About this blog
Document the development of projects from Hostile Viking Studio
Entries in this blog
First I would like to thank everyone that watched my video and special thanks to the people that gave me feedback.
I am going to list some of the some of the lessons I learned from doing my first Dev in hopes that other developers can catch similar issues and have better videos their first time out.
Do not start your video with a vague intro
State the Game you are going to be talking about
Introduce the game in a short elevator pitch style
Focus on a single area that you want to talk about
Move slowly through the video
Now to explain each point.
I starter my video with my company logo fading into a title screen for the game. I did not speak and there was zero sound.
Why this is bad.
I got a few comments that people thought there was going to be no sound and almost stopped watching.
For video and especially YouTube video people want to feel hooked in the first 10 seconds if not sooner. My video's first 8 seconds were silence and not that inviting.
While I had a title screen this does not equal a connection between the video and the game it is related to.
Why this is bad.
I received more then a few comments asking what game this video was talking about. Proving that stating the name of the game with sound has far more impact than simple words scrolling across the screen. Plus saying it reinforces the name in the viewer's mind.
I failed to really introduce the game, the play style, or the objective of the video.
Why this is bad.
In similar fashion to Lesson 2 people had a hard time understand what game I was talking about and what I was trying to show about the game. Thank you for the viewers that watched the video multiple times to try and gain additional insight. A game's introduction should be 10-30 seconds in length and allow the viewer to have some basic foundation information about the game before moving on to more detail features.
Originally I thought I was focused on a single area of Portas Aurora: Arrival. I was going to show people the beginning of a game.
Why this is bad.
I introduced a half dozen complex features of the game and if I gave then any time in the spot light I did little to explain them. I think this was mostly due to a case of tunnel vision. I have been playing with the game for over 6 months and things like building a fleet are easy to me. However, for someone seeing the game for the first time it could be very confusing.
This is partly connected to lesson 4 in the sense that I rushed through features and only gave a second or two for the view to see what I was talking about before I was off on to a different feature or screen.
In conclusion, I liked all of the feedback I received. I say that because even the people that told me the video was "bad" at least told me what turned them off from the video.
Wondering what video I am talking about? Check it out at:
The Kickstarter campaign for Portas Aurora: Arrival for August was as follows:
The Money side
Pledged: $ 868
Dollars Pledged via Kickstarter $667
(meaning that the user was actually on the site)
Dollars Pledged via external referrer $201
Average Pledge $ 18.87
The Video side
2141 Total plays with 27.60% completing the video.
1918 views being on the Kickstarter site.
223 views from offsite plays.
The video went through a lot of changes over the course of the campaign.
While I could do ten entries on all of the things we learned while doing the Kickstarter campaign I will try and sum up the main lessons learned.
Lessons to take away from the Kickstarter campaign:
Get the word out that you are going to be launching a Kickstarter before you actually launch it. There is a lot to be said about that first 48 hours of your campaign. It can get you spotlighted if you have some "above average traffic".
Design a few different reward tiers between $10 and $25 because they are the most popular.
The project video needs to show a few key items. First a simple idea that people can catch on to. Second it needs gameplay act or action. Third show the team talking about the project to humanize them to the viewers.
Need to have your video in more places then just Kickstarter. You need eyes on your video is key to making your goal. The more viewers the higher the chance that one will pledge.
If people have more areas of interest just leave a comment and I will expend on them.
*Edited to add a link to the Kickstarter Project Page - Thank you
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']Precursor's Dawn[/font][/color] is a space strategy game unlike anything before. RPG like elements that help to drive a robust and unique gameplay world. You will travel the vast distances of the universe in search of an ancient technology that will ultimately change the balance of power between the known civilizations. Once the technology is found, it is up to you to command, design, and deploy the most powerful fleet to protect the information at all costs. Our unique, combat system lets you summon ships into the battlefield while providing you with a broad overview of the gameboard. Couple this with Co-Op play and head to head multiplayer and you have a game that will leave you satisfied for weeks to come. All of this and more, brought to you using UE4 and AAA technologies.
