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IGF Submission Complete

Hello everyone. Over the past months we have enjoyed a tremendous amount of progress toward completing the game. Several key milestones have marked some very satisfying leaps forward. Getting a build ready for the 2013 PAX Prime allowed us to showcase the first section of the game. If you haven’t seen it already, you can check it out in Alex Thomas’ “Let’s Play” video series.

To prepare for submitting a build to the IGF we focused on the first third of the game, taking the player past Skogr and all the way to Einartoft. The story returns to Vedrfell in the north and follows the varl caravan through Ridgehorn. To fully test and polish the game, we contracted with Sculpin QA, a Quality Assurance studio based in Nova Scotia. They were able to provide an immense amount of help finding bugs and identifying areas in need of polish. It ended up saving us a lot of time, and making the final result much better.

We finished our IGF submission build a week early, and proceeded directly toward content completion. We are on the cusp of being fully content and feature complete. Content complete means the entire story and all its variations is playable with final dialog and pacing from beginning to end. Feature complete means all major gameplay elements, player classes, AI classes, and user interfaces are in the game. Austin Wintory will be visiting the studio for several days next week to work with us to finalize the implementation of the music into the game.

We’ll be releasing more information about the game soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime take a look at The Banner Saga on the IGF page.

By |October 21st, 2013|News|Comments Off on IGF Submission Complete|

The Last Part of The Banner Saga Let’s Play!

Greetings backers, we have for you the final installment of The Banner Saga demo. In this one we throw a fight to show off a feature we haven’t talked about much…

This playthrough represents a small fraction of the full game (it didn’t even include travel!). Hopefully it gave you a good idea of the kind of decisions and gameplay you’ll see at major locations along the way and just how varied your story can be.

Next time we’ll be back to more in-depth content updates as usual. Hope you’ve enjoyed the demo and see you next time!

—Alex

By |September 18th, 2013|News, Preview|Comments Off on The Last Part of The Banner Saga Let’s Play!|

Let’s Play: The Banner Saga Part 4!

Ready to see the result of your decisions? Thanks for your patience! We’re still working on getting the website back on its feet, but we’re going to keep the demo going. After this I expect there will be one more video.

A quick report: we’re making ridiculous progress on the game. All the major cities in the game are done. We’ve got items up and working (many of which are submissions from backers), and we’re starting to get final music in as well. Austin will be doing a music update in the near future. At this point the majority of what we’re doing is adding the remaining content. Then it’s on to polish.

We worked over the weekend to get a build done for Fantastic Arcade here in Austin. Drop by if you’re in town and try the demo yourself! Regretfully, we (again) won’t be able to personally attend, since we’re heads down on production from now until the game comes out.

Something of note— based on feedback we got on conversation, we’ve already made changes to the game that we think help significantly. Check it out in the video!

By |September 11th, 2013|Preview|Comments Off on Let’s Play: The Banner Saga Part 4!|

Let’s Play: The Banner Saga Part 3!

A short but important decision to make:

Plus some commentary! Not to worry, the next update should be a little meatier.

Also, want a much bigger and in-depth preview of The Banner Saga? Rock Paper Shotgun just posted a HUGE article about the 4 hours he played of the single player campaign.

Check it out here!

By |September 5th, 2013|News, Preview|Comments Off on Let’s Play: The Banner Saga Part 3!|

Let’s Play: The Banner Saga Part 2!

Ladies and Gents,

We’ve gotten many, many people who would prefer to get lots of updates, so majority rule, here. To those of you who do not want to see new emails from us every day or two, I’ve been told you can filter that through Kickstarter.

Remember to vote! And please, any thoughts, comments, suggestions that come up- just talk to us like normal people. Be polite. Stuff like that.

Hope you enjoy!

—Alex

By |September 3rd, 2013|Preview|Comments Off on Let’s Play: The Banner Saga Part 2!|

Let’s Play: The Banner Saga

Hello backers! After a brief delay the first part of the PAX playthrough is ready to go! Keep in mind, this is all in-game and we’re still in beta so some effects, polish and optimizations are still in development. That said, we’re getting damn close!

At the end of the video we’ll need to make a choice. What would you do? Vote in the comments and we’ll continue on next time with the most popular decision, a day or two from now. As always, watching in HD is highly recommended…

A couple people asked that we not flood their inbox with a dozen updates over the next week. We’ll be hosting the whole playthrough on the Stoic forums. You don’t even need an account to watch. Feel free to comment on the first part here, and check in on the Let’s Play thread to see what happens next.

Thanks for watching!
—Alex

By |September 1st, 2013|Preview|Comments Off on Let’s Play: The Banner Saga|

The Banner Saga at PAX2013

Hi again backers!

It has been a nutso month! We’ve been crunching (no surprise there), to get a playable build for PAX, which starts on Friday. We released some press kits in preparation and Kotaku already posted a news story on it, with new screenshots! Crazy!
Check out the other screenshots here.
We wanted to share the PAX demo with all of our backers, so what we’ll be doing is giving you a playthrough of the game and showing off the same thing that PAX attendants will be playing.

