The Boston Festival of Indie Games was recently held to celebrate Independent Game Development Day. I was able to go, and while there I sat down with Derek Bruneau of 10×10 Room.
Derek is one of the developers of a browser based game called Conclave. It is a game inspired by the 10×10 Room team’s love of roleplaying in their busy lives. Conclave aims to make the roleplaying experience more convenient by removing the limitations of timed sessions.
“We were inspired a couple years ago to make this game, to have tabletop inspired aesthetics and story and tactical gameplay that we like, but that doesn’t require us to schedule gaming sessions.” Derek explains that “You can play it in realtime if you have time, but otherwise just have it fit into the free moments of your day.”
Conclave focuses on being able to be played asynchronously. Almost every mechanic that Derek mentioned was designed with the intent of being able to play when the players get a chance. Derek’s example was combat not being limited by waiting for others to complete their turns.
He adds that “One other advantage of that is if you do have time, and can coordinate things there’s a strategic advantage to that. You can choose to go first, and maybe use an ability that weakens a creature, and use a combination with another character that way.”
10×10 Room acts as the Dungeon Master for the experience. Each quest is scripted by the team, and hosted on their website. Every action the player takes is stored on the Conclave servers, and because of that allowing modding is difficult. When asked about modding, he told me “We hope to do it at some point, but we’re not planning on doing it in the next couple months unless something changes.”
Conclave’s open beta has had a positive response so far. Derek hopes his successful Kickstarter will help make Conclave even more popular.
“Definitely a lot of good feedback, most of it similar to our feedback in earlier stages of development. That suggests that we’re on the right path, and there has not been a big change in that. A lot of the feedback is also feedback that is already on our existing road map. That’s been encouraging also.”
10×10 Room is inspired to make this game, because it is something they would like to play themselves.
We very much ‘eat our own dog food’, the inspiration for the game was we didn’t have time for the game we wanted to created. A game with depth, and also didn’t take over our lives. One that respected we had work or family or school. The game very much reflects what we as players would like, and being online is obviously a big part of that. We can’t play online since we’re scattered across the country.
Derek said there were two possibilities for his biggest challenges and triumphs in creating Conclave.
“One would be getting the word out. The game doesn’t fit into an established genre – it’s very tabletop’esquey but it’s a videogame. It’s kind of between the online and offline worlds. In addition, there are some members of the gaming community or press that focus on particular genres, or triple-a games in general. So I think one of the biggest challenges is getting the word out as an indie developer. The other challenge is one I think people would expect. Creating an RPG with your own story and own mechanics, and adding in this synchronous and asynchronous play, and we’re hosting everything. There’s a lot of coding and infrastructure involved. So the other biggest challenge would be how to get this done with such a small team.
And in terms of triumphs I would say we actually have a completely playable beta that works. There are some rough spots that we really want to improve. Like better graphics or adding a soundtrack, or discoverable items on quests. There are a bunch of them, but I think that we’ve demonstrated that it’s possible to do this. To be able to have an experience like this, and have it be fun and to feel like a tabletop game. Our players and playtesters have really responded to that, and that feels great.”