Fantasy author Steve Aryan fleshes out Wailing Heights

We stopped howling at the moon a long time ago. It’s not only rude and a public nuisance, there’s also a strong link between howling and public indecency, not to mention frostbite.”

As you traverse the streets and rooms of  Wailing Heights, you may find hidden prose publications that share insight into our modern monster world. To help flesh out Wailing Heights’ modern monster lore, we welcome fantasy author Stephen Ayran.

If you can find them hidden in dark corners, you’ll bellyache at Stephen’s Dr. Acula’s ‘Common Vampire Afflictions’ and reconsider your dietary choices after absorbing A Feast Fit For Wolves: A Werewolf’s guide to the Vegan lifestyle.

 

 

 

Stephen says “Working on Wailing Heights was a real challenge and so much fun. I really enjoyed bringing humour to some familiar horror archetypes and tweaking them to make them different and fit in with the world being created.”

 

 

 

 

Stephen is a fantasy author, published by Orbit books. His first novel, Battlemage, was released in September 2015 and the next two novels in his first trilogy will be released this year. His writing credits include working on Codex of the Realm for Stickmen Media, writing for Tor.com and developing intellectual property into comic book pitches for a media company.

Stephen has written some really funny pieces, that had us laughing out loud. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled if you want to read them…

 

Follow us on Twitter for  preview snippets of Stephen’s work on Wailing Heights.

#Adventurecalender Compilation

If you missed our ADVENTure Calender daily updates on Twitter, here’s a collection of December’s daily tweets:

 

Make sure to Follow us on Twitter for live previews and news!

Artist Tara O’Connor joins Wailing Heights!

We’re very excited to announce that joining us for another musical monster origin is comic writer/artist Tara O’Connor.

Tara is the creator of Roots, (currently nominated Best Biographical Comic of 2015 by Comics Alliance) and the multi-award nominated In Your Wake, which you can read online at http://www.taraocomics.com

We’re reaching spoiler territory with this character origin, so we’ll let this beautiful B&W preview of Tara’s Wailing Height’s artwork speak for itself.

 

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Tara has a few cool projects of her own coming up, and the best way to follow their progress is via Tara’s Twitter.

 

While you’re there, don’t forget to Follow Outsider Games on Twitter too. We’ve still a few daily surprises in store for #ADVENTurecalender!

Wailing Heights ADVENTure Calender #1 – Ron Salas draws Lola!

December is upon and we’re ticking down… to our end-of-year production deadlines!

To celebrate the season Advent-Calender Style, we’re releasing new, daily previews of Wailing Heights! That’s right, EVERY DAY on our Twitter and Facebook feeds we’re showing a new snippet of art, script, song, and even new creator announcements!

We start off with an awesome piece of news that one of our favourite comic artists Ron Salas, is joining us to draw Maura’s McHugh’s Lola Origin!

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As you can see from the preview above, Lola wasn’t always the modern, hipster vampire, with Ron and Maura reaching back to the 18th century to tell the soon-to-be classic story.

For more info on Ron, including a bibliography of his work for Marvel Comics, Dark Horse, DC Comics, and awesome renditions of comic classics such Batman and Superman, visit his website.

 

If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to catch every morsel of December’s Wailing Heights’ ADVENTure CALENDER!

Q-con!

With slightly twitchy fingers we showcased the Wailing Heights Demo at its first convention this past weekend.

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Stephen Downey, our co-director and lead artist had attended Q-con before, though from a comic artist and guest POV. The comic audience at Q-con is a small but growing section of the crowd, which focuses heavily on gaming and anime, so attending as indie developers, we weren’t sure what reaction to expect for a indie, comic-inspired, 2D adventure game.

And it was brilliant!

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The body-hopping, musical, adventure game seemed to pique the interest of gamers at the con, with even a couple of players dancing along to the tracks!

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We had steady stream of players, and at one point even had a queue forming. The indie dev indoor marques, set up in the gaming console room, had a nice open feel to them, and the perfect audience to pitch a game demo.

Over the weekend Stephen had the Belfast-based Wailing Heights team of John Mcfarlane and Rodney McConnell man the table, with lots of support from New Jersey artist Tara O’Connor, who graciously spent her first weekend in Belfast helping us out. It’s a long weekend, so support and shifts from the team was absolutely essential.

Thankfully Q-con also supply snacks and drinks for anyone showcasing at a table, and Friday’s #IndieDevsGetFreePizza is one of the best indie-encouraging schemes I’ve heard of!

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We had bit of a technical nightmare setting up. Regretfully not testing a single-monitor setup in the studio, AND packing the wrong wireless mouse, we were unable to access the game on setup. We borrowed an 2nd monitor and mouse from one of the con organisers, and were able to quickly reconfigure the set-up, but it made for a nervous first half hour. Next time, we’ll be taking all our packed gear and setting it up in a different room within our studio, to make certain we’ve packed everything we need to run the demo smoothly.

Showcasing the demo was a great opportunity to test the control mechanics, which we’d had a lot of discussion and experimenting with in-house. We expected to have to talk players thought each button, but for the most part, they worked the controller effortlessly. One change we will be making immediately to the game, is a control mechanism that prevents players accidentally skipped over dialogue choices by continually hitting ‘A’ in an effort to fast-forward the dialogue, but inadvertently auto-selecting the first dialogue choice. Rodney also had his notepad on hand to note any other bugs that popped up, and has a small list of collider gaps and camera twitches to fix.

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The demo seem to to take players between 5-10 minutes to complete depending on which characters they chose to talk to first, and of course, initial dialogue choices. This seemed to be the perfect amount of time to hold players attention at the con, and we only had a few people who didn’t finish the demo. We had the odd ‘I’m more of a Fallout kind of guy’, and while obviously not our target audience, we’re grateful for those con-goers trying new genres and giving our demo a play!

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Having a physical sketchbook (and promise of an early-access demo) to give away in exchange for an email sign-up sheet was a great idea in retrospect, as we ended up with about 70 new email addresses to add to our newsletter, with a lot of players anticipating a more polished version of the demo later in the year.

There were also a few YouTube content creators browsing the show floor, and we took part in a few interviews, so hopefully the PR aspect of the show will continue over the next few weeks, and we’ll post them here as they pop up.

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Q-con is local to our studio, so it’s pretty easily to recommend the short trip, but as a gamer-centric convention, the feedback from player-testing alone was invaluable. With an expanded email list, and postitive feedback over the weekend, I think we’ve also picked up a couple of fans along the way.

Big thanks to everyone who played the demo over the weekend. If you didn’t get a chance to play, or pick up one of the sketchbooks, you can still sign up for the email list and we’ll send them digitally later in the year.

Demo Deadline Day

We’ve been working towards a demo of Wailing Heights, and today is our self-imposed deadline (well, self-imposed in that it needs to be finished today, with final testing tomorrow if we want to show it at Q-con this weekend).

There have been some long days (stretching into nights, stretching into early mornings), but yesterday was a but of a milestone in having something that’s pretty playable.

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In some ways the demo, which forms a chunk of story Act 1, is the hardest hurdle to leap, as we need most of the game mechanics functional. With the core engine and UI in place, we’ll be expanding on the demo with level artwork, character design. and animation. Some would call this milestone a ‘vertical slice’, I’d call it ‘something playable’, but in my experience, they tend to go hand-in-hand with game development.

I don’t think we’ll be putting this version of the demo online, as it’s got quite a few temporary assets, but we’ll Twitch out some live in-house testing later today on our TWITCH account.