Tear you apart

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update! This one will be rather short and not so picture-heavy as the last ones. Most of us have been pretty busy lately, so the number of topics to write about is rather small.

Project management department

The first and the prolly most important news is that it turned out that releasing our first techdemo of PARPG won’t happen in 2009. We’re still working hard to ship it in early 2010 (hopefully between late January and early March), but there is simply too much planned content missing at this point to ship it this year. We’re sorry that it will take longer than originally planned but you still got the option to check out what we already have in place by testing the SVN version of PARPG.

One aspect of game development which gave us a lot of headaches are licensing issues. For the code it’s rather simple: we’ll publish all Python scripts under GPL 3.0. However for the non-code assets, things are more tricky. I don’t have the time to go into too many details but one of the main problems is that it’s often hard to find good textures licensed under terms that permit commercial distribution as well. To address this problem Q_x created a list of asset websites that have published their material under terms which are compatible with our chosen CC 3.0 BY-SA license.

In reality it’s actually way more complicated because a lot of asset websites actually do not permit that their textures are sold or redistributed at other texture websites. But as soon as you actually apply the texture to a model and render it, the resulting render is not affected by these NC and restrictive redistribution clauses according to their license. My gut feeling tells me that the resulting renders are actually derivative works as they’re based on the textures and should therefore be infected by the NC and restricted redistribution clauses but I guess it’s okay to sell and redistribute the renders nevertheless as their license seems to permit that.

Hopefully we can ship the entire techdemo 1 content under CC 3.0 BY-SA terms. That just means the actual content that is used in the game. We might need to ship the source versions (e.g. models and textures) of the techdemo content under different licenses, especially whenever NC textures were used. It should hopefully not affect distribution of the PARPG game, just the distribution of our media assets sources library. The only conclusion I have right now is that licenses are simply a huge can of worms. Having to worry about all these aspects takes away a lot of the fun that game development is. It’s necessary nevertheless and we’ll come up with a solid solution for techdemo 1.

Audio department

Finally some news from the audio front again. Open source enthusiast Sindwiller posted a work in progress version of a track he’s currently working on at the forums. Feel free to check it out and provide feedback. We can hopefully feature the final version of it in our first techdemo release.

Programming department

We finally started to restructure the objects directory to get rid of the rather ugly and confusing objects/objects directory. Objects/objects has been split up into objects/items (smaller objects that characters can actually pick up) and objects/scenery. If you’re interested in the details, head over to our forums.

Win32 developer Kaydeth looked into creating a first test version of the upcoming Win32 PARPG techdemo installer. We’re using NSIS for this purpose and so far things look good. There are still some tweaks to be made, e.g. offering users the choice to install ActivePython 2.6 as well as PyYaml; furthermore we’re still having some problems with Vista / Win7 UAC but we’re positive that we can fix them before we ship a release. If you want to test Kaydeth’s test installer, check out this thread at the forums.

We’ve been experimenting with map sizes for the techdemo lately and ran into a performance bottleneck that shows up if you have a map with many (> 20000) map instances. It turned out that FIFE’s view code is not that well optimized in this regard. PARPG developer amo-ej1 profiled the issue and reported back about his findings at the forums. Furthermore he also documented the necessary steps to profile PARPG at our wiki. The FIFE devs plan to have a look into the problem in their 0.3.2 release. This release is planned for mid 2010. So for now, we’ll simply go for maps that feature less than 20k instances and we should be pretty much on the save side performance-wise.

Writing department

A little news flash from our writing department: Zenbitz did recently flesh out the inn area of the techdemo including the denizens of this location. He has been rather hardworking on the dialogues of several techdemo characters as well and commited their scripts into SVN over the course of the last weeks. You can talk to several characters now, so feel free to check it out yourself by giving the SVN version of PARPG a shot.

Graphics department

This news update is not as image-heavy as some of the ones before. Our graphics artists have been quite busy as Christmas is nearing. Nevertheless 3d artist Sirren found the time to create several pieces of furniture, including beds.

