Devlog #7: We accidentally made a multiplayer version of Soul Reaper. Yup.


If you’ve been following Power Level Studios’ stories, you know we’re working on a game called Soul Reaper. Soul Reaper is a not-so-serious retro rogue-lite RPG with monster-catching mechanics and deep loot and skill systems. You can play the prototype here: http://powerlevelstudios.com.

Making games with limited resources

Some of you may remember us mentioning that the game would be released in Q4 2018: https://medium.com/power-level-studios/how-long-does-it-take-to-make-soul-reaper-11e0d9cc0f82. In that article, I explained the main reasons why the game would take that long to make. In a nutshell, content, game balancing and polishing are what takes up the most time and resources.

http://gunsoficarus.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/10625962.jpg

The problem is, as with any startup and indie game developers, resources are scarce. Money and time are limited. For Power Level Studios, I’m lucky that I can do many things due to all my previous experiences, but I still can’t draw professionally or create music, so I need money to hire people. It’s not a bad thing to have a team though and I’m very grateful for people helping me make this game a reality.

Team and collaborators

(The purpose of this paragraph will make more sense as you read more)

So what’s this about accidentally making a multiplayer version of Soul Reaper?

Again, if you’ve been following our stories, you know we make happy accidents sometimes. See this story where we accidentally created a game that was played by 3M+ players: https://medium.com/power-level-studios/how-our-first-game-project-accidentally-reached-3-million-players-3d16b55f349a.

That’s a lot of fish eaten in one day!

Now on to this “accident”. 2 months ago, I was working on a feature to simulate combat between units/monsters in order to see how well they do against each other, for game balancing purposes. Sure I have spreadsheets that show me the results, but I wanted to see in practice that everything made sense. When I finished the prototype for the combat simulator, something struck me: “that feature would make a great asynchronous multiplayer game!”. And it really does in my opinion.

Almost everything is already in place for it. The combat, loot, souls and monster-catching systems are all done and are pretty solid already. All that’s really missing for a minimum viable product is the server part. But it’s simple: combat happens locally, and the results are sent to the server. Players are then ranked in leaderboards. At least, that’s the gist of it.

So what’s next? Does that mean Soul Reaper will take even longer to make?

Maybe. It may set us back by a month or two. December 2018 would be too competitive anyway.

BUT! Here’s where it gets interesting, and potentially unexpected:

We’re making a second game!

“The f***” you say? Hear me out. We’re actually splitting Soul Reaper into two stand-alone games:

Soul Reaper: Rise of the Unreaps; and

Soul Reaper: Unreap Commander.

(More info on what “Unreap” is: https://medium.com/power-level-studios/new-and-exciting-feature-reap-and-unreap-summon-reaped-monsters-in-combat-726b80d089fd)

Rise of the Unreaps (RotU) is the game we all know and love. It’s the original idea for Soul Reaper. It’s a single player game with a big emphasis on exploration, combat and story.

Unreap Commander (UC) is an asynchronous multiplayer version of Soul Reaper, focusing on monster team building as well as Soul Reaper’s signature fast turn-based combat, and loot and souls systems. Alpha is scheduled for release in January for PC and potentially mobile too.

UC is almost done already. Both games share the same assets: monsters, souls, sounds, music, etc. It even has enough content to be released as an Alpha version.

So why not release Unreap Commander already?

It’s not as fun as it could be yet. It’s missing some key features to make it fully enjoyable.

One of the most important missing feature is party management. If you’re fighting monsters against monsters, you need a way to organize how you want your team to be arranged for combat.

WIP: Team Selection Screen

The server-side stuff is not done yet. Frankly I don’t think this is going to take too long since most of my profesional experience lies in backend development.

It’s not strategic enough yet. A higher level team will mostly always win at the moment. That’s no fun. I don’t want the grinding to be the only way to success. We’re working on key features that will make combat and team building more strategic.

Think of it like a Tower Defense game. You upgrade your units and place them on a map to defend something. The game sends units to attack you and you watch how well your strategy worked. For the next round, you tweak it based on the results you saw. It’s very rewarding to see your strategy succeed. That’s the idea here. How well you build your team, based on different factors, should define your success. And not all builds will be good in all scenarios. In fact, most won’t. You’ll need to adapt based on your opponents.

So the focus is on Unreap Commander then?

Yup! We’re aiming for a very ambitious January 2018 deadline. Surrender your soul to Soul Reaper at soulreaper(at)powerlevelstudios.com if you want to be part of the pre-alpha.

We’ll have more information in the coming days on how Unreap Commander will work. And no promises yet, but we might make our Trello board public so that we’re completely transparent on everything we’re doing.

What do you think?

Are you looking forward to Soul Reaper: Unreap Commander? Do you think it’s a good idea? What do you like/dislike the most about this idea?

Have you ever made similar happy mistakes?

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Comments

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I want to see both Rise of the Unreaps and UC. And I'd definitely like to try the UC alpha. Will Commander be available in an Early Access-like fashion? Or do you want it launched in full before RotU?

Thanks for the message. We're actually releasing a prototype of UC next week, probably on the 23rd.  It will be available on Steam Early Access in January. The full release will happen before RotU. The alpha of RotU should be around April, but that will greatly depend on the success of UC. Thanks for your interest. We'll ping once when the prototype goes live!

Aggressive schedule. Looking forward to trying the UC alpha this week. :)

Just a quick follow up to our previous discussion. The prototype is ready, but we're updating our website to reflect the changes. Everything should be live tomorrow . Thanks for your interest again!