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skell
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Greetings, Caravel community! This is Chaco writing this newsletter. It's been a long time since the last Illumination, and there's a lot of ground to cover, particularly for our e-mail and homing pigeon subscriber friends who haven't had an update since last February.

I'd like to open with a recount as to where we find ourselves right now. It's been over 3 years since DROD: The Second Sky was first released, and about half a year since the main DROD games and DROD: RPG were ported to the Steam platform. It's been a rather grand finale: as mrimer said in the TSS credits, "Here we are, at the end of an era. [...] Now that Beethro's story has been told, it's time for me to move on to other things." It should be acknowledged that, as of the past six months or so, Caravel's staff have been less active around the forums, all for good personal reasons.

Caravel Games Staff Status

Here's everything I know about what Caravel staff members are up to:

Erik Hermansen (ErikH2000): Working as a writer for Seespace Labs, and doing some philosophical thinking. Still occasionally playing DROD and posting on the forums, more or less as a normal member just trying to figure out these tough rooms along with the rest of us.

Mike Rimer (mrimer): Taking a well-deserved break from development and bugfixes to spend time with his family.

Matt Schikore (Schik): Still around on the forums, keeping the web server and the whole forum operation running. Say hello to him if you see him!

Maurycy Zarzycki (skell): Actually since I can Iíll speak for myself - for now, until unspecified future, Iíll no longer remain an active Caravel Games staff member. With a kid, day job and my own projects I just canít find time for DROD. Iíll still hang around and if you need help or something fixed hit me up if you see me. Iíll also keep managing DRODís open source portion, though itís highly unlikely Iíll manage to release a new version. And even if I did it could only ever be Windows release. -skell

Terence Fergusson (TFMurphy): Been absent for a few months, but presumably still somewhere out there, fighting the good fight against the encroaching Fluff.

Patrick Fisher (gamer_extreme_101): Seeking his fortune as an Extreme Gamer. Not currently available to answer support e-mails, unfortunately.

There's also some other ancillary members like Gerry Jo Jellestad (trick) and Eytan Zweig (eytanz) who haven't been around for a while but still probably count as official Caravel Staff. If I've forgotten anybody, please, correct me!

...

So, wait, if Erik's retired from Caravel, Mike Rimer's on vacation, and skell is also taking a break, who's piloting the ship, the Caravel? I guess Schik's in charge now.

Community Status

Well, one of the greatest aspects of the Caravel Games community is that it mostly runs itself: a perpetual motion machine constantly making new rooms, reacting with joy, amazement, and incredulity towards said new rooms, and having fulfilling intellectual discussions about colorblindness, poetry, and the merits and demerits of eyeball pudding.

It goes without saying every day, but needs to be said aloud anyway: The people are what make this community great - from the everyday posts on the forum, to the most modest help requests and fulfillment on the Hints and Solutions board, to regular old chit-chat asking how people's days have been or what people should make for dinner - these are the ties that tie a community together. We're all good friends here, invested in each others' opinions and lives, even if very few of us have met in person. And we've done an excellent job welcoming new people from both odd corners of the Internet and the wider Steam community. The Caravel Forums are healthy and are going to stay healthy for a long time.

Hold Releases

The architects have been hard at work: there've been 23 holds released this past year, so many that it would be impractical to fit 23 blurbs into this section. There's a huge variety from architects old and new, from small one-level one-session holds to grand undertakings with more than 50 rooms each. Three contest compilations were released in the past two months, and at least two more are still in active development on the Architecture boards.

Why not take a look at the chronological list, and see if there was a hold you missed on release?

http://forum.caravelgames.com/holds.php?f=0&npp=10&ob=d&d=d&g=1#H

Holds in Progress

Highly dangerous architect Doom is busy putting the final touches on a new one-room hold, a spiritual sequel to blorx1's Room of Humility. Solving this self-contained 10-brain nightmare will surely keep the entire player base busy, at least for a day or two.

There are several promising-looking holds in Architecture as well. I'll pick out five from the vast crowd: PigmyWubba's "The Letter W" experiments with player roles that start with W; Dying Flutchman is working on his second hold "Combined Hazards" with an emphasis on floor mechanisms; Romain673 is working on several holds at once including "Left and Right", a hold where you can only wait or switch sides; fresh newcomer rambomet has introduced themselves with a story-based hold "Edry's Adventures"; and eatmorepies is working on "Halph's Secret", a hold apparently involving Halph and goblins, a theme we haven't seen in a long time. All of these holds (and more in the Architecture forum!) could use some more beta testing and comments!

