New Technical Systems added, combat lag improved by update

 Today ALFA moved to it's long-anticipated 1.81 haks, fixing many old bugs, and adding exciting new content.

This hak release marks the first in what I hope to be a long series of bountiful collaborations between our Technical Department Staff, each of which well deserves specific recognition for their efforts here.  But first, brief mention of the improvements is in order:

  • Kemo's Chair system is IN - This has been long requested by players and builders alike.  May be a bit before we see full implementation on the servers, but the infrastructure is now in place for fully sittable objects of all sorts, for all races.
  • ALFA's adaption of the DMFI Languages: Scripted language speech can now be performed using the main chatbar, allowing mych longer phrases and less need to juggle the cursor between windows.  The old DMFI method still works, but the new method is accessed by prefacing lines with @dwa for dwarven, for example, or by setitng a "default" language via new button over by the Whisper Party / Shout / DM speak buttons (look for the "@").  This should make use of the scripted language system far easier than before for players and DMs alike.
  • DM creature customizer: A tremendously powerful new GUI-based tool that allows DMs to create, customize, and level up NPCs on the fly while in-game with the DM client.  This should add great flexibility to adhoc DMing, and help facilitate the use of NPCs that are both more memorable and distinctive, and better tuned challenge-wise.  This was the culmination of a great deal of work, primarily by Zelknolf.
  • Infrastructure Improvements:  Thanks to some clever coding and work by Ronan and Basilica, we have improved on the ways in which the servers handle sending information to the central persistency server, especially during combat.  This should result in noticeable less stalling during battle, particularly at the moment of a creature death, while partied with other PCs.

Game mechanics changes to be aware of:

  • Panther Wildshape: Now available to druids for use in ALFA. 
  • Mage Armor: Now offers 4 points of Armor AC, so it cannot be used to "enhance" existing armor (unless that armor is less than 4 AC already- eg. Leather Armor + Mage armor still = 4, you just still have the +2 AC from the leather when the spell wears off)
  • Barkskin: no longer changes the appearance of your PC, in line with the nature of the spell (skin becomes as strong as bark, you don't actually turn your skin into bark).
  • Glass Doppleganger: removed due to major bugs- any PCs who have it already get a free scroll of equal level to replace it.

Again, tremendous thanks are due to all three members of the Tech Team.  To Zelknolf, for turning out both the Language and DM Customizer systems in the space of a single update; extremely impressive work.  To Ronan, who started us on our NWN2 course, and wrote a lot of the core code we've used all through the NWN2-ALFA phase; it's been great to have him back and reengaged in Tech work, as well as DMing and Playing.  Finally, a big thanks to Basilica, who has made unprecedented contributions for a new(ish) member, and rapidly become an indispensible part of our ALFA family; most recently stepping up and hosting TSM on extremely short notice.

This update makes me very excited about the future of ALFA, technically speaking.  Excellent work, everyone!