The Repopulation – Still Existing

Here we are again with another update from the team over at The Repopulation. They had some interior water problems that delayed updates for a while, but seems like they’re working through it.

While I agree that the inventory system needs a lot of work, and it’s long been said to be the root cause of many of the game’s performance issues, I’m beginning to wonder about the pacing of their progress. They bought it a little over two years ago now as more of an idea and an IP. I always assumed it was to try and drive attention to their game engine.

I started wondering, this time, about their financial status and how long they can sustain this sort of development effort. To that end, I went in search of some financial statements.

At first, I thought that they might be a private corporation, as it was much more difficult to find anything solid than what I’m accustomed to. They do appear to be public, though I have no idea what a “public limited” company is, exactly. I even found what appears to be a financial statement as well.

Unfortunately, I’m either missing a huge detail, or this company is 20,000 leagues under the sea. All I see is a giant pile of debt that didn’t grow or shrink by any significant amount between 2016 and 2017 and only around 8K€ in the bank. Yeah, they’re owed some 2.6M€, but that’s only half of what they owe to others on paper?

I dunno, it didn’t help at all anyway.  Guess I’ll just keep watching the slow trickle of progress until something happens.

Random News – Atlas, Repopulation, Box Critters, and Positive Energy Drinks

So many weird little things going on in the background. Well, I guess some are more background than others, really. I just keep seeing headlines related to Atlas and none of them are particularly good. It’s a shame really, it looks like it has a fair amount of potential, but lives under the shadow of it’s various problems.

Front and center at the moment is that some players have managed to find exploits that gave them admin-level control of a server. Twice. Allegedly spawning all sorts of whales, dragons, tanks, and planes, spamming server-wide messages, just general chaos causing. They have allegedly fixed this issue, but it’s very off-putting to the new player. Near as I can tell, it’s limited primarily to the North American PvP server. I’ve seen several people say that there are some private servers that are actually quite good. I don’t intend to find out myself, at this time.

The Repopulation also put out their January update as well. Looks pretty good all around, reworking the terrain for the starter island and working on the inventory system. I figure we’ll probably see the starter island around mid-year and possible inventory changes fourth quarter. It almost feels pessimistic to say that, but that’s what seems realistic at the moment. They have to build new terrain templates before work on the island gets fully underway, and the inventory system has been, or will soon be, handed to the programmers to hammer out. The UI/UX/data cleanup is more of an ongoing effort, I think. Still, progress is happening. A new roadmap is supposed to be available by the end of February, so possibly in their next update.

RocketSnail has started the strangest project called Box Critters said to be inspired by Club Penguin and Runescape. Not really much to see yet though. I don’t even know how this ended up on my radar at this point. I’m sure my kids would love it though.

positive energy drink

Speaking of kids, my birthday is coming up soon. I’m constantly reminded because they frequently ask me which birthday is next, and for this brief window of a few weeks the answer is mine. My coworker gave me something today. I think he’s trying to tell me something.

Since it’s MLK Jr. Day in my neck of the woods, I’ll leave y’all with a quote today.

In addition to the absence of coordination and sufficiency, the programs of the past all have another common failing — they are indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

Earlier in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual’s abilities and talents. In the simplistic thinking of that day the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Repopulation Crafting – A Practical Example

I see people ask in-game all the time. What’s needed? What’s lacking? Well one of the answers I keep seeing is batteries, so I decided to look and see what it would take to produce some batteries. I also though it’s a good example of exactly what Repop crafting is like.

battery search.png

Typically we start by opening the in-game database and doing a search for the thing we’re looking to create. In this case there are actually quite a few items. The batteries themselves. The battery cells, as we’ll see, are subcomponents. I believe the packs are an assembly higher up than batteries, I’m not really sure.

lithium battery

By clicking on something we can see some basic information, and the recipe and discipline used to produce it. In this case it’s the Battery Production recipe within the Robotics skill.

battery production

If we click on battery production, we can see a variety of things. The top bit is basic info, the skill again, the recipe book it’s found in, as well as the skill level required for different tiers. Even the simple battery recipes require a minimum of 150 skill, which I don’t think I have at the moment.

battery prod component

The section under that shows us the components used in the recipe, and in which quantity. Not shown here is that the agents are used per step, so since the first section tells us it’s three steps, to get the best result we’ll need three wires and three bonding agents total. In addition to that we’ll need a battery cell, an electrode plate, and an acid.

battery prod results

The last section tells us which items can be produced with this recipe and which ingredients must be used to get it. In order to get a Lithium battery we need to use a lithium battery cell. The specific electrode plate and acid appear not to matter. I’m not going to show pictures of every single subcomponent, but electrode plates and wires are from metalworking and most acids and bonding agents come from breaking down various plants and fish. The breaking down required to get the acids are typically a single recipe using heat and/or water. The metalworking recipes typically require you to refine the metal first, which uses the mining skill.

