Tahira : Echoes of the Astral Empire - All News
Tuesday - May 10, 2016
Tahira - Drops Episodic Release Plan
In the most recent update, they've announced that they've decided NOT to release the game episodically. Tahira was initially publicized as a one episode game, as the team could not guarantee to potential backers that the funding received ($68,000 AUD) would cover a second episode or more. But the game has turned out to be longer than the 4-5 hours Whale Hammer Games promised (which is of course a good thing) and the team claims that "it would be a disservice to call [the game] an episode." Down the road, should the team choose to make a second episode or more, they want to draw out the development process and integrate improvement and feedback from the original release. That's why Tahira; Echoes of the Astral Empire will be released as a standalone title, no episodes or funky labels and whatnot.
With all that discussed, let's run through a list of all of the things that have changed or improved since the last update.
All of the artwork for the environments has now been completed. This is a very exciting milestone for us, as the world of Tahira has now been fully realized. Pete is now spending his time polishing cinematics, the UI, adding animations where we think they'd look nice and will soon start working on some promotional art for Steam and other places.
Combat is now system complete. Our stealth system, the ability to knock people off the edge of terrain, the AI and a huge number of other things are fully implemented. Now it's a matter of refining the rules that govern them and polishing the way you interface with them.
We now have a build running on Steam, which we're pushing updates to. It was quite a thrill to see Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire listed in our Steam Libraries. Tom will be looking at Cloud Saves and achievements in the coming weeks.
Save and Checkpoint System:
Tom is in the process of implementing this system fully. This will allow you to save mid-combat, a feature we really wanted to implement as it's a pet peeve of ours in some tactics games.
The game is content complete:
A big milestone for the whole team was when we got the game to the stage where the game is playable from the beginning to the end. There's a lot of polish and refinement still to be done, but it was a huge step for us!
Saturday - February 20, 2016
Tahira - Development Update
In the Tahira Kickstarter update #29 you can find news about music, combat, PR funding and physical rewards:
We hope 2016 has treated you well so far, it’s going to be a crazy big year for us and we’re excited to share it with you all.
2016 started with us having to change the focus of our development work. As we wrapped up 2015, we were revising combat and creating the remaining levels for the game, but with Max finishing up his work on the game at the end of January we had to switch over to finish the outstanding cut-scenes and triggering the story scenes that required specific musical cues.
Your physical rewards should have arrived by now. We're sending off a few today to people who only filled out their survey this month, but everyone else should have their physical goodies! As always, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any issues.
That's all from us this month, we'll be back next month with another update!
Friday - December 11, 2015
Tahira - Update, Preview and Interview
In an update a few weeks ago for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire, we were informed of the delay of the beta to January next year and the release date to a couple of months after that.
As I'm sure most of you are already aware, we've missed our estimated release date of October 2015 (2016 on the campaign page, because sometimes you can't catch all the typos) for the beta. We are working as hard as we can to get the game into beta so we can start working with you to find bugs and to start balancing the game. At this stage, our goal is to hit beta in January 2016. We think this is achievable and are spending six days a week working towards hitting this target.
Slipping on the beta release date obviously has repercussions for the game's release date as well. We were hoping to release it in January 2016, but now are looking to release it in the first half of 2016 at a point in time after the release of XCOM 2, which comes out in late February. Once we hit beta, we'll take as long as we feel the game needs before setting a release date.
The update also holds some information on the development status.
In the meantime Cliqist has played the game during PAX Australia.
My only real concern with Tahira is whether the developers will be able to add enough variety and tactical depth to make the game worth playing for longer. As a demo, it’s great but you can’t help noticing that the number and variety of special attacks is very limited. The developers are estimating 4-5 hours of gameplay for the first episode alone. Whether the game will continue to hold the attention that long and on into subsequent episodes is something we will have to wait until next year to find out. From what I’ve seen in the demo, I’m optimistic that this could be a bit of a surprise hit.
And there is also this video interview from PAX.
And if you like you can still play the PAX build.
Saturday - October 17, 2015
Tahira - Development Update
Kickstarter update #25: News about the development, music, rewards an PAX Aus:
Phew, has it been over a month already?
It’s been a long, busy, crazy month for us and it’s only going to get more so as we head into the end of October! We’re starting to get to the point where we can’t show you a lot of what we’ve been doing as we don’t want to spoil the game for you before you play it. That said, the screenshot below, is a little sneak peek of one of the scenes early in the game.
