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!
Posted on August 30, 2018, 03:56:34 PM by Jubal
This is a public announcement on some recent staffing changes. Firstly, we're saying farewell to La Ciguapa from the admin team. She's been doing excellent work for the last few months as our Heteriarches Prokeruxis, aka our social media officer, and we've been very lucky to have her with us for a while; she's stepping down due to realspace issues, and we hope of course to welcome her back on the site regularly whenever she gets a chance to drop by. Vulcanology has also vacated the post of content officer, so both of these positions are currently. You can always find current volunteering opportunities in the Volunteers Needed Thread. Finally, we have one new addition to mention - Spritelady will be acting as a junior staff member (logothete) filling in on social media for at least the next few weeks. Many thanks to her for stepping in at short notice!
Best wishes to all,
Jubal (Megadux & Basileus)
Posted on July 30, 2018, 03:25:20 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 27: July 2018
Issue 27: July 2018EDITORIAL
The hot summer months have rolled around, but never fear - the hard creative work goes on across Exilian and beyond! We've got a PC game special mostly in this month's updates, but there's plenty more happening across the site outside that, including our ongoing chain writing project (which we should have the results of by some time in August), new music on our Exilian Media YouTube channel, and dev work on the tabletop gaming scene as well!
We're back to a regular fortnightly article posting schedule too, so look for those when they come out - and if you want to write for us, please get in touch. We're hoping to run some interviews with Exilian's devs in our articles section too, so if you'd be interested in helping with that then let us know. In site admin news, we welcome Tusky as our new Spatharios (senior moderator), and Jubal remains as Basileus (chair of Exilian) for the next six months. We still have some open staff posts and welcome new volunteers of course!
And with all that said, time to show you what our devs have been constructing for your edification and delight this month!
- Survive the void on a Fringe Planet...
- Words and Whispers on Windy Meadow
- Become Master of the House in Innkeep
- A Bunch of Hacks are making Epicinium
- New Free Tracks from SoundImage!
Survive the void on a Fringe Planet...
Home, sweet home: because it might be a cackling madness demon rock, but it's OUR cackling madness demon rock.We're starting with a new project this month, beebug_nic's Fringe Planet, a survival game where your peons are trapped trying to survive on a world deep in the void of space, with madness, starvation, and freezing all among the likelier outcomes for their short and bitter lives. If they survive, though, they may start discovering who trapped them there, and who they might once have been... and what twisted being sought to bring them there.
Gameplay features, beyond the general battle to build shelters, grow food, and avoid demonic possession, will include the ability to select different "storytellers" - which will give you different ranges and types of random events to deal with as your peons focus on surviving in the harsh climate. Ultimately players may be able to extend the playable area, harness beings from the void, build factories, and more, if they live long enough to do so! The game is also set to have a wide array of moddable features, with lots of aspects of the game being made easy to edit and change, which could lead to some exciting total conversion opportunities!
Find out more and blast off to the fringes at beebug's forum thread:
Words and Whispers on Windy MeadowWe've had more updates from the Tales from Windy Meadow team, with the dialogue sections of the game seeing a lot of updates lately as the graphics background for them comes together. The framing and darkening of different character portraits to show who's talking has now been carefully put together, as shown in this conversation between the scarred guard and huntress Vena and Argentia, who's offering her a job...Other recent updates have included the prologue story for Fabel, a boy lamed and orphaned by a brutal bandit attack in childhood who ultimately dreams of becoming a bard. Whether he and the other characters will follow their dreams to success or failure, or accept the world as it is and try to make the best of it, will be up to you as you choose your path through this interactive story. Check back for Windy Meadow's latest updates to find out more.
Become Master of the House in InnkeepReturning this month with a new dev update video (shown above) is with BeerDrinkingBurke with exciting updates on Innkeep, the tavernkeeping simulator where you can rip off guests, sell beer, hear rumours, and become the Les Mis style Master of the House that you always dreamed of being! Parts of the game's opening scene are now available, where you will discover an abandoned tavern in the later stages of a brutal war. It's then your job to restore its fortunes: the stables, cellar, and guest rooms are all part of the Inn's play area as well as of course the main bar room itself.
There'll be lots to do around the Inn too beyond just serving drinks. You'll need to buy in wood, linen, and beer, and furnish the rooms in the initially empty and broken inn as well. Gathering rumours and trinkets will help you keep an eye out to what's going on among your clientele. In that regard, stealing from guests is likely to be a vital part of the game, too, the Inn business being no place for an honest man - though whether you just slip a little from those who have enough, or rob all your customers blind, may be more of a playstyle choice!
A Bunch of Hacks are making Epicinium
And another one bites the (now visible) dust!Epicinium, the environmental wargame, is now officially under the aegis of a new cooperative, worker-owned game dev company, A Bunch of Hacks! Congratulations to SLiV and team for jumping through all the hoops to get the new co-op set up, which will hopefully provide a solid basis for longer term development of the game as well as providing a great worker-centred environment for the devs.
There've been updates to the game too of course - on the graphics side, new particle effects have been added to some of the animations as you can see above. Weekly challenges have also been added, to give players more of an interesting threat to face when playing the game in single player. You'll get a mission briefing from the general, explaining the challenge rules; this may just be that the start setup for the enemy is more powerful than usual, or it may involve bigger changes like much higher speeds, faster gameplay, removing some usual restrictions like money, or something else entirely! You can download the beta for free and find out more by playing along...
New Free Tracks from SoundImage!Eric Matyas' texture, sound effect, and music library, SoundImage, is an invaluable resource for lots of people doing geeky creative projects. This month it's been reorganised to make its (now fairly vast) collection easier to navigate! The sidebar now contains links to a wide array of different pages, removing the old top bar which had gotten to about ten rows deep thanks to the number of pages and types available!
There are new sounds and textures on the SoundImage website this month too. New music includes the futuristic "Alley Chase" which could fit well to a cyberpunk or sci-fi world of intrigue and tall cities, the serene "Cumulonimbus" which has a lighter, calmer, airier feel to it, and the zany "Attack of the Flaming Pie Tins" with reminiscences of 50s pulp science fiction drive-ins. New textures include additions to the Brick, Rock/Stone, Metal, Abstract, and Organic pages among others. With such a wide array of stuff there, why not check out SoundImage and see if there's anything you can use for your project?
Another month and another issue over - see you next time for August's Issue 28, when we'll have yet more exciting updates and announcements from across everything we're doing here on Exilian!