Wow, time sure does fly! It's been almost a year since we achieved our funding goal. And so far, it's been just over 11 months of full-blown development! The past year has seen a lot of extremely hard work by the team and I think we are starting to see the finish line. Let’s talk about what we’ve been working on since the last update …
We are close to releasing an internal Alpha of the game. This will mean that we have every feature that is crucial to game play in the game and it is in a playable state from the beginning to the very end (though with some placeholder assets.)
Programming - In last month we have completed 95% of the scripting support. We have also added settings and options including load/save, key binds, and audio settings as well as fixing lots of bugs and solving performance issues. Underway are some torch tasks (lighting the UI torch from the room or inventory), a few reconfigurations to the Map (allowing for selecting differing levels, zooming, and returning to the selected room), and the addition of programming hooks for death and cut scenes.
Cut Scenes, Art and Animation - Chris Cold has wrapped up all room/item art! This is a major milestone as Chris started working on this in the middle of 2012. He’s done an outstanding job creating dynamic new rooms as well as reinterpreting iconic locations and monsters from the original. Wang Ling is about 2/3 done with the cut scenes, deaths and hidden deaths. We hope to have these done by year’s end. These are looking great- as is evidenced in the last update which shows the intro cut scene. Our animators have been taking the art, voice over and music from Rich Douglas and combining them into the scenes. They have also been working on rigging our 2D animations so that the creatures of Shadowgate come to life. Both of these tasks are very tedious but we are hoping we will have these complete by the end of the year as well!
Game Scripting - Game play for the ‘Master’ level of difficulty (more on this below) is completed and scripted. We are now in a continuous test and fix mode for any logic holes or incomplete interactions we run across. Additionally, we are adding sounds and animations to the puzzle logic as well scripting out the Tutorial screens.
Audio - We have recorded all the voice overs and Rich Douglas is hard at work composing scores for each of the cut scenes. The atmosphere this adds is truly epic! BTW, check out these new pieces of audio Rich put together for this update.
Here's an 9 minute score built from the cut scenes.
... and a fun death mash up featuring just a few of the ways you can hear yourself die :)
Once we achieve Alpha, we will incorporate all final assets and fully implement all the non-critical features and then build a Beta version. Our current plan is to reach Beta in January and then work specifically on bug fixing, performance testing and polishing with hopes of shipping on PC and Mac sometime soon after. We are working as fast as we can but we also want to make sure we give the areas that still need development enough time. There are quite a number of things on our Beta list but here are just a few of the major things we need to wrap before we can reach our Beta:
Stretch Goals - We have not only added our first stretch goal (The Towers) to the game but are including some of the second stretch goal (The Catacombs) as well! We felt that the Shadowgate experience needed to include a subset of what we envisioned for that second unfunded stretch goal.
Difficulty Levels - We are implementing difficulty levels in a way that makes the game accessible to all levels of players. Each of our levels: Apprentice, Adept, and Master, will have a unique game play experience that uses differing game scripts. These scripts range from simpler, more forgiving puzzles and game play to harder, more involved adventuring. This allows for an easier entry for first-time players while also including expanded versions of game play with more intricate puzzles for those who like their game play more challenging. Combined with changes to torch and overall quest times, this will offer three different play experiences.
Achievements - Shadowgate provides a unique set of challenges when supporting achievements; especially since we want to ensure any awards attained fit within our world. Whether you are trying to find every death or are attempting to play the game in the shortest time possible, you will be honored appropriately.
We remain committed to producing the highest quality product possible. We are sure that you will agree that the quality of the product warrants the additional time we'll take to finish the game!
As some of you may be aware by now, we have started shipping out another batch of rewards. We are bundling each backer's swag as efficiently as we can but because some rewards are drastically different in sizes (posters and boxes for example) we must do multiple shipments. So posters, card games, and shirts have been sent out domestically, but when we went to ship the same package internationally, we ran into a snag - the weight x dimension skyrocketed shipping prices five fold. So, posters are being sent separately for our international friends, with the card games and shirts coming in another package or later in a bundle with the boxed games (if that is what you have ordered).
And speaking of boxed games... we got an awesome suggestion from one of our backers (Petr!) to number the commemorative edition boxes for collectability’s sake - so we are sending that finalized design to the printers this week.
Other Campaigns - If you are itching to find some other Kickstarter campaigns that could use your help, why not check these out?
- Deathfire: Ruins of Nevermore - A single player RPG
- The Mandate - A cool-looking space opera/strat
- Super Roman Conquest - A 3D scroller/strat
- Obduction - The latest adventure from the Cyan team
We want to thank everyone for their continuing support. During this season we are truly grateful that you believe in what we are doing and have stood by us during its development.
Karl and the Zojoi Team