Hello there fellows!
This here is my first article (albeit a small one) about Legend of the Knightwasher, concentrating a bit on the sounds-side of it and a little bit about what's next.
Originally I had planned to make Legend of the Knightwasher by myself, from the ground up and all sides of the development. I had planned to use free sounds for all the effects, get some free music as well, make all the art by myself (and still will!) and also do all the scripting myself (and I will!).
As I started looking for free sounds from various sources, searching specific ones, trying to find the best fitting and quality stuff as I, of course, didn't want to have a weak point in the game by having bad audio. After wasting three days, listening to free sounds, visiting various websites and listening to what I had got that far, I decided there's no freakin' point to content with such a low quality sound libraries. And looking at the really professional sound banks, the price was too high and it was still just collection of generic.
I had originally also planned the game to be "no risks"-type, where I would put no money in anything because I wanted to be safe. But it would be a bigger risk to have bad audio, than turn my wallet upside down and dig in to ensure I could eliminate a weak link from the game. I'm still not going to seek direct publisher nor get in debt, game will be done, you don't need a billion (choose your money type) to make a good game. Just enough to live by, and currently my day job does that for me. But more about sound a bit later!
As for the sound.
Took me three seconds to realise I had worked with one great sound artist before. The quality and care he put's in is insane. I had heard his sound effects and foley sounds in one other project I'm working on (at the finnish indie game studio I have my day job in), but before I had visited his website (at www.kaamossound.com ) I didn't realise he had done sfx/foley for Xenonauts, Amnesia, Magicka and Gratuitous Tank Battles as well. Holy hell!
I knew for sure he would deliver brilliant quality sound effects and foley sounds, something that definitely wouldn't be a "weak point" to Knightwasher's art and design I had set up. He would definitely bring the same quality to the table, or even higher and that could never be a bad thing.
People (many indie developers) tend to just "fill in the gap" with audio and very often the audio ends up semi-good at best. I've seen a lot of great designs deliver only a decent experience because the sound quality is crackly and generic. I would never suggest anyone to use generic library, get someone who will design the sound for you (and record what's needed) unless of course you're experience by yourself.
I'm an artist and designer, with scripting background. That's what I'll do. Sound will come from Tapio at KaamosSound.com. As for music. Still exploring my options :)
Project status you say? Great I say!
I have tweaked and tweaked and tweaked the basic gameplay (combat, moving between tiles, keyword based chat system) over and over again and now it is finally in state I can freely, and safely, move to actual content creation. Gameplay will get tweaked more later, obiviously, until a perfect spot is found, but the current state is good already.
I have also written the main plot and I have pretty good idea of the direction to go from here. It's time to make a lot of new tiles, starting with beginning zone Westwood Forest and nearby Westwood City (the "first two" zones you'll usually visit). I'm not planning on hard coding the actual visiting order by setting artificial borders and walls, but obiviously following the main plot requires you to go around the world in certain order. Side plots, or just exploring, is a different thing of course.
Missing from the basic gameplay is upgrading still and inventory management (aka collecting everything you see). I have not decided whether or not to have direct upgrade path for gear or go with what Ultima Online did, heavier gear slowed you down with high protection, while light gear let you move and strike very fast. That's something for later.