Knights of Frontier Valley is a challenging, highly re-playable fantasy survival RPG.
Create and customize your character to your liking, and guide him in his search for fame and fortune. Join a faction or go at it alone, but remember that the valley is a dangerous place and a helping hand can be the difference between life and death.
Ruthless and ambitious creatures are fighting for dominance in the Valley's lush forests, mysterious swamps, open grasslands, and steep hills and mountains. You might choose to stay out of the conflict, but will life go the way you plan it?
Survival is the goal. The game is divided into ten chapters, each representing two years of lifetime. Every chapter comes with a main quest - solving it is optional, but beneficial. You win if you make it alive through all 20 years. This won't be easy - if your enemies don't get you first, you might freeze or starve to death during one of the Valley's unforgiving winters, lost in the wilderness. There is a reason why most men in the Valley hide behind city walls. Will you hide as well?
Ambushes and Sniping
What sets this game apart from others?
Adventures in Knights of Frontier Valley are designed to be shorter than those of other RPGs. Instead of spending weeks or months on completing the game only one time, as is often the case for large story-driven RPGs, a typical game of Knights of Frontier Valley can be completed within a few days or less, depending on your style of playing... just the right amount of time to fill a weekend or a few evenings. Still, the game does not sacrifice depth, and each adventure has its own story and world to explore. The map, cities, dungeons, characters, faction relations, and story elements are procedurally generated, so no two games are the same. You will face a new challenge whenever you have some spare time to start another round.
The idea for this concept came to me when I had a free weekend and could not find the type of game I was looking for. There are many story-driven fantasy RPGs to choose from that can be enjoyed playing for weeks or months. There are also many shorter, replayable "roguelike" games (titles like "Kingdom" or "FTL") on the market today... what seems to be missing is the mix of those categories: a fantasy RPG with a playthrough time that fits into one of those short bursts of spare time that most of us have. I believe immersion can be achieved with shorter adventures as well, while fitting better to a busy lifestyle.
Since RPGs are about character development, a single game should not be too short either... the goal is to achieve the perfect balance where the game is highly immersive without becoming a grind to complete.
Art in Knights of Frontier Valley is being created by professional illustrators and animators spread around the globe. The game's custom rendering engine makes animations run smoothly with full HD details even on low-end systems.
Knights of Frontier Valley intends to be a game with unmatched atmosphere, and immersive music is key to accomplishing that. Luckily, there are lots of great tracks in this game!
The original soundtrack, created by composer Hannah Obura, contains almost an hour of orchestral-style ambient and foreground music, inspired by Old English and Irish folk music.
Additional tracks have been created by Kevin Manthei, a veteran composer who has made music for countless video game classics, movies, and TV shows.
To top it off, the game also includes music from the European medieval crossover band Krless. It doesn't get more authentic than that! You might encounter more of them in the game than just their music...
Development of the game has so far been self-funded. Game design and programming is done by me, but art (including illustrations, animations, and cutscenes) as well as music and sound effects are being acquired from professional artists and composers. That's expensive, and help is needed to continue development on a high level.
If we make it past the main goal, additional funding will be used for the following features:
Female player characters: Currently, you can only choose from male player characters. That's something that should change, but female player characters double the amount of needed character illustrations, animations, and voice art, plus the coding work to integrate the art. In addition, story elements customized for female characters need to be written.
More languages: Playing the game with a dictionary on your lap is less fun. Adding new languages will make the game more immersive for players with a native language other than English, and will also add a channel of culture-specific feedback for me which will improve the game to the benefit of everyone.
Linux release: Currently the game is planned for Windows and Mac, but I'd love to also offer it for other platforms including Linux, consoles, and mobile. Out of those, Linux is the easiest to do, as it doesn't require rewriting the code or designing the user interface for smaller screens and touch input. It's a good start for platform expansion.
Voice acting: Currently, it is planned to only have the most important parts of spoken text voice acted, for cost reasons. Needless to say, this isn't the most immersive approach and help is needed to do it right. A sample of existing voice acting can be seen in below video, which also shows the custom character voice engine in action.
Physics engine: Adding a physics engine will make many effects more realistic - if we get to this milestone, we can all enjoy things like arrows bouncing off the walls. I hope to make it happen for the initial release, but if not, it will come as free DLC later.
Surprise goal: Let's keep it interesting! This goal will be unveiled if we hit the corresponding milestone.
What will the funding be used for?
