State of Aurory Address
Welcome to the first edition of our monthly development updates.
Dear community, as many of you know there have been a lot of major developments just in 2022 alone. Our team has been hard at work behind the scenes but we are aware that it is not enough to just say that. Many of you have requested us to provide more regular updates on the production side of Aurory and show a bit more of what’s happening in the studio. We heard your requests, and are pleased to present to you our first update of the year, which we plan to do once every month.
So far this year, a lot has happened. The team continues to grow, with 49 people now accounting for 350 years of experience in the game development field, working to make Aurory the biggest game in the Solana ecosystem. While many projects in this space choose to outsource everything from crypto engineering, game design, artwork, and using external marketplaces, to gain time and avoid expenses, there is a real cost associated with that sort of compromise. The cost mainly being that the game you build is near impossible to handle in the long run because you lose quality and control due to being dependent on a third-party for your own product.
We believe that doing the opposite and building a world-class in-house team is the correct long term approach, even if it requires a significantly larger upfront investment. Setting a strong foundation for this also takes time, but we want to maintain control and fully understand and build our product from scratch in order to have the capacity to update it/run it in the long term and really lay the foundations for a successful gaming studio that will be around for decades to come. So, while we realize you are all eagerly waiting to get your hands on the game, know that we are giving it our all to deliver a quality gaming experience, even in an early version. We hope to share more details with you soon on our early access version of Aurory.
Now for some updates.
One of the most exciting developments in our recent team expansion was the transition of our Executive Producer, Jonathan Campeau, aka “Johnny Aurory,” to working full time with us. Throughout his career working with companies such as Gameloft, EA, and Ubisoft, he has accumulated 19 years of production experience and we are grateful to have him as part of the core leadership team. Johnny has already had a large impact on team communication, organization, and overall productivity. By being his main focus, we expect Aurory to shift into a higher gear and deliver an even more polished gaming experience.
Along with current team members transitioning to full time with us, we have seen new additions of Animation, VFX, UI/UX, Backend, and Community team members. We aim to continue growing our team in 2022 with the best talents we can find to bring you all the AAA quality experience you deserve!
The creative arm of our Design team spent a good chunk of their workdays throughout January and February working on upgrading our old litepaper into what is now known as The Aurory Manifesto (https://aurory.io/whitepaper.html.) This document took a lot of time and many different minds collaborating to bring it together. We are very pleased with how it turned out and are excited to bring the Manifesto to fruition through the game.
We also reached a big milestone in the first week of February by finally deploying the refactoring we’ve done to the multiplayer matchmaking system. Much of the rest of the design team’s focus has been on putting together all the necessary ingredients to deliver our closed early access version of Aurory. Some of these objectives consisted of the following:
Gameplay ingredients (narrative, puzzles, environment, mechanics.)
Designing the first tutorials with the narrative team.
Introducing our new dialogue system.
Introducing our new quest manager/objective manager.
Improvements to the World Map design.
Testing transitions: World Map > Location > World Map.
UI elements on screen.
UX HUD placement on screen.
Designing and building out combat/abilities/hype system. Testing the Hype system.
Finishing the abilities for each of the Nefties that will be used in the demo.
The Character Art team has been pumping out Nefties like their lives depend on it! We almost have our full roster ready to go for the demo. Final Nefty card designs are being worked on with the team holding votes on which designs should be used for the “Shimmering” and “Glitched” tiers.
Two of our Art Directors, Yann Penno and Claire Chibi, have been working on polishing up the design for Krystalo, the winning submission in the Design A Nefty Competition. They are taking into careful consideration the wishes and vision of @Jimmy_cool_ice, the original creator, and are continuing to have ongoing discussions about how to bring together the Character and Environment teams to incorporate Krystalo into the game. The goal is to have Krystalo be a special type of Nefty that we would find in the forest and mountain biomes that helps to make the world look more alive. Ideally, we would keep the base design simple and add in-game assets to the shell to make it blend into the level.
Enemy AI design has commenced. Small Fuds are currently in the modeling stage and Big Fuds are in the concept stage.
Lots has been happening with the progression of Aurorian modeling and skins. As many of you saw on Twitter and Discord, we will be bringing your Aurorian to life with a playable version of it! Our 3D Character Artists have been grinding it out, creating models of every Aurorian attribute so you can stand out in-game. Roughly 80% of the attributes have been completed at the time of writing.
