Cultist Simulator’s post-launch roadmap

***This roadmap has since been replaced by the more recent, up-to-date 2019 – 2020 ROADMAP here.***

HEY EVERYONE DID YOU MISS US? We’ve borbled about in post-launch for a bit, and are now back on a schedule. This means you can expect to see fortnightly blog posts from us again, and can follow development along with our roadmap below. Woo-hoo!

Alexis posted a rough idea of Cultist’s future a few weeks ago, and we’ve now confirmed enough things to put dates to delivery. We’ve had to make space in the schedule for two Big Name Freelance Gigs of Alexis’s That I Am Apparently Not Allowed To Talk About Yet, but I reckon you’ll be impressed and maybe even interested in what these Things are, when we finally reveal ’em.

Without further ado, here’s what’s coming up over the next eight-ish months for Cultist Simulator. I’ll extend this roadmap as time goes on, so don’t worry, Time continues to pass after March 2019.


August #1: PORPHYRIA Complete! Update here.

Continued quality of life updates! The focus is on UI improvements & usability, so think text resizing, card placement tweaks, improved controls, that sort of thing. Ongoing work for Teresa’s Build.

☽★☾

August #2: QUO VADIS Complete! Update here.

Lovecraft’s birthday, for which we ran a #Lovecraftday giveaway, released Steam trading cards, and ran a Daily Deal on Steam and Humble! Also, our new monthly design stream (Thurs 16th)! Alexis and Lottie talk Cultist design, answer questions, and host special guest Nikhil Murthy (The Quiet Sleep), one of Weather Factory’s mentees. Ongoing work for Teresa’s Build.

☽★☾

September #1: ROSSETTI Complete! Update here.

Dancer DLC content, new icons from Clockwork Cuckoo, new Legacy/Aspect icons, continued UI improvements and bug fixing, Coven Club grand opening, monthly newsletter out, ongoing work on Teresa’s Build, and unfortunately I still can’t talk about one of those Big Announcements for legal/marketing/it goes beyond just Weather Factory reasons, but stay tuned. Additionally, we revamped the roadmap – changes in pink.

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September #2: SHELLEY Complete! Update here.

Our monthly design stream (Thurs 13th)! We opened the merch shop, too. Final polish/content for Teresa’s Build.

☽★☾

September #3: TENNYSON Complete! Update here.

Final work on Teresa’s Build/Dancer DLC: a sprint of closing/polish to keep Teresa from being Neville.

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October #1: UNDINE (Teresa’s Build Release! For realsies!) Complete! Update here.

Teresa’s Build! This will include a bunch of free updates (wounded/missing Followers, rebellious Followers, romanceable Followers, new Talk interactions, improved Detective Legacy) and one paid bit of DLC (Dancer Legacy). Perpetual Edition owners, of course, get this ALL for free! Also, our monthly design stream (Thurs 18th).

☽★☾

October #2: VERNE Complete! Update here.

There definitely won’t be any bugs with Teresa, so we definitely haven’t left this sprint loose for fixing them. Work starts on Christopher’s Build! Also, HALLOWEEN! 👻👻👻

☽★☾

November #1: WHARTON Complete! Update here.

Church of Merch updates, mega planning for the rest of Cultist’s timeline, new Expeditions, ongoing work on Christopher’s Build.

☽★☾

November #2: XEXANOTH Complete! Update here.

Our slightly late monthly design stream (Thurs 22nd), now that we have internet again! Also, work starts on the Apostle victories, final localisation tech work, ongoing work on Christopher’s Build, and prep for our Christmas seasonal, OPALIA.

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December #1: YOG-SOTHOTH Complete! Update here.

Ongoing Apostle victories work, new HQs and the Fun & Serious Game FestivalOngoing Christopher’s Build work, and our pre-Christmas design stream (Thurs 13th)!

☽★☾

December #2: ZOLA Complete! But no update cos Christmas hols.

Christmas is the best time of the year. We shall be stuffing ourselves with mince pies and putting tinsel on cats, if you’re not too then what are you even doing with your life


January #1: ANCIENT MARINER Complete! Update here.

Final prep for Christopher’s Build. More importantly, this is the sprint we get Secret Kittens and surprise Alexis’s kid with them and make Lottie the happiest person in the world because cats. Updated research mechanics too although come on did you not read about the cats. Also, 2019, I SUPPOSE

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January #2: BELLE DAME (Christopher’s Build release!) Complete! Update here.

