Mage's Initiation - All News
Tuesday - January 19, 2016
Mage's Initiation - New Years Update #45
The folks at Himalaya Studios, Inc. have released a new update titled "2016 Frozen Water Mage Summit". Yes there is video.
Light At the End of the Programming Tunnel
So, what have we been doing since last you heard from the development team, we hear you ask? Well, we're glad for your question, dear Initiates! For the most part, our time has been spent bug-fixing combat issues, as per usual, and playing the now all-too-familiar combat "whack-a-mole", addressing two new issues for every one issue that gets resolved. We know these updates are probably a little on the dull, repetitive side and they probably make it sound like not much has been taking place behind the scenes, but we have come a very long way on this front since August last year with literally thousands of battle bugs being squashed. And now we're thrilled to announce that we have finally resolved every combat bug (that we're aware of) for every spell, monster, and boss in the game -- bar one! Yes, a sole combatable critter remains to be tangled with and we plan on duking it out with him and taking him DOWN over the course of the next few weeks. After that, it's simply a matter of refining gameplay elements, fixing some non-combat bugs, juggling the score/XP and RPG system a bit, and then we'll have our first alpha-release candidate that can be considered for in-team testing and, subsequently, private backer testing!loading...
Alpha For Your Thoughts (We Need Your Feedback!)
So, we have a question. We're wondering if eligible backers would rather test a rough (but complete) alpha version sooner, in a couple of months time? Or would you prefer to hold out several months longer for a more stable beta build? In either case, the playable build won't have recorded voices yet, as we don't want to record them until the game has been thoroughly tested and any necessary textual changes to the dialogue have been made. It's always a pain to get actors back for pick-up sessions, so we're hoping to work around that by testing the text-only game first and foremost.
Additionally, would backers prefer to receive their test builds via Steam or Humble Bundle? We're still trying to figure out the logistics of getting the test build into eligible backer's hands in the easiest, most seamless manner possible.
Please let us know your feedback in the comments (or via email if you're a PayPal backer.)
Thursday - October 22, 2015
Mage's Initiation - Development Update
A new development update appeared for Mages Initiation.
We've continued to make excellent progress, slashing our way through the combat-related bugs and issues, since bringing our new programmer on board! We've completely eradicated the combat spell-specific bugs from our list now. To give you an idea about the magnitude of this accomplishment, there are 4 playable character classes in the game and each has 6 combat spells, which makes 24 combat spells in total. Each combat spell had approximately 20 bugs associated with it (initially). So, that's 480 issues, just for the combat spells! We fixed all of those, but new bugs kept creeping in with nearly every fix, due to the intertwined nature of the battle system. Whenever we fixed one bug, it would cause another (sometimes 2 or 3) to take its place. For a while there, it was a case of taking one step forward and two steps back, but we eventually got on top of the bugs, got them under control, and ultimately, checked everything off. I don't even want to hazard a guess at how many spell-related bugs we've addressed over the past couple of months, but it's easily over 1,000!
Seriously, our combat bugs list is so large, that we even have it sorted into sections where different types of combat bugs are categorized. For example, there's a spells section, and each spell has a sub-section, listing its bugs. There's a monster section, where each monster has its own sub-section. A boss section, a GUI section, a loot section, and a general issues section, and so on and so forth. Having resolved all of the entries in the spell-related section, we have most recently turned our attention to the monsters and boss battle sections. 85% of the monster-related issues have been resolved and approximately 80% of the boss battle bugs have been cleaned up. Things are definitely getting closer to completing the combat system now. Though new bugs still manage to creep in here and there, so we need to be vigilant...
Wednesday - August 26, 2015
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #43
In this update for Mage's Initiation we learn that there is a delay in the start of the beta test phase.
Now, you're probably fidgeting your idle RPG-desiring thumbs, saying to yourselves, "Hey, wasn't this Mages game supposed to be entering beta testing around this time of the year?" And to that, the answer is "Yes." The trouble is that our outlook was slightly more optimistic than this batch of stubborn combat bugs would allow, progress-wise. In fact, the combat bugs may as well have thrust a sturdy wooden staff in our faces and boldly shouted "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" To cut a long story short, we're still working daily (very hectically, I might add) on subduing the absolutely monstrous list of combat-related issues in this game! As of a week ago, there were approximately 260 entries remaining. That number is slowly starting to dwindle, but there are many cases where we fix one bug, and then 5 more spin-off bugs appear in its place! Ah well, good things take time.
To that end, we’ve brought an additional AGS programmer onto the development team to get through these issues at a faster rate, and to help keep us on track for getting the game out to you guys as soon as we feasibly can. Our new programmer is the talented James Spanos (AKA Dualnames) who is no stranger to AGS nor the adventure genre, having worked previously as the lead coder on Primordia and also on The Cat Lady. James is lending his talents to tracking down, solving, and polishing the many, many bugs in the Mage's battle system. We're now focusing on spell-specific bugs, and once they're done and dusted, we'll move onto monster-specific issues. Then finally, we'll tackle the remaining general combat issues. There's still quite a mountain of work in front of us, but over the past two weeks, James has already shortened the list considerably and has been very prompt in nipping those pesky "spin-off" issues in the bud, as soon as they appear.
