As of now we have covered a lot of topics on the blog already. And yes, we know that we owe you still an update for the combat system. And this one will take some more time as we’d like to stay in time and therefore need to continue working. And you may understand that in a turn based RPG especially the combat system is of great importance. And it still needs some time before we are convinced that what we have to show won’t disappoint you. Having said that, let’s have a look on the sound design.

Realms of Arkania Inventory Screenshot

It’s an obvious thing: Atmosphere is not only created by graphics or by gameplay but by so many factors, it’s hard to even count them. Atmosphere is what you have if you put everything together and everything fits. And one of the most important things to create a deep atmosphere is the sound design.  Think about it: What would an RPG be without epic combat themes, an epic main theme? But not only the music is of importance. The details make the difference.

But what are details? Let’s talk about one. If you look back at games like the Realms of Arkania series you’ll find a lot of details which nowadays aren’t used anymore, which is a shame. For example have look at the inventory. When you did put some new leather gloves to one of your characters a little sound appeared. Over the years the sound design in this case has changed: What happens these days when you put on some new clothes? Right. A little bling bling sound can be heard. In some cases it’s more atmospheric. But often it’s just a non-saying something. That isn’t bad at all, but it doesn’t create atmosphere. Back in the days you had different sounds. Not for each item, but for different item-classes. For swords, for leather gloves, for steel gloves, for helmets. You had little sounds which told you: Alright, you just put on a heavy armor. And you knew it just by the sound.

Chaos Chronicles Inventory WIP

And that’s exactly what we want to achieve in Chaos Chronicles. Sure, not every item will have it’s own sound (if we did that we could ship the game on several Blu-Ray discs just because of the massive number of sounds), but there will be a lot of small sounds for several item-classes. If you change from a dagger to a heavy sword, you’ll hear a steel-sound, the leather gloves will lead to a different sound and so on and so on.

Many people don’t realize how much impact such a little detail has on the atmosphere but once you’ve tried it, you’ll feel kinda weird if you play a modern RPG where this little detail is missing. Cause you’ll expect it to be there. We even didn’t believe our own ears and that it made such a difference. But it did. And it will.

 

 

2012 02 Nov

November Screenshots

Categories: General

Please enjoy some few more screenshots introducing the Fireball spell and one impressions of an old abandoned harbor city. And some other stuff. Please note: Again everything is work in progress. Some things may change, some things will definitely change. Find them here.

Chaos Chronicles ScreenshotChaos Chronicles ScreenshotChaos Chronicles Screenshot

 

 

 

 

By the way, some already noticed it, some not. But fact is that we have a Facebook-Page. If you don’t know it yet, now there’s no excuse not to like it. Spread the word. Let’s see if we can start an action where we will release new media if we hit a special number of fans.
2012 30 Oct

Combat System #4: The Grid

Categories: Game Design

Just a quick preview of the combat grid in Chaos Chronicles. You can see the path preview that indicates the range for move+action (green) and double move (yellow). Soon, we can show more than this – thanks for your patience so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an earlier post (Combat System #1, Sep 03) that discussed the combat system, we admitted that we originally aimed for making a turn-based game. However, we also mentioned that other variants (esp. the RtwP combat of Dragon Age) were worth discussing and we spent some time doing so. We are grown-ups that make games in an industry that still mostly focuses on kids as customers. Most of us were still teenagers when turn-based RPGs vanished and made place for the new era of realtime. And even if the pros and cons sometimes come down to personal taste, we think that no one would argue one point: turn-based games tend to be less “action-packed”. It can grow annoying (especially in a less tight combat) to wait until all those goblins, kobolds, what-so-ever-minions have finally made their turn. Especially watching enemies moving is kinda boring and that’s why some TB games have sped up movement (e.g. animations) to the brink of sheer ugliness.

Players are eager to see their characters’ turns and they are also excited to see whether the enemy boss will kill their tank in his next turn. And while we all enjoy wiping out 20 goblins with a fireball, no one wants to see them all move and attack one after the other. In fact, some of us got often tempted to reload and see whether their wizard has a higher initiative this time to get rid of those little annoyances in the beginning of the combat.

ToEE tried to tackle this problem with a menu option that, once activated, would allow enemies within the same initiative group to move simultaneously. That turned out to create cool packs of hobbling and wobbling goblins but (as mentioned above) was not always beneficial: In a fight with a small number of semi-bosses that happened to be in the same initiative group (say, a giant, a werewolf and a demon) we would not only want to anticipate their attacks separatly but it also does look kinda unepic when these individuals make their moves together.

So we wanted to take care of the boring minions on the one hand without randomly grouping more epic enemies on the other. We straightfowardly decided to let our level designers choose which enemies should be grouped and which shouldn’t. The ‘minion mobs’ were born and we found them to provide additional advantages:

Rather than rolling the gobs initiative individually and grouping them up accordingly, we group them up beforehand and roll their initiative only once. This implies that a group of minions can not be ‘spread out’ over the initiative list and act individually (a case that the ToEE approach didn’t prevent). Also, we are going to try and give them some additional ‘identity’ exceeding the simple fact that they act simultaneously, by also tweaking their AI to stay together and attack the same target whenever possible. We think that might add to the strategic depth of our combat (and even if it won’t, it will still be more atmospheric). As an additional consequence, the player will be able to predict the a mob’s behavior to some extent. As far as we’ve implemented this (grouping and movement already looks good, but AI is still very basic) our idea feels great and we hope we’re well on the way to make turn-based combat a little more appealing regarding the pace.

We hope you enjoy our super-size-goblin-minion-mobs screenshot (more will follow soon) and we are, as always, looking forward to your comments!

 

 

2012 11 Oct

Meet your angry foes

Categories: General

Today, you can get first impressions of your future opponents in Chaos Chronicles. Those 3D models are directly taken out of the game. At this time, Skeletons, Orcs, Ogre, Ghouls, Zombies and Gargoyles can be found here, but more will follow soon. (Click on the thumbnails to enlarge).