Moondial Madness

From last week’s Update of the Avatar #225, we just put live in Release 41 an update to the Darkstarr Moondial! Have a look at all that we changed around the game’s moondials:

Recently we did some re-ordering of the celestial bodies in the heavens. Additionally there are now more game systems directly tied to the positions of these celestial bodies. For instance Town Sieges are directly tied to these. Due to these changes Richard “Lord British” Garriott has decreed that we update our orreries to not only accurately reflect these new sequences but also add the constellations in an outer ring. The first pass is to update the Darkstarr Moondial that players already own. We also created a new Silver Darkstarr Moondial that will only be available through our Referral program when that comes back online. Other variants that look very different from the Darkstarr versions will then be created including a craftable version (more mechanical in nature) and an Ornate version for the Add On Store that will come in a variety of sizes ranging from table top to a giant version that you can walk under!

The updated Darkstarr Moondial is live in Release 41. Stay tuned for updates on when the other versions will become available.

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

Yes indeed,…it’s that time again! Time for Richard to request that I add to the existing Darkstarr Moondial once more, due not only to the change in the recent order of the moons in the night sky, but also due to some slight changes in the magical constellation overlay and background stars that exists in the sky-dome itself!

Much like last time, when changes were made to the original Moondial to account for us getting much closer to our actual in-game sky and all its celestial bodies,…this time, with our system incorporating not only the correct moon order, but also the ideology and actual timing of the attacks of the Cabalists and their unholy minions, the Moondials themselves (which Richard always wanted to be functionally-accurate tools of celestial observation) needed to change once again to reflect our most recent updates…

The magical constellation overlay seen when using either the Astrolabe or the Moondials changed only slightly, with me “cleaning up” the lines a bit to organize the night sky into 12 “sectors” roughly in the middle of which each constellation can be found (with the outliers being Chaos and the Principals interlocking circles, which are not currently factored into the attacks of the Cabalists, and are bisected by a line between two sectors)… By gazing into a clear night sky when these items are invoked, you can now easily see the sector line demarcations stretching from one axis of the celestial dome to the other, with the constellations hovering between them either above or below the galactic swath. The three middle horizontal lines pass through the two outlier constellations, with the central horizontal line describing the path of the galactic swath itself. Here’s a portion you can see below.

What this means, as far as the Darkstarr Moondial is concerned, is the addition of an extra ring around the outside to which are attached iconic versions of the primary constellations (mimicking the Devotional depictions, of course), and the alignment of their “sectors” as compared to the various moons in orbit around our world…. One then uses the Moondial more easily and accurately now by merely standing beside the Moondial facing the planet at its center, visually aligning yourself with the constellation representing a Devotional within the town you’re interested in, and seeing which moons fall within that sector slice that angles in from the sector edges on either side of the constellation toward the center of the world… The Cabalists representing the antivirtues of those moons should be attacking any city bearing that particular Devotional at that time… In the example below you can see that towns hosting a Devotional of Honor are being currently attacked by Avara while Dolus prepares to withdraw his minions, and Nefas is readying his forces in vicious support that is soon to come!

In addition to upgrading the Darkstarr Moondial in this way, I was also tasked to create a variation on it which is a silver version held aloft by a hand of bluish-purple marble. I’m not sure how this will become available, but I enjoy its alternate color scheme… While I like the gold/bronze warmth of the original, blue and silver are some of my favorite color combinations!

And lastly, having created these, I was asked to begin work on two other versions of the Moondials. I’m quite excited by these, because one is a version you’ll be able to craft yourself, made out of materials such as brass, copper, silver, wood, and various mechanical parts and pieces (recipe yet to be determined), and the other is meant to be an “ornate” version you can purchase which will come in four sizes (tabletop, “room”-sized like the ones above, Village Lot sized, and Keep Lot sized)… The exact scale of these has yet to be determined.

Below you can see them in their beginning stages as compared to the existing Darkstarr version. The Craftable Moodial (lower left), will eventually be seen as made from multiple materials as described above, and has a “naturally-mechanical” look to it, with no magically-floating elements, and sports a slightly tilted “cage-dome” representing the tilted axis of the world itself as roughly compared to the abstractly-depicted rotational plane of the moon and suns. The discs bearing the supports that hold up each of the celestial elements rotate independently upon the base column. The central Moondial is the beginnings of the “Ornate” version, which will appear in the four sizes mentioned, and unlike the others can be walked beneath when large enough. It showcases cool, glowing “Aetheric Energy” elements that typify some of the more arcane/technological devices in our game, such as the orbital rings of the moons, and the magically-projected celestial dome that surrounds the construct as a whole in which the constellations can be seen.

I hope you all enjoy these so far. Stay tuned, and I’ll update this thread with more images and progress descriptions as I keep working on them!

Take care everyone!

Scottie ^_^


  1. WindSilvermoonWindSilvermoon

    I love these (begins to put money away for moondial madness or is it March moondial Madness..) The color schemes are awesome and I’m already planning spaces for these! Beautiful artwork.

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