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Hello again... from Zero Sum

Discussion in 'Prelude To Darkness' started by CP, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. CP Liturgist

    CP
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    110
    Hey all. I wanted to officially confirm that we are re-releasing <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zero-sum.com">Prelude to Darkness</A> as freeware this December. Since we released the first version of Prelude in 2002, RPGCodex has been a true ally, helping us to get the game more exposure than we could have imagined. Our decision to re-release was due in large part to the overwhelming support we recieved through Codex postings and emails. So, before I do anything, I want to thank The Codex and it's posters for all of your support!

    With the re-release of Prelude, we want to 1) get the game into lots of new hands and 2) make sure that those who have already played the game will have plenty of reason to re-visit it. Once we decided to re-release, the first thing I did was to go back and read through all of the the postings/emails we recieved. It was pretty clear where people felt Prelude's strengths lay, and where it could use improvement.

    The biggest gripes that people had about Prelude were its stability, graphic interface, and music. Here is what we are doing to reconcile these issues:

    1) Stability.
    - Right now there are a lot of buggy old versions running around. When the time comes, we will make sure that there is only one version of the game
    - All script (people, events, etc.) have been thoroughly parsed, ref checked, and tested. (No easy task with 90,000+ lines of dialogue and event script hehe)
    - Improved error handling (e.g. less crashes)

    2) Graphic Interface. All new user interface. More intuitive and looks much, MUCH better. (The current graphics are NOT up on our site yet).

    3) Music. All new ambient music tracks are less intrusive. I have a sentimental attachment to the old music, but I think this is much more appropriate, and absorbing.

    People's favorite things about Prelude were its dark setting, combat, quests. We are also took measures to enhance these features.

    1) Dark setting.
    - Interactive new intro and mid-game segment. Hmmm... I'd rather let you see this for yourselves :)
    - More opportunities to be evil. Given the nature of the main quest, it doesn't really make sense that the party would be 'evil.' That said, there is certainly no reason why the party wouldn't be mercenaries or thieves, doing 'whatever is necessary' to win (or simply for the almighty drach). The game is now balanced more so that the party can do things through intimidation, extortion, theft, bribery, etc. In fact, one of my favorite times playing the game recently was as a lowlife Barrier thief, dumb brute bodygaurd and charred acolyte. Not a lick of charisma or speech between the three of them.
    - Music. The new ambient soundtracks help provide a dark, eerie feeling

    2) Combat
    - Previously unavailable items are available
    - Many more combat/spell sound effects
    - Improved spell graphics

    3) Quests.
    - The journal is cleaned up and organized by quest
    - Additional quest(s)


    Other things that we've added include:
    - Graphics upgrade. The game can be ran in 1280 by 1024, which looks A LOT better. Re-texturing has also signigicantly improved the graphics. (Again, the current graphics are NOT up on our site yet).
    - New NPC portraits
    - Playbalancing. Lots of small things (ex: having a musician is more valuable, as the amount of drachs you get for playing at inns has been upped).
    - I made a through and complete <a target="blank" href="http://www.zero-sum.com/walkthrough/walkthroughStart.html">walkthrough</A> of the games current quests available. It also gives an index of all joinable npcs, items (unique and non), creatures, etc.

    So, that's the latest. The re-release is scheduled for mid-december, but could take a bit longer. Once again, thank you for your continued support. We're all very excited, as we think the game has been improved quite substantially. If you have any comments/questions/suggestions, please feel free to post. As the people around here know, we're very responsive to any kind of feedback. Thanks.



    CP
    President, Co-Founder, Area Designer (Jerrock, The Barrier Fortress)
    Zero Sum Software
     
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  2. Naked_Lunch Erudite

    Naked_Lunch
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    5,360
    Location:
    Norway, 1967
    Can I get a "Hells yeah!"?
     
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  3. Jason chasing a bee

    Jason
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2005
    Messages:
    10,682
    Location:
    baby arm fantasy island
    It'll be nice to get a Christmas present that doesn't leave me disappointed and hollow inside. Thanks CP!
     
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  4. RobRendell Novice

    RobRendell
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    It's really cool that you're putting extra effort into the game at the same time as releasing it as freeware, rather than simply putting a keygen for the last shareware version online.

    I'm going to wait for 1.6, having only strayed into these forums recently and not knowing about PtD until now. However, once 1.6 is out, will there be a way for us late-comers to donate a contribution to you guys at Zero Sum? Or have you wound up all your money-recieving arrangements?
     
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  5. CP Liturgist

    CP
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    110
    Nope. This one's on us. Enjoy.

    If you do like the game, however, the best way you can pay us back is by spreading the word. Thanks!



    CP
     
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  6. Frau Bishop Erudite

    Frau Bishop
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Messages:
    2,146
    Location:
    Mitten im Vaterland
    Never played your game before, but .. your list sounds quite nice. So, new addict standing ready, will check it out asap next month. :D
     
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  7. dipdipdip Liturgist

    dipdipdip
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2003
    Messages:
    629
    Ditto. I'm looking forward to this.
     
