Black Prophecy - All News
Wednesday - September 30, 2009
Black Prophecy - Dev DIary: Human Faction
In the third installment of developer diaries at the Black Prophecy site Art Director Nick Ebenhoch talks about the Human faction and explains the design approach for this faction.
The faction logo used by the Humans to date is based on the emblem of NASA’s successor that launched the first colony ships towards Mars 550 years ago. This emblem did not receive much attention for quite a while as the factions at that time had their own logos during the later colony conflicts. The logo received recent relevance as a sign of resistance and Humanity’s origin through the coalition of the Humans in their fight against the new dominating races, the Tyi and the Genides.
Friday - September 04, 2009
Black Prophecy - Dev Diary: Faction and Ship Design
In the second installment of the developer diaries at the Black Prophecy site , Art Director Nick Ebenhoch gives an overview of general faction and ship design.
Black Prophecy is settled about 550 years in the future. The goal was to create an optically realistic repertoire of ships, stations and other objects. Our inspiration were the classic 1980s sci-fi movies, where models were created by hand up to the last detail which would not be possible anymore nowadays with regards to development schedules. Examples would be the old Battlestar Galactica movies, Star Wars or single ships like e.g. the USS Sulaco from Alien. It was of great importance to us to not overdraw the design like it happened in the TV series “Andromeda”.
The ships in Black Prophecy, be it capital ships or small fighter, rarely have really flat, clear and curved surfaces and remind of the classic Star Destroyer from Star Wars. This serves the practical purpose of a ship which only holds limited space and avoids design gimmicks. The erratic surfaces make you curious to learn more about it and give the impression of a functional system. Important elements at the right places, e.g. reactors at the stern of a ship support these impressions. In addition to this, ships and stations are built modularly and can be adjusted or extended easily at any time.
Wednesday - August 26, 2009
Black Prophecy - Behind the Scenes Part 3
Creative Director Timo Krahl and Art Director Nick Ebenhoch talk in this third installement of the Behind te scenes series about Black Prophecy’s game design and graphics, their careers and personal interests.
In the beginning there is the game design document which is the operative collection of ideas and describes the overall construction of the game. Ideally this document is perfect in its first version, burned into titan plates and is then the bible of the further development process. However, this ideal case never happens and so the game design document is a small slimy and mean shapeshifter that has to be kept under control all the time. Now if you look at the “station docking” as a single feature you have to consider several factors: What kind of game am I doing? Simulation or action? Singleplayer or multiplayer? What are the technical possibilities? Which target group am I going for? How often will this feature be used? How did other developers solve this problem? Does it really benefit the game or is it just a „nice to have“?
Friday - August 21, 2009
Black Prophecy - Dev Diary: The Game Environment
Nick Ebenhoch, Art Director for Black Prophecy explains on their site a bit of the art direction the game is taking by showing the game environment.
The Black Prophecy universe should showcase a realistic but concurrently unreal environment. Amongst others, this was realized by the use of strong colors that you usually don’t see in a space environment. In doing so, we also paid attention to implement this subtly. Space-specific phenomena like other galaxies are not found in the backgrounds. You are still in the Milky Way but that far away from other galaxies that you are not able to see them with the naked eye.
The actual differences in the backgrounds are created in the various sectors. In addition to this the respective and distinctive characteristics of the current system you are situated in are showing up. If you are, e.g. in the Ianos system at the planet Triamon, the starting point in Black Prophecy, you will see huge rings of ice asteroids that embrace the planet. The planet is still visible in the background even if the player is moving away from Triamon and jumps into a nearby sector.
Sunday - August 02, 2009
Black Prophecy - Interview @ Colony of Gamers
Colony of Gamers did an interview with Michael Marrak, author and game designer for Black Prophecy and you can find it right here.
Immortal Machines: Judging from the timeline on the Black Prophecy website, you have created an extensive back story for this game. How much of it was for yourself to aid you in writing the actual story and how much of it is for the player?
Marrak: It’s difficult to draw a clear line there, so I have to say: both equally. To get myself mentally into the story, I write lots of texts, which I also want to communicate to the player/reader. However, in Black Prophecy there is no knowledge or educational constraint. Therefore we will have several archives the player can access if he/she is interested in learning more about the backgrounds.
The timeline was created before I had written a single line for the actual game. By playing a sci-fi game you enter an alien futuristic world and probably ask yourself: “Where the hell am I and what happened the past 500 years that renders this future so desolate?” Before I started with the actual missions I worked for weeks on things like the game’s background, the story of mankind, its expansion into space, its motivation for the creation of new human races, its fission and the resulting race wars and different technical concepts about future technology like weapons, engines, etc. This went right up to topics like string theories, non-Euclidean geometry, tesseracts and Minkowski-metrics.
In addition to this there is a considerable timeline/chronology of the alien race, though this timeline starts 200 thousand years prior to the human timeline. While you can see the human timeline as Black Prophecy’s foundation, the alien timeline builds upon it. Overall there are about 700 pages of manuscript material. 300 pages are about missions, while the rest contains the timelines, story background, research and templates for the game design.
Wednesday - July 22, 2009
Black Prophecy - Community Q&A
Black Prophecy Community & PR Manager Chris Schuett interviews the team's Lead Programmer Marco Nowara and QA Manager Stephan Bast.
What kind of technical challenges and difficulties do you encounter in the development of an MMO? Can you say offhand that the development of a single-player game is “easier” to accomplish?