He furthermore also created a gate that’s part of the outer boundary of the techdemo area. Python programmer Or1andov implemented alpha blending for the gate (and other objects that reside on a layer above the characters) so your view is not blocked while walking around under specific map instances. I actually had to split up the pillars of the gate into several 70px wide pieces to work around z-ordering issues. Fortunately Zenbitz ported amo-ej1’s image slicing script to PIL (the Python Imaging Library). The original version of the image slicing script was utilizing PythonMagick. And as PythonMagick has to be built from source and the build process is quite complicated, there was no easy way to get the script working on non-*NIX systems. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore with the PIL version.

In case you’re interested in all the details of the process of getting the gate into the game, check out this thread at the forums. All the other are surely happy to see a screenshot at least:
Gate screenshot

One last note: I recently had the time to bring some assets, that had been lying around in Trac but hadn’t been commited into the repository yet, into SVN. In case you want to check them out, head over to the media part of the SVN trunk.

Now one last personal remark from my side. Unfortunately a lot of university-related tasks have been piling up over the course of the last weeks. I’m simply not good at multitasking so for now I have to take a break until the Christmas holidays to finally finish two still outstanding papers. Don’t worry, I’ll be be back to bring you the next (short) news update some time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Stay tuned!

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Obstacle 2

Sometimes there seem to be an endless number of obstacles to jump over in the course of developing a large scale game from scratch. In the end it all comes down to persistence to work through all of this. This said: heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update!

Project management department

As a bunch of interested community members have checked out the SVN versions of PARPG, here’s a somewhat important announcement. The FIFE development team recently released a new version of their Win32 DevKit (which has been formerly known as the Win32 compile SDK). In case you’re running an SVN version of PARPG on your Windows system, you should switch to the new DevKit as soon as possible as the old 2008.1-r1 compile SDK will stop to work as soon as you update your FIFE checkout. The new DevKit addresses a very annoying guichan utf8 issue and furthermore introduces Python 2.6 support. That also means you’ll actually need Python 2.6 to run FIFE-based games on Windows and furthermore you’ll also need PyYaml for Python 2.6 to run PARPG.

I don’t want to go into any details here at the blog. If you run PARPG on Win32 right now, check out these two articles:

In case you can’t get PARPG working with the new DevKit, head over to our forums.

Programming department

As this is a _very_ image heavy update, I’ll keep programming-related remarks rather short in this time. amo-ej1 created a dialog checking tool that helps the writers to validate their scripts. Saritor started to refactor our GUI code and created an architecture proposal for the GUI module at the wiki as well.

Graphics department

Let’s welcome new artist comscar on the team! His handdrawn snow shoveler concept has been digitalized and refined by veteran Gaspard:
Snow shoveler

Gaspard also created a snow panomara concept entitled Alone in the wilds:
Alone in the wilds

Fallout modding veteran Continuum created a set of rusty barrels. The model together with the textures that have been taken from burningwell.rog can be now found in SVN as well:
Collection of barrels

Unfortunately I forgot to cover the creations of new artist on the team EGO in the last news update, so let’s take care of it this time. He created a mockup of the techdemo mall location that can be used as source of inspiration by our 3d artists:
Mall #1

Mall #2

EGO furthermore also created a lone explorer concept art piece. Enjoy it:
Lone explorer

I promised a whole bunch of new images in this update, so you’ll get a whole bunch! Let’s also welcome Q_x on the team who created this main menu mockup:
Main menu mockup

We introduced a screenshots section at the gallery in the last news update. In the course of the last two weeks we’ve updated it with a couple of older shots that hadn’t been added yet. Feel free to check it out.

I know that I sound like a broken record but we’re still short of 3d artists who could model objects for the upcoming techdemo with their modeling tool of choice. In case you’re interested in getting involved, please introduce yourself at the forums.

As we are still short of 3d artists right now, concept artist Zeli had a stab at 3d modeling and created his first model for PARPG: a multi level building. Looks like he has a hand for this:
Multi level building

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 30th of November. See you then ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mirror, mirror on the wall …

… who has the fairest portrait of them all? Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update.

Let’s start with a little disclaimer before we take a closer look at the events of the last two weeks. I’ve mentioned this in the past but as days since the last news update have been quite productive for us, there is more and more progress that I could cover in such a news update. But the news updates would take far longer to write and would be very long-winded if I would actually do that. This said: if you’re interested in all the little details, there are various ways to stay up to date:

I’ll try to avoid missing any major contributions but sometimes it simply happens, especially in busy weeks. If you want to see something specific featured in a news update, simply give me a gentle pointer by posting in the news update thread at the forums.

