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Author Topic: Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid  (Read 9194 times)

Aureus

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Greetings! I'm new here and I'm working on an unusual video game of mine!



Everyone knows to stay away from the wilderness. Most people would never risk a lonely journey.

Roadwardens not only accept this struggle, they embrace it. They deliver messages, assist merchants, burn human corpses and, if possible, get rid of beasts and highwaymen.

They live on the road, die young or retire early.

It's a dangerous job, but a respectable one. And it pays well.

Main Features:
  • Explore and change the world. Travel through a detailed fantasy setting filled with secrets, challenges and uniquely harsh lore.
  • Have immersive conversations. To gain support of dozens of NPCs, you need to earn their trust during complex dialogues and sidequests.
  • Create your own character through role-playing and decisions. Shape your background, abilities, beliefs and personality.
  • Unveil the local mysteries. Investigate, use your wit and make connections to understand the true nature of this realm.
  • Overcome your weaknesses. The wilderness is full of dangers and you can trust nobody. Find your path to success against all odds.


You can find more information as well as the free demo on the game's website!


So, what do you think? Will that be fine if I post here future updates? : )

Aureus

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Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2019, 08:03:40 AM »
I love it when a game slowly moves from place holders to the actual graphics. Here you can see the first part of the game's map - the large objects are icons allowing you to select the area you want to visit. Heavily inspired by Baldur's Gate. ; )

If you think it can still look better, I'll be happy to see your feedback!


Spinachcat

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Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2019, 10:44:21 PM »
Very interesting. Looking forward to hear more.

Tell us about...burning human corpses? Is that religious or protection vs. undead?

I am definitely interested in learning about the non-combat adventures, but I do want to murder monsters and bandits. Murder...is fun.

What's the magic level? How supernatural is the setting? Does the Roadwarden cast spells?

Also, is it a Solo RPG? Or does your Roadwarden gain NPC allies?

And real time? Or turn based? Designed for mobile?

Quote
The wilderness is full of dangers and you can trust nobody.

This is the only thing I found odd. Even in Warhammer, the Roadwarden is "wandering civilization" and thus sought out by "good" people living away from town. While its possible some farmers, trappers and traders might turn out to cannibal cultists out of a Rob Zombie flick, there should be trustworthy people for the Roadwarden to encounter, or even via their background, to believe are trustworthy from the get-go.

Aureus

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Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2019, 01:59:50 AM »
Hi there, Spinachcat!

Quote from: Spinachcat;1087367
Is that religious or protection vs. undead?

It's both! In Viaticum, the game's setting, becoming an undead is a part of the natural cycle. When a human dies, their body becomes an empty shell for the next, artificial soul. Sometimes this "soul" is created by necromancers, but it's not the only or even the most common option. The magical power is extremely present in fogs, and whenever a fog covers a human corpse, it rises. At first it's not a huge danger, but with every fog and every human it kills, it becomes stronger and capable of more human-like functions. Such as making use of tools, comprehending its surroundings and so on.

And just like in the real world most religions encourage to keep the dead bodies away to keep humans safe from the multitude of diseases and scavengers, in Viaticum the most influential religions introduce obligatory cremation.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1087367
Murder...is fun.

I'm sure it can be in the safe environment of video games where nobody gets hurt, but I'm kind of bored of solving all problems through threats and violence. Have you ever played Pillars of Eternity? I like this game a lot, but there's this hilarious quest where you arrive to a village of maybe 40 people, and it turns out there's a dark cult hidden under the ground... Which also includes about 40-50 or more people. And you murder all of them in cold blood just to complete a side quest.

I kind of hate it. : P I'd love to see more RPGs where the violence is a part of the world and is seen as an impactful action, and not the source of entertainment kept away from the actual plot. I don't want the player to kill 25 packs of wolves for no reason at all. But finishing off a single pack that has a cool story behind it and is harassing the village in interesting ways? Now that's what I'm looking for. : P

Quote from: Spinachcat;1087367
What's the magic level? How supernatural is the setting? Does the Roadwarden cast spells?

One of the three classes you can choose from (Warrior, Mage, Scholar) involves low-power spells, such as healing fresh wounds or making artificial light.

I'd say the setting doesn't have a lot of extremely powerful sorcerers in it, but the magic is rather common - just not very advanced. Very few people can never learn how to cast spells - most people can, though they don't have real talent and develop only very simple spells during their lifetime, such as making sparks when they want to lit a fire.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1087367
Also, is it a Solo RPG? Or does your Roadwarden gain NPC allies?

I'm open to make some changes if I decide later on that it has value for the story or makes things more interesting, but I currently expect it to be a solo adventure. Gathering allies is crucial for you, but you don't gather a team.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1087367
And real time? Or turn based?

