Aug 212015

NEStalgia Podcast CoverLast week we received a great response when we asked players to submit questions for us to answer on a new episode of the NEStalgia podcast. Balzack and Spiff joined me on this week’s podcast as I answered many of those questions. We also discussed what we’ve been up to lately, and what our plans our for the KotE release. You can stream the podcast on this page or download the MP3:

We didn’t get to every question that was submitted, but I’m definitely open to doing another podcast again in the near future if there are burning questions that weren’t answered. If you have new questions then feel free to ask those in the comments as well; if there is interest in another podcast then we’ll make it happen. Enjoy!

Jul 232015

KotE ArcticAs most of you are aware, the v1.70 update has been “on the verge of release” for several weeks now. Quoting myself from last month:

The biggest concern is dealing with players who still have savefiles on multiple servers, mostly in regards to merging files and/or dealing with excess characters that can’t be merged. There’s no perfect solution to that issue and it’s probably going to eat up a ton of time, so bear with me as I get it sorted out.

…unfortunately I was right, in that figuring out a solution to that problem gobbled up a *ton* of time. There were several occasions when I told players that I just needed another day or two at most to finish things up, only to find myself slogging through a bunch of additional unexpected development work. Though that’s the nature of software development, it never gets any easier to cope with (or in my case, predict).

The good news is that v1.70 will now include a bunch of bug fixes (courtesy of Spiff), and even more back-end optimizations than I had originally planned. Also, the solutions that I’ve come up with to handle the aforementioned extra savefiles will put users in direct control of handling their excess characters without any outside help. That means that after v1.70 I’ll be able to take myself out of the equation for savefile transfer and merging operations, which will be a huge relief moving forward.

My goal is to get v1.70 out this weekend, and then to run a little Steam promotion next week alongside the beta release of the new universal webclient. Granted, that’s been my goal for the past few weeks, so keep that in mind when placing your bets!

Key of the Exiles News

Working on v1.70 has left me pretty drained. Every time that I’ve sat down this month to write a KotE-centric blog post, I’ve ended up starting at a blank page for 20 minutes before giving up and returning to the development grind on v1.70. I know that many of you are hungry for more KotE news, and I’m going to try my best to prepare something cool for next week’s update.

I was planning to wait until we were closer to release before showing this image, but because I feel bad about flaking out on this month’s weekly updates I feel like I need to give you something related to KotE today:

NEStalgia: Key of the Exiles

Lo and behold, the title artwork for Key of the Exiles, along with a slightly redesigned NEStalgia logo. After KotE is released, players will see this title screen once they hit the new content. You’ll be seeing more images like this (and the new logo) once I’m ready to start promoting the expansion.

I’ll be back next Thursday with another weekly update.

Jun 252015

NEStalgia BoulderHey everyone! Today I’m trying to cram in as many hours as possible working on the v1.70.0 update so that I can finally get it released. Therefore, this week’s post is going to be short and sweet.

Waaaaay back when NEStalgia was just a jumble of notes in a Google Doc, I decided to avoid creating any sort of damage-dealing terrain in the overworld. My main goal was just to avoid having dead players exist in the overworld in general (as ghosts in the party or what have you), which is also why Poison can’t kill in the overworld and characters always revive with 1 HP at the end of battle.

While I still don’t want to have dead players being dragged around by their party leader, I do think that it’s about time the overworld became a bit more treacherous. In Key of the Exiles you won’t just encounter the familiar JRPG “marsh” or “barrier” type terrain, you’ll also need to be on the lookout for new types of obstacles that could send you and your party straight to the dreaded death cutscene.

Earlier today I recorded an animated gif to show one of these traps in action. It’s about 3MB, so instead of embedding it I’ll instead have you click this link to view it: Pyramid Boulder Trap!

Takes me right back to 1989...

