May 1, 2013

Telepath Tactics April 2013 Update

In our last monthly update, we were halfway into the Telepath Tactics Kickstarter campaign and I had just come back from PAX East. So that was last month–this month, the Kickstarter campaign has finally ended.

The results? Telepath Tactics is 275% funded, with 1,733 backers and $41,259 pledged!

Telepath Tactics Funding ProgressI learned a lot from running this campaign, and have enshrined a lot of what I learned in an article over on Head on over there if you’re curious to hear some of my strategic advice for running a Kickstarter campaign.

As you might imagine, the first half of this month–i.e. when the Kickstarter campaign was still going on–was taken up by nonstop marketing and talking about the game and its world. That’s just the nature of running a crowdfunding campaign. I managed to do some fun interviews, and Destructoid ran some very complimentary articles on Telepath Tactics. (That last bit was a huge personal coup for me, since I’ve been trying to get covered by Destructoid for years.)

Meanwhile, this past weekend was C2E2, where I helped Kelly Wallick conduct the first-ever expansion of the Indie MegaBooth outside the confines of PAX (via the much-smaller Indie Minibooth). Randomly, China’s Xinhua news agency got footage of me talking to people there. The whole affair was much smaller than PAX East, of course, but still loads of fun!

Yesterday marked 14 days from the end of the Kickstarter campaign, meaning that Amazon Payments has now finished collecting everyone’s pledges. After accounting for Amazon’s cut, Kickstarter’s cut, and pledges that didn’t go through, we’re left with $37,161.75–about what I expected we’d get. I now must wait another 5-7 business days before the money actually transfers to the Sinister Design bank account, and I can start funneling money to artists and kick production into hire gear.

I’m itching to get back to developing the game, but I still have a bunch of Kickstarter backer rewards to send out. Last night saw the first of the backer rewards go out; now I only have 19 more reward tiers to go. Um, yeah.

Despite everything, I did somehow find time to get a few things done on the development front over this past month. Namely:

  • I’ve retained a new artist, Julia Buge (a.k.a. Votali Obscur), to take care of graphics for the game’s assortment of items and equipment. She’s a good artist, and I’m looking forward to seeing her work here.
  • TT CathedralLorne Whiting has begun work on new tiles and destructible object graphics needed for the game. I’ve got the first shipment of new Castle tiles in from him already, with lit windows, tapestries, and 2-tile-high stained-glass windows.
  • I’ve added in support for equipment. Equippable items can be placed in one of 8 possible slots: weapon hand, off hand, head, neck, torso, back (for cloaks /capes), feet, and one miscellaneous “accessory” slot.
  • To support attacks granted by equipment, the game now features attack dependency.  This keeps characters from using weapon-dependent skills and attacks when they don’t have the appropriate weapon equipped.
  • Items can now have race, class, and level requirements. An item may use any of the three in any combination. These can be applied to both useable items and equipment.
  • You may recall me mentioning that there’s support for directly modifying character stats in addition to creating and modifying custom variable values. Before, you had to modify them by a set numerical amount. Now, however, I’ve added in four script actions which allow you to modify those values by reference to the values of other stats and custom variables. For instance: say you want to create a custom Intimidation variable equal to the hero’s Strength plus Psy Power. The new SetValByStat action will let you do that with no problem. (The three other new actions: SetValByVal, SetStatByVal, and SetStatByStat.)
  • You can now add custom objective reticles to the battlefield using the AddObjectiveReticle dialog script action. This lets you choose both the reticle’s coordinates and its color.
  • The game now supports tiles that heal or restore energy to characters who spend a turn standing on them.
  • The game now supports attacks which create a replacement character upon character death. (For instance: a Chrysalid-creating attack, an attack which turns the target into a statue, etc.)
  • The game now automatically keeps track of certain stats during battle and tabulates a score for each player at the end. The current scoring formula is spelled out here, though it’s subject to change based on testing and player feedback. The scoring rubric is based on all of the following for each player: total enemies killed, total characters lost, total damage dealt to enemies, total damage taken, total items grabbed, total items dropped, turns it takes for the battle to conclude, and (of course) whether the player actually won.
  • Bug fixes. I’ve fixed a lot of bugs over the past week; but based on feedback from people playing the alpha, I still have a few left to fix before I get back to adding in features.

So, to sum up: things are looking really good! I probably won’t be able to shift into high gear with commissioning art assets until next week, and development is going to be a little choppy until I get all of the Kickstarter rewards out, but I’m feeling increasingly confident about our progress on the game with every passing week.

In the meantime, people who missed the Kickstarter have been asking if there’s a way to support the game. The answer to that is “yes.” As of right now, if you’re looking for a way to help out Telepath Tactics, please upvote us on Steam Greenlight. Every vote helps! And who knows: there might just be an option to buy into the Telepath Tactics alpha coming in the not-too-distant future…