Archive for July, 2009

All I ever want …

… is just to overthrow the government. Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG news update! This weeks update is heavily packed with the results of IRC developer meetings that took last Friday.

Programming department

The original plan was to report the results of the programming department IRC meeting that was meant to take place today. Unfortunately not all programmers did make it in time, so the meeting is postponed for now. We can hopefully find a new date for it soon as there are a lot of code design-related questions to be discussed. As soon as we’ve agreed upon a replacement date, I’ll post a short notice at the blog!

Graphics department

But now our visual magicians! At first we would like to welcome a new concept artist on the team: Seothen. He recently found us via our advert at the gamedev.net forums and decided to create a first character portrait for us. Enjoy Dr. Felix Weir:
Dr. Felix Weir

Seothen is currently looking for suggestions what kind of outfit Dr. Felix Weir should wear for a full body shot. In case you would like to provide suggestions, head over to our forums and let us know!

3d artist Continuum decided to donate a bunch of his models that he had originally created for Fallout mods to PARPG. Some of them feature textures from cgtextures.com so we’ll need to retexture them to avoid license trouble. The cgtextures.com assets are released under a license that is incompatible with our chosen favourite CC 3.0 BY-SA. Anyway, here’s a shot of one of his models, more can be found at a thread at the forums:
Tank

Concept artist Gaspard created three new character drawings over the course of the last week. Here’s an Ex-Soviet soldier, now working as a hunter; more at the forums as well:
Ex soldier, now hunter

Blender modeler Lamoot got inspired by Zeli’s improvised weapons and started to work on an ice axe melee weapon. Still untextured, but there you go (and of course, there is a thread about it at the forums):
Untextured ice axe

And here’s yet another visual teaser for you: 3d artist Sirren created a Nagant revolver for you and he’s open to all kinds of feedback:
Nagant revolver

The vast majority of the new 3d models can be already found in our Subversion repository. However not all assets are properly documented with LICENSE files at this point. You can get an idea which models are problematic due usage of cgtextures.com assets by taking a look at the trac changelog though.

As we had so many new 3d models and pieces of concept art that were created by our graphics department over the course of the last week, we couldn’t show you everything in this news update. If you don’t want to miss anything, check out the updated gallery at the wiki.

Game mechanics department

The IRC meeting that took place last Friday was originally meant to be a pure writing department one. However as writing and game mechanics can be closely linked together, we discussed a couple of game mechanics-related questions as well.

We’ve argued about the potential appearance of children in the game and if the player character and NPCs should be able to kill them. As the most of us are fans of RPGs that feature choices and consequences, we agreed upon an approach similar to Fallout: there are children, you can kill them but there will be (sometimes rather severe) social consequences of such kind of behaviour. Furthermore also usage of drugs as game mechanic was discussed. PARPG will not feature any superpower drugs; drugs will rather give you a small egde in a specific situation at cost of rather drastic disadvantages. We think we can balance things pretty well and avoid overpowered drugs e.g. by giving them a high addiction rate. There will be rather few chemical prewar drugs; home-distilled pre- and postwar alcohol (moonshine) will be a lot more common.

For the ones of you who played a pen and paper session of Call of Cthulhu: we’re currently exploring how well stress as gameplay mechanic would work. At the moment this is still in the brainstorming stages so don’t get too excited but in case we decide to actually implement it in the game, it could work similar to the sanity points system of CoC. You could combine this with choice and consequence in dialog as well: a totally stressed character might lose temper and freak out, dramatically changing his options in dialog with other characters.

Besides the brainstorming at the meeting, Zenbitz started to work on a proposal of the state of the game world as well as what kind of characters stats should be featured in PARPG. Fell free to join the discussion at the forums.

Taking a shot at contributing to a new field of work, artist Gaspard started a thread how barter economy should work in PARPG.

Writing department

As already mentioned above: the first game mechanics and writing department meeting took place recently. As we’ve discussed quite a lot of aspects and I can’t cover all of them to full extend, please check out the results as well as the full meeting log if you’re interested in any details.

Most important newsworthy piece of information concerning the writing department: we currently have two promising storyline proposals in the works. One of the main differences between them is the nature of climate change and how the postwar societies (fail to) cope with it. One storyline proposes that the climate is getting colder and colder, while the other one focuses on thawing and how it affects the game world.

As we have to decide for one or another storyline in the end, the plan is to have a public discussion at the forums about both proposals. Each side should have the chance to present their proposal with pros and cons and furthermore elaborate on the gameplay that they would like to implement following this proposal. Furthermore I’ll try to get in contact with a climatologist to get some feedback which storyline might be more realistic; it might turn out we can’t find a climatologist or that neither scenario is scientifically realistic, but it’s worth a try. In the end the opinion of the to be found climatologist will be one argument amongst several others; while we care about realism to a certain extend, the storyline should be interesting and challenging for the player so realistic gameplay is not meant to be a principle for its own sake.

