Sunday, December 18, 2016

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #37

Hey everyone! Here with the newest development log and the last one to round out the year. 

Selatria: Advent of the Dakk'rian Empire is coming to Steam!

If you have not heard, we will be partnering with indie RPG publisher Aldorlea Games to bring the first three chapters of Selatria to Steam in January 2017! While we don't have a precise date just yet, The release will coincide with our first major Patch 1.1, which will have a lot of awesome new tweaks and additions.

Selatria: Advent of the Dakk'rian Empire - Patch 1.1

One of the biggest changes to Patch 1.1 will be the addition of Selactic monsters. There will be special purple points where you can deposit Selactite to be able to spawn optional (but challenging!) boss encounters. Defeating these will yield permanent stat boosts and special rewards as well as a trophy specific to the encounter. You'll be able to exchange these trophies in the second part of the game for better rewards, so I encourage you to take on these special challenges.


For those who have played very early builds of Selatria may remember this feature. Unfortunately, to make the timing of the original September release, we temporarily removed this feature and reworked it to better fit the game.

Development of Chapter 4

Development of Chapter 4 of Selatria is currently underway! Unfortunately, there's not too much spoiler-free content we can show at the moment as the chapter is being developed out of order with the harder content being worked on first. As Chapter 1 demonstrated as introductory, Chapter 2 having a focus on tough boss battles, and Chapter 3 being deeply focused on minigames and branching paths, the style we are taking with Chapter 4 is more open compared to what you may have played so far. More information about new characters, and announcements for new roles and voices to come in 2017!

A look back at the year:

This year, we've started demonstrating our games at events - First we had our awesome yearly meetup at E3 in Los Angeles, right after E3 was over, we exhibited our games for the first time in a public forum at  the Everybody's Art Show in Victorville, CA and then the Playcrafting Expo at the Microsoft Offices in Los Angeles, CA - It was a fun time! It was really fun to see others play our games in-person and received some invaluable feedback not only from the attendees, but from fellow programmers and designers. Much thanks to Paul, Jon, Geno, Chris, and Chris, and the Groves Family for helping out with the shows!

What's next?

In 2017 we plan on following-up with this and attending and demonstrating our games at more events such as:

GDC  in San Francisco in February-March 2017
LVL Up Expo 2017 in Las Vegas in May 2017
E3 in June 2017
Gameacon Las Vegas in September 2017
Future Playcrafting LA events in 2017 (quarterly)

That's about it for this log. Until next time! Here's to a great 2017!


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

FFXIV Scholar Woes

A lot of people cannot seem to play the Scholar job on FFXIV. - I'd go so far to say they couldn't shield the party if Captain America was right there coaching them. Too reactive, not enough proactive.

Try to give friendly constructive advice and get cussed out for it. I think it's time to hang up my Mentor status. I'm done.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #36

Hey everyone! It's been just about a year since my last development log for the studio, and I wanted to use this Labor Day to make a post to talk about what we've been working on in the past year.

Previously, I've talked about how we made the decision to split Selatria into two parts. Due to the long development of the game, we wanted to show what we've done over the past few years and use this first half to assist us with funding for the second half of the game as we will not be doing any more crowdfunding for the Selatria team.

This brings me to the updated logo for Selatria. We took into account feedback given about the readability of the name of the game, as well as a subtitle for the first half of the game, so we came up the idea of such:

The first half of the game will be officially titled "Selatria: Advent of the Dakk'rian Empire", and we will have more information about beta testing below. Expect a new trailer for this to come about next week or so!

Beta Testing:

Beginning next week, we want to aim to put Selatria: Advent of the Dakk'rian Empire into beta testing. We'll have a limited number of keys available to give out for people to play for the next week or so to ensure everything is set and ready for the release date. Beta version data will not be able to be carried over to the final game. Those who have supported us on Indiegogo will be getting both registration keys for the beta test as well as the both halves of the actual game sent via email on launch day.

Development Team Changes:

Among the biggest change since our last development log is that Selatria is now being developed across California and Nevada. Shortly after the last development log, I relocated for new opportunities and used said opportunities to be able to help fund the projects we are working on in-house. Since then, we've brought on a new sound effects artist, an additional composer, several voice actors, and two new game designers for the studio team.

Here's a recent picture of our team from E3 2016 a few months ago.

