Frontiers - All News
Wednesday - November 27, 2013
Frontiers - November Wrap-up
Lars Simkins has posted a new development update for Frontiers in the games latest post-funding update, and included two new guest updates also.
Hello, everyone! I'll be on the road this week - holidays and all that - so I'm posting our end-of-the-month update a bit early. First up: Mushrooms!
Okay, now that mushrooms are out of the way I've got two guest updates for you guys. First is Daniel Bishop - he has created a new language called Obex and he's got a brief lesson for you. Then we have the next chapter of Kilian Jornself’s Tale of Five Warlocks by Harrison Hall. (Part 1 can be read here.)
Friday - November 01, 2013
Frontiers - Happy Halloween & Guest Update
Lars Simkins the developer of Frontiers has a new post-funding update with a progress update, and a new guest post.
Last week Ryan turned over the complete main quest outline, which means every quest in the game is finally down on paper. We still have dialog to write, and that'll be a hell of a process, but the hardest part is complete. (By the way, if you missed our story Q&A you can read the transcript here.)
Given methodically chips away at the terrain as always. Working with Given is like working with a running generator. Once in a while I'll stop working and think "Hey what's that sound? Oh right, that's Given diligently generating content as always." He's spent the last couple of weeks working on Apple Valley and the region is really starting to come together.
Meanwhile the alpha has been thrown into the ring with our testers and they're tearing it apart like a pack of wild dogs. It hasn't exactly gone smoothly! We've got everything from floating rocks to frying pans that won't leave your inventory to fire that burns you through walls and cooks food from ten feet away. The bug reports can seem overwhelming at times but their hilarity mostly makes up for it. If you see one of these brave testers here or in the forums tip your hat to them - every bug they suffer through brings us that much closer to final release.
(I'll be announcing the second round of alpha testers shortly, so keep an eye on your KS inbox.)
Multiplayer has been... frustrating. Oh sure, I'm making progress and some simple tests have shown promise but the whole thing has been going way more slowly than I'd like. The good news is that after weeks of searching I've finally made contact with some new potential team members who can help me shoulder the burden of implementing it. If my good luck holds, next month's update will show you some co-op in action. (Don't hold me to that, though!)
Sunday - October 20, 2013
Frontiers - Story Q&A and Guest Update
Frontiers has a new post-funding update with news about a new live Q&A,and a guest post by Ryan Span.
Story Q&A this Sunday - Guest update by Ryan Span
Story Q&A - Sunday 20th
4:30pm PST / 6:30pm CST / 11:30am GMT
The internet is truly amazing. Apparently it's so advanced that we can all 'chat' in real-time using this thing called an Internet Chat Room (or 'IRC' as those in the know like to call it).
Prepare your questions ahead of time if you like! In fact, if you already have some you'd really like us to answer, feel free to post them here and we'll give them priority during the session.
See you on Sunday!
Remember it's still saturday in the States on the time of this post.
Friday - September 27, 2013
Frontiers - Delays and a Guest Update
Frontiers has a new post-funding update about delays, and a new guest update.
Delays, Delays, Delays
A lot of you saw this coming, and a lot of you already know via the forums, but it's time to make it official: The Alpha is delayed until mid-October. To quote myself: "The delay is due to some typical development stuff (interface refactoring taking longer than expected) some real-life stuff (a family wedding that I'm on the road for as I type this*) and some unexpected stuff (the departure and replacement of my head writer). No one thing was enough to bog me down but together they've set me a week or two back. These delays may also affect delivery of the remaining kits I had lined up for this month, though I may still pull through with those."
(*Congrats Ken & Carla!)
I'm still keeping the kits listed as September releases on the Backers Calendar just in case I can pull it off but they're looking more and more like an October release.
On the Plus Side
Delays aside, things are going well. Some recent achievements:
- ALL of our side quests are written (a whopping 160+ pages of fun-tastic material)
- Ryan has stepped in to finish the main quest and he's doing great
- Given continues to kick ass on the new terrain
- The official site has gone live (still needs tweaking, but it's coming along)
- As of tonight the interface back end is much more Oculus and Controller friendly
- Other things that are cool but it's time to get to the Guest Update
Guest Update - Erik Dinnel
Lastly, I've asked several people on the team if they'd be interested in contributing a fun story or a unique perspective (a la Steve Barnes' Update of Happiness,) and Erik Dinnel was the first to turn his in - I'd expect no less from the guy who shot and cut both our campaign videos in in a matter of days. I had completely forgotten about both the land sharks and the white 'X' so this was a treat to read - hope you all enjoy!