To get you in the mood for Tahira, we wanted to share a short track that Max has composed for us. He’s started working on the game and as you’ll be able to hear is creating some stunning music for all of us to enjoy.
It’s been a month spent predominantly on level development for us as we work on the levels from the second half of Episode One. We’re really happy to say that we’ve nailed down a very exciting new feature, called Ambush. A future update will go into more detail, but the basics are that you can hide your characters in certain parts of the combat environment and bring them out of hiding at the opportune moment to deal extra damage to your enemies. It was quite a complex feature to develop as it required adding the ability for the player to interrupt the AI turn at any point, but we think it’s added a huge amount of fun to the game.
We’ve also done a lot of work on the following:
- All the animations are now re-timed and reacting to each other at exactly the moment they should be.
- We’ve done another pass on the UI, giving the player a lot more of the information they need while actually making the interface less cluttered.
- Pete has also been drawing a ton of portraits for the characters you’ll meet as you play through Episode One. It’s really special to watch the character’s in the script come to life.
- We’ve been doing some work to secure grant funding to help us hire a PR company to assist in launching Tahira next year. This would be very helpful as it’ll let us focus on making the game as good as we can make it without also having to worry about marketing it.
- As usual a ton of bug fixes and minor improvements have also been added to the game.
This is the big one for us this month. We’ll be in Melbourne for International Games Week at the end of October. First we’ll be attending the Game Connect Asia Pacific Conference, which is the biggest Australian Game Development conference and then later that week we’ll be showcasing Tahira at PAX Aus. If you’re coming PAX we’d love to see you and show the latest build of Tahira. There’s still a few passes available for purchase.
Oh my, look at all the rewards we have! Once PAX is done, we’ll start to work on a timeline to send these out to all of you. [...]
Thursday - September 03, 2015
Tahira - Alpha Preview
Couch spotted this alpha Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire video preview:
Saturday - March 21, 2015
Tahira - Funded & Thank You Update
Whale Hammer Games squeaked over their funding goal yesterday, and made $68,755 of the games $68,000 goal. They also posted a new thank you update for backers.
Wow! We made it! What a crazy month this has been and it's just the start of what's going to be a wild adventure. We can't wait to bring Tahira to life for all of you to play!
After a full-on month we need a little bit of time to recuperate and revive ourselves. Once we've had that time we're looking forward to throwing ourselves head first back into development.
When we've got the back surveys sorted, we'll let you know and send them out and whenever we have big news we'll share it with you here. We're also planning a monthly update, to keep you up to date with the things we've been working on.
There are so may people to thank for helping us make this campaign a success and right at the top of that list are you, our backers! In the final count there are 1,283 of you amazing people. Once again, we'd like to say THANK YOU!
Thursday - March 19, 2015
Tahira - New Add-Ons & 28 Hours to Go
The Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire has twenty eight hours left to get funded, and the developer Whale Hammer Games is offering more add-ons to help fund the game.
Add-Ons and 44 Hours to Go!
Hey everyone! Guess what, we've raised $56,000! That's amazing, thank you! We're closing in on the goal. We've got 44 hours left to raise the last $12,000. With your help we can definitely do it.
Tweet about the campaign, share it on Facebook, post about Tahira on Tumblr or Pinterest. Everything helps! Together we'll get Tahira across the finish line!
We've decided to offer some digital add-ons. We wanted to add physical add-ons as well, but it just isn't possible without ripping you off, which is something we don't want to do. If you were hoping to get more than one of any of the physical items, let us know and we'll consider adding a new reward tier.
And yes I changed the news title to reflect the new amount if time.
Saturday - March 14, 2015
Tahira - New Updates & One Week Left
Well with all the new kickstarter games that have launched in the last two weeks I fell behind in posting updates for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire this month.
So to remedy that the game has a few more updates, and is entering the last week of its campaign. The game has only made $41,390 of the $68,000 goal.
How time flies! We've got one week left to go on the campaign. At this stage we're 60% of the way to the goal. That's seven days to raise $27,000. It's going to be close, but we still think there's a chance we can make it.
We're going to need your help to get across the line. Share the project with a friend on Steam or Facebook, or tweet at some people. It all helps!
