Mars War Logs
Mars War Logs Review
The recently released Mars War Logs has been reviewed by Fluent and he wasn't too thrilled with what he found.
» Continue reading the article...
Neverwinter Nights: Bob McCabe Interview
Lucky Day met with former Bioware employee Bob McCabe to talk about Neverwinter Nights.
» Read the article
Poll WatchDo you Kickstart?
Yes, I've supported a bunch!
Yes, but only 1 or 2.
I'm waiting for the right project.
No! No finished product, no money!
No - but only because of my tight budget.
Unrest - An Unconventional RPG Set in Ancient India by Roq
Fallen Enchantress Legendary Heroes - Review Roundup #2 by figment
Feargus Urquhart - Future Of The Industry and Obsidian at KRI 2013 by DArtagnan
GameInformer - Do All Video Games Need To Appeal To Everyone? by Couchpotato
Van Helsing - Review Roundup by Couchpotato
Forum WatchPatchwork Battles - Groundbreaking New Customizable RPG by codeGrit
How To Choose The Best Recumbent Exercise Bike_5235 by pletcherufj
Dungeons and Dragons Online Discussion by Fluent
CRPG: The final (?) definition by Arhu
Shadowrun Returns Update #52 by rjshae
Tuesday - May 21, 2013
KoA: Reckoning - Rhode Island Wants to Sell Kingdoms of Amalur and Copernicus
We all know about the fate of 38 Studios, and their downfall after releasing KoA: Reckoning. Well now that the ashes have settled Rhode Island Wants to Sell Kingdoms of Amalur and Copernicus.
As one lawyer for Rhode Island makes the state's case this week against the people involved in the 38 Studios loan debacle, another is ready to sell the company's video games -- once intended as progenitors of a new industry here.
"Who knows what the value ultimately will be," said Providence lawyer Richard J. Land. "But there is interest in the assets."
The company's most-valuable assets were its intellectual property -- the drawings, designs and work related to its video games and the computer software supporting the games.
The state sued former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and 13 others in November in a separate attempt to recoup 38 Studios' $130-million debt. A hearing in that case is set for Wednesday.
Information aboutKoA: Reckoning
Deathfire - Why have bind-on-equip items in a single-player RPG?
Guido Henkel has a new post on his blog for his unreleased game Deathfire.
“Bind on Equip” has been brought to the table by massively-multiplayer online games in order to prevent players from using and then selling valuable and unique items to other players. It forces the player to consider—if only for a moment—if he’d rather use the item or make money off it.
In retrospect, I find it strange that this feature has never come up in single-player games before, because at its core, the rationale remains the same. Perhaps we have all just been too blindsided to realize its existent potential. After all, they are not uncommon in mythical lore and popular fiction. James Bond has a gun that is attuned to him, and so does Judge Dredd, and even the magic wands in Harry Potter work that way. Excalibur, the mythical sword from the Arthurian saga or Ulysses’ bow are also perfect examples of bound or attuned weapons, so it is only sensible to carry the concept over into games.
When we bind items in Deathfire, it will be mostly for the same purpose. While buying and selling items in the game may not be the driving factor for item binding in our game, other aspects of it are. In Deathfire’s game design I want to use it to force the player to think about certain decisions. In this case, which party member should I give the item to?
Release: In development
Planescape: Torment - Reinstall @ PCGAMER
PCGAMER has a retrospective article about the original Planescape: Torment.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Richard Cobbett delves into the questions of human nature while beating up monsters in Planescape: Torment.
Most RPGs give you a quest. Torment gives you a question: “What can change the nature of a man?” It’s not a riddle. It’s not a puzzle. It’s simply the first hint that you’re about to embark on the smartest, most philosophical quest of your life.
What can change the nature of a man? As I said at the start, there’s no wrong answer. Still, nothing sums up the breadth and wonder of Planescape than this, a short monologue given by The Nameless One to an angry specter:
“If there is anything I have learned in my travels across the Planes, it is that many things may change the nature of a man. Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear—whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can. I’ve seen belief move cities, make men stave off death, and turn an evil hag’s heart half-circle. Belief damned a woman, whose heart clung to the hope that another loved her when he did not. Once, it made a man seek immortality and achieve it. And it has made a posturing spirit think it is something more than a part of me…”
There’s no replacement for serious, smart storytelling —between Fallout in ’97, Fallout 2 in ’98, Planescape in ’99, and Icewind Dale in ’00, Black Isle produced some of the best RPGs of the era. My only regret is that I can’t get the kind of targeted amnesia that would let me experience this game all over again for the first time. Torment or not, I suspect it’d be worth it.
