Apr 29

Order of the Thorne: Fortress of Fire

This went out as an update to our amazing backers a couple of days ago, but we thought we’d share it with everyone because we’re just so darn excited about this game!

We thought it was about time we shared a bit more information about Fortress of Fire, the second title in our Order of the Thorne anthology series. With a week to go before our Kickstarter campaign finishes, Fortress of Fire is getting close to being funded!

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Apr 14

Nostalgia … what’s it done for us lately?

I was thinking about nostalgia for computer games today. Adventure games specifically.

It’s not a stretch really because with our first game (Quest for Infamy – in case you missed it!) it was driven largely by that nostalgic feeling for adventure / RPG hybrid games. There’s a million (or maybe less) references in the game to those games of the “golden era”. Heck I wrote a chunk of them myself! I’m pretty sure there’s at least 3 references to a golden ring in a birds nest. And there’s something just great and satisfying about another person getting that reference and laughing at it too.

But where is that line between nods to the past and living in the past? I want to play a new game like Quest for Glory EGA but should it be a DOS game in 16 colours with vector drawing? Is that the extreme of nostalgia? To make new games that won’t even run on a modern system without emulation?

Or should we look at the past and see what was great about it? Should we take those elements that worked, like a great fairy tale story, and use modern tools to tell it? It’s possible to get so focused on making a game that brings back all those longingly remembered feelings from yesteryear that you can forget that computer games, players and the world at large has change one heck of a lot since then. And what worked then may not work now. Would any significant number of players today be satisfied with a command input (parser) style interface in a game? I would suggest the answer is no. Personally I love it, but I don’t think I’d make a game using it. Or what about using the save function to progress in the game? It was standard in classic games but it screams bad design today. Those two things though do invoke memories of playing Space Quest I with my dad and brothers and working our way through the game. Nostalgia.

We live in a time now where it’s possible for a group of people to make games without ever sitting in the same room. Where we have the choice in style and content that simply wasn’t possible at Sierra or LucasArts in the early 90’s. So the trick is to select the good things that worked but not to be limited by those limitations that those designers were limited by. We don’t have to worry about disk space (mostly). We’re not limited to a 256 colour pallet. Or vector based graphics. Or PC speaker beeps and boops.

With Infamous Quests we make a conscious design decision to make games with that “retro” look. God I hate that word “retro”, it’s so wide-ranging it could mean anything. I don’t consider the 2000’s pop culture to be retro but then 5 years ago 90’s pop culture wasn’t retro. It’s a subjective term that in the end means nothing because there’s no common ground for it. Anyway, that’s a different topic! So while we make those games with 2D hand drawn backgrounds, pixel animation and low resolution, that’s our choice – made for a variety of reasons including nostalgia, but also including costs and production time. (3D might be the way everything has gone in the last 2 decades but there’s no middle ground with it, it is either awesome like Pixar, Blizzard, Ubisoft, or it’s bad. Again though, a different topic!)

But our games are modern games. Under the hood is a modern engine fully compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. The sound isn’t limited to old midi forms, the graphics can be 24-bit in any size resolution. The voice pack can be as big as we want because we’re not limited to space. So while we make games that have that distinctive look made popular in the 80’s and 90’s, they’re not old fashioned in any other way. There’s no difference between that as a choice and a movie producer like Steven Spielburg using black and white to tell Schindler’s List.

So that’s my thoughts on adventure games today. Lets not live in the past, but look back and remember it fondly. It was awesome after all.

Apr 09

“So what do you actually do all day?”

First off, I want to apologize. This is a very self-involved post about something that I think about from time to time. Today I was asked by someone I know, “So what do you actually do all day?” followed up after me trying to summarize my typical day, with “It must be fun to play games all day.”

Making games and playing games are poles apart, I’m sorry to say. And there’s two roles I take at Infamous Quests. One is the creative side. I create games, whether it be design or programming or the occasional piece of artwork. The other side is the business side and that’s the side that takes most of my working day.