Monday - June 08, 2015
Mage's Initiation - Development Update
A new development update is provided by the developers of Mage's Initiation, in which they explain they lost some time due to a symbol limitation in the engine they are using. Next to that they have been working on XP leveling and points.
The other main thing we're working on right now is full implementation of the Points and XP leveling system. We have this large Excel document to keep track of all the points and leveling-up opportunities for each character class. It gets pretty complex when delving into optimal puzzle solutions and optional side and sub-quests. Suffice it to say that it's going to be quite a challenge to find all those XP points and completely max out your Mage!To date, XP points have been programmed in and finalized for the game's first act. Within the next few days the entire system should be completely in place and ready for internal testing and any further tweaking that's necessary.Here's our gauge of progress thus far:
- Writing & Design: 99.999999%
- Background Artwork & Animations: 99%
- Character Animations: 99%
- Music: 90%
- Sound Effects: 48%
- Voices: 0%
- Adventure Game Programming: 99%
- Combat System Programming: 96%
- RPG/Stats/Equipment Programming: 95%
- Pre-Beta Bug Squishing: 25%
AGS Game Engine Assets & Stats
- Total sprites: 17873 / 30000
- Sprite folders: 799
- Total views: 767
- Total GUIs: 67
- Inventory Items: 300 / 300 (dynamic system, we have over 300 items)
- Characters: 198 Dialog topics: 393 / 500
Tuesday - April 28, 2015
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #40
Himalaya Studios has posted the next post-funding update for Mage's Initiation with information about the game almost being ready for Beta. Here are the details.
Welcome, once more, magical masters of the mystical multiverse,
As you'll no doubt be aware if you've been following along with our updates, development has been advancing rather well on Mages' Initiation and the game is fast heading down the track to completion! Sure, there's been the fair share of hiccups, hurdles, and illnesses to stumble over along the way, but the overall forward momentum is unstoppable and in this update, we'll document our progress thus far and cast our prognosis for when we expect to launch the beta.
So, come! Gaze into the Sphere of Knowledge. Let the clouds of prophecy roll in and we shall see what the fates have in store.
Tuesday - January 27, 2015
Mage's Initiation - Polar Vortex 2015 Update
Himalaya Studios finally posted a new post-funding update for Mage's Initiation that has information on the progress of the game. Hopefully they don't fall behind again.
Polar Vortex 2015
Greetings, mages, magesses, and familiars! We hope that the Fire Mages have been putting in overtime for you if you’re in the northern hemisphere. Between some major illnesses and housing troubles among team members that transpired over the last few months, this update has been incredibly delayed and we’re sorry about that. However, you’ll be pleased to find out we’re quite on track with the game!
General Progress Report
There's nothing scientific about these figures. They're our best estimates on where we currently stand in the grand game development scheme. Nevertheless, when one knows that the light at the end of a tunnel is rapidly approaching, one finds it far easier to gauge how close said light really is. So while these figures contain not a shred of scientific analysis (not even from a magical measurement spell) it's safe to say they are accurate guesstimates:
Writing & Design: 99%
Background Artwork & Animations: 95%
Character Animations: 93%
Sound Effects: 15%
Adventure Game Programming: 90%
Combat System Programming: 95%
RPG/Stats/Equipment Programming: 85%
And for the RPG fans who are so hardcore, they need stats about stat-raising game, here are the latest AGS engine assets being used.
AGS Game Engine Assets & Stats
Total sprites: 17203 / 30000
Sprite folders: 789
Total views: 745
Total GUIs: 68
Inventory Items: 300 / 300 (our custom inventory system is dynamic, we have over 300 items)
Dialog topics: 402 / 500
(Yes, some of these figures went backwards from our last update. This is due to us deleting unused assets and/or the streamlining process of refining certain scenes and removing any wordy or clunky sections that didn't work well to convey the story.)
At this rate, we will be aiming for a May or June beta sans voice acting!
Thursday - October 23, 2014
Mage's Initiation - October Update
The October update for Mage's Initiation tells us that in the last month not much new can be told, but it is still worth an update.
Much time over the past month has been devoted to bug fixes and refinements in the Verb Coin user interface. We have made some adjustments to the way the system functions. Previously, only one of D'arc's spells would appear on the Verb Coin Interface at a time. You can see this functionality if you play the demo we released back when we ran our Kickstarter campaign. We've since changed it so that all of D'arc's spells will appear on the Verb Coin as he learns them (for faster accessibility and also to reduce the number of clicks required to cast spells). In addition, we've also made it so the active inventory item will appear on the Verb Coin as a clickable icon. These probably sound like they should be simple additions, and on the surface they are. But they resulted in a lot of “run-on” issues that then had to be addressed separately, and which took significant time to investigate. Each interface has its own script and those scripts all link into other scripts in various subtle ways, so there can be a sizable amount of cross-checking involved.
Considering that Mage's Initiation will have a choice of three player interfaces, we need to constantly perform extra testing and fine-tuning, like this, to ensure that the interfaces are still behaving as intended.
