Posts Tagged zenbitz

The Jonestown portrait massacre

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update! The holidays are over so it’s now back to work for us 🙂 Still moving towards the release of our first techdemo.

Project management department

As already mentioned in the introduction: most of us had to take a break from the project in December and over the holidays to spend some time with the family and to recharge our batteries. The original plan was to post this update some time after Christmas, but seeing that most of us were still on a break, I’ve postponed this news update until today. The plan is to shoot everyone on the team a short email, hoping that a bunch of devs will be back in action over the course of the next week.

We’ll give you a more accurate picture of our resources in the next news update; right now we don’t really know who can invest time into PARPG in early 2010 to finish our first techdemo release.

Audio department

We reported about Sindwiller’s contributions in the audio department in our last update in December and while most of us have been enjoying the break from the project, Sindwiller has continueed to work on his audio track in the meanwhile. The current version is still work in progress but the volume level has been normalized and a couple of other details have been tweaked, so feel free to check it out: Snow may never end – work in progress audio track by Sindwiller

Programming department

Altough our own programming department has been rather busy due the holidays, there are some exciting news to report nevertheless. First and foremost: the FIFE team plans to ship a new stable release after there hasn’t been such a release in one and a half years! Stay tuned for FIFE 0.3.0 and let’s hope that they can manage to finish the work on it until the scheduled 2010/01/20 release date.

We at PARPG have been always using the latest SVN version of FIFE so the lack of new official releases did not really affect us. But if you would have to compile a complete list of changes and improvements over the last 2008.1 release, you might need to invest a couple of days to not miss anything. So that’s a huge step for the FIFE team and we keep our fingers crossed that FIFE development will flourish over the course of the next months and years. A release date announcement can be found at the FIFE blog: FIFE 0.3.0 release date annoucement

We do keep our fingers even more crossed that one specific improvement makes it into this 0.3.0 release. As mentioned in our last PARPG news update: we’ve encountered performance issues that showed up when you used FIFE in combination with very large maps due the huge number of map instances. The underlying problem has been identified by a number of developers, including PARPG programmer amo-ej1, so FIFE guru phoku decided to look into rewriting FIFE’s view code.

Although the rewritten code does already reside in a branch in FIFE’s SVN repository, it has not been merged back into the FIFE trunk yet. There are still a number of smaller problems, but they can be hopefully fixed soon so every FIFE-based project can profit from the vastly improved performance of the new code. We’ve tested it on a number of system ourselves and encountered improved performance up to 400% (read: yes, that’s four times as fast as before) on some systems in combination with our profiling map. If you’re interested in the details and/or would like to test the branch yourself, head over to our forums and check out this thread: testing the view_performance branch with PARPG

Writing department

While most of us enjoyed their free time, zenbitz continueed to work on the ingame dialog scripts. Feel free to test the latest version of them yourself!

Graphics department

In case you wondered about the title of the news update and what the heck it is supposed to mean. Well, we saved the best for last 🙂 So here we go, a whole bunch of new portraits, created by our concept artists. Most of them have been drawn by Gaspard, with the exception of the Ula portrait, which has been created by JustinOperable. Enjoy them 🙂





Hoadir, the husky

Hoadir, the husky







Character pinups

Character pinups

There are actually even more new and refined portraits at our wiki gallery. E.g. an updated version of the female guard shown before or Dig, the bouncer, created by comscar. Feel free to check them all out.

That’s all concerning PARPG for today.

Last but not least: the fine folks at Iron Tower Studios released a first combat demo of their upcoming post apoc ancient Rome indie RPG Age of Decadence. Their persistence in continuing to create a game against a lot of odds and especially their fair, open and transparent way of community interaction has always been a great source of inspiration to me and without their example, PARPG might not have been founded at all. So to give credit where credit is due, check out their combat demo and feel free to head over to their forums to provide feedback. They actually care about it 🙂

Next news update scheduled for Monday, 18th of January. See you then.

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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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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 🙂

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 by Gaspard

Hatman by Gaspard

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

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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 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:

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 🙂

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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:

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 🙂
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 🙂

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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 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 so we’ll need to retexture them to avoid license trouble. The 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:

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 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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On the upswing

Heya and welcome to yet another weekly PARPG news update! As we got quite a bunch of topics to cover this week, I’ll keep things short and in case you’re interested in the details, you can always check out the threads at the forums as well as the articles at the wiki.

