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Posted by A Tobias 2 years ago
I've got to a point with the mobile-slash-new version of MARDEK where I can upload it for testing, and start figuring out how to release it. I've also enabled membership for this site, so you can create an account and comment on these posts and the forum if you want. Sorry that it's all taken so long! I imagine this... transition may be fairly stressful for me, though, so I'm going to write out various thoughts and things here.

First, a note to the beta testers: the new version is the one that I made basically 'from scratch', and as such certain features are missing, and - most notably - keyboard controls don't work, for the most part! It was made with mobiles in mind, so you control the character and menus and things with touch (or mouse clicks, in the browser). However, on the mobile version, you open the menu by tapping with two fingers at once, and the chat popup by tapping with three fingers at once, which obviously can't be done with a mouse, so you still have to use Enter and C to open those, which I know is awkward. I'm planning to add keyboard controls soon; I'll need to if I'm going to distribute this browser version to Flash portals and such.

Other features that are currently unfinished are mostly cosmetic or minor, I think. Here are a few:

- There's no end of episode screen, so it'll probably just crash when you get to that point (everything else works alright though, I think).

- You can't scroll through entries in the encyclopaedia (and the Lore section doesn't exist, but it didn't in the other version either).

- Many character model animations are missing (since the game works without them; I'll add them over the course of testing).

I know there are many other things, but these are the few that come to mind for now.

If you've created an account on this site or intend to, then hello! I hope to build this into a positive community, over time. I know Fig Hunter meant a lot to a lot of people, and I hope that Alora Fane can mean a lot to a lot of people too. I don't know whether the internet even works the same way that it did all those many years ago, what with the prevalence of social media and everything, but we'll see.

As for me, despite the 'inner peace' I discovered at the beginning of the year - and which held me aloft for most of the year - I've been experiencing worrying symptoms of depression recently, and the old stress headaches I used to have constantly in the Fig Hunter days have made an unwelcome return, too.

I imagine this is partly because I know that I'll have to do a lot of unfamiliar things to release this game, and I don't exactly have any close friends to rely on for support or anything. I'm all alone every day, and that takes its toll on the mind. It makes it easier to avoid things, but avoidance only exacerbates anxiety; it's never a solution.

Thoughts creep in like "what if it isn't successful? What if it doesn't make any money? What if people hate it? What if I've wasted my time, and none of this pays off?". Worrying about the future - what ifs and maybes - is pointless, of course; it's not something that's actually happening right now, so what reason is there to be upset by it? What will happen will happen. We'll see. Or so I'm trying to tell myself.

I'm doing an awful job of convincing people to like my product, though, of course! Clearly I'm not a businessman. What I should be saying is "you should buy my game because it's amazing, and you should tell your friends to buy it too!", or whatever, but I suppose I've never been comfortable with that kind of attitude. I'd much rather be honest, as I love reading the honest words of other people; I feel it creates more of a personal connection between writer and reader, rather than an impersonal consumer-producer one.

It's not as if I don't think that MARDEK is worthwhile though. I really, honestly am proud of what I've made, and I look at it and play it and hope that others will see it the same way. I'm uncertain though because I don't really even play many games at all myself these days, so in many ways I don't know what I'm up against, or what the 'climate' is like. What sells. What doesn't. My hope is that MARDEK might be something a bit different, and its appeal could come from that; it may not be a Flappy Bird or Candy Crush clone or whatever, but that's because I didn't make it for the sole purpose of making money. I made it because I had a story to tell, a world to build, a message to communicate; I poured my heart into it, and I hope that allows it to stand out amongst the mechanically-manufactured dreck that Companies produce in order to leech off people!!

That's how you promote your work, right? Yes, surely. I totally know what I'm doing.

Anyway, some big steps are ahead of me, and honestly it feels like I have a mountain to climb. Or, uh, at least a huge flight of stairs. If you look at a huge staircase as a whole, it can seem impossibly intimidating, yes... But if you look at only one step at a time, then that's not intimidating at all. Taking one little step is easy! Effortless, even! And before you know it, you'll be at the top. (I'm saying this to myself, mostly.)

