The CRPG of Your Dreams “The Rise of Dagon”
Written By: Gage Allen
March 20, 2016, 6:00 p.m.
Tweet to: @lotims
The Rise of Dagon is a badass CRPG Dungeon crawl adventure game being developed by Infernohawke Entertainment. Taking strides from classics like Eye of the Beholder, Legend of Grimrock, Dungeon Master, and Lands of Lore. You can create a party of four characters each with distinct racial and class-based abilities as well as a set of Elemental Affinity powers that enhance your character’s powers and resistance to each element. Your goal? To stop the rise of Dagon, an ancient long dead god, on the verge of being re-incarnated by the death cult that has taken you for sacrifice.
The Rise of Dagon has all the right elements of nostalgia and modernistic art traits to appeal to almost any CRPG player. This, says Carl Kidwell, founder and lead developer at Infernohawke Entertainment, is what inspired him to create the game.
“Really my inspiration comes from my child hood in growing up playing pen and paper role-playing games like AD&D, but shortly thereafter discovering that I could also play these kinds of games on computers… When I eventually ran into Dungeon Master and then Eye of the Beholder, it really cemented the entire dungeon crawl experience that I had only been able to imagine in the pen and paper days.“
The classic feel is definitely apparent with the tile-based movement system, which gives a very interesting appeal to seeing your enemy moving towards you, and giving that dose of nostalgia along the way.
“Many years later as I became involved in game development it was at the height of DOOM and Quake and I got involved in a startup company that was doing an expansion for SiN (by Ritual Entertainment). Certainly doing this was rewarding but it didn’t satisfy my childhood desires to be doing fantasy role-playing types of games… After forming my own indie studio –I made some mobile games to get myself grounded but quickly pivoted to what I really love.“
Carl went on to make Pirates Jewels, War Runner, Holiday Cheer, Leprechaun’s Luck, Space Chickens VS Angry Zombies, as well as contribute to Wizard World, Grav Blox, and Elgio.
It’s obvious that Carl has brought this kind of valuable experience into the development of The Rise of Dagon. As is apparent by its impressive graphical architecture, gameplay mechanics, and more. Games like this can do well on mobile platforms under the right circumstances, and normally one would assume The Rise of Dagon to have the perfect formula for mobile use, however, Kidwell says otherwise.
“Initially, like many developers starting off on their own, I realized that publishing is a huge barrier to creating games. Traditionally there has been a ‘gate keeper’ system where you have to get through certain players in the market to be able to get your game published and in front of players… The mobile market has really changed that in that Apple and Google have permitted anyone who can put together an application to submit it and pass a review process to their stores… [The problem is] there’s literally hundreds of thousands of applications in the mobile market place and one of the ways customers discover your application is through rankings that these stores place on your product. If you don’t happen to have the money to market your app and get proper ratings – you really aren’t going to get in front of people and have a chance to succeed…”
What Kidwell is talking about, specifically, is the many barriers indies face when looking at market places that get rid of that “gatekeeper” for publishing their games. Mobile is one of the platforms to break through that process, however, there are so many developers flocking to mobile formats that is has become incredibly difficult to be seen by players.
“This really got me to thinking about mobile and if it was a right fit. On top of it as I really wanted to make an RPG I had to give a lot of thought about what kind of an RPG mobile [game] players would respond to and the answer I kept coming up with was one of those grindy paywall kind of games that I really have no interest in at all… It became clear I had to pivot to desktop and create my RPG there as it was the right place and the right market for gamers who love a gameplay experience with depth.”
Crowdfunding is another platform to break through the “gatekeeper” standard, yet recently many AAA developers have been using it as a way to gauge interest in their games, setting funding goals much lower than what it would normally cost for an indie developer. This is a problem because an indie developer hitting a crowdfunding platform must now pick a much lower goal than what their requirement is since backers expect the same low funding thresholds as they saw from AAA games using Kickstarter as a “pre-funding” stage. This essentially blocks many of these indie devs away from hitting their funding goals. Services like Gamekicker aim to change that in the near future however.
The Rise of Dagon contains a procedurally generated loot system. With any CRPG, there are plenty of mechanics and details that would go into processing loot advantage. Kidwell breaks down his inspiration for the feature and how it differs from different types of loot table generation mechanics.
“Really for me the Diablo procedural loot system (and I mean Diablo I) was the first time I was totally blown away with procedural loot. I mean they just totally nailed it to the point where there was this entire mini-game around what was going to drop next – and they figured out ways that even the items you didn’t have a use for have an actual use like decomposing or selling for gold and then buying more potions or doing magic-item gambling systems to try your luck for an epic item. Additionally, you might see an item that builds up on one of our core sub-systems in the game which is the Affinity Power system. With procedural loot if you find something really amazing in the course of a particular play-through all of a sudden you can play to the strength of what you’ve found and make a build around it and your having a unique experience”
“I honestly think that it’s going to vary a lot according to the game and the audience. For example if you have a sandbox game that in early alpha stages like say 7 Days to Die that’s on steam right now .. well you can get away with early access due to that sandbox aspect of gameplay and people will have tons of content. But in the case of an RPG like The Rise of Dagon early access is not nearly as plausible because if I went out early with say the first 2 levels of content the gamers are going to tear through that really quickly and then want the rest of the content which would take a long time to produce. Some games really need upfront backing, like mine, to produce that full set of content so we can deliver something that allows you to sit down and enjoy the whole thing in say a week and then feel really satisfied and not have to wait months for the next slice.”
“Personally I hope players realize that they have to back the projects that they really want to see – keep in mind no publisher would make Brian Fargo’s Wasteland 2 – but the community made that happen! I’m no Brian Fargo – but I think the alpha gameplay clearly demonstrates a solid dungeon crawler shaping up so I hope that I can count on community support. But even if I can’t – this is really a dream project and for many indie’s like me – that’s what its all about. This is my baby – and if I have to I’ll fund it myself. The game will get made – it’ll just take longer. Many indie’s are going to have to do it that way – and thats real. If you have the dedication absolutely nothing can stop you.”