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Posted on April 30, 2018, 05:48:13 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 24: April 2018

Issue 24: April 2018

EDITORIAL

Two full years of Updates from the Forge! Over the past two years we've covered a huge array of projects, and we hope to keep doing the same in months to come. We've not had much general site news this month, though we can announce Phoenixguard09 and Tusky as the winner and runner-up respectively of our 10th anniversary "Exile" creative competition. Congratulations to both of them - and if you want to see both their entries, and a fantastic range of other pieces that were entered including poetry, manga, stories, and animation, do check out the thread here.

It's a busy time around Exilian generally - besides what we've got in this month's updates, the teams from Utherwald, Windy Meadow, and more have all been hard at work as ever. We've also broken the 1000 posts a month barrier for the first time since late 2016, with the best month for post counts in the last two years; it's great to see the site getting busier again, and we'll hopefully be unveiling more plans and supporting more projects in the coming months. As ever, we're very keen to hear from anyone who'd like to volunteer with helping out with the running and organisation of the community, so just ping Jubal or another member of staff if you'd like to get involved there.

And with that - here's five great creative projects for April. Hope you enjoy the ride!

CONTENTS:

  • LIFE Epsilon (1.0) Released
  • Enter the Unicorn Dungeon!
  • Discover Caradilis' Poems
  • Environmental War in Epicinium
  • Introducing Tourney - a Medieval Tournament Sim

LIFE Epsilon (1.0) Released


Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

This should perhaps have had its own news item, but since we didn't get round to that, it gets to the top of this month's updates instead - LIFE, the Whovian adventure game, has been released! By our own Jubal, this game uses a text-parser system and pixel graphics to allow players to explore several different planets and quests in an open world game system. With a range of minigames, achievements to obtain, original characters to meet, and a wide variety of types of sandwich for your character to eat, this is a whimsical sci-fi adventure not to miss!

Fly into the Whoniverse...


Enter the Unicorn Dungeon!



A new project from a new user - Unicorn Dungeon is a comedy point and click adventure game. Inspired by absurdist comedy like Monty Python, the game is set to be one of a series chronicling the adventures of Sir Typhil as he aims to find a unicorn in order to be crowed king. The game features swords, goblins, snarky voice acting, and possibly cheese. And roguelike gameplay segments as well as the point and click elements! And possibly cheese. What more could you want?

Check out the Unicorn Dungeon thread


Discover Caradilis' Poems

Of course Exilian does much more than just game dev, and our own Caradilis has as usual been hard at work in the poetry section, working on some new writings, one about the joys of working by candlelight, and this one, about her favourite month of the year (making this a double appropriate time to showcase her poetry thread!)

Quote
Janus has hailed the year,
With skies both cold and clear,
And February’s an icy king,
And Mars has called to spring.

But April wears her flowing bright green gown,
And in her hair a periwinkle crown,
She dances in the snow, the rain and hail,
And sings when sun and cloudless skies prevail.

Remember that you can also share your poems or stories in the creative writing area, and don't be afraid to ask for feedback! We're very happy to see new writing from beginner to expert level, and it's an area of the site we'd love to expand further in future. Poems and stories are great geek creative works and can both inspire and be inspired by the projects we have elsewhere around Exilian. Take a look, jump in and join in!

Read More Here


Environmental War in Epicinium


Caption Goes Here

Epicinium, the turn-based strategy battler with unique environmental mechanics, has seen some UI changes and improvements this month. This includes an easier dragging system for changing your orders, a new visualisation to show turn order, and new orders floating from the screen to the sidebar to make ordering clearer for the players. The game pits two players against each other across a world that can be scarred, impacted, warmed or cooled by the players' effects on the environment, with point scores being tied not only to victory but to keeping a wold that is worth ruling after the guns have fallen silent - land wrecked beyond repair is a poor prize, and it may often be beneficial to make peace and end the game earlier to improve your score (and advance in the game's multiplayer rankings). The team are looking to get more testers and grow their player base, so now's a great time to jump in and have a go!


Find Out More


Introducing Tourney - a Medieval Tournament Sim


You know your tournament is a good one when the beer mugs are larger than the drinker's head...!

