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Age of Decadence - All News

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Tuesday - November 11, 2014
Saturday - November 08, 2014
Tuesday - October 21, 2014
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Box Art

Tuesday - November 11, 2014

Age of Decadence - Video Preview @ IndieRPGs

by Couchpotato, 04:53

Craig Stern of IndieRPGs posted a new video preview of Age of Decadence.

So: The Age of Decadence! This highly anticipated indie wRPG has been in development for approximately one zillion (ten) years. With release finally looming, Vince Weller of Iron Tower Studio was good enough to provide me with a beta copy of The Age of Decadence to check out, and so I went ahead and made a video out of it for you to see.

Saturday - November 08, 2014

Age of Decadence - Release Date & New Update

by Couchpotato, 05:52

Age of Decadence developer Vince posted news about the games release date.

The towns take a lot of work due to the insane amount of scripting (and Ganezzar has a lot more due to all the accumulated choices - are you Antidas' praetor or Gaelius' ? As Antidas' praetor, did you ruin House Aurelian or not? If you ruined it, then there is no siege and Meru's free to do whatever he wants. Did you destroy Maadoran, by any chance? Etc.), so once it's done and released, we'll be almost there.

The endgame locations won't take more than 3 months, so if we release Ganezzar in December, we can wrap up the game in March 2015.

He also posted the next monthly game update for Age of Decadence.

Our October update is a bit late but as you all know, better late than never is a principle we live by. The Steam build will be updated tonight - a bunch of tweaks and fixes, but no new content as Ganezzar remains our top and only priority at the moment.

So what’s taking so long, you ask?

A lot of scripting, which often takes time to figure out. It’s kind of like a puzzle. When you have tightly interwoven questlines, you often don’t have much room because what you can do in the remaining ‘quest space’ is limited by the events established by other questlines.

Tuesday - October 21, 2014

Age of Decadence - Old Videos & Screenshots

by Couchpotato, 05:14

A mod on the Age of Decadence forum posted a bunch of old videos, and screenshots of the game from the last few years. I have no reason why, but they may interest you.

Some AoD videos and screenshots from the good old days. The game hasn't been released, and I'm already feeling so nostalgic about it. The Inn fight was special, indeed.

Thursday - September 25, 2014

Age of Decadence - September Update

by Couchpotato, 02:25

Vince posted a new update on the Steam forums with news about more improvements, changes, and fixes for Age of Decadence. Here are some the details.

First and foremost, we're still working on Ganezzar. It's coming along well but at a slower pace than we've anticipated. Too much work (as we didn't cut any corners and didn't shy away from any options or consequences), not enough hours in a day. We'll post some screens and concept art on our forums in a few days, so you're more than welcome to visit our forums and participate in design discussions.

As for this month's update, it fixes most issues in "new Teron", adds balance changes, expands some dialogues (for example, you can discuss the situation with Antidas when you return to Teron), and numerous tweaks and changes, adding flanking, mobility bonus, a new crafting techique, and god knows what else.

Saturday - August 23, 2014

Age of Decadence - August Update

by Couchpotato, 07:21

Vince posted a new update for Age of Decadence on the games forum.

Welcome to update # 8. It’s a big update that adds all kinds of things but very little new content, unfortunately.

1. You can return to Teron now. There isn’t much to do there yet as the unfinished quests have been resolved without you (thanks for nothing) and new content will be triggered by the events in Ganezzar, which hasn’t been released yet.

So much like Caer-Tor, the new Teron maps (there are two actually, one where the Imperial Guards took over, the other where House Daratan reigns supreme and the town is swarmed with mercenaries) are nothing but a foundation on which new content will be build.

Still, you can walk around, chat with people, admire Antidas’ grave, stop in front of crucified Miltiades, meet a mercenary captain who will replace Mercato if you had him killed, and report any bugs and consistency issues (people who should be dead being alive and kicking, etc).

2. We split the Teron map into 3 to improve performance. The old map included the mine and the raiders’ camp, which wasn’t the best way to handle it. Now Teron, the mine, and the camp are truly separate locations, which - in theory - can cause all kinds of issues but hopefully won’t.

We tweaked the mine location a bit, replacing the old tower with something equally Roman but more combat-friendly, plus made it easier to explore it outside of text adventure. Overall, there is less ‘teleporting’ now.

3. We tweaked Alchemy as per very helpful players’ suggestions

  • Added more reagents to Maadoran and Teron alchemists' inventories
  • Increased poison damage by 1 point for all levels.
  • Bombs and liquid fire no longer miss.
  • Bombs critical chance (knockdown effect) is now 50 - (victim's constitution - 6) x 15.
  • Alchemy level 9: Black Powder Bomb (Frag) has vsDR 5.
  • Alchemy level 10: Berserk potion homeostasis gives 3 DR and takes 5 HP at the end of the effect.
  • Alchemy level 10: Neurostimulant (Eagle Eye) gives 25 THC bonus.


4.Difficulty

As many of you noticed the difficulty takes a nosedive in Maadoran. One of the reason for that is that the metal bonuses greatly increase your offensive and defensive capabilities. Each metal adds 2 points. Whereas in Teron adding 2 points is a good bonus (and iron weapons are harder to find), it's relatively easy to buy high quality gear in Maadoran and increase your damage output and/or DR by 5-7 points, which is too much.

So, the no-name crafted items are removed from trader inventories (if you want them, invest in Crafting). Some of them have been replaced by much more expensive unique items. Coincidentally, each metal now adds only 1 point, so getting your hands on some blue steel will increase your damage/DR by 3 instead of 6.

We also tweaked some stats of unique items to make sure they are consistent with the overall balance.

5. A number of bug fixes and minor improvements.

Friday - August 08, 2014

Age of Decadence - Video Combat Guide

by Couchpotato, 07:32
VDweller sent me a new link about a combat video for his game Age of Decadence.


One of the fans made this very cool annotated video explaining the combat system in every possible detail. I'd appreciate if you newspost it as it's helpful both for beginners who are still struggling and people who want to learn more about the game.

Friday - July 25, 2014

Age of Decadence - July Development Update

by Myrthos, 15:35

Vince provides us with a new update for Age of Decadence, talking about the recent steam update.

We just released an update on Steam so might as well post a forum update at the same time.

We're still working Ganezzar, which is coming along nicely. I'd say we're half done now and the hardest part is behind us now. At this stage we have all the questlines and they flow, interweave, and arrive to logical conclusions quite nicely. They are more focused and interconnected and as a result there is a larger number of options and double-crossing opportunities. 

Thus this update is also light on content as Ganezzar is a priority for us as we want to release it as soon as humanly possible.

So, what’s in this update?

  • 13 new Achievements
  • A new conversation with Lorenza
  • If you had a pickpocket encounter in Teron and decided to take Livia to Cado (thieves only option, obviously) instead of killing her or letting her go, you can meet her in Maadoran now and get a glimpse of the role she's going to play in Act 4 (endgame).
  • You asked for a good dagger and we listened. If you manage to save a trader upon arrival to Maadoran, he'll reward you with a nice custom jambia.
  • A new merchant in the Slums who can sell you an axe called Black Dow.
  • Added text explaining what happened if you leave the Monastery area without doing anything and return later when you're good and ready.
  • Added a text-based option to sneak into the vaults as well as the dialogue options depending on how you handled the raiders.
  • Fixed an older dialogue that wasn't triggered correctly - after talking to Old Azra and learning that she spent her youth in Maadoran, you can ask the street 'guide' about her.
  • Fixed a number of minor bugs including the critical strike issue in Aemolas' village

As always, thank you for your continuous support and patronage. If there is something you wish to see in the next update, be it specific items (that won't require new animations), different character types, or certain characters' viewpoints or past, let us know and we'll do our best to add them.

Thanks Oscar for letting us know.

Age of Decadence - Win the Game

by Myrthos, 14:26

Our resident forum dweller Pladio bought The Age of Decadence early access game only a few weeks ago and find it's an amazing game, which interweaves stories in a world full of lore and deception.

To help support the Iron Tower Studios team, Pladio decided to give away one game on Steam to one of our regulars here at RPGWatch by means of a small contest.

The rules are simple :

  1. Only users with 100 or more posts may participate.
  2. You need to answer all questions correctly in one post.
  3. You only have one chance to get it right. If you are posting twice, you are out. Editing your post is not allowed either, so ensure your post is final when you post.
  4. The first one who answers the questions correctly will win the game.
  5. The winner needs to 'friend' Pladio on Steam to receive the key as that is preferable to sending the key by mail
  6. Pladio is the judge and his decision is final.

All questions can be answered by people who have not played the game as the answers are easily found online.

So here are the questions:

  1. Ganezzar is ruled by which Noble House ?
  2. The remnants of the Imperial Army was rebuilt with what name ?
  3. In The Age Of Decadence May update. How many locations were released out of how many in total (according to the developer at the time of the update?

 

Wednesday - July 09, 2014

Age of Decadence - Another June Update

by Couchpotato, 09:45

Iron Tower Studio posted another June update on the forums for Age of Decadence.

AoD June Update

Another month is gone. Fortunately, we've hit our goals and even though I barely remember June, I see a truckload of different files and find the progress on all fronts extremely pleasing.

The town and the castle look great and the questlines are well thought through and have a good number of options and an even greater amount of double-crossing and backstabbing. If you want to play an opportunist who is betraying out of habit now, you won’t be disappointed.

As you know each town has a theme and a certain main event. Teron is a frontier town, lawless and dangerous. Very Deadwood-like. The event is a military takeover attempt. Maadoran is more “civilized”, Byzantine and more sophisticated. The event is a power struggle. Ganezzar is a religious town. You saw some preachers here and there, saw Meru’s creed slowly spreading, and now you’ll see where it all comes from and why. The event is the siege.

If you’re playing as an Imperial Guard, you’ll participate in the events that trigger the siege. All the other characters will arrive to Ganezzar (to the Aurelian camp outside the walls) when the siege is already in progress. While your faction may have certain preconceived notions about which side you should be on, you won’t have to do what you’re told.

Anyway, we’re very excited about it and it feels great to see the town becoming more and more "real" and all the questlines falling into place and forming a coherent story, which changes based on the angle you’re looking at it from.  We still have a month of work ahead of us before we can star testing the 'base', but it’s definitely going well.

Tuesday - July 01, 2014

Age of Decadence - June Development Update

by Couchpotato, 03:16

Iron Tower Studio posted the June update on the Steam Forums. The main point of the update is about new characters, and various other improvements.

June update

Right now our focus is on Ganezzar, Al-Akia, and the Hangar (aka Chapter 3, which should be released by the end of the summer). It’s a big chunk of content and we’re working 12-14 hours a day to deliver a quality chapter with a unique theme, atmosphere, and quests.

That’s why this month’s update is a bit light on content as we simply didn’t have time to add new locations or quests. So, what’s in this update?

  • 6 new characters to talk to

    We added a healer and an annalist to Caer-Tor. The healer can tell you more about the camp, the annalist can tell you about the history of the Imperial Guards and the demise of four Noble Houses.

    We added a youth and a guard to the Monastery. The youth can tell you about the lower, sealed chambers and what this place was before the war. The guard can offer his perspective on your visit and what it means for the locals (hint: nothing good).

    We also added an assassin and a farmer in Maadoran. The farmer can talk about, well, farming and dealing with the Commercium, the assassin is an intro character when you first come to the city and approach the guild.
  • Now you’re able to leave Caer-Tor after completing Paullus’ quest and explore other locations or return to Maadoran.
  • A number of bug fixes

    • AG4: Added an option to attack the beggar to avoid a progress lock if you don’t have a dagger, or money, or decent bodycount rep, or any points in Trading skill.
    • TG3: Fixed a Charisma check at the gate.
    • Maadoran: Changed Calvus’ text to reflect the actual amount of gold received.
    • Monastery: completing the quest by talking to the healer gives you skill points.
    • Monastery: Fighting your way through gives you skill points in addition to the satisfaction of the job well done.
    • Saross: Finding the hidden chamber showers with your skill points.
    • Arch: Now you get skill points for both having a pleasant conversation AND killing Esbenus and his merry bunch of slavers.
    • Inferiae: Escaping the tower with your life – yeah, you guessed it – gives you skill points.
  • Engine optimization to improve performance and loading time
  • Improved the collision system and building/floor system
  • The “journal crash” should be fixed (at least we fixed what we suspect was the issue there), if there are any other issues, they will be easier to pinpoint due to changes in the crash submission system.

As always, thank you for your continuous support and patronage.

 

Wednesday - June 11, 2014

Age of Decadence - Game Update

by Couchpotato, 06:18

Well here is a new update posted on the forums for Age of Decadence. They call it the May update but the title was already taken in the last Steam Update.

So, we released 16 locations out of 22 so far. Our plan is to work on Ganezzar, Al-Akia, and the Hangar in June (visuals & writing) and July (scripting), start the beta test at the end of July, test for 4 weeks and release. It seems realistic. Testing Maadoran took 8 weeks, but we had 7 locations there and substantial system and combat changes.

The remaining 3 locations (aka the Endgame content) will be released at the end of September. At that point the content of the game will be done and all that will be left is to tweak and polish, which shouldn't take longer than a month. Either way by that time the game will be fully playable from start to finish and available to the Early Access crowd whose support has been invaluable.

Make sure to view the link for all the pictures I can't fit on the post.

Thursday - May 29, 2014

Age of Decadence - May Update Released

by Couchpotato, 02:58

Iron Tower Studios has notified me they have released the next update for Age of Decadence. Here is the full changelog from Steam.

May update - new location and improvements

New Location: Caer-Tor

It’s the Imperial Guards’ headquarters and thus available only to the Guards after dealing with the Ordu. This isn’t a ‘single stop’ location and it will remain active (new quests and solutions to other quests) until the end of the game, so you’ll have reasons to revisit it later.

At this stage, you’re still viewed with suspicion (on account of being associated with a rogue commander), so step 1 is to prove yourself once again. Should you succeed, you’ll become an agent of destruction who can be instantly disavowed and whose screw-ups or even involvement cab be blamed on said rogue commander.

Characters of interest:

Dux Paullus who rules supreme, Legatus Raenas who’s a bit too young but extremely loyal and not very bright, Legatus Carbo whom you’ve already met, three Centurions, and a Quartermaster with an exceptionally sunny outlook.

Improvements and changes:

  • You can now properly explore the chamber at the bottom of the Abyss (before it was done via the dialogue window).
  • Added Snipe attack for the scoped crossbow – a high AP attack that removes the THC distance penalty (but adds a penalty for close combat attacks) and increases Critical Strike chance.
  • Increased the effect of the regeneration potion to 4 HP per turn.
  • Reduced Khopesh and Shamshir counter-attack bonus to 10.
  • Increased the effect of hammers’ knockdown attack to 2 turns.

Fixes:

  • Abyss: Fixed the SP loop on leaving without touching anything.
  • Aemolas village: Fixed a critical strike issue when you kill a raider while sneaking.
  • Aemolas village: Fixed the 'ghost NPC' issue when you kill the raiders via the sniping text adventure.
  • Aemolas village: Fixed 'getting the gold twice' issue if you sneak in first and then kill everyone.
  • Inferiae: Fixed the portal issue when you sneak inside, activate the portal and try to escape through it.
  • Inferiae: Fixed 'combat not starting' bug when you sneak inside, activate the portal and then attack the demon.
  • Zamedi: Fixed an ending slide error when you ran away from the demon and end the game.
  • Zamedi: Fixed 'escaping the tower' SP loop.
  • Mountain Pass: Ramirus no longer sells infinite ghost hand gloves.
  • Mountain Pass: Fixed 'questioning Ramirus' issue.
  • Monastery: Now the villagers will go hostile if attacked after leaving the location and coming back.
  • Misc: Fixed wrong tag showing merchant instead of grifter.
  • Misc: Fixed wrong rank showing Legionary instead of Mind Shield.
  • Weapons: Fixed an issue with hammers not getting the passive bonus increase.
  • Weapons: Fixed an issue with swords and bows not getting the CS passive bonus.
  • Weapons: Fixed the stats of the scoped crossbows.


As always, we’re very grateful to the Steam community for their support and willingness to try new things. We couldn't have made it this far without you, guys.

Tuesday - May 13, 2014

Age of Decadence - April Update

by Couchpotato, 01:59

Iron Tower Studio's has posted the April Update for Age of Decadence.

 

AoD April update

We spent the first 10 days of April finishing up the last update and then spent the next 4 weeks:

-   Fixing bugs (mostly loops and ‘ghost’ npcs)
-   Working on improving the new locations (more stories, people to talk to, alternative solutions)
-   Working on Caer-Tor (to be released in 2 weeks or so)
-   Working on the Hangar (the south shall rise again)
-   Working on Ganezzar (it’s about time)

Overall, it’s a very chaotic but manageable schedule. Now that 15 locations (75% of the game) are out, we can finally see that light at the end of the tunnel.  After 10 years of working on nothing but faith and enthusiasm, it’s a great feeling.

So, things to look forward to in the next 2 months:

-   Improved Monastery (we released the skeleton version as we were running out of time and didn’t want to delay the update, now we’ll add some meat to the bones)
-   Caer-Tor to continue the IG storyline, meet new people, prove your worth once again, and be able to explore other locations before being sent to Ganezzar
-   The Hangar (requires the jellyfish artefact, having that mantra from Antidas’ palace won’t hurt either)
-   Two creatures from the wasteland
-   New weapons and armor

Since there is no reason to show you screens from the upcoming updates, we’ll show you a conversation with Lord Meru.  Keep in mind that he won’t even see you unless you have high reputation with his House (or unless you’re with the Imperial Guards, in which case it’s a strictly professional relationship). If it's a more personal relationship, you have 3 main options: normal, double-crossed Feng, the chosen one.

Saturday - May 10, 2014

Age of Decadence - Preview @ Pixelrelated

by Couchpotato, 08:25

Pixel Related takes a look at the Early Access version of Age of Decadence.

Still under construction but available through Steam’s Early Access, The Age of Decadence strives to be the sort of RPG that changes the way you play the genre. Similar to the way that Dark Souls wowed gamers years ago by bringing difficult combat back into fashion, The Age of Decadence is making huge strides in creating a world so brutal that it’s impossible to be the knight in shining armor. It gives you something you’ve never experienced before, in a way that forces you to wake up, pay attention and adapt to the game world around you. I tried to resist the force of that change. But I’m glad I saved my game first, because as predicted, I died. Now, I encourage you to take on that same worthy and exhilarating challenge.

Tuesday - April 29, 2014

Age of Decadence - Preview @ RPS

by Couchpotato, 05:48

Rock, Paper, Shotgun takes a look at the Early Access version/game demo of Age of Decadence, and decided to share their opinion on the game.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, isometric turn-based RPG combat (and attempting to avoid it) in The Age of Decadence.

Imagine walking out of a store and discovering that not only have you been pickpocketed while shopping, but the expensive item you bought is actually a worthless trinket. When you complain to a city guard, he suspects you’re the real thief, and when a friendly citizen offers to help, you soon find yourself in an alley surrounded by armed thugs. You’ve been ripped off, robbed, accused, mislead, and stabbed to death, all in a single afternoon. Welcome to The Age of Decadence! A quote from the tutorial seems fitting: “Remember to save, you are going to die soon.”

Feeble Phil is my name, and dying in combat is my game! I’ve just been killed in turn-based combat a dozen times by the same single foe… and this is just the tutorial. That’s right, the NPC who exists solely to show me the ropes has instead repeatedly strangled me with them. The Age of Decadence is getting its message across: engage in swordplay only as a last resort. You’re not some near-invincible warrior and you won’t be slashing your way through scores of enemies. Combat is dangerous. Avoid it. You’re mortal. Act like it.

I’m convinced! I give Feeble Phil a few skill points in dodge (so if someone does take a swing at him, they’ll hopefully miss), sprinkle a couple in block (for the blows he can’t dodge), and the rest I funnel directly into his mouth, beefing up his talents at etiquette, streetwise, and persuasion. If politeness fails to placate someone, I’ll try being hip. If hipness fails, I’ll try to convince them not to kill me. If none of that works, well, at least I’ll have a slim chance at not being impaled.

I’m going to be vague, here, as I don’t want to spoil any storylines or surprises. In other words, I want you to suffer as I have. Let’s just say, Feeble Phil arrives in town, meets a few people, and accepts the tasks he’s given. That’s what we’ve been trained to do in RPGs, right? Meet people, accept their quests, solve their problems, complete their tasks, and get rewarded? Right.

Saturday - April 12, 2014

Age of Decadence - March Update

by Couchpotato, 04:52

Iron Tower Studio's has posted the March Update for Age of Decadence with some new screenshots, and talks about five new locations now available to explore.

Welcome to update #4. It’s a ‘major’ update for us (and a big chunk of content, bringing the number of available locations to 15 out of 22) and we’d like to introduce it properly to make sure that the players won’t miss the new locations (which is easy to do since the game is non-linear). Without further ado:

Aemolas’ village

This location is available only if you:

  • Helped a group of refugees get into Teron.
  • Talked to Aemolas after and were deemed trustworthy enough (positive Word of Honor reputation) to be asked to retrieve his stash.

