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Ess-Eschas

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  1. Today, we have made some slight changes to the forums’ graphical display. We have done this in response to a recent update of the software that runs these forums. This update altered some features that were an important part of our forums’ style, and added a few new features that aren’t quite compatible with our usual layout. Today’s changes effectively restore the forums’ graphical display to what it was before the update took place. Restoring the forums’ original look required implementing some complex coding changes, and figuring out various workarounds. This process took a little time to work through. Thank you for your patience while we have been dealing with the issues. The most notable of today’s changes are the alterations to the ‘Default’ theme. The badge icons, which were introduced as a mandatory part of the recent software update, have now been removed. The little ‘rocket’ badges will no longer obscure your profile picture. The rank information that was bundled with the badges has been separated out, and appears below your profile picture once again. Custom titles, for those that have them, now also appear below the profile picture. We have also taken the opportunity to fix a small, slightly older issue. A small part of the interface that is used to navigate betweens forums pages used to be quite difficult to read – the text of the interface buttons was largely obscured by the colour of a particular navigation bar. We have slightly changed the colour of this bar to make those buttons much easier to read. This is only a small alteration, and the new colour has been chosen to be as close as possible to the standard colour scheme we use on these forums. We have also made one slightly larger change, one that allows for backwards compatibility with our older forums themes. The badge system is only removed for the ‘Default’ theme. Our secondary theme, ‘Spiderlicious 2’, still makes use of badges. To help these badges better suit our layout, all of the rank badges used by that theme have been customised. Rank badges now use a little graphic of their respective creation, and generally take less space out of the profile picture. Here is an example of how the Spiderlicious 2 theme now looks: Do by all means try out this layout, or use it if you’d prefer. You can change themes by scrolling to the very bottom of any forums page, and clicking on the ‘Theme’ button. This will open a dropdown menu. Simply select ‘Spiderlicious 2’ from this menu: These changes should be loaded automatically by your browser. However, in some cases, your browser may still be loading the old interface from memory. This will be happening for you if you are still seeing rocket badges over the profile pictures. In that case, you should be able to load the new style changes simply by reloading this page. If that doesn’t work, try clearing your browser’s cache. That will remove the old style information from its memory, loading up the new style changes when you next open a page on the forums. We have done a fair amount of testing to ensure that all of today’s changes work smoothly. However, as with any software change, there is always a chance that there may be some small bugs or unexpected behaviour lurking that we haven’t yet spotted. If you come across any problems, or features that don’t seem to be working as intended, please do let us know! Thank you again for you patience while we have been dealing with these issues!
  2. Hello KGP11, Can I just clarify the problem you’re experiencing? Are you having trouble opening the .zip file, or is it that you can’t run the ‘Forgotten Souls’ program itself? I’m just asking because there might be slightly different reasons for the .zip or the program to be causing you some issues. Could I also check whether you’re running this on a Mac, or on Windows, and which version of the operating system you're using? Different operating systems can behave in slightly different ways when it comes to things like permissions, even between different versions. Knowing exactly which version you’re using might help us to hone in on the cause of your problem!
  3. It took me a moment, but I managed to find where the Gremlin Amulet is hidden! You’re quite right that a player can encounter it early in Chapter 4. The party receives it in a hidden encounter, one found behind a couple of secret passages in the northeastern corner of the Honeycomb. I’ll have a play around with it and see if it does anything! One thing I noticed is its value: it’s worth a fair amount. Since it’s a cursed item, you can’t sell it immediately. But if you have the ‘Remove Curse’ spell, you can permanently get rid of curse. Once the curse is removed, the Gremlin Amulet can be sold for a quite reasonable sum!
  4. Don’t worry. The custom titles haven’t bitten the dust just yet! This is just a temporary quirk with the new badge system. It currently doesn’t mesh well with the older system we used to manage custom titles, which is why they don’t display just now. As part of our work on the new badge system, we’re looking into ways to work in all of our custom user titles. Rest assured that all these titles are still there behind the scenes! We’re just examining ways to display them under this new system. So please don’t be depressed, Walruigisus! Custom titles are an important part of our forums community, and we’re not going to let them go without a fight!
