We're about to up the level of our communication. This is already happening (hopefully) to our existing player-base, but equally important we are now looking for new channels and websites where we feel Ilkor news will be of some interest.
As you might know we are gaining some nice momentum on the game development side and while we are still some way away from launching into beta, the game is really starting to take shape now. Hopefully by the end of March we'll have the signup and character creation up and running and will be only too pleased to give those that are on the playtest waiting list a sneak preview and brief 'alpha test'.
So, in preparation for this we are seeking new and exciting channels where we might be able to prompt Ilkor: Dark Rising.
If you have any suggestions or can help in any shape or form regarding such advertising / promoting then we'd love to hear from you. Such channels that are of great interest to us are:
- Beta Sign-up: If you haven't yet signed up, then please do so. There is nothing to be scared about (honest) and it won't cost you a penny.
- Tell a Friend: If you could at least try and get 1 friend to visit the Ilkor website and sign-up then that would be amazing.
- Facebook and Twitter: While signing up for the beta playtest, why not get yourself and your friend to follow us on Facebook and on Twiiter?
- Forum Mention: If you are a member or a suitable gaming forum, then why not start-up a thread about Ilkor.
- Forum List: We are always on the lookout for new forums that we could get involved in. If you know of any, please drop us a line or two about it and we'll be only too pleased to check them out.
- Blog Mention: Maybe you run your own blog or know of one that could be interested in writing an article about Ilkor? If so let us in!!!
- Advert Banners: We have a couple of Ilkor advert banners. If you know of a website that might be willing to display them, then let me know.
I'm sure there are other channels, so if you can think of anything at all then I'd love to hear from you.
We finished the new homepage for Ilkor: Dark Rising late last year that we'll be using when we go into Beta and allowing players to sign-up for free to join and play the game in beta mode.
We thought you'd be interested in checking out the screenshots and hopefully soon even get a chance to experience it in alpha mode. Yes thats right we'll be launching an alpha version of Ilkor in the next week or so. We'll be updating the website on a fairly regular basis so you can experience the latest advancement in our development. At the moment you'll only be able to have a peek at the sign-up process and an incomplete Character Creation process, but I imagine it is better than nothing.
In the meantime, here are a couple of screenshots. Click on the thumbnails and check out the detailed screenshots:
We would love to hear what you have to say, any feedback, good or bad would be greatly appreciated. If you looking closely at the full detailed screenshot of the Sign-up page you'll see there is a Log In button in the top right-hand corner. The homepage will have two modes and you'll be able to toggle between both of them. It can either be in Sign-up mode or Login mode.
As I have already said we've completed the signup process completely now aswell as the login process.
Anyway, thats all for now folks.
This is going to be a short entry. I'm very tired and need to get to bed. It's been a long week as we've been preparing to launch ilkor.com.
Well, we announced we'd be ready and launch on the 1st July and we did just that! It's a major achievement for us, so much hard work has been put by the entire dev team.
The site is far from perfect however. We know that and we are expecting feedback pointing out errors and silly mistakes that we'll fix up during the month of July. Hopefully by August the site will be polished enough for us to feel confident enough to promote the website and game further afield. For the moment we are sharing it with a small select audience.
If you visit the site you'll see that we're accepting beta playtest signups. It'll be free to play, so you really have nothing to lose. Please explore the site, register for the playtest, spread the word amongst your friends and let us know what you think of the game. There isn't alot of game material on the website...yet, though this is going to change over the coming months.
Everyone that registers for the will receive regular updates from us. The playtest is only scheduled to start in 11 months time!! It is some way off, but it'll fly by all too quickly.
Anyways, hope you like what you see and it is enough to look forward to what is coming down the line.
At the time of writing this we have just 10 days before we launch ilkor.com. We're all very excited but nervous!!
We are determined to launch our website on the 1st July. Remember, the game won't be available to play yet, you'll have to wait a while longer (read below for more info). However come the 1st July you'll be able to find out information on the game, learn when the Ilkor will be available to play, sign-up for the beta playtest including some hidden surprises coming your way over the next few months.
