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Enter a beautiful world haunted by its fateful past and join a party of unlikely heroes on their journey to rescue Amon's uncle from an ancient cult and uncover the secret of the Earthkey.
Enter a beautiful world haunted by its fateful past and join a party of unlikely heroes on their journey to rescue Amon's uncle from an ancient cult and uncover the secret of the Earthkey.
4,506 backers pledged $178,193 to help bring this project to life.

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Light at the end of the tunnel

Posted by Snowcastle Games (Creator)
38 likes
Underwater Mile Station
Underwater Mile Station

In this update: 

  • Progression report
  • Alpha/Beta schedule 
  • XboxOne Certification Process 
  • GDC San Francisco 2016 
  • New team members

Progression Report
The team is working hard, really hard. Pretty much every evening as well as weekends in October, November and so far in December, one or more team members have been at their desk. After the bumpy October we are very happy to report great production speed throughout November! Lots of new content is in and I’m very proud of what the team has accomplished.

However, we failed for this same reason to publish a dev report in December and instead took a few days off to recharge our batteries.

Alpha/Beta Schedule
We have gotten great feedback from the alpha! Thank you to everyone who played it and gave us the much valued feedback.

We are in the process of adding the rest of the content, and with the current speed, it looks like we will be done with this in January. Because it would slow us down if we were to do an alpha update before then, we are just running full steam ahead and going straight to the beta.

XboxOne Certification Process This week we have started the road towards certification on the XboxOne. It’s a process that we have never been through so it seems a bit overwhelming at first. Having read a lot of the documentation, I am slightly optimistic about doing beta testing on the XboxOne - It certainly is possible. Not promising anything though.

Suvia
Suvia

GDC 2016 San Francisco  We will be attending GDC Play this year March 14-18th. If you are planning to go to GDC and would like to meet us and test the game, please let us know.

New Team Members
Since we've last updated you guys, we've made two new additions to our team here at Snow Castle:

  • Cameron Jarvis - Senior Audio Engineer 
  • Andrew Potter - Junior Marketing and Public Relations Manager 

After much back and forth we have hired a very experienced and efficient audio engineer: Cameron Jarvis. He will ensure that all things audio will work well in Earthlock. Cameron is working from Montreal in Canada. So far, he has proven to be very dedicated and self sufficient. The team is very happy to have him onboard. He has his work cut out for him though, as there is a lot for him to do and little time left. 

We have also hired a new junior marketing and public relations manager: Andrew Potter. He will be handling our marketing campaign leading up to our planned release in April. He will also be helping out with community management answering any incoming questions for our backers.

“I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to work with such a dedicated team, and feel very lucky to be marketing a product that I know will be a great success.” - Andrew.

Keeping things consistent, Andrew is Canadian as well who is living here in Norway. With these two new additions to our team we are getting ready to wrap up production and get the game out there!

Thanks for reading!
-Bendik

Alpha launching today!

Posted by Snowcastle Games (Creator)
42 likes
Zaber Tournament Plaza
Zaber Tournament Plaza

In this update: 

  • Progression report 
  • Expectation management
  • Alpha/Beta schedule 
  • Launch schedule

Dear patient backers,

We are super excited to invite the first group of backers to play the Alpha version of Earthlock! In a little while those of you who backed the alpha tiers, will receive an email with a link to your Steam key for Earthlock.

It will be handled through Humble Bundle so the link will take you there. Have the email you used when you backed us ready as that is the way we can connect your pledge level.

Benjo's shop - The Water Bucket
Benjo's shop - The Water Bucket

Progression Report 
We have had two major setbacks in October. First we had to upgrade Unity from 5.01 to 5.2 in order to launch on XboxOne and PS4. There were also quite a few bugs in Unity 5.01 that we just could not get around. So after careful consideration we upgraded, reluctantly...

It is always scary to update any game engine software since you never know how much is going to break. To sum it up, we probably lost some 10-14 days doing this. Every scene had to be light baked again. We even had some terrain mesh disappearances to mention a few of the issues. On top of this, we had some other snags with animations that set us back a few days.

Expectation management 
We have done a lot of internal testing and we feel the game is now stable enough to start inviting external testers to check it out. The alpha contains roughly the first 30% - 35% of the game and will take approximately 3-4 hours to play through.

On the Kickstarter campaign we wrote that we wanted to make a non-linear story. The story is not completely linear at this point, but we have chosen not to fork the story for now. We will have side quests, we will split the player party at some point, but that does not really count as non-linear in our book. So expectations for the non-linear multiple branching story might have to be adjusted a bit.

