Divinity: Original Sin
Divinity: Original Sin Second Preview
After having previewed Divinity:Original Sin almost a year ago I got the opportunity to check it out again.
» Continue reading...
Divinity: Dragon Commander
Dragon Commander: Hands-On Preview
We had the opportunity to play Dragon Commander in the offices of Larian Studios, so off we went for more information and actual hands-on experience
» Continue reading...
Recent info pages and articles
Poll WatchDo you Kickstart?
Yes, I've supported a bunch!
Yes, but only 1 or 2.
I'm waiting for the right project.
No! No finished product, no money!
No - but only because of my tight budget.
Guido Henkel - Interview @ The Nerd Cave by Couchpotato
Mass Effect - The Need for Strong Female Characters by Zloth
Age of Decadence - Quick Look @ The Surly Gamer by Corwin
Diablo 3 - Stay Awhile and Listen by Drithius
Dragon Commander - Video Q&A with Larian Studios & GOG.com
GOG and Larian bring a video Q&A for Dragon Commander. Be warned the video is almost a hour long. Enjoy.
Divinity: Dragon Commander is an innovative fantasy real-time strategy game spliced with free-flight combat action, in-depth strategic view, and some trading card game mechanics, in which you become a fearsome Dragon Emperor. This is the recording of our live Q&A session with Sven Vincke and Farhang Namdar of the Larian Studios, the game's developer.
Original Sin - Update #13, Update Song and The History of Rivellon
If you are interested in the history of Rivellon, the world of Divinity and what the place in this history is for each of the Divinity games, this update for the Original Sin Kickstarter is a very interesting read. In addition they also let us know that they are only $25K away (including Paypal) from the Homestead stretch goal, provide the link again to the updated info on the rewards and there is the update song:
Original Sin - Spread Too Thin
Swen Vincke writes a short blog update on the Kickstarter status of Original Sin.
There’s four of us @Larian who are busy with managing the KS campaign, and that’s really not enough. Because we try to isolate the rest of the team as much as we can from all the extra work so that they can focus on development, we can’t really muster more resources & so we find ourselves sleeping very little and spending a lot of time typing. Obviously, we get a lot of energy from all the positive feedback & I have to say the friends & family support has also been amazing, but it’s still pretty tough. To give you an idea, here are the channels we’re monitoring/managing/posting on:
- The mails both in our mailboxes & via Kickstarters personal message feature
- And www.lar.netIn addition we’re doing plenty of interviews & presentations (David & Farhang for instance did 12 presentations in Berlin yesterday) & we’re still prepping more. And obviously we also have the stress of trying to do one update per day on Kickstarter because we noticed it really does have a big impact on the campaigns counter.I’m not complaining though – imho we funded really fast, considering the circumstances & I’m curious to see what the end-game is going to look like.But yes, it is more work than I expected. I’m not the first one to say it, I’m not the last one to say it, but I did want to add my 89kg to those who are saying – prepare well if you want to do a KS campaign. It’s tough to add/change course once you’re rolling.
Original Sin - Update #12, Story, Homestead and More
Quite a bit of info in this update for the Original Sin Kickstarter. Dragon Commander is now available as an add-on, more reward tiers in Paypal, free shipping in the EU and US, updates on the rewards table and an explanation of how Original Sin fits in the Divinity Universe.
Furthermore new info is shared about the shelter plane at the end of time.
Created by imp historian Zixzax the Almost Wise; located on the Precipice of Ages - where time itself ends in endless black - you will find your homestead. It is a barren place; arid and forlorn, but beggars can't be choosers, and neither can a couple of Source Hunters down on their luck. In time, though, perhaps your Shelter Plane might turn into quite a cosy abode really: a place to put up your feet and relax by the fire, staring out unto the very edge of oblivion.
What are some of the nifty things you can expect to find in your Shelter Plane?
