Update of the Avatar #135 – 2015.07.24: Obsidian Architecture – Desolis Underground, Trolls, Tantalus Consortium, Player Owned Town Editor, GameFest, Plant Decos, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

  • Architecture of the Obsidians, Part 3: Desolis Underground!
  • Very Large Creatures: Trolls in R20
  • The Tantalus Consortium
  • Player Owned Town Editor Video
  • Last 3 Days of Rize Up’s Batten Disease Charity Drive
  • Lord British and Lord Blackthorn Keynote CGF2015: Ultima Online Postmortem
  • Plant Lovers Delight!
  • Free Domestic Shipping at Relics by Rild
  • 38 Day Countdown for 10% Summer Bonus & Reward Expirations
  • 24 Day Countdown for Pledge Splits & Merges
  • In-game Community Weekend Events
  • This Week In the News
  • Upcoming Events
  • World Builder/Level Designer and VFX Artist Job Openings
  • Recommended Games to Back

Architecture of the Obsidians, Part 3: Desolis Underground!

[This is a continuation of A Dev+ Forum Post by Scottie Jones]

Hello all! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying this work in progress. Having crafted some of the last of my planned Obsidian-Architecture-specific objects, I’m now beginning the actual layout of the areas I’m responsible for building. Lord Tachys asked about level design choices in general, and I’ll be addressing some of that (at least for this specific area) as I show you some of the first area layouts. The last items I wanted to make, before creating the various areas in the Desolis Underground scene, were three different types of magical lighting used by the Obsidian lords.


Two hundred years before our game’s present day, the members of the Obsidian Order saw themselves as the preeminent sorcerers of their time, and forged their empire based on the use of such magics. They derived their power from the energies flowing out of the obsidian shards that fell from the shattered moon, lacing the world with veins of lava which seemed to conduct this energy from the Shardfall areas to a variety of locations, including Fate’s Lake in the subterranean chambers below the ruins of Desolis. It is the location of this lake that inspired the Obsidians to build their seat of power here, including the Chamber of Souls seen in the images above and below.


Since various colors of magical glowing crystals in our world can be harvested for use in sorcery and alchemy, it only made sense to me that the Obsidians would have used such crystals to craft undying sources of light for their more important structures. Above and below you can see examples of the three light-sources I created for general use anywhere abandoned Obsidian ruins might be found.


All of these styles employ glimmering, floating crystal shards in a variety of colors. Currently the colors aren’t meant to represent anything specific, and are simply used for beauty. These earlier images are a bit over-lit to allow the environments to be clearly seen in these examples. In addition to the light-sources, I created a few more elements that helped me build out these areas, including the angled stone supports with the Obsidian Order symbol at the top (behind the burning braziers in the image below, which I’ll eventually replace), the simple bannister design, which I’ll use in several places, as well as the huge carved stone wall panels inscribed with the names of all the individuals responsible for the rise and dominion of the Obsidian Order, as described in the “Blade of the Avatar”. Layout for this area was specifically inspired by the descriptions in that book, and I did my best to insure that the entire Desolis Underground level design was as true to the book’s descriptions as possible.


Below you can see several examples of the various hallways linking the primary rooms of the Obsidian Keep together. I combined different bits of the Obsidian architectural elements I created with the existing dungeon corridor set to make Unity prefabs to be used in areas like this. Though you can still see the more “generic” dungeon style beneath it, the Obsidian elements help to make these hallways seem different from the rest of the world’s dungeons. This, too, is in keeping with the fiction, which describes the Obsidians as having appreciated the older style of ruins they found, though they added their own style of architecture to them as they built the foundations of their empire.




Moving outside the Obsidian Keep, still in the cavernous underground,…you can see the edges of Fate’s Lake as it drains deeper into the earth, and the main gates of the entrance into the keep itself, which is built into the walls of the cavern. The scenes below are still somewhat sparse, since this phase is basic layout. Decoration will come a bit later!



Below is a close-up of the gates of the Obsidian Keep, opened to reveal the interior hall. To the right of this area is a fenced-off region separating the main entrance from a smaller side passage, where unfortunate slaves and captives were once driven into the terrible laboratories of the Re-shapers. Here, using the power of the obsidian shards, dark magic and alchemy were employed to twist these unfortunates into terrible, mutated monstrosities.


Here is the progress so far on the scene layout for the Desolis Underground. It seems like a bit of a mess in a few places, especially to the left in the unfinished cavern that will contain Fate’s Lake, but even as a work in progress you can see it taking shape.


