Evidyon – Tierras de Nadie

A new Evidyon game has been launched!  Archknup of the Evitales forums created “Tierras de Nadie” over at Evidyon.es.  Be sure to check it out!

Evidyon Storyline

This is Evidyon’s original story-line, written by Joe.  It took me a while to dig up for the forums, so I figured I would post it here as well to prevent it from being lost again.

In the beginning, all was Chaos. From the Chaos, necessarily without purpose cause or order, arose four entities: Xendra, Atragus, Fayan, and Thronden. Formed by nothing from nothing, these beings were gods: powerful as they were, however, they knew they would be consumed once more by the Chaos around them. They joined together for the sake of their own preservation.

Succombing to atrophy while immersed in Chaos, but also unable to control it, they strove instead to break away a fragment of existence on which to build their own reality–a stand as a bastion against the sea of Chaos surrounding. Concentrating the Chaos around them into a network of nodes, the gods contained the energy of chaos in a web that would sustain their new reality and ensure their future. Chaos so contained and separated by the nodes and the lines of power that ran between them, Xendra, Atragus, Fayan and Thronden hung their new world, Geona, upon them. Geona was designed to hold the Chaos-nodes apart, lest too much Chaos gather together and revert all of this universe back the roiling nothing from whence it came. On their universe the Gods imposed natural order, regularity, time and space.

Now separate from Chaos, the Gods sought also to separate themselves from Geona, the bar in their figurative door against the Chaos outside, lest they inadvertently undo their own creation. They created their own homes apart from Geona, and from these they watch over their creation.

Geona remained a network of fully-powered nodes of Chaos, dangerous and unstable, barely contained. To dilute the power of the nodes (in the physical world manifested as giant and unbreakable crystals), the gods broke their power by creating the physical world. Into the soul of every plant and every animal, the gods locked a small portion of chaos. Into certain minerals, buried deep and spread thin, they infused whatever else they could. The Chaos Crystals gradually died and the remaining chaotic energy seeped slowly into the world, now diluted and harmless.

Though material was created to contain Chaos, the gods sought to amuse themselves by creating life. Thus, the men, elves, giants, dwarves, genii and gnomes were created. Atragus gave the natural world its life and spirit, its animal nature and natural functions. Thronden gave to the world ambition and industry, productivity, strength, and endurance. Fayan gave to life souls, and to some special favorites of the gods, intelligence and caring. And Xendra gave to the world social order.

No one god exerted more control than any other. The creatures partook of all their gifts (though some naturally favored one god over the other, and were thus favored in turn) and lived in harmony, occassional squabbles aside. And everything was perfectly normal. Without Chaos, little magic existed and dark forests were feared only by those unprepared for their natural inhabitants. The Crystals were revered as sites holy to the gods and shrines and temples from all times have been built around them.

The city of Nexus was built long ago as the center of power, a city-state in and of itself. The three unusually large Crystals make the city a very holy site and a favored location for many temples and holy universities (mostly affiliated with churches, but also room for others as necessary). In one of the holy universities dedicated to Atragus (specifically, to the study of the natural world), a scholar discovered some unusual properties in a certain metal brought from a distant mountain.

In the course of his studies, the scholar requested the help of his priests to perform a certain ritual he had devised to request aid from his god in his studies. The ritual was performed, as was proper for such important matters, in the high temple of Atragus, located (with the other three high temples) in at the center point of the city, equidistant between the three Crystals.

Unknown to him, the metal was one that had been infused by the gods with the energy of Chaos, called Genite. As the ritual progressed, the genite in the metal was brought out and the genite in the souls of the participants was unlocked to commune with their god. The high concentration of genite around Nexus’s three super-Crystals, the weakest point in the fabric of the world, caused a tear in the fabric of the universe and opened a small door to Chaos. The gods, stunned and dismayed, slammed the gateway shut–but not before it was too late: the force of Chaos caused a cataclysmic rippling of the world’s fabric which destroyed most of Nexus and set off natural disasters, devastating all of Geona. The citizens of Nexus were all, without exception, absorbed into Chaos. From this center point genite raced back through the long-dead ley lines, revitalizing locally the network that had lain dormant since Creation. The disaster was of such a scale to crack the fabric of reality everywhere, and everywhere released a little more Chaos, bringing the universe a little closer to destruction.

