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[PRE-ALPHA] Tales of Middle-Earth - Development Thread

Tenzhiro

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This will be the thread we post our updates on development from time to time as the older one gets archived.
If you want to keep up to date in real-time, it's better to join our
Discord.

>>STATUS: PRE-ALPHA PHASE<<


Game Description
Tales of Middle-Earth
is a story-driven MMORPG where you will be able to make a living and go on adventures in a fantasy world we all know.
The quests are based on the many stories told by the heroes throughout the ages of Middle Earth, taking you through stories like The Hobbit,
Lord of the Rings, Children of Húrin, and many more stories told by Tolkien.


You can choose between the iconic Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, or Hobbits to start your adventure, with a later addition of a playable Orc race.
Every race has different proficiencies but any race can become the strongest or wisest.

We give you the tools to bring RPG back to the game with level-able professions like
blacksmithing, cooking, farming, foraging, woodcutting, mining, and fletching, and are all done by player actions and not the system.

Begone modal windows!

Starting Cities
The player starts their adventure in the city of Bree.
This will later be updated to have each race start in their own city.
With each starting city comes a different beginning quest, although during the Testing Phase, everything is focused around Bree.

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Men will start in Bree

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Dwarves will start in Nogrod

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Elves will start in Rivendell


Hobbits will start in Hobbiton


Player Economy
We wish for an economy to be entirely driven by players, mostly focused on the gold income.
This means that we will be removing gold from nearly all creatures that should not yield gold as it is not immersive to have non-humanoids carry gold.
This makes item-for-item trading a lot more common, and combined with the gathering and processing systems,
players are likely to use the products gained from the systems to create a market.

Gold is earned mostly through quests, by selling to NPC's (watch out they are all scammers) but also by killing humanoids like bandits, but also orcs carry gold.
With the ability to create market stalls that allows for item selling even when not at your "store", it creates a dynamic world wherever you travel, finding a good item in a stall in some village you travel past can be the difference between life and death, and also good profits for the seller.


Some houses can also hold these stores.


Gathering and Processing Skills
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Various materials used for Metalworking, together with a cooked fish and roasted ham.
Skills are still in need of polishing.
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As players can delve into dangerous adventures, most often players also want to make a living and relax in their hometown and just advance their fishing skill.
As you could create bread in Tibia, you could essentially call yourself a baker and make and sell bread, although in Tibia it wasn't a viable thing to do, not here!

We expand upon that concept and want to create more systems like this to enable more professions players could act out.
Immersion and RPG are essentially created by the minds of the player, one could wear a monk outfit and roleplay a monk, and others would indulge in your story.

These materials are highly needed to make the best armors and equipment.



Objectives and Quests
Most often we go off the ambiance the books give us regarding quests
as they are very descriptive and give a very good feel for how a quest or area should look.

- The game is played with a Main Quests progression,
you will need to advance through the storyline to access the next region quest lines,
these can be found in your Quest Log and provide a linear experience for a player.
(However, the game doesn't block your access to other locations although traveling there will be highly dangerous and would not be wise)
Completing a Main Quest gives you the most experience and gold reward, while also giving you essential items.

- There will also be Side-Quests which are also shown in your Quest Log,
these are somewhat focused quests based on adventures from the books and movies,
giving you a more descriptive progression and learning more about the quest.
Completing Side-Quests often rewards Unique Items like the Barrow Blade.

- There will be Town Quests and repeatable daily Jobs within settlements to bring daily objectives within the safe borders of a city.
These are tasks, the citizens of a settlement have various problems that need solving.
These will not be shown in your Quest Log.
Completing Town Quests often yields experience, gold, and useful items for your travels.
Completing daily Jobs often yields experience and gold as a reward.


All the quests and mapped areas are directly taken from Tolkiens Notes, Books, Scriptures, and Movies.
There will be something recognizable for any sized fan!
Players will learn the many stories of characters known from the books and movies,
you will know how kingdoms rise and fall, how certain creatures came to existence,
and why the Elves and Dwarves are in a natural stride,
you will get to feel the responsibilities of being a Ring Bearer, and much more!



