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Fallen Gods - upcoming roguelite from Wormwood Studios inspired by Norse sagas

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Infinitron, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

    MRY
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    Here's a sample node from an event (the one I discussed here), with this illustration. This node requires you to have a witch in the warband, obviously. By way of reference, here's what she looks like in combat.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2016
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  2. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    img doesnt work :/
     
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  3. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Hmm. Trying to cheat my way through Google drive. Changed to hotlinks.
     
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  4. Blackmill Learned

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    The voice over and writing are amazing. Makes me understand why you called it a "slow process". Achieving that high level of quality ought to take a while.
     
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  5. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

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    well, expect no less. the casting / VO in primordia is amazing too and so is the writing
     
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  6. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Before putting anything into broader circulation, I figured I'd share this with you guys.



    A lot of work has gone into it -- it's our intro cinematic, the runestone is actually the game's main menu -- and frankly there's no way I'm making major changes, but if there are small things I can possibly make adjustments.

    Credits
    Jamie Campbell: Voice
    Anders Hedenholm: Music
    Cleopatra Motzel: Runestone design
    Victor Pflug: Landscape animation
    Ryan Cordin: Lighting, runestone animation, composing the two parts
    Me: Text
    Maciej Bogucki and Emanuil Tomov: Text editing

    This is obviously a large number of people (spread over six countries!) for something so small, but the truth is that most of them are primarily occupied with more substantive work on the project. The only two who were intro-exclusive were Cleo and Emanuil.
     
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  7. duanth123 Arcane

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    I think it rotates a little too quickly, it's almost dizzying (unless that was an intended effect) and as the viewer I wanted to inspect each segment being described in more detail.

    Don't know if you could introduce slight pauses in the narration to accommodate a slower speed.
     
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  8. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Yeah, that's a problem, though I'm not sure it's soluble. It is meant to be a little dizzying at the start. I think it already runs on a little long, unfortunately, so I think introducing pauses would be counterproductive. We toyed with the idea of variable speed, but that was actually much more dizzying, and also had a somewhat anachronistic quality.
     
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  9. Mustawd Arcane

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    Agree with rotation being too quick.
     
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  10. Mustawd Arcane

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    Yes, too long to hold my attention. IMO, a combination of shorter exposition with pauses would be ideal. But if it's not soluble then it's not soluble.
     
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  11. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

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    not that dizzying for me, but it went on to long imo.

    alas i watched it at work with no sound and SD quality. will watch again when i get home
     
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  12. 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
    When will you put it into broader circulation? Is there a blog post coming soon? How newspostable is this? +M
     
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  13. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Not newspostable yet. I'll let you know when it is public.

    I'm reluctant to shorten the text, as it's meant to cover the basics of the lore. That level of change would also just require too much in the way of time and resources -- the only element that would stay intact would be the runestone itself, but ironically Cleo's time is most expandable since she's not required for other parts of the game.

    The level of tweaking I can do now is more like changing the transition effect, rebalancing volume, conceivably tweaking the text by a word or toe if something were particularly off.
     
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  14. 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
    I think the video has a nice hypnotic effect. Knowing your opinion on DEEP LORE, I'm not sure whether you really intended that people truly parse everything that's being said.
     
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  15. HoboForEternity In every buttons you press Patron

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    just watched the trailer for real. nice voicework, great writing. but yeah, now it feels kinda dizzying <_<
     
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  16. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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    some p. deep lore in that vid
     
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  17. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Re: Lore -- Yeah.... So, it's funny, years ago I used to wonder, "Why are these email fraud schemes, like the Nigerian Prince thing, so full of obvious 'tells' that they're fraudulent?" Then I read an article that explained that it's very cheap to send out a million emails as bait, but it's actually pretty "expensive" (in terms of time) to go from the initial bait to getting the person to give money. You have to write personal notes, take photos, sometimes send physical letters and forged documents, etc. So a fraudster wants to make sure that people who get past the "bait" stage are likely to stay hooked until the reeling in. The worst case scenario is to have a bait that's so effective that you get a bunch of skeptical people to follow up, because none of them will stick with it to the end.

    Anyway, I kind of think there's a little bit of that going on here. The intro is probably the only motion-sickness-inducing part of the game, but setting that aisde, if you don't like it because it feels too slow, too dense, too long, then FG probably won't work for you. That's my fault -- I just can't deliver writing that is both what I want to write and that is sufficiently compelling to hold most people's attention. In the case of FG, since it's a vanity project, I don't really have to compromise my druthers. I just have to hope, like the Nigerian, that there are enough sapsdiscerning players out there to make FG work. That said, as I think someone noted in a PM to me, part of the issue with the intro is that the player doesn't have any stakes in it yet, whereas the events are leading to choices that have gameplay consequences, so perhaps I'm too pessimistic about things.

    That said, I guess I'd rather attract players than chase them off, since unlike the fraudster, I have no additional cost in having them try more of the game. Maybe once I have the rest of it playable, we can revisit the intro and take another stab at it.
     
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  18. Neanderthal Arcane

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    I like that a bloody lot, nice dissemination (is that right word?) o lotsa lore that doesn't feel borin cos its so well reinforced by images, an them images are ones we all know but stand out from saga telling. Wondered why you went wi Orm initially for Tyr/Allfather role, but also understand as theres a lotta levels to explore there from Dragon to Wurms that represent eternal concepts such as Niddhoggr an Jormungandr, plus it trips off tongue easy.

    I think it might need a flourish at end, perhaps that thunder an lightning in sky from when god falls erupting again and highlighting your Fallen Gods logo?
     
