Author Topic: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...  (Read 12967 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris McElligott Park, Arcen Founder and Lead Dev
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,651
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2013, 02:51:34 pm »
I think that's pretty much true about any subject that isn't an absolute taboo, so long as the game is fun.  A janitor simulator, done right, could be amazing.  The most likely outcome is obviously terrible, because that's a tall order of a game design.  But still, if it were executed well it could be great.

I mean, who would have thought that a game about running a shop could be so awesome?
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: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2013, 02:55:50 pm »
Janitor Dash.

Diner Dash with janitorial theme. Boom - one million+ sales on app store!

I'll accept a 1% royalty for my efforts.

Offline x4000

  • Chris McElligott Park, Arcen Founder and Lead Dev
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,651
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2013, 02:56:23 pm »
 :D
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 Penumbra

  • Sr. Member Mark III
  • ****
  • Posts: 464
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2013, 03:36:01 pm »
A janitor simulator, done right, could be amazing.

I give you: Dustforce!

Offline Billick

  • Full Member Mark III
  • ***
  • Posts: 244
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2013, 04:53:15 pm »
A janitor simulator, done right, could be amazing.

I give you: Dustforce!
Dustforce is a pretty amazing game. 

Offline PokerChen

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,088
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2013, 05:06:27 pm »
A janitor simulator, done right, could be amazing.

I give you: Dustforce!
Dustforce is a pretty amazing game.

Probably the most benign application of ninja and kung-fu skills ever to grace a game.

On the prospects of a middle-management game done right, well I've said this before in the PoE alpha - it needs to be more enjoyable than work. :P Otherwise, I'll just middle-manage in real life. *encourages workplace carnage*

EDIT: Thus, in this vein completive multiplayer in this game needs to have board meetings between rival Creators. You bid to have edicts bestowed upon your assignment.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 05:09:47 pm by zharmad »

Offline Cyprene

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2013, 06:15:24 pm »
Nitpicky comments inbound:

Quote
How do you balance -- and indeed encourage -- a war between villages without letting either side win?
Could this be just "a war"?  "Villages" sounds kind of tiny and small scale, like I'm giving Bob the farmer a pitchfork to go stab Cletus on his donkey.


Quote
How do you rule over gods, creatures, and men who refuse to obey you?

This is a cool, cool quote.  It's something your game does that nobody else has tried, and it's a fun concept.


Quote
How do you build larger towns while bandits and powerful artifacts are trying to tear them down?


The artifacts are trying to tear down my towns?  Are they like, floating sentient swords or something?  Like Excalibur floats up to my walls and starts trying to hack them down?  That's kind of cool if it's true, but is that what this is trying to say?


Quote
All in service to a larger end veiled even from you, though you suspect the "butterfly effect" is involved.

This last sentence strikes me as kind of weak, and not just because it's a sentence fragment.  Not sure how I'd improve it offhand, but it seems disjointed from the rest of the paragraph. 

Quote
* A turn-based strategic god-game where you control neither faction, but instead strive to encourage conflict while maintaining balance of power.
Should this be "the balance of power"?

Quote
* Make towns, trade, diplomacy, and war as the boardgame-like floating island continues to construct itself around you.
This is the first time in the text you've used the phrased "island" to describe the game board.  In the first paragraph it's the "floating world of Luminth", and so it's not entirely clear what you're talking about here.  Why not replace both "island" and "world" with "floating continent?"

 
Quote
* Choose from among 16 gods, each with unique passive abilities and active powers, to further your goals as the game develops over three rounds.
I second the guy who said "phases" instead of "rounds."  I remember the first time I read that it was three rounds, I thought to myself "Wow that must be a really, really short game.  I make a move on one side, then another, and repeat that twice and I'm done?"  Took me a minute to figure out what you actually meant; for a while I thought it was going to be one of those microgames that you play over lunch break, like Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space. 


Quote
* Level up your player profile by completing up to 100 side challenges as you play; 10 related unlockable buildings in all!
Pretty sure that semicolon shouldn't go there. 

Quote
* Straightforward controls paired with an intuitive and helpful interface make this an easy title to pick up... but the strategy runs deep.
This is very good.  I like AI War, but it is... intimidating at first glance. 

