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An enchanting Adventure/RPG set in a magical realm. Master spells, battle foes, and quest forth in this full-length game.
An enchanting Adventure/RPG set in a magical realm. Master spells, battle foes, and quest forth in this full-length game.
3,157 backers pledged $125,174 to help bring this project to life.

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The Magic of May

15 likes

Welcome, welcome, once again, young Initiates! Please gather in the Reading Hall and calmly take your seats while we recount to you the latest happenings in the land of Iginor. 

Update on Alpha/Beta Status

A.L.F. is the Alpha Alien Life Form, eating Alfalfa while driving his Alfa Romeo. What does this have to do with Mage's Initiation? Nothing at all! But it sort of rhymes with the topic of today's discussion (and also fills in some extra space which doesn't hurt).

So, what's the news? Well, we've been working feverishly on prepping the game for its alpha release! And while we had anticipated being able to release said alpha build this month (and have made incredible progress to that end), Himalaya's involvement at GDC set things back just a tad, and we still have some loose ends to tie up before it can be deemed 100% fit for backer consumption. In other words: we're *almost* there, but there are a few trouble-spots remaining that we still need to clear up: stubborn bugs, some textual dialog that needs tweaking, a handful of graphical placeholders in need of updating, and some missing functionality that we'd prefer to get in-place, so that everyone has an optimal game-play experience. Our aim is to get the alpha looking as close as possible to a preliminary beta, prior to release. For the past fortnight, Chris and Daniel have been playing through the game, sequentially, with each class and noting down all the adjustments/fixes to be made and then hitting all of the entries on these very long-lists until they're all checked off. These play-tests are typically day (and nearly) night-long processes, but it's a great feeling to finish each one, knowing that every time, the game is that little bit more refined and closer to completion!

Normally, the aforementioned things may not prevent an alpha release (people expect there to be rough edges in an alpha build, after all), but due to the way the AGS engine easily invalidates player save-games if certain types of changes are made after mass release (i.e. when patching/updating the game) -- usually anything related to adding new graphics, animations, sounds/music -- we really need to take some time to be forward-thinking, in an attempt to preserve player's alpha save-games for as long as possible. Because once we release the build, there'll be no going back! Or rather, there will, but it will break everyone's save-games and force them to start over. Due to this consideration, we need to take measures to preempt such issues, by adding reserved 'placeholder' assets into the game's source, which can be overwritten at a later stage, if needs be, without breaking anything. We just don't want to rush this out the door, without having considered all the possibilities where the game could break save-games, post-alpha release. We also want to fix all of the outstanding bugs that are already known to the dev team. We fear that releasing an alpha with known bugs to hundreds of players will only result in these same bugs being re-reported many times over, cluttering our pipeline, which would then take even more resources to sort through to weed out all the duplicates. This is not optimal, as it would actually prolong the final release of the game. By getting the game as bug-free as possible prior to releasing the alpha, it will allow us to start with a clean slate with a bunch of fresh eyes, which will be far more conducive to a streamlined release, instead of bogging the process down.

Additionally, we are currently refining character dialog, fixing bugs, and adjusting game puzzles while we wait for AGS version 3.3.5 to be merged into 3.4.0, and for the new build to be released publicly. This yet-to-be-released AGS build will have many additional benefits over the current release, such as allowing players to adjust mouse sensitivity to their personal preference, and providing better support for various screen resolutions, ensuring that the game can be played as intended (visually) on a larger number of systems and screens.

With all that said, we know you wonderfully fine and exceptionally patient people are chomping at the bit to play our creation, and we're just as eager to get it into your keen little hands! Please believe us when we say that we're taking measures that will result in a speedier release of the final product (truth!), and that the wait should not be too much longer!

Concerning Combat

We've had some feedback regarding the combat system from the video shown in our previous update. Many people were very enthusiastic about it and thought that it looked like a lot of fun, while others had concerns that it might be overwhelming and that there could be too much going on at once, or that there may be too many simultaneous enemies to focus on, which would place a greater emphasis on "kiting" (AKA, leading the enemy around the screen like they're attached to an invisible kite string, and being forced to attack them with ranged shots). We wanted to address a few of these observations.