From these cracks in reality the Chaos tainted the world the gods had wrought, twisting life and logic, creating monstrous creatures and unnatural auras, killing the living and bringing the dead to life, animating fire and water and merging beasts with men to create hideous hybrids. These monsters are undeniably the creatures of chaos, and set about slaughtering all that did not share their taint.

Anarchy engulfed the world. Kingdoms crumbled, cities fell, and every man cursed the day of his birth.

Although the gods repaired the fabric of the universe, the damage had been done. Now the ley lines once more hummed with life, and anywhere where several large lines intersected on a Crystal became an unpredictable and dangerous area, a place where there truly did be dragons, and more.

Time passed. A semblance of order has been restored, but nothing is stable. Chaos was at first terrifying and dangerous and none dared stand near, but as time passed, some have found ways of harnessing the Chaos for their own ends. They have prepared their own rituals for releasing the genite innate in an object and using the weak points in reality to accomplish strange, wonderful, and terrifying things. Magic has entered the world. Factions seek to control Crystals to use their properties for their own gain. They break all the laws of the universe for their own ends, but there is always the risk of going too far and loosing chaos on the world.

In an attempt to right the world, the gods have opened the gates of the celestial realms to allow the most minor of gods to manifest bodies for themselves near the crystals and act by proxy in the world. But the gods are no longer united. They do not trust each other, and the whole world is suffering from escalation: each faction that tries to use the Crystals for gain, so is unwilling to give up their power for the good of all. And those who try quickly find themselves conquered or killed by others who are less concerned. Although the ley lines and Crystals eventually diffuse their genite charge back into the world and the gods’ construction holds, the arms race has the network flowing pretty constantly, kept going by sacrifice and ritual to pump back into the Crystals genite from materials or items that hold a particular charge. What is done cannot be undone. The mutual distrust breaks out into fighting occasionally, but none dare fight near Nexus for fear of another cataclysm or the utter destruction of the universe. The broken city was reclaimed, but is nothing like its former glory. It is the weakest point in the universe and also the easiest for avatars to travel to/from the celestial planes. Sites of Crystals are hotly contested, and what were temples are more often than not transformed into holy fortresses for whichever god claims the crystal as his own.

And still the world is ravaged by the monsters. A twisted cult of Chaos-worship has sprung up, one that seeks to undermine the efforts to maintain order and whose goal is to dissolve the universe back into Chaos. These men are strange and mad, often with bizarre mutations from their contact with Chaos, and implacable in their pursuit.

It is said that in the first breaking, several entities of Chaos entered into the world, manifested as powerful and at least three nearly indestructable living entities of chaos–creatures so powerful that if their physical bodies are destroyed, their chaotic spirits will eventually pull together enough energy at a Crystal to reconstitute and set out again on destruction.

Some unlucky enough to travel by the ruins of Nexus tell tales of the spirits of those lost again walking the world; these legendary Evidyon were trapped in the closing of Chaos, but the most powerful are strong enough to reemerge at Geona’s closest connection to that plane. How they make themselves known in a world torn, only time will tell.

12,000 Posts: The Community History of Evidyon

I re-activated the Unseen Studios community forums which we used during the development of Evidyon from the days of “Project Volucris” (2006) all the way up to the end of 2009. They’re all locked, as the new home of the game is EviTales, but if you want to look at who was around for the game’s production and all of our crazy ideas, there are more than 12 thousand posts to browse!

http://unseenstudios.com/community/

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Coffee, It’s how Code Gets Done

I drank 26 bags of coffee since last year.

Coffee.  It gives you energy, antioxidants, and is delicious in all its forms.

It’s time to toss out the record of my Evidyon-creating coffee conquest but I wanted to give my collection a small place in the game’s development history.  Thanks, magic beans!  I couldn’t have done it without you!  (Except Archer Farms Breakfast Blend.  Bleh.  You won’t be missed.)