The Transcript of Unravelled Destinies
As you play through Original Sin, you will encounter a great many characters, and like any respectable RPG hero worth their salt, you will be able to alter these characters' lives through your actions and decisions. For some, the consequences will be tangible and immediate; for others, they might seem imperceptible at first, but become more apparent as time passes.
Each time you visit your Shelter Plane, you can consult the Transcript of Unravelled Destinies and learn about the consequences of your actions, for it is a magical tome which registers the fate of every single being in Rivellon. By flicking through its pages, you will learn about what happened to all those people whose lives you affected. Did the young couple you reunited live happily ever after? Did that swindler you dragged to court really learn the error of his ways?
Did you impact past or present and did you thereby influence the future? Can you jump back to reality and still make changes?
Yes, the Shelter Plane at the End of Time is a lonesome and empty place at first, but never you worry! Its appearance will change, though not as the result of a wholesale shopping spree. Instead, decisions you make during specific quests will change its initial shape and give your Shelter Plane a distinctly different atmosphere...
Henchmen, the Gathering
As you recruit henchmen throughout your journey, there will come a time when you'll want to leave one of them behind (because you just cannot resist hiring that bull-sized battle mage you just met!). Yet fear not, for they will not hold a grudge against you! Instead, they will patiently wait for you until you require their services once more, safe in the comfort of your Shelter Plane.
The Coffers That Have No Bottoms
Each player gets his or her individual storage chest, where they may safely store their loot without fearing their loyal partner (or Zixzax...) might 'borrow' any of their belongings. Even the best of couples need their privacy.
Shelter from the Storm
If things get a bit much for you on the battlefield and you see no other option than to flee, you can quickly retreat to your Shelter Plane and catch your breath. After all, there's no shame in surviving, and when you feel ready to head out again, you can simply pick your waypoint of choice.Of course, you'll need a bit of space to make the transition, so make sure your enemies are not too close when seeking shelter...
There is more to The Shelter Plane at the End of Time than meets the eye; much more! Seek and you shall find. Great wonders await inquisitive souls...
Dragon Commander - Available for Pre-order on GOG
Gamebanshee posts that Dragon Commmander is available for Pre-order on GOG. The listing price is $39.99 and has a release date of July 2.
You are the Dragon Commander. Your mission it is to reunite a broken empire and become the new emperor. Success depends entirely on your ability to efficiently rule your empire, build invincible armies and lead them to victory. Your secret weapons: your tactical insights, your leadership skills and your ability to turn yourself into a dragon.
More than 'just another' strategy game, Dragon Commander seamlessly blends turn-based and real-time strategy, action gameplay and roleplaying into a grand adventure. Plot the political course of your empire, move your armies into key locations in the world, command troops on the battlefield, and decimate the opposition as a ferocious dragon.
As a bonus here is the trailer video for the preorder.
Original Sin - Update #11, Kirill Interview, Character Stats and More
At $441K we get the next update for Divinity Original Sin. This time it features Swen interviewing Kirill Pokrovsky, who has been making music for all of the Divinity games. At the end of the interview Kirill has a surprise.
Then there is more information on character stats:
Sitting together and talking about all of our ideas, we learned where everyone was coming from. So, still on paper, the first stat system we came up with was called SPAM, which was an acronym for Strength, Presence, Accuracy and Mind. After trying it out (still not in game, we were actually building characters on paper, and rolling dice when fighting monsters, persuading characters, picking locks...), we noticed everyone was putting a lot of points in the Presence stat, because that stat was really carrying too much weight. And back to the drawing board we went. A couple of times.
Through trial and error, and discussion, we ended up with the following character stats, and we implemented them in such a way that it is easy to change the values, the rules and the formulas. We have already changed it often, and even added stats, simply by reading our forum (and other forums) and by playing the game.
We know there are nuts here (on Kickstarter, on internet, and at Larian Studios) that love stat discussions, so don’t hold back! (The names of these stats are programmer names, and may still change. Well, anything is open for discussion and balancing, really.)
