I thought it was time to give a quick and brief update the Ilkor: Dark Rising development progress.
We're still on target to having the beta version ready for the end of the year. Time is running by very quickly, but we are making good progress in most of the areas of development.
Ilkor Website Launch 1st July:
We have pencilled in the date of the 1st July to launch the ilkor.com website. Now don't get too excited as it won't contain very much The idea is to get the website out there to have come visibility so we can start advertising and promoting the game. Equally important, we want to establish and process prove our development, build and development cycle. Behind the scenes we will not be dropping new code into production but rather have a strict build and deployment process.
The website will really consist of a single page that will contain a countdown to the beta launch, high level info on the game and the ability to signup for the beta playtest.
Our build process makes use of a number of components. The majority of it is automated. This process is not yet completely up and running. During the course of April we plan of getting the majority of it inplace and working. This is something the team all has experience in doing in past projects. We have already setup a VPN over the Internet so all three developers are able to connect to our development environment. Our dev environment consists of a server and a NAS. The NAS is used solely for back-up reasons. Our server is currently being doubled up as a Build Server and a Dev Wiki. We are using SVN as our code repository, MSBuild / Nant to build and deploy and CruiseControl to manage our build process.
Jon has been making excellent progress with the illustrated world map. Once it is completed it will have a total of 5 continents (regions) which will be A2 in size!!! The game will start with just one of the regions open, with others opening up sometime in the future. I managed to get a sneak preview of Jon's progress last week and it is looking amazing. I was really hoping to share it with you but we are now going through a number of refactoring iterations to get it 100% right. At this point we'll reveal to everyone a snippet of a region and talk through our choice for the style of the map and how it is going to be used within the game.
Chris is almost completed with the highlevel requirements for the map engine and editor. We are going to be taking the illustrated maps from Jon and then using the map editor to drill down and produce a tiled map that will be used to move around and reveal information to the player. The engine and editor both rely heavily on the HTML5 technologies and persists to MongoDB. I'll get Chris blog about the technologies and his approach to this in more detail a little later on in the year. Chris will be obtaining a tileset from Jon to ensure the tiled map will have the same style as the illustrated versions. Currently Chris is completing the code that will deal with the rivers and roads.
Meta Data: Mark has made excellent progress with creating a SQL DB Scheme of all the tables, columns and relationships between the various metadata the game is going to require. At a quick count there is over 40 tables that have been required to complete this piece of work. Mark has just about finished. The next step will be to code up some rather rough screens for the GameMaster to use so that he can populate the game with the data that he requires. This will cater for information such as the names of the seasons, duration of seasons, race and class names and stats, weapons, spells, etc etc. Just about everything in the game.
I have been working on alot of admin tasks such as creating the company, bank account and other legal stuff and setting up the dev environment. When I've had the time I've been focused on creating mockups for the player facing screens. This has been a rather tough exercise, but I'm making good progress and have a good idea of how this is now going to work and the style of it. We are not going for a typical heavy and dark look and feel to the site. Instead it is going to be clean, simple and light. When I say light, I am referring to the 'feel'. Often RPG games are 'heavy' with tons of images, adverts and options. This not only slows down the website and spoils the player's experience but also detracts from the core reason for the specific screen. We are now at a stage where we have a pretty clear direction of how the screens will look and will now get Simon (other other artist) involved to come up with a number of concept designs.
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