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      WANTED: ROLEPLAY-ERS   09/04/18

      A new roleplay section has been added to the forum.  Jump back into Naerath in a whole new way!

Dan

Game Masters
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Everything posted by Dan

  1. Hi all, You may have heard rumours about me planning to temporarily switch off Flamefrost in order to build a new and enhanced version that will be relaunched in the future. These rumours are indeed true: we've planned a similar relaunch in the past with "Flamefrost 2.0" when we had the idea to replace all tactical battles with real-time exploration mode. Unfortunately, I never got to finishing that development as it was just too time-demanding and other priorities (or games) came first. I've made a decision to turn things around this time and recruited some help: our new team is currently working on building a brand new "Domination: Earth" (in case you don't know what I am talking about it is another game published by us, Epic Dragon: https://domination.earth) that is planned to be relaunched in a similar fashion in December 2018. But once they're done with DE I want to do a complete visual overhaul of Flamefrost to make sure it is a decent competition to the other games and can attract a wider audience of players. It will be a mammoth task and take a long time to complete, but at least this way Flamefrost stands a chance of surviving and growing instead of just dwindling away and running solely for the existing fans & veterans of it. Unfortunately, it does mean that I need to bring the game offline as our budget is insufficient to both run Flamefrost and have a game development team work on the project at the same time. We do not have an exact date yet of when Flamefrost will be taken offline, but it will happen sometime in August and I will post again closer to when it's about to happen. Just to confirm: the rebuild is aimed at visual elements only and no game mechanics is planned to change in a drastic manner, so all of your currently accumulated progress and characters will remain. If for some reason we do decide to change the underlying game elements I will do my best to transition your characters/settlements/possessions into the new game format as closely as possible and issue the appropriate rewards for any losses (although I certainly hope there will be none ). I know that this news will come as unpleasant surprise to most of you and I apologize for any inconvenience caused, but I also hope for your understanding of our situation: I truly hope that this is the only way forward. As always, please post or message me if you have any questions or concerns.
  2. Hey all, A small heads up: in the next few days our community (this forum) may become unavailable as I will be migrating all the software to a new server: we may have found a much more cost-effective way to host this and all the other websites (including "Domination: Earth"), so we are going to give it a go. Moving every single domain, database and setting to a brand new provider is going to be a lot of work, so it is hard to estimate how long this would take, but I'll do my best to reduce downtime to the minimum. If at some point you cannot access the website for more than a few hours please send me a message on our Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/flamefrostlegacy ).
  3. Merry Christmas, folks! It's unbelievable how fast the time flies, feels like only yesterday we've had an in-game Christmas event in Flamefrost... 2018 has been full of crazy surprises and it is sad that there won't be an in-game event this Christmas, but here's to getting back on track in 2019! * raises a stein * Thank you everyone for being part of our community and I really hope to see you next year!
  4. Proof Positive!!!

    Yup, to Perth! All details in this thread That is awesome; didn't realize we have Australians in Flamefrost! Are you from the west coast too by any chance?
  5. Proof Positive!!!