Also take into account that skills play a big role as well. We’ll tell you more about those later. And hopefully we'll also make the 650K stretch goal, because then we'll be able to add talents and personal traits to the system, which will make it pretty cool.
The NPCs have the same stats and formulas as the player. One level makes a big difference: they have more hitpoints, do more damage, and are generally harder to hit. But it’s still doable if you know what you’re doing.
As the hero, you start the game with 5 points in every stat, and you get 5 statpoints for customizing your character. Per level-up, you currently get 1 statpoint. But 1 statpoint makes a difference.
Items that have an impact on stats, have their positive and negative effects, so there are trade-offs that help building a character. There are items that support different types of character builds. We'll talk about items in a future update.
Stats are also used for saving throws against different effects. For instance, a high dexterity lowers your chance of falling down when walking over ice, and strength gives you a saving throw against being caught in a wall of ice (you can break through).
Then there is info on the Fanday (9th of August). A Dragon Commander livestream at TwitchTV (which doesn't work to well on my PC, so I haven't watched it) and finally there is a video made by Gmboxru where Swen is talking about his most favourite games.
Original Sin - Why Larian Studios Should Get Your Money: The Current State of RPGs
Michael CromWell wrote an editiorial that explains why we should give our money to Larian. It's a pretty lengthy post, but it's full of infomation. Well read on and share your opinions. Do you Agree or Disagree?
It sounds almost self deprecating as a PC gamer to say it, but RPG’s really are a niche genre now’days. Far be it from me to define what an RPG is, but in recent years we’ve seen a slew of visually appealing, highly polished titles that aim to deliver an overall immersive aesthetic, or context, with swaths of nuance and plenty of legend and myth. A lot of time, these games seem more like references to RPG’s than RPG’s themselves. They dabble with RPG mechanics, and deliver open worlds to explore – but they often feel manufactured, lifeless, and heavily scripted.
You can program the AI of a fox to react to its environment, and you script and record (that’s the important bit) as much dialogue as you want, but in the last – perhaps 10 – years I’ve felt like many of these games are trying to be RPG’s by ticking boxes, and substituting depth for gimmicks – tokens that allow us to ignore our intuition, and really immerse ourselves in the world. Distractions.
Original Sin - Update #10, Kickstarter Funded
The Kickstarter for Divinity: Original Sin has been funded. In honor of that here is a big thank you from Larian Studios.
And from that video it looks like we are going to have weresheep in it.
Also Bellegar (from Divinity 2) might make a reappearance in Original Sin. For every 1000 likes on their Facebook page one encounter with him will be added in the game.
There’s been a lot of demand and a lot of rhyming to summon Bellegar and he let us know that he’s not insensitive to your prayers. But this is Bellegar, right, so nothing comes easy.
He sent us this message:
Divinity fans, rise and cheer For Bellegar shall soon appear!
Yet, my friends, when push comes to shove First I'll want a little love!
So 'Like' me on my facebook page
And everybody's favourite mage
Will soon arrive on the glorious stage!
For each and every thousand likes,
I'll cheer and clap and yell out 'Yikes!',
And to your great, your utter delight
Brighten the day by stepping in sight,
For no greater joys or pleasures there are
Than meeting the mighty Bellegar!
Yes, Bellegar now works (interim he assures us) at a social media marketing firm and yes, he's indeed shamelessly looking for more likes on his Facebook page. So his deal is that for every 1000 Facebook likes, we can add an extra encounter with the might Bellegar to the game! What are you waiting for? Share, like, invite, you know the drill.
Also Paypal is available now, it will come to Mac and Linux and there are some new rewards and add-ons.
Original Sin - Update #9, More on the Editor
With a bit more than $5K to go in order to reach their goal of $400K another update for the Original Sin Kickstarter sees the light. This update continues with another video showing the editor featuring the butcher but with input from their 3D artist.
In addition a Larian forum member made this summary of the Matt Chat reported about yesterday:
- (9:30) Quests aren’t going to hand-hold you through them. There isn’t going to be a “Quest Completed!” pop-up. Instead, your journal will have little parts of information, like “we found a book by a dead guy that talks about lying statues”, later if you talk to a statue, you might find “we met a statue, It might be one of the lying statues from the book”, and if you deal with the statue somehow, it’ll just be a thing, and you may not even realize that it was a quest.
- (13 min) In that demonstration battle on the 10-minute kickstarter video, they died three times. That’s one reason why they never showed the conclusion to that battle!
- (22 min) The main characters relationship is not specifically a love story. You can certainly take it in that direction if you wish, though. Their relationship is defined by two different axes: Affection and Affinity. Affection is how much they like each other, Affinity is how well they agree with each other on moral dilemmas. So they might hate each other, but work well. You aren’t going to accidentally end up as your friend’s gay lover, it’ll be a conscious choice if you go for that.
- (23:30) The main characters are Source Hunters, and one of the perks they get from being trained in that area is that they can talk to animals.
- (24 min) No sheep henchmen at the moment. They are thinking about adding weresheep in the game, but you cannot have a deep meaningful personal relationship with sheep yet. You will have to make a tough moral decision about the sheep at some point in the game. And the rabbits. And a cow.
- (25 min) I think there may be multiple different ways to try and get your way in a dialogue (Charm/Reason/Intimidate), instead of the current “I agree/I disagree” system. I’m not sure. The context of the situation is also important. I think that for example, the “dead body on the beach” would probably be a Charm or Reasoning situation, and Intimidation would have a penalty.
- (27 min) No mini-games. Lockpicking will be item based and dexterity based.
- (28 min) The Source (elemental) magic is not just for mages casting spells. It also gives you Source-based warrior and Survivor skills
- (28:40) The editor is not about making it easy for a novice, it’s more of a tool to do powerful things. They’ve used that technology (or parts of it) for over a decade to make their games, and that’s why as a small team they have been able to make such big games.
- (30 min) They’ll integrate the modding scene with Steamworks, and there will be another TBD thing to centralize mods for those who don’t use Steam. If the community picks it up, Larian will support the hell out of it.
- (31 min) “Have you thought of adding any DRM to this?” No.
- (32:20) Larian admits that some of the reward tiers for the Kickstarter may not be cost-effective for them.
- (33:30) What’s the minimum pledge tier for fans to get the full experience? Just the $25 for the base game, although it does play well with a friend ($40 for the duo-copy pack).
- (35 min) If Divinity 2: Ego Draconis had been a PC game, it would have been released a year earlier and in much better shape. Development for Xbox lead to a lot of compromise just trying to finish the production.
- (36:10) Beyond Divinity was bad, it was a game they company made just to survive. They never got a dollar of royalties from Divine Divinity (from CDV). They were only able to get a deal to make Divinity 2 because they were going to do it for Xbox. If they asked to do it for PC only, the game wouldn’t have happened.
- (37:50) "Why did you end Ego Draconis the way you did?" (I’m going to save my fingers from typing and just link to that spot in my LP. Watch the videos for the actual experience, not the text I added.)
- - It goes back to Divine Divinity. They decided not to cut the game at the end of the Council of Seven sequence and instead went ahead and added a new “Wastelands” zone, despite warnings they’d never finish it. (Spoiler alert: It was a huge combat zone with no quests.) The publisher wanted them to show variety in the environments. “If there is not a screenshot with orange stuff, we’ll sue you.”
- - For Divinity 2, Swen figured it would be better to stop with a cliffhanger and cut hard, instead of making another weak ending area.
- (41:40) Dragon Commander is going to take a lot of people by surprise. The leader writer and animator spend a month in London recording dialogue – more dialogue than they’ve ever done before (Divinity 2 had like 9 hours of dialogue, and it felt like more). That’s just to cater for the choice and consequence in the game. Dragon Commander is probably the most complex game they’ve ever made from a gameplay point of view.
