NGS Dissolved & Future of Resurgence
5 months ago
– Thu, Aug 03, 2017 at 10:20:43 PM
Hello again my fellow Nectarines,
Rob here, with a heavy heart and somber news. In this update you’ll find:
Why Nectar has been dissolved
What’s next for the team
Future of Resurgence
Why no refunds
Core demo links
It has been extremely difficult for me to write this update. I’ve tried, and I just couldn’t get the words to come out. Emotionally, I’ve fallen into one of the darkest places in my life, and I’m just now digging myself out and starting to feel ok again. As the title states, we’ve run out of money and been forced to dissolve Nectar and put Resurgence on indefinite hiatus.
I apologize if this comes as a shock to you. It certainly was a shock to us. But I will try to explain the situation as best I can, and what that means for all of you and our beloved game.
What the Hell Happened?!
When you gave us your money and your faith a year and a half ago, we were convinced we had a solid plan and team to get the job done. But as development progressed, and the schedule started to slip, we found out how far off the mark we truly were. I’m not going to call it “indie-itis” because I find that to be a flippant and condescending term for small plucky teams taking a shot, and falling short of the mark. If you’ve never developed a game, it’s easy to discount the thousands of man-hours, physical and mental energy, personal sacrifice, and plain luck it takes to succeed. And always remember Murphy’s Law. Things go wrong, bugs happen, features need to be redesigned or cut, and teammates’ life circumstances change. I’m going to go more in-depth with a full postmortem in a later update, covering what exactly went right and wrong, but in a nutshell, we discovered that we were easily making a half-million dollar game on less than half of that budget.
When the Kickstarter closed, we knew that money was only going to be enough to keep the core team going for a year of full-time paid development. That meant scaling down our 50 some volunteers to just 15 people, all getting paid a meager $9.50 per hour (the highest minimum wage in America at the time) to cover our basic living expenses and let us focus on development. We still managed to stretch the funds an extra six months, but as our original release date of January 2017 was looming we knew we had to make some tough decisions. If you’re familiar with the Project Management Triangle, we chose to stick with Quality and Low Cost, which also meant abandoning Speed. So our path became clear. To continue development we didn’t need to raise an insane amount of money, but we still needed more. And the best option there was to find a publisher.
We began the search for a publisher back in January. Any startup will tell you fundraising generally takes about 3-6 months with the CEO totally focused on that. I tried my best, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dedicate all my time to that effort. As a small team, I still had to juggle my Creative Director responsibilities to keep the rest of the team moving forward. I’m not an experienced business guy, I’m a designer and producer, so I’ve had to learn to be an entrepreneur as I went. I needed help, and I asked Cohh to step up as my co-founder, but he just couldn’t find the time with his streaming schedule. In March, I brought on an entrepreneur friend and game developer, Branden Middendorf, to help with the fundraising effort. Together, we contacted over 50 publishers, knowing they were our best shot for a “lead investor.” In order to deliver on the vision of Resurgence we promised, we set out to raise a $500K seed round from a combination of publishers, angel investors, incubators, and venture capitalists. While a huge number (more than double our Kickstarter goal), that’s pretty much the minimum to be taken seriously in the startup investment world. That amount would let us expand the team (finally hiring more programmers and artists), and fund another year of development. Getting a publisher deal was the first step that would have allowed all the other pieces to start falling into place, and we were so close.
Of the publishers we contacted, we had the best luck with the small indie ones. We had several rounds of interviews with Devolver Digital, Raw Fury, Versus Evil, Humble, and Team 17, but ultimately they all passed. Those interviews seemed to go so well, and we were so hopeful that we’d get an offer from at least one of them. Just $100K from a respected publisher would have given us our “lead investor” (the hardest part of fundraising), plus all the benefits a good publisher offers to developers and started the snowball of other investment deals. It’s a lot like Kickstarter actually, no one wants to be attached to a project with no momentum, but people come out of the woodwork for one that looks like a sure thing.
Anyway, by June we had just enough money left in the bank for that month of payroll, and remaining bills. We had just released the new Explore demo and were hopeful that would convince the last couple publishers he hadn’t heard from yet that we were worth a shot. But soon enough, they too said no. When the final rejection email came in, that was a crushing blow. I spiraled, as I saw the finality of my dream crumbling around me. We were out of time, money, and options. There was no other choice but to close up shop.
That’s when I had an emergency meeting with Cohh, and he made an announcement on Twitch a few days later.
Future of Nectar
With no more runway, we came to the harsh realization that, like many other startups, our first venture had failed. I am deeply sorry it took so long to write this update (since many of you only follow us through these backer updates), but it was just too fresh of a wound. It felt like a death in the family, and I had to process my grief first. Then came the task of finalizing the paperwork, paying off our debts, and any other lingering issues. And since Nectar was the main source of income for most of us, we had to immediately set to finding new jobs. Many of us have had to take temporary work to keep the bills paid, but we are still looking for work in games. If you hear about any opportunities for passionate and dedicated cRPG enthusiasts (especially remote), we’d be most appreciative.