The beauty of the Mages combat system is that every aspect of it is very easily adjustable by changing a few lines of code! From the number of enemies on-screen, to the number of simultaneous attackers, to the behaviour of each individual enemy on the battlefield (i.e. whether they aggressively pursue and attack or actively avoid the player if you walk close them). For the most part, we've been heavily focusing on fixing bugs in the combat system for many months, and hadn't paid a lot of attention to balancing various aspect of the monster encounters yet. Now that our list of combat-related bugs is growing very small, we'll be paying extra attention to adjusting monster encounters to make them both fun, and not too overwhelming. Here are some measures we've already taken, based on feedback we've received and seen floating around the web (such feedback is always invaluable, especially in the development stage):

Kiting: Some people have suggested that we add a melee weapon for close-range combat to counter kiting. In the initial version of the game, we did actually have a unique melee weapon for each Mage class, but decided to remove them to better fit with the established plot. Instead, each Mage class has what we call a "Primary Nuke" projectile spell. For example, a Fireball for the Fire Mage. This spell can be cast even with 0 Mana Points (albeit only doing 1/4 damage in that case), and will injure and push-back an enemy who's standing toe-to-toe, trading blows with the player. While it's still possible to get surrounded, this feature helps a lot to reduce kiting, by allowing you to stand your ground against 1 or 2 close-range enemies. Secondly, each class has a 'protective' spell that either shields the player for a time, or shields them AND causes damage to nearby enemies. In both cases, the enemies will flee the player while shielded, but the player can still attack them.

Overcrowding (or being bum-rushed by monsters): A common concern is that there are a lot of assailants on-screen at any given time, which might make combat more stressful than fun. The first measure we've taken to mitigate this is that the game offers 3 combat difficulty settings; all adjustable in real-time. On "Easy" mode, enemies have very low HP, will do low attack damage, and there will only ever be 1 simultaneous attacker, regardless of how many opponents are on-screen. This setting is ideal for casual players who prefer story over arcade. On "Medium" (the default setting) there can be 2 simultaneous attackers (only one of them can be a "strong" enemy), and enemies are scaled up slightly in HP and attack damage. On "Hard", there can be 3 simultaneous attackers (2 of them can be "strong" enemies), and enemy HP/attack damage are high. Also, the way we pan things out (in "Easy" and "Medium" modes), is by having only the strongest enemy on-screen aggressively pursue the player. If you walk near other weaker enemies at this stage, they'll actively avoid you and run to a different area of the screen. Sometimes they may try to do a hit-and-run if you corner them, but they'll always wait their turn in the hierarchy, and step in only when their strongest ally has been killed. Monsters that you injure greatly will also flee the screen and clear the area. Plus, you can always run into an adjacent screen as a tactical advantage to get all the monsters to enter from one side and then pummel them as they line up for you.

Overall: It's possible to win the game by completely avoiding/escaping from regular combat and focusing only on the adventure portion of the game. There are 4 "boss" encounters that are mandatory, but due to the way the game is structured, it ensures you're always at the appropriate level you need to be and are always strong enough to defeat each boss (particularly on the "Easy" setting).

We also intend to further adjust the combat system during alpha and beta testing, based on the feedback we receive from players. So, by the time the game is ready for its final release, we should have a nicely polished battle system that's entertaining to play, and has received the official player/backer 'stamp of approval'!

Latest AGS Game Assets & Stats

Total sprites: 19485 / 30000 

Sprite folders: 874

Total views: 801

Total GUIs: 76

Inventory Items: 300 / 300 (Uses a dynamic inventory system, we have over 300 inventory items)

Characters: 218 

Dialog topics: 396 / 500

Shoutouts

Until I Have You
Until I Have You
"Until I Have You" is a newly-released Cyberpunk, "Run & Gun" platformer game. It was co-created by Himalaya's newest combat system programmer, James Spanos (AKA Dualnames), and is an impressive technical accomplishment made in the AGS engine! Become "Artist", a talented assassin, as you battle through hordes of enemies, wearing his rare exoskeleton suit, which provides him with additional powers, but can also cause hallucinations that affect his judgment. Retro gameplay, 12 Chapters, over 60 enemies, 12 Boss fights, and pixel art goodness! What's not to love?


Available on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/439310

So, that raps up this update! Thanks for tuning in and hopefully those wooden benches in the Reading Hall haven't been too uncomfy. We'll keep you all posted on the impending alpha. Fingers crossed that the new AGS build will be released soon, too!

 Class dismissed!

The Himalaya Team

2016 Frozen Water Mage Summit

15 likes

New Year's Initiations

Happy 2016, Practitioners of the Arcane!

We hope you’ve had a happy and healthy New Year. Himalaya has some exciting plans on the horizon for 2016, for sure. There’s been some major issues that we’ve had to deal with personally (primarily homebuying mishaps that fortunately, finally came to an end), so we’re aiming to get the game headed towards beta testing faster, with those things now behind us. This is a shorter update on the state of progress, but an important one, nonetheless.

