Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Hyperion

      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!
Cajunfried2016

Update on search for temporary FF substitute game!

Recommended Posts

On 26/08/2018 at 1:43 PM, Cajunfried2016 said:

I have not found a suitable temporary substitute! Conclusion: There are none!

Aww!
Thanks, @Cajunfried2016, that is actually very inspiring news! :D

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 26/08/2018 at 7:43 PM, Cajunfried2016 said:

I have not found a suitable temporary substitute! Conclusion: There are none!

i thought you'd be giving links.

sad.jpg.49ba505575c7455986e35cfeb93c4bc6.jpg

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And there is no 

On 8/26/2018 at 8:43 AM, Cajunfried2016 said:

I have not found a suitable temporary substitute! Conclusion: There are none!

Indeed..there are NO substitutes ! 

I have searched myself and all other games are lame ! 

I need FFL !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Weyah said:

I need FFL !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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. :)
Image result for d&d miniatures

 

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. ;)

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the main cost here the cost to have a programmer design it, or the cost to have the server display it?

...  Dropping the 3D preview altogether might be an option since you would still see it in Exploration Mode, albeit a little smaller.  I don't know if just removing the "spin" option from the 3D viewer would be of any significance?  Or a top-down view in exploration mode?  I'm not overly concerned with games' graphics (I play MUDs), so any suggestions I make here should be taken with a pound of salt.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Dan said:

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. :)
Image result for d&d miniatures

 

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. ;)

Dan, I know this is difficult for you especially since there are only (atm) a handfull of us that were hard core FFL players (unless you count all of Andvarri's alts *snortgiggles* ) . However, it was getting busy there for a wee bit ! I really still believe that FFL will be one of the top games...I know in my heart it will succeed. I have always felt that and will continue to. Call it a Wayfinder hunch.  I really don't mean to sound whinny Dan. It is just that I fell in love with the game, and I have played many ! There is just nothing out there like FFL and that is why I miss it so. Putting the family/friend aspect aside FFL really is a spectacular game. I tried to go back and play WOW and found it lame and unsatisfying. Can't put my finger on just one part of FFL that made it so fun, I just know it is awesome. A player can never, ever get bored ! So much to do in game. I know that I can speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate all that you did and are doing Dan. And that is another thing that makes FFL such a great game, you ! You can tell when a creator puts their heart into a game, a rare happening imho.

I know it sounds odd but this IS me we are talking about, from the first moment I played I could feel that your heart went into creating FFL.  It was not just a game to make money, obviously since it was a free play game, it was a game for gamers made by a gamer. When someone puts so much effort into making a game, or anything actually, where even the smallest detail was not left undone, it shows in many ways. And I guess what I am trying to say is I/we have so much respect and are so grateful for all that you have done, in creating and trying to keep FFL going. Your heart shows in the game and was/is seen by all of us. So again, thank you Dan !

Now as far as ideas, mayhap you should sit down with a couple of juice filled sippy cups and brain storm with the Dragon Nugget ! Out of the mouth of babes and all that. ;) You never know what may happen ! 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 :)).

On 02/11/2018 at 10:19 PM, Hyperion said:

Is the main cost here the cost to have a programmer design it, or the cost to have the server display it?

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!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 02/11/2018 at 10:19 PM, Dan said:

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").

 

 

5bdfd9b0e758f_doit.gif.dd77d6286eae6c0fba479ba710bb7a8b.gif

well, jokes aside, maybe change default naked spite into a new 3d model? a new default (naked sprite) for each class, then limit the interchangeable sprite amount into weapon and shields.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll settle for whatever gets the game up.

I'll be the first to say I've never been "impressed" with the models that were available and none of the 3d models were capable of enough detail and uniqueness that I felt it was necessary to improve my gear for that purpose.

I think you could get a LOT further with "generic item appearance A" and creating vivid, truly unique cosmetic appearances.  I don't want to say cash shop cosmetics, but it's a successful business route. just don't paywall your players.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tanzer said:

I'll be the first to say I've never been "impressed" with the models that were available and none of the 3d models were capable of enough detail and uniqueness that I felt it was necessary to improve my gear for that purpose.

i disagree. at least in some parts. xD

you won't believe the time i've wasted in glimmering forest trying to find gears with decent stats and matching palletes. or trying to find a headgear that won't turn my char bald.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Robyn Banks said:

i disagree. at least in some parts. xD

you won't believe the time i've wasted in glimmering forest trying to find gears with decent stats and matching palletes. or trying to find a headgear that won't turn my char bald.

What I mean to say is, it will improve player satisfaction and eliminate the problem stated, if a variety of cosmetic appearances can be gathered through a combination of in game methods and the plat shop.. im not saying exclusively put stuff in the store and make everyone else look like peasants

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to suggest just having a cap on how long unused (over one month?) models are cached, and caching the models a player uses most often on their computer, instead of the server.  I don't have numbers at hand, but if you figure two combat gear sets and three crafting/other sets, it seems like this might reduce hard disk overhead?  It would increase the demand on the CPUs, though.

IF I understand Tanzer correctly, he's saying have basic 3D images for each tier of gear, so all junk helmets would have the same beat-up image (or pull from a pool of a few stock "junk helmet" models) and they would be customizable to a certain degree in colour/ornamentation by the player?  That sounds like a promising option, if it cuts server overhead.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Robyn Banks said:

you won't believe the time i've wasted in glimmering forest trying to find gears with decent stats and matching palletes. or trying to find a headgear that won't turn my char bald

This made my day!!! xD

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Hyperion said:

caching the models a player uses most often on their computer, instead of the server.

