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A cowboy themed RPG adventure aboard a steam-powered airship!  Steampunk meets Firefly in a vast, immersive, Wild West inspired world!
A cowboy themed RPG adventure aboard a steam-powered airship! Steampunk meets Firefly in a vast, immersive, Wild West inspired world!
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636 backers pledged $15,773 to help bring this project to life.

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The Little Things

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
12 likes

 

"Can't argue with the little things, it's the little things that make up life." - Hank Scorpio
"Can't argue with the little things, it's the little things that make up life." - Hank Scorpio

Lately we've been working on...well lots of little things. Tons of little things. ENDLESS LITTLE THINGS!!! AHHHHH!!!  Setting up weather effects, getting the saving/loading system to work smoothly, animating little tiny UI details, replacing placeholder sound effects with better ones, fine tuning the encounter system, making sure the quest and dialog and inventory and battle systems play nicely together, and about ten thousand similar tasks.

It can be a wee bit frustrating because it always seems like the alpha just around the corner--only a couple weeks away. There's only little things left after all. But then we work ourselves crazy for two weeks and it seems a whole new two weeks worth of tasks have suddenly materialized. It's like a sewage pipe spontaneously burst all over the game. And it's like, "hey, where'd all this crap come from!!!" Again it is frustrating, but that's just the way it goes sometimes--especially at this stage in development. 

One of the less little tasks has been writing dialog.  Not little at all.  It's a great deal of fun but can certainly take a while. There's a lot of behind the scenes scripting that needs to be done to wire the dialog up properly. Certain lines of dialog need to interact with the quest system, with the inventory system, with other NPCs, and with future lines of dialog. But fortunately we have a pretty robust dialog system in place, which helps make things go smoothly. The alpha is going to have roughly 30 NPCs--I hope you all have fun with them!

a dialog tree for one AOG's NPCs
a dialog tree for one AOG's NPCs

There's still a handful of little things we need to get squared away before the alpha. Once we wrap up the remaining issues we'll then need to test everything pretty extensively on PC, Mac, and Linux. If you remember (hopefully you don't) our last build ran fine on PC but wouldn't work at all on Mac or Linux. So we certainly want to avoid that sort of thing this time around.

 

We are going to distribute the alpha on Indie Game Stand. We already have everything set up and ready to go with them, we just need to plop the build in once it's ready. Through Indie Game Stand you'll be able to download a DRM free copy of the alpha, you'll automatically get all future builds we release, and when we launch on Steam you'll automatically get a Steam key as well. 

When the alpha is ready we'll send you a link via IGS as well as an update through Kickstarter. We'll start out with the higher tier backers and work our way down until we get to everyone. If anyone has any trouble downloading the alpha or getting things to work please contact help@iqsoup.com. We also have a bug reporting system (courtesy of our friends, the awesome devs of Hive Jump) that will let players conveniently report issues from within the game itself.

I want to sincerely apologize that we haven't had an update in a while.  I know a lot of you really appreciate seeing our progress.  I will try to be more consistent and at the very least get one update out each month.

I know this is taking forever. We are all working as hard as we possibly can, trying to finish this game out as soon as possible. This what I work on all day every day. It's just a complex project for our small team to tackle. It's going to be awesome when it's done--believe me we are all very excited about where AOG is heading--but it's just taking a while to get there.

We can't thank you enough for your patience, your enthusiasm, and your support.  We hope you all really enjoy the alpha!

Shiftin' Gears!

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
10 likes
Time to shift gears! Insert hilarious steampunk gear pun here. 

We are at last wrapping up Age of Grit's artwork. First things first: very big comically large Texas cowboy hats off to the art team. They've produced mountains and mountains of incredible artwork! A few t's need to be crossed and such, but the core art assets for the game are behind us. This means we can now focus the bulk of our efforts on programming.

Programming can be rough--especially during the later stages. We have come a very long way, but that means a lot of the fun stuff is over and now it's a matter of dealing with bugs, sorting out tedious little details, and repeatedly bashing our heads against our keyboards hoping the random combination of letters that subsequently appear on the screen will magically fix everything. Tom Cargill of Bell Labs described the process rather succinctly: "The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time." Like scrapping away at a prison cell wall with a dull rock hammer, at times it seems like progress can be painfully slow. But each day we drop another handful of dirt out in the prison yard and we get a little bit closer to crawling through a metaphorical sewage pipe and enjoying our well deserved vacation in sunny Mexico. That day the crusty old warden will find an empty cell, in frustration throw a rock right through a poster of a fuzzy britches clad woman, find our secret wall hole, and then the world will know the great thing we've accomplished! 

