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December 31st, 2016, 11:50
Originally Posted by Caddy View Post
I love this art style. Retro and pixelated is overdone these days, but there's not nearly enough of this type.
Thank you - that's part of the reason why we went for this look.
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January 3rd, 2017, 23:08
As I have mentioned before - all in-combat characters' actions will be fully animated. Here is Fisk (one of the player's party members) both attacking and recieving damage.



Let me know, please, whether his movement looks realistic enough.
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January 6th, 2017, 23:51
Here is another character that is ready to be used in the game.



Baron Trobbel is the indispensable burgomaster of Albus. A distant relative of the King. Persistent and stubborn – that’s why he’s retained his mayorship for so long. People joke that Trobbel doesn’t die because Death didn’t manage to convince him that he should.

Does he look trustworthy? Or do you think he's rather a shady guy that will backstab you during your playthrough?
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January 7th, 2017, 03:08
Originally Posted by Sneaky_seal View Post


Does he look trustworthy? Or do you think he's rather a shady guy that will backstab you during your playthrough?
Of course he's the shady guy that will backstab me. I can see it in his face
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January 11th, 2017, 00:12
Originally Posted by henriquejr View Post
Of course he's the shady guy that will backstab me. I can see it in his face
Well, actually he's a good guy, you can read about him in the first chapter of the game's story .



Ash of Gods story is based of an unpublished book that is still being worked on by a russian fantasy author Sergey Malnitsky. It introduces the setting, all the characters and serves as a canon for the story.

If you would like to be among the first ones to get acquainted with the game's story and enjoy reading fantasy - you can read the already published prologue as well as the first and second chapters at our website.

What do you think of it? In particular:
  • Do you like the IP (world, locations, factions)?
  • Do you find the characters likeable?
  • What do you think of the writing/dialogues part?

Any other feedback you might have will also be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance.
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January 11th, 2017, 00:31
Originally Posted by Sneaky_seal View Post
Well, actually he's a good guy, you can read about him in the first chapter of the game's story .
I don't believe you. Of course he isn't a good guy. Because if he was, why would you be giving us game spoilers right now. Of course it's a false clue

Joking asides, keep up the great work

And I will refrain myself from reading the game stories in order to avoid spoilers and such
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January 13th, 2017, 23:24
Originally Posted by henriquejr View Post
I don't believe you. Of course he isn't a good guy. Because if he was, why would you be giving us game spoilers right now. Of course it's a false clue

Joking asides, keep up the great work

And I will refrain myself from reading the game stories in order to avoid spoilers and such
It is spoilerish I'd say as it's only the canon - your choices will make events play out differently during your playthrough.

As for the characters - now this is a guy you should watch out for:


Coronzon is a cardinal of Divine Retribution Temple. His eyes are as tenacious as his long thin fingers – and if his glance stopped on somebody’s face for more than a couple of seconds, it means that Coronzon has seen right through this man – and has already decided on his destiny. Do you consider him good or the bad guy?
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January 17th, 2017, 20:44
This is a sample look for the dialogues' interface:



We actually had to sweat a bit over it - at first glance it might seem to be a standard look for a visual novel. However, we wanted to produce something similar to traditional cinema, with the protagonist presnet in the shot and the camera changing its position. Also, to make things clearer we have drown several shields for the characters portraits which also show its class.

What do you think of this look? The icon is not unnessesary, is it?
By the way, we have used the latest Dorphal's version for this illustration. What do you think of it?
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January 20th, 2017, 23:28
First of all - Ash of Gods will have turn-based combat that will take place in various moments during the playthrough on dedicated battlefields. Here is some information about it:
- We're developing our own ruleset with some unique and (hopefully) exciting mechanics
- We do not have RND, so no rolls and hit/miss chances.
- Besides the characters in his party the player can use powerful cards during the battle.
- Each character has only 3 basic parameters
HP - health points, once it reaches 0 the char dies;
MP - energy points, they are used for special moves and rushing across the tactical field. Once it reaches 0 - any further damage toward MP will deal x2 towards HP;
AT - attack, servers as the base parameter for skills.
- Any attack can be aimed at either opponent's HP or MP.
- Powerful attack use HP points (and not only for a berserker or a blood mage but across many of the classes).

If you don't mind long articles - you can read about the process of creating the combat system on our website https://ashofgods.com/news/new-appro…ed-strategies/ (or should I share it here?). You can also get your hands on the prototype and check it out for yourself here http://game.aurumdust.com/. It has very limited UI and player support so it's pretty hardcore at this point, but we will greatly appreciate if you give it a shot and share some feedback here. Beware that there is no AI yet, so you can do 1 out of the 3 things:
- Open it in 2 browser tabs and play with yourself (we don't judge);
- If you happen to have a friend - send him the link and fight against him;
- I'd be happy to play against you - so just shoot me a PM with the time that you'd like to give it a shot.

