Thank you for your interest in the Shadeslayer animated series!
Here, you can check out all the pre-production work we've done!
Well, that's the end of that. It is with a heavy, yet hopeful heart that we have decided to shelve our plans to create a fan-made animated series based on the Inheritance Cycle permanently.
We came to this decision after July's announcement, or rather, leak, of Disney's plans to make a new TV series based on the Inheritance Cycle.
While disappointed that we couldn't bring our own vision of such a project to the small screen, we're even more excited about what Disney may create - after all, it was also the MCAlagaësia Team who ran the tweet storms, hoping for exactly this eventuality. If we can't do it ourselves, we couldn't be happier that Disney is picking up the torch.
Because we'll no longer be working on the project, we've decided to release all the Patreon-only articles and content for you to enjoy, here on this page.
I've also written up some extra all-new content that wasn't even on Patreon, so if you've already read the Patreon articles, you may want to check out what we have here again.
I hope you enjoy what we have to share here.
PS: Shadeslayer wasn't the only project we were working on - if you want to see what we're doing and get involved, join us on our Discord server!
Plans to create an animated series following the books chapter by chapter set in the Minecraft world created by the MCAlagaësia Team have been put on hold for the foreseeable future.
At the present time, we don't have the team or support necessary to pull off something of this scale in addition to our already overflowing list of massive projects like the Arcaena MMORPG, MCAlagaësia, and the Tweet Storms. All these projects are completely organised and run by the same Arcaena team, meaning we are often (and myself especially) spread too thin.
Since the initial announcement of Shadeslayer, we have made some impressive progress on the series - scripts, storyboards, set and character design, and music are all well underway. You can check out some of that progress here.
None of it will be lost - it's all saved, preserved, and ready to go if and when we have a dedicated team ready to tackle Shadeslayer.
I hope to have some good news on that front in the future!
PS: If you'd like to be involved in creating Shadeslayer, join our Discord server and speak to us. With enough interest, and with a team to run the project, we'd be excited to ramp up production again!
Hello everyone! It's Sunday, but what's this? This isn't a regular Shadeslayer newsletter post!
Well, parallel to Shadeslayer, I have been hard at work organising the Tweet Storm for a new Eragon Adaptation.
Normal production on Shadeslayer along with the usual weekly newsletter posts will resume shortly after the tweet storm. I hope to see you there!
Have a great week,
The third week of production on Shadeslayer has closed. This week was mostly uneventful, with a lot of the work occurring behind the scenes with little to show for it. Nonetheless, I am committed to ensuring our supporters stay up to date, so please enjoy this instalment of our weekly newsletter!
Auditions for the parts of Durza and Arya are continuing, and we now have four candidates of great merit.
There seem to be a lot of people still interested in submitting applications but have not done so. For this reason, we're keeping the initial phase of submissions open for a while longer.
For anyone interested in auditioning, let's have a discussion on Discord! Most Patrons will have access to the #consultants channel where we can talk about Shadeslayer, otherwise, send a message in the #mcalagaesia channel.
The build and terraforming teams of MCAlagaësia have continued their awesome work on the map, improving locations that will one day be featured in Shadeslayer. These include the two locations mentioned last week, Yazuac and the Igualda Falls.
In Yazuac, one can now find half a dozen in-progress builds exhibiting far more detail and character than the old town had, each built by Builder EnderBomb2000.
Over at the Igualda Falls, MrLemmyClient has begun work on a fantastic gorge running through the mountains, connecting the new Igualda Falls to the Anora River - a new location that we will likely see in episode 2 and 3!
Of course, more work continues on other parts of the map led by other talented builders and terraformers from the MCAlagaësia team, in locations that we'll see far in the future, and even some that we don't visit in the Inheritance Cycle at all.
Shadow204, also known as VoidShadow204, or more commonly just as "Shadow" is a pixel artist, 3D modeller and terraformer who has been involved in the MCAlagaësia project since 2019.
