Hey everyone, welcome back to the Thylacine Studios Podcast. I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday! In this episode, we’ll take a look at everything that happened in 2020 (as far as our games are concerned), and take a glimpse at what’s in store for Siralim Ultimate in the year to come.
First off, we released Trial of the Gods, a collectible card game based on the Siralim series. This is the first game we’ve ever released where I wasn’t the programmer, and I think Jay did an awesome job on it. This game actually has a pretty interesting story behind it. I had always wanted to make a CCG based on Siralim, and I always figured I’d use the rules from Final Fantasy 8’s “Triple Triad” mini-game as the foundation for it. Well, one day, I randomly stumbled upon Jay’s page on itch.io where he was creating a game just like that. It was in the prototype phase but showed a lot of promise, so I contacted him to see if he’d be interested in partnering up, and as luck would have it, he was already a Siralim player and knew a lot about the game. That made the transition toward a Siralim-focused game much easier. Since Trial of the Gods was released, Jay has released several content updates for it as well, including an enchanting system to give it a bit more “infinite Siralim” flair, as well as a challenge mode that adds a whole new way to play the game. I think Jay did a fantastic job on the game, and I hope you all like it as well.
Later on, we launched our first-ever Kickstarter campaign for a little game called Siralim Ultimate. Needless to say, it went far better than expected. I honestly wasn’t sure if we’d be able to hit the goal of $10,000, but yeah, we managed to do that in about an hour. A month later, we had raised over $90,000 which is just insane. After the Kickstarter ended, I opened a PayPal shop on our website so people could continue backing and supporting the game, as well as purchasing the right to add their own ideas to the game. The PayPal shop has been ridiculously successful as well. So, thank you all so much for your support – I can’t tell you how humbling it is to know that there are so many people out there who enjoy the Siralim series – it has grown far larger than I ever expected, and I can’t wait to make it even better with your help.
Shortly after the Kickstarter ended, we released Siralim Ultimate to alpha testers on Steam. The alpha phase went very well. Most of the major bugs and crashes were mopped up in only a few days, and then I was able to put full focus on adding new content to the game. In fact, several Kickstarter stretch goals were already added to the alpha version of the game, most notably Nether Stones and Creature Skins, as well as standard content such as the arena, achievements, Nether Bosses, and more.
A few months later, we released Siralim Ultimate to beta testers. Beta has been amazing so far. We’ve delivered on even more Kickstarter stretch goals in beta already, including Rodian Creature Masters, five new specializations, and much more. We also released the Gate of the Gods which serves as a massive end-game progression system. I’ve also been hard at work to implement your feedback and suggestions. Thanks to everyone who has submitted bug reports and suggestions – Siralim Ultimate is a much better game with your help.
Since I just released a massive content patch for beta testers, a lot of you are probably wondering what I’m working on now. My most immediate concern is to get the Mac and Linux ports up and running. Alongside that, I’m working on getting some surveys ready to send out to our backers so you can finally submit your ideas for the game. I’ll have more details about these surveys in a future post. I’m also working on a new patch for the game. It won’t be anywhere near as large as the last several ones, but it’ll add some nice things to the game anyway. For example, I’m going to add in-game options that allow you to disable different types of floating battle text. You’ll be able to specifically hide text related to creatures taking damage, or being healed, or being afflicted with a debuff – pretty much any category you can think of can be disabled. For each of these text categories, you’ll be able to specify whether you want the text to appear for only your creatures, only your enemies, neither, or both. Regardless of how you configure these settings, all of this text will still appear in your battle history so you can go back and see what happened if you’re confused about something. This should speed up battles considerably, especially for players who rely on chaining a lot of effects together at once. I’m also working on a balance pass for master traits, god fight traits, and avatar traits. Lastly, I have a few smaller quality of life improvements in mind. I’m not sure when this patch will be ready but it shouldn’t take too long at all.
After beta ends, we’ll launch into Early Access on Steam. At that time, anyone will be able to purchase the game, even if they didn’t back the game on Kickstarter or through our PayPal shop. I still don’t have an exact date nailed down for Early Access yet, but it will most likely be in late February or early March. I don’t have an ETA for mobile and console releases at this time, but the plan is still to have those ready for 2021.
