Posted on March 31, 2019, 06:24:38 PM by Jubal
Issue 33: Spring 2019EDITORIAL
Updates from the Forge is back! Everyone's (OK, probably not anyone's, but a writer can dream) favourite indie/hobbyist creativity newsletter has another wonderful round of projects for you to look through As you can tell from the gap we're now onto a quarterly schedule, due to a mixture of short staff and health issues that have meant your writer/editor is now typing this in arm braces. We're keen to step up the schedule again if we can find an editor or more writers, of course - let us know if you can help.
We've also made some format changes, and are looking at making more, dividing the newsletter more clearly into linkable sections to help you find what you want. Other changes I'm looking at include having a section at the end for recent advertisements (eg for playtesters). I'm also considering whether tabletop and PC game dev should be split into separate sections, and whether the "community news" part of the newsletter, currently incorporated into the editorials, should actually have its own section so I can use the editorial space more for general musings that might be of interest to our readers. Please comment or get in touch to let me know what you think of the changes that have been made or proposed!
In the first three months of 2019, we've celebrated Cyril & Methodius Day, raising over £100 for charity, had the results of our creative competition, which was won by Comrade_General with his painting of a candle, and had our eleventh birthday. We've been producing articles as well, including a new interviews series that's started with Tales From Windy Meadow creator Aure, and also a special issue of our An Unexpected Bestiary series in which Jubal goes into the myths and folklore around his beloved pangolins. You can find all our articles in their own section of the site here.
And with that, I (and the imaginary llama who co-writes this newsletter) present a new bunch of Updates from the Forge!
Cogito Colony ContinuesReturning after a year, we've had some good updates from Thalanor's Cogito Colony, a cyberpunk metroidvania style game with cool pixel graphics. In the most recent update, Thalanor revealed that the game will be moving to a new and more easily maintainable engine, which will include moving to a less performance-intensive and more flexible sprite animations system, the first hand-drawn anims from which look excellent!
DRAMATIC MUSICAL CUE IS DRAMATICOne part of the work that is going fast is the soundtrack, where lots of tracks have been added and updated over recent months, including the DRAMATIC MUSICAL CUES of the track Methusalem, above. Even if you're not a metroidvania type gamer, they're a good listen (and make nice atmospheric backing music for your life generally!), and you can find them all on Thalanor's soundcloud.
You can read and ask more about the project in Thalanor's devlog:
The Exile Princes: Characters and CatacombsJubal's python-built RPG set in a world of medieval manuscripts and madness, has reached its first major beta milestone - the 005/6 closed beta releases give new features including clearly marked map edges, companion characters who will upgrade over time, new quests, and a range of other features. Additional writing and depth has also been added to enrich the world, whether it's reports on how well you slept in a tavern to unexpected twist endings to certain quests and plotlines. Modular, flexible generated quests may well be a feature of future versions of the game, and some additional quests have been added that will lay the groundwork for this.
A newly hired priest goes out to smite some wibulnibs. Fear the holy banhammer!Companion characters are perhaps the largest major recent addition - companions can gain skills, giving either bonuses around the map or powerful new battle abilities, as well as providing a solid addition to your fighting force - some missions will only allow you to take companions alongside your hero, making these characters vital for, among other things, exploring mysterious tunnel networks below the cities. So far the sergeant, ranger, and priest companions are all working and ingame. Future plans include providing a lot of additional depth to the character system, with the groundwork for character personalities giving the potential not just to get to know your fellow travellers better but potentially also for new plot hooks involving them.
The game is very much in want of playtesters, so please do contact Jubal if you're interested in contributing and helping shape this game and its world!
The Cursed One RPG
“She shall be the one to bring chaos and death.” Or will she?It's always great to be writing about new projects in these newsletters, and. Nanna, who first came to Exilian via writing us a great article on Nordic Larp, has returned with new RPG project The Cursed One! This RPG, inspired by classic pixel games like Legend of Zelda, sees its protagonist Ellie, marked from birth as an agent of chaos and death, set out to prove the prophecy wrong and save the world. Can the bringer of destruction manage... not to?
