• Will Eco

    The Eco Steam date is official: February 6th! We’ll be launching our Beta version in Early Access.
    image9.png

    Until then, all purchasers past-and-present will get these alpha rewards, a Meteor Shard and a Top Hat and Goggles, as a way to say thanks for your support all these years!

    If you are reading this on the forum, there's a good chance you are already an Alpha backer. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts We couldn’t have made it this far without you.

    Once we release on Steam these rewards will no longer be available to new players, and we will be dropping the price from $40 to $30 (Any accounts or invites purchased before then will retain the rewards).

    Also just released 6.3! Check out the feature list here.
    http://www.strangeloopgames.com/eco-on-steam-feb-6th-alpha-rewards-6-3-released/

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    We’ve left Alpha 5 in the oven a bit longer to get it more polished, and today it’s ready to be released! Check it out at strangeloopgames.com/eco, where you can pick up the alpha version and give it a try.

    New in Alpha 5:

    New climate and ecosystem model, tracking ground and air pollution, global temperature from CO2 released, sea levels rising, deforestation impacts, biomes that change, dynamic irrigation, and much more.

    image11.jpg

    image00.jpg
    Avatar creation and customization, with clothing as a new item type.


    Added turkeys, bison, and foxes to the ecosystems.


    New web browser map visualization; Can view most aspects of the world, such as populations of various species and pollution levels as they change over time. View animations of global temperature rising, or any statistic changing. Use it to propose arguments in the law system


    Power system, both burning fuel for campfires or generating electricity from a generator and power grid.


    Significant tech-tree work: new skills and crafting items


    Tons of polish, bug fixes, and other small features.

    We’re cruising along towards beta, and then the Steam release after that (after which all purchasers will get a free Steam key).

    We now have a public discord for chatting about Eco and its development. You can join the Eco discord here: https://discord.gg/ge3JDp2. You can also join us in the forums here.

    Thanks to everyone who has supported us, been amazing seeing the community grow and getting tons of great feedback. Keep it coming, and feel free to email us directly. You can also follow us on Facebook where we will be posting daily updates from the team here.

    Onwards to Beta!

    -John K

    john@strangeloopgames.com

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    We’ve been working hard getting the Ecosystem update ready for Eco Alpha 5 and looking forward to getting feedback from our early backers. We’ve decided to give it a few more weeks of polish and bug-fixing before we send it out, so we’re moving the Alpha 5 date to Oct 24th. Alpha 4 is available now at strangeloopgames.com/eco however, and all buyers will get all future versions (including a Steam key).

    Here’s a look at a few of the new things coming in Eco Alpha 5.

    Dynamically growing plants:
    link text

    New biomes, including desert:
    ezgif.com-resize.png

    Biomes are driven by the underlying ecosystem simulation, which is composed of dozens of individually simulated layers that interact:
    image00.png

    Biomes will actually change depending on the climate, and a world wracked with CO2 pollution will have sprawling deserts that take over farmlands.

    We’re building ways to view and understand all the connections in this simulation, as doing so will be required in order to successfully build a civilization in the game without bringing the world to ruin. Beyond understanding it yourself, you’ll need to convince others of what is happening and the right course of action for the player-run governments to take. In Eco, climate is not just a scientific challenge but a social one.
    image03.png

    Thanks to all our supporters and can’t wait to share what we’re working on in Alpha 5 and on towards beta and launch. Feel free to email with any questions or feedback.

    -John K

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    image01.png
    Following up on our Alpha 4 Economy Release, we’re releasing the last build before beta, Alpha 5, Ecosystem Release.

    This build focuses on building out the climate model, farming model, plants and animals, and player avatars. Things you’ll find in this build (enable pictures for screenshots):

    • Climate model. Air pollution from human sources will contribute to the C02 content of the atmosphere, raising global temperatures (potentially destroying farms and biomes) and melting ice caps to raise the sea level.

    image05.jpg

    • Farming model. Plants and animals now rely on temperature and soil moisture, which can be impacted by a number of factors, both natural and man-made. Farming becomes a lot more about planning and irrigating the land and understanding the impact and where crops will grow best.

    image00.png

    • Irrigation model. Players can now build aqueducts to transport water over long distances to irrigate crops and supply buildings. This will be key for building the large-scale farms needed to succeed in the game. In the screenshot below you can see how water travels much further in an aqueduct than in an uncontained channel, and the spread of water into the surrounding land that results.

    image02.png

    • World Layers. To support these systems and many others we’ve introduced a World layers system, where multiple layers determine values on the surface of the world, changing over time. We’ll be making these accessible to the player so they can view animations of how things like global temperature, animal populations, and pollution change over time and use it in arguments for laws. The image below is the new control panel on the server.

    image07.png

    New plants and animals. We’re adding a lot more depth to the ecosystem with a new set of plants and animals.
    Small Buffalo.gif
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    Avatars. We’re creating player models and a clothing system which will give boosts to activities.

