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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.

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

Comments

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    1. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      Chris and Rachel - I did what you recommended for the prairie dog sequence and had no problems. I am in Act 4 now and haven't encountered any bugs. The whole thing feels very solid. I'm still very impressed by how nicely this game plays on a touch screen. I really think this bodes well for the playability of the Mage's Initiation mobile version.

      The only suggestions I would have for future mobile versions of your games are:

      -Maybe make the run animation speed a little faster. It would reduce the time spent waiting. Also, sometimes when you try to interact with something across the screen from where your character is, he just walks (rather than runs) to it. While this is better than the dreaded "you're not close enough" response, it would be nice if he would run by default.

      -Also, it would be helpful sometimes if a little arrow icon (or something similar) appeared when you hold your finger at the very edge of the screen, in order to make moving to the next screen easier.

      -Finally, some of the text in the menu was a bit small for a smaller phone screen.

      Last question: I just now noticed a "special effects" on/off button in the game menu. I had it off this whole time. Should an iPhone 5s or iPad Air 1 be able to handle it being turned on?

      Anyway, great work!!!! Impressive, as always!

    2. Jeremie Lariviere
      Superbacker
      on

      thanks for the update

    3. Martin O
      Superbacker
      on

      "Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References"
      I like that the very first screenshot on iTunes shows shelves full of beverages and a cigar smoking lady :-)

    4. Anaxphone
      Superbacker
      on

      Maybe you could make a mobile version of the card game from Mage's Initiation if it's strong enough to support a standalone rendition.

    5. Chris Warren on

      Hey, thanks a bunch for the support, KSimms! Glad to hear you like the User Interface too! A lot of consideration went into how to make it intuitive and easy to use, while not cutting any content. By the way, one heads-up on a bug with iOS version: *spoiler* when you reach the Prairie dog hammer bash mini-game, make sure you don't hold down your finger to invoke the user interface... at all! Simply use fast single-finger taps to strike with the hammer. Unfortunately, a bug slipped into the build and if you hold your finger down in the mini-game, the user interface disappears for good and won't ever come back! The only way out would be to restore an older savegame file you made manually and try again. We'll look into getting this patched for the next update.

      As for the content warnings, yeah, Apple makes you fill all of those out during the submission process. You have to choose the level of each advisory that your game contains.They then assign your game a recommended age rating. In spite of all that, Al Emmo got ages 12+, which might actually be too low. :P

    6. Himalaya Studios, Inc. Creator on

      KSimms, the hilarious thing is that the context wasn't even the hardest part of getting the game through Apple's gates!

      I still curl up in fetal position thinking of the trouble we went to get Al Emmo onto there. But it looks like it's just going to be mostly technical hurdles getting future games up there, at least.
      -Rachel

    7. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      :-) You guys got almost every single content warning in the Apple AppStore for Al Emmo: profanity, crude humor, simulated gambling, sexual content/nudity, alcohol/tobacco/drug use or references, mature/suggestive themes, cartoon or fantasy violence, horror/fear themes.

      Woohoo! :-) I've played this game before, and it's not "offensive" in the slightest. It's all good-natured fun.

    8. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      I just took this screenshot after quickly testing out Al Emmo on my little 4-inch iPhone:
      http://i57.tinypic.com/10qymg0.jpg

      Guys, the game works perfectly. Very snappy. The interface is great. Love the double-tap-to-run option. Love the "hold tap" to bring up non-run/non-walk actions. I really think you've done it perfectly, from what I've seen in just this quick test. Much better than the mobile versions of Larry Reloaded and Monkey Island Special Editions.

    9. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      I just bought and am downloading Al Emmo for iOS. http://i62.tinypic.com/o8xf0o.jpg

      Very happy that Himalaya is making their games playable on iPads and iPhones. I will be purchasing separate Mage's Initiation iOS version when it comes out.

    10. Himalaya Studios, Inc. Creator on

      Yep, even if we worked with a different engine the pay-as-you-unlock model (which is sort of different than standard F2P) wouldn't really work with an old school, story-driven game.

      But we are hoping to get into the mobile market with other kinds of games to broaden our horizons!

      And alas, if only my toad could pop into the mainframe. She'd go nuts and we'd likely already be selling the game.
      -Rachel

    11. Chris Warren on

      @Bobby: That approach wouldn't really be feasible for this particular game. Being adventure/story driven title, Mages isn't structured well for that type of model. Also, the AGS engine ports mean that we need to maintain a different version of the source code for each port, so sadly the savegames wouldn't be compatible between ported versions due to all the customized programming required to make them work on their associated devices.

      @Alter Ego: Oh, while we want nothing more than the release this game ASAP, it's a truism that all the boring bugs must be fixed prior to beta testing. Things are definitely looking up since bringing our new programmer on board, though! He's lightning fast.

    12. Missing avatar

      Alter Ego on

      Hey, great to get an update!

      Yeah, it's always those bugs! If it was me I'd just terminate their contract ;-)

      Just take your time, I rather have the game (much?) later then buggy. Great job so far!!

    13. Bobby Allen
      Superbacker
      on

      Thanks for the update. Star Realms is a 'free' to download game on Itunes, android, pc, and mac. You get very basic play or you can pay to unlock the full game. One unlock works on all your devices. I am not sure if that kind of model would work for your games.