Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Twelve Games of Christmas #12 – The Fae’s Wyrd

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 24, 2010

It is hard for me not to wear my developer hat prominently on this blog. I get fascinated by developer stories, and seeing the process by which games get created by different teams. That part – the story behind the game – is often more interesting to me than the game itself. I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I am a developer, or if I’ve always been this way. I always wanted to learn more about an album or song I like, and I am one of those weirdos who likes listening to the director commentary on DVDs. It may not be an area most people want to hear about, but I do.

Sometimes I work to temper that here, for the sake of those who don’t like peeking inside the sausage factory. I try to ignore the business side and the production side of things for a while just share thoughts, raves, and rants about the joy and shared experience of playing solid, polished games – indie or mainstream.

This isn’t one of those times.

The final game of Christmas is one that’s still in development – the RPG Fae’s Wyrd, by Psychoavatar Games. It’s a very experimental project, originally intended to be a commercial-game-in-a-month for October. Obviously, they missed the deadline, but the game is now playable, and donors have received early access.

Psychoavatar developers include MMO veterans¬† Brian “Psychochild” Green and Dave Toulouse. So they’ve got cred. The “donation-ware” current status of Fae’s Wyrd is yet one more way of indies might attempt to actually finance their expensive game-development habit. As one commenter posted on the donation page, “Wow. Gaming is mad money. It has taken the four of you a month to get the kind of cash I make in 15 hours of less appealing programming.” The hope, of course, is that they get a sponsorship as a web-game and can actually generate real revenue in the future. In the meantime, this game serves as a test-bed for their evolving process and technologies as a new studio.

It’s a humble start, but not a bad one.

I realize I’m wearing my developer-centric hat again. You would rather hear about the game, right?

The Fae’s Wyrd is something of a graphical roguelike done in Flash. I realize Flash-based roguelikes aren’t exactly unheard of, but it does have some very interesting details that show promise. First of all, it is a party-based game with abstracted tactical turn-based combat. Positioning is handled formation-to-formation, with the player being able to modify the formation only (as far as I can tell) at the beginning of the fight. Tactics should be pretty familiar for any RPG veteran, though there are a few twists – such an individual’s chances of landing a critical hit or “slicing” through both enemies in a single rank, or doling out a continuous-damage effect – which keeps things from being trivially optimized. Items found throughout the game also have a variety of bonuses which keep the upgrade path from becoming too simple.

The leveling system is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the game. Rather than simply progressing along class-based or even a linear progression based on experience points, you are periodically rewarded with elemental shards which you can apply to one or more of your characters to upgrade their abilities. There are four elemental shards, which can be slotted into one of four different primary statistics – offense, defense, light magic, or dark magic, granting a different advancement for each position. You can grow your characters by slotting the shards in different mixes across these four abilities.

The items found in the game also have levels associated with them which require at least that many shards to be slotted in an appropriate statistic. For example, a level two weapon (of which there are many varieties) would require you to have at least two shards of any types in the offense stat. A third-level trinket would require your highest stat to have at least three shards — so it may pay to not be too well-balanced in your character upgrades.

So while it’s not an inordinately deep or complex system, there’s some real sophistication in the simplicity of the design. The interesting decisions come from the interaction between these small systems.

But it’s not the kind of game that’s going to bowl anybody over from its technology or the shattering of boundaries of what an RPG can be. It’s not intended to be anything different. But it’s fun and amusing to play so far, even in its unfinished state.

If you’d like to know more, or donate to an indie cause, or get in on early play while they try and rustle up a sponsor, you can head over to the donation page for more info here:

Support The Fae’s Wyrd

Filed Under: Game Announcements, Indie Evangelism - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • In 2011 I will … « Over00 said,

    […] Release The Fae’s Wyrd with Psychoavatar […]

  • Brian 'Psychochild' Green said,

    Thanks for the mention! The real focus of the game was the advancement system. It’s something I had posted on my blog before, and it was a chance to see it in action. I think it turned out well.

    Hopefully the rest of the game is enough to tickle some nostalgic fancy for RPG fans. I think it’s fun even if you don’t consider the restrictions a Flash-based game has.

    Merry Christmas!