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KickStarter Eidolons: Netherflame - a dark hardcore turn-based RPG

EiDemiurge

Wyrmring
Developer
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Underverse
Indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/eidolons-netherflame#/





Hey codex,
Finally making an official thread for it!

You might have seen this thread from when I was running the first beta for the game. It’s still valid source of info, but everything there can be summarized with this old gameplay short



Here is how the game looks now:

map-screen-B1.jpg

map-screen-B1.jpg


If you want to get deeper into game’s atmosphere, here’s a teaser for that too

For some real reading, there is a number of design-related posts I’ve made recently:
https://eidemiurge.itch.io/eidolons/devlog/69903/17-the-fundamentals-of-nethergate-campaign
https://eidemiurge.itch.io/eidolons/devlog/69743/16-deeper-dungeons-deeper-insights
https://eidemiurge.itch.io/eidolons...openworld-hybrid-and-core-concept-of-eidolons

Otherwise, here are the main reasons why you might be interested:
  • Full kit of a classic cRpg at the root of it, Troika style, hopefully less broken.
  • A new death mechanic that should minimize frustration and make your experience more believable without save-loads.
  • Different campaign design! Rpg-strategizing is an integral part of the campaign. There is no divide between story/gameplay, your motivation (get loot, xp, kill things) and hero’s (classified).
  • As a solo indie I can get away with things bigger companies can’t. I can do darker, more controversial and experimental things.

twit-poster-alt.jpg


Anti-vapourware inclusion - a somewhat old but comprehensive collection of screenshots: https://imgur.com/gallery/n4XRd5s
Another one for history's sake: https://imgur.com/gallery/oZHzu10

Finally, a "small" FAQ I made especially for codex :)
In five words, how does combat work?
Like in HoMM5, only better.
Each small action reduces your ‘readiness’ by its cost, so you can have enough time to turn around, but not enough to make a move before you’re dead. Not that you won’t see it coming.
Personally, I don't understand why more games don't adopt such a system, it's realistic, it's deep, .. it's about love.

What’s actually RPG about it?
The most ‘rpg’ thing about this rpg is probably this - each new hero is a chance to enter a whole new roleplaying style in full (in and outside combat). In fact, it’s a soft kind of requirement - all heroes need to maintain their Integrity to stay sane in this hell. So they better don’t act against their better judgment! You guessed it, there is a hidden underlying “Principle” system here, and of course, it is connected to the game’s pantheon and religions.

Besides that, the whole setting of the campaign is a bit of a roleplaying experiment - a kind of an emergent personal story in an extreme dark fantasy environment.

The question is - how will the different types act under the pressure of the ultimate burden? That is, a fights against fate worse than death - promise of eternal torment for all - which only complete sacrifice can avert?
To be fair, some of these heroes are mere fanatics, or under psychic possession, but their torment is real, unsoftened and conscious. Where is the line when the pain before too much even for the determined, those who deem themselves ‘chosen’?

The game will split those decision between those you still can make yourself, those that you thought you could make but were wrong, and those that are made by forces completely beyond your control, obeying only some logic of their own.

Finally, there is another experiment - one that is more social and RW-related. It’s based on how the game lets you choose your style, your way of preparing for the inevitable.
How many will prefer power-gaming that ignores the story quests, how many want to go exactly where they’re not supposed to go? Do people want freedom badly enough to risk and sacrifice anything for it? Or will they always prefer profit and safe paths?

PS we’re using an advanced (or tricky) engine called Ink for the text events and dialogue. I believe it was used for games like Sorcery!, 80 days, Sunless Sea maybe? Anyway, a lot of text-quest-like games. It’s a tool for the job, with only downside of making localization a hell.

