Monday, March 10, 2014

Some Things To Consume

Believe it or not Gabriel and I have actually managed to keep Let's Drown Out going on a weekly basis ever since it started. Probably because it basically just entails us hanging out and playing a game, which we would probably do if we weren't recording it. I haven't been posting them here every week because then updates would lose their precious rarity, so here's a link to the playlist with them all on.

In other news, The Consuming Shadow. I'm still hard at work at the eventual full version (in between being hard at work at all my other jobs). All the feedback from the free release has been very helpful and I'm still tweaking away. I thought I'd take the opportunity to remind you it still exists and fill you in on some new features I've got in there now.

Firstly, music. The big news is that Mark J. Hadley, of Parsec Productions and Slender: The 8 Pages fame, has very kindly created some ambient audio and music for the game, and I'm personally very happy with how much it's added to the atmosphere. At this point you can't do much more than take my word for that, but I'm going to put a trailer and gameplay video together at some point, and you'll get a listen of the sort of mood his work has added then.

Secondly: Revamped levelling/upgrade system! (click images for big)





Instead of levelling-up providing dry 'upgrade tokens', each level grants you a new birth star. At the start of each run-through, you place this iteration of the character's birth stars in the night sky, granting upgrades based on their proximity to certain constellations. I just thought it was a more fun way of bringing it across.

Thirdly: day-night cycle!


Instead of all-pervading darkness throughout the clock, there's a cold light of day that gradually fades down and up as night comes and goes.


You can see here that whether you do a dungeon in the day or night makes a difference to the visibility.

Fourthly: Unlockable documents!


I thought about what kind of things motivate me, personally, to shoot for 100 percent, and one of them was ancilliary world-building fiction. So I wrote a story expanding on the game's background and you find pages from it in dungeons. Also, each monster now has a bestiary profile, which is gradually decrypted a little more each time you encounter one. Collect 'em all!

The other thing I find works for me is new unlockable gameplay modes. Taking another cue from FTL, I'm thinking in terms of alternative player characters with different gameplay styles (and slightly different constellations in their star maps) that are unlocked as you complete specific tasks. One additional character is in already, I'm shooting for getting at least 2 more in there. Also it might be fun to have some kind of 'tower mode' where you just go through dungeons back-to-back that get increasingly hard. Shouldn't be difficult to implement.

Besides that, the gameplay's been tweaked, as well as animations and controls to make movement less clunky across the board, and there're new monsters, bosses, random events while driving, dungeon goals, dungeon appearances, and the all-important final boss fight. I'm not being feature-creepy here, most of this is done already. New playable characters are the only really big job left, besides testing.

I'm just wondering what to do after it's all done, in terms of distribution. I am resolved to try to sell it for money somewhere, because I've come to realise that if you work on something creative and give it away for free, you're not just devaluing yourself, but the work of everyone else trying to make a living as a creative (thanks @forexposure_txt).

I thought about doing a Steam Greenlight page, but I don't know. I feel like I'd need another wide-range beta test of the full version, first. But I don't want to put the whole thing out for free again. I thought about going with Desura, using their tools to see if I can get a closed beta going, but I don't know how well that works. Ah well - these bridges to be crossed merely glimmer on the horizon still.

33 comments:

  1. Does it work on windows 7 now, and not open up a file open dialog and than crash when you try to open ANYTHING?

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    1. Works just fine for me on Windows 7 =)

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  2. Wow, the improvements look amazing. I can't wait to play it. :)

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  3. Desura is super-niche; go with Steam I'yde say. If you'd left the original wobsite up you could draw from the forums for recruits, but as it stands--ask the Escapist if you could utilize their forum community to draw buggers from? That way it'd be a limited number of people (at least in theory) who'd be getting to play it free.

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  4. I say go for both. Many of the games on Greenlight cropped up on Desura first, so it can't hurt to have two outlets.

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  5. Greenlight is great for closing the feedback loop, so to speak--- most of my ideas there have been absolutely beaten to death, sure, but reading between the lines gives some absolutely tremendous feedback (disregarding, of course, the mouthbreathers with gems like "this game are look like from 1980"). Not sure about Desura but Steam has closed-beta functionality built-in. Cheers!

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    1. The hell do those morons have against 1980s games?

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  6. Wow I really like the tweaks and features you've added! I haven't played the beta in a while, but just by looking at this I feel like playing it again. Good on you for selling the full version, both the game and your time are worth it. Can't wait to buy it!

    (Oh how I love the internet asking me to prove I'm not a robot. It feels like a reversed Turing-test. That I Fail. A lot.)

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  7. Consider Humble Store humblebundle.com for your distribution. It's a side project of Wolfire Games that became a side project of Seqouia Capital (and apparently Y Combinator now WTF?). They're shaping up to be competitive with CD Projeckt Red and gog.com (whom you should also consider). They can also distribute Desura keys, and steam keys if you get green lantern'd. Granted, these aren't Steam, but they're comparable to Desura in terms of reach. Lastly, going with an also ran doesn't mean you can't go green lantern or possibly Steam direct access in the future.

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  8. online games are amazing, but may I love to relax together with the old school game titles. Maybe it's the graphics quit a lot more on the imagination, or maybe I simply don't wish to develop, but the previous, traditional game titles could be kind of exciting and comforting simultaneously. This is why I like the brand new development in classic game selection. In some time, I believed that I could not observe among those aged video games yet again, except if probably I'd personally find fortunate at the garage sale as well alongside individuals outlines.

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  9. I can't figure out how to contact you, but play Receiver on steam if you haven't. It's cheap and you'll die in five minutes and in after five times you'll have the gist of it.

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  10. Another wonderful work, you beautiful man!

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  11. I'd say give greenlight a try. At least something worthwhile might actually come out, rather than a steady stream of crap, though the issue there as well is that it might get buried immediately. Still the games pretty functional, and enjoyable.
    And of all the ideas, I love the lore the most. I just played outlast, and the lore made the world deeper and more interesting, as well as motivating me to stop hiding and do a little more exploration. And given the world you have crafted, I can really see it help deepening the world.

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  12. wow its an awesome game whish i have ever played really wonderfull
    cool addicting games

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  13. Looking greats! I've been trying to find the means to generate a request. I hope this is appropriate for it. I've been a huge fan of "let's drown out". And I love hearing you guys ramble about past times of the late 80s and 90s while playing the games!. I myself am 28 and grew up in the same generation playing Mario Kart and reading 2600. If possible I think a "myst" edition is entirely need. As a "Drown out" our a simple" let's play" #1 PC game of the decade!! (Til Sims) can't be missed. You guys like doing classic point and click adventures. Let's not ignore the ultimate. xD

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  14. I'm a big fan of gog.com for releasing games, though I understand that the Steam greenlight experience is great for some folks. I've given up buying PC software with any kind of DRM built in, as I find that Windows does very nicely at preventing my software from running, with out any external help.

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  15. Itch.io is without a doubt the easiest way to put up a game and get money for it.

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. What about releasing a demo of the game on multiple different sites that would be willing to distribute a download for people to try the demo? Then when people have tried the game and find they like it them you can release it on Steam Greenlight, but keep the closed beta testing session idea in case some last minute changes need to be made before distribution.

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  18. So... when is the next big update coming out? I honestly love this game, and I hope to see the length of it extended.

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  21. I'd bet you could get your game on steam fairly easily with greenlight. If a crappy game like Air Control can get on steam then i've got no doubt your game will easily get on steam. Have you heard of Air Control? It's the worst game on steam right now. Don't buy it.

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