Update of the Avatar #242 – 2017.25.08: Crooked Shank and Norgard Garments (cont.), Magic Tricks!, R45 Telethon, Free Trial Ends Aug. 30, Hiring Web Dev, Elven Flash Sale, Contest Winners, and More!

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

Game Development

News Announcements

Community Updates


Making of Crooked Shank (cont.)

We are focusing the next few releases on building the lower tier scenes near the cities along the paths of Truth and Courage. Most of these scenes have been clones of other scenes and will now be replaced with completely original scenes. In Release 46 one of these scenes being updated will be Crooked Shank which is a mountainous area in the Verdantis region.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Down the road, out of town:

The Mayor of Crooked Shank’s office:

Interiors of some of the homes:

The Twin Fountains Bed and Breakfast:

More to come! Thanks for following our progress!

Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski
World Builder


New Norgard Garments (cont.)

We have begun creating the Viking-inspired clothing for the NPCs in the Northwest regions of Novia, including Norgard and Verdantis. This will complement the already established architectural character of the region and help to better define the area as a whole. We are creating garments for Guards, Citizens, and Merchants/Nobility, all of whom “courageously” display the color yellow which everyone knows drives the Kobolds mad, or so they say.

For the current Release 44 we updated the Guards in the Norgard and Verdantis region. In the upcoming R45 we are working on the other NPCs (Citizens, Upper Classes), as well as the Barbarians. Get a look at the following models that show off the new hairstyles and female NPC designs!

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Fletcher “Scathanna” Kinnear]

More updates! Added new hairstyle, more female NPCs, and updated the colour palette a bit: 


Magic Tricks!

Richard “Lord British” Garriott is a magician and a huge fan of magic. Magic was even performed at his wedding where he and his bride Laetitia levitated! In honor of his love for magic we created several magic emotes and a tuxedo with tails for the Lord British Birthday Telethon last month.

Our visual effects artist Damon Waldrip created a sneak peek video of these items for your viewing pleasure this week. Check it out:

More videos and livestream recordings at www.youtube.com/portalarium.


R45 Postmortem Mini-Telethon – Sep. 6

Greetings Avatars,

Release 45’s Postmortem Mini-Telethon is going to be Oktoberfest themed in honor of our new Munich, Germany based publishing partners – Travian Games! They will be helping us kick off the livestream. As we announced last month, they are partnering with us to bring Shroud of the Avatar to other regions around the world. Travian Games is lucky enough to be headquartered where THE Oktoberfest happens every year in September, hence our choice of the theme.

This latest telethon continues our new monthly Postmortem Mini-Telethon format, as announced for Release 44 last month. See below for the details!

LIVESTREAM SCHEDULE (Central Time Zone)

Telethons are livestreamed on Twitch and include answers to your gameplay questions, world building tours, prize giveaways, sales on items, and more! See what we have planned below beginning at 3:00 PM CT on September 6:

  • 3:00 PM: Introductions and Travian Games Visitors
  • 3:30 PM: R45 Postmortem Q&A
  • 4:30 PM: World Building Tour
  • 5:30 PM: Postmortem Q&A Continues
  • 7:00 PM: End of Mini-Telethon!
Schedule is subject to change. Check back here before the livestream begins!

 

STRETCH GOALS (Oktoberfest Themed!)

As a special bonus, we are offering funding rewards to any backer that pledges a minimum of $5 for twelve hours during the day of the telethon, on September 6 from 12:00 PM CT to 11:59 PM CT (Spending Store Credit to make $5 minimum purchase does not apply) .

NOTE: While the livestream ends at 7pm CT, everyone will have until 11:59 PM CT to spend $5 to get the stretch goals. We will announce the final total on the following day.

  • $10K: Virtue Bierkrug (aka Beer Stein) (NOTE: image is placeholder)
  • $25K: Virtue Oktoberfest Beer/Pretzel/Sausage Banner
  • $35K: Virtue Oktoberfest Tent with Garland Decoration hanging from ceiling
  • $50K: Virtue Dirndl: traditional female Bavarian outfit
  • $65K: Virtue Lederhosen: traditional male Bavarian outfit
  • $80K: Virtue Flaming Tuba

CHEER ON THE DEVS!