The village is full of raiders, but there are quite a few options there, including a rare opportunity to put your scoped crossbow to good use or have some double- and triple-crossing fun.

The Library of Saross

Available only if you talked to Abukar the Mad and learned about his trip to the Library. It’s an important location because:

  • You finally get to use that sphere you found at the beginning of the game (IF you found it)
  • You learn more information, provided you can get into the hidden chamber and translate the message
  • You can unlock an optional and very creepy (but extremely rewarding) ending. Naturally, you don’t get that ending right away, but you unlock the path that can lead you to it. If you have the balls.
  • Unlock the Arch and Inferiae locations.

The Arch

There are two ways to unlock it: the above-mention Library or faithful service to Lord Meru. Since the latter isn’t available yet, look for the clues at the library. So, what makes this location special and why should you care?

  • You should. You really, really should. It’s that place where you wave Kansas good-bye.
  • You will finally be able to use both the eye and the glove. How exciting.
  • You will meet your old pal Esbenus. Unless you killed him, in which case you’ll miss out on a beautiful relationship.
  • You will make new friends. Powerful friends. From the other side.
  • You can unlock Inferiae in case you failed to do so at the Library.

Inferiae

It's a desert village sitting on top of a place of power. Points of interest:

  • You’ll meet the very first character who’s actually been inside the temple you’re seeking (thus confirming that it does exist, among other things).
  • Play your cards right and you’ll be thrown into the ‘underworld’, which unlocks a bumpy ride that will lead you all the way to the top (of one of Maadoran’s minarets). The Eye thing will come in handy there.
  • You can unlock another location that will lead you to the temple. For obvious reasons, this location isn’t included in this update.
  • You can learn how to use one of those fancy semi-sphere consoles.
  • You can learn more lore stuff and connect more dots.

The Monastery

You can unlock this location by becoming a repeat customer of the healer (heavy wounds only). Impressed by your badassery (or at least your ability to survive the most grievous of injuries), the healer will ask you to fetch an ancient elixir that will improve your self-esteem and cellular regeneration, whatever that is.
Points of interest:

  • Raiders
  • Ancient mysteries and sacred liquids
  • Chambers deep inside a mountain
  • Huge doors that can’t be opened by mortal hands
  • Moral choices (must have morals in the first place to qualify), otherwise just join the raiders and have yourself a lovely day, full of plundering and pillaging.

The next month’s update will add another location - Caer-Tor, the Imperial Guards’ headquarters, which will introduce Dux Paullus and unlock the path to yet another ending where the Guards becomes Templars – the guardians of the temple.

The remaining 6 end-game locations will be released when the game is out. We’re aiming to start the final beta test in June and expect it to run for 2-3 months. We’ll continue to update and improve the Early Access build on a monthly basis, adding more content (characters, dialogues, items, etc) and general improvements.

Wednesday - March 05, 2014

Age of Decadence - Third Update Available

by Myrthos, 12:38

Iron Studios announce the availability of the third update for Age of Decadence with the following changes:

Places to go, People to see, Things to get:

  • Changed the area around the temple in the Slums to make it look like a busy little bazaar. We added a new, rather colorful character who greets you when you enter this square and introduces the area.
  • Added another character and his followers near the tower of Zamedi. He will provide a fresh perspective on the tower and share valuable insights with you.
  • Added a new artefact (a mechanical eye). You can acquire it and, in the best traditions of the Planescape Torment, swap it for one of your own. The eye doesn’t shoot lasers (would be totally cool if you did though), but it can see into other planes, which makes it a rather useful thing to have ... in your eye socket.
  • The hammer crowd complained that they don’t have a cool hammer, so we gave them … *drumroll* … the Perforator! It’s a handy spiked hammer with a unique icon.
  • 3 journal pages (not the entire journal yet, but it’s a good start). Now in addition to Quests and Techniques, you get Lore (to collect what you learned from different people in one place), Items for all the Artefacts you managed to get your hands on, and Characters to keep track of people you double- and triple-crossed. The Characters page has only the portrait and the intro text for each character; the effect of your actions will be added in the upcoming updates. Overall, you get 17 Lore entries, 29 character entries, and 15 Artefact entries. There will be a lot more in the full game, obviously.
  • Added several rare alchemy components in the tower’s library.

Quest Improvements:

  • The trial-by-combat is now more customer-oriented. You will be offered a crappy weapon of your choice and even a shield!
  • Now you can fight Hamza in MG5 if you decide to go to the meeting alone. Aso, you can convince Strabos to tell you what he knows without having to fight Hamza in IG4. You can thank Brandon and his 'smart soldier' and 'tough trader' characters for this suggestion.
  • Now you can handle TG5 peacefully by paying the assassins crew a visit and discussing the situation with them, which means that now you can play the entire thieves questline without having to fight.
  • Now you can get the key to the tower of Zamedi as a Daratan praetor and thief (not only as a Gaelius’ faithful servant), which should make the game more open. We’ll extend this option to the assassins in the upcoming updates.

General Improvements:

  • The scroll in Feng's house increases Lore to level 2. If you have 2 or more, you get 5 non-combat skill points instead.
  • The scroll in Antidas’ palace increases Etiquette to level 2. If you have 2 or more, you get 5 non-combat skill points instead.
  • The workbench in the blacksmith house increases Crafting to level 2. If you have 2 or more, you get 5 non-combat points.
  • Coltan either teaches you some Alchemy increasing it to level 2 or gives you a bunch of reagents plus a bottle of liquid fire, if you skill is 2 or more.
  • In Belios house in Teron you get a couple of quicksilver roots instead of a flat Alchemy increase.
  • The amount of money you can give to Reggie has been reduced to reflect the adjusted economy.
  • Added money and reputation rewards for the Arena fights and rebalanced SP gains.
  • Infiltrating the palace now awards some SP.
  • Fixed miscellaneous issues, dialogue loops, camera angles, icons, and such.

 

Sunday - February 02, 2014

Age of Decadence - January Update

by Couchpotato, 01:28

Iron Tower Studio's has posted the January Update for Age of Decadence.

Update #2

"Our second update just went live and we’d like to thank you for your support and feedback, which helps us improve and refine the game.

While we have our own milestones, we’ll continue to release monthly updates based on the feedback we receive. For example, the initial feedback was:

- need a tutorial to learn the system without having to restart the game
- need more info on the character screen to understand the system better need - more traders in Maadoran and better inventories
- more alchemical ingredients

So, that's what we added in the first update. The second main request is more content for Maadoran. Namely, more quests (especially non-combat quests for loremasters, thieves, and grifters) and more characters to talk to in general. In fact, more characters to talk to (and more worldbuilding) is request #1.

Thursday - January 09, 2014

Age of Decadence - Lets Play Videos

by Couchpotato, 22:25

A fan of Age of Decadence that goes by the name of Brandon AoD has made two videos
explaining how to play "hybrid" characters.

From the message sent to me it seems  many people claim it's impossible. Here is the first video and the second one can be found here.

Thank you VDweller for the links.Wink

Monday - January 06, 2014

Age of Decadence - December Update

by Couchpotato, 06:00

Iron Tower Studio's has posted a new development update for Age of Decadence.

AoD December update 

Our first 45 days on Steam. It’s an important milestone because it’s our first release on a major portal, outside the safety of dedicated RPG sites. I wasn’t sure how well the game would be received by a wider audience and whether or not they would enjoy it or reject it outright.

So far the reception’s been very and surprisingly positive, so we spent less time in the trenches dealing with complaints and more time processing feedback and planning updates. We’re aiming to update the game every month, which means that we have to work on the rest of the game while simultaneously improving the early access areas and making everything better and then much better.

Overall, the feedback can be summed up as “More!” which is encouraging.  Namely, more quests (especially non-combat quests for loremasters, thieves, and grifters) and more characters to talk to in general. In fact, more characters to talk to (and more worldbuilding) is request #1.

We agree, of course, that Maadoran should have a lot more content and be a busy city with history and secrets and we’ll do our best to deliver, one update at a time

The January update will feature:

-   Achievements so that we can see how people play the game, what they do, and how far they get
-   A little adventure for loremasters, a storyteller at the local inn, and a caravan master.
-   Quest tweaks – now you can loot the Crimson Eye artefact from Gaelius’ body or get it from Serenas, if you manage to convince him that he shouldn’t fear magic. This will open the tower of Zamedi to assassins, thieves, and praetors.
-   The healing machine placeholder has finally been replaced with the real thing; our apologies for the inconvenience.
-   Training from Kemnebi and Erebus.
-   Bug fixes and performance improvements

And finally some trivia:

We sold 1,200 copies in 2 weeks (since the last update), which isn’t bad, considering all the Christmas and New Year sales – many thanks for the support.

7,194 people downloaded the demo and 549 people bought the game after – 7.6% conversion rate

Tuesday - December 31, 2013

Age of Decadence - Preview @ Softpedia

by Couchpotato, 05:26

Softpedia has a new preview of the Early Access version of Age of Decadence.

What matters is that all-in-all, all the important elements seem to be present in the alpha. The role-playing is very strong, with the checks pertaining to your skill distribution choices, and the branching paths that always open to you really make the game seem like a self-contained world rather than a track you have to follow.

Tuesday - December 24, 2013

Age of Decadence - R4 Preview @ GameBanshee

by Myrthos, 23:48

GameBanshee previewed The Age of Decadence in it's R4 version.

The other major change since I last played The Age of Decadence is that its character system has been overhauled substantially, though the attributes and skills themselves have stayed mostly the same. Rather than skills fitting into a 100-point scale, now they sit on a 10-point scale instead, and the cost of increasing them goes up as they raise in level, making it a pretty big investment to specialize. This is nice, in effect, because of the way skill checks have been changed. Many skill checks now actually rely on two skills used in combination rather than one, which encourages you to spread your points out a bit, but also makes characters a bit more versatile than they used to be.

Sunday - December 22, 2013

Age of Decadence - Updated Demo

by Couchpotato, 03:41

Iron Tower Studio's has a new forum post with links to a new updated demo for everyone to try. The post doesn't give any information on whats new.

AoD Public Demo Release 4.3 (Teron only):

Monday - December 16, 2013

Age of Decadence - November Update

by Couchpotato, 22:05

Iron Tower Studio's has posted the latest development update for Age of Decadence.

We finally released the first two chapters on Steam’s Early Access, which is a major milestone.  If you missed the news, the Early Access release gives you 10 locations, which represents about 60% of the game. Three more locations will be added after the New Year, and the remaining seven end-game locations will be released in the summer (we’re planning to start the final beta-test in April-May 2014).

So far, we sold 3,332 copies on Steam and 1,929 copies via our own site and GamersGate, generating $141,780. As always, we want to thank you for your support, patronage, and most importantly, for your faith in our ability to make a game worth playing.

To-date 6,107 people downloaded the demo on Steam; 417 bought the Early Access version after, i.e. 6.8% conversion rate, which, apparently, is pretty good (the industry standards are 1-5% for non-casual games), which means that we need to get the demo in front of more people.

The launch highlighted many issues and generated a lot of feedback, so we spent the last 4 weeks working on the first update. Due to some unforeseen problems, we won't be able to upload the new version to BMT until next week, but the update is out on Steam. We can provide the Steam keys if you want to try it out (In before "You sold out to Steam!!") Wink

Saturday - December 14, 2013

Age of Decadence - Preview @ Universal Gaming

by Couchpotato, 03:35

Universal Gaming previews the Early Access build of Age of Decadence.


Hello everybody, Shaun Meyers (Kyo Akiara) here to bring you our latest Early Access Previews article. This time I’m giving you a look at post-apocalyptic RPG based on the fall of the Roman Empire known as The Age of Decadence. Since this is only a preview and the game is still under active development much of the game is subject to change by the time of release and there are many features and areas not in the game. I won’t be going very in-depth due to this fact as well and I’ll save the full amount of details for when the game is released in the future.

Thursday - November 28, 2013

Age of Decadence - Early Access Trailer

by Couchpotato, 02:51

Iron Tower Studio's has released a new trailer for Age of Decadence.


Friday - November 15, 2013

Age of Decadence - Now on Early Access

by Couchpotato, 05:10

Steam announces that Age of Decadence is now available for Early Access.

Now Available on Steam Early Access - The Age of Decadence

The Age of Decadence is an isometric, turn-based, single-player role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world, inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. The game features a detailed skill-based character system, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees.

Traditionally, many fantasy RPGs are about killing things, clearing up dungeons, and being a hero. Now, there is nothing wrong with mindless fun and wish fulfillment, but we serve a different meal here. Quoting from one of the reviews:

“Well, if you want a hardcore, heavy metal roleplaying experience that challenges you, this is the ticket. Otherwise, take a pass. The game is vicious, both in its lack of morality and its merciless systems. If you want to be the hero of a story, run and don’t look back. If you want to be Attia of the Julii or be a power player, this is your RPG.”

The focus of the game is not on killing monsters, but rather on dealing with fellow humans and factions, trying to survive – easier said than done – and making a name for yourself. Naturally, to accommodate all that scheming, plotting, and backstabbing, we give the player plenty of choices, from multiple solutions to quests to different paths you can take through the game. You (and your actions) will determine who your friends and enemies are. There are no default good and bad guys.

Friday - November 08, 2013

Age of Decadence - October Development Update

by Couchpotato, 00:56

Iron Tower released a new development update for Age of Decadence with news the extended demo is now available for those who pre-ordered the game.

First thing first, the extended demo is available for download to those who have pre-ordered the game. Use the link that was emailed to you by BMT Micro (our payment processor) when you placed the order. Should you have any problems (misplaced the email, no longer have access to the email account you used when pre-ordered, etc), send me a PM and I’ll sort it out. If your password doesn’t work, please PM me (keep in mind that it's past midnight in Toronto and I won't be available for the next 5 hours because beauty sleep is very important to me) or email BMT Micro and they will be more than happy to help you.

Second, we worked day and night to bring you the demo in the best state possible, but it’s still in the beta state, which means:

-  You may run into minor issues; report them and they will be fixed asap
-  We’ll continue to work on the demo’s areas and improve the balance,       visuals, performance, and such. Stay tuned for updates.

Third, we’d like to thank our testers who did a great job testing the game for the last two months and were incredibly helpful. We couldn’t have done it without them.  We hope that you will enjoy the demo and share your impressions with us.

Sunday - October 27, 2013

Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPGNuke

by Couchpotato, 23:19

A Russian site called RPGNuke interviews Vince D. Weller about his indie RPG Age of Decadence, and was kind enough to offer an english version to read.

Almost every game’s storyline have been based on a Joseph Campbell’s «hero’s journey» concept — Becoming a Hero, a Hero’s fall, introduction of helpers (allies), returning of a Hero. What about the storyline of Age of Decadence? Is there any proper alternatives instead of Campbell’s scheme?

I believe that the Campbell’s concept applies only to heroic fantasy — can’t have a «hero’s journey» without a hero. Such fantasy does tend to be very formulaic and due to the excessive demand generated by 12 year olds is in steady supply.

As for AoD, our guiding principle was realism. So we started with small, local events — a disgruntled officer who wants to take over a local shithole of a town, a prospering trading guild that wants to stop him, the assassins caught in the middle, a local noble grasping at straws — and then followed their effects on other factions. Sort of like a snowball rolling down the hill, gaining speed and growing in size.

In your opinion, is it necessary to mix the major side quests (which could be made a stand-alone storyline by themselves) with some tiny ones (delivery services etc.) or every quest should be unique, well-made and complex?

Depends on the game. A game that tells a story should have unique, hand-crated quests with multiple solutions and at least some consequences.

Can you give us some more details about your «Generation Ship» RPG? If I do understand correctly, whole adventure is going to take its place at the spaceship’s closed rooms and halls. I think this is going to be the one hell of an intriguing story.

A long time ago I’ve read Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky and fell in love with the concept. If you or your readers aren’t familiar with it, imagine a huge colony ship slowly traveling to a distant system. The voyage will take hundreds of years and only the distant descendants of the original colonists, born and raised on the ship, will reach the destination. Sooner or later things go wrong and the ship descends into chaos and when the dust settles, a new society (or societies) emerges. They are no longer aware of the original purpose; they don’t care of the hardships and struggles of their forefathers. The ship is their world, the only world they’ve ever known.

While the physical setting is somewhat constrained, when it comes to different societies, there is so much to explore and experiment with. The potential for different conflicts is unlimited.

Such a game would be party-based, focused on exploration and dealing with different factions. We envision a huge ship with different decks, restricted area, abandoned and forgotten areas (so being able to find new passages, interact with the ship’s systems, deal with factions controlling different parts of the ship, brave the ship’s dangers, etc, will be of utmost importance), irradiated areas, etc. Plus mutants. Can’t have a generation ship game without mutants.

Monday - October 21, 2013

Age of Decadence - Interview @ Core-RPG.ru

by Couchpotato, 00:40

Gamebanshee has news of an interview for Age of Decadence from a Russian site called Core-RPG.ru. They even posted a translated version for eveyone to read.

"There are three towns (in total) in the game. That's where all the scheming, plotting, and back-stabbing take place. So, from this point of view, each town is roughly 33% of all that goodness. There are 20+ locations in the game. The + stands for minor stops that we don't count as locations. The first demo had 3: Teron, the raiders' camp, and the mine.

The second demo has 7: Maadoran, the Abyss, the tomb, the mountain pass, the Ordu camp, the tower of Zamedi, and another raiders' camp. So, that's 10, which is 50%. If you like exploring old places that should have stayed buried (similar to the tower and the Abyss), the endgame is where it's at."

We didn't plan to release anything else after the first proper demo (i.e. not the combat one), but it took us longer than we thought and we want to give something to those who have pre-ordered the game, as a way to thank them for their support, since many people have asked for some kind of 'beta participation' or 'early access'.

The upcoming release will be for those who have pre-ordered the game. Our main concern here is not to get more sales, but to thank those who have supported us and had faith in us. Giving them something to play is the priority here. We'd like to update the first demo as well, so most likely it will be released as well (at a later time). 'Most likely' and 'at later time' because thes

We are also interested in finding out what it would cost possible "Early Access" on Steam.

"$25, same as before. I'm not against discounts or selling for less, but we started taking pre-orders at $25 and have to stick with it for now. I don't want to be in a situation where people who supported us when we needed it the most end up paying the highest.

I feel that $25 is a fair price for what we're offering. If someone disagrees, he can always torrent it."

Tuesday - October 01, 2013

Age of Decadence - September Update

by Couchpotato, 04:48

With September almost over Iron Tower Studio's has posted a new development update for Age of Decadence. They even included a few new screenshots.

News from the front:

- The testing goes well and so far we’re on schedule for the mid-October release. Naturally, there’s still work to be done and issues to resolve, but all the major problems have been fixed. Still, we want to be sure, so if you want to lend to hand and test the upcoming release, please report to the nearest recruiting station.

- At the moment, we’re working on ‘Teron to Maadoran’ transition issues at the moment, fixing issues created by the switch to 1-10 system, and finishing up the pass and the tower.

- Oscar’s also tweaking the fight with the Ordu at the pass, adding various states and variables. Maybe you weakened the Ordu, maybe you just pissed them off and they came in great numbers, huffing and puffing. Maybe you managed to boost the defenses, skills, and equipment of the defenders. And finally, if you go for the Ordu’s leaders and manage to kill them first, their men will be demoralized and suffer combat penalties. Of course, fighting the leaders when they are surrounded by their men is a risky business – they pack quite a punch and are surrounded by their men. Shaping up like a fun fight.

- Nick's almost done with the system changes, Ivan's putting on finishing touches on the demon's animations, which underwent several rounds of revisions, Mazin continues making cool concepts and icons.

- I added two gangs to the Slums, another character to the pass, "expanded" a couple of characters, wrote faction and personal endings, and now I'm working on death descriptions to commemorate your failures.

Tuesday - September 03, 2013

Age of Decadence - August Update

by Couchpotato, 01:03

It has been a while since we had any news for Age of Decadence. Well the wait is over as Iron Tower has released a new developer update.

Finally...

Before we get to the impressions, let me explain the state of the game to you first. When we decided to tweak a few things and add a few attacks, we couldn't add them to the existing system and Nick had to rewrite it from scratch, vastly improving the code and the overall system (less stuff hardcoded, more stuff open to scripts to play with). So, the framework is solid, but there are a lot of minor issues due to the volume of work required to put everything back together and lack of time as Nick had to focus exclusively on the DS demo to deliver it in time for PAX.

Same goes for the scripting issues and characters still standing here and there when they shouldn't. All this stuff is easy to fix once you know where to look and will be fixed within a week or so. We could have delayed the testing by another 2 weeks, but I figured that we had enough to start and get the ball rolling.

Last but not the least are minor visual issues, but we should be able to fix them in 2-3 weeks.