His first projects as a member of the Artwork Team included 3D renders of the entire team in various locations around the MCAlagaësia map. Since then, he has also become the top contributor to the Arcaena resource pack, Fairth, creating new models and textures for many blocks and items. More recently, as part of this work on Fairth, he is consulting on Shadeslayer to ensure the new models and textures work properly in the animation.
Shadow is now a member of the terraforming team, working on the map to perfect the landscapes that will be featured in Shadeslayer. With his experience in the 3D modelling software Blender, he hopes to help even more with the animated series project by contributing 3D models, textures, lighting and even animations in the future.
I think that's all I can share at the moment. I'm sorry it wasn't all that much. I can't promise a more eventful upcoming week. It takes a lot to make a TV show, even in the format we're attempting for Shadeslayer. However, I can promise you that we will keep working towards the release of the first episode over the coming months, and that we will keep you up to date with the progress of the project.
Have a great week,
As week two draws to a close, the time to reflect on the past few days of Shadeslayer production has come again. I'm really excited to share some of the fantastic work that has been done.
After last week's work, the terraforming team agreed that the location for episode 1, the prologue, is complete and ready for animation, meaning I was able to export a large region of the world to send off to the animation team.
The exported section of terrain from above
With this important step complete, the MCAlagaësia building and terraforming teams are turning their attention to the locations of future episodes:
Terraformer Gally_99 and MrLemmyClient are working on an extensive update to the Igualda Falls that moves them further away from Carvahall to a more secluded location, as well as improving the waterfall and the river. When this is complete, we will need to figure out a location for the clearing where Saphira's egg first appears to Eragon!
The new location of the Igualda Falls
The new path of the Anora River past Carvahall, bypassing the old and soon-to-be-removed Igualda Falls
Simultaneously, Builder EnderBomb2000 is remodelling the entire town of Yazuac, a location that is visited early in book 1. While we are trying to avoid redoing locations that are already complete, MCAlagaësia's Yazuac was in dire need of a refresh, as it was completed in February 2016 with an older, simpler style that wouldn't pass plot review standards today.
The Yazuac rebuild in-progress, with examples of the old style on the right and the new style on the left
The animated series project will be a major consideration in whether we update other locations around the map as well. For example, a similar refresh will be bestowed upon the town of Daret when Yazuac is complete, and other cities visited in the first book, such as Teirm, are lined up for updates in the near future.
With the location exported, Lord3009 was able to begin render tests for the atmosphere in the first episode in the actual MCAlagaesia world, resulting in the beautiful pictures you see below.
Above: The mysterious night-time atmosphere of Du Weldenvarden featured in the first episode of Shadeslayer
There are plans to use the resource pack Faithful, as well as MCAlagaësia and Arcaena's official resource pack Fairth to make the scenes appear closer to how they would in-game, including the modified leaves and replacing the red sandstone with the correct texture.
Throughout the week we had further discussion on the animation style. As a part of this process, we had to come up with a way to show the use of magic. In the Inheritance Cycle there is no outward indication that anyone is using magic, which doesn't work well on screen.
We have devised a technique, a set of rules, to indicate to viewers when magic is being used. It consists of three points:
Speaking of wards, we also discussed the need for a visual effect when wards are bypassed. It is revealed in Brisingr that Arya's guards, Fäolin and Glenwing, had wards that were bypassed by the Urgal's arrows in the ambush.
“How is it,” he asked, “that Durza was able to ambush you, Glenwing, and Fäolin with Urgals? Didn’t you have wards to protect yourself against physical attacks?”
“The arrows were enchanted.”
“Were the Urgals spellcasters, then?”
Closing her eyes, Arya sighed and shook her head. “No. It was some dark magic of Durza’s invention. He gloated about it when I was in Gil’ead.”
To devise this effect, we drew inspiration from another passage in Inheritance
He twisted as he flung himself away from the noise, and he saw that everyone had crossed the space in time, save the silver-haired elf woman Yaela, who had been caught between the last six inches of the two pieces of metal. The space around her flared blue and yellow, as if the air itself was burning, and her face contorted with pain.
