News! Driftmoon is coming to an Android/iOS/Linux/OSX/PC device near you soon(ish)! Since nearly everybody we've met has told us that Driftmoon would be so nice to play on a tablet, we've finally decided to port the game, and see whether nearly everybody is right.
I looked at different options for a few weeks. I considered porting my 100 000 lines of C++ code to all the platforms, but since Driftmoon was made using Directx, it would also have required me to change all of the graphics side. Android doesn't support a completely C++ program, you actually need a lot of Java code to go along with it. In the end I got scared, each of the four additional platforms I was looking at required significant changes to the code, and C++ is notoriously difficult for tracking the thousands of errors that were bound to creep in when doing a major port.
In the end I decided it made more sense to port the game just once, and click a button to get it on all of the different platforms I want to. With Unity I'm using a language called C#, which is a close relative to C++, with subtle differences. I started the porting in April, and for the first three months I couldn't see anything of the game, because large chunks of the game didn't work yet. Not being able to run the game for months is to me the most dreadful phase of a porting process like this, you won't know whether the 50 000 lines of code you just made actually works (unless of course you spend weeks developing some stand-in code for the parts you haven't ported yet).
What does this mean for mods? I'm planning on keeping full mod support for all platforms. Some current mods will require slight changes to get working with the new version. We're switching from 2D physics to fully 3D physics, and because of that there will be some differences - mainly these have to do with giving height to invisible barriers and adjusting physics puzzles. I will tell you more when I have the complete list, and I will be helping with the changes if anyone needs it.
When will you get to play? I really can't give a release date yet, but I will keep you posted on where we are at the moment. We have the desktop versions going pretty nicely, still need to iron out some strange bugs like missing people, and doors opening the wrong way, but those are not far away from being completed, and we'll soon need people to test them. The mobile device portion will require a bit more work, because it needs plenty of performance optimization, and user interface changes to accommodate the smaller screens and playing with a finger. I'm very excited about playing Driftmoon on a tablet, I'm certain Driftmoon will be one of the better RPG's out there for these devices.
Many have been asking how well Driftmoon has done financially. Well, Driftmoon has done spectacularly well, at least according to our own standards. Not enough to make us millionaires (we weren't aiming for that anyway) - but well enough to keep making more games a real possibility for our family. I will be checking our agreements with our distributors on whether or not I can reveal any figures, with any luck I might be able to tell you some specifics later on.
But what's really made our day (well, our year) has been all the wonderful feedback we've received from real flesh-and-blood people around the world. It's felt awesome to time and time again read how our little game's managed to be the biggest gaming surprise ever (hopefully they mean it in a good way), provide an unforgettable adventure, or leave someone grinning from ear to ear. Thanks everyone!
This is too cool not to mention: Driftmoon was picked out as PC/Mac game of the Month (March 2013) by www.gamezebo.com Would you know it, we beat Simcity!
In other news, David Hayward of www.micromart.co.uk seemed to really enjoy the time he spent reviewing Driftmoon. AND David certainly knows what he's talking about, because he's spent over 30 hours with the game, diving deep into the depths of the background lore of Driftmoon, and finding the treasures hiding away in every nook and cranny.
And have you ever seen a Big Green Thumb as fine as the one below? You have? Oh. Well, we're still very proud of our very own official staff recommendation that Driftmoon was awarded with in the review of the Finnish gaming site dome.fi! (in Finnish)
Any Polish readers out there? Here's a new Polish review of Driftmoon at www.gram.pl (in Polish)
Oh, almost forgot! Don't forget to make use of our Grand Birthday Sale, which will go on until the end of April. We'd be extra grateful if you were to help us spread the word, and told your friends about Driftmoon - and the sale. Thanks in advance!
We'd like to share with you two indie games worth checking out, made by two awesome indie developers that we've recently gotten to know a little.
First, Frayed Knights, an indie RPG of comedy and high fantasy, by Rampant Games. I've already tried the beginning of the game, and it seemed quite intriguing. I know I'd be interested in exploring further, once we get the chance. I especially liked how vividly the characters of the party conversed with each other, and how they all seemed to have distinct personalities.
We asked Jay to tell us a few things about Frayed Knights, and here's what he wrote:
"Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is something of an homage (and maybe a little bit parody) of not only older western CRPGs (Wizardry, Bard's Tale, Might & Magic, Ultima, etc.), but also dice-and-paper role-playing from the 1970s and early 1980s. But I didn't want to just copy the style of these old games - I wanted to do something new with the old ideas, and bring in some of the flavor and situations of the old games that had been long abandoned (or ignored) for new players. And I wanted to have fun with it, and make the game a little humorous.
Part of the humor idea came from wanting to bring back the first-person, party-based dungeon crawler: One of the problems with these old games is that it was easy to stop thinking of the characters in your party as individuals. To solve this, I decided to make them fixed characters who were constantly chatting about the game. Sometimes they were directly interacting with other characters in the game, and sometimes they were simply offering commentary, sort of like Mystery Science Theater 3000 (if you ever watched that show)."
"Another new feature is the use of "Drama Stars" - the three stars at the top of the screen. This was my effort to solve the problem of "save scumming," or when the player is constantly saving and reloading to get the best result from random events. This can make the game hard to balance: It can be too easy and boring for the people who save & reload all the time, and too difficult for the people who try to play the game "straight." The Drama Stars help this by giving players who do not reload access to the similar kinds of advantages someone who constantly reloads might enjoy - like guaranteeing a successful roll, or restoring a character (or even the entire party) from being knocked unconscious. The Drama Stars put this power more directly in the control of the player."
Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Go ahead, give Frayed Knights a shot (Just noticed it's actually 50% off up until the start of next week)!
It's always best for the developer if you buy directly from them (via the link above), but if you prefer, you can also get Frayed Knights through Desura.
Here's also a link to Steam Greenlight. I'm pretty sure your vote would be much appreciated.
And onto the second part of our indie game check-up: Private Infiltrator by Espionage Noir is steadily approaching release, and is described as an arcade-like Stealth game that bears the Noir art style.
Here's a clip from the Steam Greenlight description of the game:
"The game's core mechanics are fairly simple and easy to pick up, yet difficult to master while also retaining a satisfying amount of depth. They revolve around the double-sided nature of light in stealth games enriched by the Noir art style's principles, hacking and bypassing electronic devices, as well as elegant evasion of detection.
At the player's disposal are numerous gadgets such as sound-emitting decoys and poisoned coffee, as well as special abilities such as Blinking and Invisibility. Building on the core gameplay are extra mechanics such as a point reward system accompanied an in-game black market with a dynamic economy system from where the player can either purchase useful equipment, or exploit the fluctuating prices in order to gain profit by selling loot they can steal from the base.
The game also features a wide variety of unlockables such as new characters with their own special abilities, entirely new pieces of soundtrack and bonus maps. The game's difficulty level could be described as both diverse and brutal, offering awareness and resource management challenges amongst the classic stealth gameplay. There is also a relatively strong story element to the game, although in order to fully experience and understand the game's plot the player must rely on written text scattered, and some times hidden, throughout the base. Completing side-objectives also has an effect in the later stages of the game."
As always, your votes are important, so go ahead and check Private Infiltrator at Steam Greenlight. Oh, and here's also an important link to the Desura page of Private Infiltrator. If you get it through there, you can go ahead a start playing this instant!
We've had the privilege to take part in several interviews during the previous weeks. Here are some of the most recent English ones. I especially love the title on the Polygon story.
"Maintaining a job, a marriage and the spare-time creation of an RPG threatened to be too much for one man — until his wife decided to step in."
Interview at polygon.com
"My game developer side always feels like I’m not spending enough time making the game, and the business side of my brains constantly tells me to spend more time marketing the game."
Interview at truepcgaming.com
"Seriously though, it’s been at the same time wonderful and a bit stressful to share a project as demanding as Driftmoon. We have both enjoyed it, but at the same time it’s been a tremendous amount of work..."
Interview at indiegamemag.com
Some recent Driftmoon coverage. First we have a review with John Walker from Rock Paper Shotgun, which is one of our favorite gaming sites.
Next up is Indie Test Drive with our brand new friend Paul Soares Jr. The video is worth watching just to listen to that smooth voice of his.
If you like Driftmoon, we'd be very thankful for your vote.
I love game music. I listen to tracks from my favorite games almost daily, and Driftmoon is no exception - I must have listened to the soundtrack hundreds of times already (and the amazing part is that I still like it!). It's been almost three years now since we teamed up with our good friend Gareth Meek.
Who are you, and how did you get into composing?
Hello my name is Gareth Meek, I began composing aged about 13 and very quickly became hooked. I studied composition at both high school and University and have continued to write ever since.
How did you happen to start working with Driftmoon?
One summer I found a game called Notrium and I thought it was absolutely fantastic, I played it A LOT, often with my character meeting a very quick end. After a few days I hunted down the developers’ website and I found they had posted a demo of Driftmoon. I contacted Ville and Anne, and in an attempt to try and become the composer for the game I scored their trailer. Fortunately they were happy with the music and so I got to work on Driftmoon.
What other music projects have you been working on?
Since scoring for Driftmoon I have been very busy composing for people in both Europe and America on various projects from games to independent series. Most recently I have composed for international brass band champions the Grimethorpe Colliery Band who then performed the score around the UK at venues including The Sage in Gateshead and St Davids Hall in Cardiff.
What kinds of composing projects would you like to work on in the future?
I would love to primarily compose in the game and anime world as I feel they offer the most freedom in creativity. However, I am happy to score music for pretty much anything be it media, concert or even the stage - the great thing about being a composer is that as long as I’m writing music I’m happy.
