An Interview with Loftar and Jorb

What is your general opinion on the current state of the game? Are we having fun yet? Have you been murdered by anyone?
Jorb: Had one fight, both of us walked away from it. He with some stuff from my farm. Um… idk. Like the general nuts and bolts of the game I really, really like, and by and large it usually feels fairly well balanced and whatnot. Like the basic grind on the farm is pretty sweet. But the game is clearly lacking at the top end of things. But, yeah, things like inspirationals and their interactions with the bodily fluids and how all those systems kind of feed into one another. Those things I like.
Loftar: Needs more content, obviously, but we all knew that. :) Indeed; I think it is our unanimous conclusion that the basic model of character development turned out even better than we actually thought. I haven’t been playing as much as Jorb, but the LP model has really grown on me.
Jorb: Myeah. Also things like fast travel and siege are just so much more contained and under control here compared to Haven.

I am a bit dismayed, as I’m sure you are, of the abuse of the fast travel system in salem, like meeting alts in Boston to exchange resources.
Jorb: Well, it’s a nice thing. Obviously it’s going to be abused to hell and back :)
Loftar: I am quite split in the issue of Boston, indeed. :)
Jorb: Yeah. The game will never have true locality as long as there is Boston… But Boston is fun :( I love going there and just watching people.

I’m sure you both have seen some discussion about claims and summoning, etc. Is it intended behavior that one can be summoned at any point on the claim?
Jorb: Nope
Loftar: It was intended, but only before we realized its full implications. ;)

How much different has it been working on Salem vs. working on Haven? Do you actually go in to the Paradox office regularly, or just occasionaly for meetings?
Jorb: Occasionally for meetings, but it feels like regularly ^^ We go there maybe…  every other week or so?
Loftar: I feel that the way we used to work on Haven was very different, actually. The pressure of actually having expectations from the ones who pay us are making a difference, for sure. In some ways good, but in other ways bad.
Jorb: Myeah. For better or worse we aren’t making all the decisions.

What’s the best thing about working with Paradox (or a publisher in general)?
Loftar: In some ways, I actually do get more concrete stuff done with expectations hanging upon me, but then again, I feel I have less peace of mind for the kind of reflections that are also necessary.
Jorb: They have certain standards. That’s a good thing at the end of the day I think.
You feel like you have to make rushed decisions to meet deadlines?
Loftar: Well, we don’t actually have many deadlines. That’s one of the good things about working with Paradox. :) But, you know, it’s hard to prioritize code cleanups and other such reorganizations when I know there are visible things that “need” to be done.
Jorb: It kind of keeps us a bit more honest in our ambitions.
Loftar: Or just general mental reflection over the state of the code. I’ve felt at many times that I’m losing my way in the local context. Doing too many small changes without integrating them fully into my mental model of the system as a whole. Then again, there are many small changes that I’ve made that I probably just wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t had those expectations, and that’s a good thing. But, well, yeah, Paradox have actually been overall rather pleasant to work with, in that they really don’t bother us that badly. ;)
Jorb: There are people who take a very material interest in our delivering. That’s obviously going to be good and bad. Generally speaking they have been fantastic and extremely understanding. And helpful and generous and a whole bunch of other nice things.

What about the way you two work together has changed? Back in the Haven development heydey it seemed that you two would get together one evening a week and work on the game until the wee hours, and beyond that, not much. 
Jorb: In retrospect I think we worked more on the game than the one dev session really gave away, though.
Loftar: Well, the main thing that has changed is Jorb moving to the other side of Stockholm. ;)
Jorb: I know I spent a lot of my spare time doing graphics and whatnot.
Loftar: Indeed. Outside of the dev sessions, I did spend a lot of my time pondering, indeed, the state of the code and doing cleanups and other such invisible changes.
Jorb: Myeah. And playing the game, obviously.

Do you guys have an office now for Seatribe? Or do you get together more frequently?
Loftar: Nah, we both work from home.

