The wait is over! We are excited to announce the first of the three highly anticipated Second Dreaming Updates! This first update is the biggest, because it adds the new backend technology that will make all the future magic happen! Let's take a look at the cool stuff that is included in the latest Furcadia version:
First of all, there is a brand-new Windows client with the 32-bit framework and the Lighting Layer that we will fully add and make available in coming updates. The newest client features the innovative Groups and Channel System to help build and strengthen our Community (that's you!). On the web side, we have a new platform that will allow us to design more dynamic and integrated pages. Additionally, there is an awesome new system that hooks Furcadia to the web, and a faster new upload and download file server. While we were at it, we have also upgraded our installer process, included updated default portraits, the music has been remastered as lovely new MP3s, and we released the reloaded and stunning Furrabian Nights!
Thanks to the AngelCats, Volunteers, Staff, and Community for making this possible and enabling us to move on to even better things in the coming months!
We've added four new Group Packages; Pounce, Hearth, Realm, and World for a better variety of current features and many new perks for both in game and on the web. Dream Packages are still available and we've added a bunch of new features to them as well for no extra cost.
These are new FREE Groups you can create. They will get a webpage and be searchable to help you grow and get new members. Rahs and Taneests will get crown tags to indicate their status.
All Group Packages, including existing Dream Packages, will get a Chat and/or Broadcast channel to improve the member experience.
Group Custom Badges!
Group Package Owners will also get the ability to give out custom tags to all of their Group Members as well as custom badges for the ranks they hold in the Group.
All Groups, even Free and Official Groups, will get a webpage of their own inside our new web framework. They will be able to add their own logos, descriptions, and other information about their Group as well as have an automated members list. The Group leaders will have their own administration area to manage the group, pages and members. Many more features will be added to the pages over the next few months as well.
Group Search and Advertising!
Community members will have a new search system that allows them to browse through all of the Groups to find ones they are interested in joining. In addition, most Groups will have a free graphical advertisement that's shown on the new web pages as well as an opportunity to put a text advertisement in a new Broadcast channel in game. These will help their membership grow!
The first steps of the Account system are going into effect this update. You can now create an account, choose a main character, and start moving all of your alts into it. You will need an Account to use our new Groups pages, but they also set the stage for upcoming features like Adult Verification, Gold Sponsorship, Supported Alt Trading, Cleaner Log-ins, and much more that we will add in the coming months.The full Account system will be implemented in Update 31.
New Installer and Dragon Screen!
The Installer has been updated to be more modern with a smooth, seamless update process, easy or advanced settings, and prettier art. It fits perfectly with our new Dragon Screen and sets the stage for even better improvements in Update 31. The new update and install process will even make it so we can add smaller updates between the big ones with very little fuss or bother.
The new FurN is here and it is gorgeous! It is our test case for 32-bit features and the Lighting Layer that we will release to the public when they are in a more user-friendly state. Be sure to read all about and visit this exotic city on a hill with an active market, quests, a cookie economy, better Dream upload system and much more! The old FurN map has been renamed Furrabia Oasis and can be found outside the city gates.
We've long needed to update the art of Furcadia. The new Default Portraits are the first step in this process and will be followed in the next two updates with improved and gendered default avatars, 32-bit default art, and new full color interfaces for all of the clients and editors.
Music and Sounds!
The original music of Furcadia has been improved, added to and turned into lovely MP3s. The new FurN also features realistic ambient and action sounds to increase your immersion in its rich roleplay environment. Be sure to turn your Music and Sounds back on!
DragonSpeak and DS Editor!
As usual, this update includes new DragonSpeak lines, many of which were suggested by the community. There are improvements to the DS for Regions, Kittersize, and Effects. There are new lines that allow you to manipulate desctag actions, furre color, Digos, and triggering furres. You can now make your own pop-up boxes and make your Local Species into a Digo without increasing your patch size. There's even new PhoenixSpeak lines! Besides all of this, we have also added the DragonSpeak Constructor which is a 3rd party DS editor which we have contracted. It will make your creation of DS smoother, easier to manage, and more organized. Be sure to look at all the new lines here!
Horus and Apollo!
The new Horus Library is the Windows Client engine that will make 32-bit possible! It currently just has the base support and we still have a lot of work to make it into a full 32-bit game, but it is a huge leap forward and is very exciting. It allowed us to add the previews of the Lighting Layer and 32-bit translucent objects in FurN. Apollo is the new http upload and download server that has made uploading and downloading Dreams much faster and more reliable!
