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Default Tortured Hearts - Kickstarter Campaign

March 24th, 2012, 22:51
Zoltan Gonda contacted us about their Kickstarter campaign for Tortured Hearts: Or, How I Saved the Universe. Again. , a humorous indie RPG they are currently developing. The project is party-based and uses a 3D cartoon style - currently they are taking feedback on whether to make combat RT or turn-based. Here's a snip from their Kickstarter page and you can also check out the official site.
Tortured Hearts: Or, How I Saved the Universe. Again. (TM)
is an epicly epic, light-hearted RPG, dedicated to the proposition that most RPGs take themselves far too seriously. Since almost every imaginable plot scenario and character has already been used and overused to the point that cliches are unavoidable, TH instead revels in pointing out that the life of adventurers is one endless heroic cliche, some sort of existential trap created by the gods of RPG worlds. In other word, it has everything every other RPG game ever had, and introspective humor too. […]
The Gameplay
Tortured Heartsô is a typical old-school RPG, the kind that other nice people are trying to revive as well. There are six playable races: human, elf, half orc, halfling, dwarf, and gnome.The PC appearance can be modified as to head and gear. Races have different starting statistics as in most RPG. Character skills (e.g. communication) and abilities (e.g. strength) can be developed freely. There are no predetermined classes with built-in limitations, only trends which you can follow or not. Besides skills and abilities, there are sidelines, which are crafting skills that can earn gold and other rewards. You donít have to be a crafter to get what you need. Generally speaking, the game world is rich and generous. You donít have to play nice all the time although you will probably do better if you arenít playing the jerk role. There are often ways to solve problems that donít involve killing something.You can access all companion inventories. You can also train them individually and use their skills and abilities to make up for your own limits. They can help you automatically or you can tell them to bug off, you want to do it yourself. Combat is party based and real time, with tactical choices in the process: BUT, if we get a lot of feedback requesting turn-based combat, we can do that instead. Combat uses a party controller widget.
More information.
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March 24th, 2012, 22:51
Interesting. Zoltan Gonda is the author of the NWN modules Tortured Hearts 1 and 2. Has anyone played them?
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March 24th, 2012, 23:28
Correct. No, I haven't.

I think they've jumped into this a little quickly before building their community and support sufficiently.

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March 24th, 2012, 23:54
well if they make a video with the deisgner speaking a little, maybe I'll buy it. We need to know more about who is pulling the strings here. Even the greatest idea can fail if the execution is poor.

and this is not "the greatest idea" it's just a cute one.
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March 25th, 2012, 03:47
I'll agree with Dhruin on this that they jumped the gun somewhat. At the minimum, they should have floated the idea a little more widely first to the gaming sites if possible to build momentum.

I never played the either of the Tortured Hearts Mods for NWN so dont know if they are any good. Seemed to have decent reviews but still some criticism on the download site.

They have an awful lot of content supposedly done but I'm still not quite sure what this will be in the end. Need some screenshots or something if they have that much done. What I think helps these kickstarter projects is a large initial group donating which motivates those on the edges to donate as it looks like it might actually happen. If you only have 15 backers after the first day it doesn't look as good to potential backers. Anyway they still have a month until before it expires.
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March 25th, 2012, 04:15
$300,000 sounds like a rather lofty goal as well. I suspect they will have to rethink their strategy and possibly relaunch at some point in the future when they are better prepared.
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March 25th, 2012, 04:48
Not every Kickstarter will be successful. Publicity and known talent will get you more.

"Beware the potato for he is easily angered."- Couchpotato
Last edited by Couchpotato; March 25th, 2012 at 06:48.
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March 25th, 2012, 05:02
Hi there

I'm Zoltan, one of the creators. Thank you for your attention here on this site.

With the help of my partner Lenore, we created the world, wrote the conversations, scripted the story, the quests. It's practically done, but we can't release the game because it's not in a releasable format.

By our plan, we'd like to convert the stuff so that we can use it in Unity 3D. Also, we'll have to create the scenery and characters, animations and everything that makes it a playable and enjoyable computer RPG. (see tech demo on kickstarter for ref)

This is where we are trapped and need RPG players' help from all around the world.
Everybody on the team has many years of experience, we just don't have the money to go on.