And yet another new project - medieval comedy is always a great thing to be covering in Updates, and Tourney, a light-hearted medieval life sim, is no exception. There will be 13 playable noble houses, each with its own colour scheme for armour, horses, and more. Will you take up the bold cause of William Warless, or Tancred Haughtyville? Perhaps Wilfred Ivanhole, or Neddard Northgrim, will be more to your liking? Either way, there will be tournament fields to explore, peasants drinking booze, the Black Knight and the mysterious Sid to meet, and more besides. Why not saddle your horse, call your squire, and head on over to Tusky's dev thread?

Enter a Tourney Here!




And that's all for issue 24... This is the first issue to be formally done under the auspices of our new content editor Vulcanology, who's likely to be taking over a lot more of the writing and editorials for future issues, so many welcomes to her and let's hope we get another two years of fantastic updates from the forge to come!

...
Posted on April 29, 2018, 04:47:50 PM by Jubal
ANNIVERSARY COMPETITION: RESULTS AND FULL ENTRIES

10th ANNIVERSARY COMPETITION: RESULTS AND FULL ENTRIES

The results are in - a little late but better late than never! All of the entries we got for our 10th anniversary competition, on the theme of Exile, are here, and the announcement of the winners of course! Entries were judged by two judges (Jubal and Bigosaur) independently and on two separate metrics, the effectiveness of the piece and its response to the theme, for a total potential score of forty. The quality was extremely high overall - no entry scored below 32/40, and just five points separated the top and bottom scores. There could, however, be only one winner and one runner up, and they were...

THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER, with a massive score of thirty-seven points out of a possible forty, was PHOENIXGUARD09. His space-fantasy origin story impressed the judges both for its effective, powerful storytelling prose and its effective construction of an Exile's origin story. Phoenixguard will win copies of Son of a Witch, Empires of the Undergrowth, and Escape from Biostation, a poem by Jubal on a topic of his choice, and a custom SoaW skin created by Jubal!

THE RUNNER UP, with a solid thirty-five out of forty score, was TUSKY, whose short animation sequence of a man staring into a barren, smoke-filled wasteland and lamenting his bitter reward proved an evocative enough to just narrowly pip some of its competitors to the second place spot. Tusky will win one copy of Empires of the Undergrowth, one copy of Escape from Biostation, and one poem to be written on a topic of his choice.

But of course, everyone gets one of the biggest prizes, and that's the showcase of all the entries! From suffragettes to space flight and song to strategy game, there's a fantastic range of pieces here and we do encourage you to check them all out!




All The Entries

THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

Quote
We had a home once.

In all the vastness of the known multiverse, we had a home, one singular pocket of existence in which every factor was conducive to the formation of my people. A place where we grew, loved, created and thrived. My people were considered great builders, the finest in all creation. We built structures, on scales barely imaginable, from dwellings which towered above and beyond any natural feature on any number of the worlds we discovered, to the most minute adaptations in the smallest of organsims which populated those worlds. Our mastery was absolute, and so we travelled, always seeking further frontiers to explore and to improve, to make more like our home.

As we travelled, our home grew more distant, and my people began to grow weary of creation. Our home, that place of light, love and laughter became a place where we fought and destroyed, tearing down the creations of others to further the goals of oneself. It is the way of conflict that it escalates, and each advancement requires further expenditure of power in order to overcome the enemy. For my people, that advancement, or more specifically, the power expended to obtain it, spelt doom.

We were not as alone in the stars as we thought. Truly, we had known for millennia of the many and varied forms of life which populated innumerable worlds across the breadth of creation, but ever were they of lesser stature than ourselves, such that many of our people at first viewed them as something to be improved upon and taught, moulded into something greater. In more evil times, some viewed these beings as potential tools and weapons, mere collateral damage in the what became the war among the stars.

We did not know, nor even conceive that there were beings active in the cosmos with power that matched our own, let alone exceed it. Not until it was too late.

Drawn by our reckless use of power like moths to a flame, they fell upon our home out of the void, scattering my people across the stars. The lights of our world dimmed, what little laughter there was left, died. The hammers stopped ringing in the forges, the wars ceased and creation halted. Our home was lost to us. We were exiled.