Light At the End of the Programming Tunnel  

So, what have we been doing since last you heard from the development team, we hear you ask? Well, we're glad for your question, dear Initiates! For the most part, our time has been spent bug-fixing combat issues, as per usual, and playing the now all-too-familiar combat "whack-a-mole", addressing two new issues for every one issue that gets resolved. We know these updates are probably a little on the dull, repetitive side and they probably make it sound like not much has been taking place behind the scenes, but we have come a very long way on this front since August last year with literally thousands of battle bugs being squashed. And now we're thrilled to announce that we have finally resolved every combat bug (that we're aware of) for every spell, monster, and boss in the game -- bar one! Yes, a sole combatable critter remains to be tangled with and we plan on duking it out with him and taking him DOWN over the course of the next few weeks. After that, it's simply a matter of refining gameplay elements, fixing some non-combat bugs, juggling the score/XP and RPG system a bit, and then we'll have our first alpha-release candidate that can be considered for in-team testing and, subsequently, private backer testing!

In the meantime, please enjoy this video sneak peak of the Air Mage in action. On show are some of his spells and a few of the monster types in the dreary Bloodbark Forest of Iginor.

 Latest AGS Game Assets & Stats  

For those keeping score, here are the latest AGS engine stats for Mage's Initiation: Total sprites: 19049 / 30000

Sprite folders: 865

Total views: 785

Total GUIs: 74

Inventory Items: 300 / 300 (Since the game uses a dynamic inventory system, we have over 300 inventory items)

Characters: 214

Dialog topics: 394 / 500

Alpha For Your Thoughts (We Need Your Feedback!)

You’ve all been lovely and exceedingly patient in terms of waiting for the beta release of Mage's Initiation. While we’ve made a lot of refinements to our original, in-house alpha build on account, fleshing out more code and bug-squashing, we’re still a ways off from showing you guys a playable beta version. Yet we know backers are eager to see the game and get a feel for how it has been progressing.

So, we have a question. We're wondering if eligible backers would rather test a rough (but complete) alpha version sooner, in a couple of months time? Or would you prefer to hold out several months longer for a more stable beta build? In either case, the playable build won't have recorded voices yet, as we don't want to record them until the game has been thoroughly tested and any necessary textual changes to the dialogue have been made. It's always a pain to get actors back for pick-up sessions, so we're hoping to work around that by testing the text-only game first and foremost.

Additionally, would backers prefer to receive their test builds via Steam or Humble Bundle? We're still trying to figure out the logistics of getting the test build into eligible backer's hands in the easiest, most seamless manner possible.

Please let us know your feedback in the comments (or via email if you’re a PayPal backer.)

Shoutouts

Our very own Rachel has written a book all about tax law for indie developers. 

She also launched a new blog to go with her business, Sonic Toad. Go check it out! And if you’re in/near NYC on January 26, check out her class on business basics for indie devs along with Playcrafting’s weekend-long global game jam with NYU and their Winter Expo at Microsoft on the 28th. Make a whole extended weekend out of it!

Aubrey Hodges recently released a fully revamped version of the official Quest For Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness soundtrack. It includes over 60 remastered tracks using real instruments. Well worth supporting, just remember to listen while enjoying a garlic and avocado sandwich.

Don Bluth fans can rejoice as he’s gotten his team back together to make a Dragon’s Lair movie, bringing the arcade classic to life in a new medium. Show some love on Indiegogo!

Well, that's all for this update. There hasn't been much variation in our work for several months, which means there hasn't been much other than combat and bug fixes to talk about! We're very much looking forward to the next phase of development, which should give us a wider range of things to discuss.  

Until next time, stay magical, our almost-Mages!

The Himalaya Team

Pre-Halloween Update

19 likes

Greetings, Mages in training! This is just a brief update to keep you informed about the latest happenings with the game's development.

The Story Thus Far

We've continued to make excellent progress, slashing our way through the combat-related bugs and issues, since bringing our new programmer on board! We've completely eradicated the combat spell-specific bugs from our list now. To give you an idea about the magnitude of this accomplishment, there are 4 playable character classes in the game and each has 6 combat spells, which makes 24 combat spells in total. Each combat spell had approximately 20 bugs associated with it (initially). So, that's 480 issues, just for the combat spells! We fixed all of those, but new bugs kept creeping in with nearly every fix, due to the intertwined nature of the battle system. Whenever we fixed one bug, it would cause another (sometimes 2 or 3) to take its place. For a while there, it was a case of taking one step forward and two steps back, but we eventually got on top of the bugs, got them under control, and ultimately, checked everything off. I don't even want to hazard a guess at how many spell-related bugs we've addressed over the past couple of months, but it's easily over 1,000!

