Update on game development 02/24/2015 | 1177 comments

Hello Councillors,

Today we would like to share with you a small update on the game development.

Production is currently in full swing and our team is currently hard at work on the game Alpha. Alpha means a lot of things to a lot of people, so let’s try to explain what we mean by that. 

One important stage for any project is to reach a point where all your features are implemented, even in a rough state. Implemented means that now all the important gears are in place and won’t change drastically. They are no more paper-ware, but real pieces of software & systems that interact together to form a coherent whole. At some point, all important part of the game are implemented and that’s what you call an Alpha. At least that’s one of the meanings of the term :)

The team is currently busy on that front. We had in the past few months some important milestones that were designed specifically to reach an Alpha stage on the core gameplay elements.

For example, our December milestone objective was simple in terms of vision but complex to fulfill: delivering a 100% playable map from A to Z with all basic elements and features. That new alpha was quite a success and meant we had solid foundations on which we can build and expand! At the end of this month, we also have a second important milestone that will build upon this Alpha stage through iteration. This also means a good opportunity to ensure great content to come in this blog and we hope that during the coming months, we will be able to show you some of those progresses through articles and videos.

But Alpha also means content. So while the coders are busy building a great piece of software, level designers and writers are buildings great campaigns using our powerful map editor. And at some point, those campaigns will reach an Alpha stage, rough diamonds we will then polish until we get shiny maps for you to play.
 
In addition to this quick description, we would like to offer you a greater visibility on the current development advancement.  Of course this is just a rough summary and not a precise extract from our current sprints and planning.

Please keep in mind that even if some elements are finals (or are close to be), we won’t be able to unveil all of them in advance since they are often linked to additional constraints or decisions.


Adventure map

The full gameplay experience is already present in the adventure map; Heroes are able to ride through different unique settings and interact with many levers including: resources, dwellings, artifacts, interactions with other heroes, scripted events etc. The main interface is almost final but we will continue to improve the UI for all story-telling/fight popups for instance. Maps will continue to offer different layers with deep undergrounds and various exciting universes to explore through the fog of war. Puzzle maps is a working feature but visuals still are in the production process for all factions. Now that fundamentals are strong, we will be able to focus even more on content creation and thanks to our tools, add more and more polish.

Combat map

Combat features also are implemented: Heroes, creatures, animations, spells etc. Even if interface is close to final, we will review the sign-&-feedback elements and improve the integration of key information such as stack number and unit description. We already have a nice range of combat maps, offering great diversity in terms of ambience, layout and size.

Hero Management

Unfortunately it is a bit too early for us to be able to share more information about all “RPG” elements of the game but of course Heroes VII will allow you to develop your Heroes skills and inventories. This part is implemented in the current version of the game but interfaces (hero screen, leveling interface, skill wheel etc.) are work in progress and will be revealed soon.

Town Management

Most elements are here already functional but we will continue to improve some visual elements and interface windows for all recruiting/trade/spying/caravan features in the upcoming months.

Story & Music

The storyline of the game is complete and our writers have been polishing it for almost two years now to offer an exciting campaign mode to the title. You were already able to have an overview of the origins of this story with the Tales of Ten Year Wars articles.  As for the soundtrack, all faction themes are achieved and you already had the opportunity to discover some extracts from Paul & Rob amazing work in this website. 

Factions

First of all, as you may know if you are following this website on a regular basis, we now have our complete roster for Heroes VII release day. Indeed, the community has been heard and you decided to integrate Sylvan and Dungeon to the tale of Ivan.  You have already been introduced to the Haven, Academy and Necropolis line-ups. The next one you will be able to see is Stronghold. It is already fully playable with 3D models and animations implemented. Some polish is still required and we are waiting for a special event to share it with you, but be prepared for something big, wild and fierce! On the art side, the council of Ivan is now complete and you will discover the 6 Councillors and their precious learnings in the coming months.

Level design

Campaigns are at varying stages of production. Some like Haven, Stronghold, Academy and Necropolis are already quite advanced. For instance Haven and Stronghold are close to Beta on some maps, with all the bells and whistles. At the same time, some are more in the planning stage. You remember that our dev team had to wait for the closing of the votes to start working on Dungeon and Sylvan. But don’t worry, as our production planning is set to get them in great shape as the other ones.
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