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Default Monomyth - A first person action RPG/dungeon crawler [In Development]

May 10th, 2017, 17:50


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Description


There once was a guy who played King's Field 20 years after its first release and thought: "Wow… this is really cool! But I wish it had better controls and better combat and was much, much prettier."

I've been developing a free movement dungeon crawler for a bit more than a year now.
It is called Monomyth and was originally planned as a pretty simple King's Field clone, but in my "research" for the project a whole lot of other games also left an impression (such as the original Ultima Underworld, Arx Fatalis, Thief, System Shock, etc). So here we are…

Key features:
Development focuses/focused so far on the following aspects:
  • Free Character Movement: No grid based movement. Monomyth is a free movement dungeon crawler like King's Field, Ultima Underworld or Arx Fatalis.

  • Action oriented real-time combat: At the end of the day Monomyth is an RPG with character- and item-stats having a strong impact on how well you do in battle. However it is also strongly dependent on the player's skill. You have to actively swing your blade, cast spells, dodge, parry and block. Weapons have certain movesets, range and the combat is based around a stamina system the player has to keep an eye on. There are also optional lock-on mechanics. This is probably unusual for a first person RPG but during playtests it worked really well with melee combat. Ranged combat and spells will not allow lock-on however.

  • Blades, bows and spells: The game currently features the three basic RPG archetypes - Warrior, Thief & Mage. There are several melee weapons, certain stealth mechanics and obviously spell casting. I'm not sure how restrictively I will separate these three in the end though since there is….

  • Free character development: Means no classes. The character is developed by investing points into character stats. But, much like in Ultima Underworld, the player is not necessarily bound to a certain archetype/playstyle. However if you sprinkle your EXP all over your character sheet you will very likely end up as a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.

  • Enemy Infighting: This is a nice detail I introduced in the AI a while ago. Enemies actually belong to "factions". Certain factions don't like each other much and as a result they'll fight each other whenever they meet (it's also the code base for a "Charm" spell - as seen in Dark Messiah).

  • Dynamic Encounters: Enemy spawns in Monomyth are bound to resting at certain checkpoints within the world. This activates the respawn mechanism, which is slowly (not necessarily all at once) replenishing monster spawns, spawning traps throughout the map and even unique monsters. The monster spawns themself will feature variations, so there might be a single monster spawning, several monsters, or maybe even a patrol.

  • (For the lack of a better word) Metroidvania-styled world layout: Of course this game is one big dungeon crawler and to a certain extent it is separated into different areas or "floors" if you will. However, areas are strongly interconnected and finding for example a passage in one area might lead you to an unexplored part of another area. It is definitely not the "clearing out all monsters and moving on" type of level design. I want the areas to be more creative than that. My main goal here is to marry the horseshoe level design principle of e.g. Dark Souls with the extensive level design of Thief. Which is quite a challenge, since the horseshoe principle is very much opposed to Looking Glass' more open design principle. The solution so far is to practice the horseshoe principle as a connector between areas, while the areas themself remain more open. So in a sense it is a lot like Ultima Underworld, except instead of stairs connecting areas you basically have a separate area that acts as a hub, which slowly opens more and more, the further you progress through the game.

  • Outdoor areas: While being a dungeon crawler, Monomyth will also feature outdoor areas. I thought that might be interesting.

  • High-tech medieval setting: This is probably the thing Thief had the biggest impact on. Monomyth is set in a medieval fantasy world. However primitive electronics and steam powered machines are very common. Dungeons are filled with pipes and electronic lights, castles are full with gears and mechanisms, enemies range from savage to what could be considered high-tech.

  • Deadly environments: This was a lot of "fun" in King's Field 4 (except for the invisible lava field right in the beginning). In Monomyth environments are quite hazardous. There is hot steam coming from leaking pipes, there are chambers filled with poisonous gas, electrical hazards, pitch black caves with steep cliffs and traps. Lot's of traps. So you always have to be on guard.

Screenshots:









I'm trying to get the game on Steam Greenlight by the 15th of May (we'll see how that works out). Unfortunately I have to prepone this entire process a little (mostly due to the current legal implications Steam Direct would have). Planned release is Q4 2018 (or 2019 - you know how it is). This year my focus will also be to release an alpha demo for all the good people to test, enjoy and play around with.

I'll use this thread to update you on the development, answer questions and take feedback.

