smiley One year later... (New Year 2015 Update)
posted by abisso on February 19, 2015, 07:21:41 PM
Hello fellow weavers.

I've been thinking a lot in the days preceding this update, puzzled about what words I could use to provide an effective mixture of explanations, news and apologies.

Well, despite all the thinking, I haven't come up with anything satisfying, so I'll simply rely on my guts and put my mind to rest. Improvisation, that's the word.

So, first of all, it's really been about a year since the last update. In the "New Year 2014" post there were hopes, expectations, plans and generally all seemed quite promising. Then reality stepped in.

To be as brief as I can, the worsening of the financial crysis that has stroke Italy and the conclusion of some previous job experiences made it necessary for me to actively look for other occupations. With only some occasional freelance translations and computer repairs, that search took most of my free time. The worst thing about this cyle is how it drains your energy, so that the little free time left didn't go into Forge development, but mostly into cheap relaxation passively watching movies, series or playing games. I didn't even had the time to go out much for fun, and this is neither healthy nor ideal.
I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that, though I'm not saying all this because I want your pity (or your money). Truth be told I didn't want to share all that in the first place, but then I decided it was worth it. At least you'll see that I'm truly passioned, to the point I try to struggle to carry on and still save Forge a little spot in my life.

So, has there been any progress at all in Forge? Yes! Has it been much? Sadly nope.

Managing other people's work was not an option, due to time required and the fact I already had a (now finished) job as a project manager for another game. It's sad, because I definitely loosened the existing bonds with our faithful cooperators, especially Jamison Alderson and Master Pixelmold. I hope they will still be interested to help out as soon as the development will regain a steady pace.
Anyway, what I did was concentrating on coding Ch.2, preparing the game for translations, fixing Ch.1 bugs and adding extra features. Some of them might look like a waste of time to you, but they were actually either quite easy to accomplish or useful in terms of learning experience for other projects and occupations.

And so, despite having called "v1.0" the last demo before the final release, I felt the need to present you an update, something tangible and full of requested features and fixes.

Thus I bring you "Forge - Chapter One v1.1". Here's a brief list of what you should expect:

  • Bug-fixing. The (few) issues found after the release of v1.0 have now been corrected.
  • Translations readiness. The complexity of the game required a lot of work and changes to prepare it for future translations. It should be done now!
  • Italian translation. Since it was imperative to do some testing about the effective translation-readiness, I took a couple of days and carried that out myself. This is the only translation included in the package.
  • Puzzle-fixing. I was bothered by how improvable the infamous Tomb's Puzzle was. I gathered all the critiques received and hopefully made the puzzle more interesting and fair.
  • Extra-gameplay. Some cutscenes were really really long, without the chance for the player to have a break. Now interactions / cutscenes have a slightly better balance. Don't expect anything huge, though.
  • Extra and improved commands. Middle and right mouse-clicks did nothing, now they clear the bottom right frame from the selected hotspot / object / character. Scrollwheel now can be used to select Y / N options from the confirmation GUIs. Double-click now launches Rusty's interaction immediately, without the need to wait for him to reach the spot. F12 saves a screenshot in the Screenshots folder inside the game's main one.
  • Changes in the schematics' drawing system. In the end I realized there should be at least a Proficiency Level that is very easy, to encounter the favor of the adventure purists. Practice is like that now, with no boundaries at all: just connect all the dots in the right order, and it will be fine. Standard is a bit easier as well, and Expert is almost the same as before. Also, all levels are now a bit more forgiving: if you trace back just one dot, nothing happens and you can still complete the schematic; and going out of boundaries is a bit more unlikely.
  • New launcher. This is one of the things I did mainly to learn a new scripting language and obtain a know-how useful in other contexts. But I was also very unhappy with the default winsetup.exe, both in terms of functionality and looks. Unfortunately the new launcher fully supports only Windows so far, but there will be Linux and probably also Mac support in the future, as Lua-LOVE is a cross-platform framework. I just didn't see the point in spending time for that until the game itself supports those OSes.
  • Loom Recap. Much more people than I expected were bothered because they needed to play (or re-play) Loom in order to fully understand Forge. Having already some sort of Loom Recap from the Tech Demo era, I decided to tweak it a little bit and make it more complete and informative. The Loom Recap can be accessed from the corresponding folder in the main game folder, but also from the new launcher.

This should sum it all up.

For what concerns other translations, the ones currently supported are: Italian, Spanish, French, German, Swedish, Russian, Hebrew. This only means those translations will / should work immediately on this version of the game, as soon as they are carried out by the translators. Other languages, including Brazilian Portuguese, will be certainly supported in a future version of the game.
The big difference is people will need to download a whole next version again, while for the languages listed before they will only need to download a tiny file and place it in "v1.1" game's folder.

Beware that this release is still to be considered unofficial and unsupported, cause it didn't pass any testing phase. There might be new bugs, even awful ones that break the game completely. Use it at your own risk. Bug-report is welcome, but not necessary.
Same thing goes with translations (with the exception of the Italian one). Though I'll do my best to provide clear and complete guidelines, I lack the means to ensure the quality of the translations I won't carry out personally. I won't have time to perform a proofreading, but I put my utmost trust in all of the kind guys that offered as translators.
To all translators: you'll receive the necessary files and info in 1-2 days.

Well, I think it's time to give you a link. This time I opted for a simple archive and no-installer. Just uncompress it in a place where you have writing privileges, and launch it from either launcher.exe or winsetup.exe.

You can find in the usual place, the DOWNLOADS PAGE!

For what regards the future of Forge, it's hard to say. Things are going a little bit better from a financial standpoint now, but it's still early to cheer up and until I'm "stable" enough to actually have time to reorganize the team, development will be sluggish. For the moment I still need to use most of my time for my current commitments and for actively searching other ones.
Good thing is I've already set up an organized environment, mainly using Redbooth, in order to make management slightly less time-tolling; and there's a couple of people which might lend me a hand with the game, as well.

Last but not least, I'm organizing a giveaway as a compensation for all the hardcore Forge fans in the next few days. Yes, you heard that well: it's gonna be something really sober, but still a giveaway.

If there's something I've learned long ago, and that I still base my life on, is that sharing and giving are the best ways to express our humanity. Don't let this wicked and twisted society teach you anything different. Be helpful to others, hug, love, give support. And don't expect anything back.

I truly love you all,

- Gabriele "Abisso" Nannetti

xx New Year (2014) Update
posted by abisso on January 11, 2014, 09:41:22 AM
Hey everybody.

How has this new year begun? Let me guess... exactly like the last one had ended?
I still find it surprising, and a bit scary, how conditioned we are when it comes to this kind of celebrations. Everyone knows a day it's just a day, no matter if it's a birthday or the New Year's Eve. We're not suddenly one year older when our birthday arrives, and there's no sudden change when the new year does, as well.
And still, it's inevitable to have some expectations, cause we've been educated that way or maybe cause we feel the need to hope in a better future.

What's the future of Forge, anyway? First of all, the download rate has been quite good, but not as much as I expected. We reached 400 downloads in the first 4 days, at an almost steady pace, but after that it started getting slower and slower, and we reached 1.000 downloads only recently. I will never stress this point enough: numbers don't matter that much per se; but the more people try Chapter One, the more likely it is that some of them will contribute to the game's development.

So please help out with that! Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your pets about Forge!

It's worth repeating that we're still looking for someone to take care of Public Relations, contact Press, forums, blogs, write short articles maybe. Even create (and manage) future social networks' pages.

Anyway, some help offers arrived indeed. Someone offered his services as a translator; someone as a programmer; one guy offered to do some basic graphics tasks. And there's been a few donations, too.

Good news is our main composer Jamison Alderson confirmed his intention to cooperate with us on the rest of the game, with an enthusiasm that pleased me a lot. On a side note, if you have liked his music on Chapter One and you have a job for him, his schedule is open enough at the moment. You can contact him through his website
But please let him save some time to work on Forge, also!  Grin

Another confirmation has come from one of the concept artists, Estme. She only worked on characters' concept art for the following chapters, so far, but there's still a lot to be done.

And now, to the main good news: in the Summer update, I introduced you to a new background artist, the one responsible for the Mine-cart tunnel background and the portraits. He still has a tight schedule, but he also confirmed his will to help us out, and it's eager to begin. I might be partial, but I truly believe he's done a great job so far. Except from what you can see with your own eyes, Master Pixelmold (this is his Forge nick) is also a very nice guy, which goes far beyond the simple artist. He provided constructive criticism, suggestions, inputs of all sorts.
I truly believe the game can be completed with its help.

But it's going to take a lot, unless the main artist is supported by one or two cooperators
. Someone working on smaller sprites, maybe characters and an animator would be ideal to progress more quickly.

Let's hope the one I'll be "testing" in the next few days proves to be fit for such a role.

Don't be shy, weavers! Isn't there really any of you who could provide some help in the graphics compartment as well? Don't you know anyone who'd like to join the family? If you do, you know what "to do".  Wink

As per the plan for the current month, it's still the same as I announced in the last update: do some more promotion, re-organize stuff and resources, do auditions, fix some Forum issues, and begin working on the translations.