    ECo Avatar small.gif

    Alpha 4 is for sale now at strangeloopgames.com/eco and all buyers will get Alpha 5 (and all future versions including Steam) free when it comes out.

    Thanks for supporting us, it was amazing to meet so many people interseted in the game at PAX, and having this kind of support while we complete the game has been extremely encouraging. Lots more to come and we’re excited to hear your feedback as we get there.

    -John K

    Small Eco Pax Trailer.gif

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    We’ve created a new updated trailer for Eco, which we’ll be demoing at PAX! Check it out below.

    Eco Pax Trailer 2016

    We’ve been hard at work on Alpha 5 and have a ton of new stuff coming soon. We’ve added a new ‘World Layer’ system, that handles climate change, irrigation, temperature, pollution, plant/animal populations, and much more, and they’re all connected together. Check out how farming is affected by various factors below:
    Small Image.png

    Farming now is really affected by the wider factors that affect the world - climate change can change temperature and rainfall and destroy farms, pollution can make ground infertile, and player-made irrigation can significantly make an area better for farming. There are many other aspects of the game that will be affected by these factors as well.

    We’re extending the ecosystem to many more plants and animals as well, and will have new biomes as part of the world. Check out one of our new animals that will be roaming the plains, the bison:

    Bison Walk

    Thanks as always for following us, the game is available now in Alpha here, and all backers will get a Steam key when we launch there. Follow us on Facebook here for updates as well.

    Thanks and as always let us know any questions.

    -John K

    john@strangeloopgames.com

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Pokemon Go phenomenon is its speed; in a week, it was used more than Twitter.
    It was an idea the world was ready for, packaged in a form that was easily approachable.

    image01.png

    It speaks to the acceptance we already have of the digital world that augments our lives; we’re already summoning people to drive us around from the ‘augmented’ transportation system, social media ‘augments’ how we communicate and engage with other people, and dating among young people happens primarily through the ‘augmented’, gamified social landscape of apps like Tinder. Pokemon Go’s arrival, suddenly adding a sense of wonder and magic to the everyday world around us, was a welcome addition to the lives of so many, clicking instantly with players on a massive scale. It is this general concept of augmentation (beyond overlaid maps and video), connecting the virtual world and the real world, that holds the potential for huge benefits to society. Most of our life, in fact, is already augmented in some fashion by technology that persists around it, alongside it, shaping it and being shaped by it in an increasingly important and useful augmented space.

    Oddly enough, the same can’t be said of education. Education is one of the few facets of modern life that has very little digital connection, and yet could potentially benefit the most from it. In many cases, institutions explicitly block digital access out of safety or relevance concerns, missing the potential for providing the huge benefits we already receive in the rest of our lives. In order for education to advance into the modern age, this must change.

    Classrooms: The Game Designer’s Dream Space

    Games in the classroom are not new, I grew up playing them in elementary school (Oregon Trail forever!). Despite their long history in education, the roles of games in school has not changed much. The classic case for their use is the computer lab:

    • Generally a solitary experience, with students sitting down and using a computer or tablet alone.
    • One-off experiences, where students play a 15 to 30 minute game.
    • The teacher sits off to the side, acting primarily as tech support.
    • It resembles recess, a kind of reward and break from the ‘real work’ of school.

    image03.png

    Such a use of the classroom space is unfortunate, because there is essentially no richer and more interesting space to design a game for than the classroom environment. It’s a game designer’s dream space:

    • You have an instant group of friends playing the game, where everyone knows each other.
    • They physically gather and meet every weekday.
    • There’s an experienced guide invested in their success whom they interact with several hours per day.
    • They all have access to the same level of hardware, internet connectivity, and similar schedules to play together.

    Trying to make a game go viral and spread to a player’s friends is the goal of so many entertainment games. With games in the classroom you start with that state. There’s such a rich environment to augment here and connect to technology, and yet none of these properties are used, sticking instead to the barest of bite-sized activities. We can do a lot better, and games are what must lead the approach.

    Moving Towards Virtual Field-Trips

    For technology to truly take advantage of the unique and rich environment of the classroom, we need to build virtual field-trips. These experiences and games need to augment the classroom, running alongside it for long periods of time, creating a context in which everything students learn has value. In the same way that Pokemon provides a context to the world around you, making daily interactions and trips suddenly magical and filled with social connections to others, so can a virtual world augment a classroom, adding context and meaning to the concepts that students are learning, merging it into their larger lives and giving it relevance and connection.

    Education is currently very focused on teaching students the ‘how’, even at the expense of them grasping the ‘why’. The problem with this approach in the information age is that the ‘how’ is instantly obtainable, with world-class resources a google-search away for literally any topic. Anyone who cares enough can teach themselves anything they want, for free. The primary goal of schools should then not be inserting facts into students’ heads (facts are already ubiquitous), but providing that ‘why’, helping them discover the innate beauty of these topics such that they are open to it in the world around them.

