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Game News Colony Ship RPG Update #5: Making a New RPG, Combat and Stealth

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, May 18, 2016.

  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: Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

    This month's Colony Ship RPG development update is out. Once again, it's divided into two parts. In the first part, Vault Dweller ruefully goes over the list of things that need to be done in the course of of creating a new RPG from scratch, which is an experience that he'd happily forgotten over the years. To make a new RPG, one needs an engine, writing, systems and art, of which the latter is the biggest obstacle. The second part of the update is about systems, specifically combat and stealth. I'll quote the combat part here:

    Melee-based combat makes a lot of things simple in 3 key areas:
    • Melee attack can be dodged or blocked (or parried or deflected), thus you easily miss even if you’re standing next to the guy you’re trying to kill. The famous duel in Rob Roy would have been very different if both duelists had SMGs.
    • Damage dealt can be modified by effort (i.e. fast or power attacks).
    • Combatants can just stand there and trade blows all day.
    So, logically, combat with guns should have higher THC in general, higher mobility, no dodging bullets, no damage modifiers, which means that fast attacks, normal attacks, and aimed attacks will do exactly the same damage, which means the player would want to use the fastest attack unless there’s a strong penalty, but we’ve just decided to keep THC relatively high.

    The obvious conclusion is that we need grazing, cover, and a wide range of attack types:
    • Let’s start with grazing. I wanted to implement it in AoD but we were out of time and the fast attacks were basically grazing attacks, doing a lot less damage. The ranged combat is perfect for it.

      Let’s say you have 80% THC (to-hit chance). You roll the dice and as luck would have it, you’re 1 point short but the binary miss-hit system doesn’t reward your near excellence and treats it as you weren’t even close. So, we’ll change that and go with 4 roll 'ranges': miss, graze, hit, critical hit.

      This will give us some flexibility with damage ranges and allow you to trade damage for THC.

    • Cover is another way to lower your THC without raising eyebrows and explain why the combatants take 4-5 turns to kill each other. We don’t want to place cover objects everywhere, so we’ll go with energy shields you can place in front of your character (i.e. you throw a 'gadget', it generates an energy shield in front of you (not around you) which absorbs X amount of damage and makes it harder to hit you while you’re hiding behind it).

      Naturally, once you decide to go with gadgets, why stop with one? Why not have gadgets modifying every available battlefield stat?
      • Depletable energy shield (absorbs x damage)
      • Reality distortion field (THC penalty against you)
      • Optical illusion a-la Total Recall (chance that enemies will target the illusion)
      • Cloaking field aka Stealth Boy
      • Stasis field (holds enemy, no damage can be dealt)
      • Brainwave Disruptor (don’t leave your home without Psychic Nullifier)

      As mentioned previously, expect 10-12 gadgets with 3-4 upgrade levels. Earlier I was toying with the idea of energy armor but the energy shield idea is better as it ties you down, creating tactical opportunities for your enemies. Then you’ll have upgradable synthetic armor offering different degree of protection against melee, projectile, and energy attacks.

    • Attack types
      • Three basic attacks are Fast aka unaimed (increases your Graze roll range and cuts the Hit roll range in half), Normal, and Aimed Attack (doubles the Hit roll range, cuts in half the Graze range). You can use these attacks with any weapons.
      • Class- and weapon-specific attacks like Short, Long, and Wide Burst for SMGs (some SMGs would be more suitable for wide bursts whereas others would be more suitable for long burst; however, these attacks would be available to all SMGs) and certain shotguns; Fanning for revolvers, Double Shot or Full Broadside for multi-barrel weapons.
      • "Tactical" attacks like Suppressive Fire and various Interrupt, Attacks of Opportunity Reaction Shots
    Another thing worth mentioning is that firearms, unlike fairly straightforward melee weapons, have very different designs, so each category (Pistols, Shotguns, SMGs) will have 3 subcategories. For example, Shotguns will have One-Handed Shotguns (sawed off and ‘Mare’s Leg’ style shotguns), long, heavy-barrel shotguns, and shotguns with revolving cylinders. So even if you choose to specialize with a single weapon class, you will have plenty of tactical options within this class.

    Last but not the least is the focus on mobility. In AoD we didn’t want a melee opponent chasing you all over the map, so your movement rate was slow (2AP per square). In the CSG we want mobility play a large role, allowing the enemies (and encouraging the player) to move around, flank and flush you out.​

    That THC mechanic seems kind of familiar! It's worth noting that this update reveals a tentative title for the game - The Sunless World. It's not final, but then, neither was "The Age of Decadence" at first.
     
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  2. Athelas Arcane

    Athelas
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    I look forward to the inevitable trademark dispute. :cool:
     
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  3. Jaedar Arcane Patron

    Jaedar
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    Project: Eternity Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Should at least have included a pretty picture:

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Endlösung Unwanted

    Unwanted
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    I dont like how I imagine stealth. Feels either gimmicky or pigeon holing or over powered or pointless. I am too lazy to think about it. All or nothing kinda thing.

