I made another custom item yesterday. This one was just a fun little side project that I made as a gift to a merchant that I spend a fair amount of time RP’ing with. You guys may have seen him around the world, he is one of Gor’s most unique characters, a hairy, fat taharian man that goes around the sims selling supplies and laundering contraband. I noticed on several occasions that he would emote smiling and showing a golden tooth sparking in the sun, so I decided to make one for him:

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Of course a simple golden block in the mouth is hardly worthy of a new post, this one is special. It comes with a gesture that makes the tooth emit a sparkle, complete with sparkly sound effect. It is good for a laugh and brings a bit of fun to our scenes.

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In other news, meter scripting trudges ever forward. Right now I am messing with melee weapons and re-arming kits. Once melee is functional I’ll do the first demo, then begin work on projectiles and defense. I’ll have new GM melee weapons coming soon too as a byproduct of all this meter making work. They should be as full featured, low lag, and good looking as the stuff the major vendors are putting out when the work gets done. A generous benefactor has given me some space to work and lay down my update servers and stuff, so anyone who still has some of my older stuff should be receiving updates once more. We never did get my realism bows legalized, mainly because the only sim that required realism weapons was closed in the middle of my efforts, rendering the entire endeavor pointless. I still really like the work I did though, and may give it an update and submit it to the testing councils anyway, who knows.

If anyone here is connected to legality testing groups, please let me know. I have a difficult time getting my stuff legalized because I’m not a big player in the market, but I’ll never grow if I can’t get my stuff legalized, so I’m having a challenging chicken and egg problem right now.

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We’ve returned to working on our new combat meter for the Gorean RP worlds in Second Life. Image

Since we last posted, we added more to the downed state, including aid, kill, and recovering capabilities. We are getting close to our first stage of testing for the bare bone functionality of the system. Before we can reach initial testing, we must lay out the disarm and binding features.

The public wont get to play with this until the comms are secured, projectile weapons implemented, and shields/defense functional. For the moment we are focusing on getting to a first phase testable item, which will be a melee only meter using placeholder default settings over an open comm channel. Combatants will be able to attack each other, bind, kill, aid, arm and disarm.

Down the road we are going to implement region servers to allow sim owners to customize combat settings, with the end goal being a web based configuration interface. Once the comm systems are cleaned up we will have our first version of example scripts available for weapon makers to prepare their stuff for our system.

This project is designed to be functionally identical to the Gorean Meter, with improvements in customization and convenience for sim owners and moderators. The first test will include a couple new features that we are very excited about

  • weapons must be armed and disarmed through the meter, circumventing the “pulling weapons out of the ass” issue that has plagued the raid scene for years now.
  • combat sensors and damage messages are handled within the meter, making it impossible for weapon makers to cheat with overspeed and over reaching weapons (the meter simply ignores these messages from outside scripts), and rendering complicated testing procedures and legality lists obsolete.
  • Downed players are immobilized when they fall, no more sliding corpses; They regain mobility when bound, killed, or healed.

The overall principle for this project is to leave raiding the way it is gameplay wise, butĀ  to make life a lot easier forĀ  sim owners trying to host and moderate combat. We are using our vast experience in raiding and drama to build a system that prevents the big rage inducing issues that bother group leaders the most. Things like detaching/refusing bindings, disarmed players pulling weapons from nowhere, midbattle resets and illegal weapons. The only differences the player might notice are fewer invalidations, fewer bannings, and less complicated rules.

It shouldn’t be much longer until the first test, I think we’ll hold some sort of demo event to show our progress once the raw basics are in place.

Second Life Marketplace – Great bow of the Peasants.

Re-listed on the marketplace!

