We are funded!
WE LOVES YOU GUYS
Let us fix our faces. we’ll be back with a proper post
Hey again everyone!
We’re on the final stretch of the crowdfund now, with a bit under one week to go, and we’re nearly 80% of the way to the goal! If you’ve been holding onto your wallet for that last minute rush of adrenaline in making the goal mark, now it’s the time to throw it at your screen, or better yet, to click on the pledge button to help make Them’s Fightin’ Herds a reality and even get some nifty backer rewards in turn.
To keep the ball rolling, we’d like to invite everyone to our fourth game/work progress livestream, where Omari will be working a bit more in the game, and Lauren will be making another appearance to answer questions and have a chat with Jay and the stream.
We’d also like to let everyone know we’ve restocked a couple of the high-level tiers:
Champion of Foenum Mk2 includes every unlimited reward, a doodle by Lauren Faust, the opportunity to have your original character to make it into the world by becoming a unique lobby sprite that only you can use, and a 13 inch, certified original, certified exclusive, certified plush toy of your favourite Them’s Fightin’ Herds character, made by buttercupbabyppg. There are 3 of these bundles available, and this tier will NOT be restocked again (since there’s just so much time and effort that can be made to manufacture the plushes in time and with the superb quality she’s known for!), so if you were waiting to make your move getting one of the Mk1 plushes, and were just a teeny bit late, this is your chance! Grab them now before they’re gone!
Custodian of Worlds Mk2 is the ultimate pledge reward. Every unlimited reward is available in this pack, as are all the limited digital rewards (create an accessory and palette, get your original character as a background character and a unique lobby sprite, and a Lauren Faust doodle), and a personal, good-for-one-person invite to a chat with Mane6 (including Lauren Faust!), and a digitally-colored sketch of your favourite TFH ungulate (or your OC ungulateified to fit in TFH) made by Lauren Faust. 6 of these bundles are available, and much like Champion of Foenum, will NOT be restocked once they’re gone, so pledge now!
Jay and Omari are currently streaming some work progress, come join the chat!
Under a cornflower blue sky, filled with billowing white clouds, an enormous herd of cattle gather across an expanse of tall brown-green grass. Their noses point to the center of the herd, focused intently. Their homes, dozens of dusty covered wagons, surround the group. Mumbles of concern and curiosity mix with long, drawn out moos.
Their attention is fixed on a simple, newly constructed stage, the wood still pale and clean. A massive brown bull stands atop it before his herd. His horns are impressively long, sprouting horizontally from his head, their black tips curved forward just at the ends. He wears a heavy, wooden yoke to signify his station. He is the Head Bull, TEXAS. Beside him is a strong, blue-eyed cow, her short coarse coat patched white and tan, his wife, MINNESOTA.
“Gather ‘round friends, I’ve got news from outside our beloved home, The Prairie,” he calls out to the throng of bovines. “We’ve all heard the tall tale of old, the story of The Horned Prophet, the little lady who locked away our old enemies long ago, keeping us safe to roam the country, looking for sweet grass and golden sunsets just at Mother Fœnum intended for her calves. Welp, I’ll tell you now, the tale, it was true. And the story, well, a new chapter is startin’. “
Texas’ eyes, narrow with gravity
“The Predators, they’re a-fixin’ to come back.”
The crowd shifts, voices raised with concern.
Minnesota tries to calm them, the last thing they need is a stampede. “Now don’t get your tails in a knot, folks. There’s something we can do about it, don’tcha know.”
“Yup,” Texas continues, “the varmints ain’t here yet, and with the Prophet’s key, the lock can be mended. We can still lock ‘em back up in The Hold. But it will take someone with strong moral fiber, someone rough, tough, and bull-headed to boot. So naturally, that means one of us – Cattlekind.”
Texas looks out to his people, some with faces twisted with concern, others with determination, others still, with anger.
“Are there any volunteers?”
The cattle rush the stage, moo-ing with purpose!
“That’s right,” Minnesota calls out and motions to a old rain barrel at the end of the stage, “just put’cher name there in the barrel, we’ll be pickin’ lottery style, don’tcha know.”
One by one, each Bovine presses their nose in a dish full of mud and slams it onto a piece of torn cloth, stamping it with their unique, individual prints. They fill the barrel to overflowing with their “names.”
“Spread the word to our brethren across The Prairie,” Texas informs them.
“Yah. We’ll be drawin’ the noseprint of the champion tomorrow mornin’.” Minnesota finishes.
For the rest of the day, bulls and cows from across the nation migrate to the main Wagon Train to throw their nose prints into the barrel. But it is not until late at night that the final name is added.
The entire herd sleeps as, under the dim light of a half moon, a small calf stealthily approaches the empty stage. As if doing something forbidden, the young one looks around carefully, makes the print and adds it to the barrel before quickly dashing away.
The next day, just after the sun rises, the herd reconvenes, eager to find out who among them will be chosen to save the land.
“Friends,” Texas announces, “get ready to meet your champion!”
