Cyclopean - All News
Monday - September 20, 2010
Cyclopean - Canceled
There it is.
A couple of months ago, I had to look at where I was at with Cyclopean. I felt that five years was a reasonable amount of time to develop a turn-based indie CRPG and August marked my first two years working on the game. I asked myself: Is the game 40% complete? No. Is the game 20% complete? No. Surely the game must be at least 10% finished? Perhaps, but entirely on the writing side. What I've got is basically a ton of writing and nothing else. And Ted, still the only other member of Team Omega, just isn't able to dedicate those 20+ hours/week to keep things rolling. Vince has got a relentless, driving ambition to see AoD completed, but I need to know my investment of hundreds-into-thousands of hours is actually going to result in a finished product, and I don't have that confidence in Cyclopean, in fact nothing near it.
So a big thank you to all the people who liked the writing, who like Lovecraft, and who support ITS generally! Vince really gave me a great home here while it lasted. I have another less (much less) ambitious project in mind, one that I can actually anticipate will see the light of day, in part because I don't need to recruit anyone else to do it. But I'm not going to reveal it until I have an Alpha build and need testers. I don't want a reputation for stringing people along.
One more thing: good luck to the other teams and their talented members under the banner. Go indie!
Vince posts further down that he hopes the ITS team can revisit this with Scott once The Age of Decadence has shipped. Fingers crossed.
Wednesday - June 16, 2010
Cyclopean - Art and Update
Scott has posted some new Cyclopean interiors to the official forum and we'll print the accompanying blurb as a development update. Here we go:
Here's some geometry I've been working on that may interest a few fans out there in the fathomless void.
I hear some of you* asking Why are there no furnishings? I'm concentrating on base areas right now, Downtown Arkham exteriors, and interior floorplans. I figure if I get someone to help out with 3D models one day, he will most likely be working on props as my interiors follow a very strict protocol in regarding to sizing. I also have my own texture-mapping system which some have called insane... Some doors are missing as well-- they are separate props. One other thing: before final export I intend to warp a few roofs and skew the buildings slightly out of true, but light cosmetic touches like that are best saved until you absolutely know no further editing is needed.
I've been writing as well, mostly fleshing out the big plotlines and breaking them down into the step-by-step progression that will ultimately be required for them to be scripted.
Monday - March 29, 2010
Cyclopean - Building Exteriors
Scott has kicked up some renders of building exteriors from Cyclopean.
Tuesday - February 23, 2010
Cyclopean - Can, Can't
Scott updates on some game mechanics in Cyclopean. Unenterable Locations, Crime, Mythos Abilities, Killing Sprees, Killing Children, are all detailed.
Just as in the modern day, there are certain people whom the police are more interested in protecting than others. You can kill hobos, raving cultists and other ne'erdowells as you like, but you can only get away with killing so many law abiding citizens. It is usually presumed in RPGs that if there no witnesses to a crime in the play area, no one will know a crime has been committed (except God, who keeps a careful meter of your karma, which is then broadcast to everyone in sight. Unfortunately, other folks' meters are invisible to you). However, Cyclopean takes place in the age of ballistics and fingerprinting. So if you shoot someone and later on are arrested for whatever reason with the same weapon, that's the end of the game. If you very stealthily murder four or five citizens in one town, eventually there is going to be a witness. An insomniac neighbour saw you enter the building at 3:00am, you didn't see her. What do you know! You're new in town and don't have an alibi for the other four murders. Game over.
Monday - February 08, 2010
Cyclopean - Interview @ Critical Gamer
UK site Critical Gamer has interviewed Cyclopean developer Scott about the game and his preferences. Here's a sample:
CG: It’s clear from the posts you’ve made on your forums that you’re not happy with many RPG staples. What are you changing and why? Which of your ideas would you most like other companies to pick up on?
Scott: I’ll stick with these three things:
I dislike dialogues where you choose from a selection of clichéd responses that have no actual impact on the game, or navigate to and from a menu of questions and answers. These antediluvian RPG conventions are nothing like real life conversations, and only barely distinguish dialogue from reading a message on a billboard.
I dislike FedEx quests and other meaningless in-game busywork. Go collect ten stalks of wheat from this field. What is that? It is a chore. The developer is making the player perform an uninteresting task as a build up to some fun gameplay which hopefully will be introduced later on. Shouldn’t the developer at least attempt to make the whole game fun?
Lastly, I prefer turn-based combat to real time. There are precious few true turn-based RPGs these days. Real-time-with-pause has become a common RPG compromise, but to me is completely dissatisfying. If I’m in charge of a group of NPCs with different skills and strengths, I want turn-based control. I enjoy watching attacks play out one at a time instead of trying to track a confused, start-and-stop melee. On the other hand, if I’m playing a shooter-style action game, I want action.
