Archive for 'News'

Stash Developer Insight – How we iterate over multiple passes: Pegs!

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At Frogdice, we follow the design and development model of getting a working prototype going as fast as possible, then we iterate on it repeatedly until we are happy with the final result.

One of the more challenging examples of that in Stash has been the peg, miniature, or figurine, that represents your character on the world and dungeon maps. I am numbering these incarnations of our peg system 1 through 5, but there were a numerous smaller versions in between.

Peg Incarnation #1

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This was one of the first. It was kinda cute and got the job done but was never considered anywhere near complete. I am pretty sure it was never even used in a playable build.

Peg Incarnation #2

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This is a variation on #1 with more detail and more gear. This was one of the first versions that was actually put to use in a playable build of the game. If I recall, this is the version you saw in the original Kickstarter video for Stash.

Peg Incarnation #3

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We really weren’t happy with our pegs, so we decided to go back to the drawing board, think outside the box, and start experimenting. We tried a number of different things that were wildly different from #1 and #2. At one point we were experimenting with chibi-like figures and here we were also taking inspiration from Pop! dolls.

Peg Incarnation #4

OldPegs_04

Ultimately we didn’t like any of those experiments, so we wen’t back to our traditional board game piece concept. We worked to improve upon it and give players more control over the shape and material.

Peg Incarnation #5 – A Quantum Leap Forward

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We still weren’t happy. As in #3, we once again decided to start over with an entirely new concept. This time I think we nailed it and I really love this version. Players will get to customize the terrain on the base, their character’s pose, and the gear on their figure will reflect the actual gear they are wearing. You can unlock more poses and base terrains and change them as desired.

We feel this still maintains the table-top/miniature gaming feel on the world and dungeon maps (which is really important to us!) while remaining very immersive. Hopefully you all agree!

So That’s How It Works!

I hope you enjoyed this brief look behind the curtain of how video games get made – at least here at Frogdice.

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STASH: Not your typical MMO. We are re-imagining the genre.

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Stash will make you fall in love with MMORPGs again.

When MMOs first became a thing, there was enormous excitement. They were going to totally change gaming and society. Sadly, the excitement faded and MMOs quickly fell into some bad habits and clone-ism. With Stash, we are hitting the reset button on that. We are re-imagining the genre and bringing back the magic.

1) Turn based combat.

This is one of the most immediately obvious differences between Stash and most MMOs. It is time to shake things up and have an MMO where tactics and strategy play a bigger role in combat.

2) Death to Bind on Pickup.

Bind on Pickup (BoP) is one of the worst concepts ever invented in MMOs and video games in general. It is incredibly anti-social. It is anti-community. It is anti-market. Basically, all the things that make MMOs special are negatively impacted by the concept of BoP.

In the history of RPGs, one of the most basic ways you could help other people was to give them an item that would help them out. BoP kills this. Sharing items is the MMO equivalent of people breaking bread and sharing meals together. With very few exceptions, BoP should not exist.

3) No Quest Grind

Remember when the word “quest” referred to something really epic? Like the “Quest for the Holy Grail”? In modern MMOs, quests tend to be about as epic as blowing your nose. This is a darn shame.

Quest obsessive games can be anti-social, anti-climactic, anti-exploration, and anti-fun.

  • You have to make sure everyone in the group has the same quests and you constantly have to monitor everyone’s progress lest someone accidentally miss a step.
  • Exploration is less fun because events won’t happen and bosses won’t have loot unless you have the appropriate quest.
  • You barely pay attention to the cool world around you because you’re just following a yellow arrow or monitoring your quest tracker.
  • Story? With thousands of quests you need to grind, you ain’t got time for that! So you click through the text or escape out of the cut scene to keep on grinding.

In Stash, if you are given a quest it will be something epic with a great story. You will WANT to read the quest text or listen to the NPC. But most of the time, you will enjoy the world for everything it has to offer. You will look forward to the surprises around the bend in the road or corner of the dungeon. You will set your own goals which are always more meaningful than what a developer tells you to do.

4) No Level Cap: Focus on the Whole Game, Not Just “End Game”

The typical MMO obsession with “end game” at the expense of the rest of the game is a real shame. Players in these MMOs often consider the majority of the game’s content to be pointless drudgery rather than something to enjoy. It is merely a barrier between them and the “real fun” of the game.

