*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!
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.
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!
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.
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 !
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Simon 'OISIN' Girard