The only thing that bothered me during my experience with Telepath Tactics was the story for the single-player campaign. Reading the text, the story seems to be fine, but it’s presented in a very bland fashion. Text boxes merely appear over characters’ heads to display what they are speaking; no sprite image next to the text box or any kind of extra flavor is displayed. This turned me off at a few sections, and I often found myself just skipping through walls of text to get to playing the actual game. This issue I do not think will drastically affect the game in the long haul, mainly because of Craig’s reiterated focus on multiplayer, and, with mod support, that could very well provide dozens of user-created campaigns that do not share this problem.
Overall, I am deeply satisfied with Telepath Tactics considering it’s only in early alpha. Its smart AI and reliance on skill make it a satisfying experience that really captivates a player. Destructible environments, mod support, and a lengthy single-player campaign is more than enough to provide for a solid tactical RPG game, but the addition of multiplayer really makes Telepath Tactics stand out. It’s a simple but amazing game that has great potential to be a hit with fans of the genre. If Sinister Design can deliver the multiplayer Fire Emblem-esque game that fans have dreamed of, it will surely be a must-play experience. You can visit the Telepath Tactics Steam Greenlight page to vote for it to come to the popular digital distribution platform if it sounds like Telepath Tactics is up your alley.
Telepath Tactics - All News
Tuesday - November 05, 2013
Telepath Tactics - October Update
Sinister Designs Craig Stern sent news that he has a new update for Telepath Tactics.
Howdy! I just posted the latest of my monthly updates on Telepath Tactics--you can check it out here.
I'm just about finished adding features to the game engine; I'm now shifting gears and focusing on content and creating the game's main campaign.
I've also included some more personal thoughts about what I want to do with game design going forward based on my experiences working on the game full-time over the past 4 months; you can find that at the bottom of the post.
We're doing quite well on Steam Greenlight right now, but I'd really like to make it that final 7% of the way into the top 100 and seal the deal. Every upvote helps!
Thursday - October 03, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Post-Funding Update #16
Telepath Tactics has a new post-funding update giving a status update about the games development.
Hey guys! It's been a little while since my last Kickstarter update, but rest assured that I've been working hard on Telepath Tactics in the interim. (The last few monthly updates on the Sinister Design website should attest to that!)
I've got a little more than one month left in my sabbatical from my day job, and with pretty much all the game's big features all in-game and working (including random dungeon generation), I'm looking to use my remaining time off to focus on building out the single player campaign. That means that folks who contributed at "Be an NPC" or "Be a Villain" tiers should expect to hear from me sometime in the next couple of months.
In the meantime, I've updated the alpha build of the game with loads of new assets, features, bug fixes, and interface improvements, so Early Access Backers should feel free to update their versions of the game. (Just use the same link you received from me back in the spring.)
Once I head back to work, I'll be back to working on this in the evenings and weekends--but that's pretty much par for the course. We're still on target to get this sucker finished and released in 2014.
Monday - September 09, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Pax Gameplay Demo
RPGamer has a new gameplay video from Pax Prime 2013 for Telepath Tactics.
The Indie Mega Booth videos continue. This time, Craig Stern from Sinister Design shows us Telepath Tactics. He also saves us from being slaughtered by the computer.
Wednesday - August 21, 2013
Telepath Tactics - CPU Fight on Tavern Map Video
Here is a little snippet of a 4-army, CPU-controlled fight on the new multiplayer Tavern map in Telepath Tactics.
Saturday - August 03, 2013
Telepath Tactics - July Development Update
Sinister Design has sent us news of a new blog update for Telepath Tactics with the latest monthly update.
Hello, folks, and welcome to another monthly update on my progress creating Telepath Tactics! I’m now 3/4ths of the way into my first month of working on this full-time due to my sabbatical from work, and I’m pleased to report that it is awesome. I love the freedom of setting my own schedule–but more than that, I love how much I’m getting done each day. It’s terribly satisfying. I consider this tentative proof of my long-standing suspicion that full-time indie dev would be great for me.
Thursday - July 18, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Post-Funding update #15, Development Update
Craig Stern provides a development update for Telepath: Tactics at the Kickstarter page, in which he also let's us know that he is working on the game full-time now.
Hello, gentle backers! We're almost at the three month-iversary of successfully funding Telepath Tactics, and so I figured I'd give you fine folks an update on the game.
In short, development on Telepath Tactics has been proceeding smoothly. As promised, I've hired artists to create music, character portraits, item graphics, new character animations, objects and tilesets, and so on. So that's all underway and going well. I've also been coding a lot of features and polishing rough edges, which you can read about in the last few monthly updates.
