Hello and merry yule-tide to all friends, fans and followers of the Skald roleplaying game! With 2020 coming to an end, it feels about time for another project update. After all, there’s quite a few new features to show off and even a few delays (believe it or not).
So, what’s been going in the SKALDiverse?
The final game will contain quite a few minor towns and at least one major city. Figuring out how to create large, interesting and good-looking urban environments has been a huge point on my to-do list and something I’ve spent most of the last 6 weeks figuring out.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of architectural style should underlie the look of the Gallina Empire. Having gone back and forth a few time I’m tending towards “Romanesque“: The rounded arches and pillars lend themselves very well to the resolution of the game and the palette feels sufficient to portray a large variation in materials.
The images above are some early examples of the tile-set. Pretty happy so far and now it comes down to adding a bit more flourish. I just love the look of Roman buildings in the Middle-ages where the secrets that went into building them are long gone and they end up being patchworks of increasingly poor repairs. Seems a pretty good fit for this period in the Gallian Empire so why not embrace it!
A second pretty big change was making maps a bit more integrated by having building interiors and exteriors be on the same map. A large reason for this change is that it allows me to have the players be able to enter any structure with minimal extra work. Previously this would have required that I created submaps for every single interior and this quickly becomes messy. I still can if I want to, but for most buildings it’s much more interesting to have it all on one map.
Now you can try and steal from a vendor, have him catch you, flee into the street, dive into a tavern and dash through the kitchen to the back exit and alleys. I love stuff like that.
I also spent quite a bit improving the look of the fog of war. The way it just snapped into place tile by tile, was a bit jarring. Notice how it now “grows” and retracts in a more organic way. Believe me when I say, it makes a huge difference when you play the game on full-screen!
I’ve also spent quite a few hours polishing the combat system. As you’ll recall, I massively overhauled in October and that was a pretty big update that still has me discovering occasional bugs and idiosyncrasies.
None the less, it plays super-nice now and in combination with the new, more complex city maps, it’s truly taking the game to the next level.
Well, it’s no secret that I had hoped to make Early Access by the end of 2020. That’s obviously not going to happen (lol).
No one likes to have delays in their project and I’m no different. However, playing the game today and looking at the build from 6 months ago, all I can say is that it’s been worth every second of work so far.
I always knew the combat system and city maps were “on the chopping block”, and looking back now I’m super happy I took the time to change them. For what it’s worth there are no more major systems that are scheduled for revision (tough there will of course be tons of refinement going on).
Based on that I think a careful estimate is early access in the summer of 2021.
I hope that’s not a huge disappointment to you guys and that you share my enthusiasm for how the game looks at the moment!
The next big milestone for me is finishing the “press demo” which will include most of the first chapter of the game. It is intended for playtesting and as a demo for the press, and content-creators that follow SKALD. This will be around early Q1 2021.
From me to all of you…
Thank you so much for all of your support, friendship, advice, encouragement and enthusiasm throughout 2020. It’s been a hell of a year for a lot of you guys but the SKALD community has remained a warm, inviting tavern in a storm for so many of us. This is a strong reminder of the power of games to comfort, entertain and bind us together.
So from me to all of you: Seasons greetings and a happy new year!
Post Script: Show some love for Nox Archaist
Nox Arhaist has been released! Journey back in time to the 1980s and experience an 8-bit adventure inspired by classics like Ultima and Bard’s Tale! Order your boxed set while supplies last!