Takes me right back to 1989…

A couple of answers to inevitable questions:

  • When one party member is killed by either an overworld trap or damage-dealing terrain, all other party members will die instantly as well.
  • Although I mentioned it above, the way Poison works in the overworld has not changed. It will still take an afflicted character down to 1 HP without killing him/her.
  • I’m very aware that players may have concerns over lag spikes etc. making these traps frustrating to deal with. My hope is that these traps will be fun to encounter, and I’m not going to make them reliant on super precise movements and timing.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back with another blog post once v1.70.0 and the Webclient beta go live.

Jun 042015

NEStalgia Custom ShipFirst off, thank you so much for all of the responses to last week’s blog post! There were a ton of great questions, and the comments made in support of both the game and the new weekly blog posts were much appreciated. Receiving feedback from players on these weekly updates will be super helpful to the process, so keep the comments coming!

In this week’s update I’ll be providing a brief outline of what player owned ships are like and how they work. What follows is meant as a primer for this topic, as I’m sure that you’ll be hearing much more about player owned ships in future previews. I’m going to avoid significant story and gameplay spoilers here, but if you are completely adverse to any type of spoilers for the expansion then now would be a good time to stop reading.

How Owning A Ship Works

You’ll be boarding your future ship within minutes of starting Key of the Exiles (KotE), though it won’t be under your command just yet. After meeting some new key characters, you, your companions and Krasus will set sail for the western continent. Your primary objective is still to find all of the Luanan Runes and prevent Mardeck from obtaining their power. Thankfully, after having spent a bunch of time in Mardeck’s library, Krasus has a pretty good idea of where the remaining three runes are located.


Just hanging out on the deck of the ship in the middle of the ocean.


Krasus spends his time in the ship’s cabin reading books and giving advice.

Before long you’ll be in command of the ship, and Krasus and the other NPCs on board will stick around to help guide you. Most of the new content in the expansion is non-linear, meaning that you get to choose where you go and in what order you go there. Your ship will act as a hub for most of your activity in KotE; when you board the ship from the overworld you’ll actually go to the main deck. From there you can explore your ship and talk to NPCs, or take the helm to cruise around the overworld.

Each player’s ship is essentially a unique instance. When a group of players boards a ship, everyone will be transported to the party leader’s ship. That means that you’ll probably be hopping on and off lots of different ships during your travels, and last week jozeppi asked a good question about ship relocation:

Q) I would like to know: if one teleports via recall or a hearthstone, will the ship come along as well like in DW3, or will it be left where it was disembarked?

A) Yes. As in most of the Dragon Warrior games and other JRPGs of the era, using a Recall ability will also teleport your ship to a location nearby your destination in the overworld.

Customizing Your Ship

Because you’ll be spending so much time aboard your ship, you’ll almost certainly be interested in purchasing some upgrades to make it feel more like home…

This is the barebones interior of your ship's hull when you first obtain it. It won't stay this way forever though...

This is the barebones interior of your ship’s hull when you first obtain it.

This upgraded interior features a Companion Ranch and a Merchant to buy/sell goods from.

This upgraded interior features a Companion Ranch and a Merchant to buy/sell goods from.

There are currently five major upgrades that you can purchase that will change the actual structure of your vessel. These upgrades can be purchased in any order. Ex: you can purchase the Inn upgrade before the Companion Ranch upgrade, or vice-versa.

In addition to the functional upgrades, there are also many ways to customize the look of your ship. You’ll notice in a couple of the shots below that the ship can have different color schemes, and you can proudly display your guild’s emblem on the main sail as well. Assuming that you have enough gold banked to purchase these customizations, you’ll be cruising around the ocean in style in no time:

Walking out of a town that I just "Recalled" to, about to board my ship.

Walking out of a town that I just “Recalled” to, about to board my ship.

A ship rocking a guild emblem and custom colors.

A player ship rocking a guild emblem and custom colors.

Sailing near a big hole in the ground in the arctic north...

Sailing near a big hole in the ground in the arctic north…

Another set of custom colors on a ship exploring the world.

Another set of custom colors on a ship exploring the world.

That’s all that I have for today! Feel free to fire away with questions if you have them, and check back next Thursday for another NEStalgia weekly update.