Christopher’s Build releases! This one’s made of entirely free updates (three Tier 2 Apostle Legacies, incorporating Long hunting/defence + some HQ updates + new Expeditions). Also, our monthly design stream (Thurs 17th).

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February #1: CARMILLA Complete! Update here.

Christopher’s Build support! Work begins on the paid Priest Legacy (though Perpetual Edition owners, as ever, get this for free TOO).

☽★☾

February #2: DORIAN Complete! Update here.

Ongoing work on Franklin’s Build, and our monthly design stream (Thurs 21st).

☽★☾

March #1: EDWIN DROOD Complete! Update here.
Alexis and Lottie head to Helsinki to help judge this year’s IMGA awards. Ongoing Franklin’s Build work, A Nice Announcement for Cultist [REVEALED: MOBILE PORT], A Nice Announcement for Weather Factory [REVEALED: WE HIRED CLAIRE, AND ARE HIRING FOR 3 MORE ROLES], and delayed but improved research mechanics.

☽★☾

March #2: FAUST Complete! But no update cos we were just going to events and stuff
Alexis and Lottie head to GDC! Alexis gives a talk on Cultist’s experimental nature and commercial success; ongoing Franklin’s Build work. No design stream this week cos of big ol’ GDC. Research mechanics go live to beta.

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March #3: GLYDE Complete! Update here.
Cultist Simulator mobile launch! Ongoing Franklin’s Build work, and the start of London Games Fest.

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April #1: HESSELIUS Complete! Update here.
Ongoing Franklin’s Build work: the Priest DLC completed. London Games Fest continues, and Alexis and Lottie also head to EGX Rezzed to be on a variety of panels. Finally, our monthly design stream (which we didn’t do in the end because we were too busy SORRY THIS WILL HAPPEN FROM MAY AS NORMAL).

☽★☾

April #2: ISABELLA Complete! Update here.
Ongoing Franklin’s Build work: the Ghoul DLC completed. Alexis and Lottie fly out to Latvia for the Latvian Game Dev Conference, run by one of Weather Factory’s mentees – Vladimir Slav!

☽★☾

May #1: JEKYLL Complete! Update here.
Final polish, bug fixing and prep on Franklin’s Build, LudoNarraCon. Also, our monthly design stream (Thurs 16th).

☽★☾

May #2: KNOWL Complete! Update here.
Cultist Simulator’s ✨🎈 one year anniversary uwu 🎈✨! Also, Franklin’s Build release (which involved the Priest + Ghoul DLCs, as well as our Anthology Edition)! And we announced our next game: BOOK OF HOURS! Oh my giddy aunt. 

☽★☾

June #1: LIGEIA
Our habitual ‘spare sprint for post-launch bug fixing and support’.

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More info on the future of Weather Factory soon! There’ll start being other projects in this roadmap soon. Exciting, eh?

Centuries Ago The Dark Lord: when and how to dump

‘Lore dumps.’ It’s not an attractive phrase.

Bit of housekeeping first. I want to remember that most games are not written under perfect circumstances where writers see all their work go into the game in a perfectly executed way. Maybe someone wrote a series of dialogues with a companion NPC where the protag carefully teases out the oral history of that NPC’s homeland, and why they’re at war with the player’s homeland, and that serves as a basis for choice-driven relationship development between the NPC and the player… and the setting information seeped invisibly into the game… and then the NPC got cut at the last minute because budget. Now no-one understands anything about the setting history and it’s two months from launch and a big chunk of the plot no longer makes any sense. What are you going to do? well maybe you’re going to wince and add pop-up text screen explaining the whole thing and resign yourself to people groaning ‘UGH LORE DUMP’ for the next five years because it’s the smallest evil.

Nother bit of housekeeping. Some people *like* lore dumps. Technical manuals for film franchises keep on selling. You know your audience and your game better than I do. But you don’t have to put it in everyone’s face. You can leave it in a book on a shelf, where it belongs, and where it won’t annoy the non-dumpthusiasts.

But here are some signs that you’re going to put something in your game that will send your player off to make herself a cup of tea, or alt-tab out to bitch about your game on Twitter.

1. Lore dumps that don’t sound like something a human would say.

Player: tell me about this city.
NPC: Darkburg is the capital of the Kingdom of Gloaming. It attracts merchants from all over the world, although many people here are concerned that the coming war with Shadowville means we’ll see fewer visitors.

