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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Unwritten - Turn-based Strategy Roguelike (Kickstarter)

    Unwritten: "Create a nomadic tribe and guide them across a randomly generated tundra to meet its God."

    Funding successful. Move along.

    They say Civilization meets Oregon Trail. Or "strategy rogue-like" in the way that "each area map feels a bit like a 'dungeon' in the classic role playing game Rogue." It also sounds, to me, like an FTL-style one-way journey/decision-filled story generator. Apparently it also bears some similarity to King of Dragon Pass.

    Detailed update on gameplay. Full song from the soundtrack.

    Old pre-alpha gameplay screenshot:



    New gameplay concept by Amanda Williams, environment artist for Waking Mars:



    -

    The dev, who most recently worked on Dishonored, posted an editorial on RPS on violence in video games a few days ago.
    Last edited by internetonsetadd; 13-02-2013 at 06:39 AM. Reason: campaign over

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node johnki's Avatar
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    I saw this before. It looks really good. And they're giving away the dev tools so we can mod it? Hell yes!

    I'm thinking about pledging on the beta level.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    I'm hoping this isn't one of those Kickstarter projects that's too "different" to find much attention. Gameplay wise, nothing's really off the wall here, but the setting and art style aren't typical.

    Banner Saga had no trouble attracting backers with its naturalistic/historical/non-fantasy setting and atypical art style, but it still had a pretty recognizable Western swords-and-armor look to it. Unwritten might not appeal to people who are really hooked on that sort of thing.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Graphics are a bit too 'built for tablet' for me. But that said, if the game is rich enough I'll stop "seeing" the graphics in seconds.
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    Depends on the gameplay really, but it looks questionable.

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    The screenshot looks a little odd and uncrisp compared to how the map looked in the video (more hexes visible, less tablety perhaps). Definitely see what you're saying, though.

    It'd be nice to know more about what you'll be able to do on that map, including what the resources will be, what kind of upgrades/abilities your tribe will have access to (and whether there will be variety sufficient to support replayability and alternate strategies), how encounters with enemies will play out, and how much variation within the context of "tundra" there will be.

    I'm convinced there's potential here, but I'd like to see more laid out before I back. I'm hoping my impression of a traveling Heroes of Might and Magic III battles with resources, varied encounters, and strategic improvement + FTL-style, random story generation by way of fork-in-the-road, consequential decisions isn't too far off. I can't see that not being good.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Doesn't look like the second coming of Heroes of Might and Magic. I'm more intrigued by the linked King of Dragon Pass.

    By the way, a game is not automatically a roguelike because it has some random elements.
    pass

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    My interest is piqued but I'm going to wait for the more in depth update about gameplay before committing. If ti sounds like my sort of thing (which I have a suspicion it might) then I'll definitely back it. So far it looks to be something a bit different and those are the Kickstarter project that interest me the most.

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b0rsuk View Post
    Doesn't look like the second coming of Heroes of Might and Magic. I'm more intrigued by the linked King of Dragon Pass.

    By the way, a game is not automatically a roguelike because it has some random elements.
    When I say HoMM 3 I'm only talking about the battle screen, which is obviously just a single element of the series. I'm not seeing a rebirth of HoMM here, just one aspect expanded into something very different. Of course, I could be wrong about even that.

    And roguelike is the dev's word, not mine: "It could also be called a 'strategy rogue-like' since each area map feels a bit like a 'dungeon' in the classic role playing game Rogue."

    I'm also intrigued by King of Dragon Pass. I'd never heard of it before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    So far it looks to be something a bit different and those are the Kickstarter project that interest me the most.
    Same.

  10. #10
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Extensive update concerning gameplay, for anyone who cares. My initial impression was pretty off. The turn-based combat, such as it is, is simpler than I imagined (dev describes it as somewhat CCG-like), but the overall game is much more complex. My main concern was how much variation in terms of strategy there would be, and it sounds like a lot.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Hmm, I'm still intrigued, backed it.

    Side note: I think the reward tiers weren't greatly thought out though. Including a special ending for people who back at a certain level always seems like a bad move to me, it risks alienating those who would only be willing to back at a lower level by making them think they are being locked out of bits of the game and might put people off backing.
    Last edited by Lambchops; 21-01-2013 at 01:08 PM.

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Unwritten has had a few updates of consequence since last I spammed you about it. I've updated the OP to include new gameplay concept art and some links. And yeah, spam is the word I'm looking for. I've transitioned from impartial observer to Kool-Aid-smoking believer.

    Funding got off to a good start but has lurched into a ditch during the not atypical mid-campaign slump. To be expected, but it saddens me that this isn't getting more attention. Kickstarter seems to be atrophying under the weighty expectations of a majority that mostly want to fund the sort of games they've already played. (I realize I have a disorder when it comes to other people and their desire for familiar things.)

    If you've checked it out and decided it isn't for you, or Kickstarter isn't your thing, or you spent too much in 2012, I can't fault you for any of that. If you haven't given it a look and you like strategy games, look at it. The fastest way I can describe it is to say FTL but your ship is a nomadic tribe, and reaching the fleet is reaching your god--even if this leaves out a lot of the things that make it unique and quite different from FTL.

    I suspect that the setting and themes are a bit too dark, serious, surreal, and rooted in a weirdly rearranged mosaic of history for this to be any kind of smash hit. Wildman has a tribal theme too, and even with all its popular fantasy adornments it's still catching flak from some for not being more recognizable (read: high fantasy). (And from many more for not just being an ARPG, but that's beside the point.) Still, there's gotta be enough people out there who are tired of every third game visiting the same setting.

