SSUDE delayed, Paris Games Week footage

SSUDE delayed

I “commited” to a release date, November 3rd, and the game isn’t ready yet. I would like to apologize for this, as well as taking so long to offer an explanation and a new date.

I took part in Paris Games Week which took place from Oct 28th to Nov 1st. My plan was to have the game all set before it starts, but the localization was a tougher nut to crack than I had hoped and it caused some bugs that made even an English only release… Well not impossible but not good either.

I hoped to be able to finish during evenings after the convention but those things are more exhausting than I remembered… Or I’m getting old? Nah, that’s not it.

On top of that player feedback from the event uncovered some features that really need to be added before release. A solid tutorial is one, and there are a few others. Quite simply, if I (or the volunteers, Jason and Dimitri, that were helping me out) weren’t there to explain the game to newcomers I would find the game screen changed and no one there playing. Ragequit.

Because it’s deep and complicated ๐Ÿ˜€

On the other hand with a quick introduction many people really got into it, and that even includes quite a few youngsters I wouldn’t have suspected could find an interest in this type of game. That’s all good news, but it requires some extra work. A few more weeks.

I hope to finish before November ends, but I’d rather not “commit” to it. I hate not meeting deadlines and they’re so hard to evaluate.

Paris Games Week

I captured some footage of SSUDE players at Paris Games Week. It took a bit of time to edit and blur the kids’ faces, as promised to the parents who gave me permission to film.

ย My apologies for the delay and thanks everyone for your support! Back to work ๐Ÿ™‚

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Arena combat

It is high time for a new update. It’s been almost a year!

I’ve been working on three things.

– The new engine for Sovereign.

– A rebuild of Underworld in the new engine.

– A smaller project called Iron Ruler. It is a turn based strategy board-game except there’s no board since it’s a computer game.

This update is about the new combat that will be featured in both Sovereign and the upcoming Underworld update.

Underworld Gold Plus… I’m running out of suffixes and it is getting a bit ridiculous…

Anyway…

Arena combat with Ice Bolt spell effect (Click for full size)

If you are familiar with previous versions of Underworld, you’ll notice it’s changed quite a bit. Full screen, no fixed GUI, combat log appears in real time, partyand mobs are represented by portraits, out-of-melee combattants are darkened, the arena pic is used as background (only in arena fights), all spells are illustrated with a fading effect (both combat and non-combat), all options are represented by an icon (but keyboard shortcuts remain functional and you’ll be able to display them).

The skull at the bottom right still triggers autofight for quick resolution of easy battles (or suicide).

Spell casting has changed as well:

Spell book with level two priest spells (Click to enlarge).

That’s it for today. There’s more to show, tons of images, new modules (like crafting), new character creation… Unfortunately I still can’t announce a reliable release date. Everything seems to take twice as long as initially expected. But I’ll try to post updates much more often.

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Bombed deadline and new URL

I noticed a sharp decrease in RSS readership just recently. Of course I am entirely to blame for this, and the title of this post probably explains it for the most part. Add to that a less than prolific dev blog and there you have it. Changing the URL from www.classicgamesremade.com to www.olderbytes.com, therefore breaking previous feed links, probably didn’t help either.

My initial estimate for releasing Underworld Gold was March 2012. That was a while ago. I think all this deserves a little explanation.

Content and features.

Underworld Gold now has loads more content than its preceding version (v1.06). New NPCs, 150 new items, some of which stackable and charged and with a wide array of useability, five existing maps redrawn and three new ones, a couple dozen more monsters (needed to maintain balance with the new levels), some of which with brand new abilities, and others of which with two different abilities that contribute to making combat less than predictable. Content-wise I’m just a few short hours away from beta.

I’ll post a more exhaustive feature list in a later entry and you’ll find there’s quite a bit. There are also a couple I’m looking into but am not sure I’ll be able to provide yet (animated transitions for movement as an option being the toughest request I’ve had recently).

Technical difficulties.

All the new content brought forth new challenges. In the game’s current state it triggers Window’s security, forcing the player to Run as Administrator. I have a good idea how to fix it but it isn’t a small task. Also the new content and higher resolution graphics have kept me struggling to optimize performance. I believe I’ve reached a satisfactory level now, but the game not being quite finished yet, I’ll reserve further comments at this point.

Naturally, all the fixes and additions have brought forth slews of bugs that have required lots of squashing.

The sequel.

Work on the sequel has taken great strides as well. The foremost reason I am doing this alongside finishing Underworld is that I prefer to keep the artists working. This is necessary to not risk losing them, which in turn could harm the quality and cohesiveness of the final game. At this stage I have all planned outdoor environments, including roads, forests, desert, mountains… New monsters (mostly outdoor mobs to populate the gestating world), several cutscenes, new stores and art for two new classes. About half of the GUI is done as well, which will allow me to post a video announcement shortly after releasing Underworld.

And of course real life. Things tend to get in the way like they always do but I do find time each day to at least inch closer to a final release.

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Early 2012 Progress report

First things first: A great and happy new year to everyone! Ignore the harbingers of doom and believe in 2012 being the best year ever, premisce to many more great years to come!

 

It’s been nearly 2 months since my video update, so this post is quite overdue.

 

Sadly there aren’t any great breakthroughs to announce. Image assets are being completed slowly due to events in the Philippines (location of the art studio I’m working with on this project). Washi, a ruptured dam in the Manila area and the end-of-year festivities have slowed them down. On my end the family situation I mentionned about a year ago came to a tragic end in November. I moved back home and am slowly settling in again, and will be working pretty much full time on Underworld and the sequel over the next few months. ร‚ย Then, decisions will have to be made.

 

Nevertherless, the prolonged development time has given me the opportunity to nicely enhance Underworld. Three new maps, 10 new monsters, many moar lewts, a double special attack for some mobs (greatly adding to the technical challenge of many encounters), new special attacks for others, much better end of game balance, new features enhancing gameplay (like setting game speed, (P)rotect replaces (B)lock…).

 

The images that have been done look pretty sweet! Phantoms, wraiths (both new mobs) and a few others have transparency effects that I personally can’t stop gawking over and some of the still cutscenes are absolutely awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Rising from grave

Rising from grave

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Apparition Encounter

Apparition Encounter

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Militiaman Encounter

Militiaman Encounter

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Also you might have noticed that the first monster in line is illustrated as before, but in a reproduction of the encounter’s environment.

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To summarize I must confess that my early 2012 release goal will not be met. I’d rather not set a date that may not be met either at this point, but it shouldn’t be long. The bright side of things is that Underworld Gold will be all the better for it.

 

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Contingencies

 

Everyone knows a project is bound to face contingencies, setbacks, delays…

 

From the indie one-man studio (now with outside help) to the large construction company, something(s) are bound to get in the way of anyone’s objectives.

 

Underworld and sequel are currently affected by… Typhoons! Not one, but several have hit the people I’m working with in Manilla (Philippines), the worst of which is happening right now. So I’m glad I didn’t set a release date, but remain confident the remaining assets will be delivered as soon as can possibly be, given the circumstances. The most important being that they stay safe until good work conditions return.

 

 

Weather Contingencies

Weather Contingencies

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