Also: I just last week began a sabbatical from my day job to work on Telepath Tactics full-time. This has been going extremely well so far! I'm in a co-op working space with several fellow Chicago developers, including The Men Who Wear Many Hats (you might know them as the guys that made Organ Trail) and Greg Wohlwend (Ridiculous Fishing, Solipskier, Hundreds). Not surprisingly, working on the game full-time has meant that I am making much more rapid progress on the game's features, which is very satisfying for me.
For those of you who want regular updates on development, a reminder: I post about development frequently on the Developer's Log and on Twitter, and post monthly run-downs on the Sinister Design front page! (I believe you can get email notifications when I post the monthly run-downs by subscribing to the Sinister Design RSS feed.)
Tuesday - June 11, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Using Female Lead Characters
We tend go through life with a lot of unconscious assumptions about “the way women are” and “the way men are” ingrained in us. Inevitably, we are shaped by our social norms–and just as surely, we are shaped by the stories that we tell each other to justify those norms. There are observed psychological quirks in the human brain that play into this dynamic, things that show up over and over in studies, things with names like expectation confirmation and the just world hypothesis.
The bottom line is, it takes work–actual conscious effort–not to fall back on stereotypes when interacting with, thinking about, or writing about people from different groups. But that effort is important to make. The lazy route, merely writing what is expected, leads to predictable stories and characters that are nigh indistinguishable from the characters in other tales.
That need for effort applies equally to all characters regardless of their sex; however, the stakes are higher for those of us who would write female protagonists into our games. Female leads are comparatively rare, and are therefore subject to greater scrutiny when they do appear (see e.g. Lara Croft). There are a lot of well-intentioned people out there who will be sniffing around for any bad assumptions I’ve let slip through in my own attempts at writing female leads, and I fully expect that they will (quite justifiably) hold my feet to the fire for any such mistakes.
The question arises: is it worth all that extra pressure? Why not just write another game starring a male lead? My reasons follow.
This is followed by 4 reasons that motivated him in this direction.
Monday - June 03, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Interview @ Gamefront
Missed this interview with Craig Stern from over a week ago that Game Front had with Craig Stern on Telepath: Tactics.
Fire Emblem is as serious as stories get, while Disgaea is quite the opposite. Telepath Tactics has been compared favorably to both games, so where on the spectrum would you place the game’s setting?
The Telepath setting is serious and bound up in political struggles, so it’s definitely more on the Fire Emblem side of things. That said, it’s also more contemporary than Fire Emblem.
My personal view is that if you’re going to create a fantasy world with analogs to the real world, then you have a responsibility to craft the message in a way that shows you’re actually thinking critically about those analogs. In the Telepath series, I make an effort to address current issues like sexism, the exploitation of labor, the corrupting influence of money in politics, and the consequences of commingling church and state.
Fire Emblem is pretty retrograde, in that you’re nearly always playing as a prince fighting to save his kingdom from an external threat. While most Fire Emblem characters belong to classes relating to their battlefield roles, the main character belongs to the “Lord” class. He’s the only character whose class relates to his socioeconomic status, and he’s the only character whose death triggers a game over. Literally everyone is expendable except for the rich guy. It’s weirdly archaic and classist if you think about it.
That said, Intelligent Systems do manage to slip in some good social commentary here and there: I particularly liked the commentary on racism in Path of Radiance.
Telepath Tactics - May Update
Craig Stern has provided us with a new update on the status of the development for Telepath: Tactics. It lists a whole range of changes that have been made to the game.
Welcome to another monthly update on Telepath Tactics! Today, we’ll be summing up everything that happened in May. First and perhaps most importantly, I just submitted Telepath Tactics to Indiecade. Most of the past few weeks have been spent polishing the game and stamping out bugs in anticipation of that submission, but I’ve continued adding new content and features to the game as well.
- There is now an exploration mode in the game! This turns off player turns and allows the player to move characters freely around the map. (This can be used to create freely explorable towns and puzzle areas.)
- There’s a new dialog trigger, OnTalk, which allows player-initiated conversations (via the “Talk” command) when two particular characters are adjacent. In battle, this works just like the Talk command in Fire Emblem; and in exploration mode, it works just like talking in your standard-issue jRPG or wRPG.
- We’ve got a bunch of great new art assets! Both the Castle and Town tilesets have been significantly expanded by Lorne Whiting, there are a lot of item graphics in progress by Julia Buge, and there are a bunch of great new attack animations from Tyvon Thomas
Check out the link for a complete list of changes.