Quote
* 41 Edicts (extra victory requirements) in three difficulty tiers help keep the game fresh every time you play.  There's no one best way to win!
Also good.  That last sentence is kind of an Arcen trademark.



Hope this helps a little.  I know I personally have been really carefully reading the copy on Steam since Greenlight started, and Valve started putting up games that were unfinished or very low quality.  Grammatical errors and unclear writing are my clue that the game's being made by a dude in his garage in Nigeria, and I should think before I plunk down the money for it. 


Offline Pepisolo

  • Arcen Volunteer
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,511
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2013, 07:12:11 pm »
Some good points from Cyprene, there. Looks pretty good aside from those. Here are a few thoughts, though.


"How do you build larger towns while bandits and powerful artifacts are trying to tear them down?"

This line seems clunky to me. Maybe something broader would be better. Something like: How do you maintain equilibrium (or the status quo) while bandits and powerful artifacts (?) are intent on spreading anarchy?


"and frees you to tackle these problems in your own style"

Would prefer in your own "way" I think, rather than "style".


"All in service to a larger end veiled even from you, though you suspect the "butterfly effect" is involved."

I would just cut the "though you suspect..." bit. Sounds more mysterious and intriguing without it.


Definitely reads like an eye-catching twist on the 4x genre, though. Good job.


Offline x4000

  • Chris McElligott Park, Arcen Founder and Lead Dev
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,651
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2013, 08:30:29 pm »
Lots of comments, but just to respond to a few (and many other changes have been made to the original text based on your thoughts -- thanks!)

Quote
How do you balance -- and indeed encourage -- a war between villages without letting either side win?
Could this be just "a war"?  "Villages" sounds kind of tiny and small scale, like I'm giving Bob the farmer a pitchfork to go stab Cletus on his donkey.

Well... this is a good point in some ways, but in other ways you've about got the right of it.  Maybe "towns" instead of villages would give a better impression.  This is not an all-out war on the scale of something like AI War, where there are vast armies going around.  You are training professional military units, it's true, along with mythological creatures that do great harm.  And it's also true that there are bandits that pop out to get you, etc.  That said, this isn't army-on-army battle.  It's about individual units running around and doing stuff for the short while that they survive, generally. ;)

In other words, the combat is consistent and potentially intense, but the scale of the units never gets too huge (that would also get tedious).  In some respects that makes this a bit like a tactics game, except you can't control the tactics and you're using strategy to make the tactics play out (most likely) how you want).  But I've drifted off point: what I originally was trying to say that the combat tends to stay small-scale because guys don't live very long.  They're all bloodthirsty, and you can't tell them not to fight, so only one of two things are going to happen: a) they are going to go ravage the other side's towns while you do nothing; b) you're going to help the other side raise a counter-force and thus that first bloodthirsty dude is going to die.  And back and forth from there.

Anyhow, there's also a distinct town-on-town flavor here.  You can build multiple towns per faction (and in longer games, will need to), and each town pretty much just wars (or tries for diplomacy) with its nearest neighbor.  If one town falls then it flips allegiances, and the balance of power swings pretty heavily.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you're going to wield your god powers.  At any rate, it makes the town-on-town aspect pretty important.

For now I'm going to change that word to "towns," because I think it helps to set the tone properly without giving the Cletus vibe.  All that said, I really do see your point and remain unsure about this.  Further thoughts welcome, especially now that I've given a bit more context as to why that word was in there to begin with.

Quote
How do you build larger towns while bandits and powerful artifacts are trying to tear them down?


The artifacts are trying to tear down my towns?  Are they like, floating sentient swords or something?  Like Excalibur floats up to my walls and starts trying to hack them down?  That's kind of cool if it's true, but is that what this is trying to say?


Yeah, this really isn't worded right, and you're the first to point it out, but I already was feeling unhappy with that line.  Yes, the bandits are trying to tear down your town, but the artifacts are not... well, not quite.  In the game lingo there's not anything actually called "artifacts" in the first place.  Let me explain how this actually works, briefly, so that perhaps folks can help me improve the wording here.  These are the myriad of game mechanics I was trying to refer to with artifacts:

1. Mythological Tokens (Global Effect): These are kind of like "global enchantments" in MTG.  Basically, you place one of these for a faction (at a hefty specialized resource cost), and then something happens to all your dudes (or all the enemy dudes, or all buildings of a certain sort, or whatever) for X number of turns.  Typically something substantial changes for 3-5 turns.

