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December 10, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

New Feature!!!  Native (npc) Skills... This is the very first step in a line of features geared toward Strategy. Just like Player Characters, Natives (npcs) can also have Skills.  This is the first foundation piece for several future features, including Native Followers, Strategy and Offline Characters.  The point to Native Skills in Atriarch is the eventual integration of Natives as Players and vice versa.

Both Players and Natives have access to the same Basic and Specialty Skills.  Just like a Player, a Native can only perform an action for which it has the Skill.  The Native Skill improves just like a Player's does.

All of this will be of huge importance when support for Followers and Strategic elements are coded into the game.  Followers are basically Natives (npcs) that "follow", help or aid Player Characters.

It is not good enough for our Natives to just "know" a skill and be able pass it along. In the case of Knowledge or Research-based skills, that's fine, but for Action-based Skills it is not sufficient. The Native must be able to perform the Action.  For example, if you are learning a Back-handed Head Punch from a Native Tyrusin Trainer, then that Native Tyrusin Trainer can also perform the Back-handed Head Punch.  When the engine support is there, you will probably want three of those Natives with that skill to take down the three-headed Teemak (pictured above).

All this being said, we still want to keep the expectation of the A.I. in check.  There is still quite a road ahead of us in terms of what we want to accomplish with the Strategic elements in Atriarch.  It is all very exciting!

old database gone forever... we took it out back and put it out of its misery once and for all!   It has been a long, slow and torturous process of extracting the original database from the engine.  The database had a significant bug in it that the database company refused to fix (apparently game companies are not their target market... puh!), nor would they give us the code so we could fix it for them (damn proprietary software).  Therefore, we were left with no choice, but to replace it.  You probably know from previous updates that we did the bulk of the extraction quite awhile ago.  Some annoying remnants remained.  I am very happy to say that the database has now been completely and totally wiped clean of that database's proprietary ooze!  It has been replaced with what we think is a faster, cleaner and overall superior system, and more importantly... a system for which we have the source :-)  Woo Open Source!


December 8, 2004

Whew!!!  We've been working on so much Atriarch goodness lately that we barely noticed the time fly by.  Thanks for being patient with us on these updates!  We just wanted post a quick note to let you know we'll post a new Atriarch Development Update either Thursday or Friday of this week... now back to the grindstone... uh... atrianstone ;-)


November 17, 2004

Atriarch Interview: This week's news update is an interview with Lead Game Designer, Serafina with FileFront.  Here is an excerpt:

FileFront: What would you say Atriarch successfully does better than other MMORPGs? 

Serafina: Two things... uh... make that three

  1. Player Construction
  2. Player Influence
  3. Epic Alien Culture and Atmosphere

... Player Influence: What a player does in the world matters! We believe that when players have the opportunity to make a difference beyond their own individual player-character, then that is when we truly move from being a "game" to being a "world"! When the world responds to your character's actions in the world, that's cool. Knowing your character can make a lasting influence to the culture, story and politics, no matter how small or large, that's compelling! I want to be in a world like that, so I'm making it!

Read the entire interview here.


November 13, 2004

The past several months, we have been updating about the technical progress of Atriarch.  While we were focusing on writing about the implementation of the latest features, the Atrian inhabitants continued to go about their regular lives.   For some dignitaries, part of their "regular lives" is to promote their perspective and prejudice, whether for good or ill.

Below is a link to a recent speech given by Trademaster Genrozh about the issues of Lokai dealing with Cavolon in matters of negotiation and trade.

On Dealing With the Cavolon -- Lokai Perspective

Transcript of speech given by Trademaster Genrozh, Fourth Staff of the Padrian Transport Company to newly-hired Tradescouts -- preserved in Gourd in the Gentar Hall of Knowledge by order of Atrios Morafn

excerpt: "The way to bargain with a Cavolon is carefully. Choose your words as you would steps on a wet unbalanced stone, for they will recall every single one and hold you to it."

The Story Section will soon get an overhaul so we can keep you abreast of Atriana's Current Affairs.


November 5, 2004

For those who did not read the last update, we did in fact skip last week's update due to a rare phenomenon called: vacation.  Not to worry though, the Atriarch Team did find time for some work.  Ample time was spent "researching" other games.  Yes, it was difficult, but we survived.   Anyway, all is back on schedule and the team revved and raring to go at a feverish pace!

Atriarch Development Update

new feature added: harvesting resources...  Harvesting resources from plants has always been in the design for Atriarch.  We are happy to state that it is no longer just a design :-)  The engine is now capable of allowing players to acquire natural resources in the world from the alien flora.   Just a few harvestable resources are in the world right now, but many more will be added as we enhance and improve the feature.

We have already implemented a resource that will be in high demand.   We have a plant you can harvest that will yield birthing pods. The birthing pod is the resource used to create your characters offspring (aka: "character lives").   There is a limit to how many offspring a character can produce.

resource regeneration:  Once a resource is harvested, does it regenerate?  The answer is it depends on the resource.  Each resource will regenerate at a different rate and under different circumstances.  For example, when harvesting Dubo Crystals from the Dubo Plant, you will see the crystals disappear from the pod and show up in your inventory or on the ground. However, the entire plant will not necessarily disappear.  Instead, the crystals will start to grow again.  On the other hand, some rare resources will die off completely.

