Everquest 20 years


Who can forget their very first MMORPG experience?  For some reason, I skipped UO, probably because I had young kids and no time to play games. Possibly it is because I loved text games, and could not give up the ability to IMAGINE a beautiful world in my mind for a world that was, well, a little too low poly. Of course, I did not know the word poly back then and had no idea that those graphics would someday be outdated.

So I entered this new world full of magic and fantasy creatures. I played an elf, of course. I like elves and they seem elegant and lovely.  So my first visit consisted of me walking around on some wooden docks and falling into the water, over and over again. And dying and then trying again.  I was getting used to navigating in a 3d environment, a very new experience for me. I also fell out off the ramps that ran around the trees. Frustrated, I almost left the game.

But months later, I will still running around the world, banging into the loading areas when your character went still…hiccup…and then runs again. I met a few people and killed stuff and mostly explored. It was so cool.

Life has a way of drawing you back. A new baby kept me busy and I was busy with the other kids’ school. I did not totally give up games, but I played them a lot less. Over the years, I played Asheron’s Call, Star Wars Galaxies, and now ESO with my son and husband. Each had their own magic, their own immersive style that drew me in. I liked some more than others and I still miss the exploration in the old games where you did not have to die so much to look around and take in the sights.

Today, I make games and 3d environments. We have clients and I work with other game developers. The graphics our team makes today totally blows the ones in the old first EQ.

One thing though that I will never get from a game again, especially an MMO, that feeling when for the first time you enter a world full of others, a world that is full of surprises. Today, the games are not as wondrous, they are faster, less time to ponder, less time to see the amazing work the artists and programmers and others accomplished. Today we expect more. It takes so much more to amaze us.

20 years. Here’s to EQ, and may they have another 20 years. 🙂

Teila

 

 

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Medieval Monday: Merchant Ships


Ships and trade! Great information for your medieval game or novel. #indiedev #gamedev #mmorpg

Allison D. Reid

medieval-cog2While many crops and other goods were able to be moved by hand, or by using animal-drawn carts, boats were also an important mode of transportation in the Middle Ages. They could bear larger and heavier loads, and allowed merchants to trade over long distances. They brought goods into the medieval world from exotic places, sparking a desire for shorter, less difficult passages, which eventually led to world exploration. There were a variety of ships built and used in the Middle Ages, and there isn’t enough space in this post to explore them all. For today, I’m going to focus on those used by merchants, since they had the most impact on daily life.

medieval-cogFor Northern Europe, the Cog was a standard merchant ship—though more accurately, it was a general term used for a variety of ships that had similar attributes. Cogs were built small at first, but with need…

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World Building with new perspectives


I found this article by Mimi Mondal on the HindustanTimes website. Fascinating look at how fiction has perpetuated real world stereotypes even  when it makes no sense to do so. I will leave you to read the article. Very interesting.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/all-worldbuilding-without-exception-is-political/story-iE1Gc0R4ULSq8khLaJ1dEO.html?fbclid=IwAR30xxbVieYH_t601bR507_JTxf9nP4K0hHSLALSuNm6Y59t_LCnGunB-zo

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Big move and new client


moving

 

The past 6 months have been crazy. We have made a huge move from Florida to New Jersey. This means leaving our house of many years, packing it all up, driving 2 days with kids, 4 cats and a dog, and then trying to fit all of our stuff in a smaller house.

Finally our office is set up and we are done with the first part of a job with a client so we can concentrate on our games. I have also decided to learn a bit of code since Unity is adding visual scripting and I want to be able to use it myself rather than depending on others to do all the code. I have learned that as great as visual scripting may be, if you do not understand what you need and why you need it then it does not work that well. So the non-programmers on the team are working together to learn some code. Not nearly as exciting as building worlds, but I am beginning to see some use for this code stuff. 🙂

In the meantime, I am building up our database of items for the game. I a lot of spreadsheets to build.  Adding all the objects, effects, etc., to the database is tedious but very important. Once we have that, we can actually start setting up our game. Level design is the fun part after all.

Now that we are settled I will post some more here and on the Unity forums.  The outside work with our client will take time but it will also help fund our project which is a big bonus. 🙂

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Medieval Monday: Undergarments


As we work at modeling period appropriate clothing for our characters, I found this very timely. Interesting article on the clothing we never think about in games. 🙂

via Medieval Monday: Undergarments

 

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Medieval Monday: Insults


via Medieval Monday: Insults

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Medieval Monday: The Peasant


I love this! Allison Reid is going to talk about the social classes during the medieval time, starting with the peasant. If you like this, please go to her website and give her a much deserved Like.

Allison D. Reid

Now that I’ve gone through all the labors of the months, my first-of-the-month posts will shift focus to something new–social status and occupations. We’ll start with peasants, who were at the bottom of the social scale. They had limited to no voices in feudal society, might not be allowed to own property, and led rather difficult lives.

While we tend to lump “peasants” all into the same category, there were really 3 basic types of peasants, with important differences that distinguish them from one another.

