Update of the Avatar #198 – 2016.10.14: Darkstarr & Lord British at Ultima Dragon 25th Anniversary, Harvest & Graff Island Revisted, Silverhold POT Spotlight, R34 Postmortem, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

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

Darkstarr Joins Lord British for the Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversaryudic-party

Lord of the Manor Event-111

We are very excited to announce that Starr “Darkstarr” Long will be joining Richard “Lord British” Garriott and other Origin Veterans at the Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Bash! 
This is the final week of their Kickstarter and as a reminder we are running a special cross promotion where anyonewho backs both Shroud of the Avatar (at a level with Game Access)  and the Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary ($30 Recommended) will get a special custom Clasped Gauntlets Cloak in Blue and Silver that says “Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary”.

The Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary event is February 25-27, 2017 at Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, USA.

Join the Ultima Dragons as they celebrate twenty-five years of one of the oldest online fan-created gaming clubs! More than just a party, the Ultima Dragons 25th Anniversary Bash is a celebration of an entire online culture. We were one of the first communities to emerge from the early Internet, and our roots go even further back! It is this beginning, as a gaming club of Prodigy, that we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of today. Many factions of ultima-dragons-25-gauntlets-cloakUltima fans formed there in 1992, but only the Ultima Dragons survived.

“We’re going to Disneyland!” This decision was as random as the UDIC itself. We’re bringing together Dragons from all over the world, many of whom are friends but have never met in person before, at the Happiest Place on Earth. The party will be kid-friendly, and all Dragons, their friends and family, and fans of the Ultima Dragons are invited. Those who have made the games we’re fans of have also been fans of US for almost as long as we’ve been around, so we’re inviting everyone who worked for Origin Systems or who currently works for Portalarium, the company currently making Shroud of the Avatar, the Ultimas’ spiritual successor.

To that end we’re renting a “Fellowship Hall” in the Disneyland Hotel for the weekend of February 25th and 26th. You’ll get to meet Origin Systems veterans Richard Garriott, Denis Loubet, Dr. Cat, and Starr Long, play games with Dragons and by Dragons, try out various Ultima games, and participate in some Ultima-inspired activities.

The Making of Harvest (Unclone)

Harvest was a cloned scene using one of our PRT / POT templates based off of the Forest 01 base template (aka PaxLair). It is located in the Verdantis region in the Northwest region of Novia. It is getting rebuilt in Release 35 to show the plot specific elements of the Norgard occupation and also getting a heavily agrarian theme.

Note that when we un-clone these scenes we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hey guys, SorcerousSteve here to give you an update on Harvest!

Harvest is located across the channel from Estgard. It is an area primarily focused on agriculture nestled along a red/yellow countryside that has recently come under occupation from Norgard forces. As an occupied town it has taken on some of the symbolism behind the color yellow and Norse influence of its Norgard conquerors.

Inspiration for Harvest was obtained from the Autumn Season and Upstate New York (Letchworth).


Leaf covered trails cut through a forest of red and yellow.

Fields of corn just outside of Harvest. Shout out to artist Reid Rollo for his great work on this Scarecrow!



As an occupied town, Harvest has developed some trench defenses surrounding it, alongside a fort to maintain order.


NPC Town Center


South City Gate.


Wheat Fields as far as the eye can see.


Apple Orchards in the foreground while the Harvest Wind Farm can be seen off in the distance.


Terrace farming along the river.


Alongside being big on agriculture, Harvest also prides itself on fishing along the Norgard Channel.


Level Designer
Esteben Zaldivar

The Making of Graff Island (Unclone)

Graff Island is located in the Drachvald region. It is in the northernmost reaches of Spindrift Bay across from Port Graff and is central to the gem trade of the region. It is the site of a factory that sculpts the gems into weapons, armor and other goods. It is also the home of the Graff family and their sprawling mansion. One of our new worldbuilders Travis started work on it this release and we hope to have it live in the game in its newly uncloned state in Release 36.

Note that when we un-clone these scenes we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage. In the case of Graff Island we are replacing the terrain and foliage, adding the Graff family mansion and the Graff Gem Factory.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “CorpPor” Koleski]

Hi everyone! Travis here. I’m a new world builder here on SotA, and I’ve been working on the Graff Island map. Here’s a couple of screenshots of how Graff Island is shaping up:

The Cliffs of Graff (to the left is the bay looking towards Port Graff)


High in the hills of Graff Island


Update to the Darkstarr Moondial

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Scott “Scottie” Jones]

Long ago Stephen Daniele created numerous sketches for a special type of orrery we were wanting to offer called the Darkstarr Moondial… Back then, though Richard and Starr both really loved the idea of this kind of cool decoration, we hadn’t yet had the chance to fully develop our cosmology and astronomy, and so we had Bob create a beautiful placeholder based on Stephen’s concept art, knowing we’d eventually have to go back and change the final 3-D art to match what our sky-scape would become.

