The Dark Lord Speaks: Interview with Dimentox Travanti

by Urizenus Sklar on 20/12/06 at 5:19 pm

In this interview we talk with Dimentox Travanti, who is the author of the Dark Combat System that some of you have seen in operation around the grid. In its current state it includes numerous races, and virtually any weapon in SL can be integrated into the system, since the damage system operates on collision detection. It also comes with a 3rd party API to allow other game developers to modify it to incorporate special weapons. Dimentox, who has earlier experience as a game dev, is working on DCS Version 2, which will incorporate a number of features including more advanced XP and Quest as well as the possibility of further modifications by GMs.

In this wide ranging discussion, Uri and Dimentox discuss the DCS system, the future of SL, the open sourcing of SL, and some of the tripwires along the way “think CopyBot on crack”!


Urizenus: So what exactly is the DCS?
Dimentox: DCS is a Combat system, Its made for Dark RP sims that want more than just a combat meter. It is My venture into making a MMORPG (freeform) For SL.

Urizenus: well what is the more that people get?
Dimentox: We have a ton of Races, Demons, Angels, Vampires, nekos, Machines, Dark elves, Lycans. Each race has their own set of powers and special abilities….

Urizenus: give us an example of a race and its powers
Dimentox: Well the vampires for example have a combat feed which does damage and is a Fast move to the target. They also can revive from death using their blood points.

Urizenus: sweet. What about elves?
Dimentox: Elves have to start Harm touch which does 50% damage or insta kill. As time goes along There will be more powers added. Each race has their own unique feel.

Urizenus: It doesn’t seem like there are a lot of weapons yet
Dimentox: Well the system is universal. It allows for ANY weapon to work with the system. The system also has a full 3rd party API for other developers to create weapons, items and such that work with dcs in a special way, say the autodoc..

Urizenus: how does that work?
Dimentox: Well it has 2 parts. One is the Collision based system for ranged weapons. it detects when the scripted bullets or knives hit the avatar. The melee system is done through a special Dynamic communications channel that captures key movements. As long as the weapon has a Animation it will work. You will need to have the melee weapon scripted to register with the DCS but that is so it actually swings. I do not take credit for the Channel melee system. RCS did it first. I improved it ;)

Urizenus: swings?
Dimentox: AKA when you buy a sword it needs to allow you to swing it, DCS captures this movement and translates it to damage. Otherwise your standing still and not doing anything ;)

Urizenus: What was RCS?
Dimentox: Role Play Combat system. It was designed for Jedi’s. I call it the father of Combat systems. Its a great system but was specialised for Jedi.

Urizenus: but if any weapon can work, how are you going to make money off this?
Dimentox: I make little to none on DCS. But I make my own enhanced weapons. And when i release non free expansion powers they cost a min fee. And I make items.. AKA armor. I am not out to get rich on this ;)

Urizenus: ah cool. How many sims is DCS in now?
Dimentox: Official sanctioned i count 4 And a few on the table in talks. DCS is now universal and works in any sim. Sanctioned sims have more stuff. Like GM’s with commands. and the sim owners can choose what they want to allow.

Urizenus: what is a sanctioned sim?
Dimentox: A sanctioned sim is anyone who has land that wants dcs and basically talks to me. I give them the option to have GM’s and what elements of the system they want active. In return for my vendors there. DCS 2.0 will be quite different for sim owners.

Urizenus: what are the current sanctioned sims?
Dimentox: Crimsion empire, Crack den, Toxia, Saras.. and Shivar

Urizenus: so what happened in Lost Angel’s (a sim that formerly had DCS)?
Dimentox: Its a long story, basically a disagreement between me and the owner. I wish them the best but the past is best left in the past. Actually She still sells the autodoc which will continue to work with dcs.

Urizenus: so are you hoping to expand DCS across SL? I assume you are infinitely scalable?
Dimentox: Yes i am, The players seem to love it and id love to see it become one of the top combat systems. Version 2.0 if i may speak about it will be quite different.

