By Shamus Posted Friday May 24, 2013

Filed under: Notices 77 comments

My friend and co-spoiler Rutskarn is the lead writer on Unrest, an upcoming indie game. They’re having a Kickstarter, which gave me my first chance to see what their RPG is going to be like.

Well, they claim the game is an RPG, but that’s obviously some kind of deception. I mean, if you look on the Kickstarter page they don’t say anything about what kind of magic system they’re using. I looked through the screenshots, and it was just a bunch of conversations and stuff. What kind of role-playing game has this much dialog? What are the cover mechanics like? Can you play as an elf? Are the dragons called dragons, or drakes, or wyrms, or are they coming up with their own word for dragons? Will you have squad-mates? Can you boink them? How will the morality system work? Are they using licensed guns, or fictional ones? Can we mod them? How can they claim this game is an RPG when they’re missing such basic components?

Okay, I’m done being ironically stupid. Let’s stop talking about other RPGs and talk about this one.

The pitch: Unrest is a story driven RPG set in ancient India in the midst of an uprising. Play as ordinary men and women struggling for safety, freedom, food for their children, and a chance at peace.

So, like, an actual role playing game, with the playing of roles and such. Check out the Kickstarter page, which I will link again here to avoid needless wear-and-tear on your mouse wheel returning to one of the previous links.

You know how modern RPGs make claims on the back of the box that we know are lies? Stuff like, “Your choices have lasting consequences”, when at the end of the day we know those consequences boil down to experience points, gold pieces, and a couple of lines of dialog? Well, this team sounds like they’re going to attempt to make those claims real. Crazy.

They hit their funding goal in 24 hours, so apparently lots of people out there like what this team is proposing to do.

I’m excited. Best of luck to Pyrodactyl Games.


From The Archives:

77 thoughts on “Unrest

  1. Humanoid says:

    Presumably Rutskarn only joined Pyrodactyl because of the pun in the company name.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      On that note, aren’t there like laws in the US against employing children this young?

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        Did you look at their pictures? ONE OF THEM IS DRINKING A PINT OF MILK. Rutskarn and his gang of twelve year old friends are making a friggin’ GAME.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well Rutskarn is John Carmack’s son.

          1. Von Clausewitz's Left Buttock says:

            You mean John Carmichael?

            1. I thought Ruts was dead ringer for a descendent of the kid who hawked for Encyclopedia Britannica back in the ’80s. This means that Rutskarn is related to Stan Freeberg, which explains a lot of the tendency to go on serial punning sprees.

              1. Cuthalion says:

                I’m pretty sure Rutskarn’s just a vampire, and that was actually him. Also, I had no idea commercials already had become self-aware in the 80s. And that kid looks way older than he is probably supposed to be. (And did you catch the swinging the leg over the chair back to sit down? Yeah, that kid’s too cool for school… but not for Encyclopedia Britannica!)

                1. Humanoid says:

                  The cash is apparently going to an “Adam DeCamp, Kickstarter, Inc.” It’s starting to look like this is all just a front, none of the other guys exist, and what’s really happening is that he’s going to abscond with the cash and publish an illicit encyclopaedia of puns.

        2. Cybron says:

          Are you implying that milk is not a perfectly suitable drink for adults? Because them’s fighting words.

          1. gyfrmabrd says:

            Matter of fact, milk is a key ingredient for a white russian.
            Well, for the cheapo, watered down version, at least.

          2. BeamSplashX says:

            Cookies and milk is the adult version of cookies and milk. And I’m an adult, dammit.

    2. Bropocalypse says:

      “Pyrodactyl” is such an amazing word that I wish I had thought of it.

      1. Arvind says:

        Bropocalypse isn’t a bad word either!

      2. Scourge says:

        “And with majestic wings that have graced the air of long forgotten and ancient times, dives the Pyrodactil down into the flaming inferno below.”

      3. Yes. Partly because, instead of a fiery ancient reptile, I keep thinking the logo should involve a blast of fire erupting from an upraised middle finger.

        (ptero + dactyl = wing finger; pyro + dactyl = fire finger)

        1. anaphysik says:

          Like this classic image: http://farm1.staticflickr.com/72/163169443_25eed94a0a_o.jpg

          (Couldn’t find the original source of that, though :/)

          EDIT: MOOOOODDDDEEERRRRATTTIOOOONNN!!! *shakes fists!* Btw, I *still* have to type in my name/e-mail every time :< Quite annoying, especially since I usually forget to do so before hitting submit & getting the error page.

