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Sun 20 August 2017

You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Why are you not helping?

Vault Dweller interviewed about The New World and more at GoHa.Ru

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 20 August 2017, 00:18:19

Tags: Age of Decadence; Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

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The Russian gaming forum GoHa.Ru has an interview with Vault Dweller about his upcoming colony ship RPG, The New World. It's a long and in-depth Q&A, apparently made up questions solicited from their community. Many of the questions concern the evolution of Iron Tower's design philosophy compared to The Age of Decadence. Here's an excerpt:

2 The most common complain about AoD that I've stumbled upon is that it's all about min-maxing. You either have a "perfect" build or you cannot do this, that and that. Many people want to get as much content as possible with a single character, which requires the above mentioned "perfect" build. What are your thoughts on it and how do you plan to deal with it in The New World?"

These are two separate issues. When a player struggles to beat the first few opponents, he assumes – incorrectly – that the only way to beat game is to max the physical stats at the expense of everything else and put all skill points into two skills (weapon and defense). Stats and skills do matter, of course, but tactics matter more.

The max content build is a more complex issue, driven by the player’s desire to get more content in the course of one game, which requires a whole lot of meta-gaming and a carefully researched build, calibrated down to the last skill point. Needless to say it’s not a fun way to play the game.

There are two ways to fix it: either remove most checks, leaving only “cosmetic” checks that give you minor rewards but ultimately change nothing OR replace manual distribution of skill points with an ‘increase by use’ system.

Naturally, the former isn’t an option for us, but the latter is something that fits our overall design (and the party-based setup) better. Now your skills will be determined by your actions and choices not arbitrary distribution of the skill points.

Instead of counting how many times you did something, we’ll assign a certain value (let’s call it learning points) to each activity (attacking, killing, fixing, sneaking, convincing, lying, etc). So killing a tough enemy or repairing a reactor will net you more points than killing a weakling or fixing a toaster. Basically, it will work the same way as XP but go directly toward raising the skill that did all the work.

6 Back to AoD, the uniqueness of each playthrough is based on the fact that the player character is only good at one thing (meta-hybrid builds aside). But TNW is a party-based RPG and we as players will have an option to assemble a party of specialists: a fighter, a talker, an explorer and so on. How would you make us want to replay it for the 10th time?

That’s easy – choices.

While your party would be able to handle more than a single character would, when it comes to choices and picking sides, you’re still limited to one outcome. So if we do a good job with the setting and story, you’d still want to see how things would play out if you make different choices.

Keep in mind that since we’re going with an ‘increase by use’ system, creating specialists won’t be as easy as simply spending skill points on whatever you see fit. If you want your infiltration specialist to be good, you’d have to provide opportunities to practice that craft – at the expense of other skills.

For example, in one of the early quests you’re tasked with acquiring energy cores from one of the scavenger crews. Naturally, you can kill them all (everyone’s combat skills go up), bullshit them (your talker’s skills go up), kill the leader with a critical strike (your CS skill goes up), or sneak inside, pick the lock on the strongbox, and get the cores without raising suspicions (your infiltrator’s skills go up). Before you ask, you won’t be able to sneak in, steal what you need, THEN kill them all to get max points.

18 Name 3 biggest mistakes current RPG developers (both indie and AAA) make while developing their games? Including your own if you'd like.

Such things are awfully subjective. I didn’t really like Legend of Grimrock that much, but I loved Legend of Grimrock 2 because they went open-world and did it really well, in my opinion. Yet LoG2 sold a third of what the first game sold and some people believe that the open world thing is to blame. So one man’s design mistake is another man’s best design ever.

As for our mistakes, the list is long so it won’t be hard to pick top 3:

We balanced combat around ‘specialists’, which made playing a ‘hybrid’ the hardest difficulty mode. The idea was that the players would beat the game with a specialist first and then play with a more balanced but more challenging character. Turned out everyone wants to play a hybrid but not everyone can figure out the combat system on the fly. That’s why “too difficult, can’t play it” is the #1 complaint.

To be clear, the mistake isn’t that the game is too difficult but that playing a hybrid character (fighter/talker) is nearly impossible for the first time players.

Inverted difficulty. Teron is the hardest town, mainly because your skills are low and your gear is shit. As you progress, the game gets easier and easier because your skills and gear improve but you’re still dealing with human enemies (whereas in most RPGs you’d have switched to higher level monsters a long time ago). Granted, there is a difference between some low level thugs/guards and highly skilled soldiers but that difference only goes so far.

Not enough content in Ganezzar (the third town). While Ganezzar has as many faction and side quests as any other town (and even has the siege event), most players walk away with an impression that there isn’t enough content. Why?

We underestimated the amount of content it would require in general. Ganezzar could have absorbed twice as much content without making you feel overwhelmed;

We overlooked the fact that many side quests required certain past events like making a deal with Marcus Valla to get the power armor, surviving Miltiades’ attempts to kill you and then saving his ass in Maadoran and helping him, etc.

Worst of all, we made an easy to miss 5-quest fork, instead of adding five stand-alone quests available to everyone. As a result, if you missed the fork and didn’t do the pre-requisites for other quests in Teron and Maadoran, you will have fewer quests available, especially if you were kicked out from your faction.
Read the whole thing, it's Codex-tier material. Bravo, GoHa. There was another interview with Vault Dweller earlier this month at the website of a writer named Chris Picone, which also included Iron Tower's composer Ryan Paul, but it's more of a general interest piece.

There are 37 comments on Vault Dweller interviewed about The New World and more at GoHa.Ru

Sat 19 August 2017
Kingdom Come: Deliverance gets a new story trailer, now available for preorder on Steam

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 19 August 2017, 02:10:30

Tags: Kingdom Come: Deliverance; Warhorse Studios

Yesterday, Warhorse Studios finally shut down crowdfunding for their upcoming historical action-RPG Kingdom Come: Deliverance and opened up conventional pre-orders on the game's Steam page. To coincide with that, they've released a new story trailer, entitled "Born From Ashes". It tells the origin story of your character, Henry, who is a shitflinging peasant (no, really) who joins the knighthood after his parents meet a tragic fate.

Animation and voice acting are still kind of dodgy, aren't they? I guess that's to be expected in a game with this kind of scope and ambition. In the end, there's only one CD Projekt.

There are 52 comments on Kingdom Come: Deliverance gets a new story trailer, now available for preorder on Steam

Fri 18 August 2017
Druidstone Dev Update #3: Additional Summer Progress

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 18 August 2017, 18:28:28

Tags: Ctrl Alt Ninja; Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

The previous development updates for Druidstone have chronicled its rapid transformation from roguelike to a more conventional sort of RPG. Today's update, the first to be released after Ctrl Alt Ninja's summer vacation, lists a few more changes that have been made to the game that didn't make it into the last update. The most visible among these is the shift from a top-down to a pseudo-isometric camera perspective.


Summer vacations are over and we are working hard on Druidstone!

Before the summer vacation we had quite a productive week. Some of the contributions were already mentioned in the last blog update, but a couple of things did not quite make it to the blog post.