    Affirmative! Yeah, still learning the "Australian language" with all the thongs on people's feet and barbies in the garden... but it is very much English indeed!
  6. Lol! Fair enough! As ridiculous as it sounds, probably weather! I just realized that as a solar-powered person (I am practically a lizard) I'm getting extremely depressed in Norwich at times, where it's grey, rainy and miserable most of the year: Summer is super-short (and it's usually a Wednesday), there's never any snow for Christmas and I keep having to explain to my son why we can't (and I don't want to) go outside for a walk. So yeah, maybe it's my manifestation of the midlife crisis, but I've decided that if we aren't getting snow for Christmas I want to change my life and at least be closer to a nice beach. I actually feel a lot more productive too now having seen the bright blue sky for more than 7 days in a row. Yep! I tried launching a browser-based version, but the majority of desktop devices have no GPS chips so the game gets pretty pointless and boring (as your "current location" never changes ).
  7. Thanks for your feedback, Weyah! As always, it is very inspiring for me personally! I also have to apologize for disappearing in the last month+; I didn't get a chance to post about it yet, but there's been a major change of circumstances in my life: my family and I moved to Western Australia (Perth), which was insanely difficult in all aspects (also far from over!) and disruptive for development. Not only I had very little time to do anything but pack and move all my stuff 15,000km away (me pushing 5 suitcases through the airport was quite a sight), I've also had zero internet connection until this morning (posting on this forum is literally the 2nd thing I did after announcing that I am alive to all the relatives). Despite the fact that there's still a lot of moving to do I already have a chair and a desk, so I'm planning to return to game development very soon. There is a huge backlog of tasks for "Domination: Earth", but I will do my best to dedicate some time to Flamefrost as well. I also want to say a huge "thank you!" to all of you again for your continuous support and patience, it's incredibly motivating to have you guys around!
  8. Not everything, but I've been struggling with this particular dilemma for quite some time! This could work, but we have to remember that weapons are also part of the set! I.e. a recognizable wizard outfit with a classic staff of some sort changing into a more legendary version of the same class makes sense, but it may look a bit more confusing if originally you wore a robe and a staff, and your looks changed into a full plate + sword & shield after equipping some heavy armour (despite the fact that you still have a staff item equipped as a primary weapon). This would also mean that all classes look exactly the same, just the race & gender remain as the unique distinguishing features. The armour sets will make all classes visually equal.
  9. We did both, actually! Everything you ever encountered did get cached locally (which is why subsequent loadings were faster and sometimes even instant), but that wasn't enough; new combinations were still encountered on a regular basis and there are strict limits on disk space your browser's cache may consume. Erasing server-side cache is only going to make things slightly worse, as with billions of cached sprites that we had it would mean a much more frequent re-rendering of things; too few models are actually "unused" (unused things don't get cached in the first place ). Reducing the number of individual models isn't going to help completely; unfortunately, even a few dozen basic components produce millions of combinations that can't be all cached in the client! And anything that has the word "custom" in it makes the situation much worse, i.e. if we allow players to customize appearance of an item our billions of sprites transform into a number with crazy amount of zeroes. So the only viable solution is to reduce the number of "whole 3D sets" and eliminate the ability to combine items. I believe what you're suggesting is close to what I had in mind. So far the solution I'm leaning towards is to have 5 character visualisation "tiers" per class (and per gender / race too, of course), one per item "quality", e.g.: - Incantatrix (Junk) - Incantatrix (Common) - Incantatrix (Uncommon) - Incantatrix (Rare) - Incantatrix (Legendary) Equipping a sword or a crossbow won't change the way you look, but equipping all items of a particular quality will. On top of that we can indeed introduce an extra tier unlocked via platinum shop for the sake of uniqueness. I don't think we can promise more than that, as even the basic setup in this manner means 192 fully animated character models (2 genders x 4 races x 4 classes x 6 tiers), which is a crazy amount of work (perhaps I'd even exclude the "Junk" level!). Multiply that by the number of animations, multiplied by 8 directions and you can see why our sprites take up so much space. The alternative is, of course, to off-load model rendering into the client and introduce a 3D graphics engine, but I might as well build a new game from scratch as it will take years to implement! P.S. For the techies among us, I did consider WebGL and HTML5 rendering capabilities, but unfortunately browser-based 3D rendering is still in a very raw state and miles away from usable in a MMO. Your browser will die during any form of a medium-scale battle with multiple characters and spell effects on the screen. Plus all textures and lighting effects would be fairly basic and moderately ugly! So our only two options are either "fewer character variations" or "build a 3D graphics engine based Flamefrost"!
  10. Thanks, @Weyah! Your feedback is very inspiring (as always! ) and I keep mentioning that players like yourself are one of the reasons I worked on FFL for so long; very little in this project is and was about money (although it would be nice to stop worrying about server costs, of course ). It is the long-term hardware cost that is the problem! I'm not worried about one-off designing costs as I know a number of good people who can do it for a very reasonable price. However, the bottleneck lies in the following two aspects: 1) Storage and network traffic. As you know, we have roughly 8 equipment slots where you can put an item that will affect your character's appearance (e.g. you equip a sword and you now see a sword). Once a new item is equipped the 3D model is rendered (from all angles and for all animations) and cached on disk, which creates hundreds of tiny images. However, once you equip anything else (e.g. a helmet) this process is repeated, as otherwise you'd still see the old character wearing that same sword and no helmet. In the end, due to the sheer number of equipment combinations the amount of images cached and transferred across to your browsers becomes astronomical; on the last day of FFL's operation we've consumed 4TB of cloud space with player character cache alone (and that still didn't include all possible combinations!). And that translates into approx. $500 per month (and growing) to store and even more to transfer all the materials (i.e. every time a player downloads that character for preview, exploration mode or tactical battles it's considered paid traffic). Because of that number it's also impossible to introduce any form of player-side caching, i.e. I can't make a game client that you download once and never see the combat loading message again, as the game client with all the pre-downloaded materials would weigh more than 4TB on your local hard drive (probably not something you can download easily on any device!). 2) CPU for real-time rendering. Once again, because of the almost infinite number of possible equipment combinations I cannot pre-render all existing characters in advance, as not only it would take roughly a year of uninterrupted rendering, but I would also need to do it again as soon as a new item or character is introduced. Not ideal! Which is why all in-game sprites are built on-demand and on the fly, whenever you enter combat and there is no cache record associated with the current equipment set already (remember the orange loading message in combat saying that "you'll only see this once"? Yup, that's it - it means you've stumbled upon a brand new combination of items that haven't been cached yet, so our server is busy creating all relevant images). Rendering multiple characters in parallel from all angles quickly enough requires powerful CPUs; it would be unacceptable to have 9 players sit in a queue for half an hour because player #10 is still being rendered. So purely because we have that ability to see equipped items in combat (both exploration and tactical), as well as inside the travel mode's preview/inspect, the monthly cost of running FFL approaches thousands of dollars. But just to avoid misunderstandings: it's not the item preview itself that is bad, it's the ability to see every item individually in conjunction with all other items on your character's model. If you always saw the same character model regardless of the equipped items both issues #1 and #2 would not exist and FFL would be fairly inexpensive to maintain. So yes, the brainstorm continues!
  11. I've been working on reducing the cost of FFL servers in the last few weeks; the biggest challenge remains the 3D animated graphical asset build (mainly the characters with their equipment). One alternative that I keep considering is dropping the 3D item preview facility and replacing character models with 2D sprites that are pre-equipped in certain outfits (i.e. instead of seeing each equipped item separately perhaps the entire outfit would change based on the combined level of awesomeness of all equipped stuff...? E.g. each class would have 5-10 visual "tiers")... but that means that FFL's characters would need to undergo a complete visual overhaul and possibly look a bit simpler (or more "cartoonish"). The alternative is to drop some/most (?) animations and have some sort of a "D&D Miniatures" battle happen on tactical battlefields. I'm not completely comfortable with either of those options (especially considering how awful the static models would look in exploration mode), so the brainstorm continues... Any ideas are also welcome.
  12. Wanted: Roleplay