  2. Thomas says:

    Set in India is probably all the words I need for that level of kickstarter goals. Such a cool idea

    1. swenson says:

      Yeah, I was pretty much sold at “set in India” as well.

    2. BeamSplashX says:

      Having Indian parents make me watch Bollywood movies because “it’s my culture” (among other things) has made me dislike Indian stuff that’s not food. But I know from film studies that Indian culture has gotten extremely popular, so I guess I’ll just deal.

      I appreciate the originality and wish them success.

      1. Rutskarn says:

        If it makes you feel any better, every time Arvind (the lead dev) and I get to talking about Bollywood movies, he starts frothing.

        1. BeamSplashX says:

          Ha, a little bit. I have a complicated relationship with whatever expectations come from being Indian, depending on who’s doing the expecting.

          But good CRPGs are not worth skipping.

  3. X2-Eliah says:

    Oh well, best of luck to them.
    As per usual, I’m a bit concerned when reward tiers include stuff like “tell us to make a large piece of the game just as you want”/”become a dev”. But I guess for a project of this scope with a team that’s already pretty much the definition of a motley group, it wouldn’t hurt too much. On the other hand, most of it seems to be digital-only, which is a good decision (same approach was heavily endorsed by Chris Roberts of Star Citizen).

    The fear/friendship/respect system is interesting. Certainly a bit better than the alignment system in D&D, but then, this is purely a relational system – it doesn’t exactly tell much about a character on their own.

    Also: That civil war plotline… I do hope it doesn’t end up being “you decide who wins the civil war”, as that seems to be countering the project’s thematic goals.

  4. rofltehcat says:

    Hm… sent a little money their way… does anyone know how/when can I download the wallpapers etc? Do they release them over time or all at once near/at release?

    It really isn’t a lot of money, compared to some other gargantuan kickstarters and the setting sounds truly refreshing.

    1. Arvind says:

      You’ll receive the wallpaper in a couple of days, working on it!

      P.S. Thanks for backing!

      1. rofltehcat says:

        Great, thanks! :D

  5. This is my first time using Kickstarter, but I had to back this project. I like the unique setting, and focusing on politics makes me excited. I was a creative writing major and political science major in college, so I find historical and fictional politics fascinating.

    (Current politics, not so much, but that’s why I love this site. Don’t have to deal with it.)

    1. Interested says:

      For my part, I definitely tried to veer the issues brought up in the plot to be in line with the pseudo-historical setting rather than simply presenting a veneer of historical authenticity over modern-day values and norms. I am not sure how development has gone since I left the project, however.

  6. Karthik says:

    I’m now having trouble reconciling Rutskarn’s countenance with his voice.

    The project looks interesting, to say the least.

    As an Indian with a nominal understanding of my country’s history, though, I keep feeling the need to nitpick their setting, stopping to remind myself each time that thematic cohesion or historical accuracy are really hard and give diminishing returns; they’re pipe dreams when it comes to videogames.

    1. swenson says:

      Oh my word, yes. It’s so weird to see a real person I don’t know talking with a voice I know very well.

      1. Thomas says:

        People have drawn pictures of him right though? For the Spoiler Warning logo and stuff, because he looked oddly familiar despite the strangeness of not matching up with the body I must have subconciously created to go with his voice

        1. Humanoid says:

          He’s had a photograph of himself on Chocolate Hammer for forever, and is also in some of his videos, from the early days right up to the recentish Aunty Paladin streams.

    2. Thearpox says:

      “As an Indian with a nominal understanding of my country's history, though, I keep feeling the need to nitpick their setting, stopping to remind myself…”

      Since the game is not yet nearly done, Ruts and other frequently read this site, (or could go on their site,) and that they’re not a giant corporation that won’t even notice you, I’d say you should nitpick the setting.

      I know that thematic cohesion and historical accuracy is hard, but some things are not as hard as others, and it’s really good for a non-Indian person to actually know what is missing from the picture. I mean, the less misinformed I am about what the media presents to me, the better. So you totally nitpick the setting because

      1: You might inform “them” of something didn’t think about but that would be totally possible to implement, and

      2: It will inform the wider public (me and three other people) what exactly was wrong, and help educate us.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        Then again, the lead programmer is from & in India, far as I can tell from the kickstarter page. So they probably already have an insider angle, so to speak.

