I thought you might be interested to hear about Tavern Talk which is our messaging system for Ilkor: Dark Rising. We've been working hard on this part of the game and it is now basically finished.
You might wonder what a messaging system is. Well it's the way players, gamemasters and characters will be able to communicate amongst one another. We won't be revealing anyone's email address, but rather you'll be able to send private message to individual characters and even groups of characters or you are able to post messages in the rooms that you have permission to enter.
Technically, we've used PhpBB3 which is a forum application (open source) and have skinned it to blend in with the game and spent the last few months modifying and customizing it's functionality. We've named the forum Tavern Talk and it will be hosted as a sub-website of Ilkor. Tavern Talk isn't available yet, but it will be eventually available on http://tavern.ilkor.com.
Tavern Talk will be a private forum. It won't be available to the public. You will gain access to Tavern Talk when you signup and create your character to play Ilkor: Dark Rising.
We've fully integrated Tavern Talk with the game, so you'll be able to gain access to Tavern Talk directly from Ilkor after logging in. The same password will be used.
Tavern Talk has been designed and configured so that your only have access to the rooms that you are allowed to. For example, if you are a Fighter, you'll have access to the Fighter's Guild. Only fighters will have access to this room and you'll be able to post messages amongst guild members.
Below I'll included a handful of screenshots. Hopefully they are pretty self describing and you like what you see.
And that really it for the moment. There is much more to Tavern Talk, but hopefully this gives you some idea of what you can expect.
Cheers for now.
Well its been a while since we blogged. It's been a hectic last few weeks both in home, work and here at Gad Games developing Ilkor: Dark Rising.
At the moment we are not getting nearly as much time on the project as we would like. All the members of the dev team have their own personal reasons but non-the-less there has been significant progress.
Alpha Feedback: Thanks for the feedback from everyone who checked out our alpha site that allowed you to experience the sign-up and character creation process (alpha.ilkor.com).
It was very reassuring to hear that we have got things pretty much right. This doesn't mean we didn't get some very good constructive feedback and suggestions for improvements. These improvements (and a few detected bugs) have been worked on over the past few weeks and will be making its way to the alpha and live websites very soon.
If you haven't yet checked out alpha.ilkor.com then please do so, we are sure you are going to love what you see and really want to hear what you think about it.
Tavern Talk: Much work has been done on Ilkor's messaging system that is being dubbed 'Tavern Talk'. We're very close to launching it so you can all experience it and see try it out. The messaging system is going to be a forum that will allow players, or rather 'Player Characters' and 'GameMasters' to communicate via forums and a private messaging system. Emails are not revealed and the system will be integrated with ilkor.com. The messaging system will be located at tavern.ilkor.com (note: this is not available yet). When you signup and go through the character creation process you will be granted access and rights to 'Tavern Talk'. Each PC will be granted rights to various forums related to your character. More on this in our next blog, hopefully with some screenshots.
Character Creation: We have finished integrated the improvements and bug fixes that came out of the alpha and now handling the integration of Tavern Talk and then we should be finished with this very important aspect of the game. We're still waiting on Simon for a number of art pieces (avatar and character portraits) but they can and will be slotted in as we receive them.
Mapping Engine: Process is being made, though it is slow, but what is coming out of this area is very interesting and we are sure it is going to blow you away.
Game Engine: This is working nicely. This is really the heart of the game, it is the engine that controls the turnaround, seasons, phases, weather, movement, and so on.
Hopefully you'll get an update very soon.
For now, keep well.
We're sad to inform you that we have had to delay the beta launch. Hopefully you won't be too disappointed and that you understand that most indie games are done in spare time and therefore delays are inevitable.
This itself is by no means justification, and while we had every intention of making the original deadline of the 2nd June, it has been obvious for a little while now that we are not going to be ready. The team had a meeting with regards to where we are with the game and have decided that we are not willing to compromise the quality nor integrity of the gaming experience just to meet a particular deadline.
As Scott (one of the GMs) said, "you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Heck, look how long it took Blizzard to just release Diablo 3!".
