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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Utgivningsdatum:
Early Access – 2018

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Early Access-spel

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Vad utvecklarna har att säga:

Varför 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.”

Ungefär hur länge kommer det här spelet att vara i 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.”

Hur är det tänkt att den fullständiga versionen ska skilja sig från versionen i Early Access?

“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.”

Hur är det nuvarande läget i versionen med Early Access?

“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.”

Kommer spelet att prissättas annorlunda under och efter Early Access?

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

Hur planerar ni att involvera gemenskapen i er utvecklingsprocess?

“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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Tillgänglig: Early Access – 2018

 

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13 april

#22 – THE WORLD



:summer_magic: OTHER ISSUES OF THIS BLOG
:Questions: CONSOLIDATED Q&A THREAD

CREATING THE WORLD

Welcome back to the dev blog of Spire of Sorcery! We spent the last two weeks working on how we generate the world of Rund – a part of design/code that is responsible for the specific map that you’ll see upon launching the main campaign.

As with Gremlins, Inc., our development process on Spire of Sorcery is split into two big stages: (i) preparing all the systems that we need in order to make the gameplay happen; and (ii) adding content to the already existing playable version.

The first stage is crucial for the long-term health of the project: this is where we build in the possibility for players to mod the game, and for us to expand the game with future updates that will add both features and content. The second stage is important for the actual world of Rund: this is where we fine-tune descriptions, art and sounds to bring the dream of our game designer to life.

Currently, it feels like we’re at the last stretch of the first stage. We still don’t know how soon we’ll cross the “magic line” to first playable, but we can definitely say that a lot of groundwork has been completed, and a lot of systems are already in place for Rund to start functioning as intended.



THE MAP

Every time you start the main campaign, you enter a brave new world. This is essential to our vision of the game: it is designed to be played again and again and again, always challenging your strategic thinking.

The borders of Rund remain generally similar between different campaigns, so that the area accessible to exploration is roughly the same. However, the specific terrain differs: the exact line of mountains in the north, the specific shorelines in the west and in the south, the precise line of chasm of the Distorted Lands in the east, these are all generated anew from one campaign to another.

Sometimes we’re asked: “Will players have the option of selecting the basic parameters of the world for their new campaign?” Our answer is: “No”. This is a balancing decision: the size and the style of the map for the main campaign are something that our game designer controls 100%, based on his vision for what this campaign should be, at any given moment.

If you plan to explore Rund from the very first days of when we launch in Early Access, you will experience this first-hand, as with every update we will continue to tweak the parameters of the world. We’ll start from a smaller world and will expand it as we add more content into the game world. We will also adjust other parameters of the world as we get more data on how people play.



ALTERNATIVE MAPS

Even though the main campaign of the game will always have the map generated according to the same parameters (size, style), we will make the parameters of or world generator available for modifications. Thus you can definitely expect to see mods that will play with sizes and styles of the map to offer different game experiences.



MAP SEED

For those moments when you encounter an unusually challenging world and would like to re-play on this very map specifically – or challenge one of your friends to beat the same map faster than you! – we give you the option called “Map Seed”: in your settings menu, you will find the “name” of the current map (for example, “#DarkValley”). When entered at the start of another new campaign, this seed will launch that campaign on the very same map that you copied the key word from.

DIFFICULTY LEVELS

Another popular question is about how Spire of Sorcery regulates different difficulty levels. Our plan is to change how fast your mage will age (so that with a higher difficulty level, you have less time for making mistakes, some of which may ruin you) and how motivated the Inquisition will seek you out (going from their attitude of “meh, another runaway mage!” to “this runaway mage is a big threat to the system, we must locate and burn him!”).

BIOMES

When the new map is generated, we don’t have a preset percentage of how much of the world should be covered in swamp, and how much in, say, forest. This results in a greater variety of campaigns: in some campaigns, your exploration will proceed easily; and in some, it will be a real challenge. Certain things remain constant, though: there are hills and mountains in the north; there are the Distorted Lands, and the ravine, in the east; and there’s the sea in the west and in the south.



TOWNS & DWELLINGS

Most towns in Rund are based on rivers, as access to water is highly beneficial to manufacturing as well as to supplying the population with clear drinking water. Most towns are connected to each other, and the capital, with roads. The roads, though, are far from the superb standard of the roads of the past, since the space currently occupied by the Empire used to be covered in forests back in the Age of Mages. The glorious cities of the past were mostly in the east of Rund, and haven’t survived the Cataclysm.

Towns are surrounded by farmlands and what we call “satellite locations”: mines, windmills, sawmills and similar. Between different campaigns, the number of towns will vary, we don’t have a constant that tells, for example, for Rund to have “10 towns” or “30 towns”. It could be 5, and it could be 25. At this time, we play around the map that offers approximately 10 towns.

As to dwellings of non-humans, we look at their rarity when generating the map. Some of the very rare dweller types have a good chance of being absent altogether from a particular campaign. So that if you run into the Many-Handed and its Library in one campaign, you may not have this creature at all in your next re-run.

THE LOCATION OF YOUR SPIRE

Your Spire will always be located on the same latitude of Rund (i.e. it will always have the same distance from the northern and southern poles of the planet). As to its longitude, it will vary – depending on how you complete your initial character generation quest. Some players will set their Spire quite closed to the borders of the Empire, and some will run away as far into the woods as they can afford to; some will start in the Hills, and some will start in the Swamps.



RESOURCES, LOOT, PARTIES

Some types of resources in Rund are sustainable, and can regenerate – for example, grass. Other types of resources can be exhausted all the way down to zero – for example, minerals.

Of sustainable resources, some can be harvested at “sources” – specific circular areas within the biome where, for example, specific mushrooms grow; and some can be harvested throughout the whole biome, for example in every part of the forest – however, different spots in the same biome will offer different yields.

When the map is created, resources as well as loot (hidden in chests) obey the same formula: we look at the chance of encountering these in biomes and in locations, and then at their rarity level.

For example, 100% of mandragora is located in biomes (say, forests and swamps); and being uncommon, there will be a total of 20 sources of this resource placed around the relevant biomes of Rund. Another example is cinnabar: 20% is located in biomes (hills, in this case) and 80% in locations (caves and mines). Based on its level of rarity, there could be just 3 sources of this resource on the whole map, if it’s rare – or 30, if it’s common.

As to the parties of robbers and adventurers, these fall into two categories: those with a base camp are generated similarly to dwellers and their dwellings; while free-roaming parties – those on the move – are generated dynamically during the actual game.



EXPANSIONS AND BALANCING

At the time when the game releases in Early Access, we will have more biomes, dwellers and creatures designed than what we already have brought to life in the game with visuals and sounds. Thus, the first order of the day, once we release in Early Access, will be to add visuals and sound effects to the content that’s already present “in the mind of the game”, so that our visuals catch up with our internal mechanics.

Additionally, we have a long, long list of content that we would like to design and add to the game once we get to a later point: new creatures and new biomes that will be quite rare, so that while in every campaign you’re bound to run into some Ancient Forests and Weavers, you may only have a 1 in 10 chance of encountering these new, more advanced creatures.

Whenever we discuss the way that we will process feedback during the Early Access period, we identify few channels:

First of all, we rely on both Steam Discussion Forums and on our official Discord server, where we can provide help and advice in the fastest way possible. We also consider few other sources of data to be very valuable to us:

  • Watching player letsplays – which is invaluable since we can spot both balancing issues and interface issues from these;
  • Looking at the server data – thus initially we’ll give a priority to the always-online mode of the game, where we can track the internal progress of each campaign; and
  • Player logs – something specific to each campaign, so that if someone reports a specific issue, then we can track it down to particular decisions and consequences.

With this, we say goodbye for now, and we look forward to seeing you here next week when we’ll show off our progress with other game systems!

–––



: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)
:hypnoheart: "Behind the scenes" Instagram
:fireapple: YouTube
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30 mars

#21 – DISTORTED LANDS



:summer_magic: OTHER ISSUES OF THIS BLOG
:Questions: CONSOLIDATED Q&A THREAD

Earlier, we showed you how we design characters as well as how we create visuals for the game’s biomes. And today we’ll show you how we bring these images to life through creating custom sound effects.

MEET ANNA



Since 2015, all of our sound effects are created by Anna, who goes by the stage name of “A.Fruit”. She has created over 300 custom sound effects for our previous game Gremlins, Inc. as well as wrote all the songs for the game’s soundtrack (here on Spotify and here on Steam), and since 2017 she’s in charge of both sound effects and music for Spire of Sorcery.

Even though Anna is an independent musician and DJ, playing sets around the world, she fits our studio really well because, like us, she gives a lot of attention to details, and she shares the ambition of bringing our game designer’s vision to life.

THE PROCESS

When creating a new creature or a biome, we start with the brief written by our game designer. Such brief serves as the basis for our concept artists, who then create the first black and white sketches. Once we settle on the black and white sketch that we like, they proceed to preparing the first color sketch. And once we have the color sketch approved by everyone in the team, two things happen:
  • our artist, Rita, starts working on the final art, which may take a few more versions due to tweaks and improvements in colors and composition;
  • our sound designer, Anna, already starts working on the custom sound effect.
Normally, we don’t wait for the final art to be finished before starting with the sound effect – because “the feeling” of new creature or new biome is already present in the color sketch.

THE DISTORTED LANDS

Let’s take a look at one of the biomes from the game: The Distorted Lands.

This is what the brief says:

“These lands are the result of the Cataclysm, which in places tore the fabric of the world. The landscape is distorted, the vegetation is extremely unusual. The ground is crisscrossed with multiple ravines, some of which emit light.

