Hello, friends of Attack Mountain - Joe here, I’ll be handling our final campaign update.
As you’re likely already aware if you’re reading this, we were unable to hit our funding goal by our deadline, which as of this writing is just minutes away.
We went into this knowing full well that there was a possibility, coverage avalanche or not, that we might not get funded. Our confidence and passion for our game was tempered by this; we’ve been careful to be realistic while dreaming big.
It’s hard to nail down, in a situation as complex as this one, what exactly prevented us from crossing the finish line with Time Star’s campaign. Whatever the reason potential investors had, we apologize that we were unable to alleviate whatever issue it was holding them back - that’s on us.
All that being said, we’re not interested in backtracking too far - we want to keep pushing forward and moving ahead! At this juncture, we are going to step back and reassess the project in preparation for an important decision we need to make internally.
We don’t want to give away too much until we’ve got more concrete details, but if there’s one sentence you read out of this update, let it be this one: Attack Mountain lives on. We’re not fading away into nothingness; we’re not slinking back into some dark cavern whilst licking some imaginary wounds, never to be heard from again. We’re going to keep moving, and we’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have presented this project to you.
When it comes down to it, and you strip away everything else in play at the moment, it’s the people here - all 570+ of you - that made this experience so amazing for the team here. Seeing your pledges come in, receiving all of your wonderful messages of support both on our comments page and in our inbox - that’s what made this campaign worth it for us.
We also want to thank a few people individually:
We encourage you to follow us on one or more of our various outlets:
And, as I finish writing this sentence, the clock runs out. We’ll be in touch soon, and keep you all posted on what’s next for Attack Mountain. For now, though - we’re going to crack open a bottle of champagne, think back on this adventure with much fondness, and get some hard-earned rest.
From all of us here at Attack Mountain, thank you. We hope you’ll continue to follow us as we venture forth.
- Attack Mountain
59 hours to go! -
59 hours left in our campaign! If you haven’t backed Legend of the Time Star yet, now’s the time.
GUEST DEVELOPER DIARY: ECHO BRIDGE ON ANIMATION
Today’s developer diary was written by Esteban Valdez, the founder and studio head at Echo Bridge Pictures. We’ll also be debuting another developer diary early next week, so stay tuned!
We could, like most artists and studios, dive head first into pixel painting but we really wanted to bring out the best for Legend of the Time Star. That’s why, as Attack Mountain stated earlier, we’ve done everything by hand, frame-by-frame. Pixel painting isn’t much different from painting with traditional or digital mediums. You’re playing with shape, color, values and volumes all in an attempt to capture an idea. Couple that with animation where you are also playing with shape, volume, mass and weight, plus [!] 8-16 paintings to put together and you’ve got quite the workload to paint all at once.
The problem when diving right in to the pool is that you never really gauge how deep it is, or if there’s any water in it all. At Echo Bridge, we look, then leap. Or, as the old production method goes: “General to specific.”
So, in this instance, what we did was get a general look at what needs to be done and broke it down, allowing us to focus on each step and produce the best animation possible. And with characters as detailed as this, it was important that took small steps to really capture as much of the original designs as possible. By doing this, we were able to create very unique animation cycles for each character that really gives the overall world a lot of depth.
The fungal drudger’s walk, for example, required more frames to slow the it down, and the hands move on an independent time chart that really pops out from everything else. It gives its walk a much different feel and look from other creatures in the game.
Once everyone is happy with an animation, we bring it down to the pixel level. Because we’ve worked at a larger resolution, we have a very good understanding of the characters volume, mass, weight, etc., and that helps us make a well-constructed sprite. It may seem time consuming, but the results have been incredibly satisfactory so far.
Everyone seems to be in a hurry to find the latest shortcut, hotkey, or animate button all in an attempt to get a project out the door faster.
But, the longest distance between any two points is a shortcut.
-Esteban Valdez, Echo Bridge Pictures
Want this game to become a reality? We need the support of the gaming community to make Legend of the Time Star happen. Back to our Kickstarter today!
DEVELOPER DIARY 4: THE WORLD OF LEGEND OF THE TIME STAR
The Fortress City of Foghold is the world’s crown jewel. Nestled between The Northern Range and the plentiful land of Ardvale Fields, Foghold is a major center of commerce and the arts, not to mention home of The High King and his legendary Royal Knights. Foghold’s denizens enjoy the highest quality of life out of all the world’s major cities, thanks to its strategic placement that provides an overabundance of resources. It is well-protected and nearly impenetrable thanks to its high walls and few points of entry. It casts an unmistakable profile against the the sky, both inspiring and imposing at once.
The World of Time Star
In Legend of the Time Star,you’ll explore a vast and exciting world teeming with life and adventure. Whether you’re deep in Bolgard Grotto searching for a lost treasure, or scaling the snowy peaks of the Northern Ridge on the tail of a dangerous creature threatening a nearby town, you’ll encounter a wide range of beautifully rendered environments full of mysteries for you to uncover. In today’s developer diary, we’ll reveal some of the locations in Legend of the Time Star for the first time, in addition to explaining the linear/free-roam aspects of the game. Excited? You should be! Read on!
