Devlog February 2021

Hello everyone, here is the news from the front!

6 years!

It’s been six years since I started this adventure, time flies so fast! The pessimists will say “six years and still no game, what a failure!”, the optimists will say “awesome, six years, what perseverance!”, the choice is yours.

Anyway, happy six years to Wild Mage Games, 2021 will be the release year of Neverlooted Dungeon, I hope the first of a long series of games!

Steam Game Festival Review

In October 2020 took place the Steam Game Festival. It was an opportunity to show Neverlooted Dungeon to the world with a public demo.

Lots of people have played the game, I got quite a bit of positive feedback, a few streamers even posted videos of the game, I got a few new followers and people on the Discord which is really cool. I also did my first streams, showed some secrets and did some live speedruns.

Despite this, the results of this festival are rather mixed. There were about 500 downloads, 355 people completed the first level, and only 137 the second level. It’s both extremely exciting to have had so many players and positive feedback, and at the same time that number is rather low for a demo launched on Steam during this festival.

On the one hand, the game was immediately “buried” in the RPG page, at the bottom in the “Dungeon Crawler” part, which meant that it was hardly visible. Since my community is still very small, there was no significant discovery phenomenon as I had hoped and the game has remained invisible. This aspect will have to be greatly improved before the game’s release, because under these conditions the release would be a failure, regardless of the quality of the game.

Then there might be a little something missing from this demo (and the game), or something to improve, to make people playing it so excited that they talk about it and create an organic community growth.

Demo Feedback Analysis

I am analyzing the user feedback I received, to understand what works and what does not, to define the priorities, in order to make the best possible game.

I also analyzed the game’s stats, especially the deadliest traps, to try to understand if these first two levels had any major flaws. I think after analysis that the very first trap of the first level is a bit hard for new players and has led to a lot of misunderstanding and frustration, I’ve lost quite a few people here.

The first trap of the second level is even harder (the plank that breaks and throws you into a pit) and seems to have created a lot of “quit rage”, for the frustration of losing the accumulated inventory from the start. It is possible to retrieve your inventory but few people have understood it. Over forty people died in this trap and then left the game:

I also watched the majority of streams to analyze what was working and what was not. For some who directly understand the concept, the game seemed to be really enjoyable, I enjoyed seeing them avoiding traps, playing with physics, trying original solutions, etc. For others it didn’t seem to be so obvious.

The difficulty in creating a game based on treacherous deadly traps therefore remains to take into account beginners to give them time to grasp the concepts, but without degrading the experience of more accustomed players and offer them an interesting challenge. I’ve already added a difficulty mode that makes traps more or less visible, but it hasn’t been used a lot. I have idas for improvements that I will try for the next demo version.

Give me your feedback!

Did you play the demo? Don’t forget to give me your opinion, on what you liked but also on what you didn’t like!

The demo is private again until the next version, but if you want to play it now, ask me and I’ll give you a key!

Graphic Work

One of the things I’m working on right now is improving the graphic style. After a few tests, it seems important that I rework the textures of the floors and walls, to break up the monotony a little. Obviously, it’s not that easy because I also need these textures to work with the hidden traps and not make them too easy to detect.

The first visual tests look rather promising, here are some previews. On those pictures I added a texture to walls and grounds, what do you think ?

Monster Prototype

I am also working on a prototype with monsters!

When I started Neverlooted Dungeon, I had set myself the constraint “no monsters or non-player characters”, to avoid exploding the development time. Despite this, I had already felt the need to add a few characters to talk to, while limiting interactions to dialogues, to bring more storytelling, more humor, and take short breaks between stressful phases of traps. I’ve been thinking about adding a few monsters for a while, and user feedback on Steam has confirmed that it might be worth it to add that little something that would make the game unforgettable.

The idea is not at all to make a “classic” rpg where monster combat is the main activity, the deadly traps remain the heart of the game. The idea is rather to add a few treacherous monsters, used as living traps, a bit like certain monsters in Dark Souls, which add tension to the player, who must in addition to paying attention to the traps, watch out for monsters and prepare to flee or to fight. For example, a monster that attacks from the back while you are examining a treasure, a monster that falls from the ceiling while you observe the ground a little too much, etc.