Friday - August 29, 2014
Mage's Initiation - August Antics Update
Himalaya Studios has posted a new post-funding update for August with a progress report on the development of Mage's Initiation.
Salutations Seers, Sorcerers, and Shamans,
Thanks for tuning-in your crystal balls and Spheres of Observation into the very latest magical transmission that we’re sending out across this esoteric worldwide communication system.
We’ll keep this update rather short and on-point just to fill you in about what’s been happening on Mages. We’ve had a very busy and productive couple of months and have seen a sizeable dent made in the remaining workload. Many different aspects of the game have been worked on and some major milestones have even been completed. Below is a list of areas we’ve been tackling, some of them ongoing and others completed.
Sunday - April 06, 2014
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #35
Himalaya Studios has posted the next post-funding update for Mage's Initiation with information about Steam Greenlight, and the games development.
We’ve been continuing our development strategy of tackling one act per month. Unfortunately, Chris’s PC unexpectedly went down in the middle of scripting Act 2 and he decided to kill two birds with one stone and (finally) do a system upgrade from XP to Windows 7, in light of the rapidly approaching end-of-support date. This took a while to straighten out and ended up setting things back by half a month. Not too bad, really, considering how far development has progressed since our January summit meeting. Everything is still in good shape. We’ve also recently got the final forest layout mapped out and traversable. We can happily report to you that Act 2 has been competely finished, and we’ve just commenced on scripting Act 3 of 4! But don’t get too excited yet -- there’s still an obscene amount of combat and RPG code to link to the main gameplay, and a lot of stat/XP balancing to test and finetune. This all means that we still have no solid timeline for the release, but as we’re sure you all understand, we really want to take our time to make a good, non-rushed title, reminiscent of the Sierra classics that you’ll enjoy playing - and replaying!
Greenlight Status Update
Himalaya’s Adventure game, Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine, has hit position #76 of the top 100 games on Steam Greenlight out of 1,606 total games in the system. Looks like we’re in the home-stretch now and have a high chance of being greenlit within the next month. If you haven’t voted and left a comment yet, remember to do so while there’s still time, and you’ll be automagically entered into our contest to win any 3 Steam games of your choosing. Thank you!
Tuesday - February 11, 2014
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #34
The Himalaya team let us know through a Kickstarter update that Mage's Initiation will be available on Steam.
After a long, tedious process of what frequently felt like nailing jello to the wall, we have finally emerged victorious on Greenlight after accruing a so-called critical mass of "yes" votes. We can now excitedly say that the game will be available on Valve's Steam platform upon release! This means we'll now be able to offer all of our lovely Kickstarter backers Steam keys. Getting Mage's Initiation onto Steam has been an important step for us and this news has given us a great surge of motivation to power ahead with development and make the game as good as it can possibly be (not that we wouldn't already, but you get the idea!).
In addition there is also a development update
Much development work has been taking place since the January Summit Meeting ended one month ago. During that time, we've managed to get the entire Act 1 (of 4) fully playable with 99.7% of the art, music, and programming assets implemented -- and we're now making great strides to having Act 2 finished up by the end of February. The second act is already fairly well-integrated, so with luck, we may even be able to get an early start on Act 3. Here's hoping! The work schedule has been pretty intense with Chris working through all hours of the day and night, tying all the code and assets together, while Jason provides code stability updates to various game systems, and Daniel is constantly on-hand tweaking puzzles, dialogs, and game texts. The rest of the team is simultaneously pitching in with art, music, and animation assets as required. Daniel and Chris have also had more than a few healthy/heated design debates about various puzzles and implementations, while Shane recently finished the last of the backer sprites. Things are looking good in the land of Iginor!
Monday - January 27, 2014
Mage's Initiation - Post-funding Update #33
Update number 33 for Mage's Initiation brings more information on the development progress.
As a result, the past few weeks have seen a phenomenal amount completed, both design and coding wise. Here are just a few of these achievements:
- The Priestess' Palace labyrinth, assembled over an eye-watering span of just two days, is now fully navigable and ready to be explored.
- It’s in this very maze that we can now meet a collection of our esteemed backers… bodiless and bloodied, they are a worthy addition to the treacherous Amun-Cul’s collection.
- Evoker tier backers have begun to make an appearance as full-bodied sprites and we are determining where these extras can appear in-game. In both cases, much painstaking work has been undertaken to ensure that the likeness of said backers is captured as accurately as possible.
- The palace of Amul-Cul now contains a mural room, which must be solved… in additional to an intriguing, intuitive, puzzle-driven treasury room where not all is as it seems.
- D’arc’s non-combative spells have undertaken some serious refinement. He can now float (as an Air Mage) and a particle system has been implemented to accommodate his Jet spell (Water Mage).
- The crossing of the lake, an enchanted expanse which must be navigated in a certain way, is now fully scripted… another incredibly speedy accomplishment.
- A major redesign of the puzzles leading up to the Priestess’ palace has meant a more immersive experience for the player. A new character has been added, and those originally included to be mere traders now have a much greater role in the storyline.
- The boss battle for Act 1, and its relevant combat strategies, are being diligently coded as we speak.
- An insane amount of art assets for Act 1 have been completed and now look unbelievably awesome in-game.
