Friday, 28 November 2014

It's the Prince's birthday!

Yes, it is now a year since Indanthrine Prince (NWN2 edition) was released, It was this module that gave us the confidence and experience to continue the series with its follow-up, The Umbral Abyss, which is coming along just nicely. Thank you to all those who have played IP, whether it be on NWN1 and/or NWN2 and your feedback - we get a lot of energy from it.

As usual, the blog is well overdue an update, so I have managed to tear myself away from the toolset for an hour or so to talk about where Umbral Abyss is at and a few of the things one might expect from the second outing, without spoiling anything.

So the first thing is when will Umbral Abyss be released? Foolishly, the Update 2 version of IP claimed "late 2014". Sadly this will not be happening. Umbral Abyss is a large campaign, admittedly larger than I had initially envisaged. It will be substantially larger than Indanthrine Prince, so as you can imagine, it will take longer to finish. I also had a lot of time on my hands for IP, whilst now it is somewhat less so. IP was made in 9 months by two people, Umbral Abyss has been in production for a year already. At a best (and conservative estimate, because I like to beat the expectation) guess, I would expect to be releasing the initial version of Umbral Abyss by April 2015. Hang in there!

In terms of where I am with the building side of things; The middle chapter of Umbral Abyss is nearing full completion. The main plot is all setup and working correctly, so the last two months have involved putting together groups of side quests, big and small, in the many regions surrounding the centerpiece of the chapter - Dale. What players should find is a wide variety of activities in all manner of locations with new monsters and challenges. We have put a lot of effort into turning up the immersion and exploration factors with detailed environments, more secrets, interesting foes and custom music. The best thing about this section of the campaign is that you have more or less full control over how you go about your time in Dale. Sure, there is the primary story and you will see that through to it's end, but it will not drag you along all the way through the chapter. You can play through a part of the story, then seek another distraction. The main story is also broken up with "time intervals", so you may have to wait a few days to move on to the next part, for instance. This will encourage you to go out and make your own adventures.

I mentioned new monsters - something which was well received with Indanthrine Prince and the use of the Birds and Beasts book which gave insight into the weaknesses of monsters once you had encountered them or were able to learn beforehand. Well, firstly, the book will continue to be used throughout the series and the new MERP monsters themselves... I don't wish to overly spoil, so I'll stick to numbers. We have so far twelve new types of monster and there are still more to be implemented when their time comes. In terms of the little chart we included with the Indanthrine Prince Quickguide, expect greater frequency across all creature categories.

The third and final chapter of The Umbral Abyss will be started soon. It is a short chapter and returns to a more story-led action adventure, much like Indanthrine Prince and the Umbral Abyss Demo. It is centred on one big important adventure and it's ending will have big consequences for the final campaign. Your activities earlier in Umbral Abyss will have quite a deciding factor on how well you fare in the darkest depths that await you. The final campaign centres on the Battle of Dale - for some relevant spoilers, you can get them easily online or in the books. The ending to our story, whilst faithful, will play out in it's own way.

I'm almost out of time. Here are some of the recent shots taken during our many tests (which tend to turn into gleeful gaming)