Author: Umphreak's Anonymous

Update #4:

Let's Review

Good evening awesome people!

It's been awhile since we gave an update regarding the Umphrey's McRPG project. With so much going on this past fall, it has not been easy to find time to just pop in and give a written appraisal of the situation. We will be better about this throughout 2019 as we complete this game.

Last time we spoke, we provided you with a preview of our Ryan chibi and a mini movie of that sprite in action. At that time we hadn't planned on providing any other additional character stuff, but, ya'know, things change and stuff. Everything we show you here is subject to change by the games final release - we've already gone through six versions of Brendan, and while we're nearing the final look for his sprite, we've got lots of work to do on the rest of his art.

So, just to recap, here's what we had for Ryan:

Spoiler

 

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Bayliss Faces

Brendan has taken more work. Ryan's accessories (hat, sunglasses) do a lot to make his character pop and make him easily recognizable. For Brendan, the development as been slower as we've weighed the benefits of different hair colors, different outfits. Bayliss has brown eyes but we thought for a short time he might have blue eyes, and the character you will see in these shots does have blue eyes.

Here's the basic outline portrait types we plan to use with Brendan:

Spoiler

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The Battle Sequence

The battle system that comes with the little game engine we are using for development - RPG Maker MV (that we were able to purchase thanks to all you wonderful people) is somewhat boring and default on it's own. Changing it up is a complex but fun process and has allowed us to greatly upgrade the "feel" of the battles. We've included a "before/after" shot to illustrate how default the "default" is and how much nicer it can be with just a little sprucing. For some reason, the gifs seem to have turned out a tiny bit squished - not certain why this is. :-/

Spoiler

  Old Battle Camera

New Battle Camera

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That's about it for this update. We've done tons of other stuff, like programmed in dozens of special weapons, crafted dozens of maps, and started entering in some quests. We're very excited about this project and we hope this update helped keep your interest piqued as well!

We'll provide further and more frequent updates throughout this year!!

Update 3

For the purposes of this update, I plan to write as if you (the audience) are completely unfamiliar with the Role Playing Games. Some people reading this are likely more than aware of the genre and if you’re here only to see the little Ryan sprite, skip below to the “Media” spoiler sections and expand them.

To those who are unfamiliar with Role Playing Games are maybe are just looking for a bit of context, read on. I’m not trying to overexplain anything, just provide give a very high level gloss over. I try to cover where our inspirations come from and also generally touch on what we’re trying to create, how the game’s battle system will work, etc. Regardless, so far it’s been super fun…I’m addicted and I cannot stop developing this thing – which is good, I suppose.

What is a role playing game (RPG)?

Role playing games wide-spanning genre of interactive entertainment with many subgenres, most of which focus on vast immersive worlds, character/party development, expansive storytelling, magical skills and item collection. The category covers games from fantasy games like Dungeons & Dragons , Zelda  and Skyrim, to online games like World of Warcraft, to post apocalyptic games like Fallout .  Games are usually long and feature a complex main narrative and several interwoven ongoing subplots, villains and henchmen,

What is Umphrey’s MCrpg’s style based on?
A battle has a yellow rabbit like pokemon call pikachu pitted against a bird like pokemon call pidgey across a green field. A window with several options like attack and run are listed on the bottom.

Turn based battle system in Pokemon

As we mentioned in our poorly written Kickstarter campaign funding request, I have had an ardent fan of RPGs since childhood. And while I played all the subgenres, my favorites were turn based Japanese RPGs like the Phantasy Star , Pokemon and Dragon Quest. Even Super Mario got a turn-based version — I dedicated hours to it, and it was glorious! The most critically acclaimed of the subgenre (and the ones I hammered out the most hours on) were the Final Fantasy series . Their blend of middle age fantasy, sci-fi futuristic revolutions, horror and steampunk aesthetics absolutely captivated me.