Tuesday - September 03, 2013
Frontiers - Backerkit Deadline
Frontiers has a new post-funding update reminding every backer you have one week left to add add-ons to you pledge.
Hello! If you've already managed your add-ons in Backerkit then this update doesn't apply to you. I'll see you next time!
For everyone else, this is a friendly reminder that you have ONE WEEK before the Backerkit deadline on Sept 8th. (I've pushed the deadline back a few days due to popular request.) That means you have one week to do the following:
- Submit your final info for your Bar / Shop / Inn
- Submit your final info for your Headstone
- Choose your butterfly companion type
- Add / swap / change your add-ons in general
After Sept 8th all of this information will be locked down. (And if you've purchased additional add-ons, Sept 8th is when your cards will be charged.) Go to frontiers.backerkit.com to log in and/or to send yourself another invite.
Friday - August 30, 2013
Frontiers - August Update
Frontiers has a new post-funding update, or as the developer calls it the August update.
Hello, everyone - time for a video update! Behold our fancy new terrain, now in proper HDR.
Sunday - August 11, 2013
Frontiers - Here comes Backerkit!
Frontiers has another post-funding update dealing with the Backerkits.
Much as it pains me to ask you to use another system to complete your Kickstarter journey, Backerkit really is the way to go. (Take note Kickstarter - this is how it's done!)
- If you filled out a KS survey we'll send a Backerkit invite to your Kickstarter email.
- If you over-pledged for add-ons, Backerkit is how you'll make your choice. This is also where you can get after-the-fact add-ons, or swap them out for something different, etc. (Don't assume I already know what add-ons you want, even if you messaged me!)
- Finishing the survey is how you get your invite. If you haven't finished your KS survey yet, do so. (If you lost your survey email, here's how to find your survey without it.
- If you don't have/want any add-ons then this whole step is optional. (If you have a physical reward it's still helpful to confirm your shipping address, though.)Got questions about Backerkit? Here's an FAQ for you. It's all pretty straightforward though; just follow the link on your invite when you get it and you should be fine.
Friday - August 09, 2013
Frontiers - The Results Are In!
Frontiers has the results of the survey in this new post-funding update.
Seasons walked away with this one easily and Archaeology wasn't far behind. Gigantic Ruined Tower (!) and Dynacamp were a bit closer, but don't let that 0.3% fool you - there were still nearly a hundred votes separating the two. A decisive victory on all counts. Hooray! *throws confetti*
I personally liked Gigantic Ruined Tower but I never thought it would be a top contender. Similarly, there were some I thought would get way more traction, eg Gardening. Surprises all around. I look forward to picking apart what happened and figuring out who voted for what in the coming days. :D
Thursday - August 08, 2013
Frontiers - Survey Reminder and Artwork
Frontiers has a new post-funding update to remind backers it's the last day for the surveys, and shows off a little artwork.
Just a friendly reminder that you've got less than 24 hours to submit your surveys / Serious Business feature votes. At 5pm Pacific tomorrow I'll be locking down the results, then announcing the final three a few hours later. (What will they BE? I'm so curious.)
I've also updated the Backers Calendar to reflect that Backerkit invites will be sent out on August 8th. You'll finally get to add / swap / change your add-ons, whee! That's all for now - look for the final announcement tomorrow.
Make sure to stop by the Gallery once in a while - new artwork gets added all the time!
Thursday - August 01, 2013
Frontiers - Survey Incoming
Frontiers has a quick update letting the backers know surveys have been sent out.
Alrighty - all the Amazon Payments are in and I'm sending out the long-awaited surveys tomorrow. I'll keep this short and sweet (Please read the entire update!)
- If you want to vote on the SERIOUS BUSINESS feature requests, do it in the survey - this is your only shot!
- If your reward includes Beta access and you want in on the Alpha, vote 'YES' to Alpha access in the survey - even if you've already applied!
- All surveys need to be completed. We can only send the survey out ONCE!
- Add-ons will be handled in Backerkit, so you won't see them in the survey. DON'T PANIC! You'll get your chance to choose/add/swap your add-ons later.
After most of the surveys have come back I'll send you info about Backerkit and announce the winning SERIOUS BUSINESS features.
Saturday - July 27, 2013
Frontiers - One Week Later
Frontiers has a new update on it's kickstarter page. It's basically a status update for backers about the games forum, and other misc topics.
