Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Editorial Age of Decadence May Update

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. Make America Great Again Lambchop19 Arcane

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    It is my secret goal, yes.

    I want VD and Cleve to form a dream team that goes around scamming the gullible out of their money in order to fund hardcore crpgs. Cleve will do the scamming, of course, while vd makes the games. A perfect match.
     
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  2. Zombra Arcane

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    Yeah, I don't know what the fuck is wrong with me today. I think it's the heat.
     
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  3. commie The Last Marxist Patron

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    It worked for Cleve. Had pizza for 2 years thanks to crowdfunding.


    I hope you have children and grandchildren to see it through to completion VD. Godspeed. :salute:
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
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  4. Lurker King Arcane The Real Fanboy

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    Suppose that ITS asked for Kickstarter money to fund AoD. What would have happened? Probably, the game would be released four years ago containing only a half-assed Theron full of bugs. Some cunts here are the Codex that already dismiss AoD because VD is not a small celebrity (or because they don’t like him) would then bicth that “the genius of ITS took our money, but delivered a simplistic game and poorly made backer rewards. Leave game development for the professionals, idiots”. On top of that, they would have to do another Kickstarter to complete the game, which would completely alter our appreciation of the game, ruining the whole experience. You can always argue that the developers wouldn’t have to worry about money, but they would have to worry about backers self-entitlement bitching, stretch goals that would artificially alter the storytelling approach of the game, etc., and all this affect developers. The truth is that what made AoD such an impressive game is that it is a product of passion. AoD have an insane amount of polish and detail that 99% of developers out there wouldn’t even dream of because they are more interested in releasing their game to pay the bills than to make their dream cRPG, because that’s what professional game development of cRPGs has become nowdays. A job in which you create hype (false promises to fans, beautiful pictures, videos, etc.), put some stuff in without any logic or care (trash mobs, cities, etc.) and sell.

    The logic of free money using kickstarter only sounds obvious and free if you have a short view. The cRPG renaissance didn’t happened. 99% of the cRPGs funded are bland and forgettable because is impossible to make a memorable game with the kind of logic of the Kickstarter campaigns. I’m tired of games that need patchs, mods and would be cool if they had this and that. I’m tired of developers that treat their fans as a sub-race and hide behind a community manager all the time. I’m glad that VD have the discernment in choosing not to embark in the Kickstarter bandwagon and I hope he continues being the same old-school guy that is transparent about everything (from the difficulties they had in the backstage, to the number of sales) and is always eager to address players directly in the Codex, on Steam and ITS forums. We need more crazy developers like VD that take the Codex seriously and do what it takes to make a great cRPG, and less developers that promise pipedreams on Kickstarter and don't give a shit about cRPG connaisseurs. We need more great games made by passionate oldschool guys that feels like a engrossing experience that rewards the player investment, and less linear games that drains our time and feels like filling a tax form.
     
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  5. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Righteous words.

    On the other hand, the Staglands duo made their game in just two years or so and even Underrail has taken "only" five or six
     
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  6. Achiman Learned Patron

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    I'm looking forward to playing the finished game, very interesting post on your decade of development and I'm sure it will shine through the attention and hours sweating over the game in a way that a 2-3 year game can never have.

    For my 2c worth, Kickstarter is something that is for hype. If you aren't going to compromise and release a 3/4 or reduced finished product like some of the recent games. Or critically, if you don't have the resources or sales to polish the game up to the standard in the months following, then it is a bad fit.

    I see Bards tale 4 and I think, yeah I want to play that, but then I read October 2017... I have enough games at the moment, they will shit in their funding goal and I actually would prefer to not get 400 emails on the progress of the game and gimmiky shit that goes with KS.

    I will buy it when it is released however. I think Kickstarter is going to have much more diminished returns in the future, maybe it is only for the novelty products that aren't on the market or nostalgia.
     
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  7. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    The thing that ITS could use KS for is making a boxed version of the game. It's the perfect platform for we either get X number of sales to make it worth it or we don't.
     
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  8. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

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    Hopefully there are only 8 micro-issues remaining before the release of this. :salute:
     
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  9. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    You're speculating here. If they would receive a significant amount of money so they could work on AoD full time I don't see a reason why it would be any lesser than it is today. You're right about the pressure from the backers though but then again they could always do what Blizzard Cleve does and ignore it, working at their own pace.

