Vagrus: The Riven Realms - All News
Thursday - July 02, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Early Access Version: July 22
Vagrus: The Riven Realms will enter Early Access on GOG and Steam on July 22:
Vagrus enters Early Access on Steam and GOG.com on July 22
We promised that we would bring Vagrus - The Riven Reams to you in Early Access on Steam and GOG.com when we felt the game was ready for it. Today we are proud and exhilarated to announce that the time has come, and now we know the exact date.
Vagrus - The Riven Realms enters Early Access on Steam and GOG.com simultaneously on July 22, 2020.loading...
Thursday - June 18, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Demo on Steam
The demo for Vagrus: The Riven Realms can now be played for free during Steam's Editon, but also after that.
The time is upon us! As we have previously announced, new versions of Vagrus' free Demo are coming to Steam.
There are going to be two iterations of the Demo on Steam:
- Up until and during the the Steam Game Festival, the Demo is downloadable from the Summer Festival Page (any only from there).
- As the event ends, Steam will automatically remove the Demo for users' libraries. Fret not though, the demo will continue to exist in the form of a separate Prologue app. It will be available here not long after the Game Festival, releasing on July 10. The Prologue will also include a set of achievements.
In both cases the The Demo will be available for Windows, macOS, and Linux
Friday - May 29, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Free Demo
Vagrus - The Riven Realms: Prologue is available for free at GOG until June 15:
Vagrus - The Riven Realms: Prologueloading...
Thursday - May 14, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Manual Save, Hunting and Foraging
In a new devblog for Vagrus, information is provided on manual saves, and hunting and Foraging.
We have thought long and hard about how to deal with manual saves in Vagrus, because there are a lot of complications stemming from certain game elements. Do we let players choose mid-combat? Do we let them save mid-Event? Is there a point to Event tests if manual saves scumming works? These are just a few of the many questions that have arisen.
Eventually though, we could not imagine Vagrus without being able to save manually. We never set out to make a rogue-like and the Riven Realms can often slay even the best vagri quickly and cruelly. You might also want to replay certain quests differently and you should be able to load your game in such cases. So now that so many things are changing before the release of the Open World campaign, the time has come to implement manual saves and so you will see it pretty soon. That said, we will later add an Achievement to those crazy folks who can play through the game without ever saving manually.
Thursday - April 30, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Companion Combat AI Improvements
A new update for Vagrus: The Riven Realms talks about the improvements made to AI companions during combat.
Initially, we built Companion Combat without too much focus on the combat AI, knowing full well that it would be a massive task to code and having most of the combat features locked before we do so would make it overall a more efficient undertaking.
Thus, vanilla Companion Combat AI was 'equipped' with nothing more but brute force, running thousands of random choices without any direction that were then evaluated in the back end by a not-too-sophisticated point system spiced up with a dash of random generation aiming to make the AI choose sub-optimal scenarios too from time to time. Otherwise it would have been much too strong.
That unfortunately had its share of drawbacks. It was either extremely slow (too many iterations) or dumb (not enough iterations). After some tuning, we went for the middle ground with a rather slow and occasionally irrational setting. Truth be told, it felt awkward every time we saw someone stream the game like that and initially planned to return to it earlier but our players felt more concerned about other areas of the game, so we moved it behind other open-world features on our priority list.
Now that the first open-world region is in the hands of our backers and patron testers, we finally got around to improve AI, too.
First Objective: Increase Speed
We introduced a number of new attributes for all characters to drive their behavior, such as:
- Row preference: Melee or range preference, or being versatile in both. That allowed to eliminate all simulations from non-preferred positions on the battlefield.
- Tactical level (TL): Only characters with higher tactical awareness look for high certainty of their available options, while the ones with lower TL could drop the iteration numbers in the simulation drastically.
- Expected damage: It is calculated based on the characters' average damage. Characters finding a 'good-enough' option stop the simulation and look no further. The higher the TL of a character is, the higher that imaginary bar of expected damage is set.
Second Objective: Optimal Positioning
When an AI - in any game - makes a dumb move, most of us feel lucky, even happy for a moment but then we immediately start to resent it. We want to beat the game with our superior strategy and not because of the AI's inferior tactics. Thus, we added new priorities for the AI:
- Row preference: It was already mentioned above but beside helping with efficiency it also increased the effectiveness of the AI as enemies naturally priorities moving into their preferred rows allowing them to use their most impactful Skills.
- Use cover: It is much harder to hit characters in cover with ranged attacks, so it only would make sense for the enemy units to use that advantage (even if only on higher TL).
- Use swap: Why spend two actions on shuffling around each other when you can swap? The players can do it, and so can the enemies now.
Thursday - April 23, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Patch 0.5.0.4 Live
A new build of Vagrus is live now, which brings the following most important feature:
Most importantly, the Companion Combat AI improvements, about which we will release a separate post in the near future here. Also, various tweaks to the trading background systems to make the early game a bit more forgiving until we add Tasks. Beside those, we made a metric ton of typing and script corrections, squashed bugs, and added some smaller quality of life features.
For all the other things that have been added/changed, check out the link.
Friday - April 10, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Currency Changes
The latest update for Vagrus: The Riven Realms is about currency in the game.
The Riven Realms has been around for over two decades now for us who created it for our tabletop campaigns, and the setting has quite a lot of currencies, even if one only considers the continent of Xeryn. When we set out to develop Vagrus, we picked three coin types not to overcrowd the UI: the Lyrg, a copper coin; the Bross, a silver coin; and Draka, a rare and very valuable golden coin. These are all coins that are used fairly often in large-scale commerce on the continent, and they are also fairly easy to identify as the copper-silver-gold trio of currency is fairly common in historical and fantasy settings.
