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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Arpago - retro 3D dungeon crawler | RPG-lite

Talking Arpago - retro 3D dungeon crawler | RPG-lite

February 18th, 2018, 13:37
Hi,
For the last 1.5 year I've been working on a little personal project, heavily inspired by games I liked and wanted to see them mixed. I called it Arpago.

What it is

It is a top-down action RPG-lite as I like to call it. It is set in a cartoony fantasy universe, has semi-open world divided into zones, and a lot of freedom regarding the playthroughs. Player can choose one of 3 playable races - Human, Fox Folk, or Troglodytes, and one of 5 classes - Warrior, Ranger, Marksman, Summoner, Battlemage. The game has working combat, inventory, spells, quests, map, NPCs, enemies, dialogue, interface, usable objects (ex. tools), split-screen, so the only things left to do regarding major features are finishing local multi and online support.

Major inspirations were Egoboo- a roguelike from early 1999, which I used as a reference regarding combat dynamics, "kind-of" visual style, and perspective. Dungeon Siege - hack'n'slash / RPG from 2002 - it was my go-to inspiration regarding magic, class design, balance, as well as its dedicated huge multiplayer map was a good example of world design. Also Tibia, an MMO from 90s that I played for 4 years in mid 2000s - from it I took some lessons regarding world design, creature balance, and atmosphere. Other mostly minor inspirations probably were Gothic 1 & 2 (settlement design, Khorinis is just so good city) and Dark Souls games (trying to create a lot interconnectivity in the world, using a kind of savepoint system, still deciding on death penalty).

I work on it alone in my free time, I made all the assets except sounds myself and have spent over 1500 hours on its development as of now. I have fun doing it, I don't treat it like a second job and I take long breaks occassionally.

Videos

Mage fighting a Cyclops:

loading…


Woods and cemetery area gameplay:

loading…


Split-screen teamhunting:

loading…


Town exploration:

loading…


Gifs:

Quest/dialogue system

Visiting post office

Farmlands view

Summary

I've got a Twitter and a Website with devblog, which I try to keep updated.
If you are interested in the project, please let me know! Any ideas, any criticism, any suggestions - all kinds of feedback are welcome!
Last edited by Paszq; February 19th, 2018 at 12:34. Reason: broken YT links
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February 19th, 2018, 10:16
Originally Posted by Paszq View Post
Split-screen teamhunting:

loading…


Town exploration:

loading…
Hi Paszq,

Welcome to the Watch!

Two of your youtube links are not loading. The reason is you did not use the correct notation:
[ youtube ] number behind v = [ /youtube ]

You filled in the entire link, but the number behind ‘v=‘ (without any spaces anywhere) would have done the trick.

So in your case:

Split-screen teamhunting:
Original link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdlMwWtPeLE
loading…


Town exploration:
Original link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScEmisAypo
loading…


Quote me to see what I have done.

I hope your game will be a succes, thanks for mentioning it here!
--
It's not what you say - it is the way you say it.
Lovely 2 minute video: 'Change your words, change your world'
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February 19th, 2018, 12:36
Hey Eye, thanks a lot!

It's difficult to edit, as I have to wait for mod's approval after every action. Not sure when the limit is lifted.
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+1:

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February 19th, 2018, 14:03
After 5 postings it is lifted.

Edit.
Nowadays it is 7 postings.
--
It's not what you say - it is the way you say it.
Lovely 2 minute video: 'Change your words, change your world'
Last edited by Eye; August 31st, 2018 at 12:41.
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April 10th, 2018, 14:37
I haven't written an update in over a month, as I was pretty busy with development

First of all, I started working with a sound designer / composer - Adam, who takes care of the audio part of the game - a complete redesign and a lot of additions had to happen in order to implement that, and so far so good I'd say. We're working really closely, discussing also other stuff regarding the game, and we've put a target to release a demo (no date though!). We will focus on a "vertical slice" of the game - the tutorial and the first hours of the game. It will probably take place on a separate island with limited complexity and relative "safety". The inspirations for that would be White Orchard zone from Witcher 3 or Rookgaard from Tibia

The interface

As the first impression can only be one, interface had to be completely redesigned to look slick and be intuitive. As an image says more than a thousand words, here's how character details screen in-game looks:



And a gif!


The compact mode, which is visible at the start is the panel present all the time. It consists of your current health (red bar), stamina (green bar), mana (blue bar), character level, and set of main hotkeys (configurable, but default would be numbers 1-5, Q, R, E, F, C). As you probably don't need more details while you are walking around or fighting, I think this is just right amount of information to keep the screen clean.

