Legerdemain - Ten Year Anniversary
Ten years after the original release of the rogue-like Legerdemain a fundraiser with source code ransom on GoFundMe has been started:
In August 2008, an indie CRPG called Legerdemain was released to the world, which is to say, I posted an announcement on rec.games.roguelike.announce & a few people acknowledged it & maybe even downloaded it (it was free to play after all, it still is). For some time I had been nurturing a vision of a game that blended what I liked about roguelikes, MUDs, & interactive fiction into a nice textual slurry, something which I decided to call roguelikefiction. The phrase never really caught on. The game sort of did.
Legerdemain was met with bemusement, mostly, it didn't really fit into any of the genres it had aspired to join, but now & then a positive review would emerge, often enough that I put together a cluebook package to promote the game. I started a company called Roguelikefiction & we went on the road, starting in Atlanta, but eventually making it as far as Essen, Germany, to hawk our wares. The game was free to play, but if you liked it & wanted to support it we offered our package as a way to do so. It came with a book, a CD, & a hand-drawn map. People seemed to like the idea. We proceeded to have adventures & meet fans & experience a taste of the indie game-development world. In 2010 we released an updated version of the software with a tileset by Ian McKenna & we splurged on an additional print run, which was followed shortly by a third. The whole experience was a hoot.
Of course we could maintain our momentum for only so long. The visitors to our site gradually tapered off, reviews became less frequent. A second game never materialized. Sales declined & I moved onto other projects. The cost of keeping the company afloat became prohibitive. In the meantime, mobile-gaming had exploded, & a new generation of roguelikes had come to the fore. Steam became a popular platform for these new games, but Legerdemain was never able to make it a good fit. Now, in 2018, my work of so-called roguelikefiction is on its way to becoming a forgotten game, an obscure cul-de-sac in the history of roguelike variants & IF experimentation. I would like to do something about this, if I can. I still believe there are a lot of folks out there who would enjoy playing it, if they only knew it existed.
Anyhow a couple of weeks ago I was looking at the calendar & lo! the tenth anniversary of the first public release was approaching. I decided that now would be a great time to get in touch with old fans & recruit some new ones. I still have a few boxes of cluebooks left (remember those two additional print runs?) & I'd like to send them on to happy homes. What's more, there has always been a large concentration of developers in the Legerdemain fan base, & I think some of my design decisions & coding efforts could be of interest to them. Finally, as far as I know there are only a few players that have ever finished the game, so I'm sure there are many nooks & crannies that remain unexplored.
So I have come up with a source code ransom, as it were. To celebrate ten years I'm offering cluebook packages for $10. Cheap! A donation of $10 plus shipping gets you a copy. (+$5 for US/CA, +$10 international) But supplies are limited. In addition, if I manage to reach my fundraising goal of $1000, I will publicly release the Legerdemain source code. I haven't figured out what the licensing will look like yet. I haven't figured out if I will maintain it or make excuses for it. But I can guarantee I will leave it available on my website, http://roguelikefiction.com, for at least a year or two. That's the pitch. Thanks in advance for your support! Bon appetit.