Whilyam’s Development Update 2011.05.08

Open Source and the GoW’s efforts to finally bring fan Ages to MOUL servers has given me enough incentive to get back to work on Ages. While the poll I conducted showed that most people wanted 2-3 small to medium Ages, I have instead been working mostly on a new area in Fens (dubbed Fens II because that’s such a clever name). Fens was always intended to be an evolving Age, and this expansion will reflect that. Right now it’s early in the development process so there are really only a few basic meshes and some plans (depending on how hard/easy it is, I might include a cinematic scene!).

Why the GoW Maintains its Own CWE Fork

The biggest issue with any open-source project is making it accessible to developers. I think OpenURU has failed spectacularly here. They still require developers to sign up to get code access, have no system in place to show active development branches, use an overly-complicated issue tracking system, and have no clearly-defined path for contributions to be accepted. These are the exact same issues they’ve had for the past three weeks, and though I’ve seen some activity on their forums towards getting these things resolved, I still don’t have much confidence in their team. The other big issue is that their core development team isn’t regularly contributing. I don’t know whether that’s due to lack of interest, lack of time, or lack of the knowledge needed to actively work on CWE. None of those are conditions you want from your code maintainers, though.

Compare this to the GoW: We immediately setup the code in a publicly-accessible area, with a simple bug tracking system. We quickly fixed the code and build system so it would be compatible with modern versions of visual studio, and at this point have even fixed it for Express editions – this is a major win for making the code accessible to a wider array of developers. We have documentation on how to build the code, and even a video tutorial available. GitHub makes it easy to see who’s actively working on the code, and its integrated pull request system makes it easy for developers to request their changes be included in our main development tree. And of course, our core development team is actively working on CWE.

Had OpenURU been ready, the GoW leadership would have happily worked with them. But the fact that after three weeks there has been no major progress on any of the issues I and others have raised, shows that the GoW development fork was definitely the right decision.

Metallic Textures Collection

Metallic Textures Collection

Another heads up regarding lovely textures to add to your growing library. This time the offering comes from Designer’s Terminal, who posted a nice selection of metallic textures for your viewing (and modeling) pleasure.

Head on over and check it out.

Llantern v. Alpha 003 Scheduled for Release on 29th April 2011

Imagine all the sounds of the seaside while you see this image. Other than seagulls. Panini-stealing gits.

 

Shorah!

I might well be the first real post here. If so Рthis is the sort of thing you can do on this dev journal page, I hope! Anyway, on to the formal announcement.

Llantern was first revealed for exploring at the end of last year, but after waning interest in D’ni I dedicated time outside of Uru and 3d modelling in general to other matters. With Open Source, however, the inspiration is back and the age’s development properly going again.

The next version of Llantern РAlpha v003 Рwill be released next Friday, the 29th of April. It features a whole raft of changes to the age, including significant changes to the modelling and texturing, additions of notably missing interactivity, and decent audio! Please keep an eye out for the release, which will be announced both here and on the Llantern thread on the Guild of Writers forum.

Simultaneously to the release, Llantern’s development doors will also open to interested developers in the community. More details will be given on the 29th, but for interested people – it will be genuinely open. You’ll be free to modify Llantern as you wish, to learn and/or pinch from it. Certain things (the trees, for example) will not be with the release for copyright reasons, but otherwise it will be complete. In terms of core development, I’m hoping that coders and other artists will step forward to help out. Llantern’s a lot bigger than just a beach, and to get it to that state of quality I’ll need help!

– Nye_Sigismund

Spotlight: Vogokh Oglahn

Sholek's Temple

After working on the Age for 9 months, Jamey has finally released Vogokh Oglahn, Ancient Nature.

From what I’ve been able to discover about this age, the D’ni used this place a long time ago. Whether they used this place for harvesting plants, observing wildlife, or other reasons, is knowledge that I have not yet obtained.

-Jamey’s Vogokh Oglahn Journal

You can download Vogokh Oglahn: Here

As usual, you will need Drizzle and OfflineKI to place this area.

Spotlight: Sholek’s Temple

Sholek's Temple

As part of the on going D’ni Location Creation Contest (that ends at the end of this month, so get your submissions in), Whilyam has released his submission, Sholek’s Temple.

Sholek had started in life wanting to pursue a career in theater. However, he was rejected from the Guild as his family was not from the ranks of the Guilds. Sholek had a difficult time being a prophet as women were seen as better in this role.

You can download Sholek’s Temple: Here

As usual, you will need Drizzle and OfflineKI to place this area.

From My Hands…

I… haven’t touched Blender in 2 months.
I haven’t done any meaningful work in Blender is far longer.
It’s sad for me to say that, because I have things that I want to do and ideas that I want to develop.

We’re losing people. I’ve seen more people lose interest over the past 6 months than I have in any other period of Uru. We’ve been given hopes and promises, and now we’re all waiting for something that might never come. Times change and people get busier, and I feel that need to seriously ask myself why I’m still here.

It’s not because I enjoy it: Uru is depressing these days, and I don’t want to build Ages that nobody will ever explore;
it’s not for the community: I’ve seen almost all the good people lose interest, leaving only the idiots on MOUL worshiping their Holy Blue Lords of Cyan;
it’s not for the potential: time killed whatever potential was left in Uru.
It’s not even for Plasma anymore, the more I see of it, the more I realise how much it could be improved and yet there’s no way to do that.

I thought things would be more open when MOULa started, but instead they’re more closed than before. Any incentive to work on stuff is crushed by Cyan’s continued silence, and the overwhelmingly vocal disapproval of many community members. We all have bad days where we ask “Why do I put up with this?”; but when you’re seriously asking yourself that question every time you think of Uru, maybe it’s time to move on. I don’t want to be part of this anymore.

Uru’s dead, more dead now than before MOULa started. I keep wanting things to change, but I can’t keep pretending that they ever will. Cyan can’t make Uru work. They’ve lost direction and fragmented so much that the only thing keeping them in business is rehashing existing games on new platforms. The “Golden era” ended with Prologue, and came to a crashing halt after Myst V. MOUL never managed to bring any of that back.

The future is uncertain. I can say for sure that prpl-uruki will probably never be finished, and libHSPlasma development has mostly stopped as all the developers lost interest. PyPRP2 is up in the air, very dependent on what happens with Blender and whether there’s still enough interest to keep developing it. Without maintenance and support for the current tools, Age builders will lose interest and drift away, and with them goes any lingering hope for Uru’s potential.

For now, we keep waiting… but maybe someday you have to accept that the story’s over.

(Responses to this post are archived here)

Development: Fehnir House

Fehnir House

In one of my odd moods, I decided to post a development article of a location that hasn’t yet been released.

Fehnir House was a small D’ni location that I designed and built for the D’ni Location (Creation) Contest that was being hosted over at the Guild of Writers forums.
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Contest: D’ni Location Creation Contest

DLC Contest

The D’ni Location Creation Contest is now in full swing over at the Guild of Writers forums.

Kaelis invites Age builders to create a D’ni location, showcasing, building, texturing, playability and story aspects.
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Inspiration: 10 Concept Artists Worth Seeing

Concept Art

If I was to post the list of the various artists I follow we’d probably be here for the next week, however I grabbed a small handful of links to offer you. I’m sure many of us hit those points where we just can’t seem to find the inspiration we need to progress with our projects. Looking over the work of others often leads to that inspiration or teaches new things to try out.
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