Copying it here since I’ve come to the realization that like many other forums of the past (entropia-pioneers, entropiareality, etc.), even entropiaforum may not be here in a few years, like so many other other community forums, so the history may eventually wash away as people rewrite history in their own biased vision down the road… May come back and edit this later…
The Questions that were posted by the community are here:
and the original Q&A session was first mentioned here:
The Answers that were posted are here:
The Answers received from Mindark so far:
According to the answers thread, Hanne says that SDS
[quote]have responded to[B] all[/B] Planet Calypso and Entropia-related questions[/quote]
Let’s do a question by question breakdown of the questions that were asked and try to figure out which questions were asked that were [B]NOT[/B] responded to yet…
Also, while we are at it, let us take a look at this old Q&A session from a few years back, and some of the related threads that have come in to existence lately about various promises from the past to it to see if we can figure out what answers are still not out there that have been hanging around from back then that still need resolution:
Here’s a few of the threads tied to some of the older promises, some of which were never delivered (yet)
Then maybe that will give them something to be forthcoming with at a future date?… They promise better communication going forward. One way to help make that happen is to help identify where mis-communications have occurred in the past, figure out what promises from the past were made that were not honored, etc.
for quick reference, here’s a copy of the answers…
[quote]Support news from JWT
Statement from the CEO Jan Welter Timkrans concerning upcoming systems inside Entropia Universe
“We are currently prioritizing the systems necessary for the entire “Entropia Universe Concept” to function correctly. This includes getting the rudimentary space flight system that we had implemented in earlier versions up to speed. This is now our number one priority, which I am sure a number of current holders of hangars are pleased to hear. The new space system will permit flight from one planet to any other planet within the Entropia Universe and of course there will be opportunities for a lot of adventures along your travels.
We would also like to inform you that we have already employed about 20% new programmers who have started work in 2011 and we are aiming to employ about 20% additional programmers in the first and second quarters of 2011 so we can speed up the delivery of systems into Entropia Universe. Work has already started on the “Taming” and “ Mentoring” systems which will be back with a number of added features. Next in line is the “Makeup” and “Beacon “systems and mutants.”
Jan Welter Timkrans[/quote]
We have taken a look at the many questions you shared with us regarding the recent acquisition of First Planet Company, and have responded to all Planet Calypso and Entropia-related questions. We greatly appreciate your interest and look forward to continuing to respond to your queries as we continue under our new structure as SEE Digital Studios. More great things to come!
*Please note that all questions pertaining to Planet Michael will be answered as additional information is made available.
Thank you for your patience!
So, let’s start!
· How many full time staff will there be working on Planet Calypso?
The staff at First Planet Company has been retained and is now at SEE Digital Studios where they will continue to enhance Planet Calypso. Currently, the Planet Calypso team is focusing on continued post-launch development and updates.
· What can we expect in 2011? Can we have a roadmap?
We are not at liberty to disclose this information at the time, but we assure you that there will be many exciting new developments in 2011.
· When will we be able to sit down and lay down again?
This functionality is provided by the platform supplier MindArk, and will return.
· Have you given any thought to competitions for ideas, storylines, and new products for the players to help with development?
Yes, we plan on integrating in-game competitions that will involve the community in our efforts to continue rolling out new content in Planet Calypso.
· Where are the power fists? I am a level 43 Brawler (hit) without a power fist available to hunt or skill with.
SEE Digital Studios will continue to add new items throughout the planet, including new power fists.
· How much time does the design team have available to fix things like texture issues, bugs like when you can’t place items on pedestals, shop bugs etc.
SEE Digital Studios is working with the AGILE software development model, which segments each SDS content release into a number of sprints and milestones. The total development time is usually between 1 – 2 months depending on the release content. Due to the separation of platform and content, bugs are allocated to either MindArk or SDS. Depending on when SDS receives a bug report within our sphere of influence, its fix will be added to the current or next release plan.
· Is MindForce going to be Calypso-exclusive or are we going to SEE that on other planets as well? Like… Moonwalk Chip II (L)?
MindForce is an activity available throughout the Entropia Universe, and therefore can be used by all colonists on other planets. However, while the underlying system is generic, colonists may individually express themselves through MindForce. For example, magic can be used on a medieval planet.
· Is removing/adding event content always going to take weeks/months to change?
