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Vapourware [WiP]Zodiac Legion, a medieval fantasy take on X-COM

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Galdred, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Then actually, a gamma or saturation setting could be the best option, with the default between these 2 versions. I will look into it.
    But the stronger colors don't go very well with the "realistic" (as non-cartooney) look of the game IMO.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
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  2. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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  3. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    The default armors for Capricorn and Pisces:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Capricorn Warriors

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Pisces Warriors

    Basically, the "unique" elements will be the helms, with the armor parts being shared by many preset armors (as we have many more helms than anything else, and they are pretty recognizable).
    All 3 Pisces champions use the same set of greaves, but the breastplate colors and helm shapes give them a distinct look.
    The parts will be customisable. It will be "somewhat" customizable : the player will be able to chose parts for each armor depening on the armor type, and each part will have several color variations.

    Edit : and some preview of the return of the dungeon levels :
    [​IMG]
    Reinforcements, and spawning have been added both in game, and to the editor.
    [​IMG]

    I am looking for a new pixel artist by the way. If someone feels confident replicating this stuff, you can send me an email at : my_codex_nickname at gmail dot com
    I have found one, at last!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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  4. InD_ImaginE Cipher

    InD_ImaginE
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    Looks interesting. I didn't bother to read the whole thread so forgive me for asking this:
    1. How far is progress?
    2. Any plan for crowdfunding?
     
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  5. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    1.
    Actually, the first post in the page is rather up to date concerning progress :
    Already implemented :
    + Moving character and animations
    + Zones of Control and flanking
    + Lines of sight
    + Combat rules
    + Map editor (We use Tiled with a lot of autorules)

    What needs to be done is :
    - Other objectives than kill everyone
    - AI
    - content (special powers, equipment)
    - Some UI elements (combat informations, equipment)
    -the whole strategic layer
    I have been working on content, and LoS calculation optimization and balance lately. That and a lot of paperwork to get a grant to pay for the remaining art assets (some more tiles, props, and music mostly). I am also working on making the game less "rough", as it curently supposes the player knows all the rules and all warrior stats.
    I should have more time to work, as my daughter is entering day nursery tomorrow
    So I'd say it is roughly halfway done.

    2. Yes, I may give it a shot in late January, but that won't increase the implementation speed much :(
    But that would be the only hope to get siege and horses in.

    For what it is worth, I plan to release the game on Q1 2017.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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  6. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Some news :
    Web site is up without too many 404. You can suscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Twitter.
    www.studio-draconis.com
    Crowdfunding will take place in April so that we have more time for PR. We should not starve before June according to my most pessimistic calculations.
    We have worked on the following topics :
    -Design of the strategic layer and mission structure.
    -Visual variety for the existing environments.
    -Lighting
    -World building
    - Trailer music
    -Setting up the company while paying as little as possible.
    None of it is completed but we have made good progress.

    We will describe all these topics in detail in the coming weeks.
     
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  7. desocupado Prophet

    desocupado
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    How did you implement light of sight? Which algorithm did you use?

    The game looks great by the way, I might even buy it and play when it's released.
     
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  8. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Thanks :)

    The hexagonal tiles are speilt into 8 cells (so it's like the following diagram with cells being 4 times bigger). The memory in use for 32 cells/hexagon would have made storing the LoS table impractical (50*8*50*4 )^2/2 bits = 3.2 Gb = 400 MB.
    With 8 cells/hex, it goes down to 25 MB, which is much more reasonable
    [​IMG]
    The shape of one hex is :
    .xx.
    xxxx
    .xx.
    LoS between cells is currently precomputed in lua, using a modified Bresenham algorithm (diagonals are not allowed, it's one up/down or one right/left, it is tested twice : once with up first for all diagonals, and once with right first. If it is blocked both ways, then LoS is blocked. ). I am rewriting in in C, so that the memory does not explode while I recompute the LoS whenever a wall gets breached. The cell table which lists the LoS from one cell to another is kept in memory. Then the visibility from one hex to another is computed depending on the number of target cells visible from the 2 best origin cells.
    For each line going from one edge cell to another, the partition table is also kept in memory. A partition consists of all the cells that can see each other along a line.
    When a wall gets breached, or a door is open, the algorithm checks all the rays that go from an edge cell to any breached wall cell, , and updates the partition table (which is quite fast actually : when a door is closed, a partition is split in two new ones, and when a door opens, two LoS partitions merge).
    I will also use the cell table for lighting once I have finished rewritting in.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2015
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  9. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    First, here is an exemple of the work of Valery Kim to add some welcome visual diversity to the indoor tiles :
    [​IMG]

    That won't make the levels any easier to design, though.
     
