Monday, July 26, 2010

Tharsis version 13 - New Stores Open!

I just uploaded the latest version of Tharsis Estates to the Blue Mars site.  It needs to go through their QA, and hopefully will get online late tonight.

Brack Breen and El Electron now have their shops populated at #3 and #2 Main Street respectively, so
congratulations to them getting open.

 City file changes were:

- Corrected some missing textures around main store back doors, and added some interior store signs.  My new main store is now set up with all my items and the old building emptied out. I needed to move to a larger store simply because the old one was full.

- Added buildings at #5 & #6 Main Street with added shop entities.  Removed for lease signs and yellow construction  strips from those lots. Total shelf count is now at maximum for Outpost (500), so there will be no more shops until traffic increases and the city can upgrade to a higher price plan with higher limits.  Tharsis was intended to grow to Village level (50 concurrent avatars maximum), but there is no point in paying the higher hosting fees  until it's necessary.

- Removed interior items from #1 Main Street (my old store), and rebuilt #1 and #2 Main Street in the Block Editor rather than city editor so they will appear in the Shop Editor. If you have a shop in one of those buildings, try to download the shop data again and see if the buildings show up.  This is one of those "I didn't know I had to do it that way when I first did the buildings" things.

- Extended Main Street to the new club building, and minor terrain modifications around all buildings to better match the structures.  Greg has been working on getting a music stream to play in the club, but doing flowgraphs is new to me and I am having trouble getting it to work in Tharsis, even though his demo works fine in a test city.  I may have to rebuild that part in the city level from scratch, rather than import it in his block.

- Added trees around Main Street and Diffuse Drive houses for overall looks. In particular I didn't want my big main store to mess up the view from the beach houses, but also in general to buffer the shop from residential areas.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tharsis version 12 - 21 July 2010 & Building Code

Tharsis Updated to version 12:

The next version of Tharsis was uploaded and passed QA yesterday, and is online now. Here is what's new:

- Modified my new main store at #1 Diffuse Drive (left side from spawn point) by editing textures, fixing some missing shadows, and adding store signs.   I will be moving out of #1 Main Street over the next couple of weeks as I get the shop interiors set up in  the new building.  The shoes and boots department is the first to move, and is online with this update.

- Removed "For Lease" sign from #2 Main Street as the building is now rented.

- Added new tenant block at end of Main Street with future club building.  Welcome to Greg at Hen Soup Studios!  He is working on playing music in the club only (ie not the entire city).  I look forward to that becoming a popular hangout.

- Added a new tenant block down Alpha Lane (turn right at the blue teleporter).  Its at X=632, so more than halfway to the next intersection.  It's currently rented, but empty.

New Building Code:

I create and build things myself, and do not like to impose on anyone else's creative freedom.  Tharsis Estates has an overall theme, though, and I want it to look good for other tenants and visitors, so I have set the following conditions on building there:

(1) In the Main Street and residential areas, publicly visible exteriors should fit the theme, quality, and scale of the area. Interiors and areas hidden by plants, privacy fences, or the equivalent are up to tenant discretion.

(2) Builds which have technical errors when the city loads such as missing textures, collision boundaries extending past the property line, broken scripts, etc may be repaired or left out of the city upload as needed so the entire city can pass QA.  I will try to help correct such problems when I find them.

(3) Areas outside Main Street and residential areas do not need to fit any particular theme or standards if not visible from those areas. They only need to be able to pass Blue Mars Quality Assurance. These include: Educational, Demonstration, Experimental Sandbox, Outer Islands, Sky Platforms, and Caves, and any other type of areas people think up.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tharsis Updated July 12th - Software Update July 15th

Tharsis Update

The existing shops, including my own, were getting filled/rented, so it was time to add more.  The photo is an aerial view of "Main Street" which is just up the road from the landing point.  The main changes this time were to add two new buildings, and more shelves to my own shop.  The large building on the left will be my future main shop, and the one on the top right with the skylights has been rented for another tenant.  I also added 25 more shelves to my own shop (on the second floor), because the first 50 were filled. 

Total use is now 205 of 500 allowed shop shelves, so Tharsis is 41% of shop capacity as an outpost.  There is room for a couple of more buildings on Main street on the right, and once I move to my larger quarters my original building can be rented out.  Tharsis is now self-supporting on rents, not counting any clothes I manage to sell, which is wonderful considering it has only been online a couple of months.  Designers are now producing items at an accelerated rate (5-10 new items a day I estimate), so the days of avatars all looking alike are rapidly being left behind.

Software Update

A minor update to the Blue Mars software was released this afternoon, both the player client, and the developer kit.  See the Blue Mars Developer Wiki Release Notes Page for details.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tharsis Updated June 30th

I sent in an update to my city files yesterday, and it went online last night.  Way to go, QA staff.  Same day response time is outstanding!  The following changes were made:

- Added a second beach house built by Amanda

- Added two more shop entities at #2 Main Street (15 and 25 shelf capacity), which are available to rent.  The other three (my own, Marlii's and Gloria's) are in use.  You can see my shop is filling up with items.

- Added the store sign in the photo above (click photo for a large version), and changed the window glass on the Main Street shops to not have active reflections.  It appears that having *lots* of reflecting windows puts a strain on the graphics engine.

- Tried to fix the cosmetic glitches on the blue car and barn.  These seemed to be caused by how I imported them to Blue Mars.  I still have some minor glitches on other items, which I will try to fix over time.