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Update 008 - World Events // Tech Tree // Resolutions // Recruitment // Map // +More
#1
Greetings friends, and welcome to another Epic Manager Update!

Simon’s usual Ramble-Preamble

This one was planned to come out yesterday evening, my apologies for the small delay.  I had the (mis)forture to re-open the aptly named Kerbal Space Program after a long break from playing, and it seems I’m still pretty bad at it. It saddens me to say that last night’s efforts, concentrated on landing my first craft on the Mun (moon), all resulted in catastrophic failures. Many of my little astronauts were lost to the cold void of space, and many more were blown up. Still, I rejoice in telling myself it was all in the name of science, and a great bit of fun! If you’ve never heard of KSP, go look it up – it really doesn’t compare to anything else…
… and NOW back to our main topic!

ManaVoid’s first candle and news from the front

Although we have been working full time on this project since May 2014, Manavoid Entertainment was only incorporated on the first of September last year. As we draw closer to this one year mark, we’d like to point out how amazing these last 12 months have been. Over the past year, we’ve been blessed with the help of many great collaborators, and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank Daf, Alex and Louis for their help with the code, as well as all our friends from the GeekSound Factory studio for their amazing audio work!

Thanks to you, a successful Kickstarter campaign first saw us securing enough funds to establish a permanent base of operations (nicknamed ManaVoid HQ), as well as the arguments needed to obtain a small grant from Quebec’s government. As soon as we came back from a short and well deserved Christmas break, the whole team jumped back on making the game, and that’s pretty much all we’ve been doing ever since! Development is advancing in quick strides, and we’re so very eager to start showing more and more of the world of Astraeus and the adventures waiting for you therein!

Now regarding today’s update! We have a few new systems and UI elements to reveal, as well as the very first glimpse of the Astraeus World Map – so strap in, pay attention and enjoy!

World Events – Because the world reacts to you, and you react to it.

Managing a bunch of rag-tag adventurers is an activity sometimes influenced by the varying wheels of fate. As such, we want the world of Astraeus to be a dynamic place where things sometimes happen regardless of your actions. This system comes to life in many ways, and one of them is in the form of Scripted/Random World Events.

[Image: MerchantsWindow_Export_Update008_01_03.png]

World Events come in many form. They usually occur at least once every week (turn) and will affect most of the game’s systems in interesting ways!

As a non-exhaustive list of examples, World Events can:

-          Grant or remove Character Traits from Adventurers in your Agency Roster.

-          Grant or remove Status Effects (ex: wounds)

-          Make you gain or Lose Items, Gold, Fame

-          Affect the game’s economy by lowering or increasing the Market Value of certain items
       o   This includes the base Market Value of Adventurer Contracts while negotiating!

-          Unlock Random Encounters or make some of them more likely to occur

-          Announce mysterious Omens….

-          Make you gain or lose Scout Actions for the weak ahead

-          Unlock new Quests or see some active ones be fulfilled by other competing Agencies!

-          And more!
 
Agency Research – Climbing the Tech Tree

Aaah, the Tech Tree. We wouldn’t let you become the Epic Manager without giving you wiggle-room to choose your own path to greatness, now would we? As with everything in the game, we try to design progressions systems in a way that will allow you to play the game and progress as you see fit. Here’s a WIP export from the Agency Research window!

[Image: v4_AgencyResearch_EXPORT_Update008_03.png]

As a rule of thumb, progression in the Tech Tree will be marked by spending points that you will receive for gaining Fame Levels. By reaching certain fame Milestones, you will unlock new Agency Licenses that will, in turn, unlock new options for you to spend points in the Tech Tree.

So far, these Agency Research options allow you to:

-          Increase your maximum Roster Size
          o   This gives you more room to field replacements for your soon-to-fall “heroes” on the field.

-          Increase the maximum number of Parties you can deploy simultaneously.

-          Increase the number of Scout Actions you can perform every week.

-          Reduce the price to unlock new Waypoints in Capitals, Cities and Villages.

-          Unlock the Trainer Panel. Increase Trainer Proficiency and decrease cost of training.

-          Reduce merchant prices when buying / Increase price received when selling items.

-          Unlock new merchant types / Increase merchant stock variety and quality.

Of course, these items are subject to change as the game evolves. Unlocking new licenses will also in itself be a way to develop your Agency (by increasing your Salary Cap, for example).
 
Resolutions – Rewards for those left standing

Here’s a quick look at the new and improved Resolution Window!

