September development update
September has come (and almost gone) and we hope everyone had a brilliant summer and are primed & ready for gaming's high season!
We have a lot of cool beans planned for this autumn, starting with a long overdue development update from the busy-as-bees Dreamfall Chapters crew.
Let's kick things off with
A huge, warm & cuddly THANK YOU to everyone who bought tickets for our first (and hopefully annual) fan gathering, JourneyCon.
On November 23rd, hundreds of The Longest Journey and Dreamfall fans will gather in Oslo for a chance to meet the developers, gain insight into the development process, be among the first to hear some thrilling news and, of course, to see live gameplay. Most importantly, however, it's a chance to hang out with fellow fans and backers.
JourneyCon 2013 sold out in less than four days, and we have visitors travelling to Norway from 17 (!) different countries for this inaugural event. We've got even bigger plans for next year, and hopefully those of you who can't make it this time around will be able to join us in 2014.
On the development front, the team has just wrapped up work on the
What's a vertical slice, you ask? Well, it's basically a small slice of delicious game-pie -- in our case, about 20-30 minutes long -- containing most or all of the game's major and defining features.
The reason a vertical slice (VS) is so important is that it gives us an impetus to implement the core features at an early stage, allowing for more testing and iterations of these features. In addition, the team gains valuable experience polishing, bug fixing and delivering a 'finished' portion of the game, something that will be hugely beneficial when we get closer to release. We also get to test (and break, and fix) our pipelines and processes from beginning to end, and, importantly, we end up with a chunk of the game that's representative of the final quality, which can then be demoed to partners, press and the public.
Will we demo our VS to the public? We most certainly will. And when we do, we promise to post a video-with-developer-commentaries for our backers, so you can see (and hear) for yourselves how the game is shaping up.
But that won't be for a couple of months yet.
In the meantime, we want to share some exclusive, work-in-progress screenshots from the VS with our backers. Keep in mind that it's still early days and things will continue to change and improve in the months ahead:
Kian Alvane, one of our playable characters, in his cell in Friar's Keep, awaiting his grisly destiny.
Kian comes face to face with a former enemy, now turned unlikely ally. It's a very manly confrontation, filled with unspoken emotions and macho posturing. Or quite possibly none of those.
Kian Alvane, the Apostle, all buffed up and glistening with sweat. Things are really heating up in the big house! We are putting a lot of work into our skin shaders, lighting and effects. And, of course, into our hot male character models.
A locked door, an iron key, and a first look at Dreamfall Chapters' inventory GUI. Again, this is work-in-progress and will be subject to numerous changes over the next fourteen months.
"It's a broom." Kian hasn't seen one of these before, and he's positively enthralled.
So there you have it: five brand new, exclusive, never-before-seen, work-in-progress screenshots from our vertical slice! Things look even better in motion, of course, and in a couple of months we will share a video play-through with everyone.
Part of the core feature set for this vertical slice includes character controls and movement -- a crucial element in the gameplay experience -- and to prove how seriously our developers are taking this task, here's a picture we snapped earlier today of the technical animator's whiteboard:
It may look quite cryptic, but then again this is MATH, and math is, by definition, cryptic. What this particular math means, however, is that our character controls -- both for mouse/keyboard and joypads -- will look and feel great.
After all, a big red exclamation mark would never lie, would it?
It's no secret that we're a bit behind schedule on delivering a few of the Kickstarter rewards, particularly the T-shirts, but we're happy to say that things are finally moving forward, and we hope to start shipping the shirts very, very soon.
In the meantime, make sure you've updated your sizing preferences and mailing address in your Backerkit profile, to avoid any shipping and handling delays.
As for the other rewards, the first batch of wallpapers will be sent out before the end of the year, as promised, while the forum badges are ready for implementation, awaiting only some much needed forum changes and technical upgrades.
While we're waiting, here's a sneak peek at the hauntingly beautiful forum badges:
Nice, huh? We can't wait to have our backers adorn their profiles with these badges, and as soon as we've figured out the technical side of things, you'll be able to do just that!
That's it for this September development update. We'll have another update out in a few weeks. In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages for the very latest news!