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Expansion Talk

Discussion in 'Titan Outpost' started by MF, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    So. The game has been getting some traction, which is awesome. Thanks everyone here for the support. It's still not much, but especially wishlist numbers are getting up there.

    It's finally reached a state where most of my time isn't spent on patching it.

    The pandemic has put an abrupt halt to all my other activities as well, so it's time for some expansion talk.
    Hydrodam.png
    I had an expansion planned since the beginning, focusing on the Shangri-La and South Pole areas and with some more activity in space. In between patching I already finished two locations -one where you get to drive the rover manually for a bit-, a character and some items for it. Above picture is a hydrodam facility that the Chinese were building but abandoned. Apart from a side story and related quests, it will also have new research, buildables and some new perks. I kept a questline open for it so it's a mid-game expansion. I've always been on the fence about mid-game expansions, though.

    On the one hand it encourages replayability, on the other hand it might as well not exist for the group that play games only once, which is a majority. For those who'll play it for the first time, it may as well be part of the base game.

    My alternate plan was having an 'opposing force' story vignette with a character that starts off in the Chinese base, which is an interesting idea that I might execute on regardless, but ultimately poses the same problem.

    Right now I'm leaning towards limiting this expansion content in scope and just adding it to the base game. There's no way to monetize that, but it seems to make more sense. The game is already pretty heavy on content, but it's spread out across different branches and game-time so I think it could do with some more.

    What's your view on mid-game expansions in general? Do you think Titan Outpost could do with more mid/late game content?

    PS I also have ideas for other games in various stages of planning and one of them is looking promising. It's future talk, but more on that later when I have something cool to show off.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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  2. The Wall Erudite

    The Wall
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    Sold! I personally love mid-game expansions for games I love. They are commercially risky, but I came up with solution how to minimize that risk. Can I call you Amsterdam Styg*? I can sense passion flowing through your veins! Yes, Incline is strong with this one! BTW: what are your favourite game genres & settings, which might or might not imply how your future games will look & play


    *Maker of Underrail
     
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  3. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    I'd consider 'Amsterdam Styg' an honor. Love Underrail.

    Thanks. What solution is that?

    Underrail: Expedition was the only game I really got to play last year being busy with the release and all. I had fun replaying Underrail again with the new content and Jetskis, but when I got back to the main game after finishing the expansion I didn't want to slog through the Deep Caverns again. I liked how the Oculus guys responded to the Expedition story, but it didn't seem like the AcoRN would have any bearing on Tchort and DC is such a grind. I'll never forget the Abyssal Station, though. That was really fucking good. I had a great time with Expedition, but I can't help but wonder if I would have liked it more if it had been a standalone experience.

    My favorite game genres with my favorite examples:

    • RPGs - A bit reduntant, given where we are. Fallout 1, Arcanum, Betrayal at Krondor, Age of Decadence, Underrail, Geneforge, Prelude to Darkness, Albion. Not fond of first person RPGs in general, but I liked Strife, System Shock, New Vegas and Morrowind. Same goes for blobbers. I could go on and on, but I won't.
    • Tactical Combat - Jagged Alliance 2, Silent Storm, X-Com. Sort of like NuXCom but it's a step down. I like Hard West's deterministic system but after a while I got neurotic urges to optimise play and it ruined the fun.
    • 4X - Alpha Centauri, Masters Of Orion, Wesnoth, Age of Wonders
    • Privateering games - Pirates! Gold, Escape Velocity Nova, Mount & Blade
    • Adventure games - Dune, Zak McCracken, Space Quest IV, King's Quest VI, Full Throttle, The Dig, Quest for Glory, Beneath a Steel Sky, Primordia, Machinima
    • RTS - I've played about one game of competitive Age of Empires II a week since 1999. Make of that what you will. I don't play any other RTS though.
    • Games that I can't label - King of Dragon Pass, Thief, Faster than Light, Star Control 2, Little Big Adventure 1, Traffic Department 2192 (game sucked, but its story is pulp sci-fi gold)
    I used to play FPS games, but they got too linear, slow and boring for me at some point. There's a bunch more games I played and may have considered a favorite at some point that I didn't mention, but I've played a lot, especially when I was a kid. I also occasionally play P&P RPGs and some tabletop Battletech with my cousin.

