Any update on this yet? Seems the project fell off the face of the world for a bit there.
It did, unfortunately. You're right. We're still thinking about it and it's absolutely still on our radar, but life and world events have put Minecraft on the backburner. Hopefully we'll be able to return to it sometime soon, but I can't say when. We'll let you know when we have more information.
Actually, we'd like to get back into it, but what we really need is someone who's well-versed in the technical side of Minecraft to help us. Someone who's very good with NBT and can help do a lot of behind-the-scenes coding sort of stuff. If we can get someone like that, we'll probably be able to finish this up to at least release what we have so far.
If anyone would like to volunteer, please feel free to send me a message here or an email at spookyhappyfun (at) gmail.com.
PSA: Criswelvania, the original metroidvania/soulslike for Minecraft is currently receiving a full 1.13 rework.
Most of the massive push this team had put into the previous intended release is still functional or reclaimable, although there have been several setbacks and complications since 1.9.
However we have continued to maintain this world which is now over 8 years old, and to develop many new adventures and surprises that we hope will see the light of day soon, having awaited a period of relative stability in the development of the Java-based Minecraft engine itself, due to the complexity of the map and the limitations of my own technical skill and time availability.
Please stay tuned. New thread forthcoming with more news soon!
Please give a warm welcome to new addition to the Criswelvania team, Mineymann. He's already made huge contributions to the 1.13 conversion effort and solving command block issues. Yes, we're alive and kicking major butt. It's happening.
I experimented with whips in the previous build but they end up very funky and don't take durability damage when attacking. If we were to add an expert on fully custom items with resource packs, I'd revisit this idea.
As for the rest, yes. NPCs, actual bosses (our "Dracula" has a 3-phase fight that's pretty spiffy), a ton of mob variants with custom drops so far. All new puzzles, a massive and intricate new region, quest system, skill points and starting stats which differentiate the playable characters further.
Paging user Instinct to the thread and Discord channel. We moved the discussion off Skype after a rather long hiatus, we'd love to see you again. Your contributions such as the awesome rebuild of Rootrock are still in the map and the legend lives on!
Oh hey! Good to see you around. I've been trying to avoid mods in this map so it plays right out of the box and doesn't obsolesce with official updates. But I would have no objections to someone taking the map and customizing it with such mods as a parallel version. If that kind of undertaking appeals to you, or anyone else, holler at me in discord.
Also PSA assuming anyone follows this thread, I'm taking a break from the map until after Xmas break, but it's already come a long way in the past 6 months. Some of the other collaborators have also had things come up, work, school, real-life stuff etc., so we'll regroup, resume and hopefully complete the map sometime in the first half of 2019.
So, here's an update on things. It may be a bit long.
First, the Not-Good News
The project has been mostly on hiatus again after a significant push during 2018. There have been some... problems.
Aside from the numerous features that have broken over multiple MC updates, which was already taken into account during the assessment to start work on an update, there have been some technical issues, and some real-life issues.
On the technical side of things, first of all. I had decided to take advantage of Mojang's free trial of Realms to use as a server for the team to work on the map. This went fine for a while, I even sprung for a subscription after the trial ended and we chugged away. However, when I downloaded the map back off the Realms server, I discovered Realms had corrupted the file. In fact every time I downloaded the map, the resulting file was a different size (no changes to the map being made between downloads). D/Ling the map three times in a row yielded three completely different file packets. In every single one I opened, there were some chunk errors or regenerated terrain that was sorely out of place.
It became necessary to roll back the map significantly, costing us at least a month of hard earned progress. I want to stress that this was a loss of a full month of 3 people working on the map, I was personally working on the map full-time. Over 8 hours a day, every day for 4 months. We had completed about 25% of the work needed to update the map. This loss of valuable time was beyond frustration, it was devastating.
