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Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest - All News

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Friday - August 23, 2019
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Wednesday - May 15, 2019
Thursday - April 25, 2019
Friday - April 12, 2019
Thursday - February 14, 2019
Thursday - December 13, 2018
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Tuesday - October 09, 2018
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Box Art

Friday - August 23, 2019

Druidstone - Level Editor & Modding Tools Released

by Silver, 11:19

A Level Editor & Modding Tools are now available for Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest.

Druidstone has just been updated to version 1.2.0 with major new features: level editor and modding support. With the tools you can build new levels, add new weapons and equipment, create custom monsters and abilities. When you’re ready publish your mod on Steam Workshop. With full Lua scripting support with over 2000 functions, the possibilities are almost endless.

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Saturday - June 08, 2019

Druidstone - Impressions Video

by Silver, 12:28

Terminally Nerdy took a closer look at Druidstone: Secret of the Menhir Forest.

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Welcome to Episode 4 of Indie Impressions! A series where I take a look at Indie and Non AAA titles giving you my first impressions after at least 2 hours of gameplay. Today we are looking at the Fantasy Turn Based Strategy RPG known as Druidstone: The Secret of Menhir Forest, by the creators of Legend of Grimrock!

Saturday - May 25, 2019

Druidstone - Review @ RPG Site

by Hiddenx, 20:19

RPG Site has reviewed Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest:

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest Review

When some Almost Human alumni announced the formation of Ctrl Alt Ninja and their debut release Druidstone: The Secret of Menhir Forest, I originally wasn't really aware of the project. I hadn't really had any experience with the Legend of Grimrock series, so this new studio title wasn't originally on my radar. However, under a new name came a slight shift in genre, and Druidstone ended up as a tactical style RPG in the vein of Divinity: Original Sin instead of something more similar to the Grimrock games. I eventually found that Druidstone manages to put its own spin on some of the ideas of contemporary grid-based CRPGs, and makes a pretty good entry-point for the subgenre overall.
[...]
Druidstone is a perfect entry point for RPG fans that are interested in this style of tactical game without having to invest several dozens of hours in a longer experience that they may not enjoy. It doesn't offer a lot in terms of unique themes or robust storytelling, but it's balanced out by an impressive variety of encounter designs and flexibility for different playstyles. On top of these strengths, it also offers some surprisingly good musical scores and environmental art. It's a strong overall package that, while brief, was a joy to play through.

Score: 8/10

Sunday - May 19, 2019

Druidstone - IndieGameWebsite Review

by Silver, 06:23

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest was reviewed by IndieGameWebsite.

Characters each have their own progression of levels, gear, and abilities. Equipment and abilities can be customized and upgraded in-between missions. Gold buys you shiny new gear, whilst abilities are acquired as you level up. Upgrades may feel minor at first, but they make a big difference. There’s a satisfying power curve throughout the story, making you genuinely feel stronger and more capable the more you play.

Gems are the most important part of your customization, however. Gems earned during missions allow you to enhance abilities and equipment. They’re a finite resource, and each one is a valuable prize, so where you choose to slot them is critical. They’re also shared across your party, so you’ll want to be sure to spread them out evenly.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Thursday - May 16, 2019

Druidstone - Review @ IndianNoob

by Hiddenx, 21:16

IndianNoob has reviewed Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest:

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest Review (PC) - Against All Odds

Detailed Review

Well-made tactical RPGs are hard to come by these days. In fact, the last full-fledged tactical RPG I played after 2015’s Blackguards was Pathway and that didn’t go down so well. But when I learned that the creators of Legend of Grimrock that breathed new life into modern blobbers were making a new tactical RPG, I couldn’t be more excited. Their latest outing, called Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is out on now Steam and your boy got to dabble a little more than 20 hours in the game. Is it good, is it bad and should you buy it? Well, read on below!

[...]

VERDICT
Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is a challenging, satisfying and well-made tactical experience fully worth the price tag. The combat is excellent, there are a lot of skills to fiddle around with and the game keeps you on your toes at all times. Just don’t expect a fully fledged RPG with extensive customization. There are a few balancing issues and some frustrating mission structures that need fixing, but nothing a few patches and the promised mod support can’t fix.

Score: 7.7/10

Wednesday - May 15, 2019

Druidstone - Interview @PC Gamer

by Silver, 22:27

PC Gamer talked to the developers of Druidstone about moving on from Legend of Grimrock and the new game's inspirations.

The Legend of Druidstone

For Druidstone to be born, The Legend of Gimrock had to die. Or at least be shelved for the time being.

"Grimrock 1 and 2 took over four years to make, and we poured our hearts and souls into those games," says Juho Salila, art director for Druidstone and the Grimrock series. "It would be a massive task to make Grimrock 3 and improve the game as Grimrock 2 improved Grimrock 1. We needed a break from that world." The team at Almost Human began to break up, with many developers moving on to other projects.

