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Shadow
10-27-2016, 04:25 PM
For the first time ever, I think we are going to work on 2 projects at once. It's not like we are going to have 2 teams or anything. I just think these 2 projects will overlap enough that we can do both at the same time fairly efficiently.

While Zombasite isn't doing as well as I would like (hopefully launching on GOG will change that some), I think it deserves an expansion. So that's one of the 2 projects we will be working on. I'm not positive what the focus of this expansion will be, but some possibilities are more classes, lots more quests, more monsters, etc. The nice side benefit of working on an expansion is that it allows me to actively work on Zombasite, so that will mean fixes, balancing, and probably even some new features here and there will sneak into the base game. If you all have things you would like to see in an expansion, please speak up!

The other project is going to be a separate game that is focused around the ideas of hardcore characters with random skills and traits, the next generation of character is evolved from his/her parents, and each world has a random setup and win conditions. The general idea is each individual character life will be fairly quick, but some amount of the character's power growth will pass on to the next generation. Also which characters you evolve from will greatly control what mix of skills the new character has. Ever want a character that could stealth, use healing spells, and shoot arrows? You should be able to do that, but it will take some time improving and evolving from the right characters. I know this is relatively vague still, but if you have any ideas or games that you would like me to look at, again please speak up! UPDATE: I've removed the hardcore and generational parts, because everything else works much better without it.

None of this is set in stone and it is possible that I drop one or both of the projects or go in a different direction, but this is what I'm planning at the moment.

So what are your thoughts?

Fairgamer
10-27-2016, 04:44 PM
As much as I like zombasite and want it to be expanded upon, you have to do what makes sense for you business-wise. So if leaving the game as it is helps, with maybe a few optimizations and fixes thrown in when needed, I don't see anything wrong with moving on from it to something else. I guess it depends on how much work is involved in these expansions.

Anyway, if a new game gets here quicker because you decided not to expand Zombasite, I don't think anyone here that likes your games would fault you for it. I think the idea for your new game sounds awesome, btw. Looking forward to it, whenever it getrs here.

Professor Paul1290
10-27-2016, 11:47 PM
Have you ever considered trying some alternative to the usual ARPG leveling for a game?

I kind of felt like Zombasite, Drox Operative, and even Din's Curse could almost manage without the traditional ARPG leveling system and have it substituted with something else.

I guess the new game you mention would already sort of do that in a way by changing how characters are built.

Castruccio
10-28-2016, 12:20 AM
I, for one, am excited for more content or an expansion for Zombasite. I will think more about what I want from an expansion and post again in a few days. The most common critique I see is that the Zombie part of Zombasite feels tacked on, or feels like a sort of novelty. As far as I can tell from the Steam forums, most players who regularly play the game tend to turn the Zombie stuff off after the novelty has worn off. Long term play tends to make the Zombie stuff more of an annoyance than a fun feature or game play mechanic. By turning the Zombie stuff off, players are basically turning the game into Depths of Peril 2.

It is hard to say whether people turning the Zombie stuff off means that you should use the expansion to integrate the Zombie stuff deeper into the game so that it matters more, or whether you should use the expansion to focus on the non-Zombie parts of the game (i.e. the meat and potatoes ARPG mechanics) that keeps the core audience coming back. I would be surprised if an expansion focused purely on additional Zombie mechanics was met with enthusiasm. Fleshing out town management or the ARPG side of the game might be a more solid bet. One thing I have noticed is that the dungeons in Zombasite are really fun, but the player doesn't spend a ton of time in them. Maybe you could add some sort of dungeon mode that would let the player play the game as though it were sort of a Din's Curse 2 (the way turning off Zombies makes the game a sort of Depths of Peril 2).

I am sorry to hear it hasn't sold as well as you would like, but maybe the GOG launch will help that. Also, it seems like most (if not all) mid to small size indies are struggling. Given the poor condition of the mid to small size indie market, I suspect Zombasite is faring better than games from studios of a similar size to Soldak's.

Concerning the new game, it sounds like a promising idea. Have you played Rogue Legacy? Also (and this is further afield) Crusader Kings. These might provide some inspiration.

Shadow
10-28-2016, 11:18 AM
Have you ever considered trying some alternative to the usual ARPG leveling for a game?

Not really. As a general rule, I'm not a fan of skill use leveling (whatever it's called).

Concerning the new game, it sounds like a promising idea. Have you played Rogue Legacy? Also (and this is further afield) Crusader Kings. These might provide some inspiration.

