This announcement and Q/A took place on Wednesday June 6th, 2007 in the irc://irc.ixios.net/ShadesOfTruth channel. Below is the log of the actual event.
<Lycaon> We give out free towels when you join the suicide squad
<Crescendo> I already have a towel, thank you.
<Acerbity> We will be starting in a little under 10 minutes.
<Lycaon> Excuse the early moderation.
<Lycaon> Trying to sneak in comments and whatnot via nickchanges is a no-no, so pick a nick before we start.
* Lycaon pokes yeah_YEAH_whatever
* Lycaon lines up the lead GM team, himself included, in front of the collective firing squad of future dreamers, dons a blindfold, and prepares for the worst.
<Lycaon> Oh. Pepperoni and cheese.
<Acerbity> Hello future players of Underlight: Shades of Truth and welcome to the Q and A session.
<Acerbity> Tonight's session will be moderated, those who wish to ask a question will need to ask Rabbit to place them in line. Rabbit will then, one by one, give each person voice and announce which team lead will answer that question.
<Acerbity> Some questions of course cannot be answered, but we will do our best to answer the majority of your inquiries.
<Acerbity> Before we begin, Lycaon has an important announcement to make, so I will let him take the floor for now.
<Lycaon> It's about a month beyond our projected time (you know how gaming 'release' dates go), but I'm happy to announce that we're at the point where I feel confident announcing an open beta beginning the third week this month.
<Lycaon> It'll be like any game beta, you'll be encouraged to test and break anything you can, in an effort to polish off the new server and make sure that the in-character release goes smooth for the entire community.
<Lycaon> Since you're all mute, cue in wild cheers of elation here.
* Lycaon wraps up the floor and hands it back.
* Rabbit smiles
<Acerbity> Hello again everyone, I bet that was a surprise. We are all very happy to have been able to announce that tonight.
<Acerbity> Remember to be patient when asking your question, it may take several minutes to obtain a full reply from the various leads. With that, the floor is Rabbits, feel free to begin asking for spots in line.
<Rabbit> question for the Roleplaying Team
<Rabbit> Please evil one, speak your mind
<Ceyllynn> will there be provisions this time around for those who choose to go against the grain? to clarify.. mostly ic, but some ooc help?
<Rabbit> ghmm sorry for the long reply
* Rabbit trows a brick at RP team window
<Acerbity> It is very likely that there will be support for any player who performs a clear, consistant and unique roleplay and who has given us proper notification beforehand.
<Acerbity> Notification via email@example.com, to be more specific.
<Rabbit> i hope that answered your question
<Rabbit> a question for RP team
<Rabbit> please kirtes, the floor is yours
<Capitol_Kirtes> Will any of the rooms be closed off besides being unaccessible due to sphere restriction in the beginning?
<Acerbity> Yes, but we can not clarify on that due to the risk of compromising potential roleplays.
<Ken> Are the number of houses that are going to be opened at the start of the game going to depend on player base? i.e. to only open a couple to concentrate the players, and thus roleplaying opportunities. Will all the entrances portals to the houses be there at game start? Are other houses going to be opened by splinter groups (which didn't work for the last UL)? And lastly, will houses be built around "beliefs" or just units and groups of
<Rabbit> question for Rp team
* Ken outruns Rabbit.
<Acerbity> We cannot say whether or not houses will be opened at the beginning. Entrance portals will be there. Houses will be able to be opened by players. Houses will require in-depth beliefs, ideals and philosophies and a strong structure to open them.
<Rabbit> question for RP team
<HikariFang> Hi, was wondering if the open beta was going to be IC or OOC, also either way, is this the time to create the character we want to play in the final IC version? And Jan would like to know if your planning to add any closed Beta spots before the open beta. Thanks. =)
<Acerbity> The open beta is for the purpose of testing bugs, it is an OOC beta. No characters in the open beta will carry over to the launch and it is very unlikely that there will be a closed beta, because it would have to be done and accomplished in about two weeks time. Although, the final question would have been more appropriate for the technical team.
