Monday, June 17, 2013

The Phoenix Project
Status Update: Monday, June 17
By: Segev

The response last week to our announced date for the Kickstarter was overwhelmingly positive, for which we here at the Phoenix Project and Missing Worlds Media thank you. We're really excited about it. As most of the work for it is already done, we've begun shifting our resources and our volunteers' time towards working on some of the more boring to discuss, but still critical for a fully useful program, aspects of design. We're testing XMPP-compatible third-party clients for windows to use with our already-functioning server; unfortunately, while there are several clients that provide the functionality we seek for Linux, Unix, and other operating systems, we've yet to find a good one for Windows machines. If you know of one that supports, in particular, voice, please feel free to chime in. While ultimately we're going to code our own client for use in-game and to interface with out-of-game communication, we'd like to stress test things and get our main bulk of conversation to our own XMPP server. As voice chat is part of what we wish to support, we don't want to do a half-move while that's only functional for non-Windows users.

One of the more exciting things is a successful construction and import of a modular character frame with numerous options to turn on and off. We currently utilize components from the Cryptic open license animation rig, so will not be in our final game, but the off-the-shelf animation rig verifies that Unreal works with our approach. Congratulations and thanks to warcabbit for getting that working! The next step is to import our customized assets.

This image, again, uses off-the-shelf components from the Cryptic animation rig. The important note is that these components are modular, and can be "on" or "off." They're key to making the customizable avatars we all expect. Currently, all of them are turned on in this image, which is why it looks so blocky. As stated, we will be replacing these GPL elements with our custom components as we get them designed; that we can load this means we are that much closer to loading our own when they're ready.

This is only a part of what has us feeling very excited. We mentioned last week that certain things were ahead of schedule. While the product itself is still quite some ways off, our avatar builder has many of the pieces of underlying code set up and in place, putting us much further along on it than we expected to be at this time. The list of currently-functioning "moving parts" of the avatar builder includes:

* Scaling of body parts
* Asymmetrical scaling
* Character view rotation
* Zooming in and out on the character
* Texture changing
* Color tinting

There's not a lot to look at on the UI side of things, but here's a glimpse of what the rotation and zoom controls look like right now. We will be developing a more customized UI to go with our look and feel for the game. But this is what the basic controls look like for functioning camera elements.

There's still a lot to be done, but this is major progress under the hood!

Finally, we would like to thank Minotaur for stepping in to help as a forum administrator, and to welcome Zombie Man as our Online Community Manager. With the impending shift to the new site and forums, the extra volunteer to keep an eye on things is definitely needed. Minotaur's presence in a much earlier time zone will also help facilitate closer to 24-hour administration. Zombie Man will be helping us maintain more steady contact with our community, both by managing overall forum and other community-facing site design and by generally being our voice and ears should there be anything the community needs to hear or has to share with us.

With the push to recruit and grow between now and September, he will be pivotal in helping us organize community events and providing aid to all of you in telling your friends and circles of acquaintances about us! He will also be helping in scouting out conventions and making contacts to do more panels and other group events. If you have any desire at all to do something in a physical group of people in your area, let him know. He will help pick out somebody to be the physical site manager for that event and help direct any resources you might need in that direction.

We're very pleased with the response we've had so far, and we know many of you have a lot of pent up energy just waiting for ways to help out. Planning and attending fun events designed to spread the word is one way you can help and do so more or less to your own schedule. Art assets have been collected for your use, and more will be coming. We're also listening; if you have requests, let us know, and we'll see what we can do!

As always, we want to extend our hearty thanks for your support. You, the community, are vital for this project, and you've risen to the occasion every time. We're humbled and honored to be able to work on something like this project with all of you.

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving this so far, all of it. Also I wanna say that you are an awesome dude for still having the COH updater on your start bar!!