Eschalon:Book 1 demo released (Turn based indie RPG)

Take that clever titles! Huh, not much more to say though, I just finished downloading it and am installing it now.

It’s an old school turn based RPG by indie developer Basilisk Games. The interface and graphics look considerably better compared to, say, Spiderweb games.

Download page

Wow, that actually looks decent…

Trailer here:

I have a soft spot for any game that makes cartography a skill. It seems to be limited to 800x600 and you can’t switch from full screen to windowed with out exiting and relaunching the game. Other than those nitpicks I like what I see so far, I can see myself purchasing it if the demo holds up.

It uses 100% of your CPU if you put it in the background too, which makes my laptop run super hot. Minor nitpick #3.

Minor nitpick?

Is this 100% of available CPU or 100% of your CPU, period?

Available. It runs fine, zero performance problems, it just maxes the CPU out even when minimized. It does have loading screens but on my older 1.8ghz centrino I would miss the loading message if I blinked.

Apparently you can’t take stuff from chests in houses while the owner is around…

And haven’t seen anything about a way to walk faster. Kinda slow for covering long distances.

And is there a penalty to mages for wearing heavy armor?

From the manual:

There are other limitations to casting magick spells as well. For example, because of somatic requirements, a character can only hold a certain amount of weight in their hands and on their arms while casting a spell (this means the total amount of weight held in your weapon, shield, and gauntlets slots). The limitation is 1/3 of your character’s Strength (in pounds). So for example,
if your character has a Strength rating of 15, he can hold no more than 5 pounds when casting spells.

Seems pretty cool, definitely scratches that Old Isometric RPG itch, though I haven’t seen anything about the gameplay that really stands out yet. I wish torches gave off a bit more light, and so far the combat is uninteresting, although I only have one spell (typical level 1 fireball type thing) so I expect it will get more elaborate later on.

My automap looks pretty awful; I suppose it would improve if I had put more than one point into Cartography?

Just played a fun hour with this. Walking is a bit on the slow side, it can be a little confusing navigating around houses with the cursor arrows, but otherwise it has potential. I like the way nightfall is really very dark, making wandering around without a torch pretty difficult. Makes the world seem frightening and real. I’ll keep playing the demo to see how it pans out.

[edit] I just created a character with 5 cartography, and yes the map is far more detailed.

Just downloaded it. The intro and overall presentation seem to be top notch!

I have been following this one off an on and checking back for the demo. I hope it turns out as good as it seems.

The price is below my impulse limit. It goes on the list of indie games to look at.

Thanks for posting the link. Just seeing the turn-based combat in the trailer warms my heart. I had no idea I missed turn-based RPGs until just now. I’ll definitely try out the demo.

From the tooltips when creating a character:

The automap function will not work if you do not allocate at least one point to Cartography. The automap becomes more accurate and informative as your skill increases.

Ah, I was wondering why I had no map! That’s kind of cool. I went ahead and bought a map from a vendor, so I have to find my way around old-school style.

I love the polish on this thing, but I do wish they had pushed it a little past the “classic isometric RPG” paradigm. From here, I can’t see how combat is going to get very interesting – it’s basically turn-based Diablo, as far as I can tell, but with much less loot. I also had hopes that a hardcore indie developer would take some pains to make the world a little more believable, but out come the cliches of ever-lit torches in deserted dungeons and locked treasure chests lying around forest clearings. I can recalibrate my expectations and enjoy the game anyway, but I was hoping for a bit more than reiteration of the bog-standard approach (complete with amnesiac hero!).

I don’t know what they were thinking with the walking speed. I’m willfully trying not to mind it, but I imagine most people will become instantly annoyed by it.

The demo region seems awfully constrained, to the point where it’s not even possible to complete some of the newbie quests from the first village. (At least, every time I go off in some new direction as prescribed by a quest, I run into the black border pretty quickly.) I would have preferred a larger demo; as it is, the game hasn’t really gotten its hooks into me so far. By comparison, the demo design of (for instance) Avernum 2 was really effective. It gave you a lot of the early game, so that by the time you banged up against the demo wall, you were itching to keep playing and find out what would happen next.

Hmmm, tried the demo… As with most of the indie RPG’s I try, it seems to have a lot of charm, but I know I would never have time to play it with all the AAA releases coming out this season. Maybe something I’ll investigate down the line when all the chapters are out.

I went ahead and bought a map from a vendor, so I have to find my way around old-school style.

I’m so easy when it comes to these things. The moment I looked at that map I was all excited again. Just give me a continent, a couple mountain ranges, and names like “Stillmarsh” or “Borderkeep” or “The Lost Lighthouse” and I start salivating like a Pavlovian puppy.

And I thought I was the only one…

Looking nice, waiting for impressions from some of the early adopters so I can decide myself.

I haven’t even noticed the walking speed you guys are complaining about. (Maybe because I chose OpenGL?). My biggest complaint is the limit of 800X600. On a large monitor, I either have a tiny little windowed screen or a huge crappy looking full screen image that’s stretched. :(