Episode 23: Continuing Battle
Hello robot family, sorry for the lack of April updates - it's been a bit. of a ride between GDC and PAX East being back to back. As always, we've been posting updates weekly via our streams and in Discord, but here's the next main, meaty installment of the AEGIS Publishing Saga!
Where's the game?
All the files for the game are now in our Manufacturer's hands. After going back and forth with some iterations and finding and fixing lots of minor errors (typos, etc), the game should be hitting the printer within the next couple weeks. Exciting! This means that the game does again face some delays though, and now the target ship date is July-August. Again, sorry for this and thanks for your patience! The game is very dense with physical and game-play content and we're doing our best on our first go at this.
Speaking of, let's look at the big chart:
I've officially moved everything that's locked, good and done forever into the Approved column.
- Art Progress: We made some minor adjustments for on the art for the boards and some robots to make some of the elements on the boards read less like impassible terrain. A robot or two got some sharpened art.
- Graphic Design Progress: Lots of checking all the files up and down for typos, number errors, etc. Lots and lots of this. That's all done though, so now all the graphic design work is on the Campaign & Art Book, which now has some panache on its layout (below). Very excited about this and we'll do a more in-depth look at it next update, where it should be finished.
Game Design Progress
Since the end of Spring Tournament, we've done some adjustments on some robots and rules. Here's a changelist of those things for all of you who've been playing the game. These changes will be put into the next Tabletop Sim demo release.
- "Stun" is now "Restrain" because we decided that "Stun" read too much like "can't move or attack" based on terminology in other games, whereas in our game it only stops movement.
- Jurlon's commander ability changed, as mentioned last update. You can now combine from three hexes away, and the ability persists even if Jurlon's robot combines into something else.
- Tigre Bros' commander ability changed so that they can only redirect damage to your robots, as opposed to allies. In 2v2 and 3v3, he was pretty unstoppable.
- Get-1000 (AG) does 2 damage with his Combine attack now, while it went up to 6HP.
- Sen-5000 (EIS) got a nerf to its accuracy, moving from 4 to 5, the reasoning being that it is very good at running away, dodging and has Reroll 2 built in to it
Ender-5000 Super Mode is now an Ainer robot, and has thus gained First Pilot. It made more sense for it to be a Commander robot, as it was the odd bot out in the Commander Variant pack.
- Several level 3, 4 and 5 robots got a bit better:
- Izzi-4000 (AEI) went up to 6 HP from 5
- Ender-Ida (AEIS) also went up to 6 HP and its Actions were altered to have more synergy
Ssm-8000 (AEGS)'s Titanic Piledriver moved from 5 dice to 4 dice, making it cheaper and more accurate
- Ell-Gel-Ion (AEGI) no longer damages itself with its second action, making it a more well-rounded robot
Ell-Gel-Ion Berserker Mode's Commander Ability, meanwhile,now increases its power if any robots are around it instead of "if no robots are around it", letting it dole out tons of damage before ultimately destroying itself with its self-damaging actions.
Generally, all of the changes were geared towards making combines more powerful and fun to play, as some of them were a little slower, flimsier and less accurate than was necessary.
Campaign Book Progress
As detailed in the last update, the campaign book has 20 chapters of unique map layouts and special rules that take you through the story of AEGIS's Five Nations War. Because we like to put the best into everything we do, we've been putting a bunch of work into it (and it's been taking a bit longer than planned. It's basically like designing a whole extra game!) 11/20 chapters are finalized with 5 more close to done and the final few chapters needing some parameters and testing.
Production Progress (AKA The Tray)
Everything's been going reasonably smoothly over on the production front, except for the tray. The tray is in limbo (with some answers coming this week), and it's holding up everything. Live and learn. The new tray looks really good, however! Will it be used? That's a more complex story.
The saga of the tray:
- We created and submitted a design for the tray around Christmas
- It was confirmed as being A-OK
- Two months later, we get the notification that it is not OK and needs many edits or a whole do-over
- We hired a professional to make a new one, and he does a great job, though it took quite a while due to his expectedly busy schedule, delivering it a week or two after our last KS update
- While that was being worked on, our manufacturer fixed the file for the old tray and sent us some pictures, confusion occurs and now we have two trays. It's unconfirmed if the tray they fixed still fits appropriately with the cards, assets, etc.
- We ask for the new, pro-made tray we just paid for to be made instead
- It's not wholly clear whether the new tray can be made in the appropriate amount of time and budget, but they did just give us a picture of the new tray a minute before posting this update so the outlook is good!
And that's what it's like to publish a board game! Not really anyone to blame specifically, it's just how things go sometimes. We've learned a lot from this whole process, that's for sure. Here are some pics of Schrodinger's Tray:
Convention Rondo: PAX, Origins and Gen Con
In March/April, we went to Game Developers Conference and PAX East almost back to back! That was powerfully tiring time period, but we're pros at this by now. At PAX East we had three and sometimes four demos running the entire 4-days using the new prototypes, and it was a blast.
