Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Lore of HQ-77 and Exciting News About Spacepods

Hello Again.

      First of all, big thanks to everyone who played SURVIVE and Spacepods and gave us some feedback on those to games. Having little game jams and challenges is something we want to continue. Keep an eye on our twitter for more info on little games we make that you can play free in your browsers.

      Last week we skipped our blog that was going to reveal some information about the Lore and Setting in HQ-77, so we will go over all that in this blog. We know from previous blogs that the game world is built from an assortment of hexagon tiles. What we do not know is what this world is, where and when it exists, or why we should care about living here. Strap on your adventuring boots, this is gonna be a long post.

      So let us begin by telling you that this world exists in an ancient time when the magic of the elder gods still held power over this world. In this old world there are many ancient beings including, Golems, Were-Men of all kinds, giant insects and dragons. The dragons are the physical embodiment of the elder gods. There are also the sentient(playable) races of this world. The elder gods are the beings responsible for creating the first 3 sentient races. The following is a brief chronicle of their ancient histories and how 3 became 8.

      In the beginning of time the elder gods created 3 races, Elves, Gnomes and Trolls. They lived in relative peace and harmony due to being separated geographically. At some point a group of Elves moved out of the forest and into the grasslands, these Elves gave up there immortal nature to be given the gift of science from one of the elder gods. Over time these elves evolved into what we call Mankind. The nature of Mankind however, is easily corrupted. A group of sages and wizards still longed for a connection with nature and the gift of immortality  So they left the cities of man and moved to the northern end of the grasslands. But instead of returning to the old gods of the forest they began worshipping the beast gods. This was a grave mistake, the beast god took these men and twisted their flesh combining it with that of animals. This brought about the race of the Satyr. The Gnomes have a similar story to tell. The Gnomes have long lived on the southwestern tip of the world, they love the marshes and the trees that grow there. There were at one point 3 prominent tribes among the gnomes. But now there is only one. You see, one of the patriarchs of a tribe once found a cave, and in this cave he found a crystal. This crystal mesmerized him and after learning of its magical properties, he began searching every inch of the cave, but finding no more he resolved to travel by boat around the world till he found more crystals. He took his 3rd of the Gnomish peoples and sailed east sticking to the coast. And after many days at sea he spotted mountains on the northeastern coast of world. He settled in these mountains and through the passage of time and the digging of deep mines, these Gnomes ceased being Gnomes and became Dwarves. There was however a great rift between the last 2 Gnomish tribes. Half thought the Dwarves were right in their quest for crystals and the power they held, the other half held fast to the swamp and the traditions of their forefathers. So after many debates and council meeting the second tribe of the Gnomes moved away from the swamp and into the badlands in the south. The harsh dry environment turned these gnomes into hard and tenacious people. The began worshipping the Djinn of the desert. After many generations they ceased being Gnomes at all. Their worship of the Djinn had transformed them into Goblins. While this ancient history was taking place all across the lands, the Trolls were beginning to dwell in the northern arctic lands. Upon encountering Trolls for the first time in the northern edges of the forest, the Elf king sent envoys to them in hopes of forging an alliance. The alliance was born in a royal marriage, and with it the race of the Orc. Peace existed between these peoples for some time till a high born Orc laid claim to the Elven throne. This caused a war in the north. In the end the Orc Prince and his people left the Troll kingdom and settled in the tundra west of the northern forest. There is peace in the land, but it is an uneasy one at best. Rogue Orcs raid the Elven lands, Satyr’s attack cities and caravans of Man, and the Goblins are beginning to cut into the swamp land of their distant relatives. This is the world you will shape for the better or worse is your decision.

      There are 8 playable races in HQ-77. They are listed below with a few words to give them flavor.

Dwarves- strong, stout, loud. - Mountains/Cave
Elves- Graceful, Silent, Deadly. - Forest
Gnomes- Small, Ingenious, Crafty. - Swamp
Goblins- Swift , Devious, Tenacious. - Desert 
Man- Determined, Intelligent, Charismatic. - Grasslands
Orcs- Hard, Cold, Calculating. - Tundra
Satyrs- Energetic, Musical, Demonic. - Grasslands
Trolls- Brutish, Unyielding, Large. - Arctic

      From this list we can begin to shape in our minds the images of these races and where they come from. Due to the game being about shaping your own story, no race is Evil and no race is Good. Since no race is necessarily good or evil, you may ask what drives the story? The only answer to this is YOU! The player pick his races, then sets off on an adventure of his/her own design. Will you unite nations? Steal riches from kings? Wage war on the elder gods themselves? The story of HQ-77 is one that you will right. Your pen may be a sword, or bow, or the words from your lips.