You can also follow me on twitter if you want: https://twitter.com/rattower

Thanks for reading!
Last edited by RatTower; May 19th, 2017 at 01:07. Reason: added steam greenlight video
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May 23rd, 2017, 19:53
Monomyth was greenlit today!
Thank you for your support RPGWatch!

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June 28th, 2017, 10:59
I'm currently working on level persistence (e.g. items that have been picked up are actually gone on reloading an area, etc).
I realized I could easily add dropping items from the inventory into the world, where they'd stay indefinitely.

But this only makes sense if there's some kind of inventory management system in place, so here's the question:

https://strawpoll.com/s27yrg4

Which kind of inventory system do you prefer?
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June 28th, 2017, 12:19
Hey this looks great, good work. I missed your Green light campaign, I'm glad you made it. I'll keep tabs on your work!

PS - inventory management - I see the current winner in the poll is a weight free, infinite inventory like Skyrim. I hope you don't go down that route - proper inventory and resource management is part of the fun of dungeon crawlers for me, it forces you to make difficult decisions! But good luck with it whatever you decide.
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July 3rd, 2017, 17:05
Got a lot of stuff done this weekend.

Essentially saving and loading is working nicely. The system is very similar to Dark Souls and/or System Shock:
If you quit the game, you restart again at the same position in the world with all your progress saved. Decisions stick. There's no reloading (i.e. as in Dark Souls)
If you die you restart at the last "save point" with all of your progress saved (i.e. as in Dark Souls & System Shock).

I think that's a good formula for a game that basically extends on what King's Field did (which just had regular save points).

I also implemented inventory controls to drop items into the world.
So now you can collect stuff and then just litter the ground with it if that's what you wanna do.

It's all kept in the save state, so no object is ever lost unless you literally throw it into a lava pit. Still gotta think about that a bit when it comes to important quest/puzzle objects.
I also limited the inventory space. For now you got a slot based inventory with like 14 slots in the beginning and you can extend that by finding better backpacks (which are not yet in the game, but once I did the models for those that takes about 10 minutes to code the way it's currently set up).

This week I gotta think a bit about containers (chests, drawers, bags, barrels etc).

I'm wondering whether I should add an extra container interface (so you look into a chest, but it just opens another inventory view, where you pull items from the container into your backpack - this is pretty much the standard system in most RPGs) or if I should add "real" containers (so you actually open a chest in the game world and it really contains the 3d modells of the loot). The latter system is pretty rare. I think Dark Messiah had something like that, but I'm not even sure.
Problem with that system is: You can't lock a halberd into a chest. Same is true for all other bigger objects. Which is realistic I guess, but perhaps not what people might want. Also storing items becomes way more messy if there are no slot based containers.
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July 10th, 2017, 14:34
Got a good amount of work done this weekend.

Finished a treasure chest. Gonna add two more, for smaller items.

Also added a stateful blueprint concept, which basically allows me to save blueprint states in an easy way (stuff like keeping opened doors open after reload).

I wanted to add some lockpicking mechanics, however I created a fountain the player can drink from first.
In the end I want players to be able to draw water from those, revealing whether it is clean (healing stamina and health or mana) or if it's dirty (giving the players debuffs or poisoning them).
Probably gonna do that today.

Hopefully I'll soon find the time to do a full update with screenshots and everything. Anyway here's a fountain sculpture that will sprinkle water in your face. Or breath fire. Not sure yet:



(if you put your lips on the screen it will give you a little smooch)
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July 18th, 2017, 10:41
Added those smaller treasure chests

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/886296503400230913

Also made a crate with the same functionality for the more shady regions in the game. Anyway, this week I'll really add those lockpicking mechanics.

At the very least in the form of a simple dex check. Later possibly with more complex mechanics. We will see whether that makes it into the alpha.
Talking of which, I started designing the first area for that demo.
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July 18th, 2017, 10:49
Not sure how I missed this thread until now. This looks very promising. I was a huge fan of King's Field back in the day.

I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this.
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August 27th, 2017, 16:04
Not dead by the way.
Currently working on that alpha level and mechanics.
Also started adding gamepad support, for the full King's Field experience.

Talking of King's Field, I saw what Underworld Ascendant did with their logo, and made this for fun:



Kinda like a subtle hint or tribute. No idea if it will make it into the final game. Either way, here's a WIP screenshot of that new area:

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September 10th, 2017, 12:29
Some WIP screenshots of the area I'm currently working on (no detail pass yet)
Trying to make good use of some modular assets I made.







