Porting to consoles as an indie team

Porting to consoles as an indie team

You’ve been waiting for it, and it’s almost here: Mages of Mystralia is launching on consoles. Bringing Mages of Mystralia to PS4 and XBox One was a first in developing for consoles for most of the team, and we’re very proud to be part of this adventure. The official release date on PS4 was announced last week. Mark the day: August 22, 2017. Read more about it on PlayStation’s blog. The Xbox One version is in the final certification stages, we’ll confirm the release date soon.  For an indie studio, porting a game to consoles isn’t a small matter. Each platform has specific requirements and its own certification process. It’s also a huge challenge to work on porting to two consoles at once, especially considering the size of our team and the small number of programmers at Borealys – there’s only three. (Shout out to our technical team for their hard work and dedication!) This is why we couldn’t release the console versions at the same time as the PC one on Steam; we wanted to ensure that players got an optimized version for their favorite consoles. As much as technical requirements for consoles were a challenge for the team, we are extremely proud to bring an indie game to these new platforms. For those of you who don’t know, porting to consoles goes a little like this: Get a Dev Kit Make the game compatible with the new system Get approved for launch on console Debug, optimize, and debug again until the game meets the specific technical requirements for each system Send the game for certification on each...
Mages of Mystralia at Montreal Comiccon

Mages of Mystralia at Montreal Comiccon

What’s great with Montreal Comiccon (other than not having to worry with international shipping!) is that it not only gives us a chance to meet players and show them what we do, but it also allows us to discover new fellow indie developers and play their games. The local indie community is very rich. It’s a good day when we get a chance to bond with other game creators and see what they are working on. We’re always psyched when we see new people playing our game. The players’ response is very positive and their joy brings new motivation to the whole team. And we don’t always get the chance to show our game in Montreal, so it’s especially fun to meet people from our hometown. For Comiccon, we brought 4 stations on which visitors could test out our Sky Temple demo. The Sky Temple is one of the first dungeons you come upon in the game and is proving to be a great introductory exploration of Mages of Mystralia. We’ve also included a sandbox in which all the runes are activated, allowing for an intense spell crafting session! Compared to other video game specific conventions, Comiccon is more family-friendly, which showed in the amount of young mages that stopped by to play. We even had a little Zia come by! We love cosplay, so next time you get to meet us at a convention, come show us what kind of mage you are....
Sofi Lamont-Cardinal our Game Designer

Sofi Lamont-Cardinal our Game Designer

Short presentation of yourself & what you do at Borealys Games? I joined the studio as a Game Designer a little more than a year ago, but I’ve been working in the video game industry for the last 9 years. I studied in Computer Science and Computation Arts at Concordia University and I later met Louis-Félix (CEO) and Patric (Game Director) when I was a student at L’Université de Montréal in Game Design. They were also students in this program at the time, but I only began working with them at Borealys. Since my arrival, I’ve done some level design work, but I’ve mainly dealt with Patric for the narrative design of the game and the logic behind the main and secondary quests. I’ve also had to be sure that what we’re doing matches the story of Mages of Mystralia’s author, Ed Greenwood. I had to write some additional dialogues and integrate all the texts. Part of my job is to make sure every character says the right thing at the right time. This makes it that it’s necessary for me to review the texts and make sure the players have enough information to advance in the game and understand the story without telling them too much. We want to add clues, but we don’t want the game to be too easy. There are some tasks I find  harder to do, like adding lines of small talk (optional dialogue in game) to the characters. That’s not my cup of tea in real life so it isn’t easy for me to write those types of dialogue. It can also be...
Mages of Mystralia Coming to PS4!

Mages of Mystralia Coming to PS4!

When we first announced Mages of Mystralia, we had to be a bit cagey about which platforms it would be available for. We’ve only been able to say that we’re going to release on Steam + console(s). We’ve been talking with Sony for a while, so it feels great to be able to confirm officially that Mages of Mystralia will be coming to PlayStation 4! We officially made the announcement just last week on the PlayStation Blog. Sony has been great to work with. They hooked us up with dev kits even when we had little more than a basic prototype and a description of the game. Although Borealys is a team of veterans from the games industry, Mages of Mystralia is our first project together as a company, so we were really excited that Sony was so supportive when they didn’t necessarily need to be of our new startup. Mages of Mystralia is being made in Unity, which is supported by PlayStation 4. This may sound like it would be fairly trivial to get the game up and running, but it actually took a lot of effort to achieve the performance we wanted. It’s not that the PS4 is underpowered – it’s more the fact that we are pushing Unity to do a lot of things it wasn’t really designed to do. Making sure that all of the scripts and tools, we made would run just as smoothly on a different platform took some time, but we think we were able to get things to a point now that our pipeline will run just as smoothly on both...
Mages of Mystralia’s Soundtrack Recording