Overhauled combat system

Zenbitz has been rather busy lately but he invested some of his spare time into overhauling the Combat system proposal. If you’re interested in the details and the ongoing discussion, check out the thread about it at the forums.

On a modeling spree

It seems like the whole graphics department is on a modeling spree lately. 3d artist Shrew81 continued to work on his hut model and the latest – basically finished version – turned out quite well:
Hut 3d model by Shrew81

Furthermore he also started to work on a larger warehouse so we can use this building for testing purposes. At the moment the programming department is investigating how larger objects can be implemented into the game without running into z-ordering and blocking issues. Anyway, here’s a work in progress render of it:
WIP warehouse by Shrew81

Sirren has been hardworking as well and has started to model a second female raider. You can check out the latest work in progress version at the forums:
WIP female raider by Sirren

Inventory goodness

Every RPG needs a player inventory. So Python programmer Bretzel teamed up with graphics artist Sirren to investigate how such an inventory could be implemented – programming-wise as well as visually – for PARPG. The current version of the inventory code is actually still a standalone FIFE client but that’s just the first step; the next one will be to properly integrate it into PARPG. For those who are interested in the details and would like to test the inventory themselves, head over the the forums and check out the two threads about it there. For all the others, here’s at least a visual impression of the first draft:
Inventory client by Bretzel & Sirren

O Tile Artist, Where Art Thou?

Despite all the latest efforts in the graphics department, there is still plenty of room left for additional contributors. At the moment we’re searching for graphics artists who would like to work on creating ground tiles for the project. Lamoot recently wrote a guide about the topic at the graphics section of the wiki. Unfortunately he’s rather occupied with fleshing out the other guides at this point so we would appreciate any help in the field so we can see finally see some snowish looking tiles ingame. If you would like to get involved, head over to the introduction board of the forums and let us know!

Programming efforts

Maximinus refactored large parts of the code to ease the work of potential newcomers in the department. A proper data model has been implemented and the map data has been split up. That means that objects and NPCs are cleanly separated from static map data now.

Now refactoring itself does not provide any material for fancy screenshots but he wanted to provide some eye candy for this week’s update nevertheless. Therefore maximinus imported Sirren’s latest model to give you an impression how it looks ingame:
Ingame model tests

Last but not least he also commented on the next steps for the programming department. Might be pretty interesting especially to programmers who consider to contribute to the project but also to everyone else who’s interested in PARPG’s future plans in this field.

Trac spam issues addressed

Unfortunately our trac system has been invaded by spammers a couple of days ago. We had to deactivate ticket creation for anonymous users to stop it. Fortunately our host addressed the issue rather fast and installed an anti-spam addon; anonymous ticket creation is activated again and hopefully the spam problems are gone as well.

On the upswing

Despite all the economy recession going on at the moment, the project seem to be on an upswing nevertheless. It can’t be coincidence that the new graphics artists on the team Zimble decided to apply with the model of a windmill. We’ll hopefully find a place for this one in the game as well:
Windmill by Zimble

That’s all for today, see you again next Monday!

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From sketch to model

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update! As promised: now delivered weekly again.

An important advantage of weekly blog updates is that the number of topics to cover can be usually kept rather low. This time we’ll take a look into the latest map tests and present Zenbitz’s thoughts how combat could work in PARPG. Last but not least we’ll show you how a piece of concept art evolves from a mere black and white sketch to a colorized version of it and finally into an actual (work in progress) 3d model.

Map code tests

Maximinus has continued to play around with the map code of the game and tried to find out if there are sane alternatives to splitting up larger objects – e.g. buildings – into smaller separate tile-wide pieces. So far it looks like splitting objects is the way to go as it’s hard to work around z-ordering and collision (blocking) issues otherwhise. If you’re interested in the details: check out the thread at the forums. Maximinus does also plan to update the forums with new pictures of his latest tests on a somewhat regular basis. A thread has been opened for this purpose.

Try yourself

As building FIFE and running PARPG is usually quite easy (depending on the distribution that you use in case of Linux), some users might simply want to check out the latest changes themselves instead of just staring at screenshot. As we’ve changed the path of the game folder in SVN lately, the old guide at the wiki was not up to date anymore. So in case you tried to check out PARPG from SVN in the last days and it didn’t work for you, take a look into the now updated download article at the wiki.

