February 2021 Development Update
2 days ago
– Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 10:02:52 PM
First of all, February has been incredible crazy! We not only crossed 2.000 players/backers so far thanks to our online store (https://playchainmonsters.com/store/) - that is 600 new Alpha backers this month alone(!), we also achieved most of our internal development targets for February's Sprint (expected progress)
Quick Facts: (tl;dr)
Alpha Schedule reveal
Crossing 2.000 players/backers
Reveal of our monster stats/elements
New Closed Alpha Schedule
We are close but due to the sheer complexity of the project, merging Kickstarter backers, website pre-orders and digital NFTs together, we have to open up the Closed Alpha in multiple phases.
Early March - Account System
We are launching the account system where backers and pre-orders can register and manage their game account. Some people have changed their email from Kickstarter in the meantime so this will be a two step process and ensures that everyone is up to date:
Fill out a survey which is sent to your Kickstarter email to connect your accounts!
If you have pre-ordered on our website then we will send an email to the one you used to do the purchase with adjusted instructions.
March - Displaying items/NFTs
You can see your Kickstarter digital rewards including Alpha Access etc in your account. For extra security you *can* enable 2FA (2 Factor Authentication)in your settings if you wish.
Enabling of marketplace functionalities - you will be able to send your additional Alpha Access keys/NFTs to your friends but also trade some of the exclusive items with each other already!
As promised, we are also dropping some of the remaining crystal starters on the marketplace where you can purchase them directly from us. We only support USDC at the moment and will enable you to load up your account's balance earlier on and also tell you the price point for those beforehand.
Early April - Claiming Alpha Accessand downloading the game
If you have pre-ordered the game on the website then you will receive a special key to unlock your alpha access into your account. Kickstarter backers and those who own "Alpha Access NFTs" will need to go to their account, choose one of them and click a "Claim" button. This will automatically grant you Alpha Access and remove/burn the selected token in the process(!).
You can then download the Closed Alpha on iOS (Testflight), Android and Steam directly through a link from your profile. Remember, you can play on ALL platforms using just one account as long as it is not currently logged into another session.
Remember, you do not need to do aynthing else. You get access to this (decentralized) world just by registering a game account on our website and having Alpha Access. There is no need to create an external Flow account.
February Development Updates
So without further ado, here is what our team has accomplished in the last 30 days!
Our art director Lena has been working on our new base-tileset to be used for the basic layout and structure of the whole game and each area - the world is divided into multiple islands on Ancora so each one should have a special look and feel to it. However, the water - which you can travel on by the way(!) - is more or less the same so we established 3 different water-sprites to be used for beach, shallow- and deep water. This will be overriden by e.g. lava on the Firelands area of course!
The game server and Unity-client side of things have been working closely together to create our brand new Battle System 1.0. More on that in March when we have added the visuals!
Max K. - our network architect has finalised the first server deployment on Unity's Multiplay architecture and we do expect to have our own internal game server running in the next 2 weeks!
Harshad has been going crazy on the new Quest and DialogueSystem - we are utilizing a heavily modified version of Ink https://www.inklestudios.com/ink/ which is a visual scripting language tool - we pretty much integrated this into Unity, created a custom parser and added quest-system logic. The great thing is that is allows us to visually design a new quest and/or dialogue in the standalne editor... that sounds pretty kewl for a development stream..
But wait! There is more!
You have asked us about the Monster Stats and here we go:
SP (Stamina Points)
There are IVs for all base stats (Individual values unique to each monster)
Traits are special modifiers that have mainly additional benefits but can sometimes reduce strength. A monster can have up to 2 traits. Usually it starts with one and through various actions including leveling, item use and other mechanics it can gain a second one.
Some example traits:
Arcane Intellect (increases crit chance)
Hasty (slightly increases speed gain on levelup)
Brave (slightly increases attack gain on levelup)
Relaxed (slightly decreased speed gain on levelup)
Some traits are in effect during leveling while others just add a base modifier to e.g. attacks SPs have fixed bases for each individual Chainmon species, most range from 30-60. They get enhanced by a monster's individual IVs. Each ability has a fixed SP cost which enables us to design powerful abilities with high SP costs in mind. If a mon has no SPs left, it has to pause for one turn to regenerate half of the max SPs. This can be influenced by items and/or traits
Instead of classic monster types, there are 9 elements in the game, each home to a different island/area.
As battles in CM are always 2vs2, you can actually chain/combine attacks one after another, creating strong and powerful "elemental reactions" that truly influence the battle. If a Chainmon has been hit by a pyro ability and the second attack in the same turn or the one after is a Hydro elemental attack, the "vaporize" elemental reaction is triggered, dealing 2x hydro dmg - combined with a cool visual effect.
