We are just a few days away from completing the core development phase. With a little help of some friends, we have begun testing the game, a procedure that may sound easy but actually it is not. According to our original schedule, we should have launched the game three months ago but, development wise, we think this is hardly a big delay. Enjoy the prisoner soundtrack and stay tuned until the Spellbind launch at the end of the year (hopefully :)).
Spellbind is in the last stage of development with the final part being redesigned and developed at the moment. We expect to spend a couple of months on polishing and testing the game but that is a procedure we will try to complete as fast as we can.
However that cannot stop us from posting a small screenshot update just for keeping you warm now that the winter is coming.
Finally the latest book from Lord Amatar, a proud member of the Circle of the EightVirtued Magicians and an author well known for his simple and effective writing with thousands of dedicated readers, is about to be available in a couple of days in every major bookstore of our time.
The title of the book? Spellcasting 101.
Do you want to be a powerful wizard? Do you crave wizardry and wish to be like Lord Amatar, a formidable and widely respectable wizard? First things first. Start with the basics of the fine art of spellcasting, get a good grip on them and then you will be able to move on becoming the spellcaster you’ve been wishing to be all your life. This book is exactly what you need to begin. Only this book and nothing else. Just take a look and you won’t be disappointed.
Here’s an excerpt from the first page :
Spellcasting is the ultimate art of manipulating the powerful flow of magic which lies invisible, yet abundant, in just about every corner of the known universe. As a clearly mental activity, it requires absolute concentration on behalf of the caster. Few people are capable of successfully casting a spell and that is mainly because few people are born with the necessary natural inclination to magic.
So if you have already tried to cast a spell and you have failed, don’t feel bad about yourself. It happens all the time.
And some photos of one of the first, already invaluable, prints of the book.
Clearly a book you cannot afford to miss!
After some time without posting activity (due to heavy pressure from my daily job) and a small trip abroad to Rome (which was indeed very refreshing), there comes the hour when I intend to return with a steadier flow of posts.
Spellbind development still marches on and I expect a significant portion of the game to have been finished by the end of April.
Looking back in the beginning, when the whole project was conceived, I remember a friend’s request for a story in a fantasy setting, a story that was going to be used as the basis for a multimedia interactive game for children. That was the first time when I wrote down something that was very close to the prologue of Spellbind. Well of course, the game was never published. But I thought back then that it would actually be good as a story start for an adventure game, so I decided to work a little more on that.
So I worked on the prologue, the part where Luppe finds himself inside Lord Amatar’s cellar, discovers the big strange door which draws his curiosity and finally unlocks it and proceeds to the rest of big mysterious manor. All these were written hastily in a couple of days and proudly presented to the team in a coffee meeting. The sketches included a pretty rough puzzle flow and just about every other detail I could imagine regarding the prologue.
Till then, I had a story start and an actual playable prologue with its puzzles and almost all of its details defined. And then what? If I wanted to have a fully fledged storyline, I needed a beginning, and end and the whole thing that comes amidst them. And that’s what I set myself down to do. Josh Roberts in his really good Adventure Architect Series talks about giving your game a beginning, a middle and an end. It was a procedure that really suited my mind so I did the same thing. I wrote three paragraphs, one for each part of the game. I didn’t like them. I wrote them again. And again. And after five or six iterations, I came up with a nearly satisfying result. Those three paragraphs were the skeleton of my storyline and the only thing I had to do was build on top of them. Those were the pillars of my storyline, the only unchanged aspect of the development from then on. And after that, I moved on to designing these parts with much more detail.
However, Spellbind is an adventure game and specifically a casual one, easy to play and easy to finish, facts that make it difficult for me to say anything more about the storyline which I think is the most important aspect of an adventure game. But I think that a flimsy idea of the initial design procedure as it was stated previously would be good and interesting for you to read.
Don’t forget to read, in case you are interested and you have not already done so, Josh Robert’s Adventure Architect Series of articles. They can be found here. Some of them are a bit outdated but have no doubt, they are really worth reading.
Though development seems to move at a slower pace than expected, the main part of the game, the one that has to do with Lord Amatar’s manor is almost completed. Scripts for these screens need to be written but this is nothing compared to the graphics development workload-wise.
Well sure, much more work remains to be done for the final product but we are still able to keep up with our main schedule despite the delays. And that is the most important aspect of our development experience, the fact that we are still on schedule and still eager and motivated to continue the development. Indie game development needs constant self motivation, let’s hope we won’t run out of that any time in the future.
For now, check a couple of screenshots, I will be back soon with a more “adventure-design” oriented post, a post I have wanted to do for a long time now.
The library room. Here the journal on the stand will be the most important object in the game.
A garden room inside a house? Well, it is a magician’s house, everything is possible. Think of it more like an atrium full of spell ingredients.
The playable prologue of the game is ready and we get to test it before the other parts of the game are completed. First testing phase will be on iOS mainly due to the existence of TestFlight. TestFlight is an online service which greatly simplifies iOS testing and makes it easy for a developer to have more than one tester. We have tried it, we think it is rather good, so we move on to using it. Before long, we will also test the game in Android, but let’s try iOS for starters.
So we are looking for testers. We already have some friends in mind but that doesn’t mean we do not wish to have more. If you would like to help us and you are an iPhone or iPad owner, if you like adventure games and have some time to spend on playtesting Spellbind, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is only the beginning of the game, more parts of it will follow and you will have the chance to test them all individually and as a whole. We will be very happy to hearing from you.
You can catch a glimpse of Spellbind in the following video. Development goes fine although sometimes I admit it could go a lot faster.
Pretty soon, there will be some testing material for anyone who is interested. Until then, Merry Christmas to everyone.