So we’ve had a couple reports from our beta testers that sometimes the terrain on the map is all black with only 3D models and trees visible. We were familiar with the issue but ignored it until recently, simply because we though “naah, who still uses those old DX 9 cards anyway”. Indeed, most of the users now have at least DX11 cards, it’s been around for a good while now and most of the players bough a new hardware in the meantime. But, to our surprise, some DX10 cards reported they are DX11, but didn’t quite support the things required to render our terrain. This was a serious issue, as according to Steam, there are some 20% of players still on DX10. All these players wouldn’t be able to play Thea, and would probably ask for a refund and/or post a negative review. Unacceptable, even for Early Access.
So, Khash did some coding magic (checking Shader Model version, among other things) and now we have a fully functional game on older cards. Well, almost, he still needs to fix the map markers that don’t appear. But that’s 5 minutes work at most 😉 Here’s a screenshot comparing both modes:
Another thing – Thea was selected, as 1 of 17 finalists, for Pixel.Awards as part of Pixel Heaven 2015, happening 25-27th September in Warsaw. We are thrilled, as the competition this year is world class. So – for those who won’t attend EGX in Birmingham, Pixel Heaven will be another chance to try Thea out before release. Keep your fingers crossed too, as there are awards given in 6 categories!
See you soon!
You may have noticed lack of updates over the last month. This is due to holidays the person making updates was on (and also the fact that she has forgotten to write an update before she left). Now the holidays are over and me and Khash are back to work. And there’s lots to work on too. Next week we want to make a very serious decision regarding a publisher. We have narrowed down our options but there are still a couple things to discuss and we are still not sure if having one is the best idea. On one hand – the publisher takes care of many things and some can provide access to high visibility areas. On the other hand – saying goodbye to a big chunk of your income for possible, but not guaranteed results is a leap of faith that may or may not end up well for us. Each approach has its own pros and cons but we could certainly use some help with getting to the players our there.
Last month we also started some bigger scale user testing to get that valuable feedback regarding many aspects of gameplay. The feedback is coming in now, so the last four weeks before releasing on Steam Early Access on 28th of September will be spent on eliminating as many bugs as possible, adding interface tweaks and balancing gameplay.
If you follow our facebook page, we have announced our presence on EGX Rezzed Zone in Birmingham, UK, from 24 to 27 September. We will show off a playable game and you’ll have a chance to grab some nice giveaways, including Steam keys of Thea! Visit our boot in the Rezzed Zone if you’ll there.
Ladies and gentleman, Thea: The Awakening has been selected as one of the finalists of Indie Game Contest 2015 (part of Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival). The game will be presented on the festival which will take place in Strasbourg between 18 and 27 September. The winner will be announced on the last day, keep your fingers crossed for Thea!
We’ve got a good one for you today. It’s one of those bugs, that we’ll remember and mention as an anecdote for the next year.
So, our testers noticed that some certain buildings sometimes disappear. They build it one day, and then sometime later – gone. Khash tracked it today and turned out these buildings were built from “Food” as one of the ingredients and so, as our mechanics normally does, were attached a “Food” tag to them. This way, such building turned up on the villagers’ menu along with other food items and the first fellow that fancied a fresh Pasture sandwich just chomped on it, removing it from the buildings list.
Unfortunately, this “feature” was removed, the villager told off and buildings taken off the menu.
Among other things, we’ve added a screen, where the player can restrict usage of certain food or fuel items if they need to save it for another purpose.
Before I start with anything else, just a quick reminder that tomorrow is the deadline for sending your entries for our Short Slavic Story Competition so be quick! Prizes are waiting!
Now for a a quick summary of what our team has been up to over the last 2 weeks:
- Music and some sounds are finally in! I must admit, that even though it’s far from being complete, it has improved the overall feel greatly. Many thanks to Nik from murmur for providing fantastic music!
- Navigation has been re-designed. Initially we were after the same mechanics that was done for Civilization V but once we almost had it done, it turned out it doesn’t really work too well in our game. Thea is a different game after all. We borrowed some solutions though and visual feedback is a lot better than before. Have a look:
- Resource icons – we have added the option to preview all resources on scouted hexes, so it’s easier to look for a specific resource
- Card Minigame has received a new and improved AI so it uses its Tactical hand more often and more sensibly (but not only that)
- Many other minor tweaks, changes and bugfixes.
