Posted on November 03, 2018, 06:51:28 PM by Jubal
Epicinium Kickstarter is live!
The Epicinium Kickstarter is now live! You can now back the environmental wargame from cooperative indie studio A Bunch of Hacks, and see it on its way to becoming a fully fledged masterpiece!
Epicinium is a game of tactical warfare, with a strong environmental element as players are scored not only for military success but the state of the lands remaining at the end of the game. Will you industrialise and push for a greater victory over your enemies, knowing the risk that climate change and pollution could drag down your score? How worth is it winning a mighty victory if all you have left to rule is bomb craters and mud? Epicinium asks these questions in a setting that nonetheless has a well balanced wargame with a range of tactical options at its heart, from lowly riflemen and trench-digging sappers to powerful tanks and zeppelins. Take a look and chip in to back the project!
Posted on October 30, 2018, 04:10:34 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 30: October 2018
Issue 30: October 2018EDITORIAL
Welcome to Updates from the Forge! It's nearly all hallows' eve, and we have... well, not actually anything particularly spooky in the issue, so here's a new pumpkin smiley for the forum to make up for it.
There has been a lot going on around the site this month, including our chain writing project coming to its conclusion. You can read our three great stories written collaboratively by nearly twenty writers, across three different continents, here. We'll hopefully do more chain writing in winter, so do keep an eye out for that There's as always more creative content than we can pack in as well, including new Son of a Witch skins, more issues of other comics, more devlogs, and more besides. And there'll be more to come in November!
Before that, we've got six great projects in this month's showcase, including a full range of tabletop, computer, comic, modding, and other projects. As the nights draw in, here's all the things you could be doing when you're not running away from zombies...
- Dare you enter Goregasm Arena?
- Spooky Soundtracks from SoundImage
- Ahowl's RTW Enhancements: Germania and Dacia!
- Join the Skywrights' Guild with Utherwald Press
- Darkness and Demons in Pixel Dungeon Adventure
- UI updates from Fringe Planet
Dare you enter Goregasm Arena?There's just a few days left to chip in to the Kickstarter campaign for Goregasm Arena, a brutally comic-violent boardgame of arena battles set in the madcap post-apocalyptic Wasteman setting. Shark-headed mutants, Toxic waste monsters, and two-headed gorillas are just some of the crazy folk who are ready to put their lives on the line in deadly gladiatorial combat. As well as shunting, tackling and striking other players, the game includes card picks that will let you discover what horrific injuries your opponents have recieved, and a wheel-spinner that represents the fickle nature of the crowd - the support of the fans can be a great thing, but the mob is always fickle.
We've known Thunderchild minis for a while here at Exilian - among other things, they were stallholders at our 2016 convention - and it's great to see their first boardgame coming out. With not long to go, now's the time to head over and throw some of your hard-earned cash their way to enter the deadliest of arenas, where four mutants may enter but only one mutant can leave. Desperate times, after all, call for desperate entertainment!
Spooky Soundtracks from SoundImageIf you're doing any kind of creative project online then it's very, very worth checking out SoundImage, one of the greatest music and texture libraries on the internet, created by our friend Eric Matyas! Recent additions to the archive of over 1500 tracks (plus a very wide sound effect and texture selection) include a lot more cartoon-style textures, which now have their own pages on the site, and a load of new looping tracks for game or video use including "Ancient Waters", "A Walk Through the City", the 70s-style "Side Burn Squad" and the mellow "Ice Road Sunrise"! With hallowe'en coming up, expect new soundtracks on the Dark/Ominous and Horror/Surreal pages too - recent additions to those include "Too Quiet", "After the Invasion", and "Surreal Place". If you want a spooky theme for your seasonal project, do take a look at those!
