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A rich, diverse Tactical RPG, envisioned by the master of the genre Yasumi Matsuno and you, the fans!
A rich, diverse Tactical RPG, envisioned by the master of the genre Yasumi Matsuno and you, the fans!
15,824 backers pledged $660,126 to help bring this project to life.

April Update - Vertical Slice Part 3

Posted by Little Orbit (Creator)
68 likes

Dear Backers,

It's the 1st again, but I assure you there are no April Fools jokes in this update.

This month we're going to do a quick general update and then wrap up the Vertical Slice series by showing off a first look at what a completed level looks like along with some of our internal level building tools.


New Forums & Account Migration

Months ago we shut off the Little Orbit Unsung Forums thinking that we could easily transition everyone over to the GamersFirst forums. For those that don't know, we bought the GamersFirst.com network back in May 2018. This is now Little Orbit's online portal. However GamersFirst has over 23MM registered players, so it was a lot more complex to bring over the Unsung Story Kickstarter list.

The wait is nearly over. Later this month we will be sending out an email to all the backers with instructions for migrating their account to GamersFirst. This will give them access to the new Unsung Story forums, and eventually their proper backer badges. I apologize that this took so long.

I want to start working with the community a bit more, and Kickstarter is not well suited for a 2-way conversation. We will also be reaching out to the premiere backers to start working on rewards related to art and design.

General Update

At this point there are a bunch of long term tasks that wont really be complete until the game is Alpha, but I'll try to break them up to give a sense of progress.

  • Design is still finalizing the white boxes for all 50 missions. 15 are done and out for conceptual art. 9 are playable. You'll notice that we keep adjusting the play field size on Mission 5 based on play testing. Those changes have been filtered back through other level designs to keep everything consistent.
  • Art is managing the process of working through conceptual art based on the white boxes and then the 3D modeling build out of each level.
  • Development continues to build out class skills and combat mechanics. But they are also building tools for the artists and designers. I'll be showing off the first pass of our Environment Control and Tile Editor below. Right now they are also adding support so that design can script Spawns, Hazards, and environmental events. These elements are necessary to complete the remaining 35 mission white boxes.
  • Development is also building out the Fracture system which our extended game play feature for Unsung Story that allows players to replay levels they have already beaten. Unfortunately I didn't have time to get a good enough write-up for that part of the game, so we'll be walking through it next month.
  • Art has completed work on the Female Human across all class outfits and 3 different body forms. Those assets are still being glued up in the engine, and it was quite a bit more work than we anticipated. Conceptual work is being done on the gender / racial variations to each class outfit alongside various story character designs. They also have lots of continuing work on animation, vfx, and UI.

Vertical Slice Progress

You can see Part 1 here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/littleorbit/unsung-story-tale-of-the-guardians/posts/2402978

And you can see Part 2 here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/littleorbit/unsung-story-tale-of-the-guardians/posts/2432294

Before I jump in, it is worth acknowledging that we didn't quite hit the goal of a full Vertical Slice that I had hoped for. The art and mechanics of the level are finished, but other significant elements like final character models with customizations and effects are not. We are also missing most of the post processing polish which includes a better treatment for outlines around characters and depth of field. We specifically did not edit the game play footage, so you can be assured that what you're seeing is all live and working.

We'll start with some stills of the final in-game Mission 5 level art. 

These are heavily atmospheric. That is still being dialed in. Also, everything has been modeled at high resolution, but some of the surfaces are still coming across flat. In my opinion the metal bits in the level look the best so far.  

Mission 5 - Branholme Day
Mission 5 - Branholme Day
Mission 5 - Branholme Night
Mission 5 - Branholme Night

And a shot of the same level running on Switch.

Mission 5 on Switch
Mission 5 on Switch

Environment Control v1

Nick, our Technical Artist, got super excited about this system and did a last minute video capture to show off some times of day for you guys to see. I thought you guys would get a kick out of seeing the work in progress. 

Here is a quick summary:

  • This system will control time of day, weather, and other environmental factors
  • Mission 5 is demonstrated at noon, night time, and sunset
  • Dynamic lighting and shadows
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Game play progress

Brandon, one of our designers, took some time to do a play through. All of the sounds are placeholder. Aside from the new addition of all the level art, I feel like the UI polish is coming along. Controls are feeling pretty intuitive at this point.

Here is a quick summary:

  • Temporary Level Selection Screen
  • New 3D level art
  • Working mission objectives
  • Unit Placement phase
  • Optimized Unit move, skill selection, and targeting phase
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Level Tile Editor v1

To finish off this month's update, I thought it would also be fun to have Nick demonstrate one of our level editing tools. This is a critical part of our level pipeline, as it allows our artists to work with the levels without disrupting what design has done. 

