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An RTS game with lots of depth, including character development & city-state building.
Release on PC mid 2018 after much testing!
An RTS game with lots of depth, including character development & city-state building.
An RTS game with lots of depth, including character development & city-state building.
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312 backers pledged AU$ 13,021 to help bring this project to life.

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Neolithic : First City-States - A Historical Strategy Game

AU$ 13,021

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*Please note - currency conversions are just a guide. Converted 11 August 2017.

 Neolithic: First City-States is a Deep Historical Strategy Game heavily influenced by games such as Age of Empires I, Civilization & Caesar III, and to a lesser extent games like Haven and Hearth, UnReal World and games like RimWorld. The game includes aspects of city building, military strategy and deep character development.

The game is about making this micro and macro scale gameplay meet in a meaningful way.

Set in the Neolithic or Chalcolithic to Late Bronze Age, the game features characters that have needs, gain skills, carry, equip and craft items, build structures and each have unique strengths and weaknesses.

 

Initial release will be on Steam (Windows, expecting but not promising Mac & Linux at initial release).

Big open world environment.
Big open world environment.

Like Minecraft, Banished and Stardew Valley, this is essentially a 1 person project. I have 15 years of experience developing games professionally as an artist, designer, director and programmer. Despite obvious drawbacks, going solo gives the flexibility and creative freedom I need. Obviously my time is pretty limited so I will be forever grateful for any and all support (including non-monetary such as sharing or constructive criticism).

The biggest design challenge - making micro and macro scales meet.
The biggest design challenge - making micro and macro scales meet.

 

  • Deep characters that have needs, carry items, inherit traits and can craft and build. 
  • Strategic combat with cover, direction/flanking, fortifications, formations and injuries. 
  • Procedural world with towns that can be traded with and conquered, with various vassal options.   
  • Detailed City Planning including road, canal and fortification layout and civic buildings.
  • Lots of customization including character hair, items, skin, tribal tattoos/body paint & building styles. 
  • Customize the look of your town with lamps, roads, canals, bridges, statues, monoliths, shrines and gardens. 
  • Day with a short night cycle, seasons & rain. 
  • Support for Windows (Steam and DRM-free), Mac & Linux, though Mac & Linux may come after initial release.

 

It goes without saying that helping to spread the word will help me as much as financial support. I spend most time developing, plus I suck when it comes to marketing! 

If you have a channel on youtube or social media please get in touch through the website and I'll try to help out with materials! I will also be adding videos and screen shots in the blog which you're more than welcome to use!

 You can find the Press Kit here: http://www.indiedb.com/games/neolithic/presskit

 

 

 

 

 

Harvest Season
Harvest Season

 

Gameplay is a mix of people & resource management, city building and military strategy.

  • While characters manage their needs (such as eating and sleeping), control is similar to other RTS games.
  • Keeping your people happy will increase birth rate, while a prosperous town will attract migrants.
  • Interact with the outside world through trade and diplomacy. You will sometimes be attacked by other towns and raiders. You can also be the aggressor and conquer nearby towns, setting various vassal conditions based on history.
  • The end game is to build a giant Temple (Pyramid or Ziggurat) and defend it against the Bronze Age Collapse. Though, this will take many hours and much of the game is intended to be open ended with many challenges inbuilt.

*Note - stretch goals will give additional funding to allow the additional content to come to life, all of which I really want to implement. Unfortunately it won't give me more hours in the day! So this content will mostly come after initial release.

 

Early examples of cultural items and units.
Early examples of cultural items and units.

Like other historical strategy games, you will be able to choose between several cultural backgrounds with unique strengths and weaknesses, items and buildings. Culture options will be slowly added, but will initially be focused on Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Each culture will have a unique look and play style including:
  • Unique balances such as increased food production or soldier starting experience.
  • Unique items available. For example - Seed Drill, Full Bronze Plate Mail, Bronze Shield, Khopesh, Penetrating Axe, Composite Bow ect.
  • Unique buildings. Buildings are more than idle pixels - they act as work stations for people and often unlock item and resource production. Cultures will have access to buildings such as work stations, libraries & civic buildings, military buildings, infrastructure and fortifications.

