ADOM II Deluxe

ADOM II Deluxe is the commercialized edition of ADOM II: Legends of Ancardia (formerly known as JADE, Java-based Ancient Domains Engine), the successor to the incredibly well received ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery).

Does this mean that the free edition of JADE will go away or be a kind of crippleware? No, not by any definition. ADOM II Deluxe (A2D for short) will contain a number of deluxe features that get implemented as they seem to be of interest for the people out there who some more comfort (like an installer), some "unroguelike" features (like the ability to restore a game from a save point) and some advanced stuff (like means to program extensions). Otherwise I intend to keep ADOM II and ADOM II Deluxe more or less the same. Both versions also will get parallel releases (e.g. ADOM II x.y.z will be released at the same time as ADOM II Deluxe x.y.z).

Additionally A2D will allow for commercial support for the game by selling licenses that entail the advantage listed below. (Additionally I would love to see if a roguelike game can be as successful as Minecraft ;-) Should that happen I promise to ensure that ADOM will get continuous and regular support and development for years to come!).

So how will licensing of ADOM II Deluxe work? After quite a bit of suggestions and discussions on this page, the blog and Facebook I have decided to propose a new licensing model:

  • ADOM II Deluxe will be licensable with a life-long license for a base price of 7.95 EUR.
  • ADOM II Deluxe will allow for additional add-on modules which cost a tiny bit more (e.g. an option to save and restore games at arbitrary points instead of permadeath for something like 2.95 EUR, rare special classes, special game modes like the Eternium Man challenge, etc.). None of that should effect the main game as I really do not want to fragment the game - the add-on stuff will be for the hardcore fans and those who crave for very special challenges).
  • ADOM II Deluxe might become available with nightly builds for some special fee (less than 1 EUR per month or so) that gives you access to nightly builds, special bonuses on special days (like e.g. Creator's Day, etc.).
What do you get for your money for the basic license?
  • (Right away) A life long license. Which is important as JADE: The Ultimate will not contain all the features right away but rather will also get extended with each major release a little more. By entering the bout early on you benefit from a reduced price.
  • (Scheduled for JADE 0.3.0) An installer instead of the current JavaWeb Start (JWS) based approach which seems to carry a number of inconveniences for various people. I will use the BitRock installer builder for the installers so there you get a list of supported operating systems (e.g. Windows, Mac and Linux).
  • (Scheduled for JADE 0.3.x) Persistent storage of your game preferences (e.g. everything you can configure via the 'Views' menu).
  • (Scheduled for JADE 0.4.x) A means to restart the game after your death without having to completely reload it.
  • (Scheduled for JADE 0.5.x) A means to extend JADE with Java programmed modules provided by others.
  • (Scheduled even later) A small number of UI enhancements (like more options on how to generate your starting character).
So far my planning. I'm open for suggestions and we will see how things work out.


  1. Please don't include an option to access earlier saves; I will be tempted to use it, and I really don't want to. I'm interested to know what your reasoning is regarding that specific feature? It seems very out of place, and I hope you don't include it simply to have something to include. I know that I am going to buy a license as soon as I get home simply because of all the hours on end you have given me in ADOM. The JADE stuff is just a bonus for me, but I am concerned about the high end price :/ You might want to consider keeping the price around €10 since that is most people's "spontaneous purchase" threshold (proven by Steam who showed that sales of up to 80% on new games, bringing them from about €50 to €10, not only increase number of copies sold but also overall revenue. This is for mainstream games however and might not be translatable for JADE).

    Anyway, when and where can I send the gold?

    Merry Christmas! :)

  2. I also don't like the "legal savescumming" feature much, but of course I'll buy the game anyway. The other features are nice and even without features, supporting ADOM and JADE development would be reason enough.

    I understand that the savescumming feature may attract buyers among the softcore userbase, but I really really hope that there is a distinction in the hall of fame between permadeath players and savescumming players - for example, separate halls of fame.

    Also, will we get at some point in the future the JADE engine source code and documentation (either as a part of J:TUE license or as a separate license) so that apart from creating extensions, we can also program our own games in the engine? That would be really great.