"At some point Petri [Häkkinen, designer and programmer on Druidstone and the Grimrock series] and I started talking about prototyping games just for fun," says Salila. "After doing several prototypes it got more serious and we started a new company [Ctrl Alt Ninja] to make Druidstone. We didn’t feel the pressure of doing another Grimrock game with the new company."

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Druidstone - Released

by Hiddenx, 18:43

The tactical turn-based RPG Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest has been released:

RPG Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

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Evil is afoot in Menhir Forest. The druids, the caretakers of the woods, are troubled: their archdruid has disappeared under deeply suspicious circumstances, and a cancerous growth of purple cysts is spreading, carrying corruption and sickness wherever they appear. It takes a special kind of hero to save the day. Or maybe more than one.

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest
is a labor of love from the co-creators of the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock series. Druidstone is a tactical, single-player, turn-based roleplaying game, which combines the best qualities of modern RPGs with the elegance of tactical boardgames. Every action, every turn counts as you control your party of heroes through handcrafted, challenging missions with varying, and often surprising, objectives.

Set in a unique fantasy world, Druidstone is filled with ancient lush forests, standing stones, snow-topped mountains, deadly creatures and puzzle-ridden ruins. And somewhere in the middle of all of this, caught in the flow of events, are Aava, the archdruid's daughter, who must now shoulder his responsibilities, Leonhard, a warden with a mysterious past and a lethal destiny, and Oiko, the failed Red Priest who is living proof that one may be very smart without being particularly wise. Along the way, they meet companions and villains, whose unique personalities and abilities make every encounter memorable.

Key Features

  • A tactical turn-based and tile-based battle system where every action and every turn counts.
  • Upgrade the abilities of your heroes – your upgrade choices have a dramatic impact on the characters' capabilities!
  • Obtain upgrade gems by completing missions and discovering hidden treasures.
  • 35 challenging, hand-crafted missions with playtimes ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.
  • Solve devious non-combat puzzle levels to gain extra upgrade resources.
  • Find lost shipments to gain access to the best gear in Steelface's Emporium of Curios.
  • A gripping, fantastic story of love, death and responsibility centered around the main characters of Aava, Leonhard and Oiko.
  • A unique fantasy setting that combines the best elements from western RPGs, JRPGs and tactical boardgames in unexpected ways.
  • Play custom missions created by others, or make your own campaigns with the Druidstone Level Editor (available as a post-release update).
  • Total playtime ranging from 15 to 20 hours.


Thanks henriquejr!

Thursday - April 25, 2019

Druidstone - Releasing May 15th

by Silver, 22:10

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest will release May 15th.

Are you excited about Druidstone? Are you in the market for a beautifully hand-crafted game made by a small team of dedicated professionals, with the kind of turn-based gameplay that is custom-designed to tell your brain to ramp up that dopamine production? Are you a savvy customer who knows a good deal when they see it and wants to save a cool 10% on the purchase price?

Good! Then you should be pleased to know that the release of Druidstone is upon us! More specifically, Druidstone will be released in just three weeks, on May 15th and we are launching pre-orders today! That’s right, if you pre-order now you will get both a Steam key and a DRM-free standalone version with a 10% discount. You will also receive a special pre-order bonus, a free copy of a digital book, featuring concept art, behind-the-scenes information and other material from the making of Druidstone. The book will be delivered to you two weeks after the game’s release on May 31st and will be sold separately at $4.99.

To celebrate the milestone we have also released a new trailer. As we are a tiny team of just four full time developers, we don’t have the luxury of having a marketing team or even just one person dedicated to PR. In fact, all of us are busy polishing the game. That’s why we’re asking for your help. Please consider telling about Druidstone to your friends, families and on the web. We would appreciate it very much!

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Key Features:
- A tactical turn-based and tile-based battle system where every action and every turn counts
- Upgrade the abilities of your heroes
– your upgrade choices have a dramatic impact on the characters' capabilities!
- Obtain upgrade gems by completing missions and discovering hidden treasures
- Challenging, hand-crafted missions with playtimes ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes
- Solve devious non-combat puzzle levels to gain extra upgrade resources
- Find lost shipments to gain access to the best gear in Steelface's Emporium of Curios
- A gripping, fantastic story of love, death and responsibility centered around the main characters of Aava, Leonhard and Oiko
- A unique fantasy setting that combines the best elements from western RPGs, JRPGs and tactical boardgames in unexpected ways
- Play custom missions created by others, or make your own campaigns with the Druidstone Level Editor (available as a post-release update)

Friday - April 12, 2019

Druidstone - Into Beta

by Silver, 06:47

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest has entered beta.

Druidstone has reached beta!

Having worked super hard on the game for the past weeks, we are proud to announce that Druidstone has hit beta and is well on its way to release this Spring. Before you ask, the beta will be a closed one and we will work with a few chosen betatesters we know. This has worked well in the past and we’d like to continue the tradition. Below is an official press release we just sent out. We’ll blog more about the beta and about recent happenings on the development side later this week.

Until then!

set piece

### DRUIDSTONE BETA PRESS RELEASE ###

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest has reached beta!

