Well, it’s been quite a month, hasn’t it? You’ve probably been wondering when we were going to come out of our secret bunker. Well, it’s time to step back out into the sunlight and share a little of what’s happened in the last four weeks.
On February 17, 2017 at Noon Pacific, we flipped the switch on Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm’s Prologue, “The Watcher.” And the internet exploded. Just a bit. We launched with announcements on Equestria Daily, multiple locations on FimFiction, MLPForums, Twitter and the Reddits for MLP, MLPLounge, Fallout: Equestria as well as Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout Mods. In addition, we did announcement posts on the Discord channels for Manechat, Post-Apoc Emporium, Equestria Daily and several other places.
But wait, there’s more.
Thanks to the brilliant work of Blue Nova, our Art Director, we had a hand-crafted custom vector banner built for Equestria Daily. It came complete with parallax effects (meaning the billboard is on a separate layer than the background). We even used it for our banner on NexusMods.
“Power Plague,” on the announcement post for the launch, had this to say:
It may or may not be related to this post,
But the current banner for this site is the best it has ever had and it should stay as that way forever.
This comment may have been repeated in some way or another in a few other places.
(I also may or may not have just squeed nonstop while playing with scrolling to see just how freakin’ cool that parallax effect is).
We also came out with new custom titles and headers for both Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm and for Gardens of Equestria: Smuggler’s Run (also done by Blue Nova). I’d also like to stop and say how proud I am to have him on the team. His efforts are what gave GoE’s NexusMods site that incredibly professional look.
But most importantly, we finally let you play the Prologue for Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm. The result?
Within the first twelve hours of going live, Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm was downloaded 335 times.
On Saturday, February 18 alone, Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm was downloaded 525 times.
As of March 15, these are the stats of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm:
117 Endorsements | 1,183 Unique Downloads | 3,255 Total Downloads | 29,456 Total Views
Oh, but we’re not done. We’re not done by a long shot.
Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Stormdominated the Fallout: New Vegas Hot Files.
For several days, we were solidly at #2 on the Hot Files list. And then, we took #1and we kept it until two weeks later.
Despite an attempt by some to intentionally upvote other mods for the express purpose of preventing us from getting the Top File of the Month, we ended February with a whopping 15-point lead.
So, we’ve got the numbers. They’re pretty freaking sweet numbers, too. But what do people have to say about Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm? See for yourself.From NexusMods:
“As someone who really wasn’t into the whole Brony fandom or Fallout Equestria for that matter I have to admit this is a pretty impressive project. Hell this mod of all things made me read trough Fallout Equestria just to figure out what the mod is about and I have to admit I genuinely enjoyed most of it. Plus there really is no point in complaining about a DLC sized quest mod. Really hope you release chapter one soon, and I’ll be severely disappointed if Calamity doesn’t shoot at me the first time I meet him.” – ThatRandomCroat 3.8.17
“I had my eye on this for awhile…then a friend of mine announced that the Prologue released and I was like “Awwww s***! This gonna be gud!” and yes…it was good. It was like a blast of refreshing rainbow all over my face while wandering the Mojave…” – ryuentran 2.20.17
“I never thought I would download a MLP mod as MLP isn’t my cup o’ tea. I’ll probably dedicate a new character to trying this out though sometime. Looks like you(y’all) put a lot of effort into it and seems to be something worth to look at.
