Mars Horizon rockets onward, a look back on GameTheNews, the Steampocalypse, and more...

More about Mars Horizon
We’ve had a lot of interest in Mars Horizon since we first announced it, so we put together an article on Medium that goes into an area of it that we’re most proud of: its links with real science.

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As you’ll have heard on the studio’s podcast about the game’s development, as well as read about on here, Mars Horizon is tied closely with the real-world realities of managing a space agency. We’ve worked with people in the field who have guided the direction of our thinking and ultimately the game’s design, by giving us their insight into, for example, why certain agencies specialise in certain kinds of missions into space, or why public interest is so important to science.

A GameTheNews retrospective
A lot of people will have first heard of Auroch Digital through its work during the GameTheNews initiative, where we were part of the vanguard leading the charge into the (then quite new) world of newsgames.

Tom wrote an article about our experiences creating works in that field, talking about the huge positives of making them, as well as some of the downsides. If you’re interested at all in “serious games” or “games with purpose”, it’s well worth a read.

Asset flips and the Steampocalypse

There has long been a debate about the subject of “asset flips”. This is a term given to games that primarily feature pre-made assets, usually with the subtext that they are of poor quality and created for nefarious reasons.

It’s lead to a rise in poor quality content on Steam, the primary channel for PC games distribution, which many have linked with the “Steampocalypse” - the idea that at some point making money on that platform for most studios will be next to impossible.

Tom weighed in on both of these topics across a variety of high profile media channels recently, including VentureBeat, GamesIndustry.biz, and MCV, and spoke about how developers can best prepare for the Steampocalypse at Develop.

And everything else...
As noted above, we were at Develop, with both Tom and Nina giving talks.

And we’re proud to report that podcasting is doing surprisingly well for us as a studio. Our go-to audio expert Matthew Walker has been producing them and walks through his process in this great article that you should totally read if you’ve ever thought about dipping your toe in the warm waters of branded podcasts.

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

A selection of the best submissions to our Ogre Screenshot Contest

We recently ran a screenshot submission contest for Ogre to celebrate Origins Game Fair 2018. 

Fans submitted a fantastic set of screenshots which really encapsulated the nature of the game, the brutal mechanical warfare it is centred around and the futility of standing up against the might of the Ogre itself. 

 PZMCGWIRE's Invasion of San Diego scenario

PZMCGWIRE's Invasion of San Diego scenario

 This is pulled from Google Maps. The similarity is incredible!

This is pulled from Google Maps. The similarity is incredible!

Huge congratulations to our winner, PZMCGWIRE, who utilised the power of our built-in Scenario Creator to recreate Coronado Island in their Invasion of San Diego scenario! They recently received their prizes, signed copies of the Ogre Reinforcements expansion for Sixth Edition and the paper insert 40 Years of Ogre by Steve Jackson himself! The paper insert contains the unique scenario Bad Timing and a full game map, cut-out unit counters and rules. 

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As well as our great winning submission, we received a bunch of other fantastic screenshots over the course of the contest, which we really wanted to share, as thanks for the time taken by our wonderful Ogre community!

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Update on Mars Horizon, an award nomination, bargains to be had, and more...

An update on Mars Horizon
Mars Horizon has been making steady progress throughout development and you can learn all sorts about that development - as well as how the team is incorporating real space science in to the gameplay - in Episode 2 and Episode 3 of the podcast. You can download or stream the podcast on its official Auroch Digital game page.

We’re also thrilled to have been interviewed by BBC’s Sky at Night Magazine. We talked with them about our aspirations for the game, the iconic vehicles you’ll get to play with, and even revealed a little more about our aspirations for a tabletop version of the game, so it’s well worth a read if you’re keeping a close eye on that upcoming title of ours.

Head of studio nominated for lifetime achievement award
Our Tomas Rawlings has been nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award category at the 2018 SPARKies tech and digital awards. He joins a prestigious list of talented individuals, from CEOs to mentors, at everything from gigantic corporations to wildly successful non-profit organisations.

A huge congratulations to all of the nominees, the full list of which you can check out right here.

Things on sale and things on sale
Our Pledge Manager for Achtung! Cthulhu will be drawing to a close soon, so if you want in on that, best get in quick. Players who support the game early will be given all sorts of sweet rewards and extras, details for which are on PledgeManager.

You’ve just missed the Skulls for the Skull Throne II sale, featuring a load of great Games Workshop games, including our titles Chainsaw Warrior and Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, but you’re still in time to nab yourself a copy of Steve Jackson’s Ogre at a whopping 40% off before entering our screenshot competition in celebration of Origins.

And everything else...
Oh gosh, what else?

Well, there was an Unreal fashion faux pas in the studio, a highly informative day of marketing and branding with our pal Nat, a new screen of Dark Future: Blood Red States, and another one too, just for luck.

