Blog Post

27
Pseudolonewolf
3 years ago

More MARDEK?!

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: IdeasMARDEK
I just wrote an ∞ Alora Fane blog post ∞, but I was thinking as I wrote it and came up with an idea at the end that I'll summarise here.

Basically, I've discovered Patreon, and with it, hope! I've always hoped that I might one day become a regular creator of content, but the thought of receiving only pathetically meagre recompense (from my sites' adverts) for 12-hour workdays 7 days a week was off-putting, to say the least. It fuelled my depression, and made me constantly question whether I even wanted to do this 'stupid games thing'. Whether it'd just lead to poverty, hopelessness, and more misery. Adverts only generate a trickle of pennies at the best of times, you see, and all the other game release and promotion things seemed, uh... beyond my social skills. It's all about making connections and promoting yourself and putting a price tag on your work; things I'm really bad at.

Patreon, however, allows supporters to donate what's basically pocket change to creators on a monthly basis, or every time they produce a new installment of whatever it is that they make. I've noticed that some good webcomic authors are earning fat four-figure incomes a month from this. That's great! It really does make me very hopeful indeed.

Of course, I'd need to be producing regular content first...

Patreon is like Kickstarter, and I've considered running a Kickstarter campaign before. However, that, too, seems beyond my social skills, and I hate how you have to make a whole bunch of rubbish like tea cosies with the characters' faces on, or perform private lap dances to people who pledge more than $5000 or whatever; it seems like half the effort of doing a Kickstarter thing is in making the trinkets that people expect for their charity, rather than making the product itself.

I thought about doing a MARDEK 4 Kickstarter, asking for some obscene amount of money like $100,000 (well, obscene to a garden-variety, run-of-the-mill teenager, probably, but it's peanuts in game development funding terms, apparently), which, if successful, would definitely make me abandon everything to spend however months or years it took to make the game...

But what if instead I turn the beacon of hope that is Patreon to shine on MARDEK?!

I mean, there are two clear facts:
1. People want more MARDEK, and
2. Patreon is all about donations for regular content providers.

What, then, if I could provide MARDEK-related content regularly, at which point people might pay me for it?

For a long time now, I've been wanting to make some episodic project that I'd update on a weekly or fortnightly basis; usually I envision it as some kind of RPG, but I'm never sure what. Sort of like an interactive webcomic, but with each 'page' being a playable dungeon and various plot scenes instead. I never seemed to act on this idea, though; it was always some distant dream.

But why don't I do that with MARDEK? There's no reason why I couldn't!

If I DID, it'd mean that there'd be no MARDEK 4 as such... but rather the MARDEK plot would develop gradually, every week or two weeks or months or however long it takes (I really have no idea). Updates would probably be in the form of a new dungeon with plot scenes, and perhaps they'd each follow different characters. Data could be transferred between the installments, of course.

Come to think of it, maybe I HAVE had this idea before... But it's never seemed so realistic. With Patreon, funding would be very, well, clear; I wouldn't have to rely on unreliably and paltry advert revenue, nor would I have to worry about releasing each chapter to portals and dealing with sponsorships and all the accompanying hassle. It really would be possible to do something like this, then.

Again, I want to point out that I'm making no promises!! However, I will say that this lights me up; it seems like it really could work. I'll definitely be thinking about it over the coming days!



Edit: Actually, if I did this, I wonder how people would feel about me starting from the beginning, and remaking the existing chapters with enhanced graphics and minor rewrites to reflect my developing skills and ideas. It'd mean that I could dive in very soon and make a big buffer for myself as I planned what might happen next in the story (I've only got a vague outline of the other five chapters at the moment), and it'd also mean that nobody would have to find and play the other three chapters in order to understand what was going on (it seems more than a bit user-unfriendly, that). HMM.

The first three chapters wouldn't be re-released AS chapters, but as individual dungeons as part of this ongoing thing. Like the first update might be The Dragon's castle. The next might be the rest of chapter 1. Then the gem mine (was that even what it was called? Wow, it's been so long!), then the, uh... well, you get the idea. They'd probably be added every week or so, and they'd probably look strikingly different to the currently available chapters!