Currently, the player is mostly in control of the situation and the rhythm, he can calmly observe the situation and avoid the traps, a bit like in a puzzle game. Over the entire duration of the game, this creates a rhythm that is a little too monotonous. Adding a few monsters provides short phases of tension when the player gets caught. It also adds new trap triggers, “visibility” or “proximity”, which add variety to the triggers that are mostly activated by the player (by stepping on them, opening a chest, door, etc.).

Plus, there are lots of cool things to do with monsters, including their interaction with physics, items, traps, and even with other monsters. For example, luring a monster into a trap, getting trapped by a monster, getting pushed into a trap, etc.

The monster prototype is well advanced and I can’t wait to have you try it all out. The aims of this prototype are to test the concept of deceitful monsters, to determine their production cost to see whether or not I can make them in a reasonable time, to test if they degrade the unique concept of dungeon based on traps, or on the contrary make it possible to enrich it by adding variety and interaction between the different systems. After makeing you test the prototype I will decide if I continue or not working on them.

Below are some images of the prototype (the 3D models of the rats are temporary, just for testing).

Combat System

Since monsters bring combat as well, I also spent some time reworking the game’s combat system, especially the weapons variety (speed, range, damage), and animations.

My idea is to provide a simple combat system that is little more interesting than simply doing the same attack without moving. This system will make the fights with the monsters more interesting, in the event that the player is surprised and must fight for his life. Without going into a complex combat system, and without focusing on combat because the priority remains the traps, I reworked the combat system. Each weapon now has a fast attack, which can be chained, and a slow attack. Swords slice quickly, maces slam slowly, spears attack from afar, knives cut fast and stab, crossbows fire from a distance. Attacks consume stamina and you have to manage it correctly, you have to choose your weapon, your attack, predict and avoid the attacks of the monster.

We will test this on the next demo, and feedback will help me chose the best system for Neverlooted.

Here is a small video preview of this new system in the dungeon training room:

Roadmap

That was a long devlog. So, I’m going to finish this new demo with monsters and let you test it soon. I will also continue to improve the demo, to offer a new version that will be really appreciated, and hopefully help to increase the community.

See you soon,

Arnaud.

Developer Live Stream

Hello everyone,

The Steam Game Festival starts this Wednesday, and it will be the opportunity for all of you to learn more about the game and play the demo!

Developer Live Stream

I will be doing a 1-hour stream of Almost Epic Adventures™: Neverlooted Dungeon, and answer questions live from chat, on Wednesday, October 7th, at 2pm EDT (New York), 11 am PDT (Los Angeles), 8pm CEST (Paris).

The live stream will take place on Steam, on the game page, or on my profile page.

Come to see me play the demo and talk about it, and maybe discover some of its secrets!

Ask me your questions about the game and I will try to answer all of them during the live stream.

Try the Demo now!

You can already play the demo on the Steam page here. Please play it and tell me what you think.

Join the Discord!


You can already join the community on the Discord!

See you soon,

Arnaud.

Devlog September 2020

Hello everyone, here is the news from the front!

After several months without giving any news (sorry :/), here is a bunch of news, with lots of very exciting ones!

Version 1.0 completed

Version 1.0 of the game is finished! Wow! Great success \ o /

What does that mean exactly? This means that the game is playable from start to finish, without critical issues, with all main features, with all main levels.

Is the game over then? Not yet. I decided to call the “minimal” version of the game version 1.0, to focus on what was important. The game could (almost) be sold as is, but I won’t find that very pleasant. In my opinion, there is still a lot of things to correct and improve, some to add, in order to create a really good and unforgettable game.

The game is currently being played by several people, whom I warmly thank for their time and their feedbacks. Thanks in particular to Eric, Maximus, Fuzz, Pholothe1.

For the playtests, I developed a small statistics system to display the places where people died. In this level for example, there is a big problem with this trap, which is too hard and a bit buggy, and where everybody die several times!

So I will continue with version 1.1, using feedback from the testers to focus on the most important points. In particular, I want to enrich the levels to really exploit the gameplay of traps and physics, which according to the players is really exciting, but the game need to have more scenes with traps and physics fun! There are other things to consider, for instance breaking objects and traps, and perhaps the addition of some small monsters.