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Community Q&A Video
Torment: Tides of Numenera has a new Q&A video. The video provides some insight into how the team is going to approach dialogue trees.
Though ultimately a variation of the previous method, Hub-and-Spokes Dialogue creates a very different conversation flow compared to basic Branching Dialogue. The player listens to the NPC's lines and then chooses their response from the main "hub" of the conversation.
After hearing the NPC's response, the player either returns to the main hub, from which they can ask the same question again or inquire about another topic, or enters a deeper hub with more options to choose from.
The player can typically always find their way back to any hub by navigating through their responses, and thus can explore the dialogue in any order they wish. In this manner, a player can exhaust a conversation by trying every possible option at their disposal (with no penalty), and the interaction only ends when the player chooses the "goodbye" option.
Most conversations in Mass Effect and other BioWare titles take this form, with occasional basic Branching Dialogue implemented when the player has to make an important decision that may affect quest outcomes or the NPC's disposition towards the player.
Hub-and-Spokes Dialogue gives the player more freedom and control over conversation and often allows them to interrogate NPCs to find out every last piece of information about them. However, this method of dialogue tends to create conversations strongly divorced from reality.
The NPC usually has infinite patience for the player's strange inquisitions, and every dialogue plays out like an interrogation as the player keeps pressing the NPC for info. Furthermore, the player hears a lot of the same lines over and over as he navigates between hubs, potentially breaking immersion.
Information aboutTorment: Tides of Numenera
Release: In development
Jagged Alliance: Flashback - Update #23, Call to Arms and I.M.P.
Jagged Alliance: Flashback has a new update for their kickstarter. The update is basically a call to arms since the project only has three days left.
Call to Arms
We have gotten a lot of questions on what happens if we fail to secure the funds, will you restart the Kickstarter with a lower goal, will you do the game anyways, etc.
We have answered some of these in the comments already, but we just wanted to write it here as well.
We will probably NOT be doing another Kickstarter for JA:F! This one is it. Now or never. That has nothing to do that we don’t believe in the game. We do. There are other reasons.
It is a huge expense and stress factor for us. The JAF team has now worked more or less 8 weeks without a single day off - answering thousands of posts, making 23 updates, doing videos and dioramas, performing interviews, writing (mostly ignored) press releases, hitting every social media outlet we could, participated in forums all over the globe, etc.
So we are giving every last drop of energy in ourselves to push on these last days. We want this to happen just as much as you! But going through all that again is quite a thing I can not bring over my team. They don’t have a problem with crunching at all, but it’d be not fair to expect that from them again and again and again.
With the clock ticking and projections putting us just short of the goal, there is a need for help from you as well, if you are willing to lend that help.
There is a large mass of people on the basic game tier. If you want to see that game getting funded, please consider about sizing up the pledge to get into Beta. Or maybe even Alpha which will get you something playable fast!
Also we’d like to ask you again to spread the word. Poke your friends or older brother and tell them about this project. See if they are interested in supporting this. We will do the same. We’ll continue to ask everyone everywhere. We would make the goal if everyone had just 1 friend buying the basic game tier. Which actually is pretty awesome.
Nothing is lost yet, but we need the ball rolling! Please everyone help!
But what if we still fall short of the goal?
Nothing is decided there yet. The last option would be to go back to bitComposer and talk to them about this project. Tell them that there is still a community out there that wants this game to happen - and that are willing to help, push, pull, contribute - who have their heart at the right place. Maybe they will pull out a checkbook and still let us do the game as described. They once offered the funding, maybe they’ll offer again. The problem is that this would bring us far away from being independent. And that’s a thing we actually want to try to avoid. And if influences became too big, we’d stop negotiations. This might lead to us giving back the license and saying “thank you”.
As a last possible outcome, I have already started talking to my bank about taking a personal loan (The thing is: I finally paid the last one off for my house, but hey, if this game becomes successful, then shall it be that way!). But it puts a huge risk on mine and my families shoulders if even possible to persuade the bank. I am awaiting an answer tomorrow at latest. But I will not be able to fund it all myself to close the gap. But every little sacrifice counts - including mine.
And that should answer the “Will you do it on your own” question. We cannot work for free - we are not a “live in basement on crackers and water” company.
Syndicate Wars - Revival Kickstarter Plans?
RPS connects the dots pretty well by suggesting the man is Mike Diskett. Which would make Syndicate Wars the "Bullfrog Masterpiece" they mention, and real-time tactics the genre they will redefine in the video.