I asked the testers not to sugarcoat anything (no reason to lie and pretend that the game is better than it is, since 800+ people will get their hands on it sooner rather than later). Keep in mind that the current focus is on combat issues, so the testers are given pre-set characters with high stats and a truckload of SP to ensure that they fight more and die less.

Tuesday - July 02, 2013

Age of Decadence - June Development Update

by Couchpotato, 01:44

Age of Decadence has posted another development update on the games forum.

We're going to start beta-testing (closed test) in July, which means that we spent June tweaking and balancing questlines and don't really have anything interesting to say. The next month update will have first impressions and such, but this one will have to be pretty boring, unless you really like reading updates.

The focus is on the options, choices, and paths now. There is a truckload of them. If you thought that Teron had a lot of options, you're going to be overwhelmed with what we have in store for you now. More characters, more quests, more options, more scheming, more reactivity, more opportunities to fuck things up. I rarely speak with excitement about my own work, but I'm very proud of how everything turned out and came together.

The Abyss evolved into a great area. It's very different from what you've seen so far. Most locations have fairly 'realistic' atmosphere - people squabbling, scheming, plotting, and murdering each other over nothing. Not a lot of fantasy there. Now, the game IS a fantasy RPG and in the Abyss you'll get the first taste of it.

I asked Scott to go over the Abyss doc and breathe his magic into the words. He seemed to like it: "I really like this one, especially the end.  It's a great idea, bringing together the history and the ultimate realization of a violent and amoral world.  You've created the anti-Chosen One."

Sunday - June 02, 2013

Age of Decadence - May Update

by Couchpotato, 00:12

The monthly update is out for Iron Tower Studio's The Age of Decadence. Check the update for more screenshots also.

Nothing exciting to report yet. We worked our asses off (12-14 hours a day avg) getting Maadoran and related areas (the mountain pass, the Ordu camp, Darius' tomb, the Abyss, Red Gracchus' raiders camp, and the tower of Zamedi), which is a LOT of content. We wanted to start testing earlier, but decided to take more time.

We started Teron's beta-test earlier than we should have and kept adding/tweaking things as the test went on. As a result the test was long and the testers started running out of steam at some point, which is understandable, of course. So, we want to make sure this test goes faster and smoother.

So, in the mean time, let's talk about R4. Upcoming changes:

1) Switch to 1-10 skill system as outlined here - link
2) Chargen changes as outlined here - link
3) Bonuses and penalties won't be applied to skills but to the derived stats - attack and defense

Attack Modifiers
-   Perception (Bonus and penalty)
-   Weapon THC (Bonus)
-   Shield and Helmet (Penalty)
-   Attack types (Bonus and penalty)
-   Nets (Penalty)
-   Neurostymulant (Bonus)
-   Berserk (Penalty)
-   Arm Injury (Penalty)

Defense Modifiers
-   Armor (Penalty - Dodge only)
-   Nets (Penalty)
-   Bolas (Penalty)
-   Consecutive Defenses (Penalty)
-   Leg Injury (Penalty - Dodge only)
-   Knockout (Penalty)
-   Mobility (Bonus or penalty - Dodge only)

Tuesday - May 21, 2013

Age of Decadence - Interview @ ePressDeck

by Myrthos, 18:19

An interview about Age of Decadence with Iron Tower's Vince D. Weller can be found at ePressDeck, which answers amongst others the question what a CRPG is.

EPressDesk: On your website your game, Age of Decadence, is described as a CRPG style game. Can you tell me a little bit about what that means and what sort of games you can compare it to?

Iron Tower: The way I see it, role-playing games are about using your character’s skills, abilities, and knowledge (as opposed to your own) and being able to make decisions fitting your character (as opposed to following a linear storyline with little or no input).

Basically, a true role-playing game is *your* adventure set within a flexible story arc that supports different decisions and offers different paths and outcomes. You decide what to do and how to do it, and your actions affect the story and alter your options, creating a different experience with each replay.

I don’t think I can compare it to anything because it’s sort of a ‘one of a kind’ game now. I’m not sure if it’s good – in fact, I suspect that it’s not – but what’s done is done. So, if you feel like playing something different tonight, download the demo (283 MB) and see for yourself.

Age of Decadence - Quick Look @ The Surly Gamer

by Myrthos, 18:13

The Surly Gamer has recorded his playing session of Age of Decadence based on its demo.

Saturday - April 27, 2013

Age of Decadence - April Update

by Couchpotato, 00:37

Iron Tower has a new monthly development update for you to read.

Memory leaks and loading:

We tried different things, including reviving Torque Memory Manager, but to no avail. We updated the engine to the latest version (March 2013), which comes with some bug fixes and neat features, but sadly does nothing about the memory problem.  

We used a 3rd party memory leak detector, which doesn’t show anything “leaking”. Torque eats a lot of resources by default and uses more every time you load a game, which is about 50MB per load. The base memory load-out is about 1.5GB, so ten reloads will push it to 2GB.

When Windows feels that it had enough, it refuses to throw more memory at  and it crushes ignobly.

Nick decided to attack the problem from a different angle and wrote some code to support level specific datablocks loading, which reduced the overall memory usage to 1GB on the biggest locations and reduced the loading times by 50 to 90%, depending on what we’re loading, which makes a hell of a difference. Coincidentally, it reduced the memory per load to 10MB instead of 50, which should help a lot.


Wait, what about the beta-test?


Planning to start beta-testing Maadoran, related locations, and system changes in early June.

Friday - April 12, 2013

Age of Decadence - Interview @ Core

by Myrthos, 23:34

Vince D. Weller is interviewed bypeople from the Russian RPG site Core on Age of Decadence. It is in russian, so I just provide the Google translate link here assuming for most your Russian is not that good.

m00n1ight: The idealist in me wants to believe that you did this game not for money, but for their personal reasons / principles, but the skeptic suggests that you're probably just misjudged his strength.

No one is going to do a role play hardcore step for the money. From the beginning we knew that we could not conquer the world. Companies developing * correct * role-playing games are either dead (Troika), or switched to the mainstream (Bethesda after Daggerfall was on the verge of bankruptcy, but was purchased by ZeniMax and is now making the most simple and available for all games).

The Age of Decadence - the fruit of passionate love, not a commercial product, addressed to the widest possible audience. This is not an attempt to make money, it is an attempt to open a small shop in the role-playing side of the road and do what you love to do.

Monday - March 25, 2013

Age of Decadence - March Development Update

by Myrthos, 11:56

Xarg let us know that the March development update for Age of Decadence is available. It provides information on distribution agreements with Steam, Gamers Gate, and Good Old Games. Furtermore it explains why they moved to the R4 release of their engine, the end game and several screenshots of an interaction with the prospector in the Library of Saross.

R4:

I know, I know. Is it really necessary? To be honest, I had doubts myself. We talked about it internally and it sounded pretty good, but it was very tempting to say ‘next game’ and move on. Well, the next game will be different and it is a shame to throw away all these changes, which are the logical evolution of the previous concepts and the next and final design step.

So, when Oscar put it all in a design doc and made some mock up screens, I didn’t even argue. It’s fucking beautiful.  It changes a lot of things – improves the overall design, changes things that didn’t work well or didn’t fit the overall design, brings more clarity, both design-wise and the way info is communicated to the player.

Quick example: The character creation.  It wasn’t very exciting, for lack of a better word. You think about your stats, which define the rest. Then you distribute the extra points, which don’t really change the overall picture, and you’re done.

Now, stats no longer define the starting skill values. Instead, they add SP to two different pools:  Combat and Non-Combat.  Strength, Dexterity and Constitution add to the combat pool, while Perception, Intelligence and Charisma add to the non-combat one.  The formula is (Stat-4)*5.

So, let’s say you want to make a tough, but dumb and ugly bastard. Str 10, Dex 8, Con 8, Per 6, Int 4, Cha 4. You get 70 skill points in the combat pool but only 20 points in the non-combat one. It’s a lot more fun to make characters now, that’s for sure.

Knockdown is no longer a passive trait of hammers, but a special attack available only to hammers, which fixes the main (and probably only) complaint about hammers – having enemies thrown back when you don’t need it.

Expect changes to special and aimed attacks, dodge, block, crafting, counter-attack, inventory access during combat, synergies, skills, info displayed, plus new attacks.

Friday - March 15, 2013

Age of Decadence - Interview @ Forbes

by Myrthos, 13:03

Vince has been interviewed by Forbes on Age of Decadence and went into some detail when answering these questions.

Age of Decadence is a turn-based RPG with real-time adventure and many text-based choices. Tell me about your design decisions for the game. What inspired the game? How does it compare to other RPGs?

Old games like Darklands, for example, used text-based choices quite liberally. They add a lot to the atmosphere and immersion (assuming one likes reading) by greatly increasing the number of possible actions at any given moment and enriching a game.

I remember playing Planescape: Torment, a classic Black Isle’s RPG – don’t forget to check Brian Fargo’s Kickstarter for Torment’s spiritual successor – and there was a moment early in the beginning, when you had to deal with giant skeletons, animated as guardians of the Mortuary.

You could simply fight them or you could study them, study the armor and spells on it, and then try to dispel the enchantments (which would cause the skeletons to collapse). You needed either very high Intelligence to figure it out or a dusty old tome you could consult for help. You can’t do such things without text-based options and detailed descriptions. I think I fell in love with the game at that very moment and Torment was certainly one of the inspirations – not the setting or story, but the way they used writing to enrich the game.

Another design aspect that’s worth mentioning is combat difficulty. It’s a hard game.

Combat difficulty is integrated into the setting. You can’t say that the world is harsh and unforgiving and then allow the player to kill everyone who looks at him or her funny. The game has to be hard, dying should be easy, and you should have reasons to pick your fights.

You aren’t a powerful hero who can defeat anyone and save the world and it is the difficulty that reinforces this notion. Make the game easier and we’re back to the powerful hero setup.

Friday - February 22, 2013

Age of Decadence - February Update

by Aries100, 21:59

Iron Tower Studio has published their February update for this game.  Here's the first part of this update:

Another month is almost over. Nick's working on performance-related issues and loading time, Oscar's playing with Maadoran, I'm doing Ganezzar and polishing (yes, it means rewriting until I'm happy) religion related quests. Religion is an important matter and should be done in a proper, believable, philosophical manner. Plus, scheming if you're highjacking it. If you manage to pull it off, it should feel like an accomplishment. Not having high skills and clicking on the best lines. Anyway, I'm very happy that all three cities have a very distinctive and unique atmosphere. Different people, different problems, different goals, and yet they are all connected and fit together. Maadoran's my favorite so far (way, way better than Teron) and you won't have to wait til the end of the year to play it. When we're done with it, Maadoran and the related locations (the mountain pass, the tomb, the Ordu encampment, etc) will be released to everyone who pre-ordered the game.

Source: GameBanshee

Friday - January 25, 2013

Age of Decadence - January Update

by Myrthos, 13:10

The January update for Age of Decadence talks about what happened in the last month and also gives some insights into how dialog options work, which is shown by a large amount of screenshots.

As I'm sure you know, Steam has kindly greenlighted us and we're in the process of signing paperwork and such. They seem to be a bunch of friendly and helpful people, which is always nice. The "greenlighening" has attracted a lot of attention and increased the number of pre-orders, so we already feel the effect.

In unrelated news, we entered the demo into IGF 2013 in Oct. I've never thought that we would win, obviously, but hoped for a nomination. Didn't happen, sadly. The judge couldn't get out of the town and felt that the demo was "seriously limited". I explained but I guess the damage was already done. Oh well...

Working on a location aptly named Inferiae - (Rom. Antiq.) Sacrifices offered to the souls of deceased heroes or friends. Greatly expanded the main character's dialogue file, almost to the point of getting lost in the branches myself. You have a lengthy chat with this character and if she doesn't like your answers, you'll be offered as the aforementioned sacrifice.

Added another path there. Kinda tried another angle to see if it works and it worked. Added two more options if you do end up becoming a sacrifice and tied one of the options to another location, which fixed one of the issues in that location as well. So, all and all, I'm very pleased with this month's progress.

Now, on to the screenshots. House Aurelian. There are several scenarios there that determine how the conversation would go:

- agreed to find the temple for Antidas; serving House Daratan in a low capacity
- Daratan's praetor
- left Teron early, either in AG1, or after stealing Carrinas' documents, or any other case
- you are on Gaelius' personal shitlist, in which case it's not a conversation you want to have

 

Tuesday - January 15, 2013

Age of Decadence - Greenlit!

by Dhruin, 21:46

The Age of Decadence has been officially Greenlit on Steam, along with (finally) UnEpic:

The latest games (see all Greenlit games here)

  • Akaneiro: Demon Hunters
  • Asylum
  • DLC Quest
  • Eador. Masters of the Broken World
  • La-Mulana
  • Leisure Suit Larry
  • MaK
  • The Age of Decadence
  • Unepic
  • War For The Overworld

As with past batches, these titles will be released independently in the months ahead, as they complete development and integrate with any of the Steamworks features they are interested in utilizing. 

Thursday - January 10, 2013

Age of Decadence - Beta Russian Version Released

by Dhruin, 20:41

Iron Tower sends word that a Russian translation of The Age of Decadence demo has been released:

But I digress. This press-release isn’t about our game. It’s about the Russian gaming community who got together and translated the demo that was released earlier. It was a huge project as the demo has a lot of text and dialogues, and it took them 9 months to translate it all.

We are humbled and very, very grateful for their effort to bring the demo to people who wouldn’t be able to play it otherwise. Their hard work is a stamp of approval and we’d like to thank everyone who was a part of that project. We hope your countrymen will appreciate your effort.

Without further ado, this is the link to the latest version:

http://www.atomicgamer.com/files/101925/the-age-of-decadence-public-beta-release-3-2

This is the Russian patch that magically changes everything to Russian:

http://www.atomicgamer.com/files/102134/the-age-of-decadence-russian-patch

So, if you happened to speak Russian or perhaps want to learn it because that’s the language Lenin spoke, apply the patch and enjoy yourself.

Thank you again, guys.

Wednesday - December 26, 2012

Age of Decadence - December Update

by Dhruin, 04:18

Vince D. Weller has whipped up a December Age of Decadence update along with a bunch of dialogue screens:

Well, it's been a busy year. We've finally released the fully playable demo (after all these years), discovered that it's not what most people wanted and that it's exactly what 545 people wanted, and then tweaked it a few times. While the game is not a dream come true, it's not half bad and that's something.

The last release was very well received, so it does look like we're on the right track and we'd like to thank everyone for helping and supporting us - from people who spent so much time testing the demo to people who were open-minded enough to download the demo and give it a try, and, of course to those who pre-ordered the game to show their support.  Thanks, guys.

Other than tweaking the game systems, we did a lot of work on the rest of the game as well, improving it, evolving it, and applying what we learned from the demo release, so the game is shaping up to be better and better. I know that these words can sound hollow, but it's true nonetheless. I wish I could explain what we changed, how, and why, but I can't do it without spoiling the rest of the game significantly.

The Abyss was the last Maadoran area to be tweaked. Those who played the demo know what it was supposed to be originally - a destroyed area of the city. Its original purpose was merely to illustrate the nature of magic (i.e. THIS is what it does when applied liberally) and to give the player a chance to gain a few artefacts, provided he/she has the skills. Then I had an idea... Now, sometimes good ideas come right away and sometimes they don't, coming only after months or even years of staring at something thinking that it can be more, but the trick is that it has to fit everything else, almost like the last piece of the puzzle, so it takes a while to find the perfect fit. After all, what the hell can you find at the bottom of a crater? But then it hit me and it was beautiful (in a fucked up way) and I wrote ten pages worth of text, showed it to Gareth who loved it and had a strong opinion that there should be a lot more and was kind enough to offer his help.

So, can't tell you more than that, but take my word for it, it's quite something. So, that's about it. We tinker with the game one day at a time and so far it looks like it will be released next year. We have several good announcements to make and I'm sure that many people (well, 545 at least) will be pleasantly surprised, but we do appreciate the patronage and would surely like to show our appreciation with more than mere words.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday - November 30, 2012

Age of Decadence - November Update, R3 Beta Released

by Dhruin, 08:34

There's a new Age of Decadence update with the R3 Beta jus released:

Short version:

https://rapidshare.com/files/863117508/AoD_Public_Beta_R3.exe

http://thepiratebay.se/torrent/7870979

http://www.atomicgamer.com/files/101493/the-age-of-decadence-public-beta-release-3

Long version:

* * *


We proudly present R3 – the third release of the Age of Decadence public beta. This version offers a lot of changes, improvements, and extra content:

What’s inside?


Alchemy – create your own healing salve, berserk potions, acid and liquid fire vials that can be thrown at your enemies, black powder bombs, the "lich" potion, and neurostimulant.

Whereas crafting improves the player's combat stats only, alchemy improves stats, introduces new combat abilities, and provides new quest solutions. Basically, crafting is about focus, alchemy is about versatility.

Quest changes & New content – now you can score bonus loyalty points by selling info to Linos and telling him that Cado's planning to attack the shipment. You can loot Carrinas' body - the most requested "feature". An escape sequence was added after you kill Carrinas. The first Imperial Guards’ quest was tweaked based on the feedback we received. Plus, your grifter, loremaster, and thief will have more opportunities to ply their craft.

System Changes – different blocking mechanics, rebalanced weapons damage ranges and THC (to-hit chance) bonuses, rebalanced fast, power, and aimed attacks, rebalanced armor DR and penalties.

Interface – new dialogue interface and improved font for better readability.

If you want to see the full list of changes, click here.

Why release another version?


The main reason is to test the alchemy system, which is an important aspect of the game and can affect and change every combat encounter. We tested it internally for almost two months and made a number of changes already, but a small internal test can't compete with an open public test. Your help in this matter will be greatly appreciated and your feedback does matter.

The other reason is to test the latest system changes. They reflect the feedback we've received after the last release and make combat more enjoyable (assuming you liked it in the first place). We'll continue improving the character, combat, crafting, and alchemy systems until the game is released, so it is an ongoing process. These systems will serve as the foundation for future titles (should there be future titles) and getting them right is important to us.

We're looking forward to your feedback and hope that you'll enjoy the beta.

PS. Thank you for your patience and interest.

 

Thursday - November 01, 2012

Age of Decadence - October Update

by Dhruin, 11:40

Vince has posted a new update for The Age of Decadence, particularly focused on the Beta and Alchemy. Release 3 should also be ready in a week for testers:

Alchemy:

Seems to be working well, but we won’t know for sure until we release R3 and get hundreds of opinions rolling in. Here is what the testers think so far:

* * *

Opinion #1:

[Alchemy] is very situational. In places where you go into one fight followed by another, like the Militiades encounter, the Aurelian Mine, etc... Healing is really useful. In all other circumstances it's useless. Acid is excellent against heavily armored enemies. But it makes you lose 7 AP (3 to throw, 4 to switch weapons, unless you're using a one-hand weapon and no shield, which is an unusual combination), takes time to work, needs the throwing skill and is not THAT helpful against multiple enemies. Gunpowder and oil flask have very small range, requiring enemies to be bunched together, although both have interesting effects (oil flask is good to separate enemies and gunpowder can knock people down, it seems). Not only that, but alchemy is a one-time use that depends on the ingredients, while other skills have more stable bonuses.

Overall alchemy can be very useful or very useless and it varies wildly, depending on the encounter. Crafting, for the sake of comparison, feels a lot more consistently useful throughout the game. I'm not saying that I don't like alchemy, mind you. Quite the contrary, it's fun to play with and trying to find uses for all those things. 

Monday - October 22, 2012

Age of Decadence - Public Beta Preview @ Heroic Fantasy Games

by Myrthos, 12:50

Heroic Fantasy Games have played the public beta of Age of Decadence and come back with their opinion of it.

Another thing I realised was that the 'Block' skill is better than the 'Dodge' skill if you want to take advantage of heavy armour. So I made another character, this time specialising in Swords, and Block. And this character had a good time. It seemed like he would master every encounter, crushing all his enemies under his blade.

Which brings me to another thought: when playing Age of Decadence, you have to leave all moral concerns aside. In this game, fighters must take every opportunity to kill a character, in order to gain skill points and treasure. It doesn't matter if the victims are completely innocent.

So how far did my Sword character go? Very far. He became a friend of the imperial guard commander and overthrew the city's king. But then he was captured and caged. Then he was given a chance to escape. But before he could escape he had to kill two guards, while being completely naked except for a dagger. Since the character had put all his skill points into Block and not Dodge, he had approximately zero chance to survive. You need a shield in order to block attacks.

Saturday - September 29, 2012

Age of Decadence - September Update

by Dhruin, 03:41

Iron Tower has posted their September update, with Vince announcing he has quit full-time work to focus on AoD, as well as details of their current work such as Alchemy, more quests and changes to the combat systems. There is also a sample of two dialogue sequences. A snip:

Best gift ever.

Yesterday was my birthday. Today is my first day as a 42-year old guy and my first day as a free man. I quit my job. No, it's not a mid-life crisis, it's about commitment. I want to spend the next 6 months (or so, it's not a deadline) being focused on nothing but the game and thoroughly enjoying each day. Yes, I'm well aware that the game probably won't sell a lot.

