Update of the Avatar #124 – 2015.05.08: PaxLair Maze, Birko’s Novia Map, Community Street Names, Steam Achievements, Fez Hat Video, New Fansite Kit, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

  • The Building of the PaxLair Maze
  • Birko’s Customized Map of Novia
  • Community Created Street Names
  • Player Owned Town Submission Form
  • Steam Achievements
  • Bob’s Bell Tower
  • The Mad Hermit’s How To Get The Fez Hat Video
  • Thou hast been invited to the Release 17 Postmortem
  • Get the Shroud of the Avatar Fansite Kit
  • Richard & Starr on the Past, Present, and Future of Game Development
  • Blade of the Avatar Pledge Reward and Add-Ons Expire May 31
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • Receiving Pledge Rewards and Add-On Items
  • Changes to Store Credit Conversions
  • Steam Access Keys Available for All Backers
  • How to Cancel Monthly Layaway Payment Plans
  • Upcoming Events


The Building of the PaxLair Maze

Arianna posted this amazing time lapse video in the R17 Screenshot Gallery of the building of the PaxLair Maze in Release 17. Spanning 3 lots, this is (to our knowledge) the largest 3D maze ever constructed in SotA. It was designed by Net and constructed by Net and Sindariya (“Riya”) in the Player Owned Town of PaxLair:

Riya and Net have four events planned for their maze this Release. The next event is scheduled for this Sunday, May 10, at 1:30 pm CST. See Sindariya’s R17 Events Forum post for more details.


Birko’s Customized Map of Novia

Community member Birko recently posted a customized map of Novia in the forums that looks so cool, we just had to share it!

SotA_Novia_Birko_R17


Community Created Street Names in Release 17

SotA_StreetSigns1

Special thanks to everyone that posted street name suggestions in the forums. Below is a list of 24 of those community contributed names that we selected for streets in Release 17, and the community members that contributed them. We have many more community contributed street names approved for use so look for them in future Releases.


Player Owned Town Submission Form

We are putting some finishing touches on the first iteration of the Player Owned Town Submission Web Form and hope to make it available to all PoT owners sometime next week. We’ll post on the forums as soon as it goes live, and you’ll find a link to the submission form on your SotA Account Page next to the Player Owned Town that you purchased. Here is just a small snippet of the submission form:


Steam Achievements

With the launch of Release 17, players were able to start earning Steam Achievements, of which there are currently sixteen (and a few hidden ones as well).

SotA_Achievements_Steam

These achievements are for Steam only. We do not currently plan for them to be visible in-game for Episode 1.


Bob’s Bell Tower

Bob Cooksey recently built this beautiful Bell Tower to Lord British’s specifications (including the future ability to ring the bells by pulling on the ropes). Look for this NPC building in an upcoming release!

SotA_BellTower


The Mad Hermit’s “How To Get The Fez Hat” Video

Just as in our last several releases, we’ve included a Grand Tour Quest designed to guide you through all the new content. This release, you will be able to get the Fez Hat reward by completing the Release 17 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked during Release 17 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in soon and talk to all the Tour Guides!

If you need some assistance completing the R17 Grand Tour Quest, then check out this how-to video from The Mad Hermit:


Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Thou hast been invited to the Release 17 Postmortem

SotA_R17_FireLotusReleaseParty2

Please join us Thursday, May 14th at 3:00 PM Central (20:00 GMT) for our next Hangout of the Avatar! Richard, Starr, and Chris (and some very special guests!) will be chatting about Release 17 and looking ahead to Release 18. And, of course, FireLotus will be taking your questions and feedback live in the chat-room and also in advance right here in the comments section.*

We will be giving some really awesome prizes during the 90 minute extended Hangout, and all you have to do to qualify for one is to come hang out with us in the IRC chatroom during the broadcast. As always, the link to the hangout will be posted here directly before the hangout begins.

*Please keep in mind that questions and feedback related to Release 17 specific topics will be given priority and really verbose questions may be skipped, as they can be a challenge to shorten and summarize live on the air. In brief… please keep your questions… brief. 

Many thanks to Themo Lock for the screenshot. Did someone say that attendance is clothing optional?

Many thanks to Themo Lock for the screenshot.Did someone say that attendance is clothing optional?


Updated Shroud of the Avatar Fansite KitSotA_Logo_stone

We just updated the SotA Fansite Kit and are working with Ultima Codex who is taking the lead in releasing the kit publicly. Here’s a summary of the kit’s contents:

  • Background images for the header, footer, and main content area of your site
  • A full background image for a site
  • A copy of the map of Novia
  • The Shroud of the Avatar crest, in both the “painted on stone” and “etched in stone” motifs
  • Character class concept art
  • Environmental concept art
  • The Shroud of the Avatar splash screen graphic
  • A tall, cropped piece of the map with a strong colour cast
  • New icons
  • Graphics for all the sigils

Feel free to download a copy of kit from the Ultima Codex site and have a go at putting some Forsaken Virtues flair on your own site!