- (43:50) “What would you need to personally hear or see about Original Sin to get you to buy it?”
- If you invest in it now, you’ll have more fun in a couple of months. If you’re planning on buying it anyway, buy it now and get it better later. It’s future profits from the game being invested into the game before it’s released. They’re not taking your money for an already funded game, they’re taking your money and giving you a much better game (at a discounted price!). They’re not pushing Original Sin as far as it could go because they haven’t enough resources, not enough time, not enough budget.
- (48 min) Final thoughts: Other non-human playable races is a huge, impossibly high stretch goal, because it would be so much work, because of how the game reacts to how the players are. If you wanted to play as an orc, they’d have to cater for that all over the dialogue lines in the entire game.
- - He’s not keen on full voice acting, because there are more tangible gameplay things that can be added instead for the same price or cheaper.
- - They hope to get enough for the Perks stretch goal (650,000), and do things like have synergy bonuses if the party affinity go up if they perform combos with each other, or maybe solo bonuses if they don’t work well together.
- - In Dragon Commander, there is an extraordinarily complex depth to your generals/councillors/princesses, because of the way that game was specifically constructed with that in mind. You couldn’t do that for Original Sin at this point, but at the 800,000 stretch goal, they hope to add more depth to party interaction and give the henchmen more personality and story presence, with branching choice and consequence based on how you treat them. Ideally, tying that into the players social stats and perks as well.
- - It’s a bit tough to get professional authors in at this part of the development. They’ve worked with a bunch before, but it’s tough it they’ve never done videogame work.
- (55:10) The game would work well on the console with a controller, but that was killed early in development. Maybe as another stretch goal in Kickstarter, but they probably would react poorly to that idea.
Original Sin - Matt Chat Interview
Matt barton interviewed Larian Studio's Swen Vincke about the Divinity: Original Sin Kickstarter.
In this one-hour interview with Swen Vincke of Larian Studios, we chat about the team's Kickstarter project for Divinity: Original Sin. Unlike the previous, publisher-pleasing action-based RPGs, the new game will be just like Swen wanted all of them to be--turn-based tactical PC-centric awesomeness. They've also done some important innovations here to accommodate the drop in/drop out co-op mode. Even if you haven't played the other Divinity games and have no idea who these people are, go watch their KS video. This is some really impressive stuff.
Help Larian reach their Stretch goals! It'd be tragic if they fell a few dollars short of their goal, and we ended up with another lame game without proper DRM. Those Lenslocks don't come cheap, you know.
Original Sin - Update #8, Single Player, Talents and Traits
The Kickstarter for Divinity: Original Sin is now at $375K, which means there is only #25K to go in order for it to reach it's goal. In update number 8 they talk about single player, somebody else dropping in and out of the game, traits and talents and more.
You start the game with two avatars in your party. Let's call them Roderick and Scarlett for now. Obviously when starting the game you can name and customize them. And yes, you can also play this game with two men or two women, it doesn't always have to be man/woman.
Roderick and Scarlett are the true heroes of this tale, and they'll always be in your party, but should you feel the need for reinforcements, you can recruit two extra party members.
Except in a few special circumstances, your party doesn't need to stay together. Sometimes the game will ask you to gather your party first, usually only when going from zone to zone, but our zones are very big (think Divine Divinity big).
But in one zone, including its houses, cellars, and dungeons, it means that you can control Scarlett to explore an underground cave while Roderick buys some fresh fish on the market. (Each hero's henchman will follow his master.)
Because Divinity: Original Sin features a turn-based combat system, this can lead to pretty interesting situations.
For instance: you switch to Scarlett, and in the cave, she encounters a friendly community of unfortunate ghosts, and has lengthy conversations with them, trying to understand why their souls aren't floating towards the Hall Of Echoes.
