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icon A Very Monstro Christmas (+8)  
Greetings and good wishes to all during this merry holiday season! This year has borne a good harvest, and we are pleased to be able to share some good Caravel news at its close.

Monstro: Battle Tactics released

Maurycy Zarzycki, maker of Flash DROD, has released a great new puzzle game! As a pure logic turn-based strategy and tactics game, it is both deep and beautiful, with hand-drawn art by Aleksander Kowalczyk, who did the art for "DROD: The Second Sky". If you ever wanted DROD-like deterministic puzzle tactics converted into well-designed pitched battle scenarios, this is what you've been waiting for!

You can get "Monstro" for the price of lunch either on Steam or Indie Game Stand from here:

http://monstro.retrocade.net

DROD 5.1 coming

Maurycy has also been working in tandem on DROD, implementing many stability and performance improvements, plus new features. These are now in beta and are slated to be delivered in the near future as a major version upgrade, DROD 5.1. He and I are tag-teaming bringing DROD 5.1 to the finish line. We expect the new version to be available by the end of January.

DROD RPG 1.2.1.59 Windows patch

To catch up with the full-version installers already available, we've released a Windows patch for DROD RPG with numerous fixes and internal performance improvements that can be applied to any 1.2 installation of DROD RPG. The full changelist can be reviewed here:

http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=28105

Get the patch here:

http://forum.caravelgames.com/downloads.php

DROD on Steam progress

We are actively working to release all the DROD games on Steam. I've been working on this for some months, and the process has been educational. In some ways, it's been a trial by fire. While releasing one game on Steam can be considered a respectably-sized undertaking, one might consider that releasing six full titles, twelve expansion packs, and three or more OSTs all at once is likely a much more respectably-sized endeavor.

Here's a set of changes we've already made and are making in preparation for the Steam release:

* Upgrading the holds from previous official titles to make use of new features in the 5.0 engine, most notably scripted challenges and making use of the newer room graphic styles.
* Enhancing the organization in DROD's data storage mechanism to support simple, efficient, modular handling of Steam DLC. This change also makes Steam cloud auto-sync of the player's local data files feasible.
* Upgrading the graphics engine to support the Steam overlay.
* Configuring Steam achievements for each major title.
* Preparing deluxe bundles, Smitemasters Selection DLC, and an "Ultimate Archive" collection that includes everything DROD.
* And DROD RPG is getting the full Steam treatment too, including leaderboards for the scorepoints in "Tendry's Tale"!

So, thanks to everyone who's been patiently waiting for Steam DROD. We hope to begin internal beta testing soon and release in 2016!

The Official Word on transferring DROD games from other distribution channels

Historically, Caravel has sold titles in the DROD franchise directly from the Caravel Games website. As we have branched out to new game distribution channels, we appreciate the increased exposure DROD receives. As often happens, success brings its own challenges, such as how to manage scaling up. Over this past year, we've received many requests from people who have purchased DROD via various distribution channels to also get a copy of the game registered on the Caravel Forum. We have received so many requests, in fact, that it's become problematic for the dev team to address them all and keep working on other projects at the same time, and we need to take an official stance on the matter.

After 2015, Caravel will not be able to support manually linking up foreign orders to user accounts on the Caravel Forum. For one, we don't have an automated approach for handling this. It's a time consuming, manual process that can be confusing and error prone, hence is somewhat counter-productive. In the very near future, we will support automatically providing GoG and Steam keys to users who register games purchased directly from Caravel. Purchasing here is the recommended approach that we can support going forward. For player's looking to have the DROD games across multiple game distribution channels, Caravel recommends purchasing and registering the games on the Caravel Games site, and automatically receiving keys via your Caravel Forum user profile for registering the games on other portals.

We are planning to upgrade GoG and Steam builds (etc) with newer game versions that are released here, e.g., 5.1 for TSS once it's released. This will preclude the necessity of players having to download games from the Caravel Forum in order to play the latest versions. Due to the nature of the process and everything on our plate, this will take some time. While we're getting there, if you want to make sure you always have access to the latest and greatest, while also getting games on other channels, please buy the games from Caravel.

We acknowledge this has been an area of inconvenience, and we are working to improve. These are growing pains, and that's a good class of issue to have, because it means we can continue to deliver new and improved content and improve our processes for you. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through these issues to provide the best DROD experience everywhere DROD is available.

Don't Ask Award

This month's Don't Ask Award goes to DezzTech, for working with us to improve some of DROD's older graphics and polish our PR texts so we can properly evangelize DROD on Steam. We appreciate serious grassroots efforts like this, because it can really make a difference. DezzTech, thank you. Please choose a prize from the Prize Pile!

Wishing everyone happy holidays and a great new year!
-- Mike

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