I have played Rogue Legacy. I'll have to put Crusader Kings on my list of games to look at.

Castruccio
10-28-2016, 11:27 AM
Crusader Kings has a highish learning curve, but it does have a tutorial. The reason I suggest it is that it has a system of heirs who inherit random traits of the ruler, and the world is dynamic. Might provide some inspiration for the mechanics of the new.game.

Shadow
10-28-2016, 06:38 PM
Just checked my Steam account, I actually have Crusader Kings 2. I don't think I've really played it yet though.

Faceless
10-29-2016, 02:32 AM
I agree with Castruccio that town management might benefit from more refinement.

Personally, I'd like to see:
- more unused monsters from prior Soldak games.
- the possibility of encountering named legendary enemies from the lore like Ciglio, as an event or even as a special themed arch-nemesis with bonus modifiers.
- Lumen added into the mix for clans.
- A larger cap on how deep dungeons can go.

While a new class set would be lovely, the existing classes cover such a variety that I am unsure what themes are left to explore that are appropriate. Steampunk/Alchemypunk engineer, Psionics, Thrown Weapons, Firearms?

ScrObot
10-29-2016, 05:47 AM
I'll join the fray with another request for Drox Operative 2: Even Droxier. :)

One of my biggest problems with Zombasite is how clunky the character movement and combat feel, especially compared to something like Diablo 3 (yeah yeah I know AAA, millions of dollars blah blah blah) or even Torchlight 2. I have no problem with the graphics and engine, though I see where others are coming from.

Another thing that Zombasite had against it out of the gate was that it appeared to just be a mashup of Din's Curse and Depths of Peril without breaking much new ground. Yes, the engine updates and such were nice additions, but at a glance it APPEARS the same as before; same grid of maze-like square maps, same static towns, same classes and skills, etc. And those are legitimate complaints. But you're already starting from a disadvantage being small and "niche", and I think that this perception further chipped away at the potential market.

For New Game, I'd suggest to really focus on making movement and combat feel smooth and fast, and look the part. If you're continuing with your existing engine (and art assets), that may be a challenge, but the "feel" is so important. We know your systems behind the scenes are great, the Soldak Living World(tm) is great, and the complex interactions and choices that have far-reaching affects in the game world are great... but movement and combat feel, and streamlining and prettying up UIs would be my suggestions for top priorities. It sounds like New Game will be a little more straightforward than the majority of your catalog, so polishing up UIs shouldn't be too difficult (says the guy who doesn't have to implement it).

The last thing you want is for screenshots and trailers to come out and have everyone say "Hey it's just Zombasite with a Rogue Legacy mechanic tacked on, meh". It has to be different enough that people don't think you're just making a tweak to your existing games and throwing it out there with a new price tag.

(Personally, I think one of the reasons Drox is so loved has to do with the smoother movement, especially when you throw on the thrust. I never get that same feeling in the other games.)

ScrObot
10-29-2016, 06:24 AM
As for the Zombasite Expansion, I'll throw some thoughts down here.

What do people seem to clamor for? Deeper clan management aspects, and not the tacked-on variety. (The work/rest/etc. setting, for example, serves a purpose, but that feels kind of tacked-on to me, to address a need, rather than designing a new interesting mechanic or extending it beyond selecting from a dropdown and having some numbers change over time. The Clan Armory falls into that category for me too -- it's perfectly functional and solves an important problem, but part of me feels like it was reactionary and a more interesting or useful mechanic could have been added.) Try not to simply solve problems within the systems they are in; try to break out of the systems and implement new features rather than just extend the existing systems.

When you say "clan and town management," people automatically think about more customization than Zombasite offers -- building placement in town, buildings that actually DO something, buildings that can be upgraded (ideally in more than just a single linear fashion). Give people choices for specialization, and personalization they can be proud of. Make clan member jobs do more directly tangible things.

People complain about the lack of vendors, which I can understand but which isn't really a problem once you understand how the game functions, but perhaps some sort of mechanic where your clan members could be put in charge of a "shop" that was basically a poor and not well stocked vendor, where they would occasionally swap out their stock. They wouldn't have much gold, but it fills a void that people seem to be missing. Being able to specialize what they sold to be relevant to you would be even better. (Throw some bags in all of them, as those are too hard to come by in the base game, IMO.) This, to me, seems like something that should be in a game that talks about clan management and building up your own town. Maybe explore some VERY light resource management for these upgrades, as long as it doesn't ever approach being grindy. Maybe it's less about resources and more about getting allied clans that have certain characteristics to help you, etc.