Linear + Free Roam
Cross section of game progression / environment map
Legend of the Time Star has both linear and non-linear aspects, like many of its inspirations. The chart above helps break it down; the red line that runs vertically through Hyder’s Wood, the game’s first major town, and Fresh River Ridge denotes the story path. This is the general direction the narrative will guide the player in as they advance through the game’s main story arc.
Towns are the largest on the chart for a reason. They’re the player’s safe zones; here, the player can sleep/recover at the Tavern, modify their equipment at the Forge, buy items at shops, and get medical attention if they so require it. Players will also find a wide range of unique characters to interact with in each town, some of which trigger side-stories, which are smaller story arcs that provide additional content to those who wish to leave no stone unturned. In addition to providing the player with great rewards, side-stories also shed more light on the world of Time Star and those that reside in it. Each town provides side-stories tied to the areas around it; in the chart above, for example, the player will find side-stories tied to Bolgard Grotto, Hyder’s Wood, the Crash Site, and Fresh River Ridge. The game’s main dungeons – ones that the player must beat to advance the story – are usually tied to the nearest town, and located in one of the main areas it services.
Each offshoot in the chart above is a unique environment with its own enemies and additional side-stories separate from the ones provided in town, meaning the player doesn’t need to rely solely on towns to stumble upon things to do. Players don’t need a reason to go to a location, just the means to do so (whether that’s a unique ability or simply advancing the story). Once they’ve got access to a locaton, they can go there whenever they please - whether it’s to hunt a rare creature, discover an unexplored dungeon, or simply see what the area has to offer.
For this reason, Time Star is both linear and free-roam. The player doesn’t have to advance the story until they’re ready; if they want, they can spend hours clearing all of the side-content available to them at their juncture in the narrative before moving on. On the other hand, if a player’s simply interested in completing the main story of Time Star, that’s fine too. It all depends on your playstyle and what you want to get out of the game.
Bolgard Grotto is nestled deep within Hyder’s Wood, accessed via an abandoned mine that runs beneath the southeastern edge of the forest. While it houses many rare resources, its large, twisting caverns are also home to many dangerous creatures. The deeper one goes, the greater the risks – and rewards. It’s even said that a complex catacomb exists somewhere within its reaches.
In addition to main dungeons that are part of the game’s core narrative, there are also unexplored and unlisted dungeons for the user to uncover. These dungeons range wildly in size and goal; some dungeons might be a single room containing a fiery battle against hordes of enemies, while others might be a half-hour long dungeon crawl capped off with a unique boss and loot.
There are two ways to discover these side dungeons; one is to purchase Dungeon Maps from a vendor in town, which marks the dungeon’s location on your map. The other? To stumble upon the dungeon yourself.
No place on the planet is quite like the Doldrums. This damp, dangerous swampland stretches for countless miles in many directions; to go in without a map is considered suicide. This is likely the reason that humans without hope have been coming here for centuries to ‘give themselves’ to the swamp, allowing themselves to waste away within its confines. Those that do so rise as Fungal Drudgers; depressed, moaning beings controlled by a mysterious and woeful life force. These lifeless husks used to spend their days staring at the skies and wailing, keeping to themselves. They were considered harmless until the Crash filled them with a mindless rage that has turned them into vicious monsters.
How Big is the Game?
Time Star will contain roughly half a dozen towns along its main arc, with each one servicing a handful of surrounding locations in addition to one or more major dungeons. This works out to approximately 36 different unique environments to explore, full of exciting adventures to undertake!
Long abandoned, the Ruins of Gom reside in an arid canyon of the same name. Foghold’s archives describe Gom as an ancient warrior that once ruled the desert alongside his army of Claymen - humanoid creatures borne of special clay pits unique to the region. No one has seen a sign of the Claymen for centuries – however, if they exist, it’s said that they do so within the walls of these ruins. Rumor also has it that Gom’s amulet, the supposed source of his power over the Claymen, is buried here along with the warrior’s lost remains.
That’s the end of today’s update – with each day we’re a step closer to revealing the gameplay video. This is not the last diary regarding the game world – we’ll be revealing more locations and information in upcoming diaries! Stay tuned.
Want this game to become a reality? We need the support of the gaming community to make Legend of the Time Star happen. Back to our Kickstarter today!
DEVELOPER DIARY 3: ARMOR / THE FORGE PART II
Hi everyone! Today, we’re going to talk about something near and dear to the hearts of many RPG fans; armor. One of the staples in character progression in RPGs is equipment – not just the weapons you wield, but the armor and accessories you wear. We’ll be breaking this one down into three big pieces: acquiring and equipping armor, gem slots, and upgrading your armor at the Forge.
A high-level armor design, initially unveiled in the wallpaper. Click for bigger version
Making Armor feel Special Again
The user can access their Hero’s equipment via the in-game menu (brought up with the TAB key). This allows them to tweak it at any time using a familiar slot-based system. The diagram above displays the different armor and accessory slots the player will have open to them. Most are self-explanatory, but there are two things that may have stuck out – the Rune Bracelet slot, and that giant yellow box that reads ‘Armor’. We’ll be addressing the Rune Bracelet in its own update when we discuss magic in greater detail – WAY too much to put here!