You switch to Roderick and, shopping around, realize he doesn't have enough gold to pay for his fish. So you try your hand at stealing. Lacking the necessary skills and talents for conducting successful theft, another shopper catches Roderick in the act and calls for the guards. Roderick is a bit short of temper and he's also on a mission to save Rivellon: there's no way he's going to put up with such foolery as going to jail, so he resists arrest and draws his sword.
Turn-based combat starts on the market, and several guards, as well as some market-goers that feel up to it, join the fight. Roderick has a high initiative, and in your first turn, you manage to conjure an earth elemental to even the odds a bit before any of the guards can even make their move. But there are a lot of guards...
Read more at their Kickstarter page.
Original Sin - Update #7, Stretch Goals and Music
While the Kickstarter campaign for Original Sin is getting closer to the $400K (currently at #348K) the stretch goals are announced.
500K - New Area: Your Homestead on the Shelter Plane At The End Of Time.
We'll implement a new area to which you can travel at all times. An accidental gift by the Imp Historian (you know, the slightly bizarre time traveler that also gives you the Teleporter Pyramids)...
The Shelter Plane At The End Of Time is a barren place at first, and not without its issues, but with the proper care, we're sure you can turn it into a cozy, homely place. You can then recruit NPCs who will perform special services for you, provided they can overcome their initial fear...
650K - Talents and Personality Traits
We'll introduce talents that further define your character. These talents help you in combat, in dialogues with NPCs, and in all kinds of other interactions. You get to choose some at character creation, by exploring the world, and occasionally through leveling up.
For instance, Animal Empathy allows you to talk to animals. Slippery Eel allows you to evade attacks of opportunity. Interdimensional Touch lets you send items to far away party members but also to your Homestead on the Shelter Plane At The End Of Time.
Personality traits reflect the choices that you make and may shift during the game, depending on your decisions. These personality traits give your characters benefits and penalties. For instance, a Ruthless character gains certain bonuses in combat but becomes more infamous. A Loyal character receives bonuses when fighting back to back, but gets a penalty when trying to flee.800K - Henchmen Become Companions.
Companions will have a background, their own story to tell, their own goals and their own personality. The world and its inhabitants will react to them. The companions have their own dynamic story arc and quests. Their fate will change depending on the party's decisions.
Companions will have their own talents and personal traits, and will affect the party's spirit. A high party spirit means that in combat the party is more efficient.
Companions will be able to stay at the Shelter Plane At The End Of Time. Because it's handy to be able to switch sometimes if the situation calls for another approach...
1M - NPC Schedules, Day/Night Cycles, Weather Systems.
As the ground warms to the rays of the morning sun, NPCs wake up, and start going about their day. When evening falls, they go to their houses, light their candles and fireplaces, then get ready for bed.
The day and night cycles and the moons of Rivellon have an impact on magic and on monsters. The weather changes, and has an impact on the environment and affects magic as well.
And here is a preview of one of Kiril's darfts for a piece of music for the game.
Original Sin - Update #6, Beating the System
Original Sin - Update #5, Shorter Video, Overview of Rewards & Downloads
Update #5 for Divinity: Original Sin brings us an overview of the digital and physical rewards and some downloadable avatars icons and wallpapers.
You want it, you got it: we posted some avatar icons which you can use to customize your portrait here on Kickstarter or on other forums. We also posted two cool wall-papers. Click the links to have a look, and we hope you find at least something to your liking. Look, here's one of them. Completely totally randomly picked. (Well, no, it's my personal favourite really.)
GOG.com,DRM-free digital purveyor of all that's good in gaming, has announced that they will be partnering up with us for Divinity: Dragon Commander and Divinity: Original Sin. That means that if you want, you will be able to get your digital version of Divinity: Original Sin via GOG.com.
