Sep 292016
 

Today’s NEStalgia v1.73 update (notes) doubles the game client’s frame rate and also significantly improves the responsiveness of the movement controls. These upgrades make a huge difference in how smooth the the game both looks and plays, and they’ve been a long time coming.

In general most of the changes in v1.73 are internal upgrades ported over from the forthcoming Key of the Exiles content expansion. Though I don’t have a definitive release window for the expansion yet, updates like v1.73 are important milestones that will help ensure that the expansion is stable and ready to handle lots of players on day one. Though they didn’t quite make it in to this initial v1.73 release, built-in support for gamepads and the universal web client should also both see the light of day in the near future.

NEStalgia Soundtrack

In other news, in response to popular request the NEStalgia Original Soundtrack is now available to download for free for anyone who has purchased NEStalgia on Steam. The soundtrack includes 35 music tracks straight from the game in their original chiptune-esque style, plus 12 bonus instrumental renditions of selected tracks. You can access the soundtrack via the Steam music player – just make sure that your Steam client has actually downloaded the latest NEStalgia update. Note that you can also grab the soundtrack’s MP3 files by clicking the ‘SHOW IN SYSTEM’ link below the ‘PLAY ALBUM’ button in the Steam music player.

Aug 132015
 

Getting v1.70 up and running turned out to be a bit of a struggle, but the server is back online and all of the major bugs have been squashed. However, there are still several things that need to be addressed in v1.70 before I can turn my focus back over to the expansion:

  1. Players with massive savefiles are sometimes causing short server lag spikes when they log in and out of the game. We’ve had problems with this in the past on servers that had lots of “old” savefiles, so it’s not surprising that the issue has popped up again now that all the savefiles are on one server. The good news is that I’ve been working on a fix for awhile now, and although it didn’t make it into the initial releases of v1.70, it should be ready very soon.
  2. Due to a small bug, I took the second server instance offline earlier this week. This should be fixed soon as well, which means that players will once again be able to use the Savefile Management Tool on the Midgard (2) instance.
  3. The Marketplace is currently closed; I didn’t want to push my luck and introduce all of the cross-server stuff at once. It may be another week or two before the Marketplace is opened up again.
  4. The NEStalgia web client that will allow Mac/Linux/mobile device users to play the game is ready to go live. The web client will be available as soon as I can get the second server instance back online.

Though it may not seem like it on your end, this was a major transition and it’s a huge relief to have most of it wrapped up. I’m also very excited to be out of the savefile management business, as players can now manually perform savefile merges and key changes using the new tool. All of this stuff is going to free up a ton of my time in the coming months.

NEStalgia Savefile Management

Please see this forum topic for an overview of the Savefile Management Tool.

 

What’s Next?

Once I get the remaining v1.70 issues dealt with, I’ll switch back to focusing all of my development efforts on the Key of the Exiles expansion. I’m going to continue with the weekly blog updates as well.

It’s been a long time since we did a NEStalgia podcast, so recording a new episode is on the agenda for next week’s update. If you have any questions about the recent v1.70 update, the expansion, or anything else NEStalgia related, please post your questions in the comments and we may use them for a Q & A session during the podcast. We’ll be recording early next week, so get your questions in by the end of the weekend!

Apr 042015
 

NEStalgia Ether BunnyNEStalgia v1.69.0 went live on the Official servers this morning, and along with it comes an improved and expanded Easter event.

Similar to the style of the new Halloween event from several months ago, the expanded Easter content includes an entirely new region with its own reputation, badges, unique items and recruitable companions. Called “The Ether”, this region becomes accessible after defeating the Ether Bunny world boss. The vast majority of the content for this holiday event is only accessible to high level characters:

NEStalgia Easter Event - Festivities NEStalgia Easter Event - Cutscene
NEStalgia Easter Event - The Ether NEStalgia Easter Event - Ether Foes

Because the Official servers are not nearly as populated as they usually are right now, I’ll be sure to host this Easter event (and the Halloween event) again after the release of the long awaited Key of the Exiles expansion. That means that if you’re a veteran player waiting for the expansion before you return, you won’t have to wait another year to experience this event. Later this week I’ll distribute a build of v1.69.0 on Steam etc. so that players on private servers can partake in the event as well.

