All posts by Ian
Heya all, I know we’ve been quiet for quite a bit here at WHS. It’s mostly because we’re working hard on Mercs. Commanders being written, Brigades created, matches tested and the likes. We’re very happy with what the end product will be and hope you will be too. We should be showing an early build at both PAX East and GDC. So if you’re curious, do look us up there! I’ll give more details as the dates get closer. =)
In the meantime, I’d like to introduce someone who you’ll be getting to know quite well in the coming months! With Mercs being a mostly multiplayer game, we’re expecting to grow a community around it. That said, we’ve added someone new to the team – a community manager. Meet Khai! Khai is an old friend and if you’ve peeked at the credits in Ravenmark, you’ll find him under Lore Writers. He has always been a huge contributor to the Ravenmark world, even Crummy is based off of his D&D Character!
Go for it, Khai. =D
Yup, this time it’s about all things games in 2012 as the year comes to a close. Have a listen here.
(I’m still gushing over Mark of the Ninja, by the way!)
A much clearer view of the Ravenmark Saga timeline!
And if you’re curious, here’s the Calendar of Eclisse.
Owing to the influence of the triple moons on the lunar cycle and the four seasons of Eclisse, the nine days of the week lead into a 351-day year. Three weeks make up a month in the 13-month cycle of the year, with summers and winters being the longest seasons. Months of the year are marked like so:
Kayesin, the first in Spring, named for the birth and cyclical return of the holy Sun-Father Kayes
Matresin, the second in Spring, named for the awakening of Matre Lissa, the Mother who blesses the land with life
Eosin, the third in Summer, named for the celebration of the dawn and of all life which courses from the sun-drenched world
Amoresin, the fourth in Summer, named for the ignition of the fiery, passionate celestial courtship between Kayes and Matre
Verrasin, the fifth in Summer, named for the midwife Deverra who journeyed across great waters to serve the expecting Matre
Soressin, the sixth in Summer, named for Deverra’s heralding of the Soresses, the Autumn Sisters sired by Kayes and Matre
Primasin, the seventh in Autumn, named for Prisma, the domineering and stubborn first daughter among Kayes’ children
Secunsin, the eighth in Autumn, named for Serci, the calm, virginal second daughter of the Sorresses
Tersin, the ninth in Autumn, named for Tersa, the coarse-mouthed and haughty third triplet of the Autumn Sisters
Menassin, the tenth in Winter, named for Menasse, Kayes’ only wayward son who tore off right after birth
Nox, the eleventh in Winter, named for the darkness that engulfed the world in the wake of Kayes’ heartbreak from his son’s departure
Warchesin, the twelfth in Winter, named for the great flood of Warches, vermin who hunted in the darkness of Kayes’ absence
Coresin, the thirteenth in Winter, named for Corvii who heralds the rebirth of the glorious life-giving sun
So I was asked a series of questions about the background and inspiration for the nations of Eclisse over at the TA Forums and I thought t’would be good to share those answers here. Big thanks to Uberskooper for giving me the opportunity. =)
To start with, how did you come up with the background, story, and visual elements? I mentioned a long time ago that I think that you did a good job at staying away from Tolkien fantasy tropes that every fantasy setting now uses to ad nauseum. Your elves are short, feral, savage, and greedy. In terms of visual style, they remind me of American aboriginals and Japanese. Likewise, there isn’t a single dwarf with a long beard. Instead most of them sport mustaches and have a definite British/French aesthetic. Some of the other nations/cultures are less unique. The Kaysani are basically early modern Spain, Estellion is Rome with medieval weapons, and Esotre is an early industrial mix of Britain/France/Switzerland. I do love the Kaysani aesthetic though, golden armor against white robes. The sun banners on the backs of the important guys are also very cool. Can you reveal more about your thought process behind creating the different cultures and story?
Wow, yeah, I think that’s enough for a proper write-up. Lol.
The background is heavily steeped in a D&D campaign I use to run for my friends. I think what took me away from the Tolkien influence is the fact that I really hate elves, so I started switching things around. In my campaign, elves became the “goblinoid” race, while the actual goblins became the noble, clannish “dwarven” race. Which led me to civilising the dwarves. Goddamn, elves. =P
I think the credit for the visuals belong to my art team. Heya Hadrian, Darius, Xinwen, Peter! They really ran with it after I gave them the initial brief. I love history, so most of my briefs pointed towards certain points in history that had some parallels in the nations of Eclisse.
Estellion: The Empire was stretched out to the boundaries of conquest, so they started building walls. The thing about empires.. they need to keep conquering to survive. Their stagnation would result in decline.. much like the late Roman Empire. Estellion’s armour is based on the utilitarian Roman armour.. while it does look simple compared to other nations, it’s hugely believable that the Empire was churning out such equipment at a relentless pace. (My team would tell you that believability plays a huge part in my design direction.)
Kaysan: I liken the exile of the Carsis nobles and the subjugation of the elves to the Spanish conquistadors landing on the Americas and subjugating (albeit, only somewhat successfully) the Mesoamerican peoples. The elves of Kaysan are far more willing subjects.
I can’t pinpoint the exact reason I went with the Japanese aesthetic for the elves, but I do remember the Anime craze was annoying the crappers out of me at the time. I think my grandmother’s stories of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore played a part too. Horrid stuff.
Esotre: It’s a young, isolated nation that depends on technology to outperform its neighbours.. which depend on its holdings far away (Lyri) for natural resources. Sound familiar? Hah. Napoleonic Period England. How could I not tap on those dashing uniforms?
I do wish we could have done voice acting, then people could tell the difference between humans (French) and dwarves (British). I actually picked out accents for each region/nation.
(Ok, I also have to give this one to Bernard Cromwell. I -love- the Sharpe series and I’ve even had Brian pepper a few references in the script. Makes me smile when people notice.)
Don’t know if you guys wanna know about the minor nations, but they kinda go through the same process. Their individual histories had to somehow mold them into what they were. That’s my process, anyways.
In terms of the mechanics, how did you decide to make a turn-based medieval warfare game? To my knowledge, this is the only game that attempts to implement the limitations of a general that has to dispatch messengers and guys with flags everywhere. In almost every other game, the soldiers have a direct line to their leader all the time. You just have to point and click them in the right direction. The thing I love most about Ravenmark is that if you position your formations right, even crappier troops can beat superior ones if you outflank and gang up on them.
Mechanics-wise, it’s simple – Ravenmark was always meant to be a tabletop/board game. Lots of inspiration comes from giants such as Warhammer, De Bellis Antiquitatis. Some of these games had similar messenger/command system, but what really inspired me was the movie Gettysburg. You could tell how important information was at the time and how uninformed Command could be of the battlefield situation.
Heya all! Recently, I had the chance to appear on Gamespot Asia Beat to talk about the indie scene here in Singapore and other funky stuff. I did, also, take the chance to plug Behold Studio‘s Knights of Pen and Paper, which I think every D&D player should try! A fantastic time all round. A big thanks to Jonathan for hosting and Gerald for dragging me along!
Have a listen!
(<cough> I’m particularly glad I wasn’t a ball of nonsense during the recording.)