Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sometimes I wonder...

...how many fans of ADOM Classic and ADOM II still are out there. The access numbers for the website might be an indication (which would mean that the community really has shrunk tremendously over the years - which would not be that surprising).

In the golden days of ADOM development there were tens of thousands of downloads in the first couple of days after a new release (and huge unknown numbers from dozens of other sites), all that increasing over the weeks and months following a release. Today numbers are much smaller.

Working on the pledge levels and stretch goals for the ADOM Classic crowd funding campaign just got me thinking...


  1. There's much more competition nowadays noble sir... with all those web games and app-markets, downloadable games gotta fight bravely.

  2. There are still a lot of people playing roguelikes, and you've got superb credentials in this little subculture. But there is a lot of competition for attention, and the number of people downloading early versions is probably a lot less than the number waiting to download a more complete game.

    Case in point: I'm planning on buying ADOM II, but I haven't been downloading or playtesting the early versions. Mainly because I don't want to spoil it for myself! I still remember being astonished at the richness of ADOM when I discovered it, and I'm hoping to recapture that sense of wonder. :-)

    And in celebration of your oeuvre, I just completed an UCG ending in ADOM I with a human wizard. The fight with Andor Drakon was surprisingly easy, and even keeping corruption under control was not a big deal. That was the first character I've ever had with a mana score high enough to cast Wish, but by the time I got there, I didn't need anything.

    Courage and thank you!

    1. 100% agreed. I will play ADOM II ideally when it's a more finished product. I'm not much of a beta tester, I'd rather sit with a (almost) finished game and get amazed and overwhelmed :)

    2. Exactly the same thing, even tho my friends download every release. :)

    3. This is my opinion as well - I'm pretty keen on waiting for the 0.9 or 1.0 release before I start playing seriously. The main thing I'm worried about is that the features in the game so far will get "boring"... for example, with the King of Orcs storyline being one of the only ones available at the moment, I'd really prefer to wait until the rest (or more) are added first, just so it's not the same storyline over and over!

      I am planning on spending a few days with the game once both magic and missiles have both been added though.

  3. I have plans to test out ADOM II at some point in the nearish future, I'll definitely want any future ADOM products that come out, and I plan to contribute to the crowdfunding when that comes up.

    That all said, my primary operating system for entertainment these days is Android. If there was an ADOM I could play on Android, I'd pee myself with glee.

  4. TBH, I would buy ADOM or ADOM2 Deluxe or whatever anytime even if I didn't touch the actual game, so you can take some of my money for the years I spent playing ADOM over a decade ago (really??).

    But back on subject - I see Android / iOS version of ADOM as having huge potential if made right (you know, interface would be the most challenging part really). I vaguely remember that you said Thomas, that iOS is where money is at and you will ignore Android. If you do, as I said I'd still buy it (on PC, I don't and will not have a Mac or iPhone) to thank you for your work, but I'd rather see a port for Android so I can play it once again. Why?

    For me mobile gaming is where it's at now a days. My gaming time has become very limited compared to middle school / Uni years after I've grown up, so when I sit to play on my PC I have to moderate and choose what to play since there;s so many games... On the other hand I find myself playing on Android quite a lot while travelling or/and commuting. I sense ADOM has a potential to be a big thing on mobile platforms.

    As you said the community has shrunk. Time for some fresh blood?

  5. I would like to preface this post with a disclaimer that I might be talking out of my ass since I have not yet played any of the games I've named in this post, including ADOM II which I do plan on playing for sure but only when the game approaches it's final state. I have played ADOM though, and I have been following ADOM II's development since it started.

    From what I can tell there are quite a lot of people in the roguelike scene (there's certainly a large following for Dwarf Fortress, Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup, and ToME:4 among others) and I think they will show themselves once ADOM II approaches completion. I assume most people feel it's just not that fun playing an alpha where the game mechanics are not all implemented and the game is still lacking content. When I say "not that fun", I'm speaking relatively; ADOM II could actually be very fun but relative to a fleshed out and polished game like ToME:4 it might be considered as lacking in some respects. This should be perfectly acceptable though as ADOM II is actually lacking, it's lacking code. I don't think it's fair to judge ADOM II's success by how much attention these very early releases are getting. I believe that if ADOM II is a quality game that is actually better than its competition when it is released, then the audience you've been hoping for will show itself and keep growing from word of mouth no matter what kind of hype or following it had during its development. Is it naive of me to think that a game will stand on its own merits, or is hype really a necessary component for success?

