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Old 02-23-2009, 01:41 PM   #1
violent
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Immortal Machines Interviews Basilisk Games


Our very own Rune_74 was kind enough to interview Basilisk Games on their upcoming title Eschalon: Book 2. They discuss their jump to Steam, being fairly new developers, changes from the first title in the sequel and much, much more. Even included an exclusive screenshot just for us. Certainly a good read and highly recommended. Full interview inside.

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Old 02-23-2009, 01:41 PM   #2
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1. Ok, for the people who don't know about Basilisk games, can you tell us a little about your company? Like when you started and why RPG's.

Basilisk Games begin in 2005 after I lost my job as a Network Administrator. For several years prior, I had been taking notes and creating test engines for what I thought would be my ideal RPG. It was all just a hobby back then, but when I found myself unemployed and unable to find any work, I decided to take the ultimate gamble and use all my savings to establish an independent game studio.


2. Eschalon: Book 1, your first game, has been out for just over a year now. How do you feel the reception of that game has been?

We are really happy with the reception of Book I. To be honest, we set our original sales estimates low because we wanted to be realistic about how a game like this could perform in a marketplace dominated by MMOs and Action RPGs. We ended up beating those original sales estimates which is incredibly thrilling for us, but I always feel that I need to put a realistic spin on our success for others who have dreams of following our lead- Book I has sold well for a first time independent title, but our sales are not even a fraction of what a game like Fallout 3 has seen. The only thing saving us from failure is that we have a very small studio with very little overhead, so we've been able to survive. If we were larger and had 3-4 salaries to support, we would have closed our doors by now. It is incredibly important for a small studio to get every single sale we can.


3. So, has adding it to the Steam library has helped stimulate some new sales and fans that may have not been familiar with the game?

We're unsure at this point. Takes at least 30 days before the first month's sales figures come back, but we have seen a nice increase in traffic on the website so we are being optimistic.


4. A lot of developers cut features from games as the development advances, did you cut anything you regretted from Eschalon: Book 1?

We were fortunate in that we were able to get most everything that we wanted into Book I, but certainly in the end some corners had to be cut. Food and Water as a requirement was cut from Book I, horses and crossbows were cut, and a few other thing which I won't mention now because they are ideas that might make it into a future game!


5. So, did any of these features make it into Eschalon: book 2?

Food and water requirements are back in, but as an optional game rule (if you don't want to bother with feeding your character, just turn the rule off). Unfortunately horses did not make it because of limitations with our current engine, and crossbows were deemed pointless after some extensive research and a discussion on the subject with a historian of medieval weaponry.


6. Can you list off some of the other new features that have been added?

There are so many! I really encourage anyone who is looking forward to Book II to head over to our website and browse the forums- I believe a fairly comprehensive list of new features is posted there. But to sum it up, Book II has a new 1024x768 default resolution, gender selectable characters, changing weather that can affect gameplay, new skills, new challenges, new goals, larger game world, and much, much more.


7. With all of those features which excites you the most?

I can't say that any one feature is more exciting that another. All these new features are coming together to make Book II feel completely fresh yet comfortably familiar. That itself is probably what is most exciting about the sequel- that it does not feel like a "remix" of the first game.



8. How have you changed combat to make it a bit more strategic?

We have added a few options which increase the tactical aspect of combat. For starters, there is now a "Combat Mode" selector that switches between four styles: Normal, Power, Finesse, and Parry. For example, selecting Power mode allows your character to use extra force while attacking with a weapon to incur 20% more damage, but at a -20% ToHit penalty. The opposite is true when using Finesse mode, where you gain 20% more ToHit accuracy at a cost of 20% less damage. The third mode is Parry. While in Parry mode, all the skill points you possess in the weapon that you are holding are applied to your Armor Rating- so if you have a sword skill of 10, these 10 points are added to your Armor Rating. However, this defensive posturing has a penalizing effect on your ability to attack, as both your ToHit and your maximum damage are reduced by 20%.


9. There were two major complaints for the first game, length and speed of walking, have these been addressed in book 2?

Yes, we've increased the walking speed by about 20%. This gives the character a quicker stride and allows you to cover more ground in less time. Also, we've added more QuickTravel points so that once you've reached specific destinations, you can add that location to your QuickTravel menu and instantly return with the click of your mouse.


As for the length of the game- Book II's regional areas and dungeons are larger than its predecessor, and we've extended the limit of your character's development out to level 30 (Book I has a level cap of 21). Our goal is to make Book II about 15 to 20 hours longer than Book I.


10. Here is a question I'm sure you are dreading, when is the release date?

And for the overused, cliche response: "When its done". No seriously, we are really doing everything we can to have it ready to go by this summer (probably late summer). Our original schedule was pushed back by six months due to all the additional engine enhancements and features we've decided to implement.


11. After Eschalon: book 2, what is the plans for Basilisk Games?

Of course we are going to be focusing on wrapping up the trilogy with Book III, but we will also be revealing our next game outside the Eschalon universe. More info on this will be revealed later this year, but we can say it will use a completely new engine and it will be sci-fi based, not fantasy. We will be developing both titles simultaneously, though it's far to early to say which game we are likely to finish first.


I can also say we have no plans to use the Eschalon Isometric engine beyond these three games. Along with Book III, we hope to release many of the in-house tools we used on the trilogy so that others can make their own adventures for many more years.


12. Finally, how receptive are you to fans suggestions and how important is your fan base?

Very! Our entire design process centers around listening to our fans, and Book II is a culmination of hundreds of suggestions gathered from fans of Book I. However, at the end of the day, we insist upon staying true to the design principals of the series- that Eschalon must remain an authentic old-school role-playing experience. As we've said a dozen times in the past, we are not trying to reinvent the genre and we are not trying to produce the ultimate gaming experience for the largest market demographic- we are making a classic old-school role-playing adventure, nothing more, nothing less.


