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Zaharia [Turn based indie RPG]

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by OwNathan, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. OwNathan Inner Void Interactive Developer

    OwNathan
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    Hi, I’m Nathan, game designer of Zaharia, I’m opening this thread to introduce Zaharia, an RPG with a middle eastern/oriental flavor that we’ve been developing for some time. I'll try to be available for questions, clarifications, and insults of any sort.

    Name: Zaharia
    Developer: Inner Void Interactive
    Release date: TBA
    Game type: Isometric RPG with turn based combat
    Official Website: www.innervoid.net
    FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zaharia-a-role-playing-videogame/330755437025285
    Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/199630513/zaharia


    [​IMG]


    Here are some informations about the game.


    The setting

    For this game we started from scratch to create an original fantasy setting, which is different in appearance as it is in essence. To make this setting we didn’t take inspiration from the European Middle Age with the addition of some monsters and magic; instead, we took inspiration from late Medieval Persia and Arabia, creating a cultural context that is extremely different from what we can find in most of the fantasy-based settings. In fact, in a typical fantasy plot there’s the theme of a great but now disappeared past, where magic (and often elves) had a glory now faded. The cultural set-up we wanted to give to the setting is the one that characterized the European modern age: a world which is living an age of growth and development.

    The game is set in Zaharia, a coastal territory that lived under a foreign domination for long time. Recently it experienced its ascent thanks to the Prophet, an individual that wasn’t only able to set free the Zaharian people from the foreign power, but also managed to innovate the religion and the culture of the nation, being able to unite the whole Zaharia under the same huge and powerful empire.


    The magical system

    The mage won’t simply be the fantasy version of a rocket launcher, but instead he will be a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. In Zaharia, as well as in the rest of the world, mages aren’t soldiers or adventurers. They’re mainly wise and studious people who train their mind for a long time to reveal the secrets of the universe, to understand universal laws and to observe the world through the language of science. That means that in the game, the mage will have a totally different role from the one he normally has: in fact he will be a character that will mostly have a supporting role during battles; outside battles, however, he’ll manage to show all his abilities, being able to overcome situations with the power of his mind, with the force of his magic and also thanks to his social and political weight.


    The concept of balance

    In many RPGs, balance is something that only concerns the battle: each class or character is created in order to serve a key role inside battles, even if this is contradictory with the setting. Our intentions are completely different and balance will be something more absolute, so that battles will be an element inside a bigger scheme. There will be a huge amount of abilities for the character, which will be able to solve a problem not only with violence, but even using his dialectic, his magic, his problem-solving skills, sneaky approaches or in general his own characteristics and abilities. This is the way we want balance to be and each character will have strong and weak points depending on the context he finds himself into. That’s the reason why the world’s greatest warrior won’t stand a chance against he who’s able to destroy him politically, while the most prestigious and powerful mage of all Zaharia will easily fall pray to a group of mercenaries in battle.


    Freedom and contents

    We see too often the making of games that promise absolute freedom, endless different activities to do and tons of characters to meet. Unfortunately, these features are almost always realized without proper care, or in most cases they are just randomly generated. In Zaharia we’ll try to offer a large freedom to the player for interpretation and action, but that doesn’t mean we won’t take care of personalizing the characters (even the less important ones), to create engaging stories in a living and coherent world. Our purpose is that of modeling the experience around the player’s choices, in a way that for every action there will be a very tangible consequence in the game’s world. The player will be free to choose his own way to act, and the game will consistently interpret these choices offering a good and effective feedback.


    Gameplay

    We don't want the battles to be the core of the game and the player will be able to decide how to face each situation, choosing from the most violent approaches (like fighting, threating, murdering), to some more diplomatic ones (like dialogue, coercion, and the use of allies or political connections), or even more discrete ways (for example theft or infiltration).

    In line with the chosen character, there will be several approaches available to proceed with the game, and different advantages or disadvantages for every chosen path. That means that the player will have to think hard to understand the context and then choose the option he judges the best between all the options given depending on his skills. In Zaharia there will be no “click to win”, the only way to go on in the game will be to reason. A character profile featuring high skills won’t be enough, if the skills are not properly used.


