The new world awaits brave settlers who face the harsh environments of the savage lands. Establish an outpost of civilization and defend it against threats from within and without. Not just bandits, the undead and feral beasts prey on careless settlers. But also ambitious upstarts from within your own ranks or exploited workers have pointy knives. Fortunately, you are not alone: found an organisation of loyal fellows or a dynasty, whose progeny rule over your claim. Wandering adventurers will stop and rest at your outpost and are always looking for opportunities to rise to a challenge or just make some money.
Just how exactly you are going to secure your power is up to you. Stay safe, stay strong, but above all: stay IN CHARGE!
Idea and Core Concepts
The main idea of In Charge! is the inversion of the common RPG hub-structure where you as an adventurer on your grand quest would visit villages and towns to rest and restock. The game will be a city building simulation where you manage such a town. Furthermore, you are not guaranteed to be the elder, mayor or head honcho. Such privilege must be fought for and defended. If you can stay in charge, you will expand the town from a trading post to a thriving settlement, whose strategic position attracts adventurers from all over the world.
Conflict will arise from having to stay in power against internal threats, while keeping the town self-sufficient and safe. Visiting adventurers can be employed for safe-keeping, procurement tasks as well as simply chores. Depending on your towns facilities and people, different kinds of adventurers will arrive. Some are good-natured heroes who like to help in exchange for a simple meal. Others are tough mercenaries, fully aware of a dire situation and the price they can demand for its resolution. And then there are bullies, whom you need to get rid off, somehow…
Features and Mechanics
- City Building
- Get a frontier economy running: Manage gathering, hunting, farming and fishing to provide food. Create access to clean water. Exploit natural resources and manufacture trade goods to exchange for new blueprints and technologies, other goods or cold, hard currency.
- Build dwellings for your settlers: Use a streamlined building editor to create housing and defensive structures. Build dedicated workshops and temples.
- Shake hands: Interact with your fellow settlers to increase their loyalty by means of respect, fear or merit. Only loyal settlers will accept you as their boss. But some will always think they could do the job better than you and will require some creative handling.
- Keep your friends close: Found a dynasty on blood ties. Found a sect to keep the community together in faith. Found a company and rely on the motivation of good payment to stay at the top.
- Secure your succession: Life on the frontier is harsh. Your character will inevitably die. Anyone who is loyal to your character can be named your successor. On your character’s exit from the mortal plane, your successor will take over and you will continue playing as him or her.
- Rise the ladder again: Sometimes, the odds are stacked against you. Your character has been ousted from power or died without a suitable successor who can hold the town together. Do not worry! If you butter up the right people, frame some others and pay the rest, you will find yourself in charge again soon enough.
- Tasks and Quests
- You cannot be everywhere at once: You only directly control the fate of one character, all others must be properly motivated to do the right thing. Formulate tasks for your settlers and pay them. Depending on your ruling philosophy, you could also call in favors or break some legs. But every action has consequences…
- The right tool for the right job: Having trouble with bandits? Post a quest to your town’s pin board. If the reward is right, a wandering adventurer will take care of it. Just make sure you can actually pay when they are done. You would not want to cross someone who has just single-handedly beaten a dozen bandits into a bloody pulp.
- Bound by duty: You build the settlement with the blessing of a sponsor from the old world. They may give you resources and some protection but in turn you will have to fulfill a performance quota. Should you fail to satisfy your sponsor, the consequences may be dire. Being removed from power by a sponsor’s envoy could only be the start of your troubles.
- Greater Purpose
- Start as a settler, become much more: Throughout the decades of building, trading and political maneuvering, you will discover some of the mysteries of the new world. Will you try to obtain independence from your sponsors in the old world? Will you build and defend the new capital of your faith? Will you dabble in forbidden arts and corrupt anything you reach? Time will tell.
Technology and Management
The game is being implemented in Unity. Since I am but one guy working on the game, I need to aim for maximum efficiency. Unity will let me do just that. I intend to release the game on Windows, Linux and MacOS, which Unity will also enable me to do.
To structure my development, I keep a list of tasks and issues on a Trello board. Any more sophisticated project management seems overkill for a one-man-show. I work in week-long sprints. At the end of each week, I will post an update on the current development state on this site. Depending on my work load and displayable content, I will do short video segments to highlight some feature or just a series of screenshot with a bunch of text.
When will In Charge! be released?
I work towards a Spring 2017 release window. Once development is far enough to make some distribution deals, I will update this answer with a precise date.
How much will In Charge! cost?
Given the scope of the game and pricing of competitors, I intend to put the price at a local equivalent of around USD 20. Distribution contracts might influence this number.
How will In Charge! be distributed?
The plan is to approach a number of digital distributors, including Steam and GOG.com. I will additionally distribute it on this site.
Will there be digital rights management (DRM) / copy protection?
Aside from components imposed by distributor integration, no. Return on investment of a DRM solution is exceedingly hard to estimate correctly, especially for a small company / developer. I will rather use the resources which would have been taken up by DRM for the quality of the game and trust in people. The game will cost a little more than a movie ticket and provide a lot more entertainment.
Where can I apply for alpha / beta testing?
Register on this website (https://incharge.ctool.ch/wp-login.php) to get forum access. I post releases there. At the moment, I do not restrict alpha testing access.
Are you going to do a Kickstarter or early access release?
Short answer: not if I can avoid it.
Long answer: I want to provide a finished product when I release the game. Also, Kickstarter projects and early access schemes suggest that whoever pays up front has any say in development. I strongly disagree with that train of thought. Both approaches are simply a way of financing a project. The customers are not stakeholders, because they have already performed their one and only significant transaction by buying the game (or pledging funds). Retraction of that money is unlikely, therefore you as a customer have no say either way. To put it bluntly: If a game goes for Kickstarter or early access, the developers are not interested in your opinion. They are interested in your money. Therefore, I will only consider such a route if I face financial troubles and the finishing stretch of development is in sight.