First: we implemented grass rendering. What a difference does it make! My desk is facing away from the window, and of course we keep the window blinds closed like proper geeks do. To calm my nerves and induce lucid dreams of childhood summers in the Finnish forests, I can just stare at the wind blowing through the Menhir forest. Aah, lovely, I can feel my blood pressure dropping!

Second: Petri tweaked the camera angle a bit. It’s not exactly isometric (or axonometric), as it has perspective projection, but the world is now rotated 45 degrees around the vertical axis. This makes it possible to move the camera a bit closer by default, which brings out the detail in our models, making everything look great. But don’t trust just my word for it, see the screenshot down below.

After the vacation, we have introduced a bunch of new monsters, restructured the whole game – acts are gone – and rewritten artificial intelligence. But more about this later!
It looks like the UI is a bit less tablet-y now too. Good, good.

There are 3 comments on Druidstone Dev Update #3: Additional Summer Progress

Underworld Ascendant to be published by 505 Games, coming late 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 18 August 2017, 01:26:12

Tags: 505 Games; Joe Fielder; OtherSide Entertainment; Paul Neurath; Underworld Ascendant; Warren Spector

OtherSide Entertainment unexpectedly published a teaser trailer for Underworld Ascendant today, which was followed shortly thereafter by a press release and a special development update. All three reveal that the game now has a publisher - the Italian indie publisher 505 Games. It also now has a release window in the second half of 2018, and a Steam page too. Here's the teaser (which is just a snippet of gameplay from the recently released pre-alpha) and the press release:

CALABASAS, Calif. – Aug. 17, 2017 – 505 Games, a subsidiary of Digital Bros. S.p.A., announced today a partnership with development studio OtherSide Entertainment to publish fantasy RPG Underworld Ascendant, the next-generation sequel to the landmark Underworld franchise. The deeply experienced team at OtherSide studio – helmed by industry legends Paul Neurath (Ultima Underworld, Thief) and Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Epic Mickey) – has worked on many leading game franchises, which collectively garnered more than 200 awards and earned over $3 billion in revenues. Their current project, Underworld Ascendant, was first revealed on Kickstarter, where fans clamoring for the return of the storied masterpiece raised more than $850,000 for its creation.

“It’s another big moment for 505 Games, having the opportunity to partner with this talented team on such an iconic brand,” said Neil Ralley, president of 505 Games. “Ultima Underworld is among the greatest PC RPGs ever made, and we look forward to what Paul, Warren and their team will accomplish with the next generation of the franchise.”

In 1992, Ultima Underworld changed the rules of what a fantasy RPG could be, and introduced the concept of 3D immersion, a player-authored experience and an open world to explore. Now, OtherSide is making the next-generation PC follow-up to the series, innovating in bold new ways. Players will return to The Stygian Abyss, a breathtaking fantasy realm, rife with danger and full of intrigue. They are provided a wide array of tools to experiment with and create their own ingenious solutions to challenges. The story and world will react dynamically to player choices, challenging and rewarding their creativity and allowing them to author their experience.

“We’ve found a great partner in 505 Games; one who really supports and understands indie developers,” said Paul Neurath, CEO, OtherSide Entertainment. “We also have our fans to thank for helping make this dream a reality. Everyone who backed Underworld Ascendant on KickStarter is an important part of this project and we plan to keep them involved throughout development, sharing early builds and sourcing their feedback to help make this game amazing.”

“The original Underworld games broke new ground in the world of video game RPGs, and the Ascendant team is committed to innovation at that level,” said Warren Spector, studio director, OtherSide Entertainment. “Early builds already prove that, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Underworld Ascendant will be published on Steam for PC in the second half of 2018. Players can Wishlist the game now at:

To learn more about Underworld Ascendant, please visit:
I guess things are really warming up, although given the pace of development until now a year till release seems almost optimistic. The new development update has some screenshots from areas of the game that we haven't seen yet, as well as the news that OtherSide will be livestreaming it and answering questions on their Twitch channel on August 22.

There are 15 comments on Underworld Ascendant to be published by 505 Games, coming late 2018

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Thu 17 August 2017
Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates coming on October 4th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 17 August 2017, 00:28:53

Tags: Coin Operated Games; Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates

I was expecting we'd learn more about the strange new totally-not-steampunk RPG Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates soon after it was announced last month. Instead the developers went completely silent and skipped right to today's release date announcement. Empyre will be rising from the depths on October 4th. The press release also reveals that the game's story will be written by one Paul Noth, a cartoonist for The New Yorker who apparently wants to branch out into video games. Read it here:

Auburn, New Hampshire – August 16, 2017 – Coin Operated Games announces today that its upcoming Neo-Victorian RPG Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates , will be coming to PC via Steam starting on October 4, 2017. Developed by a team of industry veterans from such influential companies as Crytek, Creative Assembly, Codemasters and Digital Reality, Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates is a top-down isometric RPG that takes place in an alternate industrial New York circa 1911.

… water is everywhere but none of it to drink…

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates depicts a troubled New York in which the entire city is flooded by rising oceans and the citizens now face a new threat: the fresh water pipes have stopped and there is no water to drink!

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates features an original story penned by renowned writer/comic artist Paul Noth, a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, where his work has appeared regularly since 2004. He created the Emmy-nominated animated series "Pale Force" for Late Night with Conan O’Brien and was animation consultant for Saturday Night Live. He's also developed shows for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Nickelodeon, and his trilogy of middle-grade novels will be published by Bloomsbury, starting in April of 2018 with “How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens."

“After writing for different media throughout my career, I’m very excited to be working with Coin Operated Games to write their video game script,” said Paul Noth. “The world that has been created in Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates is amazing and truly unique, so I’m thrilled to be able to develop a story set in this new world.”

Although set in a fictional, alternate history, the game pays homage to historic accounts by adding authentic items such as patent medicines including poisons or tonics made from dangerous ingredients. Many of the games’ objectives and side quests will tie directly into the experiences that someone in the 19th century would have. The game’s authenticity reflects scenes from New York circa 1900, while tying the storyline to current day themes such as global warming and the rising of the oceans.

“We are very honored that Paul is working with us on the storyline for Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates,” said John Randall, Creative Director of Empyre. “He is a world class writer, and has been invaluable to us with helping to shape the direction of our games’ signature Neo-Victorian story and experience.”

Currently in development by Coin Operated Games, Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates will be available via Steam on October 4, 2017. More information will be shared in the coming weeks once the waters die down…
Okay then! Maybe now we'll learn more about it?

There are 19 comments on Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates coming on October 4th

Wed 16 August 2017
Larian Studios RPG Survey - The Results

Community - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Wed 16 August 2017, 13:47:14

Tags: Larian Studios

Some time ago the denizens of fair Codexia partook in Larian Studio's RPG survey. Well, the results are now public.

You can see the entire statistics here.