Monday - May 20, 2013
Neverwinter Nights - Postmortem
Gamasutra publishes an article that was apparently already part of the November 2002 issue of Game Developer Magazin. In the article Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, together with designers Scott Greig, James Ohlen and Trent Oster, explore what went right and what went wrong during the development of Neverwinter Nights.
From the 'what went right' part:
3. Multiplayer integration from the outset.
Although Baldur's Gate was intended to have multiplayer support from the beginning, we did not actually start programming the multiplayer systems until relatively late in that project. As a result, some of the multiplayer aspects in Baldur's Gate — such as forcing all players to see all dialogue — were less than optimal.
In Neverwinter Nights, the multiplayer systems were integrated directly into the original design. Even in singleplayer, the game acts like a multiplayer game with a single client attached. Although this deep integration increased the time to develop each system (compared to a single-player-only system), it did result in an overall reduction in the time required to integrate multiplayer and ensured that all the systems were optimized for multiplayer play.
One useful lesson from both the Baldur's Gate series and Neverwinter Nights was how much time QA testing of a multiplayer game takes compared with testing just the single-player game. We have found that three to five times as much testing is needed for multiplayer role-playing games compared with singleplayer. Thus we require 30 to 50 testers (including both on-site and external testers) on our multiplayer projects for three- to six-month periods — not a small undertaking.
And from the 'what went wrong' part:
4. Late feature additions; innovation for its own sake.
To ship a game that takes five years to develop takes a fair amount of intestinal fortitude. You really can't second-guess your decisions or you'll have no chance of ever completing the project, so the leads of the project agonized over some late feature additions to Neverwinter Nights. Given that the game was in development for such a long period, we were all concerned it might look dated by release. To combat this issue we laid out a plan to add a number of high-impact but relatively easy-to-implement features late in the development cycle to improve the game's visual quality. These additions resulted in constant concern among the artists who had to generate the new art required to support the late-added technologies. In the end it all worked out because of large personal efforts by many team members.
From the start there was a strong desire to make NWN a unique game distinct from the Baldur's Gate experience. While this did lead to the development of new systems that were better than those of Baldur's Gate, it also led to an excessive amount of time spent on design and prototyping of features that ultimately could not be implemented. We'd often sink a considerable amount of research into creating an innovative system, only to fall back on a similar system that worked better in the earlier Infinity engine.
Too often we were determined to start at square one, instead of expanding on what had worked with our previous games. We learned that it is important to choose our battles. In the future, when designing a game set in a genre that we have experience with, we will look more closely at what has worked well previously and aim to innovate only in the areas of our past games that our fans and critics perceived as weak.
SP/MP: Single + MP
Mars - Review @ Gamebanshee
Gamebanshee has a five page review of Mars War Logs.
European low-budget role-playing games tend to be games of highs and lows, often incredibly unpolished, clunky and with some broken mechanics, but also laden with surprising details and secrets, neat, forward-thinking mechanics and a hardcore attitude that the big-budget productions have completely forgotten by now.
Mars: War Logs, however, is not that kind of game. It's a game of flat, even mediocrity, that might not sink quite as low and be as broken as those niche titles I mentioned earlier, but doesn't have any of their highs either. Sure, there are a few neat ideas, but it's not enough. Ultimately, Mars: War Logs is as dull and barren as the planet it takes places on.
Jagged Alliance: Flashback - Update #22, Minimum Budget Details
Jagged Alliance: Flashback has another quick update dealing with funding, and a few other topics. AsI write this the game has four days left with $244,470 of it's $350,000 goal.
The $350,000 minimum budget
During the campaign we have seen a lot of comments which were critical in terms of our minimum budget. Many people thought it might take more than 350.000$ to produce a game worthy of the name Jagged Alliance. That somehow is true, but we want to show you why we are asking for that amount as our minimum.
Why only $350k?
We are not asking for $350k - we are asking for minimum 350k. The more the better. For the $350k we can actually make a good, although smaller, core game using the JA2 mechanics and some modding support to extend the game. We will also be able to make the project larger by adding our own funds as well as engaging with the modding community even further.
So how is this possible?
We can do this because:
- We will see money from Space Hulk sale later in the year and can top off the budget with our own money. We just don’t know how much yet and exactly when money comes in.
- We are using an existing game engine as basis - Unity
- We have an existing framework TBS from previous games that can be expanded upon. We already sunk hundreds of thousands of $ into it, and those are given “free” to JA:F
- We have different technology pieces that we can reuse saving us a huge amount of time coding. From conversation editors over unit customizers to skill and experience systems
- We have access to the entire back catalogue of the series except Wildfire in source form - art, code, design documents - as part of the licensing deal.