That’s all for now! I’ll share more as I have the chance…

Scottie ^_^

Very Large Creatures: Trolls in R20

In recent Updates, we introduced you to some of Geoff Mellon’s initial work-in-progress on Trolls; our first very large creature. As previously stated, we intend to make the combat experience with very large creatures different than what will be found with normal sized opponents. For the Troll,  we are working on equally large area of effect attacks that include a ground strike for nearby attackers and thrown boulders for distant enemies. Geoff posted these in-game images of combat with a Troll to the Dev+ forums, which you will be able to experience live in Release 20 next week:





The Tantalus Consortium


We’ve included shout-outs in recent Updates of various events and contributions by The Tantalus Consortium, such as their July 4th Reinforce Novia Quest and their excellent Visual Guide to Player Owned Town Submissions. The Tantalus Consortium, founded and led by community member Lord Blake Blackstone, is a player owned town organization with the mission of “…strategically working together, for the benefit of all town owners, we seek to solidify a common goal of growing and prospering the community as a whole.” Here is the original post by Lord Blake Blackstone in the SotA public forums:





If interested please post in this thread or send PM to myself [Lord Blake Blackstone] or Jatvardur. To New Britannia!!!

Current Consortium Size- 1,021,800 SqM
28 Player Owned Towns

Please feel free to share your plans for your town and how we can help with development of commerce. These benefits and principles are organic and can be changed or edited by consensus.​

Tantalus Facebook Page
Tantalus Enjin Forums

Player Owned Town Editor Video

Ken Pfile (aka Burning Toad) has been working on a Player Owned Town editor that may be available to some Player Owned Towns in Release 20, launching next week. This first iteration of the editor will allow PoT owners to layout their lots. Check out this video Ken created demonstrating how the editor works for lot placement (and you get to see tree deco placement for the first time):

Last 3 Days of Rize Up’s Batten Disease Charity Drive

RizeUpGaming_CureBatten_CharityDriveRize Up Gaming, the company that sponsored the Water.org charity drive in May, started one of their largest marathons of the year last weekend, the Third Annual Natasha Beck Charity Drive, raising money for the Charlotte and Gwenyth Gray Foundation to help fund research into curing Batten Disease! The marathon ends at 11:59pm PST on July 27! For more information on Batten Disease, please visit this link: http://curebatten.org/

They’ve already raised over $3,700 of their $1,500 goal! Every dollar helps, so please go here to donate to the Rize Up Gaming Batten charity drive: http://www.gofundme.com/zjr4a6p

Classic_Game_Fest_transLord British and Lord Blackthorn Keynote CGF2015: Ultima Online Postmortem

Richard Garriott and Starr Long are presenting an Ultima Online Posmortem as the keynote for Classic Game Fest 2015. These two veterans of the game industry will be reflecting on the challenges they faced from early UO development to maintaining the game well after its launch. Come learn how a combination of insane ambition and idealistic cluelessness can sometimes result in creating something that changes people’s lives and the course of an industry.

Now in its 8th year, CLASSIC GAME FEST has become one of the largest retro video game conventions in the country. The last event featured more than 25,000 square feet of retro gaming awesomeness and attracted over 4,500 enthusiastic attendees from all over Texas and around the world. Come celebrate the biggest retro video game convention in Texas during 2 days of exciting classic video games, retro game tournaments, costume contests, live video game music, and more! See you July 25–26, 2015 in Austin, Texas!

Plant Lovers Delight!

Last week we announced that we are introducing trees and large plants as decorations in Release 20 (launching July 30), and added a bunch of trees and cacti to the Add-On Store. This week, we’ve added a couple more plants, including:

Azalea Bush 6-Pack

Set includes:

  • 2 small bushes
  • 2 medium bushes
  • 2 large bushes



Black Elder Bush 6-Pack

Set includes:

  • 2 small bushes
  • 2 medium bushes
  • 2 large bushes

Free Domestic Shipping at Relics by Rild

Community member Ben Pritchard (aka Rild) is offering Free Domestic Shipping for the entire month of August at Relics by Rild (http://www.relicsbyrild.com/shop-now/), your source for officially licensed Shroud of the Avatar merchandise! If you were thinking of buying some of their cool SotA merchandise, then August is a good time to do it and get standard shipping to anywhere in the USA at no charge!