    That cast such a wide net that it probably won't tell you anything. I'll be specific about future games when I post about them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020
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  4. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    Add more commie killing
     
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  5. Black Angel Arcane

    Black Angel
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    Underrail: Expedition's greatest failings are all the bad things in DC was turned up to eleven, without giving even the slightest momentary respite that DC has. In DC, you can quickly get swarmed by Tchortlings, but even without stealth you can rush to nearest hatch or the maps unaffected by Tchort. No similar solution whatsoever in the Black Sea other than maneuvering the maps to enter from the other side.

    Another one is that other than the pirates content, the Black Sea doesn't have much connection to the base game. They could've make this an opportunity to add more content to the base game that ties into the Black Sea. Very rough example, the Expedition are resupplying in Core City, so it has always makes me wonder why the Oligarchs not taking even the slightest interest on what's going on in the dreaded Black Sea, especially now that you took part in the Expedition.

    I'll admit that Expedition is my first proper midgame expansion experience ever where the balance of the game was unbroken unlike New Vegas, but that's the rough analysis I can give after experiencing it once. And unfortunately I haven't yet the chance to play Titan Outpost because I doubt my pitiful ancient piece of laptop can run it properly, but my only suggestion for you if you decided to make midgame content is to properly ties it into the base game while keeping it fresh as its own thing. The Black Sea greatly captivated me but upon finding out all the bad things, of DC no less, was all over the place the spell was broken. But thanks to Abyssal Station Zero, probably the one time Styg and co do some endgame content exquisitely, it was all fine in the end.
     
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  6. AdolfSatan Erudite

    AdolfSatan
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    Never liked midgame expansions myself. Only reason I haven't started another rum yet is because my laptop's integrated gpu can barely run it and it gets frustrating, but I haven't felt at any time the game to be short on replayability.
    Personally I'd love to see something on the side, more like a standalone than a proper expansion.
     
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  7. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    You can already kill them all. I'd have to add more commies!

    I read your post and thought : "No, it wasn't nearly as bad." Then I remembered the locusts. Fuck those things.

    Tying it into the base game shouldn't be a problem because I thought ahead and left a line open for it. Making it its 'own thing' though is what I'm unsure of.

    Even at low res and 'fastest' settings?

    Something on the side. Noted.
     
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  8. AdolfSatan Erudite

    AdolfSatan
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    Yeap, for reference I was the guy emailing you about crashes early on, and who later sent you the file with the bug with the drones that messed up the passing of time.

    In case I didn't mention it back then, my specs are: i7/16gb RAM/intel hd 520
    I don't think there's much optimizin' you can do to help it, the gpu is crap.
     
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  9. Black Angel Arcane

    Black Angel
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    Underrail's Black Sea is an example of its own thing. It's basically DC 2.0, but bigger, but unfortunately not better because of the aforementioned failings and many other stuff that has been criticized. Its only ties to the base game is the pirates content of which not much people are going to see because they're pissed off with the encounter design the first time they experience it.

    Wish you all the luck and the best for your future endeavor, sir :salute:
     
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  10. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    And he wept because there were no more communists to physically remove.
     
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  11. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    I realized that when you made the 'this fucking game' thread ;) Thanks for being awesome.

    Well, you do get to...
    Show Spoiler
    Let's just say the Chinese get to have their own dissident faction.
     
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  12. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    My best friend in middle school and I played that game together and were shocked because its weird control scheme was a "tell" that it was made in Turbo Pascal using a library called SPX (the demo game used identical controls for similar gameplay). It's such a weird game -- and there's quite a lot of interesting backstory to its development. Years ago I came across a guy who was remaking it. It's a strange title to have developed such a loyal following, but there just weren't that many games back then. (And, unlike Solar Winds, the sequel episodes were not complete crap compared to the shareware freebie.)