** Note that any information presented in Key of the Exiles previews is subject to change, though I generally won’t cover a topic unless the design is fleshed out and/or it’s already implemented. **

May 302015

Pyramid OverworldOne of my big struggles this past year has been in communicating my development progress (and for many months last summer/fall, the lack thereof). Especially when it comes to the Key of the Exiles content expansion, I’ve felt self conscious posting previews etc. in the face of so many delays. My reasoning has been that long time players probably don’t want to preview what’s in the works; they just want to play it already.

The feedback that I’ve been receiving, however, runs contrary to that. Even in the absence of a clear release date, many oldbies are curious about the expansion and want to know more about it. NEStalgia also continues to sell really well on Steam, meaning that there are lots of new players discovering the game every month who want to see more signs of progress from the dev team.

All in all, I think that most players want to hear from me on a regular basis – even if I don’t have much to report. Therefore, my plan this summer is to drop the “only show up when you have something to say” approach and trying something new.

From here on out I’ll be posting weekly development blog updates every Thursday. I can’t promise that the weekly posts will always be full of exciting new information, but players will at least have the opportunity to see what I’m working on and ask questions. The question that I have for all of you is this: What do you want me to show and/or write about?

I’m wary of spoilers when it comes to the expansion, but I’d like to show screenshots of the new areas and at least general descriptions of what’s going on in them. I also have some back-end updates in the works that could drastically increase the size of servers. If you have something else that you’d like me to address (no matter how big or how small), leave a comment on this post or future weekly update posts, and I’ll try to cover all requests.

The first weekly update will be posted this coming Thursday. In the meantime, here are several new screenshots from the expansion for you to digest:

Caption Testing 123

The first line of the “Back to Balzack” cutscene where your journey picks up.

Out to Sea

Sailing out to never before seen lands! This is the deck of your new ship.


The Pyramid of Higaza is home to many dangerous traps…


The main door that you’ll need the “Key of the Exiles” for.

Aug 252014
This little one has been keeping me busy...

This little one has been keeping me busy…

We knew that the Steam launch would be a big deal, but seeing it actually happen back in April was pretty incredible. The crazy part for me personally was that in the opening days of the Steam release I was in the hospital with my wife as she gave birth to our first baby. The whole memory is now a blur of me frantically working on my laptop to manage the Steam release and holding my wife’s hand as she delivered our beautiful daughter Isla.

At any rate, between learning to care for a newborn and some health issues (see my recent forum reply) I’ve unfortunately been MIA since the Steam release. I haven’t decided whether or not I want to publicly discuss the health issues that have been plaguing me this year, but the important thing is that I’m feeling much better every day. Perhaps we’ll discuss that topic a bit in a future podcast.

Anyway, today I want to announce some exciting news as well as recap where we stand with NEStalgia development:

Humble Bundle Flash Sale: Modern Retro

I don’t think that the Humble Bundle needs any introduction, as it is the standard for charity bundles in the industry. I’m incredibly excited to announce that starting right now (11:00 am Pacific time), NEStalgia will be a part of a “Modern Retro” flash sale that lasts for 24 hours. This bundle includes over $70 worth of games and soundtracks, with a percentage of the proceeds benefitting the American Red Cross and Child’s Play.

Humble Bundle: Modern Retro

NEStalgia is included in the bundle if you pay at least $6. For those of you keeping score, that’s the cheapest price that the game has ever been offered for – and that’s not even considering the other great games and soundtracks that are a part of this bundle.

This is a short term flash bundle that only lasts 24 hours, so jump on it while you can! Check out the bundle page here:

Short Term Updates

This week we’ll be releasing the v1.68.5 update, which has a variety of bug fixes and balance tweaks. From here on out the NEStalgia Launcher will follow the same versioning notation as the game itself, so instead of being called “Build 19” the new version of the Launcher will also be “v1.68.5”.

One thing to note is that I’ve managed to track down and fix the map scrolling jitteriness affecting certain users, and that fix will be included in v1.68.5.