  5. Hello Frozen Feet, I understand why you’re puzzled! Many of these items made me wonder when I came across them too. So far as I’m aware, none of the items you’ve listed here have any particular use. Some of them might have placed as red-herrings, designed to obscure items the party are *really* looking for. It might sound odd, but I suspect the Drake Egg falls into this category. Careless adventurers may take that egg instead, seeing that it’s special, only to find that it’s not what the quest-giver is looking for. Others may have been placed simply as nice little unique touches, ones designed to flesh out the game world. There are quite a few little details like that in the Exile series! The only real value of these items are their uniqueness, and in some cases their cash value. So feel free to try and sell them! Some items, such as the Fine Rum, can fetch a pretty good price. That being said, I don’t recall experimenting with the Gremlin Amulet. Where did you find it? Just because an item is cursed doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t have positive benefits too. I’d be interested to have a look, but I can’t remember where it’s hidden, and I don't seem to have a save where I've kept hold of it! As for the Let’s Play, I suspect they might not have been entirely accurate in describing where they found those particular items. So far as I’m aware, items rarely get moved around between different Exile versions. I went and checked, and there is indeed a sword like that in Kothar, even in the very early versions of the game – but it’s not in the forge. Rather, it’s located in the Chamber of Swords. That’s a little hidden area that contains *two* swords. One of those is a Magic Greatsword, and the other is the ‘Nether Greatsword’, which I think you’re looking for. If you haven’t yet found the Chamber of Swords, and are having trouble finding it, you can learn its location here: https://www.angelfire.com/games2/exile/exile2/secrets.html
  6. Yesterday, we updated the forums software to its most recent version. This was a fairly significant update. Most of these changes were behind the scenes, and shouldn’t affect the vast majority of forums features. The forums should behave largely as they have done previously. However, you may notice a few small display changes. Most of these are fairly minor. Perhaps the most visible is the new badge system for displaying ranks. Rather than ranks being displayed in text below your profile, these are now attached to a new graphic, which you can see next to your profile picture. We’re currently working on ways to integrate this feature slightly better with the forums’ style. One thing to be aware of is that this update has slightly damaged a couple of our board themes. At present, ‘Compact & Convenient’ and ‘Best Theme’ don’t quite work as intended. This is because the update isn’t entirely compatible with the code that runs these themes. We’re working on fixing those problems but, unfortunately, the complexity of the code means that that might take a little time. In the meantime, please can we suggest that you temporarily avoid using these themes. You can change themes using the ‘Theme’ menu at the very bottom of every page on the forums. If you’ve never touched the themes before, don’t worry! You’re using the ‘Default’ theme in that case, which is working just fine. While we’ve tested to ensure that other forums features behave as they should, there’s always a possibility that little teething bugs may still be lurking. That’s an unfortunate side-effect of a significant software update! If you find yourself experiencing any unexpected problems, or find any features that don’t seem to be working as they should, please do let us know!
  7. No! At this stage in the game, dealing with the pylons directly is very tricky. It can be done, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Thankfully, there’s a much easier way. The pylons are set up in such a way that you sneak past them, all the way to the Vahnatai’s base of operations. In a sense, you can think of these outdoor sections as something like a maze. It looks like there are a lot of paths through, but the vast majority of these are effectively dead-ends – they’re clogged with pylons. Your task is to find the one path where there are no pylons at all, or where the pylons are sparse enough that you can slip by. This path twists and bends, and turns back on itself quite a few times. But if you follow it all the way to the end, you can get through without dealing with a single pylon! One helpful thing to be aware of is that these pylons have a very short detection range. You can get closer to them than you might at first think. This means there are more gaps you can pass through than there might appear at first glance. If you’re having trouble, the route is outlined on the Avernum 4 Annotated Maps: http://ironycentral.com/harehunter/Avernum4/Maps/M0B_WesternWastes.html Don’t worry about missing items on your first time through this area. It will be much easier to go back through and pick up anything you missed slightly later on!
  8. While it might not be your intent, I’m afraid what you’ve written here does rather imply that. Despite our best intentions, saying that something isn’t true does not always make it so. Pulling rank on new members is unhelpful, and really doesn’t encourage a warm, healthy and welcoming community. If we want to have more than those few posts a day that you mention, TriRodent, we need to be supportive of our new members! As someone not involved in this conversation, it seems to me that you’ve been a rather disruptive element here. Enough so that the other people in the conversation have called you out on it. I think the original poster has every right to complain when their topic is highjacked by barely-related material that is – as you yourself point out – sailing close to the wind regarding our forums guidelines. I’m not sure your recent post has done much better in that regard. I’m not trying to have a go at you, TriRodent, and this is not an official warning. But I do find the tone in your response here concerning. Perhaps now might be a time to just have a quick review of our forums guidelines. I suggest you pay particular attention to rule 2. Superdeath25, please don’t be disheartened by the recent negative tone in this topic, and please do keep posting on our forums! It’s always interesting to see people bringing new ideas and suggestions for Spiderweb’s games! I’m afraid I’m not familiar enough with the Geneforge series to offer my own suggestions for journal entries. However, there may well be others on these forums who haven’t seen your posts yet, and may yet have some ideas of their own. If I might make a suggestion, could you perhaps provide a few more examples? Maybe dialogues for one or two more foes that you haven’t mentioned yet? That might help people get an idea of the sort of style you’re considering for these journal entries, and perhaps inspire them with thoughts of their own! And, even if not, alhoon can always let you know how to add these dialogues into the games yourself. You could then release a mod of your own including all of your written material – which could provide an interesting enhancement of the base games! It’s also worth mentioning that, while this only happens rarely, Jeff has been known to pay attention to community mods in the past, and been inspired by them in his subsequent work!
  9. Excellent work once again, IMakeMaps. These are looking great already! The additions of area names and special squares is a nice touch, as is producing versions of your map with and without these features. If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel with implementing the roads, Duskwolf figured out how the roads were handled in Exile II when producing their maps. They also posted all their map-generation code, which you can download from the link in this post: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/1234-complete-exile-2-outdoor-map-massive-spoilers/?do=findComment&comment=299464 I should stress that I’ve not looked at this code in detail, but I believe it includes all the material used to generate the maps. Some properties of road generation may of course have changed between games. However, at least on the surface, both Exile II and Exile III seem to use the same approach for drawing roads. So you may be able to make use of portions of Duskwolf’s code. Duskwolf’s maps also incorporate terrain frills. The Exile games have a feature where frills on the edges of various types of terrain – water, pits, lava, etc. – are added in only when the game is played. They’re not present in the map files themselves, something which can be seen directly in Blades of Exile. These frills smooth the sharp transitions between, say, water and solid ground. These frills aren’t so important in Exile III, since the above-ground tileset manages them differently. They’re only an issue in the caves, and in towns and dungeons. And their only real effect is to make things look pretty, so it’s probably not worth spending time worrying about them unless you really want to. Still, you might be able to port that portion of Duskwolf’s code over too, just to make your maps look even better! It’s good to hear you’re progressing with the modular towns, too. There was some previous effort by Ishad Nha to produce versions of all the towns in all of their various forms straight out of the data files. However, I’m not sure if that effort was ever completed – the copy of their work that I have only includes some of the early town numbers. Having a comprehensive map of all the towns in their various states would certainly be interesting to see. Not least because different players will probably have only seen towns in a few different states! In any case, keep up the good work!
