Year-end progress update
Hello War of Conquest backers!
Here's a quick update on how the game is coming along and what our future plans look like.
The first few weeks of alpha testing have made possible a lot of bug fixes, game balance adjustments, and new features, to create a smoother, more fun gameplay experience. There's still a good deal of refining left to do, but we're well on our way.
The Orb of Destiny Kickstarter rewards have arrived from the 3D printer, and will be sent out to backers in January. January should also bring the start of open beta, when the game will be open to players beyond the Kickstarter backers for the first time. There's still a lot to be done before then though, including an overhaul of the rebirth system, changes to the battle UI, moderator tools, and more. We're also in the early stages of Steam integration, which when complete will open up War of Conquest to Steam's enormous base of gamers.
Those of you who have played War of Conquest lately may have noticed the big empty squares inside the main buttons on the left side of the screen. Those spaces are intended to be filled with illustrations that represent the function of each of those buttons, and add some visual flavor to the game's UI. I thought some of you might find interesting a little "behind the scenes" look at the process of creating those illustrations.
First, I drew up some rough sketches of what I wanted for each button's illustration. For the Nation panel, I imagined a flag or banner hanging gloriously between two stone columns. The Quests panel would feature a treasure map pinned to a table by a dagger, and some explorer's cartography tools. The Advances panel would show some research/experimental setup; it would need to capture the various technology types seen in the game by incorporating magical, technological and biological elements. The Options panel could show some sort of uniformed scientist or soldier at a mysterious control panel, that doesn't look like it quite belongs to any specific era in human history. The Messages and Connect panel images are a little tricky, since they both represent some form of connection or communication. I chose to depict advanced satellite communication for the Connect panel, while turning to the game's Psionic elements for a representation of some kind of telepathic communication for the Messages panel.
Next I put out a job description and went through dozens of applications. It was very difficult to narrow down the list of candidates, because it included a number of amazing artists. The choice came down to who had past work showing they could bring a sense of magic, mystery and interest to scenes like this, and could compose images that would look good even when scaled down to the size of a button.
Then the illustrator got to work based on my sketches and descriptions. A few of the images went through two or three iterations of revisions. The illustrator uses a two step process of first 3D modeling some of the elements in the scene, and then illustrating in 2D on top of the 3D renders.
For example, here is the 3D render of the satellite seen in the Connect panel illustration:
And here's the final Connect panel illustration, after the 2D elements have been added:
While the Connect panel image depicts high-tech space technology, the Quests panel harkens back to a very different era in War of Conquest's technology progression:
The Nation panel illustration will work a little bit differently. While the flag in the center of the image has a white stripe down the center, I've used an image processing program to make that central stripe transparent, while preserving its shading. This way, I'll be able to place a solid colored square behind this image in the game, and set the square to the color that the game's player has chosen for their nation. The result will be that the central stripe of the flag will appear in each player's own nation's color, without the need to create separate images for each color variation.
If you've made it this far, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of just one of the many processes that go into making a game like War of Conquest.
Thanks again for all your support. Warm wishes to each of you for happy holidays and a bright new year!