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A gritty turn-based RPG with a focus on tactics and the management of your guild within a dynamic world.
A gritty turn-based RPG with a focus on tactics and the management of your guild within a dynamic world.
A gritty turn-based RPG with a focus on tactics and the management of your guild within a dynamic world.
3,835 backers pledged $94,524 to help bring this project to life.

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September Update: Concerning the release date and more

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Hello backers! We have a number of things to share with you today, along with some good news and bad news, the latter of which we’ll address first as it’s most relevant to you.  

We’ve come to realize over the last few months that our initial timeline was too ambitious for the game’s scope, and even though we’ve made good progress overall, the game will unfortunately not see a release in 2019. This also means that the closed beta which we had initially planned for next month will be pushed back to a later date. We have an idea of the new release window, but an exact date won’t come for some time as we have many new factors to consider. We do sincerely apologize to all of you who have supported us and were looking forward to the beta/launch. We hope you can understand our position of wanting to deliver The Iron Oath in a state that we are proud of, without compromise to its various aspects of gameplay. We’d also like to reassure you that this is not a financial decision and the project is not in any danger; we’ll both continue to work full-time on the game until its completion.  

So what’s the good news? We have a lot of exciting announcements in store, but we can’t quite spill the beans on them yet. In short, we’re firmly in a position that will allow us to complete the game to its full extent and deliver it to a wider audience. We believe we’ve taken the best course of action to ensure the game’s success and we hope the coming announcements will soften the blow of the delay. I know the above is all very vague, but please bear with us :)  

In lieu of the beta next month, we’ll be making our current expo build available starting next weekend to our beta tier backers so we can collect their feedback. We'll post a separate update for that once it's ready for download. We’re also planning to make another pre-beta build available some time in the first half of 2019. For the rest of our backers, we'd like to share with you a gameplay video taken from the build:

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Last month Chris took the build to the Orlando IX convention where hundreds of people had a chance to sit down and try out the game. Overall it was a little busier than our experience at DreamHack, and the game was once again well received which is always a good sign! Here’s some pictures from the event:  

As for what we’ve been doing the last month and a half: Chris has continued to work on the Overworld’s gameplay experience, working on tasks such as sea travel; visiting city hubs and interacting with the different buildings in each; and the flow for accepting, completing and turning in different types of quests. Last month I completed all the lore and world history, and have just recently finished a large task focusing on the logic for Rulers and the different decisions that are available to them during the course of the world’s simulation. We’re getting close to a point where we’ll be able to sit back and watch the game’s world progress through hundreds of in-game years. It’s pretty exciting to think about all the gameplay possibilities that will present themselves to the player!

The game’s soundtrack has been coming along nicely, and Alex has been continually creating some awesome music to accompany the game. Here’s a short clip of one of his recent tracks for the city hubs of Winter’s Reign:  

Finally I’ve uploaded an art timelapse that I completed earlier this summer. I haven’t been able to upload as many as I’ve wanted due to some unfortunate Aseprite crashes while recording. If it keeps happening I’ll have to start recording my entire process and editing down the video so it’s watchable! Either way there will be lots more coming in 2019 as we continue to fill out the game’s content. 

We’d like to once again apologize for the situation and ask for your patience and understanding. We do believe the extra wait will be worth it in the end!

July Update

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Hey guys, here with our July update for The Iron Oath! This month's update is a little short as we're working on things that we can't easily show off quite yet such as finalizing the lore, main quest campaign, working on our "Narrative Design Tool", and more work on the overworld simulation aspects of the game.

A look at our tool being used to create content for The Iron Oath.On the left is a searchable list of cutscenes, quests, dialogue, etc. On The right is a group of nodes grouped by a quest.
A look at our tool being used to create content for The Iron Oath.On the left is a searchable list of cutscenes, quests, dialogue, etc. On The right is a group of nodes grouped by a quest.