Perhaps the ability for clan members to learn new jobs (probably not combat skills, but if there's a job prerequisite for them to open a shop, or to build or upgrade a particular type of building, etc, it doesn't make sense to rely on stumbling across random people while adventuring and praying they have the skill you need. Give us a way to swap out a job they have for a new one (which maybe takes time to get to 100% during which time they either cannot do whatever they need to do, or at reduced efficiency).

But really revamping how your town is set up, managed and customized feels like a good use of development time to me. Try thinking about how you would design it without the Depths of Peril constraints, and work backwards.

I'd like to see (more?) custom-designed areas -- sections, or even entire overworld squares that are hand designed and feature interesting landmarks, specific placement of items, hazards, dungeons, whatever. Imagine going into an area that has a huge lake with a bridge out to an island. Or a large structure in the desert sort of like a temple, with a dungeon entrance placed at the center. Or an area where you can see some treasure chests but there's a powerful enemy guarding them. "Set pieces" like this are always fun for me, as long as there is a big enough pool of them and they are rare enough that they don't show up constantly. Different flavors of NPC clan towns too -- from decor to layout to what buildings they may or may not have. This would do so much to give them more personality.

Traits never attracted me. While I appreciate there aren't any "no brainers" that are insta-gets for every character, I feel like the negatives largely outweigh the benefits, so I don't really dabble into them. I'm not a hugely conservative player, but I'd bet a large chunk of players fall into the same category (especially with it taking "so long" to unlock them -- not everyone is going to dedicate their time to leveling a character way up just to see how they play out). Perhaps shifting the tiers from every 50 to a lower starting number, so people can get in and mess with them sooner? And perhaps the lower tier ones could be a little more palatable without severe downsides (especially ones that dictate a particular playstyle). Perhaps add some traits that have a random positive element to them, so it's useful but still unpredictable.

Also, we all realize this isn't WoW or Starcraft or LoL -- everything doesn't have to be perfectly balanced. If someone wants to turtle and just mess with their town for an hour, that should be at least somewhat viable. If there are traits available that you can get certain combos that make you OP, that's okay. People are going to do it anyway (see people getting a barn full of clan members who have different support spells). You have all the systems in place to let the player give themselves a challenge when that happens.

Lastly, as noted over on the Steam forums, maybe take a look into the Steam Workshop. Don't worry too much about people installing incompatible mods, or not having a ton of mods available -- the ease of installing them from this UI, and in an expected and easily browseable way, would be a big win if it's not too difficult to implement. Us Soldak fans are pretty good about helping the newbies, so I wouldn't worry too much about how many ways they could screw up their game if they installed twelve incompatible mods -- the community will be there to help.

Tyakraman
10-29-2016, 02:09 PM
About an expansion to Zombasite, I mostly agree with the others.

My biggest wish would be the aforementioned deeper dungeons that would give the game a more Dins-like feel.

The idea of special hand crafted areas sound very interesting too. Ancient ruins, special terrain landmarks, maybe even a neutral village (with vendors)...

Also I really like the nemesis-mechanic and wouldn't mind, if this feature would be expanded further.

At last, my idea why Zombasite might not be as successful as it should be, I think, most people are turned down by two things: First, its the games name; once Shadow first twittered the name "Zombasite", I actually frowned and thought to myself, that maybe people are fed up with anything zombie-themed; and although the game mechanics are drastically different from a typical zombie game, it does seem as the same old stuff at first glance by just reading the games name.
The second turn off I can think of, might very well be the graphics. People are so spoiled by high end graphics; and, let's face it, Zombasite is not up to date on graphics. I, personally, don't care, and find the graphics absolutely sufficient (although I think there could (or should) be done some more work on performance). Only two additional remarks about my graphical wishes: I'd really like to see a more far out zoom, without editing any files, and, as mentioned before, maybe an overhaul of the player characters animations.

That's my two cents about that.
Besides that, you can put me on your buyers list for whatever you release next, be it an expansion or a new game; I love Soldak games ; )

Professor Paul1290
10-30-2016, 11:19 AM
Not really. As a general rule, I'm not a fan of skill use leveling (whatever it's called).

I meant more along the lines of trying something aside from the player character levelling or skill improvements.

Like maybe the player character is trying to build up an organization or make improvements to their part of the world or something.