Wednesday - May 29, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Preview @ IndieGameInsider
IndieGameInsider posted a brief preview for Telepath Tactics based on some hands-on time with the title.
Thursday - April 18, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update # 11 & 12
Telepath Tactics has two more updates for there kickstarter. First lets give them congratulations for being funded.
Telepath Tactics funded!
I couldn't have asked for a better result, really. I'm exceptionally grateful for all the support you guys have shown, and I'm looking forward to getting this game done for you!
I've had several requests for a way to contribute now that the Kickstarter campaign is done; I'm going to set up a system using BMT Micro (which accepts Paypal) over on the Sinister Design website. When that is up and running, I'll let everyone know.
I'm going to send out the first batch of backer rewards over the next few weeks. (Among other things, I still have a few more changes I want to make to the game before I send it out to early access backers.) Keep an eye on your email, folks!
And the next update.
"When will I be charged?"
Hey guys! Here's a quick update on why you haven't been charged for your pledge yet.
Ordinarily, Kickstarter pledges are charged as soon as a campaign ends successfully. However, people were reporting that they hadn't been charged, so I called up Amazon Payments yesterday evening to find out if there was a problem. An Amazon rep confirmed to me that a bug had screwed things up on their end; he assured me that they're working to fix it right now, and I should be getting an email from them later today or tomorrow.
Earlier today, Kickstarter's Head of Community Cindy Au was nice enough to contact them herself and confirm that that is indeed what happened; she says the bug should be fixed within a couple of days.
So, long story short: if you haven't been charged yet for your pledge, don't worry! Amazon will make that happen within the next few days. Just make sure to leave enough money in your account so the pledge goes through; I'd hate for any of you to get hit with overdraft charges!
As for me, I'll be posting updates in the comments section if there are any new developments. Thanks for your patience!
Sunday - April 14, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update #9, Craig answers your questions!
In update #9 from Telepath Tactics kickstarter Craig Stern answers various questions.
First, we have an exciting tidbit of campaign news: we've hit our third stretch goal! This means that procedural level generation is going to be supported in the game, which is pretty darn exciting. I'm not planning to use this too much in the main campaign (I want the main campaign to be a tightly focused, hand-crafted experience), but there should definitely be some room to use it for optional side missions. (Plus, I just know that modders are going to make some really awesome stuff with it once I have it in-game!)
Second, we have another piece of exciting campaign news: we're roughly $3,000 away from the "branching campaign" stretch goal! If we hit this one, I'll be adding a significant decision to the campaign that branches it in two directions, each with its own unique missions. We still have 62 hours to hit this one. We can definitely make it!
And now, on to the meat of the update. I got a really enthusiastic response from that last update where I talked about the Lissit (it turns out that people care about little things like "lore" and "world-building." Who knew?!) So last night, I took all of your questions from below that update and made a brand new video answering them all.
Two things to note before you watch:
(1) I used my webcam, which apparently ignores my high quality mic in favor of the lousy one built in to the webcam. Sorry for that! I did try to spice it up a bit by adding in some art.
(2) When I made this video, we still hadn't hit our third stretch goal. (We then went on to hit it, of course, which is pretty awesome.)
All right, enough disclaimers. Here's the video!
Friday - April 12, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update #8, The Lissit
Update number 8 for Telepath Tactics shows us the lizardman, also known as The Lissit.
Hey guys! I've been posting all these updates about the features of Telepath Tactics (which I'm still working on, by the way)--but what about the world of Telepath Tactics? I could stand to talk about that some more, couldn't I.
So let's talk about one of the major races of the setting of Telepath Tactics: the Lissit.
The Lissit are a tall, physically imposing, reptilian race with a strong resemblance to bipedal komodo dragons. (In many populations, male Lissit have been known to grow frills around their heads, used in courtship displays with Lissit females.)
Like most reptiles, Lissit are ectotherms, reliant on their surroundings to regulate their body temperature. As such, they stick almost exclusively to warm or temperate climes with lots of direct sunlight; they universally avoid the frigid southern isles of the Dundar Archipelago. Their lack of internal temperature regulation makes the Lissit particularly vulnerable to heat- and cold-based attacks.
Lissit are natural predators; they regularly hunt wild pigs and deer for food. Although Lissit can run at a top speed of 20 miles per hour, they generally prefer to hunt through stealth. Lissit eat by tearing flesh with their teeth; their loosely hinged jaws allow them to swallow smaller prey whole as well, though this is frowned upon, as it prevents the hunter from sharing the meat with the rest of the clan.
