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Special Steam Sale & Special Greetings A special sale for a bunch of finnish games on Steam has started. This is to celebrate the centenary of Finland's independence and will last until 8th of December.

This 100th year of Finland's independence culminates on 6th of December, for that is our official independence day. During this anniversary period we are also celebrating the extraordinary Indie-dependence days for it's been 25 years of playable UnReal World releases. In other words, the game has been out there for 1/4 of its development nation's official existence. We celebrate with the sales, new video greetings and finally the release of 3.50 beta version on 6th.

You can find your way on our Steam page here, and lifetimers also will find the new video greetings at the forums lifetime membership section.

Otherwise we want to stay thanks, cheers, and respect to you all!

From left to right; Erkka (co-designer), and Sami (creator) shake hands for it's the special Indie-dependence day. 1/4 centenary of playable UnReal World releases, and full centenary of Finland's independence.

December 05, 2017, 07:10:19 PM
Shooting snowballs ...meanwhile in Finland.
It's been snowing, and I've been studying the art of archery, so I gotta share this yesterday's shot to remember:

December 17, 2017, 04:12:15 PM
Re: Shooting snowballs Little known fact, if you find Sami lost in the woods some day and lead him to a local village, he might give you some lessons in archery.
December 17, 2017, 04:43:17 PM
Re: Value of things Given how much research Sami has put into every other aspect of the game, as well as how widely known it is that the fur trade was a huge part of the local economy in the "Viking Age", I don't think this is really an issue. And since time spent on summarizing and presenting research is time spent away from coding and planning for this wonderful game, I would like to instead be the one to present OP with the following sources:

I think that value of things is historical incorrect [...] fur trade was not so developed in that time.

I'm not sure why you think the fur trade was underdeveloped between 900 ~ 1100 CE (the era that's roughly taken as the basis for Unreal World's background), as during that time fur trade comprised most of the eastern wing of the Baltic trade. We know this because the rise of the Swedish/Viking Rus and Novgorod (upon whose foundations the Hanseatic League ultimately gained power in the Eastern Baltic lands) would not have happened as we know it today if not for the fur trade.

This blog post lays out the evidence that suggests just how central the fur trade was to Novgorod's economy (making mention of, among other things, blunt arrows, and the counting of squirrel furs being considered an actual basic monetary unit much like farthings and pence in England).

And while that post mostly covers the High to Late Middle Ages, leaving out the heyday of the Vikings, it's far from controversial to say that the fur trade was important even in those times. In fact, archaeologists now believe that this is the period during which the Sámi made the final transition from a subsistence-based hunter-gatherer economy to one that was heavily dependent on trade with outside sources, largely because of the (at first) positive economic pressure exerted by the immense profitability of the fur trade:
"During the Viking Age and the Early Middle Ages, the areas around the Gulf of Finland, Ladoga, and Vaga developed into a dominant fur trading area. This growth was partly due to the expansion of principalities from the Upper Volga, which extended their sphere of economic strength to Zavolochye. It was, however, primarily a result of the fact that the area surrounding the Gulf of Finland was, from the Early Middle Ages, in the process of being integrated into the sphere of influence of the city state of Novgorod. From its infancy in the ninth century AD, Novgorod had built up an extensive network by the end of the tenth century from which skins and furs were exported to the trading center Bulgar on the Volga to the east, to Byzantium in the south, and to Scandinavia and western Europe to the west. As the demand for luxury furs increased during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and Novgorod at the same time experienced competition from other developing Slavonic polities, the city republic extended its trading area to the north, linking in Finno-Ugric tribes living around the Onega and in the Dvina valley. These groups were forced to pay tribute and supply furs to Novgorod for further export." (Lars Ivar Hansen, Hunters in Transition: An Outline of Early Sámi History, 129-130)

In fact, it would not be a severe exaggeration to say that, during this period in history, the relevance of Finland in the flow of world events lay chiefly in the role played by Sámi and Finns in the booming fur trade, and especially the Sámi peoples who most directly participated in it at its very source, gathering the furs themselves. And while later they were forced by authorities to give furs in the form of tribute (and even then it took centuries and centuries for the relationship between locals and outsiders to take on the truly one-sided and exploitative qualities that culminated in the racism and cultural extermination efforts seen in the nineteenth century), originally the Sámi played such an important role in the fur trade that entire categories of commodities were specially developed just to appeal to these trappers and hideworkers:

"Novgorod's international trading network can thus be said to constitute an institutionalized framework, which enabled the Sámi to develop meaningful exchange relationships with their Finno-Ugric kinsmen to the east. Some of the brooches, amulets, and metal pendants that the Sámi received in exchange must have been produced specifically for such trading purposes by various Finno-Ugric groups connected with Novgorod. The furs that were supplied in return likely ended up in the trading center of Novgorod before they were re-exported to western Europe and other destinations." (Lars Ivar Hansen, Hunters in Transition: An Outline of Early Sámi History, 130)

And of course it's very well known how intensely fur was in demand among the fashionable, wealthy, and/or powerful all throughout medieval Europe, including Byzantium. We certainly do see less evidence of the consumption end of it during the Early Middle Ages as opposed to the High Middle ages or Renaissance / Tudor times. But that can be amply explained by the lack of records, both written and pictorial, which would have preserved knowledge about who was wearing exactly what. And even among the scanty records of the time, there is plenty of evidence of an ongoing demand for fur and its desirability as a symbol of wealth and power. Even today, the heraldic term "vair" refers to a stylised rendition of actual vair fur, which is a fancy word for the white bellies and grey-blue backs of grey squirrel furs pieced together in an alternating pattern... the fact that they turned this (as well as ermine) into a standardized pattern with its own name attests to how popular the original fur was.

In fact, many of the sumptuary laws that were passed in late Medieval European countries, to curtail the spending habits of uppity merchants and lower nobles, focused not just on jewels and silks, but to a large extent what furs could be worn / used on clothing + furnishings and to what extent: it was important, for example, whether you were allowed merely a narrow strip of fur adorning your bedslippers, vs a fashionably wide cuff on your gown, vs getting to have a stupidly luxe whole bedcover made of the aforementioned 'vair'.

And why would these laws even be needed in the first place if there wasn't a vast supply of it already available to people who had the money? Remember, these sumptuary laws tended to be as much about preventing hemorrhage of money from the coffers of  powerful landowners and burghers to foreign sources, as much as it was about enforcing the appearance of an intact social hierarchy, so this also supports the general idea that most luxury furs would have been imported.

[...] there was not much use of it (you dont make new clothes all the time) [...]

As for your assertion that fur clothing does not need to be replaced often, everything I know about furs worn as clothing (at least as the inhabitants of Unreal World would have worn them) suggests the opposite. While Sámi clothing is obviously not the same thing as Inuit clothing, there are still some crucial similarities that I think allow us to extrapolate some facts from what Inuit clothing-making practices have survived to the modern day (the Sámi do still make a lot of their clothing using fur, especially reindeer fur, but sadly I do not have access to good secondary sources about how the Sámi specifically sew their fur clothing).

For one, reindeer fur is overwhelmingly the preferred fur type for both ethnic groups, because of the superior warmth it provides and how versatile it can be, as well as the comparative ease of hunting reindeer as opposed to wolves or bears or the like. It's also easier to be assured a steady supply of a grazing herbivore like reindeer, unlike other fur-bearing animals which provide only small pelts and/or cannot be found in sufficient numbers to guarantee a supply of fur whenever you might need them.

The downside of reindeer fur is that it's notoriously weak to humidity and wear, so even with careful repairs and assiduous caring for the clothes, fur clothing of this type needs to be replaced at least once every two years. This uses a LOT of fur, as one might respect... and not just because replacements and repairs are so frequently needed, but because different types of clothing (trousers for hunters vs women with babies, parkas for hunters vs women with babies vs children vs the babies themselves, etc) call for different types of reindeer fur from different parts of the reindeer / caribou body. In real life, you might need pelts from multiple reindeer just to have a new pair of reindeer skin trousers (unlike in Unreal World where all fur is the same fur as long as it comes from the same kind of animal, but that simplification I can accept for gameplay purposes).

"Before the Contemporary era, most Inuit dressed in skins all year, and many caribou skins were needed to clothe an average family of five. The hunter had to take at least thirty caribou each year to meet minimum requirements. (Vezinet 1980, 52). Mitts and the many kinds of boots needed a minimum of the leg skins of fifteen caribou, without accounting for spares. These figures did not include the caribou that must be procured to provide bedding, tents, and food for the family and their dogs." (Betty Issenman, Sinews of Survival: The Living Legacy of Inuit Clothing, 71)

This kind of usage pattern resulted in a truly immense and ongoing demand for reindeer fur... not arduous maybe for the kind of character most of us end up playing in Unreal World: that is to say, a single hunter who only needs to feed and clothe themself and who can basically devote all their time to hunting if they wanted. But if you want to take time off to farm, or fish, or build houses, or maybe hunt for the kind of aforementioned luxury furs that would get you the ability to trade for better goods, this requirement would become cumbersome fast. And yes, southern and eastern tribes would replace part of this fur usage with usage of cloth such as nettle / linen / wool, but cloth isn't much less labor-intensive to produce, and in a society where there is a greater focus on agriculture, it makes even more sense for people to be willing to barter valuable goods to obtain hides ready-to-use.