Next stop: Origins! If you're in Columbus this June, we'll be making our first appearance at Origins. We won't have a booth, but will have AEGIS set up throughout the weekend, with more details and specifics being posted on our social media channels.
GEN CON EVENTS ARE OPEN!
If you're gonna be at Gen Con, so are we! We'll have our booth in the Entrepreneurs Alley. Even more awesomely, we'll be running demos and tournaments in the Event Hall the every day, check them out! Some are already sold out!
We have so many events! Including 16-person tournaments on Friday and Saturday! We're providing the games, so don't worry about bringing your own. Duke it out with the best of the best and all your friends!
Also, we're at Booth 3060! All the way up in the corner with the other newbies.
Next update, which should be this month, we'll have a new version of the TabletopSim demo, and a new tournament to sign up for! Let the Summer Tournament commence. We're also getting the final-final print proof in and will be doing a livestream of unboxing it, so keep an eye on our Facebook page!
AEGIS Story: Stellar Ascent, Part 8
Down south in the Great States' desert borderlands, the rogues Ryos and Poppet have inadvertently awakened something of devastating power - the Ell-Gel-Ion! What this means for their adversaries Gamound and Stell is unknown. At the same time in the Northern snowfields of the Allied Provinces, the guerilla fighters Ainer and Diane struggle against the magnificent fury of Etwal's Excel-Gan!
Undefeated for country. Undefeated for lineage. Undefeated for glory.
Etwal's gazed pierced through the whirling sleet, seeing every strafe and dash his target surely regarded as "elegant." All wasted effort, and his robot gained on its prey with every passing moment. What they fought for didn't matter, what they lived for didn't matter and how fast they were destroyed too did not matter - it was all nothing.
"I am Etwal."
Ainer's Ark-2500 plodded through the snow, holding its innards in place. The gaping hole from Ixa's sniper fire was still there, but it didn't slow him down. The snow on the other hand, that was causing him to spiral in circles, shooting and whirling his bayonet at nothing. Twenty years of snow living and Ainer still hated it.
It had been too long, and Diane's radio had gone silent. He struck down another tree in the distance, unsure of what robots Etwal had left in his arsenal. That madman had surely not been defeated, ever since the Battle of Crossed Ice a year ago, he had been unstoppable. It was Ainer who awakened the relic robots and ignited the Five Nations War, and so too did he ignite Etwal's now endless crusade of shredding up the Allied Provinces. Being a rebel leader was fun at the time, but not so much anymore.
Ainer's earpiece crackled.
Atop a tree sat a woman, warmed by a heating device. She gazed through the sights of her silver mask, watching heat signatures dance in the distance.
"PRIME POSSESSOR IXA. SITUATION DESCRIPTION IS REQUESTED."
The voiced boomed between her ears. She flinched, but her face was stoic as always.
"No changes. A retrieval is still possible."
She kept her shoulders tensed for a few minutes, watching the chase ensue. Eventually she relaxed and motioned to put a ration in her mouth. Identified as a mint confection, she had procured it from a Provinces village nearby.
"LET NO ONE ESCAPE THE GAZE OF IRIS."
Her ration fell to the whitened field below.
Etwal's robot dove in with a burst of speed, slashing the flakes out of the air with dozens of successive slashes. Diane's robot blitzed upward, dodging them all before letting out a spear of light aimed at its enemy's head. The Excel-Gan twisted in mid-air, reflecting the edge of the beam with its massive shield. By the time it regained momentum, Diane was gone again in a plume of white dust. Undaunted, Etwal pursued.
The clash repeated in this way, and Etwal had no more of the blind spots Diane had remembered. His movements were brutal and precise, and he grew more agile with every attack. The Excel-Gan curved around a bend and bisected the storm with killer intent.
"I am Etwal."
Ainer emerged from below the snow and ice with a whirling slash of his Ark's bayonet, tearing through the robot's chest armor. The Excel-Gan's motion was only altered just enough to graze Diane's machine. She again darted away, leaving a whirlwind surrounding Ainer.
Through the snow and the wind, through the darkness of the Province mountain shadows and through the final beams of the setting sun, Etwal saw his target. The young man who had put him on this path and the one who he had yet to destroy. It would not be for the Empyreal Realm. It would not be for his family's honor. It would not be for any glory. He would be shredded and spread among the cold storm winds, and it would be for only one reason.
The robot's saber shattered the air with a loud crack and Ainer slid and dodged at equal speed. Bits of metal shook and flew off with each sharp movement. The two were locked in a brutal melee, and neither man was giving an inch. With each parry, Diane's EIS robot orbited and bolstered Ainer's mobility. Ainer struck and scraped Etwal's shield. Diane laid down endless rounds of laser fire from all sides as she swerved around the bladed battle. The snow around the two steamed and vaporized away. Each hit Ainer landed was minor. Each swing of Etwal's sword was a narrowly avoided deathblow.
