Mid-April Update

Hey guys,

I’m afraid not much has changed since the last update. We’re still all doing our best to support Crimson, who to their credit remains resolute in completing their work. But as we know, this means all we can do is wait, unless some bit of luck befalls us, since to remain fed and housed Crimson needs to perform other work as well. The whole team, myself included, seem to be going through it at the moment, but Carnal Souls remains our goal. I cannot express my thanks and gratitude for the support and well-wishes you’ve all provided here. Trust me when I say it really keeps us going. I couldn’t be more grateful for the supportive and friendly community we have. <3

Last week we talked about rolls and skill checks, and there was a lot of interesting feedback and presented ideas. For clarity, if there is to be any actual dice-rolling (a la Roll20’s 3D dice feature) this will absolutely have the option to be disabled. At heart the question was more central around whether any random chance should be included at all.

Largely the response has been positive, and most of you seem to like the idea. I do too. I think these events will be largely flavour, at most dealing/receiving extra damage or receiving some kind of buff/debuff. Obviously we don’t want there to ever be the temptation of save-scumming for a particular critical success that lands you with a cool item or something. Personally, I’m not a fan of critical failures in combat, not even when any enemy performs one, but they can be fun and interesting for skill checks. So, at least combat-wise, expect there to be the potential for critical-hits, but not critical-misses.

As for rolls themselves, I think it’s important to show the numbers somewhere in order to establish some faith. I might ramble a bit here about game design stuff. Extra Credits has some interesting videos on these topics. But what I mean by faith is that, with random chance, there’s usually a probability that at some point the player will hit a run of bad or good luck and begin to believe that the RNG is biased in some way. And, in some cases, it actually is. In pokemon, your chance to escape increases with each attempt to flee. The probability an attack will miss is drastically lower if you missed last turn, just as it’s almost impossible to critically hit twice in a row. When walking in tall grass, the probability a wild pokemon appears is 0% for a short time after a battle with one ended, so the player has a chance to move and progress before being jumped again.

I think, for CS, I would like skill checks to be truly random (or at least as truly random as we can manage programmatically, but unbiased is the important part). They’ll not appear often enough to require fudging one way or the other, and I believe the results of the roll are what will determine how it feels over the roll itself. The previously-linked video on the delta of randomness is a good example of what I mean. For instance, I don’t think I’m alone in hating forced failures in games, where you’re pitted against an unbeatable opponent just because it’s a plot point that you should lose. This can be incredibly frustrating if it’s presented as a fight you can win. Having a skill check that always happens to fail because failing it progresses the story is some bad design in my opinion (just as it is for 100% success, but that feels less terrible, admittedly). Things like that remove agency and railroad the player into a certain path regardless of their actions. I’m a firm believer that the game should never take the controller out of the player’s hands, for any purpose.

Instead, I want skill checks to be representitive of opportunities the player character has to make some action or decision not otherwise afforded by the standard game mechanics. Perhaps a sneaky type will see an opportunity while speaking to an official to pick his pocket, gaining a key which will speed up their progress later, or potentially getting caught and risking a fight or flee situation. Or, perhaps on the run from some terrible beastie, there are skill checks that play to the character’s strengths and weaknesses. With high strength, there’s a check to see if you can bulldoze your way through a fence to try and lose the pursuer, and failing will mean stumbling and it gaining on you. Or if you’re nimble, hopping over said fence instead and taking a tumble if you fail the check. Critical successes and failures could push those results a little further in either direction, but never directly resulting in a major win or loss. At worst, they should provide something to which the player can then adapt.

I haven’t managed a great deal of sleep recently, so I apologise if this post is a bit more rambly and disjointed than usual. I think it’s a cool thing including you all in my design thoughts and processes, and I always enjoy reading your feedback.

Until next time!

14 Responses to “Mid-April Update”

  1. Anon says:

    I’ve been following this game for quite some time now. The visions and concepts you have for the game seem great, but the lack of actual progress is what keeps me from supporting the game. I don’t know how the game still gets as much support as it does on patreon at this point with the lack of even a playable demo at this point.