The good news is now that AOG's art is pretty much taken care of we can now devote 100% of our attention to finishing programming. And I guess some eating and sleeping...and taking a shower every now and then. So maybe like 98% of our attention. Oh shoot--bassoon practice!  I guess it's more like 97%. Point is now we can really put our heads down and smash through the remaining programming. We've been making very good progress and now we should move even faster. A solid alpha build is in sight and I think you'll all be very pleased with things.

A big thanks to all of y'all--we truly appreciate the support!

Towns

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
11 likes

As per the response from our last post: AOG's battle system will be fully turn based. Not even a hint of any sort of real time mechanics. If you want you can take a month to think through each action and you won't be penalized in any conceivable way!  The community voted unanimously for a slower, more methodical, and more strategic combat system. Your collective voices have been heard and I think AOG will be the better for it! A big thanks to everyone for your feedback!

As of late we've been putting a lot of effort into the town sequence--both in terms of programming and finalizing the art assets. Finishing the towns, the underlying systems, and integrating them with the rest of the game is our last big step towards an alpha build, which is our next major milestone. Unlike the battle sequence demo we released a bit ago, the alpha will be a comprehensive experience and much more representative of the final game. 

The way towns will work has evolved quite a bit since the Kickstarter. We originally had envisioned a sort of 2d view. Players would horizontally scroll their way up and down a town's street, seeing NPCs along the way and being able to interact with each one. This seemed like a cool idea, it had some advantages, but there were a lot of issues with this concept. The flat view of each building left a lot to be desired--each building ended up looking dull and fairly similar to every other building. Towns didn't really have a unique character or feeling--they all just sort of blended together after a while. 

Eventually, after struggling with the system for a while, we decided to scrap our original vision and move to a very different approach. Players will now see each town from a distant isometric overview. From this vantage point you'll get a sense for each town's individual feel and characteristics. It gives us the freedom to make some really interesting and unique buildings. You also get a much better sense of the setting--mountains, desert, forest etc. The towns are looking really awesome now and we are really proud of how they are coming a long. Here's a sneak peak at some of the town building assets we have been cooking up:

 And as always, thanks for all the support!!!

Real Time or Turn Based?

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
6 likes

Hello y'all!

Thanks for all the great feedback we received from the Battle Demo! Everyone seemed to enjoy it and your comments so far have already been really helpful.  If you haven't played through it yet please go try it out and tell us what you think.

Currently we are really focusing on finishing up the final art assets for the game. We have completed tons of NPC portraits, ship components, buildings for the game's towns, battle backgrounds, UI artwork, cut scenes graphics, and so much more. There's still some work that remains, but we are getting close to wrapping up the graphical assets for Age of Grit. Down the road there will probably be some random, unanticipated stuff we'll still need to take care of, but we should finish up the core artwork in the not too distant future. This is a huge milestone and we're really excited to get there.

early sketch for a few in-game buildings
early sketch for a few in-game buildings

One thing we have been toying around with is the idea of transitioning the turn based battle mechanics to a real time system. We wanted to run this idea by everyone and see what your thoughts are. 

A real time system would be more fast paced and energetic. Things would move more quickly and reaction time would become more of a factor.  We wouldn't speed things up too much--players would still have plenty of time to think things through and plan each action.  But with a bit of time pressure combat might be more fun and engaging for players. An airship's engines would also become more dynamic and interesting. Different engines would generate different amounts of steam points at different intervals of time.  Each engine would cater to a certain play style and strategy. 

On the other hand using a turn based system gives players all the time they want to carefully plot out their next decision. A turn based system would be more slow but might feel more methodical and strategic. 

From a programming standpoint it would be fairly simple to make the transition. We wouldn't need to reinvent the whole combat system--a few minor tweaks would do the trick. But we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think and why! What is your vote: turn based or real time? 

And as always, thanks for all the support!

Battle Demo - Mac and Linux Versions Working Now

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
5 likes

Hello everyone!  Mac and Linux users were having issues running the demo we posted yesterday. We are very sorry for the problem and we're grateful for everyone's patience! The issue is now resolved and the Battle Demo should run properly on both Mac and Linux platforms. You'll just need redownload the files, unzip, and run the game.

The same links from yesterday will now lead to the updated versions.  For your convenience here are they again: 
Age of Grit Battle Demo - Mac
Age of Grit Battle Demo - Linux
Age of Grit Battle Demo - PC (The PC version was unaffected--no need to redownload anything if you're on PC.) 

Things should work fine now, but if you run into further problems please let us know at support@iqsoup.com. Again, we apologize for this issue and thank everyone for being so patient and understanding.

A big thanks goes out to backer Flesk who helped us test things out on Linux.