Despite the dissolving of Nectar Game Studios as a legal entity, the team itself still wants to keep working together in some way. We’ve all bonded a lot over the last 5 years working on this project, so there’s a good chance we’ll keep working together on something in our spare time once again. As soon as we figure out what that is, we’ll start looking for volunteers again to join the team. This new phoenix team, rising from the ashes, will no longer be Nectar but we’re going to keep the branding we’ve established for the short term. So anything new going on with the team will still go out on our existing social media platforms and website.
Refunds - One of the big questions we’ve seen so far is regarding refunds. As much as we’d love to refund all the backer pledges, that’s simply just not possible. All that money has been spent on development, to get us this far. It’s all gone. The only thing we can do is cancel all the pending add-ons and pre-orders in BackerKit. No one has been charged in BackerKit yet (unless you opted for Paypal), so we will still cancel those payments. Perhaps you’ve received a refund from a failed project in the past, but there’s really no way to do that without someone else footing the bill. The only way I can see that happening is if another studio wanted to purchase the IP, assets, and codebase (a long shot to say the least). And to avoid any confusion, Kickstarter is not a store and pledges are not pre-orders (Kickstarter FAQ: Accountability). Pledges are legally considered donations or gifts so backing a project is essentially taking a gamble on something you’d like to see happen, but there are no guarantees. I’m just sorry we couldn’t be one of those projects that are able to deliver.
Future of Resurgence
Nectar may be dead, but that doesn’t mean Resurgence is canceled and gone for good. We had to dissolve the company for legal reasons, but the whole team is still passionate about this game and wants to see it completed someday. After five years though, we all feel like we need a brief change of pace. We all still love the idea, but we clearly made some mistakes and could have done some things better. Right now the team wants to work on a much smaller project just to show we can finish something. We haven’t decided what that next project will be, but there’s a good chance it will be related to Resurgence and the world of Lumen in some way. When we dissolved the company, we decided that it would be best for me personally to continue being the steward of the Resurgence intellectual property (IP). Which means the team and I are still free to continue development of Resurgence as a volunteer hobby project once again and complete it someday.
One of the biggest problems we faced though was I took on too much responsibility myself. I continuously felt torn between working on the design of the game (which I love) and working on the business side (which I find really stressful and taxing). So I forced myself into a position I didn’t even like out of necessity, and it made the work more and more draining over time. I think one of the best ways for Resurgence to move forward is for me to really dig back into the design of Resurgence and finalize a super detailed game design doc (GDD). Once we got into real production, we realized how disjointed and vague some of our design docs were, and we never recovered from that. By starting off with a concrete plan, our ability to estimate and plan would be much more reliable and accurate.
Core System Demo links
I know there’s little consolation we can offer now, other than our desire to still finish what we started. We made a promise that we would do our best to deliver the game you all want, and despite everything that’s happened, we still want to honor that. If we can finish Resurgence in some form, someday, you will receive that game. No additional charge, no strings attached.
In the meantime, we would like to make the two Core demos we completed publically available. We would still love to hear what you like and how we can make them better. Our forums will remain up and are still a great place to continue that conversation.
Well, that’s it for today. Working on Resurgence has been the hardest and most rewarding endeavor of my life, so I hope I’ve offered you all some hope despite all the suck. Nectar may be dead, but Resurgence will live on. You have my word on that.
Now we’d like to hear from you. As a backer, how would you like to see Resurgence live on? Books, comics, or other media? Board game or pen and paper RPG? Should we regroup and try crowdfunding again? Go totally open source? Sell the IP to the highest bidder?
I can’t fully express the regret and guilt I feel for letting you all down. But I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for believing in this team and this game and helping us get this far. I will never forget it.
Rob Buchheit Project Lead, Creative Director
Core (Exploration) Continues! Release Date & GDC
10 months ago
– Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 07:45:12 PM
Greetings from GDC, Nectarines!
Rob here. Sorry it’s been a bit since our last written update, but we wanted to fire off a quick update as I gear up for convention time.
In this update you’ll find:
Cohh Carnage - PR Dialogue Demo livestream
Cohh Carnage - PR Update #8
Release Date update
Shout Out - Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Cohh Carnage - PR Updates
First up, if you missed our first Core System Test (CST) demo of the dialogue system, you’ll find a download link here (backers only). If you prefer to watch, check out the video above for a full playthrough from Cohh (~30 min). There’s plenty of other ways the demo can play out, too! One course of action can even cause a companion to permanently leave your group!