Saturday - January 09, 2010
Cyclopean - Demon Concept Art
The Iron Tower Cyclopean forums host some nice concept art of a demon called The Speaker.
Wednesday - December 16, 2009
Cyclopean - Christmas Update
Three updates for Cyclopean to finish up the year.
- Conclusion to An Excess of Radium
- New 3D model, Black-Eyed Pete's Pawn Shop
- New shots of Gravedigger's Cottage
Here's a snip from An Excess of Radium, Part III:
A-are you John Jukes?” It was a minute’s work for Pardee to get the question out.
“Cain’t say that I am, sir. Name is Edward Mulligan. Pleased to meetcha’” He thrust out his phosphorescent meat hook and Pardee hesitantly clasped his hand.
“Mulligan, my name’s Lionel Pardee.” There was a slight pause between his first and last names, but he stuck with the one he had given me. “And this is my partner, Ben Wilson.”
“You folks are with the rescue, yeah?”
“Rescue?” Pardee cut his eyes my way, but I had nothing to contribute.
Monday - December 14, 2009
Cyclopean - An Excess of Radium, Part 2
We set out at dawn on the next, fortuitously cooler, day. Prior to our introduction, Pardee had already rented a mule at Faulkner’s and secured our equipment: rope, lamps, provisions for a week, and light climbing and digging gear. The kit looked fine to me. I was more skeptical about finding the hole than exploring it. I hadn’t ever heard of a working mine around Dunwich, and the only news I’d ever had about the Rusty Wheel was from my new boss.
Pardee unfurled a hand drawn map assembled, he explained, from several other maps and surveys, and a few written accounts. He had marked his masterpiece with what he deduced to be the exact location of the site, as well as the winding route between us and it. It wasn’t far as the crow flies, but we would have to navigate the labyrinthine tangle of the ravines. A single stream which, according to the map, watered the mine was to be our guide almost the entire way.
Tuesday - December 01, 2009
Cyclopean - Writing Sample
A new short story at the Cyclopean forums, titled An Excess of Radium:
It was two weeks ago today that the drifter first wandered onto my porch out back of Webb Road. It was still and hot, and the silence seemed to say that even the birds and bees had decided to sleep the day through. I had a clear view up the road for a half mile, and I had watched him wading through the heat shimmer to my house. I knew this was his destination. Nothing else around here.
“Benjamin Wilson,” says he, “I’m Lionel Pardee. Pleased to meet you, sir!” His smile was brighter than a cop’s lamp at midnight. He proffered a hand –decorated with a fine gold ring– which I chose to ignore.
“Uh-huh,” I replied. Close up he was tall and young, with a touch of baby fat still in his cheeks. He was dressed nice enough. His shoes had a polish too, quite a trick where there’s no paved road. The final clue was the combination of tanned face and soft hands. A drifter will always be a drifter, however you dress him up. His name wasn’t really ‘Pardee’ either, I’ll give you that one for free.
Monday - November 30, 2009
Cyclopean - Dev Update
Over at the Iron Tower forums is the first weekly development update on Cyclopean. Written by Ted (Keep on the Borderlands mod for ToEE), it discusses the early steps after getting the engine. Here's a quote:
Now... prior to getting the engine, I was doing a lot of what I called 'flowcharting', which specifically meant (or ended up meaning) outlining some of the functions I would need to write and how I thought the general structure of parts of the engine would look (the dialogue section, the combat section, the levelup section etc). There were a few false starts as I realised how much of what I had in mind wouldn't have to be done from scratrch but could be done with the existing functionality of the engine (such as I am able to understand it without full documentation) and along the way I also moved from working on the dialogue side of things (which will involve accessing text files of some sort, which is way outside my comfort zone atm) to the combat side of things (which will involve writing and calling lots of functions and is where my experience lies). I've also been cataloguing, as it were, the various different states a character might be in (asleep, prone, unconscious, bleeding etc etc etc) and which of Scott's many skills and traits affect what, and when exactly to calculate AC / damage / to hit etc etc etc, and what will have to be carried forward to where, and asking Scott lots of obscure questions, and slowly inching forward.
Monday - November 09, 2009
Cyclopean - Gravedigger's Cottage Art
Scott writes in to say he has posted a sample 3D model work-in-progress for Cyclopean. Head over for the Gravedigger's Cottage.
Monday - October 05, 2009
Cyclopean - Writing Sample
A new writing sample for Cyclopean titled Clockwork is available:
My friend Sigmund and I had for many weeks on our way to school taken a lengthy detour on Hauptstrasse to stop outside the old shop. The ancient fieldstone building gave an impression of sagging everywhere, as if in despair of its smart redbrick neighbours and the newly cobbled street, but despite this some merchant had decided to move in. We would press our faces against the tiny panes of leaded glass, but had so far observed nothing more than the back of a cracked leather curtain.
