For a genre having its roots in the early ’90s, IceBlink is a pretty recent project, its Kickstarter pledge having ended in the end of 2012. To carve out a niche in the 2d CRPG creation kit market, the creators decided to move their focus away from map building / level design to the other elements of an RPG. This resulted in an advanced “conversation editor”, where conversation really stands for anything that could happen in an interaction window, i.e. talking to an NPC, picking a lock, manipulating an environment detail and so on, essentially inserting small “choose your own adventure” passages into the game flow. In this it reminds me of the basic Dark Disciples scripts, although it is more powerful. Sadly, there are only two premade conversations, “door” and “trap”, meaning you have to start editing at “secret door” already. But in any event, it is a lot less hassle than the usual “we provide a programming language and let you do the rest” approach (I’m looking at you, RPGMaker!). The editors for spells, skills, shops etc. are of similar quality.

The downside is that the movement window is a little lacking. For instance, the engine does not really trace your points of view; once you have explored a space, it remains visible, meaning that traveling¬†feels somewhat artificial. You’ll also have to do some work to come up with high-res 2D material, since the pre-made stuff has some issues, beginning with consistent style.

If I sound a little critical, it’s because I actually really like Iceblink’s approach and am just the more irked at the parts that are missing to make it possibly the best classical construction kit available. Still, if someone supplied me with a few dozen additional scripts to at least halfway make up the distance to Dark Disciples‘ unmatched eighty events, I’d easily switch over to¬†IceBlink; it definitely has enough potential that I’ll take further looks in future. But I suggest you see for yourself!

IceBlink homepage

iceblink-game

(In-game window. Obviously, the revealed spaces are completely inconsistent with what my knight could actually see from there.)

iceblink-game

(The conversation editor, with all branches of the “door” conversation opened. Includes skill checks, key checks and so on.)