“Flauga!” shouted Blödhgarm, and Yaela flew out from between the sheets of metal, which snapped together with a ringing clang. Then they retreated into the walls with the same terrible shrieking that had accompanied their appearance.
Yaela had landed on her hands and knees close to Eragon. He helped her to her feet; to his surprise, she seemed unharmed. “Are you hurt?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No, but … my wards are gone.”
Thus, to visualise the Urgal arrows piercing the wards of Arya's guards, we will create flashes of light a small distance from the body as an arrow passes through, akin to an asteroid hitting the atmosphere, or some advanced technology bypassing an energy shield in science fiction like Stargate, Star Trek or Star Wars.
Lord is the first animator for Shadeslayer and is extremely passionate about the project. He has experience as an animator, lighting artist, and professional motion designer with years of experience in blender, as well as almost 6 years of professional client work in Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro and Photoshop.
He has been infatuated with the idea of creating an adaptation of the Inheritance Cycle since reading it as a child, giving the series the gravitas and scope it deserves. As part of the team, Lord will be heading up the animation side of things and is hoping to build a team of animators for Shadeslayer to help tighten the production timeline in the future.
...And that's all we have for you this week. As you can see, we're working really hard to make this project a reality, and I hope I'll have even more cool stuff to show you next week. So, until then:
Have a great week,
Today is Sunday, and that marks the end of the first week of production of season 1, episode 1 of Shadeslayer. While I have personally been working on this idea since August 2020, this is the first week we have brought a full team together to make this a reality. It's very exciting, and it just seems so much more real. I can't wait to introduce you to the artists working alongside me in the coming weeks, but suffice to say that they are a talented bunch of writers, musicians, artists, animators, actors, builders and sculptors. Some you may know from the Inheritance Cycle community, and some you might not know yet, but will come to love for the work they are doing.
A lot of the work this week involved bringing everyone up to the same page on the work I have done so far for this project. After nurturing this idea for almost a year, I'm rather attached to it, but it feels good to let some of the responsibility go to other people who can do a better job than me in their field. There are still a few positions to fill on the team, for example, storyboarding and character (skin) design. My first priority is to find talented artists in the immediate community - after all, the dedication and warmth someone passionate about the project can imbue in their art is impossible to fake.
So, what have we done in this first week?
The terraforming team have done amazing work turning the set of the first episode from a chunk of land I pasted in with WorldEdit to something recognisable as the location of the prologue in Eragon! The majority of the work was done by Gally_99 and MrLemmyClient.
Here's the transformation made in just one week:
The main features are the rocky outcrop that Durza climbs for a vantage point and the clearing where the showdown takes place. Also newly added is a path through the trees, taken by Arya, Fäolin and Glenwing as they travelled out of Du Weldenvarden.
Auditions have well and truly begun, with three submissions from the community in the past week. It was fantastic to see how much enthusiasm and passion there is for the project.
Pre-audition submissions for the part of Arya and Durza will remain open for another few weeks until the rest of the production has caught up to the stage where we're ready to take further steps.
Auditions for future parts will open after the first episode has been released and has generated wider interest around the project. I want to give the first opportunity for auditions to members in the Inheritance Cycle community before approaching outside help for the same reasons stated previously - the importance of the dedication brought to the project by someone passionate and personally invested cannot be understated.
We had a lot of constructive talks about animation over the past week.
It began with some discussion of style. With a limited team, the animation style is simplistic, but with the hope that with support from the community, a larger team of animators could iterate upon the style, making it more complex and interesting, even affording us the ability to go back and "remaster" previous episodes that use the old style in the future.
Animation Style Tests
The first steps being taken are investigating using the Faithful and Fairth resource packs in the animation, which involves finding normal and specular maps for Faithful as well as creating them for the few textures updated in Fairth.
Also on the to-do list is creating a model and texture for Saphira (and other dragons), but since they won't appear in the first few episodes, there's plenty of time to work on that.
