there, how about towns and villages, weather?

 

So now you have foundation of information to use to build your game.

 

First, what system are you going to use? PC, MAC or console? Each has advantages and disadvantages.

 

Now then, what technology is it to be based upon? ultra modern, cutting edge or a couple of months older?

 

Why do I need to think about this, well it affects a lot of performance issues. Cutting edge will most likely have more problems since the technology is so new the full implications of how it will interact with other software, hardware and drivers in the case of PC's may not be completely understood because of the sheer range of options out there. While the slightly older technology is more mature, many if not most of the issues are already known, so there will be much fewer surprises.

 

Okay you have decided upon your target platform, so now starts the long and hard part of creating it all.

 

But wait, is this single player which reduces your demands and requirements or multi-player. Can you save you game state allowing for the player to pause and walk away for biological functions or is it persistent, running 24/7?

 

If it is multi-player, how many players, can a PC for example, act as host or are you swapping data between a few discreet machine, as to action, weapon selected, spell cast and location or is it more involved. Are you expecting a large enough number that a dedicated server will be required, what about all the data and processing for the game such as combat resolution, monster movements and everything else. How much data is going to be transmitted, how big a pipe do you need just to send data at peak time, what about data coming the other way?

 

Is the server self regulating, performing maintenance during up time or does it require the whole system to be to stopped and everything taken offline for several hours while garbage is disposed off, logs are transferred, backups are made. You will need to make double sure about data integrity, have an accident and lose every player character created because someone during maintenance made a spelling mistake could easily cost you your entire player base. Your servers are essentially huge interconnected databases, thousands, tens of thousands, potentially millions of entries long. How much performance do you require to host all those clients?

 

Just for now we will assume that there are tools to hand that you can purchase to assist you in creating your game instead of having to write the tools you need to make your game.

 

Right so what is involved.

 

Well you need graphics, these are the static images you see as background but also the art work that covers everything from your character, the skin they wear, the clothes they wear, to the items they interact with in appearance.

 

You also have to think about animations, unless you are happy with a static slideshow, you need things to move, so you have to make a mesh framework of each and every object that will move, be picked up, handles or occupy a fixed point in the world, around that you wrap a graphic so it looks like it is supposed to, but you may want to add extra realism, give it all those little imperfections that we find in the real world, so you add texture maps, which supply these slight but minor imperfections, you may also want to think about a perfect versus an imperfect look. A 'perfect' look is one that will be spotted quickly, nothing is perfect in the real world it has all sorts of flaws in the eye of the viewer, from smears and scratches to fingerprints, distortions in reflections and odd color values. So we need a light source and something to indicate where and how reflections react to our object hence you introduce a reflection map.

 

Not so easy is it, we have a mesh, and animation model a texture map, a graphic image overlay and a reflection map on each and every object in the game.

 

However, we were talking about animation, that means that the mesh must have discrete parts, points around which the rest rotate and move. Think of the human body, think about the range of motion in each and every joint you have, there is a lot of them in a large range of directions.

 

However we do not need all the possible combinations, just the most common and a few special ones for uncommon actions. Sitting, standing, talking, pulling a weapons or weapons, using that weapon, etc. Now if the player character is just standing there doing nothing, them it looks completely artificial, so you write a mini script that controls what the player character does when just standing still. It could, look around from time to time, pick its nose once in a while, scuff a foot on the ground, yawn, there are all sorts of actions to consider if you want them or not and which give depth of personalty to the players characters.

 

All right, lets say that process is well under way, now what about sound, how about music?

 

Everything in the real world usually produces a sound. Pick up a pencil from a flat surface, you heard a noise or two even if you ignored them. The scratch of the pencil against the surface as it moved under you impetus, maybe your fingernails rubbed across the surface producing another sound, maybe you dropped it and had to try again.

 

Music, watched a movie lately, nearly every scene had music of some sort. The movie people are not trying to push the price of the movie up or justify their jobs but they have found that a movie with music gets a better response than one without music, Watch the Movie 2001, the lack of music in the background takes a little time to notice but feel the difference, listen to the sound of an astronaut breathing inside his helmet while outside is no sound, its a little odd, eerie. In the movie industry, music is important, as it is in other industries, for with music you can convey happiness, sadness, joy, excitement, fear or terror. A well composed piece of music can sweep up the emotions of the player and take them on a roller coaster ride or lull them into a sense of peace and calm just before they open "that" door and release the hounds of hell.

