Ever since the ancient wars of mages, the world has been a dark place. As to the Distorted Lands, regular folk avoid them like plague. Yet this is now your new home. Your magic powers bid disciples from all over the land to come look for you. Other forces are looking for you, too – and their intent is much darker.
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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“With our previous game (Gremlins, Inc.) we already went through 6 months of Early Access ahead of the full release – and we loved it! The community feedback that we received, lead to new features and improved balance of the game.

With Spire of Sorcery, our plan is the same: we will release the game, publish the development roadmap, and then will adjust our development plans according to the feedback that we receive from our core Steam community – with frequent updates and regular blog entries.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We plan that Spire of Sorcery will be in Early Access between 6 and 12 months.

However, as with our previous Steam release, we plan to keep updating Spire of Sorcery for many months (and even years!) after the full release. The day of the full release will be the day when we're confident that we arrived at version 1.0 of our game design objective; and then we will just continue updating the game as usual.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“In terms of content, the full release version of the game will have the bells and whistles that the Early Access version will not have at its launch date: unique icons and illustrations for different types of events and items; more music and more sound effects; more events in general.

In terms of game mechanics, the full release version of the game might have advanced levels of gameplay built on top of the core mechanics – depending on how we progress with the balancing of the overall player experience, and whether we find these extra layers of gameplay necessary.

In terms of user interface, the full release version of the game will definitely have multiple improvements based on what we discover during thousands of games completed by the community during the Early Access period.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“When Spire of Sorcery launches in Early Access in 2018, the game will be fully playable at its core level: recruit disciples, teach them and discover their personalities and traits; upgrade your spire and manage your resources; send parties on quests across the global map of the world and receive reports; conduct research and otherwise manage your mage's time. Finally, the game will already have a final stage and you will be able to win (or lose) the main campaign.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Like with our previous project, we plan to increase the price once the game transitions from Early Access to full release.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“The close involvement of the Steam community is the sole reason behind our decision to launch Spire of Sorcery first in Early Access. During the Early Access period of our previous game, we already developed the tools that allow us to process player feedback and synchronise our development priorities with what the community feels might benefit the project the most – in a transparent way. We are used to releasing updates as often as every 2 weeks, in order to keep up to speed to the community feedback.

Our first game would not be the same without the many contributions (large and small) of dedicated players from different regions around the world. We know that we can design, develop and deliver a great original game – but we also know that we cannot predict all of the aspects that will make it truly enjoyable experience that will give players 100+ hours of terrific player experience, and this is where the involvement of our community is truly irreplaceable!”
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February 15

#43 – INVENTORY



Another week, another blog post!

Today, let’s dive into the system of inventory management.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF INVENTORY ITEMS

Spire of Sorcery has hundreds of different inventory items, and it took us some time to understand how to organize them properly. At first, we had such groups as “Minerals” and “Jewelry”, but then we realized that it’s not what we need when we play. What we really need is to have groups based on how different items are used, such as “Resources for Crafting”, “Resources for Alchemy”, “Artifacts” and so on.

An important part of this concept is that certain items may belong to more than one group: for example, “Infinite Backpack” belongs both to “Artifacts” and to “Equipment”, while “Fat of Tasljuk” belongs both to “Food Items” and “Resources for Alchemy”.

Here’s the current list of item groups:

:notebook: EQUIPMENT

This large group includes weapons (such as swords, daggers and axes as well as bows and crossbows), armor (helmets and shields), travel equipment (winter gloves and travel boots, backpacks, warm coats, sleeping bags and so forth), accessories (amulets, rings, diadems – whether invested with magic or not) and clothing sets (different social groups in Rund wear different types of clothing on formal occasions, we currently have about a dozen of different sets).

The key characteristic of this group is that such items only have effect when they are worn, and there are certain limitations to how you can wear them. For example, to benefit from warm boots, a character has to actually wear them (and not just carry them in her backpack) – and, obviously, one character cannot wear two or three pairs of boots at the same time.