Ahowl's RTW Enhancements: Germania and Dacia!The most recent versions of ahowl11's Vanilla Enhancement Mod for Rome Total War, "Germanic Mystery" and "Sons of Zamolxis", focus on the wild lands north of the Danube and the warrior tribes that dwelled there. This includes a complete overhaul of the Germania unit roster compared to the original game - there are now many different units available, including Chosen Spearmen, Bear and Wolf Warriors available at temples, and the Harii warriors as a new mercenary unit unique to the region. The training structure has been changed too, with the tavern-type buildings now responsible for training the deadly berserkers and night raiders. For Dacia there are plenty of changes too, including the addition of more heavy infantry and archery units such as Pikemen and Champions, and a diverse cavalry selection that includes horse archers.
"Next time, Gaius, I'm booking the holiday, and we're going to Mesopotamia, OK?"Ahowl's vanilla enhancement mod also includes changing Egypt from a Bronze Age to a Ptolemaic visual style of army, and enhancements for the Gauls and Britannia that fill out their unit rosters including additional higher level units. Future plans include the inclusion of a range of battles and smaller campaigns alongside the grand campaign, to give the mod a more complete portrayal of Roman history. If you're playing the original RTW, this is a great mod to check out by one of the most prolific modders on the scene.
Join the Skywrights' Guild with Utherwald Press
Travel by air! Guaranteed your money back in the event of fatal crashes!Recently Utherwald Press has been adding new blogposts as usual, including an exciting look at the Skywrights' Guild, one of the most powerful transnational organisations in the world of Darmonica. With an effective monopoly on the lift gas used to keep skyships in the air, the Guild is a major player in international economics and power politics far beyond its official status as an airship and skyship manufacturer. Needless to say, many of the states of Darmonica are less than happy about the guild's power, and besides attempting to build up their own rivals, there is no doubt a degree of intrigue going on for which player characters may be hired on either side...
Darkness and Demons in Pixel Dungeon Adventure
Editor's note: they did not share the guacamole.In Pixel Dungeon Adventure lately, the heroes have come face to face with a new and terrifying demon for an enemy! The comic features three adventurers - Sir Bob the knight, Lady Val the very minmaxed wizard, and Auto the, uh, mechanical automaton rogue - as they battle and, more often, bungle their way through all the challenges that an adventuring world has to offer. Their past adventures have included facing a goblin sorceror-king, an army of strange deadly blob-creatures, the lack of mounts, and of course the mysterious Dungeon Master himself... but will the challenge of a mighty demon prove too much for them? You can read and discuss the comic here on Exilian, and also see the comic's regular postings on the Pixel Dungeon Adventure website, which is now linked from the Exilian homepage sidebar. Discover the comic and read on!
UI updates from Fringe PlanetBeebug's frozen world survival simulator, Fringe Planet, has has new UI updates. The game is set on a mysterious chunk of rock in space, in a strange lovecraftian universe of science and magic. The player must attempt to guide several characters, the peons, to build and survive on this tiny fragment in the terrifying void. As they do so, they will have perils thrown at them, with different 'storytellers' providing different modes and balances of the challenges. Those who fail will die, whether from starvation, madness, or cold: those who succeed may discover new technologies and ways of manipulating their surroundings, and - perhaps - clues of how they got to the fringe and who they used to be.
Select which storyteller will throw horrors at you from the depths of the void...!Recent UI updates to the game have seen a much more aged paper-style interface, bringing out the lovecraftian theme of the game even more - Beebug keeps up an active blog to discuss new changes. A recent post to that includes some great details on some of the things that have gone wrong in testing, from heating the planet to 2 billion degrees by accident, to mysterious insects wanting to cuddle up to humans for warmth, to the peons ending up weighing thousands of kilos because nobody wrote code for them to go to the loo!
The game's shaping up really nicely, so do head over and take a look at their devlog:
That's all folks! If you've got a creative/independent project that you'd like featured in this newsletter, please just post it on the forum, and remember that you can also request frontpage announcements for major releases of projects at any time if you're an Exilian member. Feedback is as usual appreciated, just drop it in a comment below or send it to us at exilian (at) exilian (dot) co (dot) uk. Happy Hallowe'en!
