Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 10, 2013.

Update #41

November development update

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Hello, backers!

Our long-awaited October update has spilled into late November, and consequently we have a lot of stuff to talk about, including: several brand new pieces of concept art; an exclusive screenshot; a last-minute JourneyCon update; and information about our upcoming new community forum — but first off, we’d like to briefly mention an announcement we made a couple of weeks ago.

About Draugen

The Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) recently awarded Red Thread Games with a $144,000 grant for Draugen, a first-person survival horror adventure set amongst the mountains and fjords of the Norwegian west coast in the 1920s.

(You can read more about Draugen here.)

I’m sure some of you are wondering how this will affect the development of Dreamfall Chapters.

The simple answer is: it won’t.

The slightly more complicated answer is that this will benefit Dreamfall Chapters.

We've been thinking about starting up a second project for a while, and with this generous grant from NFI that's finally possible. We’re building a completely new team to work on Draugen: no one currently working on Dreamfall Chapters will be affected. Since both titles are being developed using the Unity engine, however, the tools, technology and knowhow will be shared between the teams, benefitting everyone.

Our primary focus is and will continue to be Dreamfall Chapters.

The NFI grant gives us a unique opportunity to spread our wings and have multiple projects in production, but our first responsibility remains with our backers, supporters and fans. The team is deeply passionate about Dreamfall Chapters, and they are all working hard to make this the best game yet in The Longest Journey saga!

Which brings us to:

We are less than one week away from JourneyCon, and we're working day and night to get everything ready for the big show. We have released a full program for the event, and we have promised attendees an exclusive look at the latest version of the game, a panel Q&A with the development team, plus an exciting announcement — along with reveals of new characters, locations and plot details.

We will be recording the entire event, and we want to release some of that footage in the new year — and hopefully also, at some point, all the sessions — but rest assured that everything we show at JourneyCon will also be communicated to our backers before Christmas via Kickstarter updates, our website and social media channels, and via press previews.

(On that note, we encourage everyone to visit and follow our Facebook page, to stay updated on all the latest news! We have just posted an exclusive-to-Facebook piece of concept art, so click here to open our official Dreamfall Chapters Facebook page and check it out for yourself!)

New & exclusive art

The journey from idea to reality begins with the concept art.

Inspired and guided by the writers' words, artists transform thoughts into lines and sketches. These lines are mutable, charged by new ideas, failed experiments and constant iterations, until they solidify into complex and detailed colour designs, capturing — hopefully — the heart and soul, the essence, of our universe.

We are very lucky to have some wonderfully talented concept artists working on Dreamfall Chapters, and they have spent these past six months designing the characters you’ll meet in the game, the locations you'll visit and the beautiful scenes you'll explore.

Here, for the very first time, is a look at one of our darker and moodier locations: the Riverwood Swamp, located north of Marcuria, capital of the Northlands, in the magical world of Arcadia.

Spooky. As for what lies beyond the swamp, we won't reveal that quite yet — but it should be instantly recognisable to those of you who have played The Longest Journey, and who ventured into the darker corners of Riverwood...

Of course, without talented 3D artists to turn these beautiful concepts into virtual reality, we'd be left with a lot of pretty pictures and no game to show for it.

As luck would have it, we also have some fantastic character and environment modellers on the team, who are able to give these visual ideas depth and physicality, transforming them into things of substance that can be touched, felt and interacted with.

You may remember Mira and Wit — two of our favourite characters in the game — from the Kickstarter campaign. Here is the early concept art we revealed more than six months ago:

Our art director continued working on these Europolis-based characters, evolving the rough sketch into final design, resulting in this amazing piece of concept art:

Finally, one of our character modeller used the design to build the finished 3D models, filling in the blanks and making the ideas work as actual in-game characters.

Here is how these characters look in real-time — untouched and unedited — inside Unity, our game engine:

Often, compromises are made transferring the dream of the concept art into the harsh reality of final models. Often, some of the magic vanishes in the process. Often, the heart and soul of the characters and locations are lost in translation.