lith batt cell summary

If we click through the lithium entry on filter 1 we can get to the summary for the lithium battery cell itself, which is made using the chemistry skill recipe “mineral reduction.”

lith batt cell ingred

Here are the skill levels and ingredients required for the mineral reduction. The chemical salt agent is actually pretty simple, as it’s breaking down any aquatic plant.

lith batt cell results

Here we can see that the lithium battery cell is a normal tier recipe, which requires 175 minimum skill. It also requires three very specific items in each slot in order to work. The 1-3 are in top to bottom order in the ingredient list, so greenockite is the mineral, potassium bioxalate is the base, and manganese acetate is the desiccant.

green cluster

We can click through on any of these subcomponents to see their origin. The greenockite, for example, is mined from Niurevium deposits. If we clicked on that it would show us the various zones that these deposits can be found in, which takes some of the guesswork out of locating them.

sodium biox summarydistill plant

I actually have some potassium bioxalate, it’s a simple plant breakdown from the Hok plant. It can also be obtained from breaking down Sangicumm wood, which is a better choice for me because my logging skill is significantly higher than my foraging.

manganese acetate

The manganese acetate is somewhat more complicated, as it’s a seperate chemistry recipe with it’s own subcomponents, manganese oxide and acetic acid. The acetic acid is the result of breaking down Cree’it wood, which isn’t that hard to get, but the manganese oxide is from pyrolusite, which is much harder to obtain for me. It only has a limited set of spawns in my region and I haven’t yet gone in search of it.

Each one of these recipes has it’s own recipe level, which combined with the overall skill level, the quality of components, and a little rng, determine the quality of the final result. In order to make these batteries in  the C0+ range that most people want I’ll have to use base components in the D8+ range with 200-300 main skill and preferably 100-200 recipe level as well.

Suffice to say, it’s absurdly detailed and not for everyone. It’s not exactly relevant to batteries, but with weapon and armor fittings the specific agents used can impart stats on the ingots which are passed on to the final piece, resulting in an entirely new layer of things to pay attention to.

skill window

I like it, but it’s designed to encourage specialization and cooperation between players. It’s theoretically possible to do it all yourself, but the time and effort required would be absurd. There are 24 main trade skills alone, each one having two dozen or more recipes requiring cross-discipline subcomponents.

I’m primarily in the collection and basic refinement business at the moment, as it’s the basis upon which everything else is built. There’s always some level of demand for good quality primary and secondary components.

Y’all take care, and try not to engage in absurd time consuming crafting systems.

The Repopulation – Crafting Shenanigans

So, Repop was trying to be a new place for all the old Star Wars Galaxies fans to go. One of the things that made SWG unique, then and now, is it’s crafting system. I can’t say that I’ve seen much like it myself. Little pieces, here and there, but nothing quite so involved and technical.

 Materials

Okay, so in SWG materials were rotated weekly, I think. Any given week would have a set of semi-random resources with varying stats. The stats were seemingly random at first, but actually had a range. Copper always tended to be more conductive than iron, but a given batch could be more or less conductive than last week.

It added a nice layer of complexity, picking and choosing different materials for different purposes and stats, but also led to a slightly skewed market. The best material for a given application was referred to as “server best” and was often highly coveted and commanded quite a high price. People who weren’t around when it was up, or weren’t in a position to stockpile large amounts of it, had to purchase it if they wanted to compete in top tier goods.

base calibrite bar
This
hardwood firewood
Refined with this
finished calibrite bar
Makes this.

I believe Repop sought to address this with their system. A given resource always contributes the same amount of the same stat modifier. Calibrite refined with sulfur will always possess physical penetration, for example. Combining different refining agents allows you to tailor the modifiers of the ingot for a specific result.

quality wheel

What they did instead, though, was introduce a quality system throughout. Graded much like an assignment, F-A ascending, and 0-9 ascending within each letter. Essentially a 1-50 scale. This does affect the end result in a significant manner, if you have the skill to use it properly, but I feel that it’s easier to get an A grade resource in Repop than it is to wait for 999 conductivity copper to rng itself back around in SWG.

Crafting

In theory, a game like this would have a large player base feeding into and off of the economy. One of the other features of SWG was it’s focus on a player-driven economy. There were very few npc vendors. This isn’t the case with Repop, but what you can get from an npc vendor is somewhat limited to basic items, usually of very low quality.

