The Dark Triad

The Dark Triad Update 04/04/2013 About our modus operandi and J.M.A.

Today is one of those days I can’t sleep. Here it’s 4am.

 

It’s been many weeks that I’ve been going to sleep between 4-6am. I tried to organize the work, had the KS video prepared, while at the same time wrote the game and press texts, sent them to proofread, recorded the ingame video footage, managed the press news, etc. What I do recall as the most stressful time before the KS campaign was the day before launching, when messing around with the Visual .Net code Jose Manuel did so I could change the chars speed, the particle effects and trying to position the NPCs to make them move properly without them getting stuck when they touched each other (blame the collision system!). I didn’t have the slightest idea how it all worked, even JM left some indications before leaving to BCN. Also Carlos could not connect at all times to solve things that were not working properly.

 

And compiling…

 

I must have done it three hundred times. Compile now and check if things are correct. Are not? Then apply changes, commit the files on the repo and check again if it worked properly. It was very time consuming and getting good video takes wasn’t easy. Miguel was at Seville due to personal matters for a week, so I was overwhelmed by all the work we needed to pull out for the KS campaign.

 

Rafater worked hard to have the video ready while I was preparing the KS layout. We finished it all at 9am, having been up all night long. The day after, KS approved our page and the backers know the rest of the story and how it ends… Anyways this time we’ll take it longer so we can push a proper KS campaign, as said on the last update.

 

So as you see, we rushed quite a lot, also because we are trying to meet our internal deadlines. Why such a hurry? 

 

The reasons are as follows.

 

When the team was made up by Miguel (Combat and IA Design and Production), Jose Manuel (Lead Programmer), Rafa (2D Art) and me (Story, Dialogues and Quests, Production), both Miguel and me could pay the expenses for Jose Manuel’s and Rafa salaries. But as the project needs increased, we needed to hire more people. Now that David Lopez (3D GFX), David Lucena (Lightning and Shadow casting) and Carlos Mangas (Combat Programming) have joined the team, it’s very difficult to keep up and pay them all from our personal savings.

 

Both Miguel and me are making remarkable efforts to maintain afloat this lifetime cRPG dream of us. Miguel has had to let go some of his clients from his personal business to allocate more time to the project. This also means a reduced income and more economic constraints, besides he recently moved with his girlfriend with all the expenses and hassle this means.

 

In my case, I voluntarily left a Social Games company that I’ve seen ranking up from 17 to 120 employees in a year and a half. I was the QA Manager and my job was pretty stable. But dreams are dreams, and to make them come true you must risk something. I’ve been working on some freelance translation work to help pay my part of the expenses, but this doesn’t give enough money to make the cRPG we want to make.

 

We’ve achieved many, let me write it in capital letters, MANY good things with such adverse circumstances. Jose Manuel, David Lopez, Carlos Mangas, David Lucena, and me, are now working full time on The Dark Triad (Jose Manuel has been the only one that has been working on the project full time during the last 10 months). Miguel and Rafa are working part-time, even Miguel works almost 7-8 hours on the project. Rafa is also involved in other projects, but when he is needed he’s always there to respond with hard work.

 

So we can say then that our modus operandi almost resembles that of other established professional RPG game companies, with the difference that everybody works from their homes. I don’t really know if we are the first ones to attempt a cRPG at this scale doing remote work. This, rather than being an obstacle, has meant an increased productivity, as we have a schedule where we must overlap and be together during all the morning, and then everybody has some flexible hours, which allow them to work at midnight for example when they feel more proactive. The team has daily meetings by Skype, also all the activity, tickets, messaging, etc. is centralized on Assembla. Before finding out what worked best for us Project Management-wise, we tried with Trello, Google docs, Jira and other Agile Dev solutions, but Assembla is the one we all feel most comfortable with.

 

If you’ve read our other entries, you know we already have some major systems in place, specially our proprietary 3D tech, which consists and a fully fledged 3D game editor and a model viewer. We don’t use Unity. We would do in the future if things go well, but having our own 3D tech allows us for a great flexibility to mess in the heart of the code itself and adapt it to our needs.

 

We find ourselves in a critical stage where we are redefining many things, specially regarding the story to make it more compelling, and, tied to this, adding the necessary non-combat skills to provide the players with enough options to work out things in different, unexpected ways. As you can imagine, this affects the classes, skills, abilities, companions interactions, etc., we we must have a clear vision of what we are doing before start adding content involving those systems (and what was already done will need to be rebuild to adjust it to our new vision).

 

Next week I’ll send you a draft of what I’m coming up regarding the story, with so you can give me some honest feedback if you wish. I will need it if we want to make The Dark Triad the memorable RPG we are pursuing. If we can fund the game on KS, I’ll be able to work 12-14 hours/day on the story and dialogues. That’s my oath to all our backers so the characters, the story is truly engaging and the choices you make have real consequences in the game world.