    The combat system

    The concept of our combat system is different from the one we used to see in some RPGs, since it’s related to the strong idea of avoiding to insert inside the game a growth that could be only vertical. The battles in the game will be somehow plausible, let’s then forget the characters that take 10 critical hits without dying, or the explosions that aren’t even able to hurt a human being because of the rules used in the game. The gameplay we want to create will constantly remind the player of the mortality of his character: in fact, even though the characters will level up several times, that doesn’t mean that one could just throw himself inside a battle careless of his health, since even the weakest enemy, in the right conditions, can be able to cause problems to a skilled warrior. In addition, all this allow us to avoid the classic problem of constantly having to balance battles, to make enemies level up together with the player unrealistically.


    Here is a simple list of all the main features of the game, because everyone loves lists:

    • 3D Isometric Graphics;
    • Turn-based battles, based on a proprietary rule system;
    • •Nonlinearity in the narrative and interpretative aspects, allowing the player not only to choose which quest to start from, without urgent obligations, but also to make a lot of choices and then solve a problem in more than one way;
    • A Fallout-like open world;
    • Lots of choices and consequences that dynamically influence the context of the game;
    • A huge variety of abilities and statistics to manage, in order to craft and personalize one’s own alter-ego in every possible aspect;
    • An original setting created from scratch, completely different from the usual fantasy worlds and inspired to the late Medieval Persia and Arabia;
    • An original combat system with dynamic and tactical battles;
    • Living NPCs, provided with an IA that allows them to react dynamically to the player’s actions and to create really deep interpersonal relationships;
    • A coherent and plausible world that doesn’t give in to compromises with the market and will never give senseless situations to the player;
    • No fillers, like useless fights, made to extend the game’s longevity in artificial ways;
    • Presence of mature themes like slavery, sexuality, racism, theology, philosophy, morality, politics, and so on;
    • Five main factions to choose, each one deeply characterized and different from the others;
    • Innovative magic system that turns mages into something different from just portable siege machines;
    • Extreme personalization of the game experience for the player, who’ll be able to choose in every detail the difficulty of the game, the composition of the User Interface and the presence of helps and tips;
    • Fights aren’t obligatory in most cases, and it won’t be necessary to use a character who can fight to end the game;
    • Tons of multiple choice dialogues, in order to grant the player a large range of interpretations;
    • A huge number of interpretative and gaming approaches;
    • A gameplay that will constantly test the player’s abilities, in all its aspects;

    Here are some screenshots of a pre-alpha prototype of the game:

    Show Spoiler
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    Here are some artworks and concepts made by our artists:

    Show Spoiler
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    Development Diaries

    In our Dev. Diaries we examined in depth some of the contents related to the game, and through them we’ll constantly release news and details about the game and its development.


    1. General setting overview

    2. Religion overview

    3. The world and the player

    4. The characters and their skills


    And finally, a series of questions that someone may be, or will be, wondering


    What platforms will Zaharia be on? Zaharia will be on PC (Windows, Linux, Mac). It’s also possible a Tablet version, but only after the PC game release, since PC is the reference platform.

    What is the present stage of the game’s development? What should we expect? The development is still at an early stage, but soon we’ll release a prototype that will show some features of the game.

    When will the game be released? Not before the end of 2014.

    Will you use crowdfunding platforms? Yes, soon we’ll start a crowdfunding campaign.

    How many languages will the game be translated into? The two reference languages at the moment are English and Italian. We don’t exclude adding further languages in the future.

    Will the game have a multiplayer mode? No, Zaharia will be a single player experience and we’ll only focus on this aspect of the game, to make it as coherent and deep as possible.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2014
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  2. Overboard Arcane

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    [​IMG]
     
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  3. thesheeep Arcane Patron

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    Codex 2012 Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Not uninteresting.I'll try to keep following you guys.
     
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  4. Cosmo Arcane

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    OwNathan, only thing i wish you is to be able to deliver on those promises.
     
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  5. Lhynn Arcane

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    Fucking sold. :love:

    (if you dont deliver what youve promised i will curse you for ever)
     
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  6. OwNathan Inner Void Interactive Developer

    OwNathan
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    Don't worry guys, you won't be the first to look for my head. We need to do a good work, otherwise I'm a dead man (not a big loss anyway). [​IMG]

    We're working on a little stand alone prototype with some alpha features we developed. It will feature a short quest, settled in the desert, with different endings (4 main endings, 4 variations linked to a subplot, and some more little details that will change according to the player's actions). I hope that the prototype will be promising and interesting as much as our design.