Adding new content and events takes time to plan, create, execute and finalize. Therefore it is difficult to put a time-frame on the process.
· Is it currently possible for things to happen in real time on the servers? Or must patches be applied?
Even though SEE Digital Studios has some access to real time parameters, most changes require a patch.
· Does SEE have plans to upgrade the Beacon system, providing different types of Beacons maybe, which yield different types of missions, in different types of location, against different creatures, etc.?
MindArk is continuing to develop the underlying Beacon system. They are enhancing the old systems and reintroducing them to give colonists new and improved quests.
· Will corporations be introduced into the game?
As we have stated in the past, we would like to develop the idea of corporations along the lines of factions.
· Any plans for new storage containers that aren’t so restrictive? Weight reducing containers that aren’t so rare?
This suggestion is being taken into consideration.
· Are the equipment, weapons, etc., going to be added too? Will any new gear be released and looted?
Yes, we currently have plans to add new equipment, weapons and gear.
· Will the additional funds now available allow for one or more additional developers working on community requests only?
Increasing communication with the community is one of our top priorities for 2011. We are working at establishing a stronger relationship between the community and SDS.
• Will there be more vehicles released?
Yes, we have plans to release many more vehicles, starting with the spaceship, which goes with the hangar system.
· Where are Simon and Emma?
Simon and Emma are still very much involved, but are now focusing their efforts toward in-game events and item parameterization.
Forum and Communication
· Will there be more communication with the end user (via forums, bulletin or email) to keep them updated on the future of development of both planets, due to the increased number of staff working on both?
Increasing communication with the community is one of our top priorities for 2011. We are working at establishing a stronger relationship between the community and SDS.
· Will this be the official Michael Jackson Forum?
No, Planet Michael will have its own forum at planetmichael.com.
· With new staff can we get frequent updates about what is happening both In-game and development status?
Yes, as mentioned, SEE Digital Studios is working toward increasing our relationship with the community. With that said, communicating in-game content updates and development status is at the top of our list.
· Is this the beginning of a new and sustained dialogue with the community?
Yes, as mentioned, we are currently exploring different methods of ongoing community satisfaction within the areas of communication and overall development.
· Do you have the feeling, the communication between you and the player base is good or bad?
Following requests by the community we have certainly increased communication by hiring Hanne as our dedicated community manager, and taking over the Entropia Forum, rebranding it as the official Planet Calypso forum. We now we have a forum dedicated to Planet Calypso and a community manager with strong ties. With that said, we plan to continue enhancing our interaction with the community by becoming even more involved and listening to feedback.
· Are you concerned by all the hate topics in the forum, or do you think most of the players are happy?
User feedback is always encouraged as it helps us understand the wants and needs of the community. We pay close attention to the negative comments in order to make improvements and ensure that we’re responding to loyal players with the big changes they’d like to see implemented wherever possible. This is a game for the community after all.
· What will change about these forums with this take over?
Initially there will be no major changes, however, over time we will improve the overall experience and connect more with the game and our player base.
· Will you be the official community manager regarding the MJ forum?
We are not at liberty to disclose this information at this time, but we assure you that Hanne’s focus will continue to be on Planet Calypso.
· Will you (SDS) listen to what your community is telling you?
Absolutely, user feedback is constantly encouraged as it helps us understand the wants and needs of the community.
· How long before this latest spurt of interest in the player base wanes and it’s back to the normal wall of silence and no communication from anyone other than Hanne?
Hanne is the official community manager so the majority of SEE Digital Studios communication currently comes from her, however we are working at establishing a stronger relationship between the community and all of SDS.
· There is a wish list here on the forum that in quite a number of cases contains a huge number of great, and seemingly easy to implement, enhancements and ideas. Is there a staff member in your company that’s responsible for actually checking this thread and passing the ideas on for further analysis?
The forum threads are closely monitored and both SEE Digital Studios and MindArk are very well aware of the wish list.
· Can we get quarterly ‘state of the game’ posts, about which direction you are taking the game.
The suggestion will be taken into consideration.
· What will be done to the current sweat crisis as there is only one use for ME on this planet and that is Teleport Chips?
We’re taking a hard look at this situation to see what we can do in the near future.
With the constant introduction of more land without an equivalent growth in the player base the value of each plot keeps dropping. What are your policies on this? Can SEE/SDS release as much new land as they please or are there restrictions? If so, what are these?