:notebook: BOOKS & SCROLLS

This is the most straightforward group of items in Rund: if you can read it, then it’s a book or a scroll.


:notebook: POTIONS

This group includes items crafted through alchemy: various potions, ointments and powders that can be as common as a stinking ointment used to prevent insect bites – or as rare as the Potion of Intelligence which temporarily increases one of character’s stats.


:notebook: ARTIFACTS

Some of the books, potions or equipment items can also be artifacts. Such items exist in a singular number and belong to the “unique” rarity level. This includes both “fancy” pieces such as rings and amulets invested with special powers and “mundane” items such as boots and cloaks enhanced with magic.


:notebook: FOOD

This group includes both raw food (mushrooms and berries, vegetables, fish, meat and other items that can be consumed raw) and cooked food (various food rations).


:notebook: RESOURCES – CRAFTING

When an item has this attribute, it means that it can be used in Workshop to craft another item. This group includes a lot of things, from minerals and metals to furs and other animal products.


:notebook: RESOURCES – ALCHEMY

This group includes all the items that can be used in Alchemical Studio to create potions, ointments and powders. It can be an emerald, or it can be a fruit of the Death Flower tree, or it can be mermaid’s tentacles.


:notebook: RESOURCES – COOKING

Finally, this group includes everything that can be used in Kitchen to cook food rations: from raw meat and raw fish to salt and spices.


KEEPING AND CARRYING INVENTORY ITEMS

Each item has one value that reflects both its weight and size. We currently call it “weight” as a compromise. Correspondingly, each character has a “capacity” that reflects how much “weight” such character can carry. And in the Spire, your Warehouse has the capacity that reflects how much weight it can store.

Spire’s Warehouse can be expanded to allow for more storage room, and a character can be equipped with a backpack to allow her or him to carry more items.

Some characters have traits that increase or decrease their default capacities (“hardy” and “weak”, but also “one-legged” and “one-armed”) and certain states (“wounded”) may also affect character’s current capacity.

Capacity of a party matters because an overloaded party receives a penalty to its speed of movement and Travel Magic comes handy because certain spells can increase the capacity of a character (temporarily) or, for a time, nullify a specific item’s weight (“levitation” is how you normally move heavy chests to the Spire).


HOW DO YOU EQUIP A CHARACTER?

In Spire of Sorcery, you cannot micro-manage your characters. You can give someone a warm winter cloak, but you cannot make them wear it – it’s always their decision.

Moreover, when you send a party out on a quest, the party has a shared inventory. You cannot control who gets to carry this, or who gets to wear that – these are the decisions made by the party’s leader (whom you appoint, however).

As we mentioned above, there’s no “hard limit” on how much weight a party can carry – there’s just an increasing penalty to the party’s speed of movement. Because of this, certain party leaders may make a decision to drop items in order to increase their speed (while other leaders, especially those with the trait “greedy”, will keep everything that they find, even if it means a very slow crawl across the map).



And this is it for today! Don’t forget that we run a live stream with the current version of the game every Friday at 1600 (Vilnius time), and if you missed one of those, you can watch (or just fast-forward) the recordings over on our YouTube channel.

See you next week!

–––



:summer_magic: Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
:summer_magic: Official Discord server
:summer_magic: YouTube recordings of the development live streams
:summer_magic: Twitter (game updates)
:summer_magic: Facebook (game updates)



:malice: Official Discord server
:malice: Twitter (game updates)
:malice: Facebook (game updates)
:music: Original Soundtrack on Spotify



:notebook: Charlie Oscar’s developer page on Steam
:notebook: Twitter (studio news)
:notebook: Facebook (studio news)
:notebook: "Behind the scenes" Instagram
:notebook: YouTube
19 comments Read more

February 8

#42 – GLOBAL MAP



Welcome back to the development blog of Spire of Sorcery. To those of you who celebrated the Lunar New Year this week – happy holidays! And to everyone else – just a happy Friday!

