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Welcome to Exilian! We're one of the friendliest communities on the internet, democratically run and existing to help facilitate a range of projects in fields including game modding/content creation, programming, drama, music, debating, writing, RPG and wargame design, e-learning, and more. You can also come here to chat, discuss the news, post poetry, play forum games, and just to meet a diverse range of people from all over the world.

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Posted on August 13, 2019, 06:08:25 PM by Jubal
Fringe Planet Kickstarter is Go!

Fringe Planet - The Kickstarter!


The Fringe Planet kickstarter is happening! As of today, you have 30 days to go and back Beebug Nic's horror-themed block-based game set on a floating rock in the dark void of ethereal space. On this strange frozen world, a small band of peons will struggle for existence. They may not make it through the trials that their harsh and barren existence throws at them - but those that do will learn to harvest and live alongside the nightmarish spirits that inhabit the void alongside them, and grow stronger - and, just maybe, discover something of the lore of their new home and the secrets of their own past!

As the player, you must shepherd your peons through their attempts at survival, building new constructs, protecting them from the horrors of the void, and hopefully not having them go too mad... click the image link below to see the kickstarter campaign and back the game, with rewards including the game soundtrack, the ability to name and provide backstory details for peons, and at higher backing levels even to design creatures for the game!


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Posted on July 07, 2019, 03:21:23 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 34: Summer 2019

Issue 34: Summer 2019

EDITORIAL

Welcome back, friends! One of the issues of moving to three-monthly newsletters is a blessing that turns into a curse - namely, that there's so much to put in them! This might be the longest issue of Updates from the Forge we've ever written, and there's still more that could have been included. This summer edition, there's something of a theme of exploration, whether it's to gentle musical backgrounds in the worlds of minecraft, in person with travelogues that take you through the history and culture of different European cities, into peril with the madcap crew in Pixel Dungeon adventure, or on into the deep wildernesses traversed by Aure's Roadwardens of Viaticum. We hope your own summer explorations are going well, and that you enjoy this issue!

Around the Exilian community, Jubal (that being myself) and Tusky have been re-elected as Basileus/Chair and Spatharios/Moderator respectively - we're still short on several volunteers and would be very happy to hear from anyone interested in getting involved in anything from social media to writing to tech stuff. We've got plenty coming up nonetheless - whilst we had to postpone doing a chain-writing project because the person organising it was busy, we're still hoping to get that done in the next few months, there's at least one very exciting Kickstarter coming up which we'll keep you updated about, and of course plenty more on our regular projects to be done.

So once more unto the breach, dear friends, for a whopping nine article blockbuster of an Updates from the Forge...

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Ride out as a Roadwarden!
    • Tackling Big Issues: Neofeud II
    • Keep the Home Fires Burning
    • Empires of the Undergrowth: Introducing Leafcutters!
  • Writing & Arts
    • Jubal's Travelogues
    • Pixel Dungeon Adventures Get Demonic...
    • Tales from the Fediverse Issue 1 Released!
  • Miscellany
    • Textures from Eric Matyas
    • Let's Build: SOTK plays Minecraft


GAME DEV

Ride out as a Roadwarden!

After the beautiful and well recievedTales From Windy Meadow, Roadwarden is the new game project from Aure of Moral Anxiety Studio. In it, the player character - the titular roadwarden - is tasked with protecting the roadways and helping scout new trade routes in one of the wilder parts of a setting where mankind is already far weaker compared to nature than in many settings we might be more used to. The game features a distinctive sepia-pixel art style with a range of carefully rendered locations - an army camp, a fortified tavern, a mysterious dolmen, a crossroads - that the player explores between, expanding the map with each new location.



The game mainly progresses via an almost choose-your-own-adventure style system, which provides a wide range of choices and options, some of which can only be accessed with particular prior choices, inventory items, or specialisms, giving a huge range of options for how to play and progress through exploring the world. Further increasing the possibilities, the game includes a range of "attitude" options which allow you to set your character's mood and stance towards the characters you interact with, giving greater possible variation in the results. Whilst there will be at least one 'final ending', it's not necessarily one that players will reach on every playthrough, and you can retire and decide that your reconnaissance is over at any point and get a readout of your eventual fate and how you did, too!

