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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.

2016 Frozen Water Mage Summit

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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

Comments

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    1. Chris Warren on March 11, 2016

      @ShadowNate We haven't been able to come to any mutual agreement with GOG yet, so at present there are no plans for the GOG platform.

      Right now, the rough projected release is late 2016 (Q3 or Q4). It all depends on how long the alpha/beta testing stage takes, and how long it takes to record, split, and lip-sync all the character voices. We're definitely in the home stretch now, though.

    2. ShadowNate on March 9, 2016

      I am ok with alpha/ private beta on Steam.
      Maybe GOG offers something similar with their new "early-access" program, but I'd wager that Steam is a much more easier way to do it for you.

      Also, I don't care about the final release being distributed via Steam. In fact it would be really convenient for me if it were on Steam.

      Do you have any (current) rough estimation about the final release date? I mean, is it going to be late this year, next year? I may have missed the updates about the delay, because the last release estimate I have is the one mentioned in the campaign page, and that is more than one year ago past.

    3. Chris Warren on February 2, 2016

      Yeah, the disc build definitely won't be a Steam version. We'll probably distribute the final game via Humble, which means backers would get both a DRM-Free stand-alone version, as well as a Steam key, which they can redeem it they wish.

      Right now, though, we're focusing on distribution of the alpha build, and Steam does seem the best all-round way to handle that.

    4. Gonchi on February 2, 2016

      Steam is a dealbreaker for a lot of people. Please find a way to distribute the digital version of the game without Steam and don't make the disc / physical version reliant on Steam.

    5. Chris Warren on January 27, 2016

      @Anaxphone What I mean is that the game itself is not wrapped in any DRM, so a person could install it on Steam, move it to another directory, and then uninstall Steam, and the game will still run, DRM-Free, without any reliance on Steam.

      But yes, in that scenario, a person would need to install the Steam client to actually download the game.

    6. Missing avatar

      Javiso on January 25, 2016

      Steam is fine.

    7. Anaxphone
      Superbacker
      on January 24, 2016

      I'm sorry, Chris Warren, but using Steam is using DRM. And I refuse to let Valve control and monitor what I play.

    8. Gonchi on January 21, 2016

      I don't have feelings one way or the other regarding the alpha/beta, since I usually skip those when I have access, but the finished game, especially the physical version: No Steam or any other client.

    9. Ryan Gustafson on January 21, 2016

      I'm fine either way with waiting for Beta, or getting Alpha early. Otherwise I prefer steam.

    10. twincast ~ Mangy WoOS-DOoD Mage
      Superbacker
      on January 21, 2016

      No Steam-free installer = not DRM-free, no matter how Valve spins it.

    11. Chris Warren on January 20, 2016

      @Jeremie Our games on Steam don't actually use their DRM protection. So you can just go to the install directory, load it from there, and play as if it were DRM-Free.

    12. Jeremie Lariviere
      Superbacker
      on January 20, 2016

      i much prefer HumbleBundle (no DRM), but I hear Steam works well for beta distribution updates...

    13. twincast ~ Mangy WoOS-DOoD Mage
      Superbacker
      on January 19, 2016

      Re Alpha/Beta: Usually I ignore such in story-heavy games beyond basic system tests due to wanting the full experience, surprises and all, in the release version, but this is one of the games I'm looking forward to the most, and as much as I am for developers taking all the time they need, I can hardly wait anymore. � And after pondering it for a bit, I think that the farther - both temporally and in terms of polish - the playtest is from the 1.0 version (with which I plan to have two parallel playthroughs at release anyway), the less "replay ennui" will set in. Plus, the earlier the bug (et al.) reports, the better, no?

      Re Humble/Steam: Unlike with the release version, I really don't care either way. Whatever's easier for you, which I agree ought to be Steam.

      (On a side note, for some reason (poll participation?) I had a bunch of unused, useless points in my Torment backer account, so not wanting to let those go to waste, I pledged another USD 1.84 and will start beta-testing ToN this week. Huzzah! � (Although I won't venture deep into it for aforementioned spoiler reasons. And assuming it's even playable from the get-go - unlike all previous Unity betas.) ... 'Though come to think of it, whatever happened to the Exiles in Torment? Did they stay unofficial? I can't find any such add-on on the backer site. Oh well, just as well. *shrug*)

    14. Chris Warren on January 19, 2016

      Thanks for the feedback, everyone! So, based on the feedback, I'm leaning towards a Steam release for the early alpha builds. As noted, it allows us to keep everyone updated to the latest version of the game and also makes distribution much easier.

      When the proper beta version is ready, we can look into releasing via Humble if that seems the better option at the time.

    15. BigD on January 18, 2016

      Beta on Steam works here! Great update.

    16. Rambutaan on January 18, 2016

      Just wanted to say it's awesome that you guys gave a heads-up about Aubrey Hodges's QFGIV soundtrack... I thought I was the only one that knew about it!