    Take this tidbit from Wikipedia: "Over the years the series has developed a small dedicated fan base that has produced Lego models of the various "skids" in the series.[4][5]"
     
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  13. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    Yes, I remember the strange lack of angular drag in the controls. I was similarly shocked when I learned that Age of Wonders I & II were written in Pascal. I used to think it was C with training wheels back when I gave a damn about what language I used.

    Those lego models. Wow. TD left such a strange but lasting impression on me. Velasquez was an interesting character to begin with and her arc is so insane and over the top. When they introduced the Dr. Ramses clones, the story should have fallen apart, but it held together somehow. I remember the Stringray, the Hornet, the Vulture MkII and III. The helicopter crash. I also remember wanting to blaze through the repetitive gameplay to get to the next cutscene.

    The remake is vapourware, I take it? I found this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jq12zyxOe5g Shame that got abandoned. It's probably not hard to improve as all the heavy lifting is done by the script.

    Looking at the wiki, I see the writer is Christopher Perkins. It links to the profile of WOTC's Chris Perkins, but I'm not sure if that's the same guy.
     
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  14. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Yes, vaporware, alas.
     
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  15. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    You up for a match? :M
     
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  16. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Yeah, fuck the swamps in particular, or whatever that area was called. First time I encountered those insect-spawning hives I thought they were only in that one research facility area. A unique enemy located in and around one dungeon. Boy, was I wrong.

    Styg has a huge talent for designing enemies that really get on your nerves.
     
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  17. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    Definitely. Still, Underrail is great.
    Sure.
     
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  18. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    Quick update on the expansion:

    I've condensed everything into a content expansion that will be added to the core game free of charge.

    It features one major new sidequest that ties together some of the threads left open while not over-scoping. It's a couple of hours of extra content. It was a lot of work to develop even in its condensed form because of all the reactivity with the rest of the game, but it's almost done, together with the latest fixes and optimizations.

    A new major character joins the cast, who is the only NPC in the game with 10 INT.
    Show Spoiler
    Hiding out in Shangri-La in a scuttled Chinese truck.
    He likes to talk and he is a shameless exposition vehicle, but you can tell him to shut up. I lamp-shaded this narrative crutch by making him aware of his tendency to ramble on. It started out as a way of cramming some of the content of the full-blown expansion I had planned into a tighter scope, but it turned into something cool that fits the character I had in mind. Here he is, shrouded in darkness:

    [​IMG]

    The ending of the new sidequest has a few moments that encapsulate some out-there ideas that I had in one wild ride. I think it's pretty rewarding once you get to that point. During the first stage of the new quest you get to drive the rover manually for a bit:

    [​IMG]

    These may not be the most captivating screenshots, but I didn't want to put them behind spoiler warnings.

    Two new locations with new music tracks. A new base module related to this quest has been added, a couple of new perks, new research etc.

    A lot of inconsistencies have also been addressed, and the game has been further optimized.

    I've also included some options like changing the interface text to white for people who have issues reading yellow-on-brown, mapping the hotkeys, having a small footprint toolbar etc. Interactables are much more responsive as well. I'll make another post about the interface.

    The final version will be on the test branch this weekend and I'm thinking of putting it live on the 9th of August, but that date may change.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
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  19. Skdursh Learned

    Skdursh
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    Is this ever coming to GOG? Seems like it'd be a much better fit there than a lot of the other crap they've been putting out recently so I don't really see why they'd object.
     
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  20. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    They objected because it's 'too niche', which is apparently boilerplate refusal. After the expansion content has been up for a month or two and everything has crystallized, I'm going to contact them again. Maybe this time, with some (very) modest Steam sales numbers under my belt, a wishlist on their platform and a stable version they'll change their mind about it. Still not holding my breath, but it's worth a shot.

    I'll be focusing my efforts on developing a new game, however, as well as trying to get the word out more for Titan Outpost.
     
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  21. MF The Boar Studio Patron Developer

    MF
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    Latest version is live on the public test branch right now. Just select the 'test' beta branch on Steam to get access, there is no password.
     
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