Author Topic: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?  (Read 12707 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,655
I am NOT suggesting that we are actually going to do this.  Right now there is literally a 0% chance of a Valley 2 expansion, though, because to me the game is complete and there's not anything else that I can think of that I'd want to add.  In other words, we accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish, and I'm not sure what else there is to do.

Or looked at another way, what else there is to do that would be worth paying for as a consumer.  For example:

- Yeah we could add more mage classes, but to what end?  There are already a ton of them, and I can't think up any more types of spells that would be interesting and not completely unbalanced; except for reskins or variants of what is already there, but that's no fun.

- Sure we could add more biomes, and that would be interesting to a certain extent.  But increasing the variety of monsters in the existing biomes is probably what would lead to more true variety.  You only spend so much time in a given biome.

- So yes, we could add lots more monsters, but those get pretty expensive to add on the art side, meaning that they would take up a huge amount of the budget of any expansion that had any remote hope of breaking even.  I'm not sure if that's really something that would be worthwhile for enough players for them to actually buy a "monster pack" sort of expansion.  And I'm also not sure how many more types of legitimately-new monsters we could add on top of the 130ish that we already have.

- We could add more pieces to the strategic side of the game: more building types and other things on the map to make that more complicated.  But is a more complicated strategy game really what people want out of Valley 2?  That would slow down the game a lot, which is definitely counter to the flow that we were going for.

- We could add more bosses, and that would be interesting, but that has the same problem as the spells.

- We could add some sort of side quests, but here again that would slow down the game.  And it would either be unbalancing, or else the game would have to be rebalanced around expecting you to have done these, and then these become non-optional and slowing.

- We could add some sort of entirely new adventure arc in addition to the existing game one: so you do something other than fight Demonaica.  But that's almost like a whole new game (using existing pieces of the current game, I guess), and I can't really think of a good way to do that.  If there were a really good design for this, then I guess it could be something inexpensive to us and to players.  If we weren't adding many more monsters or other things that require new art (say 1 for each biome or something), we could just add in some sort of new secondary adventure flow as a new option, and maybe that would make for a nice mini expansion.  But I don't have any particular ideas on how any of these would work in a rubber-meets-the-road level of thinking (aka, something practical that is not pie-in-the-sky vague months-of-coding and tons-of-art sort of wishing).


And that's basically all I can think of.  To me, Valley 2 does precisely what I want it to, and that's why I'm not keen on an expansion.  But I get the feeling like some people are wanting more, and the game is profitable enough that doing a small expansion would probably be able to break even pretty fast, so it's worth at least exploring the question.  I doubt we could get to this at all until 2014, if this even is something that wound up having a good and focused idea that people would actually want to have and that we could implement reasonably.

But better a discussion than just writing it off, I guess. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Online keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,258
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 10:25:25 AM »
In other words: do people want fire that can be fitted nasally? :)

Anyway, yea, what would you actually want out of a Valley2 expansion?  If it's something that can be feasibly done in a month or two without requiring a ton of new art then it's just a matter of "is this actually interesting enough that people would want to buy it?"
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline LaughingThesaurus

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,723
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 10:45:18 AM »
Honestly... if you could manage it with the existing assets, I'd really like to play a game that uses the Valley 2 resources but plays more closely to Valley 1. So... essentially, I'm thinking more about exploration, personal progression, extinguishing a vague threat. Purification could even work the same way. The ultimate idea is that, in this game type, you still simply explore continents and purify away, fight bosses and clean up. I imagine that, really, the hardest part about this would be fitting all the little bits and pieces together back together design-wise. ...and then, the least feasible part is figuring out who really wants gameplay a bit closer to Valley 1, anyway. I could flesh out the idea more a bit later today if there's any interest, and see how feasible that is.

In terms of strictly content to add to Valley 2, I'm at a bit of a loss myself. Something I like the idea of is something like 'minor factions' but for the action side of the game. So, you add a few, and they have little effects on the gameplay during the action-y stages.