What is your biggest frustration so far with salem?
Jorb: Hmm
Loftar: Not having 48 hours a day to work on it? :)
Jorb: Idk. The general “slow” pace of development always frustrates me.
Is it completely impossible to hire any more people?
Loftar: I think it is before it has proven that it’s able to earn its keep, at least. :) There’s of course the mythical man-month problem, as well. Hiring someone would obviously only slow down development initially.
Jorb: At this stage hiring feels kind of pointless, for that matter. I mean… the hard things are basically done. It’s downhill from after multiple servers. If we could get on, say, the Haven schedule of like one nice content patch a week I’d be happy with the pace I think. Frustration occurs when we go months without meaningful content patches, and by meaningful I don’t mean the patches where I randomly add more inspirationals and whatnot.

So, how are things progressing with multi-server support?
Loftar: Well, further, at least. I think it’s not too far until I can at least have multiple servers up without travel between them. And even with inter-server travel implemented, we were planning to wait with actually allowing it, so that new servers have a chance to develop somewhat “in peace” before existing characters from other servers are allowed to set foot on them. Which means that that level of support should be enough to actually start up another server.

Do you have a plan already for the method of travel between servers?
Loftar: Primarily, we were planning to add coaches, quite simply. Initially, at least.
I’m assuming that one could not simply walk, of course…
Loftar: Indeed. :) Either way, it would be a bit boring to not make some kind of mechanic for it. It should at least require some kind of resources, I think. The coaches probably silver, I guess. I wouldn’t mind other means of travel, though.

A coach and possibly other methods like a ship or something would be available to hire for silver, and they would whisk one away immediately? Or would there be some waiting period?
Loftar: Well, I’ve just imagined them whisking you away, but then again I’ve almost only thought of it in terms of implementation yet. I haven’t really considered the actual mechanics yet.

Is there any time estimate on multiserver?
Loftar: Not really; I cannot estimate times. ^^ It’s one of my weaknesses. :)
Jorb: It’s like kryptonite.
Loftar: At times I’ve tried to make something up, but I’m always wrong anyway. :)
Jorb: … Loftar just squirms and becomes physically unable to respond ^^

What are your plans for after the multi server update?
Jorb: Meaningful gear is my plan. And mordor. And more creatures.
Loftar: The immediate other thing that Paradox wants to have ASAP, or rather yesterday, is a new, pretty client UI. ^^ They’ve drawn most of the graphics.
They just wanted a reskin?
Jorb: Some functional changes, but marginal on the whole.
Loftar: Well, it’s never “just” a reskin, but that’s what it looks like, at least. :) It needs to be coded in that it’s drawn differently. But, indeed, the functional changes are marginal.
Jorb: … but to the untrained eye it is basically a reskin. Or, perhaps rather, a skin :) Because the present UI isn’t exactly worthy of being called a skin in the first place :)
Loftar: Yes, but Ender and Apxeolog will probably have fun times. ;) Especially Apxeolog, seeing how he manages the codebase. ^^ Well, his problem. :)
Did you add minimap radar? Waypoints?
Jorb: Haha, lol. Sorry. Those are all nice things, I know.
Loftar: Not intrinsically tied to the UI changes, at least, but both of those are features that we are considering. I’d rather prioritize new game mechanics than them, however.
Jorb: We’re having at least the radar at one point or another. Not having it is retarded. But, indeed, the game mechanics feel a whole lot more important.

Do you have some specific plans for how to make equipment meaningful, or what you’ll be adding to the darkness?
Jorb: Specific to some degree or another.
Loftar: Lots, to some degree. :) But most of it is not very fleshed out.
Jorb: We know what ballpark we’re in? But, I mean… you have to understand also that that is kind of how we work. We never really know what anything is going to look like until we actually do it.
Loftar: Indeed. We hardly ever even discuss actual details and such things before the hour when we put it in. Before that, we discuss things very abstractly. And it’s hard to even communicate it without using the… language that has developed between the two of us. :)
Jorb: We talk a lot in terms of incentives and general goal-oriented reasoning. Indeed. There is a fair amount of shared context, so to speak :)

Are there any other upcoming major milestones of content that you’re pretty sure will happen, like industries you want to add?
Jorb: I’m fairly certain that I will push for more developed wood and metal industries, i.e. more kinds of metal, better mining system, more high tier resources. And similar things for wood handling. When and how that materializes I have no clue :)  Animal husbandry is pretty high up on my list as well. I want a horse and a cart.
Loftar: I’ve also started to form some loose ideas on alchemy, so given some peace of mind I’m rather hopeful I’ll be able to flesh that out to something useful.

