Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Play Release 20 Now!
- Role-Players of the Avatar
- Shroud of the Avatar Trailer (Fan Updated)
- Player Owned Towns, Island Template, Editor, & Dara Brae
- Battle Banners, Obsidian Towers (oh, and Outhouses)
- Tower Home Renovations
- 31 Day Countdown for 10% Summer Bonus & Reward Expirations
- 17 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
Play Release 20 Now!
Avatars Radio FireLotus Release 20 Party hosted at the estate of Goldenwing Okhan in the Player Owned Town of Radio City. Check out more screenshots in the Release 20 Screenshot Gallery.
Release 20 successfully launched yesterday, July 30, with thousands of backers downloading, patching, logging in, and checking out the new changes! Lots of new content to explore, including:
- 113 new Player Owned Towns, including the first island biome town, Dara Brae
- Dynamic Lot Placement Tool for Player Owned Towns
- Trolls: Our First Very Large Creature!
- Combat Pets & Taming
- Player Owned Vendors
- Player Made Books: In-Game Editor, Decoratable, Multiple Copies, Blank Book Recipe, and Runic Font
- New Random Encounters: Highway Robbery, Wild Herds, Haunted Ruins, etc.
- Spell & Skill Balancing; Combat Math Overhauled
- Scene Polishing
- New Crafting Recipes
- …and more!
Check out the Release 20 Instructions update for detailed information about all the new R20 content.
The Grand Tour Quest
Just as in our last several releases, we’ve included a Grand Tour Quest designed to guide you through all the new content. You will be able to get the Chaperon Hat by completing the Release 20 Grand Tour Quest. This reward can only be unlocked during Release 20 (did someone say rares?), so be sure to log in soon and talk to all the Tour Guides!
We need all your help with testing the new patches, putting more stress on our multiplayer servers, and testing the new game content, so please join us in playing Release 19!
If you have not backed the game yet, you will need to register and login at www.shroudoftheavatar.com, select the “Pledge or Send Gift!” button in the right side-bar, and purchase a pledge at the $45 Adventurer level or above. The basic Adventurer level pledge is also available on Steam Early Access.
R20 Patch Notes
Thanks to all our community members that jumped right into this Release and started reporting bugs. We’ve already fixed quite a few of them and pushed out several patches. Click here for the most up-to-date Patch Notes.
July 31, 2015
Build Number 296: 5:30 PM
- Fixed minor typo in Guard Stanley’s dialog, now uses new quest turn-in dialog
- Tutorial popup in Solace Bridge about attacking the targeting dummy now correctly describes how to attack it
- Quest turn-in UI now lists single-item turn-ins correctly
- Fixed chain helm material green-ness
- Fixed minor gaps and collision on stairs in Obsidian Tower Town Home
- Fixed floating prop in Solace Bridge Starting scene
- Removed “this door is locked” message when AI opens door on a restricted plot
- Text between % symbols is only parsed and removed if it describes a valid emote
- Graff Gem Mines, Solace Bridge and Etceter Crag Mines: All ore nodes can once again be mined by players
- Removing old basement hatch from Braemar
- Fix plot marker placement issue that was messing up lot and house placement in Player Owned Towns
- Solania and Soltown town criers respond to “what can I do to help” and similar requests with a reminder about mail deliveries
- Fixed ice elemental bindings texture
- Fixed issue preventing combining locked cards with dealt cards
- Barnacled Anchor decoration can now be placed
- Removed trees from a lot in Solania that were preventing deco placement
- Fixed floating mountain in Novia Overworld
- Fixed missing mouth interior on male NPC
- Display names on Player Town maps now have correct casing
- You can now claim unlimited lots in PoTs, but only 3 lots elsewhere
- Island Player Town maps now for sale and given as Player Town reward
- Fixed bug that was bringing up extra useless window for deck building via Window Selector button
- Fixed duplicated NPC in Solania
- Fixed island teleporter issues that were preventing accessing any island PoTs
- Fixed a few PoT town’s data that should have been set to islands
- Player Owned Town Islands are inescapable
- All Player owned Towns on Hidden Vale exit to Novia Overworld
- If you upgrade from a property owning pledge between data wipes you will receive extra lot deeds
- Trolls have no visual effects
- Troll AI and behaviors are not working as expected
- Not all Player Owned Towns in the list are in the game yet
- Some objects / NPCs in game are missing textures and show up bright pink
- Time is not in synchronized between scenes that have the new sky vs. the old sky
- Red crystal nodes in Etceter Crag Mines are all yielding blue crystals
- If your video drivers are out of date characters will appear as if they are covered in triangles
- Some cities are experiencing performance spikes
- Some assets create flash bulb like sparks on screen
- The screen may go dark unexpectedly in some cases. If this occurs, you can open the video options and turn off Tone Mapping as a temporary fix
- Many pledge, add on, and stretch goal items have not yet been built and/or do not yet have tech support. These will not be complete until later this year
- The update to Unity 5 caused a host of general texture and lighting related issues, and not all of these have been resolved
- Distant tree billboards may have a white outline that is especially noticeable at night, and some trees may shimmer with white at night
- Skin tone will sometimes not match properly on different parts of the body
- Unity 5 engine bug: Terrain is not accepting shadow casting lights and terrain lighting shows up on grid vs. radius
- ALT key can no longer be bound. This was necessary to re-enable quick self cast with ALT
- Unity 5 Engine Bug: Objects in the foreground sort incorrectly against objects in the distance like trees and the horizon
Role-Players of the Avatar
Developed by community member Elgarion De Kahli, RPOTA.COM (Role-Players of the Avatar) features a web-based database where players can create, share and track a wide variety of RP content. All items connect to most other items in many ways for many interesting charts, graphs and lists. If someone comments on another person’s creation they will receive that comment via email if they have notifications activated.
