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Roadmap Comments / Concerns


Swampdog
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Based on the most recent roadmap, I have some comments, questions, and concerns.

 

1 - As easy as Sooms made it sound that making the server authoritative, I was hoping to see this earlier than four updates out. And you mentioned authoritative as far as terrain. Will this also include combat, quests, and other items that need to be authorized server-side to deter cheating? I know we want the server to control/maintain movement, but it should maintain these other things as well. Does it? Will it?

 

2 - Quests. I'm hoping the layout in the Atavism window for quest creation is just a placeholder and that we have a block (similiar to what we have here for messages) to create the quest dialog. Here is the database struct used by one of the WoW emulation servers to give some ideas on quest information they store and process. I'd love to see documentation like this for Avatism someday soon lol..

 

I don't get the whole taking development time for quest only item support. The solution is easy and doesn't require development time at all. If an item is quest only, the game designer only defines it to drop as a quest reward (either off the quest mob or as a reward option upon completion. The database table for quests just needs a field for rewards and anything specified there can be rewarded. Quest only items just need to not be defined to be dropped/show up anywhere else. Would love to see some more information on why this would merit mention as something that needs to be done on the Avatism roadmap since rewards should be a standard part of the quest system.

 

3 - Does the terrain system come with Atavism or not? From the roadmap it looks like we are getting a full stitching and paging terrain system on March 15th but elsewhere you have mentioned that we would have to purchase it. If we have to purchase it elsewhere, why is it listed as an update? *puzzles*

 

4 - I'm assuming the item duplication comment on trading is to ensure they don't get a quantity other than what is in their trade window and nothing to do with the unique flag in the item database, correct?

 

Things I'm not seeing mentioned on the documentation:

1 - Plugin development tools/documentation

2 - The whole building system (which was one of the things that drew me to Atavism and is in the videos to pull people to the engine).. The building grid, building houses/buildings..

3 - Crafting system

4 - Unistorm integration that was mentioned in another thread here on the forums

5 - Player guilds/clans (I'm assuming this is probably something that could be a plugin we could develop based off of the grouping system if it isn't one that is included.)

6 - Wiki/overall documentation system

7 - Other assets in which integration will be provided

 

Also, one thing I'm wondering is with UMA functionality built in, how will support of it be maintained? Might it be better to switch it to an integration plugin where we can flag whether we want vanilla, UMA, or custom character creation? In following Fernando's UMA developers skype group it sounds like there have been some updates/fixes to UMA that some folks there are waiting for you guys to update Atavism to be able to use. What is Atavism's gameplan for maintaining updates to asset integration where you use a third party tool?

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Thanks for your concerns, here is some feedback on them:

1) Authoritative for terrain can not be done until the terrain and server side collusion is done. When we put any date on there it does not mean we are only working on it once all other plugins are done before it, as some stuff takes longer than others to do. We want to have a steady flow of released updates so we try and space things that are easier to do in with earlier release dates although we might be working on things more than two weeks before its meant to be released. Combat as in positioning goes hand in hand with terrain Authoritative and position of players and mobs. As for any other things like quests and items, those are already Authoritative on the server side as its all handled server side.

2)Quests current setup is definitely not the final version or we would have just linked it up already. Once again don't get confused on the time frame that we are only working on just that one plugin for two weeks. Also to note there is much more that goes into quests than just setting to drop an item as rewards, you have the back-end of what type of quests it is as well for instance a collection quests, or kill x amount of mobs and so forth. We intend to make the quest plugin very versatile.

3) The paging and stitching Unity terrain system will come free with Atavism, where it was mentioned on other places you have to buy it was for those who does not want to wait for our own system we are making and would rather just buy a Unity Asset that does it right now.

 

Things not Mentioned:

1) Plugin development tools/documentation. We have posted some where else already that we want to first release the combat and quest plugins before we release the Plugin editor as we don't want to have code out there which does not totally work yet and will be changing (Quests and combat), once those things are released we will release the editor. Documentation/Wiki is being released today.

