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Hypnos' Blog

My favorite letters are ARR! and Zzz.

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day, everyone!

I put on my robe and Hypnos hat.

New Release 06/18/08

Ahoy, all and sundry!

As you've no doubt been hearing, a new release is coming to all oceans, as posted by Bungleton (whose forum avatar still makes me snort every time that I see it) here.  Whee!

With this release comes hopefully the fatal crunch of these annoying bugs' exoskeletons:

  • Fixed monsters getting overly aggressive and double-ramming in Atlantis

Atlantis navers rejoice! As an oceanmaster, I get a fair number of complaints about problems with the monsters in Atlantis, from them spawning in unlikely and impossible areas to their movement tokens being unreasonably high.  Thankfully, with each patch we've put out to modify creature behavior in Atlantis, I've been seeing fewer and fewer.

  • Fixed treasure haul refusing to give out more chests after a gem was swapped next to a chest.

Finally! We'd been getting intermittent reports of chests not showing up in the duty reports and at first were looking into client/server timing issues.  Somewhat incidentally while Cephalopod was bug testing something else, he experienced the bug and, since he'd been testing something under rather unusual circumstances, managed to track down why it was happening.  Here's to more treasure!

  • Fixed a timing issue that would allow clients to walk on water.

Actually, I'm going to miss the 'Jesus' petitions and forum threads.

From the Release Notes:

  • Beta version of Puzzle Pirates Adventures available for intrepid pirates to explore.

While keeping in mind that this is just the beta and first set of beginning adventures, I really love the potential of Puzzle Pirates Adventures.  It still amazes me how the developers got the game to run in a browser, in an applet, and how slim they tried to keep download times for slower connections.  It's a complex carefully-timed back-and-forth with your computer only grabbing the code and graphics necessary when they need to be used.  *Because* the way it's set up is complex, there are also quite a few bugs to get working because people use a wide variety of systems with varying connection speeds.  Trying to wrap my head around making something work nearly the same across so many sets of circumstances makes my head pound. :)
  When the bugs are worked out, the possibilities of future adventures to take friends on, or player-designed storylines and puzzles is so exciting. Does anybody else remember The Secret Island of Dr. Quandary?

  • New "Puzzles" tab on the notice board to show pirates the path to puzzling greatness.

This actually grew out of a suggestion from our partners in Japan, GungHo. They felt that Puzzle Pirates could use a feeling of progression, and a place to look for what to do next.  It took a lot of artwork, but it looks fantastic.  I can't believe we didn't have one before.

  • New furniture: Wall map, ship's wheel and dart board. New paints and enamels: rose, mint, lavender, magenta and light green. New clothing: female sleeping hat. New permanent shoppe portrait backgrounds: Distillery by ickessler, Iron Monger by Nordenx and Shipwright by Albini.

Can't say anything new or witty, the items to buy in this release are gorgeous. I never have any money on my player account after releases. :(

  • Display icons on a pirate's page for the houses they own or are roommates in.

No more petitions from new players who've lost their shacks for the win!

  • Award mugs from chests in Atlantis.

I've heard folks saying this will kill the mugs business, but I hope this is not the case. Records show that very few mugs in general are purchased, and hopefully this will bump up their use, like bludgeons and swords were intended to do

That's it from me kids, go and patch!

The Adventures of Links

A quick post to point out two links:

More photos of the Three Rings post-Halloween extravaganza are up, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ypp_piccies/sets/72157603100625533/

and Typepad is no longer allowing me to update the sidebar, so I have to republish the index page in an attempt to get it to do it automatically.  We now have a new forum to increase exposure, ease of finding, and discussion about the stuff posted here.  Enjoy!

Bang! You're downloaded.

Congratulations to Bang! Howdy!  Three Rings' second game has successfully started advertising on a number of websites and jumped in population to an average of 2,000 users online per day.  The number of people downloading the client has increased so dramatically that, in the words of Calrissian, our lead infrastructure engineer, "It's kicking the [barnacle] out of our download server."

As of last week, we were averaging 3.6 gigabytes of data per minute, which is nearly a DVD every 60 seconds.  And today, we found that we are on the front page of download.com.  To preserve the moment, I took a screencap.

It's not the only good news; some of you game industry enthusiasts may have noticed that Three Rings founders Cleaver (Daniel James) and One-Eyed Jack (Michael Bayne) are scheduled to give a talk at the 2007 Game Developers Conference about our latest project which is currently codenamed MetaSOY, in March.  Is it science?  Is it magic?  Finally, we find out what it is!

Three Rings will be at the Game Developers Conference, since Bang! Howdy is up for one of the Independent Games Awards.  I'll hopefully be there, taking pictures and posting away.  See ye there, mates!

A Letter from the Captain

Merry solstice, mates!

As the year draws to a close I thought I would give a little roundup of Three Rings' achievements this year and a hint at our plans for the next.

The Ringers

  • Three Rings grew from 12 in the office to 25, we are now 30 full time staff and 15 part time. New arrivals at the office include Kate, artist, Nathan, software engineer, Brittney, artist, and Robin, software engineer. New Oceanmasters include Hephaestus and Aphrodite and our German lead, Endymion.
  • The Ringers moved offices again, and began construction of the Nautilus in our back room.
  • The Captain got a new visa, which means that the ladies of San Francisco are stuck with 'im for at another five more years! Muhahah.

The Games

  • We did a bunch of good stuff on Puzzle Pirates, including Pets, Trophies, Rumble and more.
  • We launched Bang! Howdy for hot cowboy on cowboy action
  • Behind the scenes, we've developed our not-so-top-secret next project, MetaSoy, from a mere idea into something approaching playability. We're excited to show you in the New Year, though quite when in 2007 remains to be determined!
  • We rolled out Opal and started down the road of internationalizing our games under our own banner

Dollars and Doubloons

  • We doubled revenues (again) to ~$3M from ~$1.5M in 2005. Three Rings was profitable earlier this year, but we are investing for the future and so now we're losing a bit of money each month. Fortunately;
  • To fund our glorious expansion we raised some investment money. The amount was a bit over one million dollars, which is not that much in the venture capital scheme of things, but comes in very handy for our modest needs.

Onward into 2007

Our wish list for the New Year is brief and to the point;

  • We want to keep growing Puzzle Pirates, adding new features, new players, and new languages. We'll start by finishing off the present Slate o' planned features and then see what sounds best to you and us.
  • We'll be building up Bang! Howdy's audience and distribution, plus adding new towns like Boom Town and features like Gangs
  • We'd like to launch MetaSoy -- hopefully with a new, exciting and non-Tofu-oriented name. Suggestions encouraged!
  • We'll continue to hire more mates, especially Engineers, but we're not in a hurry out of the gate. Three Rings has reached a great size and we're able to do a lot of things with our present crew.
  • Most importantly, we'll keep having fun and keep keeping ya'll entertained

Closing Words

I'd like to once more thank you, our players, for your continued patronage. At Three Rings we endeavour to do only one thing; to create fun. Your endorsement of that fun by playing our games, and occasionally paying us for them, lends our lives purpose and allows us to continue to make new and exciting things, for Pirates, Cowboys and the many peculiar things that might come after them.

yours,

Captain Cleaver, aka Daniel James, CEO, Three Rings

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