Quite the busy month. We’ll see you here for another round up in, oh, let’s say another 30 days time...

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Mars Horizon announced for PC and consoles, Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics late backing now available, speaking at Develop, and lots more besides

Mars Horizon asks you to help make humanity a multi-planetary species

Gosh it’s been a struggle trying to not talk about this project of ours!

We’ve been quietly working on Mars Horizon for quite a while now and on Friday the 11th of May we were able to finally unveil it to the world.

As you’ll see on our blog post, the piece on the official PlayStation Blog, or any number of the sites that covered the announcement, we’ve worked closely with real scientists and scientific organisations to ensure a strong amount of authenticity makes it into our game about running your own space agency from the dawn of space flight to putting boots onto the eponymous red planet.

We also took our first steps into the wild world of podcasting, with an audio series about the game and the studio kicking off as part of the announcement. You can find the first episode on the Mars Horizon game page, if you like what you hear then make sure to subscribe for more episodes as they’re released.

We’ll have much more to show you very shortly, in the meantime here’s our announcement trailer.

PledgeManager now open for Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics

Many of you got in touch to ask about whether you could back Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics even though the Kickstarter has now ended.

And the answer is a resounding “absolutely”.

Pop over to our PledgeManager page to get started.

We’re speaking at Develop

We’ve been to events a fair bit this year, but we’ve always got time for more public speaking and we’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to talk at this year’s Develop.

Both Tom and Nina will be taking to the stage for two separate presentations, How to Make People Love You, Or at Least Love Working With You, and The Steampocalypse - A Survival Guide.

We’re absolutely thrilled to be taking part, we’ll no doubt let you know how it all goes in a future update.

Dark Future: Blood Red States store page gets GIFs

Sometimes it’s the small things that make your day.

Like a particularly well-made cup of tea. Or re-discovering a song you forgot you used to love. Or putting some sweet GIFs on your Steam store page or on your Twitter.

Ogre update brings a number of requested fixes

Version 1.5.14.0 of Ogre has deployed to Steam and brings with it priority fixes and improvements that the community has requested.

There’s a full breakdown of what’s new in the accompanying Steam Community post. A huge thank you from our team to our players for getting involved in the process.

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Making humanity a multiplanetary species in upcoming game, Mars Horizon, developed with support from the UK Space Agency

Introducing a space agency management and mission simulator inspired by real science and engineering.

We're SUPER excited to announce that we have combined rocket building, mission control and space agency management together in the upcoming strategy game Mars Horizon. Early in development, the game received support from the UK Space Agency as it focuses on the reality of space exploration. The game is in development now and is due for release in Q4 this year to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

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Mars Horizon is a strategy game in which players control a government space agency. Picking between the space agencies of either Europe, Russia, or the United States, the players then control the agency to collaborate or compete in a decades-spanning campaign to expand humanity’s reach further into space. With each game an alternate history begins to be shaped and guided by the player’s actions, building iconic rockets, probes, and satellites that transmit crucial scientific data back to your customisable Earth HQ, all the while researching, investing in, and bolstering your space flight capabilities. During the player’s version of the space race, perhaps Europe works with Russia, sending satellites into orbit? Could it be that the US get this first satellite into space but that Russia achieves the first moon landing? Who will be best poised to venture to Mars because of learnings from earlier missions? Players will research new tech, expand their agency base, build rockets, send satellites into orbit, and launch a variety of missions throughout the Solar System. The game culminates in the first crewed mission to Mars, setting the stage for humanity to become a multiplanetary species.

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The UK Space Agency provided support in the form of a grant plus advice and information on space exploration and the running of an actual space agency for Mars Horizon. We are staunch advocates for video games both as entertainment but also as a medium with the power to explore real world issues and ideas. Speaking about the game, our Design Director, Dr. Tomas Rawlings said...

“We wanted to distil the wonder, drama, and the galaxies of possibility that space offers us as a species, into game form. Mars Horizon is our love-letter to the race into space and the challenges and triumphs of humanity on the way to becoming a multiplanetary species”.

Together with research into real science and engineering in the space industry, the support shown by the UK Space Agency to assist in Mars Horizon’s production has elevated and further inspired our development team.

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Episode 1 of a 3 part podcast series is also available, detailing the games’ production. You can listen and subscribe to the Auroch Digital podcast HERE - get to know the team, the process, and learn about how space engineering has been translated for the video game medium in Mars Horizon.

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Missed out on the Kickstarter? Worry not, you can now back the project further thanks to the Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics PledgeManager page!

We’re very happy to announce that the PledgeManager page for Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics - The Forest of Fear is now live, meaning you can now reserve yourself a copy of the game plus all the excellent bonuses that the Kickstarter campaign offered, if you missed it or were unable to back the project at the time.

