Monday, December 26, 2011

A Look Ahead - ForgeQuest

I guess I've become more entranced with this whole Indie Games thing than I'd ever anticipated since I tend to really not pay attention to such things (as a lot of 'Indie' things at this point are Straight iOS/Cellphone projects which hold no interest with me) yet it seems every few months I'm here talking about another one.  Minecraft, Project Zomboid, the Zeboyd games, etc.  I'm running with the theme that this is, well, a good thing of course, as the Indie philosophy (when unspoiled) is that someone has a creative idea and the drive to see it brought to life which is something to be respected.  All the better when their project actually looks like something that is pretty neat which is what ForgeCraft does; precisely why I felt a bit compelled to write about it after checking it out some.

It's all thanks to Siliconera that I have something to talk about in this project since "A 2D Zelda-Like Project in an Open World" is honestly one of the more eye-catching titles one could hope for, though at first I was a little skeptical that it was truly 'Zelda-like' aside from the isometric scope.  Comparisons could more than suitably be drawn to 3D Dot Game Heroes based on the voxel work the game comprises of, though after thinking about it for a moment, 3D Dot Game Heroes was clearly based on Zelda (and some complained that it was almost -too much- like Zelda) so the comparison became that much easier to reason out and, indeed, accept.  Regardless, it's a very cool look though I'd still have to give it to 3D Dot for being shinier (both literally and figuratively) and would definitely help it to stand out with the other games of its type that have come out.

I say the above because of, well, what the name would imply:  -Forge-Quest does indeed imply forging things, as in forging things together like crafting, much as MineCraft implies that one will, in that game, mine things and craft things, thus drawing a comparison to one another.  Even in a couple of their videos, the style of 'forging' is done in a 3x3 grid which will be instantly recognized from any Minecraft rookie, though to suggest it's unique to Minecraft would be a little short-sighted.  Nonetheless, I expect a lot of that to be thrown around when the game comes out sometime in 2012 which is a shame, but provided the game provides enough different for the players, it likely won't be something harped on.  And from what I've seen, I would certainly suggest that it would provide quite enough, though all things will be known when it actually comes out (or at least goes into Beta).

The other videos on their youtube channel show quite a bit of progression, and welcome progression at that as the combat (and movement for that matter) seemed to be more Diablo-like which is something I don't care for in all honesty.  There's absolutely no reason to require someone to click around ten times just to traverse an expanse of land that covers three screens and clicking on an enemy to enter pre-scripted attack animations that trade off at predetermined speeds is....less than exciting of course.  Many would disagree with me on that, of course, considering how popular Diablo is but, eh, opinions and all.  Still the above shows, besides progression, some pretty solid concepts that are fairly tried-and-true but with a new spin on them which is inspiring at the very least.

There's only two real 'environments' shown in the video; the default nature one and the cave/dungeon area but both look fairly visually interesting enough to offer incentive to explore which is one of the goals of course.  The game is designed to randomly generate (like Minecraft and I believe Terraria does the same as well?) terrain that you traverse that is interesting enough for you to want to traverse more which is a cycle that will give you a gigantic living, breathing world...provided that you breathe a little life into it along the way of course.  And to that credit, I would certainly hope that other types of trerrain will be available in the Beta build at least; desert and snow lands are almost a requirement to give the full range of 'types', though a little pedanticism with terrain (biomes, there I said it.  Biomes are not -just- for Minecraft as well, but the fewer things I say to allude it to something else, the better) would be nice.  Flatlands, hilly regions, valleys, marshlands, etc., there's plenty of ways you can design an area and the more you include, the better for the people playing since it just might spark something.

It is a little hard to gauge just how big, in a vertical sense, the world will be, considering the way you're expected to navigate it in the isometric view, which is something else that is a matter of concern for the growing project.  Since you apparently plop down full buildings rather than designing your own (though there is a door spot and it's open, so I hope that means interiors and, by extension, interior design) would is a bit telling that this might take place on 'layers' in the Diablo sense; you have the overworld that leads down into the cave/dungeon layer which leads into lower layer, but that's mostly conjecture on my part.  As a lot of things I've said here are, but based on what exists (four videos and a few paragraphs on their KickStarter) I'm just doing what I can here.  If nothing else, it can help explain what caught my eye and interest about the game in the first place.

I guess the fact that I've looked into all four of their videos, checked out their KickStarter (linked just above) in-depth, and devoted a post to talking about what is right there and what I'm imagining up means that they're clearly doing something right:  The game, like any game where you can actually model the world to your whims, is clearly designed to inspire creativity and it's done that to me.  If they throw enough toys in the toybox to really let players effectively express their creativity in design (something Terraria has been doing quite well, leaving Minecraft to shame in that department) then they'll really have something here.  So here's hoping they meet their goal on KickStarter!  (Goal is set for January 13th and they're not there quite yet, hint hint.)

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