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. : )
Please let me know what you think and you have any questions!
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!
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.
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.
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!!!)
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?
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:
...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?
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!
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.
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.
After finishing with this place, I took some time to draw. Two completely different areas:
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:
And you can see how much your feedback can impact the picture.
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:
The Roadwarden's world is growing! New areas are now also visible on the traveling map.
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.
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.
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.
The dialogue I'm currently working on... Is referencing Scottish accents too cliche for fantasy writing in 2019? : P
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:
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.
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.
My English improves with practice, and I have in plans taking a huge step back and editing the entire tutorial section. Yikes.
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.
New inventory section! It still requires some improvements, but it’s not too bad!
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?
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
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
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.
The game’s world keeps growing... And it makes me super happy. ^^
October is moving forward really well. The major part of the watchtower scenes is already in to the game.
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.
And also, I’ve added two new tracks to the game’s Soundcloud. They’re worth checking out. ^^
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...
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.
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.
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.
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. ^^
I have just this little thing to share, a hidden in-game detail.
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.
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?
How do you play your role?
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. : )
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:
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.
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”. ; )
And here are some examples of how do the later parts of the same conversation look like.
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?
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:
Roadwarden can now be wishlisted on Steam!
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! : )
In the original [b]Roadwarden[/b]’s Design Document, there were no game-overs. You could get significantly hurt during your journeys, but never to the point where you’d face a brick wall that would make the further progress impossible. You need to rest and heal your wounds to participate in some events, but you can always move forward.
I’ve finally decided to change it. In most situations, reaching 0 HP won’t result in an instant death. But in some scripted encounters - usually when facing an overwhelming opponent while being completely unprepared - your character will be broken.
Still, I hope to make it as player-friendly as possible. Did you forget to save your game? Was autosave ran in an inconvenient spot? You can jump back in time a bit, no strings attached.
The game now also involves some new systems, like a redesigned “armor level”. I’ll talk more about it in the next devlog.
Roadwarden looks much better now, all thanks to the new font. : ) The text has more space to breathe, the letters have more personality, and thanks to the serifs, it's going to be easier to keep track of the lines you read. Everybody wins.
Other changes were introduced as well, such as the new addition to the inventory screen - when you now point at any icon, the item's name is instantly displayed, so you don't have to click anything if you try to quickly find something in your equipment.
I currently write dialogues, quests and stores for the game's largest area, it's quite exhausting, and I try to avoid spoilers. : P However, you can expect more posts very soon.
For this ScreenshotSaturday, I have a rather large update. And a lot of pictures to show. Too many for a forum post. Oh dear, that must mean... It's devlog time!
https://moral-anxiety.itch.io/roadwarden/devlog/121089/buried-in-words-roadwarden-devlog]And here it is!
I wrote about the map updates, the new armor system, UI adjustments, the new Journal, the most recent WIPs, and recapped the stuff related to the game over screens and the new font.
I took a little break from writing and drew some new areas. One of them is this abandoned fishing hamlet that I really like.
Places like this one are somewhat common in this fantasy realm. No village can have access to all the goods it requires to prosper, but daily travels for additional resources can turn out to be fatally dangerous. If a village has enough working power and supplies, it will sometimes start a new, small settlement focused on a specific field of work.
You can find among them mines, quarries, and brickworks, but also houses for hunters, lumberjacks, and charcoal burners, as well as temporary shelters for workers who build bridges or roadside inns. The fishing hamlet we see here allowed the locals to fish, and to preserve their meat by curing and smoking.
The game has grown tremendously, though I try to keep everything spoiler-free. : ) For now, how about a tune?
We want our music to be subtle, not bluntly cheerful, nor overwhelming tense. The today's example is on the "brighter" side, but we still tried to hide some uncertainty in it. Is "post rock folk" a thing?
Villages in Roadwarden are secluded and often self-sufficient, doing their best to utilize their landscape and the nearby resources to their advantage. This also results in the common distrust of strangers, especially of those who attempt to shake the status quo.
Even the smaller settlements need to have their guard up, but the high walls are often not enough to keep the beasts, undead, and highwaymen at a distance.
I'm glad you think so, Doubleton, I'm sorry that I respond so late. : )
The latest Roadwarden devlog is now available. About the new notifications, clock, font, world map updates, and more.
I’ve made some fantastic progress this week, but I’m especially happy with introducing the new continue button. One of the best things about making a game that doesn't use a lot of hardware is that you can make it run almost instantly. You won't have to remember where has your last save occurred or which save slot you have used - just click and play.
Also, I don’t think there will be a reason to add some semi-skippable animated company logos whenever the game launches, so all it takes from the moment you press the game’s icon to the moment you’re in is like 10-15 seconds. : P
Thank you, JonQ! I really feel like I've went a looong way, and now the future looks bright. : )
Here's an example: the Clean Spear inn. From February 2019 to May 2020.
The new version of Roadwarden’s demo is now available on Steam. https://store.steampowered.com/app/1155970/Roadwarden/
An additional area to explore, more things to do, better writing, upgraded UI, improved visuals. I’d love to know what you think. : )
The Roadwarden’s world map keeps its original size in the game, so most of its details won’t be noticed without putting your nose against the screen. It’s a shame, honestly, but my goal is to convey the impression of shifting landscape, not to portray the “realistic” geography.
Unlike most people, the monks learn to be satisfied with what’s essential for their survival, the simplest foods and shelters. They seek happiness in understanding and accepting things as they are, hidden both in nature and between the lines of the sacred scriptures, studying the mysteries of the world - herbs, crops, magic, beasts, metallurgy...
Many of the monasteries are placed on the outskirts of civilization, where the monks explore and tame the unknown grounds. They expect that the other settlements, especially those which focus on food production, will provide for them. In return, the order shares with such villages the fruits of its research, from general guidance to specific inventions.
The monks see themselves as responsible for broadening the potential of humankind, even though this perspective is rarely shared by those who don’t follow the teachings of the Church of Truth. Disbelievers claim that too many of the orders aim to gather resources beyond their needs, discarding their grand ideas, and reveal just the scraps of their research, and only when they can’t parasitize their neighbors any further. The lack of transparency sparks distrust, fear, and in some cases - hostility.
Humans try to mark their presence in the world, but their memories and tales dwindle, their bodies wither away, their homes and statues turn into dust.
The wilderness prevails, indifferent like time.
The Foggy Lake tavern is one of the younger shelters that the roadwarden can visit during their patrols. It used to be a single hut used by the hunters and woodcutters from the nearby village, but quickly proved to be useful for trading. It provided the locals with a spot to barter or, once the palisade was raised, to spend a night and feast.
Foggy, a huntress and a fisher, has decided to invest into a more durable building, and then moved in as the keeper. She hopes to turn this place into a large inn, or maybe even a new settlement, though so far it’s a distant dream. While the nearby wilderness is rather gentle and the beasts keep their distance, the open access to the lake remains a threat to the dwellers. They leave this place at the end of every fall, moving back in the early thaw. The won’t risk being cut away from their old home for months.
The actual lake doesn’t have a name, but Foggy is a bit vain. Since she knows a lot about the settlements in the North, it may be better to stay on her good side.
You can now find the newest Roadwarden devlog on https://moral-anxiety.itch.io/roadwarden/devlog/176144/invisible-milestones-roadwarden-devlog , with updates on the new approach to the character’s goals, the crossbow rework, the heart of the forest, the game’s release date, and more!
I’m having a crazy month, but I’ve managed to test some new things.
The new d6 icon, that both makes it clear that a choice has a random chance attached to it, and allows me to alter some of the older choices to make them more interesting. It’s especially useful in combat - and gambling.
The new “wait” option, a quality-of-life addition to the UI.
A WIP illustration. I’m struggling to find a balance between the chaos and emptiness of the wilderness. I'll need to rework it, but I think it's an interesting attempt.
October will be one of the loosest months I’ll have in 2020, so I’ll be able to finally focus on the game’s development. I can’t even express how happy I am. ^^
Three inns, three different opportunities to hide from the creatures of the night.
The obvious differences are the room prices, HP restoration values, and the “breakfast included” service. But there’s more - sleeping in some spots involves unique encounters and conversations, and the prices and benefits change as the player befriends the owners of these places.
There are also other areas in the game where the player can find a shelter, but they usually involve a more effort before they get unlocked.
One of the things that I really like about the game’s fantasy setting is its almost-post-apocalyptic feel. The overgrowing roads, the abandoned ruins, the secluded settlements, terrifying nights, and the scarcity of resources... Yet it’s not a result of a divine will, a random cataclysm, or of some plan orchestrated by an evil overlord. It’s just a harsh place to live in, and it shapes those who try to do so.
The roadwarden is not an almighty hero. While their journeys connect the few tamed scraps of the land, they keep fighting to survive and to achieve their goals, not to conquer the world or to change the “natural” order. There could be thousands of people like them alive, the realm would still struggle. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to accept it.