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Topics - Erkka

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Off-topic / Ancient Savo private beta available for UrW players
« on: April 01, 2022, 06:02:58 PM »
Hello!

Hello! As some of you might already know, here at Enormous Elk we have a small side-project in the works. It is a family-scale survival game, with point-and-click gameplay, designed to be mod-friendly. Since the start of this year a private beta version has been available to some long-term UnReal World supporters. I just released beta version 6, and decided that it is time to widen the private beta audience.

If you are interested in testing the game and / or supporting the development, take a look here:https://enormous-elk.itch.io/ancient-savo?password=muinaissavo

This is still a private beta version, so please don't post the url anywhere for a wider audience. But if you happen to know a friend who might be interested, it is okay to share the link in a private message.

The game development has been a little bit slower than I was hoping for. This has been for two reasons; my plans growing more ambitious, and me having to spend time at my main work to pay the monthly bills. OK OK, so the game graphics and UI are still far from finished. But they will be the next main focus of the development.

At the moment the game is verified to run on windows and linux, mac testing has been unreliable (and, again, slowed down because I don't have a mac to test with myself). But a mac version will happen. If everything goes well, Android and hopefully iPhone versions will follow later on down the line.

The good old 2D tile-graphics:




But there is also an option for a 3D map: (And it is possible to switch mid-game)


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General Discussion / Recovering from a forum crash
« on: September 08, 2021, 04:04:56 PM »
Hello!

We recently experienced a server-side crash at the forums. To fully recover from the crash I had to manually restore the latest database backup, which was less than 24 hours old. So, any posts made after that backup are probably lost forever, but the vast majority of forum content seems to be back again.

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Off-topic / A family survival game (in the making)
« on: August 22, 2021, 06:26:48 PM »
As many of you might already know, here at Enormous Elk we have another game project in the making. The game is called Ancient Savo, and it is also keeping your family alive in the 1200CE woodlands of Eastern Finland. The time-scale of the game is so that one turn is 24 hours, and the gameplay is about planning actions. Like "fell down that area of woods", "sow rye", "build a cabin". You don't actually see your family members going around their daily business, so it is more like the old Sim City and such management games, where you hover over the map clicking tiles to plan actions. No fighting; cold, hunger and accidents are your only enemy. And the game is designed to be modding-friendly.

The development has been going on, and at the moment we have most of the basic elements set up. We have 2D and 3D graphics, and you can switch mid-game. You can plan actions and watch your children grow. You can visit a marketplace to barter with NPCs.

In addition to my own coding we already have a few rather awesome contributions by other people - like four original music pieces composed, played, recorded and mastered by Erik Torpström from Rogue Analogue.

Learning to code the 3D graphics took some time, but finally it works good enough. So that for coming weeks and months I'll shift my attention back to the actual game-play, balancing values, adding details etc.

---

EDIT by Erkka at 26th of December 2021 : Removed some outdated information, and here are the fresh additions;

To be honest, I haven't yet gotten to balancing values and adding details. Instead I've been busy with implementing the basics of a modding system, marriage and ability to continue playing as your offspring. All that kind of stuff took more time than I had thought.

Despite lagging a few months behind the intended schedule, the project is still very much alive. A private beta version is available for a restricted audience, and if no fatal bugs are found, there will be public beta sometime towards the end of January, or in February if bughunting eats away time from the actual development.

Apparently the old screenshot got deleted as I updated the project info at Enormous Elk site, so here is a fresh one:



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General Discussion / A spambot thread
« on: January 12, 2021, 09:15:28 PM »
For a while we have had two layers of automated anti-spam measures. The first layer is invisible, tracking site traffic and spotting known bots based on a vast database. And the another layer is visible to the user, often an image captcha which is beyond bots' ability to solve. Also, users with less than 3 posts need to pass the captcha when making a new post - that should stop old undetected spambot accounts if they try to activate.

Yet, we witness new spam posted on the forums every now and then. Many of them with copypasted content from elsewhere.

I'm afraid that we can't make our anti-spam measures significantly tighter. At one point I tried adding a third layer, which instantly resulted in a post at Steam forums, someone saying that the registration at these forums is broken.

I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere out there is a sweatshop where poor people get paid paltry money for passing captcha to post spam content everywhere in the internet. I mean, that is a more plausible explanation, instead of there being a spambot AI which can solve those captchas far better than the state-of-the-art big company AI systems do. And if we have real people posting spam, then there is not going to be a captcha to stop them.

For a long time things were fine with custom security questions which were easy for anyone familiar with the game, but made no sense for a random visitor. Eventually, all of those questions became useless (maybe the spam networks keep on building their own database of 'known captcha questions and their correct answers'. Already at that point I suspected that they are paying people to answer those questions and storing answers for bot use. But I really don't know how sophisticated or how ugly the hidden machinery of spam networks are. Just guessing.