  3. I like the ability to restart from a saved point. Sometimes I don't feel like banging my head against a stone wall when I'm gaming. I do agree that there ought to be a distinction or a cost, but the only reason to completely leave it out is to cater to the (admittedly large number of) elitists in the ADOM crowd.

    And hey.. for the ones that don't want it.. don't use it.

    I think the plans sound great and I'll definitely be buying a license. :)

  4. Please, please get on with a proper outfit for processing these legitimate purchases for TUE---the excellent ones like BMT Micro, FastSpring, or maybe Plimus. I'd generally strongly prefer to not need to deal with Paypal. Also, be not afraid to approach an outfit like Desura or eventually the likes of Gamersgate and such as they are generally friendly to Independent ventures---especially Desura which is generally the most receptive of commercially inclined beta and Alpha level projects.

  5. No matter what, I'll be buying a copy of JADE mainly to give my support to the game series I enjoy so much :)

    As long as save scumming is optional, that's fine by me.

    But otherwise, Merry Christmas! I figure you'll be taking a break from JADE development and spending some time with your family. But don't take too big a break, I'm looking forward to JADE development... :)

  6. I second the posts above.No matter what will ultimate edition contain, ill buy it anyway.Your work is definetly worth it. And as long as savescummed wins/gameplays will be separated in highscore ill be happy :)

  7. Like the two above me: I will surely buy TUE to support development of JADE(I've already donated). I disregard "easy mode" features, but "civilized" installed and extensions looks promising

  8. This looks great. Even at 30EU, it'd be worth it.

  9. Not to beat, but this fellow traveler is probably the ideal example that hits pretty much all the high points that'd be relevant:

    Everything proper, inclusive, no anti-player notions---just clean and effective.

  10. If you're serious about reaching out to a wider audience then I must say I think you need to drastically rethink some interface elements for JADE. Us hardcore roguelike fans are fine with learning a library of keyboard shortcuts and going through numerous screens to get access to the info we want, but most softcore players wouldn't spend longer than a few minutes with JADE. I'm not suggesting graphics (though third party tiles support would be handy), but instead things like mouse interface, tooltips and context sensitive commands. Cast a cursory glance at Brogue or ToME4 to see how roguelikes look in the 21st century. Even Crawl has had significant improvements in this area lately. These are your main competitors, and free at that. They may not have the scope of JADE but they are far more approachable to new players.

    Oh, and Merry Christmas :D This has been a fantastic year for JADE, and the first time we've ended a year with a truly optimistic note on its development. There have been many many end of year blog posts from you promising more activity in the coming year, but in 2011 you've finally made up for lost time. Here's looking forward to a continuation of pace in 2012 :)

  11. if there will be a paysafecard payment option i will buy it for sure :D not a big fan of paypal >.>

  12. If I give you my money, will you implement the JAVA accessibility bridge? That would make two guaranteed sales :)

  13. "Hardcore" vs "softcore" (permadeath vs reloading previous saves) could perhaps be a choice on character creation, or a choice on first death.

  14. I strongly recommend your price points. Look at the successes of other indie games! terraria/Dungeons of dredmor/minecraft/recettear

    anything over 10$ is just far too much. You might wanna range from 5-10 instead of 10-20, or you might even wanna go lower. Assuming you want to reach a vast audience, lower is better, and even more profitable. If you don't think you can reach a large audience (due to the clunky interface and lack of graphics which deny mass appeal) then you should keep the price where it is or maybe even go higher because you'll be hitting a small niche, you won't be making it big, so you might as well eek out a tiny bit more money from a few people.

    just look at spiderweb software moving onto steam, and finally admitting lower price points are good. jeff vogel was a major opponent to low price points for years and even he changed his mind in the modern, steam, indie success era

  15. I also definitely think 20 euros is way too much for a roguelike, I don't want to decry the value of your game but if you want to reach a wider and a more profitable audience, lower price is needed. People new to roguelikes will not pay a a lot of money to try something like JADE, especially with ASCII graphics, because it's so different to what they're used to. However a lower price (5-10e maybe) just might drive them over the edge to try out what it feels like to play a kickass roguelike game :)

  16. So... where can I pay? And if you need help setting up the e-commerce, let me know. It's my day job. Can't wait to try my hand at some JADE mods - I've been waiting for an excuse to re-learn Java. : )

  17. Some new infos:

    - I have added a new scheduled feature for JADE 0.3.x: persistent game options in J:TUE.

