Hey! It's been a while! It's good to be here again after a long and eventful month!
Our second Kickstarter campaign was a great success, managing to raise just a shade under $25,000!
Because of this, we're happy to announce our intentions on bringing Rival Threads to the Ouya, a brand new Android based console. We've already spent a portion of the money on an Ouya developer special. If you pledged more than $16 and will own an Ouya, then we'll send you a copy of the game.
We also spent a huge chunk of the money on Unity 3D Pro + iOS Pro and Android Pro.
Now here's the big one, part of our "Stretch Goals" were three additional playable characters. Over the next few updates we'll reveal them one by one. One is an already existing character, the second is a brand new character and the third is an existing character but re-imagined.
The first one is Rara Goddard, a child prodigy and acclaimed Marionette expert turned Teacher.
Singer and Voice Actress Amanda Lee will voice Rara.
Amanda will also be providing vocals for the Rival Threads' theme song, "Threads of Rivalry". Here's a melody draft.
And a lovely synth only version:
Speaking of voice acting, here's some sound bites from Kimlinh Tran's Maya Pendleton recordings.
We get a LOT of requests for more Puppet Master videos. We've been very hesitant in releasing these because they contain spoilers that will definitely ruin the story for you. (especially the ending) We've decided to release Chapter Two and perhaps Chapter Three on the next update, since we love you guys so much.
Chapters One, Two and Three are spoiler free.
These are unlock-able in the game and also come in book format for backers $10 and up.
We now officially, have two new programmers. RV and Jeiel, who started last week. This is probably the most important development so far. We've redesigned a lot of the game systems with better mechanics and control schemes. We already have a semi functional prototype, and once it's presentable enough, we'll post a demo.
We're now working on better character animations. We started making this game with cocos2d-iphone and cocos2d-x - both multi-platform 2D game engines. We used spritesheet/frame by frame animation for everything. We have four different artists using their own animation techniques and preferred software. They would send us a completed animation set like this:
However, this meant you ended up with incredible amount of images once you're done animating all the actions for a single character. Since we needed a lot of actions for the Marionettes, this was unacceptable as it would have been a ridiculous amount of work, and the game's file size would have ended up in the gigabytes.
Instead, we built our own animation tool that would export animation data into text and could then be recreated in the game programatically. This meant we only had to save the segmented body parts and the text file instead of one gigantic spritesheet.
We picked up this technique from Bookworm Adventures:
There are now publicly available tools, like Brashmonkey's Spriter, another Kickstarted project, that does this.
The limitation with the tool however, is it just does joint rotation, meaning we could do very little with it, artistically. There were no perspective changes, no texture swapping, just appendages rotating in sockets. If you watched the video or played the demo, you'll notice this is the only thing the female Marionette, Sancti, does. There's lots of room for improvement.
Since expectations for this game are now at an all time high, we want to push our animation quality further. Instead of three different animators, we will now have a single full time animator and animation director and two helpers. This way, we can create consistent and great looking animations as we originally planned:
To achieve this, we will be using Layne Bryant's amazing Smooth Moves Unity Extension, a more advanced bone animation system that supports texture swapping and other features similar to Flash.
And while we're at it, we've also decided to scrap all of our human character animations. All of them. We were still using spritesheet animated characters carried over from our older game engine and were intimidated by the monumental task of replacing four dozen animated sprites.
We believe this will be for the best. We'll be able to offer smoother, cleaner and more consistent animations. Our goal is more natural looking poses, instead of the "breathing" animation you've seen, and more animated actions for each character.
What Our Friends Are Up To
Kontrabida team up! Our lead writer Chris Carter, is currently working on his novel, Camp Myth: Phoenix Watching. It also features art from fellow Kontrabidas Anne Ballaran and Jay Camay.
Rival Threads' main character Sebastian also makes a cameo as "Camper Sebastian"! He even has a Marionette like tree golem. Check it out!
The always awesome Rival Threads Voice Actors Edwyn Tiong and Kimlinh Tran are also part of Detective Grimoire, a cool looking adventure game from SFB Games & Armor Games.
Our friends at ZendoArt just started their own Kickstarter campaign: Noble Path!
We have the best fans. Hands down, amazing, amazing fans.
We've been invited to set up booths at conventions, and some have even expressed a desire of cosplaying (dressing up as) some of our characters! We'd love to visit some North American conventions but unfortunately, we don't have the time and the resources right now. Perhaps, early next year! We would love to meet you all.
You sent us a lot of great fan art as well! We have a whole album on Facebook!
This one's from "Soy Sauce". http://soyfreak.deviantart.com
More on our Facebook page.
That's it for now. We'll talk to you soon!
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