Let us know if you know anywhere we should post the build or Kickstarter Project and please let us know if there is anything more you'd like to know about the game! Peter is working on an update that will talk about how the sci-fi elements in Tahira manifest in the story and setting.
We also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for backing us. $40,000 is a huge number and it means the world to us that we've got you with us. Let's get out there and bring this thing home!
So help spread the word my fellow watchers.
Wednesday - March 04, 2015
Tahira - 400 Backers & Media Round-Up
Whale Hammer Games next update has information that Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire now has 400 backers and links to a few new articles about the game.
There are 400 of you lovely people! Thank you all so much for getting on board and believing in Tahira. We've got a long way to go, but it means so much to us to have you along for the ride.
We have two new press articles to share with you. The first is an interview we did with Only Single Player and the second is an article on Kill Screen Daily.
Tuesday - March 03, 2015
Tahira - Animating Our Characters Update
Whale Hammer Games latest kickstarter update this week shows how the developer animated the characters for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire.
Hi everyone! We're sleep deprived and struggling to be coherent so rather than write something utterly mad we thought we'd share some videos with you today. When we were just starting out as a company in 2013 we spent some time developing our animation process. Stoic, the lovely team behind The Banner Saga shared some detail about their process and it really helped us develop ours. Here are some of those tests.
Sunday - March 01, 2015
Tahira - Kickstarter Update #7
Whale Hammer Games released a quick update for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire.
$19,000? Pffft too easy.
We smashed the $19,000 mark in less than a day and now we're heading towards the twenties! Welcome to our new backers and thank you for jumping on board! Let's keep rolling forwards.
We're putting the finishing touches on an alpha version of a combat level that we're going to send to press and Youtubers next week.
Local Canberra backers
We're partnering with Reload Bar & Games to put on an awesome night of games and fun at 8pm on Thursday the 5th of March. Come along and play the aforementioned combat level from Tahira, we'll be on hand to chat and answer any questions you have. Reload are giving away bar tabs to lucky randomly selected donors to the Tahira Kickstarter campaign on the night!
We look forward to having a drink with you!
To our backers from around the world, we'll be raising a glass to you on the night. Thank you all! Have an excellent weekend everyone!
Thursday - February 26, 2015
Tahira - Kickstarter Updates #5 & #6
Whale Hammer Games released two more updates this week for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire. The fifth update talks about a character called the claw.
One half of a renowned mercenary duo, the only thing The Claw is more famous for than his ego is his skill with the blade. Born in the Republic of Oran, The Claw joined the Oranian army at a young age. His star was rising quickly before the betrayal of Queen Delphine of Babylon during the Oranian Wars lead to his nation’s destruction. Now homeless, he wanders the lands with his partner The Hammer, fighting for the side that will pay them best.
The sixth update has news the game is Greenlit , and has 300 backers.
Just a quick update today. We've been Greenlit, so we're coming to Steam! It only took a week. Thank you to everyone who voted for us!
We've also crossed the 300 backer threshold. There's 310 of you lovely people to be exact. We're just a little off $19,000. Let's see if we can push past that barrier by the end of today!
Tuesday - February 24, 2015
Tahira - Kickstarter Updates #3 & #4
Whale Hammer Games released two more updates this week for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire. The first update talks the games setting, and how it was created.
The world of Tahira has a lot of influences from the real world and from fiction. I’m sure you’ve already noticed plenty while reading through the page. I'm going to write a few updates exploring those influences. Today in Part One the focus will be the inspiration for the history of Tahira's world and in Part Two I'll talk more about the characters.
The second update is about our interview, and talks about a new combat video.
A big welcome to our new backers, it's great to have you on board. Today's update is a recap of what's been going on and will be happening over the next week.
Steam Greenlight is going strong! We're 94% of the way to the top 100 with 2,000 yes votes. That's in six days! 57% of the people who've voted for our game have votes yes, to put that in perspective, the average yes vote percentage in the top 50 is 37%. People like what they see!
We had a really strong start to the campaign but things have slowed down a bit. We know we need more press coverage and we're working on it! We have a combat level in the works, which is only a few days away. In the mean time, please keep sharing the campaign around to anyone who likes games.
Tonight we're taking an early version of the combat level to the Canberra Game Dev Meet Up, we should have some video of that to show you tomorrow!