ESPOO, FINLAND – APRIL 10, 2019. Indie game developer Ctrl Alt Ninja Ltd., founded by the co-creators of the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock games, is proud to announce that their upcoming tactical RPG, Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is getting close to launch. By reaching beta, the game now includes all game features, enemies and levels present in the final game. “Druidstone is a brand new IP for us and we are excited to see how the fans of Grimrock will react to our take on the turn-based formula,” says Juho Salila (co-founder/artist). “The game is already very near shipping quality and the feedback we get from beta testers will allow us to polish every aspect of the game until everything is perfect and shining,” continues Petri Häkkinen (co-founder/designer-programmer). The beta will be closed, with access given to a carefully selected group of people. Keeping the beta closed allows the developers to personally interact with the testers, and thus get more accurate feedback.

Ctrl Alt Ninja has been working on the game in various forms for four years. The success of the creators’ previous titles provided the team the luxury of trying out different game ideas and working on several prototypes before they decided on Druidstone: the deeply tactical turn-based game of their dreams.

Druidstone, to be released in Spring 2019 for Windows, is a labor of love for its makers, who grew up playing old school computer and tabletop games. A tactical, single-player, turn-based roleplaying game, Druidstone combines the best qualities of modern RPGs with the elegance of tactical boardgames, presented in lush, colorful graphics that make its fantasy world come to life. Every action counts, and careful tactical thinking is a must, as players fight their way through the game’s painstakingly hand-crafted missions, which are as beautiful as they are challenging.

The peace and quiet of Menhir Forest is threatened by a cancerous corruption that spreads through it. Caught in the flow of events are Aava, the missing archdruid’s daughter, who must now shoulder her father’s responsibilities, Leonhard, a Warden of the forest with a mysterious purpose, and Oiko, the failed Red Priest who is living proof that one may be very smart without being particularly wise. Along the way, they meet companions and villains, whose unique personalities and abilities make every encounter memorable.

 

Get ready to venture forth and uncover the secrets of the Menhir Forest!

Thursday - February 14, 2019

Druidstone - Randomness

by Silver, 06:57

A new update for Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest focuses on randomness.

Randomness

First of all apologies for the long break since the last blog update. Unfortunately the realities of game development, or really the crunch mode where we have been for the past months, has meant that we had to sacrifice updating the blog in order to concentrate fully on development. Now as we are gearing towards beta and finally the launch, we’d like to get to blogging more often… Well, let’s see how that goes!

Ok, that thing sorted out, let’s talk about today’s subject, which is randomness as a game design concept and how it affects Druidstone. Randomness can be found in many places and in many forms in a game. For example, are levels fixed or randomly generated (tried that, didn’t work for us)? Are combat values such as hit chance, damage, damage reduction and so on random numbers or fixed? Are enemies in levels randomized? What about loot drops and items? Is enemy AI based on random behavior or do they follow strict deterministic rules? Each of these questions can be answered independently, so you end up with a design space with a large number of different combinations, each with their own feel and effect on gameplay.

Even if it would be feasible to test every possible combination (it’s NOT), it’s not clear cut which particular combition is the best. So at this point it’s the job of the game developer to put the game designer hat on and apply some good game design principles… which usually really means making “intelligent guesses” based on the game designer’s preferences and experiences!

One interesting thought experiment is how far can you push on the extremes. What if everything was purely random? That would probably be a very chaotic experience, and a poor match for our goal of making a deeply tactical game. A more appropriate question in our case would be: what would a game without any random factors be like, where everything except the players input is basically predetermined? On the surface several games seem to be like that. For example, games like Into the Breach (an absolute masterpiece btw!), chess and Solitaire seem to have no randomness. But looking deeper even these games have randomness. In Into the Breach enemy moves seem to be randomly determined, which leads to surprising moments. In chess the decisions of the opponent, how he or she moves the pieces, while not necessary determined by a random process, provide unpredictability for the other player. In Solitaire the deck of cards is in a random order. The point of randomness in games is to produce unexpected events because unpredictability and being surprised is fun. I believe all games have some sort of randomness built in. If they don’t they cease to be games and become pure puzzles. In fact, a definition of a puzzle could be “a game without random elements” (this definition is problematic though: defining a game is even harder problem).

Ok, what does this all got to do with Druidstone? Hold on, we are getting there! For Druidstone the most important design decisions we have to make regarding randomness are:

1. Are the levels fixed or randomly generated?
2. Combat values (hit chance, damage, etc.): fixed or not?
3. Fixed or random loot?
4. Should enemies follow strict rules or be based on random numbers?

There are others but I think these are the most important ones, which have the biggest impact on gameplay.

Random level generation we have already scrapped and this has been covered in previous blog posts.