  6. Thanks for all the comments. Just to make that clear: I am so far more than happy with the attention ADOM II receives - especially as the game so far really is pretty rough around the edges (carefully speaking) ;-)

    I'm very confident in the great game ADOM II will become and I love every minute I work on it - so there's nothing to lose in that respect.

    I'm just getting nervous about the crowd funding campaign for ADOM - I have ambitious goals with that campaign as I do not believe in doing an inferior job with insufficient resources... so that's why I am wondering.

    I am also very happy with all the feedback concerning

    1. I don't have the time or the methodical, patient nature required to bugcheck an alpha. As deep as DF is, I can only play for a few days every few months before I get frustrated and give up. But in lieu of time, I'd be happy to donate, as long as it gets me closer to a new, playable ADOM.

      It's a great game, but I think one problem, at least for me, is that I'm not comparing it to ToME or Stone Soup, or whatever, I'm comparing it to ADOM. Right now it's very similar to a wonderful game, but just a skeleton. It's like the end of the GTA games, this big open, but empty world, with nothing to do but walk around in.

      Once you put the first few quests in there people like me who'd rather just play ADOM I will start making the switch. Just have the King of the Orcs be the endgame or whatever, so there's a sense of completion to it, then steadily raise the stakes.

      We're out there, I can't imagine anyone who played the original ADOM won't at least give ADOM 2 a look.

  7. I think the ubiquity of mobile devices has played a part. If ADOM I/II ever makes it to ICS/iOS, I'm pretty sure the download numbers will exceed that of the "golden age".

    1. We really have pondered that a lot but we so far failed to find a decent UI for ADOM on a mobile. If anyone has a concept proposal beyond "look at what XXX has done" (except if that is truly great) we are stumped. Because we installed/bought all the other roguelikes out there we could find and they either seem to be incredibly more trivial than ADOM (e.g. you need much less commands) or have horrible and unusable user interfaces. Or is really anyone e.g. playing Nethack on a mobile?`I couldn't bear that for more than two minutes... but maybe I'm getting old ;-)

    2. I fully agree with that. I have tried all the roguelikes I could find for Android, and some of them are quite decent (Legends of Yore for example) but always much simpler than ADOM. Complex roguelikes (such as Nethack ports) are unplayable in practice.

    3. I'm not a designer so I might be just talking out of my arse, but I could see ADOM being released for tablets only (and not mobiles) of 7"+ with around 75% of the screen covered by the actual "gameplay box" with the world, stats etc. and both sides of this way created bezel covered with tons of customizable quickslots for s commands on the right and spells / abilities on the left, with a drop down menu for less often used commands (i.e. check detailed stats of your char, history, questlog, rare kills, achievements if ever implemented etc.)

      On top of that some improvements could be made like drag & drop in the inventory screen not only to stack items, move them around but also "!" (dip) command would essentially be gone in favour of drag & drop. Filtering in the Inventory would be easily solved by icons like bookmarks. "R"ead and such commands would also be long gone (tap on an item, get either a dropdown menu, or simply make double tap a Use Item command).

      I hope we could work out more ideas, community you have Thomas is great at that :)

      Anyway just some late night rambling from me :)

  8. I play both ADOM and ADOM II - but as my primary home computer is a Linux box I have had to wrestle with the Java Web Start each time for ADOM II and that limits my play attempts for II. :-) So, needless to say, I am looking forward to the 0.3 installer.

  9. I suspect you'll see a jump at 0.4 when mages are added

  10. Going JAVA was an epic blunder. Getting ADOM II running is seriously confusing-- most the time it involves updating java. This is something I'd really rather not do, since ADOM II is the *only* thing I ever use Java for. It's like buying a sledgehammer to kill a housefly. ADOM II comes a decade after ADOM, and yet because of the Java choice, it runs significantly slower, even at a stage when it's doing LESS than the original ADOM did.

    1. The occasional slowness comes from less than perfect programming in most cases (and the last releases IMHO have been very fast, there were some problems before though... but hey, it's 0.2.x ;-) ).

      You will be pleased with the new installer. It's way better than Webstart. I hate that, too.

  11. I'd say lack of interst in ADoM right now is because the original ADoM hasn't been updated in a long time, and the new one, well, as you said, right now is "rough around the edges" to put it mildly ;). Perhaps the way to go would be to revive it first and campaign later?

    What I would propose is: release ADoM 1.2.0 first. Release would contain some of those bugfixes Jochen is doing, an optimally a feature or two if at all possbile. Personally I'd suggest autoexplore and/or go to stairs up/down, as it currently is in ADoM 2. That would surely get some publicity - ADoM still alive, now with autoexplore and less bugs!

