Pablo from Rablo Games (don’t ask) has written in to announce Lost Spirits of Kael, a 2.5D action RPG.
Despite the name, Lost Spirits of Kael is not about undead hippies. The premise is much artsier than that:
You play the role of a young painter who has lost his inspiration and tries to get it back in the Forest of Kael. There, he meets a mysterious harpist who covers the forest with magical mist by playing her harp. Lost in this creepy forest covered with graves, he will have to find his way out. But the forest has mystical powers that makes finding one’s way nearly impossible, and some of its inhabitants will try to stop him.
The game is about loneliness and finding one’s way into the unknown.
Here is a trailer showing off the game’s painterly aesthetic:
LSoK is planned to be nonlinear, with every part of the game world open to exploration from the moment the player leaves the introductory area. Per the developer, your character is not going to be very good at fighting, but most battles will be avoidable. Character progression is handled in a fairly unusual manner:
- While beating bosses, the player will obtain their souls, which he can equip to boost some of his abilities.
- Equipped souls gains experience and power while beating monsters and bosses.
- When the player dies, all of his equipped souls lose HP.
- When a soul’s HP gauge is empty, it is destroyed definitely.
- If no souls are equipped, all souls lose experience when the hero dies.
Lost Spirits of Kael is planned for a Windows release in 2014.
Ladies and gentlemen: Guido Henkel (yes, that Guido Henkel) writes in to announce the development of Deathfire, a 3D, party-based, non-linear, first-person RPG that he’s developing with Marian Arnold (Divine Divinity), André Taulien (Divine Divinity) and Thu-Lieu Pham (Thorvalla).
Deathfire will feature real-time, grid-based exploration of the world mixed with turn-based combat. Henkel writes:
The game uses a stepped first person perspective, but unlike “Dungeon Master” or more recently “Legends of Grimrock,” this is not a linear monster bashing dungeon crawl. We are creating a world that is richer and uses a complete role-playing engine, hearkening back a lot more at games I created in the past, particularly the “Realms of Arkania” trilogy.Despite this general real-time approach to the environment, the combat system will be a turn-based system that, once again, dives deeper into role playing elements than any real time game possibly could. We have not revealed any details about combat at this time, but I would like you to know that it will be an engaging experience that offers plenty of options for the player.
On top of that, your party will have two slots for recruitable NPCs–Henkel promises that there will be “a lot of inter-character activity….It was one of the hallmarks when we designed ‘Planescape: Torment’ and I’ll definitely stick to that because it opens up a wealth of cool opportunities for us as game designers.” It has not yet been decided whether this will be an interactive system, or whether the game will handle characters taunting and interacting with one another automatically.
Deathfire is being developed in Unity for Windows and Mac, with a Linux version to be released either concurrently or shortly thereafter. Henkel says they’re loosely targeting Deathfire for a 2014 release.
Greetings, indie RPG enthusiasts, and welcome to another wonderful week of supporting RPGs developed by big-hearted, small-staffed teams! I’ve done a bit of peeking around on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and it looks like there are some new, interesting projects on the horizon. For your edification:
- Chasm — this is “a 2D Fantasy ARPG Platformer featuring procedurally generated Metroid-like dungeons.” The word for this, ladies and gents, is “Metroidvania.” But the procedural generation bit is certainly new. As it happens, this particular Metroidvania looks rather spiffy, and it has demos for Windows/Mac/Linux. It’s raised a big old chunk of money so far, though it remains about $27,000 short of its goal. Kicktraq is optimistic.
- Ghost of a Tale — a 3D action RPG with anthropomorphic animals, inspired by Zelda, Ico, Gothic, “Disney’s ‘Robin Hood‘, the fables of La Fontaine, ‘Redwall‘, ‘Winnie the Pooh‘, ‘The Secret of Nimh‘, ‘The Dark Crystal‘, the paintings of Alan Lee, John Howe, Paul Bonner, John Bauer, and many, many others…” It looks lovely, but it’s less than halfway funded with 13 days left on the clock.
- King Voxel — a 3D voxel-based Zelda-alike (previously covered here) with a new procedurally generated world / quest each time you start a new game. I actually think this game looks quite promising, but it has somehow attracted $0 in funding over the past 16 days. Someone needs to get on the proverbial ball with marketing this thing. 68 days remain.
- Lex Laser Saves The Galaxy, Again — a 2D “tactical puzzle RPG designed for busy people.” Lex Laser may save the galaxy, but who will save Lex Laser? This game has upwards of $52,000 left to raise out of its $65,000 funding goal, and 9 days to do it.
- Old Legend — a 3D first-person dungeon delver. If there’s anything else to this game, the campaign page doesn’t mention it. 57 days left on this one.
- Paradigm Shift — a 2D jRPG. On the plus side, it has only $954 to go in the next 2 days! On the minus side, its base funding goal is $1,000.
- Remnants of Twilight — a jRPG that wants to transition from being 2D in RPG Maker to 2.5D in a nicer engine. There’s no pitch video, only a profoundly hideous title screen, but the game’s concept art and sprite work look really nice.
- Wranglers — a sci-fi / Wild West Pokemon clone. No, really. It’s currently struggling a bit, which I chalk up to the fact that it has no pitch video or gameplay footage. “Conceptually complete” is not synonymous with “ready for Kickstarter,” unfortunately.
