Roadwarden - an RPG / Visual Novel / Text Adventure hybrid in early production

Everyone knows to stay away from the wilderness. Most people would never risk a lonely journey.

Roadwardens not only accept this struggle, they embrace it. They deliver messages, assist merchants, burn human corpses and, if possible, get rid of beasts and highwaymen.

They live on the road, die young or retire early.

It’s a dangerous job, but a respectable one. And it pays well.

Greetings, I'm new here!

I'm developing an interactive fiction game which currently has a demo available. You can find all the details on my website! http://moralanxietystudio.com/ The game has quite a bit of graphics to it, and I try to create something new and experimental. : )

Main Features:

  • Explore and change the world. Travel through a detailed fantasy setting filled with secrets, challenges and uniquely harsh lore.
  • Have immersive conversations. To gain support of dozens of NPCs, you need to earn their trust during complex dialogues and sidequests.
  • Create your own character through role-playing and decisions. Shape your background, abilities, beliefs and personality.
  • Unveil the local mysteries. Investigate, use your wit and make connections to understand the true nature of this realm.
  • Overcome your weaknesses. The wilderness is full of dangers and you can trust nobody. Find your path to success against all odds.

Please let me know what you think and you have any questions!


Looks good!!!
Can't wait to download the demo and give it a shot.


I'm glad it looks interesting for you! I hope you'll have time to let me know how it went! : D


I love it when a game slowly moves from place holders to the actual graphics. Here you can see the first part of the game’s map - the large “objects” are icons allowing you to select the area you want to visit. Heavily inspired by Baldur’s Gate. ; )

If you think it can still look better, I’ll be happy to see your feedback!

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/MAPKA_OLD_VS_NEW.png


Hello, hello!

It was a busy week and I think I should start writing devlogs about the game’s development, highlighting new features and the general progress. I’d like to share the first post like this starting next week. : )

The coolest part of this week, however, was working on the new picture for the game. Do you remember my castle-tavern? I wanted to draw its interiors. The first attempt, which displays the exteriors as well, was a failure. It doesn’t allow to show that many details and limits the scope of furniture while also ruining the proportions, even if I’d add buttons allowing to hide and show specific floors.

https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/download/file.php?id=53372&mode=view

But the new one feels great to me. For me, it feels cozy. It feels like I can’t help but imagine all the stories that started (or ended) here.

https://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/download/file.php?id=53373&mode=view

What do you think? Do you like it?


Looks like a throwback to 8 bit graphics... (Nothing wrong with that, it gives it that classic look. And I like the classic look!)
Nice... A full feature (so far) text story. More like reading a novel than a game.
2 spelling errors ( noted by someone not known to spell!!!)

  1. you described the undead town and the people there... You used "an" instead of "and"...
  2. the first morning, the "smell of burnt meet...". I think you meant "meat"...

Too many "just one option" in the discussion, used more like a "more" or "continue" command.
Last note.... At the inn, since you don't have anything there, the only option is to "go back" or "undo"...
For now, just comment "Not finished" and let the player go back the way he came.
(Altho, I did not check if "leave" would have done that already...)
Yes, Leave does work correctly.
Like I said, a VERY good start to an interesting story!


I'm so sorry, DarkLizerd, I didn't receive an e-mail about your response! I usually try to respond much sooner than this.

I really appreciate that you listed these mistakes - two other people also mentioned this problem but didn't give me a specific information Where it is, so I literally today took a look at every single " an " in my game to make sure I can find the one part where there should be "and"... And I finally found it, but if I saw your message sooner it would be so much easier for me. xD

IN THE MEANTIME:

A new feature added - having an option to end the game! : P https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8yDy_8Ph2k&feature=youtu.be

Since Roadwarden is going to have a very unusual story structure and is, in some way, an open world game, I expect that not everyone is going to complete it in 100%. So, you’re going to be able to finish the game whenever you want - even in the middle of the tutorial. And if you want, you can always read a summary of your journey (which will get more and more detailed as your playthrough goes on) to let you know how much of a “good” ending you’ve earned up to this point

And yes - these endings are going to be heavily personalized. The one you see in the video, for example, belongs to a PC whose main goal is the wish to help people. Other characters have a bit different endings.

