Dark Disiciple's Homepage
Now, on to the interview!
> What inspired you to first start programming?
Actually, I first learned business computer programming so it was originally
a career move decision, although I later turned to studying Biotechnology instead. I self-learned C/C++ at home and one day found a 'computer game developer kit' in a book store which contained a c++ compiler and Microsoft SDK 5.0, which I bought. I seriously could'nt figure it all out (the kit instructions were particularly unhelpful) but I eventually found a sample
project on the net. From memory, it was a simple arcade game where you flew around the screen in a little spaceship and there wasn't anthing to shoot at. Anyway, I managed to get
that compiled, and began tinkering with the code. I'm one of those people that learn best by example rather than explanation, so this is how I learned directx programming.
As sad as it sounds, for me programming is a lot of fun. I guess it just appeals to my methodical midset. :)
> What inspired you to make Dark Disciples?
I've been a D&D player for a long time, so as soon as I learned programming in turbo pascal (a language used for teaching programming but not much else), I wanted to make CRPGs. I honestly enjoy programming CRPG related stuff because it's fun. I get to work on something creative and technical at the same type.
I'm sure I started at least 20 different projects over the years, but never
got anything finished. The mistake I always made was to design games that were far too ambitious (and I mean this from a time point of view, not a technical point of view). I'm fully aware now of why modern commercial games require two dozen people working for two years to complete a project.
When I finally worked out how to use directX, I started Dark Disciples. It started life as a true roguelike game - there was going to be largely random dungeons and insta-death. The plot
was that you had to hunt down the 7 Dark Disciples (boss monsters) and kill them. However, the further down the road I got, the more like a traditional CRPG it became. I've seen quite a few people refer to DD as a roguelike, and although I don't think it technically qualifies, it definately has some of the feel of this type of game, so I guess it's original concept still shows. In any case, the game's name became essentially meaningless as it mutated into a CRPG. :)
Anyway, like with my other projects, it was way too ambitious. The difference, this time, was that I'd put so much work into it, that I couldn't justify scapping it. So I decided to cut back on many of the features and make the game simpler. This is exactly why DD's spell system is rather odd. I also removed a convoluted (but still unimplemented) skill system and changed a few other things as well. I also nearly scrapped the 3rd module (the Niphyas module) because at the time I didn't think anyone would bother playing that far. :) After that, it was still a crap-load of work, but I can be the obsessive/compulsive type, so eventually I got it all done.
> What plans do you have for the future of Dark Disciples?
DD is still being updated every once in a while to fix bugs when they're reported and also to resolve some balance issues. There won't be any major changes though. DD1 is, from a scripting/flag point of view, fairly involved, so I'm sure bug reports will continue to trickle in. Fortunately all of the nasty ones seem to have long since been weeded out. :)
> What plans do you have for the sequal, what's been finalized? Whats been
DD2 is in the pipes and will probably take some time to complete. It will have more features than DD1, although the game won't deviate drastically from the original. It will have a real magic system though. ;)
Actually, it was originally going to have a multi-character party. However I wasn't enirely sure about this move, so I put a survey up on the DD website and the response was 100% against. :) To be honest, I think the relative simplicity of DD in many ways made it a more fun game and this seems to be part of the appeal. So DD2 will be a single character game like DD1. :)
Unlike the original DD2 will have a skill based system. Abilities such as pick locks will be based on a skill and modified by the relevant statistic in the more traditional manner. DD2 will also have an alchemy system (based on an alchemy skill) and a goods trading system. In both cases, they're optional endevours and not necessary to complete the game. I want to keep DD2 as non-linear as possible (within reason).
I'm still not 100% sure if missile weapons will be implemented, yet. It's not a difficult or time consuming thing to do - it's just that it tends to slow the same down somewhat (it takes several key presses to select a target and shoot).
DD2 takes place on a different continent and will involve a conflict between the native poeple (Enda) and colonialists (Seafarers). You can play as either 'race', with a different objective to complete the game. Essentially then, DD2 will comprise of 2 shorter scenarios that are interlinked. Also, alignment will play a much larger role. In fact, it will define your ultimate objective.
> Will the new game be 100% free like the first one?
Yes. I program CRPGs for fun - it's my hobby. It also frees me up to do
whatever I like without having any obligation to paying customers. :)
> Oh, one more thing, when will it be released?
I currently have 3 separate projects in the pipes (DD2 is one), each of which is about the same complexity as DD. To keep myself interested, I switch between them from time to time. This means that DD2 will not appear any time soon. In any case, I'd prefer not to give a 'release date' because a) it's certainly going to be wrong (Heh, heh) and b)I only work on it when I feel inclined to (since it's a hobby and not a job), so it's difficult to predict how much time will go into it over the months.
> Well that's the interview, thanks for letting me interview! :D :D
Hey, it's been fun. I've woffled on a bit - feel free to clip it down if you