One thing I've been meaning to do for ages is audio or perhaps even video blogs, about my progress and my thoughts, but it feels awkward to talk aloud to myself, and I don't know whether people would even want to hear it. I've said all this before. I'm sure I'll do it eventually. Probably.

I've also set up a Patreon account, as I said before, but apparently I need to fill in some tax form to get money from it at all, and I don't know for sure how to do that, so I'm looking into it (it asks me for my 'tax ID number', and I don't know what that is). I also don't know how to make rewards work. What I wanted to do was to give Patreon patrons a special symbol besides their names on this site, but I don't know how to do that on a technical level. I could create a link to a script on the Patreon page that you see after pledging, which enables the symbol on your account, but then anyone could find or be given that link and get the symbol without paying anything. Or I could do it all manually, but I'm unsure how to manage that.

I also don't know what to give for rewards anyway. Those who donate more than $20 (or $10?) a month could be beta testers, perhaps, and maybe $1 a month allows you to access browser versions of MARDEK on this site, and $5 a month gives you, uh...? I'm not sure. If you have ideas, I'd be interested to hear them! Oh, I'd like to include some kind of Credits page in the game, though, which would list patrons, but I don't know whether to list everyone who contributes even $1, or only those who contribute a certain amount.

I'd link to the Patreon account NOW, but I don't feel comfortable getting money from it if it's not all sorted out properly first. I don't want people to give something without getting something fair in return.

I've probably said this several times already, but here's what I'm planning to do about releasing MARDEK:

- I'll release the first two episodes (bundled together in one game) for free to Flash portals and stuff, just to announce to the world that this is something that exists. I don't know how well that'll go, though; I get the impression that Flash portals have dried up a lot since the Good Old Days, so I don't know whether it'll even be seen there. I suppose I should contact some people about what to do, but I'm not sure who to contact. I'm out of touch, as I've said before.

- I'll also release the mobile version to the Android and Apple app stores; again, the first two episodes will be free.

- Then I'll FINALLY start working on Episode 3, at long last!

- Once that's done, I'll release it as an update to the mobile version, meaning that it'll appear on the Episodes List menu, and can be unlocked for a small fee; probably $0.99 or something. I personally think that that's a tiny amount for what it is, considering that people freely buy Candy Crush lives for the same amount, which I think have far, far less 'value' (a MARDEK episode will probably linger in your mind for a long time afterwards, and can encourage all kinds of speculation and discussion about what might happen next, what's going on in the characters' minds, how you played through it, etc, while a Candy Crush life is spent then gone and your life hasn't changed at all, even if you complete the level).

- I may also upload a browser version of the episode to this site, but only patrons would be able to access it. OR, if it's possible, I'll make it so that if you buy the episode once, you're able to access it in the browser or on mobile devices. Since I don't exactly play games myself, I don't know what the common practice might be with cross-platform games. Whether buying something in one gives it to you one all platforms. I suppose I should have done more research about all of this, but... eh.

And... that's it, I think? I don't think I'll release future episodes to sites other than this one, UNLESS I need to attract more attention to my work. I suppose I'll have to fumble blindly forwards and just see what happens, while hoping that I don't make some terrible mistake along the way!!!

Now. With that said, I hope that you can get something positive out of my work, either MARDEK or this site! It'll be a few more days at least before MARDEK is actually released (it needs testing again first), but I'll try to do that as quickly as I can.

I'll read and try to reply to any comments here!
If you liked this, please click the Appreciate button there

on 36 Roots


19 United States INFP EIE 216 SxSo RLOAI AIS PhlegmaticSanguine
Hello, Mr. Pseudo. I've been a fan since elementary school, around the time when Deliverance was still in development, and the "Fig Hunter" game was still on the website. When I first heard that you were re-making Mardek, I was a little sad since me and others would never see a conclusion to that universe's story or it's characters getting any closure, but as I looked at what you had in mind for the re-design, I was getting more and more exited for it, and I still am! I'm just kind of sad that we won't see "Deliverance" or "Fig Hunter" anymore. Oh well.