Problems arose soon from the fact that a lot of common, everyday things are bought and sold for a smaller currency called Changers. For example, food for a day typically goes for around 2-3 Changers, or the daily wages of a worker are also typically around that sum. However, we had no Changers, so we implemented Supplies to represent 10 points of Consumption each. Individual crew wages were raised to 1 Lyrg - the absolute minimum - but this started an internal inflation that led to the rise of a lot of goods and services to make ratios match the world and to allow vagri to earn enough to pay upkeep. Unfortunately, this led to a situation where Drakas became very common, even in the beginning of the game, which in the metal-starved world of the Riven Realms goes against the lore and atmosphere, eroding immersion.
Recently, us Lost Pilgrims decided that Changers have to make a return, and they have to do so before the Open World campaign launches (otherwise the change would mess with saved games later).
At first, you might think this is a simple decimal shift, but it sent ripples out that shook most areas of the game in one way or another.
Friday - March 27, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Open World Prototype
The open word prototype of Vagrus: The Riven Realms has been made available to Fig backers.
The Open-World Prototype of Vagrus has been released to all our Fig Backers. It is a major step towards getting the game ready to eventually bring it to here on to Steam for all of you to enjoy.
What It Brings
A ton of stuff, really. This is the game we've been working on, compared to which 'Pilgrims of the Wasteland' was only a small appetizer. That said, this large segment is only the beginning, and areas (with their content) will be added later on at intervals. We have discussed this an other details of the Open World Campaign here.
In short, a gigantic area with
- dozens of settlements and points of interest to explore,
- six Companions,
- over 20 new enemy types,
- five new soundtracks,
- character creation,
and a ton of story content for you to discover are coming in the build.
We are very excited to see and hear your reactions, how long it takes you to find all the content, and of course to find out how difficult it is to stay alive for players in the cruel wastelands of the Riven Realms.
See you soon on the dark continent!
Thursday - March 05, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Character Creation
Devblog number 31 for Vagrus: The Riven Realms is about character creation.
One of the last big additions to Vagrus' Open World Campaign that is now coming very close to being released is the character creation sequence at the start of the game. That is the feature that allows you to customize and set up your own vagrus by selecting a variety of options in subsequent steps. To give a quick idea of the many amazing options, here's a little rundown:
The first such choice is Race. The Riven Realms is home to a lot of unusual creatures - some may be found in other fantasy games though probably quite different from their counterparts on Xeryn - while others are quite unique. Initially, you will be able to choose from six Races and we'll be adding new ones later on.
Another way to spice things up a bit is character background. These are former professions or occupations (for example, aristocrat, veteran, criminal, scholar, or priest) and they provide additional Perks and resources to your character. Of course, not all combinations are possible - you won't see an Orc Slaver, nor an Imperial Savage.
Trader, Mercenary, or Explorer. Though there are only three options here, this choice has a much greater impact on your starting crew, Leadership Perks, and some other stats. You are by no means locked in such a game-style later on, however, as character progression for your vagrus is very open-ended.
This choice sets your victory condition for the game. Initially, you will only be able to start freeplay (no victory condition) but later on you'll be able to choose from Wealth (you win by becoming rich), Knowledge (you win by learning everything possible from the Riven Realms), Renown (become well-known), and finally - towards the end of the dev cycle - a story-based Ambition.
With all starting Perks calculated (deriving from Race and Background), you will now be able to spend your starting Insight on rounding out your character further.
At the end of character creation, you will be able to customize your character by giving it a name and selecting a portrait (later on also a banner to represent your comitatus).
The article comes with screenshots for each of the character creation parts, but you can also watch this video:
Thursday - February 20, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Crew Combat
In a new devblog for Vagrus: The Riven Realms crew combat is discussed.
Each Crew Combat encounter identifies the two sides as either the Attacker or the Defender. The player's comitatus can typically be the attacker when they raid small settlements or prey upon other travelers, while they are often found as the defender when getting accosted by monsters, outlaws, or worse.Ambushes
When you are the defender, a hidden test is made based on your comitatus' vigilance against the attackers ability to ambush (various stats govern this test). If you are ambushed, there are serious penalties on your Combat Strength, representing your inability to set up your fighters properly. Other than that, you will be restricted in the use of Combat Actions when they are added later to the game.
Whether you are ambushed or not, a fight is about to go down.
Appeasing the Attacker
In the current builds, the only option is to fight. At a later stage, we intend to add a Flee option, though it will not be a reliably successful option. You can increase the chance of success with offering what the attackers demand, like offering 'bribes' to bandits, or leaving supplies for monsters. Appeasing the enemy will not always be an option: mindless Undead or motivated bounty hunters can not be bargained with.
Nevertheless, fleeing results in losses, but - in most cases - less so than trying to defend yourself in an unwinnable fight.
Tuesday - February 04, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Videos of Delivered Mislestones
Three videos for Vagrus: The Riven Realms have been made available, which show what has been delivered for chart exploration, hero selection, and hidden stash and contraband.
we've been busy implementing the milestones backers unlocked on Fig in the last few months but thought to give a heads-up to those of you primarily following us here on Steam. In the following collection of short videos we demonstrate some of the many recently added features to the game. Stay tuned, for we'll soon return with another round of short vids about a whole other set of features.
Your chart is one of your most important tools in Vagrus, and we keep adding to and expanding on it with subsequent builds. Milestone 10 unlocked what we referred to as 'chart exploration', which really means that from now on, Rumors, Passengers, and Codex entries you gain of locations also reveal them on your Chart, adding a whole new depth to hunting for information and mapping out the region.
The short video above shows how the player purchases a Rumor on a certain quarry and gains its location on the Chart afterwards.
This video showcases the feature we refer to as 'heroselect', though the people you are selecting from are rarely heroes. Rather, they are your Companions, and you will often be asked to select a certain number of them to take on ventures or on segments of missions.
In the video, you can see the arena fight Event ask you to select four Companions you take into the fighting pit. After selecting your Companions (and before rejoining the others), Perk tests, combat deployment, and all other effects only calculate with the selected Companions' stats.
Hidden Stash and Contrabandloading...
This video demonstrates the difference between showing up to the gates of a major city with contraband in your cargo hold and contraband hidden in your stash. In the first case, you can try to bribe or con the guards but it's a difficult (and often expensive) venture, which can end in fines, faction reputation loss, or worse.