In Legend of the Time Star,getting a new suit of armor is a major milestone. While there are a lot of different items and equipment for the player to acquire, we wanted armor acquisition to feel special, so we put extra weight behind its impact on your Hero. Not only does acquiring a new suit of armor change the character’s entire appearance, it also dramatically boosts their abilities in a few ways that we’ll explain below. Because of this, armor suits are not as densely distributed throughout the game as other equipment. We currently plan to put six different suits into the game, which when matched against the game’s expected length, means you’ll get a new suit of armor roughly every sixth of the way through the game.
So when do you actually get new armor? Well, that depends! Some are built into dungeons. Others are acquired as part of the story. Others, still, are optional, and you can beat the entire game without getting them!
Properties and Progress
Armor provides the following key attributes. These are the main variables that change from suit to suit.
Building A Better Breastplate
Since there are fewer armor suits in the game, we had to think of different ways to make each suit last longer, in addition to ensuring there are enough options for customization and stat tweaking to keep players feeling like they’re constantly improving and advancing their character in a meaningful way. Since Armor functions differently from Weapons, we had to also think of how make armor customization function differently within the Forge.
One of the things we added into armor suits is the aforementioned Gem Sockets. The amount of gem sockets a suit of armor starts out with depends on the tier of armor it is; the later on in the game the user acquires the armor, the more gem sockets it’ll likely start out with.
So, what do they do? Simple: the gems that the user finds from treasure chests and loot drops – the very same ones mentioned in our first look into the Forge – can be plugged into an armor suit’s gem socket at the Forge, to give it different properties!
Each and every gem in the game provides a different type of improvement when used in this manner – when combined with the fact that many of the armors have multiple gem slots, the combinations are endless and you’ll be able to finetune and bolster your armor to match any situation you may encounter.
You won’t know what a gem does until you see it at the Forge, either – there, it’ll show up in the available gems list alongside its bonuses.
Let’s use an example scenario. Let’s say that you’re about to venture deep in the The Doldrums – a dangerous swampland that is the birthplace of the game’s menacing Fungal Drudgers. The Doldrums contain a lot of creatures and environmental hazards that inflict Poison, a status effect that gradually reduces your HP until you’ve either cured it with an antidote or have seen a doctor in town.
Before departing, you head to the Forge. Your current armor has two gem sockets, which currently house attack power-boosting Tiger Gems. Since you still want your attacks to pack a bit of an extra punch, but you also want some poison resistance, you swap out one of the Tiger Gems for a Viper Gem, which improves your poison resistance by 30%. With that done, you’re going to fare much, much better in your journey through the Doldrums.
That’s not the only way you can upgrade your Armor at the Forge, however – there’s a second way! Just like weapons, you can upgrade your suit of armor to higher levels! This utilizes the same system – collect a set of specific items and then bring them to the Forge, pay a small fee, and make the upgrade – but the improvements are very different and, in some ways, longer lasting.
There are five upgrade tiers per suit of armor. In addition to increasing its defense dramatically with each tier, most armor suits will receive additional gem slots as they’re improved, which dramatically increases their value and longevity as a useful piece of equipment. A suit of armor at level 1 might have one gem socket and decent defense, but upgrade it to level 5 and it may then have three gem sockets and as much defense as a much higher-level piece of armor. This means that players can still rely on a favorite armor suit they acquired earlier in the game, even if they get something new that is better in different ways.
This system provides a great degree of flexibility to how the player outfits their Hero. Most armor sets can be made into whatever you can think of – if you want a high-defense armor that makes you immune to fire damage, or an armor that dramatically strengthens your magic damage while at the same time giving you mana regen, you’ll be able to make it happen!
Is there one in this game? Suffice it to say that yes, there’s an ‘Ultimate’ suit of armor in the game and yes, you’re going to have to work for it. When you get it, though…you will remember what it was like to bust your tail for an item in an RPG and then wonder how you ever lived without it.
That’s the end of today’s Developer Diary! A bit on the shorter side, because we’re still working hard on getting the prototype ready for public viewing – also, there’s another developer diary coming tomorrow about exploring the world of Legend of the Time Star. It should give you guys a better perspective on how you’ll be getting from place to place, as well as the overall scope of the game. Stay tuned!
Want to make this game a reality? We need your help! We’ve got 13 days left and need to spread the word to keep the pledges coming in. Check our our Kickstarter page here!
A fireside chat with Attack Mountain -
Time Star’s director Joe Laurino marks the halfway point of our Kickstarter campaign with a fireside chat titled ‘The What-If Talk’.
Today, we revealed the exclusive wallpaper backers will receive for backing Legend of the Time Star! Want it? You’ll be able to get it right after our Kickstarter campaign (successfully) ends - but only if you pledge $5 or more to our Kickstarter today!
All sprite art done for Legend of the Time Star starts out with hand-drawn pencils that are then distilled down into pixel form. Here’s a sneak peek of Hero’s walk cycle courtesy of Echo Bridge!