I can harvest the resource from the plant, but not out of my backpack:  Once we add a new feature, we pretty much take it to the extreme, bang on it, make dirty faces at it... basically try to get it to break.  In some cases, it's easy.  In other cases, it is solid as a rock.   In this case, the feature worked very well.  However, after harvesting approximately five gazillion Dubo Crystals (give or take a gazillion), we quickly found some missing features that were not an issue until now.  For example, a scroll bar on our inventory backpack.  We had the resources in our inventory, but just couldn't get to it.  This and other smaller components are being added as you read this :-)


October 21, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

acquiring new skills... learning from trainers and other players:  Let's hear it for more improvements on the skill system!  Yes, the Atriarch team has dived back into skills.  As described in a previous update (see June 15th), the Atriarch Skill System has both Basic Skills and Player-Defined Specialty Skills.  The first iteration tested this out with Combat.  Later we added a new Assess Skill (see August 12th) which allowed for characters to gain Knowledge useful for a skill through observation and assessment.

The most recent addition to Atriarch's Skill System includes in-game acquisition of new skills. Previously, the only possible way to have a skill was to be born with it (in other words, authored by the devs).  There was no mechanism to gain a skill in the world.  Now there exists three ways to gain a new skill: Assessment, Native (npc) Trainers or Player Trainers.

on Native (npc) Trainers:  We have this really nifty Skill System, but unfortunately, we didn't have trainers to give out the skills.  There is nothing really unique about this feature.  If you want to learn a skill, then find a trainer and hope the trainer likes you.  If you have fulfilled the necessary requirements, you will gain the skill :-)

on Player Trainers:  Woohoo!   After we implemented Player Trainers, we took it a step further and allowed for players to also be trainers.  Although the capability is now there in the game, the exact limitations are not set.  For example, we have not yet decided how much your character can learn from another player character, etc.  We have some general defaults set, but those will definitely be changing.  In fact, we are very interested in hearing your opinion and some debate on the subject.

on the Assess Skill:  The Assess Skill was implemented to help define Specialty Skills.  In fact, observation applied as Assess is one of the key ways for players to design their own set of Specialty Skills.  We've expanded this feature.  We now have the capability to allow some Base Skills to be gained through Assessment rather than limiting it only to the Specialty Skills.

Future Development Updates:  Weekly updates are still scheduled.  However, they will not always be on Tuesdays.  For anyone who follows our weekly "Tuesday" updates, you've come to learn that we use the term "Tuesday" liberally to mean any day between Monday and Friday (sometimes Saturdays) ;-)

Is Vacation Allowed?  A rare occurrence is happening next week.  We are closing down for a week so the team can take a vacation.  Yes, an actual break from work (which will probably be spent playing games) and chance to renew the creative juices.  So, there will be no update next week, but the first "Tuesday" in November, we'll be back!  Woo Atriarch!


October 14, 2004

Thank you for your patience with last week's update.  My (Serafina) family's home flooded due to a malfunction in the plumbing (so much for bug-free plumbing).  Since no one was home at the time, I'm sure you can imagine the swampy result.  Therefore, my attention was a bit diverted and the update delayed.

The good news is that our team comprises of more than just me... yippee!   So, although I did not get much done, the rest of the team did :-)

Atriarch Development Update

Unique ID System designed to eliminate duping:  In previous updates (see August 5th), we announced the ability for Atriarch to track every item you see in the game world as if that item is unique.  Even if you see 10 Dubo Plants that look exactly alike, the engine sees 10 Dubo Plants individually, each given a unique ID.  This is important in a physical world.

The announcement sparked debate (and some interesting math) about whether it is feasible.  The answer is yes, it is feasible.  In fact, it is so feasible that we've already done it (granted though, it still needs some improvements).  So, how do we do it?  Well, that's a secret we are keeping to ourselves for now.

Anyway, one of the benefits to a Unique ID System is the elimination (or at least minimizing) of duping features... uh... I mean duping bugs.  The very fact that items are unique means there cannot be duplicate IDs.  You cannot take a particular Dubo Crystal and fake the server into thinking you have 10 of those same Crystals.   In a physical world where everything is tracked, something just cannot pop out from thin air, unless a Game Author puts it there.

Duping bugs are a huge problem for economies and inflation in games.   There is also a sense of  general unfairness from players who do not utilize duping bugs. With Atriarch's Unique ID System we hope to mitigate these issues.  (Of course, now that we've said this, I'm sure there are plenty of people ready to try to prove us wrong.  I guess time will tell.)

new server hardware: It is that time again for us to do our regular maintenance and  upgrade of the Atriarch internal test servers.  The Unique ID System is a pretty big addition to our engine, so we decided it would be a good time to improve the backend hardware as well.

converting new artwork: Recently, we have commissioned some new artwork for Atriarch, including various Tyrusin flora and weaponry for all the species.  In this case, new artwork also means a new art format. One of the tasks on our current list is to add engine support for these new formats.   We are looking forward to showing screenshots with the new stuff as soon as it is available.


