InSomnia Community Q&A
Earlier this week I was contacted by Dan from PR Hound who asked if we were interested in a new interview with Studio Mono about their new RPG game InSomnia.
I accepted the offer and so here we are with the responses a week later. Thank you to all the RPGWatch members who sent in their questions to go along with mine.
Now here is a short recap of the game for those that still haven't heard of the game.
InSomnia is a real-time tactical co-op RPG being developed by Studio MONO, an independent development house whose team members are motivated by the shared goal of creating a complex, multi-layered RPG featuring genuinely unique game mechanics within a carefully constructed and coherent universe.
Set in a dystopian universe with retro-futuristic, diesel-punk styling, the world of InSomnia is one in which the visible realm is a veil behind which are hidden many layers of reality that very few can hope to comprehend.
The developers have also released a new demo for everyone to try. I highly recommend you do just to see if the game interests you enough to help fund it.
Please read the accompanying text before downloading
This is a technical demo, a work in progress :) Most animations, sound effects, key bindings, even the character's 3D model will be greatly improved in the final build. Please remember that this is a tech-demo, and people really should not expect much from it. 95% of what you see represented in the tech demo will be remade several times before final release. Also, you should expect a few bugs and maybe even crashes - we still need to do a lot of work on optimization.
Now on to the Q&A and please remember the developer is not a native English speaker.
RPGWatch:Thank you for agreeing to the interview. Can you give a short description of your game company Studio Mono?
Studio MONO: I’m Anatoliy Guyduk and I’m the lead developer here at Studio MONO. We’re a team from Russia, USA, Malaysia, Poland, Lithuania, Netherlands and Japan, all united by the singular vision of wanting to create the RPG of our dreams! You play as humanity's last bastion of hope, on a colossal spaceship, a character awakens from cryogenic sleep.
RPGWatch: I'm happy to see a developer trying something different so can you share a few details about the games setting for our readers?
Studio MONO: Today we’ll cover more about the styles and designs of InSomnia RPG and the process of its development. We are dedicating a lot of time on making a really unique look & feel within InSomnia RPG. Our RPG is based in a complicated setting, consisting of many different stylistics and inspirations, from Retro-futurism to Noir, dieselpunk, Atom Punk and Tesla Punk dark monumental Art Deco elements.
A lot of prototypes were taken from various documentaries of the First and second World Wars. So, we spent a lot of time gathering prototypes making moodboards, we created a lot of hand sketches, we tried multiple experiments with styling to get what we want to where we are now, and there is still a lot to be done.
RPGWatch: Where did you guys get the idea, or inspiration for the game ?
Studio MONO: This is quite a complicated question, it is the work of many people, each give their own inspirations, so there are multiple prototypes and inspirations InSomnia is developed on. We have a lot of inspirations in literature (Stanislav Lem, Arkadiy & Boris Strygatskiy and many others), cinematography ( Tarkovskiy, Terry Giliam, Jim Jarmush & many others) we are fans of Planscape Torment & the classic Fallout series if we are talking about the video games. But it is just a small part our inspirations resources.
RPGWatch: How long will the games campaign be, and will it have multiple playthroughs? Any estimate is fine since the game is still in development.
Studio MONO: Main story line 15-25 hours the same is side quest, and a lot of generated missions and events that should increase the whole game play, it is our main goal, if we get a chance we will make the gameplay time even more. About mutlipla palthguoght, it s on of our main goals, you will not be able to receive all the content during first play through. Event there will be different main Quest goals, so there will be a moment you will need to chose what is your main goal, saving humanity on the station? or to get the answers on what is happening 400 years that lead the humanity on branch of total distinction ETC. Or you chose your main goal to lead on of the fraction to total control of the station.
RPGWatch: Now a question for our community can you name your top CRPGs?
Studio MONO: I'll just name my favorite RPGs =) Fallout 1-2, Planescape torment, First Divine Divinity and Nox; but video games are not our only inspirations=)
RPGWatch: Can you share why you decided to use Kickstarter for your game?
