Thursday, October 31, 2013

We Finally Released Avadon 2.

Keeping the single-player, turn-based, story-heavy flame alive.
After two years of development, we have finally released our first all-new game in three years. Avadon 2: The Corruption, the second game in the Avadon trilogy, for Mac and Windows, is now out on our site, Steam, and

It's another hardcore, story-heavy RPG. Cool tactical combat. In-depth story with a ton of tough choices and many different endings. (Far more than in Avadon: The Black Fortress.)

It's very much in the spirit of the older Interplay/Black Isle/Bioware games, back when Interplay and Black Isle were still going great guns and Bioware still wrote Bioware games. If you liked Avadon, you should like this one. If you didn't like Avadon, Avadon 2 is bigger, has more tough choices that make a difference, and doesn't start as slow. Maybe you'll like this one.

Don't like our business model? Allow me to phrase a retort.
I'll Take a Good Start

We've sold about 2000 copies in the first 24 hours, after pretty much zero attention in the gaming press (not that we deserve attention, I guess). Now that most indie projects are made by big teams, these numbers seem super low. For a small lean-and-mean company like ours, it's really promising.

We'll still be in business.

"But This Looks Like It Was Made In 1995!"

And that's an insult? Um, kid, haven't you heard? That's the hip style now.

Pictured: My development process.
Time Will Take Its Toll

It's been a long road. I'm in my forties and have been doing this for about 20 years, and questionable health and creeping burnout are taking their toll. I'm proud of this game, I truly am, and I think it's a lot of fun. But I can't rely on my body and brain to support my usual machine-like pace.

It'll be a while until reviews come out, but I'll spoil the surprise. 7/10, or 8/10 if the reviewer had a good day. That's how the prevailing standard of reviews go. Avadon 2 has low production values, but it's basically competently made and a lot of fun for people who like that sort of thing.

There will also be the standard cheap shots about how I should be doing different things. Even though spending my life trying to perfect my skills writing games in a beloved genre almost nobody else works in already makes me so edgy that I live out on an edge made of edges.

Anyway, there's a big demo. Hope you like it. I'm going back to bed.

Finally, I'm on twitter now. Follow me. I'm cranky and I don't want to be employable in the computer game industry, so it should end up pretty amusing.


  1. "We've sold about 2000 copies in the first 24 hours, after pretty much zero attention in the gaming press (not that we deserve attention, I guess)."

    I dunno, you're on Steam and in the Humble Bundle. You basically "made it" as far as Indieness goes, and you probably are known enough to not really need much attention to already get high enough sales numbers.
    As a really unknown indie developer with less than zero attention in the press, this sentence sounds kinda sarcastic to me. :-P Or you wanted to express something else, then I'm sorry.

    "Now that most indie projects are made by big teams, these numbers seem super low."

    I think most indie developers are still small teams. They also are the unknown ones, because small team usually means no dedicated marketing guy.

  2. Jeff, long time player, first time commenter.


    Just felt like telling you I exist, I suppose.

  3. Love you Jeff.
    Keep in mind you have tons of fans and I guarantee you we're willing to help. :)

  4. The simplified character progression and bland combat mechanics really aren't doing it for me. As much as I love your writing, just like Avadon 1 I'm really struggling to push myself through this in a way I never had to through Geneforge and Avernum.

  5. I just wanted to say that I really liked Avadon 1, one of the few Spiderweb games I actually played to the end (I buy and play your games, but I usually get bored around the middle, when there is too much dungeon crawl and not enough text and story for my taste, but it is just me). I like the simplified combat, the talent system, and the enchant system. The story just began, but seems great this far.

  6. Grats :) Out of curiosity (if you want to share) those 2000 copies are from your site only? or the sum of all platforms?

    1. Add 1 more...

      I wonder if Steam does daily updates, or just monthly sales figures.

  7. Simplified combat? Dude, I cut my Spidweb teeth on this:
    (the first minute and a half should do)

    I still haven't finished Avadon either, the iPad version goes much slower than the PC version (no shortcuts) and I decided to do my first playthrough on Torment.
    I'm having some difficulty with
    *minor spoiler*
    Lord Carsta'Arl

  8. Congrats on this - it's been a long process for you I'm sure, Avadon was a great deal of fun and I am sure I'll be playing this sooner than later. Enjoy your rest - you've certainly earned it. :)

  9. After all that programming, you seem to have forgotten that you are Redbeard. He would have written this post far differently.

  10. Haha, Jeff, you're a pretty tight (and I mean this in a good way, probably) writer. Nice going, great games and lots of love. I'll try the demo out and if it's good, a purchase from me, you got.

  11. Aww really, no numpad control again? That was such a huge barrier preventing me from getting into the first game as well. I can't stand clicking locations and waiting to get around everywhere.