Last edited by violent; 02-23-2009 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:19 PM   #3
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I like the answers, especially those that reinforce what this game is; an old-school RPG. I still have to put more time into Book I, but I feel confident when I say I will be picking up Book II as well.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:14 PM   #4
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Great read, awesome game.

First the negative. I, for one, am glad as hell that they had to cut food and water requirements in Book 1. I can't think of very many games that had "hunger" where it wasn't a huge pain in the ass. A lot of older RPGs used it, and I never, ever liked it. So I'm not too happy about that "upgrade".

Now the many positives. Just from the screens, I'm glad to see the quick buttons moved to the middle of the screen between the text and picture window. Also, increased walking speed! Wooooo!
The day/night cycle is actually pretty fun, so the addition of weather conditions that can actually have an in-game effect sound great. The combat styles option sounds like it would be great for adapting on the fly. So overall, a lot of good improvements...and one bad one. But that's just my opinion.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:46 PM   #5
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Great read, awesome game.

First the negative. I, for one, am glad as hell that they had to cut food and water requirements in Book 1. I can't think of very many games that had "hunger" where it wasn't a huge pain in the ass. A lot of older RPGs used it, and I never, ever liked it. So I'm not too happy about that "upgrade".

Now the many positives. Just from the screens, I'm glad to see the quick buttons moved to the middle of the screen between the text and picture window. Also, increased walking speed! Wooooo!
The day/night cycle is actually pretty fun, so the addition of weather conditions that can actually have an in-game effect sound great. The combat styles option sounds like it would be great for adapting on the fly. So overall, a lot of good improvements...and one bad one. But that's just my opinion.

Good thing the food and drink is optional then.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:46 PM   #6
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Great interview. One suggestion for you Violent. Remove your signature from the interview. Makes it seem a bit more professional. Just my two cents.

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Old 02-23-2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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I like the fact that he gave alot of choices how to change your game to how you want it. I think I should have posted this other info with the interview so you can see there are other great changes to be excited about:

Book II continues with Eschalon world events where Book I ended, though no previous experience with Book I is needed to enjoy Book II.

Book II will be available for Windows, Macintosh (Universal Binary) and Linux-based computers.

Play as a male or female character.

1024 x 768 native resolution.

Most tiles have been re-rendered to take advantage of the higher engine resolution. Hundreds of new graphic elements, tiles, sound effects and music means Book II is not just a remix of the previous game.

New weather effects: snow, rain, and thunderstorms. Weather isn't just an effect; severe weather effects gameplay stats and skills.

Additional skills and improved skill balancing.


Improved GUI including additional save game slots, increased number of Inventory and Quick Slot spaces, Key Ring and Recipe book, and much more!

"Equipment configuration" presets for convenient swapping of entire armor and weapons sets.

New difficulty modes and tracked statistics add to replay value.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:49 PM   #8
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Great interview. One suggestion for you Violent. Remove your signature from the interview. Makes it seem a bit more professional. Just my two cents.
No, you are correct. I was unable to remove it once posted. Shouldn't happen again.

EDIT: Actually, I found it.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:54 PM   #9
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Hey I`m ok with it, thanks for doing that for me violent...next time I think I will be fine...may work on some more stuff for you guys...doing some investigations.

I just really want this to help out Basilisk, problem with the immortal machines part here is you guys don`t get the visibility of the main site, almost got to look at a way of splitting the main CoG with a spot for Immortal to be there as well.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:55 PM   #10
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Hey I`m ok with it, thanks for doing that for me violent...next time I think I will be fine...may work on some more stuff for you guys...doing some investigations.

I just really want this to help out Basilisk, problem with the immortal machines part here is you guys don`t get the visibility of the main site, almost got to look at a way of splitting the main CoG with a spot for Immortal to be there as well.
Already working on changing that.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:56 PM   #11
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Hey I`m ok with it, thanks for doing that for me violent...next time I think I will be fine...may work on some more stuff for you guys...doing some investigations.

I just really want this to help out Basilisk, problem with the immortal machines part here is you guys don`t get the visibility of the main site, almost got to look at a way of splitting the main CoG with a spot for Immortal to be there as well.
Maybe post it as IM new? Doesn't that get onto the RSS feed if its in the news section?
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:57 PM   #12
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Already working on changing that.
Awesome, been great workin with you so far....
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:57 PM   #13
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Maybe post it as IM new? Doesn't that get onto the RSS feed if its in the news section?
Negative. Two separate entities.

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Awesome, been great workin with you so far....
Pleasure is mine.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:57 PM   #14
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Good thing the food and drink is optional then.
Excellent. I could have sworn it didn't say that before, but probably just my mistake.

And yes, it will be turned off.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:00 PM   #15
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I believe you can turn off deteriating weapons as well....I think it makes the game semni modable
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:21 PM   #16
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I believe you can turn off deteriating weapons as well....I think it makes the game semni modable
Unlike hunger and thirst, I don't really mind when games have equipment durability. It has a lot to do with the fact that your equipment degrades through use, whereas hunger tends to usually be based on elapsed time.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:29 PM   #17
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Was talkin to thomas....he is very happy with the interview thinks it looks great.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:30 PM   #18
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Was talkin to thomas....he is very happy with the interview thinks it looks great.
Awesome to hear. We appreciate him taking the time.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:31 PM   #19
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He loves the publicity, these games live and die by word of mouth. Said he is going to try and stop in soon. But, being a small game company his days get very busy.
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:32 PM   #20
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He loves the publicity, these games live and die by word of mouth. Said he is going to try and stop in soon. But, being a small game company his days get very busy.
He's about to get a little more.
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