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Game News Battle Brothers-inspired turn-based tactical RPG Dead Monarchy released on Steam Early Access

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: Dead Monarchy; Dead Monarchy Studios

    Turn-based tactical RPGs, everybody's making them these days. Kevin AKA Bantichai is a young fellow from Australia who has been working on his own tactical fantasy game for several years now. It's called Dead Monarchy and it's inspired by XCOM, Jagged Alliance and especially Battle Brothers. The game's not too heavy on lore right now. You have a town and a roster of warriors, and you need to go out and kill the bad guys before they kill you. I'm sure the game still has a long way to go, but it's come along far enough for a Steam Early Access release. Here's the trailer and an excerpt from Bantichai's rather personal launch announcement post:


    Three years ago, I decided to try my hand at game development. Prior to that, I had graduated from university with a Multimedia degree which was more or less useless. It taught me a few things, but in hindsight I probably could have just googled most of it.

    That said, my end results were mediocre at best as I was just too preoccupied with gaming. After all, I've been gaming all my life, I was about 6 or 7 when my parents bought me a gameboy to play Pokemon, since I had traded away all my tuckshop money at school for Pokemon cards. This was only the start though, my first foray into PC gaming was Age of Empires which I fished out of a cereal box. Cereal has never quite been the same since then. I remember spending hours in the scenario editor creating "spectacular cities" which were really just a load of houses arranged on a square grid and then I remember having my childlike mind break down when my beautiful walls were destroyed by catapults.

    Then when I was about 12, my parents finally bought me an Xbox and through a friend I got my hands on a little game called Morrowind. I honestly didn't know what I had gotten my hands on at the time. However, I had also been simultaneously playing Runescape, spending my days in world 2 trading rares, hoping to one day get a party hat and grinding it out on mudcrabs through the scorching Australian summers. Then one day, my account got hacked, I lost my santa hats, I cried and then I quit in a fit of rage.

    I then set my sights back on the Xbox and I decided to finally delve into Morrowind. Prior to that, I had never truly played a game like Morrowind before let alone held an Xbox controller in my hand. The trip from Seyda Neen to Balmora felt like the journey from the Shire to Mount Doom as I was so uncoordinated that I couldn't even figure out how to navigate with the map. I also had a penchant for stealing from shops and then promptly getting killed by guards.

    I played Morrowind alone for nearly a whole year. Morrowind left a lingering desire in me for more, so I played most of the games that Bethesda released after that and I delved into modding when Fallout 3 came out. I made a few private mods and then gave up on them and repeated this cycle for New Vegas and Skyrim.

    After Skyrim, I went into a lull, I just couldn't find a game like Morrowind again. I also found myself slowing becoming detached from gaming and not finishing games anymore. I don't quite remember how but I eventually found myself playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown and when I discovered what "Ironman Mode" was, it reinvigorated me. I'm not sure what the exact connection was, but you could probably say it was the challenge that reminded me of my Morrowind days. XCOM then became the gateway that led me into digging up all the classic games and then I eventually hit Battle Brothers. To this day, I still haven't found a game that handles turn-based melee combat better than BB.

    But I digress, all I really wanted to say is that I truly love gaming and it's a shame that the industry is changing too much for my own tastes. That is the main reason why I got into game development, I just want to do my part to better gaming for the future.

    When the store page first went live, I mentioned that I was finally at the starting line. In hindsight, I was wrong. Only now, am I truly at the starting line, prior to that you could say I was just warming up.
    We all have stories like this one, but not everybody decides to go all the way and actually make their own game. Good on you, Bantichai. Dead Monarchy is available on Steam now for just $10, with a 10% launch discount until next week. For more details, check out the game's thread on our forums and the official YouTube channel, where Bantichai regularly posts development updates and gameplay videos.
     
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  2. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    I'm so old
     
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  3. Murk Arcane

    Murk
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    Some potentially interesting things in there, but hard to read what the gameplay loop will be like. Seems like there's more emphasis on simulation.