StarrDancingFor 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! The wheel will have 12 different categories of sales plus the Lord British and Darkstarr wildcards where they get to choose any category! Each time a category comes up it will go on sale at approx. 20% off for 1 hour.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE FLASH SALES:

WIN THESE GREAT PRIZES!

  • Bank Upgrades
  • COTOs
  • Store Credit
  • RelicsbyRild.com merchandise
  • and a bunch of items we will announce on the livestream!

We will be giving prizes away on an hourly basis with many being given away multiple times. If you wish to win prizes during the event, be in Discord chat! We will be active on Twitch and YouTube chats as well, but they will not be our portal for prize giveaways.

EXPIRING ITEMS

This telethon we will have no expiring items.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS!

We will be answering questions throughout the livestream, so submit them in the comments section of the original post or on Discord chat during the event. Questions and feedback related to each segment 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. Please keep it to 3 total questions in the comments section below.

Keep an eye on @ShroudofAvatar for updates before, during, and after the livestream. See you on Twitch at 3:00 PM CT on September 6!

SotA_PG13

Warning: Telethon is Rated PG-13 for Alcoholic Content
(might get upgraded to Rated-R depending on rate of pledges)


Portalarium is Hiring: Web Developer

We currently have an opening for a Web Developer for Shroud of the Avatar. Qualifications for the ideal candidate are:

  • Minimum 5 years industry experience
  • *nix experience (OpenBSD or Linux)
  • Web development experience (PHP, web services, JavaScript)
  • Relational database architecture experience (MySql preferred)
  • Server deployment and cluster orchestration (virtual and/or dedicated machines)
  • Server load balancing, traffic prioritization, etc.
  • Extensive experience with server security
  • Strong debugging skills
  • Ability to work in unstructured, non-hierarchical environment
  • BONUS SKILLS (any one or more of these):
    • NoSQL experience
    • Strong C#/C++ skills
    • Windows programming experience
    • ASP.NET
    • Mac development
    • MMO game development experience
    • Minimum of at least 1 shipped game

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


Free Trial Test #5 Ends on Aug. 30!

Free Trial Test #5 continues and will run from August 9th thru the 30th. As with our previous tests this will let us continue to gather data about uptake, drop-off, conversions, etc. These tests are invaluable for us in order to improve the New User Experience and the Free Trial System.

Free Trial access allows you to play the entire game in any of the Online modes with a few key differences in game play. You will be able to explore hundreds of scenes, talk with thousands of players, adventure through the opening quests, and gain experience and skills as you get used to the world of New Britannia!

Join us in New Britannia for free!


QA Server Access Now Open to All Players

As we mentioned last month in the QA Server Policy Change post, starting with Release 45, we are opening up access to the QA server to everyone who has purchased access to the game, not just members with Developer+ access. Note that access to the QA server does not include trial accounts.

Each month, we set up a forum section that hosts discussion of topics related to the QA server. This section has previously been added to the Dev+ forum section, but we are now setting up the QA forums immediately below the current Live release forums.

QA server testing periods are usually about a week before the build goes to the live server. On the day of the release on the Live server (R45 due this Aug. 31), the QA forums will be archived, just like the previous Live release forums are archived on these days.

Keep watch in the forums for the latest QA server instructions for downloading and accessing the build. Thanks Avatars for helping out here!


Shroud at PAX Dev

If you are attending PAX Dev be sure to see Starr “Darkstarr” Long’s talk: ‘Evolution of Crowdsharing: Sourcing, Funding, and Equity’ at 11:45 AM PDT on August 30 in the Fifth Avenue Room in the Westin Seattle Hotel:

Working with communities has expanded beyond a mere feedback loop between developers and players. In the last decade this relationship has formalized with the growth of Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and marketplaces like the Unity Asset Store. Most recently communities can even gain ownership via equity platforms like Seed Invest. Using projects like Shroud of the Avatar, 25 year game veteran Starr Long will describe this evolution of Crowdsharing and share techniques.


Shroud at Dragon Con

If you are attending Dragon Con this year you will have plenty of chances to see Richard Garriott and Starr Long as they are on 11 different panels between the Video Game TrackSpace Track and other miscellaneous tracks.