    Lets say I stealth and get detected. Am I now always worse off compared to a straight approach?

    Also, extra work...

    What is the point of stealth in CSRPG? What game did stealth well? Invis Inc?

    TB Stealth feature list:

    • Your actions will generate 'disturbance' (the word noise doesn't work with visual disturbance caused by cloaking), modified by your stealth skill and the guards’ perception. The disturbance meter will show both the disturbance you generate while in stealth mode and disturbance you detect (cloaked or hidden enemies).
    • You determine how fast you move while sneaking (2:1, 1:1, 1:2 – AP to square ratio), the faster you go, the more noise you generate.
    • If you manage to get to a guard from behind without alarming him and triggering an interrupt attack (like a shotgun blast in your face), you can kill him using Melee weapons, your skill level will determine whether you succeed or fail. If you fail, we switch to TB combat.
    • The guards will have 3 states; each state will increase the detection radius, representing alertness.
      • unaware of your presence – do nothing
      • suspicious – investigating
      • alarmed – hunting down and summoning reinforcement, will get an interrupt attack on sight
     
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  5. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    I certainly hope so.
     
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  6. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
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    Yeah, it looks like this name is occupied. So is Star Trek, Farscape, Adrift (maybe Drifters could be used? Although I see there is a tv sereies, a music band, etc.)... Why not just name it Colony Ship? Or you can do a mix between a Greek word κόσμος ("kosmos" in Polish, German, Danish but cosmos also used in English), i.e. space/universe and trek/drift/something else, i.e. Cosmotrek/Cosmodrift... Wow, I'm so great at making good names and it's so easy...

    Jokes aside, I wonder how new combat system will work out. It seems to me that despite all these options, weapon and ammo variety and gadgets it won't be as diverse as melee weapons in AoD, where every weapon had very different attack types (including some special ones) which had advantages and disadvantages suited for different opponents. So for adversaries in light armour that were agile, fast and hard to hit, one would usually use fast attacks and for heavy armoured - power attacks or aimed attacks. It's one of the reasons why I consider AoD combat better than UR combat. Speaking of Underrail, I wonder if you will be able to match its diversity if you will go more realistic approach and make the guns way superior than melee (and you won't have psi abilities). Unless first opponents will also be poorly equipped and won't have guns and investing in melee will be necessary. Maybe besides cover system you could add prone/crouch positions or high ground modifiers...

    Anyway, seems to me that making combat as fun as in AoD or even Underrail will be really, really challenging. I really love Desperados approach where all characters had some kind of projectile weapon (cause you don't bring a knife to a gunfight) but each of them had his own ace up his sleeve, e.g. a negro was a demolitions and animal expert, a doc was a sniper and had knock-out gas vials, Cooper was the fastest gunman and the best knife thrower, etc. One could argue that the same could be achieved by investing in demolitions/chemistry/medicine/melee but it's not the case. These moves were unique to each character and every person had his own specialty that made him irreplaceable. If we could choose 1 special move for each character (or it would be chosen for us in case of some of the NPCs that we could recruit), one that at no point could be doubled in one team it would make things more interesting IMO and make your team feel special. And since it will be a party game, every team will probably look basically the same and cover all skills so replayability will be lower by default.
     
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  7. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    It's an alternative solution to various quests, occasionally the only way to unlock extra content or bypass extremely challenging (read 'nearly impossible') combat.

    We're aiming to do more, not less.

    We aren't planning to change that.

    Only now instead of light, fast fighters you'll have hard-to-kill 'gadgeteers', which is more interesting due to the versatility of the gadgets. Think alchemist-dodger.

    - Most enemies will have guns and you'll run into them in the very first quests.
    - Specializing in melee will be viable and sufficient but will require proper feats, gear, and tactics. No running toward the enemies and stabbing them in the face while they spray you for 3 turns.
    - The cover system comes with crouching.

    Can't speak for Underrail but I'm pretty sure the combat system will be much better than AoD's.

    Hopefully not. See the update on party members:

    http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7120.0.html

    If I have to pick one strong, flagship feature (without throwing away what we did with AoD), that would be the party dynamics.
     
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  8. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    At that point it would be cheaper to buy actual 60 metal swords than pay for pictures of swords
     
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  9. Athelas Arcane

    Athelas
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    Have you considered...

    ...a list-based inventory? :troll:
     
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  10. 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
    New genre - live action isometric RPG (cheaper to film real objects than model them in 3D)
     
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  11. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Actual metal swords for 100 a piece? Made from the finest aluminum, no doubt. A good custom knife will cost you anywhere from $300 to $1,500, much more if you want it made by a true master with a 5-10 year long waiting list. A sword will cost you triple. Like I said, nobody will work for days and charge you a few bucks for his time and material.
     