The bit I’m most excited about is that as we’ve always said, the game has a lot of choices to make. Real ones! So what I’m going to do is stop at major decisions and let everyone vote on what to do next. Even at the very beginning of the game you’ll be making decisions that impact the entire story. I’ll also be doing commentary as I play, showing off the new classes, abilities and enemies and giving more insight into gameplay.

Spoiler warning: this will be a playthrough of the first 30-50 minutes of the game (depending on what choices you make). It’s worth noting that even if you participate your own playthrough may turn out very different.

We’ll start this Saturday and keep doing videos every couple days until we’ve made our way through the story! Hope to see you there!

—Alex

By |August 28th, 2013|News|Comments Off on The Banner Saga at PAX2013|

Austin Wintory Live Orchestral Recording, Streaming this Tuesday

As we mentioned in the previous update, we have a gift for all our backers. From the desk of Austin Wintory:

For all those interested, I am happy to share that we will be streaming part of our big, long-in-progress recording session for THE BANNER SAGA! The recording process for this game has already been very elaborate, and next week takes a huge leap forward when I go to Dallas, Texas to collaborate with a truly magnificent ensemble: the Dallas Wind Symphony! This Grammy-nominated ensemble, led by the incredible conductor Jerry Junkin with whom I’ll be tag teaming, will be the subject of a forthcoming in-depth Kickstarter music update. But in the meantime, here are the details for the stream:

Tuesday, July 30th at 4:30pm Central Time.

I have just set up a Twitch account: http://www.twitch.tv/awintory/profile

In theory if you can’t attend live you can see the archive. We’re working very hard to make sure this is a high-quality stream, both visually and aurally. The recordings will be going until 5pm, so you will be tuning in to the last half hour of a full day’s worth. At that point I will send the musicians home, and come to the camera for a live chat. Joining me will be our dear friends from Stoic Studio, Alex Thomas, Arnie Jorgensen and John Watson, along with the DWS’ conductor Jerry Junkin. We’ll have about 20 or so minutes to chat. Remember that during the first half you will be watching a recording session, not a concert, so it might be interesting to see just how different those two can be from each other!

I will also be answering questions about the score to BANNER SAGA in my upcoming Kickstarter update, so feel [...]

By |July 25th, 2013|News|Comments Off on Austin Wintory Live Orchestral Recording, Streaming this Tuesday|

Animation process

Hello backers! As previously mentioned, today’s update will be a closer look into the animation process. We’ll save the usual Q&A section for the our next content update and jump right to the good stuff!
ANIMATION
As most of you know, we went an uncommon route with the character animations for The Banner Saga, deciding not just to do 2D animation, but to use traditional animation techniques to really achieve the old Disney “Sleeping Beauty” effect we were going for with the game’s art style. This decision was based on pure madness in retrospect, but more specifically a deep-seated love of classic animation. We wanted the game to always feel like you’re playing an animated movie.

I would wager the opinion that anyone who has done traditional animation knows that it’s extraordinarily complex and time consuming.

Here’s a very brief background on the difference between traditional and modern animating. I have no doubt that many of you know this, but let’s do a quick refresher:

3D animation
The artist creates a 3D model, an animator attaches a rig to it, also called a skeleton. This skeleton can be positioned the same way you would move around an articulate mannequin, by positioning and rotating joints. Making this movement look natural is the hard part, and requires buckets of skill. The nice thing is that you make a model once, and now it’s quick to rough out and make changes, you can move the camera wherever you want, change the lighting, etc. I’m not sure how many people know this, but 3D animation is now on the verge of being quicker and easier to produce than traditional animation. Proof: Disney channel cartoons are now made in 3D.

Modern 2D animation
This [...]

By |July 23rd, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Animation process|

Progress Report!

Hello and greetings again for another monthly update! This time we had planned to give you an in-depth look at the animation process in great detail by the amazing artists at Powerhouse Animations. They have been working ridiculous deadlines of their own and had to delay the update. We didn’t want to keep anyone waiting, so we’ll do a progress report now and a content-filled animation update soon thereafter. I know many people were hoping we’d update more frequently with smaller posts anyway.

First, Q&A as always:

Q: When is the game coming out?
A: Later this year. We used the much larger budget to make a much larger game.

Q: How long total has the game been in development now?
A: 1 year and 2 months

Q: How/where do I upload my guild crest?
A: We’ll be including crest uploads as part of the actual game, so there’s never a deadline. It will only be accessible by backers.

And now, PROGRESS!

This has been an insane month for The Banner Saga. We have a schedule we’re working from, of course, and to meet this month’s deadline we’ve been crunching harder than ever. I don’t tell you this for sympathy, I say it simply because it’s true, and we knew what we were signing up for. So, what did we accomplish with all this crunchery?

GOLD STANDARD
If you’ve followed game development before you might already know what gold standard means. Design usually involves coming up with a solid set of ideas, testing them quickly, creating placeholder systems until everything is working and is fun. After that, you create final content, figure out the way things move, polish the various systems until they’re really done.

I’m very happy to say that every system in our [...]

By |July 4th, 2013|News|Comments Off on Progress Report!|