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More News!

Postby BasiliskWrangler » Thu May 31, 2007 6:18 am

Since it appears everyone is screaming for more news, I thought I should give a bit of an update here...

Right now we are in heavy crunch mode. Internally, we thought we could start the final beta test by June 1st, but we just didn't make it there. There are no technical hurdles in our way, it just happens that producing decent content takes more time than you'd think. Creating a single side quest involves the initial design, usually some rendering, scripting, dialogue writing, testing, and often programming when we discover a hole in the system. It is a huge accomplishment to get one working side quest implemented in one day.

I would never have thought from the beginning that the process of game creation would be so involved, especially a project like Eschalon where we purposely want the game to be "old-school". We weren't going to design a game with Radiant AI or a graphic engine that competes with Crysis; we are making a better looking Ultima style game with touches of Might & Magic and Wizardry. It turns out that quality game production on any scale takes time, and an RPG is about the most time consuming project of all. The variables that must be considered are staggering at times.

So, we're here and working hard on it. We don't have a dedicated promotional person, so it's hard to stop what we're doing just to get an update out or some screenshots posted. We try to be very quick about answering questions here when asked because we understand how many of you rely on the forums for news and this is extremely convenient for us.

We have some stuff in the works: we are scheduled to do an interview in June and we have an exclusive deal with a website to host our video trailer when we are done with it. We have been grabbing chunks of video from time to time and are slowly getting something put together for that. We have some internal testing coming up with a few "fresh eyes" that will give us valuable feedback on where we stand with the game. The final beta has been pushed back later in the summer and unless these early internal tests reveal any problems, we'll be on track for that.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and more importantly your enthusiasm and interest in the game!
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Postby Vennor » Thu May 31, 2007 7:35 am

I think it's better to change release date If you need more time to make the game better.

Just don't want to install a patch 10 days after installing the game.

Good luck ;).
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Postby Saxon1974 » Sat Jun 02, 2007 7:22 pm

I would never have thought from the beginning that the process of game creation would be so involved, especially a project like Eschalon where we purposely want the game to be "old-school". We weren't going to design a game with Radiant AI or a graphic engine that competes with Crysis; we are making a better looking Ultima style game with touches of Might & Magic and Wizardry. It turns out that quality game production on any scale takes time, and an RPG is about the most time consuming project of all. The variables that must be considered are staggering at times.

This was an interesting point and got me thinking. Do you think its the sheer scale of things to consider in making an old school RPG that is a major reason why there are not made that much anymore? I mean seems much easier to just throw in a ton on monsters and make every linear.

Seems like much more time and planning needs done to create a fully interactive world experience.

How did they get made in the past then? Was it not as much pressure from editors? Didnt used to be all about the money?
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Postby Gallifrey » Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:01 am

Saxon1974 wrote:
This was an interesting point and got me thinking. Do you think its the sheer scale of things to consider in making an old school RPG that is a major reason why there are not made that much anymore? I mean seems much easier to just throw in a ton on monsters and make every linear.

Seems like much more time and planning needs done to create a fully interactive world experience.

How did they get made in the past then? Was it not as much pressure from editors? Didnt used to be all about the money?


In the past, the game industry was not a multi-billion dollar industry like it is today, studios were small and founded by people passionate about what they were making and publishers weren't as greedy. It was more common for a developer to also be the publisher. As the industry grew, those small outfits got devoured by larger corporations and essentially gutted and destroyed.

Today, games are rushed out the door and must cater to the lowest common denominator to make a profit, and because games are so expensive to make the cycle just degrades.

There's so much demand placed on graphics now and that, I believe, eats into the time that could be spent on actually making the game, and when you've got an RPG, there are so many bugs that need being worked out, a publisher wanting it released so they can hit their quarterly profits, it's pretty easy to see why so many RPGs are bug-ridden messes at release.
I realise most dev teams have dedicated story people, graphics people, mechanics people, but I don't know if that actually works as intended.

