Meet the Psycho Engine
As another day of our Kickstarter campaign comes to a close, it is becoming evident that the momentum has dropped significantly. We are still hard at work trying to get press coverage that will help to attract more potential backers to the campaign, and with 27 days still to go, there is still every chance to reach our funding goal.
I also wanted to point out that we are reading all the comments here on Kickstarter, and where ever possible we answer right away. However, it is not possible for us to answer all questions and cover all areas of the game at the same time. I will discuss different parts and areas of the game in updates here on Kickstarter, but I will have to do so one at a time. I hope you understand. and having said that, let’s dive into today’s topic - the character interactions I have mentioned on various occasions before.
The Psycho Engine
Since character interaction is one of the key features in our game, I thought in today’s update I will tell you a little more about how this is going to work and what kind of effects you can expect. It is a bit tricky for me to do, because on the one hand I would love to divulge every bit of information on it - because it really is absolutely cool and fascinating - but at the same time I need to make sure we are maintaining a bit of competitive advantage by keeping things vague. In the old days, this was not a problem because you talked about things such as this very late in the development of a game, but in today’s climate, as soon as we announce features, people want to know details. The problem with that is that in the time from now until the time we publish, other projects can essentially pick up your idea and mimmic the feature, and take away a competitive advantage from you that way. I need to prevent this while also satisfying our backer’s curiosity. I’ll try to do my best.
At the core of all of the character behavior is our “Psycho Engine.” Aptly named, wouldn’t you say?
As you know, the game uses 34 traits for each character, but that’s really only half the story. These traits are the ones visible to the player. There are countless other stats running under the hood, constantly measuring and recording things. How many times did character one disagree with remarks made by character three, for example? It builds an internal frustration level that is invisible to the player. Naturally, when a certain threshold is reached, the frustration will result in a response. The character may tell the other guy to just shut up, for example.
Now take this example and apply it to all the things that go on in a role-playing game. As players, we tire of sword fodder in RPGs, meaning, after killing the umpteenth goblin, we would appreciate a different monster for a change. Why should the companions in your party feel any differently? So, let’s keep track of things such as the number and types of monsters slayed overall and within a certain recent window of time, and evaluate the information constantly. Once again, when a certain threshold is reached, it will force a response.
The list of things that can be done this way is endless and we actually apply various levels of importance to these responses. Naturally, these are vast masses of information that will have to be processed, but thanks to modern day computers this is more possible than ever. It is something we could never have done in games such as “Realms of Arkania” because the memory and storage requirements would have been too high, and the computing muscle to process all that information would have been too weak or slow. So when we say we keep the game traditional but will make use of modern technologies, it refers to something like this every bit as much as to the pretty graphics in the game.
At its core, the Psycho Engine is a kind of artificial intelligence that is highly specialized on the requirements of our game. It weighs and prioritizes things in the game, just like a human being would, and there are certain responses that are instinctive, reflexive or subconscious while others are more defined by a character’s actual personalities and the way the player has been defining these companions in his play.
While playing the game, this means situations will lead to other situations. When two characters argue a lot, the player has to pay attention to that in order to prevent bigger problems down the line. There will be various ways to deal with it, and each situation will probably be different. Sometimes a bit of diplomacy might help, sometimes authority may work and at other times, it may simply be the best to send away one of the characters to make sure peace returns to the group. Perhaps recruiting a different NPC, one that fits in better with the group dynamics, would be advisable. Since you will run into recruitable characters throughout the game, it may turn out to be a very interesting change in pace, as a matter of fact. The decision is up to the player.
This is just one example, but I think you get the idea and can see how something like this can very quickly result in a game that is much more challenging and involving, and resemble a classic tabletop game where the player has to take charge and really role play his characters.
Coincidentally, the same is true in combat, where running a sword through an opponent may not always be the best option. In “Deathfire: Ruins of Nethermore” we try to get players off the auto pilot and think about their actions. I will talk more about combat in a future update, because we have some very interesting options there as well that will hopefully please players.
The overall intention is to make sure that the game is not a simple Hack’n Slash game and that players won’t look at it as just another mindless “Blobber.”
Don’t forget our Message Boards
I think I should also point out at this time that we do have message boards on the official “Deathfire” website
It is the ideal place to discuss the game, especially if you have specific questions. It is much easier for us to answer questions and go into more detail there than it is in the comment section here on Kickstarter where the answer may be lost in the stream very quickly. In our forums, the answers and conversations will be more permanent and will be readily available for other players who may have the same questions.
So, please make sure to stop by there and join the discussion.
A Word to our German Fans
Many interested players from Germany mentioned to us that it is impossible for them to back this project because in order to do so a credit card is needed. Naturally, I see the problem, but sadly there is little we can about that because of the way Kickstarter works. It simply does not allow alternative payment options from the Amazon system they are using. So, in essence you do not really need a credit card. You need an Amazon.com account and a way to fund it. Sadly, gift cards issued on Amazon.de do not work on Amazon.com or else there would have been a smooth work-around.