December 22, 2017, 04:18:11 PM
Huge big seasons greetings -- plus winter sales and late year releases The time has come to say seasons greetings to all of you. It was the winter solstice yesterday, and now we're slowly heading towards the increasing daylight.
And I'll be heading towards the holiday season and wish you all great times whatever you may, or may not be celebrating.

In case you are wondering whether or how you would go about getting your hands on the fresh 3.50beta version, we'll let you know that show-stopping bugs haven't been found since the last hotfix and Steam Winter sale is going on our UnReal World store page beta being available for purchasers. We'll release 3.50beta as standalone version as well, but that will take place after the holidays, closer to new year 2018.

Here's the huge big seasons greetings to each and everyone of you, from the tiny dev and the winter tree. This very tree is kind of a local Ent to me.
Merry whatever, fellow adventurers!

December 22, 2017, 05:06:40 PM
Re: Question for Sami Caius breaks it down really well, I thought, especially when it comes to how such a question would present from a programming perspective.

Regarding that the question of marriage keeps coming up, I think there is a tendency for excited newbie players to overestimate how much any single feature will improve gameplay, especially if that feature is still just in the theoretical stages. (And I’ve been very guilty of jumping the gun myself in the past.) But if you read Caius’s breakdown, it becomes clear that in most scenarios, marriage will simply become another game feature governed by metrics, and it will add no more intrinsic depth to the game experience than you might get from exploring the in-game cooking options more deeply, or making fuller use of the already existing animal or companion system.

I’m not saying that it will make NO difference, but that it will be at least as much work and tweaking to implement as any other feature, while not being any more revolutionary than any other feature that could be added.

I’ve played CK2 a lot myself, and there are definitely some fun aspects of the marriage and family system in that game. However, I for one would be very sad to see URW move down the same path. There’s something very mercenary and Machiavellian about how relationships work in that game... which is fun in its own way and works for CK2 because it fits with the concept of the whole game, to treat human beings like symbols and chess pieces, and determine the fate of millions without having to think about the consequences befalling each individual. But that’s not the vibe I get from Unreal World, because it’s a game I play for pleasure, not distraction. I feel attached to it because in the Unreal World I feel like there’s room for attachments to breathe and exist, rather than every ounce of emotion and motivation just being directed towards a predetermined goal or victory. If a game starts just being constantly about the thrill of the chase, without variance or surprises or even the opportunity to contemplate why I chase, that’s when ennui sets in and the game stops being fulfilling.

It’s like that with simulating relationships too, in that while I’m not opposed to the basic idea, I have my share of misgivings about the implementation. The point of having spouses and partners in real life isn’t just as a warm body or someone to do their share of the chores, or as (pardon the phrasing, but that’s really how it’s depicted in games like CK2) breeding machines. Even the people who are asking for this change right here and now, a program-based solution like the one they are proposing is not necessarily going to effectively fill their want, deep down... and especially not within the time frame they are asking for.

I dunno. I am personally of the opinion that it’s far better to be lonely than in an unfulfilling relationship, so maybe it’s that attitude carrying into my gaming style. The only thing that might get me to change my mind is if Sami himself found a way to integrate that approach into the overall style of the game. And it’s happened before... I used to be skeptical about how a magic system would work in URW, but the newer quest-related gameplay, getting to interact with spirits, and in general being shown-not-told the ancient Pagan worldview is a great development in the game, and the one that made me fall in love with it all over again.

Ultimately it comes down to vision, and one of the best things about this game is how much work the developers put into realizing their unique one. I want to echo many of the opinions given in the other thread (the poll thread) and say that the consistency shown by Sami and Erkka in developing this world is what keeps me sticking with this game, like how a person who is quietly self-confident and seems to know their own mind (even if it means we sometimes disagree) is usually more attractive than someone who acts like a weathercock.

December 23, 2017, 09:43:17 PM
Re: Trainers I've been thinking about weapons training specifically and also have a few thoughts.  I'll also offer a shout out to the HEMA alliance if any of you are interested:  Also a comment about my own bias, I don't like Privateer's current mod for combat training dummies.  It is a good workaround but doesn't fit into the feel and style of URW (IMO).  It also doesn't work in any sort of historical context.