As always - feel free to ask me anything about it (ie classes, skills, mechanics, etc.)

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January 24th, 2017, 07:14
Another character we've finished - Treeg, Ierana's crown prince.



Being a crown prince, Treeg is very scrupulous about matters of national importance. Sometimes so scrupulous that you may even consider him a dictator. Still, despite his slight arrogance (what else did you expect from the prince?), Treeg is an honest and fair man, and he never will commit a dastardly act. But if you screw up your duties and jeopardize the greater mission, Treeg will be ruthless and see to it that you get a thorough flogging. Just to assist in your comprehension.
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January 26th, 2017, 19:52
We are happy to share Ash of Gods's main menu music theme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3blT4gNiog

Music for Ash of Gods is in production by Adam Skorupa, Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz and Michał Cielecki (authors of music to such projects as Max Pain, Painkiller, The Witcher, EVE Online and Shadow Warrior 2). We are proud that Adam and his team agreed to work with a small indie studio.

We wanted to have the main menu theme to get the player in a mood for a long and grim journey, that is full of challenges and sacrifices. Were we able to convey this feeling?
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January 26th, 2017, 20:10
Also, by now you might have forgotten Rumlin of whom I have told you in October, but now is a great occasion to think of him – he is our first fully animated character.



What do you think of this? Is it lifelike?
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January 27th, 2017, 01:24
Awesome characters! Do you mind telling what software is used for making the graphics, are they drawn by hand?
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January 31st, 2017, 20:56
Originally Posted by YanBG View Post
Awesome characters! Do you mind telling what software is used for making the graphics, are they drawn by hand?
Yes, they are all drown by hand using Photoshop.

By the way, here is a concept art for a set of characters to be used to create a "secret" intro video for our game, Ash of Gods.



These creatures are ancient to the world and take a fundamental part in its story, and it will up to the play to figure out what part exactly do they play in it. They are supposed to be the villains though not so black-and-white which some more complicated motivations than to spread evil.

All these we have tried to show in their appearance. What do you think of the result?
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February 3rd, 2017, 22:32
Ok, today we have some new stuff for you guys. Our talented Lekso tiger has captured a screenshot series revealing the drawing progress on the location called Ursus' backyards. Hope you like it, folks!



The city of Ursus is well known for extensive salt production and active trade. A mysterious stone that fell on the settlement centuries ago is told to heal the baddest diseases, and lots of travellers from all over the world come here to find cure and relief.
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February 3rd, 2017, 23:13
January is over and it's time to sum it up in the second installment of our developer diaries. Music, animation, video. All the joy and pain of game development from the horse’s mouth, and in detail.

The diary at our website

DEVELOPER DIARY #2



During the first month of the new year we passed several important milestones in a row. We finished the first music track for the game and completed work on the rotoscope data of our first two characters—Ramlin and the archer Ark. We also began to work intensively on the network part of the game and a new game designer joined us—focusing on balance and the game mechanics. Also, we completed work on the animatics and the storyboard for the game’s intro video.

The Build and the Plot

We are slightly behind schedule creating the episodes for the game. As for art and the script, there are 4 episodes ready (8 scenes and 3 cutscenes). We are still making several cinematics and backgrounds for dialogues, but the most complex part is over. The tools in Unity are still not fully ready and this is a big restriction for us. I think that during the very first week of February we’ll fix everything we need. We can assemble episodes already now, but it’s not as comfortable as it should be, and as we’ve realized from the unsquashed bugs, not entirely safe either.



On the screenshot above you can see the first working version of the UI where the phrases and possible answers are shown. We are very eager to make it comfortably readable and to make it clear who said what and who replies to whom.

The crucial problem of our “sufferings” – is to associate the data model and the arrangement of the scenes in Articy with that how it should be reproduced on the episode sequencer in Unity.

Now, when we’re associating the Articy story episode and the graphic scene in Unity, the game engine automatically places onto the sequencer the dialogues, the author’s text, battles and special groups which are considered by the game as the place where you see the dialogue icons, the store, and other actions for the current location.



I’ve already mentioned that we are doing everything in parallel. Because of that, when the integration comes, we sometimes have to redo some of the earlier episodes, to make them comfortable for the import. I still suppose that this strategy is way better than to wait for the game engine to be fully ready for import.