The proposed roadmap concerning the storyline is: give each side two weeks to flesh out their their proposals and present them to the community at the forums. After that we’ll give everyone one week to explore pros and cons of each one and to make up there mind and will try to agree upon one storyline after that. The next step will be trying to incorporate compatible aspects of the storyline that was not chosen if possible.

Last but not least: mvBarracuda (read: I) found out that you can actually do something worthwhile with a degree in modern history. As we’re currently exploring how World War III broke out, he volunteered to use his super history skills to come up with a historically somewhat realistic storyline for the branching of history in PARPG and how WWIII emerged. Stay tuned 🙂

That’s all for today. See you next Monday (or maybe Tuesday, in case the programming department meeting is rescheduled for next Monday) 🙂

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One day, delay

Heya and welcome to NOT yet another PARPG news update. This is just a short news flash that the official weekly news update is postponed to tomorrow due reasons explained below. We had our first writing & game mechanics department meeting last Friday and a programming department meeting will take place at the project’s IRC channel today.

If you would like to take part in the meeting, join us at our there, the meeting will start at 3PM GMT. As I would like to cover the results of the programming department meeting in the next news update as well, it won’t be released today, but tomorrow 🙂

Update: turned out that the programming department meeting has been postponed due lack of programmers who could make it in time. So you can expect to see the news update in a couple of hours!

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Fire water burn

Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG news update! This week our roofs are not on fire, they’re on ice 🙂

Programming department

The programming department still focused on discussing the future structure of the code in the last two weeks. The class design draft as well as possible design tasks were discussed among the involved programmers. Unfortunately we didn’t anticipate that a large influx of new programmers also means that there’s the need for additional coordination and planning among the team.

To ease the coordination, we’re currently planning to utilize Trac’s ticket system for the programming department. You can read about it in detail at the forums. Furthermore we’re planning to have a first programming department IRC meeting, prolly at Monday, 13th of July at 3-5PM GMT. It’s not 100% set in stone but in case we agree upon a different date and time, I’ll let you know at the blog. Details about the planned meeting are outlined at the forums as well as at the wiki.

Graphics department

In the graphics department, we got three different visual teasers for you this week. One piece of concept art, one splash screen and furthermore also a 3d model. Enjoy it!

Steyr 69 submachine gun by Sirren:
Steyr 69 submachine gun

Arctic death splash by Justinoperable:
Arctic death splash

Snowy rooftops by Zeli:
Snowy rooftops

Last but not least I spend some time bringing all the fine pieces of 3d models renders to our (former) concept art gallery that serves as new gallery for all kind of project art now.

Writing department

As we’re currently hotly debating possible storylines for the game, there has been increased interest in finding logical flaws in the current proposals to improve them. Therefore we would be glad if we could find a climatologist (amateur or professional) who could provide us some insight and give us feedback how realistic our proposed storylines when it comes to explaining the nuclear winter setting. If you’re interested to lend us a hand, please get in contact with us at the forums.

Besides this call for expert feedback, there’s plenty of other things to report in the writing department. Composer Dave Matney decided to help out in the writing department to get things on track. He recently wikified all NPC proposals that have been posted at the forums before. Furthermore he also brought NineOfHearts‘ and his storyline proposal to the wiki as well.

Their proposal is one among a bunch of others. Readlock decided to help out in the department as well by wikifying the other proposals so their can be found in one central place now.

As there are still plenty of open questions in the story department that need to be answered in the long run, we’ve decided to have a first meeting of the writing department at the project’s IRC channel. The meeting time is not 100% set in stone (see the planned programming department meeting) but in case there are some last minute changes, I’ll post a short notice here at the blog. If things go like planned, the meeting will take place at Friday, 4PM GMT. For details, check out the forums and the wiki.

Project management department

Two neverending stories are continued to be told in the project management department today, though one of them has hopefully come to a happy ending now. First of all we were suffering from Trac ticket issues again. Anonymous users couldn’t submit any tickets but fortunately our host took take of it rather fast and now ticket creation seems to work just fine 🙂

Furthermore I’m still trying to register PARPG at sourceforge. I don’t want to go into the details again as they’re outlined in former blog postings but it seems that sourceforge can’t manage to complete a server moving process within a full year. Anyway, I’ve created a ticket at the sourceforge tracker and hopefully we can actually start to use our account rather soon as a release is planned for late summer / early autumn if things go well.

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

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