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Monthly Archive for May, 2013

Storyline: Lack Of Content

Diary entry of the ugly dev, part one:

The world we created still feels a little bit dull for players that are not much into PvP, faction operations & politics and other activities that don’t involve other players. The group of players that come in mind that feel this lack are mostly the new comers and solo players. How do we fix that? We create the content of course, but the bigger question is:

How do we do that?
Our development team faces a battle about whether we should create instanced content vs. static content. Creating instanced or random generated content would be the easiest solution, especially with not so many players playing on Squidwolf Minecraft just yet, but we want to be true to the world. Creating static content on the other hand would mean that in couple of days everyone would know about them and they would simply be camped/farmed to death, where a simple time zone difference can mean that you won’t ever be able to enjoy specific content if it’s known by the Sir Farm Alot faction.

How do we fix that?
That’s what hides under codename Storyline, it will be the start and the biggest step so far into the direction of adding content into the world that will neither be instanced nor static. Why we call it Storyline is because it requires players to follow the fictional background of Squidwolf Minecraft, something we have feel is missing from the game, other than to see the Monolith or other landmarks. Storyline will require running missions and going on quests, which is getting dramatically overhauled, so dramatically that some might cry in joy.

But how does it work?
That’s a secret, but since you asked so kindly I’ll give you a short version;

We are creating a distribution mechanic that will deploy hidden locations throughout the worlds on our server, pockets which will move to new locations when they feel like it, but dependent on what the characters are doing in the world. With this Storyline system, players of all types will be able to strike gold, hit the jack pot, find the golden pot under the rainbow or what ever someone might call it.

Locations might become a gold rush that could even be “sold” to a big group of players if found, but the gold might be to heavy for a solo player to carry on his own. We would like to create a supported mechanic for selling locations where people wouldn’t get an empty scenario but so far the only thing that came in mind was creating something with bookmarks which is not such a good idea (If you think bookmarks are a hot topic on the forums, you should see the discussions here on the Developer Network! 🙂 ).

What will we get?
At first we will use this system to deploy “normal” scenarios such as; complexes, caves, quest-agents and other things into the world. As the system matures, we will be able to make some locations or encounters rarer and harder to find. We might also use exploration as a new way to distribute resources and there are some other areas where the Storyline system looks promising for future ultra hot stuff, really ultra hot, did I mention something really really ultra hot?

Will this be the cure?
It’s brand new, so we know there will be adjustments, revisions and changes made to it, but it’s still a very promising system and we hope to use it to distribute a lot of new content into the world.

But we will still continue developing & creating existing content; we won’t remove any existing content or move it to the new system unless we feel this will meet the expectations of the players, and also continue in our journey to find the perfect balance in order to make Squidwolf Minecraft the best server out there!

Patches

Looks like I get to go first with the new regular devblogs. Wish I had some real news. Content and Programmers get all the sexy new stuff to talk about, so I’ll address one of the issues I’ve seen on the forums recently: the lack of bug fixes reaching the network recently.

This actually has little to do with Minecraft, despite popular belief. Yes, for a few weeks Alive was being used for the Colossus alpha testing, but we have had bigger problems involving the hardware. We had a succession of network configuration problems that started back in february when we moved to the network’s new hardware. This, if you remember, coincided with a move to a new hosting location, and Alive moved too. After we had fixed that in early March, Alive was merged with Surface and became the Alpha test server for Colossus. This lasted until the end of march/beginning of april when it came back to us again. However at this time, various hardware components failed, and not all at once either, that resulted in Alive being down for the rest of april while we obtained and configured replacements. We finally got Alive back to normal about 2 weeks ago.

All in all, this has been as aggravating for us in Polaris as it has for you. You should see what this has done to our list of known defects (a public list of these is in the works, and coming Soon™).

So what does Alive being down have to do with bug fixes and patching? Well, before we release any patch to the network we test it thoroughly on an in-house (yes we do test it, honest!! ). With no in-house, i.e. Alive, we had no way of testing any patches for release to the network.

Talking of thorough testing, Polaris is still expanding. Interestingly, our pre-patch ‘awesome’ checklist has expanded as well, and it still takes the entire team about 6 hr’s to test everything, not including the tests we have to spread over two days because of timers.

So, there you have it. After 2 and a half months of test server issues we can now, hopefully, implement our plans for regular bugfix patches.

Timelines III

Fixes, Changes, and Improvements

Characters

  • Map icons now display the correct skin avatar.
  • Moving between worlds no longer causes stuck conditions.
  • Inventory now properly displays content regardless of what world you are in.
  • The radius of your ‘signature’ has been increased to reflect the recent changes made to mobs in the Redstone Update.

Weapons

  • The rank need for all enchanted weapons has been removed.
  • The rank need for Polaris weapons has been reduced to Field Marshall.

Individually-owned Faction Land

  • Faction owners now have full control over granting and revoking their faction territory.
  • Imported schematics no longer has special privileges.
  • Faction Moderators now have control over granting ownership of faction territory to everyone but faction admins.

Crafting

  • You can now craft auto-enchanted items by purchasing the ability from Polaris Store.

Miscellaneous

  • We have removed the guide which appears when you login, finally.
  • Various chat channel bugs have been fixed.
  • SpoutCraft client no longer crashes when rendering exotic textures.
  • Teleporting out of the tutorial system no longer causes a permissions bug.
  • Added a reimbursement category in Petitions.

Squidwolf Megasite

We are completely redesigning Squidwolf Megasite from the ground-up to make a better experience for our members. You will be able to login using your Minecraft ID with our in-house developed MineAuth system as well as still being able to login with your SquidPassport credentials.

Please be aware that until our work is completed, your Minecraft account and your Squidpassport account will still exist as two separate accounts.

SquidMag – Issue 09 coming July

The third issue of EON magazine seems to have gone down well and with Project: Hazel heading back from HackCon, it’s time for me to start cracking the whip on my pack of trusty freelancers and start ribbing Project: Hazel for information to fill SM nine. My aim, as ever, is to ensure the next Squidwolf Magazine is better than all that have preceeded it – combined (an increasingly difficult task, but what the hell).

If you would like to advertise us (we now have an average circulation of 300 per issue) then read my previous post to find out how.

Timelines II

Timelines II Updates, Improvements and Fixes

Deployed on Tuesday, 14 May 2013.

 

Timelines Patch Notes

Hotfixes

– We have successfully fixed the bug in Central Control which prevented sending of messages.

– Warps can now be created by players Level 25 and above.

– Dynmap has been reinstalled correctly.

– Memory leaks fixed.

– Offline time has been increased substantially.

– Various bug fixes.

 

Fixes:

– Squidwolf Main Site upcoming events fixed.

– Timeout issues with Squidwolf Social fixed.

– Bug in shipping on Squidwolf Store fixed.

– Homepage bug on Squidwolf WIki fixed…finally.

– Squidwolf Nest reopens.

– Fixed warning system and now expires as intended

– Various minor fixes

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