Serfs were just a step above slaves, bound to the land on which they provided manual labor for a lord. In addition to working in the fields, they might also do things like work in the mines, forests, or maintain roads. Serfs were not permitted to leave the lord’s land (or purchase their own) and might be sold with it like property. Marriages between serfs…

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Designing Worlds: How to create more realistic geography/geology


I am currently working on a world terrain for a game we are making. This is one of my favorite parts of game development and design. In a previous job, I made maps for a game with a relatively large world. Their original map was horrible and very unrealistic. It drove me crazy so I asked to remake the maps, trying to make them more realistic. As this was some time ago, we had some major restrictions so I had to work around that but today, it is much easier to make worlds that look and feel real, and obey the laws of nature.

A couple of gripes I have had with maps, some in AAA companies’ games although even more in indie games, is the way lay of the land, the way rivers flow and transitions between different biomes. For example, rivers do not divide, they flow into each other. Deserts exist due to specific conditions, such as in a rain shadow, on the leeward side of mountains or in specific latitudes, with very specific conditions.

While you can get away with this in a fantasy game, as many say to me about anything they want to justify, but why do that? Many of your players will not notice, but some will. And once that one person starts complaining in your forums, others will notice too.

So..while working on a new game, I went searching for some specific information for story development. I found some information from a novelist who was talking about World Building. I felt happily vindicated when his first lecture on geography talked exactly about rivers and coastlines and other geology/physics forces that form landscapes.

I know nothing about coding but I have a master’s degree in geology, with my specialty in geomorphology which is the study of land forms and the process which form them. Now, the tools out there are not yet capable of making terrains that are 100% realistic. Some try, like World Machine and World Creator, which, by the way are my go to tools for terrain creation. World Creator stand alone is one of the best and they are adding simulation which should go a long way it making terrains more realistic.

But…my concern is the map you create, the one that you build your terrain upon.

Rivers: Rivers start from high, and flow to low areas. So start your rivers in the mountains and then have them join up at lower levels. This creates a water basin or watershed. Everything within that basin flows together eventually, and as the rivers and streams join, the river becomes bigger until it runs into the sea. All rivers go from the high elevation to other rivers and/or to the sea. The only exceptions are where humans have artificially changed the flow, such as in a canal. Remember, a river always tries to find the shortest route to the sea. It does not flow around east and west and then go to the sea, it heads for the sea. Higher ground will affect it’s flow, and often you will see rivers that flow around a hill or between two hills. There is a lot more complexity, such as how glaciated areas affect rivers flow, or karst topography (cave systems), or unique systems where softer sediments are exposed in mountain building. But that is a different post.

watershed_illustrated

 

Here is an example of multiple river basins that flow into the Mississippi river.

Mississippi River System

Hopefully that helps. Some folks ask me about deltas, which sometimes occur when the rivers flow into the sea. Very specific conditions much occur in order for deltas to form.

river-changes-and-landforms

The three major conditions are the river must be carry a large load, meaning it must have the capacity to carry a log of sediment, such as sand or silt.

The river must be flowing slow enough to allow the river to drop the sediment in the river’s mouth. This also means that the river is in a flat area, not a steep slope. A river that flows from coastal mountains steeply to the sea will be moving faster and not have time to drop it’s sediment before it reaches the coast.

And where the river joins the sea must be shallow, either a shallow sea or a shelf that extends outward for some distance. This keeps the sediment from simply flowing down the slope and dropping in the ocean.

I am simplifying my explanations because honestly, the only important thing here is to look at your map, the relief of your map and think about how you want it to look. Remember, it is the illusion. Your map and resulting terrain do not need to be 100% realistic, and that is impossible unless you run a complex simulator.

But…you can make sure your rivers go from high to low. I have seen so many maps where the rivers go from sea to sea…crazy! They drive me batty, honestly. Unless your river is a man made canal or you use some sort of fancy magic, then this would not happen.

If you use deltas, place them in a proper place. Delta’s are one place where rivers do divide. They do this because they are in a very flat area and as the river tries to find the shortest path to the ocean, it constantly changes as sediment blocks it’s path.

There is a lot more I could talk about.
Lakes, how streams flow from lakes and where they should be positioned
How other factors affect river flow
Coastlines, how to make them realistic
Different types of mountain building
Deserts, where to place them and why
Etc.

If this is something you are interested in, let me know. If it is dry and boring and you do not care, then that is okay, I am sure you will let me know.

Anyway, just trying to find some way that I can give back the community.  So hope you enjoyed if nothing else.

Teila

P.S. I also posted this on the Unity forums. 🙂

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The Double-Edged Sword Of Immersion


Here is an article about immersion that you might enjoy! Read and comment below if you wish and make sure you press like for the author on his site if you enjoy the article.

via The Double-Edged Sword Of Immersion

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Medieval footwear and gait


Thought you would like the latest from Allison D. Reid on Medieval Monday! The video she included is fabulous!

via Medieval Monday: Boots, Shoes, and Walking Medieval

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