    Also, Larian and Whalenought have shown that you can release a KS funded game where developer's passion is shown. Why would it be different with IT?

    Exactly. Kickstarter gives free advertisement and press coverage if a project is interesting and ambitious enough and what both Underrail and Age of Decadence lack is mass media support. I'm afraid that even though AoD is one of the best cRPGs ever created it won't sell well because even old-school gamers won't hear about this game unless they visit RPG Codex. I know quite a few people who to this day play Fallout 1/2, Torment and even more old-school games but when I mentioned AoD game they weren't even aware it existed.

    Also, people tend to look at an indie game in a bad way just because it's indie and usually do not even give it a chance because of graphics or because "amateurs" are doing them. Many people will also be repelled by the difficulty and no easy mode. If it was properly advertised (like Dark Souls for example) it could become a non-issue but as things stand now I expect many negative reviews from retards who buy this game and won't be able to finish the first fight. There are also retards who spurt utter nonsense like this guy. I.e. from random gamers who aren't the target but have bought this game because they're retarded (anyone with a bit of intelligence would try the demo first and decide then whether it's worth investing money).
    Yup but it's only one of the things KS money could help with.
     
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  10. Fitz Unwanted

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    Don't switch engines. I'm pretty sure I must have had a producer somewhere in my family line because the mere mention of an engine switch gives me really bad vibes. You've got tools, a framework and a good content pipeline. What you ought to do is to recycle as much as you can of AoD on your next projects and try to streamline the work process even further so that it will take even less time and effort to make a new game. The dungeon crawler sounds like a great idea, especially because of how many assets you can reuse but this doesn't. If I were in your position I would have refactored the combat system to include cover mechanics or some such addition and called it a day so that you can focus on content rather than reinventing the wheel, again. Changing to a new engine will delay the project and the effort to build a new framework and learn new tools only to have to work even harder afterwards for no good reason. Just keep polishing your development process so that you can make games fast enough that you're able to profit from it and if all goes well you can expand your ambitions for future projects. I know you guys must be crazy to almost have finished this project to begin with but now that you're so close to the finishing line do you really want to start all over again?

    The smart thing would be to learn from your past troubles and make games with a scope more fitting to what you have to work with. The dungeon crawler is good start but you could also make more games like AoD but with less spaghetti C&C and a more linear approach. I mean if Bioware with all their employees and mountains of funding money do fake C&C and rarely do a few setpiece choices then would it really be so bad if you limited yourselves to a more conventional approach to C&C with meaningful but not crazy diverging paths? Because the effort to do it at the level of AoD is just madness. You need to embrace your inner Gaider and Josh but only to a small extent. You guys need to learn to reign in your ambitions.

    That's my 2 cents anyway.
     
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  11. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer, Iron Tower Studio Developer

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    Fitz

    1) The engine.

    I'm a "don't fix what isn't broken" kinda guy, then again I don't deal with the engine issues (crashes and such). Nick does and he's very much in favor of switching. He did a great job with Torque: 95% of players don't have any engine-related issues, but 5% do and Torque isn't getting any younger. It runs best on Win 7, but Win 7 days are long gone. In 3-4 years we might run into a much bigger problem, so it's best to switch now than be forced to switch in the middle of development.

    Now is a perfect time to switch because the dungeon crawler won't be very programming-intensive which gives Nick extra time to port our "RPG engine" on top of Unreal 4. If it turns into an epic project, we can abandon it and go back to Torque.

    Nick said (in an internal discussion): "Months of our development time went into fixing stuff that should've been working out of the box or adding generic functionality that's not there only because the engine is a first person shooter engine and is built that way. Just two days ago I fixed a core Torque bug with memory management that's been there from the beginning of the century, and noone ever noticed it because there were no projects of AoD's (or DS) scale on build Torque. So, "knowing the engine" in my case is knowing how to fix that rusty old car on a daily basis. And even though I know that life is suffering, I'd prefer if there was less suffering and more game-related code, rather than crutches that keep the engine from falling apart.

