Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: Taking Care of Business - 2019  (Read 3696 times)
Vince
Developer

Posts: 8056



View Profile
« on: February 16, 2019, 01:35:52 pm »

Another year has gone by, so let's tally up the numbers and see how we fared in 2018.

The Age of Decadence

  • 2013-2014 (Early Access & Direct Pre-Orders): 13,124 units – $320,157 – $24.39 avg.
  • 2015: 20,771 – $472,869 – $22.76
  • 2016: 48,798 – $620,914 – $12.72  (50% discount is introduced in March)
  • 2017: 43,808 – $293,714 – $6.70 (75% off on sale events throughout the year)
  • 2018: 27,121 – $151,786 – $5.60 (reduced the base price from $29.99 to $19.99; 60-80% off sale events throughout the year)
  • 2019: 7,110 – $24,316 – $3.42 (reduced the base price to $14.99 - I think it's a fair price for those who want to support development and buy at a higher price, everyone else will wait for the next sale anyway

160,732 units in total. Since the game was released 3 years ago, which is a long time for games, we decided it was the right time to do a bundle with Fanatical, which sold 43,081 units, so overall including the first 6 weeks of 2019 we sold 203,813 units.

Wishlists - 282,105 total, remaining 112,731, conversion rate 26.5%. The average seems to be 10-15%, so it seems we did well there. The demo was downloaded 49,703 times, the conversion rate was steadily climbing from 5.2% back in Early Access to 21.7%.

Dungeon Rats

  • 2016: 13,442 units – $85,383 – $6.35 avg.
  • 2017: 17,951 – $89,720 – $4.99
  • 2018: 13,152 – $44,453 – $3.38
  • 2019: 1,562 – $4,800 – $3.07

46,107 units overall, $224k in sales. So far we spent $74k on Colony Ship (payments to contractors), so at very least Dungeon Rats is doing a fine job paying these bills as we're far from done here.

Wishlist - 48,938 in total, remaining 24,296, conversion rate 22.7%

Colony Ship, formerly known as The New World

As the last update says, we finally have a playable build, so we hope to release the combat beta in 2 months and a full demo by the end of the year, so it should be a very busy, stressful, but exciting year for us. In unexpected news, our efforts were noticed and we've received our first publishing offer from a well-known company (in fact, I was very surprised to learn that not only they're aware we exist but that they also read our updates occasionally). Some folks are destined for greatness and greatness does call for strategic alliances and capital injections. Sadly, we're too small-minded to dream of such things, so we'll stick with our 0.0003% of the global market.

Anyway, we've been working for 2 years building the "infrastructure" (RPG-izing the engine, developing systems: character, combat, stealth, inventory, dialogue, etc), working on items, models, effects, etc. Even though we're far from done, the time and effort investment is already considerable. Starting from scratch every time is painful, so we'll have to brave the dangers of the "more of the same" curse and do a proper sequel, instead of another small tactical game or a brand new project.

Naturally, investing 3 years into a sequel and selling 30% of the original will be equally painful (as Dungeon Rats' sales data shows, you don't have to spend 3 years to sell 30% when a single year will do), but what we in mind is so crazy it might actually work.

The main problem with sequels is that the setting and gameplay remain the same. It's nearly impossible to switch gears and offer the player something radically different. While your best fans may be enthralled with the initial game and crave more of it, part of what they are craving is the sense of exploration (of a land and a rule set), novelty, and wonder that accompanying a new RPG - things that will almost inherently be absent in a sequel. Obsidian's Deadfire, for example, plays the same way as the original (which is to be expected, of course; after all, Fallout 2 plays the same way too - you know what works, what doesn't, so you follow the established path and know what to expect from the enemies and factions). With Colony Ship, this problem is easy to solve, not because we're so clever, but because the setting itself implies its solution: we land the Ship and start the Colony.

A Tentative Sequel

From Colony Ship's intro: "...after the Ship's launch a deep space probe transmitted highly detailed images of the surface, which revealed one minor setback: this very habitable world is already inhabited. Since the voyage is estimated to take close to 400 years, it’s possible that by the time the Ship arrives the colonists will encounter a mature civilization, corresponding to Earth’s Middles Ages."

The typical space opera trope is that when we make first contact, it is with aliens either corresponding to very primitive indigenous people (such as in Avatar), consisting of a nightmarish swarm (as in Starship Troopers), or at some extraordinary level of technology themselves (as in Star Trek or Babylon 5). Here, however, while the aliens are pre-industrial, they are well past the spears and face-paint stage, and have well-established political, economic, and military systems.

More importantly, they are alien, which means that while they may be humanoid (to make our animator's life easier), the fundamental logic of their society, religion, and power should be truly alien to ours and vice versa. The result is a highly asymmetrical kulturcampf.