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Developing Games based on Evidyon

Over the last few weeks, I have received many questions about what a developer creating their own game based on Evidyon can do. Instead of copy/pasting my answers, I hope to address many of the things that have come up here in this one post simply and directly.

First, I would like to say that I am very interested in encouraging developers to make new versions of Evidyon and, yes, even profit from hosting the game and creating a great experience for players.  It is not my intention to limit you in this way; however, consider the amount of work that went into producing Evidyon and you’ll understand why there are conditions on what you can do.

As stated in various locations (including everywhere in the source code) Evidyon is licensed to you under the GPL.  Jointly, Joe Muller, my brother Erich, and I assert copyright over all of the source code and content.  This means the following:

From http://www.novell.com/coolsolutions/feature/1532.html

In US copyright law, a copyright owner of an original work is the only one with the right to make or license derivative works based upon a previously copyrighted work. A derivative work is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. US copyright law stipulates that a work will only be considered an infringing derivative work if it is substantially similar to the copyrighted work, and if the copyright holder did not authorize the derivative.

By releasing this content under the GPL, we have exerted our rights to “license derivative works,” given some set of conditions.  In order to use the source code or models, you have to agree to be bound by the terms of the license.  So what are those terms?

  1. Nothing you anything you add or modify can be proprietary (you must make open-source all changes to the game)
  2. Source code and source media must be provided alongside the compiled game
  3. Include along with your distribution the terms of the GPLv3
  4. There is no warranty of any kind

There are a number of things you must and must not do in order to comply with these terms and the fact that Evidyon is copyrighted.  While the following is not exhaustive list, I’ll try to spell out some examples.

You cannot claim to have made Evidyon, claim to have ‘ownership’ of Evidyon, copyright the name Evidyon or any part of the game, or file for a patent or trademark based on Evidyon.

The following example is absolutely false, is forbidden by the terms of the GPL and is just plain offensive.

I am going to publish this game. and copyright any products and icons ideas I make.
this game is now MINE

Changing the name “Hogwarts” to “Graycastle” and introducing a few new characters doesn’t mean that you own the Harry Potter series.  I don’t think I need to say any more about this.

You can charge players to play on a game server you host

Yep!  You could download a copy of Evidyon, host an unmodified server and charge people a monthly fee to play on it.  No problems there, as long as you let them know that they can get the complete source code to the game.

You must provide all changes to the game’s source code or content for free

If you read the statement of US copyright law on derivative works, it is apparent that anything you do with the game can be considered a “derivative work” and, as a broad umbrella statement, if you’re in doubt about whether you have to release something you’ve made to be incorporated in the game, the default answer is “yes, you must release it under the GPL”.

At first glance, this seems to mean that it would be difficult to make money hosting a server, since this term means that anyone could download your copy of the game, start up their own server and compete with you.  By some interpretations of the GPL, this is true.  However, as I explain next, I don’t intend this to be the case with Evidyon.

You don’t have to release game-files, media, server databases, log files, or anything that is 100% new but works with Evidyon’s engine

This is parallel to a topic in the open-source vs. free software debate.  Linux, like Evidyon, is licensed under the GPL.  By many interpretations, including my own, software the runs on Linux does not need to be open source or use the GPL  in order to comply with Linux’s license.

Similarly, new content you create to use with the Evidyon engine in your own version of the game (maps, character models, textures, sounds) does not need to be released under the GPL or made public.

Look at tools like Open Office (GPL document editor) and GIMP (GPL image editor).  These do not assert ownership of the content created with those tools–if you write something in Open Office or draw something in GIMP, that content is your own.  With Evidyon, the database the server makes to store character & game data falls in that “100% new” category so you can keep that secret.

This means that almost everything that makes your edition of this game unique–the content–is your own.  Just to be clear, though, the same interpretation does not apply the the code.  The code that runs the game is a single entity.  Even 100% new features you add to the software itself are still bound by the GPL and must be publicly re-released for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to be sure you won’t accidentally violate the GPL, there’s a really easy way to do it

Get a DropBox account, make a publicly-accessible DropBox folder, and only work on your game inside of that DropBox folder.  Then, with each release, all you need to do is provide a link to the public web-interface of this DropBox folder to stay legit with the terms of the GPL.  Since DropBox synchronizes automatically, you will never have to worry about it being out of date!

