Is CSE really a tough branch

Unveiled # 10

News from the team
- by Max Porter

Hi all!
May was a month of hard work and progress on Camelot Unchained, with lots of cool stuff that made us smile. Overall, it's been a good month and we'll soon be showing you some of the fruits of our hard work.

It was a little warm here in the sunny urban area of ​​Fairfax and we left the blinds down and the ventilation on here in the City State Entertainment office. But Ben still keeps his jacket on most of the time. In the light of the computer screens, the game progresses safely and steadily.

People seem to enjoy reading our user stories and we have great fun updating the cards with interesting progress information. We also saw some updates to the official wiki and it seems to serve as a great resource of knowledge for fans old and new.

In between implementing the first notes and the sky into the game, we did some fun stuff like livestreams, forum discussions, and some big tech alpha tests. Since these went quite well and we got good information from them, we look forward to the next!

On a more serious side, the thoughts, prayers, good wishes and positive thoughts of the whole studio are with Mark's wife Janet, also known as Lady J., who was diagnosed with treatable breast cancer. It's scary, but it was discovered very, very, very early and the preoperative prognosis is very positive. We all think of her and hope for the best, fastest recovery possible. Lady J will be operated on next week, so get well soon Lady J!

For more of the community, the design, coding notes, backstory and all the other good stuff in our newsletter, read on and enjoy this tenth issue of Unveiled!

Dragon accident report

We have confirmed reports that local residents have fully recovered from a series of extremely unlikely collisions with a gray-scaled beast that left the surrounding terrain completely gray. Heroic efforts were made to rectify the problem, and it was quite a challenge thanks to the rarity and enigmatic nature of the beast. However, the rubble was cleared, the gray swept away, and all the damage repaired, to the point where the locals said it could no longer be seen that any of these strange and powerful creatures was ever there. Still, it is clear that these creatures will come back and all residents are advised to be careful when the time comes.

Updates

We are close to successfully achieving the special stretch goal “Spirit in the Sky”. We're extremely excited when we think about the possibilities for our unique pet classes in CU. We have made progress behind the scenes on the recruitment front, which we will be able to tell you about soon and we are excited about the next stretch goals, especially the next but one stretch goal, which we will meet with open eyes and, above all, ears respect, think highly of. We hope you are looking forward to it too!

CMSphere
- from Jenesee Gray

For this CMSphere we want to try something different. Here is an article about our wonderful community and what has happened lately.

Hello dear supporters! You may be surprised that we're changing the format of the CMSphere this month. A long time ago, in a pre-alpha far, far away ... the idea for this newsletter was to focus on community-related questions. Since then, this section has moved away from the original idea to talk more about design issues. It is more than understandable that you curious people want to know everything about the latest and greatest things that are going on behind the closed doors here, but that would be nonsense. Some of the stuff is just not ready to be revealed yet (and frankly, catching Ben by his beard and asking questions is going to be a hassle)! To keep “A Dose of Design” as the cool place to find design-related information, I'm rolling the CMSphere back to the original idea. So without further ado, I'm here to tell you all new and exciting things about community events and other things you should know about.

We had an important milestone! We had our two-year anniversary on February 5th, 2015. Yay Camelot Unchained! The traditional gift for a two year anniversary is cotton! That seems a bit ironic as we have narrowed down the selection of companies that print T-shirts and will be making some announcements over the next few weeks. So, happy anniversary to you guys with t-shirts! “The touch, the feel of cotton…” I can't wait to see “The Depths” everywhere!

A few weeks ago, Andre Meggs, co-owner and technical director, hosted a stream! It was great to see so many people support us and even some who don't understand programming at all. But there were also those who wanted to watch the masters at work and learn. So there was a great mix in the chat. Andrew worked on the game's editor. Before starting work, if a team member wanted to select and move an item, they had to find it in a list and move it. This made things difficult and time consuming as they had to move other things out of the way before they could get to the specific object they wanted. Now, after some programming work, you can just click on the object (say a tree) and pick it up! It seems like a simple thing (it was clear on the stream that it wasn't) but it will really save us time and it got Tyler to hug Andrew. He shook it off like water from someone ... forget it. So what are the joys and challenges of building your own tools and engines from scratch. They can be set exactly how you want them, but they have to be created first. It was great to see Andrew live.

