It’s April 2019. A year after the original planned release date for the game. When Swords ‘n Magic was first conceived it was supposed to be a short foray into Unreal Engine to get my feet wet and learn the ropes. A year and a half and two project restarts later and I think we’re finally just about ready to head into the realm of Beta!
I’m really excited about this project. In the early days when I first dropped in that “Create Player” node and realized I could go back to my roots playing couch coop games with my two brothers in Unreal Engine, I was smitten. Swords ‘n Magic was no longer a test project where I learned the engine, it became my passion. And when I introduced it to the Twitch community a couple months later they fell madly in love with it.
But as with all young love, we get ahead of ourselves. The game turned from a small coop adventure into a sprawling open world with tons of enemies to best, items to craft, mysteries to uncover and houses to decorate. With every donation goal we stuck another new feature on the list and pretty soon I was overwhelmed as a solo developer.
Not to mention that with my very limited knowledge of Unreal Engine the game was starting to feel a lot like a it was made entirely of toothpicks and duct tape. And when the first private alpha test dropped, I knew two things:
Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff was a game that deserved to be finished, and it deserved to be finished the right way.
[Credit MegaMiley for this short hijinx montage of all that was wrong with Alpha 1.0.1]
So the first revamp began. I hired a fantastic programmer, restarted the game from scratch and spent the next 6 months building new locations and content and then… drifting away from the project while my family moved into a new stage of its own development. With a big move across the country the rift created between the programmer and it became too big to close back up and eventually we parted ways.
Enter restart number two.
After a few months of no development of any kind I was really starting to miss my project. I went live on Twitch and started from scratch once again. This time back to the roots with a focus on local multiplayer, discovery and immersion. Before long I realized how much I’d learned over the last year in Unreal Engine and I rebuilt nearly everything on a much sturdier foundation with plenty of room to grow and expand in a much shorter time than I ever imagined.
And here we are. Just on the verge of leaving closed alpha and moving into closed beta. That’s a big deal because beta means the game is fully featured. All the initial Steam Early Access features are nearly finished. Not polished or even bug free, I’m sure, but they’re implemented and working!
I’m sorry for the huge post but I wanted to take a bit to reflect on how far this project has come and how much love has gone into it. The Swords ‘n Magic and Stuff community on Twitch has grown from zero to over 2000 followers since I started streaming and the Kindred Games Discord community is sitting around 400 members right now. This game and it’s community has come a long way and I’m so excited to finally start giving back by inviting many of you to test the game when beta is released.
I know I’ve been absent from Twitch lately and a lot of you are in the dark about the progress of the game, but I can assure you a lot of work has been going on and I can’t wait to show it off. As I get ready to roll into beta I’ll be focusing most of my dev time on adding new and exciting content to the game and I plan on streaming a whole lot of it.
Stay tuned for another post about the progress so far and when our beta testers will finally get to test out this long awaited little project.