2. Mythological Tokens (Unit Pickups): These are kind of like "enchant creatures" in MTG.  You place one of these for a faction (again at a hefty specialized resource cost)... and then various units vie for it.  Typically the first 5 units of either side (or bandits) to reach it will get whatever the bonus is.  Some of them are limited to only ranged units or only mythological creatures or whatever, so everyone else ignores it.  But these things confer a permanent status effect of some sort onto the units that pick them up, making them more powerful in some unique way.

3. Ruins (Unit Pickups): Sometimes you can control these, a lot of times (depending on the map type) they just pop up themselves.  These work basically like mythological tokens in that they give status bonuses to the first 5 dudes to reach them.  Anybody but a god can go visit these, and will, of their own accord.  There's a set list of more generic bonuses here, rather than the faction-specific stuff from the mythological tokens.  But these upgrades can still swing the normal balance of power around in a moderate fashion for a short while.

Thus far, the first three things we've talked about are all "moderate effects" for the most part.  These have a sizable effect on the game, but it's not nuclear-warhead levels of drastic.

4. God Tokens: Each god has 3 of these, so there are 48 of them in all.  There are a very small number of duplicates between gods (maybe 6-8 out of 48, I've not counted it up), but the gods themselves are all unique.  These god tokens range from "very serious" in consequences to "cataclysmic."  Holy moly are these OP.  That's not exploitable, that's actually a problem for you since you're trying to maintain balance.  But if you want to really do well, you need to use these things... and then figure out how to recover from what you just did to yourself. ;)  The mechanic is that the god related to the token immediately seeks it out once you place it, and then when they reach it the effect immediately happens.

A few example god tokens:
Mjolnir (Thor): When he reaches Mjolnir, he immediately destroys the entire nearest enemy town, including the town center. This token cannot be placed on a building.
Reginnaglar (Njord): All allied buildings that currently exist get a permanent 100% bonus to their health based on their base health.
Skadi's Skis (Skadi): All allied units currently on the board gain the power to cross mountains at no movement penalty.
Gjallarhorn (Heimdall): All non-god units on the map, allied, enemy, and bandit -- all get killed at once, and his faction gets the destruction points for all of them.  (This is the horn he blows at the start of the end of the world, in mythology).
Bow (Apollo): All allied archery range units on the board at the time become invulnerable for 10 turns.  (Um... ow.  Archery units are already really intense as it is, since they can attack from range without taking damage).
Necklace of Harmonia (Athena): Every unit on her faction is killed, however your resources are increased by 4x the number of resources required to create each unit.
Serpent (Ares): All bandits on the board join your faction.


And so on and so forth.  So when it comes to "artifacts," I was referring to these various kinds of tokens.  These aren't things that just come out of the woodwork to screw with you (ruins aside, and those don't have an enormous impact most of the time).  They are things that you willingly, intentionally, do to yourself.  "Bring me the whipping switch, boy."  In order to meet the criteria of your edicts, or complete challenges, or just pursue a high score, these are things you have to inflict on yourself.  And then once you've inflicted one thing on yourself, that kind of sets of a chain reaction of things you have to do in order to continuously try to maintain that balance of power.

Round 1 of the game is comparably tame because you don't have any gods or god tokens yet.  It's all positioning and setting up your towns, and other moderate effects like the mythological creatures and mythological tokens.  You can rack up a lot of success there, and it's an important part of the game, but you're not likely to completely blow your leg off by accident in that round.  Once the gods come out... watch out.

All of that is actually way more interesting than just talking about "artifacts" threatening your towns, but I have no idea how to condense all that down!

Quote
* Choose from among 16 gods, each with unique passive abilities and active powers, to further your goals as the game develops over three rounds.
I second the guy who said "phases" instead of "rounds."  I remember the first time I read that it was three rounds, I thought to myself "Wow that must be a really, really short game.  I make a move on one side, then another, and repeat that twice and I'm done?"  Took me a minute to figure out what you actually meant; for a while I thought it was going to be one of those microgames that you play over lunch break, like Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space. 