For the combat rules, we have actually tried both random and fixed variations. The initial design, following our initial gut feeling, was to make combat values, like damage and to-hit, randomly varying like in most RPGs. But once we tried constant values and set hit chance to always be 100%, the nature of the combat changed. Most importantly combat without random modifiers support planning and tactics better and using hero abilities in combos is more practical because you know the outcome of your actions. Druidstone does not have an initiative system, so you can activate your heroes in any order and interleave actions of your heroes any way you want. This combined with the no random numbers approach to combat rules turns the battles into sort of mini-puzzles, which we find more interesting than statistical approach. Using your limited resources and abilities becomes an integral part of solving these puzzles. For example, the thought process while playing could be “Ok, gee, there’s no way I can defeat that Dark Knight with high armor value… Hmm… maybe if Leonhard first charges and pushes him to Oiko’s range, then Oiko can teleport the Dark Knight on that trap, which explodes at the end of heroes round. But wait! To do that Aava needs to clear these critters first because they are blocking Oiko…” And so on. Written like this it may sound complicated, but with aids such as visualizing the outcome of attacks, enemy statistics being open information and being able to see enemy reaches, it becomes intuitive and natural.

[...]

Thursday - December 13, 2018

Druidstone - Preview @Rock Paper Shotgun

by Silver, 11:29

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest was previewed by Rock Paper Shotgun.

The last thing I was expecting Druidstone: The Secret Of The Menhir Forest to remind me of was a deck-builder. Not least because it doesn’t feature any decks. And yet, there’s something about this deeply tactical isometric RPG, from Legend Of Grimrock’s creators, that contains the same spirit of gradually gaining a deeper and more refined understanding of a limited set of tools, through repeated failure, and incremental improvement.

This is at first glance a very traditional turned-based RPG – much as Grimrock recalled the glory days of the first-person dungeon crawler, this visually suggested memories of late-90s BioWare-ish battling. But playing it, it quickly becomes apparent this isn’t going to be a game that lets you spam your most powerful attacks at repeated mobs, but rather something that’s going to demand a lot more planning, a lot more forethought. This is going to be tough.

[...]

Friday - November 16, 2018

Druidstone - New Trailer

by Silver, 08:26

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest has a new trailer and is aiming at a spring 2019 release.

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Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is a labor of love from the makers of the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock series. Druidstone is a tactical, single-player, turn-based roleplaying game, which combines the best qualities of modern RPGs with the elegance of tactical boardgames. Every action, every turn counts as you control your party of heroes through handcrafted, challenging missions with varying objectives.

Get ready to venture forth and uncover the secrets of the Menhir Forest!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/954650/Druidstone_The_Secret_of_the_Menhir_Forest/

http://druidstone-game.com/

Thanks daveyd!

Tuesday - October 09, 2018

Druidstone - Now in Alpha

by Silver, 02:26

Druidstone: Secret of the Menhir Forest has reached Alpha status.

Druidstone reaches alpha!

We are glad to announce that Druidstone has just reached alpha milestone! Alpha in our terminology means that the game can now be played from the beginning to the end and all major features have been implemented. Sure, there are some rough corners and the fat and variety is still missing (more equipment, abilities and the like) but the main campaign is now there. It’s always a special moment to play through a game in development for the first time, and our very own Juho has been fully occupied with that tasks for the past days. Luckily, he encountered only three crashes (which have been fixed already) and a game breaker which caused all equipped items to get lost in the middle of the campaign (oops!).

Next week we are going to regroup, go through the feedback gathered during the alpha test and form a battle plan how to get Druidstone to beta. We suspect the TODO-list is going to be rather hefty, but this is normal and nothing to worry about. 

To celebrate the milestone, below is a new screenshot from the alpha build, featuring Niederdorf Manor, an important location with a darker mood. The level is still missing beta level polish, but it already brings a nice variety to the wilderness and dungeon locations, don’t you think?

Niederdorf Manor

Wednesday - June 27, 2018

Druidstone - Summer Update

by Silver, 03:50

Druidstone: Secret of the Menhir Forest has a new update which announces the next goal of hitting Alpha.

Hot Summer 2018 Dev Update

Hi! How are you, folks? Here’s a quick dev update before we head off to summer holidays!

The last update is already from February and quite a lot has happened since, as you’d expect. For instance, the guys have been cranking out new enemies at stellar speed and the enemy gallery is now up to whopping 37 enemy types, not counting variations. That’s a lot considering our art team consist only of our dynamic duo, Juho and Jyri who are modeling and animating all the monsters!

On the gameplay side we’ve been concentrating on building the length of the game in the form of new levels. Our current goal is to hit alpha, which is perhaps the second most important milestone for us (the most important, of course, is shipping the game). Alpha in our terminology means getting the game to a state where it can be played from start to finish without nothing major missing. The sooner we can hit alpha the better, because then we have more time to polish everything and make the game really great. We are not quite in alpha yet, as we need more playable levels to get there. That said, the first half of the game is pretty much in playable condition and the very last segment of the game is also done. Now we just have to fill in the gaps and then we can start adding new playable characters, side missions, secrets, new abilities and items, etc.

On the coding side we have progressed on multiple fronts as well. For example, the game now has a proper main menu and savegame system. We have also added a world map mode, where the party travels between adventuring sites. All in all, with these additions it’s starting to feel like a real game!

