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Journey through unforgiving dungeons in this 90's inspired action-adventure, where a young hero rises to prevent a war of the elements.
Journey through unforgiving dungeons in this 90's inspired action-adventure, where a young hero rises to prevent a war of the elements.
3,359 backers pledged $73,470 to help bring this project to life.

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Summer heat, begone!

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I never thought this update would take a month to be posted but it did, and the reasons why are legion. However, I am here to bring you good news, possibly followed by even more good news.

 

1) The GDD that I set out to write properly took way too long, but it's done - or at least in a decent enough state so that anyone that reads it can understand what's going on with the game, the story, the characters and everything inbetween. Right now the whole document fits on 31 pages, with about 25 pages of pure text. It's quite the thing and I am ultimately proud of it.

Before you ask: no, I cannot share it with you. It contains major spoilers. It is THE Game Design Document after all, so stop asking to see it. I know you might not share it but let's be honest.. I would have to kill you once you're done reading it. It represents four (4) years of my life. I hope you can understand that.

2) We have received a couple of other offers from publishers or people willing to get involved in the video game industry by helping Midora. I still don't have names for you unless I get a definitive answer from one of them, which should happen soon now that the GDD has been sent (after signing NDAs of course).

3) A lot happened this Summer, and working on the GDD for so long (writing and rewriting it so many times) made me realize that I could write a lot more updates and talk about Midora, even though it wouldn't fit here most of the time. I, as a developer and game designer, have a lot going on in my mind but also in my life. The past two months have been hell for me because I had to write this document which holds everything I ever thought about, for a project I am still very passionate about.. and yet I doubted myself. I went through a quick phase of depression which is something I have never experienced before. It was scary.

I played a lot of video games to escape reality and my work, even though my notes were literally one alt+tab away. I've decided to reopen my personal blog to talk about all this while remaining 100% honest and open to discussion. It's still under construction and should pop up as soon as I am done writing my first post (which is quite lengthy). Summer heat is gone (at least in France) and this whole period of working so hard on a single document is over. Most of the stress I experienced is gone, which is why it feels really good to be back in shape and determined to accomplish greatness. Epic Minds and the rest of the team still owes you (yes, YOU!) so much. Hopefully what I'm going to say below will bring a smile to your face.

4) On the subject of websites: I am back working on the personal page for each kickstarter backer. As you probably know, the Steam Early Access version of Midora has been "cancelled". We still have plans to release a demo of the game at some point. But first, let's talk about game copies.

At some point last year, every backer that was eligible for a copy (or more) of the game was asked to confirm which copy of the game they wanted as well as possible add-ons. The resulting database was a complete mess and copies were handled somewhat poorly. It is possible to fix this mess by researching exactly what operations were done on the whole thing (apologies if this gets too complex already), but my skills have changed quite a bit in one year (for those who don't know: I am primarily a web designer / developer).

With the upcoming backers page, there is an easy solution to this: ALL backers (even people who pledged $1) will be added on the Humble Store and be able to download the demo of the game once it comes out. The demo will, of course, not be updated to become the final game. It will remain what it is: a demo. All backers will be able to pick their game copy on the backers page and change it as many times as they want as long as the version they pick (and the copy previously picked) is not out yet. Here's a working example:

  • You picked a PS4 version of the game.
  • You switch to PC.
  • You switch to XB1.
  • The PC version came out!
  • You switch to PC. You cannot switch anymore (the page will assume you redeemed your key).

Feel free to tell me what you think about this new system. It should give everyone the chance to get the copy that they want, even if they screw up, and gives me the opportunity to start a fresh new database that will hold backers information in a way that makes sense this time. I want to do this properly. 

5) This is Aurora

As revealed on Facebook and Twitter, her name is Aurora but her identity is a secret. We hope you appreciate the character for now. We might reveal her face in a month or two!

Aurora
Aurora

6) Tempest is coming

I'm going to leave you with this. This is a work in progress, first sketch freshly delivered by Giorgos this morning. You have no idea how excited I am about this new character we've been working on for so long. His name is Tempest.

Tempest
Tempest

See you all in the next update, hopefully moving forward with a publisher deal!