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Mar 29

Shipping Physical Rewards/End of an Era

Orders have been placed, all the “t’s” have been crossed and the lower case “j’s” dotted – the physical items for Quest For Infamy will be completed and delivered to us for processing by Friday, May 22nd.  This means the first wave of packages with boxes, DVDs, etc – will be sent out to backers shortly after that. Packages will continue to go out until they’re all delivered!

If you need to confirm or change your address with me, please feel free to send me a PM on Kickstarter here, or contact us via email – info at infamous-quests.com

This puts a final pin in this whole adventure with Quest For Infamy.  It’s actually an amazing cap on this journey for us.  We learned so much, as a team and as a company, about working together and making a game.  We’re really proud of Quest For Infamy; though it hasn’t been a runaway best seller, it’s been bestowed with some critical praise we’re really happy about – IndieDB’s Top 100 Indie Games of 2014, TIME’s 20 games to watch out for Summer 2014 and recently, we won four AGS awards – Best Gameplay, Best Character, Best Puzzles and Best Music & Sound.

We couldn’t have done this without you all.  I really can’t say enough thanks about that – what a crazy time it was in mid 2012 when we launched this.  The excitement about the whole adventure game revival scene was palpable and we were psyched to be a part of it. It’s been interesting, seeing the progress of the whole scene, and on the whole – I do feel that adventure games and their fans are “back” (As if we EVER went anywhere…) and this has probably been one of the most exciting and fulfilling things I have ever done.

We’re continuing on at Infamous Quests!  You have seen our announcements about our upcoming games – The Order Of The Thorne: The King’s Challenge and QFI: Roehm to Ruin.  We’re continuing to make games – and we have more planned beyond those two as well!

We’re going to be launching a Kickstarter to help us raise the funds needed to finish these two games.  We’ve been working on them for a while, and they’re quite close to being finished – but we need some additional funds to help finish them properly and in a faster manner.  With a successful crowdfunding campaign, we aim to have these games completed, released and available on Steam, GoG.com, Humble and Desura by November 2015.

If you’re interested in supporting us on that campaign, and would like to see a preview of the campaign, let me know and I’d be happy to share it with you.  Many of you are now close friends & confidants and I value your opinions.

We’re all abuzz over at Infamous Quests; the art and music team are chomping at the bit to get going on this again.  They’ve been working up more sketches, assets and lists to prep for this – and the atmosphere is much like early 2012, when we spent the first half of the year working on the Infamy Demo.  They’re ready to go.  I’m excited to not only work out the games, but to get out all this awesome QFI swag – I think it’s all really cool, and I’m just excited for you to have it in your collections. I hope that the swag remains a cherished piece of your home for years to come.  I know I look at my old Sierra boxes, and I think about the time when I bought them.  Who I was, where I was… the thought of people all over the world looking at that Quest For Infamy box on their shelf and remembering how they helped make a game… that’s pretty indescribable. I know when I look at my shelf for years to come, I’ll remember everything… how I got to work with my friends, and how I made new friends, and we all made a dream come true.  Someday, when I’m old, ornery and crusty (even more than I am today), I want to look at that box, and remember the time when me, and 1,700 friends made that game.

Thank you all.  My best wishes to everyone – this was something very special and personal to me, and there’s a part of me that can’t believe it’s over.  Onward and upward.

Ave atque vale.

Bt

Mar 14

New Game(s) Announcements and More!

We are proud to announce that we have two new games in the pipeline and we plan to release both of them later this year. Introducing Quest for Infamy: Roehm to Ruin and Order of the Thorne: The King’s Challenge.
rtr-oott-logoRoehm to Ruin tells the story of how Mister Roehm ended up in Baron Brandlevrot’s Castle on that fateful night, which launched him headfirst into his Quest For Infamy. Roehm to Ruin aims to be a challenging, puzzle orientated adventure game with alternative paths and many secrets to be found.

The second game is an original title that will be the first in a planned anthology series that we are calling Order of the Thorne. This will be a series of fantasy adventures with each game having it’s own unique story and hero. The first in our series will be The King’s Challenge where you will assume the role of Finn the Bard, a challenger in a competition held by the King to seek out his missing Queen. Along with your magical lute, Finn must use his cunning wit and musical ability to venture forth in this fantasy quest.

With our aim to release these games by the end of the year, Infamous Quests are on somewhat of a quest themselves to ensure this happens and that we also deliver quality products as well. Therefore in April we plan to launch a crowd funding campaign to support the development and the team behind the games. More details will follow and we plan to use a new platform for crowd funding which we are excited to share with you soon.

You can check out the game pages for both Quest for Infamy: Roehm to Ruin and Order of the Thorne: The King’s Challenge to see screenshots and more information. We’re really exited for 2015 and cannot wait to share our new adventures with you later this year.

Mar 06

Infamous Quests at PAX East 2015

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Infamous Quest’s co-founder Steven Alexander (aka Blackthorne) will be at PAX East this weekend and will feature as a panelist for “Reboot Our Roots: Bringing Our Favorite Games Back to Life”, along with other prominent indie adventure game developers such as Katie Hallahan of Phoenix Online Studios and Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games.

The panel seeks to answer the following question: “Many of today’s indie games are spiritual successors of yesteryear’s hits, from King’s Quest to Gabriel Knight to Quest for Glory—with some even being developed by the same teams that brought us the originals. What’s it like to reboot a franchise or genre after 30 years? How do you update a classic while staying true to the original? Industry veterans share their stories of revisiting their roots, taking up their heroes’ mantles, and what they’ve learned in the intervening years.”

You can find out more about the event here.

The other exciting news is that we will be announcing our next projects as well and give an insight into the future of Infamous Quests. We’ll be posting the announcement on the blog too so keep a look out!

Feb 28

Leonard Nimoy

Let me start off this blog post with an admission. Although the passing of Leonard Nimoy isn’t exactly adventure game related, it is something I feel some emotion about because his death this morning brought to mind my formative years and the inspirations I have which led me to a career in making adventure games.

I have a vivid memory of Star Trek being rerun on television during my summer school holidays every year, and my father asking me to record them for him. It must have been 1986 or 1987 I suppose. So my first experience with Leonard Nimoy was watching Star Trek while sitting in the Australian summer while my brothers played outside, dutifully recording it without the adverts for my dad, on our VHS with the remote which ran on a 10 meter cable instead of the later infrared versions. I lucked in I suppose in watching Star Trek is that the first episode I watched was the Corbonite Maneuver which remains one of my favorites to this day, and the second episode I watched being City on the Edge of Forever. They didn’t bother playing things in order on our local TV station back then.

I watched as Spock held a distraught Kirk back from saving Edith Keeler and explained that the right thing to do was to let her die. Remarkable television even today but as a young fella it showed me how a good story could effect people. I would say that the realism of Shatner and Nimoy’s performance in that episode is one of the reasons it stands up so well. You can’t single out any single factor that made Star Trek so good, but Nimoy’s performance as Spock is certainly one of the main reasons. As an unfeeling alien he shined a light on humanity and showed us the best and worst we could be. As Kirk said at the end of Star Trek 2, “Of my friend, I can only say this: of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most… human.”

One last thought, I still can’t decide whether Star Trek 2 or Star Trek 6 is the best classic Trek movie. But the scene between Kirk and Spock in Kirk’s quarters where they discuss their age is my firm favorite scene. “Is it possible that we two, you and I, have grown so old and so inflexible that we have outlived our usefulness?” I love that it feels like Shatner and Nimoy talking, knowing the The Next Generation was proving to be popular.

It’s hard to put into words why his passing means something to me, yet it does. Star Trek was a massive part of my early teenage years and Mr Spock is a massive part of Star Trek. I suppose that’s all that matters in the end, that it DOES mean something. LLAP.

Feb 08

New Content! Quest for Infamy Now Even Bigger!

With the release of version 1.1, we’ve added three new areas into the game. When a patch becomes as big as this one, and with so many changes to the game, some large and some minor, it comes to a point where your old save games will no longer work. It’s a quirk of the engine that Quest for Infamy is built in that this happens, but we do feel bad about it. So to make it sweeter for you, we added in three new areas to explore, one for each class, as a way of saying “sorry the patch has broken your saves, but this might make you feel a bit better.”

