Monday, September 25, 2017

Announcing the (pre)release of ADOM 2.3.3 (ASCII again)

Hi everyone!

We are happy to announce the (pre)release of ADOM 2.3.3 - yet another ASCII-only (pre)release for our impending graphical and Steam release. Besides having fixed lots of bugs and optimized some of the new features even more (see the changelog) we this time would like to direct the attention of our prerelease testers to two focus areas:

  • We have revised the configurable character generation process. You now can choose between the following base difficulty modes:
    • Tutorial (the introduction as you know it)
    • Easy (a new mode that reduces deadliness and somewhat favors the player)
    • Classic (roguelike, the standard mode for ADOM ever since the game was created)
    • Personalized (the configurable character generation sequence)
    • Please try them out, test the navigation and provide us with feedback. The idea here to find an easier introduction for new players with the Easy mode - and give experienced players more means to personalize their game experience (among other things with a means to configure a "medium" level for hunger, fudge die rolls to some extent and configure on whether and how to use talents in your game).
    • This mode is a very important addition for Steam where we learned that many of the more casual games get too easily frustrated by the steep learning curve in ADOM. Together with the many UI enhancements (and many more to come in the graphical version) we hope that they will enjoy ADOM far more and that this will allow us to get better visibility with a wider audience (more happening in the background for that - stay tuned for a later update).
  • Since ADOM 2.3.0 we have included a completely revised point-based character generation process for your attributes. It provides a lot more flexibility and basically factors in all the points for your disposal which in former versions were hard-wired. Naturally we also would like to know how you like that mode.
That's it - barring any major hiccups the next release will be the graphical prerelease - we are closing in. Here are some more teasers to what is going on with the graphical version :-)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

More ideas for streamlining the ADOM UI

Hi everyone!

Today I pondered slaughtering a potential holy cow (but maybe not - I'm curious for the responses):

I'm sure people who know their key presses in reflex-like motions will hate me but IMHO it makes a lot of sense to have more intuitive bindings and I never have been afraid to look at holy cows while sharpening a knife.

The next logical step would be to sort races, professions and star signs alphabetically on the corresponding selection screens instead of using the current chaotic mess.

But I have a gut feeling that I will create some irritations with long time fans. On the other hand I strongly believe that all these changes would be very beneficial for new players.

So let me hear your thoughts!

P.S.: Yes, I also shortened the texts in the menus as the many filling words ("View the...", "Read the...", ...) probably just unnecessarily clutter the screen.

P.P.S.: Yes, there is a new game mode progression. The idea here is the following:

  • "Tutorial game" is the introduction you should take to learn the basic mechanisms of the game.
  • "Standard game" is a game mode that is suited at the "average" (and more casual) player out there. Hunger effects will be lessened (probably just cumulative negative attribute modifiers instead of killing effects, slightly better survivability). It should serve to show all the tricks and traps of the game but with less immediate killing power. No talents.
  • "Roguelike game" is the standard way of playing ADOM (but without the customization screen - basically spontaneous selection at each step).
  • "Customized game" is the complex customization screen you have today.
  • The other modes are unchanged.
The next release also will add more customization options:
  • "Hunger" no longer will be just on or off but get a third "debilitating" setting. And "on" probably will be renamed to "deadly".
  • "Talents" will be added with the settings "off", "automatic selection" and "custom selection".
  • "Balance" will be added with the settings "Roguelike" (die rolls like today) and "Pampered" (making die rolls in certain situations slightly more favourable for the player with the goal of making gameplay even more exciting - I found this article very fascinating:
The above-mentioned standard game will use "Talents: off" and "Balance: pampered". 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Announcing ADOM 2.3.2 for prerelease testers

Hi everyone!

After ADOM 2.3.0 and ADOM 2.3.1 we are happy to announce ADOM 2.3.2 for our prerelease testers. Again we have lots of bug fixes but as I am a bit late in doing the official announcement (being on vacation - in theory) we sadly also already have our first bug report :-( Luckily it's not tremendously important in so far as most players never will even get close to that situation in the game - but it is very annoying as it again affects one of the cool new quests. So there probably soon will be yet another release in the very near future.

The changelog is getting shorter but still somewhat impressive. Enjoy the game for now and also give us some feedback on the revised point-based character generation, pick/drop, etc.

Stay tuned!
Thomas & Team ADOM

P.S.: Our focus (besides maybe another small bug fix release on the sideline now is a graphical release - we are getting closer).