So you'd be happy to compose for other games, if another game developer decided to contact you based on your work with Driftmoon?
Absolutely! I love scoring music for games! I find it tremendous fun.
We've been very happy with how wonderfully you listened to our wishes, when you were doing the music for Driftmoon (and needless to say, we're thrilled with the results). How do you do it, Gareth?
One of the greatest aspects of being a composer is that you don’t have to discuss music in musical terms, I often get requested to write a score which is happy or sad or that would fit walking through a forest or riding on a motorbike and personally such words and images help the notes to appear in my head much quicker than if I were just asked to score a piano concerto. Both Ville and Anne had very clear ideas as to what the music should sound like, so when I was asked to score an Underground Cave theme that is dark and cold sounding lots of notes and ideas popped into my head!
How has it felt hearing your own music in Driftmoon?
This was the first major composition undertaking I worked on outside of my educational life so it really does hold a special place in my heart for me. Not only was it such a joy to work on but it felt incredible to load up the game and realise that people would be listening to (and hopefully enjoying) the music that I composed for the world of Driftmoon.
How have you liked playing Driftmoon?
I have loved playing Driftmoon! I think that everything about the game world is enchanting. The level of detail is fantastic and I don’t just mean graphically but also the fact that the monsters have descriptions and the characters have personality. I also appreciate how Driftmoon's setting is so unique; it is not just a canonical fantasy setting, it feels like a fairy-tale and a beautiful one at that!
Who would you recommend Driftmoon for?
One of the most best features of Driftmoon is its cross over appeal; it has a story engaging and mature enough to keep adults entertained whilst being completely accessible to younger ages. Personally I would recommend this game to anyone and everyone regardless of age or gender, it truly is a game that can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.
In hindsight, how has it been for you working on Driftmoon?
Composing for Driftmoon was very, very enjoyable. Both Ville and Anne made working with them extremely easy and comfortable which was fantastic with it being the first time I had worked for an actual games developer.
Any final words?
I would really REALLY like to thank anyone who has supported me through purchasing the soundtrack. I greatly appreciated it and I hope you all enjoy the music. Finally I would like to give a HUGE thank you to both Ville and Anne for giving me the opportunity to work on Driftmoon. I have enjoyed every moment of it! I hope everyone has a great time exploring the world that is Driftmoon.
Thanks Gareth, you're great!
If you like Driftmoon, please vote:
You may have noticed that Driftmoon has received quite a few updates during the last week. We've managed to squash plenty of rare, but troublesome bugs that we weren't able to catch during beta testing. Don't forget, if you encounter bugs during gameplay, send us feedback by pressing F during the game. We've sent the update to all distributors yesterday, and you should be getting it soon.
Ps. Driftmoon has been off to a great start! We're absolutely thrilled about the reception! Thank you so much for all those wonderful feedback messages you've sent us!
Driftmoon, our "charmingly quirky", and "absolutely brilliant" adventure role-playing game (as some have called it), is now officially released after only seven years of development time. Seriously, I'm not kidding you, it's complete now! First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all of our preorderers and supporters, we wouldn't be here without you!
We always love to hear from our players, so if you run into any problems, or think of something you want to share with us, please press the letter "F" while playing, and you can send feedback directly to us.
Remember Gareth Meek, our awesome composer? Head on over to Bandcamp, and get that Driftmoon soundtrack you've been dreaming of!
|"Driftmoon reminds of so much of what I loved about games when I was younger. The adventure, the story, the fun. It’s pure entertainment and a joy to play through." (9/10)|
Review at i-luv-games.com
|"...it's been a long time since I enjoyed a game as much as this one. Think Quest for Glory and Frayed Knights mixed and blended together and you'll have some idea of what to expect." (4/5)|
Review at rpgwatch.com
|"Driftmoon works so well because all the elements blend together like a good stew where each ingredient is cooked perfectly and there's more
depth to be found as you reach the bottom of the bowl." (95%)|
Review at fanboydestroy.com
|"Everyone who likes classic role-playing games, must play Driftmoon. A wonderful rpg with many great Features and a fantastic world. Buy it!" Translation from German provided by reviewer.|
Driftmoon Review at zockah.de.
|"...a delightful touch of whimsey and there's plenty of humour to be found here. How many other games would have the deadly Hoe of Doom as an early weapon? Or such wonderfully ordinary conversations with undead skeletons?" (96%)|
Read Preview at Bytten
Ps2. If you like Driftmoon, and feel like you'd like to do something to help, we're always tremendously grateful for all help in spreading the word about Driftmoon! So do tell your friends, forum pals, Steam buddies, that grandma you think could really use more excitement in her life. Everything goes!
Here's also a link to a Facebook Fan page for Driftmoon, which Morgan just opened up for us. Thanks Morgan! Little thing like that mean a lot to us!