Ability System

Among many other things the ability system has been worked on. We haven’t really explained how the ability system of Druidstone works, so here’s a quick intro. Characters can have two kind of abilities: passive and active. Every character starts with a basic selection of abilities and you buy new abilities and upgrade existing ones with XP. Instead of a more traditional mana/energy point system, every active ability can be used a certain number of times per battle. For instance, one of Leonhard’s starting abilities is Whirlwind and his level in that ability is initially 2, so he can use Whirlwind to attack all adjacent creatures up to 2 times per battle. Using XP he can upgrade the ability to next level to add 1 more use of the ability, or he could spend the XP to purchase an entirely different new ability. The characters themselves have no concept of level; the power level of heroes is entirely determined by the abilities and equipment they possess.

We like this system a lot because it’s very explicit and simple yet very flexible and powerful. You can see at a glance which abilities you can use and how many times. Choosing when to use abilities is pretty tricky and key to winning battles!

Parting Shot

Every now and then we receive questions about whether we have any crowd funding options or if there’s any other way to support the development of this game. It’s super, super awesome to hear that people are willing to support us in this way! Crowd funding is unfortunately rather tricky in Finland due to legislation and would anyway probably take too much time away from finishing the game. However, we have been talking internally about the possibility of having some sort of paid beta / early access for those who want to support us. We have never done one before, but we have had very successful closed betas for Grimrock. Naturally if we would have a beta program, the game would need to be near shipping quality (we being very allergic to showing unfinished stuff!). If successful, it would allow us to spend a bit more time polishing the game and perhaps have a bigger budget for outsourcing stuff like music and sound effects. It could potentially also help in increasing the awareness of this project before it ships. On the other hand the whole “paid beta” thing seem to have a negative connotation caused by some projects taking ages to get from beta to shipping.

Anyway, we haven’t decided anything yet, other than we are open to this option and we’d like to hear your opinion on this. So what do you think? If you are open to the idea and would be willing to pay for beta access, what would be a proper price range for a closed beta? Naturally those participating would get the shipping version at no extra cost. And if this sounds like a terrible idea, we’d like to know as well.

So there you have it. In parting I’ll just drop these two sneak peeks, one of a new playable character and another one from the ruins of Arken Temple deep in the Menhir Forest. Enjoy and have a great summer…or winter for those on the other side! See ya!

 


 

Monday - February 19, 2018

Druidstone - In Production

by Silver, 13:56

The latest blog post from Druidstone announces the start of production.

Druidstone moves from preproduction to production

This is big! As you may have been able to read between the lines, the development process of Druidstone hasn’t been all roses and butterflies. What I mean is that there has been some uncertainty with the project which has made it hard to communicate clearly what the game is truly about. That’s because up until now we have been in pre-production mode where we still try ideas and see what works and what doesn’t. But now that has changed. We know exactly what we are doing now.

That means that many things in the game which we have mentioned in the initial blog posts have changed. Actually, so much that the game as it is now and how it will develop in the coming months does not resemble the one displayed in old blog posts that much. Sure, we still have the same basic premise, the same environments, the top-down view and tactical combat, but the spirit of the game has changed. Has evolved, if you will. What started as a procedurally generated RPG has transformed and will transform into a much more tightly focused game.

So what exactly has changed? Here are the main points:

  • Procedural generation is gone. Long live the editor! Every map and every encounter will be handcrafted.
  • Focus on deep and tactical combat system. We want to make the combat really challenging so that every action you make every turn is a careful choice. Like playing chess with fantasy characters.
  • Focus on fun gameplay mechanics. We are not writing a book, not filming a movie, we are making a game, and gameplay is king.
  • No fluff. We want to make a tightly focused game, the same design principle we had with Grimrock. No filler content. Less is more. Or as Antoine de Saint-Exupery puts it famously “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

During the last year, iteration by iteration, the amount of procedurally generated content has been diminishing. At some point we had to ask ourselves what point does the procedural generation have anymore. That was when we started working on the editor, and after that pieces have started to click into place very fast. Last week was the real kicker and we could produce a near shippable quality 30 minute segment of the game in just a couple of days. That’s huge! It’s very rare that we can make such a big leap in just a couple of days.

But the main difference is really inside our heads. We now understand exactly what kind of game we really, really want to make. Sometimes when analysing the markets and looking at what kind of games are the topsellers, and worrying about the doom and gloom of indie developers, it’s easy to forget what your heart really desires. But if you listen carefully to yourself, you can perhaps hear a faint whisper. And if you keep listening to that inner voice, the voice gets louder, until it becomes a great booming voice that makes your bones shiver and skin tingle with determination: “YOU GOTTA MAKE THIS GAME!”

Listening to yourself is the greatest and most important skill a game developer can have. This is hugely important, but difficult to explain why. It’s the thing that guides us through the development process and tells us what the game needs and what it doesn’t. It’s the vision what the game is really about.

