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Spirits, spells, short movies, short of time, and the diminishing year Today I came to a realization that the absolutely last thing to do for the upcoming version is to finalize the spirit of the forest related quest, and the many spells that were brought into existence because of this very spirit. The reality check came upon me shortly after browsing books for spells to receive bear hunting aids from the spirits when asleep. Shortly after thinking that dreams and premonitions would be now natural to feature with the other upcoming spell improvements. Shortly after noticing myself to follow a pattern where I add a new big to-do right after the existing list of to-dos before release grows down in size to a reasonable length. This has been a familiar and overly ambitious pattern in case of the version in development. Now as the end of the calendar year is drawing nearer and the holiday season approaches, it's better to start wrap things up for test builds and then consider how far a beta release possibility might be.

There's also been this certain short movie occupying our time. A short movie we shot in autumn 2016, and which has been cooking slowly in post-production ever since. But now, ladies and gentlemen, I'm confirmed to say that a brand new Enormous Elk short movie will still be released this very year. Like the upcoming version, this short movie is also the most ambitious of them all. We had a short post about it at the old forums, with a coffee break pic from the filming location. Now let's repost it here.
All in all, despite of breaks, all kinds of stuff is coming up. Peace and patience to all of you.


November 20, 2017, 04:15:03 PM
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Guinness world record for "First open-world survival videogame" The second world record received acknowledges UnReal World as a forefather of the genre.

So...

Back in 2016 we got (and proudly hold) the record for longest update support for a videogame in GWR Gamer's Edition 2017.
And now, in the recently published Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2019 UnReal World gets the record for "First open-world survival videogame". Oops, we kind of created a videogame genre, but we do not regret :)

The book happily presented at the end of this post is a Finnish edition, and here's how GWR mentions the record in English:
Quote
    "The second millennial decade has witnessed an explosion of open-world survival games, particularly on the Steam platform with the success of PC tiles such as DayZ, Ark: Survival Evolved and the battle-royale shooter PlayerUnknown's Battlegrouds.
    The genre's trues roots can most likely be traced back to the indie sandbox RPG UnReal World, first released in 1992. Set in Iron Age Finland, player's principal aim was to survive its challenging and harsh environments. Incredibly, the game was still going strong and receiving updates, as of September 2017. The game was developed by two people - head creator Sami Maaranen and programmer Erkka Lehmus (both Finland). As of September 2017, it held the record for longest update support for a videogame."
(Yeah, it's out-of-date info with latest updates as the books live in press-time info. And in case somebody wonders about the near future updates a new bugfix and balancing patch is actually to be released this month.)

Cheers and thanks to all of you for making history and taking part in creation of a videogame genre with us.


Erkka (co-designer) at the left, Sami (creator) and Alli (the cat) at the right.
And if you take a look at our previous GWR post it seems like have started a tradition with these world record promo pictures as well ;)



October 21, 2018, 12:03:14 PM
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2019, here we come, slowly but steadily. The time has come for me to start reaching back into the development chambers after the sick leave. My fractured shoulder is still far from fully healed, but computer work seems doable, so here we come development year 2019. Slowly but steadily that is, as the priority remains in exercising the injured arm a lot to increase mobility - rather than to get it stiff from the office work.

Oh boy, little did I know how slowly fractured shoulders heal. In the original injury topic somebody made a remark that this might be my hardcore first hand research on injuries and recovery. :) Well, yes, going through this actually got me thinking of going through game's recovery rules in case of fractured joints. I've been of the arm sling for five weeks now but it will still take months before I can shoot a bow again, and raising the injured arm above the shoulder level is a feat I have been doing reliably only for a week or two. And there's no way I can do it with carrying load of more than few pounds, so any hard work that requires both arms is out of the question.  It also takes time to learn to move the arm 'normally' again, as the early pain didn't allow all the proper muscles to be used with some arm trajectories. It is easy to understand how easily deformed body postures are born.

But here I am, dedicated to work on the arm and the game as much as possible during the 2019.
I've gone through the swamp of e-mails lately and hopefully answered to everything urgent - but if you miss a reply, please do re-send your e-mail.
Getting back on the track with the forums will take a bit longer, but soon enough you can expect replies to pop up here and there.

Luckily my physiotherapist has also given me permission to ski, just guaranteed that I do not fall on the injured arm in any circumstances.
2019, here we come.



January 28, 2019, 06:49:56 PM
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Craftable birch-bark items and associated ponderings Craftable birch-bark items are a thing now.
You can make boxes, and baskets, and shoes and caps - and also birch-bark ropes.
Character's CARPENTRY skill determines the success of birch-bark crafting.