Failure, loss, setbacks and defeat were nonexistent. Only move forward. Destinations, goals and glory were nonexistent. Only progress. With each and every attack, Etwal killed a weaker, lowlier Etwal. This red-clad boy's neck had been an inch out of Etwal's saber's reach for too long, his very being was mocking the proud warrior.
Ainer leapt backwards and avoided another slash, and Etwal roared and extended his weapon straight forward. The sound of thunder rang out as the sword crashed and crunched through layers of metal. Except that it was the wrong robot.
Diane's Sen-5000 absorbed the hit and sent electric currents down the blade, paralyzing Etwal's machine. Before a cuss could escape Etwal's mouth, his robot was engulfed in beam after beam of point-blank fire, sending the robot flying backwards, the blade tearing itself from the Sen's body. The flying robot collapsed to the ground and Diane emerged from its head, rifle in hand.
A moment passed and Etwal's undying robot again exploded forward. Ainer responded in kind. Diane raised her rifle, ready to spend her last breath pulling the trigger on the relentless warrior.
Ainer's AG robot reached Diane first, shielding her from Etwal's cleaving blow and tearing apart the remainder of Ainer's armor. Diane didn't waste a second and unloaded a shell into one of Excel-Gan's four eyes. And then another. Ainer swung his Ark's weapon and threw Etwal's machine off to the side, followed by volleys of shells before it could recover. The intrepid tag team was now a stationary pile of rubble with a single large bayonet and a human-sized rifle. Etwal's robot slowly rose to its feet, scarred and glowing yellow with heat at every joint, smoke coming from its blinded eyes.
"I am Etwal." his voiced resounded in his own mind again, as another weaker Etwal fell down dead.
Ainer shook. It was impossible that the battle had gone on this long. The sun was gone and the snow subsided, leaving a chilling darkness. Diane's voice crackled in his ear, telling to think back to when he pulled off a miracle against Etwal the first time. He said that awakening the robots the first time was blind luck. Diane thought that blind luck was a great plan, as she climbed back into the wreckage of the EIS robot.
Etwal raised his sword and aimed between the Ark's eyes, ready to rocket forward for his 1000th intended final blow. The thrust came and again, Etwal was deflected, this time by a blinding pillar of light, and when it subsided, Diane gazed upwards to see Etwal's sword stopped by a newly formed machine.
Ainer was frozen in place as his mind came into sync with the new body, more than twice the size of the robot he was just in and now standing several heads above the AEG robot before him. Etwal was as ferocious as he was unimpressed, and immediately hacked away at the new form, sending glowing pieces hundreds of feet into the distance. Ainer resolved himself and began feverishly striking against the Excel-Gan's damaged body in his refreshed machine. The pace picked up, and the young fighter threw away any notion of learning the nuances of whatever machine he was currently inside of. With complete abandon of dodging or parrying, they struck each other over and over. Ainer fired a cannon blast and vaporized Etwal's shield, and he responded by hacking off the unnamed robot's arm. Etwal smashed his foe's chest with a powerful kick, shattering his own leg in the process. Ainer attempted the same, only to have his leg torn apart by blade slashes. Diane distanced herself from the falling debris while the machines blurred above her.
The two reeled back and with a final sword slash it was over. Both giant blades came down and tore through the other's body, sending them both to the dirt below in a heap of molten scrap.
Ainer rose and gasped for air. A man walked towards him, blade in hand.
"You are nothing."
Ainer put his hand forward and Etwal ran it through, forcing the hand to the ground.
"You couldn't even beat me. I am Etwal, the lowliest of warriors. I have nothing but contempt for you. You and your weakness. Now perish, before the magnificent Etwal!"
"Yeah okay, sure. What do I even do here?" Ainer thought. "Diane will get him. If not, I'm sure Ashla will, or the big guy. This is fine. I'm... tired." The boy let out a sigh of relief and reservation.
Gunshots. The maddened warrior snarled and staggered backwards, before hurling his sword like a spear, injuring Diane from a distance and knocking her gun to the ground. His eyes widened and his back arched. Etwal let out a victorious laugh and it continued on and on, until it suddenly ceased. Ainer saw Etwal fall to the ground in his blurring vision.
A masked woman appeared, her cross-shaped insignias glowing in the night. She spoke to the air:
"No, the boy was only able to make an Ark-Infinity via luck. No, the woman was also unimpressive. No, all relic machines involved have been destroyed. I'm moving forward with bringing back the local celebrity."
Shadowy figures encroached and took Etwal's motionless body away as if he were as light as a feather, and Ainer's vision went black.
To be continued
Fight and Unite.