Thursday, October 22, 2009

Q&A with Soldak's Steven Peeler

Yesterday, we had a preview of Soldak's new game, Din's Curse.  I was able to catch up with its creator, Steven Peeler, and ask some questions. Thanks Steven!

Werit:  Please tell us a little about yourself and your new game, Din's Curse.

My name is Steven Peeler. I’m the owner of Soldak Entertainment, the lead designer of our games, and the only programmer over here.

Din’s Curse is our upcoming single player and co-op multiplayer action RPG with 141 class combinations, infinite number of dynamically generated towns, real consequences, and a dynamic, evolving world.

Werit:  Before Din's Curse there was Depths of Peril.  What influence did that have on Din's Curse?

Depths of Peril has quite a bit of influence on Din’s Curse. They are based in the same world, though Depths of Peril shows more of the barbarian side of things. Din’s Curse also is using the same dynamic world that Depths of Peril uses. We have expanded this system a lot though.

Werit:  One of the first things that jumped out at me was Din's class system.  It says there are 141 class combination's, which should allow for quite a bit of replay value.  What are some of your favorite combination's?

I don’t have a favorite quite yet since I’m not in the heavy play testing phase and there are a lot of combinations to test. However, a Warlock Defender is fun. Who wouldn’t want to play a character that can wield good weapons, wear plate armor, and summon demons?

Another interesting combo is a Fire Mage Healer who can rain down destruction on everyone and heal himself when something actually manages to live through his deadly assault. I’m really hoping everyone can find a combination that fits their unique play style and they will just love.

Werit:  Dynamic and changing worlds seem to be a hallmark of both Depths of Peril and Din's Curse.  What are some examples of how the world can be different from game to game?

Well I see this as being two different things: a random world start and a dynamic world.

Each world is going to start out very different. There will be different NPCs in town and each town will have unique problems (starting quests). The dungeons will look very distinct every time and have a unique layout. The placement of items, objects, and monsters will also be changed each time.

Even if you somehow got two people to start with the same world, it will evolve separately based on what the player does, what the monsters do, and what the NPCs do. Let’s say the world starts off with an uprising of Imps. The first person takes it seriously, goes down into the dungeon, and quells the uprising. The second person decides to ignore the uprising.

Eventually this will blow up in their face. The consequence will never be the same exactly, but here’s an actual possible scenario. The Imps get restless and decide to go to war with the Zombies. Ok, Zombies and Imps killing each other doesn’t sound like a bad thing, not yet at least. Then the Zombies drag the Skeletons into the war also, still not a problem. Now an uprising of Skeletons and two different Zombie uprisings occur.

Now the problems are building. The Imps are no match for the Zombies and Skeletons together and are beaten into submission and the war ends. Soon after though, the Zombies get bored and start raiding the town. The player finally returns from their adventure to find that all of the NPCs in town are now undead.

Werit:  Many RPG's tout choices as a big feature, but often they don't really have much of an impact.  How does Din's Curse give meaning to a players actions and choices?

I kind of went overboard with the last quest and answered this one already. Basically in Din’s Curse if someone says hurry up and do something or bad things will happen, you should actually pay attention because they are telling you the truth.

Werit:  With such a dynamic world, how do you keep everything from feeling disjointed?  Are there still 'epic' storylines or just one shot quests?

There are no epic storylines or one shot quests exactly. How it works is that each quest has the possibility of branching out to many other quests. Things basically flow from one quest to another just like an epic storyline, except the difference is that which branch is taken is based on the actions of the player, monsters, and NPCs.

Werit:  Are there any plans to allow players to mod the game or add content?

All of our games are pretty easily modified. Most of the data is in simple text files. This way it is easy to change and expand. With each game, I push more and more of the data out of the code so it’s more modifiable.

Werit:  Will Din's Curse have any kind of online component or multiplayer?

Our goal is to have co-op multiplayer similar to what we did with our Kivi’s Underworld expansion. This time it should be in the main game though instead of an expansion.

Werit:  When will we be able to get our hands on Dins Curse?

I’m still hoping to finish sometime in late fourth quarter of this year.

Werit:  Anything else you would like to tell the readers about Din's Curse?

We always welcome ideas so if anyone reading this has any interesting ideas on what they would like to see in Din’s Curse feel free to join in discussions on our forums.

We also have two cool games already out there people could enjoy right now: Depths of Peril (a unique action RPG with warring factions and a dynamic world) and Kivi’s Underworld (a casual hack and slash game with 20+ classes).