Desperate bug hunt in ADOM 2.3.1 - we slaughtered the bug!

*** UPDATE: The hunt is over!!! Congratulations & thanks to Laukku for providing a save game that finally allowed us to reproduce the problem in a reliable way. Now we also could fix it. It was a damn complex item identity problem and some conservative safe guard code from the old drop routines seem to have been lost in the transition to the new code ***

Hi everyone!

Currently we face one remaining truly major bug that was introduced in 2.3.0 and has been plaguing as again and again:

It does not make any sense to release 2.3.2 before we have fixed this bug. Sadly we fail to reliably reproduce it. It happens every once in a while but so far we have not found the actions required to get it reliably - which prevents us from understanding and fixing it.

As this one bug is holding up everything else (more releases, finishing the crowdfunding promises, Steam release, etc.) we hereby would like to make a special offer to our prerelease testers:

The first person who manages to produce a save file that allows us to reliably reproduce this bug will receive a free copy of the ADOM Lite RPG with a special dedication. I do have a few surplus copies so I feel that I could give away one of those.

Please try to create a save file that (preferrably within the next action) allows us to reproduce the bug described above. It seems to happen when you pick up / drop items in a shop. The Terinyo food shop works perfectly for that - we just have no idea how to get this bug. It just happens sometimes and everything else is unclear to us.

Thanks for your help!

Thomas & Team ADOM

P.S.: If none of our prerelease testers manages to reliably reproduce this guy, we might consider doing some kind of more public release to help finding it as I feel that we are wasting our very limited resources on trying to get this guy and achieving nothing :-/

Monday, September 18, 2017

ADOM 2.3.1 (release 74) released to prerelease testers

Hi everyone!

Almost directly on the heels of ADOM 2.3.0 follows ADOM 2.3.1. As expected ADOM 2.3.0 was a pretty experimental release and contained... err... well... a number of issues and room for improvement ;-) And so we repaired and improved.

The changelog is pretty impressive again although it's mostly fixes and fine-tuning (87 official tickets and more stuff going on behind the scenes - the result of almost 72 hours of frantic work behind the scenes). We are particularly grateful to Grond (master bug hunter who almost single-handedly killed every bug existant in the release), but also to Laukku, Ben Mathiesen und Qui from the forums. Your help was invaluable (and thanks also to everyone else who contributed). I also have to thank Jochen once more for being an undaunting force of bug destruction - great teamwork!

So without further ado we dearly recommend that you download the latest ASCII-only prerelease from the usual location.

Depending on how many more issues are found we now move towards finishing the graphical version.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

ADOM 2.3.0 (r73) released to prerelease testers

Hi everyone!

After the longest break (pardon the pun) since the Resurrect ADOM development crowdfunding campaign we finally are getting back on track. Tonight we released ADOM 2.3.0 (r73), a special release in many respects:

  • It is the first "ASCII only" (pre)release in a very long while. The reasons are twofold:
    • We have added so much stuff that our graphics wizards in Team ADOM are still hard at work with catching up.
    • We are fed up with the long break and want to get feedback as soon as possible. As some features are still missing in the graphical version (or broken) we decided to put the ASCII version on the testing block.
  • It is probably the biggest release ever we have done. The issue tracker lists about 140 tickets (to be honest: after yet another 15 hour day I didn't count) for this release but the number has to be taken with some caution (partially because graphics fixes also are listed for the version number, partially because a single ticket can mean huge changes). Some of the huge changes are:
    • More than 100 new items including a completely new category with new mechanisms,
    • Rolf and Volcano quest added,
    • an ASCII windowing framework to make interactions more obvious and don't miss them in endless text wastes,
    • a speech bubble system for conversations,
    • a completely revised pick/drop dialog (I'm pretty nervous about that one as it is a very deep change and probably needs a lot of fine-tuning),
    • completely revised screens for quest status, talents as well as merged screens for skills and spells to simplify navigation,
    • a new quick hint system that tries to teach keyboard commands with tooltips,
    • a new look (and target) mode
    • and hundreds of other major and minor changes.
  • It is probably the most experimental release ever. This kind of follows out of bullet points #1 and #2 because we tested stuff - but our resources are far too limited to test everything. As a consequence regard this as a true prerelease: 
    • There probably will be crashes.
    • Characters might get lost.
    • Save files might get corrupted (although we haven't seen this so far).
    • Or in other words: Here be dragons. Proceed at your own risk.
The prerelease is available via the prerelease tester access. Follow the instructions and start playing as soon as possible :-) The change log can be found here (also as usual).

