The game has come a long way from when I first talked about it, and so have my thoughts on what the game experience should be.Now this is not a backpedal from fulfilling the games stated goals, actually its quite the opposite. I assume here that nobody has read my daily blogs, so I may cover some things I have already talked about for a while now. My first announcement is that the game will no longer be free to play on release. However it will have an extensive demo to play. I have decided to do this, because of the reasons stated below. In short though, I am going to take this much more seriously. I would like to mention a benefit of this transition to paying once for the game, is that now much of the DLC is to be put into the release version of the game.
I do not know what the price will be. I will probably have discounted prices for early purchase leading up to its release, so pretty typical indie business model. I still plan on releasing early demos for free, however, what features will be present in them is still being determined. I want the potential buyer to be able to play the game enough to know whether they like it or not. I may also start a kickstarter campaign for a few thousand dollars to cover some licensing fees, and if the campaign does well I will contract professional 3d artists to make custom models and/or textures so the games graphical fidelity can be on par of a AAA game. I will not run a kickstarter to keep the project alive, but only to improve it.
After the first release version of the game, I realized it was not fun, I even jokingly mentioned it in the showcase video of it. I then went back into development and soon I took a look at what was left for the base game(free version without any DLC), I realized it was not going to feel like a full game, and that I had locked off all the content into DLC that I may not even make. That was also going to make development even harder, as I had to make the unfinished feeling free game first and exclude putting any time into the features that make it a full experience. I also had to drastically limit features like NPC's existing in the 3d world and other things just to make the deadline I had set.
The new game experience is going to be about the players interaction with a simulated town, and the players impact on its development, in this post apocalyptic world. It is not about a pawn shop anymore, but I do really like the name, and I think the name speaks more about what the game is, who are you? well you’re just some dude who owns a pawn shop, you are not some great adventurer or conqueror or businessman. You have to build yourself up to be anything great in PAPS. You also have to work with npcs to achieve your goals. I think the best way to do this is to make there be new and challenging things for the player to do. Once you have gotten on a new level a whole new world of challenges is then presented. An example could be if you own a pawn shop and general store. You decide to support a large group of bandits, and they decide to take up residency in your town, now you have a lot of business, but you also now have to deal with a lack of respect for law in your town. Which will quickly change the game, and the challenges. Maybe then with your now successful pawn shop you could decide to run a bank, and you may make your own currency. You get people to use it by only accepting it in the general store, or by giving out lucrative loans to businesses or individuals who decide to use it. The point is that every achievement is just another beginning.
This new vision is way beyond the original concept of having a town, that is a prop in the background that you use as a gauge of your impact and progression. Now it is this interactive place, with people to meet and things to do. The player has the sandbox that is the town, run his own businesses and interact with the people who live there, or the player could start a game with just him and his remote store off a trade route. Build up a customer base and eventually people will stick around. See the town grow and prosper or fade away into a ghost town. An important mechanic is the role of combat, there is a dangerous world out there, and it occasionally will come by the player’s business to cause problems. Do you take up the defence of your shop by yourself, or do you trust its safety to a security company you hire. You could also pay the local gangs off for some protection. Most of the combat will be dependent on the players choices, and I think it will help make the world feel a bit more risky.
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows in this announcement though. Here are some of the drawbacks, first some features that were planned for DLC, have been removed. and Also some features that were on the line of being implemented have been taken off the table for now. Please make suggestions for new features or mechanics for the game in the steam discussion(steam group (Steamcommunity.com). There are so many ideals that could be pretty easy to put in but I have not thought about it. If you post please give all the details possible, and don’t be afraid to make massive posts. I will read and reply to all suggestions. Right now is the best time for your ideals to be implemented into the game, because nothing is set in stone yet.
I have been upfront about the fact that I have not done this before(creating a finished game), and with that lack of experience I am prone to make mistakes. I don’t want to make one when it comes to obligations I have made, so I have decided to change the games release from late December to, To Be Announced(TBA). I feel the that the product I was making needs more work, and I can’t be certain how long it will take to complete. I would also like to be able to say “Okay it’s not in a finished state, I need to take a month to add some features to it, or improve this mechanic”, without breaking commitments. I want to try working on multiple systems at once so that I don’t have to reprogram some feature later because I want to integrate something into it.