Now that we have finally nailed down the basics of what heavenly bodies exist for our world, and essentially how we want them to move, the time has come to update our old efforts to reflect them! Not only was I able to take Bob’s excellent work and maintain it as a basis, but I was also able to update the material and textures a bit to take the most advantage of some of the recent improvements in the Unity shaders! Here’s what the updated Darkstarr Moondial orrery now looks like!


The earlier version had only three lunar bodies moving around Novia, not including the sun and the shattered moon…so we had complete orbital rings rotating around the old Novia sphere in wildly different directions that didn’t even match the actual orbital plane of rotation around the planet… Now I’ve added all eight of the additional heavenly bodies representing the “anti-virtuous acts”, and they all rotate correctly around Novia along the same broad orbital plane as the sun… The great serpent now rises up through the empty path that the lost moon that shattered our greater moon once traveled. (I’ll add as an addendum here that I’m currently unsure whether this will actually replace the old Moondial version, or whether it will be merely offered as an option for those that would like to have an updated, astronomically accurate model… Some folks might want theirs to remain the way it was, and Portalarium Management will need to decide how they’d like to handle this… ^_^)

The off-kilter crescent-shaped circular arcs piercing the moons are at varying angles compared to the greater orbital plane, and though they don’t describe the actual path of the moons around Novia (since all the moons have now been established as rotating upon the same orbital plane around Novia as the sun does) the arcs DO whimsically represent the fact that each of those rotating bodies has its own individual axis around which it spins in place as it orbits, and that axis is offset from the angle of the greater orbital plane by a factor of degrees (unique to each moon). Those arcs pierce perpendicularly through those various different lunar axes. For the sake of this moving model (as with our actual sky-dome), each of the moons orbits at a different speed (which might eventually match the actual speed of the real moons in-game), which causes the offset arcs to create beautiful, constantly varying configurations that one could imagine describe the greater firmament and its hidden constellations in some arcane manner. Here you can see the moons all having rotated a bit at different speeds, exposing different patterns while still remaining on the single orbital plane.


Eventually Finn will be tasked with trying to match the speed of the actual heavenly bodies in-game, so that special conjunctions and lunar locations can be recognized and enjoyed even if it’s broad daylight! Though I must admit, I really like the look of it animating more swiftly as it is now, so that it looks like a beautiful piece of slowly swirling kinetic sculpture…. Perhaps there will be the option of either having it move at fast speed, or reconfigure to show the actual lunar locations at their current speed, merely by clicking on the orrery itself! I’ll suggest it and see what they say!…

Anyway,…enjoy! I stayed late getting this done because I’m off to ACL Fest tomorrow!

Have a great weekend!

Scottie ^_^

POT Spotlight: Silverhold

The second Player Owned Town spotlight kicks off with Silverhold! We will be touring towns and talking with guilds and other groups, all of which are open to be spotlighted on coming tours brought to you by Berek, your community wood elf druid. Near Port Phoenix, I saw a great many things in Silverhold that drove me to write this spotlight. Here is what I witnessed:

As I neared Silverhold, nestled in the higher elevations of Elysium, snow flurries began to fall around me. I realized this would be my first visit to a snow covered area of Novia. I did not prepare and bring a coat, but I managed.

There was no mild winter weather here either; the white powdery stuff lay thick on the ground as the Town Crier greeted me upon entering the town. Clearly seeing I was new to the area, he suggested I visit the warmth of Silverhold keep. Governor Asher Silvarian enjoyed personally greeting newcomers to the town. I decided to take up this offer and headed up the trail toward monolithic stone structures in the distance.

Half way up the trail I was challenged by a guard, and a large ominous looking guard tower. After stating my reason for coming this long way to Silverhold, I was allowed to pass with an obvious look of suspicion and apprehension. I knew I best be on my best behavior here, these military types are no-nonsense.

