On the road to Alpha
Hello dear backers, it’s Batowski here with the latest update about Fabular’s development. I know that I did promise more regular updates (and I haven’t forgotten about the video update either) but that pesky thing called life got in the way unfortunately. But more on that later, now let’s see what’s happened in the last few months:
A first rough cut (animatic) of the intro movie for the game has been made. It has temporary content only, the focus is on editing and pacing. We hope that even at this early stage it conveys the basic storyline well enough, but you should be the judge of that:
As we’ve been working our way towards the Alpha release, there were a few things we felt necessary to include to best represent our vision for the depth of the game. One of them was the progression system; where you start, what stages you go through and what kinds of unlocks you can expect on the way.
At the baste of our progression system lies the Throneroom, which is practically the main hub of the game. You start your adventure here, when your Kingfather sets you off on a journey to save the Kingdom and your big brothers. You also return here every time you fail, thanks to the magical powers of S.T.E.E.D.; a Fabular object blessed with intellect and wisdom who is bestowed upon you by your Kingfather at the start of the journey to be your guide and traveling companion.
If you play well and wisely during your adventures, you may encounter different characters that will return to the Throneroom with you if you are able to help them. From then on they will provide you with new quests that may potentially unlock new types of items, enemies, realms and even playable ships for later runs.
After awhile the space will be more populated with characters and as you progress in the game, the whole mood of the hall would change from desperate to hopeful. Our intention is that even the music will be more upbeat, the lights will turn warmer, and your Kingfather will look less sorrowful to indicate that your final victory comes closer and closer.
Most of the visuals for the Throneroom are done, except for the Cosmic Clock behind the King's throne. Eventually it will use a similar tech that our action battle objects do (realtime-lit pixelart), so its surface would react to dynamic light realistically. We can’t wait to see how it will turn out, but right now we’d like to turn our attention towards adding some more content to the Alpha version and polishing up the action gameplay and game balance. Have a look at the current state of our Throneroom in this video:
In-game events and illustrations
We’ve also been finalizing our in-game illustrated event system earlier this year. We are now at a stage where the system allows for more complex stuff to happen, such as starting battles with specific or random conditions, giving out loot, starting larger event chains, making switches based on set variables or unlocking characters for the Throneroom.
In addition, we are now happy with the illustration style we came up with for these event screens, so from now on it’s just a question of producing enough content to fill the game up with. Here are some of the event illustrations that we have implemented already:
And a taste of what’s to come later:
As we’ve grown more experienced with our audio solution (Fmod), we’ve started implementing sound effects in the action battle phase. And boy, does it make a difference! I always knew that sound and music had an enormous impact on game feel, but after years of “silent treatment”, it is fantastic to hear what quality sound effects and music can do to the mood of an action scene.
Our direction with sounds was to go for a somewhat realistic representation instead of, say a retro-gaming 8-bit vibe. We have contemplated the latter, but in the end we felt that the more visceral and realistically sounding effects greatly enhance our pixel-art visuals which are more on the abstract side, and this composition of sight and sound gives a richer experience. Sort of like sound explaining what isn’t there in visual detail. Have a listen yourselves:
On a more personal note
I was thinking long and hard about sharing this with you, because I really don’t want this platform to be overly personal, but in the end I feel that I owe you some explanation about why our updates are so few and far between, despite my promises otherwise.
The thing is that in the last four-five months my working capacity was severely crippled due to some severe health issues. For the majority of time I even had a problem getting out of bed, let alone working on the game. Since I am the one responsible for the creation of the majority of game content, this has had a big impact on the development and on our deadlines. Unfortunately this lost time will be nigh impossible to regain in the future...
This has been a terrible period for me, especially so that I wasn’t able to do the thing I love the most; developing our game. But I hope that it’s all behind me and I can focus on a brighter and more productive future. The good news is that the others were not just resting on their backsides, so design-wise we have a greatly increased number of events, characters and locations in the pool, and some important game systems have been finalized on the programming front as well.
Your interest in our game is hugely important for all of us in this team and we are very grateful for your patience and understanding. We do our best to present a version of the game to you as soon as possible, we just need a bit more time to do that. Until then, I can only promise (again) to keep you in the loop as much as possible!