Archive for June, 2009

The walls of Jericho

Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG news update! This time the nature of the update is a bit different to what you’re used to get here. The main reason is that we recently had our first official developer meeting at the IRC channel of the project. So this news update contains far more plans for our next steps while the older updates often purely focused on reporting the progress of the last week(s). Such a change comes with certains advantages and potential drawbacks.

One main advantage is that we can give the community an idea where the project is hopefully moving to; on the other side there is the risk of promising but not being able to deliver later. So take the plans outlined today with a grain of salt 🙂 But enough of the disclaimer stuff, let’s get to actual news reporting!

Audio department

Composer Dave Matney is currently working on a remix of the first ingame audio track that was produced by MeinMartini. Dave currently records some guitars and percussion and the remix aims to deliver a more Falloutesque atmosphere. We’re all looking forward to the final version and as soon as it’s available, you’ll read about it here.

Programming department

Looks like our recruitment efforts work out pretty well in terms of finding programmers for the project. tZee discovered PARPG recently and decided to get involved right away by submitting a first patch to improve the mapchange handling.

With the influx of quite a bunch of new programmers over the course of the last weeks, it seems to become more and more important to refine the workflow of the department to cope with the new situation and ensure collaboration and coordination. Therefore tZee opened a thread at the forums to discuss how the future class design could look like.

Last but most important news in the field of programming: we’re planning to ship a first official public release of PARPG, simply called “Techdemo 1” around late August if things go well. If you’re interested in any details, check out the specific milestone page at our Trac repository. Not much information there yet, but it will hopefully get fleshed in more detail over the course of the next week.

On a related note: Maximinus decided to not just talk about junior staff development but to actually implement the concept! Congratulations go to the new proud mom and dad 🙂

Maximinus son

Graphics department

There are good and somewhat bad news as far as the graphics department is concerned. Let’s start with the good ones 🙂 Zimble recently wrote a guide how to create tiled walls in Blender; check it out at our wiki.

Tiled walls by Zimble

As you might have already noticed: there is a lack of graphics-related updates lately. Unfortunately the vast majority of the graphics department is inactive at this point. We recently discussed possible reasons at our IRC meeting and it turned out that our current lack of an agreed upon story really hinders the graphics artists on the team as well. We’ve started a roll call at the forums; this thread is meant to discover structural problems that affect the work of the department so we can try resolve them as next step.

Game mechanics department

We had some plans for a so called “game mechanics playground” application; basically a text-based testbed for the game mechanics department where they could play around with the mechanics and tweak them. We’ve decided at the IRC meeting yesterday than instead of going for an external testbed, the game mechanics testing could and should be done ingame as well. As FIFE comes with out of the box support of a console, it should be pretty easy to use it for these kind of testing purposes as well.

Once the programming department has agreed upon a basic game structure, implementation and ingame testing of Zenbitz’ mechanics proposals can start.

Writing department

Unfortunately quite a bunch of tries to really get things started in the writing department did not work out in the end. Fortunately new programmer on the team tZee got a writing background as well and volunteered to help with providing structure and guidance. His proposals can be found at the forums.

This said: there has been quite some activity in the writing department lately. Writer NineOfHearts started to flesh out a draft of the game’s story with some help of composer Dave Matney. Hopefully the draft finds its way to the wiki soon, so we can use it as basis for further discussion as well as source of source of inspiration especially for the graphics department that vastly rely on the writing department in this regard.

Project management department

A couple of good news in the project management department: former FIFE developer Stefan a.k.a. MuteX kindly accepted our plea for hosting the PARPG code documentation. The docs reside on the same server as the FIFE documentation that is hosted by him as well. The PARPG docs are updated daily, so feel free to check them out: PARPG epydoc code documentation

Community members who didn’t have an IRC client installed yet could visit the project’s channel via the browser-based mibbit client. Unfortunately our chosen IRC network irc.freenode.net banned mibbit clients lately. No need to worry though: they fortunately offer a new browser-based client that can be accessed via irc.parpg.net now.

Last and prolly most important: we held our first official IRC developer meeting yesterday. I won’t report the results in detail here because the most news-worthy ones have been already covered and you can check out the remaining ones at the wiki. For the ones who can’t get enough of all this stuff and want to find out how such a meeting actually works in detail, feel free to check out the log of the whole meeting as well as the applied meeting workflow.

And as we were pretty satisfied with the outcome of the first meeting, more project as well as department-specific meetings are planned for the future. Check out the new meeting board at the forums for all details and ongoing discussions.