If you caught our last few Twitch video updates, you already know development is taking longer than expected. We have slipped past the original release date of late January, but we knew that was an ambitious goal from the start. Game development is hard, and we have a small team. Bugs happen, things go wrong, and everything is always in a constant state of experimenting, testing, and iterating. The bottom line is: we are committed to quality and that takes time.
So when is Episode One actually going to be done? We’ve been working hard to answer that question, and based on our current speed we think the end of this year is now the most realistic goal. The good news is that we’ve been getting great feedback on the Dialog Demo CST, and people seem to really like the writing, mechanics, and level of choice! That’s super encouraging for us—knowing that we’re making good decisions and working towards that high quality benchmark we want.
We know it’s always a bummer when your most anticipated games are delayed, but those games also typically come out much better in the end from that extra time and attention. And with that in mind, we just want to say thank you so much for your continued patience and support.
As I mentioned briefly, I’m at the Game Developer's Conference this week! I wasn’t actually planning to go because of the cost and time commitment, but a mentor convinced me that I would be missing an amazing opportunity. So I found a way to make it work, and I’m here through Thursday! If you see the bearded face below, definitely say hi! I’d love to meet you!
Also, as a repeat volunteer at GDC, I want to give a special shout out to the guys that help the event run so smoothly. They’re called CAs (Conference Associates), they’re in purple (?) shirts, and their whole job is to help you have the best experience possible. They are all amazing, so show them some love and they’ll take great care of you.
Shout Out - Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
In case you missed it, Obsidian just wrapped up their Fig campaign for the sequel to Pillars of Eternity, raising over $4.4 million available to it from over 33,000 backers. That makes it the highest crowdfunded videogame in years (since Shenmue 3 and Bloodstained in 2015), and certainly the highest RPG. The sequel boasts new features including: new and old companions, a living world, enhanced reactivity, dynamic weather, and more! We’re not shy about our love for these guys, so if you enjoyed the first Pillars and Tyranny you owe yourself to check this out. They are continuing to take pledges through their website. Honestly, they had as at more Eder. :D
Core Continues! Slacker Backer & GDEX
about 1 year ago
– Fri, Oct 28, 2016 at 11:29:47 PM
Welcome back, Nectarines!
Rob here. I know, it’s been too long guys! In this update you’ll find:
Kickstarter Update new plans
Cohh Carnage - PR Update #4-5
New artwork and in-game screens
BackerKit - Slacker Backer campaign (with Paypal)
Shout Out - Wasteland 3
First off, I just want to apologize for the lack of communication the last couple months. We’ve been super busy just developing the game, and these updates unfortunately got pushed to the back burner. I’m sorry, that’s my fault and I aim to do better. We all know that none of this would be possible without the support of all our awesome backers, and we owe it to you to keep you in the loop with our progress. You put your faith in us, and we absolutely don’t want to jeopardize that.
There’s good news though! We recently hired another Producer to take charge of task tracking, the master schedule, documentation, and general problem solving. Since I’ve been acting as the sole producer up to now (plus all my duties as CEO and Creative Director), this will take a ton of work off my plate and let me focus on big picture things (including backer communication). Look forward to an introduction to our newest team member in our next update.
I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking about how to make these updates more regular, interesting, and efficient to produce. Some of you have even mentioned only putting out an update every two months, now that we’re in full production mode. We appreciate the understanding, but I’m not ready to make that concession yet. I think the main problem stems from having to dedicate so much of my own time towards writing and publishing these updates (often at least a solid 8 hours for each one). As Creative Director, with everyone needing feedback and direction from me, I’m sure you can see how carving out that much time every month could be problematic.
So, the best plan we could come up with is to start dividing most of that content creation among the rest of the team. Previously, we’ve always tried to have one “meaty” subject in each update, where we dig deeper into a particular aspect of the game design, lore, etc. I think that model is no longer practical for us though, and so we’re going to start using our blog again as more of a Dev Diary. So the plan is that we get individual members of the team (not just me) writing shorter articles about what they’re working on at the moment: interesting topics, problems overcome, cool techniques, tools used, etc. We’re shooting to put 1-2 of those Dev Diaries out a month on the blog, then we can compile them in these updates too. So we’re going to give that plan a shot, and as always let us know what you think!
Cohh Carnage - PR Updates
Above you’ll find the most recent Twitch updates from Cohh on our progress. And here are links to the artwork, screenshots, GIFs, and animations mentioned in those videos.
Do you have friends who missed the Kickstarter, but still want to help support this project? Well our Slacker Backer campaign is officially live through BackerKit! We’re keeping all the reward tiers and add-ons available up to $500. So that does mean all the limited design-tier rewards are now locked.
You’ll find a handy link on our homepage as well as the Kickstarter campaign. BackerKit calls them “hosted pre-orders” but it’s exactly the same as the rewards we offered during the Kickstarter. Any pledges through BackerKit just won’t be charged until we choose to “lock down” closer to release.