      So there is a brief over view of the Lore of HQ-77. Our next post will contain a map and further description of the setting, and cultural styles of the 8 playable races.

      Before we close this post, we would like to bring some attention to a game from last weeks post. The game is Spacepods. Its a game we kinda built just for fun, but its becoming a pretty big project here at the office. After making a simple prototype and posting it on the gamedev subreddit, we got tons of feedback. People had ideas, suggestions wanted more so we gave it to them. We spent a good amount of time last week polishing up the prototype and making it into a fully playable arcade style game. We got in touch with a musician and had him lay down some sweet tracks and now the game is fully playable on our website. Spacepods We strongly suggest you go there and play it. Try beating our developers high scores. If you can do that we might throw you a party, or let you in on the alpha testing for HQ-77. At the least, give it a play and leave us some feedback in the comments below. If enough people enjoy Spacepods we will continue dedicating time to it. We have a list of power up and multiplayer ideas, as well as a single player campaign.

      That's all for this post, tune in next time for more exciting news on HQ-77 and the other things happening here at Bitforge Studios.

Want to know more about what’s happening at BitForge Studios? Follow us on Twitter!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

8 Hour Game Jam and Exciting News

Welcome Back!

   Today we bring you a very special surprise. Our original plans had us presenting a dev blog about lore and back story for HQ-77, but we did a little challenge at the office this past weekend and we wanted to share our results from this. Our challenge was to make a very simple game in 8 hours. The result of this is a game we are calling SURVIVE!

   The game of survive takes place on 2 islands that you as the player have been stranded on. You have limited health, you are always hungry and thirsty, and you are constantly going insane from your solitude. The only way to survive is to find and consume food and clean water. Food comes in the form of apple trees, and water comes in the form of clean water holes. Now before you go off eating every tree and drinking every pond, you should be warned that some trees bear no fruit, and some ponds are tainted water that will only quicken your impending doom. The resources will randomly spawn around the map, so you have to explore to stay alive. The game/ prototype is unforgiving. You will die or go crazy and then die, its only a mater of time.

   This 8 hour game jam was a ton of fun, and we hope we can flesh out SURVIVE! More in our spare time. Survive however, is not the only exciting event that occurred over this past week. While we are still working hard on HQ-77, we found some time to team up with an Artist named Kent Sheely, and here is his website. We here at Bitforge are thrilled to work with him. Kent and Phil have been working on fun little concept call Spacepods. This top-down asteroid intergalactic combat game is in its infancy, but the road ahead looks very promising and we can't wait to share it with you. Seriously we can not wait!

So here are links to play SURVIVE and Spacepods in your web browsers!!

   We hope you enjoyed this break from the normal routine and have some fun playing these to games. We are working on a high scores database for Spacepods! If you take the time to play please leave us some comments and feedback below!

Have a great day and game on!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Genre of HQ-77

Welcome back!
      It’s that time again! Time for another exciting dev blog where we reveal more info on HQ-77. With this post we hope to reveal more info on the genre of HQ-77. Namely that this game like many others in a way encompass multiple genres.
      HQ-77 is a Role Playing Game as well as a Tactics game. Within the world of HQ-77 you will play a role, that role may be hero or villain. Regardless of the role you choose to fill, you will play out a story as that role. Like many other RPGs you will have stats and abilities, equipment and items, but the way you navigate the game world, interact with NPC's, engage in combat is very much like a tactics or table-top style game. The combination creates a great environment in which the player can enjoy these to classic genres.
      Role-playing games have been around for a long time, so lets talk about what makes HQ-77 different. One thing we noticed when playing some of the more common RPGs was that they are very limited in what role in the story you play. The overwhelming majority of RPGs have you playing the role of “Hero”, with your job being to save the entire world. While this is great, our idea for a RPG is a little bit more like the old school pen and paper style. In this older style of RPGs the player can play any role in the party, that role could be hero, or villain, or thief or adventurer. Freedom of choice is what dominated the birth of RPGs. We hope to emulate that design. We also know that in most fantasy themed games, Orcs and Goblins are bad and Men and Elves are good, however; our goal with HQ-77 it to make the game world much more gray. None of the races are inherently evil, and none are perfectly good. Each character in the game has an alignment that will make him good or evil based off the action he/she takes. This system will make for a much more dynamic, living, and believable world. In the end, playing HQ-77 will offer that classic tabletop RPG experience with a deep and rich game world.
      Lets take the last part of this blog discussing the tactical aspect of HQ-77. The main feature in HQ-77 that emphasizes tactics like game play is in the movement of characters. Each character has very specific movement range. This range dictates how far they can go, and who or what they can interact with. By moving around the game world in a strategic or tactical way, you can out smart your enemies, aid your friends and move quickly across the map. Another aspect of the tactical game play deals with the hexagon tiles that build the environment. These tiles will be classified into types. An example of these types would be stone, grass, forest, and lava. Depending on where you place your character may gain buffs or status effects. These could be the deciding factor in a battle against a stronger opponent. The other important thing about these tiles is there height. If a tile is too tall, your character might not be able to reach it, and if it’s to far below you, your character will take damage by jumping down to it. You will learn by playing around with the system that the level of depth and tactical game play possible is astounding. Be smart with your characters and you will win more often.
      That’s all for this post. We hope that gave you a clearer picture of our goal with HQ-77 and that you are excited to see this game coming together. In our next post we will discuss the lore and story of HQ-77.

