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Game News Druidstone enters production, procedural generation now completely removed

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Ctrl Alt Ninja; Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

    Ctrl Alt Ninja's Druidstone was announced last April as some sort of procedurally generated roguelite, but with every development update since then it seemed to move away from that initial vision. In their first update for 2018, the former Legend of Grimrock developers announce that this change of direction has reached its ultimate conclusion. All vestiges of procedural generation have been removed from Druidstone, and it is now a tightly focused game based around challenging tactical set pieces. With this return to their handcrafted design roots, Ctrl Alt Ninja are now ready to enter full production. I quote:

    This is big! As you may have been able to read between the lines, the development process of Druidstone hasn’t been all roses and butterflies. What I mean is that there has been some uncertainty with the project which has made it hard to communicate clearly what the game is truly about. That’s because up until now we have been in pre-production mode where we still try ideas and see what works and what doesn’t. But now that has changed. We know exactly what we are doing now.

    That means that many things in the game which we have mentioned in the initial blog posts have changed. Actually, so much that the game as it is now and how it will develop in the coming months does not resemble the one displayed in old blog posts that much. Sure, we still have the same basic premise, the same environments, the top-down view and tactical combat, but the spirit of the game has changed. Has evolved, if you will. What started as a procedurally generated RPG has transformed and will transform into a much more tightly focused game.

    So what exactly has changed? Here are the main points:
    • Procedural generation is gone. Long live the editor! Every map and every encounter will be handcrafted.
    • Focus on deep and tactical combat system. We want to make the combat really challenging so that every action you make every turn is a careful choice. Like playing chess with fantasy characters.
    • Focus on fun gameplay mechanics. We are not writing a book, not filming a movie, we are making a game, and gameplay is king.
    • No fluff. We want to make a tightly focused game, the same design principle we had with Grimrock. No filler content. Less is more. Or as Antoine de Saint-Exupery puts it famously “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
    During the last year, iteration by iteration, the amount of procedurally generated content has been diminishing. At some point we had to ask ourselves what point does the procedural generation have anymore. That was when we started working on the editor, and after that pieces have started to click into place very fast. Last week was the real kicker and we could produce a near shippable quality 30 minute segment of the game in just a couple of days. That’s huge! It’s very rare that we can make such a big leap in just a couple of days.

    But the main difference is really inside our heads. We now understand exactly what kind of game we really, really want to make. Sometimes when analysing the markets and looking at what kind of games are the topsellers, and worrying about the doom and gloom of indie developers, it’s easy to forget what your heart really desires. But if you listen carefully to yourself, you can perhaps hear a faint whisper. And if you keep listening to that inner voice, the voice gets louder, until it becomes a great booming voice that makes your bones shiver and skin tingle with determination: “YOU GOTTA MAKE THIS GAME!”

    Listening to yourself is the greatest and most important skill a game developer can have. This is hugely important, but difficult to explain why. It’s the thing that guides us through the development process and tells us what the game needs and what it doesn’t. It’s the vision what the game is really about.

    This is such an important milestone for us because now we have confidence in that this game will be great. It makes us want to pour all the love, sweat and energy we have to make the best game we absolutely can.

    Speaking from personal experience, I’ve only had a similar feeling once before. That was when I was working on Grimrock 1. Believe it or not, Grimrock 1 was made in less than a year, from scratch to release. Looking back at it, I still don’t quite get how we managed to do it in such a short time. But the answer is, of course, simple: we had a clear vision from the start and we worked our asses off to make it happen. Now that same feeling is back and we are really relieved, happy, motivated and excited at the same time. Making a game hasn’t been this fun in many years!

    In hindsight maybe setting up this dev blog in such an early stage of the project wasn’t the wisest idea, but we have always striven to maintain an open, honest and transparent view into the dev process. Mainly because we think it’s the right thing to do but also because (hopefully!) it’s interesting to follow us as we tread on the uncharted paths.

    That said, as we now move into production mode (making the game in our heads come true!), we are going to take a break from updating this blog. That’s because we want to focus 200% on the game we’re creating. But when we do come back (and we will!) we will present to you Druidstone, the real deal. That’s a promise!​

    All's well that ends wells! I'm guessing we won't be seeing more of Druidstone until much later this year, but I feel confident about its future now.
     
