So about two months ago Beau (co-founder of AJC and partner-in-crime) came home from Copenhagen for a vacation during the winter holidays. Once he was done visiting with his family and kid, he got to the important stuff: hanging out with yours truly. There was much drinking of bad beer, eating of bad Mexican food, playing of Twisted Metal 2 and Super Mario Brothers 3 and Skyrim (he’s working on a shield bash build – hilarious), and general merriment for all.
And there was also this:
What in the world is this, you ask? Why, this is the lovely Beau deeply entrenched in a fierce game of “Domain: Lords of Ether”, the new card game being developed by A Jolly Corpse!
But doesn’t A Jolly Corpse brew fiendish concoctions for PC, Xbox, and mobile? Well yes, yes we do! But Beau and I are both huge players of tabletop games and collectible card games. As you may have seen from my Professor Figment posts, I’m a new fan of the D&D 3.5 mod Pathfinder. I’ve also played quite a bit of Magic: The Gathering with Wharf co-author Logan McHenry (black for life). Beau loves Tyrant and Munchkin and most board games. Resident AJC technomancer David’s also a big tabletop gamer, but he’s still hard at work recoding Wyv and Keep’s online mode and porting it to MonoGame! (Apparently Microsoft XNA wasn’t the ideal platform for us to start with…)
Domain is sort of a mix of MTG and Risk. It takes place in the dark, fantasy world of Abhaddon, a realm where the prosperity of humans and other industrious species is constantly undermined by the warring of the greedy and powerful “Ether Lords”. These mystical beings take the form of tyrannical wizards, ancient deities, giant creatures, and legendary spirits. They vary vastly, but what they share is that they wield control over a magical energy called “Ether”, which has the power not only to give life, but to take it away as well. You control one of these lords, and the objective in each game is to conquer the world of Abhaddon by taking over the various Soul Wells scattered about the map. The only problem? You’re not the only Ether Lord out there.
As you can probably tell by the not-so-great card stock (it’s paper), this is the 0.000001 alpha of the game. We concepted and developed it over the course of the couple weeks he was back in town, so if you zoom in on this picture you’ll see lots of stolen art from MTG and other card games. But we’ve been working overtime getting original art ready for our prototype. We’ve got a bunch to get ready (like, hundreds), so are only able to put in around 4 hours per card at this point. Despite that, we’re doing our best to make some very pretty cards!
The two cards above (top by myself, bottom by Beau) are examples of “Monster” cards – one of the three types of cards in the “Conjure” deck from which you draw and play every turn. Ether Lords exercise control over these weaker beings, and use them to combat other lords. They serve to guard your precious Soul Wells, or to attack and hopefully conquer those belonging to other players. Many of them have cool abilities to change up combat, and some, like Necromancer’s right there, can even be used out of combat, as long as they’re revealed.
So what does “revealed” mean? What are those symbols on the cards? What’re the other types of conjure? How’s the world built? Just what do the Ether Lords do?
These are all questions for future posts! I’ll feature news about the game here on my blog occasionally, but to stay up to date on the development of Domain, make sure to bookmark A Jolly Corpse’s homepage!
So over a year ago (… wait, really? o_o…) I wrote a little article explaining the basic differences between Inc. and LLC. I ended the article saying that for a fledgling indie developer like A Jolly Corpse, LLC was the natural choice. They’re super easy and cheap to set up, free from complicated taxes and regulations, and still give the owners much of the protection Incs do. So if you’re also starting a little studio, it may be for you, too!
But it’s so scary!
Over the past week or two exciting data about both of 2013′s new gaming consoles has slowly been leaked, and Playstation and Xbox fans are clamoring to know: which will have sweeter graphics? Which will have an awesomer controller? Which will have sicker games?
It’s invaluable info: eager consumers need to get ahead on making the tough decision about which console on which to plunk down their hard-earned cash. Well, through my secret industry-insider sources I’ve managed to secure some highly confidential details, and have put together the most comprehensive side-by-side chart to date, in order to help gamers make this impossible selection between two highly unique and singular pieces of hardware.
So here we are in 2013! Time to reflect back upon all the films we saw last year. For most bloggers this’ll take the form of a best-of list and maybe a worst-of list too, but we’re real writers, and supposedly video game developers, so we’re gonna try to be a bit more constructive than that. One of Logan’s close friends studies cinema, and he’s always said you can learn something from any film, good or bad. I’m not sure if that applies to George Lucas movies, but luckily he didn’t release any movies this year.
So for a year or so now I’ve had a bit of an interest in tabletop role-playing games. Been reading blogs, looking at books on Amazon, listening to podcasts of Dungeons & Dragons games. Pretty nerdy stuff. I considered trying to play once or twice before in my life, but never really pursued it. The trigger, I think, came from my recent disdain for Skyrim when I stumbled upon the realization that despite the freedom and non-linearity of the game I couldn’t actually kill important NPCs or really have any overall effect on the world itself. Me and my flame atronach fucking took over the shit out of Markarth, damn it! Gimme my Jarl crown you fuckers!
When it comes time to animate your character there’s likely a sort of standard animation set you think about. Those animations that are normally required for the gameplay to function properly. Let’s look at a platformer, for example. For pretty much any character, be they player or enemy, you’ll need an idle, a horizontal movement, a vertical movement, and some sort of action. For a humanoid player character these most commonly come in the forms of standing, walking/running, jumping/falling, and likely an attack. And there may be a few others you think of, such as crouching and crawling and climbing and pushing. The original Mega Man’s a good example of this simple setup:
My family and I have been extremely fortunate. Despite our relatively large size (my father’s side is comprised of four siblings, and my mother’s a whopping seven), horrible luck with motor vehicles, and history of both heart disease and alcoholism, we’ve suffered only the death of my father’s father, who passed in his seventies, a perfectly respectable time to go. My mother’s father has battled a barrage of heart attacks and is still going strong, and her mother recently celebrated her 80th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down. I’ve similarly never suffered the death of a close friend, and so the concept of grief is completely foreign to me. Or was, until September 7th, when my father passed away suddenly.
From an unexpected upcoming title from A Jolly Corpse and Fallen Angel Industries. This is the (nearly) finished box art for SmashBox. Character design was done by myself and David, whose ludicrous demands had me working until 3am on the color of his gloves. But he turned out pretty fun. I take credit for the hair.
This is the first time I’ve used SAI from beginning to end on a piece of art. Was actually quite impressed with its painting tools. May continue to use it over Photoshop.
Watch for the game very soon on XBLIG and then later on PC, Mac, and Linux!
One invaluable program in my repertoire is a strange little painting tool from the land of holographic pop idols and gameshows that hit guys in the balls: Japan. Unlike American comics, which take their time inking with heavy, shapely lines and large pools of black and color panels to make pictures readable, Japanese manga is generally done in black&white and is hundreds of panels long, and since no color will be applied requires a very fine attention to creating thin, perfectly readable line art quickly. Drawing these lines is an incredibly difficult and arduous process – one that aspiring artists go to school to master and then do for years tracing over a manga artist’s sketches before ever dreaming of drawing something of their own. Sound like fun? Nope. In comes Easy Paint Tool SAI, an awesome line art tool from tiny developer Systemax, who apparently still exist, but you could be fooled by their website. It may not compare to the professional hand-drawn techniques used by manga artists and their tireless teams of assistants, but thanks to a few ingenious tools, it can provide editable, pixel perfect line art quite quickly and much more easily than other vector-based art programs.