General discussion and feedback about Wizards and Warlords.
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Post by Ludovic » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:03 pm

Please note that this is rather dated information. I will keep it here for historical purposes.

What is Wizards and Warlords?
It's a turn-based strategy game with a fantasy setting. It has elements of the 4X, grand strategy and even rogue-like genres. The player can choose to play as a Warlord or a Wizard, and the world is either randomly generated or chosen from a list of scenarios. Scenarios can be created and edited in the game editor. The game is planned to be released for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Who is the developer? What is your background?
Valravn Games is the name of the studio behind this game. The development is essentially a one-man venture by yours truly, with contributions by friends, contractors, asset vendors and a few providers of free assets. As of August 2016, work with professional artists on custom art assets for the game has begun.

I have a background as a programmer with more than two decades of experience developing commercial software, about a third of which has been spent in the games industry at a major studio. I have held positions of varying seniority from lowly grunt to technical producer, and my current employment is as principal developer working in fintech.

What is the expected release date?
The game was previously in open alpha while being developed, but is currently in closed beta and has been Greenlit on Steam. Early Access is expected to open up mid-to-end January, with a non-Steam alternative shortly after.

That was the expect beta date. What is expected *final* release date?
End of 2017. As a seasoned software developer, I have enough self-insight to know that the risk of missing a projected release is significant, so please take this with required grain of salt. It also depends heavily on feedback during Early Access.

How long has this been in development?
The game began as a concept in 2007, with a series of prototypes being developed during the following years. The blog chronicling the development went live in 2012. Progress started ramping up in 2014/2015, and the game was ported to Unity in March 2016.

What is the expected price tag?
The early access will be around 18$, and the final product will probably be 25$+.

Why early access? I don't like paying to test an incomplete game.
There are several reasons I chose early access rather than crowdfunding or waiting for a feature & content complete, bug-free release:

1) To involve the community in the design process and getting feedback on what is fun and what isn't. As a singular developer there is a high risk of design myopia. I believe that having players involved in adjusting the game design, the UI and prioritizing feature/content work, will make the final product much better.
2) I have a strong focus on making the game robust and as bug-free as possible, but no game is without bugs. Especially during development. Having players actively playing the game helps find more bugs than I could do on my own.
3) Development costs money. Early access is a way to get better art, writing, music than would be possible with pure self-funding. Another option would be crowdfunding, but I believe that early access is more fair to consumers as there is a higher degree of accountability and there is immediate delivery of a playable product. Crowdfunding also tends to have a very high financial overhead.

Early access is not for everyone. It is perfectly valid to wait for the "proper" release. It's an option for those who want to support the development, while getting something in return, and for those who find enjoyment in being part of an open development process. If you are skeptical about you getting your money's worth and whether the promises of open development will be honored, feel free to wait until my actions have convinced you.

Is modding supported?
I am strongly committed to making the game highly customizable and moddable. Currently the user can create and share custom world maps and there is support for modding parts of the world generation engine through config files. The graphical editor will be expanded to allow the user to create full custom scenarios with pre-defined cultures, races, unit types, organizations, deities, unit types, playable factions and victory conditions. Further planned support includes custom event and generator scripts, tech tree modding and adjusting mechanics.

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