Legendary Weapons
There are many named weapons in Tolkien's world, some that we want to use as legendary, rare, items.
But what about creating those legendary weapons yourself? After all the deeds you do with your weapon, some may evolve after killing enough of a species.
This feature will allow for just a bit more distinctive weapons, even if the weapons are the same.

Keeping your own Stories
As you progress through quests, it has always bothered me that you couldn't read back past mission states to see what you had to do back then. Not anymore! Upon receiving an important quest like The Lord of the Rings, you will also get a unique book. This book allows one to read back a quest as if it were a story.

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Custom Map
>>Under Heavy Construction<<


Next to using The Atlas of Middle-Earth and countless maps found online, for landmark placements and the overall look of locations,
the map is very recognizable once you see it in full. You might even know where to go already if you have looked at any of the Middle-Earth maps online.

Between the major settlements, there are lots of villages to traverse through, and even settle in most of them.
Some are so far away from the cities that one can live a very peaceful life if one chooses to, but are also prone to murderers and scavengers.

We have implemented a feature that spawns random items in containers found in the open world.
Being it a crate, dresser, wardrobe, or barrel, these will most often not be empty and will generate loot multiple times per day.
This allows one to plunder houses and dungeons and may even stumble upon items that start a quest line.


We plan to start expanding around the four starting cities, which will be Hobbiton, Bree, Rivendell, and a dwarven settlement in the Blue Mountains.
This will cover most areas west of the Misty Mountains as this will be the first part we will be focussing on mapping and creating quests.


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A full list of Patch Notes and Updates can be found on our Discord.


Keep up to date with the Tales of Middle-Earth project!
Website:
Tales of Middle-Earth Homepage
Discord: Tales of Middle-Earth Discord

Planned Pre-Alpha Public Testing: Soon to be announced though Discord.
Planned Alpha Release: Q2 - 2024 (knocks on wood)
Planned Beta Release: TBA
Planned Release: TBA​
 

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A short lore description of what sets in motion the events on your Tales of Middle-Earth

A Prophecy by Mandos
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At the very end of Arda, far into the West, at the borders of the world, a threshold to the beyond, lies the Moritarnon, known by some as the Door of Night.
The Door was created by the Valar at the time of the making of the Sun and the Moon, forming the border between Arda and the Timeless-Void.

It is here the primal evil Morgoth Bauglir is imprisoned, guarded, and watched for eternity by Eärendil himself.
Whispers flutter through Elven realms, tales of a looming struggle in Valinor.

In the ancient prophecies of Valar Mandos, a foretelling unfolds;
"When the world is old and the powers grow weary, then Morgoth, seeing that the guard sleepeth,
He shall come back through the Door of Night out of the Timeless Void, and destroy the Sun and Moon."

----

As time passes and Middle-Earth grows into the third age, the very balance of the world is conflicted.
It is when the Elves are returning to the lands in the West, that lights are dimming.

When the spirits of Men falter, when the wills of the free peoples of Middle-Earth are shallowed.
When the Maiars are divided, when the dark forces of Sauron are regaining powers, it is time.
------

Time itself stood still for a moment, a thunderous, crackling explosion followed by a short shockwave engulfed the continents.
The seas began to rise, the earth began to shift, and the mountains began to crumble down.
And Morgoth came.

The Sun and the Moon were destroyed.
Darkness spread upon the world like a blanket.

The world became sick.
The Dagor Dagorath is approaching.
With evil forming in the East and an approaching evil from the West.

Varda, Queen of the Valar, collected the last surrounding stars to form a new light around the world, temporarily, but strong.
Without it, the world would have no light to protect itself against what is to come.