Thank you for the content and effort.~” – FreedomFighter4 2.19.17
“So far the writing and voice acting is great. The intro…you pulled it off. It’s absolutely bonkers but it manages to be bonkers in just the right way. I hope the quality of this remains the same (and you keep the voices because so far I really love these characters and their associated va’s). It’s a bit surreal wandering around the wasteland with PON-3’s music… At any rate looking forward to playing it more. Appreciate all the effort.” – zidders 2.18.17
“Wow… for just a prologue this did everything it needs to do and hooked me HARD, just.. the cave, the oddness, the way it all looked, the little changes.. and then leading into the opening bit with Watcher… it definitely made me eager for the whole story and to see where this is going. In the words of best supersonic pegasi “SO AWESOME!”” – Seraphem7 2.17.17
Hey, this is Zodi from the FoE Discord. Just saying, while short, it is a really good proof of concept and I happily endorse this mod and look forward to “Episode 1” so to speak. Also I wish to give your VO Team a special shoutout because most player-made DLC have either terrible VO with quality all over the place or no VO work at all, so props to them. – Drivil 2.17.17
From Equestria Daily:
“This is Radio New Pegasus. Time to put on my newsman fedora. Today marks the official release of the first installment of the Gardens of Equestria mod. Fans of the Fallout: Equestria series are flocking in droves for the prologue of what’s planned to be a massive episodic adventure. Expect updates throughout the year.
Well, that’s all the news I have for you today. This is Mr. New Pegasus, wishing you ladylike luck tonight.” – shadowsnake89
“This is truly a great day for this fandom.” – Chad W.
“For this I will reload the game.” – Gallen Dugall
“Gimme gimme gimme GIMME!” – NotARarityFan
Now, I’m not here to give you release dates for Chapter 1. We’ll tell you when we’re launching when we’re ready. I’m not even going to tell you the content for Chapter 1. You can explore hints of that for yourself on gardensofequestria.com.
What I’m here to do is tell you that this team has done an amazing job. We’ve done something that’s never been done before. We’ve started a story-driven DLC-style experience based on Fallout: Equestria.
And for the record, you haven’t even begun to see what we have in store for you.
Smuggler’s Run was the commercial.
The Watcher was the part before the opening credits.
Now… now we get to the mane attraction.
And it’s going to be epic.
So saddle up, your in for one hell of ride.
This has been Novel Idea, until next time, stay safe out there and have fun!
The Watcheris the prologue for Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm, and the first in a series of episodes in a DLC-length mod for Fallout: New Vegas. It introduces players to Gardens of Equestria,an episodic adventure that shuffles the reality of New Vegas like a pack of cards. GoE introduces new enemies, allies, and unique equipment from beyond the Mojave. As you investigate the cause of these echoes, you will choose a side and decide the fate of two worlds.
However, it’s not just the start of a world-spanning adventure. Changes have swept through the New Pegasus area, altering everything from billboards to ancient Pre-War posters, stimpaks to road signs, teddy bears to the Las Pegasus sign itself. There’s also a new PipBuck radio station featuring 32 of the greatest hits from the MLP:FiM fandom. The reality distortions have even affected your PipBuck’s user interface, complete with new loading screens, a new progress wheel and altered game Perks. Custom cinematics, a fully-voiced cast, unique new ambient music and much, much more await you within.
Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm requires Fallout: New Vegas and the Old World Blues DLC.
Prices and participation may vary. See store for details. If your download lasts for more than six hours, contact the Ministry of Peace immediately. This simulation has been approved by the Ministry of Morale, and verified by the Ministry of Arcane Sciences to run on most StableTec(TM) terminals.
GARDENS OF EQUESTRIA: THIS COMING STORM GOES LIVE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 AT NOON PACIFIC!
It’s finally here. You finally get to experience the prologue of an epic adventure that will span space and time, introduce new factions, new companions, new allies and new enemies. You’ll journey into a hole in reality itself as you uncover the greatest secret hidden in the depths of the Mojave.
The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance. Are you ready? Because you’d better get ready.
Smuggler’s Run was just the beginning. It was the commercial for the brand-new TV series. Well, now you get to experience the pre-credits segment of the series!
The changes have already swept through New Pegasus. Billboards now show ads for the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Morale and the Ministry of Arcane Sciences. Every road sign within fifty miles has mysteriously changed to New Pegasus. From stimpaks to the actual New Pegasus sign, the world will never be the same.
But that’s not all of it. A brand-new 32-song radio station is now available, featuring some of the greatest hits in all of the MLP:FiM fandom, including Aviators, MandoPony and so much more.