-Mhyre

Short update

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Hello,

I know you have all been waiting for news for quite some time and while it is true that I should have updated everyone on the matter, the fact remains that I had to concentrate on my own job. Nothing's done yet, but I am now willing to update you on what is going on with our lives and the game itself.

1) No, we did not cancel the game or pause development again...

.. but the game's development has gotten very slow, that I can't deny. And there's a very good reason for this: we are working with several developers / publishers that would possibly fund / produce the game as well. A little over three weeks ago, we've tweeted about our search for publisher / partner opportunities, and some folks have been incredibly helpful. It is now our job to , so we can finally work on this game without worrying ever again. We hope you can understand that.

2) We cannot tell you who we are working with...

... but we can tell you that the opportunities that we have right now are very, very exciting. I wish I could give you hints, but there is absolutely zero point in getting anyone hyped while there is still the possibility that this will fail. We are very hopeful, but there is still work to do. We have signed several NDA's so far and I am in the process of polishing the GDD (Game Design Document) for Midora. All of this takes a lot of time, time that we don't really have because we ran out of money. And that brings me to my third point..

3) Early Access is still in the works but will not be released on Steam.

There is still a whole lot of work to do on our tools and the engine, but the future still looks bright. Early Access on Steam on the other hand... not so much. Reality check: we've been trying for way too long, it's time to work on being able to complete the game some other way. Releasing EA on Steam would be detrimental to the game right now, but we were desperate enough to press the button... only we never thought we'd get such an amazing response on Twitter from folks willing to help and publishers alike.

We see the opportunities, they're here, which is why we decided to give up on Early Access for Steam. However, and mark my words: we did not forget about you guys, the kickstarter backers. Some of you have been here from the very beginning, and that makes us really proud of what we're doing. There will be a backers demo at some point, something that we can feel free to release without worrying too much about the reviews because nothing will be official. If we can get the help that we need, then you will be given much more than you expected.

Yes we are late on many things but better late than never, right? I would to apologize for the lack of communication, I have been a little carried away thinking all of this would take a little less time. I really thought we were close, but we need to be patient and work on what we have. I cannot wait to (hopefully) bring you the most exciting news ever.

-Mhyre

Midora needs you!

19 likes

Hello again!

Over the past few days, we've been looking to release Early Access on Steam. We were thinking of releasing it on thursday or friday, but doing that would be taking too many risks for the game. As you're probably aware, the Steam Summer Sale is here, and runs for 11 days. It would be insane to consider releasing Early Access when everyone else is looking to buy other games at very low prices, probably after saving up for a while. We cannot avoid the Steam Summer Sale entirely or even afford to release next month, but it seems like a good idea to wait at least a week before doing anything. Delaying just a little bit more also gives us time to prepare you for what's to come.

We did not send any press emails yet, mostly because we were too busy with completing Early Access itself. And because of the Steam Summer Sale (and E3!), getting a review or just a word about Midora on a major website is very unlikely.

So what exactly is the plan? Many thanks to Primož Vovk from Emberheart Games for pointing it out... YOU are the plan. There are about 2400 of you waiting to get a PC copy of the game (hopefully most of you are looking to run it on Windows, the Mac / Linux versions are not ready just yet), and that's a really nice number. How does that help us? It's actually quite simple.

By leaving a simple review on Steam about Early Access, you will be giving Midora a chance to jump into the "Popular Releases" section of Steam (hopefully!), giving us that much needed exposure and saving us from falling into the pit of forgotten games. Once we're there, sales should pick up and bring us some much needed cash, allowing us to hire more developers and artists, continue our progress and eventually release the gem everyone's looking to play.

We'd like to warn you about what to expect from Early Access. The first week will be a SLOW week. We did not implement everything we set out to implement, so it's mostly a bunch of levels. The gameplay will be slow and the controls won't be as responsive as you might expect. We did what we could, but our engine is in need of some serious upgrades. We are mostly looking to get that first impression from everyone, but also need a lot of information about the performances of the game on various machines. Once we have that, and assuming sales are picking up, we'll start working on v2 of the epicEngine and our tools, which thankfully shouldn't take long (about two weeks). This also gives more time to the artists to complete some more work on the game until we push a big content update, where everyone should be satisfied with where the game is going.

