All posts by Casey Goodrow

Patch Notes for The Wild Eternal (version 1.1.1a)

Hey! We just pushed out our first patch for The Wild Eternal!

There are some treats for you to discover out in the foggy wilderness which may help clear up some things at the end of the game. In addition, we’ve made a large number of mostly minor bug fixes and adjustments to improve usability, and have worked to polish some aspects of gameplay, graphics, and the UI.

We want your experience in The Wild Eternal to be as good and polished as it possibly can be, so if you have any trouble at all with the game, please don’t hesitate to bring those issues to our attention!

Version 1.1.1a

Gameplay

  • Befriended rats now have a bit more to offer you.
  • Mysterious statues might be more helpful now, instead of just being creepy.
  • Pogostags are now considerably less demanding, and hopefully a bit more fun to be around.
  • A new type of strange stone statue can be found throughout the world. The big ones appear…hungry?

Graphics

  • Various polish and improvements to characters and lighting.
  • Fog effects have been polished and improved.

Stability

  • Adjustments were made to make for a more stable experience.

Interface

  • Added support for more unconventional resolutions.
  • Added ability to disable gamepad input via Options/Controls menu.

Cheers!

Post Launch Focus & Cool Fan Stuff

Hey! So, the game’s out…now what?

Welp, now we are focusing on the very uncomfortable task of self promotion and marketing! We aren’t great at this, so if you like the game, please help us get the word out in whatever corner of the web (or reality) that you call home. In addition, we’ve managed to get some great user reviews on Steam, but could always use more 😉

We’ve also been busy fixing bugs that have been reported in the support forum, and have made some small improvements to the play experience. So expect a small patch in the coming days.

Fan Art

Catching us completely off-guard this weekend, we received our first fan art. We love fan art, we desire more! Please send some in and we’ll post it on the blog!

The first item is a poem! A very kind gentleman named Carson Gardner wrote a wonderful poem about us and our game. Thank you Carson!


SOMEONE DID
by Carson Gardner

Why can’t some Dig. Dev. create
fun game software unique from the gate?
With cool moves and great karma,
where you don’t have to arm a
stone-cold killer to better your fate?

Why ain’t there some Steam release
trading boredom and terror for peace?
Freeing each Sam and Sara
in our ego-damned era
of gamepads from a sniper’s valise?

Why won’t some code engineer
find the guts to at last pioneer
wise/kind flora and fauna,
better press for nirvana?
Someone did—The Wild Eternal is here!


And then we have a super nice watercolor of The Lord of Dreams, by The Kubliest.
The Lord of Dreams, by The Kubliest


That’s all for the time being, but we’ll be sure to post some patch notes and other updates as they come 🙂

Cheers,
Casey

The Wild Eternal Is Now Available For Purchase!

Yahoo! We pushed a button and the game is now available for Windows PCs on Steam! There’s a launch discount of 25% which lasts through the weekend, so pick up your copy now for $14.99!

In addition, we’ve released a launch trailer by the fabulous Derek Lieu, we hope you like it as much as we do 🙂

It’s been a long road up to this point, we hope folks enjoy wandering the foggy wilderness with Ananta and Dhyo.

Cheers <3

Casey & Scott

Save the Date

We have a release date!

It’s true! I’m not stressed out by that AT ALL. JK I am stressed, but I’m also relieved, and proud!

The Wild Eternal arrives on Windows PC (via Steam and Humble Store) on April 13, 2017. That’s like,  soon! For those of you in the back, I repeat, louder:

The Wild Eternal
April 13, 2017 on Windows PC

Along with the release date announcement, we are sharing an environmental teaser from the first level. It’s always been very important to us that each level has a unique emotional tone and theme, which we primarily convey through the use of color, environmental design, and audio design. The first level’s theme is Mystery, let us know if you think the teaser hits the mark!

Pre-Orders

The game is now available for pre-order on the website for a discounted $14.99, this discount will last only through launch weekend as a thanks to our supporters.

If you aren’t fully committed yet, you can always wishlist the game on steam and decide later!

Cheers,

Casey

Status Update: We are Alive!

Hey there!

Yow!

It’s been a while huh? The blog’s grown a bit dormant, but we’ve been pretty active on twitter sharing little updates and gameplay videos etc! Hopefully if you are interested in the game you’ve been seeing our progress posted at @TheWildEternal.

Soooo, what’s new?

