State of the Bane Q4 2013

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SBE Team
SBE Team
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State of the Bane Q4 2013

Post by Rewen » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:14 pm

Happy New Year SBEmu! Here's what happened in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The team hosted an unprecedented 3 public preview events this quarter. Here are just a few of the headlines:
  • A peak population of 900 active in-game characters was witnessed.
  • A tournament has crowned "Wehrmacht" the champions of 10v10 combat.
  • Mobs in the game world began to cast spells again.
In Other News:
  • We established Asian-language area of the forums.
  • We estimate that Closed Beta will be ready and opened mid January.
  • We've added an incredible 10 new team members this quarter.
    • Please welcome Sweetblue to the Test Team!
    • Please welcome AdamWest, Amaz, liliass, SmartMino, Farmy to the Development Team!
    • Please welcome Omnius, Reyes, and VadagX to the Moderator Team, and Rai to the Community Representitive team!
Progress Report
Here's what has been contributed to the game this quarter:
The recent previews and other fun have caused an activity spike. As a result, we have seen an incredible 9 new developers accepted on to this team, which has more than doubled its active staff! They have only just started to contribute, but already we have seen incredible progess. Over the past quarter, we have witnessed 63 bugs resolved!

Developer Interview
I asked RichV of the Dev team some questions about progress over the past three months and the year of 2013. Here's what he had to say:
RichV wrote:
  • Q: What part of SB do you feel has made the most progress in the past 3 months?
  • A: Mines and mob AI
  • Q: In the past year?
  • A: Banes and city management
  • Q: What part of SB do you feel needs the most work?
  • A: Collision detection (hasn't been started) and city management.
  • Q: What has been the most difficult thing to program and why?
  • A: Collision detection is the obvious answer. My vector math skills have eroded to the point it gives me a headache every time I look at it. Otherwise it would be city management. It's a lot of complex net message breakdowns that are very time consuming.
Recent Activities
All of this new content has thrown coals into the Test Team's furnace! Their time has been primarily focused on:
Alyriel wrote:
  • Experience curve testing of newly designed macrozones and caster mobs.
  • Ghosting mobs.
  • Item drop balancing.
  • Testing building management for forges, magic shop, mercantile.
  • Cataloging non functioning NPC vendors.
  • Confirming placement and proper respawn of rune droppers on Vorringa.
  • Mine testing:
    • Setting window of opportunity.
    • Prospector functionality.
    • Claiming system.
    • Resource production.
  • Bane testing:
    • Spire management and effects.
    • Trebuchet management, functionality, range.
    • Building management during live bane.
    • Setting the time.
    • Siege rune functions.
    • Damage from siege and normal weapons.
    • Building vulnerability and range to hit.
Over the past three months, the Test Team and Closed Beta have identified or updated 147 bugs! Well done!
Unfortunately, closed beta is currently still being prepared. We plan to open later this month.

With over 850 invites given, we expect this to be one of the most active and productive phases of Closed Beta ever. It will work out nicely since, while fun is the primary goal of Closed Beta, we have many new features for them to test. We expect many of the fine, subtle bugs that were missed by testers to come out of the woodwork.

The vast majority of these invites went to guilds instead of individuals. Guilds were chosen based on how we expect them to align with each other. Our goal is to create a political atmosphere with the most potential for small-scale skirmishes. We hope this will help keep the server healthy for a long while, to keep things fun and productive.
What Does the Design Team Do?
There has been some confusion on the purpose of the Design Team.

Their primary goal is to make sure that everything is put back where it belongs. Each time your mouth curls into that nostalgic grin, you can thank a designer. All of the details that the developers were not able to recreate from recordings must be reconstructed from old screenshots, player testimony, or someone's memory. At this point in development, this work is almost completely finished. All three maps (Aerynth, Dalgoth, & Vorringia) have been mostly restored. Once this work is 100% complete, they will slowly and carefully begin making improvements to the game with the help of community feedback.
Meet the Design Team
To help us get further acquainted with the designers, I asked some of them a few interview questions.