  • Friday Sept 1: 10:00 AM EDT
    • Future of Video Gaming: What’s next in video games? What new technologies are on the horizon and who’s making it happen?
    • Panelists: Starr Long
    • Location: Augusta E-G – Westin
  • Friday Sept 1: 01:00 PM EDT
    • Androids and Automatons: This presentation will cover the history of artificial life from the ancient Greeks to modern automata artists. Techniques for creating your own automata will also be shared.
    • Panelists: Brett King, Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, Anthony Francis
    • Location: Augusta – Sheraton
  • NEW TIME/DAY: Friday Sept 1: 04:00 PM EDT
    • Avoiding Tropes and Stereotypes: Panelists will identify common pitfalls that lead to boring plot lines and unoriginal characters and discuss ways to avoid them.
    • Panelists: Alison Carrier, Starr Long, David Haddock
    • Location: Augusta E-G – Westin
  • Friday Sept 1: 04:00 PM EDT
    • How to Write the Game Everybody Wants: If your goal is to write a game the gaming masses will love, be here for this panel! Experts share their experience & knowledge to help you on your journey.
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux
    • Location: International North – Hyatt
  • Friday Sept 1: 05:30 PM EDT
    • An Hour with Lord British: A deeper dive into the past and future adventures of Lord British covering subjects like the Ultima franchise, space travel, deep sea exploration, IP development, and game design principles. There will also be a discussion of Richard’s new book, “Explore and Create”
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, Jason Gonding
    • Location: Augusta B-D – Westin
  • Friday Sept 1: 07:00 PM EDT
    • Space Tourism: Private Access Needs Private Destinations: Commercial space launches for private citizens are not far in the future but where are they going to go? Russia can give access to their section of the ISS but not something they will do unless they are paid for bringing that person up. Not happening these days so what’s left?
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux
    • Location: 212-213 – Hilton
  • Saturday Sept 2: 11:30 AM EDT
    • Behind the Scenes of Commercial Space: Rocket launches seem to get all the news regarding commercial space but that encompasses just a few big name companies. Many smaller companies lay behind the scenes pushing forward the needs for commercial space and what makes it go.
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, A.C. Charania, Sam Ortega, David J. Hewitt, Andy Dykes, Laura Seward Forczyk
    • Location: 212-213 – Hilton
  • Saturday Sept 2: 02:30 PM EDT
    • World Building 101: We examine different takes on world building, whether it be for a game, movie, or video game! What does it take to create a believable, breathing world?
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, TBD
    • Location: Centennial I – Hyatt
  • Sunday Sept 3: 10:00 AM EDT
    • Living & Working on the ISS: Being in the Space Station is cool! Flying through the modules in zero gravity, ask anyone who’s been there – they’d do it again! But it’s not always easy & if you’re there you’ve got work to do!
    • Panelists: Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux, Garrett Reisman, Rebecca Kim
    • Location: Grand East – Hilton
  • Sunday Sept 3: 01:00 PM EDT
    • Shroud of the Avatar Q&A: Lord British will provide a development update and host an open Q&A on the current status of his latest project.
    • Panelists: Starr Long, Richard Lord British Garriott de Cayeux
    • Location: Augusta B-D – Westin
  • NEW TIME: Monday Sept 4: 11:30 AM EDT
    • Crowdfunding – How to Successfully Kickstart Your Game: Join industry professionals who have successfully kickstarted games in a discussion on what worked and didn’t work for them, followed by Q&A.
    • Panelists: Starr Long, David Haddock, Mark Jacobs
    • Location: Augusta B-D – Westin


Weekend Flash Sale: Elves

In celebration of the new Elite (female) Elves going live in Release 45, we are putting all Elven items on sale this weekend including all Elven bundles!

Get a look at the items on sale below. You can also view each item individually in the Add-On Store:


Upcoming Events Calendar

Aug 9 – 30, 2017 – Free Trial 5
Aug 30, 2017 – PAX Dev Panel
Aug 31, 2017 – Release 45
Sept 1 – 4, 2017 – Dragon Con
Sept 22 – 23, 2017 – Ultima Online 20th Anniversary Party
Sept 28, 2017 – Release 46
Sept 29 – Oct 1, 2017 – IgroMir Expo (Moscow)
Oct 13 – 15, 2017 – SotA Con – Austin 2017
Oct 26, 2017 – 
Release 47

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.


Community Trailer Contest Winners Announced!