I know this year has been really bad for literally everyone – there were no winners in 2020, that’s for sure – and I hope this next year turns out better for all of us. Thank you all for sticking with the Siralim series and for putting so much trust in Thylacine Studios to deliver a great gaming experience. I can’t wait to release even more content for Siralim Ultimate and to get a finished game into your hands as soon as possible. I hope you all have a safe and happy new year!
I have some major announcements to make today!
- Our Steam Store Page is now live. Please remember to wishlist the game – it helps us out a lot by improving our visibility on Steam!
- Our Kickstarter Pre-launch page is now live as well. Feel free to follow it (or just bookmark it) ahead of its launch on Friday, May 1 at 3pm EDT!
- And lastly, I’m pleased to finally show off our Kickstarter pre-alpha gameplay trailer for Siralim Ultimate. Hope you like it!
A Look Back at 2019
I hope you all had a fantastic year! This year was another busy one for us. Let’s take a look at what happened in 2019, and then talk about what we can all look forward to in 2020.
Siralim Ultimate was announced!
The latest installment of the Siralim series was announced last month, and I can’t wait to dive deeper into all of its features in upcoming blog posts. This is our most ambitious game yet, and I’m very excited for players to try it out in just a few months from now.
Siralim 3 was released on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4!
This year marked the first time we’ve ever released a game on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. Playing my own game on a Nintendo platform was a childhood dream come true. I was very happy to be able to get our cross-platform cloud saving functionality working on the Switch as well.
I also did an AMA on /r/NintendoSwitch. You might find some of those answers interesting if you’re into that kind of thing.
Siralim 3 was released in physical format for PlayStation 4!
Limited Run Games once again helped us out by publishing physical copies of Siralim 3 on PS4. Hope you managed to grab a copy for your collection before they sold out!
We launched a new merchandise shop!
Earlier this year, we revamped our merchandise shop and launched a whole new line of products, including mugs, phone cases, posters, and much more! Keep an eye out for Siralim Ultimate merchandise in the near future as well.
Project Bestiary started and ended
We started a podcast about monster catching games called Project Bestiary. The podcast ran for a total of 20 episodes, but I decided to put this project on an indefinite hiatus so that I could dedicate more time to making games. I still haven’t decided if/when the podcast will make its return, but I hope everyone enjoyed it while it lasted! The episodes are still available on the Project Bestiary website, so check them out if you haven’t done so already.
Creature of the Day started and ended
Every single day on Facebook and Twitter, we posted a “Creature of the Day” image that featured a randomly-selected creature’s lore, stats, trait, and a custom drawing of that creature. Now that the year is over, however, I have decided to stop releasing Creatures of the Day. I’m afraid that such constant spamming annoys a lot of people, not to mention it clutters our social media pages and makes it difficult to find important information such as game announcements. While I’m sad to see this feature go away, I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!
What’s in store for 2020
Siralim Ultimate Kickstarter
We’re going to launch a Kickstarter for Siralim Ultimate in early 2020. All the proceeds from this Kickstarter will be fed back into the game to add even more content and polish to it. It will also give players the opportunity to add their own ideas to the game!
Siralim Ultimate will be released on Steam, iOS, and Android!
This game is shaping up to be absolutely massive. It’s going to have more content than all three of the previous Siralim games combined, and I know you’re going to love it. And with your help, we’re going to make it even better.
We also look forward to bringing Siralim Ultimate to consoles in 2021.
Trial of the Gods: A Siralim Collectible Card Game
Yes, we finally have a name for our upcoming digital card game: Trial of the Gods! Jay and I have been play-testing it for a few weeks now, and it’s an absolute blast to play. We’re almost done with the trailer, so you can look forward to that in just a few weeks from now, as well as a full feature announcement. We’ll also have a few blog posts dedicated to this game before it releases on Early Access. We’re currently targeting early February for Early Access on Steam. It will make its way to iOS and Android later in 2020 as well, but we’re still not sure if it will come to consoles yet.
And a quick note about The Negative
Right now, my full focus is on development for Siralim Ultimate and Trial of the Gods. For that reason, The Negative is once again on the back-burner so I can fully dedicate myself to my other games. I realize this is disappointing news for some people, but the truth of that matter is that I’m still not 100% satisfied with the direction The Negative was heading in. I’m going to need to re-visit it at a later time with a clear mind and try to re-think some of its core gameplay mechanics. This is an extremely personal game for me as it’s a gamified representation of my own philosophies and ideals, so it’s very important that I do it all the right way.
Just to be clear: The Negative is not canceled.