Named after a monitor lizard, Dumeril monitors both the client/server and the web processes and passes information back and forth between the two. This not only makes our new Group Pages be more dynamic and easy to use, but it sets us up for many upcoming features. This will allow us to have web based character create and edit, web graphical secure trading, better Character Pages, web account management, and best of all the new Howl service which will let your friends and Groups know what you are doing and let you hook up with your favorite social media. This will help Furcadia grow!
Web Framework and Cheesebiscuit!
Our webpages were ancient so we are dragging them into the present, making them more dynamic, secure, reliable, easy to use, and powerful. We started with the Joomla platform to give a solid base for the new web system. Then we created the custom and specialized Cheesebiscuit component to provide Web Services for Furcadia. For the layout we installed and customized the Gantry Framework that allows the pages to change sizes dynamically and work smoothly on multiple devices. With these new frameworks, we are prepared to bring the full potential of Furcadia and The Second Dreaming to the web, in an easy to use, modern, and accessible way.
On top of the technology, we have painted a lovely new design for the look of the pages. We've kept the branding of the Furcadia Blue and Gold and toned down the rainbow coloring, while still keeping it all very Furcadian. The Dragon and all the Primes have been redrawn and large pretty butler art of the avatars is being made to help decorate the new pages. The modern 2/3 to 1/3 layout was adopted with many dynamic modules to keep players entertained and informed. There are animated player and game ads, social network hooks and easy to use and slick navigation. Be sure to watch as we add in Howl, screenshot of the day, art carousels, most popular lists, online Pounce and of course update and move older content into the new site. So exciting!
We are well into the process of upgrading all our web services, making them more secure and easier to use. In the upcoming months, not only will you find links to manage services as you browse our pages, but we have also set up an extensive web service center which will incorporate the upcoming My Den account page. See how much time you have left on a Digo and click to add more or trade it to a friend. Manage your characters, desctags, Digos, Pounce list, Groups, Account info, FluFF settings, and so much more!
Digo Market and Support Suit!
We are happy to announce that Catnip Studios will be taking over Digo Market from IBV. To celebrate it will have a bunch of pretty new art included on the new Digo Market. Please note the changes in payment services. Also, all subscriptions with IBV will be canceled and you will need to redo your subscriptions through the new Digo Market. If there is time left on your subscription it will be honored. We've also updated the Support Suite to a much nicer and easier to use one!
The Second Dreaming has brought oodles of reward items that we have designed, drawn, and programmed over the last year. Some of these include: Second Dreaming World, Kittersize and Gloaming magic, AngelCat Avatar (with a flying version), themed coloring books and pages, Custom Avatars, Custom Desctags and Specitags, Exclusive Turf and many other bits and bobs! Several of these will release with this client update!
Since the last update we have made so very many new avatars, both Digos and Freebies! Under Freebies we have: Leprechaun, Pillowen, Easter Bunnies, Rocketsnayle, Fluttercats, ECO, Angelfish, Ghostie, Flutterdogs, Santapaws, Snowfurre, Ducky, FreeBee, KitterJack, and Meowlen. For Seasonals we have: Pillowen, Flooki, Froggen, Parotu, Turkey, Flitten, RubbaDucky, Angelfish, ECO, Seahorse, KitterJack, and Mythical Lichenthrope. Ferians include: Bruinen, Chitteren, Wolfling, Harten, Catling, and Quacken. In Mythicals we added: Gargoyle, MF Kitsune, and MF Unicorn. Last, but with the fluffiest tail, we added the Noble Squirrels! So much Pixel work!
This past year has also brought sweeping changes in our backend systems that while only Staff and volunteers use them, have made huge improvements to productivity, security, and service. We upgraded our ancient email system to Gmail, added Google Groups and services, started using Trello for organization, and improved our custom admin panel. On top of that we upgraded our mass mailing system, improved the Group saved spot system, enhanced the web libraries, upgraded PHP / SQL and Apache Services and our backup systems. We also added or improved many Social Media connections to places like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Youtube, TwitchTV, and Tumblr.
Bunches of Bugs!
With so many brand new or improved clients, systems and services, we have had a good deal more than the usual amount of bugs to squish! However, we've been stomping them out all over the place, many new ones and old ones alike. Some that you might notice are things like the fixed Dynamic Avatars system so new avatars show their portraits and specitags. Then there's the bug that made it so you couldn't see some of the effects when viewing in the Dream Editor that we fixed. The faulty uploads and downloads are working smoothly now! There really are more than a thousand bugs that we fixed and there will be many more as we move forward through The Second Dreaming Updates!