♫ What a difference a week makes... 168 little hours... ♫
Why haven't you joined the FORUMS yet? It's where all the action is happening! What's that? You're not into the whole smilies thing? Ah, okay. Well in that case here's a good old fashioned Kickstarter update for you:
What's going on with FRONTIERS?
So much I don't even know where to start!
- We've got a small team of artists chipping away at assets.
- Given is making fast work of the revamped terrain and it looks spectacular.
- Lore masters Ben & Harrison are filling in the details of the world at an alarming pace. Seriously it's freaking me out.
- Resident linguist Daniel is creating a new language from scratch using (I kid you not) proprietary procedural language generation software. It's awesome.
- I'm making steady progress on laying the foundations for mod support.
- Steve continues to write awesome music.
♫ Communication Breakdown ♫
If you're having trouble reaching me and getting your questions answered, it's likely due to the fact that I'm now communicating across a couple of different platforms. Chat, email, the forum, kickstarter, even steam - it can all get a little overwhelming, especially when your usernames aren't the same!
I'm not a fan of saying read the FAQ - everyone's situation is a little different, so when you ask a question I try to answer it. But I will ask you for a favor, not just for my sake but everyone else's too: Please only ask your question in one place. It may seem like contacting me at all of the above locations will ensure a response - but what ends up happening is the total number of messages I need to chew through just quadruples, and that means more fall through the cracks. Thanks for understanding, and no harm done, we're all muddling through this as best we can!
Sunday - July 21, 2013
Frontiers - Post Campaign Q&A!
And we didn't just stumble across the finish line, either. We launched over it in style. The last three days brought in over $30,000 from almost 1,000 new backers! That means we've got a really interesting mixture of old and new blood here, ranging from the grizzled IndieGoGo veterans who've been with the campaign since before it began, all the way to folks who stumbled across the campaign in its final moments and got in under the wire. (Lucky you!)
I'm running out of ways to say thank you, so I'll just go with a heartfelt, sincere THANKS to anyone & everyone who helped make this happen. Thanks to Erik Dinnel & his team, who worked hard hours to shoot the interview and promo video. Thanks to the backers who promoted the campaign tirelessly and brought in backers by the dozens. Thanks to the folks who bumped their pledge every time an add-on was released just to get us to the next stretch goal. Many thanks to my wife for keeping backers organized and making sure I ate and slept. And thanks especially for the supportive and upbeat attitude that everyone maintained throughout the entire campaign - it transformed what could have been a really stressful process into a genuinely fun experience for myself and (I hope) for everyone else.
And The Q&A
Alright, let's jump right in:
I missed the deadline! Can I still pledge / get an add on?
The answers you seek are in this update: CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT
When will [x] be happening? / When will [x] be sent out?
For information on what's happening when, keep an eye on the backer's calendar. I update it frequently: CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE BACKER CALENDAR
When are the forums launching?
How about now? Kickstarter's been fun but its comment system is abysmal. So apart from backer's updates (which I will continue to send out) I aim to spend more time answering questions over at the forum, which I encourage you to visit: CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FORUMS
Saturday - July 13, 2013
Frontiers - Interview @ Worlds Factory
Worlds Factory has an interview with Lars Simkins about his kickstarter Frontiers.
How did you manage to be both a VFX artist who worked on stuff like Hunger Games, Priest, Breaking Bad, Hawaii Five-0, Lost, Fringe, Flashforward and Revolution (most of which I’ve seen and loved, by the way) AND an indie developer who’s doing a Daggerfall-like game all by himself? You’re some kind of genius!
Ha! Ask my wife if I’m a genius, she’ll laugh. I’ve been a filmmaker all my life so getting into VFX was just a (long) process of teaching myself the skills and slowly building up the connections to get on good projects. After college I was lucky enough to meet an amazing VFX artist named Eric Chauvin. He taught me the bulk of what I know about matte painting and I got some of my first jobs doing overflow work for some of the shows he was working on.
Thankfully his supervisors liked what I was doing, so that led to more jobs. Along the way video games and game development have always been hobbies – most of my friends in college were more into gaming than movies and a lot of them went on to work at some pretty cool game studios. It wouldn’t have taken much to push me onto that career path. So a few years ago when I decided to start working on FRONTIERS alongside my day job it felt pretty natural.
