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.
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.
Sorry, its been a while since our last update on Ilkor, however you'll be pleased to hear work is going full-steam ahead. Development is going very well indeed and we've made quite a bit of progress. We've still a mountain of work to climb, but the roadmap has been drawn and the journey has certainly begun.
This article is going to be reasonable technical and therefore it won't really reveal too much about the game features (sorry guys, you'll have to wait a while longer for that).
Right now the development team is 5 strong; 3 programmers and 2 artists.
Logo & Motif: Simon has completed numerous concept designs and we've settled on a style that we really like and believe it sets a great tone and theme for the game.
We've a number of different variations (mono, colour, light on dark, dark on light and so on). Simon has also put together a nice motif that will be used throughout the game. He is now busy working on a large collection of character portraits (race and class combinations).
We'll report more on these as and when they become available. For the moment however, check out the logo and motif below:
World Map: I (Sean) spent the better part of Jan & Feb actually coming up with the design for the world map. This proved to be an interesting task which took far longer than I expected. The world map is going to be huge, massive!!!!
It consists of five regions (continents). Each continent is plenty large and interesting enough to keep any fearless adventurer content for many years. I designed each continent down to low level detail, setting out the various terrain types, places of interest, roads, rivers, settlements and then labelling everything. When I say labelling everything I mean everything!!!
Anyway, now with the draft map completed, this has been handed over to Jon who is busy re-drawing the maps to an extremely high quality. The maps will be drawn in a typical 'Tolkien' style. Jon has indicated that the map (maps) will be ready around the end of March. I really can't wait.
The finished maps will be used by the mapping engine. The world map will just be used for reference purposes only. The game will start with just one of the continents 'open' for play. The detailed illustrated map of the continent will be fully available for the player to study and explore. The map size will be somewhere in the region of A3 to A2. Remember that is just one continent, there will be another 4 to explore eventually!
Players will move their characters around the map using a grid map. The scale will be even greater on the grid map. The grid map will reveal much more detail about the continent and will only display the areas that you have previously explored. The rest will be 'clouded out'.
What is really exciting about this approach is that we hope to have the grid map 'look and feel' much like the detailed illustrated map. The tilesets will be created by Jon and we're using some rather smart ways to handle the transitions between terrain types thus it will not look like a grid map, each terrain type will seamlessly blend into one another.
One of the reasons for choosing a 'Tolkien' style map is the lack of colour and it's simplicity in terrain types. Not only does it look cool (well we think so), but it won't detract from the various tokens and symbols we plan on programmatically displaying on locations.
Chris is now starting work on the Editor itself. The editor is a GameMaster toolkit that will enable use to build the grid map up from the illustrated map. We'll have tools available to change terrain types, to create roads, rivers, settlements etc. Anyway, more on the map editor at a later date. I'll try and get Chris to write up an article.
Metadata: This article is proving to be lengthy already so I won't talk too much about metadata. Basically metadata refers to all the 'playing pieces' of the game. I've gone through an exercise of putting together very rough screenshots of all the various metadata pages where the GM will use to pre-populate the game at the beginning with data. The type of data is:
- Classes (Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, Priest, etc)
- Races (Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, etc)
- Maagic Items
- and so on
It isn't simply a list but a whole host of properties for each specific metadata type. For example, each class will require to have a ClassId, a Name, Brief Description, Detailed Description, Icon, Image, and other game related stat values. These are all configurable so that the start of the game the GM can customise the game to his liking.
We've gone with this 'generic' approach so that the game engine could one day be re-used for another type of game. Also it makes it alot easier to manage the game and correct and tweet it here and there. As I mentioned, Ilkor will start with just one continent open. The other 4 will open when they are required. The majority of a continent's data and 'playing pieces' can be configured through these screens prior to opening it up to players.
Hope you find this type of article interesting, I'll try and write more often.
Well it's been a busy week though we still haven't cut any code!! Chris and I have another project we are busy finishing off before we can really get stuck into Ilkor.
Having said that, it has still been a busy week and we've made much progress. We've had a number of positive design sessions, mostly going over old ground on decisions we made last year. It was good to see that we are still on the same page and while there are a number of unanswered questions, the core decisions have remained the same, showing that the design is pretty solid and stable and the team is aligned .
Chris has started to do a little work on the mapping engine. This is a huge piece of dev actually and is both central and core to the success of the game. He is really in the investigative stage around the technology, reading up and learning more of the HTML5 and CSS3 features specifically around the 'canvas'. We've decided to design for the future as opposed to supporting backward compatibility. Anyway more on this in a future article which I plan on dedicating to our approach on mapping.
I've been communicating with both Simon and Jon (our artists). Remember our team is distributed geographically, Simon lives in the UK, Jon in the US and Chris and myself are here in Cape Town, South Africa.
Simon has been busy putting together some concept designs, focusing mostly around the Ilkor logo. Over the weekend I received his first sketches based on a brief I supplied several weeks before. The work really is quite amazing and I'm especially looking forward to seeing the finish piece. I am keen to share this with you, but I think it's best to hold back until the logo is complete, then I will dedicate an entire article to the thought process and design work that was involved in coming up with the finished logo design.
Jon has just been given the first brief with regards to the world map. Currently the brief is rather high level but it gives him food for thought while I finalise the draft map. The plan here is to supply Jon with a rough sketch of the Ilkor world map before the end of Jan. Hopefully by then he'll have enough information and background on the game to get his creative juices flowing and start putting his exceptional cartography skills to work! Accompanying the rough sketch I will be supplying him with various game setting information. I'm close to completing the cosmogony, mythology, and history.
I believe it'll be beneficial for both Simon and Jon to have this type of information in the back of their minds as they produce their work.
By the way the world is called Arcadia. :-) I am sure I'll be publishing an article in the not to distant future giving away some information about Arcadia.