About this project
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Read the Manual! [ [ Manual ] ]
Imagine that Fire Emblem and Disgaea had a baby, and that baby turned out to be a prodigy...
"The demo was quite long, and I had to actually pull myself away from one of the two stations because I wanted more people to be able to get their hands on it. Telepath Tactics won my heart pretty quickly, and it should do the same to any other fan of Fire Emblem, Disgaea, or Shining Force." --Destructoid
“With destructible buildings, bridge construction to create new flanking opportunities and the ability to throw people into lava, it sounds like Telepath Tactics may contain all that is necessary for my tactical needs.” –Adam Smith, Rock Paper Shotgun
“The gameplay recalls Sega’s Shining Force series, mixed with a bit of Advance Wars — as a fan of both, I definitely approve of the direction this one’s taking!” –The Indie Games Blog
Telepath Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG in the tradition of Fire Emblem and Disgaea. Featuring mod support, a robust map editor, and a dialog editor, you can create your own campaigns and download others' off the internet!
On top of single player, Telepath Tactics also features 2-to-6 player local multiplayer matches (i.e. you and your friends playing together in the same room, Super Smash Brothers style).
Telepath Tactics is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Telepath Tactics takes place in a fantasy-steampunk universe that averts most of the tropes you're used to from these sorts of games. Magic doesn't exist: instead, there is psionics and steam-powered technology reliant on a volatile, crystalline substance called vibra. Cavalry don't ride horses: they ride giant, armored praying mantises. There are no elves, no dwarves, no goblins, no dragons. The world is populated by humans, steam-powered mechanical golems, and other, original races (such as the shadowlings, disembodied heads from the nether reaches of the earth that quite literally feed on human suffering).
Shadowlings were the first to discover the secrets of vibra mining. Crucial to powering steam tech, vibra turned out to be big business–and no place had it in greater concentrations than the Dundar Archipelago, a string of islands governed by the Roman-style Dundar Empire. The influx of moneyed interests to the islands has corroded the empire's adherence to democratic traditions, and the native human population now faces increasing exploitation as Dundar's politicians turn a blind eye.
Emma and Sabrina were nearly too young to remember when their family was forced into slavery in the vibra mines of Kovit. When their father took ill, the sisters were forced to make his quota or face starvation. After a shadowling slaver took pity on them, they escaped, fleeing into the wilderness. They were found and taken in by a tribe of Lissit, reptilian warriors, who raised the sisters as their own.
Now Emma and Sabrina train tirelessly, bent on revenge and the prospect of rescuing their ailing father from bondage. They will need all of their wits--and the help of some unlikely allies--if they are to succeed...
Telepath Tactics borrows the best parts of our favorite tactics games to create a dream team of available strategies in battle.
Throw enemies off of cliffs; push enemies into water or lava; fling friends across gaps; set your enemies on fire; freeze them; blind them; cripple them; stun them; use hit-and-run tactics with cavalry and bowmen; teleport; grab item drops; stick your ranged units on the high ground to boost their effectiveness; the list goes on and on.
Telepath Tactics also brings fresh, brand new new environmental manipulation mechanics to the table. Freeze water and build bridges to create new routes across water or lava; build barricades to brunt an incoming attack; destroy walls, doors and bridges to open up or close off routes of attack; push boulders, barrels and tables in the way to block off certain routes; shoot through open windows; place down explosive charges to create a trap for an unwary opponent. Telepath Tactics supports all of this and more.
Attack damage is 100% predictable, and attacks always hit unless there is some intervening factor (such as the attacker having been blinded, or the target having some special defensive status effect). In this regard, it is very much a game of skill akin to chess. Chance will seldom determine the outcome of a battle; victory depends on you and your wits.
And you'll need all the wits you can get: the enemy AI in Telepath Tactics is aggressive and reactive. The enemy will not just sit around the battlefield waiting for your characters to wander into aggro range or trigger a script—the AI will actively maneuver and seek out ways to get at your most vulnerable characters. It will backstab you, compete with you to grab useful items, break down your barricades, and shove you right into the lava every chance it gets.
Telepath Tactics features 22 unique character classes, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, and battlefield roles. The single player campaign uses unique, named characters based off of these classes, each with its own custom stats and leveling schemes.
On top of all this, Telepath Tactics features extensive mod support that allows you to create custom battles, custom tilesets, custom destructible objects, custom items, custom attacks, custom character classes, and even whole single player campaigns filled with unique characters, enemies, dialog and cut scenes. Everything is stored in easy-to-read files that can be opened by any text editor, so modding is a cinch.