[Image: Update008-Resolution_03.png]
 
Whenever one of your parties survives a Quest or Random Encounter, you will be met by the Resolution Panel. This is where you can see the experience gained by party members, as well as the various rewards you will gain for your deeds! Keep in mind that these rewards reflect your choices (for example, a Random Encounter with 5 choices will usually yield 5 distinct resolutions), and that some may be negative! Some “rewards” are also hidden from you so the complete results of some chosen action may not reveal themselves until a later date…or until IT’S TOO LATE! (Cue dramatic music and ominous glare).

Seriously though, resolutions are awesome, because they also include some amazing narrative conclusion to the events that happen. Chris has been doing an awesome job at writing these hundreds of mini stories, and they’re so, sooo much better than my “Lorem Ipsum” Illustrator placeholders! J

You might also have noticed the three little cards at the bottom of the window (WIP graphics alert screeches)! After a round of internal discussion, we felt that providing the player with a CHANCE for extra shiny rewards was something we could not simply pass on. The rules are simple: you survived the day’s events – the gods have been kind. But just how kind? Pick one card amongst the three offered and you’ll find out!

Recruitment Campaigns – There’s always a fool willing to pick up the sword

If there’s one thing your Agency will need plenty of, it’s cannon fodder…eerr… I mean fresh talent! 

If you should find your forces thinned out by bad luck and wounded from battle, or if you simply want to recruit reserves and train them ahead of your needs – the best course of action is to order your Scouts to organize a Recruitment Campaign!

[Image: v4_RecruitmentCampaign_EXPORT_Update008_03.png]

Each of these campaigns will cost you a Scout Point as well as some precious gold! How much gold? That’s up to you! The more you pitch in, the more you’ll be able to try and dictate the results of the upcoming campaign. You’ll still have to negotiate contracts with the potential recruits you find, but that’s another matter entirely!

By paying extra, you can influence the results in many ways, such as:

-          Increasing the Campaign Outreach (number of results)

-          Setting a “Current Class” search criteria

-          Setting a “Previous Class” search criteria

-          Setting  “Level (Min / Max)” search criteria

-          Setting  “Epicness (Min / Max)” search criteria

There’s always some luck involved, though, so don’t be surprised if the results are sometimes better or worse than expected! After all, finding hero-material prospects amongst drunken bar brawlers is not always easy!
 
Combat Skills - Redux

Our core Combat team (Frank and Louis) have been continuing their foray into the depths of Null Reference Errors and odd behaviors in some combat cases – to much success! Combat is now mostly stable and we’re at a point where the work input on this system is now more geared towards polish and sound integration than debugging! 

Speaking of Combat, Frank has followed-up on the last update’s Adventurer Skills reveal by redesigning some of them to insure a balanced distribution of all major skill archetypes (Damage / Healing / Buffs / Debuffs / Specials).

We still have some core visual and audio elements to introduce to the combat system before showcasing it, but know that it is coming!
 
World Map – A first glimpse at the ever-changing Realm of Astraeus
 
[Image: Update008-WorldMap.png]

Wait, what is this, it’s changed! YES. 

The above image is but a WIP minimap-type view of Astraeus. Or, at least, THIS version of Astraeus!

Truth is, we’ve never discussed the World Map much since the Kickstarter Campaign. We were actually weighing our options for a long time, but a while ago we stumbled upon this great Unity plugin called Grids and we knew then that we had found the perfect tool to lay down the basics. And so the new hexagonal map was born – and with a twist!

After playing with a static map for some time, we quickly came to the conclusion that a PROCEDURAL WORLD MAP would be more fun, and indeed it is. J 

Here’s a quick overview of how the current Map works :

-          The World is segmented in Twelve (12) regions.

-          The 3 center-most regions (slightly bigger) hold the territories held by the Ironmark Brothers (Hildirik, Everan, Cassius), fighting amongst themselves for the Throne.

-          The other 9 outer-rim territories hold the Sub-Factions of Astraeus
     o   The Merchants Consortium
     o   The Circle of Nature
     o   The Steelborn Companies
     o   The Magi Arcanum
     o   The Adventurers Union
     o   The Thieves Guild
     o   The Order of Astoris
     o   The Awakened
     o   The Hunters Hall

Every time a NEW CAMPAIGN Is started, these factions and their lands will be RANDOMLY distributed across the map, from the complete pool of existing lands! Sounds fuzzy? Let me explain!

Say you start a new campaign. Turns out that this time, the Magi Arcanum (holding 11 lands) are assigned to region 7 (on the bottom right of the Map). Aside from their Village HQ which always remains the same, the remaining lands in their territory (10) are also randomized according to their factional needs (for this play through, the only Mountain in their territory could be the Mountain of Doom…or the Mountain of Faith). This mountain could be in the north of their territory, or in the south, or anywhere else!)