We truly believe that these major changes to the usual monster taming battle system are a huge deal and we can't wait to see and test those with your together in April!
January 2021 Development Update
about 1 month ago
– Tue, Jan 26, 2021 at 09:47:13 PM
Oh boy, this is a long one - there is so much going on, please take a seat and enjoy the ride!
Quick Facts: (tl;dr)
- Pre-Order Store launching this week
- Backer Surveys going out in the next few days
- Flow mainnet launch imminent
- Closed Alpha launch on the horizon
January has been a wild ride so far, our network architect Max K. has been hard at work creating our brand new game server and is currently implementing Unity's AAA Multiplay architecture into our systems. Once that initial transition has been completed, we will have new cloud-servers available for both internal development as well as early community testing... Yep, Closed Alpha will already utilize this brand new technology, enabling faster connections, less network lag and a scaling potential that used to be AAA-game exclusive!
Our main artist Lena has been supporting the project as a freelancer for about one year already but is now joining B-Side Games full-time as an art director in February. Therefore we were busy handling paperwork, onboarding and defining new workflows and will start to see some new amazing graphics, designs and concepts very soon!
Harshad just came back from his long-due vacation and started work on the exciting new ability system. Once that is done we can create some cool effects and animations on stream!
Max (me) has been prototyping with the new rendering technology (see below) and preparing minting and distribution of Kickstarter rewards both on BackerKit as well as on Flow.
Next month we will share a ton of visual elements including concepts, designs and graphics once Lena has started rock 'n' rolling!
We are finalizing the Backerkit integration with the shipping details and once that is done we will send our the surveys in the next few days! There will also be a little surprise in the store and/or available as an add-on which is a collaboration with an artist you might have seen already... highly limited
State of Alpha
Given the previous development updates you probably realized that there were going to be some delays with the first playable closed Alpha. The holiday season, onboarding of new team members and the NFT delivery on Flow were all taking a little bit longer than intended in the first place.
Plus the game - from a developer's POV - went through some massive changes and advancements.
The demo acted as a "Vertical Slice" to showcase our tech and vision, but over the years and recent months it became unstable so that a proper production environment was not possible anymore. It took days(!) instead of hours to create a new level, so content production was especially painful and wasted a ton of resources.
Also some of our workflows were not designed for some features we promised in Kickstarter (e.g. 3D characters).
All in all it was actually faster and much more convenient to re-write several features.
So here I present to you our list of new and improved systems we are now working on:
New AAA architecture, multiple game-servers located in all major regions, cross-region and cross-server play, low latency, endless scaling potential
2. New game server
Instead of Smartfox2D we are now using a custom DotNet 5.0 server for most of our game-logic - this not only saves on licensing fees, it also enables much more in depth optimisation not possible before!
3. Improved backend
Account management, inventory, monsters, achievements, quests and 80% of our data has been migrated to Playfab backend which enables smooth player onboarding even without a game account and a robust backend solution.
4. Flow Blockchain mainnet
Launching on Flow mainnet now* enables us to reward our Closed Alpha players with exclusive and limited Pre-Season rewards once the Closed Alpha launches and players can complete challenges!
*Launch on Flow is imminent - stay tuned for separate announcement
5. New Rendering technique
Mixing 2D and 3D elements is quite the challenge especially since we are aiming for the old-school pixel-art look. However, shaders andmatrix manipulationto the rescue!
6. FMOD Sound Engine
Based on feedback by our music and sound designer David we are switching to a new audio engine. This is less relevant from a player experience POV but makes our life easier and more convenient during development.
7. Early Closed Alpha build
Once we get greenlight by Unity to launch a development server inside their cloud system, we can invite all of our backers and those who have Alpha Access to download the game on Steam, iOS and Android through our internal channels! We do expect this to happen in February - however, due to the rewriting of game systems and technology we will slowly but surely roll out new game features over time so the very first playable version will very likely be limited in functionality but we aim to have the Flow integration done by then so that you can start earning some rewards for e.g. creating your game account, inviting your friends and testing the new battle system...
Wait a second!
New Battle System
During Kickstarter we promised a brand new battle system that should differentiate itself from traditional monster taming games and we now have finalised our design process and can't wait to create a separate blog/video in February about this specifically...
A little teaser... who needs monster types anyway if you have elements... ;)
Shoutout to Ova Magica!
Ova Magica is combining the farming and monster taming genre with life sim elements! Do you remember your favourite classic games growing up when you were younger, and more recent games which pay tribute to them? Beloved favourites such as Stardew Valley and Slime Rancher, and timeless classics such as Harvest Moon and Pokémon!