2) Building system was not mentioned in the roadmap, sorry we missed that one and will add it in later today, but I am thinking it will be after terrain system as those are hand in hand as well.

3) Same with Crafting, that's a big one and I think I might have missed it when I was doing the write over, ill update that to the roadmap as well. Please note the roadmap is not the final version as things will most likely come up we need to update to it as we go along.

4) Things like UniStorm linkup and other plugins from asset store was not mentioned as they are not core items we develop, those will be getting another roadmap of their own coming soon as we are busy talking to different developers in regards to it.

5) Guilds and Clans are all part of the grouping system we are doing.

6) As mentioned already Documentation/Wiki will be released today.

 

We will keep maintaining functionality of all plugins we do that are with external assets from the asset store with the hope that at some point the developers of those assets will see it worth while to maintain there plugin connection with Atavism them self's, but at the moment because we are not so big that will be our responsibility. You will have the ability to switch easily between UMA and Vanilla character creation soon. Please note once again what you see in the roadmap wont be the only things we release most of the time as we will be adding small things here and there.

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3) The paging and stitching Unity terrain system will come free with Atavism, where it was mentioned on other places you have to buy it was for those who does not want to wait for our own system we are making and would rather just buy a Unity Asset that does it right now.

 

So now we don't have to purchase the terrain system? *puzzles* What are the features of this system? Is this just stitching and paging or is this a complete terrain system? Is it the voxel terrain that you have been talking about or something else?

 

1) Plugin development tools/documentation. We have posted some where else already that we want to first release the combat and quest plugins before we release the Plugin editor as we don't want to have code out there which does not totally work yet and will be changing (Quests and combat), once those things are released we will release the editor.

 

So looking at roadmap, no plugin development support until after March 1? Will this support be introduced with the quest update? Or are you talking further down the road?

 

1) Authoritative for terrain can not be done until the terrain and server side collusion is done. When we put any date on there it does not mean we are only working on it once all other plugins are done before it, as some stuff takes longer than others to do.

 

Since we are looking at another two months out (at least) for this, what tools will be in place to deal with pre-existing terrain? To be honest, I'd really love to see a little bit more regarding what you guys plan for this. What type of process are you looking at? How will it work? This is kind of a combination of points 3 and 4 on your roadmap. Is it safe to assume that there will be an editor tool which we will use to initially export navmesh files to the server. What happens with Voxel-based terrain? Those colliders would need to be updated on the server as well in order to authorize players to move within modified areas. What happens if an area is updated by the developer? Are those voxel changes/meshes stored somewhere that they may be reapplied?

 

You will have the ability to switch easily between UMA and Vanilla character creation soon.

 

Will this be done via a server configuration file? For example with the WoW emulation servers, they use .conf files for both the authorization servers and world servers (Configuration files for TrinityCore project).. Would love to see something similar used here. And for the base plugins that you guys use, it would be awesome to also have a "custom" choice. For example, if I were to write a plugin to use Mega-Fiers/Mega-Daz in my login/character creation system I would be able to choose custom instead of Vanilla or UMA. I would just need to set the option for custom and then uncomment a parameter for custom plugin file name. Same for combat AI, skills, or any other plugin if I were to write my own or obtain one from another developer for those systems. Just a suggestion.

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I think you are getting confused with the voxel terrain system and the Unity terrain system. The voxel terrain system you will need to buy but the unity terrain paging system we are talking about is using unity free terrain system or any other terrain system of your own if you have one.

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I think you are getting confused with the voxel terrain system and the Unity terrain system. The voxel terrain system you will need to buy but the unity terrain paging system we are talking about is using unity free terrain system or any other terrain system of your own if you have one.

 

Thanks for confirming.. What was confusing me is the dates you have on your roadmap and projections you gave when the voxel might be finished were kind of coinciding. That was why I was asking for clarification. :)

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While I think it's great that you guys are working on Quests and Combat etc, I fully expect to have to implement my own plugins for that sort of functionality due to the differences between how my game will work vs more traditional RPGs.

