I’m uploading the new version to Kongregate and Newgrounds now, Armor may take longer. So, what’s changed?
- New infinite campaign- Act VI: The Limits of Evil. If you have already unlocked the other bonus campaigns this will be available. This campaign gives an experience more similar to the older Monsters’ Den games. You can no longer return to previous floors. Returning to the entrance stairs will allow you to leave the dungeon, and you’ll earn gold and item rewards based on how many floors you completed.
- Ability to reduce campaign level. On the campaign select screen, click on the new campaign level label to open the settings page. If you’ve been wanting to use your godlike party to beat up some level 1′s, now is your chance.
- ‘True Hit’ option for accuracy calculations is now available to everyone, and is on by default. You can turn it off and return to the original (accurate!) accuracy method in the options screen. I caved on this one.
- Replacement premium modifier: ‘Level Range’. When this setting is on, each individual enemy has a chance to be one level higher or lower than normal. This helps mix things up a bit.
- Customize Character icon now appears in the party camp. This should make it more obvious that the option exists.
- Consumable tooltips in the Emporium now tell you how many of that item you already have in inventory.
- You can unlock a couple of bonus items by visiting the Facebook page. Check the options screen.
- Gold reward for completing Act V reduced a bit.
With this update I’ve tried to address a lot of the most common complaints about the game. Better late than never.
Here’s a look at some new Godfall monster art I’ve been posting on the Facebook page over the past few weeks. Two old monsters returning after a sad absence from Chronicles, and a brand new one.
I’m doing a lot of design work at the moment, trying to really nail down the scope of the game. I was getting ready to submit to Steam’s Greenlight service but I’ve decided I should wait for now. I will submit it to the ‘Concepts’ section instead, probably this week. I’m interested in gauging the reaction there. It could really go either way.
I have some longer blog posts in mind about different aspects of the new design, but I just need to set aside time to finish them up.
I’m trying to breathe a little more life into the Facebook page, so I’ve been posting some new artwork there. Check it out if you haven’t already.
So what’s happened lately? I went to GDC, got sick, had a birthday.
Nobody cares, what’s happening with Godfall? Well, for the past month or so I’ve actually been working on something else– a mobile version of Monsters’ Den.
People have often asked me when it’s coming to mobile. What you may not know is that over the years there have actually been three different attempts to outsource it, which have all fizzled out or failed for various reasons. What I’ve realized is that if I want it done properly, I’ll have to do it myself– and before now I haven’t been prepared to take that on.
Last month I finally decided to have a play around, and experiment with what was possible using AIR. And after a few false starts and confusing dead ends, it worked surprisingly well. There’s still a significant amount of work needed to optimize the performance and redo the UI to properly support the screen size(s) and touch interface, but I’m more excited by the prospect than I’ve been before.
I now have to decide whether to push on with the mobile work (which realistically will take at least a couple of months to get right) or get back to working on the next game.
Addendum: The mobile game has been put on the back-burner, and I’m back to Godfall full time. More news soon.
At least one old feature that was absent in Chronicles will be making a return in Godfall: party conversations!
In the original Monsters’ Den and Book of Dread, these appeared on the loading screens between dungeon levels. Their main purpose was to give the player an idea of what enemy types would appear on the next floor, but they were also an opportunity to impart a bit of flavour (and sometimes humour). The first reason is less relevant now, but I think they are still a very useful way to non-intrusively convey snippets of background imformation and help set the tone of the game. I’m not a great writer, but it’s also an opportunity for me to exercise that muscle.
The old conversations were randomized, with responses written vaguely enough that they could be mixed and matched. This time I am leaning towards having the conversations more tightly scripted, but their occurrence controlled by whether you have the right kind of characters in your current party to fill the speaking roles. This feature is potentially a lot of work, but at least it’s a different kind of work.
It’s been a long time between updates, so please accept my usual apologies. Let me fill you in on what’s been happening.
Despite the Roadmap, I managed to go careening off a cliff. Which is to say, things didn’t go to plan. Towards the end of last year I had a long bout of depression which left me questioning not only my willingness to do this type of work, but also my capability. I really started to think that I just didn’t know how to make games any more. It was a bit scary, actually. I think it may have been exacerbated by some design issues I was having with the city builder game I was working on. By the time I came through all that, putting that game on the back-burner seemed like the smartest option, especially as I was getting more excited about Godfall. That city builder is the strategy game I referred to in the Roadmap post, and though it still doesn’t have a name I think it’s a neat idea. I do hope to come back to it one day.