I can’t thank you all enough for yet another year of your support. It is absolutely humbling to watch so many players interact with each other and discuss their love for the Siralim games. Your passion is what drives me and the rest of the team to work as hard as we possibly can to continue delivering deep, engaging gameplay experiences to you.
I hope you and your family have a happy and safe New Year! 2020 is going to be our biggest year so far, and I can’t wait to show you all the amazing things we’ve been working on.
– Zack Bertok
I’m proud to announce Project Bestiary, a podcast dedicated to video games in the monster catching genre! This is a collaborative project between myself and Jason, the creator of Monster Crown. Check out our introductory episode and let us know what you think: http://projectbestiary.com/?p=80
Many of you are eager to play Siralim 3 on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, so I figured I’d write up a quick status update regarding where I’m at in the porting process for each of these platforms.
Originally, I announced that Siralim 3 would be released for PS4 on March 29, 2019. While that’s still the target release date, please be aware that Sony hasn’t approved my metadata submission for the game yet. The game cannot be released until the metadata is approved, so it’s possible that I’ll be forced to push the release date back a few days, or even up to a few weeks. Unfortunately, this issue is out of my hands: I’ve done everything that I’m supposed to do on my end, so it’s all in Sony’s hands now.
For those of you who are curious: “metadata” refers to information found on the PlayStation digital shop, such as the game’s description, screenshots, ESRB rating, and more.
I’ll keep you updated as I find out more information and announce a new release date if necessary. Of course, everything might just work out and we’ll be able to move forward with our original March 29 release date as expected.
I’ve had Siralim 3 up and running on my Switch development kit for several weeks now. However, I’m currently waiting for Nintendo to approve some “paperwork” before I can even submit Siralim 3 for certification. For that reason, there is still no way for me to predict a release date for the Switch release. I’ll post an update as soon as I get more information. Thank you for your patience! The game plays extremely well on the Switch and I can’t wait for you to try it out.
We’re proud to announce the opening of our new merchandise shop: Thylacine Merch!
The shop currently offers phone cases, posters, mugs, and a few miscellaneous extras for each of the three Siralim games. We plan to steadily add new items to the shop over time, so keep an eye out for new products!
Thylacine Studios is hiring a graphics artist to draw UI elements for our upcoming game, The Negative.
The Negative is a 2D pixel art RPG that has a dark environment similar to what you might find in Dark Souls or Bloodborne.
You can view some early screenshots of the game at the following blog, but please note that the UI elements shown in these screenshots will be discarded and replaced by your creations: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=61540.0
Primary Task: Create reusable UI elements for the game, such as panels, buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, sliders, gauges, etc. You will also be asked to draw non-reusable assets such as item icons and other miscellanies.
Payment Method: Must accept PayPal. Payments will be made on a per-asset basis. Sorry, but we won’t pay by the hour, day, etc.
Workflow: We’d like to find someone who will be available sporadically throughout the next year. Your workload won’t ever be particularly large (aside from the first few weeks), but we’d like someone who can fit a few additional assets into their schedule every week or so. We would like to build a long-term working relationship with you for this game, and possibly others in the future. All communication will be conducted via e-mail.
Experience in UI design, and proof of this work in the form of portfolios, finished games, and anything else you can think of.
Excellent communication skills: a good command of the English language, fast e-mail response times, etc.
Ability to think creatively without too much hand-holding.
Experience in playing games with a “dark and gritty” atmosphere, including Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Salt and Sanctuary, etc.
Send applications to [email protected]
Please include a relevant portfolio that includes any UI elements you created in the past. Please don’t make us dig through work that is irrelevant to our needs, such as concept art.
Tell us a little about yourself: your past job experiences, where you’re from, whether or not you work full time on game design/art, your favorite types of games, and anything else you think is relevant to the task at hand.
If you have any questions about our company or the task at hand, feel free to ask!
Please note that due to the large volume of e-mails we typically receive for job postings, we may be unable to respond to all applicants.
Thank you for your time! We look forward to working with you.
A Look Back at 2018
2018 has come to an end, and what a year it’s been! Let’s start by looking at everything that happened this year, and then discuss what’s coming in 2019.
Siralim 3 was released!
In May, Siralim 3 entered Early Access on Steam. Thanks to the excellent feedback provided by our community, we launched the full game on Windows, Mac, and Linux just five months later in October. And only one week after that, we released the game on Android and iOS as well.