    The amazing thing about video games is that they automatically do this; you never have to make a kid play a game (you might have to make them stop playing a game). The same thing, of course, cannot be said about homework. Is this necessary, must homework be a slog for it to be useful? Is tedium the value? While the ability to do boring things you don’t want to do may be a useful skill, far more useful in our current age is engaging with something that has meaning in your life and others, and education can be significantly improved upon by bringing the self-driven nature of games into education. Furthermore, those who don’t think the subject matter learned in school can be made as engaging as video games haven’t seen the true value of that subject matter.

    A classroom augmented by a virtual world provides that ‘why’ in a form that is relevant to players, adding meaning to everything they’re learning in the classroom, inspiring collaboration and leadership between peers, and showing in an intrinsically compelling way ‘why they should care’. What’s more, the possibilities for types of experiences that can extend the classroom are limitless, crossing and connecting all subjects and fields.

    Our Approach

    Our current project Eco aims to achieve this: In Eco, a classroom of students builds a civilization together, in a shared virtual world that runs continuously for 30 real days. Everything they do in this world affects the simulated ecosystem, which can be polluted, damaged, and destroyed. To succeed, players must make decisions as a group through a virtual government, making intelligent decisions based on simulation data taken from the game.

    image02.png

    Eco exists alongside the classroom, running continuously and providing context to what students are learning in multiple fields: ecology, statistics, civics, leadership. It makes use of the physical proximity of a classroom by making that the council meeting, where students can take the opportunity to discuss and decide with others what course of action they should take in this shared vulnerable world, using data and graphs put forth by the game. It shares the experience with the teacher, presenting an aggregated view of all the challenges the players are immediately facing, creating dynamic curriculum and discussions that can be used in class and connected to other lessons. It lets the teacher be the guide and mentor, while the experience remains that of the students.

    Through this ongoing virtual field trip that the whole class takes part in, we hope to provide a meaningful social context for multiple connected subjects, augmenting the school lives of students with a rich and connected experience.

    Providing Stakes

    Much has been said about the ability of video games to provide a safe place to explore, where failure is accepted and part of the learning process. This is no doubt a great feature of educational games, but less is said about how the opposite is also true: video games can provide meaningful stakes for players, an augmented world that they care about and share responsibility for with their peers. When this world is truly shaped by your decisions and can be damaged or destroyed, you suddenly have an immediate and pressing need for the knowledge you need to succeed. The fate of their virtual world now literally depends on their grasp of ecology, or statistics, or collaborative and leadership skills. Video games often pretend to make players the saviors of the world, but when that world can actually be destroyed and is shared among a group it becomes true.

    Furthermore, by augmenting the social world of the classroom, you gain the intrinsic importance that students place on social interactions (which is often far and beyond the value student’s place on schoolwork). Whereas your skill in math and statistics would typically contribute nothing to your social connections in school (if not weaken them), in a socially connected game world that players care about, it becomes socially valuable, making students who understand it important contributors to the group. It’s hard to overestimate the importance that today’s students put into augmented worlds; their lives and social connections are so intertwined with technology that they can scarcely be separated. Education currently has the ability to use that same magic in ways that benefit student learning in massive ways.

    For this to happen, we’ll need to get over our fear of social connections through the internet. We have long since abandoned this fear in the rest of our lives (we now regularly summon strangers through the internet and get into their cars, a once unthinkable action made safe by a well-designed system), but education is a sticking point. This is understandable, as particular caution is needed with children, but once one understands the potential value of what’s at stake and sees it’s a solvable problem, it becomes worth solving.

    image00.png

    An Opportunity

    As game designers, we have a tremendous opportunity, and indeed responsibility, to bring the incredible advances in video games into education. The world of education remains a slow-moving one, set in a larger world that is very much not, and expanding an education system designed for the industrial age to fit the information age (and whatever comes next) is unarguably an urgent and imperative task.

    I strongly believe that this task will fall to game designers, those creators of innocuous entertainment, having advanced their art across its history into a precise and powerful tool, repurposed into something that can shape education into what it needs to be: a spring of inspiration and connection in a student’s life, fueling them with the self-drive they need to guide their own lives into success and happiness, while directing the unimaginably rapid evolution of our world towards a place we will all want to live.

    John Krajewski is the designer of Eco and founder of Strange Loop Games, a company focused on bridging the gap between games and education. Eco is currently in Alpha and is funded via Kickstarter and an SBIR grant from the US Department of Education.

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    We’ve released an update to Alpha 4 and reset the main server, so it’s a great time to login and check out the game from the beginning if you haven’t already.
    It’s currently available on our website.

