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.
Well its been a while since our last post. It's really tough holding down a job and family with kids while trying to develop a game on the side The last couple of months hasn't been easy, personally I've been a little low on energy and not having much time to getting down to any real Ilkor development.
However I'm now back in the thick of things again and I feel we are making traction again.
Chris on the other hand has been working furiously on the character creation process and it is now basically finished, bar the saving of the actual character and artwork from Simon. The artwork doesn't prevent the game from functioning, but cosmetically it would be awesome to have all the portraits and avatar facial parts that would complete a wonderful player experience. However, understandably the artwork is a very time consuming task and if it means we have a wait a little longer than so be it, it will certainly be worth it.
Having said that, we might well release an alpha version of the character creation page in the next week or two. As soon as we do, you'll be hear about it here.
Next we'll be tackling the mapping engine and character homepage.
The core of the mapping engine has already been designed and developed. It was however put on hold late last year to focus on the character creation process amongst other higher priority tasks. We are really hoping you'll like the approach we've taken with the maps. You've most likely seen the amazing (illustrated) maps that Jon Roberts created for us which we'll be using to drill into. The mapping engine will use tilesets created by Jon to hopefully recreate these illustrated maps in a 2D tiled structure, zooming in to a much more detailed scale. Each tileset will roughly represent 1km or 2km. That is the type of scale we feel will work nicely.
The character homepage is really the area of the site that you'll arrive at each time you log-in. Here you'll be presented with a summary of your character (character sheet) along with summaries of the state of play, turn & phase numbers, deadline date, weather, season, etc.
As for our growing team of GMs. They have been working hard at populating the Gazetteer of Arcadia which is the game's wiki. Although the game isn't live yet, the wiki is up and running and growing in size almost daily.
Will thats it for the moment.
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've had a very busy week. There is much to report. So here goes:
Website Update: ilkor.com has just had an update. Please go and check it out. There have been numerous bug fixes, enhancements and new content. The most visually and obvious enhancement must be the browser requirement indicator that appears in the bottom right of the page. It will detect whether your browser is going to be able to run the game successfully. Ilkor requires browsers that support HTML5. Most of the new browsers that have been out in the past 6 months or so should be fine. To check, go to ilkor.com and look at the indicator.
If the globe is green then your browser will have no trouble running the game. An orange globe indicates that you may have some trouble and it is advisable to update your browser to the latest version. A red globe will require that you upgrade your browser before you'll be able to play. You will still be able to signup however.
The Gazetteer of Arcadia: For those of you who don't know. The Gazetteer is a wiki that we're in the process of populating with the rich world setting information and background. GM Senyors and Lord Vega are both busy at work here. Please spend some time here, it'll help you get a better understanding of the game's setting and prepare you for when the game starts. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us.
We've recently added some of the game maps and very soon we'll be including a number of new hand-drawn portraits of races and classes, supplied by Simon Lee Tranter.
Maps: Jon Roberts is very close now to completing our various versions of the world and regional maps. They have been some time in the making for a number of reasons, but the wait is proving to be well worth it. I've already shared some of these maps with you via Twitter, Facebook, this blog and the Gazetteer wiki. The big one we are now waiting for is of course the detailed map of Caledon. So watch this space, it will be appearing here soon.
Character Creation: This is really the most exciting area of development. This is because, beside the GameMaster sections of the website, this is the first real functional areas that we are starting to see and it really is looking amazing!! Unfortunately we can't share this with you yet, not even screenshots, but soon we will do just that followed by an alpha version of the website where you'll be able to experience the character creation process for yourself and supply us with feedback. This will be our first real playtest request. Please consider joining in!
Thats it for the moment. Hopefully I'll have more news in the coming week.
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.