For Dreamfall Chapters, we strive to maintain that heart and soul all the way from the written word to the final game. And with Mira and Wit, we feel the team has succeeded in carrying over the true essence of these interesting and complex characters — from concept art to finished 3D model.

In closing, we have the WatiCarp:

Focus testing

Last Friday evening, we held our very first Dreamfall Chapters focus test.

During two intense hours at the Red Thread Games headquarters, our visitors played the game, filled out an anonymous survey, and participated in a roundtable chat with the development team — fuelled by pizza, soda, chips and beer.

We plan to reveal some of our observations from the focus test at JourneyCon (and in an upcoming Kickstarter update) and footage from the event will be included in the making-of video next year.

For now, we're happy to report that the focus test was a big success! We received plenty of feedback, both positive and negative, and this feedback will help us build a much better game.

I think it's safe to say the overwhelming majority of the focus testers thought we have a really good thing going, and that — with some tuning and tweaking and polish — Dreamfall Chapters has the potential to be a really good game. And with a year to go before release, that's exactly what we needed to hear.

This week, in preparation for JourneyCon, we will implement a few of those changes into the latest demo, and hopefully everyone will agree with our testers' assessment when we show the game running live this coming Saturday!

T-shirts!

As I’m sure some of you have realised by now, we are a lot better at making games than we are at making T-shirts.

In fact, you could very well make the case for us being terrible at T-shirt production. And you wouldn't be entirely wrong.

Part of the reason for the unfortunate and extended delay, however, is quality: we want the best quality tees possible, and after multiple runs from multiple factories failing to deliver the print and textile quality we're looking for, we may have finally found one that meets our demands and expectations.

If this works out — and we will know by the end of the week — we will post a sizing chart and get everyone’s preferences as soon as possible. Fingers crossed, we can start shipping T-shirts before Christmas.

Which, to be perfectly honest, is quite a bit later than expected.

Again, however, the most important thing for us — and, we hope and believe, for you — is to meet our high quality goals. A substandard product serves no one, and we believe it's important to get this right — even if that takes us a bit more time than we'd want.

On the positive side, the next time around, we'll be able to do this a lot quicker. Our T-shirt production skills will have gone up with at least fifty points.

Official forum

Our official forum has been suffering a lot from bots and spam and general decay. Our mods have been doing an amazing and tireless job keeping things as tidy as possible (thanks, guys!) but they’ve been fighting a losing battle, and we’re not happy with the state of things.

We are therefore going to be making some dramatic changes in the very near future, including a switch to a brand new forum technology. Hopefully the transition will be perfectly smooth, with all user accounts preserved and existing threads archived. There might be a few bumps in the road, however, but we promise to keep everyone updated, and we’ll send out an update when the process is complete.

The new forum is part of a bigger project to unify all user accounts and to bring it under the Red Thread Games umbrella, which should benefit all of our backers and players in the long term.

In closing

The end of the year is approaching, and in addition to preparing for JourneyCon, the team is hard at work putting together the pre-Alpha: our next big milestone.

For the pre-Alpha version, large chunks of the game will be (somewhat) playable, most of the important systems will be in place, and we will know exactly what's left to do during the next (and final) year of development.

It's an important milestone, but also a very demanding milestone, and the team will be under a lot of pressure leading up to Christmas. We will update everyone on our progress and release more new information, videos, screenshots and concept art closer to the holidays — but until then, we may be a bit quiet.

Rest assured that this is because we're neck deep in Dreamfall Chapters, however, and not because the team is taking an early break. And if everything goes well, we'll have some excellent Christmas gifts in store for our loyal backers and fans!

Until then, thanks for reading and thank you for your continued patience, support and backing. We really appreciate it!

Team RTG

Philipp Stampfli, Aritz, and 68 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Craig McKernan on November 30

      Great Update!

