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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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Yipeekaiyaiyippeeyay!!! Battle Demo ready for play!!!

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
11 likes

Boy howdy am I excited!!!

The first reason--I have a daughter! As you can see from the picture, she is a 1-up mushroom with a bow. Our adorable little baby was born just a few weeks ago--both she and her mother are very happy and healthy. We are ecstatic, but as you can imagine the wee one was kept us pretty busy--I've become very good at holding a sleeping baby while typing code at my desk.

The other reason I'm so excited: the much anticipated Age of Grit Battle Demo has arrived!!!  It's certainly been a heck dang ton of work but now Age of Grit is the proud owner of a fully armed and operational battle system.  This is an absolutely huge milestone for the project!  It's a massive part of the game we can check off the list.

We originally planned on doing a single web build for the demo, but unfortunately Unity's web player is being depreciated by most major browsers. So instead we have three different builds--one for PC, one for Linux, and one for Mac.  Follow the link for your platform below, unzip the folder, and dive right in.  There are four battles for you can check out--see if you can beat all four!

Age of Grit Battle Demo - PC

Age of Grit Battle Demo - Mac
Age of Grit Battle Demo - Linux

The two purposes of the demo are 1) to give you guys a taste of the game and how combat will work, and 2) for us to get some glimmering pearls of priceless feedback. We'd really appreciate all the constructive criticism you can possibly critically construct.  Let us know what you like and what you don't like. Share with use any ideas you have on how we can improve things. For brief general feedback just post on over on the main comment section of the Kickstarter! For more detailed suggestions email us at support@iqsoup.com. It's difficult to build anything creative in a vacuum--we desperately need your comments, positive or negative.

There's still a few issues and we'll certainly make some tweaks and adjustments--especially after getting some valuable feedback from our beloved play testers (that's you). And again, this isn't representative of the full game but rather a demo of just the game's battle system. It's a big slice of the pizza but by itself it's not the whole pie. The rest of the game--traveling across the game world, visiting towns, talking with NPCs, upgrading your ship--all that stuff is well underway but still needs time and love and won't be a part of this demo.

If you have any trouble downloading or running the build please contact us at support@iqsoup.com and we will help you out right away.

And when you're done playing through the demo, if you're in the mood for some cowboy video game goodness there's currently a Humble Bundle that includes Call of Juarer: Gunslinger.  For as little as $1 you pick up what I thought was a really fun and well crafted cowboy shooter--along with a bunch of other games too.  I had a blast playing through it, it really captures a great fun cowboy feel.  Crazy good deal if you ask me!

A huge thanks to everyone for all your help and support!!!

Quick Update

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
6 likes

Just a really quick update. First off, a big thanks for all the feedback on our last post. It seems like we have a wide range of platforms out there and with that in mind I think the best way to go forward is to do a web build for the battle demo. That way anyone can play it with any browser, regardless of what system they're running.  This'll also make it easier to share the build around the web--which we very much encourage!  Everyone can play one unified version of the game and we target all platforms at once.  Of course the actual beta and final version of Age of Grit will be built and optimized for each specific platform--PC, Mac, Linux, and eventually iOS and Android.

With that decision made we now just need to work out a few small bugs and put a UI wrapper around the whole thing--a menu where you can select from various battles. At that point we'll upload it all to our website and send it out to you fine backers!  We also need to figure out a good way to handle your feedback in an organized way. Of course you could just email us whatever comments you have, but it would be nice to have a good system for logging bugs, feature requests, and other such feedback. We're look at a few options and we'll see what ends up working best.  

Thanks to all for your support!

A New Member of the Team!

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
11 likes

A New Member of the Team!

First I wanted to announce the newest member of our team:

My wife, Kay, is pregnant with a wonderful baby girl!  Her due date is January 3rd. We are both extremely happy and excited!  We'll keep you posted and let you know when the baby's born.  As for a name we are thinking of either Leia or Amidalla--what do you think?

With the baby on the way my wife and I have decided to move a bit closer to family, basically to the other side of the Phoenix.  The city is pretty sprawling so it's actually a couple hours from our current area.  With all the baby stuff, moving all our crap (why do I own so many NES zappers!!!), finding a new place, and working on AOG I've been pretty dang busy as of late. But regardless we've made a lot of progress on Age of Grit. A big thanks to the rest of the team who have really stepped up and helped out during this busy time for me.