    Anyway, I'm available for any sort of questions, just forgive me for my murder attempts of the english language, i'm not an english native (luckily, we have a native translator that will work on the english version).
     
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  7. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    I must say this hits a lot of right notes for me, especially the parts about battles not being the main focus and magic system. I'm not sure if the project isn't somewhat overambitious though, as having both alternative approaches and C&Cs in a game increases the workload by an order of magnitude, if not two.
     
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  8. Mortmal Arcane

    Mortmal
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    On the paper everything looks good , and the fact its an original setting is a big plus for me, but it wont be popular, remember that people are confused whent hey dont get their dwarves and elves with pointy ears .
    If you start a kickstarter campaign dont have mad expectations this will probably gather a similar amount than conquistadores 70k$ at best , i hope it wont be one of those project being canceled with 1/10 th of the fundings received.

    Anyway why am i bothering... No It's too good to be true, those guys will split cause of real life reasons , or lose interest, or get fucked by a shady publisher deal. A falloutish arabian rpg cant possibly happen.
     
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  9. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    I like the direction of your game, even though I, too, think it's pretty ambitious.

    I hope you deliver on it! :salute:
     
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  10. OwNathan Inner Void Interactive Developer

    OwNathan
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    It is true, but we will use Articy: draft for the dialogs and for the quest design. Articy will really help us to have clear and precise scheme for all the quests and the various approaches, so the level design and quest design works will be faster and less liable to error. It won't be easy, but the works on the prototype confirmed that it is possibile.

    That is true. A guy posted a comment on our FB page asking why we're not doing something with vikings. The fact is that some people does not even realize how much they would like something new until they get smashed by novelty in the face.

    I hope it too, in the worse scenario we'll find some other ways, but we may have to cut some features.
     
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  11. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    I'm intrigued by the setting. Will follow this.
     
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  12. Wizfall Arbiter

    Wizfall
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    The setting is really nice/intriguing and it's TB.
    The graphics are quite good too, especially characters model.
    Isometric is a big plus even if i would have like it better 2D or fixed camera.

    If you go kickstarter the lack of confidence because you are not famous is the biggest issue, especially for ambitious project.
    A demo could only help in a limited extent IMO (unless already awesome which is quite unlikely).
    Moreover between the interesting kickstarter actually running and the ones that have still not deliver it has become harder to pledge.
    I'm sure you already now all that anyway :lol:, i just want to say i will follow this and hope you don't ask and hope for too much.
     
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  13. Lady Error █▓▒░ ░▒▓█ Patron

    Lady Error
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    The setting and the concept of the game are pretty good.

    What I don't like is the Neverwinter-Nights-style graphics engine. Pretty much everyone here hates it, at least compared to the Infinity Engine games.
     
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  14. serch Magister Patron

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    It looks pretty AoDesque to me :obviously:
     
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  15. OwNathan Inner Void Interactive Developer

    OwNathan
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    Just to be clear, the camera will be fixed, there won't be camera problems like in NWN2, I hated that camera. [​IMG]
    We will use a fixed camera, the zoom will be totally optional, and the level design will be done having a fixed camera in mind.
     
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  16. V_K Arcane

    V_K
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    Which is even worse in terms of camera control.
     
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  17. Indranys Savant

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    Too ambitious, I assume it will be finished around 2020, 3 years before Grimoire super demo R2.
    It could be an interesting setting, but I believe it will be another westernized version of alien civilizations.
    Looks like the Prince of Persia stuffs are just cosmetics, they just change the helmets to turbans and ninjas to hashshashins and call it a day.
    And the lore tries too hard to be as politically correct as possible FFS!!11
    Biowhore's Gender Equality, religious tolerance with all those Azhan teachings of peace, friendship, rainbow, and ponies, multikulturalism + pluralism,
    in my emotionally engaging sandniggers simulator!!11
    And I bet after all those noble unrealistic ideals they'll make the game as grimdark as possible in the end.

    Sorry maybe I'm acting too emotional, but I'm too tired of this westernized politically correct shit. If they want to make a real exotic setting, they should minimalize the modern 1st world beliefs in their game and start to embrace the ideologies, morals, and norms of the source materials (the ancient arabian and persian cultures for example).
     
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  18. Outlander Custom Tags Are For Fags. Patron

    Outlander
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    Looks really nice! Did you guys took Dark Sun as one of your inspirations? If so, to what degree, approximately? Just wondering.

    Keep us updated.
     
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  19. eklektyk Erudite

    eklektyk
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    so : to fap or not to fap, that is the question ...
     
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  20. V_K Arcane

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    It's not like historical medieval West was exactly politically correct, you know.
    And they're not doing a historical setting either.
     
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  21. cherry blossom Arcane

    cherry blossom
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    OwNathan, have you considered using orthographic projection for true isometric experience instead of this silly old gimmick called perspective? I am positive that it will make the game look even better. At the very least, do an experiment with it and show us the results. Failing that, try it with a smaller field of vision zoomed out.
     
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  22. Indranys Savant

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    Historically correct medieval setting in videogames is very very rare IMO, and in this case, I meant this game will have a fantasy arabian setting, instead of the usual high fantasy medieval stuff.
    But the difference will be on the cosmetics, while the norms and ideologies will be more or less the same like any modern fantasy setting from TES to Amalur etc.
    But instead they promise us the game will have this:
    And then I read something from their website:
    So, how's the essence will be different from the other fantasy conventions?? And don't worry, I guess it will be epic and grimdark like Dragon Age too.

    When they say different, I suspect something exotic, something closer to the source materials in graphix and also philosophies, something fresh and new unlike the other fantasy tropes.
    To achieve that they need to adopt the ancient concepts about things, from religion, science, to the social conditions. They don't have to copy-paste everything but they need to adopt the core principles less the game won't feel arabic/persian enough, at least to me.

    TL;DR, their informations so far didn't convince me that the setting will be "essentially" different compared to the other high fantasy settings. The cosmetics? sure. Beyond it? not so much.

    And please note that I only talk about the lore and setting, if the other departments are good (C&C, questing, combat, encounters etc.) then it will be a good game, despite the unoriginal setting aka grimdark Prince of Persia wannabe.
     
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  23. OwNathan Inner Void Interactive Developer

    OwNathan
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    Nope, I started the project alone a year ago, after taking an exam of arabian phylosophy and getting in touch with the zoroastrianism and the pre-islamic arabian culture.

    You know, you actually pointed out what i really dislike of a lot of settings. At a first look your thought may appear correct, but let me explain to you some more of what we're doing.

    I took some inspiration from the Zoroastrianism, the zoroastrian culture is deeply different from the arabian (and islamic) one, the tolerance that is unknown for most of the monotheistic cults was common among the zoroastrian, but that's the reason why they are nearly exinct. Actually a lot of anthropologists believe that one of the reasons of the success of the two monotheistic religions (Islamism and Christianity) is their fanatisms and lack of tolerance. Anyway, is not exactly to state that the tolerance is something that belongs to our contemporary culture, because it was actually a well known concept in many cultures.

    However having a religious and racial tolerance in a culture (that will be the dominant culture, not the only culture) does not mean that all the dark sides of humanity magically disappear, they simply keep living in a different form, the culture develops a different hypocrisy. Christianity is a religion about love and tolerance, but studying history we see centuries of fanatism and violence. In the zaharian culture the main flaws of humanity just take another form, that Developer Diary in only about the religion, not about the zaharian real culture. One of our intentions is to show the darkness behind the blinding light of all these good words, to point out the fact that our humanity, our biological nature, is stronger than any culture, religion or government.
    Zaharians won't be perfect schoolmates, they will be human just like us, they'll just hide their flaws behind different walls, in this case walls created by the Azhanit cult, but there are thing that is not easy to hide (Well, I'm sorry if I write like a pompous idiot, but as I said, I'm not an english native, be patient [​IMG] ).

    Anyway, as I said, what you say it's not wrong, not at all. But i'm not studying anthropology because i have nothing to do, i'm doing that because I had the same fear, the fear of creating something that differs from our western society only in the graphic aspect. And I can assure I came out with some good ideas of how develop the zaharian culture without creating a dull utopian culture or copy-pasting the western world.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
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  24. V_K Arcane

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    By virtue of being a lot more politically correct :cool:

    That's quite a logical leap I must say. Esp given that they've specified exactly in what ways their setting will be different:
     
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  25. Drowed Arcane

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    If the game ends being half of what of what was promised to be, it's already worthy of my :takemymoney:.
     
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