    2. Fay_avy.small

      Creator Jamie Dutton on November 19

      Great update, guys! Btw, Draugen sounds awesome, definitely something I'd play! LOVE survival horror :)
      Looking forward to my t-shirt and the game!

    3. Me_squared.small

      Creator Maxime Girard on November 19

      The moment I receive a T-Shirt, I will proudly wear it once every week until the game is released :)

    4. Flashing_nes.small

      Creator Sean "Nz17" Robinson on November 19

      In regards to the forum software: nobody, anywhere, ever, should ever use vBulletin. I hate that software - it is bug-ridden, needlessly complex spaghetti code, and a feeding ground for spammers.

      In light of what happened, which software will RTG be using now for its forum software?

    5. Missing_small

      Creator Thor Kobberrød Husby on November 18

      Impressive work!

    6. Officer_b.small

      Creator Tomimt on November 18

      Lovely update. It's always nice to see how concept art turns into actual ingame content.

    7. Kittygaot.small.small

      Creator Palindrome Bob-XSF-I'm in AGL589-AA496 on November 18

      Thanks for the update! Funny how in the concept art the smallest character is holding the wrench and the largest character what looks like a pin. Hope that Christmas gift will be a t-shirt, but even if it isn't, I have every confidence it will be a great gift.
      ### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
      ### Dreamfall Traveller ###

    8. Missing_small

      Creator Quantomas on November 18

      Warren Spector explicitly warned of the dangers of focus tests, he tells from his experience how focus tests made Deus Ex 2 a worse game. Caution recommended.

    9. U68us.small_1_.small_1_.small

      Creator bloodraven43 tormented Weresheep on November 18

      awesome update @RTG and your new game looks interesting...are you kickstarting it??? ill be their if so...but it sounds like you guys and girls are working hard over there...have fun at journeyCon....cheers

    10. 1up_800_white.small

      Creator Christian on November 18

      If anyone ever makes a game where the actual game graphic actually looks exactly like the Riverwood Swamp concept art, I'll probably back 500 bucks without even thinking.

    11. Img_1700.small

      Creator Dag Henrik Bråtane on November 18

      @RTG: I was very pleased to read that you have performed investigations to ensure good T-shirt quality. I did not originally order a T-shirt. But I just logged in at backerkit, and added two T-shirts to my order. I hope this is not too late to get delivery together with the other T-shirt buyers.

    12. Witcher_medallion.small

      Creator Ryan | Tormented Weresheep Dreamer on November 18

      @RTG: that's what I figured, and I'm glad that you will trust your instincts at the end of the day, cause they have proven great in the past!

    13. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Yik Boon Tan on November 18

      They do look very alike. Though I wish the animations of the 3D follows more of the concept art's much more. Often the latter's body posture really give the character more personaly than bland postures of 3D models. Pretty much in a lot of games really.

    14. Facebook-profile-pic.small

      Creator Red Thread Games on November 18

      Ryan: We don't actually use the focus testing to make any changes to the story, content or our vision. We are equally skeptical of focus testing as a tool for shaping the game creatively. What we do use it for is to gauge how well the controls work, what elements of the game people struggle with, what they like and dislike -- and then we keep that feedback in mind as we move forward, without leaning on that alone. At the end of the day, we trust our own instincts and taste to make creative decisions.

    15. Witcher_medallion.small

      Creator Ryan | Tormented Weresheep Dreamer on November 18

      Great work on the characters!! Regarding the focus testing, I worry about placing too much emphasis on it, since people can often say they want one thing, but it often does not reflect what actually choose (look up coffee focus testing). After all, focus testing gave us the oh-so-unique bioshock infinite cover art, and also tells us that gamers don't like games with female prohtagonists, which of course we don't, cauz TLJ gamez sucks n stuff... :P, although I'm sure you guys didn't go and get a bunch of 12 year olds and frat bros to focus test Dreamfall, so it will probably be useful! Anywho, I would just be very skeptical about making significant changes based on focus testing, but it can be great for refining ideas when done in an appropriate way. Keep up the good work!!

