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Community - posted by felipepepe on Thu 15 February 2024, 00:15:48

Tags: GOTY 2023

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And here we are again, voting time!

The voting for the RPG Codex's 2023 GOTY poll is now open - VOTE HERE: https://rpgcodex.net/goty_vote.php

We're doing Twiglard's Codex-only poll again, so you can only vote when logged in.

Every year the list gets a bit longer, time to test that scroll wheel. Remember: more than just deciding the GOTY, the goal here is to help us parse all these new games and help find some hidden gems.

The poll will run for a week until next Thursday, I don't know the exact hour since Twiglard has to close it. And, to avoid alt spam, only pre-2024 accounts can vote.

Cheers!

There are 462 comments on RPG Codex 2023 GOTY - VOTE NOW!


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Sat 17 February 2024

Codex Review - posted by Infinitron on Sat 17 February 2024, 20:36:23

Tags: King Arthur: Knight's Tale; NeocoreGames

NeocoreGames' tactical RPG King Arthur: Knight's Tale took a respectable third place in last year's RPG Codex GOTY awards. Some might argue that it should have ranked even higher. To be honest, this sort of mission-based tactical combat game, with a "dark Arthurian"-themed setting that has somehow become overused in recent years, isn't typically what our community is most interested in. Knight's Tale achieved its ranking through the sheer excellence of its combat design, a particularly impressive feat for a studio's first turn-based title. Some of you may have noticed that I've been itching for an official Codex review of the game for some time, and I'm happy that in the end it was Darth Roxor himself who contributed it. Here's an excerpt from his review:

With these basics out of the way, I would like to state one thing very clearly. Knight’s Tale is a paragon of system design. I don’t remember the last time I played something that had mechanics this well thought-through – you can tell that Neocore was focused first and foremost on making the combat work. Usually in such games you can easily identify features that could be removed with no harm to the mechanics, or others that are cheap bandaids put on glaring issues, but here everything just clicks together organically. Likewise, it’s great that Knight’s Tale avoids the pitfalls of most deterministic systems, where the fights feel like chess puzzles to arrange and essentially ‘pre-win’ on turn 1. There are enough variables involved in combat to make sure that the fights actually play out on a moment-to-moment basis where plans can go wrong, forcing you to adapt to the consequences of failure and unforeseen circumstances on the fly.

Most importantly, all of this is accomplished without universal death timers or constantly spawning reinforcements, which are something I’ve learnt to very strongly loathe in modern ‘tactics’ games, which need to retreat to (and abuse) cheap tricks like that to offer any semblance of difficulty or variety in encounter design. Meanwhile Knight’s Tale hardly ever gets old despite almost never using anything of the sort. In fact, I don’t think I can remember a single instance of needing to win a fight within X turns. There are also no ‘puzzles’ to be had anywhere, in or outside combat, which is almost as surprising as it is refreshing, because these also tend to be forced in modern tacticals. Simply everything in Knight’s Tale is just about battle.

At the same time, although the missions are all about wiping out the enemy, they’re still diverse enough thanks to other factors, that ‘kill them all’ as the universal objective is never really a problem. For starters, the levels and encounters are all hand-crafted, and typically with a lot of care. It would be too much to call them ‘open-ended’, but being able to choose in which order you’d like to pick your fights still gives you a good enough sense of agency – this is made all the more obvious in the few missions that are actually railroaded. Furthermore, the maps have single-use campsites and shrines strewn about, with the former giving you a pitstop for fixing armour or HP and the latter working a bit like in Diablo, in that they have various effects that can be both positive and negative, adding another important element when it comes to planning your course of action in a mission. Finally, the locales are varied enough to give each level a different flavour, even if some of the maps are recycled to a certain degree. You’ll be busting your way through enchanted groves, wastelands, ancient crypts, battlefields, downtrodden villages and many more.

[...] In the end, Knight’s Tale gives us a game that is first and foremost about combat. It’s obvious to me that the primary objective behind its development was to make sure that everything about the combat worked right, with no exceptions or handwaves, and that everything else was ten priority levels under that. Neocore knew precisely what they set out to accomplish and they did it with great success. This game simply knows what it’s about and it sticks to its guns exactly where it matters. Playing something with a focus and vision this clear and well-realised is always a true joy. As far as the genre of ‘Turn-Based RPG Encounters: The Game’ is concerned, Knight’s Tale is definitely one of its highlights. Its secondary or tertiary features may be lacking in some aspects, but that really doesn’t matter when the core gameplay is so well done. The atmosphere and style are also the icing on top that elevate it above many other entries in this genre, which tend to offer just the combat and nothing else really worth noting.

