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