Feedback roundup for Swords and Sorcery Underworld

I was fortunate enough to have customers not only post constructive feedback for updates and fixes, but also encouragements that I find very useful today. With work on Sovereign (mostly pre-production at this stage) progressing daily, I find myself facing a pretty daunting task. Especially considering that I am aiming for a 2013 release. Some might argue it is total madness, while I like to think it is a fun and worthwhile challenge.

 

Compiling these here gives me a place to come back to when I overly focus on the madness part 🙂

 

White Dragon

White Dragon

 

From the Olderbytes forums

Great party-based combat. I liked how enemies can neutralize certain characters, making a diverse and balanced group most efficient. It has been a team effort to get this far! I’m also impressed with the depth of your dungeons, how the catacombs open up to the underworld and expanding maps. Exploration has been very satisfying.

Just wanted to let you know, I completed the game and you have a very satisfied customer.

Thanks Charles ! .. now you have made me want to track down MM1 and 2 and give them a shot again.

I liked the artwork very much, but how many (non-demonic) pretty girls did my party kill? Several thousand? My heroes will never get a date — they depopulated the kingdom!

Thanks for a great game!

If youre a fan of the Might and Magic series (or any similair game) you´ll feel right at home with S&S: Underworld.

I think you have done a very good job of making puzzles that are challenging, but actually doable without spoilers, and that isn’t easy to do.

I’ve just taken the demo as far as it will go… and what a fantastic demo it was. I haven’t experieced fun and addictive gameplay like this in a long time. I’m kind of new to these old school RPGs, but it’s plain to see that this is a quality game with excellent gameplay mechanics. Can’t wait to continue the adventure. After purchase, will I be able to continue from my save point in the demo, or will I need to start a new game?

Thanks, and congratulations on your thoroughly enjoyable game! (I’m sure glad you posted an announcement for your new sequal on RPGCodex, or I’d have never known of these titles)

“I would just like to say that I am having great fun playing this game. Might and Magic 2 is one of my all time favorites and this brings back great memories. Can’t wait for the 2nd game and keep up the great work. :D”

Well done Charles The Latest Update really Puts The Finishing Touch To The Game

Started my new party now. These changes are just fantastic! And the added spellpoint bar is just awesome!

I’ve already downloaded the game and currently playing and having a blast.

This is a wonderful classic cRPG romp. Been years since we could do this in a fresh new setting and engine.

And why is it I can’t seem to stop playing this game … vodoo maybe? It seems that when I stop playing I’m still thinking about playing … gotta be vodoo of some type 😉

btw, this game is seriously eating into my Skyrim time. 😉

btw, I’ve posted a link and embedded your video on a few forums I regularly visit.

REALLY REALLY looking forward to a sequel!

Thanks for a great game!

 

Other forums

I am having a great time with it so far. Only a few hours in, but I really like it. Great Wizardry and M&M feel to it.

I must say that I liked the option to inspect an item and it would show you which class could use the item and damage stats, etc. Also, when I tried to equip a shield while already wielding a 2h weapon, it popped a yellow message up explaining to me that I already had a 2h weapon equipped. I wasn’t expecting that level of feedback.

I already had the game on my mind all evening while watching a movie with my wife and trying to figure out how to get out of it to play a few more turns!

Just finished the demo – totally awesome. Will be buying this!

Very happy with this game. Made me go back and play Might and Magic 2. Then I played M&M6 :). Great work on a fun game and looking forward to your next game.

Pre-Gold

I had great plans for today to work on my garden, then I read your review. I got hooked and bought the game. Four addictive hours later the garden continues to look as though it is the “before” picture in a fertilizer ad.

The least you can do is fly over and finish the garden while I play 🙂

I still have not finished this game, myself. I know that the next time I sit down to play, hours will go by, and nothing else will get done that day. I’m glad that others are enjoying it as well.

Agreeing on all points, started playing shortly after you, finished just the other day, very enjoyable. Am trying it again with a different party load, dropping 2 classes that were least useful at the back half of game, makes the front half almost impossible, very fun.

I am really quite excited that a one man indie was able to put this game together. This game is just a tad short of Might and Magic 6 quality. And when the indie shops start putting out games like that, I will be refocusing my whole gaming time.

– Just when you think you have the combat figured out, the enemy will crit one of your PCs and knock him out of the fight. You can’t take combat for granted.
– The little side quests are pretty cool. I figured out the jewel one, can’t get to the pirate one, and am trying to solve the one with the woman who lost her kin.
– Graphics are gorgeous. The stills are fantastic and so are the character and monster portraits. The terrain is also above average.
– Inventory, party creation, combat, setting, and interface all remind me of Might and Magic 1 and 2. This is a good thing. In fact, I can’t help but think of it as a fan-made Might and Magic.
– Monsters are diverse so far and monster parties make sense. None of this annoying habit of monsters that have nothing to do with one another joining against the heroes like in M&M 1 and 2.

 

I’ll add a review roundup soon. Some good things there as well!

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S&S Underworld on Sale… For the Sake of Science!

The debate has raged on for days… Weeks even.

Should niche games be priced higher to compensate low, but presumably motivated demand? Or should they be priced lower to entice a less familiar audience to give them a try? This question I explicitly asked in an RPGCodex poll thread. Seven pages of debate later, the poll numbers were the following (as I am writing this):

Indie “niche” RPGs should be priced

High. There’s little demand but the demand is motivated.                                                                                                        >$20                       15 vote(s) 14.3%
Above average. Don’t be too elitist, you’ll miss out on reasonably interested folks.                                                     $15-20                   43 vote(s) 41.0%
Just below average. Compete with price, but not too hard.                                                                                                     $10-15                   45 vote(s) 42.9%
Low. Indie RPGs aren’t worth more than $10.                                                                                                                               <$10                        10 vote(s) 9.5%
Aggressive. Go for the impulse buy. People will buy anything for                                                                                        <$5                           7 vote(s)  7.6%

(Multiple votes are allowed.)

Note that the wording I chose for this poll does direct answers a little bit. It is only as scientific as Inxile’s new recruits will allow Wasteland 2 to be. In short, it is also, and especially, for entertainment. To be taken with a grain of salt.

What this suggests is that a solid majority favors higher pricing, but not over the top. Also this implies that the niche game in question be worthy of appeal, which is quite a subjective requirement. Whether or not it applies to Swords and Sorcery Underworld Gold is for you to decide.

So pricing aggressively is not believed by most to benefit from any kind of curiosity that making the game accessible could bring to an actual purchase. The majority does not believe that demand for a specific product can be motivated enough to justify pricing far beyond the accepted market range. The idea that the target audience be in favor of contributing 20-30% more than the estimated market norm ($15) is largely favored. The idea that it should stay in the range, or a 20-30% below, is doing just as well.

In short, this poll is a bust.  Not only are the numbers not really high enough to be statistically viable, but nothing clear-cut really stands out.

To add further input to this debate and possibly close it forever, I decided to put S&S Underworld on sale for the weekend, at $9.95. For the sake of science, of course. It was previously priced at $19.99.

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Player Feedback Update

It’s been almost three weeks now since release and I’ve had tons of great conversations with many of you on how to improve the sequel. Once again I couldn’t resist the urge to implement some of these things to make Underworld better. While some things will indeed have to wait for the next Swords and Sorcery installment, a good deal of these are now in Underworld.

 

First and foremost, several of the game’s mechanics dwelled too hard on the old-school factor with little real benefit to the gameplay. These primarily include inventory and ressource management (trading, stores, food, water, gold). These are the most visible updates for v2.0.4:

 

 

Trade Upgrade

Trade Upgrade (Click to Enlarge)

 

Trading between characters:  Two characters are represented in trade. F1 swaps focus from one character to the other. F2 toggles the part of the focused character’s inventory that is represented from packed to equipped and vice-versa. Arrow keys switch characters on the focused side (Trade can be used to equip or unequip if the same character is on both sides). A-I and 1-9 instantly transfers the given item from one side to the next. The usual constraints for equipping items apply. F3 switches to description mode and any item selected while in that mode triggers a popup with a description, as it still does in each character’s individual status screens. Using the mouse makes focusing unnecessary

 

Gold, food and water are now party ressources. The figures are global. (G)athering and (S)haring have been removed from the game entirely.