Our Environment Art team has been hard at work creating the recipes needed to build the foundations of the world of Tokane. A lot of time has been invested in finding the right technical approach to establish a pipeline that will give us the right tools to build levels quickly and efficiently. The team is currently prioritizing the creation of tutorial levels for the demo and the arenas that we will see our first battles in.
Our Animation team has been grinding it out, creating the various Nefty animations you have already seen through previous sneak peeks and the brand new animations of Sam walking around. We have finished integrating a character production pipeline that will help to organize development moving forward. Our new rigging tool will give us a lot of flexibility in terms of facial expressions and more, making it truly AAA quality.
On top of creating sound effects for the various in-game dynamics, our Sound Engineers are working on creating a pleasant musical track for the game. We noticed that it was something that really stood out to fans when we released our teaser trailers, so we are dedicated to making sure the in-game music is enjoyable for hours of exploring Tokané and also exciting for battles!
The Tech Team has been very busy getting the game ready for its early access release with all the features and content we want to show, while future-proofing our systems so that they're a solid base to build on. Beyond what you'll see in the game, we also have to ensure our growing team is organized and productive, has the tools they need to produce content, and that our systems, both internal and external, are working and secure.
Lots of major features have been added to the game itself in recent months. We’ve built the World Map that allows access to the various locations and features in the game. The World Map is functional but still needs some love from our art team before we're ready to show it. We've also been adding more ingredients to flesh out the gameplay in the locations Sam and Helios will visit, some of which will be in the early access while we'll keep others for later updates. The battle system itself is the most solid part of the game as it was our early focus in development, but we've still been making many improvements in usability as well as adding abilities and creatures, and we're even still adding important new core features to it.
With all these major elements in place, we're also hard at work getting everything connected with the new back-end systems coming online as we prepare for the coming influx of players. While we've been testing our game so far with our small-scale prototype networking systems, we knew they were not built for production use, so we have been busy building our real cloud back-end with the experts who've joined us. This requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work in designing, testing, and securing these services to work together to deliver the best possible experience to players.
On the Web3 front, the open-source Aurory Marketplace we are building is coming along nicely, with some important improvements still being made to the NFT/Blockchain inventory structure for our in-game items. The mobile version is almost complete, which means that V1 is just about finalized and will be under review and submitted for testing to the team throughout the coming weeks. We hope to release the marketplace to the public sometime in late March. The team is also working on developing a few prototype mini-games that we hope to release later in the year.
The Blockchain Team is also working on deploying AuroryNet (our local blockchain network), finishing the faucet back-end, and starting the faucet front-end. Document back-end endpoints are being developed to lay the groundwork for NFT staking and the marketplace.
Our NFT staking is coming together very nicely as well, with some UI tweaks still being made. We are continuing front-end integration as well as adding a blockchain back-end service to cache current expeditions. API endpoint integrations for Aurorians’ full and minified images are also being implemented with the broader intention of deploying a version on AuroryNet soon.
In regards to DAO progress, our team has decided that it would be the wisest use of resources at this point to utilize the platform that Squads has already created to launch the DAO. The Squads Mainnet has officially launched, a test vote has already been conducted for the Daory, and the treasury wallet has been filled. Many community members have been taking much of their own time to do research and engage in the discussions necessary to lay the foundation for a successful DAO. We anticipate that it will not be long until everything is in place and the first real proposal can be brought to a vote.
We have signed a deal with Invisible North, a creative marketing agency that is responsible for the promotion of FTX’s Coachella NFT partnership. We are currently devising a plan to use educational and promotional video content around Aurory that will be pushed across multiple channels. This approach will allow us to position ourselves as the top-of-mind crypto game on the Solana blockchain, with the ultimate goal being to communicate and solidify that Aurory is open to all, regardless of their gaming experience.
We have two partnership deals in the Web2 and E-Sports spaces that are in the works. We are just waiting for the green light on their end. The community should be expecting an official announcement on these partnerships once everything has been finalized.
We hope you enjoyed this update on what our team has been working on so far in 2022. For obvious reasons, we can’t share everything happening all the time, but stay tuned as things will only start to pick up more steam through March, where we will continue to share sneak peeks and previews of what is to come!
Thank you all for your support and for being the amazing community that you are!