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  8. Human Shield Augur

    Human Shield
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2003
    Messages:
    2,027
    Location:
    VA, USA
    Wow, sounds great. The interface is what turned me off of the game from the demo, along with a weak opening hook of "you are agents" in a town that I got lost in. Hope you guys make another RPG.
     
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  9. spacemoose Erudite

    spacemoose
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    9,632
    Location:
    california
    You are really awesome for doing this.
     
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  10. Azael Magister

    Azael
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2002
    Messages:
    4,402
    Location:
    Multikult Central South
    Wasteland 2
    Have to agree with the sentiments that you rock for doing this. Can't wait to sink my teeth into this excellent game again.
     
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  11. Trash Pointing and laughing.

    Trash
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Messages:
    29,680
    Location:
    About 8 meters beneath sea level.
    Hell yeah! Sounds wonderfull, I'm gratefull that developers keep supporting and enhancing their products. Way to go!
     
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  12. CP Liturgist

    CP
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    110
    We'd love to hear more specific details with regard to what you found problematic about the interface. We are still fiddling with it. Thanks.


    **I also wanted to add something to our upgrade list. The Valley is HUGE, and right now there's not a whole lot of benefit to wondering/exploring. I am in the process of adding unique events/encounters and other goodies to make wondering more rewarding.


    CP
     
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  13. LlamaGod Cipher

    LlamaGod
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Messages:
    3,095
    Location:
    Yes
    I can't wait until it is free because i'm a poor hobo.
     
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  14. Jed Cipher

    Jed
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,287
    Location:
    Tech Bro Hell
    I was happy to see this going freeware so others would play, but after hearing all the work you've done it'd be damn foolish not give it another go in the Valley.

    Thanks, and can't wait.
     
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  15. Elwro Arcane

    Elwro
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2002
    Messages:
    11,408
    Location:
    Krakow, Poland
    Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
    Great! I really hope you'll succeed and this release will be a new beginning...
     
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  16. chaedwards Liturgist

    chaedwards
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    London
    A most excellent development. Now it's freeware, perhaps other devs will have a look and see how to make an rpg with decent quests, interesting characters and fun combat. Yeah right.
     
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  17. Roqua Prospernaut Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space

    Roqua
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Messages:
    4,131
    Location:
    YES!
    I bought this a while ago, no patch listed for 1.6, just looks like the full download (for free).

    But I can't seem to DL. I just get an error page "page cannot be found. 404, whatever" Any suggestions? Front page says it is avialable.
     
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  18. Nicolai DUMBFUCK

    Nicolai
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2003
    Messages:
    3,219
    Location:
    Yonder
    Sounds pretty fun to me, I'll be sure to give it a twirl.
     
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  19. Naked_Lunch Erudite

    Naked_Lunch
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    5,360
    Location:
    Norway, 1967
    Yeah, that's an error. The full free version (1.6) won't be out until mid-december, hopefully sometime this week.
     
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  20. Roqua Prospernaut Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space

    Roqua
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Messages:
    4,131
    Location:
    YES!
    Thanks. I never beat it and I have some good ideas for a new party. And last time through a lot of quests were broken.
     
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  21. RGE Liturgist

    RGE
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Messages:
    773
    Location:
    Karlstad, Sweden
    I'm happy that it'll be free because until I've finished the NWN OC and played through HotU I don't really have an incentive to pay for another RPG campaign. And then there are all those free NWN modules that people say good things about, but which I've never played. But I like the impressions I've gotten of Prelude to Darkness. :)
     
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  22. LlamaGod Cipher

    LlamaGod
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Messages:
    3,095
    Location:
    Yes
    Where's the beef?
     
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  23. crpgnut Augur

    crpgnut
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    337
    Location:
    St. Louis,MO,USA
    I'm most excited about adding clutter. It'd be nice to have a reason to explore. I registered and played PTD and probably emailed Mat 15 times. The one thing that was never addressed was the completely empty terrain. There was no reason to take one step away from a quest objective. The other thing that needed some work was play balancing mages. I seem to remember that a fire mage was almost useless for quite a while. The game was solid, it just needs fleshing out.
     
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  24. Naked_Lunch Erudite

    Naked_Lunch
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    5,360
    Location:
    Norway, 1967
    Just got this email from CP:
     
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  25. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Messages:
    18,106
    Location:
    Ingrija
    I'd have to object against that statement. If anything, PtD was unique in the way it allowed to handle the mainquest wholly through the "bad guys" (ie rebellion), betraying the watcher and doing tasks in their favor. For 95% of the game. All the more disappointing was the sudden railroading in the final part, whereas it was IMHO already perfectly staged for an alternate "evil" ending. Like murdering the goddess with a dagger. But no, after helping the rebellion/demons throughout the whole game, we're suddenly treated with a choice between forced gameover or forced switch to the "good" side. After all the freedom throughout most of the game, this is highly disappointing.

    A game like that DESERVES a full-fledged alternate ending. Please consider that.
     
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