20 Apr 2012

Interview: RTS Guru

Author: Luna | Filed under: Articles, Interviews, Press

RTS Guru has taken an exclusive first look at our latest game update (coming this weekend) and has posted a 2-part series about the changes.

Part 1: Illyriad Will Change the Game – New “Organic” Animal System Will Give Players Greater Impact

Part 2: Illyriad Q&A on Going “Organic” & Making Big Changes to the Game

Thanks again to RTS Guru for taking a deeper look into the future of Illyriad.

 

16 Apr 2012

Lots of Energy, A Little Movement

Author: Kevin Hassall | Filed under: Development

Moving units in Illyriad with directional indicators

There is an amazing amount of complex information that goes on behind the scenes of Illyriad, creating the outcomes we see on screen as people play the game.

One example is unit movement. Through most of Illyriad’s life, movement has been fairly simple. Players’ units have moved from point A to B upon their request, at a rate based on movement speed of the units themselves. Layers of complexity have been added with Diplomatic Visability, Undead armies that emerged from the Rift and now the Heart of Corruption. There is an increasing amount of movement in the world, of which much of the complex work takes place behind the scenes.

For example, there is a database that currently has 1,550 variables relating to animal movement. And that doesn’t include animals’ locations in the world – that’s just the mathematics for their movement.

And that is where the challenge comes in to play. How much of that information is visible to players, and how do we represent important information to them? Currently in game, to see if a unit is moving on the map, or which direction it is going requires that you zoom in and observe the movement yourself. Often times though, the movement may be so slow that it isn’t easily visible.

That is why the new unit movement icons have been designed. The challenge was to display direction, speed and relationship to players (hostile, friendly or neutral) in an easy-to-understand fashion that wasn’t disruptive to the landscape of the game. The solution was a set of small wing-shaped arrows that display next to individual units on the map. The number of arrows shows speed (1 = slowest, 5 = fastest), the direction they are pointing shows movement trajectory and color of the arrows (yellow = neutral, green = friendly, red = hostile) shows intention with relation to the player. This simple, elegant solution provides players with more information about the world around them and represents, visually, a complex set of data that determines these factors.

The new directional icons will be available in our next game update.

 

12 Apr 2012

Player Spotlight: SunStorm

Author: Luna | Filed under: Community, Player Spotlight

In our inaugural Player Spotlight, we get to know SunStorm. In his time in Illyriad, Sunstorm has been an active player, a helpful member of our forum community, run player events, created a blog and lots of fun graphics for Illy players. Learn more about the Player Spotlight program at our website and nominate players by sending an email to community@illyriad.co.uk. Now on with the interview!

GM Luna

SunStorm's RL Avatar

(^_^) My in-game name is SunStorm. In real life, I am a student at university. My goal is to someday be a criminal psychologist who works with both juvenile and adult inmates, or a child psychologist who works with troubled kids. I’m a junior, so I still have time to decide (:P). My biggest struggle in life is trying to balance school, work, homework, and friends. In my spare time, I play Illyriad.

What brought you to Illyriad and how long have you been playing?

This last February was my 1 year anniversary for playing. One year ago, I was bored and randomly looked for something fun to fill my time. This, of course, was a time in my life when I had all my homework completed and had the extra time (to all students out there: be responsible). So this is exactly what I did: I went into facebook and started browsing through apps. I literally clicked on “newest” apps hoping to find a newer, low-key game to play. I prefer games that are not mainstream or overpopulated, so I scrolled through page after page of games. Most of them were complete and utter rubbish, but one stood out and caught my eye. Illyriad! (^_^) I began working my way through the tutorial and before I knew it my adventure began!

Have you played many other online games or been active in other online communities?

Yes. Though I only ever play one online game at a time, I usually end up being very active in the community. *sigh* It has been a long time since I was last involved in an online game (Maple Story), and I will comment more about that in the next question.

Any hidden talents or interesting hobbies outside of gaming?

Many have been to my Illyriad blog and have seen that I love working with images and graphics (and no, the comic strips do not accurately represent my talent with art – they are only a silly hobby of mine). In the past I have done some 3D CG art (which are up on deviantart.com), but I am fonder of photo-manipulation. Additionally, I enjoy video editing. This was my hobby for the last game I played (Maple Story), and I have several videos on youtube.com. They are still there today (^_^). I started making an Illyriad video…but it has been put off indefinitely.

What keeps you playing Illyriad?

