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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Sui Generis: Exanima - Update 0.7.0

Default Sui Generis: Exanima - Update 0.7.0

July 11th, 2018, 11:29
A large update for Exanima brings new and improved content and better AI.

Exanima 0.7.0

NEW AND IMPROVED CONTENT

Two new levels have been added to the game, featuring all new content, and also music. With these maps we've pushed for a new level of quality, detail and variety, taking advantage of new engine features and development tools. The first 3 levels of the game have also undergone extensive changes and improvements, an updated tileset and a lot of all new exclusive items.

Over 130 new items have been added across the game, including new item types like bevors and hats. We've also remastered or replaced many assets to better fit the game's current level of quality and aesthetics.

COMPANIONS

In this update you can meet your first potential long term ally. This provides a whole new dynamic and a fresh way to experience the game.

This was an important first step for the NPC interactions to come. With Exanima's inherent complexity, creating a competent companion was not simple. He is an asset to any player, and we will continue to make companions smarter and more self-sufficient until they feel almost like equals. We will expand on possible interactions, and importantly dialogue, which we can also use to better expose the story and lore.

Your companion will gain experience and learn new skills, much as you do. They will also learn to fight better, become more confident and undergo some other changes in their character.

DIALOGUE SYSTEM

Dialogue makes a first appearance in this update. We are still only using dialogue in a basic capacity, but it will soon become a much more prominent and important feature in the game.

Our goal with dialogue is something fully real-time and interactive. It is not a separate mode of interaction, but a part of it. You can talk while performing any action. Dialogue can have practical applications, you can point at something or someone, even while walking, and say something relevant. Tactical applications during combat can also be part of the same dialogue system. People can randomly witness the conversations of others, and perhaps join in, or simply learn something. There are countless applications, it is an implicit part of the world and how you interact with it.

NEW DYNAMIC BALANCER

You may have noticed that Exanima's world has been suspiciously flat. Our characters have not been good at moving or keeping their balance otherwise, and when characters lost balance they'd flop like a sack of potatoes.

This is no longer the case. The "balancer" is what has allowed characters make dynamic movements in combat and stay upright. This was overhauled to deal with more difficult ground, such as stairs or rocky slopes, and it is now active all the time, not just in combat. This new balancer does more than just upright movement, it functions even when tumbling or cartwheeling through the air, allowing characters to control more motions and regain their footing dynamically. Characters can now trip, slip, jump off ledges and generally deal with loss of balance without just falling over and resetting. Character can also recover quicker depending on the severity of the fall.

With this come various improvements to movement both in and out combat. In combat movement is now faster and also more responsive, allowing characters to quickly move in new directions without having to shuffle their feet as much.

ALL THINGS AI

Since we began our journey to make a game, our most ambitious goals have been with AI. What we're trying to do, as much as possible, is that if you imagine an approach to a situation, or a way you can modify or prevent an outctome, you probably can. For example, say you were promised a reward, but rather than complete the task, you decide to find out where the reward is stored and steal it. Something like this would not normally be possible, and so called "AI" is notoriously bad if you veer off the scripted path.

There is much more we want in terms of dynamic interactions with AI, but we've been focused on core gameplay features, and have neglected huge aspects of the game, for too long. In order to complete Exanima's story and content, we had to introduce major new features, like intelligent friendly NPCs, dialogue and mind thaumaturgy. If we tried to build these features without the proper foundations we'd ultimately get nowhere. We've now taken the time (perhaps too long!) to completely rebuild every aspect of our AI.

CORE AI FUNCTIONS

We want all our AI encounters to appear like living, thinking beings, not mindless drones that blindly perform a specific task. They are driven by emotions and other states of mind, they have varying personalities, they remember interactions with others and form relationships, they have social and non selfish behaviours.

You might startle someone unexpectedly and cause them to become scared or agitated, but they may calm and reassess the situation. They might defend themselves, but not wish to harm their attacker and behave accordingly. They can understand a stranger fighting in their defence, and may be grateful. They might act to defend someone they care about. They can even, potentially, form social groups among themselves. These are some simple examples of things that are not predefined game mechanics, but that occur organically as part of the simulation. Players and NPCs are treated in the same exact way, based on observable behaviour alone. There is no cheating, no making decisions based on things they shouldn't know.

