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Interview Colony Ship Interview at RPGWatch

Infinitron

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Tags: Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

After the release of the Colony Ship combat beta last week, RPGWatch decided to ask Vault Dweller a few questions about the game. It's an interview that reads more like a defense of The Age of Decadence at times, with many questions inquiring as to the differences between it and Colony Ship. Here are some of the more informative bits:

RPGWatch: Now that introductions are out of the way, please tell us a bit of the Colony Ship RPG. What is the background of the game ? How will it play ? Mechanically, is the game Age of Decadence in space ? How will players move from location to location in this new game ? How will exploration work ?

It's a generation ship game, meaning a colony ship traveling at sub-light speed, the voyage taking centuries (and many generations of the would-be colonists). Naturally, the game would be boring if everything went according to plan and everyone knew their place, so a mutiny brings in much needed chaos, destroys the old order and half the ship in the process, and creates three main factions plus a score of smaller groups.

While Colony Ship is based on the same design principles as AoD, I wouldn't call it AoD in space as the differences are fairly significant: party instead of single character, turn-based stealth instead of text-adventure, learn by using instead of point-buy, stronger focus on exploration and secondary locations, etc.

As for the travel system, you'd have to reach each new location 'manually' since they are all interconnected. You start the game in a container town sitting in one of the cargo holds. You'll be able to explore the locations surrounding the cargo hold, although you won't get far without better gear and skills. If you want to get to the Habitat (a mega 'building' housing the three main factions), you need to cross the Factory (industrial decks between the cargo hold and the Habitat). Crossing such locations will always be a challenge, so you won't be able to simply run for the exit.

Once you've reached a location, you'd be able to fast-travel there.

RPGWatch: Where do you see the roadmap to completion for the Colony Ship RPG?

Now that the character and combat systems are done, we can finally focus on the content and the stealth system. Our goal is to hit Early Access by the end of the year. Then we'll need another year to do the rest, so the end of 2021 sounds fairly realistic right now.

RPGWatch: These next few questions may be a bit harder for you to answer. Many praised Age of Decadence for the different ways for the story to unfold as well as lasting and meaningful choices (e.g. the entire destruction of a city). The game was heavily stat-dependent and whilst playing a jack-of-all-trades was possible, it was certainly the most difficult method. Backgrounds had a very large impact on your storyline throughout the game and made it so playing through the game a few times was necessary to appreciate the content of the game. Will the Colony Ship RPG be similar in nature ? What are you planning to keep the same and what are you definitely changing?

As I mentioned earlier, the overall design remains the same:

Role-playing requires choices, choices require consequences, otherwise it hardly matters what you choose. Your character's stats and skills should determine what your character can and cannot do, which means you won't be able to do everything. To be good at many things should be harder (but also more rewarding) than to be good at one thing (specialization). This won't change, ever.

The backgrounds are gone as they weren't really necessary (beyond the different roles in the intro quest). You could have just as easily joined a faction and followed its storyline to the end, which you'd still be able to do in Chapter 2, when you reach the Habitat.

RPGWatch: Age of Decadence had many secret lore elements which were very difficult for some and almost impossible for others to decipher without some meta-gaming. For example, some players did not understand what to do with many of the 'ancient artefacts' such as the Eye implant. There are different schools of thought here, whereby one thinks that the player character's skills should be the decisive factor in understanding how to use items. For example, if a character had a lore of 10 (the maximum), they should automatically be able to decipher what should be done with the artefacts. Other players find triumph in finding these solutions on their own merit. Where do you stand on this and will the Colony Ship RPG be more or less reliant on the player or character?

Since role-playing is about playing a specific character, the player defines the character via stats, skills, and choices, and issues commands (attack this enemy, attempt to extract an implant, to fix a generator, to hack a computer, etc) and the character does the rest. So if the player decided that the character doesn't need to worry about the ancient trinkets, then the character would be utterly clueless:

[lore failure]You carefully insert the jellyfish artefact into the slot and a low humming sound begins nearby. A row of miniature ghosts leap up from the console. Your teeth rattle in terror as they bow and gesticulate, appearing to beseech your help. One by one, they start bleeding, until they've turned crimson. You don't need to be a loremaster to know the ship is cursed.

You step back, one hand on your weapon, never taking your eyes off the haunted ship, until you've escaped the chamber.

While Colony Ship won't have any ancient artefacts, plus the Ship's inhabitants haven't lost any knowledge (i.e. there's no regression), there will be plenty of 'secrets' and things that are not immediately obvious that would require certain skills to understand. To give you a quick analogy, plenty of gamers are tech-savvy enough to build their own computers and maybe even do some programming. Would this knowledge help you repair and reprogram a reactor? Of course not. You'd gaze upon it with the same dumb look on your face as a novice who's never seen a computer before. Sure, unlike the novice you'd know it's a reactor (duh!) but that would be the extent of your knowledge.
If you'd like to see Vault Dweller smack down the popamole yet again or just want to learn what his favorite pizza topping is, read the whole thing there.
 

MRY

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This is the best exchange and I've bolded the best line:

I've always felt that difficulty should be integrated into the setting. Heroic fantasy calls for a mighty hero, He of the Oversized Sword. In such games you're filled to the brim with the Power of Awesome waiting to be unleashed.