<Ken> When the game starts up, have you begun, or plan on, instituting any of our suggested changes from the forum? And a tag on, no closed beta at all?
* Rabbit scratches his head looking at teams
<Rabbit> I can say that we listen to all suggestions and comments, highlight interesting ones and
<Ken> Any plans to implement a different graphical engine, or are we using the former one?
<Rabbit> but we also look in to game balance and won't add something that will comprimise it
<Rabbit> thats a question for the Tech Team
<Lycaon> SOT will use the old engine until sometime later this year when development efforts can be refocused from Lyras server code to more productive things.
<Rabbit> bear have a question for RP team
<Bear> Old UL had illuminate/freesoul and essence predefined as conflict sources. Will the GM be present in game with the same or different basic conflicts to get things started? If not, it could be messy,
<Acerbity> Shades of Truth will be very different than Underlight...
<Acerbity> We have said multiple times that old concepts will be dead, I will elaborate on that for you now.
<Acerbity> Freesoulism, Illumination nor essence manipulation beliefs will exist in Shades of Truth, we have wiped the slate completely clean. We have created new and interesting conflicts, and will encourage the playerbase to do the same. We are very confident in saying that the new environment will be both fun and exciting.
<Acerbity> We will provide content as needed and support players who try to do the same. I hope that answers your question.
<Rabbit> thank you Ace, don't go far away . ANother question for RP team
<Rabbit> oops my mistake
<Cypress> What new and interesting changes has the technical team added that they'd like to describe to us?
<Rabbit> Tech team question
<Lycaon> Well, to be honest, I have been stablizing the server code and have not moved onto the client yet, but one of the prominent additions I want to start with is some more (lots more) vegetation
<Lycaon> While it's obviously a dream... I believe more of the dreamers personality should manifest in the dream. It's a little stark
<Lycaon> There are plans for the client/server model to allow dynamic changes. No more downloading a 20 meg patch to change a room name or description.
* Rabbit smiles
<Lycaon> And while not interesting, maybe, but a change all the same, is the complete recoding of the server from the ground up o.0
<Cypress> No kidding
<Lycaon> HEY! This floor is VINYL.
<Rabbit> I also want to add to Lycaon comments that he alone was able to re-wrote whole server for windows
* Lycaon gives it back.
<Randar> Has there been changes to give SoT a more original feel than the original UL like house name/crest changes, room name changes, or the plane's layout being changed so we can feel the sense of exploring a new dr
<Rabbit> RP team
<Rabbit> or Tech team
<Acerbity> We are still in the process of doing that, and if all goes well, it should be implemented by the technical team before launch.
<Acerbity> We hope to allow players to name houses as they open them.
<Rabbit> Tech team question
<HikariFang> Hi again.. was wondering if there are going to be any changes made the the previous art trees.. ala are you going to be removing any or changing their requirements?
<HikariFang> Or even moving them between foci
<Lycaon> We're at the 'discussion' stage at the moment as far as arts go. There are some that we feel needed some tweaking, as well as entertaining the possibility of moving some of them from minor to major.
<Ceyllynn> i have another... will the rp guidelines be enforced this time? as in naming, speech, and mannerisims? to more clearly promote the rp enviorment. RP police suck.. but it's was what made underlight unique in all other so called visual RPGs. can i get an annulment from randar and marry lyc the hero instead, after all it's been less than a week right?! KIDDING!
<Lycaon> It'd give each focus more importance, as well as take some of the 'everyone can do everything, just 2 spheres later' aspect.
<Rabbit> Rp team question
* Rabbit lets Lyc to finish
<Lycaon> I'm done :p
<Acerbity> Yes, roleplaying guidelines will be enforced.
<Acerbity> No, you can not marry Lycaon.
<Lycaon> They DO have polygamy in Utah.
* Cypress marries Lycaon
<Cypress> What interesting things about the opening story can you tell us? Is there a particular thing we ought to be thinking about when developing our characters?
