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Messages - GameDevChris

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Backing via PayPal will still be available for several months. We'll probably take it down around the time the game enters beta testing.

Yes, the resin character figures listed on our Kickstarter page are available to PayPal backers at the same pledge levels. That is, At the $100 tier you'd get the 4 polyresin D'arc figures, Redcap Goblin figure, Bort Earth Mage figure, and Chief Hawkain Flyterian figure. And at the $150 tier you'd get all of those as well as the Priestess, Varner Fire Mage, and Masked Mage Villain figures.

Technical & Bugs forum / Re: stuttering in opening movie
« on: April 02, 2014, 01:44:03 PM »
Take a look at my suggestion in this thread and let me know if that solves it for you:


Another thing you can do, is press CTRL+L to toggle between hi-res and low-res cutscene movies. The low-res versions might run a bit more smoothly on some systems.

The bundle ended a while ago. The best way to get a version with the digital soundtrack now is over at IndieGameStand:


Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: digital download ?
« on: February 13, 2014, 05:51:58 PM »
Yes, when it's released you'll be able to purchase it as a digital download from Steam or via other venues if you prefer a version that's DRM-Free,

News / Al Emmo comes to Groupees
« on: January 23, 2014, 09:07:45 AM »
Al Emmo is currently strutting his stuff on the Groupees Retro bundle 2. Pay what you want for Al and 7 other games! Plus, get the Al Emmo Soundtrack once 2,500 bundles get sold.

All purchasers will get a Steam key once the game is Greenlit.

Retro 2 Groupees Bundle

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum / Re: Mobile version of Al Emmo
« on: December 12, 2013, 11:27:58 PM »
Excellent, excellent. Thanks! And the same to you, Nipples!  :D

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum / Re: Mobile version of Al Emmo
« on: December 12, 2013, 04:41:41 PM »
If you mean the tooltip hotspot bar that appears at the bottom of the screen in v4.0, then yes, the mobile versions will also feature that. You can drag your finger around the screen and whatever your fingertip is touching at any given time will be displayed textually in the tooltip bar.

There won't, however, be a feature that highlights all of the important hotspots on the screen simultaneously with the touch of a button.

Technical & Bugs forum / Re: Mouse Sensitivity Issue
« on: December 10, 2013, 08:21:00 AM »
Hmm, not really. I suppose you could ask over at the AGS technical forum:


But they're likely to give you a similar answer. If nothing else, though, it may remind of them the issue which could get it being revolved faster on the engine side of things.

Technical & Bugs forum / Re: Mouse Sensitivity Issue
« on: December 10, 2013, 06:11:10 AM »
In that case, does it make a difference when you run the game at full screen mode?

The AGS engine doesn't currently have settings for adjusting mouse sensitivity in-game. I think this feature is being considered for a later build (and if it gets implemented, we'll release an update with the feature included). But for now, I guess the only other option would be to temporarily adjust your mouse sensitivity settings from within Windows when playing the game, and then set it back again once you've finished.

Technical & Bugs forum / Re: Mouse Sensitivity Issue
« on: December 09, 2013, 11:06:29 PM »
One thing you might try is running the game in windowed mode (via the setup program) and selecting the 2x Nearest Neighbor filter, or whichever Nearest Neighbor filter allows you to run the game as close to full screen as possible. In AGS games, the mouse seems to behave a bit better in windowed mode than in full-screen mode.

Technical & Bugs forum / Re: Audio Lag in new Al Emmo version
« on: November 28, 2013, 12:40:38 PM »
Is this only in the cutscene movies, or in the entire game?

Try opening the acsetup.cfg file (in the game folder) with a text editor and changing threaded=1 to threaded=0 instead. A new feature was recently added to the AGS engine which prevents music stuttering, but is known to throw lipsyncing off, so it might also be affecting this. Could you give that a try and let me know if it seems to make any difference for you. Note, however, that disabling multi-threaded audio might cause the music to start stuttering slightly when you change rooms, or at other moments when a lot of graphically-intensive stuff is going on.

Oh, and make sure you're not running with one of the "anti-aliased" filters in the winsetup.exe program either. Those add unnecessary slowdown.

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Extra Goodies from various tiers
« on: November 27, 2013, 02:19:23 PM »
Since we had to order them in bulk, we'll have a certain amount of merchandise for sale later.

So yes, it will be possible to buy some of these items, like the resin figures eventually - at some point after the backer rewards are shipped out.