Definitely turn-based, though turns are kind of hidden.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1087367
Designed for mobile?

I currently develop for Windows - if the game turns out to be a success, I'll be happy to work on some mobile ports.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1087367
there should be trustworthy people for the Roadwarden to encounter, or even via their background, to believe are trustworthy from the get-go.

It's a fair statement, but in this case the PC enters a completely unfamiliar territory. A peninsula that for decades had pretty much no relationships with the closest city (which is a couple of days of dangerous journey away) and doesn't really want to give up its current semi-independent position. I'd say - by being a roadwarden, it's very easy for you to gather people's trust, at least to a point. But you shouldn't expect that everything you hear is honest. People are going to tell you as much as they need to make a good use of you. ; )

If there's anything else that comes to your mind, go ahead! I'm glad I caught your interest.

Aureus

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Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2019, 07:57:12 AM »
Hello, hello!

It was a busy week and I think I should start writing devlogs about the game's development, highlighting new features and the general progress. I'd like to share the first post like this starting next week. : )

The coolest part of this week, however, was working on the new picture for the game. Do you remember my castle-tavern? I wanted to draw its interiors. The first attempt, which displays the exteriors as well, was a failure. It doesn't allow to show that many details and limits the scope of furniture while also ruining the proportions, even if I'd add buttons allowing to hide and show specific floors.



But the new one feels great to me. For me, it feels cozy. It feels like I can't help but imagine all the stories that started (or ended) here.



What do you think? Do you like it?

Spinachcat

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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2019, 10:02:40 PM »
Where's the trapdoor to the levels underneath?

Probably at least want a cellar / storage area as the two levels don't have much closet space.

It looks good overall.

BTW, explain the color scheme.

Aureus

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Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2019, 03:50:12 AM »
Hi! I haven't decided yet if the cellar is accessible behind the counter or if I should go in a more realistic direction and just move the cellar somewhere outside. Cellars are very difficult to make in an early Medieval period, to the point where even in the late Medieval centuries rich townsfolk were using the ground floor as a cellar.

I love these sepia-like colors. I can't exactly explain it, but they really soothe me, you know? Like it's a realm that's a bit static, forgotten, even nostalgic in its very present time. A bit... hollow. As if you're entering the world that is not ready to welcome you, even if it's not directly hostile. You're not from here.

Spinachcat

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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2019, 11:19:30 PM »
BTW, tell us more about Visual Novel vs. a RPG.

What makes Roadwarden an interactive fiction vs a "regular cRPG"?

Aureus

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Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 03:42:08 AM »
It's actually a bit complicated. : P

Trying to make it as specific as I can: most RPGs are games that put a great emphasis on violence, leveling up your character and unlocking new powers. So I don't feel like I should try to promote this game as a "clean" RPG - many people who love RPGs, even the same RPGs that I love, would be bored by this game. In Roadwarden, you won't walk around a forest and kill boars and goblins to gather XP and sell their tusks in an automated shop. You'll do many things that you do in most RPGs - including combat, exploring an open world, finding new equipment and character abilities, talking with innkeepers and solving side-quests, but it's all put in a different context.

So, for example, when a group of bandits appear on a street, in most RPGs you kill them, loot them and move on. In Roadwarden, bandits are a part of the setting. They live here, have friends, families, goals, regrets. And you won't be able to kill them, at least not by yourself.

But it's also not a "clean" VN, it even gets very close to CYOAdventure games. Like in VNs, you spend most of the time reading and making dialogue choices with an addition of simplified visuals, but the story is not linear, doesn't have a VN-like branching (routes), doesn't involve Japanese teen girls nor romance, and the gameplay elements are very significant. I mean... Many people who love Visual Novels wouldn't find what they're looking for in this game. It's just so far from what VN fans are looking for in their games.

And there are these simplified bits of text parsers - where the player takes the keyboard and inputs (types) instructions to solve puzzles and secrets...

I think I should write a bit more about all this. I'll try to make a devlog post about it next week, does this sound fine?

Spinachcat

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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2019, 04:58:30 PM »
I am always interested when a game takes on new directions in a genre. I'm bored beyond tears with a meaningless combat grind, but I do enjoy combat with a purpose (beyond 20 boar head quests or leveling for levels sake). So definitely would be interested in hearing more about where Roadwarden fits in the RPG/VN world as you develop your ideas.

Based on your description, your game sounds more like a real (tabletop) RPG than most computer RPGs.

What's your projected/proposed date for your Kickstarter? AKA, where are you in your dev cycle?