  10. Excellent work, IMakeMaps! Many thanks for uploading the town maps, and the full-resolution version of the map of the caves. This is a fantastic resource to have, and your maps are put together brilliantly. Your annotations of special squares are particularly helpful, and quite revealing. For example, looking through your maps, I noticed a number of places where I just ploughed through a bunch of shocking squares, or the odd lava tile – without realising that there was a safe passage through them! I wouldn’t worry too much about putting in the NPCs, unless it turns out to be straightforward. I feel the most useful part of a map like this is the geometry – being able to tell the shape of the map, the various paths the player can travel down, and where secret areas are hidden. At least to me, character placement is only really a small bonus on top of this. I’m not sure it informs the player quite as much as the map geometry does. But other players may disagree! And, as you’ve pointed out, characters aren’t always placed logically. For example, in the outdoors in Exile II, I once came across a merchant locked away in a set of cave walls. It was near Akhronath if I recall correctly. Interacting with the sprite launched an outdoor battle with a group of merchants, which was interesting! Here’s a picture of the battle: Good to hear about your exploits looking around the maps, too. If you come across anything else interesting there, do let us know! Also, it’s nice to see someone who likes the old Exile graphics! There are a few people with a preference for them on these forums. For what it’s worth, there are still plenty of copies of the old-graphics versions of Exile around. Quite a few members of these forums have them, and there are various places in the wider internet where you can get hold of them. If you’d like a copy of the old-graphics versions of these games, I’m sure there are people on here who could send them your way. If you’re a Mac user, I could send you some myself. You might also be interested to see the topic below. A member of the forums created a little graphics mod that applies the old v1.x Exile graphics to the new v2.x versions of Exile I and Exile II. That way, you don’t have to choose between quality of life and the graphics you prefer! This mod is set up of Windows only – although it strikes me that putting together a similar mod for Macs would actually be quite easy. I may do that at some later point when I have fewer commitments on my time! https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/25129-old-graphics-for-exile-i-ii/ You know, I actually rather like that idea. And we do have BoE maps for Kriszan – several of them in fact – so you would even have had a base to work on!
  11. I had a sneaking suspicion something like that might have happened. The original thread did suddenly go quiet, after all, and I imagine something this large would probably have turned up in scenario lists sooner or later – not least on your old archive! It would be a pity if this scenario never saw the light of day. After all, while there’s a scenario that reproduced Upper Exile, and a couple that reproduced Valorim, I don’t think a scenario was ever publicly released that reproduced the main caves of Exile to any real degree, nor the Vahnatai lands from Exile II. What a useful community resource that could have been!
  12. Hello IMakeMaps, Great work on producing this map! It’s nicely presented, and the inclusion of secret passages and safe lava squares is a particularly nice touch. For that alone, I think this could become a useful community resource! I would definitely suggest that you upload the maps of the towns and dungeons. To my knowledge, this hasn’t been done in a detailed way for Exile I before. It could also lead to interesting insights into the game. There are quite a few things that are very well hidden in the Exile trilogy, and some of these took a long time to come to light. Amazingly enough, new secrets in the Exile games are still being discovered, even to this day! And a mapping project like this is a great way of discovering little hidden gems (such as Jeff writing messages in town walls, which has happened on occasion). You might be interested to know that there is some history of mapping projects like these on these forums. They’re mainly put together for the Avernum games, a series that began as remakes of the Exile games, and eventually span off into its own brand new trilogy. However, there have been mapping projects for the Exile games too, in various capacities. For example, there has been one previous project to produce a map of the caves from Exile I. You can see the results of that project at the link below. Note that you can zoom in! https://www.dropbox.com/s/w0wmzsayjbefuwq/exile1map.png?dl=0 One immediate difference is that this map uses the old v1.x graphics from Exile I, rather than the newer v2.x graphics which you’ve been using. The compiler also filled in the walls in the various spaces on the map that are inaccessible, and can’t be seen by the player. However, this older map has a couple of mistakes in it. There are one or two tiles that are incorrectly painted, and are instead shown by a dummy lava or wall tile. These are all pretty obvious when you come across them, though. It also doesn’t show secret passages or safe lava squares, so in several regards your map is a significant improvement! I do have one slight criticism of your map. This might just be me not driving imgur correctly, though, so do ignore me if I’m missing something obvious! The map you've posted above doesn’t seem to be quite at the same resolution as the game's tiles. I can’t quite zoom down all the way without the tiles becoming blurry. At least for me, this makes some of the special dots a little hard to see – and they’re important! It would drive up the file size a little, but would it be possible to create a version of this map where the tiles on the map are the same resolution as the tiles in the game? I think this would make things a little clearer overall. To see how that might work in practice, take a look at the Exile I map I linked in this post – that map is formed of tiles that are the same resolution as those in the game, without any blurring. Again, do forgive me if you've already done this, and I'm just missing it! For fun, here’s a little more mapping information. It might make some sense to put together a few more maps in this thread, after all! For starters, here’s a map of the caves from Exile II: https://www.dropbox.com/s/y27vcjyvi3lrxjx/exilemap.png?dl=0 This is more in the style of your own map, since it includes secret passages. Both this map and the map for Exile I are taken from the topic below, which contains a little more information about how they were put together: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/1234-complete-exile-2-outdoor-map-massive-spoilers/ And here’s something from a little later in time. This is a complete map of Avernum 1, the first remake of Exile I. It shows the caves in three dimensions, including height! https://disk.yandex.com/d/ZmzplSTNMx_NvQ The map is taken from this topic: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/25782-render-of-the-avernums-outdoors/ There have also been various projects to convert the maps of Exile to Spiderweb’s other games, including the scenario creation package Blades of Exile. Your post here reminded me of a very old project from the 2000s, where a designer stitched together maps from Exile I, II and III into a contiguous series of caves. It was all put together into a Blades of Exile scenario, apparently. See here: https://pied-piper.ermarian.net/topic/7/1598 The map is long lost to the internet, but here’s a picture. Apologies for the blank space below it, but that's part of the original image: (Also, just for my curiosity, did anyone actually get a copy of this scenario? I think the only person who is still around from the original topic might be @Kelandon?) The roads are already there, but you might not be seeing them! Exile I deals with roads a little differently than the later games. They’re marked by piles of rubble placed one tile apart on either side of the road, which is one space wide. See this, for example, which is a road leading west out of Almaria (with apologies for using the old graphics, but that’s the easiest example I have to hand!): Don’t forget that you can always fire up the games and check for yourself, rather than waiting for replies on here
  13. On the contrary, I think what you’ve said here only serves to highlight the importance of the two-tined spear in slith culture! Before I go any further, I should stress that the comments you make here are all based on material added into the remake of Avernum 2, information which is not present in earlier games. So the information you’re referring to weren’t present in the series prior to 2014. We’ve been discussing the first appearance of the sliths in Exile back in 1995, predating this information by nearly 20 years – which is perhaps one reason it didn’t crop up. In any case, let’s take a look at what Ortho says on the matter in 2014. Firstly, here’s his comment about the use of conventional spears: “The slith style [of spear] is superior for our battle techniquesss. Yet, the two-tined spear is only for full warriors. The young use the simpler, cheaper type.” In other words, the conventional spear with a single point is only used by the young. There is of course good practical reason for this. Conventional spears are far simpler to wield than the two-tined variant, and much simpler (and therefore cheaper) to make. This makes them excellent practice weapons, since they’re easy to use, and it’s not too much trouble if one of them breaks. However, it also marks an important distinction between immature and adult sliths. Note how Ortho says that a two-tined spear is only used by ‘full warriors’, which implies that the two-tined spear is a sign of status. I would take from this that the two-tined spear has an important symbolic value, a public symbol of when a slith has fully matured, and become an adult. In our world, there are many examples of societies in which various distinctions between the young and adults are a symbolic sign of status, with that sign of status further being an important hallmark of the culture of that society. For a few examples from some modern cultures, consider the ability to drive a car, or to drink alcohol. These mark the transition from childhood to adulthood, and are also important facets of certain cultures (some more than others, of course!). I would argue the same for the two-tined spear. At least to me, Ortho is indicating that such spears are an important sign of status amongst adult sliths. And so sliths really do care about what spears they use! Here’s Ortho’s second point: “Also, some of our warriorsss with bigger strength use the human-styled halberd. There is no dishonor in thisss.” I think it’s interesting that Ortho feels the need to state that there is ‘no dishonour’ in using human weapons. At least to me, that implies that there must be some who would disagree with him, even if it’s a small minority. After all, I feel that one rarely talks about there being ‘no dishonour’ in commonly accepted practices, like buying peaches or going for a walk, but only in issues which are in some way contentious. So, at least to me, this implies that there is a deep-seated feeling of honour in slith society associated with the slith spear, even if not all modern sliths would hold to that view. But that's only my reading of it, of course, and the game doesn't state this in any explicit way! In other words, my feeling is that Ortho’s words only serve to highlight the importance of the two-tined spear in slith society. I don’t take from them that sliths use whatever spears they feel like. Rather, that the two-tined spear has an important cultural significance for the sliths, and that sliths would generally use one in preference to any other type of spear – unless they turned their hands to a different type of human weapon, of course!
  14. Sorry to keep contradicting you, Almighty Doer of Stuff, but that’s not quite the case here. The graphics you’ve posted are mostly from Blades of Exile, but not from Exile I. To demonstrate this, here’s a set of items taken directly from my copy of Exile I 2.0.1. As before, I’ve blown these up to make them easier to see: As you can see, the slith spear still has two tines, even in this newer version of the graphics. This graphic was changed in the new graphics in Exile II onwards, for some curious reason. This includes Blades of Exile, which is probably why you’re familiar with that version! It’s not clear why the change was made, since the games still make it very explicit that slith spears have two tines. And all the rest of the art shows two-tined spears. As you’ve seen, that extends well into the Avernum games, and in fact right into the modern day! (Fun side fact: there’s a slith spear in the splash art for 5 out of the 7 Avernum games.) If I were to guess, I would suggest that the trident graphic was made for Exile III. Perhaps Jeff originally intended to include a trident weapon as a replacement for the slith spear, something made on the surface world? After all, it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine a version of Exile III which didn’t feature any sliths at all, save for the player characters. Perhaps his plans changed, and he ended up just using the trident graphic for slith spears after all? At least from my perspective, it’s actually pretty hard to tell the graphic is a trident when viewed in-game. For what it’s worth, I don’t think I ever actually noticed it was three-tined before you mentioned it!
