Thursday, March 31, 2011
Re: Coming changes to policy for April
MEMO TO DRAGONFABLE STAFF
REMEMBER THE DATE!
The start of April will coincide with the start of Project C8, and while I know you are (or should be) working hard on getting all the releases ready for Project C8 this memo is to remind you of new policies going into effect as soon as April begins here in the DragonFable Department.
Starting at the beginning of April there is to be no congregating in the Dentist Office that functions as Hidden Entrance #4. We have had some questions asked when a nerf fight broke out and caused a root canal to go horribly awry.
The first week of April will also see the installation of a card reader at the entrance to the sock cages. This is for your protection; the socks have been getting increasingly aggressive since the onset of the lint season.
Due to new negotiations with the Hamster Teamsters we are now all required to work equal time powering the servers as part of our weekly schedules starting in April, and they are to be allowed to input and comment on DragonFable’s releases. As they don’t speak anything resembling a language, this should have minimal input on our creativity.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Memo to DragonFable Staff:
The success of Project C8 hinges upon you completing all your work in the prescribed amount of time. Failure to release your projects on time, every hour, will result in termination by tog.
*Objects in Assignment Diagram E5-PR3350 not to scale.
We, of course, have every confidence that you will complete each and every thing assigned.Or else.
Questions, concerns, and comments can all be relayed through the Department of Forum Communication.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Building DF better, stronger, faster, harder
EXTERNAL MEMO TO DRAGONFABLE
TEAM AND PLAYERS
RE: PROJECT C8H1N4O2
Project C8 is not only well underway, but after yesterday's meeting, it is evolving! All team members have received their assigned, itemized instructions geared towards ensuring that Project C8 becomes the success we envision it.
In order to keep all team members, support staff, auxiliary staff, and players up to date, the Alchemy Containment Center of the Secret Underground Lab- hub of DragonFable communications- is sending out this internal and external memo to all parties involved.
To wit, the itemized list of assignments to be completed before this Friday's release will include- but is not limited to- the following projects:
- Weapon Set 1 (3 levels)
- Trinket 1 (3 levels)
- Weapon Set 2 (4 levels)
- Trinket 2 (3 levels)
- Quest 1
- Weapon Set 3 (3 levels)
- Quest 2
- Titan Fight 1
- Other projects To Be Determined
This Friday, projects will release ON the hour, EVERY hour, throughout the day. With Project Lead CodeMonkey's revolutionary new release system in production, we have confidence that it will meet every expectation, and then surpass them.
Questions, concerns, and comments can all be relayed through the Department of Forum Communication.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Hey guys! I’m here to spill a surprise for you guys!
Lucky week was an undoubted huge success! You guys had 5 days of constant releases and we were working harder than I could possibly imagine us working. That said, as I was lying in bed that Friday Night, I wondered... What could I do to top that?
Well let’s just say I have had a bit of a breakthrough.
How? Why? Well we are going to keep the specifics of this new toolset a secret, but C8H10N4O2 is its project name. C8 for short.
I revealed the inner workings of the project for the team and alarmingly they liked it. They liked it a LOT. This Friday is going to be a lot of work for everyone involved. True Mortal, Ghost, Tomix, Alina, and Geopetal are all gearing up for a long week of prep work before we give the system a test run.
Why do I get the dreadful feeling of doom filling the air? Or is that just the coffee talking?
Friday, March 25, 2011
Time for a sneak peek of a top-secret project I've been working on! Falconreach is getting a HUGE facelift, baby! Every scene will have updated graphics, there will be more npcs to speak with, more stuff to click on, more things to do, more buildings of interest, and most of all, more awesomeness! The town will even get an outer wall! (OMG! We should really have thought of that the ﬁrst time it was invaded…) Lots of little surprises will be in there, as well as some old favourites. The town will be everything it was, only better.
This project is still a work-in-progress, but these pics should whet your appetite:
Friday, March 25, 2011
This has been a crazy week! I've been in Michigan all week telecommuting so I can help my parents out around the house after my Mom had surgery (give all your Mom's hugs by the way!). What was really fun was trying to send files to Rolith yesterday for six and half hours in between chores!