This is basically our artificial brain, emotions, memory, decision making, impulsive behaviour. But what of more structured and complex tasks? If we were to now simply override it with strictly scripted behaviours, it would become irrelevant.

THE ROLE SYSTEM

As soon as you tell NPCs to behave in a certain way and also give the player freedom to act as they please, things can start to go very wrong. It is a very difficult problem, and the less restrictions you place on the player, and the mechanics of the game world, the more difficult it becomes. Player and mechanical freedom are at the core of our design philosophy, we have spent years devising a solution to these problems, a solution we call the "role system".

"Roles" are basically collections of traits and behaviours. They can be specific and character defining, such as "King of Ardent" or very situational such as "person crossing bridge", they can also be relational, such as "friend" or "customer". They can be real or assumed, they can influence personalities, spread information, reputations and conflicts, and model various real world behavioural effects. Single characters have many roles assigned at once, they come and go, change and evolve.

There is a lot of complexity behind how roles function and interact, but the core concept is that we can keep building our library of roles, to expand on how characters can behave, adapt to situations, perceive and relate to eachother, and use the same tools and systems to also define more specific behaviours, without locking characters into situationally inappropriate ones.

This will be a long journey, but is essentially now a matter of content. Already now the role system is modelling all our behaviour, and we have the means and tools to keep building more.

AND MORE AI

Still falling under the AI umbrella, we felt it was time to address other things too. Combat AI as been completely rebuilt, it is more varied and much more tactical, allowing the most skilled AI to keep experienced players on their toes and not just fall into simple but effective patterns. It can be proficient with different fighting styles and weapons, and it is much more careful about accidentally hitting allies. Pathfinding has also been updated to negotiate more complex environments, avoid moving objects and more.


These are all complex systems, and all fresh from the production line. It will no doubt take us some time to iron out the kinks and especially to actually take advantage of new features. But we now have a true solid foundation, and an array of tools at our disposal to create better and more interesting AI.

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July 11th, 2018, 13:00
Wait is this the game I helped kickstart or is this the game they are doing first? This company can kiss my A$$!
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July 11th, 2018, 13:13
Originally Posted by Hastar View Post
Wait is this the game I helped kickstart or is this the game they are doing first? This company can kiss my A$$!
No this is the prequel of Sui Generis as the main game has been put on hold as these games are to ambitious. I also agree with you about what the developer can do.
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July 11th, 2018, 13:14
i kickstarted a lot of games like 6-7 years ago, including this one (+ a few that never even came out, so i'm not particularly mad about this one taking time..).

i played that arena thingy like 2-3 years ago, it was really great once you got the hang of it.
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July 11th, 2018, 13:16
Yes but this is the game he got for 'free' because he kickstarter that 'other' game many years ago
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and Yea I'm amazed they are still working on it.

Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
No this is the prequel of Sui Generis as the main game has been put on hold as these games are to ambitious. I also agree with you about what the developer can do.
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July 11th, 2018, 13:27
I was reading the older threads and realized this developer hasn't posted any public updates in 1.5 years or 500 days. You have to use their restricted website just for backers for info as they cant stand getting negative feedback. Hilarious really.

Anyway let me know if either of these games get finished one day because hey Grimore was released eventually. Seems you have to admire some developers passion.
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Last edited by Couchpotato; July 11th, 2018 at 13:54.
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July 11th, 2018, 14:30
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I was reading the older threads and realized this developer hasn't posted any public updates in 1.5 years or 500 days. You have to use their restricted website just for backers for info as they cant stand getting negative feedback. Hilarious really.

Anyway let me know if either of these games get finished one day because hey Grimore was released eventually. Seems you have to admire some developers passion.
I backed So Generic too, but it was a huge mistake. The devs spent most of the money moving one of their guys to Europe iirc.
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July 11th, 2018, 14:30
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
I was reading the older threads and realized this developer hasn't posted any public updates in 1.5 years or 500 days. You have to use their restricted website just for backers for info as they cant stand getting negative feedback. Hilarious really.

