Tahira : Echoes of the Astral Empire - All News
Tuesday - April 29, 2014
Tahira - Interview @ Final Round Gaming
Final Round Gaming has a new interview for Tahira: Echoes of an Astral Empire that asked various questions with the whole development team at Whale Hammer Games.
Is there a reason behind the 2D approach, what made you choose it over 3D?
Peter Caste: Once we got Pete (Simpson) on board, it was a no brainer; he is a very accomplished 2D artist. With 3D there is a lot of messing around before you get close to the result you’re looking for and it can be a real struggle to get a specific result when you factor in texturing, lighting and effects. When you work in 2D it is much easier to get the exact look you were aiming for. I think there is something very special about 2D art and animation, it feels more personal to me than 3D and makes the feeling of journeying through the world a more personal experience.Peter Simpson (Lead Artist): I’ve been drawing for a very long time, whereas my experience with 3D is only very recent. If you’re an experienced 3D artist you will be able to get the result you want because you’ve got all those years of knowledge and experience to draw from. With the 2D approach, having done it for years, I know what I’m heading towards from the beginning. Without the skills and experience in 3D – even if you feel you are getting there – you might model something and then texture it, but until it’s in the game engine and has been properly lit you don’t really know how it’s going to look. There are so many steps where you can make mistakes and you won’t know you’ve made them until you get to the final product, which adds a lot of doubt to process.
What influenced you guys into creating a turn-based tactical RPG?
Peter Castle: Tom and I grew up playing games like Fire Emblem, Advanced Wars, Golden Sun etc. We always really wanted to make a game like that. What always caught my imagination in those games was how they depicted the idea of a grand adventure or quest. Their structure works really well for presenting story and game play together because it is normally something like this: you battle, then some narrative, then another battle, and so on. It works really well because you’re not relegated to watching the action orientated parts of the game, you actually get to play almost all of those.
On the flip side, you have the more narrative heavy sections, which break up the battles and give them context. With Tahira we want to see how far we can push those parts, you can walk around a lot of the levels and have conversations with the characters you’re travelling with. Over the course of the game you will get to know them and some of their history. We’re putting a lot of work into fleshing them out.
A lot of the games I mentioned that were on the Gameboy had different character sprites to their portraits and matching the two required a bit of a mental leap. That is one of the reasons we decided to go for the detailed illustrated style of character animations. Our hope is that when you’re playing the game there won’t be a disconnect when you switch from the character sprites to their facial portraits during conversations. It should feel like a more cohesive experience.
Thursday - March 13, 2014
Tahira - Peter Castle Interview
Peter Castle the Co-founder of Whale Hammer Games, and developer of Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire was interviewed by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.
Would you be able to let us know more about your upcoming game?
One of the graduates from my screen class, a friend who studied at the ANU and I started our own independent game studio called Whale Hammer Games. We’re currently working on our first game called Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire.
The elevator pitch would be – It’s a turn-based tactics game for the PC, in which you play as Princess Tahira leading her people across a dying planet.
As you traverse the world, you’re being chased by the enemy who destroyed your kingdom and who seem hell bent on reclaiming the lost technologies of the past.
The world you’re travelling across is set after the fall of an advanced human civilization, so your technology at the time of playing is more in line with medieval weaponry. As you play you’ll find relics of the advanced civilisation all over the place, crashed battleships in the sand, abandoned cities and other things, I want to keep under wraps for now. It’s been a really interesting challenge to bring that world to life in the art and the writing.
The game draws a lot of gameplay inspiration from games like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, X-COM and other turn-based tactics games we played when we were kids. One of the things I always thought could be improved was the story and setting. We want people to be emotionally invested in the characters in Tahira and that will hopefully mean they care even more about winning the battles.
When will people be able to get their hands on Tahira?
Internally we’re playtesting at the moment. We are aiming to have the first playable demo available late this year or early 2015.
We have a very big story that draws a lot of inspiration from movies like Nausica of The Valley of the Wind and a lot of science fiction and fantasy novels I read when I was younger. To do justice to the world and the characters we decided to split the game into smaller parts. We’re hesitant to call it episodic at this point because until all the parts are in and fleshed out we’re not sure how long each game will be. At this stage we’re thinking around 10 hours for each game, with the emphasis being placed on the combat, setting and characters.
It’s been really great to scope the game into these smaller pieces. For example, I’m the one writing the game and it has allowed me to write a very distinct character arc for Tahira (our main character) for part one. When you finish part one you won’t have resolved the whole plot, but you will have experienced a complete narrative arc for Tahira and that’s really exciting to me. It would be much more challenging to have written the game that way if it was just me trying to write this epic 30 hour RPG.
Tuesday - March 11, 2014
Tahira - The Claw Animation Showcase
Whale Hammer Games has posted another video update for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire that gives us a look at some ingame animation.
We hit a milestone recently when we finished animating our first character for Tahira. The Claw animations consist of 480 drawn key frames, which took our dedicated artist Peter Simpson a month to do. I’ll be detailing the process in another update at some point in the future, but for now enjoy some rotoscoped 2D animation.
Thursday - January 16, 2014
Tahira - Death Animation Breakdown
Whale Hammer Games has posted another video update for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire that gives us a glimpse at the games death animations.
Welcome to 2014 everyone! We’re back in the office and working hard. To start the year off we’ve got a new animation for you. Watch Peter C hamming it up for one the Claw’s death animations.
Monday - January 13, 2014
Tahira - Animation Timelapse Video
Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire has a new animation timelapse video.
Our Lead Artist Peter Simpson draws our final animation test. This was the final part of our testing process as we developed our animation pipeline. Taking what we learnt from this test we moved into production on our first set of character animations, which we're wrapping up now.
Thursday - December 05, 2013
Tahira - A Tactical Turn-Based RPG
Tahira:Echoes of the Astral Empire is a new tactical turn-based RPG from a new developer called Whale Hammer Games. Not much is known about the game yet, but the site has a blog with more infomation.
Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire is a turn-based tactics game for the PC, which places you in the role of Princess Tahira leading her people across a dying planet in search of a new home.
Lead Your People
Play as Tahira, the Princess of Avestan. Encounter and deal with a diverse cast of characters whose goals and motivations conflict with yours as you flee the enemy who destroyed your home.
Strategic Turn-Based Combat
Fight alongside legends as you traverse a hostile world, realised in hand painted landscapes. Battles are painstakingly animated and have realistic combat rules that reward good tactics and let you play the way you want.
Echoes of the Astral Empire
Explore a dying world, ravaged by the excesses of humanity’s past and learn about a time when man walked among the stars with impunity.
Information aboutTahira : Echoes of the Astral Empire
Developer: Whale Hammer
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Whale Hammer