    16. Minds_eye.small

      Creator popcorngal - Dream Traveller $6.13 on November 18

      Wow! Great update, thanks for all the info. :D And I always enjoy viewing concept art... the cavern looks nice and spooky. Oh, and I love the 'WatiCarp!' :)

      As far as the T-shirt situation, I'd rather have a delay as opposed to getting a shoddy product. I appreciate the time and effort you've taken in making sure we get the best!

      Lastly, I'm not able to attend JourneyCon, but I do hope the RTG team and all the fans have a great time and I look forward to hearing all about it!

    17. B8ecb4o.small

      Creator Christine - Dream Traveller Tigress on November 18

      Weeee! Does Mira and Wit like to weld too? They have a welding bot friend behind them. :) Welding is fun.

      Wonderful update guys. Loving the art and screenshots. Now if you can only get those T-shirts delivered soon(tm). But I agree, if you don't send out quality t-shirts we wouldn't want to wear them and if we don't wear them no one will learn of this wonderful game.

    18. Avatar_(3).small

      Creator Kermit O on November 18

      Great update. Even greater screenshots. Mara and Wit look amazing - a softer, slightly cartoonish rendering without disrupting suspension of disbelief. Also has a very timeless quality, just like Dreamfall did. I feel like the games that aim for hyper-realism don't hold up as well as the standard for realism improves. Can't wait for more.

    19. Dan.small

      Creator Daniel J Day | Unreal World on November 18

      All this news has me excited! Keep it up! :)

    20. Breakout_-_cthulhu.small

      Creator Stew OotG Knight/Captain Bloodcoffee on November 18

      I love the Europolis characters!!Great update, fingers crossed for T-shirts at Christmas. ;-)

    21. Dt250x250v12.small

      Creator Ron Vollach - Dream Traveller 6.13$ on November 18

      Great update, love the screenshot and the concept arts, too bad about the t-shirts taking so long but I rather have it late and in excellent quality than fast and poor quality.

    22. Andy_head.small

      Creator Andrew Snyder on November 18

      Thanks for the update, and I hope Journeycon is a huge success! I like that concept art from the swamp -- wasn't there supposed to be a puzzle in TLJ (cut from the final game) having to do with those floating bridges? Are you revisiting it?

    23. Facebook-profile-pic.small

      Creator Red Thread Games on November 18

      Chris: I know, right? We should be AWESOME at making T-shirts. In our defence, it's actually the world that's crappy at making T-shirts for us.

    24. Vicen%c3%a7petita.small

      Creator Vicenç Cortés Olea on November 18

      You REALLY had a LOT of things to explain :D hehehe and we are happy to read about it and share all this way to the final Dream :)

      Thanks a lot for this update! ;)

    25. Maxpaynecolor.small

      Creator Jito463 - WoOS, LofUT on November 18

      Bah, how will *this* (willing to pay good - if meager - money for an edit button).

    26. Maxpaynecolor.small

      Creator Jito463 - WoOS, LofUT on November 18

      All I want to know is, how will affect development of The Longest Journey Home! :D

    27. April_ryan_and_kian_alvane.small

      Creator DUMONT Oriane on November 18

      Thanks for this news !!!!

    28. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Michael B. on November 18

      The first time I glanced at the male in that concept art, I thought it looked like Batou from Ghost in the Shell =P

    29. Dontpanic75x75.small

      Creator Chris on November 18

      You make beautiful art for the game, lovely prose for dialog -- how can you be bad at making shirts?

    30. (kgrhqz!k4e%20coftto-bp8luiuovg~~60_7.small

      Creator Ben Steed on November 18

      So very excited for this. Good luck for the next few months, see you around soon ;)

    31. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Raven Woods on November 18

      Models look so great! You guys are pushing the Unity engine and I love it! The style is really coming through!

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