Exclusive: Indie sandbox El Somni Quas state-of-the-game dev diary


It’s been a hot minute since we heard from El Somni Quas, the indie sandbox from a Czech studio that cut its teeth on Ultima Online emulators and is porting its ideas into its own game with 3-D sensibilities. There are two reasons for that, as developers Jiří Wallenfels and Zbyněk Juračka explain.

“We have promised to produce a functional alpha test till the end of the year, so we are trying to finish off individual steps needed for launching the first gaming client,” the team says. “Secondly, regarding the world, not that many things are being built to create new scenes. We’re trying to perfect the scenes already built; the roads, rivers and most of all, we are trying to maximize FPS. Right now, we’re writing from our ESQ team meeting in Prague, trying to optimize the next steps.”

Wallenfels has kindly granted Massively OP another exclusive dev diary that’s a sneak peak into the current state of the game. We’ve included the whole piece down below!

What’s completed:

World: Has been ready some time in the means of generating the surface of the world, nature, oceans etc. While creating the world, we were really trying to keep as close to the original world of UO shard Endor as possible. Part of the world has been built already and pictures are available on our Facebook profile. It is rather important that we have tuned our building processes, and even when building new locations we are trying to please our players by keeping original locations.

Data migration from Endor: We have brought over all of the settings, monsters, items, spells, rituals, recipies, quest text, and NPC conversations – basically everything that made Endor Endor in the last 13 years – and moved it into a usable database of our ESQ project.

Patcher/launcher/updater: The launcher, the first thing the player sees and the thing that keeps the players clients code up to date, as well as the patcher and updater, are already done. They’re only in rough graphics, but nevertheless it’s here.

Network layer: After conducting demanding tests, we expect that the network protocol can handle the load of 10,000 simultaneous users. This is mainly because the server part was designed as extremely scalable and therefore is able to dynamically increase performance. All of the actions on the client are controlled by the arbitration server, which greatly reduces the possibilities of speedhack and similar cheats. According to the alpha data, we will prepare server farm design and followed it by more stress tests.

What needs to be done:

GM tools: This is a tool for gamemasters and for world builders used for placing network game items into the world. At the moment, the server part is ready and we’re finishing the code and graphics of the client‘s part.

Fight controler and character animation: We already have combat with a sword, sword and shield, unarmed combat, and riding on a horse. The characters can run, jump, and fight as mentioned previously. The characters are fully morphable within set limits. Gradually we are finishing other fight styles (motion capture). At the moment we’re about to implement a ranged combat (probably not running at the time of alpha start).

GUI: We’re still using a generic user interface without our own graphics and are looking for suitable graphic style.

The last steps to alpha:

Settling the world with network items: Some objects can’t be part of static client map but must be dynamically loaded from server. It’s gonna be necessary (after finishing the already mentioned GM tools) to put into the world active network objects, doors, chests, teleports, etc.

Client completion: We are working with a vast amount of graphic data. For the purpose of this game, we need to choose only the data from the databank that are necessary for the game. The data need to be wrapped with configuration of all active objects, the light configuration, sounds, animation, textures, etc. Just to imagine: At the current moment, the working database has these parameters. textures: 18377 (35.7GB), items: 8430 (407 per character, 82.9MB), models: 6535 (86 NPC, 1.2GB), animations: 3918 (514 per character, 110MB), for a total of 43900 files (51.6GB). The completion outcome will be a compiled client (exe) and data in distribution packages. This outcome will be distributed to clients after launching the launcher via updater/patcher. Before any of this happens, the distributed data will pass through the test environment. At the same time a code for the client and the server is generated so they can communicate with each other.

We have a lot of work to do, and even though alpha will be limited in its gaming abilities, it’s a huge step for us. It will the the first version of our game, which we will continue to expand, perfect, and pamper. The show must go on.

We’d like to thank the ESQ developers for sharing their design plans with our readers once again! You can read much more on the official website and in our previous coverage:

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