Stating this example also implies the important mentioning of other things :

-          For starters, a quest specifically targeting the “Mountain of Doom” will sometimes take you in Magi-held territory deep in the outer rims, and on some other campaign be located at the very doorstep of your own HQ in the center of the Map, in the lands of one or another Ironmark Brother. Any unique land (ex: The Mountain of Doom) can in theory fall anywhere on the Map that’s not already occupied by Water or a Populated Area.
 
-          The roads and trails on the map are (so far) Static. This makes some nodes (lands) harder to reach than others because they are connected to less of their neighbors than some others. On the long run, though, all lands are equally accessible to your parties because they change place on the map from campaign to another.
 
-          Most quests will be generated on random nodes according to an algorithm influenced by the quest-giver (ex: most quests received from ally or neutral factions will usually have you visit that faction’s territory to achieve it).
 
-          The locations of Populated Areas (HQ, Capitals, Cities, Villages) is, so far, also static. This ensure that although the map is randomized at the start of the game, you can always unlock new Waypoints (used to fast-travel your parties) at equal distances on the game board.

A lot of visual flare still needs to be done on the map, and this task should be tackled in the days to come. Our next update (or the one right after) should feature a more in-depth and closer look at the World Map!

The Save System – Tears of Joy

Last week, something beautiful (awe-inspiring more like) happened. Louis and Chris tag-teamed the Save and Load systems with blazing efficiency! This may not sound like much, but rest assured there’s a TON of information we need to carry over to save the game’s progress, and it turns out that interacting with the file system does not exactly work the same in the Unity Editor as it does in a standalone .EXE build!

How they managed is the stuff of office legends (and frankly eludes me), but they did! We’re pleased to announce that players will be able to enjoy a seemingly UNLIMITED (unless you’re aiming for billions) number of save files, so there’s no reason for you not to experiment with all that the game will have to offer! We still need to check a few things here and there to make sure everything runs smooth 100% of the time on the loading side, but it should all be sorted in the coming days!

Sound FX and Music – The GeekSound magic at work

It seems every recent update can’t be complete without a mention of our good friends from GeekSound Factory! 

[Image: Update006-01-GeekSoundFactory_03.jpg]

We’ve had the pleasure of welcoming Dan, one of the GSF co-founders, in our modest HQ last week – and it was a great day! Frank and Dan have finally begun working on audio integration, and it’s amazing! It’s really great to add that sound layer at last – expect lots of EPIC tracks and hundreds of carefully crafted sound effects to accompany your road to glory!

Wrapping-up : The calling of the Development Roadmap

I started this update by mentioning that we were drawing closer to the one-year mark for ManaVoid Entertainment. This means we get to (have to) close the year’s financial books in the coming weeks. Following this ever-so-pleasant accounting exercise, we’ll have a much cleaner look at our remaining funds and the maneuvering room they offer for the rest of the pre-release development period.

As such, our aim is to be able to produce and present a clear Roadmap of the upcoming milestones for the release phases of Epic Manager in an upcoming update! Rest assured we’ll take the time needed to present you with a complete and comprehensive overview of all the great things to come, including Kickstarter rewards! (Yay!)

It is with these words that we leave you… for now!

We sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed this update and we promise to bring you more very soon!
 
As always, it’s a pleasure for us to read your comments and answer all your questions to the best of our knowledge here on the forums! Never hesitate to reach out to us, for any reason!

Wishing you an amazing week from the whole ManaVoid Dev Team, stay tuned, and STAY EPIC!

[Image: Epic-Manager---Kickstarter-Logo---620x465.png]
 
 
Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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#2
Sweet news and progress!

Been a while I heard from you guys, was wondering what was going on in the office.

Apparently you havn't been slacking Wink
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#3
Looks awesome Smile

But why does Brett Noshoes actually has shoes...
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#4
Thanks for the update!

The world map seems too symmetrical? 3 large equal land masses with about the same amount of water separation between them. I love the fact that the locations will be randomly distributed but would it be possible to make the entire world map randomly generated as well? Perhaps picking and setting up a HQ would be part of the challenge and then eventually being able to afford that primo spot you have to pack up and leave the old HQ.
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#5
Sweet update.

I'm getting excited to see a playable version of this game. Over on the kickstarter comments you said something back in May about August/September being a timeframe in which we might have a playable something. Any further news on that?
I was one of the one thousand, one hundred and fifty seven Kickstarter backers
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#6
(08-25-2015, 01:58 AM)Felix Adam Wrote: But why does Brett Noshoes actually has shoes...