    - The price question is an interesting one. I wonder why a game like Minecraft should get buy with a higher price but JADE wouldn't? Just because of the graphics? That would be frustrating ;-) Are there any interesting blogs or other web pages one should read for the discussion of pricing issues? I understand that lower prices generally are useful for drive-by sales (or whatever they are called in English) but I have some doubts that a roguelike game by any measure would be bought "just to try it". So a somewhat higher price seems reasonable... maybe I should try something like a "3-month-license" for $4,95 or so :-) ?

  18. "persistent game options in J:TUE."

    Oh come on. Something that basic should be in the standard verion - I don't want to set zoom level, message font size, cursor blink speed etc. to comfortable levels EACH time I start JADE up. I don't really care about the extra features in J:TUE, and user-friendliness is not something I'd classify as "extra feature".

  19. "- The price question is an interesting one. I wonder why a game like Minecraft should get buy with a higher price but JADE wouldn't?"

    Low learning curve, graphics are simple and self-explanatory, controls are simple, game theory is simple, one of a kind concept, hype from when MineCraft was $9 and got coverage by RPS & PC Gamer, et al, etc.

    No offense to anyone intended, but MineCraft was competing against absolutely nothing: until the clones started raining from the heaven like mana - and by then it was too late since MineCraft had the community & modders to keep going full-bore -- there was nothing but MineCraft, so if you wanted MineCraft you had to pay whatever Mojang (then just Notch) wanted for it.

    JADE has "competitors", so should be priced accordingly based on that.

    The question is not:

    "how much effort have I put into this, and what do I feel I deserve?"


    "how much better is this game vs a similar game that is priced for {free, sub-$10, sub-$20} and how can I communicate that in my pricing?"

    Alternatively, be the Dwarf Fortress guy and take donations.

  20. I agree, you shouldn't exceed the $10 two-digit psychological limit. I think $8 is the perfect price for a game like this. Maybe a 30-day free-trial is also a good approach, you will lose potential players if the free version (which I assume they will download first) seems incomplete and non-playable for the average person (most of them want savegames, I wouldn't have played ADOM without the .BAT savegame possibility!).

    I haven't downloaded the free version yet, but you should also consider contacting a graphic designer, just by the looks of this blog :P. It's actually very important, you need to look more modern and professional (even if the game is ascii-based) (maybe just by changing the top banner :P, hiding the blogger navbar...), I may not spend any money at all if the website seems kind of amateur.

    Sorry for my bad english!

  21. I think one of the reasons that minecraft is doing so well is that it has a multiplayer option and a highly active modding community:

    Where i will not have any problems in paying 10€ for this piece of awesomeness, but for someone who has not finished adom 20+ times, this might not be the same, and 10€ might scare them away.

    As Adom/Jade games usually do not tend to last long, i'd probably go with one week trial period for the ultimate edition (30day is not really needed, when one game might last 5minutes, and you WILL get the right feel in just couple of days), and after that charge people 5-10€ (depending on your preference) to get the full license.

    Nevertheless, awesome work, your blog and fb updates are great to read, and inspiring! It is good that game developers can set the bass and graphics aside and work on the beauty of the game itself.

  22. Hey Thomas, Radical Ed said it very well:

    "Low learning curve, graphics are simple and self-explanatory, controls are simple, game theory is simple, one of a kind concept, hype from when MineCraft was $9 and got coverage by RPS & PC Gamer, et al, etc."

    The key here is the fact that Minecraft was under the 10$ level before it got all famous. After that you can dictate any price you want (to some extent).

    For example, I would gladly pay 10 EUR for a ADOM II Deluxe, if only to show you my "kind thank you" for hours and hours and hous I spent with ADOM when I was a youngling. But I wouldn't pay 20 EUR for any roguelike game no matter what it is (always there's an exception, but my dream roguelike is unachievable :P).