The point is, I am REALLY looking forward to this game, and any others you make. Keep on being awesome, and I'm just gonna let you get back to work. I love you man, you've been one or my idols since I was like, 5 years old. you kick arse. I will always support you, and be here if you need any emotional support, or even if you just wanna talk. <3
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
It is unfortunate that the old series won't be getting any kind of clear closure, but the reboot follows 'improved' versions of the same characters and - at least to some degree - the same general storyline (well, sort of), so hopefully that'll make up for it!

Thank you for the support and for following me for all of these years, though! It means a lot!
19 United States INFP EIE 216 SxSo RLOAI AIS PhlegmaticSanguine
No problem. I'm just glad I can provide feedback, support, and encouragement. :)
22 Norway PhlegmaticMelancholic
So, um, hi Tobias.

I've actually followed your work and blog posts for quite a while, but I've never actually posted a comment on anything. This is actually the first internet comment I've ever written, as weird as that is.

So i guess i will just write down some of my thoughts on the developments of this site, the MARDEK series, and yourself. This may be a very long comment, so I apologize in advance.

First of all I think it is very impressive how much you have managed to grow over the years. I still remember the days of Fighunter and how unpleasant that place could get. But right now things are looking up, and you seem much more cheerful and relaxed. So kudos.

I also find the philosophical stuff you write about in your blog posts to be interesting. I'm thinking of getting into some of that stuff you see. I'm hoping it could help me cope with various dark an unpleasant thoughts that occasionally invade my head, but we'll see.

Now on to my thoughts on the new MARDEK series. The old MARDEK games was what originally brought me to your site. At the time they were pretty much my favorite games ever, though I had not really played very many RPGs at that point, so I guess I didn't have much to compare it too. When I read the various posts where you described the changes that the series was going through there were initially a lot of things that irked me. Now though, I can say that it looks good overall and that I'm looking forward to playing it. Trough reading your posts I also began to discover problems with the original series that I've never noticed before. Anyway, I think I'll just ramble on a little more regarding a few subjects regarding the MARDEK series.

For a while I was worried that the new version of Mardek (the character) was going to become an arrogant and self-obsessed jock-type, mostly going by the portrait of his hero-form. This made me sad. Sure, Mardek from the originals may not have been very complex or realistic, but I still found him entertaining and charming in his own way. It is nice to see that the Mardek we ended up with seems to have retained all the good-natured silliness of the original. I also like how you want to give each of the playable characters their own motivation and backstory, and how we can make each and every one of them talk to each other so we can see what everyone thinks of everyone. This makes it seem like all the characters are just as important, i much prefer that to a story where everything revolves around the main character.

The initiation system is the only thing i still have somewhat mixed feelings about. Don't get me wrong I am totally fine with you making a game without violence if that's what you want, and its not gonna stop me from playing the game. There are just a couple of things I'm worried about with regards to the story, but seeing as you have experience creating these kinds of games I'm sure you have already considered them. So I guess I should just stop worrying and let you work without pestering you about every little thing.

And finally i want to ask you what, if anything, you are planning to do after MARDEK is finished? If you don't have anything planned i completely understand, seeing as MARDEK will probably keep you busy for a very long time. I'm just curious is all.

Anyway, that about sums it up. I'm sorry if this was a pain to read through, I suppose I just had a lot to get off my chest seeing as I've never written anything to you.

Until next time, and good luck with everything.
22 Norway PhlegmaticMelancholic
Oops, it seems I wrote initiation instead of agitation. Sorry about that.
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
Hello, and thank you for the long comment, and for following me for all these years! It's quite an honour to be the recipient of your first online comment, actually!