For the record, it won't be a retelling of the conquest of the New World but on another planet. The ragtag Terrans who'd land on Proxima B after 400 years of space travel and in-fighting will be at a disadvantage and will have to fight for survival and adapt to this less than welcoming arid new world. Reinforcements won't be coming, so the Terrans will be on their own and each defeat will bring them closer to being wiped out for good. They will have to rely on crude firearms more than ever as the high-tech weapons and gear intended for the future colony were used up during the Mutiny and the civil war that followed. New factions will emerge in response to new threats, each offering a different way to survive and become part of this world.

While we're playing around with the basic concepts, we're exploring what the alien civilization might look like. Joan Piqué Llorens out of Barcelona thinks it might look like this:



https://www.artstation.com/artwork/BmvNgA
^ high-res version

He also thinks that the Eye of Sahara might have looked like this at some point:

(click to show/hide)
^ I think I speak for everyone when I say it's pretty fucking awesome.

Back to the alien culture. Needless to say, it has to be unique in a good way and thus interesting to explore, which is easier said than done. The first attempt was a complete disaster but fortunately for everyone, Mark Yohalem (Primordia, Fallen Gods) was the first to see it, so he quickly pointed out the flaws and helped us find a much better angle. The second attempt managed to get Mark's stamp of approval:

"Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but I do kind of like it. I also like the sense of this spectacular and alien civilization that is basically being destabilized in a way that you can see the whole thing crumbling in the face of familiar human tech. Makes any sense of victory a bit melancholy."

Now that we have a good socio-political and religious foundation in place we can spend the next 2 years slowly fleshing out, so that by the time Colony Ship is released, the new setting will be mapped out and ready to go.

Anyway, now you're up-to-date. Any questions, ask.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2019, 11:53:07 am by Vince » Logged
Goral
Craftsman

Posts: 300


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2019, 02:25:03 pm »

1) What was the name of the publisher (I assume that you don't want to reveal it but it doesn't hurt to ask).
2) What was the first attempt like? Maybe it wasn't that bad?

Edit:
 
Quote
The ragtag Terrans who'd land on Proxima B after 400 years of space travel and in-fighting will be at a disadvantage and will have to fight for survival and adapt to this less than welcoming arid new world. Reinforcements won't be coming, so the Terrans will be on their own and each defeat will bring them closer to being wiped out for good. They will have to rely on crude firearms more than ever as the high-tech weapons and gear intended for the future colony were used up during the Mutiny and the civil war that followed.
Oh, and I see a problem with the premise. If I understand it correctly you're assuming here that in 400 years these colonists won't make much progress while those aliens will. I would think that's enough time to perfect their repair skills or to learn how to make a lathe and more complex machines and means to power them that would allow them to make those weapons again. Not to mention that they would certainly know how to make an aerostat and even plane (with plane it would be a problem to power it but for a civilization as advanced as the colonists it shouldn't be a problem). And with air support it's hard to imagine they could lose, for starters they could reach areas inaccessible to aliens to regroup and create means to defeat those aliens.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 02:39:33 pm by Goral » Logged
AbounI
*
Posts: 762


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2019, 02:44:40 pm »

Does it mean your idea for an Inquisition cRPG is left behind ?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 02:49:35 pm by AbounI » Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 8056



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2019, 03:03:16 pm »

1) What was the name of the publisher (I assume that you don't want to reveal it but it doesn't hurt to ask).
I'm not a lawyer but I assume such things are confidential and talking about it openly will be frowned upon.

Quote
2) What was the first attempt like? Maybe it wasn't that bad?
Since it's been discarded there's no reason to revisit it, even as a hypothetical.

Quote
If I understand it correctly you're assuming here that in 400 years these colonists won't make much progress while those aliens will.
My point is that the natives were free to develop the way our own civilization did but the colonists were locked in a metal box for 400 years, slowly running out of supplies and resources. The essentials were provided to them by the Ship. Sure, they're still more technologically advanced but they don't have the numbers and now that the Ship no longer provides the essentials, growing food in the desert is a more pressing concern. Resources like metal and plastic are still very limited and the colonists won't be able to set up mining operations and factories right away.  

Does it mean your idea for an Inquisition cRPG is left behind ?
Merely bumped back.

Our original plan was to stay away from sequels and do a full-scale RPG that takes 4-5 years to make followed by a tactical spin-off that takes a year. I think we need to adjust the formula and follow a full-scale RPG with a proper sequel with a 3-year development schedule.
Logged
Goral
Craftsman

Posts: 300


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2019, 03:09:48 pm »

Quote
2) What was the first attempt like? Maybe it wasn't that bad?
Since it's been discarded there's no reason to revisit it, even as a hypothetical. (...)
I didn't ask you to revisit it, just to copy/paste the idea. Unless you don't have it written anywhere and it's more bothersome than hitting Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V.