 

Even I have not gone into full detail, you see that making a game, specially an RPG, is a complex affair that involves many procedures and logistics, and there are many constraints and challenges to solve along the way.

 

What amazes me and makes me most proud of all this is the commitment of each team member. David Lopez and David Lucena have been working in the games industry since the early 2000’s for some important companies, and they have been really interested since the knew about our project, and they are being really proactive on making The Dark Triad a dream come true. Carlos and Rafa are also super committed, and without Miguel’s partnership, work and commitment, The Dark Triad would not had even made its first breath. But this time, please allow me to mention Jose Manuel Alcaraz, our Lead Programmer, the man that goes to sleep at 7am many times, who has designed our 3D engine from scratch, and who is the essential cornerstone of the project. I know some day he’ll have a deserved recognition as the one that helped to make The Dark Triad come true. 

 

Please Hail Jose Manuel!  =)

 

The Dark Triad KS campaign cancelled. Back the 6th of May

We want to thank the almost 300 backers that have shown their faith in The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death during this Kickstarter campaign. Thanks for your support and passion, for making great suggestions and engaging with the community in the comments section, and trying to spread the word about the game, we appreciate your efforts A LOT!

We’ve gotten £5,800 in 5 days. The first day was awesome, with more than £3,500 afterBrian Fargo, inXile cofounder, tweeted "This game deserves a look at," on his account in reference to The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death (thanks Brian and we wish Torment: Tides of Numenera breaks all records!).

The days after have been a dire struggle to usher more potential backers to our KS page. The problem has been ours in part, as we hadn’t secured the services of a PR agency to spread the word properly. Second, this weekend PAX East was held, and next week it’s the GDC’s turn. This means that no matter how much money we would spent on PR right now, it would be almost impossible to be mentioned on gaming sites when the big boys on the block are gearing up to announcetheir coming games for the Christmas season. Besides, we launched after Torment: Tides of Numenera and Shroud of the Avatar were on KS, the two biggest projects since Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity. This may have made things more difficult, especially as backers might have supported both games and now would not have the money to spend on other smaller-scale projects such as ours.

Also, we must be critical of ourselves and recognize that we haven’t done a good job of conveying what the game is about. Yes, you know it’s a CRPG, and that there will be combat and dialogues, but the way we’ve explained it all has been confusing to say the least, and there was a lack of information regarding the main gameplay mechanics from the beginning, which we think hasn’t helped. It hasn’t helped either that some texts were not properly proofread due to a lack of coordination with our editors and translators because of the hour difference, which resulted in some glaring typos cropping up.

We are currently preparing a pitch and gameplay video that will explain much better how the combat and dialogues work, and what options are available in them.We’ll also redefine the story. Many of you said it was too convoluted, and maybe contained too many elements. Besides, we want to remove some important limitations, like that fact that the party member characters had to be from a certain race and classes, or that you couldn’t play with a female character on your party.

We will also adjust the initial scope of the game. We wanted to add many things, but we think it’s better to focus on the two main aspects of the game: a good turn-based combat and a nice non-combat skills system. We will maintain and improve the graphic quality of the game, but we will reduce the game map extension. We can’t attempt to put in as many 3D assets as Baldur’s Gate, but we will maintain enough content for the game to provide dozens of hours of play. At the same time, this reduced map will allow us to reduce our pledge by almost half. And this is important, as we think that if potential backers see that we are near the funding goal, they will feel more confident in backing the project. Our goal is to expand the game content as soon as The Dark Triad is available for purchase.

We have also detected a clear imbalance with the rewards. Once you create a tier and at least one backer has pledged for it, Kickstarter won’t allow you to add new rewards into itWe forgot to tell you that the downloadable version of the game will be DRM-free, and even though we put it on top of our main page, many people didn’t see that. We could only communicate new reward additions through the updates, but for new backers this is important information that should be clearly visible. Also, we wanted to include boxed edition tiers and we saw that first we needed to adjust the digital tiers content, and we couldn’t do so due to the aforementioned restrictions.

We’ve also received some complaints from US backers about the difficulties they were having pledging. It seems some US banks block payments overseas by default, and you must call them to remove this restriction. Other people was confused by the lack of an option to pay via Amazon. The reason for that is that the UK project payments are handled by Kickstarter directly without being funneled through Amazon. And last, some of you didn’t know if paying in pounds would charge you any extra when making the payment (which is not).

We’ve taken all this weekend to reflect about all these issues, and after reaching a consensus, we think the best course of action we can take is canceling the current pledge driveThis will allow us to focus on preparing new content, explain things much better and securing a PR agency from the very beginning to help spread the word about The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death. We will take one month and one week, and on the 6th of May we will come back to run a brand new Kickstarter campaign for the game.

Meanwhile, we’ve opened an Indiegogo campaign for all of you that want to help us support the game development for the next two months until we can succeed in our Kickstarter campaign. These funds will help us to pay our 5 team members and stay afloat during this time. We don’t have any publisher behind us and before approaching any we will try to go with crowdfunding so we can remain independent game developers (unless it’s a known RPG publisher that could guarantee us IP rights and the max creative freedom).

Last, you can stay in touch with us on our forums. We are currently asking what non-combat skills do you like to see in the game.

Once again, thanks for your support guys, you made us happy even if we didn’t make it this time. We hope that what we will show the next month can make you even more thrilled about the possibilities of The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death. We won’t stop until you have the chance to play the medieval fantasy world of TDT:DD in your homes! =)

Sincerely,

The Autoloot Team

The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death now live on Kickstarter

The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death now live on Kickstarter

 

Autoloot Games Ltd. launches its Kickstarter campaing to fund its 3D-isometric, turn-based, story-driven CRPG[Unknown A1] 

 

Barcelona, Spain. (March 20, 2013) Autoloot Games Ltd., a new video game company formed by former employees of Ubisoft, Gameloft and Funcom,  launches a Kickstarter campaign[Unknown A2]  in order to fund its upcoming 3D-isometric, turn-based, story-driven RPG.

 

The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death has been in development for 11 months, and  Autoloot is asking $80,000 to complete the latest 10 months of development.

 

KICKSTARTER link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1604283933/the-dark-triad-dragons-death

 DarkTriad 2013-03-19 23-23-26-05

The following excerpts can be read on their Kickstarter page:

“We’ve surpassed a risky stage of development where  we didn’t have any tools to create game content.  Now, we already have our own proprietary tools and can focus our efforts on implementing and tuning up the combat systems, dialogues,  environments, stats and skills, character advancement and equipment, etc. We are also implementing dynamic and shadow lightning. “

We ask you, dear backer, for the minimum amount necessary to sustain ourselves over the next 10 months as we complete the development of the game. Some of us of have been working for many years in the mainstream games industry, and, as gamers first and foremost, we don't like what we see and the direction the games industry is taking. It completely prevents developers from using any spark of creativity and numbs the passion that has always been the driving force that made us, in the first place, wish to become professional game makers. We don't like copycat social games aimed to steal money from the players, where gameplay is at a distant second or even third place, and we don't like the abusive practices of some big companies towards their employees. This (and many other reasons) is what made us decide to join efforts and go indie.” 

DarkTriad 2013-03-19 23-15-31-04

“We want you,  our supporters and fans, to be our most critical, but at the same time loyal, investors. We are community guys and we consider each opinion important. We will listen and try to answer all of the questions you might have, and we also would like to share our views with you. We believe this synergy is very healthy, allows us to have a broader view of the development process itself, and helps us challenge ourselves to deliver the best possible games for you to enjoy.”

“If we can make it with your help, take for granted that you'll have an steady income of good CRPGs to enjoy during the time to come. Let us tell you that we'll be losing a lot of sleep over achieving this goal. This is both a personal and collective promise from Autoloot Games.” 

 

Kickstarter campaign video: http://youtu.be/MmIyR-STfHE

 

Greenlight site: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=127626930

 

Official site: http://www.the-dark-triad.com

 

 

Feature List:

 

Release Date: December 2013

Platforms: PC, Xbox360 (TBA)

 

  • A complex history with unexpected twists and many secrets to uncover.
  • Brutal and bloody turn-based combats.
  • A brand-new combat[Unknown A3]  system that lets you you define the degree of action and strategy and the speed of battles.
  • The option to choose from 5 different playable classes.
  • A brand new skill and specialty system that offers customized character builds.
  • Hundreds of quests and side quests with intriguing dialogues.
  • A vast map that you can enjoy for hours.
  • An incredible host of enemies for you to slash and crush.
  • Pets and Sacred Guardians to assist you in the heat of the battle.
  • Fully-detailed characters and environments in 3D.
  • Items system with thousands of combinations and unique artifacts.
  • Epic achievements.
  • The option to play extra-difficulty levels and challenge yourself against beastly elite bosses and enemies.

 

Autoloot Games Ltd.

A new Spanish video game company made up of industry professionals from Ubisoft, Gameloft, Funcom, and others that is dedicated exclusively to making high-quality games that cater to hardcore CRPG players


 [Unknown A1]I would just say “RPG,” as it's more familiar shorthand than CRPG and CRPG may imply that the game is PC-only wn you say you intend to release it for Xbox as well.

 [Unknown A2]The confusing exception to this rule is when you're talking about a specific day in text. Wording it this way puts emphasis on the day, and it only happens if you want to say the date within a sentence.

 [Unknown A3]“Combat” makes sense.

The Dark Triad: Dragon’s Death on Kickstarter March 20, 2013


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