Forbes contributor Erik Kain has chatted with Iron Tower Studio's Vince D. Weller on, you guessed it, turn-based indie RPG The Age of Decadence. Here's a snippet:
Age of Decadence is a turn-based RPG with real-time adventure and many text-based choices. Tell me about your design decisions for the game. What inspired the game? How does it compare to other RPGs?
Old games like Darklands, for example, used text-based choices quite liberally. They add a lot to the atmosphere and immersion (assuming one likes reading) by greatly increasing the number of possible actions at any given moment and enriching a game.
I remember playing Planescape: Torment, a classic Black Isle's RPG don't forget to check Brian Fargo's Kickstarter for Torment's spiritual successor and there was a moment early in the beginning, when you had to deal with giant skeletons, animated as guardians of the Mortuary.
You could simply fight them or you could study them, study the armor and spells on it, and then try to dispel the enchantments (which would cause the skeletons to collapse). You needed either very high Intelligence to figure it out or a dusty old tome you could consult for help. You can't do such things without text-based options and detailed descriptions. I think I fell in love with the game at that very moment and Torment was certainly one of the inspirations not the setting or story, but the way they used writing to enrich the game.
Another design aspect that's worth mentioning is combat difficulty. It's a hard game.
Combat difficulty is integrated into the setting. You can't say that the world is harsh and unforgiving and then allow the player to kill everyone who looks at him or her funny. The game has to be hard, dying should be easy, and you should have reasons to pick your fights.
You aren't a powerful hero who can defeat anyone and save the world and it is the difficulty that reinforces this notion. Make the game easier and we're back to the powerful hero setup.
What sort of revenue model will the game use? How are you funding it and why?
The model is a simple one: try the demo (roughly 25% of the game's content), if you like it, buy the game. No micro-transactions and the likes. We're funding it ourselves, which means that we were working on the game part-time for years.
Now that the demo is out and people can play the game and see exactly what we're offering, we're taking pre-orders, so if some of the readers want to give the demo a try, we'd certainly appreciate that.
Why not Kickstarter, you mean? Feels like a cash grab more often than not, to be honest. Mind you, I'm not talking about established studios like inXile and Obsidian I backed all 3 projects. They truly need the funds to keep the studios in business and people employed.
At the same time, way too many people are reenacting the Klondike gold rush and jumping on that wagon, hoping to get some too. We simply prefer a different approach. Prove yourself first, deliver something playable, then ask for money.