Want to know more about what’s happening at BitForge Studios? Follow us on Twitter! @BitforgeStudios

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Codename HQ-77

 Welcome everyone!
      Its time for the first development post that will begin the slow reveal of information about HQ-77, we are so excited to begin this process. So lets get to it. HQ-77 is going to be a tactical role-playing game that offers you a classic pen and paper, D&D style story experience, with an amazing level of depth that grows from many different facets of the game. The levels of this game will range in size from small skirmish maps to large continents to quest across. Hexagon shaped tiles will be placed together to build large volcanic mountains, dangerous swamps, and a whole range of geological biomes.These biomes will yield unique monster encounters, unique cities and hours of game play.

      HQ-77 will have many pre-built levels at launch, and we are working on a system to procedurally generate levels of various sizes. These features will add tons of replay value to the game.

      So now that you know a little bit about the genre and game world, let’stalk about what all can be done. HQ-77 will be very sand-boxy, however not a world builder like Minecraft or physics playground like Garry’s Mod, but more a decision based sand box. Each action you take will be recorded and will feed into a very complex character alignment system, and that system will change the way all the characters in the game will interact with you. We hope that this system inspires characters to make choices for a reason, not just arbitrarily. Our goal is for players to interact with a story driven by meaningful choices that will affect the game world and change it for the better or worse.

      Well, that’s all for this post, that gives you some exciting information about HQ-77, it’s genre, it’s game world, and why playing it is going to be a blast.

Join us next time for a more in depth discussion on the  RPG-Tactics Elements of HQ-77.

Want to know more about what’s happening at BitForge Studios? Follow us onTwitter!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cleverly Titled Post #3

   In our previous blog posts we introduced BitForge Studios and The members of the dev team, this post will focus a little bit more on our inspiration for making games and will finish with some exciting info on our current project.

   The name BitForge comes from our love for technology, story telling, creativity and culture. The Bit portion represents our love for science, computers, programming, science fiction and the future. It helps us to constantly focus on innovation and creative thinking. The Forge represents not only the hard work that goes into making a game, but conjures for us images of something ancient and integral to human civilization. With out the Forge human kind would still be in the Stone Age. These two words are what inspire us to make great games for the future without forgetting where we come from as people.

   In our first post we discussed how story telling has been important to mankind throughout history. We believe that is still true today and one of our goals, as a game developer is to make stories that are worth telling. Stories that encourage us to be brave, just and selfless, but we know that telling only these stories would paint a picture of mankind that is untrue. Mankind can also be cowardly, unjust, and devious and by telling these stories as well we represent who we are as a species. By making games that help us understand ourselves we can help to change the world for the better.

   By now you know who we are and why we make games. So lets get to the fun part. For the past two years we have been working on game projects off and on. We now have the time to create and complete a game. We opened up our ideas notebook and began fleshing out 3 different game concepts to see which one took hold. We had a military strategy game that didn't make the cut. We also were forced to give a 2D maze explorer the ax. The game idea that was chosen is a classic. The current project, code-named  HQ-77, is a RPG-Tactics hybrid. The game will emphasize strategic tactical game-play, with strong RPG elements. The game world will be built as a massive hexagon grid. You as the player will travel this world and play whatever role you choose. Hero, or villain, you will play this game as you desire writing your own story and becoming part of a living breathing world.

   That’s all the info about HQ-77 you will get for now, but don’t worry, all future posts will be about game development and will slowly reveal more and more about the game. We hope you are as excited about it as we are, can’t wait for our next post to share more info with you!

Want to know more about what’s happening at BitForge Studios? Follow us on Twitter @BitForgeStudios

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Who We Are.

