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.
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.
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.
This is going to be a short entry. I'm very tired and need to get to bed. It's been a long week as we've been preparing to launch ilkor.com.
Well, we announced we'd be ready and launch on the 1st July and we did just that! It's a major achievement for us, so much hard work has been put by the entire dev team.
The site is far from perfect however. We know that and we are expecting feedback pointing out errors and silly mistakes that we'll fix up during the month of July. Hopefully by August the site will be polished enough for us to feel confident enough to promote the website and game further afield. For the moment we are sharing it with a small select audience.
If you visit the site you'll see that we're accepting beta playtest signups. It'll be free to play, so you really have nothing to lose. Please explore the site, register for the playtest, spread the word amongst your friends and let us know what you think of the game. There isn't alot of game material on the website...yet, though this is going to change over the coming months.
Everyone that registers for the will receive regular updates from us. The playtest is only scheduled to start in 11 months time!! It is some way off, but it'll fly by all too quickly.
Anyways, hope you like what you see and it is enough to look forward to what is coming down the line.
At the time of writing this we have just 10 days before we launch ilkor.com. We're all very excited but nervous!!
We are determined to launch our website on the 1st July. Remember, the game won't be available to play yet, you'll have to wait a while longer (read below for more info). However come the 1st July you'll be able to find out information on the game, learn when the Ilkor will be available to play, sign-up for the beta playtest including some hidden surprises coming your way over the next few months.
The Ugly: Nervous because there is just so much to do still. We had hoped to be in a much better position than we are right now but for a stack of reasons we are running behind in putting together the content. I can see alot of late evenings and spending most of the coming weekend working on the outstanding tasks. We want to launch with at least a 'half decent' website. I'm sure we'll be updating the website on a continuous basis post launch date, but non-the-less we want our first web-presence to be a good one. The finishing touches just seem to take so much longer than we at first thought for numerous reasons, still making silly mistakes despite all our experience in web development!!
The Bad: We had hoped to launch the game on the 7th Jan 2012 as a beta playtest. However we have had to review that date. It appears that date is a little too optimistic. We don't feel comfortable with that date any longer. Unfortunately we are going to have to push that date out by at least a few months. You'll learn about the revised date on the 1st July. This is something we have thought about long and hard over the past few weeks. We felt it was too high risk to keep to such a tight deadline date and for what reason? Why do we want to put such pressure upon ourselves? Sure we want to get the game finished and open it for everyone to signup, play and enjoy, but we are doing this in our spare time. It is therefore difficult to forecast just how much development we can achieve in a specific timeframe. I really hope you are not too disappointed. I can assure you it will be worth the wait.
The Good: Keeping the best for last. We're busy setting up our web and database server. This task is happening this week while the final touches to the website are getting developed. The website is looking really great and should be available in all browsers including mobile. We've chosen a solid and reliable hosting company called ElasticHosts. They have a wonderful model and will allow us to scale when required. I'll blog about our technology stack sometime in the future when I have more time on my hands. The content is also coming together which includes alot of juicy game material, artwork and general information regarding the great features of Ilkor.
OK, well thats about it for the moment. I best get back to the grind to ensure we meet our launch date.