Feature Preview: Alliance Medals

It could be argued that more than anything, Illyriad is a game about Alliances. From tight-knit social groups to well-oiled machines focusing on military excellence, Illy really does have it all. One of the goals of the dev team is to strive to find ways to support and strengthen those bonds. One way that this has been requested from players is to allow individuals to grant their Alliance members titles and awards. This is an excellent idea and one that opens up an opportunity for a whole new level of interaction within Alliances.

The dev team and I are excited to show you a first look at the Illyriad Alliance Medal system. With this new option players will be able to design a medal and award it to a player (or players) within their Alliance. The medal designer allows for hundreds, if not thousands, of unique combinations using several graphical layers for each medal. Designs can range from small and simple to very ornate and detailed. They can then be given a name and a title to be awarded to the player.

The possibilities for how these can be used are really endless. You could give them out to show rank within the Alliance, to commemorate an epic event or battle or as awards for inter-alliance tournaments. I have no doubt our players will come up with some truly unique and clever ways of using the system.

This is also exciting for us on the development side because it represents the first time in-game where players have the opportunity to deeply customize and create a unique visual mark for a character. I know that I, for one, have enjoyed playing around with the tool to see what sorts of crazy concepts I could make. The creative work of our art director GM Cerberus on this project thus far, has really been astounding.

Below are just a few examples of designs possible with our medal designer.

Full details about the Alliance medal system will be coming soon and the designer will be available in a future game update.

GM Luna

The Devil In The Details

Having noticed animal populations moving around the map (wandering, breeding, dividing, sometimes fighting), players might reasonably expect that more NPC movement is in the cards. So, as developers, we should ‘switch on’ all NPC movement now, right? Well, before we are able to do that, there are a lot of things to consider.

As an example, take a look at the fellow on the right. In fact, just look at one detail. Look at the length of his legs.

Realistically, the rider’s legs are too long. So, the legs should be shorter. On the other hand, there is a tradition of showing riders out of proportion to their horses, and for very good reason: the Bayeux Tapestry for example shows riders whose toes seem almost to scrape the ground, but this is no error; showing the horse relatively reduced is a way to show more detail on the rider, and in a game like Illyriad, where the unit images are often very small, we want people to be able to see the rider clearly. So, the proportions are about right. But on the other hand again, our players will not be looking at the images as art historians, they will just see that the legs are too long. But then, perhaps there is a compromise….

That tiny detail took effort to talk through. It was an issue that we had to settle, so it required time. But in the grand scheme of NPC movement, it is a tiny detail – and just one of many tiny details. The whole process of ‘switching on’ broader NPC movements is a mass of tiny decisions, ranging from whether NPC cavalry would roam further from their homes than infantry, to whether Wulpor have preferences for what meat they eat, to whether Faction armies might intervene in sieges, to whether the perpetually-stoned Gnolls of Illyria would show intelligence in their battle tactics… and on, and on.

What sounds like a very simple goal, ‘switch on more NPC movement’, becomes a maze of these tiny decisions, which all need to be made. But we’re working our way through them. The devil is in the details. And so is the fun of developing the world of Illyria.

Player Spotlight: Vanerin

This month’s Player Spotlight focuses on wonderful Illyriad guide writer, frequent global chat new player guide linker and new player question answerer, Vanerin. We all appreciate Vanerin’s positive impact on the community and welcoming presence in game. Learn more about the Player Spotlight program at our website and nominate players by sending an email to community@illyriad.co.uk. Now on with the interview!

GM Luna

What brought you to Illyriad and how long have you been playing?

Well on the 13th of August 2011 I was having a slow day in between projects. Google Chrome suggested I look at its app store and there was this curious game called Illyriad listed. I decided to try it out and have been happily addicted ever since!

Have you played many other online games or been active in other online communities?

Nope, this is my first one! I feel kinda lucky to have found such a great game right off the bat.

Any hidden talents or interesting hobbies outside of gaming?

I have some talents, but you are right in using the word hidden. You have to look reeaallly closely to find them. 😛 I thoroughly enjoy music and art though. I play the piano, kazoo, cello, mandolin, and a little bit of the guitar. As for art, I mostly work with sterling silver to make jewelry.

What keeps you playing Illyriad?

The amazing community, the life the devs bring to the game, the depth, and the evolving nature of the game. You devs have done a wonderful job in all of those areas!

What’s your favorite aspect of the game?

All of the people! I am probably going to start sounding like a broken record, but there is a great community here. I really like how the game facilitates becoming friends with each other. So many things/places in the world puts people at odds against one another, so it is nice to get a breath of fresh air with the encouraging environment.

What’s your proudest achievement in game so far?

Hmm, I am probably the most proud of being in HUGS. It is really a great alliance filled with wonderful people. And I consider myself fortunate to be among them.

What are you most looking forward to for the future of Illyriad?

Factions! I can’t wait for all the options and paths that will open.

What area of the game do you think needs the most improvement?

In my opinion, Illyriad has a wonderfully deep combat system. But it seems a pity that combat is the only area that has that level of complexity. It would be really cool to see diplos, magic, and trading with a wider range of possibilities.

What advice would you give a new player in Illyriad?

Talk in Global Chat!!! There are some really cool people playing here and we all would love to meet you!