 

*Note: Very early example. Cultures are still in early development.
*Note: Very early example. Cultures are still in early development.

 

 

The biggest design challenge is how to transition from managing in detail a few characters to city management without things getting totally overwhelming or meaningless.

  • As you progress, you will slowly allocate people to specialist trades - potter, soldier, administrate ect. The character will then only do one task, however they will do it more efficiently and help automate tasks. In various ways it will mean you no longer need to select individuals to micromanage resources and production. For example, specialist farmers will automatically manage crops within range of the farmhouse. Potters will streamline production of certain resources needed for trade and buildings, automatically balancing stockpiles. In general, specialists streamline and increase production, as they did in the real world. The process of making soldiers can be automated through the barracks where you can design a unit type with items, then simply hit recruit to automatically find the most suited character, queuing item production with specialist tradesmen.
  • The other challenge will be to make the early gameplay not become meaningless as you progress. While the city may grow, most of your focus will stay on a few key characters who develop into elite characters with new characters working under them. 

Characters can become: 

  • Masters of their trade or legendary warriors. 
  • Leaders, administrators or teachers to increase effectiveness of the masses. 
They can also equip rare, elite items.

 

Every character is a little different. Sometimes a lot different. It will be up to you to decide how to best allocate their talents.
Not all characters are controllable. Young characters and active mothers will do their own thing.
In war, most characters will generally flee and live when losing. However, any character can potentially be killed and replenishing their numbers takes time. By default, characters don't die of old age.
 Equipment, Items & Resources
Items enhance characters. A better weapon will enhance your character in combat, while farming tools will mean more efficient farming. Though often slow to craft, they significantly enhance characters. Initially you will craft items and put them on characters manually, however as your town grows, item production will become mostly managed through specialists, by defining unit types, or administration tools.
Not all resources will be near your starting area - some must be traded or taken by force!

Prosperity & Population
Your most precious resource is your people.
To increase your population, you will need to build. Stability will increase birth rate, while a prosperous town with expensive statues and temples will attract immigrants. But beware, raiders are also attracted to prosperous towns.

Combat  
While better armor and weapons will significantly strengthen your people in combat, character skill is an equal, if not more important factor. Attack bonuses are gained when attacking from behind. Shield protection is directional. Walls provide cover from arrows. Characters can be injured in various ways and bleed.
Fortifications are free form. They are essentially defensive platforms that your people can move about on, as they are in the real world. You will need to actually place people on the fortifications if enemies are near. 

Multiplayer will be completed after fulfilling my promises with single player. I have experience with multiplayer and it can be a hurdle - but mostly regarding competitive multiplayer (cheat prevention) and servers/MMO. I will be avoiding both of those and keep it as simple as possible. It is really just intended to allow you to play with friends. You can choose to fight or work together freely. Coop mode will allow you to share control of a town.

 

Stone Mining
Stone Mining
To gain precious resources (e.g. tin) and sometimes semi-prescious resources (e.g. copper, dyes), you will generally need to trade or conquer.
The map is currently infinite, however it may change to being just very large.
Around the world will be other villages and cities of varying size. 
Raids and unique events will happen now and then to keep things fresh.

The game is currently around half way through development.
Here is a list of what is done and what remains:
What is in the game already?
  • Character management & needs control.
  • Characters can be injured and will drink, eat, sleep, seek warmth and even go to the toilet automatically.
  • Item system, including equipping items.
  • Item crafting system.
  • Work stations, buildings, walls, defensive bonuses.
  • Resources.
  • Plant/Crop growth and fruiting, including seasonal harvesting ect.
  • Animal control, fleeing, death, corpse harvesting ect.
  • Damage/health, ranged attacks (using physics so arrows will stick into walls ect), avoid, block, crit, injuries, attack modifiers and buffs.
  • Formations - change shape, formation tightness, attack move along paths (arrows shown in video)
  • Characters can run, walk, swim and currently sneak and dive, though sneaking and diving will possibly be cut.
  • The basic map generation functionality.
  • Day/Night cycle, rain, temperature & lighting.
  • Basic season functionality.
What is remaining?
  • AI Town management.
  • AI formation control.
  • Women, Children (though growth functionality is working).
  • Global pathing.
  • Raids.
  • Trade system, routes and trader AI.
  • Much Content (item & building art ect).
  • Most Balancing.
  • Many other small things not really worth mentioning here such as some buff icons, help text ect.
I do hire freelancers (though not yet for this project) and purchase assets where it will save time and not compromise the integrity of the game - my first priority and biggest challenge is simply finishing the game!