Cataclysmic Storms: Occasionally (to always if there's an intensity slider) the weather will shift in drastic ways. This can range from firestorms, to harmful elements bursting out of the earth, even down to simple windstorms that simply push stuff around. These storms result in well telegraphed environmental 'attacks' while roaming around. Demonaica is always unaffected.
Watcher: Demonaica is watching you... When entering a tile within the intensity's range (or 4 as a default if there were no intensity) of Demonaica, an invulnerable image of Demonaica will fire spells at the player. Demonaica is significantly more aggressive the closer you are.
Survivor Rebellion: Dormant survivors are no longer just blips on a map. Very occasionally, unrecruited survivors may unleash special attacks of their own instead of waiting for rescue. These attacks can include short term spell-like abilities that affect the world map, to smiting world map monsters off the map, to simply making locations nearby safer for other survivors (that aren't you) to travel on.

...or not action-y stages. And that sort of element might be fun for people to play around with as well.

Online keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,258
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 10:51:03 AM »
Honestly... if you could manage it with the existing assets, I'd really like to play a game that uses the Valley 2 resources but plays more closely to Valley 1. So... essentially, I'm thinking more about exploration, personal progression, extinguishing a vague threat.
This would run rather afoul of the "If it's something that can be feasibly done in a month or two" bit I mentioned, and given that AVWW1 already exists, it may also run afoul of "is this actually interesting enough that people would want to buy it?".

But thanks for the ideas; the minor faction stuff is certainly a possibility, just a matter of whether it's compelling.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Mick

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 11:16:09 AM »
Please excuse me if I only speak in vague terms.

It's difficult for me to think of a compelling expansion that could be done in such a small time frame. By compelling I mean something that adds to game play and is not just new skins and things.

From my perspective, I'd want things added on the strategic layer more than the action part (so new monsters alone would not be interesting). The strategic layer seems to follow a simple primary objective path: scout out windmills -> get windmills -> profit

The other objectives are secondary: avoid dying by monsters, avoid dying by lack of supplies, avoid dying in big bad, JUST DON'T DIE OKAY!

I think good expansion content would add more to the "primary objective" path instead of the secondary. I don't think it's fun enough if you just add more ways you can die or more things you now have to worry about, unless those new things are added to help counter the alternate primary path.

I don't think the alternate path should be something as binary as "Do I try to win by windmills, or do I try to win by ... I dunno Totems (really just pulling a "thing" out of nowhere here, like I said.. vague)." The player's path to victory should involve a strategic combination of Windmills/Totems.

What do these "totems" do? Well, that's a good question. Maybe instead of buffing your character in combat, they buff your whole resistance in some way. Windmills build "tall" and totems build "wide" so to speak. Less combat perks, but instead you get some sort of "Strategic perks". A perk that makes your soldiers have a bit more combat value. A perk that makes your skirmishers get better scavenging bonuses, a perk that slows enemy movement or reduces growth of monster difficulty.. there are lots of options here.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,655
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 11:22:14 AM »
It's difficult for me to think of a compelling expansion that could be done in such a small time frame. By compelling I mean something that adds to game play and is not just new skins and things.

That, in a nutshell, is the problem with the Valley games.  They are simply too expensive to make for their audience, and thus far we've currently lost something like $200k in making them (forget profit, there's no profit in sight for a long while).  The goal of an expansion would be to help close that gap some, while also providing more fun for players.  If we just make the loss we take even LARGER by doing an expansion to the game, then we're just absolutely shooting ourselves in the foot yet again with it.

I'm not sure if there is an answer to this problem, which is why I've not wanted to do an expansion (well, one reason).  It's going to take some sort of flash of insight on somebody's part before this would really become a thing that is feasible.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Online Pepisolo

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,353
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 11:58:06 AM »
I really like Valley 2, but there a quite a few things that could be done to improve the base game. Off the top of my head a better character creation system, improved equipment system, something similar to the SC playback to see the monsters movements on the map... blah, blah blah, but none of this stuff is in the territory of expansions.