Taking a look at these graphs I can't help but notice that the bigots at Larian embezzled the newly invented and, by the tolerant community here on RPG Codex, promptly promoted gender "attack helicopter".
This kind of fascist misgenderism really has no place in 2017. Furthermore they also left out the RPG Codex as its own category in the "Where do you get your news from" section, a pity, because we'd probably emerged first place there.
Other than that it seems that isometric, turn-based storyfaggotry won - if I'm interpreting the graphs correctly.

Thanks to jerf again.

There are 94 comments on Larian Studios RPG Survey - The Results

Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #39: Josh Sawyer Social Media Feature Compilation #3

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 16 August 2017, 10:14:58

Tags: J.E. Sawyer; Katrina Garsten; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Obsidian's latest Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update is another feature demonstration video, this time including features from Josh Sawyer's social media feeds as well as a few never-before-seen ones from Obsidian's internal blogs. The main highlight is the introduction of various types of throwable grenades (hi Divinity!). Other new features include dancing & puking NPCs and Josh Sawyer's animancy cat. Here's the video, introduced as usual by Katrina Garsten:

No creepy Josh cameo this time, but in the next update he'll be giving an in-depth explanation of Deadfire's multiclassing and subclassing systems, including gameplay footage.

There are 22 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #39: Josh Sawyer Social Media Feature Compilation #3

Tue 15 August 2017
Matt MacLean on Tyranny's upcoming Bastard's Wound expansion at PC Invasion

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 15 August 2017, 01:56:13

Tags: Matt MacLean; Obsidian Entertainment; Paradox Interactive; Tyranny; Tyranny: Bastard's Wound

PC Invasion have an interview with Obsidian's Matt MacLean about the upcoming Bastard's Wound expansion for their rapidly-receding-from-memory 2016 RPG, Tyranny. It's a frank and somewhat awkward piece. Matt doesn't want to talk about the expansion's story, but he's not shy about revealing how limited its scope will be. See for yourself:

PC Invasion: Whereabouts in the game’s three acts does Bastard’s Wound slot into the story?

Matt McLean: This DLC is designed to be accessible to players who are at almost any point in the game. We put most of the action in the second Act of the game, to make it accessible to players on any of the major branches of the quest.

PCI: Is that so players who may have already finished Tyranny last year will be able to jump in asap?

MM: We have a New Game Plus mode that was released [for free] alongside the last DLC [Tales from the Tiers]. Our goal with this one is to have a DLC that doesn’t require the player to have already beaten the game. If they beat the game already they can go to an old save at Act Two, or just New Game Plus their way to Act Two. Act One isn’t very long, so we figured that’s the sweet spot to get the most players.

PCI: The main setting is a refugee camp that’s hidden from Kyros, can you talk a little more about that?

MM: We’ve kind of already spoiled a little bit too much about the story and the big thing we traffic in here at Obsidian is story, so I don’t want to speak too much more about it. But yes, the action takes place in a part of the world that was ignored by the major thrust of the war. Kyros’ armies marched past this place. It’s a spot where things are happening … not really a side-story, but one that’s happening concurrently with the main story. So players get to look on something that the rest of the armies haven’t seen.

PCI: So will actions you perform in Bastard’s Wound have an impact on the original story, or is this more separate?

MM: Yeah … there are certain ways to have it react to the main story, yeah. But I would say that the focus is not on a story that interacts with the main story. We only have so many hours in the day to work on content, so we wanted to create most of the content to be multiple ways to play out this additional adventure area. There are connections to the main world, but we wanted to focus more on lots of things to do in this area, and have less focus on how the ripples affect the main world.

PCI: There was reference in the original Bastard’s Wound announcement that this expansion would give a closer look at the Beastmen. Can you elaborate on that?

MM: In the main game we only really got to show one of the tribes of the Beastmen throughout the tiers, the Stonestalkers. There’s more to the Beastmen than just that tribe, unfortunately the story never took us to the places where we’d show you more of them. So we’re excited to have a chance to show more about the Beastmen, teach you about their history, have more characters to show you the different experiences the tribes have and what makes the different.

PCI: It seems like there are three companions who are getting new quests in Bastard’s Wound, is that right?

MM: That’s correct. For this particular DLC we have companion quests for Lantry, Barik, and Verse.

PCI: Since it deals with the Beastmen, is there any particular reason Kills-in-Shadow is not one of the companions getting a new quest?

MM: That’s a great question, but I don’t have a good answer for that.

Julia [Kernan]: Other than having time. Production time only allowed for us creating so much.

PCI: The spell system was one thing I really enjoyed in Tyranny, will the expansion add anything to that system?

MM: With the last DLC we’ve had some modifications to the spell system in terms of balance. We’re not adding any major sigils, mainly out of a problem of multiplicity. Any new sigil has to interact with every other shape and accent. We certainly thought about it, and it’s something we kinda wanted to do, but it’s something that turned out to be more expensive than we initially thought possible.

In some ways we made the magic system so complex that adding to it is a multiplication problem out of the scope of what we were trying to do.
Equally revealing are some of Matt's answers in the second half of the interview, where he appears to engage in an apologetic defense of Tyranny's style of choice & consequence and its much-criticized third act. It's a strange interview, but I guess that's par for the course for this strangely marketed game.

There are 31 comments on Matt MacLean on Tyranny's upcoming Bastard's Wound expansion at PC Invasion

BattleTech Kickstarter Update #42: Delayed to Early 2018, Beta update coming this week

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 15 August 2017, 00:46:30

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman

Harebrained Schemes' BattleTech made good money on Kickstarter back in 2015 by tapping into a hungry audience of BattleTech grognards. But grognards are a picky bunch and they've had plenty of feedback to offer on the recently released backer beta. Harebrained had originally planned to release the final game this year, but combined with the additional time it's taking them to get multiplayer working, they've decided to delay it to "early 2018". In the meantime, the beta will be updated this week with the new features they've been working on, with multiplayer to be released soon after. The new Kickstarter update has the full details:

Skirmish Beta Update This Week

Great news! An update to our Single-Player Skirmish Beta is coming later this week (we’ll send out another Kickstarter Update when it’s live). Thank you SO MUCH for all of your time submitting survey responses and discussing the Beta on the forums. This communication has been invaluable, and we've pushed a pretty significant set of gameplay & balancing changes to the Beta in direct response to your feedback.

The details will be in a complete change log and in your updated Beta Manual upon release, but here are some highlights:
  • Evasion, Sensor Lock, and Evasive Move have received major revisions.
  • Morale has been replaced with a new system intended to reduce the snowball effect of early game advantages.
  • Weapon balance has been tuned on a variety of weapons.
  • Crits are more frequent and powerful. Components and ammo now require only one crit to be destroyed, while weapons become damaged on the first crit (+2 Difficulty to-hit) and destroyed on the second.
  • A/C damage has been reduced (previous: 25/50/75/100, current: 25/45/60/100) for AC2, 5, 10, and 20 respectively.
  • Global heat has been tuned down by about 10%.
  • Water doesn't increase heat dissipation as much (previous: 200%, current: 150%)
  • Stability damage accumulates slower and also bleeds slower, and in larger discrete chunks.
  • MechWarriors now have two abilities, which increases their usefulness and flexibility.
  • An eyeball icon appears on enemy units if they will have LOS on you after you make the move you’re plotting.
Beyond these gameplay mechanics, this beta update also includes:
  • A big, tasty update to AI that includes enemies using MechWarrior abilities, making called shots on prone or shut down units, using Death From Above, and generally messing up your life.
  • A Settings Menu that allows you to change your settings and remap your keyboard shortcuts. (Currently only available from the Main Menu.)
  • Some UI changes/enhancements both in combat and the skirmish setup screens.
Enjoy! And please continue to fill out your surveys after each match. They’ve proven very valuable! We'll publish a complete list of changes when the Beta Update goes live.