The social needs of our Alpha supporters have received some love lately in the form of the new Twitter and Facebook feature our programmer Cory added to C.U.B.E. I've seen some pictures of buildings and some creative stuff has been shared. The new “Droplight” feature enables you to properly stage your creations and highlight sections. If you are an alpha tester, give it a try and share your epic buildings. You can preview one of the options for the new C.U.B.E. Get a logo that will automatically appear on the picture when you share it.

We received some nice participation from our German translators, who have also increased to translate the CU website into German. There was also a move from our dear Italian speaking minority to help us translate the page into Italian as well. If you want to help us, help us to reach new communities and support these projects. We could also use some assistance in our forum on our website.

Although the format is changing here, it would still be great to have some community-related questions answered. If you are or want to become a supporter and there is something you would like to ask, please visit our forum and post your question in the community section. Thank you for your patience while this section settles in over the next few months.

Supporter question of the week: Coming soon!

Hot topics

The hottest topics on the forums right now are the presentations in the “Something to Think About” section. Come to us in the forum on our website and bring your thoughts and discussions to the discussion table.

Look what you did

Wow, there were so many incredible submissions! We had to pick our jaws off the floor several times trying to pick a winner ... and we still had to choose two.
Here is the first entry that won, from Nekromaniak!

And now as a feast for the eyes, we present you the second entry that Hellminster won!

Incredible, great submissions! Thanks to everyone who participated, we appreciate every entry.

For our next competition, tell us about your character's favorite weapon. What will you experience together, your hero and his most useful tool? What victories will you get, what bad worries and what great magic will you experience together? Write us a paragraph about your powerful weapon and post it in the thread that can be found in the fanfiction section of the forum on the official site.

thanks

Wow Failboat sent us a ton of gifts this month. Almost all of the portable kind, with funny jokes, great team icons, support for Lady J and her personal PvC fight and it was incredibly generous. Thank you so much for all the clothes and laughs, Failboat! With such generous gifts, we are only showing a selection of them here. Check out the community section of the forum for the full pictures with Failboat's clever captions.

This hit Mark (and all of us) right in the heart.

Special thanks also go to Clan Sverker, who merged and sent Mark and Andrew a pair of great mugs, along with some coffee. Your "tribute" is very much appreciated

A dose of design
- by Ben Pielstick

Pew ... thunk

Archery was Camelot Unchained's first stretch goal during the Kickstarter campaign, and for a good reason. Although the game would have been good with the expanded trinity of mages, healers, and tanks (along with hybrid support classes in between), archers have always been a part of fantasy RPGs as long as they have existed. If there was one bonus feature that we wanted to bring into the game to make the game a lot better, it was the archer as its own unique archetype.

What makes the shooters in CU so special that they had to be their own stretch goal? As you have already seen, the shooters are treated just as specially by our talented arts department as the other archetypes.

The same kind of special treatment will also benefit their game mechanics. Unlike other games where shooters and mages are treated equally, we make sure that the two styles of play are different with their own abilities, advantages and disadvantages, which will make the comparison between them like the comparison between apples and pears. Where mages have mastered the great power of indiscriminate destruction, archers use precision, timing, and superior aiming accuracy to take advantage of the realities and weaknesses of enemy armor and physical status. That doesn't mean, however, that archers require an extremely high level of twitch skill to play them, as their style is more focused on carefully planning and using their mobility and camouflage to make the right attack and minimize contact to keep. You won't be running around at full speed, hopping around like a rabbit and shooting arrows with your bow as if you were the medieval machine gun bearer.

In terms of our component-based skill system, where mages combine a set of components into a single spell, archers can select arrows, put them on, cock them and shoot them as single steps. This allows postures as intermediate results after selecting and dragging the arrows while there is still limited mobility. The time required to shoot is, however, significantly reduced and it is possible to exchange the arrow without shooting it, should this be necessary. This is intentional in order to make better preparations and adjustments on the go, allowing the shooter to land the perfect shot when it counts.

While it is very relevant for mages which optional infusions that can be added change the basic effects of their runes, the effects of the archer's attacks are largely determined by the type of arrow (and arrows are required, while infusions are optional). That is why the arrow selection is very important for the archer and even more so because the number of arrows the archer can carry is limited. The number of arrows hampers and further slows the archer by the strain on the quiver and arrows themselves. Simple arrows are easily replenished, although the archer may have to do some simple fletching of the arrows as a form of "simple craft", in the same way as the tank can also straighten its plate armor between fights before going to a craftsman to have it completely repaired. Special arrows, however, can be very expensive and difficult to manufacture, which means they should be saved for situations where they bring the greatest benefit, in a situation that calls out for their benefit.