Contraband tucked away in the hidden stash - a piece of equipment you can get from certain places - hides the goods from the inspection however, and you can safely take them into cities and hope to find buyers.
Hope this gave you a rough idea what we've been working on. We'll soon be back with more!
Thursday - January 09, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Patch 0.4.9 Live
Last year in December patch version 0.4.9 for Vagrus: The Riven Realms went live. The New features are these:
MS 6: Crew Combat Alpha
- MS 14: Unrest and Obedience Mechanics (Partial delivery): Liberate or Discipline Slaves to
gain Obedience. Unrest will be added in a later update.
- Butcher beasts or mounts for supplies
- Warning triggers if an action would result in cargo loss
Additional milestones delivered that will only appear in the main campaign
- MS 10: Chart Exploration
- MS 11: Companion Select during Events
- MS 13: Hidden Stash and Smuggling Contraband
New / Updated Content or Game mechanics
- New sound effects for a number of creatures
- Camping without guards decreases Obedience
- Radial menu icons automatically pop up on the campaign map
- Node sizes increased for Point of Interests to better indicate them
- Goods tooltips now show more trade information
- Merged a few perks to make them more impactful
And there are several bug fixes.
Below you can find the video showing crew combat.
Friday - January 03, 2020
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Two Years Project Summary
The Lost Pilgrims Studio looks back at two years of Vagrus: The Riven Realms development:
Lost Pilgrims is 2 Years Old
It is hard to believe that we founded the studio two years ago - who would have thought that time was going to fly so quickly. We have achieved many things and learned a LOT about game development. We lived through highs and lows alike, but the most important thing is that we persevered. Just to give you an idea, here are a few highlights:
- Founded Lost Pilgrims in 2017 December
- Hired Szonja in March 2018
- Published the demo of Vagrus in December 2018
- Show-cased Vagrus for the first time in Dubrovnik in April 2019
- Since then we attended: DreamHack Summer (Sweden), PlayIT (Hungary), GameDevDaysGraz (Austria), and most recently AdventureX2019 (United Kingdom)
- Kicked off our crowdfunding campaign at Fig in May 2019, and since then raised over $50,000
- Our narrative designers have written close to 400 thousand words of story and lore
- Our graphic designers created hundreds of amazing art assets
- Nobo has written approximately 113 thousand lines of code
- We released six patches for Vagrus, the content and improvements of which our Fig Backers and Patrons can enjoy via the Discord library
It sounds quite exhausting even just to think of all the work that was involved. Therefore, a HUGE THANK YOU is definitely due to the team. So, what comes next?
Open World Patch Scheduled for Q1 2020
We worked really hard to get the first Open World region of the game ready by the end of 2019 but truth be told, we are not happy enough with the overall experience just yet. We did know that it would not be as tested and refined as the Pilgrims of the Wasteland story was (which is currently included in the available Alpha build) but wanted to reach a similar level of polish. Achieving that is going slower than expected, however. It is partly because even just this first region is over twice the size of Pilgrims - in terms of narrative and content -, and way more complex due to its open-world nature. Thus, reaching the same level of stability and gameplay experience has proven to be a task that needs more time and effort.
We want it to be a positive experience right away, so that even if players encounter bugs and incomplete features, the overall look and feel of the game would be very much to their liking. We want them to feel that the available content and gameplay holds so much potential that they just have to come back and play again, or better yet, tell their friends about it.
Monday - December 23, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Obedience and Unrest Machines
In the 28th developers blog for Vagrus, there is talk about the obedience stat, to keep your slaves in check and the unrest mechanic.
Obedience is a stat describing how disciplined (or disgruntled) the slaves owned by the comitatus are at a given time. It was implemented to give a rather fluid drawback to owning slaves: they might provide a free workforce but keeping men and women enslaved does have its risks even if it is 'part of the system'. You typically lose Obedience if you do not guard your slaves well enough (too few fighters to look after them), if you get or buy a lot of new slaves, if you do not feed them enough, if you arm them in Crew Combat, or keep choosing options in Events that endanger or embolden them.
With a high Obedience, your slaves over-perform and you can end up with some small surprise Events (with a positive outcome). This is in addition to the fact that you won't get a headache thinking about what can go wrong.
Low Obedience is where it all goes from bad to worse. Slaves start to steal, escape their bonds, or even commit more serious crimes. You can try to punish all the slaves in this case in the hopes of raising Obedience but it can backfire.
So how can you keep slaves in check? Well, a thoughtful vagrus might consider liberating slaves from time to time, which raises the Obedience of others to a great extent - if there is a chance of becoming free, they will work more diligently towards it. Nevertheless, it is a very expensive route to take, as slaves cost a lot of coin. Then there is the Deputy role of Slavemaster, who generates Obedience, making a critically low score very unlikely (and also can punish unruly slaves more reliably). Some equipment also has similar effects. Additionally, certain Events can positively affect Obedience and it behooves you to pay attention to those.
There is also a video:
Also their Fig crowdfunding campaign is still going on.
Friday - October 18, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - New Build is out
A new build of Vagrus: The Riven Realms has been released:
New Open Access build is OUT! - Includes FIVE Milestone Deliveries
The Story Behind the Patch
We have had a busy two months: we got through a Unity upgrade (always fun), overhauled how we store and calculate stats in the game (Property System), added character idle animations, while of course continued to spend significant time with promoting Vagrus through various channels. A good example of this is when we showcased the game in Graz (AT) at GameDevDaysGraz. It was an amazing event, and the greatest moment of course was when RPG dev legend Josh Sawyer came to our table and played the game himself.
As the lead designer of many great RPG titles (Neverwinter Nights 2, Pillars of Eternity I-II, Fallout: New Vegas), Josh is a role model for us and his works are very important sources of inspiration, so him playing Vagrus and talking about RPGs was a dream come true. Our team was beaming when he joined us for a team photo, too.
