Posts Tagged ‘Pre-Production’

Normally Friday would be patch day, but this is not patch day and so there are no patch notes.  In the belief that getting to know the minds of developers can shed light on their work, herein lies a short discussion of games-patching and how we feel as players when considering patcher programs.


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November has come and gone.  The Movember ‘tache has sprouted and fallen by the wayside.  NaNoWriMo was pointedly ignored.

In lieu of a 2D artist, I have been busy drawing stick-figure art on post-it notes; five monsters (and one new player avatar) are ready now.  They’ll never win any awards, but they do the job.

On the actual gaming side, the combat system is playable and almost ready for testing; the combat logging needs a little work, the character generator is not complete, but the main issue is making the Facebook authorisation work.  It is just a case of rechecking my PHP, I suppose.  By the end of the week, I hope to have a party of heroes up and running through a simple endless dungeon (sorry, no storylines yet) scenario.

So, the to-do list by Friday is;

  • Get the logging working as intended
  • Tweak the secret mechanic
  • Finish the character generator code
  • Make the Facebook authorisation work

Well…  It looks like I need to get off the blog and get some work done, doesn’t it?

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I am posting at 1am.

This fact alone may help you understand just how much this current section has grabbed me and won’t let go.  Mechanics are being finalised, place-holder art is being scrawled on post-it notes to let me start work on the code side.

Some elements are a little bit experimental, which means that they need testing.  I will be grabbing a few testers in the coming weeks, people I have already selected.  The main one is a secret, a bit of a new mechanic, which means it is either genius or madness.  More than likely, it will need tweaking to see if it works for real human players, but I think it will make Legacy of Heroes a very interesting variant on a known genre.

As a thank-you for being patient, I offer you a shot of the wall next to my PC…

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Long Silences

Yes, I have noticed the lack of updates.  I am very sorry about that.

Let’s start by saying that the pre-production phase is slow.  In a full studio, the design for the prototype might have been done in a week and there would be concept art all across the walls.  In this small studio, the full GDD is more important, so the prototype will have to be reverse engineered based on what can be done with it.  Also, since I am not getting paid for it, I can’t really afford to put all my eggs in just the one basket.

Negativity over, there are some bright motes of light on the horizon.  There have been a few responses from artists looking to help out on Legacy of Heroes, but not so many programmers; sadly, most of the programmers I know either want paying or they are busy on other pro-bono projects and not really free to take on the dreams of another “oh-so-talented, charmingly Bohemian, tragically impoverished” designer.

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Are you an artist or a programmer looking for something unusual?  Are you a student or recent graduate looking to add to your portfolio?

I am not an artist, even if I have some experience with 3DS Max, nor am I a programmer just because I have programmed a basic game or two.  As such, I am looking for some team-members to join me in creating a prototype for Legacy of Heroes that will be used to help gain funding for the game.  This will not be paid job, but the goal would be to offer prototype staff a permanent (if part time, especially if you have a day-job) position when (if) the project is able to gain funding.

ARTISTS should be able to produce models (and, ideally, animate them) using a standard 3D art package, produce textures in a standard 2D package and MUST own legitimate copies of their chosen packages.

CODERS should be familiar with C++, familiarity with OGRE an advantage, but I’d be willing to consider someone who has experience with another existing 3D engine such as UDK or Unity since this is a demo.

If you are successful in joining the Freya’s Aett team, I will be assuming that you know more than I do about your discipline; as long as you don’t prove me wrong (or tell me it takes a month to make each model), I will want you to name your own time-scales and tell me if there is a better way of doing things; for example, you might know a better engine for the demo.  I’m a designer, not a manager, so I’m not looking to tell you how to do your job.  In terms of management, I am more interested in making Legacy of Heroes the best it can be than asserting my dominance.

Still interested?

Drop an email to anthony@freyas8.co.uk with a little information about yourself.  What have you done before?  Got anyone who would recommend you?  Where did you learn to program / script / model?  You don’t have to provide references, but it helps to have someone who can offer an independent (or at least outside) opinion of your work.

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Here is a heavily condensed ‘internal’-style pitch, the kind of thing you prepare to help explain your plan to other people. It’s not quite enough to pitch the game, but it is enough to give people an idea of what you are trying to do…


Legacy of Heroes is a game about a hero, their successors and their legacy. At the core of the game, each player has a city; each city is home to a player’s heroes, containing the homes they had built, the shrines they funded, the guilds they founded and the statues to their great deeds. As each hero dies, retires or simply moves on, new heroes rise up to continue their work and build on their legacy.


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Running around and playing other RPGs as part of my competitive analysis, I started to realise that there are certain fantasy tropes which I very much needed to get rid of. Certain clichés have no place in this game, even if it isn’t going for gritty realism.

In terms of ‘level’ and art style, I will always be aiming for Conan of Cimmeria rather than Forgotten Realms or Tolkien’s world.  The world is lived in and you want to keep clear of dark alleys and the edges of kingdoms, not running around filling your pack with every plant and rock you find that would fit in your pack.

As such, here are some of the rules according to Anthony…

  • City streets are not filled with crates and barrels just waiting to be smashed open, those tend to be in cellars or warehouses.
  • If you do smash open crates, you are more likely to unleash a torrent of beer or water on your boots than to find gold.
  • Smashing barrels is destruction of property; the watch takes a dim view…
  • Healing potions are found in apothecary shops, not in a rat-infested sewer.
  • The only thing you will find on the corpse of a rat is fur and meat, neither of which you will want or need.
  • Just because you can pick mushrooms does not mean they will not kill you if you eat them.
  • Flirting with nuns and princesses is not ‘forbidden love’, it’s just a sure-fire way to get excommunicated and / or exiled.

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The plan for Freya’s Aett is moderately long-term, hopefully including the founding of a full limited-liability company with employees, but it starts out with a solo developer sitting in an office.  Here’s how it might go, but you never know…

  • Start with a brand or name (in this case, Freya’s Aett)
  • Create a plan (this is an overview of that plan; the real one is much more in-depth)
  • Create a design
  • Prove the concept
  • Pitch the project
  • Fulfil the whims of any potential publishers or investors (such as making a video or playable demo)
  • Get funding for the project
  • Get protection from liability (go to companies house, found a limited liability company or partnership)
  • Get some staff
  • Get paid by the new company
  • Prosper

Some of those stages can be shifted around (normally, you get the staff before you pitch; ‘needs must…’ as they say though), but the general plan is probably sound.  Once I have a design (scheduled for Tuesday, as it happens), I will probably start the ‘get funding’ phase going even as I work on the proof of concept; some individuals need more time or want some space to consider your proposal before accepting any formal pitch.

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Freya’s Aett is currently a solo project, with a little help from friends.

After nearly four years working in the videogame industry for other people, I was made redundant during the ‘credit-crunch’ that had been plaguing most industries.  I lasted a little longer than some, but my employer had taken some serious financial hits in the previous year and it was either redundancies or bankruptcy; it’s not like I can fault their decision.

I suppose I could have moped, maybe flirted with industrial tribunals and unfair dismissal, but I decided to move on instead.  I started networking, started looking for freelance work, but I also started work on a new project.

With a little help from my wife, I named it Freya’s Aett after my daughter and the 8 Norse runes of creation and beginnings.

We are currently doing preproduction work on the first iteration of our début game, but more of that later…

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