Minnesota shoves her whole head into the barrel and emerges with the fateful name. Texas inspects it closely, then gasps in horror!
“No! It can’t be!”
Minnesota, unable to speak with the print in her mouth, questions her husband with darting, concerned eyes.
“Our youngest daughter…” he cries out, “ARIZONA!”
The crowd gasps! Minnesota gasps! The noseprint falls from her lips to the ground before the hooves of…
The young calf! She bravely stands the before the herd, determined to claim her title! She is small, her horns only just budding, but she is sturdy and sure!
“Young lady,” Texas scolds, his voice a combination of fear and indignation, “what were you thinking! I won’t allow it!”
“Sorry Pa,” Arizona yells right back, unintimidated, “but it’s my right! I am Cattlekind, too, and I love The Prairie as much as anybody else.”
Minnesota steps in to reason with her husband, “It’s the law of The Prairie, don’tcha know. Her name was drawn, it really is her right.”
Texas and Arizona face off, nose to nose, overprotective father against rebellious daughter.
“She is too young!” he proclaims.
“The future belongs to the young! Let a young one protect it!” she defies.
“Then it is my right, as Head Bull, to take your place!”
“Not unless I defeat you first, Pa.”
“Very well, calf. But remember, you mess with the bull…” Texas paws the ground and lowers his immense horns. Minnesota rolls her eyes as he booms: “YOU GET THE HORNS!”
“Hoo boy,” Minnesota says to herself, shaking her head, “here we go…”
Without a moment’s hesitation, Arizona rushes her dad.
He is prepared, though. He lowers his head and throws her high into the air.
She flips nose over tail through the air and lands square on her feet, the force of her landing rocking the bull off balance.
“Don’t go easy on me, old timer!”
Texas is surprised! Not just by her sass, but by her strength. He narrows his eyes, resolved to give her his all.
He rears up and brings his massive hooves down on her, but she is fast. She rolls and weaves between the furious stomps, unencumbered by the deafening booms of his hooves on the ground.
Finally, he pins her by the tail. “Ha! Don’t mess with Texas!”
Minnesota face-hooves. Unbelievable.
The calf kicks him in the face! Stunned, he stammers back, releasing her tail.
They position themselves for a final face off, staring each other down. Texas lets out a mighty bellow and catapults himself towards his daughter! The entire herd is shaken by the thundering of his hooves.
Arizona waits a moment, then coils. She lowers her head, raises her hoof, then POUNDS the dirt, rocketing herself towards the raging bull like a battering ram!
The impact throws him into the air! But before he lands, Arizona banks off the side of the stage, twists her hind legs before her and lands a mighty buck square into his chest!
The herd watches, mouths agape as their powerful leader is launched into the air spinning uncontrollably, before falling with a cacophonous, booming THUD!
And when the dust clears, the bovines see their champion. Arizona stands above – no, on – her fallen father, a vision of youthful independence and strength.
“No use crying over spilt milk!” she crows triumphantly.
Minnesota winces. “Oh geez, c’mon…”
The cattle cheer, “MOOOO! Yee haw! Wee dogie!”
Minnesota looks on, filled with pride. “Well done, little calf.” She says softly to herself, “Yah, you bet’cha.”
Texas gets up and watches as Arizona is swarmed by the crowd, cheering for their champion.
“Moooo! Our champ-een!” they hoot and holler, “This calls for a hoe down! Git along little cowgirl! Moooo!”
With a smug, knowing expression, Minnesota sidles up by Texas. He looks on angry, humbled. With her great weight, she nudges him with her shoulder, knocking him off balance, if only slightly.
He gives her a side eye before looking out at his little girl, carried high on the backs of her happy brethren. His face softens and a proud smile crosses his lips as Minnesota puts her head on his shoulder.
With a hint of a tear in his mighty, brown eye, he opens his mouth to speak.
Minnesota braces herself for the worst…
“The future belongs to the young.” He says, quietly expressing his approval.
Minnesota breathes a sigh of relief. That wasn’t so bad.
Edit: Poll Closed. Velvet’s backstory is up next!
For the next chapter of the Book of Lore, we’d like to do something special. We’re letting you guys pick which character’s past we’ll delve into next. The poll in here will remain open until the crowdfund reaches 265k funded, and the backstory for the character that you guys pick will be published soon after. Then we’ll repeat the poll for the remaining characters, whose stories will be appearing for every additional 15k afterwards. So if you have a favourite whose story you can’t wait to hear, vote now and tell all your friends to vote too!
Whose Background story would you like to see next?
Total Voters: 1,945
Go team! We’ve now smashed the 250k barrier! We’re nearly 60% there, and on the way to make Them’s Fightin’ Herds a reality! Of course, there’s still a ways to go, so let’s keep on spreading the word. Remember, we have prizes for the people who bring in the most in referred pledges to the campaign!
To refer your friends, just log in to your IGG account, go to our crowdfund page, and use the unique links provided in the left side of the screen to help spread the word.
