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Braindump Draft 1, my thoughts so far, please discuss
*sam*
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DESCRIPTION

Game Title: “War on Wheels”

Fundamentally a sandbox/open-world game driven by an economic/political engine which is influenced your actions. Randomised initial conditions and economic/political events, to enhance re-playability. To include a single-player story-driven campaign also.

Three towns from the Darkwind world: Somerset, Elmsfield, Gateway Truckstop. Wilderness travel plus a deathracing league and arena combat league in Somerset.

A video trailer is essential. Run thru the core features of DW and talk about what will be different/better in the new version. Ideas here would be appreciated

Overview of Darkwind's core strong points and uniqueness. A few screenshots. Links to backstories (as nicely formatted PDFs), reviews, RPS interview etc.  This needs to establish my credibility. Also give my own background and development history. Steeped in old-school roleplaying games (Ultima 7) and simulation-driven games (Civilization).

DW players have been talking about a singleplayer version for a long time, and for a more professionally packaged version that doesn't tack together a game client with a web browser. The game engine used for Darkwind (Torque) is past its use-by date, so we are definitely looking at a complete re-write using a new engine, bringing forward all of the learnings from the last 7 years in terms of gameplay and combat system balance.

Quotes from exiting DW players, especially on how much I let them get involved in the game's evolution. Testimonials from players targeted at specific things I want to highlight: intense tactical dogfighting combat where position, momentum, terrain advantage are all critical. What else should we include here?

As a singleplayer game, we're not handcuffed as we are in an MMO in terms of everyone having to progress and never lose much. The wilderness and the deathsport leagues can therefore be made much more challenging and with a more well-designed difficulty curve.

Why I think the time is now better than ever to work on a turn-based vehicular combat game.. the gaming public has evolved in the past few years, and turn-based 'retro' style games where depth and replayability are more important than AAA graphics.

Needs a few top-quality pieces of artwork. At least one that is not in-game footage.. gives impression of quality. How about a commissioned piece involving a cute/tough tank-girl type character posing beside a musclecar with a red desert backdrop?  (yeah, sex sells). This character can become a core part of the single-player campaign story
http://alexasrosa.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d38rktu
http://akizhao.deviantart.com/


HEADINGS! - done as graphical banners
- “Sounds very ambitious?”
- “Why do we need your help?”. I need to point out that even with 100% requested funding, our own development time is only being partially paid for. How a lot of things we'd like to do will make the game more fun but which are not 'core' to gameplay and would be hard to do on a more limited development budget. Development *time* is another factor – unfunded, the project will be relegated to a lower position in our schedules.
- “Why should you care?”
- “Turn based car combat: what?” It's unique, and it's cool. There is no other game like it.
Give a sketchy development timeline.. (in Wasteland 2 they called this 'How all of this is going to work')
- A clear and specific answer to "How will the funds be used?" is a necessity.. be open and transparent
- headings suggestions appreciated..


ADVERTISING
DW lobby, DW website
DW newsletter – 2 or 3 times during the campaign
Posts in Facebook and Linked In
identify people who are related to the cause on Twitter, and ask them to (re)tweet about it
Mars Defender etc. newsHUD
Personal contacts, including press contacts (Dan G., Nicholas, Bytten, DW press distribution list, anywhere that has reviewed or done a feature on DW) – give them a press release and ask them to help spread the word. See the 'Who can we promote this game to? ' thread on the DW indiegogo forum
Late in the campaign, consider Google Ads in places like videogamegeek.


REWARDS IDEAS: NOTE THAT THESE WILL BE ADDED AS THE CAMPAIGN PROGRESSES, RATHER THAN ALL AT THE START

- Digital copy of the game when it is released on Desura/Steam $18

- Digital copy of the game plus access to alpha/beta versions, and private forums where the game development is discussed and influenced. $35. (Note: this is how Darkwind has always worked, and it really does work as a development approach).

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access,  plus you supply the name on a tombstone and supply an obituary to go with it, in the Somerset graveyard in the final game (subject to approval), OR you name an NPC gang/character in the game (subject to approval). Limited number of NPC gangs, first-come-first served.  $65

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access, plus exclusive signed poster and a 3-month subscription to the Darkwind MMO $70

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access, plus you name an NPC character and our character artist will do a portrait of you from a photograph to use on the character's in-game stats sheet. $180

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access, plus a DRM-free collector's edition boxed DVD and manual of the game, plus 'tales from the wasteland' printed novella set in the Darkwind world $110

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access, plus exclusive signed poster and an exclusive LIFETIME subscription to the Darkwind MMO $200

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access, plus exclusive signed poster and an exclusive LIFETIME subscription to the Darkwind MMO, plus a 4-day holiday with me in the west of Ireland at a mutually agreeable time. I will pick you up from Shannon or Galway airport and will pay for transport and accommodation within the country. Activities to be agreed on, but likely to include pubs, hillwalking, cycling.  $3000

Run an incentive program for the first 5 days that offers limited edition perks for early contributors.  For example, pick a duration of time in which the $50 perks are available for only $25.


