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Update 011 - News, Announcements and Fresh Contents to Start 2016!
#1
[Image: U011-Welcome.png]

*Update originally written by Frank*

Greetings friends and fellow managers!

We hope you had a great holiday season, and that winter is not too hard on you.

As always, this update will give you a closer look at our recent activities and Epic Manager's development process in a very honest and straightforward way. Once again, it's a fairly long update so grab a hot beverage, get cozy and enjoy! 

[Image: U011-NewsFrom.png]

During the past few weeks of development, we spent some time working on camera movement, we also completely re-hauled the way sprites are managed in the game for all enemy races, gathered SFXs for most audio cues in the game that need to be integrated, we reworked the main UI of the world map and the combat sequence, introduced a league system, fine tuned the pacing of a game turns, built an intro scene and most of the draft sequence, made our splash screen, came up with new UI and refined the level up process for adventurers, we updated the equipment section of the character sheet and made it more intuitive, started tweaking the visual feedback elements in combat, upgraded the visuals of the combat scene, we completed the Quest log and rebuilt the merchant panel, on which I will come back with some visual support and details shortly.

Of course, I’m probably forgetting a thing a two, but you get the idea. Smile


[Image: U011-NewHero.png]

Those of you who read the comments might already know about it, but we also welcomed a fourth permanent member to the ManaVoid Entertainment development team!

Last summer, we were lucky enough to have an intern come in and give us a hand. Well, he’s successfully completed his Engineering Degree and accepted to join our work force starting this very week. We are very, very pleased to have him with us… so WELCOME Louis!

His services will be a big help regarding all the Steam integration and the, somewhat frightening, upcoming debugging period. We certainly don’t shy away from hard work, but this being our first long development period on a project of this scale, we shall need all the support we can get. We also built him a brand new PC tower and he’s already fully integrated and functional. Hurrah for that!

[Image: U011-ReleaseDates.png]

Speaking of this being our first development project of this scale, we are doing our best to estimate the time it’s going to take us to get the game to where we are happy to show it to people and we are sadly not there yet.

Once we came back from our holiday week, we sat down to get our task list up to date and figure out how things could go for the beginning of the year. Back in November, mid-January seemed far away but we are already here.

From day one, our goal was the same as it is today: to create a game that we would like to play ourselves but doesn’t exist on the market. We want to make a game that we can be proud of, and something that represents our ambitious vision. Of course, with a 38 000$ CAD development budget, things were never going to be easy. Still, we intend on keeping true to our objective and to deliver a game worthy of your time that will give you fun for many, many hours! 

Epic Manager is a project of love made by creators who believe in it. We want to create our vision and share it with like minded gamers such as you.
Notwithstanding our financial limitations, what we DO have plenty of too spend is time and effort. It is with this in mind that we decide to push back the release of the Closed Alpha. Not that we are facing a new technical problem or anything, just that we figure it is in everyone’s best interest that the game reaches a point where we are happy with it and you guys can enjoy it before releasing it.

Working with an eye on the calendar every morning worrying about the time passing by is just not helpful. Giving you a date and coming back on our word is not helping or fun either. All in all we think more development is needed and we decided not to commit to a time frame and to go with the state of the game as a marker of progression instead.In short, the Closed Alpha should not be release for another 2-3 months. We are already investing ourselves and our resources full time to the project, that will simply continue.

Since the very beginning of this project, the support we received from you has always been amazing. We are so very grateful and we understand it is a privilege to be able to work full time on a project we love and care about! All of that is made possible by your continued support, feedback and encouragements.

With the Kickstarter, we were able to test the market and make sure there was a demand for the experience we wanted to create. We are now tirelessly working to make it a reality. Part of this incredible journey is the iterative nature of game development. Indeed, Epic Manager as evolved a lot from the pitch you guys saw back in 14 months ago. We are confident the changes we made will all contribute positively in the end… but they do come at the cost of time.

Be assured we are keeping our eyes on the ball and pushing as hard as we can to get this beautiful project to you.
In that spirit, we intend on releasing more screenshots and perhaps videos in the near future.

[Image: U011-EpicTracks.png]

[Image: Update006-01-GeekSoundFactory_03.jpg]

Most of you probably know by now that there is a 100% original soundtrack in the works for Epic Manager as well as many, many original SFX. The guys at GeekSound Factory are just amazing and we could not have found better audio partners. They came by yesterday night to showcase their latest compositions and creations. As always, the meeting went very well and ended in endless discussions around some beers. Pat and Dan, you guys are the best!