Elgarion is populating the NPC data, and players add their characters.
Factions and Locations
Players can add their own factions to the RP Database. Factions can be any division of loyalty or ideals, such as a Guild (or even factions that exist within a Guild). A faction can also be some other story conducive group or organization.
This is where characters and factions can post standings towards other characters and factions. This generates an array of statistics for character and faction standings you’ve received and provided to others. What better way to punctuate the end of an RP session than going to the site and inputting a new standing towards a new RP partner. Plus its a great way to keep track of stances you have accumulated if you have many RP partners.
The bread and butter of RP, a wide variety of journal entry types can be entered, tracked, and connected to most other data content types.
Have something grander to depict? Something on-going and continuous? Storylines is a better location for this type of content since it allows for interconnected chapters to be added. And these storylines connect to most other data content types.
This mechanic allows for folks to create quests for others to complete. Unlimited objectives can be added for each quest, and quests can be connected to most other data types.
Events and Forums
This allows for players to openly schedule events with the entire RP community. There are even plans to mirror the RP events with Avatar’s Circle.
Shroud of the Avatar Trailer (Fan Updated)
Community member Myrcello did an amazing job updating our E3 Shroud of the Avatar video trailer! Check it out:
Player Owned Towns, Island Template, Editor, & Dara Brae
Player Owned Towns were shown a lot of love in Release 20! Here is a brief summary of the new POT content (refer to the Release 20 Instructions here for full details):
Island Template 1
Island Template 1 is the first new Player Owned Town template not based on the original PaxLair template. It is a temperate, forested, yet rocky biome. It is built to support a dense grid, as well as a more spread-out, naturalist layout.
Duchy of Dara Brae
Duchy of Dara Brae is the first Player Owned Town to use the Island Template. Dara Brae is located in Spindrift Bay in northeastern Novia.
Dynamic Lot Placement Tool
We received a lot of feedback from POT owners that static lot placement was limiting the flexibility of their towns, especially if the needs of the owners’ and tenants’ changed. So in R20, we decided to experiment with creating a new tool for town owners (and stewards) which would allow them to place lots dynamically. Only lots can be placed for now, but we hope to expand this over the next several releases to include NPC Buildings, NPCs, and other “town” decorations (trees, signs, street lights, cache chests etc.). The dynamic lot placement tool still remains a bit of an experiment, but pending your feedback in Release 20, we think this could grow to be a great way for Player Owned Towns to express their individuality and flexibility.
113 New Player Owned Towns
At the end of June we pulled data from all the submission forms and added 113 Player Owned Towns to Novia as blank template maps with dynamic lot placement. These 113 POT owners will be able to utilize the new Dynamic Lot Placement Tool to place their lots. Here is the complete list of all the new Player Owned Towns appearing in R20:
Battle Banners, Obsidian Towers (oh, and Outhouses)
Several new items available in the Add-On Store this week, including:
We were inspired by Duke Violation’s creative use of the Moon Tower in Vengeance where he designed a PvP tournament around one team protecting the Moon Tower and another team trying to turn it off. We thought this was such a cool idea that we created the Battle Banner! This deco item toggles between red and blue states when touched. Can be used in “Capture the Flag” type combat games and tournaments (in case you don’t have a spare Moon Tower to use).
Obsidian Tower Homes
Patterned after the Obsidian architectural style of the Tower of the Shuttered Keep, these Obsidian Tower Homes provide a majestic view from their lofty heights. Available in Village and town lot sizes, these are the tallest structures that can be placed on these lots.
Four stories tall, including rooms on the first three floors, a roof-top deck, and wrap around balcony on the 3rd floor!
Five stories tall, including rooms on the first four floors, a roof-top deck, and wrap around balcony on the 4th floor! This tower is as tall as the parapets on the Lord of the Manor Keep, which previously held the record for the tallest player home.
Give your property a touch of class, and convenience with this stylish wooden outhouse (your guests will thank you too!).
Tower Home Renovation
The white Village and Town Towers were greatly renovated to grant access to every floor of every tower as well as the parapets. This greatly increased the number of floors and decoratable areas.
Before: 2 floors, 2 rooms, 1 balcony/parapet
After: 3 floors, 4 rooms, 3 balconies/parapets
Before: 3 floors, 3 rooms, 1 balcony/parapet
After: 6 floors, 6 rooms, 3 balconies/parapets
31 Day Countdown for 10% Summer Bonus & Reward Expirations
If 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]
17 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.
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:
- 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 R20 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 (/zone River Beauchamp)
- 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 Welcome Quest R20
- Welcome Quest showcases many of the Player-owned and Player-ran towns in New Britannia. /zone Dara Brae. (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)
- 6:00pm CST CST Lammas (First Harvests) Ball
- Wind Silvermoon presents another Ball with events. Due to venue changes from the R20 wipe, stay tuned for additional details!
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 20 Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events that may not be included here.
This Week In the News
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 email@example.com. Provide links to your work (if possible), including actual game play, videos footage, and document form (images, maps, and event descriptions).
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