Dragon Empires Newsletter - 20 December 2002

Merry Christmas!
Welcome everyone to our Christmas newsletter and I wish you all a great festive season and a happy New Year. December has been a lot of fun here as we have seen progress with characters, buildings, code and landscape. Roads are going in as we speak and city structures are being laid out. It's exciting seeing it all come together!

This newsletter will be one of our biggest to date as we have some much interesting news to tell you. But first, we hope you enjoy our lovely Christmas scene included with this newsletter. There's a use for Dragons after all!

Thank you to everyone who posted on our message boards or emailed us about their enjoyment of the new screenshots we released last newsletter and throughout this week. The developers get a real kick out of your enthusiasm and interest, so keep telling us what you think of what we're doing.

City expansion and upgrades
Until today we have held back one of the most exciting features of Dragon Empires while we completed feasibility studies. Well, now I am pleased to be finally able to tell you about our best kept secret: city expansion. While we have told everyone that clans will be able to add banners and statues to cities they own, what we hadn't told everyone is that you will also be able to add buildings. You will actually be able to make your cities bigger!

Clans who rule towns will be able to add buildings, walls, towers, clan lodges, workshops and many more items to their city. Through a unique system of 'placement points' that grow around the edge of the town the city will dynamically change and expand as new structures are added. What's more, you can upgrade these structures over time or decorate them with the previously mentioned placeable banners and structures. You will literally be able to watch your town grow from a small village to a thriving city.

In the image below you can see a sample of how this will work. In the first picture you can see a simple model of a small bird empire town showing the basic platforms it might have (we will show you the real models, with their spiral staircases and intricate woodwork in coming weeks). In the second image the clan has added a few new platforms to the town and in the final image the town has evolved into a thriving metropolis with many interconnected platforms and walkways. While these images do not show how it will look in game (the real models are being completed as we speak) it does give you a good idea of how towns will develop. 

What is even better is that towns in different empires will evolve differently. In the bird empire all the buildings are based on platforms in the treetops with houses and other structures attached. The city grows as new platforms are added. The other empires will evolve in a way fitting with each of their unique styles. Next year we will start to show you this in more detail as we announce the other three empires.

In order to place new buildings clans leaders or officers will have to use special building objects. When they do, they will enter build mode and they can see where it is possible to place the new structure so as to add it on to the city. Once placed the city will adjust to the new shapes, putting up walkways where needed, for example.

New buildings will also add to the usefulness of a town. Workshops will add to manufacturing efficiency, clan lodges will give the ruling clan a base of operations, towers and walls are useful when on the defence and so on.

We believe this exciting system will add a whole new depth and dynamism to the clan vs clan part of Dragon Empires and we hope you agree. Come tell us what you think on the forums.

Grand finale to the week of screenshots
After a week of releasing many new and exciting screenshots I am pleased to release another two screenshots exclusively to the beta test list. The first picture is taken from one of the highest peaks in the game. If you look carefully you can see the clouds swirling around the base of a distant mountain. The second picture shows how, as the sun sets, the red rays light up the sides of hills in this picture of the savannahs of the monkey empire.

Avatars on the forums
All players can now pick from a selection of avatar pictures to go alongside their message posts on the forums. Go to 'User CP' on the forum and then the options menu to work out how. Early next year we will start putting clan logos on the avatar selection menu so that clans can more easily identify each other and their members.

Important dates
Friday 3rd - First Dragon Empires newsletter of 2003
Friday 10 - Development diary
Friday 17 - Second January newsletter
Friday 24 - Development diary
Monday 27 - Developer Chat : gamer feedback on topics of interest to the developers.

Hot news
- New Dragon Empires screenshots have appeared all over the web.

- RPG Radar have an interesting interviewwith Peter posted.
- Dark City, a new Dragon Empires fan site has launched.
- Stratics posted a report on a Dragon Empires studio tour they had.
- New Dragon Empires screenshots have appeared is up on the topic of character models.
- Gen4 Magazine in France has some preview coverage of Dragon Empires in their December magazine.
- RPG Vault posted Q&A 14 on Dragon Empires.
- Just-RPG have posted a preview of Dragon Empires as well as interview.

Fan site of the week

Traveller's Emporium -http://home.earthlink.net/%7Ederek16/index.html

Dee, one of the nosiest community members on the boards runs a fan site devoted to fan fiction, some focused on Dragon Empires themes, some not, but all worthy of a read. Go check them out or join in and see your stories added to their list.

Forum post of the week
ExaviarIB has some very useful pieces of DE info and links available in this post
which is a guide for people new to DE. Check it out, you might learn something new!

Peter Tyson
Community Liaison Manager - Dragon Empires


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