Q2 2015 Schedule Update

[A SotA Public Forum post by Starr Long]


Greetings Avatars,

As we stated in previous posts, our goal is to once-per-quarter post an updated schedule for our monthly releases. Even though these goals will likely change somewhat as we react to feedback, we feel it is important to provide you an updated roadmap periodically.

Our goal continues to be to deliver our backers content each and every month so that we can get feedback, and use it to iterate improvements. This has already paid off, with additional game features like jumping and swimming, as well as improvements to systems like crafting, conversations, and combat. Meeting that monthly goal is our highest priority, but we require flexibility in our deliverables to meet that goal. As you have seen in previous releases, sometimes we push things out, but we also often pull new things in.

It is worth noting that we develop in an iterative fashion. This means we will often get systems and content in the game as soon as we can, even if they are only partially functional. In general until you see me say something is “final” you can safely assume we will continue to improve on that feature. An example is our Pets which are in very early development and do not include a lot of their functionality like being able to hang out in your house.

As always, all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change as we adjust our designs based on direct feedback from you, our backers.

As you might notice many of the deliverables from Q1 are now in Q2. This is due to many factors including the Unity 5 conversion, conventions (we had not planned to attend GDC), bug fixes, and other completely normal game development challenges. This now obviously puts our launch by end of 2015 at risk. We are currently working on various strategies to keep launch within 2015 but as always our goal is to ship the product when it is ready, not before. We will do everything in our power however to complete Episode 1 in as timely a manner as possible without sacrificing scope or quality. It is worth noting that based on our current funding and fundraising data trends that we we will still be able to complete the game without any financial issues, even with slips like this. NOTE: With this schedule change we will be extending payment plans to November.

RELEASE 17, April 30, 2015:

  • Polish & Performance: We will continue the work we started with Release 16 to improve overall polish and performance in the game. We will focus not only on improving frame rate but also lowering load times. We may also spend some time on usability issues.
  • Maps: Perennial Coast and Grunvald will continue to be expanded.
  • Steam Achievements: Players will now be able to earn Steam Achievements.
  • Player Owned Town Test: We hope to have our first example of a Player Owned Town in the game with the PaxLair Metropolis.
  • Crafting: Crafting will now have events that occur during the crafting process that the player can interact with to influence the results.
  • Creatures: Our bestiary will expand to include various Human Enemies (mages, archers, etc.), the Phoenix, and Zombies!
  • Player Titles: Players will now be able to display their title in the game.
  • Street Signs: We will begin placing street signs in major towns.
  • Player Wipe: We will be wiping all game, property, and player data for this release because of some fundamental changes to item architecture.

RELEASE 18, May 28, 2015:

  • Maps: Our goal is to get the Grunvald Region near completion and begin work on the Quel Region which includes scenes like the Etceter Mines.
  • Spells & Skills: The combat schools of Shields and Light Armor will expand, and more combos will be added to the game.
  • Housing: Fences and Walls will come online as new customization options for player property.
  • Player Owned Towns: We plan to start the official submission process and begin implementing more towns.
  • Crafting: Crafting skills will start to come online, and be used during crafting to modify results.
  • Creatures: Our creature list will continue to expand with Chaos Demons and Wisps.
  • Combat: The cover system will be introduced that modifies attack and defense values when you (or your target) are behind cover.
  • Overworld: Roving encounters (patrolling creatures) will now appear on the overworld map and can be engaged (pulling you into a scene) or avoided if you wish to sneak past.
  • Emote “Teaching”: Emotes will now be teachable to other players. Some emotes (like the ones tied to pledges) will only be teachable by the original owner. Teaching will be done via secure trading a consumable item that adds the emote when used.
  • Localization: We will begin crowdsourcing the translation of the game into various languages.
  • Player Made Books: Players will be able to write in blank books in the game, and share them with other players.
  • Customization: Clothing and Armor will now be dyeable.

RELEASE 19, June 25, 2015:

  • Maps: We hope to get the Quel Region near final and start on the Midmaer Region.
  • Spells & Skills: Chaos Magic and Ranged Combat will expand to include more spells, and more combos will come online.
  • Housing: Property ownership will now incur regular fees (unless you are using a tax free deed from a pledge). If the fees are not paid, the player will lose their claim, and their possessions (including the house and decorations) will be moved to their bank. Note: We will provide more details about timing, payments, etc. near the end of R18.
  • Crafting: Tailors and Alchemists will be able to begin crafting Taming Collars. We will also be adding more Cooking and Alchemy recipes.
  • Pets & Taming: We will expand pet functionality to include the ability to tame creatures.
  • Creatures: Dragons will begin appearing in Novia! Burninating will begin. All hail Trogdor, the Burninator!
  • Combat: Guilds will now be able to declare war on each other.
  • Customization: New armor and clothing items will appear in the game.
  • Musical Instruments: Players can play music in the game with a variety of instruments.
  • Player Owned Vendors: Players will now be able to place a Vendor on their property to sell goods.

We continue to be incredibly thankful for the support we receive from this amazing community. While the funding you provide makes all of this possible, it pales in comparison with the faith you have in us, the feedback you provide us, and the content you are making for everyone to enjoy. We are humbly grateful, and we cannot wait to see you again in New Britannia!

Before I go, I wanted to include an excerpt from my original post about our Early Release Schedule that is important to set the framework for our ongoing schedule:

As a crowd funded and crowd sourced project, we feel it is incredibly important that we provide our backers with information and access well before game studios would normally do so in a traditional development model. Traditionally, the players are given information and access only after the development team has already decided exactly how things will be done, and at times, even after it has already been implemented. By the time the public normally has access to the product, there is usually no time to meaningfully react to the public feedback.

Shroud of the Avatar is different than the traditional model, as we intend to offer our backers extremely early access to information and even the game itself. With that said, we also want to be very careful that we only provide access to portions of the game when they are ready for a wider range of feedback. If we can play it internally and we know it is not ready, then there is nothing to be gained by having a wider audience come to the same conclusion. In fact, it could be quite damaging to do so.

Our strategy over the next few months is to provide you with focused and iterative releases of content. Your feedback during these releases will be critical to making the final product the best it can be, and we appreciate that you are all so willing to devote your time to helping us. With each release, we will have specific tests we will ask you all to make. As we get closer, we will send instructions on how to download, install, report bugs, etc. After each release we will review the results and reevaluate the plan including the duration of availability of each release. Please note that game data will be wiped periodically during early access.

It is important to note that all dates, durations, and deliverables are subject to change.

Starr Long
Executive Producer
Shroud of the Avatar

Source: Official SotA New Feed