The rest of the archer's components also affect the attack, of course, but mostly with force and timing, as a counterpart to the nature of the effect of an arrow targeting. As an example: Quick cocking and shooting without aiming thoroughly gets the arrow into the air faster and may catch the target while it crouches for cover or is trying to run out of range. Nevertheless, a power shot aimed at a vulnerable point, where the target is already injured or has the weakest armor, is a much stronger attack, but it takes longer. This is roughly the decision between “Core Shot / Point Blank Shot” and “Power Shot” as a scout in Dark Age of Camelot.

In the end, I can't finish a discussion about archers without talking about the mechanics of projectiles. Magical attacks come in many forms, only some of which are projectiles, but these are usually slow and quite large, and almost all of them are homing to some extent. Arrows, on the other hand, are small and move quickly and differently than the special, soul-inhabited (note: another word is needed for soul-inhabited) arrows, they will not have a target-seeking system to hit enemies. (In addition to what is needed to balance all projectiles for latency issues)

We are currently testing an additional camera angle called “camera offset positioning” on our Archer User Story Checklist, which we hope will provide an additional option to the usual tab aiming, an alternative method through precise target control and guiding aim at moving targets. This is far from set in stone and will no doubt be subject to extensive iteration and testing in the coming months. Still, if we can get that good feeling that it helps the mostly tab-based fighting style and speed, using bows or other similar weapons becomes a skill in itself, which is a huge bonus as we work on being archers as to create a unique and interesting class.

As always, we look forward to your thoughts and ideas, so feel free to join the discussions in the forum while we continue to work on the first implementation for archers.

Developer quote

“That's why Camelot Unchained will be more of a sandbox game than most of the other MMORPGs that call themselves a sandbox game. It's up to the players to create the world. ”- Mark Jacobs

Artitup
- by Scott Trolan

This month we dedicated ourselves to the transfer of the archetype characters into our new main avatar system. We have successfully transferred the male Luchorpán (with pants!) And we're next adding the counterpart, the female Luchorpán, to the game. Furthermore, male and female humans in every realm should soon be available for the alpha testers.

Sandra and Michelle redesigned our old archetype models to meet the requirements for the main avatar system. We have new designs for all male and female giant races (Frost Giants, Fir Bogs, and Golems) and male and female Hamadryads. These designs are waiting to be modeled, rigged and imported into the game as quickly as possible.

Lastly, I thought, you might want to see some of the C.U.B.E.logo options that James K. developed.

Technical center
- by Charles "Bull" Durham

Once upon a time, back before eternal September, there was a golden time. That was a time when phreakers were doing phreaking and hacking hackers. That was the time when nerds left each other electronic messages on bulletin boards.An extra telephone line for the computer set you apart from the dirty normal people. Let's visit the end of that time and travel to the Florida Panhandle in 1994.


Real hackers from before 2000. They probably hack the Gibson.

I was an aircraft mechanic in the Air Force and I had only just rediscovered the personal computer. I tried my hand at an Atari 800, but my family didn't have much money left for things like technology, so I had to wait until I made some money myself. Imagine you are a mechanically inclined geek with a pronounced social phobia. Now imagine you're trying to be friends with the good old guys from places like Lickskillet, Alabama, or Bumpus Mills, Tennessee. You try to be friends with them because they are funny and sometimes women find it funny to be with them. If you can imagine that, you will have a good idea of ​​what my life was like then.

No matter what you do, when you hang out with guys from small farming villages you've never heard of, sooner or later you hear about stock car races. Fortunately for me, a game company called Papyrus has released a game called NASCAR Racing. As anyone who has played the game can attest, the game is not just about driving a car around the racetrack. No, not even close. The game is about being a racing car freak. Playing the game taught me that even small changes to a racing car can have a visible impact on the car's performance. It also taught me that there were tons of adjustments to my car that I could make to get a few hundredths out of the average lap time. I have spent countless days making obscure settings to optimally adapt my car to my driving style.


