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FOX Editor Updates!

Treeki here with some news about patches!

My current project involves getting support for Sprite Sheets into the Horus library that underpins our Windows client and editors. Emmie talked about this a little last month, but I thought you might want to know a bit more!

Sprite Sheets are what we call the latest version of the Fox format, which Farrier/Dewi has designed with input from the rest of the Coders. Of course, we wouldn't have made a change like this without good reasons, and there's quite a few: faster loading (especially in the new web client), smaller downloads, and various updates to prepare for releasing features like lighting effects and double-size art.

The latter introduces a new component to Fox files, which we're currently calling "Aspects". Each Shape can include multiple Aspects - for instance, normal-size and double-size versions of a pillow or table - and Furcadia will automatically pick the correct one. This has required a redesign of the way patches are handled behind-the-scenes, and that's what I've been working on over the past month. I'm quite proud of my efforts so far - even though this new system supports more features, my new code is smaller, cleaner, and faster! Or at least I think it is... I may be a little biased ;)

The Dream Editor and Furcadia client can be moved over to this system fairly easily - I've already got the former up and running with spritesheets! - but the FOX Editor has proven to be a little more difficult, because its editing features use so many parts of Horus that the other tools don't need.

This isn't the only issue: We need to make some changes to the interface to add in support for features like Aspects and the settings used for the lighting system. Gar has been lending a very helpful paw with interface design for these, but all of this stuff needs to be programmed as well.

In order to make this easier, we've decided to rewrite the FOX Editor using the Qt framework. This is a system I've worked with a lot in the past, and it allows us to develop a modern and user-friendly interface with much less work than the older libraries we currently use - which is a boon with our limited resources, and means we can get these updates done faster and create a better end product!

You can see a prototype of what this looks like here! It's still very much a work in progress, and the final version will look much more like the editor we have now - I've only been working on this version for a couple of days - but nevertheless I'm quite excited about it. The difference between developing with Qt and the older framework we were using before is like night and day!

The new FOX Editor in Qt!

I think I've rambled enough now ;) Time to dig my grubby paws back into C++ code!

~ Treeki

The Dragon

I've been talking about the Pixels a lot lately and this is because they are really on fire right now! We've had five new ones just this week; Sylvernight, Arialonomus, Suzy, Intellectual Music, and The Shadow Rider! Also Tiponya has come back to help as well! Most of the new ones are working on the project to get all of the default patch double sized and into 32-bit. Furcadia will be so pretty once we do! Of course many of the other Pixels are also helping with the default patch and other projects, including the Butlers I mentioned last, the 32-bit default Avatars, sales graphics, interface art and art for the new webpages! Dainilli/Hythen, Degu, Farren Dustfur, Goregoat, Heimdall, Juliet, Linnet, Wani, Deathdog, Rew, Rat, Alluvial, Gar, Majas, and Tarra are all working on the default patch and avatars!

One of the things we have wanted for the pages is lovely painted backgrounds like other sites have. Majas has started several of them but she is a busy lady and finding time to paint is hard! So we've asked one of the newer Pixels, Taikata Verloose, to paint for us. She does really amazing digital paintings and has started with painting The Dragon. As most of you know, The Dragon is the being who made all of the Dreaming, the universe that the Furcadia Canon takes place in. We've always had The Dragon on our webpages and we are thrilled with this lovely new rendition of it. The Dragon is meant to be a mix of male and female and represents the team of Felorin and Talzhemir, who originally created Furcadia! We are happy to do them honor with this exquisite new art piece for the pages and promotional material!

We highly encourage you all to come watch much of this lovely new art being worked on too! Most nights you can watch a live stream of Pixels working and even other staff and groups. Ninja and Treeki currently getting a batch of code ready for a server restart this week and Ninja will be live streaming on that tonight. Just log into Furcadia and listen for the announcements we make to SD Backers and Sponsors!

The Dragon


You know the fat little cat next to your portrait in Furcadia? You know the one that holds the items you pick up in Dreams? We call that little fluffball the Butler and one thing we are doing in TSD is making Butlers extra cool! Every avatar will have its own butler and we will even offer custom butlers at some point! So when you click on someone you will see their character's Butler like you see their portraits now. This does mean we have to go back for every avatar and made the butler for it though! Lobsel Vith can do these amazingly well ad so very fast and is heading up the team for Butlers. Allen, Goregoat, Darling, Brooke, Degu, Majas and others have been helping with them as well.

The very cool thing about the Butler art though, is we are not just making them as tiny butlers for the game interface. We can also use the art to advertise the Digos and as decorations on flyers and pages! They are a hugely valuable resource! You can see an example of one in use for our newest avatar, the Jackalope! We even have a contest on that page to choose what magic power this mischievous trickster will have!

The other thing we are making the Butler art for is the new Character Create/Edit! You will notice that each section of a Butler has a black outline around it. That is so that each remapping color can be selected while you are creating your character. This will make our Character Create so much more sexy and modern! It is , after all, one of the first things new players see about Furcadia! Yasabu and Frosty are working on getting the new Character Create made and we may be bringing in some extra help from an programmer from India that Yasa has worked with before. So much to do and so little time!

