The Entire history of Age of Aincrad (The SAOProject)

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Xalchs, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Xalchs

    Xalchs Kevin's Kohai Adventurer Oldtimer

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    I figured as i'm the last active person from the original team i thought i'd explain in detail from how the project started to how it is right now, Feel free to ask anything you are curious about.

    Right, the project officially began on March the 22nd 2013, It did not begin with a group of people nor did it begin with a project plan, it began with a post made on a Facebook fan-page to Klein from sword art online.

    I was the person whom ran that page, originally i was just joking around on that page posting the idea of a possible SAO MMORPG, i suggested various skills and combat mechanics and from there a discussion started within that post about the actual possibility of creating an MMORPG, With this thought i created a follow up post asking the current community i had on that page if it was something people would want and would be willing to invest time playing in.

    [​IMG]

    From this post i got a fair bit of positive feedback from the people telling me that an SAO MMORPG would be a dream game of theirs to play, from this i began developing the core of the game. the GDD (games design document). This document would be the core paperwork containing all the ideas for the game, i even posted snippets of my document work onto Klein asking for feedback on my ideas.

    [​IMG]

    You can still check out all my original posts here; Here

    So, Moving on. I continued developing the game on my own for a few weeks, slowly gaining more and more attention on my Klein page, However the first of april a team of programmers approached saying how they loved the idea and work done already, they expressed how they would love to help me develop the game, of-course i was slightly suspicious at first however they pointed me towards the engine Unity and they started working on the core code for movement, the camera and so on.

    While they did that i began working on building the community, i decided that it was time to split The project from the Klein page thus The SAOProject was born, originally the name was meant to be a placeholder until we had came up with something better.

    As soon as the page was created the team of programmers i was working with started to get worried and concerned about being sued for copyright. eventually they let the fear get the best of them and they left, they took all their work with them as-well and thus we went our separate ways.

    This meant the project was now back to me solely working on them with a face book page of 4 to 8 likes (most of the were the programmers). At this point i was feeling pretty down and started to realize how hopeless this project may be. However i continued on-wards and began working more on public relations and community marketing rather than actual design work thus production on the SAOProject had stopped, or so i thought.

    While i was building my contacts up one of my friends from the SAO Facebook community approached me, his name was Austin, He was a concept artist however he was also learning 3D modelling at the time, He asked if i needed any help from an artists and i immediately took him up on the offer, Austin began working on concept art for Weapons, Monsters, Bosses, NPCs and Pets (you can find all these Here)

    While Austin was creating concept pieces the page slowly started to build in likes, before i knew it we had hit 200 Likes, this was both good and bad. It was great because the community was growing, however this also meant we could not change the facebook page name anymore, thus The SAOProject became the official name.

    As time passed we got a few applications (Mainly for Modelling and Concept art), by the time we got to 400 likes we had a team of 15. However this team mainly consisted of 14-16 year olds whom didn't really understand how 3d modelling worked, thus this is why the facebook page had 40+ models only consisting of swords which were all high poly, but you know what they say don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

    Around this point i got introduced to someone called Haris, this person offered to help me grow The SAOProject without wanting a single thing in return, to this day we are still good friends and i partly owe him for how viral SAOProject went. Haris gave me an SAO fanpage to use for advertising, this page had 200,000 sword art online fans following it so as you can imagine it helped us go from 400 likes to 3000 in the span of one month.

    At this point we had seen many staff come and go, if i was to name them all i'd be here for months (if you want a random estimation over the course of AoA we have seen around 200 different individuals contribute at one point) however as members leave others join and upon this a person called Joshua Wells had joined.

    Around the time Josh joined motivation was low, we'd lost key staff members and had a few inactive people within the project, i was about ready to call it a day and close the project down however he convinced me to continue forward and thus we did. Josh eventually became the Co-lead of the project helping me out with project management and the facebook page.

    At this point we began accepting donations aswell, mainly to help us fund software and get enough to buy the Xenforo website licence to create a forum for our community to chat on and such, we set up a joint paypal for any donations we recieveed, however we only kept donations open for less than 3 weeks as we started to worry about getting sued.

    We closed down the donation link and such when we had recieved around $500 CAD, $200 of that was used to buy our first Xenforo licence, Meanwhile the other 300 sat in paypal for months without being touched.

    I need to mention as-well, a team member by the name of Michael helped us with funding as-well, he paid for the domain and server to host the website. Michael was one of the few remaining members from when the project started up in march.

    A few months of development had passed and once again motivation had dropped, Michael was having issues, Josh was inactive and personally i was feeling a bit pressured with university so development at this point had come to a near standstill (besides concept art, that was still being pumped out by Audrey and AJ).

    Once again the project faced the possibility of closing (so many times eh?) but once again a member joined whom lifted the motivation and production as she had actual industry experience and knew the pipelines as well as i did, Her name was Arry.

