Monday, March 25, 2013

The Phoenix Project Update: Monday, March 25, 2013

The Phoenix Project Update: Monday, March 25, 2013
By: Cameron 'Segev Stormlord' Johnson, Studio Director

As many of you by now already know, the Phoenix Project is going to release its components as they get ready. The big releases are planned to be:

  • The Avatar Builder
  • The Base Builder
  • Open Beta
  • Issue 0

There will be additional smaller releases, updates to the above, and other ancillary products coming out between those.

The general structure of a character as it will be represented in game mechanics - a sort of virtual "blank character sheet," for those of you familiar with pen and paper RPGs - is nearing completion at the time of this writing, and may well be in the hands of our technical gurus to translate it into code by the time you're reading this. The focus is on maximum flexibility and robustness for future creative expansions, allowing a wide variety of powers to be designed. The next thing on the docket from that team is "combat flow," which, despite the catchy name, is actually a dry and technical examination of the algorithmic steps that are required to resolve a given attack or other action when somebody activates a power and attacks another character (player- or computer-controlled).

The creative team continues to work on concept art and translation of our enormous body of potential setting Lore into specific usable pieces, while our mission-writing team begins work on developing story-focused narratives with PCs at the center, drawing upon that Lore. We've been working from an outside-in perspective, and we're now going to reverse that to let the stories we tell organically pull together the jagged edges of the background history and details about NPCs and their factions. Much like a good story doesn't give you the world-setting bible, but instead introduces you to pieces of its setting through events and the eyes of characters, the mission snippets and the clues dropped to lead to them will be your, the player's, window into the lore of the setting. Ideally, it will be possible to play the game as a total newbie and get the rich, fleshed out world out of playing the game, much as one learned about the worlds of comic books through reading those selfsame comics.

All of that being a fancy way of saying, "We've done a ton of work up through now, but have mountains left to go." 
Meanwhile, one of the districts - the one containing Phoenix Plaza - is being worked on in rough layout using stock assets. Beyond the stock assets that came with Unreal Engine, Doctor Tyche has been (among myriad other things) importing custom rough-draft assets into the engine for this zone work. It won't be the final work-up, but the layout is at least semi-final, and we should have a functional zone to run demobot around in before too much longer.

Here's a 2D concept drawing of the Phoenix Plaza itself:

Our coding gurus have been busy, as well; a lot of the little projects they've been working on are coming together. The authentication and sign-in work mentioned last week is nearing completion, and load testing continues on the chat engine.

Additionally, the Phoenix Project is proud to invite anybody interested to NorWesCon, where Doctor Tyche and Segev Stormlord (the Technical Director and Studio Director, respectively) will be holding a panel at 4:00 pm this coming Friday (March 29th) in Cascade 7 to discuss how this project got started, what its goals are, and where it stands. 
If you're in the Seattle area next weekend, come by and see us!


  1. Just found this blog and its updates last week, and what a wonderful discovery it was! I realize there's still a long way to go, but it's hard to believe we're even as far along as these posts say already. I mean, think about who we are, how we started. Reading this and last weeks post made me realize just how real this project and its goals are. Most of all, it showed me what I'd already believed: that we are going to do this. All the way.

    1. Yeah,we will get to say we were with them since the beginning. Cool, can't wait til it comes out. :D Excellent artwork. Great job!

  2. You guys are doing an excellent job.

  3. I'm not entirely sure if this is true or not but I read somewhere that some developers from City of Heroes/Villains are on this project and are attempting to recreate the feel of the game with this game. If that is true then I am extremely excited. CoH was my all time favorite game, I played it for 6 years before it was cancelled..

    But if it's not then i'm still going to look forward to this. :) it looks like it's going to be fun. :)