    Here’s the changelist:
    image01.png

    • The skills page now displays all skills discovered server-wide

    • Starting property claim items are now placed in the player's backpack

    • Axes can no longer chop lumber (use the hammer)

    • Powered objects (campfires, etc) can now be powered by non-owning players

    • Workbenches are no longer opened when typing in chat

    • Various workbenches now have higher building requirements

    • Multiple skill trees will no longer remain highlighted when selected (visual bug)

    • Seeds should no longer occasionally immediately grow when planted

    • Storage chests can no longer be placed inside of other objects

    • Reclaimed property claim items are no longer all consumed in a single use

    • Player characters no longer sometimes ignore the jump input

    • Objects on minimap disappear when removed (trees)

    • Objects on minimap scale properly (or at least more properly) for tiny or huge worlds

    • Minimap objects do not show their category on tooltip... too cluttered

    • Player icons on minimap can be toggled

    • Collected items shown on minimap tooltips

    • Store trade strings are so long and actually look ok

    • Properties on minimap update in realtime

    • Animals are selectable after being killed, for harvesting. disappear after harvested

    • Minimap player icons actually rotate in the direction that the player is facing

    • Minimap LODing is vertex based, and culling actually works based on an uncurved orthographic geometry

    • Minimap SSAO actually works now... although it's almost unnoticeably different, it's technically more correct now

    • Modules can now be removed using the hammer

    Alpha 4 is the economy release, and we have tons of new features in this one to check out. Here’s two videos showing off some of them:

    Transportation in Eco:
    Small Youtube Capture with button.png

    Food in Eco:
    small food and skills youtube capture.png

    Alpha 5 Started

    While we continue updating Alpha 4 for our current playtesters, we’re beginning on Alpha 5, which will be the Ecosystem release, and the final Alpha release before Beta. We’re building the scientific model now for climate, habitat, irrigation, and pollution, and they’ll all be connected. Here’s a look at that in-progress:

    image00.png

    All of these systems are connected, and it’s really fascinating to watch the effects of one layer rippling across to the other systems. You’ll be able to view and use this data in the minimap and graphs page as well.

    Thanks everyone for the great feedback on Alpha 4, keep it coming and feel free to email us.

    -John K

    john@strangeloopgames.com

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    We’re honored to announce that Eco won the grand prize in the Climate Challenge in New York! In Eco players are tasked with building a civilization together in a simulated ecosystem, where they can have a huge impact on the environment and climate.
    image00.jpg
    Eco, winners in the Climate Challenge pitch contest: http://area.autodesk.com/games-for-change

    By using scientific evidence and debating with their peers, they can create laws and policy that prevent the world’s destruction. Just like the real world, the challenges faced in Eco are social ones, as players must find ways to sustain a balance between both economy and ecology, neither can be ignored. For Eco to be recognized as having the potential to change minds and the world is hugely encouraging and validating, as we believe games have the power to do incredible things beyond only entertainment.

    Alpha 4 and 5 Update

    We’ve just released our Alpha 4 update to Eco, and you can pick it up here. We’ll have our Alpha 4.2 release next Tuesday 7/19, so stay tuned for tons of fixes. Following that, we’ll be focusing on Alpha 5, which will be the Ecosystem Release and final alpha build before beta. It’ll focus on plants, animals, habitats, pollution, climate modeling, and many more simulation aspects. Join us now and get in on the ground floor to help us shape this game as it continues to grow.

    Small Youtube Capture with button.png
    Here's a look at our latest video from Alpha 4, transportation and roads.

    Cheers and as always email with any feedback.

    -John K

    john@strangeloopgames.com

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    In Eco you only carry a realistic weight, so transporting materials with vehicles and building roads to run them on are essential. Check out how they work in our latest release in this video:

    Small Youtube Capture with button.png

    At the start of a server, players will create their buildings right next to raw materials, but eventually as technology improves, new projects will require a variety of processed materials from a variety of sources. To handle moving these across the world, players will need to band together and put forth the time and resources to create transport networks.

    Transportation is a huge driver of modifications to the environment, as well as a huge consumer of resources and, in late-game, source of pollution. How players decide to lay out their roads will have a huge impact on the both the ecosystem and economy of Eco.
    Small image00.png

    This and many more features available now in our Alpha 4 release! Come join the games in progress or hop on a new server and start from a pristine world.

    And as always send us any questions. Thanks for your support,

    -John K

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    @bo Hey Bo, thanks for the updated info about logging in with the wrong username. Really sorry you were having trouble. If you have any further issues with Eco please feel free to contact support@strangeloopgames.com if the forums cannot resolve your issue. Also feel free to submit bug reports and issues on our Github: https://github.com/StrangeLoopGames/EcoIssues/issues

    Thank you for your support and patience as we get all the kinks worked out. ;)

    posted in Bug Reports read more
  • Will Eco

    We’re very proud and excited to announce Eco Alpha 4 is now officially available! You can pick it up on our website now at strangeloopgames.com/eco
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    New features include:

    • Vehicles

    • Power system

    • Spherical minimap

    • New art style

    • Logging system

    • New building system

    • New food system

    • New property system

    • Elections

    • Taxes

    • Server browser

    • Lots more

    Check out this video of how the new nutrition-based food and skill system works:
    video screen shot 2 small.png

    We’ll be releasing some more videos explaining elections, taxes, transport, building, and more this week.

    Alpha 4 also includes a Server Browser, making it much easier to find games and others to play with:
    image01.png

    Thanks a ton for supporting us thus far, be sure to follow our updates on Facebook and tell us your feedback in the forums or Slack channel! Really looking forward to building worlds with together.