Find out more about Roadwarden here:




Tackling Big Issues: Neofeud II


In the Neofeud setting, the backdrop to the adventure game of the same name by Silverspook, a cyberpunk dystopia in the not-so-far future is ruled over by a tiny number of ultra-powerful families, flying in palaces filled with technology of which most can only dream - whilst far below, in a mess of flats, drug dens, brutal law enforcement and homeless camps, much of the population lives desperately trying to stay on the bottom rung of the ladder, scraping what jobs they can together and hoping it will be enough. The first Neofeud game, which you can get on steam, introduced us to this world as some unlikely allies worked their way through the neofeudal elite's struggles for power.

The second game, Neofeud II, is now under development and it looks like it'll be tackling a range of issues that are all too unsettlingly familiar. From teasers like the one included above, it looks like the player characters will be coming up against the potential surveillance use of drone technology, crisis-stricken refugees outside heavily manned border walls, the threat of "deep fake" footage indistinguishable from the real thing, and more besides. Neofeud's signature hand-crafted game art renders all of these in a unique frame-animated style that makes the events unfolding on the screen feel larger than life - and yet, somehow, sharply real.




Keep the Home Fires Burning

It's London, and the year is 1918. The First World War has been ravaging Europe, and though it is now coming to a close, there is a new threat stalking the streets of London. Here is an enemy that you can't shoot, can't propagandise against, will ignore tank rounds and which no trench will stop. The Spanish Influenza has infected the city, and before the end of the epidemic it will claim many tens of thousands of lives. Amid the backdrop of this city battered by war and now ravaged by disease and the loss of so many of its young men, stranger things are occurring, with paranormal activity being reported as darker beings are attracted to the climate of exhaustion and fear that comes with this new threat. This is Keep the Home Fires Burning, a savage worlds setting that pits the players against horrors and more venal, everyday enemies alike in a London that's at its weakest after the long war.

Keep the Home Fires Burning has recently received a new blogpost - it's one of a number of potential Utherwald Press settings that may see more development in future and for which the new Adventurers' Edition of Savage Worlds has given a good excuse for some new additions to the general collection of blogposts and rules that turn up on the Utherwald Press blog. Of course work continues on Utherwald's other settings, in particular the dieselpunk 'Realms of Darmonica' with its tundra-bound Frozen Skies setting which you can get a full setting book for. You can keep up not only with news on the many settings and rules Utherwald Press produce on their forum.




Empires of the Undergrowth: Introducing Leafcutters!


Empires of the Undergrowth is a game about ants. Forming and building great dwellings and societies in the undergrowth around our very feet, ants are industrious, numerous, colonial... and expansionistic. In EotU, you play in a novel RTS-style game controlling an ant colony as it expands and seeks to find food and survive in a range of different scenarios. Game mechanics are carefully tailored to the realities of ant colonies, whether that's controlling your ant groups by scent trail, the very different experiences at different points of day/night cycles, or  The recent addition of leafcutters adds a range of new game mechanics, including fungus growth and the eponymous leaf-cutting, for hours of additional gameplay with new units and scenarios - and new threats to your colony, of course...






ART & WRITING

Jubal's Travelogues

Our own Jubal has been doing quite a bit of hopping around Europe by train and plane for work in the last few years, and has written a number of travelogue pieces about the places he's been - not just describing them, but delving - as a historian from a family of naturalists, what else would one expect - deep into the history, creatures, culture, nature, and folklore of each place as well as reflecting on the connections between them. providing photos of wildlife, buildings, and more. Recent travelogues have included trips to Klagenfurt, Austria, and to what's now (but, it turns out, hasn't always been) called Limburg, on the borders between the Netherlands and Belgium, and nearby Aachen on Germany's western border.



In Klagenfurt, capital of the southern Austrian state of Carinthia, Jubal discovers a mythical lindworm and a mythical dwarf both of whom are said to have flooded the valley, a recent returnee from Africa, a writer who fled fascism, and a lot of sparrows. In Limburg and Aachen, meanwhile, his travels took him to Maastricht, Genk, and then Aachen, seeing various friends along the way - in a trip that among other things featured a Rodent Of Unusual Size, a bookshop in a church, a disused coal mine, a digital sundial, and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe.  so if you want to discover more about the travel stops, history and mythology of both areas, and read on...


 

Pixel Dungeon Adventures Get Demonic...