October 7, 2004

Quick note: unfortunately, this week's update will be delayed due to a real-life, physical flood.  As soon as the facility is dried out and fixed up, we will get the updates back up.  We anticipate the delay no longer than a week.   As soon as we get a chance we'll post the juicy details of our wet week on the discussion boards at Atriarch Vault.


September 28, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

Atriarch Spies... not one, but two new selection windows added:  There is now a way to spy and track characters, creatures and buildings in Atriana.  Currently, it is an unrestricted feature.  Therefore, we do plan to reign it in so that it will work with the Strategic/Tactical elements at a later date.  We will test it out and see how it goes.

This is how it works...  when a player targets a character, creature or object in Atriarch, that object appears in a selection panel/window in the UI.   The entire object is shown as it actually is in the world.  It is like a camera view into the world of what was selected.  If you select a creature, then your selection panel shows you a small view as you follow the creature wherever it goes.   If you select a building, then the panel keeps an eye on the building.

Not only does Atriarch have one of these panels, but it allows a player to have two!  You can track two locations, creatures, items, or character at a time.   There are limitations however.  For example, the selection panel doubles as an interaction panel.  Therefore, your character can only do so much at one time.   Although the feature is currently unrestricted, we will eventually tie it into our plans to add strategy elements to Atriarch.


September 21, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

Wide-Screen Capability Added: One of the features we added was support for screens that have odd aspect ratios.  For example, my infamous demo laptop has a widescreen.  Most games adapt to oddly shaped screens by stretching the view of the game to fit the screen.  In Atriarch, we took the extra step to give you more of a view into the world.

Following are screenshots comparing the difference between what you see on a standard screen versus what you would see using a widescreen.

The two Cavolon are exploring the underground Bolera Caverns.  I wonder if they are invited guests?

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Floating Character NamesIt is difficult to see on the thumbnails, but if you view the larger screenshots, you will also see another new feature we added: Character Names above the head. (If I had thought I would be using these screenshots on our site, I would have picked better names.)

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Big New Screenshots: Last week's new screenshots were only thumbnails. If you click on the thumbs, you will now get the larger version.


September 17, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

Last week I attended the Austin Game Conference.  It was a relatively small conference whose focus was massive online worlds.  If you are interested in more tidbits of the conference, I posted a bit of my experience on the Atriarch Vault Discussion Board here. You are welcome to post your questions and comments.

Of course, I will share with you here and now the most important and talked about event (at least on this site) of the entire conference: the Atriarch Demo.   My completely unbiased and objective opinion of the Main Event (brought to you via laptop) is that it went splendidly!

I showed the Trip Rock Demo.  It spotlights a small section of the Pallidrost Arena where we placed over 200 Trip Rocks. Although we have other versions of the Atriarch demo, this one was perfect for accessing features quickly given that we only have about 5 minutes per demo.

The 2-minute Atriarch Trip Rock Demo...

The creature on the left is a Trip Rock.  It can tighten up into a ball that looks like a round rock.

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Dokan, the Tyrusin, tries to convince the Trip Rock of his Warrior's prowess.

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Dokan even looks like a Warrior with his new Skeeleb Armor.  Dokan prepares the powerful three-finger eye jab!

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The Trip Rock is unimpressed which annoys Dokan.  So the Tyrusin hits the Trip Rock in the knee with his club.

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The Trip Rock then proceeds to smash Dokan in the head.  Ouch.

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Dokan runs away.

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... but the lump on his head takes him into the wrong tunnel...oops

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Dokan is eaten and the Trip Rocks rule this section of Atriana once again.

The end.

Yes, Atriarch is much more than combat, but not much else can be demo'd in the matter of minutes.

Of course, if people had more time, I went into much more detail and features of the game, particularly player-buildings and construction.


September 2, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

This week's update is spawned (bad pun intended) by an article written on the controversial subject matter of whether or not open source is an advantage in game development, particularly for AAA games.  Our position is yes it can be!

World Fusion's Chief Architect, (aka: Arc) explains, "Whether are not there are few major game titles built *entirely* with free/open source software, there is quite a bit of it going into parts of game engines".  (Atriarch for example.)

This leads us to to answer a common question emailed to us all the time about Atriarch's development... what tools and technology are used to develop Atriarch?   Do we practice what we preach?  Do we utilize Open Source?  The answer is a resounding yes.  And not just for the sake of it, but because in many cases it offers value to us above and beyond what a proprietary solution offers.

A World Fusion Engine page has been added to our FAQ section which lists the tools and technologies we utilize to develop Atriarch.

(Sorry folks, new screenshots have been trumped by the Open Source debate.   We will post some in a couple weeks as soon as we finish our current cycle of development.)

Please note that since we will be away at the Austin Game Conference, there will be no dev update next week.  The next update will be the week of September 13th.  See you then!


August 24, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

Since our noses are to the grindstone right now, this week's update is brief. We are continuing our current cycle of tweaking and addressing bugs.  You have been sending us many requests for screenshots.  Next week, we will try to have some screenshots for you of the new features we've been posting about.  On the other hand, I'm not yet sure how to present a screenshot of the non-graphical features like the Native's Knowledge or like the Assess Skill.  It is more about interactivity. We'll see if we can come up with something.

