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Phenomic Developer’s Log2004-03-26

Welcome to the Phenomic Developer’s Log. Starting today, we will regularly publish up-to-date information concerning the development process, who we are, and what we do. That is what this webpage forum is for.

What’s been going on here since SpellForce reached gold at the beginning of November?
A lot: Just because the game goes into press doesn’t mean you’ve finished your job as a developer. We admit, a few members of the team actually did have a chance to finally take a few days off. However, most members of the team had more than enough to do during the assumed calm weeks of the CD production process, between gold master release and publishing of the game.

First, the English, French, Italian and Spanish versions of the game had to be finished. Then we needed a SpellForce demo. By the way, a demo isn’t as easy and quick to make as some of you may think. The main problem is identifying and removing all unnecessary data, so the game won’t be gigabytes in size. And then the day had come: SpellForce was in the stores and everyone anxiously watched the reactions in the forum – after all, the members of the forums on the gamer boards are known to be very critical ... Unfortunately, the time for the patch had come. We did have three teams of testers that tested the games considering various aspects, including hardware compatibility, among others. Nonetheless, we found systems that still had problems running the game.

So, while one part of the team took care of forum administration matters and the post production of SpellForce, the rest of the team took on a new project in December: The Breath of Winter – SpellForce addon. But we’ll tell you more about that in the next log entry.

Yours truly,
Martin (Project Manager)

Release party: After three years of SpellForce it was time to play a real classic again!

Meet the SpellForce Community and discuss this news in the official Forum or in Chat!

Developer's Log Wk 192004-05-03

Hi everybody!
In this Log's last entry I told you how SpellForce post-production kept the major part of our team busy in the time between the SpellForce release and Christmas (with demos, localisation, patches, forum analyses, etc.). But even then some of us started working on the add-on, the concept, story, drawings, feasibility and risk assessments, ...

One thing was clear from the start: we wanted to have another extensive campaign with loads of cool opponents. But many of you thought the multiplayer mode was in need of improvement, so we endeavored to do something about that. Although character development is usually one of SpellForce's key features, it had been completely left out in the multiplayer mode. So we wanted to create a multiplayer mode with increased focus on the avatar. The logical approach would be a cooperative mode with character development and merchants. To make this mode worth-while, we would need a lot of maps, preferably with a random opponent variation.

Soon we realised that this mode was going to become too large to implement in the multiplayer mode "only". So we came up with the free game mode. In the add-on, this mode now enables you to build up your avatar alone or in a game with up to three players against randomly created opponents. This is a good opportunity to learn different skills and try out different items and spells without having to re-play the campaign from the beginning. In addition to this, the higher-level maps have some hidden runes that can't be found elsewhere. There will be some awesome battles with these.

To make sure that the mode would be well balanced and to ensure stable operation over the Internet, we started our beta test even before Easter. Many of you from the forum have been contributing to this testing – the whole team here would like to thank all of you for your enthusiasm!

All the same, the campaign will of course remain the central focus of the game. Therefore it has become fairly extensive again. Its story is modelled on the legend of Aryn the Frost Weaver, a character you have already met on the SpellForce Website. However, this is not about relating to past events but about new complications resulting from them.

In contrast to SpellForce, however, the story now includes some main characters that the avatar encounters repeatedly; characters that accompany the avatar over longer parts of his journey. The technical and graphic implementation, in particular of the final battle, presented us with some specific challenges. Not to give away too much, I'll just say this much now: Aryn is BIG!

Yours truly
Martin (Project Manager)

No-one has dared to open this company fridge since our Christmas holidays.

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