The final script and storyboard for the first episode have been handed off to the animation team to begin work. At some point, we will do some early, low-quality renders and editing to determine the pacing of the story, which will be used to score the music of the first episode, using musical motifs established in The Inheritance Project.
One hotly debated topic this week was the name of the animated series! Going into the week, the working title was "Arcaena: The Animated Series", and now we have loosely decided on "Shadeslayer".
Another option under consideration is "Argetlam". This may be subject to further changes as more ideas roll in. After all, we're still in the early stages of production!
Malte is the creator of The Inheritance Project, which began as a soundtrack for a fictional TV show based on the Inheritance Cycle, but has expanded into a combined fanwork to create a more complete world of music, character and set design and screenplays involving multiple artists throughout the Inheritance Cycle community.
As part of this work, Malte has designed leitmotifs for many characters, locations and concepts in the Inheritance Cycle, which he plans to use to create an original score for the animated series.
You can check out more of Malte's work on his website.
That's just about it for now. Production for the first episode will be slow, but we are hoping to settle into a consistent schedule after episode 2. Nonetheless, I hope to have some great things to share with you next week!
Have a great week,
Production of the first episode is well underway!
This project has been kept relatively secret for a long time - since August 2020, in fact, when I began writing the first revision of the script.
Since then, a lot of work has been done to prepare the set in-game, as well as construct a storyboard for the first episode. Because this is the first episode, and we have brought a lot of people together from different parts of the Inheritance Cycle community to work on this, a storyboard was essential to communicate ideas. For future episodes, we hope to spend less time developing the storyboard to make it less restrictive, and instead allow the actors and animators more freedom to interpret the script in the best way possible.
Using the script I wrote last month, I have put together a shot list - a clear definition of the main sequence of shots we'd need to complete the story. You can see it here, in both video and text form.
The creation of this document and accompanying video was required because the pilot episode will be animated by a third-party animation company who, with little to no understanding of the source material, will need more guidance and direction. I am hoping that as we progress through the series and collaborate instead with people from the Inheritance Cycle community who are more invested in this project as a creative outlet (and less as a money making exercise), this kind of rigid structure won't be so necessary, leaving more creative direction up to the discretion of the animators - which both saves on my time and allows the other talented people working on the project to exercise more creativity!
The second half of this video (starting at 4 minutes and 30 seconds) is approximately real-time, meaning the pilot episode will be almost five minutes long (excluding any title scenes, credits and teasers we decide to add in!).
You can read the shot list below, or open it in a new tab.
Character design is a very important part in the pre-production process. Because this is a Minecraft animation, the visual representation of the characters is only a regular 64x64 pixelated Minecraft skin. The goal is to, despite the limitations of the medium, make the skins look as realistic as possible, and to make them look as close as possible to the character descriptions in the books.
Another consideration for the pilot episode were variations in the skins for the twelve Urgals. Rather than reusing the same skin twelve times, each should have obvious unique features. This is obviously very difficult in the limited canvas that is a Minecraft skin. We decided that variations in features like armbands, tattoos, belts, boots, bandannas, weapons, and armour would be the best way to quickly differentiate the skins, however we also decided to make subtle changes to every Urgal's face - they are unique individuals after all - a fact which becomes very important later on in the Inheritance Cycle!
This focus on variation is one that we will need to scale up when it comes to the battles later on in the series - so I am glad it is a problem that we have resolved now rather than later.
Minecraft animations are a popular format for storytelling, and last year it struck me that with MCAlagaësia, we have already skipped over one of the largest roadblocks in the way of creating such an animation based on the Inheritance Cycle.
To test my theory, I began the long pre-production process for this as-yet unnamed webseries. That process itself began with writing a script for the prologue of Eragon - a script that I am proud to present a near-final draft for you today.
You can read the script below, or open it in a new tab.
Using this script, the next task is to work on a storyboard for the first episode of the series. A storyboard is useful to communicate my ideas to the animators - after all, redrawing a picture is far less expensive than reanimating a scene!