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Indie Sonucido: The Mage - A turn-based Dungeon Crawler

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
In the last couple of weeks, I got a lot of stuff done which were on my to-do-list and not game-related. There's still some stuff left but I try to finish it all in August.
My work habits could be described with a proverb: Constant dripping wears away the stone. But I learned that the occasional sprint is a good addition.
Nevertheless, I put some work into Sonucido and improved the demo further. Fortunately or unfortunately, I got distracted and finished a new level (and a second one is almost done). The levels take a lot more time than in the early stages since I set the bar higher (and simply get better at level design).

Screenshot_RPG_Codex_New_Level.png
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Finished a start menu which will show up if a player has played through the first level and closes and opens the game again.
I also got to 100 followers for Sonucido: The Mage which was one of my goals! Followers are a good indicator how many people are really into the game. I still want to get to 1200 wishlists but I'm almost there (1178 rn).

The demo still needs a better death menu but this should take maybe 2 hours. I will release the new (and much improved) demo version on Steam and Itch this weekend!

:hype:
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Finally, I implemented the "show hotkey"-functionality. If you keep pressing crtl you can now see all the corresponding hotkeys. I stole this great idea from A Legionary's Life.
It certainly helps to learn the keys if you want to play with the keyboard (although you can also play the game solely with either your controller or your mouse).

hotkeys.png
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
New demo version out now!

You can download it on Steam and finally on Itch!

New Demo Update!

After over 2 and a half months, there is a new update to the demo and it is quite substantial!
The demo is now a lot easier to master. If you had problems before, try again. The game will be a bit harder but I think for a first impression it might be more fun to start a bit easier.
The health potions are now green instead of blue since this confused people.
I also added a start menu (which only appears for recurring players) and improved the death menu and the menu which is visible at the end of the demo.
You can now press crtl to see hotkeys. This should make it easier for players who want to play with the keyboard.

Have fun!

Full Changelog

- Changed the color of the health potions from blue to green
- Changed the color of the potion in the dialogue of the wounded guy
- A couple of shadow fixes and other minor graphical fixes
- Removed one enemy
- Added a health potion
- Removed a strength potion
- Changed the location of a health potion
- Made one tough enemy easier
- Minor bug fix
- Fixed two sound related oversights (they didn't adjust to the settings)
- Flipped the sprite of one enemy
- Fixed the dying animation of one enemy
- Added a start menu for recurring players
- Fixed the size of the clickable area of the decisions in the incident screen
- You can now press ctrl to see the hotkeys
- Got rid of a couple jagged edges if the player plays with MSAA 0 or 2
- Added the options to restart the level and start from the beginning to the death screen
- Made the death screen and the end of the demo more usable with the keyboard and controller
- Changed the brightness and adjusted the hue slightly in one level to make the dirt tiles less dark
- Changed the key which switches between the traditional and modern movement from L to H
- The movements of the spikes and the blocks in the related puzzles are now instead if you use traditional movement
- All humans in the demo now have attack and death sounds
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
What is the state of the game?

Sonucido: The Mage is almost finished and it will be released on December 2, 2022. All the levels are done, it‘s playable from start to finish and the save-system works. I will let my testers play the game in the next couple of days.


How long will the game be?

It should take you around 3 hours to complete it the first time. I think it makes sense to play it at least twice. In that case you can expect 5 hours of playtime.


How much will the game cost?

After considering the length of the game and even though it‘s replayable I decided to price it at 7,99$/7,99€.


What is missing?

A couple of the illustrations my fiancee makes are still missing from the game, especially for the endings but they will be all done by the time the game releases.
I still need to do localisations and I want to edit the text to improve and fix little errors.
The credits are also still missing.
And then: polish, polish, polish.

https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1535240/view/3416570446103958070
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
wishlist.png

Finally got over the 1200 wishlist mark which was my new goal after getting over the 1000 wishlists!

In the last two weeks, I fixed a lot of bugs and polished the game. My fiancee draw a couple more illustrations and now only a few for the endings are missing. I improved part of the English localisation with a friend of mine and will talk to him in the afternoon to tackle a the rest of the endings. When the English text is done, I will buy the localisations and start working on the German localisation. There's now a tutorial but it's optional and barebones - just to cover the absolute basics.
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Watched the test run of an old friend of mine and he found a game breaking bug which is thankfully fixed now. Like most of the time it was just a stupid copy and paste mistake and nothing major but it still took a few hours to track down. Another friend helped me to improve the style of many of the endings and of a couple of choose-your-own-adventure screens.

Originally, I planned to implement all of the improved localization in the night and to compile a document with all the text that still needs translation to send it to the different translators. Instead I took a couple of hours to improve the balancing a bit. A trend that I clearly saw in the test runs was that the players had way too many potions in the end and there was no challenge whatsoever. I have nothing against a power fantasy but reducing the number of potions one can find a bit makes it more interesting. You can still have your power fantasy in the end but it's slightly nerfed.

In the normal mode all builds are viable. Some are definitely harder but you can beat the game regardless how you spend your points. I ensured that all levels are beatable, there is no need to start over just because you put your skill points non-optimally for the scenario. Sometimes it is hard and will require to reload the level a few times but it is beatable. In the hard mode you absolutely can fail.

On a side note: My first Steam Game, Bring Back The Sun, is now 2 years old. It's a clunky experience but I'm still proud of it and it was the project which helped me to learn Godot. Sonucido: The Mage will certainly be the project which helped me to really learn Godot. From all the ideas I had after Bring Back The Sun, I simply choose the hardest. Didn't regret that.
 

KeighnMcDeath

RPG Codex Boomer
Joined
Nov 23, 2016
Messages
8,952
Wishlists is cheaper than Games Owned. I mean.. on GOG I'm at nearly 2k games. I can't finish all that.
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Unfortunately, I have bad news for anyone who was looking for a localization in his or her native language.
I miscalculated the amount of words which Sonucido: The Mage would have in the end by a large amount and many things grew bigger than I initially planned.
The demos for the Steam Next Fest 2021 and 2022 were always localized in a lot of different languages but buying localizations for the rest of the text would just be too much.

Sorry. The game will launch with English and German localization only.
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
50,612
Codex Year of the Donut
Unfortunately, I have bad news for anyone who was looking for a localization in his or her native language.
I miscalculated the amount of words which Sonucido: The Mage would have in the end by a large amount and many things grew bigger than I initially planned.
The demos for the Steam Next Fest 2021 and 2022 were always localized in a lot of different languages but buying localizations for the rest of the text would just be too much.

Sorry. The game will launch with English and German localization only.
Do you have any data on the amount of people that actually play the game localized in non-English?
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Do you have any data on the amount of people that actually play the game localized in non-English?

I don't have access which language people select (I have no tracking in the game and it's all in one build) but I have regional data regarding the wishlists and did some research on the topic.

The Steam hardware survey is a good indicator https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

From what I researched: The Steam algorithm functions in a way that if it is likely that you don't understand any language the game offers it will be shown less often to you or even not at all.

English is obvious, German is my native language and I have a German YouTube channel, 99 wishlists in Germany, 11 in Austria, 1 in Switzerland. I have only 9 wishlists from Portugal and if my mother wasn't from Portugal I hadn't even thought about it. I have 71 wishlists from Brazil. I don't know how well people speak English in Brazil but I suspect I won't lose all of them. I have 77 wishlists in Russia, 18 in Turkey. Where I will lose the most people is likely China (46 wishlists), Japan (48 wishlists) and South Korea (39 wishlists). There are a couple from Spanish speaking countries but I guess the English literacy varies widely from country to country and overall it's not as big (less than Germany).
After reviewing the numbers I suspect that I will lose 10-20% of sales from these countries and maybe 10% extra since my rank is a bit worse (due to less sales). That's not ideal but sounds a lot better than quadrupling the dev costs (not factoring in time).
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2018
Messages
50,612
Codex Year of the Donut
Do you have any data on the amount of people that actually play the game localized in non-English?

I don't have access which language people select (I have no tracking in the game and it's all in one build) but I have regional data regarding the wishlists and did some research on the topic.

The Steam hardware survey is a good indicator https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey

From what I researched: The Steam algorithm functions in a way that if it is likely that you don't understand any language the game offers it will be shown less often to you or even not at all.

English is obvious, German is my native language and I have a German YouTube channel, 99 wishlists in Germany, 11 in Austria, 1 in Switzerland. I have only 9 wishlists from Portugal and if my mother wasn't from Portugal I hadn't even thought about it. I have 71 wishlists from Brazil. I don't know how well people speak English in Brazil but I suspect I won't lose all of them. I have 77 wishlists in Russia, 18 in Turkey. Where I will lose the most people is likely China (46 wishlists), Japan (48 wishlists) and South Korea (39 wishlists). There are a couple from Spanish speaking countries but I guess the English literacy varies widely from country to country and overall it's not as big (less than Germany).
After reviewing the numbers I suspect that I will lose 10-20% of sales from these countries and maybe 10% extra since my rank is a bit worse (due to less sales). That's not ideal but sounds a lot better than quadrupling the dev costs (not factoring in time).
Intereesting from the perspective of a game I assume has not much dialogue(no offense meant, it's typical for the subgenre.)
I'm always shocked to see very wordy RPGs get full localizations, I can only imagine how much it costs to localize something like Pillars of Eternity into multiple languages and can't believe it's profitable.

Additionally, if I were a writer I'd also be worried about my work being butchered by the translator in the process.
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Intereesting from the perspective of a game I assume has not much dialogue(no offense meant, it's typical for the subgenre.)
I think the number is around 8k words. It's certainly not much for an RPG but a lot for a Dungeon Crawler. The most of the text is in the endings, the choose your own adventure screens and the start. The dialogue is maybe 1000-1500 words I would guess.
I'm always shocked to see very wordy RPGs get full localizations, I can only imagine how much it costs to localize something like Pillars of Eternity into multiple languages and can't believe it's profitable.
Pillars has now 158000 followers. I have 103. That's some very simplified assessment of it but let's say the ratio is the same for sales. That's 1500X. With an extra translation I sell maybe 10 more copies. If the ratio stay the same they would sell 15000 (not factoring in DLC, higher price point and many more things). But it's still very high - just googled average translation cost which is like 10 cents per word that still would be a lot. If it's a million words than it would 100k. Maybe in this range it gets cheaper but still - even with 50k?
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
I focused on the hard mode for the last couple of hours and it took me a while to beat it which is a good sign. It's certainly not easy in the beginning. In the middle to the end however it turns into a power fantasy if you know what you are doing and if you know every secret especially so. There would an extremely cheap way to stop that from happening but eh ...

You could randomly lose all your items. Something like this is in the game but only under a specific circumstance. But even then the problem wouldn't be solved.

I fixed some minor oversights while playing which is always welcome. Obviously fixing one light bleed won't make this game better but fixing a lot of minor details improves the experience and gives the game a more polished feel.
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
I did it! The hard mode is now actually hard and not just in the beginning.

How the normal mode was created

The normal mode of Sonucido: The Mage is created with the premise that the player can't softlock themselves.

I think it is in fact possible but you need to consciously not pick up a weapon. It's like if you want to really really prove me you can.

Even if you start a level with 1 health left because the last enemy was almost to strong and you threw your last bomb for no reason into the air and start with nothing it still is possible to complete a level but it might be hard and take you a couple of attempts.
This actually can happen especially if you have no clue what you are doing the beginning. The game is designed in this way because people don't play Sonucido because it has a complex combat system like A Legionary's Life let alone Dungeon Rats. It's just not the audience. This does not mean that the combat is no challenge whatsoever but it means that it becomes one if you know more or less what you are doing and explore a bit.
Sonucido becomes a power fantasy in the end and that's fine. I have nothing against power fantasies.

What I wanted to achieve with the hard mode

An actual challenge for people who experienced the game and know a lot about it. Thanks to Age of Decadence, Dungeon Rats and A Legionary's Life I really grew into loving turn-based combat with high difficulty. But only having one difficulty and being very hard would have been just weird. So, I have opted for two difficulties - normal and hard.
In other games with a more diverse spectrum of difficulty options hard would be something like nightmare. Why not more difficulty options? I think it's pointless.

How did I achieve this?

The enemies are a bit stronger, they have a little bit more life (10 lives more) and hit a bit harder (2 attack points more). This usually results that you need to hit them one time more so the game doesn't become a sluggish grindfest against bullet-sponges. The real challenge is two-fold. First, there is permadeath and second, after a certain point in the game you almost find no potions nor bombs. Resource management and especially health management becomes essential. As soon as you understand the enemies (using the right weapon with the first hit), the challenge lies in the exploration of the dungeon (to find as much resources as possible) and the exploration of the mechanics.
After a couple of attempts I finished the game with 4 health potions, 1 bomb and 2 strength potions left. But this is me who plays almost optimally and knows every place where something is to find. And this wasn't even enough to get one of the harder endings. There are still ways to be even more powerful but we will see how soon players will find them!
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Pondering a bit about the whole localization thing, I'm actually somewhat happy, at least for the moment. Not implementing any language aside from English and German saves me a lot of
time for the moment and I have a tad more time to polish the game a bit more before it finally is released. And it saves me from the major headache. I dislike putting in the localization files. I have a straightforward but ugly system and even though it works flawlessly it is not fun to put the stuff in.

To be frank I just hate it. I would like to skip localizing the game altogether in the future but at least the German localization does make sense and would be a waste of talents if I wouldn't do it. The thing is: It is completely contrary to the data I researched. It makes a lot of sense to localize the game if the wordcount is low since the prices are low. But of all the things GameDev consists of this is by far the stuff I dislike the most. All the shit devs commonly dislike about are fun to me or at least very tolerable. UI. Yeah, why not. Menus. Of course. Fixing tricky bugs. Can be frustrating but is very rewarding like a puzzle game. Playing the game the hundredth time to test it. Absolutely no problem. Improving performance. Awesome! Even doing taxes. But localization ... Doing one additional language for a game like Sonucido is fine. The problem lies in the quantity. I was out of my mind to even think about 10 languages.
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
The Steam team checked my game and I am now able to release it.

release_appx.png


I pondered about releasing a few days earlier (Friday is a bit crowded release wise) but decided against it since I like releasing the game exactly two years after starting its development. Also, I still need to complete the German localization and will fix some minor stuff along the way. Thankfully, that means I still have plenty of time.

December 2!

:hype:
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
My fiancee completed the final artwork for Sonucido: The Mage. I still need to do the German localization but it should be done very soon. Along the way I'm fixing and improve minor stuff, polish never ends.

Game will release on time!
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
German localization is done, Credits are done, all the illustrations my fiancee drew are implemented.

The game is complete.

I have more than 36 hours until the game releases and I will take this time to test the game a bit more and polish the German localization. There will be some places were the German text is too long for the UI and I will need to change that. Other than that, I'll do some marketing stuff, thankfully I did a lot in advance (put together a list of let's players, game journo sites, etc.)

It's strange to finally release this game. In the last two years a lot of stuff happened. It's crazy how fast I implement features now, must be some sleeper neanderthal gene or something which got activated. Some stuff I wanted to note to have it recorded somewhere. I wasted a lot of time reading stuff about wishlist ratios and shit and from what I heard you get around 20% of your wishlist at launch in sales. So for Sonucido which has a little over 1200 wishlists that would mean 240 copies. In the first year you multiply that by 4.5 which would be 1080, that would be great! These are median numbers and of course you can be in the worse half of the bracket. I'm very conservative in my estimate and think about selling 104 copies (the number of Steam followers I have) in the first month. I think I will make 400€ to 4000€ in the first year. More than 4k would be great. It's possible but we will see how the people ultimately react to the game. I would be a lot nearer to my goal to live off gamedev and more importantly certainly would show that it can be viable. Less than 400€ would mean I would still be in the reds since I localized the demos and Steam has a fee to upload a game. I don't have the exact number how much I paid for everything but I think 500€~.

I don't think that I will attempt/put so many translations into a game anymore. It's just a lot of hassle to implement and I like being less reliant on third parties even if there are some very nice translators out there. Sometimes I think about skipping the German localization but it would be quite wasteful. I reduced the number of distractions and side projects and it was a boost in productivity I couldn't have imagined. Putting like 10% in another project which I didn't really really want to do would reduce my productivity and it would be extremely reduced if it was something I really disliked. As an Indie Dev you always need to cut corners and I like to cut corners outside of the game.

The launch is imminent. We'll see. Wish me luck.
 

Moaning_Clock

SmokeSomeFrogs
Developer
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
526
Took the night to test the German localization, polish and do some bug fixes. Currently, I'm testing all the endings/ending variations, fixing spelling errors and wording that doesn't make sense or just improve the wording in several cases. I even found a story error which is fixed now.

Screenshot_Eng_Release12.png


Before release just a TL;DR recap for the people who didn't read the whole thread.

Story

The kingdom is under attack. You are a dispensable soldier and are send into Sonucido to offer an imprisoned mage his freedom in exchange for help in the battle.

Setting

Sonucido is a giant dungeon in a mountain were every criminal is sent regardless of their crime. It's a corrupted place; weird creatures live there.

Price

7,99€, 7,99$, 25% launch discount.

Length

First run should take you 3 hours, you see 60-70% of the game. With the second run you have seen 90% and this should take you another 2 hours. So, 5 hours. Obviously, you can play longer if you want to see everything or play the hard difficulty.

Difficulty settings

Normal and hard, the hard mode is very challenging.

Languages

English and German.

OS

Windows and Linux.

System Requirements

Low-ish, if you have a dedicated GPU you are fine, with integrated graphics something of the last 5 years is sufficient for a good experience.

Combat

Turn-based, simple combat, no battle-dancing, no random encounters, fights don't take long, no dodging.

Character

Single Character, 3 stats (Strength, Vitality, Luck), no portraits, no name.

Are there puzzles?

Yes, a few.

Stat Checks?

There are a few choose-your-own-adventure sections were you decide between two stats which stat you want to use for a situation. Luck is checked in dialogue a few times.
The Stat Checks are hard checks, no random element involved.

Player Freedom?

You can kill almost everybody if you want to.

Loot

Almost no loot in this game but no loot is pointless.

Tutorial

There is an in-game manual and a very short optional tutorial which explains the most important things (how to leave a dialogue for example)

Saving

Automatically at the start of each level.

Development

My fiancee (illustrations), a couple of testers and translators, and me (the rest) - development took two years, it's made with Godot
 

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