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September 16, 2013 - afliii
Well, it's time for some change in the way we're doing things at BLM. Unfortunately, some of our members have departed and others are not functioning at their best, if at all. This isn't the kind of thing followers want to hear, but I think it's fair to give an update and my personal assessment as to what is happening here. There are probably other indie teams out there that are going through the same things as we are, so this information might be useful to them as well. Many gamers interested in indie games are well aware of the fine wire indie devs walk upon. Sometimes, it's only a matter of time before the studio completely halts a project and eventually breaks off, never to finish the project. But this is Broken Limits Media LLC and I'm Allen Lambert, a dedicated, growing game developer with strong intention to change the way games are made. I'm not going to let anything stop us.
Broken Limits Media has been operating for two years and we have one game out called Cubicle Chimera But, we've struggled. We've had a lot of members come and go, but when we went through hard times I got busy and searched for answers. I would either find new members to join our efforts or learn how to do the work on my own and do it. The function of Broken Limits Media is to help students of the industry (like myself) gain experience on a real, working team and potentially earn a profit in royalties when we sell the games. That's my goal and expectation of any member of the team. I'm passionate about what we do and I look for other passionate individuals.
It's a hard blow to the moral when something goes wrong in development. We had a bad deal a while back and we've struggled ever since. I'm trying to take a new spin on things though. For the first portion of development of our game, the Undead Castle, I'm going to have the team focus on just one portion of development. The programming and audio departments of the team are going into a stasis while the art team develops concepts for characters and the overall game world, 3D models/assets, basic animations, GUI art, and anything else art related. I'd like to see the team finish a very big portion of the art, up to the point where we could do some demo videos of potential gameplay and teaser trailers. Only then will we bring in the programmers again. The coders will be able to flesh everything out with momentum rather than wait for each piece of art to be completed. As for myself, I will continue to develop what I call "reference art" (as I'm not as good at drawing from memory as I am with still-life) and I'll continue working on the Game Design Document, which is great at the moment, but needs about another 50 pages, doubling its size!
One more thing. Traditionally, we've had students from around the world join the team. That's still going to happen, but I'm seeking talent in the Columbia, Maryland area or within range. I've already found a few local students interested in helping out and I see good potential in each of them. To the other indie studios out there, you might be able to do something similar. Look for students at nearby schools. There's talent out there, it's just a matter of finding it. I plan to make a stronger effort finding game dev students in the area. We will be able to meet 3-4 times per month in person, or more frequently, to hold discussions, work on our current tasks, and punch through development with precision and swiftness. Along side of this plan, we hope to reach potential investors in Maryland. I had the opportunity to pitch the company through a group called <a href="http://www.startupmaryland.org/" title="StartUp Maryland" target="_blank">StartUp Maryland</a>. My pitch will be introduced to investors looking for a good startup. We don't have fund at the moment, but the money we could get from backers would go towards licensing fees, testing equipment, and (if we hit the jackpot) office space (have to be ambitious...).
We're going to get things done. I refuse to allow the team to slack behind and die off like so many other promising indie developers out there. If I have to learn everything myself and build the game on my own, so be it. Phil Fish of Fez did it. Notch did it. I might not be that talented now, but anything can be learned. And I'm not saying that's what it's coming down to, I'm just saying there will never be an end to Broken Limits Media. I'll see us through, and if you're a struggling developer, I hope you see it through as well! I hope this update is encouraging and uplifting to your team and morale. As for our followers, you're going to see a high quality zombie game developed by BLM. Probably not within this year, and maybe not within the next. But, you'll get a taste of indie innovation from our team. I promise.
January 6, 2013 - afliii
Another update from the team. We’re developing placeholder items, concept art, and we’re building our storyline every day. Here’s a taste of what Allen Lambert has been working on:
In a castle-town called Ryhart, in the region Unden, during the height of a vicious plague known as The Sickness, the people are overtaken. The Sickness mutates human behavior by unknown ways, inducing savage, mindless behavior and cannibalism. The people living in Ryhart are dying due to The Sickness, and when dead they come back as what the living refer to as The Undead. The Sickness overcomes most of Unden. In Ryhart, the Baron’s (Tejn Ohren) servant, Ekorr, seeks to carry out his servitude to his master and Ryhart by opposing the undead. He is bound to his master through diligence and obedience and feels compelled to save his master. Ekorr had been underestimated by knights and noblemen in the past, proving himself in guard’s training events. With a dream to become an honorable knight someday and his companionship and diligence to Tejn Ohren, he was given privileges unknown to other servants. With this close relationship, Ekorr learned basic skills in areas such as small weapons combat, strategic planning, and small medicine techniques. He is now prepared and determined to continue his service to the Baron and Ryhart. He is destined to reclaim The Undead Castle.
