Posted on November 30, 2018, 11:18:45 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 31: November 2018
Issue 31: November 2018EDITORIAL
Another month goes by, and we've got far more to write about than this column can fill, and only one writer and an imaginary llama to do it. We've produced new music, poems, game modding, and more this month! There's also just a few hours to go on the Epicinium Kickstarter, so do go and chip in on that before it finishes.
Next month we'll also have staff elections, and we're very much looking for new people to take on some of the workload and ensure we can keep doing this column and regular articles through into 2019, so if you're able to volunteer more time please do get in touch.
With that, here's just five of the spectacular projects we've had updated this month - read on and discover everything from old TVs to travel in space in this month's updates:
- Introducing: Sidereal
- CG's crafts - restoring an iconic TV set!
- Terminus Cyberstar takes shape
- Chat with taverngoers in Innkeep
- Birds and Beasts in Windy Meadow
Introducing: SiderealVrosivs Avgvstvs Rakvs follows some other members of ours in taking a jump from the Rome TW modding world, where he was known as a contributor to the great Rome Total Realism series to independent gamedev, with the announcement of mysterious new game Sidereal! Sidereal will be a single player 2d side-scroller with a strong storytelling element and a "spacepunk" setting of terraformed future worlds, quirky robots, mysterious occurrences, and possibly also if you're very lucky a cup of tea. In what is set to be a triptych, part one is entitled "The Wretched Pioneer", and hints as to the dystopian future that the player character will exist in have been dropping tantalisingly through Sidereal's social media accounts. They're well worth following, especially for the magnificent artwork - see left for one cracking example.
So... who are the 1st SPOTAL division? What are the experiments of the mysterious Dr. Sculler aiming at? And what are the "deceitful contraptions" known as Scourers really up to? Who is the eponymous wretched pioneer, and what will their fate ultimately be in the futuristic darkness that they inhabit? So far, only the Sidereal team knows, but we're all looking forward to finding out more...
CG's crafts - restoring an iconic TV set!
Caption Goes HereOver in the arts and crafts section, Exilian's master craftsman Comrade_General has at ever been hard at work on some home projects, including recently restoring a 1950s General Electric television set, not only restoring the woodwork but retrofitting it with an LCD screen ready for modern day use. Including the technical work of hooking the new TV into the old classic speaker system, the craft of restoring the finish of the outside of the set from its previous "found in the back of a barn" aesthetic to something more like new, and the madcap bits of inspiration needed to get the project done (wet t-shirts made an unexpected appearance), this like many of CG's other projects is well worth reading through, and the very nice looking results very much speak for themselves. You can find out more at his thread:
Terminus Cyberstar takes shape
Caption Goes HereWe've had more video updates this month from Silverspook's Terminus Cyberstar, a gritty cyberpunk RPG that's built to reward tactics and problem solving. It's going to have a particular emphasis on having multiple routes - both physically and in game terms - to achieving your goals throughout the game. Disguise, smooth talking, computer hacking, survival skills, and well placed explosives may all be just as important as how you handle a gun, if not more so, in making your way through the alleys, streets and towers of the game. This month, the core city map of Terminus is really taking shape, with vehicles and characters beginning to populate the streets in a clean mid-level graphics style. Silverspook has also done video demos of various aspects of the game, including the combat (where he discovered he was on infinite health mode at a very opportune moment), AI perception, and exploring the environment.
Chat with taverngoers in InnkeepDaniel O'Burke's fantastic looking game Innkeep is further taking shape, with recent updates covering dialogue and how your character interacts with the inhabitants of the inn. In the game, you'll play the eponymous innkeeper, with a range of medieval and fantasy types rolling up to an inn that you find abandoned and must rebuild to prosperity. Simply selling drinks won't be enough to make ends meet, though - a successful innkeeper is a fast talker, keeper of secrets, and a masterful pickpocket every much as a puller of pints and provider of lodgings.
Is this guy worth robbing? How principled are you in the first place? Only you can decide...To ensure that you can relieve your customers of a few extra valuables, of course, you'll need to talk to them, but it's a difficult business to keep up all those conversations whilst everyone still gets served. Unlike in many RPGs, going through all the dialogue options simply isn't an option, adding some more mystery to the game as you never quite know what else there was to find out. With a great new blogpost and video dev diary from this month outlining more about recent changes, do have a read/listen of those and pop over to the Innkeep Exilian thread to have a pint and discuss the game. Watch out for your valuables, though...