The comedy fantasy webcomic continues, as three pixellated friends continue their travels around the world and meet an array of strange and exciting characters along the way with more or less catastrophic results! The brave but not necessarily sharp-thinking hero Sir Bob, the shady minmaxed wizard Lady Val, and the, uh, big robot rogue Auto, along with their noble steeds (one of whom is a bard), continue their... quests? Adventures, let's say they're adventures - quests sounds rather more directed and heroic than even the average adventuring party often aspires to, and in terms of chaos caused, the three friends seem to be very much beating the average! Recent events include a body-snatching demon, the bard being surprisingly competent, and an encounter with a bounty hunter. Who knows what will ensue next? Read on to find out!



Tales from the Fediverse Issue 1 Released!



The Fediverse - that is, the federated social media system that includes the microblogging system Mastodon and the image sharing network Pixelfed among other projects - is a hive of creative wizardry, and one that Exilian, via our @exilianofficial@mastodon.at profile, interacts with frequently. One project that has emerged from this network is Tales From the Fediverse, a collection of comics and stories compiled and hosted by user 'David, A Webcomic', and contributed to by a range of users, one of them being our own Jubal with the tale "Of Lusku and how she became a mariner", which is a storytelling tale and part of his World of Kavis setting. Other contributions include David's own fantasy adventuring tale, a wordless comic about social media, and a science-fiction exorcist!

There will be future Tales from the Fediverse issues, and they'll likely be announced on DaW's mastodon page. You can download the PDF of issue one here on Exilian - do give it a read!




MISCELLANY

Textures from Eric Matyas



One of our regulars in these newsletters, and on the website generally, Eric Matyas has created and maintains a huge archive of textures, music, and sounds, SoundImage, which are all free to use in both commercial and non-commercial projects with attribution. Recent additions to the textures section are many and varied, from strange alien skins that might cover some creature from the far void of space, to seamless metal textures ready for application to your tanks, industrial wastes, and rusting armours, to stone textures for that golem who needs a better look, the mighty carved cliff-face of a cave monastery, or the carefully carved statue you've been working so hard on. With so much choice, and more always appearing, we're always happy to be able to put in reminders that SoundImage exists - it's such an important and exciting resource, and we hope it'll be useful to you as it has been to so many people already.



Let's Build: SOTK plays Minecraft


Son of the King (or SOTK for short) is one of Exilian's longest standing members, and he's recently been putting together some new Minecraft let's play videos. Without commentary or action, these are rather just relaxing building videos which could spark off ideas in your mind for how to construct the world around you in the game. Their mixture of calming digital scenery, nice backing tracks, and neat creations will be a fun watch for the Minecraft players amongst our readers:






If you're reading this, thankyou as ever for taking the time to nose through these pieces that I put together. It's always nice to hear from readers so do let us know if you discovered a cool project or found this enjoyable to look through! Have a great summer, friends, and we'll be back for more updates when the year starts turning to Autumn. Until next time!

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Posted on March 31, 2019, 06:24:38 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 33: Spring 2019

Issue 33: Spring 2019

EDITORIAL

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!

CONTENTS:



GAME DEV

Cogito Colony Continues

Returning 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 DRAMATIC

One 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 Catacombs

Jubal'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 Aviarium

In 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 Here

Jubal'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?

Quote
It is dawn, and the light wolf comes
Howling quiet
And as if her fur were gossamer
She glistens

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.

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!




MISCELLANY

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...

Quote
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?

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...






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!

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Posted on March 18, 2019, 03:44:10 PM by Jubal
Exilian Day 2019

Happy Exilian Day!
~~~~~~~~


That's right, Exilian is eleven years old today! Celebrating with us above are friends from just a few of the many, many projects we've hosted, supported, and created over the past few years (and there are many, many more we could have included)! Thanks to everyone who's been a part of Exilian's own story this year, and let's hope we get some great new projects going onward throught 2019 and into 2020.

With best wishes to all,

Jubal (Basileus & Megadux)

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Posted on February 14, 2019, 09:45:25 PM by Jubal
Cyril & Methodius Day 2019

Happy Cyril and Methodius Day!


Once again it's Cyril and Methodius Day, February 14 - Exilian's festival of alphabets, languages, international friendship and geekery for everyone who needs it today! Today's a great time to get that book sitting on your shelf read, construct a new alphabet for your fantasy setting, learn a language, and chat to friends from around the world. As usual, we're raising funds for Room to Read, a great charity that helps bring the power of literacy and reading to children around the world who need it, and we hope you'll chip in to help bring those people wonderful opportunities of writing and wonderful worlds that they can discover, whether in books or through opportunity unlocking the rest of the world. Happy Cyril and Methodius Day!