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Posted on July 31, 2017, 09:41:04 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 15: July 2017

Issue 15: July 2017

EDITORIAL

Here we go, Updates from the Forge 15, and we're back on schedule! Not only that, but we have even more articles than usual despite only 20 days having passed since the last issue was released. With stories from texture archive builder Eric Matyas, the forum's Choose your Own Adventure game, the Rome: Total Realism modding team, and more, this is one of the most pleasantly diverse Updates from the Forge I've been able to write in quite some time.

There's also plenty of news from around the site, the main bit being that Exilian has officially moved from GoDaddy to Vidahost as our main hosting provider - you shouldn't see any obvious differences around the place, but the better server software that Vidahost offer should allow us to keep Exilian's board properly patched and safer from malware & hackers, as well as saving us money which may allow the site to get more done in future. This move has been a long time in coming, and several major plans have been put off to allow for it, so we'll hopefully get moving on those in the coming weeks.

But all that's in the future - right now, it's time to unveil the contents of Issue Fifteen of Updates from the Forge!

CONTENTS:

  • A Fugitive in Aleyska
  • A Door to Creativity - New Free Textures!
  • Village Monsters is getting growing...
  • Rome Total Realism heads North
  • Exilian's Connecting!
  • New updates on our Choose Your Own Adventure



A Fugitive in Aleyska


From Utherwald Press we have the story of fugitive Iron Collective engineer Petro Broklaw, whose idealistic hopes for technological enlightenment first led him towards, then away from, the machine-cult that created the Collective as a secretive, highly technically advanced state. Fleeing from his "declassification" and declared an enemy of the state, Petro found his way to Aleyska's frozen skies as a way to escape the law. His mechanical genius has served him well in the cold north, where sky pirates can hire his services at the outlaw haven of Broken Spires. His best customers, the Tundra Wolves, have become a particular force to be reckoned with thanks to his effective and efficient designs.

Sound good? Want to know more? Head over to the Utherwald Press forum to discover more, including other recent posts on Aleyska's "Arctic Airmen" who do long range sea patrols and an interesting post about a real-world British army rifle that never quite made it into the mainline annals of military history. There'll be a hiatus on updates for the first part of August to give Stormwell a well-deserved break, so now's the perfect time to catch up on the backlog of blogposts while you can outpace the writer!


Go to the Utherwald Press forum



A Door to Creativity - New Free Textures!

Texture & music library maker Eric Matyas continues to impress with his massive & expanding library of free textures, images, and music. The texture section has recently received additional brick, metal, and wood textures, including some fetching and potentially very useful distressed wooden door images:


No doors were harmed in the making of this image. It's not *that* sort of distress.

The more the merrier as far as users of Eric's work go, so please head over to his thread and let him know when you find a need for his massive archive. His website, Soundimage, is a fantastic resource for creators of all sorts and one we're very proud to be doing our best to support and promote. The likely addition of a new bank of fur textures in the near future is likely to make the site even more of a draw for game designers and artists alike - head on over and see what you find, it's always worth a browse. You never know, it might jog your brain for a new project...

Check out Eric's Exilian textures thread
Go to the Soundimage website


Village Monsters is getting growing...


Village Monsters answers the question of what happened to all those game cartridges that got abandoned in the late 1990s... after a while in the game world, the monsters just settled down and built a village together! The result is a beautiful, quirky pixel-graphic world to explore with a calendar of events and other things to collect and do.

Recent updates include the first previews of the botany skill (shown in the graphic above), and a confirmation that the game's main "hobbies" will be Critter Collecting, Archaeology, Fishing, Botany, and Cooking. There's also new previews of the re-done fishing skill/minigame, item previews with new flavour text unique to every single item in the game, in-progress work on the game's postal system which may double up as a feedback system, ambient effects like bird calls and graphical updates, and that's just a small chunk of what's going on! The game's creator, WarpDogsVG, is often on hand to answer questions and would love more feedback on Village Monsters! So if a game with gryphons and goblins which mostly focusses on things like making a secret room in your house to eat cake in sounds up your street...


Let it grow! (Visit the Village Monsters thread)



Rome Total Realism heads North

The Rome: Total Realism modding team are working on building better and better high-realism conversions in the classic Rome: Total War strategy engine. Work is ongoing in a number of areas, including maps and faction descriptions to build a fuller campaign experience with greater accuracy to smaller individual time-spans for the campaign's starting point.

Recent updates from their team include heading north to do a new faction description for the Celts in 270 BC, written by Magnentius with assistance from team historian Mausolos of Caria:

Quote
At the camp fires, the elders often tell us the stories of the migrations of the Celtic people as they spread over the known world and took their rightful place among the peoples of the Mediterranean.