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  12. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
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    It doesn't have to have as good mechanical properties as the real thing, only the looks. But if we go in that direction you could just pay for a picture, not a sword.
     
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  13. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    20 grand is 300 per piece.

    And I don't know where the mythical knivesmith of feyland live and make 1500$ knives and why you brought that up, but even overpriced as fuck albion hema swords cost between 500 to 1500.
     
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  14. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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  15. Irenaeus Self-Ejected Patron Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual The Real Fanboy

    Self-Ejected
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Go to a museum and take some pics.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Shadenuat Arcane

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    Well you can't take pictures of three barrelled plasma desintegrator

    I still think artists are a bit of greedy fucks however, and game development is crazy expensive when it comes to art and VO
     
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  17. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Or a power glove.

    Anyway, for AoD we did use museum/antique auctions for references, including that wicked axe with horns. For the CSG we have a large collection of weapon references (mainly 'homemade' weapon used in recent wars or obscure, prototype weapons that never hit production), but we don't want to just copy them.

    It is expensive but look at it this way. We paid $15-20 for early 2D icons for AoD. This amount bought us 20-30 min of work and it showed. The artist was good and the icons had a certain charm but they can't be compared to what Mazin did or what this studio does. Like I sad, it all comes to time and effort and you get what you pay for. While the amounts mentioned n the update may sound too expensive, look it this way: if you hire a good concept artist, you'll pay him 60-80k, if not 80-100k. Then you can give him the portraits and the icons and it would take him about a year to do them.
     
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  18. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I have referred FailBetter Games to inXile's trademark attorney. :D
     
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  19. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    Isn't AoD inventory a list like Fallout? Unless you mean a textual list, which is indeed superior.

    All this expense with detailed portraits and distinct 3D models for everything is a grand waste of money.
     
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  20. Endlösung Unwanted

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    Well then my concerns dont apply.
     
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  21. Blaine Cis-Het Oppressor Patron

    Blaine
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    You're upset with artists who are able to demand their worth in the market? Oh god no! Not that!!

    There are a ton of talented artists out there if you take the time and effort to find them. Will they be all great quality? No, it's why they are cheaper. But many of them will be pretty good, and you might even get a deal if you know where to look.
     
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  23. Blaine Cis-Het Oppressor Patron

    Blaine
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Those damned artists! They're almost as bad as the bankers, taking advantage of the working man by overcharging us for basic necessities such as paintings, computer game art, and other luxury items not necessary to survive or even thrive!

    I see them driving their BMWs around and it just makes me so mad.
     
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  24. Excidium II Self-Ejected

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    It's nice money for painting cool shit though, if I could go back in time I'd be making a living drawing porn comissions on patreon and freelancing video game art contracts. Would even give a discount for CRPG projects.
     
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  25. Blaine Cis-Het Oppressor Patron

    Blaine
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    In my anecdotal experience (talking to artists, reading some art-related blog or article, etc.), the vast majority of artists don't get much (if any) personal enjoyment out of creating things specified by other people for use in other people's projects. It's not finger painting; it's a job. They very probably get professional satisfaction out of jobs and commissions, but it's not what they'd be doing with their free time, unless they're doing it for someone they care about. Carpenters and woodworkers no doubt love working with wood and tools in general, but some rich asshole's trophy case isn't their idea of a great woodworking project.

    Perhaps a good example: One of the obstacles facing many amateur artists is that they often only want to draw things that they want to draw. For example, a lot of dweebs start drawing because they want to draw anime, Warhammer, or what-have-you. A few of them even get good at drawing their one particular thing. However, it's impossible to become an expert, well-rounded artist without first learning to draw still life, animals, buildings, people, and landscapes in a realistic fashion, with proper vanishing points, perspective, shadows, color theory and so on. Someone who learned to draw anime using the steps in a book can't paint a cat. Any real artist can paint a fairly realistic cat, or a house, or a bowl of fruit, etc. (Though, in fairness, some hack artists do get those Patreon commissions to draw cartoon porn in the limited style they've managed to teach themselves).

    I have personal experience with this right here on the Codex from back when I paid Jaceface $100 to do that J.E. Sawyer POE portrait. He made it pretty clear that he didn't have much fun actually painting it, although I'm sure he was proud of it, because he did a great job and everyone thought it was hilarious. I probably underpaid him, but then again it would have been silly to out-bid myself when I only made one bid. I'm also a calligrapher myself, and although I don't do commissions, I can tell you right now that I'd consider calligraphing some couple's wedding invitations and vows to be a job, not fun.

    Most people who've never been artists or writers think they're cake jobs (including naive amateurs who aspire to be easy-street artists or writers), and in the sense of not being backbreaking, sweaty labor, I guess that's true. It's pretty common though for people to try to get artists or writers to work for peanuts, so imagine trying to make that your career.
     
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