Quote
My point is that the natives were free to develop the way our own civilization did but the colonists were locked in a metal box for 400 years, slowly running out of supplies and resources.
It's not a metal box but a humongous ship that's more akin to entire city. And having more space shouldn't affect ingenuity that much, like I said, in the very least they would have perfected their repair skill  and they would certainly improve some of the designs so that the weapons would work more efficiently, materials would be recycled, etc. etc. It's hard to imagine that they would practically be at the same level as 400 years ago, humans are curious, inquisitive and hard-working by nature.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 03:49:33 pm by Vince » Logged
menyalin
Craftsman

Posts: 426


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2019, 03:11:52 pm »

Quote
More importantly, they are alien, which means that while they may be humanoid (to make our animator's life easier), the fundamental logic of their society, religion, and power should be truly alien to ours and vice versa. The result is a highly asymmetrical kulturcampf.
Most interesting part, really. There is too much not-that-alien and just somewhat recolored humans instead of real aliens...

Oh, and I see a problem with the premise. If I understand it correctly you're assuming here that in 400 years these colonists won't make much progress while those aliens will. I would think that's enough time to perfect their repair skills or to learn how to make a lathe and more complex machines and means to power them that would allow them to make those weapons again. Not to mention that they would certainly know how to make an aerostat and even plane (with plane it would be a problem to power it but for a civilization as advanced as the colonists it shouldn't be a problem). And with air support it's hard to imagine they could lose, for starters they could reach areas inaccessible to aliens to regroup and create means to defeat those aliens.
All relatively hightech stuff needs industry, accumulated capital, means of production, trained and experienced engineers, geologist, agrarians, etc. By the setting there is no enough resources, operational tech and trained people on the ship at the moment, so no miracles here.
Logged
Goral
Craftsman

Posts: 300


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2019, 03:28:57 pm »

(...)
All relatively hightech stuff needs industry, accumulated capital, means of production, trained and experienced engineers, geologist, agrarians, etc. By the setting there is no enough resources, operational tech and trained people on the ship at the moment, so no miracles here. (...)
High-tech (like lasers, kevlar) yes, but creating great firearms wouldn't be that difficult even for a single man (and for someone with lathe it would be super easy). And we're not talking about big scale here but something more of a manufacture in a ship as large as a city. There is also theoretical knowledge to consider, without it we wouldn't have things like transformers (Maxwell's laws) or GPS (special relativity). I just can't buy the explanation that "because they're on the ship they would just stay the same".
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 03:35:05 pm by Goral » Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 8056



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2019, 03:48:58 pm »

I didn't ask you to revisit it, just to copy/paste the idea. Unless you don't have it written anywhere and it's more bothersome than hitting Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V.
The bothersome part is posting what I'm now convinced was a stupid or at least not a very interesting idea. It would serve absolutely no purpose at this point.

Quote
It's not a metal box but a humongous ship that's more akin to entire city. And having more space shouldn't affect ingenuity that much, like I said, in the very least they would have perfected their repair skill  and they would certainly improve some of the designs so that the weapons would work more efficiently, materials would be recycled, etc. etc. It's hard to imagine that they would practically be at the same level as 400 years ago, humans are curious, inquisitive and hard-working by nature.
If anything they regressed. 400 years ago they had proper order and all the tech they needed to make the journey. Things started unraveling slowly and hit the breaking point after 300 years. The game takes places a 100 year later. After running out of energy cells that powered the weapons, the inhabitants switched to firearms (i.e. weapons they could actually make with limited resources) and learned a great deal about them (a rediscovered tech), which means they are now a few centuries behind their ancestors.

If you're looking for historical parallels, look no further than the aptly named Dark Ages. 

Logged
Wrath of Dagon
Archmaster

Posts: 2363



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2019, 03:55:29 pm »

Just what I was about to post. Plenty of examples in history of people losing whatever civilization they managed to develop, it's quite a fragile thing. Also obviously the more advanced humans need to be roughly on par with the less advanced but numerous aliens, or the premise won't work. Aliens though would have to include blue skinned tentacled babes, it's an immutable law of nature.

Edit: Just thought of something, a great analogy would be the 19th century British vs the Zulus.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 03:57:10 pm by Wrath of Dagon » Logged

Secondly--MURDER? Merely because I had planned the duel and provoked the quarrel! Never had I heard anything so preposterous.
Vince
Developer

Posts: 8056



View Profile
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2019, 04:08:27 pm »

Just what I was about to post. Plenty of examples in history of people losing whatever civilization they managed to develop, it's quite a fragile thing.
Precisely.

Quote
Also obviously the more advanced humans need to be roughly on par with the less advanced but numerous aliens, or the premise won't work.
The way I see it, the best answer to this question is psionics as it would make the warfare perfectly asymmetrical.