Alchemy

The alchemy is almost ready. We'll be starting a beta test next week. Crafting was about adding numbers to weapon's and armor's stats. Alchemy brings something very different to the table and it will give you different ways to approach combat. I know that many of you have grudges against the Aurelian guards who killed you a dozen or so times with extreme prejudice, which made you feel small and angry. Imagine how good it's gonna be to come, holding a black powder clay bomb, throw it at them and yell "Konichiwa, bitches!"

Sunday - September 16, 2012

Age of Decadence - On Steam Greenlight

by Aries100, 23:44

At the moment, there is a campaign at Steam Greenlight to get this game on Steam. If you want this game to be on Steam, please follow this link and vote for the game to be on Steam.

Source: RPG Codex

Friday - August 31, 2012

Age of Decadence - August Update

by Dhruin, 23:11

Iron Tower has posted an August update for The Age of Decadence. The post is longer than the first sentence suggests and contains multiple examples of new content, so here's a snip:

I'm busy working on ten things at once, so I'll keep it short. We're still working on alchemy and planning to start beta-testing it in Sep. Since we're getting closer, Oscar went over Teron one last time, fixing what's been reported and forcing me to add extra content here and there. 

Now you can score bonus loyalty points by selling info to Linos and telling him that Cado's planning to attack the shipment. You can loot Carrinas' body - the most requested "feature". IG1 was tweaked based on the feedback we received. Plus, your grifter, loremaster, and thief will have more things to do.

Sneak preview:

A well-dressed woman opens the door, looking at you quizzically. You can’t help but notice her rings and the necklace. Stones like these are bound to fetch a good price.

1. [grifter] "Lady Anthea, I presume? I'm happy to inform you that Lord Gaelius has agreed. You're expected to arrive to Maadoran within a fortnight."
2. Wait till the dark and pay her a visit
3. Leave.

If 1:

"You have the privilege of addressing Lady Camilla Domitia Planca." Before she closes the door, her curiosity gets the better of her. "You were saying something about Lord Gaelius and Maadoran?"

[streetwise] "You are not Lady Anthea? A thousand apologies! Please tell me I can count on your discretion. It’s a highly sensitive matter involving the most noble of Houses."
         
[success] "My lips are sealed," says Camilla, her eyes sparkling with interest, "but only if you tell me more."

[streetwise][etiquette] "Well, I suppose it's hardly a secret that Lord Gaelius has certain, let's say, difficulties with his nephew. He thinks that what the young man needs is a good wife, a woman of proper standing and qualities to keep him from troubles."

"It's very true," nods Camilla. "Do continue."

You can also Greenlight AoD on Steam here.

Monday - July 30, 2012

Age of Decadence - July Update

by Dhruin, 22:37

Vince provides the July Update for The Age of Decadence on the Iron Tower forums. He discusses work on the Alchemy system, icons and descriptions as well as adding more branching in general play:

Oscar's still rearranging Maadoran. Those who followed the game for a while would remember that the towns were split into districts (which was a bad idea for more reasons than one). So, Oscar's putting all Maadoran's districts together and the city looks better every time I look at it. Very city-like and very urban, which creates a unique look (i.e. it's not like Teron but bigger – it really does look different and has a different atmosphere; same goes for Ganezzar and Caer-Tor).

I'm still tweaking quests, expanding dialogues, and adding more content. Now, since we have to show you something, here are a few dialogue shots (attached) introducing Strabos and the merchants guild's Maadoran questline. [...]

Also, the quests have a lot more branching than what you saw in the demo (which is one of the things that I'm working on now). While Teron had plenty of paths, most options were skill-based, which could easily create a very linear experience for you. We're adding more 'personal' choices and outcomes, so hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Friday - June 01, 2012

Age of Decadence - May Update

by Dhruin, 23:34

Vince has kicked up the May update for The Age of Decadence - I'll post the entire update here:

February, March, and April were all about the demo. May was about Maadoran - our largest city. While Oscar's porting all Maadoran locations, I'm tweaking and expanding dialogues, adding everything we've learned from the beta test and the overall feedback.

More specifically:

1. Porting.

Brian wanted T3D for Dead State. T3D introduced significant visual improvements - better lighting, shadows, better transparency handling, glow, HDR, SSAO and other shaders, plus better tools, editors, and mission objects (ground cover and textures, forests, roads, wind, teleporter, sound space, physical zone, time of day, etc). Since it's the same engine family, Nick was able to tweak it and transfer all systems fairly quickly. Once we had a nearly identical (the scripting engine remained the same, which means we didn't have to touch quests) but graphically superior engine, porting AoD was an easy decision.

So, all we have to do now is to finish porting the locations, which wouldn't take much time.

2. Maadoran

Unlike Teron, it's a large and ancient city. There is a lot of history there, a lot to discover and explore, from the Abyss to more obscure locations.

Overall, Teron introduces the world, lore, and factions, without getting too much into it. Everyone's too busy to give a damn about what happened in the past. Maadoran's different in this regard. House Aurelian has spent a lot of time and effort securing relics and sealing what they couldn't secure (like the tower of Zamedi, for example), so you can learn quite a lot there.

Also, Maadoran has more characters to interact with, bigger ambitions and grander plots. If you liked Teron, you'll love Maadoran. You will feel like a provincial girl in a big city (and will probably end up dead).

Now, if you recall, it was very easy to end up dead in Teron, which really wasn't such a good idea in hindsight. We tweaked it in R2 and now we have to tweak it elsewhere, while preserving the "life is cheap" atmosphere.

We're also adding more dialogue options, quest solutions (like the poisoned wine options in R2), and various encounters (like the preacher, storyteller, refugees, etc in Teron). We did quite a lot in a month, which brings us to the next topic:

3. What should we show you?

What would you like to see and learn about in the next updates (telling you "hey guys we're working on stuff, honest!" month after month is kinda boring)? Over the years we've shown quite a lot, but it was mostly Teron's content, as we didn't want to spoil the rest of the game. Should we continue or not? Suggestions are welcome. 

Thursday - May 03, 2012

Age of Decadence - Public Beta 2 Released

by Dhruin, 00:39

The promised updated release of The Age of Decadence Public Beta is now available, offering a slew of fixes and improvements. You can grab the updated version via these links:

AoD Public Beta Release 2:


Torrents:

...and this thread has the full changelog if you need a reminder. A small snip from the lengthy list:

Exploration

- Added a new encounter with a gang in the slums.
- Added a character you talk to in the graveyard.

Improvements:

- Added the option to leave screens by pressing the same key that you use to enter it.
- You can access the crafting screen by pressing R.
- You can switch between screens with the hotkeys (from inventory to character screen, for example).
- More buttons with sounds.
- Better formating for the description text in the character screen.
- You can resize and move the textbox in the main gui.
- Added synergy and background description to the character creation screen.
- Added tooltips to the tabs.
- Q and E now rotate the camera.
- Character creation is now tailored to resolutions between 900h and 1080h.
- Added new dialogues screens, with bigger fonts, darker background and better formatting.
- Anisotropic filtering now also affects all weapons, armors and some minor items.
- Now you get a rank if you are part of a faction.
- Notices in dialogue (text between *) now are centered and with a different color.
- Added expanded dialogues about the world with the Inkeeper and Feng.
- Now there is a list with all locations on the right side of the map.
- Now there is a menu from which you can select which bodies you want to loot when 2 or more are in the same place.
- Added sitting animations to filler characters.
- New look for the lorica segmentata.
- All screens fit higher resolutions better.

Wednesday - April 25, 2012

Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPG France

by Dhruin, 01:05

Vince D. Weller has been interviewed by RPG France, catching up The Age of Decadence (scroll down for English):

What have been the worst problems you had encounter during the developing process? And on the other side, what are the things you are the proudest? As a matter of fact, the first screenshot are from 2005, the game developement time has been quite long. How do you explain it? Some wrong turn along the way?

It takes time to make quality games.
Tim Cain: "With that said, the Vampire had been under development for three years. While that's not a long time for a role-playing game - Fallout had taken three and a half years to develop..."
So, if it takes an experienced team 3-3.5 (even 5 for the Witcher) years working full time to make a decent RPG, it’s not that strange that it takes 4 people team working part time 7-8 years to do the same.

What we’re proud of the most? Pretty much everything. That we’ve made it this far – everyone who’s ever worked or is working on his or her own project knows what I’m talking about. That we’ve made a game that hundreds of people are enjoying. That we have such a great and supportive community.

If you’re talking about specific features, I’d say the way we’ve interwoven different questlines and all the different paths we’ve made. I’m also amazed at the visuals Oscar created or that Nick (our programmer) managed to do everything I asked of him.

Tuesday - April 03, 2012

Age of Decadence - Preorders Open

by Dhruin, 08:21

You can now pre-order The Age of Decadence through BMT Micro for $25. The actual process is a little bit convoluted because there isn't a finished product, so make sure you read this post at the Iron Tower forums in full. In short, paying $25 now helps fund the development, with the actual game anticipated in 2013. BMT will send you links to the game - which are placeholders - and you'll be able to download when the game is ready:

You can now pre-order AoD, should you choose to do so. Here’s the link:

https://secure.bmtmicro.com/servlets/Orders.ShoppingCart?CID=7483&PRODUCTID=74830000

We’re using BMT Micro, a payment processor which is fast and safe. I used it myself when I bought Eschalon (Thomas’ game) and it’s used by several indie companies.

Why now?

We were asked quite often to start taking pre-orders. We didn't want to do it until everyone had a chance to play the full demo and experience the game. Now, after two demos, you know exactly what we're offering.

You know what we delivered, you know what we’re fixing, you know what to expect. You like what you see and feel it's worth 25 bucks? Show us your support. You don't like what you see? Have doubts? Buy yourself a pizza instead. It's cool.

When to expect?

2013. We’re probably a year away. You can judge the progress by the demo – it has all the features except for Alchemy. All the areas are done and some were shown before, but as you know, we prefer to take our time and do it right. Or at least what we consider to be ‘right’.

Why are you asking us to pre-order?

First, to show your support. Second, to help us. For example, Nick’s (our programmer) computer just died. He’s using an old box for now, but we’ll have to get him a new one. It would be nice to be able to do so without dipping into personal savings. Also, Nick has to make a living by teaching (yeah, he’s a bright guy) in a computer academy. It would really help us if he didn’t have to teach and could focus on AoD full time. Same goes for Oscar and Ivan. Third, it would be nice to recover past expenses (like Torque’s license - $1,000) and help with the current one. Our bandwidth went from 70-120GB to 220-250GB in the last two months. Etc.

Head over for additional donations and other details.

Saturday - March 31, 2012

Age of Decadence - March Update: Issues and Changes

by Dhruin, 00:48

Vince D. Weller has posted a lengthy update at the Iron Tower forums responding to criticism of The Age of Decadence public beta and introducing some changes as a result of the feedback:

We’ve finally released the demo, fully expecting it to be proclaimed the best thing that happened to mankind since Jesus took the bullet for us and died for us sins like a true bro. Instead, much to our surprise, it turned out some people loved it and wanted the full game NOW, whereas other people (we’re making a list) hated it and wanted to kill it with fire. Many other people were left unsure whether they were supposed to like it for what it is and hate it for what it isn't. Decisions, decisions…

While the game was never perfect (or even meant to be perfect), we didn’t realize just how imperfect it was. So, instead of moving on, we have to go back unto the breach once more. Thus, I dedicate this update to issues and changes.

To address the combat difficulty, an extra five skill points are available during chargen and you can hit up the shop to change from the default equipment before you get into the first combat. They've also re-tooled the To Hit calculation:

Defense is king at the moment, which is what makes the difficulty so brutal, and, coincidentally, makes CON a dump stat. You either get hit a lot and 10-20 extra hit points won't make a difference, or get hit rarely and don't need extra HP. So…

  • We changed the THC formula. Now the focus is on offensive and balanced builds.
  • CON affects the chance of stat damage.
  • Increased STR and decreased PER bonuses, as PER was a bit too useful and STR a bit useless. Best builds until now were high DEX, high PER, although some people did well with high STR and crafting.
  • Different STR bonuses for different weapons: two-handers get more, daggers get less.
  • THC bonus from lighter weapons reduced.
  • Defense penalty for heavy armor - each subsequent attack IN A SINGLE TURN is harder to block than the one before. We're trying to tie it to your STR and CON now.
  • Tweaked crafting. Lowered the damage techniques, improved masterwork for armors to help dodgers, and added hardened technique for leather armors
  • INT will now determine a number of tagged skills - 1 tagged skill at INT5, 2 at 6, etc. Tagged skills will receive X bonus points for every 10 earned. 

On exploration:

This too is a tough one. In most RPGs exploration means walking around and looking for chests to pillage or look for a cat in need of rescuing. I wouldn't call that exploring, but maybe that's just me.

However, it wouldn't hurt to add a few things to do in Teron. So, we're adding two "breaking and entering" opportunities for thieves and we're adding some combat unrelated to quests. It won't be forced on you, but if you like the combat system and playing a fighter, you can now "explore" the town and look for trouble. 

...and this is getting long, so head over to read about "meta-gaming" and "not enough options".

Thursday - March 29, 2012

Age of Decadence - Which areas should be improved?

by Dhruin, 00:16

Vince has been sifting through the Public Beta feedback for The Age of Decadence and has found five common complaints (leaving aside the positives) and has asked for further feedback. If you'd like to contribute, head to this thread on the Iron Tower forums:

  • Combat difficulty
  • Exploration
  • Few choices within a path
  • Min-maxing (uneven skills/stats)
  • Metagaming required to pass quests

So, we've finally released the demo and there was much, um, rejoicing. It looks like there are 5 main complaints (listed above).

Now, we're already tweaking and adding some things (more on that later), but we'd like to know what you think and, most importantly, what should be done to improve the design in these areas.

So, first, vote for what bothers you the most (even if you like everything about the game, there should be something you like the least). Second, post your thoughts on each area that you feel should be improved (you can add more) and list suggested improvements or ways to fix it.

It goes without saying that we won't be able to fix everything and that some suggestions may go against the existing design and personal preferences, but let's give it a try and see what happens. 

Thanks, GhanBuriGhan!

Tuesday - March 27, 2012

Age of Decadence - Preview @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 23:12

If you haven't had time to check out the Age of Decadence public beta yourself, GameBanshee has a two-page preview:

If there is one thing that is both Age of Decadence's biggest strength and its biggest selling point, it's replayability. Taking on one of eight backgrounds (Assassin, Drifter, Grifter, Thief, Merchant, Mercenary, Loremaster, or Praetor), your involvement in the game's opening events can change dramatically based on this choice. Perhaps you're the assassin contracted to kill the merchant, or the bodyguard assigned to protect him, or a thief just trying to make an "honest" wage, or a noble servant of House Daratan dealing with the aftershock... either way, your perspective on the matter influences not only what details of the story you see (making repeat plays necessary to get a full understanding of what's going on), but what gameplay opportunities you have available.

Of course, those background choices don't limit what you're capable of. As background is independent of character attributes and skills (though the presets encourage you to stick to certain roles), and many more events can occur as a result of your successes or failures, you're not actually locked into anything beyond the opening sequence. Starting out as a Commercium merchant doesn't mean you have to finish the game that way - screw up and you'll find yourself out on the street, ready to join a new faction. There is huge potential for creative problem-solving, backstabbing, and using prior knowledge and events to your advantage, and frankly, it may well be the most intricate faction system and plotline of just about any game ever made. 

Thanks, JDR13!

Thursday - March 22, 2012

Age of Decadence - Public Beta Released

by Dhruin, 20:12

Iron Tower Studio has finally released the promised demo for The Age of Decadence - or Public Beta  as this is actually called. There are no fancy press releases - just grab it from RapidShare (257Mb) and let us know what you think.

Edit: More links:

AoD Public Beta Release:

Torrents:

Monday - February 27, 2012

Age of Decadence - February Update

by Dhruin, 09:58

Vince has posted the February update for The Age of Decadence, saying the wait is almost over for the demo release. Here's the entire post but head over for a couple of new screens that feature the updated (and very nice) minimal UI:

Short version: the wait is almost over; the demo will be released in 2 weeks.

Long version: I’ve just realized that it’s been seven months since we’ve started testing. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, that the fall and the winter seasons are already over. You get so focused on daily tasks, which pile up faster than you can handle them, that you don't really notice how fast time flies. You look back, but you don't really feel it. Only when you actually count the months, you realize - in shock - how long it's taken.

So, 7 months, 1,900 posts in the beta forums, and 12 builds later (Oscar has just uploaded a new update), we're getting ready to release the demo - as public beta - to our audience.

I'd like to use this opportunity to thank our testers (whom I really can't thank enough). Their input has kept us very busy all these months, kept us working/reworking/tweaking/adding/fixing/breaking shit accidentally and fixing again. Looking back, I realize that back in August we gave the testers a very flawed game and they helped us turn it into a game that we're proud to give you now. It's not perfect in any way, but it's solid.

There were a lot of great ideas and suggestions and I wish we could implement them all, but there is only so much four people can do, even in seven months. Special thanks to people who have encouraged us to take more time to get it right.

I hope you’ll enjoy the game. 

Thanks to Capt. Huggy Face for sending it in and GhanBuriGhan on our forums.

While we're on AoD, Garthak sent in a Russian preview from Core-RPG.ru. If your Russian is a little rusty like mine, you can try a Google translation

Monday - February 13, 2012

Age of Decadence - Demo Preview @ RPG Codex

by Dhruin, 12:22

The Codex has impressions of the upcoming Age of Decadence demo, with thoughts from three different authors:

In fact, I finished the whole playthrough as a merchant without a single fight. The game felt almost like a choose-your-own-adventure with a great number of various choices, lots of stat-checks, and plenty of content available for specific characters only. I loved every minute of it. As I said, much action is conducted via dialogue screens. And you cannot save during the dialogue. This is a wise choice because it prevents you from almost automatically reloading after a failed stat-check. That check might have happened after a long sequence of dialogue screens, perhaps also filled with stat-checks, which you'd have to repeat. The game's big advantage, which had to be difficult to achieve, is that you really prefer not to reload your game after something goes wrong (excluding being killed in combat, of course). At least in my case, I wanted to stick with the consequences the game provided for me – they were fair and reasonable. And hey, some of my other characters would succeed in that particular task, right? This brings me to the main point: replayability. Judging from the demo, Age of Decadence will be immensely replayable. And at three levels, at that: after finishing the demo as a merchant I immediately wanted to play the game as a member of a different faction, to get a different take on the situation, but also to play as a merchant with a different skill and stat distribution, to check out options unavailable for my original build; but also, which in other games would be ridiculous, to play exactly the same build and simply make different choices! My merchant ended up being a sort of a power behind the throne, facilitating a shift in the power distribution in the region, purely by use of persuasion, disguise, and, of course, money, insulting more than one person on his way but gaining powerful friends, too. But there were both diplomatic and combat-oriented options I steered clear of, leaving them for future playthroughs.

Thanks, Elwro and Lemonhead!

Monday - January 30, 2012

Age of Decadence - January Update

by Aries100, 19:04

Iron Tower Studios has posted the changes, fixes and improvement made to this game in a changelog here. They have all been made during the game's development in the latest three months. The changelog is too long to post, so I'll list some of the improvements:

Improvements:

- Improved the look of the shanty town and the slums.

- If you leave the mine outpost before killing everyone, they will regroup and barricade the entrance.

- Added the "pickpocket" side story.

- Added the "refugees" side story.

- Added the "tower cellar" side story.

- Added the "shanty town" side story.

- Better transitions in Flavius quest.

- Better transitions in the goblet quest.

- The PC now walks to his objective when you click on it (doors, npcs) instead of being "too far away".

- Added fluff dialogue with TG members.

- Added a new skin type with Tattoos.

- Added the "merchant" side story.

- Added fluff dialogue with Zenon of the MG.

- Added a way to investigate Feng's house back room, and a reaction if you are found.

- Added the "preacher" side-story.

- Better camera for the storyteller.

- Added lots of filler NPCs.

 

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - December 22, 2011

Age of Decadence - December Update

by Dhruin, 23:16

Vince has kicked up the December update for The Age of Decadence, announcing they will miss their target of getting the demo out in December - the good news is it's only a few weeks away, so it should be January.

Instead, we have some testimonials from the testers, so here's a snip from GhanBuriGhan:

Age of Decadence surprised me. As I wrote in the forums earlier, I was expecting a classic, Fallout-style RPG. I feel that at its heart, AoD is  something different, although a lot of inspiration is certainly derived from these classics. It is, for me, a hybrid of classic RPGs and interactive fiction, and strikes me in some ways as a re-imagination of RPGs from the P&P template, tossing away many of the tried and true conventions of the genre – sometimes to great effect, sometimes to its own detriment.

