Debugging in Style

You know, I kind of like debugging. Sure, it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, but every bug killed is an inch closer to a finished game. And sometimes, you get little treats, like a bug report of the IGF demo (PDF) submitted by a graphic designer friend of mine who was “really bored at work.”

I went ahead and addressed the ones I could, and I ended up snagging seven: five were new and two were ones I’d addressed in the last couple of weeks. I consider it a warm-up, since I haven’t actually worked on the coding aspect of the game in about two or three weeks due to administrative stuff.

Also, in the process of fixing these bugs, I re-propagated the IGF scenario files and added a few things that have been worked into the design in the two months since the last build, including an edit to the Node system that allows you to bind unlearned nodes to slots. This is how you’ll unlock new skills in Alcarys Complex. The best part? You’ve already equipped the node so once you’ve learned it, there is absolutely zero time between skill unlock and skill use.

Anyway, I’ll let you know when the demo’s been updated.

New Website (Again)

Hey! As you can no doubt tell, the website got a massive facelift that should be completely cross-compatible this time. This took place over the course of about two weeks, and my best decision was not giving up on it.

So, a couple things:

  • We’re still working on this game. I just haven’t coded anything for it in about two weeks because I was working on the website. The most important part is that we’re going to launch Alcarys Complex in mid-2012 at a $20 price point. We’ll definitely let you know more as we get the information.
  • Our demo is still available and you can get it here.
  • Expect more frequent updates! New screenshots, insight on the technical aspects of the game, character bios, and much more.

So, until next time, thanks for watching.

Alcarys Complex 2011 Wrap-Up

2011 at a glance!

The main theme for Alcarys Complex this year? Even more polishing of already implemented features, plus a few that will really help round this game out and make it stand out from the JRPG crop.

As was the case last year, the vast majority of programming, design, environment, and character design is complete, along with a respectable portion of music and sound effects. What’s next?

We’re going to dedicate the first half of 2012 to finishing this game, including meeting completion goals and conducting quality assurance. There are a few issues we need to resolve before this can happen, but I’m sure we can do it. When we resolve these issues, we’ll let you know here. Thanks for reading.

After the cut is an approximate timeline of features.

Continue reading Alcarys Complex 2011 Wrap-Up


Well, awesome. I try not to set release dates because I know that the minute I do, I’ll never be able to meet them. I really thought I could make this one, but things came up.

Alcarys Complex isn’t coming out before the end of the year, for a few reasons:

  • It’s not done yet! The last thing I want to do is use the general public as my unwitting betatesters. I’ve updated the IGF demo a few times because there was just too much game-breaking stuff that needed to be addressed. So, the game’s not at all stable and not at all ready to be released. If you want (or dare, really), our demo is here. Please let us know about bugs on our contact page.
  • No soundtrack: we need a soundtrack in order to finish the game. We currently have half of a soundtrack. If you would like to help us out (this is a paid opportunity), send your portfolio to johnathan at modestarcade dot com.
  • On a more personal note, I’ve lost most of the time I could have been working on the game to this semester’s class load.

So, I know the trailer says “Winter 2011,” but hang in there! We’ll have more news soon.

New Demo and Website Updates

Been a while. I do have a little bit of good news, though: I’ve gone through the demo of Alcarys Complex that we’ve submitted to the Independent Games Festival and it’s now available for public consumption. Download it here.

Also, we’ve got a bunch of new screenshots, character art, and the game’s first trailer on the Media page. In addition to that, character bios for most characters through the end of the second act have been added to the new Characters page.

We’ll have news soon. Thanks for watching!

Final Release Info Coming Soon

Final release info for Alcarys Complex is coming really soon! We’re in the final throes of content creation (yes, content creation can be painful – especially when you have a life and other things to do), and we’re really close to being able to set some things in stone, including the release date, the date of the beta period, and the price of the game. One thing I can say about release is that it will be sometime before the end of 2011. Alcarys Complex will be released this year unless something extreme happens.

I’ve also removed the release candidate demo, because it isn’t really representative of the final game anymore.

In the meantime, we’ll post new media about the game sometime soon, including the trailer and a couple of gameplay videos (I’m still deciding on an acceptable style for the trailer). In the more distant future, I’ll be posting some notes on the process that detail what problems we faced and how we overcame them.

See you then!

Upcoming Beta/PAX

We’re about 95% of the way to feature-complete status for Alcarys Complex. This just means that the beta’s coming really soon! Keep an eye out; alternatively, you can preemptively opt-in for the beta by sending an e-mail to qa [at] modestarcade [dot] com. We’ll notify this entire list when we’re ready to do external balance and debug.

P.S: if you’re at the Penny Arcade Expo, we’re on the ground, but we don’t have a booth. Sorry! Maybe next year.

Alcarys Complex 2010 Wrap-Up

2010 at a glance!

I’d say the main theme in 2010 was heavy polishing of what was already there. A few features present in the demo got dropped as more intuitive ways to handle the problems those features originally solved emerged.

After the cut is an approximate timeline of features.

Continue reading Alcarys Complex 2010 Wrap-Up

The Conversationalist

The conversation system in Alcarys Complex is nothing really massive or in-depth, but I’d thought I’d explain the design rationale behind it, and the way it differs from existing systems that it could reasonably be compared to.

In the game, you have the ability to talk to two kinds of non-player characters (NPCs). The first is your normal NPC, the one that provides information or some kind of witty chatter. This dialogue only changes with advancement in the story – if the city capital blows up, the NPC is going to comment on it. It wouldn’t make sense otherwise.

The second kind of NPC is the conversationalist. Continue reading The Conversationalist


Warning: the site’s horribly broken in Internet Explorer. All other standards-compliant browsers are fine.

Take a look around if you want. We have a demo of our first game available for download; it might be a little buggy, but we tried to squash as many of them as we could. I’ll try to update this blog periodically with stuff of interest, like this game and its internal workings, our future games, and other things.