And to keep in the spirit of crowdfunding and progress, we’d like to announce our second stream.
We’ll be showing a bit more game progress, working on the game’s art/mechanics pipeline, and Lauren will be comin’ in for a spell to answer some questions and have a chat with the stream! Don’t miss it!
The next Book of Lore update will also be happening tomorrow, with a short prose story by Lauren Faust about Cattlekind and Arizona’s pre-game background.
And after that? More updates! More lore, more gameplay progress, more streams, and Lauren Faust will be making more appearances as well. =)
We had a bit of an event at Xanadu during their last monthly to showcase the game’s progress and let the locals have a bit of an early test of our current build. Here’s a small featurette with some of their first impressions on Them’s Fightin’ Herds.
Also, to clarify a couple things we’ve been seeing lately, here’s a mini Frequently Axed Questions.
Q. Now that you’re greenlit, when is the beta happening?
A: We don’t have a specific date set. It will still depend on the crowdfund being a success and our development schedule being set in stone. Q4 2016 seems like a rough estimate, but no promises this early in development.
Q. Will the game have Early Access on Steam?
A: Nope. We do not feel that an Early Access period would be of much benefit to Them’s Fightin’ Herds, so it’s not currently in our plans. If you’d like to help us test the game ahead of release and have a peek at our progress, our Backers Beta is your best option, which is in the Guardian Sheepdog ($40) tier or greater!
Once again, thanks to everyone for your support and let’s continue makin’ Them’s Fightin’ Herds a reality!
Thanks to all of you, we’ve managed to raise almost 50% (over 200k!) towards our goal in just over a week! In addition, we’ve also been GREENLIT on Steam!! This means that all tiers starting with Guardian Sheepdog ($40) and above now grant access to the closed beta of Them’s Fightin’ Herds! We couldn’t have even hoped to accomplish any of this without your love and support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
We really appreciate everyone for helping to spread the word of our Indiegogo campaign. In fact, we’ve been so impressed that we want to reward those who have helped spread the word by providing referral prizes.
The person that raises the most out of referrals will get everything in the Custodian of Worlds ($5000) tier AND the unique, one and only ‘Golden Super Toot’ lobby item that does cool stuff for everyone in the lobby. The second and third to raise the most out of referrals will receive the Horned Guru ($500) tier as well as one of only two ‘Silver Super Toot’ that do cool stuff for everyone nearby.
But that’s not all, Fœnicians. Everyone who raises at least $100 in referrals (including our grand winners) will get the exclusive ‘Tiny Toot’ lobby item. And everyone that raises at least $15 will receive the (also exclusive) ‘Launch Party Hat’ lobby item, just what you need to party out during launch day. Note that you must have backed a tier that includes the game for you to be able to receive in-game prizes.
Here’s how to participate:
A lot of you have already referred a lot of people, and all of those still count for this contest! You can check the number of referrals and amount referred in your Indiegogo profile. The referral contest lasts until the end of the crowdfund. Click here for some more details.
People have been asking us about stretch goals. We’ve been crunching the numbers, making some calculations, and so, we’re ready to announce our first three stretch goals for Them’s Fightin’ Herds.
If we manage to raise $486,000 total, Them’s Fightin’ Herds will also be releasing in the Mac and Linux platforms. Backers pledging to the Early Settler and above tiers will be able to choose their favourite platform to receive their game key on!
If we reach the $546,000 mark, Them’s Fightin’ Herds will get a seventh playable character, including all new character theme and dynamic music system variations!
The almighty Goat, master of balance is determined to be the last standing!
She has seemingly impossible balancing capabilities, allowing her to stand firmly on any steep surface, including walls! Use her magic to run at high speeds across the stage and up walls to rush down and literally walk all over your competition!
At the $560,000 mark, the goat will get her own stage, lobby stage, and she’ll also get a story mode! – This also includes all new music by our composers for both her fight stage and lobby stage.
So what comes next? We have a few ideas! We would REALLY love to bring Them’s Fightin’ Herds to consoles, we’d like to add even more additional characters to the roster, and expand on the graphical lobby’s features. – We’ll just need to crunch some more numbers and get details on costs. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.
We’ve had a couple of worried messages from people in the old tiers wondering if their pledge reward is still secure, so we’d like to restate to everyone that yes, your pledge IS secure. The backer count was just reset because we had to modify the description for the Unicorn Wizard tier and to do so, we had to make a new tier. All the people who backed to the old version will be upgraded to the new one without needing to re-pledge to it.
And that’s it for now, but we have more updates to come. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about the crowdfund campaign and our greenlight campaign as well! – The social media icons in the side of the crowdfund page will help you spread the word.
Thanks to everyone for your support, and let’s continue making Them’s Fightin’ Herds a reality!
You guys are SO awesome, that most of the limited-tier rewards ran out in ONE DAY. That’s plenty awesome! But since there are still people out there wanting to get in on the four-legged ungulate-behind kicking action, we took a look at our pledge tiers and managed to squeeze in a few additional bundles and a couple new tiers for you guys to pledge at!