This is such an important milestone for us because now we have confidence in that this game will be great. It makes us want to pour all the love, sweat and energy we have to make the best game we absolutely can.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve only had a similar feeling once before. That was when I was working on Grimrock 1. Believe it or not, Grimrock 1 was made in less than a year, from scratch to release. Looking back at it, I still don’t quite get how we managed to do it in such a short time. But the answer is, of course, simple: we had a clear vision from the start and we worked our asses off to make it happen. Now that same feeling is back and we are really relieved, happy, motivated and excited at the same time. Making a game hasn’t been this fun in many years!

In hindsight maybe setting up this dev blog in such an early stage of the project wasn’t the wisest idea, but we have always striven to maintain an open, honest and transparent view into the dev process. Mainly because we think it’s the right thing to do but also because (hopefully!) it’s interesting to follow us as we tread on the uncharted paths.

That said, as we now move into production mode (making the game in our heads come true!), we are going to take a break from updating this blog. That’s because we want to focus 200% on the game we’re creating. But when we do come back (and we will!) we will present to you Druidstone, the real deal. That’s a promise!

Friday - January 12, 2018

Druidstone - Interview @ Enklawa

by Myrthos, 12:02

Enklawa interviewed Ctrl Alt Ninja's Juho Salila about Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest.

EnklawaNetwork.pl: Most members of Ctrl Alt Ninja worked in Almost Human studio on Legend of Grimrock games. Both of these games felt successful and gamers seemed to want more of it, but instead of sequel you decided to work on a completely different franchise as a completely different studio. The question everybody asks now is simple: „why”?

Juho Salila: Grimrock games were a huge success to us and we are aware that a lot of people would like to see Legend of Grimrock 3. We poured our hearts and souls into Grimrock 2 and the game has pretty much all we want in a dungeon crawler. Making Grimrock 3 right after Grimrock 2 would have felt that we would be repeating ourselves, so that's why we decided that a small break from game development would be nice to have. During the break we could charge our creative batteries and gather ideas for a new game. Time passed and when Petri [Ed. Note: Häkkinen, one of the designers of the original Grimrock] and I felt the itch for making a new game, some members of the original Grimrock team were already tied with another projects. Because not everyone was involved, it was natural to start a new studio called Ctrl Alt Ninja. Currently Ctrl Alt Ninja has three members of the original Grimrock team and it may be possible that some other familiar faces will jump on board if we can sort out the schedules. At Ctrl Alt Ninja we started prototyping new game ideas and finally after seven game prototypes we ended up with Druidstone. Druidstone combines the best parts of RPGs, boardgames and tactical combat games that we love so much.

EN: Grimrock games gained you a lot of fans eager to play your next game. Have you ever thought about using this power for a crowdfunding purpose?

JS: Yes, we've thought about crowdfunding, but Finnish legislation makes crowdfunding a bit tricky and you can't start Kickstarter campaign in Finland. While crowdfunding may get you started, it's still a lot of work when done properly and all that work is taken away from actual game development.

Sunday - December 24, 2017

Druidstone - Christmas Update

by Silver, 06:34

The Druidstone team delivers a mega update in time for Christmas. There is news on a level editor, some in-game assets are shown and there is a battle music teaser to listen to.

CHRISTMAS MEGA-UPDATE!

Ho ho ho! Welcome to the Druidstone development MEGA-UPDATE! As they say, time flies when you’re having fun, but it’s still hard to believe three months(!) have passed since the last blog update. So what have been up to lately? Well, many things, glad you asked!

Druidstone Editor

For instance, we now have a full fledged level editor, which allows us to make much more detailed levels. A year ago, when the game design was more heavily oriented towards procedurally generated content, we thought that we would not need a level editor at all. The levels were supposed to be mostly generated with some manually crafted rooms thrown in. But as development progressed, we felt the need to make more and more hand crafted locations and the need for a proper level editor arose. We will still keep adding new features to the editor, but as it is now, it’s ready for some prime time and we can start making new content with it.

Druidstone editor

Some highlights of the Druidstone editor:

– Seamless integration to the game, so we can start playing the edited level immediately by pressing a button, and also summon up the editor whenever we’re playing the game.

– Tools for quickly painting objects, e.g. trees, plants, grass, on the ground with mouse strokes.

– Heightmap and texture painting tools, including configurable brushes and smoothing.

– Compared to the editor we made for Legend of Grimrock, everything is now much more wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get). For example, with the Grimrock editor you couldn’t see the effect of painting dungeon walls on the grid unless you hit the play button. Now we can just paint the walls and you immediately see them.

– Multi-level undo/redo. Pretty basic thing but nonetheless crucial to have.

More monsters!

Apart from the editor we also have made a bunch of new monsters, some of which have been featured in our Twitter feed. Here’s the screenshot of the Basilisk and some others behind the scenes material, in case you have missed them. We’ll probably keep updating Facebook and Twitter more frequently than this blog, so if you’re not already following us on social media and have been missing our updates, you know what to do 

[...]

