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    Amy
  Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:41 pm
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Our Own Server

Afar was previously on shared hosting, which was proving both inadequate and unreliable, involving even being hacked through another site on the system.

We are now on a Virtual Private Server, at a cost of course. This is essentially our own server which only we are on (for information on VPS systems and how they work, see Wikipedia/Google). While this means we are paying more, and are also responsible for our own maintenance, it does mean we aren't sharing resources with potentially thousands of other websites as before.

You should see faster load times and such, and better uptime. I understand there was quite a bit of downtime while I wasn't online.

I must stress the importance of this switch however with regards to bugs. There will most likely be bugs we haven't caught yet pertaining to the switch. I am sorry for the inconvenience this may cause.

Should you encounter any problems, please feel free to post on the forums here or to chat with AmyPond on the IRC channel (irc.synirc.com #afar). We appreciate any concerns you have and are happy to help.

The new server by the way is hereby christened "Miranda".

-------------------------------------------------------------------

May 25th Updates

- The Barbarian set is now rare and no longer given away
- Community points have been backdated to people who had taken part in the community previously
- Bug fixes, mainly relating to recent updates

Behind the Scenes: June 2011

The past month has been weird update-wise. Firstly, with University coming to an end, it was exam season once more. Secondly most of the updates being worked on were behind the scenes things which you don't necessarily notice.

Well, this month is going to be a Big Monthâ„¢.

Plans in a nutshell:

Client

The standalone client will be released this month. It is just a way of playing the game outside of the web browser - so without the toolbars and bookmarks and whatever else cluttering up your game. It will also have a few useful features in it on top of that.

Graphics

Towns, outposts, and other World Map spawn points are going to be given a graphical facelift, with hand drawn maps digitally coloured. They might not be very well made, but they are distinctly Afar and unique to the game. They are currently being worked on and we are seeking C&C on the various forums we post on around the web.

Expansion

The world is going to be expanded rather vastly, in every direction. I know that might not interest people much - but with the other updates this is a Good Thingâ„¢.

Forced Battles

Bosses. Battles you have to fight to get from map A to map B. These are going to become more commonplace, at least when traveling to higher leveled areas of the world.

Quests

There are ten quests planned to be added this month, if all goes well.

Knighthoods

Knighthood will launch - paid content. The cost will probably be $12, current thinking. This money will help pay for a better server to run the game, and keep us going strong. Knights get no ads, more areas, more quests, etc. With the two quests in the game currently, there will be seven free and five paid quests on launch of Knighthood.

More enemies

There are over 30 planned enemies if all goes well.

More advertising

We plan to try and spread the word of Afar more. We haven't been putting much effort into getting people to play, as it's not "finished" to the standard we want people to remember.


----------------

Say hello to the new town graphics. They aren't particularly good - I am no artist - however I think they do add a bit of originality to the game. In the future we may be able to afford a good artist to remake them; for now they just make it a bit more Afar-y.

The new graphics are currently at Tiben Port, Tiben Town (3 scenes), West Gate and the Base Camp. New graphics are currently being made for the missing towns, including Damascar.


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    LiquidMetal91
  Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:57 pm
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L1 Slime

Location: Z'voort, Holland
Ah, lost my question..
So i'll ask again :D

How's the rates for the free membership goin?

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    Amy
  Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:51 pm
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Hi liquid - the link in your sig is still going to afar.ws, which is now gone. You will need to update it to claim points, sorry. This is only as of yesterday (I have said for a while to update :smile: but it's not a problem until now.)

Points - nobody has any, which is leading me to believe the system is in fact broken. I am going to do some more testing, and if that doesn't work, I will simply hold a sweepstakes (a random draw involving everyone who has logged in in the past month).

Sorry for failing you there. I will try and test it and see if it works.

---------------

It isn't working - I am going to come to a compromise. I will post it shortly. It will be fair on all those involved so far.


