Here’s an update on Shadowgate from all fronts…
‘Under the hood’ Unity work continues as our awesome programmers tackle two main pieces. First, the UI elements (commands, load/save, inventory/spellbook, map, textbox, etc.) are being tied to the main game logic code. Second, they are tying the XML game scripts (that contains all game, text and player interactions) into the same codebase. This is an important phase and we want to make sure this underlying code work is given the time it deserves.
With the exception of a few bits, the entire castle and surrounding areas are laid out and the design for all puzzles is complete. We are excited to be adding new, never before seen locations throughout the game and within the promised Towers Expansion. As the programming framework solidifies, we have begun scripting (text, object interaction, etc.) the first set of rooms using the PAC (point and click) scripting tools.
Rich is pretty close to finishing the score for the game. His approach to dynamic tracks has been working very nicely and his new compositions are epic! I will post more about this and some exciting news about the soundtrack in the next update.
As I mentioned last month, we’ve gone to a 16:9 perspective to make the game more immersive (and to fit your PC/Mac screen nicely). Chris Cold continues to develop stunning room art for us and we continue to drive him crazy as we add additional puzzles and objects. Aaron is pretty close to being done with the UI (he is working on the map and load/save bits now) before moving on to particle effects. Speaking of...
The process of getting to a UI that we like has taken some time. We have gone through a number of iterations as well as read your comments in previous updates. In the end, we decided that the best route for the UI was not only the most intuitive and easiest to use but also the most straightforward. So, here’s where things stand:
- Full Screen environment: As mentioned earlier, the size has increased to 16:9, allowing us to show even more of the environments and make it more immersive.
- Command system: We original envisioned that the commands (as icons) might spin up around an object like a wheel (ala Paper Mario) and only actions related to that object would be available. However, like in the original, we have decided to have all commands on screen at all times and in the same location. This accomplishes a number of things. First, simply put, the game is driven by using commands and they should always be accessible. Second, it allows for more exploratory flexibility since you can choose any command and try it on any object. Third, there were many cases where the command wheel would appear awkwardly on screen or come up over other objects. This obscured the game screen and would be a detriment to the game play. Finally, to avoid any confusion, we decided to use words rather than icons to be clear about what each command does. Now, that said, the commands can be minimized, providing an even better view of the room and will have keyboard shortcuts.
- Text box: The game is heavy on the narrative so the text box is available at all times. It is scalable - which allows more text to be read should you wish - and can also be minimized.
- Torches: Since torches play an important role within the game of Shadowgate, we provide a torch onscreen so you can tell at a glance how much light is left to see by.
- Inventory/Spellbook: The Inventory/Spellbook is now available as an overlay on the main screen and uses the same commands along the top of the UI. Want to use an object? Open the inventory, click on an object, click Use and then select an object in the inventory or in the room. Pretty simple. This keeps the interactions straight-forward and intuitive. Tabs at the top allow for easy toggling between game objects and spells and if the commands require further action, you will be prompted in the text box.
- Game Options: Also available as an overlay by selecting the gears to the right of the command system.
- Map: The map screen allows you to see where you are, where you've been, and what you've seen along the way. It also allows you to quickly navigate through known environments.
- Thyself: This illustrated representation of your character (Jair) changes based on game circumstances.
- Yorick: This character is introduced right away in the game and will be your companion throughout the adventure. Yorick will provide important commentary and information that may be important in your quest. He will also provide hints if needed.
- Back Arrow: Finally, there is an arrow on screen that allows you to move to the exit behind you.
Rewards have started shipping! Because shipping is expensive, we are bundling as many rewards as possible. While some rewards won’t ship until the game does, we do want to get the others to you as soon as they are completed. If there is any problem with your shipment, please let us know via our email at email@example.com.
- Posters, t-shirts and card games: Posters have gone out to those who did not order t-shirts or the card game. The next shipment will be to the t-shirt or t-shirt/poster folks. After that, we will ship to the posters/card games or posters/card games/t-shirts folks. Whew! Quite the assortment of shipments!
- Card game: We are still working with Coleman Charlton to finish up the Quests of Shadowgate card game (10 play test sessions in) and once he’s happy with it, we will print the cards. Also, we are excited to announce that we have expanded the game from 54 cards to 71 to ensure quality play. Bonus!
- Staff of ages: Kenny Hudson has been working hard on the 18” staves. He is sculpting each by hand, giving each staff backer a unique piece with a unique stone. We will ship them as he completes them.
- Soundtrack: As soon as we finish the soundtrack we send out the download keys to the folks that got this one.
- Website Credits: These should go up next week.
Dave and Karl
p.s. We would be remiss not to post a new piece of music. Remember dying in Shadowgate? Sure you do! Here is the theme from the NES version. Below is Rich's orchestral update. Enjoy!