Humans rely on tools, the aliens rely on psionic abilities. They have no defenses (yet) against the firearms as they've never had to deal with such enemies before, whereas the Terrans have no defenses (yet) against their psionic attacks. Human minds are as unprotected and fragile to them as their bodies to 'us'. They will have other mental abilities as well: basic telepathy, mental suggestions, etc. Conversations should be fun to write and very different from AoD and CSG.

No spell casting, of course. The advantage of psionics is that it's a well researched field so we can tap into it and borrow what works and fits our style:

https://dnd.wizards.com/sites/default/files/media/upload/articles/Psionics.pdf

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/psionicPowersOverview.htm

http://www.traveller-srd.com/core-rules/psionics/

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/alternative-rule-systems/psionics-unleashed/
Logged
Goral
Craftsman

Posts: 300


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2019, 04:39:58 pm »

The problem with psionics is that aliens like these would most likely progress at a much slower rate than humans since their magic would do most of the work for them. They would have no reason to discover rules of dynamics and use pulleys or inclined plane when they could use telekinesis. Then again, if the game will be more interesting thanks to it then I can suspend my disbelief.
Logged
Drirlake
Neophyte

Posts: 7


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2019, 04:48:28 pm »

Vince , I think the problem with the premise is that the scale of the conflict and the conflicting parties do not make much sense. For one, A few thousand human arrivals will absolutely have no effect on the demographics of an entire planet, at least not until the passing of a couple of thousand years. I doubt the aliens have mastered statistical probability or demographic analysis to determine what will future demographic will look like in a thousand years, so conflict over this tired and true trope does not make much sense unless one of the race traits you attribute to them is them being bloodthirsy.

The second point is that the humans are landing on an entire planet that is in an equivalent phase of the earth middle ages more or less, this means that there should be massive empty plains and lands just up for the taking with no people or at least a very rudimentary level of technology making them easier to conquer unless all the aliens in the planet magically share the same level of technology (treating them as one monolithic bloc) which also does not make sense. My point is if the humans are experiencing harassment somewhere they could move somewhere else and they already have data and the topography of the entire planet figured out.

The third and most important point is that the aliens should never behave as a monolithic bloc. There should be different tribes, nations, clans or whatever. My impression from your explanations is that you will be treating the aliens as a single monolithic bloc (bad storytelling).
Logged
cb.spike
*
Posts: 116


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2019, 04:53:12 pm »

Firearms will be main advantage of people from colony ship? How do you plan to design firearms vs whatever weapons aliens will use (bow variations?) combat not to make it look silly?
Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 8056



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2019, 05:06:12 pm »

The problem with psionics is that aliens like these would most likely progress at a much slower rate than humans since their magic would do most of the work for them. They would have no reason to discover rules of dynamics and use pulleys or inclined plane when they could use telekinesis.
Of course, but they'd develop their abilities instead and ways to amplify and combine them. For example, they worship a pantheon of gods, but due to their psionic abilities, the worship generates power their priests can tap into. It stands to reason that if one native can affect reality in small ways with a focused thought, a priest wielding the power of thousands can affect reality in a big way. Think of our saints able to work some miracles due to their faith and crank it to 11.
Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 8056



View Profile
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2019, 05:18:17 pm »

Firearms will be main advantage of people from colony ship? How do you plan to design firearms vs whatever weapons aliens will use (bow variations?) combat not to make it look silly?
They won't rely on tools, see above.

Vince , I think the problem with the premise is that the scale of the conflict and the conflicting parties do not make much sense. For one, A few thousand human arrivals will absolutely have no effect on the demographics of an entire planet, at least not until the passing of a couple of thousand years. I doubt the aliens have mastered statistical probability or demographic analysis to determine what will future demographic will look like in a thousand years, so conflict over this tired and true trope does not make much sense unless one of the race traits you attribute to them is them being bloodthirsy.
The conflict is not over demographics or anything of that sort.
 
Quote
The second point is that the humans are landing on an entire planet that is in an equivalent phase of the earth middle ages more or less, this means that there should be massive empty plains and lands just up for the taking...
Sure, there's plenty of desert. All you want and then some.

Quote
... or at least a very rudimentary level of technology making them easier to conquer unless all the aliens in the planet magically share the same level of technology...
See the 19th century British vs the Zulus who had zero tech (spears vs rifles) yet managed to establish an empire and keep the British at bay.

Quote
The third and most important point is that the aliens should never behave as a monolithic bloc. There should be different tribes, nations, clans or whatever. My impression from your explanations is that you will be treating the aliens as a single monolithic bloc (bad storytelling).
I don't recall saying much about the aliens but for the record they will have different races, nations, factions, and such.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6   Go Up
Print
Jump to: