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Vapourware Codexian Game Development Thread

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by 20 Eyes, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Basically every retrospective I've read from an indie developer was they wish they paid more attention to marketing and/or had someone doing marketing for them.
    It has been years now since Steam alone was enough marketing by itself.
     
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  2. Tavernking Don't believe his lies Patron Developer

    Tavernking
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    So in your opinion, Iron Tower Studio should have started working on a slightly improved Age of Decadence 2, using the same engine, rather than starting over with a brand new engine, new shiny graphics and a new IP that is Colony Ship? Because if so I think you're right, would have a much greater chance of success.
     
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  3. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    They made Dungeon Rats, which is effectively the same thing.
     
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  4. Tavernking Don't believe his lies Patron Developer

    Tavernking
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    Not really, Dungeon Rats never interested me because it was purely combat-focused.
     
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  5. Zanzoken Arcane

    Zanzoken
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    Ideally yes. In Iron Tower's case specifically, I'm not sure. If you look back through VD's business updates over the years, he talks pretty extensively about this, and why they chose to move on from the AoD universe to something new.

    2018: http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7530.0.html
    2019: http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7753.0.html
    2020: http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7822.0.html
    2021: http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7938.0.html

    I think in many ways, the transition from AoD to CS reflects their studio's transition from rank amateurs to professional developers. AoD was a pipe dream that took 10 years, and only by some miracle or sheer force of will was it finally finished. It ended up being a pretty great game, but at the same time, I can see how it wasn't the kind of foundation (either technically or thematically) that the team felt they could build on.

    But with Colony Ship, you can see how ITS are taking what they learned and adopting a more structured approach. The work they have done on CS over the past few years will no doubt play a significant role in shaping their next 2 or 3 games too.

    Also, something I noticed from the most recent update that I had overlooked before.

    Every time you release something new, your old stuff benefits from a boost in attention, so you get paid twice. Yet another reason to build up your catalog as much as you can, and ride that long tail.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  6. infidel StarInfidel Developer

    infidel
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    Strap Yourselves In
    Hello, everyone.

    Recently I've started working on a new project that will slow burn for some time before all the fundamentals will be set. But in the interest of keeping a log of development and, perhaps, raising some curiousity I'll make the prototype available right from the start.

    The project is called LaPopie for now and it's a text-based fantasy RPG/adventure hybrid using as much of OSRIC ruleset (cleaned up AD&D 1e) as possible necessary set in a fake 13th century France where you play as a cleric (for now). Why AD&D 1e? Well, oldschool is cool, obviously, but 1e specifically occupies that sweet spot between OD&D and 2e. It has a good amount of class identity (OD&D doesn't even have separate hit dice for different classes, for example) and variety while staying relatively simple and abstract. They proceeded to expand the rules greatly in 2e which resulted in a lot of pages of detailed stuff that is not necessary in my opinion for a good RPG experience. Plus there's a ton of well-known and revered 2e games already which I have no desire to compete with.

    Two things stand out for me in 1e. One is the distinct lack of skill/skill checks (which promotes role-playing in the original) and this is where the adventure part will probably take place. The other one is abstract group-based combat that fits amazingly well into a text-only representation giving some tactical depth but not requiring a full grid-based display.

    So what's available in the first prototype? Firstly, there's character generation with some variants. You will only generate a single character - yours. The game features party-based combat, of course, but instead of a full party, you're operating with D&D henchmen. They have free will and loyalty (not implemented yet), you can shout commands to them in combat (not yet) but whether they'll obey is another question. Secondly, there's combat that starts after a short amount of time passes. Most of the combat actions from the ruleset are done (hint, use help command during the combat) with the exception of cover, fleeing and spells. The AI is simplistic and will be expanded. The implemented battle is somewhat simple tactically but as is the norm for D&D, is pretty deadly for 1st level characters.

    There are a couple of home-rules already: parry gives -2 AC bonus on top of STR to hit bonus (the original rule makes parry mostly useless except for top-tier fighters) and slings are allowed for clerics (to expand combat options).

    Here's the link:
    https://www.in-fi-del.net/lapopie-dev/

    Hope you'll like it!
     
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  7. Bad Sector Arcane Patron

    Bad Sector
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    Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex
    So, i decided to try itch.io's tax interview (well, it isn't itch.io's specifically, AFAIK Valve uses the same thing) and it turns out i do not have to register a company for itch.io to give me money, or at least their system didn't say anything like that. They do withhold 30% for US taxes from US purchases, at least unless i request/submit some form from (US) IRS, but for now i do not want to bother with that stuff.

    As a test i changed the Post Apocalyptic Petra to "donation mode" so it asks for $2 or whatever when you download the files. I think this also creates a special download page (even for $0) which is something i haven't seen with the free setup - not sure how useful that is though, perhaps it might be useful if someone goes through the library (i get a similar page from games i've bought on itch).