[indent=5]Visit the Kickstarter Page
You may have seen the banner ad for the game here on GameDev.net. Thank you for white listing this site for your Ad Block.
Single & Multiplayer Turn-based Tactical gameplay
PC platform with additional platforms as stretch goals
Single player gameplay with persistent progression
AAA-style visuals & sound
In-depth upgrade and fleet creation
Three playable races
Varied Multi-player options
Lots of Space Ships
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']Precursor's Dawn is X-COM with Spaceships![/font][/color]
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']Precursor's Dawn is a turn-based combat system drawing inspiration from Masters of Orion series, Final Fantasy Tactics, Advance Wars, and WarHammer 40k. Keeping these games in mind,[/font][/color] we wanted a game that felt familiar and great to play. What do we mean by that? Precursor's Dawn is more a game of strategy and adapting to your enemy than hoping you have the better roll of the dice or card draw. Furthermore, ships are not locked into a single hex. We wanted the size of the hull to have weight (space joke). When a battleship class moves across the field of combat, it encompasses more real estate than a frigate class. Using larger ships means there is more to shoot at and tactical movement to prevent bottlenecking your fleet's movements.
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']Too often combat in games boils down to, "Does my Hero/tank/ship have more levels or experience than the enemy?" Precursor's Dawn takes the path less traveled. The decisions you make to the types and load-outs of your ships can vastly alter the way you utilize them. Do you want to play with faster smaller ship, or use indirect fire weapons as you hide behind wreckage? Select the hulls, talents and load outs matching your play-style.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']If you read something that interested you please check out our Kickstarter Page for more information.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']SOCIAL MEDIA[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']Please, even if you are not looking to pledge, help out a fellow GameDev member and spread the word.[/font][/color]
Youtube Hostile Viking Studio
[color=rgb(6,35,64)][font='Helvetica Neue']Thank you.[/font][/color]
Precursor's Dawn - Greenlit!
On the morning of Oct 18th, I received the email from Steam informing me that Precursor's Dawn had been Greenlit. Having spend all of the night and some of the morning awake promoting the game did not hear the notification of the email on my phone because I was asleep. However, my teammates were awake for it and began to spam Discord chat. Not seeing me behaving in a similar manner, within the channel, they included my handle every message to ensure I would get the news quickly. After, I think the fifth Discord ping I was up and stung out of bed to my desktop to ensure it wasn't a trick of exhaustion and a small screen. Sure enough the email had come in at 9:39 AM, just a few hours post crash.
The smile I had was enormous. The huge green banner with the words we had thought would take months to get were there, "This game has been Greenlit by the Community!"
The Moral Boost that seeing this on our Game Page was unimaginable!
We have been working feverishly to ensure we have a stable product for an Early Access Launch. Further updates with address this and look for feedback from anyone that has experience navigating these waters.
We want to thank everyone that stopped by the page, and especially those who voted. GameDev.net was a good source of traffic and feedback. We are thankful for the support this community of developers provided. I will be doing an expended analyst of the Greenlight Campaign. It will highlight what was done right and where we could have improved on. Hopefully, it will be a good resource for anyone gearing up for their own venture into the green light district of Steam.
Our Kickstarter Campaign is Running until Oct 27th, 9:30 PM (EST)
Methods of reaching us:
Version 8 - Blue
Converting the game to 1280x720 has opened up more space for information and while that can be great for players it was hard to get the space to look "right". The grey squares are Skills (smaller boxes) and Talents (larger boxes) we do not have art assets for them so I have not placed this screen in the video.
This area is called Head Quarters in Porats Aurora: Arrival it is the normal character sheet from most RPGs.
There is a star system map in the window, but players do not normally use it for system interaction and therefore it is a smaller size.
Any comments or suggestions for improvement would be amazing.
