Category Archives: Legends of Amberland II

Legends of Amberland II version 1.10

Version 1.10 released

Traditionally, the first version after release is one big bug fix. In addition to the fixes, there are tiny interface improvements (aimed at handhelds: read SteamDeck) and one change regarding chests. Some of you found out that while the loot type from chests is persistent, there is a small loophole, the chance of a second item was not persistent, so save scumming fest began (by people who play on Insane). The loophole has been patched in this version.

– [misc] Now the chance of a second item from a chest is also persistent (before only item type was persistent). Same for gold from chests. No more save scumming!
– [misc] Gold from chests formula slightly altered (to make it more varied between location grades). Overall, the amount of gold was slightly increased by this change (on average).

– [interface] Improved Stats & Skills screen text readability.
– [interface] Shop interface enlarged (prices font bigger, more space allocated to display items).

– [manual] Improved manual.

– [fix] Two plaques text not showing (in caves).
– [fix] Two quest items had incorrect names of NPCs listed which lead to confusion.
– [fix] Two quests not triggering as finished (cosmetic, not affecting gameplay).
– [fix] Doubled NPC in Riverfell (one removed).
– [fix] Obscure bug with quick load while not closed trainer screen after buying the skill but before closing the screen (yup, a very unusual combo to trigger the bug, but the consequences when it happened were severe).
– [fix] Incorrect mapped keys when using spells if party character changed position.
– [fix] Language selector flickering on main menu when attempted to click it when it’s illegal to open it.
– [fix] Mute on focus lost audio settings not saved.
– [fix] Numerous spelling corrections.

Reminders
You can follow my Steam Developer Page if you wish to be notified each time a new game or expansions is being released.

Also, if you have a moment to leave a Steam review of the game it would be appreciated. It makes a big difference to an indie developer like me. Thanks!

Legends of Amberland II: The Song of Trees has been released on PC!

Legends of Amberland II released on Steam & GOG

Today, on 5th December 2023, the sequel to Legends of Amberland has been released on PC.

Legends of Amberland II: The Song of Trees is a classic RPG driven by my personal nostalgia for the 90s era of RPGs. It’s a turn-based, first-person view, over-the-grid movement, party-based RPG where you lead a group of heroes on an epic quest without dealing with moral dilemmas and other nonsense. There are dragons to kill, treasures to be found, people to be rescued, and an evil behind the events in Amberland that you must deal with, of course, as the noble heroes who undertake such quests.

At release, the game is available in English only, but very soon it will be localized to German, French, and Polish. Later, even more languages are planned to be added.

The consoles port (Nintendo Switch and XBOX) is planned for 2024.

The game has a full gamepad support (and SteamDeck support) at release.

Legends of Amberland II on Steam
Legends of Amberland II on GOG

This is the first game of mine that is released without Early Access, so bear with some minor problems that might (but don’t have to) pop up during the first month after release. However, the game has been very well tested and shares a lot of code with its predecessor, which was tested for years, so I don’t expect problems. But one can never be sure, so I prefer to include this warning.

This is also the first game that comes with custom music, made especially for this particular game, which is quite exciting for me.

I want to express my gratitude to all my long and short-term contractors who contributed assets, music, linguistic assistance, and more. Thank you!

I would also like to thank all the nameless helpers, some of whom started providing comments to my design questions years before the project even started. To all the testers, feedback bringers, and others who provided support in one way or another – without you, it would be much, much harder for me to make the game, and it would not have reached the quality it has today. This is especially true since we skipped the Early Access phase this time. Thanks!

So, that’s it. The sequel is out, and I hope you will enjoy it. As usual, I implore you to leave a review if you liked the game. Reviews matter a lot to niche games like Amberland, and they play a crucial role in determining the feasibility of a future sequel.

Thank you for your support, and I hope to see you in Legends of Amberland III (which might or might not enter development, who knows). See ya and have fun!

Release date of Legends of Amberland II: The Song of Trees!

Release date announcement

The day many of you were waiting for is near. I’m happy to inform that Legends of Amberland II: The Song of Trees is going to be released on PC (Steam and GOG) on the 5th December 2023. The game will be also ported to consoles (Nintendo Switch and XBOX) somewhere in 2024. At the launch day the game is going to be localized to English, German, French and Polish. Further languages will be most likely added shortly after the PC launch.