Project management department

With the project growing and growing over time and considering there has been quite some developer fluctuation it gets harder and harder to coordinate the departments and to keep track of progress and tasks we still have to take care of. Our programming department copes pretty well with it though despite a whole bunch of developers who are involved in the field. This is mostly due using the Trac software for coordination and progress tracking purposes.

While we were a bit worried about using Trac for all departments as it takes some time to figure out how to use it, alternative workflows turned out to be more complicated and/or frustrating. So we’ve started to move more and more tasks to Trac tickets so we can keep track of who’s working on what, which tasks have already been tackled and which ones we still have to take care of before we can tag a milestone as completed. We’re aware that this will be a rather long process but this announcement is basically the first step to utilize Trac more and more as it’s pretty much impossible to handle such a complex project otherwhise. If you’re interested in the details that lead to this conclusion, check out the discussion at the forums.

Programming department

The programmers have agreed upon establishing a short weekly round table meeting to talk about who is currently working on what and to clear up any questions and problems that came up in the process of tackling these tasks. The meetings take place every Saturday, 6PM GMT at the IRC channel of the project. If you’re interested in the results of first two weekly meetings recently held, check out the meetings section at the wiki.

Our programming staff was able to implement a couple of new features and fixes over the course of the last two weeks. Saritor, who has been around for quite some time, submitted a larger map change patch so you can finally move to other maps now (and back again as well) without crashing PARPG. As the other devs were quite pleased with Saritor’s contributions, he’s now a core developer on the team. Which is basically just a fancy term for a developer who has earned the special trust of the others and therefore gains write access to the SVN repository. Congrats and we’re looking forward to tackling this project together ๐Ÿ™‚

New Python developer on the team Vaporice has started to flesh out a proposal how the quest engine could work in PARPG. The submitted code can be now found in SVN after it had been reviewed. And there are more good news to cover: Kaydeth recently fixed save and load functionality so you can finally save the game and load it again as well.

Writing department

Zenbitz recently revamped the starting page of the writing department at the wiki. It should be a bit easier for new interested writers to get started now.

This said: he also worked on ingame dialog and the drunkard character now features his written lines. Feel free to check it out yourself by testing the latest SVN version of PARPG. For those who don’t mind waiting until the techdemo release, here’s at least a sneak peek: Drunkard dialog

Graphics department

Concept artist Gaspard got inspired by zenbitz and recently started to clean up the graphics department starting page as well. In the meanwhile Zimble documented the settings of the Blender rendering setup at the wiki. At the moment we’re trying to attract additional 3d artists and as we don’t want to limit them to using a specific 3d modeling package, we have to figure out how to recreate the setup in terms of camera position, shadows/lighting, etc. in different 3d tools. Hopefully somebody can actually use the documented information to set up his favourite tool for PARPG and start to contribute art to the project.

While there have been ups and downs in all departments, the graphics department, especially the 3d art section of it has caused us some major headaches simply because there is a lot of content to be created for our first techdemo and the number of active developers in this department is rather small. We’re still hoping that more 3d artists get interested in PARPG but the first public release might actually help to spread the word about the project and reach artists who didn’t know about the project before. Let’s see how that works out.

We recently added a screenshot section to our wiki gallery, so feel free to check it out. Right now there is only one screenshot (the drunkard dialog) but I’m sure that it will fill up nicely over the course of the next weeks. This said: there is more new content to see at the gallery. Gaspard also created a whole bunch of new character portraits. Here are just two of them; the others can be found at the gallery.

Hatman:
Hatman by Gaspard

Farmer:
Hatman by Gaspard

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 16nd of November. See you then ๐Ÿ™‚

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Taylor-made (sic!) strategies

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. Two weeks have passed since the last regular one and I have to say that they were rather eventful for the development team. Let’s jump into the news update right away.

Project management department

We’ve published our first official press release at the blog recently and sent it out to two websites, hoping that they would pick up the story in their news sections. Fortunately the old school Fallout fansite nma-fallout.com covered it and we’re quite grateful for their support to help spreading the word about PARPG. Feedback has been generally positive, if you’re interested in the details check out the news discussion thread at their forums. We thank NMA admin Brother None for his continued support of the project!

