Happy Halloween! Guest Update - Harrison Hall
Hello, everyone! Put down those pumpkin carving kits and candy bags, it's time for a monthly update!
Last week Ryan turned over the complete main quest outline, which means every quest in the game is finally down on paper. We still have dialog to write, and that'll be a hell of a process, but the hardest part is complete. (By the way, if you missed our story Q&A you can read the transcript here.)
Given methodically chips away at the terrain as always. Working with Given is like working with a running generator. Once in a while I'll stop working and think "Hey what's that sound? Oh right, that's Given diligently generating content as always." He's spent the last couple of weeks working on Apple Valley and the region is really starting to come together. Some tasty new screens:
I've also been rebuilding some of the cities you saw in the pre-alpha. Harrison and Colleen put lots of work into redesigning their layouts. They're still mostly shells but I can already tell they're a lot more fun to walk through.
Meanwhile the alpha has been thrown into the ring with our testers and they're tearing it apart like a pack of wild dogs. It hasn't exactly gone smoothly! We've got everything from floating rocks to frying pans that won't leave your inventory to fire that burns you through walls and cooks food from ten feet away. The bug reports can seem overwhelming at times but their hilarity mostly makes up for it. If you see one of these brave testers here or in the forums tip your hat to them - every bug they suffer through brings us that much closer to final release.
(I'll be announcing the second round of alpha testers shortly, so keep an eye on your KS inbox.)
I've axed my plans to create little standalone apps for the remaining kits, with the exception of the final book creation kit. Consider it our first cut feature. I was having a lot of fun with the Botanist and Coat of Arms kits (and I'll still be using them as internal dev tools), but final polish would just take too much time away from developing the game. So instead you'll be getting some nice web-based kits. (If you have a Coat of Arms check your KS inbox - you should have a link to your kit already.)
Multiplayer has been... frustrating. Oh sure, I'm making progress and some simple tests have shown promise but the whole thing has been going way more slowly than I'd like. The good news is that after weeks of searching I've finally made contact with some new potential team members who can help me shoulder the burden of implementing it. If my good luck holds, next month's update will show you some co-op in action. (Don't hold me to that, though!)
And finally: Guest Update - Harrison Hall
Harrison is a lore author, city designer and general crazy person. He has also written a few in-game books - below is the first in a series of five, each of which shows a different side of the strange and varied 'magic' users known as Warlocks. Enjoy!
Kilian Jornself’s Tale of Five Warlocks
Circa 60 AG
Index: Zuzel the Elder Chief ● The Other Prince of Terrainia ● Razela of Rasling ● A Zeni of Zenonia ● Gazani the Recluse
I will begin my tale with telling you about my meeting with a truly wild man. The quintessential Clawrunner, and chief of many tribes. He was a difficult man to track down and I passed from Terrainia through Riverbog, and even the Highlands before I managed to track this gazelle down.
As my horse galloped toward him, I could see why this old man was the foremost Clawrunner. He ran on his bare feet, graying hair flapping the breeze behind him, with a rucksack strapped to his back. I hailed him in a common warlock greeting, shouting toward him “Nazama!”. His legs immediately slowed though he continued his gait. My horse slowed to a cautious trot as I approached him from behind.
I could smell him from ten feet away. Dirt and sweat, and a little something sweet like freshly harvested hay. When I came alongside him he grinned and bared his jagged maw of tea-stained teeth. He bore no tattoos like most warlocks I’ve met, but his earlobes were stretched with a dozen earrings. “Inya!” he shouted back to me. “You must be the gami they call Kilian. Tracking down and putting us in your books are you?”
“It is for the Pathfinders, yes. We just want to develop some contacts for the future. Re-establish dialogue with your people.”
“Ask what you will. I have no secrets.”
“Warlo-kai always have secrets” I joked, but the smirk in his leathery tanned face suggested I was wrong on this count.
“Not this one.” He said, stooping as he walked to pull up a long strand of amaranth that he began to munch on, “This is how I run things. No secrets anymore.”
“Very well, Chief-King. May I ask why you are running on foot instead of riding?”
“I don’t like horses. Never got the hang of glamour.” He said through a mouthful of grain.
“But your eyes are so black, I thought that was a sign of luminite consumption.” I quickly reached for my notebook, trying to keep a handle on my horse.
“I said glamour. I’m more of a brewer, and the best brews use a little luminite.” He said with a little chuckle. The wrinkles at the corners of his eyes and cheeks exaggerated his smile. This was clearly a man with many joys in life.
“A better question perhaps, is where are you going? Where is your tribe?” I quickly started jotting down details of his clothes. Furs and scraps of fabric. I could tell it was a vague representation of highlander garb - albeit a little out of style now. I could see where he started with an overcoat and added accents of animal furs for warmth, and replaced the brass buttons with bones.
“My tribe is everywhere and everyone. I am always among my tribe, I am never alone. I am going where the wind goes, where I will seek out Warlo-kai in my path and teach them.”
“Hold up. You appear to be alone right now... where are the scouts?”
“You are my scout. You will not harm me, I know this or I would not have stopped running.” He yanked up another handful of amaranth and stuffed it in his cheek, I didn’t stop him fast enough to point out the large beetle he nabbed as well but from his unflinching chewing I realize he probably knew.
“And you are a teacher? Are you what they call a zeni?”
He let out a boisterous laugh, spitting up some of the amaranth in the process. “A zaney-zeni? No no, me and old sleepy man in the sky aren’t on speakin’ terms at the moment. I teach them about the world and what I’ve seen with my own eyes, and of Gami etiquette so they don’t get hanged if they come across the wrong folk.”
We continued the interview as we walked, and I asked if I could share a camp with him. I shared some of my corncakes and canned stew with him, and he shared a spicy sort of rabbit jerky, and dried berries. I asked him of his history and he told me openly of growing up in the highlands, of watching most of his tribe get slaughtered after being blamed for theft by a farmer. He told me of meeting with Gazani, and being taught the art of brewing and his ascension to Chief-King. How he exiled Gazani for his crimes against the Warlo-kai, and of meeting a wild Gami man who taught him how to speak the language of wolves.
As he said, he did not keep secrets. I realized that unlike the rest of his kin, this was a man who saw no threat in revealing his knowledge. It was that realization that helped me understand how he had climbed up the ranks of his clan. He was a man who didn’t even need secrets.
Long after the moon had risen, the old-but-not-frail chief fell asleep mumbling half broken sentences scattered with unfamiliar warlock words. I stayed up late finishing my notes and making a sketch of the chief, but eventually nodded off myself. By the time I awoke the next morning, the chief was gone, leaving behind nothing but bare footprints in the soil and a hint of warm grass in the air.
(For my complete interview with Zuzel, find your local copy of “Chasing Zuzel the Wanderer, by Kilian Jornself)
Next update we’ll dive into the underground of the world’s capital and meet with a man they call “The Other Prince.”
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