Our Prologue, “The Watcher,” will introduce you to the story of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm. A strange message sends the Courier to Goodsprings to meet with a girl who claims a mysterious cave has appeared overnight in the cliffs above town. This seemingly innocent event reveals a secret that shakes the very foundations of reality itself.
You’ve watched the trailers. You’ve read the blogs. You’ve seen the screenshots.
Novel Idea here with something you have all been waiting for. I know I have. Now, I could tease and play with the information and drive you all crazy, but instead, I’ll just tell you what’s going on.
For those of you who attended Pacific PonyCon, you already got most of this information. For everypony else… it’s time for the good stuff.
We’ve got three major announcements today.
Gardens of Equestria is moving to an episodiccontentschedule. Instead of releasing the entire game at once, we’ll be releasing the game chapter-by-chapter, starting with “Gardens of Equestria – Prologue: The Watcher.”
We are currently aiming to release “Prologue: The Watcher” at the beginning of February 2017.
Today, you get to see the Opening Cinematicof Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm. This is the actual cinematic you’ll be seeing in-game when you play the Prologue.
So, let’s talk about what this all means, shall we?
Why episodic content? Well, the truth is, the scope of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm is massive. An original worldspace, over ninety levels, four unique voiced characters, dozens of new weapons and armor and so very much more. In addition, we’re a purely volunteer project. That means wives, husbands, kids, full-time jobs, college and a thousand other things.
What that means is that because of real life, we likely wouldn’t release anything for at least two years if we went for a full production model (and that’s on the extremely optimistic side. In truth, it would probably be longer).
I don’t want to wait that long and I know you don’t either. Going episodic means you’ll actually get the content in a better timeframe. Yes, there will be delays and you won’t be able to play the whole thing in one go (unless you wait until the very end), but the important thing is you’ll be able to see what we have coming!
What this means tech-wise is that you’ll just be replacing the GoE files with the new ones!
Upcoming Prologue Release!
That’s right folks! While our guests at Pacific PonyCon 2017 got to see a live playthrough of the “The Watcher,” soon you’ll be able to adventure there yourself! Get a mysterious message from DJ-PON3 and investigate the strange events in the cliffs north of Goodsprings.
Not only that, but you’ll get the first phase of the reality distortions! New billboards, new artwork, new music, a new radio station and so much more. Now, the thing to remember is that reality itself is changing! Things will get progressively worse until you put a stop to the chaos! So there’s even more to come!
While we were originally going to launch at the end of the month, we need just a bit more time to put the finishing touches on it. After all, I run this group with a mission of “Do it right and do it with style!”
Watch for the release of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm – Prologue: The Watcher in February of 2017!
The Opening Cinematic!
After dealing with a surprising new enemy in a mysterious cave, you’ll encounter a strange Spritebot. After a brief conversation, he’ll head outside to give you a rundown as to just what has been transpiring to cause these strange shifts in reality…
This cinematic will play in-game once you reach the correct moment of the Prologue, like the opening of Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas or Fallout: New Vegas’s DLCs!
In the coming months, we’ll have more information as to the release schedule of Chapter 1: Strangers in a Strange Land and Chapter 2: Small Advantages.
First of all, a special thanks to the staff of Pacific PonyCon for having us and hosting the very first GoE panel. It was an amazing experience for all involved. Sadly, we had a miscommunication on the Manehattan side of the team and weren’t able to record video of the panel. In addition, the audio we recorded didn’t turn out very well (though our audio team did an awesome job salvaging most of it!).
That’s okay, because in the next few months, we’ll be releasing interviews with the entire Board of Directors of The Manehattan Project!
But wait, there’s more!
We’re currently looking into doing panels for more conventions! That’s right, so if you missed us at Pacific PonyCon, you might get a chance to see us in person at another major MLP convention! Once we have confirmed venues, we’ll release more information, but we’re currently aiming for at least two more conventions with a possible third!
