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've alot happening right now on all fronts. I'll get straight on with it.
Game Engine: Work started on this about a month ago. Obviously we still have a long way to go, but we already have a bare bones service that processes the turn, advances the turn and phase number, seasons and years. Over the next few weeks we will be integrating into this cycle the introduction of players. The engine persists its data straight to MongoDB.
Registration Process: Development here has slowed down a little due to our move from using SQL to Mongo for our database requirements. So there is little to report, but we'll be re-starting this in a few days time.
New Content: With the website now 95% optimized we are really focusing on pushing new content to the live website on a regular basis. Our aim is to have something new on the website every two weeks. New content will be mostly added to the 'Features' section of the homepage for a little while. This is being achieved by serving up the content in our specially skinned 'scroll popups'!! Go to ilkor.com and see for yourself, we are revealing more and more about the game features and details.
Map: Jon, our fab cartographer is still working hard on completing our world and regional maps. We hope to get the final finished maps very soon now, hopefully before the end of October. You can then expect to see a number of sneak previews of the finished maps!
Avatars: Simon, our amazing Artist will be delivering the first batch of avatar 'facial parts' (head, shoulders, eyes, nose, hair, mouth). He has dealt with a male human for starters. We need this so we can then test our our avatar generating code. If it all works out as planned Simon will then have a few amount of work to do over the next few months coming up with the facial parts for all the other 7 possibilities. Personally I'm really excited about this and will certainly be blogging about the Avatars in far more detail soon.
Database Migration: As mentioned last time, we are busy migrated across from MS-SQL to MongDB. The process is good and we hope to have everything in place by the end of October...hopefully!
And thats about it for now..
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.
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.