The Spirit of the Plains pledge reward tier includes all the rewards from the Guardian Sheepdog tier, and also includes a new perk: A new, unique in-game flair (which shows on your portrait/character name while in a fight) and a lobby accessory pack to start your adventures in Fœnum in style!
With this update, all backer tiers from Spirit of the Plains and above will be receiving the new, unique in-game flair and lobby accessory pack! If you’ve already pledged to any tier over $55, you don’t need to do anything, since this stuff is already included (and remember that you can upgrade your pledge at any time and select the upgraded backer rewards!).
Cattlekind Pioneer is a new digital-only pledge reward tier. It includes all of the unlimited digital rewards (wallpapers, backer credit, backer palette, digital gallery, in-game flair, and the Complete Recordings Edition of the soundtrack), and adds extra perks to it. With the Cattlekind Pioneer pledge tier, you can get your OC as a lobby sprite, create a unique lobby accessory and , and you can create a palette for your favourite Them’s Fightin’ Herds character.
This tier is limited to 36 bundles, and it’s digital only. No shipping required!
We’re also opening up another batch of the Winter Sprite (+18 bundles), Reindeer Viking (+18 bundles), Horned Guru (+8 bundles), and Huoshan Captain (+8 bundles) as well. So if you’d like in on those, act fast, cause they might be gone before soon!
We’re adding a new reward to ALL of the limited tiers $250 and over: a small, quick doodle by Lauren Faust! We’re also upgrading the detailed sketch reward in the Custodian of Worlds tier to a colored sketch. Some of the higher end tiers don’t mention it specifically on the sidebar but rest assured the doodle is included. As a reminder, be sure to read the legal caveat regarding custom content at the end of the backer rewards.
Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about the crowdfund campaign and our greenlight one too! – The social media icons in the side of the screen will help you spread the word.
Thanks to everyone for your support, and let’s continue making Them’s Fightin’ Herds a reality!
It’s time to kick this thing into high gear, and we have just the Key Keeper to help. She’s the fastest and most furious in Fœnum and we can’t wait to get to working on her. She stylishly completes our initial roster of six champions, so let’s go! Introducing the badass Longma, Tianhuo!
High above the clouds atop the highest of mountains lies the diminutive Empire of Huoshan (known to other Fœnecians as The Volcano), built over the gaping maw of an active, lava-spewing crater. The Empire’s subjects are Longmas, a very proud race who are half horse, half dragon. Every Longma is a member of the military, sworn not only to protect their beloved Empress (Daughter of Heaven, Empress of the Miniscule yet Mighty Realm of Magnanimous Magma, Lava, and Fire) and their honored volcanic home, but all of Fœnum itself.
It took the Empress not even a moment to make her choice for Key Keeper. Her name is Tianhuo, and amongst her people, she is undoubtedly the greatest the noble half-breeds have to offer. As Captain of the Imperial Guard, Tianhuo is the frontline defender of her Royal Highness!
For certain she is an intimidating sight, emitting stoic confidence, but not a hint of arrogance. She has no disdain for her opponents. In fact, she greatly admires skill and strength and cannot enjoy a duel unless she faces a combatant who offers her a challenge… and it takes quite a combatant to stand up to her bat-winged, aerial attacks or the force of fire she is able to magically conjure when she reaches her greatest speeds. Indeed, not many are even able to get past the daggers that shoot from her fiery, dragon eyes when she stares you down. No one is more disciplined, no one more determined, and even the Predators’ Champion should beware.
Gameplay: Tianhuo, Captain of the Imperial Guard strikes from above, below and all around! Flexible, aerodynamic, and explosive, she is a real firecracker!
Flight-based attacks keep your opponent’s head in the clouds! Cancel any and all of your attacks into her Firecracker Magic attack to overwhelm your opponents, or use it to move quickly across the stage.
And here we go! Our Greenlight campaign is live.
For those of you who’re not quite sure what Greenlight is, here’s a short explanation. Greenlight is the method that indie games (such as ours) must go through in order to get self-published in the Steam platform. If you have a publisher, you get to skip this step, but since we’re 100% indie, we need to go through it.
What Greenlight does is puts the vote up to the steam community on which games should be going up on Steam. Once your Greenlight campaign has garnered a certain amount of interest, you’re allowed to publish your game on Steam, which, for us, would be a really good thing.
Not only would this make the distribution of digital keys easier, it would also mean we get to use Steamworks, which would allow us to distribute the game keys and the in-game rewards more easily, to add achievements, improve on the graphical lobby’s infrastructure, make updating and patching the game a lot smoother, and, very importantly, it would allow us to do a closed beta testing period for the backers of Them’s Fightin’ Herds.
If we do make it on Steam, everyone who has pledged, or pledges from then on to the Early Settler tiers and above will receive their digital key via Steam. Backers on the Guardian Sheepdog and above pledge tiers would also get an invite to participate in a closed, backers-only beta testing period for Them’s Fightin’ Herds prior to the game’s launch.