The extended mode consists of much more info - right below the hotkey/resources bar which moves to the top, there's a second set of hotkeys - by pressing a modifier you switch hotkeys to the other set, so you can have more stuff available during combat. On the left from the second set of hotkeys you can see current experience and progress bar.

On the left side you probably recognize the backpack, which doesn't look much different - but it has a little more functionality. The options available after clicking the item are "smart" - only possible actions show up, so you don't need to scroll through useless stuff (ex. weapons only have Equip / Set Hotkey / Throw Away; food and potions have Consume / Set Hotkey / Throw Away, etc). It also supports drag and drop, but I'll talk about it more in one of other paragraphs

In the center you can see your character and his name, and the camera automatically zooms-in when you open character sheet.

The panel with item details is now located at the right side, and it has a few additions. First of all, the items can now be limited to certain classes (crossbows to ranger, swords to warrior, maces to warrior and battlemage, staves to summoner and battlemage, and so on) - configurable per-item. I don't want to be too restrictive in that regard, but that will certainly make the balancing a bit easier later on. The highlighted (coloured) icons tell you which of 5 classes can use selected item. Second addition is the description panel - each item will have a description, and I'll try to make them mostly unique.

Right under the item information there's Attributes panel - these are you character stats, and most are pretty self-explanatory I guess. But the logic behind them isn't so let me describe. There are 3 main stats - Strength, Agility, Wisdom. Each class has different importance of each stat - Warrior needs a lot of strength, and a bit of agility; Battlemage needs Int, but makes use of Str; Summoner is an Int class, and so on. Next attribute - Speed grows with your level and Agility, and is influenced by equipped items, active spells and debuffs. Armor relies mainly on equipped gear and buffs - better items might affect negatively your Speed most of the time. Resistances are affected by your current stats, class, items, and level - they were fine-tuned yet for obvious reasons, but Int will be useful for those seeking resistance against elements, Agi would cause stuns to be shorter, and Str should help you resist slowing effects.

Below the character itself, you can see your equipment in use. It has changed not only visually. I've decideded that assigning "main weapons" to the right hand and "secondary items" to the left hand would be most beneficial - it saves a lot of time when animating characters, simplifies logic behind the attacks, and makes it easier for user to familiarize himself with interface and controls. All in all, it was removing feature bloat, as it added next to nothing, except unnecessary complexity. Clicking the item here removes it and puts it in the backpack.

At the bottom-left, there's something entirely new - a Spellbook. I have completely redesigned spell system, as it was hardly intuitive, was difficult to operate, and required you to carry spell scrolls with you all the time, what would result in very low backpack space for most classes. After you loot or buy a spell, it appears as a scroll in your backpack - you can sell it, throw it away, or LEARN the spell. Learning the spell adds it to your Spellbook, as long as your class is eligible and you haven't learned the spell already. From Spellbook you can assign the spells to hotkeys, and they cannot be removed.

You might have noticed i the video, there are 4 tabs at the bottom of it - also a completely new feature, which I'll quickly cover:

EQUIPMENT - it's the screen I just described in great detail above

TALENT TREE - it's a very early concept, which we haven't yet decided on - the current idea is that Str/Agi/Int progression based on successful attacks and spells will be removed, and it will all be integrated into talent tree. It will make balance easier, the characters will be much more unique, specializations will be possible, and I really like decision making after leveling up. We've got some mock-ups of talent trees, and as you might have noticed even some early icons, but it's too early to talk details - we don't plan on including anything besides very basic version of it in the demo.

AREA MAP - minimap was present in the previous versions, but Area Map is new. It's a zoomed out version of the minimap, and both of them were heavily modified. The biggest change is "fog of war" feature - at the start, the map is hidden and you need to uncover it by exploring:



QUEST JOURNAL - a list of active and completed quests with details regarding it's points of interest, current stage, and a short description.