The Letter W: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=41238
Combined Hazards: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=42855
Left and Right: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=42815
Edry's Adventures: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=42840
Halph's Secret: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=42166

Don't Ask Reward

Since there's been a lot of self-directed activity but not much notice from "on high", it only seems right to continue this Caravel tradition. This issue's "Don't Ask" reward winner is mauvebutterfly, who joined the forum just two years ago, but quickly got involved with several different aspects of the forum: discussions, beta testing, help, and critiques. Eventually he released his own hold and then managed to host an official contest, The Untold Tales of Gunthro Budkin. He has taken a solid place as a great member of the community.

As the writer of this newsletter, allow me to give some recognition for these contributions! mauvebutterfly, pick a free prize from the Prize Pile!

Upcoming Events

There isn't currently any official contest in progress on the forums, but several members have expressed interest in hosting one soon and there have been some good ideas tossed around, both in DROD or DROD RPG architecture, and in non-game creative fronts. If you, the reader, have a suggestion, feel free to post a topic in the Contests forum and we'd be glad to hear it!

http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewboard.php?BoardID=83

On the "unofficial competitions" front, Blind Race #5 is currently being designed by a team of devious yet merciful architects. In case you're not familiar with this tradition, Blind Races are small holds made of three to four levels with about four to twelve rooms each. They're released at a specific time, and several racers broadcast their attempts to get through the brand-new hold as fast as possible, in a live race to the finish! An exciting test of both DROD know-how and race-specialized tactics.

Blind Race #5: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=42948

Why not check out some of the past race videos, for some evening entertainment? Or as an alternative, these holds are available to download on the forum and through CaravelNet, if you want to try your own hand at some speed playthroughs:

Blind Race #1: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=41217 Hold: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=41269
Blind Race #2: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=41366 Hold: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=41430
Blind Race #3: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=41678 Hold: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=41962
Blind Race #4: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=42388 Hold: http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=42777

Closing Thoughts

Well, it's a quiet murmur of business as usual around here, as it often is between major Caravel releases. But we haven't yet explored the fullest reaches of DROD's potential: witness all the newest challenges still being created with both the new TSS elements, and even old Architects' Edition elements still being put to highly original uses in new contexts.

The steady, day-to-day output of the community is amazing: I think it's not only because puzzle game players as a whole are so motivated, but also because they have a spirit of generosity. Puzzles aren't just a challenge, an imposing threat meant to defeat all comers. They're gifts to enjoy for their own sake. Making, figuring out, or watching a solution is a great feeling.

To help build anticipation for the future, I'll let one more piece of news slip: there might be a Caravel Games surprise project to look forward to...

- Chaco, signing off

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01-15-2018 at 11:04 PM
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superluminal
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icon Re: Latent Energies (+1)  
quote:
skell wrote:
There isn't currently any official contest in progress on the forums
No longer true! In the time since Chaco drafted the Illumination, Someone Else formulated his Cooperate to the Death! contest and it now has official standing.

For all you forumites interested in January's contest, whether for its excellent rewards or just to bask in its authority, feel free to sign up! :)

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[Last edited by superluminal at 01-16-2018 12:15 AM]
01-16-2018 at 12:14 AM
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gamer_extreme_101
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I think my days of extreme gaming are past me, haha.

Still alive, just IRL things have been keeping me busy. Getting married at the end of September, and just overall finding less and less time to game.


So yeah! Hi everyone!

:wave:

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01-22-2018 at 02:57 PM
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Insoluble
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Congrats Gamer! Best of luck to the two of you!

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01-22-2018 at 02:58 PM
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Chaosgamer
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Still alive, and still trying to beat TSS :thumbsup
01-22-2018 at 03:08 PM
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The Architest
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I like surprises. :)

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02-03-2018 at 07:47 PM
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Snacko
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Good to hear from you, Chaco!

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02-10-2018 at 08:43 PM
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Rheb
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Happy to hear the cogs keep turning.

And good old Doom's up to some architecturing eh?

.. maybe it's time to dust off my DROD :)

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02-14-2018 at 02:15 PM
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