Alina has added a new set of wings to Maeve's Shop for Dragon Coins! If you liked the wings of the Fairy Queen last week, you're going to love these!
Rolith is still working hard on cutscene screation for player content. Keep an eye out for updates to that next week (none today though, sorry).
This week we've fixed the path to get to Verteroche. All you have to do to get to it is head into Surewood Forest from Falconreach and go north in the first part of the path. You're going to want to head into Verteroche Crossing and visit Faramonde who needs someone to pretect a caravan of special supplies to Willowshire! Can you keep the caravan (and the poor, overloaded Caravaner) safe from bandits, forest monsters and Gorgok's minions? Good luck and Battle On!
Thursday, March 24, 2011
How my week’s been going!
How’s it going guys?
It’s astonishing to think that last week at this time I’d already managed to almost put out 4 releases and this week I’m just now starting to get to work on Dragon Fable with any kind of time to invest in it. I have spent the majority of the week working on necessary but completely boring behind the scenes work that has taken up most of my waking thoughts. I’ve been squirreling away hours to make sure I had all of Thursday and Friday for you guys and here I am!
We started an awesome adventure last week with the release of the Player Created Content System, PCCS for short. As buggy as it is, a lot of you enjoyed this first glimpse. That said, I’ve been thinking about exactly how we’re going to manage to get it to the point where I can call it a final preview. What is missing before we can call this the epic success it promises to be?
I just happened to have a list:
Basic Dialogue Cut scenes – Use of existing front-facing NPCs and the ability to give both them and the player dialogue.
Save/Load quests – The ability to save your quests and continue to work on them / test them later.
Better Fail-Safe features – Some of you might have noticed that the quests would just call quest complete sometimes. This is called “failing safe” meaning that if things fail, they do so in a way that doesn’t cause the game to break. You might have also noticed that doesn’t always happen :-P Need to improve that.
Sharing Quests – You need to be able to share your quests and let others play them. This is FUNDEMENTAL to this whole thing and without it there is no way we can call this even a preview.
And finally, the big one, we need a community of players helping each other and helping the staff, on the forums. Quest Building isn’t a simple process nor is it going to go well every time. What I’d love to see is you guys working together to build amazing quests, and that requires good critiquing and above all constructive criticism. I'm expecting great things from you guys when the full toolset is delivered and am looking forward to playing all of them.
As for what else is going on, if you want to fetch any more of the Lucky Day items or farm up the rest of your wave counts, I’d make sure I get to the Lucky Day book before Friday when it leaves for the year.
The quest this week is also going to be a big one, as I'm working on some new pads and code that will let us do some stuff we've not done before, and with an added element of combat stratagy added in.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
HeroSmash Alpha Phase 3: Open to ALL DragonLords!
Are you ready to SMASH, heroes? Alternatively, if you're prefer villainy, are you ready to smash heroes?! (See why punctuation is so important?) But enough grammatical gabbing, we have a game to promote!
So pull on your power-pants and grab your gaming gear because HeroSmash is opening Phase 3 of it's Alpha test today for ALL DragonLords! That's right, any Dragon Amulet or other AE membership, Adventure Coin, Battle Point, or Varium purchase* linked to your MASTER ACCOUNT will get you into HEROSMASH phase 3 test today!
The Alpha test will determine which player becomes a MAIN VILLAIN (and HERO!)! Featuring all new customizable, stylized “Vinyl” super characters, a “combine any powers you want” combat system and an open-ended, player-driven storyline that will turn a few lucky players into immortalized major game super villians and heroes!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Break into Spring with some Design Notes!
Welcome to Spring! Yesterday was the first day of Spring, and boy, have some fun things sprung up around here in DragonFable!
Last week was the Feature-a-Day Lucky Week when we introduced a whole host of the most awesome features we could pack into five (very long) days! Rolith coded his little monkey fingers to the bone, but got a bunch of banans for each new string of binary he wrote. (That's a LOT of bananas, because there was a TON of code!)