The game also comes with a full-featured map editor to make creating new battles fast and simple. There's even a built-in dialog editor to let you add dialog trees and create cut scenes! Make your own scenarios, or download someone else's: Telepath Tactics supports all of the above.
There is a lot more I could say about the game. Rather than talk your ear off, however, I will direct you to the latest draft of the Telepath Tactics manual with more (and more detailed) information on how the game works.
Every single thing you read in the section above is currently in-game and working. There is no question about whether this project is too ambitious to complete: it isn't. The lion's share of the really tough stuff is already done. I just need more resources to give the game all the content and polish it needs.
Telepath Tactics is playable, but there's still a lot of content to create for the game. It needs a lot more art, for one thing. Specifically:
- Character portraits;
- gender variants for each character class (all characters are currently just male or just female);
- animated NPC sprites (villagers, merchants, politicians, businessmen, etc.);
- individualized attack buttons;
- status effect symbols;
- nicer-looking buttons, menus, and other elements of the user interface;
- more tiles; and
- more destructible objects.
Your contribution will go directly toward commissioning high quality assets to fill these gaps!
Additionally, I'm looking to fill out the soundtrack with high quality tracks. Composer Ryan Richko is currently working on that, but I need money to hire him to keep going. Here's a sample of what he's done so far:
I've compiled a huge array of rewards to encourage folks to back the game as generously as possible! Check a column to see everything you'll get by backing the game at a given tier:
With the base funding met, I can afford to have everything in the "What do we need money for" section above created for the game. That doesn't mean we have no use for more money, though! I took a poll of project backers and took their most-wanted features for the game's stretch goals. Here is what we came up with:
Achieved! $22,000 - Extra Character Classes with Animated Sprites. This was easily our most popular stretch goal. Reaching this goal means that we'll have more visually distinct class sprites around to use for stuff like unit promotions!
Achieved! $28,000 - Dungeon Tileset with Traps, Openable Doors, Scripted Levers and Buttons. This is a really cool stretch goal because it not only means a bigger variety of tiles, it also means a wider variety of ways that characters can interact with the battlefield, which in turn means bigger mission variety.
Achieved! $34,000 - Randomized Battlefield Generation. This was the third most popular stretch goal. Procedural level generation is really tricky to pull off well, but it adds a ton of replayability when it is! Reaching this goal means I can take some time off of work to code this feature properly.
Achieved! $38,000 - Extra Branch in the Main Campaign. Only just narrowly edged out by random battlefield generation, the Extra Branch stretch goal means that I will present the player with a significant decision during the campaign; this choice will affect which missions the player gets from that point forward.
$46,000 - Mobile Ports. Our fifth most popular option, the Mobile Ports stretch goal will allow me to have the game's art redone to be easily tappable (and visible) on super-high resolution displays like Retina.
I'm Craig Stern, the guy behind the company Sinister Design. (You also might know me as the creator of IndieRPGs.com, but I consider myself a game developer first and foremost.)
I've been designing board games and card games since I was a child, and I've been creating video games for more than half a decade. Over that time, I've put out a whole slew of turn-based strategy RPGs. Those games were pretty good, but I consider them all a dry run: Telepath Tactics is the real deal. Telepath Tactics is the culmination of years of careful thought and design work. I am not messing around with this game: I am gunning to create the most elegant, comprehensive, tactically deep strategy role-playing game in existence, and to then give it over to you, the community, to extend as you see fit.
Please contribute to make Telepath Tactics happen; you'll have my sincere gratitude, and one excellent turn-based tactics game to show for it!
(In addition to pledging, you can also help Telepath Tactics out by voting for it on Steam Greenlight--this will help ensure that the game sees a Steam release.)
Risks and challenges
The big risk with small teams is that the programmer takes off, leaving the hapless game designers with code they can't read or use. That is not a risk with me: I am my own programmer, and I have a history of finishing what I start. (You can check SinisterDesign.com for examples of my past work if you're curious.)
I do not like to leave projects unfinished; it's just my personality. I stuck with my last game (Telepath RPG: Servants of God) for more than four years, then released it when it was done. Unless I am abducted by government agents or run over by a truck, Telepath Tactics is going to be completed. The only real question is, am I going to have the resources to get this done with all the assets it needs?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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