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The Road To The Alpha

 
#1007
3 years 3 months ago

Greetings everyone and welcome to my blog here on the Valiance site. I currently hold seats as both the Creative Director, Programming Director, and Executive Producer of the project. In this blog, I'll be projecting my views as the product's Producer. I'm going to outline our path towards the alpha release, discuss other topics related specifically to Valiance, touch on topics related specifically to the SHOGN network, and discuss our Steam launch and its business-related specifications.

Valiance Progress

For those that may not be aware, we were recently in a pre-alpha phase of production. This is a phase of production that occurs right after the conceptual phase of production. The conceptual phase is one in which the team has decided on a direction, generated a few prospective ideas, tested a few ideas with focus groups and come to various conclusions about the product and their decisions. The pre-alpha phase is the phase in which "concepts" are tested in their respective environments, either local or live (online/online simulated). Recent players of our pre-alpha have been subject to many changes, data wipes and at most times, highly inconsistent server availability schedules. These are quite common during pre-alpha stages of production. Most companies don't even allow players to experience their games until the conclusion of the beta stage of production.

We’re now moving into the “alpha” phase of production, and taking all we’ve learned and experienced during pre-alpha production. Last month we focused on many of the core fundamentals of the Valiance Online game experience. The most important of them being character creation, gameplay, content, and atmosphere. We've been working to give each of these pillars the appropriate amount of attention to ensure our upcoming alpha release is in excellent shape for an Early Access release on Steam. We still have a significant amount of work to do, but are definitely showcasing a quality product.

Character Generator V3

As most might assume, characters are always a central component and driving mechanism to any great story, and with Valiance Online, there is no difference. We’re on a mission to make the most elaborate character generator possible, to give our players the ability to truly add depth and unrestricted creativity to their designs. Our latest updates to the character generator is the ability to control all aspects of your character asymmetrically. Did your character lose his/her/its entire right arm, and have to replace it with a cybernetic arm? If so, you are free to edit his/her/its entire right arm independent of the entire chest component. Did your character lose all the flesh and muscle from his/her/its entire left leg, and decide to leave the ghastly remains as a reminder of that situation? Feel free to tear the upper thigh portion off those jeans to show your mangled left leg. This is not limited to limbs. The generator can likewise be used to asymmetrically assign gloves and boots. There are also plans to add asymmetrical chest, head and hair options in the near future.

The New Standardized Asymmetrical Character
The New Standardized Asymmetrical Character

Another huge feature currently being implemented into the character generator is the introduction of character traits; an element that was highly inspired by classic role-playing games. Traits are passive abilities that affect various properties of your character, their powers/attacks, or how they interact with the world. Players will be able to choose from four unique traits for a single character. These traits come in a vast range of properties. Here are a few:

  • Water Breathing: Negates the need for oxygen when submerged in water; 100% resistant to drowning effects.
  • Robotic: Negates the need for breathing; shows no visual breathing during animations; resistant to many element attacks that affect organic life.
  • Perceptive: Grants a higher chance to detect lies, or avoid misdirection during dialogue. Grants a higher chance of naturally interpreting different progression chains during puzzle sequences.

In addition to these updates, we’ve begun our biggest one yet, and that’s the transition of the character generator from a primarily server dependent architecture to an overall localized architecture. This means that the servers won’t be so aggressively propositioned each time someone is creating a new character. It also means that we can safely continue with the implementation of the slider-based character scaling tech. The client will do minimum account “type” checks to insure that players receive access to all their donor rewards and special account access elements like Special Hero Archetypes, and Special Villain Archetypes that unlock with your first max level character. We’ll talk about those in a much, much later design blog. The last feature that I thought I’d share was the profile data system. The final screen of the character generator will feature various detail fields that will generate a character profile for Super-Powered Individuals Data Archive (mentioned later in the blog.) This adds another layer of social interaction for players in-game and users of the website.

Content

Earlier I said content is one of our most important pillars of gameplay. Over the last 3 months, we’ve been aggressively organizing and staging content for upcoming public-access alpha release. With over two years of lore under us, we’ve started to finalize characters, storylines, agendas, history, and reforming past ideas to better fit our current vision and direction. For quite some time, Valiance suffered from an aesthetic identity crisis. The content team struggled to build an identity for the game due to it having so many clashing genres. Valiance began to look more like a “futuristic” version of our reality, and less like a true “sci-fi” environment, so we regrouped and started working to build more robust representation of exactly where everything takes place. We had to actually BRING the sci-fi to the forefront.