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. :D
So the only viable solution is to reduce the number of "whole 3D sets" and eliminate the ability to combine items.

13 hours ago, Tanzer said:

What I mean to say is, it will improve player satisfaction and eliminate the problem stated, if a variety of cosmetic appearances can be gathered through a combination of in game methods and the plat shop.. im not saying exclusively put stuff in the store and make everyone else look like peasants

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"!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Dan said:

So our only two options are either "fewer character variations" or "build a 3D graphics engine based Flamefrost"!

As per usual, Dan, it sounds like you've already thought of everything. ^_^

Instead of tying into class, what about using whichever type of armour is most prominent on the toon? I've known high-level melee classes to go with cloth armour before, for EP.  This could cut out a quarter of the combinations, as well, if you choose to make heavy/medium armour look the same.  I would be all for making junk/common the same image, too.  It gives a fun "surprise" to a new player once they finish off their first set of decent gear.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 06/11/2018 at 6:44 PM, Hyperion said:

As per usual, Dan, it sounds like you've already thought of everything. ^_^

Not everything, but I've been struggling with this particular dilemma for quite some time! :D

On 06/11/2018 at 6:44 PM, Hyperion said:

Instead of tying into class, what about using whichever type of armour is most prominent on the toon? I've known high-level melee classes to go with cloth armour before, for EP.  This could cut out a quarter of the combinations, as well, if you choose to make heavy/medium armour look the same.  I would be all for making junk/common the same image, too.  It gives a fun "surprise" to a new player once they finish off their first set of decent gear.

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.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/5/2018 at 11:58 AM, Tanzer said:

I'll settle for whatever gets the game up.

Agreed ! 

On 11/5/2018 at 11:58 AM, Tanzer said:

I think you could get a LOT further with "generic item appearance A" and creating vivid, truly unique cosmetic appearances.  I don't want to say cash shop cosmetics, but it's a successful business route. just don't paywall your players.

I have started playing Runes of Magic, for something mindless to do that will take my mind off the family issues I am having, and have chatted up FFL...naturally,  and there are cashers in game who would not mind paying a wee bit I am sure. I described FFL to them and passed on how it is played and there are definitely folk who are interested ! Oddly, they are intrigued by the settlement aspect of this game and crafting instead of murder, mayhem, and questing.  RoM is like WoW and rather boring  in my opinion, a bit of mindless playing and nothing to do outside of questing. I mean you can craft but it is a far cry from our crafting. And it is rare that there is any player interaction, seems people actually like being social which is great for those of us who like to chat and help out new players ! ;) I am not saying that there should only be certain items you can get with plats, I dislike that in any game, I Love the fact that in FFL all players have the same ability to have good weapons and armor, just maybe have bling that you can only get with plats while still allowing non-cashers an even playing field. 

FFL is a unique game with out a doubt. It has more to offer than any game I have played. And I Know it Will be successful. And you do not need to spend hours trying to understand how to play it ! It offers something for every type of gamer, from crafting to settlements; guild wars to dungeons. And one of the best group of people I have had the honor to know. No newbie ever gets hung out to dry which RoM and other games simply does not have. And a good community is important in my book. No one here, to my knowledge, just refused to help a newbie or even a regular. And I have found NO game where the creator is actually present and cares about the players and their opinions and offers help. (and will re-name your weapon Happy Bunny to humiliate those she kills).  And while I am writing a book here let me also say that this is the First game where females are treated fairly. You guys have no idea how frustrating it is to play a game and get treated like "a girl".  Like we are some bunch of dizzy headed (no offence Dizzy G lol), ignorant, oh-I-broke-a-nail, player ! You have pummeled me just like one of the guys and treated me with respect....mostly hahahaha, and I love you the more for it. And have had faith in the females enough to make us Wardens !  Again, I have so much faith that FFL Will be one of the top games around. I would say THE top game, but trying to be humble here people, which is hard as you all well know. I love this game and can not say enough about it. And as Dan has said, it really is about our community here, as well as our love for the game. It is not "just" a game. It is a family.

Okey dokey, I am done. Just had a couple things I felt I needed to say. Thanks for putting up with me !

Really do love and respect all of you....you are good people and my life is better for knowing you....though Thaugrim is suspect :D

 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Dan said:

 

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.

DAN'S A KIWI !!!!  I don't care if you have moved to "Stralia or not...the Nugget will still be the Nugget....not going to call him a Joey.......he is ours and Australia can just bite me ! :D

Why in the blueberry troll muffin did you move to Australia for Dan?  Work?  Weather? Ah......bet it was for the sausage rolls. Perth is lovely so good you're there !

You were missed as you always are but it is understandable ! Moving is never fun. And to just pull up and moved a bizillion miles away is never an enjoyable experience. And as far as we are concerned Dan, take all the time you need...we will always be here. YOU and family come first ! Although you really should post pictures so the rest of us can enjoy looking at sunshine 9_9.

 

So is DE just for the phone by-the-way?

 

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Weyah said:

DAN'S A KIWI !!!!  I don't care if you have moved to "Stralia or not...the Nugget will still be the Nugget....not going to call him a Joey.......he is ours and Australia can just bite me ! :D

 

Lol! Fair enough! :)

19 hours ago, Weyah said:

Why in the blueberry troll muffin did you move to Australia for Dan?  Work?  Weather? Ah......bet it was for the sausage rolls.

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. :D

I actually feel a lot more productive too now having seen the bright blue sky for more than 7 days in a row. :)

 

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

19 hours ago, Weyah said:

So is DE just for the phone by-the-way?

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 :)).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×