Jul 05, 2017 Astraea "Live Development"

Hey everyone!

Today we are excited to announce a new feature we've added to the Norwind Client. We are calling it "Live Development". This new feature allows Astraea owners to play the very latest version of the game immediately.

As we work on the game and literally every time we save our code, maps, files, etc the game will instantly update and be available for download. In a single day there will likely be multiple updates. This gives you players a nice and easy way to view the game as we are working on it.

So how does this work? It's actually quite simple! All you need to do is download and install the Norwind Client (login to the member area for a download link), and login to the client. Once logged in you'll see a button titled "Activate Live Development". If you click on it you'll see a big warning like this:

It's important to understand what you are getting into before blindly activating this feature.

1) Once you activate Live Development, you will be unable to use the public builds of the game temporarily. Once you begin playing the game your Astraea save file will be incompatible with the publicly released version of the game. This limitation will be in effect until we release a new public update. Once that happens Live Development will be turned off for EVERYONE. After the public update is released you will once again have the option to activate Live Development.

2) Live Development players cannot play online with regular public players. If some of your friends have Live Development activated, you will either have to wait until the next public update or you will need to activate Live Development.

3) Windows Only. The Live Development feature actually deploys the Mac and Linux versions of the game as well, however right now we have no means of distributing these builds. If there is demand we can create the Norwind Client for Mac/Linux which would allow for Live Development on those platforms.

4) As is the nature of this feature, the Astraea builds will be entirely untested and unstable. If we accidentally save some bad code and the game crashes, the system will automatically know not to publish it to the Live Development update. However we will be adding and fixing features on a daily basis, so one day you might login and see something that doesn't work, but in the evening it suddenly does. So expect many changes daily!

I think that covers most of it. If you are interested in activating Live Development on your account, but have questions or concerns, please contact us with any questions you may have!

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Jun 17, 2017 New Office & Astraea Update

Hi everyone! It's been a very busy time here at Norwind! We have a couple quick updates for you ..

1) We are very excited to announce that we have opened a new office! At this new location we will be offering a number of local services to the Winnipeg community. For all the details on that head over to the services page.

Feel free to stop in or give us a call! We even have playable copies of Astraea ready to go!

Speaking of Astraea ...

2) We are still working on it! Seriously! I know it's been a long time since the last update, but I can assure you that things are still moving forward. Progress has slowed a bit since we have had numerous side-contract projects (to help with funding), but those are all wrapping up very soon. Once that happens you can expect an Astraea update shortly after.

What I can say is we are still committed to releasing on all our announced platforms and are even looking into a few additional platforms. We hope to have some good Astraea news soon!

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Jan 21, 2017 A New Year - Astraea, Updates, and More

Hello everyone! Once again it's been far too long since the last update - sorry about that!

I've been getting a lot of inquiries recently regarding Astraea's status, so let me say here that I am still working on it! The game is still on track for a PC and console release. Over the past few years Astraea has been evolving a bit and while town building is still a core mechanic, I am now looking at adding features that were not initially planned (combat for example). I'm not going to go into that just yet, but there are some cool things underway. As I've said from the beginning, the game won't be released until it's ready.

Also, since October I've been making many big changes to the game and as a result alpha players will be required to restart their town when the next update hits. I'm going to hold off releasing the update until I'm confident the 'save breaking' changes are finished. Once the next update releases, I will likely bump the game up to a beta state. There are massive changes underway including new content, quests, features, etc.

Lastly I've made some more tweaks to the server infrastructure here. Around a month ago I tripled the network speed, so that should greatly improve the speed when downloading purchased games. This also gives me a higher capacity for Astraea game servers, so that's good!

So while the game won't be released until it's ready, I'm hoping it will be ready soon!

If you have questions, thoughts or feedback feel free to send me an email on the contact page! Until next time!

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Aug 22, 2016 Another Update

Hi everyone! It's been a little bit of time since the last update - sorry about that! A lot has happened since March, so let's fill you in!

- I am still hard at work on Astraea! I work on it every evening, as long as I can each day. I have people asking me constantly when the game will come out and I can only say "soon". I want the game to come out as badly as you do - but I also want to make sure the game is loads of fun!

- I recently performed a major upgrade on all our servers. As a result of this, a number of our core services (website, Astraea login, etc) went offline for around an hour this weekend. It appears everything is back up to speed, but if you notice something not working correctly, you can let us know via email!

- I also removed the Norwind forum this weekend. I mentioned when I initially set it up that if it wasn't going to be used, then I would remove it. So that's how it is. I may spin up a fresh forum when Astraea launches, but until then the forums will remain offline.

I'll try to keep this feed updated more often! Until next time!

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Mar 21, 2016 Astraea and VR

Hey everyone!

So I've been experimenting more with VR the past few days. One of the things I've noticed with VR in general is that to make a good VR experience, you need to build a mode/game specifically for VR. Not just tacking it on. As you may remember a long time ago, I had initial Oculus DK1 support in Astraea. When the game detected a headset, it would zoom the camera into the characters head. So when you looked around, you would be looking through your characters eyes.

While this was certainly neat, it was definitely gimmicky and absolutely 'tacked on'. And certainly not fun.

After lots of brainstorming, I've come up with Astraea's VR mode which I think will be fun and unique! So if the game detects a VR headset (initially I'm supporting Oculus and HTC Vive - and maybe one more), you will become a virtual god.

You will be able to look in front of you and you will see a miniature sized version of the town (this works in multiplayer - everything in Astraea works multiplayer). In one hand you will have a palette that will contain a variety of in-game items as well as special 'god' items. Does your friend need some extra wood? No problem! Just reach down and yank a tree out of the ground and snap it in half!

So VR players will be able to command storms by waving around their hands, place or move items, mess with villagers or players (e.g., pick them up!). I'm still working out what you can all do as a god, but ultimately the town owner will be able to control all 'negative actions' (destroying things, throwing villagers around, etc).

In the end though I want players to be able to experience Astraea from a totally different perspective and from a totally different game play experience. I want the game to be fully playable in VR, but from a completely different viewpoint and experience from the regular game (you don't have to chop trees for example - you can simply pull them up with your hands).

That's where I'm heading right now! Don't expect to try this anytime soon though. I want to do a lot of onsite testing first before I push it into the master branch. In the meantime I am still working on a nice content update. Hopefully that will be done soon!

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