With Angband reforming in the Iron Mountains, Angmar reawakened, and with Mordor at its full strength, the world is on the brink of total destruction.
----
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One reason why i dont play some servers is because the crafting mechanic always seem way complicated compared to any 7.4 mechanic that tibia is built on. So my tip to you: dont forget that the simplicity of tibia is what made it so popular :)
 
One reason why i dont play some servers is because the crafting mechanic always seem way complicated compared to any 7.4 mechanic that tibia is built on. So my tip to you: dont forget that the simplicity of tibia is what made it so popular :)

Exactly my thought, young master!

Gathering/Processing and Refining Skills will not be very complicated as the actions will speak for themselves.
Its setup is very logical, if not, it would just create another barrier for players, which we want to avoid at all cost.

We are not going to put an insane amount of skills inside the game like Runescape, we are creating professions that are meaningful in the world of Tolkien, which are also not required for you to do, although if you wish to be self-sustaining, and the cheapest way, you will have to put in some leg work.

You create your own balance in the systems, or you can neglect them, but your road to greatness may be a long one.

This will also bring a feeling of accomplishment to your characters. Something very hard to achieve.
We want players to be able to create a story in the world for themselves, to be truly counted among the Heroes of Old and that can only be achieved by effort.
The trick is to transform effort into fun. (Spoiler: With Morgoth and Sauron looming, "fun" is a word nonexistent by the inhabitants of Middle-Earth as it is ever dangerous)

Probably a bit out-of-context but let me give RL Money as an example.
If a person gives you 100,000 Dollars, you will be very happy, but that happiness will not last.
If you earned that 100,000 Dollars on your own, you have put your own blood, sweat and tears into whatever to achieve this, this will feel a thousand times more satisfying
.

The same goes with gaming, it's the amount of energy and time one puts into a game, that makes one truly feel that they accomplished something.
But only if the game will return the favor, that it doesn't make you feel like you've wasted your time.
Time may be disrupted in Middle-Earth but for us and the players, every hour of gameplay must be precious.
----

We could make it very easy by using lots of Modal Windows and have the user experience very practical and gamify the systems but that in my humble opinion is what breaks the RPG in the game. Players don't have to think anymore and just press buttons and the system will do the rest, it's utterly boring to craft by clicking two buttons and you have no idea what the process itself is.

We have systems that complement each other very well, Fishing/Foraging/Farming goes together with Cooking as you will have to cook your food and can create dishes with different kinds of ingredients, very simple as to "Use with" on any heating source like an Oven or Campfire. A small extra action that creates immersion.

The same goes with Mining and Metalworking, one can mine deposits and veins while questing and/or exploring by using a pick, the refining stage goes a bit deeper, as Metalworking requires some knowledge and different ingredients, it's more for the players that want to dive into a deeper system but will also be the most rewarding.

Farming also speaks for itself, you plow the dirt, you sow your seeds, and you reap your harvest, as simple as 1,2,3! (Be careful of filthy thieves though)

Simplicity and Immersion are what we are aiming for, if that cannot be achieved, the system will not enter the game.
 
Secrets of Middle-Earth
The Hidden Talking Doors of Durin


As we all know the Doors to Moria, there are many hidden doors created by the Dwarves that require you to solve a riddle to pass its gates.
Many may lead to treasure, shortcuts, new quests, and dangers.

Finding the doors will be a task on its own already as each door requires different word(s) to uncover its position.
After which the door will present you with a riddle, solving this riddle will let the player pass.

The "uncovering" words may be learned from various sources throughout Middle Earth.
Sometimes you stumble upon it in a book or while speaking to an NPC.


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Spawn Points
(Everything under HEAVY construction)

When you first start your adventure you will be able to choose a race, each will start in their own respective city.
This will be the first important decision you have to make because some cities have other benefits than others.

The starting cities of Dwarves and Elves are considered very difficult starting locations for your first character,
due to the surroundings of these two locations, it can be quite challenging.