Digital rewards fullfillment (OPTIONAL)
about 2 months ago
– Mon, Jan 11, 2021 at 12:34:30 PM
This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.
Happy Holidays - December 2020 Update
2 months ago
– Wed, Dec 23, 2020 at 10:19:27 PM
A huge thank you from all of us at B-Side Games and we are now leaving for the holidays and will be back in January with our regular development schedule.
In January we start off by going through our new and updated development roadmap, what we have in store for our first playable Alpha and what else to expect from 2021!
In order to keep our promise of a fully open and transparent development process, we will give you all the tools and knowledge on how to participate along the journey so that we can create the best possible game experience together.
Thanks for an amazing end of 2020 and happy holidays!
Surveys, Stretch-Goals, NFTs and development-streams!
3 months ago
– Tue, Dec 08, 2020 at 04:44:12 PM
We have received the final backer data from Kickstarter and are sending out a first backer-survey later today/tomorrow! All you will need to tell us is your Discord username for claiming access to backer-only channels and to answer an additional question related to your game account (if existing already). The sooner everyone can respond to those the better so keep an eye on your email inbox!
At the moment we are working hard with our partner BackerKit to finalise setting up the pre-order/addon-store which we expect to go live early next year - once our shipping/distributing partner is ready. Then you can add/edit your shipping address and do further customization as required.
Founder Token Distribution
The Founder Token is a special reward that is given to the top 100 contributors to the campaign and we can share some stats on that.
The average top 100 pledges to be eligible is 863 EUR - the median is 350 EUR - the lowest pledge eligible based on time of backing was 60 EUR - you can see the full breakdown of anonymous pledges and stats here.
Digital Rewards (NFT) distribution
In regards to the digital rewards - and especially the NFTs - we are currently deploying our smart contracts to Flow and verifying them on testnet and will have finished this process this week. For those looking to trade those items with another player, our partnerVIV3 is transitioning to mainnet already and will be supported on day 1 - they are currently scheduled for next week and we hope to be ready by then too.
As promised in our campaign we will keep you all on track regarding development progress, updates and everything else going on and there will be two major sources for that.
1. Kickstarter + Company Blog
Once a month there will be a huge blog post coming out on Kickstarter itself plus a copy on our Company website (https://bsidegames.com) which summarises the current month, important events and all progress made towards the game.
Starting with the upcoming Closed Alpha launch (early 2021) this will be your weekly and daily source of updates and news through various channels. We want to integrate you into the development processes as much as possible so you not only get access to the "stable" builds but also you will be able to opt-in to our more experimental testing branches anytime - those might not be as stable and online 24/7 but you will literally be kept up to date with our daily internal builds(!).
Chat with some members of the team about upcoming features, submit ideas and report bugs on the fly.
Discord is going to be your main source of communication.
As you may know, the demo during Kickstarter was running on a pretty outdated version of the game since we had to finalize it many months in advance prior.
One of the biggest changes to our systems we are doing at the moment is upgrading to a much faster and distributed multiplayer server thanks to Max, our server engineer (not "me", Max Weber) and our new partnership with Unity and their Enterprise-grade Multiplay technology.
In terms of visual fidelity we are doing internal testing with a new Day/night and lighting engine that *should* improve the visual quality of our levels dramatically - this kind of system is always difficule to pull off but our current workflows are looking promising!
We are also transitioning our player characters, NPCs and Chainmons into 3D models that can be customized any way you like. Using a custom shader they fit right into the beautiful pixel-art world so we keep the art style the way we promised - BUT - we gain access to advanced solutions for e.g. customization, battle animations and aneasier workflow for e.g. cutscenes, dialogues etc.
Closed Alpha launch, schedule and Flow integration
We are currently working hard on wrapping up Pre-Production on the game to transition into Full Production and thus Closed Alpha in January/February of 2021.
That means right now we are onboarding new team members, optimizing workflows, adjusting the visuals and game elements based on feedback and updating our core systems. This process has been going on for about 6 months already and the more time we spend on here the easier it is in the future to push out a continuous stream of game updates, content and exciting new features.
That being said, we are currently on track to launch the first Closed Alpha build on Steam, iOS and Android in our promised timeframe but we will let you know ASAP in case something is going to delay this or if we have to re-schedule a specific game element.
Our first official development stream will be next week (exact day/time TBD) hosted by Max on his Twitch where you can take an early look into how the new day/night system is supposed to look like and diving into some advanced blockchain concepts to be explored in the next few months!