Interested in Doing Art or Modeling for Manehattan?
Finally, we’re doing an open call for any artists or 3D modelers who might be interested in joining our staff. We’ve got a lot of art assets slated for this game and we’re looking for new talent to help us bring Gardens of Equestria to life. If you’re interested in helping us out in art, modeling, scripting or think you can contribute to the project in another way, head over to our recruitment center and send in an application!
Remember, if you’re interested in a career in game design or a similar field, this is the perfect sort of project to have on your resume!
And that’s it for this week folks. We’ll have more for you in the coming weeks, but today I’m going to leave you with a look of the brand-new Sunset Sarsaparilla Billboard you’ll be seeing in This Coming Storm. This was designed by yours truly on Tuesday night!
That’s right folks! Today we’ve got an extra-special update.
The Manehattan Project will be hosting our first-ever convention panel at Pacific PonyCon 2017 on the weekend of January 6-8, 2017 in San Diego, California!
At the GoE Panel, you’ll get a world-exclusive first look at the Prologue of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm including our brand-new cover artwork by Blue Nova, featuring music by Corvus Productions and custom voicework!
But that’s not all.
During the panel, you’ll actually get a chance to speak with four members of The Manehattan Project itself!
Polyphonic – Former Vocal Director and the Voice Actress for Velvet Remedy, Candi and more!
Novel Idea – Project Lead & Creative Director as well as author of the Wavelengths Timeline series.
Not only will you get a live demo of the Prologue including the epic opening slideshow for Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm, but you’ll also get to hear about the challenges of writing for a game project of such an enormous scope, the design challenges of managing a team that spans half the planet as well as the immense task of organizing a team of over twenty voice actors while performing a variety of voice acting roles!
In addition, our panel will be moderated by the one and only LiamNeighson, author and veteran of countless pony conventions across the United States as a moderator, volunteer and general pony enthusiast!
There’s still plenty of time to register as well! Head on over to Pacific PonyCon’s website today and get registered to experience this first-ever reveal! Plus, you’ll get to see MLP legends as Nicole Oliver (Celestia & Cheerilee), Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity & Luna), Kelly Sheridan (Starlight Glimmer), comic artists Sarah Richards, Tony Fleecs and illustrator Mary Bellamy, plus amazing cosplayers and more community guests!
We look forward to seeing you in January in San Diego!
Novel Idea here with a very special surprise for you! As many of you know, last Saturday, October 23, was Fallout Day! (October 23, 2077 was the day the bombs fell in the Fallout Universe). Well, we didn't want to let this special day pass without something for you. So now, we are very proud to present the next two Environment Preview Trailers for Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm!
Before we get to that, though, I have a special announcement!
The Manehattan Project is currently looking for a few good folks to come and help us! In particular, we're looking for the following positions:
Musicians (specifically orchestral in the same style you've heard in our trailers)
2D Texture Artists
If you're interested in becoming a part of The Manehattan Project, creating an epic game and having something truly awesome to put on your portfolio, please let us know at our Recruitment Center!
Now, we have a new piece of art for you! Another gem by Blue Nova, this is the official artwork for everypony's favorite breakfast cereal: Sugar Apple Bombs!
This one was fun. Blue and I had a long discussion/argument about who should be featured on the poster. Originally, it was going to be Pinkie or AJ, but they just didn't work for a multitude of reasons. So finally, we decided we needed an Apple on there! We played around with the idea of Babs Seed, but since I don't think her fate has ever been covered in FO:E (or even mentioned, since she appeared after the 'canon lock'), we decided to go with everypony's favorite Appleloosan Resident: Braeburn!
Now seriously, how epic did Blue do on this? Details as fine as the shape of the cereal pieces? And by the way, yes that is indeed the box you'll be seeing in This Coming Storm!
Now, onto the mane event!