Second technical issue is, when the map was uploaded to another server, there are now "packet too large", or whatever the text is, errors preventing anyone from joining the server. This is an issue persisting to this day with the map. Hence, multiplayer and any server-based play is currently broken until this issue is resolved. Multiple attempts have been made to identify the problem: was it a "ban book", i.e.: a book filled with too much data? We deleted every suspicious book. No dice. Was it just too much command block density? Too many spawners? Was it something Realms did to the map? We still have no idea, and I have been unable to find an analytical tool to test the problem packets. Incredibly disappointing, as multiplayer was definitely one of the strengths of the map.
Until the cause can be identified, it is very difficult to justify the massive time investment in renovating such a large area. Additionally, it is a massive hindrance to the collaborative effort. I think I can speak for the whole team in saying, it sucks.
On the personal side of things, my time is valuable. The amount of work required, months of sustained effort, is simply not feasible if I want to, say, eat or have lights on in my house. I am willing to put in the time mind you, as the value of this map to me is that it is essentially my game design thesis. The acclaim the map has already received had motivated me to try to make it the best it could be. However it was becoming obvious that without some kind of support network, I would not be able to continue in light of the above technical matters. The troubleshooting was itself time-consuming, and it did not yield any fruit, and meanwhile any further progress was seemingly dead in the water.
I had considered just making the map single-player until further notice, but lacking the ability to collaborate simultaneously with the rest of the team meant that my own workload would be increased significantly.
So there was about a year of downtime. Meanwhile MC continued to update and break other features of the map. Pretty sure Jens promised that would not happen anymore after retail version 1.0 released but I digress...
Now the Good News
However recently the map was featured on a MC podcast, and the amount of interest and enthusiasm for the map (the last stable release which is now years old), made me consider how to salvage the hard work of this team. In particular, the brand-new expansion area of Jova which was largely built by SpookyHappyFun, and he wrote a really good narrative for it, NPCs, lots of great ideas that added fresh adventure to Criswelvania. In fact all I mostly did to that area was some detail work, encounter design, puzzlification, and proofing against sequence breaks. Spooky has every right to be proud of his contribution to the map, it is a superb build, and on its own every bit as intricate as the original map. It's a lot of fun to explore and introduces several new aspects to the map such as dynamic dialogues, and new types of puzzles and traps.
So what I have decided to do, is finish Jova and release it as a stand-alone, single player expansion. It would not be the first time I released stand-alone content based on the map: Criswelympics, Minerva Regatta and the Devil's Spire all got their own releases, although they are each part of the larger map (the same map I've been using since the beginning, my own original survival world).
Besides being single player, the other different thing about this intended release is that it will pick up EXACTLY where Criswelvania left off, although you will not be starting with the end-game gear that you would have had. The area will have its difficulty curve rescaled to enable the player to power-up once again, albeit much more rapidly.
To this end, we have already restarted work on the map. I cannot give you a timetable yet but the effort is starting to ramp up to that of a proper production effort again. This area itself is, I estimate, about 25-30% the length of the original adventure with several new chapters, and will provide many hours of gameplay.
The Future of Criswelvania
Then what? If the Jova release is well-received, and especially if we can get some support with the above technical problems, I would reconsider the possibility of restoring the rest of the map and connecting it with the new into a seamless adventure. The critical deciding factor will be community response.
How badly do you want Criswelvania? Is there anyone that would actually consider even just small donations to a Patreon or something like that? This is an area of inquiry I have not been too keen to get into. The map will always be free. So I do not like asking this question, but to commit to literally months and months of full-time development on the map, it is a hard necessity. I have been considering ways to reward donors and if anyone actually expressed a willingness to give me some small amount of life support, I would set something up, and at a reasonable threshold, commit to at the very least a single player rework of the map.
Anyway that's all down the road. Right now the focus is on the Jova adventures. My thoughts on future developments will be guided by your feedback. So with that, Onward to Jova!
Our discord channel is still active. The next 100 people can join via this link: https://discord.gg/3d3CDDf
Joining the discord will grant you access to the map in its current state, periodic and selective access to our extensive design documents, participation in design discussion and playtesting, a ton of spoilery stuff which I will try to keep separate from the general chat if you do not want it, and regular status updates (as long as you are well-behaved, I shouldn't need to add).
Your energy and enthusiasm give us life, so feel free to join us on this venture.