I found myself on a new world, and harboured the survivors of my family, all the while dwelling in uneasy peace with some few others of my kind, who themselves took residence in other regions on the same world. With only small touches of power, we aided the extant creatures of this world, granting them knowledge and culture. My family took residence in the great forested mountains, and the diminutive peoples which dwell there called us the Ri-Foraoirse, the Forest Lords. They served us, as they would, though we asked of them nothing.  When the Sidhe arrived, themselves seeking to escape a something which threatened their home, we agreed to shelter them and asked of them no price.

Deep in the woodlands, we began to build something like home, but as it was in the beginning, that wholesome light-filled place of music and life. Hidden away, to safeguard our creation from any and all outside threats, we shared our new home with the Leathe and the Sidhe and all was well. Even the revelation of the sickness which dwelt in the core of every Sidhe was something which could be solved, with the creation of the Gealai Aisling, a safe place for the Sidhe to go when they grew weary of existence.

Then word reached us that our enemy had found us and that my estranged kin were being hunted and killed for their power, which while only used in small touches as required, over millennia had accumulated. Deep in the forest, we will be safe for a time, but all know that our time is short and this time there will be no escape.

I am a dreamer, an artist, a king and a father. I am known as Mor'Righ-Glas to the Leathe. I lost my home and soon I fear, I will lose my life.

I am an exile.

THE RUNNER UP:


THE OTHER ENTRANTS:
These are in no particular order.

HanSolo - The Exile (Poem)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Naky93 - Images of Exile (Artwork)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

SLiV - Maere, the Thrice Exiled (Poem)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Caradilis - The Exile's Lament (Song)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

THE NON-JUDGED ENTRIES:

Yes, we've still got two more to go! The judges couldn't resist getting in on the action, and whilst of course we couldn't judge our entries, we've got a couple more links to extra Exile-themed fun for your entertainment and delight. Bigosaur entered the early stages of his sci-fi story After Doomsday - you can check out the draft copy here. Jubal meanwhile, fresh from recently releasing his Whovian adventure game LIFE, took the Exile theme as the starting point for his new game The Exile Princes, a madcap mix of medieval manuscripts, Exilian memetics, and much more! Do check it out!


And that's your lot! Stay tuned for future competitions, and many thanks to everyone who entered, as Exilian sails on into its second decade of existence. Exiles forever!

...
Posted on March 31, 2018, 10:58:14 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 23: March 2018

Issue 23: March 2018

EDITORIAL

Exilian is now over ten years old, with some fun celebrations done on Exilian Day back on March 18, and in the next week or so we'll be getting the results of our epic "Exile" 10th anniversary contest, which has seen a great range of entries in areas from animation to artwork, poetry and writing! We'll be doing a full post containing all the entries when the results come in, so you can see the fantastic range of things people have created (including non-competing bonus pieces from both our judges!) Thanks very much to everyone who entered.

And of course more than that, thanks again to everyone who's been part of Exilian in the first decade of our existence. We've had a huge amount of fun and created (or helped create) some amazing geek projects over the years. We've plenty more planned for the future too, and we're hoping to get some new staff on board to help shortly. Until we do, one downside - we're cutting down Exilian Article posting rates to once per fortnight to take some strain off our articles editor (that is, me). We hope to get back up to weekly articles as soon as possible, and we're still absolutely keen to hear from anyone who wants to write for us, as we've had some great stuff recently - including our Exilian Day bonus article, An Unexpected Bestiary Pt. 2 - and we're very keen to keep supporting the articles section on into the future.

The anniversary isn't all that's happened this month, either, of course - we've got a packed six-item set of updates for you to discover (and there's plenty more we could've packed in besides if we'd had space). Not only that, but it's one of our best diversities ever, with six things from six different types of creative geekery! Excited? You should be...

CONTENTS:

  • Magic, Melee and Manga
  • Art abounds from Windy Meadow
  • Are you ready to get Minted?
  • Rockets rise again!
  • Neofeud Soundtrack
  • Cold War Skirmishes break out...