I am delighted to announce that this is the debut of our new Cinematics Lead, Scarlet Moon. A talented mare with years of experience working cinematographic magic, Scarlet Moon was simply critical in putting these together. I know they look similar to the previous ones, but they are indeed quite different. While I did the game capture and we used the intro and outro I had designed for the previous trailers, she did all the editing and clipping, including working Corvus's wonderful music into the pieces!
First, we have the GoE: This Coming Storm Environment Preview Trailer #3.
In this special preview trailer, you'll get a sneak peek at the Stable 207 Living Quarters as well as the brand new version of Appleloosa Valley!
Stable 207 Living Quarters is a vast complex containing an apartment for the Courier as well as rooms for Littlepip, Velvet Remedy, Calamity and Steelhooves. Use it as your base of operations as you put an end to the threat against all reality! Plus, you'll get pictures of the new and improved Appleloosa Valley, carefully reconstructed and expanded for maximum epic output! This is most likely what you will end up seeing in the final game folks!
Finally, we have GoE: This Coming Storm Environment Preview Trailer #4.
In this special preview trailer, you'll get a sneak peek at the new exterior of the Rock Farm, as well as the sprawling Sector 2 - Administration Wing, the Security Bunker player home and a sneak peek at the top-secret Sector 3 - Labs!
That's right folks. For the very first time, you get a tiny glimpse at the Sector 3 - Labs. What you're seeing is the Pegasus Rifle Testing Range and the "Soft Words" Testing Facility, as well as the Sector 3 - Level D Utility Control breakroom and control room! I've kept Sector 3 under tight wraps because it's going to be a shocker at just what's waiting for you within, but I decided it can't hurt to show you a little, eh?
Well, that's it for this month folks from The Manehattan Project! Within the next couple weeks, we hope to have a major announcement where you might get a chance to meet us in person if you happen to be going to a particular convention! (How's that hype train coming?)
Now a tiny little bit just from Novel!
As some of you know, I've been writing a brand-new series of MLP stories available on FimFiction. My fourth story, The Cloudsdale Report just went live last week and managed to climb its way to the #3 spot in the Featured Box for four and a half days! If you haven't had a chance to check out these stories, go read them! I think they're pretty good (and apparently, some people actually agree with me! How weird is that?).
Until next time, this has been Novel Idea, have fun and stay safe out there!
I know, I know. I missed last week's normal update. Sadly, I got hammered with a cold plus allergies. Nasty little bugger. Now, originally I was going to have a bit more for you this week, but the whole team's been beset by an attack of the dreaded REAL LIFE! Blue Nova, our Art Director, is actually getting married at the end of October, (YAY!) but that means he sadly has less time available for GoE arts. As for me, I'm finishing up the LOD generation on the New and Improved Appleloosa Valley! That means Level-of-Detail, which is pretty much everything you see at a distance. All games use technology like this. It's a lot of work, but it'll turn out awesome.
But, I do have some goodies for you, including a Fallout: Equestria icon. Yes, folks. It is none other than our rendition of PINKIE PIE IS WATCHING YOU FOREVER Poster! The very first Ministry poster Littlepip comes across after leaving Stable 2!
Seriously, Blue Nova did an epic job on this. Down to the tiny print in the bottom right! How awesome is this! /squee!
But wait there's more!
As you know, we've also decided to redo all the magazines and books in Fallout: New Vegas to their proper Fallout: Equestria variants. Now, while Kkat did all of the books, our esteemed worldbuilder did not attack the magazines (because there are way too bloody many). However, Somber had 1.5 million words to play with and he did tackle the books! So we're taking a page from his book (yes, pun very much intended) with...the Canterlot Journal of Medicine!
Damn, he's good. This one will be replacing "Today's Physician." It's it just lovely?
That's the two major art reveals for this week, but I've got some non-GoE goodies to chat about.
As many of you know, I have recently embarked on a quest to prove to you all that I am indeed an author as I have claimed. And I am utterly delighted to say it looks like you folks believe me!
To those of you who have read them and fired off a like or comment, thank you kindly! If you're interested in seeing just what madness goes on in my head, feel free to check them out. I recommend starting with "Applications."