Client-Side Saving Coming Soon

We’re working to implement client-side saving as an option for players on both private and public servers. “Client-Side Saving” simply means that your character savefiles will be stored on your computer rather than whatever server you’re playing on. The real goal with this change is to make drop-in drop-out multiplayer much easier for small private games, though public dedicated server hosts will have the option to allow client-side savefiles as well. All of the Official Servers will be sticking with the current server-side saving system.

The First Major Content Expansion

MardeckWork has (finally) resumed on the forthcoming “Key of the Exiles” content expansion. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “Key of the Exiles”, here is a quick rundown of what it will include:

  • The main quest line will be continued, beginning with the player receiving his or her very own boat. The main quest line itself will branch out at this point and become much less linear, allowing players to complete main story objectives in whatever order they choose.
  • Players will be able to use their boat to sail around and explore the entire world, which contains many new towns, dungeons and other exciting areas to explore.
  • The level cap for Players and Companions will be increased to 45, opening up new abilities, skill tree nodes and milestone boosts.
  • A new end-game dungeon will be introduced for level 45 players, complete with new daily quests and new equipment sets for each class.
  • New monsters, music, etc. etc. – everything that content expansions typically come with!
Other Lose Ends

I’m working on updating our server merging tool so that I can begin server merges in the next week or two. I’d love to wave a magic wand and just have a single NEStalgia server support 1000+ players online at once, but until that happens we’ll need to continue to add servers for large population explosions and then merge them down afterwards.

That’s all for today. As always if you have any questions then don’t be afraid to drop us a comment on this post, and don’t forget to spread the word about the Humble Bundle Flash Sale! You’re probably never going to see NEStalgia go for any cheaper than this, and you get a lot of other games as well. Plus, you know, charity.

Nov 262013

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve recorded a podcast, but part of our goal as we move development ahead at full throttle is to increase the frequency of blog posts and updates about what’s going on behind the scenes.

NEStalgia Official Podcast

Click the image to check out the Podcast on iTunes. We can also be found in the iOS Podcast App, just search ‘Silk Games NEStalgia’

Today’s podcast is a meaty one, clocking in at 42 minutes. On this episode of the podcast Balzack and I discuss the Pre-Steam Fundraiser, details of the Steam launch, an ordered priority list of what’s next for the game in terms of short-term updates, and some branded new information about the content expansion. We also preview one of the new music tracks that was recently composed for the game.

If you have questions or feedback about the podcast then please leave us a comment on this blog post. It’s really up to you guys as to whether or not we keep doing these podcasts – if you’re interested in hearing more podcasts on a more regular basis then let us know.

Aug 302013

It’s hard to believe that it’s been exactly one year since NEStalgia went up on Steam Greenlight. It’s even harder to believe that it’s also been about a year since development of the game was inadvertently put on “pause” after I started a new job.

By sheer coincidence, I wrapped up that job this past Tuesday in order to start focusing my own new media production company. When my wife and I went out to dinner to celebrate my career milestone on Tuesday night, one of the things we talked about is how I was looking forward to putting time into NEStalgia again. As you can imagine, the last thing that I expected was to wake up the next morning to find out that NEStalgia had been Greenlit. Talk about serendipity!

What Happens Now?

Getting NEStalgia ready for sale on Steam is going to take some time. It could be two weeks, or it could be two months – I really don’t know at this point. The important thing to note is that NEStalgia launching on Steam isn’t going to affect any current subscriber’s access to the game. Once I have more information about how it’s all going to work, I’ll be sure to share the details.

The game itself is also in need of some updates in the near future. There are a ton of  bug fixes and minor tweaks on my to-do list (a year’s backlog really adds up fast). My biggest concern, however, will be working on the previously announced content expansion, ‘Key of the Exiles‘.

None of this is going to happen overnight. As patiently as all of you have been waiting, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer. New content is what the majority of you are craving, and as of now I don’t have an answer for when it will be released.

