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Age of Grit - A Cowboy Steampunk RPG

Created by iqSoup

Age of Grit - A Cowboy Steampunk RPG
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636 backers pledged $15,773.15 on Kickstarter

A cowboy themed RPG adventure aboard a steam-powered airship! Steampunk meets Firefly in a vast, immersive, Wild West inspired world!

Raised in Kickstarter
$15,773.15 / 636 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$688.00 / 586 backers

Learn About Our Project:

 

In "Age of Grit" you play the captain of an old, beat-up, steam-powered airship exploring a vast, cowboy-themed, steampunk world. You're looking for whatever work you can find--bounty hunting, smuggling contraband, running guns...maybe even a little train robbery if you're so inclined. 'Bout anything to pay the bills, keep the guns loaded, the boiler stoked, and keep your ship in the sky!

     

 Check out a detailed break down of our stretch goals in Update #6.

Age of Grit is the story of a ship, her captain, and her crew.  The game revolves around the crew, their adventures, and the part they play in the larger universe that surrounds them. The world will be the embodiment of everything cool from the cowboy genre: the six shooters, the sheriffs and bandits, the duels at noon, the frontier way of life--and above all that distinct Wild West spirit of adventure!

But why stop there? Maybe we can make the Wild West even cooler.  Why not throw in some fantasy technology--steam powered airships, floating fortresses, and extraordinary clockwork contraptions. The technology will be advanced but in a cowboy sort of way, with everything using steam-power, pistons, and gears to operate.  AOG will keep everything cool about the actual historical Old West but add a heavy injection of science fiction!

Crazy steampunk weapons will be a hallmark of AOG.  Think of a cowboy version of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome mixed with the cannons and ship to ship combat of Master and Commander!  If that sounds as awesome to you as it does to then AOG is the game for you!  You'll even be able to build weapons for your ship using a simple but intricate crafting system.  You could build deafening black-powder cannons to blast other airships out of the sky...or maybe you'll save up for a flame thrower and douse your enemies in molten tar.  Or perhaps better yet--get yourself a pair of armor piercing gatling gun and tear through ship hulls with steady streams of lead.

AOG will be an RPG for PC, Mac, Linux, and iOS.  You and your crew will fly from one settlement to the next, looking for work, and trying to get by.  Think of a steampunk version of Firefly, only you'll be living aboard an airship rather than a spaceship and visit cowboy towns instead of planets.  

The player will be able to explore towns from sort of a 2D first person perspective--similar to the perspective of games like Year Walk or the points of interest in Oregon Trail II.  Each town will consist of a number of screens the player can visit, each with several NPCs to interact with.  Some of our stretch goals involve mini games and other "off ship" activities.

When trouble comes, you'll battle other airships using a deeply strategic, turn-based combat system.  The game will heavily feature RPG progression elements--you'll be able to level up your crew and upgrade your ship as you see fit.  AOG will be a story and dialog driven experience with an emphasis on exploration--as your journey unfolds you'll discover a large, cowboy-inspired, steampunk world.

The game world is one vast frontier--an entire continent filled with Old West style towns, people, and adventures!  Railroad tracks crisscross the landscape.  Mines, forts, and trading posts dot the countryside.  Your journey will take you through cactus covered deserts, red rock canyons, tropical sandy beaches, and the harsh forests of the northern mountain chains.  There's interesting folk of every variety that work, live, and die here.  Brave patriots, vile traitors, bandits, lawmen, ranchers, inventors, prospectors, fur traders, and adventurers of every caliber all call this place home.  There's untold riches to be found, and danger lurks behind every cloud.  This land of both great turmoil and great promise is simply called: The West.

The West is divided by different factions--each has its own culture, background, and interests.  The factions don't typically get along too well.  War is looming, liable to break out at any moment.  Armies are gathering and massive navies of armored airships are being constructed with haste.  The fate of The West is about to be decided.

