Project update 2 - Feb 2018
03 Feb | 11:11 pm

Well, we have been so busy that we skipped a beat in our originally planned monthly project updates. Which is actually good news if we are looking at it from a progress perspective. So what has happened since last year?

After returning recharged (and pot-bellied) from the holiday period we focused our attention on two things: 

  • Creating additional graphic design capacity by finding more super-talented and like-minded artists to create environment and character art assets for us.
  • Prototyping our hero combat to test its mechanics both in terms of graphics and game design.

The obvious intent behind choosing those focus areas was that we wanted to show more to our follower community on how the game is going to look like as well as display some of the game mechanics we're planning on using.

The 'hunt' for graphic designers

In total thirty-five artists have applied or been referred to us by others. That is way more than we had hoped, so in order to find the best matches we had to work with them in multiple rounds.

  • We asked for and reviewed their portfolios. Most of them had artstation, behance or deviantart pages, some used flicker or other popular picture sharing sites or even had their own websites. We narrowed down our list to eighteen artists who we wanted to engage first.
  • Since that was still too many, we prepared a short list of qualifying questions around their available capacity, preferred working location, the tools they used, as well as indicative pricing. Based on the answers, we invited eight of them for a chat to our office or via Skype, depending on their current location.
  • Following these discussions, six of them engaged in a trial commissions to check how easy it was to cooperate and if their style could closely match the art style/art direction we had decided upon. To this end the creative team was busy preparing sketches and concept work to lay the foundation of the artwork.
  • So far the images we have received have been of very high quality, meeting or - in many cases - even exceeding our expectations. Interestingly, the graphic designers applying for environmental art commissions have proved more productive, with character art commissions lagging behind somewhat.
  • At present we can say that we have already signed a framework agreement with one environment artist and planning to do the same with another three, one of whom is interested in character art as well. On the character design side, we are anxiously waiting on the trial commissions to come back and we hope to get back on track with them in February and March.

In summary we have made huge progress in January in terms of creating art capacity, but still have to push on the character creation side.

Hero combat 

Our game design for hero combat, where the named and beautifully depicted characters with intricate backgrounds and in-game stories wage battle, has improved significantly. We prototyped a large number of setups for the battlefield and decided to go with a 6 vs. 6 arrangement with strong focus on how the characters are positioned. Nobo, our programmer, made tons of progress translating our vision from paper and whiteboard to Unity. We have now positioning, movement, and skills working in our prototype and are very close to be showing it off already if we had the character art assets fully ready for them. Unfortunately, the delay on ramping up our asset creation is seriously hurting our current ability to present how the combat works. But not to worry, we will get there sooner rather than later I am sure.

As any good project manager practicing agile and scrum, I had to make a call and pivot our focus from the combat to another interesting part of the game: overhead map movement. As the vagrus (or leader) of their comitatus, the players will navigate the vast map of the continent of Xeryn, exploring the unknown while trying to avoid the dangers of the land as much as they can. As we set our aim on that part of the game, both UI and code had to work in perfect concert to meet the design we cooked up. Something that we are planning to share with you in a short video or gif next week if all goes well. Mind you, it will still be in pre-Alpha stage, naturally.

And so much more...

Other than the above two focus areas, a lot has happened of course, from preparing for the recruitment of writers for our narrative design efforts, through the prototyping of in-game events and story presentation, the drafting of tons of UI design, and the groundwork for the game's intro, to the solidifying of the many stats and mechanics used in combat and elsewhere.

But I think I will just wrap up here, hopefully leaving you with the spark of curiosity and burning desire to read and watch our next post. :)


Lost Pilgrims Team

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