"Have you ever wanted to play a card game but hate the constant delays and slow pace?
Come play Invoker - a trading card inspired real-time battleground where you summon powerful creatures and cast deadly spells to crush your opponent.
Customize your spellbook, summon deadly minions and cast devastating spells to obliterate your opponent."
That's the elevator pitch from Brisbane-based Hellfrog Studios indie dev Patrick Garland for their game Invoker. It was six months ago when I first came across the game in its early stages at RTX Australia and so I thought I'd check in with them to see how the game has changed.
It turns out that the guys at Hellfrog Studios are in the middle of overhauling Invoker, from UI to character models, environments and sound, but why?
"So far, we've been using a lot of temporary assets. What we showed at RTX was more a proof of concept than a finished game. We are currently working on making some new assets to replace those.
In addition to creating new visual assets for the game, we are also working on things that will make this game a fuller experience.
First of all, we are adding a single-player campaign that will allow you to unlock cards. More on this will be revealed at a later stage.
We are also working on improving the synergy between cards to allow for some fun combinations. Currently, we are working around a clan based system where cards of the same clan are designed to interact with each other in certain ways."
While I was surprised to hear that the game was undergoing such a large overhaul, one of the things I took away from the game was the sometimes overwhelming controls from the perspective of a console gamer such as myself.
"We are currently working on at least on improving in-game signals and feedback the player will get as he's playing the game with a better UI and better effects.
The game's controls themselves have not been changed at the moment. We will eventually allow players to rebind keys and change some other control options. But this won't be coming any time soon. We are also planning on eventually adding controller support since we believe it will work well."
You might wonder what it's like for a small team of indie devs to exhibit their game in front of tens of thousands of people for the first time.
"RTX was a great experience for us as a team since it was the first time our game was played by such a wide variety of people.
That being said, it was a lot of time and effort that we believe we could have spent working on the game. Although the feedback was quite positive, it feels like we didn't get the exposure we were looking for and our game was not at a far enough stage to leverage the exposure we ended up getting."
Ask anyone showing their game off at a public event and they'll tell you that there's almost always something that goes wrong. Hellfrog was lucky enough to be sponsored at the convention by Asus, but that was the end of their lucky streak.
"Asus have been great! Since this was our first time exhibiting our game at a convention we encountered a multitude of problems (technical, logistical, the heat, etc) that we didn't plan for. Asus helped us deal with most of these issues by going over and beyond what they promised.
The giant Asus banner in the background caused us a lot of grief while setting up. We ended up fixing it 20 minutes before the crowd entered the building."
So where does that leave the future of Invoker? Hellfrog Studios are currently aiming for a release on Steam Greenlight by the end of this year. Be sure to check out their website or follow them on Facebook for all the latest news about Invoker.
I'd like to give a huge shout out to the guys at Hellfrog Studios for taking the time to answer my questions.