Where I feel that AoD excels over any other game I played so far (admittedly there are some classics I still haven’t played), is the sheer amount of alternate paths it provides through the game. A lot of love and thought have gone into that aspect, and I have very much enjoyed trying out different characters and skills just to see where it would take me. The Teron demo alone provides a lot of entertainment in that respect. However to appreciate it, you HAVE to replay. Some single playthroughs may be very short (I think you can breeze through the demo in < 30 minutes, maybe less, for some paths) and doing so may leave you wondering what the fuck just happened. It will only be after multiple playthroughs (both different backgrounds and different skillsets) that you start to see the whole story, and have a chance to appreciate the love and care that went into the branching story design.

Monday - November 14, 2011

Age of Decadence - November Update

by Aries100, 13:41

Vince from Iron Tower Studios has updated the entry for this game on the forums. In it, he talks about how the beta-testing is going, he also talks about designing side-quests. As always, a quote. This time about the design of the sidequest:

So, we've eliminated all 3 and focused instead of developing interwoven questlines with different options and outcomes. The outcome? There is no need to explore the towns, 'cause there isn't much to do outside the faction quests. If you want to walk around looking for spontaneous stuff to do, you're in the wrong game.

In other words, only when we skipped the mindless stuff, did we realize what it was there for. Take Fallout 2, for example. Even though it was inferior to the first game (that's just, like, my opinion, man), it was a well-rounded game with a lot of content. Sure, some quests were silly but when mixed with the good stuff, they didn't seem to bug me that much.

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - October 03, 2011

Age of Decadence - October Update

by Dhruin, 21:32

Oscar has posted the October update for The Age of Decadence, offering the changelog from their beta process. It's a bit long for this format, so head over to read all the changes but here is the "improvements" section:

- Improvements to the character screen looks, plus now has descriptions for all stats and reputations.
- Now you get a description overhead text when you are near an important location.
- When you enter an important building for the first time, you get a description of it.
- Camera can zoom closer and tilt a little more.
- Made walking and running speed faster.
- New shadow distance algorithm, with sharper shadows at no performance loss, plus better performance at tilts higher than 45º and it's more fexibile, allowing other camera angles without graphical artifacts.
- Added a new model for Feng's house, making it stand out more.
- Improved the looks of the area around Feng's house and the inn.
- Made it clearer in the loremaster vignette that a night passes.
- Made better transitions in TG1.
- Expanded the loremaster vignette, adding the option to buy an artifact of the olden days.
- Added the option to go to Feng in Assassin Vignette.
- Added an extra conversation with Feng about guilds if you are his apprentice.
- Improved the look of the terrain in the Plaza.
- Added some ambient sounds (thanks to GhanBuriGhan). More to be added.
- Added a storyteller at the inn, who fleshes out the lore of the game.
- Configured HDR and SSAO. Enable and disable them using these commands in the console: SSAOPostFX.enable(); SSAOPostFX.disable(); HDRPostFX.enable(); HDRPostFX.disable();
- Added some extra sounds. Will add more later.
- New Intimidate checks: They include checks to body count, combat reputation and stats like strength, dexterity and constitution.

A couple of screens are also on offer.

Thursday - September 01, 2011

Age of Decadence - September Update

by Dhruin, 23:19

Oscar has kicked up an early September Update for The Age of Decadence with news they started beta-testing the demo two weeks ago. The actual update is some unfiltered feedback from the beta team, such as this:

Gareth: "To sum up my initial impressions : The core game is there and solid. Text adventures are golden, they give you a great sense of having a personal story, without it being linear. It's also really cool to see events from multiple angles. And the game is looking great, lots of rich details.

That being said, it's not ready for primetime yet. The game needs 'fluff', interactions and non-essential NPCs to talk to as you wander around and discover the setting. This lack of interaction makes the world feel empty, not because there aren't people but because you can't interact with them.

Also, even though the game isn't about holding your hand, if you wander outside the core interactions you quickly get lost, in terms of what you could or should be doing. A lot of this is due to that lack of fluff, which can be used to subtly nudge the player.

Overall, you can see the potential in the parts, but the whole experience still needs to 'come together'. And it's the more 'fluffy/subtle' elements that do this. Lots of work still to be done."

Thursday - August 18, 2011

Age of Decadence - Interview @ CORE.ru

by Dhruin, 23:28

Russian site CORE.ru has an interview with Vince about The Age of Decadence. There's nothing new but, as usual, Vince's attitude and approach is plain to see. The English version is available on their forums under spoiler tags, so you'll need to click the "+" to expand the spoiler, which can be a bit disorienting on a Russian site:

First of all, how did the concept of The Age of Decadence emerge? Was it a single flash of inspiration or the ideas formed gradually?

Gradually. RPGs are less of “wow, I’ve got a great idea” and more of “these are my thoughts on game design”. So, once the design is set, you slowly build the rest and take your time to figure out which piece goes where.

For example, we wanted to have several non-combat paths through the game, which means that the game should have several non-combat endings (you don’t want to give the player non-combat skills and path, but force him to fight at the end; it kind of throws the entire non-combat design philosophy out of the window). Non-combat endings are a tricky thing. You can’t just throw in a “why can’t we all get along?” persuasion line and be done with it. It should be enabled by certain decisions and in-game pre-requisites, so you sort of work backwards – once you know the different ways to end the story, you go back and build the conditions and choices the player will make in order to be able to end the game a certain way.

Thanks to Grizly for the tip.

Wednesday - August 17, 2011

Age of Decadence - Two new Screens

by Myrthos, 23:03

Two new Age of Decadence screens can be found in their forums.

Thursday - August 11, 2011

Age of Decadence - August Update

by Dhruin, 00:57

Oscar has posted an August Update for The Age of Decadence, with screens of the recent GUI improvements and details on some of their other work, such as the crafting system and these odds and ends:

Apart from this, we finished optimizing the character models and improving their looks, but weren't able to get it inside the game for this update. We also implemented the new critical hits system, expanded the dialogues with many NPCs, and of course, general bugfixing and polish.

They are also getting all social-media aware, so head over for Facebook, Twitter and Youtube links.

Wednesday - July 20, 2011

Age of Decadence - Starting Stats Survey

by Dhruin, 01:15

The Age of Decadence artist Oscar has asked fans to create starting characters on the Iron Tower forums to help them put together some default characters. For those following the game, it might give some small insight into different character builds:

How would you distribute the points on the different character backgrounds? We are curious to see the kind of characters you would make, and also use that information to make some default distribution of stats depending on the background. You will be able to change them, of course.

Rules:

- 40 points to distribute among 6 stats: Strength - Dexterity - Constitution - Perception - Intelligence - Charisma.
- Minimum 4 points - Maximum 10.
- The backgrounds are: Assassin - Thief - Knight - Loremaster - Grifter - Merchant- Mercenary (drifter will have no default distribution).

Please give the stats distribution for all backgrounds. Go! Smile

Thursday - July 07, 2011

Age of Decadence - July Update

by Dhruin, 22:15

The Age of Decadence lead artist Oscar has posted a new update on the Iron Tower forums. Saying they are working on "graphics, performance, gameplay", Oscar covers their recent work including GUI improvements, text adventures and testing the upcoming demo:

We're testing the demo portion of the game extensively, going over everything, taking notes, and fixing/adding things daily. Thoroughly testing a quest takes awhile due to the number of possible options and outcomes. The fact that everything is skill- and event-based (some options aren’t even shown if you don’t have the right skills or didn’t do something a certain way) makes things even more complicated.  Key characters Feng and Dellar have over 15 different conversation triggers (other than quest reporting) just for Teron; they all need to be tested. We’re slowly learning what everyone in the industry already knows – non-linear games with multiple solutions are a bitch to develop. Oh well…

Wednesday - July 06, 2011

Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPG Italia

by Dhruin, 00:48

RPG Italia sends word of their interview with Vince D. Weller about The Age of Decadence. It's a general interview that mostly cover existing information but here's a snip:

Will the choice focus more on the approach side (diplomatic/brutal/stealth/etc…) or on the moral side? The moral choice? for that second case will it be a classic good/neutral/evil system or a more ambigous one?
The game features both multiple quest solutions (i.e. different ways to approach and complete your objectives) and different choices affecting the gameworld, factions, and NPCs.
I’m not putting any labels on the latter choices, which is why there is no good/evil system in the game. These things are very subjective and the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.
Our approach is to provide motivations, show you things from different angles, avoiding clichés like good guys and bad guys (whatever side you pick is the good guys, the other side is the bad guys), and adding some reactivity. I don’t think you’d feel bad if you double-cross an NPC and earn 5 evil points. You would, however, regret your choice greatly, if the double-crossed NPC ambush you with his rough looking buddies and chop your outnumbered character to pieces to teach him a valuable lesson about morals and values.

Thursday - June 16, 2011

Age of Decadence - June Update, Video

by Dhruin, 14:46

Time for a new Age of Decadence update, with lead artist Oscar posting about their recent progress. The headline items are a new "civil animations" system, which provides ambient animations such as merchants, workers and the like, a new composer and a new GUI under way. There's a video that shows off the new animations (and new music) and screens over at the AoD forums:

A new month, and a new update about AoD! Sorry for the late post, but we've been working hard to show you something you have been waiting to see for quite some time... In this past month, we've been working hard on the civil AI and animations. Merchants selling their goods, people walking around, interacting with each other, workers carrying crates and other stuff. Nick created the system needed for this and now we are creating distinct civil AIs, like merchants, workers, tavern patrons, blacksmiths, beggars, librarians, miners, etc. We are still working on them, right now we don't have many, but now that the basic system is down we'll continue creating more in the following month. You will also hear some great music from a new composer that is working with us. He really nailed the style and mood we want for AoD, and we are very happy to have him on board.

Also, our great 2D artist is working on revamping the interface. The goal is to make an interface with a distinct style, that shows more of the gameworld, and that works better with multiple resolutions and aspect rations, plus some customization options. It's still a work in progress, but here are some screens that shows the style we are aiming for. Any opinions and suggestions are welcomed!

Thanks GhanBuriGhan on our forums!

Tuesday - May 31, 2011

Age of Decadence - Skill Calculator

by Dhruin, 00:33

Age of Decadence fan Wened has posted a skill calculator over at the Iron Tower forums, if you'd like to play with the character build options. Iron Tower artist Oscar made a few tweaks, so it should work pretty accurately.

Wednesday - May 04, 2011

Age of Decadence - May Update, Video

by Dhruin, 23:34

Age of Decadence artist Oscar has posted a May update for the game, along with a video showing some new combat animations. Here's a partial snip and head to their forums for the rest:

Welcome to the second monthly update for AoD! Yes, we made it to the second one, and we'll continue with them until the game is out.

So, what have we been doing in the past month?

We spent some our time bugfixing and improving the combat. We ironed out some rare bugs (looping AI, freezes, crashes), along with some minor ones, and we are working hard on making a good target selection for the AI, especially in group combats. We are also working on group communication and combat awareness of the NPCs. We also added a bonus to range when attacking from different floors, so beware of the archers in the towers!

We practically removed the loading screens from Teron, so the game will provide a seamless experience instead of being cut by loading screens. For example, the first quest for the Imperial Guards. Before, you had the briefing, then a loading screen when you went to the site of battle, and then another when you get back. Apart from the loading screens, there was a small "hang" when the levels loaded all the textures and models on it, which looked VERY bad. Now the whole sequence plays out smoothly, with a nice fadeout between them and no hangs of any kind.

Thursday - April 07, 2011

Age of Decadence - April Update

by Dhruin, 23:35

The Age of Decadence Lead Artist Oscar has kicked up an update on the game's progress at the official forums. Here's the entire post:

Welcome to the first (but not last) monthly update for AoD! I'm pretty sure you have been asking yourselves "What are these lazy bastards doing?", so yesterday I thought that we should give you an update every month to show that we are not fucking around and we are committed to release this game.

The plan is to release a demo as soon as possible, with all the features of the full game. So let me tell you about what we have been doing in the past months:

We are implementing all combat related actions, effects and animations. That includes:

- Acids
- Bombs
- Flurry of Daggers
- Repeating Crossbow Burst
- Impale
- Brutal Deaths
- Bolas
- Liquid Fire
- Shield Bash

Most of them are fully implemented (we are working on liquid fire and shield bash right now), and some need some tweaking on the visual department (bombs and acid particles, mostly).

We also added some nice visual improvements to the combat, like opponents being pushed back by the spear interrupts instead of walking backwards, and blood splashes on the terrain for very damaging attacks.

Apart from that, we made lots of improvements to the performance of the game (as you saw on the update I posted), and we did a huge performance improvement of the NPCs. Right now are killing the loading screens in Teron, so that you get a more seamless experience. Also Vince is working on adding more options to the quests, and also on flavor text and descriptions to spice up the game. We also have some news on the GUI and ending slides, but we'll share them later with some nice pics.

Once we are done with the combat improvements, we are making a small video to show them to you Wink

Thursday - March 24, 2011

RPGWatch Feature: Age of Decadence Reader Interview

by Dhruin, 21:27

RPGWatch reader Rune74 approached Vince D. Weller to discuss The Age of Decadence in this interview. Vince offers some specifc examples of choices in the game amid some general questions. The choice-based answers are a bit long to quote, so here's Vince on the development time:

Rune:  With the long development time are you worried that you may always have just one more thing to do?

Vince: If you're implying that the reason the game is still in development is because we keep adding things, you're mistaken. The goals and features haven't changed since they were defined years ago. Gameplay polishing does take time, however. "A game's only late until it ships, but it sucks forever", and all that.

We have only once chance to impress the gaming public, and 5+ year isn't a lot for a part-time project, especially by 4 people with no previous experience (i.e. the development time includes learning the trade through trial & error). In comparison:

Civ 5 has been in development for 3 years, 52 people team. Fallout 3 was in development for 4 years. Gothic - more than 4 years. NWN - around 5 years, Witcher - more than 5 years, fairly large team, but the quality is undeniable. Arcanum - 2.5 years. KOTOR - 3 years. Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 - god know how many years.

Read it all here.

Monday - March 07, 2011

Age of Decadence - Improving the Performance

by Dhruin, 21:18

The Age of Decadence Lead Artist Oscar posted a thread the other day showing some of their efforts to improve the framerates. Some tasty screens are included and comparisons of the framerate and they tweak details. Not an essential update but fans will find this worthwhile.

Wednesday - January 19, 2011

Age of Decadence - Choices and Consequences Video

by Dhruin, 22:03

There's a new video for The Age of Decadence, showing off choices and consequences.  The trailer offers around four minutes of footage with voiceover from Lead Artist Oscar Velzi explaining the setup.  The clip follows a quest to assassinate Marcus Carrinas, a Commander of the Imperial Guards. You'll need to expand the video and pause frequently to read the dialogue, if you want to understand what is happening.

Head to Youtube to watch the video and for social types, they have a new Facebook page, as well.

Thursday - January 06, 2011

Age of Decadence - New Video, Screens

by Dhruin, 21:55

Iron Tower has released a new video of the long-awaited Age of Decadence, showing improved visuals, status icons, sounds and (presumably) music - it all looks surprisingly polished compared to the combat beta we saw so long ago.  The clip shows part of the Assassins Guild quest chain, with an emphasis on a large-ish battle.  Here's some comments from Lead Artist, Oscar:

The video shows the second Assassins Guild's quest, the game flow, a night map, fire particles for the easily amused, the PC fighting with allies (just because you don't have an entourage of emotionally scarred people with troubled past doesn't mean you have to save the world all by your awesome self), and an optional third-person view.

Btw, see that alchemist guy with a crossbow? If you keep him alive, he'll give you something nice, which will increase your chances of staying alive in the third Assassins Guild's quest from 5% to 12.7%. Just sayin'.

You'll also find some new screens along with the video over at their forums.

Monday - September 27, 2010

RPGWatch Feature: Text Adventures In The Age Of Decadence

by Dhruin, 10:02

In this feature, Vince from Iron Tower Studio walks us through one of the "text adventures" embedded in The Age of Decadence.  Here's a snip from the intro, and read the full feature for a step-by-step sample of this style of gameplay:

Text-adventures are an old, venerable, and sadly all but forgotten element. We did our best to capture the spirit, but as usual, you're invited to bitch, complain, and make other helpful suggestions. For those who like to quantify things: this particular text adventure is 14,687 words long. 

You start the game in Teron, a small crumbling town controlled by House Daratan. At some point you may (or may not) decide to have a chat with Lord Antidas.[...]

Read it all here.

Friday - September 24, 2010

Age of Decadence - Art Interview @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 21:08

GameBanshee's Brother None chats with The Age of Decadence lead artist Oscar about his background, role and the game:

GB: Vince is the lead and public face of Age of Decadence and as you mentioned, this was an ongoing project when you joined. How much of the art direction was set at that point? Can you give us an idea of the core art direction concepts that you're working with?

Oscar: By the time I joined, many of the models for the game were already done, setting much of the style. The textures were made by Nick, our programmer, and some occasional freelance artists. So my first task was to unify the look of the game, giving it a color scheme, a consistent texture quality, etc. But I also try to focus in “creative direction”, tying the visuals to the level design, internal consistency of the setting and situations, sounds, music, trying to convey a certain mood through all these items. When working on them, I try to convey a feeling of desolation, faded glory, hopelessness, a ruined world. The world of AoD is a bleak one, and I try to convey that through all the means at my disposition.

Wednesday - September 15, 2010

Age of Decadence - Improving and Polishing

by Dhruin, 05:48

About a week ago we posted an updated on The Age of Decadence forums from Vince, saying there was less to talk about as they tackled tweaked and polished.  Lead Artist Oscar has taken the opportunity to show examples of some of that polishing in a new forum post.  Oscar describes how they updated the loremaster vignette, even showing the dialogue editor, and then a model that has been improved.

Thanks to Resch on our forums for the tip.

Tuesday - September 07, 2010

Age of Decadence - Forum Tidbits

by Dhruin, 21:50

Here's a minor tidbit from Vince on The Age of Decadence forums but it reinforces the current status and demonstrates their direction, so I thought it worth a quick post.  In answer to a request for new information:

The closer we are, the less we have to report. All features are discussed and implemented. All models and animations are long done. We're tweaking quests and balancing checks, xp, reputation, and rewards, which is pretty much what Oscar said recently.

For example, the second Imperial Guards' quest was a fairly straightforward "take over the gate". The Imperial Guards are a military organization, so their goals are often straightforward, which is logical, of course, but does not make interesting gameplay. So, we had to spend some time on it, looking for fitting way to improve it. Now, we have 3 options:

low INT - straightforward attack
good INT, low CHA - a clever plan which puts your ass on the line, because you have to do the hardest part* yourself
good INT, good CHA - a clever plan with someone else doing the hardest part, you get a promotion because you're the "management material", plus it unlocks a special briefing for the next quest, which completely changes the goals, because you've demonstrated that you can do more than follow orders.

* only 1 player in 10 will make it.

The best part is that players with low-med INT fighters will be completely unaware of the extra levels of complexity and options, which makes gameplay truly stat- and skill-based.

Wednesday - August 11, 2010

Age of Decadence - Status Update

by Dhruin, 21:30

Oscar from Iron Tower has commented on The Age of Decadence current status on their boards:

All content is done. We are going over everything and making it as "final" as possible. For example, all models and textures for the game are done, and 95% of the levels (I only need to add some filler like vegetation, trash, etc. in Ganezzar, the rest are completely done). So what I'm doing is optimizing everything, fixing some things I did wrong in the past, and making all models and locations final.

Same goes for some of the older quests. Some were extremely simple, and we added some options to them. Also improving some of the writing. For example, the old Loremaster vignette was pretty straightforward, no checks, nothing. So we added a couple of checks for lore and persuasion, which create different results, and improved the description and writing.

So yes, we are going over everything polishing all the rough edges, improving the weakest parts, and also working on optimizing the engine. It's going to take a while, due to being a small team and some of us working part-time, but we are going very well.

Wednesday - July 28, 2010

Age of Decadence - Text Adventures

by Dhruin, 10:56

Missed this one but thanks to Resch for posting it on our forums (where I saw it eventually!).

It's good to have Age of Decadence news.  Vault Dweller has a new Let's Play... style thread to show off the text adventure feature in the game.  Head over to this thread to check all the screens and follow the choices.  Here's the setup:

It's been awhile since we've shown you guys anything, so please allow me to thank you for your patience and support, and to entertain you with one of our text-adventure sequences.

Text-adventures are an old, venerable, and sadly all but forgotten element and I have no idea whether or not we did a good job capturing the spirit, so as usual, you're invited to bitch and complain make helpful suggestions. For those who like to quantify things: this particular text adventure is 14,687 words long. 

You start the game in Teron, a small crumbling town controlled by House Daratan. At some point you may (or may not) decide to have a chat with Lord Antidas who, for some reasons, isn't pacing back and forth outside of his palace eagerly awaiting your arrival.

There are several ways to meet him. You can talk to Dellar, Antidas' man in charge of fucking with people and keeping the enemies of the House at bay. He will offer you a traditional "prove yourself first and if you're still alive, which is doubtful, then I'll let you in" way via 2 quests. If that's not how you prefer to roll, there are 3 more quest-related ways to gain entrance (i.e. certain side quests may attract or require Antidas' involvement). If you're still shaking your head and want to do it completely on your own, that's what the text adventure is for.

