Friday, May 21, 2010

A Game Worth Noticing.

I feel bad for missing it, since it's been out a week, but Basilisk Games finally managed to get Eschalon: Book 2 out the door. I haven't played it yet, of course, but I will soon.

One of the worst things about what I do for a living is that hardly anyone else does it. You might think that not having competitors is a good thing. It is not. In the game industry, competitors help as well as hurt you. When EA spends millions of dollars advertising Dragon Age and Mass Effect, they aren't just pushing their games. They are also advertising the whole idea of playing RPGs. Dragon Age makes as many potential customers for me as it takes.

Also, I love writing Indie games, and I want others to have the same fun.

So I wish Basilisk Games a ton of luck. Releasing one game is a huge achievement. Releasing two games is, I don't know, what's bigger than huge? Huge-Prime?


  1. Eagerly looking forward for Eschalon II's mac version.

  2. I will definitely have to check out the game. If at the very least to spread the good karma of indie RPGs.

  3. Hey Jeff--I've been following your blog over the past year and decided to finally take the plunge myself. In one week, I will be working on my first RPG full time. The game is called Dragon Master and I've settled on Blitzmax to develop the game engine. Thank you for your inspiring words!

  4. Regarding the competition thing, I remember reading somewhere that whenever Coke or Pepsi launches a new ad campaign, sales of both Coke and Pepsi rise by about the same amount.

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  6. Do you actually lose customers to Dragon Age and its ilk?

    I feel there simply aren't enough decent RPGs to fill up time. Also I tend not to replay very much, so once I've finished a game - albeit I tend to play slowly - I need a new title. For me it would never be Avernum OR Dragon Age, it would always be AND.

    Another way to look at it is that RPG developers help *retain* players for the genre. I've ended up getting into some casual games (like Hidden Object) just to wait out new RPG releases. Had there been more RPGs - good ones - coming out, my money would have gone on them instead of the Hidden Object games.

  7. istara:

    It is even worse if you are a fan of sci-fi RPGs. There are at least a handful of people making indie sword & sorcery fantasy RPGs... Virtually no one is making cool old-school sci-fi RPGs. The best you can find are some modern "Elite" clones.

    I was kind of hoping that the new SpiderWeb game would be sci-fi... I have tried the current games, and I like the general feel, but I just can't get into the fantasy setting. I understand that switching from fantasy to sci-fi would require building an entirely new set of art assets, but I think most people who are SpiderWeb fans would still buy it, and it would attract new fans like me.

  8. rexrhino:

    The Geneforge series were more sci-fi, but I take your point - most RPGs use a more historic setting. Have you played the big console games such as KOTOR and Mass Effect?

    I notice there are sci-fi MMORPGs around, but those aren't quite the same as a single-player game.

  9. I actually played and ordered Echelon: Book II simply because you mentioned it... I had not heard of it before. It's fun, and I enjoy playing new RPG's with new systems and a new storyline.

  10. I want to like the Eschalon series, but the user interface is just enough at odds with the way I think that it gets frustrating every time I try to play it.

  11. I eventually got past the interface... But man... The difficulty curve... I've struggled on quite a way in the first game but I'm constantly up against the wall. Either the non linear style of the game (which is a good thing) means that with a lack of direction I chose to wander in a direction I wasn't supposed to until I was a much higher level (But if that's the case I have no idea where I'm supposed to be, I think I've been mostly directly following the plot so far, maybe I'm supposed to wander more and do more side quests on the way but the side quests I've found are nigh incompletable for me at this level) or the alternative is the type of character I like to play is just not the sort of character that can survive in Echalon's game world... Which would be a fault, if only for me.
    Don't get me wrong, I love a challenge. However, that because I love the sense of reward gained from overcoming that challenge, which means it has to be something I can actually do.
    Which is a shame because everything else about the game so far is great. I like the characters, the story, character advancement system... Perhaps at some point I'll start a new character as a stock warrior following recommended settings and find the game world much more traversable... But I'm not in the mood to play a warrior right now.

  12. Eschalon sucks. It just doesn't cut it.
    Decent graphics are not enough to make you
    forget that the action is boring and that you have no choice in fighting the same monsters over and over again to get anywhere, especially at night. Just pure tedium that gets even worse
    in the dungeons where you can barely see anything to the point of it being incredibly exasperating.
    I had to quit in disgust at so many unbearable flaws that ruin this potentially nice game.

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