Greetings Fellow Avatars!
Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
- Happy Halloween from Portalarium
- Make A Difference: World Toilet Day & Charitable Giving Report
- 2016 Yule Stockings
- Hangout of the Avatar ~ Release 35 Postmortem
- The Making of Elad’s Lighthouse (cont)
- The Making of Graff Island (cont)
- 24-Day Countdown to Expirations, 15% Black Friday Bonus, and Fall into Winter Telethon
- Community Spotlight: Bay Lunaire – Player Owned Town
- Upcoming Events
- Community Resources – Players Helping Players
- Bastion’s Point Lunar Rift Chronometer
- Recommended Projects to Back
Happy Halloween from the Portalarium Team!
We hope all of you had a safe and enjoyable Halloween this week! We certainly did! One of the perks of having a full-time community manager onsite is being able to plan community events for the Portalarium team members! Thanks to Mathew “Berek” Anderson for coordinating our very first annual Portalarium Halloween Costume Contest! The contestants were voted on by the Portalarium team across four categories, and the winners were:
- Scariest Costume: Skeleton (Starr “Darkstarr” Long)
- Funniest Costume: Olaf aka The Best Dad Ever (Chris “Atos” Spears)
- Best Themed Costume: Shegan aka The New Boss (Sarah “Serafina” Dworken)
- Most Unique Costume: Ness (Dan “PlagueofLocusts” Brennan)
Make a Difference: World Toilet Day
As part of Portalarium’s founding purpose to promote good will and make a positive difference in the world, we have partnered with members of our community to contribute directly to charities as well as support charitable giving. It started a year and a half ago, when Wrath Phoenix approached the SotA team on behalf of RizeUp Gaming to participate in their inaugural Water.org charity drive and telethon. This event served to remind us of our founding purpose and inspire us to create our first Make A Difference charity items.
Throughout the past eighteen months, we have continued to participate in other community-driven charity events, either through promotion or with Make A Difference charity items. We wish we could do more, as this speaks to the core of our principles and values. As time and funding permit, we intend to expand our community-based charity participation over the months and years ahead.
And to that end, our next effort, in collaboration with Water.org, is centered on World Toilet Day. The UN has declared November 19th as World Toilet Day, with the mission statement of: “The aim of World Toilet Day is to raise awareness about the people in the world who don’t have access to a toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation.“
Water.org is a committed partner of World Toilet Day, as evident by their statement: “It’s time everyone everywhere has access to a toilet. Today 2.4 billion people don’t have one so they spend hours of their day searching for a safe place to go. Water.org gives people the tools they need to fund their own sanitation solutions because we believe it’s time for toilets for all.”
Water.org is celebrating #toilets4all the week of November 14th-19th. To help support the cause, we have created the Make A Difference Ornate Outhouse charity item! Not only is it a throne fit for royalty, but by purchasing this item, you are helping to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.
Make a Difference: Charitable Giving Report
Beginning with that inaugural Water.org charity drive in collaboration with Rize Up Gaming in May 2015, here is the latest information on how the combined charitable efforts of Portalarium and the Shroud of the Avatar community have performed over the past eighteen months.
Portalarium created digital, in-game charity items for Shroud of the Avatar as a channel through which our community of backers can contribute to causes they support. For each of these Make a Difference charity items purchased, Portalarium will donate up to 50% of its share of the purchase price to the designated charity (see each item for percent contribution). By purchasing these items you get to have fun with them in Shroud of the Avatar, as well as make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves. To date, backers have enabled us to contribute an amazing $27,335 to the combined charities of Water.org, Autism Awareness (NAA & NAS), Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and various Blood Charities (see details below).
Thank you, Avatars, for being so virtuous!
To date, we have donated $12,389 to Water.org, from contributions by our generous backers through purchases of the Wishing Well, Water Cloak, and /rain emote. Water.org is a nonprofit organization that has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by providing access to safe water and sanitation. You can learn more about the projects your donation helps support here.
Starting with an amazingly generous donation by Shooter Jennings of his recently released album, Countach (and related items), we have managed to donate an incredible $5,807 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) through community purchases of the Countach Wax Cylinders, Countach Pink Dye, Countach Album Cover, Countach Phonograph, and most recently the Juggle Pink Lights emote for Breast Cancer awareness month. BCRF is an organization that works to achieve prevention, and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime, by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health.
In another collaborative effort involving RizeUp Gaming and Game4Autism, our generous community has raised $4,846 through purchases of the Puzzle Pattern Cloak, Puzzle Tree Cloak, and Puzzle Tree Make A Difference charity items. We split these donations equally between the following two organizations:
The National Autism Association, headquarted in Portsmouth, RI, whose mission statement is “…to respond to the most urgent needs of the autism community, providing real help and hope so that all affected can reach their full potential.” The National Autism Association is a parent-run 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Founded in 2003, NAA is a parent-run advocacy organization and the leading voice on urgent issues related to severe autism, regressive autism, autism safety, autism abuse, and crisis prevention.