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Dwarves in the Blue Mountains

The Green City of Dwarves in the Blue Mountains is a secluded area, not many travelers pass here and the Dwarves keep well to their own.
This can be a good place for anyone who wishes to stay hidden from the outside world.
The fortress has connections to the town of Michel Delving and the White Downs.
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As the city is located inside a mountain, its caves and tunnel systems are filled with veins and deposits,
a great place for any starting Blacksmith!

Hobbits in Hobbiton
The place where all good stories start, in a hole in the ground somewhere in Hobbiton.
This is by far the easiest and most relaxing location to start your adventure in,
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Hobbits are very fond of anything that grows and you will notice that by the amount of farmlands you find in this region.
The best place of players who wish to grow their own foods and take a stroll through the old English-looking countryside.

Men in Bree
In the middle of Eriador, against a steep hill, lies the brewing, stinking city of Bree, it is where many kinds of people gather and try to make a living.
Without any form of stable government, the city finds itself in the grasp of any ambitious individual claiming they are this year's Mayor.
You can live in the gutter or you may find yourself going on an adventure after visiting the Prancing Pony.
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Because the city doesn't have any form of government, the military has taken over and they seem quite corrupt.
Due to the many incidents, more than half of the city has been rebuilt over time, making for different house styles from Hobbit Holes to Stone Houses.
They also don't seem to care much for the roads..

Elves in Rivendell
The more majestic of the races, the Elves begin their lives in Rivendell. Hidden within a deep valley, the House of Elrond is anything you want it to be.
It is a world within a world some say, many people cannot believe something of such stature can thrive in this region as the legions of Angmar ever try to penetrate its borders.
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Rivendell is probably the safest place to live in but also the most dangerous if one decides to leave the area.
Surrounded by Orcs, Trolls, Goblins, and other vile creatures, your adventures may quickly come to an end for any unseasoned warrior.

The valley of Imladris is also a key location as it is the gateway to many important landmarks such as Moria, the Ettenmoors, and many passages through the Misty Mountains.​
 
Preview: Pre Alpha Client
Music by: Vindsvept


As we are getting closer to letting players take a stroll through Middle Earth it was time to update our client a little bit.
Long have we thought of using the movie score as a valued intro song but we wanted something that would fit more inside a game.
This will let us use the movie scores to be used for specific quests ;)

Ergo, after reaching out to the artist Vindsvept we will be able to use some of his original works that will set the mood for your Tales of Middle-Earth.
We might eventually create an animated background for the client and at a later date we'll be updated the background to show some important Patch Notes and Changes.

For now, feast your ears on this calm but adventurous soundtrack.

Follow Vindsvept

Discord
Website
 
In preparation for a Pre-Alpha Testing Server

General Information

On the Pre-Alpha Testing Server, you will be able to test various systems and walk "some" miles.
This will help me tremendously in progressing further as I am progressing the map together with the quests at the moment.

I don't feel comfortable progressing as half of the systems don't work and have to track back and unendingly delay myself.
This will also ensure me that the systems have potential or not and can be removed or edited to the player's needs.

The server is butt-naked, it is not meant to be played.
Keep this in mind as you traverse the lands east of the Misty Mountains.
Some parts of the map are placeholders.

What needs to be Tested?
On our Discord I have made Testing Cards, these Cards give you a description of what needs to be tested.
For now, anything that has to do with the map, creatures, and NPC (except for quest givers) should not be reported.
However, if you have suggestions and feedback feel free to leave those behind! :)

