Small Update on Game Engines and Technology

Just a bit ago the Unreal Engine 4 turned free for colleges and universities.
Unreal Engine Educational License

At the recent Unite 2014 the Unity team released a public beta of Unity 4.6. Which features the long awaited new GUI system.
The first Unity 5 beta build has been said to be sent to pre-order customers in the next few weeks as well.
Unity 5 Information

Also recently the Oculus Rift DK2 has been shipped to most customers. We’ve got a few in our lab as well. It has gotten a few upgrades since the DK1 but there are still some problems with it and sadly it’s gotten even more inconvenient in some ways for people with glasses.
Oculus Rift DK2 Information

And a kickstarter for Project PERCEPTION NEURON: Motion Capture, VR and VFX a wireless full body motion tracking system will end. Working with these kind of things and knowing what these systems usually cost – with way less features – this is pretty much a gift package if they can realize it. I’m tempted to get one myself for private use and development.
Project PERCEPTION NEURON: Motion Capture, VR and VFX Kickstarter

Aegis-Imperium opening business again

uncle_sam

The Aegis-Imperium has started recruiting again. After a lovely dip in activity we have found new goals to achieve. We are looking for players that want to take on challenges of all sorts in Mortal Online.

Always wanted to know how the game works? Help out in figuring out how to cook? Or just looking for a cool bunch to hang around with and have some fun? Well what are you waiting for? Jump on mumble (and check out the forums) and join the Imperium…..

We get shit done (again)!

You can download mumble here
Address: eagle.mumbleboxes.com
Port: 36099

Battling the bots

toasterIn every MMO there are mundane tasks a player must do to progress. Usually these things are there because we don’t want instant gratification and you want to work towards something.

To take away the mundane parts a lot of people make use of handy macros and F2P accounts. Those are free and there are no choices in the actions so a simple script can take care of them. This often means that you get some disruption somewhere in the market ingame but also discourages others to compete while sitting behind there PC.

We have all seen what a lovely fish macro can do and we all have killed an afk miner with around 30 stacks of granum on him. The way Mortal Online tries to combat this is to restrict the mundane tasks in several ways. Changing the action itself. Playing around with stats in the hopes that it would discourage those that do not want to perform the task.

Although I applaud their actions I do believe there is a simple and elegant solution to the issue. Right now something like fishing / woodcutting / mining / stuff that you can macro cost an investment of around 10s and you can make tens of gold out of that 10s. Plus there are no skills that take more than 60 in its prerequisites  to perform better at your actions. This makes it so that a player can invest close to nothing and gain a bucket of rewards. Even worse is the fact that the 1s pickaxes do not drop if you die.

There is no way for me as a player to invest into equipment and skills to outperform the bots. If StarVault would invest into something like gathering equipment and some primary skills for gatherers one would be more hunted and at the same time get more rewarded for their work.  Make it so that F2P’s can still perform as miners but only if they invest into equipment to gain slightly more than we can now. And reward the paying players by giving them more options in the gathering professions.

These new type of gatherers will outclass the bots fast because after a couple of kills the investment isn’t worth the reward if you do not “actively” play your characters. It takes a small amount of coding but it sure as hell would fix a lot more…

A look at new continents in Mortal Online

Mortal Online Map

Well it’s not really a direct look at any particular continent, it’s more of an evaluation of what it might bring to the table.
I’m not going to lie, I don’t like the priority or focus that a new continent is now getting over other features. I’ve been waiting for some features in Mortal Online for literally over half a decade by now. But I will put this aside and look at a new continent on it’s own from my point of view and also what it could mean for the Aegis Imperium and possibly other guilds.

We are a guild of achievers, explorers, people who like to figure things out and get shit done. New land will give us an incentive to go back to our roots again, go out and explore the new world, maybe even create new maps. As the creation and placement of cities etc. is supposed to be out by then as well we might be able to finally build some more sophisticated settlements. I’d love to settle in the cold climate in the north that is Nordveld. But I could live with the jungles of Urmothâr (Lykia) or even the deserts of Sarducaa. The little lore and art we have concerning them makes them all interesting in their own ways.

There has always been one place on Myrland in the back of our minds ever since we’ve lost it to foul play (basically exploiting) and similar betrayals.
It might bring us new flora to discover and new fauna to tame and utilize. We might finally be able to leave some of that negative baggage of the many years we’ve spend with Mortal Online behind and start up something with a new spirit. We’ve been the first to build on Myrland let’s do it again!
Since there have already been some spoilers about boats, travel between continents might add many new possibilities. I know there have been quite some people looking for all things naval. Piracy anyone?

