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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|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Progress report!|

Travel, Story and Combat choices

much for being patient, it means a lot to us and we repay that kindness with work that has been, without a doubt, the hardest and most all-consuming endeavor I’ve ever undertaken.

Alright, enough personal stuff. This update will get more in-depth about travel and story.

First though, the usual ESSENTIAL Q&A for anyone just joining us:

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 1 month

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.

TOOLS

The toolset (which we’re now calling Yggdrasil) continues to refined into a sharp stick, so to speak. In addition to the white box being hooked up, we have developed a gold standard area of the game for travel. If you check the toolset image below you can see some of this final art. Don’t worry, we’ll be doing a video showing off more of this at full res. It looks nice in the thumbnail below but pretty stunning parallaxing along in fullscreen.

As I’ll describe more in the story section below, we’ve been iterating on the travel and events systems. If you look close you’ll see the green guide-line positioned across the landscape that the caravan follows. Along this guide line we can add any markers we need to trigger special events, animations or change variables. Right now we have a placeholder caravan and banner that follows the path, and we can actually play through the game as it will happen in the final [...]

By |May 29th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Travel, Story and Combat choices|

White Box

Hello, backers. We meet again in good spirits!

We’ve got quite a bit of development progress to get into, but before we jump into that, we’re going to do a quick repeating feature at the top of every update addressing some of the common questions we get. Usually we get these same questions several times a day, so hopefully this will help keep everyone up to date:

ESSENTIAL Q&A

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.

Q: When is the game coming out?
A: Later this year. We used the overfunding to significantly increase the size of the game and extend the release date.

WHITE BOX

As you may have heard, Factions is out. We’ve finished all the combat upgrades which you can try in the game (we’ve also decreased the “grind” quite a bit based on feedback we got). This means that every character ability ranks up and becomes more powerful, which was the last combat system we needed for single player combat.

To mention it again, everything we did for Factions is for the single player. Even the intro cinematic in Factions is actually the intro to the single player game, and the combat boards in Factions are key fights in the single player campaign. We’re using all parts of the buffalo, so to speak.

During this time we’ve finished final design work on all our systems. With this documentation finished, implementation has begun.

Here’s a recap: The Banner Saga has three primary gameplay systems: combat, conversation and travel. You switch between these to advance the story. Conversation tracks your decisions and advances the plot, travel [...]

By |April 4th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on White Box|

Q&A with Alex

Hey everybody! We’ve had so much going on that it’s been hard to find the time to catch our breaths. With Factions coming out in the next week this seemed like a good time to catch up with our backers and have a nice chat.

Basically, we know there are lots of questions about the project right now. We’ve answered every question we can find, in as many places as possible, but we think it’d be helpful for everyone if we rounded them together for an update.

I’ll also be happy to field any questions in the comments section below if you don’t see it in this update!

The release date on the project said November, now it’s February and you’re just releasing some multiplayer thing I didn’t even want. What gives?

This is the biggest issue we want to address.

When we set a launch date of November, we didn’t know if we’d match our funding or not. If I’m completely honest it was probably too optimistic, even if we had only gotten the minimum funding. We should have known better, and I apologize for that mistake.

Just as importantly, we made 7x the funding we expected. We made the game exponentially bigger. Imagine a tv show that gets picked up for 7 more seasons, or a book that gets made into a 7-part series or a 20-minute indie film being given the funding to turn it into a 2 hour feature film. All of these things take a long time. And hopefully, every one of these examples means a much better end result.

Where did this Factions thing come from anyway? I don’t remember hearing about it.

We mentioned a free multiplayer standalone at the end of our Kickstarter pitch [...]

By |February 21st, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Q&A with Alex|

The Banner Saga: Factions is live!

A time of reckoning is upon us. All of us at Stoic are proud to announce, after burning the midnight oil for many moons, that beta has ended for The Banner Saga: Factions and soft launch is today!

What does that mean? In industry terms, soft launch is a short period in which a game is finished and complete, but released to a limited public.

Also, it is a thank you to our generous and wonderful backers to get a head start on the release build of the game. Your progress is being saved this week and carries over for the official launch.

There are some special perks available this week only, and every backer has a special green jade stone shown on your combat emblem that is exclusive to backers and early access players that are yours forever.

From Feb 18th – Feb 24th Factions will be available exclusively to backers. The current characters, stats and rankings have been wiped for the last time and the game is essentially now LIVE, along with a fully functional tutorial. Later in the week we’ll be holding the first tournament exclusively for backers.

Factions will be released to the public on Feb 25th. If you’ve been waiting for beta to end before trying the game, this is your week.

With Factions’ launch, we’ve effectively worked out the thick and thin of combat and we’re soon on to travel and conversation outlined in the previous update, and thus, the single player campaign. Consider this the first major milestone on the road to success!

From all of us here at Stoic, Skal!

WANT TO GET IN FACTIONS BUT HAVEN’T YET?

If you haven’t been added to Factions yet but would like to get involved, you’re always welcome. Please head [...]

By |February 18th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Banner Saga: Factions is live!|

Single Player Progress

Hello! I’m Alex, the creative director and it’s about time we updated you on some progress. Let’s get back to what most of you are interested in: the single player saga.

With Factions wrapping up shortly we have a very confident handle on the combat. We’ve mentioned it before: combat in Factions is combat in The Banner Saga single player game. We hope that you guys like being able to jump in and try it for yourself instead of just reading about what it will be like. That system was, by far, the most complicated and risky part of the game and we’re nearly finished with it, aside from the enemy units that we haven’t released yet. That’s a great feeling.

Moving on! Game development is often thought of as one big whole- you’ve got story, level design, gameplay, art, features, dialogue, combat, so on and so forth. All of this naturally generates a series of dependencies. For example, you have to do concept art and story outlines before you can do animation and dialogue, and prototype gameplay before a final combat system. We’re well past pre-production now, and deep into the meat of production. So let’s talk about what that means.

Please keep in mind that we’re basically showing everything- the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of this is polished and complete, other things are very rough and some might even look amateurish. Rest assured the final product will be as polished as Factions is now. It’s all part of the process.

From a top-down view, we have three key systems that interact with each other to create the core experience of the game: travel, conversation and combat. We’ve talked a lot about combat, but what about conversation, travel [...]

By |January 31st, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Single Player Progress|

Sound in The Banner Saga

Greetings! As you guys know, we do a monthly progress report to keep you up to date on how progress is coming on the game. We’ll have the usual progress report coming just next week with lots of progress happening this month on the single player Saga.

Today we have an excellent update from Kpow Audio, who have been doing an astounding job with the sound and audio implementation on the game, which you can already get a good dose of in the Factions beta.

Kpow Audio is Michael Theiler and Peret von Sturmer, working remotely from Sydney, Australia, and what you hear from them are thanks to your support, without which we’d be doing our own foley, and that would not have been pretty. I very highly recommend checking this out even if you don’t know much about sound in games. The depth in each branch of game development can be pretty fascinating stuff.

I’ll leave it to Michael from Kpow to explain:
Situating an Ambience

When creating ambiences for games (this applies equally to film), I am striving to make them blend into the background, and not mask any important in game sounds. For most ambiences, these are the most important qualities that I am attempting to resolve.

In order to achieve this, I need to firstly focus on the repetition and timing between audio occurrences in the sounds. This means spacing sounds, and adding and removing sound occurrences in my audio sequence. I then work on the frequencies in the sounds, using equalization to mold them into the right sound. Finally, I work on their sound propagation, and the sound of the space in which they are to inhabit. These are the steps necessary to mould sound [...]

By |January 23rd, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sound in The Banner Saga|