That’s all for today. See you next Monday 🙂

1 Comment

The doors of perception

Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG news update! Let’s get started right away 🙂

Audio department

We’re proud to report that new fellow composer on the team MeinMartini created his first ingame music track for the project. Although it can be found in our Subversion repository as well, it’s far more fun to listen to it in the game itself. It’s amazing what a single audio track can add to the atmosphere of a game that is largely still in early concept stages.

Programming department

Before you could listen to the new ingame music, somebody had to implement some audio playback functionality. Team veteran maximinus volunteered and brought this kind of functionality to the game recently.

Furthermore we’re glad to introduce a new programmer on the team: meggie. She’s been hardworking in her first two weeks of her involvement and already implemented some simple random NPC movement as well as switching from one map to another. Maximinus decided to use his mapmaking skills and created a little building interior map to test the new feature.

Outside view:
Outside view

Building interior:
Building interieur

If that wouldn’t be enough, maximinus was on a real PARPG working spree over the course of the last week. He wrote down his personal proposal for features of a first official PARPG release and furthermore also documented all existing code that is in place via the Epydoc annotation system. The docs can be found in our Subversion repository but they need to be downloaded via an SVN client to be viewed at this point. We’re considering to offer auto-updated docs (updated daily) that can be viewed online as well, similar to the existing FIFE documentation project.

Graphics department

PARPG artist Zimble recently extended the tile creation tutorial at the wiki. The latest version features some extra information about the proper rendering size of tiles in case you’re using an alternative sampling filter.

And now it’s time for our weekly “positions on the team that we would like to fill” annoucement 🙂 As you might guess from the lack of picture-heavy updates in the last two weeks: we’re short of active 2d & 3d artists at the moment. The majority of the already involved artists on the team are currently rather busy either with real life in general and especially job or university assignments in particular. So in case you got some 2d or 3d creation skills and would like to lend us a hand, please get in contact with us!

Project management

And a last announcement for today: we’ve agreed upon a date for the first official PARPG IRC developer meeting. The meeting will take place next Monday, 5-7PM GMT. In case you’re confused about the whole timezone aspect: here is a great website to look it up: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/.

The meeting will take place at the project’s IRC channel and we appreciate the participation of interested community members in the meeting. In case you got no IRC client installed on your system yet, you can connect to the channel via your normal webbrowser by clicking on the following link: irc.parpg.net

The plan for the first meeting is to discuss the roadmap that was proposed by maximinus and to coordinate the efforts of the different departments towards this goal. It turned out pretty hard to find a common date for a meeting considering that we got active developers from North America (USA & Canada), Europe and Asia (China). Therefore we’ll try to rather have two kinds of meetings in the future:

  1. Department meetings, that members of a specific department (e.g. the graphics department) try to attend.
  2. Project meetings, where at least one member of each department should be around to coordinate the efforts between the departments.

I’ll create a section for the project meetings at the wiki until the weekend so we have a plan what topics to discuss at Monday.

That’s all for today. See you next Tuesday I guess; seems to be better to deliver the news update after the meeting has taken place.

4 Comments

Through the looking glass

Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG news update! This time I had to struggle a bit to make it in time so I hope you don’t mind the newsflash style of coverage again. I ran out of time to flesh out all the details and I didn’t want to delay the update for a day or two.

Audio department

We’re glad to announce that PARPG developer Dave Matney has been promoted to the lead audio guy on the team. Dave has been following the project for over a month and started to spend more and more time on it in the last weeks. He’s the person to talk to when it comes to audio-related demands from now on. That does not mean he’ll act as exclusive contributor to the department but that he feels comfortable coordinating the audio efforts. We’re of course still looking for additional developers, either composers or audio effect engineers. But with Dave stepping up, there is finally somebody who can act as a competent contact person for new interested contributors in the field.

Programming department

Our programmers spent quite some time on improving PARPG since the last week’s update. Bretzel added an ingame options menu to the game where you can change a couple of options, including resolution, display mode and the renderer to use. Furthermore he also added to quickslots to the inventory that can be accessed rather fast without opening your backpack:
Option menu by Bretzel

Maximinus’ figured out how to split larger object into several tile-width pieces to work around z-ordering issues. His Python script can be found in our SVN repository. Furthermore he also implemented a way to display text description above ingame objects and added highlighting of these objects when you hover over them with the mouse as well:
Object highlighting by Maximinus

I totally forgot to mention it in one of the last news updates, but PARPG contributor Bhayden was the one who implemented the screenshot feature recently. We were puzzled why the feature itself worked fine on Linux but refused service on Windows systems. It took us some time until FIFE developer Cheesesucker figured out that “:” is not a valid character for filenames / paths on Win32 🙂 The fixed code resides in SVN now and screenshots are finally working for the Windows version of PARPG.

