The Phoenix Tales Logo

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      | Phoenix Tales: The Team behind PHOENIX |
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Phoenix Tales Bird Highlighted

We're indie developers of immersive tales; we offer radical gameplay mechanics in handcrafted worlds with unique aesthetics, rising from the industrial ashes.

PhoenixTales was founded in 2017 by me and logx as an independent team of developers around the creation of PHOENIX. In "Making of Phoenix Tales", I have described how I designed the bird and the logo, which represent our team.
In this one I want to give you some insight into our organisation, how it functions, what we do and who we are.

Since we work from home with everyone of us being in a different country, we organise our work via chats and meetings, currently on a private Discord Server. While we would prefer a free and open source alternative, we are using it for convenience purposes and because of how strongly our internal work is associated with the community and the public research on our official Phoenix Server. We can't deny that Discord provides a very useful and convenient platform for gaming communities and we use it for this purpose, but have to strongly advise against using it for any kind of private communication. Use Signal for that.

Our code and ressources are managed by GitHub, including our assets. We don't just use Git to manage our current build of Phoenix, but we have all our websites hosted there too, which enables the community to participate and help us fixing stuff.

Most importantly: Everyone can just clone our entire Gothic Archive to have it for himself. Not only to provide local access to the material, but also for historical preservation. The risk to loose all of these ressources is thereby reduced to a minimum; a risk that is quite real, given that a lot of the material that we published was quite rare and forgotten on some former developer's hard drives or discs or in physical folders, even on faded, handwritten notes; all at high risk of decay. Since 2019 everyone can add new material or research to it (if meeting our standards), while we like to consider ourselves as the 'curators' only.

At Phoenix Tales we would all describe ourselves, at least to some degree, as free software enthusiasts. We prefer to be on Linux, we hold the unix philosophy in high esteem and we love simplicity or "brutal minimalism", as Avallach likes to call it. With the design of our team website (phoenixtales.de), I have tried to convey and to embody this attitude and style: phoenixtales.de Our core team currently consists of four people:
Arbax, Avallach, Auronen and me (flosha/Florian).

flosha
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        | flosha (Florian) |   
        +---------|--------+   
                  |         
      +-----------+        // Project Leader
      |                    // Creative Director

Who are you?

I am an acrobat from Germany,
specialising in MxP Hand to Hand.
Before I learned social pedagogy.

How did you come to Phoenix Tales?

I founded it (together with logx) in 2017. But I began to work on it with Issues in the end of 2015 (under the working title "Project Nyx").

Why do you love Gothic so much?

I love the vision of what Gothic should have been by far more than what it turned out to be. But what I love the most is what I have characterised as its most important design choices in our design philosophy. How else to fix this broken dream without to know what it was made of? Which is, according to our analysis, essentially (1) the immersive gameplay, (2) the special setting, (3) the atmospheric density and the (4) unique aesthetics. As described in detail in our design concept here. Gothic was amazing in its conception. It was still amazing in what it delivered. But it didn't deliver what the conception promised. I see Gothic as it was more than anything else as a proof of concept of what it could have done. And that is what we do, that is what I want Phoenix to be.

What do you do in the project?

I lead the project. I'm something like the creative director and I'm responsible for all the design decisions, for the majority of the story and the world design. I do the 3D modeling, spacering, mapping, basic 2D art, some animations and the majority of the scripting (npcs, monsters, routines, dialogues). I created all our logos and designed all our websites (phoenixtales.de, gothicarchive.org and phoenixthegame.com). And I am main responsible for the design documentation and for designing all the gameplay mechanics that the programmers bring to life in code.

Which programmes do you use for your tasks?

I am using Blender for 3D Modeling, Mapping and Animations. The Spacer (Gothic's World Editor) to work on the world. Discord for brainstorming and research; LibreOffice for the actual documentation, GIMP for 2D, VSCodium for Scripting and Webdesign. I'm usually parallel on Windows and Arch Linux with dwm. If we're able to overcome some still present limitations and have written a simple guide to set it up, I would be happy to switch to Linux completely.

What are your favourite camps and guilds in Gothic/Phoenix?

In Orpheus (our Alpha reconstruction) I symphatise with the New Camp and prefer the water mages. But I still may join the Old Camp or Psi Camp most of the time, because I like the thief and psionic gameplay and progression and atmosphere the most. In Nemesis (our Sequel continuation), my favourite camp is the refugee camp. My favourite guild(s) are the beggars and mystics I think (they're related).

What are your favourite games?

Phoenix of course. I want to play it myself. STALKER: Oblivion Lost. American McGee's Alice. Max Payne and Mafia. My favourite games from the last couple of years... probably Dust, Fran Bow, Total Chaos, Hollow Knight.

What is your favourite music?

I would say, my favourites are: Have A Nice Life, Lost in Kiev, Being as an Ocean, Ólafur Arnalds, Clint Mansell, She Wants Revenge, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Interpol, Nu-Metal stuff like Limp Bizkit and all kinds of music from the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Any books you would like to recommend?