Saturday - January 23, 2010

Age of Decadence - Preview, Demo Update Coming

by Dhruin, 00:00

We received word of a large gameplay update for The Age of Decadence Combat Demo that is expected on Monday.  The update tweaks and improves the gameplay, so should be worth a look for anyone following this.

First, a snip from a preview at the Adrenaline Vault we missed a couple of weeks ago:

As much as I enjoy treachery and deceit, however, sometimes it can be just as necessary to bonk someone on the noggin to reinstill a sense of reality within them. AoD has taken an interesting and unusual approach to combat as far as most modern RPGs are concerned. Violence is turn based, and is played out on a grid. It is reminiscent of the system employed by Betrayal at Krondor, an absolutely remarkable 1993 game. Either way, a few days ago a combat demo was released for AoD and naturally I was very keen to take a look at it. Now, after having spent some hands-on time, I’d like to share my impressions with you.

...And here are the changes that are coming on Monday:

Ok, so the demo is out, the technical issues have been solved; you now have a good grasp of the mechanics and most of you have beaten the demo with different characters. Let's tweak a few things:

- new THC (to hit chance) formula
- change axes' split shields chance from 15-70 to 10-45
- change daggers' passive trait from "ignore armor" (DR set to 0) to "hit a weak spot" (DR is cut in half)
- add a CS check to aimed attack:torso. Currently, if you hit, you get the halved DR effect automatically, without any CS check. Basically, you trade 2 extra AP for extra damage. We're adding a CS check to give you a chance to ignore armor completely. So, now if you hit, you roll for CS, if failed - you get the "hit a weak spot" effect, if succeeded, you ignore armor completely.
- min attack speed is now 2. So, if you get the balanced dagger, you can't spam 1AP fast attacks, but all other attacks cost less.
- change various damage ranges (by 1 point only): slightly decreasing fast attacks, slight increasing power attacks, and slightly increasing 4AP weapons damage.
- nets - add a penalty to defense and double the movement rate; give nets to some arena fighters and guards; add Throwing/10 to THC.
- lower Dodge counter-attack chance from 25-80 to 15-70.
- you can block/dodge 4 attacks per turn without penalties; each subsequent attack in the same turn will be progressively harder to block/dodge. So, uh, don't get surrounded.
- shields can resist splitting. Tower shields are harder to split than a buckler, etc.
- some weapons (like 2H sword) will get a small chance to split shields. The axes will remain the most effective shield-splitting weapon, of course.
- the ammo system is changed completely

before: ammo modified the damage and DR
now: ammo modifies DR and critical modifier, so for example, AP ammo has superb armor penetration but doesn't cause a lot of critical damage (crit damage modifier "-1"), while barbed ammo has very low penetration but causes high criticals (crit damage modifier "0.5").

The passive trait chance is modified by the attack type now. Fast attacks reduce the chance by 5 points, power attacks increase it by 5 points.

Wednesday - December 30, 2009

Age of Decadence - Updated Combat Demo

by Dhruin, 20:27

A new version of The Age of Decadence Combat Demo is now available, offering a raft of tweaks and fixes.  This isn't a patch, so you'll need to download the new, full demo.

Here are the list of major fixes:

  • Fixed: "Closed off buildings when the game is loaded."
  • Fixed: "Can move through NPCs."
  • Combat sounds do not fade so much with distance.
  • Disabled streaming music, it's all preloaded now.
  • Moved screenshots and console.log to My Documents\My Games\Age of Decadence, so they can be created even if you don't run admin account.
  • Now you can't save a game when your character is dead.
  • Death screen appearing after you die and quickly load a game: no more.
  • Fixed: "Arena master crash". Which meant potential crash on any dialogue initiation.
  • Fixed: "You can extend your spear interrupt range by selecting a whirlwind attack before ending your turn. I believe it's an exploit."
  • Equipping something while moving made character continue his path as a statue (wrong animation was played).
  • Fixed: clicking dialogue answer could lead to a wrong outcome (problem with hidden answers, when your character didn't pass skill/stat/script check.
  • Fixed error loading a saved game, if you saved it while your character was moving (to the last tile of his/her path?)
  • Now crossbows are not getting unloaded when dropped into inventory.
  • Found a solution for ATI videocard owners (X-series) who experienced visual artefacts.
  • Fixed "Characters attack and hurt themselves or wrong targets" bug.
  • Fixed a bug with loading a save game, when user gets a normal loading screen at first, but when the SVGA progress bar reaches the end, the game "hangs", though gameworld sounds are heard.
  • Fixed: "Combat goes into an endless loop after a character disengages from an opponent."
  • Throwing axes are not floating in the air any more, while your character walks.
  • Fixed: "The bow multishot does not deal criticals."
  • You could totally avoid combat in this combat demo Smile (bug with arena exits)
  • Spaces between some dialogue asnwers were too large.
  • Fixed a bug when you could initiate a conversation in movement and still keep walking somewhere.
  • Added "1", "2", "3" keys as alternative shortcuts to attack modes (fast, normal, power).
  • Fixed: "Characters attack through the walls".

Saturday - December 26, 2009

Age of Decadence - Combat Demo Released

by Dhruin, 01:02

The Combat Demo for The Age of Decadence has been released - a nice Christmas present for anyone following the game.

Currently, the file is available directly from Iron Tower's FTP server but we'll add mirrors when they turn up; expect Iron Tower tower to get bogged down with demand, so be patient (direct link, 180Mb).

There are comments in this thread and a FAQ about the demo here.  There's a forum especially for feedback on the demo, so expect the conversation to migrate there.

Remember that is a special beta combat demo featuring a gladitorial arena - not a live area from the final game - and the game is still in development.  Some of the mechanics have been modified (skill points are awarded after each win, for example) and you won't experience the normal questing structure.

Edit: Rapidshare mirror, Filefront

Monday - November 02, 2009

Age of Decadence - Combat Demo Update

by Dhruin, 20:07

This update is current, I promise.  Vince gave an update on the combat demo for The Age of Decadence on their forums:

Step by step... Step # 4217

A new build featuring a brand new save/load system, redesigned Critical Strike, numerous AI tweaks, balance tweaks, bug fixes, all ending screens, and all kinda other shit that most people won't even notice was given to the testers. Just letting you know where we stand and what's going on in general.

Other than that, now we just need to add sounds and resolutions, fix the memory issue (see below), and we'll be ready to release the demo. Thanks for the patience and understanding, guys.

Friday - October 23, 2009

Age of Decadence - Of Doors, Locks and Traps

by Dhruin, 20:12

Vince has posted some information on doors, locks and traps and the associated game mechanics for The Age of Decadence on their forums.  Several screens are used to illustrate, so take a look.

Edit: Lennie points out this thread is from February, which is rather embarrassing.  I'll leave this newsbit up as a testament to my inattention and because AoD deserves the attention, anyway.

 

Monday - September 14, 2009

Age of Decadence - New Video

by Dhruin, 13:04

Oscar from Iron Tower has posted a quick lo-res video to show off the power attack in The Age of Decadence.  It shows a spearman taking on three opponents, with various tactics and attacks on show.

Monday - September 07, 2009

Age of Decadence - Combat Demo Guide

by Dhruin, 12:59

Vince has posted the Readme / instructions for the upcoming Age of Decadence combat demo on the ITS forums.  It was posted to seek comments on the readability but if you're following this one, it might be worth a read to learn more about the mechanics.

Thursday - August 20, 2009

Age of Decadence - Experimenting with Endings

by Dhruin, 00:44

A new thread from Vince at The Age of Decadence forums gives a couple of text examples from the 14 different endings of the upcoming Combat Demo and some sample screens of a concept for the presentation.  The shorter one:

You try to get up, but you can't. The puddle of blood around you is getting bigger. You know what it means, but you refuse to believe it. It can't end like this. You try to say something, but almost choke on the blood and pass out.

Later on the slaves pick up your body and drag it to the dump. You're still alive when they throw your body into a large pile of rotting corpses and waste - your final resting place. The smell is nauseating. You start praying for a merciful death, but the gods are busy and you have to wait for hours until your wish is granted.

Friday - August 14, 2009

Age of Decadence - Faction Capes

by Dhruin, 00:12

A pretty minor update but Oscar has kicked up examples of faction capes on The Age of Decadence forums.

Tuesday - August 11, 2009

Age of Decadence - Combat Demo Comments

by Dhruin, 23:01

...from Annie Carlson, no less.  Annie has posted a point-by-point critique from some time with the still in development Age of Decadence combat demo, which will no doubt lead to lots more polishing before we get to play with it.  The list is too long to print here but here is her summary:

Overall, please don’t let this tone mislead you.  The base format of the combat I find very fun and interesting, the world looks great, and I’m impressed with the dialogue (the fight barks get a little repetitive and Brian said that they had good curses in the HBO series Rome that mostly apparently had to do with dogs, pigs, and people’s mothers, and I suggested the phrase “a sweaty swine’s foreskin” as a fun little starter curse.  Hee.  I like to say bad things).  I wanted to run around and check out a larger world, and the demo made me crave this experience keenly.  I think there are a lot of things that need to be worked out with the combat to make it more challenging than frustrating, difficult but not overly punishing.  But I think those are definitely easily within the realm of possibility, and I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.

Monday - August 10, 2009

Age of Decadence - Status Update

by Dhruin, 23:19

Responding to a forum post, Vince, Oscar and Nick explain the current development status of The Age of Decadence.  Here's a lengthy collection of posts that provide a good picture.  Oscar on being "content complete":

I want to clear a misconception. Content is not the same as assets. It's not the same to have a working area where all NPC are males and most buildings are untextured or just placeholders than having an area fully modeled and textured, with males and female NPCs with the correct clothing, filler NPCs, banners moved by the wind, particles, flavor overhead text, etc.

That is the difference between a "working" game, and a full, polished game.

Vince on the length of development and some hurdles:

One year full time with 15-20+ people. We work part-time and there is only 4 of us. It's not an excuse but an explanation of why things take so long.

Anyway, let's use the demo as an example of the indie process. We promised the demo by March and we had a playable demo by March. That was easy. Now, "playable demo" meant that there was the arena district, that you can explore it and talk to the arena master, fight in the arena, loot, sell, buy stuff, get proper skill points, increase skills, etc. Almost everything. Just a few tweaks and we're done. Not quite.

First, tweaking the combat system took a very long time. Nick worked his ass off, "processing" changes and spitting out new builds every day. I posted some feedback earlier. Did we have a combat system before? Of course we did, but we never tested it extensively and played it for days and weeks until you hated the fucking thing and cursed the day you started working on the game. It took a long time, but now it's really fluid and enjoyable. Now, it's exactly what I wanted it to be. Trust me, I can't wait to share it with you guys. It's very hard to work on something for years, dying to show it fully, and not being able to because the game isn't ready yet.

According to Annie, "it's shaping up to be really awesome ... graphics solid and consistent and the scale of the city was really impressive", but maybe she's being nice.

Second, the little things. Everything and anything goes there. Sounds and music, which we are still working on, AI, which still requires tweaks (previously we were talking about combat mechanics, rules, and numbers), menu commands, camera control, running, animation tweaks, problems we didn't foresee, and all kinda bugs from visual to scripting to mechanics.

The mechanics are complex, so it's easy to tweak a few things and fuck a lot of things up. Here is a recent example. We changed aimed attacks: legs damage from normal to damage assigned to fast range of the equipped weapon. Well, crossbows don't have fast or power attacks for obvious reasons, so when an crossbowman tried to shoot you in the legs the game crashed. Why? No fast damage.

No we have Vista issues. We tested the game on 12 PCs, none of them had Vista. You can load the game, but when you start combat, it crashes because Vista replaces your character ID with something else.

Oscar on some recent graphical improvements:

As Vince said, the road is not an easy one. We had a playable demo by March, but some shortcuts and rough around the edges. Then Nick had to work on his thesis and we lost him for a couple of months. We picked up the pace again, but there are a lot of small details that make a game truly polished, and those take time to do. Check, for example, the list from the updates I did in the past two weeks (this does not include Nick's updates):

- Virtual Collision Meshes for all buildings.
- Animated Doors.
- Animated trees and banners.
- Updated area map.
- 1600x1200 panels and buttons.
- Latest char and item databases.
- Latest Dialogues.
- Updated male face textures.
- Better collision for most buildings.
- Some texture changes for interiors, weapons and armors.
- Added some filler NPCs, will add more.
- Assigned new dialogue system to arena master and merchant.
- Assigned item list to merchant (check bug reports).
- Created item lists for the 3 tiers.
- Made some changes to the level mostly regarding passability.
- Greatly improved the quality of the lightmaps for the fort and assassins guild.
- Created passability for all floors of the level.
- Added moving signs to the inn.
- Completed all the lists for the merchant, including special weapons.
- Made some small changes to how THC is calculated for ranged weapons.
- Added scoped crossbows.
- Changed some blue steel icons that didn't look quite alright.
- Fixed flying spectators bones, textures and UVMs.
- Included latest item and character databases.

...and on the possible proximity of the combat demo:

As for the demo, I agree with Vince estimate of 4 weeks until release, but I might add 2 weeks more due to unforeseen consequences. We are doing some changes to the AI in order to use the new rules we made for combat and to counter some exploits, and messing with that stuff is a recipe for potential bugs, which will have to be found and squashed. After that is an update to the save system (which became obsolete due to some changes we made), implementation of a couple of accessory screens, sounds and different screen resolutions. And a final round of testing and optimizing. Now, do you think our estimate is accurate? Is there a book somewhere which could tell us how much would these tasks take?

Sunday - July 19, 2009

Age of Decadence - More Portraits

by Dhruin, 11:03

Resch from our forums points out their are new samples in The Age of Decadence portraits thread.  They really are incredible work and there are a couple of women now, so have a wander through the whole thread.

Thursday - July 02, 2009

Age of Decadence - Possible Portraits?

by Dhruin, 01:09

As we wait for the combat demo, Vince has posted some sample work from an artist who may provide NPC portraits for The Age of Decadence - keep your fingers crossed because the work is awesome.

Monday - June 08, 2009

Age of Decadence - Choices & Consequences

by Dhruin, 23:17

In lieu of the combat demo, which isn't yet ready, Vince has kicked up a detailed quest example at the official forums, using over a dozen screens to illustrate.  Here's the setup:

Today's sermon is dedicated to quest design and choices & consequences. Those who followed the game in general and the Let's Play thread in particular will be familiar with the events. Long story short:

- you're trying to get an audience with Lord Antidas, which isn't easy because you're a nobody
- Dellar, the captain of Antidas' guards, has offered you two opportunities to prove yourself and do something he doesn't want to waste his own men on.
- Feng, a not entirely trustworthy loremaster, has asked you to get rid of a rival recently invited by Lord Antidas.

So, overall, it's a simple "kill a rival" quest. Naturally, it comes with a double-cross opportunity, so now it's a "which loremaster to choose" dilemma, which poses a question: what's the damn difference? Allow me to illustrate.

Thursday - May 21, 2009

Age of Decadence - Animations @ Official Forums

by Dhruin, 00:18

Vince has provided three sample death critical animations on The Age of Decadence forums.  Perhaps of even more interest - if I understand the comment correctly - the composer from Katauri's King's Bounty has provided much of the music for the game with 13 tracks provided so far. 

Wednesday - May 13, 2009

Age of Decadence - Interview, Forum Tidbits

by Dhruin, 00:25

Vince D. Weller has posted an English version of a recent Age of Decadence interview with a Polish Fallout/post-apoc site.  The conversation revolves around the setting and the concept of "post-apocalyptic" conventions:

Some fans of post-apocalyptic settings claim that "it isn't >>true<< post-apocalyptic world if destruction has anything to do with magic, daemons, etc." because PA should deal with real threats. How would you convince them that fantasy can also provide a good background for presenting typical problems connected to PA?

Well, apocalypse usually refers to the end of the world or civilization [as we know it], and post-apocalyptic fiction takes us on a trip to a world-after-the-end. So, as long as we have a civilization, a kaboom factor, and the not so sweet hereafter, it's safe to say that it's definitely and certifiably PA. Someone can make a game about survivors of the Atlantis or the Deluge, which, btw, would be a pretty cool game, and guess what, it would be a 100% post-apocalyptic game.

There's also an interesting thread on their forums with questions (and answers) about non-combat oriented characters.

Thursday - April 16, 2009

Age of Decadence - Development Update

by Dhruin, 23:22

While we wait for The Age of Decadence combat demo, Vince has posted a fairly detailed development update on the official forums to explain what they have been doing:

Here is what we've been doing for the last few weeks.

Ranged:

- enemies advance too fast, ranged is basically melee with fancy weapons -> doubled movement cost
- ranged is useless against heavy shields -> heads are no longer protected by shields (but it's a very hard aimed shot), decrease vsRanged bonuses, give AP ammo 30% chance to ignore shields
- ranged penalties (accuracy loss over distance) are too harsh; the life of a ranger is hard enough as it is -> let's remove penalties completely and see what happens
- holy shit! rangers pwn everything in sight! retreat -> new penalty curve: there are small penalties for blank shots and for >80% of the range (each ranged weapon has a range) -> seems to work very well

Aimed Attacks and Criticals

- aimed attacks are useless (i.e. other attacks are clearly better) -> changed cost and special effects
- special effects happen rarely; either no effect or insta-kill (CS' passive trait kicking in and overriding special effects) - removed insta-kill, changed formulas
- works perfectly, aimed attacks are da bomb, who needs other attacks -> changed formulas
- high CS against light armored opponents = criticals on every hit -> changed CS passive trait to vsCriticals, tweak the formulas
- very low Criticals with AP ammo, high Criticals with regular ammo -> changed formula from (damage x2 - DR) to (damage-DR) x2

Spears:

Too powerful -> now can't use long spears up close and personal, must step back
That whole coming and going business with rangers and spearmen is getting out of hand -> added opportunity attacks
Etc.

It takes awhile to test, get feedback, discuss options, implement one, test, tweak, test, check how one change affects everything else, tweak, check, etc. Every day we have a new build to work with. It's a lot of work and it would be awesome if you bastards were doing the testing, but I don't want to give you an unfinished product and I don't want to see a bunch of "feature X sucks/useless/doesn't work well" threads once the demo is released.

The game is real. The demo is real. It's a-coming. Your patience is appreciated. For realz, yo.

Monday - March 30, 2009

Age of Decadence - Interview @ IG Magazine

by Dhruin, 12:50

Vince D. Weller was recently interviewed for France's IG Magazine - fortunately, VD has provided a translation on the official forums.  Here's a sample:

7. Will the player be able to witness the consequences of his actions during the actual gameplay, or will they only be summarized at the end (Fallout-style) ?

Both. You’ll witness short-term consequences and will be told about long-term effects of your action at the end of the game. For example, the Imperial Guards – an army remnant – will try to take over one of the towns. If you’ve joined this faction, you’ll do your best to help them bring a new order and establish a military rule. Alternatively, you can side with other factions and do your best to prevent the take over by any means necessary, from clever scheming to targeted assassinations.

Let’s say you’ve stopped the guards from taking over. The town remains under the old management, the Imperial Guards in that town are weakened and can be persuaded to join the local House, which will strengthen it and won’t go unnoticed by other Houses. That’s the short term effect. The long term effect is weakening of the Imperial Guards as a faction – they fail to establish a foothold, they lose a capable commander and the entire garrison that was stationed in that town. It also shows that they are not the power they once were, which will make it much easier for you to talk other factions into moving against the Imperial Guards, should you wish to do so.

Also, there is an ending that will only be possible if the Imperial Guards remain a powerful faction. Weaken them and the ending and events leading to it are no longer available.

Source: GameBanshee

Friday - March 13, 2009

Age of Decadence - Combat Demo Screens

by Dhruin, 22:54

Vince D. Weller has kicked up some screens from the anticipated Age of Decadence combat demo that (hopefully) isn't too far away.  Here's the accompanying post:

1 - The demo menu screen. Suggestions are welcome.
2 - The bath house
3 - fireplace
4 - Ganezzar's outline
5 - guild

Edit: That's what Oscar's working on at the moment. I grabbed a few shots to post for your amusement and entertainment. Oscar hates when I do that, but that's what being a good host is all about.

Monday - March 02, 2009

Age of Decadence - Interview @ Resolution Magazine

by Dhruin, 21:11

A short interview with Vince D. Weller is in the latest edition of a UK gaming eZine called Resolution.  Since we know Vince's views fairly well, here's the current status:

R: When can we expect to be playing The Age of Decadence?

This year, hopefully. The game is playable, but playable and good are two different things. Putting everything together was relatively easy. Making sure that every feature is good is the hardest and very time-consuming part. A lot of ideas sound great in theory, but they often work differently in-game or have unexpected side effects.