The thing is, Repop crafting is extremely involved. You can’t simply throw some cloth material into a crafting station and pop some cloth out. One of the natural cloth recipes looks like this:

hudson cloth

These trees aren’t in-game, by the way, they’re taken from http://aena.at/craftmap/

The Hudson Moss is easy. Basic heat sources like firewood are easy to come by, and distilled water is something you’re always making for various recipes. Additionally, the Destructive Distillation: Softwood recipe is part of the crafting tutorial.

The Sterilizing Agent is somewhat more difficult, but you can buy the basic version in white from a vendor. It’s F0 quality, but it works. All the others are recipes in their own right, of varying difficulties and complexities.

hok locations

That Potassium Bioxalate though. While not hard to make, depending on your location, it requires a very specific plant, Hok Weed. It took me quite a bit of time to figure out where I could even get some. None of these locations are super close to me. I’ve tried to get some from the Leverstow area, but it wasn’t safe and I ended up dead.

database.png

It’s all so very complicated that most of the information is available via in-game database, which is where those locations were pulled from.

Unfortunately the zone line mob is currently the toughest one in the game, resulting in quite a few crashes and odd effects. This means travel can turn into an ordeal.

For all it’s flaws, I like it. I liked SWG gathering and crafting too, even if I wasn’t all that great at it. Takes all kinds, we couldn’t all be top tier crafters. Someone had to make low tier budget gear.

Y’all take care, try not to give yourself a headache looking at all this mess. It’s hard enough to follow when you want to.

The Repopulation – Quick Follow Up

So, I mentioned the other day that the game got a long awaited patch recently. I finally got a moment to jump in and poke around a little bit.

Some of it is the same as I remember. Animations can still be a little odd, and there are quite a few graphical oddities occurring regularly, along with some strange bugs. I have to return to character select and log back in every once in a while or things get weird. Quests not completing, gathering nodes not appearing, that sort of thing.

Combat is also smoother, especially in the sense that you can actually succeed now. There was a bug prior to the last patch that made hitting things difficult at times.

Overall it’s still really rough, but is improved over the last time I played. I may try to go over it more fully in another post, but it’s 10 minutes to midnight, so I really don’t have the time at the moment.

The crafting system alone I could write an entire post about. There are a great many disciplines and they’re all interwoven to an extent that there’s a form of in-game database/wiki that’s constantly being referred to.

Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.

Y’all take care, Christmas is almost upon us.

The Repopulation – Technically Not Dead Yet

You know, it’s so easy for me to forget about this title. It can easily go one to three months without any sort of announcement or update. To be fair, it’s had a rocky history.

I originally became aware of it around the time leading up to H1Z1’s original debut. I remember it being discussed because some of the old Star Wars Galaxies fans were pointing people towards Repop, and Smedley’s comments about H1Z1 were around the same time, so it was part of the discussion as well.

I can always do a full post about it, should their impending update prove enough to get me playing it again. This is much more of a commentary of a former player than it is overview.

I was really surprised to see the little steam announcement popup. I had completely forgotten the game existed. Again.

A lot of the details of the games history are really fuzzy to me, to be honest. The game itself is based on the Hero Engine, which I believe was intended for use as an MMO engine. SWTOR is apparently built using this engine as well.

The interface and systems were designed to be similar to Star Wars Galaxies, at least visually. It had/has a ridiculously complicated crafting system, with a ton of cross-discipline sub components.

It was plagued by numerous problems though.

The first is that I’ve played games in “alpha” with more polish than Repop has. The overall appearance of things is rough, the animation is rough, sometimes non-existent, if memory serves. Almost every system felt that way. It was technically functional, but very rough.

Yet, I like the idea. Somewhere along the way the game developers had a bit of a falling out with the engine developers. I’d have to look up the details now but I believe, ultimately, that the money ran out and the servers were shut down. Development moved to Unity, I think, as a non-MMO survival game called Fragmented. The goal was to resuming working toward the original project, but in the new engine. Steamdb says none of the depots have been updated since August of 2017, so I’m guessing that fire died out.

Somewhere along the line Hero Engine decided to pick up the rights to Repop and develop it themselves. I’ve always assumed it was to have some form of project to show off the strengths of their engine.

What they got was, allegedly, poorly optimized code that worked around their engine instead of with it. To the extent that they weren’t able to issue proper updates the way they’re supposed to, or something? It’s been about a year and a half and they’re finally about to release the big patch they’ve been talking about the whole time, I guess? Supposed to be tomorrow (12/18/18)

I’ll probably at least stick my head in and take a look around. I do every once in a while, just to remind myself why I don’t do it more often. I don’t even know if they could round up enough players to give it a good go now. Last time I looked it was a ghost town. I don’t even remember if I saw another player. It’s not dead yet though, so who knows what the future holds. I had given up hope when the initial server shutdown occurred.

Their official post about it is here. I gotta go get some work done, y’all stay safe.