I would have to say the overall atmosphere created by the community! After my first alliance fell apart, I was crushed. The friendships that were established in that alliance were so strong – we were like a family. I spent a few months in seclusion; telling the community I was a “recluse” and not to bother me (:P). The time away was good, and I also have enjoyed making a comeback. Had the members of the community been different, it is hard to say whether or not I would have stuck around. In all seriousness, I have not seen a tighter knit group of players anywhere, and I am proud to be a member of my current alliance!

What’s your favorite aspect of the game?

I love the personal interaction with the developers. I know everyone gets busy, but it is wonderful to see the creators taking a personal interest in their creation. I love to see the chat start buzzing every time someone with a blue name pops in. (^_^)

What’s your proudest achievement in game so far?

Few people know this (here comes my pride – most likely before my fall…lol), but I was the first player (to my knowledge) to ascertain the locations of all 20 statues in the heroic statue quest. This was done over the span of 6 hours by using my personal image filter to see only the statues and nothing else (please don’t ban me…lol). I coordinated (at the time) with ScottFitz of the mCrow alliance and BecBlue of the former Prisoners of Society alliance to fill in the gaps of both of their lists.

What are you most looking forward to for the future of Illyriad?

Faction AI! (^_^) Though I also worry about this since I placed my alt (an elf) in-between two warring (anti-elf) factions – lol. They are probably warring because they want to be the first to see what my alt might taste like if sautéed in garlic butter. Still, I think this will be good for players to exert some energy upon factions rather than other gamers.

What area of the game do you think needs the most improvement?

Multiple worlds. Recently, the main map was named Elgea. I would like to see about 3 or more worlds with different play styles in mind. (e.g. One world that is set aside for those who desire a more warring “anything goes” gameplay – another world set aside which focuses on ruling kingdoms by means of some constant “king of the hill” scenario for each main and mini region – etc.)

What advice would you give a new player in Illyriad?

Listen to the wisdom and advice of the bigger players. They usually know what they are talking about. (^_^)

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Blog 

Web Art 

Old Youtube Videos: Page 1, Page 2

—————————————————————-

A beast has laid dormant in the south west of Kumala for ages in the history of Illyria. It has sparked fear and curiosity from citizens who wish to unlock its mystery and defeat the horrific Heart of Corruption.

Beating Heart Gif by SunStorm

Until recently, most efforts to explore the area and battle the heart have come up fruitless. But, a mighty forum warrior by the name of SunStorm rallied the call of his fellow Illyrians in an effort to, once and for all, make a stand against this monstrous horror. A massive rally of troops descended upon the spot and discovered, that instead of destroying the beast, it began to grow and take over an even larger part of the map. Armies continued to pile in and become a sacrifice until, the heart came alive and began to beat.

Corrupted Elves and Dwarves

This shocking turn of events sent ripples across the land as corrupted beings rose from the dead, returning to their home cities with hostile intentions. Orcs, elves, humans and dwarves fought against the corrupted forms of their citizens, some of which left behind haunting traces of the attack in the form of a mysterious unharmed tentacle. After a time, and for unknown reasons, the Heart of Corruption has collapsed into its original state and corrupted armies have ceased to emerge.

You would think this is where the mystery ends, but no, our brave forum warriors have begun, yet again to send encampments and armies of troops, perhaps out of continued curiosity, sheer malice or in an attempt to seek revenge for those lost…

And yet again, it grows.

Illyriad players, as a sandbox gaming community, are a smart, resourceful and curious bunch. The entirely player-driven effort to unlock the long-standing mystery of the Heart of Corruption (or Audrey as nicknamed by the players) has been a testament to that fact. As someone who gets the pleasure of watching these things from the inside out, I can say that the development team has been just as excited as the players to watch this event unfold. As each new piece of information came to light, I’ve been quietly cheering everyone on and have been so pleased to see the enthusiasm and cooperation that has emerged from the event.

The word of Illyriad truly does belong to its inhabitants to explore, shape and affect in a meaningful way. Just don’t feed it too much, because sometimes it just might bite back.

GM Luna

1 Apr 2012

Introducing Illyriad UIv3

Author: Luna | Filed under: Graphics, Press

Illyriad is proud to reveal a first look at the new UI version 3. 

After the successful launch of UIv2 last year, the development team agrees that it is time to take yet another step forward with the Illyriad interface design. Presentation and usability are important to the success of a game, and the new UIv3 should make Illyriad even more appealing and successful to a broader target audience.