Urizenus: what will you introduce in 2.0?
Dimentox: Ok here goes the 2.0 spiel…. It will be 100% dynamic. There will be a base system like dcs proper, but the Sim owners can do the following via a web page: Create their own races, create their own powers by picking and choosing parts and elements to make powers aka choose damage type, effects animations and name it. Or pick some special ability like super jump or a feed and such. It reconfigures when you enter the new sim… They can add remove gm’s, and Pick elements of the core system they want in. So esentially DCS 2.0 is aiming to be a COmbat system construction kit, And allow sim owners to do what ever they want and can dream up.

Urizenus: I was involved in a combat system development project and we found that SL was not a very friendly place for such projects. Every update broke our scripts. Is this a problem for you too?
Dimentox: I have had a few breaks but usually its patched up in less than a day. DCS uses a auto update system that will push out new versions.

Urizenus: how long does it take you to patch things?
Dimentox: Depends on the issue. But having Devolped a REAM mmorpg i am used to code. I was project Lead for a Game called Age of darkness MMORPG. The product got shelved due to funding in 2000, it was in playable alpha 2 just about to hit beta.

Urizenus: well, lemme ask you about SL in general then. Do you think this platform is viable? will it survive?
Dimentox: I think it will survive. The ability to create content is awesome. The only problem i see is Grid Stability and the client rendering engine being old. I would like to see the client use Active X instead of Open GL. If they did that it would operate much nicer. The system they have made is one of a kind. What other game is there where people can make IRL money? It really is the web 3.0 ;)

Urizenus: do you think they will be able to update the engine? that’s been compared to changing jet engines in flight.
Dimentox: I think it will be SL 2.0. A diff grid etc. They better hurry though. Multiverse allows people to do the same thing and run their own servers.

Urizenus: do you think there is any prospect of an open source platform like SL?
Dimentox: Actually if i am not mistaken they have plans to eventually open up the Code and allow new viewers and servers

Urizenus: this is true, or so says Cory
Dimentox: Then things like IE will go the way of Usenet ;) It is very unique, and I have some plans for it, things i cant yet discuss but i have gotten approval form LL to do something really cool with the system and DCS.

Urizenus: u think 3D clients are the new IE?
Dimentox: Yes.. I think this “game” Is what VRML wanted to be. Businessess are already using it to communicate and have presentations and meetings. Eventually i see it becomming more of a information hub and such also.

Urizenus: I can’t wait to get people in here and we start wailing on each other.
Dimentox: Hehehe your gonna enjoy 2.0. It really will be a first in sl. Kinda what SL did for games.. I am doing for Combat systems — giving people content creation ;)

Urizenus: that’s the way to go for sure
Dimentox: I dont want to limit sims on MY idea of the game. I wanna give them the framework for their game. Thats what will make DCS last.

Urizenus: it would be good if this could port to other 3D platforms too — multiverse for example.
Dimentox: I am a Multiverse Beta Dev actually.

Urizenus: haha
Dimentox: My company is deving a Dark MMORPG. Multiverse is very limited. For example you can’t make an in game creation tool. If you give people easy tools they will build it. If i did it it would have a combat system predone that allows them to make mods etc. Create a MMORPG sl. The problem with that is standards — what works for one game won’t work for the other

Urizenus: imagine SL tools in WoW, for example
Dimentox: Heh that would be interesting

Dimentox: You know dcs has a prelim Quest and XP system in the works
Urizenus: didn’ know that!

Dimentox: Right now you can /9search and the quest boxes (invis) will give notecards. its very basic at the moment but will be fully expandable and allow triggers such as kills or searched and NPCs can progress the quests. I am attempting to make a MMORPG Combat system in its full glory. The xp system will increase base stats in 2.0 and can be controlled via sim owner etc. Could be used to unlock powers, or just increase damage etc. the sim owners will choose what gives xp.