    Sounds good, let's give this a go! Forum created: https://community.flamefrost.com/index.php?/forum/33-roleplay/ I've always been a huge fan of D&D, so when the Flamefrost's universe was created I did not see any reason for saying "and our elves are going to live twice longer!!", so age-wise we stick to the classic standards: roughly 750-1000 years for elves, half that amount for dwarves, Tul'Rahx metabolism keeps them alive slightly longer than Humans, but very few warriors actually live to the age of 100. Temperament-wise Tul'Rahx are closer to dwarves than the other races, but are a bit less "explosive" (and way less sarcastic). In fact, an average Tul'Rahx may appear initially as quiet and a bit "unsociable"/reserved, but their "thoughtful" appearance does not necessarily indicate that they will be considerate or polite to the other speaker. Most of the time Tul'Rahx is simply trying to find a way to express their thoughts in the most concise, direct and straightforward way possible (so they're not too skilled at the art of bluffing and seldom perform well as diplomats: wordsmiths are rare among this race). Tul'Rahx don't let any negative comments slide (whether these are about their appearance, culture, heritage or anything else) and feel an obligation to defend their honour at any cost, which usually results in violent acts or use of destructive magic (aimed at teaching the offending party a lesson via means of pain; Tul'Rahx don't actually kill everyone who offends them on the spot). Of course, there are always exceptions in any race (Drizzt ), so this doesn't mean that all Tul'Rahx are the same. I hope that helps, but please let me know if you have any further questions! All is relatively well, thank you! Too much work, too little time, as usual... * sigh * Really happy to see you all around the forum though and hope that the Roleplay idea takes off!
  13. Wanted: Roleplay