I have several more short stories/novellas planned and an enormous novel for NaNoWriMo set in this alternate timeline I'm calling the Wavelenths Timeline. You'll be hearing more about that soon.
But that's it for this week. Thanks everypony and have a great day!
Novel Idea here! I know it’s been a little while since we last had a post, but remember we’ve decided to shift to a monthly update schedule. Heck, a few of you have asked if we’re still in business!
Well, I’m happy to report we are indeed still in business and have made some serious strides with some really cool internal tools including stuff like Version Control. What that means is we’ll be able to have multiple people working on the project at the exact same time! (If it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, you’ll need to take my word for it).
But wait! There’s more!
I’m happy to report the polishing touches upon Appleloosa Valley, our enormous worldspace you’ll be exploring in the events of This Coming Storm are almost complete. There’s still a bit left to do, but once that’s done, I hope to have some cool new Environment Trailers for you to enjoy.
Introducing Little Tinker!
Before we get to Blue Nova’s latest artistic masterpieces, I want to introduce a new member of the team. I’m very excited to welcome none other that Little Tinker to our team!
I first met Little Tinker in the Equestria Daily Contributor Skype Chat (that’s a really long name). As we were both technically-minded folks we hit it off fairly well and he has been kind enough to be a beta reader for my latest short story endeavours (which I’ll be chatting about at the end of the post).
But why should you care? Only because Little Tinker is the Sysadmin and a developer for none other than the Poniverse series of websites. The guy’s got more scripting and coding knowledge in his fetlock than I do in my entire body.
So please welcome him! I’m totally thrilled to have him on board. Now that I’ve prepped you, he’s his own introduction in his own words!
Little Tinker – Script Engineer
Charitably described as “happy-go-lucky” (but more accurately as incorrigible), Tinker failed the saving throw against Novel’s persuasion attempt and found himself added to the GoE Technical Team. While he has been known to write a line of code or two, this is his first foray into game scripting and is wondering what horrific crime he did in a past life for GECK to be his first game engine. He currently occupies his days with his duties here, and at Poniverse and Ponified Cards. Tink has no free time.
Now, let’s talk art!
It’s been a while since we’ve had new material to show you. So today, you’ve got three completely original pieces!
We’ll start with something plain ol’ fun!
Seriously, how real does this look? You’ll be seeing this all over, most notably before the secret Steelstone Security Complex! (Nova threw this together one night during our Director’s Meeting in just a few minutes. It’s epic)
A twist on the magazine first revealed by Fallout: Equestria – Project Horizons, Martial Mayhem is the Unarmed Magazine replacement for “This Coming Storm.” While Kkat did an excellent job with all the Skill Books, Somber tackled the magazines and we need to give credit where it’s due! (That being said, I wanted something a bit tamer than the original description!)
Finally, we have my favorite of the bunch. Blue Nova outdid himself with this gorgeous Ministry of Peace poster “We Must Do Better.” While it’s a bit different from the original descriptions, we wanted to reflect that classic 1930s/World War II poster style. Seriously, I just look at this and wonder what in the world I did to get such amazing artistic talent on the Manehattan Project!
A Note From Novel
So now is my little bit. I’d like to let you all know I’ve released the next story in my ongoing series which I have decided to finally dub the Wavelengths Timeline. Reasons why this name was chosen will be revealed on my FimFiction blog next week (but you guys get to know first).
Sunset hates dealing with chaos surges, no matter how amusing Moon Dancer finds them. After a particularly annoying surge while tutoring Moon Dancer in her advanced telekinetic studies, Sunset takes refuge in the teacher’s lounge. Though she was only looking for a cup of scalding hot tea, Sunset finds a pony walking down the same path she once walked, giving her an opportunity she’s never had before…
To help somepony not out of guilt, but just because it’s the right thing to do.
I’ve also written up a few more followups, if you enjoyed my previous offerings. To check them out, head over to Novel’s Nook.