Then there is info on the goodies for Kickstarter pledgers, being close to the top 100 in Steam Greenlight and there is also a video to watch showing the work in progress on the watelands region.
Sunday - December 01, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #32
Himalaya Studios has posted a new progress report in the next post-funding update for Mage's Initiation.
November Progress Report
Salutations, patrons of the arts arcane!
Al Emmo Digital Download Reward Available
First off the bat, if you pledged at the $50 Spellbinder or $70 Shaman tier, you’re in for a treat!
We haven’t officially announced the release of Al Emmo Enhanced (v4.0) -- but as we promised, you will be receiving your DRM-Free copies of the game and soundtrack first! Due to the large amount of keys we need to give out, registering an account at IndieGameStand is required.
The e-mail on your account needs to match the e-mail address you backed with, so we can be sure the keys go to the right people. We’ll be sending out a separate e-mail to all $50 and $70 backers with further instructions.
We need votes on Greenlight to help get the new version of Al Emmo on Steam. You can help us accomplish that by clicking the image below and voting "yes":
From the Frontline
The 16:10 conversion of Mage’s Initiation is coming to an end, which means that we can start turning our attention back to scripting in more of the actual game events...and expanding the world of Iginor, to boot!
JP has been working arduously, making the game world flourish (and fester) with sketches of new locations, such as the bandit camp! He’s also been working regularly with Chris to completely overhaul some of the older background screens which, for various reasons, weren’t really conveying the right visual impact. We’re pleased to say that the new revisions really do improve the atmosphere and make a big difference to the look and feel of the land.
And thanks to our bodacious backers...the Northern Wastelands have opened for business!
As you read this, we are working on getting this area of the game implemented and our next milestone will involve scripting the combat encounters and game events that take place here. We can’t wait to make these barren wastelands a fully-playable area, and it wouldn’t be in the game without your support. The Burrowers thank you too, for all the tasty humans they’ll now get to feast on!
Saturday - November 02, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #31, The Current State of Affairs
Himalaya Studios posted a new post-funding update for Mage's Initiation with a status update on the games progress.
The Current State of Affairs
Salutations, practitioners of the arcane! It's update time once again. We hope you're giving off your 666 salutes and throwing down like a Masked Mage practicing the darkest of arts this Hallow’s Eve.
Progress on the 16:10 Conversion Update
We're making steady progress converting the dimensions of the background artwork to fit with the new 16:10 wide-screen resolution of the game. Due to the backlog of other development tasks at hand, things have been moving at a slower pace than we would have liked, but rest assured they are moving. All the GUI and menu resolution adaptations are complete, however it's a big and tedious task, having to adjust and redraw all the walkable, walk-behind, and region masks for each game background and then make additional manual scaling adjustments to ensure that the characters still appear relative to the size and scale of other objects in the background artwork. One of the bigger challenges we're tackling at the moment is applying these adjustments to the combat backgrounds. But we're over halfway done with the conversion process at the time of writing (yay!) and once complete, the benefits will more than make up for this little delay.
Iginor is fast becoming a boom town! We've got guards, merchants, and more mages showing their faces around this cozy burg. The Tower’s Training Hall is filling up with combat contenders, as Jeremy, our sprite animator, has been hard at work cranking out the likenesses of our terrific backers! Two major milestones were hit in the last month when all of the combat animations for our two Supreme Archmage tier backers were completed.
Swag, Glorious Swag
We don't have much news to report on the swag front -- the polyresin figures that we showed samples of in our previous update are still in production and thus haven't begun their sojourn to the States yet. Since we've had to prioritize the resolution fix work and other artwork for Mage’s Initiation, we also haven't gotten around to creating the artwork needed for the Demon's Deal playing card decks just yet… and, of course, the art books won't start production until we near the end of development and actually have all the game artwork on hand.
The same goes for the character trading cards, as we still have several dialog portraits remaining to be brought to life. However, once we wrap up all of the backer sprites, finish the resolution fixes, and complete more of the game world we'll be tackling the t-shirt and poster production next.
Monday - September 09, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #30, Status Update
Himalaya Studios bring us an update for Mage's Initiation, chatting about the delay of the release, beta, resin figurines and more.
We’re moving along with getting the backend in place, crucial features like the merchant system are coming together. Iginor now has a functioning economy!
We’re still tweaking various aspects of the merchant system, including items that D’arc can buy and sell, so that it stays interesting and adds to the replay value. (Because doesn’t it feel like a letdown to have realized you just accumulated a massive pile of wealth in-game, but have nothing cool to spend it on?)
We’re also further refining the combat system (based on the feedback we received of our last demo build, which backers can download from the private backer forum) and have scripted in 90% of the monsters and they can now be fought. Although we have yet to code all of their AI and attack/avoid/defend patterns, the bestiary is filling out nicely!
We’ve also been designing and implementing the likenesses of our wonderful backers. The two Supreme Archmage combat sparring opponents are being animated and programmed as we speak and we’ve got a pretty diverse cast of extras! Iginor is starting to bustle and the Mage’s Tower is filling up, too. Some of you are even clogging up the local tavern. We did notice that a few folks who pledged at the $150 Augurer Tier and the $400 Evoker tier haven’t sent us their photos and preferences for their sprite’s occupation yet (or in the case of the former, a good reference photo for their severed head that will be on display.) We’ll be going through the list of backers to contact and hit you up if we still don’t have your likeness on file.
