Jul 182016
 
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Welcome everyone! The early access version of Ghost of a Tale is nearly upon us! So it’s now time to talk about specifics.

The game is going to be available for PC in early access on Steam, GOG and this very site (with the help of the Humble widget).

If you’re a backer of the Indiegogo campaign you can look forward to an email from us within the next 24h to 48h. You’ll be able to choose which key you’d like to receive and when you get that key it will let you play the game right away! 🙂

For everyone else, although you can’t yet buy the game you can still access the store pages by clicking on either of the pictures below.

steam_logo

Console versions will come at a later time since the PC release must be done before anything else is possible.

But before I continue talking about the early access let me say this: I recently looked at the last trailer (from 2014) and was really surprised by the difference in visual quality. So I captured a frame and tried to match it roughly to the same angle/time-of-day. First the 2014 version:

ScreenShot 2016_07_17 15;10;55001_2014

And here’s with what the game looks like today. I really need to start working on a new trailer!

ScreenShot 2016_07_17 15;10;55001_2016

So much has changed since then. And I don’t mean just the graphics! 😀

But let me go back to the topic of the early access. Actually instead of boring you with a dry litany of information let me break it down into a series of questions you may ask yourselves.

What are the technical requirements for Ghost of a Tale?

Well, you need a gaming PC of course. By this I mean essentially a graphics card that can run modern games. Laptops which are mostly used to browse the web or play older games probably won’t cut it.

On the CPU side an Intel i5 @ 2.5Ghz is the minimum. On the video card side, see if you can locate your card on this chart (available on videocardbenchmark.net) and look at its score:

ScreenShot 2016_07_16 19;03;23001

In a nutshell, here’s what to expect (assuming your CPU is not the bottleneck in your machine):

  • If your video card is well above 7K you’ll have a grand old time, period!
  • If your video card reaches 4K or more, you’re hunky-dory; that would pretty much warranty 1080p at a solid 30fps.
  • If your video card is between 2K and 3K you might have to lower the resolution to 720p in order to maintain 30fps.
  • If your video card is well below 2K I advise you only buy Ghost of a Tale with the understanding that you will not get a smooth experience unless you bring down the resolution even more.
  • If your video card is well below 1K then I advise you do not buy the game as I cannot guarantee it will run as intended.

Do I have to use a gamepad to play Ghost of a Tale?

No. However, while the game fully supports mouse/keyboard it is fundamentally designed with a gamepad in mind (I use the Xbox One’s).

Since Ghost of a Tale is a third-person game where body-awareness is fairly important it’s just nicer and more precise to use a Gamepad. But in the end it’s your choice of course.

What can I expect from the early-access version?

A beautiful place to explore, NPCs to encounter, secrets to discover, dialogs, quests, etc…

If you intend to immerse yourself in that world and try to do each quest then you’ll have quite a few hours of enjoyment ahead of you.

The early access represents roughly 25-30% of the game (at most). But by a lot of aspects it only shows a VERY LIMITED slice of what the final game will be. We removed some mechanics, enemies, and systems and walled off several locations linked to quests that are not yet available.

Eventually you’ll be able to explore the whole of Dwindling Heights and meet all of its denizens; this is just a portion of it.

(One last note: the “fancy hat” edition will arrive later on, either as an update to the early access or with the final version of the game…)

Is the early-access English-only?

Yes. For now. Dialogs and quests will evolve until the final game is complete, so if we translate the game now a lot of work is going to have to be completely redone later on. And at the moment we simply cannot afford to do this from a financial point of view (more on that later).

Here’s a screenshot to provide some breathing space. Look, the sun is about to rise over Dwindling Heights…

ScreenShot 2016_07_07 09;29;07001

Why should I buy the game now instead of waiting for the final version?

That’s a fair question and the answer revolves around money: there’s none left.

Successful games’ crowdfunding campaigns can reach a few hundred thousand dollars, sometimes even close to a million. The campaign for GoaT brought roughly $40K of effective budget.

As some of you know I’ve been working on Ghost of a Tale each and every day of my life for the last three years and I’ve paid myself $500 per month. The rest of the money went to buy hardware, licenses and of course to compensate my collaborators.

Note that I’m not complaining at all; no-one is forcing me to create Ghost of a Tale!

Now we could very well start a new crowdfunding campaign but it would require quite a lot of time and energy and it would push back the game by as much. I prefer to put that effort into development. And given the advanced state of Ghost of a Tale I think the early access route is the best for everyone.

That being said I totally respect players who would rather play the game when it’s finished and prefer to wait for the final version to be released.

If however you choose to buy the pre-release version, know that you are actually making the development of Ghost of a Tale possible. Plus you get a better price while the game is still in early access since the final version will likely be more expensive when it’s out.

And if I’m still not convinced…?

Well, what can I say. How many games let you play as a minstrel mouse in a world that looks right out of a fairy tale? Which doesn’t expect you to slaughter anyone and instead appeals to your sense of wonder…? 🙂

If you believe in the game then please, spread the word! Let your friends know that the pre-release is coming very soon!

I’ll do an update to let you guys know as soon as the pre-release is out for everyone. If we don’t discover anything catastrophic during the next few days then everyone will get a chance to experience Ghost of a Tale next week, on Monday the 25th of July… 🙂

Feb 082016
 
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Welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale development update! It should come as no surprise that hard work continues, more intense as ever; Cyrille and Paul are toiling away on their task list and we still have to implement quite a few things before we’re ready to start beta testing. I mean we do test constantly of course, but this time it should be with people who never actually touched the game before.