Urizenus: my xp doesn’t transfer between sims?
Dimentox: no each system is set per sim. Think of a sim as its own game.

Urizenus: ic so I could be a baddass here, but xp 1 in another sim.
Dimentox: right, Your char is stored per sim in the main DB

Urizenus: unless sim owners agreed to share xp?
Dimentox: Thats doable, You would both use the same system and set the land keys to use that configed system

Urizenus: the system can communicate across sims?
Dimentox: Basically Each sim owner has a “system” and they add Land keys, so that land/region enables that systems config in dcs. If you wanted to team up with another sim and have a constant game in both sims you could.

Urizenus: nice
Dimentox: 2.0 is expected July 2007 and when its done i will Open source DCS1.0 (most likely)

Urizenus: I’m gonna hold you to that! lol
Dimentox: hehehe. Each new system (aka sim) will come with the DCS proper. which is My game, then you go in and modify and edit… think of it as an example setting. You know whats holding back the open source server?

Urizenus: what’s that?
Dimentox: They have to figure out a way to securely xfer the asets
from the player DB

Urizenus: what is the danger?
Dimentox: Reverse engie and insert or steal objects and scripts. Think CopyBot on crack.

Urizenus: oh right, but can that problem even be solved?

Dimentox: I think so. A Compiled API that acts as a middle man and using Keys for access. IE approved server owners.

Urizenus: but if the client has to render objects, that info can be ripped and fed back in, so…
Dimentox: True.. That’s where trusted servers will be. The only other way is not allow insert and the client actually still communicate with their db not the server.

Urizenus: hmmm, how do u download textures then
Dimentox: The client, but i dont know… Have not thought that far ;) It will eventually happen.. with lib sl its only a matter of time before someone does a SL EMU

Urizenus: ok man, any last words?
Dimentox: I would like to thank you and the community for supporting DCS, and would like to say if anyone has any ideas, or suggestions for DCS or just cool SL projects that need coding.. let me know..

7 Responses to “The Dark Lord Speaks: Interview with Dimentox Travanti”

  1. Revan

    Dec 20th, 2006

    Sad that no ones asking where the code and resources for this system came from. But who expects objective journalism these days.

  2. Dimentox Travanti

    Dec 20th, 2006

    The code and resources are from my own doing.. Ive coded the whole system by hand.. With help of Suzanna Soyinka.. for parts of it.. Home grown baby based on a combination of working combat system theories and methods.

  3. Omega Althouse

    Dec 20th, 2006

    Brilliant article, but I think DCS is something you really need to experience first hand to fully appreciate! It’s innovative and full credit to Dimentox for taking this idea to the next level.

  4. Kidren Kasshiki

    Dec 21st, 2006

    DIMENTOX ROX!!!!!….Im am proud to be his friend and ally…no body does it better than him. Toxia rules and that is just the facts. DCS is highly advanced and quite neccessary to enact a full RP expierience.

  5. Krazzora Zaftig

    Dec 21st, 2006

    I do have to say that we switched to DCS in Tenebra (grange sim). Having been a DM/GM in other worlds and systems this is the best so far that allows for more universal RPing. It’s easy on GMs (I don’t have to worry about resets, etc) and allows for powers to be tracked easily (which is a HUGE issue for starting players.) In all honestly I thought DCS was a joke when I saw it tested…after all who prices something this good…at this low a price. It’s like charging 200 L$ for a canimal skin.

  6. Anonymous

    Dec 21st, 2006

    I’d like to get the details on the falling out between DCS and City of Lost Angel’s. It’s a pretty pouplar area (800+ members for a space that isn’t even it’s own sim is some achievement) and I have to wonder just what happened.

  7. Rock Ramona

    Dec 24th, 2006

    This is all really cool and i pat him on the back,,,,,but this platform and engine will never let a game like this bloom here.I hope he finds an open source outlet to develop because his growth here will be stomped on by an outdated sinking ship like SL

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