Hard question. But what I would like to recommend to everyone are the Memoirs of Vinoba Bhave: Moved by Love. Nothing has influenced my thinking as much as that book I guess.

What do you do other than that?

Acrobatics and designing other things. Such as acrobatic sequences and acts, other websites, clothing and stuff, like the fsocial project. But honestly, I do not find the time (or do not have the ressources) to work on all the ideas I have.

Arbax
        +-----------------+
        | Arbax (Dortman) |
        +---------|-------+
                  |
      +-----------+     // Story Co-Writer
      |

Who are you?

A Romanian writer with a passion
for history and old games.

How did you come to Phoenix Tales?

I saw a thread on World of Gothic about something called 'Project Nyx' and I was immediately hooked. Not only by the ideas with which I was completely on the same page with, but also by the commitment of finding the true Gothic and to renew the spirit of the Phoenix through what Gothic should have been.

Why do you love Gothic so much?

I love Gothic for its mysterious world full of things that have no need for explanation. They need to be found and discovered by each and everyone's mind to see the true meaning behind it and to find a piece of yourself. Once these things are found and explored something changes inside of you in the real world and you feel this emptiness that you still have not found everything, which makes you come back to Gothic and to yourself.

What do you do in the project?

I help fleshing out the story of this project, some characters descriptions and some back story for some others (as well as other aspects of stuff not so much explained).

What are your favourite camps and guilds in Gothic/Phoenix?

My favourite camp from Gothic is (and I know this will sound weird) the city of the orcs. They have so much to show and so much culture displayed through their moves, words and clothing; that for me makes them so interesting. I sometimes go and just stay with the orcs in the game, studying their moves, dances and even writing on buildings and walls. They have rituals, instruments and look like they care for one another. A misunderstood culture and camp from my point of view.

What are your favourite games?

Beside Gothic some of my favourite games are Soul Reaver/Legacy of Kain; the Prince of Persia series; Outcast; Stalker; Cultist; Oni; Arx Fatalis; Command and Conquer and Giants Citizen Kabuto.

What is your favourite music?

I listen to a lot of instrumental music from the region I was born in. Meditative/ritualistic music. Linkin Park. And quite a lot of soundtracks. And as an artist Adrian von Ziegler.

Any books you would like to recommend?

I am in no position to recommend any books but I'll leave some titles that I enjoy:

What do you do other than that?

Other than writing things I like to paint, I like sculpting things from wood, I like to read and do sports.

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       | Avallach (Adam) |  
       +--------|--------+
                |
     +----------+ 
     |

Who are you?

I'm software developer living in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

How did you come to Phoenix Tales?

Through the Gothic Archive and Project Phoenix.

Why do you love Gothic so much?

It's my first dark fantasy cRPG I played in teenage years. I value it for its world design, easy immersion and extensibility.

What do you do in the project?

I like the most to help with art and story design, but my primary role is actually in engineering. For example, I set up the infrastructure which currently powers the Gothic Archive.

Which programmes do you use for your tasks?

VS Code, Visual Studio, Git, GIMP, Bash, C++, Hex-Rays IDA.

What are your favourite camps and guilds in Gothic/Phoenix?

The Brotherhood from the Swamp Camp is my favorite.

What are your favourite games?

Gothic, Dragon Age: Origins, The Witcher.

What is your favourite music?

Nightwish, Jim Steinman, The Pretty Reckless, Kalafina, KaiRo...

Any books you would like to recommend?

Andrzej Sapkowski's books beyond The Witcher.

What do you do other than that?

I want to make a standalone game not based on PiranhaBytes engines.

Auronen
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        | Auronen (Jan) |
        +-------|-------+
                |
      +---------+      // Lead Programmer
      |

Who are you?

I am from the Czech Republic, currently (still) a student. I like cycling, walking, swimming and of course programming. I also like woodworking and metalworking. There is something special about creating things be it physical or abstract.

How did you come to Phoenix Tales?

I presented my Gothic 1 style trading system in the Phoenix server and flosha asked, if I could do a similar level of editing for G1. I have implemented a first draft of the Phoenix inventory system and then it just happened. :)

Why do you love Gothic so much?

Very difficult question. The game has a unique atmosphere, deep mechanics and still has a great community (even in the Czech Republic), even after 20+ years. I like the mystery of the first game, with different locations, characters, small inconsistencies that make you want dig in and explore everything in and outside the game. And the mystery extends outside the game with the study of the engine, the alpha versions and demos. In fact, it was so amazing, that I decided to be a programmer just to join the Piranhas in order to work on Gothic. Today... I would not want to work as a game dev at all. At that point in time I just wanted to work on games as amazing as G1, but games as these are not made nowadays. Only Phoenix wants to follow this (in game dev years) "ancient" tradition and that is amazing.

What do you do in the project?

I take care of implementing the core functionality on the engine level using Union.

Which programmes do you use for your tasks?