Overall, in my humble opinion, Blizzard is the only company that "gets it". Making good games takes time. You rush a game a lot of people want, you'll end up delivering an inferior product and piss of the very same people who only yesterday demanded the game to be released "now!". We get one shot at breaking into the gaming industry and we aren't going to take unnecessary risks by releasing the game before it's ready.

A combat demo will be released soon. We hope you'd enjoy it.

Sunday - February 01, 2009

Age of Decadence - Two New Screens @ Iron Tower Forums

by Magerette, 19:12

Over at Iron Tower Forums, two new screenshots have gone up showing off an interior view. You can check them out them here.

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - January 21, 2009

Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPS

by Dhruin, 22:10

Vince D. Weller has a short conversation with Rock, Paper, Shotgun as part of a series called Unknown Pleasures 2009.  Here's a progress update:

 

RPS: It’s been a while since we’ve last talked. Care to bring RPS’ readers up to date with what you’ve been up to? What’s Age of Decadence’s progress?

Vince D. Weller: We are slowly getting there. A combat demo should be released in a few months. The demo will be set in an arena district of one of the towns and will show what the game looks like. You’ll fight different opponents, ranging from local scum and captured criminals to gladiators and professional fighters looking for easy coins. You’ll fight against single fighters and groups; fast, lightly armored opponents and heavy, ironclad juggernauts. This should give you a good feel of the combat and give us plenty of feedback to work with.

In unrelated news, the game was voted as the second most anticipated RPG by RPG Watch readers. We were offered a good publishing deal by a large North American publisher, although I’m not sure if that’s the direction we’d take. And a French gaming magazine did a several page AoD article/interview. Needless to say, we appreciate this support.

 

Monday - December 15, 2008

Age of Decadence - Possible Combat Demo?

by Dhruin, 21:19

GameBanshee noticed a post on The Age of Decadence forums where Vince D. Weller discusses a possible combat demo:

It's a combat demo and it's planned to be released in about 3 months assuming that everything goes well, which includes having enough available time on daily/weekly basis.

The demo will be set in the arena district (so you’ll be able to see what AoD towns look and feel like). You’ll fight different opponents, ranging from local scum and captured criminals to professional fighters looking for easy coins and guild recruiters showing off their skills and prowess. You'll fight against single fighters and groups, fast lightly armored opponents and heavy, ironclad juggernauts. That should give you a good feel of the combat and give us plenty of feedback to work with.

You'll earn skill points, improve your skills, loot dead bodies, sell & buy equipment, commission special weapons (you won't be able to craft weapons yourself in the demo), etc. Your opponents aren't random. It's more of a ladder structure and it would be interesting to see how high you'll be able to climb.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - December 11, 2008

Age of Decadence - Possible Retail Release

by Magerette, 18:30

On the indie front, Gamebanshee points out a forum post at the AOD forums stating developer Vince Weller has been contacted about a possible retail release for his Iron Tower Studio title, Age of Decadence:

We were contacted by a well known publisher today. The publisher thinks that AoD is a "top-tier" product that simply must be on Gamestop and EB Games shelves across North America.

Further on in the thread:

We are considering it.

And

Anyway, so far it looks promising. The publisher has accepted our "not negotiable" points (we retain all rights to the setting and future titles based on the AoD world, any DRM decisions should be approved by us, etc). We'll see.

Source: GameBanshee

Sunday - October 26, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview @ No Continues

by Dhruin, 21:13

Portuguese site No Continues has kicked up an English version of an interview with Vince D. Weller.  Here's a sample:

No Continues: One of the elements you’ve brought up in past interviews comes in the form of factions. How well can we expect factions to integrate players into the gameworld, from exposing the highs and lows of the post-apocalyptic setting to allowing some diverse role-playing? Will a faction have its own perspective on the setting and game world, and a background with other factions that might elicit some interesting role-playing venues?

Vince D. Weller: Factions are one of the main features, so they’ve received a lot of thoughts, love, and attention. Each faction has its own history, perspective, goals, and relationship with other factions, so helping one faction won’t go unnoticed by that faction’s friends and enemies.

Factions’ quests usually revolve around the same in-game events, which create even more tensions and drama. Here is an example. Imperial Guards, a military faction, is plotting to take over one of the towns.

If you’re a member of the assassins’ guild, you’ll have to assassinate the Imperial Guards’ commander. Kill him and the take-over threat is gone. The Imperial Guards will take it very, very personally though. You can kill your partner instead and spoil the assassination, which would upset the assassins’ guild greatly, but make a good impression on the Guards. Then the Guards can take over, display “under new management!” banners and plot some more, but the faction that controlled the town before will have a serious problem with you, which would greatly increase the odds of you dying prematurely.

If you’re playing for the Imperial Guards, you’ll be doing your best to help your brethren take over, which would include dealing with the assassination threat. So, basically you’ll see the same event from different perspective, hear different arguments, and will be able to make your own decisions due to numerous opportunities to double-cross and change factions.

Thursday - October 09, 2008

Age of Decadence - Journey Through Zamedi

by Dhruin, 22:59

Bit of a catchup today...GameBanshee has a new Age of Decadence article that looks at the Zamedi ruins, complete with 15 new screens:

Welcome to the ruins of Zamedi. It used to be a large city, but that was before it was hit by three 1D4+1 magic missiles in a row during a decade-long war. So, nothing survived but this tower. It's rumored that such towers had wondrous machines that channeled power from other planes and used it in many different and creative ways, including but not limited to raising protective shields when under attacks.

The tower's machines didn't fail, but the hellfire unleashed by the enemy's magi consumed the city and the army defending it. House Aurelian claimed the tower after the war and being weary of what they couldn't understand and control, sealed it to make sure that the knowledge and the power contained within would die there.

Wednesday - September 24, 2008

Age of Decadence - Forum Tidbits

by Dhruin, 00:47

Vince D. Weller has responded to a question about the length of The Age of Decadence on the official forums.  Nothing we didn't broadly know already but it provides additional insight into the non-linear nature of the game:

114 quests at the moment, including the main quest. As was stated before you won't get more than 60% in the course of one game. Most likely you'll get about 30-50 quests per game.

Let's use Teron as an example.

You have 4 main story quests.

3 quests per faction (House Daratan (different from the main quest), assassins, merchants, thieves, imperial guards) = 15 quests.

5 side quests, including solutions to the previously mentioned quests. For example, IF you're working for the Thieves Guild and IF you decide to handle one of the quests in a certain way, then the price for securing an NPC's support is doing a quest for him.

So, overall we have 24 quests plus 7 vignette quests, so that's 31 quests right there. However, when you are playing the game you'll get 1 vignette quest, 4 main quests, up to 3 faction quests, and up to 3 side quests, so that's only 5-11 quests.

Monday - September 08, 2008

Age of Decadence - The Ruins of Zamedi

by Dhruin, 23:15

Screens and discussion of a new Age of Decadence location called the Ruins of Zamedi over at Iron Tower's forums.

Monday - September 01, 2008

Age of Decadence - Char Gen Screens

by Dhruin, 22:16

Oscar from Iron Tower has kicked up three character generation screens for The Age of Decadence on the official forums.

Friday - August 29, 2008

Age of Decadence - Release Date Comments

by Dhruin, 00:33

A 2008 release for The Age of Decadence is still possible according to Vince at the official forums - but the obvious subtext is that it's unlikely:

The progress we've made is in front of you. It should be clear that we *are*getting closer to the release, that it took a lot of work, years of work, to get where we are today, and that all that time wasn't wasted.

I'm not promising anything here. We'll take as much time as we need, but I can't estimate it due to the part-time nature of the project. Can AoD be released in 2008? Yes. IF everything goes smoothly. If everyone is able to spend at least 4-5 hours a day for the next 4 months. If these are quality, uninterrupted  hours (vs "I'm tired and can't think straight" hours"). If everything works as intended and doesn't require adjustments. If we don't have spend time changing things. Females look much better now, thanks to you guys, but that was 10 days of work.

Again, keep in mind that it's a part-time project. I'm not making excuses here, just explaining that our development year is at best 4-5 months of a full-time year. 

I'm not making any "release date" comments or promises. Current status: "in development". That's all I can tell you. We'll do our best to entertain you on our forums while you're waiting.
Thanks.

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - August 25, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview @ Alley of Infinite Angles

by Dhruin, 22:31

A site called the Alley of Infinite Angles has an interview with Vince D. Weller on The Age of Decadence.  Nothing new but fans will get more of Vince's development philosophy:

Checking in on the AoD forums, I found the ‘Teron’s Mine’ discussion very interesting (http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php?topic=337.0) – Oscar, one of your devs, posted screenshots of an area he had developed, then tweaked it about a dozen times to satisfy fan feedback. It was almost as if he was presenting a draft for everyone to polish together. Does this happen often with Age of Decadence? Does it ever get difficult or cumbersome to put so much emphasis on fan input during the creation process?

It's an acquired taste. Basically, we don't treat people who are interested in AoD as idiots. First, their opinions are important because we are making this game for them. So, what I think sometimes matters less than what they think. Second, you know that saying "one head is better than two"? Well, how about one head vs a thousand heads then? Listening to our fans allowed us improve the game greatly. Some suggestions were absolutely brilliant. Kind of like "Damn! Why didn't I think of that?", which is exactly the point. You can't think of everything. The only way to do that is to pay attention to what people are criticizing and suggesting.

It's not about designing by committee. It's not about being unsure and asking people to do your job for you. It's about presenting your vision to people and letting them help you polish it and make it better. We started showing everything and getting feedback from day one, and once we realized the benefits, it became our way of doing things. Pretty much every aspect of the game was presented to our fans who did their best to tear it apart (fucking savages) and help us "think of everything".

Also, at the official site you can find A conversation with Marcus Cornelius Arvina - an in-character look at a shop and some items.

Saturday - August 16, 2008

Age of Decadence - Character Renders

by Dhruin, 03:01

You'll need to be a member at the Age of Decadence forums to view these but if you are, wander over for some character renders.

Monday - July 07, 2008

Age of Decadence - Maadoran Arena

by Dhruin, 22:56

Oscar has posted some shots of a new location from The Age of Decadence - the Maadoran Arena.  You'll need to be logged in to see the screens.

Monday - June 09, 2008

RPGWatch Feature: Let's Play AoD! #3

by Dhruin, 13:45

Where to next for Titus the assassin? Check our third Let's Play entry for more blow-by-blow gameplay from Iron Tower's upcoming CRPG, The Age of Decadence.

If you'd like to see more of these, make sure you comment so that Vince knows the demand is there for more articles!

Wednesday - May 21, 2008

Age of Decadence - Teron's Mine

by Dhruin, 02:35

Oscar from Iron Tower has kicked up a pair of work-in-progress screens of the Teron mines.  Very pretty but, as usual, the AoD forums don't show attached pics unless you are logged in.  We might steal them a little later and put them up here for those that aren't members.

Sunday - May 11, 2008

Age of Decadence - Tour of Teron

by Dhruin, 00:54

Age of Decadence artist Oscar has kicked up a handful of screens showing a district in Teron for feedback. 

Friday - May 09, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview #3 @ StarWarsKnights

by Dhruin, 00:42

StarWarsKnights and Vince D. Weller wrap up their conversation on the development of AoD:

The playable character and what motivates him is a unique and ever-present issue for RPG development. You can make him a part of your universe, giving him friends, memories, a family and while it can help solve the problem of motivation it surely violates the agency of the player; indeed, it voids all later development of that character. Equally so, the tabula rasa playable character makes the player wonder, "Why am I doing this again?" What is your approach to this problem?

Well, it takes two to tango. The player is expected to buy into the story and go along with it. The developer is expected to respect the player and spare him the pain of "You are an emo kid with an attitude who won't rest until his beloved kingdom of Animia is freed from some emo evil".

I think that Fallout nailed it perfectly. Your character draws the short straw and is sent to look for a water chip in the wasteland. That setup covers different motivations, interests, and reasons. You may want to find a water chip because you want to get back to the safety of the vault. Or maybe you are glad to get out of the claustrophobic vault and want to explore the new world and see what it has to offer.

AoD's main quest revolves around locating an ancient temple. Obviously if the player says the he/she doesn't care about some temple and would like to settle down and open a bakery instead, then there is nothing we can do to help. Providing artificial motivations like "you father, whom you love oh so dearly, went to look for this temple and you won't rest until you find your dad" is kinda lame, so we help the player to find an object (a map) that will sooner or later lead him/her to one of the three different parties that are interested in that temple for very different reasons. Counting your character's natural curiosity (we do our best to interest the player (and thus the character) in the temple), that's 4 different reasons to get involved in the story.

Thursday - May 08, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview #2 @ StarWarsKnights

by Dhruin, 00:35

Part 2 of StarWasKnights' interview with VD is up, still discussing his motivations with The Age of Decadence:

Let’s say a scene that you loved, something that you believed was absolutely integral to your creative vision for Age of Decadence, was smashed to pieces before your very eyes by your forum community, how would you respond and what would you do? Would you scrap it or would you keep it despite the cries of anguish?

I’m wondering how far this feedback thing goes and whether or not you’d be willing to sacrifice what you desperately wanted for, what I can only describe as, pandering to the mainstream.

We don't include or throw out anything simply because someone loves it or hates it. The most important phase is "Designer and critics argue relative merits". So, if our critics could prove that some feature, element, or scene I love and cherish is actually stupid or poorly designed, then yes, I'll throw it out without reservations and thank people for helping me to see the errors in my design.

Here is a thing. The longer you work on a game, the harder it is to notice flaws. It's easy to think that a poorly thought through idea is a good idea. It's easy to like a stupid idea. Once these things are in a game, it's very hard to notice them, to realize that something is wrong. They make sense to you, so you are blind to them. That's where the critics come in.

We are making a game for the fans of "hardcore RPGs". If these fans tell us that feature X sucks and can explain and justify their point of view, then they are right and ignoring their points would be very unwise.

Wednesday - May 07, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview #1 @ StarWarsKnights

by Dhruin, 01:15

The first part of a new VD interview on The Age of Decadence is online at StarWarsKnights.com, which looks like a KotOR fansite.  This edition deals with genre conventions and VD's motivation rather than the game itself:

In countless interviews and forum posts you've spoken about "choice and consequence." Would you like to explain to our readers what that means, exactly? From here it sounds little more than a buzz word -- like "extreme" or "epic".

Buzzwords like extreme, epic, next-generation, etc. describe nothing and mean nothing. Reading that game X is epic tells you nothing. These concepts are subjective and since gaming journalism tends to attract the dumbest, you can read deep thoughts like KotOR is the pinnacle of greatness in TB RPGs or KotOR's story in fact is one of the best stories told this century.

"Choices & consequences", like "turn-based" or "isometric", refers to a very specific design that can't be interpreted in different ways. A game is either turn-based or not; it either has choices or not; the gameworld either reacts to those choices or not.

Choices are the core of role-playing. That's what separates RPGs from adventure games; instead of following a predetermined path and solving problems in very specific ways, you decide what to do (within the frame of a story and setting), when to do it, and how to do it.

Thursday - April 24, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPG Codex

by Dhruin, 05:22

Our favourite angry developer, Vince D. Weller, has been interviewed at the Codex about the trials and tribulations of starting an indie studio and the development of AoD:

2. With the idea formed in your mind, how did you actually go about developing it? How did you recruit your team, and what difficulties did you face in doing so? How did you approach technical concerns, such as choice of engine and tools?

I've started with the setting, main story overview, and major design elements (character system, combat, multiple ways to handle quests, non-linearity, etc). I didn't do all the quests or ways to solve them, of course. I'm talking about the concept phase here. For example, one way to keep the main quest non-linear is to have multiple factions interested in it. These factions shouldn't want the same thing as that would make your choice of a faction less important. So, they should want different things which would give you different reasons to pursue the main quest and would require you to make very different decisions once you are at the end of your journey. At the same time you can't be sent to several different directions at once, so your final destination should be able to offer and support different outcomes, etc. In other words, you develop the frame of a game first and then fill it in with the actual content.

Then I showed what I had to a few hand-picked Codex members and asked to tear it apart. Find flaws, stupidity, weak spots, underdeveloped spots, missed opportunities, and criticize the fuck out of it until what's left was rock solid.

THEN I started looking for an engine. I tried at least 6 different engine demos and talked to several indie developers. At some point Zero-Sum's Matt Williams offered me Prelude to Darkness' engine. I've played with the engine a bit, modded the starting town, trying different things with quests and dialogues, but in the end it didn't work out and I had to look for another engine.

That's when Nick saw discussions about the game's design at the Codex and eventually offered to join me on my holy quest. Nick's a talented programmer (I hate strong words, but he's very, very good at it. His skills turned a lot of my dream features into reality.) He was working on another indie RPG project at that time, but as it often happens, his teammates started losing interest and dedication once the project moved beyond the concept phase. Nick brought with him a 2D engine he wrote and the rest you know. Eventually we had to switch to Torque Game Engine, which greatly improved the reaction to our screenshots. 

Monday - April 14, 2008

RPGWatch Feature: Let's Play AoD! #2

by Dhruin, 11:17

With cash in pocket from the first mission, our assassin in the second episode of "Let's Play The Age of Decadence!" decides to hit the market and get a map appraised. It sounds like a straight forward setup but Vince D. Weller shows how the Streetwise skill opens up new options, even in this simple scenario.

Read it all here.

Monday - March 31, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview @ Down the Wall

by Dhruin, 22:06

A site that focuses on video game story-telling has interviewed Vince D. Weller about The Age of Decadence:

DtW: Why is player choice important to you?

Vince: Because that’s what role-playing is all about. An RPG without choices is an adventure game with stats, and since we’re making an RPG…

DtW: How do you achieve player choice? How does that goal influence the narrative?

Vince: I assume the first question should be read as “how do you insert a choice into a story without breaking it?”. The answer is by providing multiple solutions and story arcs, which, by the way, is more logical and interesting than set-in-stone events.

Let’s take The Witcher as an example. For storytelling reasons your character is arrested when he tries to enter the city and thrown in jail. In the jail your character is asked to kill a creature in the sewers where he meets an important NPC. That’s the drama- and twist-filled story. It works great in a book format where the reader is following adventures of the main character, but it’s too restrictive in a game where the player IS the main character.

A better design would have been to offer an alternative. Allow the witcher to enter the city via the sewers (after fighting the guards and escaping or after being warned about the ambush as a reward for developing relationship with the villagers) and then run into the above mentioned NPC who will offer you to join him to kill the creature. As you can see, it’s still the same overall story and direction, and the alternative doesn’t require new art assets and tons of development time. It reuses the same situations - the arrest, the creature in the sewers, the knight NPC, the same villagers, and the same sewers, but suddenly you get an important choice instead of a forced situation that you are unable to avoid.

That’s our design “philosophy”, for the lack of a better word.

Monday - March 17, 2008

RPGWatch Feature: Let's Play AoD!

by Dhruin, 10:42

Vince D. Weller takes us through a pictorial example of actual play from The Age of Decadence, in this first of a new series based on a game on the official forums. Since Vince's introduction explains the concept well, let's take that as an excerpt:

A few months ago we decided to start a "Let's play AoD" (The Age of Decadence) thread. If you aren't familiar with the "let's play game X" idea, here is how it works: someone plays a game, posting screenshots documenting each step of his/her progress and letting the audience make all decisions, from the character system to quests and in-game choices. In my opinion, that's a great way to present a new game, as it's more honest and straightforward. It shows you not what developers want to show you, but what the audience wants to see. Anyway, while you're welcome to visit our forums and participate in the Let's play AoD thread, it's a 50-page long beast filled with arguments, counter-arguments, argument-busters, and tactical nuclear arguments, so if you are only interested in the screens and some commentaries, this article, the first in a short series, is for you.

Read it all here.

Thursday - February 28, 2008

Age of Decadence - Non-Combat Gameplay

by Dhruin, 12:19

Vince's latest article on RPG design at The Age of Decadence forums examines non-combat gameplay.  Here's the opening:

As we all know RPG usually means a game where you kill things. If you are role-playing a good character, you kills things in the name of justice and general goodness, weeping for every life taken. If you are role-playing an evil character, you kill with glee because you are evil (duh!), and finally, if you are playing an undecided character, you kill things and shrug.

You can often see "Different ways to play the game!" on a game box. 12 out of 10 it means "different ways to kill things". For example, venerable Baldur's Gate 2 offers 11 different classes, including bard, druid, and monk. Surprisingly enough (well, not really, but the word "surprisingly" increases the overall dramatic effect I'm going for), even though the manual boldly claims that bard's "strength is his pleasant and charming personality; With it and his wits he makes his way through the world....", the psycho bard makes his way through the world by killing things and singing sons that help him and his buddies kill things in a more efficient manner, which is great if you think that killing things is what RPGs are all about. If not, if you are starting to doubt that diplomacy is for fags, or expecting more than backstabbing from your thief, or simply wondering where the fuck all non-combat classes are, welcome to our PowerPoint "Non-Combat Gameplay: Myths and Reality" FAQ-style presentation [...]

