Friday, December 24, 2010

Fafnir Complete

Murakami Steamworks first airship is now available at our shop. Many weeks went into this ship and now that it is complete all the new advancements it received will trickle down to all our other vehicles in the coming weeks as we slowly update everything.

Next on our list is the Goblin light tank which is getting a massive overhaul. In addition to the weapon and camera control improvements from the Fafnir, it will also be getting a machine gun installed on the turret for taking care of infantry. It will also be able to hold a third crew member who will take position at the turret hatch, such as a tank commander would. This makes driving in mouselook very fun, but on the flipside you will be exposed to enemy fire. Should be interesting...

For those curious what our roadmap is currently...

1. Complete Goblin overhaul (75% done)
2. Update artillery and AA guns to new dial controls and to re-balance them. -not started
3. Updated Miniclads game for sale (25% done)
4. Wyvern fighter plane (needs to float on pontoons correctly, 60% done)
5. Update naval vessels to use new Fafnir technology (huge update) -not started
6. Ammo swap system for all combat vehicles (shot, shell, grapeshot) -not started

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Murakami Steamworks Returns

Well after a small break Murakami Steamworks is back! We have been working on many projects in the backroom and now is a good time to show you what we have. First on the list is our airship Fafnir we talked about awhile ago... The ship has gone through many evolutions and is 99% complete...

The Fafnir is not only our first airship, but also carries with it many new enhancements to our vehicles as a whole and some of these are quite revolutionary (for us at least). For starters, the ship now has sculpted turrets in place of the 2 prim ones, saving us a massive 6 prims which we used to enhance the look of the ship. I have been able to grasp how to make complex sculpted prims as well as texturing thanks to Sidney Arctor who is an expert sculpter and indeed one of the best I have ever met. Check out his shop here if you would like to see his work. With my new skills I should be able to go back and reduce the prim count on many of our ships, allowing me to add some details I could not before.

We also changed the way movement controls work, in which instead of having engine speeds 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9... etc etc we simply have SLOW, HALF,FULL. This reduces the amount of times the pilot needs to press the forward/backward keys to get to their desired speeds as well as reduce the amount of overhead between the ship and HUD. We also got rid of the automatic turning so now you must hold down A or D to rotate the ship. This again reduces some overhead and makes turning more smooth and controlled. Ascending and descending work just like our submarines do.

Weapon controls are the biggest change, heavily reducing the complexity of aiming and firing. If you look at the picture above and zoom in on the HUD, You will see there are no aiming buttons for the cannons. This is because it uses a new dial method taking advantage of llDetectedTouchST. This means instead of having to click on say...6 buttons to control the angle, you can now just click anywhere on the dial to aim them and have 45 different angles instead of 6. Suffice to say this is huge, and it will make our monitor type ironclads 10 times easier to operate. MrBunwah originally had something like this rigged up way back when llDetectedTouchST was first introduced but because many of our customers were still using older clients they could not actually use this new method as it required a client upgrade.

The next big improvement also uses this new dial method. If you look at the center of the HUD you should see a circle dial with a smaller blue side dial next to it. This is the new camera system. The way it works is you press anywhere on the circle to rotate the camera in that direction relative to the ship, then you use the blue dial on the side to adjust your camera pitch. So instead of having to click on all those buttons for limited camera angles, you now only have 2 dials which can move the camera almost anywhere you want. This is huge, as the way SL utilizes cameras is terrible. Our ships have always been plagued with camera problems but with this new system we have finally fixed it and made it a viable alternative to simply using the click drag camera in SL.

Last but not least is the implementation of BNWCS into the ship, making this our first real dual combat system ship. It might take some updates to get it balanced right for BNWCS, but what we have now works very well and seamlessly with ICS.

Up next is our first fighter plane, the Wyvern. This plane will be unique in that it will not have 1 but 3 combat systems implemented. ICS,BNWCS, and TCS. This will make it a very versatile fighter that can engage almost anything else it comes across...except perhaps for VICE equipped vehicles (future update perhaps?). The Wyvern will also have an auto pilot mode that stays in the sim, useful if you need to go afk or type something up while in the air.