Graphics department

The graphics department has taken a well-deserved rest after the massive and image-heavy update last week. Nevertheless concept artist Gaspard overhauled the GUI design article at the wiki. Loyal contributor qubodup compiled a concept art gallery there as well; so it’s easy to find all the pieces in one central place now 🙂

Project management

After the last week’s annoucement that we’re looking to set up a developer meeting at our IRC channel, zenbitz proposed to create a doodle for it. If you have never heard about doddle: it’s a pretty nice way to arrange meetings online. If you’re a PARPG developer who hasn’t filled out the doodle yet, please do so until Saturday evening. We would like to hold the first bi-weekly meeting next week if nothing goes wrong and therefore would like to announce the date of the meeting in the news update next at Monday. In case we end up with Monday or Tuesday, the meeting will not take place at the 15th or 16th but one week later, at the 22th or 23th of June as we would like to annouce the meeting at least two full days before it actually takes place.

FIFE news

If you want to create a game, you usually need a tool to build levels for with it. While FIFE already featured a map editor tool, it was not really a convenient helper and felt often awkward to use. Fortuntelay FIFE developer Cheesesucker stepped up and decided to rewrite large parts of it and I need to say that the new version of it is definately a _huge_ improvement. So why do I feature FIFE-related news in a PARPG update? For two reasons:

  1. The new editor tool will make the life of our levels designers much easier so PARPG will benefit from it to a large degree.
  2. Self-adulation: I take credit for digging up the new editor interface icons. They were taken from the excellent SVG icons project, that released their work under the GPL.

And as this update is not as eye candy heavy as some of the ones before, we thought that it would be a good idea to show you at least a screenshot of our PARPG map loaded into the new editor. The new ice tiles have been created by Blender artist Zimble:
Rewritten FIFE map editor by Cheesesucker

That’s all for today. See you next Monday 🙂

, , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Back from the dead

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. Three full weeks have passed since the last one and I’m truly sorry for the lack of updates lately. I’ve been really busy with university and although I know a lot more about the reconstruction of the failed state Liberia with the help of the UN now, I rather would have liked to post an update or two in the meantime instead of investing so much time into a presentation I had to give last Friday. Anyways, now that I’m done with it, I got some free time on my hands this week so here’s your promised dose of PARPG news. This time it’s more a newsflash than anything else. While I’ve been busy with real life, the others – especially the graphics department – has been hardworking and there’s simply too much to report to do so in detail. Feel free to browse the forums to read about all the details.

Programming department newsflash

Maximinus had to wrestle with some of FIFE’s quirks lately. Frustration grew and we were actively looking for possible alternatives to FIFE just to be not stuck with it as only possible engine. It seems while FIFE comes with a bunch of quirks indeed, it’s still the best option for the game that we have in mind. A more detailed explanation is provided at the forums.

Python programmer Bretzel continued to work on the inventory code. After we covered his standalone version of it in the last news update, we’re proud to present a screenshot of its new ingame version:
WIP ingame HUD

Furthermore: we’re still looking for a Mac-based C++ programmer to help us with getting FIFE running on Macintosh systems. While it does work in theory, building FIFE on Macs is incredibly complicated; therefore our Mac-based developers would really appreciate a helping hand. If you’re comfortable programming on Mac and got some solid C++ background as well as Linux experience, please get in contact with us at the forums.

Game design newsflash

Zenbitz has been hardworking as every week and continued to flesh out his thoughts on wounding.

Graphics department

Ohh boy, these artists don’t seem to be sleeping. While this update contains a whole bunch of images, there are about a dozen more at the forums. To save myself some time I’ll simply show some of their latest work and link to a recent thread with more pictures. Enjoy 🙂

Shrew81

Warehouse render (WIP version posted in the last news update):
Warehouse

Slegdehammer:
Sledgehammer

More weapon renders by Shrew81:
http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=213.0

Zimble

Building interieur:
Building interieur

More renders by Zimble:
http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=214.0

Zeli

Zeli is one of the new concept artists on the team.

Reindeer panorama:
Reindeer panorama

Improvised weapons:
Improvised weapons

Sirren

Sirren worked on a bunch of inorganic & organic models for PARPG lately.

Valmet RK 62:
Valmet RK 62

Animated reindeer:
Animated reindeer

More renders by Sirren:
http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=190.15

Project management newsflash

We’re currently trying to establish developer meetings at our IRC channel on a regular basis; preferably at least twice a month. In case you’re interested to take part, head over to the forums and let us know which day of the week would be best suited for such a meeting.

That’s all for today. See you next week 🙂 Hopefully with less topics to cover that I can therefore flesh out in more detail.

, , , , , , ,

1 Comment