But the main reason, I think, that we don't see complex interactive RPGs these days is because they don't sell as well as the big flashy action shooters and whatnot. Publishers don't want to lose money on funding a "niche" game and most aren't even going to consider a developer's proposal unless it looks like a good seller.

We do seem to be experiencing a small surge in indie developers making the games they want, however. Eschalon from Basilisk, Age Of Decadence from Iron Tower, Broken Hourglass from Planewalker and there are a few more popping up whose names escape me at the moment. The technology has reached the point now that allows some pretty nice graphics for a budget price, graphics that most of us find quite acceptable.
Combined with the growing popularity of direct downloads, things look pretty good for the indies finally.
There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. And the sea's asleep and the rivers dream … People made of smoke and cities made of song … Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, somewhere else the tea's getting cold!
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Postby Saxon1974 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:50 pm

Gallifrey wrote:
Saxon1974 wrote:
This was an interesting point and got me thinking. Do you think its the sheer scale of things to consider in making an old school RPG that is a major reason why there are not made that much anymore? I mean seems much easier to just throw in a ton on monsters and make every linear.

Seems like much more time and planning needs done to create a fully interactive world experience.

How did they get made in the past then? Was it not as much pressure from editors? Didnt used to be all about the money?


In the past, the game industry was not a multi-billion dollar industry like it is today, studios were small and founded by people passionate about what they were making and publishers weren't as greedy. It was more common for a developer to also be the publisher. As the industry grew, those small outfits got devoured by larger corporations and essentially gutted and destroyed.

Today, games are rushed out the door and must cater to the lowest common denominator to make a profit, and because games are so expensive to make the cycle just degrades.

There's so much demand placed on graphics now and that, I believe, eats into the time that could be spent on actually making the game, and when you've got an RPG, there are so many bugs that need being worked out, a publisher wanting it released so they can hit their quarterly profits, it's pretty easy to see why so many RPGs are bug-ridden messes at release.
I realise most dev teams have dedicated story people, graphics people, mechanics people, but I don't know if that actually works as intended.

But the main reason, I think, that we don't see complex interactive RPGs these days is because they don't sell as well as the big flashy action shooters and whatnot. Publishers don't want to lose money on funding a "niche" game and most aren't even going to consider a developer's proposal unless it looks like a good seller.

We do seem to be experiencing a small surge in indie developers making the games they want, however. Eschalon from Basilisk, Age Of Decadence from Iron Tower, Broken Hourglass from Planewalker and there are a few more popping up whose names escape me at the moment. The technology has reached the point now that allows some pretty nice graphics for a budget price, graphics that most of us find quite acceptable.
Combined with the growing popularity of direct downloads, things look pretty good for the indies finally.


Good post.

I liked these pieces especially as its exactly how I feel.

"There's so much demand placed on graphics now and that, I believe, eats into the time that could be spent on actually making the game"

"But the main reason, I think, that we don't see complex interactive RPGs these days is because they don't sell as well as the big flashy action shooters and whatnot"

All of this really reminds me of the short term mentality society we live in now.

Look at movies, they are mostly special effects garbage. Wouldnt it make more money in the long run to make a film like Star Wars, Raiders of the lost arc...etc? Long term sales would be better I would think. Those types of frachises still make money today. But like you said I guess they dont want to gamble so just stick to what sells, the crappy first person shooters that sell well and are easy to make.

Music industry is the same way.

I have always said that really good creative ideas and art forms come from a few people or a small groups vision, and I think truly good rpg's are an art form.....
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Postby Gallifrey » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:07 am

The movie and music industries are intellectually bankrupt now, and cast blame on piracy for dwindling revenues instead of looking at the sort of crap they churn out with abandon.

Now, I will freely admit that I like a good flashy action movie with things blowing up and whatnot, just like I enjoy a game like that, but when that's all there is, it gets a bit depressing. I mean, by way of example, I can't wait for the Transformers movie and GTA 4. Good, fun, check-your-brain-at-the-door stuff can be great, but the problems arise when people forget to pick their brain up at the door and wander off without it. Which seems to happen far too much.