  15. I beg to differ, Almighty Doer of Stuff! So far as I’m aware, the sliths have always used spears with two prongs (or ‘tines’). This distinguishes the spears from tridents, which necessarily have three tines. I suppose you could strictly call the slith spear a ‘bident’, using the ‘bi’ for two rather than the ‘tri’ for three, although personally I feel that would be a little misleading. At least in my mind, slith spears have their prongs a little closer together than classical bidents. The two-tined slith spear has been something of a feature of the race since their first appearance. To demonstrate this, here are a few graphics taken from Exile I. The first two are from the earliest version I have available – 1.0.5 – which is as close to original release of Exile as I can get. The third is taken from 2.0.1, using the new set of graphics used in Exile III onwards. I’ve blown up these graphics a little to make them a little easier to see. Exile 1.0.5, Example one: Exile 1.0.5, Example two: Exile 2.0.1: While it’s not always straightforward to determine little details in small-scale pixel art, I think this is one situation where the art is fairly clear. At least to my eyes, all these spears have two prongs. The nature of the weapon is also explicitly referenced in Exile I. Here’s some text referring to Garthass in Gnass: “A gigantic slith, green skin bright and shiny, muscles bulging awesomely, forges a slith two-tined spear.” And in case there’s any doubt, here’s a really nice example from Avernum 6. While there is a small central prong, this is largely as an extension of the spear's haft for balance and parrying (much as in some historic bidents). Since the part of the spear used as a weapon consists of only two prongs, this is still a two-tined spear: It’s easy to misremember little details like these, which is one reason I just wanted to write a quick clarification. We sliths need to stand up for our culture, after all! Ahssss. Incidentally, for those who want to read a little more fan-created lore about these spears, it’s worth at playing Kelandon’s Homeland trilogy, not least Exodus. He has an interesting theory about the origin of these spears, and the weapons traditionally used in the slith’s homeland! I’ll be sure to remind you of that, Slarty, next time we get into a long, protracted argument about a little detail of Spiderweb lore
  16. Thank you again for being reasonable about this, Almighty Doer of Stuff! You’ve clearly put some thought into trying to make this both clear and accessible, and that’s great. I do like your idea of including a text file with the version number in the name, which contains the version information. That provides a good way to keep the version number visible within the package, without directly adding it to the name of the application. That seems like a good compromise to me! As for you, Swimmin’ Salmon, I’m not sure what I can say to you. I have been doing my best to understand your position, and to explain why I think the various measures in this thread are useful ways to help players of the Exile games moving forwards. Far from dismissing your arguments, I have spent quite some time responding to you, multiple times, trying to explain in various different ways the importance of careful version control, and why I felt your various arguments didn’t apply in this particular circumstance. Unfortunately, you don’t seem much inclined to engage with me in discussion here. At least from my position, your responses seem to verge away from helpful criticism into the realm of personal attack. And when argument degrades into a shouting match about how horrible the other side is, nothing ever gets resolved. I’m hoping you can at least agree with me on that point! So, let me be clear here, as I’ve been trying to do throughout this discussion. I would be more than willing to talk through these ideas with you, and I would be most interested to hear what you have to say. I’m not particularly sure why you've got the impression that my careful responses to you are somehow dismissive, or not listening to your arguments, and that’s no doubt a failing on my end. So I’m sorry you’ve gotten a negative impression. I’ve only been trying to help! After all, we are on the same side here. We both want the Exile Trilogy and BoE to be played by old and new players well into the future, in the best way we can make it happen! Besides, even though the Exile Trilogy and BoE have been freely available for some time, this sort of distribution method is still relatively new. This is new territory, and I’m sure there are all sorts of different opinions about the best way to move forwards. In a community project like this, I think it’s important to come to some sort of consensus! For example, if I were to respond to your comments in your most recent post, I would express some concern that you’re making various assumptions about what players will and will not do. You may know that Blades of Exile is open source, and you may check documentation, but you don’t know how a general player will behave in the same situation. In my experience, it’s hard to predict what a general user will or will not do. Again, in my experience, it’s best to be as clear as possible about things such as version numbers, in an attempt to make as few assumptions as possible about your users. That’s not an attempt to say that users are stupid, or ignorant. It’s just a way of trying to make things as clear and as helpful as possible for them. I would be most happy to continue discussing points like these with you, if you're willing to do so in a constructive way. However, I’m a little worried that you’re not looking for constructive discussion here, but are rather trying to attack me directly. If that’s the case, I’m not sure it would be particualrly positive to talk to you any further on this matter. Doing so would only stir up dissent, which rarely ends well. Since I wish you no will ill, I do hope you understand on this point.