Thursday - September 19, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Enduring Effects
In devblog #24 for Vagrus, more information is given about enduring effects in the game.
We are actively working on what we call Enduring Effects for the game. What are these? Well, in short and to put it simply, these are all buffs and debuffs that last for several in-game days or are permanent (until removed somehow). They come in a variety of types and can be used for a lot of things to enhance gameplay and narrative alike.
Challenges and Results
The challenges of implementing such a system are more complex than one would think simply based on how they are supposed to work. We had to create a property system and make it compatible with a huge number of stats and attributes across a variety of in-game entities. Though it involved some heavy lifting (mainly from coding) and it is almost impossible to demonstrate, we are very satisfied with the results. The goal was to have a system that allows content creators to go wild and expand indefinitely, to keep adding stuff wherever the story or the gameplay requires it.
Enduring Effect Types
Apart from the simple distinction of positive and negative effects (that aid and hinder the player, respectively) we identify a number of parameters that set Enduring Effects (EEs) apart into neat little categories.
Leader: This type of EE affects your character, the vagrus. Typically it'll modify stats like Resourcefulness (or making certain Leadership Skills cheaper or more expensive), or alter Perks your character might have.
A good example is Inspiration, which raises the maximum Resourcefulness temporarily, or Blessing of Bal Ur Kaal, which raises the level of social Perks like Charismatic, Con, and Persuade) as well as providing a boost for faction reputation rewards.
Crew: EEs of this kind affect your crew and only your crew (meaning they don't affect Companions for example or your character). Crew-related stats are typically altered by these, such as Vigor or Morale.
Examples include Favor of Irafons, which gives MP to your comitatus, or Hangover, which lowers maximum Vigor for a day.
Companion: This type of EE affects a specific Companion or all of them. Since these characters have a wide range of abilities, combat skills, and Perks, these EEs tend to be complicated more often than not.
The Blessing of Sergorod, for example, gives a Companion some Accuracy and Critical Hit boosts, while the Wrath of Sergorod makes it so that enemies are more accurate and score criticals more often against your cursed Companion.
Comitatus: EEs that effect your whole comitatus can be more complex, modifying a wider variety of stats and mechanics. They tend to have a Companion-related EE counterpart that is automatically assigned when the parent EE is assigned.
Black Rot, for instance, is a dreadful disease that is very contagious. When your comitatus receives this EE, it is transferred to all Companions currently in your employ as well - and keeps killing your crew and Companions until you can rid yourself of the horrid sickness.
Disdain of Ahskul affects the whole comitatus, making it more common that Undead show up as random encounters as well as buffing Undead type enemies against you.
Hope this allowed a little glance into what goes on behind the scenes and gives you all an idea of what to expect from this feature package. Next up, we'll probably talk about animation. See you around, dear Follower!
Tuesday - September 10, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - New Milestones and GOG
The Fig campaign for Vagrus has been updated with additional funding milestones, an extra funding they received and that the game is coming to GOG as well.
Back in May when we kicked off our crowdfunding campaign here on Fig we said we were in talks with GOG about potentially publishing Vagrus there. Considering GOG's curated approach with probably the highest standards from within the top gaming platforms, today we are extremely proud and happy to announce that we signed a distribution agreement with GOG for Vagrus - The Riven Realms.
Thursday - August 08, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Devblog #23 - Trade System
The trade system in Vagrus has been developed to be elaborate and dynamic. In this devblog they explain why and how it is implemented.
Ever since we came up with the idea of Vagrus, a game where you manage a comitatus, we knew we needed to develop an elaborate, dynamic trade system that would serve as one of the major features of the game and would also aid in fleshing out a living world.Basic Premises
While trading was always to be one of the main sources of income for the player, we also wanted to avoid creating a pure trading simulator game. It's not that those are not fun for the right people - stories about Gabor dominating the Auction House on our server in World of Warcraft for a period of time still surface in conversations among friends - but because our strengths lie elsewhere. Our unique setting, The Riven Realms, and telling stories with memorable characters was the first and foremost motivation to create Vagrus, so it was also much more likely to excel in that rather than in a simulation - which we knew relatively little of.
For the same reason, our goal was to come up with a game design for trading that supported story-telling and wasn't gonna overshadow it. Hence, trading in Vagrus is just profitable enough to keep you going, to cover the upkeep and consumption of your crew but not much else, making the player look for additional opportunities in the form of Events, carrying passengers and news, or taking on contracts or tasks (a feature we plan to add later on).
Many players highlighted how deep yet consistent the lore and general workings of The Riven Realms felt to them. With a setting so strongly established and transmittable, the challenge of game design is how to integrate other more 'gamey' features into it without breaking immersion too much. With trading, the idea was to create the feel of a natural flow of goods from where they produce them to where others consume those.
More at the link and in this video:
Friday - July 26, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Devlog #22 - Narrative Design
This devlog for Vagrus: The Riven Realms is about Narrative Design and the implications on gameplay.
As we are getting closer and closer to releasing the first playable build of the main campaign of Vagrus, it is perhaps a good time to talk a bit about the differences between the open world campaign and 'Pilgrims of the Wasteland'. The focus of this is going to be narrative design and stories but there are going to be implications on gameplay as well.
Encounters of a Random Kind
One of the most noticeable differences between the standalone story and open world (thought the second part of Pilgrims has this to some extent) is the frequency and importance of random encounters. These Events appear while you are traversing the Riven Realms. The longer it is you haven't come across an Event or encounter, the more likely it is that something will come up.
Part of the encounter Events are unique to each location (regions or sub-regions) while others are more generic and thus can appear in a wide variety of locations. The intent was to give interesting (and dangerous) things to do while en-route to some place and of course, to keep players from becoming careless while 'just traveling'.
There's a Right Place for Everything
Another significant part of Events in the open world part are fixed in location. You can find them by the use of Scouting (or by happening upon them on their node) and interact with them by using the Explore button.
A much more elaborate form of these fixed Events are settlement and point of interest Events. We like to call these persistent Events, though many will disappear upon completing them due to narrative reasons.