    Now let's hope the tax office wont tear me a new one :-P
     
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  8. infidel StarInfidel Developer

    infidel
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    Congrats :) I've been doing these tax forms on and on for some time since I'm trying to sell royalty-free music and it looks like they all have a "personal" option. And that 30% number is reduced significantly if you're not in US and your country has a tax treaty with US.

    What I love about itch apart from the dev-related stuff being sensibly designed and easy to use is how quickly your stuff goes up, pretty much instantly. Whether you'll get a significant amount of sales there, that I can't promise. In comparison, Unity Asset Store submission process slowed down significantly, it's as if the people that are doing it are burning out and they have to shoot them. A couple of months ago it was around 30 days, and now it's close to 60 and I'm still 200th in line, judging by the speed, their staff now consists of a single person :D.


    While I'm here, here's some shilling interesting to anyone wanting to release on Steam:


    I've got at least three things out of it. One is don't screenshot the same thing over and over, people read it as the sign that you don't have anything else to show. Do a variety. Two is screenshot with UI on, in fact, it's way better to show off all UI you have in the game in screenshots, Steam customers love it and look for it to gauge game depth at a glance. Three is add art and GIFs to you game description. According to him, it all results in more wishlists (the main metric to gauge the impact of changes). I intend to follow all three :)
     
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  9. Bad Sector Arcane Patron

    Bad Sector
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    Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex
    Yeah it has, but that is the form stuff i mentioned that i do not want to bother with at the moment :-P.

    Well, the game is still free and has been there for more than a year. It only has ~30 visits and ~3-4 downloads per day (though since there are a ton of files and i'm not sure if itch.io counts each file separately it might just be one person downloading a bunch of files), so i do not expect more than a handful of donations, if any. But i am mainly trying to see how things work with itch.io before i mess with any game i might want to sell.

    Yeah i always wondered WTH all those people (3379 employees according to wikipedia) do at Unity Technologies :-P
     
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  10. Bad Sector Arcane Patron

    Bad Sector
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    Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex
    In other news, i added a benchmark flyby sequence in Post Apocalyptic Petra:



    It can be useful to benchmark different backends/versions, especially if i decide to add more. As an example i did notice that the OpenGL backend is quite slower than the Direct3D backend in my Pentium III's Voodoo 3 and the DOS version is the fastest among the software rasterized versions on the same machine.
     
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  11. infidel StarInfidel Developer

    infidel
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    They do, and you can see the download numbers for each one on the edit project page:
    upload_2021-9-27_20-6-43.png
    Oof, almost two years since the last release, I really need to get back to it
     
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  12. JamesDixon Arcane Patron

    JamesDixon
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    I guess I shouldn't mention that AD&D 1E did have skills and skill checks. Weapon proficiencies appeared in Unearthed Arcana. Nonweapon Proficiencies appeared in the Wilderness Survival Guide and Dungeoneers Survival Guide.

    As for grid based combat, DMG gives the entire movement etc... for combat in inches with 1 inch equaling 10 feet for indoors and 10 yards for outdoors. Page 95 gives an example of a sample dungeon that is laid out on grid paper with the notation that 1 square equals 10 feet. This is further reinforced with Appendix A and the random dungeon creation. That also uses the same 1 square equals 10 feet.

    We did use miniatures and used this scale when we played AD&D 1E. We also used a battlemat with a square grid on it.
     
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  13. infidel StarInfidel Developer

    infidel
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    Yes, I know that. The latter two are on my to-read list to see how much useful stuff I can pull from there. I was talking about the base rules, and technically, mostly about OSRIC, I look into DMG/PHB only occasionally. My approach is to check the OSRIC book, and if it's not there, then I'll need a very good reason to use it. In the case of wilderness, I have some understanding of what I want in the game, but dungeons are way less thought through.

    About the inches, I do use these, there is distance between groups in the game. They're all always on an imaginary line, so to speak. You could say the combat is one-dimensional, hehehehe.
     
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  14. JamesDixon Arcane Patron

    JamesDixon
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    You specifically stated AD&D 1E not OSRIC which has a different set of rules. They aren't concisely accurate to the source material either.
     
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  15. infidel StarInfidel Developer

    infidel
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    Well, well, well. Looks like now I'm not only a musician but also an aspiring sound designer :smug:. Spent half a day doing that.
    Show Spoiler

    upload_2021-9-30_1-3-40.png


    The other half was spent doing other sounds for Evil Cult. Turns out my DAW of choice, Reaper, is pretty handy for sound design (I think they want to get into video editing lol). It even has mass export! When I did sounds for Parasite two years ago, I did it all in Audacity, and it was a garbage process. FX is mostly Neutron with Ozone on master bus, with some delays/reverbs here and there.
    Show Spoiler

    upload_2021-9-30_1-5-32.png
     
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  16. Bad Sector Arcane Patron

    Bad Sector
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    Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex
    I need to get into sound stuff, aside from making some very basic sound effects by mixing and filtering random crap together i can't do much :-P

    In other news, i worked on Little Immersive Engine a bit and implemented in-viewport picking and object manipulation:



    It kinda begins to look like one of those professional engines people talk about.
     