Richard & Starr on the Past, Present, and Future of Game Development

Last year while attending Dragon Con one of our Developer level backers (and a longtime Ultima fan), Dr. Aaron Lanterman, invited Richard and Starr to speak at Georgia Tech where Dr. Lanterman serves on the faculty of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The title of the talk was “Video Game Development: Past, Present, and Future” and was combination of two different talks including Richard’s Unite Keynote and Starr’s “Tech Trends in Videogames”. Marion Crowder, Lead Instructional Media Designer in the School of ECE, recorded and edited the talk for our viewing pleasure.

GeorgiaTechTalk_RichardGarriott_StarrLong

Starr shows the audience the proper use of Jazz Hands


BotA_smallBlade of the Avatar Pledge Reward and Add-Ons Expire May 31

In preparation for an upcoming publishing agreement with a major book publisher, the Blade of the Avatar novel, both digital and printed versions, are expiring on May 31, 2015. After that date, BotA will be removed from the Add-On Store and from the Pledge Rewards. All backers with pledges containing the BotA reward that pledged prior to the expiration date, or that purchased it from the Add-On Store, will still receive that reward when it comes available.


In-game Weekend Community Events

Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. Here is the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar and the Events of the Avatars community calendar:

Ongoing
– PVP Event 30 Day Tournament (PaxLair; details)
– R17-R18 Deco Contest – PUB CRAWL! (details)

Saturday, May 9
9:00am CST – PaxLair Working Hours – Host Winfield (PaxLair; /zone Winfield)
11:00am CST – Church of the Dark Star – Saturday Service (PaxLair,; details)
12:00pm CST – The Running Man PvP Footrace (PaxLair, /zone Bambino LudoVate, details)
2:00pm CST – Port Phoenix Storytelling Event (PaxLair, Host Kazyn Phoenixfyre)
4:00pm CST – Phoenix Republic Presents: Magic Sweeper Gameshow! (PaxLair, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre)
6:00pm CST – Gustball (PaxLair, /zone Bambino LudoVate; details)
8:00pm CST – PvP: 1v1 Tournament (PaxLair, Violation’s Basement; details)

Sunday, May 10
MOTHER’S DAY
6:30am CST – Explore Novia with royalsexy (PaxLair Moon Tower, /zone royalsexy)
10:00am CST – Phoenix Republic Town Hall/Working Hours (PaxLair, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre or Jack Knyfe)
1:30pm CST – 4B Maze Event (PaxLair, central lot by Moon Tower, /zone Sindariya Tyelma; details)
5:00pm CST – BMC Grid Iron Feast and Registration (details)
6:00pm CST – BMC First Blood at Grid-Iron (details)
7:00pm CST – PaxLair Meeting (PaxLair, /zone Winfield)
8:00pm CST – Fishing with Winfield (some lake or pond, /zone Winfield)
9:00pm CST – Beach Party by BMC (contact Wind Silvermoon for details)

Be sure and check out the Release 17 Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events that may not be included here.


Receiving Pledge Rewards and Add-On Items

SotA_Bank_Interior2Go to any bank to claim your Add-On items and Pledge rewards. There is a banker NPC in every map where there is player housing because when you switch houses or unclaim a lot, all the decorations will go to your bank. In most locations the Town Crier is now also a banker.

Banks are local only. You can see your items in other bank locations (they appear in location tabs), but you can only access the items in the bank you are currently at. Pledge rewards are an exception to this and can be accessed from any location.

[NOTE: there are some Add-On and Pledge reward items that have not been built yet so you may notice some of your items not showing up in your bank. If you delete your character, all equipped and inventory items, including pledge reward items, will be deleted and cannot be recovered until the next wipe]

Player Bank Upgrades

Your bank inventory size can easily be upgraded with in-game gold, with the price in gold increasing the larger your bank gets. For those that need/want really big banks faster, we’ve added a Bank Upgrade to the Add-On Store. Currently, each Bank Upgrade adds 10 more slots to your bank inventory, but that number is subject to change based on game balancing needs.


Changes to Store Credit Conversions

If you wish to convert any of your purchased Add-On items to Store Credit, you will need to do so before logging into Shroud of the Avatar.

SotA_ConvertStoreCredit

The instant you log into the game all of your available Pledge reward items and available Add-On items will be flagged as “claimed” and deposited in your in-game bank. Once the Add-On items are “claimed” they cannot be converted to Store Credit until the next wipe (which is currently unpredictable). After you’ve logged into SotA, the “Convert to Credits” button on your account page will be deactivated for all those items available in the game, so if you had any plans to sell back some of your Add-On items, make sure you do it before you log into the game!

We intend to change the claiming process in an upcoming Release so that items are not automatically claimed when logging in, but will require you to actively claim them in your bank before they can be used.