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    LiquidMetal91
  Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:16 pm
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L1 Slime

Location: Z'voort, Holland
K, tnx for the notice ;D

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    Amy
  Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:25 pm
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Ok, I think what I am going to do is have a box where you can type in a user who referred you, since the contest system wasn't working.

I keep track of links in by watching the ad space, and I know that you and Holder at least have one referral each from that.


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    Amy
  Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:09 pm
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There are times when programming for Afar that something big is created that reshapes the game. Today was one of those times, with the creation of Interactive Scenery.

Image


Anyone who has roamed the fields of Tiben knows that a map is basically created using just a simple image - usually detailed a bit, some trees here and there, but in the end just an image.

Interactive scenery uses the notion of map objects, which are placed in certain spots. They are interactive in that they can be clicked, performing various actions depending on what type of object it is.

Trees can be cut down for logs. Treasure chests can spawn in random places and be opened to give items. The implications are huge, it just all needs to be programmed and added.

At the moment, trees have been created, which can be placed on maps. Each tree is a unique object. You can cut a tree and it will take a set amount of time to grow back. You get logs for cutting down a tree.

This, in a way both replaces and compliments the "Time Events" system of the past where you can obtain items from certain spots in the game.

As always suggestions are more than welcome.

Oh, it's worth pointing out that the system is done but nothing has been mapped yet! Watch this space. The first update will be to switch out all the static trees for "real" interactive ones in the near future.


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    Amy
  Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:13 pm
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Image


As before, this set will be available until 50 more members have joined (from 510 - missed it a bit!)

The set will appear in your inventory when you do certain things. :)


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    glorious caesar
  Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:05 pm
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Warnings: 1
Amy Pond wrote:
Image


this whole post is excellent dude and imo it's exactly the direction that you needed to take this game. continue working on this kind of system and once it's fully implemented you will be so much closer to this thing being an actual mmo. that kind of variety and INTERACTIVITY is exactly what people want, not to mention the addictive nature of these kinds of things.

idk if you did this because you always had it planned or if any of it came from what we were talking about on irc but dude either way this is a great idea man and will totally take Afar to the nest level.


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    Amy
  Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:24 pm
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I realise I've neglected Afar somewhat over the past few months.

We just reached 550 members - a nice milestone - but the game hasn't really progressed much in terms of updates and such.

I know I promised a lot and that's bad since none of it came to light.

Yesterday I tried to get my ass in gear a bit. I sat down for a few hours and really got down to making a lot of new maps interactive, as that's a start. I've created some new map object types as well. Yesterday and this morning about ~20 maps were made interactive (clickable things that do stuff).

For the mamoth task this involves, red is maps currently done in the new format. Black haven't.

Content Hidden


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    Sir Ver
  Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:28 pm
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Location: Australia
I'm havinig a hard time going from page to page. It's taken nearly 10 minutes to accept the terms (which is surprisingly very short.. it's great!)

But this MMO looks great. I'm a big fan of MMO's

EDIT: It seems to be going faster: Checking it out now

Oh wow, I'm impressed. I believe I could enjoy this game. I particularly like the free soup :biggrin:

When i get more free time, I will wander further into those woods :biggrin:


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    Amy
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:18 pm
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Thanks man. I know not everything's perfect and a lot of work needs doing but I'm really ready to work on any suggestions people have (nobody gives any lately).

It's annoying because I have so much planned story-wise in my head but really don't know how to apply it to the game other than books :/

I think I've successfully created the feel of early (2002-3) Battleon, which is what I was going for.


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    Sir Ver
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:47 pm
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Location: Australia
@Amy Pond

Well, actually I'm the sort of person that loves letting the imagination lose, I've only played a few minutes worth, but it was enough to let my imagination free, and get that free soup and walk through those woods. It's quite good, I enjoyed the little amount I played. And I will honestly play further when I have spare time. I love MMO's, but nothing is better then something that can capture your imagination.
With the simple system and graphics and what ever have you, with that few minutes, you captured my attention, and that I will say congratulations on. Only a few MMO's have captured me in the first couple of minutes of play time.