The entire “ending” section is still in an early WIP. It’s going to have additional graphics and maybe even an interface looking more like the game’s prologue, but for now it’s fine as it is. : )


By the way... Have you seen the game’s first devlog?
https://www.indiedb.com/games/roadwarden/news/first-steps-after-the-announcement-roadwarden-devlog


I was planning to focus on writing the new scenes for Roadwarden, but I decided to change my approach. Since the demo of the game received quite a bit of attention and a lot of helpful feedback (which includes one game-crashing bug), here are the plans for the nearby future:

Monday, May 25th - new devlog focused on the “genre” of the game (why is it an RPG / Visual Novel / text adventure hybrid : P).
Friday, May 31st - the new demo of the game (with few fixes and some additional features).
Saturday, June 1st - a video presenting the entire “tutorial” section of the game. For those who’d like to just see a couple of bits without sinking into the entire thing.
Monday, June 3rd - a regular devlog explaining the new features from the demo and some other changes.

After that point, the demo will no longer be updated unless a game-breaking bug will be spotted.


Not only it’s ScreenshotSaturday, it’s also the magical time when the new version of Roadwarden’s demo is released! You can find it here: https://moral-anxiety.itch.io/roadwarden

Unless a large bug will be found, I assume that the version 0.3 won’t be updated in the nearby future. And it should be able to fairly portray the gist of what I want Roadwarden to be.

If you haven’t played the demo before, this is the version that I would recommend. However, if you’ve already play it through, you may be interested in checking out the following changelog:

  • The Mac version is now available.
  • The achievements don’t kill you anymore. : P
  • You can switch the font to a pixel one.
  • Now you can actually beat the game! (and unlock the worst endings)
  • Added new travel descriptions.
  • Fixed some typos and rephrased a couple of things

...and more. Here are some details: https://moral-anxiety.itch.io/roadwarden/devlog/83626/roadwarden-demo-update
And here is the latest devlog, portraying the problems with labeling the game through traditional genres: https://www.indiedb.com/games/roadwarden/news/an-rpg-visual-novel-text-adventure-hybrid-is-a-mouthful-roadwarden-devlog


I am not much into downloadable games, but I hate to take someone's well deserved "last posted" spot on a thread.


Haha, cheers! I really need to ultimately release the game commercially, but there's a good chance that the demo will appear in a couple of weeks in a browser version. Though I'm still not sure how well it's going to work in as far as saving goes.


Whenever you encounter new NPCs in Roadwarden, you can select one of the 5 attitudes to impact the first impression you're going to make. Attitudes affect the tone of the conversation, what the NPCs think about you and what dialogue choices will be available to you in the future.

A group of bandits surrounds you. Some of them hold swords, others have loaded crossbows. Do you try to ease the tension by being friendly? Do you try to intimidate them? Do you act vulnerably, hoping they spare you?

Do you like what attitudes can you currently choose from? Do you think there should be any more?

https://youtu.be/zg8zymY4YrE


My “break” is over! I’m back into the full-dev mode and it feels great. <3

I’m working on the dialogues for the first tavern. There’s a lot of things to talk about and to do here, and guess what. You don’t even Have to come here, and if you’re aggressive toward the innkeeper, you’ll just get thrown out. Choose your Attitudes wisely!

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot01.1.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot02.1.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot03.1.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot04.1.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/bug.gif


Hi, I'm Aureus and I love dialogues.

But seriously, how much can you do in a single tavern?

And yes, you still are going to be able to beat the game without ever going to this area.

https://i.imgur.com/aus6IQz.png
https://i.imgur.com/h1Oc7Rt.png
https://i.imgur.com/Du0g83k.png
https://i.imgur.com/dSiKdwo.png
https://i.imgur.com/vcEqTWu.png
https://i.imgur.com/H0WAMsc.png


What a fruitful week this was.

