Project Pinion Progress #3

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Hey gamers. In this log, we’re focusing on how we come up with designs for the resource pack, as well as other bits of information.
Yep. There will be a resource pack!
There’s a lot we want to do that would be impossible or very difficult without one!

Before we properly begin. Here’s a look at what’s going on in development behind the scenes…

We had some parts redacted by our professional redactor, maymay. But I hope this glimpse gives an idea of the work we’re putting in!

Anyway. Let’s start with a segment from shadow!

🔥🔥🔥

Hello hello, @shadowstarcat/annisdying jumping in to talk about the creative process that I’m involved in. So far, I’ve helped contribute to much of the worldbuilding, as well as the visual development of the game. What this means is I’m the one handling designs & concept art for anything from special bosses that players must fight, to user interface icons!

Being the first in the production pipeline, I’m basically the funnel that takes in all the requested ideas and gameplay limitations, mixes it with my own ideas and influences, and squeezes out a finalized concept after lots of back & forth with the staff team for Cobra to mold a likeness into. I have to make a lot of careful choices to ensure what I come up with is appealing, but still feasible both in terms of performance in-game and actual translation, whether it be to pixels or 3D. Whatever I come up with decides the fate and incoming workload of Cobra and Smal…


I can show some of that process here! Project Pinion will have an Elemental System in its world and game-play, and here’s what they’ll be represented by:
Element symbols



Credit to Smalusion for pixelation



The Athios team agreed that we wanted elemental symbols unique to Project Pinion’s world and representative of its themes, so I had my work cut out for me figuring out distinctive icons that would still be easily recognizable as elements to players regardless of lore familiarity. In all, I came up with ~78 icons, with lots of discussion back and forth about what the team liked and didn’t like, before reaching the finalized set above.

The icon discussion


These were earlier sets that I had developed based on the idea of every element forming a circular shape but with visual weight (set A all weighted to the top, B weighted in different directions, C weighted but forming more of a whole circle)…cool idea, but consensus was that they weren’t visually distinctive enough from each other! I then ended up experimenting with feather shapes, which is how I reached the final set.

I’ll leave discussion about the design of the first major boss players will face in beta to Cobra & Smal, who will be showing off parts of the design in their respective sections anyway.

🔥🔥🔥

Wow! Elements! Some enemies you face in the dungeon will be granted elemental abilities. Be wary if you see an enemy with a symbol in its name.
Oh? You want to wield the elements as well? Maybe in the future. It is not currently planned for the beta, however. Gotta keep the scope reasonable as best we can…

What else.. Oh, yeah. After shadow finalizes the concept art, it’s up to Cobra and me to bring to blocky Minecraft life, the element symbols a segment or so above being one example.

But how about another example?



Say Hi. to the Gardener. Hi.

He started as a mere loose sketch, one among(us) many. We singled one out, the figure you see on the left.
After some more evolution, the final concept art was completed, the second figure.

Cobra then undertook the task of converting him… to the THIRD DIMENSION


…as seen in the third figure. This was done in Blockbench, which lets you create models for Minecraft. Very handy. Big respect to Cobra for figuring out Blockbench and models on the job! That guy’s insane.

From there, it was my turn and I made the final figure you see, fully textured and with some slight changes to the model. (Cobra helped) And wow! There it is!
That’s the general process, though not everything goes through every step. Not everything needs a model! …Though, most things need textures.

Anyway. That’s the Gardener. You’ll meet him as a boss, should you prove your might. And should you beat him? Well, of course, you get to grave rob. What kind of game doesn’t let you do that? Defeat him, and he may have some goodies for you. Not given voluntarily.


hi 😳

May as well also mention here. In addition to your standard gear, such as a sword, crossbow, or axe, we’ll be introducing two other main weapon types.

The dagger!!! And!!! The spear!!!

Both function as you may expect*, being a fast, but weaker weapon and a throwable melee weapon respectively.

*as long as your expectations match ours

A future PPP will talk more about what you can expect out of your weapons and armor. For now, you get some details on making them. Swag

The dagger? Pretty simple. It’s the opposite flavor of an axe, basically. Hits faster, hits weaker. If you’re a fan of clicking enemies very fast, this is your weapon.
The spear? Well. Throwable melee weapon? Like Marine! That’s a trident, right? Seems simple enough.

Incorrect.

As it turns out, it is not possible to remodel the trident! You can’t remodel what’s held in your hand. You can’t remodel the actual thrown entity. All you can do is change the texture!

This doesn’t quite work for us. We’d like to have spears that aren’t pitchforks. We’d also prefer more flexibility for the texture itself, as as it is now, all tridents would be forced to have the same texture.

So, what are we doing instead?
The spear… is actually a bow. Kind of wild, but that’s how it is. It works pretty well from the player’s perspective, too!

Check it out!


Did you know? RPGs in SnD are arrows disguised as eggs. We plan on using similar technology for any thrown spears. You can see a test model at the end of the video.

Nothing ever comes out perfect on the first try, though…

Huh. That's not supposed to happen. Hard to take my eyes off it, though.

Something we mentioned in the last PPP is mob presets, or mob pools. Thought it may be interesting to show how we make those.

First, we download the incredibly unsuspicious .jar file Martoph sends us, making sure to disregard Discord’s warnings.

Then we accept the EULA…

Then we put in our credit card numbers…

And the three funky numbers on the back…

Choose a payment plan…

Watch some ads…

And so on. Until it launches. You get used to it.

Anyway.


Here’s what a complete spawn pool may look like, as created by woaxa.

The base idea is that you have a themed group of mobs, in this case, undead grunts. As you ascend the floors, the exact mobs that will spawn will vary, become more powerful variants or more numerous.

From floors 2-4, these are the mobs that the undead grunt pool will spawn. A zombie, a stronger zombie, and 3 skeletons.

We can go into more detail as well, choosing a chance to spawn enemies, as well as how many will spawn. We can even assign them an element type!


From floors 5-7, you’d instead encounter a stronger batch of enemies.
I hope you’re able to keep up.

To close up this entry, here’s a quick look at the Queen Bee, a tougher enemy exclusive to the gardens. Not every enemy has a unique model, but we’ll be using them where needed for extra flair.


Before you go. Quick update on overall progress. We’re still fairly certain we’ll make the summer deadline. However, plans can change. Things can take longer than expected, or we may find out there’s more we need to do. Should we need more time, we’ll let you know.

That’s all for now. Later gamers

Project Pinion Progress #2

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Hello this is the very second edition of Project Pinion Progress coming to you LIVE from the Athios team.
Today we will be talking about enemies and share an update on dungeon generation.

But before we start. Would like to apologize for the delay in putting out this PPP. We’ve all been hard at work developing concepts or code to make this the best we can make it. We’ll be trying to show more of what we’ve come up with sooner, especially as summer approaches.

Now then. What kind of enemies will you encounter up in the tower?

Many different types. Some will be similar to vanilla mobs. They won’t do anything special. As much as we’d like for every mob to have a unique design and ability, that’s just not feasible with our current team and time. However, we plan on a not insignificant portion having cool abilities. For many mobs, we start with the vanilla version, then see what we can do to expand on that.

Additionally, every set of floors will have a theme, allowing for each set to have unique mobs for more interesting gameplay, and more creativity in designing mobs. One floor will be themed after Fenix’s grand gardens, featuring enemies who flourish and thrive in this dangerous green area.

  • The Bee is one of the weakest enemies and is very similar to vanilla Minecraft, where it will sting and poison a player once, and then perish shortly afterward.
  • Slightly stronger than that is the Iron Bee, which has replaced its stinger with one of iron. Though it no longer has a poisoning effect, it can sting players multiple times.
  • Much higher up in the stinging order is the Queen Bee. If a player is near, it will continually spawn Bees until it is defeated, making it a priority target and sort of mini boss.

These are just some of the mobs unique to the garden theme. We hope to have plenty more for each, giving them each theme their own flavor of both gameplay and aesthetics.



Here’s one mob you’ll be seeing on multiple floors, the Zombie Captain. He will make nearby undead mobs stronger, making him a powerful foe. This is also a little preview of the dungeon. More on the dungeon below.

Okay. What about how we spawn the mobs? Are they just going to be haphazardly placed across the dungeon? Absolutely not. But what did we need? And what didn’t we? We set to work figuring that out.

  • It should not be completely random what monster gets spawned
  • Exact spawning location in a room is not important
  • The same “room” should be able to hold multiple “encounters”
  • No way are we placing each unique mob spawn per room per theme (at least I'M not)

But how to most effectively and efficiently make curated encounters..?

New concept: Mob pre-sets
Using a system cooked up by Martoph, we can create multiple different sets of mobs.

For example, the Bee_Pack preset could include a mix of Bees and Iron Bees. Bee_Swarm could have maybe a dozen Bees and nothing else. Bee_Hive could have some Bees, some Iron Bees, and a Queen Bee. Wow!
Without a system like this, we’d have to place 12 different mob spawns in 3 identical copies of the same room. Instead, we place one (or maybe more for fun) mob spawn in a room and tell it which mob presets it can spawn. Much simpler and way more efficient. Additionally, we can even reuse the same presets for a different room!

The preset doesn’t have to be identical every time, either. The exact number and identity of the mobs that will spawn may change based on a level of chance or… the floor’s difficulty.

That’s right. As you ascend the tower, rooms will tend to spawn more difficult encounters. But how do we determine difficulty?

There are a few ways of doing this in games.

One common way would be scaling mob stats as players ascend. While this could be considered more basic, it would be a solid way of encouraging players to seek out better gear or think of better tactics as they ascend the tower.
Another way would be making mobs have better or more aggressive AI. This is out of bounds for us. Also, many mobs are very simple. They hold the W key at you and attempt to make contact. Another strike against it.

A third way would be to “upgrade” mobs in a pool or increase their quantity.
A more difficult Bee_Pack could change some regular Bees to Iron Bees, while a harder Bee_Hive could add an extra Queen Bee. This would be some extra effort, however.

We’ll be exploring these options and more.

One last thing we want to mention for now. There will of course be a boss at the end of a set of floors. While we don’t want to say too much about it just yet, here’s a statement.

We do not want our bosses to be a generic enemy with a massive health bar that slowly walks up to you and gets beat up for a minute or three or ten. That’s boring!

Expect some level of mechanics or fun attacks to dodge. I’m not saying that this is going to be the Dark Souls of Minecraft. But I have recently played Dark Souls and thought it was fun. Thanks Dave_X for the recommendation!

As for dungeon generation, it’s come some way since you last saw anything of it. Our builders have been hard at work, and actual dungeon mobs can spawn inside now.

Here’s some images.


That’s it for this edition of Project Pinion Progress (PPP). Next time it is likely you will experience some insight into loot.

Anyway that’s all for now see you next time on play.athiosmc.com

Project Pinion Progress 01/16/22

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Hello! This is the very first developer log/progress update for Athios’ Project Pinion that was announced last year. We held many meetings and developed a lot of ideas that we want to share with you! For this post, I really wanted to focus on one of the main parts of the project: generating the tower/dungeon. You can look forward to other posts by other staff members regarding different aspects to the gamemode in the future. This will be a fairly technical, behind-the-scenes look at what I’ve been up to.
Background
Like most things (granted you have some experience), procedural dungeon generation might initially sound easy. However, there were big questions I had to tackle:
  1. How will rooms be built?
  2. How will they be placed in the world?
  3. How do I connect these rooms?
  4. Where do I put the start, end?
The most popular form of dungeon building I’ve seen involves rooms and corridors being shaped and built by the generator (see this article), but because Minecraft is a 3d game, it’s quite hard to do that in an aesthetic way (we don't just want flat walls!). My main inspiration for the algorithm I put together was Zorbus (reddit post), which had a dungeon-generator that allowed for me to see dungeons being built step by step. Zorbus also uses a pre-built room approach, which is what we intend to have.
My Algorithm
The biggest challenge I had to face was room collision. I could’ve just made every room into a rectangle and made it easy to detect room collisions, but that would lead to a lot of false-positives and create a far smaller dungeon than I wanted. It would also limit how wacky we could get with the shapes of rooms. To solve this, rooms are saved with a “collision map” that tracks which x- and z- coordinates have blocks on them (the Y coordinate is irrelevant, dungeon floors won’t vary in height that much). When the dungeon is being placed, it also has its own collision map that tracks the composite x- and z- coordinates and can quickly compare with room collision maps. I could have compared the block locations directly, but that would take up a lot of memory and severely limit the amount of rooms that can be placed. With this approach, I’m able to read collision maps extremely quickly and compare them extremely quickly with little memory usage. Here is a picture of the first dungeon created with my algorithm:

Wow! A dungeon!
After working out some of the bugs, I was able to generate this dungeon:
The main issue with this dungeon was the lack of rotations; notice that all the pieces have the same orientation. To solve this, every room file is read by the dungeon builder and rotated, and it turns 1 room into 4! After a bit more math to rotating the collision map and knowing where to place the Minecraft structure, my dungeons were looking like this:

Very exciting! A cool part about this builder is that the generations are seeded, just like a Minecraft world. Each dungeon has its own seed and can be recreated with the same seed. These two dungeons have approximately 450 rooms, take less than 2 seconds to generate, and around a minute to place (Minecraft isn’t too optimized with structure placements!). At this point, the main limiting factor is the JVM Stack Size; A.K.A. needs more ram! When given 4x the stack size, I was able to generate a 1800 room dungeon in about 5 seconds, but took 6 minutes to place.

I do want to clarify, these timings can’t be expected of the final product as this is very bare bones generation. Also, we don't plan to make dungeon floors nearly as big (the 1800 room version is around 1,000x1,000 blocks). These are stress tests to show off how good my algorithm is.

Here are some more pictures from the dungeon building process:
What’s Next?
The team has been working really hard to develop the concepts and ideas for other parts of the gamemode. This is just one small part that didn’t require a lot of specifics to get started, so I did! As far as an ETA, I can’t give you one, but our goal is to have a basic dungeon playable by summer. Stay tuned for more Project Pinion Progresses!

Aesthetic Update + 1.18

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Athios MC1.18.1 now wow fresh hot

It’s been a little while since 1.18 was released. There’s good reason for that!
Lib’s Disguises (important plugin) needed updating and our very own overownerlorddev Martoph put his own efforts into an update for it.

Also. There was a major security issue that affected Minecraft. Athios should be fine, but if you’re interested in knowing more, here’s a link to information from the Minecraft website.

https://help.minecraft.net/hc/en-us...urity-Vulnerability-in-Minecraft-Java-Edition

Anyway. Athios 1.18.1 now. Update your Minecrafts. See what’s new below!

The New GUI


Starting with the SnD menu, we’ve updated it so you can easily browse your options. Access this by right clicking the compass in your hotbar!

  • The Sword allows you to choose your kit for the round! Fairly standard. (Tip: Left click the compass to access this instantly!)
  • The Exp Bottle works as does Blaze, showing you your many achievements and any rewards you have yet to claim.
  • The Comparator brings you to your preferences. Set what you will.
  • The Anvil is how you may modify the hotbar layouts of kits.
  • The Skull (excellent example on display) will bring up your stats in chat. Don’t worry, no one else can see them.
  • The Book sends a link to a brief video tutorial on basic SnD gameplay.
Titles, subtitles, action!

There’s always that one player that hasn’t realized their team’s bomb is armed.
Even though it shows up on the scoreboard.
Even though it pops up in chat, repeatedly.
Even though there’s a loud, distinctive sound.

So we added a Bomb bar that ticks off the seconds till the bomb detonates.



You have one less excuse for not paying attention.

There are other various additions as well. A few examples rest inside the spoiler.


Killstreak! Keep it up!


You won! Good job!

All prompts have been set into different categories so as to not disrupt gameplay. The Title section (🌟VICTORY!🌟) is only used before and after the game, while Subtitles (+5 Credits +3 Points) is used for certain events, such as Poison.

Kit Alerts

It can be hard understanding what happened sometimes. After all, this is Search and Destroy, the game with 20+ kits. (Play now at play.athiosmc.com! Version 1.18.1) It can be tough to learn or memorize them all!

With this update, you will be alerted for certain interactions in your Action bar (located right above your hotbar) rather than in chat, making it harder to miss.


Ow!


Uh oh

Cold!


Steppy


Empty


☠

Overclocked Ultra 𝔉𝔢𝔫𝔦𝔵 Wireless RGB Ergonomic Gaming Kits X
We added or updated effects on kits where relevant. Some have sounds. These only play to relevant players.

Images in the spoiler.

ipad not included


Bursts visibly start smoking when overheated. As a reminder, shooting while in this state will kill you. (that’s bad)


We’ve packed more explosion into this explosion.


Explosives will sparkle a little if their RPG is charged. Cute


If you’re cold, they’re cold. Bring them inside


New advancements in spectral sighting sciences have led to Ghosts and Wraiths being more obviously dead on death2.


It’s very hard to share the new audio sound effect through a gif and text, but I’ll do my best anyway.

🔔!!

Pretty cool, huh?


Man’s gone


Our Medics now display that they have plenty of healing energy through sparkly particles. If you don’t see particles, they’re running low! You’ll have to take damage later, sorry for the inconvenience.


Ow

Number 1 Victory Royale

Leaderboards have been added. Technology exists for more stats in the future.


Yeah SnD we bout to get down (get down)



10 votes on the board right now

Line #4

Map Testing Pool Update

New maps have entered the arena to fight for their lives. Will you cheer them on, or will you hope for their deaths in battle?

Please welcome these contenders

Chivalrous Civil War - @Espios
Greenhouse - @Mythless
River Ruckus - @Espios
Aristos Achaion - Cali Ghost Gang (@Hyacinthos , @MysticWonders , @Bayzel , @Katielette, & @leviathiniticus)

Aesthetic Art

Local Athios Artist @shadowstarcat / annisdying has made an incredible image for this update.
Please direct the direction of your eyes to the image below.



#Epic
#Swag

Project Pinion Progress (P3? PPP?)

So how’s it looking on that project we mentioned?

Pretty good progress I’d say. There are a lot of details that we need to go through, as well as things that need deciding.

We’re still in the very early stages. Something to get out of the way early though, is layouts.

How do we procedurally generate each floor? How do we want players to ascend the tower? What does a typical floor look like, and what can you expect to find on a floor? How can we do this in a way compatible with what we can do as builders and what Martoph can do with his magic text? How do you connect different rooms? Lots of questions.

As it turns out, making the jump from 2D to 3D complicates it. But we believe we have some solutions and are working on answering those. We know some wrong answers, and we know some acceptable answers. We hope to find the secret answer so we can unlock the true ending. More on that later. Don’t want to make this post too long.

End of Post

.

.

Special Note


The weight of the world bears heavily on Fenix.
Lobbies and maps on the server are yet to update.
This will be addressed soon.

.

End of Post 2

Next Update + Future Plans

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Hi.

The gamemodes, as they are, don’t seem sustainable for growing the server. We’ve seen discussion about this and have been planning on what to do next. We also thought that involving the community in what’s going on behind the scenes would be a good idea.

So here is what is up, my fellow gamers.

Starting with our current gamemodes:

Search and Destroy, the main attraction of Athios and nostalgic link to many for a server long gone… doesn’t cut it.

By its base design, it needs a decent amount of players for maximum fun -- 20 or so, ideally more… Ember Hours helps, but that’s more of an event than a gamemode.

It is not friendly to new players at all. Most kits have something special about them that can only be learned from repeated trial and error. Learning all these kits wouldn’t be too difficult, but there are no respawns. Make one mistake and it’s over, which is very easy to do as a new player. It’s not very encouraging. It’s something experienced players have gotten used to, but a new player is far more likely to play a more forgiving or fast-paced gamemode.

We struggled with content creators on this as well. Even when we managed to tear one away from Hypixel’s talons, they either struggled to understand and play the game themselves, or their viewers did. Again, not an encouraging system.

SnD needs players, which we couldn’t get for that gamemode. Okay, what then?

Our next move was to revive Disasters.

We planned that it’d be playable and fun, even with only 1 player. And I like to think that’s still true, though it does get lonely. It’s more fast paced compared to SnD as well, with games taking 3 minutes at the most. The base objective is fairly simple as well. Things happen. Survive them! The disasters have quite a bit of variety to keep it fresh every round, as well.

But it hasn’t popped off either. So what’s the issue? It could be a lack of endgame goal or something else to grind for. There wasn’t any real meaning to winning or losing beyond what you gave it. No reason to keep playing. It’s very much a minigame, rather than a gamemode.

Finally, on a server of our current scale, there’s always downtime between games. If you lose, you need to wait for the rest of the current game to end. If you die in the beginning, which isn’t unlikely for a new player, it can be a long wait… Compare this to a big server, where you can join and start a new round within 30 seconds at most.

We could keep trying new content creators, but this does pose a financial risk without guarantee of returns.

So what’s next?

We wanted to make a gamemode that would address the key issues we identified with SnD and Disasters:

Playable solo or with few players
Easy to learn/simple objectives
Longterm/endgame objectives

Here’s what we have to offer on that end.

Project Pinion
(Placeholder name)

A hybrid survival/roguelite gamemode.

  • In the center of town lies a tower which stretches forever into the heavens, offering fortune and danger to bold climbers.
  • Gather resources in the wilds and bring them into the tower for a stronger initial advantage.
  • Inside, face custom enemies and acquire special loot.
  • Use your experience and items to aid in future runs.
  • Buy and upgrade a house or free build on a plot in the town.
  • Play solo or party up with friends.

Here’s some more details about the tower:

We plan on it being split into multiple themed sections. Climbing the entirety of the tower in one session is not advised.
As you ascend, enemies get tougher and loot gets more valuable.
Floors within sections will be procedurally generated.
Should you die, you will be sent to the tower’s entrance with only what you brought.

We’ve got a lot more planned, but who knows what’ll happen during the testing cycle. Don’t want to promise something we can’t keep!

On that note. Something we do want to have in the future is a beta for this project, at least the tower portion. We’re planning to get you a playable beta by Summer 2022.

What does this mean for SnD and Disasters?

Both gamemodes are in a mostly balanced state, though balance patches are of course possible. Bugs are also there. To be fixed. There is currently one major update for SnD currently being worked on, focusing on modernizing its aesthetics with titles, subtitles, action bars, and all that fun stuff. (Note: Can be disabled via /prefs) Let’s face it. SnD was a gamemode that came out sometime before 2013 and it sure looks the part! We’ve already fully planned out on what changes will be happening, so you can expect the Aesthetic Update in the “near” future.

Once this is done we’ll be focusing all attention on Project Pinion. SnD and Disasters will continue to be maintained and balanced, but we aren’t planning on any more major updates for a while. Expect to see map rotations continue, as we’re still accepting submissions for both modes.

Additionally, since we expect Project Pinion to have a longer development time, we’re committing to consistent design and development updates. We want to keep you all in the loop and get your feedback along the way.

This is a big move we’re making. We started as a small community of gamers who grew up on SnD, and we’ve grown to have some big goals. Thanks to everyone who’s stuck around so far, and to everyone who’s joining us on this. We’ll see you in the Tower!

Server IP

play.athiosmc.com

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