I aim to write (and talk in audio things) more about how to overcome difficult or dark thoughts in future, since I know how those things can really mess with your life and happiness. Apart from the abstract concepts I've written about already, there are some very practical things that I know of that produce immediate results - or which result in much greater life satisfaction if practised on a regular basis - so I'd like to talk about those in particular. If they could help you in even some small way, I'd consider that to be a wonderful thing!

I can see why you might have thought that Mardek would be some smug, horrible person from his expression, and that's something I was worried about, actually! I wonder whether to remove that expression completely, since it doesn't really fit him at all; I drew him like that when the game was more comedy-based and before I'd worked out his personality, and it was meant to be an exaggerated 'hero' stereotype that child-Mardek would imagine himself as being like not because it matches his personality, but because he feels that that's what heroes are supposed to look and behave like.

I'd be put off by some jock-like character too, though! One big thing I've done with Mardek's character is have him not focus on traditional 'tough' or 'strong' character traits; instead, he's really innocent and kind and loving towards everyone. I think there aren't enough characters like that in the media (who aren't treated like a joke, anyway).

The story of the reboot is only loosely based on the original, so I'm not keeping all the same plot points in the exact same way, in case you were concerned about how I'd handle certain battles that were in the original. As a whole, there's much less focus on romping around random dungeons and fighting big monsters or 'enemies' for little reason... but I've replaced all that with things that I for one find far more fascinating. I know it's easy to be wary about something you've never seen, though, so all I can say is that I hope you like it when you do have the chance to see it!

I've been thinking recently about what I want to do after MARDEK. I have four games planned (including MARDEK), and I actually intend to develop two of them alongside MARDEK rather than waiting until MARDEK is finished (I imagine I'll have a lot of 'down time' when beta testing the episodes and such, so I may as well use it wisely). I decided on them when looking back through all the other game ideas I've come up with, and choosing and combining my favourites into things that I feel are meaningful and distinct from one another. Each one focuses on 'spiritual' themes in a different way, though MARDEK is the only one with a story. They're all designed to work well on mobile devices.

As for what they actually are... I'll talk about that more in the future. I don't want to take away from the attention on MARDEK at the moment!
41 United States
Thank you for opening up this site. I truly like your approach to in-game conflict resolution and am glad to hear about your epiphany. It is a journey!

Looking forward to more of your quality stories, be they in Alora Fane or real-life or elsewhere.
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
Thank you, especially about liking how I've approached the idea of conflict in MARDEK!
20 Czech Republic INFJ EII 451 SoSx RLuAi SAI MelancholicPhlegmatic
I haven't commented the blog for some time and I would like to change that!

Some BIG THINGS seem to be happening. Opening the site to the wide community was something I thought about with almost every mention in your previous posts. I should admit I was quite curious about this point, looking forward to it, though unsure about certain changes that might or inevitably had to come with the larger number of the members. (Well, how tactful of me!)

The present-day Alora Fane site, together with its ancestors, has been one of few communities (and the only on-line one) wherein I feel to belong somehow visibly.

(Ahem, yes, a perfect timing to go on with my heart-breaking life-story, evidently.)

There has been always something making me curious about what will 'happen next' with your projects, with MARDEK the Reboot development, whereto will the bits of your life, you have been sharing with us, lead. I probably haven't expressed my interest much, haven't made many comments (there have been quite a lot moments when I felt like responding to your post, but my laziness or presumed fatigue made me stop in the middle of composing the sentences and starting to type... ugh, I would love to be able to avoid these in future!), etc. Nevertheless, I do think about you, the site and the community in Life and I feel familiar with the regrets of not being able to get in touch with you a bit closer (I hope the ending sounds just as creepy as when I repeat it in my head!!) You have meant quite a lot for me, briefly said (not for the first time, I realise, but I just want to ensure you about it) and I see no reason why it should stop.

I suppose that with the BIG community, the site will get a bit decentralised. Which is neither improvement, nor a drawback. I mean, a lot of people will discuss various topics here and I don't think I will be able to well orientate in all of them (though I like the idea of being slightly more active, contribute to the talks I'm not primarily interested in, just to make somebody else to know about me and my habits of constructing senseless sentences with tons of excursions and side thoughts; maybe I will be pleasantly surprised by the power of conversation itself; yes, it's certainly easy to speak like that now, but in reality... well, let's see yet.)