    -John K

    john@strangeloopgames.com

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    Been working hard getting the Alpha 4 release of Eco ready for release, this will be a big release with some major new systems in the game, including transport, power, a new building system, logging system, and much more. Here’s a look at what’s on the way:

    As always the alpha version of the game is available to buy on our site at strangeloopgames.com/eco, and we’ll be giving Steam keys to all our backers when we launch on Early Access later this year.

    We also got a couple new team members, welcome Craig and Steve to the team!

    John - john@strangeloopgames.com

    Tons of features and polish for Alpha 4.

    Added a new ‘module’ system for buildings. Here’s a test of it (those chests are actually Sanding Blocks and Tool Shelves), showing how you can plug modules into a table to get extra benefits and unlock other recipes.

    test 001.jpg

    This will be useful in fleshing out the building system, giving lots of ways to customize and create buildings that will have game effects.

    Also been working vehicles, giving feedback to the player. Notice the new status window when you’re driving around. Here’s a video of an unfortunate wooden cart crash:

    Cart Video pic.jpg

    Craig - craig@strangeloopgames.com

    I’ve been blocking in the early parts of the skill and tech tree, making sure everything connects correctly and flows well. The skills now include branches allowing specialities such as baking to be researched and learned separately from the generic cooking skill. In addition to that, a few quality of life changes like sorted skill benefits and availability-culled skill trees should help make navigating the rapidly growing content.

    test 0002.jpg

    Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com

    Working on all manner of bugs and loose ends leading up to getting alpha 4 out. With the myriad of new features since alpha 3, there is a fair amount of fixing going on to get everything solid.

    Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com

    I’ve been working on many things since the last update, but recently I’ve focused on blocking out placeholder models for the game’s “world objects”, our internal technical term for objects that players place in the world on top of the voxel custom builders. This way we can start to implement the first iteration of our tech tree, since revamping and refining that will be a huge part of Eco’s design. Even in the process of figuring out what to rough out for the objects, I did a fair amount of design work, researching what physical objects might be best to represent different technologies.

    (Again, this is not art that will be in the finished game, these are rough-outs of what objects we’ll likely be implementing)

    003.png
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    Steven - steven@strangeloopgames.com

    For the last couple weeks I've been working on the minimap UI element - the model used to render the map is now updated in real time as players make buildings or dig into the surface.

    Trees are also shown on the map, and specific types of objects (players, workbenches, etc.) are highlighted and listed on the side of the map screen.

    I’m also working on various meshing, rendering, and networking optimizations for the minimap.

    The player icon shown is temporary ;)
    005.png
    006.png

    Getting ever closer to Alpha 4, can’t wait to hear what you think of it. As always send us any questions or comments you have or message us on Facebook. Look forward to hearing from you.

    -John K

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    Our Alpha 4 build of Eco is making great progress, check out the work below. We’ve come a long way on the visual components, but also the gameplay side. We’ll be putting together new trailers and videos as we come up to our alpha 4 launch to show you how new stuff like power, transport, taxes, and elections work.

    Here’s the progress this week and as always you can pick up the game on our website here (our Steam launch is later this year, and all previous buyers will get a key).

    Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com

    If you have been following us on facebook you have probably seen a lot of the more recent work.

    Trees are basically done. I will be hooking up the art for the other 2 variations as well.

    Minimap improvements are ongoing. Tweaking the art, shaders, and whatnot.

    Mostly it is non stop bug fixing from here on out to alpha 4. Fixed the bow, fixing up the tools, etc.

    Check out the trees and minimap in the videos below:
    video 001.PNG
    video 002.PNG
    video 003.PNG

    John - john@strangeloopgames.com

    The past couple weeks I’ve been deep in the tech tree, creating the full set of items/skills/vehicles/craft tables/foods, etc in the game. It’s a giant amount of data, and the first step was moving it from a large number of code files into a single spreadsheet that can auto-generate all the objects needed in the code:
    image01.png

    We now have an easy process to create new suites of related items/skills/vehicles/foods, with all the requisite connections automatically hooked up. It also gives us a bird’s eye view of the game, which will be incredibly valuable as we tune and balance everything.

    Modders will be able to use this same template system to large scale additions or modifications to the game. To handle this much data we needed some good tools, and we’re setup in a good spot now to start creating a huge amounts of content.

    K - klim@strangeloopgames.com

    Whole Vehicle & Road system is ready to play around.

    Nature powered generators were added(windmill, waterwheel), and also motor to elec converter was added.

    Now MiniMap shows other players on it.