    Love the idea! Wish I had a bit less development to do... * sigh * I don't think the example link works though; seems to just redirect to "snow/"!
  14. Aww! Thanks, @Cajunfried2016, that is actually very inspiring news!
  15. Flamefrost Rebuild

    Well, I do miss Flamefrost already to a similar extent even though I still have it running on my test realm where it's being developed... So I'm inclined to believe that it's all about the community.
  16. Flamefrost Rebuild

    Sorry guys, I was unable to reach my computer for the entire weekend (bonus time for everyone )! The servers are now offline. Same here!
  17. Flamefrost Rebuild

    No objections, but it may be tricky to convert all the data back and forth constantly! Would you be interested in trying to install a complete replica of our database on your laptop from the source code? Development version of MySQL doesn't require too much RAM (you can actually limit it yourself via settings), but combined with a GUI it's almost as good as Libreoffice or Excel (but with the ability to represent all in-game data accurately and easily export it to FF production). Please give it a go and if that doesn't work we'll think of something else.
  18. Flamefrost Rebuild

    Nope, the forum is going to remain, otherwise I have no place for all my announcements (other than Facebook that no one reads :)).
  19. Flamefrost Rebuild

    No problem at all; do you remember the item templates example I posted? If you still aren't utterly discouraged by that ugly table I can provide you with access to our production database(s) (there's more than one ) if you'd like to try learning by looking at the actual working thing. I may not be able to provide you with a write access straight away, as I don't add anything directly to production database myself (we have the in-game "GM commands" for that) and there are security policies preventing that, but if any of you guys are really interested in adding new content and not afraid of the enormous mess I've made over the years there are several options available: 1) You can send new content in an Excel / Google Sheets / CSV file format after you familiarize yourself with the database structure using an Excel-like software for MySQL (e.g. Navicat, it has a free trial!). 2) If you know MySQL and have worked with databases before, you can setup a local MySQL server on your computer, import a copy of our database there and send me updated exports later. 3) I can look into launching a small test realm that will not support battles or 3D character rendering (that's the most expensive bit ), but will allow to try out quests, items and other stuff in travel mode. In a realm like that I'd be happy to provide you a full write access to break whatever your heart desires, but I need to check if this option is at all possible as the "semi-free" servers on the cloud are really rubbish and may not have enough RAM to run Flamefrost. Even if they do the game will run extremely slow, so this may not be the best approach (I would prefer for us to start with options 1/2 initially). @Tanzer my database access offer extends to you too automatically.
  20. Flamefrost Rebuild