Upon arriving at the keep, I was Ushered onto the grounds and greeted by Governor Silvarian himself. Though initially apprehensive of how I might be welcomed, the Governor was quite amiable. A short exchange of pleasantries lead to a bit of a discussion and an offer of a tour of Silverhold itself. Governor Silvarian offered to tour Silverhold with him as we discussed the town, it’s features, history, and plans for the future. I gladly accepted.

As we walked, I asked Governor Silvarian…

Why was Silverhold founded?

SilverHold is an ancient citadel left over from the Obsidian Imperial Era of the Phoenix Republic. This keep has long been the backbone of the first line defense for the Republic. It’s main service to the Old Empire, and now the Republic, has been that of protection against overland invasion from West Elysium via the southern shores of Elysium Bay. As such, it may be found situated at the eastern end of the Republic on the vast Isle of Elysium in the most southwestern reaches of the Novian continent.

Who is welcome to reside in Silverhold?

A contingent of elite soldiers is garrisoned in SilverHold to act as the initial defense of the Southern Elysian Shore Pass, and served as its initial inhabitants. However, things have changed over time. This once obscure frontier post, has grown in size and importance due to the migration of military families members moving to be with their loved ones stationed in Silverhold on extended tours. Add to this number, merchants seeking to benefit from the guaranteed coin which inevitably follows any large garrisoned group of soldiers, to civilians seeking to establish residence in what is considered one of the most beautiful, and coldest, areas of Elysium.

With two very productive mines in the area and a beautiful woodlands nearby, miners, smiths, millers and fletchers are bound to have a good time of it while residing in Silverhold. Tailors may have a tougher time of it but with a greenhouse or two, a tidy profit could be forthcoming even in this snowy environment!

If you seek adventure and perhaps a future in the expansion of Republic influence through military means when necessary, Silverhold can also hold a promising future for you!

Tell us about the residents of Silverhold?

The Silvarian Clan, the ruling family of SIlverHold for most of it’s extensive history, still occupies and governs this fortress stronghold. The current Sovereign, Duke Asher Silvarian, is known as a firm but fair ruler with a firm sense of justice which he tempers with wisdom of elected and appointed counsel and with compassion. While many responsibilities fill his plate, the well being of Silverhold and it’s citizens are and will always remain his top priority.

Silverhold is also home to the Army of the Phoenix Republic. The Army’s general, Alexander John, has his Headquarters within the citadel walls itself. Jenny Phoenixphyre, wife of the leader of the Republic, Kazyn Phoenixphyre, boasts a fine winter getaway residence in Silverhold as well. Founding members of the Silverhold Guard, Swaan Greene and his brother Esolde are of honorable mention as residence and close advisors to the Governor.

Sadly, even with these and other established names, recent wars which embroiled the Republic have left the ranks of Silverhold depleted. Thusly, there are ample openings for new citizens and recruits alike in Silverhold! Let this be a call to arms, your Republic Needs You! Know also, while membership in the Republic is not necessary, Silverhold residents may rely the good members of the Phoenix Republic for friendship and comradery. Phoenix republic members are numerous and can be found adventuring, crafting, and gathering online 24/7.

What is the future of Silverhold?

The future of Silverhold is currently aligned with the Republic. The garrison there is pledged to the Republic and it’s defense. This pledge, however, has not left Governor Asher Silvarian without ambitions of his own. He sees a bright future for Silverhold and a key role for the town in the future of Novian geopolitics as well as becoming a strong source of industrial production and supply for the many warriors and adventurers of Novia.

For those seeking political office, Silverhold has a fairly democratic form of government, with both elected and appointed positions (District, Judicial, and legislative leadership) available to members of the citizenry… (Active roles in government are encouraged as this will truly be a player’s town; player run, player driven, and player developed.)

What are the unique features of Silverhold?

Within Silverhold there are many features and attractions both in its various districts and the lands surrounding the province itself. Here are a few of those districts:

District of Silverhold Proper

Full service Expert Crafting Stations are available along with several convenient merchant services here in the town center. Within the citadel walls, you will find the THE RUINS, a banquet hall where not all dinners live through dinner. This is an outdoor dinner setting boasting a ‘Front Row for All’ entertainment venue specifically tailored for live combat events. Crunch that char broiled set of ribs to the sound of breaking bones and smell of roasting flesh!

For those seeking a more leisurely evening, there is the Chilly Dog, a fine tavern providing the atmosphere of the old style pub found once in our lost lands of Sosaria.

The Heights

Merchant Services are available here! Visit the provincial capitol building, formally named ‘Silvarian Keep’ but most citizens just call it Silverhold’. Tour the living quarters of Duke Asher Silvarian and attend one of the events nights at his personal subterranean arena, ‘The Pit’.

