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FAQ

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These are frequently asked questions stored here for posterity.

Contents

Project Questions

What is the Shadowrun Awakened project? What is your scope?
We are a volunteer project dedicated to producing an open source and free-to-play MMORPG emulating Shadowrun 4th Edition and set in Seattle 2070. We are NOT profit-seeking. Our complete goals and an overview of our organization is contained in our Shadowrun Awakened project article. We wish to design the game's mechanics, implement them in code, then combine them with newly constructed assets and host the system for as many players as possible to enjoy.
Who owns Shadowrun and how come they aren't suing you?
Two companies own parts of Shadowrun: The digital interactive rights to Shadowrun are owned by Microsoft Game Studios following their purchase of FASA interactive in 1999. Our founding member approached Microsoft and gained permission in April of 2006 under the provisos that we remain non-commercial and maintain clear references that Shadowrun is owned by Microsoft and Wizkids respectively.
What is Microsoft's involvement? And if you have permission, why does it say "WizKids LLC and Microsoft Corp. do not endorse, and are not affiliated with this project in any official capacity whatsoever." on your site?
Microsoft does not have any day-to-day involvement with the project nor are they providing any backing. They cannot endorse or affiliate with us in any official capacity.
How far into the project are you?
We have a comprehensive, high-level description of game mechanics. We are working on Game Applications that will implement them. We have 2D art and 3D art on display in our gallery, along with screenshots of current engine capabilities. We are still months away from a playable demo and potentially years away from version 1.0.

Members and Prospective Members

Can I help? How?!
Those looking to help can take a look at our page on volunteer positions. Serious entrants should proceed to our Tutorials to understand the exact steps for getting started.
What are you working on right now?
We are working on the Alpha milestone, which will include rudimentary character and combat mechanics. This will evolve the basic feel and play of the game, enabling us to set the tone early for the rest of the implementation.
How do you operate? How are you organized to work? IE How do I submit my work? How do I know what work needs to be done?
All questions regarding how we operate can be answered by the Process Documentation that gives handy tutorials on how to get work done in our project and how we organize our effort.
How do I get on the SourceForge developer list?
The SourceForge developer list is the authoritative list of active members. The SourceForge list is for developers who consistently contribute. In most cases, the lead developer of your department will add you to the list after they see numerous and reliable contributions. Should that not happen, you may want to just politely bring it up to them (we're only human after all). If you are dropped from the list, you are not "kicked out" rather you are just "inactive".
How do I get an account for this wiki, the task tracker, the bug tracker, or the forums?
All of our web applications use the same set of usernames and passwords for each user which derive from your account on the forums. To create an account, go to the forums and use the "Register" option, then use it to login to any application.

Gameplay Questions

What kind of game are you making?
A Massively Multiplayer Action RPG with elements from others genres, including Stealth Action. Just as its hard to describe Shadowrun's genre, SRA will be similarly hard to place in a single category.
Where is the game going to be set?
We are going to start in Seattle 2070. Primarily, the asset team is responsible for placing the game in a particular location and the game itself will always be able to change locations based on assets. One day we would hope to include other major Shadowrun cities, such as Denver or Tokyo.
Are you going to have Magic (Magicians/Adepts/Astral Space/Spirits/Spells)?
Yes. Characters will be able to sling spells, control spirits, and enter astral space via perception and projection.
Are you going to have hackers (Augmented Reality/The Matrix/Technomancers)?
Yes. Characters will be able to jack in, hack networks, and dominate the digital wireless world from augmented or virtual reality.
Are you going to have _________ from Shadowrun book ________?
We will attempt to implement every technically feasible game feature, giving priority to the most fundamental as long as it does not violate the "elegant design" mission statement. This means one day we will have initiation, we are likely to ignore race-based equipment modification, and inclusion of major Shadowrun characters in the 20 years of fiction is assured given enough time to build missions. The future hold endless and uncertain possibilities, if you want something then you should join up and make sure it happens.
Has anyone thought of _______?
Please read this thread on frequently requested features. Also, the Wiki and Forums can each be searched using the search box at the top of their respective pages. Do keep in mind that the design has had dozens of commentators and years of thought, so if we comment that we've read your idea before, don't be shocked and please be honored that you must have a great mind (since it seems to think alike).

Software Questions

What Platform(s) are you looking to support?
For both client and server, we are supporting Microsoft Windows, with a focus on XP, Vista, and 7
What technologies are you using?
We are utilizing Unreal Engine 3 to provide graphics, physics, AI, scripting, and editing tools (UnrealEd, Kismet, Matinee, etc). We will be using MySQL for our database technology, integrated with UE3 using C++. See our Third party technology overview for the exact list and a summary on how we are harnessing them.
What Programming Languages are you using?
We are utilizing Unreal Engine's UnrealScript for most of our game mechanics. UScript has a limited ability to interop with C++, which we will use to integrate new features such as a data layer. We are utilizing a relational database for data persistence, thus a lot of SQL will also be required. Also, small tools that help with managing content or code are built in C#.
What Integrated Development Environment are you using?
We support Visual Studio 2010
How do I get started coding?
Look in tutorials to get a primer on how to pull the project down from the subversion repository. Only trusted users setup with proper rights through their Sourceforge ID have commit access to the SVN. If you do not have commit access and wish to make a contribution, please forward your work to Erik our Lead Software Developer or post them to the forums, preferably in the form of a patch.

Assets Questions

What size should I make my model? What size are the units in the game?
52.5 "Unreal Units" equal one meter.
What is the art style for the group?
The Asset Style document describes our approach of "low-fidelity realism" where we want to craft believable and accurate models and textures while still economizing on performance and artist time. Models in Shadowrun Awakened will need to be portable across many areas, so they should be modeled with modularity in mind
What is the polygon budget for models?
The UDK import process uses a high-polygon "detail mesh" to generate a normal map which is applied to a low polygon "render mesh" during gameplay to increase performance while preserving visual realism. The UDK is able to automatically generate levels of detail for render meshes. Average render mesh budgets should be:
  • Characters: 3,000 - 7,000 (that includes clothing & Armor)
  • Vehicles: 3,000 - 10,000
  • Weapons, Armor, & Items: 1,000 - 2,000 for items visible from first-person; 100-1,000 for other items
Artists should economize their time and create render meshes that are at most 100 times more complex than the render meshes - as opposed to the 1,000 times more complex for professional artists. Use your best judgment.
What Modeling program(s) are you using?
UDK supports the .FBX file format. Any editor that can export to .FBX can be used. Blender, being open source, is a recommended starting point for amateurs with none of the more expensive alternatives.
What texture format are you using? What do I need to know when making textures?
A reasonable upper-limit in resolution for a texture is 2048x2048. UDK supports import of .BMP, .PCX, .TGA, .FLOAT, and .PSD. Please refer to the UDK documentation on importing textures for more details.
What format should I make my sound/music files?
If you are sending them over e-mail or want them posted on the website, please send an MP3 for space reasons. However, UDK only supports 16-bit .wav format and that is the format for sound/music intended for the released versions of the game. 44100 Hz or 22050 Hz sample rate recommended.