What’s Roguelike about it?
... the death mechanics! It’s easy and costly to die, but it’s not the end of the world. So forget save-load routines, and enjoy the deadly ride. Your older dead heroes will help you finish the dungeon.
Also, it’s in the spirit of a roguelike how you will create, ‘archive’ (by death) and ‘spend’ (by eating their ashes, don’t ask me) your heroes, almost like a deck of cards... And you will want to make *just one more hero* before the end, if only to see them burn and die! In the end, there can be only one who will achieve immortality... (that was a spoiler)

What’s open-world about it?
Replayable campaign in which you can do whatever you want until the time runs out and you get into Finale, which is a sequence of tough challenges and mystifying revelations.
There's a randomized and dynamically changing world - not huge, but with the tough survival mechanics it’s enough to feel real.
I somehow don’t feel like writing this section just yet...

What were the inspirations?

Setting
- Tolkien, Insomnium, Lovecraft, Disciples 1-2, Diablo 1-2, Dark Souls, Arcanum, Etherlords 1-2
... One essential advantage of Eidolons' setting - apart from being unique and atmospheric - is that there are no orks in it. Not even ersatz-orks, like in DA. And you don’t even feel like they’re missing.
In their place, the game has a lot of hybrid races, unnatural characters like good old Planescape: Torment!


For gameplay - HoMM V, Tales of Maj’Eyal, Fallout 1-2, Divinity: OS 1-2 , Darkest Dungeon, Battle Brothers, Allods 1-2
Not very close though, I've been thinking up my own design for ages. But one has to give some reference, right?

Yes, that was actually a nested spoiler, evil triumphs.
iron-one.jpg

If like what you see, please consider spreading the word, an indie needs all help he can get these days. And we must reach some numbers before May 14 or Eidolons may remain in beta for another few years.
So if nothing else, let's do it for the motherland!
main.jpg
 
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EiDemiurge

Wyrmring
Developer
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Underverse
Yeah I guess I should clarify - it's structured in a way that gives you a (skippable) linear intro, then gives full freedom limited by time, and the ending is branching but linear and indeed 'intense story-driven'.
 
Joined
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Messages
2,071
Location
Siberia
It seems to draw a bunch from ToME (which is great), so there's that. Beyond that I can only comment on presentation, since the rest is unavailable for the time being.

UI needs more than a few passes before you show it on kickstarter, readability is not very good, styling is way too busy, colors clash with the background too much and draw the eye away from the action. As far as art is concerned, Path of Exile might be a decent reference for a grimdark, but clean UI.

Overland view looks pretty cozy though (UI woes aside).
 

EiDemiurge

Wyrmring
Developer
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Underverse
Tbh, I myself can't decide which game has really influenced Eidolons design the most. But I'm glad there is something to rings familiar at least, novelty can only go so far.
So basically you mean to say that UI should be more flat and simple, with less contrast? Any improvement in the newer screens you'd say?
 

EiDemiurge

Wyrmring
Developer
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Underverse
a dark turn-based hardcore RPG

While steam says : "A dark roguelike RPG with unique party and death mechanics" ...

Catchy title but it's just another rogue-like ... :keepmymoney:

I believe there is a false dichotomy. I call it a roguelike for two reasons - the cut on save/loads compensated for with a new death mechanic, and stealthy grid-based dungeons exploration in style of ToME (kind of).

But it is most certainly an rpg, more so than many that attribute themselves this grand title these days. Damn, I've been writing stuff for Eidolons over 8 years now, I wished I hadn't but it's a fact.

It's certainly *less* roguelike than Darkest Dungeon for instance, and in our neck of the woods, that game is solidly on the incline-rpg-list.
 
Joined
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Messages
2,071
Location
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So basically you mean to say that UI should be more flat and simple, with less contrast? Any improvement in the newer screens you'd say?

Don't take it as some sort of unsolicited advice or nitpicking (especially, considering that I can only assume what certain UI parts are for), but just general thoughts and questions on the matter:

6xPtJRZ.jpg

1. Is probably the least bothersome (if at all) on it's own, but pops out a bit due to different parts of UI (namely 5 and deep blue borders on friendly characters). I'd imagine it shows the direction of movement/action? In that case a slightly bigger arrow without the face would likely be a better choice (depends on how it's tied to 5th) or washing the colors out a bit.