    Now character can step up(or climb) little bumps :)

    Store now have functionality of make and delete offer by authorized users.(deletion is not available unless you made that offer)

    Resizable container inventory UI :) YEAH.

    image04.png
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    Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com

    I’ve been dancing around working on lots of improvements to get us ready for the next big alpha release-- it has been very rewarding to see all of Milenko and Eric’s hard work with trees and plants rejuvenate the look of the game, and I’ve been touching up what I can to get everything else up to the same speed. Mainly I’ve been helping make and implement new Power and Transportation assets including dirt and stone roads, a generator, a coal burner, a transmission line. I’ve also been updating effects for the first person tools to improve the feel of using them in the world with particle effects, and many other various improvements.
    image00.png

    Milenko - milenko@strangeloopgames.com
    image03.jpg
    image05.jpg

    Working on all kinds of stuff as well. Going through the remaining icons, doing sickly versions of plants, and texturing our new assets.

    Thanks for following us and as always email us if you have any questions!

    -John K

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    Hey! Alpha 4 should be launching next month. Check out the new blog update for more!
    http://www.strangeloopgames.com/trees-minimap-tech-tree-power-systems/

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    Hey Kristoffer,

    You'll need to extract the entire contents of the zip into a folder before trying to run them.
    (Right click on the .zip file, and choose "Extract All")

    eg, extract the client zip to SomeFolder\Eco, and the server zip to SomeFolder\EcoServer

    Then run Server.exe from the server folder (and wait a bit while it generates you a new world), and then Eco.exe from the client folder. After you login, enter 'localhost' (which is your local machine) as the server you want to connect to. (If you want want to play single player)
    More detailed guide on how to set up a local server: http://ecoforum.strangeloopgames.com/topic/88/how-to-set-up-eco-server-quick-guide-work-in-progress-guide

    For multiplayer: ECO servers are hosted by players. You can find a list here:
    http://ecoforum.strangeloopgames.com/category/22/game-servers

    posted in Community Help read more
  • Will Eco

    Work on Eco is moving right along, and we’ve set the date for Alpha 4 release to be at the end of March! The game will look and play significantly different from Alpha 3, we’ve been working on both visuals (trees, landscapes, roads) and new systems (property, building, energy, transport, mini-map). Here’s a look at that work in progress.

    Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com
    001.png

    Trees 2.0 work is continuing. Trees animate growth over their lifetime, adding branches and leaves as they grow. This is considerably different than how they used to grow which was block-by-block, which didn’t look or work that well. Will try and get a video for the next dev blog.
    002.png

    It is now also possible to prune off sections of a tree, by highlighting and damaging the individual portions. Break off leaf bunches (which will grow back), or hack off entire branches (which won’t grow back), or knock down the whole tree. You will have to prune off branches before harvesting the wood after felling each tree, though some branches will break off during the fall.
    003.png

    Also, the block system was refactored finally doing away with the pesky enum-based types of the past. Now all block types are assigned IDs automatically, and adding a new block can be done with just a few lines of code, and any matching artwork. This will allow for very, very easy modding to add as many block types as you want, from any mods, with no conflicting ID nonsense. (actually up to 65536 types)

    John - john@strangeloopgames.com

    Worked on the mini-map this week (with rendering support from Eric). It now displays the locations of property and buildings, so you can use it to find the buildings you need to use (this will be huge for the economy, allowing you to seek out buildings that stores that provide what you need). Added a filter panel that lets you control what you want visible. Will be adding other players to this next.
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    K - klim@strangeloopgames.com

    Command “Let there be Vehicle” is not working.

    So using command “Let there be Wheel, Body, Engine, Fuel” to make Vehicle.

    Now vehicle is consuming fuel or possibly calories per second while moving, and that’s why your want to get on the right road because wrong road can give huge penalty on speed.

    For example, Wrong road 40% of max speed vs. Right road 100% of max speed which giving 150% more traveled distance on good road compared to bad road.

    Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com

    I’ve been continuing the ever-evolving process of working on our terrain for Eco, tweaking and improving custom builders and meshes. Next up for that will be meshes to improve the transition between block-types in the world, which will have to be a new system layered on top of what we have now. I’ve also been updating and preparing the first block types usable for constructing buildings with our revamped systems and ideas of how they’ll work: logs, wood, stone, as well as a more advanced steel/aluminum building. I’ve also been working on roads, getting new assets and builders ready to work with our implementation of transportation.
    006.png

    Milenko - milenko@strangeloopgames.com

    Basically still working on prettying up everything.

    Finished off first pass of all the new plants, Did second pass on the terrain textures, revised the grass patch mesh, and mostly been working on the tree setup so we can have a system for growing trees.

    Ah yes, everything will be choppable now : leaves, branches trunks :) Should be fun.

    Setting up collision is being a bit of a pain, mostly due to the long feud between max and Unity.

    need to wrap this up soon, so we can move to support the alpha release, and work on critical assets needed to make that one happen. Then, it will be back to the world stuff, new sky and clouds, critters and avatars, and hopefully with time to spare for the underwater stuff.