Meh leaked this to the forums earlier than we had planned to announce it, so I may as well share that leak through the proper channel.
/me glares at Meh

The meter problems are solvable. I was going to hold off on sharing this with people but it is hard to resist the temptation. Have a peek at these screenshots:

After years of suggestions and complaints, I am making my own damn combat system. At the moment it is about as functional as classic safezone, with the added security of calculating damage off-world in a php script instead of trusting weapon makers to be honest and fair. This has several benefits:

  • it ends the scripting arms race
  • it keeps sim owners from having to become weapon experts (or trusting sardar’s judgement) and having to maintain giant allowed weapons lists
  • it is less lag, 50 avatars with multiple attachments are no longer spamming chat channels with “I hit you I hit you” messages
  • sim owners will have a web page interface where they can control the attack rates, ranges, and speeds of every type of weapon as they see fit (or even disable certain things completely)

I’m not ready to demo this thing or go into full marketing mode yet (I could go on all day about the benefits of my design but I want to wait until there is more to show). There is still a lot of work to be done. But having started the project and gotten it off the ground, I am confident that I can do this. I’m going to correct this fundamental design flaw of the gorean combat systems by finally making a meter that doesn’t “trust the client” by handling all the damaging and sensor scanning internally, and giving the sims control over the game balance instead of the weapon market. Weapon scripting will be reduced to triggering sounds/animations and a message to the meter basically telling it that it has been drawn. Then the meter will dictate to the weapon it’s swing rate rather than the traditional backwards way of doing things.

(it will still have issues with displacement animations and speed enhancers)

The system will have some reasonable defaults that play similarly to the current systems (in order to ease migration. I learned that lesson from LCS’s issues with changing too much). I don’t expect the sims to deviate from the standard very much without good reason. I also expect that it will sort of police itself, if a sim uses unreasonable settings people just wont go there, the same way people don’t go to sims with stupid rules.

Once it is as functional and secure as GM I will let people start playing with it. At the moment I can’t share because I have to add authenticators and stuff so as not to expose the database to DoS’ing and unauthorized meddling. I also need to put it on a proper host instead of running it off my own machine during testing. The real fun begins once the basic functionality is done.

Because I’m calculating all the characters server side, we have lots of spare power to do things that are a lot fancier than SL scripting can accommodate on its own. I could do RPG style stat points, equipment, character classes, special abilities. I could make the whole thing play like a lock-on targeted mmorpg if I really wanted to (I don’t). I could use html on a prim to let people click on hud buttons that talk to my web severer, circumventing SL completely when I don’t need it then do my calculations and bounce updates to the meters.

Really the only thing that needs to be done in SL is aiming and sensor detection. If I wanted to go crazy with this there is a lot of room to do it.

Some crazier ideas that I had:
-special moves for different character types like shield walls, war cries, bola throws, back stabs, capture nets and stealth modes
-couched lances (detect avatar speed and whether avatar is mounted on an appropriate animal, couch the lance when above a certain speed, damage the shit out of the first avatar that falls within the sensor)
-wounds (bleeding, poisoned, crippled, etc)
-maybe particle or collision based projectiles (something that isn’t prims running sensors and chat messages flying out of 50 avatars every second, there’s gotta be a better way)

I could really go crazy with this but the challenge will be keeping it simple and not shocking people with changes. The priority is to make a basic system that gives sims control of the things that tend to cause frustration during conflict RP.

So there you have it. I hope you guys are as excited about this project as we are, stay tuned to this blog for future updates.

Today we are unveiling a new version of our helmet, the helm of Port Kar:
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In this version we gave the metal a more weathered and beaten feel to try and reflect the rough and rude nature of the Port Kar city. The helm on the left that has the purple crest is meant for the first Captain, hopefully he likes it. The red helmet crested helmet is meant for the Karian warriors in general. The Gorean stories also describe that in Port Kar the captains wear crests of sleen fur. We always imagined sleen fur to be a dark gray or black ish color, so we might make a few more variations on the crests of the helms once I can get the details compiled about them. We plan on making a variety of different crests and perhaps releasing them as a texture pack so that customers can change them around however they like. These helmets come as mod/copy so if a helmet without crest is desired, it is very easy to just chop off the couple prims and will still look good.