 

I'd really like to have the documented ability to develop my own base plugins sooner rather than later.

 

I can understand why you feel that quests and combat plugins should be done first, as most of your clients will likely be writing plugins that sit on top of what you provide and given the interaction between those core systems and pretty much anything else in a game, having those completed makes some sense. However, I'm assuming there is a more fundamental API for plugins that could be documented earlier for those of us who want go a pure custom route for game-logic code.

 

I want Atavisim to provide the network glue, terrain and collision, object positioning, data backend, core platform type functionality, but all the 'rules' of the game, the sort of stuff that makes GURPS different from DnD, I'd like to build myself.

 

Are there plans to provide low level documentation to support that, preferably sooner rather than later?

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That was kind of what I was thinking too Count.. There are so many other things that may be totally custom in our games. It would be nice if we could at least work on that stuff while other stuff is being built. I don't necessarily need hooks into quests or combat to work on my trader system (planned to be similar to the trader in the text based DragonRealms game).. I don't really need an editor as much as I need a plugin skeleton containing the empty required function structure and some basic documentation. An editor will be nice later for plugins that will hook more into existing systems, but there are some that wont. Even those that do, being able to get started on base code for our custom systems would be nice.

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lol.. Yeah.. I'm planning on doing same using NGUI. Although I can understand needing a base gui for some. The main thing I was looking for with Atavism was the network layer and I really wanted the grid based building system. I like that they are building other things that I can use from the beginning, but hopefully there will be hooks to where we can unplug their systems to plug our own into the system when we have developed them. From the looks of it, all of their stuff is being built with plugins, so hopefully that is the case.

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Adding my own comments/questions into this thread. Thanks for starting this btw, Swampdog. You and Count have stated a lot of things that I echo with my own project and plans.

 

Two additional questions I have around the server architecture:

 

1. Will the server roles be split up and allow for assigning different machines to those various roles (e.g., master server, proxy server, world server, database server)?

 

2. Will dynamic load balancing and fault tolerance still be implemented? That was a conversation on these forums a long time ago, but I was wondering if it would still make the cut for the final engine to us. I have to imagine you will want/need that sort of robustness for Neo's Land to be successful.

 

 

Finally, are all of the features on the roadmap going to be available to all customers who buy at least the base license? I'm not sure if any features are being reserved for those who go with a higher license.

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I am in the same boat as Count Zero, and I really don't give a flying fig about most of the systems that you are spending your time developing. I am interested in the server as a network and database backbone that I can build my custom systems on top of.

 

Seeing as you are developing all of this on top of an existing MMO server engine, Im a little confused on the complexity of getting us to a state where the more advanced developers can start working with the plugins. We really just need a messaging system in Unity to handle our calls back and forth. I know your base technology already had an existing plugin system as well.

 

I asked very specifically about this before pledging, but Im really starting to wonder about it now and if it would be easier to just go grab the MultiVerse source and write corresponding code in unity to interact.

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Seeing as you are developing all of this on top of an existing MMO server engine, Im a little confused on the complexity of getting us to a state where the more advanced developers can start working with the plugins. We really just need a messaging system in Unity to handle our calls back and forth. I know your base technology already had an existing plugin system as well.

 

I asked very specifically about this before pledging, but Im really starting to wonder about it now and if it would be easier to just go grab the MultiVerse source and write corresponding code in unity to interact.

 

I was wondering about this kind of stuff as well since it is already available to the point that they have made videos showing things that aren't done I would have thought a lot of that stuff would have already been in the engine and not really need much more developer focus. I had been, and still am a little, wondering if it might be better to just look at source from all the emulator projects and just develop my own packet/authorization system based off them. But I'll hold off for now and see how the next month or two go. I really wish the core foundational systems were done already. (To me the core system would have been client/server, terrain/collision, and plugin systems as everything else is pretty much built on top of that..) The other stuff is nice but the rest are just plugins.

