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We have some interesting reading to do today, courtesy of Iron Tower Studio. Not only have they wrangled up a June update for The Age of Decadence on Steam, but they've also posted "A Tale of Indie RPG Development" on their Facebook page that'll either inspire you or scare you away from game development entirely. Read on:
We started working on the game in March 2004. I don't know why I picked this particular date as the official start date, because '˜started working' is a very vague and misleading term when it's just a couple of guys across the internet, taking the first steps toward learning the trade of making indie RPGs without any budget whatsoever and making mistakes to learn from.
In 2005 we realized that our homemade 2D engine won't take us all the way to the finish line and switched to Torque Gaming Engine (TGE). I'd say we chose it for its robust scripting system, but back then there wasn't much to choose from. So we switched to the only available 3D engine that happened to have a very robust scripting system. Best $100 I've ever spent.
At that point we still had nothing but ideas, some models, crappy textures, a couple of quests, and a character that could march up and down the map the living proof that we were making an RPG. One look at the poor bastard and you knew: this here is an RPG in the making.
Like any business Fellowship of an RPG, we needed a strategy:
1. Announce an RPG
How to get to point 3 wasn't immediately clear, so we decided to make an RPG in 4 easy steps:
1. Character system
2. Item system & Inventory
3. Combat system
4. The rest
Basically, to keep the enthusiasm going, we needed a sense of progress, aka something playable. To have even a tiny map where two characters can fight to the death over and over again, you need a rudimentary combat system in place, and to have a combat system in place, you need a character system and an inventory system with equippable items. Sounds easy? It's anything but.
It took us 3 years and 5 months to get there (keep in mind that we're talking about working part-time, a few hours after work plus the weekends). On August 30, 2007 we posted the very first combat video, which was the first real achievement that every wannabe developer dreams of his game in action.