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Old 09-13-2012, 01:26 AM
Crow Crow is offline
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Atlantis: past, present and future!

You know what? That title really doesn't make much sense. The present is insignificant, considering the any moment even a couple seconds ago should be considered past, and any moment a couple seconds ahead should be considered future. But the sound to that thread title was awesome, so I went with it. Forgive me!
Atlantis

Gather around, people, because it's story telling time! I haven't ever told you guys a whole lot about Atlantis; how it has been in the past or any details on the future plans. Let's start off with some stories of the past!


The past

It was September 2003 when I stumbled upon Graal. There was an article on it in the German gaming magazine "Screenfun". I was also fiddling around with the glorious RPG Maker 2000 back then, also being part of a community around it. I believe someone also mentioned it there. So I went to see, and I did.

Playerworld selection screen, here we come. I was only 11 years old at the time, so my English wasn't as good yet. So I was happy when stumbling upon Atlantis, because the language text field for that read "Deutsch". Alright, off we go! It looked pretty from the start, although very simple. Like probably most other playerworlds, Atlantis was still mostly using default graphics back then.

I was wandering around a bit when I noticed I was a bit on the slow side. Others were moving faster and stuff like that. Turns out the 233 MHz CPU wasn't quite enough for Graal, even back then. I still had a lot of fun, and we got a new computer later the next year. So I was wandering around, mostly exploring (because I loved that!), getting killed a lot, finding myself doing all quests again and again. You know, good old trial account system. I really didn't mind that!

But I did want a "P2P" account, which they were still referred to often back then. The problem was that you could only pay by credit card. There are still not many people here in Germany who have a credit card, and there were even less back then. Needless to say, my parents did not have one. I already made some good friends, though, and Pom (*Fritky) was kind enough to give me a paid account. Turned out it was not only used by me, though, so I ended up using it for less than a week. However, one of the older (watch out: two meanings) players of Atlantis, Nitribit, offered to pay for one's account if you sent her the money. If I recall correctly, Stefan also knew about it and approved. So that's what I did, upgrading my first account (*Magadal) to lifetime classic.

The following two or three years were great, really. As I mentioned earlier, we got a new computer at some point in late 2004. Starting then, Graal was even more enjoyable than it already was to me. Atlantis had some great events, a nice community, cool things to explore, lots of guilds and so on. I don't remember the exact date, but I was also hired as a member of the Support Team (ST) of Atlantis, as it was still called back then. Later renamed to FAQ though. Mostly helping out players and uploading their heads, bodies, shields, swords and hats to the server. I really enjoyed that, and due to having at least some sort of staff position, I also got into development a bit. I want to talk about Atlantis here, though, so let's carry on.

Atlantis had a mining system as long as I can think. At some point in time, a forging system was added. This was pretty much the base of what I'd like to call the fall of Atlantis. There wasn't anything fancy at first. But then, a custom sword system with craftable swords and shields was added. I believe the magic wand was actually added beforehand. That was still a nifty addition, but that new sword system kind of ruined many aspects of Atlantis. I can't exactly remember anybody enjoying that, either. PKing got really awkward. Mining was extended to more minerals. More swords and shields were added gradually. It was fun in some way, but also not in another. Atlantis used to be a classic type server, and now it suddenly wasn't anymore.

At this point, my memory is getting somewhat blurry. I can't remember if Atlantis was off the classic list at some point or not. Let's forget about that fact, though, and focus on what was done instead. New content was developed from the ground up to turn Atlantis into an RPG playerworld, centered around several islands, keeping most of the previously introduced sword, item and baddy systems. I won't deny that quite some work has been put into the project, but this was pretty much the killing blow for Atlantis. I remember some English translation being added to it back then, but it wasn't really any good. After the release of this "new" Atlantis, there were a lot of players online at first, as always. The player count quickly decreased, though, essentially leaving the playerworld empty.

From this point on, I didn't have anything to do with Atlantis anymore. It was not interesting anymore, it was not fun anymore. And I can't really remember what happened next. We're, however, getting to the point where I decide to work on Atlantis again. I believe it was already off the Classic list at the time, and the decision who would be "getting" Atlantis was to be made. Now, forgive me if I get anything wrong in that next part, but I can't remember very well. There was, basically, a team consisting of Matt (*neo1122), Lena (*Lenchen) and Angelu (*Shakram at the time, probably). It might've been Nitron (*Theodor) as well; I really can't remember! Don't hurt me if you're reading this There was some sort of competition with another team made up of Jack (*Megamas), Chris (*HerrChris) and possibly a few others. So we had a while to develop some content, and I believe it was Stefan who eventually decided that we would not be getting Atlantis.

