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Henk

Craftersland most ambitious project to date

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Let me tell you the story about our most ambitious project and why it has yet to see the light of day. 

 

 

To start off with I think I should be telling you what's the point of me even telling you guy's this, well, many staff and players spent countless hours on this project and now that it has been officially suspended- Until the day we find a new developer with the same ambition as us for this project. 

And I think it's fair for the people who spent all of this time working on this to have their work been shown in some way at the very least.

 

Early June last year i gathered a small team of java developers within the staff team, and a handful of builders to begin the project which would later be known as Drop Zone. There was no denying that Battle Royale games have gained a lot of popularity as at this time was Fortnite's peak in popularity. While in reality the original battle royale was in fact Hunger games on Minecraft, we wanted to create a more modernized version of this game mode which included custom weapons for a start. The point wasn't only to make a Battle Royale game, but also to build the foundations of custom weapon-based minigames on our network servers. And once we would have the main plugins in place for this we could take this much further, to ... FFA, deathmatch, capture the flag, PVE... these kinds of modes which would all be available with no need for any mods but only a resourcepack and a handful of custom made plugins on the server. That's where the tricky part was, since there hasn't really been anyone that has attempted this to the scale we were going for - or if they had, their plugins were not public. Which meant that essentially everything had to be built from the ground up, everything custom made.

 

 

We begun this journey with a developer not know by the community, but a dear friend of mine- Cyklan. Cyklan works as a software developer and while he doesn't code minecraft plugins or were interested in learning the spigot API, we started looking into the possibilities of having the server mostly run by data packs. Data packs was a new addition by 1.13 and what is essentially was was command blocks, but instead of having them physically in the world these would all be installed thru a file that would be added to the server. We quickly realized that this was not the way to do things, since thru testing it showed that this would lag immensely from only about 15 players. 

So Cyklan instead stepped aside and instead acted as guidance for our other developers, another one being @xtomyserrax who did a lot of the finished work that we will later see. While he himself was pretty new to this I am really impressed with the progress you and I made together, friend. :-)

 

So here's where we are at. We have been toying with ideas for a while and it is finally time to set them in to motion. The first thing we did was to create a looting system. While they original Hunger Games mode would have random chests over the map with random loot in it, we decided to go for a different path. We felt it was unnatural to enter an inventory space to pick up weapons and it interrupted the flow of gameplay. 

 

We instead went with custom chests which you could break in a few seconds with your hand and it would drop items on the ground.

 

Example art- Was later slightly adjusted 

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I know it might not make sense to have gold coins in a chest which should contain weapons :P But it's what we went with. We then moved on to setting up so that these chests would randomly spawn from a selection of "spawn points" which they had. Seen in the picture below:

 

image.png

 

This picture might not make sense to you, since this was without the texture pack. Each flying diamond hoe you see is in reality the 3D model which you saw a minute ago. Each red wool block is a spawn location, and the glass is the placeholder block for the successfully spawned chest.

On the right side, with the orange wool is the same thing except this was with Ammo Crates.

 

A while before this we also added a audio cue system for these chests, as we believed it would be too difficult for players to otherwise find these chests, and this also allowed us to be able to hide these chests in harder places that wouldn't be directly visible.

In the video below it showcases this audio cue and also shows the ammo crate texture, as well as a few weapon textures which actually begun being made prior to this plugin, but I will showcase them all further down.

 

 

This audio cue system had a few different versions, and this was the first test and was heavily improved in the second version:

 

This was essentially the entire looting plugin completed and what was left to do now was to implement the weapons and their functionality. 

But before we get to that, I'd like to showcase some of the artwork and some builds that were completed around the same time.

 

First off I implemented a menu screen for Drop Zone, which I'm actually pretty pleased with. It is also a panoramic picture, so it spins around similar to how the menu is on the aquatic update.

 

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Firstly, @KayWolves created a gorgeous island for us in world painter 

 

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This would later find a few smaller alterations.

