Feral Blue — Status update #7

May 14, 2019  |  Feral Blue  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

Russia can’t just get away from its peasant roots, and the first ten days of May is a direct confirmation of that. You can be hip and trendy all you want (has never been our case, for better or worse), be a programmer, an artist, an expert on the ancient Greek theater – all of it doesn’t matter, because from May 1st till May 10th you better show up and kindly dig up all square meters of your garden. Oh, it’s such a relief to get back to the usual routine sitting in the office!

Some news. We’re closing our first alpha test — this has been a very useful experience for us and we’re planning to try this again with the alpha #2. Can’t say when that will happen yet, though. We think there’s little sense to start another round of tests before we get some new gameplay elements. So now we’re doing our best to add town building and management as soon as possible. Perhaps, in summer?

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We’re also continuing to expand our ships range. For example, our artist Vladislav is coming up with the prototype for wooden dreadnoughts of the Order of the Hospitallers.

Current alpha test will be concluded on May 17th. So if you still need to see or try something in the build, it’s better to do so until Friday.

Feral Blue — First Alpha starts

March 26, 2019  |  Feral Blue  |  1 Comment

Hi everyone,

So today is the day!

Everyone who’s signed up for the Feral Blue’s first alpha until today should have received an e-mail from us — but just in case, you will find your Steam key once you log into your account here.

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Let us also give a general rundown on this whole affair.

This alpha is an alpha in the truest sense of the word. Meaning you will launch a very early build with plenty of bugs, placeholders and unfinished things. Our top mission at this stage is to understand whether it’s fun to shoot in naval battles, how interesting it is to manage your crew on your ship and how much you like the general idea of the game.

We are not planning to update this exact build, except for maybe fixing some small and critical stuff — we’ll focus on further development. And once we’re ready to hit the next milestone, then it will be the time for the Second Alpha!

Please let us know what you think about the alpha in this thread on Steam discussions or on our alpha discussion channel on Discord.

Thanks and have fun!

Feral Blue — Discord server

March 14, 2019  |  Feral Blue  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

First of all, we’d like to thank everybody who has signed up for our very first alpha test — honestly, we didn’t expect there would be this many people! It’s very flattering, although slightly scary at the same time.

We also think it’s time we finally start communicating in a more intimate manner — especially since you’ve been asking us to start a Discord server for a long time. So we’re happy to fulfill your wish — welcome to our little discussion club here: https://discord.gg/rPbhmEq.

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For those who are not really familiar with what Discord actually is — it’s kind of a chat with different channels. Similar to a forum, but in real time and with a more informal atmosphere. So we can post some silly stuff there with little to no shame. Plus, of course, we’ll be able track feedback from the alpha more efficiently.

There will be two official languages on our Discord server for now: English and Russian. Choose you channels wisely and see you there!

Feral Blue — First Alpha sign-up

January 31, 2019  |  Feral Blue  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

It’s a tough life being an indie game developer, especially in Russia. However, we’re finally ready to receive your submissions for the very first closed alpha of Feral Blue. If our game sounds up your alley — welcome! Here’s the page for signing up.

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So about that tough life. We’ve almost written a detailed post about our work and struggles, but then Roskomnadzor decided to block our site out of the blue, which we then had to deal with and… It’s a long and boring story, which can be explained better with this quote of the soviet philosopher Alexander Pyatigorsky:

‘(Quietly, thoughtfully) The most prominent trait of Russia is not theft, not corruption, not stupidity or anger… (switching to barely audible muttering) not rudeness, not vanity or ignorance. The most prominent trait of Russia is BULLSHIT! SOME RANDOM BULLSHIT!!!’

Anyway, we are looking forward to your participation in alpha and also hope you’ll agree to subscribe to our newsletter — we wanted to try and keep in touch with our subscribers via a special channel. Here’s the link again.

See you soon!

Feral Blue — Status update #6

January 22, 2019  |  Feral Blue  |  2 Comments

Hi everyone,

Let’s talk about our brief disappearance and the long-awaited alpha sign-up. Don’t worry, it’s still coming!