SPOILER WARNING – We’re not going to describe how to access the new areas in this post, but we are going to show you what they look like, and that in itself might give a couple of things away. You have been warned!

Without saying anything else, here’s the new areas!

newcontent-1 newcontent-2 newcontent-3

With a new area specific to each class, we think you’ll love finding these new areas. It’s like Quest for Infamy but with even more Infamy!

 

Feb 07

Countdown to More Infamy! Countdown is over!

Did we mention that 1.1 is available now? Go to your digital distribution site of choice and buy it now! If you already own the game, you should be able to patch it straight away from the site you bought it from.

Let’s talk about combat and stats, the centre of the role-playing heart of Quest for Infamy.

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We’ve gone through all the places where your character statistics are used and made sure they work as intended. Then we made sure they were as difficult or as easy as we originally intended. For example, to pick the lock on Brattle’s cabin door, you will need a lock picking skill of at least 50. Or to climb the Volksville town gates you’ll need a climbing skill of at least 16. While the majority of these situations were already in the game, we’ve spent a lot of time making sure they’re now consistent throughout.

stats-picklock

 

Some people have complained that combat in Quest for Infamy is way too hard, and others have complained that it’s way too easy. We like that because on a whole that means the difficulty is pretty spot on. But a couple of things slipped through the initial release so we’ve taken the opportunity to make a couple of tweaks, just to make things even better.

With combat itself, here’s how it ties together with the stats. Firstly you have to hit your opponent, that’s where the Weapon % Hit statistic comes into play. The higher this is, the more likely you’re going to hit. Then the amount of damage you do is determined by a super special secret and complicated formula which includes the particular attack skill you used (stab, slash or hack). The higher this attack statistic is, the more damage you’ll do. Then of course weapons, bracers and armor are taken into account before a final number of damage is made.

The main change is the speed at which your stats level. They all now level on a sliding scale of an increase every 4 uses if the stat is below 50. If the stat is between 50 and 80 it will level every 8 uses, and if the stat is above 80 it will level every 12 uses. This keeps with our principle where it’s harder to increase your stats at higher levels but also allows the player to level their character significantly through normal game play (without grinding that is!) Weapon % Hit is a different story whereas it levels below 50 every 5 uses, between 50 and 80 every 10 uses, and above 80 every 15 uses.

The major change is that the combat stats will take into account misses as well as hits, so just fighting in combat is enough to help increase your skills.

stats-combat

So, what do all these changes mean for you when you’re playing your way through Quest for Infamy? All the stats will level properly, the combat stats will level slightly faster, and you’ll need to keep more of an eye on your character’s abilities to perform some actions. So basically, more infamous fun!

 

Feb 05

Countdown to More Infamy! 24 hours to go!

Magic! Mystical Lockpick! Flaming Vengeance! Icy Shards! Take Inanimate Object!

They’re all useful spells and we’re very happy with the way the magic system works in Quest for Infamy. But two of those spells, Mystical Lockpick and Take Inanimate Object always bothered us a little. We felt the way we set those two spells up was a bit too automatic for players, it took the skill from the game and put it in the hands on the designers. So with this patch we took the opportunity to look at them again and perfect them more.

Previously, if you clicked the Mystical Lockpick spell the game would automatically attempt to open a predetermined door or lock on any particular screen (or return a default “There’s nothing to unlock here” response on any other screen.) In short, that’s boring and way too easy. So now when you click on the Mystical Lockpick spell in your spell book, you will be presented with a casting icon and you will need to click on the door or lock you wish to unlock. The same process goes for the Take Inanimate Object spell.

Pick this lock. We dare you.

Picking Prospero’s door Sorcerer – We DARE you!

We feel this brings a higher level of game-play to the Sorcerer class, because now the player has to decide what they want to attempt to unlock instead of just casting it on any screen in the hope it opened something. More-so with the Take Inanimate Object spell, the player is now going to need to select the object they want to take!

With these changes we’ve also tweaked the Mystical Power stat so that it’s tied into every possible cast of any direct-cast spells. A door may require a Mystical Power level of 65 to open, so you’ll need to improve your skills to open that door!

So get to it Sorcerer! Start casting those spells already!