Age of Decadence - Interview @ RPG Codex
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.
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