Our narrative design tool has been fleshed out to accommodate everything we'll need to make hundreds of quests for The Iron Oath. The tool is used to make everything involving dialogue, cut scenes, world events, and quests with as few lines of scripting as possible. The goal has been to make it as easy for us to make lots of quests but still have access to loads of variables and functions in game. The tool exposes functionality for us to play animations for characters, branching dialogue trees, branching quests, play sound effects, alter the state of the game in a variety of ways, and loads more.

A simple quest created using our Narrative Design Tool
A simple quest created using our Narrative Design Tool

As for the world simulation elements of the game we have made some great progress. Previously those elements were prototyped in some external programs but they have been integrated into the main game now and it's really exciting to see the simulation play out. Factions will trade or fight over the limited resources in the world. Alternatively they might form new alliances and overthrow a ruler not providing for their people. We'll share more progress of that in the future once we get the art more finalized. Right now it's still using programmer art which as you can imagine looks incredible! ;)

BackerKit and Surveys

At the end of this month we'll be closing the BackerKit store so it will be the last chance for anyone to get the game at the $15 price tag. Additionally there are still over 100 people who have not yet completed their BackerKit surveys. We sent out a reminder email last week and will continue doing so until we lock down the surveys(exact date TBA). If you haven't received an email and have not completed your survey, you can request it to be resent here: theironoath.backerkit.com

Lastly if you haven't already done so, please take a moment to wishlist us on Steam as it helps with the game's visibility. Thanks and have a great weekend!

June Update

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Hey guys we're back with our June update! We've spent some time lately getting a build polished enough to show at trade shows and a few weeks ago we went to DreamHack Austin to show off The Iron Oath to the public!

Getting ready for Day 1! Even though we've known each other for around 10 years (we met playing the Age of Conan MMO!) this was actually the first time we've ever met in person.
Getting ready for Day 1! Even though we've known each other for around 10 years (we met playing the Age of Conan MMO!) this was actually the first time we've ever met in person.

This was our first major expo and it was an overall awesome experience. Most importantly for us, the game was very well received by those who played it, and we gathered some useful feedback as well. It was great meeting other developers, and we even had a few backers stop by which was nice to see!

All in all, we were able to show the game off to a few hundred people over the 3-day event. Even though manning the booth for 8 hours a day was a lot of work, it was worth it to see everyone’s reactions and reaffirm that we are on the right path.

Showing The Iron Oath to some DreamHack attendees
Showing The Iron Oath to some DreamHack attendees

After DreamHack we've spent some time implementing a few of the most common requests we heard, like outlining targets in combat, clicking to move during the exploration phase, warning players if they are about to hit a friendly unit with AoE damage, and the ability to undo your movement in combat (as long as you don't incur an attack of opportunity from moving or trigger other hazards).

The Stormcaller flashes red to warn the player an ally is in the line of fire
The Stormcaller flashes red to warn the player an ally is in the line of fire

I also recently updated our cut scenes to have more intricate animations and interactions with fewer lines of scripting. The following gif was created with just 6 lines in a script which plays the animations and spawns the skeletons into the scene.

The Outlaw leader sacrifices an ally to form a pact with the undead in this quest
The Outlaw leader sacrifices an ally to form a pact with the undead in this quest

We’re Hiring!

We're looking to hire an additional pixel artist to work on our overworld map. It's a fairly big task, and one that we decided would be better to outsource. Here is a full-sized version of the map(which would normally be viewed at 200% scale in-game): https://i.imgur.com/sy2BXI4.png

I started work on one of the regions a long time ago, but it could certainly do with some improvements, as it's a little too barren and the pixeling could be much better: https://i.imgur.com/96xCJbp.png

A better example of what we would be looking for is from this overworld preview from the game Stoneshard

Of course we'd be open to any style as long as we feel it fits the game's tone. If you're interested in applying for the position please send us an email at:

curiouspandagames@gmail.com

Please include any relevant works from your portfolio or feel free to whip up a small mock. It will also be helpful to mention your standard rate(as we have a budget to keep in mind! lol), but we can discuss that in more detail once we come closer to a decision. Thanks! :)

What’s Next?