The Ugly: Nervous because there is just so much to do still. We had hoped to be in a much better position than we are right now but for a stack of reasons we are running behind in putting together the content. I can see alot of late evenings and spending most of the coming weekend working on the outstanding tasks. We want to launch with at least a 'half decent' website. I'm sure we'll be updating the website on a continuous basis post launch date, but non-the-less we want our first web-presence to be a good one. The finishing touches just seem to take so much longer than we at first thought for numerous reasons, still making silly mistakes despite all our experience in web development!!
The Bad: We had hoped to launch the game on the 7th Jan 2012 as a beta playtest. However we have had to review that date. It appears that date is a little too optimistic. We don't feel comfortable with that date any longer. Unfortunately we are going to have to push that date out by at least a few months. You'll learn about the revised date on the 1st July. This is something we have thought about long and hard over the past few weeks. We felt it was too high risk to keep to such a tight deadline date and for what reason? Why do we want to put such pressure upon ourselves? Sure we want to get the game finished and open it for everyone to signup, play and enjoy, but we are doing this in our spare time. It is therefore difficult to forecast just how much development we can achieve in a specific timeframe. I really hope you are not too disappointed. I can assure you it will be worth the wait.
The Good: Keeping the best for last. We're busy setting up our web and database server. This task is happening this week while the final touches to the website are getting developed. The website is looking really great and should be available in all browsers including mobile. We've chosen a solid and reliable hosting company called ElasticHosts. They have a wonderful model and will allow us to scale when required. I'll blog about our technology stack sometime in the future when I have more time on my hands. The content is also coming together which includes alot of juicy game material, artwork and general information regarding the great features of Ilkor.
OK, well thats about it for the moment. I best get back to the grind to ensure we meet our launch date.
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.
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.
We've been itching to start developing Ilkor: Dark Rising all throughout 2010 and it has finally begun!!
That doesn't mean we've been dragging our heels, far from it. The design phase has taken a little longer than we had expected. It had to be right before we could start cutting code. The design still isn't 100% bedded down, however the core mechanics 'feel right' which gives us enough to start getting our hands dirty.
The development team currently consists of 4 brave people ; two programmers and two artists. Without a doubt this team will grow a little over the year. All team members are 'part-time' so it's going to be a real challenge.
- Programmers: Myself (Sean Cleworth) and Chris Kriel. We're friends and we work together as computer programmers at our day job. Together we've decided to take on this project and make it a great success. We've access to a number of other friends at work that could assist on Ilkor should we need it.
- Artists: Both have been commissioned to produce artwork. We think their work is out of this world. Simon Lee Tranter is responsible for coming up with the game's overall style and theme and the various pieces of artwork that we'll require. Check his portfolio, amazing stuff. Johnathan Roberts has been commissioned to produce the world map. His cartography skills will be a huge asset, the map needs to be stunning...and it will be. Please go and look at his work.
This is very exciting times (especially for me - it's been many years since I was involved in game development and it's great to be back) but the sheer volume of work that lies ahead means we're going to be very busy.
I'll post more information as and when I have it, though there will be aspects of the development that we'll be keeping close to our chests...we want to hold back some surprises for the Beta Testing phase which will be towards the end of this year.
2010 was all about resurrecting Gad Games from the ashes of the late 90's when the Play-By-Mail industry was badly hit by the raise of Email and Web usage. I had been toying with starting Gad Games up for a while but was a little nervous about making such a huge commitment. Life at the age of 42 is quite different to when I was single and in my 20's.
Much of 2010 was spend getting back into the 'gaming scene', especially the PBM community which is still out there but appears to be very small nowadays and quiet. We managed to throw together this rather simple website and this blog section is the newest addition. We also have a facebook fan page and I was amazed to see 40+ people have stumbled upon us during 2010. We've just setup a twitter account (#gadgames) which you can follow and learn about the latest developments both with Gad Games and our Ilkor game which we have finally started developing.
2011 will see us look more towards the future as we finally get down to coding our latest project; Ilkor: Dark Rising. Our aim is to have the game ready for beta testing by the end of the year. I really hope we haven't bitten off more than we can chew, after all we are running this in our spare time!!
I hope to blog on a regular basis regarding our game development process, Gad Games news and snippets of interesting pieces in general. So if you are keen on keeping up with the progress of the development of Ilkor and want find out some of the design aspects and features we will be introducing then stay tuned.