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  17. TheDeveloperDude Educated

    TheDeveloperDude
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    You can choose the name and color of your empire.
     
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  18. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Patron Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    [​IMG]
    I'm making a new game in the Himeko Sutori engine. I'm still calling it Septaroad Voyager (a play on Octopath Traveler), but I'll probably change the name. The main concept, the Tactic system, is similar to Final Fantasy XII's Gambit system where you give your party members a sort of program to follow, but I'm going to give the characters a bunch of abilities that interact, sort of like Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft. So one type of attack might give a status effect that will give a bonus to a different attack, possibly from a different character class, and you'll want to set up your tactics accordingly.

    Here you see 4 characters (out of a maximum of 7) fighting a slime. Nothing here is faked. HP bars, damage popups (not shown), attack timers, attack animations, controller input, k&m input, equipment, skill unlocks, character classes, tactic management, and potions are all working. And I'm trying to polish things up really well as I go (as opposed to the original Himeko Sutori approach where I left things barely functional and tried to come back to them later). The HP bars here are really dominating the scene and it's hard to see what's going on behind them. I based them on the FFXII health bars, where fewer characters take up a larger portion of the screen. I think I'll need to take a look at health bars from RTS and MOBA games instead.
     
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  19. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    How about making them vertical rather than horizontal?
     
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  20. Tavernking Don't believe his lies Patron Developer

    Tavernking
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    Or try making them somewhat transparent.
     
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  21. AdolfSatan Magister

    AdolfSatan
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    Make them 1/4 of their length, place them above the heads, and display numeric info on mouse over. Set them to 65% opacity when they're not on the active character.

    Why are you showing HP twice anyway? You've got the bars and numbers on the top right.
    If it's about ease of parsing in the battlefield, then may try using a color overlay on the sprites, with them getting more red as HP decreases.
    If you do this, give the HP numbers on the top bar the same treatment for the sake of consistency.

    By the way, any more updates or patches planned on HS? I've been holding out on buying and playing until the usual post-release fixes got in place.
     
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  22. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Patron Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    I definitely need to make them smaller. I don't know about the mouseover info though. I'm trying to design the game with controllers in mind; people like playing their JRPGs with controllers more than I thought they would. As for showing the information twice, I was thinking I would have an at-a-glance way to inform the player without taking his eyes off the action, but then provide more information off to the side. I don't really like the information panels though, and I'm going to redo those too.

    That's a good idea. The sprites already change color when getting healed or damaged. And they'll kneel down when they're at critical HP. I have a plan for the petrification status effect that will completely desaturate the characters and multiply or lerp a color over that. It wouldn't be too hard to tweak that effect to show other information.

    I haven't really been doing much work on the base game of Himeko Sutori lately. But up until a few months ago, I was making tons of patches and fixes to Himeko Sutori. Details: https://steamcommunity.com/app/669500/allnews/

    If you want to give the game a try, what you play now is probably not going to change much in the future. If you want to wait for a sale, Himeko Sutori will be discounted during the autumn sale, but not the Halloween sale.
     
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  23. Nathaniel3W Rockwell Studios Patron Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    I was trying to think of a game that had vertical health bars and I remembered Myth: The Fallen Lords. That was such a good game.
    [​IMG]
    It's amazing what a great game that was, especially considering the hardware limitations of the time.

    I wonder why more games don't have vertical health bars. I'm kind of reluctant to make a vertical health bar, but not for any logical reason. I just don't want to stray away from UI convention. And if everyone else uses horizontal health bars, I assume there's a reason why, even if I have no idea what that reason could be.
     
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  24. AdolfSatan Magister

    AdolfSatan
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    Darklands had vertical bars too.

    Lots of UI conventions nowadays are carryovers that should have been dropped or adapted to modern mediums but haven't because designers are afraid of breaking with the tradition. There's no real reason for them being the way they are.
    Whenever you as a user feel a feature is iffy or annoying, it's more likely that the fault is in poor design rather than on you.

    Being an indie dev you have the luxury of not having to answer to higher ups for breaking norms, might as well profit from it. There's always the betas to see how players react to changes anyway.
     
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  25. Bad Sector Arcane Patron

    Bad Sector
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    My guess is that it has to do with ease of reading (as in parsing the image) horizontally vs vertically. In general it is easier for the eyes to read horizontally than vertically. AFAIK why that happens isn't known (according to this test where Japanese people asked to read text both horizontally and vertically they found that the eyes make pretty much the same motion either way but the subjects confirmed that they found horizontal text easier to read). But since it happens a horizontal bar can be easier to quickly read with a glimpse than a vertical one, which can be especially important for UI elements you aren't focusing on but still want to keep in mind.
     
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