Have Anything for Sale?
The aforementioned settlement Events are also mostly persistent; many of these you can repeat again and again, as these represent facilities, shops, tasks you can take, or activities you can do in cities or villages. The selection of these Events gives character and utility to settlements; it also makes players travel between them a lot when certain functions are only accessible (or are only profitable) in certain places.
A Tale for the Ages
The meat and potatoes of content when it comes to Events are of course quests and storylines you can take part of. These are typically started in settlements, though some are accessed through random Events, too. Such storylines come in all sizes and varieties. A certain part of these will be dedicated to Companions' personal questlines. These don't only give backstories to your heroes but are also tied into their progress: Prowess levels 3, 6, and 9 are unlocked by reaching certain points of their questlines.
The impact of quests and stories on the world and the player vary as well but many influence one or the other. Tone also plays into this: Vagrus is low key for the most part but sometimes the player does have an influence on things, for example, in deciding which Trading House wins a rivalry to dominate a settlement. Or if a camp of outlaws get to thrive or be ousted by the Empire.
As you can guess, writing and testing all this complexity is quite a task: the challenge to judge and balance the size and difficulty of Events grows exponentially as more and more content is created. Another tough part is to find the sweet spot of the frequency of random Events, as well as their distribution spatially and even in a timeline (would a story activate only in certain season or at a given point of time?). We have our work cut out for us but the intent is to create a living and changing world that feels dangerous but certainly one you'd want to explore.
We are eager to share the Open world prototype with our Alpha Backers to get feedback about all this and to see what you think of the branching, layered narrative. There are still many things to complete beforehand but we are progressing well, so you can probably expect an announcement about it in the next few months.
Thursday - June 20, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Devlog #21 - Scouting
Devlog #21 explains scouting in Vagrus: The Riven Realms:
Devlog #21 - Scouting (Game Design Post)
At long last, Scouting is making its way into Vagrus. It is a vital feature in navigating and surviving the many wastelands of the continent of Xeryn.
What is Scouting for?
Scouting has two main uses. First, it can give you an indication of what to expect when moving onto specific neighboring nodes on the campaign map. Though these are given in percentages (what are the chances of a fight, and event, or that nothing happens) it still gives a rough idea of risks so that players can make informed choices. Second, Scouting can indicate if there is something fixed on a specific node (either a fixed Event or a Task objective for a faction). This is immensely helpful when looking for something out there in the wilderness with only vague directions to go on.
How do you use Scouting?
You can use Scouting when standing on a node. When you do so, you will have the option to select which neighboring nodes you wish to send scouts to - more than one route costs Resourcefulness for each additional node scouted. Naturally, you'll need scouts to even initiate this action. Scouting costs Movement Points: you have to pay half the highest route MP cost. The chance of success for each scouted node depends on how many scouts you send that particular direction and a Scout Master deputy provides further bonuses.
What are the risks of Scouting?
Apart from spending the Movement Points (and potentially Resourcefulness), your scouts have a chance not to return (having fallen prey to one of the many dangers of the wasteland) when you roll a critical failure. This makes spamming Scouting a bad idea, even with a Scoutmaster whose presence reduces the chances of a negative outcome.
Success vs Critical Success
A successfully scouted route provides percentage chances of an Event, combat encounter, or nothing happening. A critical success provides exactly what is going to happen (Event, encounter, nothing) and in case of an event or an encounter, it gives a relative idea of what to expect (obstacles, boon, chance for combat, the challenge rating of a fight, etc).
One of the deputy roles, the Scout Master is extremely useful when it comes to Scouting (as expected). When this role is assigned, it provides flat bonuses to critical success, reduces the chance of a critical failure, as well as makes it so that Scouting costs less MPs. Additionally, you can send scouts to a second node without paying Resourcefulness.
We are very excited to be able to now test Scouting and see how it impacts exploration in the open-world part of the game. We are even more excited to be able to include it in the game builds soon and see how players react.
Friday - May 31, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Devlog #19
Here's devlog #19 for Vagrus: The Riven Realms:
Devlog #19 | Passengers (Game Design Post)
Throughout your journeys as a vagrus, you will come across many people who want to get from one place to another on the broken continent of Xeryn. This might seem trivial but travel over the accursed wastelands of the Empire a perilous venture which makes most people try to avoid it whenever they can.
Those who that do undertake journeys often pay comitati such as yours to take them where they want to be. In-game, this provides an optional source of revenue to help you keep afloat but one that requires you to plan your path ahead considering several factors, including where your passengers wish to go and how long you have to deliver them there.
Passengers are available at mansios (and are randomized) or sometimes in events (where they are specific). You do not only have to feed them on the way but also have to protect them as attacking monster or outlaws can easily slay them. Mind you, some of them can even give you a hand in defending your comitatus (more on that later).
You can see the statistics of passengers related to crew on the Crew Pane, while other information can be observed in your Journal (redesigned to include a Passengers Page).
We feel this system adds another layer to planning and risks during travels in Vagrus, one which also has the potential to tell tiny stories of people who risk a lot by venturing forth with you.
Tuesday - May 07, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Fig Campaign Live
Sooner than expected, the Fig campaign for Vagrus: The Riven Realms has gone live. It is an open access campaign, which is similar to the early access of Steam.
If you want to join this campaign, you can get a $5 discount by using this link.
Embark on a perilous journey across a realm forsaken by the gods and devastated by an arcane cataclysm. Accompanied by a hardy crew, you must trade, fight, and explore your way to success as the leader of a traveling company in Vagrus, a post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG-strategy hybrid.
With Vagrus, we are aiming to revisit the classical turn-based RPG experience with an emphasis on narrative and exploration. Our unique setting, the Riven Realms, is a cruel, forsaken world that is quite different from most high fantasy settings, and the game builds heavily on immersing the player in its dark atmosphere.
As a backer you get the following:
As a backer, you are immediately added to our Discord channel, where you can provide feedback, see all the latest patch notes, get updates, and hang out with us!