Right now Lobs is working through the Mythical avatar butlers. Isn't this Phoenix amazing? :)

Pho butler

Default Patch

I mentioned in an earlier blog post about all the Pixels busy with the redo of the default Furcadia artwork but I'd like to give a few more details on this! Rew, Tarra and Rat the Unloved did the initial set up of this project and Majas has been doing a lot of the more recent management along with myself. :) This is one of the biggest of the art project for TSD with over 6,000 pieces of art needing to be double sized, cleaned up, outlined in the new style and new shadows done. We got a bit of a slow start but the paces has increased dramatically now with new Pixels to help and much excitement! Majas did a tutorial that shows how we do each object if you want to know how! You can also watch others working on this project as well as several other official ones most nights in a Youtube livestream (Announced in Furcadia). You will see how we do all of work in Photoshop or other art programs rather than the 32-bit editors.

(The editors are not quite ready to give out to the Pixels. Treeki and Ninja are still working on getting them all fixed up! They need to add in the new Fox file format that I mentioned in an earlier blog post too.)

If you follow the instructions on Majas' tutorial, you can start getting your patches ready for the update as well! If you don't, your Dream can be grandfathered to work in the same way it does now or you can choose to have your art auto-stretched at the time. We will be releasing the new editors to Backers and Sponsors before Update 31 too though!

Here is another group of patch work that has been redone by Majas, Degu, Intellectual Music, Deathdog, The Shadow Rider, Dream Dancer, and Farren Dustfur!

default art update 2

More Rewards!

Woo! We have made the 230k mark on The Second Dreaming Fundraiser! That includes the Kickstarter money and the Paypal on the Catnip pages that we have collected since and is the amount before fees and expenses. We've been using that money over the last year and a half to make The Second Dreaming! We have produced the first update that added so very much core technology to Furcadia. The next update is getting close, that is the one we are actually calling The Second Dreaming as it involves the new Web Client. The third update will be funded when we make the 250k mark and includes the 32-bit Windows Client.

However, you all have won some new rewards for helping with the funding. Majas and several Pixels (Read yesterday's Blog) have made a really lovely Dark Primes coloring book which is now ready for download. With the 220k mark you earned a bunch of the new Mallow Tags and some extra Scales! The 230k mark earned you even more Scales, we will make one more of the avatars you've voted on and we will make a Magic version of the Direhound. The Direhound is a Mythical Ferian and it will get a magic fireball flight. Since it will be awhile until we do the flying ability, Rat made a fireball tag for you to have for until the Direhound Magic is finished!

A little known fact: Dewi is the Coder who adds all of your rewards to the rewards page. It has taken him many weeks of work to set that system up and maintain it, as well as adding any new items for you to claim over time. Frosty has helped with it as well and Kashi is the one who made the Catnip Market and that side of the system. Cironir also still spends a lot of time fixing reward issues and helping with special requests. In fact our first three months of working on TSD was taken up with just getting the rewards to you! Most successful Kickstarters say they are surprised at how much time, effort and percentage of the money goes into just giving out the rewards!


Dark Prime Coloring Book!

Hi everybody!

I'm sooooo excited to say that the Pixels have finished one of the DireHound Backers' rewards this week! The Dark Prime Coloring book! Dewi will be putting it up on the Reward pages soon. If you don't know much about the Primes, I converted that page over to Joomla and it should have lots of information for you to peruse. (Pye actually single-handedly colored and shaded every single Light Prime on that page!)

It's taken a lot of teamwork for the artists to create these concepts, work with Emmie and I on design and polish for the sketch, lineart, and then also get everything colored, shaded, and polished for the website. We actually were spurred by the awesome Prime versus contests this summer! You can see all the web art we did for that on the homepage of the Joomla website.

Many artists helped with different aspects of each Dark Prime. Muunokhoi started their concepts as busts back when we first did the Group Pages. From there, Allen, Goregoat, Degu, myself, Owl, and Dainilli helped with making full body concepts, while Degu, Pye, Wani, and Allen did all the lineart work for the coloring book! The page borders which are on both the Light and Dark Prime coloring books were made by Truth. And finally, I spent a few hours in Illustrator compiling all this gorgeous artwork into the coloring book!

Hope you enjoy it! :)


Howling Good Time!

Wow, the Slumber Party was so much fun! I loved getting to see all of you and we had a great time with Free Digo Day, Tinyparty and dancing Lichenthropes! Big thanks and a shout out to Rei-Jin, Juliet, Xxyth, the Eventers and the Guardians for helping run the event. The Community Team have done such a kickass job this Summer with stuff to do! Their use of Social Media has really helped us keep players better informed of what is going on too! If you haven't yet, make sure you add us on your Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and TwitchTV. Majas and Juliet have started managing our Tumblr and Pinterest too! There's tons of cool art on both those sites so I highly recommend you have a look. We have such a creative community! Oh! This is also the last week to get in on the Prime Heroes vs Villains event! You can actually win the ability to call one of your characters an official Quarter Prime! Since this is the last week, I've asked Rei to give away 5 instead of one! Make sure you vote and get those raffle tickets! Good LuckFurcadia Screenshot

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