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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Kickstarter - Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox Nenewed Campaign

Default Kickstarter - Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox Nenewed Campaign

June 2nd, 2012, 00:55
A conversation on our forums made me realise Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox had ditched IndieGoGo and set up an entirely new campaign on Kickstarter - one that has already been successful ($14k of $6k raised, 8 days to go).
The new pitch takes an entirely different tone and is worth re-visiting, particularly if you looked at their IndieGoGo campaign. Here's the feature list:
If you're just having a quick look, here are the key things that make this game what it is:
  • The game is an homage to classic RPGs such as Eye of the Beholder, Might & Magic, Dungeon Master, Stonekeep, etc
  • Movement is grid-based and turn-based
  • It is set in an infinite, persistent world (yes, persistent, too!)
  • The world is rich and full of dungeons, crypts, forests, cities, vast oceans and more
  • World is NOT randomly generated, but it IS infinite, so you can share what you find with friends
  • Items, weapons, quests, locations, maps, NPCs, even dialogue are generated by the game
  • Even some graphics such as weapon images are generated procedurally
  • The game is nearly finished, but we need some extra funds to add the final layer of polish to make the game as good as it can be
More information.
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June 2nd, 2012, 00:55
WOW, 10$ a sticker

this is more expensive than most, a bit weird..
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June 2nd, 2012, 01:45
Hmmm 20 gets you the game…what would you want for 10?

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June 2nd, 2012, 02:17
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
A conversation on our forums made me realise Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox had ditched IndieGoGo and set up an entirely new campaign on Kickstarter - one that has already been successful ($14k of $6k raised, 8 days to go).
The new pitch takes an entirely different tone and is worth re-visiting, particularly if you looked at their IndieGoGo campaign. Here's the feature list:
More information.

"World is NOT randomly generated, but it IS infinite, so you can share what you find with friends"

I wonder how they accomplished it if it is indeed infinite. Or do they mean that every players' world/ is the same. I don't think you can can manually craft something infinite.

The same terms come up with some Elder Scrolls games were it is said some elements are randomly generated. And what is meant that they are only randomly generated once (using an algorithm during development) and after that initial random generation the consumers all get the same result.

Then there is ranom generation of worlds like in the Civ games or Minecraft where each time a new game is created the algorithm is used to create the landmass from scratch giving each random result a unique world.

handcrafted
randomly generated in development
randomly generated each time a new game is started

I think they used the second one because as I stated I can't see how you can handcraft an infinite thing, you'd be doing it forever.

Not a knock on the game, but sometimes terms get used for things with incredibly different meanings and this just gave me a chance to think about it.
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June 2nd, 2012, 02:53
If you liked Eye of the Beholder or King's Field you need to check this game out.
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June 2nd, 2012, 03:02
Originally Posted by JuliusMagnus View Post
handcrafted
randomly generated in development
randomly generated each time a new game is started

I think they used the second one because as I stated I can't see how you can handcraft an infinite thing, you'd be doing it forever.
Yeah I think you're right. They probably mean "not random" only in the sense that every player will have the same infinite world to explore, each play-through. They might also prefer the term "procedural" instead of random, which can have different connotations.
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June 2nd, 2012, 03:48
@JuliusMagnus (and Myrkrel)

I am pretty sure that it's neither of the three options.

First thing to understand is, that there is no random for PCs. Everytime you need a random number you use a function which is generating a number for you with a formular.
Simple example: If I ask my computer for a random number at 12:00 the number would be 100*2=200. If I ask my computer at 12:01 for another random mumber it would be 101*2=202. Of course, the functions are much more complex.
However if you ask your pc for the random number at the exact same time, you get the exact random number in the case I showed. The "Time" would be the "seed" here.