The National Autistic Society is the leading UK charity for people on the autism spectrum (including Asperger syndrome) and their families. They provide information, support and pioneering services, and campaign for a better world for people with autism.
Through the sales of the Lord British and Darkstarr Blood Reliquary Bundles we have donated $4,293 to a host of blood related charities, including:
- Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California
- Children’s Cancer & Blood Foundation
- Marie Curie – Terminal Illness Support
- The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas
- Doctors Without Borders
- Movember: The Movember Foundation’s mission: “The state of men’s health is in crisis. Men experience worse longer-term health than women and die on average six years earlier. Prostate cancer rates will double in the next 15 years. Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. Three quarters of suicides are men. Poor mental health leads to half a million men taking their own life every year. That’s one every minute.Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends are facing this health crisis and it’s not being talked about. We can’t afford to stay silent.” Back in 2013 we created a Portalarium Movember team called Shroud of the Moustache and raised $1,680. We are doing it again with a new team called Moustache of the Avatar. Several of us will be growing moustaches (or hiking if we are Mo Sistas) in order to raise awareness about men’s health issues. Starr “Darkstarr” Long even shaved off his signature soul patch!
- Extra Life: Last year our incredible community organized a 24 hour streamathon with a ton of events as part of Extra Life (an event that unites thousands of players around the world in a 24 hour gaming marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals). Community members including Browncoat Jayson, Amber Raine, the RizeUp Gaming crew, Lazarus Long, and Kazyn Phoenixfire all streamed the entire 24 hours and raised $832. Unfortunately due to the proximity of SotA Con and Release 35 we were unable to organize an event this year, but we will be back for 2017!
- RizeUp Gaming: Rize Up Gaming (www.twitch.tv/rizeupgaming) was founded in September 2012 with the intentions of curbing bullying, sexism, gender discrimination, and hate speech on all gaming platforms. Their goal is to promote fun gaming without negativity. Rize Up Gaming uses a staff of streamers to keep their channel running and to fundraise for many different charities throughout the year. As mentioned above, we collaborated with RizeUp Gaming for our first Make A Difference event, their inaugural Water.org Charity Drive. In addition to the Water.org and Autism Awareness charity drives, RizeUp Gaming has also collaborated with the Shroud of the Avatar community on the following charity drives (to name just a few):
2016 Yule Stockings
Awhile back, when I was working on the fireplace sets, we had a discussion pertaining to the possibility of Yuletide Season stockings that could be hung from the mantels… I know this wasn’t the first time this subject had come up, but until that moment we hadn’t really had the chance to dig into the tech enough to attempt to create this kind of container for the sake of “hanging” from small surfaces and other deco objects… The folks here seemed to like the idea, and many of you seemed excited by it too, so guess what I had the chance to work on this week! Here’s the four initial stockings in Max… On the far right is the basic, rustic craft-able Yuletide stocking (at least for this year) based on the crochet stocking actually made for me by my mother long ago, and to its left you can see the Yule 2016 Large, Medium, and Small versions, which are all a part of the same visual “family” of stockings that will be available in the Add-On Store for this year’s Yule… I’ve already found a number of other “looks” that have inspired me for later types, and which I’ve set aside for years to come,…but these you see here will be the exclusive set for 2016!
Once I finished modeling them in Max, it was time to take them into the Unity Engine and get their materials working nicely! The hardest (and most important) part was the spec map, and massaging it in Photoshop just right until all the little bells shined like polished brass, certain surfaces glistened like candy, while others had the comforting softness of spun wool…
Of course, this test scene was lit up like a photo-shoot set, so as much as it allowed me to test the bump map and the specular highlights, it lacked a certain “Yuletide cheer” that would convince me that I had achieved the magical holiday feel I was really going for… And so,…on to my outdoor test map, where I had set up a few cottages in which to play with all these fun things I’m making! Below you can see all four of this year’s stockings lined up in a neat row on the larger ornate wood and stone fireplace.