ScrObot
11-01-2016, 04:44 AM
More Zombasite expansion musing:

Most of us love the different random aspects that Soldak worlds supply. However, there's also a lot that is just way too static. Clan towns are all the same. While the clans themselves have plenty of character and differentiation, I feel like we could go much further with that, that would make allying with X clan so much more important due to some facet of their specific clan that you need, rather than where they are on the power comparison and such. Some clan-specific things were added during the beta period, but I feel like these can go a lot deeper. There could be clan-specific quests (or maybe clan aspect-specific if we don't want to spoil what clans are in the world and/or don't want to wait until they're discovered to make the quest available), and make them worthwhile to do. I feel like this was done better in Drox Operative.

I mentioned perhaps being able to swap out jobs/skills for your clan members -- this seems like a good place to implement some sort of unlock or tree system. Maybe an NPC skill could be selected (and maybe there is only one or two per NPC that could be changed), and you are given a choice of 2 or three randomized alternate skills, which each have different requirements -- maybe they spawn a quest, maybe the NPC needs to go adventuring with you and kill X number of monsters, maybe they need to meet another neutral NPC or allied clan member that has the target skill to learn it, but SOMETHING that makes this a process that has to be thought out and executed upon, not in a grindy fashion, but not in a way which lets you spam new skills all the time trying to roll that "perfect" NPC. Maybe there's a timer that doesn't allow this to happen more than once a game hour, or perhaps you can only do it once per available slot or something.

The game is touted as taking place during a zombie apocalypse, however I really don't get that feel anywhere. The way the towns are laid out and look, there is none of that gritty "grasping at every last piece of humanity to survive" aspect that I would expect. Towns just look like towns. The little shacks and carts you find out in the wilderness are "normal". Clearly this is in a low tech fantasy world, so I'm not expecting it to look like Fallout here, but things seem a little too "run of the mill" for it to be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Why isn't the single entrance to my town area better defended with chopped down trees and makeshift traps, for instance? Why are we happy with letting any old zombie come waltzing up to our gates? Why not manned guard towers to deal with these threats? (Better put an archer or magic user in them though, Mr. Sword isn't going to do much -- unless there are different types of towers [again, upgradeable]).

I don't want to repeat myself too much, but actual customization and personalization of town I think would be huge. Extended town management activities, that could be optional, would be cool. Spawn a quest that ultimately upgrades your walls (both visually AND effectively). (Maybe walls can be breachable, rather than only at the gates.) Be able to spawn a quest that would place some sort of simple turret-like structure near a gate (and hey, you have four gates). And these are upgradeable through quests as well. The available pool of these types of quest per world should be limited, so you can't just go through a ton of them.

The prospect of starting a world, playing through it, finding the few town-upgrading quests that the world randomly offers and completing them, then advancing to the next town with a new set... that sounds very appealing to me. The not knowing what you'll be able to improve this time around is fun, and the personalization is welcomed. Maybe these type of quests could also be a choice, when they're available, they're a choice between two or three different options, not necessarily for the same base structure or whatever either. This gives the randomization aspect along with the ability to build out your town how you see fit.

The pedestals just sitting out are not just unintuitive, they don't really make sense. Find a better way to deal with these (in a building like DoP?). Probably makes sense to put the stashes back in there too... who leaves that stuff just sitting on the ground in the center of town? :)

Mithur
11-02-2016, 07:33 AM
New classes,monsters,quests quite nice :)
1)As been already mentioned,i too hope to see monsters from Depths of Peril and Din's Curse(Daemon War expansion),so are they clans if will be
2)if it possible the opportunity to start new world from a different part of the map,not always from left corner
3)jungle,desert,forest terrains we have in game already, so we need snowy ones :)
4) also if possible add buildings and ruins from Depths of Peril for the entourage to the world,or new more suitable

If I think of more I'll add to the list

( Tchey )
12-30-2016, 04:18 AM
In our next game, characters and worlds are separate, so you will be able to have multiple characters play in the same world.

Tell us more, tell us moare ! Not about separate stuff, but about the game. What is iiiiiiiit ?

Shadow
12-30-2016, 12:20 PM
Tell us more, tell us moare ! Not about separate stuff, but about the game. What is iiiiiiiit ?

This is the hardcore game I talked a little about at the beginning of this thread. Anything specific you want to hear about?

( Tchey )
12-30-2016, 05:04 PM
A proto-screenshot, possible*?

Shadow
12-30-2016, 06:35 PM
A proto-screenshot, possible*?

Currently a screenshot would just look like Zombasite.

Tigrath
12-30-2016, 08:47 PM
I've been having fun with Zombasite. Those others have a lot of good suggestions for improving towns, but here's three I came up with.

