Post-mortem. Part One.
I'm writing this summary/post-mortem/thing as a supplement of sorts. The Bounty: Deluxe Edition (hereafter mostly referred to as "the game" or "TBDX") is a little hard for me to explain. Despite being my creation, I have the damnedest time actually communicating the ideas the game represents, without someone experiencing it in person. So here goes.
Where it Started, and What it is
Alright, so the beginning. The idea first came to me several years ago, in early 2010. I was taking a break from practicing for a Castlevania world record score, by playing the classic Rogue. This make me think "you know, there should be a role playing game for competitive scorechasing." The train of thought, of course, then stopped at "I should make a role playing game for competitive score chasing". So I did.
It's impossible to track down every nuance of every game or other media that affected this piece of work, but I can certainly hit the big ones.
Doom- Doom is actually the biggest one, if it sounds odd at first. The secrets, proximity switches, monster closets, light/dark interplay, and general speed of traversal are all here. Doom and Wolfenstein mods were my first experience in any game development back in the mid nineties, so it's not surpising that this game wears that love on its sleeve.
The Legend of Zelda- The Zelda influence is mostly limited to puzzles and ability changing items, the flow and layout of Episode 3, and a few hamfisted references. One of the (FREE, WOW!)post-launch episodes is shaping up to be rather Zelda-like too, but that's neither here nor there.
Rogue- This is where a lot of the concept came from, but it's presence definitely shrank over time. The randomized floors and full-on permadeath is the name of the game for Endless Mode- but the main Story Mode shaped up to be longer and more linear. You've got a fair bit of randomized loot, riddles, and level branching; but purposeful level design and quality of life perks like saving your progress steered the ship over time.
Dragon Quest/7th Saga- The battle system is pretty much Dragon Quest, straight up. The guard-boosting dynamic from 7th Saga makes an appearance as well. It's simple and straightforward with an ebb and flow.
NOT SO MUCH AN RPG?
I've heard the remark that TBDX is an RPG for people who don't like RPGs. I don't think that excludes typical RPG fans- but the assertation is fair, I think! Let's take a look-
No experience grinding
No towns/safe havens
Streamlined Battle System
No learnable skills/abilities
I'll note that there are a number of spells and abilities. However, ALL special abilities are delegated to special items. Magic, buffs, special effects, even a support character- are all items, and most of them consumable.
You've got Character!
As in, YOU are the character. Your on-screen avatar can be changed by a variety of passwords at any time (a-la Midway arcade games in the mid-late nineties!). This also has NO effect on your player stats, and no effect on the "story" as there really isn't one in the first place. Your actions are the story, so why not have fun with your look?
So, What the hell is it?
The Bounty is an arcade-like RPG. An introspective sci-fi fourth wall breaking competitive indie game? Or a top down action-adventure scorechasing rogue-lite? A stripped down retro RPG with action and puzzle elements? All of the above?
I've heard them all, which makes things really fun and confusing for me, cause I really just see it as "the game". I hope that if and when you play it, you'll enjoy your time based on your experience, and not concern yourself much with genre or buzzwords.
I'll leave off here for today. Join us next time when we talk about Graphics, then Music and Sound Design, and finally a little light tech talk!
I'll also be combining all of the parts and snazzing them up with images and such in the end- so if you want anything elaborated upon, let me know and I'll see about adding it in!
Things have been so insanely busy, that I've honestly just neglected the blog. So, let's start from the top.
If you recall the previous post, my father had suffered a stroke, but appeared to be improving.
I'm sad to say that he took a turn for the worse shortly afterwards. After a few more weeks in hospitals and a nursing home, we ended up taking him home on hospice. I took care of him the last couple of weeks until he died.
It's been a very difficult time, to say the least, but work has continued, and we're looking at a Steam release date for The Bounty: Deluxe Edition on November 1st. You can check out a new trailer on the home page. I'll continue working on getting the Steam platform goodies ready-achievements, cloud saves, etc.
Bug Attack! also now has a Steam store ID, and I'll share more on it's launch at a later date.
So, incoming blogs. Starting tomorrow, I'll be posting a series of blog post-mortems for The Bounty. Breaking down the design philosophy, approach, gameplay, the whole nine yards. I hope you look forward to them.