The Miner's Guild - A hardy people who've tamed the frigid, rocky, and treacherous land to the north.
The Liberty Compact - A collection of city states that hold the northeastern region.  They consider themselves a torch of freedom in a dark world of tyranny.
The Kingdom of Topaz - The island nation to the south.  A tropical clime home to a hot sun and more than its share of troubles.
Blight Territory - The lands to the southwest are hazardous to say the least--a cursed and evil blot on the map. Few if any return from this wretched corner of the world.
The Core - A mighty nation stands in the center of the world.  The largest and most powerful faction in The West.

The heart of The West is its people.  Each person has a fleshed out personality and a unique story of their own.  AOG is dialog centric--meaning what you choose to say and how you interact with others is a large focus of the game.  Each conversation matters and determines what jobs you'll get, your reputation, how people will treat you in future encounters, and at times the course the overall story will take.

Shiny things are few and far between here.  Machinery is built with utilitarian purposes in mind rather than cosmetic beauty.  The West has got more than its fair share of grit--much like most of the folks that call it home.  Things round these parts tend to get tore up, shot up, or blown up fairly quick.  Bullet holes and scorch marks are always in style.  'Bout everything's grimy, rusty, and in desperate need of a good coat of paint--but usually there are more pressing matters in The West.  Survival alone can be a trial and tends to move things like fancy aesthetics to the back burner.

The West has deep lore. We've written centuries worth of rich history to flesh out the world and help it feel real and lived in. As you explore The West you'll uncover ancient mysteries time has forgotten.  Hidden secrets lay ready to be unearthed, and lost treasures wait to be found.

concept ship A
concept ship A

Your home is a rusty, rickety, steam-powered airship. It's seen better days, but she’s a tough old bird.  Constructed over half a century ago, it was originally built as an unarmed cargo ship and hauled loads of munitions and coal to the front lines of the Great Iron War.  Since then, the old girl has been modified and renovated many times.  The hull has been reinforced, sensors upgraded, and the ship has been retrofitted with heavy weaponry.

concept ship B
concept ship B

In AOG your ship will be fully customizable.  You can upgrade the guns, the engines, sensors, crew quarters, or even the ship's galley.  Upgraded components will have a direct effect on game play.  When you finish jobs and get paid, you can use the cash to purchase better machinery from one of The West’s many shops and dealers.  Or if you’re lucky you might be able to salvage better parts from the wreckage of a vanquished enemy ship.  AOG will feature a crafting system through which you can combine salvaged parts to build unique ship components.  As you improve your ship you’ll be able to take on bigger and more powerful foes and, in so doing, spread your fame across The West!

All the crew members have unique stories and their own character arcs throughout the game.  AOG will have deep RPG elements.  Each crew member can be leveled up individually and has his or her own stats, skills, and special abilities.  You won't just follow a linear path of progression--the strategic choices you make in leveling up your crew are important.  Make sure each crew member has skills and abilities that complement each other and work well with the rest of the crew.

Over the course of AOG's Kickstarter campaign, you'll get to meet the initial members of your crew.  We'll reveal an update every couple of days with a short bio introducing you to a new character.  For starters meet the Captain, the main character of AOG.

The Captain is Age of Grit's main character. He's a grizzly, hardened veteran of past wars.  He was once a loyal commander in the Compact Militia but now harbors allegiance only to his ship, his crew, and himself.  Since the war ended, he's flown a junky, old airship around the Guild Lands doing whatever jobs he can find to survive.  Though times are hard something keeps him going.  He senses there's something on the horizon, something important waiting for him.  He just doesn't quite know what it is.

While the Captain cares greatly for his crew, he tends to keep to himself.  He can be distant and short with others.  He has a temper and little concern for manners or pleasantries.  But while he can be hard to get along, once you've earned his friendship he'll be willing to die for you without question.  He's an honorable man and keeps his word no matter the cost.  At times he'll even loosen up, enjoy a good laugh, and will rattle on about some old war story from the "good old days."

The Captain has a deeper back story that will be revealed throughout the course of the game.  As the game progresses, the scars of his dark past will unfold and shred light on his character.  He has personal motivations and a history not even his crew fully understands.