Combat considerations

Zenbitz spent his week on thinking how the combat system in PARPG could work. He collected a whole couple of possible options and wrote them down at the wiki. Feel free to check out the combat article there.

From sketch to actual 3d model

As pictures often speak more than 1000 words, we’ve got some visuals for you again. Concept artist JustinOperable (yes, it’s a pun) started to create a bunch of black and white character concept drawings for the project. The next step was to colorize these drawings so they could be used as inspiration for an actual ingame model. Graphics artist Sirren was the one who started to work on an actual 3d representation of such a female ingame character.

Most important: the model is still heavy work in progress; so please keep that in mind! We know that it will still need quite some work but as we try our best to keep all progress transparent, we decided to rather post a work in progress version instead of hiding it from as long as no final version of it is availble. All kind of feedback is appreciated 🙂

Black and white sketch:
Justin's black and white sketch

Colorized version:
Justin's colorized version

Work in progress 3d model:
Sirren's work in progress 3d model

That’s all for today. See you again next week!

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Don’t look back (into the sun)

Heya and welcome to yet another PARPG news update. This one has been in the pipeline for several weeks and I would like to apologize for the massive delay. The original plan was to bring it to you around the 1st of April but a lot of unforeseen events occured.

ET (not) call home

While on my trip in the Netherlands I wanted to check the status of the project on a regular basis to have an idea what’s going on and to provide any help if needed. Unfortunately the WLAN connection in the beach resort where our delegation stayed was totally broken. I just had a working connection for two hours at the last evening when I moved to another bungalow where the connection was barely working (for a limited number of users).

Some delegates already arrived slightly ill at The Hague and after one week of close contact a vast number of delegates was infected as well. When I got back I felt sick and to make things even worse, it took me almost two weeks to get rid of the nastiest flu I’ve ever had. Thank god for modern medicine and antibiotics 🙂

Now that I feel well again, university started in this very week so there was not much time to take care of PARPG-related tasks either. You see how things add up :-/

Setbacks and changes

Our stance on public relations was, while staying positive, to always offer a rather realistic and honest report about our progress but also potential setbacks. Unfortunately our (now former) lead programmer icelus stepped back from his position while I was abroad. That furthermore means that our plans for a rather sophisticated story engine / AI system are on ice at this point as we rather want to tackle things in smaller steps now to avoid getting involved in something too large and ambitious. It will take some time to cope with the new situation and we’re sad that icelus left.

On the other side I’ve personally encountered such setbacks while working on FIFE. A single leaving developer does not usually make or break a project. What is important to the success of such a rather large scale undertaking is that the developers don’t give up early and stick to the project in the long run. We’ll work through it 🙂 Fortunately a new programmer – maximinus – already stepped up and is working on PARPG now. More news about his efforts later on.

Something to look at

As it’s often more fun to actually have something to look at instead of just reading about progress, here’s something for you! Graphics artist Gaspard found the time to create some nifty concept art for the project despite his tight schedule at art college. Enjoy: Gaspard PARPG concept art

Even more to look at

New programmer maximinus and graphics artist (but also writer eleazzaar teamed up to bring some visuals into PARPG. We’re still in rather early engine evaluation stage so don’t expect anything sophisticated at this point; they simply decided to play around with environment and transition tiles. You can check out the whole discussion about the topic at the forums.

Here are four little screenshots showing the progress from simple flat tiles to a more sophisticated transition layer approach:
Tiles #1

Tiles #2

Tiles #3

Tiles #4

Zenbitz galore

There would be a whole bunch of things to report about the efforts of Zenbitz after such a long news dry spell. But to save myself some time I’ll focus on two examples instead of covering all the details in this news update. He wrote down his ideas for encumbrance, inventory and clothing at the wiki; the topic has been further discussed at the forums as well. Last but not least there is a call for feedback concerning (non) action point-based combat systems:

Reintroducing regular news updates

While I’ll be rather busy in this semester to finish my last courses in university so I can tackle the final exams in autumn and winter, I still plan to spend time on PARPG on a regular basis. I just finished planning for my semester’s schedule and I got several hours of free time on my hands every Monday to take care of news posting duties 🙂 So stay tuned for the next news update, coming to you at Monday, 27th of April (not at the 20th, that would be too early since today is Friday and I prolly won’t spread the news about this news update at the forums where we advertize before Sunday). Have a pleasent week 🙂

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I am the rain

Yes! It’s Monday again, that means it’s time for yet another news update 🙂 As always: lots of progress over the course of the last week so I’ll keep things short and you simply click through the various links if you find a topic of interest.

