Next step in our campaign is Steam Greenlight! If you've supported us on Kickstarter and have a Steam account, give us a thumbs up on Steam! As of the close of the Kickstarter, we're already 70% of the way to the top 100. Just need a little extra push!
VIDAR IS DYING. The former capital of a kingdom is now reduced to a shell of a town. A city that once saw wealth and war sees now only storms, famine, sickness and death. Now a new threat has emerged, a terrible beast with an appetite for those who still live. So long as this Beast is left to feast on the remaining villagers, Vidar's days are numbered.
Vidar is an RPG Puzzler focused on random storytelling and random puzzles. You play as the Stranger, a character who was lost in a snowstorm and made it into town at a time when no one can leave. Now trapped, the Stranger fights alongside the remaining townsfolk to stop the Beast before it kills every last person. Each night, another citizen is killed - you'll have only 24 days before Vidar is gone.
Each resident has their own stories to tell, their own quests to give the player, and their own relationships with each other. As their neighbors, lovers, friends, and family die, each is deeply affected by the loss - and their story arcs diverge accordingly. As the game progresses, the stories of the living change not only in response to what the player has done, but to who has died as well.
Because the order of deaths in Vidar is random each playthrough, every game is a new story. In one playthrough, the priest may die the first night; in the next, he'll invite the remaining townsfolk to barricade themselves in the Church as a last effort to survive; in the next, he'll grieve the loss of a close friend and give up the cloth for good.
Take Etel, for example. Etel is the last remaining guardsman, and a coward. He joined only because he respected Barnabas (another of the 24) and wanted to eventually follow in his footsteps. Now that Vidar is under attack, Etel can't work up the courage to do much, and he covers it up by solving immaterial concerns.
If the player gets the lantern before Etel dies, Etel will ask the player to rid a cave of harmless imps. On completion, Etel will then become concerned with wolves gathered in the Beast's cave. If Dorottya the blacksmith is still alive, she'll confront Etel about his cowardice - Etel will join you in a new quest to clear out the wolves den. He'll grow a backbone, and begin patrolling the city at night for any threats to Vidar's safety, now sworn to stop the beast. If you can convince the clergy that the Church should be used as a gathering point for the remaining NPCs, Etel will promise to stand guard outside, giving his life before anyone else's.
But if the blacksmith is not alive, Etel will send you to clear the wolf cave alone. He'll further delude himself with the belief that he's really helping his town. His fears concerning a mystical, self-appointed "goddess" living in the cave will surface, and he'll ask you to take on yet another quest. Only this time, you'll be asked to do something far more morally ambiguous.
If the apothecary is dead, the oil used in the streetlamps will be of poor quality, and now that Etel is not patrolling the streets, a fire might break out in a town that can ill afford any more loss of life. And of course, recall that Etel viewed Barnabas as his hero. If Barnabas dies before you've cleared the imps, Etel will give up all hope. He'll hang up his armor and find his way to the bar. Instead of any of the quests above, you'll be confronted with a whole new plot line trying to save Etel from the bottom of a bottle.
All of this is one small part of one NPC's potential plot. As these neighbors, friends, and loved ones grow and interact, and as they die, and as tasks are completed or abandoned, their stories evolve into a distinct, unique plot.
To stop the Beast you will explore its den, filled with vast and varied environments. From frigid layers of ice to dusty boulders, each layer of this dungeon reveals more about Vidar's past as a once-thriving capital. You'll hear stories of a Boy King who went mad and abdicated the throne, or see ghosts trapped in reenacting the same war over and over until the end of time. You'll meet a lady-of-the-lake who has spent a millennium trying (and failing) to cultivate a religion around her persona. And of course, your mind will be put to the test in a series of challenging environmental puzzles.
The cave blends nostalgic dungeon-exploration mechanics (like frictionless ice, mirrors which reflect light, adjustable water levels, and more) with new twists. Your path through the dungeon is chosen at random, the rooms you explore are chosen at random, and each puzzle in each room is chosen at random from a bank of several hundred. If you want to come back and see a brand new story unfold, you won't be stuck playing puzzles you've already solved.
The townsfolk will also ask for your assistance while you explore the caves. Their requests (and the rewards associated with them) change in response to the random deaths in the game, as well as in response to how you've played so far. Vidar's villagers will give you quest rewards that have a tremendous impact on how you play the game - a map, a clock, a journal. You can't get all of the quests in a single game, which means you can't get all of the possible tools Vidar has to offer. You'll need to make due with what your particular version of the town can give you.
Vidar needs your help. Development is well underway, but we can't finish bringing the game to life without your support. Click "Back this Project" at the top of this page, or select one of the rewards tiers.
Retro Magazine has awesomely agreed to up the rewards for all of Vidar's backers. Back at any tier $10 and above and get a free copy of RETRO's RPG Issue!
There are some seriously awesome articles here, like James Bacon's discussion of branching narratives in RPGs - a pretty obviously important topic in Vidar's development. Thanks so much RETRO for the gift to all of Vidar's backers!
The art you see in the demo, the gameplay sections of the video, and throughout the Kickstarter page is all done by the very talented Becca Bair. She's done enough for the demo, and even worked on portions of Vidar not available for play just yet, but there's a lot more to go! The vast majority of the budget is assigned to bring this desaturated, pixelized town to life - if only for 24 in-game days.
Some of the money goes to Kickstarter and to Amazon (they process the credit card payments), and finally a sliver goes to spreading the word about the game. Marketing isn't free! The game's development will always be a labor of love on my part - funds are set aside to get other talent involved in the process.
Our composer Adrian Jakubiak has written some amazing tracks for the game - take a listen!
Music from the Dark Cave:
Music from the town:
Music from a war scene:
Risks and challenges
Game development always has inherent risk - estimating deadlines is difficult, and funds can run out faster than expected. Vidar is uniquely situated, however. Because the money the Kickstarter raises is going towards assets (and not, for example, a developer's salary) development of the game can and will continue whether or not the funds are depleted earlier than anticipated.
The biggest risk associated with Vidar is testing. There are millions of possible stories in Vidar, and testing how each potential plot point interacts with *all* of the others will be impossible. The goal is to ensure that any potential bugs or conflicts between plot points is minimal and easily patched over. Additionally, the beta will be a tremendous opportunity to identify any minor errors which might come up in 1 out of 1,000,000 games.
Finally, the last challenge is balancing the puzzles in the Beast's cave. Because the puzzles are randomly chosen, there is a chance that a player can get a wide variety of puzzle difficulty.
We've identified two simultaneous solutions. First, Vidar is already integrated with a sophisticated analytics platform that tracks how long each player takes to complete a given puzzle - with enough data points, this will allow us to adjust puzzle difficulty, find outlier puzzle options which are too easy or too difficult, and make tweaks as we continue to support the game. Second, and based on this data, puzzle options can be marked on a difficulty scale. The puzzle engine can then populate the dungeon accordingly - if it gives a player a more difficult puzzle, it will balance it with an easier one.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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