What do you guys think? What are you looking forward to do with a new continent. If you have not been playing will it bring you back to at least try it out?

Game Engine News from GDC 2014

GDC 2014 has brought us news from the most popular Game Engines on the market: Unreal Engine and Unity (+ CryEngine showcase)

Unreal Engine 4 Banner
Unreal Engine 4 has been released and it seems they scrapped the free UDK version in favor for their montly subscription model (19$ per month + 5% of your sales earnings) with full source code access in GitHub. Actually the  UDK is not even mentioned anywhere, so it’s all just speculation on my side but it can’t easily be found found on their website anymore and they recommend people starting new UDK project to give Unreal Engine 4 a try (https://www.unrealengine.com/products/udk/).
I think removing it would be a terrible idea but we’ll see how this goes for them.
Official News Post
Features
Teaser Video


Unity 5 Banner

Unity 5 has been announced for this year and is looking good. With new Shader Technology, Global Illumination, improved Audio, full WebGL support (no more browser plugin requirement), a 64 Bit Editor (finally) and much more.
Official News Post
Features and Preorder
Teaser Video


CryTek is also adopting a subscription based model of 9,90 $/€ per user with no royalties for CryEngine. They have also put up a video showcase for you to enjoy. Other than that there isn’t much new information there.
I personally dislike it when Companies just slap the Dollar and Euro sign onto price values for a 1:1 conversion, in essence making Europeans pay more. We already pay more on hardware, don’t make us pay more on Software as well.
Official Subscription Announcement
Official Showcase Post
Teaser Video


You best check out all the features of both engines for yourself.
Unity has become more and more popular in all kinds of applications over the years with these new features and no more UDK I foresee that Unity’s popularity will only increase further. I’ve used Unreal Engine before and I’ve been using Unity for projects for years now. In terms of work flow Unity has always been ahead of Unreal Engine. I hear from some sources this has gotten better in UE 4 but I’ll have to see for myself if I get the chance. In my opinion in the end with both engines the outcome highly depends on able developers more so than on the engines cutting-edge technologies. And good work flow helps this a lot.

The one dimensional economy in Mortal Online

I was browsing around the Mortal Online forums looking for new insights and opinions on the game. Next to the bickering and name calling there are some valid opinions and views on the game we all jumped into a long long time ago.

There still are many things that make me want to go back to playing the game.  The amount of depth in some places make it a game where you as a player can lose yourself for weeks if not months, just trying to find out the next secret or goal that Star Vault has added for us.

Yet there are also many things that make me hate the design.  So many things that just make my head spin out of control when I think about them.  In this lovely piece I would like to take a look at the one-dimensional economy in Mortal Online.

After thinking about it for a while and discussing it with fellow players, there always was a great dislike for the multiple characters in Mortal Online.  Every time I start up the game I need to think about what I want to do.

If I want to get materials for my Weapon-crafter I will log onto my Extractor and either mine or extract the mined materials into metals.  After that I would need to log off  and log back into my Weapon-crafter.  He would make the weapons with a little bit of wood (bought or gotten somewhere) and his job would be done.

Then I would need to decide what to do next.  I could log on to my Fighter to make gold.  Could log on to my Woodcutter to get more wood. Log onto my Butcher so I can make materials for my Armor-crafter.  And so on, and so on.

The thing that amazes me when thinking about this is the fact that every character of mine only has a single purpose. And not only that, but even when I want to dabble into trading, all my characters still only have one function. I could not entertain myself on any of my characters if I suddenly felt like I would want a small change of direction during playing.

  • My Fighter gives me direct money and carcass for direct money (Butcher).
  • My Butcher gives me direct money and materials for my Armor crafter.
  • My Extractor makes metals for my Weaponsmith
  • My Alchemist makes potions for my Fighter

When looking at this it really makes me irked. Why would it be so weird to let my Fighter have a chance to get resources to give to other characters? Or my butcher to get materials for other professions? Everything– trading and playing– in this game seems to be one dimensional. And as soon as I want to do something different I need to switch characters. Move them around and do a single task for a single moment.

Because of this I feel no attachment to my characters. I do not build a story. I might build a story for one character and use the rest the supply the story. This almost makes it sound like the game barely is an RPG.

Would the game ever change in this?  It might as soon as they start adding more and more depth.  More depth means the need for more playing types.  Sadly it doesn’t automatically mean that more types are supplied by a single profession.

How do you feel when you start up the game?  What do you think when you log onto your crafters?

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