SEE Virtual Worlds and SEE Digital Studios will continue to implement the platform restriction ratio of land areas to active users.
· What will be done to the Planet Calypso economy to ensure better return rates?
Return rates are a part of platform balancing, which is managed by MindArk. However, SEE Digital Studios is currently in discussions with MindArk about balancing matters in order to enhance the end user experience.
· Is it guaranteed that big yearly sales like Medusa will happen going forward?
No, like most in-game transactions, some years there will have larger yearly sales than others.
· Will there be more DNA dropping including new ones?
· What steps will you take to correct the turmoil caused by VU 10.0 conversions of land areas and the introduction of iron missions for some mobs and not for others? Some of these changes were so drastic they reduced the value of some land areas by up to 80%. When if ever will you attempt to correct the remaining conversion issues, and at what point will you introduce iron missions for the remaining mobs to balance out the current imbalance?
We have been adjusting land areas since VU 10. It is our long-term goal to eventually have iron missions on all mobs.
· Will any land investment opportunities be added for smaller budgets? For example Land share market.
Yes, we are constantly looking at ways of expanding the economy for all budget sizes.
· What are your plans to address Squatters, in reference to Empty LA’s, Shops, etc., managed by inactive players?
SEE Digital Studios will continue to follow the terms set out in the Account Inactivity Policy, which will deem any account inactive if it has not been logged in to for a period of three hundred consecutive days.
· Does this mean you now have a budget for some serious advertising?
We are not at liberty to disclose this information.
Concrete plan to attract a growing stream of new participants into the universe – is there one and if so what is it?
In very general terms, we intend to address retention and customer service, as well as acquisition.
· Are there any plans to have a more traditional marketing campaign, specifically television advertisements, on the scale of other major studios such as Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft? Or do you not consider yourselves in the same league?
Several media campaigns are being considered to increase exposure of Planet Calypso.
Planet Calypso Specific
· Will the storyline of Calypso be actively developed?
· Are you going to tie up all the loose ends from previous stories? Using what functions?
Yes, we will be providing answers to any unsolved stories that will be sure to satisfy on all levels. For example, a major focus this year will be the resolution of the infamous ’Egg Story’.
· What is your vision for the future of Calypso?
Our main vision for the future of Planet Calypso includes streamlining, adding new opportunities and content, introducing events, and focusing our efforts on the overall colonist experience.
· When will the rest of Planet Calypso be developed? Server remakes and the rest of Amethera?
The development of Planet Calypso will be ongoing. Gradually we’ll address more of the servers and the development status.
· Will the Hangar system still be back next VU?
Yes, we plan on bringing the hangers back later this year.
· Where are Kerberos and Umbranoids?
Rest assured, Kerberos and Umbranoids will also return later this year once technical issues have been remedied.
· What about big story events for all professions instead of just hunters?
We have already included miners and crafters, but part of our long-term plan includes involving all player groups.
· When are we going to actually be able to travel to Akbal and/or Cimi?
We think this is a great idea and will take this into consideration. Thanks!
· What will SEE do differently to make me want to stay on Planet Calypso?
Some of the many changes will include increased product quality and communication, as well as better customer service.
We have no information at this time.
· Are we at war with the robots still or did we win?
As you know machines never give up but at times they need rebooting. This being said, the war is not over!
· And will the migration of Eomon be an actual migration or will they teleport from one location to the next every few hours?
We do want to get back to an actual migration feel and have received a few basic tools from MindArk that should allow us to achieve this.[/quote]
copy of the answers from 2007 Q&A
[quote]Q&A Answers (May 07)
Here are the Balancing Manager’s responses to the Q&A. Any questions that were unrelated to balancing were omitted. Also, rather than respond “I cannot comment on the inner workings of the dynamics of Entropia Universe”, any other questions that required such a reply were also omitted in the responses.
Thanks to all who provided questions for this thread. A New Q&A will come later on, and with a faster time frame between Q:s and A:s.
Are rare items expensive because they are rare or have they become rare drops because of inflation?
Submitted by Soundboy
It’s because of their rarity.
What were the biggest/most surprising balancing mistakes ever made?
Submitted by Pirx Danford
When the loot during 10 seconds after a release contained 1000 times more shadow armor parts than there should have been.