And last Friday we released the insane new demo-preview-premiere-"other exciting word" of the Player Content Creation System and boy, was it a HUGE step forward in DragonFable's game play. YOU guys are going to be the game designers once we have this system fully up and running!
We didn'nt get as much of it finished as we wanted to last week, but that will be changing over the next couple of weeks. THIS week Rolith is going to try to get cutscenes done so that you can actually tell a story with your quest. Forum question: Which NPC do you want to be the first NPC included in cutscenes: Valencia, Cysero, or Robina?
Also this week we'll have a Verteroche quest for you (it's about time that town got roche'in!)! You're a hero and sometimes a guardian, but you don't really do any guarding! That should change this week if we get everything done that we want to!
And start saving up for a Dragon Coin shop that's going to come out on Friday! True Mortal has been inspired by the sun shining, the bluebirds singing, and the ringing of hammers on anvils that echoes from Yulgar's shop, not to mention all the Spring rains that will shortly be pouring down upon us. So what better element to flood you with than a Water set?
PS: March 23rd, if you have ANY UPGRADED AE GAME ACCOUNT linked to your AE Master Account, you can try Alpha Phase 3 of HeroSmash w/ POWERS! It's a chance for ALL upgraded members to smash heroes or pound villains! What more could you want?!
Friday, March 18, 2011
Well hello there brick wall!
(Best forum submission of an image of Rolith running headlong into a brick wall gets put here and in Monday’s design notes)
These last two weeks have been absolutely crazy.
Last month, when discussing the upcoming Lucky Week holiday I came up with this grand idea. We’d just finished the first ever Artix Entertainment GameTastic challenge, and I’d successfully had a couple of 48 hour game development competitions under my belt. Basically I was feeling nigh on indestructible and a feature a day for five days seemed like a nice, challenging mountain to climb. I’d get it done, I was invincible.
Guess what? I’m vincible. Very vincable.
I’d (and Alina) worked 150 hours in the last two weeks before Thursday, but thanks to a large number of unexpected bugs, some technical issues, and a couple of bouts of insomnia we were way behind, and we settled in yesterday morning for a long one. Neither of us really knew what exactly we were in for. 29 hours later, I’ve worked 27 of them. And now, as I’m making more typos then not, it’s time to re-adjust plans for what’s going live today.
Player Created Content is a HUGE deal for us, and while we don’t want to cut corners I also don’t want to go home tonight without having released something to you guys. Know that this release is pre-preview. What we’re going to do is release a semi-complete map layout/quest building toolkit and the ability to test it as a DA only town.
Again, this is a pre-preview version of the content creation engine, missing many of the features we really wanted to get live, including cut scenes and saving/loading, as well as a more polished interface that’s more player friendly.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
You've unlocked an achievement: Thursday's Release!
There's no badge for that, but we hope you enjoy today's release anyways!
Now CLICKCLICKCLICK your way to your character page because, if you have a Dragon Amulet, you ALSO have badges on your Character Page!
You will have almost all of the badges in the Quest Log in-game! (All except for the DoomKnight Armor badge. We can't do that for some technical reasons full of codespeak that Rolith explained twice before giving up on me.)
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Player Created Content System: What to Expect
The Player Created Content System is on schedule to go live tomorrow evening! (After a LOT of testing!)
I know I don’t post enough design notes. We’re going to have to see about fixing that, but with weeks like this one, literally no time could have been spared. When I wasn’t coding, I HAD to be away from work, by Alina’s orders.
As a personal aside, if you guys want to see the real workforce behind this week, yes I’ve been coding my monkey paws off, but Alina has been right here too, working just as many hours, keeping me company, providing distractions and ordering me away from the computer when I was getting too stressed out, so major props for her.
So, with all that’s come out this week, it’s hard to put into context how huge of a deal I think tomorrow’s release is going to be. I can’t give it a scale because I don’t think I can explain how much YOU mean to DragonFable. Tomorrow is all about giving you guys a door where your unbridled energy, enthusiasm and creativity can go to work and help make this game even more of a reflection of the community that supports, sustains and pushes it to become far bigger and better than it was originally designed to be.
That said… there are a few things we need to be completely clear on before tomorrow hits to keep expectations in line.