The game is made with RPG Maker MV and will likely move into beta testing in April, offering a mix of problem solving, NPC interaction, exploration and battle to its players. You can find out more about the game at the links below...
ART & WRITING
Enter AviariumIn another really exciting new project that's appeared here in recent months, new member Ierne has been posting some lovely art and ideas from her setting Aviarium, a fantasy of time and universe travel with a range of fantastical creatures and flight as a core element. In this picture, you can meet a dragon called Mishka, who's a delicate-looking fireheart, and an Adhar fire-mage, Aliya - both capable fliers even if Aliya's ethereal wings aren't currently showing!
The setting centres on Atana, a world entirely cut off from other universes, inhabited by dragons and other winged beings. Meanwhile, in a more familiar world, a perfectly ordinary time-traveller, called Winter is busy with continual wandering, befriending Shakespeare, and so on. Parallel universes just seem like a quaint myth, until a pathway across to a very different world indeed opens in a familiar location...
It's always exciting to see new worlds and be able to explore them along with their creators, and one of the nicest things we've managed in the past year has been to get a few more active projects in the writing and arts sections of the site - hopefully there'll be more to come through 2019. You can of course find out more about Aviarium, and ask questions of the author, on her thread!
More Mountain Leopards
Caption Goes HereJubal's webcomic based on Georgian & world mythology has seen some new page updates, as the characters meet a new friend who may have more skills than meets the eye - we also get our first brief glimpse of the great city of Gulansharo, find out what some of the more eclectic spells available to clerics of Otarid are, and discover that for scrying, it's pretty important to get the right person's hair...
The comic's art style and self-aware fantasy setting is an homage to the excellent Order of the Stick, but the story and mythical background invite you to discover a very new and different fantasy world. Between a drily witty storyteller-cleric, a deadpan jerk of a soldier, an upbeat but cunning runaway maiden, and a dramatically inclined enchantress, there's a whole lot of fun to be had - and mysterious plots beginning to unfold.
Want to share some poetry?
Exilian's poetry and writing sections are always looking for new writers to come and share & discuss their work! Whether you're writing just for your own amusement, to seek to get things published, for stories to put within other contexts - we're very keen to see what you've got to share! There's also of course loads of stuff in there if you're an avid reader, with our archives stretching back over 11 years of uniquely crafted stories and poems that you can have a read through and comment on.
It is dawn, and the light wolf comes
And as if her fur were gossamer
We're also likely to have a new chain writing project in the next two months, after the success of last year's project which created three excellent writing chains, so please do keep an eye out for that. We're always keen to do more projects and host ideas that will help new and less experienced writers get experience and get started, so please do jump in!
Riddles in the Dark...Most readers of the Hobbit, and many more besides, will have discovered a love of riddles and riddle-games at some point. A pure match of wit and wordplay in which unwrapping the meanings and hidden effects of words is vitally important - as long as nobody ask's what's in their pocketses! Try this one for size...
To get the answer. and play more riddle-games, do join Exilian's "Riddles in the Dark" thread, where members take turns to post and guess riddles of varying types and complexities, leading to lots of original brainteasers being produced. Whether you're getting interested in riddles for the first time, or are just bored of the set of old riddles you already know, Riddles in the Dark is the forum space for you to hone your skills - and of course grab some new riddles to take away and try out on others...
My name's said when you lift a load,
To carry it along the road,
And though you fear me, run, and hide
You'll rest tonight with me at your side.
What am I?
And that's your lot! Apologies that you're getting far fewer of these this year, but it's good to have another issue done and I hope you've enjoyed reading it and want to find out more about some of the lovely projects we have coming along. And of course, do let us know about your own work as well - it could be you in the next issue of Updates from the Forge!