1. How about a second teleporter in town. This one is long range, has a steep activation price (maybe pearls or diamonds), and can only teleport the player. It is a long distance device taking you to a different area randomly chosen at area creation. Possibilities are a deep cavern, a long dead city of ruins, an abandoned temple, a fools paradise, a mountain village, and a city being consumed by dense crowds of zombies as it burns. These places should have a higher level of difficulty and higher rewards.

Using it takes you beyond the range of your healthstone, so death is hardcore until you return.

2. Here are some ideas for quests.

An NPC party (1 boss and 2-6 guards) is working for Baron Emptypants and he wants your food. They pay highly for it, but might attack if you don't give them any.

This basic pattern could work for a lot of different groups and goals. A warrior from an isolated fortress needs health potions, the Doomed Tower of High Magery sends a wizard for mana potions, and a conjurer from the Witches Brewery needs particular monster drops. All of them would be merchants that carry gold instead of wares, and would buy food, potions, and maybe the types of items their class could use. The warrior would reward you with guards or towers, the wizard with a rare ring, the conjurer with a potion gives a stat or skill point, and so on.

alternatively
Baron Soandso might have several people/nemesis/clans he wants dead and his soldiers have failed spectacularly. His agent is hiring replacements and if you can succeed he'll hire you to work for the Baron. Success would give you a Rescued Victory. You and the two adventuring with you that is, everyone else in the clan is left behind as you move on to a brighter future.

I'd like some quests that reward you with stat or skill points, even hard quests would be worth it.

Also one of the tropes for fantasy worlds is the Sealed Evil in A Can. With a zombie apocalypse some of those are going to break loose and be tremendous threats. I'm thinking a mega-enemy (wandering around but not entering towns) that you have to avoid at all costs. Maybe with a quest chain to divert it to another area.

__________________________________________________ __________

3. Alternative Game Mode:

NEMESIS

You start in a dungeon. You don't start with a town or a healthstone or a clan. You start as the enemy of a clan and destroying them is your only path to victory.
NPCs that you meet can be recruited as henchmen, they can also be sent to infiltrate a clan. You're not limited to working against your nemesis-clan, you can undermine and destroy the others too.
Your relations screen will allow you to make deals with the elite monsters of the area, as well as the other clans. You would gain points with a clan by doing things they want and can use those points to get them to do things for you.

It would naturally be a Hardcore character, and with monsters and elites as business partners/questgivers/allies he will need to gain experience and power faster than a normal character. He could have quests to gain the ability to party with more than two others. Maybe he would have a Nemesis skilltree instead of the Traits.

Bluddy
01-02-2017, 01:47 PM
I would caution regarding the hereditary mechanics: every game I've seen with them ultimately suffered from them.

Since you're going in a hardcore direction, I think a rogue-lite is a great idea. The strength of the Soldak games has never been in the long-range gameplay, since that requires endless balance and tweaking. The huge number of points you get over the course of a game mean that things get out of control quickly. Soldak's strength, of course, is in the dynamic systems, which have short to medium term impact.

I do think that a game like Din's with a set number of levels and minimal character progression could do very well. Nobody has explored the ARPG space within the rogue-lite sub-genre, and I think Soldak is in the right position to do it. Imagine if Din's Curse only had 3 or 4 towns to save to beat the game, but that each town got more frantic, and you had very limited lives -- perhaps 3 (with a super-hardcore option of 1). After you save 3 towns, you win and the character is freed by Din. This means skill upgrades are few but will pack a punch, and leveling up will happen rapidly and have great meaning. Every choice you make has meaning and could cost you the game.

The game can be balanced to perfection, with spell upgrades that don't just involve a number being incremented, but rather, a real change to the chosen spell. And once a character is freed, you move on to another character with a different build. A dead player character may be encountered as a zombie enemy in a random dungeon (in the rogue-like tradition), may become a looted corpse (with a grave), or may even turn into a quest-giving ghost in a later game. And the limited number of towns means that the level of difficulty can almost always be preserved.

Another advantage of this model is that real, permanent changes can be made to the player character, in the rogue-like tradition. A curse may turn the character into a beast forever unless you solve a quest in time. This will be reflected in the rest of the character's life. Permanent changes can even be made to the world -- a curse of eternal darkness can render the rest of the character's game dark, for example, meaning that quests have real impact.

And of course the dynamic stuff is what will really benefit from this, setting the tone of the game rather than playing second fiddle to the ARPG leveling aspect.