Find pixels. Many left. Very turn

Meanwhile, in the real world, my interest in the game enabled me to check out NASCAR. Beer helped too, but for the most part it was the game. I also found that I could talk about racing with my colleagues without feeling weird. I even made up my mind to like Jeff Gordon just because he reminded me of my cousin Karl. This new level of socialization led me to other stuff like going out with guys to meet women. Anyway, to do anything with the women I wanted to date I needed a real car. I had few requirements for my real car:

  • The engine should go on and off when I decided it should happen.
  • The car should accelerate when I step on the little pedal.
  • The car should accelerate in the other direction when I step on the big pedal.
  • It should be able to go left AND right.
  • Under no circumstances should it explode spontaneously.

That was pretty much all I wanted in a car. Fulfilling that short list was the amount of work I put into maintaining the car I bought. The car was happy. I was happy with the car. I was still incredibly awkward when it came to women. But hey, my car took me to places and it was good. It survived a tornado itself and all windows were knocked out by a hurricane once (because Florida).


My soul animal

"And what does that have to do with technology or Camelot Unchained?" you might ask. Nothing! Everything! Both! You see ... this story is also about programming languages. One of the common questions I hear when people find out I make computer games is, "What language do you use?" The answer is, "Whatever is needed".

In 1994, C and / or C ++ was pretty much anything to game development. C ++ is great. You can do pretty much anything with it. It lets you implement any bad idea and asks for more. If you need to be able to make your computer game have racing car performance, then C ++ is a good choice. Do you want to spend hours after hours in the basement and use science in your program to reduce a much-used loop by one or two runs? Use C ++ but be careful! It'll bite your bum if you cut it in the wrong corner and leave you torn to pieces at Turn 3. It is a challenge. It's fun. It's also super time consuming and has a steep learning curve. Using C ++ is fine-tuning this racing car and loving every minute of it.


Natural habitat of the typical C ++ programmer

On the other hand, sometimes you just don't care about the race. Maybe you just want to arrive to learn how to stop being incredibly awkward. Sometimes you just want to hang out with the nice person you just met instead of seeing your car scattered over Highway 98 after an explosion, like what it looks like in the canteen on burrito night. The destination is so much more important than the journey. If you want to hit the game (or any other application) asap, you'd consider a language like C #. Imagine C ++ and Java had a baby and the baby was doing chores for you. Unfortunately, the baby puts an end to a lot of funny things that you normally did (just like real babies). Can you spend hours trying to get the tires up on a shopping cart to get a better lap time? Yes! Will this improve your chance of getting a date and having babies? No not true.


Natural habitat of the typical C # programmer

The reason I'm telling you this story is because I want you to know that anyone who tells you that one language is way better than another is not the best person to give you advice about languages. Unless it's PHP because ... damn it. Languages ​​are tools we use to achieve goals. There is no such thing as “the best language”, there are only languages ​​that are better for certain purposes. If there was one best language, there would be only one language because programmers are very lazy. As my favorite engineer once said: "The right tool for the right job." If you are interested in learning a language I would suggest you just pick one that looks cool and get started. Unless you want to spend more time being awkward around nice people, use C #.

Status of the build
- by Brian Green

Another month of code work has been added to the source code library as our code base grows! We're still working on the basics of the game, even though we also keep adding more elements of the gameplay. Many of these changes will not be visible to the player, but are absolutely vital to the development of the game.

As for the tools, Andrew worked a lot on the terrain editor. A big improvement is that people can click to select an object in the world, instead of having to select the object from a list before. He also made the terrain malleable in the editor, which allows designers and artists to create the world more easily. He ran into a problem where the zone he was testing on was so large that he had to add another level of detail to the site, much earlier than expected. This is something most people won't see except in the definitive version of the new lands to fight for.

In physics, Rob worked a lot on building stability. We've talked about wanting to collapse the buildings if they are hit by siege weapons or spells, and Rob's changes will help us achieve that goal. To test this, Rob took some of the C.U.B.E.creations from our forum and applied the game physics to them. Some of these have been shown to become very beautiful looking ruins. Then Ben and Mark started talking about designs that would help players be better able to build structures that wouldn't fall apart easily.