So here’s where everyone comes in. By going to the link in here, and responding to yes to the “Would you play this game if it were available in Steam?” let’s the folks at Valve know you’re interested in the game getting released through Steam. Once it reaches a certain amount of exposure, as mentioned above, we’ll be allowed to publish through Steam, so if you want to see it happen, please consider helping us there!
Hi there. My name is Stuart Ferguson, but you may remember me by my old alias; RC88. I’ve been chugging away on various video game soundtracks for the last couple of years and, with the Mane6 crowd funding campaign quickly approaching, it’s time for me to talk about hooved fighting game music again.
Let’s cut straight to the point. We decided very early on in development that we should build a dynamic music system for the new game’s soundtrack. The idea of having the music react to combos, perfect rounds, special moves and character choice is totally delicious to me.
Now, I suck at fighting games. Sometimes if I mash the buttons hard enough Chun-Li will do that cool kicky thing she does and I think I even won a match against the CPU once. I may suck at playing fighting games, but I find watching fighting games amazing. The energy surrounding a match between two good players in a tournament can be immense, but it can be equally as intense between two casual players fighting a few rounds on their lunch break. Hype isn’t unique to fighting games, but watch any amount of EVO and it’s clear to see that fighting games and the fighting game community have a very unique flavour of hype all to themselves.
This special flavour is what I want to capture in this new games soundtrack. For this game I want to write music that feels like it really interacts with what is happening on screen and, ultimately, helps to strengthen that intense, flavoursome hype that is so unique to fighting games. That’s why I wanted to make a dynamic soundtrack for this game. I think having the music interact with the players is the best way that I can help to build that hype up. We had loads of ideas for dynamic elements to build, but before playing with all that fun stuff, I had a new skill to learn.
The best way to start on anything new is to start simple; to work in a way that feels comfortable and not to expect instant results. Practice makes perfect.
Obviously when I first started working on dynamic music for this project I completely ignored those rules. At the time, there was very little in the way of dynamic fighting game music to base our ideas on, so we just ran with whatever ideas we could think of.
We wanted to do cool things like switch instruments out depending on what characters were in the match, time the beginning of rounds with the music and have different character melodies play depending on who wins the match. I started off using a piece of software called FMOD Designer. It was set out in a clear way, I could use it to implement most of the ideas we had and there were even a few tutorials floating around. Using a WIP version of one of the new character stage themes as a base I flung myself at the project. The software worked great and, despite looking very simple, quickly became very in depth and versatile. After a few successful tests I went ahead and built a full, working demo and quickly realised I had underestimated how difficult it was going to be.
Yes it’s as messy and awkward as it looks. This is how the project looked after I had (mostly) finished the demo. Each of those white lines represents a path the music can take as it plays. Each path has to be planned ahead of time and the music must be composed and adjusted so that each path transitions seamlessly. With very few audio editing options in FMOD Designer, mistakes took a lot of fixing, and because of the way these transitions worked, you could only test a path after it was already fully implemented in the song. With 600 odd paths to worry about, things got pretty difficult pretty quickly. This demo only had working variations for two characters, it would become infinitely bigger as more characters were added to the game. There was some pretty cool things that the music could do in this setup, but it made me realise how big an undertaking all of this was going to be.
After a bit of a break to rest my aching brain, I gave another piece of software a try. I had initially dismissed FMOD Studio as being too simple for what we wanted to achieve with the soundtrack but judging a book by it’s cover is a stupid thing to do apparently. FMOD Studio can be a very powerful piece of software if you can trick it into doing what you want. There is very little info available for this software online, but I figured out a number of techniques that eventually let me do everything I could in FMOD Designer and even a couple of extra things I had initially thought impossible.
The second dynamic stage demo turned out much tidier. This is a fully working demo which didn’t send me into boarderline insanity when building. Everything we wanted to achieve is here and working. Unlike FMOD Designer, there is no mess and there is plenty of space to expand when adding new characters. The announcer will always announce the new round in time with the music. This really keeps the energy up and despite the fact the gap between rounds is no shorter than any other fighting game, really brings a sense of urgency to the fight. If you want to jump straight into battle, you can skip the trash talking intros and start fighting, all in time with the music. There are character based melodies that play between rounds depending on who won and who was dominating. I even squeezed in a key change for the final round. Not only can we do everything we originally wanted to with this system, it won’t even kill me planning it all ahead of time. It doesn’t cost any more than FMOD Designer, so this is the system we will be running with as we go into the games crowdfunding.
OK fine we’ll show a little bit of dynamic stuff, but only using demo melodies and tester music that won’t be present in the final game. You’ll have to wait for the crowdfunding campaign for all that good stuff. The music in the following demos doesn’t represent how the games soundtrack will actually sound, just how elements of the dynamic music system currently work, also, disclaimer – None of the starter characters in the game will be into 8-bit music or 80s tunes, they just don’t dig that stuff.
