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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!


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Everything posted by Dan

  1. Hi all, As you are reading this you are most likely wondering about "what's going on": with myself, Flamefrost and other things. Considering my increasingly rare appearances online it is only fair if some of you started thinking that Flamefrost is dead. So I've decided that it is equally fair that I provide you with an honest update and not keep anyone in the dark. Years 2018 and 2019 were an absolutely wild roller coaster ride for me and the Epic Dragon: we've seen both good times and bad, had a bunch of really happy moments and some outright depressing ones. Some of you know that we've attempted to rebuild "Domination: Earth" (our other mobile game) using the Unity engine and a team of 3rd party developers, which ultimately ended in a disaster and a huge financial loss, and we've had to shut down Flamefrost as we couldn't afford running it anymore. We've also lost the team that was supposed to rebuild Flamefrost, so everything returned back to my desk and the development stalled. However, things are slowly starting to get back to normal and I would like to officially state that Flamefrost is not dead. It will most likely never be the same and I do not know when, but it will be back. I have made a decision to revamp its graphics engine, make it a lot more lightweight and get rid of the aspects that demand the ludicrously expensive hardware for the servers. I have also re-purposed the Unity engine that we acquired for "Domination: Earth" and will use it as a new server-side rendering mechanism for our characters. This means some drastic changes to the game's content, character appearance will now be based around pre-configured models that do not change (equipping new items will no longer affect the visible 3D model) and it also means that every single one of our existing 3D characters will have to go: unfortunately, our old models are completely incompatible with Unity. Yep, this means that every single creature of the world will be remade. The good news is that our new characters will most likely be a bit prettier and "more HD" overall: as I do not have a 3D artist in my team anymore I have invested into some characters created by a 3rd party studio, so at this moment in time we already have a complete set of beautiful creatures that will repopulate the new world of Naerath. This also means that all playable races will change: existing veterans of Flamefrost will have to face a choice of either to be converted to one of the new races (without losing the accumulated progress) or start from scratch in a new(ish) world. Despite all these exciting developments there is still an enormous amount of work to do (it will take me weeks just to replace all of the existing combat NPCs of the world and that's the easiest part of development), so I honestly cannot foresee how long this will take, whether it's going to be months or even years. Because of that I just cannot ask you to stick around the forum any longer to wait for more news and I will email you personally instead once something changes (e.g. a release date becomes known). Our Facebook page will also be updated. So this is it! Please post if you have any questions (as I am still checking the forum ) and as always, I am really grateful for you being part of this community!
  2. 2019 Status Update

    It will be character by character indeed; I am planning to introduce an in-game "character conversion facility" that will pop-up upon your first login.
  3. 2019 Status Update

    Hey @Cajunfried2016! All is well, thank you! Too much work,too little time, as always. Continuing to juggle a dozen of different things and jobs to keep things alive! What about yourself?
  4. 2019 Status Update

    Nope, we're still going to have a single realm as from our previous experience splitting players into two separate worlds is confusing and doesn't really work well. Old characters will be converted to the new format (preserving their levels etc.); how exactly that's going to happen I will explain closer to the launch.
  5. 2019 Status Update

    Welcome back! I do remember you among our first players indeed! I believe that all combat loading should improve greatly since I've removed pretty much all elements that required constant re-rendering on our servers and there's a very efficient caching system in place now coupled with a global content delivery network. So if you quit because of the loading times or freezes I would definitely recommend trying out the new version. Unfortunately though, as mentioned in my original post, at the moment I do not know when the release will happen. I've made some great progress in the last few weeks and feel very optimistic about the launch, but at the same time there's a large number of features that are still being rebuilt and I am nowhere near completion. I promise to message & email you personally though when I acquire any time estimates!
  6. 2019 Status Update

    Among other things, yes! Skills, character levels, inventory items, settlements structures & population, and other things you've worked hard for.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 ).
  9. 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!
  10. 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?
  11. 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!
  12. 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 ).
  13. 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!
  14. 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.
  15. 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"!
  16. 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!
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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/"!
  20. Aww! Thanks, @Cajunfried2016, that is actually very inspiring news!
  21. 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.
  22. 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!
  23. 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.
  24. 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 :)).
  25. 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.