When we got our hands on this code and started reassembling the pieces, we were able to walk around in Ur fairly quickly. It was an amazing and emotional moment for all of us. We could only run the game locally, so there were no other people. What made it more lonely was that the world was totally empty! There were no rocks, trees or animals; no street spirits or shrines, or even quoins! The task of putting them back was more than a little staggering!
Upon investigation of the XML data included in the repository, it turned out that there were 21,457 items in Ur that existed all the time…that does not count anything that a user could place, like notes, food items or anything else that could be dropped. To complicate things further, we knew WHAT belonged on the street, but we had no indication as to WHERE it should be placed. The only way to get these things back? We had to add them one at a time.
Thanks to our resident genius Scheijan, and a handful of people who enjoy (seemingly endless) mindless work, we have a system that allows us to “tag” an item based on full street snaps, which would place the item in the game in the approximate right spot with some scripting magic. Without the parallax effect, this is not a totally accurate process, but it does a good enough job for now! Here is an example of how items look when you can’t account for parallax:
You can see how the arc of quoins is squished – on the tagging page, it probably looked like it was spread out the correct way from the landing on the right to this bigger landing I’m standing on. You can also see how the tree is a little too far back to be accurate. But, it’s THERE!
This is what an unconfigured animal spawner looks like, along with a poor, mismatched street spirit:
All of these things will be fixed in what we are calling “Step 2”, which is going to be a fairly major QA process to configure all the spawners and street spirits, randomize the types of quoins that show up on each street, along with moving the trees, rocks and quoins to their proper positions. I’m currently working on how I would like to tackle this, but some other technical wizardry must happen first. Each item in Ur had its own “God Page” which allowed the developers to configure every possible asset to each item. We don’t have the code for the God Pages from Tiny Speck, so we’re going to have to come up with our own. Scheijan and Aroha are debating the best way to handle it!
Finally, this is a visual summary of statistics that represent a few weeks’ work:
I can’t believe how far we’ve come! We thought we’d done an amazing thing when we’d placed 1000 items. There are only about 8 of us doing a majority of the tagging! We intend to keep up the good work while the coders work their magic to get Ur back to the way it’s supposed to be!