Potpourri

aoul_Duke is offering a bounty of 10,000 silver for destroying the whole town of Blind The King, now run by baronbowden. He was exiled from BTK and was trapped inside, and is looking for someone to rescue him.

On the other hand, baronbowden says they are quite certain that Raoul is a thief, taking advantage of the claim permissions. Whether it was a false accusation is blurred by MPD award holder Realak taking on the mission.

Raoul said that jwhitehorn, aka Chief Poop, had agreed to take the contract, but recently changed his mind.

“I can’t believe the Chief backed out. I thought for sure he was going to be able to handle it, as big as he talks,” Said Raoul in IRC.

In attempt to excuse his actions, jwhitehorn finally admitted his own death caused by Bait.

Bait said that he would take on the mission if nobody else did within 24 hours and continued killing more of Chief’s Doppelgängers.
Forum thread

rath, one of the IRC regulars, claims to have started building walls on South Boston Beach. He is considering of putting up a sign that reads, “all pass here die”. Wrath was looking for a well-secured fortress to settle in while trying to bug new players with his walls when he was killed last Friday.

South Boston Beach after an alt massacre

Despite the situation on South Boston Beach, Wrath said that the bodies piling up at the beach, where he was suposed to have his walls up, were not because of him. Some randoms killed alts for lolz calling it the “Milky Way”. Cause of Wrath’s death is for a yet unknown and unrelated problem.

the final moment of wrath

He was known to steal from unguarded settlements nearby. He was trading in Boston Centre for overpriced wheat seeds when fate finally caught up after his crime buff disappeared.

T-T-T, or Tyrone Tyrese Thomson, provided the picture and said, “Guess theres no retarded fence going around Boston”.

T-T-T, however, denied persecuting him. “Only pmed him to go to Boston”, he said.

reg0418, who lost 3 iron bars due to an unlucky encounter with a bear, scammed someone else in Boston for 5 iron bars with 10% higher purity, and called the victim “an idiot” last Tuesday. He claims to have scammed about 1500 silver in the last few days.

“The only people who get scammed for a lot are just idiots who deserve it. I’ve been scammed before, but never for more than like 50s,” he said.

He often appears in IRC and Trade Winds, and readers who ever decide to trade with him should be wary. His bragging in IRC gets more exaggerated by the day. Just last Saturday he changed his talk about scamming as to average 1k silver a day, and added his highest as 7k.
greg0418’s post

n the last issue of the Courant, I reported about the raid on Oin32 and his friends by Verde Selva as part of a Potpourri article. darnokpl objected to the event I described and left a complaint on the article and in the Courant thread.

He was not happy about the line, “destroyed the whole camp” and challenged the town bell feature by making Oin32 or a friend of his become the rightful mayor of the town bell he placed when he raided them.

In Pre-com Beta world, Sevenless had issues with a town bell whose charter belonged to someone else.  Although we have not heard any news on this bugfix so far, darnokpl claimed it was already fixed.

I promise my sincerest apology when/if darnokpl proves the feature to be fixed already and succeeds in making Oin32 or his friend a mayor.

We do not know, however, if Oin32 has agreed to this testing, nor if darnokpl has made any progress.
The said article of the last issue with comments
Forum thread where the wager is made
Sevenless’s Paradoxplaza thread on town bell issue

here has been some confusion on certain criminal acts as to which crime leaves what kind of scents. According to an unnamed source, jorb has confirmed that the “Waste” skill in Salem is the equivalent of “Vandalism” in Haven, thus vandalizing acts such as harvesting from claimed farms or digging soil from claimed land would be using “Waste”.

However, there seems to be an oversight on mining feature and currently mining ore from a claimed mine does not leave any scents. A prompt fix is expected.

unnar, known as one of the friendliest and most trustworthy players in Old World, has written the very first piece of Salem literature recently, after his long awaited come-back.

He gives his thanks to the kind hermit Stellar, who rescued him from a cricket and gifted him a backpack.
Gunnar’s comeback thread
Salem’s first literature

  ranger collected the bounty Ikpeip had offered and the deed was dealt.The background story is not known.