Well done :thumb:

I know this isn't critique, but I will add some as soon as i find something to critique on, but this is my kind of game, and I'm not sure I will find many things to critique on :biggrin:


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    Amy
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:13 pm
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An update!

Image I am a chest Image

Chests are a new minigame in Afar.

Chests randomly spawn in one of a few set locations on the map.

On finding Image a chest, click it to open it and obtain the goodies inside. Items, gold, etc.

The items found in chests are generally quite valuable!

On finding a chest, it will then disappear and appear on one of the other set locations on the map, for the next person to find (or you, if you feel like a walk).

Why set locations?

Because the chests have to be drawn in the right place on each map to look good. Yes, I know. But new locations will be added all the time.

What can I find in a chest?

That's a secret!

Any plans for the future?

Yes.

1. Chests guarded by boss enemies
2. More locations for chests to appear (there are currently 7 spawn points, with more added as I feel like it)
3. More items in chests, some unique to chests
4. Different chest types, some requiring keys etc
5. Points for opening chests, with a leaderboard


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    Amy
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:38 pm
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Free for All

The original plan was for Afar to be a paid game. It would cost around £10 and there would be a free version, to draw people in and allow everyone a chance to play the game.

Various factors have meant this will not be the case. The cost of official rating being one of them - stopping me getting it into stores - and a general feeling that "it would be better if it was free".

This puts me at a difficult situation: the game costs £20 a month to run, and we don't get that from advertising alone. Perhaps ad revenue will pick up if the game is free?

There are currently two people, not including me, who have paid accounts in the game. These are for various things, (creating art for the game etc) and I will discuss their future with them as they are good friends.

Being free has it's benefits immediately to free players. I think there are about 50 maps, about ten enemies, and lots of items which are only available to the former premium "Knight" accounts.

If you have any ideas for to make money to keep the game running, let me know. In the meantime, I am going to think long and hard over this and possibly start turning the paid areas over to being "free" (or normal, now, I guess).


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    Jason
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:51 pm
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Generic Townsperson
Why not just make a cash shop or something?

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    Amy
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:06 pm
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I guess I just don't feel the game is worth paying for, is all.

I just think maybe letting people play it and then deciding for themselves whether it's worth donating for might work better, I dunno?


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    Xilef
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:15 pm
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Location: UK
Amy Pond wrote:
I guess I just don't feel the game is worth paying for, is all.

I just think maybe letting people play it and then deciding for themselves whether it's worth donating for might work better, I dunno?

Limited free-to-play option, donate more than £5 and get upgraded to the advanced game, where you get a new location and cool armour or name tag and a lot of in game cash $$$?


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    Daxis
  Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:52 pm
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Xilef wrote:
Amy Pond wrote:
I guess I just don't feel the game is worth paying for, is all.

I just think maybe letting people play it and then deciding for themselves whether it's worth donating for might work better, I dunno?

Limited free-to-play option, donate more than £5 and get upgraded to the advanced game, where you get a new location and cool armour or name tag and a lot of in game cash $$$?



never do microtransactions or payment systems where you limit your customers from content. It sorta takes away from the fun. Reason why I never got into runescape.

Also, don't sell power

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    Amy
  Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:30 pm
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I don't know what to do.

There is of course the fact that if I charge people I'll be obliged to update the game regularly - whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Anyway, forget money for now.

I have a 13-map dungeon planned for a quest; finding it hard to get the motivation though.

Noticed something depressing (well somebody pointed it out on the forums); someone got onto the leaderboards in Afar after playing for five minutes...

...when the leaderboards only hold ten people.

That includes me.

So only eight people have played for more than five minutes.

Well, fuck.


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    Amy
  Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:25 pm
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Currently we are working on... a non-live demo.