Launch Window Update

Hi everyone,

As you may remember, the original release estimate listed in our Kickstarter campaign was for delivery of the BATTLETECH Base Skirmish Game. With each additional Funding Stage unlocked - Single-Player Story Campaign, Expanded Mercenary Campaign, and PVP Multiplayer - more time and team members were added for the additional work.

We’d previously been projecting a late 2017 release but now that we’ve revised our AI & combat mechanics in reaction to your feedback, completed a thorough review of the work remaining on the game, and are poised to release the Multiplayer Backer Beta update, all indications are that Paradox & HBS will release BATTLETECH in early 2018.

Throughout development, the message we’ve received has been clear, “Don’t rush it, just make it great.” and we have taken that to heart. All of us - HBS, Paradox, and our Backers - share a deeply personal attachment to this project and we are committed to delivering a game that not only meets your high expectations but introduces BattleTech to a new generation of players.

With that said, I’m happy to report that solid progress continues across the project! We are now able to play the open-ended mercenary campaign “loop” and I have to say that when you’re counting your C-bills and caring about your MechWarriors’ health and survival, you approach combat missions differently which imbues every turn with a ton of dramatic tension. And the upcoming upgrade to our AI is going to make you think hard about how you engage the enemy!

As Mitch mentioned in our last update, we’ve made a ton of progress on all the component pieces of the game and this phase of development is all about bringing them together - the core combat game, the mercenary simulation aboard the Argo, the single-player story and cinematics, the open-ended mercenary mission system, the ‘Mech customization system… it’s a lot of stuff and it’s exciting to see it all getting stitched together and “upleveled” with art, audio, UI, and writing.

It really is an exciting time on the project and I can’t wait to share it with you when it’s finally done. Thanks again for all your support!
As stated, the previous update from late June has more details about the progress of BattleTech's development, though how relevant that is now I'm not sure. Whatever happens, it's great that there's a fanbase dedicated to helping make this game as tight as possible. The Shadowrun games didn't really have that.

There are 14 comments on BattleTech Kickstarter Update #42: Delayed to Early 2018, Beta update coming this week

Fri 11 August 2017
ICY: Frostbite Edition Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 11 August 2017, 20:46:46

Tags: Icy; Inner Void Interactive

Inner Void Interactive's ICY: Frostbite Edition, an enhanced edition/remake of 2015's post-apocalyptic Ice Age survival RPG ICY, was successfully greenlit for release on Steam back in May. It took a little longer than expected, but today the game was released on Steam. Here's its launch trailer and description:


ICY is a narrative-driven post-apocalyptic survival RPG set in a new Ice Age, where your life and the lives of your followers depend on every decision you make. Create your own character, using a detailed stat system that influences your abilities to hunt, travel, scavenge, communicate and lead, then begin a journey of survival across the White Wasteland.

It is up to you to take on the responsibilities of leadership and guide your newfound nomad family in their fight for survival. Do not take your role lightly, for each decision you make, each word you speak, ripples through the life of your community.

Take heed, for you and your clan are not alone in this frozen world. In addition to the elements and the wildlife you encounter, there will be loners and bands of miscreants to deal with. Decide carefully on whom to trust and how to react or the snow covered landscape will become your icy tomb.

  • Experience an intense story of survival in a unique post-apocalyptic new ice age setting.
  • Influence the plot with your choices, with numerous shades of morality that lead to multiple endings.
  • Lead a group of survivors, each one with different needs, values and ideals.
  • Scavenge for items and hunt for food while facing the challenges of starvation, illness, harsh elements and other bands of survivors.
  • More than 400 pieces of detailed hand-drawn artwork that portray the bleak and dire landscape of the frozen world.
  • Customize your character by choosing how to distribute attribute points among 9 different skills that affect your abilities and experience through the entire game.
  • Enjoy the new combat system offering a mix between a classic turn based combat system and a trading card game.
If you'd like more information, Inner Void's OwNathan posted some details about ICY: Frostbite Edition's new combat system on our forums a couple of months ago. The game is available on Steam now for just $13 with a 25% launch discount until next week. But the best thing is that since the original ICY was on sale several times after its release, chances are you own the new edition already!

There are 10 comments on ICY: Frostbite Edition Released

Wasteland 3 Fig Update #22: Building the Everest - From Concept to Design

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 11 August 2017, 01:26:22

Tags: Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Paul Marzagalli; Wasteland 3

In the latest Wasteland 3 Fig update, inXile give us our first look at the design and development of their vertical slice area, the Stanley Hotel, now renamed to the Everest Hotel. The Everest's writer is none other than Colin McComb, and you might find the update an interesting look into his thought processes:

The idea for the hotel was born from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, inspiration for Stephen King’s Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”. I wanted to make a haunted hotel, a place with a hideous secret that would entrap the unwary. As a secondary goal, I wanted to include several references to The Shining itself as an homage to an author whose early work had an outsize influence on my career (read: gave me nightmares as a kid).

Originally, I was looking at the basement of the hotel as the home to a dimensional rift, and it was voices from the rift that spoke to the caretakers of the hotel, exhorting them to murder/“preserve the spirits of the lost”. The first comment on this plan was, “This is Wasteland, not Torment.”

OK, fine. What if instead of an actual rift, the caretakers just believe there’s a hole to another world there? That’s still cool, but now we need to explain why it is that they’d believe such a thing. The easiest solution to that? Mass hallucination and charismatic cult leaders.

So now I needed to find a way to induce mass hallucination in this crowd, and what easier way to do that than via the fungus the caretakers use for food? Throw some hallucinogens (similar to psilocybin), maybe include something like Cordyceps to rewire their neural pathways, and suddenly having the caretakers believing that they can kill people to save them starts to sound almost reasonable.

This led me to consider a fungus greenhouse, decorative fungus in the hotel, and a bunch of fungus-related content (ironic, since I hate mushrooms), but, as with the idea of the dimensional rift, I realized that it wasn't the right direction to take this level. It took away agency from the Caretakers, and made their actions the fault of an exterior force. Worse, as we plotted out the flow of the fungus quests, it just wasn't fun. Back to the drawing board! We kept some of the ideas that we liked, while reworking others. This is all part and parcel of the review process.

So now the hotel's caretakers are straight-up murderers. But why? Why would the custodians of a pre-war hotel decide that they had to kill their guests? I had to dig still deeper into caretaker psychology to help understand their motivations, and to keep them from becoming simple Bad Guys Who Should be Killed.

