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Burning Dog Speaks Out

Guest Writer Posted:
Developer Journals 0

The last couple of months we have made a commitment to update the community with more in-depth information about the latest Origins of Malu developments. This update includes a look into our different areas of progress, so have a seat, and grab some popcorn!

Looking Ahead While Still Understanding the Present

The Origins of Malu team has worked on this game for almost three years. While we have come a long way, being an indie company has not made us immune to daunting setbacks. We have had our share of delays and issues. We are pushing our release date back to make sure we deliver on our promise to bring a quality experience to the community.

So how far are we pushing the date back? Let’s talk about two scenarios and what they mean for the release date.

Option 1: Origins of Malu & Kick Starter

We are excited to announce that we are going forward with Kickstarter! By utilizing Kickstarter, we will be able ramp up our scope and bring Origins of Malu to another level. While this will push back our game by almost eight months (Target June 2013), it will empower us to deliver a more polished and grander finished product. Read more about our Kickstarter rewards and why they are so awesome!

If Kickstarter is successful, we are going to keep our promise of releasing something this year and it will be the Capture the Chochobi mini game. This will be reserved for our Kickstarter backers who will get a first look at our mechanics as well as give us feedback. We want to know what you think because it will help make this game what we all want it to be. (LINK)

Kickstarter Update: All of the above is now rendered moot, it seems as it looks like Burning Dog was able to secure funding from outside sources, less than 24 hours after posting their Kickstarter.  They won't need the money from Kickstarter after all.  The crowd-funding plan is being taken down, and any folks who did pledge will receive a ton of benefits when the game goes live.  For more info, read Michael's post HERE.  

Option 2: Origins of Malu – Indie Full Steam Ahead!

If we don’t make our Kickstarter goals, we carry on. Yes, having extra funds is best scenario. But, we have put so much into this game that we are not stopping for anything, money or not.

We will still have our release date pushed back some, but it will be earlier 2013 (Q1). Though it may not include all the goodies from a Kickstarter backing, it will still remain as a solid starting point that we can enhance and perfect over time.

We will deliver on all the things we had to scale back on, but we also know that reality is our constant companion as an Indie. We know what we can take on and more importantly we know what level of quality that we can deliver successfully in this time period.  We are a hardworking team with big resolve and even bigger ideas, but we are also experienced enough to know when to tug the reigns back a bit.

Creature AI and Ability Progression

Let’s jump into some exciting Origins of Malu features that even have us giddy and what else there is to look forward to in the future!

Emotional Artificial Intelligence

In Origins of Malu, we have designed different types of intelligence for different types of NPCs such as creatures, bosses, etc.


The Intelligent AI creatures are designed from their creation in the game to evaluate their surroundings and learn from their previous fatal mistakes. In other words, their intelligence evolves. They may begin easy to fool at first, but their aptitude will make them an enemy to be reckoned with as time passes. We love to see these creatures in action because their intelligence will be an organic type of progression which will lead to them developing their own unique personalities.


This subset of intelligence is focused on self-preservation. When they hear a loud bang, they will scurry away.  If they are hungry, they will blindly hunt for prey. They react instantly for their own survival much in the way that most animals do in the wild. While they may sound simple just remember if you encounter a hostile instinctual, their first impulse will be to take you down. Enjoy their primitive and impulsive behavior.


The Reactive creatures are a lesser entities that will learn but as not as quickly as their Intelligent counterparts.  Instead of adapting to new circumstances immediately, they can only learn through repetition. But like Instinctual, they will try to respond in the manner best fit for their survival. Consider them the slower but equally fun cousins of the Intelligent creatures.


Our critters will have their own quirks and logic in behavior, making each one unique. Take the chochobi for example; this creature is by nature skittish and wary of everything and everyone. These critters will remain true to their design, most of the time…

One of our key design goals was to create an experience that was engaging and not predictable. We were tired of the same worn out strategies that have been overused and abused for years, and we wanted to bring a breath of fresh air in this arena. Countless hours and late nights have been invested into our NPC system to ensure dynamic creatures take a life of their own.

This will improve boss fight experiences for you as well as help us get around the holy trinity approach to (tank, heal, dps) boss fights. While it may not be optimal to take down a boss with just three DPS or healers, you will be able to if you please. In Origins of Malu, skill outranks gear.

The Skill System Exposed…  Well a small preview!

Ability progression is one critical aspect we wanted to make sure we did right. The decisions we have made and will continue to make speaks to the core spirit of this game: to give players the greatest amount of flexibility while still maintaining our ability to stay sane while doing so (or at least partially sane).

Our Stance on Min/Max, Cookie Cutter Builds and Optimal Builds

One of the biggest design challenges was trying to combat generic cookie cutter builds. We took game mechanics, combat tactics, as well as non-combat activities into consideration of making the best game possible. And for us, the best game possible means presenting a natural progression in play style and ensuring abilities were relevant but not over present.

Where my levels at? Levels and Experience

There are no defined levels in Origins of Malu. We wanted to model ourselves in some ways after the spirit of first person shooters.  With this logic, if you take one skilled player with a knife and another weaker player with a rocket launcher, the skilled player with the knife will still stand a chance against the rocket launcher player. We don’t want to introduce levels because we want to keep the game fair and based on real talent. This concept will also make grouping and raiding with fellow players more viable since you will be on similar terms of ability.

While time moves differently in Malu, there is still an age system. You can still watch the progression of your character from day one to eons later and watch them grow old.

Skills and Abilities: Planning is Your Friend

How do you gain skills and increase their power? Here is a breakdown of our Skill System:

  • Like most games, you will begin with basic abilities that will get you started as you grow accustomed to controls and killing NPCs.
  • As you use these abilities, you will gain ability experience for the use of the skill. Keep in mind; this does not include mindless spamming the ability on a target over and over.
  • Once you have gained enough experience, you will unlock your first tier of empty ability containers. In our system you will have a tree that is blank (pictured below), and you will need to select the skill for that respective tier.  That’s right you build your tree with your own skills and how they link up!
  • You will need to plan how you are going to build out your tree because how the spells work in conjunction with each other. An example:
    • You have a base ability called “Focused Charge” which sends a damaging plasma ball at the target. Then you decide to place a snare ability above it, Focused Charge will have a chance to snare the target x% of the time. And as a mini bonus, the Focused Charge projectile will change color based on the above spell. 
  • There will be an ability to precisely control the amount of experience points you put into abilities as well as large maximum caps. Using “Focused Charge” as our example, it would have maximum experience investment as 5000 experience points. You could also increase it by a unit of one at a time if you wanted.

That will do it for this update on Origins of Malu’s development.  We hope our plans for the future of the game make up for the delay of its launch, but believe us it’ll be worth it in the end.  Thanks for reading!


Guest Writer