And on the delay of the beta:
Firstly, we feel it’s dire to mention that beta testing definitely won’t be taking place as originally expected in the campaign: since the entire game definitely won’t get released in February; it’s official. Since you, our awesome backers, really came through for us when we ran the campaign, we put some content back into Mage’s Initiation that had been taken out once we saw we’d definitely have the means to do so. Then, additional areas and quests that were made possible with the surplus funding but not originally slated to be in the game came next. Ergo, a later release than we originally thought we’d make if we just scraped past the minimum as we didn't want to take blasting past our goal as a given.
We want to deliver the most epic experience possible, an epic experience that is also free from bugs and game-breaking glitches. Hence, we’re now unsure as to when the game will be released but it definitely won’t be February 2014. We’ll do our best to keep you in the know of the game’s progress, and keep things going at a steady pace!
Tuesday - July 02, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #28, Combat Demo
Mage's Initiation has another post-funding update this time announcing the combat demo is available for backers.
As promised, the first backers-exclusive Mage's Initiation combat demo has arrived. We've taken on board the most commonly requested feedback that we received from our previous Kickstarter demo, and have improved to control system to provide a streamlined playing experience.
So, what are these improvements, you ask? We'll rattle off a few of the major ones below:
- Full mouse & keyboard control systems: Play exclusively with one or the other, or with a combination of both.
- Expanded arena: No longer is D'arc confined to a single forest screen. You may escape to the relative safety of an adjacent screen or chase after fleeing, fleet-footed foes.
- Auto-targeting system: Rather than having to move your mouse over an enemy to aim and cast spells, the new system auto-locks your target onto enemies so they can be attacked by clicking (or key-pressing) anywhere on the screen.
- Combat respite: Battle now pauses when you use the mouse to select a new spell from the combat GUI.
- A new enemy: The demo features a new opponent to do battle with and practice new tactics against. (The result of one of our stretch goals).
As mentioned above, this combat demo is exclusively for backers and we'll be sending out another backers-only update shortly containing the download information. If you're not yet a Mage's Initiation backer and would like to become one (subsequently gaining access to the battle demo and feeling infinitely more magical), you can still pledge at any tier level via our PayPal page.
A small request: In order to appraise feedback, it's important that our development team is able to read everything at a single location. This way, we can reply to your posts and request more details from you in a convenient manner. Therefore, we ask that if you're interested in providing demo feedback or bug reports, please register an account at the Himalaya Forums by following these instructions so we can grant you access to the Private Backers forum (if you haven't already done so). All combat demo feedback should be posted in the Mage's Private Backers forum, otherwise we will be unlikely to see it.
Please do not post feedback or bug reports pertaining to the combat demo here in the Kickstarter comments or in the regular Himalaya Studios "Technical & Bugs" forum.
Surveys Sent to $20 (Apprentice) Backers
Apprentices: We've got your sticker sheets and we want you to have them! We recently sent a survey out to all backers at the $20 tier on June 26th. So far, 240 of 305 backers have replied. If you haven't filled out the survey yet, please check your email (inboxes and spam folders) for mail received on that date and submit the short survey at your soonest convenience so we can get your rewards to you.
Friday - June 28, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #27, Demo Update
Word of a new and improved combat demo can be found in the latest Mage's Initiation update.
In the very near future, we'll be releasing a new and improved battle demo, in which we've refined the combat system based on your feedback. It now features a streamlined auto-targeting system, full keyboard support, and several other features. The new combat demo will available to backers only - but if you didn't back the project and would like to get in on the demo action, you can still do so by becoming a late backer. Head on over to our Slacker Backer page to place a belated pledge at any tier level via PayPal.
Because we'll be releasing this combat demo privately, backers should register at the Himalaya Studios forums and have us grant you access to the Private Backer forum. Be sure to click here for registration instructions.
And there is some info on swag and surveys for the $20 tier.
Thursday - May 16, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Post-Funding Update #25, May Update
In their latest update for Mage's Initiation more information is provided on the state of the development of the game.
First, we’ll show off some eye candy with this new background from JP—the game’s sure going to be imbued with some old school goodness in terms of visuals!
And, some words from him regarding the background art front.
Background Art & Techniques
I've been working through a schedule to get a set number of backgrounds colored and edited weekly, and have a color-coded map that shows me which areas need to be redesigned and edited, as well as new locations that need to be conceptualized. I'm developing a master color palette for each location to streamline the process and most of all keep things consistent.
One of the critiques I heard during the Kickstarter was a concern about some of the background art being too blurry. In the past I was not fond of the pencil tool, as line work often turned out too jagged for my tastes, and I found adjusting the opacity settings for it to be tedious. The latest version of Photoshop (now CS6) in addition to having an incredible selection of texture and angle brushes, also has a much improved pressure sensitivity button for the pencil tool which enables me to sharpen and define the scenery in its native resolution. Many of the backgrounds were colored at a higher resolution and needed to be sized down, creating some discrepancies in the detail levels. I can now revisit other areas of the game with this tool to improve the detail level and create consistency across the entire game.