- We will be engaging with the modding community to help us on content creation
Overall this means that we do not have to start from scratch on neither code or art. We can re-use and expand on a lot of pieces (although a lot has to be reworked of course), so the job is much more similar to assembling building blocks than starting from a blank piece of paper.
Not only does this all lead to less risk for us in production, it also has the positive effect of less minimum funds required.
There is still a huge amount of work needed! Making games is hard, its expensive and time consuming.
Manpower wise, $350k enables us to establish a 5-7 person team for approx a year. And with additional funds of our own we can possibly double that - making us as large as the JA2 team who had to code their own engine on top of making the game.
We specifically need to work on the following areas:
- Writing story and dialog. We need to write a lot of text, map it onto the sectors, create an interesting island '
- Lots of art and sectors to be built
- NPC conversation systems to be coded. Our previous games have only limited support for story telling, so we need to expand here
- Add modding support
Original Sin - Kickstarting the CRPG Genre
Planetivy has a article about Original Sin were the writer gives his opinion on how kickstarters are reviving CRPG's.
It’s difficult nowadays for developers to stay faithful to their games and to their audiences. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel it seems they’re lured in by the first bit of frilly trim or flash of thigh they see. Except in the case of the gaming industry it’s usually a large production company offering lots of cash and game-breaking deadlines, rather than a beautiful woman sporting polkadots. That’s why Kickstarter is so bloody great – it cuts out the middle-monster (that’s you EA) and brings games back to the people. You fund what you like. If enough people fund it, it gets made and the developers are responsible to you, not a corporate entity that thinks quicktime events are an engaging gameplay mechanicWhy are we returning to games of the past? One indie dev recently suggested that it’s because the developers of today were the children of yesterday. They grew up with these games and now, given the opportunity through projects such as Kickstarter and Steam’s Greenlight, they’re able to recreate them for the next generation of gamers. It could also be that, compared to the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, these games have small budgets, and with small budgets there often simply isn’t the option for advanced graphics. Some other part of the game has to shine brighter than a spit-shined star, and lucky for us it seems to be the gameplay. And where better to look for tips on creating great gameplay and stories than the 90s: the home of pages of unspoken dialogue, bloodthirsty forest nymphs and, well, Peter Andre’s short lived singing career. But we’ll forget about that.
Information aboutOriginal Sin
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
RPG Codex - Interview with Colin McComb
You can say whatever you want to say about the RPG Codex, but one thing is for sure they have good interviews. This time the interview is with Colin McComb about writing for Torment: Tides of Numenera.
You’ve credited Chris Avellone with being responsible for a pretty extraordinary 50% of the overall writing on Planescape: Torment, including the first drafts for three-quarters of the characters. T:ToN, on the other hand, seems to be gaining creative contributors almost by the day, one of whom (Pat Rothfuss) is coming to games-writing for the very first time. As the lead writer, how exactly are you planning to manage all of these disparate voices? Is there a danger of an individual vision being lost in the rush to bring in more recognisable, Kickstarter-friendly names?
Having a distributed ensemble writing team is something that we planned for from the start, so while the danger you mention is a risk, we’re prepared for it. Now that the Kickstarter has wrapped, I’m sitting down and fleshing the story out further. This involves outlining specific story beats, levels, and thematic elements to hit at certain points, among other things. It has been a very busy month since the Kickstarter ended and it’s going to be (at least!) another very busy month before we get anyone else really going on the design. That’s just as well, because narrative development is a hugely iterative process, and we’ve already improved and tightened various aspects of the story. By the time our other writers come on board, we’ll have a solid base for them to work from. Further, we’re going to get them rolling in stages, so issues flagged by the first group will translate into improvements for the second, and so on. This staged roll-out will make it easier for me to review their work for consistency and style.
In the meantime, we’ve got our novella writers working on the Tides stories, and we plan to use those to help acclimate the other writers to the baseline of the Tides.
It’s my hope that our writers will feel grounded and able to work with what we have by the time of the first writers’ meeting. At this meeting, we’ll be discussing the story in excruciating detail and breaking it down bit by bit in order to tidy it up.
And then, after they all get moving, I’ll be overseeing and reviewing their work throughout the process. I don’t imagine that I’ll be writing 50% of the game, but I will be writing a fair portion and am going to have my hands in pretty much all of it – whether writing directly, editing, or providing feedback. Fortunately, we have the example of PST to prove that the game doesn’t need to be the work of a single author – multiple writers works just fine, provided there’s good oversight.