Security Guard Concept
Security Guard Concept

During the first week of August we appointed a new Content Director. He quickly dove in, and worked with me to plan out the path ahead. A week later we hired a new Content Designer, and he was appointed the task of working immediately on in-game content. He has since done amazing things with the initial gameplay experience, and has really put his heart and soul into the characters he’s developing. I personally feel our content team is at its pinnacle right now, and I’m excited for everyone to experience the new content coming to the alpha launch. They are both preparing blogs to talk about their current developments, so look forward to that as well.

Website

A lot of our focus has been on Valiance’s website, and the SHOGN game network collective. At the moment, we’re working to complete the Valiance website design’s coding. There are lots of underlying systems that are in development including the introduction of the SteamAPI and site-to-game server intercommunication. Our goal is to develop tools that allows all our systems to cooperate with Steam. One of the most important features of this coupling is the implementation of the Super-Powered Individuals Data Archive; the same system used in-game by The Department of Super-Powered Affairs. This database will contain profiles of every character in-game including screen captures for their avatar. We also plan to use our player character database to include user-created characters that may have been fighting during this event in the comic.

Superhero Character Database
Superhero Character Database

Site users can search the database for details on characters they may have encountered and request friendship, or in regards to PvP, label that individual as their nemesis. Thanks to the site-to-game server mating, all these actions will be likewise transferred to the game world. Another great purpose of the database is that we’ll actively use it for pulling characters for advertisements, renders, comics, cinematics and trailers.

Comics

From its inception, Valiance was heavily influenced by superhero comics and graphic novels. After long consideration, we concluded that a great way to present Valiance’s history would be through comics. We’ve assembled a small team of developers for the comics, and are slowly building a library of great stories to tell. We plan on highlighting major points in the world’s history, and most will be 28-32 pages. Each series will include three or more books. We are really excited for readers and players to see many of the worlds characters mature, modernize, and age.

The Earth Savers
The Earth Savers

Characters like Glimmer, are now honored by massive golden statues surrounding the Skyeline memorial in Valiance Online. Meanwhile the character Salvage is quite elderly, today, and players will see her teaching her daughter, Steel Savante, various engineering principles at the Ancalar Institute in-game. You’ll also see a few characters like Paramount evolve from a troubled young man, to one of the most respected men across the globe. Here is a look at what’s currently on the comic team’s plate:

  • Valiance: Cold War - Chronicles the arrival of the interstellar astronaut, Legacy, and the introductions of supers (natural born superhumans) and hypers (synthetically created superhumans).
  • Valiance: The Earth Saver - Introduces our world's first organized, globally endorsed and financed supergroup, and their early battles with supers, hypers, technological beings and alien visitors.
  • Valiance: The Uprising - Though we can't really say much about this comic series, we can say that it concludes 15 years before the existence of current-day San Cielo, and the results of its occurrence represents one of the game's primary storylines.
  • Valiance: The Void World - Chronicles the interdimensional journey of the villain Riftwalker; a highly intelligent scientific researcher, and relative to Earth's dinosaur family that exists in an alternate timeline where dinosaurs evolved to be the dominant species of Earth. This series sheds light on the mysterious Void Realm, and grants enlightenment as to how characters in the game are able to tap into its warp, void, and anima energies and summon its creatures.

Business

The first major business announcement that I’d like to share is that Valiance Online will be free-to-play. After many consultations, research and studying, our management team has concluded that it’s the best fit for the product. We will, however, still include premium accounts with various perks, and launch with a few special launch packs. As we approach our launch date, we’ll transition our on-site crowdfunding platform from PayPal Business submissions to using SteamAPI. Once the transition is made, we will no longer offer the rewards that are currently available. Whatever features our donors have earned from their early commitment will be forever exclusive to them. The special launch packs will include many special rewards as well, but they will not include any of the exclusive early adopter rewards. This is us showing our appreciation for their commitment during the early phases of the product. We’re also working on tech that will allow the reward detail panels to open into larger panels with all reward details. We’ll soon be announcing many special rewards like unique wings, a special travel set called Rocket Board which has its own attacks, and power groups that donors will have limited early access to.

Whew, that was a lot of dialogue, but hopefully well worth it. Going forward, we’ll blog a lot more, as our executive board has agreed that as a company we can’t lose sight of our original principles; transparency and supporter interaction being two of the most important founding principles. Often we become so submerged in development, that we don’t take time to surface. I’d like to personally thank everyone for their supporter, and tip my hat to our donors for keeping the lights on and financing further development of our game. We are working hard to prove that we are worthy of donations. I’ll be back soon, this time wearing my Programming Director’s hat! See you all in San Cielo soon!