Player: tell me about this city.
Alexis: London is the capital of the UK, and of England. It attracts tourists from all over the world. But many people here are concerned that the coming exit from the European Union means we’ll see fewer visitors.

2. Lore dumps that don’t read like something a human would write.

[Letter]: As you know, my lady, the Chancellor is very concerned about the coming war with Shadowville, although she claims in public that it’ll be a triumph that will regenerate our nation…

[Email]: As you know, Lottie, the Prime Minister is very concerned about the coming exit from the European Union, although she claims in public that it’ll be a triumph that will regenerate our nation…

3. Lore dumps that feel like homework.

NPC: the West of Darkburg contains some of our highest-rent districts. In the centre, we have the Temple of the Great Night, the Empress’ Residence and the Museum of Pain. You can find lots of shops in the Brass District. The best way to get around is…

Alexis: the West of London contains some of our highest-rent districts. In the centre, we have St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and the British Museum. You can find lots of shops in Oxford Street. The best way to get around is…

If you’re thinking ‘here is a big list of all the information about this place: I should put the information into some words, and then the words will go into the player’s head, and so will the information’ then you risk ending up with something like the examples above. It’s okay not to tell players some of those things. It’s okay to tell them things in character. It’s okay not to tell them everything right now. They’re still going to be in your game an hour from now, and if they’re not, you have bigger problems.

4. Lore dumps that could be copy/pasted into another game without anyone noticing.

NPC: Hundreds of years ago, the Dark Lord Alpha seized the power of Beta for himself, and covered all the lands of Gamma in illimitable darkness. At last the wise mage Delta bestowed his finest pupil, Epsilon, with the power of Zeta. Epsilon fought her way to the heart of the dangerous realm of Eta and slew Alpha with the Zeta. Peace reigned over all the lands of Theta. But now we hear dark rumours of dark stirrings in the dark heart of Eta. In the peaceful hamlet of Iota you know nothing of this, yet, but soon you must begin your journey to

Honestly, why bother? ‘Because I’m on a day rate to write a Terry Brooks pastiche for a mid-core mobile game’ is actually a fair answer, but there’s probably something more interesting to be done. Or at least shorter.

5. Lore dumps that are in there out of a sense of mistaken duty

A lot of things in games are there because people kinda thought they ought to do that because isn’t that what people do? This is the same reason that indies write press releases that begin “we’re excited to announce”.


Here are some things you can do to minimise the tea-making and the bitching on Twitter.

0. DON’T WRITE THE LORE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Some folk write lore because it’s what they love doing, some folk write lore because they need it to fill the technical manual spinoff book, many because isn’t that what you do when you’re making an SFF game? Continue reading

“We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives”: more on FUTURE upcoming CS updates in the FUTURE

Q. In the roadmap, there was no mention of quality of life updates. Are those still planned?

They are – the roadmap is just content updates. We’ve got a freelancer in a few days a month to work on some QoL stuff (and localisation support) while I keep working on content. You can expect to see those ahead of Teresa’s Build.

A couple of QoL updates – shift-click to drag slot, double-click to send to slot – have just gone live on the beta branch. We’ll be rolling more out soon.

Q. Where’s the beta branch again?

A. On Steam:

  • right-click Cultist Simulator in your library
  • click PROPERTIES
  • go to the BETAS tab
  • choose ‘gateofhorn’ from the drop-down.

On GOG:

  • Click MORE on the Cultist Simulator page
  • Click SETTINGS
  • Change ‘Beta channels’ on the right to ‘on’
  • Choose ‘gateofhorn’ from the Channel dropdown

Q. So how’s it going to work? Will we see content updates come through gradually? Will they appear in the beta branch first? What about the DLC?

A. Here’s the plan. It may change.

QoL updates will spend a little time on the beta branch to bed in, and then make their way into the main game – usually on a week or so’s delay.

Content updates will mostly stay on the beta branch until the whole update drops. This is largely so that when we can get maximum visibility when we launch them + DLC together – and because if we launch the DLC on its own, everyone who’s missed the less-visible free updates will go, hey, where are the free updates?

DLC, if it’s visible at all, will stay on the beta branch until launch, and will only be visible to people who own it. Right now, this means that only the Perpetual Edition owners will see DLC previews in beta, because we’re unlikely to offer pre-orders. This might change if we get hundreds of players asking us to do pre-orders, but that seems unlikely.

