Author Topic: Updates from the Forge 35: Autumn 2019  (Read 2515 times)


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Updates from the Forge 35: Autumn 2019
« on: September 30, 2019, 10:01:08 PM »
Issue 35: Autumn 2019


Autumn browns and damps are seeping into the forests across the northern hemisphere, colder winds are beginning to blow, and the slow days of summer are coming to an end. And with that comes your Autumn edition of Updates from the Forge, Exilian's newsletter of creative geekery! This issue contains news from across the site for July, August, and September - since the change to a quarterly schedule we're ending up with very packed issues, and there are several projects, including some fantastic game dev work, that haven't made it in this time, but we'll prioritise those for the next issue of course. We've got two entirely new projects on Exilian this time, which is always nice, and a great array especially of medieval themed game dev going on - appropriate as your editor is about to start teaching a university course on medieval topics in computer game design!

There's not much news from across the site this time - the summer months are usually quiet - but there've been some discussions starting on some MUCH bigger news for 2020, so keep an eye out for that in the Winter/New Year edition. We'll also have elections coming up in December and we'd love to see some new faces on the team, so if you'd like to help make this newsletter happen or otherwise support our work helping creative projects out, do give one of the admins a shout or ask about it in Questions & Suggestions.

And with that, here's this issue's nine projects in the showcase...


  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Tourney: Fools and Foibles, Statues and Surgeons
    • Mostly Intense Monster Defence
    • Introducing: HEUSS!
    • Onto the grid - AI tactics from Heralds of the Order...
    • Rome:Total War - Vanilla Extended Returns!
  • Writing & Arts
    • New Exilian Music Releases!
    • Meeting Megiumi in Aviarium...
    • Mountain Leopards: One Year On
  • Miscellany
    • Let us know what you're reading - and find recommendations!


Tourney: Fools and Foibles, Statues and Surgeons

Exilian moderator Tusky's wonderful project Tourney continues to come along, with several new additions to announce. One notable one is the surgeon's tent, where injured knights can get "fixed up" after a joust goes wrong... though with the standards of medieval decidedly medieval, they may have to hope that the cure isn't worse than the injury! As well as the surgeon, the jester has also arrived to the tournament ground to wander around and entertain - or perhaps make fun of and annoy - your various tournament guests. More detail has been added to many of the characters as well, including subtle tips that may help you annoy enemy knights in critical banterous moments. With all this, and more features like statues starting to be added, there's a great deal to be looking forward to - and you can find regular updates on the Exilian devlog thread.

Mostly Intense Monster Defence

New Exilian member Patsui has recently released Mostly Intense tower defence, a game with bouncy pixel graphics in which you must defend your dungeon from hordes of downright impolite "heroes" (who do they think they are) who are showing up to ruin your day. Skeletons, goblins, mages, and other monsters can be summoned to bolster your defences across a sixteen level story mode or, if you're feeling the long haul, an endless mode with an eternity of randomised waves of foes to be thrown at you! With lots of humorous dialogue through the campaign as well, and an interesting "tactics wheel" control system that allows you to switch the focus of your defending troops at speed, there's plenty to look at in this new title.

Introducing: HEUSS!

Another new project, this one from Manic Arts, Heuss (pronounced roughly rhyming with "goose", in case you were wondering), is an upcoming medieval themed combat game inspired by One Finger Death Punch which involves a centred player being attacked by enemies from both sides, with the combat arts and skill of dodging, blocking, and of course swinging a sword being the core focus of the gameplay. As well as basic spear-wielding grunts, enemies will include sword-and-board heavies capable of defending themselves, archers whose shots you will need to dodge, and sneakier quick-attack foes among others.

Heuss is especially well worth looking at for any aspiring developer as well thanks to its exceptionally well crafted series of YouTube devlogs, the "Road to Steam" series which is a core part of the project. These take the watcher in great detail through the process and design decisions in making the game, relating them to other games and showing the production process and results clearly on the screen in bite-sized episodes of just a few minutes each. The short format and effective delivery make these a particularly good playlist for the aspiring developer. Well worth checking out!

Onto the grid - AI tactics from Heralds of the Order...

We've had some fantastic new devlog posts from Archaean Games, creators of Heralds of the Order, on their grid-based tactics system. There are some really interesting insights involved on how their AI calculates units' tactical options, and the necessity of building an AI that provides for a fun game over and above one that gives the greatest effectiveness via tactics that feel wrong from a human perspective. How the range of units and gameplay style functions in is also discussed, as well as the underlying systems of influence maps and behaviour trees that allow the AI to calculate what it thinks is the correct move for its unit in any given circumstance. These new articles are a really good under the bonnet look at the constricution of a game AI and are very well worth having a read through. With an upcoming improved demo release apparently likely, we're hoping to hear much more from the Heralds of the Order in weeks to come!