I'm hard at work on finalizing additional scenery for Mage's, such as the surrounding forest trails of Iginor, originally sketched out by the very talented Jeremy Kitchen. It is with great effort that I make these environments have both the familiar classic flavor reminiscent of the Spielburg Valley in Quest for Glory I VGA, but with a higher resolution, more updated twist. Above is one of the latest forest rooms in Mage's Initiation. I've made the lighting as dynamic as possible, complete with cast shadows. When D'arc will navigate the forest, his level of brightness will change when he moves under a tree and into the light.
Another area of the game I've been finalizing are rooms in the Priestess's Palace. I'm creating room objects for a labyrinth of sorts (no, not an endless, annoying, headache of a maze) where D'arc can now engage in combat with Amun-Cul's minions. To tell any more would spoil the fun!
If you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to post on the forums. I'm often swamped with art-related tasks, but I'll try to keep up with the postings there. Thanks again for all your support, and I look forward to providing you with future updates.
Now to turn the proverbial mic over to Morgan to discuss changes to the combat engine.
Tuesday - April 02, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #24, Character Portraits
The Mage's Initiation devs bring us an update with character portraits.
Bort, Earth Mage Mentor Shareen, Water Mage Mentor
All portraits will be lip-synched and animated, we’re sure you’re just as psyched as we are to see them come to life. And we’re also about 90% finished with the monster animations that the stretch goals made possible.We’ll be showing off even more eye candy in our private forums over the coming weeks, be sure to check out this post for registration instructions if you haven’t stopped by yet! (For any PayPal backers reading this, yes, you too are eligible to join in the private backer forums!)
Sunday - March 24, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Funded
The Kickstarter for Mage's Initiation is finished now with almost twice the amount of asked money pledged, resulting in a total of $125,174.
Some swag was given away when approaching the end of which you can find the winners here.
Wednesday - March 20, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #19, Interview
This latest update for Mage's Initiation shows a link to an interview (MP3 file) and some other stuff related to t-shirts, shout-outs and a conclusion as they are heading in the last 64 hours of their campaign.
As we head into the final hours of our campaign, we'd like to say that it has been an incredible experience interacting and chatting with you all in the comments section and taking your suggestions on board. We are currently sitting at a grand total of $107,717 including PayPal pledges and it seems that many backers (and ourselves alike) would love to hit that $120k goal to make ported versions and wide-screen resolutions possible. So, let's try our best to make that happen and please keep spreading the word to new ears in these last few crucial days. But regardless of what figure we end up on, we're elated to have breached the six-digit barrier and would like to thank everybody again for your support in making all of this possible!
Monday - March 18, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #17, Demo Feedback and Stuff
Update number 17 for the Mage's Initiation Kickstarter brings us some information on the feedback from the demo, info on backer goodies a new music sample and a new stretch goal at $180K for text only translations in French, Russian, Italian, German and Spanish. As they are now at $96K with 4 days to go achieving that looks to be a bit of a stretch.
Thank you to all of our backers and non-backers alike for taking the time to review the recently-released Mage’s Initiation demo, we appreciate all of your honest feedback and the detailed reports. We noticed that a combat difficulty slider was one of the most strongly-demanded features, and a some people had suggestions to add support for 16:9 widescreen resolution.
Since it’s up to you to decide if you want to fight only the required boss battles, or devote entire days to roaming the forest (and newly-opened wasteland) to go monster slaying, we hadn’t initially planned on adding such a difficulty slider. However, in light of recent feedback, we’ve now decided to implement one, as the general response has been that combat could be made to cater to players who enjoy challenging battles AND those who prefer simpler combat.
Per adding support for 16:9 resolution, the game backgrounds were designed for 4:3 and, sadly, changing the game resolution to 16:9 dynamically isn’t possible due to current limitations of the AGS engine. However, if we meet our $120K stretch goal (porting Mage’s Initiation to various systems), 16:9 support will be guaranteed, as the smartphone versions will necessitate it. The funding will also be used to cover additional work required to tweak the graphical assets and make the game fully functional at the new resolution. Please be sure to visit our Technical forum to report bugs and crashes, and our general Mage’s Initiation forum for any additional questions, concerns, compliments, and feedback.
Saturday - March 16, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Updates #15 & #16, More Swag and Reddit AMA
Salutations, initiates! We trust you've had fun with the demo. The feedback you're providing is invaluable to us, and please remember to report any bugs and crashes in our Technical forum.
This is just a quick message that we'll be doing our Reddit AMA, it starts in about 15 minutes. The link is now live but we'll be showing up to answer your questions at 1PM EDT.
We're also very happy to say that between the vast climb in pledges overnight both here and on PayPal, we are now less than $2,000 away from our next stretch goal at $95,000! Thanks again so much for your generous support in helping us make Mage's Initiation even bigger and more epic, we're just itching to see what the twilight days of our Kickstarter will bring us!