When it comes to graphics, Dave has implemented the first new features for the sky. First he worked with Michelle and Mike Crossmire to choose a good color palette; Andrew pointed out that the colors are similar to those used by the famous illustrator Maxfield Parrish. Dave then worked with Mike on adding the sun and moon, as well as placing stars across the night sky. The stars are randomly distributed across the sky at the moment, but there is talk of ways of allowing stars to be firmly placed in the sky so that people can read out constellations.

On the infrastructure side, Tim worked hard to create a VPN connection for people outside of the office. Sometimes people have to work from home and we expect that we will have some people who only work from outside. It's important to set up the VPN properly to keep our work safe. Bull has been working on editor user interfaces for game systems and upgrading our code base to a newer version of Visual Studio. “It was an educational experience,” he said. Cory added ways to capture screenshots of C.U.B.E. Post on Facebook and Twitter, maybe you will see some of the things your friends created on these networks in the future.

In the gameplay innovations, JB added a few global variables that form the basis for the database. This allows us to set variables such as how much maximum life players should have. Then we can change these variables while the server is online and the change will persist when the server is shut down. I've added some variables that determine, for example, how going up or down a mountain affects movement or how high the players can jump. I've also worked hard to implement attributes and make them work. Soon your agility will affect your racing speed! Finally, Tim has been working on attitudes that will become part of the skill system.

And now, a selection of patch notes from this month:

  • Modifier components added! These are the components that are assembled with the primary and secondary components that are already available to create new capabilities. We can currently build over 100K combinations, not all of which make sense or work at the moment, but that will change over time.
  • The Modifier component allows you to change the way an ability works. For example, the explosion component allows projectiles to hit targets in an AoE at the point of impact.
  • Added some admin commands to the game. These allow CSE employees to make themselves invulnerable, move quickly, teleport or even fly. This will be useful for observation flights and to record videos in the future. in the future.
  • The sun, moon and stars have been added to the sky. They look pretty good and are getting better every day.
  • The ability to place colored light has been added. This makes sense to set the right lighting moods in C.U.B.E. to create.
  • Added global variables to adjust the speed of players going down and up hills. As we create new terrain, it becomes important to be able to change these variables.
  • Added global variables to adjust the maximum number of health and stamina points. We have set the life points to 5 times their normal value, as the modifier components allow you to do extreme damage.
  • Global variables for impact (fall) damage added. This also allows us to increase / decrease the damage you take if you are thrown into a wall.
  • A first version of the impulse transmission system based on character mass has been implemented. Translation: Hahaha! Jötnar are now pushing tiny, little Luchorpán around.

See you next month!

Developers in the spotlight

The spotlight this month is on the process Daniel Beck, or dB for short, is going through to create the sounds and musical effects you will hear in Camelot Unchained!

How did you get into making sounds and effects for games?
Like most people who do anything audio-related, I started with an instrument. I used to play drums in middle school and some cover bands in college and all that time I had a digital recorder that I used to record practice or shows. The home recording revolution struck while I was working in a music store, so I've learned enough about it in the meantime. At some point I had enough equipment to deal with it more seriously. I had a neighbor who went to school for this, and even though I was through college, I decided to go back for a quick trip and go to an audio engineering school. I got my first job 6 months after graduation and have loved game audio since then.

What kind of tools do you use and why?
There are too many to list. I have a Mac and a PC and so I switch back and forth. Macs are pretty good at handling recording software, but since we're making a PC game, I'll need a PC. I enjoy the separation because it separates neatly into a kind of “left hemisphere / right hemisphere” mode of operation. In terms of software, I use Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and a few days ago I started using Reaper. Pro Tools is for audio editing and SFX creations. Live and Reaper are for music. Wwise is an audio middleware that runs on a PC and I love Wwise. I am very grateful to work for a company that knows how to support its sound person with sensible middleware. If you don't do it like that, it's like hiring a C ++ programmer and then telling him: "Oh yes, we don't use C ++, we use our own language". Other physical tools I use are a portable audio recorder and a collection of microphones and those I use to record all the weird noises. Just last week my wife received a shipment of frozen food from her mother, which arrived in a styrofoam cooler full of dry ice. Of course, I had to grab a bunch of metal objects that were lying around and hit them against the dry ice to make all the weird noises.