The perpetrator resided in town of AS, located at South end of the lake at [-26, 95] according to his thread. Lesser bounties for damaging the town and towns people are still available.
Ikpeip’s bounty thread

rakuleg is looking for a man with the nickname Owyn. Orakuleg’s village was attacked and he was killed. He unfortunately does not remember the name of Owyn’s village, but should start with “New Kv ***”.
Forum thread

our NPCs in the game are appealing to be named, according to Dallane. Three of them stay at the port of England to see you off to the New World, wishing you luck, another stands in front of bank in Boston, helping you for your silver needs.

Tylan has shown his talent of giving them well-thought out names. Whether he will be the Godfather of the NPCs or not is yet to be seen.

jorb said, “We’re going to eventually personalize and diversify the ingame shops a bit. Names will be had at one point or another”.
Forum thread

he man pretending to be loftar, that I mentioned in one of the articles in last issue of the Courant, turned out to be an important person of Paradox.

Gordon Van Dyke is head producer of WotR and industry veteran, according to TotalyMoo.

It seems Swedes love plaid shirts so much that the community became confused.
Silence Dogood might be in a deep trouble.
Check the pic at the bottom of the page
Gordon Van Dyke

Update : Swimming and Boats Implemented

The long awaited update has finally arrived and gifted us the ability of swimming and row boats to navigate through waterways in Salem world.

Announcement thread

Some players are saddened to hear that they could not walk on water like Jesus any more, but many others stepped in deep water to congratulate and enjoy this new feature. You would love this swimming animation for sure, as long as you have enough phlegm not to drown and get KO.

above – beautifully made video recorded by Lusewing

The severity of the phlegm use is rather mild compared to the one of the Old World, and unfortunately it does not seem to be lethal enough to drown a witchy woman for her innocence as King James I of England suggested in his book THE DAEMONOLOGIE.

Some players built boats right away and enjoyed their first voyages here and there.
First Voyage by Droj
Forum thread by Droj

In case your graphics are not behaving well with boats, Jorb mentioned to update clients for a better experience. Also, don’t forget, “Ctrl + Click” to get off the boat.

Obituary

Karen's public domain image

Found bones on a beach,
Made the long walk to the church.
Now my friend can rest.

Goodman Lefalas, 30, died of dysentery earlier this month. Having suffered a sword wound to the stomach, he made it as far as the ocean before expiring upon the sand.

The Goodman was a great lover of inspirationals and exploration. He had dreams of mountain climbing which, alas, will never be fulfilled. He was also highly appreciative of women, and would often idle outside of the unused building in Boston that he insisted would be the town brothel.

Goodman Lefalas is left and mourned by no kin. His friend Tylan extends an invitation to the citizens of Boston to pay their respects during this Sunday’s mass.

by Tylan » Thu Sep 27

 

Karen's public domain imageR.I.P. Coronado
Was just another hermit trying to mind his own business.
Should have kept up to date on the game announcements.
You got your revenge, escaped the law, but could not outrun karma…

by pushedx » Sat Sep 29

 

Forum thread

Bugfix: Porta-alts & Tracking

Summoning a character without a homestead will now instantly kill that character.
by jorb » Wed Sep 25

The fix is implemented due to the abusive porta-alts, which raiders seem to have used for carrying loots back and forth quickly until very the fix. Many raiders had taken it as a feature, but this new patch shows it was never intended to exist for that purpose.

When in doubt, report!
Announcement thread
First thread that brought up the potential abuse of alts by painhertz

(On Tracking bug)
This bug should be fixed now.
by TotalyMoo » Wed Sep 26

According to many in the community, there was a tracking bug where you could track by using one clue alone. It was promptly fixed as soon as it was known to exist.

“This is still a beta so you are supposed to report these things as you find them, not use them for personal gain!” Said TotalyMoo in regards to bug abuse.
the split thread for the tracking bug

Salem’s Latest and Greatest Fashion: The Style of a Fine Man

Hello Fashion lovers! Ready to drool at the hot Salem men? I hope you will enjoy the two of the sexiest male looks I’ve found. I was thinking about putting a picture of a man in just snake boots and belt but without a penis it just looks sad.

~ The Indiana Jones Look ~

I love this look. It says fun, adventurous, loaded, and it makes a man look damn fine. I can just see this guy running from a giant tumbleweed.

