On Steam Greenlight:
Our unexpected but indisputable success (so far) on Steam Greenlight (I'm once more excited, elated and extremely happy every time I look at the statistics) by so far reaching rank #11 out of so many titles is flattering and a big responsibility. I want the first ADOM Steam release to be truly excellent as that will be the impression we will be giving to a much larger audience and as the saying goes: "You don't get a second chance for a first impression".
Here's the chart I forgot in the last update - as usual ADOM is bright green and the others are the titles at rank #5, #10, #15, #20 and #100:
Next are the top 10 - an awesome chance and honor for the brief amount of time we have been on Steam :-) Hopefully we make that goal, too.
As a consequence of the success so far I have postponed the work I originally intended to do this and next month - finishing ADOM Lite RPG and the majority of the other physical rewards from the crowd funding campaign. IMHO it's an important (and somewhat painful) step in order to focus all energies on the upcoming Steam release (for the reasons mentioned above).
In the past week I have spent endless hours trying to build up a press mailer, contacts and new social connections (mostly on Twitter, LinkedIn is still on my to do list) and this work slowly is starting to show some results. In the future I plan to have set up an automated press release and news distribution system in order to regularly contact important sites and outfits. Marketing, publicity and visibility (sadly) are a major important point for the success and longevity of ADOM and so it's only correct to spend more time on that.
on IndieDB I wish folks would be doing more to increase our visibility - sometimes it seems that it would be better to stop all our download servers and stuff in order to redirect traffic to important social nodes), we are on LGDB, we have a news posting on PCGamesN (yeah, I posted that), gamershell posted a short note and KillScreen had a short note. Also the Octopus Overlords chose us for their Lime Greenlight list (here and here). Additionally several reviews promised to provide coverage within the next week or two - keep your fingers crossed! If you know of other important sites or persons I should get into contact with let me know. Sadly so far from about 150 press contacts I collected only a very few responded (which is natural - this is hard work and needs time).
On ADOM Development:
The next additions to the game will be mostly related to making an awesome first show on Steam but naturally will also be beneficial to the free version of ADOM (at least some of those things).
In parallel I'm working on three major enhancements for the graphical mode of ADOM (and maybe at some point also for ASCII mode), all related to mouse support (which I then need Jochen and Zeno to integrate with NoteEye):
- Hovering over a position for a moment shall bring up information similar to the look command.
- Right clicking on tile shall bring up an information window with both the information from #1 and a context dependent list of useful commands you might be able to execute,
- Left clicking on the PC shall bring up an information with both the information from #1 and a context dependent list of commands to access the various information screens regarding the PC.
This is yet another thing to make ADOM more accessible to casual gamers (and naturally will also require more hints in the tutorial mode).
On NotEye Development / the graphical mode:
Zeno has been spending a lot of energy to port NotEye from SDL 1 to SDL 2. The results are awe-inspiring. Not only has performance at least doubled (wait for the next release :-) ) but now we also are back in the race for an iPad version of ADOM at some point (there were problems with SDL 1). This in turn adds fuel to the fires of two secret and yet unannounced future sub projects regarding ADOM I will talk about at some later point. And we can add a lot more animation stuff in the future as performance really is so much better.
On the rest of Team ADOM:
Both Lucas and Krys are doing work in their respective areas. Krys right now is very busy doing some additional graphical stuff and he has been very involved in considering a much better UI for ADOM. He churned out a number of very interesting proposals and we'll see where this is heading. Lucas is working on more soundtracks and sound effects (his pet quibble - his experiments to create new effects are awesome). And Jochen as usual is all over the place, especially now looking into the Steam API.
On Steam consequences:
There are other consequences of hopefully going to Steam:
- I finally need to tackle the issue of save file compatibility. As most Steam players use the auto-update feature we no longer can afford to give a heck about save file compatibility. Personally I hate having to do this as the efforts required in keeping save files really are huge. For the sake of it I looked at the Angband sources and looked at their code for loading and saving games and it's so frustratingly trivial to what I need to do in ADOM that I could scream. The code required to load and save games in ADOM is about 10 to 15 times the size of the Angband code. Which might give you an idea about the energy it will take to keep that stuff compatible. Nonetheless I'm afraid we need to do that.
- I'm planning special community features besides the achievements system and shared high scores I already mentioned elsewhere: I want to have player Ghosts that can migrate between Steam players (I'm looking forward to all kinds of funny new death experiences) and we are thinking about several collaborative game modes as well as a weekly dungeon challenge where you can play but once for a given week, with similar starting conditions and must try to be as successful as possible within the context of a single dungeon. We'll see how all that works out.
On other gaming outlets:
Once we have the first Steam version out I'm very hopeful to next move to GOG and Desura in increasing speed. The first time is the most difficult one ;-)
On more marketing:
I have been considering to go to Gamescom Cologne in Germany this year, maybe even as an exhibitor. Any opinions on that? The cost is quite a challenge (probably around 3000-5000 Euro minimum, work not included, maybe twice that) and it probably would be more reasonable to do that after a successful Steam release. On the other hand it is the one big chance to get lots of media contacts and as a consequence hopefully a lot of coverage - so it might be worth the gamble. Or not. Feedback very welcome.
On secret projects:
There are two of them. Both very directly related to ADOM - so work on them actually is mostly work on ADOM (no more side trek projects that never get finished ;-) ). One already is in the demo stage, the other in preplanning. If I were to say more, I'd have to kill you :-) We'll see...