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Early Bird - INITIATE: The FINISHED SHADOWGATE GAME like you've never seen before via DIGITAL DRM-free download for Windows or Mac. Plus a five-pack of our favorite WALLPAPERS in tons of resolutions.Estimated delivery:
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INITIATE: The FINISHED SHADOWGATE GAME like you've never seen before via DIGITAL DRM-free download for Windows or Mac. Plus a five-pack of our favorite WALLPAPERS in tons of resolutions.Estimated delivery:
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NOVICE (Addition): We've decided to ADD a few more things to this digital tier! If you have already pledged to the Novice tier, you will get these rewards as well! If you want to pledge to the Novice tier, you can pledge to either $30 tier to get all the rewards. First, we're adding a 2014 digital wallpaper calendar "THE WORLD OF SHADOWGATE" in a boat load of resolutions. This 14 month calendar (going back to November of 2013) will feature the many fantastic locations outside the castle - all illustrated by Chris Cold. (NOTE: We will also provide each illustration without the calendar overlay for convenience.) Second, we are offering you a DIGITAL VERSION of the cloth MAP in many resolutions as well!Estimated delivery:
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NOVICE: An awesome tier featuring the digital, DRM-free, haunting Shadowgate SOUNDTRACK by composer extraordinaire Rich Douglas. You also get the 60 page DIGITAL BOOK "The Art of Shadowgate" illustrated by master painter Chris Cold. Your name will also be added to the Shadowgate website as an official backer! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:
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ACOLYTE: NOTE THAT THE SECOND $45 TIER IS NO LONGER VALID. The first reward is a series of exclusive commentary videos. These streaming and/or downloadable videos will walk you thru the game while the Zojoi team shares insights, notes and humorous stories from design to art to audio. It's a must have for players that like to know the inside stories behind the games' development. The second reward is a digital COMIC HINT/WALKTHRU featuring all the rooms within Shadowgate in illustrative form!Estimated delivery:
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APPRENTICE: Take this EPIC Shadowgate title on the go with your very own digital iOS or ANDROID TABLET version. Plus, your name PERMANENTLY etched digitally in the final game credits! And all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:
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Early Bird - ADEPT: The game ships in a never-to-be-made-again COLLECTORS BOX created specifically for displaying the game in all its glory. And what's inside? A retro CLOTH MAP of the Shadowgate world, of course! You'll also get a full-sized Shadowgate POSTER that will blow your mind! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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ADEPT: The game ships in a never-to-be-made-again COLLECTORS BOX created specifically for displaying the game in all its glory. And what's inside? A retro CLOTH MAP of the Shadowgate world, of course! You'll also get a full-sized Shadowgate POSTER that will blow your mind! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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Early Bird - ENCHANTER: You get the CARD GAME "Quests of Shadowgate", created specifically for the Shadowgate universe by MIDDLE EARTH Collectible Card game designer, Coleman Charlton. We'll also include EXCLUSIVE Jair and Lakmir cards that will NEVER be created again! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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ENCHANTER: You get the CARD GAME "Quests of Shadowgate", created specifically for the Shadowgate universe by MIDDLE EARTH Collectible Card game designer, Coleman Charlton. We'll also include EXCLUSIVE Jair and Lakmir cards that will NEVER be created again! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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DRUID: A cool, 60+ page SOFTCOVER BOOK "The Art of Shadowgate", featuring dozens and dozens of room and character illustrations to impress your friends. You also get the OFFICIAL backer T-SHIRT featuring the Shadowgate logo! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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MAGICIAN: We ship you an exclusive 18" STAFF OF AGES replica made of resin from master craftsman Kenny Hudson. You also get upgraded to the HARDCOVER version of "The Art of Shadowgate." You'll also get a LIMITED EDITION physical SOUNDTRACK from Rich Douglas! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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SORCERER: Love fantasy? Science Fiction? Artist Chris Cold will create a personal, original, DIGITAL ART COMMISSION just for you! Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:
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MAGUS: This is it! Be the envy of Shadowgate fans everywhere with a FULL-SCALE 72" STAFF OF AGES made of resin and featuring a beautiful blue calcite sphere (Other-worldly power sold separately). Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:
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WIZARD: Become one of the legendary CIRCLE OF TWELVE wizards featured in the game. You get to help name the wizard and create a back-story and skill set for this character. Your creation shall be featured in the library and other locations within the magical keep. Plus all previous rewards.Estimated delivery:
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ARCHMAGE: We'll FLY YOU OUT for a weekend with Shadowgate creators Dave Marsh and Karl Roelofs in beautiful Virginia. You'll get to help brainstorm future Shadowgate titles as well as play QUESTS OF SHADOWGATE with Coleman Charlton. We'll visit Jefferson's Monticello, play board games and enjoy hours of wiffle ball home-run derby in Dave's backyard. You get all this plus previous rewards. (Domestic backers only).Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)