The team has worked to the limits of their abilities to catch up with the problems that have arisen! It’s been lots and lots of late evenings and many weekends working hard to bring the game to you. We are all somewhat tired, but at the same time really excited and a little scared to see what kind of feedback we will be getting. It’s show time!

Ramoo Swamp Battle
Ramoo Swamp Battle

Alpha/Beta schedule
So Alpha is going out today! We have the build ready, the Steam keys are ready and we are just waiting for our friends over at Humble Bundle to distribute them to our alpha backers for us.

Beta will commence as soon as we are ready for it. No fixed date, but we are super eager to get there asap, so rest assured that we will be working as hard as possible to get to the beta-stage fast.

Zaberium Temple
Zaberium Temple

Launch Schedule
We are still targeting the March/April window for the first console platform. It looks like we will start with XboxOne. We estimate that we will be able to launch on PS4 the month after that maybe Steam and or WiiU at the same time if we can.

Thats it for now!
-Bendik

Preparing for Alpha now!

Posted by Snowcastle Games (Creator)
39 likes

Greetings awesome backers! It’s time for our monthly progression update.

In this update: 

  • Progression report 
  • Alpha/Beta schedule 
  • Launch schedule

1. Progression report 

With more people on the team, we have had to convert our meeting room into a workspace. We still need to have production meetings from time to time, but that is now done in the cafe on the first floor. The team has been working two of four weekends this last month. Morale and motivation is solid.

Since May we have been producing the game content in chronological order. This month we are somewhat delayed according to our schedule. At the same time, we have completed all the monsters and characters for the game so for that we are a little ahead of schedule on that part of the production. This makes it a bit hard to evaluate if we are in fact behind schedule or not.

Gameplay mechanics nearing completion: Thomas is completing the work on combat abilities, skills and monster balancing this week. This is a big milestone since this is the core gameplay that is being completed. This also means that we can begin to properly test and balance the gameplay - especially the combat.

We still have work to do to complete all the visual assets that is needed to fill all the scenes with beautiful artwork, but this is stuff we can add and polish while the mechanics of the game is being tested.

 Xbox One

We now have the game running on Xbox One. It seems to run fine for the most part, but there are quirks that we need to iron out.

2. Alpha/Beta schedule (Steam distribution) 

With the core gameplay completed we can finally begin to do some testing! So next week will be used to prepare for alpha testing. We have begun the work on getting the game up and running through Steam. This seems to be the easiest solution for distribution for now.

Once we are ready, we will contact our Alpha tier backers (or above) and invite them to some play testing.

Even though we might be able to do some beta testing through one or more of the consoles, it looks like we won’t have capacity to maintain beta builds on all four planned platforms for now.

3. Launch schedule 

This is still the same as mentioned in the previous update: We plan to submit the game for certification at the end of November. Launch is planned in the ideal launch window which is February to April 2016.

That's it for now!
Best regards,
Snowcastle Team

_________________________________________________________________________

Shout out

Battle Chasers: Nightwar is an RPG that we think looks very promising!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1548028600/battle-chasers-nightwar/description

You did it - again!!

Posted by Snowcastle Games (Creator)
55 likes

We are so proud of you, our backers! 
Yet again you rallied and helped us win $13,500!

But not only that - we beat 31 other awesome indies. That is fantastic PR too. 

As I ended the previous update with, it proves we have the most active and best backers of them all!

We’ll put the money to good use and get more art and sound for the game!

Lumia's Garden
Lumia's Garden

In this update: 

  • Progression report 
  • New team members 
  • Alpha/Beta schedule 
  • Launch schedule 
  • Finances
Owl Tide Museum
Owl Tide Museum

1. Progression report

Tons of more monsters, animations and characters are making their way into the game. It’s really fun to see the weekly changes. Our outsourcing partner Original Force are still delivering high quality, albeit a little behind schedule. It’s not really a problem yet and we’d rather have high quality work.

Our new 3D environment artist, Matthew has gotten into the way we work now so we are getting lots of new environments into the game as well.

Eiko is working on several new scores.

Thomas is still working on combat abilities, skills and monster balancing, Eivind and Kenny are implementing the code to support this.

Frits and Fredrik are pouring out cool textures for the characters and monsters as well as concept art for unfinished areas. It is quite obvious that the Artbook is going to be pretty thick when we are done.