There is precedent! Shoeless Joe Jackson had shoes as well. Smile

This is looking very cool! Kudos especially on the map and save system. There seems to be a tension developing between "heroes are disposable" and "heroes stick around for a while." If heroes are disposable, die a lot, get traded away a lot, etc., then it's strange to have fully developed systems for their XP and talents and so on. (It's like the Call of Cthulhu RPG: characters advance slowly over time by succeeding at things, but tend to die or go insane within thirty minutes.) On the other hand, if heroes stick around for a while and we're meant to get attached to them, then it's strange to have random World Events that can permanently damage them without player input. At least, that's how it seems to me. But your roots are in sports simulators; I suppose sometimes your best player just gets randomly injured and them's the breaks?

(08-25-2015, 02:09 AM)Mushroom C1oud Wrote: The world map seems too symmetrical? 3 large equal land masses with about the same amount of water separation between them. I love the fact that the locations will be randomly distributed but would it be possible to make the entire world map randomly generated as well? Perhaps picking and setting up a HQ would be part of the challenge and then eventually being able to afford that primo spot you have to pack up and leave the old HQ.

The thinking there, I assume, is that you need to be able to assume certain things about the factions' lands (they will be big enough, they will be balanced with each other, the Ironmark Brothers will all be near each other with contested territory between them, the layout of trails will not be overly frustrating), and the easiest way to guarantee that is to have a map that is partly pregenerated and pretty symmetrical. Plus there's something to be said for all of us having the same shape in mind when we talk about Astraeus. Funds permitting, maybe there could be a random-map, no-balance-guaranteed option in the New Game dialogue?
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#7
I am not a game designer or coder so I don't know what is or isn't possible. In my personal opinion the original map had more visual appeal, but I will always substitute less visual appeal for greater gameplay.
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#8
Great update. Sounds like things are tracking well.

I like the look of the older map but also enjoy the variety of generated ones. Three things. First, can you expose the map seed, allowing us to easily circulate interesting arrangements. Second, the map is too uniform right now. I expect ya'll intend to develop it further, but right now it is bland and homogeneous. The look of the hexes doesn't match the characters or the interface. Third, it would be more work, but you might consider having a few more factions and the generator (or player) picks nine.
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#9
(08-25-2015, 02:41 AM)Mushroom C1oud Wrote: I am not a game designer or coder so I don't know what is or isn't possible. In my personal opinion the original map had more visual appeal, but I will always substitute less visual appeal for greater gameplay.

Hey Mushroom C1oud!

The map you see in this update is the alpha version, there is still a bit of time to be put on making it look good, so don't worry it will be more visually appealing in the weeks to come. Smile
Christopher ''The DM'' Chancey
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
@ManaVoidChancey
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#10
(08-25-2015, 02:35 AM)Brian Auriti Wrote: There is precedent!  Shoeless Joe Jackson had shoes as well. Smile

This is looking very cool!  Kudos especially on the map and save system.  There seems to be a tension developing between "heroes are disposable" and "heroes stick around for a while."  If heroes are disposable, die a lot, get traded away a lot, etc., then it's strange to have fully developed systems for their XP and talents and so on.  (It's like the Call of Cthulhu RPG: characters advance slowly over time by succeeding at things, but tend to die or go insane within thirty minutes.)  On the other hand, if heroes stick around for a while and we're meant to get attached to them, then it's strange to have random World Events that can permanently damage them without player input.  At least, that's how it seems to me.  But your roots are in sports simulators; I suppose sometimes your best player just gets randomly injured and them's the breaks?
Hey Brian!
The way we see it, things happen when you are out there questing and you've just got to roll with the punches! The random encounter system is a throwback mix to the old DnD 2nd Edition and Choose Your Own Adventure Books. The 'Ambush' encounters are going to be procedurally generated with your party's average level and the narrative encounters are often going to give you options to choose from so if your adventurers get injured, it'll be your fault! Wink With that in mind, the player shouldn't feel like his adventurer just got injured out of the blue, it will be a result of his actions in or out of combat. 

As for the progression of the adventurers themselves, I agree with you that it would be counter-intuitive to go so far into wanting to keep an adventurer vs having him be disposable, but our progression system is really fast paced. If an adventurer does a level appropriate quest, he will quickly jump in levels and classes! So the fast paced progression keeps that RPG feel, gets you attached to your adventurers, before a lurking Orc Frost Basher caves his head in... Or you've got to let him go to free up cap space!
Christopher ''The DM'' Chancey
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
@ManaVoidChancey
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#11
(08-25-2015, 02:28 AM)Dianna Bell Wrote: Sweet update.