Starfish (Design Team Lead)
Starfish wrote:
  • What year did you begin playing SB?
    2004 I believe.
  • What server did you play on originally?
    I'd consider damnation my true home server, since that was the server I began to actually know what I was doing. I had the most fun on the loreplay servers.
  • What guilds have you fought with?
    Crazy Talk has been my home guild since 2008. Beyond that, I've played in incarnations of too many guilds to list!
  • What is your vision for the future of SB?
    My personal vision is to rebuild Shadowbane and work with that as a foundation. I think, with community involvement, that our team can make great improvements to the game in the future. I look forward to addressing the community's concerns when we have a more suitable foundation to work on. For now, I just want to rebuild SB and ensure we have a healthy base to work with.
aeroch (Senior Designer)
aeroch wrote:
  • What year did you begin playing SB?
  • What server did you play on originally?
    Vengeance for 30 minutes then Test
  • What guilds have you fought with?
    NFC, Crystal Ballerz, Cult of the Hy'phy, Knights of Silvermoon, Reptilians
  • What is your vision for the future of SB?
    Fixing a bunch of dumb changes made after 2005/2006
Koots (Senior Designer)
Koots wrote:
  • What year did you begin playing SB?
    2003-2004 2005-2006 2007-2009
  • What server did you play on originally?
    Cataclysm & Vengeance
  • What guilds have you fought with?
    Crazy Talk, Lavender Line, The Lavender Combine, Black Lotus Clan, Nuumah's Kitty Munchers, Lucid Vision & Wreckless Abandon
  • What is your vision for the future of SB?
    A more immersive and polished game world. The creation of content which breathes new life into Shadowbane.
Vervandi (Community Representitive & Senior Deigner)
Vervandi wrote:
  • What year did you begin playing SB?
  • What server did you play on originally?
  • What guilds have you fought with?
    Red Branch
  • What is your vision for the future of SB?
    I want to make sure that any changes that are implemented encourage PVP. This includes 1v1, open tree, rolling exp/farm groups, small scale, mines, banes and healthy large scale wars.
As some of you may have seen, I asked everyone for some specific questions for our staff. Here are the results:
Coolwatersx wrote:Q: Will mines be working [in closed beta]?
A: We will be testing mine functionality in the next phase of CB. We hope they are, but we will rely on our CB members to put them to a real test.
Velkava00 wrote:Q: I know that it was said that the mob casting was a mechanic you guys implemented for the preview, but will it be staying? With all of the other bugs that need to be fixed why implement this? Making the mobs cast doesn't reduce pling if that was what the goal was it just makes them choose new camps. The combination of exp drop after 40 casting mobs and a 1 account limit in cb will make it hard for anyone with a life outside of sb to make characters and have fun doing it. I know of at least 2 people in my guild alone that won't participate because of this, they just don't have the time to sit for hours and hours a day.[...]
A: The priority of development projects is largely managed by the roadmap you see updated by Candi every so often. However, our developers can't always follow that due to time or skill limitations, or even just because of boredom. Programming this system was a fun side project that will do a lot to keep closed beta fun an active in the mean time. The rumor that this will make leveling take longer is based on nothing because it hasn't been fully tested. That's where closed beta comes in!
Knight wrote:Q: When do you expect to get the vault fixed. I have been on every preview since October and the vault is still not working. The only thing that I have been able to do with the vault is money. This helps tremendously when using one account.
A: The vault should be working at this time. In fact, we are even testing a new feature which will allow you to access inventory items on any account under your login (for instance Rewen_1 and Rewen_2 would share a vault). If you have a moment, please report any bugs you find like this here.
Drakich wrote:Q: I've been sitting here trying to figure out how to ask this without seeming like douche bag. I know it's been posted before that you the dev team won't let them ruin the server and I appreciate that. But have you looked into the possibility that many lag issues may be an effect of so many CN clients connecting to the server from the other side of the planet? In every FPS multi-player game I've ever played when the game became a slide show the admins would kick one or more players with really high ping times and the lag would diminish greatly. This was on very small servers with only 64 total players... so I can imaging that several hundred clients with high pings would be murder on a server's bandwidth. /shrug
A: The lag/bandwidth issues experienced during the previews were not related to anyone's location. The simple fact is that we did not anticipate the massive number of simultaneous logins which occured, particularly during the December 13th preview. One of the reasons we run public previews is to gauge how much bandwitdh we will need closer to live. Once we go live for good, we aim to have a server more stable than Ubi's ever was.
Washuu wrote:Q: Will Destruction Banes be working since I noticed it was only capture banes for the preview and the same goes with mines will they be up and going? :)
Also will Shrines be working to get boon buffs?
A: Destruction banes and the Divine Favor system are not currently on the list for testing during this closed beta phase.
Shishio wrote:Q: I was wondering if the closed beta will simulate what live will be like when it comes to the expected vendor towns and trainer towns people use to tree hop. Tree hopping was great for a time killer, good for getting around the map, and almost certain pvp. It was a rush to be an r3 going to train, knowing you could get ganked. Being a thief waiting for people in vendor towns buying their Legendary of proc weapon. It's an aspect of the game I used to take for granted.
A: Trainer towns? Yes. Vendor towns? Not quite. While many aspects of city management are working, there is still much to be done. Unfortunately city management was never very exciting, so few people made recordings of it. Since we derive much of the code from recordings, city management is mostly being rebuilt from scratch. If you happen to have recordings of city management, please submit the compressed (.zip or .rar) original shadowbane recording files here.
Kleek wrote:Q: Will there be any intentions on bringing the Fate Peddler back???
A: There are currently no intentions of doing so. Any actual deviations from the intended game mechanics as they were at Shadowbane's closing will be further discussed closer to the actual launch of the game. Right now, we have to keep our priorities focused on more important core or prerequisite systems.
Xaxis85 wrote:Q: Hello! Do you plan on doing multiple servers with different maps including those with special rules in the future? Also if you plan on having multiple servers have you thought of doing a server with custom content? By custom content I'm referring to custom maps, classes, races, equipment, stats, etc. Would be awesome! Thanks for your time and thanks again for the great preview! Dev to crush! :ugeek:
A: We plan on having just one server based on the population numbers we are estimating. But you never know -- if we get more than we are expecting, there could be multiple servers.
jlbro33 wrote:Q: I would like to mention that entrance to combat PVP is extremely irritating. See, if you're any melee character and you use ctrl+a to attack, even after you have arrived within 0 ft of the target, you will not attack until you take an extra step into the body of the character. I've had this issue multiple times on my barbarian. Also, throwing weapons & bows are the same way. When you use ctrl+a to attack you will come within maximum attacking distance, but you will not attack; however, if you do it to an NPC you will engage and attack. I believe this should be altered to accommodate PVP.
A: This is caused by a disagreement between your game client and our server. Client/server sync is and always has been a huge priority. The problem is almost entirely due to bandwidth constraints, and we have several strategies planned to make our servers run better that Ubi's ever did, such as the cache server, modern streamlined coding, and more efficient overall memory management.
Drenath wrote:Q: What sort of trainers and gear vendors will be available for CB? Will refining be free, returned to live rates or partially discounted? Will training still be "free" like in the last preview? If premium vendors are retained, is there any chance the prices will be reduced? Are you planning to have merchants and junk huts working in CB? Do player-forges and vendors work and/or will they be on the testing agenda for CB? Can you explain why repeatedly attempted donations for things like new server hardware or heavier bandwidth from community members has been categorically rebuffed despite no obvious consequent legal hurdles? Can you explain the rationale behind forcing two incompatible playerbases onto a single server despite a proven track record of server stagnation and unmitigated failure resultant from PACRIM v NA/EU servers (and previews) in the past? Lastly, +focus suffix was removed from gilded scepters halfway through the last preview because "it didn't exist on live;" can we see any proof for that claim? Because it may have been 5 years but I'm relatively confident that on live you could roll gilded scepters with +focus on them.
EDIT: Also, why was the Chaos RG moved from the southern tip of the island to the center of it?
  • This round in CB, we will be testing an alternate gear setup. We've dropped SDR gear to very basic stuff, but tweaked the world drops so that you will rarely get a useless item.
  • Training is still free, but you will be relying on others for trainers since we are testing player-run trainers.
  • Junk huts are working and will continue to work.
  • Player forges are a work in progress, but they should be working at some capacity for testing in this phase.
  • In order to remain a legal project, we can't accept any donations (as much as we would like to)
  • We don't see two incompatible player groups. We see an opportunity to invite hundreds of players to join us in a game we all love. We have no intentions of segregating the servers at this point.
  • The question is "can you prove that they did?" We look for hard sources since the human memory isn't always spot on. It could be an old reference website, a screen shot, or ideally, a recording. We certainly want to stay true to the live game's intentions, but we only have so much to go on.
AARON wrote:Q: hi Rewen
  1. I want to know the development goals. In addition to the game itself, what do you want to prove the project?
  2. I want to know the project in the phase of what now? Now what is the main work of the project team?
  3. According to the current project schedule, what time do you think of the game can be open?
  1. We realize that Shadowbane is a niche title, and offers game play that no other MMO out there can offer. We want to attract old and new players who enjoy that sort of fun.
  2. Right now, we are in the closed beta phase. We have a fairly large team of developers working on many aspects of the game code. The largest areas of focus at the time of this post is the resource system.
  3. This is unfortunately impossible to say. Developers come and go, and so does their level of activity. We know what order we want, but we have learned that we can't give time projections because they will always be wrong.
Vilbradr wrote:Q: Have the folks involved in SBEmu reached out to the folks at to see if they would be willing to help on this endevour? If so, could you enlighten us on the response received? If not, could you let us know why not? Owning or being involved with the owner of the IP would allow so many opportunities for moving the game forward.
A: We had at one point, and they weren't willing to sell the intellectual property rights for a reasonable price. While IP rights would allow us to do more things (accept donations, distribute our own client, etc.), it's simply not needed at this juncture. We can still produce a successful gaming experience without it.
knacck wrote:Q: With the implement of some mines in the next closed beta does that mean we can start rolling are own gear with the mine drops.
A: Yes. This phase of closed beta will heavily focus on testing gear rolling.
Udo wrote:Q: Is the goal of SBEMU to recreate the last version of SB exactly? I really enjoyed placing even un-ToL protected shops near certain spawns around the world to earn cash from junk loot. Now you can only build on the city grid. Also, there is a maximum number of cities per territory which tends to prevent one-man trade towns. Is there any plan to revisit these two mechanics, or, more generally, to shape the Emulator more like the original SB? Could it be put to a vote again?
A: Yes and no. We want to begin with a clean slate, so we are trying our best to target the state that Shadowbane was in right before it closed down. At that point, we will begin to seriously discuss what direction we want to go for balance and improving the game's mechanics. We do not intend to leave obvious bugs, however, even if they existed on live.
Thenebrosity wrote:Q: What are the long term plans of the team once they've developed a viable source code? Will members of the SBEmu community be able to participate (financially) in the development of what ever platform the team moves on to?
A: We will likely never need funding. We intend to always offer the server at no cost. You can contribute to balance discussions by posting your opinions here in the forums!
monkeyhead wrote:Q: Is some form of integration with the web site planned (eg. list of characters, merchants management, guild/city management)?
A: I would not go as far as saying "planned", but certainly discussed. Once our Development Team are free of the burden of programming the game, they will start looking at projects like this one to help bring Shadowbane up to speed in the modern MMO scene.
The following questions were posed by Asian players and translated by Rai:
qwertying1, sake1000 (and other players) wrote:Q: How will you address the lag issue in next phase of CB? In what degree the lag issue will be solved in your estimate?