 

 

Store Upgrade

Store Upgrade (Click to Enlarge)

 

Stores have been overhauled as well. Characters and store “aisles” can now be changed without stepping out. Buying weapons (now “Arms”), armor, imported and miscellaneous items can be accessed via function keys (F6-F10) while F11 switches to selling mode. F12 switches to description mode, no matter what part of the store you are in. Arrow keys and 1-6 switch characters while staying in the same mode.

 

Other improvements:

 

– SP (blue), Holy Water and Runes (purple) meters added to character list in world view and combat.

– Increased mouse and keyboard responsiveness.

– Popup info screens explaining when Ste(a)lth is disabled and why (Rogues need full HP) and other less than evident restrictions.

– Added clues for some of the game’s more cryptic situations.

– Options accessible from the intro screen.

– Skill descriptions accessible in character status screens while in combat.

– Attributes described in game (accessible in character creation and status screens).

– Offensive spells no longer require selecting that last enemy.

– Ammended AI for shooters.

– Fixed several incomplete item descriptions.

– Added entries to Quest Log.

 

Bug fixes:

 

– An important item drop not occuring in certain circumstances.

– Seeing rebels before seeing the king caused improper response.

– Fixed “entangled”.

– Fixed “Silenced” on Fire Spirits and enemy healers.

– Fixed “Stun”.

– Fixed items wrongly flagged useable that caused a freeze when used.

– Fixed damage and distance calculations.

– Fixed missing walls in River of Fire.

– Fixed “A”ttack Necromancer causing the Rogue to enter ste(a)lth if first up.

– Fixed World Map (Now hotkeyed ‘W’) that made the goblin realm selectable when it shouldn’t have been.

– Fixed menu hotzones for mouse (that were too low).

 

My initial plan was to release a bug fix update but the other changes caused a considerable delay in its release. My apologies and thanks to all of those who have been patiently waiting for it.

 

Big, big thanks to players that have reported bugs and suggestions in the forums! Please check your emails for the update link. If for some reason you didn’t get it, don’t hesitate to ask for it at charles at this-website-url (olderbytes) dot com.

 

Next up, the sequel announcement. Just a few days now!

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Swords and Sorcery – Underworld bug fix update

Once more I would have preferred no bugs but they didn’t care.

 

There were three:

 

– F10 (bailout) caused issues down the line that I’m too ashamed to describe. It did not however affect save data, as was initially feared.

– The automap script was incompatible with certain high end graphics cards.

– Searching in the barracks was… dysfunctional.

 

This patch upgrades the game from v2.0 to v2.0.2.

 

http://www.olderbytes.com/underworld/Underworld_200_202.exe  – Click to download and install in the same directory as the previous version. If you haven’t changed the previous default, there is no need to change it. This one has the same.

 

Please check your email for the full build. You can ignore the patch if you prefer and install the full version which will overwrite the previous without affecting the saves. If you have not received the update by email, the patch can get you going until it gets there . Note that for those that kept their first email the link to the game is the same as the previous.

 

Note that I also added some information to the manual (attributes descriptions). The patch does not update that as it only affects the exe.

 

Gamersgate accounts should be updated very soon. The patch is especially for Gamersgate customers as the exact time of the update is out of my control.

 

The same bugs have been fixed in the demo, except the barracks which aren’t there. There was also an image transfer dysfunction when accessing then leaving the map which has been fixed. The demo download links have been updated.

 

Thanks everyone for your support and my apologies for the inconvenience.

 

Charles

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Swords and Sorcery – Underworld Gold Released

 

So here it is at last. After a ridiculous amount of Alpha releases, Swords and Sorcery – Underworld Gold is available… Here… Now. In short…

 

IT. IS. LOOSE.

 

I’m a bit sad. Like Junior going off to college. But happy because I’ll get more sleep at night and… Oh stop it.

 

I’ll spare you the long, boring bullet list. It’s awsum and you’ve gotta try the demo!  And possibly even buy the full game and help fund the sequel I’ll be officially announcing in a couple weeks, on this very Dev Blog 😉 But just in case you need to know a bit more, here’s the trailer again.

Download a demo! Buy Underworld Gold!

Happy adventuring!

 

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