Author Topic: Updates from the Forge 46: Summer 2022  (Read 433 times)


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Updates from the Forge 46: Summer 2022
« on: July 13, 2022, 08:40:57 PM »
Issue 46: Summer 2022


Welcome to another issue of Updates from the Forge! First, an apology that even by our usual sluggish standards this is a late issue, almost two weeks after we'd usually have it out: unfortunately with a very busy run of conferences and wading through the later stages of his PhD writing your regular editor (and chair, and executive officer) is having a somewhat hectic time of it at the moment, and has not had time to sit down and write about himself in the third person like this until now. Also, the imaginary llama we employ as an editorial assistant remains useless, so we're giving it a 20 percent paycut. As we don't pay it, this won't make much difference, but it's the thought that counts.

It's been a quiet but not an un-busy few months here on Exilian, as the below run of articles and projects shows. We've got new poetry, whole new game projects, mod releases, travel writing, and more besides. Our regular monthly meetups have continued too, and keep going from strength to strength - if you'd like to join in on those and haven't been getting the emails about them, please get in touch. We've also been busy at the back end of the website, and may have some announcement to make about possible changes to our hosting situation in the coming months.

But for now, we'll keep this editorian short and let you get onto what you presumably came here for - summer's Updates from the Forge!


  • Editorial
  • Game Development
    • An RPG... In A Box?
    • Rus TW - Fortis Bellator
    • Fall of Telmar: A Narnia Total War Cinematic Mod
    • Innkeep Steam Page Launched!
    • Bigosaur's Block Buster Billy
  • Arts & Writing
    • Infinitas: The Griffin Imperium
    • Poetry by Jubal
  • Miscellany
    • Jubal's Venice Travelogue
    • Exilian: A Choose Your Own Adventure


An RPG... In A Box?

Created by new member ol_smaug, RPG In A Box is a new voxel-art game engine for making RPGs. It includes a wide range of features including a built in voxel editor and asset library, a map editor, tree dialogue and quest editors, a flexible scripting system, and more besides. Combat options include both a real-time and a more detailed turn-based combat system, and a flexible inventory manager allows you to equip and unequip weapons and equipment on characters as well, with experience and character advancement features built in. There is, in short, everything you need for building a basic RPG easily accessible, and the RPG In A Box community already seems to be working out how to take the engine and script systems in a range of exciting new directions

Jubal's Valethad, in RPG In A Box's map editor.

RPG In A Box is still in development, and new features are being added and announced via social media and on the engine's discord server all the time. Recent updates have included adding percentage chances for loot drops and the beginnings of a more flexible character stats and status effects system which will no doubt see a range of improvements and additions in the coming months. Here on Exilian we've even already got our first little project using the engine, Jubal's Valethad (pictured above) - perhaps you'll have your own sometime soon as well?

Rus TW - Fortis Bellator

We've also got some Rome: Total War modding news - BagaturKhan has produced a new edition of Rus Total War, originally created by VIR and the Imperial Community modder group. Rus Total War takes you back to the eleventh century and the initial flowering of the Kievan Rus, a complex network of principalities that stretched across much of modern Ukraine, western Russia, and Belarus. You can play as the princes of Kiev, Halych, Novgorod, Smolensk, or a number of other ambitious Rus leaders attempting to expand and maintain their power across the landscape. Or, equally, you could play as one of the powers with which the Rus clashed at times in this period, a time when Rus were raiding and fighting as mercenaries across the Byzantine world and the Mediterranean beyond. Byzantium, Hungary, Poland, and the Volga-Bulgar Ilkhanate all stand at the edges of the Rus polities and may have their own political goals in the region.

Will you rally the Rus to your banner, or change the course of history entirely? Find out by taking a look at the mod...

Fall of Telmar: A Narnia Total War Cinematic Mod

Also in Rome: Total War modding news, BagaturKhan has released a new submod, Fall of Telmar, for Jubal's epic Narnia: Total War. The new mod significantly overhauls the graphics of the Telmarine Narnian and Old Telmarine factions, moving them away from the mix of Pauline Bates inspired reskins of vanilla Rome: TW units used in the original mod and towards the conquistador-like morion helmeted Telmarines of the 2008 film.

For those who want their Narnia: TW experience to better mimic the battles of the big screen, this is a must-have mod that will let you witness a much more cinematic view of Narnia. Images from the film series have also been used for the loading screens, further moving the experience of the game towards the modern cinema experience. Do check it out!

Innkeep Steam Page Launched!

