Every journey starts somewhere. Ours began in early 2014.
It started off after a small group of us met and started gaming together on the Project 1999 EverQuest server. As the months went by, we started looking at the state of games, lamenting the lack of a solid title that had the elements of the early games that we all missed so much: group-based gameplay, challenge, time commitment requirements (dungeons and epic questlines that took months to complete as opposed to mere hours or days), and epic storylines and gameplay as opposed to single-serving storylines and gameplay where you can max level in a few days.
In early 2008 I launched my writing career selling fantasy and science fiction short stories. I wrote the first 12 chapters of a four-book series based on a D&D world I created in the late 90s and had built up over a decade, drafting the entire series out before I landed a contract to write game guides for Killer Guides (EQ2 and LOTRO), which led to website contracts, which led to bigger paychecks, and before I knew it I was writing website content full time and making a living as a writer while living in Sofia, Bulgaria and traveling around the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe for the next few years.
One thing led to another, and I ended up traveling to Colombia and Mexico, eventually settling down in Cancun and creating the travel blog and brand Marginal Boundaries, which currently has over 12,000 readers and reaches more than a million views per month via our social media channels. My day job these days for the past few years has been as a travel blogger, social media manager, consultant and strategist, brand strategist and public speaker at events such as TBEX North America 2014 in Cancun, Mexico where I’m a featured speaker on advanced Facebook strategies and marketing tactics for brands . You can find more about me over at our website.
In early 2014, I had spoken with my wife and told her that at the end of 2014 I wanted to get back to finishing the fantasy series I had begun in 2008. The concept was to finish the series in full, then find an agent and market it, or self-publish (I’ve already self-published 12 books that have sold several thousand copies, with a 13th due out in mid-August for a Spanish-language project I’m working on).
However, after a few months of delving into independent Unity-based MMORPGs cropping up all over the place and heavy research and brainstorming I went to my gaming friends from Project 1999 and said “Hey, what about developing an independent MMORPG in the Unity Engine?”
That led to a few gaming sessions spent discussing the subject in greater detail, as well as looking at some of the successes and failures out there in the crowdfunding community. One thing led to another, and suddenly it wasn’t just one guy talking about finishing off a fantasy series of books. It was two guys talking to a third, then a fourth, and suddenly we had a team of six guys who were all keen on making it happen. I wrote a blog post about this at my primary site awhile back.
Cue forward more than four months later. We’ve got eight zones (including a three-level dungeon and our starter city) created, and we brought on a network guy/programmer just before the fourth of July who has been hard at work getting our login screen and server and client ready to go. We are a week or two out from that point, which is why I finally went ahead and took the time to get the website up and going along with registering all of our social media channels so that we have a place to start documenting the overall development of the game.
We have a development cycle laid out with a world of around 50 zones planned out to be created. We are using an agile system and we plan on expanding our current 7-man team out to around 12 guys by around the end of 2014; we want at least two or three more programmers and a couple of artists. Currently we are working with the free Unity engine and will be purchasing Unity 5.0 + a team license once it becomes available. The prototype game that we are currently working on getting networked together will be where we build our iterations for the foreseeable future; from now until we purchase the Unity Pro licence.
From there, we’ll be adding additional polish to the existing zones, opening up to a friends and family alpha in early 2015, opening up private crowdfunding, and possibly working towards a Kickstarter campaign in October of 2015. From there, our lead world designer will begin fleshing out the additional 40 or so zones that make up the rest of the world while the rest of our team handles the alpha testing and continued development throughout 2015 and into 2016, with a beta test in Q4 of 2016 planned, and then an early 2017 release of Volume I.
From there, we have Volume II, III and IV already planned out, following the storyline of the books.
Stick around. Browse through the content. Check out The Story So Far (where you can read the ongoing chapter content of the book series), get to know the team and let us know what you think! And don’t forget to follow along at our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube channel!