The tutorial cave is finished and some of the immediate follow-up content is also done. I’m still adding a few more bits of content, but mostly it’s polish at this point.
Since the last pre-alpha version, I’ve changed a lot of the engine: the database, the way items are handled, the way effects are generated, and on and on. So there’s a lot of under-the-hood improvements… and a lot of new bugs as a result, of course. But I’m starting to feel happier about the newbie experience, at least.
I’ve got three or four reusable puzzle components, and have been dumping some extra content into the post-cave newbie area to get the density up to the target level. (The other zones, “Castle” and “Dungeon”, are basically untouched… that’ll be a different update.)
So, yeah… still working at it. It’s taking too damned long, but the new newbie experience will have some cool stuff:
And lots of other stuff, too.
Good News on the Money Front
I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but my colleagues Adam and Chris (fellow co-owners of FlashGameLicense.com) have agreed to help pay for the artwork on the game. It’s not a ton of money, but it’s a big push in the right direction, hopefully enough to get the basic customizations I need: playable races, a couple of custom monsters, and several scenery sets. Woohoo!
But suddenly I’m thinking about what I could do with even more money — a dozen custom monsters! Unique set pieces from the back story! That would be really amazing to see.
I would love to have actual Myconians to go with the paranoid elves’ conspiracy theories about them. I’d love to have the squid-like demons from my novelization. And actually having the crazy Council buildings in the game would be amazing… as opposed to just using whatever buildings I can find.
More custom art would be great… if I had more money.
Kickstarter for More Money?
On the one hand, my plan has always been to make this game on the cheap, and if it starts to attract users who pay, I can put that money back into the game. But on the other hand, it would be really nice to have competent art direction from the start, as opposed to going back after people are already playing and retrofitting the whole world to not look like crap. So the idea of a Kickstarter campaign starts to seem pretty interesting.
Unlike some of the other MMO kickstarters out there, I have an actual engine and the ability to do what I say I’m gonna do. Unfortunately, even if I’m successful, the typical Kickstarter “success story” for games is earning $10,000. Which is great, and I’d put that to good use… but it’s not $100,000. If it’s just $10k, maybe I should wait a while so that I have more concrete stuff. But if there’s a gold rush now, maybe I need to act fast…
So I’m still mulling all of this over. I really want to have this new playable version done soon so that I can polish it and let people try it. I suspect a Kickstarter campaign that included the line “and you can play a very early version RIGHT NOW” would be a neat thing to try… but honestly I’d need yet more content before I could do that. But with just the content in the newbie experience now, I should be able to get some decent gameplay movies, at least… so back to debugging I go!