  12. Awesome work Jeff. Thank you for pouring so much energy into long string of wonderful games that have made me chuckle and ponder (I still feel bad about breaking those Slith eggs in Escape from the Pit).

    I'm looking forward to Avadon 2. You have my wallet vote.

  13. I downloaded the demo Thursday, bought it Friday (just making sure it ran okay). It was $20 on your site, $9.99 on Mac Game Store (of which I'm guessing you're lucky to see $5). I bought it from your site, anyway, because I like your games and I want you to stay in business to keep making them.

  14. "back when [...] Bioware still wrote Bioware games"

    You mean back when Bioware systematically fucked up their own games' backstories by systematically allowing the overpowered player-controlled protagonists to Kung-Fu-Jesus the plot?

  15. "Competently made" doesn't make sense in this context because the game is already one in a million due to the individual effort and care and a continuing perfection of the form.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. First, let me say that you are my hero, Jeff. Your stubborn dedication really amazes me. If I only had a 1/10th of it, I'd leave my day job in a minute. When I'm stuck in my pet project, I say to myself - "Jeff Vogel wrote games like Avernum and Geneforge, and you can't even finish this simple prototype?!". It doesn't help much, but I do say it :) But so far, I'm still employed in game industry, and not happy enough with it.

    So... Not much to do, but keep playing Avadon 2, I guess. I love it, just as other Spiderweb games. My only problems with it is that I sometimes feel that picture is not contrast enough and text make me strain my eyes, even though I enabled larger font option (maybe it has something to do with 1920x1080 native resolution of my monitor).

  18. Really curious about Avadon 2, but a question: Is it advisable to complete the first game before playing the 2nd? I still haven't gotten around to that.

    1. Second that. Also, can we carry over our player & stats from Avadon 1? Or is it a fresh start?

  19. I have to say I am loving this game. In some ways not having played the first game makes the whole plot more exciting and mysterious. Who is Miranda? Why does Redbeard have such a Vendetta against her? Why did she betray Avadon? And do I really like working for the creepy fantasy version of the CIA/NSA? (Or are the threats, like the corruption or the rebels, worse?)

    I'm definitely going to gift this to some of my friends who grew up on the Ultima games.

  20. It seems I'm going into the same pattern as the last game, and pretty much any RPG that gives me choices. At first I intend to act like a complete jerk, a tyrant, or something along those lines. Then I feel bad, I can't go through with it, and I try to help people instead. "Try" being the operating word, since it doesn't always work out.

  21. I didn't enjoy Avadon 1. I hated the NPCs. When they marched off to their individual doom-stories, I wanted them to die, but the story wouldn't progress until I saved them. I didn't want to save them.

    I love Avadon 2. I miss the days of Exile where I had 6 characters and meant I could experiment with less than ideal builds. I miss the complexity of Exile and Nethergate, or even the simplified skills of Avernum.

    And yet Avadon 2 draws me in and keeps me there, because it finally allows me to play a snarky "I don't care who you are, Redbeard" mercenary character, and I actually like most of my companions this time around.

    If you continue to make games, Sir, I will continue to purchase them.

  22. For the second time, Jeff, one of your games has pulled me away from Skyrim (which I still haven't finished). Why do you make me hate Bethesda so?

  23. Any hope of another linux port?

  24. Dude, nice article.

    Srsly, I was eventually forced to admit that my own little software company's success was a matter of luck (i.e. timing) as much as anything. I filled a need in a tiny little proto-universe (i.e. the dawn days of the web) and then that universe expanded like crazy for several years. My percentage of the market shrank but the market grew faster than that, thus $$$ came burbling out of the ground with almost no marketing.

    Does this happen every day? God no. Was I able to duplicate it with new products that didn't speak to the same audience? Nope.

    And too many devs think their better and/or funner mousetrap will "go viral." Your shit is not going to viral unless it is so stupefyingly fun/useful that it overwhelms the profound sharing fatigue everybody has been feeling since about year two of Facebook. Or you spend the $$$ or cash in the favors to get the marketing that gets a large enough percentage of the market to try your product. At which point Malcolm Gladwell waves his magic wand and everyone else finally stampedes to check it out. But that threshold is pretty high.

    I think the best way through the briar patch is to identify an underserved market and satisfy the crap out of it, achieving that tipping point (sorry) percentage of market saturation *within that tiny tiny market* so that everybody else on that particular schoolbus route gets excited and decides to shell out for your product. Lather rinse repeat. Nothing succeeds like success. Once more into the breach, dear friends. vi ohgodnotagain.c.

    Or, hey, one can get a real job. After so many years of being chief cook *and* bottle washer when I'm actually awesome at cooking but suck at washing bottles, it's kind of a revelation to work side by side with someone who can jam on that bottle brush like it's their job or something. Because it is.

  25. Loved the first game, greatly enjoying the second! (Even if Alcander's smugness makes me want to punch him in the face every time he says anything...)

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