Friday - March 15, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #14, Demo
We wanted to give it a little more polish, so to speak, before showing it to the backers (and potential backers!) and give everyone a chance to play it over the weekend. This gives you just a teaser of what the gameplay will be like, both the adventure/RPG and combat aspects.
Important Note: As of March 2013, this demo is still in an early alpha stage of the game’s development. It is feature-incomplete and there are bound to be some bugs. The demo does not yet represent the final product.
We are releasing this early alpha to gather feedback and suggestions about the interface and combat system so that we can refine these aspects for the final game.
If you discover any bugs or crashes you can copy and paste the error message with Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Please post any reports or general feedback on our “Technical & Bugs” forum at http://www.himalayastudios.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0
Additionally, we still have two Supreme Archmage slots left! This demo will give potential backers a small taste of what you’ll get if you’d like to be immortalized as D'arc's combat opponent in the training hall. You’ll also get your own lip-synced dialog portrait and have the chance to voice your own speech lines and battle grunts (plus all the awesome swag from the previous physical tiers)!
Some feedback on the demo is already available as well:
IndieGames.com has also covered Mage’s Initiation.
Wednesday - March 13, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #13, Sorcery and Stuff
Update #13 of the Mage's Initiation Kickstarter, which still has 9 days to go to reach its next stretch goal, is about how spellcasting works, some resin figurines and a new $150 tier.
Due to the Mages’ bloody history, their less than admirable actions in the Great War, and their intended roles as the caretakers of humanity, violence has been largely opposed where spell-casting is concerned, so as not to have history repeat itself. The spells taught to new Initiates focus on the peaceful and productive side of the magical arts. However, in recent times, as the monsters of old have re-emerged in the forests, a sub-sect of Mages with a penchant for battle, found a way to channel these peaceful spells into more aggressive forms. Thus, “Conductors” were devised. These curious magical items resemble a brass-knuckle that can be slipped over a Mage’s fingers on one hand. Once worn, the Mage’s single non-aggressive spell can be channeled into multiple combative spells, each with a different purpose.
In the front of the conductor, there are two open sockets into which gemstones can be fit to augment the power of existing spells. Since only two gems can be equipped at any time, a Mage must be selective in choosing the right combination to best balance his current power in battle.
As a Mage, you can use restorative potions during real-time combat. Combat often calls for some creative strategies and each Mage class will have its own advantages and limits over others, which makes for some fun possibilities replaying the game over as a different class. Some monsters will drop valuable gems which can also be equipped into your conductor mid-battle (so long as they don’t require identification first).
Friday - March 08, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Preview @ Destructoid
The peaceful land of Iginor is about to get a nasty shock. Evil is afoot. Isn't that always the case with these fantasy adventures? It's never the threat of people being far too nice that sends the protagonist off on some grand journey. In this case the protagonist is D'arc, a teen mage. He'll be off gallivanting on some important errand for his masters throughout most of the game, but for the purposes of the demo, he's just learning the ropes from the safety of the mage's tower.
Mage's Initiation will feature four mage classes, each corresponding to the elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. The different spellcasters come with unique spells, strengths and weaknesses, and personalities -- the point is to play the game more than once, clearly. I didn't have such a choice, however, and was restricted to playing a fire mage. It's okay, I thought as I consoled myself, I would have chosen that anyway.
D'arc's home is a rather wondrous place, with the three rooms being showcased all suitably elemental. The library area looks like an indoor forest, with tree-like bookshelves and mossy tables with grubs that protect the parchment; the training room is all stone and flames, with armor and weapons covering the walls, and even a wee dragon standing guard. There's also the beautiful fountain room, and aquatic paradise with aquariums for walls and a large central water feature.
Thursday - March 07, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update 11, Sub-Quests
Update 11 of Mage's Initiation (almost at it's $75K stretch goal) talks about sub-quests.
One of the things we love about adventure games and RPGs both new and old are the sub-quests that add to the narrative of the main quests you’re on, whether it arcs over what you’re currently doing or the big picture of the entire game.
One of the game’s sub quests involves D’arc observing some missing persons posters - townspeople who fell victim to the wasteland, monster attacks, foul-play, and other assorted calamities. Better yet, if you missed out on the chance to become an Evoker, now you can become a Necromancer! For $450, we will put your likeness on a missing persons’ OR a wanted poster around town, which will be seen up close when D’arc examines them! You’ll also get to work with us to determine the circumstances for your going MIA, or why Iginor’s guards want you in the slammer.
We also have room for an expanded role in this quest… a featured poster that will be assembled in your inventory and used to solve a central game quest. For $500, your mug will go on this poster! But it's limited to just one backer, so get it before it goes missing forever!
Wednesday - March 06, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #10, Combat
Update number 10 of Mage's Initiation is about the combat in the game and the use of spells. Inaddition, they also mention that pledging through Paypal is now supported and that an interview is available at Gosu.com.
We’ve spent months designing a new and unique combat system for Mage’s Initiation that combines the best elements of classic RPGs like Quest for Glory and Diablo with the smooth and intuitive controls and playability of mobile and touchscreen apps. We’ve pushed the limits of the AGS game engine with custom-designed 3D calculations so spells and arrows can fly into or over onscreen obstacles, and enemy archers can be perched on raised terraces so they can aim at you without hitting their fellow monsters in between.