Until then, we are very much enjoying the debates and discussions on the Atriarch Watcher Discussion Boards.   Also, welcome back to Atriarch Vault.   ATV has been silent for awhile, but Hyrrix has surged life back into the site and will be starting discussions there as well.  Everyone is welcome to join us on the boards.


August 18, 2004

Sorry for being a tad late with the update.  I was distracted by the Olympics.  I was inspired during Women's Gymnastics to leap across the floor in front of the TV to try one of those splits they do in the air.  You know that jump, the one they make look really easy. In retrospect, I probably should have put my laptop down first.  Anyway, all is back in working order and I'll be leaving the leaping to the professionals ;-)

Atriarch Development Update

...but does it work?:   Yes!  Yet, there is still work to be done.  The previous two months we have announced the implementation of our new Assess Skill, our In-Game Knowledge System, our technology's Unique Object ID System, our innovative approach to Skills and Player-designed Skills, amongst many other game features and announcements.  (To briefly interject a completely unbiased and objective opinion, I think these Atriarch Game Systems really set Atriarch apart by giving a player not only a fun experience, but a unique as well! Woo Atriarch!)

Anyway, this week's development update is not as glamorous as announcing a new feature.  Rather, we are focused on working out the kinks in the first iterations of the systems that we have already implemented.  In other words we are fixing bugs, tweaking, and multiplayerifying it.  (I stand by my initial claim in a previous post that "multiplayerifying" is in fact a real term, and my goal is to spell it in a game of Scrabble someday.)  Over the course of development, there will be several cycles in which we take time to focus on tweaking and fixing bugs.  This is one of those cycles.

Austin Game Conference:   Next month, we will be attending the Austin Game Conference.  If you will be there, yell "Woo Atriarch" and I'll be happy to show you a demo on my laptop.  It will be easy to spot me..  I'll be the one getting a ticket from the police for vandalizing street corners with Atriarch stickers.  (uh... just kidding)


August 12, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

new Assess Skill added:  We implemented a new Basic Skill called, Assess.   This new skill is an all-purpose capability that allows characters to watch, observe and notice things about creatures and things in the world.  Then the Character can use that information to their benefit in the world.

We have tied the Assess Skill into Atriarch's Character Knowledge System. It basically allows a character to gain Knowledge of the target by "assessing" an object or creature or plant.  The Knowledge gained may be helpful in specializing or in gaining other types of skills.  In some cases, gaining Knowledge through Assessment may be required to gain access to a new skill.

For example, if a player Assesses a Dubo Plant, then under the proper circumstances the character's knowledge about that Dubo Plant may increase which in turn could help the player Specialize in Dubos.  Perhaps Knowledge of the Dubo is required for another skill.  It is a Basic Skill that is applied and useful all over the world.

(For details on Skills System, see Dev Updates for June 15th and July 13th.  For details on Knowledge System, see Dev Update for July 27th.)


August 10, 2004

This week's Development Update will be posted on Thursday.   Please check back then.  Thanks!

Quick note:  I forgot to label the new screenshots I posted last week in the update.  Even though the screenshots' purpose was to show the Dubo Plant, interestingly enough the discussion online was more about the "windmill" looking building in the background.  What does it do and what is its species-related origin?  If you would like to take a guess before we post more information about it, please join the debate at  AT Watcher Discussion Boards.  You are welcome to partake in other Atriarch discussions as well on the AT Vault Discussion Boards.  See you on the boards :-)


August 5, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

tracking gazillions of unique objects in a single, stable, massive, seamless world:  (I dare you to say that 10x fast.) Atriarch is big.   And a big alien sandbox sounds like a lot of fun to me!  In fact, I enjoy playing in it even during our early internal testing.  On the other hand, tracking a world that combines those gazillion unique objects in a single, stable, massive, seamless world is not necessarily fun, nor a simple problem.  Enter this week's update...

In a world of what-you-see-is-what-you-get, it is important to track every single object.  Take for example the Dubo Plant pictured in the screenshots below.

Since Atriarch is a Physical World, each Dubo Plant you see is physically actually there on the planet of Atriana.

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That means to the engine's point of view, each Dubo Plant is unique even though they may look the same to the players.

To manage this massive physical world,  World Fusion designed a Unique ID System.  For example, each Dubo Plant is given its own Unique ID in the engine. 

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In fact, each crystal of each Dubo Plant is given its own Unique ID, just like everything physically present on the planet.

This Unique ID system is something that we have recently refactored to handle the massive amount of objects in the world.  There is still some work to be done on it, but it is working really well so far :-)


August 3, 2004

Due to a high pressure weather system moving in from the North,   this week's regularly scheduled Tuesday update will be posted irregularly on Thursday.  So please check back on Thursday.   Thanks!