The Battle Demo

We are putting some final polish on things, but the battle demo is just about ready for the searing light of day. It's a little scary to show it to the world but we're confident you'll have fun with it. Sunlight is the best disinfectant--it's time to demo what we have (at least as far as the battle mechanics go) so we can start getting constructive input dumped on our heads. We could have sent it out a while ago but I really wanted to reach a certain level of quality before doing so. It's not all that helpful if we send out a buggy build with no sound and only half the animations working. It wouldn't be all that fun for players and the all feedback would probably just point out bugs and problems we already have in our to do queue.

At this point it's still not perfect but it's playable and overall I think it's looking pretty good. All the under the hood programming stuff is working well, attack animations are looking nice, sound effects and music are in place, the system that builds the modular ships in the game is working well, and we now have several strategically unique battles you'll be able to test out. 

It will be very helpful to know what platform everyone is using. If you're interested in playing the combat demo please take a second comment on this update and tell us what platform you're using--either PC, Mac, or Linux. Sorry, no iOS or Android at this point. This will really help us know how we can best distribute this thing and get it in all of your hands.

Balance

Getting everything balanced properly has proven to be a monumental task.  You'll be able to help us out as you play test the demo and provide feedback.  If combat is too easy and there's not much strategy required and the gameplay won't be fun or engaging.  If a cat batting at your keyboard can win every battle then perhaps the level of mental stimulation will be lacking.  On the other hand if combat's too difficult--if all your weapons are effectively rubber band guns--then you'll lose regardless of your strategical genius.  It will be hard but not necessarily fair.  It needs to be challenging enough that poor strategy will typically result in defeat, and yet good strategy will typically result in victory.  It's a tough needle to thread but the game's success absolutely depends on it.

Part of the struggle for balance results from the sheer volume of unique ship upgrades. There's a lot of different ship components in the game--tons of different weapons, sensors, engines, armor, and other upgrades available to the player as well as enemy ships.  Each needs to have unique strengths, all of which need to be balanced with unique liabilities and weaknesses.  No one components can be the best at everything, yet every components should excel in it's specific niche.  Furthermore, as the player progresses throughout the game upgrades will naturally become increasingly powerful.  Ship components need to be balanced with other components of a similar "power level" and then gradually increase in power as the component's level increases.  This adds another dimension in our quest for challenging, engaging, and balanced gameplay. 

Ultimately it's all a fun but very complex puzzle to solve.  I think we've done well, but with hundreds and hundreds of unique components there's still more work left to do! Again, this is where your play testing and subsequent feedback will help us the most. We hope you'll be forthcoming with your feedback and suggestions with this demo as well as with future test builds of the game.  We don't have the budget to hire a big team of play testers--to properly balance the game we'll need your help.  Having hundreds of players play testing the demo will help us see which components are overpowered, which are underpowered, and which strategies players prefer.

Other Sequences

The battle sequence is just one part of the game. There's also the town sequence, the dialog system, the questing system, the travel sequence, and the inventory screen. We have various programmers and artists working on these areas of the game and we've made some really good progress.  Now that the combat system is pretty solid our next major task is combining all the various sequences together into one cohesive game. This will be a major job for sure--all the different parts of the game need to play nicely together.

travel sequence
travel sequence
inventory screen
inventory screen

Thanks to everyone for all your support and patience! We are doing our best to move quickly as possible and yet make the best game we possible can.

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to friends of iqSoup and their Kickstarter for The Dragon's Hoard--some cool 3d printed dice for you tabletop gamers out there.  Check them out and show them some love!

An Update for the Ages!!!

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
15 likes

Things are really going great with Age of Grit and we're making a lot of progress! Insert steampunk "full steam ahead" pun here!

Our art team has been pumping out some really gorgeous work. We got new characters, towns, airship assets, ui--and it's all looking awesome! See for yourself as you feast your hungry pupils on the following:

 

Our battle demo is just about ready.  We're working pretty dang hard but having fun doing so and morale is certainly high!  It's honestly just such a fun game and a fun world to work on!  Some days I'll feel worn out but then I get another awesome flamethrower image from one of our artists and right away I'm energized again.  Sure, my fingertips are worn down to bloody nubs from keyboard fatigue but my steady intravenous Mountain Dew drip keeps me going!  The long days can certainly at times be hard, but all great things require sacrifice!