So why do we even want to launch this closed alpha? It’s mainly about these three things.

First of all, we want to have a selected portion of players check the earliest version of the game initially. Before the game goes live in Early Access, when all kinds of people come in — we want to share the build with the most active, most hardcore and most experienced players we have among followers here.

The feedback from such players is truly invaluable. And we don’t say this for politeness’ sake or marketing blah-blah — it’s a fact: sometimes players understand what needs to be done with the game better than the developers. Just look at DOTA, Portal games, Team Fortress 2, CS, PUBG — all of these games were born with the help of fan communities first.

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Secondly, we need to make sure that all of the base game mechanics work properly with each other. If they do, then we’ll only need to fill the project with content and better visuals. It’s a painfully long and expensive process, but at least it’s clear how to do it.

Thirdly, marketing. As you probably already know, the markets for any games are oversaturated — mobile, PC and even console (besides, everyone has a list of TV shows to watch, books and comics to read, and so on). By the way, if it’s not too much trouble — please share Feral Blue’s Steam page with your friend, who may like the sound of it. If we manage to collect 50 thousand wishlist adds before the release, then we promise everyone a free DLC with a new faction (Tlingit knights from Alaska in wooden armor? Chukotka raiders in seal armor? We have time to think this over).

Here’s what we want to with this first closed alpha — we’ll try to fill in as many game mechanics as we can. Right now we have everything that’s connected with the sea part of the game: the map, battles, boarding, riots, captain duels and ship upgrades. We even have some quests in.

At the moment we’re only missing the settlement mechanic — here we plan to use the logic of towns seen in Mount & Blade, but with some additions. This will take up more time than we thought, so delays are inevitable. If we manage to add this into the game in a month, than you can expect the alpha in the middle of March. If we see we can’t make it in time, then we’ll see you in a month.

And yes, we’ll do our best to start the alpha sign-up soon, so stay tuned!

Feral Blue — Status update #5

December 20, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

Right now we’re in the final stages of preparing the first and very early alpha build — we’d like to put it out before the holidays, but chances are slim. It’s how it usually goes: first you make the most essential gameplay elements, to get the project take some shape. But when you’re done with the basics, you immediately spot hundreds of small mistakes, typos and other stupid things. This button here looks bad, this animation stutters, this icon can’t be clicked on, and this menu takes up too much space on the screen. Such things have little effect on the gameplay itself, but they are still annoying. So we’ll have to try and fix that.

On the other hand, we remade the post-processing from the ground up, changed lighting effects and almost managed to get rain, snow and fog right. AI enemies now try to use different tactics against you — moreover, we’ve added several ‘character’ preset for enemy captains: they will act crazy and reckless, desperately looking for boarding fights, even with little chance to win. On the contrary, those with superior numbers and strength will try to be cautious and avoid unnecessary battles. Some captains will act both ways just to throw you off.

Here is the gif with some of the December’s work on strategic map, naval battles and boarding fights.

Feral Blue — Devblog #13 — Small annoyances

November 23, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  3 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we’d like to tell you about the image placed below this paragraph. This is a screenshot of the current version of Feral Blue, and it shows a two-week work of our team.

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Let’s be honest — you’ll have to make a serious effort to even quietly mumble ‘wow, cool…’. Nothing here speaks of two-week worth of work. We’ve posted a lot of similar screenshots already, so where’s the difference? But there is one. There are a lot of problems in game development, and this is one of them: sometimes you have to put in hours in things hardly noticeable to players. For example, a poorly made aerial perspective, which on some configurations may look just fine, while on others — something can be off. Unnatural shadows, weird unpleasant glare, that are only visible at a certain camera angle. Dozens of such small annoyances that may or may not spoil the impression of the game.

We spend a lot of time fixing these little problems, because nothing annoys more than minor inconveniences, like an extra frame in the sword attack animation. Then a game’s released and it turns out that the main problem is constant crashes on PCs with S3 Savage4 GPUs, because of some driver issues that you can’t do anything about. Well, that’s life.