The design and development is simply very time-consuming and we have slipped up on a number of fronts which I won't go into detail right now. I think over the coming weeks we'll try to communicate our development roadmap a little clearer and give you guys some feedback on how we are tracking.
The newly revised launch date is now 9th Feb 2013!! Seems like a long way off, but we feel this is now much more achievable. We might even be early Our forecast shows that we should be ready towards the latter part of this year (4 to 5 months time), but felt the launch immediately before or after Christmas would have less of an impact.
...And now some good news
If you want a sneak preview of the Character Creation (the official signup process) you can do so by going to: http://alpha.ilkor.com
Although the Character Creation process is now developed, there are a few known aspects that are still not complete:
- Character Portraits (hand drawn illustrations by Simon that appear in the centre of the dail)
- Character Avatars (again, we are waiting on Simon. Currently we only have 'some' of the facial parts for male and female humans & male dwarves)
- Content / Copy for items like Settlements & Feats.
Please go and check it out and give it a good test, supplying us with plenty of feedback. Undoubtedly there are small snags and fine tuning to be addressed. Performance might be a little slow as we are hosting alpha on a 'development' server.
You are welcome to go through the 'Character Creation' process as many times as you want. You character won't be saved, remember this is just for testing purposes only.
And Finally...A Knowledge Quest
In the coming days we'll also be announcing the first 'Knowledge Quest' that you will be invited to take part in. You'll learn more about this in a separate announcement to this.
Here's the first screenshot of the Character Creation page. It is still far from finished in terms of the information, content and detail that you see, however you can get a pretty good idea of what we are trying to achieve.
This screen is reached from completing the signup information on the homepage (email, race, class, gender).
The panel on the left is used to change various aspects of your character. The changes are immediately reflected on the underlying canvas below. There is still alot of information that still needs to be added to the canvas, but the actual panel functionality is almost fully developed now.
The 3 text boxes at the bottom of the panel is used to enter your password, password repeat and gatekey. The gatekey gets emailed to you upon reaching this page.
The avatar to the top right of the canvas is dynamically created based on a combination of email, race and gender. Later on in the game you'll be able to customize your avatar.
You can see from the menu on the panel that you are able to configure your character in areas such as gender, race, class, name [family | House | Clan | Folkname], Starting Settlement, Class Feat and Minor and Major Racial Feats. Each of these animated sub panels that slide out to the right give you additional information where you can make the change.
In a few weeks, we hope to release an alpha version of this character creation process so you will be able to play around and experience it for yourself.
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.
Many apologises. It's been a little while since our last blog entry. I can't believe just how quickly the time goes when you are busy
And we sure have been busy!!! It's now been a month since we went live with ilkor.com. The site seems to be holding up nicely.
In that time we've had a surprising amount of people signup to be part of the playtest, especially considering it isn't due to commence until June 2012. Having said that we do expect to get the playtesters involved much sooner than that.
We've also refined the website during the month of July, it has already gone through a number of updates mostly centred around performance and optimization improvements. I think we've managed to reduce the image sizes by about 3/4. The site now runs alot quick and we've had some very positive feedback.
On the development front we're working on the character creation process and will be involving our playtesters over the next few months to ensure what we're doing is right. I can't say much more about this here other than the setup will be a two step process. Players will be able to join and get playing very quickly.
We've also made a fairly big technology architecture change. We're now using MongoDB for our database needs. Originally we were going to be using SQL Server and Mongo just for the map components but now the entire game engine will be run off MongoDB.
The only exception might be our messaging and forum system. We've been exploring the idea of integrating phpBB into the game system. This uses php and either mySQL or MS-SQL. Our investigation has concluded it could be the best choice for Ilkor and although the integration won't be that straightforward it is possible. With some luck we should have this in place and ready for exclusive use by our playtesters by the end of the year.
Other than that we've been getting a fair amount of coverage on the various PBM and Gaming Forums and will soon be putting together a small low key marketing campaign to help spread the word of Ilkor further afield.
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.