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  #1  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:51 PM
Cat Cat is offline
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Default Hello & Four Q'tions:

Hello

I noticed this nice Diablo Clone whilst researching Diablo III and the current / past market for "acquisition" game models (Diablo, obviously, but also others such as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darkstone ). I got the full version via Reflexive.

First off - I've played the game for a day or two, and it has a nice feel.

Pros: Indy, AI competition element
Cons: Derivative - game model been done to death, if not better elsewhere


Some q'tions for the creator, if its not too much of an imposition:

1) When creating a Diablo clone, why did you focus on the addition of AI competition as your major innovation? Scaled reward models are age old, especially with "randomised" content that revolves around core elements stitched together via random elements.

1a) Why did you focus on AI competition, rather than multi-player competition? Was this purely a coding issue, or design issue?

2) I notice that 'modding' the client via HexEdit is almost as easy as modding Wizardry VI and VII However - the client has a screen. Why are there not direct commands / cheats via this interface? Was this a deliberate design choice?

2a) If this is your first major game design project (I doubt it, the polish is rather nice for an indy project, if the mechanics are somewhat tired) then what drew you to this type of niche? Given that multi-player versions of such models are often compromised instantly by players, why release a SDK whilst not adding simplistic commands?

3) Was this a team effort? If so (and if not!) what were the most challenging aspects of development? Scaled (linear) DB entries are not challenging, what was on the project? The design model is a proven one, what issues did you want to challenge and what unique features do you think that DoP has?

3a) Specifically on the coding issue, 3D polygons on a 2D plan have been done (see: DarkStone / Dungeon Siege) - did you take inspiration from these games?

4) Did you take the decision to join Reflexive lightly? Did you chose this as a marketing model akin to the makers of StarScape / Mr. Robot, in that a wider audience was worth the 100% compromised security of your product?

4a) Reflexive games are 100% compromised via generic crack / keygen creators. What was the time frame involved between gold release and Reflexive release, and have you noticed any change in profitability / take up of the product?


Answering any of those would be very helpful, thanks in advance.

Last edited by Cat : 08-05-2008 at 09:53 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2008, 10:35 PM
krozman krozman is offline
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Don't you know it's rude to come to a person's house and criticize in the manner you're doing it?

I vote that this idiot be banned and thread deleted, because he's just a troll.
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2008, 10:42 PM
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Silent_Tales Silent_Tales is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krozman View Post
Don't you know it's rude to come to a person's house and criticize in the manner you're doing it?

I vote that this idiot be banned and thread deleted, because he's just a troll.
Krozman, chill out.. I think he is just asking questions.. Well it's kinda rude in a way..
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  #4  
Old 08-05-2008, 11:05 PM
(name here) (name here) is offline
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very rude, i am somewhat offended. also, every game out, pretty much, has been compromised 100%. some game makers are still in business.

2) What's so bad about not having cheat codes?

2a) i think this may answer 1a
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Player: alright, everyone, we're off to kill Draaien, the orc lord
Recruits: yes sir
Other covenant: (player covenant) is weak. ATTACK!
more covenants: we smell blood in the water, ATTACK!
game: the guilded coin are raiding (player covenant) the shining blades are raiding (player covenant) the black raiders are raiding (player covenant) (player covenant)'s life stone is threatened (at 75%)
Player: *&%#
Draaien: hey, where did they all go?
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2008, 12:10 AM
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Silent_Tales Silent_Tales is offline
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Let's just wait what will Shadow say about this because yur asking very SENSITIVE questions..
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2008, 12:44 AM
krozman krozman is offline
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Shadow shouldn't dignify this with a response. Stay away from this thread Shadow. It's a loser no matter how diplomatic you want to be.
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2008, 02:04 AM
Crimson Avenger Crimson Avenger is offline
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I think Cat actually answered a lot of his own questions. On one hand he's asking why did Shadow do all these new things and on the other he's asking why Shadow chose a genre inhabited by a lot of repetitive clone games. DP may not be the perfect RPG, but the last thing I'd ever describe it as is "tired out". I'd like to hear more specifics from Cat (who clearly has some interest in the game). What elements of the gameplay does he enjoy (other than being indie), and what about it does he think is so boring about it (other then, apparently, it being an isometric RPG)?