Definitely not a micro-game in any sense, though it's not so long as AI War.  I've just cut the wording about three rounds in general, as it added nothing substantial except this confusion. ;)

Hope this helps a little.  I know I personally have been really carefully reading the copy on Steam since Greenlight started, and Valve started putting up games that were unfinished or very low quality.  Grammatical errors and unclear writing are my clue that the game's being made by a dude in his garage in Nigeria, and I should think before I plunk down the money for it.

It helps a lot, and I really appreciate it.  I've noticed how Greenlight has affected people, too. :)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2013, 08:39:16 pm by x4000 »
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 McElligott Park, Arcen Founder and Lead Dev
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,651
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2013, 08:35:48 pm »
"How do you build larger towns while bandits and powerful artifacts are trying to tear them down?"

This line seems clunky to me. Maybe something broader would be better. Something like: How do you maintain equilibrium (or the status quo) while bandits and powerful artifacts (?) are intent on spreading anarchy?

Agreed that this is clunky, and see my detailed notes above.  I'm a bit stuck on this.  One thing that I did one to emphasize, however, is that this is partly a city-builder like Pharaoh or whatever.  The economy isn't quite that in-depth, but goodness there are like 30 resources here, heh.  The learning curve on those is pretty low thanks to the interface, though, and to the fact that it's not lengthy splitting chains on resource requirements.

"and frees you to tackle these problems in your own style"

Would prefer in your own "way" I think, rather than "style".

Good point, changed it.

"All in service to a larger end veiled even from you, though you suspect the "butterfly effect" is involved."

I would just cut the "though you suspect..." bit. Sounds more mysterious and intriguing without it.

What do you think about the revised version that's up there now?  By the way, the game itself never explains what the point of the edicts is, although some secondary material we're developing will give a bit more explanation.  So the main thing I'm trying to avoid the sense that this is "pointless arbitrary rules" in terms of edicts.  Of course, with any game rules you could say they are pointless and arbitrary, so it's a thought that may not even occur to most players at all.  Quite likely I'm overthinking this, and potentially the entire last line could just be cut for brevity anyhow, or replaced with something more interesting about all those god powers above.

Definitely reads like an eye-catching twist on the 4x genre, though. Good job.

Thanks!
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 Pepisolo

  • Arcen Volunteer
  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,511
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2013, 09:03:44 pm »
Quick reply before I go to sleep.

"What do you think about the revised version that's up there now?"

Not much better really, I don't think. I think I preferred this... "All in service to a larger end veiled even from you" albeit without the "Butterfly Effect" effect stuff. This line on its own leaves me with a feeling of intrigue, as if there is going to be some kind of hidden plot to uncover . Seems nice to end the main text with something mysterious like this. As a player I can uncover the "Butterfly Effect" stuff on my own (if it is uncoverable, of course).


Offline x4000

  • Chris McElligott Park, Arcen Founder and Lead Dev
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,651
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2013, 09:11:28 pm »
as if there is going to be some kind of hidden plot to uncover .
As a player I can uncover the "Butterfly Effect" stuff on my own (if it is uncoverable, of course).

It's not, hence the problem.  If you read some supplementary materials it's revealed there, and we might include those materials as something in the game itself that you can see.  But there's no story to this game or progression of lore in terms of in-game stuff.  No more so than there is in AI War or Civilization IV or skirmishes in AOEIII or whatever.
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 PokerChen

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,088
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2013, 01:20:39 am »
Quote
How do you build larger towns while bandits and powerful artifacts are trying to tear them down?

On this point, I wasn't not sure how much Civilisation is going to be in the game when I re-wrote the passage. I get the impression that a town is a single-tiled object that contained a list of building, and units will spawn from these building. Do they instead sprawl and visibly grow as you develop then? It's clear that there is no doctrine of total-war intrinsic to the people, but they fight and many of the example artifacts boost that rather than work on towns themselves. There also does not seem to be an over-arching empire with each town doing their own thing with every other town (i.e. not killing their allies).

If the tokens are mostly god-based, I think it may be better to mention the gods directly in the text, rather than as individual artifacts. There is a large difference of intent between things like Mjolnir, vase of aquarius, Hermes' Lyre, etc., versus Excalibur, golden fleece, etc. I presume both are in the game.