    Anyway, as always let the people decide, run a few polls, ask for opinions. I would personally wouldn't like to pay 5 EUR (it's like nothing :/) nor 20 EUR (too much!). I've been thinking:

    10 EUR now, and you get a lifelong basic license for ADOM II 1.0 (or up to 1.0) and then another one for 5 EUR (think expansion packs, the engine and core stays the same but you add content etc.?)

    Anyhow, maybe that's a horrible idea, but nevertheless I wanted to let you know I'm with the "20 EUR is too much" crowd :)

    Best wishes,

  23. Thanks for all the insightful comments so far! Valuable stuff to be considered and believe me - I'm listening!

  24. @JoePerkins: I'm truly not a designer - that's why I do ASCII roguelikes ;-) What's the problem with the blog design? (honestly asking)

  25. For me, it's just the banner ad on top -- it says almost nothing about the site or what to except. I think a simple screenshot (panorama!) of ADOM might be more helpful and intriguing. :)

  26. I will definitely buy this game for 20 EUR because I know it will be great. And I have played and enjoyed ADOM long enough to justify the purchase anyway :) (I have lots of nerdy friends that will do the same) But it is really difficult to "convince" the call of duty generation to try this game, without sitting beside them hand holding their hand. The problem is never the graphics (only the first minute or so), it is always the controls (not the looks of the UI or anything like that). Maybe the key is to hatch a really clever and simple control scheme :)

  27. As a somewhat indie developer myself (Plug: Clonk), I have quite strong opinions on what you should and shouldn't have players pay for. Here's a few thoughts on your plans:

    1. *Don't* make the installer Deluxe-only. Two reasons: First, most players will pay you after they have installed and played the game already, so they won't profit from it. Second, you *really* want to make a good first impression. If you have a polished installer, it's far too valuable to not show to everyone.

    2. *Don't* include un-roguelike features in the Deluxe version. The people most likely to pay are the hard-core fans - exactly those who would call it "save-scumming" and would vow to never do it. You don't want these people to start going "yeah, you only paid to get the easy mode." in forums.

    I'd suggest you do the opposite: Include *harder* modes in the Deluxe versions. Things fans can be proud of to have mastered, just like the ultra endings in ADOM. Ideally, you could use the fact that registered players have proper identities to build spam-proof high score lists (aka YAVPs) into your website. Then players are actually paying for a service, which is much easier to communicate.

    3. *Don't* have people pay for small add-on modules. You will come across as milking your player base, and get destructive "worth it / not worth it" discussion. Also realize that each time you do it, you are segmenting your player base in people who have it and people who don't. That's not a good thing to do in terms of community building, so consider it carefully.

    Generally, I think the idea of small modules is a good one - but it's probably better to just make these updates exclusive to registered players. You should probably limit the lock-down to some time, too, as after a few months pirates are bound to have copied it all around the web anyway.

    The upside of doing it this way is that you tickle everyone that hasn't paid every time you release something - and people that have in fact paid feel like they get continuing returns on their investment.

    4. Do leave the small price tag, as others commented. As an indie game you are depending on impulse buys, and the threshold for these is falling steadily. These days it seems to mean around 9-5 euros, taking the data from the Humble Bundles as reference point.

    Keep up the good work :)

  28. To be honest, I preferred the older pricing model. Paying for small modules does sound a bit like milking like PeterW says (in fact I agree with his whole post). And paying monthly subscriptions to any game is something I (and I think others) are quite allergic to... I'd rather have a larger price tag up front but get everything, and I'd definitely play extra for the sources or a kit to make games with the engine.

  29. Hello. Have you taken a look at URWs pricing model?

    A single version for about a dollar (1.1X), a major version for a few more (1.X) or a lifetime license for a lot more.

    This pricing model you're describing is fine though. I agree one hundred percent on giving paying users some greater freedom with the program though! Customizing the UI, extensions (if that means mods)... even "cheats". It doesn't have to mean immortality and flying cars though! Just simple things like being saved from death once, more feats, classes with some better starting gear... like someone mentions above HARDER options are also good to add in the Deluxe.

    This way people will start playing it, like it ("probably") and when they really get into it they will want to pay for either being able to customize the UI, mod it or simply get a 1up since they can't get anywhere in it.