There are plots of land that float above the ground, ranging from small (stones) to huge (whole islands). Some of these floating objects are connected to the ground with stalagmites. Occasionally, there are electrical discharges in the air, between two or more floating pieces.

Most trees and bushes are covered with thorns, with little or no leaves. Some of the vegetation produces its own light, which may have a pulsing rhythm. The flora and fauna of this biome has little or no connection to the regular world of Rund.”

And this is what the first black and white sketch looked like:



Following that, we settled on the color sketch that everyone liked, which then went to Anna as the basis for her work designing the sound effects:




BRINGING THE DISTORTED LANDS TO LIFE

Here’s the very first version of how this biome sounded like:

https://youtu.be/nKirMgnFtd4

We made the following comments:
  • we hear a lot of sounds from Fluters, but they are not the only creatures who inhabit this biome; we need more animal/event sounds in the background;
  • we need sounds of electrical discharges;
  • we need more wind;
  • perhaps some rustling sounds from dry branches rubbing against each other?

A few days later, a revised version arrived:

https://youtu.be/-aMz4YTcLtE

It seemed like we went a bit away in the wrong direction:
  • the location is now too peaceful, while this is the most dangerous biome in Rund!
  • birds now appear in the background, however ordinary birds don’t survive in the Distorted Lands;
  • we still need the sounds of electrical discharges and currents;
  • we miss the sounds of larger creatures that inhabit this biome.

Then the third version arrived:

https://youtu.be/iTdoK-qzZlc

This version made everyone happy: the electrical currents were included, the vibrations of the ravines were included, and there was finally enough activity of insects and small animals in the background. The only thing that was missing: the sounds of larger animals.

The next revision became the final sound of the Distorted Lands:

https://youtu.be/QnuhFIGbQFY

It took us less than a month to get here!


THE FLUTER

Once we’ve dealt with the Distorted Lands, we wanted to check on how some of the animals and creatures of this biome will integrate there – sound-wise.

Meet Fluter:



“Fluters are a new type of animals that evolved in the eco-system of the Distorted Lands. Most likely, they used to be small animals or birds, that found a way of surviving in the new environment.

The main food source of fluters is all kinds of large flowers that are quite common in their habitat. They are also able to directly consume magic energy whenever they come across a thick flow: some travellers mention seeing whole swarms of fluters in the range of thousands, whenever a burst of magic energy is released in the Distorted Lands.

Fluters emit sounds similar to high flute notes, hence their name. Their wings are a valuable ingredient used for a number of magic potions and remedies. It is rather expensive since to obtain those, one needs to enter the dangerous and unpredictable region of the Distorted Lands.”


BRINGING THE FLUTER TO LIFE

Here’s the first version of Fluter that Anna sent over:

https://youtu.be/fi19SwhSyeA

We liked the emotion, but we felt that the flapping wings sound too much like it’s a bird, whereas Fluters are closer to hummingbirds. We also wanted to play with the sound of the “flute” a little.

https://youtu.be/hlrTlzDbfiw

The next delivery has exactly the “flute” that we wanted. As to the flapping wings, it was now too much like it’s an insect. So we asked Anna to make a small step back.

https://youtu.be/XQ6uNhVAh3M

The third version ticked all the boxes! Everyone was happy.

And here’s how the Fluter sounds against its biome, the Distorted Lands:

https://youtu.be/mFq6tKyzKPw

With this, we end this week's dev blog, and as always, thank you for your interest in the game! Please join us on Discord if you would like to participate in the weekly Q&A sessions with our game designer, as well as to see work-in-progress materials that we regularly share there!

–––



:summer_magic: Steam page
:summer_magic: Official Discord server
:summer_magic: Twitter (game updates)
:summer_magic: Facebook (game updates)



:malice: Steam page
: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)
:hypnoheart: "Behind the scenes" Instagram
:fireapple: YouTube
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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!

Om detta spel



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!

Systemkrav

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7/8/10
    • Processor: Intel 2.3Ghz
    • Minne: 4 GB RAM
    • Grafik: Intel Iris 5000
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Nätverk: Bredbandsanslutning
    • Lagring: 1 GB ledigt utrymme
    • Ljudkort: Internal
    • Ytterligare anmärkningar: Initially, this game will require an Internet connection to play. As the game progresses out of Early Access, the game will offer an offline mode that allows to play without any Internet connection.
    Rekommenderade:
    • OS: Windows 7/8/10
    • Processor: Intel i5 / similar AMD or higher
    • Minne: 8 GB RAM
    • Grafik: GeForce 7XX / similar Radeon or higher
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Nätverk: Bredbandsanslutning
    • Lagring: 1 GB ledigt utrymme
    • Ljudkort: Internal
    • Ytterligare anmärkningar: Initially, this game will require an Internet connection to play. As the game progresses out of Early Access, the game will offer an offline mode that allows to play without any Internet connection.
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