Aug 292012
 

Steam Greenlight will publicly launch at some point tomorrow. Greenlight is a new system that allows the Steam community to vote for the next indie games that they want to see published on the service, and if you’ve seen our Put NEStalgia On Steam .com site then you know that we need your help to put NEStalgia over the top.

Just like NEStalgia itself will be in a struggle to prove its worth on Greenlight in the coming weeks, so too will NEStalgia players with a special Valve-themed in-game event starting tomorrow. Valve is the company that created Steam and many beloved modern PC games such as Half Life and Portal, and their co-founder and managing director Gabe Newell is well known to gamers everywhere. In the world of NEStalgia, however, he’s just known as King Gabe of Steamonia.

NEStalgia’s Greenlight celebration event will challenge players with a brand new dungeon inspired by Portal, the “Tower of Trials”. I think that players will be very surprised at how cool the portal mechanic is when adapted for use in a 2D top-down RPG! Anyone who dares enter the Tower of Trials will also face many different monsters that parody those found in the Valve lexicon, culminating in a final showdown with King Gabe at the top of the tower.

As with all NEStalgia events like this, players will have the chance to get their hands on many new event-exclusive character dyes and masks. Better yet, those who defeat King Gabe can obtain a brand new companion: the Heavy Chest.

This Steam Greenlight event will start around the same time that the Greenlight service itself launches tomorrow afternoon. The event is designed for players of all levels – simply talk to the mysterious messengers found hanging out near the Inns in every town (except Ennar), and you’ll be own your way to Steamonia in no time.

*Special thanks to Gamekrazzy for the awesome King Gabe sprite!

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We were lucky enough to be allowed access to the Steam Greenlight Beta, which means that NEStalgia’s page will be up and ready to view the moment the system goes live. If you’ve enjoyed NEStalgia and would like to see it put before a much larger audience, then please take a moment of your time this week to go and show your support for the game on Greenlight. I’ll post a Facebook/Twitter announcement when the Greenlight service (and in turn this holiday event) launches tomorrow – stay tuned!

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 152012
 

I know that many of you read Valve’s announcement for Steam Greenlight back in July because I was bombarded with emails from players telling me that I should put NEStalgia on it. For those of you who haven’t heard, Steam Greenlight is forthcoming system that will allow Steam community members to pick the next indie games that make it onto the service. If that sounds like a perfect match for NEStalgia, that’s because it is.

Even though the system isn’t supposed to launch until the end of August, my hope is to get the player base rallied and ready to go in the coming weeks so that we can storm the gates on day one. To that end I’ve created a simple website to help promote our cause and answer and questions players may have about how NEStalgia will work on Steam. Check it out at:

Put NEStalgia On Steam .com

As you’ll read on that site, we’re not looking for a bunch of random people to upvote NEStalgia and spam our way to the top. We only want people who have actually played and enjoyed NEStalgia to take part in this campaign, so keep that in mind as you link that site to your friends. As the end of August approaches we should be trying to both recruit new players and rally our existing base. You’ll notice that along with the new Steam site, I’ve also created a new revised version of the NEStalgia trailer:

The best way to introduce NEStalgia to new players is to link them directly to main website [ http://silkgames.com/nestalgia ] and/or the game’s new trailer [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tfStO7h75Q ]. Please only post about NEStalgia on gaming message boards and other sites if you’re already an established member of that community. There is nothing more obnoxious than someone who signs up for a forum just to advertise something (and that type of post won’t help us anyway). The key here is that we should be informing potential new players about the game’s existence, not giving them a sales pitch.

There will be more to talk about in the weeks ahead. In the meantime get out there and start letting people know that at the end of August we’re going to finally get NEStalgia on Steam!

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.

Jul 032012
 

NEStalgia’s 4th of July holiday event “Balzackian Dependence Day” is now live and will run through Saturday.  There are many special masks, dyes and even a new companion exclusive to this holiday, so come collect them while they’re available. This small-scale event is designed for characters of all levels – simply visit the encampment east of the Colosseum to take part in the festivities.

Better yet, the release of this event coincides with the v1.64.4 update which makes most of the foes inside the Black Sanctum recruitable. That means a total of 17 new unique companions to play with, including several that come loaded with new types of abilities and reserve bonuses.

Enjoy!