We at Illyriad Games Ltd., believe there is an untapped marked for complex, sandbox-style, online military strategy games. This untapped market represents billions of dollars in spending each year on virtual goods and entertainment.  This market is tweens, specifically tween girls. And with UIv3, we are certain to create an environment that appeals and connects to this new target market.

This is an early, work-in-progress concept of the town page. You’ll notice the new, helpful pop-ups that remind you of things that need to be done in game. This will make the game even more accessible for our new target audience and includes a fun, new art style as well.

(Click for a full size view.)

UIv3 will be available for testing and release soon™.

We are proud to be leading the marketplace as the first sandbox MMORTS for tweens and look forward to expanding the Illyriad community in a new direction.

GM Luna

 

****April Fools! This is very much a joke and not an actual design for the Illyriad UI. Thank goodness!****

26 Mar 2012

Enter the Illyriad Elemental Giveaway!

Author: Luna | Filed under: Community, Promotion

Want a chance to win some of the most unique military units in the game, Elementals? Well here’s your chance, fair Illyrians. Just follow the directions on the widget below to earn raffle points and be entered into the giveaway. The more ways you enter, the more chances you have to win. One random winner will be chosen. Winner must have an active Illyriad account to receive the prize. Contest runs until March 29, 2012.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

23 Feb 2012

Illyriad’s celebration of the game’s 2 year anniversary

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Press, Press Releases

Illyriad Tournament V in celebration of the game’s 2 year anniversary is now live!

PRESS RELEASE: 23rd FEBRUARY, 2012

Illyriad, the online strategy game, has launched its fifth in-game tournament. The launch of this event coincides with the 2 year anniversary of the game’s first launch date in Alpha. During this in-game event, players will bind together with their Alliances in order to capture and hold territory on 37 land squares spread among the expansive world map. At the end of the tournament, March 21, the total time will be tallied and Alliances ranked based on the total amount of time holding the squares. Competition should be fierce as the potential prizes for winning are quite substantial. The Illyriad development team is proud to team up with sponsors Enjin and Typefrag to provide some amazing prizes that will help foster and grow communities within the game.

Sponsored by:

Enjin             TypeFrag

The first place Alliance will win:

1 year free Ultimate Enjin service package provided by Enjin

This includes:

  • Enjin guild website, CMS and forum hosting
  • File storage and gallery for hosting images
  • Individual user profiles
  • Membership recruitment system with custom emails
  • Deep website customization with visual editor
  • Instant messaging and chat
  • 50 user Mumble server
  • Custom domain
  • Premium, fully branded themes
  • Unlimited site modules
  • and more!

The first place Alliance will also receive in-game prizes including: an Alliance tournament statue to be placed as a permanent tribute on the world map, 50 Elite Praetorian guards and 50 Scribes of Allembine for each eligible player within the winning Alliance.

The second place Alliance will win:

6 months free TypeFrag Ventrilo or Mumble server hosting (32 person capacity) provided by TypeFrag

The second place Alliance will also receive in-game prizes including: an Alliance tournament statue to be placed as a permanent tribute on the world map, 35 Elite Praetorian guards and 35 Scribes of Allembine for each eligible player within the winning Alliance.

The third place Alliance will win:

6 months free TypeFrag Ventrilo or Mumble server hosting (32 person capacity) provided by TypeFrag

The third place Alliance will also receive in-game prizes including: an Alliance tournament statue to be placed as a permanent tribute on the world map, 20 Elite Praetorian guards and 20 Scribes of Allembine for each eligible player within the winning Alliance.

As well as prizes going to the top 3 overall Alliances, each Alliance that holds an individual map square for the longest period of time over the month will receive: 25 Prestige and 10 Praetorian guards to each eligible player of the square-winning Alliance.

More details on the tournament can be found in the official Illyriad forums and in this video of Illyriad’s developer chat held on Feb. 21.

A comment from Enjin on the sponsorship: “Enjin strives to support all games on our social gaming website platform, and we are thrilled to partner with Illyriad for this tournament. We’re excited to provide the Enjin 1 Year Ultimate prize to the winner. Good luck to everyone in the tournament, and may the best win!”

A comment from TypeFrag on the partnership: “With so many providers of Ventrilo servers available, customer service is becoming the critical aspect for success, and therefore a core business differentiator. TypeFrag handles all aspects of voice communication servers from network maintenance to customer support. This support will enable Illyriad Games Ltd to focus on the success of the tournament and growth of their community.”