If you have any questions at all, BackerKit support is standing by to help.
Also, I’m happy to announce you can now back with Paypal too! We received many requests for Paypal support during the Kickstarter, and BackerKit has allowed us to finally make that possible. It is still a BackerKit beta feature though, so if you prefer to use Paypal you will have to contact BackerKit support directly. You will also be charged immediately by Paypal when you check out (not when we “lock down” the BackerKit pledges down the road).
For those of you in the Columbus, Ohio area, we’ve been attending the GDEX convention (formerly OGDE, the Ohio Game Dev Expo) for the past two years. We’re happy to be returning once again, to show our in-progress build of the Dialog CST Demo (Core System Test) made in UE4. This is a first look at that demo which we’ll be releasing to all of you lovely people in the near future, when it’s a little more polished.
The event is taking place at COSI, the interactive science museum, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are still on sale, and if you already have COSI passes you can get in free! We’ll be set up as part of the IGDA Cincinnati (International Game Developer’s Association) booth, so come say hi!
Shout Out - Wasteland 3
It’s no secret that we love the guys at inXile, our brothers-in-arms at keeping the cRPG genre alive and well. Wasteland 2 has been described as, “The Fallout 3 we always deserved to have and never got,” (Ragequit) and Brian Fargo (series creator) is once again at the helm of this ambitious project. This sequel is set in Colorado, and promises to improve on everything that made Wasteland 2 great: improved strategic combat, branching reactive dialog (courtesy of the Torment: ToN writing team), vehicles, and even multiplayer!
They’re crowdfunding on Fig this time, and there’s just under a week left to back or invest in the game. Check it out, and tell them we sent you. This is one you don’t want to miss! :D
Pre-Pro Wrap Up! Backer Surveys & Dehrgada Lore Intro
over 1 year ago
– Fri, Jul 01, 2016 at 12:25:30 AM
Welcome back, Nectarines!
Hi there, Rob here. Another month has passed, so it’s time for another update on our humble game. In this update you’ll find:
Backer surveys sent!
Cohh Carnage - PR Update #3
New artwork and in-game screens
Dehrgada City lore
Shout Out - Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones
We’ve been super busy last month, trying to wrap up our pre-production cycle. That means finishing up most of the planning and prototyping, having a solid plan of attack for the rest of development, and shifting focus to fleshing out our core mechanics. The result of the next phase will be our Core build, which is industry terminology for the first version of the game to include all the major gameplay systems working in a basic form. It won’t be pretty (polished art assets come later in Alpha and Beta), but it should convey the essence of the gameplay and be fun to play. The Core Systems Tests we plan to release to backers in the coming months will demonstrate our progress towards this milestone, and let us gather your invaluable feedback to make Resurgence better and better!
Backer surveys have been sent! This shouldn’t be news though, since 90% of them have already been answered. If you haven’t completed your survey yet, please do so at your earliest convenience. You’ll keep getting automated emails periodically from BackerKit until you do. ;)
Again, the surveys will remain open for editing for an extended period of time. So if your address changes or you want to grab some additional add-ons, you can do so freely until we choose to lock the surveys down. If you up your pledge at all, you will not be charged until we lock down the surveys.
Slacker Backer campaign through BackerKit is still next on the agenda, so we’ll update you as soon as that’s ready to launch (with Paypal).
If you haven’t received your survey for some reason, you can go to the Survey Recovery Page. If you still can’t access it from there, just let us know and we’ll sort it out.
We added a couple new members to the team this month, both with some outstanding previous experience. Give them a warm welcome!
Zain Effendi - Composer Zain is an award winning composer based in Los Angeles. He studied composition and film scoring at both The Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music after which he had the rare opportunity to work with Academy Award winning composer Hans Zimmer on some of Hollywood’s biggest films. After working on such films as The Dark Knight, The Simpsons Movie, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Zain went on to start his own studio. He has scored multiple films with Disney and has also provided the music for the game Guns of Icarus.
“I’m totally inspired by this game. After seeing some of the pre-conceptual work, I knew that Project: Resurgence was the perfect opportunity to bring all of my skills to the table as a composer. The nature of this game is quite large, it spans many different cultures and has a wonderful, rich narrative. I hope to craft a body of music that is fresh, vibrant, and dances perfectly with the game’s story and characters. My main focus and priority on this game is to create memorable themes, unique instrumentation, and music that one might not expect from a typical video game soundtrack. Growing up, I was really inspired by the epic fantasy and adventure scores from the 90’s and I think that approach to scoring, with it’s brave themes and orchestration will lend itself perfectly to this game. It’s been so great teaming up with NGS and together we are going to deliver something really unique and beautiful.”