    Still so much to do!
    007.jpg

    Thanks and email us with any feedback as always,

    -John K

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    We’re in the middle of production for Alpha 4 on Eco, and making great progress. There’s going to be several major new systems appearing in Alpha 4 and 5, and players will be able to get a much clearer picture of what the game will be like at Beta and launch. Here’s a look at that work in progress:

    John - john@strangeloopgames.com

    We learned a ton about the game from watching people play the alpha, and we’re applying what we learned now to a second pass on systems. This week I worked on a big iteration of the property and building systems, it now works as follows:

    Players will start the game with several property-claim flags, which they can place anywhere unclaimed (later, they will be restricted by player-government zoning rules).
    001.png

    Claiming property will add it to the first deed in your inventory:
    002.png

    You can use the deed interface to choose who can build there, and see what property is assigned to it, and if you want to transfer it to another deed you can just pull it up and click ‘attach current plot’. This will let players divide up property however they want, and if you give/sell a deed to someone they become the owner of that property. Real estate market created!

    Buildings work a lot different now as well. Instead of choosing what type of building you want and then constructing it, you must place crafting tables in buildings of a certain type. You can see what the requirements are on the tooltip, and you’ll get notices what’s wrong if you try to place it in an invalid space.
    003.png

    This will make building a lot more flexible - you can construct rooms however you want on your property, and place tables as you like, as long as they meet the restrictions. I think we’ll see a lot more interesting player constructions with this. Later we’ll be adding room-bonuses so that your craft tables will get boosts if you place it in a building with special properties.

    We also made re-building more flexible. Previously buildings were locked down once they were finished, now you can change them at will. The restriction system will auto-detect changes that break tables and notify you:
    004.png

    Now you can keep building onto one house if you want, adding stacks of rooms or underground caverns and filling them with useful tables, and then selling access. Building is such a core part of the game, and we want it to be both aesthetically interesting and strategic, and this system promotes that. Along with the transport system below, where and how you build will make a huge difference on the success of your world.

    K - klim@strangeloopgames.com

    Vehicle and road system beginnings. Vehicles and roads will be the basis of transport, and moving resources between places in Eco will consume resources and create pollution, and infrastructure will be costly to create. It will be one of the main group challenges of the game, organizing public works to create the most efficient transport.

    Currently you can just place it, but it will be some different way to craft vehicles.
    005.png

    It can have inventory :) (open UI with right click)
    006.png

    And you can ride vehicle(E)(behind the scene)
    007.png

    And you can dismount with pressing “E” again

    Road system is in development, but it can effect your vehicle.

    Road can increase your “mile per gallon” and limit your speed.

    Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com

    Helping Keegan and Milenko bring their art dreams to fruition. (Trees + Terrain, see their screenshots for more)

    Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com

    I’ve been working with Eric to fix up and update the base terrain in Eco, improving performance and the look. Eric improved custom builder tools and I reassembled all the pieces we use for grass/dirt/sand, and I’ve continued to iterate on the rock and ore’s custom builder geometry. We’re starting to approach the point where we can focus on authoring art rather than technology issues with the core terrain of Eco-- and as the next step I have been transitioning to working on buildings to get them to the same standard.
    008.png
    009.png

    Milenko - milenko@strangeloopgames.com

    Well, working on many things at once.

    So everything is sort of halfway there. New plants are coming along, as well as the terrain textures. But the current thing is setting the tree meshes to look right and grow right in the game.

    I am up to the third iterations of my meshes, and I think I have finally figured out how it is all going to work.
    010.jpg
    011.jpg

    Lots more to come, looking forward to your feedback, and as always feel free to email us.

    -John K.

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    Link to NoBlackThunder's local server guide.

    posted in Community Help read more
  • Will Eco

    Lots going on as we build towards Eco Alpha 4, we’re in the thick of core development right now, which is one of the most fun parts. Great to see the game taking shape and changing everyday. For those that want to support us early in development, Alpha 3 is available on our website now and you get free upgrades permanently and a Steam key when we release there: https://www.strangeloopgames.com/eco-account/home

    Here’s a look at what we’ve been doing:

    John - john@strangeloopgames.com

    This week I participated in the 1776 Challenge Cup in Seattle (http://www.1776.vc/challenge-cup/), pitching our idea of Eco as a platform for both classrooms and entertainment, and we won! I’ll be going to San Francisco next week for the regional comp. Will post a video of the 2 minute pitch when it comes online.
    001.jpg

    A big goal for Eco is to make it more than a game for entertainment, and getting the word out in these spheres outside the games industry will be a big part of that. Exciting to see others really believe in what we’re doing and the potential it has to transform education.

    Besides that I’ve been working on the new Property System. We’re going to be replacing the building system with a general property system, where players can mark land to claim it, and acquire more land depending on how the in-game government wants to zone and allocate it. You can check out the design and our internal discussions (and add your feedback) here:

    Property will make a huge difference once our next system, Transport. Once you need to build expensive, resource consuming, polluting transport networks to move resources around the world, where you build something is going to make a huge difference and real estate will become valuable based on surrounding resources. Expect these systems in Alpha 4 and 5, which will have a huge impact on the game.

    Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com

    Working on getting the new foliage actually in the game, and have it behave more realistically. For one, you no longer completely destroy most plants when harvesting - grass simply becomes cut, huckleberries just lose their berries.
    002.png

    K - klim@strangeloopgames.com

    Changing power system’s UI.
    003.png
    004.png

    New UI for crafting table.