Management Changes

In the past, a great deal of my time has been spent in the day to day management of the community and dealing with customer service type stuff. From this point forward I’m going to stay out of all of that as much as I possibly can in order to focus strictly on development. Balzack is now the go-to guy for everything related to community management. That means moderation decisions, customer service issues, questions/complaints, etc. Balzack has always been the official community manager – the difference now is that I’m taking myself completely out of the equation.

Balzack can be reached via the forums or the email.

Distribution Changes

Our current distribution model was built to handle a small community. Restricting the game to a handful  of official dedicated servers is how we’ve quality controlled the experience and ensured that players don’t get too spread out over a bunch of small private servers. However, now that a much larger audience is potentially headed our way, things need to change.

What we’ll likely do is transition over to a Minecraft/Terraria sort of model. Players will be able to download the game to play single player or host small private servers to play with friends. People who purchase the game will also be able to host larger public dedicated servers. Last but not least, we’ll continue to maintain a large cluster of official dedicated servers as an option for players to join.

Under this model players will no longer be reliant upon joining the Silk Games servers, and people who don’t like the official servers can host and manage their own servers however they see fit.

Time to Celebrate!

Last year’s Steam Greenlight holiday event has been activated on all servers, so those of you who haven’t played the event before should stop by and check it out. Now that I’m going to be back working on the game around the clock, you can expect to see regular blog updates and the occasional podcast in the weeks and months to come.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you for all of the support so far! This whole Greenlight endeavor was a community effort, and NEStalgia’s success belongs to all of you who were a part of it. I also want to sincerely thank those of you who have stuck around with the game this past year during my development hiatus. You’ve been very understanding and patient, and I’ve really appreciated it.

There will be much, much more news to come…

Jun 252012

Last summer I set forth a plan to take NEStalgia from being a “hobbyist project” to a full-blown independent game. Although the overhaul of the code base and implementation of countless gameplay improvements took much longer than expected, we’re finally at the finish line. In other words, NEStalgia is now ready for widespread exposure and a much larger audience. The most recent (and most important) milestone was the release of the NEStalgia standalone client: if you haven’t seen it yet then go grab it on our new website. Hopefully we’ll start to see many new faces as I work to spread the word about NEStalgia in the coming weeks!

The next question is where the game itself goes from here. Players have been begging and pleading for new content for the better part of a year, and I’m finally ready to provide it. From here on out the primary focus of our development efforts will be regular content expansions, the first of which is already in the works:

NEStalgia: Key of the Exiles

We won’t be changing the title of the game itself, but all NEStalgia content expansions will be named. Key of the Exiles will expand the world of NEStalgia by adding new regions, monsters, items and quests while also bumping the level cap up to 45. As with all named content expansions, Key of the Exiles will also include a new level 45 “end game” dungeon with a wide array of daily quests and the next tier of epic set gear.

The first order of business for players will be to obtain a ship that allows them to freely navigate the world of NEStalgia. The ship is more than just a cool new way to get around, as it also represents a philosophical shift in how the game is played. Up until now players have had a fairly linear path placed before them, but once you obtain a ship the entire game becomes much more open-ended. The order in which you complete the next main storyline objectives is completely up to you, and there will be no NPCs holding your hand telling you where to go. Exploration and discovery are the hallmarks of this content expansion.

So why is it called Key of the Exiles? Although the quest for the Luanan Runes will continue, the next rune is locked away in an ancient tomb behind a door sealed 10,000 years ago by the exiles of the ancient Luanan civilization. After sealing the door the exiles immediately destroyed the only means of opening it: a magical key capable of unlocking any door. The main storyline quests will have players scouring the world in search of fragments of that ancient key in order to reforge it.

As with all major NEStalgia updates, I won’t be setting a hard release date for Key of the Exiles until I know for sure that I can hit my target. In the short term, however, players can look forward to a fun 4th of July holiday event next week alongside the release of the Black Sanctum companions (more details forthcoming). As development on Key of the Exiles progresses, I’ll continue to post previews here on the blog.