A New Tale in the Desert

June 18, 2004 - It's been nearly a year and a half since eGenesis launched the original A Tale in the Desert. The downloadable MMO did away with the idea of combat in favor of creating a more craft-oriented, puzzle-based, cooperative society. Interestingly, the game also launched with a definite end in sight; where most MMOs are designed to run forever, the story of A Tale in the Desert was always intended to reach a final conclusion. This weekend the developers are releasing the final challenges required to complete the game and, once they're done, the game is over.
But about a week after the final goal is reached (which may take players about a month according to eGenesis's rough estimates), the developers will launch a new version of A Tale in the Desert. Rather than calling it a straight sequel, the developers prefer to think of this as A Tale in the Desert 2.0. They just gave us a guided tour of the changes we can expect when the new version rolls out later this summer.
To begin with, they're going to bring the overall difficulty down and reduce the timeframe for the story. This time around, they're predicting a 6-month arc rather than the year-and-a-half arc that they're currently using. This means that casual players will feel like there's more out there than they can possibly experience while hardcore players will feel like they're never at a loss for content. Thankfully, you'll be able to get around quicker; road travel will be twice as fast now and chariot stops will allow you to teleport from one area to another instantly.
Lots of graphical improvements are in store as well. A new procedural foliage system allows for much more realistic-looking trees. The terrain in general will be bump-mapped and offer a new form of specular highlighting. In the current build of A Tale in the Desert, the level of detail scaling means that there's a stark contrast between the ground textures at various distances. The new game will smooth this out and allow for even more detail all the way to the horizon.
In terms of crowding, most of your structures can now be housed in large buildings. Not only does this reduce the slightly rural feel of the game; it also manages to reduce the burden on the graphics cards and servers. Crowd levels are much more manageable under this system and we should see large player communities that look more like cities than flea markets.
Naturally there will be new technologies within the game itself and veteran players will have new skills and story elements to explore. We'll be sure to bring you the full details once the new telling launches later this summer.
Published by: eGenesis
Developed by: eGenesis
Genre: Persistent Online RPG
Number of Players: unlimitedRelease Date:
US: February 15, 2003

Art buyers find few investment masterpieces

It was only when Jussi Pylkk√§nen was climbing down from the auctioneer’s rostrum that he realised the scale of what had just happened.

Having presided over the sale of a ravishing nude by Amedeo Modigliani for $170m, it struck him that this surpassed any previous auction figure achieved for the Italian artist’s work — by a staggering $100m.

“I knew the record would be broken, but not by how much. When you get a work that suddenly makes $100m more, that is the greatest single leap,” says the global president of Christie’s.

Since that New York sale in November 2015, auction records for individual artists have continued to tumble, underlining the appetite of super-rich collectors for the most desirable works of art. The global caravan of auctions, gallery shows and art fairs, which this week pauses in London for the annual Frieze fair, rumbles on in anticipation of the next masterwork to be offered for sale.

Many of those buying high-value art argue that the money involved is less important than gaining possession of a unique object of unimpeachable beauty or artistic value (and, perhaps, the chance to stand out from the gilded crowd). The idea of art as an investment is a secondary function, if at all. “You’re supposed to buy art because you like it. It’s a terribly corny phrase, but you get a ‘dividend of pleasure’,” says Bendor Grosvenor, a broadcaster and former art dealer.