Rome: Total War - Vanilla Extended Returns!

Korsakoff has recently returned to Exilian with some cool new updates on his Vanilla Extended mod for RTS/TBS classic Rome: Total War! This mod keeps close to the classic game but extends it to better showcase the wars of Alexander's successors, the diadochi. RTW: VE's faction list has recently undergone some changes, with the Briton-only faction being switched out in favour of a broader "Celtic Tribes" faction straddling the English Channel that will have more room for expansion on the European continent. Another change is the removal of Parthia in favour of Atropatene, one of the actual historic counterweights to Seleucid dominance deep in the Middle east.

Exilian grew out of the Rome Total War and Mount & Blade modding scenes more than anything else, having provided support for mods including Rome Total Realism, Warhammer Total War, Persian Invasion, Valar Morghulis, Narnia Total War, and more - and it's really good to see some RTW modding continuing here. Please do head over to the RTW modding forum and discover many new options for playing one of the greatest classics in strategy gaming!


New Exilian Music Releases!

We have new music from Jubal on the Exilian Media YouTube channel, with two new songs including the above new original sea shanty "Salt Horses", written in a traditional style as one of two poems produced for Tusky as a prize from one of our creative competitions. The other new song is another of his long series of Game of Thrones themed pieces, a long House Arryn themed ballad called The Falcon Knight. Jubal's Game of Thrones song cycle project started several years ago, but new GoT themed music keeps emerging from it now and again, with nearly all of the major houses having their own songs up on the channel now!

Exilian has two YouTube channels - The Exilian Channel for vlogs and news, and Exilian Media for songs, convention talks, drama/audio projects, and more besides. Please do subscribe to both: we'll hopefully be updating bits of them more in the coming months and we'd very much like you to be along for the ride.

Meeting Megiumi in Aviarium...

In Aviarium, Ierne's world of fantasy and flight, we've been introduced to new character Megumi. Enigmatic and blunt-spoken, her role as guide to the new world that Winter must explore will no doubt be important, aided by her wide array of expertise as a time traveller and adventurer and her apparently very limited array of expertise as a void ship pilot. There's also her folding bed. There has been little detail as of yet about the folding bed, but the folding bed undeniably exists, it is undeniably Megumi's, it may or may not have been heavily discounted, and it may prove crucial to the fate of the multiverse. Or it might just be a folding bed. Who really knows what secrets lie in a creaky set of easily foldable bedsprings?

Aviarium is the setting for some upcoming fiction by Ierne, but is also getting setting updates and periodic art releases on the forum which are well worth looking at, with some lovely creative bits of world building that are worth looking at for inspiration. It's a multiverse fantasy setting with the eponymous focus on flight, but with a gentle undercurrent of Pratchettian/Adamsian whimsy that brings its characters all the more to life. With other time travellers, mages, and dragons all appearing in watercolour in the Aviarium thread, as well as side discussions on Ardan Shakspeare and the logistics of magically generated wings, this is a great project for lovers of light hearted fantasy to go and follow.


Mountain Leopards: One Year On

Jubal's fantasy webcomic, Mountain Leopards, reached one year old in August, with 22 episodes released so far. Based on a mix of Caucasus culture and world folklore, in a style inspired by comedic fantasy titles such as The Order of the Stick, this comic follows Botso Kakhaisdze and his friends - or at least, his acquaintances - as they stumble across adventure in the wild mountains of the far-flung kingdom of Datvieti. Complete with scheming priests, murderous assassins, an unexpected visit from Annie Lennox, and a very great deal of banter, the comic romps on into its second year of existence with many new pages planned and the main plot really beginning to get underway. Read on!


Let us know what you're reading - and find recommendations!

In Exilian's Storytellers' Hall, we've got a long running "What Are You Reading" thread where Exilians have periodically over the last ten years been posting about their recent reading matter, giving thoughts, reflections, and recommendations. It's well worth a leaf through to find thoughts on books from N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth to Sholokov's cossack epic The Don Flows Home To The Sea, and much in between. We'd like to hear from you as well - giving recommendations and discussing recent reads is a great part of our community, and we hope you'll head over and take a look...

And there you have it. Hope you enjoyed this issue, take care as the year turns colder, and see you in December!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 06:30:21 PM by Jubal »
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