Today however, there was a change: the barest crack between the rotted leather hangings. Shifting my head every which way to take advantage of the still feeble light, I was able to discern a few obscure shapes within: tables, shelves, a doorway, and a single antique mantel clock, displayed in such a way that I was certain I had the answer.
Monday - June 15, 2009
Cyclopean - Books, Libraries & Research Thread
Cyclopean lead Scott has posted a thread on the official forums to discuss the role of books, libraries and research in the game's mechanics. Head over to read his point of view and join the conversation.
Friday - June 12, 2009
Cyclopean - Programmer Joins Team
Scott has posted on the Cyclopean forums that a programmer has joined the project - ToEE fans may remember Ted as the man behind Keep on the Borderlands, which Scott also contributed to.
Thursday - May 14, 2009
Cyclopean - Writing Sample
Scott has released another writing sample for Cyclopean. Interview with a Lunatic is an 8-page .pdf short story so no quote but head to the Iron Tower forums to grab a copy.
Saturday - May 02, 2009
Cyclopean - Writing Sample
Scott from ITS let us know he has posted a new Cyclopean writing sample on the forums:
The Curious Manuxet Medicine Man
17 September, 1720 – Deerfield, Massachusetts
The ink still wet on my diploma, I had first come to the New World hoping to practice Law. I had thought there to be much work to do with Indian treaties and in the forming of new laws for our Colonies in the Americas, an opinion formed from equal parts hearsay, promotional pamphlets, and groundless optimism. At the time I had little in the way of name or fortune, and in point of fact, still do not.
After my first twelve-month in the port of Boston I have still only secured a handful of contracts. Due a facility with languages, these mostly involved treating with local Indian tribes on behalf of the merchant guilds. These contracts are seasonal however, and with Winter approaching and no prospect of regular work, I was considering crewing my passage back to London when a letter arrived from an old school mentor, one John Susskind.
In previous years, Susskind had held the post of Proctor at Deerfield Township in the interior of Massachusetts. Having lately heard through mutual acquaintances in Britain of my difficulties in the Colonies, he had secured an invitation for me from the new Proctor of Deerfield, Richard Manley. Manley is a man of much influence whose name I myself have heard bruited about London whenever the Colonies were mentioned. Susskind opined that I was sure to find the work to my liking, providing, as he said, that I was not already set up as a merchant-lord in Boston. Since this was definitely not the case, I spent the last of my funds to buy passage with one of the infrequent goods trains into the interior.
There are other samples if you want to search the forum using for "writing".
Saturday - March 14, 2009
Cyclopean - Interview @ RPGFrance
RPGFrance writes they have an interview with Scott from Iron Tower, lead developer for Cyclopean. The conversation is available in both French and English and here's an example:
RPGF: You talk about several options for a quest, like Gothic, does it mean the hero will be able to choose his faction according to his choices?
Scott: There will be many different routes to take, and different choices will be available for solving quests. There will be occasional combat but in many situations a more cerebral approach will be necessary. Research will be a big part of the game for the player who wishes to discover hidden locations or needs to confront Mythos entities. If you do decide to fight supernatural opponents, some of whom will be completely immune to regular attack, it will be important to uncover their weaknesses in advance.
If the player wishes to join a faction he must first find it. Most of the factions in the game are hidden from the public, and do not welcome discovery. Depending on the player’s actions he may be approached by a faction. The player must also be of value to the organization. You can’t just show up in the secret lair of a cult of Yog-Sothoth and expect to be welcomed.
Thursday - February 05, 2009
Cyclopean - Writing Sample
Cyclopean developer Scott sent news of a sample of writing from the Cthulhu inspired indie game. Here's a sample from a dream sequence titled Dream of the Witch Hunters:
“Smell that on the breeze? Brimstone. She’s the Devil’s whore for certain.”
Four figures, cloaked and cowled against the autumn night ride down a narrow, wooded track. The horses are reduced to a walk by the roots and stones of the trail, but the white plumes of their breath show they were recently ridden at a full gallop. The men are clearly searching for something. Two carry torches fashioned from bundles of dried rushes, and each has a sword, either on his hip or saddle. The two without lights keep a nervous hand near their weapons. Their voices carry through the crisp air and are as clear as if you sat among them.