  17. These are all great improvements to your distribution method, Almighty Doer of Stuff. Thank you for taking the time to plan them out, and for your work in starting to implement them. Your suggested name is absolutely fine! I mentioned ‘ADoS’ as one possible example only, just to indicate the sort of style I was talking about. The names you’ve suggested here would be just as good, and actually have the advantage that they acknowledge that this package is the work of more than one person. I know it’s a little bit a faff, but I do think it’s a good idea to also include the version number in the name of the .exe. If you think about Spiderweb’s releases, this is what they do, too – both the compressed file, folder and application have the version number attached to them. So, for instance, the file name for version 1.0.3 of Exile II is ‘Exile II – Crystal Souls v1.0.3’, at least on my system. While this could provide a small amount of work for players on any new releases you make, if they need to alter shortcuts or aliases, the benefits do outweigh the slight inconvenience. The advantage is that players will always know which version they’re playing. I’m also assuming that you’re only going to release changes every so often, much like with Spiderweb’s releases. In that case, people only need to change their aliases every now and again. At the end of the day, that’s not a huge ask, and it comes with significant benefits. For example, imagine this. A user has two different versions of your package on their system, both of which have the same name. They come back to the game after a break, and find they have a useful alias for that particular game – but only for one of the packages. If the primary game file has the same name in both packages, how do they know which package they’re playing? Are they playing the most recent one, or an old one by mistake? Sure, you might have indicated this in the main menu of the program, but the user might not have noticed that. It’s much easier to get around this problem if the file names are all clearly labelled! Here’s an anecdote from my own experience. I recently came across one of my own packages in a big collected archive, a package unrelated to Spiderweb that I’d released in 2006. At some point, someone had taken my package, removed all the files, put them in a new folder with a new name, and compressed them in a new file, again with a new name. Had I not carefully indicated the version inside the package itself, it would have been entirely unclear what version of this package was on the archive! In other words, one reason you should actively put version numbers on the files themselves is that you don’t have complete control over your distribution. Once your work is out there, all sorts of people might end up packaging and linking to it – and that’s something that’s worth preparing for! In any case, the improvements you’re talking about in thread are exactly the sorts of things you should be doing, and you should be commended for them. Be sure to implement them when you can! Thank you also for your understanding. I wrote a little reply to Swimmin’ Salmon just while you were posting your recent comment, which I’ll attach below just so everyone’s on the same page. But it’s much appreciated that you’re on board with these changes – they will help to produce a much better environment for BoE players in the long term, I think! ~ As I said before, Swimmin’ Salmon, this is not a matter of control of distribution. What is being discussed in this thread is how to clearly indicate modified versions of previous releases, especially when there are multiple versions of that release already in circulation. I suspect you might have slightly missed what is being done with this package. So, let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening here. That way, we can have a good, informed discussion about the full implications, should you wish. The ability to play the Exile series on Windows 10 is not new. This is done through an external program, which was mentioned on the forums almost a year ago. If you’d like to read about that, do please take a look at this link: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/25777-exile-fix-for-x64-windows/?tab=comments#comment-311541 What the Almighty Doer of Stuff is doing here is providing a central point where he explains how to obtain and use this external program, along with hosting versions of the Exile Trilogy. The point at issue here is that the versions of the program he is hosting are not the versions hosted by Spiderweb. These versions have been changed by him and other people. These versions fix a bug or two, change graphics, adjust program text, change the help, and so on. It’s great that someone is taking the time to try and improve these programs, but it’s really, really important to distinguish them from other releases. This is to make sure that everyone always knows which version they are playing. If there are alterations to the gameplay, even small ones, that could cause complications if people are playing the altered versions, but aren’t aware of it. This could lead to confusion and upset players. That’s not a good thing. One of the main differences between this and your analogy is that the Almighty Doer of Stuff is altering an application that is not his own. This isn’t a scenario which he’s put together, but a package that’s altering a Spiderweb game itself. Further, it’s a game that has multiple different releases in various guises – the original releases, various updates for certain operating systems, various different open source projects. And all of these have been released by different groups of people. It’s really important that we can distinguish all of these – as Randomizer shows well in his comment. The implications are slightly different compared to, say, versions 1.3 and 1.5 of an Alcritas scenario. So please, rest assured that all these measures are important. Yes, they’re detailed and not the most fun thing in the world to implement. But they’re necessary, particularly if we want to have happy players playing BoE further down the line. I think that’s what we all want!
  18. I think perhaps you’re misunderstanding the position here, Swimmin’ Salmon. The idea is not to control distribution. What we’re suggesting here is simply good practice for releasing software. This relates to a Spiderweb product, so it's something that’s important to get right. The aim is to avoid player confusion. Currently, the package discussed in this thread is difficult to identify as a modified work. This is a real problem, since it could very easily get confused with the original release. If someone can’t identify whether they’re playing the original release, or an altered version, that can lead to all sorts of issues. For example, imagine a situation in which ADoS changed the Thrown Missiles stat. That’s good in principle, but if the player doesn’t actually know this, that they might not even realise the change has been made. If they consulted any texts written about the original game – of which there are a lot – they’ll find a description of mechanics that is entirely different from what they’re actually experiencing. There are further problems with Blades of Exile, since any program changes could potentially break some scenarios, or otherwise alter their behaviour. If the player doesn’t know they’re playing a modified version, then they won’t easily be able to figure out what’s gone wrong. At best, that leads to confusion and frustration. At worst, that ends up with people stopping playing. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that that’s not what we want! And let me be clear that I am, of course, supportive of all work to ensure that BoE can be played on modern systems. If you’ve been following my posts in the BoE subforum, I’ve no doubt you’ve seen that it’s a game I very much enjoy, have extensive experience in, and try to encourage others to play. As you’ll note I did at the end of my post there for DarkenVolk. I know this stuff all sounds boring and tedious but, from experience, it’s really important. If we want to end up with good packages that encourage people to play BoE in the future, we need to do things like this!
