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Design Preview July "In-Development" Update AmonGwareth
July 3, 2006
AmonGwareth
Here we are, once again. Another month, another design update. I believe this has become a trend, folks!

June was a good month for us. Lots of good things happened with Horizons and with Tulga. We've continued to see excellent growth and conversion of new players. And word of mouth is definitely getting out about us!

One of the biggest changes here during June was the addition of three new people to our staff; Zach, Michael and Nate. Two designers and an artist. And they're already making waves! We've got art assets from Nate that fix many errors, high poly counts, and occlusion models. And we've got new content from Zach and Michael in the form of quests, monsters and more. And we've got the addition of the folks from Gamersinfo.net helping us with our forums, our community site, QA testing, and marketing.

We're patching new content to blight in the form of Dragon cargo disks, several new quests for New Trismus, and the usual assortment of tweaks and fixes. In addition, we've got a host of new client changes... some of the more impressive ones include changes to the sound system to be more robust, cleaning up of the player preference system and graphics options, and the scaling of particle effects based on your skill. The player preference system is the record of your video, sound, game options, your keyboard shortcuts, and your hotkey bars all rolled into a set of files. These values were originally spread out throughout the file-system of the Horizons install, but its all been organized and cleaned up.

What does this mean? Well, if you are't really into the “techie” side of things, then its business as usual though you may notice fewer and some different graphic, audio and game options in-game. However, if you are into the techie-side, then all of the values you might want to tweak are located in your Horizons pref folder and can be tweaked to your heart's delight.

So, having covered the compulsories, let's discuss what we're actively working on right now. Our “big list” really hasn't changed some, but not significantly from the update a few months ago so I'll just be visiting the active projects in this update.
  • Island of New Trismus – Work continues on this with the Warrior, Mage and Cleric quests now fully in and ready. Work on the Scout quests and the story quest (A 4-part quest given out by Steward Pratt McGrubben) is fully underway. Two new quests were added by our new designers to test their skills and they have been a welcome addition to the flavor and content of the island.
  • Confectioner – Work continues on this monumental project with the placement of resource regions, the data entry of formulas and meals, and the development of quests that the Confectioner trainers will give out to players. In addition, we have nearly concluded a new contest for our players that let them submit numerous recipes and suggestions for meals. We're choosing winners for each Tier, and these winners will have their recipes entered into the game for everyone to enjoy!
  • Armor Revision – Armor values for crafted armor has been revised to be more in line with the crafting requirements. No longer will belts and bracers provide the same armor bonus as chestguards and leggings. Now, the armor values will be in balance with the amount of material required to craft the item. This is a change we've been discussing for a while, but fortunately one that we were able to spare a little time for.

  • Player-Written Quests – work on the documentation and FAQ continues. The Quest Editor has entered wider testing and continues to inch closer to full public release. The first set of player-made quests (created by LaughingOtter and made using the Quest Editor) have made it to the Live servers and we hope to get other sets of player-made quests into the game in July.
  • Lesser Aradoth – With our new designers getting more comfortable with the tools available to them and with the lore and details of Horizons, they will be tackling the island of Lesser Aradoth. Their goal is to fill the island with content, creating quests, improving the spawns, and providing an all-around improvement to the player experience to round out the Tier 1 gameplay experience.
  • Next Event – The event that has been underway for several months will finally come to a close with the next content patch. We'll be wrapping it up and we know you'll be sorry to see it end! But it will allow us to move on and begin a new event with a new story, relating (we hope) to Confectioner.
  • A New Peter S Beagle Quest – Yes, folks, we have begun work on this. Well, Peter is working on this and we are working with him to tie this one to the story of Horizons more. We can't say much about it at this point, but as we get further into the project we will try to release additional information.
That's about it for this month. As usual, we'll be fixing bugs wherever we can and as always there's other smaller projects we're working on (crystal review and perhaps the long-awaited Gold Burst) that weren't mentioned above. In addition, you might find a couple new NPCs in the game on Genevia Island, one of which talks about the much-vaunted “Bug Zapper” popularized in the comics at GUComics.com. And finally, be on the lookout for a new contest coming soon for Dragons to a town near you! Have a fantastic July and stay cool!

Amon Gwareth
and the Horizons Design Team

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