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RuinValor - Birth of Talos

Skill system and its complexity

Posted by , 30 January 2013 - - - - - - · 839 views
RuinValor, C#, Game, Indie and 6 more...
This week our focus has been on the development of the skill system. Unlike most games the server owners will have near full control to make their own abilities. To do this we must define a very robust system with very basic rules that will govern all other aspects. The idea is to provide them with spell/skill types and let them mix and match as they choose or use the basic ones we will add throughout the development process.

Our biggest hurdle is to come up with the foundation that will define all of this. Our first task was to sit down and define categories of spells so that they can be classified into groups. Once the basic classification type was set we could define the spell further by talking about how it might react. To do that we needed to define types of skill/spells. Here is what we came up with:
  • Active
  • Passive
  • Passive + Active
  • Fire and Forget
These behavior types would define a set of parameters that could then be used by the serverowner ( spell maker ). To be able to manage this properly we needed to define aspects of code that would be referenced through these spell/skill documents. Sort of like an instance that could be easily called. We started to come up with the most ideal route to handle this and realized that the best option would be to define these elements to be pulled via some form of API at a later point in time. The complexity of this is rather daunting but at its current state we have a working architecture of it all. It is our hope that within the next two weeks we could have a completed skill/spell system in place that would be near 100% modifiable within a measurable means of ease. I will keep you posted as we gain more information.

In other news we have added our project onto IndieDB and some other sites to gain some more exposure. Pass us around if you like our project!

Ghosts... are real....

Posted by , 29 January 2013 - - - - - - · 1,293 views

This is kinda a detour from my normal topics but it begs to be answered by the people. I am in the navy and am currently stationed on a hospital ship that has 1000 beds. While doing rounds and going to one of the wards at night one of our people on watch took this picture with his camera phone.

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Tell me that is not crazy..... I am pretty good at photoshop and normally can tell when things have been doctored and currently I can not see any sign of that at all. This came directly from his cell phone... So unless I am missing something this seems freaky as fuck to me! Anyway figured I would share. Promise to have more game related info later this week.

Intro Final + Grass Texturing

Posted by , 28 January 2013 - - - - - - · 986 views
RuinValor, C#, DX11.1, DX11, DX10 and 8 more...

This is the (semi final ) version of the video. We will be adding in the playful elements once we get those models in game.

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This is not fully textured but I figured I would show off what I got working so far. I still need to add in the blade shading and such as well as variance the smaller blades and make them look better.

Specular + Normal Maps + Writers

Posted by , 23 January 2013 - - - - - - · 671 views

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This week we have been working hard at making the game pretty again. To do this we have started to redefine the code associated with specular maps and normal maps. You might say “this code was already in place” and at some point it was but during the transition from one codebase to another it got lost and more or less ignored. We have recently started to amp up the visuals so that when the kickstarter is in place players will see how elegant and sexy this game truly can look. In addition to these changes we have been working on the character creation process and skills for the game interaction. I will do another development post on that when we get closer to completion.

In other news we have added two new members to the team who will be writing lore/story for the game. They come from our local community and will be assisting in developing some of the more fine details associated with the games lore. Over the course of the next month you should see this site filled with information related to the game and its lore elements. We are very happy to have these two talented people aboard and hope that in the near future you will be happy with their work too. As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact myself or any of the other members of the team. This should prove to be a rather interesting two months as we ramp up to full gear in preparation for our kickstarter launch.

Fireball v3 + Point Lights

Posted by , 19 January 2013 - - - - - - · 708 views

Ignore the silly green grass! Thats a placeholder until the code for our new grass is done. The big thing is the fireball and the point lighting associated with it!

Kickstarter and the planning process

Posted by , 15 January 2013 - - - - - - · 1,039 views
RuinValor, Kickstarter, Financial and 1 more...
As the process for making this game legit begins to grind away I have started to become more invested in the financial side of things. With the aid of the internet and guidance from a few close friends I have found out some rather alarming details. One of which eluded my initial thought process.

Everybody goes into the idea of a kickstarter thinking, "I saw this game make $500,000 and that could be me too!". Admittedly I did the same, but nobody ever thinks of the other problems that occur with making such money. If you are from the US ( as most of us are ) you know that in a time where money is short everybody is looking to make something and this is to include the GOV. What does that mean exactly? It means you cant just obtain the kickstarter money without paying the taxes on it.

As of 2011 all money earned from kickstarter is to be reported to the IRS. This means that the second that you start to get the cash from the big success of your kickstarter project you are now being reported to the IRS for making that sum of money. I have read on several locations and now am in conversation with a CPA about the duties of somebody who earns money from such an entitlement. From what I have gathered the following information is true: ( one thing to note is that I am in no way giving you legal advice, as I am not a trained person... these are just things to think of and ask the CPA you speak with. )
  • You should and will be expect to pay taxes on the funds earned
  • There are tax exemptions and deductions that you can use to reduce the overall taxes paid
  • In some cases, depending if you have the right setup you can avoid them all together ( 501 filing of some type )
  • Wording in several locations suggest that the way you present the reward tiers can drastically reduce or increase your chance for tax exemptions
  • If you know nothing of financials you should look at hiring a CPA or at the very least get some quick advice from one
  • If all of the money earned goes to paying for things for the company ( not used for personal profit ) you can likely avoid all taxes together since it can later be claimed as a tax deduction
  • You should setup a separate bank account for your business. Not only for easy tracking purposes but it can aid in the process for separating your tax returns.
I was suprised that these things were not directly states on the Amazon or Kickstarter website. Both of which more or less said "figure it out yourself, but this is a requirement now". So, I started to run some numbers to see what exactly the earnings would be in these scenarios.

Assume I had four people working for me and the 5th employee would be the companies account. If our company earned 250,000 from the kickstarter project the following would be the payments sent out to each party:

Total Earned: 250,000
Before Taxes:
  • Kickstarter: $12,500 ( 5% of total )
  • Amazon: $12,500 ( 5% total )
  • Employee 1: $90,000 ( 40% )
  • Employee 2: $22,500 ( 10% )
  • Employee 3: $45,000 ( 20% )
  • Employee 4: $11,250 ( 5% )
  • Company Cut: $56,250 ( 25% )
This means that each person who is being paid from the funds would need to pay taxes on those funds being earned. Amazong and Kickstarter will pay those taxes on their own end ( from what I have learned so far ) but you are expected to pay the other portions associated with all employees. This means, depending on the state your LLC is derived from, you will need to pay another form of taxes on top of the final income earned.

Most people do not think of this when they are calculating the needs for their company. They barley have the mindset to see past the $$$$ that they can earn from doing a kickstarter ( and i was one of those people till i started to do my homework on it ). So, I wanted to share this blog and hope that people would see it and possibly understand the process in a new light. If you have any questions feel free to post them and as I learn new things ( I am in talks with a CPA now ) I will post what I learn so as to spread the wealth of information.

Character Work + Network Code + Amping up for Kickstarter

Posted by , 14 January 2013 - - - - - - · 876 views
We have been working hard to resolve several issues that have plagued us over the past couple months. One of these being the network code. With the help of many of this communities members, and the grace of god at some points, it would seem we have resolved most of the network based issues. We still have much to be tested in that field and will continue to do as we progress further. For now, the server is stable and healthy and players can join and leave without any real issue other than a few camera glitches here and there. Telanor has been working to resolve those and has resumed work on block destruction and placement being managed on the network side of things.

On the art side of the house work has resumed on the detailing of the gorgane model. I hope to have some screenshots by the weeks end. We have been working very hard on getting a constant theme within the art. This is one of the most annoying processes as we see something everyday that might change our minds as to the direction we should go. The key is to pick something and stay focused with that technique or design. This can be very hard to do but I think it is ideal for a team if they want to ever finish the game! After the work on the gorgane we have started to do work on environment details as well as objects that you will find throughout the realm. Art is going to be a big factor in what makes our game look and feel different than other voxel based block games. We dont just want to make it feel blocky but rather we want to create a harmony between models and blocks. This is tricky but if we are able to pull it off I think it will be unique enough to be eye catching.

Lastly, we are amping up our development phase for our kickstarter launch. What does that mean? This means that we are going to be turning out more images and developmental stages so that we can get something worth showing off. Our goals are very modest ( we would like to see 100,000 or so to keep up production ) but I think we have more than enough to catch the people to get that. I have been studying the medium for some time now and think I have plenty of data to assist in making a quality kickstarter campaign. The key seems to be in the following areas:

While the least of the three parts ( since some games with horrid art are still making 100,000 ) it is key to understand that art does have to be in the game for the kickstarter to work. People have thrown up just concepts and they have failed horribly because of their inability to portray the picture for the playerbase. You must paint a picture of what your game would be like and to aid in that process real art helps! The more game assets you show off the better and youtube videos of in game videos is a major plus.

Bottom line? Unless you have made a game previously you will not make money based only on concept!

The members of kickstarter need to understand what it is you are doing. They do not need 5000 pie charts with a full diagram, they need a cookie sized serving of what your game will be and how they will enjoy it. The campaigns that have had the most success are the ones that got right to what the best part of their game was and focused on that. Be it from bear punching to pigs who upgrade themselves by fighting, the goal is very clear you must express the concept of your game in a very clear and concise manor. The simpler and easier it is to understand the more receptive people are. My favorite one so far is Planetary Annihilation. In the first few moments they show you blowing up a planet with an asteroid and at that point you are very clear on what your purpose is.

Tech Demo:
Tech demos are not needed but they help to show how far along your game is. The more polished a demo the more receptive people have been. That said, I have seen games like Forge that were highly polished that did horrible. ( keep in mind they actually made some good money from their greenlight version of the game ) Kickstarter is a fickle mistress and you really have to know the audience you are going for in order to gain the most support. The key to the tech demo is showing off the features and the features only. People do not want to see 5 hours of gameplay footage of you running around. While this is interesting to you ( you made the game of course it is ) it is not interesting to the player. Highlight the key points and do so in a very short period of time.

Again, this is just data I have noticed from the most successful projects. ( I think anything that is 75,000 and up to be a real success ) There are many other methods you could use and some of them are worth investing if you have the right people. I remember one of the projects used humor and I would have never backed the project otherwise... but the guy was just that damn funny. I thought maybe if just some of his humor was to translate into the game it would be worth the 5 bucks. Sometimes, that is all it really takes...

Anyway, thats all for now. I dont normally like to post things without some form of screenshot or visual to show progress but at this point there is not much to show off. I am working on getting our logo and website done so in the future that might be something I can show off.

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