Xander Davis - User Interface Designer Xander has been working as a graphic and interface designer for over fifteen years, with nearly a decade specifically in the games industry across dozens of titles. He’s worked on the user interface for various AAA titles, including Transformers: War for Cybertron and Darksiders II. He decided to become a full time independent freelancer in 2013, and continued working with indie and AAA studios worldwide on a variety of games across mobile, PC, console, and VR/AR more recently. He also has his own indie label, Astrogun, and is currently in pre-production on a Flat/VR adventure game (more details coming soon on his blog).
“Like many of the team members on Resurgence, I grew up playing games in the 90’s and have a lot of nostalgia and interest in a redux of those games in the new generations of gaming (I’m eagerly awaiting any shred of news on Bungie’s supposed work on a new Marathon game, for example!). So I thought it would be really fun when the team at Nectar approached me about working on Resurgence— designing UI that brings back the spirit of old school gameplay into a new age. From an interface perspective, this could present many challenges to tackle, as interface has increasingly become something games and apps more heavily rely on, both as an art and an ever-evolving science. Together, that's the kind of magic Resurgence can leverage for its UI and I’m excited to be helping them achieve it!”
Excerpt from The City of Wonders: A Traveler’s Guide to Dehrgada (Mardan Wiseblood, 997 iD)
Introduction: Why Dehrgada? It’s a question that many have posed to those wishing to travel to the Lone City. Why not Kothens, or Victoriun, or Helsgard? What makes Dehrgada so special? The answers are too numerous to fit in this small packet, but here are just a few:
Varied Culture: No other city in the world has so many different cultures melded together like Dehrgada. Walk down Revun Street and you’ll see Ragnar tanners nestled by Dresdi tapestry hawkers next to Baric gearsmiths beside an Ashurad tavern that specializes in the Selysian dish Phau Dius (a specialty of Dehrgada, otherwise impossible to find outside of Kothens). Everyone who enters Dehrgada brings their past with them, and that past helps make Dehrgada stronger and more unique than anywhere else.
The combination of the varied knowledge accumulated in Dehrgada has led it to be the most technologically advanced city in the known world. With harnessed geothermal power from Mount Aragnus, Anbar, and abundance of ambrosia crystals, Dehrgada is able to provide anbaric power throughout the city. Whether from the anbarotram that circles the city or the factories in the Industrial District, evidence of Dehrgada’s domination of the technological landscape is unavoidable.
Protection and Safety:
The Shield Legion works tirelessly to provide a safe and secure city for all Dehrgadans. With a presence on every street and around every corner, and headquarters in each of the tiers of the city, the Shield Legion keeps crime on its toes and out of the lives of the law-abiding Dehrgada citizens.
A Brief History of Dehrgada:
Adventurous Barics first sighted the legendary mainland, which they named Tectun (“the Hidden Land”), in 692, finally proving what scholars had speculated on for centuries: that there existed a land mass to the west, and that it could be reached. Ten years later, the Barics officially established the colony of Gloriun, named after the Baric Empress of Gloriana. The Gloriun colony fared well in this new land, though mostly ignored by the Baric Empire. Little did the colony know that they would soon be joined by another group of travelers. The Intrepid colony was established in 710 by those dissatisfied with the new Baric Emperor, Versiria. The two colonies existed separately for several months, until a particularly devastating winter and several deadly Taken attacks forced them to combine their strengths for the common good. Though the colony kept the Gloriun name, it was now a combination of both colonies in people and ideals. It quickly did away with Ashurad slavery—in defiance of Imperial law—and when Ragnar and Dresdi settlers formed their own colonies on Tectun, Gloriun navigated a peace between them and established trade.
From these inauspicious beginnings the City of Wonders grew. The bonds of trade and fellowship between the individual settlements—Gloriun, Surgard, Qesh’kuil, and the Ashurad Freetown—planted the seeds of independence, that would sprout and grow when the Baric Empire declared war on the Gloriun colony. The leaders of the mainland settlements met in Gloriun, and there they created the Free Writ Act of 754, informing the world that they were their own masters, unfettered by the bonds of the Baric Empire or any other territory. Joining the Ragnar/Dresdi coalition against the Baric Empire, the Colonies of Tectun were a key ally in the War of Baric Aggression, as their port was ideally positioned to give maximum freedom of movement to Dresdi and Ragnar fleets. After the Bombardment of 796 from the Baric Imperial fleet, the Colonies of Tectun were devastated: Port Qesh was a smoking ruin, their warships and trading vessels were destroyed in the harbor, and thousands were left homeless. It wasn’t until the Selysians joined the fighting and the Baric Empire was destroyed that the Colonies were able to begin rebuilding. 50 years later, the Colonies were even more spectacular than they once were, and had merged into a single city-state, taking on a new name: Dehrgada. This name, a combination of the word for “Haven” from all five tribes, represented the ideals of the city; ideals that it has lived up to ever since. A haven for all tribes, a bastion of knowledge and ingenuity, and a shining beacon of peace for the world.
