Forge of Legends: March Development Update
I have dual purposes in mind with this update. First I'd like to share some highlights of the development progress made so far this year, and then I'd like to air some thoughts that have been on my mind as a designer / developer of the kind of game Forge of Legends is.
The game continues to make good progress. I have reached a stage in its development where I can start to see how the final game system will look, and can begin to count all the myriad features yet to be completed. For a long time, this was hard to estimate because there was just too much to track it all. Now, I am starting to see which pieces need to be completed before I can enter Beta testing. And, wow, it is a lot! But that's a digression...
My focus so far in 2013 has been twofold: items and abilities. In addition to the basic functions of weapons and armor, an item in Forge of Legends can bestow various magical effects on its wearer, as well as grant abilities (depending on the item). For example, a "ring of protection" or a "wand of summon monster." It was therefore natural that I work on the item and ability features at the same time.
I am happy to report that the majority of the equipment system is now complete, as well as much of the mechanics of "abilities" (more on that later) and "effects."
In December's update, I stated a goal of working towards creating something playable, if not yet complete. To that end, I began the work on items and equipment by implementing the guild vault. In addition to player character inventory, the guild as a whole has its own inventory system -- in the form of the guild vault. It can store items, and begins with certain equipment in place depending on various game conditions. It can also be upgraded with more slots as your guild buys upgrades for the guild hall. Here's an early screen shot of the new guild vault screen.
Returning to the subject of abilities and effects -- an effect, for instance, could be "enhanced speed" or "on fire" whereas an ability is basically the means of producing effects. So, a wand of ice block has the ability to create ice block effects on a dungeon tile.
To demonstrate, here is a video showing just that: watch as this test character uses a wand to create a block of ice in the dungeon. The ice block grants a temporary tactical advantage by obstructing movement through an area, and can be used multiple times to create ice walls.
Another benefit of fleshing out abilities is that it paves the way for me to complete the magic and spellcasting system. I will tackle that for the next update, most likely.
Now, as promised, I have some thoughts on the design and development process. I have been struck more than once that I really have bitten off a lot with Forge of Legends. While it's true that I have completed a few games here and there in the past, I have never taken on a project with the intention of packaging it for sale. Until now.
This game's scope is really quite ambitious. And I intend to finish it without dropping any of its key features. But that means a lot of work before I can get that "I'm an indie game developer with a finished game" badge, and at times I consider the list of work items that remains to be done and wonder, "what have I gotten myself into?" One lesson I have learned from this is that my NEXT project is going to be smaller in scope!
I think a common affliction of game designers is that they all have a Big List of Game Ideas floating around. This is certainly true for me. From time to time I consider the list and want to pounce on the next cool idea, but can't. I know I need to finish Forge of Legends first!
Something else I've been considering is the proliferation of "old school" RPGs. The Coyote recently blogged about this, if I am not mistaken. When I began Forge of Legends some years ago, I was convinced that the old school RPG niche was vast and under-served. Sadly, as a one-man team, it has taken me years of development, and now I see that the RPG market is... crowded? This is something that is now frequently on my mind. I wonder what members of the RPG-gamer community would have to say about this? Am I now in a bad position because my game has missed the window of opportunity?
Lest I risk sounding negative, let me be clear: Forge of Legends will be completed. I'm making the game I always wanted to play, as I think is often the case with one-man game developers. Additionally, I really want to see the project through, if for no other reason than to get a project finished. I expect to learn so much from getting this first title out that my NEXT project will be all the better for the lessons learned.
And finally, price. I've given quite a bit of thought about price. Although Forge of Legends will encompass literally years of work, it will be my first title. And, as I note above, the market for this kind of game seems awfully saturated. So, should I join the "race to the bottom" on price? Should I price it at less than the cost of a good burger? I'm hoping to hear thoughts on that one from anyone with comments to make!
Information aboutForge of Legends
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· Publisher: Unknown