Also, the Chat seems to be alive after some time. I wonder when I finally overcome my current anxiety issue and try at least to say hello to my new co-site-members.

Well, despite not being the right person, nor speaking at the right time - welcome, newcomers, to the site! May your time spent here be peaceful and as carefree as you are willing to admit.

THEN, the MADREK beta-testing: I have come back to it, after some time, earlier today and I can see some significant changes. I'd started to comment about key-pressing issues when I realised it was meant to work rather as the mobile version already, so I'm sorry about possible out of place reactions.

This reboot thing, mobile conversion, opening the site and having something really happen before my eyes make me once again admire your continuous work and your patience and determination to carry on with MARDEK, despite lots of minor discouragements which must have been haunting you.

I was trying to invent something clever to say at this place, but I suppose it's more sincere to wish you all the best.

Also, it seems I'm about to have a little financial income, for the first time in my life. I'd be glad and honoured if I managed to find a meaning to support you, thought I'm not at the state where I could make any promises yet.

Huh, I suppose it's high time to go and do something!
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
I certainly know how it is to want to say something, and to start writing a comment, but then you don't know what to say or doubt your words and just go 'ugh' and delete it. I've done that so often over the years! I've been able to reply to all the comments here so far... but I wonder whether I'll be able to keep that up.

Anyway, it's always nice - though surprising, and sort of surreal - to know that what I make or do affects peoples' lives. It's something I hope for, but I never know quite how to react to it due to general social incompetence and all that! Hearing things like that makes me want to actually go through with the audio/video journal thing, since I know that I for one would like following someone's life story as it develops, and I see that you'd be interested in such a thing too.

I've not looked at any of the forum posts here yet, and I've not checked the MARDEK beta comments in a few days either... Too busy! But I'm glad everything seems positive so far!

And thank you for any financial support that you might be willing to give, IF you can afford it without worry! I wouldn't want to take money from people who need it more than I do!
19 Mexico INTJ 694 SpSx MelancholicPhlegmatic
seeing how you are trying to reply to EVERY comment we make is pretty amazing, you really are working hard for a good community and I'm sure many of us are hoping not only to get our games but for that kind of dream you have had for years now to come into realization
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
Replying to everything feels so much better than avoiding things due to stress like I used to, so I intend to keep it up!
18 Australia INFJ EII 612 RCOAI IAS PhlegmaticMelancholic
Thank you so much for creating all these games/communities! Your sites were what introduced me to personality things and understanding myself, and they've honestly helped so much! I'm so happy that Mardek is going to be so story based and character focused and stuff! Your posts and creations are so interesting, so please know that heaps of us love your work! :)
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
Thank you! I'm glad you've been able to get something out of the things I've made and written about!
26 United States
Um, the estimated date of completion is yesterday, that can't be right. I guess it is very hard to finish this game, but at least, you are almost there, just a little farther, it seems. I can wait, hopefully, within a week, it will finally be done, and if so, probably not too much longer, also, why did you have a secret password to sign up before? Like, beta testers of the site, or something?
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
That estimated release date has become essentially meaningless at this point, since I keep pushing it forward! I am at the very end of development now, but I'm having to deal with a lot of little but tricky things I hadn't predicted, so it's taking time.