Our focus with Stash is to make the entire game fun at all levels. Furthermore, our current plan is to have NO LEVEL CAP. That’s right. You can play Stash for 20 years and keep leveling up and developing your character. That’s how it works in our 18 year old rpg: Threshold. It has worked brilliantly.

5) Character Development Through More Than Just Loot

We find it very disappointing when character development is almost entirely about gear. Gear is awesome. Loot is awesome. Of course gear should be a big part of character development and customization.

But your character is a mighty hero, villain, adventurer, or craftsman of epic proportions. You will be able to defeat fancy dressed scrubs with one hand tied behind your back and a bent twig as your only item. Gear is a big deal in Stash, but your character’s abilities and skills are just as important. Player skill is also important to succeed in the tactical, turn based combat.

6) Interactive World You Can Meaningfully Change

Why have most MMO worlds become so incredibly static? Barely anything changes and very little can be interacted with. In Stash, the world is alive with its people and evolves based on their actions. This starts with thousands of years of lore and history developed over the last two decades. It also includes a wealth of gameplay features.

  • Conquerable outposts.
  • World events: Staff run events that advance the story and react to player actions
  • Interactive objects. Levers, buttons, puzzles, secret doors, etc.
  • Environmental objects that can be used in combat. Exploding barrels, oil slicks, cave-ins, and more.
  • Monster camps that can be exterminated or left alone eventually triggering…
  • Invasions.

7) Solo and All Group Sizes Are Viable

When you want to play Stash, you may not always have friends online or you may not have a full group. That’s fine. No matter what the size of your group, there is fun, challenging, and rewarding content to enjoy.

If you are solo you may want to stick to dungeons that are close to your level. Once you pick a few people up, you might go to a harder zone or crank up your difficulty settings. If you get a full group, perhaps you max out your difficulty and go to a region even more above your level and really challenge yourselves. If a few people have to leave, just lower difficulty and keep going.

This is the flexibility you have in Stash. It is not “stand around bored spamming LFG/LFM to fill your party” nor is it “enter an auto-party-filling system where nobody knows anyone and relationships and reputation don’t matter.” There are perfectly challenging and rewarding dungeons and regions to explore regardless of your party size, gear level, and skill.

This Is Only the Beginning

There are other differences between Stash and typical MMOs, but these are some of the highlights. We love MMOs and there are some spectacular MMOs out there right now. We play or have played most of them. We are not trashing the entire genre or anything of that nature. We simply believe there are features that have been overdone and others that were a mistake from the beginning (I’m looking at you, Bind on Pickup).

Stash is bringing new ideas to the genre and resurrecting old ones that were wrongly forgotten. If you’ve become disenchanted with MMOs or simply want something new and fresh, this is definitely the game for you.

Jump on board now and you can get Alpha/Beta access and be part of the community early.

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President & CEO Michael Hartman featured in Lexington Herald interview.

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Frogdice’s President & CEO, Michael Hartman, was interviewed by the Lexington Herald newspaper and WEKU radio station about Frogdice’s part of Kentucky’s growing gaming and tech community.

Martin: Frogdice has been around now about 18 years … Was it difficult in 1996 to capitalize a startup gamer company?

Hartman: Definitely. E-commerce was in its extreme infancy. People felt that if you were going to do something on the Internet, it should be free. That was a really hard thing to combat.

Read the full article here: Digital game developer Frogdice part of growing Kentucky tech, gaming community.

The entire interview was also part of a WEKU radio broadcast and podcast.
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Stash greenlit by Valve/Steam!

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Stash-Greenlit

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving surprise this year. After just a few weeks, Stash has already been greenlit by Valve/Steam! Thank you to everyone who voted for us and helped spread the word.

Being able to distribute the Stash client via Steam will be enormously convenient for us and our players. It will also help us reach more players. Exciting news!

Thank you!

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Joystiq picks Dungeon of Elements for the latest Humble Bundle

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We are thrilled and proud that Dungeon of Elements has  been chosen by popular gaming site Joystiq to be part of the latest Humble Bundle!