Feel free to examine presskit for details: https://www.silverlemurgames.com/legendsofamberland2/presskit/

Wishlist the game:
* Steam (PC): https://store.steampowered.com/app/2110840/Legends_of_Amberland_II_The_Song_of_Trees/
* GOG (PC): https://www.gog.com/game/legends_of_amberland_ii_the_song_of_trees
* Consoles (Nintendo Switch, XBOX): NA (link will be available at a later date)

Overall, the game is ready, in the raw form, and now is undergoing QA, localization, testing, etc. So, barring some calamity where I would be unable to upload the final build and press “release” button, the release date is assured.


I would like to thank an army of volunteers, contractors, testers and various other helpers. It was so much easier to make the game with the support of so many of you! Which was especially important since that’s my first game which was done without Early Access. Thanks and I hope you will enjoy the game!

Progress report – Legends of Amberland II – 2023, Q3

Overview
This is a very boring update since I was working mostly on content so… there is not much to write about really. Very unexciting, yet very important. The short story is I was sitting on my desk making new maps, locations, quests, NPCs and items. And that’s basically it. A steady progress and nothing to write about to be honest.

What was done
Code was finished. New manual was made and around 3/4 of the content was completed. Classes were rebalanced and adjusted a bit.

What’s left
Around 1/4 of the content needs to be done. Then a quality pass needs to be made. Next online achievements, pdf manual and numerous small things. The last part would be linguistic QA and localization, some of it might or might not be done after v1.00. Also preparation of the game code for porting (which is probably a small task since the first game was already ported) and improvement of the gamepad support. Plus a few other things I’m sure have forgotten to put on my todo list.

Summary
It all seems good, going slower than expected but within reasonable limits. I guess, if it was a life threating issue, like if someone put the gun to my head, I could release the game in two weeks. I would not do it of course since I want to polish it a bit but overall, playability wise, it’s almost ready in the rough form. So, the game is going to be released somewhere this year, as planned. I would say around the beginning of December but it might or might not be released earlier.

New content planned for Legends of Amberland II

After I wrote the “new features” piece it occurred to me that a similar one about “new content” is in order. After all, RPGs are not just about mechanics, they are also about the world, story, mood & feeling, exploration, quests, NPCs, items and so on.

New content introduced in the sequel

The sequel got a bunch of content related improvements. Music, art and a different, presumably better, approach to the locations and story construction. So, here it goes, the list of content related improvements.

Music
That part of the game content would be the most significantly different, in short, music was totally redone. I have contracted a composer, Christopher Loza, to arrange a set of custom made tunes, made to fit the mood and feel of Amberland world. The instructions provided was to make it feel like tunes from those old games from the 90s era but at the some time without technical limitations of the era. I think it worked out great, while those who love 90s era RPGs would be delighted those who are not into it that much still will find it very decent. This also means that a soundtrack DLC is possible.

Art
A bunch of improvements of existing tiles and new tiles as well. Animated portals, animated lava, new tile types for farmlands, more plants, flowers, gardens and so on.

Locations
Before I started designing the sequel, first I gathered all the feedback on the first Amberland I could. The conclusion was that overworld was awesome while dungeons were merely passable (with some weirdos saying dungeons were great, but I don’t believe it personally). So, I decided to strike it from both sides. First, strengthen the strong (which means making the player spend more time outdoors: bigger overworld, mixed indoor/outdoor locations, gardens inside location) and second to improve the weak (improving design of dungeons). Judging from the feedback gathered from the demo it seems it worked out well, now the consensus is the dungeons were significantly or greatly improved.

In addition I took a different approach to designing locations, before those were heavily gameplay focused (dungeons filled with monsters, bosses and treasures). Now I allowed a decent number of smaller locations intended for purpose of the mood of the game not gameplay. So there are some, even very tiny, locations which serve only as a mean to convey the lore, in places that are logical to have those (example: abandoned hideouts of sorcerers and the like).

There is also significantly more locations overall (but fear now, there are additional tools provided for players to keep track of it, like new tiny map of the overworld which makes navigating much easier).

Dungeons
The common criticism of the underground locations in the first Amberland as compared the ave of the overworld made me reexamine my approach to constructing those. Based on the demo feedback it seems that it worked out and those were greatly improved.

Environmental storytelling
Much higher priority was given to environmental storytelling. Like environment takes into considerations what should be where in relation to the world and story. In addition, there is now more reactivity of NPCs to changes (like: you kill the dragon and the people start to repopulate previously abandoned area which is safe now).