So yes, we’re being busy. And today we’re submitting the game to Indie Game Contest 2015, so keep your fingers crossed 🙂
See you next time!
Yesterday started our story writing competition and we invite you to take part!
Write a short tale in Slavic setting and get a chance of winning some very cool prizes:
1st Place: Early Access Steam Code to Thea: The Awakening*; a Cmuch T-Shirt and the Thea Pin.**
2nd Place: Early Access Steam Code to Thea: The Awakening*; digital package (includes: Thea cover art in both desktop and poster resolution, samples of Thea’s music)
3rd Place: Early Access Steam Code to Thea: The Awakening*
*You’ll receive an early access Steam code for the game when available
** You can exchange the game for our Honey Hex Framework!
All the rules can be found on our facebook here.
The contest runs until 15th of July and entries can be sent in either Polish or English, so get your keyboards ready!
Research and technological progress is a subject we haven’t talked about much earlier, so today I’ll take this opportunity to shed some light on this.
So, in Thea, there will be three categories of technological advancement – in gathering materials, in crafting recipes and in construction of buildings. First category – gathering – specifies what kind of resources you see on the main map and what can be gathered by your people. Some basic resources will be available from the beginning, but to get to the best rare ones you will have to spend some advancement points to unlock them. Second category – crafting recipes – contains recipes for items that can be crafted such as weapons, armor or foodstuffs. The third category allows you to unlock certain constructions that, when built, will benefit your settlement in some way. For example – a cabbage field would produce some vegetables each turn but from time to time your people might find a baby in a cabbage 😉
Unlocking one technology will require one advancement point. These will be awarded in events or by crafting items. Rarity of items crafted will influence the progress speed – common ingredients mean slower progress, rare – faster.
This screen above is a hot mess and I probably shouldn’t even be showing it yet, but I do just to illustrate the resource tree we have in Thea already. All of those will be unlockable, and once gathered (or received in an event) – can be used for crafting. And the crafting category is almost just as big. We don’t think you’ll be able to unlock every tech in each playthrough, but rather specialize – choose what materials you want to gather based on terrain around you, and what to craft from it.
Hope you find our take on research interesting, see you next time!
First, apologies for not writing last week. No excuses 😉
After the feedback from Digital Dragons players we’ve decided to restructure our UI a little bit and that’s what me and Khash have been working on recently. Many people asked to try and recreate the navigation style based on the world’s best known TBS – Civilization. So that’s what we’re going to do. The right click mini menu will be out and its functionality will go to a set of action buttons, camera and unity movement will also be more familiar for Civ fans. We’ve also redone the Inventory and Equipment screens and added a new screen where the player can create and equip a new expedition.
Another thing we did was to clean up all cooking recipes, added three new resources (fish, nuts and mushrooms) and expanded on the cooking menu.
Also – Iv is preparing a facebook contest for our fans and rewards will be really neat, so keep watching our facebook page in the next weeks!
A quick summary of Digital Dragons – our team came back quite happy, brought some good contacts and tons of feedback from players. There were even queues to play Thea so our Tutorial Man (3.14) had a lot to do. He wrote down all remarks people had and we’re processing that right now. The bottom line is that people really liked the game but a number was somewhat confused with the interface, so that’s definitely an area we need to work on some more.
We have also announced our plans to release to XBox One console early next year, which earned us a couple mentions in the press. Some publishers also showed their interest in working with us, talks are in progress. Overall – a really good experience. Big thanks to Yuuki, Iv and 3.14 for pulling it off 🙂
There are a couple photos on our facebook page too.
A week has passed Digital Dragons start tomorrow! Yuuki, 3.14 and Iv are already there, preparing mentally and making sure the alpha build actually works. For those attending the event – see you there!
The other half of the team has been doing “final tweaks” for the last couple days and there’s a high chance the game won’t crash and burn tomorrow morning (but you never know). A couple features have been added too to improve the visuals and the general feel. For example – we now show 3d models of some of the map resources. So you’ll be able to tell straight away if there’s some coal or silver nearby. There are also special structures such as old tower, tomb or cave. Examples on the screenshot below.
This week was one of the busiest so far but all the work put into the alpha build paid off. Time for some well-deserved rest.
Catch you later!