Programming department

There are a bunch of potential topics to cover in the programming department but I want to focus on the prolly most important one first: PARPG developer or1andov ported the FIFE map editor for PARPG so it’s now possible to create and edit PARPG-specific maps via the editor instead of doing it by hand. The editor has been working since quite some time on Linux but it took us a few days to figure out some specific win32 problems that held us back from using it on this platform. Fortunately Kaydeth found the culprit in the end and fixed the issue.

The FIFE map editor is a great tool but it’s not the most user friendly one; there is definately room for improvement in this field. We’re currently working on a map editor tutorial but there are still a lot of aspects of the tutorial that we will have to flesh out in the course of the next weeks. I’m rather short of time right now but hopefully I can continue to work on it, especially on the weekends.

The last two weeks have been quite productive for the entire programming department. New Python programmer amo-ej1 created a tool to automatize XML animation file generation for agents (=(non-)player character(s)). You can grab a copy of it at our Subversion repository. In the meanwhile Kaydeth continued to clean up the code base to ensure that it’s compatible with the PEP 8 Python coding standard proposal.

I can’t cover all of the recent developments in the department in detail. So if you would like to know more, please check the full project timeline of the last two weeks at Trac.

Writing department

The work on the techdemo is coming along quite nicely in the writing department. Game mechanics designer zenbitz and community member shevegen decided to step up by starting to flesh out the techdemo quests article at the wiki. Feel free to lend them a hand by contributing. Both of them can be often found at the IRC channel of the project so you’ve got a good chance to get a hold of them there.

Graphics department

Despite the small workforce in the graphics department at this point, there is quite some progress to report in this field. Fallout modding veteran Continuum created a junkhouse residing on a fundament of barrels:
Junkhouse render by Continuum

3d artist Sirren created the first building for the upcoming techdemo – a guard tower:
Guard tower render by Sirren

You surely remember Sirren’s agent animations that have been covered in some of the recent news updates? Russian Flash developer Dragon created a little web application to show the animations in action. In case you haven’t checked them out yet as you didn’t want to build FIFE from SVN sources, feel free to give his app a test: http://lab.dragonnoid.ru/flash/isometry/

Last but in no way least, concept artist JustinOperable created a first character portrait for the upcoming techdemo. Check out his awesome drawing of the female guard character that will be used as portrait for the dialog interface:
Female guard portrait by JustinOperable

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 2nd of November. See you then ๐Ÿ™‚

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Press release #1 available

We recently decided to spread the news about the project to a larger audience, hoping to attract some new contributors this way as well. Here’s our first press release that we’ll send out to two smaller websites today; hopefully at least one of them picks it up and features it in their news section. Don’t wonder: the press release features all sorts of information that you already know if you’ve followed the project over the course of the last weeks and months. It’s rather meant to summarize some vital points, not to introduce any new information for the insiders.

About PARPG

PARPG – short form for Post-Apocalyptic RPG – is an isometric 2D roleplaying game inspired by classics of the golden age of the genre such as Fallout, Arcanum and Planescape: Torment, while being set in the harsh winter of post-nuclear Scandinavia.

It is the undertaking of an independent development team to create an old school RPG in the spirit of the aforementioned games while offering the game itself and all tools created as free downloads. The complete source code of the game and tools as well as of all assets (maps, graphics, text, music, etc.) are released under open source licenses. PARPG is entirely written in Python and powered by the open source game engine FIFE.

Project and team philosophy

The work on PARPG began in early February 2009 and over the course of the last months a team has assembled to create a single player roleplaying experience. We have decided to use isometric 2d graphics instead of trying to tackle the complexity of a 3d engine. The undertaking is ambitious enough so the team would rather focus on the game play of PARPG than to compete with commercial projects in a battle for the best next gen graphics glitz that you can’t win as an indie developer anyway.

PARPG is meant to feature meaningful choices and consequences throughout the course of the game. There will be multiple paths to complete quests including non-violent ways. Combat will be fought in a turnbased manner, inspired by the combat mechanics of the first two Fallout games. Furthermore we are aiming for well-written detailed branching tree dialogs.