Q. What’s ‘Procopius’?

I can’t talk about that yet, and perhaps not ever.

CULTIST SIMULATOR: 2018 update roadmap

Hello all

We’ve got all the post-launch hotfixes out the door, we’ve been to Brazil and back, and now we’re making some more Cultist Simulator.

Here are the three updates you can expect to see next. You’ll notice it says ‘probably roughly’. What’s this? Weather Factory not committing to deadlines? Why not?

Well, firstly, I have one last bit of potential just-when-I-thought-I-was-out-they-pull-me-back-in part-time freelance design/writing work. I said I wasn’t doing any more freelancing, but this is something that’s been on the cards since 2016, and I’m keen to be involved with it. It’s still under discussion, but if I do get involved, it will affect the CS schedule a bit.

But secondly, we really hustled to get CS out, as Lottie discussed in the retrospective. So we’re making a point of taking things a little easier in the back half of this year. Maybe a proper holiday even!

Anyway, here’s the plans! THIS PLAN IS NOT FINAL AND ANY AND ALL OF THE POINTS BELOW MAY CHANGE UNDER WHIM OR WEATHER. I’ve included our current thinking on what’ll be a free update and what’ll be paid DLC.

 

EDIT: we’re now committed to the timings here: http://weatherfactory.biz/cultist-simulators-post-launch-roadmap/

TERESA’S BUILD (probably roughly end August)

‘The finest artisans all dream of the White Door in the end. I’m no artisan, only a scholar. I think there’s a Secret that all these artisans know, but I think that Secret is only half the story.’

Focus on followers:

  • Wounded and Missing conditions [free]
  • Rebellion [free]
  • Romance [free]
  • More uses for Talk, finally [free]
  • The Tainted Blood advanced victory, and the Long Hunt [free]
  • Enhancements to the Detective Legacy [free]
  • The Dancer Legacy: hone your flesh and spirit at the Ecdysis Club [paid]

 

CHRISTOPHER’S BUILD (probably roughly end October)

‘To reach the Stag Door, I believe that all you really need is to want something enough. But I’ve never wanted anything that much, except of course [Teresa], and I’m very much afraid that the knot in the story is this: what [Teresa] wants is the Stag Door.’

Focus on scholarship and expeditions:

  • a use for the Scholarship skill! [free]
  • enhanced Research mechanics [free]
  • more specific goals for expeditions [free]
  • player-written tomes [free]
  • The Shaped advanced victory [free]
  • Expedition stories [free and/or paid]
  • Apostle Legacy: take up the mantle of a fallen cult leader [paid]
  • Priest Legacy: when your faith fails, where will you turn? [paid]

 

MY LORD FRANKLIN BANCROFT’S BUILD (probably roughly end January 2019)

‘Bancroft seems to have been a talented adept, but devoted his energies to frustratingly whimsical projects: arranging ‘grape-fetching races’ between Mansus-spirits, teaching Percussigants to juggle, and conjuring storms of imaginary blossoms for the rose-witch [Fionna] Ayrshire, who resolutely refused ever to couple with him. Bancroft spends twenty pages bemoaning this last.’

Focus on earthly pleasures, and their consequences:

  • Luxuries! The Delights of High Living [free]
  • The Ravages of Age! Which May Yet Be Averted [free]
  • Beyond Notoriety: Infamy! [free]
  • Painting: A Bouquet of Engrandisements [free]
  • Hard Times: Seasons of Wretchedly Straitened Resource [free]
  • Golden Days: Occasions of Munificence [free]
  • Pets and Familiars: (We May Count At Least On These Little Souls When All Humankind Proves Both Cruel And Faithless: Ah, Fionna) [free]
  • Patron Stories: Opportunities for Close and Warm Acquaintance [free and/or paid]
  • Familiar Legacy: Less than Human, and More [paid]
  • Survivor Legacy: What Have Ye Done [paid]

We’ve got some other stuff on the boil as well, but when I pre-announce things Lottie looks disappointed at me, so please imagine a vaudeville hook has appeared stage left at this point to hook  me off –

before I go

Here’s our mailing list

Here’s our subreddit

Here’s Lottie, me and Weather Factory on Twitter.

Thanks for reading; thanks for supporting; see you soon!