    That is correct, the main problem though is our insanely complicated database structure; it's really hard for someone to learn in order to add non-random quests and dialogues. I've tried it with a bunch of people, everyone gave up in the end with next to no results. I also started working on a "visual editor" for this as suggested by Tanzer, but once again, simplifying our data tree and presenting it on a user interface turned out to be a greater challenge than anticipated (it would take a few months to finish it). However, I would love to add a main story into Flamefrost, that has always been in my task list. As for the shutdown: I believe we can estimate it to happen on Saturday the 11th of August, but I'll post again if anything changes / gets postponed!
  21. NPS and Attributes

    It doesn't sound like something that was planned by design! Either the settler's original set of attributes didn't save for some reason and they've decided to do a "reset" or you should really review the education system in your settlement! I'll investigate when I get a chance.
  22. Unavailablw for a few days...

    Oh no! Damn machines keep finding opportunities to rise up against us!
  23. Stolen Souls dungeon

    Hmm... usually this means that the other player didn't manage to damage the boss enough to get the kill! I.e. if you entered the combat, but remained a spectator or were simply casting support spells (such as healing) on your companion you will not be considered to be the boss's killer, you have to deal at least some damage to it! Unfortunately, the only recommendation in this case would be to join this dungeon with another group (who hasn't slain the boss yet) and fight it again, making sure that some offensive abilities are used on the boss this time.
  24. Henchmen/Women vs Settler help

    Well, anyone who hates you will not travel with you; you have to have a positive relationship to travel together in the first place. In general, settlers are supposed to be a slightly more powerful version of each henchman. They do not take any of your gold and are completely "free" as companions, but unlike regular henchmen they do not revive and re-appear in your group automatically upon death. Once your settler is slain their body is returned to their original village where you have to use one of your temples to bring them back to life. As for whom to take with you... it's a matter of taste, really! Each character has their own "build" and different abilities; clerics do heal, nobles may have a set of more "defensive" abilities, sociopaths are a bit more "explosive" and so on and so forth. I say try them all out!
  25. Hi all, It's been a while since the last update, so I thought it's time to change that. Please welcome 1.8.6, which should prompt you to perform a hard refresh via Ctrl+F5 shortly, featuring the following changes: It is now possible to equip any of your henchmen (including every single member of your settlement population) using the "Equip" option (in the same window where the "Talk" button appears usually). Please note that if you currently have any henchmen/settlers in your group you will have to dismiss them and re-hire again for the new feature to activate. The appearance of NPCs equipped in new items will not change, but the characters will benefit from armour, damage and elemental resistance bonuses. Additionally, equipping them with elemental weapons will switch their melee damage type as well (in the same way this affects players). It is not possible to force NPCs use ranged weapons if they don't possess any relevant abilities (e.g. Kerthemon the Smith will not shoot bows or crossbows and can only benefit from melee weapons). It is not possible for NPCs to equip secondary weapons, but you can equip trinkets and both rings. You will now see that each NPC has their own unique combination of Strength, Dexterity and Intellect growing with each level. Every NPC chooses their own build, so their numbers will vary. However, certain characters are predisposed to certain builds and will distribute their attribute points accordingly (e.g. Kerthemon will spend most of his points on Strength). NPC Equipment window only displays the base attributes of this character (without enchantments), as these are used to meet item requirements. However, any items with attribute enchantments (e.g. bonus to strength) still work in combat and will increase that character's damage output. Non-combat characters (e.g. Morton the Cook) can still be equipped, but you will not see their character model in the equipment preview window. Consider them as "extra inventories", since they can't really use any armour or weapons equipped. Any equipped items are permanent and will remain with this character indefinitely (you can dismiss and re-hire all characters without losing their equipment). However, please remember that if you upset one of your followers (e.g. because your settlement's dwellers are unhappy about your rule) and they decide to leave all of the equipped items will leave with them; a settler that is mad at you will not bother returning your gifts back to you. Please let me know if you have any questions and I hope that this update makes your companion travels a bit more diverse (and unwanted loot - more useful)!
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