Here’s a picture of Tilo exploring the sewers. Ooh lookie, he found the Red Ranger’s hood (the Red Ranger is a folklore character in the game’s world)! 🙂

ScreenShot 2016_01_20 17;18;29001

Jeremiah also has a lot of work ahead of him to compose all the tracks needed  for the pre-release. But he’s as fast as he’s good, so I’m not worried. Instead I’m excited to be the first one to discover his work!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve done a huge amount of work in animation, 2D art and coding. I’m currently squashing A LOT of bugs which is actually pretty nice because that means hopefully you won’t find them in the game (no, you’ll find completely new ones! 😀 ).

I’ve also started implementing in-game tutorials. As you know it’s a tricky task to trigger them only at the right moment and location. I personally hate it as a player when a tutorial message interrupts the game just to tell me something I’ve already figured out. So that shouldn’t happen in GoaT!

Next I would like to thank all the contestants of our papercraft Tilo “contest”! Paul was so proud of all the creative energy put into bringing paper-Tilo to life!

papercraftMontage

Those pictures are just a sample of the ones posted in the thread. Congrats to all the winners; you guys will be able to claim your Steam key when we the pre-release goes live. You earned it!

Which is a nice segue into the next topic: Steam! Cyrille took it upon himself to dive into all the tutorials related to the online distribution platform and came up with a plan that worked (as you can see in the picture below).

ScreenShot 2016_01_30 18;26;22001

We have tested the Steam publish pipeline and were able to upload a build which we could then access through our Steam accounts. Needless to say this is a significant milestone! It means that when the time comes to go public we should be able to do so with minimal fussing.

(FYI the build we uploaded was just a dry run and didn’t contain the game’s environments – hence the small footprint; the Early Access download itself should be a little over 1GB)

Alright, I’ll go back to work and leave you with this short test video I posted on Twitter a few days ago. It just shows the game’s starting area. See you all in the next update! 🙂

Jan 272016
 
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Hello all!

Since it looks like our papercraft Tilo got some success we have decided to do something nice around it: so let it be known that the first 10 persons who post pictures of their own papercraft Tilo in this forum thread will win a free Steam key for Ghost of a Tale!

All you have to do is build it yourself (of course) and then take a couple of pictures of your papercraft Tilo in a somewhat naturalistic environment. Not necessary outdoors (could be a diorama) but in an environment that would more-or-less make sense for Tilo to be in!

So get to your tweezers, craft knives and glue sticks! And don’t forget to have fun in the process! 😀

asaas_cropped

Nov 302015
 
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Welcome to this new update! Those last few weeks have been extremely intense and the coming ones are likely going to feel the same. There were a couple of trying tech-scares ranging from corrupted project to game-breaking bugs and difficult-to-pinpoint issues (to say it politely).

But I want to say I’m overall very happy with the progress we made; Cyrille is debugging the save/load process and Paul is finishing some last-minute dialog rewrites plus writing all the items/costume descriptions. I’m concentrating on animations, modeling, set-dressing, interface, debugging, etc…

ScreenShot 2015_11_08 13;38;23001_2

I recently amped up the rats’ speed and animation when they’re aggressive and it’s crazy how the amount of tension shoots up when they’re onto you. So far it was possible to outrun them fairly easily as they stuck to their relentless, lumbering gait at all times. But now when they’re coming at you they really mean it! You’ll have to take my word for it but it makes the hiding mechanics much more than a gimmick as you cannot escape your assailants indefinitely; you HAVE to hide eventually.

ScreenShot 2015_11_21 23;17;31001_2

Now regarding the pre-release, if I take a step back and look at my charitable wish of doing it within the upcoming three weeks I have to say it looks REALLY tight. Not only because of the amount of work left to do, but also of the required time for playtesting and subsequent bug-fixing. And I’m certainly not about to start taking any shortcuts.

This feeling is compounded by the overwhelming wave of support that you guys have been expressing over the last couple of months which can be summed up as “please take your time, don’t rush it, make it good”. And I’m very grateful for that indeed.

Alright, so when the initial pre-release is made public, what exactly can you expect from it? In terms of content it’s roughly 20-25% of the final game. It sports a little less than thirty quests (including both main and secondary ones) and lets you explore two main areas, both indoors and outdoors.

ScreenShot 2015_10_23 16;13;06001_2

As I was saying, some game mechanics will not make it into the pre-release. But what’s there will give you a very accurate taste of the game’s atmosphere and scope. In terms of playtime we can’t be certain yet but it should be at the very least a couple of hours.

In terms of localization, the pre-release might be English-only at first but rest assured we will localize it as soon as possible (basically when money allows it). We’ll add French, Italian, German and Spanish to start with. Then we will expand to other languages after that (I’m hoping Polish, Portuguese, etc..).

And that about covers it for this update. In the next one I’ll talk (among other things) about the minimum and required specs for the game. As usual if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to post them in the comments.

Oh and one last thing: I can’t go into any details about it yet but for you guys wondering if Sony is aware of the game and if they’re interested in helping us bring it to their newest console… the answer is “yes” and “yes”… 😉