And regarding general control changes - entire UI supports drag'n'drop, mouse controls, gamepad mode and it works flawlessly from what we've tested. You can drag items from backpack to hotkey bar, you can swap hotkeys by dragging one hotkey onto another, a little icon of the item appears as your mouse cursor when you are dragging something, you can equip items by dragging them onto the gear panel, the correct gear slot is highlighted whenever you pick up something equippable, you can assign spells to hotkeys by dragging them into a hotkey slot, when you use gamepad and choose "Set Hotkey" option after clicking on an item or a spell, you are moved to hotkey bar and you can assign it just as you would with a mouse, and so on. Here you can see drag'n'drop in action:

Arpago on Twitter

The tutorial

Players new to the game will require just a little handholding and short explanation of the controls, so a real tutorial should help with that. It consists of onscreen text tips, control prompts, as well as highlighting important stuff. It opens doors when the player has completed certain actions (ex. walked a bit, equipped a weapon, killed an enemy, looted a chest, etc.). It is visually pleasing, a short video of the first moments in game (you can also see the minimap location and tracked quest in the corner)



The main part of the tutorial shouldn't take more than 3-4 minutes, and the initial dungeon/cave will take additional 10 minutes tops, after which you'll have the option to discover what the hell happened to you and why you are here.

Feedback / visual changes

Health bars of the enemy are completely different (well, except the font used), and integrate better with overall aesthetic



Locked doors and unlocking doors have now a nice particle effect, it's slightly faster and looks satisfying



I also added first spritesheet-based animation, and it's the particle effect of bloodsplat. I really like it and I am going to use it more often in future!



Lightmap implementation - due to major performance issues in open areas with a lot of light sources, another solution was required for lighting design. Lightmap is much easier on the performance than full-dynamic shadows (which made my GTX 1060 cry, and it should never happen). Baking light takes damn long, and isn't as easy to setup, but the effects are much better. On the image below, there are no dynamic lights at all! As Unity allows for "Mixed lighting" mode, the characters and other dynamic objects still cast shadows correctly, but it's a crazy difference of 200+ shadows on 200+ objects previously compared to 10-20 dynamic shadows on 10-20 objects currently. And it looks better!



I am also updating player character animations right now, and there are over 20 new ones - let me show just one that I think looks cool at that stage Stomp ability, which will slow/stun enemies around:

STOMP (Twitter link)

Improved camera work when speaking with an NPC:

CAMERA WORK (Twitter link)

Sound


I haven't included any audio samples on purpose - even though I've been working with sound designed Adam for over a month already (we are using Unity Collab, which is great and cheap (10 a month and suits our needs perfectly), he had issues with his PC, and due to a bug in Unity sounds implementation still needs some tweaking. He's already composed some background pieces (which are awesome), as well as various sounds (doors opening, rat squeaking, on-hits, torch, and many more) - we will show it off whenever we've got actual slice of gameplay fully prepared in terms of audio

We've also figured out the best solution for different footstep sounds on different floor types, and it's already scripted and tested

New items

New consumables - a broccoli, a carrot, and cheese!

FOOD (Twitter link)

Some new melee weapons - Mace of the Light, Broad Sword, Curved Sword, Savage Axe

MELEE WEAPONS (Twitter link)

New monsters

Zombie, the making of!



Slime

SLIME (Twitter link)

A Goblin! Damn these repulsive creatures!

GOBLIN (Twitter link)

Ghoul, the making of!



If anyone's interested, I've also prepared sketches (like the ones in making of pictures) for 8 new monsters which aren't modelled yet.

Summary

So our aim is to complete content for the demo - animations, finishing sound implementation, and mapping is left to do.

Ok, I guess that's it. The post got longer and longer as I kept writing, I didn't plan on making it so huge, but I guess it's OK for 1.5 month of progress.

Thanks for reading, if anyone wants to say anything regarding the project (technical questions, design questions, ideas, criticism, ANYTHING) - I will be happy to answer
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May 16th, 2018, 16:53
In case anyone was wondering (although the feedback here was a wee bit limited, so not sure about that, haha), the project is still in very active development

In the last month we've been adding/polishing the following
- sound design - adding music, sound effects, and all audio systems
- improved combat feedback - new particle effects, screen shake, white blink on hit, juicy sounds
- cutscene system - it allows any camera movements/rotation, custom animations of characters, special sound/visual effects
- finished tutorial area and extended the first dungeon - player gets basic abilities/spells during the first few minutes and then has few minute long section to learn to use them
- a ton of new assets
- encampements with fireplaces and temples with certain torches will be used as checkpoints for respawning / loading the game
- main menu improvements - fluid transitions between screens, fixed saving/loading game, custom character features display correctly

Ok, less words, here's a video of the first 10 minutes with the game WITH SOUNDS AND MUSIC!

loading…


I recommend watching at least some of the video, but for those who prefer gifs, here are some of those