Open Access gives us the opportunity to get more involvement from the community as we expand Vagrus. We want you to be a part of the development process and help the game reach its full potential.
As we reach additional milestones, Open Access backers will automatically receive additional content through-out the campaign (check out our development roadmap).
The current build of the game features the introductory story 'Pilgrims of the Wasteland'. Below is a more detailed outline for the existing build as well as content developed during this Open Access campaign. We can’t wait to continue expanding Vagrus - The Riven Realms with your help and hope you love playing it as much as we love making it!
And this is their motivation to run the campaign like this:
We have always planned to run a crowdfunding campaign, not only to gain support for going faster and further with the project but also to engage with players about certain aspects of the game. When we heard about Fig’s new Open Access model we figured it was a match made in heaven. Combining the best traits of a crowdfunding campaign and traditional Early Access within a positive environment just felt right immediately. Additionally, we are in a good place from a feature and content perspective: we have a strong Alpha build that players can already enjoy right away.
Funded milestones and hence all the content developed during the campaign will become part of the final release of the game received by backers on all tiers.
Monday - May 06, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Fig Campaign Coming
Next Wednesday on the 8th of May, Vagrus: The Riven Realms, will start a crowdfunding campaign on Fig.
We are bringing this news to you now, because as an extra benefit to our RPGWatch community, you are eligible for a $5 discount and we don't want you to read about it somewhere else first next Wednesday and miss out on the discount. The discount is only available when using a specific link (different from the one above), which will be made public shortly.
Thursday - May 02, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Devlog #18 - Rumors
Here's Devlog #18 for Vagrus: The Riven Realms:
Devlog #18 | Rumors (Game Design Post)
Another crucial game mechanic that is being added to Vagrus as we are writing this is a system of Rumors. Rumors are short entries in your Journal that are meant to guide players to content and unlock locations on their Chart in order to help them plan journeys and find places. We have come to the conclusion during playtesting that not only do we need to differentiate these Rumor entries from your Objectives in the Journal but we also need to separate them entirely and move them to a different pane. As evident from this, Rumors have undergone quite a lot of change since their original conception.
Rumors can be found in Events sometimes or can be bought in settlements (in mansios, specifically) from a semi-randomly generated list. You will be able to discern from the list what each Rumor can grant you but not the specifics. We are still tweaking the way they generate but a certain randomness is going to play into it, so expect to rarely see the same set of Rumors in different playthroughs.
Types of Rumors
There are several types of Rumors we are planning to add:
Unlocks a Chart Item
This type of Rumor unlocks a settlement or point of interest location on your Chart. Apart from running into such places by wandering around, this is the only way to discover map locations.
Provides Information on a Storyline
This kind of Rumor points the player in the direction of a potential storyline or quest and gives hints on how to initiate it. Though the text is short, players may have to consult the Chart or explore a bit to find the exact place.
Provides Information on a Settlement
Information on a settlement's trade opportunities (what goods sell there for a good price), unique inhabitants, or important characters (such as the rare blacksmith or a powerful mage). Some of these might end up being generated to match the ebb and flow of markets around the Empire.
Gives Information on Encounters
These Rumors inform players about the dangers of a certain region or even provide hints on creatures and their habits that dwell there.
There might be other types added later but these four we would certainly like to appear in the game eventually.
In order to avoid keeping track of a huge amount of already obsolete Rumors, players will have the option to 'retire' a Rumor, that is, to move it into a searchable archive section of the Rumors list. This will be necessary to do from time to time for transparency's sake.
We feel that Rumors will play an important role in how players manage their goals and objectives, as well as in the way they explore the unknown and perilous reaches of the Riven Realms, so we will most definitely keep expanding on the concept as development goes along.
Monday - April 01, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Second Teaser
the Vagrus team has made the second teaser of the game public.
We are very proud and excited to finally release the second Teaser for Vagrus!
This one is focusing more on delivering a gist of the game's feel and atmosphere than showing off gameplay elements systematically like the first teaser did. Also, it will be used - in part or in whole - in our upcoming .
We can't really express how much work went into this - not only into the video itself but also into every single game system and art asset that is shown (or heard) in it. A very special thanks to everyone involved in its creation and also to you guys who continue to follow us through this journey.
Watch, share, and tell us what you think!
Thursday - March 14, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Delivering News
In a new blog post for Vagrus: The Riven Realms, more information is provided on how news is being delivered in the world of Vagrus.
This time we would like to introduce a brand new game mechanic to you that you will see quite a lot in Vagrus: the acquiring and delivering of news across vast tracts of wasteland. Carrying news between settlements not only makes sense from a gameplay perspective but has its foundations in-world, too, that is, *comitati *are known to have a vital role in distributing news and taking messages all over the continent of Xeryn.Acquiring News
News are tied to settlements: each settlement, however small, has its own News entry. You will acquire the entry for the given settlement when you enter the mansio in it. Alternatively, if you already have the entry in your Journal, it is reset to the freshest state when you enter the mansio. Sometimes you can also find News entries through Events as well - these often give you entries from faraway places.
You can deliver news by turning them in at the [cur]mansio[/cur] in settlements. Doing so will grant you coins depending on the number of entries, their freshness, and your current distance from their source. Note that News entries are not lost when you turn them in but you can not turn them in at that settlement again for a while. Entries can only disappear from your Journal when they lose all their freshness (but this can be reset by acquiring that same entry again).
Tuesday - March 05, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Companion Combat Guide Pt. 4
In part four of the companion combat guide the developers of Vagrus: The Riven Realms explain the different kinds of movement effects available for the characters on the battlefield:
Devlog #16 Companion Combat Guide - Part 4: Movement Effects
In the last part of the Combat Guide we took a look at defenses and their importance. This time, we'll delve into effects that involve movement or its restriction in one way or another.
Many Combat Skills in Companion Combat deal some kind of additional effect; some of these involve forced movement on the target or the denial of movement.