 

I then created a quick sketch on how we could have points of interests on the map, a few of these also changed thruout development.

 

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Now that we have outlined and have a general idea of how the builds would be, it was time to start building! We had a handful of players on the build team, but I will mention them when we get to each player's builds. First built that happened was the Airstrip, that you could already see a part off in the menu and was built by @Slendy and @southrumble80, they made in fact most of the buildings on this server.

And here are some pictures of their airstrip:

 

vcnzQAO.png

 

At this time we also made some promotional pictures features the airstrip as well.

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2018-07-05_13.07.19.png

 

 

They also made a beautiful tribute to ACv1 and ACv2 by creating a similarly desert themed town. @abisredbull played a small part in this as well, as he made the gate part of the wall around the city.

 

Y463A1t.jpg

(to see progression pictures of this build check out the full album: https://imgur.com/a/qaDg2KH )

 

We also added a vehicles plugin that would act as aesthetics on our builds, we never ended up using any of them though.

4bRYTI0.png

 

 I made a small attempt at adding the textures of modded blocks in to the game, as we later decided we would have a "modded town" theme to one of our cities, I do not remember why I decided to completely block these off, as the texture is not 2D, all of them have a 3D model, but here are some examples:

 

jEEUbhQ.png

 

TWNvDOh.png

 

Yes. this is all vanilla.

 

LzasfGa.png

 

@southrumble80 and @Slendy were at it again! this time they creates this gorgeous castle with a ship port in the background, click the spoiler to see all the pictures. 

 

DahX2y8.png

 

 

 

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This was all located what we called the "Hermit House" in the original sketch of where we wanted everything. It obviously became much more than that, they also made a few towns around the area with similar theme. 

2mi.png

 

1mi.png

 

They also begun work on the swamp area, which I think they absolutely nailed.

 

s1daNlT.png

 

At the time Fire_Ligth and Kay were working on the "modern city", and this was their skyscraper, they also made a huge fountain which I sadly do not have a screenshot of.

 

2018-10-30_21.04.07.png

 

While all of this was taking place, I was working on the actual 3D modelling for the texture pack, and I'd like to show you a few of the models we made. You might tell some similarities to another game ūüėȬ†

 

image.jpg

 

These were the first weapon models that were showcased, there later on came some slight alterations to the sniper rifle, you can actually see that in a previous screenshot - the "promotional" screenshots. It no longer had a square scope, and the stock of the weapon was also slimmed down.

 

We also had our very first weapon test- where we till were using data packs... and needless to say, it was pretty bad :P
 

https://gyazo.com/1a5f11b6215b9db7f11e5f9fb2bcfb26

 

We made an initial health/shield system- This was because we didn't want to use Minecraft health, as we couldn't be as precise with that when it came to tweaking the numbers of damage on the weapons and consumables. Since minecraft health only has 20 points of "damage"- unless you add more hearts.

 

small_pots_i_guess.gif

 

This was also with datapacks so it was later scrapped.

 

I added a separate item to the pistol shown above, that this time could be dual wielded. It was far from perfect, since the second gun doesn't follow the motion of your left hand, as it is still "attached" to your right hand (It's a single item and a single mode, so it wasn't one for each hand.)

 

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I made a set of bandages.

 

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Med kits

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And potions, these were later tweaked to have a much bluer liquid inside.

 

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And by far the favorite model I made, was the minigun. Same with the problem of the dualing pistols, the model followed the motion of the right hand so it wasn't "perfect". but I liked it.

 

 

I also added a scope to the sniper, we never got the functionality down with a plugin- but this is how it was meant to work:

 

 

The buildings in the background are also made by slendy and south. Unfortunately I don't have screenshots of all of their builds right now but they made many more than these. 