Our ad stats have revealed that just under 25,000 people have viewed the login page, but only 570 people have actually joined based on that.

That isn't exactly a good ratio!

We're currently working on a demo, which will show what the game is like, how to play it, and will have a tutorial to explain the interface and such. When you open afar.ws you will straight away be in the game playing it (or a demo form of it), so you can instantly decide if you like it.

Now, I know this means nothing to you current players, but consider that more updates come the more people play the game. If we can get this thing big then obviously more work will be done on it, and that's a Good Thing.

It would look something like this:

Image

Comments and critique greatly appreciated.


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    regi
  Thu Jul 28, 2011 9:44 pm
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looks like you put a crapload of effort into this so I gave it a try!

here is my review of the first 5 or so minutes of playing:
comments


I will definitely try some more once you get some good content or point me to where there is stuff (I couldn't find it) but so far it's looking good!


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    Amy
  Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:08 pm
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Thanks man it's been a while since I had some feedback to work with.

Quote:
- upon registering, the password and retype password don't match up, though that might be a browser issue.


Managed to track it down to the fact the scrollbar shows for some reason. I've never had to use the register page so I never noticed. I'll fix shortly.

Fixed.

Quote:
also once you register you shouldn't have to resign in? (this might be me being impatient and clicking Main Menu though)


Hmmn, this is just how PHPBB has always done it. I might be able to find a mod to fix that. I'm weary of messing with the login system though because it's so strong in PHPBB.

Quote:
- it's very unclear where to really start off in the game. I tried jumping in and exploring the camp at first but the guard who is supposed to give you your quest mumbles stuff and doesn't do anything, and going east just brings me to places with nothing to do (i.e. sewers).


Yeah this is something I really need to work on.

The guard is supposed to tell you to speak to the mayor. Maybe I got it wrong, I don't remember. I'll create a new account and play through the quests again and try and make it clearer.

There are actually some ~200 maps, the world is quite extensive in all directions, but admittedly it's not very easy to see how to get where! Currently a completed world map looks like this:

Image

Maps East of Straupuft need to be opened up to free players since I think I'm getting rid of paid accounts.

Quote:
- when purchasing items, it would be nice if you could see how much gold you currently have.


Good idea, I'll add this to my todo list.

Quote:
- how exactly do you equip items? do you just click armor and it appears in the slot or is that for selling/trading i am confused


The labels seem to have got jumbled up in an edit or such.

On the inventory page, the top box is the items you have equipped. The bottom box is the items in your inventory.

I'll try and make this clearer.


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    Amy
  Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:51 pm
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It's been a while since I updated this thread! Here's a selection of updates from the in-game forums.

Rare Sets

The Robin Hood set is now rare! Congratulations everyone who managed to get it. It joins the likes of the Santa Hat and Barbarian Set.

Coming soon (after 600 players -- 1 more) will be the next rare set - the sailor outfit.

Items Expansion

Items currently in the game:

Image Image ImageImage Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image ImageImage Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

New in the next update:

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

The first eight have been released now, with more to come later today, the majority of which will be for the item crafting system (ingredients and creations).

Towns, cities and outposts

It was a nice attempt, but the MS Paint graphics for towns and outposts didn't really cut it. They are being redesigned, with the base camp currently completed.

Before:

Image

After:

Image

A few of these will be released today, and after all have been released the desert expansion and Damascar city, which were formerly planned to be paid content, will be opened to free players with Damascar being reenvisioned in this new format.