What sets PARPG apart from other independent RPGs is both the non-profit nature of the project as well as the open development philosophy behind it. The entire development wiki as well as the forums are public; the same goes for the SVN repository where the sourcecode and all assets are stored. This way interested community members can always grab the latest version of the game and test it themselves.

A first release

While there is still a long way to go before we will see a full featured release of PARPG, we would like to release a tech demo of PARPG as soon as possible. This first release is planned for the end of 2009 and will hopefully already feature a simple inventory / object / looting model, basic branching tree dialog, a first customized version of the FIFE map editor to create PARPG maps as well as load and save functionality.

Looking for additional contributors

Creating a complex roleplaying game is an ambitious undertaking so the team appreciates every helping hand. While there are open positions in all development departments (programming, graphics, audio, game mechanics, writing) we would like to emphasize the we are currently in severe need of additional 3d graphic artists. You can use your modeling tool of choice and while we can offer no monetary compensation due the non-profit nature of the project, getting your models into a release surely makes a good portfolio piece.

If you would like to lend us a hand, don’t hesitate and get in contact with us by introducing yourself at our forums. If you want to talk to the developers you can join the IRC channel of the project as well.

Additional information

Now you are curious and would like to know more about the project? Check out the development blog, the project wiki or head over to the gallery for all the eye candy.

Promo kit

A promo kit has been released for everyone who would like to cover the press release. The kit features a selection of concept art pieces, renders, animations and screenshots, released under Creative Commons 3.0 BY-SA. Please check the included readme.txt for details.

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PARPG promo kit available

Heya and welcome to a short instant news update.

Now that we’re moving into the direction of a first public release of an although very small and rather limited techdemo of PARPG, we would like to spread the word about the project to a bigger audience. We’ve compiled a first promo kit containing selected animations, concept art pieces, renders and screenshots. The material provided in this kit is meant to be used by everyone who would like to help spreading the word about the project. All material released under CC 3.0 BY-SA.

Check out the included readme.txt file for all details. You can grab the first edition of the promo kit here: PARPG promo kit October 2009

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Day of unity

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. Sorry for the lack of updates lately but I had to take a break from the project to sort out a bunch of problems in real life. Now I’m finally back, reunited to PARPG. Let’s get started right away, the vast majority of the news update will cover our plans for the first public release of PARPG that we hope to ship around the end of the year.

We were holding an IRC meeting of the entire development team recently to discuss the plans for our first public release. This update is mainly a rephrased extended version of the meeting notes. If you’re interested in all the small details, check out the full meeting log!

Programming department

The are a bunch of news to report in the programming department. While the blog was quiet for the last weeks, we found a bunch of new programmers with our last new update in August. One of the new guys is or1andov (known as superfluid at our forums), who’s currently working on the dialog engine of the game. While API documentation and general code annotations are still missing for the dialog engine, you can already test it yourself by grabbing the latest version of PARPG from our SVN repository.

Here are some screenshots for your viewing pleasure and yes: this orlandov is a funny guy ๐Ÿ™‚

The beer quest:
The beer quest

The cattle rustling quest:
The cattle rustling quest

Furthermore we’re trying to implement the following code-related features for our first release until the end of the year:

  • Simple inventory/object/looting model
  • Basic dialog engine supporting branching tree dialog
  • Getting the FIFE map editor working with our customized maps (editor currently mangles our maps due custom data used)
  • Optional: saving and loading (serializing/deserializing of the gamestate)

Writing department

Unfortunately we still haven’t figured out how to merge the two different storyline proposals that have been brought up in the past. As we don’t need a fully fleshed out main storyline for the techdemo, we’ll rather focus on bringing two small quests into the game so we can test the whole framework.

Quest #1 will be about beer brewing / booze distilling: http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=458.0
Quest #2 will be a fedex in its purest sense: http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=459.0

If you’re interested in helping to flesh out these quests, check out the threads at the forums linked above and your quest design might end up in the PARPG techdemo ๐Ÿ™‚

Both quests are meant to offer some alternative paths to resolve them as well as some consequences depending on the choices that you’ve made. Some possible alternative paths were discussed at the meeting, check out the details in the full log.

Graphics department

The required graphics assets for techdemo 1 will naturally largely depend on the two planned quests of the techdemo. As soon as we have the quests fleshed out in terms of ways to solve them, we’ll compile a list of needed graphical assets for the graphics department so our graphics artists can start to tackle these ones.

