Saturday, May 1, 2021

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #58

Hi everyone! Here is the May 2021 update for what's going on at whimindie. Note that some of this information will be cross-posted to our Spellbearers project page on Kickstarter for our backers.  

As of this post we just finished our submissions to the IndieCade festival for 2021, and I'd like to talk about what's coming next for our games we have in development.

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Spellbearers

Last month, we showed off a first look at the deeper parts of Level 2. This month's update is going to be showing some new playable characters and some of the new implemented UI and story. 


We previously showed the green Spellbearer in some promotional material, but this is the first time the purple Spellbearer has been shown in any capacity! With the blue and red Spellbearers this will round out the playable Spellbearers you can play as at launch! Thanks to Deborah Groves for developing the look of the new Spellbearers! (Now excuse me while I go listen to a certain funky rocker...)

A few months ago, we showed some UI mockups, and this time our team has implemented the updated UX/UI and the initial boot up/story dialogue. Take a look!


















Thanks to Jessica M. Jacuinde for doing the UI/UX/Boss Intro Artwork, Niko for the illustrations, and Zion Jones for the Visual Effects! 

Wishlist Spellbearers on Steam
Follow Spellbearers on itch.io

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Selatria



I made a post at the beginning of April that we were about 97% complete.

A lot of the work is done for Selatria, and we're currently working on the ending cutscenes and tying everything together. A lot of dungeons have incomplete rooms that need to be tied together. We're also finishing up side quests and implementing Steam assets such as achievement art, Steam trading cards for the full version, and etc. The main team is now down to 4 designers and one artist, and one in-house tester aimed to reduce the amount of "a lot of cooks in the kitchen" and focus on finishing the last of the game. 

Speaking of which, we made an important announcement for owners of "Selatria: Advent of the Dakk'rian Empire" on Steam. Please click here to see it. In a nutshell, due to Steam restrictions, we will be keeping Part 1 available with the second half of the story purchasable as DLC. For the full version (sold separately), there will be enhancements such as achievement support, new trading cards, and a digital download of the soundtrack included. 

A few weeks ago, we also launched Alpha Testing for Chapter 4 and got a lot of feedback. There will be further updates to the alpha build as we try to make the the last chapters an enjoyable experience for all. Thank you to all who applied! We will open again for more Alpha Testers at some point in the future, please watch this blog for more information on when that will take place. 

Wishlist Selatria - Full Version on Steam
Follow Selatria on itch.io

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Corpse Castle

Corpse Castle, the game we're helping produce with developer Wicked Cake Games is getting some positive impact! We recently put a new version out on itch.io and Steam, take a play through some of the new levels if you haven't!

You can play the game for yourself here! 

Also, thanks to Colonel Steev for the positive feedback!

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That's all for this development log.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #57

Hi everyone! Here is the April 2021 update for what's going on at whimindie. Note that some of this information will be cross-posted to our Spellbearers project page on Kickstarter for our backers. 

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Spellbearers

This month's update will be a focus on showing some new art and gameplay pictures that were worked on the last few months. 

Each level we plan on having an illustration of the level while the assets load. If you play the current demo version, you'll notice it's taken up by a black Loading screen. While the level loads, we plan on showing off an illustration of the level with some background story on what's going on.

Niko finished the illustration for Level 1: The Gothic Kingdom of Veki. Check it out!

Two months ago, we showed you a preview of Level 2: Icy Realm of Pagosia. However, Pagosia is actually split into two parts. You get to explore the icy fortress, but here is a first look of the caverns underneath... 




Wow, lots of icy spider webs in the dungeon... wonder what it could be? 


It's not a spider...?

Ooh, a puppet that's being manipulated via spider webs. But what are the green eyes behind the puppet...? Guess you'll have to find out by getting through Level 2. Please look forward to it!

I'm also happy to announce that the soundtrack for the game is complete! Spellbearers will have 18 music tracks total in the game, and we hope you'll enjoy all of  the fantastic tunes. We will have more to share regarding some of the music of Spellbearers in a future update. 

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Selatria

As we prepare for the Chapter 4 Alpha Test, I would like to show you some updated lore around one of the prominent cities in Chapter 4, the city of Verwin.

Verwin is a city on the Dakk'rian continent will be one of the first locations encountered in Chapter 4. 

Two rival families, the Mindaro and Vermilion families are in a constant struggle to control the city with their sprawling casinos, each taking up roughly half of the city. And to the north is a large Arena where challengers and political enemies are sent to fight for their lives against various beasts for the spectator's enjoyment.

Here's a look at the two casino heads.

Maximillion Mindaro

Valeria Vermilion

When completing all of the games at their respective casinos, you will be able to take on a special challenge against the casino heads which can lead to even greater rewards.