A major challenge of the combat aspect has been keeping it feeling fresh and new every time you stumble across the monsters of Iginor. One way we achieve this is by having critters travel in packs with adaptive group AI. A group of redcaps may fight for the glory of picking off a mage, with two or three rushing in while the rest prevent your escape. Or you may be swarmed by scavenging pygmy goblins who aim to surround and crush you quickly, but scatter if there are only a few left. When monsters of different types end up together – with you in the middle – things get even more interesting!
Monday - March 04, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Onwards to the Stretch Goals
The Kickstarter for Mage's Initiation has still 18 days to go, but is already funded (69K out of an asked 65K). The next target are the stretch goas, which is starting at $75.000 with undead skeletons and spider swarms being added to Iginor's treacherous Bloodbark forrest and an extra reward for everybody who has pledged $100 or more. Stretch goals are listed up to $250.000, so there is still room for additional pledges.
Saturday - March 02, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Preview @ Capsule Computers
Capsule Computers have rounded up a preview of Mage's Initiation, of which the Kickstarter is currently close to being funded.
With the demo being a very slim experience it is hard to tell at the moment how much content that will be provided upon release. We do know that four different mages can be selected at the start but the developing storyline could essentially be the same experience with a few twists. Other concerns will strictly deal with combat and the effectiveness of movement when in these active environments. If battles remain sluggish with player movement, the combat element will become tough to grow accustom to and deter players from enjoying the active battles. Fine tuning this area of the title will definitely bring out the role playing elements instilled through the rest of game.
Wednesday - February 27, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #4
The Kickstarter for Mage's Initiation has reached its fourth update, whilst being at 54K of its asked 65K. The update covers various areas, like upgrades of tiers, a video on speed coloring, some backgrounds, artwork
and a designer journal on future history:
The premise of Mage's Initiation is what brought me into this world, and keeps me interested in exploring it more. For this update, I thought I would share with you some of its back story.
It is our distant future. Technology has developed to the point of obscenity. Nature itself shudders at the assault. The world is on the brink of environmental collapse. The Elements can stand no more. They take it back. All that we constructed, all that we cherished, is destroyed in the simultaneous terror of every imaginable disaster. Many would call it an apocalypse. The survivors would call it, "a second chance".
The remaining children of the world were not forsaken, for the Elements proved as merciful as there were vengeful. From among the remnants of humanity, a new kind had arisen. Disciples of the Elements. Guardians of Nature.
Magic had returned to the world. The reign of the Elements, and an age of Mages, had begun.
Millennia passed. Humanity was guided, held in check, by those that learned to wield their power in the most potent of ways. The Mages ascended beyond that of mere shepherds. They became rulers. Absolute and unending. A force that could never be reckoned with.
Until the wars. Along with magic, the Elements had brought to this reformed world the races of old. Goblins and all other manner of forgotten beings resurfaced. The lands became unruly. Human life was threatened. In response, the Mages set about to restore order. They cut across the continents like a scythe, in a series of wars more bloody than anything that had preceded the Reign. Whole races were endangered. Cultures threatened to the point of extinction.
Yet barely a Mage was lost.
In the aftermath, as they washed their blood-stained robes, the chosen of the Elements saw their wrathful reflections, and were appalled. They could no longer permit their kind to act so rashly, so selfishly, again. They would pass their burden of leadership to their ungifted human cousins: a line of Kings and Queens, who would see the Mages as their advisers, if not in truth their subjects. Mankind would be allowed to rule itself again, so long as it kept its promise never to repeat the mistakes of its ancient past.
Now, centuries later, a young chosen Initiate steps into a world burned twice over, little knowing how easily it could all happen again...
Monday - February 25, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Update #3, New Tiers and a Sneak Peek
The Mage's Initiation Kickstarter brings us info on the new tiers they have added for $50 and $70. The Kickstarter is currently at $52K out of the asked $65K with still 25 days to go, so it looks like it will reach its goal.
In addition a small peak into the development is given with a video showing artist Jeremy Kitchen scetching a scene extension of a wilderness area in Iginor.
Wednesday - February 20, 2013
Mage's Initiation - Launched on Kickstarter
Mage's Initiation, a Sierra style Adventure/RPG hybrid has been launched on Kickstarter and is currently after one day at 27K of the asked 65K.
Mage's Initiation is a Role-Playing / Adventure Game hybrid, very similar in style and execution to Sierra On-Line's classic Point-&-Click Quest for Glory and King's Quest series. It maintains all the charm of classic and timeless adventure games of yesteryear while adding 21st century innovation to the mix - like multiple game interfaces, and a free-range magical combat system!
We're all very big fans of the adventure genre here at Himalaya Studios, and we feel that Sierra's games really hit their peak in the early 90s. We're working hard to provide a nostalgic experience, reminiscent of that golden era of 2D Sierra adventures circa 1993-1994.
Mage's Initiation has a medieval / fantasy setting and it features multiple playable character classes, spell-casting, and an open-field magical combat system, complete with equippable items and monster loot drops!