Heavenspire! April 19, 2014
Here's a 3D render of Heavenspire, this is the "mage's college" in Mideongras where mages from all over the universe come to learn the arts of magic.
Kickstarter a success ! April 17, 2014
A heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in funding and spreading the word about our Kickstarter campaign. It was a lot of work, but we made it!
As you all know by now, Kickstarter is not our primary source of funding, however, every little bit helps, and this Kickstarter achieved its core goals: bringing in new, fresh blood who've never played InEvoWare's previous game (The King of Spades), and to attract new developers on board. Currently, we're even chatting with a developer who's interested in creating a "Solar System space tours" type of game in XViREnt.
Vironica Lip-Sync Speech test:
Prototype build! Added April 11, 2014
Sneak Peak! Added March 31, 2014
Ever played an MMORPG? Have you ever gotten tired of grinding, or after months or years of investing your time and money into a game, found that the quests start to get repetitive and boring?
Let's change that, shall we?
For 15 years, I have been developing online multiplayer worlds with emphasis on User Generated Content. This is even before the days of YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, and Social Networking Sites, which made UGC mainstream.
When I first started designing and coding The King of Spades (a browser-based online massively multiplayer game) back in 1999, people were confused as to why I wanted to create a game world that will let players create their own quests and content and character designs, they were even more confused when a few years later, people paid real money for a virtual apartment or a custom piece of clothing or sometimes, even whole cities that live in this "virtual" world. To the minds of the skeptics, these worlds didn't "really exist". But they didn't really get it. To the minds of the players, this was an opportunity to experience something that they've imagined in a virtual space where others can also experience that with them. A virtual world that they can enjoy every once and a while, and in those moments forget about the gloom and doom and stresses of reality.
I had watched movies like eXistenZ and The Matrix many years ago, and to me, that was the next evolution of this virtual world: Immersive Virtual Reality in a seamless game world that you can experience with your friends (minus the evil agents that are trying to kill you).
This is the opportunity to make that world of amazing virtual reality experiences a reality.
What is it?
XViREnt (pronounced ex-vye-rent) stands for "Experiences in Virtual Reality Entertainment". It is an MMORPG Platform where players log into their hub, which is in the form of an apartment, condo, team base, or house (their virtual pad), and can interact with their environment by movement, or accessing virtual content sources, for example: a virtual TV, a virtual tabletop, a virtual book-case, even (future feature) a virtual phone! Every pad has an exit door, the door connects you to many other realities created by us and other developers. This will be a simple, seamless experience, and you'll be able to log in and out at your own pace without having to invest huge chunks of your time in every session. Both casual players and hardcore RolePlayers will enjoy the experience, because the game caters to both play styles.
And that is the key: This system is so convenient and so easy to use, that anyone can get right into it without ever having played an MMO or an FPS. We want everyone to experience this, even non-gamers.
And because it is an MMORPG Platform, it can be used to launch storylines and games developed and published by other game makers. One Avatar, infinite worlds, infinite story-lines, and infinite games.
Things to do in your virtual living room:
It's not just an MMORPG, it's also a virtual social experience, you can do lots of things with other people in the game (VR Headsets optional), for example:
For more details, you can check out these links:
XViREnt List of Features:A list of all the features that we are gradually implementing in XViREnt.
XViREnt Worlds:A sample list of worlds that we'll be creating in XViREnt (some are player owned).
Architectural Renderings:See what the team has been creating for the game, from Dojos to Mansions to Research centers!
Imagine starting your own TV Station in a virtual world beaming shows, entertainment, and role-played news events to thousands of users around the world. How about fighting the forces of evil with your loved one (who's physically a thousand miles away), and then end the night by sitting by the fireplace in your virtual apartment and watching a movie?
Imagine designing an android (the humanoid robot, not the O/S!) to be your butler in this virtual world, and have them do tasks for you like sending an e-mail or recommending a cool movie for you and your buddy. Imagine going into your virtual book-case and picking out a virtual book that has 3D popup elements.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a virtual world I want to be a part of!
Think of it as "The Sims" meets "The Matrix" meets "eXistenZ"
Multiverses and Avatars
XViREnt will support multiple universes, each with its own realities, creatures, laws and owners. The player, however, can move their avatar back and forth between these realities seamlessly. This "Planeswalking" ability means that you don't have to recreate your avatar in each single reality, think of the history and adventures your avatar will write home about!