They also announced that they’ll be participating in the pre-order campaign for Divinity:Dragon Commander (part of the 65$ tier here on Kickstarter) and to promote it, they will host a live Google+ Hangout On Air Q&A session on Wednesday, 10 April 2013 at 2:00 GMT (10:00 AM EDT), which will reveal new gameplay footage from Divinity: Dragon Commander.
And finally they have a reduced size of the opening video.
Original Sin - 7 Days of Kickstarter
Swen updated his blog with more info on the Kickstarter at the seventh day.
One week – 6666 backers on our Kickstarter – a nice number to post another update on.I am learning so much about our audience by seeing the comments in different channels. The reactions posted are a veritable goldmine of info on who we’re making this for (well at least, the vocal part) and I think it’s safe to say that the ideas we picked up from those posts are already good for quite a few improvements to Divinity:Original Sin. I’m happy with several of the articles that were posted today, especially the ones we didn’t ask for like the one from Eurogamer or this little gem of an interview (in German). Makes all the PR effort feel like it was worth it.-I’m also starting to get the feeling that our entire Kickstarter campaign is going to be good for sales of the final game too as I see awareness is building. That’s bound to help in the end. I learnt a lot about what media matters for these type of things as well as who to avoid in the future. Some people and Larian will never click, fact of life. (Don’t worry Roguey, I didn’t give up on you yet, even if I think the odds are not in my favour)-It’s also been a good test of how our PR/Marketing partnerships in the different territories work. Because we have several approaches for different territories we can make direct comparisons between what works and what doesn’t. Interesting stuff. If I were to do it all again, I’d definitely change my approach – I’ll write about that in a later update when I have more time and once I saw the entire roll-out. But there’s no denying that in making mistakes we learn, and sometimes it’s better to make the mistakes so you can avoid bigger disasters in the future.
Original Sin - 5 Days of Kickstarter
Swen Vincke shares some info and statistics in his blog after 5 days of the Kickstarter campaign for Original Sin (which was monday).
This going to be a very short post because I need some sleep, but I just wanted to mention how motivating it is to see all these shows of support and how helpful all our fans and backers have been. I’m exhausted but reaching 63% of our funding goal (252K at present) in 5 days is just amazing and it’s very easy to find energy amidst so much support. And the feedback we’ve received is worth gold – that alone is a reason to do a campaign like this – now I understand what Brian Fargo & the guys at Obsidian were shouting about all the time. It’s one thing to be reading about it, it’s a completely different thing to be in the middle of it. Anyway, that’s it – I actually just wanted to share a few stats from our campaign
The average pledge amount so far is $44.23 (really high imho so we have generous backers). We’ve had 30118 video views and of those 17,78% finished the video, both numbers low imho so we need to do something there. We are now at a conversion rate of 18,9% so that’s dropped but it’s still pretty high.Tomorrow we’re going to launch an update that is going to change our approach a little bit, focussing less on the features of what we’re doing and telling more of the story & world that we’ve been creating. We’ll also modify our rewards as much as we can & introduce a few new things. And, we’ll emphasise single player a bit more – it’s true that we didn’t do that enough whereas it’s actually the most important bit.
And with a bit of luck, there’s also be Dragon Commander news, because obviously, that team hasn’t been sitting idle!
Original Sin - Update #4, Reward Updates, Undies, SP Video and Zandalor
The fourth Kickstarter update for Original Sin ($270K out of an asked $400K) brings us new reward updates based on the feedback they received thus making them more attractive, a story by the hand of the resident Divinity mage Zandalor, more on Zandalor's undies and a video showing the single player mode of the game.
Here are a few of the award updates:
Digital Artbook and Digital Map ($75 and up)
If you pledge $75 and up, you will receive the digital artbook and a digital version of the map along with your rewards.
Physical Artbook ($95 and up)
If you pledge $95 or up, and your reward tier contains the physical Collector's Edition Kickstarter Box with printed manual, soundtrack CD and cloth map, this box will also contain a physical artbook!