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I am in the same boat as Count Zero, and I really don't give a flying fig about most of the systems that you are spending your time developing. I am interested in the server as a network and database backbone that I can build my custom systems on top of.

 

Seeing as you are developing all of this on top of an existing MMO server engine, Im a little confused on the complexity of getting us to a state where the more advanced developers can start working with the plugins. We really just need a messaging system in Unity to handle our calls back and forth. I know your base technology already had an existing plugin system as well.

 

I asked very specifically about this before pledging, but Im really starting to wonder about it now and if it would be easier to just go grab the MultiVerse source and write corresponding code in unity to interact.

 

But 99% of the rest of the people do care about those things, does it make sense to develop for the majority or a small percentage that feels entitled?

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I am sorry you guys are feeling like that, but that's why its alpha. There is things we can release yes but if we do it will end up us having to help out even more as they are not fully integrated and easy to use so at the end we will be spending our time helping people with systems that were not ready for release by our standards and thus will be taking time away from actual development. So no we do not intend to release something that will only create more work and problem for all. The only reason we released the alpha version of the engine was so people could get familiar in using it and test things for us, its not intended to be ready for a full MMO production yet. Like I said before server side we have most of those things there , but the code is not totally functional with Unity yet and if we release the code to you guys it will just create more confusion and we will be working backwards as we will be ending up trying to fix it in a release form where we know it should not yet have been released.I think waiting a few more weeks will not make a difference as there is allot of other things that can be done for your MMO game.

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But 99% of the rest of the people do care about those things, does it make sense to develop for the majority or a small percentage that feels entitled?

 

To be honest, I'm not sure what expressing what you are looking for to developers during an alpha test gives you the feeling that anyone here feels any more entitlement than they already have as license holders. I think I've expressed a couple of times in the thread that I'm glad there is a clearer roadmap now. I just wish some of the things were in a different order so a firm foundation is there regardless of what the end user needs are. From what I'm gathering from the other posts in the thread, that is what others are expressing too. The Atavism team is building plugins for all this other stuff so the only thing that really isn't built for the core foundation stuff is the terrain collision/authoritive movement stuff. Building an editor for plugin developers is all fine and good, but most developers already have mono/visual studio/whatever other development tool they prefer to use. All they really need is documentation on how the plugin system works. The editor could really probably come a lot later in the timeline. Armed with that they can get started on both plugins specific to their games and/or plugins to make available to the Atavism community.

 

Sorry if you feel that is a sense of entitlement.. :(

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Thanks Jacques.. Still hanging in there to see how the next couple of months go.. Btw, is that wiki up yet? :P *hides*

 

Just out of curiosity, what are more realistic numbers regarding the user base between those looking for an engine and those looking for a kit? I know I'm looking for both with the engine being a bit more of a priority since I can code my own plugins. But from talking with your customers what kind of percentages are you seeing both ways? Seems that most of the people that I've talked to are leaning towards engine but the 99% number that was pulled out of the air has me wondering how many are actually looking for more of a kit with a lot of the programming already done for them.

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Well as far as I know from numbers about 30% of people are coders or have coders in their team and what you are asking for requires a coder so I would say its a 30% to 70% ration of people who just want the kit with things already for them to use and wont be creating their own plugins. We our self's would love to get the plugin system in your hands as it will mean more plugins being developed for the engine which is great, but there are some things we really have to do before we can release it so I am just asking for you to be a little more patient, we are working as fast as we can to get everything into your hands and working correctly.

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I certainly do not intend to come off as sounding entitled was just looking for more details.

 

Development wise the impression I get is everything is run off of the plugin system, so one might logically conclude that the plugin system should be the core focus of development as it is the basis for a large majority of the code base. Thats my thinking anyways.

 

I mean it is what it is, I think some people were just worried about the order and schedule for the roadmap, as for some who are reliant on writing their own plugins, it could be a large delay for their development cycle since it was slated after other functionality that they may not use.

 

This engine obviously caters to a very wide market, which is good, so you can't please everyone all the time. But everyone is entitled to their opinions.

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