Here are some character domination variations. Say Character A happens to love 8-bit music. Whenever that character is dominating the match you will be treated to a sweet 8-bit flavoured version of the stage theme. Character B loves rad 80s tunes? If she is dominating then you can expect the music to get pretty cheesy. Each character will have a custom version of every stage theme in the game, which can drop in and out whenever they are kicking the most ungulate arse.
More 8-bit and 80s! The intro to the stage themes will be enhanced by melodies that depend on player 1 and player 2’s character choices. As the track starts, player 1’s character will be represented by a short musical cue, followed by a cue representing player 2’s character choice. Each character will have custom player 1 and player 2 intros for each stage. The same goes for stage outros and transition themes that play between rounds.
Having high energy is fantastic, but what about when you don’t feel like diving right in to a fight? If both players are standing idle for long enough then the music will drop down to a nice relaxing version of the stage theme to fit the mood. Pointless? Yes. Silly? Most definitely, but pointless and silly things like this are a great way to add a nice little bit of flavour to a games soundtrack.
I wish we could show you everything right here and now, but it we’re just whetting your appetite for the crowdfunding campaign. The stuff shown here is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to dynamic music. We will have all kinds of musical fun in the stages, and even the menus and character select screen will have cool dynamic elements. We haven’t even spoken about the fact all the characters will have character themes as well as their stage themes (think of them as a ‘musical bio’; a way to get to know the characters through their own songs), the games title theme or all the other music you’ll eventually be hearing.
I hope you guys are as excited to play this game as I am to be working on it.
Can’t watch the embedded videos?; No worries!, here are some mirror links
Ooh boy, this place got a bit dustier than we expected.
But here we are again, and this time, instead of apologizing for the lateness and making promises of things to come, we actually HAVE the things to come at hand.
If you have been following M6 through one of our social media places, you already have seen some of these things. If you haven’t, well, good news, there’s even MORE new things for you to look at!
So!, let’s get you started with a recap of the things that have been shown in the past few weeks through the social media, shall we?
Has it really been one year since we started this project already?
Well, technically it’s one year in February (or April), depending on when you start counting, but let’s pretend it has been one year for now, shall we?
Back in February 2013, our first project, “Fighting is Magic”, got shut down due to legal circumstances already known to you guys, and which we won’t be going into right now.
In March, we announced a new member joining the Mane 6 Devteam for our second project, a 2D fighting game that’d keep the basic foundations of what was Fighting is Magic, improve on the details, and feature an all-new, all-original new cast and universe, as designed by our newest Core Dev character designer, Lauren Faust, and the rest of Mane6.
A few days later, we announced a proposed deal with LabZero, in which, if their crowdfunding campaign reached $725k, we’d get to use their game engine. By April, we had secured use of it thanks to the donations of all people that contributed to the LabZero crowdfund (Thank you!).
Since then, we have been working on the project’s pre-production stage, inspecting the foundation and getting the raw materials we required to get production going, namely, characters and universe design.
Here’s what has come out of it, so far.
Just a small reminder that we’re:
a) not dead
b) still working on this.
And that you can check out (or follow, if you want!) our twitter to catch small bite sized updates that don’t warrant a full article in this site!
For example, this is a thing I was working on earlier, and that Nappy requires me to inform you is nowhere near a finished sprite, a finished placeholder, a finished placeholder sketch, or an unfinished placeholder sketch thought… It’s just a very early test thing we’re using, and may not reflect the final art style of the game. (since it’s currently off model to our reference sheets. What with being a “done in 5 mins” test thing and all.)
ALSO! Tron Lives!
It’s been some time since our last post in the site. Things backstage, however, have been quite active; We’d like to thank everyone for the continued patience and support, and for sticking with us through the pre-production stage of the game.
This post serves two purposes. First, to assure everyone that we’re still alive, and the game project is also alive and kicking. Work has been done, engines have been learned, characters have started to be implemented in placeholder form to help with that learning, and the character design aspects have progressed as well, (Have we mentioned that Lauren is narfin’ awesome yet?).
Some of the technical things we have been working on are intended to adapt the Z-Engine art & programming pipelines to our own methods of doing things, as well as building tools to make this process easier; Foremost in these new set of tools at our disposal is a new hitbox editor. As Mike Z and LabZero can tell you (and you can see in their work streams), they have been working so far with a paint-program-made-hitbox-editor, assembled out of necessity and perhaps not quite the best tool for the job. Our programmers -Beta and Kenneth- have then been working on creating a different hitbox editor for use with the Z-Engine, automating some of the process and making the designers’ lives a bit easier.
Well, turns out it took us a whole two (or is it three?) days to get over the initial shock, surprise and excitement at Skullgirls’ Indiegogo campaign having reached the 725k mark (And beyond!), but we’re back with a (mostly text) update of what’s going on and what comes up next.