The Avatars, on the other hand are based on a "template", for example, one template could be a human form (with different varieties of body parts, colors, and shapes), another template could be a vampire, and a third could be a zombie, and so on. The player picks a template to set up their character, which comes comes with its own set of outfits, customizations, and animations. And because these templates are constantly being improved and added upon, XViREnt seamlessly patches the templates with new content as it becomes available by its developers and approved by the XViREnt submission and testing system. Every player is allowed to have up to ten Avatars in one XViREnt account.
Your XViREnt Avatar is a dynamic being, capable of learning new things and adapting to different environments and realities, but your character needs to specialize in one or more things in order for them to stand out as an individual.
To do that you need to select character classes from four tiers: Knowledge, Career, Combat, and Superpowers.
3D Renders of some sample Avatars (how they will look like in the game):
More details on character classes can be checked out here.
Pledge Reward Tiers
Update! Major discount applied on the Couples and Family Pack! Instead of paying $1,100 for the Couples pack, it's now $980, and instead of paying $2,000 for the family pack, it's now $1,880! Get it while it lasts!
The first two realities we'll be creating in XViREnt are your "canvas" or virtual home (as a separate independent reality), and Rex Palarum. Rex Palarum is the spiritual successor of The King of Spades gaming universe, it will consist of several epic quests that will take you through multiple universes, and experience many amazing things to show off what XViREnt can offer. When you create your XViREnt avatar, you can move that avatar back and forth between any worlds in XViREnt, including those created by other developers and game makers. Meaning that once you complete the storyline in one world (like Rex Palarum) you can move on to other storylines created by other players and so on, for as long as developers keep creating stories, quests, and worlds. Technically, the "game" can go on for ever, and you never have to buy expansion packs that will break the bank, because the worlds and content is added on seamlessly into the existing platform.
The Rex Palarum story goes like this: "For eons, the four realms of reality (Earth and the known Universe, Atlantis, Hades, and Deva) have been enjoying relative stability and have been separated from each other by an inter-dimensional barrier. An angel named Neri'el, one of the guardians of Hades, has fallen, and escaped her post by stealing a key to unlock that barrier. And by doing so, she has shattered that inter-universal calm. Demons are now crossing over to our realm of reality, and what's worse: other, previously unknown realms of reality are now interfacing with our universe, and can potentially bring terrible devastation. You are a citizen of our universe, and fate is about to cross paths with you. Your future, will never be the same, and you may hold the key to stop the universe from falling into eternal darkness. That key, is the power of creation."
The Comic book (first issue has been completed and is going to be shipped in November) is meant to be a "companion" to the MMORPG. Reading the comics will introduce some of the background story and main characters in the XViREnt universe, and provides you with some clues that will come in handy during quests. You might even meet one of the main characters during your travels and they might send you on a few epic quests across different dimensions!
Note: We are doing a limited print run of the first issue of the comic, so it will only be available during this Kickstarter campaign, so make sure that you pledge so that you can get a copy!
User Generated Content (UGC)
The complaints I've heard time and time again from our players who keep coming up to TKOS even after years of hiatus trying out other MMORPGs is this: Many MMORPGs claim to be "Role Playing Games", but there's really not much "Role play" apart from creating your character in some random combination hoping it will be unique, picking up some cool combinations from the skill tree, then setting off on quests finding rare items, sure the worlds and graphics look beautiful and often times, the story writing is amazing, but the "role play" of those worlds compared to the games that invented the concept (games like D&D) are miles apart from meeting each other concept-wise. Even if you do find like-minded individuals to team up with and "Role play" with, the limitations of these game worlds is to what the content creators (meaning the game studio and/or publishers) have imagined for you. This is THEIR vision of how the world looks like, and how you should behave in it. You "role play" what they tell you to do. They might as well play the game for you!
This is where User Generated Content comes in. The UGC tools we provide will allow you to set up your events, quests, adventures, and activities that allow you to truly express yourself and your creativity. Think the game world's quests are boring? Huddle up with your friends and come up with an amazing adventure for others to play, then set up Non-Player Characters, puzzles, and contraptions so that players can participate in the mystery or adventure you've created for them. Think the map you're exploring is boring? How can you make it better and more exciting?
Ask not what the game can do for you, ask what YOU can do for the game.
So, our focus during the life-cycle of XViREnt is to build a full suite of tools to allow anyone to contribute creative content into the game without or with very little technical knowledge.
