Update of the Avatar #45 – 10/25/13: Unity Scene Jam #3 Winners, Story Sneak Peek, City Basements, Wizard Tower, Baron 3 Pledge, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Welcome to another edition of Update of the Avatar! Here’s what we have for you this week:

  • Unity Scene Jam #3 Winners
  • Story Sneak Peeks
  • City Basements
  • Wizard Tower Village Home
  • SWAG: More T-shirt sizes & multi-item discount
  • New Baron 3 Pledge
  • Recruit-A-Friend Promotion 6-Day Countdown

Unity Scene Jam #3 Winners


[Chris Spears narrates a walk-thru of the Scene Jam #3 Winners]

The Unity Scene Jam #1 challenge was to build an ancient lunar rift.  The second scene challenge took a step forward in time to when people retreated underground and created the catacombs.  For Scene Jam #3 we took another step forward in time to when people moved back to the surface and rebuilt villages and towns, so the challenge for Jam #3 was to build a village scene.

We had another great round of submissions, 30 over all! Chris Spears, Richard Garriott, and Starr Long utilized a 100 point scoring system to judge the submissions. Those points are allocated as follows:

Challenge Goals Met: 20 Points

  • Were all the goals of the challenge met?
  • How well was each goal met?

Polish: 20 Points

  • Could this be put in the game as is?
  • Does the map look finished?
  • Are there obvious visual anomalies (like stretched terrain, missing textures, etc.)?
  • Smaller more polished maps generally win this category

Originality: 15 Points

  • How much custom content was created?
  • How different is this map from other maps?

Layout / Gameplay: 15 Points

  • How playable is the map?
  • How well is the player directed through the map to goals and interest areas?

Performance: 10 Points

  • 20 fps minimum on a mid range machine

Beauty: 10 Points

  • Is it pretty to look at?
  • Are there vistas to survey the map from?

Mood / Story: 10 Points

  • Does the map set a very clear mood?
  • Does the map tell a story?

And The Winners Are…

It was a neck-and-neck race for the three finalists! First and Second place was a tie at 93 points, but the First Place winner pulled ahead by crafting the night version of their scene for extra credit! And the winners are:

  • Third Place (score 92) and winner of a $50 pledge: Robert Thompson (mons00n)
  • Second Place (score 93) and winner of a $50 pledge: Carlin Archer (Carlin the Archer)
  • First Place (score 93 plus extra credit) and winner of a Knight’s pledge: Petur Agust (netnut) and Bill Lowe

Congratulations to the winners, and our heartfelt gratitude to all of you that participated in our Unity Scene Jam #3!

Story Sneak Peek

Welcome again, traveller. I am Arabella, and I have been sent to guide you…

Earlier, I described to you the choice you face initially; which path to take in your journey into the lands of New Britannia. Now, I will endeavor to shine some light on those choices, and the impact upon you and those you will meet. The first, your possible pathways among the seekers of Truth.

Among the truths you will learn is that much of our knowledge of the land of New Britannia is lost to the ages. The survivors of the Cataclysm four centuries past have settled in the land we call “Novia”, a large island which, while bearing the scars of that time, still harbors enough life to support our people. And others, as well… many of which you will meet on your travels. The Vertas people that live in the Forsaken Vale, for example, a new race borne of the Cataclysm which we have grown to call “elves”; Lord British has told me this may be reference to a long-distant legend that the people of Novia have since forgotten. The Vertas elves for their part are like men, but different… different enough. They struggle to live alongside the rest of us, but where a man might burn with emotional fire, an elf will be cold, distant. They worship history, knowledge and truth, and those who wish to learn the wisdom they hold would do well to discover the ways of these people. It is certain you will encounter them on your way.

The elves are not the only new race you may encounter, traveller. The lands of the southwest are rich and full of life, and that is rare in Novia. Men and mythical creatures mix throughout, and that brings conflict, as it always does. As our numbers recover from the Cataclysm, the settlements of various races meet, and begin to argue about land and water and right and wrong and truth and lies. Peace lies on a fine edge; it is an edge you may have to walk along. And always the Fomorians, remnants from the Dark Armies of wars past threaten; from their strongholds in Blackblade Pass they often strike looking for prey.

You will see many wonders on your path, traveler; the fauns of Midmaer and the barrens of Quel, the sailors who brave the Bay of Storms (whose name is well earned) seeking to take travellers to the legendary lands of Elysium, where lies the halls of Artifice. There, your destiny will take you, traveller, though it will challenge you in ways you do not yet expect.

This, then, will be one of the challenges facing you as prophesied – the journey of Truth. Will it be the Truth you wish to find? Or will it be the Truth that you wish would be? Or, will you see the Truth as it truly is? The choice will be yours…

The Oracle


From the travel journals of Maeread, historian and seeker of truth…

The journeys of our group through the lands of Grunvald were difficult, to be sure – the undead have been rising more frequently of late and there are rumors of a great army of skeletal walkers rising to the north. Yet, the ruins hold such promise! We have found so many scattered among the plains; the local villagers take them quite for granted, having lived among them for generations. So much history, so much already lost.

We have gained something of a reputation among the people here; being generous with coin for guidance to well-maintained places of the ancients has helped with this, I suspect. When we were contacted by a fisherman well versed with the swampy islands off the coast, this generosity paid for itself more than we could have hoped.

I cannot describe the grandeur of these ruins. This was far too well preserved to be a city of the ancients; none of those remnants survived the Cataclysm without the fiery scarring that signified that disaster. Here the bricks and stones were hewn of rougher material, marking a people that had little time for decoration. Thus… her head. It has to be, we agree. The similarities with the iconography of the affirmation chambers, the very finely detailed machinery so atypical of the era… Gregory was the first to put it in words aloud, but we all agreed. This was the earliest depiction any of us have ever seen of the Oracle.

