Back in March of 2014 when we first started this project it was just me and Giovanni, brainstorming on Facebook after I had made the decision to finally get around to finishing the book series. Suddenly it’s October, we’re about eight months into the project working with a team of talented guys, and I’m completely blown away with seeing this vision come to the light of day.
We’ve got a long road ahead of us. While we’ll be expanding the team to 15 between now and early 2015 and then forming up an official studio for the legal side of things (on paper; the team will be working remotely for the foreseeable future), we’ve accomplished a lot with the small group we do have (currently seven guys; we had eight, but one of our team members was a college guy and couldn’t balance work + school + working on the game with us)…and there’s a lot more to still finish up before 2014 comes to a close.
So with that in mind, here’s a bit of a sit-rep for those of you who are following along even in the early stages of the Saga of Lucimia development cycle.
First and foremost, we’ve got 10 zones completed in rough format. You can see screenshots in the Media section, as well as a couple of in-game video shots. These are forming the prototype of the game, which is what we’ll be using for the rest of 2014 and into early 2015 while we move towards a Kickstarter project.
These are the zones we’ll be using to build iterations with, to link together and test zoning, and to implement our quest system and the initial starter content that we’ll be taking to the table when we launch our Kickstarter in late 2015. Once we get to a certain point in the development cycle, Joey (and any other world developers we have on board by then) will be dropping back and building out the rest of the zones on our official zone map; we’ve got over 50 zones on the official zone map; the vast majority are overland, and there are dungeons + city zones in there as well.
As of mid-October, our team is roughly 50% of the way done with the Archetype list, and 85% of the way done with our Master Skill list (which has over 500 skills to-date). Remember, Saga of Lucimia is a classless game, which means we are leveraging a skill-based system.
While players can create custom builds with whatever combination of skills they desire at character creation, we are also creating over 80 pre-made Archetype builds. These are traditional and non-traditional “classes” most D&D and MMORPG fans are familiar with; Ranger, Thief, Bard, Monk, Fighter, and various combinations in between.
We’ve got some originals, such as The Trickster, The Gambler, The Archaeologist, and the team is finishing the rough draft of the initial Archetype list by the end of October. The majority of the skills assigned to these characters are pulled from the Master Skill list, but there are also unique Archetype skills (both passive and active) that are unique to those Archetypes, which means if you are starting a character from scratch you won’t be able to assign any of these unique abilities to your class.
You will, however, be able to find those abilities within the game, either through quests or through advancing your existing skill chains along certain paths to uncover the unique abilities. But the benefit to rolling a pre-made Archetype at the start of the game is that it is a unique build which has abilities already assigned, including abilities you would otherwise have to discover in the game through time and effort.
Joe has been busting out some artwork to associate with the chapters currently up in the Story So Far section. I’ve got 12 chapters already written (from back in 2008), and the outline is fully in place for all four books. I’ll be publishing the rest of the story content throughout 2015 to accompany the ongoing development; one chapter per month is the plan so far. And then I’ll be writing the rest of them along the way.
As of this week, Joe is working on taking my 10-year old pencil drawn map and turning it into an actual fantasy map. I’m no artist, so I’m letting someone with the skills handle that department =) It should be done in the next couple of weeks, and then he’s moving on to creating the header for the website + our social media channels. After that, he’ll be working on Races concept art: Dwearhe, Elenhi, Eldeni, and the Sunarians (although you can see a concept piece from Chapter Two above on those guys already) and then artwork for the Archetype page and the rest of the website.
That should keep him pretty busy for the rest of 2014. Then, we’ll be moving into Archetype reveals, each of which will have an original piece of artwork. And by the way; we are still looking for more talented artists who want to come on board and become an official part of the team and help with concept art as well as working within Unity on in-game art, character modeling, armor, weapons, clothing and beyond. We want at least two more artists, so click that link and shoot us an email if you think you have what it takes and can dedicate the time on a 3+ year long project.
I’ll be getting an official premium theme up at some point once Joe gets all the artwork finished; in the meantime I’ll keep using this free one. But there’s a lot more website work that I’m working on, such as getting our Store page ready, our Crowdfunding page ready (we are going to be launching private crowdfunding options in early 2015 for people to back us directly before we go to Kickstarter), our Subscription page ready, and our game forums launched.
We’ve got some pretty awesome crowdfunding options already on the table, but it’s our subscription model that’s going to blow your socks off! We’re going to be making our pre-pre-pre-alpha build available to friends and family and the general public, and those of you who want access to our weekend test runs can get in early for a low monthly fee. But the groovy part is that your monthly fees will accumulate, so if you can’t afford to drop 500 bucks on a crowdfunding tier but you subscribe to our game over a period of months while we are in development mode, you’ll eventually earn your way to that tier of funding, and unlock all the rewards along with it.
More on that coming later, as we still have a lot of paperwork to finish and sort through all the details. And we’ve got a lot of other things coming down the pipeline, such as a web comic featuring the characters of the books during their other adventures (available via our store), and we’ll be launching a Twitch channel as well as making our weekly team meetings available to subscribers as well as starting to host monthly Q&A webinars.
What else? Well, once we finish up the class list at the end of October, the majority of the team will be dropping back to spend two to three months learning C# for coding and programming within Unity. That’s a big step for most of us. We’ve spent the bulk of the year getting the starter zones for the prototype ready, the Archetype list finished, the Master Skill list finished, and we’ve got a Master Design document with all of the mechanics we want to see within our game.
Now it’s time to start programming those mechanics into the game, getting our skill system working, and everything else. In short, now the real fun begins! We have no illusions about the road ahead; it’s a long one, and we’ve got our work cut out for us. But we are dedicated and we’ll be making this happen no matter how long it takes! It’s all part of the agile development process; everyone on the team is playing multiple roles while we bootstrap this baby into existence.
We are a long way from a playable alpha. Cody was working on our networking but had to leave to focus on his school + work, so I’ve been picking up the slack researching all the details of networking and getting our Unity game onto a Photon server so that we can start working on internal networking just for team members, and then we’ll be building iterations.
Stay with us! We’ve got a wild ride still ahead of us, and we can’t wait to share more of what we are working on with you guys! And if you are a C# programmer or someone who knows networking and wants to become a part of our team, let us know in the comments below; we would like to bring on at least five coders/programmers who know C# for Unity.
See you next update!