If the setting is a bit gloomier, the sword is a bit smaller, and the only power you're filled with is that of unwarranted arrogance, well, maybe you shouldn't get into fights unless your character is built for war and you, the player, is willing to take some time to learn the combat system and become a True Hero who's earned his or her chops. Just a thought.

For the record, we did try difficulty modes in Dungeon Rats since it was just a combat game and didn't have much setting to speak of. Sadly, it didn't really work out the way we expected. Most people who complained about the difficulty played on Hard and didn't want to lower the difficulty. One person said it would be humiliating [for such a great warrior] to play on Easy. He wanted to beat the game on Hard but he wanted it to be easy. Quite a conundrum.
 

MRY

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By the way, it would be really great to have multiple difficulty levels all called "Hard" but with different descriptions. "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have 25% less health and experience rewards are 25% greater." "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have half their usual health, experience rewards are doubled, and player-character attacks that would otherwise miss always at least graze their target."
 

Got bored and left

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By the way, it would be really great to have multiple difficulty levels all called "Hard" but with different descriptions. "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have 25% less health and experience rewards are 25% greater." "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have half their usual health, experience rewards are doubled, and player-character attacks that would otherwise miss always at least graze their target."

Hard --> Harder --> Harderer --> Hardest --> Hardestest.
 

Murk

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What about going the opposite way? Just switch the labels so Easy actually has all the hard-mode settings and 'Hard' is basically game-journalist level.
 

baud

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What about going the opposite way? Just switch the labels so Easy actually has all the hard-mode settings and 'Hard' is basically game-journalist level.

It'd be a bad experience for those who are honest with themselves and go for easy. Or select easy because "they play for the story"
 

Fenix

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By the way, it would be really great to have multiple difficulty levels all called "Hard" but with different descriptions. "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have 25% less health and experience rewards are 25% greater." "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have half their usual health, experience rewards are doubled, and player-character attacks that would otherwise miss always at least graze their target."

That's just pure gold. I would pay to see that.
 

Calm

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By the way, it would be really great to have multiple difficulty levels all called "Hard" but with different descriptions. "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have 25% less health and experience rewards are 25% greater." "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have half their usual health, experience rewards are doubled, and player-character attacks that would otherwise miss always at least graze their target."

Hard --> Harder --> Harderer --> Hardest --> Hardestest.

Reminds me of that trivia about astronauts and ‘condom’ sizes.
 

Dragon

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I really hope there will be some kind of "difficulty" settings. For me, it's what opens up the game to experimentation, role-playing and enjoyment.

I finished Age of Decadence a first time, and it was great but felt nearly more like a "puzzle"-game than an RPG. Then I installed a "double-XP" mod (thank you ! to the person who made it) and got 200h hours more of pure enjoyment out of this brilliant (but overly constrained) game.

And it was the same with Pillars of Eternity : finished it once, meh, ok. Lowered the difficulty setting and played with so many different solo character builds for 300h hours more.
 

Black Angel

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I really hope there will be some kind of "difficulty" settings. For me, it's what opens up the game to experimentation, role-playing and enjoyment.
Any game with its content properly paced, arranged, and designed accordingly to its genre, and especially properly made RPGs would automatically be open to experimentation, without a need for difficulty modes.

I finished Age of Decadence a first time, and it was great but felt nearly more like a "puzzle"-game than an RPG. Then I installed a "double-XP" mod (thank you ! to the person who made it) and got 200h hours more of pure enjoyment out of this brilliant (but overly constrained) game.
Git gud, scrub.
 

Trashos

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Not a bad interview, not bad at all. I dare say that it is of RPGCodex quality, in the sense that the interviewer asked the hard questions instead of sucking dick.

By the way, it would be really great to have multiple difficulty levels all called "Hard" but with different descriptions. "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have 25% less health and experience rewards are 25% greater." "In this version of Hard difficulty, enemies have half their usual health, experience rewards are doubled, and player-character attacks that would otherwise miss always at least graze their target."

I do not think that giving higher rewards in higher difficulties makes sense. It is supposed to be tough, and giving higher rewards beats the purpose. Playing higher difficulties is its own reward, and some proof is the fact that many players feel too insulted to play lower difficulties.
 

Deleted Member 22431

Guest
What about going the opposite way? Just switch the labels so Easy actually has all the hard-mode settings and 'Hard' is basically game-journalist level.

It'd be a bad experience for those who are honest with themselves and go for easy. Or select easy because "they play for the story"
Difficulty levels should never exist in the first place.

Think about this in any other medium and you say how stupid it is. Hey, guys, are you reading Kant easy retard edition?

It's decline.
 

Deleted Member 22431

Guest
It's been 17 years. Are you sure he hasn't been getting too old?
images
 

Deleted Member 22431

Guest
Why are you so insecure when someone bring up age jokes on the Codex, bro?
I'm not and I'm not that old, but it must be the second time in a week that you tried to explain something based on old age. Aren't you too obsessed about this topic?
 

Black Angel

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Why are you so insecure when someone bring up age jokes on the Codex, bro?
I'm not and I'm not that old, but it must be the second time in a week that you tried to explain something based on old age. Aren't you too obsessed about this topic?
Did you took me seriously on both occasions? In fact, I think it was you who're too obsessed with the idea of maybe, just MAYBE, someone's getting too old for a shit.
 

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