The Meridian Shard - All News
Sunday - March 01, 2015
The Meridian Shard - Full Steam Ahead
Ultimate Fantasy Studio's next update for The Meridian Shard has information on what the developer is currently working on. Hint: the game is getting close to being finished.
Hey gang! How are you guys and gals? I've been working hard to get things wrapped up for you as soon as possible. I still have months of work ahead, but I am putting 7 days/week into it, so with every day that goes by on your calendar, The Meridian Shard is getting that much closer to being finished.
Here are some of the things that I have done since the last update, without any major spoilers:
- New and improved widescreen battle system UI with character bust displays when selecting commands.
- New spoils-of-war system that changes the reward outcome and item drop count after each battle depending on your overall performance and awarded score. The ratings range from 1 - 6 and add a great new way to increase item recovery and fortune!
- New and improved menu system UI border graphic for all menu windows.
- New and improved native widescreen game resolution (16:9) 1024 x 576, with full screen stretching option for large monitors (was previously 4:3 with no widescreen fitting).
- New custom vanishing key system programmed and tested for the dungeons, which will make access to locked gates and rooms a little more challenging and thought-provoking.
- New mini HUD for the vanishing key system that displays them on-screen in a separate window, and has been programmed to track them as a separate inventory item from the main menu items.
- World Map travel system programming finally completed, tested and working 100%! All that's left to do on the world map are the remaining entry locations for some side-quests.
Thursday - February 26, 2015
The Meridian Shard - Interview @ RPGFrance
RPGFrance published a new interview with the developer of The Meridian Shard.
Q: What do you think of music in RPGs and games in general? Does it have to be emphatic or rather aim alienation (distance)? Are there game musics that left their mark on you?
Music and sound in general, is a key a part of setting atmosphere. It all depends on what you’re trying to get across to the player at that time, or on that level. Sometimes absolute silence works best. I have developed a few parts of The Meridian Shard where the only sound is of the wind and distant birds singing.
I would say to use music sparingly, as this gives it a more powerful delivery.
I’ve usually always enjoyed just about anything from Arnold Nesis, who scored games like Path of Exile and Our Darker Purpose.
Q: What are your favorite (Western and Japanese) RPGs?
The first RPG-like game I ever played was Dragon Warrior for NES. From there, I really enjoyed Final Fantasy 9, Baldur’s Gate and Dink Smallwood.
Q: Do you feel a difference in the European, US and Canadian publics'tastes?
I can see that the online media for games in general does change slightly depending on region, but I believe that with the progress of Steam’s growing international community, and the ability to digitally deliver virtually anything,
that gamers from all over the world will soon have shared tastes in just about everything. There is no doubt however that the eastern European market is ravenous for dark fantasy RPGs. I think it is largely influenced by what you’re exposed to at a young age. Each country has had their introductory game titles over the years, but soon, it will all be at our fingertips at the same time.
Thank you Toupilitou for sending the link.
Monday - January 19, 2015
The Meridian Shard - Demo & Steam Greenlight
Since the last update for The Meridian Shard last year the game now has a Steam Grennlight page that needs votes, and also has a new demo for anyone to try.
I hope you've all had a decent start to the new year and are snug in your beds sleeping if we share the same timezone...
Okay. So, first I want to thank you all for being patient and not sending me hate-mail, or pictures of roadkill with notes beside them reading: FINISH The Shard.
I really am working daily, and around the clock most of those days to get this finished. I will say that we are within five-ish months at this point. After adding the new retro battle system with animated enemies, and creating nearly all of the graphic resources from scratch, I was about 16 - 24 weeks behind my initial goal, and have been staying up late every night to try and catch-up. One of the many things I have learned this past year is that the next game I develop will have no completion date announced until it's really almost done. Although much of the programming was already done when I launched on kickstarter, there are just way too many parts and pieces involved to be accurate. Things always come up, and then there's the sheer mental strain of it all. My hardest challenge right now is getting enough sleep. I have to learn to be more efficient at pulling away and going to bed sometimes!
Anyway, the point is, you are all now getting a much better game than you would have when you originally backed the project. I keep telling you that, but it is true. When I look at the original project files... so much has been improved. It's playing great now and looking better than ever. Besides, no one on this planet, I'm sure, wants to see this finished more than the person creating it.