And meanwhile, at the Verwin Arena, the heroes see a familiar face...




Is it Number 016? And Waltear? The leader of the resistance? 

The Chapter 4 Alpha Test for Selatria will be going live on Saturday, April 24th on Steam! Invites will be sent out to those who fill out the alpha testing application. If you're interested in playing it and giving feedback, please visit out our Selatria Chapter 4 Alpha Test Application.

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That's all for this development log.
Thanks for your support, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and join our DiscordUntil next time! Wishlist Selatria - Full Version on Steam Wishlist Spellbearers on Steam Spellbearers Art by Niko, Deborah Groves, Parker Colon, and Gerren Willis Spellbearers Programming by Gerren Willis Selatria Art by Niko and Deborah Groves



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Monday, March 1, 2021

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #56

Hi everyone! Here is the March update for what's going on at whimindie. Note that some of this information will be cross-posted to our Spellbearers project page on Kickstarter for our backers.

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Spellbearers

In last month's development log, we showed off some footage of Level 2, and before I talk about some of the assets that are currently being developed, I want to talk a bit about the release date we promised on Kickstarter for the game. 

Originally when we planned the Kickstarter, we estimated for a March release date. As you all know, game development is really difficult. It's hard to manage a lot of moving parts between art, music and game production in general. Not to mention the ongoing issues with the COVID-19 pandemic and the delay of some of our art coming in due to one of our illustrators being based out of Texas. That being said, we are going to need a few more months to complete Spellbearers. 

Though I won't list a new release date right here and now, I will stress that we continue to make solid progress on Spellbearers despite these issues, and it's important to us that we also don't want to rush and release an incomplete game. When we have an updated release window, you all will be the first to know through these updates. 

While we showed some new gameplay last month, today I'd like to revisit some of the UI and UX that Jessica has been working on. I know as a player, seeing me talk about user interface and windows is not exactly glamourous, but it's also important to note that a good user interface makes for a good game. 



New UI/UX mockups - showing the new keybinds and settings.

These are some of the mockups for how some of the customization will work. If you play through the current demo, you see a rough implementation of the key-binds and controller settings, and we have plans to redesign it based off these mockups. Once we finish the level design, our goal will be to update the UI to match these mockups.

As for the game design development, a lot of artwork is currently being implemented into the levels after Pagosia, and in the next update, I hope to show you some of the fruits of that work.

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Selatria


As we are nearing the end of Selatria development, we are looking for players of all skills and backgrounds to participate in alpha testing for the full version of the game. 

The alpha test will be aimed at gathering various points of feedback: Such as difficulty/pacing/audio or visual issues or other miscellaneous bugs or that we can address for future rounds of testing to have a smooth gameplay experience. We aim to start this process in April of 2021 starting with Chapter 4.

Due to complications with COVID-19, instead of conducting closed testing sessions at our studio location, alpha testing will be done from user's home and user's computers via special alpha testing keys compatible with digital services such as Steam or itch.io.

If you're interested, please fill out our alpha testing application and we may reach out to you. Do note that alpha test save data will not be compatible with the release version of the game.

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That's all for this development log.
Thanks for your support, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and join our DiscordUntil next time! Wishlist Selatria - Full Version on Steam Wishlist Spellbearers on Steam


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Playing FFX again...

 I have a newfound appreciation for Final Fantasy X after playing HD Remaster on the Switch after not playing the game in 20 years. 

I remember having so much trouble clearing out the puzzles when I was 10 (I remember that ice temple being a LOT bigger) and struggling on that airship boss fight for weeks. Probably didn't help that I just used Yuna's aeons and nothing else leaving everyone else weak and not ready for it.

My gaming style has changed quite a bit in 20 years, or maybe I was so salty from the first playthrough that I knew what to expect. lol

After working on Selatria I now appreciate all the hard work to making a cohesive game with cutscenes and voice acting. I didn't give them enough credit for then and just considered it an inferior experience to FFIX. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #55

Hi everyone! Here is the February update for what's going on at whimindie. Note that some of this information will be cross-posted to our Spellbearers project page on Kickstarter for our backers.

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Spellbearers

In last month's development log, we showed off some initial shots of Level 2, this month we have a giant update on the progress of the level, which we're tentatively calling "Pagosia". The Spellbearer has a mission to go through Pagosia to find the lost Spellmaster Goniah, who they believe might be peril. 

Our team has been hard at work this month to put some of Pagosia together. And we a new preview picture and some brand new footage to show you. (Do note that while this is a good representation of what the level looks like, there is still some polish needed to be done before we consider this final.)





What kind of other scary threats will you encounter in Pagosia? I'm excited for you to find out.