 

Now what happened next was a funny coincidence- We had previously had a staff member who was also a very skilled programmer, and a silly player tried to impersonate him on the forum trying to get his GM rank on his account. So naturally, I reached out to @Danielkinz, the staff in question and asked him if this was him. It obviously wasn't, but we got to talking and he decided to join the Drop Zone Project.

 

Daniel implemented an improved health/shield system that you will see in just a bit- but he also started development of a BRAND NEW weapon plugin, as most weapon plugins we tried all had a few major flaws. Firstly, they were clunky, and secondly the weapons would .. "wobble" as you rigthclicked it.

So, using Daniel's new health system, he wrote a quick plugin that would let us select an area for a "free for all" match, with instant respawns and random weapons. We could've made use of the looting system here, and I had intended for it to but since the weapon plugin was yet to be finished we used a temporary weapon plugin called QualityArmory. We were not fond of this plugin at all, it gave us many headaches which is why he decided to make his brand new one.

 

But regardless of how poor the plugin was, it gave us in staff a night of fun as we playtested it. So what we called the "Sunday Event" was soon to take place, in preparations I made an informational screen at "spawn"

 

pgxisJ5.png

The gray text at the top was an inside joke :P And never to be taken seriously.

You might notice that very blurry and pixelated scar on the right with a golden glow- This was the first ever model of a weapon that I made. Except it wasn't a model, it was only a 2D sprite, this was before I knew that we could play around with 3D models with resource packs :P . But while it was ugly, it became the face of Drop Zone.

 

The hour had struck and a few familiar faces started to join. Sadly we were experiencing some technical difficulties at the very start, but that was to be expected. We were all there to play test it, afterall. 

 

h0goswu.png

 

And here is the first gameplay of Drop Zone:

 

 

Notice how your movement studders when you shoot, and the shot actually happens slightly after you shoot. all of this was flaws of QualityArmory. Actually, you couldn't increase the fire rate hardly at all, so you might notice that SMG has a very slow firing rate, almost comparable to the pistol. This was all things that would be fixed when we were to release our own version.

 

After the play test I made a small attempt at creating my own health and shield bar, How this is actually shown is that there is an item in the 9th slot representing the health, and another one in the 8th representing the shield. The point was that you could have a plugin that would switch these items out as you would get hit to better show your health and shield. As we noticed that numbers alone were difficult to pay attention to when you were trying to shoot somebody else :P It should be a quick glance.

 

2Nxf9vY.png

 

I was also playing around with how the lobby would look like, the general idea was that we would have crates like we have on our other servers. Legendary and vote crates, and then if you were to win you would get some keys. Inside these crates you could win weapon skins and.. all kinds of things. We had a full list of "donation incentives" and other rewards that you could get.

 

First idea what to have each skin on an altar that you could buy from a currency you could get if you donated or had a donator rank.

 

Lv4AmVj.png

 

We realized that this would take up too much space, so I looked into the possibility of actually having a "screen" with the weapon, and here's the placeholder for that: 

bybpyyF.png

 

Sadly this wasn't an option either, since multiple players couldn't use this. Oh, and the $500 was obviously a fictional price.

 

The conclusion that we got to that was never implemented was that we would have it instead in a ChestCommand menu- similar to the compass you use to switch servers on Network. With each weapon skin there, and if you were to click it, if would hand you the weapon in the lobby and teleport you to a "shooting range". Where you could see the skin up close, and then decide if you wanted to buy it. 

 

Sadly this is where Drop Zone came to an end, Danielkinz sadly never completed the weapon plugin and became inactive and didn't have the time to program anymore, xTomyserrax is going thru a difficult and time consuming - and very important - year of school so his focus is there as it should.

So at this very moment this project is suspended until the day that some plugin developer would be interested in picking up where we left off :) And who knows when that will be... but we do have some promising rising talents in our community. Cough cough @Exief, @DaBe00593, @DezeGames.