This is a PREVIEW. Actually, that’s not fair. We’ve wanted to do player-created content for as long as I can remember, but we’ve never gone so far as to even prototype it out before this. That means a lot of what we’re working on is not only untested, but unproven design technology.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
A good deal you can take to the bank!
We've got a real deal for you today! But first, lets run through a fairly common scenario:
A year ago bought a Dragon Coin sword (or any DC item) from somewhere in-game, and you're level 35. It works amazingly well for your level and has some gorgeous art.
After leveling up twice, the sword is no longer useful, but you like it a lot and have some good memories of killing great opponents with it, so you want to keep it. BUT your bank is full up with Defender Medals, all those absolutely adorable pets you just HAVE to collect, and that Ruby Statue from the Vurr'men Ruins that you could only ever get to drop ONCE. (*mutter mutter*)
You can't throw any of THOSE things out, so your DC sword is sitting in your inventory taking up a precious spot. What do you do, hero, WHAT do you DO?!
You let us solve your problem for you, that's what!
For today's feature, DragonLords will be saving Dragon Coins instead of spending them as we introduce the all-new UNLIMITED bank storage for Dragon Coin items!
That's right, if you have a Dragon Amulet, you'll NEVER need to sell or destroy a Dragon Coin item EVER AGAIN!
So now, when you go to the Bank in Falconreach, you'll see the following:
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Where do you keep YOUR armor?
Most heroes have a backpack and a belt pouch. MAYBE a vault in the Mayor's bank, if they're lucky. But the greatest of heroes have something special: an Armor Closet!
If you haven't heard about this most awesome of storage spaces, you won't have to twist my arm(or) to get me to fill you in on the details!
You can buy a Closet of your very own from your very friendly, VERY eager Real Estate Orb. It will wheel and deal and sell you items you can't even pretend to need, but that you know you want. The Armor Closet, however, is something to need AND want because it will let you hold ALMOST ALL the armors in the game that you've unlocked!
The Armor Closet can be purchased for the most reasonable price (according to Cysero) of 1,000 Dragon Coins.
And now that we've restructured the Armor Closet, here's what you'll have access to (so long as you've unlocked them in-game):
- your Base Class
- DragonLord Armor
- Color-custom DragonLord Armor
- Evolved DragonLord Armor
- Color-custom Evolved DragonLord Armor
- Guardian Armor
- Ranger Armor
- Pirate Armor
- Dread Pirate Armor
- Ninja Armor
- PumpkinLord Armor
- Evolved PumpkinLord Armor
- DeathKnight Armor
- Paladin Armor
- Necromancer Armor
- Pirate Monkey Armor
- Ninja Monkey Armor
- DragonSlayer Armor
- FrostMoglin Armor
- TechnoMancer Armor
- Gnomish Personal Steamtank (GPS) Armor
- Gnomish Personal Steamtank (GPS) Mk II Armor
- DoomKnight Armor
- Kathool Adept Armor
- Zardbie Armor
- ChronoMancer Armor
- SoulWeaver Armor
The armors in red are NEW additions to the Armor Closet. Remember, you can only access these armors if you've legitimately unlocked them in-game. That means to get the Kathool Adept armor or the DoomKnight armor, you need to have purchased it. To get the ChronoMancer armor, you must have purchased the AE 2011 Calendar from HeroMart.
Monday, March 14, 2011
The Rainbow Bridge War is live!
Welcome to Lucky Week!
Log in and head to Falconreach, then click on the Lucky Day Storybook. It will now take you to Chapter 4, the (Somewhere Over the) Rainbow Bridge war!
The Rainbow Shatters opening cutscene will give you background information, and then you can head out into the game and fight your way through all the quests you know and love. Just about every quest which includes battles in it will drop Rainbow Shards in addition to regular loot IF you have decided to participate in the war. You do that by visiting the war camp.
The Pi Day shop is in Falconreach! Happy 3.14.......... and the hidden shop is, well, hiding somewhere in Willowshire. Good luck hunting!