That's all, folks!

cheesy December 2013 Update (aka "It's finally ready!")
posted by abisso on December 16, 2013, 12:15:23 AM
I said I'd release the demo "in the first half of December" and, for once, I've been able to stay true to my words. Thankfully, December has 31 days, so we're still in the first half!  Grin

Anyway, it took about 18 hours non-stop to achieve this result. Plus the hundreds and hundreds before, of course!

There are also other very interesting news, but I'll update this thread tomorrow, after a loooong sleep.

So, for the moment, move your asses distaffs and voyage to the DOWNLOADS PAGE!

P.S. Since I didn't have a single free minute, I completely skipped the promotion: please help spreading the word!

xx The huge Summer 2013 Update
posted by abisso on September 22, 2013, 12:35:04 PM
Hello there!

The Summer is finally over, and it's definitely time for an update. Just a small elucidation: Autumn here begins the 21st of September, so for as much as my idea of time is messed up, the introduction makes perfectly sense in my country.

Now, to some news.

First of all, in the last update I announced some potential good news. If I learnt something about being a project-manager and working on freeware games, it's certainly cautiousness with news. Forge is like a boat during a perfect storm, when the only stability comes from being in the eye of the storm. It's temporary, and it doesn't last long; for the rest of the time, it's a constant, chaotic roll.
To cut it short: a really talented artist offered his help with the game's backgrounds. He's closer to what I'd like to have as a team-member than any of the previous ones. He's really talented, has consistent past experiences, serious but not boring, and he's humble enough to work just to experiment on his own style, and not for money.
What else could you ask from a team-mate? Well, I could ask more free time. Like most of us, even this guy has a family, other interests, and bills that need to be paid. And to make things worse, his free time became even less recently, due to several happenings which are independent from both of our wills.

Good news is that he completely reworked one of the backgrounds for Chapter One, which only served the purpose of a short cutscene before. I had to paint it by myself previously, and the result was only decent. Now it's gorgeous, and the new design called for some extra features. Now there are really interesting elements of gameplay and some cool features which make that room different from the rest of the game and yet coherent with it.

Of course, all of this required time: not just for the extra design, coding and sfx creation, but also because when you start working with someone on such an important part of the game, you need to instruct him about the game's back story, the atmosphere, and the technicalities.

In the end it was worth it, I believe, but I can't say if the guy will be available to work on Chapter 3-5 backgrounds.

Another potentially interesting news is I'm working with a lively amateur film director, who's also interested in doing some PR work for the game. A position far more crucial than it might seem, as spreading the word seems to be our best chance to find more and more people to help us developing Forge. Art is still a huge issue, and what slows up development the most.
Still on the topic of news, I've been recently interviewed about Forge, but I'll tell you more about that on the next update.

Voice-acting: several unexpected issues and some of the suggestions of the beta-testers required some dialogues to be added, and some to be reworked from scratch. Some people didn't do what they were supposed to, and so I had to do some scouting for new voices. That meant a lot of selective work, with extra bad surprises from some of the contacted people. Not many choices are left now, but some good ones with professional equipment, and the lines that have to be recorded are not that many, so I think everything will work out fine, in the end.

Bugs: I think I've fixed all the ones spotted during the 2nd beta-stage, but I definitely need another beta-stage because of all the extras and to check the fixes. I'm totally positive that this is going to be faster and smoother than the previous tests, to the point that I'm finally going to make the long awaited announcement:

Forge's release date has been set to the first half of December!

And I'm talking about 2013, so this should be great news for all of you weavers. Or so I hope.

I'm not sure I'll manage this beta-stage as the previous ones, with open subscriptions. Somehow that didn't turn out that well, so I'll probably come up with a different approach. I'll let you know in the next few days, and anyway I intend to begin the testing in the third week of October.

I really hope this will be considered a positive update. Personally, I'm quite satisfied.

May the Forge be with you,
-Gabriele "Abisso" Nannetti

xx May 2013 Update
posted by abisso on May 28, 2013, 11:54:47 AM
Hello Weavers.

I've missed some of the monthly updates, and I apologize, but this one won't be longer because of that. As a matter of fact, there isn't much to say: we're still into the 2nd stage of betatesting, and though most of the reports made by testers in this stage are improvements instead of bugs, they're still worth looking into. Some of the testers are doing a great job, and of that we all have to be grateful.

Other than that, there are two news:

1. It's a secret, but very good news. All I want to say until the fact becomes more certain, is that it's about a person that's helping me out on certain aspects of the game.

2. The bad news: as most of you probably know already, Disney acquired Lucas (not George himself, but almost). As some of you probably know, Lucasarts has been shut down, including all the employees. I'm not sure how and if these two facts will influence Forge, but they might.

Anyway the game is improving day after day, and especially if news n.1 becomes reality, not only Chapter One but the whole Forge will see the light of day sooner or later.

Thanks for reading.
-Gabriele "Abisso"