This Week In Veloren 200

14 minute read29 November 2022

Authored by Christof

This week, we take a step back and tell some personal stories behind the game development.

- Christof, TWiV Contributor

I apologize for dragging the final publication of this issue over several months. The excellent and plenty material in our 100th developer blog certainly created high expectations for this issue. Since it coincided with a change of the editor position it was difficult to live up to these.

Many people contributed their personal stories and I will just present them in arbitrary order, starting with the short ones. This issue also contains stories from moderators, an important assignment which was less prominent hundred issues ago.

Though yet, I was not able to collect as many stories as I had liked to from the many non-English communities which grew during the past months. Please feel free to contribute your stories to a future issue.

Stories with Veloren

@darin755: "I found Veloren after searching for FOSS games other than Minetest. I started playing it and was blown away by how detailed and complex the game is."

@RunRobDog: "After months upon months of playing Veloren I still play it now and then because it's just straight up a good game, especially to consider how early it is in development."

@acrimon: "I've been here a darn long time too I feel not as early as lunar but still early Veloren had like 20 peeps or something caring about it? I think zest convinced me this was a good idea."

@LunarEclipse: "For me it was the comment on the cube world subreddit, I was the 4th person to join the discord iirc and offered to help with setting up the server, then I learned Rust to work on Veloren."

@Treeco: "I can't remember how I learned of it honestly, it wasn't a CubeWorld route, though I happened to join the day CW died so that was a bit of a mess. I mostly just sit in the Discord and argue with people so I never feel I have much to say for these things sadly.

I remember the blog posts more than the game itself from early on, somehow? Following what was going on - rivers, at the time. I think I joined the server to follow that better, and then eventually got in to help test them, then got bullied into learning to compile so Sharp didn't have to manually start off a build with every push. Good times honestly.

I guess the arguing began as it became more of a game, and my ideas for what kind of game I'd like to see solidified. The simulation aspects were what drew me to the project, and trying to get decent gameplay while not compromising that is an interesting problem.

(And subjective as all hell of course. All in good fun, I'm phrasing it as arguing but I think it all stays fairly chill most of the time? I don't know if any of this is worth including in a writeup though. And the end I haven't done much, I guess. Might be impostor syndrome talking, but tbh I probably am the impostor. Don't amogus me, I fucking swear...)"

@DaforLynx: "I formally joined Veloren development in August 2020, making music. At the time, 0.7 had just released. This little project seemed to me an incredible fortune to stumble upon - a true gem. An open-world game, open-source and open-development. The game itself captured my imagination, reminding me both of existing games I had put down and looked upon nostalgically and of games I had imagined making years ago.

The years have flown by and I have contributed to development enough that I am now an audio team lead. When I joined, there were 15 music tracks in the game. Now, there are 64. As the gameplay and visuals evolved, so did the audio experience, thanks to the efforts of many, many composers, sound designers, and coders.

However, I also see how far we have yet to go. The things I have in mind include a reorganized and revamped audio system, a potential library switch, adaptive music, and the long road to modernizing the audio experience.

Which reminds me: among the first tasks to do this year is a switch of all "rendered" assets to a Creative Commons license. Currently, all assets and source code are licensed under GPLv3, which doesn't actually contain provisions for assets specifically. Switching these assets, mainly including all music and sounds, to a new license would clear the water regarding their use and publishing in other projects. This switch hasn't happened yet, but will in the near future. We will need the consent of the owners of the assets to include them in the game after the license switch."

@KaliKatz: "Moderation is just a job like any other, no spot light is really required. recognition, sure..ok.