    Arry took over the entire Art side of the project as josh had disappeared, she helped me manage both project management, development and design work. (You'll still see tons of her art and design work on the facebook page). Eventually we decided that we needed to transfer the current $300 donation pool from josh's paypal to a business paypal.

    At this point Josh was still no-where to be seen and as the money was in a joint account we needed both of us to clear the transfer. Eventually Arry logged onto the paypal to see if she could bypass the checks but due to the fact she was from another country to me and josh it locked the paypal.

    This means we could not even spend the money never-mind transfer it. We gave up on the paypal and use our own money at this point rather than asking the community for more. By this point the group structure had changed again, more of the older members such as Audrey and AJ had left and we had newer members such as Zenro, Draulon, Tera, Pheonix, Wowelite etc;

    This is where it starts getting a little vague, nothing major happened in terms of team structure and progress was being made, until Josh suddenly came back, we asked him to unlock the account for us so we could transfer it to the newer account and buy some licencing we needed.

    He agreed and sent off a request to paypal to unlock the account, however one week later he disappears again.. and as you can imagine it the paypal account and details have been changed and thus we lost the remainder of money in our coffers.

    But once again we picked ourselves up and continued on, now we faced another issue the Project name. At this point it was still called the SAOProject, And we were still liable to be sued, Thus it needed to be changed. I had a few different ideas floating around however i wanted to go for something that can be shortened down, catchy and rolls off the tongue, and such AoA was born.

    Changing the name of the project was a surprisingly difficult thing believe it or not, the YouTube and Twitch had to be re-made to start off with, but the biggest issue was the facebook page. Facebook does not allow you to change a page's name if it has passed 200 likes and at this point AoA was around 30,000 likes.

    I can't explain how we got it changed but it was changed and thanks to a special friend out there, he knows how much he helped and i'll be damned if he doesn't get some kind of Easter egg within the game one day.

    A small amount of time had passed over, we had a few people leave the project, nothing out of the ordinary. However at this point in time my life was about to take a step up as Journeyman was approaching, Journeyman is a project which requires a team of university students to make prototype of a game within 3 months and i got assigned as 'Project Lead' for this team.

    As such my time for AoA really started to diminish, i had no time for AoA meetings, no time for design or engine work for AoA and worst of all no time to organize the project, At this point i knew if this kept up the remaining motivated members would leave and that would be that.

    So to stop this i promoted Zenro and Mino to 'Co lead' of the project and they were incharge of the entire management section. At first it was going okay work resumed and progress was being made! However after a short amount of time i started to notice a switch in attitude. Admittedly this was mostly due to me posting irrelevant posts on the facebook page that benefitted me or a project i was working on at the time.

    This caused issues with me, Mino and a few other key staff members and eventually threats were made in regards to leaving the project. Once again, this was due to my own abuse and they were right to make these claims.

    To try and stop this becoming an issue i made myself even more secluded from the project and gave most of my remaining power over to Zenro. At this point i was only project lead by name,this seemed to resolve alot of issues in regards to the threats.

    Everything was going fine for a few weeks until Mino decided to leave the project regardless due to a job offer, when Mino left so did others. I'm not going to name anyone but it was mainly the core of the team.

    This pushed me to my breaking point and i was contemplating closing the project down and turning this forum into an anime forum just so the community still had its own place. However @Draulon refused to let the project die and as such i passed over all project rights to him.

    The next few months of the project was mainly draulon rebuilding the team, sorting out planning and such. i did stay around and drop advice here and there but nothing major and as such you'd need to ask draulon the specifics in regards to that time.

    Skip ahead a few months and i got drafted back into the project, they were still working with Unity at the time and had a fairly strong team, We ended up releasing the trailer video (can be found on youtube) of what we had so far inside the unity engine.

    At this point i did not play a huge role on the team besides working alongside Zenro and Adelia, As time passed UE4 released and at this point it completely overshadowed Unity. This enticed me, Adelia and Zenro to push for a possible switch from Unity to UE4.

    Me and Jordan, Adelia and Nick(Kibbles) worked some proto-type levels, most of it we streamed (the grave-yard level, modelling streams etc;) and eventually we managed to persuade the team to switch.

    This sadly came at a cost, our programmers quit due to the fact that we had to scrap all the current work in unity and they'd be required to learn C++. for quite some time the programming production was on stagnation.

    As time passed more and more design and art-work got done while the coding fell behind, and to top it off Unity 5 was released which made our previous engine choice back on par with UE4.

    As you can imagine this caused more issues and eventually we switched back to Unity and with this Adelia left the project. This caused my motivation to plummet as we had no Art lead.