As for those other games mentioned in our last round-up…
I got a chance to check out Bonfire last night, as Moacube was kind enough to send an alpha build my way. As is my custom, I made a video of the proceedings. That video follows:
More than anything, the combat in Bonfire makes me think of a turn based variant on The Spirit Engine 2–it has just that level of carefully balanced challenge (which is good, because the game is basically 100% combat). Here’s my last write-up on Bonfire if you’re looking to get your hands on it.
I’ve been seeing a lot of failed indie RPG crowdfunding campaigns lately. It’s hardly a new phenomenon, though, and it’s not unique to RPGs: last September, Kickstarter reported that less than 1 in 4 video game campaigns were funded successfully over the preceding months.
Personally, I think that stinks–so I’m writing this article in an attempt to combat the problem.
For those of you who don’t know, I develop games under the name Sinister Design. My current project is a strategy RPG called Telepath Tactics. Over the past month, I ran a Telepath Tactics Kickstarter campaign–that campaign ended early on the morning of April 16, 2013, 275% funded.
That wasn’t my first attempt at Kickstarting Telepath Tactics, though. I ran an earlier, unsuccessful attempt at Kickstarting the same game back in December 2012. That first campaign ended with the game only 73% funded.
I mention this only to establish that I have a little bit of perspective on what makes a Kickstarter campaign work versus what doesn’t. What follows are twelve pieces of advice for indie developers looking to crowdfund their games.
A bit of digging around online has revealed the existence of Sojourn, a 3D roguelike-like in development by Horrific Games.
Sojourn opts for a decidedly Dark Souls-ish take on the genre, with an over-the shoulder perspective; difficult, weighty, real-time combat; and a bleak, sinister medieval setting.
Here is a video showing the latest build of the game:
Per the developer, character advancement in Sojourn will occur primarily through (1) a skill tree and (2) by building up stats that allow the use of more powerful items. He writes:
There are 6 stats, Vigor, Might, Agility, Perception, Intellect and Courage. They’re assigned at character creation and don’t do much by themselves. At character creation you also get a few skillpoints to assign, which go into a big skill tree. Each skill on the tree takes one point to unlock, and unlocks some ability – it might be a slowmo ability that uses energy, or the ability to sing spells, or lockpicking, or you remove penalties from heavy armour. That kind of stuff.
Skills all have a stat requirement, and may also need another skill to be unlocked.
There are no experience points or levels. Accomplishing certain feats awards more skillpoints. That might be defeating a boss, exploring a hidden location, or resting in a ancient library and reading the books there (assuming you have a high enough intellect and can read the appropriate language). You don’t need to fight to get more skill points, and it’ll be possible to sneak past every enemy.
Sojourn is currently being developed for Windows; the developer may investigate the feasibility of a Linux port as well. Once the game reaches alpha, Horrific Games plan to begin doing alpha and beta releases.
In the tradition of Red Rogue (covered here), but somewhat closer to Spelunky in its approach, we have a new side-scrolling roguelike-like in the works by developer Physmo. It’s called The Dungeoning.
Like a roguelike, The Dungeoning features procedural level generation, permadeath, leveling, traps, loot, and combat. Unlike a “true” roguelike, The Dungeoning is real-time and side-scrolling. I don’t feel like making a separate roguelike-like tag, so I’m just going to file this under “roguelike” when it’s released.
Per the developer:
The game will feature lots of varied weapons, magic, XP, levelling up, permadeath and anything else that takes my fancy…
Other things that take the developer’s fancy include “player stats, wearable rings that give player ability buffs, destructible objects,” the ability to increase stats of your choice upon level-up, and “scroll items that when consumed level up a specific stat too, so you’ll be able to build a strong magic character for example.”
The Dungeoning is still quite early in development, but there’s already a pretty good variety of fiendish traps. (I can see myself dying to that false ceiling trap a lot.) Here’s a work-in-progress video showing off the latest build:
The Dungeoning is being written in Java, and is planned for release on Windows and Mac later this year.
The once peaceful kingdom of Irisa has fallen into chaos, for the evil emperor Hiryuu has stolen the magical pendant that since ancient times protected the land! The king, desperate, has called upon his last hope… YOU!
The developer has not made any details about the game’s systems available, though he does make sure to mention that his RPG is full of dungeons, battles, monsters and treasure. (Which is a little like trumpeting that your book is full of words, paragraphs and sentences.)
I grabbed the free demo (i.e. the Lite version) of the game and played for a while; it seems to be a fairly straightforward Dragon Warrior clone, complete with 8-bit art, charming monster sprites and chiptunes. It’s definitely on the repetitive / grind-y side, though, so be warned.
One-man studio Winged Pixel (a.k.a. Andrew Ellem) writes in to announce the development of Heroes of a Broken Land. Do yourself a favor and look past the game’s rough graphical presentation for just a moment as we read:
Turn-based gameplay, with first-person dungeon crawling, a sprawling 2D overworld to explore, plus some town management too. You can control up to 6 separate parties at the same time, each with up to 6 individual hero recruits. The entire world is procedurally generated, so you get a new world each game.
Let me just recap that last paragraph: Heroes of a Broken Land combines first-person dungeon crawling, a turn-based strategy overworld layer with town management, procedural world generation, and control over up to 36 characters spread across six separate parties.
This game is not screwing around.
Heroes of a Broken Land is up to Alpha version 0.1.0–said alpha build is currently playable for free in-browser right here.
HoaBL is in development for Windows, Mac and Linux, with an estimated release date of Summer 2013. You can pre-order the finished game for $5. I’m tempted to suggest we all do that so Andrew can hire himself an artist. This game deserves graphics to match its gameplay ambitions.