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24 Hours to go in Underworld Ascendant. Lizardmen raised, sights set on Companion Creatures Stretch Goal.

Oh my goodness, will you look at this? Whilst I slumbered, the total goal for Underworld Ascendant has passed through the Lizardmen stretch goal and is working it’s way to toward Companion Creatures. This is phenomenal news! But there is an exciting prize halfway to the finish line of the next stretch goal. It looks like Enhanced Music and an titillating new area called the Necrotic Graveyard is at our fingertips. I mean, who doesn’t want to go into the Underworld and pay a visit to the Necrotic Graveyard? What could possibly go wrong in a place like that? I’m sure it’s a lovely place to sit a spell and contemplate the adventures of the day. If there is a day, it is the Underworld after all.

I have to admit, things looked a little sluggish in those early days. Underworld burst onto the scene, then like most projects hit the middle lull. Oh but It’s full steam ahead now! Lots of new backers have come on board and multiple stretch goals have been unlocked.

I think we’re looking at an incredibly exciting game here. I know I keep going back to it, but this reminds me of the excitement I felt over getting and playing the original Diablo. That single player game was absolutely stunning! I was amazed at the graphics, the music, the atmosphere and all the exploration and creatures. Look back, that seems like a minor experience compared to what’s coming in the Underworld.

image I really can’t help but smile at the exciting adventure this is going to be!

With the Companion Creature feature added to the game, players will be able to have a faithful little buddy tag along on their adventures. Companions might be useful in a fight, or in boosting skills and abilities, but they can also help the player in other unexpected ways.

Enhanced Music is also part of this Stretch Goal.  The music of the original Underworld games are memorable even to this day, and now we will be able to create music to inspire the next generation of CRPG gamers!

In addition when we get to $775,000, halfway through the Stretch Goal, we will build in the Stygian Abyss a new area, the Necrotic Graveyard. This dark and foreboding locale seems to hold an allure for the various monsters and creatures of the Stygian Abyss who, upon arriving at the graveyard, pass away only to be reanimated as the undead.

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48 Hours left for Underworld Ascendant – Tracy Hickman novel obtained, within reach of the Lizardmen

Wow, the excitement builds as we hit the last 48 hours of the Kickstarter campaign for Underworld Ascendant. Not only has the game been fully funded with room to spare, it’s pushed through a couple of the stretch goals. The Underswamp will be added and we have set into motion another Tracy Hickman novel. Not only that, we are within striking distance of the Lizardmen, a new race to be added to the game. And speaking of added to the game, several new digital items have been added such as Chattering Bart (and his counterpart Chattering Bertha in SotA), shields, faction banners and t-shirts. And there’s plenty of fun to be had at each pledge level with digital copies of the game, alpha access, design sessions, signed boxes, parchments, art and behind the scenes videos.

But the real fun is about to begin. The underworld has been raised and we will forge ahead with sculpting and creating a fantastic adventure game. Shroud of the Avatar is a great world with lots of adventure and interaction. Underworld should shape up to be a fantastic experience that is ever changing and dynamic. From the videos and descriptions, these guys want this world to be alive and vibrant, not just some game you farm over and over again. It seems like it will react and change. And just because something worked the first time doesn’t mean it will work the second time.

What lies beyond the Underworld? Who knows, but my pledge is locked in, the game has been funded, the ideas and art are flowing and the community has shown some great support. Over 12,000 people think this is going to be a great game.

In mere hours we will put this exciting phase behind us and get down to the real work. I can’t wait to see the first build!

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Kickstarter for Underworld Ascendant is on Now!

A new Kickstarter project has come up and I think it’s well worth supporting. I’m a huge fan of the Ultima series and am a current backer of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues which is turning into an awesome game with great features and lots of exciting content. I supported that project over a year ago and we are now at the state where the Early Access edition is up and running nearly 24×7.

The fun continues as a new team is poised to resurrect Ultima Underworld. And while this is being done by a different team than Shroud of the Avatar, they worked together on Ultima and have plans to have some tie-ins with each other. This will be akin to the original Ultima series in that it will be a true adventure game and dedicate itself to being an MMO.

I’m really excited about this project and have already pledged my support. If you’re an adventure fan you should check it out and put in a few dollars. The game will be severely discount during Kickstarter. The game looks fun and the Otherside Entertainment team certainly knows what their doing.

In 1992, Ultima Underworld changed the rules of what a fantasy RPG could be. It introduced the concept of 3D immersion, a player-authored experience, and a richly dynamic world to explore. Its influence led to a whole generation of games such as Thief, Deus Ex, BioShock, Skyrim, and Dragon Age.