Story (lore, characters and plot)
The conclusion of the predecessor’s feedback analysis was that lore of the game world is awesome, no change needed at all, that NPC characters are very good, so again the same route should be taken and that plot is, well, the weakest part of it all. So, I redirected all efforts and focus to the plot part when it comes to story. First, I decided to do it 100% my way this time, without taking into account critics, worrying about cliche and the like, all this proved to be a way to nowhere previously. So, now I’m using the same approach as I had with lore and characters, I write it the way I like it and we will see how it turns out. Second, the story was split more evenly between NPCs to simplify interactions with individual character (I’m looking at you Royal Wizard, who have stolen half the camera time in the first Amberland).

Items
The shift was made from using only predefined to a mix of predefined and randomly generated items. This alone provides much higher variety of items. While handcrafted items sound nice in theory, in practice a more algorithmic approach works better. In addition, it freed some mental energy resources of me as a developer which allowed to add more variety to the semi generated stuff.

Playtime
In the first Amberland I was obsessed with removing the fat, to assure the game does not drag too long. To my surprise, no one complained the game was too long. Ever. So, now I’m taking a more relaxed approach, allowing some parts that do not have the optimal playtime to fun ratio. It seems that’s what basically all of you wish for. Of course this still means Amberland stays as one of the most compressed games in terms of removal of boring parts, that does not change. Overall, I think the total playtime will be longer than in the first one, but it’s just my guess at this point.

Special zones
I have experimented with special environmental and magical zones. Now ships require navigation skill to access some sea areas with strong wind, snow zones might have areas with extreme cold you need to prepare for and there are parts where magic work differently. This allowed me to craft outdoor zones which feel even more diverse.

Quests descriptions
I got several reports that people were sometimes confused where to go next in the predecessor. So, now all quests descriptions include the name of the area or location where you need to go (if it’s known of course) and the overworld sector designation.

Other
There are also new monsters, dungeon features and probably some other minor stuff not listed above. Overall, I think you will see a significant improvement when it comes to locations and overall feel of the game compared to the predecessor.

New features planned for Legends of Amberland II

First, I wanted to stress out the design philosophy. There are no changes for the sake of changes. The game overall feels and plays the same. The changes are not revolutionary but evolutionary. Only features that actually improve the game, without destroying everything for the sake of novelty, were added.

New features in the sequel

The list below contains only features that are already implemented and tested. Those are not all the changes. But what is listed is guaranteed to be in the game.

Item suffixes
The whole items system was redesigned. Now items can have suffixes (like “Shield {of Fire Resistance}”) which greatly increases the diversity of items. In addition there are 3 quality tiers for items (so “Shield {of Fire Resistance} [II]” is better than “Shield {of Fire Resistance} [I]”, even though those share the same set of abilities). Also, the random treasures generator was rebalanced to give more equal ratio of various items. And the last thing, because people will ask, yes, there will be magic staves to be found.

Shops
There are 4 types of shops now. Regular shops which provide trivial items. Guild shops which provide random set of items, Pawn shop where you can sell and buy back unneeded items and Magic shop where they accept crystals only. Shops have separate stock on a per town basis and further towns have higher tier shops (better and more expensive items).

Resistances system
Now resistances are not 0/1 but are value based. So, as the monsters become tougher you need to obtain higher resistance values (with extra options for temporary boosts). Next, Acid was replaced with Sorcery which makes it more thematic and some resistances were merged (for a total of 8 resistances).

Towns as separate locations
Widely requested yet quite a simple thing, towns are now not as a menu but as full fledged maps you can explore.

Skills
There are party skills and trainers scatted around the world which teach such skills. Those provide nice bonuses and an excuse to explore the world even further.

New dungeon features
Extra features in dungeons like illusionary walls, doors locked by keys, etc.

More complex connections between locations
It might be not instantly visible to you as a player, but it’s very important for designing maps for me. Now there are two way exits from locations and inter locations portals. This allows me as a designer to make interesting topography like you enter a cave in one place and exit it in a completely different place on the overworld or you enter a portal in a tower and exit inside a dungeon on the other side of the map deep below ground.

Fountains
Wells function the same as in the predecessor (healing), but fountains were redesigned and now grant temporary bonuses (resistances, attributes, etc).

Griffin travel rules change
There are subtle, yet important changes to the way travel via griffins work. For example, now griffin travel takes time, which effectively means you can not use it to go and visit every single spot with free buffs (because first temporary buffs will expire after a several griffin runs). Also, griffins can no longer land on lava or desert, making traversing dangerous terrain much more tricky.

Resting rules adjustment
You can no longer rest on lava, which combined with new griffin rules means that lava terrain becomes a real challenge. Oh yes, also now you can rest in inn without using food by paying the fee directly (which was requested like by everyone).

Map shows a tiny minimap with overworld
Now you can see the whole shape of the overworld at a glance by looking at a tiny map which was added on the full map. Very handy, you will love. Trust me.