Magic, Melee and Manga

New Exilian member Naky93 has joined and, as well as entering our aforementioned anniversary competition, has posted about her comic art! Here's a panel from the first of her two stories, "The Assassin and the Sorceress", a tale of romance, magic and swordfighting in a classic fantasy setting:


Guarding fantasy palaces: basically redshirting before it was cool.

You can also read her second (and still ongoing) story, The Royal Conspiracy - set as a precursor to The Assassin and the Sorceress, a few decades earlier in the same world - linked from her thread below. You'll also find links to a range of her other awesome artworks, which very much deserve a look in their own right. We're always keen to see more diversity of geek crafts across Exilian, and the more comics and artwork we get here very much the merrier!

Visit Naky's Manga and Anime Thread


Art abounds from Windy Meadow


Aure and the Tales from Windy Meadow team at Moral Anxiety Studios have been hard at work as ever - this screenshot is of the house of Vena, the huntress, and we've also seen a range of art updates from other scenes, including the forest and the central square of Windy Meadow itself. Recent devlog updates include looking at the role of character sprites in Windy Meadow, and their high importance in the team's work compared to the dominance of portrait art in other similar games. The Windy Meadow devlogs are extremely well worth reading for anyone interested in gamedev and storytelling - the team are excellent at putting their work into context and explaining clearly why they're making the design choices they are. With all that and more art to come, it's definitely a good time to head to Windy Meadow and see what's going on!

Find updates from Windy Meadow here


Are you ready to get Minted?


Coin clipping: it's just a haircut for coins. If haircuts were illegal.

Jubal has released Minted - the Game of Byzantine Coins, a freely downloadable and playable card game for 2-4 players about minting coins in the medieval Byzantine world. Placing each player as the master of a royal/imperial mint in the medieval world, you must switch and move cards and make decisions to ensure you get the best opportunities & improve your currency as much as possible! From concave coins to clipping, and debasement to dies breaking, you must face all the ups and downs of coin-making in the cards that you get to play.

The download contains all the PDFs you need to play the game, and can be printed onto card from any good printer near you (warning: does require quite a bit of purple-red ink - blame the Byzantines!).


See the thread, mint the coins


Rockets rise again!


Strap yourself into the rocket now... if you're small enough!

This month has seen the return of our very own Comrade_General, and some new updates on what he's been up to in the months he's been away. As well as some devious wall painting and a new updated release of his awesome Rome: Total War mod Valar Morghulis, he's been getting back to work on his excellent collection of model rockets, of which one is shown above - and many more. Providing awesome replicas of a number of NASA's greatest pieces of work in the 20th century, this small fireable rockets are a great geek craft project - you can go and ask more about them in his "Exilian Missile Agency" thread!

Visit the XMA


Neofeud Soundtrack Released


Fresh from winning the AGS awards 2017 best soundtrack award, Silverspook's awesome game Neofeud is on the way to having its sequel made, and between that and his podcast he's got some fantastic work going on. All that hasn't stopped him from getting the soundtrack in question RELEASED on Spotify, ITunes, and Google Play for your enjoyment, edification and delight! With tracks from "Leviathan Cometh" and "Duel of the Nephilim" to "The King is Dead" and of course the Neofeud title theme, this is one game soundtrack that is very, very well worth a listen in its own right - do check it out.

Neofeud Soundtrack on BandCamp
Silverspook's Neofeud Thread


Cold War Skirmishes break out...

Utherwald Press' updates for this month have been about their Cold War Skirmishes game rules and ideas. This has included a look at the Sterling SMG submachine gun, and the Blackburn Buccanneer aircraft, as well as an update on plans for the Cold War Skirmishes part of Utherwald Press more generally.


The Blackburn Buccaneer. Challenging it to duels with a cutlass is not recommended.

The Cold War Skirmishes line is set to include Op THULE, a fantasy-war scenario that sees the players facing up against a terrifying Chupacabra against a backdrop of the Falklands conflict, and then look at ANZAC forces in the Cold War with a view to building them into modern-fantasy settings and games. With a good response to the line so far, it looks like there's plenty to look forward to!

Read more about Cold War Skirmishes


And that's Issue 23 done! April will be our 24th issue, meaning we'll have done Updates from the Forge for a whole two years! We're expecting some releases over the next month, including Jubal's new game The Exile Princes and hopefully more music, writing, and artwork too - stay tuned and we'll see you next time. As ever, if you think you could help with writing Updates or you have things you particularly want us to cover, please do get in touch.