Underworld has been hidden away in the deepest vaults of its publisher for two decades. Only now have the original creators unchained the franchise, freeing it to innovate yet again.

Backing the game grants you unprecedented front row access to the creation of the next epoch of this storied masterpiece, Underworld Ascendant. With your help, here’s a glimpse at what we can together build:

  • Exquisitely Realized Underworld – Plunge into The Stygian Abyss: dark, ripe with dangers, full of ancient secrets to discover. A vast subterranean fantasy world made startlingly real and alive.
  • Dynamic Factions – Become embroiled in an epic plot, as rival factions vie for dominance in struggles that ebb and flow across The Stygian Abyss. Your choices will alter the outcome in subtle and dramatic ways. 
  • Improvisation Engine – Delight in player-authored gameplay taken to a whole new level, with a suite of technologies that empower you to solve challenges with astonishing ingenuity. Be the ‘MacGyver’ of a fantasy world. 
  • Hero to Call Your Own – Jump right in as a Fighter, Thief or Mage. Then as your Avatar grows, freely mix and match across any skills to develop a unique hero, tailored to your style of play.
  • Pushing Boundaries – Stretch Goals will innovate on co-op play with a friend; letting you build your own corner of The Stygian Abyss; and more.

Underworld Ascendant by OtherSide Entertainment

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New Kickstarter Project – Vineyard Valley for iPad

I quite literally just read about this game. I like casual games. I like wine. I like making beer. I like building stuff. So this to me is a game that combines most of those elements together. And it looks pretty neat.

From the description, Vineyard Valley is a casual game that lets players grow grapes, build a winery, create special blends, interact with friends and share wines with others. The social aspect I’m sure appeals to others more than me, but I like the idea of the game. It sounds pretty intriguing.It combines elements of a Sim, a tycoon style game and even some elements of Winemaker Extraordinaire (which was a fun, but all too easy "Sim").

In Vineyard Valley, you start with your own patch of land to grow your business. Ripen grapes and fruit, then ferment them into numerous types of wine. Sell that wine in a shopping village you design and build – or sell them in barrels to other players for them to sell! This game combines the business sim elements we know and love – especially those from the classic business sims and tycoon games of the 90s – and introduces a strong multiplayer social aspect where you and your friends run businesses side by side. And we’re not talking Ville style – we’re talking true business sim style, only designed in a way that is more relaxing than running a real business.

This game is easily worth pledging a few dollars towards. I like the idea and I think once the base games along, there are dozens of ways it can be expanded.If you’ve got a couple of bucks to spare help bring a game to life. I think it could be neat to watch the development of this game as well.

Vineyard Valley – A Social Winemaking Game!

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The Macallan 12 from the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter Project. A signed bottle to commemorate the fun!

Ah, the finale 24 hours of the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter Project, it seems so long ago in many ways. But a little reminder of the event just showed up at my door. For those who tuned in your may remember a wee little bottle of Scotch that Stephen Daniele brought in to help celebrate the community and the success of the project.

 macallan ks finale with stephen macallan ks finale stephen pours

You may also remember as the night wore on, the contents of that bottle slowly disappeared, mainly because the team was doing shots as they reach milestone after milestone. In the wee hours of the morning, there was only a tiny bit left.

Why do I bring this up? Well, as we reached the final hours I managed to get the attention of Richard "Lord British" Garriott and made a little deal. He was a little inebriated so I thought my chances were pretty good of pulling this off. If I did something for him, would he do something for me? He readily agreed and the deal was done. In the final of the drive he agreed to let me have that bottle.

macallan ks finale1

In the days to come Gina – "FireLotus" did a tremendously cool thing and got the Devs to sign that very bottle. They passed it around and said that as soon as the last bit was gone they would send it along. Considering the little bender they’d all just been on, I figured it would be a awhile.

dev bottle sign

And then, for one of the Dev Hangouts, Chris showcases a new bottle of Macallan, but this time a 25 year. He also makes mention that the original bottle was finished off and sent on it’s way.

chris shows off a new bottle

And here it is!

I want to thank Stephen, Chris, Gina, Dallas, Richard, Loren, B and everyone else on the Shroud of the Avatar to playing along with my silly idea and sending me this fantastic souvenir of the Kickstarter event. I really can’t thank you enough! It has been a wonderful experience and I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of it! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share in the game process!

The bottle has taken a very prominent place in my office, right next to an another empty bottle of Macallan 12 that made it’s way into my hands for my birthday not too long ago.

Again, thank you all!!

IMG_0152 IMG_0153 IMG_0154 IMG_0155 IMG_0156 IMG_0157

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