In fact, when you recompile the game players will be able to get the latest copy from that folder so you can even use it as a distribution channel.

“I gave the Volucris model some new clothes.  Do I have to release my model?”

Yes

“I changed the GUI to look more futuristic, do I have to release the image?”

Yep

“I took the map, modified the drop rate, gave it some new ground textures, changed the names of stuff etc. etc.  Do I have to release my changes?”

Affirmative.  If your game file has any relationship whatsoever to the original game file, it’s a derivative work.

“I purchased some items from 3drt to add to my game… do I have to release those?”

Nope! In fact, it would be in violation of your agreement with them to do so.  That’s new content that doesn’t derive from Evidyon.

Be aware that this does introduce some caveats.  Should you buy armor models (for example) you can’t put them on our original Evidyon avatar meshes, since that would require you to release those meshes for free under terms of the GPL (thanks Qubodup).  As long as you keep custom and original content separate, there should be no problems.

“I modified the code to add an item merchant and a new player class….”

Those are modifications to Evidyon’s source code, and you need to make those changes available for others.

But wait, the GPL doesn’t say anything about charging to distribute derivative works–how come I have to give my stuff away for free?

This addition is thanks to the anonymous comment below.  I’ll just quote the post since he/she explained it well:

Note that GPL does not say anything about price. If you make a derivative work you may well charge a fee for it if you want to. If you distribute the work to someone (for free or for a price), you are obliged to give them the source for free (or for a reasonable price covering only the medium/postage). However, the person you charge is free to make further copies, either for free or for a price, so in practice it’s not feasible to charge for GPL-licensed works.

There you have it folks!  Hopefully this guide is complete enough to answer all the questions I’ve been receiving.  Feel free to post if anything isn’t clear, and I’ll update with more information as necessary.

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Problems recompiling Evidyon? Read about this editor bug!

I talked with Eric this afternoon about his issues with his changes not showing up in the server after he recompiled the game. After looking over the code, I realized that when you hit “compile” I changed it so that the process of compiling and writing out the files occurs in a separate process–this means that you have to wait a while before the changes are actually saved to disk! Rebuilding the game usually takes about 3-5 minutes. This can be fixed with some changes to the code, and has been added to the sourceforge tracker to be fixed at a later date.

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How to Increase the Overall Drop Rate

To increase the drop rate for a given class of items (common/uncommon/rare) for all monsters using the editor, just double-click the “Treasure” line, right-click one of the % chances, hit “edit” and set a new value. If you want to get an idea of what a given monster is dropping, go into the “Lifeform AI” entry, open up a monster, find its “Treasure” member, right-click that, then pick “View Drops”. What comes up is a list of % chance to drop-vs-item.

Once you’re happy, recompile the game.

To recompile the game, go to File > Compile… and select the existing files each for the “.evsvr” and “.evcli” files. This will overwrite them with your changes. Be sure to save the project somewhere in here as well!

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Evidyon GUI Graphics, Website Templates and Desktops

I just uploaded a 10-MB pack of graphics files (mostly PSD, but also html pages, css, and other images) that were used to establish Evidyon’s in-game GUI and give it its unique look.  If you’re itching to re-skin Evidyon or use the original logo for something, this is what you need to do exactly that.  Enjoy!

Edit: This pack is licensed under the GPL.

The star-like Evidyon icon on green background

https://sourceforge.net/projects/evidyon/files/Evidyon%20-%20Website%2C%20GUI%20and%20Icon%20Graphics.7z/download

New Evidyon videos posted!

I added more videos to the Evidyon playlist so check it out here.

Evidyon to be Presented at BOOM 2010!

BOOM (“Bits on our Minds”) is a Cornell research conference showcasing work of students.  Evidyon has been accepted and will be presented next Wednesday, March 3rd, from 4-6 PM in the Duffield Atrium. If you’re in the Ithaca, NY area, please feel free to drop by for a live demonstration!

More information can be found at the BOOM 2010 website.