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  • Kuxan
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#1065
3 years 3 months ago
Firstly please forgive me for my spelling. English is my second languadge and i write purely on instinct as i have never studied it in any school.

To the point.
A very well writen blog whitch i like to congratulate you on.
It inspires alot of confidance showcasing you guys know exactly what you are doing, you are focused, methodical and are doing it with integrity.

I have no doubt that this game will be a huge success and all the hard work and dedication will pay off in every conceivable way not just money.

Not only your aproach and honesty exites for the upcoming product whitch i believe will be as successful in its gener as games such as WoW and WoT are in theres... but it insites hope for the real world we live in that the way in to the future is Honesty, Integrity, Community and Coaporation.

My best wishes and hopes.

Never lose your focus, never compromise your integrity and honesty.
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#1066
3 years 3 months ago
Take your time, but do provide some new blogs. You guys are really heroes in the virtual realm, in the sense of everyone counting on you all to release a super hero mmo which lives up to the genre's expectations. Champions and DC have failed, and CoT's release dates appears to get further and further as the previous announced date gets closer :huh: its up to you all.

Anything you can share about the pet system?

Body types? That horse body mentioned is intriguing.

Powers available at the alpha release?

Surely some of this stuff can be answered if you are prepping, even if it is a "No" or "maybe"

Here is hoping the next blog gives us a bang. :woohoo:
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#1152
3 years 2 months ago
With the mention of the FTP model, something died a little in my heart. I really hope you guys are able to pursue this path with integrity and focus on fun over profit. No one else has. Not one game, ever. We already have the soulless, underdeveloped cash grab graveyard of Champions Online. We really don't need another. I wish you the best, but much of my anticipation for this game just withered away.
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#1209
3 years 1 month ago
A a City of Heroes player from closed beta until the final night, I see Valiance Online as a worthy spiritual successor to my favorite game, and wish you the best.

I must confess though that the rapid expansion of features makes me imagine release dates retreating in the distance. CoH added a lot of content in the form of expansions after we were already playing, could this be a model for you guys?

Let me also say quite personally that I am rather more interested in the game going live within the next few years, than any unique rewards for my various donations during your early years. Again this is something that can be implemented once the basics are in place. But I realize that on this there may be divergent opinions.
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  • AEGIS
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#1211
3 years 1 month ago
Itlandm wrote:
A a City of Heroes player from closed beta until the final night, I see Valiance Online as a worthy spiritual successor to my favorite game, and wish you the best.

I must confess though that the rapid expansion of features makes me imagine release dates retreating in the distance. CoH added a lot of content in the form of expansions after we were already playing, could this be a model for you guys?

Let me also say quite personally that I am rather more interested in the game going live within the next few years, than any unique rewards for my various donations during your early years. Again this is something that can be implemented once the basics are in place. But I realize that on this there may be divergent opinions.

We're focused on core functionality but absolutely you make a good point and I'll make sure the team is keeping it in mind. With a baseball bat if necessary! B)
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  • Oskmey
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#1213
3 years 1 month ago
Wow, not nerf bats but full blown baseball bats. Your team is hardcore. :D
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  • AEGIS
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#1214
3 years 1 month ago
Oskmey wrote:
Wow, not nerf bats but full blown baseball bats. Your team is hardcore. :D

Our lead developer...

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  • Oskmey
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#1215
3 years 1 month ago
LOL! Better than:
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  • AEGIS
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#1216
3 years 1 month ago
I see you've met our Project Manager!
Last Edit: 3 years 1 month ago by AEGIS.
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#1379
3 years 2 weeks ago
Is this going to be a "Steam required" release?
To win the Land/Air battle, you must always remain Rigidly flexible.
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  • AEGIS
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#1383
3 years 2 weeks ago
purpledragon wrote:
Is this going to be a "Steam required" release?

It will be available on Steam but also as a download from our website.
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#2708
2 years 9 months ago
Amazing
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  • HotNerd
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#4779
2 years 5 months ago
Neat! The Business paragraph explains things nicely.
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#5416
2 years 5 months ago
How do I get involved in the Investors Alpha? I just made a donation to the game.
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  • cyanpill
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#5417
2 years 5 months ago
Go to the main forum page valiance.shogn.net/forums and scroll down to Investor Discussion. If it's not there, send an email to support.
Backer #261
Check out SEGS, an attempt to remake CoH servers!
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