The year is 2015, and Torment’s been released. A man appears in a fiendish puff of smoke and offers you the chance to create a game in a setting entirely of your choosing, with absolutely no need to worry about marketability or mass appeal. What do you choose?
Do I have to worry about legal issues? Frankly, I want to keep going with stuff I’ve been involved in and already made a part of me. Numenera is right up at the top there—it’s new, exciting, and the boundaries are wide open. Rothfuss’s Kingkiller world would be pretty great; I know he’s interested in making a game set there. Hell, if we’re novelizing fiction, I’d like to make a game in my Oathbreaker setting, because I’ve been living with that in my head for more than a decade. I’d love to explore the world I created for Torn before they went in a different direction.
If we’re talking tabletop settings, I’d love to work in Birthright again. Doing something with Paizo’s Golarion would be cool, and of course Planescape is always going to have a special place for me.
But even beyond that, I’d love to develop a brand-new setting, because world-building is so goddamn fun. I’d love to do something in the world of Endless Night, where the players are the last bastion of Light... or perhaps the first. Or what about a modern-day horror game being penetrated by dimension-crossing monsters that attack by creating passages through nightmares? Or an urban crime fantasy?
Seriously, though, just one setting? There are so many good ideas out there that I can’t possibly choose one right now while I’m neck-deep in the Ninth World. Let me ask Lucifer (or is it Mephistopheles?) when we’ve wrapped up Torment. I might have a better answer then.
Information aboutRPG Codex
Ghost of a Tale - Funded
The mouse with a lute RPG called Ghost of a Tale has been funded on Indiegogo with one day left to go.
WE MADE IT!!!
That’s incredible! No, really; it is. Why? Because a month ago “Ghost of a Tale” wasn’t on anyone’s radar. No journalist was aware of anything in regard to the project. The campaign was a text-book cold start.
So you can all be proud of yourselves, because you’ve made it happen. In fact from my point of view that is the single most amazing thing about the whole adventure; to see that you, the backers, decided this could be a special little game worth helping. And that you acted on this feeling.
As I wrote on the main page, one of the reasons I started this campaign was to see if there were enough potential players that could be bothered; it was to be a stern (and very public) verdict on the viability of the project itself. And boy did I get a resounding endorsement!
Thank you to each and everyone of you who have contributed to this campaign, whether from a financial or moral standpoint (and often both). As one of you said in a recent message, I shouldn’t think of this success as a heavy pressure weighting down on me as I work on the game, but rather I should think of it as an huge mark of affection for the project. And indeed I very much like the notion!
I will keep posting here any important updates until I can all direct you to an official site and community forums where you’ll be able to keep being involved in the creation of the game. Meanwhile, I am sure all of you will join me in breathing a long sigh of relief… :)
Information aboutGhost of a Tale
Release: In development
Skyrim - Modding Interview
Who helped with the creation of the project?
Originally I planned on creating the entire project myself. However I came across a number of assets created by other modders that were perfect for Tropical Skyrim. So rather than re-inventing the wheel I decided to use the content created by others (with permission of course). However, I did end up modifying most of this content to fit the tropical atmosphere.
You can find a complete list of people who contributed to the project on Tropical Skyrims download page. Nevertheless the main contributors were:
- Ga-Knomboe Boy, who created most of the trees that were tweaked to fit Tropical Skyrim.
- Tamira, who adapted a number of plants produced by Yughues to be usable in Skyrim.
- Muppetpuppet, who allowed me to use some of assets from his Moonpath mod.
- lookout21, who retextured some of the wild animals for me.
Any plans to continue updates for the mod? If so, can you give us a sneak peak of what you have in store?
YES, I plan to continue updating this mod until I can show it to the most hardcore Skyrim fans without them recognizing a single thing. As of right now I have changed/added the following things since the previous update.
- Windhelm has been retextured to fit the tropical landscape.
- Most of the foliage including trees, bushes and grass has been improved. Rather than the foliage being dense and cluttered, it is now slightly more sparse, but also a greater emphasis has been placed on making it look more tropical and lush.
- The Reach has had a complete makeover; it now features dense cypress trees, which gives it more of a sinister feeling than the other areas.
- A lot of the meshes and textures have been optimized to improve performance.
- Most textures have been modified so that they blend together more realistically.
- New high resolution rock textures.
- The caves have now been tropicalified (Is this even a word??). They are now a lot more green and mossy. Also, some of the larger trees that block off some sections of the caves have been removed.
- The distant trees have been significantly improved, (correct lighting, proper sizes, and they don’t look 2D anymore).
- New high res textures for the distant terrain. In some cases, it looks even better than the close up terrain.