A few days ago, I received something that will power me for the next two months: a box from Kagoshima full of sencha, gyokuro and matcha! Some of you may never have pondered on the difference between Yutaka Midori and Sae Midori or, with beating heart, preordered shincha from Uji – but I can’t think of a morning without a cup of this green elixir.

Today, I’d like to talk about something that drove our team to considerable stress, took weeks (actually, months!) of work as we went from one draft to another, and ultimately became the hardest visual issue that we ever solved during the production of Spire of Sorcery: the global map of Rund.



A NEW CAMPAIGN, A NEW MAP

Each time you start a new campaign, the world is generated anew, offering a new map. As we covered earlier, some things remain roughly the same - the mountains in the north and the ocean in the south, for example, - but as far as the Spire’s immediate environment is concerned, it’s a whole new thing.

Because the map is procedurally generated, we could not use any hand-drawn solutions where we would just paint a beautiful, detailed map of the world once - and then use it in every campaign for all eternity.

We also could not create and edit, say, 100 optimized maps (a large enough number to keep the game replayable for weeks!) because of the modding functionality: at some point, each of you would be able to modify the parameters of the world being generated, which can result in thousands of combinations.

Hence, we knew that have to develop a system rather than a specific solution and test it with multiple combinations.

One of the first concepts of the map. This image was not generated but was created with precision for a specific campaign.

TELLING A STORY

One of the strongest references that our game designer insisted on for Spire of Sorcery is that it should remind us of reading dark fantasy books that offer exploration, adventures and mystery themes. Because of this, there’s a lot of “bookish” visual design in the game, and that includes the style of the global map.

We’re not building an RTS or an RPG with the direct control, and so the world should remain distanced from our mage; being more of a “concept” of the world rather than a simulated photorealistic depiction. Up in the Spire, next to scrolls with alchemic formulas and a collection of rare minerals, there lies a map of Rund on which the mage makes notes every time a party arrives with new discoveries.

Here lie the impassable swamps”, – you’ll murmur to yourself, – “and here begins the thousand-years old ancient forest... what secrets does it hide?

Some of the first concepts were quite minimal in their colors, indeed looking more like a book than like a game.

REFLECTING BIOMES

Throughout Rund, there’s currently over 10 of different biomes – from hills to watersides and to Black Pools – and we expect to add more with the content updates during the Early Access period of the game.

One of the first things we tried with the global map was to show very clearly, what sort of biome was in every point of the map. At that time, we did not yet develop the concept of “areas” for harvesting mushrooms or mining ore, and so we assumed that players really needed to know the exact biome type because clicking on “forest” meant one of resources and clicking on “plains” meant another.

Unfortunately, the more we tried to match the actual biome backgrounds on the map, the more confusing the map became. Functional - yes. Beautiful - no.

One of the drafts of the map. Easy to use, but unappealing to look at.

OBJECTS, DWELLINGS, RESOURCES

In addition to knowing that there’s a hillside to the west and a lake to the east, you also need to know if you can harvest clay in those hills and if that lake is the home to mermaids.

While we kept looking for the visual style of the game, we also started to experiment with the different ways of showing information over the landscape. From bright floating icons to objects that were fully integrated into their surroundings, we tried it all.

Here, we tried for the first time to show the Spire as a real object on the map, rather than as an icon. We liked the idea!

As to resources, in the end we agreed that it makes the most sense to show actual emeralds – same as you’d see in your warehouse – where we have a source of emeralds on the map, and fruits where we have a source of fruits, rather than some symbolic icon that would then have to be deciphered.

Different ways of showing resources on the map.

IT ALL COMES TOGETHER

I don’t think there’s a single person in our team who at some point did not try to make their own version of the map – and failed at that :-).

Finally, after more than a year of drafts and revisions, the stars aligned.

This image represents our current best effort.