So that’s a bit of the opening story in short. The programmers are working on things like the undead AI (artificial Intelligence to make them walk around and act “alive”), castle and town procedural generation (so that the rooms and town homes will spawn differently when a new game is played), and general necessary gameplay features like HUD and other GUI. Tyler O’Brien and Josh DeCent are making sure to slam their keyboards extra hard when programming the game! They say it helps with the bugs or something! Meanwhile, the modeler/animators have rolled out placeholder items like a stand in sword, torch, crossbow, and an undead. The audio guys have laid out two tracks to pleasantly spook they players as the undead creep towards them. The concept artists have been sketching some very nice conceptual characters and level designs. Linda Lagzdina’s “Lady and Knight” can be seen here in this post. We’re going to settle on a more precise graphic style for the game, but any concept art developed up till now is purely reference to the type of character and era/time style we’re going for. The game will have a somewhat illustrative/cartoonish look, but not so much that it feels like Borderlands. Think of “smooth” and “thick edged” graphics.
The game is making good progress, even with the holidays. Through this New Year, we will spark a new fire in Broken Limits Media and work diligently to finish a quality game! Thanks for keeping up with us. Keep checking back with us for updates and breakthroughs. Happy New Year everyone!
December 20, 2012 - afliii
((From our blog at thebrokenlimits.wordpress.com))
Our team has been working primarily on researching our game type and style, planning development, and preparing ourselves for the next step in our development plan. Our game design document is outrageous! At about 30 pages and some 6000+ words, the Undead Castle Design Document is still only about 60-75% completed and it grows each day. The team has done quite a bit of research on zombies, medieval hardships and lifestyles, and other successful games like ours, for the sole purpose of making our game just right and outstandingly pleasing to you!
We’re currently in the Planning Phase of development. Let’s break down the development process so you can keep up with what phase we’re in:
1st: Planning Phase. In this current phase, we’ve researched everything from zombie movies and games to medieval clothing and 1300′s instruments. We’ve laid down a solid foundation for the game, with a very thick design document. Our programming team has developed a prototype which is still being worked on. The prototype consists of a working player placeholder, a simple zombie AI placeholder, procedurally generated castle walls (hmm procedurally generated?), and equip-able items. The next step in the prototype is getting doors and objects to move around realistically. Our art department will be working on some models (likely placeholders) for the prototype, and our concept artists are working on level and character design. The audio guys are also working on some pieces in background music and a main menu / theme tune. The Planning Phase will last about another month and then we will move into Pre-Pro.
2nd: Pre Production Phase. In this phase we will extended planning and research to practical use and develop a stronger prototype into a pre-alpha version of the game. We expect to have a ton of features, from Procedurally Generated Rooms (in the castle) to functional attacking zombie placeholders. We’re going solidify the design document as best we can in this phase. All aspects of development will be fairly solid and clear by the end of this phase, which is around February 17th, give or take.
3rd: Alpha Development Phase. Finally, we will have a solid Alpha build by the end of this phase. Hopefully our Alpha for this game will crush our Beta for our last game! We think it will.
4th: Beta Development Phase. The Beta! In this stage we will work harder to make our game known to the public and release our Kickstarter.com project. We’ll be working on fine tuning the game and adding key features, as well as developing and organizing Kickstarter.com efforts, from acquiring backer merchandise to distributing the merchandise. We will prep for the homestretch: Final Dev Phase.
5th: Final Development Phase. Our game will be just about finished, we will seek your feedback on Kickstarter.com, Steam, and we will try to get our build up on Steam and Xbox asap!
So there you have it! The Next Step – from start to finish actually. We’re working hard on this game and we plan to release it within a year or slightly
more. Our team of 15 can handle it as well as any. Keep in touch and remember to scream at the top of your lungs, on the highest place you can find, “I love Broken Limits Media!” Check out blmdev.com, twitter.com/BLMdev, facebook.com/brokenlimitsmedia, and keep an eye out for all our updates! We plan to post frequently. Thanks for reading!
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