38 Day Countdown for 10% Summer Bonus & Reward Expirations

SotA_10PercentBonus-v1If you were thinking of pledging your support to the development of Shroud of the Avatar, upgrading your existing pledge, or purchasing/upgrading a Player Owned Town, now’s a great time to do it! To celebrate twenty months of successful monthly releases, we are offering a 10% Summer Pledge/Town Bonus! Starting at 10am CST, July 10 and running through Midnight CST, August 31, 2015, you will receive an additional 10% bonus added to your Store Credit for any pledge purchases/upgrades, or Player Owned Town purchases/upgrades (including monthly pledge or town payment plans).

(NOTE: The 10% Bonus will be applied to your Store Credit within 24 hours of your purchase; 10% Bonus is for Pledges and Player Owned Town purchases/upgrades/payment plans only and does not apply to Add-On, Stretch Goal, or Make a Difference Store purchases; Existing Store Credit applied toward a purchase does not qualify for the 10% Bonus)

Additionally, as we enter the last half of 2015, and major milestones such as Alpha and Beta are looming closer on the horizon, we will be announcing a series of expiration events regarding pledges, rewards, and related services. The first expiration event coincides with the end of our 10% Summer Bonus promotion at Midnight CST, August 31, 2015. These expirations include:

  • Select Pledges (including their specific rewards):
    • $220 Patron Pledge
    • $375 Navigator Pledge
    • $450 Developer Pledge
  • Signed physical goods (Patron pledge and above)
  • Home and basement stacking (Ancestor pledge and above)
  • Secondary lots (Lord pledge and above)
  • Player Owned Towns with Overland Map Access

Please know that these expirations DO NOT affect any backers that already have these rewards. If you already got ’em, then you get to keep ’em! These expirations only affect new backers, or existing backers that have not upgraded to the specified pledge tiers before the expiration date.

[NOTE: Any payment plans started for the specified pledge tiers (Patron, Ancestor, & Lord) or above prior to Midnight CST, August 31, 2015 will not be affected by these expirations]

[Click here for more details…]

24 Day Countdown for Pledge Splits & Merges

As announced in Update #134, backers will have thru August 17, 2015 to request a pledge split or merger, after which we will no longer be able to process them.

[Click here for more details…]

In-game Weekend Community Events

Our amazing community has another great lineup of in-game events planned for this weekend. Special thanks to community member SpookyJenny (aka Jenny Phoenixfyre in-game) for her help in compiling the latest schedule of player events from the Avatar’s Circle Community Events calendar and the Events of the Avatars community calendar:

Recurring Events

  • Gladiator Wars (Mondays, 7pm CST)
    • A call to all fighters PVE and PVP! Would you like to participate in the “Gladiator Wars” PvP Tournaments? (details)
  • Novian Academy – The Philosophy of Order (Fridays, 5pm CST)
    • Weekly discussion on the philosophy of Order and their interconnection to the virtues. Learn how to overcome the misconceptions of order and chaos and instead learn about the realities behind the creation of both the Order philosophy and the virtues. (/zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre)
  • The R19 Unreliable Travel Guide
    • The Unreliable Travel Guide, created at the SotA Writing Round Table, is not an event, but a a collection of hilarious short stories published by two drunken layabouts who have nothing better to do than try to derive a dishonest income from newly arrived avatars. (details)
  • “The Tavern Respite” RP Event (Mondays, 8pm CST)
    • The tavern door opens before you, and the scent of pipe and stew waft outwards with a wall of warmth from the hearth. Join in with the patrons of the Bear Tavern as they share tales of their adventures amid endless mugs of ale, legs of mutton, and merriment unbounded (details)!
  • Happy Hour Wednesdays (Wednesdays, 8pm CST)
    • Otherwise known as “Spend Stryker’s Gold” – Stryker will open a bar tab at one of the local Novia taverns for an hour or so for drinks, stories, news, critique of the arts, dancing, and otherwise unplanned mayhem. Zone /Stryker Sparhawk or watch this thread for locations each week!
  • Vengeance Madness (Fridays, 7pm CST)
    • This is an Open PvP event where everyone fights it out in a royal rumble to see who the ultimate death dealer is! (City of Vengeance; /zone Bambino LudoVate)
  • Daily Breakfast Club – 12am CST (London UK); 6am CST (Central US); 3pm CST (Sydney Australia)
    • Breakfast Clubs offer a time when people from around different time zones can gather. (Wody’s Pub, Paxlair)
  • Phoenix Republic Open Mic Night (Thursdays, 7pm CST)
    • Come hang out in Wody’s Bar. Have a story or a song, Maybe want to do some stand up? Every Thursday the audience will vote on the winner of the weekly prize (Wody’s Bar, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre or Jack Knyfe)
  • Beach Party by BMC (Fridays at 9pm CST)
    • Come join the BMC for dancing and fun at the Beach (Ester Cove Party Boat, /zone River Beauchamp or Wind Silverrmoon)
  • Challenge Dungeon Run (Fridays at 7pm CST)
    • This is a self-host event, meet at the Braemar Cemetery and organize into groups to take on the infamous Chillblain’s Compendium of Pain & Suffering!