Anbarotram: These are unique to Dehrgada, faster than their cousins in Victoriun, as the anbarotrams of Dehrgada are powered by a combination Anbar and ambrosia. They circle the city, running through each District, and are the fastest and easiest way to travel from one District to another.
Street Trolleys: Limited to the Commercial district, these Anbar powered trolleys are often packed with Baric merchants and Dresdi traders moving back and forth from one side of the District to the other. Make sure to have your travel card purchased ahead of time, or risk getting lambasted by a frustrated Dresdi vendor!
Rickshaws: The most popular non-pedestrian mode of travel in the Commons District. Simply hold your arm out on the side of the street, and one will quickly pick you up and whisk you off to your destination. Always make sure to tip and thank your driver!
Autos: These are very rare, and only owned by the extremely wealthy. If you have a connection, taking a ride in one of these private, self-propelled vehicles is a favor you won’t regret! It is an experience only found in Dehrgada!
West Front: The heart of the Industrial District, West Front is the birthplace of many of the technological marvels used in Dehrgada today!
Reshka’s Hill: Named for the Ashurad hero Reshka the Bold, Reshka’s Hill is the main commercial center of the Commons. With its taverns and shops, it is an integral stopping point for any Dehrgada traveler.
The Cauldron: If handmade and one-of-a-kind Dehrgadan wares are what you’re after, then the Cauldron is the spot for you. Whatever you want, you’ll be able to find it there! Just watch out for pickpockets!
Did You Know?
Dehrgada is home to the largest port in the world: Port Qesh! It spans across the entire coastline of the city, and is twice as long as the Dresdi Port Qastra and three times as long as the Baric Port Divitia!
The citizens of Dehrgada have an urban legend about a ghost anbarotram that appears in the dead of night to carry away the souls of the deceased. Watch out when taking the tram at night, and make sure you get on the right train!
The Ragnar of Dehrgada have a unique practice: believing that they must cultivate nature in the city, they plant a tree for every Ragnar birth. Ragnar are expected to nurse and honor their tree throughout their lives. If you find yourself in the Commons, make sure to take the time to visit the Ragnar Grove in Old Surgard!
Path to Citizenship:
While Dehrgada accepts many travelers with open arms, the increase of hostile elements has led to stricter guidelines on those entering the city. In the interest of safety, the Shield Legion now inspects any and all travelers wishing to enter the walls of the Dehrgada. Those who wish to travel past the outlying Districts into the inner Districts must have their identifying papers in order, or else they risk getting turned away by the Shield Legion. This may seem inconvenient to those used to the lax rules of other cities, but is considered by many Dehrgadans to be worth it as a price for their protection and safety.
Shout Out - Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones
If you’re a fan of the Ol’ Squid Face and have been craving a cRPG based on the Cthulu Mythos, then you should be very intrigued by Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones by Cultic Games. It’s described as, “A Lovecraftian computer roleplaying game of horror, loss and madness.” The game takes place in an alternate reality 1920s, where the city of Arkham has inexplicably been transported to a crossroads between dimensions. You take on the role of a custom character, with your single goal being to find an old acquaintance known only as the Dismal Man. The Lovecraft influence shows through in spades through the mechanics, narrative, characters, and art style, resulting in a uniquely horrific take on cRPGs. With inspirations like Planescape: Torment, Fallout (1 & 2), and Heroes of Might & Magic, it’s clear the team is trying to deliver an oldschool-style RPG with player choice, strategy, and depth at the core of the experience. I am particularly excited about their Belief system, which helps define a character’s personality and playstyle, and the effects of madness on combat and roleplaying. Their Kickstarter campaign successfully hit their goal, but there’s only days left to hit those stretch goals (bring on the Dreamlands)! Check it out and tell them we sent you! :D
Pre-Pro Continues! Resource Management & Backer Designs Voting Picks
over 1 year ago
– Fri, May 13, 2016 at 03:46:23 PM
Hey it’s May, Nectarines!
Welcome back. Rob here, and it’s that time again to talk mechanics. You asked for it, so we’ll be digging deep today. :D
We’ve been super busy the last month, and charging forward at full speed. We’ve made great progress on game design revisions, story outlining, code and level prototyping, and concept art. We’re still very much in pre-production, but we’re on schedule and things are going smoothly.
Above is a quick rundown from Cohh on our progress, with art and screenshots!
Backer Surveys & Design Surveys
Backer surveys are finally ready! We sent them to BackerKit for review today, so you should get an email very soon allowing you to login to BackerKit and complete your survey. Again, the surveys will remain open for editing for an extended period of time. So if your address changes or you want to grab some additional add-ons, you can do so freely at any time until we choose to lock the surveys down.