Field of view extended (unfogging minimap)
Another small, yet highly requested feature. Now you don’t need to physically enter every single tile, surrounding will auto mark as “seen”. What’s best, the information what you visited physically is not lost since a tile is displayed differently if you visited it or merely saw it.

Magical barriers
Those were rebalanced and divided into three grades (with distinct graphics so you can clearly see the danger level of each barrier) now posing a much greater threat. Basically, those can wipe out an unprepared party and are used in locations to slow down your progress or even make you turn back. Lightning resistance is of high value now since it can greatly reduce the magical barriers damage. Overall, now magical barriers are a serious threat which will make you reconsider how you explore dungeons.

Small adjustments that go well together
There are other small changes which bring synergy, for example drinking from fountains takes one hour which combined with the added time for griffin travel and the fact that temporary buffs expire at midnight let you use griffin to visit 2-3 fountains before an important fight but not to visit any number of those. At the same time drinking from wells (healing) takes mere minutes so it can be used as an effective local healing in a series of fights without the fear of expiring party bonuses.

Many small improvements
There are many other small things not mentioned here. Additional art assets, animations for portals, etc.

Possible other features
Since only things that are already implemented and tested were listed above it means there are decent odds those are not all the changes that will end up in the final game.

Progress report – Legends of Amberland II – 2023, Q2

Overview
So, the quarter almost ends, therefore, it’s time for the quarterly progress report. Overall, it all goes smoothly, but with unexpected delays, so pretty boring and standard I would say. Coding in almost done, the game went into internal alpha testing and a demo was made for the Steam Next Fest. Due to the need for testing and demo release I adjusted my plans and started making content earlier than originally planned, so the starting continent is basically playable and even a bit polished (but not 100% finished yet).

What was done
All core features were implemented, well, a few are still missing but those are minor. There are several more new features I would like to see, but those are not critical. Actually, I could finish the code in like a week now, so what’s left is content. I have created the first game zone with a bunch of locations (it seems there will be more locations than in the first Amberland, but smaller ones, it just feel more lively that way, also those locations are more thematic).

Porting progress
I was told that all technical problems were successfully dealt with and that the alpha version of the game works on target consoles flawlessly and at a required speed. So, it seems the game will be released on other consoles than Nintendo Switch this time. But there will be a separate announcement about it with exact details later.

Alpha testing conclusions
There was a build made for a limited number of trusted testers. There were several iterations of the build, with fixes, feedback on new features and the like (BTW, thanks to all my testers! It’s a real pleasure making a game this way!), it all seems solid now.

Demo conclusions
That was surprising, but the reception of the demo was very good, way better than I anticipated. It was released on 7th June, a few weeks before Steam Next Fest and it included the first continent with surrounding islands. Exactly one bug was reported so far, which makes me very happy. At first I was worried about the new features and the changes introduced, but it seems it all worked out very well. I observed that the people who had some objections to those features during Alpha, revoked those objections after playing the demo. In short, it all seems ready to go without any redesign… which is a new thing to me, it never happened before, not that I complain of course.

Summary
Originally, I planned for a release somewhere around this summer, but as I was talking with partners I kind of got convinced to simultaneous launch for all platforms. Which is not guaranteed/decided yet, but I think, it’s worth to give it a try. Therefore, in such scenario, the safest date would be late Q4, mostly due to the need of localization, QA, submissions and so on. But we will see, for now the official release date stays “somewhere in 2023”.

Legends of Amberland II demo is out!

Demo for the sequel to Legends of Amberland is available on Steam!

Demo for Legends of Amberland II: The Song of Trees is available on Steam starting today. It features the first part of the storyline including the starting continent with the surrounding islands, multiple towns, castles, towers, dungeons, caves and several overland biomes. Our second journey to Amberland also introduces new mechanics and new items. Enjoy and make sure to wishlist!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/2110840/Legends_of_Amberland_II_The_Song_of_Trees/ 

Post here comments about the demo (Steam forums)

Trailer for Legends of Amberland II available!

The final trailer for Legends of Amberland II: The Song of Trees is available. Is shows gameplay, user interface and introduces a new soundtrack from the game.


Quick info:
Website: https://www.silverlemurgames.com/legendsofamberland2/
Presskit: https://www.silverlemurgames.com/legendsofamberland2/presskit/
Genre: Party-based RPG, Dungeon Crawler, Open World, Oldschool
Release date: 2023
Platforms: PC (Steam, GOG) and consoles (Nintendo Switch and possibly other)

Progress report – Legends of Amberland II – 2023, Q1

Overview

This is a very unusual project for me. It’s not the first sequel I made but the first sequel to an RPG. Which makes a tons of difference. Typically (read always) the bottleneck is coding. You track bugs, implement features, etc. But with a sequel to an RPG it is a totally different story. RPGs are content driven, so, once you have a solid code base not that much changes actually in the programming department. In short, this project is made quite differently to all my previous projects.