After the Kickstarter fee and the costs of making and shipping the physical rewards, all funds will go towards developing the game, in the order of reached milestones.
This includes covering the costs for professional illustrations, character animations, cutscenes, music, sound effects, voice art, and the cost of living while working on the game full-time.
In detail, the breakdown is about as follows:
- 5% Kickstarter fee
- 3-5% payment processing fees
- 18-20% taxes
- 2% campaign costs
- 10-18% physical rewards (depending on how often each reward tier will be selected)
- 50+% game development
Kickstarter is a great way to fund some of the costlier features that are needed to make the game become true to its vision. At the same time, this campaign will show how much interest there is in a idea like this, and to connect with the community early on in the process. To make the game the best it could possibly be, your feedback is needed.
Any pledge is appreciated, and there is a range of digital, physical, and exclusive rewards in exchange for your support. Aside from rewards, I am looking forward to giving back to the community later on in the form of free updates.
One of the rewards is an exclusive in-game item which cannot be obtained in any other way than through this campaign. This item will become part of the games of this project's backers only, enriching their experience. Details about this item will be revealed during the course of the campaign.
There are several backer lists: the "Emerald list", which will make your name appear on the website, the "Diamond list", which will additionally get your name into the game's credits if you choose to pledge a little more, and the "Fire Ruby list" for backers pledging the most. Fire Rubies are special gems in the game, and names on this list will be highlighted in the game's credits and on the website.
Knights of Frontier Valley is based on a custom engine built from the ground up. Building an engine requires a lot more effort than using an off-the-shelf one, but gives full control over the code - this way, the game can be made truly unique so that it looks and feels like no other.
I believe in open development and enjoy updating our backers regularly about the state of development. Here's where the game is now:
The following parts of the game are fully or nearly done:
- Creation of player and non-player characters, and character animations
- Character groups and formations
- Procedural wilderness and dungeon map generation
- Map movement and path finding
- Items and inventory management
- Game persistence (save/load)
- Interactions with the game world (characters, items, and locations)
- Combat: basic workflow (no AI yet)
- Calendar and day/night cycles
- Basic health/stamina management
- Player character voice engine
- Minigame: lockpicking
- Minigame: sniping (needs polishing)
- Minigame: jousting (prototype - needs integration)
- Final art, cutscenes, music, sound effects, and voiceovers are partially available
Below parts have been designed, but are not implemented yet:
- Story mode, dialogues, and quests
- NPC and faction behavior AI
- Character skill progression, perks, and leveling
- Procedural map generation of cities
- Parts of the map visualization: weather effects, fog of war, shadows, and roads/rivers
- Crafting and alchemy
- Magic system
- Online features: chat and leaderboards
- UI eyecandy
Additional time will be needed for testing/bugfixing.
Based on my experience, a playable Early Access version should be ready in late 2020. The final game is expected to be finished about a year later.
After the release, DLC is planned at a regular basis, some of it free, to keep the game interesting for seasoned players for a long time. A voting mechanism open to backers will support decisions which DLC features to focus on.
Adamant Studios is a small indie game dev company that started as a passion project in 2016 for the purpose of making Knights of Frontier Valley. It is a one-man show run by the founder (me) with part-time help from my wife, and art and music provided by freelancing artists and composers.
My background: I enjoy making software for all platforms - web, desktop, mobile, and embedded systems. A decade ago I released the personal training and nutrition tracking software "Private Coach", a pioneer in the fitness app segment. As a Software Engineer, I have worked for companies of all sizes, from small startups to established market leaders. Highlights of my career include running the iOS CoreMotion Quality team and working on early iPhones and the original iPad. Later I built and managed the global test team for Autopilot and Infotainment at Tesla. Making a video game has been a dream since the 80's.
Risks and challenges
Developing software with a small team is inherently risky, as success depends on the dedication of the person driving it. As the maker of this game, I am 100% committed to finishing it and gave up a lucrative day job to focus on this project. While this is my first game, the engine has now matured enough to be confident about the technical challenges - from here on, it is a matter of execution.
There is risk in the schedule. As developing the game is my full-time occupation, no income is being generated and personal expenses have increased due to the costs of purchasing professional art and music.
While the budget has been planned before work on this project began, some costs had to be estimated and new feature ideas were added later. With increasing costs and no external funding, I will soon have to spend time on generating income, leaving less time for work on the game and delaying its completion.
- (30 days)