Aureus

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Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure fantasy hybrid
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 02:01:50 AM »
I actually started playing tabletop RPGs when I was about 13 and I've been playing (mostly GMing) for maybe 16 years now. I also self-published some of my own games (only in Polish, though) and I also have this low-priority approach for combat when I play. I mean - violence happens, but it's very often quick and based on context. I never force players to fight just to make the pacing more dynamic, and my players are always encouraged to solve encounters with good planning and strategies.

I'm not sure if the Kickstarter will happen. I didn't plan it, but your question made me think. : P I'm not a big fan of crowdfunding, especially since I don't live in North America and that would limit potential rewards that I could bring to the table.

However, I'd say I'm more than 10% done. The engine is working, the "skeleton" of the game is here. Now it all comes to keeping my sanity high, writing content and, of course, testing and adjusting based on the tests.

-------------

Oh, and by the way, the first entry in the Roadwarden's devlog is now available!

Aureus

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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2019, 09:08:42 AM »
A new feature added - having an option to end the game! : P



Since Roadwarden is going to have a very unusual story structure and is, in some way, an open world game, I expect that not everyone is going to complete it in 100%. So, you're going to be able to finish the game whenever you want - even in the middle of the tutorial. And if you want, you can always read a summary of your journey (which will get more and more detailed as your playthrough goes on) to let you know how much of a "good" ending you've earned up to this point

And yes - these endings are going to be heavily personalized. The one you see in the video, for example, belongs to a PC whose main goal is the wish to help people. Other characters have a bit different endings.

The entire "ending" section is still in an early WIP. It's going to have additional graphics and maybe even an interface looking more like the game's prologue, but for now it's fine as it is. : )

--------------------------

By the way... Have you seen the game's first devlog?

--------------------------
I was planning to focus on writing the new scenes for Roadwarden, but I decided to change my approach. Since the demo of the game received quite a bit of attention and a lot of helpful feedback (which includes one game-crashing bug), here are the plans for the nearby future:

Monday, May 25th - new devlog focused on the "genre" of the game (why is it an RPG / Visual Novel / text adventure hybrid : P).
Friday, May 31st -  the new demo of the game (with few fixes and some additional features).
Saturday, June 1st -  a video presenting the entire "tutorial" section of the game. For those who'd like to just see a couple of bits without sinking into the entire thing.
Monday, June 3rd - a regular devlog explaining the new features from the demo and some other changes.

After that point, the demo will no longer be updated unless a game-breaking bug will be spotted.

Itachi

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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2019, 01:36:38 PM »
Superb project. Let us know when the KS comes out, Aureus.

Aureus

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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2019, 04:17:57 PM »
My second devlog! I wrote about Roadwarden and why it's difficult to label it with a single genre, I hope it will be useful especially for Spinachcat.

And thank you, Itachi, I'm still not sure if any crowdfunding will happen. : )

Aureus

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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2019, 07:38:29 AM »
The new version of the demo is now available, and not only it has multiple minor and major fixes, but also some bits of additional content.

Unless a large bug will be found, I currently assume that the version 0.3 won't be updated in the nearby future. And it should be able to fairly portray the gist of what I want Roadwarden to be.

If you haven't played the demo before, this is the version that I would recommend. However, if you've already play it through, you may be interested in checking out the following changelog. A deeper look will be available on Monday, in the new devlog.

The Mac version is now available.
Though it's not tested very well. If you find any issues, please let me know.

The achievements don't kill you anymore.
I'm surprised (and relieved) that only one person have encountered this problem. From now on, clicking on the received achievement won't crash the game.

You can switch the font to a pixel one.
Whenever you want, you can switch between a pixel-artish font (which looks nice) and the regular font (which is easier to read). The regular font is still used by default.

Now you can actually beat the game! (and unlock the worst endings)
A new icon on the map allows you to complete the game, even in the very first morning. The "ending" section doesn't have illustrations yet, but is altered by the goal that you've chosen for your character.

Added new travel descriptions.
If you're in the Southern Crossroads and move either to the dolmen or the tavern for the first time, you'll see examples of the new travel descriptions. This tool will also make random encounters much easier to implement.

Added a couple of options to the dolmen.
Parsers in the dolmen respond now to more commands. Also, a small bug involving the secret was fixed.

Rolling back works better with various menus (like map and sleeping).
Using a mouse or keyboard to "roll back" when a map or other complex menu are displayed sometimes created issues. From now on, it will only close the displayed menus, without instantly jumping back.

Pointing at your HP is now more elegant.
It won't cover the main narration and is generally more responsive.

Fixed some typos and rephrased a couple of things.
Among the major changes - the inventory descriptions are now significantly more polished and the "choices" are more consistent.

And here is the latest devlog, portraying the problems with labeling the game through traditional genres.