I'm getting excited to see a playable version of this game. Over on the kickstarter comments you said something back in May about August/September being a timeframe in which we might have a playable something. Any further news on that?

Hello miss Bell!

With all of the features and content we've added to the game, September feels too early to have a non-buggy build with which we will be happy with. I'd say it's looking more like what we originally estimated in our Kickstarter Campaign, so November-ish. But, the truth of it is that we are going to release the game when it's ready! Timelines for release are hard to predict as we are coming to the debugging/balancing part of the game's creation and a ton of unforeseen glitches are probably going to arise, but I promise you that we are working hard every day to put the game in our backers hands and grab some very important feedback from everyone!
Christopher ''The DM'' Chancey
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
@ManaVoidChancey
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#12
Finally logged in.
Great update, excited about the fluctuating economy and how the world around can change based on your actions. Love it! Looking forward to playing it!!
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#13
(08-25-2015, 01:58 AM)Felix Adam Wrote: Looks awesome Smile

But why does Brett Noshoes actually has shoes...

Hey Felix!

The story where Brett Noshoes got his name,
Was on a quest of certain fame,
Where he encountered a beast to tame,
And left with quite a bit of shame!

On his quest he encountered a hole!
And to his surprise, there lived a troll!
Outmatched, he had to pay the toll,
But Brett's money pouch held no gold...

The troll was in a mood that day,
And wasn't looking for a fight per-say,
But he had to make the human pay,
So he took his shoes and laughed away.

Brett had to walk all the way back,
Trying to claim it was an attack!
But the lying tongue he did lack,
So everyone knew white from black.

And that's the story of Brett Noshoes. Wink
Christopher ''The DM'' Chancey
ManaVoid Entertainment Dev Team
@ManaVoidChancey
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#14
Great news! It looks more awesome every update and I'm really excited to get my hands on this. Keep up the good work!
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#15
Veeery nice update here! Lots of stuff to like here and great to see that you're coming along. I don't even know where to jump in right now.

I dig procedural design in as many ways as possible, and the map is a very good point to hit with it, since it increases the replay value incredibly. I've always cringed at symmetrical maps, but it's not actually symmetrical. Just almost. A bit.

Now the real burning question is, if I sit on a wealth of potions, how can I *make* that warehouse explode? (fiendish grin)
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#16
(08-25-2015, 04:49 AM)Chancey Wrote:
(08-25-2015, 02:41 AM)Mushroom C1oud Wrote: I am not a game designer or coder so I don't know what is or isn't possible. In my personal opinion the original map had more visual appeal, but I will always substitute less visual appeal for greater gameplay.

Hey Mushroom C1oud!

The map you see in this update is the alpha version, there is still a bit of time to be put on making it look good, so don't worry it will be more visually appealing in the weeks to come. Smile
Hi here,
Perhaps a choice at the start of the game between "Static Map(s)" and "Procedural Map" can be interesting.
Like that we can have the best of two worlds :
- One map with a real life and history (that can be fun to play and create with a lot of hearts and tears)
- Other maps with changes for each games played to add diversities.

But I don't know the efforts and time to add it on the games with Unity. And as well to create the static map who can be the True World of Astraeus.

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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#17
Love these updates! It is looking amazing!! Love the dynamic aspects of the game being played out and developed. Going to be fun to adventure in this land!
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#18
Quiet in here.... How goes the programming? Its hot where I am!
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#19
Hey Aaron!

Thanks for your continued support! Things are very busy here at ManaVoid HQ with all 3 of us concentrating on improving existing systems and introducing new content!
We're also preparing for this week's upcoming update! It's a big one so I'll need a day to prepare everything and it's better for me to post updates during weekends so I can concentrate on the game during the week (while the 3 of us are together at the office).

Stay tuned, we won't keep you waiting for too long!

ps : It was unbearable here in Montreal at the beginning of the week - praise the almighty air conditioning!
Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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#20
Hello friends, and a good Monday too you all!

I was unfortunately unable to post the next update this past weekend, due to unforeseen family obligations.
This minor setback might be for the best, though, as we're still waiting on some financial confirmations from our accountant that might slightly influence the pacing of the next few months.

The next update will be live on next Sunday (Sept. 20th). The main aspects we'll focus on will be the reveal of the Dev/Release RoadMap for Epic Manager, as well as new enemy races, systems and the introduction of the Official ChangeLog.

Until then, we're always available to answer any thoughts or questions about the game right here on the Forums!
Sorry to keep you waiting, it'll be worth it! Big Grin

Wishing you all a very good week, stay in touch!
Simon 'OISIN' Girard
ManaVoid Entertainment
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