- A lot of ivy and other small plants have been added to the cliffs and mountains.
Before I release the next update I would also I would also like to replace some of the common sets of armor and weapons found within the game. Let’s be honest… thick fur coats aren’t really the most appropriate apparel for the jungle.
I have also added real 3D clouds to the game which react to the weather and time of the day. Adding a whole new layer of depth and immersion to the world (and also creating some truly majestic views from the mountain tops). It definitely suits the snowy version of Skyrim well, but I’m still thinking about whether it would be as appropriate in a tropical climate. Therefore I will most likely release this as a separate mod
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Sunday - May 19, 2013
The RPG Podcast - What Is The True Definition of a Role-Playing Game?
TheKoalition has a new podcast about defining what is an RPG. Other topics include free-to-play and why it's the future.
Richard Bailey joins myself and David Jagneaux in this week's episode of Turn Based. Our colleague ElectroJade asked me a thoughtful question recently. The question was whether a game like Heavy Rain could be considered an RPG, due to the fact you assume the role of the numerous characters and make decisions for them.
I personally wouldn't call Heavy Rain an RPG, but I could easily see how somebody could make the distinction. We decided that this was a topic that should be discussed in more detail, so our main discussion surrounds the question "What is the true definition of a role-playing game?" Be sure to share your thoughts below.
Also on this episode we discuss the recent Diablo 3 auction house exploits, and the Defiance TV to video game events. There was also the awesome news that Rift would be going free-to-play, and developer Epic discussed about free-to-play business models on consoles recently. With the combination of these free-to-play topics we decided to touch on why we believe free-to-play is the way of the future.
Jagged Alliance: Flashback - Update #21, Mercenaries and Diorama Questions
Jagged Alliance: Flashback has a new update. The update this time covers the mercenaries, and if your interested has diorama questions.
We have been happy with the general reception of the Diorama scene and the general art style. We know it won’t make _everyone_ happy, but we really want to give Flashback a visual identity and art style. Not too comic, not too photo realistic and still inside what Jagged Alliance is all about.
One of the often asked question is, if the diorama is representative of a sector. And its not! It is a small visual slice of what you would be able to expect to see on a little more than a single screen. Technically there is no limitation of how large a sector could be. But there are gameplay related limitations of how fun it is to travel 10 minutes from one end to the other on foot.
Another question is, if this is final art and final models etc. It is not - a LOT can change during initial production and design phases. But Jesper and Javier have tried to hit the mood and visual style that is in their heads as close a possible. Remember this is 2 week effort - and its kick ass. So the game might in the end be a little more gritty, less color saturations etc - or it might stick to this initial take. But we don’t want the game to turn into a comic book - and we don’t want to run a bland photo realistic brown shader boring look either.
Last but not least is a question of camera angles and 3d vs 2.5d. At the moment in our heads we run a 3d environment with a fixed rotation and only little zoom. It is what we have in Space Hulk, and it works surprisingly well to not allow for full freedom. The current thought in our heads is to have a similar angle and distance as in JA2 (maybe just a little closer) - and then allow the camera to rotate 90 degrees with a single key press. But this will all be playtested and tweaked yet.
We have been through the list of mercenaries now and taken a look at who would qualify for a prequel, and who would be too young or not fit.
So without further delay, here is our current 3 lists. If we forgot someone you really want back (most likely we did), maybe misinterpreted backstories and ages or similar - give us a shout and we will take a second look. The lists are NOT complete through all games - we know that. And we cannot use Wildfire characters due to licensing issues.
Thief 4 - Preview @ PCGAMER
PCGAMER has a preview for Thief 4. Not to much more to say just read the preview and comment.
One of the most interesting elements of the new Thief is an expansion of this pronounced sense of the world’s physical properties: the soft carpets, clopping flagstones, almost blanketlike darkness. Now on the borders of the first-person screen are Garrett’s hands. They rest on surfaces and obstacles, brush against walls – not always visible, but creeping into view when Garrett presses up against objects, giving a sense of the fabric and flavour of what the studio are calling a “tactile world”.
In the demo Eidos Montreal have prepared, this tactile world looks like one you wouldn’t necessarily want to touch. The introduction to The City, another core returning element, has a sense of BioShock-like parade. Garrett rides a bumpy wooden cart through a portcullis checkpoint, with piles of plague victims stacked nakedly on the filthy roadside, top hats and iron armour marking the clash of medieval and Victorian, bystanders and guards muttering and arguing as he passes by. There’s a sense that The City is happening on cue – on the left, a thief protests as he’s clapped into the stocks, on the right a noosed prisoner is kicked from a first-floor ledge and swings lifelessly into place alongside two or three others.