What is your workflow for creating cool sounds?
A good sound effect usually starts with good basic material. Basics materials are the collection of pre-recorded sounds that you have at your disposal to edit, manipulate, and mix together to create the sound you want. Audio is a bit like cooking in that sense. You have all of these different processes that you can apply to the original ingredients, but the end result will be so much better if you use quality ingredients from the start. And sometimes it's good to have fresh “untreated” ingredients. I'm in the process of upgrading my Mac and after that's done I'll be hosting some live streams where I'll be making some sounds.

Do you have a favorite sound effect or noise in another game?
Probably the sound in Diablo 2 when gems fall down. I've been conditioned to love this sound! I have no other choice!

Which of the sound effects you'll be creating for Camelot Unchained are you looking forward to the most?
The magic. That covers a huge area, but I'm really interested in our magic system and all the variations it allows. It's going to be a challenge to make all of these variations meaningful through music, but I'm looking forward to it. Since we're a PvP game, the sound will help a lot in representing what's going on on the battlefield, so I'll have a lot of fun making sure that magic can be heard at long range. It is normal for shooters to be able to hear gunshots at long range, but it is not normal for a fantasy RPG. Even in our alpha test you can see fireballs and water darts that are fired from great distances. I think it's great that the team put the emphasis on these long distances because from the perspective of the sound it becomes very interesting to create the combat sound environment when all these projectiles are flying through the air.

What do you think? Come to the forum on our website to talk about it.

Story corner
- by Max Porter

See the rewrite of a Becoming ™ story.Originally written by Mark's own skilled hands, our story master Max has now worked on it and we want to present it to you again:

The Becoming - Hamadryads

The first breath. The first whisper of the power of the Veilsturm. It was quiet, a zephyr lost itself in the mountains and blew through the plains. With the first drops of anger flowing from the openwork veil, a silence fell over the world. The winds turned and signs of magic filled the electrified air. The world changed and an unpredictable power arose.

Some interpreted the changes as signs and omens of bad times to come, expecting the catastrophe that loomed on the horizon. Others ignored them, went about their lives as if nothing was different, and simply accepted their fate. Some new religions appeared in an attempt to explain the inexplicable or to use faith as a shield against the trembling beginnings of the Apocalypse. Some people panicked and hid deep under mountains, while others celebrated festivals in an attempt to smile at misfortune.

A man, long past his prime, gathered his family, the Alsea, around him. He sat at the root of a tree and spoke seriously while eyeing a freaky little granddaughter in the front row of the meeting. “A great misfortune has come. It will wreak havoc in the world, some will hide, others will think of themselves and a few will deny that anything is happening at all. But who will protect nature? Who will make sure that surviving generations can still live under a tree or catch a fish in the river? In our own little corner of the world, we must do what we can to protect the forest. He is older than us and deserves our help. "

The little girl, the youngest of the Alsea family who could speak, took a step in his direction. She leaned forward, challenge flashing in her eyes. “But why, Grandpa Emon? We should hide in the ground or build big, strong houses. "

The old man stared at her for a long moment with hard blue eyes. Then he smiled. “Let the other do it, child. You care about yourself. We have to take care of Mother Nature, otherwise no one will. "

The girl nodded slowly, as if the gathering needed her approval to proceed.

Under the guidance of old Emon, the Alsea family gathered their possessions, called their distant relatives and close friends, and left their homeland to find a place they believed needed protection: the deep, dark Heart of the forest. There they built a new life.

The Alsea family chose a location near an old, majestic oak tree as their central home and vowed to live in complete harmony with the forest. They only promised to use the wood from trees that had already fallen to help the forest grow and to keep out rot and disease. They would defend the wild forests with their lives. Instead of taking advantage of the forest, they vowed to bring it to life. The little granddaughter was among the first to take the oath. The trails of the forest were easy for her, and so it came about that she taught older members of the family how to keep their vows.

When the world around the forest began to change and huge mountains were pulled under the sea, almost nothing changed in the small enclave under the dark trees. The terrible destruction of the world spread everywhere, but it seemed to spare the heart of the forest even as earthquakes and storms hit the edges of their home. Although the big changes were approaching, the family began to believe that the great oak was protecting them. In return, they looked after the forest like one of their children, helping the saplings to grow tall and straight.

Some non-family people had heard stories of their safety and traveled to join the small settlement. The number of their huts woven from branches increased, they slowly spread out from the central oak. There were some newcomers who could not live with such a strict code of nature worship and they left to set up their own settlements.

Yet these other settlements were the first to be abandoned when the storms changed.