More thorough and coherent Design Notes will be posted in an hour or two, but the DF team needs food. And when I get back to the Lab, I will tell you the sad tale of why Canada's Energy Commission doesn't want you to have an animated cutscene.
See you soon! Enjoy the start of the war!
Monday, March 14, 2011
The unluckiest start to a Lucky Week ever!
It's the first day of Lucky Week and we have a LOT to go clover! I mean go over. Out of my head Sneevilchauns!
Rolith thinks we should rename Lucky Week "Monkey Week" and I think he might have a point. Why is that, you ask? Because while this week is very lucky for YOU (and ALL the heroes of Lore), it is going to be a crazy one for the codemonkey!
If you scan down the Design Notes page a little, your eyes will light upon a rather detailed post outlining all of the awetastic and fantasome features we've got planned for this week. (Yes, that DOES mean a release a day! On Friday we'll have TWO feature releases! Talk about getting lucky!)
First up on that list is the start of the Rainbow Bridge war! There's a good deal of information you'll need to know about this ALL NEW war system if you want to stay in the green (and gold) and perform at your peak:
- There are no war waves! Instead, 90% of the QUESTS in DragonFable count as "waves"
- You must first visit the war camp in order to "sign in" so that the game knows you're fighting in the war.
- You will then get a Rainbow Shard (the war resource) when you COMPLETE a quest which counts as a "wave" (along with your regular loot, gold, and EXP!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Get ready for what's coming in Lucky Week!
It's Friday! We are working very hard on tonight's release, but we also want you guys to be prepared well in advance for NEXT week's release! It won't be just a release on Friday during Lucky Week. It will be FIVE releases, one every day of the week!
Feeling lucky yet? Good, because I'm about to tell you what's coming each day so you can be all set for this most shamrockin' of weeks!
On Monday, we will introduce the new type of war we've mentioned already! With the Rainbow Bridge War, you will check in at the war camp, receive a token which tells the game you are participating in the war, and then you will be able to go out into the game and fight regular quests instead of pre-set war waves.
Each quest will drop an extra item (in addition to the normal loot you always receive!) related to what you are hunting for in the war. You won't need to turn in Rainbow Shards to raise the war meter; it will automatically be raised when you complete a quest!
In addition, your war participation— now and in all future wars— will be tracked on your character page! This is something completely new to DragonFable’s war system, and one we're very excited to introduce!
The character pages for upgraded players will track your participation in any war you take part in from this point on while free players will only have your data tracked for the last war you’ve taken part in.
Tuesday will see the overhaul and restructure of a very popular house-item functionality: the Armor Closet. This item, which you keep in your house, allows you to change between and save as default any item in-game to which you have access. It will be getting a new, easier to use, interface which will also be easier for us to update and maintain, which makes it more fun for you! This is a DragonLord-only feature!
On Wednesday we’ll introduce UNLIMITED bank storage for any item purchased with Dragon Coins! In a game where we know you want to collect as much of the content as possible, we hope you'll find this a VERY welcome update! This is a DragonLord-only feature!
Thursday we will make daily quests available in-game! These will have a chance of giving you EPICALLY RARE componenets which you will be able to use to craft rare and powerful items and weapons!
Friday's release is something you guys have wanted for years, and we are now able to make it happen for you: achievements on character pages! Now your friends will be able to see ALL that you have accomplished. Bragging rights aplenty! This is a DragonLord-only feature!
As for Friday's release SPECIAL release, well, we're still keeping that under wraps because it's a surprise! With it will come DragonFable's Engine 10.0! We don't want to jinx it though, so you'll just have to make sure to log in this weekend to see one of the most game-changingest game changes ever to hit DragonFable! This is just a preview/demonstration of the system. (Note: this is not guilds. Guilds are not coming this week. Or soon.)
We know that many of the features coming next week are geared towards upgraded players, but we want to make sure we keep a Dragon Amulet worth buying! We are grateful for ALL of our players, but it's the DragonLords who keep our servers running. So, THANKS DragonLords!
If you would like to gain access to all of the awesome features associated with owning your own Dragon Amluet, why not consider upgrading your account?
Another Design Notes post will come tonight with news about the release, so we're going to go back to working on THAT!