I think it is very important to use software, that respects your freedoms. Even if it isn't always possible. I also have to or want to use software that is not free, but for Phoenix I try to use as much FOSS as possible. For the development for Phoenix I use:

What are your favourite camps and guilds in Gothic/Phoenix?

In Vanilla Gothic I like the Old Camp the most and right after it the Sect Camp. As for the Sequel it is really hard for me to tell. I love everything in the Sequel, but in the build that is available, the Old Camp's atmosphere is probably the best.

What are your favourite games?

What is your favourite music?

The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Dire straits, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, ELO, Nazareth… those are just some of the bands I have permanently on, plus a lot of classical music.

What do you do other than that?

Apart from working on Phoenix I work on other Gothic related things. I translate mods into the Czech language, I create features (Union and Ikarus + LeGo) and also work on other mods.

logx
        +---------------+
        | logx (Oliver) |   // Retired
        +-------|-------+
                |
      +---------+
      |

Who are you?

AI researcher,
hobby musician
and video game nerd.

How did you come to Phoenix Tales?

In 2015, I saw a thread by flosha in the WoG online forum about his ideas for 'Project Nyx'. I was immediately captured by his attention to details and his passion for the old, ambitious and slightly punk-like vision of the original Gothic and the abandoned (and now rediscovered) Sequel. After lurking around the WoG forum for some time and leaving an occasional post on the Nyx thread, I finally decided to reach out in 2017 and asked whether I could help to make this dream come true.

Why do you love Gothic so much?

Even after 20 years, the original Gothic still stands out for me as a landmark in video game history. The unique setting of the ore mining colony, the unique and memorable monsters, locations and NPCs as well as the incredibly immersive gameplay were well ahead of its time and left a deep impression on me. All the time spent with Gothic was also formative for my career later in life as it encouraged me to learn programming and made me think about creating truly believable virtual characters and 'artificial intelligences'.

What do you do in the project?

When I joined, I started out by helping with some scripting. But pretty soon I found myself enmeshed in many organisational aspects behind the scenes (setting up development workflows, organising design documents and code repositories) and also discovered a real passion for fleshing out the lore of the Gothic/Phoenix universe and writing stories for some of the intriguing characters we want to show in our plot.

Which programmes do you use for your tasks?

VSCode was my Swiss army knife when working on code for Phoenix. Google Docs were our go to place for all collaborative work on the design documents and GitHub helps to manage our code repositories.

What are your favourite camps and guilds in Gothic/Phoenix?

Orpheus: Ever since I saw their concept arts during the Gothic installation, the bandits, mercenaries and water mages of the New Camp were my favourite factions. Nemesis: The demon hunters look pretty badass, but the original concept of the paladins (not the knights in shiny armour from Gothic II) is not bad either.

What are your favourite games?

Besides Gothic and Gothic II, the games which truly stand out for me are: Stronghold, WarCraft III, Medieval II: Total War, Morrowind, Assassins Creed 1 and 2, Witcher 1-3, Thronebreaker and Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

What is your favourite music?

Quite broad and always shifting. But a few I always find myself going back to are: Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Greenday, Christopher Tin, Olafur Arnalds, Yann Tiersen and Hans Zimmer.

Any books you would like to recommend?

'Machine Dawn: A Brief History of Cybernetics' by Thomas Rid was an interesting recent read on the origins of 'Cyber' and the historic events and techno-philosophical discussions shaping technologies like AI and the metaverse.

What do you do other than that?

Outside the virtual world, I love outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, archery) and spending time with the piano.

    +---------------------------+
    | The Phoenix Nest Allegory |
    +---------------------------+

To differentiate between this inner circle and the outer circle of development, I've came up with an allegory: We coined the term 'Phoenix Nest' for the core team of four, the "invocators" of the Phoenix, to let it rise from the fire (our passion and effort) within the nest and from the ashes of the industry (the gaming industry that sacrifices art and design for profit). In this allegory, the original developers of Gothic are the builders of the 'nest' we took refuge in, nurturing the Phoenix until he is ready to fly. Surrounding the nest, like on the branches of the tree the nest is build on, are the 'Contributors', who form the outer circle of development, helping to nurture the fire. And then there is the Community and Supporters, which in the analogy would be the people surrounding the tree.

The Phoenix Nest in the Tree Sketch

As you see, the development of PHOENIX is not only driven by this small inner circle, but also by independent contributors who help us in various forms without being directly involved in the comprehensive design process in the nest, as 2D artists, animators, external programmers, scripters, concept artists, musicians and so on. In this regard, we want to specifically mention Riisis, Bloody (Piotrek), ThielHater (Pierre), Vaana, Dima, Herobrine (David), Jr (Sasha) and admafi (Jonas).

Thank you and to everyone who contributes to the archive, creates artworks inspired by our vision, translates our texts, moderates our channels, motivates our work and researches the material our dream is made of; and thank you to everyone who works for peace in these fucked up times of war.

- Florian, July 2 2022

If you would want to support me and Phoenix Tales,
you can donate over PayPal using our mail address below.

CONTACT