The Wild Eternal
This isn’t really new, but look at that cute little rat in front of the waystone!

Website Update

You may have noticed we have a new website, sans trailer (Casey made the website, is still working on the trailer, is currently writing this blog post). We feel pretty okay about it.

Bit Bash

We showed the game at Bit Bash in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, which was fantastic and lovely! We got to watch a bunch of people play The Wild Eternal in an environment that isn’t super conducive to our type of game. Festivals tend to be high energy, and high energy party/multiplayer games tend to be the best fit for that environment.

We actually went into Bit Bash fully aware of this. Scott threw together a festival-focused demo which we hoped would get players quickly into a few different areas with some blessings and a goal. It was okay. We were able to get players into the game relatively quickly but they didn’t necessarily have enough context to really understand their motivations or care about what they were doing. Folks still seemed to enjoy it though, so it was all good. We also played some great games and met some fantastic people while we were there! If you are in the Chicago area, I recommend going to any future Bashes they put on.

Recent Press

That’s all for now, we’re going to talk about the game on the blog again very soon, so please stick around for more updates. Also, please feel free to talk about the game while out in the world with your friends! We need some help with word of mouth, pretty please 😀

Cheers,

Casey

Devlog: Environments

We knew going into The Wild Eternal that we wanted the player to experience a variety of unique places, each with distinct flora and fauna (and color!). The game is split into four acts, and each act contains a varied number of chapters (levels) which connect to each other and can be played in any order (or even skipped, but more on that in another post).

Need something a bit more concrete?

  • Act 1: 1 chapter (blue pre-dawn)
  • Act 2: 2 chapters (yellow mid-morning)
  • Act 3: 3 chapters (green afternoon)
  • Act 4: 2 chapters (red evening)

As you can see, we designed the game to gradually provide the player with more exploration choice as they progress through the acts, so that exploration potential climaxes in act three with three chapters and then becomes a bit more linear as the experience draws toward its conclusion. In addition to each act having its own color scheme, each chapter will be thematically unique. For instance, act three contains a swamp, a lightly forested battleground, and some rather haunted hills. Pictured below is the swamp from act three and a village from act two.

A Swamp In Act 3.

A City In Act 2

Devlog: Swatty Tigers and Mustard Hills

Hello! So, we’ve come a long way this year as new devs, and are finally ready to start blasting through content creation and building out the rest of the playable world. The first of these spaces is a sort of mustard-colored country-side, which provides a stark contrast to the blue-dawn of the first chapter. Featured in the screenshot is a tiger with quite the personality; you’ll want to pay careful attention to her to figure out how not to get swatted and bumped around. She’s out on the hunt, so you may find her or others like her wandering the paths, forcing you off-road and into the grassy hills. Not featured: The cute rats and rather lethargic lions that you might also find in the area.

We are going to try to be a bit more available/transparent on here now, posting screenshots, devlogs, and answering questions. Thanks for your likes, follows, and interest!

rajagaha tiger

 

An Emerging Uncanny Valley, RE: The Trouble with Immersion, also Aladdin?

Adrian Chmielarz of The Astronauts recently wrote The Trouble with Immersion, or the Opening of Metro: Last Light, where he suggests that in order for devs to be able to immerse the player (without spending bucket-loads on edge-cases), players have to promise not to try to break the game. He hopes that this would enable developers a greater freedom to create more immersive experiences, but is careful to point out that it might not work. But whether it works or not, the overall perspective isn’t quite doing it for me, so let’s have a conversation about uncanny valleys and the purpose of play.

What follows is the beginnings of an idea, not fully formed, about the conflict between immersion and realism. The blog is most assuredly not bullet-proof. Feel free to challenge it, or add your own thoughts in the comments below. <3

The Nature of Uncanny Valleys

Polar Express Uncanny Valley“The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics[1] and 3D computer animation,[2][3] which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.”

The effect is quite noticeable in movies and games which use realistic looking CGI characters. Movies such as The Polar Express, or Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within provide good visual examples.

The uncanny valley is most often used to discuss the realistic portrayal of humans, but it can also be used to describe the realistic portrayal of anything else, especially um, the whole world. Which is to say that as games become more realistic looking we expect them to behave more realistically.

