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Default Tortured Hearts - Interview with the Team

April 12th, 2012, 23:17
A short while a go Tortured Hearts appeared on Kickstarter trying to raise $300.000. We talked with the developers to find out more about this game.
RPGWatch: The combat system is an essential part of an RPG, how is this implemented in Tortured Hearts?

Lenore: We planned it as real-time, but on popular demand we switched to turn-based. Iím happy with this; real-time combat has an aesthetic like a movie, but turn-based is more versatile for the player. The basic ideas of combat abilities haven't really changed and also, our main programmer is quite familiar with turn-based combat. In my opinion it adds to the pleasure of mincing your enemy when you can do so contemplatively.

Zoltan: The player will be able to control each member of his party, his inventory, his weapons. Every member will have action points which determine what can be done in that round, and the whole party has a pool of special action points called tactical traits. These tactical traits either buff the party or debuff the enemy for a determined number of rounds. The trait points regenerate according to the skill level and gear of the PC and party members. You use them up, but they come back if you donít get killed. Defense is important as well as offense.
More information.
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April 12th, 2012, 23:17
It might help, if there was a link to their kickstarter page, somewhere in the article.
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April 12th, 2012, 23:40
Good point. Added it.

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April 13th, 2012, 05:28
I like the look of this game. To bad they aren't gonna make their funding.
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April 13th, 2012, 05:50
Originally Posted by Dajjer View Post
I like the look of this game. To bad they aren't gonna make their funding.
It's never too late to pledge.

Also please join our facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/TorturedHeartsRPG

Thanks
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April 13th, 2012, 12:51
Too bad people approach this project with such skepticism. It shows promise and on the contrary of most people's believes I think that they made the most difficult parts of an RPG: writing the story, dialogues, scripts, NPC relations, choices&consequences, items, skill checks, etc . And also they're honest about the amount they want. It's an ambitious project and definitely deserves much more attention than that. Everyday I look at the Kickstarter video games page and there lots of dumb games which amassed much more money than TH. Come on RPG players, if we want new Brian Fargos, MCAs and new IPs to our favourite genre, we must encourage designers like this.

"Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man
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April 13th, 2012, 16:08
Gokyabgu

Thank you. Your words are truly appreciated.


Guys

Many of our current backers have backed Wasteland 2, The Banner Saga, Shadowrun etc. If you you have a similar interest, then you'll surely enjoy our game.

Also, finally it's picking up. We just need you and bring another guy to help!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/…universe-again

Thanks

Zoltan
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April 13th, 2012, 18:17
I think that the Kickstarter proposal of Tortured Hearts is handled the wrong way.

When you look at the videos of Double Fine and Wasteland 2, they are very clear and to the point and you immediately get the answers to the following questions:

- Who are they
- What is their background
- What type of game do they want to make
- What is the target audience
- Why use Kickstarter
- why should we want to care

Of course, they are big names in he industry and that gives them a large advantage but they still need to convey the right message and convince us why we should care about their intended project.

The way I see it, such approach is entirely missing with TH. In priniciple, the information is there if you read all the text but the way it is presented is done ineffectively. It seems to me that they rely on the assumption that people will read everything carefully, process the information, and decode accordling. Instead, the video should be a summary where the most important points are highlighted and most importantly it should show the team or at least one person showing clear signs of motivation. The written description of the project is simply step 2 that should serve to provide more details. One cannot expect people to read the text if no interest is generated through the video.

Clearly, the goal of the video is to give us a reason why we should care about the project and to show us what sets the game apart when compared to the mainstream offerings.

Another thing that may backfire is the use of the term "lighthearted". If I understood correctly, the idea is to have a satirical humerous parody on RPGs and a light hearted tone is chosen. But a quick look at the text seems to put more emphasis on the term "lighthearted" and that might put many people off. I think it would be more effective if more emphasis were to be put on satirical and parody to give it a more adult feel. At first glance, it is not clear what game you will get and whether you belong to the actual target audience. I am myself not particularly fond of lighthearted themes but if the core of the tone is the satire, parody and intelligent writing then I would be very much into it.

