(Post?) Pandemic Update and News

(Post?) Pandemic Update and News

Hello from Becca and Ginny!

We know, the blog has been quiet. The pandemic was a hard hit on both of us in different ways, and real life and health, mental and physical, required our attention first. But we never stopped working on Mystic Riders, whether in small ways or bigger ways. This is just a quick update on both what is going on behind the scenes, some small changes you are going to see on older posts and effective going forward, and what updates are going to look like.

So let’s start with some behind the scenes stuff.

There’s a timeline! This may seem like a really nitpicky thing, but since we’re starting narrative first, both of us realize as writers how important a timeline is to a story. Otherwise you end up contradicting yourself, or contradicting history if you are drawing on it, and then the plot holes begin. Right now, we’ve put a hypothetical start year to the game, with the idea that if it needs shifted in either direction, it would be easy enough to do from that start point. All sorts of things are factored in, include mentor birthdays and important events, so it was kind of interesting to see those facts play out and to factor in where historical events match up.

We had to take the ko-fi/PayPal down. Something broke down in the communication between the two within the last year, and when Becca thought she fixed it, well, she discovered it was doing weird things and investigated further. The end result was it either required information that we, as a team, weren’t comfortable giving them because security with personal information is a big deal to us, or it was going to charge us so much in fees, we wouldn’t see the end results of the donations anyway. In the end, we decided it was better to just issue refunds to those who donated, and continue with our plans to do larger-scale funding such as grants and business investments/loans rather than crowdfund. We will continue looking into options as we use our personal funds to gather the ground work materials needed, such as artwork.

Speaking of…

We’ve started getting some artwork in! There are two sources of artwork. One was one of you, who reached out and wanted to help! She’s gotten busy in real life, but it got us a really good first discussion on what the starter horse is going to look like in game, since we didn’t want a complete duplicate a Fjord, but wanted to keep some of the characteristics. It was a lot of fun bringing her in and seeing these sassy-pants horses come to life.

We also have teamed up (a.k.a. commissioned) an artist named Yune who has been an excellent resource. For now, there are three complete pieces and one is an WIP. Our WIP is another Rose Neptuna, this time to let Becca play with colors (because she’s not 100% sure anymore) and also to get her in the same style as the completes. Once we receive that picture and get colors figured out, it will be updated on her article. Watch the Twitter account for an announcement!

The complete pieces are “croqui,” or figures for Ginny to design clothes on, in our three body types–tentatively named Heart, Star, and Flower (because we’re intending on use those shapes to designate merchandise-type-stuff later, but shhh, that’s a secret). The three girls pictured are the three Light Riders demo girls, so if we ever make a trailer, ad, or a game demo without the player customization aspect, that’s who you’ll be seeing for that side of the conflict. Ginny has used those figures to make some good “approximations” of the mentors when they were the player’s age, so they should be getting profiles eventually now to help break up all the horse breeds.

Next on the art commission agenda, after the current WIP, are going to be getting all the face options laid out (in some “template” style demo faces that should be easy to mix and match to prove a point, but it will cover all of our wanted options) so we can toss hair on them into the basic hair styles available, and then we’re going to get some figures for the boys since most of the NPC boys will fall within three similar body types, just aged up or down. (Becca also has a crazy idea to do some further concept art, but we’ll see on that.) Our ko-fi is also proceeding along towards getting us to the goal of getting a logo.

That’s a good spot to kind of transition us to an update you are going to see throughout the blog. Ginny has been created a YouTube channel, and through interaction with viewers over a different game, we realized something pretty important. Some terminology–player character and main character–get used interchangeably in MMOs, because they are usually the same thing in this particular genre. However, this can create issues as players want that character to be a version of themselves. And when that can’t be met, it causes psychological upset for the player, and can have a negative impact on their gaming experience–and of the game! We want you all to have fun without that necessary stress.

So how did we decide to address this? Well, we looked to several staples, such as the Final Fantasy games we enjoyed and Legend of Zelda, where yes, you are in control of a character and have some customization options (if not very much), but the character is distinctly different from being yourself put into the world. So we are going to make concentrated efforts to adjust the language on the site and in our documentation, shifting it from being “you” the character and instead, “Main Character.” Now, this means we are also going to retire the use of the term “PC” for player character, and instead us “MC” for main character, just to help drive home that division. It won’t be you in the game, but rather a character that you can create. While the character can share as many characteristics with you as are available, there will be a separation. It can also just be what you like of the options given, since sometimes it’s fun to create characters wildly different from yourself. (Becca’s love of pastels doesn’t mean she can wear them with her skin tone, for example.)

Becca will be going through articles to change out that language, and also to update the main character used in the holiday stories. We’re not sure who caught it, but our demo characters all had first names beginning with P and last names beginning with C as a way to, narratively, indicate who they were. With an update in terminology, Pippa needed a new name! Pippa, which is the name seen so far, will be updated to Marcy.

So once all of this is completed, we’re thinking in the spring, Becca should be back to writing up blog posts in the summer (when her work slows down). However, updates will be slower to try and prevent the earlier burn out from too much happening at once. You should begin seeing them once a month, with maybe occasional bonus posts if Ginny wants to post up a holiday or Becca gets massively ahead and decides to eat into the reserves a bit. Or art comes in!

