Aug 112017
 
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Welcome all! Today I’m very happy because I get to talk about new content added to the early access! 🙂

Indeed we’ve opened up a new location: the Northern Slopes (along with the old armory) but we also worked a lot on the existing Far Tower area. Not only is the location much prettier to look at (thanks to many new assets) but there’s actually stuff to do there now!

Here’s a lighting test for the time-of-day system which is recorded in the new area:

We’ve added 5 new quests to the existing 28, which brings us to a tally of 33 quests available in the early access version. The new quests range from quite easy to much more involved.

Furthermore we introduce a couple of new gameplay mechanics: among which are the “brisance kegs”. Those are in effect a sort of exploding barrel/nitroglycerin. They are heavy items which Tilo can grab and move anywhere within a certain distance.

And that’s what makes them special: every time Tilo takes a step the brisance bar fills up a little until it fills up completely and as you guessed… the whole thing goes ka-boom! So better not let that happen.

But that’s not all: the brisance is sensitive to shocks so Tilo can also throw projectiles at it to blow it up at a distance.

Conversely, Tilo can light up the fuse of the brisance kegs (using his candlestick or fire steel) to create a delayed explosion. Which will prove very handy throughout the rest of the game, against some enemies and also as a way to affect the environment.

In this update we have added new shortcuts for you to discover, making traveling from one part of Dwindling Heights to another even more enjoyable.

Besides the usual helping of bug fixes you’ll also find long-time requested features like a brightness slider, an LOD slider (for people with powerful machine who just want the game to look as good as possible) and a way to sort the inventory clothing items by costume and/or body parts.

And by the way just to give you some hints: the new quests can be accessed by talking to Faustus, visiting the garden and exploring the far tower area (mind your steps).

The guards now have new attack sounds (coupled with camera shakes when Tilo gets hit) so they overall feel more threatening. Some of them now wear greaves, which means that they won’t slip down on a grease jar anymore.

You can think of it as a rock/paper/scissors situation: some guards wear a helmet so you can’t knock them down with a bottle but they could slip and fall on a grease jar, while some others have no head protection but they wear greaves, etc… So you have to choose the right tool for the right situation.

The map system has also been improved in that the markers that appear on it now visually indicate if the items they refer to are located above or below Tilo’s current position.

Story-wise you can also pick up more roses in the world, which in turn will let you learn more about Tilo and Merra’s story.

Anyway there are too many things to mention here so I encourage you to read the detailed release notes.

With this update we are nearing the 60% of publicly available content. One thing to keep in mind about the whole process is we only publish things when they are ready. In other words out of the remaining 40% about half is already created and the other half is well on the way. Of course for now the “non-public” content is only reachable by us developers and alpha testers. But boy do we have some beautiful things in store for you! 🙂

To illustrate this point, here’s a screenshot of Tilo exploring the catacombs (which are not open to the public yet)…

In terms of availability this update can be downloaded on Steam today, then in a couple of days on GOG and finally (barring any unforeseen troubles) on the Xbox One before the end of the month.

Update on August 18: The new build is now available on Steam, GOG and the Xbox One store!

As usual, don’t hesitate to leave your questions and suggestions in the comments below! See you in the next update! 🙂

Jun 302017
 
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Hello all! In this special update I would like to officially welcome our new Xbox One players!

Ghost of a Tale has indeed landed on the Xbox One store (in the Game Preview section) today, Friday June 30th.

Note: if you backed the game during the Indiegogo campaign and you would like to receive an Xbox One token then please send us a message at: [email protected] from the email address you used during the campaign (that’s important!).

What does “Game Preview” mean?

It is the equivalent of early access on PC: the game is released in a work-in-progress state. In the case of Ghost of a Tale that means the game is roughly 45% complete. When the game is finalized it will include more locations, enemies, NPC, quests, etc…

It also means that as players you get to influence the game’s development by giving us feedback and reporting bugs. And because the game is not finished yet it is of course sold at a lower price than the final version.

Obviously, when the final version arrives your Preview version will get upgraded at no additional cost to you.

Screen Shot 06-30-17 at 11.48 AMRegarding the build that is currently available on the Xbox store:

Update: The new build is live, as well as the free one hour trial! You can now experience Ghost of a Tale on Xbox One as we intended from the beginning.

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to upload the latest build on the servers in time for the launch so what you’ll get at first is an older build (4.0). Since then we have fixed dozens of bugs (both large and small), vastly improved the visuals (textures, lighting, shaders, models, etc…) and done a big optimization pass (framerate stability).

The new build (4.35) should become available as soon as Microsoft can disseminate it to its servers. Which we hope will be done in a few hours.