Can I use VPN to connect to the game to reduce lag? Will you ban the account if I just logined on my friend’s account for a while?
A: The lag that was seen during the previews is never found in closed beta. Closed Beta has much less server traffic. You can expect the server to run very well.

We are still evaluating means of enforcing single-boxing on Closed Beta. This could involve restricting access from more than one IP.
nzh (and other players) wrote:Q: How will you detect those players sharing accounts? Will you check IP or use other ways? What if my partner and I both play SB so we have the same IP? What if I play the game both at home and at workplace so that I have different IP in the day and night / What if I usually go on a trip?
A: At this time, we are still evaluating our enforcement policy.
Liliass wrote:Q: Is player allowed to play with other guilds?
A: Yes, you may play with other guilds. It is true that we spent a lot of time choosing CB members to try and keep the server from becoming one-sided, but there are no rules restricting you from joining others
jfc002 (and other players) wrote:Q: What is the window time of mines? Is it possible to set two different window time so that it will be easier for non-NA players to play mine fights daily.
A: The mine and bane windows for this phase have not yet been decided, but will likely be the same as previous phases. We have no plans to set dual windows at this time, but we do plan to do something before we open up the game
mikawww & qwertying1 wrote:Q: When will you make a schedule for CB and OB? CB players need to make some arrangements, and players without invites should not have to check the forum everyday.

Can you set up a bug-report system that is more convenient for Asian players? I recommend a online Game Master group to collect problems in-time. And you should clearly show your plans for solving the problems in your system as well as pointing out the difficult questions that won’t be fixed in a short term.
A: CB will be opening in mid-January. There will be a date announced closer to that time. Unfortunately there are too many variables to even estimate the OB date. We duplicate most announcements on our facebook page. You do not need to check the forums very often if you have us liked on there. We also typically send out email alerts to the email address you registered with when there is going to be a big event such as a preview.

An Asian-player bug-reporting system is a good suggestion. Stand by for some feedback from the team on this one.
In Conclusion
It is a very exciting time to be involved with this project. Not only for witnessing many elements of our game flourish back into life, but also for seeing the many old names and personalities we remember from back in the day reappear as confidence in the project grows. Thank you all for your passion and for your love of Shadowbane. We could not have come this far without that support.

Questions? Comments? Discuss here!

SBE Team
SBE Team
Posts: 4233
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:02 am
Location: Madison, WI
Twitch: rewenx

Re: State of the Bane Q4 2013

Post by Rewen » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:33 pm

Quick Correction:

Junk huts will not be functioning in the next phase of closed beta.


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