Turn based games allow players to focus on strategy over speed in combat. Players are rewarded for their thoughtfulness, craftiness and knowledge of their enemy across the battlefield. Like a game of chess, players can relax and consider their moves before attacking, deciding to heal an ally or evading the situation entirely. While at one point it seemed that the turn-based RPG was a dying breed, it recently has seen a resurgence in popular culture, thanks especially to the popularity of mobile gaming and the Nintendo DS.

Picture of four character facing off against a Samarri villain. Several choices are along the bottom of the screen in a blue window with a character's name and several options like "attack" and "items"

The Turn Based Battle System of Final Fantasy VI

This is the gaming system and style of art we hope to emulate within Umphrey’s McRPG and thankfully the game engine that we’re working with, RPG Maker MV, is perfect for just that. The characters are small and not terribly detailed. They are sorta like  a combination between anime and Funko toys. That said, all those small details add up and things like custom unique weapons, attack animations, spell casting animations, battle swag all make for a visually interesting experience. What you will see below is just a draft. It is not  finished for the project as of yet, though Ryan is likely the closest out of any of our sprites to the finish product. We also have a very rough outline for a Ryan face, however, we will need the assistance of an artist in the community (if there are any volunteers) if we are to make the faces more detailed. As I have said before, I am a writer and I know how to use this engine to make games, but unfortunately my graphic design skills are somewhat limited.

What WILL BE THE SETTING OF THE GAME?

The below contains information regarding the setting of the game and some elements of gameplay. This may be considered a spoiler to some. If you want to know as little as possible about where the game takes place before it comes out, read no further.

Spoiler

There are over three hundred original Umphrey’s tunes from which we can draw inspiration for many of the various elements of the game. Incorporate that with hundreds of venues and festivals and other various scene elements, and we have a plethora of material to start with. Even so, with all the thousands of locations, towns, characters — especially when it comes to names — we’ve needed to borrow inspiration from music, mythology, video games, art and astronomy, alongside Umphrey’s and the jamband scene.

For this to be a fun game to play, we knew we would need to create a solar system that is sufficiently alive enough to be immersive, yet relevant and built around our musical scene. We are  making sure the worlds are in depth and we have crafted what we think is an amazing story that will make you care about the characters and their quest and the worlds around them, hate their nemesis and his henchmen, enjoy your time exploring and wondering what will be around every corner, all while not being overly blatant or corny, but also not being irrelevant and pointless. We want to make sure there is history to this solar system, culture to these cities and life to these planets…and purpose to the mission.

Without saying too much, just know that the game takes place in across several planets as the band journeys to find Andy’s last beer and save their solar system from a menacing force that threatens to destroy all artistic freedom and creative works in existence!

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And now, the Ryan sprite preview. What you will see below is just a draft. It is not the finished project, though Ryan likely the closest out of any of our sprites to the finish product.

Media
Video:
Spoiler

The border is not part of the game, it’s an effect we threw on the video. This picture is heavily cropped just to focus on Ryan in the battle.

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Gif:
Spoiler

The border is not part of the game, it’s an effect we threw on the video. This picture is heavily cropped just to focus on Ryan in the battle.

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Last points of business – if you’re a musician, a writer, programmer or a visual artist of any sort (graphic designers, drawers, painters, photographers) and are willing to volunteer some of your creative efforts towards this project, we need your help! This is a huge project and we would love/appreciate/celebrate any interest any artists might take. If you think you would like to see your art come to life through an Umphrey’s related video game, we would love to have you on the team. This is entirely a volunteer project, no one will end up getting paid from this creation, but we’ll all end up having a challenging and fun time creating and playing the thing! Get at us here or on our Twitter, Instagram or Facebook pages and let us know you’d like to help!

…Next Update! Let’s Tauk Weapons!….

Make sure to follow this project on social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Update 2

Hi there Umphreaks! We wanted to quickly update you just to bring you up to over the past couple weeks since we last spoke. Firstly, our Kickstarter has ended and we are more than double funded, so we wanted to thank you from the bottom of our Umphlovin’ hearts that you think this project will be as fun as we do!! With these funds, we have bought upgrades to the game engine’s software and also give small contributions to artists in the community who are volunteering their time toward this project. If you’re an artist and have an interest in volunteering your time towards something like this project, please hit us up. We always have something doin’ for graphic artists, writers and musicians.