Blah, blah, blah... here are the demo links:
(For anyone who is unsure, just download the 'Installer' link. It will do all the work for you.)
Yes, I finally have a short (15 minute) demo available that does not spoil the main plot!
Sunday - July 27, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Demo Coming Soon
Ultimate Fantasy Studio latest kickstarter update for The Meridian Shard has information about a new demo version of the game that will be released in August.
Early test game coming soon!
This is just a quick message to you all to say that I am working my butt off and am putting together a new update for the end of August. I am attending the InCON games convention in Courtenay, BC on August 9th and I will be doing a live presentation of The Meridian Shard that day. So, after that I will include the event and a playable demo in the August update!
This means that all of you will have a 15-30 minute sneak-play of the game soon, and I will post a downloadable easy-installer for you on kickstarter. So far, you will be able to test-play a few closed areas, battles and navigate the new menus with lots of items, weapons, spells and all that good stuff!
I expect to have the update ready for you by Saturday, August 30th (give or take a week). I still have months and months of solid work to do, but progress has been fantastic so far.
Tuesday - June 03, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Post Funding Update #19
In this 19th update for The Meridian Shard a development update about stats, new art icons, a second fundraiser for creating more art, testing, rewards and armor upgrades is provided.
One of the art aspects that I highly value in adventure/role-playing games are the inventory icons. They can take weeks/months to produce since rpg's tend to have ALOT of items when you factor in the weapons, potions, keys, treasures etc. Well, this is something that I would now like to add to The Meridian Shard. As it stands now, I only have time and $ to make the icons for all of the skills/spells/status effects. To make custom icons for every single item in the game inventory would take an insane amount of design, rendering and implementation into a huge new icon sheet, but I would like to add this work to my summer schedule and then offer a commercial icon set after the game is published so that other indie developers can use and modify them for their own projects. The set would be sold on the Unity3D asset store, steam and from my own website.
So, if any of you backers would like to contribute to adding more art icons to The Meridian Shard, I have started a small KS for exactly that. It will hopefully allow me to push back some necessary paid work this summer so that I can dedicate the 4 - 6 weeks of required time to complete the set.
The Kickstarter can be found here and it has already met its goal of $1000, but you can still throw money at it for the stretch goals.
Wednesday - April 23, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Post-Funding Update #18
Ultimate Fantasy has a new update for their funded RPG The Meridian Shard that shares information on the games development from the end of the kickstarter to now.
Happy Easter and Happy Sunday to all of you! I hope you got a glimpse of the Easter Bunny last night. Better the devil you know...
I have been hard at work, adding some new features and focusing heavily on the style and presentation of The Meridian Shard. Some of the things I've wanted to update were the cover, the menu screens, and the main title screen. When I started this campaign, there was no title screen for the game and there were no custom menus beyond a blank background with some text. Now, text is fine, but I wanted to give it my own artistic touch and create something out of the hundreds of images I have stockpiled over the years.
Wednesday - March 26, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Post-Funding Update #17
Ultimate Fantasy Studio has posted the next post-funding update for The Meridian Shard were thet talk about raising the bar. Visit the link for more images, and text.
Raising the bar
Hello backers! I hope that you are all finding what you need most this week. For me, it will be a good night's sleep. As I explained in the last update, I'm focused on building the entire game environment before venturing further into the more acute design process that involves all of the little details such as icons for items, skills, weapons and armor etc. However, after going through some of my old artwork last week, I decided to take some of my early concepts and rework them into large icons for The Meridian Shard. Some of these were just creepy designs that I had toyed with while designing a book cover a couple of years ago. Anyway, I used some of my current models, assets, and a combination of styles to create little pictures for the many different spells and skills in the game. I only have 15 samples done so far, but they are coming along nicely and really put the old icons I made to shame.
Friday - March 14, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Progress Update
Ultimate Fantasy Studio has posted a new progress update for their successfully funded RPG The Meridian Shard. The game received $7,597 of its $6,500 goal.
I have been hard at work on The Meridian Shard and keeping a schedule to stay on track. It does take a lot out of you to stare at a computer screen for 10 - 16 hrs a day, but with a good rest each night and plenty of fruits and veggies, the mind can function well enough as needed. I am focusing solely on the actual game world geography and levels for the next few months, and then I'll move on to sprites, icons, items, character models etc. After that, the focus will shift to the voice-acting, soundfx and music portions of the game. Don't get me wrong here, I firmly believe that the music and sound in any project is an integral part of the grand scheme, but without completed levels to apply them to, you can end up re-doing, or repeating steps that cost time unnecessarily.