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September 14th, 2017, 10:39
The area I'm currently working on is coming along nicely. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to post another map overview. I want to have about a third of the area done by then, but we'll see.



Either way I hope the entire zone will be done by the end of October. After that I'll probably focus on making better animations and polishing the game logic a bit.
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September 17th, 2017, 15:27
Can't have enough secret treasures.

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March 5th, 2018, 20:11
Monomyth - The last few months 1/3

This place isn't up to date with the current development of Monomyth. So let me quickly get you people up to speed. Most of this stuff is hidden behind twitter links, where I normally post updates, sorry for that. Anyway, this is what happened over the last few months:

I started out making a couple of assets.



I then worked on character status effects:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/919385383045160966

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/919382876201897984

And more assets:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/919208630070730753

I also implemented a system for item combinations. That system will mostly be used for puzzles, but it can be used for crafting as well. For example for baking bread:



Of course I also made fitting kitchen assets for that:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/924331342866911232



I also made a test level

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/928545651285258240

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/931965062092378112

Carrying and throwing certain objects made it in too:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/932090199689060352

Then I switched to Unreal 4.18 which really changed development thanks to Unreal's new animation import.

Continued in part 2…
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March 5th, 2018, 20:14
Monomyth - The last few months 2/3

As I said, switching to Unreal 4.18 really changed development. Thanks to the new animation importer i could finally start working on new animations:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/949722815430889475

As a result I also started making assets for two handed weapons.




And for outdoor areas as well:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/944671413289484288

Here and there I also added things to existing systems. For example now you could also cook fish.



I also polished some scenes, to be roughly what I want visually from this project:









And then the big code rework came.

Continued in part 3…
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March 5th, 2018, 20:18
Monomyth - The last few months 3/3

So in january I realized I'd make my life a lot easier if I reworked core components of the code to prepare it for AI. And that is exactly what I did for the next few weeks. That and I also reworked the UI:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/957413165146497024

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/962405636985237504

But I also kept making new assets:



https://twitter.com/rattower/status/959945390446477313

And new weapons:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/964965633468391424

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/965250994320936960

And once all of that was nicely in place I started working on the AI. Which is where I am now:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/968314399487397888

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/967442776509083648

And from chaos like this…



I'm slowly moving to more organized enemies:

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/969301588333486080

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/970017785614127104

https://twitter.com/rattower/status/970035045594533888

And that's where we are now.
I guess I'll try keeping this thread up to date in the future.

Either way, thanks for reading!

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March 5th, 2018, 20:35
This game looks awful. Awful cool that is! Definitely my type of game. If it does well, have you thought about doing a sequel with open world areas?
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March 5th, 2018, 21:21
Depends on how we define open world
I like some open world games a lot, but most of them are smaller than what's normally considered "open world" today (for example Gothic 1 & 2 or Ultima 7).

Then - to me - games like Arx Fatalis are "open world" as well, despite the fact, they don't really feature any vast landscapes. Monomyth goes in a similar direction, taking notes from Dark Souls'/King's Field's world design and trying to marry that with Thief's open ended zone design.

I could imagine making another first person RPG that is more open world oriented (in the modern sense), but it would likely be under a different name.
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March 5th, 2018, 22:20
Awesome
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March 6th, 2018, 01:01
Originally Posted by RatTower View Post
Depends on how we define open world
I like some open world games a lot, but most of them are smaller than what's normally considered "open world" today (for example Gothic 1 & 2 or Ultima 7).
I much prefer the smaller open world games too. Lots of something, instead of a whole lot of nothing.
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March 13th, 2018, 20:27
You have some great ideas here! And the inspirations you mention are the best as well. The core concepts of Looking Glass Studios games Ultima Underworld, SS and Thief were the most fun as fr as rpg immersive elements. Any immersive sim type environment and object interactivity you could implement would be amazing.

Heres some ideas from the Ultima, thief, ss, Arx F. series , what are your thoughts chances of implementing some form of these? The more you could the more buzz and promotion you should recive from the fans of all those to.

-possibility of object damage, like breaking furniture
-flammable objects
-mist, smoke

-multi level rooms, caverns
-water filled passages, cavern-rooms, with swimming

npcs
-factions
-diplomacy options

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dungeon crawler, game development, indie game, king's field, rpg
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