The picture above shows it with landing gear, but the final version will have pontoons allowing it to take off and land on the water. I may also incorporate our advanced camera system mentioned above if it proves to be useful, however I would like to have this be a HUDless vehicle if possible for ease of use... but who knows.

The final version will also have ICS/BNWCS bombs that it can drop on larger targets, as it's ICS machine gun rounds can't damage ships above 250HP. Like I mentioned before, I want this to be a very versatile fighter...

Last thing I want to show you is our medium tank, the Trollkin. Both our tanks will be getting a huge upgrade that will incorporate all the enhancements mentioned above. The Trollkin is the 2nd of a series of 5 tanks we plan on making. Light, Medium, Heavy, Mortar, Amphibious. The Trollkin will sport 2 machine guns for dealing with infantry, and a large howitzer for armored targets.

That's it for now! Will keep you posted when these are released.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fleet Week 2010

This year Fleet Week will be held in Steeltopia. If you are not familiar with this event, it's an annual gathering of all the steamland's navies in Second Life. There will be a shipbuilders expo and contest, races, mock battles, a naval review, and a uniform ball at the very end of the event. In other words if you have any interest in 19th or 20th century naval warfare in Second Life you have little reason not to attend. Below I have pasted the revised schedule of events...


The Second Annual gathering of
Second Life's Steamland Navies

Shipbuilder's Exhibition * Submarine Races
Tall Ship Races * Epic Ironclad Battles * Naval Review
Social Events and Uniform Ball

Steeltopia * November 13-20, 2010


* Fleet Week Opening Ceremonies - 4:00 PM SLT
Excelsior Airship Docking
Hosted by Steeltopian Emperor, SteelCobra Calamari

A special event honoring the peacefully-gathered naval forces of the Steamlands.

* Shipbuilders' Expo and Shipbuilding Contest Begins
Port Tiburon

Shipbuilders offering ironclad-era nautical vessels will be set up along the piers and wharves of Steeltopia, offering their wares to the Public. The public may vote on their favorites throughout the week.

Harbor Master: Rachire Andel - Rachire will assist vendors in displaying their ships in an orderly manner. Please assist her by registering your intent to participate as a vendor.

Ship Building Contest Chairman: Wrath Constantine - Contact Wrath for details. Builders will show their skill and imagination, to be judged by a panel, TBD.

*Seaman's Ball - 11-13-10 Saturday at 6pm PST SLT
Pneumatic Revolution Lounge
Hosted by SteelCobra Calamari

A Celebration to open the weeks festivities. Music, dancing and merriment!
Uniforms and period dress encouraged.


SUNDAY 11-14 thru WEDNESDAY 11-15

Shipbuilder's Expo continues... Random unplanned events may take place in the spirit of celebration!
We ask all vendors to vacate the docks by the end of Wednesday to accommodate setting up for the Melee Events.


* Ironclad Melee, 5PM SLT.
Port Tiburon
HOST: Steel Cobra Calamari

An epic naval skirmish featuring the navies of the steamlands, slugging it out on the open ocean. Behold the power and glory of the assembled navies. Rumor has it that the latest examples in lighter-than air naval support vessels will also be supporting their nautical units...

Participant navies are asked to register with Robin Sprocket or SteelCobra Calamari prior to the event. SteelCobra will make available the Rules of Engagement to participants. Please direct scheduling concerns, etc. to SteelCobra Calamari.

FRIDAY 11/19

* Belly Up Performance - 12:15PM
Excelsior Airship Docking
HOST: Elleon Bergamasco

Please come enjoy a performance by the renowned mermaid dance troupe, Belly Up. It's a cultural treat and a fitting prelude to the spectacle of the Fleet Review!

* Fleet Review, 1PM SLT.
Obsidian Sea Event Seating
HOST: Justinian Huszar

The state-based navies of the Steamlands, in their finest regalia, proceed on a course taking them past reviewing stands. The Public is invited to attend.


* Windjammer Race, 12 noon SLT.
Port Tiburon
HOST: Aevalle Galacia
CHAIRMAN: SteelCobra Calamari

Tall ships and wind-powered vessels to compete in this yachting race, before cheering crowds gathered on viewing stands. Trophies will be on hand for the winners.

Please register for this event with Robin Sprocket or SteelCobra Calamari. SteelCobra will make available the rules for competitors.