If you purchase any new Add-On items, or upgrade your Pledge tier, those new items and upgraded rewards will automatically appear in your in-game bank the next time you log into the game (providing those items are available in the game).


Steam_logo

Steam Access Keys Available for All SotA Backers

SotA successfully launched on Steam Early Access on November 24, and we’ve made Steam Access Keys available to all our backers as part of their basic pledge rewards! Once you’ve redeemed your Steam Access Key you’ll have the option of playing SotA either with the Steam client or the regular game client (or both).SotA_SteamTradingCards2_small

Click here for instructions to redeem your Steam access key and installing the Steam SotA client…

If you play SotA on Steam you can collect the SotA Trading Cards! Collect a full set of SotA trading cards to earn SotA badges, profile backgrounds, and emoticons that help you customize your profile and show off your Shroud of the Avatar gameplay. Check out Steam’s trading card FAQ for more information.


Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Our goal is to make Shroud of the Avatar the best game we can for you, our backers, and the best way we can do that is by growing our community of backers through the power of word-of-mouth marketing. That’s where we could use your help! With essentially no marketing budget, we rely on things like press coverage and friend-to-friend networking on platforms such as Facebook and Steam. Here’s how you can help us with your word-of-mouth efforts:

If You Like SotA then Like Us On Facebook

Facebook can be a powerful word-of-mouth marketing tool at very little cost, but only if we can reach a large enough network of Facebook users. You can help us to reach a larger Facebook audience simply by going to the Shroud of the Avatar Facebook page and clicking on the “Like” button. If every one of our 50k backers gave us a “Like” the marketing reach of our Facebook posts would be incredible!

If You Like SotA then Write Us a Positive Steam Review

One of the most important word-of-mouth tools on the massive Steam platform is their user reviews. Many Steam users rely on a game’s Steam reviews to help them decide if they want to play a game or not. If you feel positive about SotA, or feel positive about what SotA may become, even if you have concerns and issues, then please jump over to our Steam Store Page and give us a positive review (and feel free to include your concerns and issues in that review as well)!


How to Cancel Monthly Layaway Payment Plans and What In-Game Rewards to Expect

Remember that Pledge payment plans are not canceled automatically after reaching the desired pledge. You must manually cancel your monthly payment plan, which can be done at anytime on your SotA Account page. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but it is a result of how recurring billing functions with PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe (our credit card service).

If you are on a monthly payment plan, the rewards you receive in-game may not reflect the final pledge tier you are making payments toward, but will reflect the rewards for the current pledge tier that your cumulative monthly payments have reached (your current pledge tier is shown on your Account page on the SotA website).


Upcoming Events

2015.05.28 – Release 18
2015.06.16 – SotA at E3
2015.06.25 – Release 19
2015.07.25 – SotA at Classic Game Fest 2015



2 thoughts on “Update of the Avatar #124 – 2015.05.08: PaxLair Maze, Birko’s Novia Map, Community Street Names, Steam Achievements, Fez Hat Video, New Fansite Kit, and More!


  1. WinfieldWinfield

    Wow, and wow again!

    The 4B Maze built by Net, Riya and all of 4B (Britannia’s Builders of Bemusing Bewilderments) is an absolutely aMazing structure. The video captured by Arianna shows just how dedicated 4B is to bring us interactive art and mystery in Shroud of the Avatar; it takes my breath away. The Maze has a long history in PaxLair back as far as Release 7 (June 27, 2014) in Valemark. We coined the slogan “Don’t Blame the Maze”. In essence, the Maze stresses the decoration mechanics from lighting to materials which affects load time and stability. We believe the designers have learned much from 4B’s Mazes while we players have enjoyed figuring out how to get through the mazes. Thanks!

    Birko’s map is fabulous! I am awestruck by such artistic talent to visualize, sketch out and paint landscapes like that. I am a stick-man figure artist at best. Wonderful!

    I see the image from Wody’s bar at the FireLotus Release 17 Party in PaxLair. There were more than 100 people there on April 30, 2015 including Lord British, Darkstarr, FireLotus and many Devs. It was great fun! Wody’s Bar (of the Phoenix Republic) has become synonymous to ‘great times with great people’ these days. Come visit!

    Dragonspeed!

    Winfield, Governor of PaxLair

    1. dallasdallas Post author

      Winfield is correct that the mazes have stressed the game engine performance more than just about anything, which has been a great help to us in improving performance. This particular maze in R17 stressed our system to the breaking point again with the high number of interactive container objects (i.e. the cabinets) used to construct the 3D aspect of the maze. We have given ourselves the task of creating a variety of “building blocks” that can be used to construct mazes (and other things), and these blocks will not stress the engine the same as interactive container objects (like cabinets). Look for these building blocks in a future Release.

      However, we’re confident that if our system can be broken, Net, Riya, and the other creative builders in SotA will find a way to do it! And we hope they do… :)

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