It also means there can be less focus on quantity of loot, and more on quality: loot that changes systems rather than just giving some bonus (though that's good too). In rogue-lites, monsters tend to be dispatched not for loot, but because they're dangerous and need to be dealt with. In the case of Din's, your goals derive clearly from the quests, pushing you to dispatch monsters as needed (though it'd be cool if you'd have strong incentive to stay away from the stronger monsters). Good loot is rare, especially since every session should feel sufficiently different.

It almost seems like the design was really meant for this short-term hardcore system rather than the long-term ARPG model. There's just so much fertile ground here.

Throwback
03-23-2017, 11:21 PM
1. I'd like the sound design improved. While it is currently extremely distinct, it is in many cases not...nice? Almost like you picked unique sounds but perhaps didn't have time/resources to go over them to make sure they all have the same feel and really 'gel' with the world and add to it.

In my limited experience, successful games without stellar graphics instead have good to great sound design - e.g. hotline miami, devil daggers. It's not an immediate thing I notice, but when I think about it it is actually very important.

2. I'd like the world clans to be further refined. At the moment if I find the Horde or Evicerators for example, I'm pretty sure if I want the alliance victory I will have to eliminate them, since they don't play nice with others even they will ally with me. Clans like this unfortunately seem to be in the majority.

3. I'd like the town invasion mechanics improved. Running into 10-20 special characters is not fun, especially since they all take an extremely long time to kill. It's not the difficulty I object to, it's the pacing. I don't have any ideas for improvement though.

4. I wouldn't mind if there was a limit on the amount of quests that could be spawned in an area, but those quests had more scope to 'level up'. This is because distant areas have a tendency to build up enormous amounts of quests, but not necessarily get any more difficult than other areas. So you get there, do your thing and collect amazing rewards. There's not typically any motivation to complete a specific quest. If the quests were to get harder instead, I would have a lot of motivation to get to them, and less chance of being swamped by town invasions on my way to get there (as not so many quests would spawn).

5. Another idea is to use the mechanic of the boardgame 'epidemic', if you've played it. An area that is 'full' on quests could cause quests to appear in neighbouring areas.

6. A way to get to distant areas quickly. How about a clan that will guide you to any map square with a quest in it, for a fee? Or 'guide' NPCs that will take you to a specific gate, for a fee. Or quests that unlock gates to 'full' areas. You could limit the quest so it only becomes available when an area is 'full' of quests. Obviously there are implications for the sense of achievement in opening up large areas of the map. so anything like this would have to be designed carefully.

Throwback
03-23-2017, 11:55 PM
Sorry for double posting.

I'd also like to see a fully repaired town matter more. There is something psychologically pleasing about upgrading your town so everyone has a nice place to live - it would be cool to link that to mechanics even more strongly.

Perhaps you could add a 2nd tier of buildings, that are super nice, and make having a fully upgraded town a win condition (or even tie it into the 'food' win condition).

Catweazle
04-26-2017, 12:50 PM
Personally I find Drox Operative to be quite original. There are already so many Fantasy themed Diablo-alikes and Zombie games on the market.

Any chance for a Drox 2 at some point in the future with upgraded graphics? (Zombasite does look pretty slick). A way to expand on Drox 1 could be adding a combination of spaceship and ground combat (boarding, on stations, on planets etc).

Shadow
04-26-2017, 05:59 PM
Personally I find Drox Operative to be quite original. There are already so many Fantasy themed Diablo-alikes and Zombie games on the market.

Any chance for a Drox 2 at some point in the future with upgraded graphics? (Zombasite does look pretty slick). A way to expand on Drox 1 could be adding a combination of spaceship and ground combat (boarding, on stations, on planets etc).

It is definitely possible. I had fun making Drox and it sold fairly well.

Edward Bishop
05-28-2017, 05:47 AM
It is definitely possible. I had fun making Drox and it sold fairly well.

I have to agree; in fact I would go so far as to say Drox Operative has been your Magnum Opus thus far.

( Tchey )
05-28-2017, 10:13 AM
I have to agree; in fact I would go so far as to say Drox Operative has been your Magnum Opus thus far.

Clearly the best game, for me and mostly all other people i know who played Soldak's games.

Castruccio
05-28-2017, 11:07 AM
I think Depths of Peril was best, followed by Din's Curse.

sourdust
10-23-2017, 07:23 PM
For what it's worth...

