Videos
Friday, 13 October 2017

I really need to start making more videos for marketing purposes, but the following story demonstrates why that has been difficult for me. The following story happened to me earlier this week while testing Orc Schism. These types of things happen often in our games since they have very dynamic worlds. I think this is one of the most compelling parts of our games, but I have no idea how I would every capture such a thing in a video.

So I'm doing fairly well in this particular game. My clan, Heart of Gold, and Order of the Moon are all allied together, which is good because Order of the Moon is much bigger and a higher level than me. I'm slowly getting the world under control. My biggest problem is that I'm a little low on food.

I'm allied with 2 clans and War Blades had already been destroyed so I figure there is probably only 1 or 2 undiscovered clans left. I decide to seek out the rest of the clans in the area so I can figure out the best path to victory for this world. After a little exploring, I discovered the last clan, The Mutants. They were less powerful than my clan and wanted to be friends. They were easy to ally with and once allied with me, I introduced them to my other allies, started a few rumors so that they would all be headed towards allying with one another, and then I went back to fixing the problems with my own clan.

Now my food supply has gotten low enough that we are rationing, so I sent out a hunting party of 5 NPCs (2 with foraging skills, 2 with trapping skills, and most of them had combat skills). I was going to go with them, but the town came under attack almost immediately by those pesky Dark Orcs. As I'm dealing with the Dark Orc attack, zombies (I forget which kind) also launch an attack. And then as if that wasn't enough, a 2 on 1 fight breaks out in the middle of town with some of my NPCs. All of a sudden my town is complete chaos!

While I'm frantically trying to get control again of my town, I don't notice that my hunting party is getting slaughtered by some powerful monster. By the time I notice, 4 of the 5 members are dead. I managed to recall them in time to save the last member. Apparently those 4 people were very well liked in my clan because just about everyone in my clan got really unhappy.

I managed to stop the town attacks and NPC fights, but now everyone is so unhappy (most of the clan was below -100 happiness and above 60 insanity) they are basically openly rebelling. They are selling town secrets, creating gates in town, poisoning people, starting fights, causing more town attacks, and more. I did all I could to try to contain the happiness: solved as many quests as possible, kicked out the members that I felt I could get away with, gave away all my gold and much of the remaining food, and even gifted all my gems to the various NPCs. I kind of held it together for a little while, but eventually all but my most loyal NPC fled the town or went insane, I have more problems than ever, and my town is under attack again.

Things look really bleak now. How can I recover from the disaster? Out of the blue, mostly because I was really distracted, my initial plan finally payed off. The rest of the clans had allied with one another and I got a Diplomatic victory!

So the conditions of my town when I finally won:

  • The town was on fire
  • I only had 1 clan member left (I originally had 17 I believe)
  • My last guy was infected and dying from the Zombasite
  • Two different groups were attacking my town
  • My last guy was pretty unhappy but amazingly enough no insanity problems (I'm going to attribute this to his brewing and painting skills)

So how do I get things like that across in a video? And who would even watch the resulting 2 hour video? I should just make simpler games. Our next game is going to be a Tetris clone. :)

As always comments are welcome!

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Bard class
Wednesday, 28 June 2017

So let's talk a little about the Bard class in the upcoming Zombasite expansion, Orc Schism. Bards have a very diverse set of skills, but they are masters of music, illusions, and knowledge. These masteries correspond to the three new specialties: Minstrel, Illusionist, and Sage. With the new additions, there are now 333 total class combinations!

Minstrels use music to manipulate the emotions of friends and enemies. They do this through the use of musical auras. These auras last as long as you want, but reduce your max mana while they are active. While you can only have one aura active at a time, the effects last for 10 seconds, so with smart use you can get overlapping effects. Some auras the Minstrel can wield are Invigorate to heal, Greatness to inspire friends, and Intimidation to hamper enemies.

Illusionists produce fantastic illusions to harm and control their enemies. Most illusions are used to control enemies like Snare prevents any nearby enemies from moving, Illusionary Monster distracts enemies with a new target, and Best Friend can even convince them to fight for you. Illusions can even do actual direct harm to your enemies with spells like Mind Blast or Asphyxiate (DOT).

Sages are the masters of knowledge. While sages do have a couple attack skills, 1 melee and 1 ranged, everything else are passive skills. These skills range from things like Archaeology to better find loot, Herbology which increases your resistances and health/mana regeneration rates, and Monster Anatomy which improves your combat abilities.