As for what is going on in the background during this time: Ginny will be continuing to strum up interest, fine-tune game mechanics as more research in our target areas comes into her view, and as artwork has come in, she can start getting the different designs laid out in a way that is much more approachable to the casual viewer. Becca will be finishing up maps and demo weeks, creating a back-log of blog posts so hopefully there won’t be another break, and then sorting out the story document since it’s in sad need of some organization (her own fault) so she can start laying out the story for the overall game in an outline before deciding what to start fleshing out where.

Thanks for stopping for this update, and we’ll see you all with new content in June!

Let’s Make Something

Let’s Make Something

Now that the player has someplace to live and keep their horses, well, they’re own little farm. They need something to do on their farm. That’s right. Crafting.

In combat MMOs, crafting is now considered one of the basic features of the game. It doesn’t matter that in a combat MMO you’re probably just getting materials to make new armor or put together some potions, crafting is there and part of the experience. In Mystic Riders, crafting is part of what drives the story as the character chases after the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

As the player unlocks camp locations, they can choose to learn new skills. In the beginning, they can learn 3 different skills, one racing, one ‘craft’ skill and one ‘arts’ skill.

The racing skill they choose is determined by their district and the answers they gave to the quiz. (If they don’t like that type of skill, they can always take the quiz again to get a different district.) And then once they are at camp, they can choose two other skills from the different activities offered.

The Craft skills are hiking, running, swimming, gardening, cooking, photography, archery, and fishing. The Art skills are cloth crafts, leather crafts, wood/paper crafts, ceramics, and lastly, metal crafts. As the player uses their skills, they’ll get better at them. The more they craft, the better they’ll be at it. (Exactly the same mechanic used for riding, jumping, or caring for your horse.)


Some of the craft skills and all of the art skills have trees of knowledge that increase in difficulty. When you first start sewing for example, you’ll be learning to make curtains and pillowcases, but when you become more advanced, you can make tailored clothes! As the player increases in skill, new quests to learn more advanced techniques will open up for them to play, and new items will be available for them to make.

After you learn to hike, you can learn orienteering and eventually go onto geocaching and archaeology. Running leads to the skills of yoga, dance, and fencing or martial arts. Once you learn to swim, you can learn to row a boat. After you learn to garden, you can learn how to take care of animals, and mine responsibly. (I’d consider gardening to be the most basic skill to take and strongly urge players to get it started first.) Once you learn to cook, you can learn to bake, make candy, and brew things such as potions, lotions, and perfumes.

After you learn to sew square things, you can learn to make clothes, and then advanced more tailored clothes and knitting. In leather crafts, first you make belts, handbags, and shoes, and then you can learn to make bridles and saddles. In woodcrafts, you first learn to make paper items, and things such as picture frames. Then you can learn to make furniture and musical instruments. In ceramics, first you learn poured ceramics (like plaster) and slab style ceramics, and then you can learn the pottery wheel, and eventually go onto glass making. In metal crafts, you learn to make jewelry and simple things like nails and decorative objects, then later forging.

Some of this obviously is going to need to be worked out and is subject to change.


The crafting system is meant to tie in with the story, the professions, the My Farm/My Stable, and even the factions in Mystic Riders. During the story, the character will be asked to use certain skills. And how easily they manage them is going to depend on how much time they’ve put into that skill.

If you want to take part in a certain profession in the game and get the special items, you’re going to need skill and reputation with the groups related to that profession. The more work you put into your skills, the bigger and better your farm and stable can become. If you want better horse shoes, it’s going to be much cheaper to learn to forge your own than to buy them. And there are certain items you can only make if you’re with one faction or the other.

The items they make and grow can be food for them or their horses, it can be clothing or gear, or jewelry to help with their magic abilities. They can create items to decorate their My Farm/My Stable inside and out.

As the player runs around the world and does the quests and as they level up in their skill levels, they’ll discover, be given, or can buy different crafting recipes or patterns. These they can keep in their library at their My Farm/My Stable for reference later.


They can grow the items they need at the My Farm/My Stable, forage them from the world around them, or be able to buy items in shops if they’re pressed for time. Just because one player is going to want to make their outfit from growing the cotton to finished product, doesn’t mean another player is going to want to do that, and we can accommodate both.

Because crafting is going to be a large part of the game, we have set some limits on how long things will take to grow in the garden for instance. Nothing should take more than fifteen minutes and when the server resets, everything will be instantly ready. We don’t want to frustrate our players or make them babysit the game waiting for things to finish. Certain areas of the game will have items the player can forage. The items will be refreshed when the player leaves that area and returns. And so it’s not all drag and drop mechanics, we hope to use different mini games to liven up the experience.

For instance, in sewing you could trace the pattern on the screen. For forging, there could be a slide bar mini game where you need to hit the mouse at a certain time. For cooking, you could take the ingredients and make sure each row of ingredients has the right number of them and possibly in the right order.

We want people to have fun and hopefully relax during the game. Farming and crafting and using the items that result to decorate your My Farm/My Stable can be very relaxing activities! Crafting is yet another way we want to give the players more control over their experience to enjoy the game they want to enjoy it without making it a grind or tedious and mind numbing.