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Announcing Project GoldScript

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Rohan, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Hi there Codex,

    I've been pointed to this forum by a buddy of mine who's been asking a few questions here and there on this forum related to my game over the past few months. As development has been going quite well I wanted to finally make a post about it here. Please note that the game is not even in alpha yet and anything I write here could potentially change, however I am very firm on what I want to achieve and am already actively developing the tools to achieve it.

    The Setting

    Project GoldScript (PG) takes place in a post apocalyptic high(ish) fantasy world where humans, who once dominated the planet, have been forced underground due to a number of catastrophes which happened centuries ago. They are surviving, but barely. Having lost much of their culture and history, all that remains is a desire to survive and a dream to one day return to the surface of the planet which they once called home.

    The Engine

    PG is going to be a browser based cRPG. The current tentative title is a reference to the Goldbox games as well as the language that the game is written in - Javascript. Why choose the browser? I believe HTML5 has reached a stage where it can deliver very high quality games. These games are also accessible almost ubiquitously across all devices from a single code base. It's a good platform for an indie developer to start with, and since I am a web developer by trade, it was the quickest and easiest way for me to make a game.

    Features

    The game will feature
    1. Turn based 2D isometric tile based combat similar to Tactics Ogre or Final Fantasy Tactics. Really though these combat systems were an evolution of what was found in the Goldbox games imo
    2. List style location (towns) navigation. Dialogue trees will be used to deal with NPC interactions. NPCs will be represented by "head to shoulder" graphics
    3. First person dungeon exploration, again similar to that found in the Goldbox games
    4. Choices and consequences - quests will open or close based on your decisions.
    5. Soft saves to the browser and hard saves to our servers
    The mechanics and systems are being developed in house and will be unique to this game series. Players will be asked to create a full party upon beginning the game. The party size will most likely be around 5 with the ability to include 1 NPC at a time.

    The Release

    While it is silly to discuss the release at this stage, I can delve a little bit into how I plan to market the game. Basically I'll build the first chapter and release it for free. The goal is to release the subsequent chapters for a one off set fee per chapter. There will be no subscription fees and no micro transactions. It is possible that I will take the game to Kickstarter after the release of the first chapter to get more funds.

    Artists

    I'm not sure if there are any artists on these boards, or if anyone here knows decent ones, but it doesn't hurt to ask. We are looking for 2D artists for concept as well as sprite work. I have candidates for these roles already but it never hurts to have a larger talent pool to choose from. The work will be paid. If you are interested or know anyone who might be, please PM me.

    Testers

    Further down the track I'll need testers, most probably for the combat system first. I'll announce that here and give away some keys to people who are interested when it happens.

    Thanks for reading, I'll get a development blog up sooner or later for people to follow. If you have any questions/comments in the meantime, feel free to ask away.
     
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  2. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Here's a pre alpha screen grab from my combat level editor, built this level in about 5 minutes. This is in-engine, all textures are currently borrowed and the rights belong to their original copyright holder(s). Again this is written in HTML5 and works across all modern browsers regardless of device.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Piety Shitpostin'

    Piety
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    This sounds awesome, exciting even, but you're going to meet some resistance when it comes to the whole browser-based thing. At least around these parts.

    Here's the thing, though: I'm not sure why. Everything you said up above about the engine is absolutely correct. HTML5 is absolutely ready for this sort of thing, and running in a browser makes cross-platform compatibility easier than effortless. But it still bothers me (and a lot of folks) that it'll be running in a browser. The lack of local saves is bothersome, as is the possibility that the game could disappear at any time, and probably a lot of people would say that's what they don't like about it, but I think it's really something else. It's something irrational, I think, something about a browser-based game just doesn't feel as real as a desktop client. It's insubstantial, somehow.

    There was a thread around here recently about this very issue. I didn't post in it not because I didn't have an opinion about the question, but because I found that I couldn't defend the opinion I had, even to myself. If a game's good, why should it matter that it's running in a browser tab? Is it just some kind of knee-jerk prejudice born of the legions of godawful facebook games? Is it about local saves and longevity? Or is it that, if the game's not written to the registry and loaded from HD, it doesn't feel like it's really mine?