I think he deserves some more respect though, just because his email seemed rude at times doesn't mean we should be equally or more rude towards him. He wrote a long and detailed post, he obviously cares enough to put some time into the forum so we should hear him out some.
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  #8  
Old 08-06-2008, 08:51 AM
Cat Cat is offline
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Hmm, I seem to have generated a lot of tension, I apologise: I am not "trolling", I was writing quickly and on a time deadline. Oh, and I'm a she, not a he, but no matter. I meant no offense to Shadow - I happen to think that DoP as a creation is very polished and well done.

I'll rephrase the q'tions then:

1) The AI competition is a unique feature to DoP: I'd love to know if Shadow initially aimed to allow Multi-co-op / competition to fill some of the AI slots and allow mixed play (e.g. three human players, three AI players). If he did, I'd like to ask why it was dropped - was it a coding issue or a design choice? As I have pointed out, Diablo clones are common: I wanted to know what creative urge drove someone obviously skilled / creative into the genre, and what he considered the most important improvements / design changes to refresh it.

Please note: I've only played a couple of days, as I said - feel free to point out later innovations I might have missed.

2) I was interested in the decision to release a SDK: it is a rare thing these days (in the current climate of licensed engines and profit making via these; see Unreal engine licensing and the failure to release SDKs by companies such as 2kGames over BioShock). Did Shadow do this purely to support the community (which are seemingly very loyal! ) or was there a greater intent to allow total-world mods?

Please note: I've not had a chance to look at the SDK - so I have no idea how powerful a tool it is, or whether it allows total access to the core code etc.

3) This was a bad attempt to ask if Shadow is a one-person show, or whether there was a team working on the game: the front page suggests it is a single person creating it. I also wanted to know whether Shadow intended to make a tribute to the old-school. I was interested in this because Diablo III (for one) is just being released, with all modern bells & whistles, and it is very likely that both Blizzard and Shadow went through the same kind of self-questions on the genre!. Thus I would be interested in his feedback as a game developer, outlining his design / concepts on the genre. I'd also cheekily ask, if he had infinite resources (which Blizzard effectively do), would there be anything he really wanted to add to DoP and was unable to do?

4) This was a serious q'tion. The survival of indy games is a thorny issue, with some truly creative talents (thus I mentioned Mr Robot) having to use meta-portals such as Reflexive to get their product to a wide enough audience. I include Shadow in this list of "truly creative talents"! (I thought that was implicit, apologies if it wasn't). To put this into context: The creators of Mr Robot have stated that they accepted the piracy of their game as built into their business model - they basically knew that once Reflexive held it, the percentage of illegal pirated versions / paid versions would drastically increase, but they valued the PR and market reach Reflexive had. One negative thing about Reflexive is that they have only an internal rating system; meaning that awards / positive reviews elsewhere has no effect on the rating of a game on their site, resulting in games such as DoP / Mr Robot being 30-50th on a list that includes total dross: the question is whether Reflexive is a deal with the devil, or actually beneficial to both parties equally.

Please note: I realise this is a sensitive topic (and may in fact touch on NDA contracts that Shadow has signed with Reflexive), but any general feedback would be interesting, esp. in light of the indy market at the moment.

All in all - Shadow has done an amazing thing here, and should be congratulated for it. However, I wanted to get into the mind of the person responsible - if any of the questions are too much, feel free to just say "no comment, that's rude" or Shadow can just lock / delete it

p.s.

Congratulations on the awards, they're well earned! Take my comments knowing that I knew DoP had won them!

Last edited by Cat : 08-06-2008 at 09:11 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-06-2008, 10:00 AM
(name here) (name here) is offline
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well, i can't answer questions about the SDK, because my computer fails at MS-DOS.

1) There is an explaination in the suggestions for expansion thread, which i cannot recall at the moment.

3) there were some other people who worked on parts of it, no other full-time employees.

4)The reflexive release generates money from the people who can't be bothered to look up the cracks, plus they take so long to patch it's basically an inferior product.
__________________
Player: alright, everyone, we're off to kill Draaien, the orc lord
Recruits: yes sir
Other covenant: (player covenant) is weak. ATTACK!
more covenants: we smell blood in the water, ATTACK!
game: the guilded coin are raiding (player covenant) the shining blades are raiding (player covenant) the black raiders are raiding (player covenant) (player covenant)'s life stone is threatened (at 75%)
Player: *&%#
Draaien: hey, where did they all go?
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2008, 10:31 AM
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Shadow Shadow is offline
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I appreciate the defense guys. I don't think Cat is trying to be offensive, so I'm going to try to answer her questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
1) The AI competition is a unique feature to DoP: I'd love to know if Shadow initially aimed to allow Multi-co-op / competition to fill some of the AI slots and allow mixed play (e.g. three human players, three AI players). If he did, I'd like to ask why it was dropped - was it a coding issue or a design choice? As I have pointed out, Diablo clones are common: I wanted to know what creative urge drove someone obviously skilled / creative into the genre, and what he considered the most important improvements / design changes to refresh it.
I would have liked to have had multiplayer in Depths of Peril also, but I designed the game as if it was going to be a single player game.