Tuesday - January 27, 2009
Cyclopean - Announced @ Worthplaying
Iron Tower gets an informational announcement over at Worthplaying on their turn-based Lovecraftian work in progress, Cyclopean. Nothing new as far as I can see in a quick read, just getting the word out in a brief general overview:
Cyclopean is the working title for a turn-based RPG project currently in the design phase. The game is inspired by, and to a large extent based on, the stories and mythos of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and takes place in 1923 Western Massachusetts.
The player starts out in Lovecraft’s most famous fictional town, Arkham. Over the course of the game the player will travel to several other locations in and under the State of Massachusetts, and come in contact with cultists, law enforcement, hapless citizens, shadowy organizations, criminals, otherworldly creatures, and if he’s lucky, horrors beyond imagining. The game will concentrate on dense, quality writing in Lovecraft’s style, thrilling dialogue, and stimulating turn-based combat versus people and other things. Emphasis will be placed on quests with many possible solutions and outcomes. Players will not be restricted to fighting evil, but may ally themselves with those who wish to bring back the Great Old Ones, as well as various other organizations. Details to follow. The player will be able to pick up autonomous NPC support, a la Fallout, during the game. Influence over ally’s basic AI will be available, but equipment changes will be limited.
Iron Tower, known for Age of Decadence, is currently in the early stages of development on Cyclopean, so no release date has been set yet.
Thursday - November 13, 2008
Cyclopean - Dialogue Adventures App
Cyclopean lead Scott dropped us a line about a second Flash-based testing application that has been released. Dialogue Adventures lets you play with the dialogue choices in a conversation with Agent Wrenwood:
What is it?
Using a small Flash app authored in the Outer Void, Cyclopean Dialogue Adventures previews in game interactive dialogue for Cyclopean fans to peruse.
How does it work?
The application requires Flash Shockwave Player, a freely downloadable plug-in you probably already have. If it does not open in one click, try to Open With Firefox, or other (uncool) browser of your choice.
If you think there is an error in the dialogue, or in the result of a choice you have made, please note the slide number, which appears at the top left of the screen. Usually, the format is something like 'npc9_1'.
What won't be changed
Right now, player responses do not remain on screen alongside NPC responses. This may be counter-intuitive to the RPG veteran, but if you pay attention to your choices it shouldn't be too confusing.
This first CDA is an introductory conversation and quest assignment from Agent Wrenwood. It does not feature an amazing array of character Background/Skill/Trait checks, just the ones I thought made sense for the situation.
Head over to grab the file and give it a spin.
Monday - November 03, 2008
Cyclopean - Character Generator Application
Here's a nifty idea - Iron Tower's Cyclopean lead Scott has released a Flash-based application that demos the anticipated character generation system for his early-in-development Lovecraftian CRPG. The application was designed for testing and balancing but releasing it is a fantastic idea for fans. Here's Scott's description:
I've created a Flash application that mimics the current iteration of stats, skills and traits for a character in Cyclopean. The user starts out at Level 1, chooses a Background or no Background, and may interactively review and purchase stats, skills and traits to evaluate how a character would progress and what he could achieve and when.
Saturday - October 25, 2008
Cyclopean - Concept Art @ Official Forums
Scott from Iron Tower dropped us a line to point out some Cyclopean concept art on the official forums:
Wednesday - October 08, 2008
Cyclopean - Interview @ RPG Codex
The first interview with Scott aka 'screeg' from Iron Tower's second team has been interviewed at RPG Codex about their recently announced Lovecraftian CRPG, Cyclopean:
Your mechanics seems to have quite an elaborate set of stats and traits. Could you describe it in a few sentences and give examples of more unusual traits?
Introducing what I call the S.E.D.I.W.P. system – the base stats are: Strength, Endurance, Dexterity, Intelligence, Will, Perception. There are nine available Skills (Mechanics, Mind, Deceit, Medicine, Arcanum, Physique, Clubs, Blades, Guns). Skills will range in value from 1-100, and maybe slightly higher, over the course of the game. The player earns a fixed number of skill points to spend each level-up. With skill points, you may purchase straight Skill increases, or Traits, which are special augmentations or rules tweaks. A Trait requires at least 25 points in its parent Skill. More advanced Traits require a higher Skill and sometimes have other prerequisites. Traits that are learned through study, like Pick Locks, require the player to access a library to purchase.
Examples: With a prerequisite of 50 in Deceit, you can purchase Forgery. If the player has access to a writing desk and writing materials, he can forge signatures and other documents to forward his agenda. With a prerequisite of 50 in Mind, you can purchase Mesmerism. Mesmerism allows the player once a day to assist an NPC to recover lost Sanity, as well as opening up dialogue options in applicable situations.
Traits for Deceit, Mind, Arcanum and Physique have been revealed on the forum so far. I’ll add more from time to time.
I think readers will also be interested in my conception of optional Character Backgrounds.
Thanks Elwro and Scott.