There are two sets of tools we are building:
1- In-game crafting and engineering (players can pick specialization classes and gather resources to create objects, NPCs, vehicles, buildings, and quests inside the game based on pre-implemented assets).
2- External User Generated Content SDK (Software Development Kit): We will open up the game world to game developers and content producers from all over the world so that they can contribute their own original content. Really, any creative person can contribute content using Unity as well as the SDK (Software Development Kit) and other tools that we are currently creating for you to facilitate creating UGC (for non programmers and non-techies) that can be plugged into XViREnt without a lot of effort.
And because you're helping us build this amazing, expansive universe with its infinite possibilities, we give you back for your creativity: You get to sell your own stuff in the game to other players for real money, we will take a small percentage to cover the VR app store costs and infrastructure, but you keep the biggest chunk of it!
Here are some examples of things you can generate or offer in this game world:
Artists: Draw a cool 3D or interactive virtual painting that players can show off to their guests. Maybe it provides a clue to a quest? No programming knowledge required to contribute your content!
Writers: Be the first of a generation of writers producing virtual books with content that pops up or interacts with the user! Or how about turning your story into an actual quest inside the game, complete with NPCs, dialog, excitement, and intrigue? No technical knowledge required to contribute your content! Write an event for players to participate in, taking them to an intriguing mystery mansion with creepy NPC's that you've designed!
Software Developers: Have a cool feature that you think will be useful to have in this virtual reality world? Contribute! Show off your mad programming skills!
3D Modellers, Animators, and Artists: Design a building, store, vehicle, outfit, or an entire landscape for other players to explore, purchase or use! Or create your own world populated by weird but magnificent creatures and invite friends over to hang out and marvel at your creation! No programming knowledge required, just drag and drop scripts that we provide to you for free via our SDK, which will in turn make your content and worlds come alive!
Unity 4 / 5 Game Developers: Think of a cool game? From tabletop games to full-blown cross-world adventures! We will give you an SDK that you can use on top of Unity to test and implement your game, once that's done, you submit it to us and we will integrate it into the core game world.
YouTube Channel owners: With your permission, we can extend your channel to be offered in this virtual game, add some cool dynamic or interactive elements that players can use while watching your channel! Maybe you want to report on mysterious activities in other dimensions? No technical knowledge required to contribute your content!
Fashionistas: Come up with some cool fashion styles for the players to buy and wear. No programming knowledge required to contribute your content!
Now for the cool part, because this world will be free to play, as a player you are under no obligation to commit to it, (full disclosure: some content like your own cool pad, special TV channels and complex board games may require a fee to buy, to cover the cost that the developers spent to bring you that content). The only caveat is that you would need to purchase a Virtual Reality headset (on launch we are only planning to support Oculus Rift at this time) and have a reliable and fast internet connection (to avoid lag issues associated with multi-player virtual reality gaming).
How to play
To be able to use XViREnt, the following are the requirements:
1. PC with HDMI or DVI video out port, and about 2 GB of free space (you'll need more in the future to support more virtual apps, content, and worlds)
2. A reliable, fast internet connection (i.e. dial up may not work so well)
3. Free subscription to XViREnt
4. Optional: Oculus VR Head-Mounted Display
5. Optional: Game controller (Xbox or PS4) plugged into the PC via USB
6. Optional: High end gaming computer or graphics card (so you can increase the coolness level of the graphics)
7. Optional: Body tracking suit (XSENS, PrioVR, etc), or Kinect.
Note: If you choose not to play with the Oculus Rift, it is still possible to play with traditional keyboard, and mouse, or controller (the mouse or controller will replace the POV/look controls), however, you will miss out on the immersive aspects of the game. This way, if you don't think you can afford the Oculus Rift right now, you can still play and take part and customize your virtual apartment and play through the Rex Palarum story until you get the chance to purchase the Oculus Rift.
See the diagram below for the four combinations of inputs we'll be supporting.
The development of the Proof of Concept has already started, we are using Unity 4 for prototyping, but we will be launching with Unity 5. We have a preliminary virtual reality (Oculus Rift support) apartment ready with a TV that can stream content, a book-case to read books, and a tabletop where players can play board games! We are up and running with a multiplayer capability of two customizable avatars in the same room with minimal to no lag. We have applied a lot of our proprietary code already, like terrain generation, NPC system, Artificial Intelligence, and so on, but there's lots of work that is remaining. The avatar is very basic so far, and we are working out some bugs right now, but once we've cleared it out, we'll post a demo video, so watch this space! Note though that the prototype demos will likely be private teasers only sent to a select few people, and will be posted as "unlisted videos" for a short time period of a few days given all the secret technologies we're working on! We know that what we're doing is super cool and we'd love for the whole world to see them, but for security reasons, they will be private and temporary, until we get to a more stable state.