I moved about the chamber a bit so you could get a slightly closer look inside them, to be teased by little treats that might also be appearing on this year’s Yule tree as fun decorations! Of course, these stockings will be set up not only as decorations that can be placed on (hung from) a variety of horizontal (upward facing) surfaces in the game (such as mantels, tall-enough tables, the tops of cabinets and dressers, etc.), but ALSO they will be set up as containers in which you can stuff all sorts of items (as you would a sack or chest) so that the whole thing can be given away as gifts for others! The items they are visibly stuffed with in the image below are, of course, merely representative of the fact that it’s meant to be full of treats which you can provide…
The basic rustic version (seen on the lower left in the image above) will be the one you will be able to craft in-game this year (perhaps we’ll do another craft-able version next year)… Rick has already taken one of them I’ve made and hooked it up in the game to test as decos, and they seem to be working as planned! Once I get back from this weekend, I’ll fully test them all, make tweaks as necessary for the sake of functionality, and finally create the “GUMP” to be used for its interface once the container code begins working for it… I’ll post more images of these in use as actual decos on a variety of test object next week. Look for these to appear soon for the holidays!!!
Happy All Hallow’s Eve! And here’s looking forward to the Harvest Feast and Yuletide Seasons soon to be on their way!
Hangout of the Avatar ~ Release 35 Postmortem
Join us Thursday, November 10th at 3:00 PM Central (21:00 UTC) for our monthly Hangout of the Avatar! The team will be chatting about Release 35 and looking ahead to the Fall into Winter telethon later in the month!
As always, we will be giving out rare Lord British artifacts of immense power and glory, and answering your latest questions. For a chance to win an artifact, or to speak your voice on the latest game changes, be in Discord chat during the livestream. There will be multiple chances to win throughout the broadcast!
Post your questions in the comments below the post here. Only one post submission allowed, and keep questions to 3 or less. This will allow us to get to as many individual players’ questions as possible.
Questions and feedback related to this release’s 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.
Tweet with us @ShroudofAvatar to keep updated on the latest SotA livestreams and game news!
The Making of Elad’s Lighthouse (cont.)
Elad’s Lighthouse is located in Spindrift Bay directly across the water from Brittany. It is home to Elad, who retired to the island after an illustrious career as Lord British’s shipbuilder and lighthouse builder. As with many of our scenes, Elad’s Lighthouse started as a cloned scene using one of our PRT / POT templates based off of the Forest 01 base template (aka PaxLair). However, it always had the unique feature of Elad’s Lighthouse which will continue to be a prominent feature. Now though, it will have unique terrain featuring dramatic cliffsides, a dockyard, lumbermill, and many other unique changes.
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. One of our new worldbuilders Chris started work on Elad’s this release and we hope to have it live in the game in its newly uncloned state in Release 36.
Last round of screen shots!
The Making of Graff Island (cont.)
Another update on Graff Island! 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. 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. 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.
24-Day Countdown to Expirations, 15% Black Friday Bonus, and Fall into Winter Telethon
We’re counting down the days until our Fall into Winter Telethon and your last chance to purchase a bunch of items that are expiring, as well as receive your 15% Black Friday Bonus!
- House Stacking in Bundles (only 1 House per Bundle going forward)
- Adobe 2-Story with Upper Deck Village Home
- Adobe 2-Story with Patio & Balcony Village Home
- Adobe 2-Story Village Home
- Adobe Brick 2-Story with Roof Access Village Home
- All Kobold Masks (some will still be exclusively available in Kobold Bundles)
- All Prosperity Tool Packs (will still be available as part of Bundles)
- Wax Cylinder Soundtrack Vol 1
- Battle Banner
- 2016 Jack O Lanterns
- 2016 Jack O Lantern Mask
- 2016 Jack O Lantern Mask with Glow
- 2016 Grim Reaper Statue
- 2016 Grim Reaper Mask
- 2016 Rotten Armor
- 2016 Rotten Flesh Cloak
- 2016 Spooky Soundtrack
At noon on that same day, we are starting a 12 hour telethon that will include an array of fun activities and engaging content, many of which you can directly participate in with us in-game! We are also giving away a ton of fabulous prizes*, and as always we will be having stretch goals that based on how much players spend during the telethon (see below).
As usual, your questions will be answered throughout the event. You can pre-post your questions in the article’s comments section (linked here), or post questions during the telethon in Discord chat.*
As a special bonus, we are offering Telethon Funding Stretch Goal Rewards to any backer that pledges a minimum of $5 from the start of the telethon, until Midnight (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply). The Fall Into Winter Telethon of the Avatar Funding Stretch Goal Rewards are:
- $10K: /rainautumnleaves
- $25K: Autumn Leaf Crown (increases length of /rainautumnleaves emote)
- $35K: Autumn Fairy Leaf Dress + Autumn Leaf Wings
- $50K: Pet Squirrel
- $65K and beyond: Secret Winter items!
Did you see what was unlocked in the last telethon? This one is going to be even bigger!
Cheer on the Devs!
For every $2,500 donated, all developers on camera have to either dance, sing, or drink a shot of alcohol.