    17. Missing avatar

      Vitalia Khokhlova on January 18, 2016

      I love seeing how game changes during development phases so early alpha vote for sure and stem)

    18. Missing avatar

      Brook Kuhn on January 18, 2016

      I'd rather wait longer for the beta. And I prefer Steam

    19. Benjamin Yunker on January 18, 2016

      Love the news, that video makes me incredibly excited for what you've done!!! I'm all for an earlier alpha release, so we can help you track down those pesky bugs. Those not interested could always wait for it to stabilize

    20. Anthony on January 18, 2016

      Getting the alpha out allows for the proper prioritisation of bug fixing and free testing. Like others have said limit it to people who want to play test the alpha.

    21. Mikhail Aristov on January 18, 2016

      I'm not eligible, either, but generally speaking, the earlier you get the alpha out to the backers (read: testers), the less expensive the bug-fixing will be. Just be prepared for a storm of new bug reports, and having to explain over and over again that an alpha is not the final product. :-)

      Also, there is no point in asking whether you should release the alpha to backers or not: opinions will always be divided. Instead, pick a tier (preferably a higher one, so you don't have too many testers at once) and give everyone on it and up access to the alpha. Let them decide whether to play it or not. :-)

    22. Missing avatar

      Neo on January 18, 2016

      I choose GOG GALAXY! :)

    23. KSimms ✵ ✵ on January 18, 2016

      Wow! The combat looks great. The music and sound effects are VERY effective. (When I played the short demo awhile back that was my first reaction then, as well.) And I like how the goblins hurt each other.

      Also, I would vote for Steam. Though now I'm thinking I might hold off playing anything until final release, since I don't want to spoil the experience of playing the finished product.

      Great update, guys! The game is coming along very nicely. It's common knowledge that Himalaya Studios/AGDI is, was and always shall be THE BEST.

    24. Missing avatar

      Michael Bowers on January 18, 2016

      I may be an outlier, but I'm only going to play when I've got the physical product in hand. I want the fully immersive experience of reading the manual and looking at the art on my first time through. This has prevented me from playing other games I've pledged for that delivered digitally ages ago, but haven't sent their physical packages yet.

    25. Tomimt on January 18, 2016

      Not that I'm eligble for beta/alpha test, but my 0.02 cents on the matter is, that for an alpha/beta purpose Steam makes more sense, as it makes it easier to make sure that all the testers are using the same version. With Humble people just need to make sure of that themselves and the devs can't never really be certain that the bugs reported are for the current version.

    26. Venron
      Superbacker
      on January 18, 2016

      I like Steam, it allows me to keep track of what I have easily and keep things updated. It is especially useful for me as I have about 4 machines I use regularly, and games that save in the cloud make it really convenient to pick up where I left off...

    27. JSB on January 18, 2016

      I'd definitely help test an Alpha. Not sure why people are bitching about Steam though, I'd prefer that

    28. Chris Warren on January 18, 2016

      @Nidoking Yeah, they provide Steam keys, but we'd have to code the game especially to work with Steam's SDK, which might be a bit more tricky. Would be goof to get advice from other Kickstarter projects with large numbers of backers to see how they handled this.

      QFG4 soundtrack link is: https://aubreyhodges.bandcamp.com/album/quest-for-glory-shadows-of-darkness-official-soundtrack

    29. Himalaya Studios, Inc. Creator on January 18, 2016

      @Nidoking Pretty sure they do for the finished version-- think we'll have to contact them and ask about this rough alpha one.

      And derp, looks like a link got lost. I was trying to make the album cover clickable and it looks like that didn't happen. Here it is: https://aubreyhodges.bandcamp.com/album/quest-for-glory-shadows-of-darkness-official-soundtrack

    30. Missing avatar

      Nidoking on January 18, 2016

      I'd enjoy an alpha, and doesn't Humble provide Steam keys for games that are available on Steam? Seems like it could be the best of both worlds if you provide that.
      Is there a link for the QFG4 soundtrack? I didn't see it in the update.

    31. Himalaya Studios, Inc. Creator on January 18, 2016

      Hey peeps! I never want to buy real estate and/or move again, EVER. Now that that ordeal is finally over I should be a bit more active here once more. :D

      Trying to get an idea of the consensus here for getting the alpha out with as few crossed wires as possible.

      Oh, and happy tax season kickoff!
      -Rachel

    32. Chris Warren on January 18, 2016

      Is Steam how you've handled your alpha/betas in the past, Steve?

    33. Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander on January 18, 2016

      Doing Alpha/Betas in Steam is great, because everyone can get the same updates.

      Also, congrats on the book, Rachel!

    34. David Melanson on January 18, 2016

      Certainly would like to see an alpha. Would prefer Humble but do have a Steam account too so could live with either.

    35. Jack Hepburn Raine on January 18, 2016

      Alpha and steam please, but humble be ok too.

    36. Anaxphone
      Superbacker
      on January 18, 2016

      Humble, please. If you use Steam, I won't touch it.

    37. Cary Golomb on January 18, 2016

      I'd like to play an alpha version sooner.