Saturday - February 16, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview @ Gnomes' Lair

by Dhruin, 03:19

The Random Gnomes' Random Lair fired off 10 questions to Vince D. Weller about The Age of Decadence:

9. How about the available quests?

Well, they are much more better than the unavailable quests, I'll tell you that much. We have over 100 quests (104 to be specific, but that could change), but your choices will filter it down to about 60 quests per playthrough. I'm glad to report that we have 0 FedEx quests and 0 "kill x monsters/Bring me x items" quests.

Source: RPG Codex

Monday - February 04, 2008

Age of Decadence - RPG Sub-Genres

by Dhruin, 21:09

Vince from Iron Tower has followed up his earlier 'What is an RPG?' piece with an article on sub-genres.  While the introduction is careful to point out this is purely his personal interpretation, it proves to me how difficult (and possibly pointless?) this excercise is.  Let's take a quote on action/RPGs:

Action RPGs - games that offer nothing but fast, real-time combat. You kill monsters, collect items, level up, kill bigger and badder monsters, collect better loot. Rinse and repeat. Nothing distracts you from killing, looting, and levelling. Silly things like story and characters won't get in the way of your action. Choices mean "which item compliments this build more". The goal is to make an ultimate killing machine in the chosen class, capable of cutting through anything the game throws at you like a hot knife through butter, achieving the prized "IT'S OVER NINE THOUSAND!" power status.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the concept of killing things in real-time as the main attraction isn't a novelty, but a 25-year old veteran. Two biggest events are Gauntlet, an arcade 1985 game, and Diablo, a 1996 game that started the clone war mentioned in Star Wars. Condor Games pitched the idea of "Gauntlet with better graphics" to Blizzard and although the idea was laughable, Blizzard decided to give this craziness a shot, bought Condor and renamed it into Blizzard North. The idea was laughable because in 1992-96 huge behemoths like Darklands, Star Trail, and Daggerfall ruled the RPG world offering so much more to players. Ironically, the dinosaurs died, sticking with the the evolution program, and were replaced by waves of Diablo clones: Nox, Darkstone, Revenant, Lionheart, Space Hack, Harbinger, Blade & Sword, an army of Dungeon Siege games, Sacred, Fate, Loki, Silverfall, Restricted Area, Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows, Titan Quest, that outstandingly horrible MageKnight game, Space Siege, Rise of the Argonauts, Mythos, and circle-completing Hellgate.

Diablo 2 still remains the king of the genre, offering brilliant and unmatched design.

Friday - February 01, 2008

Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPS

by Dhruin, 23:04

You may recall the second combat video released a few weeks back for The Age of Decadence was given a mildly derisive mention at Rock, Paper, Shotgun and the comments exploded as one group decried the turn-based combat and another supported AoD.  In the end, Kieron Gillen decided to follow the game further with an interview with Vince that is now up.  The article is probably more interested in VD than the game and after a conventional start, VD decides to let go:

Now, let’s go back to the responses to that article and take a look at the points your audience made:

“I’d rather puke a lung, to be honest. It would probably be more fun.”

“I am a discerning gamer of the modern age. I demand heads that smush like rotten melons, over then top rag doll death animations and screams recorded live from Nike sweatshops.”

“They took their combat model from Bookworm Adventure. Snore!”

“This is for those times when you want to sit back in your chair and only click the mouse once every 10 minutes.”

“Taking turns fighting may be something “classic” and “niche” audience, but it’s “niche” for a reason, people are looking to new things, and while rolling dice worked for pen and paper, we don’t have to do that anymore and for most people, it’s just not all that fun. Real time is just more immersive for most that want to deal with something that feels more like a real world, not a jumble of numbers and calculations on screen, the illusion is maintained with it off screen, happening in real time while people move and fire freely aiming where they want, when they want, how they want.”

“Wow, I will never play a game like that, ever. I loathe turn-based games, which is the main reason why I refuse to play any Final Fantasy game. It takes me straight out of the immersion of a game when everyone lines up and takes TURNS swiping at each other. Give me something that involves my skill. I absolutely hate it when my hit chance relies on some random dice roll. That is pure and total BS.”

When you have time, Kieron, how about writing an article explaining the difference between RPGs and shooters to your audience? Or maybe an article mentioning that the first computer games were real-time, not turn-based, and disputing the popular opinion that RT is more advanced than TB? I mean, it’s nice that your site tries to attract morons and makes them feel at home, but shouldn’t you be educating them too? It wouldn’t take much to double their IQs, so if you want, I can give you a hand there.

 

Monday - January 28, 2008

Age of Decadence - What is an RPG?

by Dhruin, 12:07

Vince from Iron Tower has penned a piece titled What's a roleplaying game? at The Age of Decadence forums.  It's a well-trod subject but as Vince says, at least you'll get an understanding of the philosophy behind AoD:

Obviously, role-playing games are about playing a role or two, but what does it really mean? Every game puts in a role of something or someone. Doom puts you in a role of a brave, ass-kicking, silent but deadly space marine who really doesn't take no for an answer. Windows' Minesweeper offers you to play a role of a brave ninja cartographer who uses nothing but his wit and logic to map an unforgiving minefield. So, "playing a role" definition can't help us here as it's big enough to put every game under its roof.

Playing a role in the CRPG context means making decisions fitting your character. Let's say you're playing a thief and you're facing a well guarded gate. A warrior may decide to fight his way through here, but a thief may decide to find another way in. That's the core difference between RPG and adventure games, for example. In adventure games you make no decisions but progress from point A to point B to point C in a very specific, set in stone way. The Monkey Island brilliant series, The Dig, Full Throttle, etc – each playthrough is exactly the same.

Thursday - January 10, 2008

Age of Decadence - New Screens

by Dhruin, 09:22

Iron Tower has posted some new Age of Decadence screens showing internal layouts with shadows.  You can see them on their forums but they don't show up if you aren't logged in, so we've also stolen them for our gallery...

 

Sunday - January 06, 2008

Age of Decadence - Bridge Art @ Official Forums

by Dhruin, 09:23

Still a work in progress but on a quiet Sunday, it's worth a hop over to the Age of Decadence forums for some screens of a destroyed bridge that artist Oscar is working on (you'll need to be logged in, unfortunately).  Nice stuff. 

Monday - December 24, 2007

Age of Decadence - Combat Video #2

by Dhruin, 22:53

Here's a nice Christmas present...Iron Tower has just released the anticipated second combat trailer for The Age of Decadence.  Here's a direct link to the file on their server (73Mb, .avi with divx encoding) and I'm sure Iron Tower would appreciate the feedback, so please comment.

Monday - December 17, 2007

Age of Decadence - Screens & Combat Teaser

by Dhruin, 11:27

I was on my way to check out the Iron Tower forums to do a roundup on The Age of Decadence but stopped at NMA, only to find they'd already done it.  This thread has a nice collection of links offering some new concept arts, shots of the world map as artist Oscar develops the concept further, a pair of barracks screens and a 30 sec teaser of the long-anticipated second combat trailer that should be released soon. 

Sunday - December 02, 2007

Age of Decadence - Art @ Official Site

by Dhruin, 08:04

The Age of Decadence artist Oscar is busy christening their new independent forums with some art from the game, showing off some nice renders of armours and new weapons (note that the weapons weren't visible for me until logging in).

Saturday - November 24, 2007

Age of Decadence - New Forums at Official Site

by Dhruin, 22:29

Vault Dweller sends word that new official forums for The Age of Decadence have been opened at their Iron Tower Studio site.

Head over to have some input in the game and check out the new town screens in this thread.

Thursday - October 18, 2007

Age of Decadence - Interface Screens

by Dhruin, 12:56

The Age of Decadence lead artist Elhoim has updated the interfaces discussion thread at RPG Codex with current shots.  The in-game GUI, dialogue, inventory, trade, alchemy, crafting, character, journal and map screens are all on offer.  Note that the post is dated February but the content has been updated.

Monday - October 01, 2007

RPGWatch Feature: The Age of Decadence Scenic Tour

by Dhruin, 10:06

Project lead Vince D. Weller takes us on an exclusive trip to see seven locations in Iron Tower Studio's indie CRPG, The Age of Decadence. Head here for several new (and existing) screens along with descriptions from Vince on that location and some of the associated gameplay.

Wednesday - September 12, 2007

Age of Decadence - New Screens

by Dhruin, 08:05

It's been a number of weeks since we looked at the Age of Decadence forums at RPG Codex but today's new screens are as good a prompt as any. So, this thread has a rather sinister pentagram (alhough, is there any other sort?) and a building basement. Looking a bit further back, this thread has some shots of a fortified mountain pass and, finally, a nifty castle.

Monday - July 30, 2007

Age of Decadence - Peek #2 (Combat and Video) @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 23:20

RPG Vault has (finally) published their second Age of Decadence Peek, which offers a detailed description written by VD of the game's turn-based combat system, seven new screens and the very first video footage.  The ~48Mb, 3:25 trailer shows a single full encounter.  Here's a snip from the humorous opening and then one on the actual combat system:

We call our new revolutionary combat mode "Xtreme". The recent advances in rocket science have allowed our engineers to slow down bullet-time significantly, achieving the above-mentioned and very next-generationy mode. It gives the player enough time to react and do all kinds of cool cinematic things in proper sequence. While to an untrained eye, it may seem that the game is still turn-based, we can assure you that you couldn't be more wrong, and what you are about to witness in the video accompanying this text is the cutting edge, Xtreme bullet time design of tomorrow. [...]

Speaking of armor, in The Age of Decadence, it doesn't increase your chance to avoid attacks. That's what the Dodge and Block skills are for. Armor absorbs the incoming damage when you failed to dodge or block successfully. Light armor absorbs only a few points, but doesn't limit your mobility, manifested in Action Points and Dodge. Heavy armor absorbs quite a lot, but it does limit your mobility, and can even make you easier to hit, so you must consider carefully what your fighting style is, and choose your equipment accordingly. Going for the heaviest armor and the biggest weapon may not be such a good idea.

Friday - July 27, 2007

Age of Decadence - New Art

by Dhruin, 13:37

Following the recent screens for Age of Decadence, some art has been posted to the official forums at RPG Codex.  First, several new armours can be found in this thread, and second, a world map (sans markers or annotations) here.

Thursday - July 26, 2007

Age of Decadence - Screens @ Official Site

by Dhruin, 15:06

Iron Tower has finally kicked up some new Age of Decadence screens at the official site, with several shots showing off the new (and presumably reasonably final) gui graphics. 

Wednesday - July 04, 2007

Age of Decadence - New Screens

by Dhruin, 14:19

A handful of new Age of Decadence combat screens have been released.  Here's one sample to get you started and the others can be found in our gallery.

 

Saturday - June 23, 2007

Age of Decadence - News Catchup

by Dhruin, 11:28

It's been a while since we've posted anything "official" for Age of Decadence, so I thought I'd scare up some stuff from the forum at RPG Codex.

First off, a while back community member Elhoim was recruited to work on improving the appearance of the interfaces - you can read about it in this lengthy thread with lots of samples.

VD comments on character creation and options here, and in May made a few comments on the status:

So, from one, purely technical point of view, you can say that it's 100% done and playable. From a more demanding point of view, it's about 60% done, meaning that I would like to replace about 40% given an opportunity (just like we replaced the interface, for example). I can post a list of things I want to fix, if someone's interested and, perhaps, would like to help.

Well, one thing that always bugged me was the complete and utter lack of anything resembling art direction. I underestimated this aspect, which is probably the biggest mistake I've made developing AoD. We have visually interesting locations like the towers, the Petra-inspired location, the temple, some tombs and underground places, but the towns look... I don't even know what word I'm looking for. Generic? Uninspiring? Boring?

Somehow they don't look like towns, but like a loose collection of buildings. At least in the Spiderweb games the towns are way too abstract for someone to say "wait-a-minute! That doesn't look like a proper town at all" (I'm too lazy to take screenshots right now, but I think we have a town shot on the website, so take a look). Anyway, we decided to throw away the town maps and start basically from scratch, splitting each town map into districts and spending more attention/time on each district, doing it right this time.

...and more recently, posts about the reason for delays:

I decided to start posting short updates to a) show that the project is not dead and b) to entertain you with crazy game development stories.

For the last 4-5 months we've been working on the combat system. While it sounds simple (I kill you with death -> u die lol!!!!), it's actually not. And no, I'm not taking about all kinda hit/miss calculations, clevar AI, the ruleset, or anything remotely interesting. I'm talking about some annoying, minor, but time-consuming crap like dropping and picking up weapons and other junk.

Our general pick-up system is simple. You click on the eye icon* and get a window that shows you all available (not in containers) items in each map(!). We have, basically, an invisible container where all the local junk is contained and dropped into when you discard an item or kill someone. Since we don't have a lot of junk lying around that seems to work well. All ingredients (leafs, sulfur, etc) are also in the container (different areas have different items - there are no leafs in desert locations, obviously). The access to the ingredients is skill-based. Let's say there are 40 "healing" leafs in an area. If your alchemy is 50, you only see 8 leafs in the pickup box. You can't see any items, weapons or ingredients, on the ground; everything is handled via the pickup window.

Anyway, moving on. In combat your can't access the general pickup window. Some battles involve allies and smarter testers waited for a better equipped characters to die and then grabbed their stuff telekinetically, being 5-10 squares away. That didn't work for us, so we had to change it. You can pick up only what's on the square you stand on (think XCOM). That way if you see a dropped weapon and you want it NOW!, you move your ass to that square and pick it up. Alternatively, you can wait for the battle to be over and then pick up everything through the general pickup window.

Now, that seems to work, but you can't see items that are on the ground, which creates a problem. Yesterday my character was disarmed by NPC A and then was knocked away by NPC B's hammer of painful death. So, here I was, disarmed and far away from the square with my axe. What was worse I couldn't even remember which square it was after the NPCs moved a bit. So, we decided to use the NWN2 "lootbag" system, which I hate with passion. We wasted a few weeks trying to come up with a better system and trying different things, but failed. Well, we'd have stupid little chests instead of bags. After a battle is over, the chests will disappear and all the loot will go into the main invisible chest. So, that's the kinda stuff that we are dealing with at the moment, in case someone's wondering.

* It also gives you a description of the area in the interface text box.

Wednesday - December 06, 2006

Age of Decadence - Peek #1 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 05:16

RPG Vault has an Age of Decadence Peek, with Iron Tower Studios penning an interesting dev diary that starts off mentioning the time spent recently fine-tuning the graphics then delves into the creation of side-quests:

Believe it or not, designing side quests turned out to be one of the biggest challenges. We knew what we didn't want to see - no pointless "save my kitty" quests, no boring and usually uneventful "FedEx" quests, no heroic "kill some rats in some basement" quests, and no feeling that the entire towns have been waiting for you to show up and solve all their problems. What we didn't know is what we wanted to see, so we tried a lot of different things, and in the end, we decided to go with something like this [...]

Wednesday - October 11, 2006

Age of Decadence - Interview @ NMA

by Dhruin, 00:40

NMA has posted a follow-up interview on Age of Decadence. Many of the questions pursue a cultural and religious line about the lore and gameworld and elicit short answers but here's a bit on the endings:

Bradylama: As an aside, with all the talk of combat avoidance, will the end-game temple force the player character to engage in combat in order to beat the game?

Vince: Absolutely not. Out of the 7 endings, only one requires you to fight.

Friday - September 01, 2006

Age of Decadence: Interview @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 13:01
A new <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/interviews/ageofdecadence1.php" target="_blank">interview</a> for 'The Age of Decadence' is up at GameBanshee. Here's a snip:<blockquote><em><b>GB: Tell us about the game's seven factions. How will a player become part of a specific faction and what advantages/disadvantages will this present for their character?</b><br><br>Vince: You either select a background when you create your character, instantly becoming a respected member of a faction or you try to join one later. Joining a faction is more complicated than asking someone to sign you up. It requires proving your skills and passing the reputation check. If you are a known felon, the merchant guild wona "!t even talk to you. If you are friendly with the guards, dona "!t even show up in shady areas. Etc.<br><br>Advantages and disadvantages are simple. Your faction can help you a lot (alternative quests solutions) and even offer some nice bonuses (equipment, training, unique information), but your faction has some powerful enemies and now they are your enemies too, so your health insurance premium has just gone way, way up. </em></blockquote>

Source: RPG Codex

Friday - July 21, 2006

Age of Decadence: Interview @ NMA

by Dhruin, 22:51
No Mutants Allowed has interviewed Iron Tower Studios about The Age of Decadence. Since they are a post-apoc site, let's quote an appropriate question:
Ratty: What is the post-apocalyptic element in the Age of Decadence and how does it project into gameplay?

Vince: Well, the devastation is everywhere. You'll see crumbling towns and dead, ruined cities; dried rivers and buried research facilities; unhealing scars of the war where the physical rules had been bended, etc.

How does it project into gameplay? Well, first of all, you visit and explore those locations, learn and piece together old stories, learn how and why the Empire fell. Second, it *is* a post-apocalyptic game, not a game merely set in some ruins. The society has reversed to the more primal state where the only rules you can rely on are the ones you can enforce yourself (or your faction can). Third, it's integrated into the story, explaining why everyone is so interested in the artefacts of the past.

Wednesday - July 05, 2006

Age of Decadence: Interview Pt. 2 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 22:21
RPG Vault continues their interview with Iron Tower Studios on their promising indie title, The Age of Decadence:
Jonric: How about non-adversarial NPCs? Are there many of them? Can any join you to form a party? And what else should we know about them?

Vince D. Weller: Since dialogues and dialogue-based ways to solve quests play a large role, there are plenty of NPCs to talk to and use your skills on. NPCs provide information, give quests, help with quests, send assassins after you, try to manipulate you, could be manipulated by you, and do other fun stuff. They also show how reactive the world is, and how your actions affect it. You won't have to imagine the consequences of your actions, or even be told about them. You will see what happened to people you've met, helped, acted against, allied with or betrayed as you play the game.

NPCs can't join you and form a party, but they can be sent to help you by a friendly faction. You'll not have any control over such allies, and will be able to move and act independently from them. As for the groups, we have seven different factions, three Noble Houses and four professional guilds for merchants, assassins, thieves and guards. You can read more about these factions on our website.

Each faction has its own agenda, its own allies and enemies, so while you will be able to join all of them in theory, you won't be able to progress in every one, as quests usually involve several factions, so helping one faction would mean harming interests of another - not to mention that high reputation with one would lower your reputation with another.

Tuesday - June 27, 2006

Age of Decadence: Interview Pt. 1 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 02:13
Iron Tower Studios has spoken to RPG Vault about their indie post-apoc cRPG, 'The Age of Decadence'. Here's a nice summary snip:
Jonric: What range of play will it offer, and for what kind of gamer will it have the greatest appeal? Can you comment on the duration and replayability?

Vince D. Weller: You can play The Age of Decadence in many different ways - fight your way through the game; walk in shadows, looking for less traveled roads like rooftops, walls, and locked doors; use the power of persuasion and personal magnetism; let your faction open doors for you - "Why didn't you tell me you were with the Corleone family?"; or play as a con artist, impersonating other people and preying upon the gullible.

What kind of gamer will it appeal to? Most likely to those who feel that role-playing games could use some role-playing these days, and that there are other things one should be able to do in an RPG other than killing things that exist for no other reasons but to be killed.

And to answer the last question, I'd say the length is about 30 to 40 hours, and as for replayability, due to the non-linear and multiple-solutions nature of the game, you can replay quite a few times without repeating what you did before.
More...

Friday - June 02, 2006

RPGDot Feature: The Age of Decadence - An Interview

by Dhruin, 09:40
With the opening of The Age of Decadence offical site, we can finally roll out a lengthy interview on this intriguing game. Controversy aside, this turn-based, dialogue-heavy title appears well worth a look. Here's a sample:
RPGDot: Let's talk about character creation and development. First, AoD uses a skill-based system, although a class is also initially chosen. Can you elaborate on this?

Iron Tower: It's not a class, but a background. It's what you did in the gameworld, before the in-game events. It helps defining your character better, establishing his ties with various factions. For example, a thief starts as a member of the Thieves Guild (joining it on your own is more complicated than walking in and asking for an application form), gets a reputation bonus when dealing with shady elements and factions supporting the Thieves Guild for their own reasons, and a reputation penalty with the Imperial Guards and the Merchants Guild.

The background doesn't restrict your character in any way. A knight may specialize in combat and serve his Noble House in that capacity, or he/she may specialize in diplomacy or stealth. An assassin can rely on a quick blade and Critical Strike skill, or on poison and charms, and so on.

Backgrounds are optional, you don't have to choose one, in which case you will enter the game world as a stranger. Nobody knows you, which could be a good thing or a bad thing; depends on how you look at it.

Head here to read it all. Two of the screenshot sets are laid out to give simple examples of the dialogue flow, so make sure you take a look.

Information about

Age of Decadence

Developer: Iron Tower Studio

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Post-apoc
Genre: RPG
Combat: Turn-based
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: None

Regions & platforms
Internet
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Expected at 2015-03-30
· Publisher: Iron Tower Studio