4-5 different NPCs + 1 PC with a full set of animations (standing around idling, walking, running, using, picking up) are meant to be featured in the techdemo. These animations can actually already be found in SVN. Graphics artist Sirren created a whole set of new NPC for the first release.
Long coat (female):

Long coat (male):

Farmer (male):

Traveler (male):

Right now we’re still short of graphics artist, Sirren is basically the only active artist on the team at this point. If you are a graphics artist who likes the concept of the game and would like to help us, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us by introducing yourself at the forums!

As every update: there are bunch of new 3d models and concept art pieces that didn’t make it into this update. Feel free to check out the gallery at the wiki to see every piece of art that has been created lately.

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 19th of October. See you then ๐Ÿ™‚

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Newsflash Gordon

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. I’m still quite busy with writing papers for university but as I got 1.5 weeks until I need to hand in the next one, there is sufficent time to finally post an update here. Enjoy!

Project management department

Some of you might have tried to update your PARPG SVN checkouts lately but wondered why SVN reported an error. We’ve recently restructured our SVN repository so the game’s path has slightly changed. If you’re doing a fresh checkout, use this URL to just grab the game itself: http://parpg-svn.cvsdude.com/parpg/trunk/game/

For the ones who have already checked out the game in the past and would like to update now without having to download all the files again, check out this guide at the forums that explains how you can do so: SVN switch to new game path

The download article at the wiki was updated to reflect these changes as well: how to download PARPG

Programming department

In the programming department, there are a bunch of ongoing refactoring efforts. We were lucky enough to attract quite some fresh blood lately and the new guys are becoming acquainted with our code right now. While some refactoring efforts already found their way into our SVN repository, it’s still a long way to go. If you’re interested in the details, check out the programming section of the forums to get an idea of the ongoing refactoring discussions: programming department section

As we had to cope with a bunch of problems and staff changes in the programming department lately, we’ve decided to establish a so called “board of programmers” to address these kind of issues when they arise. The board of programmers will consist of three seasoned developers; bretzel, tZee & Kaydeth have decided to step up for the task. These three developers will have two main tasks:

  1. Coordinate the efforts in the department, defining the programming roadmap.
  2. Making final decisions in cases where a topic has been discussed in detail with all other programmers but an agreement couldn’t be reached nevertheless.

As every board member has one “vote” in the second case, there should be no draw situations and this new mechanism hopefully helps to decide tricky cases that turned out to be roadblockers for us in the past. In case any board member has to take a longer break from the project, the remaining two programmers and the project management will ask a candidate of their choice if he or she would like to become a new member of the board for the time being.

Graphics department

In the past, we used to rely on Blender as prefered 3d modeling package for PARPG. While we were constantly attracting new programmers lately, finding more artists who don’t mind working for free on an open source project seems far harder. Therefore we decided to change our stance concerning the 3d modeling software to use. 3d artists can now use whatever software they like as long as it does the job for them. The obvious drawback is, that we’ll have to create rendering setups for these packages so that the produced renders look the same regardless of the used software.

But we feel that it’s worth the effort; so if you’re using any other 3d modeling software than Blender, feel free to apply now as well! The best place to do so is the introduce yourself board at the forums.

3d modeler Sirren completed his first set of animations for the player character: standing idle and walking around:
Raider 270 degrees PCSRaider 315 degrees PCS

Concept artist Border created a soviet soldier, carrying a flamethrower:
Soviet flamer

Seothen continued to work on the Dr. Felix Weir concept and created a first work in progress full body shot of him:
Dr. Weir full body shot

Suzi, one of the new artists on the team, drew some props that you could be pretty useful when it’s cold outside:
Cold climate props

New 3d artist monkeyface modeled an improvised crossbow – reusing a leaf-spring – and bolts for it. And yes: he likes Fallout as well, just in case that wasn’t obvious from the first picture ๐Ÿ™‚
Leaf spring crossbow

Crossbow bolts

Last but not least: Border created a first mockup for the graphics user interface of PARPG:

Game mechanics department

There where two main topics in the mechanics department that have been discussed lately.

