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Tag: Contest

Vote: Community Island

Annoholics have discussed the art of island design since the dawn of the Anno series. With our Anno Union island contest, we put your knowledge, design skills and creativity to the test to create a truly community-shaped island for Anno 1800. You impressed us with almost 100 entries to the contest, ranging from well thought gameplay concepts to the craziest playgrounds.

It was far from easy for us to make the final selection. Over the last weeks, our team went through every single entry and finally, we have a list for the five islands competing in the next Anno Union vote.

And the finalists are:

VulcanixFR
We liked VulcanixFR’s entry especially because of the well thought out mix between bigger and smaller construction spaces. With its opposing beaches, this island offers an iconic vista to build an interesting harbor installation.

MW.TRIBUN
The natural form of this island convinced our team. Hills, beaches and rivers are well placed and come together in a harmonious overall concept. The arrangement of the construction site and the fascinating landslide in the south create an interesting hotspot.

fabian_eiter
This islands got our attention because of its unique shape. The narrow parts of the island offer a great challenge for city builder and the jagged hills surrounding the bay add an adventurous element to it.

Phyllus1
The crazy idea to use the hat from the Anno 1602 cover was creative and humorous, while the nice curves and long cliffs offer a great challenge for Annoholics.

GmExpresso
We liked this isle for its simple form, providing ample space for huge cities. The high plateau in the north allows you to play around with the new uneven terrain of Anno 1800, which creates a great gameplay twist on a simple concept.

It’s now up to you, the members of the Anno Union, to decide which entry will make it into the game, as the first community created Anno island. We will further provide frequent updates about the state of the community island, including its creation up to all the final details. Keep in mind that we might need to change a few things, though we will be faithful to the general concept, feel and shape of the winning island.

Thanks to every single participating in the contest, putting so much effort and thought into all these glorious creations. If you want to browse through all great community entries again, you can do so here:
Island Contest entries international 
Island Contest entries German

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Union Update: A message to our community

In this week’s Community Update, we want to appreciate the driving force behind the Anno Union: You, our Fans and Union members who give us valuable feedback, support us and – not to forget – share your creative energy with us.

We were blown away by not only the amount of entries, but also by the many different creative takes on the contest such as letters, newspapers, stage plays and many more.
You might imagine that it was not easy for us to pick our three favorites out of so many great entries. And for that reason, we decided to honor five entries for the third and two entries for the second place. Our big “thanks” to everyone who participated and we hope that you enjoyed writing these entries as much as we enjoyed reading them.

Without further ado, congratulation to all the winners:

1st Place – Velerios1 1701 Collector’s Edition signed by the team
2nd Place – Aleera_Gorvan, Sermo2010 – Not exactly a surprise 1701 Goodiebag J
3nd Place– DiruKamachi, alleria.sb, Chris.666, Bellasinya, RayoOyar – A signed copy of a previous Anno game (we let you know between which games you can choose)
As mentioned, we will get in contact with you to sort out all the details.

And there is more to come this week: the next stage of our island contest, plus some mail from a visitor of our world fair exhibition.

Focus Test:
The first group of testers have been invited, so you can expect small updates about the playtests in the weeks to come. If you did not make it into the first test, no worries: we will have several tests throughout the year and will let the Union know when we are about to open new focus groups.

Anno Cast is returning March 15th
Our stream will finally return in 2018 with its first episode airing March 15th 4:30pm. As ongoing construction work in our studio forced us to move the streaming room temporarily, the scenery might look a little bit different. We will share more details about the show next week Monday!

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Union Update: Island creation contest

What an exciting week it has been thanks to the big announcement of the upcoming Union focus-playtests and a passionate look inside in the work of our level art team.
This week, it is time for the next DevBlog in our logistic series, where we will demonstrate how we bring back both complexity and freedom of choice with Anno 1800’s trading routes.

While you will hear back about the story contest winners soon, today we want to fuel your creativity once more:

The Union Island creation contest
Islands design has been a matter of passionate community discussions for a long time now and you shared plenty of interesting ideas and suggestions in last week’s DevBlog.
While we love to take inspiration from your ideas, there is also a creative power in the Anno Union, and we want to use that energy to its fullest potential- so we decided to give our Union the chance to bring a true community created map into the game.

We kick off our official Union island creation contest today and we are looking for your interesting takes on the Anno island formula. The best entries get the chance to become something truly special, as we will put the best maps up for a vote on the Anno Union and the winning island shape will get implemented into the game.