The City is the same place as before, with a different configuration. The Hammerite and Keeper ideologies that dominated the earlier trilogy are all but swept away (at least on the surface – the occasional Hammerite slogan might appear as a brickwork advertisement, and I did glimpse some Keeper glyphs in the demo).
Information aboutThief 4
Release: In development
Raphael Sbarge - AKA Kaidan Alenko Talks Mass Effect 4
Puresophistry has an audio interview with Raphael Sbarge better known as the voice of Kaidan Alenko.
It wasn’t until Mass Effect 3 when Bioware offered same sex romances options for players that a measure of equality was reached. Sbarge goes into detail as to why this was important not only for the game, but for the industry in general. (Starts at 31:20)
"I was thrilled when they introduced the Homosexual romance options in Mass Effect 3 just because obviously there was a huge audience. I spoke to the developers about it, they said they provided so many different choices we were proud of, to be really honest it was just another piece of extra content that didn’t make the final cut in the other games.
What’s amazing about the game for people is that you can cross gender! You can play through in any capacity you want, imaginatively for any of us that’s a huge factor in the experience. All of the opportunities and complexities are fascinating, and that’s what games allow to go down the rabbit hole and explore it.
As far as relationships, the writing is so wonderful. Dealing with issues of rank, emotionality and a sense of separation in Mass Effect 2. As I understand it, more women began play video games as a results of Mass Effect, I think because of these romance elements.”
Finally Raphael does make comment on the ending of Mass Effect 3, how he believes fans received it and what lies ahead for Mass Effect 4. (Will he playing Kaidan’s Great Great Grandfather?(Starts at 18:10)
“It was done, and people flipped out. What was so interesting about that is Bioware responded, they took it really soulfully to heart and really addressed it. Speaking to the fans and created that other additional content to play through other areas of the game.
Even though on the one hand it was incredibly sad not just for the fans but the people who spent a decade working on this game, but there is something in the fact it’s over. That makes it very precious in a way. It almost makes it more special and remarkable, that folks were part of Mass Effect. That elite club of millions.
That’s not to say that there isn’t sadness but it’s being felt by gamers and developers but they said publicly there will be Mass Effect 4. “
Bloodlust Shadowhunter - A New ARPG Adventure with Vampires
Bloodlust Shadowhunter is a Single-Player RPG from WRF Studios. The game is also on Steam Greenlight looking for approval. The developers have a demo on the main site to try also. Give the game a look, and give your opinion in the comment section.
There is also a video of the demo from Cramgaming.
Pre-Thief - Dark Camelot Footage
Rock Paper Shotgun has an article that shows the original concept behind the Thief series. The former Looking Glass Video Director Josh Randall unearthed a VHS of his unseen work, and uploaded it on Youtube
Thief was previously an RPG set in Camelot, built in the Stargate Engine. You would’ve played as Mordred, fighting a despotic Arthur. Merlin was a psychopath and the knights hired muscle. Not ridiculous enough? Your goal was to unearth the truth about the Holy Grail.
Saturday - May 18, 2013
Shroud of the Avatar - Dev Chat #3 And Tier Changes
Information aboutShroud of the Avatar
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Ghost of a Tale - Wallpapers
There are still 3 days to go in order to reach the required additional 4.5 KEuro for Ghost of a Tale to get funded. With a bit of help that should be possible.
In the meantime there are some wallpapers of the game you can enjoy.
Yeah I know.... a newsbit on wallpapers?? It is indeed just a trick to lure you into pledging for the game where you get to play as a mouse.
Information aboutGhost of a Tale
Release: In development
Legend of Grimrock 2 - Development Update #2
Legend of Grimrock 2 has another development update posted. The posts topics talk about a new animator who has joined the team, new levels, items, and monsters.
Olli has been helping out Jykä to get up to speed and he’s also been active on the business side by filling blanks on obscure documents for our new accountant. Sometimes the business side of things feel like solving a cryptic Grimrock puzzle and Olli’s getting pretty good at it. Olli’s also found time to complete animations for the very first monster you’ll encounter in LoG2.
In another news, Jyri #1 has been working on new items graphics. We need at least a hundred new items for LoG2 so this will keep him and a few other people rather busy for some time! Jyri has also been modeling new environmental assets and a new puzzle object that Antti will be putting into good use.
Talking about Antti, he’s been working on the levels and we now have about 30% of the playable area in “pre-alpha state”, i.e. mapped out with puzzles and initial placement of monsters. I’ve also helped Antti by creating the first version of the very first introductory level.
