When we first announced that we were building www.AQ3D.com, a true cross-platform 3D massively multiplayer online world based on AdventureQuest… they said we were crazy! Imagine, being able to login and play your character in the same online world as your friends no matter if you are playing from your PC, Mac, Phone, and/or Tablet?! Well, we ARE crazy! :D And more importantly, on our testing devices here at the lab, WE HAVE IT WORKING! (Actually, we have for a long while now.)
Today I am excited to share our massive progress on AdventureQuest 3D and get you ready for our PRE-BETA’s imminent expansion onto STEAM for PC & Mac! This post will be placed on Steam and Kickstarter-- so to make sure everyone knows everything. We will just take it from the top! :D
It has been just under 2 months since our Kickstarter was funded and our amazing players got us greenlit us on Steam. To say that things here have been a whirlwind typhoon volcano of explosive game design would be the understatement of the year.
Until now, players with early access have been getting a sneak peek of what we have been doing in AdventureQuest 3D through the current Unity3D web plugin version. We are currently on version 0.0.61. We do a new build of the game multiple times daily in the lab, and have been releasing a new update each week to testers. We migrated Kickstarter backers into the game’s database back in January, and have been setting those who are still filling out their Kickstarter surveys daily.
We currently have our dev-only versions of the AdventureQuest 3D game stable and working on Steam (PC/Mac), Android (Phone/Tablet), Apple (iPhone/iPad). We even have an experimental Windows 10 version version too. Our current method of rapid development revolves around updating the PC version 1st, then catching the other ones up. This method rarely leaves things in sync-- since we always end up with a new version of the PC build before the mobile and mac versions catch up. Nevertheless, we are chomping at the bit to get them ready for you and the other players to try out.
At the start of this year, we already had a lot of features working. The largest hurdle we had was the switch to Unity 5 which brings us the almighty 64-bit support and the ability to port to more platforms-- and then making these features work consistently across all the computers, phones and tablets. It required us to change/update every file in the entire game along with a lot of code changes. Here are the things we have finished so far (but everything is a work in progress so many of them may change before full release):
For the past two weeks we have been focusing on combat. For starters we sped up the weapon swing… A LOT. I have a lot of respect for mages, but as a warrior-type I like fighting my opponents toe to toe. The new melee swings feel so much more intense and fluid now. There will be a lot of iteration on this as we keep improving all the little details.
The team is anxious to spend the bulk of our time on building out the world. There are just a handful of places currently available in the Pre-Beta-- but it is better that we focus on getting these areas, and the tools to build them, really good before we start making lots of them. Like our previous games, AdventureQuest 3D will be continually expanding. It takes a lot longer to make new content in 3D... well, at least it does right now. But there are also a lot of cool new 3D things that we can do that were never possible to do in 2D. Back in the Alpha we made a little Parkour course. Having Parkour challenge quests for people who like to explore and get to those "should be impossible to get to" areas sounds like fun to me, plus, you guys unlocked Exploration Achievements in the Kickstarter!
We have had the PC version of the game working on Steam for a while, and just recently we got the Mac version working. The game loads crazy fast and runs like a dream... if you have been playing using the terrible browser plugin, then you should be looking forward to the 'WOAH! AMAZING!" experience that everyone seems to get the first time you run it on your desktop. You will be able to access all of the features of Steam’s overlay including voice chat, browser, friends list, etc.
How will you get it on Steam? I put in a request and got approved for 45,000 Steam Keys! (What is a Steam Key? It is a unique redeem code that allows a single person to unlock the game on Steam.) This covers all of our Kickstarter Backers and players who qualify for Early Access. Obviously we will make a huge announcement when everything is ready. Then, at that time, you will be able to login to the account management section of our website and get your Steam Key for early access.
Building a single interface that works well for both PC & Mobile is tough… and then throw in consideration for future controller support so we can one day hit console systems and wowza is it a challenge! But I think we got it :D It does really explain why so many AAA games only use two buttons on your right hand for 99% of what you do in the game.
Playing AdventureQuest 3D on my PC feels as smooth. But after 17 hours of playing on my phone, I found myself wanting to jump and interact with NPCs and Doors without stretching my thumb. NOTE: Good mobile design is all about extreme thumb laziness! So we chopped out a chunk of the attack button to make a nice modular button that changes icon depending on what you want to do. Normally, it is a boot icon so you can jump. Walk up to an NPC and it will change to a speech bubble. Walk up to a secret door or interactive object, and it will change into a hand so you can use it.
We have replaced our squircles (square-circles) with full on 100% real authentic circles! After designing 7 games in a row with a black interface I have “gone crazy pants” and trying a sophisticated *coughs* fantasy blue. Dage just finished painting the button containers and Cysero reformatted his icons. In all honestly, there is a 99% I will randomly switch the background colors to Black without telling anyone. If you load up the game one day and suddenly see the backgrounds are black, you are granted permission to burst out into a fit of evil Joker style laughter.... and post videos of it on YouTube.
