When I first started Sword 'N' Board, I remember telling myself "6 months, and this will be finished, and you can start on the next project".
Well, that was almost a year ago...
Over time the game has changed in a lot of different ways. At first, it was something small that I wanted to do, that I would release as a free game for people, and it was only intended to be a learning process so I could finally make the game that I wanted to make all along.
As time went on, I definitely learned a lot, but then I began to want to add things to the game to make it better, and as that happened the game became more and more complex. I realized soon after I dedicated myself to that first May 15th release date, that it wasn't going to happen. I could have easily released the game at that date, and it would have gone unnoticed and played by a few. It wasn't something I was completely proud of yet.
So, I decided to put it off ,and continue working on it. After all, that release date was pretty much just an artificial deadline that I had given myself. There was literally no reason for it. I wasn't being hounded by a publisher to get it done, or any investors since I didn't have any at the time, and I decided I wanted to try and make the game as good as I could make it. I also wanted to change a lot of the things that I hated in older more retro adventure games - and some modern ones as well.
The variety of items you could find in adventure games was amazing, and vast but I always saw the same thing in almost every adventure game I played. Eventually, you would find items that would make other items completely useless. You may pull them out again in later adventures and dungeons to take care of a puzzle with an old recycled mechanic, but it was no longer anything you had to think about. It just wasn't rewarding in any way. You knew that item A, could interact with puzzle switch B, and that you need to use that to proceed forward. So, you go into your inventory, equip your item solve the puzzle and continue on. The thrill of discovering something new was no longer there. Sure, you were happy to be moving forward in the game, but that was all.
So, I sat down and created a way to make sure all of the items in the game were rewarding, and always useful. Not only that, but always changing. I wanted to come up with a synergistic way that the items could be used together, in multiple different ways. Not only would this make an item you found earlier on in the game, even more powerful when you found a brand new item it could then be used with, but the complexity of the puzzles that the item could then be used for would increase naturally. Using mechanics that you've learned along the way, and challenge you to find new ones!
However, I always wanted you to also be able to find different combinations to come up with better play styles. Maybe you have an item that is largely for defense, and another that can be used to attack enemies. But, should you use them together at the same time it does something completely different and unexpected!
You could then choose to use them together, or individually, and you can do that with all of the items. This, is what will make the game different from other adventure games I think.
Sword 'N' Board hard always been compared to The Legend of Zelda, and that's something I expected. It's obviously largely inspired by it, but I think all top down adventure games are going to find those comparisons. Sword 'N' Board could have taken place in space, on a distance planet with a lazer gun instead of a sword and shield and it would probably still draw comparisons to The Legend of Zelda. Just as a lot of first person shooter games were called "Doom Clones" shortly after doom came out, no matter how different the mechanics or themes were.
I definitely think though, once people have a chance to play the game, and interact with the items, and the crafting system, it will feel very different.
However, shortly after the Kickstarter started, I started thinking of a secondary item system to add to the game. A way for you to collect items that you might not be able to use right away, or even use to attack for that matter, but that you could use to upgrade your current items! I talked to a few people about this, some of them suggesting a similar inventory system before knowing I had already planned one, and that only helped validate my feelings on the matter also. While the system won't be too overly complex, it will definitely add another layer of fun to the game, and another level of customization.
Enemies, also play an important part of Sword 'N' Board, and I really wish the Kickstarter and Casual Connect demo had been further along to really showcase that. Unfortunately because of work, and time constraints it was hard to get together in time.
However, I always wanted the enemies in Sword 'N' Board to be interesting also. Sure, they may mindlessly wander at times, but I wanted them all have their own mechanics, so you can't just run around and swing your sword like a crazy person and expect to beat them.
There will be some you can only attack from a specific angle, some that chase you when you get within a specific range, and some enemies you can only defeat with a specific weapon or item combination. It's going to be a game that really encourages trying new things.
The secrets of the game will definitely be a part of the game that I hope will help it shine. Too few games any more seem to really lack that kind of depth, and allow and encourage the player to look for secret things in a far off corner and then reward the player accordingly for their hard work.
There will be hidden treasure rooms, and hidden items, as well as rare items that will only be able to be used for item crafting and upgrading. I think it will be nice to really see people on the internet playing the game, and interacting with each other and talking about where to find certain special items and secrets.
What was once a straight forward dungeon crawler, has turned into so much more than that. And while I still have so much