England, 1604. Manage a base of up to 200 characters and engage in 2D platforming hunts against a backdrop of faith and discrimination.
England, 1604. Manage a base of up to 200 characters and engage in 2D platforming hunts against a backdrop of faith and discrimination.
Before you begin reading everything, please check out our website and find out more about Good Value Gaming by clicking here!
A synopsis of why we're Kickstartering if you're short on time: We are now in the early stages of post-prototype development and wish to raise interest as well as hopefully secure enough funds to help speed up development. In the interests of openness, most of the core code base from the prototype is being moved to the main build and is more than suitable for purpose, so this isn't something that worries us. The focus is on creating art assets, keeping pace with the rest of the development areas as we only have in place temporary assets at this time which are (again, as you might notice and it's important for us to be honest about) nowhere near the standard we desire for release. Funding will also help secure full time development and assist with freeing up valuable resource drains which hamper the rate at which assets can be developed. The gameplay is feature locked and many areas of the base mechanics are in place. As a result, successful funding would allow us to bring forward our latest expected release date from June 2017 to Q4 2016. Additional funds over and above would lead to quicker development times or further polish from more contributors rather than new features, to ensure the project is only ever on or ahead of schedule. Only if the project is significantly ahead of schedule and near completion would additional features be appended.
1604 in England is a time of change. Only one year prior, Elizabeth I died and with her went the last vestiges of total Protestant control. The faith of the people has been shaken once more by plague and as the Anglo-Spanish War slowly comes to an end, there is a general feeling of despair in the country.
Whilst it was once said that such feelings breed monsters within the population, few would take it to be literal. Yet in Norfolk, beasts such as the Black Shuck have been reported with more frequency.
In this 2D platformer with a mixture of procedural and developer-designed levels, you take charge of the Anglian Chapter of Vanity, an order whose age is unknown but purpose is clear: To send people already rejected by society off to combat the forces of evil... Willingly or otherwise.
Vanity's Dawn is currently in development with a projected release date of Q4 2016 should funding be successful. Development is now focused on graphical asset production and gameplay balancing/structuring.
There are two key phases of game play.
1) Chapter Management (Light Base Management)
2) The Hunt (2D Platforming)
Chapter management is comprised of managing those whom dwell within and assigning them to a certain aspect of the Chapter. By assigning characters to areas such as combat and arcane research, you can find out more about the world around you, the skills and items you've found as well as how to deal with the oncoming threats. You can also upgrade items and skills on an individual basis, within the limits of your teams skills.
As you look through your chapter, you can examine each individual member. Their stats are split into four components: Strength, endurance, intelligence and faith. In the base, these impact the usefulness of each individual in different areas of base management. In hunts, strength impacts the power of your strikes, endurance how much you can take, intelligence dictates the power of your magic, faith the amount of times you can use these skills.
Just one quick point: Faith is how much someone believes in what they believe. Your characters could have complete faith as Pastafarians or some made up religion if you want... We don't dictate that.
Going on a hunt is where the real danger is. Taking control of a team of up to three characters between which you can freely switch, you venture out to a church, field, farm, fortification or even a twisted variant of any of the above where our realm is merging with a chaotic realm beyond what we know. Some missions are fixed levels, so over time you will learn the layout and only the enemies, collectables and perhaps positions will change. Others are wholly procedural, which means even in to the post game you will never know what to expect. In both scenarios, the only certainty is your mark - Who knows what else might change and lead to demise? Should one of your team die, their death is permanent. Should all three of your team die, the mission ends in failure.
Furthermore, hunts are not restricted to "rooms" where escaping an enemy is as simple as moving slightly to the left/right and transitioning. Nor is there any farming by simply walking backwards and forwards into the same room over and over. Each level is an individual instance which only has one shot to be completed and one set of enemies to be defeated. Miss something once, you might miss it forever.
Finish a mission with at least one of your team alive? Not only do they keep all their experience, but a proportion of it is shared between those who did not go on the mission. Don't feel you levelled up enough in the main story missions? An exceptional number of randomly generated side hunts can be completed. Finished the whole game? No excuse to stop now, there's always a new challenge which is proportional to your teams levels. You might even come across a randomly-generated side story, which can end up with a new recruit, unique skill, weapon, armour or even just some sort of personal triumph over a mark which looked familiar but worked in a way you never expected.
Most importantly, if you have no-one left in your base it's game over. It's not easy to fail this badly, but you can't be careless and just throw your team to the lions every time... Especially because the game saves after each hunt automatically. There are no reruns (Unless you enjoy save scumming).
Should your recruits still be intact after a few missions, you can develop them however you wish. Each character you recruit can have their name, date of birth and gender assigned. This may, when you create a storyline character, impact their back story. For example, the first two recruits you create are lovers. A male and a female here will cause discussion on how they were kicked out of town for being intimate before marriage. A female and a female might cause commentary on how their relationship was unacceptable to the people around them. A male and an unknown gender may on the other hand lead to how one was persecuted whilst the other was accepted until they fell in love.
Who you develop and how makes small, but important, differences to the story. Who lives and who dies may or may not also have a bearing. Everyone can die. No-one is safe. This isn't a job with security, those involved merely had a moratorium put on their deaths the minute they were recruited.
Plus if you ever need a break from the daily hunt, there's always the TCG mini-game in the game! (With a legitimate back story regarding the acquisition of a deck. Let's get real here, you can't justify demonic creatures dropping cards really - Find out more about the Rina's Deal mini-game and back story here)
Many of the components mentioned have at some point been partially (if not near completely) developed within a prototype build. Why is this important? Because first of all, this is not something where the ideas are just on paper and backers are sought to turn this into reality. Many of the core mechanics, in some form, are already in place or part way through the expanded development expected for an enjoyable game.
Originally this project was one of four prototypes developed as an evening and weekends piece of work. Just for your reassurance, you can find out more about these prototypes by clicking here! (The link includes a video of my favourite prototype too!) Of those four prototypes, this project was selected because it's practical and able to be adequately (and accurately!) budgeted. The limitations of the project are defined above - There are no promises of AAA 3D third-person gaming, but on the other hand we don't want to release a 2D product that we aren't proud of, nor one that doesn't hold its own against the bigger boys in the yard.
This means raising interest in the game itself and seeing if people are willing to purchase, whilst at the same time ensuring funding is found to support the desired development speed. The aim of the project is to be finished by July 2016, but at the moment our public release date is set at Q4 2016 with funding or June 2017 without. This ensures that there is sufficient extra time should any last minute issues appear.
Which brings us to the important bit: A pie chart showing the proportions of where money is going!
As you can see, fees and potential taxes are notable drains, which means actual development and production costs are already detracted from, but accounted for. Production costs are kept low by only at this time targeting digital distribution, DRM-free, on PC as well as a limited run of physical editions. Obviously the more we raise, the higher that proportion of development cost when compared to production and miscellaneous costs (But alas taxes and fees are always a set percentage!).
Why promote DRM-free? Other than the "You own it, you do as you wish with it", it's because we also can't guarantee it will be released on any specific distribution platforms at this time, let alone other consoles and it would be unprofessional to do so. There are many things we would love to do, but at this time getting the product out there as promised is the number one factor.
That being said, this would be wonderful to take to a format other than the PC and other platforms could be considered if enough funds were raised.
Should the project get funded, there are a few things that are fundamental that everyone is aware of:
Feature creep is to be avoided. By this I mean that the focus will be on the core mechanics. Sure, it would be great to add full voice acting and other such things, but not until the core game is complete. If there is time left over, other things can be added but it's important not to waste 30 hours adding a feature of little relevance. Key remapping is an essential feature for example, having the option of 200 different hats is not. Though 10 seems reasonable, provided they can be coloured differently.
Early access is not a guarantee nor desired. Don't get me wrong, early access is cool but I personally grew up with a 386 SX-33. Incomplete products were inexcusable and patching was non-existent. This means that, where reasonable and/or possible, Vanity's Dawn will not be early access. This leads in to...
The game will not be released until we are confident that we have fixed any and every problem we have found. This is why the release is scheduled so far in the future (Not withstanding the art!). If we can release ahead of time, excellent. That's fine. The time given however allows for an exceptionally long period in which to catch and fix prior to release. This means that when you get it, you get the product that we want you to play as it was intended. Sure, there might be a bug or two... But there won't be hundreds and with any luck none should be game breaking.
Gameplay is the focus. There is, of course, a plot. This is central to the game, but it is not the focus. The plot is there to supplant the gameplay and justify the development decisions, be it as simple as why you can pick from five different gender definitions to something as complex as why given the scope of individual faith in the plot you can't actually summon said deity of preference. It's also interspersed, but there won't be any 22 minute long cutscenes.
Should we be in the fortunate position to be over-funded, this will reduce development time and not increase the features. This Kickstarter would not have been started were the game not well in to development, because we don't want people waiting 2 years for an idea to "perhaps" be developed on time. We're not going to say that every feature is complete now, but certainly a significant proportion is complete and just needs tweaking so that it's fun. Time is precious and it waits for no-one, which is also why should we be fortunate enough to receive additional funding this will merely go on hiring extra associated freelancers (We never hire random unknowns) or even paying an extra salary. (Note: This is a part of the mission statement of Good Value Gaming, which demands that should it ever achieve the ability to financially grow it will reinvest in to people new to the industry and give them a chance to get on the employment ladder in the industry)
Risks and challenges
In video games, more money and more input leads to more feature creep and delays. This is not an option. Only if the game is complete ahead of schedule will new features be considered. All planned features are locked and many are already in place, they just need to be tightened.
There are no plans for early access - The released product will be the final product.
In the unfortunate, but unlikely, event that a game breaking bug were to appear post-release that had not been caught in QA, the budget is prepared for work and support to continue up to two months after release. This is assuming funding criteria is met and no further sales are made. Further sales will initially go towards supporting the game for as long as is required, before being reinvested in new projects.
Should our current art asset collaborator be unable to continue her commitment at any point, an alternative artist has been sourced.
Should the opportunity for release on a distribution platform become available for PC, no guarantees can be given that supporters will receive a copy on that platform but every effort will be made to attempt to negotiate this for backers at no charge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)