We’re also just about done with Design surveys too! We figure it will be easier to handle those personally, so if you pledged at a reward tier above $1,000 you’ll get a message from us about that real soon.
Slacker Backer campaign through BackerKit is still next on the agenda, so we’ll update you as soon as that’s ready to launch (with Paypal).
New Resource Management
Ok, now time for the good stuff. As we all know, resource management is often one of the most important factors in the strategy of a good RPG. In a fight, it determines who stays alive and prompts choices of risk versus reward. Should I use that healing item now, or save it for a potentially more dangerous situation later? Should I cast one big spell, or several small ones instead? These choices, and the economy of how these resources are replenished, form the backbone of the game’s entire strategy. And that’s why we felt it was so important to reassess the systems we’ve already designed and ensure their interactions are creating the type of challenge, drama, and strategy that we want. We think we’ve achieved that with our latest revisions, but you be the judge.
Keep in mind that the systems I’ll be discussing today were originally designed close to three years ago and hadn’t been altered much since that time. So if this sounds pretty different from anything you’ve read from us on the subject before, that’s why. For reference, around that time Kickstarter was still fairly new and Pillars of Eternity crowdfunding had just launched (Project Eternity, at the time). Of course a lot of awesome RPGs have released since then, and we’ve tried to learn as much as we can from them and use that knowledge to improve our own mechanics accordingly. So after playing our Unity prototype extensively, we decided some revisions were in order.
The guidelines we laid out for ourselves were as follows:
Resources should always represent interesting choices for the player.
Resources are scarce, the strategy focuses on how and when to best use them.
Basic actions can be used frequently, “game changers” are very limited.
Each playstyle should value different resources, and recharge them differently.
Time is important, and resting is limited.
Mistakes have lasting implications but are not totally unforgiving.
Vitals Likely the most important resource, a character’s vitals represent their general well-being and ability to perform different actions. The main thing we wanted to accomplish here was that characters focused on physical, tech, or magical builds would each utilize their vital resources differently.
Health - An RPG staple, Health is an abstraction representing the overall condition of the character’s body and ability to keep functioning normally under pain and duress. All characters have Health. When this value drops to zero the character has endured too much trauma, falls unconscious, and begins to bleed out. If a character is not revived or removed from a combat situation before the timer runs out, that character dies permanently. Characters can also be Injured, which reduces their maximum Health until treated by a doctor.
Stamina - The primary resource for performing actions, Stamina represents physical endurance. All characters have Stamina, and it regenerates quickly in and out of combat. This resource is used for basic actions meant to be used frequently, like special attacks and simple spells (just swinging a sword does not consume Stamina). It is also used for modal Talents, which typically offer a bonus and penalty, can be toggled on indefinitely, and toggled off as you choose (like Power Attack, which increases melee damage but reduces accuracy). These abilities “reserve” a specific amount of Stamina while active, effectively reducing the maximum amount of Stamina left for the character to perform other actions. Since it regenerates quickly, Stamina-based actions will be available in every combat situation.
Energy - A secondary resource for technical actions, Energy represents electric power stored on the character’s person that can power various gadgets and tools. It’s an acquired resource, so only characters who specialize into technical abilities gain access to it. Energy primarily comes from equipment (like specialized tech armor with built in energy tanks), but it can also be increased by Talents. It regenerates very slowly, but can also be fully restored by certain objects in the environment. Certain abilities, traps, and gadgets require Energy to activate, so those things are meant to be used sparingly and create more dramatic effects.
Mana - Similar to Energy, Mana is a secondary resources just for magical actions. It represents mental endurance required for the shaping and releasing of raw magical energy into a specific effect (a spell). It is also an acquired resource, so only characters who specialize into magical abilities gain access to it. Mana primarily comes from Talents, but it can also be increased by Equipment. It does not regenerate naturally, but is fully restored from getting a good night’s sleep. Most spells require Mana to activate, so those are meant to be used sparingly to turn the tide of a conflict with more dramatic effects.
Time Aside from vitals, time is also a hugely important resource for players to manage. It affects everything from how long effects last, how fast vitals regenerate, and how many actions characters can perform in combat. The main thing we wanted to accomplish here was that time matters, it passes in a noticeable way, but players aren’t a slave to a ticking clock (looking at you Fallout 1).
Durational Effects - Since we have both real-time and turn-based combat, all temporary effects are measured in both seconds and rounds. These durations are always shown in real-world time, since the day/night cycle in game is accelerated. A single turn-based round equates to 3 real-world seconds.