And while I was at it, leather/fur cloth crafting times and material requirements were also touched a bit. All the material requirements have been increased to slightly exceed the finished cloth weights, and crafting times of smaller clothes have been reasoned by increasing or decreasing the required time.

And while I was studying the nature and construction of birch-bark shoes, I found a remark that if birch-bark shoes were used in a field work they lasted in usable condition for maybe two weeks. So in real life birch-bark shoes should wear out pretty quickly if used extensively.  And as our characters usually tend to walk ridiculously excessive distances on almost daily basis it got me thinking of adding wearing out mechanism for shoes and boots so that you would need to replace them every once in a while.
So...something like that is also very likely to be added now.

June 14, 2019, 12:09:23 PM
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Re: Craftable birch-bark items and associated ponderings Good points here and there, and we try keep things covered.
See...
as we can see with combat related wearing out it's so that clothes and armour do not come down in their quality upon wear. 
So masterwork boots will appear as masterwork boots, even if they are seriously worn out masterwork boots. The same principle applies to footwear wearing out in use.
With weapons and tools it's already so that higher quality items are more durable. Now quality based durability will be extended to cover armours and clothes as well.
As a result your fine boots will last longer than the rough ones. 
And while I'm at it, the quality of armours and clothes will be extended to cover their protective values as well. Finer furs are warmer furs, and so on.

When it comes to repairing clothes, it really should be made so that you shouldn't be able to repair things infinitely.
This could be easily achieved by lowering the quality on each repair, finally forbidding rough clothing to be repaired at all.
Just pondering for now, though, as there are these other things in line first.

June 19, 2019, 12:17:16 PM
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Summer Sale, Summer opportunities I'm a bit late to announce this but it is live now: Steam Summer Sale, and you can get UnReal World  for discounted price until 9th of July.

I want to bring this to your attention because it is likely that when next version is released the interval between Steam version and standalone (donation-based, free-of-charge) installers will be significantly longer. This is because the donation-based distribution has been receiving very marginal and insufficient support for years already, and I have to reason things out how to balance with the current distribution models. I'll be happy to answer possibly puzzled questions of relatively recent of near-future intending donors but that will have to await until next week - but don't hesitate to even e-mail if you feel like it.

Why this announcement is late then, is because while the sale was launching I was busy attending to 'science-art-forest' themed seminar and workshops at Koli in eastern Finland - a location famous of its hills and cliffs which are well-known national sceneries of Finland. 
In addition to presentation about working with the game I also performed an archery demonstration in the most awesome location I have ever shot a bow.
Summer is full of opportunities. Let's not hesitate. Cheers!


Archery demonstration, shooting with Japanese bow.


Giving a presentation about UnReal World and the related stuff..


The highest summit of Koli; "Ukko-Koli"

June 29, 2019, 07:39:39 PM
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Messing with measures So, the length property has been added for tying equipment, and I've been working on to update item conversions and crafting requirements to accept this brand new addition.
Adding measure of length is a perfect example of seemingly simple, yet fundamental addition which extends all around the code and has brought up numerous related features.
Here's where we are at now with tying equipment additions, and now I hope to be able to catch up with more NPC stuff - where I was before getting entwined by ropes and cords.

 - added: measure of length for tying equipment

         Appropriate items, such as ropes, now have a length property. The unit of length we use
         is foot (ft), and should an item have a length property it is displayed both in inventory menu
         and when looking at items on the ground. This addition foremostly affects to crafting material
         requirements which can now be length based.

  - added: new crafting category under [M]ake menu: "Tying quipment"

         This category contains the usual ropes and cords, which are now removed from their previous
         location in "Utility articles".

 - added: Join and shorten options to manipulate tying equipment lengths

         Under "Tying equipment" category within [M]ake menu there are options for joining and shorterning
         ropes and cords as sometimes specific length is desired. You may not want to spend full length
         rope on something that requires only a short piece, or you may need to join cords together to
         come up with long enough string for a specific craft.

 - changed: tying equipment requirements in crafting are now length based

         Instead of requiring certain number of cords and ropes all the tying equipment requirements
         are now length based.

 - reasoned: required tying equipment types in some crafting recipes

         For example:
         When making arrows, previously you could use any "tying equipment" in the process - including
         ropes. Now arrow making requires "cord", a little finer and more specific tying equipment.

 - added: tying equipment used in cookery do not disappear in the process anymore

         You can pick your ropes and cords back after the smoking and drying processes are done.   

These are future additions, not yet functional in current version 3.52.