While I have popped not the site from time-to-time over the last couple of years, just checked my journal entries and my last one was 2 years and a day ago, I have been stuck in a weird state of not being able to post much. To fill in the gap I thought I would write a post detailing it all out, then I thought it would be more fun to do kind of a Q&A session to see if I could answer my own hard questions.
A. The project I had been feverishly working on Portas Aurora: Battleline came to a halt when I was deployed. Upon returning I had only a couple of weeks remaining before my move to Hawaii and rushed to get everything a move of that order requires.
Q.Why didn't you continue on your game after your move?
A. I took sometime off to sort things out involving a girl and by Christmas I was hired onto a non game app project and no longer with the girl.
Q. Surely you were able to make some progress on your game ideas while working?
A. Originally, I was only working for a month on the project. It was kind of a job interview and prototype and idea of the company's type of project. It included some bluetooth beacon technology I had previously worked with for the Air Force and the Army. If anyone would like to hear more about that I am game, it has some interesting possibilities for gaming. However, once the prototype was completed they need a lead developer that understood all of the problems the system had. I laughed seeing the issue I had created. Interested in seeing where this could lead I signed on for another 6 months of work.
Q. Okay, now it is mid summer and you have completed the side quest, what about a game?
A. Well as luck would have it, the company put in a bid to overhaul a game/social media app and was approved to tackle the rework. I signed up to lead the development, believing that I was coming for my game ideas and not the fact that I was more of a speed programer. The rework was played out to take 45-60 at most. In fact the in-house timetable was 37 days from receiving the source material to a final product. This would be come a grave misunderstanding between two companies as the iOS version was launched and then its completed development status stalled on minor changes that needed to be ironed out before the Android version could be build with speed. If you are curious about what a game / social app looks like check out http://jigsterapp.com. I will do a post mortem on the project in an upcoming article now that I have been cleared to discuss the adventure.
Q. How long did the rework take?
A. Technically, the company completed the work in April, but there is a maintenance period that is still in affect. The game/social media app came out leaps better than the original, but I still wanted to have done more with it. A fellow Developer on this site did a large chunk of the art assets upgrades, even if a good chunk went used for poor reasons.
Q. April was 4 months ago, where have you been?
A. After some issues of completion payments with the company I was working for a very random chance popped up at the beginning of May for me to attempt to launch a project of my choosing. I debated a bit and finally decided to throw myself to the winds of chaos.
Q. So...what happened since accepting the offer?
A. As life would have it about a million random things cropped up as road blocks. I had to move, take on some rush work to make extra money for the move and negations for the final deal on the project, like funding, goals, and timetables. In the first 2 months more than twice the number of things went wrong compared to right. Computer was stuck in Hawaii for the dumbest reasons, phone got taken, Family health issues. Time Warner issues at the Company house. Picking up a new game engine, the final deal in writing dragged on. When the storm clouds finally started to clear around 20th of July some of the people I wanted to group with were already involved with other projects. Still I have pressed forward and last night I returned to the site and interacted for the first time in 4 months.
Q. Does that mean that you have some game development news to share?
A. Yes. I have gotten the funding and the go ahead to launch forward with my game idea. Well some of the primary idea have changed, mostly to fit the new timetables and work with the budget, but I think I have a close to tight grip on the design and layout of the game.
Q. Okay, going to share anymore about this new game?
A. I still want to do the Battleline game, therefore I went in search of a new title and found: Precursor's Dawn. The story behind the game is one of the other races have discovered a Dyson's sphere encompassing an O type star and it is now a race to mining its secrets before they are used to destroy you. I will be doing a more complete article on it shortly.
Q. Final question, for tonight, does this mean you have returned to the site?
A. I never completely left it, but I will be posting once again. Excited to have something to add this site once again.
That wraps up this entry, but I am excited to see the site so live and I have a ton of journal entries to read and comment on. :)
Two points of announcement with this Journal entry:
First, Hostile Viking Studio is now alive and kicking.