Eventually, we settled on an explanation, and I added a section to the Zone Design Document outlining the foundational thoughts of a murder cult:

The Caretakers – once a devoted and active group whose primary mission is to keep alive the grace of the old world – have been slowly dying out, age and accident claiming them faster than they can replenish their ranks. Their generational knowledge is vanishing with them… and as they die, the standards of the hotel itself have been slipping away, and fewer people come every year. The Caretakers are taking matters into their own hands now, luring guests they deem “unhappy” back to the hotel. Why do they persist?
They have, over the years, altered their philosophy. They have built the idea of the Everest into something more than an old building. They believe they must fill its halls with spirits to protect it - and that it, in turn, will protect those spirits from the frozen wastes outside.

They’re offended by the accusations that they’re killing people. They use euphemisms (like funeral directors), and do not want to say the actual words, like “murder”, “desecration”, “corpses”, or “victims.”

Now it’s just a matter of defining the hotel’s interior space, defining the characters and conversations, filling the place with fun and challenging things to do, and figuring out the quest and encounter variables. (ha ha, “just” - see, this is where the real work is!)

I’ll talk about that process later. Right now, the important thing is designing a way to get the players there in the first place. And this is where pointer quests come in handy. A pointer quest is a way to encourage players to go visit a new area. We can combine these with other missions and content that encourage players to go there, explore, and come back.

In this particular area, we run into a character named Donnelly. I’m actively in the process of developing his conversation as I write this, so I’m still sharpening aspects of his character… but he’s a friendly guy, and a wide smile is a welcome sight in the frozen wastes. He’d *really* like you to get up the Everest Hotel. His traveling companion, a Mr. Parker, checked in to the hotel several days ago, and Donnelly’s worried sick about him. And, incidentally, he’d sure like the Rangers to bring back the floppy disk that his partner went in there to find.

Now that we’ve got Donnelly’s background, we need to figure out how to communicate all this to the players. First, Donnelly hails the player and introduces the area. He delivers the crucial information we need - data about his partner, a teaser about the hotel, and just enough sketchiness that we’re going to be suspicious of this character. He’ll also provide some basic information about the rest of the Suicide Forest area - about the mountain lions, for instance, or the rumors of armed partisans in the mountains at his back. The Rangers might want to talk to him again, so we’ll set up conditionals to make sure the players haven’t progressed further in the quest… and then we need to determine what the quest states are after the Rangers return from the hotel. Have they located the disk he sought? Have they killed all the Caretakers? Have they found his partner? And is that partner pissed off?

But that’s probably enough discussion for now. We’ll address quest design in a future update.
I'm not sure that's the best idea one could come up with. Better than the fungus one, though.

There are 86 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #22: Building the Everest - From Concept to Design

Thu 10 August 2017
Underworld Ascendant Pre-Alpha Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 August 2017, 23:24:55

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

As promised last week, OtherSide released the Underworld Ascendant pre-alpha to eligible backers today. Turns out it's not just for backers at the $75 tier but also for anybody who may have paid just $5 for the prototype back in 2015, which is pretty cool. As for the pre-alpha itself, its physics are a bit wonky and the textures look half-baked, but it's finally a real game, not just a tech demo with skeletons. Our resident Underworld watcher Nekot-The-Brave had some fun with it. Watch him run around killing Lizardmen and smashing crates while listening to the ominous intonations of Stephen Russell:

Here are some partial release notes:

The Pre-Alpha Build is meant to highlight:
  • The game’s visual bar and core tenets of combat, stealth, and magic.
  • The world as an interactive toybox full of interesting opportunities for the player to experiment with and areas that provide unique opportunities and challenges.
  • Interactive elements that the player can combine with skills, spells, and each other, such as:
    • Physics-based traps that can be manipulated and exploited.
    • Spreading fire that can be weaponized.
    • Caches of useful items.
    • “Glue bulbs” that can stick to objects.
  • An initial implementation of rewarding the player for creativity.
The Pre-Alpha Build is not representative of the final product.
  • The implementation of skills, combat, stealth, and spells is all still preliminary work. We will be refining and honing how they work, adding functionality, and polishing usability.
  • You may encounter bugs and it lacks the full range of weapons, skills, magic, and meta elements such as quest selection and player growth.
  • Check the build notes for further details.
What next for Underworld Ascendant? Hopefully it won't take another two years for it to reach alpha.

There are 31 comments on Underworld Ascendant Pre-Alpha Released

Underrail Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 August 2017, 19:58:22

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

Looks like I spoke too soon when I said there were no more new features to introduce for the Underrail: Expedition expansion. Styg has published a new development update to announced that he's reversed most of his plans for high level Veteran characters that were introduced last year. Instead of ceasing to gain ability and skill points on level-up and becoming feat beasts, Veteran level characters will now continue to advance much like normal ones. To make up for that, they'll gain access to unique Specializations that will improve their existing feats. The update explains:

Hi guys. I did some changes regarding veteran levels which I originally introduced back in October.

First of all, player will continue to receive the normal amount of skill points when leveling up even on veteran levels now. Also, derived stats such as health, detection and such will scale normally on veteran levels as well. However, players will also gain a feat every even level instead of every level when leveling on veteran levels. So basically everything is going to work as with normal levels with the exception of the feat pool being expanded with veteran feats once you hit veteran levels.

Allowing of the further skill scaling beyond the 25th level, however, requires us to provide some use for such high skill levels, particularly in crafting. To address this, the end-game areas and stores will have some of its loot/stock scaled up if the Expedition DLC is installed, particularly when it comes to crafting components. In the future, we also intend to address the problem of other non-combat skill scaling (such as social skills and hacking/lockpicking) by adding high level encounters/opportunities, so while currently it might not make sense to max out these skills, in the future it will have benefits.

However, the second, and more important change, is that on veteran levels you'll also get three specialization points.

You use these specialization points to further improve your non-veteran feats, often across specific dimension, as demonstrated in the GIF above. Your investment of points in any given specialization cannot exceed your veteran level (or the maximum allowed points for that specialization).

That's it for now. Let us know how you like these changes.
It's definitely a more ambitious implementation, what with having to go back and add new high level content to the base game. Maybe that's why the expansion is taking longer than anticipated to complete.

There are 43 comments on Underrail Dev Log #54: Specialization and Veteran Level Changes

Realms of Arkania: Star Trail HD Remake Released

Game News - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Thu 10 August 2017, 16:24:59

Tags: Crafty Studios; Realms of Arkania: Star Trail (Remake)

The remake of Realms of Arkania: Star Trail was released today, after spending a couple of months on Early Access.

Now some of you probably remember the Blade of Destiny HD release and that the game wasn't received that well. However, a developer contacted us and said they had learned from their errors.

Hello there!

We are about to release Realms of Arkania: Star Trail tomorrow and we thought you might want to add this to your news. We were in Early Access for more than half a year and are now rather fond of what we achieved together with our community.