PS. You can zoom in if you click the image


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Keep up to date:
DISCORD
 
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Nogrod, the Green City of Dwarves in the southern part of the Blue Mountains
Its location has been adjusted so that both sides of the Gulf of Lune have a dwarven city.
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Ents and Huorns, as you traverse different forests with the famous ones being the Old Forest, Fangorn, and Lothlorien,
you should mind your game screen because not all trees are asleep. You think they are too slow until you find yourself completely surrounded.
The old world will burn in the fires of industry. The forests will fall. A new order will arise. - Saruman
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The One Ring, as you wear it you will be granted true invisibility against players and monsters but you do take damage every few seconds
together with an additional effect so that other players still have a chance to spot you every now and then.
There can only be one Lord of the Ring and he does not share power. - Gandalf the Grey
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Riders in Black, the nine have left Minas Morgul and at least five of them have crossed the borders into the Shire looking for something.. or someone.
Whatever you do, if you encounter them, run. They cannot be defeated.
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Also trying out the weather system, I'd like it what more subtle although during some scenes it looks and feels amazing.
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Wood Hall, Maggot's Farm, Deephallow, Willowbottom, Buckleberry Ferry, Brandy Hall, Standelf, Newbury, Crickhollow, The Old Forest, Barrow Downs
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Bree, Staddle, Bree Hill, Combe, Chetwoods, Archet, Midgewater Marshes, Weather Hills, Weather Top
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Trollshaws
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What blueprint could this be
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This project looks cool but looks way out of league, what you should do is focus on and around Bree area. Release when you have a functioning and fun to play on base, and then build upon that. If you're gonna wait until you've created the entire world this project will never see the light of day.
 
This project looks cool but looks way out of league, what you should do is focus on and around Bree area. Release when you have a functioning and fun to play on base, and then build upon that. If you're gonna wait until you've created the entire world this project will never see the light of day.

Yeah it's insane how much work, but I'm not complaining!
It's awesome to listen to the audiobooks while having mapping sessions, getting quest ideas, and the day after work on that, and the circle continues.
Currently, I am focussing on the four cities west of the misty mountains, I will not wait until the whole map is finished to launch, I had something like this in mind:



Pre Alpha Test Server:

  • Nogrod (done), Bree (done), Rivendell (not done) and Hobbiton(not done) Cities base finished.
  • 1-2 spawns per city finished. (Bree done) getting you to level 10~
  • Key NPCs in cities being placed. (Bree done) (Hobbiton not done) (Nogrod not done) (Rivendell not done)
  • The Lord of the Rings Quest line till Rivendell, all actions, systems and quest log in place. (done)

- All locations following the LoTR Quest basic mapping finished: Bag End(not done), Hobbiton(not done), Bywater(done), Woody End(done), Maggots Farm(done), Buckleberry Ferry(done), Brandy Hall(not done), Crickhollow(not done), The Old Forest(done), Barrow-Downs (done), Bree(done), Chetwood(not done), Weather Top(done), Part of the Lone Lands(not done), Trollshaws(done), Fort of Bruinen(not done), and Rivendell(done). (10/17)

- Important systems being placed: Companion System (done), 6 new functional and levelable skills(done), Respawn System(done), Town Teleports (done), Hunger System(done), Guild Fortress Wars(done), Tasks and Daily Tasks per City(not done), Rings of Power (one functional ring; The One Ring), House Market System(done), Adding Mounts(done), Marriage(done), First Legendary Item(done), Weather System(done), Random Junk or treasure in Containers(done), among other smaller systems~

(This way the game is already "playable" yet some area's barren and systems are not configured optimally, making for a walking simulator really, although all new skills should make at least for some quality time)



From walking around myself, I can tell you that the only thing a player NEEDS to think of is their HUNGER at the beginning,
as your stomach is empty, you will take 1 damage over 10-15 seconds, making your search for food a priority.

But no worries, I've been trying to streamline Foraging, as you walk your paths, it's fun to forage trees and bushes for fruits to eat as it's quite immersive doing that while in the wild.
With the campfires that act as Respawn Anchors around the regions that also act as a station to Cook, traveling itself is a much more fun experience.