STRETCH GOALS
These should be added as the campaign moves along, rather than all at the start, in order to keep people interested

Character Personalities Engine – your digital minions will have psychological/social profiles and there will be roleplaying events (personal relationships, soap opera type stuff) beyond the 'battlefield psychology' already planned. NEEDS FLESHING OUT.

Extra character artwork- 3D and 2D.

Localisations: French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish.

More towns from the Darkwind world, with accompanying wilderness maps: Badlands Truckstop, Texan, Sarsfield, Morgan, Firelight, Shantyville.

More deathracing leagues in the other towns, with accompanying racetracks and arenas.

More vehicle types.

Mutants + Psionics

More platforms: Android, iOS (with reduced graphics quality and completely re-designed user interfaces), Linux

Extra story-driven campaigns beyond the initial one.

User-developed scenario editors and an online repository for them, with discussion boards.

LAN/WAN multiplayer play (on individual scenarios rather than a persistent world)


FAQs

FAQ section needs to be seeded at the start and kept up to date as campaign runs


UPDATES

Regular updates (2-3 times per week) are needed to keep people excited and something to look forward to. Updating the reward tiers constantly also add value to project, and give people who are on the fence a push.
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marshal vet deathrce1 paintladder combat1 wv ped1 cont slay2013

Posted May 23, 2012, 10:59 am
*Tinker*
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Quote:
What else should we include here?


How about Peds and how they can carry stuff from one car to another etc.., and creatures. Relationships between peds was something you talked about doing too, a long long time ago :)

how about how things get fixed are you going to need just cash, or are you going for a more scav approach?
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vet marshal wv pvp3 zom circuit2 pvp1 cont

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:01 pm Last edited May 23, 2012, 4:03 pm by *Tinker*
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Ok some thoughts:

I would sell up the fact that there will be a story driven tutorial for the single player version which will slowly in a user friendly way introduce them to the mechaniacs and depth of the game. I think a few people were overwhelmed with the mmo, bit loved the idea of the game. This will lure those people back, and anyone else that was on the fence.


Next these two rewards seem odd. Are they mutually exclusive? Because I want both. LOL

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access, plus you name an NPC character and our character artist will do a portrait of you from a photograph to use on the character's in-game stats sheet. $180

- Digital copy of the game, alpha/beta+forum access, plus a DRM-free collector's edition boxed DVD and manual of the game, plus 'tales from the wasteland' printed novella set in the Darkwind world $110
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vet

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:15 pm Last edited May 23, 2012, 4:15 pm by Ender Card
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That's a lot of thoughts. I'm quite glad to see you headed this direction, Sam, I've said for a long time that Autoduel deserved to be a franchise, not an MMO.

Perhaps fleshing out the backstory a little more?

"Since the DarkWind swept civilization away survival has been its own currency, and you may be the richest person in the world...since you're the only one you've seen in 5 years.

But there's a glow on the horizon you've been following, whispers in your mind of a place the survivors have gathered. The last person you met called it Evan, just before you took his boots, and his life.

You've found it, and others have too. It's no Eldorado, but the roar of engines tell you it's not far from for a grease monkey like you. But that smell, they simply must do something about that smell."

Something really simple that outlines the basics of the idea, the single player POV, the desolation post-apoc, the focus on survival and automobiles. A touch of humor.
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vet wv cont

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:21 pm
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To dig a bit deeper, I think you can always do well with a hint towards a deeper story. We've talked about this in the past with some ideas as to the political ambitions of a Mutant Nation versus an ancient tech-hoarding Brotherhood versus the upstart combat league. There's something hidden that makes this starting place important, some hold it, others know and want it, and yet more just are pulled to it by the clustering of resources, so few and rare everywhere else.

The above sort of narrative puts the character in the role of one who has stumbled into a deeper story, and finds himself a pivotal character to the fates of the major powers...whether he likes it or not.

Gandalara.
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vet wv cont

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:26 pm
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This!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/24/SunDogShipRepairs.gif

My favorite game from the 90's, Sundog

It had the greatest repair system i've ever come across

What's needed is a bunch of parts that can be salvaged after battles, that you can use by dragging them in the slots that are damaged

Would be great if there was a bunch of different skill under the mechanic skillset, that would increase each as you fixed different components individually, and a all-encompasing "jury rigger" that helped should you partially fail the repair.