The first AdventureQuest game was supported by Guardians. In the game's lore they are like magical Jedi (a good comparison considering there are Dark Guardians too) who are the protectors of the land. Back then, Guardianship was a one time payment which gave you access to the Guardian Tower containing the armor, weapon and special content. Players who chipped in 13 years ago are still getting the perks and benefits of the game's weekly releases to this very day. It was an upgrade that felt good. So we decided a 3D version of Guardian should be the the primary upgrade model for this game also. That is to say, the game will generate most of its income from micro-currency in-app purchases for consumables, time-savers, boosts and early access to new classes (none of which is pay-to win) but the Guardian is a special one-time purchase class that will grant you access to the AQ3D Guardian Tower and all of the content, quests, shops and other fun stuff inside. Just to be clear, AQ3D will have NO MONTHLY MEMBERSHIP.
We have recently released the 1st draft of the Guardian class for testing in the current Pre-BETA. Players that pledged at the Guardian tier or above, and players who purchased Guardian 3D through the www.AQ3D.com website are invited to try it out. You can pick up the latest test version of the class from the Faith, who is in the Class Trainer building.
Like most of the classes, there will me multiple different variants of the Guardian. The one that is in testing now is closest to the original Guardian, a strong solo-play oriented class with a good mix of offensive abilities. There will also be "Tank" version (probably called Guardian Defender) and a "Mage" version (Guardian Spellsword.) These versions along with the armors, weapons and special quests will be available through the Guardian Tower which is being designed now.
(Cysero's downer note: the horse model is for the Guardian Stables, NOT MOUNTS. Mounts still aren't possible but if they become possible we will glady add them. For now we have travel forms like the Shadow Wolf transformation.)
You guys unlocked a secret “stealth stretch goal” during the Kickstarter for player voted emotes. We took suggestions on the game’s website and players voted on their favorites. Top 10 list below! Korin has already finished animating them all. They should be showing up in an upcoming patch for you to check out.
/levitate - floating eerily above the ground
/slowclap - sarcastic applause
/theforce - levitate your weapon for a bit
/chillout - laying down, hands behind your head
/nooo - a Vader classic
/victory - epic win, arms raised
/meditate - sit down, cross-legged, hands on knees and become one with everything
/bow - a respectful bow
/honor - like a salute, standing at attention, fist to heart
/coinflip - flips coin and says result
Forming a party of adventurers and raiding a dungeon for loot and stories?…. Awwww yeah, let the good times roll! For the next two weeks we are focusing on “dungeon instances” starting with the Death Knight’s tower at the furthest end of the Pre-Beta. Check out the concept art below.
We know there will be at least two modes for dungeons: Regular and Elite (or Epic?). The regular mode will make fans of our previous games really happy. Our dungeons are designed to keep your group together and make it really easy to "drop in" to play with your friends. But if you like a challenge, the harder mode is the perfect party dungeon diving experience yielding really good rewards to those who are able to emerge victorious. Be sure to read the posts I will be making the next several weeks on our progress on dungeon adventures.
The image below is a screenshot from our upcoming cutscene test. The NPC (non-player character) is Melodia... she is the battle waitress at Yulgar's Inn. This cutscene will start her horrifying backstory of who she really is, and why she is working at the Inn. Every character in our world is quirky with some bizarre secret to uncover. Because this is a 3D cross-platform game, we lost some of the "easy" advantages that we used to have in storytelling through our 2D Flash games. To compensate, we are trying out a blend of video and in-game animation. Like combat, this will definitely take trying a bunch of things together!
We all just recovered from the “great lab plague of 2016.” Most everyone on the team here got sick during it. Dage got Bronchitis and I spent the last week in a perpetual fever induced hallucination of the Might Be Giant’s music video for “The Mesopotamians". As of today everyone is healthy… but yes, we shifted the coffee budget to Vitamin C supplements :D
Also recently we had the first of our two $5K Backers visited us at the lab. We were all curious on how this would go-- I mean, we have done tours before (and if you are ever in the Tampa Bay area please do make arrangements to come say hi), but this was definitely something new. He was a Doctor, and a really amazing guy! He told us that he was inspired to get his degree, and follow his dreams after reading our design notes and stories back in the DragonFable days. During his visit we designed a full area and storyline with him. It will go into production after Summer-- and it pretty much guarantees that you will see Shaman class this year. He said that he was proud to have backed our group of developers because as a long time player of our games he could tell that we were the sort of people who “got it.” We will keep working hard to make both you and him proud of what we are doing. Meanwhile, the artists been working with our other custom item backers on the creative process. A good number of them chose to make their items available to you in game through quests... which is really cool!
But it will be shorter than a book next time... promise :)
I want to change the way we post news so you get you more AdventureQuest 3D news, concept art, and design sneak peaks. Things have been moving really fast, and between the game's (and team's) Facebook, Twitter, Website, Kickstarter, STEAM, Google+, Vine, YouTube and other outlets... information has been scattered. So here is my plan: We should post AdventureQuest 3D news on the www.AQ3D.com website first. Then Players can comment, ask questions, and point out things that could help us improve the post. Then, we spread the post to Twitter, Facebook, etc and then, if the news is big enough, echo it on Steam & Kickstarter pages. What do you think?
The team and I are extremely grateful for the opportunity to be working on AdventureQuest 3D. It feels good seeing everything coming together. Thank you for believing in us, and for giving the team and the game your love and encouragement. We have so many adventures to look forward together.
Next stop.... STEAM!
Artix & your friendly neighborhood AdventureQuest 3D Team