Wednesday, 31 January 2018

So I have been thinking of setting up a Patreon account for a long time now. The main point would be to steady our finances a bit if that is possible and we have been asked many times over the years if there was a way to donate money to us to ensure we keep making games.

The problem I keep running into is what could we offer in return (other than keeping us in business)? There are lots of things that we could do like exclusive videos, Q&As, exclusive posts, design input, etc. However most of these I feel like I really should release to the public to get more marketing presence, I already do and don't want to put behind a paywall, or I feel like it would fragment our already small community even more.

I have two ideas that I keep coming back to. The first is to have a Backer/Donation page on our website and possibly on the credits page in the latest game. This would list everyone (probably highest to lowest donation) that has ever donated or during the development period of the game in question. But would this interest anyone?

The other is to allow backers at a certain level to design a unique item, level, or monster every once in a while for our game that is in development at the time. Basically they would suggest the name, level, and modifiers. It would have to be approved of course (no Boaty McBoatFace). This might interest people and is not something we've really ever offered that I remember. Any interest?

Update: I decided to go ahead and set up a Patreon page and offer unique items, levels, monsters, NPCs, renegades, minor clans, chests, and gravestones.

Thoughts? Ideas of better rewards?

Coming back to your new game
Tuesday, 30 January 2018

In the past, when I have played one of our older games and it has been a while, I usually just noticed all of the new features of our games that isn't in that particular game. This is probably a pretty common feeling among developers in general. I can't imagine it's just me.

I put a lot of work into our next game last year and then I went back to finish up and polish the Orc Schism expansion. So I haven't looked at the next game really in months.

Getting back to the game is interesting and a little bizarre feeling. It's similar to rediscovering one of our older games, except it has cool features that don't exist in any of our other games. I keep running into cool things and remembering "Oh, yeah I added that feature already". For example, I ran into a sign that said "Don't touch". I had forgotten that I had already added random signs for various things. It then took me a while to figure out what the sign was referring to. I finally found the hidden stash sitting in plain sight, but is a common object so it's easy to overlook.

This has happened with lots of new features: graveyards, chained traps, levels within levels, full secret levels, lairs, etc.

Comments are welcome as always

In-progress screenshots of next game
Thursday, 25 January 2018

I've been working on adding height to the terrain of the next game and someone asked for screenshots. So here are some with some explanations.

This is a screenshot of how this scene would look like in Zombasite just for reference (except the player model is different). Pic details - 1358x737, 336KB.

Next game

We decided to change the art style a bit for our next game. We have changed all of the world and creature textures to be much more colorful. This next screenshot shows this.. Pic details - 1358x737, 367KB.

Next game

And finally, I've added height to the terrain which you can see in the 3rd screenshot. I'm standing on a hill in the path. You can see it's much lower on the other side of the wall. Pic details - 1358x737, 364KB.

Next game

Comments are welcome as usual

Alpha early access?
Wednesday, 17 January 2018

I'm seriously thinking of starting Early Access for the hardcore game sooner than usual, basically at an alpha level instead of the normal, for us, beta level. At least for my purposes here, alpha means very playable but lots of features and assets are not done yet. Beta means a few features left to do, but all assets are done.

The reason why I'm thinking this, is that it's going to be a while before we have all of the assets to get into beta, but the game is already pretty playable. So I could get gameplay feedback much sooner. Also, I really enjoy betas/Early Access which is why we have been doing them before Early Access was a thing. :) Getting immediate feedback on things as they progress is much more enjoyable and easier than working in a vacuum for a long period of time and then getting overwhelming feedback all at once. I also like you all getting a real chance to impact the direction of the game.

If I go this route, we would probably start Early Access in the next month or two. It is likely to only be on Steam during Early Access. We might still sell directly through us, but at the beginning it might just be a Steam key, with an actual build available when we hit beta or gold. The reasoning for this is that the Steam build system actually simplifies things quite a bit, but our patch system wouldn't work very well if we release publicly before all of the assets are finished. Our patches have always been cumulative which makes things simple since you only need to apply the latest one, but that means every change since going public has to be in the latest patch. If we keep adding art, this would make each patch fairly large and get bigger and bigger each time. Plus this means only 1 set of patches I have to deal with when things are changing often.

We do still have a few things that we have to do before we could start Early Access though. We need to settle on a name, do some of the marketing stuff (blurb, marketing graphics for Steam, and a few screenshots), create a logo, finish some art style stuff, add the new game to our website & Steam, and fix some game specific multiplayer stuff.

UPDATE: This took longer than expected (mostly because of our move), but it looks like this will happen in September.

Comments are welcome as usual

Hardcore game name
Wednesday, 10 January 2018

So I'm thinking about the name for the next game. I really don't like naming things; it's a pain and I don't think I'm that good at it. I'm actually more and more tempted to name it Din's Curse 2 and be done with it since there are plenty of similarities with Din's Curse. There are also some differences though.

A quick rundown of the next game: you play as one of the Mutated, characters are hardcore (permadeath) and mutate over time, the next generation of character is evolved from his/her parents and most of your total power carries over, you do have a lot of control of guiding your character's development (picking parents, picking skills, getting rid of unwanted mutations, etc), each world has a random setup and win conditions, and your goal in each area is to prove to the world that the Mutated is a "good" and powerful race.

Similarities to Din's Curse:

  • Overall goal is to move to an area, more often than not to help the local people, and move on to the next area
  • Both have same kind of resurrection mechanism thanks to the gods (Din in this case)
  • Tighter focus than most of our other games (not controlling a clan)
  • They are both cursed (DC your character is directly cursed by Din, in the new game basically the entire race is cursed because they are split off from Orcs)
  • Random, dynamic world (this is also true of all of our games except Kivi)

Differences with Din's Curse:

  • You're not playing a human, but a mutated (race introduced in Zombasite: Orc Schism)
  • You're not forced into redemption, but simply trying to prove your new race is good and powerful
  • It's not a true resurrection, but mutated and carry on from "parents"
  • There are no direct hybrids, but guided mutations/evolution
  • Not just a town and a dungeon (although many scenarios do this)

I didn't start this game as a sequel, but it fits pretty well; mostly just a change from Humans to Mutated as the focus. So what do you all think? Do you think I should go the Din's Curse 2 route or make this a separate game? Is it too different to be a Din's Curse game? Or do you not care what I call it as long as I hurry up? :)

UPDATE: I decided to go with Din's Legacy.


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