2015…Looking back (and a bit forward).

Hey guys!

Well another year is swiftly coming to a close. This brings production on LEGACY to around 2 years and 8 month so far…officially. Technically, though, it started even before then. Some of the assets in the game are things that I worked on not too long after I graduated from school back in 2010. Unofficially then…I guess it’s been closer to 6 years! Man does the time fly…and yet still so much to do.

I wanted to cap off the year-end with a little bit of a summary of what we’ve accomplished so far. Then afterwards let you guys in on some stuff I have in the works for 2016….muwahahaha!

We’ve had quite a few new people come on-board this year, from production staff to voice actors. These people are rearing to go and have shown some amazing work right out of the gate! It makes my job as Creative Director soooooo much more easy when you surround yourself with people with this amount of raw talent and drive.

On the flip side, we also lost a few of our long standing contributors to the hustle and bustle of “real life”. Some of these individuals have been with the project since the beginning. It says a lot about a person who is willing to commit over two years of their spare time to something like this. Without their fantastic work, we would be nowhere near what we have accomplished to date. I sincerely thank each and every one of them, from the bottom of my heart. You will be sorely missed…and I will always keep a light in the window for you if things every change.

As far was what was accomplished this year…oh, where do I begin? As good a place as any would be the story and scripts. Genevieve, who frequent readers of this blog well know by now, has done no small feat. She has completed the underlying story and nearly finished ALL of the cut scene dialogue scripts for all of the characters in the story! She has done this while at the same time working crazy hours in her “day” job. The scripts are top notch and really do a great job of bringing the characters in the story to life…with the help of our amazing voice talent, of course. Well done G! At the same time, our other writer Summer has been hard at work getting one of our “secret” projects underway. Let’s just say that when she is done, there will be a whole new angle to LEGACY that will give fans a unique perspective into it’s lore. There are plans for it to become part of the rewards for our fundraising campaign as well. Whenever her and I have meetings about it, we always end super-excited and pumped up for the next one!

Our 3D assets pipeline has been cranking out some amazing stuff throughout 2015. From character busts, armor configurations, to weapons and ships….it has been so fun to watch this stuff develop into their final stages over the last few months. A huge thanks goes out to the 3D modelers…Jacob, Nadin, Richard, Sergio (and his secret weapon Kevin), and Tricia…for all their fabulous work.

One of the coolest things that was completed was the first chapter of the in-game graphic novel series. Our former concept artists Jasmine and Roselyn (sisters as a matter of fact), came up with a super layout and visual style that is very distinct in my opinion.  Readers will love each chapter as they get unlocked thru game play. They were also responsible for creating a vast library of character concepts that we will be using to develop new featured NPC’s going forward into 2016. Sadly, they had to leave the project to focus on school and work, but that’s actually more important to me that they do well. I know they will move on to become a force unto themselves in the gaming industry. Maybe I can tempt them to return someday with a successful game launch? Time will tell.

One of the coolest things that was accomplished this year was the development of the main menu layout by our newest concept artist Camille. She is a wizard at designing cool layouts and visual assets. The main menu is now in a workable testing state in the game engine. It will develop more and become more refined in the next few months.

Let’s see…what else? Ah, voice acting! Most of the main characters have begun recording lines for the 33-or-so cut scenes. LEGACY has a collection of some of the most talented voice over actors I have ever seen. They all take direction effortlessly and with grace…while at the same time putting their own spin on each performance, making each character come to life! To you guys….Arlon, Bruce, Graham, Jen, Joseph, Lauren, Moniece, Todd, and Tulip…I am awed by the raw talent each of you possesses. Thank you all for what you have done this year and before!

Work has been focused lately on developing a testing demo that people will be able to try out. This includes a detailed level comprised of an entire capital starship! This is by no means a walk in the park. However, or level designer Tori has been hashing out the details floor by floor, deck by deck, airlock by airlock. As of now she has nearly completed mapping the entire ship, from bow to stern. The demo will include two types of levels, one you play as a soldier on the capital ship, and the other you play as a pilot flying a fighter in the battle taking place outside the capital ship. I personally have spent nearly every day of 2015 working in Unreal Engine 4 getting the game mechanics to work and get a basic visual style incorporated into the game itself. I am glad to say that, as of tonight, I have the basic game play functional…with the main menu all the way to the combat mechanics. It’s still pretty bare-bones…but it works, and it works well!

Ok, that is pretty much it for our progress through 2015. Now a quick peak ahead!

I have set in motion plans to showcase the playable demo at PAX East in Boston this spring. Our application for a booth has been submitted and all I am now waiting for is confirmation that it has been secured. If all goes well, you will all be able to come to our booth and take stab at playing the pre-alpha! Part of that demo will hopefully be taking place on an Xbox One! Yes, I am also in the works to get approved for the dev kits from the ID@Xbox program. The game is currently being reviewed by the folks at Microsoft and if it get’s the thumbs up they will send two Xbox One dev kits that I will then be able to use to port the game to. I really hope it works out so that we can have people play the demo on those instead of my computer, so that all the settings can be on full for the best experience possible. Fingers crossed!

Alright….I think that about does it. Sorry for the very long and rambling post, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything I could think of that you guys might want to know. Also, if I haven’t named you specifically in this post (current or former production people, that is), I want you to know that I am still eternally grateful for anything and everything you have done for the project. Your work has helped propel us forward as much as anyone else’s has. So for that, I thank you as well!

I want to close by wishing all of you a very happy, fun, fulfilling, and safe New Year! Thank you all for following our work! We truly appreciate it!

I will see you guys in 2016!!!

~SF

Villainy.

Hey all!!

Just some thoughts and discoveries from one of the game writers! Particularly on an interesting subject. Muahaha.

So.

Aside from our protagonists in the story, we have quite a few villains – or some “grayer” characters that provide opposition in some way to our heroes/heroines. These figures create tension, which engages the audience’s attention and interest in the story. Usually, the more complex the relationship, the more engaged the audience will be. Of course, there are quite a few other variables involved, as well as a balance of information and intensity to invoke the general player’s peak enjoyment, but that is another lecture for another day, haha. Depending on the type of game, the villains or villainous force(s) may vary from simplistic and flat to dynamic and complicated. As is in the case of Legacy, there are multiple storylines with obstacles for each one – and they are brought together in the end. There is also one or more villains for each part; we have included the “ultimate evil” character, a sympathetic if psychotic antagonist, a charismatic yet brutal religious leader, an invisible traitor, and one who has to decide where their loyalty lies…

In the midst of writing each story, in blending and tying everything together in one coherent mass, it was both surprising and not to realize how in-depth and how different each opposing character actually was. In theory, it’s easy to imagine the diverse aspects that have essentially built each one, such as background, personality, function, motivation, etc; but when it’s time to convey that within tight dialogue and limited cutscene material, it’s an entirely new organism, so to speak. There is an extremely brief amount of time dedicated to each; in some cases, not even a spotlight or a voyeuristic point of view.

It’s painful, too – to an extent. Aside from the ultimate evil, most of these creatures are incredibly damaged, with varying levels of relatability. They reflect their environments, the needs of the beings they are in contact with, and they are ultimately a product of maligned progress, each and every one. At the risk of sounding too pretentiously deep, each personified obstacle to “good” and/or to our protagonists represents some problematic, overarching, humanist topic; either political or social or mental. Or a combo.

But I suppose that’s the goal, eh? We’ll see how well they are conveyed, in any case! The ultimate judge is the audience after all, and all we can do is have fun and improve on the way!

~G