We do not wish to offer Paypal payments at this time either, because unlike at Kickstarter where your pledge will be charged to your account only if the campaign reaches its goal and is successfully funded, Paypal will immediately withdraw the amount from your account. This means that if the campaign fails, we will have to manually refund every single backer. Since Paypal does not have an automated process for this, this would be an excessively laborious and tedious task. The Paypal pledges would also not count against the Kickstarter goal either, so we prefer to rather wait. Once we can foresee that “Deathfire” will be successfully funded, we will make Paypal available on the official website, of course, and we will offer the same FIRST DAY BACKER privileges available to those pledging with Paypal then.
Shout-Out To Our Friends
Today I would like to direct your attention to a game called “Graywalkers: Purgatory.” It is a post-apocalyptic strategy-RPG that you might find interesting, so stop over there and take a look.
What does the press say?
Here is the latest list of links to press coverage for the project. Since it is the weekend, naturally the list is a whole lot shorter, but we have lined up some additional coverage for the days to come.
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THANK YOU EDITION—This reward is for those who simply want to show their support for the project. Get your NAME IN THE GAME’S CREDITS, as well as exclusive access to our BACKER FORUMS. ============================= NOTES FOR REWARDS ============================= Over the course of the campaign many new rewards have been included in virtually all tiers, adding tremendous value to each of them. As a result, the reward information in the tier selections below is no longer accurate or complete. Please consult the charts and images at the bottom of this page for accurate and up-to-date information. ============================= GAME AVAILABILITY ============================= We also want to point out that the game will be DRM-free and available on Windows, MAC OSX and Linux. A Steam key will be made available to those backers who would like to obtain their digital copy through the Steam Network.Estimated delivery:
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THANK YOU EDITION—This reward is for those who simply want to show their support for the project. Get your NAME IN THE GAME’S CREDITS, as well as exclusive access to our BACKER FORUMS.Estimated delivery:
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POINT OF ENTRY EDITION—This is our most basic edition to include a DIGITAL COPY of the game. Along with it you also the access to the BACKER FORUMS and the BETA ACCESS, and you will get YOUR NAME IN THE GAME'S CREDITS. None of the other bonus items or value added content will be included in this tier!Estimated delivery:
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1500 backers All gone!
EARLY BIRD EDITION—This reward is available only to the first “Deathfire” backers. You will received a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD copy of the game for Windows, Mac OSX or Linux, as well as well as your NAME IN THE GAME’S CREDITS, and exclusive access to our BACKER FORUMS. In addition, this reward tier will give you BETA ACCESS to the game during development.Estimated delivery:
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DIGITAL BASE EDITION—You will received a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD copy of the game for Windows, Mac OSX or Linux, as well as well as your NAME IN THE GAME’S CREDITS, and exclusive access to our BACKER FORUMS. An exclusive IN-GAME ITEM will also be yours right from the start, as well as a selection of exclusive WALLPAPERS. In addition, this reward tier will give you BETA ACCESS to the game during development.Estimated delivery:
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BARD EDITION—This one will get you all of the previous tier rewards, as well as a DIGITAL SOUNDTRACK copy of the game’s music.Estimated delivery:
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DOUBLE THE FUN EDITION—This reward tier essentially gives you TWO DIGITAL BASE EDITIONS, for you to share with a friend or family member.Estimated delivery:
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PAINTERLY EDITION—This tier will give you a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD copy of the game, as well as well as your NAME IN THE GAME’S CREDITS, and exclusive access to our BACKER FORUMS. An exclusive IN-GAME ITEM will also be yours right from the start, as well as a selection of exclusive WALLPAPERS and the DIGITAL SOUNDTRACK. As an added bonus, you will receive a DIGITAL ART BOOK with illustrations from the game as a PDF file or an actual EPUB and MOBI eBook. Most importantly however, from this reward tier onward you will have ALPHA ACCESS to the game during development.Estimated delivery:
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360 backers Limited (140 left of 500)
INSTANT WINNER EDITION—If you’re quick, here you have the chance to get a complete REAL DEAL EDITION, containing all digital goodies, as well as a physical copy of the game, all at a reduced price over the regular edition. But be quick, this tier is strictly limited and when they’re gone, they’re gone!Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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TOME EDITION—In addition to the PAINTERLY EDITION, this one will also give you an EBOOK COPY OF THE DEATHFIRE NOVEL by award-winning fantasy author Steven Savile.Estimated delivery:
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THE REAL DEAL EDITION—This reward tier will give you the TOME EDITION with all of its the digital goodies, along with a PHYSICAL COPY OF THE GAME as it is sold in stores.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
DIGITAL STRATEGIST—Previous tier reward, plus a DIGITAL STRATEGY GUIDE as a PDF file or an actual EPUB and MOBI eBook. This is the perfect package for international backers, as it involves no shipping costs or taxes.Estimated delivery:
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STRATEGIST EDITION—Previous tier reward, plus a print edition of the STRATEGY GUIDE.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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MOUSER EDITION—In addition to all the cool stuff from the previous tier reward, this pledge level will also contain a MOUSEPAD with an exclusive motive available for Kickstarter backers only.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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FAMILY FUN EDITION— This reward tier gives you TWO THE REAL DEAL EDITIONS, for you to share with a friend or family member.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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CLASSIC BARD EDITION—This pledge reward contains everything from the MOUSER EDITION, plus a SOUNDTRACK AUDIO CD.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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DRESSED UP EDITION—Previous tier reward plus an EXCLUSIVE T-SHIRT with a motive available to Kickstarter backers only.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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LIBRARIAN EDITION—Previous tier reward, plus a PRINT COPY OF THE DEATHFIRE NOVEL by Steven Savile.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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COLLECTOR’S EDITION— Previous tier reward, but instead of a production-run copy of the game, this will give you a LIMITED EDITION BOXED COPY, available only to Kickstarter backers. This boxed copy features a unique cover artwork and will include the game’s DVD, soundtrack CD, a printed manual, strategy guide, a map, and additional materials.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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SUPERFAN EDITION—This is the same as the COLLECTOR’S EDITION, but it will give you a SIGNED LIMITED EDITION BOXED COPY.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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GRIMOIRE EDITION—Previous tier reward, plus this pledge level will also get you a UNIQUE LEATHERBOUND GRIMOIRE-STYLE NOTEBOOK. Wherever you go, this notebook will get you noticed, though it also makes for a great display item.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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ART LOVER EDITION—Previous tier reward, plus a FULL-COLOR PRINT EDITION ART BOOK. This coffee table art book will be filled with illustrations, sketches and images from the game.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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DOUBLE WHAMMY EDITION—This tier will give you TWO COMPLETE COLLECTOR’S EDITION TIER REWARDS. One for yourself and one for a friend or family member.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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ART COLLECTOR EDITION—In this tier you will receive the complete ART LOVER EDITION, along with a SIGNED SENIGRAPH of the game’s cover.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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1 backer All gone!
NETHERMANCER EDITION—Previous tier reward, plus the ability to play a NETHERMANCER CLASS IN THE GAME! This class is available only to Kickstarter backers at this level and higher!Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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8 backers Limited (42 left of 50)
KAHUNA EDITION— This reward tier has been optimized to give you the most bang for your buck, by removing various costly physical items! You will receive a LIMITED EDITION BOXED COPY, signed by the team and available only to Kickstarter backers, which features a unique cover artwork and includes the game’s DVD, soundtrack CD, a printed manual, strategy guide, a cloth map, and additional materials. In addition, it will give you the opportunity to DESIGN YOUR OWN MONSTER for the game. We will provide you with instructions, you run wild with your ideas, and we will put them in the game, including the creation of a 3D model of your monster for every player to combat. Note: This reward tier is unique and does NOT propagate upwards!Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
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WRITER’S EDITION—This will give you the HARDCORE FAN EDITION. In addition, we will give you the chance to WRITE YOUR OWN SHORT STORY that will then be found in the game in the form of a book, for every player of the game to read. If you’re an aspiring writer, here’s your chance to shine and get your story in front of people.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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HARDCORE FAN—Previous tier reward, plus an exclusive, handcrafted 8-inch tall COLLECTABLE RESIN FIGURINE/BUST that will not be sold anywhere else.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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MONSTER EDITION—This will give you the HARDCORE EDITION and also give you the chance to DESIGN YOUR OWN MONSTER for the game. We will provide you with instructions, you run wild with your ideas, and we will put them in the game, including the creation of a 3D model for everyone to combat.Estimated delivery:
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CHARACTER EDITION—This will give you the HARDCORE EDITION and also give you the chance to DESIGN YOUR OWN NON-PLAYER CHARACTER for the game. We will provide you with instructions, you run wild with your ideas, and we will put them in the game.Estimated delivery:
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BE IN THE GAME EDITION—In addition to giving you a HARDCORE EDITION, we will put YOUR FACE IN THE GAME.Estimated delivery:
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1 backer All gone!
NAMELESS ONE EDITION—This is a singular opportunity to get YOUR FACE ON THE COVER! This could be the beginning of your modeling career. In fact, over ten years after posing for the cover of “Planescape: Torment” people still keep asking Guido about the cover. Naturally, we will also give you a HARDCORE EDITION of the game.Estimated delivery:
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ULTIMATE FAN EDITION—You are our absolute hero and you deserve EVERYTHING! You will get TOP BILLING IN THE GAME CREDITS, along with a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION TO ALL DEATHFIRE SEQUELS. In addition we will give you FIVE COPIES OF EVERYTHING - five games, five novels, five soundtrack CDs, five resin figurines… you get the idea. In addition, we will send you a PERSONAL NOTE that will be signed by all team members.Estimated delivery:
- (31 days)