To take this specific situation into account, development was divided into two projects. Project “A” which is about technical improvements (coding) and project “B” which is about making the actual game (content). The first is made using a mix between evolutionary prototyping and a research project methodology, the second using the old classic waterfall model.

What is done

Again, the unusual thing is that a lot was done before the project officially started. I ordered art assets and music from contractors, so they were experimenting and producing some content without my direct involvement. So, quite a lot was ready before it even started. Which is super nice.

The other nice thing is the source code, which is like 95% (probably) identical to the first Amberland. I was polishing the original source code for a few years, in extend beyond the simple support of an existing game, in order to keep the code as similar as possible for as long as possible. So, actually, art of the coding for the sequel was done before the project officially started. Note that 5% difference might sound like not a lot but it’s actually quite significant (to put it into a perspective bananas share 44.1% of genome with humans, yup). Basically, the game was extended and polished before it started (note for example the full gamepad support, dozens of tiny fixes, save system redesign, etc) and part of it was done in order to speed up future porting to other platforms.

So, what actually was done after the project was officially announced? Well, first all experimental assets were evaluated and it was decided what will be put into the game, analysis of the first game was made (part of it was listed in other posts https://www.silverlemurgames.com/2023/02/03/the-design-philosophy-of-sequel-to-legends-of-amberland/) and the coding started. The aim, and the top priority, was to produce better tools for me, to speed up development. A big part of it was reimplementation of the map structure to abstract entities (now you don’t put “tile with a tree” but abstract “tree” shape of variant #3). Which might sound boring and unimportant but is a huge help, since it allows a lot flexibility and convenience for me as a designer. The second priority was the editor. It was redesigned and simplified (and even there was a budget to add some frills), now I have even a cutting edge feature called “Undo” which is super fun since it’s the first time even any of my editor has it!

All right, lets talk a bit about features that are visible to you as a player. The code of map navigation was extended and now it allows things like “alternative entries to locations”, “mixed indoor/outdoor locations”, “portals leading inside other locations”. Which allows some interesting topography and connections between locations to be made. New tile types were introduced (like farmlands), stationary NPCs, more huts and more other things. Some extra dungeon features like doors locked by keys, illusionary walls, etc.

The big thing which was redesigned was resistances system and items. Now resistances have values (for example: Ring of Fire Resistance +10, Ring of Fire Resistance +20) and items can have suffixes “Helmet {of something}”. In the first game all items were hand crafted, which was a noble effort which proven not so great. Now I switched to predefined hand crafted unique items and semi-randomised regular items. Basically it means higher variation of items you find. As a bonus, because now I had more time freed up I could spend it implementing extra item properties (like “Invisibility” or “Heroism”) which were put as item suffixes. The random loot table was redesigned as well to provide a fixed chance for a certain item type (for example now 30% of loot will be weapons, regardless of how many items were “defined”) which means now various item types will have more or less equal chance of dropping so there should not be overabundance of certain items. And yes, because some people will ask, this also means extra staves for mages, actually there are now three basic types of staves so you even will have a choice what kind of magical staff to equip.

In addition to all those features I half made the first (starting) continent to see and test all those new features, I have a rough shape of the overworld map and the core storyline was told to my son before going to bed several times (several variants and iterations). Oh yes, also a small alpha test is in progress, so I can get early feedback and reevaluate what works and what not.

And some other things which are not listed here.

Summary

The project “A” is coming to an end soon, I think. Editor is almost done (just a few features I wish to have before I start to churn regular content). All critical/major systems which were to be redesigned are implemented or almost implemented. So soon I should be ready to start project “B”, and in the meantime or afterwards I will probably spend some time to implement some extra stuff.

Overall, the progress is good. Actually, when the core development is not about coding it’s almost boring, because nothing breaks… Before this project I never realized how expensive and troublesome the coding part is. It turns out that if you have a solid code base and no major features to code it is actually kind of like a walk in the part… at last that’s how it feels right now (or maybe that’s just my impression because my previous project was super feature heavy Stellar Monarch 2, so it’s a striking contrast), we will see. So far, everything is going fine and I see no danger of exceeding the 2023 deadline (actually I would unofficially speculate it should be ready somewhere this summer).