        1. Thearpox says:

          Yes, but the comment I was replying to pretty much states out that there is a stuff incorrect in what they’ve shown us so far, so it’s still valid. Making a game set in India without an inside angle would be madness I think, but as long as there’s low-hanging fruit, I say go for it.

          1. swenson says:

            Not that this seems to stop people from writing/making games about medieval Europe who don’t actually know a thing about it… but I suppose that’s not an example we should want them to emulate, is it? :)

  7. Timelady says:

    *bounce* *bounce* *bouncebouncebouncebouncebounce*

    BACKED. :D

    1. Corran says:

      I couldn’t not back this. :)

  8. Arvind says:

    Shamus posted about my game on his site! YAY!

    I’d like to thank my family, Rutskarn, India and Ludonarrative Dissonance for their help in making this happen!

    1. Cuthalion says:

      Please tell me your game will have lots of juicy Ludonarrative Dissonance. You wouldn’t want Chris to have nothing to talk about, would you? D: ;)

      (But seriously, I like Chris’s stuff.)

      1. Arvind says:

        We went to the store and brought extra Ludonarrative Dissonance so we wouldn’t run out.

  9. Von Clausewitz's Left Buttock says:

    Wow, this looks very interesting, and I’m definitely backing it. It’s also nice to see that the project already has more than double its original goal secured after only two days.

  10. “You don’t understand! The choices have to matter! It’s not just my street cred at stake, there’s a woman named ‘Mumbles’ who threatened to rip off my hemipenes if I didn’t make good on– what? What are..? Hang on, I’ll send you a link.”

    Also, I can’t wait to see this game on Spoiler Warning. It should be a stretch goal if it isn’t already.

    1. rofltehcat says:

      The spoiler warning would probably start off as a reasonable analysis where Rutskarn tries not to spoil too much.
      Eventually, it’ll end in “Rutskarn, what were you thinking?!?”

      1. Zagzag says:

        I imagine my own playthrough is going to end up like this, regardless!

    2. anaphysik says:

      Hey, that’s a good idea!

      And if they /don’t/ do it, well, that’s what Disclosure Alert is for… :D

      1. I think I can only see Shamus having any moral reservations about raking Rutskarn over the coals. They should vanish pretty quickly after he recalls any of several brain-melting punning sessions.

        1. Viktor says:

          I could see Mumbles returning for that season. Josh breaks Rutskarn’s baby worse than Fallout, Chris and Shamus debate what’s wrong with the plot paths, and Buttskarn cries into the mike? Best season.

  11. Erik says:

    Not to sound overly pessimistic but the goal is only 3000 dollars? How does one produce a game for that little money?

    1. krellen says:

      By not paying the developers and using the money only to contract artwork.

    2. ENC says:

      This isn’t a 20 hour RPG epic.

      I can imagine it may only go for 2-3 hours on any one run.

    3. Humanoid says:

      If they hit the last stretch goal, Rutskarn will finally get to eat something more decadent than Raisin Bran.

      Only realised just now that Raisin Bran is the same as what goes as Sultana Bran here.

      1. I figure he’ll go on a Del Taco binge.

        Of course, returning to Raisin Bran after a fairly fiber-free diet can be an activity far too exciting for most people.

    4. Zagzag says:

      They stated that the game is getting made either way, and this is just extra money to make things go further.

  12. Alex F. says:

    Backed, no questions asked.

    As others have said, this a must for Spoiler Warning and will probably be the trolliest season ever.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      Gee, the writing in this game sucks!

  13. Gabriel Mobius says:

    All sorts of threw money at this.

    I like the concepts they’re selling, and I really like the idea of combat being a last-resort, quick-and-dirty lethal option.

    Now to see if I can turn the old priest into a murderous cannibal when it releases.

  14. Jokerman says:

    Sounds perfect honestly, if i had an RPG custom made for me it wouldnt be too different to what is wrote on the kickstarter page.

    I will back it when i get paid near the end of the month.

  15. BenD says:

    Augh, I needed to be paying closer attention. Missed my chance for a journal entry. XD

  16. Interested says:

    This is a pretty interesting turn of events, since I was previously the lead writer on this project but ended up leaving the project for a couple of reasons (mainly, that I like to eat).