About Illyriad:

Illyriad is a browser-based Massively Multiplayer strategy game, in which players take control of cities, engaging in city-building, quests, diplomacy, warfare and trade. Developed by London-based Illyriad Games Ltd., Illyriad went live in 2010 and was officially launched on May 16th 2011.
http://www.illyriad.co.uk/

About Enjin:

Enjin provides top of the line guild website hosting for over 100,000 guilds across thousands of online games. The fully featured, easy-to-use platform lets you create the perfect, customized website for your guild. Voted best by PC Gamer.
http://www.enjin.com/

About TypeFrag:

TypeFrag is the leading provider for voice communication among online gamers. They currently are host to over 50,000 voice servers, servicing millions of social groups, families and guilds worldwide.
http://typefrag.com/

What the Press Say about Illyriad: http://www.illyriad.co.uk/blog/index.php/category/press/

For further information, please contact: press@illyriad.co.uk. Screenshots and logos are available via anonymous login FTP at ftp://ftp.illyriad.co.uk . Interviews and further information is available promptly on request. Journalist accounts are available on request for any journalist writing for a major, relevant magazine or website.

22 Feb 2012

Illyriad 2nd Anniversary Dev Chat

Author: Luna | Filed under: Community

Video is now available from our 2nd Anniversary Dev Chat held yesterday, Feb. 21, 2012. GM Luna and GM Stormcrow discuss the new tournament and take questions from the community.

An audio only mp3 file is available for download here. Just right click and save file to download.

Enjoy!

21 Feb 2012

Second Anniversary Funding Round, New Appointments

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Press, Press Releases

Please note that all board appointments referenced herein only become effective once filed at Companies’ House in the United Kingdom.  Until such time these appointments should be regarded as provisional statements of intent.

Second Anniversary sees completion of successfully fundraising and welcomes new appointments.

PRESS RELEASE: 21st FEBRUARY, 2012

HTML5 browser-based game developer Illyriad Games Limited announced today the successful completion of a fundraising round, and several key additions to the Illyriad team.

“This is the second anniversary of Illyriad first hitting the web as a beta version,” said James Niesewand, CEO and original founder of Illyriad Games Limited. “And so we’re delighted to confirm that we were oversubscribed on our first external fundraising round. This gives us the cash we wanted to accelerate the development of Illyriad, and allows us to bring several key people on board as well as to increase our investment in R&D.”

The funds raised in this round value Illyriad Games Limited at a shade over USD $1.75M.

Following this, Illyriad Games Limited is delighted to welcome several new appointments:

Ben Adams joins the board as Chief Technology Officer & Executive Director Ben has 15 years of development experience as Head of Innovation for two FTSE-100 companies: Sky IQ – part of the BSkyB group – and Experian plc. He specialises in algorithms, user interface design and highly concurrent systems. Ben joined Illyriad in the early development phase to provide expertise in developing the technical architecture, as well as writing the cross-platform Open Web code-base.

Lynn Brunner joins the board as a Non-Executive Director Lynn has 20 years’ experience in customer experience management and marketing, with a strong focus on bringing technology to the art of marketing. She has worked in both the US and the UK, across a broad range of companies, including National Westminster bank, Experian, Coca-Cola and Orange Telecom. She is currently in a SVP role at a consumer goods company in the US, managing marketing and strategic development. She brings her extensive expertise to the table, helping interpret player needs and shaping the Illyriad offering to meet these needs. She is also a strong contributor to the strategic development of the business, helping drive profitable growth.

Alan Dragovic joins the board as a Non-Executive Director Alan has experience as a writer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist. His first career as a securities analyst with UBS took him to Sydney, London, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, then as Vice President of Citibank Global Asset Management, to New York. Timing his transition from banking to publishing before the dot-com down turn Alan established an online and print publishing presence in Latin America, Associated Argentine Press. The flagship magazine, The Traveller’s Guru, had a total print run approaching 1m copies between 2004 and 2009. Alan is currently specializing in free to play browser games as a venture capitalist and advisor, providing Illyriad with an investment banker’s perspective on future development and growth strategies.