Onto Frontiers. You said that exploration is the main focus of the game, but there’s a big question to be asked here – do you plan to reward it with actual powers, items, skills etc. or do you intend it to be a reward in itself? Because for some that would be enough, while others are always looking to get something out of their invested time, so they probably wouldn’t like to spend a lot of time exploring some land and getting nothing in return.
Rewards are essential. My first thought when I started working on it was the most obvious thought – remove *everything* not directly related to exploration. But I found that this resulted in the most boring game imaginable. There’s the urge to see what’s around the next bend, but that’s not enough on its own – over time I found that exploration has a lot more to do with choices than I originally thought – while walking in the woods I’d pay close attention to what interested me about one direction vs. another, and I found that I was always making calculations.
Can I get back before it’s dark? Will my boots hold up to that mud? That’s when I started introducing survival elements into the game, and the fun started to reappear. The trick is knowing when to stop, and knowing what kinds of choices facilitate exploration vs. stifling it. I think a lot of the choices developers made in the TES series stifled exploration.
Tuesday - June 25, 2013
Frontiers - Project Funded
I also have an new article from PCGAMER.
In keeping with its focus on discovery, Simkins wants Frontiers’ quests to constantly direct the player towards something new and exciting – rather than what he calls the “FedEx exploration” of picking up an item and couriering it somewhere else. “It’s hard to eliminate those entirely but I try very hard to link them to some interesting lore or to a unique village or something the player wouldn’t have a clear incentive to find on their own. I try to take the same approach to temples/ruins and give the player something to do once they get down there – a puzzle, or a unique item, or a cool machine.”
This also applies to the story. The game starts as your home is destroyed by an ‘Orb’ – the latest in a string of increasingly frequent attacks that continue as dynamic encounters throughout the game. If that wasn’t enough, your uncle – a famed explorer – has disappeared across the “Rift”, an impassable barrier to the South. Finding an answer to these mysteries is high on your to do list.
Unless it’s not. After creating your character, you’ll be given a history, profession and series of “expectations that are placed on you”. But as the player, you’ll be free to decide your own path. “The choices you make from that starting point will take you different places,” Simkins reveals. “You can choose to quit your profession, or simply ignore it altogether. The story and the game world will progress with or without your intervention.”
Beyond your initial choices, you’ll be able to progress your character down a number of skill trees. Pathfinding, for instance, improves path creation, and also gives you access to different modes of travel, including horseriding and hang gliders. “I love hang gliding,” Simkins enthuses. “I love walking up to a cliff, equipping the glider and leaping off, then drifting gracefully down to the rooftops of a city miles away.”
Survival ties into the need to replenish your hunger bar. “You can’t die of starvation,” Simkins says, “but it will keep your health low, and this makes it difficult to use skills and magic.” By investing in Survival skills, you’ll be better equipped to hunt, gather and identify the food you collect, as well as gain bonuses to health. “These types of skills sort of replace the stats you find in a typical RPG.”
Saturday - June 22, 2013
Frontiers - New Gameplay Video and Interview
What are paths? How do they work? What's our purpose in life? I answer 2/3 of these questions in this video.
Friday - June 21, 2013
Frontiers - Interview @ JaceHallShow
Lars Simkins the man behind the kickstarter Frontiers has been inteviewed by a site called JaceHallShow.
JHS: Is there some kind of quest system planned here? How does the story progression work in Frontiers?
LS: There’s a central story about war brewing between regions that you’re free to follow or ignore as you choose. There’s also a personal story involving your Uncle being lost in the Uncharted Lands, which you’re also free to ignore. The story progresses through a combination of quests and real time events which take place independently of your involvement. In general quests are as exploration-focused as everything else, whether they’re side quests or are tied to the main story.
JHS: Can you break down the gameplay in Frontiers for us? What does it mean to emphasize “exploration above all else”?
LS: The gameplay is very similar to other first person RPGs – you travel, gather information, go on quests, and so on. There are a few exceptions. First, it’s more relaxing because there isn’t the threat of death around every corner. Combat happens occasionally but it’s not a central mechanic. Second, there’s slightly more emphasis on the survival elements. You’ll be expected to find food somehow, whether it’s picking it or hunting it or stealing it. Staying fed is necessary for using skills – it sort of plays the role of manna.
Emphasizing exploration just means that when I put an obstacle in front of the player, I try to make sure it encourages exploration instead of making it more difficult. A lot of times in games you’ll hit a wall in the gameplay where exploration no longer becomes the solution – you’ll hit a closed gate, say, and you can’t explore until you’ve talked to a bunch of characters in the immediate area. In FRONTIERS, if there’s a gate you can’t get through, I make sure there’s a mountain pass and an underground cavern you *can* get through.
