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    Alpha Release 3 Starts Tomorrow

    From DarkStarr in the SotA forums:

    Greetings Avatars,

    Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 3 access for all backers at First Responder / Adventurer level and above begins this Thursday February 20 at 10:30 AM Central Time. Release 3 access will end on Saturday February 22 at 10:00 PM Central Time. Starting today you can begin installing and patching (see instructions below), but login will not be enabled until Thursday morning.

    We are happy to say that not only are we are going to deliver almost every single Release 3 item but that we also were able to put in a bunch of extras. Here are those deliverables again, along with some extra notes and the bonus deliverables in italics

    RELEASE 3: February 20 - 22, 2014

    • Open Multiplayer Online: FINALLY we will let you see what the other players look like BUT we’ll be taking away your house for the month as we prepare housing to have persistence in the multiplayer space for Release 4.
    • Chat: You know, so you can talk to your friends! The chat interface now sports a tabbed interface and filters for different channels.
    • Emotes: More than 30 18 emotes online so you can look like a clown with your friends. NOTE: We wanted to use facial animations in several of the emotes so they ended up taking a bit longer than planned. Also the additions of jumping and walking took up animation time. Our final count of emotes is 19. On a brighter note we just added another animator to shore up our animation efforts so our animation speed is going to rise dramatically.
    • Town 3: A third municipality opens up (the tiny forest village of Braemar). This is a new type of village that starts tiny and overgrown. The forest gradually becomes cleared out as it becomes more populated.
    • Shopping: Shopkeepers will be open for business for selling and buying. NOTE: Now that we have this functionality coupled with crafting we have removed many of the loot chests and greatly reduced the content that can be found in them. The chests mentioned in the Ten Ton Hammer article were only for very early testing of R3.
    • Configurable Controls: We completely understand the myriad reasons why players desire the ability to play the game with different control schemes so we have started adding this functionality. This first version is quite basic so expect us to expand what controls this can change as we get further in the schedule.
    • Crafting Improvements: We made a bunch of improvement to make crafting more useable while preserving the experimentation and discovery aspect.
      • Auto Place: Once you discover a recipe you can double click on it in the recipe log to automatically place all ingredients and tools on the table.
      • Take All: There is now a “take all” button that removes everything on the table
      • Starter Recipes: Crafting Log now starts with a handful of recipes
      • Recipe Status: Recipes now display the status of whether they can be crafted including details about what ingredients you have, or do not have, in your inventory
      • More Recipes: 52 more recipes bring our grand total to 153.

    • Walking: With the run speed increase it became increasingly obvious that we need an option to walk.
    • Friends & Anti-Friends (Blocking): Friends and Blocking were originally R4 goals but we managed to sneak them in for R3.
    • Player Housing in SPO: We originally planned to disable all housing in R3 because of the complexity of dealing with ownership in multiplayer. We realized though that we could leave it functional in single player online without having to spend time solving the multiplayer issues in R3. This means you can still experience house ownership and decoration, but only in single player online mode.
    • Player Made Music: The Bards of Poets’ Circle Guild selected a set of songs for us to include in the game and we have spread them around the three maps for your listening pleasure.
    • Ladders: Using ladders will now teleport you to the next floor of a structure

    So now that it is clear what you can expect we should also be as clear about what you should not expect:

    • Crafting: The crafting system is in the game as a framework, but is still missing some key components like resource gathering, repair, and enhancement. We are also not doing any skill checks yet, so results are always 100% successful. Long term, the percentage chance to make items will depend on a myriad of variables and can result in a variety of results including: making the item desired, making a simpler version of the item that will need to be enhanced, or making a damaged version of the item that needs repair.
    • Performance: We have only done rudimentary optimizations and we do not yet have a full suite of fallbacks (LODs, etc.). This means the game will be quite slow on older machines, and due to memory usage might be unstable in certain conditions (like densely decorated areas). With each release we will be doing further optimizations and adding to our fallbacks to improve performance.
    • Game Loop: Even though we have clearly stated that there will not be a complete game loop (adventure, loot, spend, craft, quest, etc.) until Release 4 there is still some expectation of those activities. For R3 there is just character creation / customization, NPC conversation, home decoration, the beginnings of crafting, and basic multiplayer functionality (chat, friends, etc.).
    • Advanced Player Housing: There are some advanced features for player housing including waterfront properties, basements, home exterior decorations, and ceiling decorations that are not yet integrated. Expect to see these appear in future releases. While waterfront housing is not working yet, we wanted you to still be able to view the waterfront houses we created (including the Lighthouse and Lord’s Houseboat) so you will find them in Kingsport as static buildings that you can visit.
    • Swimming: Jumping was just the first step to giving players a much greater feeling of movement freedom. For R3 we added a stretch goal for players to be able to swim along the surface of the water but we had to delay this work due to time needed on multiplayer. Like jumping, swimming will eventually be governed by game systems like encumbrance and focus.

    Here are links to instructions and known issues. Thank you again for your continued support. This is truly the most amazing community we have ever worked with and we are proud to be on this journey with you.

    Starr Long
    aka Darkstarr
    Executive Producer

    PS: Early R3 Test for Dev+: Last week our Developer and above backers helped us with an early test of R3. That test gave us a lot of data and highlighted issues we needed to fix. We believe most, if not all, of those have been resolved so we need your help again to make sure! We would like for the Dev Plus group to patch up and join us for “Happy Hour with SotA”. Today Wednesday, 5 - 6PM CST, we will open up the Live servers for 1 hour to do a load test with our Dev+ backers. In honor of this test and to truly make it a happy hour you can now equip your pint of ale for true toasting!

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