Seriously, our combat bugs list is so large, that we even have it sorted into sections where different types of combat bugs are categorized. For example, there's a spells section, and each spell has a sub-section, listing its bugs. There's a monster section, where each monster has its own sub-section. A boss section, a GUI section, a loot section, and a general issues section, and so on and so forth. Having resolved all of the entries in the spell-related section, we have most recently turned our attention to the monsters and boss battle sections. 85% of the monster-related issues have been resolved and approximately 80% of the boss battle bugs have been cleaned up. Things are definitely getting closer to completing the combat system now. Though new bugs still manage to creep in here and there, so we need to be vigilant.

Truthfully, it's difficult to write an interesting update when the entire time since the last update has been spent polishing and refining the combat system. We're working away at it, every day, including weekends, yet it's hard to convey in words the amount of progress this constitutes, since there's only so much that can be said about it. Some of these bugs have been so elusive that a few have involved 14 hour sittings just to track down and fix a single issue. in any case, there you have it - an accurate outline of what we've been working on.

Since we haven't finished fixing the combat bugs yet, we still don't have an estimate for when the voice-less beta will release. However, If progress continues at the current rate and the bugs behave themselves, we'll certainly get there sooner than later.

Latest AGS Game Assets & Stats

The latest AGS engine stats for Mage's Initiation, fresh from the editor:

Total sprites: 19016 / 30000  

Sprite folders: 865

Total views: 782

Total GUIs: 72 Inventory 

Items: 300 / 300 (Since the game uses a dynamic inventory system, we have over 300 inventory items)

Characters: 213

Dialog topics: 393 / 500

Upcoming Events

If you're in or coming to NY or NJ, you'll definitely want to check out some events that Himalaya will be participating in!

This one is awfully short notice, but here goes: tomorrow, October 22, Rachel will be showing Mage's Initiation at the Playcrafting Fall Expo held at Microsoft's Times Square office, conveniently located across the street from Port Authority. The expo's very reasonably priced and there'll be over 75 other games plus free pizza!

And if you're in the area December 1 which is one just one day after Playcrafting's November demo and play night, Rachel will also be teaching a class all about taxes for indie developers.

Himalaya will also have a booth at Gameacon which is going on in Atlantic City November 20-22nd! Stop by and say hi if you're making the trip!

Shoutouts

Here are a few shoutouts to some adventure game Kickstarters:

The Journey Down : SkyGoblin have been making quality point & click adventure games for a long while now. Having previously released chapters 1 and 2 of their polished, African-inspired title "The Journey Down", the fellas are now reaching out on Kickstarter to fund the 3rd chapter.

Memoranda: Memoranda is an interesting point-and-click story-driven game based on a series of short stories involving everyone from a WWII survivor to an elephant trying to become human and the game looks like it's going to be an amazing surrealist experience!

And as the Mages' Tower bell rings, signalling the end of "spelling" classes for the day, this, in turn, brings a close to this edition of the Kickstarter update. We wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween!

Until next time!  

The Himalaya Team

Kickstarter Update #43: Summer Debugging, Happening So Fast

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Greetings, wannabe witches and wizards! We hope that the Air Mages have been keeping you cool during this brutal summer. Or that the Fire Mages have been keeping you toasty warm if you're across the pond.

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%

Music: 90%

Sound Effects: 80%

 Voices: 0%

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)

Characters: 213 

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 support@himalayastudios.com 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.

The game costs $4.99 USD and can be purchased at the App Store .

(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.)

Shout-Outs

Please show this awesome, American-made workout tool, LoopRW, some love!

Fellow Playcrafting alums Goodnight Games also just released Blitz Breaker on the App Store and Google Play, they're really awesome so be sure to check it out!

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

What? It's June Already?

19 likes

Hello, backers!

It's been a busy time, as usual, but we wanted to drop a quick update to let you know the latest goings-on and where the game stands at this point in time!

On the progress front, things are moving fantastically. For a long time there were 'symbol' limitations in the AGS engine that were really creating headaches for us. In a nutshell, the AGS engine placed a limit on the number of symbols that a game could include. Symbols are a essentially a collective of characters, global integers, music/sound files, dialog trees, and other things of that nature. Coding wise, Mage's Initiation is so big that we bumped into that upper symbol limit quite a while back and as a result, we kept running into compile errors when attempting to add new things to the game! This hindrance constantly forced us into finding creative ways to work around the limitation -- for example, by re-using characters for multiple purposes rather than creating a bunch of separate ones, by deleting global integers and using arrays in their place, or by shuffling dialog topics so that less tree options were needed to convey the same information that an NPC imparts.