  19. I don’t think it’s necessarily that Shaping laws were any more lax, but merely because the canisters and all associated technologies were new inventions, and so not well understood at first. So far as I understand it, the negative side-effects of the canisters weren’t known about right away. After all, canister use only becomes problematic in large doses. This means that the issue could only really surface after large amounts of canisters had been produced. Even then, the full extent of the problems would only become apparent once enough trials had been conducted to allow one person to use very many canisters. That would take a long time, and may not actually have ever happened prior to the barring of Sucia Island. Think about it this way. If you knew all the problems posed by the Geneforge when you conceived the idea, why would you build one? So far as the researchers on Sucia Island knew, their invention was simply a way to improve people and creatures with no known side-effects. It was a huge boon. So of course they would make lots of them! In any case, I get the impression that canisters were only made illegal with the barring of Sucia Island – either because the ill effects of the canisters were learned about, or because the problems of Shaper information falling into the hands of outsiders had been considered by the Shaper Council. And, by then, the researchers had already been churning out canisters for a while. Of course, this is based on my fairly rudimentary knowledge of the Geneforge series – so please do correct me if I’m mistaken on some points!
  20. Almighty Doer of Stuff, Thank you for listening to the requests of the moderating team, and for taking some steps to indicate that your files are modified versions of the Spiderweb games. The effort you’ve made to improve on this point is appreciated. However, dealing with modified versions of work by other creators is a tricky business, and it needs to be done properly. You’ve made some good first steps here, but you’re not there yet. There are a few more things you need to do to ensure that your work is properly above board. I don’t mean to be draconian, but it’s important this is done properly, especially because you’re dealing with previous releases of Spiderweb games. We need to ensure that your releases are distributed appropriately, and in such a way that won’t cause problems or confusion for players further down the line. It will only help to improve players’ experiences in the long run, which I hope is what you want to achieve too! Therefore, I need to ask you to make a few changes to your current distribution. Since your website is now live, you should make these changes as soon as you can to avoid players getting into problems. Please could you: 1. Rename the files in your distributions to make it clear that they are modified versions. For example, instead of naming your folder ‘BladesOfExile’, name it something like ‘BladesOfExileADOS’. Likewise, change the name of the application. Instead of ‘Blades.EXE’, use something like ‘BladesADOS.EXE’. This is to make it clear just from glancing at the files that the package is a modified version. This is important to do, especially if people end up distributing the package beyond your control. You know how Exile had version numbers? It’s for the same reason! Think of the 'ADOS' part of the name – or whatever you choose to use – as a new version number! 2. Please include a document in each of your packages explaining exactly what you’ve changed. Mention absolutely every change you’ve made. If you’ve changed a graphic, say which one, and what you altered. If you’ve changed some tips, say which ones, and how you changed them. If you’ve changed a scenario, say what you altered. This is a little tedious, I’m afraid, but it’s really, really important. People need to know what changes you’ve made to a package, particularly if more work is done on it in the future, or if multiple different packages get released. If you want examples of how this is done, here’s a selection of the Version History from Exile III. You ned to be at least this detailed too: 3. Please clearly indicate on the download page of your website that your files are modifications of the originals. I appreciate you’ve done this on your main page, but you need to do this on your downloads page too. This is to make sure the players know what they are getting into at the point of download. For example, instead of saying ‘Download Exile II: Crystal Souls here’, please say something like ‘Download my modified version of Exile II: Crystal Souls here’. It would be even better if you put in a paragraph on your download page briefly explaining what it is that you’ve modified. 4. As with point 2, please put a page on your website that clearly indicates every single change that you’ve made to each of the packages. This is to ensure that players can be fully informed before downloading your work. Ideally, you would link to this from your download page too. I know that this might sound like irritating busywork, but these are really important changes that need to be made to ensure that you’re being as helpful to players as you can be. After all, I know you want to help players experience Exile – to do that well, you need to make sure that your packages aren’t confusing! In any case, as I started out, thank you for taking the time to improve on your communication about your work. There’s a bit more to do, but you’re getting there! ~ DarkenVolk, the scenarios of Blades of Exile were released by a large number of designers, all of whom were working independently. There’s no intended order in which they should be played – they’re pretty much all independent adventures, barring a few small series. So as long as you have a party at the indicated level, you can just play whatever you want! Likewise, what scenarios you should play are very much a matter of opinion. So far as I know, no-one has ever put together a recommended guide for which scenarios to go through for a new player. If you’ve not played the three core scenarios, you should play those first. Otherwise, I suggest just looking through the scenario reviews, pick a scenario that reviews well and that sounds interesting to you, and just go for it! If I remember correctly, the first scenario I played was Requelle's Nightmare!
  21. Many thanks for the confirmation, Milu! It’s not always easy to determine whether work is being used with the appropriate permissions, which is one reason I just wanted to check the proposed modifications were all above board. The best way to check is directly from the creator, of course! So thanks for chipping in! Nice work on your scenarios, by the way. They’re well put together, very comprehensive, and with a good amount of attention paid to fun, little details. They’re great packages! Just out of curiosity, Almighty Doer of Stuff, what modifications are you planning to make to New Market City 2.0? ‘Modifications’ could mean all sorts of things, and I’m just wondering what types of things you were planning to change! Also, let me just add my voice to Slarty’s, here. Whenever you modify a pre-existing package in any way, you really do need to make it abundantly clear that you’ve altered it. And not just in the package, but in its name, and everywhere you link to it. That’s not just for the sake of permissions, but to make absolutely sure that people know what they’re downloading. You may know that you’ve altered the packages, and how – but no-one else will unless you tell them. And if people don’t know what they’re playing, that could lead to confusion! For example, let’s imagine that you made some changes to how Thrown Missiles are handled in Blades of Exile. That’s all well and good. But if players don’t actually know your package is different from other versions of BoE, they’ll probably just assume that Thrown Missiles behave as everyone else says they do. They have no reason to think otherwise! At best, they won’t make use of your changes, and at worst, they’ll get really confused when systems don’t behave as they should. That can only detract from their experience of playing the game, which you probably don’t want to happen. So, please, start making a habit of clearly identifying anything you’ve changed. It will only help in the long term!