    OH! Don't have micro-transactions though! That's just terrible. So terrible. If you want people to pay some sort of subscription continuously have a look at the pricing model for URW RPG above.

    I agree the installer should be in both versions. You want the game to look as good as possible in the free version. For the Deluxe version, more customization rather.

    Oh and piracy is kind of a problem nowadays too isn't it! Can't ignore it, really! I spontaneously thought of a way to give paying users an edge. Being able to upload your records to scoreboards online but only if you have a registered account with a purchase linked to it... something like that? You can't control what people to offline but online you're the boss. At least on your own site. A gold badge by your name in the forum (people love that), leaderboard entries... perhaps a guidebook like the old ADOM guidebook that only can be accessed while you're logged in to an account with a purchase linked to it?

    Well rant rant rant. I've barely been following the development of JADE at all... never committed to ADOM either, other than playing it every now and then since sometime 200X. It's very exciting though, ADOM was great fun. I might start dropping in with some more ideas sometime.

  30. Thanks for the new comments - especially to PeterW, but also to Al-Khwarizmi and Thirdc. These things are extremely helpful and very insightful and I notice that there's a lot of experience bundled here that is extremely helpful. I'll continue to refine the model for ADOM II Deluxe - PeterW probably actually got a much better pricing model pretty well nailed down. Thanks so much!

  31. Hi Thomas,

    it's hard to explain, and don't worry, there is no such thing as a programmer who knows about graphic design :P. My comment was about contrast between some colors and the white background, the blog background not being big enough (I can see solid color beyond it), little details and mainly the banner (looks very, very old-fashioned) and the flag counter footer.

    With little changes it would look ok, but still very generic-template-based, which makes me think about an amateur designer (or not designer at all), and therefore the whole project seems amateur. This is specially true nowadays, image is increasingly more important, just look at Angry Bird's website, imagine it being a blogger almost-generic template, it would not seem professional, that's all :)

    Anyway, I just looked at your design competition post (that was nice!) and there are very interesting ideas (I find more appropriate the proposal by Ravenmore, it reflects pretty well the spirit of ADOM in my opinion, simplicity-fun-epicness :D), so good job.

    In conclusion, the general idea I was trying to transmit is that you should delegate the graphic design work, so your product will seem more professional and people will be more willing to pay.

  32. To be brutally honest, the ability to pay for "savestates" is the worst design decision you could ever make with a roguelike. This is essentially paying your way to victory, giving yourself an extra edge based on how much you spend, and ruins the overall feel of a roguelike.

    1. Some people enjoy RPGs with depth that don't force permadeath. Permadeath only works if the game is built around it ex. DayZ, Binding of Isaac. Imho, it should be optional in RPGs.

  33. @TinyTavi: Thanks for brutal honesty :-)

    I did not intend to make players pay for "save states" (which according to my understanding would mean "pay each time you restore a saved game after death"). Just the feature to be able to save a game would be an option interested folks would need to pay for.

    Naturally using that feature would lower the points gathered for the highscore, probably even blocking players from entering a global ADOM II highscore board, etc.

    The idea behind that just is that IMHO there is "no one true way of playing a game" that suits everyone. And why would you destroy the fun for someone who enjoys playing the basic type of game but neither has the time nor the inclination to become such a perfect player that permadeath is bearable for him or her?

  34. I don't think it would ruin the game at all. While I think permadeath is a very important and central part of the experience. I also think that the hacks that enabled people to "save scum" were also a part of what makes ADOM what it is.

    Look at all the challenges that were created simply to make the game HARDER. They are just as much a part of ADOM history and culture as the players who played normally.

    Not everyone will play the game just to "win". Case in point:

    While the player types won't be the same I think it is safe to say that there is a set of hardcore out to win and do so in as painfully difficult a manner for the player as possible (have you seen the requirements for Carbon Fiber Man?). There is also a group that just plays for the fun of it, and likes the atmosphere. Might even be a cool group that likes their character to do cool things (I've always thought mindcrafting was cool and was always disappointed I couldn't keep them alive.

    Not everyone plays games for the same purpose. People are going to use the game for the fun they want to have. Nothing will stop that. The internet proves that every day.