But first, let us yet again thank everyone of you who donated, spread the word and supported (and still supports) us and the new game. We seriously can’t say it enough, but you guys rock, and we can assure you we will -not- disappoint. We pushed the FM2K engine well beyond its limits for the previous project, and we intend to push the Z-Engine likewise (even though the Z-Engine’s limits are considerably larger); We intend to give you guys the best game possible for this gift of an engine that you guys (and LabZero) have offered us.
Since we have gotten the engine (and some before) we have been getting questions about netplay and GGPO. We gave a short explanation of how that would work in a previous post, but we will expand it a bit more here.
GGPO is a bit of middleware that lets the game to be used multiplayer over a network. It was created by Tony Cannon (Co-founder of Shoryuken and EVO) and it’s widely regarded as the best networking software for fighting games. SUPPORT for the GGPO library is included in the Z-Engine, but GGPO itself is not, as it is a separate license. Since having good network multiplayer is one of the priorities of our game, tech wise, and having acquired an engine to use, the GGPO license is now one of the first (if not the first) items in our “shopping” list, as it would allow for the best multiplayer experience.
Which brings us to the next thing: The “shopping” list.
Right now, the game is being developed by a staff consisting of 100% voluntaries not receiving any economical compensation for their work. Obviously, this can’t continue forever if we’re to make a -serious- game out of this. Begin with the fact that there’s things to be acquired at certain points of the game’s development that will probably require more money than we could cough up on our own. GGPO license, for starters… Software, hardware, website hosting and maintenance, technical expertise from people we can’t ask to “volunteer” time for free, a gorillion other things if we ever wanted to port to consoles (not in the current plans, but technically doable with the Z-Engine)… Plus as before mentioned, the fact that apparently, game developers need to eat and have a roof over their heads (and somewhere to plug the computers into) to live and continue developing.
Making money, however, isn’t as easy as it sounds. It ain’t just opening a bag and asking you guys for your wallets while wearing clown masks and yelling “hold hands, this is an up stick”; and while we know some of you guys -would- actually throw the wallets in the bag (thank you!), a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign where you receive a bit of a reward for your patronage sounds like a better option, both for us and you, we think.
But again. Not as easy as it sounds, since there’s a lot of things to consider. Budget necessary to complete the game, salaries to be paid to the people helping us make it, costs of software, hardware, licensing, development and stuff; pile on to that the kickstarter costs, reward making costs, the fact that we have to -formally- establish the development team as a company or partnership, which brings up lawyer costs for some stuff that need to be legalese-written, taxes to be paid to the government, and more of that kind of stuff. It’s one of those things where having -less- than the money required (but still some money), is probably more troublesome than having no money at all.
So we need to figure all that out; Some of those things won’t become clear until we have started experimenting a bit with the engine, measuring time and effort required, talking with the people who’ll need to be paid, etcetera.
Cutting to the chase. We’d like this game to remain freeware, but somewhere in the future, there will need to be a point in which we make -at least- enough money to keep on developing with good quality and at a good pace without killing ourselves in the process. We’re trying to figure out just -when- and how that will happen, and we’ll let you know once it does.
But enough of what will need to be done. Let’s move on to what is being done.
Mentioned above was the fact that our entire team is still volunteers; Let’s make a team roster of who’s who and what’s up.
In the “Core” Development team, which includes game design and basic development, we’re led by Omari Smith (Nappy), who is our be all and end all when it comes to the game’s technical design. If it works like a charm, you can thank him. If it’s broken, OP or just plain stupid, you can probably blame one of us bugging him to actually try stuff, and said stuff not working (as he most likely told us it wouldn’t). Nappy is in charge of designing (With a bit of input from the rest of Core) and implementing the game’s mechanics, as well as of doing character animation.
Next up we have Jay Wright (MonkeyJay), whose job title and description are formally “Developer in charge of Awesome (and some snark)”. Jay does a bit of everything. Concept designing, art making, special FX & flair animation, character animation, smart-assing, etcetera. If it shines, sparkles, or just looks awesome (With no other words to describe it), Jay made it, or at least had a hand in the process. He also answers stuff around the web with his personal touch of Jayness.
Third there’s Lucas Ellinghaus (Leedin). Leedin is mostly in charge of making the actual character models, basic animations and proclaiming everything needs minute pixel fixing to look correct. While three out of five people in DevCore work in the game’s animation, Leedin’s probably the one taking the most time doing stuff and making sure it looks -just- right.
Fourth we have Francisco Copado (Anukan). Anukan is in charge of everything interfaceish (Menus, HUD and GUI, website and related materials design… Stuff like that), as well as of updating and maintaining the collective front-face of the team on the web. (He’s the one feeding the artificial construct we frankensteined to take charge of the site and twitter, and to answer most of the questions and posting the silly stuff to the interwebs).
Last, but far from least in Core, we have Lauren Faust (Lauren Faust). Lauren is the most recent addition to the team (and most probably the best); Lauren is responsible for the actual character design for the game, with some input from the rest of Core. You may know her for her work in Foster’s home for Imaginary Friends, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Super Best Friends Forever and Galaxy Girls (which you should check out), for being in charge of the lizards at her house, or just for being SUPER AWESOME on the internet and real life.