With our expo build finalized(the plan is to take it to PAX West in a few months, hopefully that pans out!), we're now turning our attention towards the beta build, and mapping out everything that will be included in it. We'll share more details about that when the plan is more final.

May Update (+DreamHack!)

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Hello backers, hope you're all doing well! Late last month we got some pretty amazing news as we were selected to showcase our game at DreamHack Austin(June 1-3). The last few weeks have been pretty hectic getting everything ready with the demo build and promotional materials, but we're super excited to show off the game at such a big venue! Both Chris and myself will be in attendance so if any of you were planning on going we'd be happy to have you stop by our booth and give the game a test-run :)

To go along with the demo build we have some new additions to the roster of enemies; we figured the poor skeletons have been beaten on enough ;)

Like the undead, they'll be a fairly common enemy that you'll encounter in the game, specifically during overworld travel where bandits tend to prey on weary travelers.

Here are some other things we've worked on this past month:

  • Full implementation of the Line of Sight mechanic
  • Combat UI improvements for targeting and letting the user know why and when abilities cannot be used
  • Added a new resource pool called "Focus" which is used for casting spells. We've tweaked the function of our Spirit resource and we'll talk further about it in a future update
  • New ability icons
  • Fancy new environment introduction(totally not inspired by Dark Souls!)
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Hope we'll see a few of you at DreamHack and we'll be back next month with more news and a recap of how the expo went :)

Shout-outs

Lastly we have 2 games we'd like to give a quick shout-out too. First up is Fort Triumph, a great tactical RPG funded here on Kickstarter that has recently entered early access.  Check out their game on Steam here.

Next is Stoneshard, a roguelike RPG that recently launched on Kickstarter. They have some gorgeous pixel art and a demo of their prologue available. They're nearly funded with plenty of time to go, so they'll be aiming for some stretch goals next. Check it out here.

March/April Update

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Hey everyone, we were running a little late with the last update for March so we decided to instead combine it with April’s. We’ve gotten a lot done during this period and it’s probably been the busiest we’ve been thus far, so we hope you’ll excuse the tardiness of the update :) As previously mentioned, we’ve been working to make a stable build of the game that is polished enough to show off at major trade shows(almost there now!) and with that goal in mind we wanted to share some recent additions to assets and gameplay mechanics.

Combat Mechanics

We’ve added a couple new combat mechanics and tweaked some of the existing ones in order to achieve the tactical depth that we want out of the game. None of this is set in stone and will still require further tuning but we’re happy with the premise of each.

First up, we’ve added a new ‘Swap’ mechanic for every character. You can now use your turn to swap positions with any adjacent allied character. This allows you to move someone out of harm's way quickly, and avoid them suffering an Attack of Opportunity. There are a few situations where using Swap is not possible, such as when the target is Stunned, Feared or Taunted. Enemies can also take advantage of this function so it’s important to plan accordingly.

We’ve removed our Backstab mechanic and reworked it into a Flanking mechanic, one that is easier to understand and execute within the context of the game. Previously, you were able to control the direction that your characters were facing at the end of their movement, and any attacks at their rear would be considered a Backstab. However we decided that the mechanic was a little unclear, annoying and clunky to deal with. A character is now considered “Flanked” whenever there are 2 enemies on opposite sides of his or her location. The Flanked debuff reduces Defense and Evasion for all attacks against that character, whether they are from the flankers, or elsewhere on the field.

The final combat addition is a Line of Sight mechanic, which places an increased importance on your positioning for both attacking and defending. For certain classes and abilities, the game will now check to see if the target is valid(due to LOS) and whether or not any accuracy penalty will be applied. If a character or object lies on a direct path(horizontally or diagonally connected hexes) between the attacker and the intended target, the target will be deemed untargetable due to the attacker having No Line of Sight. Full Line of Sight(no characters or objects blocking the path) would obviously incur no penalties and the attacker could freely attack the target within the limits of their abilities. Anything in between is classified as Obscured Line of Sight, and the attacker will incur a moderate accuracy penalty against their intended target.