Push and Pull
As discussed before, positioning in Companion Combat is paramount, stemming from the fact that many Skills can only be used from either the front or back line. It thus follows that Skills that can change the position of an opponent are very useful as they can deny them an action by making them spend their turn to reposition. These effects are resolved immediately.
Push is the most common of such effects. When a Skills that has Push connects with a front row target and causes damage (even if the damage is mitigated to 0), the target is pushed to the back row if the Resist roll is failed. If there is another opponent that occupies that position, they both lose 1 Vitality.
Pull does the opposite, that is, when connected (and dealing damage as well as not resisted), the effect pulls a back row target to the front row. This can be used very effectively to pull squishier or dangerous ranged opponents to the front where your melee squad can punish them severely.
Certain Skill effects allow you to control the actions of your opponents, though these almost always allow you only to move with the opponent, not to use their Skills. Still, if done well, this free movement can very effectively disrupt the enemy's plans, positioning adversaries into vulnerable places or denying them actions.
Immobilize and Stun
There are also effects that outright deny movement and even actions in general when applied (after the Skill that has this effect connects, causes damage, and the effect is not resisted). These effects can last several rounds at a time.
A successful Immobilize denies the target the use of their Move action. They can still use their Skills available from that position but this may severely limit what they can do. Certain characters - when immobilized in the right position - can be forced to pass their turn as they can no do anything. A successful Stun forces the target to pass its turn, thus denying them all actions. Stun is a powerful effect that is usually costly to use and is thus limited.
Overwatch and Obstacles
There are other effects that can alter movement and positioning. Overwatch is a Skill type that allows a character to set an attack on an empty position: when an opponent moves onto (or is moved onto) such a position, the attack is triggered. Though the opponent does not see which empty position is overwatched, fear of triggering it may result in avoiding movement altogether.
Obstacles occupy a position but do not act. They have Vitality and can be targeted. When defeated they simply disappear from the battlefield. Some Skills spawn Obstacles that can be used either to give your back-row characters Cover or deny certain positions on the enemy side (by placing the Obstacle there).
As you can see, these movement-influencing effects can be useful in a large variety of situations. Keeping select enemies controlled in such ways is a very viable tactic to achieve victory even against unfavorable odds.
We hope this was interesting to some of you and even useful for learning the workings of Companion combat in Vagrus. We might return with further Combat Guides in the future.
Thanks for reading and following us,
The Lost Pilgrims Team
Thursday - February 21, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Companion Combat Defenses
In the most recent development blog for Vagrus: The Riven Realms, the defenses of comabt companions are discussed.
In the last part of the Combat Guide we took a look at Companion Actions, including moving, Skills, and their combinations. This time, we'll delve into defensive stats and their importance.
Companion combat is cruel in Vagrus and in general you can not heal during it. Your defenses are your main way to mitigate damage, so understanding how they work is very important.
BasicsVitality (VIT) is the stat that your fighters lose each time they are hit. When depleted, the Companion falls into a Downed state. When Downed, they can not act (they do not receive their turns) but can be targeted and damaged. They have their Downed Vitality for when they are Downed. If that, too, is depleted, they are Out of Action, which means long-term wounds and potentially death. Therefore, it behooves the player to protect Downed Companions as best they can. That said, there are a few methods to bring back Downed characters into action but none of these are easy or cheap.
More at the link.
Friday - February 15, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Character Design
On IndieDB the complete character design development blogs (four in total) have been posted for Vagrus: The Riven Realms.
The vast majority of the characters you see revealed are enemy characters, even if sometimes they can be allies in the game for short periods of time (or versions of them, anyways). Although Events will involve these enemy characters often, you will mainly see them as shown in the artwork in turn-based combat. All of them have their unique combat skills and synergies with other enemies.
The other category is Companions. Companions in Vagrus are full-fledged, named characters with varied backgrounds, skills, alignments, and personalities (for example, Javek or Sedarias). Each of them can join your comitatus and do various things for you:
- They can fight for you in combat. Each of them have combat skills that you can use to defeat your enemies. Their stats and skills can be upgraded using your own Insight, essentially levelling them up. With each level up, you can give them new perks and improve their combat skills.
- Each companion has their own personal storyline you can follow. These stories can go in different directions, eventually upgrading the companion and driving the overall narrative. You can also talk to them at camp and learn more about them, their goals, dreams, past, and so on.
- Companions can also fill special roles in the comitatus, becoming what we call Deputies. Essentially, Deputies are your officers and most trusted traveling companions. Each of these positions can be filled by a single available Companion and the filled position provides you with passive and active boons. For example, having a Companion as a Scout Master gives you bonuses to Movement Points, raises the chances of successful scouting and improves the quality of information gathered from scouting.
- Each Companion and Deputy position also allows you additional choices in certain Events you come across, widening your chances to successfully navigate these stories.
Thursday - February 07, 2019
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Companion Combat Actions
In the second installment of the Companion Combat Guide for Vagrus: the Riven Realms, more information on the companions actions in combat is provided.
All characters can Move to any adjacent position on their side of the battlefield. If they move into a position that is occupied by another character, that character is pushed out of the position it occupies and has to be moved into an adjacent free position (even to the position the moving character has just left).
Melee Skills, of course, can only be used from the front row. Additionally, not only do characters in the front row prevent melee attacks against characters directly behind them but also make them more difficult to hit with certain Ranged Skills (those that have the Line of Sight property), so moving and positioning is paramount in Companion combat. By extension, Combat Skills that move enemies can be extremely useful to get to pesky support or damage-dealing enemies in the back line or to prevent melee-heavy enemies from using Skills.
Skills vary vastly in what or who you can target with them. Some skills target an enemy (or several enemies even) while others your own Companion or Companions. There are also certain Skills that target empty positions and leave some kind of delayed effect on it (for example, a hail of arrows to strike anyone entering the position). Finally, some Skills only target the user, typically self-buffs.
Melee Skills can only be used from the front row. They can only target front row enemies that are adjacent to the attacker’s position or back row enemies if no front row enemy stands in the way.