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.

Jun 072012
 

The month of May turned out to be a wash for NEStalgia gameplay updates, but yesterday’s v1.64 patch puts us back on track with lots of balance tweaks and a huge pile of bug fixes (most of those fixes courtesy of Spiff!). See the v1.64 update notes for a complete list of changes.

I’m in the process of fleshing out the next content expansion, and I hope to have details and screenshots posted in the near future. I’ll be cranking on the expansion around the clock until it’s finished; I want it out the door as soon as possible. Also on my agenda are some minor changes/new features that should be coming in the next couple weeks, most notably the Black Sanctum companions and the ability to toggle individual companion abilities on or off outside of battle.

The biggest news this month is something that has been in the works for awhile: NEStalgia is about to become a standalone game and will no longer require BYOND in order to play. The standalone beta is already available for download, and we’ll be making it official within the next week or two. Once that’s released I will then enthusiastically begin my push for widespread exposure for NEStalgia.

Last but not least I’d like to mention that thanks to the hard work of many community members (especially Jumier and Chaoseon) the NEStalgia Wiki is no longer super out of date. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s all looking great so far.

It’s been far too long since I made time to post a development update, so feel free to ask any lingering questions that you have in the comments.

Apr 102012
 

The highly anticipated v1.63 update will go live next Friday, April 20th. If you’re unfamiliar with this update then check out our previous coverage of v1.63 for details:

With over 100 recruitable companions, the amount of diversity in v1.63 is ridiculous. No two companions are the same, and almost every conceivable class mish-mash and stat permutation is out there. Imagine a Warlock who can tank, a Ninja healer, or a pure Wizard-type that uses Will instead of MP. Each companion is essentially its own unique character class, making it all but certain that “catch ’em all” fever is about to hit NEStalgia.

v1.63 isn’t just a huge update, it’s a transformative one. The solo experience has been improved immeasurably – all while keeping the multiplayer focus intact (Reserve Bonuses add an entirely new layer of customization and strategy to the game). The only way that this update could be better is if it were packed with a content expansion… but that’s our next priority.

One More Thing…

Although this won’t be a part of v1.63, we’re about to begin public testing on the standalone version of NEStalgia. Imagine downloading a simple NEStalgia package which allows you to install the game like any other (sans BYOND), then places a shortcut on your desktop that opens this splash window:

NEStalgia will remain powered by BYOND (and your current accounts will still function), but with this standalone installer the BYOND side of things stays under the hood. BYOND is awesome, but taking away the confusing step of having to install a separate program to play NEStalgia is really going to widen the game’s appeal and legitimacy. Look for public testing on this to begin soon – I’ll post details here on the blog when we’re ready.

Apr 032012
 

Our first holiday event of the year kicks off this Thursday, April 5th and will last through early Monday. This weekend’s Easter event is an upgraded version of what we ran last year and comes packed with a harder world boss and some cool new prizes.

Head to Ardan to pickup two new daily quests, and prepare to encounter Choco Bunnies all over the world who drop special rewards if you manage to defeat them before they run away. Your maxed out characters will face a greater challenge this year as you do battle with the dreaded “Ether Bunny” who roams the overworld. Beat the Ether Bunny and you’ll have a chance to loot a coveted Bunny Rod.

There will be plenty of Easter themed dyes to be won this weekend, and new prizes include a female-only Bunny Ears Mask and a very special item meant for use post-v1.63: the Choco Bunny Egg. Players can use this egg in v1.63 to hatch their own Choco Bunny companion, which is only obtainable during this weekend’s event.

Other News

I’ll be announcing the official release date for v1.63 next week. I’m very excited to get this patch out the door; it’s easily the best major update that NEStalgia has ever received. It’s been a long time since I’ve become so absorbed when testing a NEStalgia update that I found myself actually playing the game and enjoying it. All of this stuff may have taken a long time to develop, but I’m confident that the end result is worth the wait.

For many of you, the best news about the release of v1.63 is that regular content expansions are going to be our sole focus from here on out. That means new areas to explore, new quests, new gear and the oft-requested level cap bumps. It may take us some time to get that first big expansion up and running, but we’ll keep you updated as we go.

I hope that all of you enjoy this weekend’s holiday event – I’ll be back next week with the v1.63 release date announcement and more.