July 27, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

Native's (NPC) Knowledge Base: Have you ever noticed how some game characters can give you detailed instructions on how to make a full set of armor using only a spoon and a loaf of bread while other game characters just stare at you dumbly without blinking?  Awhile ago, we mentioned that we gave our Natives (aka: NPCs) a brain.  What use is this brain without knowledge?   That's where this week's update comes in :-)

A very long and tedious yet fun job is writing the Native's Knowledge Base.  Right now, that knowledge is simply many, many facts being cataloged based on all sorts of things in the world.  The interesting part is determining who knows what and why.  Does every Cavolon need to know everything about Lokai Khanja Staff?   Once one Eshlar learns the location of a secret Unarra camp, does that mean all Eshlar suddenly know?  Does the knowledge that a Tyrusin Player Character gain pass along to all Tyrusin Natives?

Basically, we are working on the first part which is writing and cataloging the Knowledge and Facts.  Later we will determine who knows what from that Knowledge Base.  We encourage you to give your feedback on the discussion boards.

nifty feedback from last week's article:   Last week, we posted a link to an article at written by James Vallord-Costa.  Atriarch was one of the games featured. forwarded feedback about the article to us.  We liked it so much we thought we'd post it here.   Thanks Ceric!

It's been a few days since I've read an article by the title of "The Glorious Path to Massively Multiplayer Success" which had a good sized lists of games coming out. I checked most of them out, wandered around their websites since I've been looking for a game that will stand out from the rest. I noticed the game Atriarch looked interesting, after going to their website it was love at first site, the game I've always dreamed about. A truly dynamic world where the player really affects what happens in the game, I don't understand why everyone else has been afraid to approach this, but World Fusion is taking a huge chance. Had you not listed this game I probably never would have heard about this game... Please please please please try and get some interviews from them and let more people know such a fantastic game exists, and thank you for featuring it on the site.



July 20, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

This week's update includes a welcome of three new Atriarch team members; a bit of Atriarch in the press; and an update on Atriarch Points.

new Atriarch team members : This week we welcome three new people to the Atriarch team.  Many of you will already know Synon and Lec, both long-time active members of the Atriarch community.  They will both be working with us part-time as interns.  We are excited to have them aboard!  To start, Lec will soon be defining Combat Maneuvers (once I finally get him some templates to work from).  Synon, the consummate Eshlar, will be putting his architectural mind to work on making Atriarch building blocks.

We also welcome a veteran game artist, "Wizardo".  Here are a couple of 3D weapon models (untextured) that Wizardo has already done for Atriarch.

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Doshota                                Gentar Twilight

Atriarch in the Press : posted a five-page article by James Vallord-Costa, entitled: "The Glorious Path to Massively Multiplayer Success."  He covers several games and in particular has some good things to say about Atriarch:

When I look for massively multiplayer developers for Hypernia to partner with, I search for games that offer something new and innovative. Just like movies, massively multiplayer games take years to create; it would certainly be a waste of time to open one's doors to public consumption only to be written off as just "another XYZ massively multiplayer" game.

One game in particular that is looking to spice things up is Atriarch. In this game you'll be able to be a REAL alien instead of a humanoid with a forehead deformity and a funny name like "Skullet". One thing I'm looking forward to seeing with their game in particular is the building construction.

"Atriarch is the only game that provides modular player-construction in a 3D world," said Serafina Pechan, President of World Fusion.

What does that mean? Basically, a player simply doesn't plop down a cookie-cutter building. Instead, you'll be able to place building blocks together to construct the kind of unique structure you want.

"Every citadel, every farm, every temple, every guard tower, every structure can look unique as well as function uniquely," said Serafina. " Atriarch's modular system works right up the hierarchy from a single structure through customized, player cities and empires... Why be human? You can do that in real life."

Atriarch Points updated : We figured it was about time we dusted off the Atriarch Points and got them updated.   There were a lot of community people with points that had yet to be reflected on our Point Rankings.  Those are now all updated.  Also, since there was such a long silence, we just went ahead and gave everyone who had participated in any Community Event so far a free Atriarch Point.  The rankings are now current.  Thanks to everyone who has participated!


July 13, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

world building tools... content templates: This past week, we have been working at putting together templates for world builders.   Up to this point most of our focus has been on getting features into the game and focusing on the technology.  Of course, as we all know, technology and features don't matter much if there is nothing there to utilize it.  The templates are designed so that world builders can manage the massive amount of data that needs to be entered upon initial building of the world.  For example, this is how the world knows that new Andol Spawnlings start at a height of .25 meter and can grow as large as 3 meters.   Everything in the world needs parameters and a starting point.  From this initial point, we test, find bugs and start balancing the features we currently have implemented.  In parallel, we continue to enhance, fix bugs, etc.

Stratic House of Commons... Developer Chat Log: Last Wednesday, Atriarch Stratics and World Fusion had really fun time answering questions live about the Atriarch's unique skill system.  You can read the entire log on Stratics here.

Here is a snippet:

Brannoc - *Anabus* To Any of the Devs, I wanted to ask about the specialty skills, and how they can relate to the characters. Its already been mentioned that the skills will include Base Skill, Attack Type/Weapon and Enemy, I was wondering If there will be any skills that will relate to the Weather in Efficiency. IE Swordsmen A spends most of the time in the Desert and has developed skillz accordingly and Is more efficient fighting in

WF_Serafina - yes yes and yes
WF_Arc - We are allowing specialty skills to be derived from many variables.
WF_Arc - Initially it is the obvious variables: types of weapons, species of opponents, etc.
WF_Serafina - This type of skill system is new. It makes a lot of sense, but there are so many possible variables that at some point it may become overwhelming. Therefore, we may decide to lump variables together. For example, instead of becoming a Tyrusin Guard expert, you become an Arctic Creature expert.  Tools, weapons, the object of the action, skill, the calendar, lore, knowledge, age... so many things come into play.