There are so many theories about the Oracle, especially for those of us who question. Of course, it is impossible to deny the impact of the Celestis Compact, and the affirmation chambers, and the Eyes. Few could deny the Oracle exists, with all the evidence of our eyes and the testimonial of those who have heard the Voice. And those who do – well, there are always those who deny even in the face of proof.

Yet there is always the mysteries, the prophecies, the shrouding. The Oracle demands doubt – it insists on it, sometimes explicitly. No one knows what… it? she? he? The voice is always different, and always what the listener expects. Is it a machine, an intelligent device that somehow survived the Cataclysm? Is it a creature borne of magic, like so many of the wars? Is it something more, something we fear to express?

Yet, here is evidence, before our eyes. The Oracle does exist, and our ancestors saw her, so long ago, and made this great statue in her image. This is the evidence so many have sought. Here, rotting in a long-forgotten swamp outside a humble fishing village, is what could change our world…

If you missed the previous Story Sneak Peek’s, check them out here, and here.

City Basements

City Stone Basement

Mr. Bill “Basements” Kirkman has delivered more basements this week, focusing on the City sized lots. Here is a view of his City Stone Basement, sitting beneath a Lord of the Manor Home (City Stone Basements are included as basic rewards in Baron pledge tiers and above):


A these overhead views illustrate, the usable square footage of the City Stone basements is huge!



This side view shows the maximum configuration of 4-stories, which comes as a basic reward in the Lord of the Manor pledge level (Baron rewards include 2-story City Stone basement and Duke rewards include 3-story City Stone basement):


Here are a few rooms Bill decorated:









City Stone & Timber Split-Level Basement

Bill also crafted the City Stone & Timber Split-Level Basement, available in the Add-On Store in two, three, four, and five story configurations. Check out the massive scale of these basements, nestled beneath a Lord of the Manor City Home:








And here are a few decorated rooms for illustration:







Wizard Tower Village Home

If you prefer to live in something a bit different, and a little magical, then this Wizard Tower was built just for you! Bob Cooksey and Michael Hutchison have crafted a 4-room tower structure with a teleportation disk that links the two floors, and a circular deck on the second floor with two connecting towers:




Here is a side-by-side view of the Wizard Tower Village Home, Viking Village Home, and the Shingle-Roof Village Home:



Here is a view of the entry-level floor:


And this is a view of the top-floor room:


And here are the two connecting tower rooms:




Get Your Wizard Tower Home Now and save 50%!

For a limited time we’re offering a 50% discount on the Wizard Tower Village Home!  Reserve yours at the Add-On Store!

New Baron 3 Pledge Tier

The Baron pledge tier has proven to be more popular than we anticipated! Our first Baron tier sold out during the initial 30-day Kickstarter campaign, and last week we sold out of the Baron 2 tier! Based on popular demand, we have tasked the development team with building more city lots in the world, and have opened up a new pledge tier, the Baron 3.

SWAG: More T-Shirt Sizes & Multi-Item Discounts!

We received numerous requests for larger t-shirt sizes, so we added them to the Merchandise Store! Also, if you order 4 or more items in a single order at the Merchandise Store you will receive a 15% discount!

Only 6 Days Left For Recruit-A-Friend Promotion!

A reminder that the friend referral special promotion ends in just 6 Days! Top recruiters can earn the following:

  • The Top 5 recruiters earn a Citizen Level Pledge value added to their pledge account ($550 additional pledge value!)
  • The #1 recruiter earns a Duke Level Pledge value added to their pledge account ($5300 additional pledge value!)

For more details on the Recruit-a-Friend promotion, checkout Update #36.


  1. Talton

    I really like that Wizard Tower. That city basement is amazing….. too bad I’ll never get one of those lol.

  2. smacksmack

    Another great update. Thanks Dallas and team!
    – Love the story reveals, can’t ever get enough of them. Would be great to see an updated map too!
    – The basements are insane. The hoarder in me is almost ready to give up….almost :)
    – Wizard tower looks great, love those floating stairs and towers. So many homes to choose from!!! #firstworldproblems

  3. VengerVenger

    I visit here each Friday evening to find that each update brings the most wondrous gifts. The wizard tower is excellent, the lore is fantastic, and we are one day closer to playing this amazing game.

  4. rune_74rune_74

    The oracle idea sounds a lot like what I wrote for the underworld contest, minus the statue face being in the underworld.

  5. SmyrnoSmyrno

    The Oracle is sounding more and more interesting. I’m getting more and more excited with each update.

  6. RafaelLVX

    I admit I don’t pay much attention when I read the updates through email, but I have the impression nearly all updates focus on home design. Is it all the game will be about? Is everyone spending time decorating homes while they should be out murdering monsters and taking their stuff?

  7. vjekvjek

    Lord of the Manor Home, very impressive.
    Enormous basement, astounding!
    I think these are the largest private player owned structures I’ve ever seen, in any persistent multiplayer online game.
    Well done, Portalarium. :)

  8. RhiannonRhiannon

    I’m simply amazed at the quality of the crowd designs for these contests. That night scene was incredible with the wind blowing the trees. I was so pulled into that town, I felt like I was THERE and needed a hair tie to keep my hair out of my face and maybe a jacket to keep the rain off that was just about to come (please have rain in the game – it’s one of my most favorite features in all the games I play).

    Excellent job to all the people who submitted. I have a feeling that with the team we have at Portalarium and the incredible player-designers, we’re going to have a heck of a game in a relatively short period of time.

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