Greetings, Sorcerers and Sorceresses! We’re back, and we’re ringin’ the bell.
We’ve definitely been grinding away and prioritizing work on the game, which is why it’s been a while between updates!
General Progress on the Game
We’re moving along with getting the backend in place, crucial features like the merchant system are coming together. Iginor now has a functioning economy!
We’re still tweaking various aspects of the merchant system, including items that D’arc can buy and sell, so that it stays interesting and adds to the replay value. (Because doesn’t it feel like a letdown to have realized you just accumulated a massive pile of wealth in-game, but have nothing cool to spend it on?)
We’re also further refining the combat system (based on the feedback we received of our last demo build, which backers can download from the private backer forum) and have scripted in 90% of the monsters and they can now be fought. Although we have yet to code all of their AI and attack/avoid/defend patterns, the bestiary is filling out nicely!
We’ve also been designing and implementing the likenesses of our wonderful backers. The two Supreme Archmage combat sparring opponents are being animated and programmed as we speak and we’ve got a pretty diverse cast of extras! Iginor is starting to bustle and the Mage’s Tower is filling up, too. Some of you are even clogging up the local tavern. We did notice that a few folks who pledged at the $150 Augurer Tier and the $400 Evoker tier haven’t sent us their photos and preferences for their sprite’s occupation yet (or in the case of the former, a good reference photo for their severed head that will be on display.) We’ll be going through the list of backers to contact and hit you up if we still don’t have your likeness on file.
There’s also a handful of folks at the $20 Apprentice tier who didn’t supply their addresses to receive stickers, we’ll be PM-ing you if you haven’t pinged us back after seeing this.
If anybody is interested, there are still two slacker backer vacancies for the $5k “Supreme Archmage” tier if you’d like to become an in-game combat opponent (see our Kickstarter tier for details on what you get at that level). It’s not too late to sign up for the Training Hall if you want to be a Fire or Water Mage combatant that the player can fight! If anyone’s keen on being immortalized in the game code and snagging one of the two remaining Supreme Archmage tiers, please contact us via the Kickstarter messaging system or via e-mail.
A Mid-Year’s Resolution
Firstly, we feel it’s dire to mention that beta testing definitely won’t be taking place as originally expected in the campaign: since the entire game definitely won’t get released in February; it’s official.
Since you, our awesome backers, really came through for us when we ran the campaign, we put some content back into Mage’s Initiation that had been taken out once we saw we’d definitely have the means to do so. Then, additional areas and quests that were made possible with the surplus funding but not originally slated to be in the game came next. Ergo, a later release than we originally thought we’d make if we just scraped past the minimum as we didn't want to take blasting past our goal as a given.
We want to deliver the most epic experience possible, an epic experience that is also free from bugs and game-breaking glitches. Hence, we’re now unsure as to when the game will be released but it definitely won’t be February 2014. We’ll do our best to keep you in the know of the game’s progress, and keep things going at a steady pace!
Then in the interests of quality assurance, current technological standards, and getting the game released in a decent timeframe, we recently made a definitive decision to forgo square aspect ratio resolution in favor of Widescreen (16:10) resolution only. This is primarily because square aspect ratio was still somewhat the norm when development began several years back. However, since that time, widescreen format has become the de facto standard (especially for compatibility on smartphones and tablets) and we quickly realized we’d be doubling-up on a phenomenal amount of work and beta testing just to release two versions of the same game on various platforms. Our development plan wasn’t shaping up to be practical at all, so we decided to simplify it by focusing on a resolution that will give us the best mileage on all platforms that we intend to release Mage’s Initiation on. Changing to 16:10 resolution will also result in better mobile device compatibility, better performance, a speedier development time, characters will appear larger on-screen, and a smaller file size.
Yes, this does mean that 80 pixels will be cropped from the top/bottom of the screen and that some details in those vistas will be truncated – but the task of re-arranging all of the backgrounds for 16:10 widescreen format is in the very talented hands of artist John Paul Selwood. He’s making sure that each resized screen will pack a visual punch in such a way that the resolution shift will appear seamless and won’t really be noticed.
Having said that, backers at the appropriate tier levels will still get to see the full, uncropped background artwork in the hardcover art book.
Speaking of Rewards…
If you pledged at the $50 Spellbinder or $70 Shaman tier, you’re entitled to receive a digital copy of Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman’s Mine game and digital soundtrack. You might be wondering why we haven’t sent those out yet, considering the game’s been released for some time.