As for the rules, that's going to be different for users and admins of there own servers. Should be up to the admin or admins to post the rules and regulations that there moderators use to police them. We have done that, the rules & info is posted already. We as moderators, should read and understand them, and then police on that basses. As for timeouts and bans, each would have a different case, going to be hard to make rules for each of them. Generally I go with no timeouts and just perm ban. Quite a lot of "people" listen and has worked for me. But I am usually quite forceful, in reminding players, fun is fun, but were all real people in the end and hurt is hurt. I don't reverse my decisions, and give pretty clear warnings before a perm ban. Kicking/killing merely wakes them up and reminds them that mods are real. On those that are clearly perm ban, easy. But easy moderating it isn't. Timeouts are good for those "jail" times, but they just instantly come back as alts, or don't bother coming back at all. Its simply easier to perm ban them away instead of micro-managing. Ban evasion is easy, the account page allows for this and should be made more challenging and slower to discourage griefers. But I have said that before.

So, about the guidelines... each server will have its own, we already have ours, maybe add some "new" rules to it from the already heavily used and somewhat abused #moderation-discussion.

As for a "spot light", in the end, its merely a self satisfying position...dirty...and no one really cares that you did a bad/good job. Its not for everyone. If its just for the free tp and tricks, then your just using them to play the game differently."

@Christof: "Some weeks ago I realized that the majority of my work-related skills I learned on open source projects. PostgreSQL has taught me how to structure huge C projects, Gtkmm introduced me to the wonders of well designed C++-98, monotone taught me Lua and Boost. On Veloren I learned Rust and WebAssembly which right now is exactly what I use day in day out.

I am immensely grateful to the numerous people on these projects which provided me guidance on how to properly write programs. This educational aspect of open source projects might be less obvious but it literally meant the world to me. I wouldn't be in the position I am now without the skills I learned, also on the Veloren project.

Two years ago I was keen on making the economic simulation as good as possible - that dream has not come true yet. The economic simulation is still horribly inaccurate but sort of works, the rewrite while more correct had a tendency to spiral down to starvation. I learned a lot and got another brilliant idea on how to really fix it this time …

Meanwhile I worked on the plugin infrastructure, both the WebAssembly and the asset only variant of plugins. I originally started this in preparation for a school internship in game development of a friend of the family. But it became clear that even with the work spent on improving wasm plugins, they wouldn't be ready in time. Luckily he proved skillful enough to create parametrized buildings with CSG in site2.

At the beginning of this year I was contacted by @Pfau to fix a small glitch in spots - the work on that project has been immensely satisfying - because I had another person who was directly building on my work to create amazing in game structures. I really recommend anyone to team up in development, it is more fun, highly motivating and gives quick feed-back about the features you create. And the chance to get your work integrated into the game increases with every person also having a stake in the feature branch.

So thanks to you all for a good two and a half years and let's make Veloren even better and better."

@UncomfySilence: "Hello, most of you know me as Uncomfy. I first came across this game in the comment sections of one of many “CubeWorld’s Downfall” videos back in early April of 2021. I had a lot of free-time back then so I decided to download and boot this game up. The moment I stepped into the world of Veloren, only aware that it was a voxel game similar to CW, I was stunned by the visuals, animations, music, every little bit of the game I experienced. I sat glued to my little desk, walking around world for ~30 minutes, just exploring the various biomes and entities whilst muttering “wow” to myself. After familiarizing myself with the game some more I decided that I wanted to become more knowledgeable about it and help in any way I could considering that it was open source.

I honestly didn’t really know how to approach this behemoth of an early development game and the thousands of people already seated within the discord server. I tried my hand at some art and some idea proposals but I mainly just ended up reading the new and unfolding discussions between some of the established members in the community. After some time just asking questions in-game and in discord about game mechanics I ended up with enough confidence to start answering questions from even newer members of the community. There was always the chance that I was wrong with a statement of mine, but I knew that there’d be a correction from someone more knowledgeable just around the corner. I simply wanted to be the one to help guide people that may have been as confused about certain mechanics as I was (considering that I didn’t know how to fix them code wise :P).

