I've just got time for a quick post before I get stuck into finishing off coding the registration section. We're about 5 weeks away from launching the ilkor.com splashpage. Scarily stuff as we've still so much to do! However the dev team really is putting in alot of effort and we're producing some top quality work, on all fronts, design, development and artwork.
Up until now I haven't really spoken too much about the homepage and specifically around the great artwork coming from Simon Lee Tranter. Simon has been extremely help in coming up with much of our website design, logos, artwork, site navigation and layout.
We started designing the homepage about a month ago. We had some ideas of what we wanted and gave this to Simon. He's come up with a number of concepts and have eventually settled on a specific style that we all feel works the best for how we such to present Ilkor. Simon has just concluded a number of concept iterations of the main illustration that will appear on the homepage. I have actually been giving him such a hard time over this and he just keeps on delivering quality revisions. Today we finally settled on a concept and now Simon is getting to work on drawing the finished piece. We've decided that he is to draw a much larger illustration than we intend on placing on the homepage. Instead we've already identified a portion of this drawing that we wish to zoom in on, crop and present. We have plans for the full-size illustrations further down the line.
Since we are only 5 weeks away from launch I'd rather not give too much away other than to explain the theme of the game has been depicted in the illustration. It is centred around Ilkor, the Goddess of Darkness rather than to 'show off' the rich feature set the game will be offering.
Further than this we're going to be giving a whole host of information on the cool game features. We'll talk a little about the different races, the classes, the level system, fame points, leveling up, the turn system, etc. We'll also show and explain a little about the maps and something that we hope will be extra special. It is your character's avatar. We have devised a way to produce a 'head and shoulders' avatar that depicts your character. It is completely automated and will be unique to you as a player. The avatar won't be like the normal avatars out there that look like clipart or popart, the portrait will be designed by Simon in such a way that through the use of code we'll produce a unique portrait based on three things, your email address, character race and gender. To start off, you won't be able to alter your avatar, so you are kinda stuck with it, but they will be a really cool drawing and they will be unique. Later on we will be supplying a way for players to then go ahead and customise their avatar. They won't be allowed to upload their own pictures, but instead will go through a wizard to pick various facial features all drawn and supplied by Simon. We're actually very excited about this.
So that will be it really. So this is what we are going live with. It's not much and therefore we are calling it a splashpage. Once we are ready to launch the beta playtest we'll modify the homepage to allow players to register proper and also login and get stuck into the game.
OK, enough rambling, I best get down to some coding.
Just some brief news. Behind the scenes of the Ilkor development we have actually partnered with a gaming engine company, HeroQuest Pty.
They have a website heroquestgaming.com. it isn't much to look at really as the're not really 'player facing', at least not for the moment.
They are developing alongside Ilkor a gaming engine that will be generic in nature, targeted at the fantasy rpg genre. The idea is that the engine will be used to power Ilkor: Dark Rising.
It's proving to be an interesting partnership, basically all the world setting, history, maps, artwork, theme etc will remain the property of Gad Games while the engine itself will belong to HeroQuest.
After the beta playtest (which we imagine will take up the better part of 2012), the HeroQuest Platform should be stable and mature enough to then be offered to other interested companies who might like to host a game.
The engine is proving to be quite configurable. Although it will come with a standard set of maps, data, etc, it can all be customizable. It's quite an interesting concept. Ilkor will not only be powered by the HeroQuest engine, but will also be hosted on their infrastructure. This means as a gaming company we only need to worry about the GameMaster duties, player service and ensuring the game world is rich with background history and a theme. HeroQuest will ensure the servers are up and running, that there is no connection issues, upgrades and new features will be introduced in a structured and controlled fashion. They are even putting together a payment gateway where various value added services can be purchased.
Anyways, enough rambling. I just thought it worth informing you guys.
Well its been a couple of weeks since my last update. There has been so much progress in the last few weeks on all fronts. However we haven't really completed a single piece of development that has a visual aspect to show off here. Much of the progress has been rather technical aswell.
At the moment the entire team are working towards the 1st July which we hope will be our launch date for ilkor.com. Now don't get too excited, the game won't be ready, but we think it is important to get a web presence as soon as possible, so we can supply information to potential players and give them the option to sign-up for the beta playtest which will start early into the New Year (we are aiming for the 7th Jan 2012).
Here's the current development progress:
Illustration Map: Jon Roberts really has done an amazing job. The world map is close to completion now. Our previous blog entry went into some detail around the outstanding work that has gone into making this what it is. Between myself and Jon we've gone through a handful of correction iterations and I believe within a week or so Jon will have completed the job. Finally we'll be adding a border, title, compass, etc to the map and then it will be complete. Jon has recently blogged about Ilkor amongst his various other projects.
Map Engine: This is also close to completion, at least the core functionality. Very soon Chris will be working on the engine once more using an actual tileset drawn by Jon Roberts to ensure the game map style matches the illustrated world map. You might not be aware, but when we launch Ilkor we will only be opening up 1 of the 5 regions. Each region will have roughly 170,000 locations for the players to explore. While this is great for the players it means ALOT of work for the GameMasters. We are going to have to not only create and render the region based on the illustrated map but also populate it with various information, items, creatures, etc. So there is alot of work coming up very soon and I am going to be the main one running with this!!
Well thats the update this time around. Hopefully a little more can be revealed soon.