Posted on October 13, 2018, 11:16:17 PM by Jubal
Exilian Chain Writing - Read The Stories!
Exilian Summer 2018 Chain Writing - Project CompleteOur Chain Writing project is now complete! Including nineteen different writers from across numerous countries and three different continents, we've created three great stories. The project's been running since the middle of summer, and we're very pleased to be able to share the results, which include octopuses, deities, swordfighting, unlimited fish, broken oaths, airships, hummingbird DNA, and a very noisy cat. What more could you ask for?
The rules of the project were that each writer added up to 250 words to the story, building up a collaborative piece together. The writers were not allowed to discuss the story as it was ongoing and indeed didn't know who else was part of their chain - I as editor passed each section onto the next person. It's a major challenge for writers to take on this sort of collaborative project, and I'd like to hugely thank all of our writers - Andreas, Andrew Conway, ArtDodge, Caradilis, Eadgifu the Fair, HanSolo, HenriNatalie, Holly S-E, Jake, La Ciguapa, Lizard, Loren, Phoenixguard, rbuxton, Rory HJ, Samuel Cook (Tar-Palantir), Suzi (Spritelady), Tusky, and myself.
I'm hoping to run another round of chain writing in winter, probably starting mid-December, so please do keep an eye out for that.
Hope you enjoy the stories!
The Chain Writing StoriesJurou and her tentacled kindred inhabit New Earth in a high tech future - but it's a future that Jurou, misanthropic to her core, wants to bring to an end. Is there any future for New Earth, and if so, who will it belong to?Four companions seek shelter on Three Kings' Crag on a stormy night. They are hunted travellers - and caught between flight and fight, between secrecy and survival, one of them will be forced to make choices that could echo far beyond the noise of the storm.Mediterranean cats are an institution, lazing in the sun, scrounging for fish, and moving for absolutely no-one. Except Zoe, whose arrival in a sleepy Greek fishing town is accompanied by the continued pursuit of a dispute from a very different age...
Posted on September 30, 2018, 07:24:05 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 29: September 2018
Issue 29: September 2018EDITORIAL
It's that time again! Here's your ninth Updates from the Forge issue of 2018, with a great range of stuff to look at as ever. The weather's getting colder, but the forges aren't, as you're about to see (if you read on and this editorial doesn't bore you to sleep, that is...)
There's not much news from around the site this month - as usual we're looking for more people to help with content editing and social media work, so please get in touch if you think you might be able to support us with that. Please do also share this newspost if you read and enjoy it - we need to build up a wider readership for Updates from the Forge in order to help support the great creators who we talk about within it.
This month we're looking at a nice range of projects - stories and strategies, pen-and-paper and PC games - from right across the site. Do take a look, check out people's forum threads, and give feedback! We've got one all-new site member to welcome, Jacob Kellogg whose Rodent Rangers Kickstarter has just started, and one other project new to Updates from the Forge, my own Caucasus-themed fantasy comic Mountain Leopards. Meanwhile we're also revisiting old friends at Epicinium, Windy Meadow, and more; read on and find out!
- Epicinium: Closed Beta Begins
- Be a Rodent Ranger - RPG Kickstarter underway!
- More from the Exile Princes
- Son of a Witch - a Rogue Released!
- Mountain Leopards - An Adventuring Comic
- Choose Iudicia's Story in Tales from Windy Meadow
Epicinium: Closed Beta Begins
To the trenches!Epicinium, the environmentally driven strategy game made by cooperative game company A Bunch of Hacks, has moved from an open Beta to a closed Beta system as of version 0.29.0, requiring a beta key for access. Epicinium, besides being a multiplayer turn based strategy game where your riflemen, tanks and other units battle their way across the map, has a range of features simulating environmental degradation - whether via pollution, terrain destruction, or global warming - all of which can ultimately affect your points at the end of the game. There's a unique trade-off involved in Epicinium between conquering the world, and retaining a world that's worth conquering...