The Easter event will run through next Sunday the 12th on the Official servers.

Note that free savefile transfers are still available through tomorrow, Sunday the 5th. If you have savefiles on the Official servers that you’d like transferred/merged onto a different server, now is the time to put in your request. I’ll be taking care of any outstanding transfer/merge requests both tonight and late Sunday evening.

Jan 252015
 

savefile_transferThe NEStalgia v1.68.8 update is now live, and simply contains a few minor bug fixes related to the recent server and savefile merges. With those bugs out of the way, we are finally able to start accepting savefile transfer requests for players on the official servers.

In order to request a savefile transfer, please visit the Savefile Transfer Request page and fill out the request form. Please read the instructions carefully before you make your request, because we cannot reverse savefile merges once they’ve been made. We will only be doing savefile transfers for people who apply using the request form on that page; if you’ve previously emailed us a transfer request then you still need to fill out and submit the form.

Please note that we do not offer individual character transfers between two servers. In other words, you cannot pick and choose which characters you’d like to move between servers; it is an all or nothing choice.

All transfer requests will be processed free of charge until February 16th, 2015. After that date, there will be a fee for all transfers (the fee is meant as a barrier to entry so that we’re not constantly making transfers for people on a whim).

 

I thank all of you for your patience as I’ve worked to get the transfer process up and running this month. Now that we have all of this house cleaning stuff out of the way, I’m hoping that I can finally turn my focus over to more exciting NEStalgia updates.

Apr 062014
 

v168 RangerAfter several months of non-stop development work, the v1.68 update finally went live Friday night. For those of you who are unfamiliar with either this update or our forthcoming Steam launch, here are the highlights:

v1.68 has a massive change log

There are a ton of changes in v1.68, both small and large. You can read the v1.68 update notes for all of the details, but the gist of it is that the game has been re-balanced to allow for future expansion and upward growth. This update is basically the foundation of Key of the Exiles, meaning that it includes all of the gameplay improvements that we had lined up for the expansion. The visual upgrades, new music and other myriad improvements are also meant to prepare NEStalgia for its launch on Steam.

There will probably many small patches in the weeks to come as we fix any new bugs and balance issues, but the next big update that you’ll see will the be the Key of the Exiles content expansion itself.

You can now play and host local games

The new NEStalgia Launcher allows users to play single player games or to host small private games with friends. After the Steam release this Launcher will enable anyone to host larger public dedicated servers, meaning that the existing official servers will be one of (hopefully) many places that you can play NEStalgia.

v168 Launcher

You’ll also notice that many new features have been added to the NEStalgia Launcher, all of which are intended to make browsing for servers much easier in the event that we have tens or hundreds of online servers following the Steam release. You can sort and filter the server list, add servers to your “Favorites” list, and view a list of servers that you’ve recently joined.

We’re finally ready for Steam

v168 BattleIt took much longer than we had originally hoped, but we finally have all of the Steam API stuff integrated into the NEStalgia Launcher. That means that we’ll definitely be launching on Steam in April (hopefully in the next two weeks). Once we have a release date confirmed with Valve we’ll be sure to make a big announcement.

The Steam integration is pretty straightforward, and the build of NEStalgia sold on Steam will be no different than the one you purchase from our website. When you purchase the game through Steam you are still required to create a BYOND Key, and that key is then activated as having purchased NEStalgia. You can alternatively use your Steam purchase to activate NEStalgia on any existing BYOND Key without a subscription.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that there will be no reason to purchase NEStalgia on Steam if you already own it; buying the game through Steam won’t offer any extra features or advantages. Although a back-end link is created between your Steam ID and whatever BYOND Key that you activate a NEStalgia purchase on, that link really has no bearing on anything else.

Other notes

As we discussed many months ago, NEStalgia is now no longer “Free to Play”. If you’ve never had a subscription or are a former NEStalgia subscriber with an expired subscription, you’ll still be able to access and play your existing characters on the official NEStalgia servers. Outside of that you’ll face all of the other restrictions on unpaid users.

People who haven’t purchased the game can’t host private servers or join multiplayer games. Single player games are also restricted; unpaid users can try the game offline in Demo Mode, which allows travel through Balzackia and has a level cap of 10.

The “Official servers” are simply dedicated servers hosted by Silk Games. We’ll be adding many more of these servers prior to the Steam release, but we’re expecting that many players will choose to host or play on public dedicated servers as well. For users who have previously been banned from NEStalgia, that ban only applies to the official servers. We don’t have any say over what happens in private games or on public servers.

v168 Bandit Cave v168 Catacombs
v168 New Quest v168 Companion Ability HUD
What comes next?

Feedback on balance and bug reports is going to be critical in the coming weeks.  Once we get all of the big balance changes dialed in we’ll be able to start trickling out new content in anticipation of the Key of the Exiles expansion.

The Steam launch is obviously going to be a big deal, so a lot of what we’re doing right now is preparing for the potential wave of players that Steam could bring. How well that launch goes will have a big influence on our development time frame for the expansion.

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Many  people put in a ton of hard work to bring you this weekend’s updates. Spiff (tenkuu) worked tirelessly on debugging behind the scenes, and Tom and Lummox from BYOND put in a lot of time to get the NEStalgia Launcher ready for Steam. Mikau also contributed to the Launcher, and Balzack has been doing a great job managing the community while I focus on development.  When it came to the closed beta there were several standout testers who spent a lot of time bug hunting and reporting, which really helped to speed up the process.

Last but not least, everyone who contributed to the Pre-Steam NEStalgia Fundraiser back in December truly helped to make all of this possible. I would not have been able to fully devote myself to development in the past few months without that fundraiser, and even smaller things like the new music would not have been feasible.

Anyway, I hope that those of you playing the game enjoy the v1.68 update. Definitely stay tuned for an announcement regarding our Steam release date!

Feb 042014
 

So how about that Steam launch? Well, the BYOND team is still working as fast as they can to get all of the Steam API stuff integrated into NEStalgia. Once that’s done, we’ll be finally be able to release the game on Steam (hopefully this month). In addition to lending a hand in that process when I can, my time has been spent preparation the long-awaited Key of the Exiles content expansion.

As we discussed in the last podcast, the content expansion is going to come along with a re-balance of all the character classes in the game, and you’ll be seeing many of those balance changes in the pre-expansion v1.68 update. Here is a look at of some of the major changes soon coming your way:

Skill Tree Redesign

In v1.68 I’ve overhauled the Skill Trees for each class. Although the contents and overall structure of the trees will be familiar to you, the look has totally changed:

Ranger v168 Nature Tree Ranger v168 Hunter Tree

When I set out to redesign the Skill Trees my goal was to build upon all of the stuff that has worked before, while fixing as many flaws in the system as I could. That sounds like a pretty obvious objective, but my point is that this isn’t a redesign for the sake of a redesign. These new trees are simply an improved evolution, and I think that players will be really happy with them.

You’ll notice that the Foundation tree has been completely eliminated. Skills that increase Max HP/MP etc have been absorbed into the regular trees for each class, while the Elemental Enchants have been removed from Skill Trees altogether (more on that below). The way that you invest your skill points has changed as well; you don’t always have to fully invest in a skill node in order to move on to the next node. There are also many skill nodes that you can reach via multiple paths.

The end result of all these changes is that players will have more freedom of choice when speccing, and each skill point will make a much bigger difference than it did before.

Character Stat Changes

The most dramatic change in this update is in the way Plus Fire, Ice, Storm and Heal work. Instead of working on a percentage basis as they do now (ex: 20 Plus Fire increases fire damage by 20%), these stats will now increase damage on a 1:1 basis. In other words, if you have 10 Plus Fire then all of your fire spells will do exactly 10 more damage. The same goes for Plus Heal; 10 Plus Heal will boost the power of all your healing spells by 10 points.

Another big change: there are no longer global caps on any character stats in the game. The maximum benefit that you can receive from Plus Fire, Ice, Storm or Heal is capped per Ability. This information is all displayed courtesy of an expanded Ability HUD:

New Ab HUD: Heal

New Ab HUD: Storm

While a low-level spell like Fireball might have a Plus Fire Cap of 15, a higher level fire spell could take that cap up to 30. The same logic applies to healing spells.

However, having more Plus Element than is needed for a particular spell isn’t necessarily a waste. The Resist Fire, Ice and Storm stats now also operate on a 1:1 ration to damage, and are deducted from the attack power of an Ability before the cap is calculated. In other words, if I have 30 Plus Fire when I cast a Fire spell that has a Plus Fire Cap of 15 and my target has 20 Resist Fire, I’ll receive a total Plus Fire damage bonus of 10 points on that attack. It’s all just basic addition and subtraction.

Alongside these big changes, the Spell Piercing and Resilience stats have been completely eliminated. All of the items in the game have been adjusted to accommodate this change; the stats on weapons/armor will be comparable or superior to what they were before.

Weapon Enchants

Elemental weapon enchants have been removed from the Skill Trees. Instead you’ll now find Fire, Ice or Storm elemental enchants that can add damage to any weapon. Like abilities, these enchants also use your relative Plus Element stat and have a Plus Element Cap.

v168 Fire Enchant v168 Storm Enchant

Each enchant is displayed in the bottom left corner of the new expanded Item Detail HUD. You’ll notice that the enchants are displayed with a “less than or equal to” sign; that number represents the Plus Element Cap on each enchant (the maximum amount of Plus Element damage that the weapon can do). This next bit is important: the amount of extra damage your enchanted weapon does is based solely on your relevant Plus Element stat. In other words, a Storm enchant on a weapon won’t do any additional damage unless your character also has some Plus Storm. Like Abilities, any Plus Element that you have over your weapon’s cap will first count against any resistance that the enemy has.

Enchanted Item Closeup

Many rare weapons now come pre-enchanted, and you’ll be able to find Enchantment Scrolls around the world to add or replace enchants on all of your weapons. There are two variables that matter with enchants: the element, and the power cap.

Podcast

In this new (short) podcast we talk about some of these changes, the fundraiser results, and other stuff that’s been going on behind the scenes. We also explain the Steam delays more in-depth. Check it out:

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We’ll probably do a bit of closed testing on v1.68 before it goes live, and all of the people who contributed to the fundraiser back in December will be invited to participate. Speaking of the fundraiser, I’m working on another big blog post to showcase our top donors and post the results. Look for that soon.

There are many more changes bundled in v1.68, and I’m posting an ongoing list on the wiki’s Version Notes page as I finalize everything. This update is a huge step towards the expansion, and I’m excited that players will be able to benefit from these changes in the near future.

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.

Nov 202013
 

The  v1.67.3 update went live on all servers earlier today. This patch added a couple cool features (overworld hotkeys!) and streamlined the game’s interface a bit.  All of these changes are related to NEStalgia’s upcoming launch on Steam as we scramble to get the game ready for wide-scale distribution.

The new v1.67.3 Interface

The new v1.67.3 Interface

About that Steam launch… Here is a small taste of what’s been going on behind the scenes for the past couple months:

  • Spiff (tenkuu) addressed a mountain of backlogged NEStalgia bug reports (among lots of other things).
  • Tom and Lummox JR of BYOND have been working to integrate the Steam API into the BYOND engine, and to provide us with some new features to aid in the release.
  • Mikau has been helping to code a new version of the standalone client that will allow players to filter and search the potentially large lists of diverse servers that we might see.
  • Balzack has completely taken over community management and customer service duties (emails sent to team@silkgames.com now actually get replied to!), and has been recruiting and training a bunch of new moderators to handle the influx from the Steam launch.
  • We’ve had composers both new and old working on composing many new original music tracks for the game. Every single piece of music in the game has been remixed, and many of the less impressive tracks have been outright replaced. I can’t wait for all of you to hear the new music (it should be going live within a week).
  • I’ve been managing all of this stuff and working on small updates like v1.67.3 as well as the Key of the Exiles expansion content.

I know that many of you  aren’t planning to return until the Key of the Exiles expansion releases (which is exactly what I’d be waiting for as well). Although Key of the Exiles will not be finished in time for the initial Steam launch, it will be posted as a free update to the game as soon as it is ready. What will be happening, however, are some major changes to our distribution model. As I mentioned in the last blog post, players are going to be able to host their own private single player or multiplayer servers, as well as their own large-scale dedicated servers. All of that will be on top of a large line up of “Official” dedicated servers hosted and maintained by Silk Games.

v1.67.3 Overworld Hotkeys v1.67.3 Achievements

One big change that is going to take effect today is that subscriptions are now $15 flat. We’re doing away with the term “subscription” in general – from this point forward you’ve either purchased the game, or you haven’t. Anyone who has a previous time-based subscription (6 months or 1 year) that had time left on it as of the date of this post has had their subscription automatically upgraded.

Our hope is to release the new standalone version of the game that players can host themselves within a week. That will give us a bit of time to test it and get your feedback before we launch on Steam. As far as the Steam launch itself goes, we don’t yet have a specific date nailed down. We’re pushing hard for early December, so we’ll see if the Valve Gods smile favorably upon us.

A beta build of the new standalone client...

A beta build of the new standalone client…

Tomorrow I’ll be back with another blog post to talk about something big that all of you can help us with as we ramp up for the Steam release. Thank you so much for all of your support so far – we’ll continue working hard to deliver.

Aug 232012
 

The v1.65.3 update (notes) which went live last night comes with some significant improvements to the Marketplace listing and Vault storage systems.  Both of these systems have been upgraded to use the same “bin” format that was just recently implemented for the Companion Ranch, which makes for much easier access and organization of stored items. The separate Shared Vault has also been completely eliminated, and instead subscribers may now use their entire main vault to share items between their various characters. This new Vault can now store a maximum of a 81 items to be accessed by any character without the need for constant swapping.

As is the theme of the v1.65 series of updates, this patch includes many efficiency upgrades for both the Marketplace and Vault. The only trade-off here is that players who already have more than 5 characters with full vaults will need to do some pruning in order to bring their stored item count under the new limit. If you’re in this boat then the first thing that you should do in v1.65.3 is login to each of your characters individually in order load your previously stored items into the new Vault. Instead of being required to purchase extra bins you will be given free space to accommodate your items up to the 81 slot limit.

In other news, the Steam Greenlight service is scheduled to launch one week from today. If you somehow missed the announcement of our plans to promote NEStalgia on the service, please see the last blog entry: NEStalgia targets Steam Greenlight. Our “campaign headquarters” can be found at Put NEStalgia On Steam .com, and I even did an interview with Indie Game Mag earlier this week with more details on the whole effort. Get excited – this Steam campaign is going to be a lot of fun!

Aug 142012
 

Earlier today the v1.65 update went live. There aren’t many visible changes in this patch, but the good news is that it should take care of most of the post-companion slowdown and lag that has been plaguing the servers recently. All of v1.65’s back-end efficiency improvements should have a huge impact on server performance, but I’ll be monitoring the situation and making additional adjustments as needed.

In addition to the lag reduction in v1.65, the Companion Ranch has undergone a makeover. Companions can now be sorted into one of nine “bins” for faster access and easier organization. As part of this change, the total number of available companion storage slots has been reduced. Players who previously purchased extra slots will automatically have their gold refunded (if necessary), and will be able to access any companions that they had previously stored over the new limit by clearing out space in their ranch.

There are a few balance tweaks in today’s patch as well, most notably a change to companions in that players will no longer benefit from duplicated reserve bonuses.  That means that if a player has two monsters with the same reserve bonus, only one of those bonuses will function in battle. This change applies to both passive and ability-based reserve bonuses.

As always, please post all bug reports and balance feedback on the Silk Games forums.