Siralim 3 is already the most successful game in the series by far. Not only has it earned the best reviews on all platforms (96% positive on Steam, and 4.9 stars on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store), it is also on track to sell more copies than either of its predecessors. I’m very proud of how Siralim 3 turned out, and it has been a sincere pleasure to talk with other players about the game and collect feedback to make it even better.
Following the release of Siralim 3, we also released two major content updates:
- “More Is Better”, which added tons of new content to the game, including new Nether Bosses, a pseudo-gambling system (Shady Dealer), new items, new quests, new achievements, and so much more!
- “Enter the Ring”, which added a progression system to the Arena, improved the Tavern Brawls system, and added new creatures and spells to the game. Oh, and let’s not forget the dozens of quality-of-life improvements that came with this patch as well!
We also hosted two in-game, seasonal events for Siralim 3 for Halloween and Christmas. These events offered new challenges to players and rewarded them with exclusive creatures, items, and more.
Siralim and Siralim 2 were physically released on PlayStation 4 and Vita!
This year, console players were able to purchase both Siralim and Siralim 2 in physical form for PS4 and Vita. Only 4000 copies of each game were available, and they sold out within a day. Hopefully, you managed to snag the copies you wanted before they were gone!
Community has never been so important.
Ever since I started developing games, I dreamed about having a growing community of players that would stick around and play/discuss our games for years to come. Five years later, I think we’re finally having some success on that end. Our Discord server has up to 450 players on it at a time, and players have been interacting with each other on social media now more than ever before. My favorite part about our community is how welcoming we are toward new players. It has been a humbling experience to watch our playerbase expand over time, and I won’t ever take that for granted.
In order to aid in the growth of our community, I decided to hire a new graphics artist who focuses solely on creating art for our social media, blog posts, website, and things like that. His name is Raleigh, and he is responsible for all the images we’ve been posting on social media this year. Holiday announcements, creature redemption codes, Creatures of the Week, and just about everything else you see on Facebook, Twitter, reddit, our forums, and our blog are all drawn by Raleigh.
I’ve also been very lucky to work directly with a few Siralim players this year.
Mario (Umaro) and Sergio are both Siralim players who wrote all the lore for the creatures in Siralim 3. They went above and beyond my expectations for this project, and the result is a breathtakingly deep volume of lore for players to read and enjoy.
Another familiar name around the community is “gay monster dad”, who drew all the sprites for the creatures we gave away for Halloween and Christmas. Originally, I had no plans at all to have seasonal events in Siralim 3, but GMD’s ideas for holiday creatures were so endearing that I couldn’t help but ask him if we could add some of his work to the game. GMD also programmed an awesome bot for our Discord server that serves as a robotic wiki that allows you to ask it questions about the game! And, if that’s not enough, he also wrote a bunch of useful guides for Siralim 3 on Steam.
“Unagio Lucio” is yet another player who has contributed some awesome new art to Siralim 3. Unagio has already re-designed the overworld sprites for Gargantuans and Spectres, and he’s working on even more as we speak. They’re clear upgrades to the original sprites, and they make for a better game.
Lastly, several people contributed singular palettes to the game. These palettes are what give Singular Creatures their unique color scheme. In particular, DragOhNite and Umaro contributed the majority of these palettes (426 and 265, respectively), and without their help, Siralim 3 wouldn’t have Singular Creatures at all.
And let’s not forget everyone who contributed to the wiki. Fairwyn came back again and created yet another wiki for the Siralim series, making this her third wiki contribution for Thylacine Studios’ games! I know a lot of people contribute to the wiki daily, so thanks to everyone who has added data to it this year!
It’s one thing to find some random freelancer from reddit to work on these games, but it’s a whole other world to have the opportunity to work with the players themselves. These people genuinely care about the game, and I think it is very apparent that Siralim 3 is a gift of love from the community itself. If you see any of these players on the forums or Discord, please thank them! The game wouldn’t be half of what it is today without their help.
2019 and Beyond
Alright, enough about the past. Let’s get to the good stuff! 2019 is going to be our biggest year yet. It’s almost ridiculous.
More Siralim 3 updates!
We still have two seasonal holidays that we plan to add to the game: one for Easter, and one for some sort of made-up summer festival. As you probably expect, these events will reward players with exclusive creatures and items.