Additionally, we will be spinning the Wheel of Fortune & Doom! The wheel will have 14 items at any given time, but dozens of total prizes ultimately will be given away! This includes developers that, if selected, have to either dance, sing, or drink a shot of alcohol.
As the wheel is spun, what is selected will be replaced by something else. Details list of wheel items coming soon. Items already selected will be removed for a time (some may not come back onto the wheel for the rest of the telethon. Keep in mind that some of these may never come up, so cross your fingers for your preferred item!
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 15% Black Friday Bonus, and we’re doing it again this year! 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!
Community Spotlight: Bay Lunaire – Player Owned Town
As told from a visit to the town by your community wood elf druid, Berek, Bay Lunaire is nested off of the docks in Central Brittany. The location is perfect for quick access to trade in some of the busiest areas in Novia, and to Kingsport from Central Brittany. Once you are in the town, it’s a breeze to get to all of Brittany’s neighborhoods with a quick boat ride from the docks.
Here is what I witnessed while I roamed this beautiful town that shares so much of the life that nearby Brittany has to offer:
Entering into the Bay Lunaire, I arrived at the docks by the Town Crier and Banker. Titania Xylia, the town Govenor, greeted me by wavering her hands wildly from a distance. She quickly escorted me inland toward a beautiful display of seaside statues.
Just a few steps into town the tax free vendor is to the left where all residents get to list items for sale commission free. This vendor is accessible to all residents for listing their goods. As more choose Bay Lunaire as their home, additional vendors will be added near the dock allowing for easy trade and less anxiety about lot selection.
Directly across the street from the tax free vendor is a crafting area with expert carpentry, blacksmithing, alchemy and tailoring stations to go along with the rest of the normal crafting stations. Within a few steps residents can conduct all of their business and still get in some time for a great fishing experience.
There is a also a beautiful central park near the tax free vendor with a descriptively small (and dangerous) maze. The paths through the maze will be updated occasionally as events are conducted through it. For those brave enough to adventure into its depths, there is a public cache chest at the center with random goodies that anyone can take or contribute too. I threw in something special during my visit.
As we walked, I asked Governor Titania…
Learn the story in the main spotlight announcement!
Nov 4-6, 2016 – SotA 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
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.
Greetings fellow Avatars!
As another Thanksgiving approaches in the US, I would like to capture many of the people and things you are grateful for this year.
If you want to be included, simply write your thoughts in a reply to this thread. Please limit yourself to 100 characters. (It’s those book length restrictions!) Even with the limit, there may be 2 volumes if we get many responses.
I will collect all the submissions and format them into a book or books available in-game for a very modest price.
I am exceedingly grateful that Shroud allows us the opportunity to capture things like this in-game. Please join us in giving thanks!
Community Resources – Players Helping Players
- The official SotA New Player Welcome Forum and the Player Created Resources Forum have the best player created resources for Shroud of the Avatar, whether it’s a Player Written Guide, a Video Walk-through, or a Wiki-type Website.
Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.
Bastion’s Point Lunar Rift Chronometer
Recently, Bastion’s Point has been sending its top researchers and scholars to the Nearby Lunar Rift in Solace Bridge in order to leverage its secret travel power and open its gates for the use of all of Novia. The Task has been Perilous and Fraught with Danger.
Some researchers who have entered the Rift returned claiming they were somewhere high above Novia looking down upon it, while others have not returned at all! Not letting the dangers stop them, the researchers pressed on..
We have been Successful!
Announcing the Bastion’s Point Lunar Rift Chronometer. Never again miss your destination window to far off lands. Bastion’s Point truly is the Window to all of New Britainia, and only minutes from wherever you are!
Recommended Games to Back
“While most recent MMO’s have chased the EQ/WOW models, it’s great to see games like Project Gorgon, pursuing the more open world and sandbox style that I think is underserved to gamers.” – Richard “Lord British” Garriott.
Project Gorgon, a Massively Multiplayer Online Game, was successfully Kickstarted in August 2015 by Eric Heimburg and his wife Sandra Powers. They have over a decade of experience in engineering, design, and production on games such as Asheron’s Call 1 and 2, Star Trek Online, EverQuest II, and others successful MMOs. Project Gorgon features an immersive experience that allows the player to forge their own path through exploration and discovery. The game also features an ambitious skill based leveling system that bucks the current trend of pre-determined classes, thus allowing the player to combine skills in order to create a truly unique playing experience.
As a supplement to their Kickstarter campaign, Eric and Sandra have launched an Indiegogo campaign “…to raise additional funds which will be used to implement upon existing, planned, and ‘wish list’ game features.” Check out their campaign and if you like what you see then pledge your support!
Backer Shipping Addresses
In 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 email@example.com is unblocked from your e-mail account!