Now, again, I really don't know much about what happened next, but apparently, it was not a whole lot. At some point in early 2009, I had a discussion with Björn (*dNeonb) about reestablishing Atlantis. In the end, he was the one who made it possible. This is when we - not I, but we, as a group - got in charge of Atlantis again. This was, at the time, Björn, Matt, Lena and me. Shortly after, Angelu and Nitron joined. From there on, Atlantis became what it is right now.

I won't tell you what happened from then until now, because you probably know. Now, I wish I could tell you more about the origins of Atlantis, since it's much older. But I can only tell things from 2003 on. Forgive me about that. Let's move on!


The present

The present is right now, as you're reading these words! Ow, what a shame. It's already a thing of the past. Let's move on!


The future

Now, let's get to the future! I get many questions about our plans for Atlantis or details on things that have been revealed, so I want to use this space to, in fact, tell you more about that!

Now, I want to say this again. What has happened to Atlantis before it died really wasn't cool at all. This fact is the base for our future plans for Atlantis. To sum it up before we go into any details: we want to restore Atlantis to its former glory. I know, I know. I've said that before. Well, let's get talking! The base of what we have right now is already quite solid, I'd say. Default movement and sword system, among other things. Custom bushes/stones and the like, that, however, mimic default behavior pretty well. We won't get near any custom or RPG stuff, because that - in my opinion at least - shouldn't have ever happened.

Then we got Matt on the team, who is in love with events and also does very neat work on those. You know, a major part of Atlantis back then were the great events. That's definitely a thing that needs to be brought back! All kinds of events, event coins, and a shop where you can buy cosmetic things with said coins.

Next to events is another important thing we can't miss out on: quests and exploration! Granted, quests on Atlantis back then were nothing special. We're aiming for a sort of Zelda feel for the quests and also have ideas for replayability in mind, like speed running certain quests - with leaderboards attached! To also put an emphasize on the exploration side of things, we plan on reintroducing old jobs like picking herbs, which was mostly running around on the map and, well, picking herbs back then. Of course that will be a lot more interesting than just that.

A thing that I feel was also very important on Atlantis: guilds. We had a lot of them. Reminds me, I was Guilds Admin at some point! What a fun job. Almost. Anyway, guilds! Even better, guilds and PKing. This wasn't as bold back in the day, so we want to encourage it! A fight for bases, basically, where guilds will compete with each other, trying to hold a fort. This won't be an event either, it'll be part of the world, always active. Holding this thing for long periods of time will also earn the guild a reward or two. Now, doesn't that sound nice? In order to mostly keep PKing to what it used to be, there will also be an arsenal of typical oldschool items to fight with. Bombs, bow and the like. You probably know what I have in mind.

That's a lot for content already, but let me add a couple more things without going into detail: pets, achievements, collection of certain rare items, guild headquarters, player houses, ...

There are a few more things we already have in mind, but I don't want to reveal too much! What I also want to get off my chest, though, is my hate towards the observer mode. We don't like it, we know you don't like it, so we plan on getting rid of it. As of yet, we're still unsure what exactly we're going to do to get it removed, but we will make sure that the limits will go easy on the players.



Continued in the next post, since this one was getting too long!
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:27 AM
Crow Crow is offline
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What now?

What now, you may ask? Well, you've (hopefully) just read through quite the wall of text up there. Thanks for that! Please also read what's left of this thread. I promise it won't be much!

Now, we've come to the point of this thread where I think it's safe to derail it. Do you like the things in that "future" paragraph? I do. But what I've written down there will not ever happen like that. Let me explain why: I have picked up Atlantis because I still had faith that we could actually get back to where it was, or even further. I hoped that, at some point, we would have some solid content, about 40 players frolicking over our playerworld. I don't think this could've possibly happened. Nitron, Matt and I, as the current team behind Atlantis, have decided to put it to rest. It will stay as it is now, no more content will be developed (except for the occasional level by Matt, if he feels like it, I guess). I will release most of the code to the Code Gallery at some point. Nitron doesn't want his graphics to be used elsewhere though.

