Storm Bringer Studios is a Georgian game company (Founded in Estonia in 2013). It’s based in Tbilisi, and the team was working on various games long before that, releasing PC and console titles mostly as outsource projects. By the end of 2013 Storm Bringer founders participated in the GameFounders program and that changed them forever: they started thinking BIG! The company’s CEO and founder Irakli Kokrashvili shares the story of one of their recent creations, MagiCraft. Meanwhile, the team is now preparing the VR game called Warlock VR that they’re planning to bring to Indie Showcase at Casual Connect 2016 in Amsterdam.
Driven by our knowledge and experience, we first tried to make mobile titles and launched 15 of those on iOS, Android and Windows Phone stores. These titles were mostly high quality clones of well-known games. We got feedback and analytics and noted that Philosopher’s Stone, our spinoff of the 2048 game was accepted really well.
It was a shock for us when we sold a 9.99$ IAP for the first time. Then we sold it again and again. We launched an update to the game and added new features upon customers’ requests.
We also added the possibility to continue the game after spawning the Philosopher’s stone, so player can open 1 of 12 gates. (A spoiler: we’ve prepared a special surprise for those few people who open all 12).
More than just a 3D version
As the game had some really dedicated users even after a year, we decided to make a 3D version of it. The engine was Unity, and we made it 60 FPS on mobiles, and of maximum quality.
We made the first few drafts in 2 weeks. This is what it looked like:
It was running about 20 FPS on iPad3 but already looked quite up-to-date. After optimization and gameplay testing we created about 20 custom shaders and materials, and the game started shaping up. We added so many new features and implemented new ideas that it became way more than just a 3D version of our previous title.
We decided to create a new franchise, so the MagiCraft series was born. The first game of the series is MagiCraft : Balance on all mobile platforms and PC. We designed interesting characters, scripted a story and created a whole new fantasy world. MagiCraft : Balance will set the vibe of the whole series and affect every single game that will be launched in the future within this franchise.
For example, if the world’s balance is shifted to a darker or lighter side, some quests will become available in MagiCraft: Elementals and MagiCraft: Arena, and vice versa. All games in this series will be interconnected and affect each other no matter on which platform they will be released, or when.
The world is divided, and you are the guardian of balance. Do you choose Creation or Destruction, Good or Evil, Death or Life? The player starts as a wizard’s apprentice tasked to perform the simplest magic possible, the extraction of essence from thin air. However, magic performed even in its lowest form still disrupts the balance of mighty forces, and the player must always struggle to decide which side to come down on.
If too much essence is extracted from thin air, it can ruin the balance and destroy the world. This fragile balance is symbolized by the two serpents eating each other’s tails. If the balance is shifted too far to one of the sides – one serpent will devour the other, and the circle of strength will be broken.
So, the player starts as an apprentice, eventually becomes a powerful magician, and is then able to create spells and cast them against other players in different arenas in futures games. Imagine being able to create spells on a tablet or mobile device, and then going to an arena in VR and casting them using bare hands. If something doesn’t go as planned, one can always return to spell crafting and try another set of spells.
Did you notice VR there? It’s true that we started believing in VR long before it became trendy, and experimented with it back in 2013 with DK1 for Oculus. We even launched a tech demo for Leap Motion’s 3D jam, MagiCraft : Swords and Sorcery – VR, and got the 3rd place by community votes, as well as the 5th place worldwide according to jam results. The demo was supporting leap motion, and the player could navigate, solve puzzles and throw fireballs using just bare hands. This is amazing experience, once you try – there’s no way back!
We received so many good reviews and positive feedback that decided to put this game on Steam Greenlight. We’ve been contacted by the Groupee team, and they suggested to put our game in their next bundle. Once the bundle came to life, we got greenlit in 45 minutes!!! That confirmed once more that we are on the right track.
As MagiCraft: Balance gets closer to release, we are already thinking about future updates: minimum 4 themed DLCs and major updates are planned. For instance, there will be a Nordic-themed DLC where players will fight to release either Loki or Thor, and thus affect the world balance even more. Meanwhile, we started designing the game in Unreal Engine 4 for the PC + VR version, and here are the first results:
Besides the Classic mode, Balance will feature Challenges, as well as many other exciting brand new features. So, while enjoying well-known game mechanics, players from all over the world and various mobile platforms will fight to shift the balance and thus affect the future of our and MagiCraft’s fantasy world, events and characters’ fates. The game has been nominated for Indie Prize USA 2015 and was showcased at the Indie Showcase at Casual Connect in San Francisco. It can now be played on iOS.