Second, we have an amazing teaser for our first game to share.
Travel to a distance galaxy and help shape the balance while avoiding throwing your civilization into chaos.
Without further pause, here is the Teaser Trailer for Precursor's Dawn:
Hope you enjoyed this peak into the project, because a flood of content will be emerging over the next couple weeks as the Greenlight campaign goes live.
Special thanks you all of those connections during the Kickstarter and now.
Comments, and feedback are welcomed!
YouTube Channel: Hostile Viking Studio
Check out the fast paced SciFi Tactical Combat game, Precursor's Dawn on Greenlight. Even if this is not a game for you the traffic helps. Votes help the most, but we will be very happy for the traffic. Thank you.
[size=7]Vote for Precursor's Dawn on Greenlight
Additionally, we are on Kickstarter. Thank you again for checking out our post.
* Edit: We have had 258 Yes votes in our first day!
Okay I have a followup entry to the Portas Aurora: Arrival Kickstarter Recap entry, but it is not finished yet and I am try to push forward with the team's current project. Leading me to post this entry first.
Currently I have not found another way to create a second journal. I can see the site limiting users to 1 journal as a way to save space and prevent lapsed journals from distracting viewers from the newest material. Therefore, I will be restructuring this journal to allow for multiple projects to be view under 1 location.
I will be changing the name of the journal to Orange Chair Software Development. I will still have a section that is all about the Portas Aurora: Arrival game as we will be revisiting this game, but we have agreed that we need to tighten our focus what we want to deliver with the game.
If someone does know how to create another journal without creating another user account I would enjoy be able to start a new one.
After some interesting hours and a conversion with a Gamedev Dev i found that the Publish column for entries into the journal was not being displayed if the window size was below 1000px wide. This had prevented me from restructuring my Journal. However, after several browser tests I am now beginning the process.
[color=rgb(102,102,102)][font=Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif]
The Kickstarter project for Portas Aurora: Arrival from September was not a success in terms of raising the capital to help produce the game. However, it was amazing. We received tons of feedback, and met dozens of great people making this last month a successful month. For more information on the data we collected from the Kickstarter project I will be posting another entry.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(102,102,102)][font=Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif]The team behind the Portas Aurora project were hit with a large chunk of life after the close of the Kickstarter campaign leading to the game being placed on the back burner. We had discussed other opinions to continue the development of Portas Aurora: Arrival and we are not wanting to let the project fall by the waste side. With the new year the remaining members of the team looked to pick Portas Aurora backup only to discover a massive amount of assets had been lost or destroyed between multiple moves. Even with multiple copies and backup the game as it was is a shell. The team has joked that it is not a over huge lost because many of the comments we received targeted at the graphics were that they were sub-par and needed to be reworked leaving us with a clean slate.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(102,102,102)][font=Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif]If you have have some ideas, we would enjoy hearing them.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(102,102,102)][font=Helvetica, Arial, 'Liberation Sans', FreeSans, sans-serif]Thank you.[/font][/color]
Last night we welcomed Linux to the list of supported Platforms for Portas Aurora: Arrival.
Hope this allows more people to enjoy the game.
Portas Aurora: Arrival. Check us out on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/PBGcQK
For more information check the game out at: http://www.portasaurora.com/
Follow the game's development on Twitter: @PortasAurora
Linux Gaming News Reported the Event!
GameDev.net's community was an amazing help during my first Kickstarter, therefore I am hoping we have even better results this time around by getting the community involved before the launch.
Kickstarter Preview Page
Any feedback you have would be wonderful and very help. You can leave comments here, on the preview page, or contact me directly.
Thank you in advance.
Thank you to everyone that gave feedback or asked questions.
If you liked the new Trailer and want to know more about Portas Aurora: Arrival Check out our Kickstarter Page
In addition if you have feedback for this video or the Kickstarter Page we would be happy to hear it.