The site was invitation-only up until recently because I didn't want to have to deal with the pressure of running a community on top of the pressure of making MARDEK. Now that MARDEK's on the verge of release, it seemed a good time to open the doors to the public.
26 United States
I see, you do keep pressing the date to a later date, and I see why it was invitation-only too. Well, good luck with the game. I hope you got it down within a week.
25 China
Aha, I can communicate with my favourite game producer now. Before I tried many times to create an account but failed. I'm happy to be here, supporting the be-loved game designer. Cheers! We're patient waiting for your new games (always with good quality). You need to take it easy. Don't allow pressure to defeat you! Please draw a happy face every day.
25 China
No matter where your game will be released (Patreon or Steam), I will try my best to support your work (financially and by giving useful feedback). I can't wait to play Mardek!
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
Thank you for your support and interest in my work! Hopefully it will continue to bring you some form of enjoyment! And thankfully, I'm getting better at dealing with pressure, so even when it comes up, it doesn't last long!
28 United Kingdom
Surprisingly not that excited about this.......... mostly due to having a dislike of anything touchscreen, so not having a phone or tablet that could play the games..... Have you thought of using Steam to distribute Mardek to PC? If you do, I'll definitely save up and buy the whole series.

Also, the voting thing about paetreon doesn't have what would be my answer - I can't afford it now, but as soon as I can I would be willing to donate - even with the only benefit being a slightly earlier release date [dependent on there being eventual releases of the whole series that I have the hardware to play]. Oddly specific, I know, but I felt the 'can't afford it' option wouldn't have given any useful feedback to you.
26 Germany ISTJ MelancholicCholeric
I'm pretty sure he wrote something along the lines that he has to add keyboard control and that he'll release the episodes on this site here or something, for patrons.

Soo, what I'm saying is: No reason not to be excited anymore for you. At least not this reason.
28 United Kingdom
That was eps. 1 & 2, the main part I'm waiting eagerly for are eps. 3 and on, as the plot of 'old' eps 1&2 is eps 1 this time round, meaning 'old' eps3 is 'new' eps 2, so 'new' eps3 and on would be the bits of the plot we haven't even seen hints of yet [other than foreshadowing].
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
Sadly, those without mobile devices seem to be a minority, so it is best for me to target mobiles... but I think everyone's going multi-platform these days, so it's likely that you'll be able to play a version in your browser or in Steam or some other thing that I haven't decided on yet.

I wrote a longer comment about my thoughts on Steam in response to someone else... which I can't seem to link to because the links to individual comments have disapppeared? Hm, I'll need to look into that...
28 United Kingdom
Hope so, I'd be willing to buy a physical disc copy if it was the only way to play the whole series on PC. [if it does come to that, please let me know, along with how much, including postage, though if that IS how it turns out, I'd rather wait until all the episodes are done, rather than pay for postage multiple times.....]

Thanks for the reply, and I look forward to playing your work, if I can...
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
If I do have a non-mobile version, it'll definitely be either downloadable or playable directly in the browser; physical discs seem like quite a hassle and an unnecessary expense!
28 United Kingdom
OK! I'll keep an eye out, thanks!
28 United Kingdom
OK! I'll keep an eye out, thanks!
19 United States INFP PhlegmaticCholeric
I'm really happy you opened up membership for the site! I've been following it for a while.

I'm so pumped for MARDEK! I'd probably enjoy more on my laptop than on my phone though, because it's easier for me to play games there. It's thrilling to see one of my favorite game casts come back, now with even more story involvement and character development. I thought I would never get to hear about Emela again, and she's my favorite character!

I'm surprised you didn't release Alora Fane: Creation before you stopped working on it. You said you were about... 90% done I believe? I would have loved spending my time playing and creating little quests. That would have entertained me for a long time. After you finish releasing these first two episodes, I think you should come back to working on this. I saw your Youtube video of making a quest, and I'd play even that short demo! Anyways, you should continue on this soon, I would've easily paid $5-15 on this.

Can't wait to see more progress on your games, and the community itself!
28 United Kingdom INFJ EII 459 SxSo RLxaI AIS MelancholicPhlegmatic
Thank you! I'd actually forgotten about AFC; I think that towards the end of its development, I was going through Dark Times and all of that (I was at my lowest, considering suicide and everything), so it became a sore topic for me. It's entirely playable as it is, though, and I'll certainly do SOMETHING with it; I spent too much time on it to simply abandon it. I'll get MARDEK out of the way first before focusing on that, though!