    Little did I know that the guy who was taking over the role after I left was Rutskarn… Strange small world.

  17. Wedge says:

    Unrest is a story driven RPG set in ancient India in the midst of an uprising. Play as ordinary men and women struggling for safety, freedom, food for their children, and a chance at peace.

  18. Weimer says:

    Should we expect zany references to any Twenty Sided -related media in it, Ruts? Part of me wishes that the game will be pure of memes or inside jokes.

    (Besides, the world isn’t ready for Indian Cuftbert)

    1. Zagzag says:

      I sincerely hope that this is true, otherwise those of us with the higher tier Kickstarter backer rewards might have to make it so.

  19. Davie says:

    This does look really cool, and I’ll most likely back it when I’m not flat broke. Can’t get enough of Rutskarn’s glorious writing.

    I do wish the art was a little better though. That concept image of Bhimra looks awesome, but the in-game stuff is lacking something vital.

  20. Astor says:

    While the “flavor” doesn’t appeal much to me, the mechanics and way of story progression is pretty much what I want from my RPGs! I’m surprised they only asked for 3k as the baseline, though.

  21. Vegedus says:

    As a programmer, Shamus, you should be used to three-letter abbreviations with overlapping meaning. What you are talking about in the ironic sections is an RPG, Reward Progress Game, not and RPG, Role Playing Game. Get with the terminology.

  22. Dreadjaws says:

    Argh! I missed my chance to get the “Legend” reward. Darn the luck, darn!

  23. Nick-B says:

    Wow, a funding goal for a game that isn’t asking for an astronomical sum like a million dollars or more! No wonder it made it’s funding goal within 24 hours.

    It’s not my kind of thing, but I’m glad they are able to get this thing out there now.

  24. General Karthos says:

    I am hyped for this game. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about an RPG in a while. It’s a HUGE step in the right direction. RPGs should be about story, not graphics, and the way they’re handling combat sounds perfect to me.

    As soon as I can scrape some money together, I am pledging at least ten dollars. Hoping to scrape together a little more, but money is extremely tight right now.

  25. Decius says:

    Low-hanging fruit: You can get a lot more money for the posters if you offer to have the development team sign them.

    1. Arvind says:

      As much as the idea of extra money appeals to me, the poster tier is 125 dollars. I’m going to sign all of them anyway.

  26. The Rocketeer says:

    I am so excited by this!

    Not to give anything away, but I think naming something in the game is a bit of a big responsibility, I might have to poll the audience for suggestions…

  27. Bubble181 says:

    Ah, this is one of those “shut up and take my money”-meme things, is it? Good.

    Any idea *which* on line stores it will be available through? Steam’s not DRM-free (though I’d be ok with it :p), GOG might not fit but would be nice, GamersGate tends to flake out on some games and provides zero support,…?

    That said, I’ll be contributing as soon as I get ot a place where I can actually access my paypal.

  28. MadTinkerer says:

    While I support Rutskarn on the principle of Rutskarn Making A Game, there’s one Kickstarter I’m significantly more excited about. One I’m surprised Shamus hasn’t mentioned.

    The Kingsport cases is a 3d graphical adventure that borrows from the cthulhu mythos AND THE CLUES, CHARACTERS, AND STORYLINES ARE PROCEDURALLY GENERATED.

    This could be THE Procedural Killer App, at long last. Why the FUCK are they less than halfway to their goal with only a week to go. This. Is. True. Pain.

    1. Syal says:

      That tagline’s not helping them.

      All I can think of now is Dead Sea.

    2. LunaticFringe says:

      Might as well leave my current Kickstarter favourite here too: Hey, remember how Spiderman 2 was mostly terrible but the swinging mechanics were awesome? Well Jamie Fristrom, the guy who made them, is running a $1 Kickstarter/Steam Greenlight for a game purely focused on swinging mechanics.

  29. Phantos says:

    Not nearly enough games set in India for my liking. That alone interests me.

    Then the video said that combat actually has a purpose, and isn’t just meaningless padding because “that’s what you need in video games”.

    So, umm… SOLD.

  30. Thomas says:

    I’m so happy with the new and improved background image they’ve been showing off =D I backed because, you know, cool concept, but I am a bit of a visuals snob and I’m super pleased that the game is even going to look good now =D

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