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The journey of Lod -> LoD2 -> Going indie

  • harmonic
  • 01/06/2011 01:51 AM
  • 1359 views
Hello, RMN!

In response to the popularity of LoD1, and the cancellation of LoD2, this blog will try and tell a colorful tale of the journey that Legacies of Dondoran has taken in its long life. A few quick bullet points:

-Transition to the Indie realm
-Rationale for cancelling LoD2
-Spiritual successorship of Deadly Sin 1 and 2
-The humble beginnings of LoD1

Legacies Of Dondoran
LoD1 took a long time to make. It actually began in late 2000 when I first found out about rpgmaker2000. At the time, I was just a college freshman at the college of music, and had done a little composing, but once I found a way to make games easily, I decided to make one as a platform for my music, since making RPG music was a huge passion/dream at the time.

LoD1 began as the noobiest of noob games you could ever imagine. In fact, it actually used mostly RTP music, and all RTP graphics. It reeked of "Hay gize I made a gam!" As the game developed, I re-made it and re-make it until about the end of the 2nd dungeon, then let it sit for about 3 years.

Then RPGmaker2003 rolled around. The battle system (even though we all hate it now) was amazing to me, with the side view and ATB system. This motivated me to keep going. I picked the game up where it left off and retrofitted it for RM2K3, and finished the rest of the game in about one summer of super-mega-psycho sprint productivity. Once it finished, I rushed to get the thing out there, and onto Gamingw.net. For those of you old enough to remember, the game suffered from numerous bugs and other signs of being very unpolished. I distinctly remember drawing the ire of a certain someone, who commented on the fact that I over-hyped my game and it didn't deliver, but even so I was, in his words, "the darling of GW." :D

Anyway, LoD was a very ambitious first project in size and scope, and it was high profile enough at the time to draw a large amount of critique. Only since I've gone indie have I learned to take critique truly gracefully, so I earned the reputation of the classic butthurt noob that we all make fun of today. The difference was... deep down, I took the comments to heart, and worked to revamp the game and make it better. I did so, and the toughest critics seemed to acknowledge its improvement. Once GW.net basically died, and RMN was born, LoD found new life as one of the first featured games on the site.

Legacies Of Dondoran 2
There were a lot of tales left untold at the end of LoD, such as the life of Alec Tyranos, how the political situation unfolded, whether or not Garm Tyranos (the hero of LoD1) actually survived, the evolution of the holy bloodlines, among others. I decided to make LoD2 a much more mature storyline, focusing on political intrigue and personal inner struggles. By now, I had learned how to use the eventing system with a much greater proficiency than with LoD1, and the CMS of LoD2 reflected that. Only thing I was worried about was the popularity of RPGmakerXP, which had come out in the middle of LoD2's development.

Then came the explosive debut of Aveyond, an RPGmakerXP game that launched a franchise and a cult following, and make its author independently wealthy. I, like so many others in the RM community, scoffed at this game as a joke, since it seemed to use so many "default" style systems and was clearly marketed to a predominantly older and more female demographic. (Good move by the way.)

There was one prolific author among us, whose name is none other than BadLuck, who did not scoff at Aveyond's success, but rather, tried to emulate it with his own ambitious transition to the indie realm with Ara Fell: First Light. (Originally known as AFXP) BadLuck spared no expense in the creation of this project, he truly wanted a high-quality title worthy of being sold for money. Even though it appears to have died in the realm of vaporware, I was kept somewhat regularly updated on its progress, and it was turning out to be a pretty amazing game, visually anyway. It's a shame that game didn't come to fruition.

AF:FL made me feel like I was behind the curve. LoD2 was going to take a long time to finish, and it so happened that I was at sort of a natural break point in its development, with an epic moment just finishing and a new chapter starting. After much deliberation with my good friend Karsuman, (who actually recommended going full-on freelance composer rather than indie games) I decided to give LoD2 one last hurrah with an RMN-hosted event "post what game you have" or something, and it was quite well-received. I distinctly remember Craze saying "ten kinds of awesome" which made me use that phrase way too much... anyway.

And so, I decided I was going to follow in the footsteps of Aveyond/AF:FL and take the leap of faith and go indie.


--------------------


Deadly Sin 1


Everything is a learning process, Deadly Sin 1 is good evidence of that in regards to learning about the PC game market. I went into this project basically stark raving stupid about how the indie market works, and I was still in RM community mode, full-on.

For this game, I basically went with a completely new world setting and storyline. It wasn't bad in concept, but looking back, I feel it could have been better executed, especially in terms of dialogue and character development.


My crowning achievement in this game was the evented battle system. Evented from the ground up. I was frustrated with myself in that I couldn't really show it off to the RM community, who might appreciate something like a custom system using only events, but these were the sacrifices of going indie. The PC market at large *does not care* about how hard it was to make your "cool systems." :D

Another big improvement in audio-visual was my upgraded music composition studio. MASSIVELY upgraded. I spent a good 3000 bucks buying a bunch of equipment, including a Yamaha KX8 keyboard, an audio interface, some rokit 5 studio monitors, and a large amount of expensive VST software.

The sound quality difference is pretty obvious though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_Sultfg4a0

And so, Deadly Sin 1 went live on a few bigger communities and for whatever reason, did pretty well. Market timing was good, it was different but not too different, and had excellent cover art by a one-in-a-million artist that I managed to find and hire. It had a low budget (not counting all my new sound gear) and provided a nice windfall of extra money, though it would have been very stupid to quit my day job. :P


--------------------


Deadly Sin 2, The Spiritual Successor to Legacies Of Dondoran 2


The natural progression was to make a sequel. Deadly Sin 2 reflected a much wiser and more experienced me, as I was able to recruit the talents of three very special people, including RMN's own SovanJedi. Because this was a team effort with a pretty good-sized budget, the production values, custom and unique scripts, and polish were WAYYYY ahead of Deadly Sin 1, LoD1, and LoD2. I was able to get a very slick set of scripts to create the item augment system, the battle system, and the skill menu.


I call this a spiritual successor because it basically took all of the plot elements and world setting elements from LoD2 and incorporated them into the first 2 chapters of Deadly Sin 2. I also took great care to incorporate the higher quality mapping of LoD2 into this game. The game also had a custom mouse interface, a handy monster node system for dungeon crawling, and a quest system.



A lot of folks were upset that Legacies Of Dondoran 2 was cancelled. I can understand, and believe me, it was not easy to let the thing just sit around and die. It was so difficult, in fact, that I had to revive it in the form of Deadly Sin 2's plot. Ever get so sentimental about something that you're just irrational about it? That was me and LoD2. While DS2's commercial status inherently exposed it to a far different audience than the usual RM community fare, I did the best I could to make DS2 truly earn the title "Spiritual Successor." All in all, going indie was a decision I do not regret, though it has been a bumpy ride to be sure. The market is fickle, and the success or failure of games tends to rely a lot more on your advertising, your timing, and how well you target the audience you market to. Not a decision to take lightly for anyone.

Thanks for reading!

harm

Posts

Pages: 1
so how did you convince sir mix a lot to work on a game with you
harmonic
It's like toothpicks against a tank
4120
It's a harm game trademark.
kentona
One of RMN's Top 10 Admins of all-time
20520
This was a very interesting read! I quite liked it.

If only I had the wherewithal to make the jump, I would. I keep hoping to win the lottery so that I can afford to take a shot at this.
harmonic
It's like toothpicks against a tank
4120
Glad it was a good read for ya.
Pages: 1