As for parts, i'm scratching my head, only thing that comes to mind is inner tubes and springs atm lol
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vet marshal wv pvp3 zom circuit2 pvp1 cont

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:32 pm
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Some other stray thoughts.
When talking about the virtues of the game definitely mention several times the similarity and inspiration of Car Wars. I think it would help to Talk about the depth of gang management and how each of your gangs has perks and vices that reveal themselves (if you’re keeping the MMO design, which I love). Making the comparison to X-Com design in that you recruit, train your men and they gain experience and become deadly, but the wasteland is a deadly place, and you will lose people you’ve grown attach to. This will get the Car Wars fans drooling because it IS basically Car Wars on Steroids. I also thinking emphasizing that the game is about players choice is also a important selling point. Do you want to do random stuff, or story, do you want to manage a fleet of cars or just one. Do you want to create your own camp, discover the side quests, customize your vehicles or use standard load outs. Making it clear that players can choose the systems they want to explore in depth and the ones they can largely ignore will appeal to a greater range of players. Such as the open world where you can enjoy arenas, scouting, building your gang, and have a story driven campaign (with interesting side quests) you can engage any of these things at your own pace.
Feature Request: allow players to rename their gang members. That’s going to be a big one in my book, and fits the X-Com draw.

I think also mentioning the depth of vehicle customization with weapons, equipment, armor, tires and decide who will drive will wet some peoples appetite. Also talking about how the plotting system movement system and TBS elements. I personally like that it’s a deep and involved planning and thinking game, verses a reflex driven game (but I know not everyone likes that description)
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vet

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:36 pm
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Edited: more ideas!

Are you going to consider doing what Xenonauts did with setting a kickstarter verse indigo? I think the volume of pledges will far superiour on kickstarter!

Also I would consider adding a 1 month trial access to the 35 pledgers. This could probably boost your MMO population quite a bit, and possibly/likely result in resubs once the trial ran out. Its a great draw, as its a low risk amount to the pledger and they get immediate value for their pledge!

Another question: Would you consider using this as your new overall  engine for the MMO as well, or would that be a seperate project?

Also be clear in the FAQ to mention that any rewards including access to the MMO are not fufilled till the kickerstarter closes
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vet

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:44 pm Last edited May 23, 2012, 4:57 pm by Ender Card
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Your timing is excellent - STJ is apparently bringing back CW because the Ogre kickstarter hit its stretch goal. As you know STJ is now apparently committed to doing an Ogre computer game because of another stretch goal... Wouldn't be surprised if they don't do another Autoduel eventually.

As you have pointed out - the thing holding CW back was the math - how it took 8 hrs to do a single combat, etc. I know you said you talked to SJ once before, maybe it's time for another chat...

Especially since a CW kickstarter with the SJG name on it would probably bring in a lot of money.

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vet wv pvp1 pvp5 pvp4 race1 zom pvp2 deathrce1 pvp3 combat1

Posted May 23, 2012, 4:54 pm
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Juris said:
Your timing is excellent - STJ is apparently bringing back CW because the Ogre kickstarter hit its stretch goal.  As you know STJ is now apparently committed to doing an Ogre computer game because of another stretch goal... Wouldn't be surprised if they don't do another Autoduel eventually.

As you have pointed out - the thing holding CW back was the math - how it took 8 hrs to do a single combat, etc.  I know you said you talked to SJ once before, maybe it's time for another chat...

Especially since a CW kickstarter with the SJG name on it would probably bring in a lot of money. 



I in theory agree. However, thats a delicate edge your on. He may see Dark Wind as intruding on his turf and ask for extreme licensing fee and actively work to block the release of this. Its worth looking at, but I would be careful to say something like inspired by, and tread carefully.
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vet

Posted May 23, 2012, 5:01 pm
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Oh and in case my volume of posts didnt convey this…I’m very excited! :cyclops:

Also very impressed with how solid your research was on the kickstart strategy, you clearly get the mechanics of how it seems to work as far as motivating pledgers....much better already than Xenonauts (currently sitting just under 100k and 18 days to go)!
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vet

*Posted May 23, 2012, 5:23 pm Last edited May 23, 2012, 5:24 pm by Ender Card
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SOrry, I'll stop spamming this thread after this.

Obviously you have support from a broad group of dedicated players.

Might I suggest starting a few new threads?
NARRATIVE: a discussion about what the story should be. The hook, the deeper threads that tie it all together.