So I’ve been back on Godfall full time for a little while now, and it is exciting. Time has helped clarify some questions I’d never had firm answers to, and the direction and scope of the game is more solid than ever. The amount of work still ahead of me is daunting, and I’ll try to communicate progress better here, like I used to. One thing I may have got right in the Roadmap is that the game does have to come out this year. I don’t have the financial resources to go any longer than that, that’s all the runway I have. It’s an incentive and a challenge and an ulcer in my stomach, all in one.
There is one big question hanging over the game, and that’s whether it should be aimed at the web. Should I release another free, sponsored game, or is it time to try selling it as a download? I do want to make that transition eventually, and this will be by far my biggest game yet. It is a real risk though, and I’m still undecided.
In a previous post, I asked for ways in which people thought Book of Dread (the previous game in the series) was better than Monsters’ Den Chronicles. Based on the responses to that, as well as general feedback on the game since it’s release, I’ve identified some common complaints. I’d like to talk about these factors, explain why they went the way they did, and perhaps figure out how they can be corrected in the future.
Be warned: this is a long one.. More >
A new update to Chronicles has now gone live on Kongregate. It should appear on Armor Games within the next few days.
- This version (finally) introduces art support for female characters. I hope people are happy with the non-pandering approach I’ve taken.
- There’s also a new feature: you can now export your current progress to a convenient save file, and then import it later. This is somewhat against the spirit of the game, but the number of people reporting save problems was large enough that I had to try to find some solution. At least now it is possible to maintain a backup in case your data is lost. This will not appear in Armor Save-enabled versions of the game, as the Armor Save is supposed to serve the same purpose (and the two systems could interact badly).
Having read a lot of the comments about Chronicles on various sites, it’s clear that there’s a group that still prefers Book of Dread. The reasons given are often very vague. This makes it difficult for me to understand, but it’s also important for me to understand as the series moves forward. So, please, enlighten me!
What did Book of Dread do better than Chronicles? What was lost in translation, or moved in the wrong direction?
Comment below, but please don’t argue with others about their opinions.
Now that the Chronicles release is behind us, it’s time to look more seriously at the future of Monsters’ Den. Here’s what will keep me busy for the next year or two:
2012 – Monsters’ Den Chronicles 2.0
Female characters. New monsters and items. And, hopefully, a campaign editor.
Late 2012 – Unnamed Strategy Game
I’m not ready to say much about this one. It will be set in the same universe, but it’s not an RPG.
2013* – Monsters’ Den Godfall
Company management. Overland travel. Randomly generated quests. I haven’t given up!
So, exciting times ahead! I had better get back to work.
*Let’s be honest: this one may be a little shaky.
For anyone on the fence, here’s a full breakdown of what is (and isn’t) in the Premium Content package for Monsters’ Den Chronicles.
1. Extra Characters
Unlock ten new characters, one of each class. These new heroes start with visually-distinct equipment, but are otherwise the same as the starting heroes. Parties can be formed from a mix of old and new characters.
This greatly increases your options for party composition, as you can (for instance) have two Confessors, or an all-Mage party.
2. Campaign Bonuses and Modifiers
The premium edition also unlocks new ways to customize each campaign.
Campaign bonuses let you choose between different benefits for a campaign.
- Experience: Experience earned from battle increased by 20%.
- Reward: The gold reward for campaign completion will be doubled.
- Recovery: Additional 25% Health and Power recovery after battle.
Campaign modifiers are optional changes to the rules.
- ‘True Hit’: Use different accuracy calculations that are biased towards success.
- Fixed Level: During a dungeon campaign the enemies will not increase in level.
- Lethality: Enemies have 25% less health, and deal 20% more damage.
3. Sparks of Legend
With your purchase, you get a bonus of five Sparks of Legend in your inventory, immediately. If your inventory is full, the game will try again to add any sparks you are owed each time the game starts.
These sparks function exactly the same as the ones that can be found (rarely) through normal play. When used to enhance an equipment item, that item will then automatically scale to the level of whoever equips it. The base armor rating and/or damage of the item also increases.
If these sparks (or the items they enhance) are sold or destroyed, they cannot be recovered. However, if you choose to reset your saved data entirely via the options menu, you will start with all five of them.