    Also, I am so glad BB's artstyle is what it is instead of budget 3D.
     
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  4. Elhoim Iron Tower Studio Developer

    Elhoim
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    When I was 12 my parents bought me a 486 DX2. And I had a "Family Game" (cheap NES knockoff).

    Congratulations on the release! Looking forward to the world map addition.
     
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  5. undecaf Arcane Patron

    undecaf
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I think I just got my Amiga 500+ when I was twelve.
     
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  6. Pretty Prophet

    Pretty
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    I feel like the effort thay guy is put into this game is worth rewarding, especially with the low price he asks for it...
    He feels like a normalperson who came to rpgcodex and put a tons of VERY personal blog posts about game development.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  7. Murk Arcane

    Murk
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    Reading most of the thread regarding development has convinced me to effectively kick-push this game with the 10 bucks. Call it a gamble, or a reward for someone who started as a filthy popamoler and graduated to something more incline.

    Here's hoping the man's dream comes to fruition.
     
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  8. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    Admire the discipline and effort, seems like a cool game. The budget 3d is really going against it, should gone 2d, budget 3d makes a game looking 10 times worse than it actually is. Call me vain but a good art style do wonders about generating interest into playing a game, I have hundreds of games to play and no time when I see the lacking art style... What is funny because Battle Brothers art style is very appealing.
     
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  9. Grampy_Bone Magister

    Grampy_Bone
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    Whoa, the figures have legs! How did these technical wizards implement such a mythological feature? Surely such a thing is beyond mortal men.
     
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  10. Agame Liturgist Patron

    Agame
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    This 100%. When will people learn style and aesthetics beats "muh three deee". When a game looks like :prosperface: I find it so hard to get into. It seems like the early years of shitty 3D art will haunt us forever with these low budget indie titles.

    But then of course you have the crowd who's only reaction to a beautiful game like BB is "why don't they have legs?"

    I hate this world. :negative:
     
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  11. Strange Fellow Magister Patron

    Strange Fellow
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    C'mon fellas, cut the dev some slack. 3D is doubtlessly easier to work with for such a small and inexperienced team (isn't it just the one guy?).
     
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  12. Agame Liturgist Patron

    Agame
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    I know but sometimes I just have to rant and rage about it!

    He seems like a cool bro and I wish him all the best with the game.
     
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  13. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    All those 3d models took a lot of time to wire them, to animate them, to fix glitches, to program 3d space collisions and all that good stuff, while a soldier on Battle brothers is a icon that sometimes shake a bit. There is a reason why most indies go for stylized 3d, realist budget 3d is a huge backhole in terms of effort for little gain.
     
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  14. Bantichai Dead Monarchy Studios Developer

    Bantichai
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    Thanks a lot Infinitron for making a post about Dead Monarchy. Also regarding the feedback, it's totally cool and I completely understand where you guys are coming from. 2D art undeniably has its advantages, especially in Battle Brother's case. There is hardly any animation so you don't need to worry about animating, things like spears that attack over 2 tiles are easy to put in and flails that require somewhat accurate physics simulation is just another thing you'd drop in. You can abstract things like the human body to cut down on costs and in some ways it is easier to create unique abilities since things are abstracted, IE rotate.

    In my case, I'm not a 2D artist and so it really came down to what was feasible. With the little money I had, do I hire a 2D artist to create custom art assets and limit the scale of the game due to my shoe string budget or do I leverage some of the Unity store assets like trees, rocks and then hire a 3D modeller to do very specific things like helping me to design some armors. Those were the hard decisions that I had to make to even make the game a possibility. There is 2D stuff on the asset store too, but it is not to my liking, so hardly any of it was usable.

    3D in a sense is easier to work with as some of you guys have said, especially when it comes to level design. However, I believe Overhype had some issues with level design when it came to creating things like maps with large infrastructure like when you attack a bandit camp, dungeons with narrow interiors or a building on a battlefield that you also want to have an interior inside. Now, I have no doubt in my mind that Overhype could solve these issues and still stick to 2D art, but in my own case I don't think I could have made it work. I had to balance my budget, limited time and also limited skill level. I honestly am just another gamer that was crazy enough to decide to take a shot and make a dream game. :P

    All in all though, I appreciate all the comments, thanks again guys!
     
