Castle Mania: Decorating Homes In Shroud Of The Avatar

If anyone knows how to decorate a medieval-style home, it’s Richard Garriott. He does, after all, have a reputation for taking up residence in actual, factual castles. And so it seems all-too-right that the man, the myth, the (tarnished, due to a perhaps not entirely needed Kickstarter) legend is now walking us through the Hoarders-worthy halls of his Shroud of the Avatar abode. Like snowflakes, however, every nigh-impregnable war fortress is different – an expression of its owner’s most delicate soul. Ponder your own plans as Garriott indiscriminately stacks everything with masterful finesse after the break.

The game’s looking a teensy bit better than it has in the past, though it’s still no visual tour de force. It is, however, good to hear Garriott give credit to crowdsourced assets – especially since many of them are just mundane bits and bobs like books and furniture. Shroud of the Avatar’s approach to this stuff is quite ambitious, so it’s good to see Portalarium keeping it front-and-center.

Customization itself seems functional enough, though hardly revolutionary. Really though, player housing with this sort of attention to detail is rare in MMO-like games these days, so that may well be enough on its own. Also, I plan to stack barrels into space and then cast a Sauron-esque gaze down over all the land. “How’s this for a parent-child relationship?!” I will bellow, to no one in particular, because space is really far away.

Who here backed Shroud of the Avatar? Are you pleased with how it’s coming along? How many guillotines are you going to cram into your medieval dream home?


Top comments

  1. Snargelfargen says:

    Judging from how popular elaborate house mods are in skyrim and oblivion, this could actually be a big draw, especially since players can add their own assets.
  2. Shadrach says:

    So, medieval IKEA simulator. Neat.
  1. Snargelfargen says:

    Judging from how popular elaborate house mods are in skyrim and oblivion, this could actually be a big draw, especially since players can add their own assets.

  2. Pich says:

    Honestly I’m perfectly fine with the graphics as they are now.

    • Cinek says:

      I’m not. Somehow have a horrible impression that Morrowind looked better than that, though I haven’t played it for a while, so I guess “rose glasses” syndrome might come it. Most certainly though Oblivion did look better than that. How about they release something that’s at least as attractive as Skyrim? This game is suppose to live for years – and I don’t see that happening when it’s already outdated at the release.
      It doesn’t have any style, it just looks like a game with poor graphics.

      They’d end up MUCH better by going for 2D game. 2D games can be made outstandingly beautiful these days and at the same time they don’t age nearly as fast as 3D games do.

      • Humanji says:

        That’s at least as attractive as Skyrim? Seriously? That’s asking quite a bit from a game that doesn’t have the same financial backing and ready made player base.

        For a game that’s a complete gamble by the developers, the GFX look fine to me. Not amazing, but considering the amount of fiddling that they want players to be able to do with the world, it’s more important to have it functional than beautiful.

        • fenriz says:

          i don’t care about visuals, i’m not a kid, but i need an incredibly deep crafting and profession system.

          At least thrice as deep as UO.

          If there’s that kind of depth, believe me, everyone’s minds will build their “visual realism” on it, magically they’ll see it very very real, best graphics ever.

          you’ll see britannia with your third eye, so to speak.

        • Cinek says:

          “That’s asking quite a bit from a game that doesn’t have the same financial backing and ready made player base.” – well, than don’t aspire for something like that. Don’t try to go for realistic graphics when you have no budget to achieve it.

          ” the GFX look fine to me.” – they don’t look fine for me. Not in Q4 2014 (which is a planned release date) – heck – it doesn’t look OK even in Q4 2013.

          “it’s more important to have it functional than beautiful” – cool, only you can achieve “beautiful” in many means, not just by striving for realistic graphics while having no means to achieve that. They could have tried going for some strong stylization (like Borderlands, DOTA2, etc.) or complete 2D (which would be even better considering the Ultima legacy and lack of good and beautiful, open-world AA 2D RPGs). Instead we have game that looks like “wanna be multiplayer Oblivion, only don’t have a means to do so”.
          And don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of passionate people who will find it great – heck – I supported the game myself – but it will never be successful, living world that thrives for years if it looks outdated right at the release date – or even: before the release date.

