Scope (Negative) Creep

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I was commenting recently on Legend Of Grimrock 2 and basically saying that – in my opinion – it’s kind of a huge disappointment. My problem with that game, if I had to boil it down into one sentence, is that “They should have stuck to just making a great dungeon crawler”. I absolutely LOVED the first game – in fact, I played through it 3 times. The sequel? I’m about 4 hours in and really don’t see myself returning to it. It’s trying to be too many things and it just leaves me feeling kind of lost. I mean, come on – you can walk around under water!

Anyway, it occurred to me today that I’m basically going down exactly the same path (hmm) with The Deep Paths. I got it into my head that after Coldfire Keep, I needed to add all these features like outside areas, and a town, and massively varied environments to explore, and the bottom line is – I can’t really live up to that scope if I ever want to finish the game, and even if I do, I’m definitely going to half-ass it and the game is going to suck. Taking my own advice, what I really need to do is just try my best to make A Great Dungeon Crawler.

So that’s my new mission statement. Not saying that anything in particular is OUT or IN at this stage; only that I’m going to just focus on the key dungeon crawling experience and see where I end up.

Oh! Except for the Cleric class; that’s definitely OUT! You’re now either a Fighter, Rogue, or Mage. Deal with it! :)

Big Disclaimer: Even on their worst days, the Almost Human guys are 10x more talented than me. Don’t take my negative comments as me trying to convince anyone (least of all myself) that I’m doing better work than them.

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The Deep Paths – The Series

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I don’t think I’ve ever come straight out and said this, but I’ve been working for quite some time with the plan in my head that The Deep Paths will be a series of games, with at least a second and third installment roughly outlined at this stage. More observant folks may have even noticed some early screenshots of the main menu with the title “The Deep Paths: Reclamation”.

In a way, this is the reason it’s taken so long for me to present any further screenshots or gameplay videos. I’ve spent pretty much all of my time so far building tools that will help me build the games, rather than building an actual game. Kind of like an “editor”, but not something that will be going public. I’m trying to automate as much as possible, spending a little additional time now, to save a lot of time later.

Before I started to talk about this more though, I wanted to post this to make sure that people realise this isn’t an “episode” type of thing. I’m not planning on taking a single game and just breaking it into pieces. This will be 3 (or more) completely independent games, set in the same “universe”, and roughly following the same series of events through the eyes of independent groups of people, with some cross-over here and there throughout the stories.

My hope, upon completion and release of the first game, will be to release a new installment approx. every 6 months after that, so that people don’t have to wait too long before continuing on their journey in this world. 6 months might turn out to be ambitious, but at this stage I think it’s going to be achievable.

I’m very excited to see this first game slowly taking shape. Sometimes the mountain of work in front of me gets a little overwhelming, but reminding myself that the end result is hopefully going to be a kick-ass dungeon crawler for you guys to play, definitely keeps me going.

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Actually…

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…I’m mostly just continuing work on The Deep Paths. I’ve been doing a lot of coding, getting new systems up and running and redoing some of the old stuff to make sure it’s as future-proof as I can possibly make it (you know, for sequels and such!). I’m also talking to some artists, trying to sort out exactly who is going to be doing what, and figuring out the budget for everything. I’m hoping to share a lot more information, screenshots, and maybe even some videos for this game very soon.

Kickstarter No Like Steve

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Unfortunately, the Kickstarter campaign for The Deep Paths has ended in heartbreak. I’m resisting the urge to embark on an alcohol fuelled bender and instead channelling my energy into something new.

I’ve decided to stick with a few smaller projects for a while (i.e. Requiem Z sized) in the hope that I might raise a few dollars to complete some of the more money-hungry tasks for The Deep Paths on my own.

I’m working on something new already which is actually taking quite a few queues from Requiem Z and combining those ideas with some traditional RPG/Dungeon Crawler tropes. Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this, but Requiem Z is by far the thing that I’m most proud of thus-far in my game development journey. There’s just something about that game that I really enjoy, and there was a clarity in the development process which just made the whole process of creating it such a breeze.

Might post up some screenshots and stuff fairly soon for this new thing. Right now, it’s really not even a full idea, but I think it will get there. At the moment I’m just tinkering on it, with that same easy-breezy feeling I had doing Requiem Z.

The Deep Paths on Kickstarter

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So I’ve taken the plunge and created a Kickstarter project for The Deep Paths. The decision to do this has come about as a result of several things…

Firstly, I’ve once again found myself hitting a wall in development due to lack of funds. I ran into similar problems with Coldfire Keep and had to make a few compromises that have always knawed away at my soul. I took a step back and realised that the budget for The Deep Paths doesn’t need to be terribly extreme as long as I plan the use of that budget very carefully. So, I’m asking for $12,500. A somewhat odd figure, but one that basically reflects exactly what I need to create the game I really want to create.

Secondly, I want people to get involved in this thing. I want to hear from gamers – positive and negative – to let me know that they’re passionate about this game and that I’m on the right track making it for them. I’m really excited about The Deep Paths, and I guess I want to share that excitement and get other people excited about it too.

One of the beautiful things about Kickstarter is that it converts “My Project” or “Our Project” to “Everyone’s Project”. It encourages discussion, and people are much more likely to voice their genuine thoughts about something when they’re investing some of their own money into it.

Other than that, the model just makes sense. Backers are essentially pre-ordering their copy of the game, and their pre-order funds ensure that the game they’re ordering ends up being a product that’s polished and well-produced. Everyone wins.

So, I’m hopeful, but not getting my hopes up (if that makes sense) that the Kickstarter campaign will be a success.

You can jump over to the Kickstarter page for The Deep Paths by clicking the image below:

 

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Office Tour

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I recently posted some pictures from my “Office” on Twitter. I thought I’d repost them here as a more permanent record. I think it’s important for people to be able to visualise where the development work is taking place. And yes, I have pink and orange walls – the room was formerly a little girl’s bedroom. The color scheme has really grown on me… and/or I really don’t have the time to repaint :)