Whatever the case: leave us a review, just a word. Each review is like one more point that will overall help the game. Good or bad, be honest about what you think of the game, whatever state it is in and what you expected. We did warn you, but you have the right to be disappointed! If you have any issue with the game, please contact us any way you can, we're here to help! We need to know about everything you're experiencing with the game, if it's working or not and what is happening when you do X or Y.

Don't expect other players to send us the information, do it yourself! It doesn't matter if we hear the same thing over and over from everyone, that will only make it more critical for us, and that's what Early Access is for! Tell us what's wrong so we can fix it, and we'll thank you for your involvement.

There's another update on Monday, with screenshots. Yup!

Logo, Art Direction, Streams

18 likes

Hello!

Nevermind the "Next update: wednesday" from last update. I should have known we would have much more exicting things to talk about on Sunday. How about a new logo preview for the game?

After many, many, many attempts (close to a hundred?) to create a new logo for Midora, Giorgos has managed to create a pretty interesting concept, inspired by logos from Final Fantasy and Legend of Mana / Sword of Mana, where something is illustrated behind the title. We have been stuck on the Inferno's symbol for quite a while and didn't know exactly how to place it, how it would fit, what texture...

Well, why not add the Inferno himself to the logo then? After all, the title of the first game comes from him!

Work in progress
Work in progress

 However, we are not going to add a gradient to texture the Inferno! Right now, the inspiration will come from Zelda's Phantom Hourglass logo, which looks really colorful and simple. Have a look!

Art Direction

Over the past few days, I've been thinking about how long and complex Midora really needs to be. After testing the game some more in a couple of new levels for Early Access, I felt the controls and animations didn't feel that responsive, so I proceeded to compare them to the games that inspired Midora. I noticed the difference almost immediately. We are making a modern but retro-inspired game for PC and consoles.. but are we trying too hard? After all, the entire game is done in pixel art, and that in itself already takes a lot of time and effort. We have experienced artists in the team, but does that mean we should push everyone and everything to the limit? Probably not.
 

After a much needed discussion, the whole team agreed. We are now looking to create shorter, simpler animations that will make the gameplay more responsive, more enjoyable. It's not an easy thing to explain, but we are definitely thinking about improve all that for Early Access and the game in general. If done right, and after setting new standards and goals, the production time for the first game could be reduced by a few months!

Streams

I don't have much to say about that, but they are definitely coming! If you've read the previous update, then you know all about me and my anxiety issues. Those issues are now, for the most part, solved. Web stream, coding stream, level design, music, pixel art streams, you name it... they're coming, starting next week! More on that in the next update.

You may now raise the hype meter.
-Mhyre

Backers Page, Webdev stream, Cloudview

17 likes

Hello again,

As I've mentioned in the previous update, I am working on a completely new page for you, kickstarter backers, where you will get exclusive news on the game (before we post it here), check the info we have on you, upload a file if you need to work with us, leave us notes and even chat with us!

So what's it look like? It's not completely done yet but, after two days of work, here's a preview of what I have so far:

Work in progress
Work in progress

 This is obviously a work in progress, but progress has been smooth so far. I have a question for you now! If you've joined the team during the twitch livestream last week, you've probably noticed that I had an anxiety attack, which is something that has never happened to me before. I can usually talk just fine but had no idea what was going on in my mind this time. This is something I really want to work on because I want you guys to know me a little more, I want to be as friendly and open as possible.

As a result, I've decided to do a stream on my own... but only if that's something enough people would be interested in. I am currently focusing on the kickstarter backer page, but this isn't something that should take too long to do. If you would like to see me work and talk about web development, well.. vote here!

Once the backer page is up, you'll have plenty more to read. The world map (Everest Island) will be there for you to see. Some location names will be added each week. All locations will get a full description to stimulate your imagination!

I'll leave you with an excerpt from Cloudview's description:

Cloudview is a rare place who used to be permanently graced by the sunlight and known for selling the best pieces of cloud in the world. The city was built on top of the Diamond Peak, making it the perfect place to farm clouds. But the winds have changed since the Inferno began to roar again, poisoning the sky with its smoke. Pure pieces of cloud now get more expensive by the day, and no one knows if the sun will ever pierce the skies again. Cloudview's inhabitants are also getting sick, and it is only a matter of time before the..

Next update: Wednesday. See you then!

-Mhyre