Anyway let me know if either of these games get finished one day because hey Grimore was released eventually. Seems you have to admire some developers passion.
Negative feedback can crush newbie developers' motivation. Especially if the dev is learning the art of making games and can level-up in the future in his developer-character-class. Industry professionals or Schlemiels fully deserve negative feedback though. That's why I'm bombing inXile, Obsidian, Bioware and the rest of the rascals regularly. This is why The Amazing Mass Effect 1-3 Crew left Bioware, besides them burning out into charred skeletal husks. Just as they envisioned those poor wretched "husks", they finally became them.
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July 11th, 2018, 14:35
The original pitch and developer "promises" were so obviously out of proportion with reality - given the size of the team and the resources they were aiming for - that I never considered backing it.

I like ambition - but this felt more like a kid dreaming up features with absolutely no underpinning in terms of solutions or ways to realistically accomplish most of the goals.

If you understand game development, you would never have backed this game based on the information available.

It was like Star Citizen - except without the manpower, craftsmanship and money.
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July 11th, 2018, 15:26
At least it looks like we might actually GET a game out of all this, a year or two ago I would have said otherwise.
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July 11th, 2018, 15:35
It's alive!

I was sure it was dead.
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July 11th, 2018, 16:16
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Negative feedback can crush newbie developers' motivation. Especially if the dev is learning the art of making games and can level-up in the future in his developer-character-class. Industry professionals or Schlemiels fully deserve negative feedback though. That's why I'm bombing inXile, Obsidian, Bioware and the rest of the rascals regularly. This is why The Amazing Mass Effect 1-3 Crew left Bioware, besides them burning out into charred skeletal husks. Just as they envisioned those poor wretched "husks", they finally became them.
While I agree about industry professionals I don't believe Indie developers should be immune to negativity. As gamers by definition are a fickle bunch to appease.
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
At least it looks like we might actually GET a game out of all this, a year or two ago I would have said otherwise.
Despite my griping the original Sui Generis sounded promising with the new take on world quests and combat. I just knew it would be to ambitious for a small studio.
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July 11th, 2018, 16:17
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Negative feedback can crush newbie developers' motivation. Especially if the dev is learning the art of making games and can level-up in the future in his developer-character-class. Industry professionals or Schlemiels fully deserve negative feedback though. That's why I'm bombing inXile, Obsidian, Bioware and the rest of the rascals regularly.
agreed. we need to be mindful with younguns, just as u dont bash children like u do adults. its hard to adapt to the context sometime, but we must do it.
yes. bomb big companies to hell with criticism ^_^
and hurrah for progress
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July 11th, 2018, 16:25
I can see where the negativity comes from.

Still, they produced something and it has novelty value.

Also, I'm glad I backed this, and NOT Star Citizen.

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July 11th, 2018, 17:49
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
It's alive!

I was sure it was dead.
You beat me to it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc

Well I'm glad to see they are still making progress. I'm curious to know if the "Balancer" improves the combat experience significantly. Perhaps somebody could give it a try and let us know?
Last edited by rjshae; July 11th, 2018 at 18:21.
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July 11th, 2018, 18:20
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
It's alive!

I was sure it was dead.
It is regularly streamed. Decent dungeon crawler.
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July 11th, 2018, 19:30
So this is still a thing… I thought the devs abandoned it to EA and fled to another dimension.
The first demo with all the physics flailing was interesting. Then nothing more happened.
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July 11th, 2018, 20:39
Damn - I'm a backer, yet Exanima isn't on my Steam. Have other backers been emailed a key?
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July 11th, 2018, 22:11
Sui Generis was always a ridiculous project advanced by hopelessly naive developers. I wanted them to succeed, but I sure as heck wasn't giving them any money - I would've given odds at maybe 5% to actually produce a full-featured game.

I honestly thought the project was defunct.
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July 11th, 2018, 22:18
Originally Posted by Moorkh View Post
Damn - I'm a backer, yet Exanima isn't on my Steam. Have other backers been emailed a key?
Hm, I dont think it was emailed. Guess you need an account with bare mettle.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects…/posts/1215107

http://www.baremettle.com/account/

I think you have to register with the email you used at kickstarter or something.
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