Saturday, July 18

  • 9:00am CST PaxLair Working Hours
    • PaxLair town and community “working hours” are for anyone interested in PaxLair. (/zone Winfield)
  • 11:00am CST Church of the Dark Star – Saturday Service
    • Join Lady Amber Raine, High Priestess of the Church of the Dark Star along with Kazyn Phoenixfyre of the Church of the Sun, as they bring another thought provoking service. (PaxLair; details)
  • 12:00pm CST BMC Crafting Faire
    • Come learn the intricacies of crafting from the BMC master craftsman and receive a kit to craft a weapon. Q&A Sessions with Crafters and Door prizes! (Owl’s Head, /zone to Kendric Darrow or Xavier Starfall; details)
  • 2:30 pm CST Avatars Radio Race Challenge
    • Woftam is holding a wipeout obstacle course in the Owl’s Head castle lot. (Owl’s Head Castle Lot, /zone Woftam)
  • 6:00pm CST Vengeance 1v1 Tournament
    • The longest running Player vs Player tournament in Shroud of the Avatar. (City of Vengeance)

Sunday, July 19

  • 6:30am CST Explore Novia with royalsexy (PaxLair Moon Tower, /zone royalsexy)
  • 10:00am CST Phoenix Republic Town Hall/Working Hours
    • A Gathering of members of the Phoenix Republic to cover important topic areas of the month. (Republic Town Hall, Port Phoenix, /zone Kazyn Phoenixfyre or Jack Knyfe)
  • 3:00pm CST Gustball
    • Two teams are pitted against each other in a sporting event not dissimilar from soccer, football, and basketball. The object of the game is to Gust a Gustball around the field and into your opponent’s goal (PaxLair, /zone Bambino Ludovate, details)
  • 5:00pm CST BMC Grid Iron Feast and Registration
    • Register to compete in the BMC Gridiron and mingle with other participants and spectators before the big fight! (Merriston, west of Ardoris, details)
  • 5:30pm CST BMC Gladiator’s Grid-Iron
    • The BMC is proud to present the nastiest, the foulest, the most feared arena in all of New Britannia! The Grid-Iron is equipped with a pit-style arena, locker rooms, a VIP round-table, betting & vendor booths, and all the blood-sport you can handle. (Merriston, west of Ardoris, details)
  • 7:00pm CST PaxLair Meeting
    • Come see what PaxLair is up to in Novia and other town areas! Many people also attend from towns and guilds for a bit of a weekly wrap-up and what’s happening. Good discussions!  (PaxLair, /zone Winfield)
  • 8:00pm CST Fishing with Winfield
    • Come sit with Winfield on a log or rock to hear some fish tales or tell your own. Chat about anything from the moons to the earth worms. Spend a relaxing day in nature near a stream or lake — bring insect repellent or a sword.  (some lake or pond, /zone Winfield)

Be sure and check out the Release 19 Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events that may not be included here.

And if you are interested in creating or attending events during Release 20 (launching next week, July 30th), be sure to visit the Release 20 Event Forum!


This Week In the News

July 20 – Worthplaying PC Preview: Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues

July 20 – TenTonHammer: Shroud of the Avatar is the Way to Build a “True” MMO

Upcoming Events

2015.07.25 – SotA at Classic Game Fest 2015
2015.07.30 – Release 20
2015.08.27 – Release 21
2015.08.28 – SotA at Syndcon
2015.09.04 – SotA at Dragon Con
2015.09.24 – Release 22
2015.10.29 – Release 23

World Builder/Level Designer and VFX Artist Job Openings

We currently have openings for junior-level to senior-level World Builder/Level Designers for Shroud of the Avatar. Qualifications for the “ideal candidate” are:

  • Minimum 2 years industry experience for junior-level (preferably on a shipped game)
  • Unity3D proficiency
  • Scripting ability
  • Experience building, texturing, and decorating natural, terrain based exterior environments
  • An artistic eye for detail, with strong scene compositional skills

We also have an opening for VFX artist with the following “ideal” qualifications:

  • Minimum 3 years experience as VFX artist for games
  • Unity3D proficiency
  • FX scripting and ability to create custom FX shaders
  • Artistic and technical particle effect skills

If you’d like to join the Portalarium Tribe working on the ground-breaking Shroud of the Avatar, please submit your resume to jobs@portalarium.com. Provide links to your work (if possible), including actual game play, videos footage, and document form (images, maps, and event descriptions).