July 10, 2019, 01:40:01 PM
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Summery summary in the midst of upcoming version hype Yes, yes. Yet another version is cooking up. That's not news. That's how it goes with UnReal World.

But what it will be about, and when to expect a release?
That would be more like news. And that's what this post is about.

Summer is always a busy season. There's so much happening that it's hard to even summarize what's happening. Many of the warm days and nightless nights get spent on recreational activities, but working hours in the development chambers have been also been busy and sweaty. Now lets take a look at what has happened, and to where all this is taking us. Some of this stuff may have been announced already, but it doesn't hurt to drool once again.

The main focus of upcoming version is laid on NPCs. This applies to both companions you can hire for yourself, and wandering woodsmen you may meet in the wild. But that's not all. I'll cover some of the upcoming new features in the chunks of text below. I won't add screenshots this time, but a few selected historical image sources from Finnish museums and archives. Some of these may not be era-accurate, but mood and theme suitable nevertheless.


Wandering NPCs will actively hunt animals, based on their cultural preferences, and also utilize the kills the best they can.

This opens up possibilities for numerous exciting incidents to take place as the woods with hunters and their game now becomes far more alive and complex than before.
The very act of NPCs hunting is propably rarely witnessed by the player character but traces and remains found in the woods can tell a story of another human hunter at the area.
Wandering woodsmen and adventurers may now also occasionally have dog companions with them. And just like the dogs owned by player characters these will also protect their masters.


"Hunter with his gear"
Photographer: Sirelius U.T. 1898
National Board of Antiquities / Suomalais-ugrilainen kuvakokoelma / SUK36:263
License: CC BY 4.0


Companion usefulness gets boosted with several new tasks they can do on demand

New companion commands are:
* butcher and skin carcasses
* roast meat or fish
* make logs and boards
Companions skills naturally affect to outcome of the tasks so their expertise can be sometimes used to obtain higher quality goods than what the player characters could produce by themselves.
That's cool, you might think. And you also might think of few other tasks companions could do. Indeed. Same here. We actually do have a few more things regarding companions still under construction. Currently we're working on mechanisms to allow unoccupied companions automatically to help you with laborous tasks (eg. building) thus shortening the working time.


Well, we haven't concentrated solely on living things. Here's a few of probably the most interesting additions and features regarding item galore;

Harvesting and utilizing birch-bark

It will be possible to harvest and utitilize birch-bark in crafting. Birch-bark is peeled and removed from a tree in long strips which are then wound to a ball for storage. (As a trivia, this kind of balls are called 'Sommelo' in Finnish.)
It will be possible for player character now to craft birch-bark shoes, caps, boxes, baskets - and also birch-bark ropes.


Ball of birch-bark, 'Sommelo'.
The National Museum of Finland / Yleisetnografiset kokoelmat / VK5354:11
License: CC BY 4.0



Measure of length for tying equipment

Tying equipment such as ropes and cords now have a length property, and tying equipment requirements in crafting are now length based. There will be also options for joining and shorterning ropes and cords as sometimes specific length is desired.


Armour and cloth quality having impact on their protective values

High quality armours and clothes now provide more protection, and the low quality ones provide less. In most cases this covers more than one coverage aspect, but always at least the most important aspect for the item in question.


Footwear wearing out in use

Shoes and boots now wear out in use ie. when walking or otherwise moving around by foot. Footwear material determines their durability.


Reindeer fur boots, 'Nutukkaat'.
The National Museum of Finland / Suomalais-ugrilaiset kokoelmat / SU4724:35
License: CC BY 4.0



Let this be enough for summery summary about what to expect. Now then there's that other question...

When we're done with those "few more things" still pending to be added it is time to start wrapping things up for a beta release. I'm quite reluctant to set or mention any deadlines as they usually don't keep, but if we think it out loud then...
It shouldn't take more than few weeks to finish the most urgent pending to-do's. Then a week of extensive testing and adjusting the latest additions, and then if everything goes fine it's time to start final packaging.
So...
...we could be seeing first beta of the brave new version in early september. And from there on, what has been laid in there will still be evolving and growing, stabilizing and multiplying.

It should be noted that the beta version will be released on Steam, and for lifetimers, and standalone (donation-based, free-of-charge) installers will follow after significantly longer time than what we have used to in the past. This is because the donation-based distribution has been receiving very marginal and insufficient support for years already, and I have to reason things out how to balance with the current distribution models. I'll be happy to answer possibly puzzled questions of relatively recent of near-future intending donors but that will have to await until next week - but don't hesitate to even e-mail if you feel like it.

August 05, 2019, 11:53:54 AM
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