All in all, I felt like posting these general thoughts here, for we are all affected by the situation. We have four people in the moderation team, that allows us to manually weed out spam posts and accounts on a daily basis, and I think that is the last line of defense we anyway need to have.

So, everyone:

1. if you suspect spam, but are not sure, one good way is to do a google search with post content. If it turns out that the post is copypaste from old post from some other corner of the internet, please use "report to moderator" button

2. if you suspect spam for any other reason - the obvious ones being malicious links embedded in text - hit the "report to moderator" button

3. Thank you for your co-operation, and we apologize for all the inconvenience!

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Off-topic / Ancient Savo : A new Enormous Elk game in the making
« on: January 06, 2021, 04:35:25 PM »
Would you like to participate in the making of a new game by Enormous Elk?

The game is called Ancient Savo, and it is a peaceful simulation of a 1200 CE Finnish family who moves to live alone in the woods. Do slash and burn agriculture to grow crops. Hunt and fish. Try to survive hunger, cold, accidents and the scarcity or resources. And in case you accumulate some extra, go visit the annual market to barter for more and better tools. The timescale of the gameplay is weeks - you can see years rolling by, your children growing up, and forest re-taking abandoned fields. Instead of controlling a character you hover on a more abstract 'designer level', a bit like the old SimCity.

Estimated release: Autumn 2021, for PC, Mac and mobile devices

We run a small home-made crowdfunding campaign for January. Become a follower for free - join project Discord channel to read frequent development news. Or donate any sum to become a backer. Backers can participate in the discussion, and have an access to the early development-phase releases. The first development release is scheduled already for this January. (If or when you donate, remember to send Erkka a message at Discord, so that we can connect a donation with your Discord user account!)

During the development phase we will have quick and simple graphics, but graphics and UI will be improved once the simulation and game mechanics are up and running.

For more info see the campaign page


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General Discussion / Crowdfunding : your thoughts?
« on: October 29, 2020, 10:05:27 AM »
Hello!

This is Erkka from the Enormous Elk development team. We are planning an another game as a small side-project. To make this happen we'd like to set up a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo platform. The plan is to use Discord as the main platform during the development phase, so that there would be weekly updates on development progress, and monthly Q&A sessions (hopefully with a video stream). I think the funding phase would run for three weeks, aiming to have the first playable alpha or beta version before the end of this year.

To maintain the suspense, we will announce the project details only a few days before the crowdfunding campaign starts (before mid-November, that is). But what I can say already now is that the game would run on Windows, Linux and Android, also aiming for Mac and iPhone release pretty soon after the non-apple release. And also, in case you wonder - from the development point of view a side-project is beneficial also for the actual UnReal World development; a smaller sibling game would double as an experimental laboratory, where different kinds of algorithms and ideas can be tested.

So, at this point - before I start to set up an IndieGoGo campaign - I'd like to ask for your thoughts, ideas or personal preferences. What kind of perks would you like to see, for what sum of money? If you have ideas, please post replies suggesting things like "can we have a €25 perk for an access to the monthly live video streams?". Also, it would be cool if someone provides their views on perk range, like "Because of these reasons [....] I think that the minimum perk should be X euros for perk Z1, ranging up to Y euros for perk Zn" Or, what kinds of perks would you love? Digital content like music or concept art? A physical item like copies of game graphics design drawings, or a  hand-written thank you card?

Ps. More news in the weekend. I'm planning a blog post about my personal thoughts and the process of preparing for the project. In the blog post there will also be a bit more details about the project plans.


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Off-topic / Testing things you can do in UnReal World
« on: November 25, 2018, 06:07:31 PM »
Hello there,

my personal YouTube channel has been mostly for all around tongue-in-cheek silliness. So, just for convenience, I organized UnReal World -related stuff to a playlist.

ps. and let me remind that Sami has an excellent YouTube channel dedicated to traditional arhery.

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General Discussion / Forum crash
« on: July 13, 2018, 02:49:59 PM »
Seems like we have had a forum crash. I'm not aware of the reasons behind it, but luckily we are on-line again. I had to manually run some database recovery procedures, and seems like everything is back to normal, only that for most of the boards the "last post" column is empty on the index page. I hope it will get fixed by itself as the discussion resumes and new posts appear.

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Off-topic / A new short film by Enormous Elk
« on: January 14, 2018, 04:14:57 PM »
This is not strictly UrW-related, but a stand-alone production by Enormous Elk.

We made a short film called "Shaman Duel". It's a variation of a classic theme in Finnish folklore; two sages meet on a narrow path, they both refuse to give way to the other, so they end up having a magic duel to see who has to step aside.

You can watch it on Vimeo

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