In truth, no place could stay safe from Veilstorms forever. Some of the Alsea family grumbled that not enough attention was paid to the forest, but their youngest daughter believed that the movements of the storms were just plain chaotic. The apparent security of the forest ended when a terrible storm swept into the green valley in which they lived and began to cause terrible destruction.

With his granddaughter by his side, Emon gazed at the heavens. He was breathing hard when he felt the earth shake. The air became charged with magic and titanic winds lashed the land. The storm had almost reached their enclave. Trees, some as ancient as stones, were uprooted, overturned in the terrible force of the storms, and splintered into pieces as they crashed into each other.

One by one, some of the residents of the remote settlements gathered in the forest near the center of the great heart-tree of the forests. The Alsea family stood on the edge of the forest, screaming into the storm as they tried to tie the trees or tamp down the earth around the roots. But while Emon pushed his children and grandchildren, there was little they could do. The edges of the forest shrank as it was torn apart, and the residents huddled together, praying that the veil storms would pass. Torn and torn to pieces, the forest was reduced to a single grove and finally to a large oak.

There were few people who had not fled the forest or been thrown into the air and killed by the winds. Even fewer were not transformed by the devastating magic. The survivors only survived by clinging to the sturdy roots of the great oak, hidden underground. The nine only barely fit around the tree trunk. It was difficult to breathe as the tremendous storm increased in strength and compressed the air with tremendous pressure.

The old man who had led them there held on with a trembling grip as the wind tugged on the branches of the oak. With his free hand he took his little granddaughter's arm. In return, she held him tight with all her strength.

“Everyone hold on tight! Keep the heart tree on the ground! "

Emon tried to answer, but the words were torn from his mouth. As if angry at their resistance, the storm raged angrily and became a veritable malice.

Refusing to give up, the Alsea's bodies became imbued with the power and magic that swirled around them as they tried to keep the last oak connected to the earth. They felt the full force of the storm's fury as they sang an ancient rhyme and offered their own lives for the tree. The little girl begged the forces above and below for strength to defend the heart-tree of the forest as it crashed and groaned overhead. She offered her life to the storm in exchange for the life of the Heart Tree. She heard her grandfather cry as he clutched her hand tighter. The shadow of the storm sank, hiding this forest graveyard from view. For a while there was only darkness and howling din.

When the Veilsturm finally took a deep breath and dissolved into silence, there was no sign of the Alsea family or the other settlers. They were gone, skin, blood, and bones. All that was left was the trunk of an oak, gray and notched, as if it had long been dead and dried out.

A year passed. Some of the survivors of the remote forest settlements, who fled when the storm approached, returned to find out what had become of their homes. Few traces remained of the great forest, with its dark nooks and crannies and hiding places between the tall trees, the thick carpet of leaves and the dark green canopy that changed the color of the sunlight below.

Now splinters of trees and their broken roots lay jumbled together in a huge plain, bone-white wood rotting. They could see the waves of the shattered tree trunks where the wind had destroyed the landscape. The only thing left high on the flattened plane of destruction was a single tree trunk. It was gray, aged and weathered, a dead tree guarding this shattered cemetery.

The ragged, spindly people trembled in their patched clothes when they saw this picture. It was exactly one year to the day since they fled the area around the forest and everything seemed lifeless and calm. Slowly, however, the air became heavy and oppressive. A new Veilsturm began to form in the sky over that place. It was getting dark and the clouds were whirling high above with malicious intent. The storm was alive, it quickly turned evil again.

The collection of refugees was pressed against the only thing that was left in this deserted place. The chaotic magic began to weigh down on them and the large tree trunk cracked and groaned as if it were in agony and anger. A tremendous clap of thunder boomed across the sky, followed by silence. A voice rang out in the silence. The small group looked astonished at the tree trunk, because from within the wood a clear female voice in an old language called: "Enough!"

While the trembling people continued to look in amazement, glowing bark spread over the dead wood, glowing with life. The trunk groaned again, old wood splintered as the tree stretched and grew. Glowing branches sprouted as the old oak turned and shook.

The storm's fury grew, but the oak seemed unharmed. The purple leaves of light breaking out of the branches consumed the power of the storm like sunlight. The more the storm howled, the bigger and wider the tree became. The survivors felt two powerful beings struggle for supremacy as each one takes a world-shattering blow and then comes back, greedy for more.