While we want the game to facilitate a variety of strategies and playing styles, it's critical its mechanics are based on a simple foundation.  Sometimes games try to overreach when it comes to game mechanics.  Things start getting too complicated and, as a result, the core gameplay suffers.  The original Super Mario Bros uses a d-pad and two buttons but as we all know it does tons with those basic controls.  And despite its simplicity, it gets extremely difficult at times.  Great games establish rudimentary but rock solid mechanics and then build a deep, challenging, and fun experience with those basic mechanics.  All the game mechanics in Age of Grit will be built on very basic, simple, but well thought-out systems--whether it's the RPG elements, the dialog system, the quest system, or the combat system.

Combat

A big part of AOG is blowing the crap out of stuff.  The combat in Age of Grit revolves around managing your airship's steam pressure.  Your ship is steam powered, and all its systems require steam to function.  You won't have enough steam pressure to run everything at maximum output.  You'll have to prioritize systems strategically if you hope to survive.

Combat is turned based.  Each turn your ship produces more steam pressure.  You can use that steam pressure to fire specific weapons, repair damage to the ship, make a run for it, raise your defenses--or maybe you'll save it for next round so you can launch one massive coordinated attack against your enemy.  Systems can benefit each other and work well when used in conjunction.  Rather than one weapon just being definitively more powerful than another, different weapon types have special asymmetrical strengths and weakness.  

Beyond managing the ship's mechanical systems, you'll also manage your crew, each of whom has special abilities, buffs, and skills.  The combat will get deeper and more complex as the game goes on, but it will all be built on this simple foundation of managing your ship's steam pressure and allocating it wisely.

Quests

A lot of RPGs suffer from mundane quest systems.  You're trying to save the world from impending doom, but you put it all on hold to do menial chores for random villagers with exclamation points floating over their heads.  Maybe they want you to pause your epic journey to Mordor in order to gather a few dozen bunny pelts.  You skip through the dialog as fast as possible and then follow the blinking light on your minimap to wherever you're supposed to go.  You don't really care about the quest and often don't even remember why you're doing it in the first place.  Talk to an exclamation point...kill some faceless bad guys...return to the exclamation point for your reward...repeat 500 times to beat the game.

In AOG, quests will be more organic and a lot more meaningful.  Missions won't just be spoon-fed to you.  You'll need to actually talk to people, earn their trust, and figure things out on your own a bit.  For example, perhaps you come across the owner of a coal mine who happens to have a few dozen crates of extra dynamite he's looking to offload.  Can you convince him to sell to you?  Do you trust this guy?  Do you know anyone who might be in the market for dynamite?  Is his price even that good?  What's your reputation like in this area?  What about the authorities--will the local sheriff look kindly on dynamite smuggling?  Every quest will be unique and offer a distinct and interesting challenge.

Rather than mindlessly looking for the next floating exclamation point you'll have to use your brain (GASP!) and actually make things happen on your own.  AOG is all about player freedom and facilitating naturally flowing gameplay. You can take the jobs you want and do what seems best to you--rather than being railroaded down a single linear path.

AOG OST Sample #01: Full Steam Ahead!

AOG OST Sample #02: Ice and Stone

AOG OST Sample #03: Dusty Skies

Age of Grit will feature an original, fully orchestral soundtrack by the legendary video game composer BeatScribe.  He's an outstanding musician and has produced tons of incredible tracks for a lot of great indie games.  You can check out some of the amazing work he's done over at his SoundCloud.

Age of Grit will need a soundtrack that can bring its vast and colorful world alive.  We already have a number of tracks completed and upon achieving our funding goal we'll be able to produce a lot more.

Music is the soul of any good game and is core to the overall experience.  Think of your favorite video game.  Now think of the music.  Chances are it was awesome.  Whether it's Tetris or Super Mario Brothers or Sonic the Hedgehog or Baldur's Gate or Bastion or Papers Please or Hotline: Miami, a great soundtrack is a vital component of a great game.  We might not always consciously realize it but a solid musical score adds a huge amount of tone, emotion, and depth to a video game.

Reward Information:

A big thanks from iqSoup: We deeply appreciate pledges of any amount!  Thank you for believing in us and for helping make Age of Grit a reality!