This bundle benefits the Able Gamers charity , which uses video games to assist people with disabilities.

Thank you Joystiq and Humble!

 

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ReignMaker is the Steam Daily Deal

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We are absolutely thrilled that Valve has chosen ReignMaker to be a Daily Deal today and tomorrow! Get ReignMaker now for 50% off ($7.99).

Please spread the word! Tell your friends, family, gamers, everyone!

1) ReignMaker on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/286200/

2) RT this if you are on twitter: https://twitter.com/Muckbeast/status/532627097563721728

3) Like and SHARE this if you are on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frogdiceinc/posts/10152924744265815

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Stash Kickstarter Funded

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We did it! The Stash kickstarter was a wonderful success.

It is clear that we already have the foundation of an amazing community for this game.

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STASH: No Loot Left Behind. Kickstarter live.

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Stash is a multiplayer online RPG with turn based combat and epic amounts of loot. Be part of the story and own a piece of the world.

http://kck.st/1laosXK

We are bringing the old school feel of tabletop, pen-and-paper, and MUD gaming to online gaming. Core features include:

  • Turn based, tactical grid combat.
  • Stash your treasures in your personal Base of Operations, which you can build, upgrade, and decorate from bedroll to fortress.
  • Craft items to use, sell, or enter into competitions.
  • Massive character customization via class, race, build, gear, cosmetics, costumes, pets, mounts, and more.
  • Cool world story with a unique twist. Players affect the world and the story.
  • Both hand crafted and procedurally generated/random dungeons.
  • Huge world with hundreds of unique locations, tons of monsters, and epic amounts of loot.
  • Clans: form with friends and compete for dominance as well as optional solo or group PvP.

That is just the beginning. Check out the full campaign for a video and more details.

Early Bird Backers (the first 250) get a free copy of either ReignMaker or Dungeon of Elements.

We would greatly appreciate your pledge of support. Any help spreading the word would also be a huge help.

http://kck.st/1laosXK

Thank you!

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ReignMaker has been Greenlit on Steam!

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 greenlit

After a few short months (that felt longer), and a few weeks before public launch, ReignMaker (formerly known as Tower of Elements 2) has been Greenlit by Steam!

“Our team has poured their hearts and souls into this game to make it as wonderful as possible. We have agonized over so many details and decisions to make ReignMaker a delight to play,” said Michael Hartman, CEO of Frogdice. “Being Greenlit on Steam is a testament to Frogdice’s progression as a studio. Each game builds on the last and they keep getting better and better.”

Frogdice will be an exhibitor at PAX East, April 11-13, 2014. Attendees will be able to play ReignMaker on PC, iPad, Android, and Windows Surface. Mac and Linux platforms will also be fully supported at launch.

“One of the features I am most proud of is the Policy System. It introduces role playing elements to a city building game,” said Pang Hartman, VP and Creative Director of Frogdice and lead designer on ReignMaker. She added, “I also worked into the story homages to players who have been with us for up to 17 years, and Twitch streamers that have supported us for 7 months.”

Frogdice devotes tremendous effort towards maintaining a positive and safe community for their players. This includes online and offline games. The result is a welcoming and fanatically loyal community of gamers and fans. Being Greenlit on Steam is yet another example of the community’s tremendous support.

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Dungeon of Elements: Pay What You Want Deal for Charity

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Gamers: Pay what you want for Dungeon of Elements.

10% of the proceeds go to charity (EFF.org).

Dungeon of Elements is an RPG dungeon crawler with combat inspired by Dr. Mario and Tetris. It also has crafting, collecting, achievements, gear, a branching story, pets, and many other cool features.

https://indiegamestand.com/deal/

  • DRM free for PC, Mac, or Linux.
  • Also receive a Desura key.
  • Also receive a Steam key when DoE is Greenlit.
  • Pay what you want. $1 and up.
  • Beat the average price and get the DoE Digital Soundtrack and Digital Artbook as well.
  • 10% of all proceeds from this sale will be donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Please help us get the word out about this cool deal and promotion.

DoE Trailerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coXemCeoCjc&hd=1

DoE web sitehttp://doe.frogdice.com

DoE Media Kithttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/6wnbsildpfaboe7/eviAvidFme

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