2. That spindly-pointy stuff is just very noisy and unnecessary, simpler shapes and gritty texture convey atmosphere and style a lot better I think (actually between 3 and 5 there's a nice brownish texture, with chains or somesuch it looks much more fitting and organic than the filigree), which is evident by other elements of the interface like turn order on top, or chat/status windows. Let em globes breathe a little.

3. Brown town / grey / red, while the art style is consistent the colors are not, which would make sense in some sort of perk/talent tree to differentiate multiple paths of advancement, but not in this case (since it's rest/status windows I'd imagine). Also this panel stands out quite a bit, while (likely) being used the least throughout the game.

4. Similar to 2, a couple of unnecessary elements that take away from the gargoyles (which should be moved and made a little bit bigger as to hold up the whole panel, not just the upper row) which are the stars of the show and provide enough character without needing anything extra.

5. Is more of a question, since I'm not sure of its function, if it's just there to sit pretty, than the faces in 1 def have to go. Also wedging it in the middle of the bottom row would help to marry the browns and the greys of the interface a bit better.

Some other thoughts on visual hierarchy and such. Weapon/shield look a bit too big for their functional purpose, while globes are way too small. If you cut the filigree a bunch, potions and spells could use some of that free real estate to beef up a bit.. and if the brown row is just the usual character/quest log/inventory screens than it probably could use a little less space as well. Also them deep blue colors for friendlies is a bold choice, hp bars look alright, but the border is a tough sell. Though turning down opacity on the sides, so the environment bleeds in a little - could mitigate that, while keeping the top side intact though (so the selection highlight will still be apparent, like it's done on the bearded feller).
 
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OldNorseSaga

Learned
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
160
you know what time it is
I actually like almost everything in that picture! I will only agreed some stuff could be smaller & simple arrow direction (but still somehow gothic) would be better, as well that 5 is unecessary and only that three things.
 
Joined
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Messages
2,071
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you know what time it is
I actually like almost everything in that picture! I will only agreed some stuff could be smaller & simple arrow direction (but still somehow gothic) would be better, as well that 5 is unecessary and only that three things.

Nothing wrong with that, I'm not playing backseat UI dev here, just sharing my opinion on things. None of the stuff I mentioned is a deal breaker, just small inconsistencies that could use a bit of fine tuning.
 

EiDemiurge

Wyrmring
Developer
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Underverse
Don't take it as some sort of unsolicited advice or nitpicking

No-no, thanks for the tips, UI is not my strong suit apparently, and it’s tough balance to strike there - I don’t want the game to appear like a unity-mobile-port with flat icons; like someone mentioned, Disciples was indeed a major inspiration for the aesthetics, but hell, combat there was a lot simpler so it could get away with having a really beautiful ui.
 
Joined
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Messages
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No-no, thanks for the tips, UI is not my strong suit apparently, and it’s tough balance to strike there - I don’t want the game to appear like a unity-mobile-port with flat icons; like someone mentioned, Disciples was indeed a major inspiration for the aesthetics, but hell, combat there was a lot simpler so it could get away with having a really beautiful ui.

Aye, DII's UI worked really well aesthetically because it was super consistent with everything else in the game (not just visually, but contextually too). I think (lack of) consistency is the only thing that I'm really having trouble with, the rest can be chalked up to personal preference.
 

EiDemiurge

Wyrmring
Developer
Joined
May 18, 2018
Messages
64
Location
Underverse
Aye, DII's UI worked really well aesthetically because it was super consistent with everything else in the game (not just visually, but contextually too). I think (lack of) consistency is the only thing that I'm really having trouble with, the rest can be chalked up to personal preference.

I think ui clutter will be narrowed down a lot now, lots of things are still there from the time when I was experimenting with design.

We shall see, i'll just forget about it and wait to be pleasantly surprised when it's released (or not).

Well-well, don’t pass up your chance to contribute to rpg-innovation. But thanks for the benefit of doubt!
 

flushfire

Augur
Joined
Jun 10, 2006
Messages
768
Even in the dungeons (I'm assuming) screen. Orbs glow. Potions glow. Portraits have blue outer glow. Boss has red, black, white outer glow. Why not just brighten the element you want to highlight.
 

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