When am I going to get some decent loot or claims bigger than ample?
Submitted by dean
I actually don’t know and that’s a good thing.
The question is would a hunter have the same profit with the same loot on different LA’s with different taxes?
Submitted by Raffaele Meiers
On a land area with higher taxes the hunter pays higher taxes.
Why do you not “raise the bar” with SIB tools and weapons that require skills higher than the current “maxed” skills (~10k average) to give ubers something to aim for instead of destroying the chances of anyone new becoming uber (without an uber bank account)?
Submitted by Doer
We are doing that.
There are certain items that have disappeared completely from the game, or are stuck on old avatars not active anymore. I think it’s a shame that those items will be lost in history (and in some cases, all we have is pictures to know they existed). Not only talking about equipment, but rare clothing-pieces. We all know clothing doesn’t drop anymore so getting it back seems rather hopeless unless you plan to do something about it.
Do MindArk in any way plan for these items to have their “return” on Calypso?
Submitted by Skam
We have no plans to return these items.
Sometimes fairly common types of loot stop dropping completely, like Fine wool a few weeks ago. Is this on purpose or by mistake?
Submitted by Darkaner
There is always a natural variation cycle in drop rates on all items.
Is the promised MindForce update coming or have you given that up?
Submitted by nisse
It hasn’t been given up on. It will be done.
Does EVERY one in Entropia have the same programmed or instilled “luck”?
Submitted by jak
Of course everybody has the same installation there is no such thing as luck.
Why are rifles so plentiful and seemingly encouraged, with few options in melee weapons?
Submitted by Spud Striker
We are starting to introduce more now, with many more planned for.
Was the almost 20k ped HOF of Rugaritz a regrettable mistake?
Submitted by strakkan
No, but very rare.
Can we expect more L weapons to fill the incremental SIB equipment void soon?
submitted by The Nightbird
As the balancing manager how do you determine when you can release more Land Areas/Asteroids/Space Stations/etc without severely impacting existing owners and their profit?
Submitted by Vap0r
Time, statistics, and a pre-planned release strategy.
Will there be unlimited (!) melee amps, or improvement of melee generally?
Submitted by Alice
Yes to both.
Will you ever actually release a list (sort of a ‘Heads Up!’) in regards to HOW and possibly WHAT drops certain new items?
Submitted by Sunab Naverith
We have no such plans today.
What is the effect of the new auction fees on the general market transaction balance?
Submitted by helena
No unnecessary transportation sales, no display entries in the auction, an overall growth of the use of the auction and finally a growth of the use of participant owned shops.
What role do the commercial ads play with loots, ATH and HOFs?
Submitted by Haxtor moogle
They add money to the system by being watched.
When will you update with something not only MA is gaining on?
submitted by SODERD
We have done, and do so with every release – sometimes small things, sometimes whole systems. To take some examples: sweating, land areas, participant shops, auction system, real world and participant commercial system, Event system.
How many people are in the balancing department, what are their responsibilities and what is the process to balance a VU (loot changes, new features, etc.)?
Submitted by fluke
I cannot go into details here, but there is a group of more than five people involved in all balancing.
Will there be any amps for faps in the near future?
Submitted by Omega
We have no plans today to introduce them.
Why does MA make things better for crafters and worse for miners and hunters.
Submitted by bigdeal
We don’t, there are always ways to find opportunities in all systems.
Can we expect to see more frequent events and story lines that actually have both a head and a tail?
Submitted by JackFree
What makes an item balanced?
Submitted by Dunn
Many parameters determine balance, here are some of them. An item is balanced when:
It fits the user’s skill interval and current state in EU, meaning that it is fun to use and lets you interact with fun and intriguing events or mobs.
It doesn’t cost too much to use and its owner knows it.
You cannot drain the system with it.
It can be found in the way it was meant and with the right frequency.
The owner knows it’s expensive to use, but its fun to use or it has an interesting and unique advantage.
How many in game data points are you able to balance?
Submitted by Gazza
There are millions if you mean when items and rules are created. A lot fewer when the systems, items and Entropia are running. The goal is to sit beside the universe watching the nature of Entropia take its course.
I believe that the return rate (the “cash/ped” that the users are getting from the system as loot) should be increased. Why shall I play this game and not play on a casino where the odds are much more for me to gain some money?