Okay, I've hooked you up with a new key. Just emailed it off. :)

Can you send an e-mail to support@himalayastudios.com and provide your original purchase receipt or a photo of your DVD case etc if you no longer have the receipt?

News / Al Emmo Enhanced Out Now! New voice actor, 2D Cutscenes, and more!
« on: November 26, 2013, 07:00:17 AM »
Update: November 26th, 2013

Price: $9.99 USD

Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine version 4.0 has been released! This new version has several major improvements based on player feedback we've received over the years. If you've never played the game before, now is the perfect opportunity to give this enhanced edition a try!


* A new Al Emmo (protagonist) voice actor
* Improved 2D Cutscene movies
* Scoring system with 500 points
* Achievement system with 20 achievements
* Tooltip bar that shows mouse-over hotspots
* Much more! (See full list at bottom of post)

Himalaya Store - Unlockable trial version (Free 60 Minute Trial)
Buy from Desura
(More to come.)

The game is still in Greenlight, but is moving up. If you have a Steam account, we'd really appreciate your "Yes" vote. And if you leave a comment too, you'll automatically go into our prize draw to win some free Steam games once greenlit! Also, all owners of the game will get a Steam key.

Upgrading to version 4.0 is free for customers who purchased the game directly from Himalaya Studios. If you purchased the Digital Download version, simply uninstall your old version, then re-install version 4.0. The same serial key number you were allocated will work.

If you bought the game from another portal/webstore, the new version will be rolled out sometime in December.

A full list of additions, features, improvements, and bug fixes is below.
Full Changelog
- Added: New voice actor for Al Emmo
- Added: New voice actor for Everette the Exterminator
- Added: Improved 2D, hand-animated cutscenes to replace older 3D versions
- Added: New Himalaya Studios logo animation
- Added: New scoring system with a total of 500 points
- Added: Achievements system with 20 achievements to unlock
- Added: Tooltip GUI which shows mouse-over hotspot names
- Added: The [ and ] keys will cycle backwards and forwards through inventory items
- Added: Back-end functionality for touch-screen devices
- Added: Some newly recorded speech for Rita
- Added: Animated light glints to several small, obtainable objects to make them more visible
- Added: Max Nearest Neighbour filter to the setup program
- Fixed: Music and audio stuttering bug
- Fixed: Pressing Enter on Quit & Restart GUIs now acts like clicking the "yes" button
- Fixed: Esc key will now cancel the map of Anozira
- Fixed: Esc will no longer skip the entire tequila sequence in the saloon
- Fixed: Al can now run inside Koko's store
- Fixed: Improved Al's mule dismounting animation at Rita's house
- Fixed: Improved Bubba's flag animation
- Fixed: Updated the PDF manual with the latest graphics and information
- Fixed: Koko's greeting to Al in Act 6 if Al already visited him since the raid
- Fixed: Made it so you must talk to Everette before you can give him the termites
- Fixed: More legible font is used in the journals
- Fixed: Moved the mine cart's starting position further right on the tracks
- Fixed: Bug where the same desert music could play twice in succession
- Fixed: Bug where the top left and right menus would not animate in the mine cliff screen
- Fixed: Bug where you could burn the gallows ropes with the matchbook more than once
- Fixed: several minor spelling/grammar errors
- Fixed: other small glitches and bugs
- Changed: Interface improvements (such as tweening GUIs)
- Changed: Made many items and objects easier to click on to reduce pixel-hunting
- Changed: Rita's speaking portrait
- Changed: Rita's song cutscene has been replaced with a new in-game scene
- Changed: Increased the odds of seeing the fishing Easter Eggs at the oasis
- Changed: Improved the visual appearance of Kevin's fire extinguisher spray
- Changed: Retouched several characters' dialog portraits
- Changed: The half-map rubbing inventory item now includes a piece of charcoal
- Changed: Al now looks at the half-map rubbing after acquiring it (close-up)
- Changed: Made it easier to walk off the screen edges when leaving a room
- Changed: Various dialogue and text tweaks
- Changed: Tweaked the way save/replace game GUIs are handled

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Welcome to the Mage's Initiation Forum
« on: November 10, 2013, 01:08:03 PM »
Hey, ratpizza. Thanks for the great write-up (and also for your awesome forum handle!)

I'm happy to know that you had a good experience with the demo and hold it in such high esteem. Being compared to a QFG is high praise, indeed, as those games served as the source of our inspiration. Even though it's a similar game, Mage's Initiation isn't intended to be a direct facsimile of the QFG experience. Sure, a lot of elements in Mages are the same, but several of the RPG aspects differ and there's also no day and night cycle. We planned it this way so that our game would have a somewhat unique angle.

Thanks for the combat feedback. The demo you played is actually the one we released back at the very start of the year (February 2013) when we were running our Kickstarter campaign. Since then, we've completely adjusted the way the combat system works to make it more intuitive and friendly. There's now an auto-targeting system for the spells, the ability to pause the game mid-combat so the player can drink potions -- as well as a bunch of other improvements. We've released an updated combat demo showcasing these improvements, which is available exclusively to backers who helped fund the project on either Kickstarter or PayPal.New PayPal backers can still get access to the forum, download it, and offer further feedback to us in the backers' forum.

I appreciate the time you took to write this feedback, and hope that you'll enjoy the final product when it's done!

General Forum / Re: About/Contact us
« on: October 13, 2013, 10:14:05 PM »
This is a good idea, though at the moment we're crunching on so much stuff that we have to prioritize what's most important. We'll definitely put this on the backburner, though!

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Your games on larger screen iPhones?
« on: October 12, 2013, 12:04:29 AM »
I'm pretty sure that the mobile ports of our games will stretch to fill the full screen size, regardless of which device the games are being run on. I haven't done any testing yet on iOS devices, but the Android ports (both phone and larger screen tablets) look just fine and the performance is nice and smooth.

We're just trying to iron out a few kinks with unexpected dropouts and freezing video feed on slower Android devices. Once we've got the Android version of Al Emmo pinned down and released, it will be compatible with Android screens of all sizes, and then we can begin looking at the iOS ports. Unfortunately, Apple makes it a bit more difficult to test and roll out a release. But technically, once the Android quirks are taken care of, the iOS porting process, at least, should be a fairly smooth transition.

General Forum / Re: Himalaya, how do you guys do it?
« on: October 01, 2013, 10:41:09 PM »
I'm curious - where did you hear that?

General Forum / Re: Himalaya, how do you guys do it?
« on: September 30, 2013, 09:03:47 AM »
Ironically, the graphics cost more time and money-wise than any other aspect of our games!

I think working on the non-commercial King's Quest and Quest for Glory remakes forced us to become very resourceful. In order to get the job done, we had to find work-arounds for issues that would normally cost a lot of money. We were also able to get a lot of free help because people liked what we were doing and wanted to pitch in. We even got two Hollywood-based actors, of some fame, to voice roles in our King's Quest III remake. Of course, it's a completely different ball game with a commercial title, because now every aspect has to be paid for. Only a fraction of the Kickstarter funds goes to development of the game - the majority goes toward reward fulfillment.

I'd love to have $500k to play with for a project! I know there are some projects that Kickstarted in excess of this amount, and were extremely wasteful with large portions of their backers' money - and then had the gall to complain that $500k+ was scraps and limited the quality of their product. As someone who's made several of these types of games on extremely low budgets, this attitude really annoys me.  $500k is not scraps for an adventure game - not with the tools and resources available today. It's just that certain people have no money management skills and little in the way of business sense.

One of the largest expense wildcards we've faced (and I know this has been the case for other Kickstarter successes, too), is workers who flake out. We've certainly had our share of them, and they've cost us a hell of a lot. At one point, Rachel was even thinking of writing up an article for Gamasutra on the financial impact of paid workers reneging on indie projects. This is one major area that I see as a big risk because it seems that flakes are more prevalent on paid projects than on free ones.

Aside from that, though, being versed in more than one thing (e.g. AGS scripting, art, animation, management, voice acting/direction etc.) allows me to pool a lot of those talents and handle them myself. This, of course, means we save money by not needing to hire so many others. It's even more effective when you've got a relatively small team, consisting of multi-talented members who each fill the voids that the other project members lack. Throw in some passion and the only other thing needed is a solid work ethic. Seeing the end result as a fun and enjoyable project coming to life, rather than solely a means to an end in making money also helps. :)

I fully agree that interface design is of paramount importance on touch-screen devices. Players will be stuck with these controls for the entire game, so if they're repetitive, non-intuitive, or if it simply takes too many taps to cycle through various icon modes, then it just becomes tedious, and that's off-putting to the player.

I don't think we'll ever give our games the "TellTale treatment" by simplifying the interface to only bare bones interactions and providing no background descriptions whatsoever. The large majority of our fan-base seems to prefer that we keep all of the traditional Sierra cursor modes, as the additional interactivity and descriptors make the game world feel more realistic - not just like a propped-up wooden film set.

