Tag: Crixa

Ember Promo Kaiju

Fundraiser Successful. Milestone 2 & 3 Fully Funded. Work, Work.

Wow! What an impressive second fundraiser for EM-8ER (Ember, our massive planetary wargame). Final stats are:

  • 467% Funded
  • $23,353 raised of $5000 goal
  • Fully funded in just over a day
  • 330 Backers
  • DOUBLE the number of backers than previous milestone

Now its time to buckle down on the work. After credit card and IndieGoGo fees ($2300 or so) It will take some time (15 days) for funds to clear (21 days for Paypal), but that won’t stop us. We’re either currently working on or about to move onto:

  • Adding backer forums names by end of week
  • Ordering plastic for 3D printing
  • Wrapping up modeling of the THMPR (high poly nearly done)
  • Test printing torso for rewards
  • Create low poly game mesh for THMPR
  • Texturing THMPR with Substance Designer
  • Creating 1st draft of Vision Book
  • Getting our Unreal Engine framework in place
  • And much more!

Backer reward delivery will start with forums badges, which should be up by end of this week as we process the list from IndieGoGo. Plastic will also be ordered this week and a test print made of the THMPR torso. Once that is approved we can move to printing all the 3D bust rewards. At about 2-3 print per day, max, we’re looking at 30-50 days of solid production to get these done and shipped. We also have to hand paint the 5 Max Kahuna prints, which will be fun!

But while our printer is whirring away, we’ll be working on the Unreal EXE sample of the THMPR and having it made game-ready, rigged and animated (a small set of anims: walk, drill, etc., no combat yet). We’ll be looking to find a contract animator to help us with this in the coming weeks.

I’m super excited about EM-8ER. Thank you all so much for your faith in the vision. We look forward to making this game a reality with your help.

– Mark Kern

alienreveal

The Tsihu – First Contact

On a toxic, fiery world designated as EM-8ER, also known as “Ember,” Gatestrider reaper teams encountered humanity’s first sentient xenomorph.

We know they call themselves the “Tsihu.” The reaper teams that endure their constant attacks have a more colorful name for them.

Our first contact has been anything but peaceful. It’s all gone to hell. Every mining operation, every excursion triggers more and more of these attacks by the Tsihu. Anybody who has ever tried to talk or reason with them has never had the chance to get more than a few words out before being slaughtered.

They have a language though. We hear the phrases “Zha ryuon muon” and “Tasa hekita” repeated often. Linguistics is on it. They think “zha” refers to loop, and “muon” some kind of fabric, or binding. “Hekita” seems to mean some kind of deterioration.

Is it war? Not yet. If it weren’t for the technological ruins and resources on EM-8ER, our reaper teams would have simply left. Instead, what we have here is an opportunity. The Tsihu aren’t really *here*. They are phasing in and out in crackles of lightning and electricity, as well as much of the native xenomorphs. We think it’s temporal-as in these creatures are from another time. An earlier phase of the planet, perhaps, if you can believe the readings.

We need to keep a lid on it. For as long as we can. Every team here is in agreement. The riches and alien technology of this world would be enough to start again. Maybe give us enough edge to tell those Enshigi* bastards to fuck off.

But first we have to figure out what the hell the Tsihu really are, and how to beat em. They shapeshift. If they’re not in humanoid form shooting at us, they are suddenly morphing into huge creatures that are tearing our omniframes apart hand to hand. We think they go feral if they stay too long in “beast” mode. We’ve seen some in chains and some kind of holographic tagging or restraints. These are always the most violent and destructive ones.

We need to claim as much of this planet as we can before word gets out, and build up the means to defend it. It’s all right here, everything we need.

Garrack – Firstclaimer of Ember

* The Enshigi – humanity’s most enigmatic and advanced colony. They hold the Gatestriders home system hostage in retaliation over a disputed sector of space where the Enshigi have forbidden any entry or exploration.

