14 Days Left!! Hours of Play + Cartridge Details
Hey Everyone! There's a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes as we work on some exciting developments for the final weeks of the campaign. Thanks to all of your support, we are getting closer to unlocking that second stretch goal! Tomorrow we will post another update talking about how we intend to use those additional tilesets and seasonal FX to enhance gameplay!
Apologies for the wall of text that follows, we really wanted to address a couple questions that we keep getting…
First, how many hours of gameplay will this game offer? We estimate this game will have about 40+ hours of gameplay to complete the main plot. This doesn't include exploring side quests or going back and playing with different characters and skill sets, which will add additional hours of gameplay. The game will also have multiple endings that players can explore.
Second, a lot of our C64 backers have had questions about the cartridge, and specifically, save game functionality. For our PC backers that don’t care about the C64 cartridge you don’t need to read any further. We'll have a juicy gameplay update tomorrow. :)
In the comments section, some of you have wished for save-to-cartridge as a stretch goal. We love that you guys think this is a stretch goal, because it’s true, it does cost us more time/money to implement. In some respects, save-to-cart would make an excellent stretch goal because it is a desirable extra feature and vastly improves the user experience.
BUT...When we told you “this whole project IS a stretch goal” we weren't kidding. That is why save-to-cartridge is NOT a stretch goal. It is already part of the final design for our custom Book of Lore cartridge. No disk drives needed. Designing the cartridge halfway just isn't the way we do things around here. :-)
And while we're talking about the cartridge, here's a little back-story on how that came to be part of Unknown Realm…
The cartridge evolved out of the design of the game, which originally started as a floppy-based game. Really, the cartridge was just a means to an end once Bruce realized how much data and disk swapping this game would require to bring his vision to life. A floppy based game of this size would require 12 floppy disk sides on the C64 and involve a ton of disk swapping. In comparison, Ultima VI on the C64 had 6 floppy sides. Everyone who experienced playing these games on their C64’s in the 80's remembers how painful is was dealing with load times and floppy swapping every few minutes. In fact, doing simple things like entering and exiting towns would involve load times upwards of 45 seconds.
We just couldn’t expect modern gamers to wait 45 seconds to load up a town (even though, oddly enough, some modern games still take that long!) - our game loads up a town in about 2 seconds flat thanks to this cartridge.
We initially looked at other cartridge options that were available at the time for the C64 (such as EasyFlash) and quickly ruled those out because they didn't have the capacity or features to accomplish what we needed for Unknown Realm.
With the size and scope of this game, it became clear the only real solution was to design our own cartridge. Consequently, the design of our cartridge has been integrally linked with our game engine from early on and is not intended to be a general-purpose game cartridge. In fact, the game engine itself has no concept of floppies (or disk swapping) and uses a proprietary file system designed specifically to work with our cartridge.
The basic specs on our cartridge are:
- Capacity is 16Mbits (2MB)
- Cartridge will ship with save to cart function
- Fast load times! The game itself boots up in about 6 seconds
- One of a kind "Book of Lore" case
One last thing to keep in mind regarding the C64 version of Unknown Realm: our budget only covers a limited run of these cartridges and they are offered as a Kickstarter exclusive. We have no plans to manufacture additional cartridges later or maintain an inventory to sell after Kickstarter rewards ship.
If you have any additional technical questions about the cartridge, please send us a message or email and we'll be happy to discuss it further.
We are so grateful for your input and support and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the next two weeks!- Bruce & Laura