Juho has been working on a new monster concept and has also been modeling assets for the first level. He’s also gotten his eyes shot with a laser and he had to take a few days off to recuperate. His new laser-cut eyes will hopefully make him even better as an artist (if that’s even possible!).
On the tech side the refactoring work for the component system is finally done. Some other notable changes are: a new quite deadly trap, and lifting off the restriction of levels having to be 32×32 squares in size. Levels can now be any size up to 64×64 and also non-square. Levels can now also be connected in north-south and east-west directions as well as vertically.
Information aboutLegend of Grimrock 2
Release: In development
Diablo 3 - Diablo Anniversary Specials
Blizzard has two special promotions going on right now. The first one is for the one year anniversary of Diablo 3 by offering a 33% discount.
To celebrate an action-packed year of demon slaying, we're kicking off Diablo III’s first birthday with BIG savings. For a limited time, you can save $20 when you get Diablo III for the PC/Mac in the Blizzard Online store. That's 33% off the usual price, enabling you or a friend to adventure in the world of Sanctuary easier than ever before.
The other one is to celebrate the 15th anniversary for the whole series with a soundtrack available on itunes.
The development team at Blizzard continues to celebrate the 15-year anniversary since the launch of the first Diablo video game by offering fans a chance to listen to the soundtrack and download it for free through iTunes.
The official page offers notes from the composers who worked on the music of Diablo and there are also classical music themes to sample.
Information aboutDiablo 3
SP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash
Release: In development
Obsidian Entertainment - MMORPG Skyforge
Obsidian's CEO Feargus Urquhart had this to say about the project.
“Skyforge is very interesting and promising project and I am glad that Obsidian Entertainment is involved in working on this game. I am confident that the cooperation with the Allods Team will be a great experience for all of us.”
Information aboutObsidian Entertainment
Wasteland 2 - Interview with Chris Keenan
GamingBolt has an interview with Development Director Chris Keenan of inXile Entertainment about Wasteland 2, and various other topics.
Ravi Sinha: With Obsidian Entertainment, Fallout 1 & 2 composer Mark Morgan, Planescape: Torment writer/designer Colin McComb and of course, the producer of the first game, Wasteland 2 is certainly brimming with industry and RPG legends. How was such a team assembled for the project?
Chris Keenan: Everything about the way we’ve planned, financed and built this project is different from the way we’ve worked over the past 10-15 years. We have our core implementation team that has worked together for a while and just thought, “If we can have anyone we want for this title, how would we do it?”.
Brian immediately reached out to many members from the original team for design help. Being that we are not working with a publisher it, we could make decisions that would have been sticky to figure out, like bringing on Chris Avellone. Being that he’s CCO of Obsidian, it would potentially scare publishers due to him knowing “trade secrets” about the game, but Brian has worked with the Obsidian guys for many years and knows he can trust them. We’ve developed a very close relationship with Obsidian and will continue to scratch each others backs.
Ravi Sinha: We’ve seen this post-apocalyptic set-up culminate in either finding a MacGuffin to save the world and usher in a new age of man or in exploring the so-called wasteland and making one’s own choices a la Fallout. Will Wasteland be in either direction, a mix of both or completely out of left field with its plot?
Chris Keenan: Well, being that Wasteland was the original Fallout, Brian and his team decided to keep a moderately similar high-level story feel. Neither were about saving all of humanity and bringing pixie-dust and smiles to all. Wasteland was all about the moments you came across while trying to bring about a bit of order and navigate issues as they came up.
The setting is pretty bleak and there really is no way to “save the world” even if you wanted to. The citizens of the Wasteland have literally had a trial by fire and after a hundred years of being in pure survival mode, they don’t necessarily operate on logic that we’d hold true in our current world.
Ravi Sinha: In regards to its design, was there always that desire to make Wasteland 2 a throwback to the classic RPGs of yore?
Chris Keenan: We went through a bunch of design ideas when thinking about what Wasteland 2 would be, but many of the elements that stuck kept that familiar feel from games of the past. As we continued to communicate the vision to our community prior to the Kickstarter release, we kept hearing how much people missed that classic play experience and knew it was the right decision for the game.
At the time, I think there was a feeling over the game development community that many game systems evolved out of necessity to a more mass market friendly approach. Publishers weren’t funding deals unless your game could sell a million units and that generally tends to remove the option of more hardcore game systems from the designs. Our approach is that we don’t care about the mass market. Our 65,000+ backers want a more deep detail and stat oriented game.
Information aboutWasteland 2
Release: In development