Oh, and talking about the new content, check out that new location and environment set above that we have been working on. It brings to the game much needed variation to the summery forests and dungeons you have been so far. And as I write this, Juho is already working on yet another completely new environment, which we’ll feature later as the work progresses. As you can probably guess from the screenshot, the world of Druidstone, the Menhir Forest is a magical place with several different kinds of areas with unique feel to them.

Battle music teaser

Some other highlights of development lately are the new outstanding musical masterpieces we have received from Scoring Helsinki. When done properly, the music really is at least half of the soul of any game, and the guys at Scoring Helsinki really know how to pull the right strings (pun intended!) and constantly surprise us with new awesome pieces. Receiving a new music drop from them feel always like opening a christmas present, so we thought it would be proper to share some of the fun with you guys! So enjoy this small glimpse into the musical side of Druidstone. It’s still work in progress, i.e. not fully mastered to the quality of the final version, but here it is, a small teaser of the battle music:

[...]

We also have added fourth playable character to the game and it’s unlike any of the other characters we have. But this MEGA-UPDATE is already getting long and the holidays are luring us in with the promises of feasts, winter wonderlands, red fat bearded men, presents and all…

So there you have it! The Druidstone team wishes you an awesome new year and merry winter solstice! See you next year!

Friday - August 18, 2017

Druidstone - Dev Update #3

by Silver, 23:50

The Druidstone developers are back from summer break and have tweaked the camera angle to make it more isometric.

Dev update #3

Summer vacations are over and we are working hard on Druidstone!

Before the summer vacation we had quite a productive week. Some of the contributions were already mentioned in the last blog update, but a couple of things did not quite make it to the blog post.

First: we implemented grass rendering. What a difference does it make! My desk is facing away from the window, and of course we keep the window blinds closed like proper geeks do. To calm my nerves and induce lucid dreams of childhood summers in the Finnish forests, I can just stare at the wind blowing through the Menhir forest. Aah, lovely, I can feel my blood pressure dropping!

Second: Petri tweaked the camera angle a bit. It's not exactly isometric (or axonometric), as it has perspective projection, but the world is now rotated 45 degrees around the vertical axis. This makes it possible to move the camera a bit closer by default, which brings out the detail in our models, making everything look great. But don't trust just my word for it, see the screenshot down below.

After the vacation, we have introduced a bunch of new monsters, restructured the whole game - acts are gone - and rewritten artificial intelligence. But more about this later!

Cheers,
Jussi

Thursday - June 29, 2017

Druidstone - Dev Update #2

by Silver, 14:47

Druidstone has a new update on its progress which brings the news that the game will be split into acts, the GUI has been overhauled and cinematic cameras introduced for dramatic effect.

Dev update #2

Hullo fellow druidsters! It's time for another Dev update. As always, we've been busy with the game getting a lot of stuff done. We're giving a last push before the well earned summer vacation time, so it will be a bit more quiet in the Druidstone's forest during July.

In the last Dev update, we told that we started working the game synopsis into a script and that we also split the game into acts. The acts will help pacing the game, but they can also help the development: We can focus on them one at a time as they are sort of isolated entities and each has its own theme going on. We'll do a pass on all of them to get the basic structure of the game complete with the story and gameplay elements blocked in. After that it's an iteration after iteration until the game is done. Past couple of weeks we've been working on Act 1 and it's pretty much playable right through. Of course it still needs a lot of polishing and balancing but it's already really fun to play. We get to meet new party members, monsters and at the end explore the smoke scented Blimmur cave.

We've also done a major overhaul to GUI (that's the Graphical User Interface) to make it work with the newly introduced party concept. The coders have been also hard at work making the GUI scalable and functional in every way. The GUI most probably will go through many changes and iterations in the future, but that's business as usual. We've also tweaked the main character/s quite a bit. Well, number one: we've done two more main characters alongside our Druid. And two: As we added "cinematic" cameras to the game (a zoom or pan to frame a character that is doing something interesting), the characters need to hold up the closeups, so they needed an extra layer of detail as they were initially designed to be only looked at from top down perspective. Though it was a lot of work, it really helps bring the party members alive and show their different characteristics. Don't worry, we'll introduce the new party members in some other post.

Like stated on the last Dev update, the new party concept spawned various issues related to the dying mechanism and reincarnation concept, so there's been a lot of thought and work put on them. Most of the problems concerned characters involved in story elements, but we're drawing close to a solution that we're happy with. We'll cover that in a later post in more detail as it's still work in progress and too big subject to discuss here in detail.

That highlights some of the things we've been up to lately. We're off to summer vacation, see you back in August! Cheers!

Monday - May 08, 2017

Druidstone - Dev Update #1

by Silver, 14:11

Druidstone has its first developer update which reveals there will be multiple playable characters.

Dev update #1

Welcome back, friend! It's time for the first Druidstone development update! The last two weeks have been extremely busy and productive and we have made some big changes to the game. Let's get started with the biggest of them!