It’s because we’re putting the finishing touches on the enhanced edition, which brings many improvements to the game based on popular feedback. The key features being brand new 2D animated cutscenes and a new Al Emmo protagonist voiceover! Anyone who has previously purchased a copy from Himalaya Studios will also be given a free upgrade.
Since we want our backers to experience the best version of the game, we’ve opted to hold back on distributing it until the new edition is ready. Progress is coming along very well and the game is mere days away from beta testing. Expect it soon!
And if you pledged to receive physical goodies… have we got news for you!
Our resin figure supplier has been extremely busy this summer, getting these fantastic-looking likenesses of our cast of characters into mass production upon having the samples tweaked to perfection. Since pictures say a thousand words, just take a look below.
Strof, Redcap Goblin Leader
Flyterian Chief Hawkain
Varner, Fire Mage Mentor
Bort, Earth Mage Mentor
We’re expecting them to be stateside around Thanksgiving or shortly afterward since shipments of figures this size need to arrive by ocean container. That said, the Army of D’arcness safely arrived last month!
2,000 resin figures in condensed format!
Ready for casting action!
It would be impossible to look at each and every one of them since there are about 2,000, but virtually all of the figures we’ve inspected thus far have met our high expectations, and we can’t wait to disperse the numerous D’arcs to your eager hands.
Since we got a few messages about belated pledge-upping upon being tantalized by the sample pictures seen on our Facebook page, not to worry, we got a Donate button!
If you up your pledge, we'll update your info to ensure you get the relevant figures when shipping time comes!
The spellbook pages also finished printing last month, and they look awesomely arcane and old-school just like we were aiming for. Eriq Chang’s design work truly shines here!
For yet even more retro goodness, the cloth maps of Iginor have also completed mass production and will be shipped to us tomorrow. We’re expecting them to arrive next week. The sample we received looks terrific.
Since we still have other rewards to be manufactured before we’re ready for fulfillment of the higher tiers, we’re not ready to send out backer surveys just yet. We got quite a few PMs for address changes and the like—we will let you know in another update when we’re ready to survey your tier level. Hopefully, it will be very soon depending on how production is doing for the other swag items!
As many are aware, Mage’s Initiation has been treading water in Greenlight ever since we launched the Kickstarter campaign. We moved up 20% in ranking after 100 games were recently greenlit and are now sitting at 60% to the top 100. It’s heartening progress, but we still need to see much more. Many great adventure games have made it, yet ours hasn’t! Getting into the top 100 would vastly improve our chances of being Greenlit, so we’re calling on our incredible backers to help us out once more and apply that same impressive initiative that got our Kickstarter funded!
Please give us a yes vote, click the “Favorite” button, and leave a comment. (Doing so will also make you eligible to win a Swag Everest pack!) You can also help by spreading the word to Steam-using friends, posting on forums, and social media. Not only will getting greenlit guarantee Steam keys for all backers, but getting onto the platform has become extremely vital for indie developers’ financial stability and vastly growing their audience, thus ensuring that old school point-and-click adventure games survive and continue to reach new players. We know we’ve got a great, rabid fanbase (in a good way), but we’re not sure that we’re reaching everybody possible. Let’s show Valve that adventure games are still in demand!
If you’re a Facebook user, you can “like” Himalaya Studios here. We often post information on Facebook about Mage’s Initiation and other games in development. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to be connected in real-time to our fans and backers, and to get feedback! We’d love to have all of you great people on board, so if Facebook is up your alley, give our page a like.
If you haven’t already, take a look at Phoenix Online’s episodic point-and-click thriller, Cognition! Episode 2 just came to iPad, Episode 4 is coming out in about 2 weeks, and they also recently got Greenlit after languishing in the system for a long time. Cognition revolves around FBI agent Erica Reed and a serial killer on the loose in Boston, and the twists and turns nascent to a good mystery. It features atmospheric cel-shaded sprites and hand-painted backgrounds, for that old school goodness we all know and love.
Conspirocracy is a point and click adventure game full of several possible paths, taking place in an alternate version of Toronto which is run by a despotic bureaucracy. You assume the role of David Poulson, a schoolteacher who finds his identity erased which results in shuffling to numerous government offices, Mexican restaurants, and who knows where else to get his life back! David is also voiced by Mage's Initiation backer and voice actor Edwyn Tiong, who also voiced Everette the exterminator in the enhanced version of Al Emmo coming out soon!
Plus, half of the proceeds from the campaign are going to the Foundation for Fighting Blindness, so your pledge also helps a worthy cause!
That’s about it for now. We’ll be updating you again when we have significant development news, and/or any other important announcements!
The Himalaya Studios Team