Friday, 19 February 2010

Blue Mars Roadmap: First Stop

Just barely ten days after announcing their roadmap for the future of Blue Mars, Avatar Reality have come good with several of their promised improvements and new features for the SDK, Website and Client. Here is a run-down on the latest release:



Updated Developer MyPage ( ) features (COMING MARCH 1, 2010)
  • The entire site has been optimized to open and run significantly faster.
  • Properties > City > Leased Cities > [Add Block] command: Instead of manually entering Block Name, uses the Current attribute in level_editor.xml as Block name to be added to database.
  • Properties > City > Blocks > [Re-Upload .BLD file] command added:  Allows re-uploading of .BLD file for selected Block, as long as it is NOT leased out or being used by yourself.
  • "Allow Sublease" checkbox added to the following tabs:
    • City > Properties > Leased Cities: [Add Block] dialogue
    • City > Properties > Blocks: [Edit Properties] dialogue
    • When the box is checked, the selected Block becomes subleaseable--meaning the Block owner can lease out Shops and Residences on this Block to other developers/users.  If the box is not checked, the Block is not subleaseable, meaning the Block Owner can only build Shops and Residences on this Block for their own use (note: There is no "Use By Myself" command for leased Residences yet--that will be coming soon). This sublease permission can be set when adding Blocks to your City ("Add Block"), or it can be changed after you've created a Block ("Edit Properties") ONLY if there are no existing 3rd party tenants in your Block.  If you have tenants (other than yourself) in your Block, you would need to run the "Evict Tenant" command first before changing the "Allow Sublease" status.
  • If you don't have any leased Blocks, the Properties > Block tab will not be active.
  • Change in file size check:  When uploading an file, the current file size limit is 512KB.  EXCEPTION: When uploading Shop or Residence interior files (Category: Interior), the size limit is 2MB.
  • Home > Account Info now shows "Company Code" under "Name". If you bought a City, it will show your company code (the code you chose when you signed up for a city to uniquely identify yourself or company - up to 6 capital letters).
  • Home > Account Info > [Edit Account Info]: "Edit Company Logo" feature added. You can now upload thumbnail images of your company logo (NOTE: Change will be reflected immediately if you upload an image file with a different filename, but if you re-upload an image file with the same filename, it may take a few minutes before the change is reflected.)
  • Administer > Company Members > [Add New Member]: Address, Phone, OS, Graphic Card, and CG Tool fields have been deleted from the [Add New Member] dialogue.
  • Administer > Company Members > [Add New Member]: Displays an error message if you try to register an email address that is already registered as a Blue Mars Developer.
  • Administer > Billing History: Displays various financial activity information.
  • [Vendor] menu no longer appears in the [Upload Content] window except for City Developers who have multiple vendor codes.
SDK Editors

 Body Editor NEW!
  • Import custom shapes.
  • Import custom skins.
  • Test custom shapes, skin, clothing, and animations.
  • No upload functionality (coming soon).
Shop Editor
  • Clone instances of decorations.
  • Control for camera speed.
  • Enable saving of work in progress.


  • Updated User MyPage ( ) features:
  • MESSAGE tab is now enabled: Exchange messages between your Blue Mars friends.
  • FRIENDS tab update
    • "SEARCH MEMBERS" button: Search for people on Blue Mars by their Avatar Names or User ID, and send them Friend requests (which will show up on their User MyPage).
    • "REMOVE" command in the Friends List will remove the selected User from your Friends List.
    • "Waiting List" shows pending Friend requests that you have sent to other Users.
    • "Request List" shows pending Friend requests you have received from other Users.
New Cities and City Updates:
  • Shade City by eFrontier now has a Shop!  Purchasable T-shirts will be available on the second floor of Shade City.
  • Welcome Area 2010 has been added. (The old welcome area has been retired).
  • AR_Shelter has been added.  This is a minimalist level to be used as a meeting area in case there are problems with the new welcome area.
  • VSE_TERC has been added.
New Places Browser
New Features and Feature Updates:
  • Avatar names are now displayed above the avatar instead of the avatar ID.
    • If you change your Avatar Name display option in the User MyPage, it will now be reflected in the overhead avatar name display as well as the chat box.
  • New and updated City data can now be downloaded directly from the Places Browser--no need to install City patches.
  • User interface update
    • New look for the Place Browser!
    • Refresh button in the Places Browser allows you to enter your downloaded City (except New Venice) without having to close and reopen Blue Mars. 
    • The Camera icon has now  menu tray. The clothes, face, animation and settings icons are displayed by clicking on the arrow icon.

    • The ? icon now opens the Blue Mars tutorial Website.
    • Right-clicking avatar profile in the Client shows the Avatar Name as well as User ID.

User Name above Head, Right-Click to get User ID

  • Settings update
    • New Click Sound option in the Settings menu will let you turn the pointer sound on or off (default: Off).
Walking Sound On/Off

    • New Display Name option will let you hide the overhead Avatar Name display of the avatars around you (to hide your avatar's overhead name from others, use the Edit Avatar window in your User MyPage).

Avatar Names On/Off

Bug Fixes:
  • Bowling matchmaking fixed
  • Golf matchmaking fixed
  • Non-ASCII avatar names should now be displayed correctly regardless of the locale setting.

What would you like to see in the next release?