 

 

I hope you appreciate and enjoyed my showcase of Drop Zone. Sadly it never became the gamemode of my dreams- but I will keep dreaming. I am so damn proud of every person that has worked on this project. And it is impossible to cover everything in a single post, so apologizes if I forgot something!

 

- Henk

 

 

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so you tried to put fortnite in Minecraft, good idea on paper, but in actuality, to me atleast, it takes away what some people consider Minecraft, a way back to when life simpler, didn't have to worry about the world around us, to me fortnite just reminds me of modern day, while MC reminds me of all the good memories I had when I was younger.

This is just my own personal opinion, I don't mean anything by it, just the way im thinking.

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Definitely, and I agree with that. But for those that felt that way they could play our other servers, it's not like we wouldn't have a wide range of options for what people wanted to play :). In reality, I thought the idea of taking a completely vanilla server and turning it upside down and creating something that people didn't think was possible intrigues me. Similarly to how a dude actually made a a copy of Pokémon red inside of minecraft
 

 

 

 

It gives a certain "wow" factor when people see something that they can't believe is possible with only a simple texture pack.

 

Something else I toyed around with was adding the actual Assassins Craft logo, and a statue of bruny on the Acv2 server- while everything is in place for those who have this texture pack.. this addition never made it TO the official texture pack. Mostly because I had ambitions to re-do the entire texture pack and that fell thru

 

image.png

 

But it's things like this that in my mind gives the little "wow" factor :)

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Well, it's not a question or just finding new devs. But developers are very expensive which makes it near impossible for us to be able to pay a developer for what they rightfully deserves. Which means that in the past our developers have been those who would volunteer their time- often staff with Java experience. Or simply Brunyman himself, since he makes the majority of all our custom work, but he would be too busy to work on this.

 

And these plugins we had in mind for the server would not be easy to make, which almost demanded a higher experience with Java and the spigot API, which was even rarer to find. 

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We'll see- maybe in the future. Yesterday, I, @Exief and @jkl882 spent some time testing and redoing a small part of the Drop Zone plugin. Updating it to 1.13.2, fixing a few bugs to do with the update, but most importantly, Exief made it so that the gamemode wouldn't have to be set up everytime the server restarts, instead it's hardcoded in. 

 

However, another bug came about in this :P After just a few minutes of shooting the server would just completely lag out- we suspect this is because we're now using a newer version of the Drop Zone plugin, where Daniel had already started coding his own weapon plugin. So in the background there are a lot of vector calculations going on that is eating up the CPU. So when that issue is fixed I will open it up for anyone to hop on and play-

 

Once again, it's a really bad game mode. But for those that might want to have a look at what could've been- feel free.

 

I'll update this topic then.

 

 

PS: This is how my model of the flintlock pistol looks like, it was intended to be a part of the ACv2 update, but I couldn't find the time to finish everything in time. This was mostly everything that was made. Plus a ingame logos.

 

image.png

(Minecraft has a lot of limitations that ordinary 3D modelling does not, for instance, everything you see is built of of a cube. A cube that has been resized and put on an angle- And speaking of angles, you can only do 12.5 degrees at a time, making it pretty difficult to make things look smooth even if you add a lot of blocks. And then you assign one texture to each "block" and it scales it up to fit the block, which makes the actual coloring in pretty difficult if the model is built up of a lot of small parts.)

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It's up now- The resource pack is here:

 

http://www.craftersland.net/modpack/texturepack/DropZone Beta.rar - This is a direct download.

 

To connect to the server just go thru network and connect to "henk's test game server" or something like that. get the resourcepack working and run /dz join! Have fun. We sure did.

 

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It is a bit broken in probably many ways :D but it works fine

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Sorry I just read this. Thank you for your words Henk, I had a really great time working with you on this.

 

By this project I was allowed to meet you, to know how good you are and how much you care about this community. I am glad to have helped, though I am a new student to this and learning, I am really glad of all the knowledge I aquired (I am really surprised).

 

Thank you, and I am always going to be here (with less or more time :P) 

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