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By the way, what are the strangest GPUs you ever used in your computers? We have a special box in our studio, where Matrox Millenium and Voodoo5 5500 cards are stored. What a time that was: you needed a special separate ‘accelerator’ for 3D graphics, without which you couldn’t play something like Nocturne.

Eador. MotBW — ‘Fixers of the Broken World’ mod

November 22, 2018  |  Eador, Эадор  |  No Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we have a reason to remember our game from 2013 — Eador. Master of the Broken World. One incredibly hardworking person — by the name Jagulars — created his own mod for the game, which considerably changes the balance for heroes and some of the units. Our gamedesigner has been trying out the mod for five days straight and periodically shouting: ‘Hell no, this is too imba!’. Basically, the changes are quite substantial.

You can find the full list of them here.

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We believe that mods can be better than original games in some ways, because mod creators have the opportunity to create freely and with no release schedule. We may not agree fully with some of the balance choices made by Jagulars, but still we recommend everyone to play this mod.

Feral Blue — Status update #4

November 2, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  3 Comments

Hi everyone,

Today we want to talk about the progress on the alpha version of the game. And we want to specify what word ‘alpha’ means for us — alpha is an early state of the project, where we test basic gameplay mechanics. If beta grows into ‘early access’ version, then into full release, then alpha is more like a game from alternative universe. For example, we’re not yet finished with the full faction list. The main archetypes are clear though: there will be Very Religious people who seek salvation in faith, there will be Technofanatics who use science instead of faith, and there will be nostalgic folks who’ll pretend the world hadn’t changed and try to keep living as before.

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In addition to these behavior archetypes, there’s also a separate list of cultures. The most obvious candidates — Europeans of the Old Formation, who are faithful to the traditions and two-handed sword of their grandfathers. Europeans have a rowdy American cousin who gravitates towards liberty, piracy and wild entrepreneurship. Chinese civilization knows its era of great geographical discoveries, so without any doubt, the Empire’s fleet will become a prominent player in the water world. Islam is rarely present in games (a pity!), so Turkish, Algerian and Egyptian ships may well form quite an interesting faction. Who else could be there? Japanese wokou pirates? Maori rowing fleet? Stern Russian old believers from the North? And their equally stern neighbors from Norwegian fjords and islands of Scotland?

Of course, here we run into the need for a huge amount of art and models. Everything seems so appealing, that you can’t help but want to do all of these factions. For the alpha we’ll choose limited goals, within our budget — most likely, there will four factions. Each one get its own archetype, and, if possible, a unique appearance. We’ll see what can be done after that.

For now our goal is to launch the closed alpha by the end of the year. And we want to start collecting your e-mails in the near future as well, so that Santa could know who to gift a build of the game about sunken world.

Feral Blue — Devblog #12 — Fencing done right?

October 11, 2018  |  Feral Blue  |  10 Comments

Hi everyone,

More and more people are asking us how the land battles and the melee system as a whole will look like in Feral Blue. It’s an important question indeed, because poor fencing can turn any boarding fight into a formal routine or just pure hell. Here’s what we think.

It would be easier to describe what kind of melee system we do not want. Back when we were high school students and played the pirated version of Mortal Kombat on Sega, the most ingenious tactic was considered to be cornering your opponent and then torturing him with sweeps (in our team, only our designer Alexander used to do this, and we despise him for that). This is an example of a pretty poor melee system, and we don’t want to let players blindly buttonmash their way to victory. Same thing with ‘kiting’ — when your character can indefinitely fall back and attack the enemy at the same time.

On the other hand, we’ve had experience working with the Mount & Blade engine. It does have a good fencing system, but it might be a bit too intricate for our project. After all, the fencing system is at the very base of M&B, while we’re focusing more on naval combat and ship management. We shouldn’t lose focus of our efforts trying to do everything at once and better than anyone. Doing a rhythm-based game with blinking warning icons above the enemies is not something we want to do either — quite possibly a simply system with a couple strike types and blocks will be enough.

We can’t wait to put the alpha version out in the wild — to understand how viable our ideas are. And what about you — what’s your opinion on fencing in games? Can you name some good examples — where was this implemented extremely well?