<Rabbit> RP team question
* Lycaon notes a distinct lack of questions about teaching.
<Acerbity> We will be supporting the opening of the game with an opening roleplay, but we cannot give details on that for fear of ruining the experience... on the topic of character development...
<Acerbity> There are a few things that we reccomend keeping in mind:
<Acerbity> #1) All history from the previous Underlight is lost.
<Acerbity> #2) All characters from the previous Underlight are long since dead and forgotten, to understand that statement more you should read the storyline on our main page.
<Acerbity> We reccomend considering things such as...
<Acerbity> Personality, life experiences, motivations, tolerances, intolerances and ideals... but that is totally up to you. All we ask is that you keep the former two statement in mind when considering character development.
<Rabbit> question for Tech team
<DiscoWay> For those of use who have wrist problems and use programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 and Voice Commander to input keyboard commands for the end user, will these 3rd party programs be permitted?
<Lycaon> While there's no objection to using such programs (especially for those that require them), and devices such as gaming keyboards that utilize macros, I do have to mention that using such programs to automate play (botting) will more than likely result in termination.
<Lycaon> Heh, and after six months of recoding, I can sympathize.
<Ceyllynn> how long for the first teachers.. will they be players? GMs? will former teaching skills be an aide, considered?
<Rabbit> TEACHING TEAM QUESTION !!! hooray
* Ceyllynn gets out the cooking pot, then puts it away
<TeeZer> the GMs will handle teaching from the beginning. How long it will take for regular players to become teachers much depends on the influx of players at the beginning, but the idea is to slowly give the reponsibility of advancement to the players
<TeeZer> there will be GM teachers.
<TeeZer> A lot of former teaching skills will come into play in Shades of Truth, however thanks to an abundance of storylines and roleplaying being provided by the RP team, teaching will rely far less heavily on sparking topics, and far more in fueling the atmosphere of the game
<TeeZer> naturally experience in teaching won't xactly be a hinderance, but excellent roleplayers should keep in mind that they are playing a whole new character who has no idea how teaching in a dream city works
<Rabbit> Tech team question
<Jantoc> Barring a catastrophic bug turning up, how long do you expect the beta to run for? the previous incarnation seemed to be in beta for far far too long, but you don't have mplayer to deal with either.
<Lycaon> There's the whole don't-give-dates-and-estimates thing as far as the gaming community goes, but I sincerely hope that it won't go on more than a couple of weeks. That depends, of course, on how focused people are. Most of it will be a stress test and not specifically bug hunting.
<Lycaon> One of the things I'll need to do (and which will give us a great overview of performance) is a massive chak fight. ;)
* Rabbit cheers
<Rabbit> RP team question
<Rabbit> <Rangboud> It seems to me that arts were originally designed as tools to enhance rp. But considering the volume of both chat and forum threads centering on hunting and arts, I'm concerned that SoT is destined to be a game about "what we can do with arts and toys," as opposed to "how can we make a dream?" Isn't hunting/levelling/tool-use the forte of other games, while SoT purports its own forte to be rp? There have been almost no threads about
<Acerbity> Well, first i'll say that it is natural for people to be interested in arts and advancement.
<Acerbity> But I will go on to say that the main focus of Shades of Truth will be roleplaying, but we can't neccisarily go to the forums and explain all of our ideas to you because it would destroy immersion.
<Randar> Regarding teaching, can a player become a sphering teacher by itself or will one have to be an arts teacher before they can apprentice for sphere?
<Rabbit> Teaching Team question
<Tank> There are plans for sphering which we can't spoil too much about at this point, but you can be assured that the will serve as far more a benefit to the roleplaying environment than did in the past game
<Rabbit> another teaching/tech question
<HikariFang> Ah yes.. kind've know the answer I think, but how will the teaching actually progress? Will I know I can learn an art.. Will I know I need to find a teacher? Or should it be played as.. hmm what's teaching?
<HikariFang> You know.. like.. "I need to find someone to learn this?" Or what should I do with this?