Yes, single-player games are much easier to develop. There is no need for net code, a task distribution between client and server and the forced necessity to prevent cheating. Even in a pure multiplayer game like Counterstrike you have fewer problems due to the lower player count. A further optimisation is not necessary as it is possible to simply send all data to all players. In an MMO you need to carefully gauge what kind of data the server is sending to the clients. In addition to this, a normal multiplayer game is hosted on just one single server unlike an MMO where the game world is segmented across several servers which perform their specific tasks – these things alone make an MMO much more difficult to develop than a simple single-player game.
I can only judge this subjectively as I have not worked on a major single player title yet. In comparison with a single-player game you will encounter many more limitations due to the permanent synchronisation between client and server. Another big obstacle is to develop a stable and high-performance server architecture, which is not necessary in a single-player game.
Furthermore, in a single-player game you can focus more on telling a story and thus have much more freedom than if you have to design a game with several hundred players playing simultaneously.
Monday - July 13, 2009
Black Prophecy - Interview @ VE3D
Voodoo Extreme chatted with Simon Bachmann of Reakktor Media, Senior Producer for Black Prophecy about the state of the game and more.
It seems as though Reakktor slipped off the radar for a while after E3 2007 and resurfaced recently with some gorgeous game footage. Why the silence, and what's been going on during your time out of the spotlight?
Simon Bachmann: Actually Black Prophecy was presented to the press and our business partners behind closed doors at the GC Leipzig 2007. After that we decided to remain silent while several major design decisions were made because we didn’t want to go public with something unfinished. In the middle of 2008 we were hit quite hard by the insolvency of our former mother company, 10Tacle Studios. As a 100% subsidiary Reakktor Media also had to file for insolvency which greatly impacted our operations, and for a long time it was unclear whether Reakktor - and with it Black Prophecy's development - would survive. But thanks to our dedicated CEO, Kirk Lenke, and the strong will of our team to continue the work on Black Prophecy, Reakktor managed to get through these hard times and we are again looking forward to a much brighter future.
Monday - June 15, 2009
Black Prophecy - Interview @ GameSNAFU
Last week GameSNAFU chatted with Reakktor Media CEO- Kirk Lenke about their MMO in development Black Prophecy.
Q: Are you designing the game to have twitch based combat requiring aiming/reflexes or will the action be more in lines of WoW where you lock onto a target and combat is fought based on skill and weapon refreshes?
A: In Black Prophecy skill will certainly make a difference as you don't just click and wait, instead you control your ship directly. So it's very much up to your maneuvering and shooting skills as to whether you succeed in turning your enemy into piece of space junk. Building on this real-time control and combat ethos, Black Prophecy will also offer special tactics which, for example, allow your ship to make special evasive maneuvers to confuse your enemy. To allay the concerns of some players who don't want to lose control of their ship, these tactics only take over the controls for a few milliseconds until the special tactic is finished.
Q: Will the games story be a driving force for future events or does it serve to just familiarize players with their immediate surroundings and purpose? Will players have any impact on the outcome of the story at any point?
A: Whilst the first story missions act as an introduction to the game, further missions will draw the player more and more into the blazing conflicts between the rival factions. How deep this involvement will go in the end, and whether or not players will have an impact on the outcome of the story is a design question that is still to be investigated.
Friday - May 15, 2009
Black Prophecy - Interview @ MMOSite & Onlinewelten
Two interviews with Reakktor Media, the developers behind the MMO space game with RPG elements, have popped up in the last few days.
It has been pretty quiet about Black Prophecy in the last time. We assume you were hard working. Can you give us an overview of what happened in the last months?
As a former 100% subsidiary of 10Tacle Studios we had to announce insolvency as well and for some time it really wasn't clear if and how Reakktor continues. Because of this we didn't wanted to raise expectations we might not be able to keep.
Despite the insolvency, because of which we had to master some internal challenges, we managed it to keep the company alive and today, with new and strong investors, we are looking positively into the future. Of course we weren't able to stick by the original development schedule, but anyhow the team brought the game far forward. The next big step will be the closed beta with selected testers who will assist us in testing and advancing the game.
Dates are always interesting for players. Especially when the beta starts. Are there concrete plans for the release or at least an approximate time span?
At this time we are not able to tell a concrete time span, because we have to arrange this in a close cooperation with our future publisher. From our side we are ready to go, though.
The second interview with Chris Schuett, Community and PR Manager, is at the Asian site MMOSite.
MMOsite: Although Black Prophecy is a space fight MMO, it has an epic background and a grandiose story. Can you share with us more about this aspect?
Chris: In the 26th century, mankind has expanded across the galaxy, yet few of its colonies are controlled by Humans. The true rulers are the cybernetically enhanced Tyi and the biogenetically perfected Genides. Their striving for total control over all human species drives them into the territory of an ancient alien race that does not tolerate other cosmic civilizations; the "Restorers".
To survive this war and uncover the motives of the alien's' destructive behavior, you are forced to join one of the two dominant human races. Their search for the origin of the Restorers becomes a race for survival of all three human species.
MMOsite: Do you find it's harder to "tell a story" in a space fight MMO than in an MMORPG? How did you resolve it?
Chris: On the contrary, the space setting enables various ways to tell an exciting story and it does not depend on the game being an MMO or an MMORPG but rather on the technical capabilities you have at your disposal. With Black Prophecy we have several technical systems to hand that allow us to perfectly blend Michael Marrak's fantastic story with the gameplay our game designers have patterned.
MMOsite: As we know, Eve Online has already reached the top of space themed MMOGs. Black Prophecy will ineluctably be compared with EVE online. How will you respond then?
Chris: Except for playing in space, Black Prophecy does not have much in common with Eve Online. Each game serves its own target group and has its own unique features. It's up to the players and their preferred gaming styles to decide which game they are going to play.
Information aboutBlack Prophecy
Developer: Reakktor Media
Regions & platforms
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Unknown