JHS: Can you tell us more about the game’s unique fast travel and the path creation ability?
LS: Path creation is the solution to a lot of problems in the game. If you’ve found a good place for trapping animals you can lay down a path to that area, making it easier to set and check traps. It takes less food to climb a mountain using a path than it does without one, so they’re useful for getting to places like the Highlands. You’ll often run across NPCs who need a clear path through a mountain pass or a wolf-infested forest and as a Pathfinder you have the ability to lay one down for them, or to repair / reroute an existing path. As you create paths the world becomes more and more connected and fast travel between regions becomes easier & easier.
Thursday - June 20, 2013
Frontiers - Interview @ Polygon
Game developer Lars Simkins of the kickstarter Frontiers was interviewed by Polygon.
Simkins says he feels almost "uncomfortable" calling the game an RPG, as its elements are heavily simplified. There are no classes in Frontiers, and players instead start as an apprentice in an organization known as the Pathfinders Guild. Experience is gained by exploring new regions and exploring paths. Frontiers does feature an RPG-based combat system, with players being able to upgrade weapons with magic skills or crafting. Other abilities are picked up from NPCs or books and range from magic attacks to hang gliding.
"The player's here to explore, not to grind."
"I make a point only to include mechanics if they don't discourage exploration," Simkins said. "If I find during testing that I'm being held back by some mechanic or other I alter it or remove it altogether. The player's here to explore, not to grind."
Natural threats will play as much of a role as animal threats, but players should still be wary of wildlife. Bears pose a pretty nasty threat, Simkins said, and the game's seas are plagued by Lovecraftian-inspired Leviathans. Humans pose a definite danger as well, but in a different kind of way.
"Human threats ... are resolved with dialogue, so you'll have to think your way through them," Simkins said.
Survival is the darker half of Frontiers — a force that pushes players to recognize their own mortality. It's a driving factor in real life, but a difficult one to convey in virtual territory.
"In real life, if I want to see over the next hill I have to decide if it's worth the effort of getting muddy or losing a shoe, and if it's worth adding that distance to my trip back," Simkins said. "Maybe it's getting dark, maybe I'm hungry — I have to take in and process a lot of information to make that choice, so I'm totally engaged. But if I could just teleport over there, all that brain activity would shut down. I might as well just stay home."
"Unless you're reckless it's pretty hard to die in the midst of civilization," Simkins added. "But head out into the wild and it's as simple as twisting your ankle at the wrong time. It puts things in perspective."
Wednesday - June 19, 2013
Frontiers - Audio Interview @ Futurilla
This week's Doom Ray is something a little different. In a two-part epic interview we talk with Lars Simkins, designer of the the incredible-looking Frontiers. An awe-inspiring open world exploration game lovingly created by one man. Lars has a background in VFX with credits that include The Hunger Games, Breaking Bad and the stunning Pushing Daisies. Now he has turned his considerable talents to games design and the results look nothing short of breath-taking. If you're as blown away by Frontiers as we are, check out the Frontiers Kickstarter and consider backing it. Thanks again to Lars for his time and for giving us a glimpse behind the development of this stunning game.
Tuesday - June 18, 2013
Frontiers - Explore, Discover & Survive
Today we have another kickstarter to showcase and we can all thanks Joxer for bringing it to my attention. FRONTIERS is a one man ambitious project that is described as a massive relaxing open world that emulates classic first person RPGs.
Video Update 1 - Structures FAQ
Hello, I'm Lars Simkins. I'm a VFX artist by trade and an indie game developer by passion. I'm here to make that first person exploration/survival game we've all been dreaming about.
I can still remember the first time I played Daggerfall. Yes, it was uglier than a monkey's armpit and controlled worse than a bumper car on a frozen lake.
But it also created the feeling of a world that lived on even after I'd stopped playing, and that feeling still sticks with me all these years later. A world where you could spend hours searching every pixelated nook and cranny. A world of potential. A world of EXPLORATION...
...and then a Dragonling would chomp my face because I hadn't spent ten hours grinding in the easy regions. Arg! So frustrating!
Other games have touched on that elusive feeling, especially Elder Scrolls and early Fallout games, but as fun as they are and as much as I love hardcore RPG mechanics, I've always dreamt of a game that emphasized exploration above all else.
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2014-01-31
· Publisher: Unknown