<Rabbit> thats an interesting question. theres an option to see learnable arts and its something that we dev team need to scratch our heads on.
<Rabbit> ether we want to change that or not
<Rabbit> Teacher Team question
<Bear> I was never a teacher but it seems it became so mired in legalize to keep your halo that it choked off what was good about it. Any plans to lighten up some, up and down the line, to make it more enjoyable for all?
<TeeZer> the rules of teaching are pretty straight forward and easy to follow. as long as they are not blatantly broken, teachers are free to have their own ways of practice. teachers should foster roleplaying by leading their students towards that goal, adding to the exerience of all players. with that in mind, they are quite free. add some common sense, and the gloves wont come off
<Rabbit> RP team question
<Rabbit> <Cypress> There seems to be a general consensus among the players that there ought to be benefits to being in a house over being a freespirit. Is that thought shared by the GMs?
<Cypress> oops... sorry
<Acerbity> Yes, we share that thought as well. For all intents and purposes, houses are considered the very center of roleplaying in Shades of Truth.
<Randar> Regarding houses..Will there be house GM's?If so will the player leadership of the house be free to change the house's direction within the game without the house GM interfering?
<Rabbit> RP team question
<Acerbity> There will be Seneschals much like in Underlight. However, Seneschals will be treated differently...
<Acerbity> We feel that Seneschals are there to protect consistancy, and within that, we realize that houses will naturally change over time...
<Acerbity> There will be little Seneschal interference unless consistancy is in question, or we feel that a ruler is not doing their job.
<Acerbity> I'll elaborate on that...
<Acerbity> If your house were the united nations, and the ruler ran around the summit with their pants down screaming and shrieking, that would be very inconsistant... on the note of rulers not doing their job...
<Acerbity> We feel that it is the job of a ruler to provide content to the members of their house, and lead the way for their house to provide content for the game.
<Acerbity> For all intents and purposes...
<Acerbity> Being a ruler means that you are accepting the role of a roleplaying leader in the game.
<Ceyllynn> it's a 2fer.... i rp on the fly and rarely use outlines unless forced. will there be potential for involvement, such ( a stretch) a reward such as an art, sphere, items or just recognition? secondly if there will be house GMs, can they please be restored to the teaching kind(house benefit) and not the, while well played, but decorative seneschals(no benefit)?
<Rabbit> RP team questions
<Acerbity> There will be the potential for us to join in if we notice it, and give rewards for roleplays that we feel add to the game environment...
<Acerbity> Unfortunately, we can't guarentee that we will support you if you don't notify us at least a couple days ahead of time.
<Acerbity> On the note of seneschals...
<Acerbity> Seneschals will not be teachers for two reasons:
<Acerbity> 1) If one Seneschal dreams more than the other, that house has a distinct GM-given advantage.
<Acerbity> 2) We feel that Seneschals should have very little influence within the house beyond administrative tasks and the occasional bump of motivation to a stale house. Giving them the ability to teach would allow players to become heavily reliant on them, thus giving them a ruler-esque position.
<Ceyllynn> if a seneschele is absent or extremely inconsistant will there be a way to replace them as well then?
<Ceyllynn> it was a serious problem in several houses before
<Acerbity> That will be dealt with on our end, no need to worry about that.
<Rabbit> RP team question
<DiscoWay> Hmm, well we sort of just touched on this in Ceyllynn's last question
<DiscoWay> Will there be an adequate amount of GMs/Elders playing during the week to meet the demand of students in needs of tasking or guidance? This was a real big issue in the old Underlight. It seemed like at times House Calenture would take on a new Elder for a few weeks then he/she would completely disappear. This at times was rather frustrating for many dreamers. Especially when your rival house currently has an Elder in place and dreams quite regularly...
<DiscoWay> cut and paste heh
<Acerbity> We will ensure that GM characters are as active as they need to be to maintain their position. We do not intend to leave you "high and dry."
