The other day, after Avadon: The Black Fortress came out, a certain community of hardcore fantasy RPG fans jumped on it with universal loathing.
I thought that I had a lot of good points to be made about the perils and opportunities of listening to feedback from fans (or ex-fans), so I wrote a blog post about it. This had the entirely predictable effect of infuriating the previously mentioned community.
Now, in the light of day, I feel kind of bad about it. I think what I wrote was fairly mild and I do still stand by every word of it. However, I think I kicked a group of my fellow gamers when they were down, and, being a lifelong gamer myself, I regret that. I've been reading their posts and chatting with them and I think I understand where they're coming from a lot better now.
I am only bringing this up because this blog is mainly about indie gaming, and I think this a great opportunity to make a huge point in that area.
Here's Your Audience, Wrapped Up In a Bow
Fledgling developers write me all the time asking for advice on what sort of game to write. What I tell them is that they should look for an underserved niche and serve it. This is the Great Magic Power of Indie developers.
Here, as I see it, is the story of RPG Codex. These people love, love, love old-school hardcore RPGs. The sort that used to be common on the ground and have faded away. They were forsaken by Sir-Tech, and Origin, and SSI, and Bioware, and now me. There was a thing that they loved, and it is gone, and they are angry about it. The anger might manifest itself in unappealing ways, but it's real. Nobody likes losing what they love.
You want to do what I do? You want to make a living writing RPGs? You have skillz? Go there. Talk to them. Pick past the ranting, find the reasonable things they are after, and write that game. Do it well, and you can make money.
And One Final Word For RPG Codex
I am still a gamer at heart. The gritty, hardcore elements in Avadon are later in the game. I put them there to not scare off more casual gamers. Teh casualz need to be eased into that sort of thing.
Were you my fan, but the Avadon demo turned you off? Well, here's a challenge. We have a one year no questions asked money-back guarantee. Buy the game. Give it a few hours on Hard or Torment difficulty. (I suggest until the boss fight with Zhossa Mindtaker.)
Still disappointed? Then I don't want your money. You get it back. My lips to God's ear.