Speaking of other artists contributing to the project, we are proud to announce that Scott Hannay of Umphrey’s McNES is allowing us usage of his awesome 8 bit recreations of Umphrey’s tunes for the game! Your epic turn based battles are ensured to have an absolutely amazing soundtrack! Thank you so much, Scott!!

We have been hard at work developing various maps for the game, laying down the ground work mechanics, creating a full timeline of the main narrative, programming weapons and developing a setting. Our goal is to create an immersive, fun and relevant environment full of band innuendos and nods to the greater jam community alongside homages to music, science fiction, astronomy and art in general. It’s been tons of fun to imagine an entire solar system for this adventure to take place in and we think you’ll find the experience fun and funny as well as engaging — we want to avoid our players thinking “oh, just another UM tie-in for no reason“, and have them moreso thinking “absolutely awesome/hilarious how they worked in that reference“.

Much more on the setting and maybe even a preview of one of our characters and some of the animation next update. Items we have purchased thus far include several tileset upgrades and the updated game engine (RPG Maker MV), obtained art for many relevant enemies. We’ve also spent countless numbers of hours downloading and editing in animations and software.

Finally, we wanted to thank everyone for funding this project. It has received positive attention and feedback beyond what we ever could have dreamed. Hope you have an absolutely fantastic weekend and we’ll provide more information and goodies for you next week!

Update 1: Funded!

Amazing!!! – several EXTREMELY positive developments have occurred throughout the day today!

First and foremost – WE ARE FUNDED! Thank you thank you thank you!! Umphreaks across the country cannot wait to see this project get started and we are honored and humbled that so many came together and donated their hard-earned dough to see this become a reality. We promise to work diligently to craft this turn-based sci-fi epic. We will keep you posted every step of development (without spoilers) through (atleast) monthly updates, blog posts and on our Twitter page.

The second awesome development is that the software that we will be using to make this game – (the one we mentioned in the original funding blurb) RPG Maker MV – just so happened to randomly go on sale this afternoon! Which is awesome!! We were able to pick up the software at a third of its general sale cost which means we are able to make all funds we’ve raised go much further as the main software package is the majority of our cost!! We will be able to use the additional funding towards purchasing add-ons, additional graphics and tilesets. If there are any costs associated with the game eventually being published in the Google Play or Apple stores, we’ll also put any additional left over funds towards that.

In relation to that, please feel free to keep sharing with your friends (no pressure, of course, we already have more than we could have imagined thanks to your amazing, kind magnanimity) – though we are already funded, any additional donations will be used to purchase more art, more midi music, more animations that are already in existence within the community and will make it so we have to do less of that custom programming ourselves and can focus on the game mechanics, storyline, layout, etc. Once again, no pressure, you just are already awesome and this is already awesome and we are so excited to get started building this game, but never hurts to click the share button.

UMANON Radio in 2017?

Should Umphreak’s Anonymous revive their livestreaming radio project?

In early 2016, we killed off a pet project that we adored, but had neither the time or funding to support properly, Umphreaks Anonymous Radio. Inspired by Sirius/XM’s “Grateful Dead Channel”, SCIRadio.com and other similar projects, we created a 24/7 online streaming hub where fans could tune in from anywhere and hear Umphrey’s AUDs of new shows and SBDs of classics, alongside original podcasts, special events broadcasts, and more. However, because Umphreak’s Anonymous is a fan administered volunteer organization which focuses on celebrating the fanbase AND the music that we love, we soon found that we could not self-fund UMANON Radio. We considered selling advertising time to Pinjas and other scene related artists as a way to keep the feel of the radio within our culture and not have it be some ugly Google Adspace (our website contains no advertisements, either), but the organization this would require was nearly impossible for our small team in 2016.