This was all well and good, but it was getting to the point where we'd shuffled assets all we could manage, and it was taking increasing amounts of time to create enough space for even just one or two new symbols -- time that could be better dedicated to finishing the game! Plus, we'd hardly imported any of the sound effects into AGS, and each sound and music piece in the game requires its own symbol. It was apparent that we were running up against a problem that was not going to yield, and would cause us significant delays if left unaddressed for much longer. Thankfully, one of our backers, and as it happens, AGS code contributor, Benjamin Penney, stepped in and was able to increase the symbols table limit to… well, unlimited! This change has now been rolled into AGS v3.3.4 (the latest stable, non-alpha version of the engine), and we're free, once again, to import assets into AGS to our hearts' content. Three cheers for Benjamin and the AGS Development Team!

Progress has picked up since this symbols limited was lifted, but it hasn't been without its detriments. We've found ourselves having to play catch-up, as a result and there's still a daunting list of combat-related bugs (over 400 entries) that we need to work through and alpha test before we can even consider launching the first beta build of the game. With a multi-class, multi-spell RPG of this complexity, we really do need to have it stable and functional enough, prior to entering the beta phase, otherwise the sheer number of bug reports being posted (most which we'd already be aware of) would get overwhelming and things would end up taking much longer to manage and sort through. So, our goal now is to get as many combat bugs squished as possible, with an aim towards stabilizing the game for beta. We're still tentatively hoping for August, but it will really depend on how quickly we can whittle down this huge list of bugs. Of course, we'll keep everyone posted on the timing of the beta.

This was a BAD day to enter the wastelands!
This was a BAD day to enter the wastelands!

The other main thing we're working on right now is full implementation of the Points and XP leveling system. We have this large Excel document to keep track of all the points and leveling-up opportunities for each character class. It gets pretty complex when delving into optimal puzzle solutions and optional side and sub-quests. Suffice it to say that it's going to be quite a challenge to find all those XP points and completely max out your Mage!

To date, XP points have been programmed in and finalized for the game's first act. Within the next few days the entire system should be completely in place and ready for internal testing and any further tweaking that's necessary.

Here's our gauge of progress thus far:

    • Writing & Design: 99.999999%    
    • Background Artwork & Animations: 99%    
    • Character Animations: 99% 
    • Music: 90%    
    • Sound Effects: 48% 
    • Voices: 0%  
    • Adventure Game Programming: 99% 
    • Combat System Programming: 96% 
    • RPG/Stats/Equipment Programming: 95%
    • Pre-Beta Bug Squishing: 25%

    AGS Game Engine Assets & Stats

    • Total sprites: 17873 / 30000 
    • Sprite folders: 799 
    • Total views: 767 
    • Total GUIs: 67 
    • Inventory Items: 300 / 300 (dynamic system, we have over 300 items) 
    • Characters: 198 Dialog topics: 393 / 500

    "Book of Backers" Reward Form

    We've had a great response from backers who pledged to the campaign at $20 (Apprentice tier) or higher! Many of you have already submitted the form with your requested names to appear in the Mages' Tower's "Book of Backers". And for that, we thank you. However, there are still a few rebellious sorts 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 as a Slacker Backer 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 support@himalayastudios.com with the subject like "Book of Backers Form" and let us know.

    Postcards and Al Emmo Double Pack on Steam

    Thanks to everyone for the votes on Postcards from Anozira on Greenlight. We got through relatively quickly and painlessly this time (which is the polar opposite to our previous efforts!) The game is available on Steam now, either by itself or at a discount as part of the Al Emmo Double Pack.

    Shoutout to Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption

    Lori and Corey Cole are currently running a supplemental Kickstarter campaign to put the finishing touches on their upcoming RPG game "Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption". There's a couple of new demos available, too; a remake of the early break-in house demo and a new combat demo both featuring 3D graphical assets. Their campaign has 8 days remaining and almost reached its goal. If you were a fan of the "Quest for Glory" games and missed out on backing the first Hero-U campaign, or if you'd just like to help the Coles get across the finishing line, take a look at the Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption Kickstarter campaign.

    Well, that's a wrap for this update! Rachel will be attending the upcoming E3 later this month and will be taking Mage's Initiation along to show. Hopefully we'll have more news to report after that!

    And as the magical mana meter depletes to zero, we bid you farewell until it recharges, once more, to full capacity.

    The Himalaya Team