Our goal is to have a solid demo it in your hands by the end of September. This will be a demo of the game's combat system and will include multiple battle you can try out. We've put a lot of work into the battle system and have really tried to balance everything out for a fun but challenging strategic experience. But there's still more fine tuning to do and we hope you can help us out with that--your input and suggestions will be invaluable! 

We also have a pretty good working prototype of the game's travel and in-town sequences. They still need some tinkering but it's progressing along nicely. Both AOG's dialog and quest systems are operational and looking nice. Soon we'll combine the travel and town sequences with the combat sequence and at that stage we'll have a solid alpha build of the game with all the main systems will be in place. We'll then focus our work on fine tuning the mechanics, polishing various elements of the game, and creating content--NPC dialog, quests, ship upgrades, gear, cut scenes etc.

When we've reached a level of content and quality that we're satisfied with we'll release an official Age of Grit Beta. This will be a complete but scaled down version of the final game with all the game mechanics and systems in place but just less content--less quests, less upgrades, a limited geographical area you can explore, and for the most part it will lack an overarching main story. You guys can all play around with it and have fun stress testing everything! We'll get your input, make necessary changes, and then it's onward to the final release. 

A huge thanks to everyone for your continued support! You guys are all great--we are so fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and supportive fan base! We are all so excited to get AOG into your hands!

Inspiration

Posted by iqSoup (Creator)
7 likes

It's my sincere desire that Age of Grit will have it's own creative and unique world. Original characters, interesting places to visit, and adventures that feel new and fresh. But we'd be doing a disservice to the game if we didn't draw some inspiration from some of the wondrous existing works of cowboy-inspired fantasy. There's some legendary examples of stories that take place in a Wild West inspired fictional universe. We want to lap up as much cowboy awesomeness as we can--like a camel lapping up cowboy flavored water from an oasis of cowboy awesomeness deep in the vast lonely desert of video game development. Man, camels are great...btw has anyone seen Ishtar?   

Star Wars was heavily influenced by the Old West. Just look at all them ponchos!!! You have classic cowboyish characters like Boba Fett as a bounty hunter gunslinger, Darth Vader as a villainous lawman dressed in black, and Han Solo as the quintessential western anti-hero. Han shooting Greedo could've been straight of an old cowboy movie. In fact, there's a very similar scene in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly."  Throughout all of Star Wars there's an unmistakable presence of a Wild West spirit of adventure. There's even a scene where a tauntaun gets sliced open with a lightsaber and used as a sleeping bag! Well...I guess that never happened in any westerns...but come on...that was pretty cool. Come to think of it that lightsaber probably gives off some major heat--maybe they could've just huddled around the lightsaber and the poor tauntaun's corpse didn't have to be horrible desecrated. Point is while many consider Star Wars a great science fiction movie, I think it's also one of the best Westerns ever made.  

Then of course there's Firefly, which moves even further down the cowboy spectrum. Oh Firefly, how I love thee so. What a masterpiece of cowboy awesomeness. If I'm not mistaken Firefly getting canceled was one of the signs of the coming apocalypse. As I've mentioned in the past, I like to think in a lot of ways AOG is a steampunk version of Firefly--a ragtag crew of cowboy types flying around, looking for jobs to pull, getting in gunfights, and having adventures. All the characters are great in Firefly, but Malcolm Reynolds is such a perfect cowboy lead. He's got a serious "don't mess with me" cowboy side, but then he's also very sarcastic and light-hearted.  

The classic Spaghetti Westerns from the 60s and 70s form the basis for much of what we currently think of as the Old West. While obviously more historically grounded, the classic westerns are still fantasies in their own right--taking an adventurous fairy tale sort of twist on what the actual 1800s were like. Above all, films like "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" or "A Fist Full of Dollars" have some really great cowboy characters. They glorified the notion of an anti-hero protagonist, but also had comical characters and some pretty cool bad guys as well. We don't want to just rehash old stereotypes, but I hope we can inject some of AOG's characters with a bit of the coolness some of those classic Spaghetti Western characters embodied.  

There's been many other great movies, books, comics, and video games that incorporate Wild West elements into a fantasy world. We'll do our best to creatively innovate but also draw inspiration from some of the great pillars of cowboy awesomeness.  

How about you? What are some of your favorite cowboy inspired fictional worlds? What are some cowboy tropes you'd like to see in Age of Grit?