Three other districts are in the planning stages and open for viewing: Lakeside, The Woodlands, and The Tundra.

Silverhold Surroundings

The lands surrounding Silverhold are rich with resources. Nearby are the The Crag Mines (Gold, Iron and Copper) and The Elysium Mines (Silver). Extreme caution is advised! Timber is in abundance in the Whispering woods, though venturing out alone is not encouraged. Contact your local garrison for an escort!

The densely populated and popular destination city of Xenos is located just a stone’s throw west along the coast from Silverhold. Far to the West are the unknown wonders and possible dangers of Artifice! Explore at your own risk! Across the Bay and accessible via a short sea-bound voyage, are the beautiful cities of Aerie and Etceter.

Elysium Bay is also home to many favorite fishing spots. Come find yours!

Do you have a Player Owned Town, Guild, or group that accomplishes and makes available great things for other players? Let us know! We would like to include your group in an upcoming spotlight. Just send Berek a brief proposal of what you have to show!

Portalarium Office Gets Decorated!

Kacey Cupcakes led a determined horde of devoted backers including Winfield, Jack Frost, and the EVL Guild who were in town for their first annual guild meeting to decorate the Portalarium offices for Halloween. As you can see by these few pictures, they did an amazing job! You can see more pictures on the Shroud of the Avatar Facebook page (leave us a like while you are there!).

cemetary-door wheel-of-doom evl-guild-and-berek skeleton-tiger-chair

R34 Postmortem Recap

Our Release 34 Postmortem was this past Tuesday and we answered a ton of questions and gave away lots of in-game prizes including color changing dyes and juggling zombie heads!

While we did not have time to answer all the questions, Starr Long and Chris Spears got on the forums afterwards and answered all the questions that were missed

Here’s the video for those who missed it:

Policy Change: POT Ownership TransfersSotA_PlayerOwnedTowns

Effective immediately, any ownership transfers of a Player Owned Town on an account with claimed rewards will NOT include Rewards: Lot Markers, NPCs, NPC Buildings, Add On Store Homes, Broadcast Phonograph, Wax Cylinders, etc. Rewards will have to be traded in-game between seller and purchaser. This makes them work identically to pledges, bundles, etc. We have made this policy change because of the different states that POTs can be in and how some owners have already claimed those rewards and then used, transferred, or sold them. Thus, players were taking advantage of the system to create duplicate items. Additionally these transfers require a $50 POT transfer fee.

New Aeronaut Value Packs

Check out the new Aeronaut value packs, available now in the Add-On Store!

Aeronaut Weareable Pack

Turn heads and impress your friends wearing this value pack of aeronaut-themed items, including the Black & Chrome Ornate Aeronaut Outfit (jacket, leggings, gloves, & boots), Ornate Black Leather Aeronaut Helmet, and the Kobold Clockwork Wings.


Aeronaut Hot Air Balloon Pack

Dress in style while riding in your hot air balloon with this value pack of aeronaut-themed items, including the Hot Air Balloon, Black & Chrome Ornate Aeronaut Outfit (jacket, leggings, gloves, & boots), Ornate Black Leather Aeronaut Helmet, and the Kobold Clockwork Wings.


Get Your 15% Black Friday Bonus Now!

For the past two years we’ve extended our Black Friday Promotion to give you up to 8 weeks to take advantage of our Black Friday 15% Bonus, and we’re doing it again this year! Here are the details:

For all new purchases (including bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, player owned town upgrades, and Make a Difference items) between Midnight CDT October 6, 2016 (5:00 UTC, October 7, 2016) and Midnight CST, November 28, 2016 (6:00 UTC, November 29, 2016), we will add an additional 15% bonus to your Store Credit! You can use your Store Credit toward additional purchases (which includes bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, and player owned town upgrades).

[NOTE: The 15% bonus is calculated every day at 1:00 pm CT for any purchases within the previous 24 hours and added to your Store Credit account; Store Credit cannot be applied toward the purchase of Make a Difference items]

You can use the 15% Bonus to save on your next purchase! For example, if you have the $45 Elven Starter Bundle and really want to upgrade to the $90 Elven Tool Bundle, you would normally pay the extra $45 for the upgrade. But using the 15% bonus you can immediately save $5. To do so, you would first purchase $40 worth of Store Credit Gift Coupons (via PayPal, Amazon, Bitcoin, or credit card; excluding existing Store Credit) then use the “Convert to Credits” option on your account page to transform the Store Credit Gift Coupons into Store Credit. Within 24 hours an additional $6 bonus ($40 x 15%) would be applied to your Store Credit account, bringing it up to $46. You would then use $45 of your Store Credit to upgrade to the $90 Elven Tool Bundle.