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  2. Decado Prestigious Gentleman Old time handsome face wrecker Patron

    Decado
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    Why not just make Grimrock 3? LoG2 was fucking great except for that stupid leprechaun.
     
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  3. Ivan Arcane

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    different dev team homeboy
     
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  4. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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  5. Jack Dandy Arcane

    Jack Dandy
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    Well, this is nice to hear :) I remember Petri fooling around with a PoR-style battlesystem in his free time, for some homemade atari project thing.

    Maybe they're going all in, gonna make a pure tactical dungeon crawl? I'd love to play it, that's for sure.
     
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  6. ArchAngel Arcane

    ArchAngel
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    So they are now making a fantasy Xcom? :D
     
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  7. thesheeep Arcane

    thesheeep
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    I didn't really follow this closely.
    What was it they wanted to generate procedurally previously?

    Removing (good) procedural generation to have to design everything manually in an editor just sounds like a huge time waste to me - plus a blow on replayability.
    But I don't know what exactly it was they wanted to generate procedurally, so this could be a good move. Would also be a good move if their procedural generation sucked...

    Infinitron Don't fire me. Enlighten me!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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  8. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    Levels, naturally.
    I don't think they've programmed the level generator yet, so no work lost.
    Personally I know exactly one game where procedural generation does facilitate replayability - Unexplored. Everywhere else it has the opposite effect, making the first playthrough as boring as the subsequent ones (unless there's a mix of procedural and designed areas).
     
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  9. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    You can read the previous newsposts, there aren't many of them: http://www.rpgcodex.net/tags.php?id=1886
     
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  10. Scrooge (;﹏;) Patron

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    Codex 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Removal of procedurally generated content is actually huge incline tbh ;)

    I have hopes for this, a tactical fantasy game focused on gameplay sounds awesome!
     
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  11. Elex Scholar

    Elex
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    because people don't buy sequels.
     
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  12. ArchAngel Arcane

    ArchAngel
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    As I said - fantasy Xcom.
     
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  13. thesheeep Arcane

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    Of course, if the procedural generation just slaps things together with no coherent logic behind it, it sucks terribly.
    But as many roguelikes (possibly Cataclysm most of all) and other games (like most X-COMs, or Everspace, or FTL, or...) have shown, a clever generation and asset (an asset can be anything from a chair to a whole quest) placement goes a very long way and can be hard to distinguish from hand made levels.

    It is quite hard to produce good tactical layouts via pure procedural generation, but that's why you mix handmade and procedural generation for that (again, see X-COM).
    From this update, I understand that they did not even have an editor for the manual generation, so their previous idea must have been pure procedural.
    But now that they have an editor - why not mix both approaches?
    Oh, well, guess we will see how annoying it will be to enter "wonderfully hand-crafted level 12" for the 7th time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
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  14. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    What makes you say it's more like a fantasy Xcom than like a normal turn-based RPG?
     
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  15. Infinitron I post news Patron

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  16. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    PROCEDUAL SHIT IS GONE

    YES

    YES

    YES

    Now this actually has a chance of being a worthwile game with ACTUAL, REAL, HAND-CRAFTED CONTENT WITH A PURPOSE rather than endless, samey, random shit.
     
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  17. DemonKing Arcane

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    LoG2 didn't sell as well as the original so I think that put a hold on plans for any further sequels.
     
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  18. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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  19. dawcio Learned

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    That's actually OK with me. Godspeed you Druidstone!
     
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  20. Ravn7 Educated

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    It's a shame. Some procedural generation (not necessarily much) always increases replayability and makes overall experience more unique.

    Also, it's rare these days.
     
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  21. grimace Learned

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    Imagine a game that notices your save scumming and randomly generates differences in the map. Does this terrify or delight you?
     
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  22. thesheeep Arcane

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    That would be pretty awesome if done right :lol:

    However, I do wonder how one could pull that off without it killing immersion or believability completely.
    You can't really move rocks around randomly after loading during combat...
     
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  23. azimuth Educated

    azimuth
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    Ew. Procedural content is the only thing that makes a game like that worth playing.

    Random maps is the one thing the 90s did right.
     
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  24. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    What drugs are you on? Every indie dev and his mother does procedual levels now.
     
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  25. luj1 Cipher

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    :whatho:


    ok ill bite
     
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