Here are the details:
– The deadline for the contest is Thursday, February 15th and you can post your entry here: Island Creation Contest
– You design your own island shape, you can either do it digitally or send us a scan of your drawn image. – Your island should be a clearly visible island shape shown in top down view.
– Your shape should include terrain elements such as mountains and hills as well as marked spaces for beaches. Keep in mind: if something is not marked as a beach, it is counted as a cliff-side.
– Finally , but very importantly, add interesting details and obstacles. We are curious about your interesting ideas but make sure that things do not get too crazy.
– A picture of your island is mandatory but you can post a short description and the gameplay ideas behind your concept in the forum as well.


Here is an example of shape and drawn areas. 

Focus Playtest requirements and questions

We got plenty of detailed and well thought out applications but we also know that there are some burning questions regarding the focus playtests. Instead of answering every single question in the QnA part separately, we decided to provide some extended details on the playtest and will overhaul the FAQ on the playtest page this week.

Deadlines and do I need to apply again for future playtests?
The application process has no deadline attached and you won’t need to apply for each test separately. Several test sessions will run over the course of the year and we will pick testers always from an aggregated list of applicants, which we will frequently update over time.

If I am invited once, will I be able to play on every future focus test?
You won’t – while we might invite people more than once, we want a variety feedback from different players and for that reason, we will change testers for every focus group. Later tests might require data from bigger groups, so just keep an eye on the Union for future information on that matter.

What are the exact system requirements?
Many of you were curious about the time requirements of the first test. While we aim to provide many options to customize your experience for the final game, our early development version is not optimized yet. That means that performance is subject to change and that the hardware requirements are not representative. It is hard for us to tell right now, but you will most likely need a PC which runs 2205 with at least recommended specs.

Why do I need to be 18+?
We are aware that there are many younger Anno fans out there. The minimum age is a legal requirement as the playtest will be subject of a strict NDA. Remember that we give players access to the in-development version of the game. The NDA requirements might change in a later stage of development and we will keep you updated in future Union Updates.

I can’t play one hour every day, why is it not possible to play just 14 hours over the weekend?
We are aware that at least one hour a day over the course of two weeks is a lot of commitment and not feasible for everyone. Future playtests can vary in length, but for the moment we need detailed feedback on a daily basis from testers.
The one hour is a minimum requirement and as mentioned, you can play as long as you have time during the focus test. We will monitor bugs, might perform changes and fixes to the client as well as ask for specific feedback about certain game elements on a daily basis. Because of that, playing the minimum daily time altogether on a weekend is unfortunately not possible.

Will Uplay be required to test the game?
Yes, Uplay will be a requirement for the focus tests.

I am disappointed that activity in the Union was not taking into account for the application process!
As mentioned on the playtest page, constructive behavior is a requirement to be eligible for playtesting. It makes no sense for us to ask you how active you are in the Anno Union or the Ubisoft forum, as we can gather these data on our own. Activity as well as other community engagement is an absolute plus.

How do feedback and bug reports work, will I have someone to talk to if I encounter problems during the focus test?
We will offer support from a dedicated testing team to all testers. We will provide the exact details if you get invited to a test but rest assured that we have a process and the needed tools for feedback collections and reports.

Community QnA

SnakeHunter84
Do all islands have only a small amount of beaches? Is it the rule that mountains surround islands rather than rising from the middle?
Simon: The beaches are the only spots allowing access to your island. However, you will usually have several beach slots available, depending on the size of an island.
Mountains are not limited to the borders of the playing area, and there will be islands in the game where hills and mountains ascend from the center. We want a variety gameplay challenges and scenarios, and the placement of a mountains and other terrain has a strong influence on the difficulty.

DiruKamachi
We are curious how many tiles the island shown in the blog has? When you work on the surface details, it seems that you work on one big object, and that before you structure the sectors of the island. How are you doing that? Additionally, I would like to know what kind of textures you use? And how do you ensure that your textures don’t look like repeating tiles? 80 hours of work for one island, I guess that more than one person works on one island?
Simon: Our islands are one big 3D element, which we are able to completely modify and edit as a whole. It is not segmented by separate elements. Our tools allow us to define the construction space while we work on the object. There are several methods and ways of handling textures, such as “Seamless Textures” or “Tint Maps”, which can prevent unwanted tiling effects. But that is a complex topic in itself and like always, often a combination of different techniques. The 80 hours for an island are the average time spent but we share the workload with several team members.

ruuti0
I have one question, did this thing that it can take 80 hours map time become in 1800, 2205 or was it already in early games like 2070?
Simon: In fact, we optimized our workflow a bit since then, which means we need slightly less time than we needed for an average island in 2205.

Johnnymac34
How many islands would be created for the entire game? Are any of them created via a scripting tool or is it all done manually?
Simon: We don’t want to reveal the final amount of islands for the game as of yet. We use the tool World Machine to create a basic layout for the map which we than alter and polish by hand.