Upcoming Events

Oct 21, 2016 – Pending Gifts of Pledges assigned to purchasers account
Oct 27, 2016 – Release 35
Nov 4-6, 2016SotA Con Fan Convention
Nov 10, 2016 – R35 Postmortem
Nov 17, 2016 – Release 36
Nov 21, 2016 – Courtesy Automatic Claiming of Rewards
Nov 28, 2016 – Fall into Winter Telethon and Expirations (House Stacking in Bundles, etc.)
Dec 15, 2016 – Release 37
Dec 20, 2016 – R37 Postmortem
Jan 26, 2017 – Release 38

Community Activities

Visit the official Community Calendar to see the great lineup of activities our amazing community has planned for this weekend! And be sure to check out this month’s Release Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events.

Event of the Week – Westend Fight Club (WFC)

If you’re in the neighborhood, feelin’ feisty, or just loking to hone your PvP; come on over to Westend on Sundays at 3pm NBT. I’ll be hosting casual pick-up fights in a relaxed no-loot environment on a city lot designed to be a PvP playground. This is a non-PvP zone so participants and spectators can feel secure until they choose to pick an opponent and enter the fence…

Join the Fight Club!

Community Resources – Players Helping Players


Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.

Job Openings (1)


We currently have an opening for a Programmer for Shroud of the Avatar. Qualifications for the “ideal candidate” are:

  • Minimum 2 years industry experience
  • Strong C#/C++ skills
  • Database development experience
  • Awesome debugging skills
  • Windows programming experience
  • Network programming experience
  • Extensive Multi-threaded programming experience
  • Ability to work in unstructured, non-hierarchical environment
  • Strong software architecture skills
  • BONUS SKILLS (any one or more of these):
    • Minimum 5 years industry experience (minimum of at least 1 shipped game)
    • Unity development experience
    • Mac development
    • Avid game player
    • Web development experience (C#, PHP, ASP.NET, XML/web services, JavaScript)
    • UNIX experience
    • MMO game development experience

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).

wasteland3_launchRecommended Projects to Back

Wasteland 3

Our friends over at inXile have launched a crowdfunding campaign for Wasteland 3, a party-based role-playing game with complex story reactivity and strategic combat! The game features a deep and engaging story utilizing a newly-revamped dialog tree system from the celebrated writers of Torment: Tides of Numenera!

By including vehicles, environmental dangers, and a revamped, more fluid action system, inXile is evolving on Wasteland 2’s deep tactical turn-based combat and unique encounter design. Play by yourself or with a friend in story-driven synchronous or asynchronous multiplayer. Choices open up (or close off) mission opportunities, areas to explore, story arcs, and lots of other content.

SotA Con East 2016  sota-con-gauntlet-cloak

Special Cross Promotion: Anyone who backs both Shroud of the Avatar (at a level with Game Access) and SotA Con East 2016 ($25+) will get a special custom Clasped Gauntlets Cloak in Blue and Yellow that says “SotA Con East 2016”.

Hotel Booking Deadline October 21: You have until October 21 to book the special hotel rate at the convention hotel after which rates go up and room availability will not be guaranteed.

sotacon_logoPortalarium is excited to participate in the first ever community organized convention for Shroud of the Avatar – SotA Con East 2016! SotA developers and players alike will be gathering together for a casual for a casual weekend filled with exciting activities, engaging panel discussions, and of course plenty of gameplay sessions.

SotA Con East runs from November 4-6, 2016 in Baltimore Inner Harbor, Maryland. Registration is still open, so get your tickets by visiting the official event site links below!

SotA Con is entirely planned and funded by the players, for the players and developers. This once again shows how our passionate and dedicated players are creating exciting opportunities for the rest of the community, and succeeding magnificently.


Backer Shipping Addresses

SotA_ShippingAddressIn preparation for shipping backers’ physical pledge rewards later this year, we have added Shipping Address fields to your Account Profile page. To enter your shipping address, log in to the SotA website, select “Account” in top right corner, then select “Edit Profile” located in top left corner, beneath your Avatar image.

A reminder to be sure that support@portalarium.com is unblocked from your e-mail account!



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