Our oldest ancestors lived a simple and free life on the banks of the great rivers Rhine and Danube. From there, however, large groups of men, women, and children moved to seek new land when they outgrew their small and narrow home countries. Some of these great migrations ended in peaceful settlements of a new home, but in other cases the newly arriving tribes had to conquer the areas by sword. Their superiority in bravery, skills and weapons secured fertile lands and thus the future of the new tribes. The stories of these events have been passed down the generations by oral tradition, and our common language still bonds us together.

In the course of time, we colonised vast areas in the North and the West, and only a few hundred moons ago we began to pushed into the rich world of the Greeks. There we were called "Barbarians" because they could not understand our language. Yet, soon we had taught them fear, and became the nightmare of the entire Hellenic world...

You can read and ask more about this and many other aspects of the Rome: Total Realism mod on their forum - as one of the longest running and most specialised historical game modding teams anywhere, they've got a huge range of specialist knowledge and are well worth taking the time to chat to. Do delve in and discover more!

Visit the RTR Team


Exilian's Connecting!
...with our new connecting walls thread! Our megadux, Jubal, was on UK quiz TV show Only Connect recently, and the "word wall" question format from the show now has its own Exilian thread for sharing our home-made walls and discussing ideas, strategies, and more.


Yes, the dork on the left is what Jubal looks like outside his natural online habitat.

The connecting wall format is simple, but results in some devastatingly complex puzzles: a grid of 16 words or phrases which ultimately sort into four neat sets of four. There's only one correct solution, and a time limit on finding the answer! Unscrambling the clues, which can include red herrings and potential overlaps, is a real skill - as is writing new grids, both of which Jubal &
 others will happily guide you through in the thread. Take a look and read on to tease your brain and test your wits!


Get Connecting Here


New updates on our Choose Your Own Adventure

To follow on from the previous item - what connects a Pangolin, the fictional steppe realm of Tasmongolia, Communism, and a Topfenknodel? That's right, pretty much nothing, excep the Exilian Choose Your Own Adventure! Our last item for this month (making this a 6-piece bumper edition!) is to let you know that new nodes have recently been added to the Choose Your Own Adventure game, continuing the adventures of its four major characters - Tibula Khan, Angus the Communist Midwestern Minotaur, Adonibal the Pangolin, and Beesnot Lumpwagon (species unknown). If you want to find out what bizarre and madcap adventures the various characters can get up to, head over and join in! The game is also set so that any registered member can take part in constructing new nodes and adding to the adventure, so feel free to get stuck in and get involved.

Whether it's foolish attempts to punch spiders in the snout, eating mouldy sandwiches, or choosing whether to shoot zombies with SOME GUNS or MORE GUNS, there's a whole lot of very, very random fun to be had and many paths through the adventures already. Where they go next, though, may well be up to you to decide!


> YOU: Choose an Adventure starting here
> YOU: Go to the CYOA forum



And we're at the end! That's all for this month.

I've been wondering whether I should make it clearer which items are PC gaming, general creative, tabletop, project support, etc - do you think so, and would there be a good way to do that? If so, comment below! If not, comment below anyway with other ideas or just a picture of a cat falling out of a box or something. Of course as ever you're welcome to get in touch with megadux@exilian.co.uk or PM me with thoughts and ideas. And with that, until next time - these have been your Updates from the Forge. Take care!


...
Posted on July 24, 2017, 07:57:00 PM by Jubal
Welcome to the new server!

If you're seeing this message, the DNS has propagated correctly for you and you're seeing Exilian on its shiny new (and most importantly slightly cheaper) server software!

We're hoping that this change will help us keep the site efficient and up to date, with improved server-side software allowing us to keep our underlying SMF board functions working effectively. It'll also give the Exilian a lot more breathing space financially, helping us to ensure better advertising and other services across the various areas we cover. As a tiny volunteer-run organisation with almost no income, this will really help us in the coming months. We hope you've found the transition as smooth as possible, and look forward to big plans in the months ahead.

Best wishes,

Jubal (Megadux)

...
Posted on July 22, 2017, 01:27:22 PM by Jubal
Server Migration

Hi everyone,

This is to let you all know that Exilian will be migrating server in the next few days. Server migrations are never a fun part of running a website, but we've got to a point where our current hosts just aren't giving us the functionality Exilian needs at a price we can reasonably afford. As such, we're moving over to a new hosting company for our main board hosting. As such, there may be some significant downtime over the next 3-5 days as domain servers re-point to the new host and content is moved over. Thanks for your patience during this time - once it's done we'll be able to get back to work on some more significant upgrades to site function that we're currently unable to achieve.

Best wishes,

Jubal (Megadux)

...
Posted on July 16, 2017, 06:10:52 PM by Jubal
Election Results: June/July 2017

Election Results: June/July 2017

REGULARLY ELECTED STAFF

BASILEUS (Head of Staff)
Glaurung (IND) was ratified to continue in the post with 5 votes.
Nobody voted against, and there were no abstentions.

Glaurung (IND) is duly re-elected as Basileus.