Mages of Mystralia’s Soundtrack Recording

Recently, Louis-Félix Cauchon and Antoine Vachon traveled to Boston to record the Mages of Mystralia’s soundtrack. Borealys decided to collaborate with Soundtrec, Shota Nakama and the Video Game Orchestra, renowned for their work on the latest Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts titles, among others. It all began when Falk Au Yeong (Soundtrec’s Sound Mixer), whom Antoine met on the NeoGAF message boards, suggested he send a few samples of the soundtrack to Shota. Upon listening to them, they immediately decided to get on board and plan the recording.   Antoine (Composer and Sound Designer) The trip to Boston took a lot of time to prepare, but it was so worth it. I had so many experiences I’ll never forget. It was the first time I had the chance to work with a live orchestra to record some of my music! Shota and the orchestra did an amazing job to make my music more natural and more dynamic. It was a very memorable experience, both artistically and on the human side of things. I had the opportunity to hang out with Shota and many very talented musicians, like Sho Omagari, Chris Ferrara, Emily Shibata Sánchez and Rebecca Hallowell, who shared a lot of their knowledge about creation, orchestration and musicianship. They’re all inspiring, open, and very nice people. A few of my compositions, originally written for virtual instruments, proved to be harder to perform with live musicians. They did a great job overcoming this challenge. Everybody worked really hard to make the best music possible to improve the player’s experience. Early in the day, I was very nervous as there...
Antoine Vachon our Composer and Sound Designer

Antoine Vachon our Composer and Sound Designer

Short presentation of yourself & what you do at Borealys Games? I’m a composer. My main instrument is the piano, which I started playing when I was ten years old. I’m also the studio’s sound designer, which means that I’m in charge of creating all the sound effects as well as integrating, mixing and testing all the sound and music in the game. Previously, I was a sound engineer at CBC/Radio-Canada. I also worked for other video game companies, especially indie developers. I’ve also composed music for short films and visual performances. How do you find your inspiration? What are your influences? It may sound counterintuitive, but when I’m looking for inspiration for a project, I try to listen to music of completely different genres. For example, when I have to write orchestral music, like I’m doing for Mages of Mystralia, I listen to Rock, Electronic, Jazz music, etc. Emotions can be found in music of all genres, and seeking inspiration from different horizons helps me discover new things and stay creative. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to the latest Bon Iver album. He’s an incredible artist, and his music is amazing. The latest album from M83 and Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” also made a huge impression on me this year. As for video game and film music, I mostly listen to Japanese composers like Joe Hisaishi and Masashi Hamauzu. When I’m out of inspiration, I try to get out of my comfort zone and experiment with new things in life. I If I stay all day in my basement playing the piano and listening to video...
Mages of Mystralia Webcomic

Mages of Mystralia Webcomic

When introducing a game to people, it’s often hard to know where to start. Do you talk about the gameplay or the story? In general, if there’s a deep story and great writing, you focus on the story. If the gameplay is trying to do something new and different, you focus on that. In our case, we’ve strived to do both. We’ll go into a bunch more detail about the spell creation system later, but we wanted to give players a sense of the Mystralia universe in advance so they know a bit about the lore and the backstory. As you may have heard, Ed Greenwood (creator of the Forgotten Realms world of D&D and dozens of fantasy novels) wrote the main storyline. We decided to share the entire backstory (which is only touched upon briefly in the game) he created and give people a chance to immerse themselves in that world. We thought to ourselves that a twice-weekly webcomic would be the perfect format to tell that story in, so we worked with two of our favorite webcomic creators to bring this to life: Brian Clevinger (Atomic Robo, 8-Bit Theater) is the writer, and Carey Pietsch (Lumberjanes, Adventure Time) is the artist. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, you should start at the beginning. Once you’re caught up, check back at MagesOfMystralia.com/comic every Tuesday and Thursday for updates. We announced this webcomic at PAX and printed up 1000 physical copies for attendees. They’re all gone now since they were scooped up pretty quickly!  ...
Mages of Mystralia at PAX West!

Mages of Mystralia at PAX West!

We are just about recovered from an amazing 4 days of showing Mages of Mystralia at PAX West in Seattle! For anyone not familiar, PAX West is one of the largest gaming shows that caters to actual players. We were honored to be included in the Indie Megabooth, which has been the launching pad for so many of our favorite games over the years! The Indie Megabooth has become extremely popular among both indie devs and PAX attendees, so the committee has become increasingly selective in deciding which games can get booth space there. We’re very proud that our first game as a new studio has made the cut! Day 0 Booth assembly (Antoine, Philip and Cassie) – The demo gods try to smite us We were fortunate to have an extra large booth at PAX, but it’s a lot of time and organization to put it all together! We had to ship it internationally and were under quite a bit of stress until we got there and saw that our booth was waiting for us. 8 AM: The installation process begins! This went much faster than at PAX East, which was the first time we had ever tried setting up our booth. 2 PM: First major problem of the show! Antoine, our sound designer and composer, installed both 60” televisions, turned them on and found that one was broken! We have to settle for having only one TV this time. 3 PM: Second major problem! Everything is more or less set up, we go to connect the computers and realizing we’re missing two power supplies for the three Alienware...