Dmitry (the game designer) and Sergey (the author of the script) have finally found a common literary language, so the process of editing the episodes now takes much less time. I wouldn’t risk to give any numbers now, but everything obviously goes easier now.

This game contains several defining and very complex episodes (from the point of view of implementation). These are parts 8, 10, 12 and 15, where the actions are taking place in one and the same city – Ursus – but with different protagonists and in different times. I write about this because it is our own version of hell, so to say. You have to track all the possibilities of each character to die. This means that we have to walk through all the episodes where these characters are featured and reset their storylines to make the story look logical when you consider every version of the episode’s ending. I suspect that this is just a first circle of Hell, because we are still not taking into account the behavior of protagonist (whether he is a good person or behaves like an asshole) in the dialogues.

Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n_7gEp3Nhw

The music for the game is being created by Adam Skorupa and his colleagues Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz and Michał Cielecki. We are planning to record over an hour of music before the end of summer—in general this is West European and Pagan folk music, with vocals and polyphony in a fictional language. Some tracks – the music of combat scenes, for instance – are set to fit the individual types of enemies. The “bad guys” in our game are Frisians (inhabitants of the Northern kingdoms), Gells (an equivalent of Celtic warriors) and Ensa (otherworldly intruders). We will try to record the individual tracks for each of these factions, the tracks which will reflect the nature of these foes. Some of tracks will just reflect the set of emotions or be intended for use in specific scenes.

In January we completed the first track for the game – the music for the main menu. Vocals by Magdalena Przychodzka, guitars by Aleksander Grochocki, the vielle by Katarzyna Kamer. The vielle is quite an exotic instrument. At the same time, I think that it amazingly reflects the feeling of anxiety and desperation. We are planning to record some more exotic instruments – the gadulka and, probably, some unusual drums.



On the upper photo you can see Adam Skorupa and Katarzyna Kamer during the recording session for the music of the Ash of Gods main menu. In February we plan to finish the music for the intro and outro videos as well, and then we will begin to work on the first battle themes: four whole tracks lasting a total of 12 minutes. Maybe we will include male vocals—we are thinking about it now.

The intro video



To be honest, I write about this video just because I’m very excited about it. I cannot show it now (otherwise it will no longer be “terribly secret”), but I want to write a couple of words about it all the same.

The intro plays a crucial role from the point of view of the plot—in fact, during 2/3 of the game you will search for the answer of question “what and why has happened here?” We want to make a player ask many questions to himself and to us. We want to bring a fog-like feeling of uncertainty and, partly, to give an answer about the game’s title. The upper picture is the tonal scheme for the first seconds of intro video.



This is the clean line (in its quality) for one of the crucial characters of this video – Hopper Rouley. As with all the other animation in the game, this video will be hand-drawn frame by frame. It has required a lot of complex montage. For some scenes we had to do the reconstruction in 3d to set the camera and the motion of a large amount of people. It is almost two minutes long and has a very tense plot with a lot of action. We came to the final of the first part of this work – the 19th version of animatic is complete and the first scenes are ready to be drawn in a rough line. The very first of them is even ready for the insertion of the intermediate frames.



These pictures show the concept of location where the action of the intro video takes place. Adam Skorupa composes the music for the first 38 seconds, while our new-found sound engineer and sound designer provides the post-scoring. I’ve crossed my fingers in the hope that we will not fail with this intro; because we want to impress and fascinate all of you with this.



This is the stuff that showcases how we chose the contour lighting tech. In the working version we paint the middle and the long-range distance in brown, while the frontal perspective will use the contour adapted for the color of the substrate.

Also, we have already started to work on the outro video too. In the working version of it we have 3 different endings, but, independently of them, we have also a little second ending – which will be a bridge between the first part of game and the next chapter of the story.

We draw and animate

The most huge and complex part of our work (i. e. “the biggest headache”) is the creation of the combat animations for the characters. On average each unit requires 16 animation sequences of approximately 80 frames for each of them. The creation of a full sequence takes about a month of work for one animator.



The rotoscoping technique makes the animation creation simpler, but only in part. There are some very complex animations – getting damage, the death of the character, or simply walking – you can’t do it well if you lack the skills of an experienced animator. It’s very difficult to properly record the damage sequence, while the walking animation suffers due to the cycle length. All the animations where the actor moves suffer due to perspective distortion. We record them on a 35mm camera (though we have to turn it on its side), because with the 50mm, where distortions are barely seen, it’s impossible to find a studio where you can record something in isometric perspective. The 50mm cam should stand at a distance of not less than 9 meters from the recording subject, and has to be lifted at least 7 meters higher than the floor.