Here is a quick summary:

  • The goal of the system is to reduce the iteration time between art and design
  • We can toggle the white box design elements for designers to be able to create the basic play area
  • Designers can place tiles and rotate / shape them for the needs of the level
  • Demonstrate Branholme biome and an alternate biome example
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As always, we appreciate your continued patience and support.

We'll be back next month.

Sincerely, Matthew Scott

Alex, Mark Woodson, and 66 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Little Orbit Creator 2 minutes ago

      Tony - We're still working on identifying some fun add-ons for the game that backers will approve of.

    2. Little Orbit Creator 16 minutes ago

      @Chris - No promises on releasing the map editor, but that discussion is happening.

    3. Little Orbit Creator 17 minutes ago

      @Ian - You should be fine. The migration emails will be going out this week. We have also updated our support site and added Unsung Story there. So if you have a problem, please open a ticket at http://support.gamersfirst.com

    4. Giga_Force about 20 hours ago

      Thanks for the update, Little Orbit!

    5. Ian Berridge (kliqIMB) on

      @Little Orbit: So I got excited about the forums opening back up finally and I made an account before realizing that this update says everything will be migrated. Will this inhibit my ability to migrate the account later on?

    6. Chris Conley on

      That map editor is tasty. Any plans to release it to users after the game's out?

    7. Missing avatar

      Mithrandir on

      Nice Update ! I would like to know more about the principal characters though ! Could we have at least some more artwork and background ?

    8. Faelim on

      As each month progresses, I'm increasingly pleased to see what Little Orbit has been putting together. While I share the sentiment that it doesn't resemble what I had originally hoped for based on the original pitch by Playdek, I think it's fantastic to see it shaping into something else entirely that may appeal to me for different reasons.

      I see nothing wrong with your current direction, Little Orbit, and I sincerely hope you continue moving forward as you have. You've given me hope on a project that I had lost all of it on, and I'm eager to see what you end up creating.

    9. Missing avatar

      Gabriel Rogasner on

      Jesus Hurley, you are exactly who everyone is thinking about when they call gamers entitled.
      This looks great Little Orbit, can't wait to see the final product! Thanks again to you guys for picking this up.

    10. Hurley
      Superbacker
      on

      Arrogant developers. Because it is easier for you we have to join yet another set of forums. I should not be surprised as such behaviour is unfortunately consistent.

    11. Peterious on

      Well, first and foremost I backed this project because of Matsuno's contributions. The art is of little significance to me. That being said, I really do like the way this looks.

      I appreciate the monthly updates and actually look forward to them. Looking forward to joining the forum and talking some more about it.

    12. D on

      The enthusiasm is refreshing, thank you and keep up the good work!

    13. Missing avatar

      Tony on

      I keep getting badgered about the BackerKit survey. I haven't completed it yet because there is a $5 credit remaining on my pledge that was planned for the Game Package that was canceled. You mentioned offering something to replace that that I could apply that credit towards, any new news on what that is?

    14. Larkin on

      I think it is valid to voice ones disappointement. I appreciate the dedication and open communication of Little Orbit but I won't play the final game. Which is sad for me as I had hopes and did not follw every update closely.

    15. Missing avatar

      Nicholas Perry on

      Is there going to be background geometry or is it just going to be blank like a lot FFT style games of the era used? A neat effect would be a sort of title shift DoF blur ala 3d dot game heroes (with adjustable strength).

    16. Missing avatar

      Nicholas Perry on

      You are taking what could have been a disaster and are hunkering in for the Long haul to attempt to make it right. That's a thankless job.

      I am really enjoying the art direction. And it still feels like a game in vein of FFT. Keep at it!

    17. Brandon R on

      I'm digging it, nice work to everyone there!

    18. Joshua on

      FWIW there's a very FFT-like game on Steam (early access) right now called Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark - https://store.steampowered.com/app/699170/…

      Honestly the art in that is probably even worse (at least, the portraits, the sprites are fine but have nothing to do with said portraits). In fact it's probably even more like FFT than Unsung Story will turn out to be....but there's a demo and you can decide for yourself.
      Just throwing it out there.

    19. Missing avatar

      Oshualewis on

      How do I change my backerkit? I want to change it to the switch version.

    20. Charles Brandon Adkins on

      unlike some, a successor is not needed.
      after all this time, just want a quality game:
      nice art, good story, fun game play.
      soo far Lil Orbit is on track thankful

    21. Steve on

      What I bought and what the game is shaping up to be is the equivalent of nothing to me.

      Great Little Orbit took up the torch, but the final product is still very little of what I was pitched on. With the game looking like the mobile game it does, I will likely not even bother to register my copy.