Screen shake, new animated particle for blood, "white blink" on hit, and fixed loot falling out of dead enemies (it's cheese if anyone wonders)




A bunch of characters and creatures from Arpago




A quick look at main menu with its new fancy smooth animations:




And a little gif showcasing cutscene system + new dialogue "clouds"




There's a lot of stuff we've changed that I didn't mention, but that's because it's not really that interesting
I'd be very glad to answer any questions or have a discussion, cheers!
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August 31st, 2018, 11:30
Hi! Last month I've made a lot of progress, although I'd have to say most of it is "behind the scenes", so it might not be too interesting or visually impressive for everyone



A lot of improvements related to NPCs
- new interface
- new font
- automatic resizing for the dialogue clouds
- dialogue component generation from text file
- quest component generation from text file

The process of changing or adding new dialogues and quests is 100 times easier for me now, and it looks like this:
1. I write NPC dialogue using my Excel template



2. By using functions, I transform the above data into a format readable by my script

3. I save it as a text file



4. I add .txt to the Unity project and set it as Text Asset in NPC script





5. Similarly, I design the quest in Excel



6. I save it as .txt
7. For each quest, there's one text file, so I add new file to the array with all quests.



Also, I've prepared a general overview of the questlines in the first act of the game. There are 2 possible approaches to escape the island - use the help that NPCs offer, or do it all yourself

At this moment, I don't plan to add any kind of GPS or magic pointer. I prefer the approach similar to Morrowind or Gothic - NPCs tell you about the objective's location, how to get there, points of interest, and so on. Most important stuff is available in Quest Journal, which you can see on the screenshot. I want the player to explore and get to know the world, instead of blindly following the markers using autopilot.

Previously, I've been working on the surface area of the game - Dagis Island, which will be where Act 1 takes place. Here are some views from it







And some Twitter posts with videos:
https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…28939957358594
https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…21189900165121
https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…57193122754561
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August 31st, 2018, 15:30
Is this going to be a fetch quest heavy game?
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August 31st, 2018, 17:15
Originally Posted by Silver Coin View Post
Is this going to be a fetch quest heavy game?
Well, most quests in games follow a scheme - get quest, do something in X location, come back to NPC, do something in Y location, etc. Sometimes "do something" will mean bringing an object to the NPC, sometimes it will mean removing a curse, sometimes investigating, and sometimes other stuff that I will come up with.

I am currently focusing on the first act, and it will have 2 possible approaches - either help 4-5 NPCs with their problems (answering your question - it often means bringing a herb or a tool from somewhere) in exchange for their assistance in leaving the island, or ignore NPCs completely and do everything yourself - find the tools, find materials, build a raft, etc. Without hints from NPCs it might be the harder way.

My idea for the rest of the game relies on one large objective (which I have some ideas for, but haven't decided on yet), which you will know from the first minutes of Act 2. You might want to ask around, explore yourself, sneak somewhere, bribe people, get all information any way possible - all of those will be SIDE quests/activities, which will serve a purpose of helping you, as a player. They will give you necessary hints where to search, and you will gain valuable experience and items, which will make the main quest easier. The world will be open to you, but you might find obstacles which will prevent you from progressing certain way until you get better.
To say it short: the more you skip, the more difficult it gets. It's up to you how much.
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September 1st, 2018, 01:22
Ah, very cool! It's difficult to find an open world game that doesn't hold your hand.
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October 10th, 2018, 15:56
Long time no see Keeping up with all the media sites is quite hard and time-consuming on your own, so here I will try listing what we've achieved in the last 40 days

Improved enemy pathfinding - they can go around each other now to some extent, and there are no glitches/jumps:

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…49242945347584

Re-implemented weapon trails, and made them look better!

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…30994258124800

Inventory interface improvements:

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…13440178081794

Added a bunch of new camps (which are savepoints) to the tutorial area:

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…40395482783746

Completely new animations for almost all Ranger abilities, pretty happy with those:

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…22978064830464

Few pieces of creatures concept art:

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…70804553752577

Tricky Trap now has a cool animation when triggered:

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…26923519188992

New tooltip system, the old one was cool but it caused issues (disappearing in certain camera angles, slow performance):

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…75797551964160

And some combat, because I haven't posted any in a while:

https://twitter.com/ArpagoGame/statu…63938241241089

As I received feedback from a few sources, I tried improving whatever I could last month, and picked up the pace a bit. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions
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dungeon crawler, gamedev, indie game, indie rpg, rpg
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