Receive project updates: Backers of any tier will receive updates  on the development of the game.  You'll get to watch the game progress and have access to artwork, early game footage, dev blogs, and tons of other cool stuff!  And of course you'll be alerted when the game is ultimately released.  MECHANIC tier backers or higher will also have access to extra special bonus behind the scenes content!

AOG Wallpapers: As a special thank you, COWBOY tier backers will receive a unique wallpaper exclusive to COWBOY backers only!  Any pledge at or higher than the PILOT tier will receive two separate exclusive wallpapers.  So that's three unique wallpapers--one special wallpaper just for COWBOY tier backers and two for PILOT tier or higher.  We will format wallpapers in all of the most common resolutions so you'll be sure to have the perfect fit for your screen.

Digital copy of AOG: The game!!!  You'll receive a digital copy of Age of Grit on either PC, Mac, or Linux.  Our goal is to get on a digital distribution service like Steam.  If that's the case, you'll have the option of receiving a Steam key for Age of Grit when it's released.  We're aiming for a release date of November 2015.  Retail price will be around $15-$20.

Credits: All backers at the PILOT tier or higher will be honored in the game's official credits!  You can be listed by your real name or the alias of your choosing.  You are a big part of Age of Grit and deserve some recognition!  There will be a special section near the top for TREASURE HUNTER tier backers and any MAYOR tier backers will be featured at the very tippy top of the credits--even before the dev team.

Digital OST: AOG will feature a sweet original sound track by the legendary Beat Scribes.  When complete, we will send out DRM free digital copies of the OST to all backers at or above the GUNNER tier.  Enjoy!

Create a NPC: We think this reward is really cool!  At the MECHANIC tier, you'll get to name a minor NPC--a townsperson who will appear in the game!  You'll determine his or her gender, race, age, and general disposition (good guy, bad guy, neutral etc).  If that's not enough, then at the LAWMAN tier you can FULLY design a more significant NPC--a fellow airship captain that players will encounter (and maybe fight) over the course of the game!  Create the NPC's exact appearance, personality, back story, and assist in writing his or her lines.  You will work with our artists and can entirely design the character's appearance as you see fit.  If desired, your character can even be based after your own likeness--just send us a photo!  And you'll decide the character's ultimate fate--to ride victoriously off into the sunset or end up getting blown to smithereens.

Beta Access: This reward grants the backer full access to the Age of Grit closed beta when it's ready.  You'll be the first to see what the game is really going to be like and get to play it before anyone else.  You'll get to watch as new features and updates unfold before your very eyes!!! Your comments and suggestions will help shape the final game.  We really want our backers to help with the development process--we need your input and feedback!

AOG Guidebook: Entitled "The West: A Traveler's Compendium," this is a detailed traveler's guide of The West.  It is written from perspective of Nessmuk T. Franklin, a famous adventurer and traveler of The West.  It contains some of the history of The West, bios of some of the important figures, and write-ups for each settlement.  The guide is complete with detailed sketches and illustrations.  HISTORIAN, EXPLORER, TREASURE HUNTER, and MAYOR tiers will receive a physical copy, printed and bound to resemble a vintage Old West style book.  It'll measure roughly 4 x 7 inches and will be a great way to showcase your AOG enthusiasm!  GUNNER tier backers and above will receive a PDF version of the guidebook.

Cloth Map: A full-color detailed cloth map of The West.  Every nation and settlement will be featured along with terrain and other details.  It will look and feel authentic--like it's a true artifact from the game.  It will be approximately 8 x 15 inches and will look great framed or hung on a wall!

Secret In-Game Tomes: As a bit of an easter-egg, hidden in the game will be two secret tomes.  One will list the "Legends of Western History" and the other the "Great Adventurers of the West"--with the name or alias of each HISTORIAN tier backer in the former and that of each EXPLORER tier backer in the later.  TREASURE HUNTER and MAYOR tier backers will be featured in both.

Wooden "Age of Grit" Sign: This is a gorgeous handcrafted wooden Age of Girt sign painted by my wonderful wife Kay--who does this sort of thing professionally for a living.  The ultimate AOG bling!

Create an In-Game City: You're the boss--tell us what you want!  You can specify the name of your city, its location, climate, what it looks like, its history, culture, and help us create its overall look and feel.  You can completely design its citizens too, and fully design each NPC the player will encounter there.  And if you want, the mayor or sheriff can look just like you!

Obviously, your alias or other in-game input is ultimately subject to our approval. Images of physical rewards are concept images and subject to change.

me as Mario for Halloween back in the good old days
me as Mario for Halloween back in the good old days

My name is Andy Morrison.  I'm the president of the indie game studio iqSoup and the idea for Age of Grit has been in my head for quite some time now.

Growing up in Phoenix, I loved everything cowboyish as a kid. There's an Old West town called Rawhide my parents would take us kids too.  Horses, wagons, shoot-outs in the streets--I was mesmerized.  I would spend all my allowance on Playmobil cowboy toys and created my own little cowboy town in my bedroom with a toy train that circled around it.  I even invented my own cowboy Playmobil toy, drew it out, sent it in to the company, and was shocked to see my creation in the next year's catalog. And everyone my age has gotta remember how great Back to the Future III was as a kid!  When Doc Brown showed up at the end with his flying-steam-engine-time-machine...wow...just wow!!!  I hope to take everything I loved then and now about the Wild West and cram every bit of it into the world of Age of Grit!

From the time my family got our first NES I loved video games.  For a while all we had was one game: Super Mario + Duck Hunt.  Of course most of the time I just had to watch my older brother play...but even that was pretty entertaining.  From an early age I was determined that when I grew up I'd make video games.  I used to make up games in my head and sketch out drawings of what the different screens would look like.  As I got a little older I got into programming actual games and loved it.  I taught myself Visual Basic and started out making really simple games.  My first game ever was called "Wizard Wars" in which a poorly drawn face barfs out numbers at the silhouette of a wizard.  It was supposed to teach kids math...I guess.

Wizard Wars!!!
Wizard Wars!!!

Since then, I've had a lot of programming and graphics design experience.  I've made many games over the years and branched out into graphics design, web programming, and other related fields. For years, I made interactive teaching presentations, essentially educational games, for companies to use to train their employees.  I've done lots of contract work too--working on awesome video games other people dreamed up.  Recently I've been doing the programming for an interesting game called Boon Hill, which was funded by a very successful Kickstarter campaign of its own.

But I still wanted to make games of my own--the kind of games I dreamed up as a kid.  I have a diverse set of skills, but I needed some help if I were going to succeed.  There are some really incredibly programmers and artists out there--some of them a lot more talented than myself.  I needed their help.  That's why I started the indie game studio iqSoup.

iqSoup is me and a few friends from the industry.  We have a couple of talented programmers and a few really gifted artists.  And of course, Beat Scribes will be helping us out with the music.  I'll be directing and producing our games.  I'll also be filling in wherever necessary--helping with programming, doing some of the graphics, and handling all the writing.  It'll be tons of work but I know it'll be well worth the effort!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

New Build (v 0.0.2)
4 months ago – Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 12:09:25 AM

Hello everyone!

Hope 2017 is treating you well so far! 

A new build of the Age of Grit Alpha (v 0.0.2) is now available over on Indie Game Stand.  You can find it in your IGS Game Wallet.  Last month you should have all received an email containing login credentials for your IGS account. If you didn't get this email or if you need help downloading the Alpha then please email us at support@iqsoup.com and we can get things sorted out for you.

We've made a lot of progress--lots of fixes, tweaks, and changes: 
-The Overworld UI has been given a bit of a face lift. It still needs a little more work, but it's much improved over the last build. One comment we heard a lot is that the Overworld was a little confusing/awkward to navigate--I think things are a lot more intuitive now.
- We've adjusted the airship stats and game balance a bit. There's still some work left on this front.
- There was an issue with the town weather effects--in some situations the particles weren't visible. This should be fixed now. 
- Some users had problems with our bug reporting tool; sometimes it wasn't sending the reports properly.  For the time being we've deactivated it.  Until we get it fixed please refer all your comments to support@iqsoup.com. We truly need your input, any and all feedback is greatly appreciate!
- We've made a lot of progress on the proper inventory/upgrade system, though it isn't quite ready for prime time. The Alpha still just has the place holder system we were using before--though we cleaned up the UI a bit and upgraded the item icons.
- There's a bunch of other smaller changes that you may or may not notice. A lot of minor bugs and issues have been dealt with. 

There was a little confusion about why we are using Indie Game Stand instead of Steam. Once the Beta is ready to go we will release it over on Steam as an Early Access game--and of course the final game will be released on Steam. We're already Greenlit--thanks to all of you--so everything is ready to go on that front. But for the Alpha we went with IGS. It's a much smaller community they're much more Alpha friendly over there. We just want to make sure that the game is in tip top shape before we put it up on Steam.

Right now we have the Beta squarely in our sights.  The Beta should be a much more complete experience than the Alpha is right now--it should be pretty close to the final version of the game, just lacking some of the content.

Thanks to everyone for all your support!   Again, we really appreciate any feedback you can give us regarding the latest Alpha.   Email any feedback to support@iqsoup.com.

Celebrate good times...COME ON!
6 months ago – Wed, Nov 23, 2016 at 07:46:58 PM

Yeeeeeehaw!!!  *Shoots two guns into the air with blatant disregard for public safety.*  At last: the Alpha for Age of Grit is finally complete!!!  It has been a long hard road--thank you all tremendously for your patience and support.  This is a huge milestone for the project and we're thrilled to have reached this point.

If you're stateside please have a great Thanksgiving!  Links to the Alpha will begin going out after the holiday weekend, starting on Cyber Monday (November 28th).  We hope you all enjoy the game and we're very excited to hear your feedback!

And now for the obligatory celebration gifs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Things
8 months ago – Tue, Oct 04, 2016 at 11:06:53 PM

 

"Can't argue with the little things, it's the little things that make up life." - Hank Scorpio
"Can't argue with the little things, it's the little things that make up life." - Hank Scorpio

Lately we've been working on...well lots of little things. Tons of little things. ENDLESS LITTLE THINGS!!! AHHHHH!!!  Setting up weather effects, getting the saving/loading system to work smoothly, animating little tiny UI details, replacing placeholder sound effects with better ones, fine tuning the encounter system, making sure the quest and dialog and inventory and battle systems play nicely together, and about ten thousand similar tasks.

It can be a wee bit frustrating because it always seems like the alpha just around the corner--only a couple weeks away. There's only little things left after all. But then we work ourselves crazy for two weeks and it seems a whole new two weeks worth of tasks have suddenly materialized. It's like a sewage pipe spontaneously burst all over the game. And it's like, "hey, where'd all this crap come from!!!" Again it is frustrating, but that's just the way it goes sometimes--especially at this stage in development. 

One of the less little tasks has been writing dialog.  Not little at all.  It's a great deal of fun but can certainly take a while. There's a lot of behind the scenes scripting that needs to be done to wire the dialog up properly. Certain lines of dialog need to interact with the quest system, with the inventory system, with other NPCs, and with future lines of dialog. But fortunately we have a pretty robust dialog system in place, which helps make things go smoothly. The alpha is going to have roughly 30 NPCs--I hope you all have fun with them!

a dialog tree for one AOG's NPCs
a dialog tree for one AOG's NPCs

There's still a handful of little things we need to get squared away before the alpha. Once we wrap up the remaining issues we'll then need to test everything pretty extensively on PC, Mac, and Linux. If you remember (hopefully you don't) our last build ran fine on PC but wouldn't work at all on Mac or Linux. So we certainly want to avoid that sort of thing this time around.

 

We are going to distribute the alpha on Indie Game Stand. We already have everything set up and ready to go with them, we just need to plop the build in once it's ready. Through Indie Game Stand you'll be able to download a DRM free copy of the alpha, you'll automatically get all future builds we release, and when we launch on Steam you'll automatically get a Steam key as well. 

When the alpha is ready we'll send you a link via IGS as well as an update through Kickstarter. We'll start out with the higher tier backers and work our way down until we get to everyone. If anyone has any trouble downloading the alpha or getting things to work please contact help@iqsoup.com. We also have a bug reporting system (courtesy of our friends, the awesome devs of Hive Jump) that will let players conveniently report issues from within the game itself.

I want to sincerely apologize that we haven't had an update in a while.  I know a lot of you really appreciate seeing our progress.  I will try to be more consistent and at the very least get one update out each month.

I know this is taking forever. We are all working as hard as we possibly can, trying to finish this game out as soon as possible. This what I work on all day every day. It's just a complex project for our small team to tackle. It's going to be awesome when it's done--believe me we are all very excited about where AOG is heading--but it's just taking a while to get there.

We can't thank you enough for your patience, your enthusiasm, and your support.  We hope you all really enjoy the alpha!

Shiftin' Gears!
11 months ago – Wed, Jul 13, 2016 at 11:42:04 PM

Time to shift gears! Insert hilarious steampunk gear pun here. 

We are at last wrapping up Age of Grit's artwork. First things first: very big comically large Texas cowboy hats off to the art team. They've produced mountains and mountains of incredible artwork! A few t's need to be crossed and such, but the core art assets for the game are behind us. This means we can now focus the bulk of our efforts on programming.

Programming can be rough--especially during the later stages. We have come a very long way, but that means a lot of the fun stuff is over and now it's a matter of dealing with bugs, sorting out tedious little details, and repeatedly bashing our heads against our keyboards hoping the random combination of letters that subsequently appear on the screen will magically fix everything. Tom Cargill of Bell Labs described the process rather succinctly: "The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time." Like scrapping away at a prison cell wall with a dull rock hammer, at times it seems like progress can be painfully slow. But each day we drop another handful of dirt out in the prison yard and we get a little bit closer to crawling through a metaphorical sewage pipe and enjoying our well deserved vacation in sunny Mexico. That day the crusty old warden will find an empty cell, in frustration throw a rock right through a poster of a fuzzy britches clad woman, find our secret wall hole, and then the world will know the great thing we've accomplished! 

The good news is now that AOG's art is pretty much taken care of we can now devote 100% of our attention to finishing programming. And I guess some eating and sleeping...and taking a shower every now and then. So maybe like 98% of our attention. Oh shoot--bassoon practice!  I guess it's more like 97%. Point is now we can really put our heads down and smash through the remaining programming. We've been making very good progress and now we should move even faster. A solid alpha build is in sight and I think you'll all be very pleased with things.

A big thanks to all of y'all--we truly appreciate the support!

Towns
about 1 year ago – Wed, May 18, 2016 at 12:40:25 AM

As per the response from our last post: AOG's battle system will be fully turn based. Not even a hint of any sort of real time mechanics. If you want you can take a month to think through each action and you won't be penalized in any conceivable way!  The community voted unanimously for a slower, more methodical, and more strategic combat system. Your collective voices have been heard and I think AOG will be the better for it! A big thanks to everyone for your feedback!

As of late we've been putting a lot of effort into the town sequence--both in terms of programming and finalizing the art assets. Finishing the towns, the underlying systems, and integrating them with the rest of the game is our last big step towards an alpha build, which is our next major milestone. Unlike the battle sequence demo we released a bit ago, the alpha will be a comprehensive experience and much more representative of the final game. 

The way towns will work has evolved quite a bit since the Kickstarter. We originally had envisioned a sort of 2d view. Players would horizontally scroll their way up and down a town's street, seeing NPCs along the way and being able to interact with each one. This seemed like a cool idea, it had some advantages, but there were a lot of issues with this concept. The flat view of each building left a lot to be desired--each building ended up looking dull and fairly similar to every other building. Towns didn't really have a unique character or feeling--they all just sort of blended together after a while. 

Eventually, after struggling with the system for a while, we decided to scrap our original vision and move to a very different approach. Players will now see each town from a distant isometric overview. From this vantage point you'll get a sense for each town's individual feel and characteristics. It gives us the freedom to make some really interesting and unique buildings. You also get a much better sense of the setting--mountains, desert, forest etc. The towns are looking really awesome now and we are really proud of how they are coming a long. Here's a sneak peak at some of the town building assets we have been cooking up:

 And as always, thanks for all the support!!!