Wednesday, September 14, 2016

We Released Avadon 3! (Also, a Few Words About Free Time)

Avadon is done. That's 5 years of my life, tied up with a bow.
I don't always write controversial, widely-read blog posts that make people way, way, WAY angrier than they should be. I also make games.

At last, we have completed the Avadon Saga! Avadon 3: The Warborn is out for Macintosh and Windows! We are selling this fine, indie, retro, story-heavy RPG on Steam, GOG, Humble Store, and our own site.

Our next step is to port the game to the iPad, and hope that Apple doesn't accidentally step on us with its big, lumbering feet.

I wrote in some detail about who we are and what the Avadon series is like in May. I don't like to repeat myself. I prefer to troll the Internet by bantering about whether or not video games are Art or not. (Answer: Good Lord! Who cares?)

It is very exciting to finish a fantasy saga, the third big one I've completed. I'm sure you find it perplexing, as taking forever to actually wrestle a story to the ground is a constant plague in the genre. My secret technique: 1. Sit down in a warm, dry place. 2. Figure out how the story ends. 3. Write that.

Anyway. What to blog about? I'm trying to make interesting blog post that people tweet about so I can get a tiny scrap of attention and maybe sell some games.

Avadon 3: The Warborn is my 16th full-length, all new game. (My 24th, if you count remasters. And I put a lot of time in my remasters.) This is a large number. I've been writing indie games an unprecedentedly long time, and aspiring developers, for some reason, are often interested in my advice about things.

So, since I'm entering my blissful quiet period between games, I wanted to say how I spend that time. Because I know some of my in-depth fans like to know how I make the stuff they like. And because, when you want to be a creator in the long term, profitably expending your downtime is vitally important.

(If you don't care about me or my process, and you shouldn't, your time may be more profitably expended getting a huge, free demo of a cool new RPG.)

So what am I about to do?

Screenshot of my game provided for crass self-interest purposes.
1. Rest.

"If you're going to rest, rest."
- Angry White Pyjamas 

If you are a driven, type-A person, it can be hard to rest. You might think, "Oh, I'll sit around for an hour, but first I'll write a blog post/make some calls/do some design work/not rest."

You need rest to live. Pick a time. Pick something that will rest you. Spent that time doing that thing. I know you're driven. That's why you are a success. You still need to refill your tank for when it really counts.

2. Play Games.

This is actually work.

While I write a game, I am filling my Steam library. If it's hip or gets my attention or is in a nice, cheap bundle, I buy it. Now is the time for me to try them. All of them.

The purpose of this is to evaluate the state of the art. Find out what sorts of designs are hot now. Sample all of the weird mash-ups indies have come up with. ("Procedurally generated tower-defense roguelike") Look for new interface innovations, and see what irritates me so I know not to do that.

I play each game until I think I've seen everything new it has to offer. Most games get 15 minutes, tops. I especially try games in my genre, RPGs, even though I hate the vast majority of them. (I am a VERY jaded RPG gamer.)

Every once in a while, I find that rarest of treasures: A game I actually enjoy playing. This is a true treat. I actually play it for a while for fun, to remind myself why I do this. (This time around, I'm playing a lot of Inside and Salt & Sanctuary. Great games.)

As always, terrific color art provided by Ben Resnick.
3. Gather Ideas.

When I am not formally working on a game, it's a wonderful time to just go for long walks and thing up ideas. Stare at a wall. Listen to music. Think. Imagine. Write down what comes to me. It's a wonderful bit of freedom, to just let my brain wander.

99 out of 100 ideas are never used. But that 100th idea? That might be the bit of gasoline that fuels years of productive development.

But Back To Avadon. There Is a Demo.

Demos of games are vanishingly rare now, but I'm cranky and stuck in my ways, so I provide them. I don't want to take your money until you are sure the game functions and you like it.

We still have the biggest demos in the biz. You can download one on Avadon 3's page on our site.

(By the way, since I am often asked, we get the biggest cut of $$$ when you order using the Humble widget on the game's page. This comes with a Steam key. However, I am very grateful when you order no matter where you do it from.)

I'm still really happy with this screenshot. Looks even better in the trailer.
I Hope You Like the Game

The Avadon trilogy was very different from what came before. A lot of new people loved it. A lot of our old fans really didn't. I genuinely enjoy playing them, so I'll vouch for them. I think Avadon 3 is really cool. It's a gruesomely tough market, but I'm optimistic. I hope you like it.

On to the next thing ...


  1. Avadon series is worth playing, but I prefer Exile/Avernum. a) Avadon I/II seemed to work hard to be morally ambiguous. I play games to relax and conquer some invented evil. More the latter, I guess. I don't play to be confronted with moral dilemmas. Some aspects of Avadon have been quite nice, but what sticks in my memory is the moral ambiguity. I only just now downloaded Avadon III, but I assume it will follow that tradition.
    Anyways ... thanks for 22 years of battles, reading through scripts, reverse engineering game engines to determine which enchantment I should use, modifying BMPs so the traps stand out to these tired old eyes ... it's been a grand adventure.

    1. Oh, I forgot b) the Exile storyline is the best. The characters and story arcs are more memorable. But that might really tie back to the moral ambiguity. My dim recollection of Avadon I/II is everyone is gray. I can remember exactly one Avadon NPC, but many Exile NPCs.

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  2. Congratz on finishing the series Jeff. While the avadon games aren't my favourite of your games, they are still great fun and great games.
    Im nearly finished Avadon 3, Im on the last fight now. I actually got it to it a while back but reloaded to finish up some stuff I missed (Which was apparently more than I realised).

    Looking forwards to the Exile/Avernum3 remake xD

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  4. Ah, the demo...

    Try it, then buy it. Here, let us prove our worth to you. Let us sell you on a credit of integrity, and win your trust before your dollar.

    Nowadays? Demos? Hah!
    Preorder, baby! Buy it before you get it! Credit? Worth? Nah, it's all about hype! You *know* you want it! Just trust us!

    Things were so much better back thenn...

    Huh... So this is what it feels like to be old.

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