New to the Team (Officially) is the Programming department, composed of Kenneth Leung (Pineapple) and Chris Robinson (Beta Carotene). Kenneth is the man secretly responsible for making the impossible possible in FM2K (Options menu, sound control…) with his freaky knowledge of knitting programminating and what we’re pretty darn sure is pure voodoo and sorcery. Beta is a friend of the team, and currently working on the creation of the Subatomic Engine, which will power some side projects a couple of our devs are working on; Ken and Beta will be the ones responsible for any adaptations needed on the Z-Engine; Ken in the tool/application side with algorithms, Beta on software engineering and graphics. Welcome to the team!
With us from the start are our three guys in the Music & Audio SFX department:
Stuart Ferguson (RC88) will be taking the role of Music Director for the game. You’ll sure remember him as the creator of the 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th character themes for the previous game, as well as the game’s theme.
Working with him, Whitetail (3rd/4th Character themes for previous game) will be with the team as music composer. Yay!
Next up we have Ken McGill, who’s also been with us for a long while, and will continue on his role on the team as Sound Designer for the new game =)
And on our “extended family”, we have Oreo (Who, by the way, was the one responsible for some of the previous game’s videos), Klisk Midori and Cam McFarlane, from the FGB, who will (once we get to it in a few months) be assisting us as our Lead QAs.
So there you have it!, That’s our lineup for this game; Nonetheless, we expect to expand a bit in the coming months as some stuff starts being required.
…And since we’re already on that topic, let us cover one of the frequently asked questions lately: Hiring new people.
Right now, we’re not currently looking into immediate expansion, as we’re still in the pre-production stage of the project. In a future, we might require people, particularly for art and voice acting (For the record, we don’t yet know if we’ll be requiring any male VAs, in case you were wondering), but right now, is far enough into the future that we’re still fuzzy in the details. We’re less likely to be requiring people in the areas of music and programming, but one never knows for certain.
If you’re interested in joining our team, please keep an eye out in this site and in our twitter, as any announcements about open positions will be made in these places.
So all in all, progress is being made, and the project is slowly picking up speed. We’re talking the details and legal bits with Mike Z and LabZero on using their engine; Lauren and Core are still working on character designs, and we expect to have something more to say in terms of programming and engine as soon as we get our hands on it. =)
Oh, and… You may have (or may have not) noticed that the site’s look has been updated. It should load faster now, look better, and have lost all the holes and craters left over by the stuff that the C&D response had us strip from the previous version. It should work properly in Firefox, Opera and Chrome, and degrade gracefully in Internet Exploder (with a small exception in the top menu that will be fixed in a couple days, at most). Any bugs, please report via twitter to @Aleph42, and Anu will get on it. Please note that for the intents and purposes, Internet exploder is considered a “known bug” and irregularities on it shouldn’t be reported.
Edit: FUNDED! =)
Give us a bit to get out of our lack-of-words-at-the-awesomess-that-is-you-guys and we’ll post something wordier =3
Hello again, folks!
As you might know already, the Skullgirls’ Indiegogo campaign is now in the final stretch, time and money wise. With a bit over 33 hours to go at the moment of this post, the Skullgirls Indiegogo campaign has reached over 650k in crowdfunding, which means that
a) People are awesome
b) Skullgirls gets moar funding
c) Our shot at getting the Z-engine to use in our game for free is now closer than ever!
Having said that, we’d like to again invite people to keep on donating and spreading the word, not only because we get the engine at 725k, but also because the guys over at LabZero are FREAKING AWESOME and deserve all the support they can get. Also because they announced earlier on twitter they’d make a playable Robo-Fortune (which by definition has to be the awesomest Fortune ever) also at the 725k goal mark. So that’s not one, but TWO reasons to get it there, now! You can donate to them by clicking the site’s temporary header, by going to this link, or by clicking on the nifty widget in our sidebar.
We’d also like to, once again, thank everyone still supporting us (And Labzero), and donating to the Indiegogo campaign to make their game grow, and to give ours a chance to grow too!, We really can’t say enough how happy we’re to have such a great fanbase! You guys rock!
On related news, the last Salty Cupcakes stream before the Indiegogo campaign reaches its end is happening tonight at 8PM PST on this link!, we’d recommend y’all jumped in there; You can ask the Skullgirls team some questions about their game, and you can also fraternize and interact with the Skullgirls community, which are great people to talk with if you’re a fighting game fan, or if you would like to get introduced into the wonderful world of beating the candy out of people in fighting games.
Oh, and last, but not least: We were given this link by a friend of a friend, to what we’re assured ain’t a doomsday countdown, but a live-updated measure of how much time is left to reach the 725k goal, how much has been reached so far, and the average money-per-minute rate needed to 725k before the time’s up. We don’t know what sorcery this is, but it sure is neat!
Once again, thanks to everyone donating, to everyone spreading the word, and to everyone supporting us (and Labzero!)
We loves you guys.