...
Posted on March 18, 2018, 11:27:03 AM by Jubal
EXILIAN IS TEN


Yep, it's Exilian Day 2018, and Exilian is officially ten years old! From the first post here to the present day, we've had a decade of supporting fantastic independent and hobbyist games and other creative projects. Along the way, we've faced off spambots and hacking attacks, played mafias, held elections, run conventions, and much much more besides. And the range of things Exilian's members have created speaks for itself - Persian Invasion, Adventures of Soros, Master of Olympus, Empires of the Undergrowth, The Choose Your Own Adventure, Son of a Witch, Southern Realms, Karaski, Warhammer Total War, The Battle for Antares IV, Norbayne, to name but a tiny handful of projects we've discussed and supported. Let's hope we have many more such fantastic pieces of work to chat about and help along the way in the future.

For this momentous occasion, remember we've got our ongoing 10th anniversary competition on the theme of Exile, and there's still 12 days to submit your entry. We'll also have one or two bonus articles out later today in honour of the occasion. It'd be great to hear your favourite creations and memories from the last ten years, too, so do comment those in this thread. And of course, do take a look round the forum as ever - our doors are always open to the exiles and weary travellers of the internet, and always will be. :)

With best wishes,

Jubal (Basileus & Megadux)

...
Posted on March 13, 2018, 10:25:25 PM by Jubal
EXILIAN ANNIVERSARY COMPETITION: EXILE

CREATIVE COMPETITION: EXILE



Exilian's 10th birthday is coming up fast, and we're having a CREATIVE COMPETITION!

The rules are simple: by 23:59PM on March 30, come up with some sort of creative creation on the theme. It could be a mod, a poem, a story, a computer game, artwork, an RPG character, some music, whatever you like. Our panel of judges (whose identities will be revealed soon) will then all rate the entries, and the best will win.

The competition theme, appropriately for our anniversary, is EXILE.

The winners will get prizes!

The overall winner will win:
1x steam copy of Bigosaur's SON OF A WITCH, a beat 'em up roguelike game by Bigosaur that sees the player tactically work their way through 7 levels of fast-paced combat!
1x steam copy of Slug Disco's EMPIRES OF THE UNDERGROWTH, an RTS where your ant colony must battle others and face the challenges of survival in the undergrowth.
1x steam copy of Kinklade's ESCAPE FROM BIOSTATION, a comedy sci-fi adventure in which you play the last robot denizen of an ancient space station, armed with... a squirrel?
1x custom skin request for Son of a Witch, fulfilled by Jubal
1x poem or song on a topic of the winner's choice, written by Jubal

The runner up will win:
1x steam copy of EMPIRES OF THE UNDERGROWTH
1x steam copy of ESCAPE FROM BIOSTATION
1x poem on a topic of the winner's choice, written by Jubal

More prizes may be added soon!

To enter:
> Make your entry!
> Message your entry or a link to it to me (Jubal)
> Post below in this thread to say you've entered - entries may not be read if this step is not completed!

A maximum of two entries per person may be submitted: multiple entries may not be in the same format, and the highest scoring of the entries will stand.



THE JUDGES
Bigosaur (Milan Babuskov)
Creator of the indie game Son of a Witch, and hailing from Serbia, Bigosaur is one of Exilian's foremost game developers, and was an exhibitor at ExiliCon 2016. Son of a Witch is a roguelike beat 'em up with seven procedurally generated levels in which your character must battle goblins, skeletons, yetis, and a host of other enemies! He's kindly donated one of our prizes for this competition!

Jubal (James Baillie)
Exilian's founder, Jubal, is an early career historian specialising in digital methods, and the only member of Exilian's core team to have been in post from 2008 to the present. He's also an award-winning author of Total War mods, including Warhammer: Total War, Narnia Total War, and a Game of Colleges, and a hobbyist game developer and writer in his own right, creating games including Adventures of Soros and the upcoming Doctor Who themed title LIFE.

Best wishes, and we look forward to seeing what you come up with!