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  15. Country_Gravy Arcane Patron

    Country_Gravy
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    so is it any good?
     
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  16. Bantichai Dead Monarchy Studios Developer

    Bantichai
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    I have some very old demos up on IndieDB if you wanted to check them out. I'd recommend playing 0.2.0, the first demo uses a different turn-based system. Even though 0.2.0 is outdated, it might give you a good enough idea of what to expect.
     
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  17. Zanzoken Prophet

    Zanzoken
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    Bantichai seems like a genuine dude who likes a lot of the things I like. Best of luck mate.

    With regards to art style, the 3D is obviously not outstanding but it will do the job. Being able to visually represent your characters in different weapons and armor is always a nice feature.

    I think if I was making a little TB tactical game I would rip off the Fire Emblem art style.

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]
    I bet one could get pretty good at this level of pixel art without expending too much effort, and weeb faggotry aside, FE's sprites and portraits have always made for a nice aesthetic.
     
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  18. Bantichai Dead Monarchy Studios Developer

    Bantichai
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    Thanks mate! An interesting point you bought up there about the Fire Emblem art style too.
     
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  19. Bantichai Dead Monarchy Studios Developer

    Bantichai
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    Haha! Thanks for the support here and also over on the Iron Tower forums too :)
     
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  20. Keye_ Educated

    Keye_
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    Strongly relate to your video-game story, lots of parrallels there. Playing Runescape after school everyday, playing huge rps I hardly understood..
    I also got in to 'classic' rpgs by accident and have grown to love them.
    Passion like this should be supported. Excited to see how this develops further.
     
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  21. Bantichai Dead Monarchy Studios Developer

    Bantichai
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    Thanks for the kind words! I'll continue to post regular updates here and also on the steam forums. :)
     
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  22. cherry blossom Arcane

    cherry blossom
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    Respect the effort and wish you the best. At least do parallel projection instead of perspective. Everything will look much better.
     
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  23. DeepOcean Arcane

    DeepOcean
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    Best luck to you, dude. Making games if fucking hard and the very fact that you already managed to get the game to release on Early Access is an achievement, wanna play good games and I will keep an eye on your game. As there isn't an option of going 2d, there are a few tricks you could study to see if they are feasible to make things looking better.

    The city screen, I dunno why you surrounded the village with mountains that are so close together hugging the village, it caused in me an strange impression as it doesn't look like a natural village/fort. Maybe you don't even need to remove the mountains, only to change how they look, I dunno...

    The black space around the fighting arenas is really contrasting with the bright lighting, is it feasible for you to create an skybox and a false horizon? You don't need to create a huge walkable space, just extra outside the arena space and a skybox to pretend there is something beyond the the arena. If it isn't, wouldn't restricting the camera be a better option to hide the ends of the arena? I get you are going for a tabletop game arena style but the realist 3d graphix look with free camera and an arena with hard borders are kinda conflicting.

    About the lighting, the intense lighting without shadows is really making the tree models look unnatural and washed out, are you going to do a lighting pass? There are a few tricks you can do with lighting to hide the low fidelity of the tree models and grass and make the models look better than they are.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  24. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    One day I hope to see a game made in 3d with good use of z-levels with stick figure art, cel shaded to look 2d. Probably the cheapest way to make something still look great.
     
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  25. hivemind Scholar Pretty Princess

    hivemind
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    FINALLY A 3D GAME WITH FREE CAMERA

    I WILL GIVE U MONEY AND PLAY THIS GAME FOR HUNDREDS OF HOURS EVEN IF ITS HORRIBLE BECAUSE OF THE CAMERA ALONE

    THANK YOU BASED BANTICHAI FOR UNDERSTANDING THE POWER OF 3D
     
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