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Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work. Read more

Austin, TX Video Games
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This project was successfully funded on April 7, 2013.

Lord British returns to his fantasy RPG roots with Shroud of the Avatar, hearkening back to his innovative early work.

Austin, TX Video Games
Share this project

Release 15 Instructions - Unity 5 is Alive!

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Novia Overworld
Novia Overworld

Greetings Avatars,

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 15 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, February 26 at 10:30 AM Central Time (16:30 UTC).

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues.

This far from launch, we are in a constant state of change and we do not yet have in-game systems to inform players of these changes, or to share ways to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely entirely on this message, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because players elect not to read this valuable information. By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions, and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post, and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

We are very excited that Release 15 represents our first release using Unity 5, the latest version of the Unity engine. Unity 5 provides us with both improved performance opportunities and graphical upgrades that will allow us to iteratively and dramatically improve the visual presentation of Shroud of the Avatar. As we have said before, our goal is to make sure Shroud is as visually compelling as we have time to make it. However, whenever we have to make a choice between simulation (turning lights on/off, picking up items from the world, NPC schedules, etc.) and visuals, we will ALWAYS choose the simulation.

Moving to Unity 5 requires us to redo and retouch just about every graphical asset in the game; including textures, camera rigs, and lighting setups. Since this is such a large endeavor, our goal this release was basically, “Please make it at least look as good as it did in Unity 4.” We believe we accomplished this goal, however there might be a few errors still in the build, including missing textures (will show up as bright pink) or incorrect shaders (which can just make things look “wrong”). There may also be some scenes that still need lighting adjustments as well. In some cases, though, we believe the game is already looking much better. For instance, with Unity 5 we are now doing some post process edge shadows that really make the geometry pop.

The scale of the Unity 5 migration has required us to move out a few more deliverables than normal (see below), but we feel confident that it will be well worth any temporary delay we are experiencing. Despite that, we feel the work we did get into this release has moved the gameplay forward yet again, with major new items like Stealth and Crafting Advancement.

Please note that the patch for this release will be particularly large.

Also, remember that while we are providing new content with each release, our community is working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy, so be sure to check out a couple of the Community Events Calendars run by our community members (via in game book or the player run websites Avatars Circle Community Events and Events of the Avatars calendar).

This release contains the Novia world for the first time, 39 new scenes, 11 new magic and combat skills, 20 new crafting skills, pets to follow you, and more!

[Click here for the rest of the Release 15 Instructions]

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Help Raise the Underworld

Our long-time friend and former Origin protégé, Paul Neurath, is rebooting the legendary Ultima Underworld games with the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter campaign! It has been more than a decade long wait, but the stars have aligned and Paul has at long last freed the rights to move forward with the franchise. We're especially excited that, just as the original Ultima and Underworld shared a connection on backstory and fictional elements, so too will Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant.

We're teaming up with Underworld Ascendant so that backers of both games will get a special in-game Dark Elven “Kinsman” Buckler! This buckler, inscribed with the Dark Elven symbol, has a moonstone gem inset. If a player owns the buckler in both Shroud of the Avatar and Underworld Ascendant, then the moonstone will glow with the warmth of kinship. This signifies that the Dark Elven clans, though sundered between distant worlds, still are one. The Dark Elven Buckler is currently available in the SotA Add-On Store, and as an Add-On on the Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter page.

Otherside Entertainment is currently at $550k of their $600k funding goal, but needs your help to reach their goal and start working toward their stretch goals! Be sure and check out the Underworld Kickstarter site, and if you are as excited about it as we are, then show your support and make a pledge to Raise the Underworld!

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Crowfall Kickstarter

Another of our former Origin protégés, Gordon Walton (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies), has teamed up with J. Todd Coleman (Shadowbane, Wizard 101), to create an awesome sounding game called Crowfall. They describe it as a seamless blend of an MMO with a large-scale Strategy game! Think "...Game of Thrones meets Eve Online". They've enlisted the aid of yet another former Origin protégé, Raph Koster (Ultima Online, Star Wars Galaxies), as a design consultant!

Game characters are persistent, but the Campaign Worlds are not. Players are Crows – Champions who travel from one world to the next, fighting an endless War of the Gods. There are two types of Worlds in the Crowfall Universe: the Campaign Worlds, which produce materials such as stone, iron, and wood (and last until some "win condition is met" - typically 1 to 3 months), and the Eternal Kingdoms, which are barren of resources -- but last forever. When a campaign ends, a victor is declared, the map is wiped and the World goes offline forever. The players – the Crows – then fly back to their Home Worlds, to either count their spoils or lick their wounds before they choose a new Campaign and fight again.

Another really cool feature is that the worlds are made of voxels (like Minecraft, only much smaller) – which means the entire world is destructible. They are harnessing VoxelFarm technology to generate an endless succession of unique and interesting Campaign Worlds for you to mine, shape, conquer and destroy.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? A lot of gamers think so because they just started their Kickstarter campaign yesterday and reached 50% of their funding goal in just 10 hours! Check out their Kickstarter page and if you like what you see then help them build Crowfall with your pledge!

Going for Three! – Please Vote for SotA for MMORPG's Players Choice Awards for Most Anticipated MMO of 2015!

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First, you helped SotA win Massively's Reader's Poll for Most Anticipated MMO of 2015! Then, you kept the mojo going by driving SotA to a commanding lead in Ten Ton Hammer's Most Anticipated Game of 2015 (voting for the TTH poll ends at 11:59 pm EST tonight, Jan 6).

It feels like we're on a roll, here! You've knocked it out of the park for SotA twice in a row, so what do you say we go for three? These Reader's Polls help new players learn of our awesome community and this awesome game that we are all building together! Please help keep the winning streak going and click the following link to go cast your vote for Shroud of the Avatar in MMORPG's 2015 Players Choice Awards!  http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/9273/The-Players-Choice-Awards-Part-One.html

Please Vote for Shroud of the Avatar for Ten Ton Hammers’ Most Anticipated Game of 2015!

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We couldn’t have won the Massively Reader’s Poll without the tremendous support from all of you! And now we’ve just learned of another Reader’s Choice poll for Most Anticipated Game of 2015 being held by Ten Ton Hammer. This is an “official” poll and will have a follow up article on TTH once the results are finalized on January 7th.

So, what do you think? Can we keep the mojo going? Can we win two Most Anticipated Reader’s Choice polls for 2015! I bet we can, but we’re going to need all your help (again) to do it, so please click the following link to go cast your vote for Shroud of the Avatar!

Release 13 Instructions

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Greetings Avatars,

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 13 access for all backers at First Responder level and above, as well as winners of the Alienware Arena R13 contest and winners from our Cyber Monday telethon, begins Thursday, December 18 at 10:30 AM Central Time (16:30 UTC).

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues.

This far from launch, we are in a constant state of change and we do not yet have in-game systems to inform players of these changes, or to share ways to help them to explore new content and systems. This means we rely entirely on this post/email, and the linked instructions and known issues to convey the current game state. We regularly have to answer questions or filter bug reports because players elect not to read this valuable information. By taking a few moments to read through this information, a great deal of our time and efforts can be redirected to focus on new “unanswered” questions, and addressing critical issues impacting each release. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to review this post, and for all the truly valuable feedback you continue to provide.

When we first released our Q4 2014 schedule over 3 months ago we were quite optimistic about how much we could accomplish in that period of time, while at the same time transitioning to 24/7 uptime with persistence. While we were able to complete as much work as we had planned (and in many cases more) that work ended up being very different than what we first planned. This is what comes out of a very iterative and responsive approach to development. Our velocity is almost exactly what we had hoped but the direction of our efforts varies.

We believe that this approach will result in a much better game than if we simply marched along with a rigid plan that had no room for adaptation. We hope you share that belief and continue to support us on this unique journey.

Release 13 is our first release since launching on Steam Early Access last month and we believe that the changes and additions we have made are making the game both more beautiful and more playable. From the incredible stark beauty of the desert scenes to the rush of flames engulfing your axe, you will find much to enjoy. Of course with new content comes new bugs and balance issues, so help us out by posting bugs and feedback in our official forums.

Also remember while we are providing new content with each release, our community is also working overtime to make new events for you to enjoy so be sure to check out the Community Events Calendar (via in game book or the Avatar's Circle website).

 Without further ado, here are the R13 deliverables, along with some extra notes and new deliverables in italics.

[Click here for the rest of the Release 13 Instructions]

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Please Vote for Shroud of the Avatar for Massively’s Most Anticipated MMO of 2015!

Massively is running a Reader Poll for the the Most Anticipated MMO of 2015, so please click the following link to go cast your vote for Shroud of the Avatar!

http://massively.joystiq.com/2014/12/18/massivelys-best-of-2014-awards-most-anticipated-for-2015-and-b

Release 12 Instructions

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 Greetings Avatars,

Thank you to our loyal backers of Shroud of the Avatar. Release 12 access for all backers at First Responder level and above begins this Thursday, November 20 at 10:30 AM Central Time (16:30 UTC). Steam Early Access will begin on Monday, November 24 at 10:00 AM Central Time (16:00 UTC). Starting today, you can begin installing and patching (see instructions below), but login will not be enabled until Thursday morning.

Please read this entire message, as well as the linked instructions and known issues. Also, please note that there has been a data wipe for Release 12.

We started Release 12 with a very aggressive and large set of deliverables, as well as a goal to launch on Steam Early Access. We quickly realized that these were not necessarily complementary goals. Prepping for the Steam launch ended up taking much more time than we had initially estimated. We also ran headlong into the network effect of ever more intertwined systems. The network effect I speak of is that each time you add a new system or a new feature to an existing system, you increase the number of connections all systems have with each other. That means each new feature that goes in requires more work than the previous feature, and often requires some level of rework on several existing features. This is a natural progression of a project’s development, but for some reason we were optimistic that it would not require us to move at a slower pace.

However, it was indeed the case that for a few of the larger new features (like Encumbrance, Banks, and linking Pledges to Accounts) that we had to go a bit slower to make sure that they had all the proper connections to everything else. This required us to take longer than one release to finish them, and so they did not make it into Release 12. We also spent a significant amount of time on performance and stability which came at a cost. However, there are a lot of other things we did get in, including a prototype of our “First Time User Experience” that shows a lot of promise.

We are very excited about the launch on Steam Early Access on November 24th. We believe it will be a very important milestone for us, and it has the potential to increase our amazing community even more. We launched the store and community pages last week, and I want to express how much we appreciate that the community is already showing off Shroud of the Avatar with great screenshots, videos, and discussions.

Without further ado, here are the R12 deliverables, along with some extra notes and new deliverables in italics. Please note that text that has strikeouts through it is information and/or deliverables that have either changed or been pushed from this release. We purposely keep all the original text (even when it changes) for transparency.

[Click here for the rest of the Release 12 Instructions]