    I understand the complexity of creating a game. But there are so many games out there right now that are similar to yours with not as much financial backing, that are producing content at a reasonable pace.

    How many obstacles does it take to take a (nearly) funded game on indiegogo to go from “6-8 months” for a playable demo, to over 2-3 years?

    I really hope you and your team continue working on this game, but I’m just not sure how people still back it when all your supporters have gotten is more and more concepts and ideas, with no actual progress.

    Sorry for the rant, I’m just concerned about the game more than anything. I don’t want to see all of these concepts and ideas get cancelled one day.

    • Benji says:

      If you feel other projects are more worthy, I encourage you and anyone else to support them instead. These projects and games, we’re all only here because people want us to be. While CS remains supported, we will continue to do everything we can to see this game released. If the problems we’ve encountered or the progress doesn’t agree with you, you said it yourself, there’s plenty other titles out there that could do with support.

  2. Nixilis says:

    I like the idea of successes and failures, and the idea of dice-rolling to make it a more fully-fledged roleplaying experience. Hopefully Crimson can get the updates soon so that the rest of you can get working again. I wish I could offer more insight but I am a tabletop newbie myself, so I will continue to watch and hope that you all succeed!

  3. Def says:

    There’s just one thing I don’t get. Main problem with text games is, of course, filling them with enough text. And, well, you can’t build up a technical side right now, what’s stopping you from writing scenes? I am fairly certain that adapting an already written scene for parser system is much easier than writing it from scratch. Texts will be your next big bottleneck when engine is finished.

    • Benji says:

      You’re not wrong. I have a good amount prepped in various stages. New content will always be an ongoing process, but I’ve got a good amount planned/drafted/prepared for when it’s ready to go in to kick things off. There can always be more, though.

      • Def says:

        Thank you for your reply. Since you didn’t mention this in updates, I didn’t realise you were doing exactly that.
        Maybe you could reflect your progress with scenes in updates? It would give a sense of advancement.

        • Benji says:

          I tend to avoid it, since I’d prefer to have the content unspoiled when it’s playable, and I don’t want to say ‘I’ve been working on writing this scene but you can’t see it’. But there are some written stories up, more supplemental stuff than actual scenes, that I’ve included in updates before.

  4. Def says:

    Fair enough. I would rather have a really vague description, like “wrote two scenes this period”, than nothing, but you’re the boss.
    Good luck to your team.

    • Benji says:

      I’ll give it some thought, regardless. Thanks. 🙂

      • DMC 4EVER UCCI says:

        I second this. Sometimes fenoxo does a lot in his own updates is like “yo I wrote 8000 words today” and even tho we cant read them yet obviously, it makes us feel like the game is continually been worked on in some way or another, they’re never really halting progress, whether with text, art or code.

  5. Greyvan says:

    Hey Benji, I do like random in games, but there’s one question I have to ask.

    Have you thought about adding an auto-success result if your stat is really higher than the requirement ?

    I’ve seen a lot of games where, even if you have let say 50 in agility, you can fail a +10 agility test just because the dice doesn’t like you and it’s pretty annoying, for me x)

    I don’t now if it’s clear, english is not my native language.

    By the way, my prayers are with you and Crimson for everything you’re going through.

    • Benji says:

      Thank you very much. <3

      I am considering an auto-success, yes. It's no fun just to fail arbitrarily when it's something your character should be able to do.

      Also your english is fine. 🙂

      • Lusetifan says:

        It will make it more complex and take time, but why not make it so even if your character should be able to. Then there might also be something to counter it?

        I mean, let’s say your character to dodge an incoming object needs agility or something to do so. They should be able to since well, they meet all requirements behind the screen.
        But because they might be, let’s say very tired, blinded or inflated and very heavy. They have to make a normal check or might outright just fail, as they’d be to slow, unable to tell where to dodge and might dodge into the object etc.

        Just my two cents; If you can automatically win a check, it should take into account some minor things there might invalidate said winning check, within reason.

  6. Panre says:

    The main character will be treated differently depending on his race and gender?

    We have succubi and incubi. Will there be imps?

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