In the early promo video that you all watched for kickstarter, you can see that the dungeon area in the intro, where Harry flips a switch and the magic gate with the spirit residing inside of it lights up to show that he can open it and pass through it, is mostly made up of 2D tiles and brick textures. This is fine and all well and good, but since the outdoor areas of the game are made up of more isometric and pseudo-3D terrains, I wanted to create a better cohesive look across the game itself. So, what I've been doing lately is literally sculpting out each and every room and corridor using a 3D block so that the walls and passageways will appear with a little more depth than the flat tiles I was using originally.
Wednesday - February 19, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Available for Pre-Order
Ultimate Fantasy Studio announces you can still pre-order The Meridian Shard.
You can still pre-order The Meridian Shard!
For anyone who missed the kickstarter but would like to support the development of the game, please click the link and secure a digital copy at a special price!
Monday - February 17, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Stretch Goals & Funded
Ultimate Fantasy Studio's RPG The Meridian Shard has been funded, and mangaed to get three out of the four stretch goals. Here are the details.
REWARD UPDATE Feb. 14th:
All existing backers who have selected any of the $29+ reward tiers will receive the official Meridian Shard soundtrack (digital version only) as a bonus! That means that if you pledge, or have already pledged $29 or more, you will receive the digital soundtrack along with the reward(s) you already have coming. I cannot add them directly to the reward listings, as I cannot change the description of rewards once a backer has selected them, so I'm posting it here. Thank you Alex for the suggestion!
STRETCH GOAL UPDATE # 1: 1st Stretch goal reached!
YES! We have reached our first stretch goal and will now feature a fully voice-acted intro to the game! This will be a fantastic addition to the project and I give you my word, no annoying/childish voices and no stale script readings. I want passion people! Real anger, real fear and real tears.
STRETCH GOAL UPDATE # 2: 2nd Stretch goal reached!
WOW! We have blown right past the second goal and will now be featuring an additional completely new 3 classes and characters in The Meridian Shard! This is really going to make an interesting twist in the cast of characters we already have!
STRETCH GOAL UPDATE # 3: 3rd Stretch goal reached!
Just when I thought I couldn't get any more excited about this game, some new backers show-up and some existing backers up their pledges to bring us cruising past the 3rd stretch goal! Now I'll be putting many extra hours of labor and love into a whole new region with the following 3 areas that I have been designing on paper just in case we got this far:
The Sorrow Wood - A magnificent, haunted forest thriving with life and death; populated by many strange creatures.
Time's Pass - A secluded, dry valley that separates the north end of the Void Canyon from the northern edge of The Sorrow Wood. Strange reclusives live here and make their homes in the elaborate sandstone caves along the valley walls.
The Upland Barrens - A rocky, eroded wasteland on the eastern slopes of The Hydra Ranges often scoured by high winds and the ever-blowing grit and sand. Many ancient stone burial mounds are scattered across this rugged plain that stretches for a mile and a half above the foothills.
Saturday - February 01, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Interview @ Thumb Destruction
The Meridian Shard is obviously inspired by some classic games that you’ve stumbled across in your life. Are there any in particular that helped drive the creation of this RPG?
Absolutely. I think it’s impossible to create anything ‘new,’ as we will always be influenced by some past experience(s). For me it all began with the early Ultima series on C64 and then the lighter, but charmingly addictive grinder, Dragon Quest (Dragon Warrior in the West) on NES.
Sometimes RPG’s of this sort can be a bit intimidating and the unfamiliarity with the style can make games difficult to play. Is The Meridian Shard easy to approach?
In every way possible, yes. I am very pleased to be making an RPG that is player-friendly, meaning that it has been streamlined and simplified to maximize the player’s time actually experiencing the story and characters as opposed to reading through a guide and investing time instead into trying to figure out where they are on a map, or what button combinations they have to master. This in no way means that my game is ‘easy.’ It just means that the level of difficulty is based rather on your choices throughout your journey, instead of how good you are at understanding maps, or how many/how big the enemies are. This is why a lot of the experience points you’ll earn in The Meridian Shard will come from interacting with other characters, and not just from winning confrontations.