So, what about something along the lines of... How do you build thriving cities (or a thriving landscape?) against the threat of bandits and mythological powers? Could use another word for town/city...

Offline Cyprene

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 52
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2013, 02:24:14 am »
I may have some more comments tomorrow.  That artifact thing is really impressive, actually.  I'll try and think of a way to condense it down.

Something occurred to me that you may want to think about.  Whenever I'm describing AI War to people, the part I always talk about is the attack on the AI Home Fortress: my fleet of thousands upon thousands of ships, firing everything they've got at this massive, impenetrable shield while the AI's gigantic guns hammer back.  Dozens or hundreds of ships dying with every blast of the fortress's cannons.  That, for me, is the defining moment of that game: the experience it offers that no other game does.

Is there a similar defining moment for Skyward Collapse, and if so, what is it? 

Offline x4000

  • Chris McElligott Park, Arcen Founder and Lead Dev
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,651
Re: Working on Skyward Collapse marketing copy...
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2013, 09:02:38 am »
Quote
How do you build larger towns while bandits and powerful artifacts are trying to tear them down?

On this point, I wasn't not sure how much Civilisation is going to be in the game when I re-wrote the passage. I get the impression that a town is a single-tiled object that contained a list of building, and units will spawn from these building. Do they instead sprawl and visibly grow as you develop then?

Yeah, that's a good point -- our screenshots thus far have not shown that, or even the units, for that matter!  Will have to rectify that soon.  At any rate, yeah -- town centers are a single tile, and then there are two rings of town buildings possible around them (for a total of 24 buildings that can be ringed around a single TC).  We started out with just one ring, aiming for smaller (more specialized) towns, but with just 8 slots for buildings it's impossible to fit everything in.  Towns need a variety of buildings to stay healthy and not succumb to crime, bandits, or the other faction.

And that's just the buildings in a town.  All of the raw-resource producers (as opposed to "finished goods" producers) are located outside of town.  Your chapmen ferry goods from the raw resource producers into the town center, from which the raw resources can be used in any town.  The finished goods require a producer in a specific town for when it comes to military units that are auto-produced there, though.  So your store of pigs and sheep from outlying pig farms is universal, but your supply of bacon or mutton at a single town depends on the presence of a butcher.  Same with the need for fletchers, carpenters, stone masons, and so on and so forth.  As you unlock further things, you get into stuff like wells and breweries.

It's clear that there is no doctrine of total-war intrinsic to the people, but they fight and many of the example artifacts boost that rather than work on towns themselves. There also does not seem to be an over-arching empire with each town doing their own thing with every other town (i.e. not killing their allies).

Right.  It's a collection of independent towns.  There's no organization of the units at all, they all pursue their own independent agendas.  The agendas are fairly predictable (except when things get complicated), so you can guide your folks by guiding the circumstances.  That's a big part of how you "trick" your guys to doing what you want: give them few options in a given circumstance, or put them into a situation where you can predict their reactions with some fairly high degree of accuracy.

If the tokens are mostly god-based, I think it may be better to mention the gods directly in the text, rather than as individual artifacts. There is a large difference of intent between things like Mjolnir, vase of aquarius, Hermes' Lyre, etc., versus Excalibur, golden fleece, etc. I presume both are in the game.

Overall there are 64 tokens, and 48 of them come from the gods, so yeah.  8 are available to each faction throughout each game, and then a further 3 are available to each faction per each god they choose (so by round 3, if both your gods are still living at a given faction, you've got 14 tokens total available to you).  So it depends on how you look at it: in the course of a given game, the larger number of tokens are actually the mythological ones.  But overall the god tokens vastly outnumber the mythological ones.  At any rate, making more mention of the gods is a really good idea.

So, what about something along the lines of... How do you build thriving cities (or a thriving landscape?) against the threat of bandits and mythological powers? Could use another word for town/city...

Great thought.  This is what I went with, though it's a bit more wordy than yours:

How do you build a thriving landscape of villages against the threat of bandits and mythological powers?

It's wordy, but I think that "thriving landscape of villages" is inherently kind of evocative and interesting, and it gets the point across better that a) there is a landscape and b) multiple towns.  Which I think is what you were getting at, I just used both your words instead of choosing one like I think you had intended. ;)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk