Posted by on April 23rd, 2015

Good afternoon everyone! @Cambo here to give you a quick brief on what’s happening in the studio.

The last patch focused primarily on adding content and on-going tech progress. We added magic spells, critter taming and breeding, and a nifty shield for blocking. However, we had to switch gears these past few weeks to focus on the big tech stuff so don’t expect much content for the next patch. Our artists are still slamming away creating assets but they won’t be in until we have the systems ready.

Oh yea, we had a group of students from RL Turner High School AMAT program visit us this week for a field trip. A few of our team gave them a presentation on the realities of working in a game studio. I wish we had this type of field trip back in my day. Instead, all I got was a trip to the rock museum *no offense to geologist*.

So whats in the haps? The dedicated server is progressing. We are also revamping our creative mode user interface to make it more user friendly with item filters and utilizing CEGUI. We started our modular tool system which will allow you to mix and match resources for crafting tools. There’s been a lot of progress on the terrain tech and hopefully we can bring back the older biomes in the next few iterations.

Today, I have an early look of our revamped SkyBox that @NKDenthorn is working on. It’s something some gamers might not appreciate. Just imagine playing Skyrim with static clouds that never move or change forms. You may as well just run around looking at your feet.

Our current SkyBox is rendering a static cloud image, placed on a moving plane above you. This gives you the illusion that the clouds are moving but the clouds are flat. The moving plane helps with the immersion but will look warped when you look at a distance.  This perspective issue is more noticeable when you are looking into the horizon.

 

 

 

 

Our revamped SkyBox now has generated clouds, a moon, and a sun that revolves around the player on a hemisphere. Possibly even planets too, yea? This will help with your perspective when you are looking into the distance. The best part is that our artists are able to customize pretty much anything in the sky.This will allow them to have creative freedom for the environment and fine tune things on the fly.

Disclaimer: @NKDenthorn wants to let you know he is no artist so forgive him for these poor examples.

@NKDenthorn will write a future tech blog once we get closer to releasing the new SkyBox.

The past few weeks have been extremely busy for me, so I did not have a chance to bring out some new “In The Works” footage for everyone.

Cheers!

Cambo Out~

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Posted by on April 16th, 2015

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a tech blog, so I decided to write about what you can expect from our Phase 2 Multiplayer: Dedicated Server. I’ll even post some super high-definition renders of the advanced console interface that Josh (@JoshuaBrookover) has been working on!

So what do we mean when we say “Dedicated Server”? We already have the ability to host servers now, right? While we do have the ability to host servers now, the person hosting must be a player in the game and also be running the full version of the game in order to allow players to connect. This makes it very problematic to host a stand-alone server on a computer and just have clients connect at their leisure.

When we say “Dedicated Server” we are referring to the game running in a much reduced form (no graphics, gui, sounds, etc) than needed when actually playing the game as a seed in the world. The dedicated server is a stand-alone application that manages only what is necessary to maintain the state of the game, but does not process any systems that only a player would need. One of the biggest things we gain from this is that it will allow player count on a server to increase! This is the dedicated server:

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(Figure 1: Server running and ready to be used, work in progress)

The dedicated server does not create a standard window like you’d expect with most of your programs, but runs as a console program. No graphics libraries are loaded or utilized; it doesn’t play any sounds, and there is no server player.

We use a console library called PDCurses to give us a clean-cut interactive console at runtime. It has an input area for the server owner to type commands, as well as some advanced stats across the top so at a glance you see what’s going on with your server. Each statistics box can be changed to show any other stat.

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(Figure 2: Shows command input and statistic changes, work in progress)

This console will provide a lot of useful information, showing when a player joins/leaves, viewing the in-game chat, and seeing any useful debugging or warning information from the engine or Lua.

Logging is a large part of running your own server that you aren’t always keeping an eye on. Everything from system information to chat messages that pop up in the console will also be logged to a file that is specified by your configuration file. This log can provide very useful information to server owners allowing them to diagnose problems or view player’s chat logs.

So what does the dedicated server give us? With the dedicated server, a player can run a TUG server with their own hardware or service. This also gives hosting companies the ability to host game servers for the public. The dedicated server is completely configurable from a single file that allows whomever is hosting the TUG server to specify information such as number of players, maximum allowed view distance, networking ports and other useful configuration parameters as seen in the image below:

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(Figure 3: Dedicated Server Configuration File, work in progress)

Our hope is that we can give any server host the ability to run TUG servers, and as we continue to improve on the Eternus Engine and TUG, be able to give them more and more capabilities with their game!

Keep in mind that we are still working on the dedicated server and we may choose to add or change some features that are seen here as we develop further. There is still a lot to do! Feel free to follow me on twitter @camfergusondfw or stop by our forums to ask any questions you may have about the dedicated server!

Thanks,

Ghost

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Posted by on April 8th, 2015

Ahoy! Enjoy fun, hunting KIDS! ALL THE KIDS! Goat kids… ya creeps. This update brings breeding and taming to the world of The Uncanny Gerbils, along with a few sparkly bits with teh magicks… magic? magik? idk. Keep in mind, that everything you are seeing in game now is not final, but does give us a chance to see how things impact the overall experience and performance of the game. Of course, if something is not to your liking in a current iteration you can always, ya know… mod it.

Expect a lot more focus on content for the next couple of releases, while we start to work on the design and early development of the engine move over to openGL, so we can hit much lower machine specs and get the game out there in the hands of more players. Along with this, dedicated servers are ALMOST done, and you should follow @camfergusondfw for updates on that. Also, hes got this streaming bug right now, so you can also poke him on stream on occasion here.

We have made some big progress since we started this project way back in Kickstarter, and have gotten a lot of support from all of you, fellow developers, and even financial partners. Its been absolutely overwhelming to be able to take our project this far and have an opportunity to take it beyond what we initially thought we could accomplish. We have big plans and big support, and we are anxious to show you guys what we have up our sleeves.

OH! And big congratz to our Art Director @inkmech, who just had a beautiful, healthy baby girl! Well, he didn’t have a baby, that’d be weird… but you know what I mean.

As usual, rage @brennanpriest42

For leaks of things that make the devs cringe, cause I have a problem follow me here @inoritewtf

And if you think we need CorgiGoats for REALS, yell @x_nekochu_x

Update announces can be found here @theuntitledgame

And general geekery stuffs around TUG development can be found here @nerdkingdom

New Features

  • Added a Sand Layer underneath several biomes so players aren’t dependent on finding a Desert for sand.
  • Alternative terrain generators are back. Note the Survival generation is still the main, balanced generator for gameplay
  • Goat Kid added to generation, no not a satyr…
  • Animals will now react to players holding food and can be fed.
  • Baby versions of Cats and Goats can be domesticated. The BearRam Cub cannot and adult wild Cats and Goats cannot be domesticated.
  • Pets can be set to follow or stay by targeting them and right clicking.
  • Players can breed adult, domesticated animals from tamed baby versions.
  • Adult domesticated animals can breed and have babies.
  • Fireball and Ice Blast spells are now craftable and castable. You will need to craft their respective items, enter the casting stance with ‘t’, and left click to cast
  • A crude age shield is now in the game
  • Blocking can be performed when a shield is equipped with a weapon. Blocking is performed by holding down the right mouse button

Fixes

  • Found a major memory optimization when first loading animations in the game. It should dramatically reduce memory consumption when loading game objects by nearly 3x
  • Fixed a bug with emitters not displaying
  • AI should save their positions now between each game session
    Creature spawners now respect their cooldown timers. New animals won’t spawn in every time you load a game.
  • Fixed a crash when first creating/joining a game
  • Fixed a crash when exiting TUG
  • Fixed an issue where attempting to transfer a tool/weapon to a full container would restore the durability on that item
  • Fixed an issue where swords weren’t cutting certain types of grass billboards
  • Fixed a Lua error when a player left a game before respawning
  • Fixed a Lua error when a player entered Z placement mode in Creative mode and then switched to 3rd person camera
  • Banana Bunches are harvestable again
  • Generated coconuts no longer hover several feet above the ground.
  • Fixed some cases where the Fuel Potion wasn’t restoring energy
  • Added in a console message when players join a server

Known Issues

  • Player collision is slightly desync’d from their visual location. It is lagging slightly behind where a player has moved from
  • Pets have no distinguishing features from wild animals
  • Some animal movement is not animating correctly, so creatures may appear to slide
  • Pet animations are sync’ed when you reload a world
  • Pet timers and health are reset between sessions
    If you die too far away from your last save, pets can get lost
  • The run key (shift) is not a bindable key
  • You can lose mouse cursor if you dismiss server disconnect message with keyboard.
  • There are some mouse cursor issues when TUG is the active window. It’ll exhibit itself as an active cursor that will still access your Windows desktop. If this occurs to you, send us your system specs.
  • Clients can come across strips of missing terrain. Reloading/rejoining the game sessions should be resolve the issue in the short term.
  • Clients are crafting slower than the Server player
  • Creative mode has several usability issues that we’re currently working on.
  • The Vine Fence Cage Trap doesn’t have collision along it’s walls when it has trapped something
  • If you have the fireball equipped, when you rejoin a server, the first shot may orient into a default position rather than where you are facing. You can resolve this by re-equipping the spell first.
  • If you die right as you enter a stance, you may get stuck in that stance (until you exit and rejoin)

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Posted by on April 2nd, 2015

Welcome to your first session of Animal Husbandry 101, or as we like to call it in TUG, Critter Taming & Breading, err Breeding!

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed those little saber cubs and their overprotective mothers and thought to yourself, “Gee I wish I had one of those cute little furballs”. Well friend, I’m here to tell you that your dream and so much more can come true!

Hi, @X_Nekochu_X here with an amazing new product from the makers who brought you alchemy, apothecary, magic and let us not forget shield! Introducing Critter Taming! With Critter Taming you’ll be able to coerce saber cubs and goat kids away from their mothers and make them your very own pet! How is this possible you say? The researchers at TUG labs have been hard at work on producing the sweetest treats that no baby critter can resist. Mom and baby will come running when you place the right kind of edible in your hand and lure them to your side with a delectable and savory snack.

 

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Once you have their attention, simply feed a few morsels to a baby critter to earn their undying loyalty and they will follow by your side. (Warning, edibles fed to wild moms are not guaranteed to earn their trust!) Congratulations! You’ve just tamed your first pet! But pet ownership requires a lot of responsibility, pets can die or be killed in unfortunate ways so it may not be wise to take them on all of your journeys. What’s a responsible pet owner to do? Well as a limited time offer, each pet you tame also comes with the basic set of commands to follow and stay! Simply interact with your pet with an open hand and your new pet will listen to your orders and either stay where you command them or follow you to the ends of the eart…um terrain generation! (Terrain generation in TUG is procedural and does not have a true end that can be calculated at this time.)

 

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Pets are fun but we all want to see our babies grow up now and then and what better way to have even more babies through breeding your new charges with one another! Through the science of TUG, all baby pets are conditioned to be forever babies and will not automatically go through the awkwardness of puberty. You’re welcome! For those proud pet owners that do want to raise a family, a certain magical concoction is available through apothecary that can aid in this goal. (Warning, it is strongly advised that use of any magical concoctions should only occur after proper consultation with a medical professional.)

After administration of the proper medicinal stimulants, it will take some time for your pet to grow up into its full adult form. Take them on walks during this time and discuss important life lessons you wish to impart and soon you’ll find your pet maturing into a full grown companion. Now is the season for love and breeding! Two companions of the same type can be tempted to make a baby by offering the same food you tamed your pets with. When companions are in love, they’ll make babies! Oh the joys you will have by becoming an owner of a beautiful family of pets!

 

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The world of pet ownership is at your fingertips with TUG, buy..err, call..umm, Play now! Oh yea, don’t forget to check out our latest ‘In The Works’ video!

 

 

Until next time!

– John @X_Nekochu_X

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Posted by on March 27th, 2015

Good evening folks!

The team has been really busy since our last patch, due to more new systems being added. The magic spells are coming along nicely and we also have pet/breeding in the works! That’s right! You’ll be able to have a pet tag along with you if you’re too afraid to gather resources at night. We can’t promise your pet won’t be catnip though.

A dedicated server is being worked on as well, but it will be a while before I can report back on it. It is a lot of work and @camfergusondfw daily nerd raging behind me, confirms it. You guys should tweet him some hugs and high fives to cheer him on. Ha!

Now let’s talk about shields, shall we? The first shield introduced is our crude bamboo shield. We have designed the shield to your arm slot rather than holding it in your hands. This will keep your hands free for other interactions in-game. Some of you may prefer handheld shields and that’s perfectly fine. The ability to mod in handheld shields is possible for any modders. The power is all yours when it comes to customization.