    I also think that including it as a feature in the paid version is a great idea. You give people the whole game as it is meant to be played. If they want to cheat bad enough to pay 8 euros or whatever it ends up being then that helps fund the game.

    Bottom line--you are right on track Mr. Biskup.

  35. I really like the way they handle permadeath in Dungeons of Dredmore. That's also what I think a graphical Roguelike should look like (but I don't always feel like playing something so sarcastic). I'm sure I could get into HSL, but I really like the aesthetics of DoD.

    But back to A2D, I think the suggestion of choosing permadeath (or not) when you start a game is the best way to handle it. I like the idea of an online scoreboard (fits well with the gamecenter thing that Apple is doing) and it'd be nice if the non-permadeath option excluded your score from that board, or give it a separate board. Considering that you have mentioned permadeath as being one of two compelling aspects of roguelike games, I think a very great deal of care in implementing a feature that removes this is an appropriate approach. It will really increase your audience, but almost certainly will alienate a few people.

    I'd also like to add a vote against micro payments (even though it sounds like you're not heading in that direction). I loathe them and like the opportunity to voice my displeasure. I'm actually in support of you just straight up selling the game (not having a free version, or maybe just all the alpha/beta versions). I agree that “The laborer deserves his wages.”

    Also, just a bit of encouragement: I really love the JADE interface. I love having a sidebar with all that info. I love having such a large viewport. I found it disconcerting to go back and play ADOM (my first time was after playing ADOM II) because it was so difficult to get used to the restricted screen area.

  36. I've read some comments, one thing that seems to be so despised is giving a save feature for the deluxe edition. I don't have a problem with that, I would not mind having it so I could savor the world through a single play with a character, but if I wanted to not use said save, I feel I have the willpower to not use them.

    For those that feel too tempted though, why not implement the save feature into the deluxe that it's a locked in option when a player starts a new game? Same as in some newer roguelike games like dungeons of dredmor. You choose if you want save states accessible for a particular character or not, simple as that.
    All it would take to set your mind at ease is click on a no save option, and boom it's locked in, never to be switchable again by any player.

    As for other ideas... well the key here for the deluxe is you want to balance making the extra features significant enough to warrant a purchase, relative to the cost of course. It's a tricky balance. One suggestion I have for a extra feature in the payable version is to put in a hot seat game feature where one player can be a proverbial dungeon master, with a few more players being a party. The dungeon master has variable amounts of control, which are set in options agreed upon by all players. By default, the dungeon master has a considerable amount of control, maybe not being able to put down buildings, but able to put in spawned monsters, put in groups of monsters with set up planned targets, in example the DM puts in a bunch of goblins inside a cave near a town, sets them to attacking said town sparsely during the night, so the party would have to either explore the country for the cave, or wait for a goblin attack on the town during the night, "discourage" them so they flee back, and follow them to their home.

    This game idea is possibly WAAAAYYY too ambitious I admit, but it comes to mind as a very sizable addition to help make the deluxe worth some cash, how much I would leave to the judgement of others, but it's a sizable addition to the game certainly.

    Other, more simplified ideas would include the additions of more complex villains who utilize tricky minions of particular strengths forcing players to utilize their tools more carefully.
    Also having a good strong tool use system would be good, such as making traps for example, both physical and magical (And evil combine them to an extent, such as a tripwire triggering a instant chill in a small area.) , and intricate use of simple concept actions for alternatives for dealing with situations, such as whistling a bird call to get a foe's attention, or screaming in agony to rally a large hoard of sadistic trolls to a location the player wants.

    I'd love to go on but I can't think of anything else at the moment, so I'll leave my pithy two cents here and come back to this page later ^^.

  37. Notch, the creator of Minecraft, In one of the splashes says "I miss ADOM".

  38. Would be awesome if this were to go on Desura.

  39. Thank you for including the option to save! I do like permadeath, but mainly when the game fits it ex. DayZ. The idea just never sat well with me in RPGs. It would be fun to be able to have the freedom of an ASCII Roguelike coupled with a saving option.

  40. Thank you for including the option to save! I do like permadeath, but mainly when the game fits it ex.