Unfortunately, the side effect from all of this is that is time I would use to write about development went to commuting and traveling between California and Nevada instead.

Expanded Social Media Use:

Since last year, we've made lots of strides with social media. Deborah who is one of our leading artists for Selatria is now doubling as social media for the studio. We have now begun using Selatria's Facebook and our whimindie Tumblr to do posts on development of the games. I've also set up an instagram to where I'll post new info about studio and behind the scenes development on our projects. Be sure to like or follow our pages!

Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / Instagram

Use of Organizational Tools:

Beginning in late-2014 we began having weekly standup meetings for the project and put those notes in a Google Doc to note project progress.

This year, we decided to switch to a new project tool called HackNPlan, which is a management tool similar to Rally and Jira, but meant for game developers. It's currently in beta phase, but I've found it to be essential to keeping track of all the different aspects of the project. The biggest help has been towards keeping track of bugs in the project as well as voice acted files that need review and retake.

Because of the distance and increased team members working from home, we began using Slack to keep communication and files in a good spot.

New Auditions:

We plan on having a new round of auditions for characters in the second half of Selatria later this year. We want to focus on finishing the roles of current talent before we add new voices to the roster, and getting away from having our current talent wait several months for feedback. We want to get a handle on the process first.

That about wraps it up for this development log. Thanks for sticking with us on this long development journey. Our team poured our heart and soul into this game, and we hope that it will be one of the best indie turn based RPGs on the market. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as we did making it! Until next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Believing that one person can fix things

Hey, so I wanted to temporarily bring my blog out of retirement because several nerves were struck this whole last week: In particular: The US presidential candidate Donald Trump's remarks that "I alone can fix it", the leaked emails at the DNC finding a way to sabotage Bernie Sanders' support, and my Facebook feed being covered with posts about switching support from Bernie Sanders to any other one candidate that feels they speaks to them, or hanging onto the thread that he still has a realistic shot at the presidency (and he doesn't.)

Now before I get comments accusing me of otherwise: I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. I voted for him by mail in the California primary, and his causes and beliefs align with most of mine. I was equally outraged when he did outperform Hillary Clinton in almost every debate and it was twisted by media companies to show that the opposite was true. I refuse to watch CNN to this day because of it. I sincerely feel that Bernie Sanders would have had a bigger shot to getting the traction and votes he needed, if the system we put together wasn't so stacked against him.

Now those reading are already listing alternatives to Bernie Sanders - I already know who they are. Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, both well-spoken individuals who have impressive campaigns, and I can easily show you the chance they have to get a presidency. I can tell you how to make the gesture with your hand. Just make your index finger and your thumb touch together.

There needs to be short-term and long-term solutions to how to fix this disaster, and believing in one person to fix a giant centuries-old system isn't the way to go about it. One person isn't the reason why this system is broken, it comes from a messy foundation underneath. The short-term solution is picking the candidate who aligns with your views the closest, and has the best shot of winning (in my case, it's Hillary Clinton - yours may vary) but the long-term solution has to be to figure out why our choices have to be this way and change it.

The long-term solution can be solved in my opinion if we start low and work our way up. There are unknown representatives and local candidates running all of the time that have policies similar to the platform Bernie Sanders runs on, but no one really takes the time to sit down and research them. Do the research, vote for officials that have views that align with yours, work your way up the ladder. Fire/replace them. Fire/replace their boss. Fire/replace their boss's boss. It comes down to my main point. 

Those with power are only effective when the those under them are willing to let it happen.

In extreme cases, the people willing to let it happen may be kept/forced ignorant to this power through the use of surveillance systems, or harsh policies that limit education. In more moderate cases, the people willing to let it happen is because of fear, or that they don't think there's another option. Or in the easiest way, it comes out due to apathy or willful ignorance.

One person alone can't fix it. In fact it's scary to even have that opinion. If you want to change the system, replace the people responsible for keeping the system in place before the next-go-around. We should have had better candidates this time around, and it's a shame, but we also can't have the notion that one person needs to be kept so high on a pedestal. It's not that black and white.

End Rant.

Post Edit: I use Ballotpedia when making my vote for who to go for. Since I do vote-by-mail, I use this website to type in every name and figure out the platforms they stand on and see if they're worth voting for. It's not biased towards any cause, and it's definitely worth looking into.