An Update on Beta Testing
Now, you're probably fidgeting your idle RPG-desiring thumbs, saying to yourselves, "Hey, wasn't this Mages game supposed to be entering beta testing around this time of the year?" And to that, the answer is "Yes." The trouble is that our outlook was slightly more optimistic than this batch of stubborn combat bugs would allow, progress-wise. In fact, the combat bugs may as well have thrust a sturdy wooden staff in our faces and boldly shouted "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" To cut a long story short, we're still working daily (very hectically, I might add) on subduing the absolutely monstrous list of combat-related issues in this game! As of a week ago, there were approximately 260 entries remaining. That number is slowly starting to dwindle, but there are many cases where we fix one bug, and then 5 more spin-off bugs appear in its place! Ah well, good things take time.
To that end, we’ve brought an additional AGS programmer onto the development team to get through these issues at a faster rate, and to help keep us on track for getting the game out to you guys as soon as we feasibly can. Our new programmer is the talented James Spanos (AKA Dualnames) who is no stranger to AGS nor the adventure genre, having worked previously as the lead coder on Primordia and also on The Cat Lady. James is lending his talents to tracking down, solving, and polishing the many, many bugs in the Mage's battle system. We're now focusing on spell-specific bugs, and once they're done and dusted, we'll move onto monster-specific issues. Then finally, we'll tackle the remaining general combat issues. There's still quite a mountain of work in front of us, but over the past two weeks, James has already shortened the list considerably and has been very prompt in nipping those pesky "spin-off" issues in the bud, as soon as they appear.
While this has been happening, Morgan has been working on adding a canceled monster back into the game, and Jason has been linking more of the wastelands map together (which is almost complete now). A more "final" image of the game is now beginning to take shape, and in all honesty, we did consider pushing it out to beta this month, warts and all. Though in the end we had to decide against it, as the sheer amount of bugs being reported would have been overwhelming for us to handle… particularly when we're already aware of most of them, but have only been able to fix so many of them when already working at full capacity.
We know that you’re all chomping at the bit, eager to give the beta version of the game a shot! But at the moment, we don't want to jinx ourselves again by throwing another premature prediction out into the wild. So, let's see how well we can tame the combat bugs over the next month or so. Then we'll hopefully be able to give you guys a more accurate idea about beta testing in the next Kickstarter update.
All in all, squashing combat bugs (since the Chief Amphibian Officer unfortunately can’t just hop into Bitbucket) has been a fairly unexciting but necessary process to get this aspect of the game fully functional.
We’re sorry we don’t have more thrilling news to report on this front. But onward, we march!
Some Belated E3 Musings, and Other Upcoming Conventions
Rachel went to E3 out in Los Angeles in June, and it was a madhouse!
We missed the cutoff to get featured in the Indie Booth but hoping we can do so if E3’s in the cards for next year. Over 50,000 people attended and it’s a great way to meet various members of the press and the AAA sector. There were also really cool displays by the new Video Game History Museum that is opening in Texas and everything from Lego villages to cosplay contests and the countless afterparties, including at the ubiqutious Fig! It felt awesome to be included in that and have received praise for the mechanics, graphics, and storyline of Mage’s Initiation from both prominent indies as well as people in the AAA space.
It was also a great opportunity to meet people we’ve worked with for years and never got to meet yet!
If you’re on the East Coast or planning a visit, please check out A Video Game Con in Parsippany, NJ on September 19, Rachel will say hi to you. Himalaya is also getting a booth at Gameacon in Atlantic City November 19-22, it’s going to be a fun 4-day festival for devs and gamers alike!
Rachel is also going to be speaking on a panel about breaking into the business of indie games with Tim Train of Big Huge Games while at Gameacon, we’d love it if you could stop by if you’re attending!
General Progress Report
Here's our up-to-the-minute gauge of progress:
Writing & Design: 99.999999%
Background Artwork & Animations: 99%
Character Animations: 99%
Sound Effects: 80%
Adventure Game Programming: 98%
Combat System Programming: 97%
RPG/Stats/Equipment Programming: 95%
AGS Game Engine Assets & Stats
And here are the latest numbers for resources being used in Adventure Game Studio for Mage's Initiation:
Total sprites: 18226 / 30000
Sprite folders: 862
Total views: 770
Total GUIs: 71
Inventory Items: 300 / 300 (dynamic inventory system, we have over 300 items)
Dialog topics: 393 / 500
Reminder for "Book of Backers" Reward Form
This is just a reminder that if you pledged to the campaign at $20 (Apprentice tier) or higher, you can have your name appear in the Book of Backers in-game!
Most of you have already submitted the form with your requested names either in the original survey or via form. And for that, we thank you. However, there are still a few people who haven't filled out the form (or maybe just didn't see the e-mail?). In any case, if you backed the Mage's Initiation Kickstarter (or pledged via PayPal), at the $20 Apprentice tier or higher, please double-check your emails for our previous update containing the link to the reward form. It was sent out on April 25th, 2015.
If you didn't receive the "Book of Backers" reward form and believe you should have, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject like "Book of Backers Form" and let us know how you’d like your name to appear.
Al Emmo Now on the App Store!
Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine has finally been ported to iPad, iPhone, and iPad touch, and is now available in the App Store! The iOS version features a new verb-coin style interface with large icons for touch-screen devices, and is optimized for single finger taps. Text size has also been increased for easier readability on smaller screens.
(Note that Apple doesn't permit us to distribute free game copies to existing owners of the PC version. You would need to purchase it again if you wish to play the iOS version.)
As this is our first title on the App Store, reviews, likes, and ratings would be greatly appreciated. We hope you enjoy having Al Emmo in your pocket (or handbag, backpack, and wherever else you can fit him.)
Please show this awesome, American-made workout tool, LoopRW, some love!
And as the Seer's Sphere begins to fog over and the wand's wizardry begins to wane, we bid you fair tidings until the next edition of the Mage's Monthly.
The Himalaya Team