I wanted the single player game to be as solid and fun as it could be and I eventually decided that spending a lot of time on multiplayer would have impacted the single-player game too much, so it got dropped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
1) When creating a Diablo clone, why did you focus on the addition of AI competition as your major innovation?
I focused on the AI competition and a dynamic world because I wanted to have something that really was different than just a Diablo clone and they both make the game much more interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
2) I was interested in the decision to release a SDK: it is a rare thing these days (in the current climate of licensed engines and profit making via these; see Unreal engine licensing and the failure to release SDKs by companies such as 2kGames over BioShock). Did Shadow do this purely to support the community (which are seemingly very loyal! ) or was there a greater intent to allow total-world mods?
The game is very moddable as it is. The big files are normal zip files and most of the files inside are simple text files. People were going to figure out how to modify everything anyways. So why not support the community and make it easier? This was always the plan though. I would much rather go down the Valve route and support the community instead of some crappy attempt to horde everything to myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
2) I notice that 'modding' the client via HexEdit is almost as easy as modding Wizardry VI and VII However - the client has a screen. Why are there not direct commands / cheats via this interface? Was this a deliberate design choice?
The developer version of the game does have plenty of cheats. The difference between the console cheats and modding the game is the cheats take absolutely no effort to level a character, get infinite gold, or anything else you want. At least modding the game to make it easier takes some effort and you learn how to mod the game. So yes it was a choice to not ship the cheats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
3) This was a bad attempt to ask if Shadow is a one-person show, or whether there was a team working on the game: the front page suggests it is a single person creating it. I also wanted to know whether Shadow intended to make a tribute to the old-school. I was interested in this because Diablo III (for one) is just being released, with all modern bells & whistles, and it is very likely that both Blizzard and Shadow went through the same kind of self-questions on the genre!. Thus I would be interested in his feedback as a game developer, outlining his design / concepts on the genre. I'd also cheekily ask, if he had infinite resources (which Blizzard effectively do), would there be anything he really wanted to add to DoP and was unable to do?
I am the only full time person at Soldak, but there were many people that worked on Depths of Peril.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
3) Was this a team effort? If so (and if not!) what were the most challenging aspects of development? Scaled (linear) DB entries are not challenging, what was on the project? The design model is a proven one, what issues did you want to challenge and what unique features do you think that DoP has?
I would disagree with you on this one. The DoP design is not a proven one. Many of the action RPG elements have done before, but not the competing factions and dynamic world. These were the parts that were difficult, especially trying to find a balance so the covenants and attacking monsters don't stomp the player into the ground easily and at the same time not being too easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
3a) Specifically on the coding issue, 3D polygons on a 2D plan have been done (see: DarkStone / Dungeon Siege) - did you take inspiration from these games?
3D polygons in a 3D world has been done before also. I have been inspired by many RPGs and strategy games. I have played both Darkstone and Dungeon Siege, but I doubt that I took many ideas from either of those particular games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat View Post
4) This was a serious q'tion. The survival of indy games is a thorny issue, with some truly creative talents (thus I mentioned Mr Robot) having to use meta-portals such as Reflexive to get their product to a wide enough audience. I include Shadow in this list of "truly creative talents"! (I thought that was implicit, apologies if it wasn't). To put this into context: The creators of Mr Robot have stated that they accepted the piracy of their game as built into their business model - they basically knew that once Reflexive held it, the percentage of illegal pirated versions / paid versions would drastically increase, but they valued the PR and market reach Reflexive had. One negative thing about Reflexive is that they have only an internal rating system; meaning that awards / positive reviews elsewhere has no effect on the rating of a game on their site, resulting in games such as DoP / Mr Robot being 30-50th on a list that includes total dross: the question is whether Reflexive is a deal with the devil, or actually beneficial to both parties equally.
As far as I can tell it was worth it. Reflexive does bring in a lot of people that would never have even noticed your game. As for the piracy thing, the pirates are going to figure out how to pirate your game regardless if you get on Reflexive or not. From the developers side, pirates really suck because they are taking money away from you, however you have to accept that it is going to happen no matter what you do. I personally just wish pirates would realize that they are slowly destroying what they love.
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