Looking back at 2016….

Hey guys!

As 2017 fast approaches, I thought it would be good to take a moment to reflect upon the current year and some of it’s high points in regards to the progress of the making of LEGACY (and to a new degree, it’s “prequel” of sorts…FutureTech Flight Academy, or “FFA” for short).

I would have to say that, without a doubt, our major high point was attending PAX EAST in Boston, MA this past spring. We had an amazing time there…from finally showcasing a playable demo for the public, to taking in all the sights, sounds, and energy from the event itself. There were so many great games showcased there that certainly fueled our drive and ambitions to become a name in this fabulous industry! We also met a lot of interesting and genuinely helpful people during our three days on the convention floor. The people who sat down and actually played the demo had tons of great feedback for us. Subsequently, from this feedback, our newest game idea was formed. Also, we were surrounded by other teams in the booths adjacent to us who had a lot of helpful and useful ideas and advice. It really was a great feeling to see just how supportive the indie gaming community can be from the inside. Plus, PAX EAST 2016 would not have been such a fantastic success if it weren’t for the truly awe-inspiring effort put in by the team who volunteered to man the booth. To Camille, Genevieve, Latisha, and Tori…I want to thank each of you for making the event run smoothly, efficiently, successfully, and most importantly…fun! Although we will not be making an appearance at PAX in 2017, be prepared to see us in 2018 with some new, amazing content!

The major event that spawned from our visit to PAX was the decision to create a smaller, one-off game which could be considered a “prequel” of sorts to the main project. It seemed that the majority of the people who played our demo…a small space combat portion of the game…thought that this was an example of the full game itself. Not only that, but they were all for it being a project that they would be willing to follow and support. This realization was in fact a bit of a relief, seeing that the main game would not be close to completed until sometime mid-to-late 2018. By splintering off and working on a standalone space combat sim, we had the possibility of releasing a completed game much sooner. We have also placed FFA on Steam’s Greenlight “early concepts” page for additional feedback and exposure. As of now, production of FFA is well underway, with a projected release sometime this coming Spring/Summer.

Another first for us in 2016 was the release of our very first teaser trailer! It’s fairly short and purposely ambiguous, but definitely sets the tone and mood for the game as a whole. The haunting voice-over work from on of our voice actors Tulip (whose voice can be heard on her web page http://www.tulipflanagan.com) sounds just so perfect! I still can’t get over how good it is. Thank you Tulip for the wonderful improvisation. The teaser video can be found here…https://youtu.be/OG3d8P2k9y0.

One of the technical milestones in the project early in the year was the completion of the “AI Ship Director”…an intuitive in-engine visual scripted program…used to control all of the various AI ships in a given level. By implementing this “Director”…I was able to greatly increase the efficiency and speed at which the game engine could control enemy AI assets in a level. Other technical achievements of last year were the creation of a functioning main menu, weapon selection script, and a order priority selection menu. The latter gives the player the ability to designate targets of priority for their support AI wingmen during the space combat scenarios.

In the writing department, we covered a lot of ground this past year. Our writers, Genevieve and Summer, both created some very intriguing dialogue and back-story for the game. Genevieve has been focused on creating a new main character for FFA, a young rookie pilot in training named Gary. Newly recruited, he is eager to get into the fight against the alien menace that is currently controlling the planet. However, he soon finds out that joining the cause comes with it’s own heavy price to pay. Moving to the lore of the game, Summer has been writing a narrative that will delve deep into the history of the world of LEGACY. Several hundreds of years before the events of LEGACY, circumstances are unfolding on Earth and beyond that will forever change the fate of humanity.

In the art department, we had a very talented batch of concept artists, 3D modelers, and level designers working to get a ton of assets and art sheets thru the pipeline. Latisha and Jacob…the core of our 3D modeling team…have been working on creating our weapons, level assets, and textures. Sergio, who has moved on from our team to work with a AAA gaming studio, was integral to creating the 3D models for our fighter and bomber assets…with design help from concept artist Kevin. Kevin, who has been busy with both ship and environmental concept art design, created a fantastic array of alien and human weapon designs, as well as environmental art for the interior of the large space cruiser being developed for our next main game demo level. Tori, our level designer, has been putting together that demo level inside of Unreal Engine 4 for most of the latter half of 2016. Our newest concept artist addition to the team, Danielle, has been creating character a-pose modeling sheets and illustrations featuring design updates to the main characters of the game. Her unique ability to blend both the established design aesthetics of the characters while being able to seamlessly integrate her own unique spin has been amazing to watch! The characters are fabulous to look at…and are coming to life with their own unique personalities. I cannot wait to get them modeled and rigged for animation in 2017! Our UI designer Camille has been working on creating some really great designs for both the menu screens and HUD iconography for both the main game and FFA. Some of those menu screens were showcased in our demo at PAX back in April. Since then she has create a ton of new work that will be front and center in FFA’s gaming interface.

Of course there were a few setbacks…which seem to mirror a lot of what transpired in 2016 as a whole. One of the major ones was not reaching a point that we felt comfortable launching a crowd funding campaign. Initially slated for fall of this year, there just didn’t seem (at least in my eyes) enough solid ground to initiate that sort of funding campaign. It’s my true belief that people should have the ability to see a comprehensive, fully grounded and functioning demo product before being asked for their financial support. Although we had a playable demo, there just seems to be a little bit more needed in place before that happens. Rest assured, that will be coming very soon though. Another was the inability to cast all of the main voice acting roles for the game. With a large portion of the characters cast with amazingly talented voice actors, the bar has been set pretty high for the remaining parts. The search for the voice of the main protagonist, alien scientist, and for the newest character…Gary…along with several other NPC’s…continues on into the new year.

In conclusion, I believe that overall 2016 was a monumentally positive year for production. Like our aforementioned voice actors, it has set the bar high for 2017. It is a bar that, although high, I believe we will surpass and even eclipse in 2017. We have the team, the vision, and the drive to make it happen. Keep an eye out for what is next. Trust me…it’s gonna be cool!

Happy New Year from the LEGACY team…and thank you for your continued support and interest!

~SF

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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

3rd Person Test Level in Progress

Hi guys.

Sorry for not posting sooner. I’ve had to spend more time than I would have liked shopping for a new car, since our old one decided it didn’t want to work anymore. And after all the love we put into it! What an ingrate. 

Anyways….I thought I’d post about my current task of transferring assets from UDK/UE3 to the new UE4 engine. Unfortunately, there is no easy way (as of yet) to migrate assets between engines. The workflow as it is now is as follows:

1. Export objects from UDK level in .fbx format.

2. Import files into Maya for clean-up.

3. Re-export the same files as .fbx files.

4. Import files into UE4 Content Browser.

Not the most efficient method, but it works for now. Hopefully with future updates from Epic, the UE3 to UE4 conversions will go a bit smoother. Fingers crossed!

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That’s all I got for now. Be back to post more soon…promise! 

~SF

Early game footage!

Hi guys!

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, but it’s been for a good reason. Over the past few weeks I have been really getting acquainted with Unreal Engine 4. As of last week, I have been able to put together a very early playtest level. Here is a sneak peek of the fighter pilot game play. I hope you like what you see so far…there will be more to come.

~SF