The dialogues for the tavern that I’ve been working on for weeks are now finished. Adding all the conversations for the guards increased the volume by a third, but the more I wrote, the more I was sure it was a good idea. The throw-away NPC now has a lot of personality, and I’ve added a lot of new things which will impact the game even in the later stages.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot0039.png

After finishing with this place, I took some time to draw. Two completely different areas:

  1. A ruined village. The Imperial forests are dangerous and unfriendly, forcing the hamlets and villages to grow as slowly, as they can. If humankind affects the nature too much, too fast - the monsters arrive to take back what belongs to them.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/ruinedvillage.png

  1. At the edge of the swamp, a large tree stands for as long as anyone remembers. It has no leaves, yet slowly grows. To stay alive, however, it has to be fed by the locals, who put their offerings on an ancient altar.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sacredtree.png

Drawing still consumes a lot of time, but what now takes me a day or two, just half a year ago would be literally impossible for me. Or would require two weeks and dozens of redraws. Feels good to grow.


I’ve made a huge progress as far as the graphics go. I now have enough material to spend a couple of weeks writing dialogues, encounters and modifying the game’s features. I need to make some large changes, and all of them are going to be great.

Here are some examples of the latest advancements:

  1. The druids’ cave, locked behind a metal door. What can be found inside? Is it just a shelter, a prison, a treasure chamber? After all the first things you see when you get nearby, are the garden patches with herbs and veggies.

And you can see how much your feedback can impact the picture.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot0001.png

  1. The shop screen is looking much better now, though it still needs some work. Next stop - adding a separate icon to display the money in player’s possession, replacing parts of the item descriptions.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot0002.png

  1. A camp in a destroyed building, a part of the ruined village presented here last week. Iron and steel are rare and valuable resources, no wonder that someone would try to scavenge for them in an old, abandoned settlement.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot0003.png

I don’t have enough time to take care of all the ideas I want to pursue right now, but there’s a good chance that a new version of the demo is going to be available in August, Though maybe not, maybe I should focus on developing all of the core areas that the player can visit and quests they can be a part of.

I would love to know what you think!

(Bonus devlog!) https://moral-anxiety.itch.io/roadwarden/devlog/90099/banging-my-head-against-a-brick-wall-roadwarden-devlog


It’s difficult to decide what to showcase today, I hope it’s fine if I drop a whole bunch of pics:

Here are some of the latest advancements:

  1. The Roadwarden's world is growing! New areas are now also visible on the traveling map.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot0.png

  2. I'm currently writing a detailed scene for the ruined village that I've shared here before. The overall "exploration" system of this area is all set and done, and works completely fine. My later edits will surely change various areas and add some new content, but I'm happy about where this is going.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot1.png
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot2.png
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot3.png

  3. The shop screen is now much easier to comprehend and simply prettier. Thanks to the "Trade" button in the quick menu, you can also open the shop without having to choose a specific dialog option during a conversation.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot5.png
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot6.png

  4. The new section of the journal will now include NPC descriptions and, even more importantly, names. It's a solution born from necessity - I can't expect that everyone is going to remember all the character names and detailed information about them.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot7.png

  5. The dialogue I'm currently working on... Is referencing Scottish accents too cliche for fantasy writing in 2019? : P
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot8.png

And, of course, new rewrites, bug fixes, new content, quests...


After over 3 weeks of writing new dialogues, events, items, interactions and one large side quest for Roadwarden, all of this content is finally a part of the actual game.

Here are some of the latest advancements:

  1. An example of how combat looks in the game. As well as the “escorting” quests. No grinding for XP, no following a character for 5-10 minutes. A couple of simple clicks, decision making and if you can, you prepare yourself before the encounter happens. Nice and sweat, with an open field for role-playing.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss01.png

  2. Time is going to matter, just as intended. If you postpone the quest for too long, you can still complete it - but it won’t be a happy end for the quest giver. Also, you can express how your character is perceiving this situation.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss02.png

  3. My English improves with practice, and I have in plans taking a huge step back and editing the entire tutorial section. Yikes.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss03.png

  4. IDK, I just really like this NPC. : P So far, I like all of my NPCs. You will be able to recognize which ones I don’t like by measuring how little to do and dialogues they have attached to them.
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss04.png

  5. New inventory section! It still requires some improvements, but it’s not too bad!
    https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss05.png

I’m really getting better at adding the content to the game files - in the beginning, I was spending days fixing broken code and trying to figure out how it should be actually organized. Now? A couple of mistakes, some oversights, a couple of hours and bam, everything works just fine.