If you added your support to the good fight, but wish to edit or add to your pledge, this is now possible too! We need all available personnel in the fight against the Nazi Black Sun and Nachtwolfe factions, backed by the otherworldly horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos, so head over to PledgeManager now!

There are three available tiers on the PledgeManager page;

- Enlisted
This is the basic reward tier, which provides a digital copy of the video game PLUS Free Achtung! Cthulhu Keepers & Investigator's Guide RPG PDFs.

- Cited for Valor
The next level entitles you to a digital copy of the video game PLUS All the new unlocked PDF's, PLUS a free copy of Achtung! Cthulhu Keepers & Investigator's Guide Books in PDF, and your name in the credits. (Note: that we reserve the right to edit names for obvious reasons!)

- Introductory One Player Starter Set
This MONSTER of a reward tier gives access to all of the previous pledge rewards, PLUS a starter set for the Achtung! Cthulhu Skirmish game: A set of 3 Section M Investigators and 10 Badgers Commandos or 3 Black Sun Villains and 10 Black Sun Troopers*.

If you need any help with managing your pledge, have any questions, or can’t find the correct option for you, head here.

So head to the PledgeManager page now and enlist to fight the good fight. We NEED you!

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

More of Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics revealed, meeting up with our pals, new website, and Ogre rumbles onto Fanatical

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics updates

As you’d expect, we’ve been marching on steadily with our progress on the development of Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics. Eager to share how it’s coming along, we took to Twitter, Facebook, and Kickstarter to show some screens and footage of the game. We kicked things off with this Forest of Fear level concept for a while back...

… which would then turn into the 3D environment you see here, complete with an early look at our user interface.

Catching up with Bristol games scene pals

When not hard at work on Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, Dark Future: Blood Red States, or our secret third game, we took some time out to catch up with our friends from the Bristol Games Hub and beyond.

We’re a big advocate for getting involved in the local development scene, whether that be digital or tabletop games, so it was really great to meet up, talk shop, share ideas, and take the time to enjoy and be inspired by what the games scene has to offer.

We’ve updated our website

I’m not sure what else to write here, I mean, you’re on our new website right now!

Have a click around, see our snazzy re-design, check out our new store, and let us know if you have any feedback using the usual methods.
 

Ogre now available on Fanatical

We’re pleased as punch to announce that our adaptation of Steve Jackson’s classic tabletop strategy game Ogre is now available on Fanatical. We wanted to get Ogre onto Fanatical after they did such a great job with the pages and promotion of Chainsaw Warrior and Lords of the Night. Having our work available on multiple platforms allows us to reach a wider audience with our products while giving players more options on how and where they spend their money, which we think can only be a good thing, and it means that Ogre can be purchased across Fanatical, Steam, Green Man Gaming, Humble Store and Gamersgate.

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics funded and coming to consoles, Dark Future gameplay unveiled, and articles aplenty

This month was all about our two big announced video games: Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics with Modiphius and Ripstone, and Dark Future: Blood Red States with Games Workshop, plus following up on a couple of the items from last month’s blog post.

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics smashes Kickstarter targets, now coming to console too
Ending 218% funded, the Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics crowdfunding campaign was a big success, and as a part of the month-long Kickstarter we announced that the game is also coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, had quite possibly the greatest Cthulhu-related advertisement ever made by The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, hit the front page of Twitch, plus we revealed a load more details about the game, including this flythrough of the forest environment;

A massive thank you to everyone who is supporting us on this project.

An early look at the gameplay of Dark Future: Blood Red States
We decided to pretty much go quiet on DF:BRS in 2017, partly to not distract from our other projects that were coming to fruition, but mostly because the development team wanted to focus on nailing the gameplay without any distractions.

Now that the game has made leaps and bounds forward, we’re ready to start talking about it again, starting with this first ever look at the core combat gameplay;

We’ll be steadily releasing more about the game throughout 2018, we hope you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by what we’ve been making...

Making Cthulhu games, weird wars, and why Dune II is a masterclass
GamesIndustry.biz invited our Tom to write about a favourite game of his, and so our studio head decided to talk about classic strategy game Dune II. It’s all about how that game is a great game that blends well with its IP, and you can read it right here.

Tom also turned his attention to how Cthulhu, World War II, and the Nazis have, combined, been a constant source of interest to creators of fiction. You can read this piece, called The Second Weird War on Medium.

And not content with two articles in a month, Tom also heeded the call when our friends at PC Games Insider asked him to write about why developers are turning to Cthulhu as a subject for their video games. You can find out why that is, by clicking this link right here.

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics announced, City of Games, Global Game Jam 2018, and more...

Congratulations to those of you who got close to guessing what we were hinting at towards the end of our last post. That’s the biggest news of the month, so let’s open with that, shall we?