Please use our bug reporting system for all your findings. Discussions about the changes are especially welcome in the ADOM forum. We want to get any problems sorted out as soon as possible, because our roadmap looks like this:
  • Stabilize the ASCII version ASAP.
  • In parallel add more unaddressed promises from the crowdfunding campaign.
  • As soon as the ASCII version is stable, we will do at least one graphical prerelease for an equivalent feedback round on the graphical version.
  • Then we will go to Steam beta with the prerelease.
  • As soon as we know that the Steam beta is stable, we will make a public Steam release (including one of our front page lucky shots) to increase awareness. A major topic of our work for the past couple of months has been the simplification and enhancement of the UI - as a consequence it is a bit sad that you can't yet see all the fantastic changes in the NotEye/ADOM version. But we promise: the wait is worth it. IMHO the upcoming graphical release is spectacular.
On a side note we (again) changed the version numbering system:
  • We have returned to the major.minor.patch level system.
  • We still count releases but you now only can see the number with the 'v' command.
  • This will allow us to do more branches in our GIT system so that we can have parallel development and bugfix branches. For the current version the 2.3.x branch will be used for bug fixes (with x > 1) and the next real big feature release branch will be 2.4.0.
Ok, we return to work immediately. So much to do and so many plans :-)

See ya soon with the next release!

P.S.: Here are some of the mind-blowing changes of the upcoming graphical release on which all of Team ADOM have also been doing amazing work:
  • a completely revised HUD which is much clearer and more beautiful than the previous one
  • tooltips
  • mouse-based navigation
  • animated monsters
  • more icons, warning, indicators, etc.
  • real scaling for big screen resolutions
  • multi-monitor support
  • and more!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Huge content update merged into main branch

Hi everyone!

Today I reached the second very important milestone in this week: I have been working on a content branch for many months (greatly delayed due to the broken hand misery at the end of last year and during Q1 of 2017). Finally I finished most of the stuff (the one big open thing being the volcano quest - but even for that the stage has been set). Everything has merged from my private development branch into the main ADOM development branch and now we are very close to the first test release (and then public releases) after a long time.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The (almost) final crowdfunding reward wave has shipped!

Hi everyone!

Today a very important milestone has been reached: The final wave of the "Resurrect ADOM development" crowdfunding campaign have shipped.

(well, it's probably the second to last wave because there will be one more small wave, probably at the end of October, in order to fix returned packages, etc. - but then it's over and done)

I've slept but 8 hours in the past 72 hours because it took a suprising amount of effort to
  • sort out addresses, check them and fix some of them (e.g. because some persons omitted their country)
  • select code pieces for the code certificates and get these printed,
  • package the certificates safely,
  • pack all the ADOM Lite RPG boxes (which we affectionately named "ADOM Resurrection Loot Boxes") including more code certificates, box certificates, the ADOM Lite RPG rules and the ADOM Arcana boxes, the poster map, a die (attuned by rolling it) etc. pp.
  • fill the boxes to prevent damage,
  • then bubble-wrap the boxes,
  • package them in the shipping boxes,
  • fill out tax forms, shipment forms, etc.
  • fulfill more ADOM Lite RPG orders,
  • personalize more ADOM postcards and send them.
So I'm really happy about having managed this. Below you find some impressions from the past 72 hours:
  • Packaging stuff:

  • Protecting the ADOM Resurrection Loot boxes:

  • In mid-packaging I ran out of my first batch of bubble-wrap, luckily I had taken care of that by ordering ample reserves:

  • In the end I prevailed:

  • Next I stuffed the car of my wife with all the boxes:

(the other stuff is not visible due to all the boxes)

And then I brought our small local post office to a kind of halt for about an hour. I had announced my coming, they were well prepared but sadly other visitors blocked the second worker with very problematic requests - and I got some angry looks from a slowly growing lynch mob because I was standing at the counter with my mountain of boxes.

But luckily after one efficient hour of processing the shipments plus me paying a minor fortune for shipping now everything is on its way. All boxes can be tracked so that problems should be easily identifyable.

Time for celebration :-)

I'm now looking forward to get photos (please post them in social media, too) of packages arriving (I'm curious what the state will be), unboxing videos, etc.

I'm now back to working on the remaining software promises - I still hope to get all that stuff finished by end of September. Wish me luck :-) !