I broke my own rule by not keeping our community updated often. Given some recent changes to our plan and the game, it's a great time to update you.
What Hasn't Changed
Let's re-iterate some points from the last post, because they're note-worthy, or particularly difficult for some to stomach.
- We have to part ways with the stats system on this website. While it's an impressive system and has lasted 5 years with minimal updates, it's costly to run, has numerous bugs, expensive to maintain, and crashes often. We'll try to provide a data dump of statistics, but no guarantees it will be immediate.
- Ladder ranking and leagues will be replaced by a level progression system, that allows players to earn experience based on various factors during the duel and receive rewards at certain levels. Some rewards are things not previously in-game, like background emblems, sword glow types and glow colors.
- Blade Symphony is still releasing for Windows 64-bit, Linux and Mac OSX. These have all proven to run extremely well on our test systems, and we're pretty excited.
- This new version will release releasing with more languages than just English, Japanese and Russian. We really need help with translations, however, so please lend a hand[pootle.punyhumangames.com] if you're multi-lingual. Here is our current status:
Here's an update on the new things we've put in since the last update:
- We've implemented a multi-match system. Currently, if there are three arenas to a map, then only six players can play at once. This is a little silly, considering some servers may have another 10 - 12 players, sitting and spectating. This new system will allow for multiple duels to take place in the same arena. We do this by hiding the characters, effects and sounds of any other players in the same arenas you and your opponent. You can hold Tab and choose the arena you want to duel in or spectate:
- Heaps of animation, network and interpolation fixes. Not only were there numerous issues noticed and fixed prior to the engine update, but updating to the CS:GO version of the engine allowed us to improve things even further.
- Faction specific music that has been shipped with the game, but never hooked up, will play on the customization screen now.
- We've replaced the loading screens with the art we use for our trading cards. So, along with minor UI tweaks, adding loading information, we felt like this art was too awesome not to show off:
- We've had a lot of trouble with compiling shaders for this update. Along the way, though, we made Blade Symphony feel a bit more saturated and colorful in bright areas, and low-light in dark areas. Much of the current color palette is leftover from the "visceral, shaded" feel that both Half-Life 2 and Dystopia had. We feel this gives Blade Symphony a bit more of a unique palette.
- We've enlisted a fantastic local artist, to create an exclusive item set for owners of Blade Symphony. Here are some screenshots, still very work-in-progress, not in-game, so material properties haven't added to make it pop. In total, a skin, mask, four attachments, sword and sheathe, and cape all need a name. Feel free to suggest one for the set.
The game is finally stable, but needs lots of bug fixing. The last feature to work on is something to better communicate level progression, which is incredibly important for all games that have a leveling system. We're scrapping the idea of an overlay, and instead creating a familiar experience similar to the Customization Screen. At the end of a round, this new Summary Screen will display information experience gained. This is just a concept, so no notifications for gaining new items or going up a level, yet.
To get over the funk of working on this update for so long, we took a break to release an update to our first game, Dystopia
. After enjoying the game with so many old friends, we decided it would be best to shift our release plan to release our work sooner, rather than later, and iterate on it (like we did with subsequent Dystopia updates.)We are going to modify our release plan, so that we have a better strategy for the game going free-to-play in 2018. All of the work from the last year will be released in what we're calling the Blade Symphony: Harmonious Prelude
update, which will also see the price of the game drop significantly. Doing so will enable us to:
- Generate a little more revenue before free-to-play. Revenue will be put into more items that will be unlockable or paid, once the game goes free-to-play.
- Have a much larger pool of available testers to help us find bugs. At the moment, only Patreon Supporters[www.patreon.com] have access to the game, but we need more players.
- To break down the stats system and prepare a new website for Free-To-Play.
- Work with translators to put the game in more languages, we REALLY need more help with this!
- Allow fan made maps and items to be recompiled or fixed for the new engine version, and play with the new separate SDK.
After we feel confident in the state of the game, that bugs are fixed, and we've added sufficient marketable items for purchase, we'll release the game as free-to-play.
I'm going to say it again, we really need help with translating the game, so please jump into our Discord [www.discord.gg]
and find out how you can lend a hand.
This release wouldn't be difficult unless it had one more final obstacles; conferences. In late March and April, there will be some big game trade-shows/conferences going on, sure to have plenty of large announcements and releases. It's suicide for an indie developer like us to release during that time, so we're pushing out the date for Blade Symphony: Harmonious Prelude to Thursday April 12th, 2018