        • iridescence says:

          If AAA state of the art graphics are the main thing that you judge games by you should not be backing games on Kickstarter. none of them will ever measure up to your standards (except maybe Star Citizen which somehow managed to raise a gazillion dollars).

          With me, the graphics only exist in a strictly utilitarian way to convey the world. If it looks like Oblivion that’s fine (as long as it doesn’t also have Oblivion’s shitty gameplay).

        • Pockets says:

          Skyrim should absolutely be the target given they’re intending to come up with something that’ll last for a few years. However, what’s most noticable with Skyrim is how well directed everything is. There are plenty of other games that have come out in the couple of years since that are more detailed, but its the consistency and character that it has in terms of style which makes it such a good looking game.

          The thing is though, the issues with this game are largely down to a couple of things – very flat lighting with no shadows, which can make anything look bad and some assets that don’t quite fit either in style or detail.
          You can tell the art assets are crowdsourced, there’s no consistent feel there. Quality wise, some of them look okay, some aren’t. The character model is very outdated too, with some very shonky animations.

          With crowdsourced assets, there are very few examples I’ve seen where they’ve been able to get a very consistent art direction; it’s all too easy for it to be a case of “these look generally okay, put them in” and the whole thing comes out looking like this video.

          If they sort out the lighting I think it’d hide the lack of detail in some of the assets, but the problem is there’s no real art style there which makes it look incredibly generic, while the general look and feel of games like Skyrim can hide the occasional rough edge.

          • Arglebargle says:

            I think Portalarium has a guy whose job it is will be to ‘normalize’ the art to a game standard. Poor bastid!

            On the other hand, you can go to five or six different real world houses, and find completely different looks for design, appearance, furniture, etc. Or even attractive (or awful) mishmashes….

  3. voidburn says:

    If only all this were 2D..

  4. Viroso says:

    The graphics kinda look like the stuff you see when movies or TV shows come up with some fake video game

  5. Jhoosier says:

    Hah, I had an idea for a game like this back with New Vegas came out. Dammit!

  6. iridescence says:

    They are not going to have any microtransactions in the game and if you actually look at the promised features, it’s far from generic. If anything it may be a little too ambitious and he might have trouble pulling off everything he wants to do but I’m hopeful that this is going to be an awesome game.

    • iridescence says:

      Well the Ultima games have always been pretty much high fantasy (except the really early ones that has some crazy sci-fi stuff thrown in). Many of us backed this partly wanting a return to the Ultima setting but I can see why, to an outsider, it would look “generic fantasy” although he has promised to throw some “steampunk” elements in there, which I’m not sure if I actually like the sound of, but, anyway… I expect the innovation in this game to come in the game play. Ultima IV is one of the most innovative games ever created, to the point where it is *still* ahead of the RPG curve in some aspects.

      Garriot is a game creating genius when he sets his mind to things, of course he also plops out his share of turds but I’m hopeful that SotA will be one of the former.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Pretty sure that Garriott was forced into ‘generic fantasy’ by his supporters, and it would look quite different otherwise. I hope the people under him do a good job, because he’s not the greatest project manager, nor some super creative idea guy.

        I’m all in favor of niche mmo games that are possible on lower budgets. That means that corners have to be cut somewhere. Expecting something that rivals a 100 million dollar game at a tenth of the cost is unrealistic.

  7. Shadrach says:

    So, medieval IKEA simulator. Neat.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      That gave me the image of a medieval IKEA store sim-ish game.

  8. FRITZY says:

    When I backed this project, they said the Unity-engine game that they showed was a prototype. After they reached their goals, it quickly became clear that it was going to stay Unity, and from there on, it was obvious that the graphics would be dated.