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  10. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

    Jaesun
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    :takemymoney:
     
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  11. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    A Christmas without snow :

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Joined on the 4th of July Arcane

    Joined on the 4th of July
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    Really good looking graphics. Like some late 90s triple-A game from an alternate reality where the reign of terror of 3d graphics never even started.

    Only visual annoyance is the hula hoops each and every character has under its feet. They could use being a bit subtler. Or maybe have something in options to adjust their visibility. Dunno.
     
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  13. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Thanks.
    Good point, I wanted to make team affiliation obvious as the same armors could be used by both side, but maybe I made them too obvious.
     
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  14. udm Arcane Patron

    udm
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    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Thanks for your support!
    I changed the title(again) to Zodiac Legion because commander evocates either something more scifi, or something with ships. So something like this ?
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    The final title will be Zodiac something, but the something can still change.
     
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  16. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    I posted a blog update about the dice rolling in the game :
    http://studio-draconis.com/dice.html

    Show Spoiler

    DICE ROLLING
    Date ven. 02 octobre 2015 Tags game design / randomness


    Today's blog update will be about the core dice resolution system used in the game. Even though it could still change until the game is finished, the ideas behind it will remain the same.

    The input of this resolution is a value, usually a character skill. A check can be attempted against a fixed target, or against an opponent skill. In the latter case, we simply roll for each character, and the one with the highest score wins.

    CHARACTERISTICS OF DICE SYSTEMS
    When I started designing homebrew pen and paper RPG, I used to pick a dice resolution system because it looked cool, or because it was widely used. But it made me realize which features were important in a dice resolution system, and the way they vary with skill levels. These characteristics are :

    1. The range of possible results
    2. The distribution of the results
    3. The variance
    Even though it is rather obvious, it can be easy to forget to pay attention to some of the consequences of choosing a particular resolution system.

    RESULT RANGE
    The range of possible results is the possible outcomes of a single dice check. The range can be open-ended or not, and fixed or depending on skill level.

    Open ended

    An open ended dice roll system (also called exploding dice system) is one in which there is no maximum value : Some scores allow you to add a new die to the total (which can also explode if you roll one of the exploding values) It would also work for the minimum value, but the latter case is much rarer. Open ended systems allow an infinite range of task difficulties, going from lacing your shoes to inventing time travel, but then, it can be hard to picture what each difficulty represent, and they add some discontinuity to the result distribution for a given skill level.
    Fixed or moving result range

    This characteristics is simply the evolution of the range of result with the skill level. For instance, in systems using dice + skill (D20, CODA, West end Games Star Wars), where you add a die, or several dice to your skill, the range is minDice+skill-> maxDice+ skill, so it varies with the skill level. You can make some results an automatic failure, but it introduces some other problems, like never ever being able to get past 95% chance of lacing your shoes. The range, for D20 becomes 1, skill+2->20. On the contrary, a fixed result range system will have the same range of results for characters of different skill levels, but the probability of achieving a higher result will be much lower for someone with a lower skill level. GURPS is an example of fixed result range, where 3D6 are rolled, and are compared to a target number which depends on the skill and difficulty of the task.
    PROBABILITY DISTRIBUTION
    The curve of the result is usually either a flat one (D20) or a bell curve one (roll and keep, dice pool systems, Gurps). The bell curve has a larger probability of getting values around the average, while with a flat curve, each result in the range will have the same probability of occurring.

    [​IMG]
    Distribution and variance for 3D6 1D20. Both have the same expected value, but their probability distribution and variance are quite different

    The roll and keep system will result in an asymmetric curve, as the more dice you roll (and don't keep), the more often higher results will occur. Given that we settled for a fixed result range, we wanted a bell curve distribution for the game, to make it less likely that a champion would hurt himself with his own sword and bleed to death.

    VARIANCE
    Variance represents the sharpness of the curve. A low variance random event will strongly gravitate towards the mean, while a high variance one will have results that differ significantly.

    [​IMG]
    High variance (green) and low variance (red) rolls with the same expected value of 0.

    The two exemples we saw (3D6 and D20) both have the same variance regardless of skill level, but we may want to have variance change with skill.

    WHAT ABOUT ZODIAC LEGION?
    [​IMG]
    (The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.).