STRUCTURE: What kind of animal is this Single Player experience. What's the major areas of "play"? What's the real point, building a character, a car, an army?

DAY IN THE LIFE: I'm going to sit down and play 6 hours of this game. From high-level, what's that like? What things might I do?

INFLUENCES: It might help guide discussion to nail down a few major inspirations. Some just the usual, MadMax and whatnot, some more specific like "I like how Deus Ex handles the linear/open game world

etc.
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vet wv cont

Posted May 23, 2012, 5:43 pm
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Based on the few projects I have followed on Kickstarter and donated to..plus chatter...

The things I see as absolutely critical:

An PR /advertising blitz already to go when you start the project. Target popular websites/forums/webzines etc and have them onboard to talk about you at the beginning and then again half way through the project etc and at the end.

Have clearly defined stretch goals that are placed appropriately so that people know why they are contributing more..and excited about getting there..

Having a video that shows not just DW footage..but some teaser of what you can do with the new engine..so they know its definitely doable. Then have some updates that you can provide through out the kickstarter project period to keep people involved and thinking about it (so they are excited enough to tell their friends)

And most importantly make sure you keep in mind the price of any 'rewards' + kickstarter/amazon fees etc..to make sure if you goal is met..you actually have enough funding cash to do what you promised.

I know you mentioned most of these and sorry if this is spam.


(side note I decided to back
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1684781151/legends-of-eisenwald

purely because there video introducing the game got me excited. Check out how they did it.
)
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vet wv

Posted May 23, 2012, 7:17 pm Last edited May 23, 2012, 7:18 pm by Greenbolt
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Talking about how long you've been around with the MMO and the highlight the reviews both based on the most rave and the most mainstream sources will be a sure way to get some weight and added validity to the project. I agree knowing your engine will help, Wasteland 2, didnt, i think that is generally a anomoly. I dont think you need a sample per se since you have a existing engine and work portfollio, but having a proof of concerpt with the new engine...say... halfway through the kickstart will definetly amp up interest. B)

I think your draft is actually pretty complete, minus a few points raised. I think you could start moving forward and fill in many of the suggestions/fleshed out ideas as you go. Gives people a reason to come back, see more progress and up the interest.
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vet

Posted May 23, 2012, 7:37 pm
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I'd buy! Blimey that puts pressure on me now though! If my design does anything if it has given Sam a push to start his SP design then I'm happy.

The call out for a single player car war style game has been shouted out across forums many times over the years. Their is a fair sized audience out there, from wargamers to Car Wars players to racing simmers (to a point) to sci fi lovers and people who love Mad Max films. We've had plenty of games of cars with guns but they are all from a sim perspective and realtime which is cool but not what I really always wanted nor do I feel that racing game mechanic suits a game of vehicle combat DW gets it right and makes the game far more tactical, more a thinking mans game than a reflex hollywood screen explosion of a game (if you get my meaning, Gas Guzzlers for instance). I do know sadly alot of the response I get when I show them DarkWind is I'd play it if it was single player. On first look it seems like a good little thinking mans car combat game (a very good one indeed), only if you delve deeper does it become apparent that actually it's a whole world be created and living out there. DW really is some feat. Quite astonishing when it hits you how much depth the game has. Which for me is sadly hidden away from many players who just don't want to play multiplayer games and if they want to deathrace say they want one there and then, not in seven mins time. Things like that the impatient gamer of today has no time for. Sad. I remember waiting 45 mins for the tape to finish loading Elite on the BBC B and never really thought about it, unless it crashed near the end, then I would be very annoyed indeed. Yet I even find myself getting impatient because the browser is a second slower than normal etc etc.
So it would be fantastic if this game was released as a single player game with similar RPG elements, finally people will see what an amazing game design\idea it DW is. I imagine DW online subs will go up as direct consequence aswell.

Good luck Sam. I'd be donating the day you put it up!! Infact it will be my No1 kickstarter backing project and also the No1 game I'd most looking forward too.

Sam I notice you mentioned about a girl and sex sales. I will say this recently whenever a female character in a game has been shown in skimpy clothes etc etc there had been a backlash. Your also appealing to maybe the older gamer on the whole, that sort of Anime\Manga or even many fantasy art pics show women as sex and titillation/Personally I'd try a different approach, a more adult approach than alot of games do these days, I saw a FPS with a supposed mercenary who was female wearing hardly anything whilst in a shoot out..where really I imagine her either one in clothes she could have blended in or have protection on like bullet proof vest etc. I suppose if she is supposed to be a dolly bird in an advert for a DeathRace would be fine but considering the injuries the drivers add up I wouldn't have a sex kitten who is a driver.