July 6, 2004

The Atriarch Team is having an extremely busy week, so today's update is brief.   However, tomorrow evening we will be taking time to answer your questions live!

Stratics is hosting an Atriarch House of Commons, Wed, July 7th at 5pm.  This is an opportunity for people to ask questions directly to the Atriarch Development Team.  Everyone is welcome to join us.  The theme for the chat is Skills.  We have implemented unique skill features into Atriarch, including player-designed skills.  We will be available to answer your questions in more detail during the chat.  Here are the details...

HoC Details: Wednesday, July 7th, at 5pm PST, #StraticsHoC  You can connect directly from the Atriarch Stratics webpage using their java client (located on the left menu under IRC) or directly through your own irc client.   See you there!


June 29, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

This week, we have made several smaller implementations rather than a single large one.  Next week, if time permits, we will go through the list of new features we listed over the past few weeks and make screenshots of each of them.

graphical improvement, z-fighting: Improvements have been made to the graphics engine that eliminate a z-fighting problem.   In a nutshell, when you look at some areas from far away, the camera gets confused as to which surface to show.  The result are polygons fighting with each other which creates this kind of zig zaggedy (I don't recommend using that word if you are playing scrabble) static.  It was starting to get pretty bad, almost like trying to watch scrambled cable channels... uh... not that I would know what that looks like.... ahem... anyway, it is all fixed and things are looking better :-)

character naming system - family, unique, and generational: In Atriarch you can give your character a family  name (like Arpuar), unique name (like Afton), and a generational name (like 3rd).  More than one person can carry the family name, but the unique name is unique to that character.  Therefore, there can only be one Afton in the world, but more than one person with the family name Arpuar.  The generational name is used to show what generation of offspring your character is.  There is still some work to be done to complete the feature.  Currently, both the family and unique name must be unique.   After we test this new type of naming system, we plan to improve upon our new character naming system.

overhead character names:  Now that we have these fancy new names for our characters, we wanted to see them, so character names have been added above the head of the avatars.  We were debating whether we should allow anonymity.  After testing it for a long time without names, we came to the conclusion that it is much more fun for most people with the names.  It also cuts down on random acts of alien griefing.

combat improvements:   Our combat system takes into account your positioning when fighting.  A small, but discernable improvement to combat has been made.  Now when you engage in combat with a creature, you will automatically turn toward the creature you are fighting to land your shots... unless of course, you are running away.

creature pathing through "dungeons": Atriarch has large caverns, alien catacombs, grottos, underground excavations, and the like.  Some are friendly places and some are not.  Creature pathing in these areas have proven challenging.  In open areas, such as the the Pallidrost Region, pathing is still complex, but at least reasonably achievable.  Creature pathing in an underground area with winding ramps, multiple levels and sheer cliffs is a whole other challenge.

We've jumped the first hurdle.  Creatures now avoid cliffs and holes.   Unfortunately, they do not yet navigate the twisting ramparts and multi-level bridges quite yet.  We hope to achieve these realistic movement patterns, but we will have to wait and see how it goes.

  example of a cliff in Bolera Caverns


coming soon...  FAQ and Feature list rewrite: The feature and faq list for Atriarch is really old.  We are planning to rewrite it to reflect the changes in the game and evolution of the design.   Also, we plan to put screenshots along with the feature list to make it easier to visualize rather than just a bunch of text.


June 22, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

The last couple weeks, we discussed the addition of two major features into Atriarch: the Basic Character Skill System and the Player-designed Specialty Skill System.  Since all of us know that no development process goes without a hiccup or two (or four), we sharing our little battle with an unscheduled "feature" (aka: bug).

terrain holes... when physics goes awry:  Is this a player-modifiable terrain feature? Well, uh... no... rather it is a physics issue we have addressed recently.  Our characters walk around like they would in any online world, except for the fact that an Atriarch character is walking around an actual round physical globe with a gravitational force acting upon your character.  That same gravity and laws of physics (actually an abstraction of the laws) work on all of the objects in the world.

Keeping physics in mind, each time we loaded Atriarch up, there seemed to be more and more stuff missing from the world.  First it was some weapons; next time a creature, then finally entire buildings had disappeared.  What makes a 600 meter-high Tyrusin Guard Post just vanish?

The problem was that our logs still showed the items in the world. Since we have a physically-based world, if our log says an item is in the world, then it is there... but... uh...  it wasn't!  We figured it was a graphical glitch or a distribution issue.  We couldn't find anything.   arrgh!  Where did our buildings go?

After wracking our brains for a bit we found the lost items, creatures and buildings.  We found every one of them at the very center of the planet.   Bizarro.  The good news is that our logs were right; those objects were *in* the world ;-)

Basically, we figured out that when loading up the game, some buildings and items would load into the world before some spots in the terrain, which resulted in temporary terrain holes.  Since physics acts upon items the second they are present in the world, gravity did what is was supposed to and pulled everything toward the center of the planet.  Then these terrain holes would finally load up, but only after the buildings were well on their way, accelerating toward the center of the planet.   hehe... of course, our engine sometimes likes to play jokes on us, so it made sure that the hole was in a different spot in the terrain each time it loaded up.  So, something different would fall through each time... sometimes nothing if there was nothing on top.

The Atriarch Team had the last laugh; problem fixed :-)

Woo Atriarch!


June 15, 2004

Atriarch Development Update

player-designed specialty skills... You mean I can make up my own skills in the game!?!  Last week, we announced that we have coded the foundation of the Atriarch Skill System.  We mentioned that there are the Basic Skills and Specialty Skills. This week, we have expanded the functionality of Specialty Skills to include Player-made Specialty Skills.

This is how it works... nearly every Action in the game has an associated Skill.  If it does not have a Skill yet, then the game makes one up for you.   How cool is that?  More specifically, it makes your character a unique Specialty Skill based on how you are using the Basic Skill.

Once again, I will use combat as an example, since combat is the first thing we applied skills to (other applications of skills are of course on the schedule for the near future).  So, let's suppose your character has the Basic Skill, Attack.   Now suppose you Attack a Tyrusin Guard using the Black Flower Maneuver.  Your Attack Skill and your Black Flower Maneuver Skill both go up.  In addition, a new Specialty Skill is added, Attack Tyrusin Guard Skill.  Later you attack another Tyrusin Guard using the Lanced Crystal Maneuver Skill.  In addition to your Basic Attack and  the Lanced Crystal Maneuver Skill increasing, so does your Attack Tyrusin Guard Skill.  You are now on your way to becoming an expert at attacking Tyrusin Guards.

There is a lot of possibility for players to customize and develop their own combination of Specialties Skills based on their actions in the world.

There is still a lot of improving, tweaking, testing and such to make this system work smoothly, but so far it is pretty darn cool... and that's a completely objective opinion ;-)

character skill GUI:   The good news is that combat skills are working.  The bad news is you can't tell, because there was no user interface for it.  That was until now :-).   Previously, it was all done via the chat box/command line.  We have added a window in the game so that we can see a list of our character's skills.  As you gain Specialty Skills, they are added right onto your list automatically.  There is also a progress bar that shows your character's relative improvement.  Sorry to all you stat fanatics though, no numbers are given.

Developer Chat Announcement

Stratics is hosting a House of Commons (HoC), a live chat with the Atriarch Development Team, on Wednesday, July 7th at 8pm PST (5pm EST).  Everyone is invited to ask questions to the Atriarch Team live.  It will be located at #StraticsHOC.  You can use your own irc client or link directly to it from java client on the Stratics website.  We'll put another reminder on this site closer to the date.


June 8, 2004

What is the State of Atriarch?

Pretty much it is all good news.  Things are coming along nicely. A lot has been added and improved over the past several months.  We have had a lot of people email us asking for regular updates again.  The concern has been that if there are no updates, then things are not going well.

I am happy to report in this case, it is exactly the opposite.  We have been so busy and focused that we figured the updates could wait.  However, many of you have emailed to let us know in no uncertain terms that updates cannot wait!   We hear you :-)  We will release information, dev updates or screenshots of Atriarch every Tuesday.


Atriarch Development Update:

(There is a lot that has been added or improved, so we will pick a few things each week to discuss rather than bore you with everything in one mile-long update.)

character skills system added:  It would be difficult to call Atriarch a skills-based game without skills :-)  We have added the foundation of the skills system in Atriarch.  Up to this point, a character could do whatever it wanted in the game regardless of skill.  Now skills are required for certain actions and also affect the outcome of the action.

Combat is the easiest example to give.  Once your character has acquired the desired combat maneuver skill, it improves by using it.  The more you use a particular combat maneuver, the higher your skill in that maneuver goes.

Additionally, there are Basic Skills and Specialty Skills.  If you attack with Maneuver A, then the Maneuver A Skill increases as well as the basic Attack Skill. Currently, characters are born with a pre-determined set of skills. Later we will add the ability to acquire skills in other ways.

Skill improvement will be affected by elements and circumstances other than just using it, such as training, environment, which moon is in the sky, etc. However, those features are slated to be added at a future date. Skill atrophy is also planned to be added in the future.

odd dimensions and fullscreen support added: We have added full screen support back in.  For a long, long time, Atriarch was purely running in a window.  Since we knew that we would be demoing at E3, we also added support for screens with odd dimensions, for example, letterbox.  Our laptop has a wide screen, so regular screen dimensions were off.  What most game developers do is stretch the view so that is fits the size of the screen.   What we decided to do is support the hardware so that your view is larger.  If you have a widescreen, you see more of the world.  Of course, this has not been tested on all screens, but so far it looks great :-)


Conference Updates:

E3 UpdateE3 is a massive entertainment industry conference and expo held every May in Los Angeles.  Most companies use it as an opportunity to meet with press and show off their upcoming games and services.  It is pretty much a circus with every company competing for press attention. Thousands of games are displayed in all their glory (and then some).