From a psychological point of view, this is a very important step because now that the game is “done” I can focus on improving it. The challenge is no longer “will I manage to finish this game” but “will I manage to improve it to please as much as possible”, which is less stressful and much more motivating.

Coronavirus and move

Quick little Covid news. As with many French people, lockdown has negatively affected my productivity. I also moved, which slowed down the work even further, but now I can be more productive.

I even bought a new chair!

Steam Game Festival

I will participate in the Steam Game Festival which will take place from October 7 to 13, 2020 !!

It’s a video game festival that takes place on the Steam platform, and which allows you to discover games that will be released soon, and to play their demo. People will be able to check out the Neverlooted Dungeon demo I’m working on right now. I will also do some events like live steaming, answer questions, etc. And if I really have the time, maybe there will be a little secret contest in the demo ;)

So I’m focusing on the demo that will be showed at the festival. I already have a first playable version and I will improve it until the event. The demo contains two levels specially designed for the demo, in order to do something short, intense, and representative of the game. This is not an easy task.

Try the demo now!

I am looking for players for the game demo! It lasts between 10 and 40 minutes depending on what type of player you are, and I hope you will find it fun.

The goal is both to test if the demo is fun, but also to correct as many issues as possible. If you play, tell me what you liked, what you didn’t like, if you had any bugs or technical problems, etc.

You are interested to play the demo ? Tell me! Reply to this email, or on the discord, or by some other means. I will send you a Steam key so that you can test the game.

I will perform several waves of tests with the different versions of the demo. If you ask to play, I may send you a key right away, or later to try the next demo versions.

Roadmap

I focus entirely on the Steam Game Festival, whether it is for the design of the demo, the resolution of bugs and various issues, and for all the marketing aspect (improving the Steam page, etc.). If my demo is a success, then it’s a opportunity to promote my game!

See you soon,

Arnaud.

Devlog February 2020

Hello everyone, here is the news from the front!

This month, I continued to work on version 0.6 which focuses on the first levels of the game, and in parallel I tried several things to publicize the game.

Improving the design

I first started by reviewing some game design issues that affect the whole game. I reworked the game economy, where the role and use of gold coins lacked a little consistency. I reworked the rhythm and the curve of interest, improved the motivations of the player, reviewed the scenario. I analyzed all the playtests notes and replayed several times to the game to clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses of the gameplay, in order to have a clear list of modifications that will have to be made for all levels.

I made the decision to reintegrate characters to talk to! I had originally planned not to put a character at all, given the work required to be done well, which had drastically lengthened the development of The Goblin’s Week. However, to correct the feeling of loneliness felt by the players, and to offer new narrative and humorous opportunities, I made a first prototype including a character to talk to, and the results were very good. These characters will however be limited to dialogues; no fights or other interactions planned, to limit the work required to add them.

Finally, I had the opportunity to make some playtests with two teenagers. I thought that my game was intended only for an adult audience, but I was delighted to discover that they really liked the game and its subtleties. So, I took the opportunity to add an option to deactivate the gore, so that the game can also be played by the youngest.

Revision of the first levels

The first levels of the game, which were completed over a year ago, are among those most in need of rework. Indeed, since their creation, the concept of the game has been further refined, with in particular a more RPG and less arcade approach. I have also progressed a lot in level design lately, and it would be a shame if the first levels of the game, those which will therefore be the first played and the most seen, are not as good as the following ones.

In the process, I encountered some block. I did not know where to catch the problem because the existing levels were already interesting and functional, the objective being to make them “better”. After having reworked all the concepts and objectives of the levels, I finally got over this block by concentrating on the creation of independent sub scenes, which I create without constraints, in order to increase my creativity and to try many varied things. This allows me to focus on experiences, emotions, situations of traps or puzzles, without immediately having the constraint of knowing how they will fit into the final level. I then rework the level by synthesizing its old design and these new elements, in order to keep the best.

Update on wishlists

In parallel with development, I spent a lot of time promoting the game. Now that the Steam page is in place, the goal is to reach a sufficient number of wishlists for the game to be successful. The current figure is not very high, but the player feedback is encouraging. I think there is an audience for this game, the hardest part will be to reach it.

I posted a lot on social networks, I contacted the press, I tried to contact users directly. Of all the things I have tried, my post on reddit has brought me the most visits. The press did not relay information about my game at all, except Gaming on Linux, whose article created a nice peak!

