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Jubal

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Updates from the Forge 45: Spring 2022
« on: April 09, 2022, 03:48:07 PM »
Issue 45: Spring 2022

EDITORIAL

Welcome to another issue of Updates from the Forge! In time-honoured tradition, this comes to you just over a week late, as we forge our way into spring of 2022. It's felt like a long winter - many have in recent years - but we hope that wherever you are in the world, the year is getting greener for you, metaphorically if not literally. In this issue, we also say farewell to Leafly, whose tenure as editor of Updates from the Forge in recent years has provided us with a lot of great articles and stories from across the community. Thanks to Spritelady for her help getting this issue put together: we'll update you on editorial matters in Issue 46.

Speaking of Spritelady, as of this year's staff elections we welcome her as Exilian's new Tribounos, meaning we have our full quota of regularly elected committee members for the first time in a few years which is fantastic news: she'll be responsible for adjudicating on issues where there are disagreements over moderation, staffing, and how we run the site. If you ever feel you've been unfairly treated by a moderator or that Exilian staff aren't acting in accordance with our own rules, you can ask for a review of the decision, a system we're very happy to have in place. We've also celebrated Exilian's 14th birthday - nearly a decade and a half of our democratic, creative little corner of the internet.

We're far from running out of creative juices after those 14 years as well: recent months have included finding out the results of our Winter Competition, which saw fantastic joint-winning entries from Spritelady and medievalfantasyqueen and a wonderful array of other artistic and creative outputs that you should absolutely go and check out. We also had a hilarious new article giving a calendar with a bad pun RPG idea for every week of 2022 - why not check out which quest your birthday or other significant date gives you?

And then, of course, there's the regular news - the Updates from the Forge - that as ever we're delighted to present. Read on...

CONTENTS:

  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • Fenlander
    • Updates from Olympus with Rbuxton
    • Pip's Tale comes to Tourney
    • Utherwald Press - Signing Off?
  • Arts & Writing
    • Spritelady's Writing Thread
    • The Storyteller's Tale
  • Miscellany
    • Coding Medieval Worlds
    • Matyas Music Multiplies...
    • YouTube Reorganising

GAME DEV

Fenlander



A text-parser game with limited graphics released by Jubal in January for itch.io's Historical Game Jam 5, Fenlander takes the player deep into the heart of the medieval East Anglian fenlands. With a player goal of making eel-rent, the game lets the player select one of three key tools - a reed-scythe, eel glaive, or peat spade - at a time, before going out the fens to gain some of the riches of the wetlands. Over-tiring yourself and failing to eat and sleep in pursuit of your goals, however, risks increasing illness and ultimately death: working out a balance between gathering different types of. No man is an island, either: successful players will also get to know some of the non-player characters in their village, and thereby gain necessary additional items that will help keep them going through the difficulties of fenland subsistence.

Much of the game's charm comes from its lovingly described fenland landscapes, with herons, snipe, and bittern all calling through misted reeds. Immerse yourself in the deep mud of medieval Fenland life and see if you can fish the eels you need!






 
 
Updates from Olympus with Rbuxton

Rbuxton has shared his experiences so far this year creating and playtesting boardgames in his dev diary, Master of Olympus.  Most recently, he's been working on building a story-driven game using art collaged and cannibalised from other sources, in the spirit of games like Dixit though with elements of Codenames and some Dungeon Crawler ideas mashed in. The process included some interesting insights into what gets into game art in the first place, and where starting with other people's creative outputs can lead us in terms of our own storytelling. This magpie approach to game development is well worth checking out on Rbuxton's blog.

It's been a busy time on Olympus generally, including travels to Beachhead 2022, a tabletop gaming show held at the Bournemouth International Centre in February. Working with Playtest UK, 10 games were shown this year and he reports on the interesting and useful hints, tips and tidbits shared by the other designers, playtesters and volunteers at the event.  At the monthly Playtest UK meeting in January, Rbuxton shared his new project of the year: a storytelling game with mathematical puzzle mechanics, named Yarn. He discusses branching out of his usual comfort zone when designing games, and trying his hand at a lightweight narrative game involving cards that allow players to spin a yarn for themselves. More details on this intriguing game can be found in his dev diary.






 
Plip's Tale comes to Tourney

In continuing updates to Tourney, Tusky's game of medieval jousting, a new mini-RPG mode has been added! Previously only available to kickstarter backers, now everyone with the game can now go through the tale of Squire Plip as he attempts to enter his first tourney and become a real knight! Of course, along the way he'll have a few bits of work to do, to help or hinder fellow tournament-goers, and the choices he makes might lead to very different outcomes for both himself and those around him at the tournament ground...

If you haven't checked out Tourney, now is a great time: at heart it's a theme park simulator style game that takes you through a story-driven campaign, starting holding a tournament as a desperate money-spinner in the one field you inherited from your family and growing both your renown as an organiser and that of your house knights as you put on progressively grander events in progressively more lavish locations, from Avalon to Atlantis to the royal City of Flowers. It's bursting with classic medieval-fantasy humour and the additional element of having your own competitors in the mix makes it a twist on the usual park sim genre. Go unfurl your banners and check it out!




Utherwald Press - Signing Off?

Some major news from our friends at Utherwald Press - Stephen "Stormwell" Hughes, Utherwald's owner and lead designer, is taking some time out from game development to do basic training with the UK's RAF (Royal Air Force). Frozen Skies has always been built around Stephen's love of aircraft, and we're excited for him now getting to put that passion into practice. This will likely mean fewer Utherwald Press updates in the coming months, but never fear: Stephen's been putting plans in place for various bits of production to happen while he's away, and still hopes to get the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition version of Frozen Skies out this Autumn.