    So, an indie game that you collaborate with to create a "story" with mature themes and some actual history of sorts, but still has the strategic gameplay to back it up and not fall into art-game territory. Yes? No? Ah well, I tried.

    And, try as I might, I still think I'm somewhat incapable of conveying the essence of the game. I suppose it'll either click for you or it won't, making my ragewhining kind of pointless.
    Last edited by internetonsetadd; 02-02-2013 at 10:45 AM.

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Still no? Damn you people.

  14. #14
    Lesser Hivemind Node johnki's Avatar
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    I am very hesistant about pledging to KS's (I haven't yet). It's looking like this one won't make it. My natural reaction is to hold off until it looks like it's going to make it.

    It's a shame. I was really looking forward to it and willing to pledge at the beta level when I had the cash but again, it looks like it isn't going to make it. :/

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnki View Post
    I am very hesistant about pledging to KS's (I haven't yet). It's looking like this one won't make it. My natural reaction is to hold off until it looks like it's going to make it.
    While I completely understand the hesitancy with KS pledging in general (definitely something that I think requires more thought as a decision than most are giving it) I don't see how it makes sense to want to hold off on a pledge unless it looks like it's going to make it? It's not like they get any of your money if it doesn't make it to the goal so the thought of waiting until last second seems like a bit of a catch-22, no?

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sebmono View Post
    While I completely understand the hesitancy with KS pledging in general (definitely something that I think requires more thought as a decision than most are giving it) I don't see how it makes sense to want to hold off on a pledge unless it looks like it's going to make it? It's not like they get any of your money if it doesn't make it to the goal so the thought of waiting until last second seems like a bit of a catch-22, no?
    It is a bit of bad logic (that I myself utilize), but there is also a decent rationale.

    People are idiots. Look at all the KS projects that go over budget, don't realize their extras cost money to make and ship, or forget that KS and Amazon are gonna take a cut. So backing something that just barely squeaks by is a bad move. You want a bit of safe padding.
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  17. #17
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    Ah, excellent points! I guess it all goes back to the root issue of people in general (me most definitely included) not taking a deep enough look at the logistics and realism of KS projects.

    I've actually recently decided to avoid projects with physical rewards for the points as you've mentioned. That's also one of the reasons that I felt confident backing At The Gates (despite the fact I can't stand looking at pictures of Jon Shafer, he always looks so damn smug!).

  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    It is a bit of bad logic (that I myself utilize), but there is also a decent rationale.

    People are idiots. Look at all the KS projects that go over budget, don't realize their extras cost money to make and ship, or forget that KS and Amazon are gonna take a cut. So backing something that just barely squeaks by is a bad move. You want a bit of safe padding.
    Unless the padding is built into the asking price. I imagine project creators are (made) aware that Kickstarter has a pretty stable 85% collection rate, which subtracts an even bigger chunk than the fees do. Minus 5% for Kickstarter and 3-5% for Amazon leaves about $58k in Unwritten's case. Assuming a creator isn't willfully ignorant or an idiot (still kind of a big assumption--but you do have 30 days of a campaign to judge them by), a buffer is probably pretty obvious.

    Backers will often ask, "Why do you need $75k for this?!" The answer is that they don't. They need $50k. If they know what they're doing.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by internetonsetadd View Post
    ...5% for Kickstarter and 3-5% for Amazon...
    While you bring it up, does anyone else find that combination of fees pretty intense? Especially considering these folks are just intermediaries here. I mean, does Amazon even have to do anything additional to handle payments beyond its existing system for everything else?

    Not a critiplaint, just a thought starter. I also realize that compared to the chunks traditional publishers take out of a developers pocket this is nothing, but I would have to think that these levels of fees have to imply a market opportunity for another Kickstarter-alike to get into the business with a trimmer fee schedule. Is there anything else out there besides Indiegogo and Kickstarter which has legs and may be cheaper?

  20. #20
    Lesser Hivemind Node internetonsetadd's Avatar
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    Hesitancy is probably a good idea. I mean, what are you getting? A game that will probably go on sale a month or two after release. And Kickstarter is mostly about the getting to me. I've set out to be more judicious about what I back this year, sticking only to those projects for games that I feel need to exist.

    I feel the same about Unwritten as I do about, say, Unclaimed World. Breaths of fresh air are too few in gaming. When I feel that way about a project, what I'm getting feels like more than just the one copy of the game, so the notion of its going on sale shortly after release ceases to matter. I can stand to buy a few games at full price if the alternative is their non-existence. But that's me and my issues.

    If all that's keeping you from backing is the possibility of its not reaching the funding goal, I think it's definitely worth a pledge. I know a lot of people probably think that way, and then it sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Project looks dead, why bother. But almost all projects hit a slump during the middle of the campaign. There's still plenty of time for a turnaround, considering the modest goal. I've seen projects make a comeback from seemingly insurmountable (and far worse) situations before.

    Unwritten was lacking a few things to start, which I think they've corrected. Waking Mars' alien landscape was one of the better things about it, so I think they've arrived at a look that will make people want to explore the world (I do, anyway). Hopefully it gets some further attention, and the gameplay appeals to enough people to get there. If only they had an offensive tits&gore collectible to get gaming sites talking.

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