Any engine tweaks - like to the battle system - would affect all uploaded instalments, too, because they'd all run on the same code, only loading in scenario information.

I really do want to make it clear that I'm not saying this definitely will happen, or that it'll happen any time soon... However, it is an exciting thought!



Another edit, as ideas buzz around in my head: I've been wanting to move my projects over to my Alora Fane world for a while now, which is much more satisfying to me on many levels... Returning to the setting of MARDEK seems like a step backwards in so many ways, as Alora Fane was born of rough ideas used in MARDEK but then refined over several years.

BUT. What if I were to rewrite MARDEK such that it was actually set in Alora Fane, with all the sentiments and petals and five races and all that?!

There are some snags - what would the annunaki be? - but wow, that could really result in a fresh new take on the story, especially if I were remaking the chapters anyway. Mardek would be a Bliss Bold who lived in the Belfan province in the Bronze Archipelago! Emela might be the guardian of the Sorrow Temple. HMM!!

The plot would remain mostly the same, of course - Rohoph would still posses Mardek, Moric would arrive to do something about this, then Qualna, etc - though it'd be nice to at least reword a lot of it as I do feel I've grown a lot creatively since I wrote it (imagine being bound to something you wrote almost a decade ago!).

There are a lot of things I'd need to tweak to get that to work, and I can feel the backlash already... But maybe it could be really, really interesting, for me as an artist and hopefully for any players, too. The world of Alora Fane IS much more fleshed-out in my mind, after all, and I feel it's much more novel than the Generic Fantasy World that MARDEK takes place in.

Many ideas...! I think I'll play around with them tomorrow and see where I might possibly go with this!!
28 Comments

on 26 Roots

28 Comments

VeryColdAir
0

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I'd personally rather see the chapters remain, but I suppose doing dungeon by dungeon may help you out more. Maybe after you finish all of the dungeons that would have been in one of the chapters, you could could merge those dungeons games back into one game? So you'd release one dungeon every... month... (or every other month maybe?), and then after the first two dungeons, we could have Chapter 1, then after you finish the next six dungeons, Chapter 2, and so on. I'm sure people would still play the dungeons as they come out, and even after you release chapters. Release these chapter might actually earn you some more money too, who knows.
Sligneris
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I'm honestly not certain about the setting change - I actually liked that part of the game and felt it was quite well-developed.

However, I'm all for seeing a remake of MARDEK! I'm pretty certain it might expand the story in a way, not to mention that I look forward to see how you'd remake the portraits!

Although I'm not certain about the map objects - will they keep their pixelated style?
Avarion
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Avarion 29 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic INFP 655 21C
Interesting ideas...

I quite like the idea of releasing parts of each episode as they are remade - it'd probably make it easier to make the systems of the games flow more evenly between each other. That and it'd make Mardek 3 potentially more accessible to people that'd otherwise find the sheer scale of it a bit daunting.

I'm not too sure about the idea of shoehorning it all into the Alora Fane world though. I can see why the idea would appeal to you, but I can imagine it flowing a lot more smoothly as it does now rather than trying to make changes to make it work in that world.

If you did go down that road, it'd probably work better as a retelling of the story - maybe they think Mardek is a legend in their world and tell the story how they think it would have been, that kind of thing.

Generally though I think it'd work better keeping it separate from AF, but you're stuff has always been incredibly good so I'm sure you can make it work!
mardekfan150
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I hope my old game save's who are now rotting there, there gonna be saved....
ThinkDeep
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I support a couple people on Patreon already (a YouTube channel and a webcomic), and I would be willing to do the same for you. As you've realized, it has the advantage of not requiring large chunks of money from people all at once. I'm not sure how well MARDEK would transfer over (only you can really tell that), but for any RPG or platformer you make, I would love to donate.
Captain Hubris
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Hey I'm new here. Just discovered Mardek recently, but I'm blown away by the way you do things. I was so bummed to hear that it had been so long since you updated this great game.

I think Patreon, Kickstarter or any other option you find to use to pursue this thing that you are so good at is a no-brainer. I'd be glad to get on board for regular content, and setting it in a more developed world can only be even more enriching (even though I don't know much about that other world) . I read about some of your other stuff and I think bringing all those various mythologies/stories/whatever together could make for a heck of a dynamic world and if you placed Mardek there....the results could really be amazing.