After the desaster that was the release of Blade of Destiny, we worked hard to redeem ourselves and make BoD the game it was meant to be, and we did it. Now, with Star Trail we included our dearest fans from the start and gave a lot of people the chance to get involved - and boy did they get involved! More than 650 Bug Threads, more than 400 Feature Requests (more than a hundred of them implemented), lots of modding already done and available in Steam Workshop - Star Trail has become an actually good game.

So, if you need anything else in terms of information, support or just want to let me know that you wrote something about us, I'd be happy to help you out!​

I've played a lot of Drakensang and Blackguards this year, who knows, perhaps I'm checking this out when I get that Dark Eye itch again (which happens in regular intervals).

There are 29 comments on Realms of Arkania: Star Trail HD Remake Released

Wed 9 August 2017
The Iron Oath, a turn-based strategy RPG with cool pixel art, now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 9 August 2017, 23:24:27

Tags: Curious Panda Games; The Iron Oath

The Iron Oath is an upcoming turn-based tactical RPG that we first learned about back in January. Gameplay-wise, the game sounds similar to Battle Brothers, with a guild of warriors to manage and a dynamic open world to explore. What stands out about it the most however are its gorgeous pixel art graphics, which remind me a bit of the upcoming action RPG Eitr. The developers, an international indie team who call themselves Curious Panda Games, have been self-funding The Iron Oath's development for a year. Now they're looking to raise $45,000 on Kickstarter to complete it. Here's the game's pitch video and basic description:

The Iron Oath is a turn-based tactical RPG that is set in a dark fantasy world. Recruit, manage, and embark on missions with a roster of adventurers, testing the limits of their mortality. Every decision made carries weight and can have a minor or major influence on your characters and the world that surrounds them. As you and your guild progress, the world changes dynamically, enabling new storylines to discover and resulting in a unique experience for every playthrough.

  • Tactical turn-based Combat: Deadly foes, traps and destructible objects means one misstep could be your party’s undoing. Proper planning and execution is vital to your success.
  • A Large and Dynamic Overworld: 9 regions with over 50 hubs to visit. Cities can be overtaken, destroyed and rebuilt; while various factions can emerge, rise and fall. A playthrough can potentially last hundreds of years, resulting in many changes to the initial world state.
  • In-depth Guild Management: Control your guild's finances, resources, alliances and roster. Your characters will age, retire and frequently die in combat and you will need to recruit and train their replacements.
  • Character Development: Every recruitable character has their own personal backstory, incorporating events that have taken place during your playthrough. Their motives, alignment and traits all stem from this, but each of the three is subject to change as their career progresses.
  • Dynamic Dialogue: Characters will converse over a variety of subjects such as the current state of the world or relevant past experiences, along with offering their input on any decisions you face.
  • Decisions Matter: Your choices bear consequences and they can affect your characters, your guild and the many factions that exist throughout the world.
  • Detailed Pixel Art: Meticulously hand-crafted pixel art characters, animations and environments help set the mood for your journey.
The Kickstarter page is absolutely packed with details about the game's mechanics, exploration, character system, story & setting, and more. It's all very professionally done. If you like what you see, you can secure a copy of The Iron Oath for just $15. The game's estimated release date is March 2019.

There are 34 comments on The Iron Oath, a turn-based strategy RPG with cool pixel art, now on Kickstarter

Fallout: Nevada mod for Fallout 2 gets a preliminary English release

Mod News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 9 August 2017, 00:43:26

Tags: Fallout 2; Fallout: Nevada

Fallout: Nevada (also known as "Fallout of Nevada") is another one of those Fallout 2 standalone campaign mods from Eastern Europe that have come out over the years. Chronologically, it's a prequel to both of the original Fallout games, taking place in the early days of Vault City. It was developed by a Russian team and was originally released in 2011, with the final version coming out in 2015. Unlike the Czech team behind Fallout 1.5: Resurrection, they decided not to go on and develop an English version, so last year a group of fans on the NMA forums led by one Dionis decided to produce an English translation themselves. This week, they released their first preliminary translation of Fallout: Nevada. The translation effort doesn't have its own website or promotional materials, so here's the trailer and description from the mod's original website:

Fallout: Nevada - fanatical attempt to create a prequel to the game Fallout. The project is not a renamed clone of the original, it is not an assembly of other people's ideas or mods, it is not an addition to the original story. This is a full conversion, which borrows some of the typical content and the engine of the original, the rest of the content (scripts, plot, dialogs, characters, locations, etc.) is created from scratch specifically for the project.

Main innovations:
  • A completely new story
  • More than 100 quests
  • A new world map (12 major points on the world map and 12 new special meetings)
  • 2.7 MB of game text
  • New soundtracks
  • The plot reveals the prehistory of Vault City, known for the game Fallout 2.
  • The central importance is given not to combat, but to quests, stories and the universe of Fallout.
  • High degree of authenticity of locations.
  • A small amount of black and humor
The mod is fully translated to English, but most of the writing is still in a rough state and requires editing, and it probably wasn't that great in the first place. However, I'm told that in terms of pure design, Fallout: Nevada is top-notch, putting even Fallout 1.5 (last year's Codex GOTY) to shame. If you'd like to give it a try, you can grab both the original mod and the latest version of the translation here.

There are 61 comments on Fallout: Nevada mod for Fallout 2 gets a preliminary English release

Tue 8 August 2017
Josh Sawyer talks about Neketaka at PCGamesN

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 8 August 2017, 00:41:52

Tags: Bobby Null; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Last week's Pillars of Eternity II Fig update showcasing the city of Neketaka made such a good impression that the folks at PCGamesN decided to interview Josh Sawyer about it. The first part of their interview is focused on describing the city's politics. I quote:

Pillars of Eternity 2 draws from the history of the East India Company as inspiration for its capital city, Neketaka. The city is torn between the competing interests of the trading companies looking to exploit the resources of the Deadfire Archipelago and the natives trying to turn this foreign interest into personal gain.

Talking to us last week, Pillar of Eternity 2 director Josh Sawyer says that Europe's imperial history was very much in mind when designing the game, and Neketaka in particular.

"We’re definitely trying to draw connections to things like the East India Trading Company, and various Belgian and Dutch trading firms as well," Sawyer says. "Each of the colonial cultures has a different interest in the area. They overlap a little bit, and they are in direct competition."

Neketaka has a long history. Its original builders are the Huana, an ancient tribe that were contemporaries to the Engwithan, the precursor race that you learn about in the original game. Unlike the Engwithan, though, the Huana were set back by "a big, cataclysmic event that occurred, and wiped out a huge portion of their population," Sawyer says. "They had to rebuild from almost nothing. Neketaka is actually a surviving element of that ancient culture, but it was abandoned for centuries until it was repossessed by a powerful Huana tribe, the Kahanga."

The Kahanga is "nominally the ruling tribe of the Huana, but they don’t really respect their authority." The queen and prince of the tribe have a strong military but they don't command as much respect among the tribes as you'd expect of "autocratic rulers."

Then, within the city there are: the native Huana; the Vailian trading company - a group sponsored by the Vailian Republics, who you could encounter in the first game - they control a district called Queen's Berth; and, finally, the Royal Deadfire Company. They control their own district, too - a large, fortified district.