The playing community is largely based around the Epicinium discord channel, so do head over there if you want to find out more. The game now has Discord Rich Presence implemented so you can see the details of fellow players' games as they go! Other additions recently include a lot of improvements to UI and graphics, including new monochrome unit icons, neater text input fields for things like copypasting those new beta keys into the interface, and better pathfinding.
Be a Rodent Ranger - RPG Kickstarter underway!This month we got to welcome new Exilian member Jacob S Kellogg, proprietor of new RPG company Purple Aether Games. He recently ran a successful Kickstarter for the narrative focused RPG Journey Away; his new project, tabletop RPG Rodent Rangers, has just started on Kickstarter itself, and it's looking excellent! A game particularly suitable for younger and family players, but which looks like it's likely to be enjoyable for all other ages too, the Kickstarter has already picked up 10% of its funding in the first few days.
In Rodent Rangers, players (suitable for ages 7 and up) will get to play as plucky mouse detectives, explorers, scientists and scholars who go out on missions through the big (very big compared to a mouse!) wide world when there's a rodent in trouble or a nefarious plot to foil. Focused heavily on problem solving rather than combat, and with a range of setting-specific skills for scampering across busy roads or even taking the wheel of human-sized vehicles, there's plenty for your small heroes to do in their very big adventures! Features like a 'friendship' die will also encourage teamwork in the system, meaning your team of mice (and, optionally, other small critters) will have plenty of opportunity for interaction within an adventuring party. Why not scamper over to Kickstarter and have a look?
More from the Exile Princes
The houses of the Exile landsOur own Jubal is continuing to work on his game The Exile Princes, a strategic RPG project started to mark Exilian's tenth anniversary. Using medieval manuscript images and marginalia for its graphics, and with a hugely variable world generation system, there's a huge amount of detail to explore every time you start a new game in this whimsical setting. Selecting one of the houses shown above - the warlike Generals, heroic Phoenixes, wealthy Dragons, or inquisitive Scholars - gives you a different playstyle for different games, as you campaign to ultimately bring all the cities on the map under the control of your faction. Recent work has been on more in-depth opportunities within the cities, allowing you to explore ruins, visit blacksmiths, get sidequests, and more besides! You can find out more and ask questions about the game on the Exilian thread:
Son of a Witch - a Rogue Released!Version 3.7.3 of Bigosaur's excellent Son of a Witch has been released. The main addition for this release is a new hero type, the Rogue. Starting with a backstab-capable knife, and with a devastatingly powerful ability to hide and then spring from the shadows to deal massive sneak attack damage, the Rogue can be great fun to play with and will be an awesome addition to multiplayer adventuring parties. He also comes with a magical keyring, allowing him to use mana to open doors throughout the game.
The houses of the Exile landsThat's not all though - numerous additional rooms have been added, including a duelling room and a dwarf with a furnace on the battlements level, a portrait gallery in the castle that lets you select a favoured enemy, and (pictured) the Vampire Slayer in the catacombs, who you must help fulfil her dream of becoming a famous vampire hunter! Of course there are some additional achievement for the achievement hunting types too, including VIP Customer - the difficult challenge of collecting ten of the silver shilling bonus items that you get for buying all the other items - yes, that's right, there's now something more you can get for not robbing and plundering your way right through the game...
You can find out more about all of this, and more besides, at the Bigosaur forum, where we also host a full three-part unofficial players' guide to the game and have a wide range of additional skins to download, including recent additions of an elf druid and some Gondorian soldiers!
Mountain Leopards - An Adventuring ComicReturning to Jubal's work with a rather different project, we now head over to the comics and art section, where Jubal is busily writing Mountain Leopards, an adventuring comedy tale that follows cleric, scholar and storyteller Botso K'akhaisdze and his friends (or at least his acquaintances that he puts up with somehow) as they travel through the mountains of the fantasy realm of Datvieti. Here's Botso, Rusudan, and night watchman Varam heading out into the hills:
Brave, bold, adventuring heroes! Well, maybe not brave. Bold adventuring heroes! Well, maybe not bold... they're on an adventure, OK?Taking its art inspiration from Rich Burlew's famous comic The Order of the Stick, and with a setting steeped in the myths, history, culture and legends of Georgia and the Caucasus region, there's a whole lot to delve into. In the eight strips released so far we meet our protagonist, a snarky narrative voice, a deity who wants you to think for yourself, an over-enthusiastic drinking master, and a duck in plate armour - and there's more just round the corner. Do head over, have a read and give some feedback: there'll hopefully be a good many more adventures to come for our adventurers...