The Purpose of Play

As kids (and throughout life) we play with stuff in order to better understand it. In our early years, we’d throw balls, hold buoyant rubber ducks under the water in the bathtub, build dams, etc, and learned about physics. We undressed barbies and learned about boobs and maybe sex. We went where we weren’t supposed to go, and did things we weren’t supposed to do, because we were still testing cultural and physical boundaries. Cause and effect is basically the most interesting thing in the world. Play, even pretend play, is an act of experimentation.

The uncanny valley is an issue because we have real world experience. We know how the real world is supposed to work, look, act, feel, sound, and so the more real a game tries to be, the more right it has to get all of these things. Just as we see people in games and expect them to move and act and look a certain way, we also see the physical world in games and have similar expectations.

So it is important for designers to keep in mind that when the player enters a game world for the first time they are entering a whole new world which they yearn to understand. But as we learn early in on life, to hit the wall, to be slapped on the hand and told “No!” is to know your confines; it is the quickest way to know exactly how free you are. And so we test our games in the most ruthless ways to see what we can get away with. This is what play is for, and this is how games excel: by enabling players to enjoy the act of testing new rules. For example, if a game tries to engage in graphical realism, are the graphics realistic enough, are the physics and sounds and animations and narrative on the same level as the graphics? The more realistic a game looks the higher our expectations for the ways in which it realistically behaves.

Game designers and parents try so hard to teach by telling (bad tutorials tell, good tutorials are invisible). As players we don’t want to be told what we can and can’t do. We want to experience the rules first-hand and to see the effects of our actions on the world around us. We want the game to communicate to us through its own rules just as the real world does.

So make games that people can test–because play IS testing–and allow your carefully designed, expected experience of immersion to be broken. If your players are doing crazy things you never expected, it means they are engaged, maybe even immersed.

A Couple Of Examples Of Immersion Problems

In Adrian’s post he specifically talks about Metro: Last Light, where a bunch of army dudes animate infinitely after speaking their lines in the opening minutes of the game. This broke his immersion because he was reminded that he was playing a game and that the people surrounding him were actually lifeless automatons with nothing else to do. For some, this might not actually break immersion, or it might not even be a thing required to immerse us in the first place.

Bioshock Infinite struggles to balance the player’s semi-realistic (yet rather forced) relationship with Elizabeth, and murder-by-numbers FPS mayhem. The two mechanics conflict with each other because one pulls you into the world and makes you expect a sort of realism, and the other splatters blood all over the screen and sends you flying on a roller-coaster of infinite murder. Patricia Hernandez wrote an exceptional article which touches on this: ‘An Effin’ AI in Bioshock Infinite Is More Of A Human Than I Am‘.

The Uncharted series struggles to balance the notion of a good, wise-cracking every-man, with mass murder and destruction. Yes, the badguys are out to kill Nathan, but why is killing so easy for him? One of the immersion breakers, I think, is that he makes light of it.

What Is Immersion? Does It Matter?

I’m pretty sure there’s a videogame commercial or two out there where the ho-hum real world fades away around the player, revealing a gameworld bursting with bloom and magical beasts behind them. And it’s true, that is sorta what happens when we are immersed in something; we become so engrossed that we actually tune everything else out. Someone calling my name for dinner? Didn’t hear it. Cats on fire? Didn’t notice…

We can become immersed for a number of reasons, but with videogames it really helps if the content is compelling, abides by its own rules, and doesn’t get in our way as players. Did you notice I didn’t even mention realism? Realism isn’t at all required for immersion. Simple games have an easier time immersing the player because there’s less stuff to juggle and less rules to follow. But when a game approaches the real we expect a ruleset that is similarly realistic and complex. We might expect something as simple (and potentially frivolous) as water that splashes and ripples beneath our feet, or NPCs that never repeat the same animation twice. Does it service the gameplay? Depends on the game and player expectations.

So then it’s all about framing and first impressions. The way the designer initially presents their game to the player will inform the player’s expectations going forward. If you can’t simulate the real, don’t set the player up to expect it. If you’re going to place a guard who has one line of dialogue and enters into a looping animation afterward, you have to expect that the player will listen to the line, and then wait to see if more lines will be spoken, and you can’t be upset by that behavior because you are the one that gave the player incentive to stop and listen in the first place. You taught them to stop and watch!

Since we learn through play, designers have the ability to shape player behavior through their designs. If you don’t want your player to play your game a specific way then make sure you don’t reinforce that behavior through your own design decisions. For more on that last bit, and to end sorta back where we started, check out a different blog post by Adrian Chmielarz.