In last month's development log, I talked about Selatria having Achievements, and we also plan on implementing Achievements for Spellbearers as well. Though we're only at a conceptual phase at present, we have started scoping out the art needed for the user interface for achievements. As with the other user interface elements, Jessica is currently working on the mockups for this before we move into implementation in-game. Do note what you see here is rough and subject to change.



This was a great collaborative effort by the team. The music you hear from Pagosia is from Christopher Nuño with vocals by Julie Seechuk, the terrain art was developed by Parker Colon, and the props and additional art was developed by Deborah Groves and Nikolai Gilliland and VFX by Zion Jones. The Achievement mockups were developed by Jessica M. Jacuinde. With game direction and implementation by Gerren Willis.

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Selatria

The main focus over January has been separated between cutscene development, achievement implementation, and finishing up incomplete work. From a development standpoint, we're currently prioritizing developing areas that are tied to achievements and cutscenes and then going back and filling in the blanks and tying the game together. That's the tough part. 

I do have one shot of concept art for one of the upcoming dungeons that I can show. This was done by one of our newest artists/mappers on the team, Kevin Picotte.


And here are some enemies you will encounter in some of the final chapter. This art was developed by character artist Deborah Groves.





...Hmm, they have both Selactic energies in them. How is that possible?  Wasn't the Dakk'rian source destroyed? Interesting, indeed...

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That's all for this development log.
Thanks for your support, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and join our DiscordUntil next time! Wishlist Selatria - Full Version on Steam Wishlist Spellbearers on Steam


Friday, January 1, 2021

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #54


Hi everyone! Happy New Year! I wanted to give a monthly update of what's been going on at whimindie. Note that some of this information will be cross-posted to our Spellbearers project page on Kickstarter for our backers.

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Spellbearers

For this month's update, I wanted to share some updates to the team. We were able to bring on two additional terrain artists to be able to ramp up art development of Level 2 and Level 3 simultaneously. One artist, Parker Colon, is working on the terrain art for Level 2, and the other artist Kevin Picotte is working on the terrain art for Level 3. 

For Level 2, we plan on going for an icy aesthetic. For Level 3, we are going for a fiery aesthetic. 

Here is an early look of Level 2 with some of the new art implemented. (Yes, the ice is slippery!)


Do note that we still plan on making tweaks and changes to the aesthetics and what you see here is a work-in-progress.

We also have some shots of enemies you'll see in Level 3 - these were created by character artist Deborah Groves:





For the second half of December, the Spellbearers team took a much needed holiday break to relax and hit the new year with stride. We plan on resuming development next week. Please look forward to more Spellbearers updates in February!

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Selatria

This upcoming January 3 will be the 10-year development mark for Selatria. The team and development methods have changed quite a bit since then, and we're finally close to the finish line. A big push for the end of 2020 was to finish the majority of the game's battle system. Unfortunately, we're a bit behind schedule, and there needs to be a few adjustments and testing for the battles before we can call it fully complete, but a lot of the heavy lifting is done. 

The main development focus for the next few months are going to be polishing the last of the battle system, to finish the cutscenes for the main scenario, finishing any incomplete voiceovers, adjusting the last of the voices, doing necessary re-recording/implementing of audio, developing a trailer for the full game and achievements. 

Achievements? 

Yes! We were able to get achievement support for Selatria -- and we plan on launching the full version of the game with Steam achievements. We are estimating there may be about 60 achievements for the entire game. Details on how this will affect save data carried over from the first half will be explained in a future development log. 

And some new screenshots with some of the areas/dungeons/cutscenes that have been worked on during the last month.






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We will have more to share next month. Thanks for your support, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and join our DiscordUntil next time! Wishlist Selatria - Full Version on Steam Wishlist Spellbearers on Steam

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Thursday, December 31, 2020

We made it

 We made it. 

A year ago today, I was with my close group of friends in a garage in Highland playing Overcooked talking about how we were going to tackle what we *thought* were going to be our hurdles of 2020. 

Oh, how wrong we were. 

We all had to make sacrifices of some kind this year, more than we might have been used to. It would be hard to find someone to say that their life *hasn't* changed this year. 
For me, I am incredibly lucky. My family is OK, my close friends are OK, and I'm OK - but it also was a wake-up call for me to try something different. To not take opportunities for granted - to use the time working from home and not commuting to learn a new skill or to get that exercise or work on my projects that I didn't have time to do. I'm less fatigued and less tired. 

I'm hoping the tech and game industry will continue to trust and hire people to work remotely/from home. It will really open up a chance for me (and others) to move or live anywhere... as long as it has good internet. Something I really never considered before 2020. And I think embracing technology and more opportunities to work remotely were one of the very few wins of 2020. 

I hope 2021 is better for everyone - We can all really use a win next year. I'm glad we made it through 2020.

Get vaccinated if you can, and wear a mask.