04-09-2016, 04:33 AM
Greetings friends and fellow managers! We hope you’ve all been well since the last time we took to the Forums for our last Update. Since it’s already been a few weeks, we thought now would be a good time to return with some fresh news concerning the development of Epic Manager and to let you know what we’ve been up to! We’re also going to take this opportunity to address the upcoming Closed Alpha Release and to ramp up the hype ahead of things to come in the next few weeks.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!
Before continuing with the rest of this update, let’s get this piece of information on the table right away – WE’RE ALMOST THERE! Although we’ve chosen not to give an exact date in today’s update, we’re committed to doing so very soon!
Stay tuned ladies and gents, because we’ll be back with a Release Announcement Update before the end of the month! According to the seers, and seeing how the stars are aligning, it’s now safe for us to say that the much anticipated Closed Alpha Release should be following this upcoming announcement in a matter of days or weeks!
We know you’ve been waiting a long time, and so have we. Once again, we’re very, very close! The only thing preventing us from giving a specific date today is our careful nature, as you never know when life will throw you a curve-ball!
Things have been very, very busy lately here at ManaVoid HQ. If you’ve been reading our past updates, you probably know by now that we’re fully dedicated in making our first game the best it can be! As such, it’s sometimes necessary for our team to take a few steps backwards in order to completely revamp and improve on existing systems in order to bring them to a level of polish we find satisfactory (and we’re hard judges of character when it comes to little details).
For example, the level-up interface. (Old Screenshot from Update #011 shown below).
We proudly displayed this element in Update #011 and it was, for all intents and purposes, working flawlessly. Weeks of testing, though, have brought to our attention the fact that the whole process could become confusing at times, especially when the time came for players to choose a new Class AND a new active skill for an adventurer. Without getting too much into details, this is one example of an interface flow where we were asking players to do too many things at once. (e.g.: Select a new class / select a new active skill for that class / decide If you wanted to keep the old class as “current” / make a decision on equipment pieces, etc)…
Our design philosophy now tends to favor “closed loops” that will require you to make a single decision and then move on to the next. This way of thinking also allows us to display less information on-screen at the same time (to make the UI breathe more, if you will) and we’re convinced it will reflect favorably on the end-product.
As nice as it is to up haul existing things by bringing them back to the drawing board, it’s an exercise that also takes time. As such, we’re constantly keeping the upcoming release in mind and evaluating which existing systems need more love, and which ones can be left as is for now.
While some of us are mostly happily left alone to produce new visual assets (yay me!), others have been given the huge task of debugging and balancing pretty much all aspects of the game (I’m really thankful to have dodged that bullet for now, thanks guys!). Jokes aside though, we’re now working hard on making sure that the very first version you’ll get to put your hands on (or paws *cough* Daniel *cough*) will be as stable as it can be!
Although not as game-breaking as bugs, balance issues are also one thing we’ve really been addressing lately, and as you can guess, a game like Epic Manager can yield a seemingly infinite number of possible scenarios when it comes to balance, not to mention the fact that a lot of different core game systems (equipment drops/ roster progression / random encounters /combat, for example) also have to be put together in a way that not only makes sense, but that is also fun and, most importantly, fair.
(aka having database sheets seared in your eyeballs)
While some of us are working on programming, debugging, bug fixing and happily drawing away on art assets, let’s not forget there’s also A TON OF NARRATIVE-DRIVEN CONTENT to be written! On that front, we’re happy to announce that the very first Closed Alpha build will ship with HUNDREDS of quests and random encounters for you to discover (with a lot more planned for future game updates).
This means hundreds of different micro-stories and many more different resolutions depending on player choices! Pretty much all of these are now happily stored in our databases and most of the work still needing to be done on that front is pretty much focused on introducing appropriate fixed or random rewards for all said-resolutions.
This is a rather big deal, and we’re very, very excited about it!
For those of you who have been following the game’s progress since our Kickstarter debut, you might remember Epic Manager’s OLD Combat as something that looked like this:
OH. MY. GOD. How things have changed…
Back then, our idea for combat was more akin to a point-based mini-game where a party of adventurers would “face-off” against a SINGLE ENEMY by trying to generate enough points before the timer ran out…
… let’s just say this was thrown out of the window relatively quickly (and with much vigor)!
Since then, we’ve mostly held off on showing / talking about Combat Scenarios because the system kept evolving (and still does to this day).
Epic Manager's Combat System now looks like THIS :
or THIS :
As you can see, well, it’s a completely different beast! We’re very proud of the new combat system, and we’re sure all of you will enjoy it a lot! The design philosophy behind it now closely resembles traditional turn-based RPGs such as the Final Fantasy series, and it has DEPTH.