300 k may sound a lot, but creating the content needs experts and we'll have to pay them for 18 months + office + taxes + software etc. In the light of the sheer amount of content, it's not that much.

I think TH1 and particularly TH2 proves that I can pull this off, storywise. (they are not humorous anyway, unlike this stand-alone game)

TH2 won a gold medal in 2007 and it's still going strong. (2nd place)
http://nwvault.ign.com/fms/TopRated.php?content=modules

Also, I've worked for 10 years in the industry as designer.

I've learned many things from these mods and worked them into the Kickstarter project and this is definitely not a generic RPG of our days…

Hoping that we'll be seeing you playing our game
thank you guys for your interest
Zoltan

PS: if you have questions, go ahead
Last edited by SubBassman; March 25th, 2012 at 06:31.
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March 25th, 2012, 07:57
Tortured Hearts 1 & 2 are top NWN-mods. (extreme challenging and interesting!)

***** INSTANT WARNING (from the authors):

You should not play Tortured Hearts. if you

-can't respect others' hard work!!!!

and you

-are a casual player
-are a powergamer
-are a ruleplayer
-don't have much time
-don't like complex stories
-are not used to non-linearity
-have a lower end machine
-don't like the hardcore approach
-you are impatient

Over 100 hours playing time for each mod.
2 thumbs up - recommended
Thank you for these masterpieces, SubBassman!

Are you still involved in the C64 game Newcomer ? I hope this one will be released this year.

PS:
Welcome to the RPGWatch boards, SubBassman.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
Last edited by HiddenX; March 25th, 2012 at 08:12.
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March 25th, 2012, 08:34
Thank you, mate.

And yes, I made the first version of NC too. Maybe one day we can port it to PC which is my final goal. As for the realease date: I'm not working on the Ultimate version, so it doesn't depend on me whatsoever.
But…
I've heard through the nerd-vine that… ahem… no, no, no… I can't promise anything, hehe.

Let's focus on TH which, despite its length, is less unforgiving. Non-linearity is still there though.
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March 25th, 2012, 09:24
hi

i share the feeling others have here , that we have little to work with . i would like to have more info as far as an example of gameplay or dialogue. that gives me more of an idea of what kind of product will this be.

i also took a quick look and found that most voters on your site prefer turn based combat (80 something percent) , so i think it is a good time to address how that is going to look and play out.

i'm afraid i will not check out your NWN mods , i do not have nearly enough time for either. speaking of , i have to admit that if this game will be as long i'm not sure it will be for me either.

i'll keep my eye open for this one , good luck , with a bit more info i might back it.
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March 25th, 2012, 10:05
Thanks for taking the time to provide some comments, subBassman.

I'd definitely like to see more details about pretty much everything - dialogue, non-linearity, the world structure, character development and so on.

This doesn't reflect on your project but I've already backed FTL (space game), Wasteland 2 and The Banner Saga in the last month. So, that's $200 down and I won't see anything for months/years. No problem - I'm happy with that. Still, I'm expecting a possible Obsidian Kickstarter, Dead State and I might back Grim Dawn. I know another two indies that haven't gone public with their plans, yet.

Bottom line, any new projects really need to impress for my rapidly-dwindling-dollar.

Humorous / cartoon settings aren't really my thing, so I'd need to feel enough interest in the other areas. I'd also consider the combat system critical, and you haven't actually committed to a mechanic, yet.

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March 25th, 2012, 10:37
video interview with some gameplay from the mods, or what you see fit would be suitable. Being a designer, you should have no problems pulling this off.
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March 25th, 2012, 11:20
Hi Zoltan

Props for Tortured Hearts.

But I got to say that without some level of gameplay demo it will be hard to get money.
Many games have great ideas and concepts but fail at execution. Or are simply not particular gamers cup of tea.


Also. If you dont manage to recruit money right now. Know that many kickstarters failed , just to return at later point and succeed
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March 25th, 2012, 11:40
Originally Posted by SubBassman View Post
Thank you, mate.

And yes, I made the first version of NC too. Maybe one day we can port it to PC which is my final goal. As for the realease date: I'm not working on the Ultimate version, so it doesn't depend on me whatsoever.
But…
I've heard through the nerd-vine that… ahem… no, no, no… I can't promise anything, hehe.

Let's focus on TH which, despite its length, is less unforgiving. Non-linearity is still there though.
If only you told your past experiences, main goals in the Kickstarter page in more detail, especially video is very important IMHO in the Kickstarter page. One of the developers (it can be you) can depict the project, why you need the money, for example present some of the dialogues from NWN modes to show what you have done in the past.

Of course there're other factors but if you look at the video game projects like Wasteland 2, Double Fine Adventure, FTL, The Banner Saga some guy sits in front of a camera and try to tell what they're planning to do.

Presentation is always important. Also the money goal is too steep. Because of that, you have to make much too strong presentation.

Also Dhruin is right, too many Kickstarter projects flood the site at once, and we have limited money at a given time. Anyway, you seem to me honest and I'm going to pledge 10 $ for the project. I wish to pledge more, but my current economy doesn't allow it.

"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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March 25th, 2012, 11:55
For us <we have no credit card crowd> a PayPal option is a good thing.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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March 25th, 2012, 15:47
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
For us <we have no credit card crowd> a PayPal option is a good thing.

I just donated to Wasteland trough PayPal (same problem with CC)

But it was only trough Wasteland site. And only because initial donation limit was reached.
Kickstarter can not accept PayPal and probably will not because they have to bill immediately , and can not return money if kickstart fails.
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March 25th, 2012, 18:17
Well the description for those modules has the right tone for me. It sounds like they decided to go in a different direction with this project so not sure if the previous games applies other than having same designer/programmer. Light-hearted can be good but really is difficult to pull off. We've had Dungeons of Dredmor and Freyed Knights recently for that and they were good though not to my taste I guess.
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March 25th, 2012, 20:11
Hi there RPGers

I'd like to answer some of your questions.

Budget: Regarding our request, this is the lowest possible amount we can reasonably expect to do the job

Live footage: We're working on our video skills.

Convo samples: I'm not sure it's the best way to demonstrate this if we take stuff out of the context, the situation, the scenery. Also, not every single line could be as appealing for a particular person as the other.
I'm thinking though…

Pledges: we still have plenty of time at hand, more than one month, and if we can't get this funded, we'll relaunch it later.

Combat System: currently it's designed as real-time. You control your party as a whole, using a widget. You can select a primary target, set general distance and aggressivity mode. There are archetype items that determine what you are actually doing in combat. (weapon/fight,orb/casting,instrument/musical talent etc). There's psi power too if you want to go that way…
Also, each member has a special power that can be utilized every now
and then to gain advantage or give you better protection. (group effect) For example one may be able to cause the enemy to be confused momentarily or everybody fights with higher skills for a short time). You can stop the combat anytime to access your inventory if need be. This way, you can easily modify your tactics.
If it becomes turn-based though (we are waiting for more votes), we'll surely keep the key features (group powers for instance), plus you'll have action points based on your stats.

Non-linearity:
1. You can roam in the world freely. If you can't do something, leave that place and do something else until you can.
2. There are only 3 choke points meaning there are some criteria that must be met before you can carry on.
3. You can go back to previous areas. Sometimes you are even required to go back. New characters continually appear, old characters have new lines, new actions become possible.

Many thanks for all the pledges, we truly appreciate them.
Zoli
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March 25th, 2012, 20:46
If 300,000.00 is the lowest you can expect to do the job you want to do, then (although I greatly admire and applaud your drive/determination), I think you need to scale back with your first effort OR provide more than a tech demo on your Kickstarter page. You're simply not going to get folks to pony up that much money for something that feels so nebulous and is from an untested company/brand.

Brian Fargo, while he has been involved in developing some duds recently, HAS been involved in some great projects in the past; similarly, Tim Schaefer is a known brand and responsible for some truly great adventure games.

To get us to take a chance, you have to give us more to get behind. Banner Saga, a project that I gladly donated to, looks like a project with a clear vision and is from established ex-Bioware people. If you can post something along those lines, you might convince some of us to help you out.
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