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Empires in Ruins - Blast from the past

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EiR_TD

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Hello guys, after a huge break from writing here we decided to start again.



A lot of things happened in the while: we went through a Kickstarter and failed it, we expanded our team, we made new friends and lost some old ones along the way, etc etc.


But what is relevant for this journal is that we never stopped progressing with the work on our Empires in Ruins. Not even for a single day.



Before moving on with the posting, as we disappeared for so long, a summary of the past and present of EiR is probably due and useful (and hopefully also interesting), so here we go!



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Empires in Ruins now celebrates its third year of life since the first time it was born in Emiliano's and George's mind as the remote idea of making a game together.

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How did it begin? Well, that might sound interesting, the first idea was a Motorcycle Club Simulator, then during the brainstorming process it became somehow a fantasy based tower defense. It was our first attempt at making a game together, and in the beginning much (if not most) was about learning. Learning game design, Unity3d, assets creation, teamwork, etc etc.

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The first version of Empires in Ruins was in 3d. We moved quite further with the development in the first months (of course with the euforic energy of the novelty, i.e. with not a single line of GDD, and not a clue on where we really wanted to go with the game).

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A view of one of the last upgrades of EiR in 3D

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Then slowly, when the first enemy units were already walking and dying down our 3d paths, the towers could be built and sold, we both got very busy on other projects and we had to put the project in hold for a couple of months. When we went back to it, in the beginning of 2014, we made some considerations:

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1) Making a competitive 3D game for a 2-man team of gamedev beginners was madness.
2) Was 3d any useful for the gameplay? Did that additional rotation and movement freedom give any real benefit to gameplay? In truth not.

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Exactly at that time unity came out with the new 2D toolkit, so it was definitely a sign that a change was due.
We then decided for pre-rendered sprites out of 3d models made by George and to give the whole game a perspective-non perspective look (an ortographic topdown with 60 degrees camera angle to have a better view of buildings and units look).

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The very first screen of EiR in 2D

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The first semi-working version of EiR in 2D

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While working on the TD engine, paying a huge amount of attention to every single detail (only to make the faked perspective trajectory of the arrows looking as nicely as we wanted, Emiliano (notoriously a details freak) spent something like 16 hours on it to fine tune it), we began designing a crazy thought we had: Tower Defense games almost always follow a straight "one-map-after-another" pattern. What if we changed that? What if we used TD maps to fight battles on a strategic map that had the player manage and tame the conquered provinces to avoid losing them again to rebellion or to the enemy?

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The first version of the main map and the current one

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And that's what happened. Such a structure needed a story, and a story need a main character. We didn't want a hero, we wanted a failure of a man to lead the plot, but with at least some interesting features that would have made him attractive and somehow familiar to the player.

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And Sgt.Heimer was born. Half-drunk, ill-mannered, unruly, and sent in a punishment assignment to tame the rebellious provinces in the Western Marchers of the principality. To say that we created for the game would be wrong, Emiliano has been writing a Fantasy book as a hobby for a few years, and that's where the whole setting comes from. The game takes place 25 years before the book, with a much younger but already pissed-off Sergeant Hans Heimer (That in the book is otherwise a marginal aged character).

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First sketching of Heimer by our illustrator Giacomo

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The latest conceptart about Heimer, by Giacomo

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From there on we keep evolving and developing. The game still needs a lot of work, but we are now integrating some new members in the team in order to speed up the production without losing quality.

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If you manage to do it, try to take and store screenshots all along the progress. The satisfaction of making such comparisons as the one in this picture below is huge. It really gives additional motivation to our work and a pushes us to move on with renewed dedication.

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A three steps evolution of the combat map look and UI in one year of hard work.

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A current view of the Village provinces control screen WIP

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A current view of the Town provinces control screen WIP

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You can even already vote for it on Steam Greenlight, and our aim is to get it ready and public by december 2015.

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(I want to point out, that this deadline comes second after the quality of the product. There is no point in publishing quickly something incomplete or faulty, so if need for more time arises, we will take more time. Quality and features are something that we will NEVER EVER sacrifice.)

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Cheers!
Emiliano, H&R

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EiR on facebook
EiR on twitter

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Images

  1. Tower defense combat maps
  2. Tower defense combat map - Special abilities
  3. Research System WIP
  4. Tower Defense combat map
  5. Research System WIP
  6. Tower Defense combat map
  7. To tame a province
  8. Sergeant Hans Heimer of Koth
  9. Settlements - Hamlets and Village
  10. Main tactical map
  11. Settlement - Town
  12. Main tactical map
  13. Province management WIP - Summary panel
  14. Province management screen WIP - Town settlement
  15. Province management screen WIP - Village settlement
  16. Empires in Ruins - Steam Greenlight
View the entire Empires in Ruins - 2nd Generation album
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