Magnus and Frits has made some minor changes to the story, tweaking the experience for the better. Fredrik is working on implementing the story changes into the game.

Bendik is working with publishers, investors and recruitment.

Owl Tide Entrance
Owl Tide Entrance

2. New Team Members

Matthew Wells (Senior 3D Environment Artist) who have been working remotely for a month had his first day in-house yesterday. Matthew comes from Frontier Developments and before that Rare. He has previously been working on Banjo-Kazooie, The Outsider, Kinect Disneyland, Lost Winds, Kinect Star Wars, Coaster Crazy and more. Senior talent as he is, he hit the ground running and is currently cranking out amazing environment art. We’re super happy to have him in the office with us!

Øystein Anthonsen (Game Designer Intern) is fresh out of university with a bachelor in Game Design. He will be helping out on internal QA, level design and set dressing. When we first read his application we already got a good feeling he’d be a great fit. He’s got talent, is incredibly motivated, and the humour clicked right off the bat. We’re very happy to have him on board!

Nikola Kuresevic (Game Designer Intern) is also fresh out of university with a bachelor in Game Design. He will be working alongside Øystein on QA, level design and set dressing. We’d already met Nikola a few times at Oslo game dev hangouts that happen regularly over here, and knew he was a great guy to have around the office. Turns out Øystein and Nikola went through school together so they’re already in good sync too!

Matthew working on Owl Tide Street
Matthew working on Owl Tide Street

3. Alpha/Beta Schedule 

As mentioned in the progress report above, we are getting a lot of stuff into the game and it looks like we will be on that path for the rest of August. After that, we will probably spend a few weeks with internal testing while we also get the game integrated with Steam for Alpha/Beta distribution through Steam. So according to this schedule it looks like we will begin with the backer testing in mid to end of September.

4. Launch Schedule 

We will definitely need at least one to two months of beta testing before we can submit the game for console certification. So this is scheduled to happen early to late November.

Depending on when we are certified, which is out of our control, we will be able to launch the game around Christmas at the earliest. This is a bad time marketing wise to launch an unknown indie title. As we learned from our first attempt of running a Kickstarter: Timing is really important! Good games have tanked due to bad launch strategies and we are trying to learn from that.

The ideal launch window for us is February to April 2016. This will give us good time to polish and execute a well planned launch.

Monster Mushroom
Monster Mushroom

5. Finances 

With an increasing number of developers on board, lots of professional outsourcing, and an original launch planned for March 2015 financing has been a constant issue. Fortunately we have been very successful at dealing with this issue and have been raising funds each time needed thanks to the successful Kickstarter campaign.

It might shock you to learn that we now have a total budget just below $2 million. Monthly cost of running the studio is now around $60k-$70k. That is with salaries for all team members well below market value! For people who don’t run a company it might be surprising how much money that is not salaries: Office Rent, power, internet, hardware, software licenses, tax and insurance, to mention a few.

We have gotten another grant from the Norwegian Film Institute in May and several new investors on board. The game is now fully funded, but some well trusted industry veterans have advised us to add some extra elements to the game. In order to do this we are currently doing one last investment round of funding. For the first time in the company history, we have investors coming to us asking to invest. Times are changing.

From left: Matthew, Eivind, Øystein, Bendik, Thomas. (Fredrik behind camera)
From left: Matthew, Eivind, Øystein, Bendik, Thomas. (Fredrik behind camera)

The atmosphere at Snowcastle is full of optimism, excitement and hard work.

-Snowcastle Team

Help Earthlock win $13.500

Posted by Snowcastle Games (Creator)
28 likes

It's a bit over time for the monthly update, but instead giving you a dev update this time, we are going to ask you to help win this competition.

Indie Game Month

The game website N4G has a competition where one of the 32 selected indie games can win the grand price of $13.500. The winner is the one that gets the most votes, so you backers can actually make a huge difference! The extra money will be added to the development budget and help us increase the quality of the game.

Here is how to do it:

  • Go to this site: www.n4g.com
  • Login/register if you have not a login (This takes 1-2 minutes)
  • Vote for us. We are the indie dev of day 19

The competition lasts until August 10th, so on the 11th, we will post a new update and let you know how it went.

May the game with most helpful fans win!
-Snowcastle Team

But wait, we can't have a KS update without any visual elements!
Here is a litte preview on one of the many areas that we are working on right now.

Temple Dungeon
Temple Dungeon