AmpeImann
One question, as a Level Artist, are there performance constraints that go into what you can do with the design of an island? Is there a limit to the number of “features” on each island for the sake of engine performance?
Simon: Level artists usually care about making a level visually stunning but we also have to keep performance in mind especially when it comes to placeable objects or complex vegetation, as these can take up a lot of performance if you aren’t careful.

 

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Interview with the illustrious Artur Gasparov

It was an exciting election, with the crème de la crème of Anno’s aspiring governors coming together to fight for your vote during the big Anno Union NPC election. Without a doubt, it was the visionary Artur Gasparov who took your collective hearts by storm, but not without some controversy. Several months have passed since then and we finally managed to get Mr. Gasparov agreeing to an exclusive Anno Union interview.

Before we have a chance to sit down and talk, Mr. Gasparov gets the obligatory tour of the studio. Disappointed by the lack of notable architectural features, he shows me his chin. As I pass Mr. Gasparov a mug of machine coffee in the hope it soothes him, I begin to get a sense of the person behind the opulent facade.
Basti: Mr. Gasparov, you’ve been elected by the Anno Union to join the ranks of AI characters. It was a tough competition, was it not?
Artur Gasparov: Not at all – I was streets ahead from the start. You would call it a landslide victory, but to me, it is altogether more dignified. To be honest, I am a little piqued not to have been among the original cast of characters – I am after all, the embodiment of originality. But…vox populi, and now I am their god elect!

BT: What should players expect from you?
AG: Demolition! Hoping to compete with the finest architect and city-planner in the entire Empire? They must be completely cuckoo! I will create the grandest, most sumptuous metropolis ever beheld by human eyes! My people will share my intense dedication to this vision, or else be made to! I will level any mountain that blocks my path! And if some interfering human player tries the same, rest assured, I shall make a great exhibition of them!

BT: Sounds like you have an aggressive, even militant outlook?
AG: No, no! I am a friend to all who treat me with due deference. Those who respect me, who fulfil my wishes, shall be rewarded appropriately! ‘Though of course, a chance to assist me is itself, the highest of rewards.

BT: Wow, that’s great. So do you know yet if there will be another member of the Jorgensen family in ANNO 1800?
AG: What?! I am here to talk about me – my divine draughtsmanship! What is this obsession with the numbskull Jorgensens? The Gasparov family tree goes back aeons – generation after generation of the Empire’s most enigmatic and impressive personages. Why does nobody inquire after my noble bloodline?

BT: Moving on swiftly-
AG: -do not sweep my heritage under your cheap rug!

BT: We don’t have rugs at Bluebyte.
AG: So I see, and no drapes, no plaster of Paris, no fluting, nor filigree.

BT: It’s great to meet someone who can open our eyes to art.

AG: Art cannot be seen, if it has not been lived! It is not enough to have a vision – one must be a vision!

BT: And what does this vision mean for the ordinary people?
AG: Ordinary people? Oh yes of course. The more ordinary the better! They will have an impossible amount of work to complete, in a ridiculously short amount of time, if we are to capture the spirit of the age.

BT: And what to you is the spirit of the age?
AG: Architectural Eclecticism.

BT: Care to elaborate?
AG: Always.

BT: Ok…that’s great. What about industrialization in the era, isn’t that a problem for an aesthete like you?
AG: A great problem! I need industry, furnaces to cast my elegy in fire. But such monstrous eyesores must be hidden in the hills! Why, oh why, must chimneys belch and fug my life?! Or warehouses weather me away like a church gargoyle? Why do mistuned orchestras of manufacture drown out their diva? This is the oily slick that smears my reflection in the pond, leaving my love for myself to go unrequited.

BT: Oh I think I hear the horse and carriage drawing up outside, how unfortunate. Thank you so much for your time Mr. Gasparov.
AG: Time is a precious commodity, even for the immortal.

We hoped you liked our interview- but entertainment was not our only intention! Anno is about more than just building cities; our goal is to immerse you in the industrial age with Interesting characters and a well-crafted narrative. Now, we want to hand the torch over to you in order light your creative minds in our first Anno Union story contest!

We want your take on the big Anno Union NPC vote, written in the role of the governor of your own island paradise. Whether it is a personal role-play style letter, your own newspaper article or even a whole story about how you perceived and react to the results of the election, we leave it to your imagination and creativity!

The contest begins today and will end January 15th. At the end of the vote, we will pick the best three entries by early February. The form, length and whether you want to support it with some visual assets is entirely up to you. You can create your story either in English or German.

You can enter your stories in our Writing Contest thread in the Ubisoft forum: https://forums.ubi.com/showthread.php/1801690

The best three stories win a spotlight on the Anno Union and one of the following prices:
Place One: Signed Collector’s Edition of a previous Anno game
Place Two: Anno Goodie Bag, including some signed swag
Place Three: Game signed by the development team

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