Artwork and Marketing Materials
Yesterday's work on updated marketing materials continued today, and it's starting to look near-done. I still have some gaps to fill, but I think most of the checkboxes Steam requires are just about checked.
First, however, I got a new illustration from Klaus. It's another DMC location, and I should be able to wire that in soon. I may have additional artwork to be done, but I think I'll likely cool down soon on new art as I write to catch up. That should keep me pretty busy, once I figure this Steam stuff out.
As for Steam, I've been revising some of the capsule/header art, and I think I've got that squared away. I created some new screenshots at 1360x768, since the format Steam uses is widescreen. And I started filling out the store page description with updated features.
One thing I'm considering is doing an infographic or two to help new customers understand what they're getting into. For example, this type of infographic should give them an idea of the current development status:
Obviously, this is just educated guessing. But the idea I'm hoping to get across (and quickly) is that NEO Scavenger is on the final stretch. If you buy NEO Scavenger now, you are largely seeing what the final game will be like. From here on in, it's mostly new content, bug fixes, and UI tweaks. Character skills are also a bit low, as I expect to at least balance their relative sizes/capacities, if I don't add new ones.
I also want to quickly get some frequently-asked questions out of the way, since it'll save me time answering in the forums:
Again, this is just to get everyone's expectations in line with my own. We're mainly looking at new content from here on. Bells and whistles are not likely, and popular, big ticket items like multiplayer, companions, and Steam integration are not in the cards.
Modding is the one exception, here, as I'm going to at least try some tricks to make this work. I want to be careful not to promise it, but I also want it to be clear that it's more a practical limitation than a lack of desire.
I've also created an updated list of features. And I must say, NEO Scavenger has come quite a ways from 2012. For those curious, this is what I've come up with so far:
- Unique Setting - Near-future, post-apocalyptic Michigan with local cryptids and folklore. And something else beneath the surface...
- Turn-Based Play - Take your time with each turn, and play at your own pace. Save and quit when you want, and resume later.
- Permadeath - If you die, that's it. NEO Scavenger is balanced around a single difficulty level: permadeath. Your save will be deleted if you die. So choose every action carefully!
- No Grinding - There is no XP in NEO Scavenger. No levelling-up. Instead, progress comes from learning how to play the game better, and using your strengths to your advantage.
- Semi-Random - Much of the map is randomized each game, including the location of ruins, creatures, weather, and certain quest branches.
- Sandbox or Story - Search for clues to your identity, what happened, and who's hunting you. Or simply test your mettle against man and nature alike. Play how you want!
- Skills and Flaws - Choose skills and flaws each time you play. Different combos unlock different abilities and quest branches.
- Crafting - Extensive crafting system which allows for substitutions of similar items. Make a rifle scope from half a pair of binoculars, or a noise trap from a pill bottle and pebbles.
- Desperate Combat - Detailed combat with moves like "Tackle," "Lure," "Kick While Down," "Demand Surrender," and "Threaten."
- Realistic Wounds - Creatures have complex wound simulation, with multiple wound locations, infection, bleeding, and pain management.
- Realistic Metabolism - Hypothermia, fatigue, thirst, hunger, disease, intoxication, shelter...everything is tracked.
- Realistic Inventory - Complex inventory system with slots for holding, wearing, containers, and more. Fit items in grid spaces, and manage encumbrance.
- Hex-Based World Map - Navigate ruins, hills, forests, and plains in a hex-based map. Line-of-sight, elevation, and daylight matters.
- Tracking - Creatures leave their tracks and spoor on the map, which can be followed by others. Players can also hide their tracks.
- Hiding - Players can use hiding to avoid being seen while traveling the map, as well as during story encounters.
- Hunting - Trap small game for food and fur, or track and kill larger prey on the map for butchering.
- Hacking - Use hacking skills to unlock scavenged laptops, cellphones, smartphones, and tablets. Mine them for paydata, or snoop through personal files.
- Foraging - Search for edible plants and water, and use special skills to identify what's safe to eat.
- Haunting Soundtrack - Music composed by Josh Culler, specifically for NEO Scavenger, plays periodically, lending an atmosphere of loneliness and desperation.
- Creature AI - Wandering creatures go about their own business, hunting, scavenging, and hoarding. Morale affects their choices, and some will gang-up and cause trouble.
- Dynamic Weather - Temperature, rainfall, and night/day are based on real-world data for autumn in the area. If you live long enough, you may see snow fall.
- Detroit - Take refuge from the wasteland in one of mankind's last bastions of safety. Buy supplies, get medical care, and seek clues in a cyberpunk-styled city.
I don't think I'd ever have expected to have this much going on in NEO Scavenger. Especially considering it was originally meant to be a game designed for Flash game portals. I guess that's either a win for adaptability, or a loss for scope creep :)
Anyway, I'm feeling a bit better about what I have to offer. The list of "Nos" and "Unlikelies" in the above graphic was a downer, but seeing that bullet point list lifted my spirits a bit. Not too shabby!
Finally, I wanted potential customers to understand who I am, and the way I run things. You guys already know that from seeing me chat on this dev log and in the forums. But Steam customers don't know me from a "money-grubbing, lazy dev." So I wanted to show them how committed I am to this project.
So, at the top of the store page, there's a message explaining what they can expect from me if they buy this "Early Access" game:
Hey folks! Please try the free demo, to see if NEO Scavenger meets your expectations!
NEO Scavenger is in development. As such, there may be game balance issues, bugs, and missing content. However, NEO Scavenger should provide a playable and fun experience. And playing the demo is the best way to determine if NEO Scavenger is a game for you.
What to Expect from Me
Dedicated Development - NEO Scavenger development is my livelihood, and my full-time job. I take weekends and holidays off.
Regular Developer Updates - I update my dev log each weekday with what work I did.
Frequent Game Updates - NEO Scavenger is updated frequently with new content, fixes, and features.
Receptive to Feedback - I take player feedback very seriously, fixing reported bugs when I can, and adding suggested ideas when they seem like a good fit. E.g. Blue Bottle Games forums, Desura, Something Awful, RPGCodex, NEOGaf.
I'm hoping that makes it pretty clear that I'm not some fly-by-night operation, and that this game will be finished.
Of course, I might reread this tomorrow and shudder. So I'll have to see how I feel about it after a night's rest.
Have a good one, all!