1) Increasingly in gaming I'm looking for games that are playable in anything from 10 minutes to a few hours, but with a meta-game or long-term unlocks that keep me coming back. I'm loving Renowned Explorers, for example, which has some hard and definite constraints - each game is 5 expeditions only and will take max 3 hours to play through - combined with a feeling of endless replayability, which comes essentially from the endless possible combinations of characters (choose 3 for each game, out of 28 available - and each of the 28 has a very unique personality and traits!)

2) Zombasite in my experienced started to fall into a Paradox games-trap: too many systems, interacting poorly, without a strong unifying game dynamic. An ARPG combined with a diplomatic / town-builder dynamic that started to approach EUIV in its complexity - but it was all spread too thin, and in the end I found neither the ARPG elements nor the town-building satisfying. I'd strongly recommend paring back your game design to the essential elements, and then make sure those essential elements are work together smoothly and all contribute to a strong design. It's like women's fashion advice - put on everything you want to, then take off 1 thing and you're ready.

3) I can see real potential in a stripped-back dungeon crawler with a definite hard constraint on the end game. So something like 10 dungeons, total 10 hours play for a given game. But there is infinite replayablity through character class recombinations, and a strong metagame with lots of unlocks and ongoing goals to keep working towards. And within game, experiment with a simple system of upgrades aside from the usual XP->level up and loot dynamics. For instance, how about you're gathering crystals and lugnuts while exploring, and crystals and lugnuts can be spent in town on meaningful town upgrades, with real consequences for town development this way or that? No micromanagement of town stuff, just invest those crystals into buying a strong defensive wizard, or improving happiness by +50% for everybody - but you can't do both!

4) Graphics. I'd love to say I don't care, that it's all about gameplay. To some extent that was true for Din's Curse, where the graphics were relatively minimal in the dungeons, and smooth animations sorta made up for it. But it's not true in Zombasite - the graphic design I feel really gets in the way of the game. Don't aim for Diablo iii-esque graphics if you haven't got a team of 100 artists to make it work. Instead, strip it all back to a unified minimalistic theme. Renowned explorers, Desktop Dungeons, Darkest Dungeon, heck even mini metro are all good examples of smooth and effective graphic design on low budget.

5) The emergent dungeon phenomena in Din's Curse were revolutionary at the time, and have been picked up and further developed in other rogue-likes and even standard RPGs. Divinity series is a good example of combat craziness due to the number of different substances / spells etc that can interact with each other. So amp it up! I want to see mold, smoke, pools of blood, piles of rubbish, explosive powder, sheets of metal, underground rivers, acid, ether, mana clouds, dead magic, etc all swimming about together in the dungeon. So I can go: "hmm, if I vaporize that mana crystal with a lightining bolt, I can use my gust of wind to blow the ensuing mana cloud into that room over there that is full of conductive rods... then I'll lure the boss into the room, activate the rods and quickly shut the door. Problem solved!"

sourdust
10-23-2017, 09:27 PM
6) Do away with inventory management altogether, or at least inventory space constraints. Also no crafting please. The worst feature in Din's was the amount of time you had to spend shifting stuff around in different bags, an issue still not completely fixed in Zomb. I don't know who originally came up with the idea that limited bag space is a fun thing in an RPG, but they have a lot to answer for! Diablo 3 sorta fixes this by giving you extremely generous inventory space. Getting rid of crap items (ie, not having crap drop in the first place) helps as well.

7) Related to point 6 - getting rid of crap RNG items. Fewer but better items is almost always good in an RPG. Work on the item generation algorithms a bit - rather than an item having a totally random (and therefore mostly useless) set of traits, how about having Trait A be totally random, but then Traits B and C and D are influenced by what Trait A is, so that the item has a definite theme or direction. For instance, is the first trait on Shield A a bonus to skeleton summoning? Figure out which characters actually can use skeleton summoning, and figure out what kinds of other traits those characters might want. The random selection of Trait B is then guided by that - it might be an increase in darkness, a straight bonus to defence, a buff to skeleton mages, or a synergistic bonus with other necro-leaning items... but it won't be things that skeleton summoners can't use or don't really want, like a bonus to strength or light intensity. In this way items can still be random generated, but they are more likely to be interesting and themed.