Edited to add: the IGNetwork, a gaming website, spilled the beans about Friday's surprise early! By posting a press release WE sent THEM. I suppose we should have thought of that in advance when we decided to keep it a secret... Anyways, here's the blurb on the PLAYER-CREATED QUESTS SYSTEM that we'll be previewing THIS Friday!
DragonFable fans will receive a pleasant surprise come Friday: a playable preview of user-created content. Players will have the opportunity to build their own quests and cutscenes using the game's art assets and resources. If they are upgraded users, players can share their quests with friends using the character ID system.
Artix Entertainment hopes to stimulate and promote creativity in DragonFable's world. By offering users a chance to take on the role of game designer themselves, players can become an extension of the team that creates the game!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Unlucky in Willowshire!
The start of Lucky Week is happening THIS week with the introduction of the Lucky Day Storybook! You'll be able to revisit the previous years of Lucky Day events AND get all the shamrockin' seasonal rares! But we wouldn't just re-release the previous levels of the weapons from prior years. This year we'll have NEW, higher levels!
So get ready to relive:
- the Gold Fever! war, in which those gold-digging, box-hunting sneevils steal Falconreach's treasury!
- the Ninth Time's a Charm random dungeon where you'll need to collect clovers to open a charming shop!
- the Gild the World Gold war, in which Baron Au'mydas gains the power to turn everything he touches (and kisses!) to gold!
and NEXT week will unlock the Rainbow Bridge war and all SIX new game features, starting sometime Monday evening!
But that's not all we have in store for you this week! We've got a very unfortunate town full of people in danger from the Entropy Dragon and his many mayhem-causing minions!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Your luck is in! A NEW war system is coming!
Hi guys! Happy not-quite-Friday! (Less enjoyable than tomorrow-Saturday but more fun than teeth-drill-day, right?)
It's time for another Sneak Peek Design Notes, and we have one that will make you GREEN with envy. Or maybe that's just anticipation. Which is also a suitable emotion. Feel your feelings, own your emotions! Just take time to analyze them later, because we've got some REALLY important information to pass on!
First up is a Sneak Peek made by Tomix. It's too big to post here on the Design Notes page, so I'll have to link you to it. Let me introduce you to Maeve, Queen of the Minx Faeries!
Take a moment. Study the picture. Reflect, perhaps, on why she is not a teeny tiny little fairy lass like all of the other Minx Faeries you've met in DragonFable. Once you're finished speculating, please do read on:
Maeve is an ADULT Minx Faery! That's right, ALL of the Minx Faeries you've fought in-game are children. At best, teenagers. Dodgy little wing-nuts, aren't they? That's because faery children have a prodigious amount of energy. Can't stay still. That explains their high dodge. As for the healing skill, well, faery magic and a keen instinct for self-preservation are wonderful things.
Bet you're glad you don't have to fight THEM in the war next week!
Monday, March 7, 2011
Potion through the Pain
Did you see the pun I made there? Potion through the pain? Potion... pushing... hahaha, right? Ha ha? Ha? Right? See, I jammed my finger a week or so ago- my little pinky finger on my left hand- and it hurts every time I have to type the letter A. Which is a lot.
Rolith is glaring at me again. Puns make Rolith SMASH! (He and George Lowe get along really well.) But on to the meat of the delectable sandwich of information that is the Design Notes!
So, I have to ask. Do you feel lucky, hero? Well, do ya? If you don't, you should, because this is the start of the luckiest time of the year, and YOU lead a charmed life! For a hero.
This week, you're fortunate that we'll be releasing an Earth Orb quest, especially because you'll be heading back to Guardian Fortuna. But don't get too wrapped up in what you're talking about with her, because dark and deadly events will be going on while you're chatting about the weather, weapon polish, and Celestia's favorite tea.
We'll also be introducing the Lucky Storybook! Much like the Hero's Heart Day storybook, the Lucky Storybook will allow you to re-play previous years' Lucky Day events. Lukkhi the Sneevilchaun will be playing the part of Master of Ceremonies (and boy, did we have to promise him a LOT of gold to fulfill the role).
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