We don't even try to compete against the cacophony of sight and sound (and unfortunately smell) for press attention.  Our "widescreen" laptop is little match for the 250-foot wide screen accompanied by live orchestra and skin-clad booth babes at every turn.  Instead, we used E3 as an opportunity to meet with several publishers and potential partners from Europe and North America.  We will make an official announcement soon about Atriarch in Asia.

We also used E3 as an opportunity to take a look at all the upcoming games, particularly MOGs.  After all the games we saw at E3, we are still proud to say that Atriarch still stands out from the crowd.  Atriarch is still unique in its world, unique its gameplay and fun.  Atriarch is still different from everything out there and remains a strong and healthy contender in the MOG arena :-)

Lec and Synon took a picture of us at the close of E3, which hopefully one of them will post soon :-)  One of the good things about E3 is that it forces us to to make sure Atriarch works smoothly on a laptop.  Except for one glitch (which of course reared its ugly head  in the middle of a demo), Atriarch ran well.   Woohoo!

GDC Update: The Game Developer's Conference focus is different than E3.  E3 is about press, but GDC's target is developers.  I had an opportunity to meet with several other MOG developers and discuss approaches to different technical, business and gameplay issues.  Needless to say, not everyone was in agreement on issues, but how boring would online worlds be if everyone agreed?  I also had the opportunity to meet up with Jonric from the VaultNetwork.   I gave Jonric a live tour of Atriarch.  He expressed eagerness and  excitement when seeing the latest work, particularly player construction system :-)

Mud-Dev Update: After GDC, there was a two-day conference sponsored by the mud-dev community.  It's focus was specific to online worlds, both text and graphical.  There was some academic research presented on the economics of muds that was very interesting.  When comparing the GNP of online worlds to that of "real" countries, it is staggering to see how high the virtual worlds rank.


June 1, 2004

Hello Everyone!

Now that GDC and E3 shows are over, the Atriarch Team is able to come out of crunch mode and settle back into a regular schedule.  That means we finally have some breathing room to start engaging and interacting with the Atriarch community again.

We have a lot of exciting news coming down the pipeline.  Starting Tuesday, June 8th, this site will be updated every Tuesday.

In the upcoming month, we will be posting a date for a HoC, Developer Chat, hosted by Stratics.  We will be discussing the Atriarch game, as well as answering questions about what World Fusion has been doing during its crunch mode.

We look forward to sharing with you during the upcoming months!

March 21, 2004

Whew!  The Atriarch team has been very busy.  It is a good thing that the atmosphere on Atriana is rich enough for us to come up for air only once in a red Devar moon ;-)

Since next week is the Game Developer's Conference, we have been busy preparing the latest features of Atriarch for our live demo of Atriarch at the conference next week.  If you see someone with a laptop covered in Atriarch stickers, just ask, we'd be happy to show you the progress :-)   The genesis of  some unique and exciting features are starting to show their potential in Atriarch.

When we get back, we'll update you all the latest happenings :-)


February 17, 2004

Atriarch Development Update:

on Character Death and Birth:  The past several weeks, we have been working on implementing character death. The first and second iteration are complete.

Frame0278-200x150.jpg (7830 bytes)

If you have not had a chance to see it yet, the early story movie, Spawn of Afton, shows Atriarch Afton's visit to the Entrop for the Lokai Spawning Ritual.

Characters in Atriarch need to attend to their lineage or their biological line will eventually die off. Birth and death are closely related in the World of Atriana. Every Player Character has the ability to create alien offspring to ensure the survival of their lineage. If that Player Character dies, then they have the option to come back as the offspring.

Each Player Character can harvest a birthing pod which is the birthing mechanism for their Spawnlings. Of course, there are cultural rituals and traditions for each species to heed during this process. A Player Character can harvest and utilize a limited number of birthing pods at any given time. The spawnlings only come into existence when the Character dies. Therefore, you will not have an army of spawnlings running around the world under your control. The goal is to keep your character's lineage alive and well.

One question still up in the air is where the birthing pods can be placed. Do we allow them to be placed anywhere in the world? Should other players be allowed to attack or move them? Should players be responsible for keeping their own birthing pods protected? Should there be a limited number of protected and the rest not?

A big question on many people's mind is what happens if I have no offspring? The answer is simple; your character dies for good. If you have offspring, your lineage continues. If your character's lineage dies, then it dies.

The Spawnling will receive most, but not all, of the skills and knowledge of the Progenitor at the time of birth. Some skills are not something that can be passed along. Our philosophy is that a player should not be heavily penalized in skills for dying. Attaining skills represents a significant amount of player's real time spent in the game. Penalty for death should not make the player go backwards in time. Our goal is to find a way that the consequence of dying is appropriate, not debilitating... unless of course, you completely ignore your lineage all together.


February 7, 2004

Next week we will resume our regularly scheduled Development Updates.

The weekly Q&A sessions will also resume with Atriarch Vault. Hyrrix has recently replaced Lepidus as the new Atriarch Vault manager. Good luck at your new job Lepidus, and welcome Hyrrix. You can contact Hyrrix directly at

Last updated: October 12, 2005

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