I really did not realize how much people were turned off by the first combat series. I will be cutting it and replacing with an HD version.
The video still needs a better introduction and a way to link the Galactic Senate to the "Blue Assembly of Triangles".
EDIT: Updated after a few comments both from GameDev.net and other places.
I created this video in the hope that I could get some feedback on how understandable the interface for controlling a ship is in its current state.
Thinking about doing some promotion for your RPG? Here is some of the sites that have featured Portas Aurora: Arrival. Even if you are only looking for possible RPGs to play then this list maybe helpful too.
There are also a few forums that RPG fans like and I have seen some traffic from.
http://crowdfundingforum.com - This one is more generally targeted, but there is a strong group of RPG fans that look here for upcoming games.
http://gog.com - Has a great community.
If you are looking to do a Kickstarter Project there is a few more sites that you may want to look at I have gotten a bit of traffic from each of them.
rockpapershotgun.com - Katchup
If there are anymore sites that people can or should use you can drop them in the comments and I will add them.
Hope this helps a few people.
Edit: Added the forums to the list.
Due to the fact that the game currently in production has very few graphics this Journal will feature more discussion and description of pieces of the game. The newest Micro-sim in the Portas Aurora collection is the Sector Sim.
Sectors are currently the largest map players can view. Sectors have a standard area of 256 (exact units have not been decided on).
There are 3 levels of of star system density.
Outer Arm - The lowest Density of Star Systems the in the Galaxy (0.3-0.4 => 77-102 stars)
Mid Arm - Medium Density of Star Systems (0.4-0.5 => 103-128 stars)
Center - Highest number of Star Systems in the Galaxy (0.5-0.6 => 128-153 stars)
After the total number of Star Systems are set the sector is populated with stars selecting each star based on a weight system designed to emulate the real universe.
The above is an image generated to display the following Sector Map Data:
Center Sector Star Density
Total Star population 150
110 M Type Stars
19 K Type Stars
4 A Type Stars
11 G Type Stars
6 F Type Stars
I am thinking that later I will add space anomalies to be generated as well. Some anomalies I am thinking of are Black Holes, Nebulas, and maybe Wormholes. Any suggestions about improving the game are welcome.
The next item on the development list is the economic engine. Still debating whether it will require 2 different sims or if 1 will be able to handle all of the data.
After setting some rough boundaries I drafted a Design Document for the Demo. This brought a fair amount of discussion over whether a different document was required. However, the basic logic of the Demo only covering a faction of the full game's scope and therefore would present some of its own unique challenges won the day. Because of this we are treating the Demo as an independent project.
The second step was to find a setting for the Demo. By setting I mean a language and possibly a platform/engine to create the internal framework. As part of the limitations the number of art assets available to the Demo were virtually none and we are not looking to create them first. (The actual game version has only a hand-full of drawings for board design.) Therefore, the Demo would have to be "playable" using quickly created placeholders.
We have a licensed copy of Unity and after seeing Hearthstone shine on the engine it seemed the perfect idea. However, after a few hours of tinkering it was found that using the basic placeholder object in Unity would not be a workable solution. I am not saying that Unity is bad. I really enjoy working with it and believe the final/full version of the game will be powered by Unity, but the current design listing of the Demo requires it to be created quickly and with few art assets something that slowed down Unity production. If we had most are or at least 50% of the art it would be the perfect solution.
Having just finished a fair number of Java based products just before shifting focus back to game development it was suggested that Java be tested to see if it fit our needs. While being a skilled programmer in Java it is not a favorite language of mine to write in. Still as a team project and the fact it was a valid idea a few hours of testing was spent. Again the same issue of being limited by weak placeholder objects began to slow development. After the results of the Java trail were sent to the group the matter of finding an artist to even begin the project was brought up.