    "Sooner or later the switch is imminent. Torque is losing the battle, it desperately tries to catch up with heavy weight players, but it can't. Its heritage is dragging it down - starting from the above-mentioned number of bugs and compatibility, to the lack of integrated features: pathfinding library, physics, inverse kinematics, level-editing and world-crafting options, modern rendering engine. All those tools, conveniently integrated and ready to be at at our disposal, like SpeedTree or visual scripting. Then there is optimization: Torque is choking on our amount of resources and FPS count we get frequently dives below 20, which is nearly inappropriate for our nice, but modest graphics (Far Cry 4 gives me 40-60 on ultra settings, a game released just 3 months ago). But the main thing is that Torque essentially is just a code for a shooter game with editors slapped over it later. Unity or UE4 are software development kits, developed by a huge and successful company which makes a huge difference."

    2) Refactoring old systems instead of re-inventing the wheel

    I love We all love tinkering with systems and trying new things. I get excited thinking of all the different things we can try (while staying dogmatically true to TB), so refactoring is the very last thing I want to do. I don't even want to do an AoD sequel because there are so many different settings I want to explore.

    3) The Bioware approach and reigning in ambitions

    I don't have any ambitions. I left them with my impressive collection of suits when I quit my job. I want to make RPGs, complex and different, and enjoy very fucking minute of it. Money is merely a means to an end - something that would allow us to stay in business - not the goal or some misguided hope.

    PS. Fuck Bioware
     
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  12. Make America Great Again Kem0sabe Arcane

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    :excellent:
     
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  13. TwinkieGorilla does a good job. Patron

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    Bro, Thursday's almost here.

    :negative:
     
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  14. Fitz Unwanted

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    1) Most interesting, I didn't know that Torque was that bad. AoD runs fine on my ancient hardware and I never suspected it to be so hard to work with. Now, it if isn't future proof then you obviously got a problem. Do you think you'll be able to manage to make the switch within a reasonable timeframe and how hard do you think it will be to adapt to the new work process? I mean on one hand you will want to make the switch if your tech is so outdated and busted to the point that it is weighing you down but on the other hand you might be looking at another very long dev cycle only to discover that UE4 does the best at shooter games but demands quite a lot of work to suit your purposes? In any case I'm very pleased that you guys aren't planning to use Unity because that engine is much worse than Torque could ever hope to be.

    2) I know you guys value your freedom to make just the sort of games most developers can only dream of but would it really hurt to focus on content for at least a few projects? Ignoring the engine problems you have you have a robust character system, enjoyable combat mechanics and so on. The more different you want to make your next projects the more work they will take. A sequel of spinoff would take some work, but you can reuse most of your assets and systems. A vaguely similar game would require more effort, but still allow for recycling. A completely new thing with everything done from scratch might just take as long as AoD to make if not more depending on any issues that might pop up.

    3) The drive to make complex and different RPGs is ambitious in itself. I wasn't talking about commercial success or fame but the ambition to achieve excellence which is quite lofty with the modest means you have. I'm not telling you to go full Vogel only to consider the merits of some of his practices, there must exist a middle ground between the headache inducing sprawl of AoD and cosmetic C&C fests like Bioware's games.
     
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  15. Elhoim Iron Tower Studio Developer

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    We are already working full time on AoD, more money won't make it faster. And hiring new people isn't always a proportional increase of productivity. Personally, I'm quite happy with our well oiled machine + contributors/contractors. Quality takes time.
     
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  16. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

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    Maybe the middle ground is using the Unity engine. :troll:
     
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  17. Gondolin Arcane

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    rpg codex > feels like wednesday
     
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  18. Lurker King Arcane The Real Fanboy

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    All due respect, but you can’t possibly compare Staglands with AoD. Besides, they were far ahead with their game when they asked for money on Kickstarter, and this is not their first game. Underrail is a great game. The way I see it, it’s main force is in its impressive world building, for lack of a better expression. There are a lot of interesting combination of abilities, skills and feats. It’s replaybility rests on trying different builds, which is crazy fun, but that is all. The writing is forgettable, there is not that much C&C and 20 hours into the game and the challenge evaporates. Besides, if memory serves me right, Stgy left the game industry to create his own game, no? So, he is not a freshman. You also forgot to mention that part of team of ITS was working in Dead State, a released game. So, technically speaking, AoD will be the second game of ITS in 11 years, not the first.
     