With each thundering explosion of magic, the once lifeless sap in the tree trunk hummed with force, and the great roots trembled and emerged from the ground. As the storm lashed the tree mercilessly, power flowed through the reborn great oak and pulsed into the earth. The nearby fragments of wood jerked as purple sparks leapt through the shattered grove.

When the storm was exhausted, the rain fell more gently. The survivors' eyes opened in amazement. The grove was restored. Tall trunks stretched their branches into the gray sky and their roots twisted into the magical earth. The fiery oak grew high above her children, the first great protector.

Nine enormous trees surrounded him, the same number as the defenders who gave their lives a year ago to keep the old oak tree on the ground. They stood like mute watchers over all the life that flourished around them.

The survivors who fled the forest built their camp on the exact spot where the Alsea family gave their lives. They aspired to build their homes in harmony with the forest, the way they were taught to be.

Over time, the survivors of the second storm spread the story of the Alsea. The small enclave of trees blossomed and became a sacred place where people would come and whisper their secrets to the quiet guards. The purple roots spread throughout the forest and eventually other Great Protectors began to grow, creating their own islands of calm and tranquility in the deep forests.

One day a strange youth came to the settlement. His deep brown eyes stroked the huts, woven from fallen branches and overgrown with moss, and the people who carried leaves sewn with the tendrils that had so quickly returned to life. Some children paused in their daily chores and turned to watch him silently approach the ring of huge trees.

The leaves rustled above him with undulating noises, as if a strong wind was just touching the upper part of the green canopy. Some other settlers in the forests slowed down and then stopped their duties. The elders smelled a strong, rich odor, like the dust of tree bark in the air, that reminded them of the old days, before the storms hit the forest, when the Alsea family thrived.

When the mysterious youth reached for a huge tree trunk, the fallen branches that lay nearby stood on their ends and sprouted. The tree itself shuddered as its fingers made contact with the bark and leaves, shaken loose, tumbled in the wind. The stranger whispered something, too soft for the nearby children to hear. The Great Guardian in the center of the village seemed to be whispering too, but maybe it was just the wind.

Shimmering energy pulsed through the tree like purple tree sap and with a sound like laughter a face appeared in the trunk. It slowly pushed itself out, as if it were being pulled out by the dappled sunlight, and the stranger stepped back. The creature pulled itself out of wood more and more, stretching the bark like a new skin.

When it had fully emerged, people gathered in amazement. It was a new being, neither flora nor fauna, neither completely human nor tree. A pair of antennae grew from her head and a long tail grew behind her. She smelled intensely of life, of growing things and the green heartbeat of the forest. She smiled with the same knowing glint that the little Alsea girl had so many years ago.

Before he disappeared back into the forest, the dark-eyed youth bowed. “Welcome, Hamadryas of the first family,” he said.

In return, she bowed gracefully with a wink, her tail curling to do the same. It seemed like he had teeth, barely hidden in folds of leafy skin, and the tip of her tail seemed to be smiling. The new settlers of the forest looked at each other in amazement, amazed at how familiar this strange new creature seemed. She went to all the protectors and touched every tree in the grove. Her family emerged, all greatly changed, just as she was after her long sleep.

Her grandfather did not come forward. Emon's ghost thanked her, but he stayed in the central heart-tree of the forest, his heartbeat in tune with the land itself as he raised the shimmering, purple branches above the other. Later, when other Great Protectors grew throughout the forest, more of these beings would emerge, partly human but permeated with the vegetable life and spirit of the forests.

These beings came to be known as the Hamadryads and they have never forgotten their vow to protect the forest. It grew thick and tall under their care, covering the land with sheltered groves and raising defiant branches to the sky.

Hamadryas became a famous name personality among the Tuatha dé Danann, synonymous with leadership, courage and devotion to the family. With the green forest always in her heart, she wanders through the storm lands, looking for survivors and fighting with the storm-created, as they call the abominations of their land. She zealously destroys any creature that would harm her family.

Thus ends the first story of the Hamadryads.

As for the mysterious brown-eyed youth ... well, one day he would pick up one of the three swords. But this story is for another time.

Bonus C.U.B.E.art

We can't stop without showing you this exciting city featured in C.U.B.E. was built by Norik. We have great respect for your skills and your commitment, Norik! Please never stop building.