If we look at the progression curve, we see that the wishlists only increase when I actively promote the game. I will therefore have to continue this constant effort until the release.

Discord community

The community continues to grow little by little on the Discord. I regularly post content, such as work screenshots, and answer questions from players. If you are interested in news, images, and more regular discussions, it’s here: https://discord.gg/FpXESF7

Roadmap

I still have to send emails and post on forums, but I think what will work will be to finally send a playable demo to streamers. It is on this demo, which will therefore focus on the first levels of the game, that I put all my efforts currently.

See you soon,

Arnaud.

Devlog January 2020

Hello everyone, here’s news from the front.

Little progress on the game in December and January, but, a new major step has been taken, the Steam page of the game is finally online!

Steam page online!

Making the Steam page took me much, much longer than I thought. But that’s it, there it is! Great success!

First, I had to make the most beautiful trailer possible, containing beautiful captures of the game, with good narration, surprise, humor, to be careful to make it well representative of the game, and to make players want to know more. I am rather satisfied with the result, especially given my inexperience in the field of videos and the low budget of the trailer. I hope nevertheless that it will be enough, that it will not give a bad image of the game, and that on the contrary it will make players want to know more.

I want to thank again all those who took the time to give me feedback and advise, to help me make this video is the best possible.

Then, I underestimated the time required to make a nice Steam page. Writing the various descriptive texts, capturing and choosing the screenshots, GIFs, tags, creating the page layout, and above all creating the “header”, I spent quite a bit of time there. Since this Steam page is the showcase of the game, it was important that the page be the best possible, because even if I manage to make a good game, if the store page is bad nobody will buy it .

Here is the header I made for the store. This is the image that is used on the store to represent the game. What do you think?

Personally, I like it, but when I compare it to the quality of the illustrations of my competitors, I think that I need something better, and I will need the services of a professional illustrator. Since this image is used to all over the store, it is necessary that it is the best possible.

If you know a good illustrator that can create nice looking fantasy drawing for my Steam page, feel free to contact me.

Add the game to your Steam wishlist!

To be clear, no, the game is not available for sale, because it is not yet finished. The page is currently a showcase in preparation for the release.

It was very, very important to set up your Steam page as soon as possible before the release. The main objective of the Steam page is to collect as many subscriptions as possible on the wishlist before the game is released. People who subscribe to the page will automatically receive a message from Steam on the day of the release to inform them and offer to buy it.

The number of subscribers is directly proportional to the number of sales in the first days; a game without subscribers will make little or no sales, and a game with many subscribers can hope to make enough to live on. In addition, a game with many subscribers and which makes a lot of sales in the first days will be highlighted by the store, thus generating even more sales.

You can therefore discover the final trailer and the Steam game page at the address below, and for those who have Steam you can also add it to your wishlist !

Help me spread the word

As I said above, it is very important for the success of this project that a maximum of people subscribe on my site or on the Steam page. With the new trailer and the game web page, now is the time to help me make people aware of the game. To help me, feel free to like, share, tweet, etc., as much as you can, and to link to my page or my Steam page to people who are potentially interested.

Neverlooted Dungeon page online

To support the launch of the Steam page, I set up the game page on my site, and I took the opportunity to make a little facelift to the whole site.

You will find the game page here (only in English for now): www.wildmagegames.com/neverlooted

Do not hesitate to give me your opinion.

Discord

Don’t forget for those who have Discord that I now have my own channel, if you are interested in news, images, and more regular discussions, it’s here: https://discord.gg/ FpXESF7

Roadmap

Now that the Steam page is in place, I will be able to continue working on the game while doing maximum communication to publicize my game and increase my number of subscribers. Making my game as good as possible, but also making the number of subscribers as high as possible, are the two necessary conditions for the realease to be a success, in a hope to earn my living and continue to create games.

In version 0.6 I will tackle the most important game design and level design issues highlighted by the last playtests, focusing on the first 2 hours of play. I will try to make shorter version cycles to avoid getting bogged down in too many things at once like with version 0.5.

See you soon,

Arnaud.

Copyright © 2015-2020 - Arnaud Emilien. Wild Mage Games® and Almost Epic Adventures™ are trademarks property of Arnaud Emilien. All rights reserved.