On a technical note: if you buy the game at launch today, please wait for the game to finish downloading entirely before you press the “Launch” button. If you press it as soon as it appears (roughly at 25% of download progress) then the game probably won’t even start or will freeze before you can start playing.

It’s no big deal though, you’ll just have to quit the game and simply wait for the download to complete. Then you’ll be able to launch it again and everything will be fine.

Please don’t hesitate to post your suggestions/technical issues on our forums.

We hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Dwindling Heights Keep!  🙂

Jun 122017
 
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Hi everyone. This is just a quick update to confirm that the game has passed Microsoft’s certification!

The Game Preview version of Ghost of a Tale will arrive on the Xbox One on June 30th.

584x800 - Branded Key Art

It was a long journey to get there and it’s still far from over. But if you didn’t have a PC to play the game on and you happen to have an Xbox One, you should be a happy camper at the end of the month. 🙂

Stay tuned for more development news to come!

May 052017
 
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Welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale update! 🙂

We’ve been working on so many things over the last few weeks that I have a hard time keeping track! But just to summarize (in no particular order): new quests, dialogs for new NPCs (where Paul is doing a bang-up job as usual), optimizations, whiteboxing, Xbox One certification and new locations!

And speaking of new places you’ll get to explore in the game… As promised in the previous update here’s your first look at the catacombs sprawling under Dwindling Heights!

Catacombs!

The catacombs are the burial ground for soldiers and commanders whose bodies were entombed over the centuries since before Dwindling Heights ever became a prison.

As expected it’s a dark, eerie place. No doubts quite dangerous for a minstrel mouse!

Screen Shot 04-25-17 at 05.15 PM

It is whispered there might even be relics of the War of the Green Flame under there. And it’s probably haunted too! Although spiders might make quicker work of explorers than ghosts. But who knows…

One thing is for sure though, the Dying Lights lend a chilly atmosphere to the place. Their spectral blue flames do not give out any heat but they possess the distinctive feature of being virtually eternal. Indeed they cannot be put out by normal means. Which is why they’re often a fixture of pirate ships as even the strongest of storms won’t snuff them out.

Some sailors even say on a calm night while sailing on lake Vaelia you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the ghostly blue lights from long ago sunken ships deep under the waters.

Screen Shot 04-27-17 at 05.09 PM

(Oh and just to be clear: the catacombs are not yet in the early access version of Ghost of a Tale. We still have to connect several elements before you get a chance to explore them 🙂 )

Magnet Aim:

One of the aspects of the game that was recently overhauled is the throwing mechanics. In the game Tilo can throw several types of items (sticks, bottles, slime jars, etc…) to different effects. For example if you time your moves properly you could throw a bottle at a guard’s head to momentarily knock him out.

But up to now it was a finicky business. You had to perfectly align your target then throw and after that it was literally hit-and-miss. In short there was really no way to precisely aim at something.

As a result the experience wasn’t really fun and didn’t feel responsive enough. So I recently implemented a system we baptized “Magnet Aim”. It’s not exactly a locking system in the traditional sense of the term as Ghost of a Tale is definitely not a fighting/combat game. So we came up with something else, as illustrated by this short video:

 

(Note that for the video I made the targeting distance longer than in the actual game, for testing purposes)

Basically you just need to aim roughly in the right direction and the targeting reticle with snap to the relevant place (within a certain threshold of accuracy). If you throw at that moment, Tilo will send the projectile flying with mostly predictable results.

Now of course if you deviate a lot with the camera (say you aim wildly to the side of your target) then the aiming reticle will snap back to the center of the screen and Tilo will simply throw straight ahead. Similarly if your target is moving fast then it might not be a sure hit anyway.

We feel it’s a nice mixture of getting a little help from the system while still requiring the players to know what they’re doing. Of course you can turn off that feature in the gameplay options if you prefer to solely rely on your skills.

Loading Speed:

In the previous update I mentioned our new reloading process. So I thought I’d just show you a short demonstration of its speed. Please keep in mind that my machine has a solid-state drive so it’s already pretty fast.

(Please note that in this video I’m reloading a save located at a completely different place and progress of the game)

 

In the previous version when reloading a save we also reloaded almost the entire game (in order to reset things back to their default state). But we reworked our data managing system (thanks to Cyrille) and are now able to surgically reset things in the game’s world as needed. So we don’t have to wait for all the game’s locations to be read again from the disk.

This might not seem like a big deal for very fast gaming PCs but it makes a lot of difference on consoles and more modest PCs.

That’s it for this update. Thank you for coming by and as usual don’t hesitate to leave your questions/remarks/support down in the comments section! See you in the next update! 🙂