The smartphone version of Mage's Initiation will feature only one interface. It will most likely be the verb coin or Action Bar. This way, the player only needs to hold their finger down on the screen for a brief moment to bring up the GUI with the Eye, Hand, Mouth, Inventory, and Options buttons on it, ensuring that only 2 taps are required to look, use, or talk to anything in the game world. It eliminates multiple taps to cycle through cursor modes while still allowing us to keep the verbose game world fully intact. You will also be able to quickly tap once to walk or quickly tap twice to run. And yes, text labels for hotspots, characters, and so forth will also be enabled by default. This is actually necessary to make sure that the player can read the descriptions for their inventory items and any gems they collect and identify from combat loot.

I think that there's a happy medium between designing a tedious interface tedious and implementing one that's too hand-holdish. We'll put in the necessary attention to find settings that are smooth and intuitive.

Off-Topic Forum / Re: Police Quest creator Jim Walls's kickstarter!
« on: August 16, 2013, 07:57:02 AM »
It's really melancholic to see how this Kickstarter floundered and, even now, continues to wage an uphill battle with the new funding system. It's evident that the relevant lessons weren't learned as they're still doing the chasing, rather than being chased. Sadly, I don't think this game is ever going to see the light of day with the current approach or attitude to crowdfunding.

What confounds me is that when we were talking with Robert about working together on the Precinct Kickstarter, we were very clear with him about the caveats; about all of these potential pitfalls that have now come to pass. We gave him practical advice about how to avoid them -- as well as offering financial/accounting/swag production/logistics expertise when it comes to physical rewards for backers while keeping costs to a minimum so that it doesn't eat too much into the budget. Not to mention that we have another cop on the team who could have worked very well alongside Jim to give the story some modern day flair and authenticity). In their recent Reddit AMA, Robert quoted $150k to cover all of their swag costs (sans shipping). Now, I'm not sure who's doing their accounting, but had they involved us, we could have handled all of this for a fraction of that cost (and offered more rewards to boot), ran a sharper campaign, and helped greatly to promote it amongst the adventure community.

We had already put several months of time and effort into researching rewards for the Kickstarter campaign and fine-tuning potential financials to help Jim and Robert get the absolute most from the campaign, but before we knew it, and without informing us, they launched the Precinct Kickstarter without providing us with a reason for why they reneged on such a well-suited team for the task. I can't guarantee that our involvement would have ensured Precinct's success, but I CAN say that even if it failed, the campaign would have come out with a professional image, a more heavily-anticipated title with a clearly-defined structure, and a more trustworthy-looking foundation from which to launch a second attempt.

As things panned out, I see this as a really disappointing campaign, where everything that could go wrong DID go wrong and the game's reputation has suffered, perhaps irrevocably, for it. According to our research, Police Quest was Sierra's 2nd or 3rd best-selling series, behind only King's Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. The potential of this campaign was huge, and unfortunately, they didn't listen to the advice given prior to and during the campaign, and made a royal mess of something that could have been a shoo-in for success.

Himalaya's development of the game could have gone either way, 2D or 3D, depending on what Jim wanted. Robert was going to get back to us once he had an idea of the size and scope of the project so that we could prepare a budget and provide a quote. The real shame is that Britney's experience as a real-life cop would have given an authentic, modern edge to the game, which I think would have really helped to further incentivize backers. It would have been a very good strategic pairing.

We'd been talking with with Jim and Robert about the Kickstarter and, as far as I knew, they were still interested in working with us, as Robert mentioned he'd be in contact. So the launch of the Precinct Kickstarter today was a bit of a surprise! lol

I can only speculate as to why they took the direction they did, but given our current focus on making Mage's Initiation as good as it can be, perhaps they surmised that it's in their best interests to create Precinct with developers who could give the project their undivided attention.

Still, we wish Jim and the crew the best of luck with the game!

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Latest combat demo?
« on: July 01, 2013, 07:51:44 PM »
Can you see the latest updates #28 and #29 when you log into your Kickstarter account and look on the Mage's Initiation Kickstarter updates page?


The password is in update #29, but it's also in the first post of the sticky thread about combat in the Mage's Private Backers forum.

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Making a Video of the Combat Demo
« on: June 29, 2013, 02:45:12 PM »
Hmmm, I guess that would be okay for this particular combat demo v1, if you put a link in the text description to the Mages Initiation website, letting viewers know how they can get the demo for themselves if they're interested in playing it or the full game.

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Private Backers Forum
« on: June 29, 2013, 01:16:31 PM »
To try and solve the issue with this particular error message, go to the game folder and run winsetup.exe (or from the "Himalaya Studios/Mages Initiation Combat Demo" program group in Windows, choose "Settings Menu").