To pull off this look is going to take a bit of work on your part. You are going to need a Plymouth Frock, nobleman’s Jacket, pilgrim’s hat, trapper boots, pants and torch

Modeled by Spazzmaticus

~ The Manly Green Pirate ~
Now just because you don’t have much doesn’t mean you can’t look fine. Most of this look is made with snake skins that you can find for free in old tree stumps. To look like this fine man you will need a snake skin coat, snake skin boots, snake skin belt, tan pants, a Spanish sabre, and a tricorne hat.

Modeled by Mary

If you think you have a fashion forward look please post in the forum thread if I like it I may just mite write about it.

Interview from the dead

There’s been much speculation as to the Chief’s death within Salem but can a character really die if another one returns to take his place? Is there an afterlife for those who have died and if there was a way to communicate with them what would we find out? Find out more in the next issue of The Tumbleweed Courant.
publicdomain image from http://karenswhimsy.com/
 

The MPD Award

It is with great pride we announce that Realak has been awarded the very first Most Pathetic Douchebag (MPD) Award.

MPD trophy designed by Sacre

The MPD Award is an award that recognizes exceptional douchebaggery worldwide who actively share their  in-game activities and/or forum posts with others.

The editorial board of the Tumbleweed Courant offically recognize and appreciate Realak’s extraordinary contributions and want to take this opportunity to share our appreciation with all the subscribers.

Realak, known to be an ex-fanboi of Painhertz, set out on his vision quest to be a bigger douche than his master last March, and was said to be spamming dozens of fan letters and stalking the veteran douche, asking to live with him in game.

When Realak realized his master was too scared of being surpassed, he started his new vision quest; harrassing his master.

He tried hiding his real identity to join his master’s town (but exiled shortly after being found out), revealing the coordinates of his whereabouts, exposing private skype logs, &c. His incredible adventure includes walking around randomly in Salem world until he actually bumped into his old master’s new claim, in order to kiss someone else’s arse (most likely Darwoth’s, mentioned later) by giving out the info.

The most notable achievement Realak has made during his vision-quest to shame himself so far is when he claimed to have summoned, fought and murdered Darwoth, another douche-master newb-killer. While Realak couldn’t even kill his old master Painhertz himself.

He also accused the rightful persecutors of Darwoth as some randoms asking for the reward with fake proof.

Realak’s imaginary talk in one of the related thread, time stamp@utc+9

Our agent has succeeded in making contact with the real persecutor group of dignified rangers, who successfuly hunted down and murdered Darwoth but wish to stay anonymous for their humility. They confirmed their work as well as the fact that Realak never belonged to this group.

Upon informing Realak of this honoroble award he was to receive, we had him visiting in our thread. He said enthusiastically and proudly,
“Considering all the spies I have in most of the “big” active towns, pretty sure I’ll be just fine. I’ll know your coming. You know that guy that works hard and logs in now and then, but isn’t truly active? yeah, that’s me.”
He never fails to entertain.

Congratulations to Realak. We are excited to recognize your amazing accomplishments and are proud that we selected you over your masters for this award. Even legendary names such as xweetok and shadowchris in Old World cannot match your douchiness!

Warning to the Community:
Realak of course has an alt account or two on the forums. Be very careful when you recruit a stranger. You wouldn’t want this idiot in your village now would you?

Sources
Realak’s latest douche thread
Raoul’s bounty and Realak’s another fiction attempt
Urughak’s thread with Realak’s Salem debut as a douche
(Realak’s amusing fictions in the above thread)
related : Darwoth getting summon-killed
RAGERS of the lumberwood thread, derailed madness
Realak’s wonderful critique on The Tumbleweed Courant
Hinnomed gibberish
Realak’s another fiction on his own ip ban

Special thanks to Painhertz and the anonymous rangers who accepted our interviews.

Special Report : Brazier Radius Revealed!

Our special reporter Tonkyhonk got a word in with loftar and sent us the following transcript. Enjoy!

