The Broken Hourglass - Interview @ Gamebanshee
Jason Compton of Planewalker Games sits down with Jon 'Buck' Birnbaum of Gamebanshee to discuss his party-based indie RPG, The Broken Hourglass:
GB: Bring us up to speed on where you currently stand with the development of The Broken Hourglass. Have your recently reached any major milestones or ran into any unforeseen issues? Any idea what the release date might be yet?
Jason: Aside from a few rough edges remaining on the engine, it's all about implementing playable content at this stage. Milestone-wise, I'm encouraged by the progress we've made on critical path implementation (much of "the stuff you have to do to win the game" is in place now).
All of our issues were fairly well foreseen, but we ran into them anyway--mostly a matter of "boy, this is taking longer and costing more money than I would have liked" with a dash of "what, you mean it's hard finding people out there who know how to make this kind of game and will work for indie prices?" That's not to say we haven't had a number of fine contributors working with us, but, as ever, better-faster-and-cheaper would be nice....
...And I'm not talking about the release date anymore. There is little more I hate than being wrong, and I'm always wrong when I open my mouth about it, so...
GB: What size party will we be leading and how many NPCs will we be able to choose from when composing our party?
Jason: The game is designed for a party of five (one player-defined character and four joined NPCs.) There are nine joinable characters in the game. We do not plan to directly support starting the game with more than one player-defined character, but as many of TBH's developers are experienced character modders, it would be silly of me not to point out that changing the starting limit and/or adding more joinable characters to the game is going to be fairly easy to do...
GB: Give us a few examples of party interactions. Will members of our party periodically begin talking amongst themselves as in Baldur's Gate II or will such dialogue only occur during specific trigger events?
Jason: We do indeed have a BG2-esque "random banter" system that will offer up interactions between your joined NPCs at various intervals, and you will also hear from your characters in circumstances where their expertise (or big mouth) comes into play. I feel good about the interplay potential between our nine characters--nobody has a relationship which feels forced or tacked-on to me, for instance.
All of the characters are "compatible" in that we don't have any pairs who refuse to work together, but there are certainly some clear affinity teams. Then again, a lot pivots around the way the PC is built. A physical, healer mage may not see much reason to travel with either Sanelon or Tuhan, while a big bruiser may not see any point in taking Nekos along. And we can never discount the challenge gamers who want to play all-mage, no-mage, etc., so we certainly can't assume any particular party configurations. Everybody will have plenty to talk about with everybody else.
For instance, one character blames another for the death of her family--with some good reason. A career criminal and master blackmailer, and a career government official and master economist, find that they have a surprising amount in common. And one character explains to another how he starts barroom brawls as a scientific exercise.
In addition, we're designing four different character romances--two with male NPCs, two with female NPCs.
There's quite a bit more, including four screenshots, so follow this link to read the entire interview.
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