We have pretty much received all that we need for the Closed Alpha from them, at least in a first attempt format. Sharing SFX files out of context would not make much of an impact, so we decided to share a NEW WORLD MAP THEME SONG they made for Epic Manager. The idea behind this track is to have it play while you are going about managing your agency, looking through candidates and making sure you have enough funds to keep everything afloat. It is but a sample of the amazing work they are doing on this project and we are very thankful for all the help they provide us.

Without further ado, here’s the lastest sample from Epic Manager’s upcoming OST !

[Image: U011-NewClasses.png]

We’re getting to a point where showing you the game will become easier and easier as things are coming together. Until we actually reach that point, we will still have goodies to share with you guys, of course. In that spirit, here are two classes we had already mentioned but never actually shown: the shady Rogue and the frivolous Sorcerer!
[Image: Update-011---Visuals---New-Classes.png]

[Image: U011-ImprovedClasses.png]

Like some of you might have noticed, we've recently applied a new layer of polish (mostly a new lighting pass lighting) on recently created characters. We're currently also applying this polishing pass to all 14 previously created Adventurer Classes. Considering about half of our artwork-dedicated time spent on the project since the very beginning was used to iterate upon existing assets, we've pretty much revamped or retouched every single asset in the game in the passed months. 

Below are two examples of existing classes that have been enhanced, both in terms of colors and lighting effects.

[Image: Update-011---Visuals---Characters-Revamped.png]


[Image: U011-Merchants.png]

While we’re at it, why not share another piece of the game with you and take some time to discuss a couple of previously mentioned game mechanics?

Here’s the merchant panel as it appears in the latest version of Epic Manager:

[Image: Update-011---Visuals---Merchants.png]

As you can see, there are five different merchants in the game. In Epic Manager, time is a very important resource. Every turn represents one week and there are only so many things that can be achieved each turn. On each turn, Managers are given Scout Actions that can be used for different things. (Ex.: launch a recruitment campaign to gather new potential recruits; scout a Quest to provide more details on its difficulty level, rewards, and dangers; buy a Portal in a populated area to use as an additional deployment point, etc.) 

Among the many options available to players, there’s the option to visit one of the merchants on that turn. Spending a Scout Action to visit a merchant will refresh is available wares with the current week's stocks. Also, each of the three “basic” merchants (Blacksmith, Jeweler, Apothecary) is specialized in a type of goods (Kits, Accessories, Consumables) and will buy the corresponding type of goods from you at a better price. That means, for example, that the Blacksmith will pay a better price for Kits than any other merchants, although you can sell any good to any merchant if you want to. 

Like we said before, prices of goods will fluctuate with World Events and in response to player actions like completing a particular Quest or making X or Y decision in a Random Encounter. Items that are wanted or overstocked the most and the least in each category are indicated under the appropriate merchant, to make it easier to keep track of potentially very good deals!

Under the Alchemist and Enchanter are “unlock” buttons. These indicate that points currently need to be spent in the Agency Research in order for that merchant to become available. We try our best to integrate all the game mechanics and progression features together in a systemic way. 

All in all, we want Epic Manager to be a game where management is the cornerstone of the player experience. There are many adventuring game out there, a lot less management games… and even less management games within a fantasy setting with humor and old school rpg elements. Like I said earlier, we have a vision in mind and are staying true to it. We are indeed making a game that we, as players, want to play badly.

[Image: U011-HUD.png]

While we are sharing changes to panels and windows, here’s a mock-up of the new world HUD for Epic Manager. Please disregard the placeholder text elements - what we want to show you the disposition of elements we are going for with this example.

[Image: Update-011---Visuals---HUD.png]

All of us here at ManaVoid studio are heavy 4X gamers. Collectively, we've logged a ridiculous amount of time in games such as Civilization and Crusader Kings 2. With that in mind, we want to allow players to have a global view of their current situation without overloading them with data. At the same time, Epic Manager also borrows from the mobile tycoon games such as Game Dev Story or Knights of Pen & Paper. Those influences push our design influences towards an interesting hybrid.

[Image: U011-ClosingWords.png]

In conclusion, the new year is upon us with new challenges and promises. We will keep coming back with updates, news assets, features, and other goodies as time goes by. We are not forgetting about you or our promises and the drums of war beat their beats as we code, integrate, and write new content daily. Wink

Never hesitate to reach out to us with questions and feedback, it's always a pleasure for us to interact with you here on the Forums!

As always, thanks for reading, stay tuned and, above all, stay Epic!