Name the undead ($125 and up)
The "Name the undead" reward, which is available from $125 onward, will no longer simply be an undead in your personal copy. We will gather names from all supporters that pledged $125 and more, and put them in one big pool. Several undead creatures in the final game (ghosts, skeletons, zombies in all their glorious variations) will pick a random name from this pool.
Design a henchman ($250 and up)
The "Design a henchman" reward, available from $250 onward, has also been upgraded to being included in the final game, and not just your personal copy. That means everybody who plays the game might encounter your henchman.
We will gather names, stats and looks from all supporters that pledged $250 and more, and put them in one big pool of Kickstarter-created henchmen. Everybody will be able to hire these henchmen via representatives of the inter-dimensional mercenaries guild. Depending on your personal preferences (Do you need a healer, a priest, a ranger, a rogue...) the agent will make a recommendation and you will then be able to hire them.
Combo designer ($500 and up)
Concerning the combo designer that starts at $500, here is a clarification. Your item combo will be available to everyone. You will come up with two items combining into one item. You define the use of that item. If we don't have any of these items, we will create them. You will be able to name the items and write its description (lore or history).
Create an item ($1000 and up)
The item you create (starting at $1000) will be a unique item (i.e. it will be a reward for exploring or a quest). There will be some constraints (balancing/type) but we are open minded. If you want a specific flower pot, we'll do that. If you want to create a unique weapon, you can. You will name it, tell us what it should look like, what its stats and special properties are, and you can give it a description (for instance a history).
One of the four statues ($2500 only)
Pledge $2500 and you will become one of the four statues of Prophecy. Yeah, yeah, but we forgot to mention: the statue in the game will be custom modeled so that the 3D model in the game actually looks like you! Oh, we forgot to mention - they are related to the genesis of the mighty Bellegar!
Dragon Commander - Hands-On Preview & Interview
PCGamesN bring us their report of the hands-on session they had for Dragon Commander.
Genres be damned, say Larian Studios. The developer clearly has no interest in trying to squeeze Dragon Commander into any particular category. Instead, they've brewed together a giant soup of genres and into this they've stirred a fridgeful of influences.
Anyone who dips their spoon into this bubbling broth will catch the familiar taste of real-time strategy infused with roleplaying elements and even underscored by the subtle, beefy aroma of action. There's a faint aroma of politics in the air somewhere and also bobbing in this brew are ingredients usually associated with grand strategy board games, high fantasy and steampunk. Then, an unexpected flavour comes into the mix: while Larian don't seem to have added elements we'd usually associate with dating sims (thank heavens), it looks like getting married is going to be an important moment in the game, something that may well be just another step along a taught political tightrope.
And Gaming Illustrated took lead designer Farhang Namdar apart and talked to him about Dragon Commander:
Gaming Illustrated (RB): Can you tell me a little about what went into making that decision as far as blending everything together?
Farhang Namdar (Larian Studios): The idea originally was to create a very, very short 10 mission dragon game. The gameplay with the dragon was actually pretty fun because we never really flushed it out in The Dragon Knight Saga. We got some time to actually make it play well then we said ok, we have these campaigns and stuff but it would be great to have this mothership where you come back to and keep track of all these characters. I was a really big fan of Wing Commander so I always wanted to have that in there.
If we were going to fly missions, I wanted to have the mothership there as well with all the different characters but then with choices that matter–not like Starcraft where you just click on a character and it starts a cutscene but that you can actually make choices during this cutscene. Later on, we were looking at these Cinemaware games and games that were made in the 80s and early 90s. They always had like strategy games with different things happening in between. You always had this world map where you chose what countries to attack and things to do. Once you did that, you had these interesting events popping up like this wizard travels from a far away country to your empire with a gift for you. Would you accept him or not? These small useless choices that just popped up with a single image actually made a pretty big difference during gameplay.
Also, Swen’s [Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke] a big board game fan. so we decided to integrate all that together and, yea, we really love making RTS’ as well so that’s how everything came in to the game