Welcome to the new Islands of Chaos Development Blog

Welcome to the new IOC Development Blog. In the coming days and weeks, the Development team will provide more details about Islands of Chaos production and development and any notable advancements. Users will now be able to comment on any posts with questions, concerns, and encouragement.

In the past we had a Kickstarter Blog devoted to documenting pre-Kickstarter progress of the game, so I will work on adding those Kickstarter conversations to this Blog as well. I also am working on a “Thank you” section devoted to the many people that have helped to originally bring this project to life through donations, investment, and adding their ideas and insight.

As always, thank you for your continued support!

Erik Reichenbach

Animating Characters and Planning Databases

Hi Guys! Islands of Chaos Team here,

After a grueling summer, the majority of starter character animations have been mapped to sprite sheets, the items have been organized by type and purpose, and the database is finally being built. As a small team of developers, we couldn’t have picked a more difficult project to work on for our first foray into mobile gaming – but the challenge is worth the effort!

With this in mind, our next updates will likely be on a newly designed website, with integrated comment, sharing, and “like” features, so we can actively collaborate with fans and backers who have been tracking our progress from the beginning.

Sprites for Summer Vacation

Animation is difficult; there is no question. Formatting multiple character assets to sprite sheets that all somehow match up seamlessly, is a whole other story. The majority of the summer has seen a marathon of editing, testing, and re-editing characters so they line up with the necessary moving parts, items in hand, and creating a character sprite system that can work with any additional assets that eventually are added.

Clothed Characters: Harder to build then it looks!

Jabony Finally offers Players a Drink.

So far we’ve been able to put together 20 character arrangements which has helped troubleshoot a lot of the issues regarding layering of assets. Getting these few character pieces functioning together was an incredible task, and still needs the various colors and textures applied to finish the process out. These animations show a little bit of the different movements and actions that players can expect once a player has designed their character avatar:

Walk, Chop, Walk Walk, Chop.. It’s a Good Life.

In order to do this, each character is broken down into three Sprite Files: Heads, Bodies, and Clothing. Right now we have 20 heads, two body types (Athletic Male and Athletic Female) and about 10 different clothing outfits. Now that we have these mapped, the goal is to continue to add on more assets (More Heads, Body Types like Slim, Skinny, Husky, and more Clothing Options) so players can design unique characters all their own.

One Character quickly becomes 50+ Character Assets!

Item and Stat Mapping

We have been developing the database structure for player stats, items, and survival skills that will develop over the course of many Adventure Games. From what we have been hearing from fans, our goal is to integrate RPG elements and ORG social/strategy to create a more in depth and engaging experience. Scarcity, energy management, and collaboration will all play a role with the use of communal goals and shared items.

Designing the database for Items, Player Movement, and Item Inventories.

While conversations will directly affect relationships, item use and experience points toward survival skills will also drive players to either betray or befriend others within an adventure. In order to create this kind of gaming environment, a lot of discussion and planning has gone into our database design, and feel this will create a more enjoyable and challenging gaming experience in the end.

Our next update will likely be on a newly renovated site, as we are looking to involve more of the fanbase in the discussion. We also will be more active with the new site format, allowing us to post more regular updates, questions, and generate discussion about items, characters, and minigames. In general, it will be a positive change with more regular communication.

Thank you!

☠️ Islands of Chaos Team ☠️

Characters and Music

Hi Guys! Erik here,

As summer approaches, the IOC Team is organizing our to-do list, tackling development problems, and continuing the hard work of building a mobile app from scratch. The most important news since our March update is the addition of a new member on the team to assist with Unity Development.

Combined with the efforts of myself and the talented team at BrantSteele, we are pushing ahead and asking ourselves the tough questions that need to be asked in order to get the game functioning smoothly. Our present goal is having a working Beta version of the game built so we can play, test, and perfect the many aspects of gameplay before launch. We have never been closer to that point then we are now, and have no intentions of slowing down!

Island Avatars

Island Avatars then and Now. Red: 2011 Yellow: 2017

Since the Kickstarter was funded some years back, the Island Avatars have gone through multiple transitions and creation phases, resulting in… well, a lot of redundant and painstaking work. While the original scope of the project asked for players to be simple 2D comic characters against a flat backdrop, since that time they have evolved to accommodate an explorable 2.5D Isometric Environment. This change allows for our characters to now occupy space (instead of acting as stand-ins for players) and actually animate within the environment.

