We've got a new logo for our gazetteer.ilkor.com wiki website. Our artist Simon produced it the other day and we now have to upload it to the website.
If you haven't visited the wiki in a while then now might be a good time to do so. It now contains a fair amount of content but is some way from being complete. I guess it will never be complete as it needs to grow and expand with the game.
By the way from a dev perspective things are really starting to hot up now and we're getting back into the Map development in a big way, hopefully we'll have something nice to show in a couple of months time.
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.