Submitted by Niovara
I agree, everything we do aims for a better return rate for the users, but must still pay for the systems and us at MindArk. I think you should participate in Entropia because it’s a virtual universe and nothing else.
Market prices are at work, services are up for trade, socializing and training pays off. Opportunities are there all the time for the observant and hard working participant and not just at the same place everyday.
The universe isn’t static and predictable instead it’s built on natural laws and the goals of the users in it and that’s what makes it intriguing and full of possibilities.
As far as I know only CEO and balance-manager know exactly about and set the parameters of the loot-system.
Since this is the most important part of the whole RCE-game: Is some 3rd person/team checking their work or do they just proof each others work?
Submitted by Agnus Dei
There is a bigger team working with these questions today.
We’ve heard the term “Balancing Manager” ad nauseum, but there’s been no real description of what that position entails. Please describe exactly what you balance.
Submitted by AlphaGeek
Firstly, there is a whole team involved in balancing work. The team analyze every new system from when it’s only an idea to when you all are using it.
What will the system affect? What will it give and what will it take? What should the cost be to use the system and the items connected to it? Who will use the system, who are the real life users of system and who are the in world users? How will the system affect the performance of the hardware and the software platform and what will it cost to solve possible bottlenecks?
And of course the team continually analyze how a system works long after it has been released.
Does MindArk have any plans of rekindling the past staples of our economic growth, or is their vision purely of advancing into the future?
Submitted by Stryker
We are constantly working with both new and old systems. It’s just a matter of time and the point of view of the beholder.
Some time after VU with amp nerf has passed. Now what were impacts of it on “balance” (maybe reallocating part of loot from opalo users to high-lvl hunters etc.)?
Submitted by Denis
There is now a point in constructing, finding, selling and owning amplifiers other than just the best type. This has boosted the whole economy regarding amplifiers.
Why do some mobs loot a large variety of items while other mobs loot only 1 or 2 items?
Submitted by Chilly
All creatures have different benefits and drawbacks.
Is it balanced to make it better for low and high level players and worse for the mid-level?
Submitted by habanero
All users can find opportunities no matter what level they are at.
Today my hit ability is for example 3.9/10, 6.1/10 on EP-10 and the same up to EP-50, shouldn’t the hit ability be higher on low guns and get lower on high guns depending on your skills?
Submitted by Rapido
You have to use skill interval dependent tools to get what you ask for.
Is MA’s plan to keep going the actual process: Universe drain investor through big PR that deposit a lot of cash to buy “asset” and parasite gamer with tax and fee to use the new universe feature (examples: malls, CND, Land areas)?
Submitted by Etopia
We want to have many types of user groups. Investors with possibilities to enhance the experience of Entropia are one of those groups but certainly not the only one or even the biggest. Remember that they in many cases do important work with their areas and it’s voluntary to enter their areas.
Rare Items/Ores and especially Blueprints in inactive accounts are a huge balancing problem, because they can be reactivated.
Limited Items avoid this problem.
But what will you do to balance the existing rare Blueprints (etc) in inactive accounts?
Submitted by schnups
The inactive accounts are eventually purged and the items go back to Entropia open market. All this is taken account for in the balancing.
Are we all dealing with the same virtual world, insofar as odds/rules/chances?
Submitted by Amanita
Will Houses ever have the option of selling items when a player is off line like a shop without the need of a shopkeeper?
Submitted by TotalTwist
You need to have a shop or a shopkeeper.
Is Land Grab no longer existent?
Submitted by Mercury
It definitely is existent and will return, in a different way though.
When will respawn rate of mobs be fixed during events?
Since kinda hilarious to try to host nice events for community if there isn’t any mobs left after 5-15min of shooting in LA. No problem with Big mobs and 10 or 20 participants, but above 20 participants LA will be wiped clean.
submitted by Zap
The mobs will re-spawn faster after the next release.
In a previous support case I asked if there will ever be any whip better than my Cobra ME. The reply was NEVER. So if there will never be any whip with more damage – how can the taming system work with bigger mobs?
Submitted by Sneaky B’stard
Of course there will be more whips that do more damage.
The transferring of skills as it is now seems to be very confusing for most players. Will we see a system that is easier to manage, like just entering i want to fill a chip with 10 PED worth of skill x, then it shows how many of your skills that would take away and you press ok?
Submitted by Snakecharmer
No plans for that now.
What is the prime motivation in your balancing?
To create a sustainable intriguing world with indisputable natural laws that can host a vast number of users and activities.
I’m wondering if MA is going to introduce more mobs that use firearms as their
combat mode? There are currently 96 mobs in Entropia, of those only 5 are firearms.
Submitted by m0000
Whilst this isn’t strictly speaking a balancing issue, it does have a relevant impact for crafters. The lack of knowledge of what these attachments (scopes and lasers) actually do quite possibly subdues the market for them thus having a direct impact on the cost of crafting such attachments for crafters. Can MindArk provide a little more clarity as to the function of laser sights and scopes?
submitted by Jimmy B
More information has been delivered to all items, we are just not ready with all items yet.
Now that players will be able to upload content of their own in form of pictures, ads or videos, wouldn’t it be cool to be able to upload your own musical compositions?
Submitted by Glyphan
Will there be more shops available at places like Genesis, Omegaton, Sakura?
Submitted by Violet
Are there any plans to introduce farms in the game, or farming licenses?
Submitted by Dusk
Will we one day have the ability to take one melee weapon in each hand?
Submitted by ufcfl
Does MA has an “inferior loot list” for avatars that have been annoying?
Submitted by Micheva
Will an item appear on market by re-looting it after it was TTed (used up)? Is the rule applicable to any kind of items?
Submitted by Auktuma
I’m not going to give details, but it works something like that.[/quote]
Here’s some of the questions that were posted that were not responded to that I’ve located.
[quote]Exciting to see all these new planets popping up.
There is thread about cost to travel between planets but can you throw some highlights on what am I paying 40ped for each way between planets?[/quote]
[quote]Will hangars and their spaceships be offiacially tradeable then?[/quote]
[quote]Will the teleporting between planets allways be available?[/quote]
[quote]Will every planet ( including Michael) bring additional hangars which serve as launching platforms for their pilots?[/quote]
[quote]What happened to the Harbinger event? I mean it never had a conclusion? Will it have one soon? What about our diplomas? [/quote]Answer was that the war is not over, but nothing about this particular question…
[quote]How about some skill bonus event again?[/quote]
[quote]How many full time staff will there be working on Planet Calypso?[/quote]20% is not really an answer as it’s not a real number…
[quote]How many staff on planet michael?[/quote]
[quote] In the development of Calypso what do you plan to develop?[/quote]Question is a bit vague, but I think the intention is to ask what the roadmap is for 2011, and what the priorities are. They did answer this by more or less saying they don’t know, I think?
[quote] In which order will these parts of calypso be developed?[/quote]
*** DOWN TO #4 IN QUESTIONS SO FAR… WILL ADD MORE LATER. FEEL FREE TO ADD MORE BEFORE I DO IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT.
Also, can anyone find the original 2007 question list to see which ones were passed over?
of course… what’s the point, lol…
When you have a few peds on your avatar’s ped card in Entropia Universe, it is a good idea to price around and window shop a bit before doing any buying. The global auction system, accessed from the auctioneer npc is one of the main markets in game, and it is what is used to determine market value of item. However, in game shops in the malls and outlying areas are where you can sometimes find some spectacular deals. Actually, some “resellers” that sell things on the auction get their stuff from shops around the countryside where they can find items cheaper than they can in the auction. Sure, there are some greedy shop owners that want to price things way above where they should be, but there are also lots of shop owners that price things well below the auction values on a regular basis.
At my shop in Omegaton West Habitat, Delta Tower, I try to personally keep things below market value when possible. I can’t do it on everything since the minimum markup on items is +1 ped, so minimum total price is 1.03, which is the +1 Ped + 2 pecs for taxes that is automatically added to the pricing. Tax is approximately 2% in most shops in games currently.
The reason I, and several other shop owners, can keep our prices so low is that we deal directly with crafters, hunters, and others that get us the goods in direct deals, or bulk buying deals. That keeps things cheap, and keeps those that we buy from having a steady income instead of a sporadic income they would otherwise have if they only used the auction system to sell everything. Additionally, the auction costs them more in the long run since the auctioneer will take a fee from the seller of items regardless of whether the item sells or not.
Shop owners like myself, who set up consignment deals, usually pay Trade Terminal value to those we buy from, then we try to sell the items in question, and if we get sales, we share profits back to the original item’s owner later. If the item does not sell, we contact the original owner after a specified time period and offer the item back to them at trade terminal value. That keeps them having some peds on hand, us having something to sell, and keeps the general public happy since they have interesting items to look at in the shops that are always changing. We can afford to change the inventory out and swap things around that don’t sell since we are not paying markup for the items until a sell is made in consignment shops.
Other shops pay markup on everything, and then they get stuck with items they might not be able to sell. That’s sometimes the right way to do things, especially if markup climbs later after an item is acquired, but many times, it’s silly to pay full markup for items that you might not be able to sell, especially if you are just buying it for the purpose of reselling it.
When you double click on an item in a shop, you will see the item screen that explains more about the item. There are several tabs in the item screen, including a little popup window you can access that shows the market history of the item, which lists the price that the item was sold at in the auction for the day, week, month, year, and decade. That history screen is very important when you are checking prices on things since you’d otherwise have no reliable way of knowing exactly how much an item is worth. Before that window came along, buying things from shops was hard to do since it was difficult to know how much the stuff you were looking at was really worth. The same thing happened on the auction sometimes before the history window existed. Be glad it’s there and use it. It could save you a lot of peds over time.
Not all items in shops and booths are for sell. You can tell what’s for sell or not by seeing how much the markup is on the item in the main item screen (left most tab). Items that don’t have a markup are not for sell, and cannot be purchased. Usually items that are not for sell are there just for decorative purposes to give the shop a theme or specific look that the shop owner wants the place to have.
If you do window shop, be sure to look around at all of the malls and shops. There’s a bunch of them. Many don’t have their rent paid, so you cannot access them, but the active shop owners do keep their rent paid, and keep prices marked up, usually at descent levels because they want you to buy. Pricing around at various shops, just like window shopping in the real world, can sometimes get you some spectacular deals you would have otherwise missed.
In a future post, I will go in to details about what it is like to be a shop owner in this virtual universe.
In another post in the future, I might try to list all of the shops in game that I know about. There’s a LOT of them. Remember there’s 3 mall shops in game (Port Atlantis, Twin Peaks, and Emerald Lakes) so far, lots of various shops in the countryside and in apartment basements (Omegaton West Habitat, Genesis HQ, Sakura City, Treasure Island, Minopolis, North of Fort Argus, and a several other places too), a really big shopping area on Club Neverdie, a few booths on Crystal Palace, and several other places people can sell things since shopkeepers enable ANY estate in game to become a shop… including but not limited to any apartment, any hanger, and any Land Area. Additionally, shopkeepers can be used to add more item slots to already established shops, making them even bigger than they once were.
There’s an entire virtual universe to window shop in!
When new planets come in to play there will likely be even more shops elsewhere.
This is all ancient news to those that pay attention to the 3d industry, but I’m posting here anyways just for folks that may not be aware…
1982, Roman Ormandy defects from Czechoslovakia and spends three years in New York. Starting in the shipping department of a suitcase factory making Apple suitcases, he breaks into the PC business.
1985, Roman attends Siggraph ’85 in San Francisco. He admires the SGI workstations, but buys an Amiga PC and the trueSpace vision is born!
1986, Video tape of Caligari prototype is displayed in Commodore’s booth at 1986 Siggraph which generates tremendous interest. Octree Corporation is founded, setting out to revolutionize the 3D marketplace.
1988, Caligari1, one of the first 3D visualization products for the Amiga is released. It does not do much yet but it has a novel interface and integrated workspace.
1990, Caligari2 is released for the Amiga. Positioned as a design and video production tool, it supports photorealistic rendering and “real time response to all user actions”. (2Mb of RAM required)
1991, Caligari Broadcast sports animated deformations, sweep tools, interactive spline based hierarchical animations, a visual time editor and resolution up to 8000×8000.
1992, Caligari24 is released with upgraded features such as 32Bit color, organic deformations and further improvements in perspective interface. It soon becomes clear, however, that MS Windows would become the standard operating platform.
1993, Octree moves from New York to the Silicon Valley. Leaving the East Coast behind, it designs a new software architecture and changes its name to Caligari Corporation.
1994, trueSpace, powerful, usable 3D graphics and animation for Windows is released. It changes the landscape of the 3D market with the first integrated 3D animation and modeling package.