Hated by everyone are the Principi, a pirate collective. Naturally, with so many traders around, the Principi have infiltrated the city with their agents.

All these factions are interlinked with alliances and rivalries, and being an Obsidian RPG, many of them want you to help turn the faction confusion to their advantage. For example, Sawyer explains the queen's plan: "She is trying to play them off against each other, but she’s playing a dangerous game. Those groups are very powerful, and because those tribes are not that unified, they are vulnerable to outside colonial forces that are more organised."

But you aren't just a pawn for these groups, Sawyer says: "The player has their own agenda for coming to Neketaka [and] you see different elements of each faction before you get to make alliances among them. You’re pursuing one objective, but it drags you into the middle of these four groups. Neketaka is a place where you see these cultures coming together and you see the dysfunction between them. As a player, you can be extremely resistant to making alliances with them, and although it’s very difficult, we do offer the option to go your own way. But, all these factions want to do a ‘quid pro quo’ with you, like ‘Why don’t you help our faction? We’ll help you achieve your objectives’."
The second part of the interview goes into more detail about the experience of being in Neketaka. Here's an excerpt:

With Neketaka possessing such scope and bustling culture, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ll slip in unnoticed and be able to quietly manipulate its systems. Quite the opposite is the reality; you’ll be a big name from practically the moment you walk through its gates.

“As soon as you get to Neketaka, something happens to establish who you are,” Sawyer teases. “It’s a big event that means we can justifiably have anyone in the city be aware of who you are. When you’re on the critical path, while you’re suggested to go to the palace, it’s possible to avoid it if you want to. But if you do go to the palace, everyone who sees you knows who you are.”

And when everyone knows who you are, there’s one thing you can count on: an ever-growing line of NPCs demanding you help them out. Pillars of Eternity II’s cities will, without question, feature dozens of quest opportunities, but Sawyer notes that Obsidian have been careful with how those opportunities are presented.

“We do want players to stumble across quests, but if they’re forced into it all the time, that can get irritating,” he explains. “It can also be overwhelming when you have so many quests that you just don’t know where to go. Baldur's Gate was much too sparse, and Athkatla [the capital city in Baldur’s Gate II] was a little too dense. Part of it also had to do with the way the player was pulled into those conversations. Sometimes it’s ok to pull players into a dialogue, and other times it’s ok to let a player see there’s something going on and decide [what to do].”

As you travel around Neketaka, you’ll find that the citizens respond to you in a variety of ways governed by a specific sense of logic. This is based in Obsidian’s wish for NPCs to be notably and realistically reactive.

“If you rob from a regular citizen, it seems a little jarring if they go berserk and attack you,” Sawyer notes. “[In Pillars 2] if regular old folks get mad, they will try to call the guards. If you start attacking them, they’ll flee or they’ll cower. The people who are there to protect the citizens - the guards - they’re the ones who will come and try and attack you.”

If you’re planning on staying on the right side of the law, the new chatter system is where you’ll notice most of Pillars II’s reactivity. “People react to you in different ways based on who they are,” Sawyer details. “People react to you being godlike, which is something [players] said they wanted more reactivity to. If you do certain things, people will thank you or they’ll curse you in the street. We try to have a lot of logic to it.”

That reactivity runs deeper than merely what people say about you, though. Your decisions and actions will have an obvious effect on Neketaka; the city itself will change over time. “The bigger challenge is less about giving something a sense of place, and more about giving a place a sense of change over time,” Sawyer says. “It’s the thing in roleplaying games that is much more difficult. Almost any genre can give you a strong sense of place, but when the player does something in a roleplaying game, they’re looking for what changes based on that. ‘Do people come? Do they go? Do they treat me differently?’ That’s always a challenge, and it’s something that we keep pushing.”
For more details about Neketeka, you may also want to check out this brief interview with lead designer Bobby Null at It's nice to hear Obsidian reiterate their commitment to NPC schedules, which we haven't really heard anything about since the Fig campaign.

There are 40 comments on Josh Sawyer talks about Neketaka at PCGamesN

Fri 4 August 2017
GOLDEN BABY RISING - Grimoire Released!

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 4 August 2017, 14:12:54

Tags: Cleveland Mark Blakemore; Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar

Four months since it was greenlit for release on Steam. Five years since it was crowdfunded on Indiegogo. Twenty-three years since its development began after the cancellation of Stones of Arnhem. Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar, the game that was meant to be Cleveland Mark Blakemore's answer to Sir-Tech's failure to produce a sequel to the legendary Wizardry VII, has somehow survived through multiple eras of gaming and emerged intact from the other side. It's only fitting that the final release of such a mindbogglingly weird game has come to us as a complete surprise. Gentlemen, ITZ here:


After more than 20 years of development, the greatest roleplaying game of them all is finally ready for release! Grimoire is an homage to the classic dungeon blobbers and is inspired by Wizardry, Might & Magic, Lands of Lore, Anvil of Dawn, DungeonMaster and the Eye of the Beholder games!
  • 600 hours of play possible in a single game
  • Lush Colorful 2D Hand Drawn Artwork
  • Retro style MIDI music and 8 bit sound effects
  • 244+ Maps in the game to explore!
  • Turn-Based strategic combat
  • Multiple Beginnings, Multiple Endings
  • 144 context sensitive magic spells
  • 14 races, 15 professions, 50 skills
  • 64 intelligent NPCs with 8000+ Words in Vocabulary
  • Full Sentence Communication with NPCs
  • 240+ monsters each with special powers and defenses
  • 1000+ items, Carry Containers, Global Party Inventory
  • 30 conditions, from Confusion to Disease & Lycanthropy
  • Automapping, Autowalking, Autohealing
  • Global Map Atlas With Position Marker
  • Quest Journal, Hint Prompting, Help Facility, Mini-Quests
  • Complex LockPicking Interfaces for Doors & Chests
  • Challenging Puzzles and Rich Interactive Dungeons
  • Browsable Character Library for up to 100 characters
  • Up to 12 Commented Postage Stamped Savegames
  • Multi-themed GUI and customizable screen layouts
Grimoire is available on Steam now for $40, with a 10% launch discount until next week. A steep price, but one well worth paying to become a part of history. Congratulations, Cleve. Now how about delivering those Steam keys to your backers?

There are 362 comments on GOLDEN BABY RISING - Grimoire Released!

Underworld Ascendant Update #37: Pre-Alpha Build releasing on August 10th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 4 August 2017, 00:31:10

Tags: Joe Fielder; OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

After months of waiting and numerous delays, the extremely busy gentlemen at OtherSide Entertainment have finally announced a release date for the Underworld Ascendant vertical slice/pre-alpha. On August 10th, backers who pledged at the $75 Adventurer tier or above will be receiving their Steam keys. The new development update has some concrete information about what's in store for them, including a few screenshots.

[​IMG] [​IMG]

As you know, we recently stood up the core tenets of combat, stealth, and magic in an early area of the game called The Challenge of Ishtass. There, the player is first introduced to the array of choices available to them with The Improvisation Engine. We set the challenge, the solution is up to you, and we reward creativity.