    More to come.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  2. Leo

    Leo Community Manager Staff Member Cyan VIP Legend Hero Warlord Veteran Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer Oldtimer

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    wow i just found out that i followed the project from the beggining ^^ xD
    EDIT: I'll make this sticky, the story of AoA should be at the top of the sub-forum
     
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  3. Stratosfyr

    Stratosfyr Veteran Veteran Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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    Is it sad that this story has 100x more depth than SAO? XD
     
  4. Kizito Teka

    Kizito Teka Christmas VIP Christmas VIP Seasoned Adventurer

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    Wasn't there from the start, but have been here from October-November 2013 xD
     
  5. Twain Karakuwa

    Twain Karakuwa Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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    Dammit, I felt so touched and then, this xD You could also say that Klein started this complex story and brought us to this game... I'm a fanboy ^^
     
  6. Kizito Teka

    Kizito Teka Christmas VIP Christmas VIP Seasoned Adventurer

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    You referring to me Twain? And yeh he did lol
     
  7. Twain Karakuwa

    Twain Karakuwa Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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    Nah, sorry, I thought I saw it quote @Tōka. Ah, well, doesn't matter. Btw, did you make your profile icon yourself? It looks fantastic and it's perfect for the site ^^
     
  8. StrayPixel

    StrayPixel

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    I remember seeing that post and getting a notification from Klein xD

    Wow, that was a while ago now XD.
    Let's make AoA happen!!!
     
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  9. Stratosfyr

    Stratosfyr Veteran Veteran Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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    AoA continuation confirmed

    :illu:
     
  10. Snoopu

    Snoopu Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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    AoA plis, such story, cried more than anohana.
     
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  11. Caesar

    Caesar Halloween VIP Halloween VIP Veteran Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer Oldtimer

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    Been here from beginning woop, season 2 of AoA confirmed let's party!
     
  12. Darvaken

    Darvaken Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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    Following till february 2014 :3,will tell this story to y future kids hehe(if i have any)
     
  13. Kizito Teka

    Kizito Teka Christmas VIP Christmas VIP Seasoned Adventurer

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  14. Twain Karakuwa

    Twain Karakuwa Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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  15. Kizito Teka

    Kizito Teka Christmas VIP Christmas VIP Seasoned Adventurer

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    Nah man, believe in yourself. Also that's a nice skill to always have bro :p I draw and sketch in rl, and just recently bought a Wacom Intuos Pro and now i'm doing stuff right on photoshop :)
     
  16. Twain Karakuwa

    Twain Karakuwa Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer

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    Nice, I'm a proud owner of one as well ^_^ What do you draw? Are you good at it? You're probably better than me anyway (• ε •)
     
  17. Kizito Teka

    Kizito Teka Christmas VIP Christmas VIP Seasoned Adventurer

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    Haha nice ^.^ An I design characters, buildings, scenes etc. But just got my Wacom earlier today, and have been playing around with it for about an hour or two making this http://i.imgur.com/MS3m22z.jpg < obvs not finished yet tho haha
    Btw any further replies, PM me, because the thread is going a little off track :)
     
  18. Xalchs

    Xalchs Kevin's Kohai Adventurer Oldtimer

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    updated it
     
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  19. Leo

    Leo Community Manager Staff Member Cyan VIP Legend Hero Warlord Veteran Knight Young Knight Seasoned Adventurer Oldtimer

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    This looks really great. Feels like you are giving us the story in chapters, feels nice ^^ waiting for the next update!
     
  20. Mitran

    Mitran Adventurer Adventurer

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    Well, I just recently joined, and to be honest, I have not watched anime, or even Sword Art Online until couple of months ago. But I got really into it, I think that the actual SAO story has a lot of things that I myself can relate to in life, the hidden truths and refences behind the story and such.

    There is, however, one think I wanted to mention because I believe it is related to this story:
    The developers that decided to run away in fear because they were worried of Copyright infridgement (I really hate that
    , and what it resembles - it was supposed to protect one´s rights of ownership and maybe it succeded in this role, but at cost of numbing the original content, and pretty much all the interesting content in so many branches of creative work
    )

    This is quotes from the two

    It is no secret that the writers often tend to wander with their imagination to places where they cannot go in real life. They re-live their lives in their stories, but as the story´s narrator, they can influence how it ends. While some murder their character´s off mercilesly, some use it to atone to their´s own live mistakes, or just create a fantasy world that they would wish to visit.

    It is obvious now that the author of SAO, Kawahara Reki, is hoping to see his world get real. You could say from those words that he wishes it to be real, and while maybe the Virtual Reality is still a bit distant (lets root our fingers for the Oculus Rift!), a SAO-based MMO idea is not that impossible.

    And if it held tightly with the original series, the outcome of such a game would have a balance-changing effects.
    Yes, should the Age of Aincrad see the light of this world, and if it is not hasted, it will change the world of fantasy MMO games, no doubt.

    I myself am enchanted by SAO, by the story and the universe of it, to a great degree. I will eagerly await its completition, will participate in it, and one day I will be reborn from this imperfect world into the one of swords.
     
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