Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year (& short review of 2014)

A Happy New Year to everyone!

2015 is upon us and I am very determined to make this the best ADOM year ever (together with my compatriots in Team ADOM).
First of all a quick review of 2014 - where did we succeed and where did we fail?
  • We released ADOM nine times (about every 5.2 weeks) in 2014. Which is pretty good. We were a bit irregular in the intervals but that's based on the fact that various changes to the game had a very different complexity.
  • ADOM has grown by leaps and bounds. Art by now is awesome (if you ask me), we have a great soundtrack and the NotEye integration has matured so much. As a consequence the UI has gained tons of enhancements and ADOM is a very different game than in 2013 UI-wise (e.g. due to the addition of context menus, a tutorial mode, hints, new message modes, variations on more-handling, a centralized entry point for all player data, new movement commands but also graphical enhancements like spell animations and spell runes).
  • We have fixed hundreds of bugs, implemented hundreds of new features (e.g. achievements with lots of thoughts having been put into a fun achievement system, challenge mode) and again worked a lot on stability issues. The downside is that lots of content promised in the crowd funding campaign still is missing as we put so much energy in art, sound and UI.
  • ADOM is almost on Steam... we stormed through Greenlighting in record time and we have started the beta test for Steam. On the downside ADOM is not yet available on Steam but by now I am very happy that we missed my deadline for the pre-Christmas release as we probably would have been drowned in all those sales things. Much better to start in January. The ADOM Steam group also is up. Getting prepared for the real Steam release was a totally different beats and cost me quite a bit of money and time to get everything prepared correctly so that afterwards there won't be any legal or tax surprises. Actually it cost several months of time which I totally did not expect when starting out with this. The second time will be much easier though ;-)
  • ADOM RPG still is not there, but it's next on my list after we are on Steam. At least there is an unboxing video of an early print as a proof of its existence.
  • We increased ADOM visibility by providing ADOM downloads on IndieDB. ADOM even made it into the urban dictionary :-)
  • ADOM made it into the top 100 on IndieDB but sadly not much further... room to improve ;-)
  • We changed the ADOM version numbering scheme to something easier to grasp for wider audiences (and still keep internal technical numbers). Sounds like a small thing in retrospective but the discussions were quite emotional :-)
  • My mother died. This threw me off for months and sapped my strength and motivation greatly. Worst thing to happen to me in many years and I still have pretty grim moods. Cost so much time planned for ADOM progress but sometimes life sucks big time. Nothing you can do about it. Enough said about this.
So what are we trying to achieve for ADOM in 2015 (it's going to be a tremendously work-intense year to make all this happen but we really want to push the limits and get things done):
  • will receive a new website. Modern. Beautiful. Krys' design is breath-taking and this is one of the most important things to now get shipped to prepare for the Steam release and to present ADOM as a modern and beautiful game. Coming real soon now!
  • ADOM will launch on Steam. We now are in the Steam beta test and I expect another round or two of this to iron out stability issues, performance issues and meet UI requirements of players in a perfect way but it will be worth it. No illusions about this one: Our success on Steam (and following on that on Desura, GOG and maybe others) definitely will shape the future of ADOM as all members of Team ADOM have invested way more time in this than covered by the crowdfunding campaign and we need to secure more funding to keep up a steady stream of improvements and evolution.
  • ADOM RPG will be finished after we have launched on Steam. This is the next big one for me. Definitely should get finished in the first quarter of 2015 and shipped in the second quarter (with printing and all).
  • Then (probably partially in parallel) the other physical and virtual crowd funding rewards finally will get out of the door with the boxed sets probably being the last thing close to the end of the year.
  • Over the course of the year ADOM now mainly will grow content-wise. There are still so many quests and new maps to be added as a result of the crowd funding campaign and by now I'm really itching to move the ADOM story forward and add tons of new content. This will happen all the time and I will put up a new milestone for all the features to be covered by this in our issue tracker.
Looking at this list many of the things are similar to ones planned for 2014 but hopefully this time no new personal disaster will cause me to deviate from that plan. Sorry for the delays is all I can say but there was not much I could do about it and I sincerely hope that you nonetheless are happy about all the things we made happen (instead of being too annoyed about the ones that got delayed).