Another strategy that I think is ineffective is that a lot of emphasis is put on what is already done. So we have the areas, so we have the dialogues, so we have the NPCs….so? My main question would not be "Do you have the dialogues?" but rather, "what type of dialogues can I expect?" I think that more effort should be put in explaining to us what sets this game apart and what type of experience we can get with this game that we shall not get with other games. It is OK to show that a lot of work is done but that should be secondary and not the main selling point.

A new video is made and we can now see a face of a key team member but I don't think that the video is good enough. In fact, I am convinced that the video does not work at all. In summary, the video says: We are almost done but we need the money to make the graphics. The game gets you 100+ of game hours, has non-linear exploration, has many party members. But the question remains: Why should I back this project?
OK, I'll get 100 hours of gameplay in one playthrough. But how do I know if I will enjoy those 100 hours? Nowhere in the video is being said what type of game we will get and whether I am the intended target audience. An RPG is a very broad concept so it is crucial to specify which areas (i.e. story, dialogues, C&C, combat, exploration, NPC interaction, etc.) are being well developed. Describing these things in a lengthy description won't help at all if you lose people after the video.


Regardless of whether I am right or wrong, the fact remains that this project is not getting sufficient funding so something is indeed being done wrongly, especially considering the fact that other RPG projects do get their funding in little time. This project might be promising if it is indeed an intelligently written satirical parody. According to the current progress, it is likely that the required funding won't be pledged but I would certainly think that it would deserve a new Kickstart attempt but with a different strategy in presentation.
Last edited by Asdraguuhl; April 13th, 2012 at 23:01.
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April 13th, 2012, 19:11
Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Everyday I look at the Kickstarter video games page and there lots of dumb games which amassed much more money than TH. Come on RPG players, if we want new Brian Fargos, MCAs and new IPs to our favourite genre, we must encourage designers like this.
Personally I just don't believe in their project.

Dead State, Grimrock, Age of Decadence (although the camera has to improve from the demo!), Kenshi, Wasteland 2, The Banner Saga, Shadowrun Returns, Grim Dawn, Avernum… There are a lot of projects that show a lot of promise (and I've supported all of them bar Grim Dawn and Dead State (because of the lack of opportunity so far)), but I just don't see Tortured Hearts as being one of them. I hope they prove me wrong.
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April 13th, 2012, 21:30
Originally Posted by SubBassman View Post
It's never too late to pledge.

Also please join our facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/TorturedHeartsRPG

Thanks
Okay, I did both - your rewards program sorta sucks though. I hate getting in game stuff (unless its name in credits or picture in game) - just give me the swag.
But there's just no way you're gonna make it this time around. But if you guys finish the game - I'll be there.
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April 13th, 2012, 22:24
Originally Posted by Dajjer View Post
just give me the swag.

It's there. 10 dollars.
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April 13th, 2012, 22:27
Originally Posted by Ithilien View Post
I hope they prove me wrong.
We'd like to prove you wrong, but first we need the help of RPG players from all around the world.
Thanks anyway.
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April 13th, 2012, 22:31
Asdraguuhl

Maybe the term lighthearted is misleading. That's why we uploaded some conversation examples. Please check them out. Sometimes it becomes funnier, sometimes it becomes more serious. In general, you'll get a special game experience…
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April 13th, 2012, 23:35
Originally Posted by SubBassman View Post
Asdraguuhl

Maybe the term lighthearted is misleading. That's why we uploaded some conversation examples. Please check them out. Sometimes it becomes funnier, sometimes it becomes more serious. In general, you'll get a special game experience…
If your writing and dialogues are some of your games' strengths, then you should emphasize this from the very beginning. These examples that you are referring to should be optional and should never serve as the means to provide the reader with new insight regarding the game. A potential backer will most likely only check out these examples if he or she is already properly motivated to do so. If they lack the motivation then the harm is already done.

It is for this reason that I stress the importance of the video and the associated first impression and to ensure that people know exactly what the strengths are of the game from the very start.

Why do you think so many people ask you for examples of what is already done? Well, you state on numerous occasions that a lot of work is already done yet it was never clear what exactly we are supposed to be getting so people ask you to show them. You show some stuff like pictures with dialogues trees, examples of stories, and some technical footage of the graphics. Of course, people need to take time to process this information and then decide for themselves if it is in accordance to their expectations. In other words, it seems like you expect people to do a significant effort on their part. With all due respect, it is marketing at its worst.