This will open the game settings menu and allows you to change between graphics options. First try running the game in windowed mode. If that doesn't work, try setting the "Graphics Driver" to "DirectDraw5.  And if that doesn't work, change the "Graphics Filter" to "None". One of those settings should work.

And yes, to get access to the Private Backer forum, please send NavyNuke04 a Private Message to request access. You should be able do so via his profile here:


General Forum / Re: Introduce yourself
« on: June 29, 2013, 09:25:15 AM »
We had one beta tester for Al Emmo who was 83. :)

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Latest combat demo?
« on: June 08, 2013, 08:35:22 AM »
We're working on the new combat demo as we speak. It has been a bigger task that initially expected since the entire system had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The original one didn't support opponents which could cast the same spells as D'arc -- and we needed that functionality added to ensure that the Supreme Archmage backers from Kickstarter will be able to spar in combat against the player.

We have an idea, internally, about when we hope to release it, but I don't want to jump the gun just yet in case it ends up being delayed. Rest assured it'll be soon, though! We're also going to chat with the BeastMaster Kickstarter plegder over the weekend and start getting his monster concept added to the game.

And yeah, the future combat demos will be made available to Kickstarter and PayPal backers only. We want to release a few iterations of combat demos and get their feedback on each one leading up the the beta version of the game.

Win a $450 Prize Pack: Simply Upvote & Comment!

We're running a giveaway to help promote Mage's Initiation on Greenlight!

For the chance to win a huge bundle of collectible items valued at over $450 USD, just follow these simple steps:

1) Visit the Mage's Initiation Greenlight page and click the "Yes" button to upvote the game.

2) Click the "Favorite" and "Follow" buttons (under the screenshots).

3) Leave a comment (This step is necessary so that we can choose winners from the list of usernames assigned to the comments).

And that's it! Three entries will be randomly chosen when Mage's Initiation gets greenlit and this contest will remain open until that time. Comments/votes that existed before the contest was announced will also be eligible to win.

Second Prize: Two runners-up will each be gifted one game of their choice (of any value) to their Steam account.

First Prize: One lucky winner will receive all if the items below:

  • 4 Game boxes (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water) containing game and soundtrack CDs
  • 1 Standard DVD Case/copy of the "Mages Initiation" game
  • 4 D'arc Polyresin figures - Fire, Earth, Air, and Water (4" x 3" x 3")
  • 3 Digital Copies of the "Mage's Initiation" game
  • 1 Digital Copy of the "Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine" game
  • 1 Digital "Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine" soundtrack (53 Tracks)
  • 1 "Mage's Initiation" Poster (18" x 24")
  • 1 "Mage's Initiation" 50-page Hardcover Art book
  • 2 Bronze "Severed Circle" Pendants
  • 3 Complete sets of character trading cards (15 foil packs, 120 cards total)
  • 1 Art Lithograph, Signed by JP Selwood (8.5" x 11")
  • 2 Cloth Maps of the Land of Iginor (11" x 17")
  • 2 T-shirts (Mens or Ladies sizes)

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Making your Pal Pay
« on: May 08, 2013, 07:05:43 PM »
Yeah, sorry about the delay on updates. I also suffered the wrath of severe salmonella food poisoning last week and had to be hospitalized on an IV drip after not being able to keep anything down for 4 days. Incredibly unpleasant experience! It was around about then I was wishing I had access to a vial of Mage's Water or the Water Mage's Heal spell.

A new update will be coming shortly, though, after I'm fully recovered and we have all the ducks in a row.

Mage's Initiation Forum / Re: Combat
« on: May 08, 2013, 06:59:17 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, Yukito. Out of curiosity, did you play our Quest for Glory 2 remake? What did you think about the combat system in that game?

We hadn't planned on doing so, since it all adds the development costs. We only really budgeted for the standard dialogue portraits and 8 phoneme mouth frames per portrait.

If certain scenes call for it, and the budget allows, we *may* do something like this if certain scenes would benefit from it. Though it wouldn't be for all characters.

Extremely unprofessional. This type of behaviour is more likely to hurt the chances of ever seeing future King's Quest games, irrespective of developer.

Since I don't want this forum to become a place for rumours and speculation, which could reflect poorly on Himalaya, I think I'd better close this...

News / Re: Mage's Initiation Kickstarter a Huge Success!
« on: March 24, 2013, 12:18:02 AM »
Thanks everyone! We appreciate the kind words and support!  :D

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