Ranged Skills can target anyone on the given side of the battlefield. A subset of Ranged Skills have the Line of Sight property - these receive a flat penalty to Accuracy when targeting an opponent behind another enemy or an obstacle (thus gaining Cover).
Saturday - December 22, 2018
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - The Prologue is now available
The Prologue section of Vagrus - The Riven Realms is now available for download on Game Jolt as 'Pay as you want' for a limited time.
Vagrus - The Riven Realms
The Prologue is the narrative exposition for the setting of the Riven Realms and also serves as the tutorial of the game, so it starts off leading you as through a very narrow path and then gradually opens up both in terms of features and narrative choices. It reaches a point a few hours in after which you are free to lead your group to almost any direction you want. Of course, success is far from guaranteed, so you need to carefully plan your trips considering all the information available to you, lest your journey ends in disaster, be it a deadly confrontation, financial ruin, or your own crew leaving you due to bad morale. Are you ready to try it yourself?loading...
The story awaits you: Conquer the wasteland!
Sunday - December 09, 2018
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Pre-Alpha Combat Video
Companion Combat Improvementsloading...
During the first wave of Alpha testing just recently, we've received a lot of useful feedback, especially on the UI (and Combat UI specifically). We've been keenly aware that these elements needed a rework and labored hard on improvements. We are happy to report on how far we've got:
Targeting and Active Turn
For many who played the game, a common grievance was the relatively clunky nature of target selection in Companion combat, as well as deciphering the sequence of actions. This was mainly due to yet unimplemented UI elements. We have since then added an improved targeting UI scheme which highlights everything better:
- There's more indication as to whose turn it is
- Also who/what the available targets are
- We've added hover highlights on target positions
- And confirm states after target selection
In the next sprint or so we're planning to add more textual guidance and sound effects to combat as well (round counter and announcement before a round, display of the entity that begins its turn, and so on).
There's been a bunch of improvements to the combat log, too, which now has easier-to-understand templates and more informative texts in general. We believe the overhaul had a great effect on usability.
This might seem trivial but adding a ton of new dynamic tooltips (especially in combat) makes combat much smoother and easier to understand. In a stat-heavy game such as Vagrus, we felt that this change brought a lot of clarity and usability.
We're super-excited as we're nearing a more public reveal of the Prologue with each successive build. Thank you so much for helping this come to life!
Sunday - November 11, 2018
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Character Design
The devs explain the character-art-design of Vagrus: The Riven Realms:
Character Design - Part 3
In the last part of our character design series, we talked about what goes into conceptualizing and designing characters and touched upon how Bazsó came up with distinct the art style for characters and how Szonja raised the bar when working with the majority of them.
Now it's time to discuss what actually happens after the initial phase of concepts and moodboards. Mind you, this will probably have information that is well-known by any graphic designers who work on 2D character art; yet others may find it intriguing.
Often - but not always - Geri prepares sketches for the individual phases of a character. Other times we take photos where one of us poses as the character and these can be used as references. The sketch or photo is then taken by Szonja who makes several improved sketches and concepts before she gets down a primary that we decide to roll with.
Working in Photoshop, Szonja does the linework for the 'idle' position of the character. There are usually several iterations of this until everyone is happy with all the aspects of the sprite. This is also the phase when a lot of detail gets placed and parts get more definition.
Coloring and Shading
The idle phase image then goes through coloring. This is usually not something we iterate much, as most of the time the color scheme is already set during the concept phase. This is where a lot of surfaces get details, like textiles. Everything is done with hard brushes, no texture brushes are used.
Shading is the last step, following the guidelines set by Bazsó in his initial character art direction to achieve that specific comic-book look. This involves applying a shadow layer first and then subtracting parts of it being hit by directional light. Finally, contact shadows and highlights are added.
This above process is then repeated 4-7 times (once for each pose), depending on the number of poses. Short review rounds are between each phase before the poses are accepted. After all that, the character's base art assets are done. Except...
Once the images are finalized, they are exported to .png format and are plugged right into Unity, where pivot points are set, placements are tweaked, and effects/decals are added, which is a whole, complex process in and of itself.
Currently, the most challenging parts of this process are encountered when a character - due to variations in apparel and paraphernalia like the elemental shamans or tribesmen - has to have overlapping layers in the source files, matching perfectly with the other layers.
The other source of considerable headache is that the idle poses have to be ready to be skeleton-framed and animated later, so we have to think about that and draw 'behind' the future moving parts.
In the last part of our character design series, we'll talk about how we design character stats and combat roles, as well as how we implement them. Be sure to check that out, too!
Saturday - October 27, 2018
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Announced
The Strategy/RPG hybrid Vagrus: The Riven Realms is currently in development by Lost Pilgrims:
Vagrus: The Riven Realms
Embark on a perilous journey across a realm forsaken by the gods and devastated by a cataclysm. Accompanied by a hardy crew, you are free to discover a dark fantasy world and its secrets. Trade, fight, or explore your way to success as a leader of a traveling company in Vagrus, a post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG-strategy hybrid developed by Lost Pilgrims.loading...
EXPLORE A DARK CONTINENT
A vast continent is yours to explore, filled with unique locations, strange factions, lurking dangers, and a slew of characters you can interact with.
EXPERIENCE A BRANCHING NARRATIVE
A range of longer and shorter stories make up the game’s narrative in the form of events and quests. The choices you make in these affect the characters and the world around you.
ENGAGE IN TURN-BASED COMBAT
Take part in turn-based, tactical combat that involves your characters and a large variety of enemies, both humanoid and monstrous. Use a range of character skills and abilities to succeed.
MANAGE YOUR CREW
Most journeys have to be planned and prepared for carefully, lest they end in disaster. Manage your supplies, cargo, and crew effectively to survive.
ENCOUNTER A COLORFUL CAST OF CHARACTERS
The player can recruit fully-developed characters to the caravan to serve in versatile roles, such as scoutmaster, quartermaster or guard captain. Each of them comes with their own background and personal quests line.