    And with this new publicity and hopefully increased numbers... start crowdfunding then.

    1. I think this is a very good idea, even without any new feature. Just a bugfixed version so that the word gets out (and you can also see the download stats) in order to prepare the crowdfunding campaign.

    2. I also think ADoM 1.2 is much more important than ADoM II now. Bug fixes will be enough for the fans to start downloading and eventually donating.
      I'm sure even some small new features or improvements will lead to big enthusiasm.
      I'm sure you can do this for 3-4 days.
      I also cannot see much people playing ADoM II until we have bigger community, documentation, guides and tutorials.

      If you announce an ADoM campaign, I'll be afraid that you'll not be able to work together on ADoM 1 and ADoM 2.

    3. I'd donate if an ADOM update came out. Disability doesn't pay much but I can kick what I can to you.

  12. The adom forums are dead. #adom on irc.freenode.net is
    dead. The only chat within the last few days has been
    pessimism regarding clownfunding. The newsgroup died
    long ago and the only ones that return to kick it are
    grey, myself, and Russian wife peddlers.

    Maybe adom's target audience is broke college kids, and
    they are too poor to charge their laptop batteries. Any
    large sums of video game $ they encounter will go toward
    FPS gameplay abominations that have pretty 3D graphics.
    Charge lower $ amounts.

    1. I offer a possible alternative:

      The adom server usually had 1 to 3 people playing
      at any point in time. That is considering that it
      was free, but it was also unofficial, minimally
      advertised, moderately difficult to connect,
      offered no adom content update, and was located
      in Finland (meaning ping times of > 250 ms for a
      US guy like me). A US server came later and was
      just as popular. These servers consumed VERY few
      resources. I think one would probably run fine on
      a $7.50 per month vps.

      Please consider creating one or two official adom
      servers. The code for the existing servers could
      probably be obtained by just asking. Provide for
      the server a single adom *CONTENT* update, even a
      small one, and see if it makes money. If it
      doesn't, you only lost $8 and whatever time you
      spent on a small content update.

      Even a broke college kid could pay a $2 per month
      server subscription fee (at least for some months),
      so all it would take to turn a profit would be 4
      buys per month. If anyone bemoans the fact that
      only the server gets the latest content, we would
      remind them that the server is the only reason
      there is any new content at all. This strategy
      will not offer the (delusional) dollar amounts
      that clownfunding seems to, but there is a lot
      to be said for being realistic.

  13. I have to say ADOM II doesn't excite me much yet. Perhaps you could tell that on the podcast I didn't ask you many questions about it... It seems such a long way off from being the fun game that ADOM is. Plus, in general the current design approach of "ADOM but bigger" does little to interest me. Roguelikes have changed so much in the last 10 years, and ADOM II doesn't offer any of the innovation seen in the rest of the genre. It's just a fairly standard fantasy simulator at the moment, and though it has scale it really lacks depth. But I'm hoping that the current development is just a bedrock for more exciting things in the future.

    Mind you, the problem could just be it lacks a magic system at the mo. Wizards are by far my most played class in ADOM. I almost never touch melee classes, as I find bump to attack to be fairly monotonous. So, uh, hurry up with a magic system already :P I care not for these piddly swords and arrows! ;)

  14. I suspect a lot of the lack of interest just now is that ADOM II is so far from being finished. It's still pretty much pointless to play anything other than a troll monk, there isn't enough variety in monsters, and permadeath and stat drains are huge turn-offs. I enjoy the game well enough and still play old ADOM now and then, but I hope to enjoy this game much more when you've implemented more of the features.

  15. I'm going to have to agree on with most of these points. I didn't start playing ADOM until somewhere in .9 and it was always the depth of story and mystery that got me. Nethack and some of the other ones always seemed flat afterwards. ADOM was a world with a story not just random levels that you had to race through or starve to death.

    Right now ADOM II is just a new engine. It is bright and shiny and putters along right now, but it doesn't have a soul yet and won't really until the world becomes more firm.

    No one ever praised ADOM for its technical perfection or innovative interface. Saving the Carpenter from his madness, seeking out the wisdom of the Mad Minstrel, pawning everything off to a ratling trader, throwing rocks, sticks--absolutely anything at a karmic lizard, and never ever ever hitting a cat. That's what I remember.

    Tell us a story, a new story (or more of the same story just later), and we'll go along for the ride. Creator, Coder, Rule-Giver, all these apply to Thomas Biskup. But the one I believe gave us all most joy was Dungeon Master.