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Developer Diary: The Bright Elf

by Gorath, 2007-04-18

Master Creating´s Creative Director Jan Beuck gives an insight into the development process of their upcoming action-RPG Legend - Hand of God.

The Bright Elf

When we started to develop LEGEND, we first built a small piece of outdoors environment, then our first cave. We soon noticed that caves can be pretty dark places. Pitch black, to be exact! So how were we supposed to find our way if a cave was not illuminated by torches? There are caves like that, you know…

Equipping our protagonist with an ominous and omnipresent halo seemed a cheesy way to solve the problem. Seven years ago, sure… but you wouldn’t call the idea ‘progressive’ today, would you. Well, we thought about equipping out hero with a torch instead: the Indiana Jones approach to illumination would definitely look good. But what about combat? Fighting with a torch in one hand would prove to be problematic for sure, especially for archers or players who favor two-handed swords.

So did we revive the concept of the ominous halo after all? No. By pure coincidence I saw the 3D Mark 2005 graphics benchmark; one of the scenes was about a dot of light zipping through a nightly forest. Magnificent! It was the best tech demo I have seen so far. I just thought: Hey, what if this was our light source? What if the player was in control of it? You could define your own light and shadow; you could have the dot scout ahead of the hero to illuminate dark corners! This would also serve to accentuate the shadow system, one of the greatest accomplishments of our Master Engine. And thus, the Bright Elf was born.

At first my team-mates were sceptical, but they soon saw the possibilities the idea offered: it could even enrich the genre. Exploring dungeons with the help of the Bright Elf was tremendous fun.

The Bright Elf got a background, too. Without giving away too much: the hero saved her life once, and now the elf – the last surviving member of her species – is his constant companion. The cheery character serves as comic relief in an otherwise serious game. The game world is explained in conversations between pixie and hero… mentioned in passing, so to say. Our elf even changes the feel of the game: it’s not just a cursor you’re staring at, not just a two-dimensional sprite (pun alert!) without any connection to the game world, not just an artificial attachment detrimental to immersion. No… you’re staring at a tiny, three-dimensional elf who is a part of the game world and who even casts a shadow.

Does this sound exciting? Well, those of you who attend the Role Play Convention in Münster on April 21/22 (and visit the LEGEND stand, of course) are invited to try out our game. Be there and play! Storm the ANACONDA booth ;-)!

Box Art

Information about

Legend: Hand of God

Developer: Master Creating

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2007-09-28
· Publisher: dtp

North America
· Legend - Hand of God
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2008-08-01
· Publisher: THQ

More information

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