SEBASTOKRATOR (Voting Members' Officer)
No candidates stood, the post is still open

SPATHARIOS (Senior Moderator)
Gmd (IDE) was ratified to continue in the post with 5 votes.
Nobody voted against, and there were no abstentions.

Gmd (IDE) is duly re-elected as Spatharios.

TRIBOUNOS (Tribune & Adjudicator)
No candidates stood, the post is still open.


RATIFICATIONS OF PERMANENT STAFF

MEGADUX (Executive Officer)
Jubal (FIF) was ratified to continue in the post with 5 votes.
Nobody voted against, and there were no abstentions.

SAKELLARIOS (Treasurer)
Glaurung (Independent) was ratified to continue in the post with 5 votes.
Nobody voted against, and there were no abstentions.



Thanks to everyone who took part: we'd like to encourage more members to think about becoming voting members and more voting members to think about whether they could spend a small amount of time volunteering on the staff team. We're currently desperately stretched, as evidenced by the fact we have two key staff positions unfilled and no positions were actually contested. It would also be good if more people voted - five voters of around seventy is pretty low. Thanks of course to all who took part, and hopefully we'll be back up to strength on the staff team soon!

...
Posted on July 08, 2017, 01:51:44 AM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 14: June 2017

Issue 14: June 2017

EDITORIAL

This Updates to be forever known as the "curses, 12 days late" issue thanks to your regular writer and editor being at a conference for much of the first part of July. We've nonetheless got plenty to talk about! We've got a full slate of in-dev PC games this month, plus another spotlight on an area of the forum you might want to visit, this time the Great Library where discussions on history, science, and other interesting information are always going on. There's lots of other news coming up from around the site, most of which we'll be able to announce by next time - so expect a fairly bumper editorial for the next issue and perhaps a fairly packed slate of newsposts in the next few weeks!

Until then, take a look at this great slate of games and enjoy issue 14 of Updates from the Forge...

CONTENTS:

  • Township returns
  • Update from the Undergrowth - Arctosa Littoralis
  • Beta testing on LIFE gets underway
  • Massive Galaxy keeps getting bigger
  • New discussions in the Great Library


Township returns


Exilian's very own Son of the King is back with some previews of work on a new edition of his game Township. The new map generation system allows for huge and varied map types,
 and work is about to head on to creating dropsites for resources and some of the other basics that a town will eventually need to survive. The whole system so far is freely available for download on Github for anyone who has PyGame and yamlui installed to have a play with - do take a look!



Discuss Township here


Updates from the Undergrowth - Arctosa Littoralis


There's some lovely stuff coming up from the Empires of the Undergrowth team building their ant colony real time strategy game, as this video neatly shows. Here we see the mighty Arctosa littoralis wolf spider as a deadly new threat to overland ant marches, and with new ant types with ranged attacks becoming available. These exciting improvements show the game really beginning to take shape, and we're hoping to see more content and new releases coming up soon. The developers are a lovely bunch and happy to discuss the invertebrates involved or answer questions about this scientifically-interested but wonderfully playable RTS, so come along to their thread and have a chat.

Head into the Undergrowth


Beta testing on LIFE gets underway


Jubal's game LIFE is currently in testing phases, and looking for additional testers to join the crew. In this Whovian text adventure, you play as a rebel against the Dalek empire and explore an open world planet-hopping environment. Including several minigames, puzzles to solve, a full achievements system, and multiple routes to eventual victory, this is one not to be missed. The game is being continually updated in response to feedback, with smoother functionality being implemented all the time and bugs fixed. Beta players can get early access to test-drive the Doctor Who world and help make it better. Please join in and help with the testing to make this freely available adventure game as good as it can be!

Beta Testing Thread


Massive Galaxy keeps getting bigger

Goncalom's "Massive Galaxy" recently released some new teaser screenshots of the graphics - take a look:


A retro point and click adventure focussing on trade and escort missions across a vast game world, Massive Galaxy looks set to be a feast for both the eyes and mouse-buttons of gamers. There looks like being a vast amount of content being prepared, with many alien races, worlds to explore, and a turn-based combat system in the works. Do head over to the thread and discuss what's been released so far!

Explore the Galaxy


New discussions in the Great Library


The Great Library is Exilian's area for discussing science, history, mythology, and other interesting information. We've got regular discussion topics opening there - recent ones include discussions of public medieval history and the media, how a Polynesian canoe circumnavigated the globe, and how ducks can change their sex. If any of that sounds of interest or if you have other things to discuss, the Great Library may well be the place for you. Anyone can post new topics on any aspect of interesting information, and we're always keen to see more going on. There's no better place to discover new things than a library, after all, and ours is no exception.

Visit the Great Library



Once again, another issue done! Please PM me (Jubal) or email megadux@exilian.co.uk to get in touch if you have any stories or academic & creative projects we ought to be covering - we'd love to hear from you. See you next time in just a few weeks for issue fifteen of Updates from the Forge!