  • Weapon training is a grind in real life.  It takes months and years to improve in skill and ability with a weapon.
  • Learning a weapon alone is incredibly difficult.  A teacher fixes basic mistakes, offers a more skilled opponent, provides a safe (safer) place to fail, and challenges the student to consider new questions and seek for solutions to those questions.
  • Weapons training often requires specially adapted equipment and protection.
  • Weapons training also requires a safe space or physical location.

So, if a weapon training system is on the table for development, I'd recommend some of the following mechanics be considered:
  • Only a few NPCs in each culture should be weapons trainers.  There might be cultural limitations for which weapon skills are available.  For example, maybe teachers for the highest skill levels are limited by culture...
    • Shield - Driik
    • Knife - Kaumo and Sarto
    • Sword - Driik
    • Club - Seal
    • Axe - Kiesse and Reemi
    • Flail - Koivu, Sarto, and Reemi
    • Spear - Seal
    • Bow - Owl
    • Crossbow - Driik
    • Unarmed - Kaumo, Sarto, and Owl
  • You should be able to search for NPC weapon trainers.
  • The weapon trainer offers an increase in a weapon skill like the current quest system does for weapon skill improvement.  That is, training gives the player character a guaranteed skill increase next time the player character uses that skill.
  • I like Palu's suggestion for reputation:
    • - In addition to a higher cost for higher level training higher levels of training should probably require higher levels of trust, so you'd have to build up a reputation with the potential trainers (and/or their villages) for them to accept to train you. That would prevent you from just traveling around the world to seek out the masters to gain mastery in a comparatively short time. Instead, you'd have to spend a considerable amount of time while concentrating on only a few skills (the ones available in your vicinity).
  • The player character must collect and craft specialized equipment for the NPC weapon trainer.  For example:
    • ...if a player is trying to improve the archery skill, they must obtain a bow for the weapon trainer (e.g. fine longbow, masterwork northern bow, etc.) based on cultural requirement, arrows that the NPC trainer keeps, and an archery butt (a new craftable item that serves as the target).
    • ...if a player is trying to improve the sword skill, they must obtain a suit of armor (complete set of fur clothing or leather clothing, iron helm, mail cowl, etc.) and a blunt wooden practice sword (the practice sword only causes blunt damage).  (Note: modding for this is rather easy.).
    • Blunted weapons would be needed for swords, knives, axes, etc..  Maybe a staff is equivalent enough for a spear. 
  • The NPC weapon trainer could become a companion with a specialized dialog option.  The player character asks the NPC to train them in a weapon, and if the player has a high enough reputation, the NPC says OK if the player provides the specialized equipment for training.  The player should also provide food and some type of reward or valuable to the NPC. 
  • After the NPC becomes a companion, a specialized command becomes available to train the player.
  • The NPC and player then train for a few hours and the player then gains negative consequences (e.g. blunt wounds from any weapons, lost arrows from archery practice, damage to the practice weapon or armor.
  • The NPC weapon trainer would only stay with the character for a few days and thereby limit how much skill improvement is allowed.
  • I also like Palu's suggestion for a cooldown so the NPC weapon trainer isn't able to be hired as a companion for at least a set period of time:

I believe some sort of NPC weapon trainer system would help a critical limitation in the current URW system.  Like Palu mentioned, this system will try to be gamed by players so balancing would be needed.

December 29, 2017, 05:42:02 PM
Re: Reemi robbers in Reemi territory? Not a bug. Robbers who rob their own people are very much historically correct :D

And even if these robbers would be met at territories of neighboring cultures there are odds that the game sets them moving through their own region at some point, for a reason or another.

January 03, 2018, 06:47:57 PM
Re: 3.50b2 ram milk + bull milk Fixed now. Milking checks were still based old species properties and not the actual gender of an animal, which is in use now.

Fixed -- persists in 3.50 beta 2

January 03, 2018, 09:24:37 PM
Re: Graphical issue, truetile stuff I've had this problem before.  Macs don't handle the presence of an alpha channel in the tile PNG files well - it'll refuse to remove the background color.  You can fix them with the default Preview app:

  • Open the offending file(s) in Preview
  • Command-Shift-S to Duplicate (make a copy)
  • Command-S to Save
  • Deselect the Alpha checkbox
  • Save over the original file

You can also bug the original authors to get rid of the alpha channels in the files, but for mods that aren't being updated anymore that might not work.

January 05, 2018, 05:06:11 PM