Tonky > will the range of braziers be kept secret? or are you willing to reveal it to the public?
loftar > Um, yes, the intention is that the brazier radius should be shown in the client. There just isn’t any support for that yet.
loftar > Their radius is 250 “pixels”.
loftar > By which I mean map length units.
Tonky > oh pixels. i never understand that
loftar > 11×11 of which make up a tile.
loftar > That of torchposts, by the way, is 200 units.
Tonky > torchposts have smaller range?
loftar > Yes
Tonky > i hate math
loftar > Since one tile is 11 units wide, 10 tiles would make 110 units. ;)
Tonky > is the range a circle?
loftar > Yes
Tonky > so its like about 20~ tiles altogether
Tonky > and in a circle
loftar > Closer to 23, but yes. :)
loftar > 23 * 11 = 253. ;)

According to the other parts of the transcript, the multi-server support is coming along steadily, and loftar is hoping to get it done soon.

The Great Expedition

On the 1st of August one brave adventurer by the name of Qukatt  made a new thread called “New Map Project” asking for help exploring and mapping out all of Salem.

Although this task had already been attempted in previous worlds, they were largely left incomplete. With the start of a new world came the chance to finally achieve a completed global map.

Many people offered their help in this great expedition, early to assist were: TotalyMoo, APXEOLOG and grayrat. After brainstorming and working out the the technicalities, the project started to take shape.

Of course with all new projects there’s those who stand for and against the idea. A forum thread called “plz block the maping tools” by radkid1 was posted stating that the map would be used by raiders to easily find people’s homes instead of working to find the places themselves (and making a lot of people’s big, obvious homes a target).


(Left -Top Map Contributors. Right – The current progress so far.)

The main replies from people were stating that it would not be possible to stop people using such clients and if they weren’t public, then private groups and towns would just make private clients and maps causing them to have a large advantage over other players.

Speaking to concerns about the Googlemap project Qukatt had these words of advice:

Ok so:

1/ the world map project is fuelled by the users sending in their map data. if you wish your tile where your place is to stay “clean” then you need to take the tile from your map saving file and delete it before you send the data. it will NOT show up when the world map gets updated.

2/ You can send this map data from the vanilla client as well as the BD and Ender ones, it’s nothing to do with the custom clients.

3/ You could keep old tiles of where you built in a separate folder and send them in if you see another pilgrim has mapped your area and updated the world to reset them. It’s also perhaps an idea you can give Greyrat the co-ords of your place and request that the tile there doesn’t update. However people will see this empty tile and go “there! we can build there! Next to that very cool looking lime deposit/swamp/beach!” and you’ll end up getting neighbours regardless.

4/ the old world mapping project could zoom in a hell of a lot more in greater detail. be glad this map project doesn’t have that crazy accuracy yet :D

If you wish to contribute to the project, or just want look at the progress being made, you can check out the map here:

http://ad.lylay.com/hts/smap.html

Sources:

New map project thread
Qukatts quote
Plz block the mapping tools thread
Global Map Project

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
~Oscar Wilde

It all started with a simple question by sefer looking for help finding a witch book. Droj had posted a screenshot of a hidden skill, “Basic Curses”, which was said to be posted by Glennfinnan in IRC.

While Glenn keeps his secrets to himself, TotalyMoo has confirmed it to be real. People have begun looking for the book on the darkness, in tree stumps, hollow logs…

Basic CursesSome adventurers including painhertz, alloin, Sevenless, and dullahx, have started looking but with no luck so far . Later Droj and Bollilo showed signs of joining in this adventure, but no progress has been seen yet.

TotalyMoo out of nowhere italicized a rumour he had: “I’ve heard you might be able to potentially find it inside a specific fish that is in a specific biome in the darkness”.

He assured the community he was not trolling, but was taunting the curious adventurers.

Some new ideas included: desecrating a Bible, using one on fire, leaving one somewhere for a while and expect it to transform into an evil book.

alloin said he experimented putting a Bible in a tree stump and leaving it for over a week, and also in a cauldron in the darkness, but neither worked.

Dedicated players must have already checked out the “witch craft” video, released last November. The video showed us that we would be needing some eyes of newt, toes of frogs and other “witch” items to craft curses, but we have yet to see any newts or frogs in game.
jorb showing eyes of newt and other materials

It’s yet to be seen if any settlers are going to continue in any serious way to finding a witch’s book.

Forum thread

As of September 18th discussion related to witchcraft has moved to a thread by ShadowAtlan, another adventurer looking for the witch’s book. No progress has been made at the time of posting.

Forum thread

Trivia

jorb, loftar, and someone faking to be loftar