* Submarine Races, 2PM SLT
Obsidian Sea Event Seating
CHAIR: Rachire Andel

The finest submariners - and their daring mechanical marvels - will line up to compete against each other in this underwater tournament. The Public is invited to view the races from the specially-built underwater viewing stands. Appropriate dress is encouraged.

Please register for participation in this event with Rachire Andel. Rachire will make available the rules of the contest to participants.

* Highland Ball at Piermont Landing , 6PM SLT
Wheatstone Waterways
HOST: Breezy Carver

The public is invited to attend a inter-Steamland nautical-themed Ball hosted by Breezy Carver at Piermont Landing in New Babbage. Naval uniforms for officers and sailors are encouraged. Shipbuilding awards and race winners will be honored.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Murakami Steamworks takes to the skies

We at Murakami Steamworks have almost finished construction of our first airship Fafnir! We currently have a working beta being tested by several people right now and will have it ready for release soon. The ship will be a medium sized airship armed with a total of 12 guns on 6 rotating turrets. Once the Fafnir is complete, it will serve as a base for the rest of our airships. Along with this ship we are looking to construct a light scout type, a heavy type, and a carrier type with fighters to go along with it. Also we will probably need to update the AA gun, as tests show it's balanced against fighters but is overpowered against slower airships.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ship changes in our latest update

Our update of ships to ICS 3.1 made some subtle and not so subtle changes. Below is a list of some of the more radical changes that were made.

Universal changes

- All ships and artillery now use the new splash and explosion effects. This applies to cannonball splashes, mortar explosions, spar torpedo explosions, and underwater explosions

-All ships now have their scripts recompiled back to LSL for improved performance

-All ships now use ICS 3.1 combat cores. ICS 3.1 has new minimum damage rules meaning if you do less than 1% damage to a ships core it rounds to zero doing no damage at all. This rule resulted in numerous ship changes and put some of them temporarily out of commission. These will be listed below

-All ships have had their speeds adjusted to be much more realistic. Calculations were done to convert SL m/s to knots more accurately, meaning all ships going at speed 5 will all be going roughly 5 knots and should not be able to pass each other. This change will make some ships slower and some faster as a result

-All surface ships now have the ability to do at least some damage while ramming, such as the monitor class ironclads (Note that ships not specially designed for ramming take massive risks in doing so). This does not apply to the CSS David, Goblin tank or the submarines

Tank changes

- Goblin tank had its HP increased to 350 and had it's medium cannon switched out for a heavy. The HP change was made so that the tank would not be as susceptible to small arms fire and the medium cannon was proven to be too weak during later field tests

Ironclad Ship changes

- CSS Atlanta's spar torpedo now has it's own arm/disarm button so you can raise/lower it while still keeping the guns out. Also, the spar torpedo is now a one use weapon with no reload. The scripts actually delete them selves when it is used, meaning you need to rerez the ship to use it again. This was done for balancing purposes (Note the CSS David and H.L Hunley spar torpedoes can still reload and be reused)

- MSS Fishkill's double gatlings were replaced with double medium cannons. This was done due to the new minimum damage rules that came with ICS 3.1 that would have made it unable to defend itself from medium to large ships

- INS Redemption's single gatling gun was replaced with a single medium cannon for the same reasons as above

- USS Essex's small cannons were upgraded to mediums and it's mediums were upgraded to heavies as a result of the minimum damage rule specified above

-USS Queen of the West's small cannons were upgraded to mediums as a result of the minimum damage rule specified above

-MSS Menkar can now ram using both Stern and Bow

Submarine changes

- MSS Holland had it's machine guns removed for two additional torpedo launchers, giving it four total now. Also ammo count was increased to 26 torpedoes. This was done due to the new minimum damage rule specified above

- MSS Fiskdale was finally released. A demolition type submarine equipped with two torpedo launchers and 8 explosive charges that can be detached from the hull to act as depth charges or floating mines. Explosive charges should work in all types of sim water levels now

- All subs have new torpedo and depth charge explosion effects

Steelhead ships

-Due to the fact that all the Steelhead ships we made rely heavily on gatling guns in one way or another, we will need to rework them so that they fit properly with the other ships in ICS 3.1. They will still work with ICS 3.1 ships at the moment, but the gatling guns will not work on ships above 250HP. After we finish our current submarine commission we will go back to the drawing board and give these ships a nice facelift.