Time of Day - Since we want time in-game to pass in a noticeable way, that means the day/night cycle needs to be much faster. We decided a 15x faster rate would be ideal, so an hour in-game passes in 4 real-world minutes, and a full day passes every 96 real-world minutes. Time of day will pass at the same rate in and out of combat, and only stops when paused, and when entering turn-based combat or dialog. Resting and other actions can cause long periods of time to pass, so any durational effects are also reduced proportionally. Some in game events will also change depending on the time of day.
Action Points (AP) - The primary factor of time in combat is AP, which determines how many actions a character can perform in a single round of combat. All characters have AP, but characters with more can move and act faster. Since actions always cost a set amount of AP, having more AP allows a character to fit more actions into that window of time. In turn-based combat, up to half a character’s max AP can also be saved for the following round (since this is still not any more actions than would be possible in real-time combat).
Rest & Regeneration Now that we’ve already covered vitals and how time works in-game, that naturally leads into how vitals are recovered. This was a tough choice, and we went back and forth between fast recovery (players approach each encounter at full power) or slow recovery (players have to conserve resources to survive dangerous environments). We asked ourselves questions like how often can the player rest; does it fully recover the party; does it spend any resource to do so? We ultimately looked to our tabletop roots, and decided we would mostly favor slow recovery, where long term survival was more important than simply winning a single fight. And sneaking or talking your way out of a confrontation should be just as viable an option.
Waiting - Since we have a day/night cycle, we definitely wanted a way to advance time of day to whatever you want. This also gave us a convenient way to implement a “short rest”, so you can choose to wait for an hour (or more) after a fight without spending anything other than time. This would likely restore all the party’s stamina, and a bit of Health and Energy. The downside though is that in dangerous areas, there’s a chance for ambush (which increases the longer you wait). So you can always catch your breath, but the enemies aren’t just going to be waiting around either. There’s that whole risk/reward thing again. :)
Camping - Now sometimes you find yourself deep in a dungeon, all your allies are hurting, and you just want to regroup and recover without trudging all the way back to town. In this situation, just find the safest spot you can and make camp for the night. We wanted to avoid “rest spamming”, so we decided to use a limited resource called Rations. Camping costs 1 Ration, which represents supplies to feed the whole party while they rest (regardless of party size). Camping advances time of day by 8 hours, and fully restores Health, Stamina, and Mana. Similar to Waiting, there’s still a chance of ambush if you rest too close to enemies.
Inns - Resting at an inn is basically the same as camping, except it costs money and doesn’t spend any Rations. It’s also totally safe, with no chance of ambush.
Injuries - If a character survives critical damage (from bleeding out or a critical hit), they will suffer an Injury. Unlike normal damage inflicted in combat (minor flesh wounds), Injuries represent serious wounds that persist until properly treated. This encourages playing it safe and avoiding damage as much as possible. Each Injury reduces a character’s maximum Health by 10% and also penalizes an Attribute or statistic. The type of Injury is determined randomly, and characters can only receive each type of injury once (at a time). Injuries can only be healed by a doctor.
So what do you think? Do you like this new approach to resource management, and its implications for tactical gameplay? Let us know in the comments below, or this thread on our forums!
We realized we never updated you all on the results of the voting on backer design submissions, so we’re doing it now! Below is listed the top voted submissions, with their number of votes, and a quick summary of each one’s core concept. We will be including each of these things in-game, but like we said going in, we will of course need to modify them for balance and cohesion. We will try our best to stick to the spirit of your original ideas as best we can though. Thanks again to everyone who participated!
Ambrosial Inhibitor (20) - Creates an anti-magic field.
Razor Storm (19, was Tor-Nade-do) - Creates a small tornado full of razor blades.
Dark Crystal (18) - Deals damage and buffs strength, but user starts bleeding.
Dragon Maw (18, was Flamethrower) - Portable flamethrower.
Lachryma Orb (17, was Mist Orb) - Creates a puddle dealing Spirit damage over time.
Snuffer Flask (18, was Fire Grenade) - Fire-extinguisher grenade.
Shout Out - Fabular: Once Upon a Spacetime
Did you ever watch that anime, Outlaw Star? The one with the “grappler” spaceships that have arms and engage in melee combat? That’s the first thing I thought of when I ran across Fabular: Once Upon a Spacetime by Spiritus Games, and that’s a very good thing. It is described as, “A 2D Action-RPG in Space with Roguelike influences, set in a medieval, folktale-inspired fantasy universe,” where medieval knights in armored spaceships duke it out to decide the fate of the galaxy. The pixel art is gorgeous, and makes use of real-time lighting, which makes the whole surreal retro-futurism aesthetic fit surprisingly well. I’m also particularly excited about the FTL-like text-based special events, that really help flesh out the setting and bring new surprises. With action RPG inspirations like Diablo 2 and Path of Exile, the physics-based combat and procedurally generated environments should make for a fun challenging experience with tons of replayability. So go check out their Kickstarter campaign that just launched a few days ago, and tell them we sent you! :D