So we’re getting very close to Alpha now. I’m implementing the level structure as we speak and the last few vital features are nearing completion. (Well, I’d probably call it beta, but seriously – how useless are these terms now, anyway? –Rohan)
It’s a great feeling, but one which also comes with some sadness as we reel in the scope of the project to accommodate a realistic time frame for release.
I, for example, am loathed to find that I will NOT be able to create a multi-mineral table for my tavern. I really wanted one which had a copper frame but an iron tabletop. How else will people know I’m a tactless moron?
Well, it’s Christmas/Solstice/Festivus/etc, and I don’t mind admitting I’ve had a few convivial beverages, so it’s time to talk about the editing tools we’ve developed for Township.
Picture, if you will, a perfect game development world. One in which tools are enormous, powerful, database-driven, and quickly export everything from an advanced GUI into the game data required to procedurally generate an isometric world. Are you imagining that? Great.
Well, we don’t have one of those. In fact we’ve been so busy making the game engine that trying to make any tools to edit the dozen odd XML files that drive our game wasn’t much of an option. At least, not making a serious GUI editor.
I’ve often been accused of over-thinking things. So often, in fact, that I’m starting to think people are over-saying it.
One of the things I’ve had a tendency to over-think is the meaning behind the inclusion or exclusion of certain things from media. Studying and working in communications and media for as long as I have, I can’t help but see everything as the ebb and flow of value systems and worldviews, whether the communicators are conscious of it or not.
In major news media, the specific wording used to describe an event can be to draw in hits, to indicate its seriousness, or to frame the nature of the event so people know how much derision or praise to heap upon the inevitable protagonists and antagonists of the piece. On Twitter or in everyday conversation the simple use of the word ‘they’ as opposed to ‘he’ to describe a hypothetical person doesn’t escape my notice, and indicates a tendency not to have a default masculine view of the world – it sends a very clear message, whether you use ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘they’ in such an instance.
More work is being done on Township than ever before. While we are all still part time, there are now 10 of us contributing to the game as it nears alpha stage.
The buildings now work, we’re prepping for our first draft of an in-game economy (fun!) and we’re in that delightful phase of game development somewhere in between the accursed engine-building part and the diligent bug-testing bit.
In short, we’ve been so busy that we’ve nary had a moment to updateth the siteth.
It’s also time to introduce to our friends and followers our current full lineup of productive folks working on the game, as we with great pride announce the addition of three interns to our ranks for the closing few months of development.
We are now:
Lead Programmer: Rohan Harris
Lead Designer: Leigh Harris
Character Artist: Justine Colla
Environmental Artist: Corey Attard
Animator: Joshua Wright
Musician: Eliot Fish
Contributing Programmer: Damien Lee
Graphic Design Intern: Jessica Graham
PR & Marketing Intern: Narkisska Spruce
Programming Intern: Scott Greenup
So if anyone out there in internetland knows any of these fine folks, we’re incredibly excited to be working with all of them and wish for you to heap praise upon them in advance for a job well done!
Home stretch for the game is within sight. Now we start the phase where we realise how much is broken and figure out how badly it’ll be delayed. It’s science! I don’t make the rules!
In case you missed it, Flat Earth and Epiphany co-wrote an in-depth article detailing our story – how we got here, how we ended up working in the same office, everything.
Be sure to stop in and give it a look see.
It’s over on GamaSutra’s new sister site GameCareerGuide, and speaks at length about the many advantages of working with other developers, both when you’re first starting up and when you’re already established.
The very first previews are up, the game is currently on Steam Greenlight (be sure to give it a push), and in just one little hour, Morgan Lean and Sam Jensen (Director and Lead Designer of Frozen Hearth respectively) will be on GameSpotAU LIVE via Twitch TV showcasing the game and demonstrating it in action to the crew at GameSpot.
Check out the below press on it – the game’s coming THIS MONTH – then tune in at 2pm to GameSpot AU to hear straight from the horse’s mouth what the game is all about:
“I was quietly impressed not only by the team’s focus, the strength of their ideas and their skill in crafting the fundamentals of a solid strategy game.”
“…[an] Australian-made RTS that’s set to stand with the best of them.”
“I’m ashamed to admit, looks a whole lot better than what my jaded expectations were for a local RTS of which I’d never heard.”
“I was honestly surprised to discover how much fun could be had in a MOBA that still has more than a pinch of RTS flavour.”
“If you’re a fan of MOBAs or love RTS and want to have a look at what this whole MOBA craze is all about, this Aussie title may be up your alley…”
“Simply put, Frozen Hearth is a game that made me care about my actions a lot more than I thought it would, and that in itself makes for an extremely refreshing gameplay experience.”
“Frozen Hearth is a rock solid RTS that has a great level of depth to it.”
“With a beautifully lush environment and well created characters, I instantly became attached to the world of Ámorrá.”
AusGamers Multiplayer Trailer: http://www.ausgamers.com/news/read/3253222/frozen-hearth-trailer-showcases-multiplayer-gameplay-and-modes
I had originally intended to write an article describing our workflow. It seemed like a good idea at the time – maybe some people might get some use out of seeing the workflow we’ve settled on for the technical side of our development.
However, over the last few weeks, I noticed (as we had a few folks passing through the office and seeing what we’re doing) that the biggest question became some of the more abnormal tools we use.
And so, instead of dryly going through every step of the process, what follows are the 5 most useful tools for the development of our game – in terms of efficiency, importance, total hours and yeah, even ‘cool’ factor.
This isn’t just software on our laptops or desktops, either – this includes anything that could conceivably be called a ‘tool’ or ‘resource’ for our sprite-based, OpenGL-driven exploration/creation title.
And so, without further ado…
There have been malicious rumours of foul intent spreading that we’re not in fact real people and that you’re all being Punk’d by Siri.
Well, cast no further aspersions, ne’erdowells!
I give you, the current Flat Earth team!!! (Well, except for Josh, our animator, who’s in Melbourne, and Eliot, our musician, who wasn’t in on the day we took it, and Morgan and Damien, who are actually part of the Epiphany Games team, but dammit-just-lemme-share-a-picture-of-us!!)
Last year it was one of the driving and most inspiring forces which led to me actually throwing myself into trying to level-up my experience points in videogame-makery.
This year, hearing from Robin Hunicke on creating Journey was absolutely stellar. She described in some detail how utterly not fun the game was until they were almost 80% through (something which, as a huge fan of ThatGameCompany, I was afraid of when first seeing the title).
They outlined the process of iterating on the design by creating, seeking feedback, then recreating, and repeat ad nauseum.
At the same time as this was going on, I was chirpily (yes, I chirp – I’ve been known to chirp on occasion) running around the Exhibition Centre showing an early build of our game to many a person.