ARTS AND WRITING


Spritelady's Writing Thread

Our new Tribounos, Spritelady, has recently started a writing thread to discuss some of the concepts, creatures and ideas she is using in building her tabletop RPG worlds. The lore she's included so far includes some detail about the hellish creatures of her world, in particular the illriggers, a sort of order of hellish paladins who can lead the armies of devils and enforce the will of Hell on the material plane. Created by D&D great Matt Colville, Spritelady has her own additions and takes on these feared foes and how they can fit into a campaign world. Imps, some of the classic minions of the dark powers, also get a look-in, with discussions of the demonology of how to repel them and the things they fear. This sort of practical-but-mystical, rather than pseudoscientific, approach, is a really interesting way of approaching creatures that has a lot of direct implications for how protagonists interact with them, something that's often not as well considered as it could be when designing creatures for use in fantastical settings.

There's no doubt more to come, as well, and we're excited to learn more about creatures infernal and otherwise as we get more development on Spritelady's worldbuilding in the coming months. If you want to find out more about the legions of hell and other aspects of this developing fantasy world, why not head over and have a look?





The Storyteller's Tale

Quote
I once met three travellers on the road. One was dressed like a prince, in fine robes of purple and crimson; the second was a soldier with a sword at his belt and a dark glint in his eye; and the third was a wayfarer, a minstrel, who loped a little behind the others, smiling at a joke half-hidden. I couldn't tell you where they'd come from; I couldn't tell you where they were going to. I had never seen them before and I have never seen them since.

But they seemed wise; and so I asked them how to save the world...

Our Exilian spoken storytelling section has long had a good array of tales for spoken storytellers to make use of, and now we've got a new addition in the form of The Storyteller's Tale, which Jubal told at ExiliCon 2014 but which has never had a written up version available for other tellers... until now! The story is a tales-within-tales parable where the teller compares the imagined stories by three different travellers, giving different sorts of advice on how to save the world. But whose tale will our teller ultimately believe?

You can find this alongside many more tales, and thoughts and advice on spoken-word storytelling, in our Spoken Storytelling area. It's a treasure trove of information for tellers - and maybe other folks too, for traditional storytelling has its place in the roots of so many things we do as writers, TTRPG game masters, computer game developers, and more. Why not dip in and see for yourself?




MISCELLANY


Coding Medieval Worlds: Networks and Connections

In February, we had our second Coding Medieval Worlds event, welcoming over thirty scholars and game developers in collaboration with the University of Vienna's Digital Humanities team. Coding Medieval Worlds is an innovative online workshop series and format, bringing game developers and medievalist scholars together to discuss how we represent medieval worlds in games. The discussion isn't just confined to ideas of "historical accuracy" but looks at why particular parts of medieval history make it into games and others don't, what developers can draw from medieval history in both historican and fantastical game settings, and how all that can shape both people's views of the past and make more enjoyable games all round.

Whilst most of the time is spent in discussion groups we do have some talks as part of the programme. This year we had Crusader Kings III content developer Claudia Baldassi and Tom Brughmans & Iza Romanowska, agent-based historical modelling experts from the university of Aarhus, giving keynote talks, as well as fascinating panels on connecting people and the past through games and how games represent cultures around the medieval world with speakers looking at Byzantium, West Africa, India and Ireland. If you weren't at the event you can check out the talks on YouTube - the 2021 and 2022 event talks are now all available.

All in all it was a fascinating few days, and we look forward to reporting on CMW3 next year!




Matyas Music Multiplies...


Eric Matyas’ wonderful library of textures and music has been expanding steadily so far in 2022. This brilliant selection of resources for use in creative projects is available from Eric’s SoundImage website. The latest additions to the musical features include a number of ‘puzzler’ tunes, including ‘cool’, ‘sky’ and ‘bubble gum’, perfect for adding to your latest puzzle game project!

Some of the other expanding areas include fantasy and sci-fi sound effects and ambient sounds. All music is completely free to use with attribution for commercial and non-commercial works.




YouTube Reorganisation


Did you know that Exilian has two YouTube channels? Now you do! We've been working on reorganising and updating them recently, to help ensure you can find and subscribe to the things you need. In particular, we're moving talks and panels from events off Exilian Media and onto The Exilian Channel. This will help Exilian Media stay focused on entertainment and artistic videos from drama to comedy to music, while information - be that via vlogs, announcements, game trailers, or the panels and talks from our events - will all be hosted on the Exilian Channel as the home of the interesting and informative. We've also got a bunch of new content available, including a number of previously unseen videos and talks from previous conventions that cover everything from spoken-word storytelling to Constantinopolitan vampires to the lairs of Cthulu. Go take a look!






We're all hoping that 2022 turns out an easier year than 2021, but it's been a difficult start. We stand with creators and friends around the world who face deep pain, oppression and war, from long-standing conflicts like those in Tigray, Yemen, Syria, or Afghanistan, to the new horrors being visited upon Ukraine. In times of danger, it can be easy to feel that what we do here is worthlessly small compared to what's going on in the world - but division and pain do not lessen our need to create, connect, and explore. If anything, they make those fundamentally human things more important when finding what we can share around the world. So, here, we'll keep bringing and reporting on imagined worlds and interesting information and games and stories - they are the feathers that, one day, might let new birds fly when dark skies clear. We'll see you next time, Exilians - take care.


« Last Edit: April 09, 2022, 04:17:09 PM by Jubal »
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...