IOC Starter Heads Sampling

While the new isometric designs are helpful in a lot of ways, the amount of work is increased simply because of the demands of animation and variation. Take one head design as an example; it needs to have two “look forward” images (left and right), two”look backward” images (left and right), and then have 20 variations to accommodate 5 hair colors and 4 skin tones!

You can see how this quickly compounds over time. Currently, on characters alone, I am managing over 1,000 images – and that’s just for the starter characters! We hope later on to produce more “Character Packs” as promised in the original Kickstarter Prizes, featuring different clothing, faces, and body types (thin, husky, short, tall, etc.). This has been one of the biggest art undertakings of the project so far, and one of the major tasks being tackled since March.

In Game Music

Trace of Lime, Siyabuya Marimba Band, and Mighty Acorn

An oftentimes overlooked element for Indie Games is the music that will accompany players. Luckly over the past year we have found a handful of talented bands to work with on creating a memorable soundtrack for Islands of Chaos that fits the island environments.

The Islands of Chaos theme was created by Dillon Murray of the band Trace of Lime.

Margarita Exploration Soundtrack songs were provided by South Africa’s own Siyabuya Marimba Band.

Various Minigame Themes are also currently in production by Europe based Game Musician Mighty Acorn.

What can I Do to Help?

While we are waist deep in Unity code and Character Asset files, we still are looking for any interested musicians willing to contribute music to our project or any additional programmers looking to work on their first big gaming project. If you are interested in either of these possible ways to contribute, please email us.

We are always looking to share the news about our latest update as well; so please repost this post or follow us on social media (see the icon links below) if you wish, and tag us with #indiegame if you are into that whole hashtagging thing.

To all the backers that helped bring this project to life and continue to follow along with our updates, thank you for your continued support! I look forward to playing one day with all of you.

Erik Reichenbach

Adventure and Minigame Advances

Hi Guys! Erik here,

It’s been about 2 months since my last update, and a lot has happened in that time. Unity is proving to be the right way to go with it’s flexibility and ease of use to create islands, characters, and complex menus. As more and more takes shape each day, we advance closer to the goal at hand; developing a playable Beta version where we can begin testing the challenges and voting system. Huzzah!

Island Movement

Our First Steps towards Player Movement Testing!

Our island environments have quickly developed following the decision to build them out isometrically. Using a combination of 3D elements and 2D “props” our goal was to keep the comic book visuals and apply those to the space. The resulting map is an original creation that can be replicated in the future, once our other concepts and themes are finalized. There are still two more Margarita Island camps to be built, and later on, multiple new islands with their own camps as well!

Avatar Animation in gif action.

Following the development of the player avatar database we will work on animating our 2D characters so they will move more naturally in the world. Animations that need to be considered are walking, swimming, and using an item (such as a machete).

Minigame Demos

Players are Rolling, Falling, Swimming, Dodging!

It’s really rewarding to witness the minigames come to life (especially after seeing them in multiple iterations on paper) and now a handful are at the point where they can be tested and played. There is a lot of fine tuning still left to occur, but we are at a really great place in development to continue knocking these out.

Create New Player

Main Menu setup ready for Database Connections

Although not as glamorous as the minigames, avatars, or island environments, the menu system serves as the backbone of the game and can’t be neglected. As we are rapidly approaching a state where the game will be tested on multiple size screens and devices, the menu has lead us to thinking over lots of aspects of the player accounts as well. Some issues that have come up requiring more thought because of the menu system include the item database, player stats, and how the adventure matchmaking operates.

Multiple Items can Craft Rarer Items

Alongside a database for the character avatars we need to design a detailed place to log items and “item crafting”. As seen in the animated image above, items can be combined to form other more complex or rare items to help players. This all needs a place to exist on the servers, and in the meantime we are hoping to continue the conversation with fans on our social media on what items can be combined to make other items.

What can I Do to Help?