And that about does it for the big changes. I apologize if I missed something, you can imagine how hard it can be to manage the 40+ items in our catalogue. If you notice any bugs in the new update please send Justinian Huszar or MrBunwah Murakami a notecard or IM.

SCSE Orca and MSS Kaitos submarines

We have just released a special type of exploration sub that does not need a HUD to control. It started off with a commission from the Steeltopian Empire for an exploration submarine for their Steeltopian Consortium of Scientific Endeavors or SCSE. When we took on this project we wanted to create an improved version of the Auriga with a very spacious interior, unlike most 32 prim subs that have you crammed in a small compartment. We also wanted to try a hudless control method with the ship, and seeing as the ship has no weapons controls this would be very doable. So, remembering that we could use llDetectedTouchUV we created a simple control panel for the new sub...

This sub has an engine on and an engine off button, as well as two buttons to control the hatches for letting people in and out of the sub. Also knot speed is displayed as hovertext, so you get all the information you need to control the sub while in mouselook. Using this technology, we may be able to make some of our ships hudless, most notably the submarines. In fact... with a combination of hovertext and audio clues, pilots would be able to receive all the information they need in terms of speed, depth, turning, fuel & ammo amount, hull damage etc etc etc. The only issue is that certain types of weapons systems such as turreted cannons will be very hard to operate as the pilot must essentially be in mouselook the whole time, but I have a feeling if the pilot house and control panel were designed correctly and were adapted to the ship properly then this control system could work quite well.

The advantages of such a system are pretty obvious. Without the need for the ship and HUD to talk to each other you reduce the amount of communication overhead, meaning the ship will be much more responsive (the new sub has already proved this). Another advantage is that you do not have a HUD cluttering up your screen space, which can be annoying to some people. And then of course there is an added sense of realism of actually sitting in front of a control panel as opposed to a floating one in the corner of your screen.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Coal Torpedoes: Fun with Sabotage

This post will be one of several that introduce non-conventional weapons used during the Civil War that many of you may not have known about (and there was a lot of them!). This one will deal with Coal Torpedoes, which were an old-fashioned IED used by the Confederates.

From Wikipedia...

"The coal torpedo was a hollow iron casting filled with explosives and covered in coal dust, deployed by the Confederate Secret Service during the American Civil War, and intended for doing harm to Union steam transportation. When shoveled into the firebox amongst the coal, the resulting explosion would at the very least damage the boiler and render the engines inoperable, and at most cause a catastrophic boiler explosion that would kill crewmen and be likely to start a fire that would sink the vessel."

"The torpedoes were manufactured at the 7th Avenue Artillery shop (across the street from Tredegar Iron Works) in Richmond, Virginia, in January 1864. The manufacturing process was similar to that used for artillery shells, except that actual pieces of coal were used as patterns for iron castings. The walls of the coal shell were about 3/8 inch thick, creating a hollow space inside sufficient to hold 3–4 ounces of gunpowder. After filling, the shell was closed with a threaded plug, then dipped in melted beeswax and rolled in coal dust, creating the appearance of a lump of coal. Finished coal torpedoes were about 4 inches (10 cm) on a side and weighed 3–4 lb (1.5–2 kg). "

"The size and powder charge of the coal torpedo was similar to a 6 pound Shrapnel shell (a hollow, four-inch cannonball containing gunpowder and 24 musket balls as shrapnel) or the equivalent of three Civil War-era hand grenades. Even so, the explosion of a coal torpedo under a ship's boiler would not by itself be sufficient to sink the vessel. The purpose of the coal torpedo was to burst the pressurized steam boiler, which had the potential to cause a tremendous secondary explosion. Boiler explosions were not uncommon in the early years of steam transportation, and often resulted in the complete destruction of the vessel by fire. In action, the coal torpedo would leave little evidence that a boiler explosion was due to sabotage."

