Hurricane Sandy

There’s a hurricane called Sandy whose trajectory happens to pass directly over my home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The effects of the storm in my area are approximated to be at their strongest during October 29-31–which just happens to coincide with the planned launch date of Phantasmaburbia. It’s said that the storm is very likely to cause power outages, and if that happens then I will not have internet. That interrupts the communication lines between myself and the others working on the game from whom I’m still missing assets, and it also means I won’t be able to upload and launch the game on October 31 in a worst case scenario.

Part of my preparations for the storm will be to try and have something ready to go so that I can leave instructions for somebody else on the team to hit the “go” button on Halloween. I’d prefer to launch on time and then update with anything that doesn’t make it in because of the storm’s interference. But there’s a lot of room for failure in that plan too.

I’m going to be rushing to get everything in place for now. If it’s Halloween or later and you’re reading this message instead of playing the game, I apologize!

 

Extended Gameplay Video

The game launches in exactly two weeks!!! Holy cow!
To celebrate I got the game in the hands of a cool guy named Craig Stern who runs Indie RPGs. And he was kind enough to record an extra long gameplay session with the game!

Unfortunately he was experiencing some sort of graphics card issue and played the game in low detail, so the lighting isn’t as nice as I like it, but–I’m setting aside some of my neurosis here to say that this is a pretty good look at the beginning of the game, if you’re curious about seeing some of what comes after the demo closes out. :)

October 31! Get Pumped!

PS – I’ll be moving some things with the site around in the near future. We’re going to get a much nicer frontpage to coincide with the game launch. But this blog will always be available @ phantasmaburbia.wordpress.com

The Earthbound Connection

I want to talk about Earthbound a little! Earthbound is an RPG from the 90s about kids who travel around the world and fight aliens with household weapons. It might sound kind of familiar, and that’s ok to me, because I love Earthbound. It’s a game that had a really profound impact on me in my formative years, and when I’m being honest I’d say that it isn’t an “influence” or “inspiration” so much as just a part of who I am now, that can’t help but materialize in my work one way or another.

And this has worked to our advantage, because a lot of people look at our game and see Earthbound in it, and they’ll take the time to look at us because of that connection. I think that’s awesome. But I also want to draw some distinction between us and Earthbound, because I think the differences are important. People see the superficial similarities between us and assume that this is the same game, but there’s actually quite a big difference. And this would be a good chance for me to talk about this game as an RPG in the context of another RPG, to try and get at what makes us fundamentally different.

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Drawing the Portraits

Hey, folks, resident portrait artist Michael “Rockythechao” Charnecki here! Banov wanted me to talk about my part in the game’s development, so I figured I’d give you an overview of the general process I go through when I draw the character portraits. I actually wrote this up a while ago, but I ended up getting caught up in the minor details and never got around to posting it. I did my best to make it easy to follow, but if there’s anything you find confusing, feel free to ask about it and I’ll do my best to clarify!

Please note that the methods detailed here are a little different from the industry standards – they’re not the quickest/most efficient way of doing things, they’re just the ones I’m most comfortable with. Also, the enemy used here, the Vardoger, won’t show up until a ways into the game, so be warned that this is somewhat spoileriffic!

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Beauty vs. Utilitarianism (New Screens+Demo)

We’ve been on Greenlight for a few days now, and the results have been mostly positive. Thank you to everybody who contributed thus far! We’re far from being the most noticed game on the site, but hopefully things will build since we got in so early… especially on release!

Till then, we’ve been working to meet some of our most common criticisms, namely that the game lacks polish in areas like the menus. You can check it out in the now-updated demo and screenshots. While tweaking the menus, I found that there’s an interesting trade-off between the game’s pure functionality and its apparent prettiness. Continue reading

Steam Greenlight!

STEAM GREENLIGHT

This might seem sort of absurd coming off of the heels of our Kickstarter, but we actually need your support more than ever! This doesn’t require any money or anything–but if you have a Steam account, we desperately need your upvote to help get Phantasmaburbia on the Steam platform!

Getting on Steam means exposure to a much wider audience, something we need very badly. This is something we’ve been talking about a lot on the sidelines, and finally is there an opportunity for us to get there if only we garner enough support.
I can’t really overstate how important this is to the game’s ultimate success. So, pretty, pretty please…

UPVOTE US ON STEAM GREENLIGHT!

Release Date + KS Aftermath

So, the kickstarter ended successfully!

We got $2,640–264% of our original goal, which is plain awesome! The three of us have been working like crazy, especially in the aftermath of this, to get everything finished off. It shouldn’t be long now, and with the way things are moving and the obligation we have to our backers, we feel pretty ready to announce that the game’s going to come out on October 31st (2012!). That’s exactly one year after our first date! We will hopefully be done well before then, but it feels right to release on that date rather than sooner.

Meanwhile, copies of the beta have gone out to backers and we’re getting bugs fixed and all sorts of good feedback. The game’s looking to be about 8-9 hours long to beat on average, more if you spend time looking for secrets and stuff!

We’re gonna try and keep this place active up to the release, especially as we finish up cool new stuff we wanna share. A couple things you may enjoy are two songs we posted on the kickstarter by Jason. They’re really good!

This is a dungeon song!

This is a tune from the overworld at the start of the game!

Kickstarter!

We’re running a KICKSTARTER!

Our (modest) goal is $1000, in two weeks. Don’t think this as us being in trouble–rather, we’d like to tap into our supportive audience before the game comes out to help put a little more in. I’m sorry for the lack of news, but we’re hoping this might sort of make up for it.

We’re offering copies of the full game, bonus stuff, and also access to the full beta–as soon as the kickstarter closes! We’re excited to share this game more and we felt this was a great way to do it.

Please consider kicking us a little bit. And tell your friends!