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Yeah, I know there was a big post up ahead where I announced that I quit the project. Well, I deleted it…because I can do that.
I took a while off to take care of other thing and doing so I also reevaluated my game projects. In the past I had a lot of failed projects and those that where successful where usually so because they where a game I could make rather than one I necessarily wanted to make. My fantasy projects where always more focused on quality than their futuristic counterparts and I decided to decrease some of the quality standards I’ve set for myself.
I’m a lot more lax about many aspects of game design now, simply because I’m only one guy after all.
I also took a browse through all my favorite games and there is a quality to them that unites them all, despite them being in different genres and settings.
Immersion and atmosphere. I always had a strong focus on atmosphere in the past but not so much on immersion and I’ll try to get more up to speed on that as well. I was mostly checking out older titles in this regard, mainly Gothic 1 and 2, Thief 1 to 3 and Arx Fatalis. There are a lot of things in these games that make them great that a dedicated lone artist can do with current technology. I’m of course not claiming that I can reach the level of craftsmanship these games displayed, just that I took new inspiration from them as they are, mechanically, a lot more evolved than tons of “diet-cokeish, people pleasing” newer releases. Arx Fatalis and Dark Messiah have way more bone and meat to them than the sugary Dishonored 2….if you get my hamfisted adjectives here.
I want to craft little worlds that make sense in themselves rather than have the interaction be too “gamy”. If a brittle, wooden door is locked and I’m armed with a giant warhammer, I should just be able to smash it rather than look for the key. If a lit torch is lying on the floor, I should be able to pick it up. Little things like this. Real people don’t talk in exposition, my NPC’s shouldnt do so either. I’m ranting but I’m sure you got the gist of it after the first example.
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Just like Redacted: Hired Gun was a test to see if I can get a somewhat decent shooter set up in GG, all I’m really aspiring to with this for this year is a demo to see if I can get a decent Fantasy Adventure up and running.
I’ve added a few more mystery and horror elements because my projects are usually slanted in this direction and because it keeps players more on their toes, even when they are solving a puzzle. There is just something way more exciting in a game like Penumbra about its environmental puzzles knowing that something might turn up to chase you than there is in a Myst game. At least for me.
In conclusion: I’m working on a little demo …again! Set in the Shavra Universe…again! With lowered standards and ambitions than I aim for in the full game…again
But enough of this palaver: Here are some screenshots from said conceptual demo.
Thanks for your visit, please let me know what you think
I didn’t quite get around to working on this as often as I wanted but I still managed to get quite some headway done.
The second level has all the core gameplay elements in place. However, there is nothing else there yet so I can’t show you any of it just yet.
My reasons being that it would spoil where you’ll have to go and take the exploration element away from the experience and its just plain ugly the way it currently is.
I’m also working on a companion that will be there a short portion of the game. However this proves a bit difficult. I’m quite capable to get an animated model working well in GG but far less capable to make it move around the map in any consistent way. However, there will be some time spent on more fundamental things before I can get to that.
The title this demo will go with will most likely be “Skrye : a shavran tale”. This is a working title though.
I have also gotten around to tweak the visuals a little to edit out some of the glossy game guruness that was present before. The shader maps pop a little more and the colours convey a bit more atmosphere now. The visual errors such as mildly displaced normals, stretching and all other kinds of terrible are still in but as I said before, the bar is a lot lower for me here for the sake of getting something playable out. That does not mean that I actively neglect things, it just means that I try to ..err…be more tolerant with myself? Bah! nevermind! What matters is that another place is developed enough to be shown here…the workshop. Please keep in mind that a lot is subject to change and many static items will later be replaced with interactive ones.
I know that all these environmental shots are not that exciting as they convey little about the game, however I will also reserve some surprises about tone and plot of the game for when I release it.
Upgraded areas which where shown before.
Workshop room and smithy
I’m at the point in my life where I have to craft rough battleplans of what I am to do within the next couple of months.
A lot of my hobbies and interests have been swapped to the wayside in the wake of things that I just have to do. (Wether I’m particulary inclined to or not). I’m just gonna say if you have a regular joe, western job where you do your nine to five. Look at it in a positive light because I guarantee you, that once you can manage your own hours, you are in 9 out of 10 times going to work longer than you did before.
A reality that doesn’t keep me from browsing the boards every 2 hours though! A man gotta lay out his priorities.
I’ve also been working on the game. Very little though so I don’t have any new shots from the levels but I have crafted a new version of the companion character Cassia.
You might remember when I announced that I was going to invest in better character models, because I couldn’t live with the significant divide between level and character quality. I’ve also been presenting my progress to folks outside of GG and got way better responds than I expected, even after I told them that its made in GG but the wooden lowpolygon look of the chars has always been mentioned.
Now, altough I bought these chars they still have to be modified, unified and of course scripted to work in GG which is a little nightmare in itself. Especially having them move around the place. However, this is a headache for another time now.
Cassia – Old Version
Cassia – New Version
Additional Pose 1
Additional Pose 2
She does still have more rough edges and a lower texture resolution than I could give her but I am downsizing my workload and the quality of my art a bit to get more progress done in less time.
If you stopped by, please let me know what you think
I just noticed I have uploaded the title image for this project in 2014. Sheesh! Creepy. Its almost 4 years later and I haven’t really gotten anywhere with this project. It IS my personal “flagship” project but I should get around to at least release an in-universe spin off soon. I mean…woah!
I post to let everyone following this project know that I am still working on it, although the memory problems withing GG that have recently come to light have lowered my enthusiasm considerably. This title relies on very detailed and lit environments and I don’t want to reduce any of it. In fact I was hoping to be able to increase it with GG progressing as an engine. We’ll see how that goes.
While the spectrum of game developers and their ambitions is quite huge I believe you can break down most of them into 2 big categories. One group are those that view games akin to board, card or other social games. They develop certain rules, and gameplay mechanics and then dress them up to have a certain theme or style to them. These people often make multiplayer games and there is a lot of originality to be found among them. You notice a larger use of minimalistic or tooned graphics being used among these and games are often cross-plattform releases. The other group is more narrative oriented. While a compelling story is rarely the focus, this group wants to provide the player an experience where he is put in an outlandish or dangerous situation and gets a bunch of skills and tools to deal with it. These games usually bank on immersion, atmosphere, fluid interaction with the environment…so forth. I think the “immersive sim” type of games like Deus Ex, Thief or Arx Fatalis are very good examples for this school of though. Now they do overlap of course but I feel strongly about counting myself into the second categorie.
Shavra too should put the player into situations he has to adapt to. If a door is locked I dont want him to do the whole routine where they key is sitting somewhere on the other side of the map where it has no logical sense in being. I want options here. Can the door be broken if you have a large bulky weapon? Can it be lock-picked? Is there a place around me where it would make sense for a key to be? Can I avoid the door and sneak through an opening somewhere? What I always wanted to create with this title was a believable and very interactive world and so far I have not succeeded even remotely with this.
However, not all is bad… I tested Bugsy’s latest lightmapping innovation on this marble corridor and I think it looks quite neat
As always! Thanks for visiting! Especially those of you who have been supporting me for all these years where I was working on this project!