Despite some of their more brutal tendencies, the Lissit are actually highly intelligent and organized, and speak their own language* (referred to by humans as "lizardtongue.") They are generally wary of humans due to past conflicts over land and resources. The Lissit refer to humans somewhat derisively as "hesh" (which translates literally to "hair" or "fur," and has a connotation roughly equivalent to "walking mound of hair").
Tuesday - April 09, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update #7, Changing Conditions in Battle
In a short update for the Telepath Tactics Kickstarter (just $4K away from their next stretch goal) Craig Stern is showing what the results are of his work on being able to spontaneously change battlefield conditions using scripts. In the video you can see changes to fog of war, lighting, and weather triggered over the course of a single turn.
In addition also a music clip is available to be used in some of the boss battles.
Wednesday - April 03, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update #6, Dungeons, Q&A and Map Editor
Update #6 for Telepath Tactics teaches us that the dungeons stretch goal has been reached. Also Craig Stern answers some questions:
- Can you create single player battles with more than 2 armies?
Yes! That is already supported in the game. You can have a single player campaign battle between 3 different armies--or 4, 5, or 6, for that matter.
- Can you make different armies ally with one another?
Yes! What's more, the AI knows how to cooperate with allied armies, and will do so if you set up multiple armies in an alliance with each other. (That's true for both single player and multiplayer, incidentally.)
- Can you give human players control of more than one army in single player?
Yes! If you want to create a mission where the player fights alongside allied armies, you have the option to make those armies CPU-controlled or player-controlled. (You can also make enemy armies player-controlled if you so desire.)
- Can you make it so a campaign's plot branches based on whether a specific character survives a battle?
Yes! That's just one of the many, many cool things you can do with the scripting system in Telepath Tactics (and one possibility for how the main campaign could branch if we hit our fourth stretch goal).
- Is it possible to have certain characters get player-directed stat gains on level up instead of randomly chosen stat gains?
And there is a video of the map editor.
Thursday - March 28, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update #5, Dungeons are Getting Close
Craig Stern is back from PAX and had the following to say on Telepath Tactics:
Hey guys! I'm back from PAX East, where I spent three days straight getting interviewed by various journalists, grabbing random passersby to play the alpha demo, and handing out roughly 700* business cards (*that's an actual estimate, not hyperbole). I'm still not fully recovered, but heck if that's going to stop me from posting an update!
Now, things always slow down when Kickstarter campaigns move into their middle two weeks, but we're actually doing very well despite that fact. Prominent Youtubers TotalBiscuit and NorthernLion are working on impressions videos of the game, I'm sending out preview builds to interested journalists, and...well, let's just say that I'm genuinely feeling really good about our prospects as we move into the second week of this campaign.
Thanks to your generosity, we're currently sitting pretty at $24,690 pledged, which leaves us only $3,310 away from having proper dungeons in Telepath Tactics. Traps, buttons, levers, openable doors, stone blocks and pressure plates--I don't know about you, but I'm actually pretty excited about this one!
Mind you, I'm not just excited about the tactical and level design possibilities that proper dungeon functionality opens up for Telepath Tactics: I'm also excited about how this could intersect with the third stretch goal. The third stretch goal is procedural level generation. Just think about that for a second. Dungeons, procedural level generation; dungeons, procedural level generation. Is it just me, or is there is a distinct possibility that Telepath Tactics could end up with the capacity to generate unique, procedural dungeons filled with monsters, puzzles, traps and treasure? Call me crazy, but I do believe that that could make for some legitimately entertaining optional side missions, and add a good bit of replayability to the main campaign in the process.
So that's where we're at: just $3,310 away from having proper dungeons, and the ability to procedurally generate them (along with other, more conventional battlefields) is now visible off on the horizon as well. What do we think, folks? Shall we press on? (My vote is for "Yes"!)
At the moment the Kickstarter is as $26,615, which is even closer to the $28,000 stretch goal.
Tuesday - March 26, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Hands-On @ Destructoid
Destructoid had a look at Telepath Tactics and mentioned things like this:
The game itself mixes the traditional SRPG elements that the fans know and love with some pretty interesting and fresh mechanics to keep it from feeling all too similar. Throwing and pushing enemies is possible, which makes a character's proximity to cliffs, water, and lava way more important.
It is also possible for certain classes to build bridge tiles, connecting two previously separated areas. It's a simple addition with complex implications. If the enemy can bridge two areas and get their fighters across in a single turn, you had better be ready.
I didn't get to play with any of the editing tools, but it looks like the map-editing tool will be easy to use and understand. Creating a new NPC or scripts seems a bit more complex, but you can always be like me and just appreciate the content that other, way more skilled people create. As if it wasn't wonderful enough that there is going to be an intense and classic SRPG on the PC, it's also playing to the platform's strength by including mod support!