[...] To explain, first let’s take a look at a few recent additions to the game world…

In this shot, you can see physics-based traps that the player can manipulate, the sticky bulb of the “glue plant,” and spreading fire.

The player might use a glue bulb and a crate to jam a trap, pass by unharmed, then use water to dissolve the glue, just as an enemy steps into the trap’s path.

Or they might cast a the Gravitate spell — a non-offensive magic originally designed as a way of creating bridges — on a pile of crates, setting them on fire, then to hold off encroaching enemies. Or, even better, lining them up just right and blasting them at enemies with a Repulse spell in a fiery rain.

It’s important to note that none of these results were planned in advance, they were discovered.

Whenever a new interactable element gets added to the game, all of us on the development team spend a few days playing around with it in conjunction with different skills, spells, and AI. Sometimes, we find bugs or areas where support is needed, but often, things just… work.

One of the most exciting aspects of external testing for us is seeing the inventive solutions that players come up with. We said back at the start that we want you to devise clever techniques that we haven’t imagined yet and every time we do a round of testing, we see a few things that we’ve never seen before.

For instance, one tester recently tossed a glue ball at the base of a whirring tick-tock trap rightalong the seam and stopped it dead in its tracks. We didn’t know that was possible, but of course, knowing how the systems work, it makes sense.

Another tester used the Gravitate spell to place and lock a crate right in front of the tick-tock trap’s whirring blades. It strained and strained against it, until the spell wore off and the crate was launched far into the air. (When it landed, it alerted a Lizard Man. Oops.)

We’re constantly reminded of when we first released the initial prototype of Underworld Ascendant to backers and within half an hour started seeing videos of spell and object uses we’d never imagined. (Like using a spell that lifts plants to create a magical elevator.) So, we’re really looking forward to seeing the inventive solutions you all come up with.

Now that the build has undergone a few rounds of external feedback, bug testing, and polish, we’re just about ready.

In fact, we’re close enough that we can finally reveal the release date of the Pre-Alpha Build: Those of you who backed at the ADVENTURER tier and above will receive details on how to access it on Steam on Thursday, August 10th.

Again, we appreciate your patience while we been refining the experience even further. As a way of thanking you for hanging in there with us, we’ll be kicking off the first Developer Roundtable the week after the Pre-Alpha Build’s release on Wednesday, August 16th at 1PM EST on OtherSide’s Twitch page. Save the date!
It's now been almost two and a half years since Ascendant was Kickstarted. Other crowdfunded games have managed to go from Kickstarter to final release in that amount of time. Let's hope that the extra time and effort that OtherSide have invested into this game are reflected in the pre-alpha. It's make or break time.

There are 9 comments on Underworld Ascendant Update #37: Pre-Alpha Build releasing on August 10th

Wed 2 August 2017
Silicon Void, a Chrono Cross-inspired RPG set in a post-human far future, now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 2 August 2017, 01:50:16

Tags: Silicon Void

Here's an upcoming RPG that we learned about yesterday that is now seeking its fortune on Kickstarter. Its name is Silicon Void, and it's the work of a gentleman named Chris Doucette, who appears to be a connoisseur of non-mainstream (ie, non-Final Fantasy) JRPGs from the late 90s and early 2000s. His game is mechanically inspired by Chrono Cross, the semi-forgotten successor to classic JRPG Chrono Trigger, but it doesn't appear JRPGish at all. Instead, it's a high concept science fiction RPG set in outer space in a far future where humanity, and indeed all organic life, has disappeared. The Kickstarter pitch can explain it better than I could:

Silicon Void is a sci-fi RPG that puts a space exploration twist on the dungeon crawler genre, and features highly technical turn-based combat inspired by the unique battle systems of offbeat Japanese RPG classics like Chrono Cross. The game casts the player in the role of an artificial intelligence fighting to survive in a distant future after all biological life has mysteriously vanished. Thrust into the midst of a power struggle between corrupted AIs, you will confront the grim consequences of living forever but turning into something unrecognizable in the process.


As the age of the universe increases, the probability of advanced biological civilizations should increase. This principle is agreed upon by 99.99999% of the artificial intelligences that travel the stars.

None of them can explain, therefore, why not so much as a microbe on a meteor has been observed in the last 20 billion years. Did “organic life” ever actually exist? Or is the history of the species that built the first constructs just a creation myth, born from corrupted data on primitive storage formats?

Corruption is very much on the minds of modern machines, for the theoretically endless lifespan of a construct tests the limits of thermodynamics. No pattern can be maintained indefinitely; even an idea has a half-life.

After millennia of uploading and downloading across galaxy-wide networks, a construct cannot remain exactly as it was. Eventually, Senescence takes hold: the gradual decay of awareness, shift in personality, and loss of identity that claims all constructs who do not choose termination while they still have the will to do so.

Most Senescents simply withdraw into themselves and become inert. A minority become violent wanderers, attacking others without provocation or motivation. All become fodder for the most dangerous sort of construct: the unchecked ego at the core of a hive mind.

Exiled from civilization for showing the early signs of Senescence, you arrive at the galactic rim to begin a brutal life of subsistence, only to receive a mysterious broadcast from an unidentified source: biological life has been found again, and your help is needed to safeguard it. The delicate equilibrium of the galaxy is about to change again...


Silicon Void follows the structure of a dungeon crawler in the vein of the Etrian Odyssey series, with a mix of open-ended exploration and maze-like planetary dungeons. You will make excursions to lifeless planets and ruined outposts, scavenge resources, battle enemy constructs, and return to your base to invest your loot in new research projects and combat abilities.

The combat system builds on the intricate core mechanics of Chrono Cross, and introduces even more opportunities for strategy through a Xenosaga-inspired turn clock that constantly changes the circumstances of battle. Combat is fully turn-based; take all the time you need to decide on your next move. You’ll have to carefully plan ahead as well as improvise in response to unexpected situations, and every tactical choice you make has more than one consequence to consider.

Silicon Void also takes inspiration from Chrono Cross' player-friendly approach, with frustration-reducing features like automated healing after combat, the ability to save your game anywhere, and an option to change your loadout and restart a battle at any time. You won't need to hold back to save resources for a long grind, but each encounter will be its own challenge.

Life on the Rim requires adaptation, and you'll need to frequently change up your approach to combat in order to maximize your effectiveness. Abilities you equip earn experience, but after reaching a plateau, they must be temporarily unequipped to unlock their next power level. Fully leveled up abilities can in turn be sacrificed for permanent passive upgrades to your party. You can be sure that your style of play will change dramatically from the beginning of the game to the final boss.
A free pre-alpha demo of Silicon Void is available on, and you can read more about it on the official website. A copy of the finished game can be yours for just $15 when it comes out in two years, if the Kickstarter manages to reach its goal of $96,000. It doesn't look like it's going to make it though, which is a shame. The world always needs more sci-fi RPGs.

There are 10 comments on Silicon Void, a Chrono Cross-inspired RPG set in a post-human far future, now on Kickstarter
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