    1. Non powered crafting table.
      005.png
      006.png

    2. Powered crafting table
      007.png
      008.png
      009.png

    Bug fixes

    • Infinite bunchgrass seed.
    • Icon stick in to mid air and can’t use it
    • Gliding when out from high altitude water
    • Items duplicated( mainly has issue from Crafting)
    • Infinite dirt from dirt under finished construction.

    Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com

    I’ve been continuing work on terrain, but also taking a break from that with updates to the tools and their animations. Starting work also on effects for tools and the world. Eventually all the craft tables will have in-use animations, and hopefully the tools will provide excellent feedback and satisfaction on use, with blocks in the world generating effects when you interact with them and when they are destroyed.
    010.jpg

    Milenko - milenko@strangeloopgames.com

    Spent the week working out how we put together our in game foliage. Rebuilding the tree trunks, setting up their UV’s and working out the tree growth using morph targets.

    Currently working on growing foliage.
    011.jpg

    Thanks all and email us directly with any comments/questions.

    -John K

    posted in Announcements and News read more
  • Will Eco

    With Eco Alpha 3 and a majority of bugfixes from our initial launch fixed, we’re getting pretty far along towards Alpha 4, 5, and Beta. We got some big ticket items coming (power system, elections, taxes) and a new art style in the works. If you haven’t got on board yet you can join the alpha on our website here: https://www.strangeloopgames.com/eco-account/home

    Check out our progress below.

    K - klim@strangeloopgames.com
    Power system is introduced. 3 main components of this system are Generator, Link, Sink.
    Here is simple test with testing objects
    001.png
    002.png
    005.png
    006.png
    007.png
    008.png

    Here is real objects this are Generator and Sink at the same time.
    009.png
    010.png

    Work order will not processed if power for sink is not met.(first order will looks like processing but won’t be finished and if you open it again it will tick time again from where it actually stop. This will be fixed in the future.)

    John - john@strangeloopgames.com
    Because collaboration is such a key aspect to the game, communication becomes incredibly important. We wanted to have everyone aware of what’s going in the server, even if it happened while they’re offline, and have easy ways to organize and trade and govern. To support this, we’ve created a chat system that works a lot like Slack or IRC:
    011.png

    It has support for tags, direct messages, logged offline messages, unread message displays, showing/hiding tags (and remembering state). It’s simple to use, but will be powerful in tracking and promoting all the interactions in the game, which will become critically important as players must collaborate through the economy and government to succeed. A seemingly simple feature that will make a big impact on how people play the game.

    Similarly, if you’re in the dev tier join us in our Eco Slack Channel! Sign up on our account page.

    Eric - eric@strangeloopgames.com
    Aside from fixing all manner of loose ends with alpha 3, I have been working with Keegan and Milenko to improve our existing art pipeline while they work to enhance the overall look of the game. This work is continuing and the first parts of it will be in alpha 4. Check out Keegan & Milenko’s updates for more pretty screenshots.

    Jeff - jeff@strangeloopgames.com
    012.png

    Made a bunch of design updates on ECO’s website. Added the trailer front and center for instant engagement. Also added in some bragging rights with a slideshow of critic quotes. And sorted the dev blogs, from our how to play articles and general ECO news.

    Updated the account page to fix an email activation bug. You can also now login with your email or username - for your convenience.

    Also searched through the plethora of awesome ECO dev supporters and was able to hire Jonathan to help us with server management (as we get ready to scale the game for a growing fan base). He’ll also help us remove that ugly port number in the forum url (I wonder if people actually notice that...)

    Keegan - keegan@strangeloopgames.com
    I’ve been working on updating the art for the underlying terrain of eco-- the grass, rock, sand, dirt, etc, that will make up the foundational block types of the world. We’ve all been coordinating to figure out what we want to do and how it needs to get done to improve the look of our world. The main thing I’ve worked on is the shader the terrain uses, and the meshes and ‘custom builder’ that determines how the landscape is built. Using new a new custom builder for the rock type blocks, and new meshes for the general landscape blocks, we’ve started to nicely differentiate these block types visually, and create more interest in the landscape.
    The shader I’ve been working on uses a combination of triplanar projection and masking to mask off areas for regular UV space that I think will serve us nicely and have a lot of flexibility going forwards.

    This is the kind of masking going on behind the scenes:
    013.jpg

    And a very WIP shot of the new rock builder/meshes and triplanar texturing (you can see an old version of milenko’s new trees in there too).
    014.png

    Next up I’ll be doing what I can to make material transitions better across blocks, probably using decoration/border meshes.

    Milenko - milenko@strangeloopgames.com

    And I have been working on all kinds of vegetation, and the ways it gets plugged into the game.
    So there will be new grass, new trees, plants, etc that should come together and give world its volume. Still working on it though.
    015.jpg
    016.jpg

    Thanks all and feel free to email any of us directly with questions/comments.
    -John K

    posted in Announcements and News read more
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