Posted May 24, 2012, 12:44 am Last edited May 24, 2012, 2:33 am by Wodin
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*sam* said:
DESCRIPTION

Game Title: “War on Wheels”

Darkwind: War on Wheels 2
I think it is better to present it as a sequel or a continuing experience of an existing product. Hence, insisting on the "2" seems rather important to me.

BWGunner said:

The last person you met called it Evan, just before you took his boots, and his life.

This is excellent and really introduce the universe.
Just a point though. I would set this sequel or whatever it is called in a different place than Evan. You would also avoid any reference to existing towns. Introducing new game mechanics and stuff would better work with a new land to explore, new towns, etc. even if they do are similar to current ones.
During alpha ages of DW, I mentionned to Sam there could be a sequel with new areas to explore, mainly north of Evan, which rather uncharted so far. Evan could still be referenced as a mythic place to inhabitants of this new "world", a source of mythology and society: "we do this because they are doing it this way in Evan dude!".

Also, I think players shoud be more considered as gipsies instead of towns citizens. Let them start from camps and move toward cities to participate in races, etc. There could different kind of camps as well, some based on mobile homes or fixed barracks, providing a better technology. But I need to write this down on the paper.
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vet cont zom slay2013 marshal wv

Posted May 24, 2012, 7:27 am
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Vik, like this?
From the legends of evan comes tales of giant commie goats and fireflies slaughtering stuff...  :rolleyes:

Anyway, I'm not sure how much DW footage you'd actually want to use, the looks are very dated to say the least, if you are going to sell this it will have to be on concept and ideas alone.

By the way... quotes from players, I've got a good idea for that. It involves anyone willing with a mic and audio editing. It would probably look better if it's a community made thing rather than something put together by Sam himself.

(Such small silly things can count sometimes... and community made has a nice ring to it)
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vet wv zom gateautumn deathrceL1 elmsautumn pvp1 pvp2 sssc raceL1 e2g combatL1 santa1 pvp3 gwextrav ww circuit32,18,0

Posted May 24, 2012, 11:43 am Last edited May 24, 2012, 11:48 am by FireFly
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I can see where your coming from by putting 2 at the end, however I'm not so sure. As this a really going to be a different experience to DW being based on single player it's going to attract alot larger audience than the currnt DW fanbase. Also DW by a vast majority will be unknown. Putting a 2 after and saying it's a sequel in this paricular case maybe more detrimental than positive. Most will think to themsleves the've never heard of the first and they will go straight to screenshots and discount it off hand, sadly. It's shame a majority of gamers will check graphics first over gameplay. I just wouldn't want new players to see the name f the game and the first thing they do is go check screenshots of the DW before actually reading about the game and what it's features will be. If DW had been a massive hit thats well known (yes it should be I know) then you can make a play by announcing this is a sequel. Your a massive fan of DW so saying it's a sequel would be a huge plus where to many it would mean nothing.

A fresh start I feel would be best. You could say in the description it's based of DW, and by that time they would have already read about the new game and what it will entail.

I know I'm not an expert with DW though I've been around awhile so I can view it from a newbie perspective.

Posted May 24, 2012, 4:48 pm
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Wodin said:
I can see where your coming from by putting 2 at the end, however I'm not so sure. As this a really going to be a different experience to DW being based on single player it's going to attract alot larger audience than the currnt DW fanbase. Also DW by a vast majority will be unknown. Putting a 2 after and saying it's a sequel in this paricular case maybe more detrimental than positive. Most will think to themsleves the've never heard of the first and they will go straight to screenshots and discount it off hand, sadly. It's shame a majority of gamers will check graphics first over gameplay. I just wouldn't want new players to see the name f the game and the first thing they do is go check screenshots of the DW before actually reading about the game and what it's features will be. If DW had been a massive hit thats well known (yes it should be I know) then you can make a play by announcing this is a sequel. Your a massive fan of DW so saying it's a sequel would be a huge plus where to many it would mean nothing.

A fresh start I feel would be best. You could say in the description it's based of DW, and by that time they would have already read about the new game and what it will entail.

I know I'm not an expert with DW  though I've been around awhile so I can view it from a newbie perspective.


I agree with this actually.
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Posted May 24, 2012, 5:39 pm
Juris
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*Rezeak* said:


I agree with this actually.


Yep - doing a 'sequel' to a known game like Autoduel on the other hand... ;)

Not that you should be 'ashamed' of DW - it is definitely part of your resume and cred, but calling it a sequel to DW - we'll all know it's a sequel without being called a sequel (Wasn't Fallout supposed to be a sequel to Wasteland?) ;)
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Posted May 24, 2012, 5:49 pm
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