Monday - March 25, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update #4, The Next Stretch Goal
Craig Stern sends an update from PAX East on the stretch goals of Telepath Tactics. With the first already down we are heading to the second stretch goal at $28,000 (currently the Kickstarter is close to $23K).
The second stretch goal will allow me to commission an extra set of tiles and interactive object graphics, then code them all to create scriptable dungeon areas in Telepath Tactics. (Of course, the buttons and levers and other objects will work in any sort of scenario, not just a dungeon.)
Want a mission where you have to pull a lever in the gatehouse to open the door to an enemy keep? How about a mission where you have to slide blocks onto floor panels to open the door to a tomb while holding off enemy forces? Or perhaps side missions to loot dungeons under time pressure? I'm not saying these will necessarily be in the main campaign, but that gives you an idea of what's possible when we hit this stretch goal!
Also, I want to thank you all for backing the game; this campaign wouldn't be anything without you guys, and I'm terribly grateful for your support. Let's keep it up and smash through stretch goal #2!
Thursday - March 21, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Update #3, Character Classes
As the first stretch goal for Telepath Tactics is close (less than $400) and update was made providing some information for the 'Extra character classes with animated sprites' stretch goal.
Hey guys! First, a quick update on the campaign. As I write, there are 831 of you and we've raised $19,009. Thanks to all of you, we're now within striking distance of our first stretch goal: extra character classes with animated sprites! So let's talk more about that.
Extra character classes with animated sprites is exactly what it sounds like. There are loads of possibilities: axe-wielding bandits, more types of golems, lizardmen with bows, shadowling guardians, and so on. When we reach this stretch goal, I'll be able to afford to commission sprites for our extra classes with a full suite of high quality animations. At a minimum, this means greater enemy variety and a more interesting campaign!
But there's actually more that we can do with this. Remember the promotion systems from the old Shining Force and GBA Fire Emblem games? With this first stretch goal, I'll be able to commission variations on the default character class sprites and add character promotions to Telepath Tactics as well.
To sum up: we're now less than $3,000 away from having both class promotions and a greater variety of character classes in the game. I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty pumped. Let's do this! (And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to leave 'em in the comments below.)
Sunday - March 17, 2013
Telepath Tactics - Funded
Craig Stern informed us that his Kickstarter for Telepath Tactics reached it's goal of $15K in just 3 days. So it is time for stretch goals
$22,000 - Extra Character Classes with Animated Sprites.
$28,000 - Dungeon Tileset with Traps, Openable Doors, Scripted Levers and Buttons.
$34,000 - Randomized Battlefield Generation.
$38,000 - Extra Branch in the Main Campaign.
$46,000 - Mobile Ports.
Thursday - March 14, 2013
Telepath: Tactics - A New Kickstarter Start
Craig Stern has started a new Kickstarter for Telepath:Tactics. The money he is asking for ($15K) is less than before and it looks like it will fly this time as almost half of that amount is already pledged.
Telepath Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG in the tradition of Fire Emblem and Disgaea. Featuring mod support, a robust map editor, and a dialog editor, you can create your own campaigns and download others' off the internet!
On top of single player, Telepath Tactics also features 2-to-6 player local multiplayer matches (i.e. you and your friends playing together in the same room, Super Smash Brothers style).
Telepath Tactics is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Telepath Tactics takes place in a fantasy-steampunk universe that averts most of the tropes you're used to from these sorts of games. Magic doesn't exist: instead, there is psionics and steam-powered technology reliant on a volatile, crystalline substance called vibra. Cavalry don't ride horses: they ride giant, armored praying mantises. There are no elves, no dwarves, no goblins, no dragons. The world is populated by humans, steam-powered mechanical golems, and other, original races (such as the shadowlings, disembodied heads from the nether reaches of the earth that quite literally feed on human suffering).
Shadowlings were the first to discover the secrets of vibra mining. Crucial to powering steam tech, vibra turned out to be big business–and no place had it in greater concentrations than the Dundar Archipelago, a string of islands governed by the Roman-style Dundar Empire. The influx of moneyed interests to the islands has corroded the empire's adherence to democratic traditions, and the native human population now faces increasing exploitation as Dundar's politicians turn a blind eye.
If you want to learn more a demo is available for Linux, Mac and Windows.
Information aboutTelepath Tactics
Developer: Sinister Design
SP/MP: Single + MP
Play-time: 20-40 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Sinister Design