Birds and Beasts in Windy Meadow
That gryphon actually just loves picking flowers.The slideshow gif above shows just some of the lovely background creatures featured in Tales from Windy Meadow, one of our most regular entries in this newsletter - their pixel art is just so much fun to feature! The team are hard at work fixing dialogues and updating artwork in this story-driven choose your own adventure that sees three youngsters from the same village make difficult choices and choose their paths as they work out whether they can navigate the worlds of love, interest and ambition in a fantasy world where monsters lurk in the woods and life is always a little on the edge. You can always find great latest updates at their Exilian thread:
And that's all for this month! Join us next time when another year of our updates from the forge will finally draw to a seasonal and snowy close...
Posted on November 03, 2018, 06:51:28 PM by Jubal
Epicinium Kickstarter is live!
The Epicinium Kickstarter is now live! You can now back the environmental wargame from cooperative indie studio A Bunch of Hacks, and see it on its way to becoming a fully fledged masterpiece!
Epicinium is a game of tactical warfare, with a strong environmental element as players are scored not only for military success but the state of the lands remaining at the end of the game. Will you industrialise and push for a greater victory over your enemies, knowing the risk that climate change and pollution could drag down your score? How worth is it winning a mighty victory if all you have left to rule is bomb craters and mud? Epicinium asks these questions in a setting that nonetheless has a well balanced wargame with a range of tactical options at its heart, from lowly riflemen and trench-digging sappers to powerful tanks and zeppelins. Take a look and chip in to back the project!
Posted on October 30, 2018, 04:10:34 PM by Jubal
Updates from the Forge 30: October 2018
Issue 30: October 2018EDITORIAL
Welcome to Updates from the Forge! It's nearly all hallows' eve, and we have... well, not actually anything particularly spooky in the issue, so here's a new pumpkin smiley for the forum to make up for it.
There has been a lot going on around the site this month, including our chain writing project coming to its conclusion. You can read our three great stories written collaboratively by nearly twenty writers, across three different continents, here. We'll hopefully do more chain writing in winter, so do keep an eye out for that There's as always more creative content than we can pack in as well, including new Son of a Witch skins, more issues of other comics, more devlogs, and more besides. And there'll be more to come in November!
Before that, we've got six great projects in this month's showcase, including a full range of tabletop, computer, comic, modding, and other projects. As the nights draw in, here's all the things you could be doing when you're not running away from zombies...
- Dare you enter Goregasm Arena?
- Spooky Soundtracks from SoundImage
- Ahowl's RTW Enhancements: Germania and Dacia!
- Join the Skywrights' Guild with Utherwald Press
- Darkness and Demons in Pixel Dungeon Adventure
- UI updates from Fringe Planet
Dare you enter Goregasm Arena?There's just a few days left to chip in to the Kickstarter campaign for Goregasm Arena, a brutally comic-violent boardgame of arena battles set in the madcap post-apocalyptic Wasteman setting. Shark-headed mutants, Toxic waste monsters, and two-headed gorillas are just some of the crazy folk who are ready to put their lives on the line in deadly gladiatorial combat. As well as shunting, tackling and striking other players, the game includes card picks that will let you discover what horrific injuries your opponents have recieved, and a wheel-spinner that represents the fickle nature of the crowd - the support of the fans can be a great thing, but the mob is always fickle.
We've known Thunderchild minis for a while here at Exilian - among other things, they were stallholders at our 2016 convention - and it's great to see their first boardgame coming out. With not long to go, now's the time to head over and throw some of your hard-earned cash their way to enter the deadliest of arenas, where four mutants may enter but only one mutant can leave. Desperate times, after all, call for desperate entertainment!
Spooky Soundtracks from SoundImageIf you're doing any kind of creative project online then it's very, very worth checking out SoundImage, one of the greatest music and texture libraries on the internet, created by our friend Eric Matyas! Recent additions to the archive of over 1500 tracks (plus a very wide sound effect and texture selection) include a lot more cartoon-style textures, which now have their own pages on the site, and a load of new looping tracks for game or video use including "Ancient Waters", "A Walk Through the City", the 70s-style "Side Burn Squad" and the mellow "Ice Road Sunrise"! With hallowe'en coming up, expect new soundtracks on the Dark/Ominous and Horror/Surreal pages too - recent additions to those include "Too Quiet", "After the Invasion", and "Surreal Place". If you want a spooky theme for your seasonal project, do take a look at those!