Wow! We had another outstanding community trailer contest. All the trailers were truly fantastic and a pleasure to watch with each presenting the game in true splendor. Our team struggled mightily in narrowing down who won, as each entry was quite unique.

The winning entrees are presented today in two separate categories (Full Length and 30 Seconds):
  

Full Length Trailers

1st Place goes to Antrax for ‘Welcome to New Britannia’:

Antrax receives: $1,000 Store Credit, an in-game title, and a thank you letter from Lord British
  

2nd Place goes to Net for ‘Welcome to New Britannia’:

Net receives: $500 Store Credit, an in-game title
  

3rd Place goes to Engineer for ‘Cradle to Grave’:

Engineer receives: $300 Store Credit, an in-game title

30 Second Videos

1st Place goes to Selene for ‘Welcome to Novia!!!’:

Selene receives: $250 Store Credit, an in-game title, and a thank you letter from Lord British
  

2nd Place goes to That_Shawn_Guy for ‘Welcome to New Britannia’:

That_Shawn_Guy receives: $150 Store Credit, an in-game title
  

3rd Place goes to Dhanas for ‘Your Destiny Awaits’:

Dhanas receives: $100 Store Credit, an in-game title

You can view all entries in the contest in a playlist at youtube.com/portalarium. Note that the order of the trailers in the playlist is not in order of those we selected, except for the top 3 winners placed at the top of the list.

Congrats again to the winners, and to all that created a beautiful Shroud of the Avatar trailer for the community! For more about the contest, visit the Contest Announcement Article.


Livestream: Exploring Longfall Woods

Chris “Sea-Wolf” Wolf came back on the livestream to show you more of his latest design work! We kicked off the stream with Sea-Wolf driving the master build machine around the nearly complete polish work of Longfall Woods.

We are focusing the next few releases on building the lower tier scenes near the cities along the paths of Truth and Courage. Most of these scenes have been clones of other scenes and will now be replaced with completely original scenes. In Release 45 one of these scenes is Longfall Woods which is a heavily forested area near Aerie in the Longfall region.

For more about Longfall Woods, check out Sea-Wolf’s recent Dev+ blog update in the forums. Not a Dev+ member? You can either get access through Bundles in the store, or check out excerpts of his blog on any of the Weekly Updates.

For more livestreams, be sure to subscribe to www.youtube.com/portalarium


Spotlight: Arx Draconis Player Town

This week’s Player Owned Town spotlight has us traveling to Arx Draconis to visit this beautiful island town, conveniently located in central Novia. Described as a large, walled, fortress city with a castle in the middle that’s perched upon a mountain. Arx Draconis is the home of The Syndicate (www.LLTS.org).

Hundreds of members from The Syndicate visited our studio in Austin earlier this month, giving us a unique chance to talk to them about their in-game adventures! We found out that for over 21 years of its existence, The Syndicate has been featured in two books, listed in the Guinness World Record as the longest lived guild, and mentioned in SotA’s story and lore.

Read on as The Syndicate takes you on a tour of their town in Novia…

[Read More…]


Featured Event: August’s RPOTA Monthly $155 Writing Contest

RPOTA Writing Contest

Hear ye! Hear ye! Biographers, Historians, Diplomats, Journalists, Story Writers, Quest Designers, Videographers and Musicians! RPOTA.COM is in dire need of your amazing talents! Role-Players of the Avatar is hosting a monthly contest to award those most famous with their quill, camera, piano or lute! Simply have your creations submitted by midnight of the last day of every month to be eligible for that month’s contest! See Elgarion for (details)


Resources – Players Helping Players

SotA_NewPlayerWelcome_Forum

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.


Recommended Projects to Support – Denis Loubet Patreon

Our good friend Denis Loubet, and the one responsible for Shroud of the Avatar’s cover art and almost every piece of cover art for Ultima, as well as many other art pieces in SotA’s early days of development, is now running his own project. Denis is creating more Science Fiction and Fantasy Art for you to enjoy. Check it out over at Patreon!

If you remember the Ultima series of computer games, I’m the guy that did most of the covers and the manual illustrations, as well as a lot of the in-game art and animation. I’ve been doing game art since the 80s for companies such as Steve Jackson Games, Hero Games, Origin Systems Inc, Kingsisle, Disney, and many more.

I want to try doing art directly for my fans, with no middleman. That’s the reason for this Patreon project.


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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