Of the three, this mechanic has the potential to change the most as it hasn’t been fully implemented yet and will need a proper round of playtesting to ensure that it’s beneficial to the game’s tactics.

Animations and Abilities

We’ve completed and updated all of the current class animations to bring them up to a consistent level of quality across the game. This meant a lot of reworked keyframes, and inbetween frames, which in turn lead to adjustments or full overhauls of the existing Spell FX. As a result, the frame count of each character class has jumped up quite a bit, most around 4 or 5 times as many(200~ frames per class), but we feel it’s well worth the time spent and now we can focus on new classes and new enemies.

We also had a few unfinished abilities, and some others that we decided to overhaul and make more interesting. For example the Pyrolancer’s ability “Wildfire” was previously a ranged attack that applied a Burn condition to the target. We wanted to keep him at melee range however, so we reworked the ability to engulf an adjacent cell, which spreads in a line from his position over the next 3 turns. Any character standing on an engulfed cell(this includes walking or being pushed through) will incur a Burning condition. Enemies will do their best to avoid the flames, making it a valuable tool for controlling the battlefield by blocking off enemy routes and creating favorable choke points.

Wildfire
Wildfire

His Return to Cinder ability is a fire rune that is triggered when an enemy walks over it. We’ve added a knockback effect to it which cancels the enemies movement. With the changes to Wildfire, these two should have a fairly good synergy for manipulating enemies into vulnerable positions.

Return to Cinder
Return to Cinder

The rework of Wildfire was actually a merging between 2 previous abilities, so to fill the gap we added a new area of effect ability called Crossfire.

Crossfire
Crossfire

The Valkyrie’s Skewer animation was completely redone and its mechanics slightly tweaked. It remains an ability that can pierce 2 enemies horizontally, but alternatively it now functions as both a push and pull depending on the situation. Against single targets(one of the 2 cells is empty), Skewer will now push those away who are next to the Valkyrie, or pull them towards if they are separated.

Skewer
Skewer

The Valkyrie’s Take Flight ability was completed and implemented, giving her extra movement options to engage or escape, while at the same time dealing damage to anyone in her path.

Take Flight
Take Flight

Guardian Angel is a new high-cost ability that the Valkyrie can use to relocate allies into a safe position behind her. Not only useful for saving those near death, but you could also send a character into a high danger area, inflict heavy damage and rescue them before the enemy can retaliate.

Guardian Angel
Guardian Angel

There’s many more animations/abilities to share and we’ll be spreading them out on social media over the next little while!

Other than abilities, we’ve added some new action icons(move, pass turn, use item, flee, swap) to the skill bar, shuffled its elements around and repositioned it into the bottom right corner(it was in the bottom middle). The “Basic Attack” ability(the icon is placeholder obviously! lol) is also now beside the other 6 abilities to better reflect its importance.

New Skillbar layout. Some placeholder elements
New Skillbar layout. Some placeholder elements

Audio

We’ve now fully integrated FMOD into The Iron Oath which has streamlined the process for hooking up sound effects to events in our game. We haven’t yet hired a Sound Designer, but having FMOD will make the collerberation process much easier for when we do.

Alex Roe has also been hard at work on new tracks for The Iron Oath and they’re sounding fantastic. We look forward to sharing more of the soundtrack with you a little further down the road.

Overworld Updates

Outside of combat we’ve also made a lot of updates and additions. For dynamic encounters, we added the ability to highlight certain words or phrases, allowing players to get additional information about the world whenever they want. This is just the first phase of this feature. Eventually we’ll expand on it so you can learn more on each topic(like codexes in other games).

Here’s a round-up of some other features we’ve been working on :

  • Added a system for showing dynamic world event notifications when on the world map
  • Quest Tracker on the world map
  • Level editor additions like placing Boss Encounters, chests, locked doors, etc
  • Support for showing graphics and playing animations during cinematics
  • Implemented the ability to use items in and out of combat (like potions or bandages)
  • Skinned several UI menu screens
  • Bug fixes! Yay!

Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back in May to share more with you all :)