Party-based gameplay. Yes, there will be multiple playable characters in Druidstone! This is something we have been talking about internally every now and then, but until now we weren't sure how this would work exactly. The upsides to having a party of characters are obvious, like more varied and more tactical battles, and as big fans of the good old Gold Box games we have always wanted to get this feature in. But there are also many implications to level design, death mechanics and how the story is told. For example, the levels need to be more spacious (wider doorways, etc.). What happens if a party member dies? What happens if the main character dies? Is there even a main character (are all characters equally important to the story?) Is there inter-party dialogue (yes, please!)? How does the dialogue scripts work if a party member is dead? These are just a few of the issues that need to be carefully thought about.

Anyway, I spent several weeks testing party-based gameplay in a separate development branch, tackling the technical issues one by one and testing gameplay in practice. There are still some issues left, especially related to the story and how its told, but we are confident now that we can tackle them. So party-based gameplay is definitely a go!

Large object support. Multiple playable chars led naturally to another big refactoring in the codebase that I've been thinking about recently. Up until now objects in Druidstone were limited to 1 square in size. That limitation is now gone, so we can have, for example, 2×1 square doorways, 2×2 stairways, etc. Also more importantly we can now have some truly huge monsters! In fact, Juho made a new bad-ass huge monster which we'll save for a future blog post *evil grin*

Script writing. Janne Sundqvist, our part-time writer was also here last week and split our initial synopsis into act structure and began working on the script of the game. The script is going to be our holy book and it's going have all the encounter and character dialogues which really helps the game to come alive. These onsite visits are really great because we can throw around ideas quickly, test them in practice and make sure everyone is on the same page about the vision of the game. Hopefully we can have another session with Janne soon!

Animation rework. In the meanwhile Jyri has been going through all the animations of Leonhard, our man in green. The initial rig, particularly the cloak has proven out to be inflexible for the sort of maneuvers we'd like Leonhard to do, so unfortunately Jyri had to modify the rig, which meant he had to go through all the 54 animation files which Leonhard currently uses and reanimate the cloak. That's a lot of work! But it was better to make the tweaks now rather than later, because the number of animation files surely grows a lot bigger as we add new features to the game.

In other news we unfortunately lost several days of dev time due to bad luck. We had to replace two gfx cards which died recently and several team members have also suffered from illnesses and had to take some time off. I'm still recovering from Norovirus myself, which I can report to be a nasty, nasty bugger!

Ok, that's all for now. Until next time!

Monday - April 10, 2017

Druidstone - Development Update

by Hiddenx, 19:34

Xian spotted the dev-blog of the isometric RPG Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest. It is developed for Windows by Ctrl Alt Ninja, a group of game designers, programmers and artists who have previously worked on the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock games.

Introducing Druidstone

All is dark. Your mind is floating in the endless reaches of the great void. Barely visible, mist and dim fading stars in the far distance are the only things you can discern. Then, suddenly something in the darkness stirs… “Your time has not yet come” a deep resonating voice booms. A bright light flashes so intensely that it pierces your mind!

You hear the rustling of autumn leaves. You open your eyes and see an ancient pillar of stone covered in pulsating runes. You are standing in the center of a stone circle in the middle of a clearing somewhere in the Menhir Forest. A woman with skin of purest white steps forward and smiles at you. Her eyes glow blue, like distant galaxies. “What took you so long?”

Welcome to the Druidstone dev blog! This blog is about the development of a fantasy roleplaying game called Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest which we have been working on since fall 2016.

In the world of Druidstone, the druids of the Menhir Forest possess a great power: the power of reincarnation. When a druid passes on, through some mysterious process his spirit is able to return from the great void back into the world of living and to his former self.

But with every reincarnation the world itself seems to change: where there was only a thicket of bushes in the forest before, there may be a trail or a shrine of stones now. The ancient ruins in the forest change place and the tunnels and their inhabitants beneath the ground are all different. Even stranger, the denizens of the forest do not seem to notice this at all.

Druidstone is set in a vast procedurally generated forest filled with exciting locations to explore and of course encounters, the meat of every RPG. You will meet interesting non-player characters such as the insane Red Priests who worship a being called Oghmu and the mysterious Traveller. You fight deadly bosses and explore ruins and dungeons in an open-world single-player game. Some of the encounters are friendly but many can lead into conflicts which are resolved using a tactical, turn-based battle system on a two-dimensional grid. The game features roguelike elements, so that when you die the game begins anew with different levels and encounters. Some of the encounters even react to you being reincarnated, so even by dying you can gain deeper understanding to the mysteries of the Menhir Forest.

Even though there are random elements in the game, at the heart of Druidstone is an overarching storyline and key encounters which give structure to the game and avoid it being just a gauntlet with random monsters to kill. In fact, we can’t wait to tell you the epic story we have in our mind! In addition, there are the stories you create as you explore the almost infinite space of procedurally generated content.

 

Information about

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

Developer: Ctrl Alt Ninja

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Tactical RPG
Combat: Unknown
Play-time: Unknown
Voice-acting: Unknown

Regions & platforms
Internet
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2019-05-15
· Publisher: Ctrl Alt Ninja