1995, trueSpace2 is released to receive critical acclaim and industry awards. It is the first 3D software to support 3D acceleration, alas no 3D accelerators are shipped at the time.
1996, Pioneer is released as the 1st VRML authoring tool integrated with a built-in browser. Wins critical acclaim but VRML fails to live up to user expectations.
1997, trueSpace3 builds upon the excellence and ease-of-use legacy by integrating VRML, inverse kinematics, physics, metaballs, 3D paint and collision detection. More awards follow.
1998, trueSpace4 – Born to Accelerate. 8th generation and a major step forward in 3D authoring, trueSpace4 closes the gap between high end and ease of use.
2000, iSpace – a web graphics tool that enables the creation of stunning 3D graphics in HTML and Flash format. It delivers photorealistic web sites and uses simple drag&drop interface.
2001, trueSpace5 – Reality Designer, providing designers access to an affordable and powerful 3D design tool for all stages of the creative process including conceptual design.
2002, trueSpace6 improves workflow and professional design tools like layers and deform tools. It also reduces repetitive tasks through arrays, mirror modeling and more, making everything from modeling to final render, faster and simpler than ever before.
2003, trueSpace6.6 – introduces non-linear animation, and improved physical simulation. Workflow and modeling are further enhanced, keeping trueSpace the ideal choice for animation, design, illustration and game creation.
2003, gameSpace – 3D content creation for game development software and game engines, based on the trueSpace6.6 core and providing tailored modeling and animation tools, import and export, at a realistic price point. 2006, truePlay – free application to allow anyone to enter the shared 3D spaces, for collaboration with colleagues, friends and peers.
2006, trueSpace7 – introduces a whole new software core, which includes the first ever collaborative workspace that allows people to work together in the same shared 3D space. V-Ray renderer, new DX9 real-time view, and new scripting, physics and procedural objects also introduced.
2007, trueSpace7.5 – expands on the tools introduced in trueSpace7, adding better character animation, and more tools in the new workspace aspect of the program.
2008, Caligari and Microsoft join forces – Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, Caligari is able to release trueSpace7.6 for free. With further expansions and improvements to the tools, now anyone can make professional 3D at no cost
It’s been interesting seeing this company come to life, and die by being bought by one of the biggest companies around. Caligari was a neat startup. Unfortunately, a lot of neat startups get gobbled up by gigantic corporations. This is just one of the latest examples of this in the 3d industry…
Autodesk and Adobe are too other giants that eat their competition like Microsoft did with Caligari, and other companies are too to various degrees..
Alias bought Kaydara in 2004. Kaydara had created some awesome software called Motionbuilder, and they actually were selling it to individual artist very cheaply. Go check out the history of it on the forums at 3d buzz… Back when I got my personal edition from Kaydara itself it costs about 100.00 or 200.00…
Autodesk bought Alias in 2005 thereby taking over both Motion builder and Maya…
and looky here at what happened… Now the personal edition is long gone and Motion Builder costs $3995.00!
It is nice that what used to cost a lot (TrueSpace) is now free… I originally bought version 3, then upgraded to 4, then 5… and quit upgrading after that because I switched over to Lightwave around that time… but it is sort of sad to see a company get gobbled up… especially one that was nice to new users and had a very good interface that helped developing 3d artist learn the ropes.
If you like the fact that trueSpace if free since you are an artist or want to become one, you might check out http://www.wings3d.com/, http://www.anim8or.com/, and http://www.blender.org/since Wings, anim8or, and blender are also free. Other freebies are out there, but these are the main ones that I know of that a lot of folks use.
Gmax is also free, but it’s several years old and is really just a dumbed down version of 3d Studio Max, which the big corporation Autodesk owns and wants you to pay a lot for…
It’ll probably just be a matter of time before Microsoft execs figure out some way to make Caligari’s trueSpace and gameSpace technolgy become massively expensive toys for the rich.
(If you can’t tell by the tone in this post, I’m not a huge fan of Micro$oft. I can’t tell you how many crashes have killed my artwork and other creative endeavors because Windows 95, 98, and XP all were pure junk. Vista is not far behind, but it a little more stable… Also, as someone that plays Entropia Universe a lot, I have a little bit of a grudge against Microsoft for when they tried to kill of Project Entropia in it’s early days by falsely accusing them of being pirates.)