I could talk about combat for hours, but let’s instead try to look at it in a more condensed, point-form way. What is this new Combat System, and what does it have to offer, you might ask?
As of the moment I’m writing these lines, here's what the new Combat System has to offer (in a nutshell):
- Parties of 1-4 adventurers are now thrown into deadly encounters against groups of one to EIGHT enemies simultaneously!
- Combat is split into multiple rounds.
- Based on Initiative (determined by Agility), each character now gets a turn each round.
- Characters can act MULTIPLE TIMES EACH TURN (using an Action Point system similar to the one featured in Larian Studio’s Divinity: Original Sin).
- Actions consist of Basic Attacks, using Skills and the use of Consumable Items (with some actions costing more Action Points than others, based on potency).
- All actions fall into one or more of the following categories: Damage / Buffs / Debuffs / Healing / Special Effects (such as the Warrior’s Taunt or the Thief’s Pickpocket ability).
- There are many different types of damage: Physical / Arcane / Fire / Ice / Electric.
- Based on equipment and other factors (such as race, rank and type for enemies), all characters can stack distinct resistances to certain or all types of damages. (Trying to use fire against Lizardmen? Poor you…)
- Over 32 different Skills for adventurers (even more counting the variations brought by passive skill choices).
- Over 75 different Skills for enemies.
- Dozens of in-combat consumables.
- Hundreds of different sound effects, particle effects and animations.
- Different visual combat environments depending on where these encounters take place.
- And much, much more!!
As you can see, A LOT has changed since our humble beginnings, and things are still evolving to this day! We’re very excited about the new combat system and we look forward to covering its many aspects with more details in upcoming updates. Of course, there’s still a lot you’ll have to experiment with / discover on your own once your forces start venturing in Astraeus!
While we’re still on the subject of Combat, and since we’ve been steadily unveiling new enemy races in past updates, here is a first WIP look at the Giants! From left to right: Jarls / Ogres / Jotuns / Cyclops!
...Rumours of the fabled two-headed Ogre-Mages have also been circulating around the Realm's Inns lately...I wonder if such tales could be true?
Lately, we’ve been in regular contact with our good friends and amazing collaborators from GeekSound Factory. The whole process of integrating audio assets to the game is running smoothly, and we’re super stoked about the quality of the Sound Effects and the Original Score Tracks they’re making for Epic Manager. It’s amazing to realize how everything takes on a whole new dimension once you start slapping sound on it!
We’re also extremely pleased to announce that we’re now officially licensed by the internationally acclaimed AudioKinetic team to use their amazing Wwise software for in-game sound-mixing in Epic Manager! Not only will this collaboration bring the game’s audio environment to a whole new level, it’s also pretty exciting for us to be using the same audio tools that are quickly becoming an industry standard and synonymous with many AAA titles out there!
As you can see, things are progressing at a rapid pace and we’ve now set our collective sights on the upcoming Closed Alpha Release! As mentioned in the beginning paragraphs of this update, we’ll be back before the end of the month with an official announcement so that you can all mark your calendars!
As always, never hesitate to reach out to us here on the Forums or on our social media platforms with any questions or comments you may have about the game! As well as making sure the product we put in your hands will be as good as possible, we’re now slowly gearing up towards an increased online presence here on the Forums and elsewhere when the floodgates finally open. When they do, rest assured we’ll be fully committed in making sure to provide constant and rapid support when you reach out to us with feedback!
After all, this is what the upcoming Closed Alpha Period aims to provide – the time and means to continue improving upon everything we’ve built so far to make sure Epic Manager will exceed your expectations, and that you’ll have a real blast in playing it for hours on end!
With that said we’d like to take another opportunity to thank each and every one of you once again for your patience and continued support! We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – it means the world to us.
Thanks for taking the time to read this update, and stay in touch!
Best wishes to all of you from the whole ManaVoid Dev Team.
Before we leave you today, we’d like to take this opportunity to bring a fantastic-looking Steam Greenlight campaign to your attention!
Our good friends Michael and Raph (the power-duo behind the Paper Cult Games studio) have been working for over a year now on a super cool project by the name of Fat Mask! They’ve been on Steam Greenlight for a while now and they’re reaaaally close to obtaining their approval from Steam.
As such, every up vote they receive brings them ever closer to the ability to release their game to the world, and your input can really help them in doing so! Simply head over to Fat Mask’s Steam Greenlight Page and give them a “Thumbs Up” if you like what you see there! It’s free and only takes a minute!
Simon 'OISIN' Girard