And thats a very simplified version of how a procedural generated world works as far as I know.
So what you have are tons of mudules. And tons of numbers which tell your PC which modules to use. Example:
You are at the starting area. And look south. The first 50 "tiles" (it's a tile based movement system) are "generated". The generation uses a static formular. E.g. Every second tile is grass, every 10th tile is a bush. At tile 40 the program reaches a formular to generate a small town, which will take a hole block of 10x10 squares.
So what you see is "within" a static formular. The formular is pure math. The "seed" for variations is the same on every version of the game. And therefore the "random numbers" aren't really random but the same on every Game.
Meaning the modules you see are handcrafted, their placement in the world is determined by formulars. Everyone will have the same formulars and the same world. These formulars have the capacity of an infinite world. But this infinite world will be generated on your PC. Only the formular was set in development.
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June 2nd, 2012, 04:02
Originally Posted by CoarseDragon View Post
If you liked Eye of the Beholder or King's Field you need to check this game out.
I was a big fan of King's Field, but I don't see this game being very similar with grid-based and turn-based movement.
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June 2nd, 2012, 04:15
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I was a big fan of King's Field, but I don't see this game being very similar with grid-based and turn-based movement.
I think the "grid based and turn-based movement" is not defining a game at all.
It's merely a game mechanic. Like you can have a real time combat or a turn based combat. Or you can have an iso-perspective or an ego perspective.

That's already one of the "errors" most people made with Grimrock. Just because Grimrock has a grid based movement system, it does not mean it's like Eye of the Beholder at all. Grimrock is mainly a puzzle game with some arcade combat and RPG elements mixed in. Eye of the Beholder on the other Hand also has some story, stuff to explore and stronger RPG elements and if you take Lands of Lore as example it becomes even more clear.

Lands of Lore on the other hand switched from the tile based movement in LOL1 to normal movement in LOL2. But it stayed LOL (besides of the graphics which I hated in 2+ ).
Same goes for the german RPG "Das Schwarze Auge" (Realms of Arkania). First part had tile based movement. Second part had tile based "maps" but you could chose whether to move tile based or "normal" and in the third part the tile based system was completely gone.

But it's not the mechanic which defines a game alone. It's the sum of it.
And therefore all the rest, the feeling, atmosphere, combat, story and so on might be what you know from King's Field (which I can't exactly say, cause I just looked up the game on youtube as I didnt know it).
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June 2nd, 2012, 05:36
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
@JuliusMagnus (and Myrkrel)

I am pretty sure that it's neither of the three options.

First thing to understand is, that there is no random for PCs. Everytime you need a random number you use a function which is generating a number for you with a formular.
Simple example: If I ask my computer for a random number at 12:00 the number would be 100*2=200. If I ask my computer at 12:01 for another random mumber it would be 101*2=202. Of course, the functions are much more complex.
However if you ask your pc for the random number at the exact same time, you get the exact random number in the case I showed. The "Time" would be the "seed" here.

And thats a very simplified version of how a procedural generated world works as far as I know.
So what you have are tons of mudules. And tons of numbers which tell your PC which modules to use. Example:
You are at the starting area. And look south. The first 50 "tiles" (it's a tile based movement system) are "generated". The generation uses a static formular. E.g. Every second tile is grass, every 10th tile is a bush. At tile 40 the program reaches a formular to generate a small town, which will take a hole block of 10x10 squares.
So what you see is "within" a static formular. The formular is pure math. The "seed" for variations is the same on every version of the game. And therefore the "random numbers" aren't really random but the same on every Game.
Meaning the modules you see are handcrafted, their placement in the world is determined by formulars. Everyone will have the same formulars and the same world. These formulars have the capacity of an infinite world. But this infinite world will be generated on your PC. Only the formular was set in development.
Yeah I guess I was thinking of "random" only in the sense that the end result appears that way even though it is all based on math and formulas, as you describe. I'm somewhat familiar with procedural concepts (on a novice programming level) - and that seems like what you described. So I suppose the most accurate term for what Malevolence is doing is "procedural".

I'm aware that there is no truly random number generation possible from a computer but they can get close enough to fool the player.
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June 2nd, 2012, 05:57
I think it was pretty cool his latest update towards a team complaining about the amount they asked for(being to low to fund a whole game). Pretty cool.

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June 2nd, 2012, 07:10
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
I think it was pretty cool his latest update towards a team complaining about the amount they asked for(being to low to fund a whole game). Pretty cool.
The response from Malevolence was pretty good - it didn't make any passive aggressive remarks in-kind or call them out by name. That other team's (who shall remain nameless) post which sparked it came across as pretty damn unprofessional though.