Sadly, we didn’t record those auditions when I tried to actually hit the actors with a stick to get the necessary level of lifelike damage reactions. Now this point is a complex thing because it requires a huge volume of the animator’s work – to make it obvious for the player that the character has really been hurt. The second problem is the gait. In the studio where we are recording videos, there’s not enough space for a full walk-cycle, so if you only use the rotoscope, the characters literally look lame. We are thinking what to do with that.

From the beginning of current year we decided to stop using TVPaint in preference of Toonboom (the software for frame-by-frame animation). If you are still in doubt which of these two you should use—pick ToonBoom. It will allow you to work faster, while the tools of line control allow you to receive similar pictures even when different animators are working on the same animation or its frames – the key ones or during the insertion of intermediate frames.



This is the crowd from the combat scenes of Ursus city. We had a long argument among the team: whether it was good to place the static images (for example, the city inhabitants) on the battlefield. It may look strange that during the battle on the city street the citizens are standing still instead of running for their lives. But if we wouldn’t use the people and animals for the scenes arrangement, the levels would seem empty and not lifelike. It’s long and expensive to create full complex animations for such objects. So, we finally decided that we will draw the animations with a low frame frequency – about 10 frames per second (for 2 or 3 key frames and automatic insertion of intermediate frames in ToonBoom). It can be a drunk holding up the wall, or a woman with buckets, who drops them in the beginning of the fight and presses herself against the wall. Maybe some scared people will look out of the windows and close the shutters. Just some simple activity which would allow you to feel the life and vibrant emotions of the environment.



Another complex moment is shown on the upper picture. We had a lot of work on the color correction in the scenes which were already created (the upper one is “before”, the lower is “after”). The difference between earlier and later scenes was very significant, so Andrey Zherdev has revisited the old scenes to make them equal by tone and atmosphere to the newer ones. With some of them we significantly missed with the emotional tone (there are corpses around but you cannot feel it from the picture). I hope that the current view is the final.

What’s next

We’ve began to code the network part of the game. I think that by the middle of March we will have the basic possibility of holding matches, and it will allow us to play a rough but real game not in the html prototype but in Unity. Now we try to use PhotonServer as the lobby and game server. It’s too early to talk about anything else now. We are planning to take part in the DevGamm exhibition in March, to show off our combat system as close as possible to the final expected result.

Also, we’ve completely finalized our combat animation schedule (about 5 characters per month) and decided how we should correct the overall work on the game accordingly – everything that concerns recording sessions, actors, references and integration.

Since the previous issue of our devblog we drew 5 characters, animated 6 dialogue portraits of heroes and completed the rotoscope of 2 ones. Also we drew 2 combat scenes (both from the city of Ursus). One of them is the constructor that will simplify the composing of multiplayer scenes and other city battles for us. Sergey Malitsky has completed 27th chapter of the novel (there are 30 of them totally) and we already know in detail how the story will end. And, at the end of the day, I’ll give you a little spoiler: as it turns out, Frisia has an undercover agent among your allies and if the player does not realize who it is, he will shout: “Le Roi est mort“.

By Nikolay Bondarenko
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February 7th, 2017, 19:32
Ok folks, we have some more visual stuff coming for you this week. Please meet captain Krieger!

A native of Albus, he knows everyone in this city and everyone knows him. A hereditary military man, he has endured all the joys and sorrows of service in a garrison. The joys and sorrows of marriage too. That’s why he’s not very patient when he’s away from his home – and doesn’t mince his words either, including the words he uses to describe his mother-in-law. The younger soldiers under his care respect Krieger for his skills as a warrior and his ability to transfer these skills to others.
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February 10th, 2017, 22:33
There have been a lack of female characters in our posts lately, so please meet Philia, a mysterious herbalist and healer!

Born as a daughter of a local witсh doctor, she lives in a large unremarkable house in the centre of Ursus. It has been more than 50 years since the last time anyone saw her mother, and the real age of Philia is also a subject to discussion. An old tavern-keeper Mat made multiple attempts to marry her (hoping to put hands on Philia's mansion), but all of those attempts failed in a very odd way: the taverner usuallly woke up in his bed with a large bruise on his buttock, and his memories of the past day were quite faint.
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February 14th, 2017, 21:33
Saint Valentine's Day is an excellent occasion to emphasize the dourness of living in the world of Ash of Gods by posting an image of warrior instead of typical Valentine card. Only the tough storytelling with constant fight for life!



This warrior is a native of Gellia, the highland country on North-West from Albus. Does he look like a hard-boiled highlander?
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February 18th, 2017, 15:30
This looks awesome! How linear is this game? Something along the lines of the Banner Saga?
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