Over time I eventually became a moderator for Veloren, likely due to my continuous participation amongst the community. To each moderator there is a different meaning to the term “moderation”, even though at the end of the day moderation is just keeping the peace within Veloren. To me, moderating is trying to guide, discuss, enjoy my time, and interact with the community! So far I’ve greatly appreciated my time here amongst the lot of you, no matter how many circular debates with treeco I get into or repetitive questions I answer! Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you in-game or on the discord server soon. :)"

@Hannibal: "Hello! I am Hannibal, also known as DA BIG KHAN in game. I arrived on the discord on January 19th, 2020, after reading about it on Cube World's Steam forum posts. At first, I was just curious about the project, and wanted to see how it’d progress before actually starting to play the game and to contribute on it. At that time, I decided to train on MagicaVoxel, the software we use for models, watching tutorials and practicing to get better at it. I originally come from Minecraft’s building scene, so voxel modeling was familiar, but I quickly realized how different the two were.

I came back after a long break from discord activity in June 2021, where I became an active contributor. My contributions are mostly buildings and structures. I like to view myself as a 3D architect for Veloren, where my models serve as mockups for our procgen team. I have only a few actual contributions in the game because I mostly do 3D concept art, rather than direct contributions. Some of the in-game assets include spots (the pirate outpost, some jungle temples and totems, shipwrecks, and the Stonehenge-like structure), dungeon entrances (pyramids and desert structure). I believe I started making a “name” for myself when I designed a desert city in October 2021, which gave us the idea to have party maps, something our seasoned players are (I hope lol) enjoying a lot. In January 2022, we had our first big release party map, the desert city, where at the time, I thought I had pushed the limits of MagicaVoxel. It was a massive success, and I keep a lot of good memories from this time. After that, I began working on the second party map, the Jungle Pirate Islands, where I added an extra layer of work to the process: handmade terrain. It was quite a challenge, where I restarted the project from scratch 3 times and literally broke the vox-spawn tool we had in-game by crashing my PC with a VOX file that was too big. Thanks to Isse, we managed to make it work, and create Veloren’s first pirate hunt! However, with this amount of work for one single mockup, I had a bit of a burnout where I barely worked on Veloren for 3-4 months. At the time I am writing this, I am working on the 3rd party map, inspired by medieval fantasy China and Japan; it is meant to be a mockup for Elven architecture. It is colossal, but with the prior experiences, I learned how to rest, how to optimize my time, and also found new tools and techniques that allow me to add more impressive landscapes. I am most likely going to reach 1k hours on MV with this project, as I am currently around 600-700 hours.

However, Veloren isn’t only contributing! It’s also a social gathering of passionate individuals with different backgrounds. I got to meet fascinating people through numerous discord conversations! On top of my head shoutout to: Gemu, the goat artist, my sensei, my boss, who taught me a lot, Isse and Zesty, my coding saviors, without whom none of the party maps would have been possible, Kali, the infamous pirate cook of the King of the Pirates DA BIG KHAN (YARRRRR)! Yuri, the weeb who can crash a server with his gaze, Treeco, how do I even describe him lol. It wouldn’t be the full Veloren experience without Treeco! Pfau, the dentist UI god who does way too many puns lmao. And finally, MY FAILED CLONE, the one and only UNCOMFYSILENCE, whose kindness only has for equal his love for feet! Of course, shoutout to all the team, all the contributors, who have made this one of the biggest open-source projects ever.

At this point, this is the part I love the most about Veloren: seeing all those individuals, including myself, dream about the game’s future, while also watching it grow on to become one of the greats someday. I often joke around, saying that we will be GOTY 2025, or that someday, Veloren’s music will become as popular as Minecraft’s, but deep down, I truly believe that we can reach world renown, through hard work, passion, and dedication! THANK YOU VELOREN FOR EVERYTHING!!!

Your favorite French, the King of the Pirates, DA BIG KHAN HANNIBAL."

So many things to explore. See you soon!

Closing thanks

And of course I would like to thank numerous people who haven't contributed their story here, but instead have created amazing new features, some of them presented in parallel issues (201 to 209).