Would you like to make an offering?

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/01-23VIII.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/02-23VIII.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/03-23VIII.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/04-23VIII.png


Hi there!

I’m currently editing some of the older scenes in the game, including the tutorial-prologue scenes, preparing to share the current version of the game with some testers. There’s so much new content that needs some additional feedback, and I keep finding (and fixing) annoying bugs... I’m both excited and terrified. : P

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss31VIII01.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss31VIII02.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss31VIII03.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss31VIII04.png


It’s time to share something larger than a picture. The music presented in Roadwarden’s demo was waiting for replacement. Now we have quite a massive list of original tracks that still need a couple of adjustments, yet are already very close to the game’s heart.

It’s difficult to select and highlight a single track, but here’s the one that I love the most: https://soundcloud.com/moral-anxiety-studio/the-edge-of-night-by-nicholas-roder-for-roadwarden

It immediately takes me to a wild, dangerous forest. I want to keep the sounds a bit anxious, emotionally vague, without directly telling the players what they are supposed to feel.

I really like it when fantasy video games don’t sink into the usual epic orchestras.

So, do you love it, do you hate it? Let me know, I’m so excited to upload it today!


I’m back! My health is fine now, and I finally had a good week in the realm of Roadwarden. I’ve drawn a new area, the abandoned watchtower, and I’m really proud of it. Originally, it was meant to be a destroyed tower, but once I’ve drawn it, I haven’t have the heart to turn it into ruins. xD

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/adventuregamefriday01.png

I’ve also set up a new area, the road blocked by a fallen tree. The player can investigate this place for clues, trying to figure out what happened in this place. The later part of the quest is not written down yet, mostly because the NPCs related to it are not yet in the game, but it’s a fun little side-activity, that requires a bit of deduction.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/adventuregamefriday02.png

The game’s world keeps growing... And it makes me super happy. ^^

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/adventuregamefriday03.png


October is moving forward really well. The major part of the watchtower scenes is already in to the game.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/SSS01.png

There’s so much content already, and it seems to be almost bug-free so far (...though it involved fixing hundreds of mistakes), and the music works so well! There’s a good chance I’ll update the demo sometime next week, just to give you a chance to see how much has everything changed since the release of the old version. : )

During the last couple of days I’ve drawn a couple of new areas that are going to be used as minor stops and the “loading screens” - small bits of narration that precede arriving to a new area.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/SSS02.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/SSS03.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/SSS04.png

And also, I’ve added two new tracks to the game’s Soundcloud. They’re worth checking out. ^^
https://soundcloud.com/moral-anxiety-studio/sets/roadwarden-original-soundtrack


I’m too sick to write dialogues, but I still have enough patience to draw, and drawing is fun. Here are some new areas that I’ve been working on - some of them are meant to be memorable and interacted with...

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss01.1.png

while others are going to be used more like loading / transition screens. Creating one of those takes me much less time than it used to, but still, it’s so great that podcasts exist.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss02.1.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/sss03.1.png

Also, I’ve decided to return to some of my older pictures and update them to the new style that I’ve adapted through the months of learning. My military camp, one of the oldest pictures I’ve ever made (in February), has changed so many times, and it’s all thanks to the feedback and criticism that kind people share with me on-line.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/military_camp_village_5_stages.png

The new version of the Roadwarden’s demo is going to be available in November. The introduced changes are going to be huge, so I personally recommend to not play the older demo - though it’s still available on Itch.io.


Today’s illustration has a little story behind it.

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/adventuregamefriday3b.png

The oldest design document for Roadwarden was written in the first months of 2018. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make a game with a place like this one - an isolated dwelling, in which the magic crafter stays away from other people, obsessed with her trade, surrounded by her creations.

Originally, I planned to place the game’s prototype among these walls.

I prepared my software, but I barely even started. I “realized” I won’t be able to make pixel art, maybe even ever. I had to postpone the project anyway, so I accepted that I failed and moved on.

When I started working on the game in January 2019, I knew that I still wanted this place to be a part of my fantasy realm. I was slowly learning the basics, and focused on some other areas - those that the player sees in the first stages of the actual game. Most of these areas are going to be available in the new demo.

But I finally decided to give it another shot. And now, here it is. The residence of magic crafter. The exterior went from “impossible,” to “finished in two days.” The interior took another day. I’m not gonna lie - I’m moved.

For now, enough of drawing. Recently, I’m focused on programming and writing. And it’s going pretty well. ^^

https://s3.gifyu.com/images/roadwardennewbutton.gif


I have just this little thing to share, a hidden in-game detail.
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot01.2.png

Not every character starts the game with this item, and I’m sure some players won’t notice its hidden interaction. If you wear it, various NPCs react to your presence in new ways.
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot02.2.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot02b.png

So, are you going to wear it all the time, proud of your beliefs? Are you going to keep it hidden, hoping to avoid quarrels? Is it just a tool for you, something that you hide or show depending on who’s around you?
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot04.2.png

How do you play your role?
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/screenshot03.2.png


I’ve been working a lot on the new title screen, and I think that after receiving a lot of very helpful feedback, it’s in a pretty good spot right now. : )
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/01newmenu2b.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/02prologue.png

I’m also doing a whole bunch of minor things for the game, since I can hardly find enough time and patience to focus on writing dialogues. I’m adding quests, items, some new dialogue options... I had a really good flow with some ideas, like these two weapons:
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/03itemspear.png
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/04itembow.png

I’ve also realized that my original plan of “fitting every bit of dialogue in a single window” won’t work. Some NPCs will just have too many dialogue options available if you meet them for the first time in a very late part of the game. Because of that, I’ve decided to add the optional scrolling - it will show up only if there’s something to scroll through, so it won’t impact the major experience.
https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/05newscrolling.png


Through this week, I wrote sooo many dialogue bits, made new items, designed new quests and broadened some older content... I’m in the flow, and it feels good.

Here’s an example of how arriving to a new place looks like. My lizard brain tells me to stop overcomplicating things, but I’m more like... Nah, “how bout I do anyway”. ; )

https://i.imgur.com/CeFXiAf.png

https://i.imgur.com/MbZmIY6.png

https://i.imgur.com/BqbvjMW.png

https://i.imgur.com/bX9qv5x.png

https://i.imgur.com/3UVO5Xy.png

And here are some examples of how do the later parts of the same conversation look like.

https://i.imgur.com/9v0yjqi.png

https://i.imgur.com/SUOZaiZ.png


The development has recently encountered a couple of obstacles and pitfalls, but guess what. I think the new version of the demo is working. : ) It still needs some additional testing, would you like to help me with that?

https://moral-anxiety.itch.io/roadwarden

Does it start for you, can you play it? At one point, the Mac version was crushing out after saving. I hope it’s fixed. : P


And if you wonder what has changed since the last version but you plan to wait for the full game, here are some highlights, just for context:

  • the available content has tripled - you can visit four new areas (each one is significantly different) and engage in three complex dialogues that they involve
  • a completely new music was introduced
  • the in-game journal now includes a chapter that summarizes interesting clues related to various NPCs
  • the inventory screen is completely redesigned and much more convenient
  • area illustration and inventory icons were updated
  • text parser that don’t need to support capital letters, like the one in the dolmen, don’t use them anymore
  • various bits of dialogues and interactions were enhanced
  • various spelling / phrasing fixes
  • new menu screen
  • bugs were eliminated - unless?

Guess what!

Roadwarden can now be wishlisted on Steam!
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1155970/Roadwarden/

https://media.indiedb.com/images/games/1/71/70656/howlersdell03x4.png


I’ve reached a rough spot, since as I share more WIPs from my game, my posts get more and more spoilerish... I need to figure out a new approach. But here is something more casual that I’ve been working on this week! : )
https://i.imgur.com/lbRr9cn.gif


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