Now, we are punting the idea of reviving Umphreak’s Anonymous Radio, seeing if the community would have an interest in kickstarting the project. For around $200, we can likely revive Umphreak’s Anonymous Radio and provide the team enough resources to purchase the multicast space and create original podcasts (likely once monthly) for a year. If it goes well, we could likely create more podcasts, and accept fan created podcasts of quality to put on the stream.

However we’ve been wondering if this is something the fanbase would even be interested in? One thing we know about Umphreaks, they love their favorite shows or listening to the most recent one the whole way through. Umphreaks also already have many options to get their music, including Nugs.Net and UMLive and our souce, Archive.org. That also brings up a point as well, the Radio is powered by Archive.org because we do not own the rights to broadcast new Umphrey’s SBDs across the globe – that would probably require several hundred, or possibly thousand, more dollars. Not all the audio is crispy (though some is quite crisp), and tapers are a megavital resource to keeping music alive and FREE for the public, and the band certainly seems to recognize, respect and love it. Either way – is this, a 24 hour streaming Umphrey’s station, something Umphreaks would even use?

As we move into 2017, Umphreak’s Anonymous has big plans as part of a refocusing of our resources. We’re moving our website away from its previous social structure (though there are forums there), and refocusing on multimedia that highlights the fanbase and those who are addicted to the facemelting jams we crave. This likely means the active return of the Umphreak Collective (our creative online fanzine), and our humorous blog The Utopian Blur. This also means continuing to feature absolutely gorgeous photography from some of the best who capture our favorite band, like Tara Gracer Design & Photography. We want to be more than your standard community fanpage. This amazing band has some amazing fans, and as a community we can create some cool shit – we’ve never asked those that follow this page to fund any of our projects before, and we’re not certain the community would even want to create this tool or if you would rather see us focus on something else (and if so, what?!), but we want to put these concepts out there incase it’s something you’d like to help us create. Should we?

Happy new year, all! Lets rage together in 2017!

[photo from Tara Gracer, New Years Eve Run 2016]

7/9/2016 Setlist – New tune, amazing song selection…

07.09.2016 THE FILLMORE, CHARLOTTE, NC, USA

Set 1: Lord Bail Ship[1] > 1348 > White Man’s Moccasins, Loose Ends > Resolution > Similar Skin, Dump City, Spires > The Floor

Set 2: The Bottom Half > Sweetness > Cut the Cable > The Bottom Half, Red Tape > Meeting in the Aisle > Red Tape, Phil’s Farm > 1348

Encore: Time

[1] debut, original
Support: The Werks

Holy Shit! 7/2/2016 Was MINDMELTING! Setlist inside!

Fucking ridiculous show last night….
07.02.2016 RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE, MORRISON, CO, USA
Set 1: Glory > In The Kitchen, Roctopus, Speak Up > Water > Utopian Fir[1] > Muffin Man[2]
 
Set 2: Bridgeless -> 2×2, Bright Lights, Big City, Der Bluten Kat > I’m On Fire > Der Bluten Kat, Day Nurse, Bridgeless
 
Encore: Booth Love > Miss Tinkle’s Overture
 
[1] with Dweezil Zappa on guitar
[2] debut, Frank Zappa; with Dweezil Zappa on guitar and vocals
Support: Dweezil Zappa and Sinkane
In town and need Denver tips? Check out our Umphreaks Survival Guide:
Photo taken by the always amazing Tara Gracer!

Tonight’s Show

Jun 29, 2016
Wednesday
Brenton Skating Plaza
Des Moines, IA
7:30 PM
Show Time

Price: $25.00 IN ADVANCE, $30.00 DAY OF SHOW

Doors Open: 6:30 PM
Start Time: 7:30 PM

Ages:ALL

  • tickets are available through Ticketfly
  • Headphones & Snowcones upgrades are being offered for this show; for more information, please visit umphreys.com/tour/headphones-snowcones