A blank version of this helm will be added to the stores soon for those of you who were waiting on a less polished darker looking helm to become available.

We would like to take one more order for a custom item before we get back to work on shop selection. We would like to try and branch out from custom shields and helmets a little. We are not quite ready to do a completely new weapon mainly because we refuse to cheap out on animations and they take a long time to get looking good, though we’d be happy to do a variation on realistic bows, as we have the innards of arrow weapons working nicely.

My newest custom item was finished and sold today, in making it I learned a lot of interesting new things about texturing that I hope to apply to my new items.

I present to you: the Raven Assassin’s Shield!
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This is the darkest, meanest thing I have made so far. I think the shadows on the thing turned out really wicked awesome, I’ve attempted shadow shading on other things before but as it turns out I was trying too hard and using too many lights and stuff when attempting to bake the textures. This time, I lazily forgot to drag out a bunch of lights and put them in the right spots, then did a test bake before I realized what I was doing and then bam, awesome looking shadows. Now that I know how I did it I can do those awesome looking shading effects that we are seeing on all the sculpts these days. As it turns out I was over-complicating it this entire time, who would have thought?

I think this is a good demonstration though, I accomplished something “mean” looking despite starting with a “feminine” celtic design and not using spikes, so if you guys think all I was capable of was warrior shit, you were mistaken, muahahah.

It amuses me to think that this shield might very well be the last thing that some poor fool ever sees, I hope it isn’t me!

Shops are back up and running again after a long hiatus. Vendors can be found above Imperial Ar, Port Kar, and the main one remains inside of Ania’s Aresenal. Look for the “Meh” sign and the giant helmets above the vendors.

Here is our newest location in imperial Ar, look for the giant helmet in the upper floor, near the corner beside the trident vendor.
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We haven’t been completely idle during the break, Meh has taken a few comissions for customized items that you might have seen in world already:
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This shield was made custom for Lycan Foehammer, thanks go to him for waiting for it so patiently. Most every bit of the shield was specified by lycan, I think it turned out rather well.

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This shield was made for the warriors of Telnus, note the “Blue of Cos” from the story, and that city’s excellent insignia on the center. It was a lovely place while it lasted, I am considering releasing this item to the public now that the sim is gone.

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Our recent and most glorious piece of custom work, this helmet was painstakingly sculpted and textured over a solid three days of work for Imperial Ar’s legions, it can be had for the steep price of “your eternal loyalty to Ar’s homestone.” Note the city insignia and laurel crown designs that appear to me extruded from the metal of the helmet. We designed this in such a way that the color and the designs on the metal can be changed however we like, already a similar helm with a different city insignia etched into it is in the works. Look for a version of this helmet without insignia in the stores soon.

The extremely realistic and description accurate peasant bow is still available, within a week the whole gallery of shields should make their return to the shop as well, and if things go well you should see helmets soon as well. We are really proud of the friggin helmets, after years and years of everyone wearing that same ugly bucket on their head, we finally have a nicer looking helmet that isn’t black.

The current plan is to revive interest in “realistic” projectile weapons, as always Meh specializes in products that are designed more for role playing than they are for combat. The current project in the works is a throwing spear, which we hope to pair with a “siege slave’s kit” which will be worn like a backpack on male slaves in battle. The spears will have say, three throws then will have to be replenished by the combatants by being close to the siege slave’s kit and touching the bag of spears that he is wearing. The same idea can be applied for arrows. Once all the kinks are worked out of the spear scripting we hope to return to work on other projectile weapons and make several variations on the peasant bow which so many of you have enjoyed. The long term ambition is to get a few sims on board with these realistic weapons by offering a good selection of them while still maintaining our standard of acceptable quality, if all goes to plan we will be happy in knowing that we made the things we liked, and we helped to stop the madness that is rampant in the gorean combat world today, and also made a lot of people look a lot better.

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Mehrunes Unsworth and UnWorldly Ng, all animations, shields, weapons, and of course the helmet seen in this image are our own creations, all soon to be available to you at our stores.