Latest Publications

Interview with Steven Peeler

Boy, this is a big week for developer interviews, isn’t it? Jay Barnson conducts another interview, this time with indie RPG dev Steven Peeler, the mastermind behind Soldak (and therefore, the mastermind behind real-time dungeon crawlers Din’s Curse, Depths of Peril, and Kivi’s Underworld).

Rampant Games: Why indie RPGs? What prompted you to go after one of the most challenging game genres right out of the chute, and what has kept you on that path?

Steven Peeler: I like RPGs. It really is about that simple. Since I started Soldak, the “smart money” in the indie world has shifted from making match 3 games to hidden object games to iPhone apps and now to Facebook social games. I could have worked on any of these to “make the quick bucks”, but if I can’t work on something I love, what’s the point of being an indie?

Here’s the full thing. And, just for fun, here is another interview Peeler gave to from earlier this year.

Telepath RPG: Servants of God demo released

First, full disclosure: this is my game. That having been said, this is legit news that’s been posted elsewhere. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, I’ll just quote RPGWatch:

Craig Stern from Sinister Design dropped us a line to say they have released a demo for their indie game, Telepath RPG: Servants of God. I can’t see a general release date yet but here’s the feature list and there’s a video clip on the site. This is part of a series we’ve mentioned before and Craig says they’ve been working on it for a couple of years, so take a look.

Part Japanese strategy RPG, part free-roaming Western RPG, there is no RPG out there quite like Telepath RPG: Servants of God. The finished game will feature:

* A narrative about identity, the nature of the mind, and the existence of God

* Dialog choices that have real in-game consequences

* Furious tactical turn-based combat

* Psychic powers that affect the game both on and off the battlefield

* A party of interesting characters that you can choose to grow close with or alienate.

2 Jeff Vogel interviews

Jeff Vogel’s given two separate interviews over the last week or so: first this one from Captain D’s PC Gaming Blog, then this one on GameBanshee.

Also, just because I find it interesting, here is a recent blog post Jeff wrote evangelizing the reuse of old game engines and assets for RPGs.

Interview with Indinera Falls

Jay Barnson has published his second interview with Indinera Falls, creator of the prolific indie game studio Aldorlea Games.

Rampant Coyote: There are a lot of fantastic big-budget mainstream RPGs out now – with more coming soon with plenty of marketing hype for each one. You’d think that there wouldn’t be any room for a small-budget, 2D RPG like yours, but – from what I can tell – the audience for these tiny indie games keeps growing. Would you agree? If so, what do you think accounts for it?

Indinera Falls: I think those audiences are different. Games like mine cater to people who like 16-bits types of RPG, back in the days of the Genesis and Super NES.

Those games happen to be my favorite too. While there are obviously fewer people interested in this sub-genre, those who like them won’t get them in the big budget stuff, and that’s where we come into play. Also, I believe indie makers for the most part have more genuine stories, with less marketing constraint and editor’s control.

The full interview is here. There is also an interview from one year ago archived here.

Eschalon Book II release dates announced

Basilisk Games have announced the release dates for their upcoming indie RPG Eschalon: Book II:

Windows: May 12, 2010
Macintosh and Linux: May 26, 2010

What’s more, if Basilisk is to be believed, this is going to be one long game:

Book II is big. First time through on difficult mode will take most players 35-50 hours depending on how much you choose to explore.

That’s a whole lot of role-playing!

Game review: Ara Fell

  • Title: Ara Fell: The Legend of Dirisetsu Hollow
  • Developer: Stephen Anthony
  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: Free

[NOTE: This review is for an older, freeware version of this game. Ara Fell has since been remade and released as a commercial product; this review is likely to be unrepresentative of this more recent version.]

Ara Fell is a freeware jRPG produced in RPG Maker 2003 by Stephen Anthony (a.k.a. “Badluck”). The game is unfinished, which is a pity, because it’s really quite fun while it lasts.

To summarize the plot is to summarize the game: you are the one destined to obtain an ancient artifact of immense power and rid the world of evil. In other words, Ara Fell is a pretty conventional jRPG. To its credit, however, it is a good one, in spite of some missteps, and it really doesn’t take itself too seriously.


Game review: Boundless Ocean

  • Title: Boundless Ocean
  • Developer: RPGCreations
  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: Free

An RPG by Hardi “Orchard-L” Gosal of Radical Poesis Games, Boundless Ocean is a bit like a jRPG take on What Dreams May Come. It has some great ideas, but unfortunately, it is also saddled with an execution that doesn’t quite do them justice.

Boundless Ocean’s biggest draw is in the possibilities presented by its setting. You are dead. You appear in the afterlife, and spend the game trying to return to earth. There are an admirable number of secret, hidden areas throughout the game, which plays nicely into the idea of a surreal spirit world.


April Fools’ Giveaway Contest

Jay Barnson, the indie developer working on the RPG Frayed Knights, is having a giveaway tomorrow on indie titles from his games store. (He mostly sells indie RPGs, so this is a good opportunity for people looking to expand their knowledge of the oeuvre.)


Game review: Exit Fate

  • Title: Exit Fate
  • Developer: SCF
  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: Free

Exit Fate is an improvement upon Last Scenario in almost every conceivable area. It’s quite a good RPG, albeit something of a shameless rip-off (not that you’d know it from reviews like this).

First, what Exit Fate gets right. The biggest area of improvement is in the combat system. Exit Fate, like Last Scenario, suffers from BETS (Battles Every Two Steps) syndrome, but the combat system has improved so much that I hardly even mind.


Game review: Last Scenario

  • Title: Last Scenario
  • Developer: SCF
  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: Free

Made using RPG Maker XP by SCF, Last Scenario is a typical jRPG with typical jRPG weaknesses. It stands out vis-a-vis other RPG Maker RPGs primarily because it has some nice custom graphics. While most of the tilesets used in the game are stock RPG Maker sprites, Last Scenario has some really lovely character portraits and in-battle character sprites unique to the game.