Gameplay video of our demo, plus a word on stretch goals
Welcome to a new week! Over this weekend, we appear to have kept up a steady stream of newcomers and have passed 200 backers. We've been trying to thank all of you individually, so if somehow you haven't heard a "hello" then just give us awhile. Every single person who backs this project matters a great deal to us.
Now, have you seen the downloadable demo?
About that demo
Have you played it already? Was the word "final" in the filename? We updated shortly after launch, so take another look!
But are you one who has yet to taste of the game? Then let me say this: the Fabled Lands series is anything but ordinary.
In a typical fantasy game, the combat-expert classes are the easiest to play and the weapons matter most. When I played The War-Torn Kingdom, the first book of this series published in the 1990s, I was amazed by the play balance: sure, Combat is a valued Ability . . . if you get into combat. Charisma, though, saves you from getting into unwinnable fights. Magic and Sanctity grant you power over mystical forces that can't be survived any other way. Scouting and Thievery let you complete missions at all.
If you go into this demo expecting to mow down an army of orcs, you won't know what you just played. The series is about matching your abilities to the challenges. The demo does a fine job demonstrating the breadth within its small confines.
And is it fun? Yes, but you don't have to take my word for it! Watch a "let's play" video by user Patchworth right here, complete with wacky commentary:
He used the "not-final" version of the demo. Please note that neither format is necessarily the definitive one for our book.
So, any of you going to adopt that voice as your internal narrator? (He does a terrible British accent, I know. But he assured me that he also does a terrible American accent, so it balances.)
Stretch goals, huh?
We've funded the project, obviously. For those of you new to Kickstarter, "stretch goals" are a way for creators to keep funding something meaningful thereafter, like features they REALLY wanted but would have had to cut to keep their budget small. It's not a built-in piece of Kickstarter programming: it's a promise that "If we (e.g.) double our funding then we will make the book (e.g.) twice as long, add in Character Class X, make a card game version, or whatever."
We, too, can use funds beyond the basic goal: everything goes into the art meter!
Backers have suggested doing more, like adding 50 or 100 new sections if we get the funds, or promising to do the next book after this one (title: The Lone and Level Sands).
Let me be clear: we ARE talking internally about including something beyond just art. But here's why we won't go bonkers with stretch goals:
Infinite stretch goals, or stretch goal bloat
It seems the expectation today that successful projects will "stretch" to infinity.
Kickstarter veterans may have noticed a push against promising beyond what a game needs. Your new videogame was balanced with Y character classes but now you're adding Z more? Uh, will it still be balanced? Will it even be the same game that appealed to backers in the first place?
Not to mention that every new promise is a new chance to go over-budget.
In this case, it would be dishonest for us to promise new game sections, because the authors can expand the text as they want! 600 sections is mentioned on the project, but who can say what it will take to explore fully the Feathered Lands? And if, e.g., 675 is where it stops naturally, then why should we force the authors to write weak content out to 1000?
And we all WANT to do The Lone and Level Sands, but we can't promise to throw thousands of euro at it when we're already dedicating thousands to the present project.
So, to put it simply, we are going to do what we said from the start and bring you The Serpent King's Domain. It will be the best we can make it. Your help will make it better in the most direct way we have: by paying for the costliest part of production, the art.
We will discuss art progress and so forth in a Wednesday update, and, as I said, we are looking into other stretch goals. For now we hope we've made sense. Thank you for reading, for your understanding, and for your support!