    Anyway, I don't mean to poop too hard on your thread. The game you describe sounds like one I'd very much like to play, and I look forward to being able to try it out, browser or no. I'd toss you a few bucks on Kickstarter even, if it looked like it was making progress. Good luck and godspeed.
     
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  4. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Thanks for the reply Piety.

    Yes I am aware of that thread ;) I understand the issue that people here (and elsewhere) have with the browser, but we'll see how things go as development progresses. Things are moving very fast in the web world and it might not be unforeseeable that a game written in HTML and Javascript will be able to be compiled to an executable file soon. That being said, I'm of the opinion that there's always a little resistance to new mediums when they start up. Much of the bad rap browser games get comes from their current stigma of being associated with the worst elements of modern gaming - micro transactions and reliance on servers.

    I've got some tricks up my sleeve to mitigate these factors, but ultimately if you're just dead set against browser based gaming, then you may miss out on something cool. Bottom line is, I think people will come around if the game is good enough.

    Thanks for the kind words. I'll keep posting here as things progress.
     
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  5. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    There are a few other issues with browser games indeed :
    There are tons of them, and it's pretty hard to make yourself noticed, as they usually get little press exposure. The main problem is the lack of sense of ownership : Unless you make the game purchasable and playable locally on someone's browser (but then, it would defeat one of the perks of browser gaming: the difficulty to find the game on TPB), people will rightfully feel they just borrow the game.
    Even if your plan is to offer lifetime subscription (which I think is better than F2P for this kind of game, especially now that everyone goes f2p...), people are not used to this way of buying games. You'd have to pay for operating costs for people who won't earn you any revenue in the future, which might hurt (and make people worried about this aspect). That said, you have to be quite the hypocrite to refuse browser based games because of it and embrace steam, which has the same flaws.
    My other issue with browser based games is that I hate it when my single player game lags, or when server decides today is not a good day to play.
    But I think being familiar with the tools of the trade makes up for it. Starting your game by learning new languages, frameworks or whatever usually leads to a dead game and a poor developer, so good luck with your game! The feature list sounds good.
     
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  6. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Thanks for the reply Galdred.

    Yes the issue of ownership is something quite key to a lot of people, especially old school gamers. While I've been gaming since the early 80s, the idea of paying for a key to access a game for life doesn't bother me so much, especially if the game is good and I can continue my adventures on my phone, then on my PC later. But that's just me.

    Lag etc., wouldn't really happen as the game would only be querying the servers once on start, and again on save. Everything else will be running in memory. It won't be like an MMO where the server gets queried constantly. It's a bit different but I think it can work well.

    Yep, I also agree that it's better to go with what you know rather than try to learn something new. If I did that the project would never get off the ground, I simply don't have the time and I'd rather make something than nothing.
     
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  7. Midair Learned

    Midair
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    I believe this is possible and relatively common. It might take a little juggling with a desktop programming environment but it does not look difficult.
     
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  8. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    There are some developments with Node.js that allow standards compliant web apps to run natively on the OS (a bit like Air but much better). I'll be looking into it for sure.

    At the moment though I'm just focusing on getting the engine working and ready.
     
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  9. 28.8bps Modem Prophet

    28.8bps Modem
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    I take it from your screenshot you're using WebGL? I'd be a bit wary about that if I were you. Just requesting a WebGL context hard-locks some peoples' computers. I wouldn't consider it ready for actual development yet.
     
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  10. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    I'm not using Web GL ;)

    But even with Web GL it's trivial to switch it on and off depending on the user's browser capabilities.

    Web GL is the future, but it's not exactly ready for play just yet as you've said. When iOS safari begins supporting it, then it's fair game.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
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  11. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Hi there, I've been pretty busy with actual work, have only had a few moments here and there to work on my engine. I thought I'd share this little video I just made though as well as some social media links.

    Here's the first very early demo of a combat map with some sprites being controlled (I've ripped the sprites from Tactics Ogre for now, I'm not aiming for the same kind of 'chibi' look though for my game). Shows of a bit of pathfinding and the fact that the maps will have elevation.