Ember Logo

Ember – Set in the Crixa universe

I am excited to release this teaser video for Ember, a video game set in the Crixa tabletop universe.

This is only a concept video, it won’t get made unless there is sufficient demand from the community. The video is aimed at the original players of Firefall, before that game was changed prior to its launch two years go. But the video is also for anyone interested in Crixa, or my games in general, who would like to see us make a Crixa based video game.

The game would focus on characters known as Planet Reapers, or just “Reapers.” Reapers come in to exploit newly discovered planets for resources, or prepare them for colonization. It’s dangerous work, with deadly environmental conditions and hostile xenomorphic animals to deal with. But the rewards are incredible for those that find rich veins of newly discovered compounds and elements, or who can purge a planet’s dangerous animals while terraforming the atmosphere for future colonists.

Reapers are like prospecting teams or wildcatters, heavily sponsored by large corporations and armed to the teeth with all the weapons, armor and vehicles needed to do the job. Chief amongst these are MEKAs, or (Mechanically Enhanced Kinetic AI). These often humanoid shaped MEKAs are living, heavy industrial machinery that aid in a number of roles. From huge drilling machines, to military models used to thin, control, or eliminate hostile alien creature populations, MEKAs are indispensable to Reapers and are often fondly given names and cherished as part of the team, even with their limited AI.

If you’d like to see a video game based on Crixa in the future, please take a look and sign the petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/crixa-labs-make-ember-a-spiritual-successor-to-firefall

We will use it to judge interest. Meanwhile our focus is on getting the tabletop rpg version of the game prepared. Even if there is enough interest in the video game, we want to make sure we ship a great tabletop version first and foremost.

Regardless of the current demand for a Crixa based video game, Ember will eventually make its way into the Crixa universe as a future book supplement. This supplement will detail the rules for planet exploration and adventures in terraforming, planet prospecting and rules to help gamemasters easily generate planetary content for players to experience.

smallship2 SMALL

Making Crixa: Some Goals

There are a couple of Space Opera RPGs that have stood out in my memory over time. The first was when I was just learning to play Dungeons and Dragons in middle school and Traveller came out. I remember seeing the sleek black books of Traveller on the shelf in the hobby store and this huge starmap. They looked so good! I managed to convince my mother to buy them for me and I spent days pouring over the rules. I loved the promise of Traveller: wide open galactic travel, owning and building your own starships, and a storytelling focus. I managed to get my friends to play one or two sessions, but the rules were complex and as kids their interest drifted away. But my interest remained, and I remember it fondly to this day.

The second was an MMO made by Westwood Studios called “Earth and Beyond.” I was working at Blizzard on World of Warcraft at the time, and my team was a small tight knit group who also gamed together after hours. We all hopped into Earth and Beyond, made by our biggest rival studio at the time, Westwood, so we could keep tabs on the competition. Damn I loved that game (despite lack of content and its faults). Each person had their own personalized ship that was its own “character” and you grouped up into formations to tackle pirates and other bad guys flying their own ships. There was a mysterious “dead zone” that nobody ventured into unless you were very brave. In that zone your cockpit HUD would start to flicker and your ship malfunctioned in strange and spooky ways. I spent hours exploring that zone, which unfortunately they never completed, but I loved how scary it felt and how unexplored it seemed.

It’s been in me to make a space game for many, many years. The opportunity never came up at Blizzard, or even with Firefall, which was sci-fi, but not a space opera, and limited to Earth. So now that I’m semi-retired from video games, I thought it would be a good time to make that space game I always wanted too, complete with its own starmap, shiny book, and maybe, just maybe, a computerized version someday if I get the itch again. The game will be commercially available in hardbound and PDF form both online and in stores.

So, a couple principles I wanted from the game:

3D Printable Starships

The ship combat in Crixa is meant to be played with miniatures, and can stand on its own as a PvP miniatures game. The game will ship with cardboard cutouts, but you will also be able to download, for free, 3D files to print your own miniatures. If you don’t have your own 3D printer, you can send them to services like shapeways.com and have them print them for you. No more expensive minis to buy!

Ship Adventures

Like Earth & Beyond, I wanted whole adventures to have the option to be able to take place in the stars, in player’s personal ships. Every player starts with a personal starship. Your character skills directly influence your ship’s effectiveness, and the ship itself can be developed like a second character. You can group with other ships, fight together, explore together, and adventure together. Of course, you can also leave your ships and adventure on the ground together, but the point is that you can have as rich as spaceship adventure as you can a character adventure, and freely switch between both modes of play.

Deep Character & Ship Customization

Many modern RPGs feature a fast play style and simpler rules to fit a modern, busy life. Unfortunately, many of these systems are light on character customization, mechanics and depth. Crixa aims to give you a set of rules that allow for fast play, but for those who wish to delve deeper, it will also offer many ways to advance and tinker with your character and your ship. The mechanics aim to be easy to learn, to get you playing your first game quickly, but allowing further study and deeper play as you get familiar with the system. Optionally, you may never use these advanced rules, but simply focus on a story-driven, fast-play style if you prefer. The choice is yours.

Rich Setting

The universe of Crixa is set in a far future where FTL (faster than light) travel is unleashing a wave of exploration, as well as instability. For hundreds of years, twenty eight human star systems have developed and diverged from each other, separated by vast light years of distance and travel. During this time humans had the means to communicate instantaneously, but lacked the ability to travel to the next star system without arduous years or even decades of slow travel in suspended animation.

The result, of course, is wildly divergent humanity and story flavor, from retro 60’s sci-fi to 80’s Cyberpunk and modern transhumanism. Even more interesting is how these cultures collide with the advent of FTL travel. Wars have broken out, and great alliances forged. Some systems have shut themselves off entirely, while others aggressively explore the newly available space around them.

It’s a good time to have an adventure.

Dyson 960

Ready, Set, Go

Crixa (pronounced Crik-sa), is my upcoming space opera, tabletop, roleplaying game. I’ve been working on the universe and setting periodically for awhile now, with some fantastic artists like Col Price (www.coldesignltd.com) and Tommaso Renieri (tommasorenieri.deviantart.com). These artists had really helped me realize some of the backstory and visuals for the game last year.

This year I finally decided to get off my butt and create the game rules. The goal is to capture some of the vastness and excitement that I had when I first saw and played Traveller, by my friend Marc Miller. As much as I love his game, however, I wanted to play around with my own ideas including a dual tier fast-play/deep-play rule system, and an embedded, but stand alone, miniature starship battle system.

Of course, I wanted to set all this in a universe of my own design. I’d been kicking around some ideas for this universe when I happened to mention to another friend, Orson Scott Card (author of Ender’s Game, one of my all time favorite novels), that I had this idea for a story. He invited me to meet up and pitch it to him, and I did. He’s always hated my story ideas, but something about this one got him excited. He encouraged me to write a trilogy, something I still plan to do, but meanwhile I’ve decided to develop the backstory as part of Crixa.

I can’t thank Marc and Scott enough for inspiring me to create this game and this story. I’m also deeply grateful to Col and Tommaso for putting up with all my weird ideas and revisions for the art for Crixa.

So, with introductions out of way, let’s start designing! This blog is going to chronicle my design of Crixa step by step. While I’ve worked on and designed several video games over the years, tabletop is new to me. By posting some of the early ideas here, I’m hoping to get your feedback to help me decide where I want to take these systems.

Oh, and for you Blizzard fans out there, Crixa was originally a video game that I was making for Blizzard as a 3rd party developer before they hired me. Maybe I’ll post some old screen shots someday, but the main player ship can still be found as a “crashed spaceship” prop in the Starcraft editor.

Thanks for joining on this new chapter in my life.