Since our last update we have received a lot of messages on social media asking to sign up for Beta Testing once we arrive at that point. Currently we are not looking for testers, but if you are still interested we will be contacting those on our Email List once that time comes. If you are interested in joining the IOC Mailing list, please email us!

We are always looking to spread the news about our latest updates; so please share this post or follow us on social media (see the icon links below).

To all the backers that helped bring this project to life and continue to follow along with our updates, thank you for your continued support! I look forward to playing one day with all of you.

Erik Reichenbach

New Minigames and Unity Development

Hi Guys! Erik here,

It has been a long time since our last update, so I figured it was high time for a look at the production status of Islands of Chaos thus far. The last year has been another turbulent one, but for the first time in a while I feel the winds have changed, lifted the sails, and Islands of Chaos has regained its direction.

One of the major setbacks in production has been simply finding a programmer, or team of developers, to collaborate with especially given the scope of the project. This major hurdle has been delaying the amount of work that can be done and has forced me to take on dual roles in order to keep progress moving forward. That’s right; I have forced myself to create the art while simultaneously teaching myself to program in C#.

Despite my severe deficit of technical skills I have found learning Unity 3D to be surprisingly quick to learn and intuitive. Case in point…

New Minigames!

Balance Balls with Menus

One of the major focal points of Islands of Chaos are the minigames, so I thought it would be best to build those out first. For Adventure Mode a minimum of 10 challenges are needed to limit the amount of replay, since each game cycle involves two challenges.

Pictured here are some renders of a few of those games complete with UI:

Slide Puzzle

Temple Tower

Crab Digger

Memory Cards

Roll Arena

..and more images featuring other Minigames currently in the middle of production:

Cannon Blast

Sandollar Slots work in progress

Reef Rush, featuring animated Bubbles!

..and Fishies.

Beginning Adventure Mode

Along with developing the Minigames, I have begun putting together the bulk of assets for Adventure Mode, where your character avatar explores the island, finds items, and ideally won’t pass out from exhaustion.

The Adventure Mode will take place in 2.5D Isometric View – a fancy way of saying,”It looks 3D but acts 2D”. Adventure mode has gone through a few different transformations, starting in a weird 2D “menu system” style similar to a “Room Escape” game, then was conceptualized as a completely 3D experience in Unreal Gaming Engine, and now has settled into the isometric view. I believe it’s the best of both worlds, and stays true to the original art style of the original mockups.

Isometric Adventure Mode Island Assets

Evolution of the first Island of Chaos

Collection of Items

Because it wouldn’t be a game without some aspect of character development, one of the goals I have for the items is to create enough variance to combine food, tools, and strategic items to make better items or create significant game advantages.

As an example, a player could use flint and wood to make fire, boil water, crunch coffee beans, and get a 2x score boost in the next challenge because they’re hopped up on caffeine.

Coffee or not, my next goal is to start development of the Island Environment!

The Game Algorithm

The guiding force of the Adventure Mode is the Game Algorithm; a set of rules and percentages that will determine the course of the game. For this, I was able to team up with the talented developers at BrantSteele.net, a powerful and fun game simulator site. Through collaboration, they were able to develop a unique prototype of the Islands of Chaos Game Algorithm that generates a new and unique game every time based on a collection of possible twists, votes, and percentages, seen here:

Game Algorithm in action

What More is Needed to Finish the Game?

There is still a lot that is left undone simply because the full scope was not understood at the time of conception. Some of the major items that still need attention include the Skills/Stats Tree, Character Creator, and Matchmaking system which will actually work on pairing up players into Adventure matches.

As stated earlier, I have not lost faith in the project and am looking forward to continuing to build the next game elements required, which will be documented in our next update.

Want to Get Involved?

While I have taken on a dual role of programming and creating art, we are still looking to add 1-3 Unity 3D developers to our team to help finish the game quicker. We are also looking for a general Project Manager to help handle the day to day progress of programming development and organization. If you have a background in Unity Development, are interested in being a part of the project, or know someone who might be helpful, please email us!

We also are looking to spread the news about our latest update; so please share this post or follow us on social media.

To all the backers that helped bring this project to life and continue to follow along with our updates, thank you for your continued support! I look forward to playing one day with all of you.

Erik Reichenbach