"Why?", you may ask. Because the direction Graal is taking is a bad one. "PC Graal" is being neglected, Stefan is holding up much needed client updates for no apparent reason and observer mode is still in place. This makes development on Atlantis essentially a waste of time. Not entirely. It's a lot of fun and also a solid learning experience, as always. This does not justify the downhill motion of Graal's success though. In the end, we would be spending a lot of our free time and not be getting anything in return.

Regarding this, I want to answer a few questions that have popped up about myself. I recently started working on Era again. Many have asked why I didn't work on Atlantis instead. That's rather simple: Era works. It's a released playerworld which has already made the classic list. I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to do some development work on Graal just for the heck of it. Instead of wasting my spare free time on Atlantis, I decided to help out Era, since I believe they could use the help.

At this point, I start thinking what else I wanted to tell you about this. But there's really nothing left. I just told you about the status of Atlantis and why we chose that path. I am, however, not entirely done. Following, a couple lists on people.

I'd like to thank:
  • Stefan: for creating Graal, because it used to be a great game (and still has the potential to be one, to be honest) and because I got into coding because of it.
  • Björn: for getting us in charge of Atlantis again. What we have done would not have been possible without you.
  • Nitron, Angelu, Matt and Lena: for working with me on our Atlantis relaunch. You all did a great job.
  • My countless friends on Atlantis and Graal in general: for providing a lot of fun and enjoyment.
  • All supporters of our Atlantis relaunch. Thanks a lot!

I want to apologize to:
  • Björn, Nitron, Angelu, Matt, Lena and any Atlantis regulars: because in the end, we decided to not finish it anyway. I don't think any of it was a waste of time/effort, though.
  • zwr: because I couldn't get Atlantis on the classic list again. I'm sorry!
  • Again, all supporters of Atlantis. Your supportive comments, feedback and criticism was helpful throughout this whole process. It's a shame I can't give you a playable version of Atlantis.

Lastly, as a special, I explicitly do not want to apologize to Stefan and unixmad. I don't know who is responsible for which decision of the many bad ones, but in the end, they have essentially ruined a great game. I'm even more angered by the fact that they could do something about its current state at this point, but apparently don't want to/won't do it.



That's it. Atlantis: past, present and no future. I'd like to thank all of you who have read through this pile of text. I haven't taken a break writing this just now, so chances are I might've forgotten something I wanted to say. Also, don't mind the occasional grammar error please.

Keep in mind, this is not my goodbye. I will remain on these forums for a while.


Edit: Let's top it off:
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:30 AM
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:36 AM
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All I have to say was this was pretty predictable.

Very unfortunate as to what's happening to Atlantis, hopefully you change your mind on the matter.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:36 AM
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Man that is really depressing to hear. If there was absolutely any server I had any respect for and really hoped to see it released it was Atlantis. However the respect goes to the devs, not the server itself. You guys had a nice eye for detail and you didn't rush/half-ass anything and that's what I liked the most. You did it right, not fast, and it showed.

Oh well, the sad thing is none of this will change a thing. Stefan will never care how developers like you feel and things will never get done regardless of things like this happening.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:50 AM
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I enjoyed what I saw from the server, sad to see that it couldn't be completed; however, given the current state it's totally understandable.

ps: hope you're doing well : D
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:51 AM
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Goodnight, sweet princes of Atlantis.
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:13 AM
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Auf wiedersehen, Atlantis.
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:25 AM
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The Graal platform is more designed for masochists than actual developers anyway.
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:27 AM
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It's sad to read this, and something I don't think anyone can blame you for. Always remember this is despite your efforts, not because of them.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:01 AM
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:13 AM
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Extremely sad to see this, the server was very well made thus far. None the less, it was still rather predictable as is with all upcoming Graal servers. Thanks for the effort put in either way Crow. At least you got some experience out of it.
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Old 09-13-2012, 03:14 AM
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**** server that wouldn't let me enter spar tournaments.

Sad story though.
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:13 AM
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Old 09-13-2012, 04:33 AM
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Really sad to hear this, out of all the Graal servers this one has definitely been the most impressive one I've seen.
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