Archive for March, 2013

Mission #2

Friday, March 29th, 2013

The Elder
Despite the loss of two entire Tactical Operations Teams, operation Driven Stake has been a major success. The vampire clans have been smashed, two elders have been destroyed and those remaining have been driven into hiding.

Mop up operations continue apace and recent intelligence indicates that some minor nosferatu elements might have taken refuge in the abandoned Corvinus Manor.

Your assignment is to visit the manor and determine the nature and extent of any vampire clan activity that is ongoing there. You should begin your survey in the morning and plan to finish before dusk to ensure your safety.


Friday, March 22nd, 2013

I’m still working on getting the game ready for release.  Progress has been measured but steady. I’ve finished 3 games in the last 7 years or so and this is always the toughest part. It requires a tremendous amount of self discipline to just sit down and finish off all the not very fun dirty work.

I do want to talk about how the Win condition for the game is structured. In many rogue likes the final boss is always the same. That doesn’t really matter a whole lot because in some cases you could spend a life time and never reach him. 🙂  I’m not kidding.   But, while I want The Occult Chronicles to be hard and challenging, I want the end to be fairly reachable.  Like I have stated many times before, my goal is to make a board game like experience, so I needed to design both an attainable win condition and a thematically varied one as well.  I had originally toyed with the idea that Betrayal House on the Hill implemented so well, which was an ending that depended on what you had actually done in the house.  In that game, a huge variety of endings can be triggered by a particular configuration of game states and the omen card that is drawn. But I soon found that unworkable with my limited resources.

So instead, I decide to go the more traditional way, with an End Encounter set up in the basement of the mansion that varied depending on which mission you selected at the beginning of the game. It’s primarily just a way to add different thematic flavor to each game. Choosing one mission over another doesn’t change any of the mechanics in a significant way.  In each case you need to gather clues and then find and confront the final encounter. But I really like the thematic flavor that each mission adds. You see the different mission choices affect the final mission rooms i.e. each mission has a unique set of rooms where the finale takes place. You also get different random encounters added into the mix. The story text for each time a story icon triggers is different of course. And finally some of the clues are unique to each mission. i.e. you can find a set of fake robes for the Cultist Sacrifice Mission that will give you a big advantage when you try and infiltrate the Inner Sanctum and stop the return of The Great Tentacled One.

Here is the image for the first mission that you can choose along with the text description that is presented

The Key and the Gate

There have been rumors surfacing recently concerning the revival of a cult devoted to The Tentacled Ones. These creatures are said to be slumbering in an outer dimension and intent on returning to our world to assume their places as earth’s rightful rulers.

Reports of missing young women from the neighboring town have kindled suspicions that the ancient Lovecraft Estate might have new residents intent on some nefarious summoning or gate opening ritual.

The stars do seem to be right for a ritual. You have precious little time remaining before a celestial conjunction not to be seen for another thousand years could be used to the cultists’ advantage. Our analysts believe that a human sacrifice will be required.

The Occult Chronicles Web Page

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

I’ve had my amazing sister Katie put up the foundations of The Occult Chronicles webpage on my Cryptic Comet website.  It consists of an Overview page which sums up the game play pretty well. I’m going to try and create a game play/designer notes video and put it up on Youtube but that’s going to have to wait until after the launch. All my efforts right now are focused on finishing the game.

Once I think it’s ready, I’m going to do a buy in beta like I did with Six Gun Saga.  This lets me sleep at night because some bugs and the occasional script error are not completely unexpected and players who buy in should understand that and hopefully even contact me with save games so I can fix things.  On AE and SI, I almost stressed myself out to the point of a nervous breakdown with a lot of the bug hunting.  I DO NOT expect that there will be many, but there are always things that slip by.  Some quests are pretty complex for example, with multiple options for solving them and there might be branches or interactions that I haven’t anticipated.

So, if everything goes according to plan I would like to start the Beta Buy In around late April but it may slide until early May.  I’m feeling very positive about where the game has ended up. My goal was to create something that a single player board gamer who can never find friends for Betrayal House on the Hill or Mansions of Madness would love to play.  I hope that I have done that. I think so. There are so many neat things in the game to discover.  While I’ve been testing I’ve come across a few that I had forgotten that I had made and was pleasantly surprised.

I’ve also lowered the prices on AE and SI to $14.99 each or $25 for both.  It’s a bit of an experiment to see if the conventional wisdom is correct. I’m hoping that it brings up volume and revenues. I’d still like to get them both on steam someday.  Gabe, Valve, Steam call me.

The price for The Occult Chronicles will be $19.99.  I’ll probably set up a Greenlight page once I can get a video finished. I’ll post the link here if that happens.

Thanks again to everybody who plays my games and supports my design efforts.