 

Ambient sound is a fun one, most modern games have them, from birds chirping in the background to the honk of car horns in the distance and the thumping beat of some backstreet stereo system several blocks away to the dull steady drone of an engine or air circulation system aboard a star ship. Lets us not forget audio cues either, such as alarms, klaxons and others indicators to tell teh player that something has suddenly happened as a result of what they just did or because they reached that point in the script where something happens elsewhere in their environment. Think about that huge steel door through which they entered the ship clanging shut even though it is half a mile away and they are now locked inside.

 

So you have plot, storyline, background stories, a cast of characters, meshes and animation models, textures, bump maps, reflection maps, lights sources for each location, ambient sound, audio and music what is left?

 

Well how about the display, that window through which the player looks into your game world, how is arranged, how much is visible all the time, some of the time or only when in certain specific areas or groupings. How much impact does the display have upon the system demands, does it slow the system down to a crawl because there is so much to display on top of the game display or does it hardly impact the performance. Is it fixed, is it editable, can you move all elements around, turning them on or off so a player can customize it.

 

Alternatively you could have too much on the display at anyone time and overload the players capacity to take it all in and process it.

 

Finding that right balance takes time and much trial and error, most on paper you hope so it does not cost a great deal.

 

That brings up the question of an internal macro system or add-on system, allowing for creative players to add features for themselves, you will need to think hard about that for you will have to supply the language basics and some form of interpreter for the language to work within. Also how much access to internal values and data do you allow, too little and people cannot do anything worth while, too much and the game can be hacked and exploited.

 

If you are still here in this very quick and uneducated attempt to give an insight in to the thinking behind making a movie or game, then when done, pat your self on the back, because I know I talk far too much.

 

Let us not forget control and input systems, as these are critical,

Next step, your project has been funded, you have a realistic as opposed to optimistic schedule of creation and its holding up. Your backers though are getting worried, they see their money going in but nothing coming out so you have to start the media game, you have to get out there and contact magazines, reviewers on web sites, bloggers and start talking about the next best thing since sliced bread that is two years away. Wait two years away, well its an arbitrary value but you have to start this early, and gradually build it up until that one single moment when you hold in you hand that pre-release "I hope there are no errors" final beta disk, the disk you may decide to let limited numbers of the gaming public loose upon to see what they find, what they break, and what you forgot to fix or someone on the development team finessed past your roving eye because they were having a bad day, didn't want to work on that bit of code or just could not think of a better way to do it.

 

You beta goes well, the player testers find only 600 action items out of hundreds of thousands, many are easy fixes, but you have one or two real problem points, items that require the combined brain power of all the coders and developers. So you turn them loose with orders to fix item a and item b and ignore everything else.

 

But your backers are demanding a return now, they are getting instant, you get threats of legal action perhaps, or maybe spurious accusations in a very polite an legal way of you taking their money and not giving anything in return. You just have too much pressure to show your game, to get it out there or throw your hands up and declare failure. So, you have no choice, you publish, you have already set up the advertising campaign, you have 30 second long adverts for TV, magazine spots selected, release parties planned, you hired Hollywood A-Lister's or B-Lister's to provide voices for your advertising campaign, lending their voice and face as a recognizable icon in the minds of the buying public.

 

You gear your self up, send the master disc to the duplicator's, they press the disc or discs and put it together with all the nice packaging you put together, along with manuals or other materials to include in the box. It all goes out to the distributors, who send it to the retailers, with strict instructions not to seel it until such and such a date. Of course someone ignores that and puts it on sale early, not much you can really do about it if its one or two, if its a chain, you could perhaps blacklist them and cross your fingers, maybe you could try legal sanctions but don't hold your breath.

 

Come the day of release and you stand there in front of the gaming press, smiling and laughing, talking earnestly about how good this is, how you and the team overcame all obstacles while knowing that a select few are busily working away on the first patch to fix those easy issues found in beta, when the word comes in.

 

And... well I will stop hear, because you are already thinking about and working upon your first expansion or addition to the game, maybe working from unfinished material intended from the original game but not included because of time, cost or other reasons.

 

I hope you have reached here for this is the end, in my poor man's attempt to give you just the briefest glimpse into the taking an idea from the your minds eye and what it may go through to become a reality. I have no idea what is actually involved and I imagine it is a lot more involved that my pitiful words here convey, but I feel fairly confidant I have hit at least some of the high points. The one thing I will guarantee is that along the way, there have been civil debates and hard, long drawn out slugging matches as two or more people argue over the best way to implement some feature or other. After all what is hard for one person may be of greatest ease to another, we are not after all, all the same. That would be boring if we were.



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Well put Ztuke....brings some clarity to the truth that states:  

“The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.” 
― Alexandre Dumas,

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