Art is a very key element in a successful game and we have been looking for an artist with the vision and talent in the direction of the game. Still there is a need to move forward and this need finally broke the back and forth over the artist topic. We are mostly a group of people that do web development and it was asked if we could just make the Demo a web app. It would allow the highest percent of us to program and review the project compared to other platforms. In a massive burst of laughter it was decided that this would be the route to take. It did bring up a few question of why this was not thought of first, but I think because we are not full-time game developers we had brushed aside a large portion of the talents we used on a daily basis because of our rookie status.
The third step tends to be the one the most hair is lost over, construction. The full game had been prototyped as web based and we quickly went to the archives to see if there was anything useful. The first few days were a flurry of emails and Ventrilo comments of "Go to my url." The board evolved from a very basic table based layout to a colorful interactive sight. The Design Document was always open with people talking about how best to achieve the set goals or if some of them were a little grand for the current scope. The second pair of days didn't see the pace slow, but there was less enjoyment because there was a data structure issue that had been discovered because of the heavy traffic testing. The game board (Battlefield) had already seen a half dozen alteration and improvement because of testing, but this data structure issue was not going to be a low time investment issue. With hundred of cards in need of being moved to the new system there was a lost of steam.
Design Document saves the day. An early morning meeting over the newest purposed data mapping remained us that the Design Document only called for approx. 90 cards to be in the Demo. Either for the lack of sleep or the early hour someone made the comment that we select the Race with the least amount of cards requiring conversion. The idea was simple and became a fresh western wind into our sails.
For now the project has been divided into two subgroups Battlefield Data Tracking and Card Conversion. Both systems require that the other is function before they can be tested and in a few hours the latest build will be tested, but first I wanted to post this update. Due to the state of flux of the Demo's visuals, I will hold off on posting any images. Creating the Demo will require another week or so to account for all of the changes that are being made to the game and its data structures, but we are are all in good spirits even over some of the more challenging tasks on the list.
My last post, check it out, talked about the process leading to the creation of Battleline's Demo. Now 12 days into the Demo's development it has finally arrived at a point where, I believe, it is visually shareable.
The included Screenshot is of a game during the player's side of turn 6. The graphics are ALL placeholders with the white blocks being the target of future art assets. While I could talk about all of the things going on in the displayed image, I believe fellow developers would like to hear about some learning points that came up along the route to this point.
The planning period for the Demo took a full day. We, the team behind the project, have learned that it is often the case that 1 minute of planning saves 10 fold as much time in headaches and lost focus later. One point that came up a lot during the planning was the idea that images even placeholders would gate development. This did become a fact at a few points along the path to the Demo's current state. How and where the stat data for units would be stored effected more than a handful of decisions on how information would need to be handled. We were lucky that there was a cache of 300 cards to draw from for the testing. The graphic problem was a bit worst that "normal" due to the idea that the images used would have dynamic base images that would allow the demo to assemble the unit's image from data within the current game. The first version of the Token, the term we use for the unit on the battlefield, took about 6 hours. That is a lot for something that looks close to the level of MS paint. The key time saver came when we start tying more elements within the game together. A unit's stats could be changed and the image changed, not to another one from a library, but the core image. It also allowed us to play with size and spacing at an accelerated pace.
A second large point that may have cost us a day or even 2 was the decision to try and modify the prototype code of the Demo into the final version. There was a fair amount of back and forth, and in the end some hoped it would allow us to see more results sooner. Sometimes this can be a good idea, especially for teams that have worked on projects of similar types before. However, we have never developed a CCG and some of the crazy pitfalls that come along dealing with how cards that generate or use other cards throw some of the prototype's basic structure into a fire that consumer it.
Currently 95% of the prototype's code has been replaced with updated and tighter fitting solutions.
If the last 12 days had to be done over, I would do a few things different. First I would spend maybe another day planning the timeline between art assets that would act as time gates and have them knocked out ahead of when they would limit development, Second the decision after the prototype was deemed complete to continue used that code base for the production version, I feel was a mistake. Still hindsight being 20/20 I think 12 days is fairly fast for the current state of the Demo, but I will see what the community thinks.