Who We Are

BitForge Studios has been buzzing with activity since our last post. But before opening the floodgates with info about out current project, we wanted to let you know a little bit more about who we are. So with this post we want to introduce ourselves to you. BitForge Studios is a small dev team composed of 2 guys that grew up as next-door neighbors in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As kids, Daniel Lee and Phil Mainprize had common interests in things like Star Trek, Legos, playing video games and adventuring in the woods behind their neighborhood. Over the years they both developed a love for technology and game development, and during their college years, Phil started making a collection of ideas for games. This notebook filled with ideas is what drove them to start making games. In 2012 they decided that making games was more than just a hobby and began pursuing it more actively. Thus BitForge Studios was formed in late 2012. We got these 2 guys to take a break from development and write a brief bio for themselves, so keep reading and learn a bit more about the team.

Phil Mainprize: Lead Game Designer

I have always had a passion for science fiction, stories, creativity and adventures. These passions culminated and were given form when my dad brought home a NES when I was like 5 years old. Playing games with my brothers and neighbors became a daily activity. Waking up early to squeeze in extra game time before chores was something we all became good at. Over time I evolved through the various gaming systems, VIS, Sega Genesis, PS1, N64 etc. It was during this time I fell in love with video games as a medium for story telling and the experience of sharing those stories with friends. I grew up, went to High school and became interested in PC gaming. When I graduated high school I built my first computer and got interested in programming and game design. Then I went to a small college in Arkansas. It was during this time I became more serious in my pursuit of making games and constructing modes to encourage story telling. By studying psychology, anthropology and other subjects I became more and more interested in how stories and myths affect our everyday choices. During college I also was lucky enough to convince my high school sweet heart to marry me. Lets just pause here to mention that she is a total legend. And without her I would be an empty shell of a man. Kristin I love you. My wife and I moved to Brooklyn where we live and work. That’s about it for me, hope that gives you guys a face to put with BitForge Studios, and I hope you will love our games as much as I do.

Daniel Lee: Lead Programmer

My name's Daniel Lee. Most people call me Daniel Lee. The more time I spend writing this bio, the less time I spend writing code. So, I should get this over with because I have a new camera script to write. This is going to sound strange but, I enjoy writing code. Programming is somewhat therapeutic to me. I'm currently studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Tulsa. I usually carry a pretty full class load. So, being able to take a break and write code for a game as opposed to an assignment is nice.
The first time I tried to make a video game I was 8 years old. I say, “tried” because I was unfortunately not a child genius. I was writing it in DOS on the old Apple II in my 4th grade computer lab, and I had no idea what I was doing. Working with one of my best friends at BitForge Studios is the realization of a dream that started a long time ago. I enjoy the work, and I hope you enjoy the results!

With the current dev team, BitForge Studios is working towards making totally kick-ass games, but BitForge Studios is also looking to grow! We have some open positions so if you are interested in joining the BitForge team, send us an email with your resume to

That’s all for now, our next post is going to discuss a little bit more about what our goal is as a game development studios and reveal the first bit of information on our current game!

Want to know more about what’s happening at BitForge Studios? Follow us on Twitter @BitForgeStudios!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BitForge Studios

      BitForge Studios is a small independent video game developer based out of Brooklyn, New York. Founded on the idea that being creative is a fundamental part of being a human. BitForge Studios strives to make games that are fun, challenging and allow for the player to be creative while playing top notch games. Here at BitForge Studios we believe strongly in the art of story-telling. Since the dawn of human civilization, telling stories has been a primary method of giving ourselves meaning and purpose, as well as, teaching us how to interact with others. Books are stories written by authors, comics are stories brought to life through drawings, movies are stories that take a whole crew of people to tell; in the same way a video game is a story that we as developers construct. That story is then given to players to play through. Playing a video game is what allows us to discover and participate in an amazing medium for telling stories.

      Now that you know what BitForge Studios is, we hope you are excited about the future of BitForge Studios' games and content. At BitForge we feel we have a responsibility to bring you quality games, we also believe we have a responsibility to our fellow man. Because of that 10% of every game purchase and donation will be given to charity. We are still looking for the right charity to give to, and as soon as we pick one we will have more information posted for you to read about.

      Here at BitForge we also want to be actively involved with the people who play our games. So we invite you to comment and ask questions, we look forward to making great games for you to play. We are going to setup forums and community stuff eventually, but until then feel free to email us at

      That wraps up this first blog post. We are very excited for the future and look forward to giving you more information about upcoming games and content. Thanks for stopping by and reading this post.

      Want to know more about what’s happening at BitForge Studios? Follow us on Twitter! @BitForgeStudios