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  19. Lurker King Arcane The Real Fanboy

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    Fitz, about switching engines: AoD have some infuriating performance problems caused by Torque. I’m mean, the NPCs in some sections of Maadoran seem frozen in time and lifeless due to the engine’s glaring limitations.

    Now, regarding you arguments in favor of less C&C and a more linear approach, I think they encapsulate exactly what is wrong with game development nowadays. You are seeing things backwards. Instead of orienting the design towards what is most interesting for players, you choose what is more easy to develop, have less costs and can be released earlier. The fact that you mention one of the most decadent studios, Bioware, only emphasizes your way of seeing things.
     
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  20. Lurker King Arcane The Real Fanboy

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    You don’t get it, Goral. AoD is good because VD can implement what he want without having to worry about all the kickstarter stuff. The type of iteration necessary to make a great game cannot be accelerated with more funding. Take a good look at W2 and think for a second: they had millions, experienced developers, a lot of fans and a crazy amount of feedback. Yet, the game is pale in comparison with AoD. What happened?

    I will re-post a comment a made earlier: “But even if experienced developers have a lot of know-how that speeds up the process, they still have to create a solid combat system and good writing in a rush. They are like a director who have all the actors, but need to pick pieces of script from different writers while shooting the movie or as if they were sailors that must reconstruct their ship on the open sea. This will affect the quality of the game in the end. There is no way around this”.

    The best games in a long time are Underrail and AoD. Both games didn’t use kickstarter and both are taking much more years in developing than most games. Do you think this is a coincidence? I don't think so. Besides, VD is not the type of guy who would take backers money to ignore them because he is honest. This may sound unbelievable to you, but some developers are like that. They stick to their principles.
     
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  21. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    @Lurker King
    My reasoning was simple: Kickstarter lets developers get a lot of money on faith alone and as a bonus they get media coverage. The way I saw it there are more advantages than disadvantages but I have no doubt that Vince, Nick and Oscar know better so I'll shut up.
    As long as IT will continue making games I'll be a happy person.
     
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  22. Lurker King Arcane The Real Fanboy

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    Guys, if you really want to help ITS, we don’t need kickstarter and all that. We can simply buy more units of AoD. The game sold more than 12,000 units. Let’s assume that only half of the buyers understand cRPGs. If each of these conscious buyers bought three more units, that would represent 18,000 additional sales. Most of the sales are generated by word of mouth anyway.
     
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  23. Vault Dweller Ubersturmfuhrer, Iron Tower Studio Developer

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    Hard to say without trying to switch first. Like I said, we can always continue with Torque and since Unreal 4 is free to try, there is no reason not to try it first.

    I guess it's less interesting. Business-wise, your suggestion makes perfect sense but I'm not treating it as a business. I don't want to make decisions motivated by money because it's a very slippery slope. I'm passionate about RPGs and developing different character and combat systems is as exciting as developing settings and writing quests. Furthermore, I believe that the character and combat systems should fit the game. Since the colony ship RPG will be a different game, it needs different character and combat systems.

    Only one way to find out.

    It really isn't. I'm not trying to achieve excellence (and for the record, I don't think that AoD is an example of said excellence, although I'm glad that you guys like the game), redefine the genre, or prove something. We simply want to make games we want to play - complex RPGs with branching storytelling and tactical TB combat. There's nothing else to it.

    I hear you. Anyway, here is the plan:

    - Finish AoD
    - Make the dungeon crawler
    - If still in business, make the colony ship RPG
    - If the colony ship takes 3-4 years to make, keep doing what you're doing
    - If it becomes another epic project, "review the situation"

     
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  24. Melcar Arcane

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    Hold up. AoD is switching engines, again? Hillarious.

    Edit: Oh, it's about the other projects. Goddamn Codex derails.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
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  25. Kos_Koa Iron Tower Studio Developer

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    A nice gesture, but I'd rather have more new people playing the game than putting the burden on our existing supporters by having them buy extra copies. Our original 12k + supporters are already true bros for believing in us, the last thing I'd want is guilting them into paying more for what they already own.
     
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