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  19. Mustawd Arcane

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    Rewatched it and it indeed is sore on the eyes. I think for me the biggest problems are:

    A.) The art style and the pattern is not really conducive to what you're trying to do. It has a really busy style in terms of line art that doesn't really help distinguish major shapes easily. At least not while spinning :/ So as a work of art it's fine. It has a very cool design. But the cinematic effect you're going for just doesn't translate for me.

    B.) By the time I can sorta figure out what the image is, it's already spinning to the next one.


    I like the idea, and it's reminiscent of a movie that used either hieroglyphics or caveman drawings for their intro. But I basically agree with you when you say:

    It wouldn't stop me from playing the game, so I don't think you should be overly concerned about it. I think we're just giving you some notes on whether or not it works.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
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  20. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Thanks for the nice words. In answer to your question:

    (1) Because he's not quite Tyr/Allfather. I would say he's a composite of Odin, Prometheus, Lucifer from Paradise Lost, Loki, and various real-world revolutionary leaders. (The early design of the game coincided with my reading a bunch of books about anti-colonial and Communist revolutionaries, basically driving home my conviction that such revolutions tend to end in disaster for the people and the land irrespective of the moral justification at the outset because the skillset needed to throw off a more powerful oppressor is almost entirely different from, and even exclusive of, the skillset needed to build a political order.) The name "Orm" (i.e., "snake") is meant to conjure up some of this complexity.

    (2) I'm a huge fan of The Long Ships* (the protagonist of which is named Orm), and that book was one of two seeds for FG's setting (the other being Seamus Heaney's Beowulf). Over time, the influence of The Long Ships faded away as the game became darker, but it got the ball rolling. Beowulf's inspiration has stuck with me, in particular the following from right at the outset:
    To me, that quote had a certain alienness -- that a "wrecker of mead benches" and "terror of the hall-troops" could be "one good king" -- that set me on this journey. Incidentally, Kevin Crossley-Holland's The Norse Myth's starts with a similar bit of alienness:
    As it turns out, having now spent several years reading sagas, eddas, and histories, I now think that the Beowulf line is fairly misleading, but all the same, it stuck with me.

    The conflict alluded to in the intro (the overthrow of the old gods by the Ormfolk) strikes me as a totally morally justified one, it just turns out that what is required to upend the world's order like that isn't conducive to a happy epilogue. Orm is pretty mild as a revolutionary tyrants go -- he's decadent, not cruel -- but he's incapable of rebuilding what got destroyed. In a sense, FG is a post-apocalyptic setting, it's just not one in which there was appreciable technology to lose or cities to crumble, one in which the land hasn't been entirely blighted and so forth.

    Mustawd I think you're right about the conflict between the detail of the drawing and the spinning effect. But I think addressing something like that will definitely have to wait.

    [EDIT:

    * If you haven't read The Long Ships, stop whatever you're doing and order it. It is among the few books that I feel comfortable recommending to anybody -- it's academically credentialed enough for snobs, it's a masterpiece of style, a fascinating bit of history, and most importantly, probably the most fun adventure story I've ever read. It has the same verve as a Howard Conan story without recourse to supernaturalism or grimdarkness.]
     
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  21. agris Arcane Patron

    agris
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    I really liked it actually. It was a bit dizzying, but as soon as you realize the images are connected to the narration it clicks for me.

    The audio was balanced well. soft knee compression + normalization on the narration, music track -3 dB from it?

    The one production niggle I had was the vertical letterboxing of the slowly scrolling scenery that starts at 1:27. It would be better to use the entire screen space to keep it coherent with the previous scene, IMO.

    suggestion for improving the visual clarity during rotation+narration

    unqualified advice (open)

    every scene that rotates into view is connected to the narration. as Mustawd pointed out, the detailed engravings + fast rotation makes discerning what is happening in the image difficult.

    contrast would help with that. I believe I heard an important verb early on in the narration for each scene, the narrator even put more verbal emphasis on it. When that verb is spoken, if the engraved lines in the scene where to flash brightly, providing contrast and directing the viewer's attention, then fade to the regular engraving, it would make it much easier to track the scene in the rotation IMO. Not sure if I'm describing it well, but something like this only sun-colored and more emissive/diffuse.

    image (open)

    [​IMG]

    It would pop into the relevant lines of the engraving for a brief moment, and fade rather quickly.

    Just an idea. I gather that's beyond the scope of the changes that are practical to make.
     
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  22. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Yeah, the lighting up thing is something we've thought about. It is not cost-free from a production standpoint, but I have a friend who's a professional CGI guy for movies who can take care of it. I don't want to waste his time until the game is closer to done.

    I didn't even notice the letterboxing. Let me ask the artists and see if there's a reason for it.
     
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  23. Neanderthal Arcane

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    Yeah theres a cultural gap that I enjoy there, for instance its interestin that Odin rules an rules well in Gladsheim, because he's not a popular or the most powerful of gods according to many sources, but he is warrior class/kinglike, being ruthless and greedy for wisdom and gain. Whereas Tyr, Thor an Ullr are the gods who are popular, powerful and noble but do not rule, because they are not ruthless and cunning like Allfather. That acknowledgement that heroes were all well an good but it took bastards who could make the harsh decisions to rule, thats not something we admit now though I think we all know it.

    That Beowulf line about the shield wrecker and huscarl terror reminds me of the old one about any man being a king who can walk into a Thing, declare himself one and walk out again alive. Though being a skjalding obviously helps.

    I thought the rotation were very hypnotic an interestin, following the ormlike thread of the story as it unfolds, no complaints about it at all.
     
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  24. Brancaleone Learned

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    I'm guessing you cannot, so to speak, zoom it out a bit more, so to be able slow down the rotation and still show the entirety of the carvings in the same amount of time?
     
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  25. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Given the curvature, I don't think so. If it were linear, I think that would work, although you'd lose some readability by zooming out, too.
     
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