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Explore the mystery of the Silver Run Mines!
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March 2017 Newsletter

For the last couple months, production has been focused on the areas of the game that would be shown off at PAX East. The features and the environment created are a subset of the Prologue we've been continuing to make progress on. 
What We've Been Up To
Caspian spoke at GDC about using SpatialOS and why it's awesome
Meanwhile, the team was integrating many of the components we'd need to make the PAX East demo experience come together.

Enter the Female

We put the female rig in and were happy to find that all the things that were supposed to work automatically did work automatically.
 
✔ Combat, locomotion, body dynamics
Stuff What Goes on Ye

Character customization is a big part of any RPG, from one's physique to the equipment one wears. Here at Soulbound Studios, we also want your in-game activities to be a part of your appearance.
 

First Look At The Silver Run Mines


For the PAX East demo, it was revealed that it would take place in the Silver Run Mines, one of the areas in the Prologue. Early concept art set the mood for this mysterious space...
Last year's demo was all combat. This year, we landed on an adventuring experience with ledge-climbing, ziplining, jumping puzzles, mystery, and combat (still). This meant we needed to develop:
  • Overall design approach to dungeoneering
  • Mine/cave environment (geometry, textures, etc)
  • Parkour system and visual language for knowing where you can traverse
  • Additional locomotion states (ex. roll-landing on a long drop to mitigate damage)
  • Illumination solution for inside, outside, and mixed environments
  • Sword and board, and unarmed, combat
  • Enemy combatant AI
  • More player models (female adventurer, miners)
  • More equipment, tools, and props
  • UI/UX to support the experience
It came together in a beautiful, underground adventure that surprised PAX-goers that this was going to be part of an MMORPG!
 
Preparations Are In Order

We were also busy getting ready for PAX East physically. 

Check out these scrumptious PC components!

Surprise! Live Stream!

Once we finished our build for PAX East, we'd all played it so much that we knew the dungeon by heart and had developed all kinds of shortcuts and techniques for getting through it as quickly as possible - mostly so that we could test the later parts of the level as well as the start.

That's when Caspian said, 'Hey, let's do a live stream of a speed-run through the mines so people who aren't going to PAX can see what we're working on!'

Wait, what!?

So we did! There are a few rough edges and, obviously, the gameplay is scoped to a smaller subset of what is intended for Prologue, but there's so much to share!

We will be doing a deep dive of the Silver Run Mines soon so keep an eye on our YouTube channel.

Speed Run: PAX East 2017 Demo (Pre-Alpha Build)
It was frightening and euphoric to be going to PAX East to show the game to fans, strangers, media, and critics alike. As Caspian wrote in his end of the year update, the community has grown immensely in the last year and so many more people know about Chronicles of Elyria that the stakes seemed much higher than before. At the same time, the team has grown and we are officially in the production phase so we have really come a long way!
Our PAX East booth was simple, yet attractive.
Also at PAX, Caspian gave a talk about the game called A Living Legacy: Designing Chronicles of Elyria.
After the whirlwind of energy and chaos at PAX, we are taking stock of where we are. We always learn a lot when we put our work out there, and PAX East was a concentrated firehose of data for us. Every sprint, every Live Q&A, every expo, and so on, is another signpost along the overall journey telling us whether we are still on the right path and how to improve.
PAX Mortem
 
There are a couple areas where we learned something at PAX this year:
  1. The Booth's 3 regions
    • Demo area
      • The Good: People liked to sit, and we got a nice crowd!
      • The Bad: The setup made it difficult to maneuver to the back.
      • The Ugly: Nearby Arena upped vocal strain and nullified SFX...
    • Stage area
      • The Good: People gathered when Caspian spoke!
      • The Bad: Area was underutilized.
      • The Ugly: Seating drew in squatters uninterested in CoE...
    • Reception area
      • The Good: Easy for people to gather in!
      • The Bad: Change to setup caused bottleneck to demo stations.
      • The Ugly: We didn't bring physical swag this year...
         
  2. The Demo
    • The Good: Beautiful, good framerate, and few crashes!
    • The Bad: Barriers limiting people to playable area were frustrating.
    • The Ugly: Looked like a console game without 'MMORPG' branding...
New Hires
Tech Art Lead: Dennis "Wiz" Price
 
Dennis has 19 years of experience in creating digital art for print, web, multimedia, videos games, commercials, television, & film. Most notably as a cinematic lead at Blizzard and art director for Airtight Games.
Enter Josh 'Glaive' Galvin
 
Joshua comes to us as a generalist programmer with an awesome attitude and pedigree. He is excited to create a deep and meaningful universe with us, particularly in the procedural generation of the world and story elements.
Pledge Package Clarifications
Dude, Where's My County?

As promised a few weeks ago, we've added additional clarity between rewards owned from previous packages when looking at comparisons in the webstore. Previously, if you had certain original packages and viewed a new package, it might not itemize all the stuff you were pretty certain you had (ex. a county).

Now you will see the full list of your stuff regardless of whether you are comparing old-new, old-new, or new-new! This should clear up a lot of uncertainty and, hopefully, provide people full peace-of-mind.

Note: There is one oddity in all this. If you had an original package and you've upgraded to a new package and then look to a new-new package, it may show something you own not-greyed-out properly. It's better if I give the primary example here:

If I had a Count/Countess package (original $500 tier) and I have upgraded to a Governor package (new $750 tier), and I view the Courtier package (new $1000 tier), it will show the County awarded by the Courtier package as not-greyed-out. We'll fix that in the next update. It just wasn't worth holding everything else up for.

Kingdoms... Kingdoms Everywhere!


There has been much discussion, as of late, about the servers and their kingdom availability. We've designed Chronciles of Elyria as a game of finites; finite resources and finite rulers per server. Thanks to our amazing community, we now have tens of Kingdoms bought-and-paid-for, while others wait in layaway. 

Whether you backed us from Kickstarter or the Monarch tier from our own store, we want to give our royalty a fair shot at their desired server. When Domain & Settlement Selection happens, the server, lands, and names (for family surname, region, and settlements) will become locked in, but we're not there yet.

In the meantime, I wanted to make clear the way this selection will occur so there is no confusion:


  • Players will first be given server selection,
    • Then domain selection.
       
  • Priority for server is given to players who backed us earlier.
    • Within each server, the land will be selected in order of Influence.
       
  • Server selection will open ordered by date-of-purchase and tier level.
    • Then, Kingdom-holders will pick their Kingdom ordered by total influence.
       
  • If the server you wanted is full, you can choose another server.
    • OR, you can convert to a Double Duchy instead of a Kingdom.

 
A Note About Layaway

We will use the final purchase date and NOT the layaway date for determining server selection order. If you currently have either the King/Queen or Monarch package on layaway, be aware that others could complete their purchase first and secure their order during server selection.
Upcoming Live Q&A
Survival Q&A
Wednesday, March 29th at 12PM PDT / 3PM EDT / 8PM GMT
 
The most pertinent Design Journals to read up on beforehand can be found herehere, and here. We will be taking questions from this reddit thread. Head on over and post your questions or vote up the ones you want to hear answered in the Q&A.
 

Please follow these rules when posting questions for the Q&A.

RULES

  1. Please limit questions to 1 question per post, so it can be easily up-voted/down-voted.
  2. Please limit yourself to 3 posts for a maximum of three questions per community member.
  3. Keep your question brief. That makes it easier to read, and quicker to answer.
  4. Make sure to upvote the posts of others you're most interested in hearing the answers to.
New blog posts about the development of Chronicles of Elyria are posted every other week. Come join the community and shape our story!
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