Ahowl's RTW Enhancements: Germania and Dacia!The most recent versions of ahowl11's Vanilla Enhancement Mod for Rome Total War, "Germanic Mystery" and "Sons of Zamolxis", focus on the wild lands north of the Danube and the warrior tribes that dwelled there. This includes a complete overhaul of the Germania unit roster compared to the original game - there are now many different units available, including Chosen Spearmen, Bear and Wolf Warriors available at temples, and the Harii warriors as a new mercenary unit unique to the region. The training structure has been changed too, with the tavern-type buildings now responsible for training the deadly berserkers and night raiders. For Dacia there are plenty of changes too, including the addition of more heavy infantry and archery units such as Pikemen and Champions, and a diverse cavalry selection that includes horse archers.
"Next time, Gaius, I'm booking the holiday, and we're going to Mesopotamia, OK?"Ahowl's vanilla enhancement mod also includes changing Egypt from a Bronze Age to a Ptolemaic visual style of army, and enhancements for the Gauls and Britannia that fill out their unit rosters including additional higher level units. Future plans include the inclusion of a range of battles and smaller campaigns alongside the grand campaign, to give the mod a more complete portrayal of Roman history. If you're playing the original RTW, this is a great mod to check out by one of the most prolific modders on the scene.
Join the Skywrights' Guild with Utherwald Press
Travel by air! Guaranteed your money back in the event of fatal crashes!Recently Utherwald Press has been adding new blogposts as usual, including an exciting look at the Skywrights' Guild, one of the most powerful transnational organisations in the world of Darmonica. With an effective monopoly on the lift gas used to keep skyships in the air, the Guild is a major player in international economics and power politics far beyond its official status as an airship and skyship manufacturer. Needless to say, many of the states of Darmonica are less than happy about the guild's power, and besides attempting to build up their own rivals, there is no doubt a degree of intrigue going on for which player characters may be hired on either side...
Darkness and Demons in Pixel Dungeon Adventure
Editor's note: they did not share the guacamole.In Pixel Dungeon Adventure lately, the heroes have come face to face with a new and terrifying demon for an enemy! The comic features three adventurers - Sir Bob the knight, Lady Val the very minmaxed wizard, and Auto the, uh, mechanical automaton rogue - as they battle and, more often, bungle their way through all the challenges that an adventuring world has to offer. Their past adventures have included facing a goblin sorceror-king, an army of strange deadly blob-creatures, the lack of mounts, and of course the mysterious Dungeon Master himself... but will the challenge of a mighty demon prove too much for them? You can read and discuss the comic here on Exilian, and also see the comic's regular postings on the Pixel Dungeon Adventure website, which is now linked from the Exilian homepage sidebar. Discover the comic and read on!
UI updates from Fringe PlanetBeebug's frozen world survival simulator, Fringe Planet, has has new UI updates. The game is set on a mysterious chunk of rock in space, in a strange lovecraftian universe of science and magic. The player must attempt to guide several characters, the peons, to build and survive on this tiny fragment in the terrifying void. As they do so, they will have perils thrown at them, with different 'storytellers' providing different modes and balances of the challenges. Those who fail will die, whether from starvation, madness, or cold: those who succeed may discover new technologies and ways of manipulating their surroundings, and - perhaps - clues of how they got to the fringe and who they used to be.
Select which storyteller will throw horrors at you from the depths of the void...!Recent UI updates to the game have seen a much more aged paper-style interface, bringing out the lovecraftian theme of the game even more - Beebug keeps up an active blog to discuss new changes. A recent post to that includes some great details on some of the things that have gone wrong in testing, from heating the planet to 2 billion degrees by accident, to mysterious insects wanting to cuddle up to humans for warmth, to the peons ending up weighing thousands of kilos because nobody wrote code for them to go to the loo!
The game's shaping up really nicely, so do head over and take a look at their devlog:
That's all folks! If you've got a creative/independent project that you'd like featured in this newsletter, please just post it on the forum, and remember that you can also request frontpage announcements for major releases of projects at any time if you're an Exilian member. Feedback is as usual appreciated, just drop it in a comment below or send it to us at exilian (at) exilian (dot) co (dot) uk. Happy Hallowe'en!
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!