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11 September 2018

LoSt this month: Night Errands

The big news in LoSt in August was of course the release of LoSt #12 «Night Errands». I tried to cast the net a bit wider with this release, creating an itch.io page for LoSt as well as mentioning it in one or two forums. Interest in the project remains steady, but limited ;) The entry at itch.io generated 20 downloads the first week, which is less than I get at the blog, but probably not bad for a project that's young and quite niche. If anything, the niche part is why there's a potential target group for the game at all. If you're looking for a turn based, hexagonal RL about slightly trippy cowboys and cowgirls, the field isn't very crowded.

For a final note on statistics, the biggest chunk of traffic is directed from the «New Releases» section at the front page of RogueBasin. So there's at least a hot tip to other fledgling developers.

Off to err another night

I got a decent yield of bug reports, in particular of LoSt crashing under Windows. Most have had quite simple fixes, though I'll admit to slapping on the occasional dirty hack, when the deeper issue is something I want to come back and fix, ahem, but not just yet.

In the meantime, I'm making sketches for more encounters and places of the same scope/kind as Arken Town and the bandit lair, that can get a marker on the world map, may be connected to boons/missions, etc. The kinds of places could include anything from a ranch, to renegade soldier laying in ambush, to a really big fish in the river. I'm currently doing some work on an encounter with random marauders. The system is reminiscent of how random fauna is generated (adj+noun to give templates like «cannibalistic amazons» and «shotgun-totin' killer monks»), to be expanded later. I'm still defining the mechanics to dynamically generate, place and link these sites, which is probably about where the interesting stuff will start to happen. The general idea is that, as I get more and more varied templates for sites, each game world will pick its limited number of important places from a vast pool, and then randomize and generate relations between different factions, locations and so forth, hopefully yielding a unique mix for each playthrough. Even if the string of events is just so many fetch quests, it would be fantastic if you could play one game running errands for a mountain monastery, and the next aiding an infamous bandit in trying to take down a certain banker.

This level of realization isn't just around the corner, but I live in ambiguous hope ;) Reviewing old notes, I come across some long-term plans that correspond okay to how the game evolved in the years following. And most planned features on the official roadmap have expected dates set to «trop tard! jamais peut-être!» («too late! never, perhaps!»), as Baudelaire put it in his masterly poem «To some hot tail who passed in excruciatingly short skirts one midsummer eve» (or what it was called).

Anyway, given the buggy Windows version of #12, I should rather make haste to release #13, but careful not to deliver another broken package. Once I have a working, hopefully not too ugly release with the latest improvements, I can start sinking some work into these sites as I see them, and hopefully get the game world to shape up a bit in the coming time.

As always,
Minotauros

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