    I'll upload videos from now and then to the YouTube channel which is here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUJAmQdLIK8zHjP2apq1yJQ

    And my twitter is here https://twitter.com/gsengine

    edit: Facebook is also here https://www.facebook.com/projectgoldscript
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
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  12. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    A bit of an update that might interest people here - Project Goldscript is now being developed for desktop operating systems via Node Webkit, so it is no longer a browser based game. We have also switched the rendering engine to Three.js which is a Web GL enabled renderer allowing us access to the user's GPU. I've had to rewrite a bunch of code but it's been completely worth it and we are almost caught up to our previous milestone. I'll probably post a video update of our combat level building tool in the near future, so watch this space!
     
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  13. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Hey all, here's the latest video showcasing our in house combat level building tool. Just a small variety of features shown here, the next video will show texture mapping and topography creation / tile editing.

     
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  14. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Hmm this morning I was able to edit posts, now...not.

    Anyway here is a second vid that showcases exactly the same stuff but at higher resolution and with a better frame rate.

     
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  15. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Finally, our development blog is up. Probably not a lot of info here that hasn't been shared with you guys yet but here it is anyway.

    http://www.projectgoldscript.com/
     
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  16. Farage Prophet Patron

    Farage
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    DID I HEARD FINAL FANTASY TACTICS?
    :bounce::bounce::bounce::bounce:
    *INCLINE*
     
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  17. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Heh noticed your avatar.

    Taken from http://www.projectgoldscript.com/about/

     
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  18. Twiglard Learned

    Twiglard
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    Make some sodding soft&dynamic lighting[1] and I might be interested.

    [1] That you're able to, no graphiscwhoring.
     
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  19. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Hey,

    We have directional lighting implemented already, but there's probably a lot more we can do with lighting. I'll look into it later. Here's a screen shot from something I'm planning for Halloween, a little homage with a slight twist ;) Taken from our level building tool. RPG codex exclusive!

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    So I have a question for you all; and it's something I've been thinking about for a while now. The recent interview with TSI also raised this point.

    We are currently prototyping our various game modes, and I'm wondering what everyone thinks about switching from a first person view point to a combat grid.

    I personally never found this jarring in the Gold Box games, but I wonder if a lot of that was due to the extremely limited colour palette and design choices. Everything managed to fit together nicely, it still does even today. If I fire up a Gold Box game now, I don't have any qualms about the switch from first person to grid for combat.

    However, I wonder if this will be less smooth in a different engine, I'm also wondering about ways to make it smoother. I guess if we use the same textures for a dungeon as we do for the combat levels inside that dungeon, that will ease the transition a bit.

    Another option, which I have considered, is removing first person dungeon exploring altogether and trying to do something different. But I'm not entirely sure what that would be right now. Valkyrie Profile even had the very innovative approach of turning the dungeons into sidescrolling platform areas!

    This mode is still a ways off, as we are focusing on combat right now. But it would be great to hear what people think about this issue.
     
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  21. Twiglard Learned

    Twiglard
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    Hated first-person party combat so much skipped all the blobbers. Only reason to like it, nostalgia.

    When lights collide with anything, as is the case always, it's a bitch cause can't be done on the CPU anymore. No matter how hardly blitted are the additively-blended pixmaps.

    Rohan -- do a few prototypes if you can't decide yet on the basic mechanics. Or throw some more specialized questions, since something -that- generic can't possibly be answered.
     
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  22. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Hmm, well the thing is we aren't doing first person combat. We have the isometric levels for combat. What I'm talking about is, say you are exploring a dungeon in first person, and then it switches to an isometric grid as shown in the unfinished screens here, would it feel unnatural? I'm wondering this a lot myself...I guess the only way to find out is to prototype the transition.
     
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  23. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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  24. Rohan Educated

    Rohan
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    Hmm anyone know why I can't edit posts?

    Anyway here it as an embed for the lazy, Twiglard, this video shows off some dynamic lighting ;)

     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
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  25. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I believe there's a 30 minute time limit on being able to edit your posts. Once you've been registered for 12 months though, the restriction should be lifted.
     
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