Afar Mobile Edition

I have a seperate project thread for this mainly because it is, at large, a seperate project. It is a mobile client for Afar which will hopefully be finished soon. Any comments and criticisms are more than welcome.

viewtopic.php?f=78&t=75406


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    Jason
  Sat Sep 03, 2011 2:55 pm
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Awesome Bro

Generic Townsperson
The amount of effort and dedication you've put into this is phenomenal... seriously, I don't think I've seen anyone as devoted to their game on these forums, and this next update looks to be huge! I love how you're using tilesets now, I mean, the MS Paint stuff was nice to see since it was all hand done, but probably takes tons more time than just mapping with tiles, and now everything will be consistent (By this I mean, if I draw for so long, my pictures tend to get sloppier as I get bored, I assume it's the same with others too, lol)

Remember, if you need any updated player sprites or anything, just ask me and I'll get on it, as long as there isn't a tight deadline since I'm not too great with them, lol.

As for the mobile edition, it's a great idea and will expand your audience (Or atleast I hope so, you deserve more players... says this guy that hasn't played it as often as he should), however, I can't try it out since I don't have an iOS device, so I can't really give any C&C on that unless/until you bring out an Android version or something, lol.

Keep it up!

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    Amy
  Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:33 pm
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Thanks bro.

Small change to advertising. Previously it was one large banner, which has served well (it was rolling in up to $0.04 a day!... when it costs $20 a month to host the game...)

Anyway, I have replaced it with three "buttons", two of which are also displayed within the app.

Quote:
however, I can't try it out since I don't have an iOS device, so I can't really give any C&C on that unless/until you bring out an Android version or something, lol.


It's planned, after the iphone app is done and confirmed to be working. Since I don't have an android device to test it on I don't want to do both at the same time in case it turns out neither works.


To the more tech savvy of you,

If you use a user agent switcher (available for Firefox at least) and switch to "Iphone", you can preview the iOS version of the app (minus it's menus).


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    Tuna
  Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:45 pm
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Location: Everywhere & Nowhere
I haven't checked on this in a while, so I must say that this project is really coming along swimmingly! If you weren't so busy working on it, I'd try to force you to come do some pixeling for my game. :biggrin: Keep it up!

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    Xilef
  Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:58 pm
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Location: UK
It would be great if you could equip the sword fish as a weapon


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    Amy
  Sat Sep 03, 2011 10:37 pm
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You can! Or rather, will be able to. Once you've frozen it... in the ice dungeon. Using an Ice Orb. Complicated! But fun.

On items:

Green = Equippable
Red = Usable in it's current form
Grey = Ingredient, usable in battle only, or vanity item


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    Amy
  Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:45 pm
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There are now 162 items in the game following a huge expansion. These include numerous "combinations" (Inventory -> Combine Items). I am going to explain some of these combinations; others are for you to find out (through trial and error, quests, NPCs, books, etc).

How to make an ornate bow

You need the following items:

- Wood
- Gold
- Bow String
- Any knife (old dagger, merthyr dagger, etc)
- Hammer

Gold and bow strings can be obtained from battles. Gold is rare (level 5) and worth 100 coins. Bow strings are common (level 1) and worth 1 coin.

Wood is obtained by cutting down trees (1 per tree).

Knives are obtained from battle, an old dagger is a level 1 common item, as is a hammer (work hammer). These are very often in the Tat Exchange too.

Combine the following items:

  • Knife + Wood = Bow Piece
  • Bow Piece + Bow String = Basic Bow
  • Gold + Hammer = Worked Gold
  • Worked Gold + Basic Bow = Ornate Bow

Doing this should yield a very nice profit due to the rarity of gold. Basically, if you find gold on your travels, it is highly worth turning it into an ornate bow and then selling it.



Other combinations worth noting:

  • Swordfish Sword
  • Worked metals (increases their value slightly, will have combinations soon)
  • Fire Sword
  • Icy Sword
  • Gilded Sword
  • Cheese Sword


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    Ares
  Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:13 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
I was playing again and I tried to enter the Knights zone, it said I couldn't access that area. Directly after that I clicked Random battle and fought a hawk and won. Then I was trapped between the battle result screen and the "no access" page and I had to return to the world map to escape. Might be something worth fixing? It is not too much of a problem but it is a tad annoying to have to return to the world map and thus have to travel across the maps to return to your last position.

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