As of now the game has made $18,234 of the $68,000 goal.
Monday - February 23, 2015
RPGWatch - Tahira Interview
Couchpotato: Welcome to RPGWatch can you introduce yourself?
Peter Castle: Hello! My name’s Peter Castle, I’m the writer and producer at Whale Hammer Games. We’re a three person indie developer working on our first game, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire. I tend to introduce myself to people as a writer, but I’ve studied 3D animation and visual effects as well. I’ve been an avid gamer since I was a wee lad. I grew up playing PC games and Gameboy games, particularly RTS, RPG and turn-based tactics games. I also spent an altogether embarrassing amount of time reading fantasy and sci-fi novels. Some favourites of mine include Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series, Raymond E Feist’s Serpent War Saga and Paul Kearney’s The Monarchies of God. When I’m not working on a project I love to travel.
Saturday - February 21, 2015
Tahira - Kickstarter Updates #1 & #2
Whale Hammer Games released two more updates this week for Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire. The first update answers a few question asked by backers.
We've had lots of lovely comments and some questions too!
How long is Episode One going to be?
We're shooting for 4-5 hours for Episode One. We're not adding any filler, it'll just be you playing through the best story we can write, fighting battles in unique scenarios and having lots of conversations with your traveling companions. Inspired by Telltale Games' episodic games, we're making Episode One as dense as we can without adding fluff for the sake of padding it out.
Why can't I pledge for the first Season?
It's really important to us that we can deliver on everything we promise you! That's why we're asking for exactly what we need to get Episode One out the door. We can't wait to make Episode Two, but we don't want to promise it to you before we have the money to make it! If we hit our goal for Episode One, we'll definitely think about adding a stretch goal to add Episode Two as a pledge tier for our backers.
The second update shares some new forum avatars.
Here we are at the end of day two. It's been another big day for us. We're sitting just $285 shy of 25% of the goal!
It's a great start but we need to keep building momentum. We need your help, please keep tweeting, sharing links, videos and all that good stuff. To help, our artist Peter S whipped up some Backer Avatars for you to use. Upload them to Facebook, Kickstarter, where ever you spend time!
There's lots more in two different sizes if you follow this link: Backer Avatars!
Wednesday - February 18, 2015
Tahira - Kickstarter Launched & Greenlight
When she left, Tahira intended never to return to Avestan. In her mind, she had absolved herself of her father, her title, and any responsibility to the people of the kingdom. However, she never expected to receive a desperate message from her father. A message warning of a vast army using ancient technology to sweep across the land, and crush those in their way. A message begging her to return home.
Now, her father is dead, Avestan lies in ruin, and it falls to Tahira to lead what remains of her people away from this devastation, to find a new home.
A story-driven RPG with a modern take on turn-based tactics gameplay
Tahira is first and foremost a game that tells a story. The combat gameplay is balanced with equally important narrative scenes, in which you'll have the opportunity to engage with the people following Tahira.
The combat itself doesn't rely on the classic 'we all move, then you all move' formula of turn-based tactics games. Instead, unit turn order is determined based on each unit's speed. The player can then further manipulate turn order by jumping one of their units to the front of the turn queue - for a cost.
Tahira has been covered previously in Kotaku and Rock Paper Shotgun.
• A character-driven story featuring a bitter, drunk merchant and a swaggering mercenary power-couple.
• Rotoscoped character animations, creating a realistic, hand-drawn appearance.
• Hand-painted environments showcasing the bittersweet beauty of a dying world.
• A modern twist on classic turn-based tactics incorporating unit fatigue and a dynamic turn queue.
• Scenarios ranging from scrappy fights between a couple of soldiers to epic sieges where the player must manage multiple fronts.
• Persistent upgrades, allowing you to adapt your forces to suit your style.
• An atmospheric soundtrack composed by Max LL that incorporates the sounds and textures of Central Asia and the Middle East.
Thursday - December 18, 2014
Tahira - New Teaser Trailer
During my month off I received news from developer Whale Hammer Games about a new trailer for their turn-based tactics RPG game Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire.
Introducing Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire, an episodic turn-based tactics role-playing game set on a world that has fallen into a medieval dark age after the collapse of space faring civilisation.
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
Genre: Tactical RPG
Play-time: Up to 10 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Whale Hammer