In the mean-time, you can check out some of the 3D renders of some of the buildings and architecture that's going to be featured in XViREnt, including a Dojo, Gym, Mansion (premium pledge reward), office building, research center, and more.
This Kickstarter project is to fund the development of the beta and UGC tools ONLY, which is due to launch in November 2014 (possibly later if we get enough funding to add more fun features into it), we are currently in the process of setting up a worldwide cloud-based networking architecture to support thousands of concurrent users in this game world, for that we enlisted the help of MMO-expert and Senior Engineer Chris Lange.
If the funding exceeds expectations, then we may be able to push the launch date earlier, and have a lot of the features built into it from the get-go. Once the game launches, we will pay for the infrastructure via optional paid content from the world's first Virtual Reality App Store.
For more information, read the founder's message to developers.
The Leadership Team
Salem Al-Tamimi (CEO) - BCS - "The Founder" –Background in entrepreneurship and team leadership, software development, database administration, and game development.
Christian Lange (CTO) – BS – MBA –"The Engineer" – 20-year background as a Senior and Lead Engineer in Acclaimed MMORPGs and online gaming systems (Microsoft XBox One Live, NCSoft's City of Heroes, Electronic Arts/Origins Ultima Online, etc.)
Tommy Guildford (CFO) – MBA – "The Finance Man" – Background in management of commercial banks
Shelley Newman (COO) - BA - BED - "The Multi-tasker" - Background in leading educational teams.
Philip Salas (Creative Team Lead) – BA – “The Art Boss” – Background leading art teams at Activision / Blizzard, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Dreamworks SKG, and others.
Shahzad Syed (Development Team Lead) – “The Code Boss” – Background in leading development teams on the CryTek, Unreal, and Unity engines, researcher of Head Mounted Display technologies, and contributor to Google Mapping technologies.
Indranil Ghosh (3D Team Lead) – BS – MS – “The 3D Boss” - Background in leading animation teams for firms that served multinational clients. Currently is the academic head of a large 3D Animation Institute (Arena Animation).
What will the funds be used for?
The funds will be used primarily to implement the following features for beta and launch (in order of priority), this includes licensing and other development costs.
1- Avatar Creation System: Creating your avatar and selecting the classes from the list of core classes.
2- Multiplayer support for up to 200 CCUs in the game (Concurrent Users)
3- Player housing in the form of the Player "Canvas", a.k.a. the Virtual Living Room: This is where your character lives when he or she is outside the game worlds, it's basically a home that you customize, can watch TV in, read interactive books, and play table top games.
4- Fulfilling player pledge rewards, including implementing any missing features to apply a virtual reward.
5- The XViREnt Launch Pad: This is where you create your Avatar(s), select a world to travel to, and access your Canvas.
6- The Tools, Software Development Kit, and "plugins" for third party developers to start creating and adding their own worlds and creations into XViREnt (UGC).
If we exceed the minimum required to achieve our goals, we will implement the following add-ons (in order of priority):
1- Exceed 200 CCUs (depending on how high the funding goes).
2- Creating New Haven: A full town for players to congregate in, instead of just their individual canvases.
3- Rex Palarum: Storyline, quests and game world content, along with any implementations (weapon skills, classes, careers, etc) required to complete the storyline.
4- Advanced SDK and player crafting: Better features in the SDK, and in-game player crafting and resource gathering!
5- More cities, and worlds, including Atlantis, Hollow Earth, Time Worlds, and Space!
6- Advanced Character Designs and props: more Avatar options, more outfits, more weapons better quality (without sacrificing latency, which is very important in VR implementations), make your character more unique!
Risks and challenges
Because we are relying on the consumer version of the Oculus Rift launching by end of 2014 or early 2015, there is a possibility that their launch may be delayed, which in turn will delay our own launch.
We are planning to start our private Beta-testing in November 2014, hopefully it goes well, but if it doesn't and if major issues are uncovered during testing or if we run into funding issues, it's possible that the launch may be extended beyond March 2015.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)