BeerDrinkingBurke's game Innkeep now has its steam page launched, a big new milestone in the journey towards the best [citation needed] fantasy inn ever with the most experienced, honest, legitimate [citation seriously needed] master of the house at its helm! In this tavern simulator game, you start as the eponymous Innkeep, and must learn to serve drinks and food to paying/threatening customers... but there's a lot more to the inn business than just keeping your customers happy. Picking up on news, rumours, and secrets around the inn, and ensuring your revenue stream is supplemented by trading in information and in items mysteriously going missing from tavern patrons' bags in the night, may all be a part of making your tavern a success!

Bigosaur's Block Buster Billy

Sometimes, in life, you just have to push through your blocks.
Billy may have taken this too literally.

The latest new game project from Bigosaur (creator of Son of a Witch, The Game Is On, and Windmill Kings among other titles) is another puzzler, Block Buster Billy! This game focuses on mathematical-style block pushing problem-solving puzzles, where you as the eponymous protagonist must create connected blocks by rearranging individual numbers and symbols into valid equations, or disrupting an equation block to be able to move the blocks inside it into different orders. As you progress through a series of islands the puzzles get more complex, requiring you to build right-angle hooks in the block pushing or use comparison statements to reach the chest of shiny shiny gold that awaits Billy at the end of the level.

Can you beat the puzzles? How many islands must you progress through for your final victory? Why does Billy want all this gold anyway? At least two of these questions may be answered in Block Buster Billy!


Infinitas: The Griffin Imperium

In a recent thread, BagaturKhan has introduced  the Griffin Imperium, a key part of the setting for his upcoming story Revenge of Tyrants: Soul's Storm. Here you can find out about the lore of this newly detailed part of the Infinitas setting - the Imperium is based on a mysterious planet, on which Griffin-like aliens once ruled. Now under its often short-lived Emperors it hosts a mixture of supersitious locals and contract soldiers, operating from the capital city of Dane, a refuge fled to after Griffin City itself was torn apart in the Acheronian war. Find out in the thread what happened to the Ho-Nari Emperor Silotl, or the recently deceased Emperors Antonio, Maurizio and Dimitri - or discover more about the risk of cults and the pressures on the contract soldier system in the Acheronian war. There's another whole society from Infinitas to explore!

Poetry by Jubal

So it's when the world feels heavy
And the sky seems like to fall,
That I wonder if the wonder's that
The sky stays up at all...

Recent posts in the writing section have included further additions to Jubal's poetry thread, a blockbuster thread containing most of his poetry and song lyric writing from 2008 to the present. Poems in recent months include 'Ouranos' Pockets', quoted above, which reimagines the sky through different outfits and their imagined weight, and 'Herons', which gives some reflections on visiting the Alte Donau heronry in Vienna during the opening days of the Russia-Ukraine war back in March. If you like poetry, why not go over and comment, or even post some of your own work for people to read?


Jubal's Venice Travelogue

The Lion of Saint Mark, a traditional symbol of Venice

Exilian has had a long history of people posting travel writings, and whilst the difficulties of the last few years have led to something of a dry spell, some of us have been able to get out and about a bit more this year - including Jubal taking a trip to Venice! In his travelogue, take a deep dive into the past and present of one of Europe's most tourist-heavy and yet enigmatic cities, one that dominated the Mediterranean but, in turn, is threatened today by encroaching waves. Dipping between medieval history, the fauna and flora of the Venetian lagoon, the food and drink of the area, and the experience of visiting Venice today, this is a narrative well worth reading if you're interested in travel.

Exilian: A Choose Your Own Adventure

In the far depths of Exilian nestle the pages of Exilian: A Choose Your Own Adventure, a sprawling forum-based choose your own adventure game written by our members over a number of years. The forum is set up such that any Exilian member can edit their own links and pages in and contribute to the four madcap stories on offer: that of Adonibal Barca, a pangolin captaining a trireme, the tale of Tibula Khan, ruler of Tasmongolia, the story of Comrade General Angus, a minotaur with many firearms, and finally the story of Beesnot Lumpwagon. Why you would want to play a story where you get to be Beesnot Lumpwagon is anyone's guess, but the option is there for you all the same.

So why not go and have a play and let us know what you think - or even add more nodes to the game yourself and give players some more endings to choose from! The choice, as in any good adventure game, is yours.

2022 continues to be a packed year, and we're now more than halfway through it - this summer, we hope you get a chance to rest somewhere that gives you even a little space to breathe against the hot gales of the world. We hope, too, that you get a chance to create and find out new things, even as life throws challenges in our way. Exilian will be here to give you any help we can in those endeavours - and to bring you, in three months' time, autumn's Updates from the Forge. We'll see you then.

The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...