What's going to have to happen is that indie studios will develop the "true" RPGs, and not care so much about making huge profits. But I really don't know how well indie games will sell. I can't imagine how hard it is to get your game noticed over the pages of the latest Crysis (or whatever) screenshots. It's also going to be hard to convince people who've just spent $2000 on super top-end machines to play your low-tech RPG.
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Postby Gothmog » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:50 am

We are a dying kind of Gamers. But there is always a chance for hope! :wink:
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Postby Saxon1974 » Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:20 pm

Gallifrey wrote:The movie and music industries are intellectually bankrupt now, and cast blame on piracy for dwindling revenues instead of looking at the sort of crap they churn out with abandon.

Now, I will freely admit that I like a good flashy action movie with things blowing up and whatnot, just like I enjoy a game like that, but when that's all there is, it gets a bit depressing. I mean, by way of example, I can't wait for the Transformers movie and GTA 4. Good, fun, check-your-brain-at-the-door stuff can be great, but the problems arise when people forget to pick their brain up at the door and wander off without it. Which seems to happen far too much.

What's going to have to happen is that indie studios will develop the "true" RPGs, and not care so much about making huge profits. But I really don't know how well indie games will sell. I can't imagine how hard it is to get your game noticed over the pages of the latest Crysis (or whatever) screenshots. It's also going to be hard to convince people who've just spent $2000 on super top-end machines to play your low-tech RPG.


Yea I agree with you I like some actions and things blowing up, but it does get boring when thats all there is. I also find it comical how they want to blame poor sales on piracy. I used to be a big music fan, used to be cd's almost weekly. Now I hardly buy any cds but there is so little music I like.

The one good thing hopefully with indy RPG is that you wont need as Killer of a rig to get it to run. Im guessing the spiderweb games will run on a quite old PC. If I can get 2 or 3 years more out of my pc's, that will make me quite happy.
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Postby BasiliskWrangler » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:35 am

Everyone, please refer to my first post in this thread before sending an email asking about the state of the game. Just because we let Gallifrey test the demo portion doesn't mean a release is imminent. We still have a lot of work to do on late game content, not to mention a larger-scale beta test to shake out remaining bugs.

There is no release date yet but we are hopeful that later this summer we can be finished up... but ultimately we will be done when we're done. No one wants a half-baked game, so patience will benefit everyone.

Thanks!
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Postby Amasius » Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:32 pm

BasiliskWrangler wrote:No one wants a half-baked game, so patience will benefit everyone.

Exactly. I'd rather wait another year than playing an unfinished game. Keep up the promising work. :)
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Postby Fleisch » Sat Jun 16, 2007 6:52 pm

Delighted by the progress and champing at the bit for the game. I know it's on the News page, but I think the Wrangler should either post something in Official Announcements or in the dormant newsletter alerting folks to Gallifrey's comments on the "look and feel" beta. Or at least make that topic sticky, if he's waiting to "officially" mention it in the abovementioned June website interview. Indie games need all the publicity they can get.
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Postby BasiliskWrangler » Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:05 pm

We have a newsletter?!?! :shock:

Yes, getting the word out has been rather difficult. Lucky for us, you people have done an awesome job of spreading the word by making posts in other forums and on your blogs.

When the game is finished and available for download, we will start a more aggressive advertising campaign: we will do a major announcement/press release, we will be sending review copies out to every major game site/magazine that we can, we will funnel some of the first bit of revenue back into advertising, and we will run a few promotional events on our web site.

Of course, if the game is as well received as we hope it is, we anticipate that fans will continue to spread the word as well. Then we begin the road towards Book II.
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Postby Gothmog » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:36 am

Hehehe.....I allready started a mass marketing campaign among my friends. :D
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Postby GSV3MiaC » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:14 am

Me too. All both of them. :D
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