8) Shake up the stats a bit. RPGs are getting a bit tired with the usual strength/intelligence/dexterity (or whatever they are called) way of describing characters. And usually a character just maxes their main stat, with enough into dex and con to keep them hitting and alive, or whatever. Levelling up is often formulaic: 3 points into main stat, one into dex, one into con or whatever. Either just scrap all this and automate it (because the player isn't making meaningful choices), or rethink it radically and make the choices interesting and result in viable different builds. Imagine an RPG where the character traits were Ambition / Courage / Pain Threshold / Empathy / Balance etc., maybe 20 or 30 of them, and each one related to different skills in strange and interesting ways, and improving them was to some degree path-dependent or synergistic. Eg, improving "pattern recognition" gives bonuses to skills x, y and z, but decreases skills a and b, and your rating is capped as twice your "raw intellect", which can itself be increased... etc

Shadow
10-24-2017, 06:52 PM
Lots of good thoughts sourdust.

gornova
01-18-2018, 07:33 AM
I'm back after a lot of time to say that I'm intrigued by Zombasite because there is too much zombies around and I simply don't care about another videogame on this theme. On that, my impression is that you miss a train here: few years ago all was about zombies, now.. meh :-/

Anyway about the future for me the "dream" is DOP2 with improved graphics, mechanics, polishing and better clan management growing, even between "games", something like "clan legends" that gives player bonuses / unlockable skills or items later on.

My 2 cents: look to spiderwebgames, there the trend was to build hardcore rpg, then move to more "casual" games and get more audience, with over time better and better games/assets. I think you are on the same line here: a lot of great mechanics and gameplay (I mean, unique!!) but lack of decent graphics (at least for 2020!) don't attract many players. If I remember correctly Din's Curse is not something you are proud of (maybe an interview?), but is somewhat the right path.. capitalize on your experience, expanding the world, etc..

What about something with a lot of DLC, like Paradox is doing?

Shadow
01-18-2018, 12:47 PM
If I remember correctly Din's Curse is not something you are proud of (maybe an interview?), but is somewhat the right path.. capitalize on your experience, expanding the world, etc..

What about something with a lot of DLC, like Paradox is doing?

I'm proud of Din's Curse. The only negative thing I've said about any of our games is that I think we shouldn't have made Kivi's Underworld. I think Kivi was a good game, but it shouldn't have been made by us since it doesn't match our gamers very well.

I'm ok with doing a lot of DLC, but first we would have to have a base game sell really well to support that.

gornova
01-19-2018, 03:40 AM
I'm proud of Din's Curse. The only negative thing I've said about any of our games is that I think we shouldn't have made Kivi's Underworld. I think Kivi was a good game, but it shouldn't have been made by us since it doesn't match our gamers very well.

I'm ok with doing a lot of DLC, but first we would have to have a base game sell really well to support that.

Sorry, I was meaning Kivi.
What do you mean sell really well? I mean if I know that a game (like Europa Universalis IV) is supported for years and gives me patches, updated and some new content for free, plus optional DLC I can buy (or not), I think should be also reasonable to think about a subscription model, like 10$ a month or something like that ?

Shadow
01-19-2018, 12:48 PM
I just mean it would be interesting to continue to put out DLC for a game, evolving it over a longer period of time. However, we have never had a game that sold well enough that we could actually afford to do that.

gornova
01-22-2018, 12:23 PM
for sure, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic!

DarthNihilus
01-24-2018, 08:18 AM
i think the community will appreciate the game more if you allow us to create custom quests with custom awards, at least.
because all the vanilla quests get boring with time, we all know them by heart. custom quests will add more variability to the game. especially if there would be possible to create a quest chain.

Shadow
01-24-2018, 02:13 PM
You can create custom quests and quest chains in Zombasite. They just have to be of the same general type as the ones in the game.

gornova
01-25-2018, 04:26 AM
You can create custom quests and quest chains in Zombasite. They just have to be of the same general type as the ones in the game.

but you can share them with other players?

For example in Dop, what if I can share my "clan" to other players, so AI take place of the player and I can play against other peoples clan ?

DarthNihilus
01-25-2018, 04:32 AM
but i can't control the quest parameters, can i?

Shadow
01-25-2018, 02:37 PM
but you can share them with other players?

For example in Dop, what if I can share my "clan" to other players, so AI take place of the player and I can play against other peoples clan ?

This would all be done in mods that you could release to the public. You can mod the AI a little bit.

but i can't control the quest parameters, can i?

You can control a lot of the parameters: text, who the enemy is, timing, rewards, what happens when completed, etc.

gornova
01-26-2018, 03:41 AM
Yes, but inside the game, without doing mods, something like: game over, this is my clan (with name, banner, special skills, items and so on) and share with other player.
Another player can "play" against these AI controlled clans