To be honest, we did not know how important the look of the map was to the whole look and feel of the game – until we found the current solution, when we sat back and proclaimed “yes! this indeed is the world of Rund!”. The bad news: it took us months of searching to arrive here. The good news: IT IS FINALLY DONE. YES, YES, YES!

–––

That’s it for today! As always, for updates on work in progress, please check the game’s official Discord server.

–––



:summer_magic: Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator (Steam)
:summer_magic: Official Discord server
:summer_magic: Twitter (game updates)
:summer_magic: Facebook (game updates)



:malice: Official Discord server
:malice: Twitter (game updates)
:malice: Facebook (game updates)
:music: Original Soundtrack on Spotify



:notebook: Twitter (studio news)
:notebook: Facebook (studio news)
:notebook: "Behind the scenes" Instagram
:notebook: YouTube
28 comments Read more
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OFFICIAL DISCORD SERVER



Spire of Sorcery has its official Discord server, where we share our work in progress on the project. Use this link to join the community – or click on the image above!

CHARACTER GENERATOR ALREADY AVAILABLE!



Spire of Sorcery – Character Generator, a free standalone companion tool for the game, is already available on Steam! Download it here, create your own characters – and share them with the community!

About This Game



In this original mix of strategy and RPG designed by Alexey Bokulev (author of turn-based strategy Eador. Genesis and digital board game Gremlins, Inc.), you will:

  • expand and upgrade your magic spire, balancing the needs to research, craft and defend;
  • choose and teach your disciples, discovering their personal traits and collaboration capacities when matched in parties and sent on quests;
  • explore the vast open world stretching from the Empire to the Distorted Lands, seeking new knowledge, resources and sources of power – as well as establishing relations with the locals.
But above all else, you will try to survive: the troops of the Inquisition are roaming the land, hunting for runaway mages; and dwellers of the lawless wild, human and not, are on the lookout for easy prey.

Yet your most powerful enemy is neither of those. It is the time itself – the approaching death from old age. Only one thing can save you: the elixir of youth. Several ancient manuscripts mention it in passing... There must be a way to learn the formula. There must be a way to obtain the ingredients... Before it's too late.

THE ANCIENT WARS OF MAGES


A long time ago, powerful mages ruled these lands. They moved rivers, they summoned monsters, they created new races of non-human servants for their own needs and pleasures... They also waged wars. It is one of these wars that brought the whole world to the very brink of collapse. Whole regions burned and mountains melted as thousands of souls screamed in torture. In the end, the great mages completely destroyed each other, and as they died, their final curses tore the land apart, creating anomalies that we nowadays call the Distorted Lands. Places that a few dare to visit. Places where abnormal is the norm.

THE INQUISITION


The suffering of the people following the last war had been so great that once the world cooled down from the violent storms, one of the very first groups to rise from the burning ruins was the order of the Inquisition. Said to be more powerful than the Emperor himself, this order is focused on controlling each and every person who possesses any magic powers – and on hunting down those runaway mages that seek to practice the forbidden skill. To the Inquisition, magic powers are a curse, and any practice of these outside of the strictly licensed guild is a sin punishable by torture and death.

THE EMPIRE


As the troops of the Inquisition were making the first arrests, a new state – the Empire – was proclaimed in the part of the world least touched by the war. Officially, the Empire stretches from the coastline and to the mountains, and, with a number of strongholds, provides protection to the population otherwise besieged by all sorts of rogues. Unofficially, the Empire's influence starts to fade even before you leave the capital's gates, and by the time you're in the wild lands, the decisions of local lords always count so much more than anything that the imperial court may try to impose.

THE SPIRE


Until recently, you were an ageing mage casting simple spells under the strict control of the Guild. As years passed by, this satisfied you less and less. You started to look for books that held secret knowledge, studying them when no one could see you... until the day of the surprise search in your rooms. Ever since, you've been on the run, escaping the Inquisition by moving to the only region which even they avoid: the Distorted Lands.