<Rabbit> RP team question
<Cypress> You've mentioned on occasion that there will be ways to close/open a house. Will these be formal (read: known) methods, and are you willing to disclose them?
<Cypress> Hah, got it that time!
<Acerbity> We will gladly give a brief explanation on how opening a house would work on an administrative level.
<Acerbity> As we stated earlier, the first step to opening a house would be to come up with an in-depth set of beliefs, including philosophies, ideals, religion and structure. Of course, you would need to gather your group of characters who believe the same way. All of this i'm sure didn't need to be said.
<Acerbity> Frequent roleplaying reports would be the first administrative step. If we believe the game can support it, that it is well thought out and consistant and that it would be valueable to the overall roleplaying environment...
<Acerbity> Than it is very likely that we would contact you with a template of sorts to fill out, so that we get a full idea of what you want to implement into Underlight. If we still feel that it would be a great addition, than we will join in based on the demeanor of the players involved in the group in the game, and the template that we received.
<Acerbity> I don't want to sound creepy, but...
<Acerbity> When it comes to people opening houses, we will always be watching :)
<Rabbit> RP team question
<|HC|Bier> is the SoT team using Lyra's ending to UL? That being, Darkmares killing everyone on their shards and Illumination being true, therefore there is no chance for UL's history to be introduced into SoT by player characters
<Acerbity> As far as the history in Shades of Truth is concerned...
<Acerbity> Based on the storyline that is available for reading on our main page...
<Acerbity> A very long period of time went by where no one cared, and let everything fall into ruin.
<Acerbity> This would include recorded history, and with that being said...
<Acerbity> Being as how all former Underlight characters are long since dead and forgotten, as we stated earlier...
<Acerbity> Known history would realistically not extend back further than the history of Idoaclese, which as I stated above, is available on the main page for viewing.
<Rabbit> Teaching team question
<Jantoc> I know that its been stated that GMs will have to dream a minimum of 10 hours a week (i think) but that only averages to a little over an hour a day, so I'm wondering if GM Teachers will unilaterally (more or less anyway) accept each others tasks.
<Rabbit> Let me answer this. As we mentioned before we will be really hard on roleplaying. Elder characters included. everyone will have their own personality and back story and way of teaching. I would like to see them resolve this issue IC then OOC
<Rabbit> and we also have teacher elder GM located at different time zones so you will find atleast one dreaming all the time
<Rabbit> another question from Jantoc for RP team
<Jantoc> say what?
<Rabbit> got confused a bit over here :)
<DiscoWay> Just to clarify, for the record, will all content seen within the beta be prohibited on wiki sites for example until the game is released? (so i can add this info to the rules and the EULA section)
<Acerbity> Being as how it's the open beta, I don't see how we could restrict it.
<Rabbit> tech team question
<Ceyllynn> can there be a more concise rp guide, what is allowed, what's not, and how to rp for the new players?
<Acerbity> That is a roleplaying team question, i'll take it. Silly Rabbit.
<Ceyllynn> from randar- will the game be back in the state it was when it ended.. aka the chasms, house planes etc locked
<Ceyllynn> that was the tech one
<Acerbity> We don't seek to restrict you beyond what the current roleplaying guide states, and what we have already stated about former underlight history being non existant.
<Acerbity> With that being said, be creative!
<Rabbit> Looks like I have no more questions :)
<Acerbity> Based on pressure from my team...
<Acerbity> I will add something into that statement:
<Acerbity> Remember that all dreamers are cloudsbreakean, which is the Underlight version of being human.
<Rabbit> oh oh here comes trouble.
<Acerbity> No more questions?
<Rabbit> question to all GMs
<Bear> It has been a long road for ya'll to get to this point...and I know you are, but I really want to hear it...Are you all pumped and ready to get at this thing?
<Acerbity> I think we can safely say...
<Lycaon> Hell... yes...
<Rabbit> you bet...
<Acerbity> Are there any more questions?
<DiscoWay> Where the heck is that donations bar on the website? ppfffftt zomg We want to support this project =)
<Rabbit> I guess thats Tech question
<Acerbity> Along with the open beta will come the option for donation...