[Image: Epic-Manager---Kickstarter-Logo---620x465.png]
Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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#2
Looks nice, can't wait to try it. Don't drop the potato and keep up the good work!
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#3
HUD is nice but personally I think it will be better with some size changes. (move and resize options ?)
Elements with text seem to have a good size. But icons and numbers on the three top and bottoms bars are a little too big for me. For me a good size for icons is more like the help and menu icons at the top right (perhaps even few percents bigger).

Little question, are HUD windows move-able?

Fear is the mind-killer.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing....only I will remain.
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#4
Congrats on the progress made so far guys Exclamation It's super-impressive considering your budget. I'm looking forward to beta-testing Big Grin

Here's wishing you lots of luck and prosperity in the New Year.
---------------------------------------------------------
Come hang out with me on twitter.com/chocmaw
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#5
Wahoo merchants and goods!! There going to be a max # of items that will be sold of each merchant? Any kind of refresh of items if you don't find anything to your liking?
I like the HUD window, looks like lots going on!
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#6
(01-16-2016, 03:29 AM)Simon Wrote: Last summer, we were lucky enough to have an intern come in and give us a hand. Well, he’s successfully completed his Engineering Degree and accepted to join our work force starting this very week. We are very, very pleased to have him with us… so WELCOME Louis!

Welcome to the mines, Louis. There's no light, there's no break in the daily 19-hour shift, but there MIGHT be skeletons on the lowest level. Big Grin

(01-16-2016, 03:29 AM)Simon Wrote: Working with an eye on the calendar every morning worrying about the time passing by is just not helpful. Giving you a date and coming back on our word is not helping or fun either. All in all we think more development is needed and we decided not to commit to a time frame and to go with the state of the game as a marker of progression instead.In short, the Closed Alpha should not be release for another 2-3 months. We are already investing ourselves and our resources full time to the project, that will simply continue.

Three more months.  Sad

This little raccoon is very sad.

(01-16-2016, 03:29 AM)Simon Wrote: We're currently also applying this polishing pass to all 14 previously created Adventurer Classes.

Weren't there 16 at some point? I hope my favorite wasn't dropped, the Accountant class, boring monsters to death with inventory lists and balance sheets.

(01-16-2016, 03:29 AM)Simon Wrote: Among the many options available to players, there’s the option to visit one of the merchants on that turn. Spending a Scout Action to visit a merchant will refresh is available wares with the current week's stocks. Also, each of the three “basic” merchants (Blacksmith, Jeweler, Apothecary) is specialized in a type of goods (Kits, Accessories, Consumables) and will buy the corresponding type of goods from you at a better price. That means, for example, that the Blacksmith will pay a better price for Kits than any other merchants, although you can sell any good to any merchant if you want to. 

So, you can sell worthless bling to anyone, but if you need f.e. potions, you need to visit that very specific person? Great, I can see me tearing myself up over whether to get potion or sword shopping on any given turn already.
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#7
well Tongue seems like XCOM2 will have a little of my attention while i wait for something that is going to be EPIC !!! this game will crush my desire to play football manager forever Tongue
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#8
(01-16-2016, 04:57 AM)Felix Adam Wrote: Looks nice, can't wait to try it. Don't drop the potato and keep up the good work!

Hello Felix! Thanks for your kind words man, it really means the world to us!

(01-16-2016, 06:05 AM)Harmondale Wrote: HUD is nice but personally I think it will be better with some size changes. (move and resize options ?)
Elements with text seem to have a good size. But icons and numbers on the three top and bottoms bars are a little too big for me. For me a good size for icons is more like the help and menu icons at the top right (perhaps even few percents bigger).

Little question, are HUD windows move-able?

Hey Harmondale, what's up! Big Grin

Your reserves concerning the size of some elements are duly noted! Funny you should mention it, too - The current UI has seen many, many revisions since the start, and we've been reducing the size of many elements pretty much all along...there's a very good chance that process will continue!

There probably will be only one "UI Size Preset" available for the Closed Alpha, but that does not mean making this a player option is not a good idea! In fact, It would not be too complicated to integrate with what we have now. *Simon makes a mental note*

As for the movable aspect of elements, we're still on the fence about that one. The 4 "black-ish" info-panels you see on the left and right of the screenshot above are fully retractable (they hide on the sides, leaving only a clean toggle element to show them again). So far, every window is designed so you don't have to move/fiddle with UI elements to be able to see what your looking for, but we're definitely looking forward to the Alpha Release (and your feedback/comments) to confirm we've taken a right direction in this regard.

As always, many, many thanks for your feedback!

(01-16-2016, 12:46 PM)Chocmaw Wrote: Congrats on the progress made so far guys Exclamation It's super-impressive considering your budget. I'm looking forward to beta-testing Big Grin

Here's wishing you lots of luck and prosperity in the New Year.