Studio MONO: Don't know exactly why, it seems to us very clear, so we make a concept and if people like they support us and we receive understanding that our project is needed and we could go on, it could be indieGoGo or other services,just we decide to make it on KS
RPGWatch: Is the original funding goal of $70,000 enough to fund the game? If not do you guys have other sources of funding?
Studio MONO: Sadly no, we have invested our own money in the project already, and plan to invest more, it is a sort of psychological summ, if we get it we will go on, it will mean that there is a community that is interest in the project. We make this game first off all for gamers so we need to be sure that the community like our concept, if it is we’ll continue to make the game of our dreams.
RPGWatch: Will there be an Alpha, or Beta version of the game to test? I know all the other kickstarters usually use Early Access.
Studio MONO: Yes of course, we plan to make multiple testes of different scenarios, Single Players - Co-op ETC to gather feedback from community and to correct and alter the development process.
RPGWatch: So what about DRM? Will you guys be offering a DRM-free version?
Studio MONO: We will have a DRM free version, as well as a Steam version of the game. Right now, we don't know how we will distribute DRM FREE version, by ourself or with the help of some other services, but for there WILL be a DRM free version to choose.
RPGWatch: Can you guarantee a complete game, and the money earned won't be wasted? I'm not implying you guys wont just asking because of other kickstarters.
Studio MONO: Nice question. No I can't =) But lets see on this from another angle. $70.000k raised and we already invested more than $90.000 over 2 years of development, as well as all our free time that we could waste on pleasure. Every free $ and minute that we can we invest on this project, we plan to invest additional 90-120k of our own money - some developers even risk losing their homes (And we have families you see, very patient families =)) After this KS all the developers will leave their main workplaces where they earn money for their families and this are really stable vocations. So we are intent on making this project into the RPG of our dreams and our backers’ dream by communicating with the community throughout the development process. We can't guarantee that it will be the best game ever, it would be deceitful for any developer to guarantee such things, but now we can say that we will do everything that is possible for this to happen. We understand that it’s going to be an extremely hard 18-20 months of work.
RPGWatch:. If funding fails for the kickstarter do you have a backup plan?
Studio MONO: Hopefully it will not, and no we have no backup plan.
RPGWatch:. I enjoy getting am inside look at Kickstarters form the developers point of view. Can you share anything you have learned so far?
Studio MONO: Right now it wouldn’t be completely correct information. Yes we get tons of experience and understanding how KS works, but first we need to finish KS to complete all the circles of KS campaign, then we need to analyse all feedback and understand what actions were good what were wrong what was helpful and what actions simple just give nothing. After this, I will be ready to write an article or give an interview to help indie developers with KS but not now.
Now we have questions asked by the community. If you missed your chance sorry as I had the thread open for a couple of days. So lets continue shall we?
Morrandir asked the following questions on our forums.
Types of NPC interaction?
I 'm not sure I understand what this question about.
Yes, InSomnia will have “joinable” NPCs very similar to the NPCs in Fallout. The combat
system will be RTWP (real-time with pause) to make things more manageable as well. There will be a number of available companions; the actual number will depend on your charisma and leadership stats. While you won’t control them directly, you will be able to issue general orders such as Attack, Support, and Take Cover.
If your relationship with companions deepens/improves, the companions will begin to trust you—which will open up more advanced and complex orders and give you more flexibility when issuing orders. Eventually, you’ll be able to choose how to equip each companion—and use your relationship level and charisma to override their particular equipment preferences.
Classical dialogue system we inspired by Fallout 1-2 series amd Planescape torment, BTW there will be now a free chat between co-op players the will be special dialogue between the and answer variations, we are working at this system it looks very interesting =) But will see how community reacts on it during beta test.
Yes we plan to make a game world reactivity on what player is doing, interactions with environment, annihilation of whole factions and consequences of what you do.
Right now we have Charisma stat/Leadership characteristic and improvement tree of social perks.
Save System (free vs. checkpoints)?
Good Question, right now we are working on hybrid system, sometimes there will be a free saving system, but there will be such parts of the game where only checkpoints will be available to keep sometime players in tension, there will be no combat savings. And there will be hartdcore option when you start the game only with 2 saves.
HiddenX was curious about the following, and here is what he asked the developer.