We want you for PARPG

First and foremost PARPG seems on a good way lately. We got now developers involved in the writing, game mechanics, programming, graphics and project management departments. As the needed infrastructure is in place as well, we would like to expand now by finding additional contributors for the project. We’re currently especially searching for:

  • Musicians: composers & sound effects engineers.
  • Graphics artists: 3d modelers (Blender user prefered) & concept artists.

If you would like to get involved in the project, check out the contribution guide at the wiki and get in contact with us at the forums or the IRC channel. In case you don’t have an IRC client installed on your system at the moment, you can join the channel via your browser by clicking on this link:

First Blender rendering setup in SVN

Our graphics expert Lamoot created a first rendering setup in Blender for testing purposes. Feel free to check it out in the SVN repository. Furthermore an article about possible inspirational graphical references has been compiled and the graphics field research article has been extended.

PAR – the PARPG asset repository

We’ve been searching for a software solution for artists to contribute to the project without forcing them to get used to the Subversion repository. The number of free digital asset management solutions out there is rather limited but we found the interesting ResourceSpace application and it looks like just what we’ve been searching for. Fortunately one of our new programmers (more of him later on) volunteered to set things up for us so that you can now access the PARPG asset repository at If you’re interested in the details and the rationale of using a digital asset management solution as addition to the existing SVN repository, check out the art discussion thread at the forums.

Programming department guidance

Besides some ultra secret plans for story engine (read: check the wiki if you’re interested in the details), icelus invested quite some time over the course of the last week to flesh out documentation how to get started for interested programmers. If you’re considering to get involved in the programming field or are just curious, check out the code structure and the code design workflow proposals as well as his additions the contribution article.

Tie joins the gang

Reinforcements for the programming department have arrived! Tie is a Python programmer from Sofia who hasn’t only sponsored the server for the PARPG asset repository but he’s also already getting his hands dirty with coding. He recently refactored and extended the Rio de hola code for our needs.

Furthermore he’s currently working on a playground for the story engine. It’ll be based on PyGame to give the writers a chance to play around with the story format. As we already got two developers involved who are running Mac systems, using FIFE for the playground wouldn’t have been a good solution at this point. FIFE builds on Mac systems in theory but the build process itself seems to be awfully complicated. By using PyGame for the playground, we can give the writers something to get their hands dirty with while we can try to find a Mac maintainer in the long run who can try to come up with easier to follow build instructions for the platform. If you’re interested in helping out testing FIFE on your Mac system and you actually also got a Linux development background (otherwhise frustration is bound to happen), please get in contact with us.

Retain an overview

With all the new developers contributing to the project lately, it’s important to retain an overview to avoid chaos. We recently started to restructure our ToDo list and added a section for milestone planning now there as well. The idea is that the developers of each department add the important tasks to the corresponding milestones so contributors from other fields of work have a good idea what’s currently being worked on and which tasks still lie ahead of us before we can tackle the next step.

GUI sum-up

Another new contributor is Gaspard, who currently compiles a list of all suggestions for the graphics user interface of PARPG. There was quite some lively discussion at the forums about the topic lately so he decided to make the next step and is currently summarizing the concepts at the wiki. Feel free to check the article out or even contribute to it.

Game mechanics update

You’re right: a PARPG news update is not complete if it lacks the weekly dose of game mechanics fun. Zenbitz has been on a design spree again and wrote down his concept for use and study-based learning and also compiled a catalog of possible item types that might appear in PARPG.

Next news update coming soon

The next news update will already come to you at Friday. It might be a pretty short one as I’ll be quite short of time this week due preparing a travel to The Hague. I’ll be attending an United Nations simulation event entitled WorldMUN. The event will start next Sunday and end at Saturday, 28th of March. That’s the reason for the early news update at Friday as well. Next news update after that is scheduled for Monday, 30th of March though it just seems like a great opportunity to post something at Wednesday, 1st of April as well. We’ll see 🙂

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