Hey Chocmaw! Nice to hear from you again!
Thanks for the kind words of encouragement mate! Best wishes to you too for the year to come!
Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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#9
(01-16-2016, 11:54 PM)DanielHall15 Wrote: Three more months.  Sad

This little raccoon is very sad.

Hi Daniel, how have you been? 

I know, it's not ideal, but in the end this delay will allow us to greatly improve upon the current state of the game, and it will be for the best! 

We're already seeing a clear increase in our productivity, since the team is now 25% bigger (that, plus the fact that Louis really knows what he's doing!). 

As always, we'll make sure to keep the whole community in the loop as things progress Big Grin


(01-16-2016, 11:54 PM)DanielHall15 Wrote:
(01-16-2016, 03:29 AM)Simon Wrote: We're currently also applying this polishing pass to all 14 previously created Adventurer Classes. 

Weren't there 16 at some point? I hope my favorite wasn't dropped, the Accountant class, boring monsters to death with inventory lists and balance sheets.
Don't worry  Tongue There are indeed 16 basic classes! The 14 referred to were the previously-shown ones (excluding the Rogue and Sorcerer). 
Basic Classes are as follows :
  • COMBAT-PRIMARY: Warrior / Monk / Spellsword / Captain
  • AGILITY-PRIMARY: Ranger / Rogue / Druid / Thief
  • ARCANA-PRIMARY: Warlock / Witchdoctor / Mage / Priest
  • CHARISMA-PRIMARY : Paladin / Smuggler / Sorcerer / Bard
* Listed by Secondary Attribute, From Left to Right : Combat / Agility / Arcana / Charisma
* Classes in Bold are "Pure" ones (Primary and Secondary attribute being the same).

(01-16-2016, 11:54 PM)DanielHall15 Wrote: So, you can sell worthless bling to anyone, but if you need f.e. potions, you need to visit that very specific person? Great, I can see me tearing myself up over whether to get potion or sword shopping on any given turn already.


Exactly! Although you do get better prices for your items if you try to sell them to the appropriate vendor (f.e. selling potions to the apothecary will net you more than trying to sell the same items to the blacksmith.).
 
Big Grin
Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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#10
(01-16-2016, 12:53 PM)AaronTs Wrote: Wahoo merchants and goods!! There going to be a max # of items that will be sold of each merchant? Any kind of refresh of items if you don't find anything to your liking?
I like the HUD window, looks like lots going on!

Hey Aaron!

Yes, merchants (as it currently stands, although everything is still subject to change) have a limited, although rather large inventory that gets replenished/refreshed every week (turn).
Glad to know you enjoyed the UI sneak-peek! Chris is integrating the side "Info Panels" as I write these lines!

Best regards, keep in touch! Big Grin
Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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#11
Great update, guys. Looking good!
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#12
(01-20-2016, 01:40 AM)chickenhed Wrote: Great update, guys. Looking good!

Thanks mate!
Frank "Lalight" Lalumière
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
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#13
...well this is a sad little kitty indeed.

Then again, more time means better game, so it all balances out.
I was one of the one thousand, one hundred and fifty seven Kickstarter backers
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#14
Any plans on attending PaxEast?
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#15
(02-11-2016, 12:02 PM)AaronTs Wrote: Any plans on attending PaxEast?

Honestly, we would have loved to... but financially it is not realistic at this point. We estimated that getting there for 3-4 days with expenses would cost us about 8-10k$ and we simply do not have that kind of money to put toward a single event.

Our marketing strategy will mostly be based on digital press releases, Youtubers, Twitchers, and other web based media in order to reach the largest amount of people while keeping our costs as low as possible.

There's also an investment in time involved to come up with a viable demo and posters, etc. Considering we are already putting 110% effort in getting our Closed Alpha together we are not there yet.

Cheers!
Frank "Lalight" Lalumière
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
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#16
Sounds good! I realized it was a long shot but you never know Wink Keep up the good work, very excited for closed alpha!
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#17
The game must be a blast already! They're playin' it so hard, they can't find the time to keep us feeding some appetizing screenshots. :-P
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#18
I look forward to these monthly updates greatly Smile
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#19
... and February's monthly update must be really close, since we're about to run out of February, too.
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#20
(02-21-2016, 05:15 PM)DanielHall15 Wrote: ... and February's monthly update must be really close, since we're about to run out of February, too.

It shall be here by the end of the week my friend. Don't lose hope. Smile
Frank "Lalight" Lalumière
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
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