Recommended Games to Back

Descent: Underground

Eric “Wingman” Peterson and team are bringing back six-degrees-of-freedom combat by blasting 90’s action game favorite, Descent, into the 21st Century with current-generation gaming technology. Descent: Underground is more than a graphics upgrade. Get ready for multiple types of customizable ships! Prepare for upgradable weapons and sensors with richly-detailed tech trees. Brace yourself for destructible voxel maps with new power-ups and mod tools to make your own maps and more!


  1. enderandrewenderandrew

    The Fall was 400 years ago if I recall. It has been fan speculation that Blade of the Avatar is 200 years ago because it is a long time after The Fall, and yet the current timeline of the game is a long time after the Obsidians were at the height of the power.

    Placing the height of their empire halfway between those two points was just an assumption of convenience. Does update confirm that is roughly the case?

  2. By Tor [MGT]By Tor [MGT]

    Love the new plant decos! Hopefully there will be even more in upcoming releases.

    Humble request: please create an indoor fireplace add-on for those of us who want to relax by the fire. Thanks!

    1. KoldarKoldar

      Same here. I’d love to see more too.

      I’m also hoping there will be quite a few available to purchase and/or craft in game.

      What would be really nice would be to have Port post an official poll on different objects type and variations to gauge people’s interest. This would give them some idea of demand for different object types and variations.

    2. Raven SwiftbowRaven Swiftbow

      I agree with you about the need for an indoor fireplace. I am lucky enough to have a great hearth, but that only works for 1 (large) house, and I will have other houses that need a fireplace. I also have a lot of friends who want an indoor fireplace even more than I do.

      Portalarium did a great job adding the fireplaces to the row houses – I can’t believe that villagers who have somewhat larger houses would not also want a fireplace of some kind! [And yes, yes, historically they might have simply used the oven/stove. But it’s hard to kick off your boots and relax in front of a cook stove while the wife is cooking dinner…. lol] An indoor ‘add-on’ fireplace would be perfect! [And likely sell *a lot* as well!]

  3. Lord BaldrithLord Baldrith

    How soon will we know if we are going to be able to place our POT in r20? I have some additional objects in my rewards section :)

  4. KoldarKoldar

    Desolis Underground is looking great; I love the floating crystals. I’m hoping I will find a way to acquire some. :)

  5. Curator Kvow [MGT]Curator Kvow [MGT]

    Troll looks good so far! Any thoughts on finding a new way to highlight a monster? Perhaps changing the color of the monster name tag to green when it’s targeted? It’s a good looking troll right up to the point where it gets this nasty red outline.

    POT tool is amazing.

    Desolis is very pretty.

  6. Baron Drocis FondorlatosBaron Drocis Fondorlatos

    “Since various colors of magical glowing crystals in our world can be harvested for use in sorcery”

    Do tell! What’s an example of magical crystals being used in sorcery? :)

  7. pirAte gAmbitpirAte gAmbit

    Free shipping of merch fo US folks, each and every event around 3-4AM in europe timezone …. yay for US nay for EU as I see it so far…

  8. Lord_DarkmoonLord_Darkmoon

    Are those speedtree bushes? If so does this mean that the regular bushes in the game will be replaced with speedtree bushes?

  9. renewingmind

    I’ll be honest, I’m rather overwhelmed by the number of updates, the scope of everything, and I have no idea where I would even start. The game is not released, but I see updates all the time offering ways I can spend more money. The kickstarter seems like ages ago, and it’s very obvious this project isn’t dead, and that’s good. But I’m extremely confused. Should I be playing this game now? People are spending massive amounts of money for things I don’t understand why they have value. I realize I sound like a crazy old man shaking his fist at the future, but I’m just being honest here, I can’t be the only one. I played a lot of Ultima I-IV “back in the day” and this looks awesome, but I am overwhelmed. I think an update with a FAQ would be helpful.

Comments are closed.