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At this current stage, the shield is purely an on/off sort of defense. You can equip it anytime but can only be used while holding a weapon. You’ll simply have to right mouse click to initiate a block then hold it to use. Holding down that button to block will use up your stamina so be sure to use wisely!

 

 

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You’re probably wondering if you’ll be invincible, once you have that shield up, right? NOPE! Blocking can prevent some physical and a percentage of ranged damage as your shield will soak up the damage to its durability. Your shield will break if it takes too much damage, without the durability to hold up. Higher tier shields will have more durability as you progress through the ages.

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Remember this is all still early as TUG is an early alpha title. Some things can change with time as we develop the game further.

The first episode of NK Cribs is out today! We really dig all the creative builds we have seen so far on Steam and twitter. Building massive structures in TUG survival mode is no easy task so we want to start showcasing YOUR creations in the series. Are you a creative person who likes to build massive builds? You can easily send us your creation for a chance to be showcased in the NK Cribs series.

Simply zip your save folder and send it to [email protected] for more information. You game saves can be found in your %appdata% folder (ex. “%AppData%Nerd KingdomTUGSaves”)

-Cambo Out!

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Posted by on March 20th, 2015

Today, @Cambo is taking a break from writing blogs but we won’t leave you guys hanging. Better yet, we had @Inoritewtf write one! Read on to see why we are all about supporting the modding community.


I don’t just want to make a “better Minecraft.”  While Minecraft was and still is incredibly important to our culture, it is so in perhaps not the way many would expect.  While the title has proved its longevity and arguably, left a tremendous legacy in the industry, the channel with which it has established its success is one that is perhaps the most seriously neglected by developers – as a platform for development by the modding community.

The fact is that the prevalence of vanilla Minecraft has dwindled as derivative mods have come to dominate the indie scene, the latter of which being responsible for generating hundreds of thousands of hours of play above and beyond the vanilla version alone.  The “slow” development of vanilla and ability for modders to decompile its foundations has left a space that almost any aspiring and ambitious developer can fill.  Given this progression, the natural question is why the developers haven’t formally recognized the deeper implications of using Minecraft, not just as a game, but as a development platform.  As a parent AND creator, I understand that it is hard to accept that your baby has grown into something different than what was intended at the outset.  However, by missing out on the opportunity to empower the modding community, the game as a platform has reached its limitations.

This is what we want to improve upon – creating a framework for a game with the INTENT of it being a platform for creation whereby user generated content is king. Its not enough to just guess what is going to work, so we spend a lot of time internalizing the feedback from modders in the Minecraft, Skyrim, and Garry’s Mod communities (to name drop a few).  I also spent some very valuable time with some of my favorite Minecraft community devs at Pax East with Ghost this year, and getting to know many of their needs gave us a very clear idea of how we need to proceed.  While each group has different needs due to varying sizes and access to resources, it seems to be the case that ultimately, none of these mod groups are accustomed to games actually FOCUSING on tools and technology with the modder in mind as the primary end user.

While we discussed all kinds of ideas in and around modding with active members of the community,  the second common theme was that the community functioned and existed almost entirely without ANY support from the game developers themselves, as if the devs were more interested in amputating a superfluous limb rather than trying to see how it could be integrated into a more efficient system .  As a consequence, the modding community has been one that has heavily relied on its own internal underground infrastructure to move forward – in that process an ENTIRELY new generations of developers has been born.  Many of these developers have families, or full time jobs, or are full time students working from dated machines – being torn between their own happiness, the anxiety of day-to-day survival, and fighting to avoid the disappointment of thousands to millions of fans that enjoy their works makes the struggle of the modding community a very visible one.

But what would happen if those developers in the modding community could actually make a living on their own?  What if we changed the way incentives worked to empower the mod community in parallel with the development of the game as a platform for creation?  What happens if the game devs created an ACTUAL working pipeline to work with other developers, modders, map makers, and server owners to create better tools? What could we create if we could focus full-time on making what has given so many of us hundreds, even thousands of hours of enjoyment?  What if all the pressure of nearly EVERY modders tools was not dumped on a single developer who had to kill himself playing catch up without the support of the official developers?  What if I stop writing up paragraphs with so many questions?!?!?!?!?!

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I don’t have all the answers for these topics, yet… but with the full intention of creating this as a platform to empower the players and creators alike, we can work together to find the answers.

– Ino
El Jefe


Be sure to check out our latest “In The Works” video here. You don’t want to miss this one.

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