They lead into what sounded like a series of passive aggressive stabs at other more successful projects with:

Generally I wouldn't comment on other Kickstarter projects or other games that are being developed
Following that by then expressing doubts and skepticism about several other more successful and some still ongoing other projects reeked of a lack of tact and class. It sounded like a politician saying "Generally I wouldn't advocate or express racial prejudice, but let me tell you what I think about the blacks." Saying you don't usually do something you know is inappropriate doesn't somehow serve to excuse it. It makes it more clearly unsealable because you're saying you know its not right but you're going to do it anyways.


If backers or forum users or the press point to other projects in comparison and all you can manage is a list of "that looks good, but *insert expression of doubt or other negative attribution" then you're doing it wrong. What you do is you say "that game looks great; it's a different vision than what we have but it's an exciting project." Then you back it yourself and make an encouraging comment in their comment section. That'll get you more support than a passive-agressive post-mortem shot at other projects.
Last edited by jhwisner; June 2nd, 2012 at 07:35.
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June 2nd, 2012, 10:31
A bit more on Random Number Generators (RNG):
Technically, most if not all the RNGs implemented for computers are pseudo-RNGs.
That means that with every different seed number you get a different random sequence of number (up to around 2*10^18 if I remember correctly). This sequence is truly random. However, the actual sequence of the numbers is fixed for one seed number. So if you call the random function a second time with the same seed number, you will get the same random sequence. And the sequence will repeat itself after the top limit, but there are ways to expand that.
(For more info see: Numerical recipes in C/Fortran/etc.)

Anyways, this way it is possible to generate the same randomness on different computers, if they decouple the random seed numbers from the computer clock as that's how it was usually done in low-level coding.
Just like Kordanor said.
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June 2nd, 2012, 10:31
I'm not backing a project whose developer advertises it by saying "it's turn-based like Dungeon Master". This is completely ridiculous, this is like a writer saying that his book is a serious drama about love in Victorian times, just like Pratchett's "The Colour of Magic".

Basic incompetence.
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June 2nd, 2012, 11:31
Originally Posted by Elwro View Post
I'm not backing a project whose developer advertises it by saying "it's turn-based like Dungeon Master". This is completely ridiculous, this is like a writer saying that his book is a serious drama about love in Victorian times, just like Pratchett's "The Colour of Magic".

Basic incompetence.
nah, cloning in games industry is not the same as plagiarism in literature. people who finished a good game want something that would remind them of the same experience, maybe with a new twist. nothing wrong with that.

to be honest, never played Dungeon Master though, so their gimmick went above my head. oh well.
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June 2nd, 2012, 12:02
I'm not talking about plagiarism. Their game cannot be "turn-based like Dungeon Master", because Dungeon Master wasn't turn-based, and it's one of the basic facts anyone developing a dungeon crawling game should know.
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June 2nd, 2012, 13:27
Originally Posted by Elwro View Post
I'm not talking about plagiarism. Their game cannot be "turn-based like Dungeon Master", because Dungeon Master wasn't turn-based, and it's one of the basic facts anyone developing a dungeon crawling game should know.
Yeah that is a fail…

Daniel.
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June 2nd, 2012, 13:54
Originally Posted by Elwro View Post
I'm not talking about plagiarism. Their game cannot be "turn-based like Dungeon Master", because Dungeon Master wasn't turn-based, and it's one of the basic facts anyone developing a dungeon crawling game should know.
I think they just threw a bunch of names just to pick different people's interest (even if those games only had like 1 thing in common). Like, almost all the games they mention in the list are party based, while this game is not, and to me that's a very defining element.
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June 2nd, 2012, 14:24
If they just said "it's Dungeon Master all over again with all the best features of Eye of the Beholder and a touch of Lands of Lore", it'd be cool. It's just when the dev explicitly states it will be TURN BASED LIKE DUNGEON MASTER a red light comes on in my head: the guy obviously either does not know what 'turn based' means (but uses the term nonetheless) or has not actually played Dungeon Master. Both options are embarrassing for a dungeon crawler dev.
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June 2nd, 2012, 15:00
Isn't DM still sort of turn based though? I know it is not like JA or X-COM which some might consider being true turn based.
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