Legacy of the Last Refuge is a turn-based RPG that we are currently developing for the PC. It draws strongly from the mechanics in the party-based RPGs of the '80s and early '90s, while incorporating many elements from roguelikes and their modern descendants.
If you want the gritty details, read on. If, instead, you just want to try the game in the current (Alpha) state, go here. Either way, here's a peek at some of the contents:
Your people, forced from their world ages ago by an all-consuming horde known as the Aayrn, have found a Refuge hidden within the Barrier between dimensions. At great sacrifice, powerful magic has rendered this bastion impervious to assault by the Aayrn. Protected, nurtured and sustained by the Refuge, the refugees have known peace for millennia.
Deep within the Barrier, far beyond the four gates of the Last Refuge, a new threat stirs -- a being of immense power that takes its nourishment from the life force of those it consumes. Within the dark dwelling of this Other, a light shines. A dimension, infused with potent magic and the life force of countless fallen, calls to this fearsome being, drawing it out of slumber.
Tasked with protecting and fortifying the home in which your people have dwelt for so long, you will direct a band of brave souls through the gates of the Last Refuge, into the Barrier. A journey from which none have ever returned -- leaving the Refuge is easy, but those same gates that provide access to the Barrier can never be used for entry. No soul may pass through the same gate twice, so strong and strange is the magic which seals them.
At long last, your people have found a means to tether explorers to the Refuge, that they may return through magical means, though only four adventurers may be tethered at once.
Now, you must form a party of adventurers to explore the depths of the Barrier. Seek out mighty artifacts. Secure sources of power for the defense of Refuge. Acquire new and more powerful skills. Bring them home safely.
This journey will not be easy. The longer you stay in one part of the Barrier to collect rewards, the more dangerous the surrounding inhabitants become, but pushing forward carries a similar risk.
Many will fall. From such sacrifice will come greater strength, as the life force of fallen characters will be absorbed by the Refuge, and new recruits will take up arms in this struggle. Take heed that you do not let an entire party perish within the Barrier -- their tethered souls will wander endlessly and may even threaten future adventurers.
Use your resources to strengthen the Refuge, create and enchant new items, and unlock new classes for the impending conflict against a foe of otherworldly proportions.
How much of this project has already been completed?
I have been hard at work on this project for the last 17 months, with substantial contributions from the other two members of the team as their time and responsibilities allow. Thus, a considerable portion of the project has already been completed. We've built our game engine from scratch (which took about a year) and it has proven stable and reliable for our purpose -- ease and speed of productivity rather than exploration of the cutting edge of gaming technology. Here's what we have so far:
Procedurally generated levels -- we've reliably generated levels in excess of 500 by 500 tiles with over 200 rooms, randomly populated by enemy parties and rewards for the player party.
Turn based combat. It works. We've already implemented more than a dozen different foes.
Currently, there are 4 tiers of classes, with a total of 48 classes defined.
Persistent consequences, at the moment, are limited to "permadeath" -- that is, if one of your characters is killed, he/she is gone forever and must be replaced by a new character.
If so much of the game has been completed, why are you seeking funding now?
This project needs more time in development to be properly realized. Sadly, over a year without a primary income has caused the well of our personal savings to run dry. We've made the choice to seek funding from you rather than let the project slip quietly into the night. $10,000 will extend the duration of development by an additional two months. Every additional $5,000 will sustain development for another month. Regardless of how much funding is raised, we are committed to the goal of a release no later than December, 2012.
What still needs to be done?
Work will continue throughout the 30-day duration of this KickStarter campaign. Our current priorities can be split into two distinct categories, as follows:
Customization of Gear -- the ability to enchant items, randomly or with specific traits.
Usable Items -- items used to buff or heal player characters.
Gear Dependant Techniques -- restricting the use of certain skills or spells for when a particular type of weapon or armor is equipped by the character.
I believe we can achieve most of these goals between the launch and end of this campaign. This represents the majority of the remaining intended features, but it will not leave us with a properly finished product. For that, we'll need more...
New Environments -- Lava fields are next (I think). We plan to implement no less than 6 different environments. We'll also be adding different patterns to the randomly generated maps such as spirals, stars, etc...
New Foes -- Sprites and data for additional monsters; at least 12 per environment type.
New Gear -- Sprites and data for new base weapon types, as many as we find the time to add.
New Techniques -- Our minimum goal is to create one starting and one additional skill/spell for each class, for a total of 96 techniques (16 are currently implemented).
New Animations -- While this isn't a priority for *me*, I recognize that some people care about graphics. We'll cater to that as time and funding allows.
After the game is "feature-complete", we'll need time to incorporate the story and create help/tutorial content. Finally, all of this new content will need to be properly tested and balanced.
If you can deliver a playable game with only a couple months' worth of additional effort, why would you delay release until December?
First, the GUI: in its current form it is essentially the bare minimum required to make the game playable. I'm quite embarrassed by how feature-poor and clunky it is, but that's part of the reason we're still labeling the current build as an Alpha. As I've stated before, our goal is a polished presentation that works smoothly and intuitively.
Second, the art: much of the art currently in the game is on the first iteration. In other words, we took one stab at it and quickly moved on to the next piece of content. We want to improve what is good and replace what is not, then we want to improve it some more.
Additionally, there are many more mechanics I'd like to implement if the funding for continued development is made available. Here are a few of the higher priorities:
Phantom Parties -- Player parties that fall in the Barrier persist as undead that present a threat to new parties' exploration efforts.
Persistent Enemies -- Enemy parties/characters that have goals of their own and compete with the player for resources/rewards if they're not eliminated.
Neutral Entities -- Non-hostile factions residing within the Barrier with meaningful player-directed interactions between them and the party, which result in persistent consequences.
Refuge Upgrades -- Recipes for new items and equipment, upgrades to the different buildings within Refuge to improve efficiency or potency, etc...
I'd also like the opportunity to refine the combat AI into something more than the random targeting and skill use that is so common in this genre.
In short, the more time we spend on this project, the better the end result will be.
What are the system requirements?
Nothing has been firmly decided except that it will initially be released for Windows XP/Vista/7+. Additional platform/OS releases may follow, depending on funding received and sales.
Hardware requirements are, at present, minimal. The limiting factor for older computers is screen resolution -- though it should be functional at 1280x1024 and higher, you may expect to encounter odd behavior from the UI and graphical glitches if you choose to play the game at resolutions much lower than 1920x1080.
"Play the game?"
Yes. It is currently in "alpha" state -- not all features are implemented, nor have all present features been thoroughly tested, but it is available for you to download and try...
We are making the alpha available to demonstrate what we've accomplished, where we're going, and that once funded, this game will be completed. There are warts. You may notice graphical glitches, logical, thematic and grammatical inconsistencies, possibly stability issues and hardware conflicts. It is, after all, an alpha. Having said that, I hope you will try it and find it enjoyable!
Please note that once we achieve "feature-completeness" we will move to a closed beta format, with the test group consisting of contributors to this campaign as detailed in the reward tier information.
Who are we?
My name is Jonathan Jones. I am responsible for the software architecture, user interface, and game design/logic implementation. Tamara, my wife, must be credited with all of the art in Legacy of the Last Refuge. Our close friend, Dmitry Nikolenko, optimizes and expands the graphics capabilities of the game engine, as well as implementing OS-specific functionality.
Have a question?
If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
All rewards from the third ($50) tier and submission of your own idea for a monster or unique item to be included in the game. Just tell us what you want, and we'll do our best to depict it within the game world and system.
(Please note that we reserve the right to make alterations to your submission so that it will fit within the game.)