Whatever you do, I'm a fan.
Waaaghpower
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While I'm personally a fan of the sprawling-world style RPG format that Mardek (Especially the later chapters, 3 especially,) where you have to do some exploring or look up a walkthrough, where dungeons all have hidden secrets to unlock other dungeons which in turn unlock MORE dungeons.

That being said, you have done genius work with every format I've seen him do, (From platformers to RPG to... Well, mostly that. But he does a great job with it.) If you re-do the Mardek RPG games in a dungeon-crawler epesodic style (With each dungeon being self-contained,) I'm sure you'll do a fantastic job with it. I'd gladly pay ten or fifteen dollars a month to support you. Without a doubt, you are the game developer who's talent I admire the most, and I would be very willing to support that.
Shadowgokustar
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-- It scares me to see the words "that's what people want" in a developer's writing... As a strong believer in creating as your heart desires, rather than by the (perceived) whims of a consumer base, I start to feel uncertain about the whole ordeal. Your intentions still seem, at their core, focused around your own levels of creativity and motivation, rather than outside sources of advice or consumer pressure, so there's really not an issue there, I guess.

It's just a casual observation, honestly, rather than a critique of you (like I'd be an expert at something like that ugh), but as a creator, the seed looks like it's there, but it hasn't started to sprout.

-- As to Patreon, I'm totally excited to see what comes of that! I've always wanted to donate to your cause, and would love to see how big crowdfunding could really become for someone that has over TWENTY SIX MILLION SITE HITS WOW. Imagine if each hit had pledged even 5 cents... You'd have made $1,300,000 (approximately £797,962) since 2004!

I'm kind of curious, PLW, as to what your thoughts are regarding your cause, so to speak, in all of this. It's been such a long time since I first became a fan, and I now wonder how much you think your goals have changed since the days of doodling levels for games on lined paper in grade school. Could you possibly make a post about that? Feel free to take it to any level of meta or abstraction as you desire..!
Kalin
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Kalin 43 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic INTJ 5w6 201C
Yay! A β Pseudolonewolf has enthusiasm for MARDEK again! Yay!

Seriously, I always knew this was the biggest issue with getting more MARDEK, and there isn't really anything players can do to help. So let's have another Yay!

Quote:
What, then, if I could provide MARDEK-related content regularly, at which point people might pay me for it?

I like MARDEK in big chunks, myself. Internal consistency is important to me, and that's really hard if you're publishing content as you're writing it.

Quote:
For a long time now, I've been wanting to make some episodic project that I'd update on a weekly or fortnightly basis; usually I envision it as some kind of RPG, but I'm never sure what. Sort of like an interactive webcomic, but with each 'page' being a playable dungeon and various plot scenes instead.

Isn't that exactly what you wanted to do with Miasmon?

And what about AF:C? The updates don't have to be new dungeons, they could be new features too. (I can promise you a never-ending supply of feature requests.)

Quote:
Updates would probably be in the form of a new dungeon with plot scenes, and perhaps they'd each follow different characters. Data could be transferred between the installments, of course.

Would the game be a single client that grows in size with each update? Or would you load a new client for each dungeon? Or would the client grab the data off the server? I don't always play the dungeons in the intended order, and I like going back to previous dungeons for grinding.

Quote:
Actually, if I did this, I wonder how people would feel about me starting from the beginning, and remaking the existing chapters with enhanced graphics

Can we please have an option for non-pixelated graphics? Please please please? I know it's the look you wanted for the game (and I'm sure many players prefer it), but I'd really love an option for at least non-pixelated fonts (and maybe items too). And by "love" I mean "willing to pay money for".

Quote:
What if I were to rewrite MARDEK such that it was actually set in Alora Fane, with all the sentiments and petals and five races and all that?!

It may confuse people who have already played original MARDEK; I suggest changing the names to fit the new world. Also, this would mean more work to convert the first 3 chapters.
VaanHope
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You have my support, my good sir! You've come a really long way. I came just as you made the new site, I think. And I really love it here. I've been through a lot here, and I love your games, artwork,a nd music. I'll support you, for that I promise.