By the end of 2015 I would like to blog a summary stating "The resurrection has been completed". We'll see if I succeed in this but I hope for less dramatic interruptions than during the abysmal 2014.

So let's move forward! Axes High!


  1. Hi Thomas!

    I completely agree with you in that Adom has become really amazing during the past year. I, like many of my friends, were very hesitant about the new graphical UI, but after seeing it evolve, I have to admit we were wrong. The new graphical UI is amazing. I probably am not going to use ASCII mode anymore since the GUI is much more easier to use and looks really much nicer. The healthbars shown in the UI were really the killer feature since it was really difficult to obtain that information with the ascii UI.

    There is only one last thing that annoys me with the graphical interface: the moving/attacking animations are really slow. For a player of adom for over like 10 years, using GUI slows me down. With ascii mode I can move instant, but GUI mode is sluggish. Would it be possible to either increase speed of the moving animation or provide some kind of pro feature to allow changing that speed? (Or just removing animation altogether for instant moving effect).

    On a side note, Adom on Steam will be the imho the best thing has ever happened to adom. If you play your cards right, you will very likely get nice funding for future development. But just please: do not make the it too cheap and don't go in for the sales campaigns early on! At some point, I would LOVE to see ADOM in Humble Bundle deals, but not right now.

    Also, please, please please make Adom RPG available in future deals! I'm 1000% sure there are a lot of folks who would be willing to pay for bundles involving either Adom RPG as standalone or Adom Steam + RPG. I know you have the idea of giving it only a one print, but as you have already put a lot of energy on designing it then why not allowing more people to benefit from your work?

    Please keep up the good work and thank you for making one of the best games ever.

    1. Thanks for the kind words :)

      About the PnP RPG part - as much as I love the idea, I'm not sure if it will ever be redistributed in this way, or any other.

      Quoting from the Indiegogo campaign description (Seeker level):

      "This is the only opportunity to receive the RPG - it never again will be reprinted or distributed!"

    2. The pricing topic really is an interesting one. I've heard everything from "$4.99 is the most I ever would pay for a game" over "$14.99 - are you nuts?" to "$29.99 is not too expensive". Personally I still tend towards $14.99 but this probably will be decided on the final day before launching as there just do not seem to be too many hard facts lending to one opinion or another ;-)

    3. Oh, and please file an RFE to make the animation speed configurable via adom.cfg or via some direct hot key. Use :-)

  2. @Jaakko: you can already change the animation speed! Just open the NotEye menu with "Ctrl+m", then "o" for the animation menu and "m" for movement animations. Change the value to 10000 and the movement animation should now be much faster than before.

    You can also modify other animation speeds there (e.g. for projectiles).

    1. Thanks a lot! I wasn't aware of this, but it was exactly was I was looking for.

      These kind of power user options are something I personally do appreciate and for me it fixes the problem. However, I would encourage you to ask from a bunch of people: if this is something that is generally considered as annoying then maybe tweak up the default a little bit too? :)

  3. Ooh, lost my long and hopefully encouraging post when signing in, oops. But happy new year, keep up the good work!

    In brief: great job, so glad to be a part, as a backer not worried if you reprint ADOM-RPG after all or make digital or new version 2.0 especially if you can profit from it, Steam success is still amazing to me, don't price it too low, always easier to lower than raise prices.Steam 4-pack to share with friends is fun, if it works out.

    Keep up the good work, and lots of gratitude for this project and the years of work it's based on! Thanks Thomas and full team!

  4. The "abysmal" 2014 has seen more and better progress than perhaps any year prior to that. If you really consider it that bad I can only look forward to 2015 with all my heart!