I have a simple question. Where in the entire Kickstarter proposal do you state clearly what experiences your game offers that we as players will not find in other games?
Last edited by Asdraguuhl; April 13th, 2012 at 23:52.
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April 13th, 2012, 23:52
Asdraguuhl

The screenshot I believe is catchy, the video is not stellar indeed, but informative and the description and the updates give you enough information about the game. (including 2 other videos). The facts and the visual concepts are all there. Also, everybody finds different things important.
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April 14th, 2012, 00:32
Originally Posted by Asdraguuhl View Post
I have a simple question. Where in the entire Kickstarter proposal do you state clearly what experiences your game offers that we as players will not find in other games?
Oh come on. I like most of your points - they pretty much sum up why their Kickstarter campaign is not winning the day but this last point is a bit much.

I don't expect to get no new experiences from Legend of Grimrock but I was with that game from the beginning. The designers of Wastland 2 readily admit they are going for old school type of gaming with some updated stuff. And actually a lot of us fans of Might and Magic RPG hope they would just pick up where they left off even it it is 10 year old game tech.

All a new game has to promise for me is that I have fun. If T.H. would have been closer to their funding goal I would have probably kicked in more money. Because to me the game looks like it could be fun.
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April 14th, 2012, 00:40
Originally Posted by SubBassman View Post
The screenshot I believe is catchy,
But what purpose does it have if people lose interest after a first impression of your project and won't be bothered to check out the rest?

Originally Posted by SubBassman View Post
the video is not stellar indeed, but informative Ö..
It doesn't give the right and relevant information. It doesn't tell anything about the type of game we are getting.

Originally Posted by SubBassman View Post
and the description and the updates give you enough information about the game. (including 2 other videos). The facts and the visual concepts are all there. Also, everybody finds different things important.
But only those willing to spend time to check out everything will have some idea of what to expect.
I think it is a mistake to assume that people will get the information for the sole reason that it is there to be absorbed and processed. You must consider it to be your job to ensure that the most relevant information is immediately transmitted with as little effort as possible at the receivers end.


I think that this project may have potential and it is not often that we get a satirical parody on RPGs so we might get a unique experience and be surprised pleasantly. On the other hand, in all honesty, I truly believe that your tactics in selling this project are bad and ineffective. I may come across as very blunt and direct but I do so with good intentions as I would like to see a new Kickstarter attempt but with a different approach in case the current attempt fails, which seems likely.
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April 14th, 2012, 00:50
Asdraguuhl

Unfortunately, I can't describe the many aspects of this game in a few lines. In the remaining days, we'll hopefully add a new GUI mockup and try to involve as many people as we can.

This is our Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/TorturedHeartsRPG
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April 14th, 2012, 00:52
Originally Posted by Dajjer View Post
Oh come on. I like most of your points - they pretty much sum up why their Kickstarter campaign is not winning the day but this last point is a bit much.

I don't expect to get no new experiences from Legend of Grimrock but I was with that game from the beginning. The designers of Wastland 2 readily admit they are going for old school type of gaming with some updated stuff. And actually a lot of us fans of Might and Magic RPG hope they would just pick up where they left off even it it is 10 year old game tech.

All a new game has to promise for me is that I have fun. If T.H. would have been closer to their funding goal I would have probably kicked in more money. Because to me the game looks like it could be fun.
I think that this question is indeed very important. People do not sell existing games through Kickstarter. They ask for donations for games that do not yet exist.

So why should we take the risk if we could buy existing games that offer similar experiences? This question would have more relevance for those that wish to donate more than just the cost of a newly bought game. I bet that they would be more successful if they would state clearly why their game is different from the rest.

Legend of Grimrock is a good example. It offers an experience close to that of older classics like Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master and current modern games simply offer different experiences. So LoG offers a type of gameplay that will not be available anywhere else.
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April 14th, 2012, 00:56
Originally Posted by SubBassman View Post
Asdraguuhl

Unfortunately, I can't describe the many aspects of this game in a few lines. In the remaining days, we'll hopefully add a new GUI mockup and try to involve as many people as we can.

This is our Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/TorturedHeartsRPG
I do not expect you to change everything in the next days. My point is simply the following: Should this project fail and should you try again in the future, it would then be best if you would really rethink your strategy and possibly look carefully at how other successful RPG Kickstart projects have approached this and learn from it.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck.
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