We’re going to make some improvements to the Halloween and Christmas events as well. Originally, I didn’t get to spend as much time on these events as I wanted, so I’m going to add some new things to them and make them more interesting.
There are plenty of smaller events in store as well, and you’ll have the opportunity to unlock even more wardrobe costumes and titles in the coming months! Outside of that, I have plenty of quality-of-life improvements that I still want to add to the game.
Siralim 3 is coming to consoles.
We’re bringing Siralim 3 to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in 2019! I am very excited about the Xbox and Switch ports in particular, because this will be the first time I’ve ever released a game on either of these consoles. I don’t have an ETA for these releases yet, but I’ll announce a release date as soon as I can.
The Negative – Kickstarter and Demo
You didn’t forget about The Negative, did you?
For those who don’t know (or remember) what The Negative is: it’s our most ambitious game to date. It’s a dark, evocative RPG that is all about capturing monsters. It’s going to be very different from the Siralim games, but it will still have the depth of gameplay and chunks of innovation that you’ve come to expect from us.
My goal for 2019 is to have a demo version of The Negative ready for you to play. I’m hoping to have one full environment ready for you to experience. You’ll be able to walk around, fight enemies, complete a few quests, and see how the game plays. It’ll probably be more of a technical demo rather than a full gameplay demo, but I want to give you something to try as soon as I can.
Alongside the release of the demo, I’m also going to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the game. Honestly, The Negative is going to be completed whether the Kickstarter is successful or not, but I’ll use these funds to make the game even better. For example, I really want to add voice acting to the game, so that will be the primary focus of the Kickstarter. The success of the Kickstarter will also determine how much post-launch content I can add to the game.
Also… I’ve completely reworked the design of the game since I first announced it a couple years ago. If you followed along with my development blog posts for the game, you’ll have to forget everything I told you about The Negative. It’s going to be a much better game than I originally planned, and unlike any other game you’ve played before.
Blog posts will return!
I will start posting regularly on the blog at thylacinestudios.com again. Early in the year, I’ll write one general game development post per week. Later on, I’ll write even more posts to discuss the reworked version of The Negative along with some other surprises that I can’t talk about just yet. I’m working on some other things behind the scenes that aspiring game developers might find useful as well.
More is better.
Creature of the Week? That’s not going to be enough anymore. From the first day of January 2019 onward, I’ll post a Creature of the Day on our Facebook and Twitter every single day of the week. This all-new format includes more details about the creatures than ever before, including their lore, trait, and base stats. There are over 750 creatures in the game, so those should last us for quite a while!
Raleigh is going to design some awesome new Siralim merchandise for us to sell. There will be new t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, mousepads, posters, and much more. All of these products will feature hand-drawn art based on Siralim creatures and characters!
And so, so, so much more.
There’s plenty more in store for 2019, including at least one major thing that I’m dying to tell you about, but I can’t quite yet. I want you to know that we’re firing on all cylinders now, and you can expect new content and games to come out at a much faster pace with higher quality than ever before.
Thanks For Everything!
Outside of the people I mentioned in the “Community has never been so important” section above, I’d also like to thank the following people:
JC Malapit, for his work on Siralim 3. JC is working on The Negative now, and you can see the fruits of his labor in the screenshot I posted earlier in this post.
Josh Queen, for producing the amazing soundtrack for Siralim 3… with plenty more to come in the future.
Tim Bongiovanni, for his work on The Negative’s soundtrack. I can’t wait to share some samples of his work with you!
TouchArcade, because I still think they are one of the major reasons the Siralim name was able to become popular enough for the games to be successful. TA still support our games to this day, and we are grateful beyond words for their help.
Jason Walsh, for being a great friend and fellow developer. Outside of releasing his own game (Monster Crown), he’s also going to play a really big role in some things that are happening in 2019 for us – but unfortunately, I can’t talk about any of it quite yet.
All the content creators who create videos, write guides, and post fan art on our forums and Discord.
Everyone who we’re lucky enough to interact with on our social media platforms, our forums, and our Discord server. I can’t even count the number of days I’ve felt burned out and frustrated, and then someone sends me a quick “thank you” message via e-mail to pick me up and make me want to crank out another 12 hours of work.
And last, but absolutely not least, I want to thank you. If you’re reading this, you’re who drives Thylacine Studios to make more games. You’re the best.
Happy New Year! We can’t wait to make 2019 our best year yet.
– Zack Bertok