<Acerbity> And that is the answer to that question.
<DiscoWay> And i hope people donate because you all deserve every cent of it through all the planning and coding etc etc.
<Rabbit> thank you
* Dreiko gets on top
<Dreiko> Will the teaching mentoring/apprenticing process be improved? In UL it was very horribly done and the interview itself was easy to fake. Has this been improved?
<Rabbit> Teaching team Question
* Lycaon pokes Elixxer.
* Lycaon pokes TeeZer.
<TeeZer> plans have been made to ensure that this process is a lot more supervised by several links in the teaching structure chain. we feel that it should improve the process a lot and cut off several problems it had in the past
<TeeZer> we want to leave most of it in the hands of the players still, since the road towards becoming a teacher, and mentoring someone there, is a great roleplay in the city, as much as being the teacher, once ordained
<TeeZer> and to quote forrest gump....that's all I got to say about that
<TeeZer> for now
<Rabbit> thank you TeeZer
<Rabbit> now a very interesting question
<Cypress> For any team: Is there a question that you've been hoping to answer that hasn't been asked yet?
* Cypress smiles
<Cypress> Or have we thought of everything?
<Acerbity> I can say on behalf of the roleplaying team, that we managed to sneak everything we wanted to say into our answers to everyone.
<Lycaon> I was hoping for a "ZOMG I'm a 3D model god, where to I apply!?" :p
<Rabbit> And Teaching team feels that there were few things we wanted to share but no one questioned it. There was a lot of suggestions about new mark for an apprentices...well we liked the idea.
<Rabbit> We also scraped dreamsmith and wordsmith trades and added some new and working on more ideas
<Cypress> What're some of the new ideas?
<Cypress> (since I can talk!!)
<Rabbit> thats for you to find out :P
<Rabbit> I want to thank you all for attending this first session and for your lust for dreaming :P
<Acerbity> Before we go...
<Acerbity> I would like to just say a public thanks to the GM team. Especially Lycaon, we have kept him in a cold damp basement for months on end, and not only has he survived, but he has recoded the whole game single handedly.
<Acerbity> If it wasn't for his survival skills, and dedication, none of this could have come so far.
Starfall> i totally spaced on asking this and i didn't catch it if someone did. have item uses/levels/gens been adjusted in any way?
<Acerbity> Last answer for the night: Yes.
Questions Answered by Rabbit in a PM
<DiscoWay> I have a simple question about the client, will it support windowed mode?
<DiscoWay> Is that not an easy thing to implement?
<Rabbit> its easy but security wise not accepted
<DiscoWay> Will there be a widescreen mode?
<Rabbit> same as before
<Rabbit> atleast untill we go 3D
<DiscoWay> Seeing that all past Underlight history is lost, Just to clarify that this is infact what is being said, does this disallow the use of making references back on older histories from within the dream? For example, i do a role play that discovers long lost history for the art of flameshaft and its stats. Will this sort of thing be allowed?
<Rabbit> all history is lost even Elders don't remember of any
<Rabbit> its 10000 years from the old UL...its all a clean start
<DiscoWay> Okay, do you mind if i use this chat window to post on underlightwiki.com along with the rest of the chat log?
<DiscoWay> Has there been a question yet about whether or not the physical fabric of the dream has been rearranged or altered significantly from its previous form? I saw the part about more vegetation, but may have missed it.
<Rabbit> its in works not sure if it be avalible upon begining...its very time consuming
<DiscoWay> for example, does the threshold look the same? do the same portals go to the same planes and houses?
<DiscoWay> aah ok
<DiscoWay> Will dreamers have the option to play Daymares like in the past? If so, how much will this cost? and would it be possible to increase the amount of daymare time to something like 30 minutes instead of 15? (think thats what it was)
<Rabbit> we don't have pmare accounts
<Rabbit> because if one plays shamblix and player population is 1st sphere they have no chance
<Rabbit> maybe in a future