There have been discussions about possible ways of implementing levelless character progression. Check out the details at the forums: character progression in PARPG

Furthermore we’ve put the map layout topic back on the agenda. We initially decided to use separate maps for indoor areas of buildings, like it was done in the Infinity Engine games. However with the recent staff changes, it seems that the still involved developers might rather favour an approach as used in Fallout: the ground levels of buildings were usually part of the map where the building resided in the first two Fallout games.

This way you could basically shoot through doors and windows and combat was quite fun. Nothing has been agreed upon yet, but the whole point is basically up for discussion again: reevaluating PARPG map layout

Writing department

Zenbitz brought up two setting-related proposals lately. Check out the state of the world and how to play the game threads at the forums.

That’s all for today. Next news update scheduled for Monday, 31st of August. See you then ๐Ÿ™‚

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You’re my Waterloo

… I’ll be your Stanley Park. Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. I know that you’re prolly disappointed due the lack of the updates lately and I’m truly sorry about it. The project went through a bunch of problems lately, university-related deadlines are nearing and my procrastination mentality didn’t help either. As I’m still rather busy today, here’s little newsflash rather than a full featured update. Hope you enjoy it nevertheless.

Programming department

There has been some confusion how to apply for the project so at first I want to clear up some things. Lately two programmers emailed me (Tomasz from Poland and Karanveer from India) and I tried to reply to their emails. Unfortunately they found us via sourceforge.net and used the email fuction there. For some odd reason the sourceforge.net email functionality seems partially broken, at least I couldn’t reply to their emails and I only have their sourceforge mail address, not their real one.

Here’s the point: if you want to get involved in the project, please use the introduce yourself board of our forums. That’s the prefered method and the only one that is basically not prone to any issues. You need to register at the forums and activate your account, that’s work but creating a full featured game is basically a lot of work.

As I hate to start with bad news, I’ll bring them up as second news item now. Unfortunately the planned programming department IRC meeting didn’t take place as planned. There were a couple of reasons for it and we’ll have to address them in the long run to get things back on track in this field. Maximinus is very busy with his newborn son so we can’t expect that he devotes much of his really spare time to the project at this point. Fortunately there has been an influx of new programmers lately but that also means that it will take some time until the new programmers are familiar with the project workflow and the code to contribute to PARPG at full speed.

One of the new programmers on the team, Kaydeth, updated the programming department roadmap at the wiki lately. I can’t comment on all the issues in detail at this point but for anyone who wants to know more, check out the thread about the topic at our forums.

Graphics department

Due the lack of updates lately, there are simply too many new graphics assets to be covered in a single news update. Feel free to check out the updated gallery at the wiki for a full list of new assets. Here’s a selection of four pieces of art recently created.

Icy cave by Kingston:
Icy cave by Kingston

Soviet monument by Border:
Soviet monument by Border

Water tower by Continuum & Simonced:
Water tower

Cook knife by Sirren:
Cook knife by Sirren

Writing department

Not much new to report in the story department. We’ve agreed upon fleshing out the two different storyline proposals until the end of August (deadline: 2009/31/08). After that we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both and will try to agree upon one within one week. That should give the writers enough time to properly present their proposals to the public to ensure a fair process. For more information, check out the thread at the forums.

Project management department

First and foremost a important note about FIFE. FIFE was recently migrated to a new interface by their host cvsdude.com. Therefore the SVN and Trac URLs have changed:

Note: I’ve already updated the URLs at the PARPG wiki (download article). However anonymous SVN access is currently broken for FIFE. We’ve mailed their host about it and hopefully they can fix it before the weekend.

In Germany we have a saying: “Was lange wรคhrt, wird endlich gut” which translates to about “What takes a lot of time, will work out fine (in the end)”. After several months I was able to successfully register PARPG at sourceforge.net. I couldn’t initially do so as there was a vaporware project that already occupied the project id. Fortunately sourceforge admin Chris helped me out in the end and once he looked into the matter it took only a couple of hours to set the project up. Thanks again for all the help Chris ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, PARPG can be now found at sourceforge as well. Here’s the URL: http://sourceforge.net/projects/parpg/

That’s all for today. Next update scheduled for Monday, 17th of August. Hopefully maturity will help to update the news more regularly when I’m 25 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

That’s all for today. See you next Monday (or maybe Tuesday, in case the programming department meeting is rescheduled for next Monday) ๐Ÿ™‚

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