I'm aiming for the Bard to be an interesting mix of active control skills, constant aura or actively changing auras, and passive use of knowledge to create a wide range of unique characters.

Comments are welcome!

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House
Wednesday, 21 June 2017

I don't talk publicly about personal stuff very often, mostly because I think people would find it boring, but I thought I would in this case because it might make me less responsive for the next couple months.

Anyway, we are planning on selling our house in the near future. It has been our long term plan for a while now to sell the house, buy an RV, and slowly travel around America (spending several months at each location). We were planning on doing this after our middle child graduated from high school, but Soldak's sales have slowed down enough that we kind of need to do it early for financial reasons. So instead of fixing up the house over several years, I'm now doing it over a much shorter period of time. Working on an expansion and a full new game, getting the house ready for selling, and having 2 kids in the house (a teen and a toddler) is exhausting!

From a Soldak perspective, you shouldn't see too much of a difference though. In the short term, I might disappear for a few days here and there, but that isn't too much different than normal. In the long run, if I release a game or upload a patch, you guys won't necessarily care if I happen to be in Texas, Colorado, or Minnesota at the time. The nice part about my setup is that it doesn't really matter where I am physically. As long as I have an internet connection and electricity, I can work just fine.

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Orc Schism town defense
Friday, 09 June 2017
I haven't blogged in a while and I really need to much more often, so I'm going to talk about Zombasite: Orc Schism some today. In this case, I'm going to talk about how we are enhancing the town defense part of the game quite a bit.

  • Guards - You can now place twice as many guards as the base game (16 now).
  • Guard types - There are now way more guard types, including traps, totems, altars, and crystals. Player traps work a little differently than world traps. They can be set off an infinite number of times by enemies, but they can also be destroyed. Totems, altars, and crystals all buff nearby friendlies with different effects.
  • Guard locations - You can change where each guard's location is. If you want to focus on your flanks because you are worried about a clan raid you can shift some of your guards over there. If you are worried about your healthstone, you can surround it with guards. Also, since your town is randomly laid out in the expansion, where you want to put your guards might change with each world.
  • NPC guard focus - You will now get a bit more control over NPCs when they are using the guard focus by selecting how they guard. Currently you can choose stationary, patrol, or wander.
  • Clan items - You can now change clan items (relics, doors, and guards) while your clan is under attack. It does take 15 seconds to install though when under attack.
  • Defensive raids - I'm not sure what I'm going to call this yet, but you will be able to form a full raiding party (up to 5 NPCs) to defend a clan from anything that is attacking them. This is restricted to clans that you have a mutual protection pact or alliance with or your own clan. This does cost a small amount of expedition points (currently 5, which is half of an offensive raid).

As usual comments are welcome!

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Hardcore scenarios
Wednesday, 01 February 2017

Usually in our games, each time you start a new world they have the same basic setup. In Depths of Peril, you start in a town with several other covenants vying for control of the Barbarians. In Din's Curse, you start in a town that sits on a dangerous dungeon or cave and you must protect the town. In Drox Operative, you start in a sector of space populated with several races and must quell the sector using any of 5 win conditions. In Zombasite, you start in a town with your own clan, and must survive the Zombasite and can win with 4 different win conditions.

In our next game, the basic setup will be different each time. Basically each new world will be a different adventure. Right now the things that can change are the basic layout of the world, if there are any clans around, starting conditions, different win conditions, and different lose conditions. I'm trying to make these each feel and play very different from each other.

Right now there 16 different scenarios in the game, here's some examples:

Normal: You start in a town, there are several above and below ground areas, and there are clans in the region that may or may not work with you. Other than not having your own clan this is similar to Zombasite.

Survival: You are locked into 1 small area, there a ton of monsters that respawn fast, and there is an active invasion. Your goal is to survive!

Unstable: You start in a cave that is collapsing one level at a time. Once a level starts collapsing, it isn't certain death, but boulders constantly falling on your head is bad. You win if you can get to the last level without dying.

Deathmatch: You start in a small area with a number of other NPCs in a fight to the death. There aren't any other monsters, but there are lots of traps. You can try to make treaties, but they will have to end sooner or later because only one can survive.

Gladiator: You start in a very small arena. You are trying to survive while wave after wave or enemies are thrown at you. Each wave is harder than the last.

So, at least from a setup perspective, this is the direction the next game is going in. What do you guys think? Do you have any cool setup ideas that you think we should add?

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