    So what are we looking for in the game? Given that Zodiac Legion is mostly about combat, we decided to go for a fixed result range, meaning that no one is ever safe from a pitchfork hit by an untrained peasant. That would also mean that a chimp would have a chance to discover time travel, but that would only be a consequence of the Infinite monkey theorem.

    Given that we use a fixed result range, the probability distribution needs to be a curve that peaks at low score values at low level, and goes to high values at higher levels. The variance question is trickier : Ideally, we'd like a low skill character not to pose a problem by himself to a higher skill one, but still have a chance to cause some damage to the stronger one. We first went with using a variation of the Silhouette system (Jovian Chronicles, Heavy Gear), where we roll n dice, and keep the highest. This system has a high variance for low skill values, and a low one for high skill values. But its major shortcoming is that skill peak pretty quickly (at skill level 3, you already have 42% chance of scoring the maximum value if using D6, and 27% if using D10), so we went with the following

    The result of a skill check is the 2nd highest die among (skill + 2) dice
    [​IMG]
    Distribution and variance for 50000 rolls of (skill+2)*D20, where we keep the 2nd highest die

    But it occurred too often that someone with low skill would murder someone much better, or champions being stopped by an untrained guard, so we decided to go with a very low variance at both end of the skill spectrum, so that untrained characters have a very low chance of achieving anything, and heroes are guaranteed to do well. But characters in the middle will have a higher variance score, and be able to perform awesome deeds, while occasionally failing at basic tasks.

    A system which has these properties would be one where we roll a fixed amount of dice, and keep the (skill)th.

    In the following graph, we roll ten 20 sided dice, and keep the skillth lowest, for skill varying between 1 and 10.

    [​IMG]
    Distribution and variance for 50000 rolls of 10D20, where we keep the skillth lowest

    As wanted, skill 1 character will perform consistently very badly, while skill 10 have awesome performances, and skill 6 has a large variance. But the variance is much lower for both ends, so if we want variance to be smoother, we can soften both ends as follow :

    The result of a skill check is the (a + skill)th lowest die among n dice rolled where Skill + 2*a <  = n and a is a fixed parameter.
    We can then fine tune the system by modifying the size of the dice and the paramater a after the skill range is fixed. If we use a = 1 as parameter, and roll 12 dice, we get the following distribution :

    [​IMG]
    Distribution and variance for 50000 rolls of 12D20, where we keep the (skill+1)th lowest

    FURTHER READINGS
    If you happen to be looking for more reading on the properties of specific dice systems, I recommend you the following links :

    Dice-Rolling Mechanisms in RPG by Torben Mogensen
    and its extendable Dice Roller to test various dice rolling systems
    or the Treatise on Different Dice-rolling Mechanics on wikidot
     
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  17. an Administrator Self-Ejected

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    :takemyjewgold:
    I love hex tiles.
     
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  18. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

    DwarvenFood
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    Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Wow interesting project, any plans on crowd-funding this, or are you going to do the grind until early access/ release ?
     
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  19. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Thanks!
    I will probably crowdfund soon, around May this year, if I have enough to show by then.
     
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  20. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Here is an updated preview of the strategic map :

    [​IMG]

    There is not much to do at the moment, but I will remedy this soon.
    In other news, I pitched my game concept to a game business incubator, but the incubator referent didn't believe in the potential of mixing the X-Com formula with fantasy (as if going from firearm based combat to sword and magic was just a cosmetic change).
    I have finished ported the game to moai1.7, so I will focus on the UI, more content on the tactical layer in the coming weeks, and some basic AI.
     
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  21. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Cool.
     
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  22. Cosmo Arcane

    Cosmo
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    Cool. Is it temporary art ?
    If not, will you make it so that the map's palette matches your pixel art's ?
     
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  23. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Actually, I have little control about the colors and tilesets used. I can only choose which to use (I am using campaign cartographer, and I cannot afford a custom tileset for the strategic map), so I can change to another "style", or even mix and match some styles, but I cannot make on that would fit the palette used in the tactical portion of the game.
    That said, I could try to postprocess the resulting final map by hand.
     
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  24. Cosmo Arcane

    Cosmo
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    Good idea, you could have a pixellating + color adjusting shader for example...
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
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  25. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    I have put a poll online regarding player preferences when it comes to this kind of games.
    http://studio-draconis.com/poll.html

    I probably forgot to include a few of the relevant games (I almost forgot to put Chaos Gate and Silent Storm, so I definitely must have forgotten other).

    Edit : I added Massive Chalice, Xenonauts, and Extraterrestrials
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
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