GrindQuest - Devlog 1: Casual Strategy RPG in your browser
It is about time to share some information about my work in progress game project called "GrindQuest". This game originally started with a different theme and execution compared to how it is presented today, but thats another story. GrindQuest is a casual strategy RPG that can be played directly in your web-browser. It takes place in a colorful cartoon fantasy world and is presented in classic 2d. Each player takes control of several Hero groups that can be levelled and customized in many ways. Players are competing in this online game by climbing up the arena ladder or becoming the most powerful player on the server. Besides that, GrindQuest offers many possibilities for solo adventures as well but there is strong emphasis on multiplayer competition and social play.
The Name of the Game
GrindQuest was originally a idle clicker game hosted on Kongregate. The game concept was pretty simple - you grind your way through hordes of enemies, constantly upgrading your character. The original GrindQuest used ripped graphics from World of Warcraft and was taken down due to copyright issues. The game returned in a censored version a bit later, but was not able to hold up the momentum it generated before. During it's bloom, the game caused quite some hype around it - sadly development stopped and the game went the way of the Dodo from there on. Time to take up this great name and the simple concept behind it and put it on proper feet again!
Contrary to the original GrindQuest, my project uses all licensed cartoon artworks. I make heavy use of stock art, as Im not able to invest a fortune into creating all unique sprites. The stock art has been chosen with special care, the individual artworks are high quality and blend together very well. Minor to major modifications are also applied, ranging from simple re-colors to total conversion of sprites. The art of GrindQuest was created by freelance artists like Daniel Ferencak, Dmytro Nedvyga and others. The bright and colorful cartoon art style is also family friendly and timeless.
GrindQuest uses basic web-technologies like PHP and a mySQL database to get the backend ticking. On the frontend side, Framework7 is used in combination with PhoneGap - this will (hopefully) allow deploying the project on Google Play as well as the App Store later on. GrindQuest is not a real phone app, instead it comes as a "hybrid-app" designed for iOS, Android and the most common and up to date web-browsers. The game still has more the look and feel of a regular web-site, lacking animations until I find a solution for this issue (mostly because I am a programmer and not an animator).
Core Game Concept
Simply put, GrindQuest is a Hero group management simulation with lots of RPG and turn-based strategy elements blended in. You start with a single hero to level and upgrade. After that you add another bunch of Heroes until you have a group of about five characters. Later in the game players will be able to collect and upgrade dozens of characters and assign them to various Hero groups in order to fight monsters, compete in PvP combat and fulfill epic quests.
Each Hero character is compromised by a set of statistics like Attack, Defense, Health and so on. In addition, Heroes can equip items like weapons and armor and can learn various skills to increase their combat capabilities. Heroes can be levelled and promoted and will grow stronger by doing so, the maximum level cap in GrindQuest is something like 450 - and insanely high number! Building a powerful "uber" Hero takes time and players will have to stick with their parties for weeks if not months and foster them carefully. The same is true to equipment upgrades - as all weapons and armor can be levelled and promoted (= grinded) as well - more on this in a later blog entry. This game is called "GrindQuest" for a reason!
Combat is mostly automatic: You assign a Hero group to attack another player, raid a certain Dungeon or complete a specific Quest and the rest is just number crunching. The strategic component comes from choosing the right Heroes and Skills in order to be victorious. Of course, level and equipment is also important but the composition of your Hero party is the key to success: Mages easily zap Warriors, while Archers defeat Mages and Warriors trample down the Archers. Take a look at your opponents forces and adjust your own party in order to make the most out of it.
Hell of a Grind!
As "grindy" as the concept sounds, in the later stages of the game you take more and more the role of a "Hero party manager" and get less involved in the grinding itself. You assign several (not just one) Hero groups to raid and fight and let your remaining Heroes invent new Spells and Skills, heal wounded party members and craft Items and Equipment.
Cost & Scope
The game is planned to be free to play - although Im strictly against pay-to-win concepts. GrindQuest will include a optional premium shop with a few items: The most important one is the "supporter package". Each player can buy this package only once and it grants a mild ingame advantage alongside some cosmetic changes. The earnings from this package are exclusively used to cover my artwork expenses. I plan to include up to three of these packages to finance future art expenses as well, therefore a player can decide how often (= how much) to pay for this game (nothing or up to three times). The main purpose of each package are not the resources included, but a key that opens up another area of the worldmap. The packages therefore act as content expansions to the players. Being a F2P player limits you to the basic areas, paying players will get access to all the epic lands of the GrindQuest world. As I am the only developer for this project, Im not aiming too high in terms of Monetization, Scope and Community. Yes, this is an online game but No, it won't be an MMO. At its heart GrindQuest is an oldschool casual browser game - like the ones we saw in early 2000 - with a bucket of fresh paint applied to it.
My name is Tobias, im also known as Fhizban in other areas of the internet. Hailing from Europe, I develop, maintain and finance this project all by myself. All expenses are currently paid out of my own pocket. To me, GrindQuest is both a hobby and a passion. This being said, I might be looking for people to join the project on a volunteer base, at a later stage. Mostly in the areas of sprite animation and community management.
Im writing this by the end of 2016, the project is currently only about 35% done. I don't plan a public release before mid of 2017, another 8-10 months. Mind you this project is a hobby, developed in my spare time.
Thanks for reading and your interest in the project.
The upcoming blog posts will cover the various little sub-systems of the game in detail.
Get ready for the hell of a grind!