I have seen a few people start video blogs or VBLOGs covering the development of their projects. While I have thought of doing this before I was wondering if there was really and following behind this type of VBLOG? If so are there any prime examples?
As I said I have thought of doing one before it would be mostly talking about the development of the game with game test and code editing in the video with me and the other developer talking about the game.
Hype and following behind a project, in addition to monetary compensation, help to motive developers. At least it is a form of motivation for me. The more people have seen the project and commented means that there are more people that want to see it complete.
If anyone is up for sharing some insight, thank you in advance.
As for the status of the Portas Aurora project, I have been working on the economy simulator. However, after a few minutes of writing code I realized that I would need to divide the code into 2 Sims. The first one simulating the economy of planets and a second one encapsulating the first simulating the economy of the player's empire. I hope to have a post about the Economy SIMs in the next 2 days.
Continuing to upgrade Portas Aurora: Arrival's GUI to have a more "polished" look. Sadly it takes a fair amount of time.
I also rearranged the stats of the ships and added a Hull Strength % at the top to allow users to have a greater understanding of how stats work in Portas Aurora: Arrival.
If you have any ideas or feedback I would enjoy hearing it.
Comments can be left here or on our Kickstarter Page
Scale of a project is often the weakest point in a game's development. The game I have in mind to create is no different. Battleline is a Collectable Card Game (CCG) with nearly 500 cards alone scale is a large factor in the amount of time it will take to rocket the game from a design document to a product lighting up screens. Therefore, to allow the public to get a taste of the game companies create demos and vertical slices. I have decided to create a demo in hopes that the limited scope would grant me the opportunity to complete a minor project and a peak into the possibilities of the full game.
After talking to a few people a rough draft of boundaries on a demo emerged. There are 7 planned playable Flagship Captains along with 4 battlefields, and approximately 500 cards. All of this leads to a laundry list of 800 art assets that need to be created and displayed. However, a demo would not need to include everything found in the final game. The goal of the demo would be to display the gameplay mechanics and generate interest into more content. With this in mind I have decided to create a demo of Battleline that showcases two of the Flagship Captains, two enemy AIs, one battlefield and around 90 cards.
Portas Aurora: Battleline Demo:
2 Flagship Captains
2 Enemy AI Settings
There has been some debate on whether the opponent for the player need to be their own individual captains or is it okay to just use the non selected Flagship captain as the enemy.
If there are any suggestions or insight into the creation of a demo I am all ears.
This video highlights a few elements of the game and concept ideas.
Updated the graphics to a Standard resolution
Prototype Version of the Interface
Any feedback is helpful.
While I was slated to post an entry covering the Economic Simulation within Portas Aurora three weeks ago, I have been slammed by the normal things that derail developers.
I am now finalizing an entry detailing the Economic Micro Sim. This particular micro sim was more complex then originally envisioned mostly due to a desire to include information not stored, but generated by other micro sims. I will expand on this in the actual post.
A note from a previous entry about Vblogs I believe going forward with this would be a good idea both due to the posted reasons and the idea that the Vblog would require me to create content on a more schedule cycle.
Furthermore, I have been modifying one of the micro sim for Portas Aurora to handle POS installation management of Eve Online. It have tested some of the extreme features that I had planned, but required a few days to learn how to use the Eve Online API. I am a huge SciFi fan and I enjoy Eve Online and thought that a tool like this could aid in making a POS more profitable and allow corpations to pool their collective skills more effectively. If anyone is interested in seeing it I will be opening it up for more public testing early next week. If it is popular I will add a minor journal section to cover its development. Additionally, if people have advise for working with the Eve Online API I am all ears. :)
June 15th, I re-launched the PortasAurora.com website.
The website is going to be the host for the up coming game under the Portas Aurora IP.
[background=transparent]Portas Aurora is a throwback to the era of Master of Orion 2. Its a MUD 4X turn-based strategy game set in space. You start off customizing your own race. Once you have created your race research new technologies, explore the galaxy, protect your allies and crush your enemies.[/background][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=Arial][background=transparent]A web browser is all that's required to play, no downloads required. Do you have what it takes?[/background][/font][/color]
MUD means a Multi-User Domain, the precursor to MMO's.
The game with have the option to play in a single player / small group setting or in the full MUD setting.
Currently the Racial Trait Calculator is up and allows people to play around with different builds. Additionally, it provides a link to return to the build if the Race Summary function is used.
A Simple Machine Forum is up and running for people to post questions, comments and ideas for their builds.
Would enjoy hearing any comments.
Jigster started out as a Mobile App that I helped the creators re-invite and over the last 2 years it has gone through an untold number of changes, both in the front and backend. Near the end of last year the idea of bring the game to the desktop world was talked about. Within a short order, the game was in prototype phase. We understood that for the desktop market Jigster's gameplay would need to expand and allow more flexibility to players.
During the Holiday season I was able to show off the early gameplay of Jigster to friends and family, which gave us ideas on some of the details players would enjoy. The result is seen in this screenshot of Stage 1 of Jigster.
Now that we felt the UI held all of the elements it would need we expanded our reach of feedback to other professions in the game dev field. We were mostly focused on getting the UI to feel right, and reflect a higher level of polish. This was Stage 2 of Jigster.
Believing that we had a solid product, Jigster went to Steam Greenlight to collect customer feedback. The campaign began mid-February and the first 8 hours were brutal. Only a single positive comment was written and that by a friend. We collected only 31 Yes votes and 203 No votes in 4 days, the writing was on the wall. At this point we could have easily thrown our hands in the air and stated this idea was a failure and moved on, but we decided to take the Greenlight campaign down and really study the comments and present the game to more people to get even more feedback. It is never fun to hear bad things about your game, but the constructive critiques we paid a ton of attention to. Jigster had launched in the Greenlight work without a unique hook, people had dog-piled on the idea that square puzzle pieces made the game too easy or that we were lazy developers with little knowledge.
We returned to the "drawing board" and took a hard look at the game. Being surrounded by a project can often lead to tunnel vision, and I believe to some effect we had fallen prey to this. Our first thought was that lower piece counts were not engaging enough for players, because they could be busted in 5 seconds or less (actual times). The next game mode to be added was Speed Run, where a player has set amount of time to bust unto 5 jigs in a row. The thinking was even at low piece counts the player wouldn't get bored as quickly due to the steam of new puzzles. The current 4 game modes were mostly targeted at timers and thou they did add challenge to the game, they didn't alter the basic idea of assembling a photo from small pieces. Now with Speed Run, which could be seen as a fifth timer mode, we wanted something that mixed things up, and boom Double Trouble was born. The game mode takes 2 image and mixes the tiles up, we liked to joke that the idea came from a mother, that will not be named, attempting to save space combining 2, 500+ piece jigsaw, puzzles into the same box.
With new game modes, we returned for new feedback for the UI and found people mostly saw it as a mobile game. We knew this would require another overhaul of the UI to move it more towards a desktop design. This was one of our more radical redesigns, as we were placing tons of information into a smaller space, but we didn't want it to feel smashed. Stage 4 of Jigster for Desktop.
Now that Stage 4 of Jigster for Desktop ready, we created new screenshots and a 2 new videos, 1 solely for showing off the Speed Run game mode. With this fresh look and new content we decided to re-attempt Steam Greenlight. If you would like to check out the game more you can click the Greenlight banner here:
The campaign has gone much better than the first attempt and we are continuing to improve the game as can be seen here in the Stage 5 screenshot.
With a release of a Demo for both Mac and Windows tomorrow we are hoping to making it through the Greenlight process. Additionally, we are still taking in feedback and comments.