    22. Griffinman01 on

      @Jeremy
      Well said. I mean, for the detractors, would they rather have wasted $20 on nothing, which is what Playdek was doing, or actually get a game out of it. The art style may not be to everyone’s taste but getting SOMEthing is better than NOthing. I don’t mind the art change and I’m more than happy to be getting a game out of this than a whole lot of empty promises.

    23. Joshua on

      Love or hate the art (not a fan myself though some of it's ok) if nothing else I'm exceedingly pleased that Little Orbit is giving up detailed updates every single month. Regardless of anything else that's pretty damn rare for a crowdfunded project. Most of them it's like pulling teeth trying to hear ANYTHING (even some that have come out such as Mage's Initiation and Edge of Eternity [in early access but updating regularly] were pretty lax about it).

    24. Gregory Lee Parks on

      Are the characters going to move into the tiles? Or are they always going to pop into the target tiles? And for the attack animations, will they be adjusted for the various targets (the short target didn't seem like it was actually hit)?

      Happy to see the progress.

    25. Jeremy Collins on

      Another lovely update from our hardworking friends at Little Orbit; as always, thank you, Matt, and the whole rest of the team. The shifts in landscape from a year ago at this time 'til now is astonishing. Huge movements not only within Unsung Story's development, but Little Orbit as a whole, and within this very backer community as well.

      Which actually raises a point worth examining: Is anyone who posts on these boards actually seeing all of this for the first time at this point? That just seems incredibly unlikely to me, but it's possible, I guess. Still, the weary monthly gripe about the art and world design has come to be just a routine at this point, despite having started waaaay back in July of last year.

      So many of us had thoughts, opinions, criticisms, even hurt feelings, and all of that is valid, for sure. That being said... it's all been said.

      Love the art, hate the art, drew the art? Doesn't really matter a whole lot at this stage, and that's something we've known for literally months now.

      Those of you in the community who aren't fans of the art style, I recognize the validity of your opinions; I ain't feelin' the style too much, either.
      Nevertheless, try to take a moment and appreciate just how incredible it is that one day, we'll actually be playing Unsung Story, and that's because of the tireless dedication of the Little Orbit team.

      Complaining is free and largely effortless.
      Picking up an abandoned fan-supported video game project with zero inherited funds and, upon acquisition, a backer community you already owe a game to, who also happen to be passionate and vocal about just how we want that game to be, and- the list goes on and on.
      Suffice to say, that's a lot harder.

    26. stevec on

      This continues to look good. I was thinking the project was abandoned, but obviously things are proceeding. I don't even know what to say to the "these graphics are lame" group, since they look quite good for this genre of games.

      If you're looking for a photorealistic image, perhaps this who genre of product might not be for you. Glad to see this continuing.

    27. Griffinman01 on

      I’m still amazed at how this project has turned around. Each month we get a good detailed update and new images showing actual progress. Thanks for the hard work!

    28. Little Orbit Creator on

      @Manjushri - you are not locked into PC. If you go onto your BackerKit account, you can change your desired platform to any of the ones we have announced. However Nintendo charges us a flat fee for each digital code we issue, and since we didn't collect your original funding, we have to pass on that surcharge for the Switch version.

    29. Larkin on

      I'm also disappointed by the look & feel of the game. It certainly is not what I expected when I pledged for it.
      This game does look like being made for tablets or smartphones with teenagers as the target audience.

    30. Kelseigh on

      Steve's level 100 witticism aside, I'm pretty happy with where this is headed, and beyond that the high degree of transparency you've given the project. It's fascinating watching the progress, month by month and the window you've provided into the design process as a whole. Keep it up, I can't wait to see how it plays.

    31. Blarghedy
      Superbacker
      on

      Steve, feel free to list actual detailed complaints instead of "I think you're updating the wrong project!" What about this game do you dislike? I don't love the art either but it's nothing new. This has been their declared art direction for at least several months.

    32. Manjushri on

      It is nice to see it playing on the Switch. When I originally ordered the game all those years ago, I played all of my games on the PC. These days, I do not even own a laptop that I would want to play games on. Is there any hope of using my credit for a digital download of the eventual Switch version, or am I locked in for the PC?

    33. Kelseigh on

      Wow Steve, you must think that's the most clever jab anyone's ever come up with, given how often you repeat it. Did you practice saying it in the mirror before releasing it into the world? Do you mumble it to yourself before drifting off to sleep, basking in the warm glow of the Best Own Ever?

    34. Missing avatar

      Richard Mader on

      @Steve what a dick.

    35. Missing avatar

      Chris S
      Superbacker
      on

      Everything looks great, keep up the great work!

    36. Steve on

      It would appear that for the second update in a row, you've shown some exaggerated art phone game instead of the FFT successor.

      I think you are updating the wrong project! Can we hear about the FFT successor please?