Why are you not going for turn-based combat?
It was a hard decision, we all are fans of old school turn based RPGs but, we need a gamy dynamic that will not be divided in turn based combat and real time exploration, we will have a tactical pause Yes but we decide to make a real time combat system, it will be much slower than in action RPGs there will time for tactics and event contemplation
How big is the sandbox/generated quests to normal story/predefined quests
The will be not very big 40 minutes - 1.2 hour, the main task is to make them maximum different from each other, & sometimes there will be a “keys” that lead to more complex side quests.
And for last Farflame has a bunch of questions he is curious about.
Do you plan some quests that deal with the fact that you are inside huge ship/space station?
Of course, this will be on of the main quest lines.
What if life support or energy system will have malfunction?
Things will go bad =) You will appear at the station at the moment when a sort of catastrophe happens in the living sector damaging the system of life support, so you will need to deal with this somehow. Several factions will try to use this incident against their foes to gain the full control of the station.
What about hull integrity?
The arc is a megalithic colossal construction, with its own eco system inside, so there will be no such a problem, there are more inside the station , the main danger are human nature more than any other catastrophe
What if the light will switch off and whole board(s) will fall into darkness? I think its an opportunity for nice quests and it will also help immersion because interiors on screenshots looks more like underground shelter.
Note - despite all the struggles for survival there could be someone (hero?) who is more reasonable and aware of simple fact - if the ship is damaged and wont reach the destination all people on board will probably die.
Yes of course there will be such a danger, and you in the event will have minimal much time on deciding if you want to be such a hero.
The game will start on Earth pre-exodus, am I right? In next chapter you will wake up from cryo. But? does it mean that you will uncover all secrets about pre-exodus in the first part of the game? I hope the story wont be as simple and straightforward as that.
No the story will start on the station 400 after exodus, you will wake from cryo but you are not someone from the past. Cryo is just a system that allows the URB inhabitants to live longer; the inhabitants work for 5 years - live support for all the station systems and other people in stasis and then sleep on 20-25 years. You wake after this time and support station systems again. So you are not a man from the past, just most USB inhabitants sleep in cryo 80%\20% so you just have a sort of reboot every 20-30 years. And how you will make a travel in time is a secret, I can't reveal it right now.
Sci-fi vs Retro - Do you plan to use some distinct sci-fi race (or entity) or other strong sci-fi element outside of retro-futuristic post-war culture (mutants dont count)? I think that the overarching story (ship going to paradise planet) is good opportunity for that to make even more distinct world (like 2/3 retro post-war, 1/3 sci-fi).
Right now we don't think about adding some alien race, we have a lot to work with human nature problems inside the ARC =)
What non-combat skills should we expect?
Chemistry, Survival, Mechanics, Electricity, Medicine right now we are working on this skills. Each will have different specialisations inside for example medicine can be specialise in combat Anatomy, or first Aid, Or surgery
Do you use basic attributes like Strength, Dexterity, Constitution? to calculate HP and other things (stamina?)?
Yes we have basic stats that are chosen from the beginning: Strength, Dexterity, Intellect, Perception,Luck, Charisma, endurance.
Do you plan some kind of morale system for AI companions? For example - if morale is at low levels (or your hero has low charisma) they may refuse to attack if they will think its too risky (like frontal attack on turret). On the other hand if you attack first, they may be more inclined to follow you.
Yes i already answered on this question - If your relationship with companions deepens/improves, the companions will begin to trust you—which will open up more advanced and complex orders and give you more flexibility when issuing orders
The game is ambitious. I would advice to focus on singleplayer first and add co-op later. What do you think about that?
Co-op is absolutely optional of course we will focus in main storyline and singleplayer.
You mentioned mini-games nad puzzles in game. Should we expect item using, moving objects etc. like in adventures? The ambitious game grows even more ambitious with that.
Yes, we have a real physics, the system is not very complicated the more problem s to make this puzzles interesting =)
Well that's all for today I hope you found the Q&A session informative, and it helps you back the kickstarter. So once again lets give a big thank you to Dan, Studio Mono, and the members who asked their questions.