  22. Can I just check your source for linking this particular licence to the two New Market City scenarios? I’m asking because I was a little surprised to read this. I don’t recall any mention of a licence being connected to these scenarios before. I had a check of my copies, and of the copies hosted on the website you linked to in your post, and I couldn’t find any mention of a licence in those packages either. That worries me a little – if a package is released under a given licence, I would usually expect this to be explicitly stated in the package itself. Of course, it may be that licence information for these scenarios was released somewhere else that I’ve missed! It’s also possible that you’re working on some private communication with the designer (although in that case, I’m not sure a general licence is the right terminology to use, since the information has not been made publicly available). Or there may be other possibilities I’ve not thought of! In any case, this is worth clarifying, because personal copyright is an important issue. Unless you have specific permission from the designer, or unless there is publicly accessible information that makes it clear that a work can be modified under certain conditions, you shouldn’t really be altering other people’s work in your project. Designers have a legal right for their work to be viewed as they intended it, and not altered by others – no matter how well-meaning! After all, if you want a feature that’s not present in one of the shopping scenarios, one easy solution that doesn't tread on other people's toes is to just write a shopping scenario yourself! Scenario design is what Blades of Exile was built for, after all!
  23. Hello trinko, I think perhaps there’s been a slight issue of miscommunication here. My intention was simply to indicate that there was a chance that this was not a bug, and then to learn a little more about your problem to determine whether or not that was the case. Once we’d ruled out some potential causes, we could then narrow down our search and figure out what the problem was. If it turned out to be a bug – great, that’s fixable, and we can solve the problem for other players as well! If it turned out to be something else, then we could try to fix that too. I wasn’t trying to say anything concrete, and I’m sorry if I gave you that impression. Whenever I try to help with a problem like this, I always like to maintain an open mind. In my case, that means not assuming the causes of a problem until I can learn more about it. However, my response seems to have caused you some concern, and prompted you to write rather critically of my attempt to help you. Please do accept my apologies for causing you any problems. Under the circumstances, I think it would probably be best if someone else helped you with this issue. I wouldn’t wish to cause you any more problems. I give you my best wishes, and I hope you manage to find a solution to the issue you are experiencing! If it turns out that tracking down the problem is difficult, do by all means contact the official support line for Spiderweb Software. You may be able to get more cogent comments there than from us mere volunteers! In that case, please do send an email containing as much detailed information about your problem as you can to the following address: support@spiderwebsoftware.com
  24. That’s alright, BenS. No harm done!
  25. Firstly, let’s not start out by making any assumptions about what’s going on here! It’s always good trying to help people out, BenS! But, even with the best of intentions, it’s all too easy to start urban rumours on forums like these, ones that can come back to bite people years down the line. If you’re making suggestions, I think it’s always a good idea to make it abundantly clear that you’re just putting out ideas, rather than giving concrete explanations for what’s going on. Otherwise, people quickly flicking through the message can pick up the wrong idea – even if you’ve put a little caveat at the end of your message. Unfortunately, that’s the way that rumours sometimes begin! So, just to be clear, there is currently no evidence to suggest that there are compatibility problems with any version of Mac OS within the game’s system requirements, or with any Mac OS update. This game has been extensively tested and verified on the wide range of systems supported by this game, right down to 10.10 (and actually in some rare cases on systems even older than that!). There’s also currently no evidence that this is actually a bug in Geneforge Mutagen at all! Hopefully we can figure out whether that's the case in this topic! Sorry to hear that you’e been having problems, trinko. In order to help you, it would be useful to try and figure out what’s happening on your end. While this may be a bug in Geneforge, there are plenty of other explanations that it’s worth ruling out before going down that road. It’s all to easy to cry “bug” when something else is going on – it’s happened quite a few times on the boards recently! For instance, one possible explanation jumps out to me. This is just a suggestion, to illustrate some of the possible problems you could be experiencing. For example, your computer could be having problems reading and writing from your file system. That could explain the apparent freeze you had at the Icewall, no pun intended – if the game was trying to produce an autosave, and had to wait for the system to write the save file, the game would become unresponsive. That would be the fault of the OS, not the application. So, could you help us out by answering a few questions? 1. Have you ever experienced a slow response from your OS when moving files around, opening folders, or opening applications or documents? 2. Do you have problems with small pauses in any other applications? This is particularly relevant if those applications have an autosave feature. 3. Do you have problems with sound playing on any other applications? It’s worth testing this right now, in case you’re having problems with your speakers/headphones, or with the software producing the audio. 4. If you're playing the sound over speakers, do you still get audio problems when using headphones? Or vice versa? 5. Do you get a slow response from Geneforge Mutagen when you make a manual save? 6. Do you currently have problems with lag or audio in any other Spiderweb applications? 7. If you download a fresh version of the Geneforge Mutagen application, do the problems continue on that fresh copy? Sorry for the slight barrage of questions! But this should hopefully give us a bit more of an insight into what’s going on!
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