One "entirely new adventure arc" idea that does come to mind, though, and is something that was talked about back in the day is the idea of a prologue or prequel expansion. This would be a pure platforming expansion telling the story of  your infiltration into Demonaica's inner circle. One of the criticisms of Valley 2 seemed to be that the random generation would not allow for tight platforming action, so to have a series of hand-crafted levels would be something really interesting. Many times in the story it is hinted that you have had to undergo trials and perform many deeds in order to gain the trust of Demonaica, so actually living and playing through some of this could be great.

Feasibility? I tend to get feasibility estimations badly wrong on occasion so this could be way way out of the scope of what you are looking for, in which case, apologies in advance, but it doesn't seem completely out of the question to me. This would be a different approach to Valley 2 which would rely heavily on custom level design and extreme emphasis on writing and dialogue interjections. Asset-wise you would certainly be looking at a few new human/survivor bosses. One advantage this game has is the large variety of existing human models which would make up a large part of the survivor enemies.

I could write reams about this as I found the idea very exciting in the past, but you get the gist.

To sum up: short completely hand-crafted campaign (not just chunks) telling the story of your infiltration of Demonaica's inner circle with heavy emphasis on narrative and dialogue featuring survivor enemies/bosses.

From a developer perspective I could see how this would be an interesting project for the team, too, as it would allow you to flex your level-design and narrative chops. Something a bit different, although you got a little bit of that during the development of Shattered Haven.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,655
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2013, 12:31:52 PM »
Hmm, that's actually really interesting!  I think that's probably the most feasible thing I've heard yet.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 12:40:18 PM »
Agree with what Pepisolo said.

Additionally story-wise, would love to see the continuation of what happens after AVWW2, or even before it - like Demonica's "fall to evil" (or rise to power). Building up the wind generators instead of tearing them down for instance, heh.

Regarding mage classes. I would love classes designed for specific play styles. We have plenty of shooty classes, I would like classes with other inspirations behind them. An example being a melee-focused class - I could see a combination of whip spells, a "slashing" spell, and maybe a dash or invisibility-spell, and then one ranged spell in the ammo slot. Most classes play like contra, a class that feels like castlevania - or other styles as well would be cool.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,655
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 12:44:49 PM »
In the beta we had quite a number of melee classes, as I thought that would be cool, too.  Players didn't seem to agree, and complained loudly and a lot. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline madcow

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2013, 12:54:05 PM »
In the beta we had quite a number of melee classes, as I thought that would be cool, too.  Players didn't seem to agree, and complained loudly and a lot. :)

Heh, I recall! I think part of the issue was the touch spells were a little too hard to control. Something more akin of a "slash" type effect could be cool. They would need access to a decent caliber as well.

Online keith.lamothe

  • Arcen Games Staff
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,258
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2013, 01:02:10 PM »
Valley2: Animator's Revenge: Revenge Of The Robots
Flying robotic Player Characters that are actually relatively feasible to animate!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games? Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,655
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2013, 01:09:19 PM »
Yeah, the longer this discussion goes on, the more I remember why I don't want to revisit this in an expansion.  Adding new styles of abilities like that really are such a nightmare in a lot of ways.  I love playing this game, and designing as well, but I think the Valley series has to be my least favorite to work on from a coding standpoint our of all our titles.  Blargh.  :-\
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline LaughingThesaurus

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,723
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2013, 01:12:35 PM »
I think sort of the problem with melee classes is that the danger of being up close isn't really offset in a reasonable way. If you can construct a melee class in such a way that it becomes a dance between deflecting enemy projectiles (something melee classes should probably be able to just DO), damaging and stunning, and locking down enemies with various crippling attacks, then it becomes really fun. Melee classes should be fairly powerful, to compensate the whole 'no range' thing.

Oh. Really, my best idea for a sort of alternative campaign really is also one that focuses a bit less on the strategy side of things. THe prequel sounds really fun. The idea of setting up the wind generators also sounds fun, but the stress of the strategy game is usually what drives me away from my Valley 2 campaigns.

Offline Mick

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 911
Re: If we did do a Valley 2 expansion, what would you even want to see?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2013, 01:15:34 PM »
the stress of the strategy game is usually what drives me away from my Valley 2 campaigns.

It's funny, I'm the opposite. I like the strategy part but get driven away by the platforming half.