Alpha is Complete!

We’ve been working hard since the new year and Alpha is now officially complete! We are sending it out to our extended team and a healthy dose of trusted companions to help us gather feedback. Now we move on to the Beta build, which we plan to release to our Kickstarter backers.

ShapeOfTheWorld_Screenshot_Woodlands.jpg

What's in the Alpha Build?

The game is great fun from start to finish - nine distinct and colorful areas to discover and explore. We’ve added a ton of assets to populate the world. It’s bursting with plants, animals, monuments and a few surprises along the way. There are lot of practical, non-glamorous features too: menus, settings, save points, etc. Our talented artist Brent Silk has composed an incredible, dynamic soundtrack throughout, and he’s currently making it even more responsive.

Onward to Beta!

We will update you all when we have an estimated date for Beta. Until then, we will leave you with a few screenshots. Be sure to follow @shapeoftheworld on Twitter, where we’ve been posting lots of little animated snippets of the game as it progresses.

Thanks for following along on our Dev Blog.

 

 

Unwinnable - The Love Issue

As part of Unwinnable's series on the Unreal Dev Grant recipients, we were pleased to chat with Stu Horvath about the development of our game. Stu chats about what it takes to drive a player to explore in this issue.

The longer I developed Shape of the World, the more I realized that we all take for granted the perception that games need enemies. They don’t.

To read more, the current weekly issue - Volume 3, Issue 9 - is available as a digital download from their website. Enjoy!

Latest Kickstarter Update

We thought we'd share some excepts from our latest Kickstarter update - the portions that don't exclusively apply to our awesome backers. But, if you are curious, you can read the entire public Campaign Update here.

Campaign Update #18: May 1st

 

Hello from Stu:

Hi everyone from around the world who has discovered this strange little project I’ve been building! I’m so delighted to have a curious audience wondering what exactly I’m making here. A few of you have played the Pre-Alpha build we released to gather feedback at a critical juncture, and I want to sincerely thank you for your feedback. To the rest of you, thanks for holding on as we craft this project! It’s continually improving and I won’t release it has become something truly spectacular.

 

Pre-Alpha Feedback:

In March I sent out a Pre-Alpha build to some of our close friends and industry allies. Since then we’ve been collecting and reviewing feedback. In response to this feedback, the team and I are implementing changes, driven by the inspiration that comes when you have time to reflect.

Some of the areas we’re concepting now:

  • Interacting with a full range of inhabitants. More creatures, and more ways to engage with them. Have you been following the sneak previews on Twitter? 
  • Ensuring there is always something new and unexpected to discover. 
  • Balancing the feel of the open world with landmarks to help you find your way 
  • Finding those special moments for secret surprises for those who venture really far off the path.

Switching Gears: Life & Responsibilities

One of the realities of indie games is that they are often our side passion projects that happen after our nine to five lives. And sometimes nine to five turns into nine to ten or eleven, which leaves little time for development. It’s an unfortunate reality. For the next couple months I will be scaling back my hours on Shape of the World to fulfil my responsibilities at my day job. I will always be present to provide direction, but I will be creating less content. This is only a temporary situation. 

Since the start of the Kickstarter campaign, our team of 3 has grown to several people which ensures development can continue even if one team member needs to temporarily scale down. The rest of the team is still hard at work and I’m always there for support. It’s hard for me to take a step back from the thing I feel so passionate about but sometimes responsibility calls.

 

What Comes After Pre-Alpha? Alpha!

The next step is to complete the Alpha that we can send to fans and industry pros for feedback and further testing. Do you have experience testing video games? Are you interested in literally shaping the game with your feedback via a short survey? If you’d like to take part in our Alpha test group send us an email to hello@shapeoftheworldgame.com with the subject line “Alpha” and we’ll be in touch.

 

So How is the Game Progressing?

Great! I’m really excited where the game is headed. Part of this is directly due to the Pre-Alpha feedback. It’s helping me prioritize what to add and how to refine the game mechanics and landscape. I know now which moments are surprising and captivating, and where I can put the next set of moments which can take your breath away. 

Here’s a little look at what things look like behind the scenes. I’m carving out a large forest of huge gullies. But without a player running around, nothing has grown. Instead, you can see all the points where you can change the growth and color recipe.    

Forerunner Magazine Article

The fine folks at Forerunner magazine paid us a visit a few months back. It was in the dead of winter, so we didn't get to show them Vancouver in its best light. but I think they still liked it. We sent them out on an excursion into Stanley Park and they only lost their way once or twice.  

Their first debut issue is a stunning publication. You can get your hands on it now. We got to chat to them about getting lost and finding your way in indie games.

 

A few shots from our spread.

A few shots of rainy Vancouver made it into their teaser videofor their first issue. 

Unreal Dev Grants Announced at GDC 2016

We JUST found out the way maybe a lot of others did - by watching the previously recorded GDC Twitch stream from earlier today - but we are the recipients of an Unreal Dev Grant! Woot! And that's ALL we know at this point. But we're stoked!

Re-watch the Unreal Engine "Live from GDC!" on their channel here. Fast-forward to 2:32: to see Chance Ivey talk about Stuart and Shape of the World.

That's literally all the details we know. There has been some coverage on VR Focus but that's all we know for the moment. We'll keep you updated!

 

 

 

 

GDC Houdini Reel

We aren't able to personally attend GDC this year but we will be there in spirit. Shape of the World was featured as part of Houdini's Demo Reel this year, highlighting the ways Houdini can be used to make procedural models on reduce schedules and budgets. A good thing indeed for indies.

Our friend Stephen Tucker at Allegro Digital made all the procedural models for the seeds you collect in the game, making it quick to do multiple variations on each one. You can read a little bit about his process on his blog here

Check out the Houdini folk at GDC if you are there and say hi for us!

Houdini and Houdini Engine are being used by AAA and Indie game devs to create stunning gameplay and feature-film quality cinematics. Hear from industry professionals as they discuss the benefits of going procedural with Houdini. SideFX is bringing Houdini and Houdini Engine to this year's Game Developers Conference and Exhibition taking place in San Francisco. Visit us in Booth #302 to learn more and to watch presentations from industry experts and SideFX product specialists. Learn more here: http://sidefx.co/1Y6KEq4

Campaign Update

We posted another campaign update here for our backers (and our fans), including some new in-progress screenshots. Some of screens seem to reflect the cold, wet and darkness of Vancouver these days. Luckily the game is never stuck in one palette for too long. 



Rainy Screenshot Saturday

It's a rather gray, dismal day here, but in Shape of the World it's always a little more colourful. Some in progress screenshots of the seaside.

Kill Screen Loves GIFs As Much As We Do

We've been posting some sneak peaks of some new creatures on Twitter as we test out their behaviors. Follow us to see more animals scurry away. Kill Screen noticed this and made a recent shoutout as well.