Thursday - January 16, 2014
Meridian Shard - Update# 6, Strong & Growing
Ultimate Fantasy Studio has a new update for The Meridian Shard.
Known bugs and fixes
I am very happy to report that roughly 99% of all bugs I encountered over the past 14 months in development have been squashed already. In fact, this was the biggest part of my focus once I had a basic setting built to set the story and characters into. The only hangers-ons are a slight lag when executing 2 different spells back-to-back, and a series of lighting discrepancies when using a light source in the dark areas, ie caves and dungeons. The good news is that I'm in the process of dealing with both issues through a long and tedious process of elimination, as well as communicating with some fellow developers to get a more rounded approach to fixing these bugs. They are in no way deal-breakers for me personally, but since I'll be releasing this as a commercial game, it has to at least not lag on most computers with up-to-date graphics and sound cards, and not drive the player crazy because their light went out in the middle of a cavern and they are just staring at a black screen while listening to footsteps and low growls approaching. Hmm, maybe that's in-part not such a bad idea : ).
There will be a forum hosted from my website www.ultimatefantasystudio.com starting soon, perhaps even this weekend. I just have to set the time aside to set it up properly. For now, you can create an account, but that's about it. I will post an update specifically for the forum 'ready' status when it's good to go. This will help to further build a lasting community not only around my work, but around many other independent games, books and music projects, as I will be configuring a space for indie artists and programmers to meet-up and discuss anything at all, and also promote their on-going endeavors as well.
Sunday - January 12, 2014
Meridian Shard - Update# 3, Sights & Sounds
Ultimate Fantasy Studio has a new update for The Meridian Shard with a look at the games digital sights, and audio.
Digital Sights & Sounds oh my!
TGIF! Hello friends. Today has been really good on my end, and I hope you are all experiencing the same, similar or better on yours. With this latest update I wanted to cover some of the basics of the visual design part of the game's development without boring you to tears, so I've included some pics for reference and kept it as brief and to the point as possible. The music and soundfx are a whole other aspect that deserves its own forum, but I have uploaded some samples of music tracks I've put together for the game. I work equally in the graphic development areas, as I do in the music and soundfx. Please enjoy this update and message me all you like! I always respond the same day and know how important it is to stay connected with those who are investing in this project (and me) : ).
Endless possibilities when utilizing digital photos for 3D model textures
For the past week, I have been trying to organize the files of digital photos that my wife and I have taken from around the property and farm beside our house. I like to mix and match wood, stone and ground textures from digital photographs to use as a wrapper for various parts of 3D models I work with. I first shrink the digital images using an editing program (CS5), and then cut-out the textures I want to use and adjust/distort the angle of them to be applied to model objects for roofs, walls, floors, and also furnishings and interior/exterior objects. Virtually any surface can be 'painted' with the help of realistic textures from photos taken in good lighting. I have also purchased many other textures over the past 2 years from several other digital artists, which has greatly improved my visual resource library. Here are some examples of model textures found in The Meridian Shard that were made in programs like TurboCAD and Bryce 3D and then wrapped with textures from various digital photos.
Monday - January 06, 2014
The Meridian Shard - Kickstarter Updates 1&2
Ultimate Fantasy Studio has two new updates for The Meridian Shard.
Update #1 -"To all you wonderful backers!"
This is just a quick note to you all before I lay my head down for some much needed rest. By midnight tomorrow (my time - Pacific Vancouver), I will post an update that acknowledges each of you by name, and I'll add a few shots from some of the scenes I've been working on yesterday and today. If you would not like your name/profile mentioned in my update, please message me by tomorrow evening so you can remain anonymous.
Update #2 - "Thank you everyone!"
Thank you to everyone who has supported this project in various ways. The following list is a special 'thank you' to the initial wave of financial backers who arrived in the first 72 hrs, and lifted this campaign off of the ground, pushing the little green bar across the bottom of the progress widget to hit the 10% mark!
I have been very fortunate tonight to put down some of the wearisome work of rendering countless sprite images, and go back into the game and just play a little. I had to do this to grab some screen shots of a few areas I'm currently working on. You'll notice in some scenes the various options, or 'choose-your-own-adventure style' which I will integrate into nearly all events and situations throughout the game. Each choice yields a different result, and therefore allows for a little replayability and adds more intrigue to the journey.
Information aboutThe Meridian Shard
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Unknown