Kevin Hassall becomes our full-time Executive Producer Kevin has 15 years’ experience of running production and development projects and programmes of work, focusing on web and games development. During the dotcom boom he was Projects Director for On-line plc (an AIM-listed internet business incubator), and subsequently spent 5 years as Publishing Director on the board of Oxygen Interactive Software Ltd (a privately held game publisher). From March 2012 he brings this experience to Illyriad, driving the delivery of code, art, audio and content updates to our players.

Franck Sidon joins Illyriad as Company Secretary, and Edward Daniel as Legal Counsel.

Emphasising the key role that new technologies will play in the evolution of Illyriad, Niesewand added: “We are also delighted to welcome a number of new development staff to the existing Illyriad team: Simon Hopkin & Richard Hemsley join us on the code development side, the aptly-named James Bell is kickstarting our audio projects, and we’re thrilled to have the renowned game economist Tibike Cosmin on board as game designer.

The ‘Year of The Dragon’ is an immensely exciting time for both the corporation and the Illyriad players themselves, and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead.”

About Illyriad
Illyriad is a browser-based Massively Multiplayer strategy game, in which players take control of cities, engaging in city-building, quests, diplomacy, warfare and trade. Developed by London-based Illyriad Games Ltd., Illyriad went live in 2010 and was officially launched on May 16th 2011

What the Press Say about Illyriad: http://www.illyriad.co.uk/blog/index.php/category/press/

For further information please contact: press@illyriad.co.uk. Screenshots, logos and other art assets are available via anonymous login FTP at ftp://ftp.illyriad.co.uk . Interviews and further information is available promptly on request. Journalist accounts are available on request for any journalist writing for a major, relevant magazine or website.

18 Feb 2012

Illyriad Website Redesign

Author: Luna | Filed under: Graphics

Illyriad is coming up on its 2 year anniversary since the game first launched in Alpha. In that time the external game website has been through a few versions. For 2012 and as we move into the third year of Illyriad’s existence we are happy to share with the community a new and improved website.

Why a new website?

One of my main goals as community manager at Illyriad is to make sure our players are having the best user experience than can have. In part this means that our players should have easy to access information about the game readily available. The current (now former) website just wasn’t doing that very well.

As most of our players know, Illyriad has a small cross-functional development team. This means, at any time, one of us may be working on a project that seems like it falls outside of our more formal titles. So in true Swiss army knife fashion, I set out to give the website a new coat of paint. My background (aside from community development) is in graphic design. So it’s really not quite as much of a stretch as you’d think.

Goals:

  • Give the website a fresh look
  • Create an easier to use navigation
  • Add a community section
  • More detailed information about the game
  • Add FAQ and support section
  • Better social media integration
  • Have dynamic content and news on the front page

Process:

The first step was identifying the basic layout of the website and what sorts of content would be inside. I did this by creating a series of very rough wire-frames and a pagemap. After looking at a few options the team chose the one below:

From there I went about laying out a mock-up of the homepage in Photoshop. My philosophy with the visuals was to retain the key elements that relate to our brand but still give a clean, updated visual look. Familiar elements like the character art on the backgrounds, the parchment paper texture and red buttons relate to the former website and game while still giving a new look. One of my favorite parts to update was the treatment for the logo. The Illyriad logo has a pretty unique look and the former implementation of plain flat black wasn’t really giving it the attention it deserved. So I experimented with a few treatments and landed on a subtle silver 3D lighted effect. My biggest struggle, however, was with color. The game and former website use a lot (seriously, a lot) of beige and brown tones. I wanted to retain some connection to the game through the use of the parchment texture and beige color, but I felt that the site overall needed some more contrast and depth. I was inspired by the mottled dark blue-grey sky that was used in one of the character portraits. So after much layering and experimentation I came up with the rich blues and dark browns that are used in the new design.

After settling on the overall design and laying out mockups for the rest of the pages, we began the process of making the designs come to life. Through an amazing partnership with Illyriad CTO and technical wizard, Ben Adams (aka GM Thundercat) all of the things I imagined actually turned out to work, often times even better than I thought. The account creation and log-in pages for example are so much more slick and interactive than I thought they could be, due to some amazing HTML5 technical wizardry. The real hard work was coding and I consider myself quite a lucky designer to get to work with someone who when I asked “can we do that?” always said yes.

Overall, I am so pleased with how the website has turned out and I hope the community is as well. At some point soon™ we hope to be giving the forums a dev blog and new look as well to match the new website.

Make sure to hop over to the homepage to check it out for yourself and stop by the forums or leave comments on this post to give your feedback on the new site! I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

GM Luna

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