How Ealdorlight's story stands out

Posted Wed 10 May 2017 10:36

random book

As we head towards the Kickstarter campaign launch on June 6th, I want to talk a little about the story behind Ealdorlight works.

The basic story stays the same for each game: you are discovered wandering through a remote village at a young age, and realise your destiny is to overthrow the King. However, like in Sol Trader, every person you meet is randomly generated. This means that your real identity will be different every time, and you’ll have to discover it all over again every time you generate a new game.

Handcrafted story in a random world

The trick is layering a great story on top of a generated world with random characters. Building empathy with the main character and his family when all characters are generated is hard, and hinges around being able to hook the story in at the right moments.

My plan is to write plenty of tightly connected story arcs that are triggered on events that happen during history generation. These will in turn trigger future quests the player can undertake. Not all story-arcs will appear in every game: it will depend on how the history generation goes. I will constrain things such that there is always a route through the game, and that players always have a way to overthrow the King, even if that might be easier or harder depending on the starting setup. These story-arcs then should interact with each other, hopefully producing a unique path through the game.


Ealdorlight is set within a low fantasy world, and there’s no traditional magic. The player gets more powerful through discovering key pieces of knowledge about their past. These insights into of your real past feed directly into your character’s stats, skills and abilities.

I’ve long been fascinated with identity: knowledge of who we truly are affects many areas of our lives for the better. In Ealdorlight I wanted to tell a story which takes this to an almost supernatural level. By removing the player from their birth family, they start as an entirely normal person within the world. It’s only after their early game encounter with the Ealdorlight and the discovery of their past that things begin to change.

Much more on this to come, but in the meantime, here’s a glimpse of our story’s beginning.

Ealdorlight: backstory teaser (updated)

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Ealdorlight Kickstarter on 6th June, Sol Trader 1.3 released

Posted Fri 28 April 2017 10:03

I am now back from some extended time away after Rezzed, both on holiday with the family and training some clients away from home. I’ve released Sol Trader 1.3 today, and set the Kickstarter for Ealdorlight to 6th June.

Rezzed was fantastic: it was great to see lots and lots of people wearing our Ealdorlight crowns. We ran out of crowns on both days, with some creative head displays on offer:

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Ealdorlight Kickstarter launch date: 6th June

Yes, I know I said May :) I’ve decided to go for a 31-day campaign, starting on the 6th June, for a few reasons:

  • It doesn’t clash with any major US holidays, like Memorial Day. The 48-hour reminder email should go out on the day after 4th July.
  • I want to give myself the best chance of success by polishing the combat demo hard. It was great to get such good feedback at Rezzed and I think it’ll be a great hook. I need more time to do that well.
  • 6th June is the first anniversary of Sol Trader’s launch, so it ties in nicely with the ongoing Revelation Games story.

I’m excited and nervous about this Kickstarter campaign: my third one to date. After succeeding last time I’m really trying to take my time and get it right.

Sol Trader 1.3 released!

Now that I’m back, I’m able to support a new release of Sol Trader: 1.3 is now finally released after a length beta period.

Here are the highlights:

  • You can now chat to characters directly on the right if they’re in the same location as you
  • Pirate Chief and criminals are now more likely to try to destroy you
  • Fix a bug where you’re not paid enough for a mission
  • Dignitaries now fly around a little less than before to make it easier to pin them down
  • Inter-faction missions now pay slightly less
  • Business trips now pay slightly less
  • Taxi missions now pay slightly more
  • Talking to your criminal parents will no longer cause them to forget who you are
  • Fix crash where a character develops an opinion of the player mid-conversation
  • Fix crash when showing GUI for a ship the AI is driving
  • Fix crash where a character would attempt to sell a good on a ship they’ve lent to the player
  • Can now initiate conversations when paused - will restart the game but at realtime speed
  • Fixed the Tiger II achievement

Your steam copy should automatically update. I’ll be releasing an updated downloadable version to SendOwl in the next few days.

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Introducing: Ealdorlight

Posted Fri 31 March 2017 06:58

I’m very excited to be able to announce my new game…

Ealdorlight is a single player RPG set in a low fantasy kingdom where you must influence, cajole and fight your way to the throne.

Players travel the land, meet characters, perform quests and attempt to discover their true identity, different every game. Learning about the pasts of other characters gives the player influence over them, and learning who they truly are allows a player’s character to become more and more powerful. Along the way they will discover ancient weapons with hidden pasts, recruit allies, fight those who get in their way, and finally build a strategy to overthrow the King.

Ealdorlight generates centuries of history and society each game, giving players a whole kingdom of characters and relationships to explore and exploit, with turn based story-focused combat and an open quest structure.

Find out more info on the website!

Development plan

The plan is to put the game back on Kickstarter in May. Kickstarter was awesome last time for Sol Trader’s campaign - I think that the Kickstarter community is one of the best on the Internet for encouragement and positivity. I also want to check in with gamers to make sure the game I’m planning is the one people want me to make.

I’m building this game in Unreal, although parts of Sol Trader’s engine will make it into the game. Using Unreal has been a great experience so far. I’ll post tips and other learnings here as I go, as well as some thoughts on why I chose it.

I’ve already had some very helpful feedback on the idea and am looking for more - what thing about Ealdorlight most draws your attention?

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