Kivi was a mistake
Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Pretty much ever since we finished Kivi's Underworld I have had two very different and opposing viewpoints of the game. On one hand I think Kivi is a really cool game and I'm glad that someone made the game. On the other hand I think that Soldak developing Kivi was a mistake. I'm going to talk about both viewpoints a little.

The Good:

1) Fun - I'm obviously biased, but I think Kivi's Underworld is a pretty fun game. It plays like an action RPG where you fight tons of monsters, find secrets, grab loot, improve your characters, and even has cool powerups.

2) Easy to learn - It was designed to be a more casual game than the typical RPG, something that was very easy to learn. I think we did this really well. It's especially a great game for people that are new to the genre or are put off by all of the usual complexities of more full fledged RPGs.

3) Replayability - Even with its streamlined design it has quite a bit of replayability with over 20 playable characters, a scoring system, and many achievements to unlock.

4) Limited time - The storyline is broken up into small, separate adventures with each of them taking around 30 minutes so this is a great game to play if you only have small chunks of time at any one sitting. You can even save in the middle of an adventure and it's still really easy to restart because you start exactly where you were and the few quests remind you exactly what your goals are.

5) Unique - I really can't think of another game like it.

6) Engine - From an internal standpoint we improved the engine quite a bit. We made the engine way more moddable especially things like classes, we added multiplayer in the expansion, and we added a ton of cool features like the line of sight stuff.

7) Shared world - I think it's kind of cool that we got to see more of the Depths of Peril world from the Lumen perspective.

And the part everyone actually wants to read, The Bad:

1) We made it - I know that's a strange statement. What I mean is that it was a mistake for Soldak to make the game. It's a game that would have been better for a different company to make. If you play the "which of these things doesn't fit game" with our 3 games everyone is going to choose Kivi. Other than being an action RPG (sort of), it's not very much like our other two games. It doesn't have much randomness, it doesn't have a dynamic world, it's not a hardcore game, and it's not very deep. It's not really a problem that it is different. The problem is that it doesn't fit what our Depths of Peril gamers wanted and the new gamers that we did bring in didn't stick around because our other games don't match their expectations either. Basically they are two very different crowds with very different expectations and we can't really please both of them.

The other half of the reason why Soldak making Kivi was a mistake is that I personally don't love this type of game. I love the rival factions in DoP. I love the dynamic world in both DoP and DC that doesn't sit around waiting for the player. I love how in DC something new is always happening because of the dynamic events, monsters, NPCs, the incredible amount of randomness, and how all of this interacts with each other. Basically I love really deep games and Kivi is not deep.

2) Graphics - No I don't think the lack of bump mapping or some other graphic gizmo was much of a problem. I think the mistake we made was not having a much more casual graphic style that fit the casual gameplay better. Looking back on it, we should have gone with more of a Plants vs Zombies style, something much more bright and playful.

Now that I think about it, Pop Cap doing Kivi on Windows, Macs, and the iPhone/iPad with a Plants vs Zombies art style would have been pretty cool. :)

This write-up ignores the reasons why we created Kivi in the first place though. There were some pretty good reasons at the time why we decided to make a more casual RPG. I might write that up as another blog someday.

Anyway, to bring this back to a more cheerful thought. As of right now we are lowering the price of Kivi's Underworld to $9.99! Like I said Kivi might not match the style of our other games, but it is still a fun game and $9.99 is pretty cheap.

Overview - Buy it - Download the demo


GameStop buys Impulse?
Friday, 01 April 2011

The news of the day seems to be that GameStop is buying Impulse. I'm still hoping that this is an April Fool's joke, but it doesn't look like it. The last time a portal was purchased that we had games on it went bad very quickly and basically another distribution avenue was cut off for us. I'm worried that this is about to happen again.

From my point of view, and I do realize I'm biased, one of nice things and I think one of the key selling points of Impulse compared to Steam is that they seem to accept way more indie games. So as a gamer you have a broader choice of games to buy from their platform. Now the question is will GameStop feel the same way or will they follow Steam's lead? If they keep accepting lots of indie games and put more money and marketing muscle behind Impulse they could do amazing things for indie developers, gamers, and the game industry as whole. Or they could act like most companies and simply play follow the leader and end up as the poor man's Steam. Which path will they take? I hope they take the former, but I worry that they will take the later.


Website update
Friday, 18 March 2011

Ok, so I'm planning on reworking the website a little bit. For the most part I like how it works from a functional standpoint, so I'm not likely to change much in that regard. What I want to focus on is making it look nicer and more professional. Since you guys are my audience, I would like you input. What do you think would make it look better?

Here's a screenshot of what it looked like when I wrote this just in case I have changed anything already.


Nutrition labels
Tuesday, 15 February 2011

This isn't gaming related at all, but gamers especially RPG gamers tend to be good with numbers.

I really have a problem with nutrition labels lately. They tell me some useful stuff like calories, but after that they are pretty useless (this is probably US specific). In this case I have 2 liquids to choose from, liquid 1 and liquid 2. If you just go by the nutrition information on the label it's difficult to tell which one is better than the other. Can you tell? In this case I very well know which one is better for me.

Liquid 1
8 fl oz
Calories: 100
Fat: 0g (0%)
Sodium: 45mg (2%)
Carbohydrates: 27g (9%)
Sugars: 27g
Protein: 0g

Liquid 2
8 fl oz
Calories: 120
Fat: 0g (0%)
Sodium: 5mg (0%)
Potassium: 250mg (7%)
Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)
Sugars: 28g
Protein: 0g
Magnesium: 2%

I'll post what the 2 liquids are in the forum thread some time in the next couple days.


Demon War soon
Monday, 14 February 2011

I was originally thinking that version 1.021 was going to be the gold version of Demon War, but a discussion of some needed balance changes has made me reconsider. So this week I'm mostly going to focus on balance changes to get the difficulty in line and to enhance some of the weaker skills to be more useful. The start of a skill balance thread is here but is there anything else that you think we must change or fix before we go gold?


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