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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: Prisonscape

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, May 4, 2014.

  1. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Tags: Kickstarter; Lunar Enigma; Prisonscape

    As you may have guessed from its title, Prisonscape is an RPG set in prison. Featuring the traditional "indie game" pixel art and influenced equally by Japanese and Western RPGs, it aims to be complex in its mechanics and focused in its scope. Recently, Prisonscape's developers launched a Kickstarter to help them devote more time to the game, with the funding goal of $49,500. Unfortunately, so far it has only managed to collect about a third of that sum, with just 4 days left to go.

    We reached out to Prisonscape's designer, Pekka Kallioniemi, to ask him some questions about the game's concept and the Kickstarter campaign. Here's a snippet:

    Please tell us a bit about yourself and what motivated you to make a game like Prisonscape in the first place. Both thematically and mechanics-wise, what were the main influences on the game's concept?

    We are two Finnish guys who decided that developing games could be our thing and decided to give it a try. Tuomas used to be in QA of a Finnish gaming company, Universomo, but I had no prior experience in game development. As a designer, I draw a lot of inspiration from pen and paper RPGs, such as AD&D 2nd edition, Twilight 2000 and Cyberpunk 2020.

    Originally, Tuomas (the programmer) wanted to do an arcade/action game similar to the hospital scene in the Amiga classic It Came from the Desert. Eventually the game evolved into an adventure/roleplaying game. We felt that prison from the inmate's perspective was something that wasn't done properly before. Thematically the biggest inspiration comes of course from HBO's Oz, but also from classic prison movies like Shawshank Redemption, Midnight Express and Escape from Alcatraz (see a pattern here?).

    Before this we have said that mechanics-wise most of the inspiration has come from classic JRPGs, but this isn't really true anymore since we moved from 1 vs 1 / ATB battle system to grid-based, tactical combat with henchmen, and there aren't many other similarities between classic JRPGs and Prisonscape. The current combat system is probably closer to Fallout, but actually most of the stuff we've come up with comes from pen and papers. This is a bold statement, but I think that AD&D 2nd edition with the Player's Option expansions is THE best combat system ever made, it just needs a lot of adjustments so that it fits in a cRPG taking place in modern prison.

    Among the non-combat skills on the stats screen, there is a skill called Literacy. I'm curious: what does it do? There's also a screenshot on your Kickstarter page that shows the main character "reading up on some high school materials" in order to raise different attributes - is Literacy connected to that? How does training and raising your skills and attributes work?

    Literacy is kind of a 'hard mode' - when you start the game, you can select your background and there's an option for being illiterate. Many of the jobs require you to be able to read and/or write, but the main story doesn't require this, and you can try playing the game through as an illiterate inmate if you want. This also limits your Intelligence score as you can't get all that knowledge that's available in the books. You can also learn to read inside the game if you start it as illiterate.

    Skills and attributes can be increased by training - the most effective method being actually using them. For example, getting into melee fights exercises your Fighting skill and trading with other inmates exercises your Haggling skill. This is the most effective way to learn, but there are others, too. After every game turn (about a week in prison) you can choose what you want to do during being locked inside your cell or at rec time. These are related to either training your attributes or skills. Attributes are better in all-around stuff, whereas training skills gives you expertise in more specific areas. You can also get trainers to boost your training by hiring them or getting them through jobs.​

    Read the full interview: RPG Codex Interview: Prisonscape
     
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  2. deamento Learned

    deamento
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    Sounds like a cool concept, I hope the kickstarter gets funded in time
     
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  3. Lhynn Arcane

    Lhynn
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    Been following this one closely, its shaping up to be a lot better than what i thought it would be at the time, definitely worth supporting.
     
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  4. tindrli Arcane

    tindrli
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    CRAP...they wont make it
     
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  5. jdinatale Arbiter

    jdinatale
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    The game looks like garbage. I wouldn't buy it if it was in a $1 bundle packaged with Bethesda games.
     
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  6. deamento Learned

    deamento
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    So you'll pirate it when it's released?
     
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  7. Unorus Janco Lurker

    Unorus Janco
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    Unfortunately that shitty edgy trailer with weeaboo graphics is probably sabotaging the game. It may look like a JRPG with too much gore, but as far as I read it features a fallout-llke combat system, game mechanics like factions and character stats governing social interaction, non-combat skills like literacy, intimidation and crafting with several skillchecks, and some C&C. It sounds pretty fucking good to me.
     
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  8. Black Arcane

    Black
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    So it's like Planescape + Prison Architect, sold.
     
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  9. Agesilaus Antiquity Studio Patron Developer

    Agesilaus
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Codex USB, 2014
    I was interested up until Black used the "P" word. Manners, people.
     
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  10. Black Arcane

    Black
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    Pizda.
     
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  11. PekkaK Heaviest Matter Developer

    PekkaK
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    Hi guys, I'm the designer of the Prisonscape, so if you have any questions regarding mechanics, story, etc. just ask.

    We haven't forgotten you! Are you still interested in alpha testing?
     
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  12. Lhynn Arcane

    Lhynn
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    Aye, i am. PM me with details.
     
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  13. Agesilaus Antiquity Studio Patron Developer

    Agesilaus
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Codex USB, 2014
    How did you go about researching the American prison system? How much will the legal system as a whole fit in? With skills like literacy, are we going to see jailhouse lawyers and people trying to win the game by succeeding on appeal?
     
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  14. curry Arcane

    curry
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    There's very slim chance they will reach their KS goal. Should have set a $20k goal instead.
     
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  15. PekkaK Heaviest Matter Developer

    PekkaK
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    Watching documentaries, prison reality TV, movies, TV series, reading books, interviewing few ex-inmates and CO's, reading blogs and stories...

    Yeah it's not gonna happen, and we have already started introducing Paypal pre-order option: http://www.prisonscape.com/preorder.htm
     
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  16. GlutenBurger Arbiter

    GlutenBurger
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    This sort of mindset is why I'm reluctant to ever touch anything on Kickstarter again. The goal's supposed to be how much you think you need, not how much you think you can get.
     
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  17. PekkaK Heaviest Matter Developer

    PekkaK
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    I don't if that's the correct term, but TV shows which show prison life, do interviews, etc.

    I think we argued our goal quite well in the KS campaign, in the budget section.


    We recently got a very valuable resource, when 'Garland', who's ex-con contacted us and wanted to help with the game. He tells these great stories and information about prison, and we started collecting this on our forum. Check the thread here:

    http://forum.prisonscape.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3
     
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