Due to the nature of such a weapon, it's hard to tell just how effective these really were. During the beginning of steam powered transportation, boiler explosions were common as the technology was just in it's infancy. Also, when a boiler exploded it usually resulted in a fire that completely destroyed the ship so evidence was hard to come by.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Murakami Steamworks is moving its offices to Steeltopia, setting up shop in the new sim that will be coming soon. I believe the name of it is Pythagoras Airbase but it may change before it is officially set. The reason for this change is that Cape Wrath is starting to get crowded, with new islands popping up in front of our office. It takes a while to render everything due to the many houses surrounding ours, and while we like to have a location in a nice high traffic area we really need more room to breath and a good amount of water to play in.

The sim we will be moving into will be very open, with half of it being water. The other half will be a giant airbase for the Steeltopian Airforce, so that will be interesting. The nice part about this location is it serves as a home base as well as a sandbox as before we could not really test out our ships at our home location, having to teleport somewhere with enough water first. It also allows us to build our dream home that we have been craving for so long...a floating house in the middle of the sea. Once we finish construction of the shop we will post pictures (and yes, there will be plenty of breakable glass in our new office).

As for our updates, expect to have them finished during the end of spring break. That should give us enough time to update the 40+ items we have in our catalogue.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

ICS 3.1 updating

While going through the ship updates, we saw the opportunity to add a lot of really nice features and improvements to the ships. Below is a list of what is being added...

1. All ships and coastal artillery will have splash effects on the cannonballs when they hit the water. Most of the ships already have this feature but it needs to be added to the coastal artillery. Also we made improvements to the splash effect and it now occurs in most kinds of water sims, such as 40m or 60m water levels.

2. Explosion effects have been given a new makeover, rezzing a large blast prim that shows you exactly what the blast radius is of the explosion. 10 meter range explosives will rez a 10x10x10 sphere and so on. The effect looks great and can be seen from very long distances. There will also be underwater explosion effects for depth charges and torpedos.

3. Spar torpedo ships will now rez a nice big splash prim when their torpedos strike so it's easier to see what you hit as well as not leaving the enemy wondering what just hit them.

4. CSS Atlanta will have the new effect mentioned above, as well as a change in it's spar torpdeo functionality. The spar torpedo on it is now a one use weapon and can not be reloaded or rearmed. Once used it is completely disabled and the prim work for it is moved inside the ship. Also a second arm/disarm button was added allowing you to arm/disarm the spar torpedo only. These changes were made to restore balance as well as make it easier to use the ram without worrying about the spar getting in the way.

5. All ships will have their speeds adjusted to more closely resemble their true knot speeds. Some ships are labeled to go at 7 knots but may really only be able to go at 5 knots. Using a speedometer I have been able to measure the speed in m/s and convert it directly to knots, so all the ships will be more realistic in their speeds. This means that some of the larger ships will most likely be able to go faster. Theoretically if 2 different ships both go at 7 knots on their HUDS, they should not be able to outpace each other now.

6. All the ships will now take advantage of the ICS 3.1 sleep/wake system. If you turn the ship engines off, this will put the core into sleep mode and make it immune to damage. Turning the engines on wakes the core back up. (this feature seems like it could be abused rather easily, so we might add a engine cooldown period that takes several seconds but still leaves you vulnerable... we might have second thoughts about this feature, will need to think about this one)

7. Coastal artillery cannons will be given finer angle adjustments as well as a slightly lower velocity, allowing them a wider range of points they can hit.

We don't have much planned for UCS right now as we are mainly concerned about getting all our vehicle updates done. The UCS protection system for ICS works fine, but we are hesitant to use it fully at the moment and will most likely just give infantry 100% protection inside the ironclads. We would need to figure out a way to have the ship be disabled somehow when the UCS pilot is killed, but at the moment you can still operate the ship even if you are killed.

Eventually we will be working on UCS grapeshot rounds for use against infantry which should be fun to test. Speaking of testing, we found out that ramming DOES work against UCS infantry, but the system thinks they are a ship and not a person, resulting in the rammer taking a crap load of damage. Below is what happened when I crashed my Goblin equipped with a heavy ram into MrB wearing UCS...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Explosives Testing

Explosives in ICS battles have always been a bit of mixed bag. While they generally are pretty effective at destroying whatever they hit, it's very hard to tell if they hit anything at all unless you see something get damaged. The blast radius was always invisible, with no real way to tell what was caught in it. Well not anymore....