Alpha Test Server:
  • Four main cities mapping completed.
  • Each city has around 3-4 spawns surrounding it, getting you to level 20~
  • The Lord of the Rings Quest line all areas till Rivendell, all map content mapped.
  • Important Pre-Alpha systems fully configured and tuned.
  • Tutorial quest per Race finished.
( This makes the game playable for quite a few hours as there is a purpose in the world)

Beta Test Server:
  • All smaller settlements between Hobbiton and Rivendell finished mapping.
  • Further adding spawns around the main cities so players can reach level 30 efficiently
  • Adding Quests per City and its surroundings.
  • Start of The Hobbit Quest line.
(At this stage the majority of the gameplay from what you are used to in a Tibia game is in place and allows you to hunt in spawns or work on any of the 6 new skills)

Release:
- Everything West of the Misty Mountains mapped.
  • The Lord of the Rings Quest is fully functional from Bag End to Rivendell.
  • The Hobbit Quest fully functional from Bag End to Rivendell
  • All 20 Rings of Power
  • All systems in place.
  • Spawns and Quests to reach level 60 efficiently.




I also want to say that there will be lots of "open space" to act as the "wild"
So the amount of locations that need to be mapped is actually not that many, the locations are not that big,
and such places often are just scenery, meaning spots like these will stay pretty barren but will eventually get mapped to look like that region should look like and they host the perfect locations for extra spawns, wars and raids.





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In my Picasso sketch the red circles are the barren areas, while everything within the yellow border is what a player traverses through most of their time and these areas are what is primarily focussed on.
 
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A forest south of Bree, where bears and wolves drink from the tears of the mountain.

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A part of the Chetwoods, it is here our master Hobbits are getting chased by riders in black.

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Beginning of Maggot's Farm, also a crossway dividing the north and south of this region.

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Entrance to the Old Forest towards its spawn and deeper into the ancient part.

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A forest in the Shire along the Great East Road

@Apollos Still need to find a good sprite to cover the rails xD


Keep up to date on the project!
DISCORD
 
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Like I said, way out of your league you will never finish this project. And if you finish it, it will probably be in such a broken state that its unplayable. Good luck anyways.

My suggestion still stands, focus on this area. Bree as the main town, Old Forest, Buckland, Brandy Hills, Barrow-Downs, Midgewater Marsh, Chetwood etc.

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What do you think, would these sequences work during specific quests?

Here you must imagine the player falling through the hole, after which a walk through the woods occurs,
upon reaching the black rider a chase scene starts.
And yes, the Black Rider will catch up on you no matter what level you are thanks to @Xikini

After helping Farmer Maggot he offers you trip on his carriage, at the end you escape by the using ferry.

Quite a horrific scene as this forest will have a part with spiders, together with this creeping soundtrack..
Do note to turn your volume a bit up for this one, made a mistake..
I do think this is a bit too much to be used for this scene, although perfect for a chase by Shelob

At every tavern, there could be a music area playing different songs!




Yes, yes still need to find a way to fade out music :')
 


Yay! Something that I've wanted for some time, NPCs that can go to sleep! So they have certain time windows of business.
This can be applied to many things, traveling merchants, roaming monsters, you name it!

Still needs a bit of polishing though
 
Oh, so.
I see. me & the team are not the only ones who work on LOTR-based OTS, haha :D
The funny thing is that we're working on similar solutions even tho i didn't see your thread earlier. i.e.
crafting, new skills, walking npcs - basically everything that we could think of to make the game more RPG.

We're planning to do some more races than you -
basic ones: Elves, Dwarfs, Hobbits, Man
special ones(unlockable races through the gameplay / quests): ent/istari/beorning

and possibility to choose a 'specialisation' from each race, for example, if you pick a man, you can choose your origin from Dunedain, Eriador, Gondor, Rohan.

We don't plan to lunch this year tbh.. We all have lives, partners, work, so, the progress is going on slowly.
Also, we've got middle-earth map which is 20k x 20k tiles & weights... a lot! There will be 'empty' spaces without any content but this is due to the lore, not due to the mapping issues / lack of ideas / low skills (for example, pelennor fields. in the books/movie it was just empty field - we'll keep it this way. Empty field between Minas Tirith & Osgiliath)

and there's still lots to do. I guess we'll need server with lots of ram... :D

btw. I wish we could steal your sprites 😂
 
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