Choose Iudicia's Story in Tales from Windy MeadowFinally, we return to Windy Meadow, setting of Moral Anxiety Studios' pixel art illustrated choose-a-story game, for the latest art and character updates! One sequence released this month is the prologue section for Iudicia, whose difficulty interacting with the world leads her to a difficult separation from her family at a very young age:Iudicia is one of three protagonists in Tales from Windy Meadow, which follows their hopes, dreams, anxieties and problems growing up in a larger than life fantasy setting where the world can be brutal, but where folk still go about their day to day lives with bravery or cowardice, joy or sadness, and hopes or fears that are very relatable to those of us in the real world outside. With regular video updates showing progress on story and animations alike, it's often worth checking out the Windy Meadow thread on the forum to see how things are shaping up.
So, September is passing by, and October saddles up to lead the year onwards into autumn. As the long evenings close in there'll be plenty of badgering and hammering away besides glowing furnaces (or, in most of our cases, glowing computer screens) well into the darker nights - and so many more Updates from the Forge to come in the coming months. Until then, as the leaves turn to oranges and browns, take care!
Posted on August 31, 2018, 09:25:50 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 28: August 2018
Issue 28: August 2018EDITORIAL
Welcome to Updates from the Forge issue 28! The imaginary llama is in a sulk this month, so your writing and editorial team once again consists of a trireme, a pangolin, and Jubal, who may or may not be all the same thing.
This month, your very own newsletter of creative geekery has a nicely balanced range of things from across the site to be talking about - two standalone games, one game mod, one tabletop RPG item and one webcomic - so there's something for everyone in here. In the hot summer months (especially in central Europe, where the aforementioned newsletter writer has been at times literally hiding underground from the heat) there's not been a lot of news outside the regular updates to report, though some staffing changes have taken place. The Exilian Chain Writing project has been going well and we hope to share the results of that, including the work of twenty or so fantastic writers, with you in September. We've had some good articles too, and we hope you're keeping up with those; remember to subscribe to our RSS feed if you want to be the first to know when new articles are out.
There's been plenty of work going on across the site on many projects of creative geekery as ever, of course, and we're very excited to share some of that with you!
- Introducing Darkwatch
- A Pixel Dungeon Adventure!
- Crowds gather to watch a Tourney
- Rome: Total War gets enhanced again
- Terminus Cyberstar
Introducing DarkwatchPurveyors of Savage Worlds gaming supplements, Utherwald Press' regular blogposts are a great source of inspiration and ideas for dieselpunk and other semi-modern fantasy settings. In their latest blogpost, they're taking a dive a little further back into the past, to introduce a new setting idea: Darkwatch!
Darkwatch will focus on a city that has been reclaimed from the forces of darkness... mostly. Or maybe only partly. Your band of heroes (heroic on a good day, anyway) will have to assist the city's new occupiers in trying to cleanse parts of the city of the remaining evildoers, as well as keeping law and order, fighting thieves in the streets or bandits in the surrounding countryside. Huge subterranean caverns and tunnels wind beneath the city surface, and it is these lower depths where many of the truly vicious of the city's former inhabitants might still be lurking, waiting for their chance to return to the surface. Darkwatch thus forms a rare idea, a reverse resistance campaign - rather than the heroes being those resisting the invaders, in Darkwatch you must try and wip out the remaining pockets of resistance to the lawful re-occupation of the city. If you can find them in the dark, that is! With inspiration from a mix of horror, clockpunk, and fantasy settings, Darkwatch will be very well worth keeping an eye on as it develops.
Of course there've been many other regular updates from Utherwald recently as well, including a wreck generator for the sci-fi setting Forsaken Space, which follows crews that try and salvage equipment from the lost hulks of dead spaceships, more updates on the Cold War Skirmishes setting, and the continued writeups of Stormwell's campaign of Frozen Skies, Utherwald Press' flagship RPG sourcebook which plunges players into a dieselpunk world on the frontiers of the icy far north!
A Pixel Dungeon Adventure!Exilian's love of creative geekery goes beyond games themselves, of course, and pixeldungeonadventure has brought his eponymous webcomic to Exilian! Pixel Dungeon Adventure follows the roaming of some Definitely Heroic Hero Types around a dungeon, in which they will battle goblins, cast spells, hopefully not kill all of the people they're trying to rescue, and most importantly find lots of treasure! Sir Bob the axe-wielding knight, Lady Val the minmaxed and calculating wizard, and Auto the... giant metal golem rogue... are heading on into the darkness, and it's time for you to tag along with them and follow their adventures.
Crowds gather to watch a TourneyTusky's excellent Tourney, the medieval tournament simulator, has seen several new updates this month. The game will allow you to create arenas and set up jousts between mighty and brave knights, in a range of settings, from Arthur's mythical Avalon to the underwater haven of Atlantis and eventually Gulansharo, the City of Flowers. Featuring bright, sharp vintage-style graphics, and all the heraldry and panoply one could ask for, it's shaping up to look fantastic.
Caption Goes HereRecent updates have included work on the stands (pictured) where peasants will cluster to watch over your knockout tournaments and see the knights perform! At other times they'll be found grabbing a beer, visiting the apothecary, wandering around the buildings and mills, and of course just standing and having a chat. Of course the core of the game will be the jousts themselves, with knockout (in some cases literally) tournaments to determine who is the greatest jouster in the land. Saddle up and head over to Tusky's thread to find out what else is planned:
Rome: Total War gets enhanced againExilian's birth was rooted in the world of Rome: Total War modding, and believe it or not we're still getting on with it over a decade later! ahowl11 has created a great new vanilla enhancement mod, keeping the feel and features of the old Rome: Total War you know and love whilst also adding a number of enhancements and improvements. This includes improved battle formations and AI, the removal of a few of the more bizarre units (no, Arcani, Roman Ninjas were not a thing), improved battle AI, and better animations for a wide range of units.
Somewhere in the middle of the phalanx, Maikandros realised that he had left the oven on.ahowl's mod incorporates the Ptolemaic Empire, a full revamp of Egypt that turns it from the anachronistic New Kingdom faction portrayed in vanilla RTW to the contemporary land of the Ptolemies, complete with typical Greek phalangites (shown above) and the other trappings of a diadochi army. With this major improvement (including the Battle of Raphia being changed to accommodate the new units), and several map tweaks made with more on the way, there's a lot to look forward to from this mod. We look forward to seeing more!
Terminus CyberstarAn RPG/FPS hybrid game from Silverspook in production, recently covered in one of his great dev update videos - Terminus Cyberstar is set in the same world as Terminus Machina, Silverspook's old Deus Ex mod which offered a wealth of features from biometric scanning and DNA editing to hacking wireless systems and a huge craft system to the real risk and threat of drone strikes. The new game will be a standalone game set in the same universe and continuity, offering a similarly wide-ranging set of options both in and out of combat as you live in a corporate-dominated world with the omnipresent threat of invasive technology and desperately limited resources. The bleak but compelling cyberpunk futures explored in Silverspook's work are always intriguing to discover more about, and with the recent addition of a level designer to the team it seems like we'll hopefully be getting to hear more about Terminus Cyberstar in the near future!
And with that, dear friends, it seems that another month, and another round of Updates from the Forge, must sadly come to a close. Never fear, though, for Updates from the Forge will return, when it is called upon and needed most... stay tuned, let us know what you think, and we'll see you in September for issue 29!