Here, on the edge of the wild lands, you cast the forbidden spell for Spire of Sorcery and, tapping into the source of power, erected your new home: a magic fortress bound to you alone. You and the spire are connected so close that when one falls, the other follows. This is the domain that you can never leave. Yet from here you can still explore the whole world – with the help of your disciples.

Build, upgrade and customise rooms of the spire: libraries and herbal gardens, classrooms and prisons, living rooms and monster kennels, laboratories and warehouses, treasury and caverns, observatory and watchtower – your priorities define the capabilities of your spire and shape your strategy of exploration and survival.

TEACH!


As you develop your spire, disciples start to arrive at your door. Some heard your magic Call; some just heard about you from their friends. At first, you don't know much about them except for their looks and what they choose to tell you. With limited number of living rooms in the spire, will you prefer to accept a farmer's daughter distressed by her own magic powers – or a dedicated student of arcane who yearns for new knowledge, even though his skill is on a lesser scale?

Some of these disciples come to you to escape repressions. Some seek the light of wisdom. And some come in the pursuit of greater personal power. As you accept and teach them, you will discover their true personalities and find them fitting roles in your spire. One will become a great explorer, traveling fast and surviving any hardships. Another will become a gifted gardener, and secure your supply of the rarest ingredients. Yet another will become a traitor, trying to poison you.

Select, teach and direct your disciples on the quests inside and outside the spire. Your choice of strategy may yield a few powerful young mages focused on deep research into the elixir of youth – or an army of simpletons excavating artefacts all over the land, looking for the books lost in the ancient wars.

EXPLORE!


Legends claim that back in the days of the powerful mages, there were spheres that could show you what happened all the way across the mountains – and that through them, you could even converse with others. Nowadays, one hardly knows what happens across the river, as the wild lands are overtaken by rogues and monsters. But perhaps one day you will re-discover these long-lost magic artefacts of the past?

With disciples ready to depart on the quests of your bidding, ancient ruins and abandoned mines will reveal their mysteries to those who survive the expeditions. By sending parties and setting their goals, you will map dwellings, points of interest and sources of power. Your disciples will meet rogues and vagabonds, settlers and lords, animals and monsters. Through the eyes of your students, you will discover the non-human races of the past as well as the few ancient creatures from the pre-war era who continue to prowl in the wild, accumulating greater and great powers.

Explore the open world created anew each time when you start the campaign, charting new lands and deciphering new secrets. Maybe your brightest disciples will go missing in the Distorted Lands, lured by the innocent-looking fluters; or maybe they will befriend the many-handed Librarian and unlock his treasure trove of manuscripts? The story of the campaign is yours to write.

SURVIVE!


Here in the wild lands, bandits and gangs are a fix of the local landscape. Looking for the weak, they will move to an easier prey once you step up your spire's defense. As to the local dwellers, not everyone appreciates a mage moving in, and quite a few may try to claim the contents of your cellars. Not to mention seasoned adventurers on the mission to raid a castle or two (and make it off with the artefacts).

As your spire gains notoriety, it will start to attract more visitors, including stronger private armies – as well as the troops of the Inquisition, who never forget or forgive. And as your disciples travel the world, other dangers will loom: from illnesses contracted far away on a quest and brought back to the spire by the returning disciples to dangerous spells triggered by the explorers, which can range from having a few ghosts to having to battle a full-blown death curse. Your old age is approaching, too, rendering you fragile... until one day you become too weak to defend the spire.

Survive the immediate dangers while looking for the formula and ingredients of the only thing that can offer you the truly lasting power – the elixir of youth. Whether you find it, craft it or trade it, this is the item that will decide the ultimate success or failure of your campaign!

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7/8/10
    • Processor: Intel 2.3Ghz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel Iris 5000
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Internal
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7/8/10
    • Processor: Intel i5 / similar AMD or higher
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 7XX / similar Radeon or higher
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Internal

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