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics revealed, Kickstarter already funded and stretch goals being added

We’ve been teasing for months that we have something related to the Lovecraft Mythos in the works, and on the 7th of February our Kickstarter for Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics went live. A turn-based strategy with RPG elements, the game is set in the ultra-compelling world created by our partners at Modiphius, and is being published by the mighty Ripstone.

The public reaction has been fantastic, with stories already up on Twinfinite, TGN, RPGamer, 4Players.de, Tabletop Gaming, and more, and the reaction on Twitter was super positive too;

You can find out loads more about it on Kickstarter, where it was completely funded in 3 days, with stretch goals to add even more content unlocking as you read this.

We were at City of Games 2018

Don’t those orange hoodies look lovely? ;)

Yep, we were at City of Games. It was the Bristol board game expo’s first year and an absolute corker of an event. We were showing a pen and paper prototype of the Achtung! Cthulhu video game, which seemed to go down really well.

Plus we were talking about our work on Ogre and Chainsaw Warrior, complete with original copies of the board games to-hand, and we were secretly showing off a very early version of another new project that’s in the works - we’ll be talking more about this one in the coming year, but here's a picture just for fun...

And then of course we also ran the board game jam at the event. A huge thank you to all our participants, and to City of Games for putting on a fantastic show.

Global Game Jam 2018 was a roaring success

Speaking of game jams, we once again ran the Bristol edition of the Global Game Jam. It was a huge turnout, with people from all walks of life coming together to make games of all shapes and sizes.

As a developer very much linked with the Bristol games scene, we were really proud of the quality of output at this year’s event. You can try out the games for yourself over on the Global Game Jam website.

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Speaking at Gamesforum and PC Connects, $5 million raised for charity, what’s coming up in 2018, and more...

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We’re back for another year of making games set in your favourite worlds, refreshed after a well-deserved break after a very big 2017. We’re barely halfway through January but already there’s loads to share with you, so we’ll get right into it.

We’re speaking at Gamesforum London 2018, and PC Connects London 2018

If you’re attending PC Connects on the 22nd - 23rd January, or Gamesforum on the 24th - 25th January, then do come and say hello to us!

At PC Connects Auroch’s Production Manager - Nina Adams - will speak about how we translated Ogre from a tabletop game into a digital game, including the challenges we faced along the way and the solutions the team came up with to solve them, meanwhile the studio’s Producer and Marketing Manager - Peter Willington - will be on a panel on the Digital Discovery Track talking indie publishing and why making niche games can be so rewarding for studios.

Then later that same week our Design and Production Director - Tomas Rawlings - takes to the stage at Gamesforum to discuss what happens when games intersect with the real world, highlighting how players engage with difficult subjects through the medium, plus Peter will make an appearance on a panel discussing the future of games media that draws on his experience as a critic and running a successful gaming podcast.

For times and more details of our talks and panel appearances, check out the full schedule for PC Connects and the full schedule for Gamesforum.

$5 million raised for charity with the Yogscast Jingle Jam 2017

Regular readers of the blog will remember that last month we announced we were part of the Yogscast Jingle Jam for 2017. With the opportunity to purchase the bundle now over, we were thrilled to learn that it raised over $5 million for a number of very worthy charities.

Our heartfelt congratulations to Humble, Yogscast, and all the developers involved!

Ogre and Steve Jackson Games celebrity multiplayer session a big success

As a big “thank you” to the Ogre community for supporting us over the last year or so, we put together a surprise for the last AD-organised multiplayer session of 2017 - a day of Ogre online gaming filled with Steve Jackson Games and Auroch Digital players to challenge.

The day featured Steve Jackson (yes, THE Steve Jackson), Winchell Chung (the man behind the iconic artwork of the original Ogre), Drew Metzger (Ogre Line Editor), Steve Martin (Designer on the adaptation of Ogre), and Jake Connor (Community Manager at Auroch Digital), plus Steven J Marsh (GURPS Project Manager) and Devin Lewis (Game Designer and Munchkin Editorial Assistant).

The event went down really well with our players, a big thank you to everyone who turned up and joined in the fun.

Auroch in the media

Though we’re currently all heads down on Dark Future: Blood Red States and some unannounced new titles, we’ve still had a bit of time to talk with the press and even write a couple of guest posts.

We were delighted to find Kotaku featuring Dark Future: Blood Red States in their big round up of British games coming out in 2018, and to be interviewed by Bammsters Rated-R. Plus Tom was asked to talk about his favourite game of 2017 (the fantastic The Shrouded Isle) for IndieGames.com, and Peter also wrote about his top 5 for God Is A Geek.

What’s in-store for 2018?

Quite simply: a whole heck of a lot! We’ll be revealing our plans for this coming year as and when the stars are right, we hope you’ll stick with us in 2018 to see what they are...

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Jake Connor

Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

 

Find me on Twitter: @AurochJake, or more regularly on @AurochDigital