That is a 15x15x15 blast prim effect that will be rezzed along with the explosive prim that goes off. The result is a clear indicator of the blast radius! Another nice part is it has glow and lighting enabled, making it easy to see from a distance. This is similar to the water splash effect that was added to the cannonballs when they hit the water, the point being to add better indicators to rounds so fighters can get more tactical information on the battlefield. Expect to see all explosives in our next update look like this. Also all of the cannonball rounds that did not have splash effects will have them as well.(I think the only ones that don't have splash effects are the coastal artillery)

Note: This explosion effect is not part of ICS 3.1. This is something we are adding to our explosive rounds at Murakami Steamworks. However we will be packaging these special exploding effects as well as our splash effect rounds into one freebie package and making them available at all our vendors so ICS developers can grab them and use them for their own builds.

Observable from over 180meters away...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anti-Aircraft gun and ICS 3.1

Well we have finally completed work on the Anti-Aircraft gun. This artillery piece is bit of a departure from our other ones. This gun does not use any buttons, instead forcing you to actually sit on it and use your movement keys to control angle and rotation. Based on the tests we have done with it, it should be able to hold back most airships and give fighters something to worry about.

Also ICS 3.1 was just released, and also brings with it a beta version of the new UCS (Urban Combat System) for infantry fighting. The nice part is UCS is fully compatible with ICS, meaning vehicle versus infantry combat. Some nice additions to ICS include...

- Added support for 'covering' avatars using the UCS system. This allows the ship to specify what degree of protected avatars in them are against explosions outside the ship.

- Added ability to put ICS core to sleep and wake it up again with link messages, so that docked ships can be made immune from vandalism.

- Shaped explosives now take ship height into account, instead of calculating whether the ship was in the shape based on a plane.

- Explosive scripts and cannon shells have been converted back to LSL2 instead of mono, amid growing concerns regarding the lag that mono scripts cause the sim on initial rez.

We will be performing some initial tests with ICS/UCS to make sure everything is working properly. Once we have tested the new system we will begin updating all of our products. Take note that due to the scope of the update, everything will need to be updated in our catalogue. That includes ships, artillery, tanks. This could take some time... but the payoff will be well worth it. Once we release our next update we will post here again to remind everyone to update to the latest versions.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Information on Regularly Scheduled Ironclad Combat Events in Second Life


Regular battles using the ICS Combat system are held in many locations in Second Life. The original, and I dare say best known, might be THE IRON MELEE, which started in Roatan on the edge of the Blakes Sea about a year ago.

THE IRON MELEE continues to thrive, but has transitioned from one location (Roatan) to several, in order to spread the gospel of 19th century naval combat around Second Life. Hotspur O'Toolecan be contacted for the current location at any given week, just IM "hotspur otoole" in world.

At the moment, we are holding events on Thursday evenings as per usual at the usual time of 730 PM SLT, but the hosting is split up between myself, Justinian Huszar, AngusGraham Ceawlin and Sharrah Bredel. Our current battle launch locations are:

Sanctuary Rock at Blake's Shore (for naval battles) Sanctuary Rock takes advantage of the Blake Sea Contested Waters (BSCW) battle circle which includes events which will take place in the four Linden Lab owned Contested Water sims (Blake Sea: Kendra, Thunderer, Cannonade, and Beaufort)and the privately owned sims: Blake Coast, Blake Shore, and Blake Cove, Roatan, ZATZAi and Artificial Ilse. See a map, HERE. For more information, view the Blake Sea Contested Waters blog, run by Nber Medici

Port Merrimac at Roatan (for land and naval battles). This is part of the Blake Sea Contested Waters Battle Circle

Sanctuary Shoals Pier (for naval battles, SLURL Forthcoming)

in addition, Steeltopia hosts BATTLESTORM SATURDAYS at Obsidian Pier, Port Tiburon in Steeltopia. Battles are roughly the same format as Iron Melee Thursdays, on Saturday Nights. Contact Steelcobra Calamari in world for details. (Slurl forthcoming)

If you have a relatively lag free location with a lot of water in it and a desire to play naval combat games in world, please contact either myself (Hotspur Otoole) or AngusGraham Ceawlin in world, and we'll try out your location in the rotation.

Keep your powder dry!