I would like to offer other languages but only English will be supported at initial release. 
*Update - I have been lucky enough to have a couple of volunteers from Germany and as the game seems to be particularly popular there I will definitely be including German as the first localized language. Tausend dank!

I would love to include 日本語, 中文, 한국어, Español, Français, Deutsch, Italiano, Русский and many others. I do have experience with localization and can also speak conversational Japanese.
If you would like to volunteer as a translator, please get in touch through the website - I will be very grateful!


Aside from Kickstarter fees, all funds raised in the campaign will go toward development. Which is to say, pay for living costs, software licenses and tools until the end of development. 
With current savings added in, AU$8000 is the minimum amount required to finish development. More than this will help a lot to improve the amount of content and quality in the initial release.

Kickstarter not only offers the opportunity to get much needed funds, but also for me it's a really huge step to just get the game out there. I'm hoping to get feedback and in turn make Neolithic a better game! 


I first started making my own games over 15 years ago. Since then I’ve worked in game studios in Australia (Firemint - now Firemonkeys) and Japan (Acquire), and remotely with the US and internationally on everything from Playstation & PC, PSP & handheld, mobile to browser & smartphone.
Initially an artist, I’ve slowly moved more and more to programming and design. Nowadays my time is spent on design, programming, artwork and everything in between.


Risks and challenges

There is always the risk that life could get in the way and many games never see release for all kinds of reasons. But at this stage it will take a lot to stop me!

All the technical choices and gameplay choices have been made with what I can accomplish as a solo developer in mind. Optimizing time and development is one of my strengths, and I've had a lot of practice at it!
With so many of the most challenging aspects already implemented and with experience in everything remaining I’m confident the game will see release and be updated to a balanced & polished level.

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    Alpha testing, beta testing and all future DLC and expansions. Includes additional exclusive backer DLC (items, decorations).
    *Note - Alpha builds are designed for testing and will not include all gameplay and content. They will contain bugs and balance issues.

    Includes:
    • The game on Steam.
    • Your name in the credits.
    • Closed Beta Access.
    • Exclusive Backer DLC.
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    • All Future Expansions.
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    Hoplite

    Approx US$196, €167, ¥21500, £150

    Get in on the earliest testing. This group will be the very first to get emails when testing begins. Includes everything from Bronze Swordsman.
    *Note - Alpha builds are designed for testing and will not include all gameplay and content. They will contain bugs and balance issues. The earliest builds will almost certainly contain many issues.

    Includes:
    • The game on Steam.
    • Your name in the credits.
    • Closed Beta Access.
    • Exclusive Backer DLC.
    • All future DLC.
    • All Future Expansions.
    • Alpha Testing Access.
    • Be part of the first small pre-alpha testing pool.
    • Additional Exclusive DLC.
    • Name a Villager! (must fit a culture).
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    Includes Hoplite rewards. All future DLC and expansions for Neolithic as well as all future games, expansions and DLC created by Alex. You will be on all future credits as "Initial supporter, co-founder and VIP".
    Includes a unique additional DLC item as well as Hoplite rewards.
    You can also request an item to be put into the game and describe how it should work. Must be balanced and fit with cultures from the period. Can be functional or aesthetic.
    *Note - Alpha builds are designed for testing and will not include all gameplay and content. They will contain bugs and balance issues. The earliest builds will almost certainly contain many issues.

    Includes:
    • The game on Steam.
    • Your name in the credits.
    • Closed Beta Access.
    • Exclusive Backer DLC.
    • All future DLC.
    • All Future Expansions.
    • Alpha Testing Access.
    • Be part of the first small pre-alpha testing pool.
    • Additional Exclusive DLC.
    • All future games, expansions and DLC made by Alex.
    • Additional extra-rare unique item (DLC).
    • Request a character item. Must fit with culture and period.
    • Name a Villager! (must fit a culture).
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Funding period

- (28 days)