It took me a whopping 100 hours to finish, and frankly speaking, I was somewhat happy when it was over. Primarily because at some point I realised it was taking way too much of my free time, but also because by the end you’re mostly progressing on autopilot with your overpowered heroes, and the fatigue that eventually settles in just makes you look forward to the finish line. That’s why I strongly recommend playing on the hardest difficulty, and maybe even trying the roguelite mode if you’re feeling adventurous. But make no mistake – this is not a game that is best ‘dropped midway’. By quitting early, you’ll be depriving yourself of a significant part of the experience. Technically, there’s also post-endgame content that I think is supposed to be super-challenging, but I never even tried it. I couldn’t really be bothered.

Still, I had a great time with Knight’s Tale. Neocore has already announced a new standalone campaign for it too, which is Roman-themed and about the ‘lost’ IX Legion crawling out of Tartarus to end up in Avalon. It’s unbelievable, but for once I actually have something to look forward to among upcoming RPGs.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: King Arthur: Knight's Tale

There are 25 comments on RPG Codex Review: King Arthur: Knight's Tale

Wed 14 February 2024

Community - posted by Darth Roxor on Wed 14 February 2024, 20:02:53

Tags: Elea; RPG Codex

Some people do really weird things when they're bored, when instead they could be contributing to their local community by digging ditches or sweeping the streets.

Unfortunately for society at large, folks like our local poster Agesilaus would rather write choose-your-own-adventure books about, ahem, philosophical discussions inspired by classical Hellenic and Chinese antiquity. This is your introduction to Elea.

"Classical antiquity played host to a great intellectual struggle. Philosophers, possessed by the desire to know, engaged in free inquiry and developed an astounding array of positions. They formed schools and engaged each other in philosophical debates. That same spirit grips our generation; we gather online to develop our beliefs and to clash like rams. Antiquity is born again, beautiful and new."

The text consists of short chapters that are connected by branching paths. At the end of each chapter you will decide how to proceed. Elea is written to be very accessible to all readers. Familiarity with ancient thinkers such as Parmenides and Zhuang Zhou will enrich the experience. The book is strongly rooted in a monist interpretation of the Eleatic fragments and philosophical Daoism. The characters you meet will explore the nature of Being, presenting an understanding of reality as an all-embracing and unshakeable unity.​

You're probably puzzled why this is newsworthy, and I'm wondering about that myself, but to quote the very man who brought this upon us, "Elea mentions this site and its forums on a few occasions, and at one point goes into a discussion of game development and certain types of game mechanics that should be avoided." It is only natural that this prestigious magazine should be included for reference in assorted curricula and compendia, and word of it spread to the masses.

Elea can be bought on Amazon for 8 or 20 bucks depending if you want it on kindle or paper.

There are 16 comments on Elea - an RPG Codex-adjacent CYOA


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Thu 8 February 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 8 February 2024, 11:01:40

Tags: Absent Dragon; Aletheia: Return of Odysseus

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1565070/Aletheia_Return_of_Odysseus/



Why is it that after 3000 years, the story of Odysseus continues to enchant audiences across cultures and time? The Odyssey is a timeless masterpiece, that’s why. Despite all the advancements in storytelling in modern television, books and games, most still fall short of the charm found in this ancient tale.

We here at Absent Dragon propose a simple idea. We want to make an RPG about the Odyssey that stays accurate to the original text itself. What does this mean? It means never contradicting the text, letting the player do everything Odysseus did in the text, and never attempting to upstage the text. The game will be meticulously researched to ensure it’s as faithful as possible not only to The Odyssey, but to Greek mythology as a whole.

Aletheia: Return of Odysseus is a new RPG that puts you in control of the legendary hero as he embarks on his journey home to Ithaca. Together with your help, we can bring to life a faithful depiction of Homer’s Greece!

Features:
  • The timeless tale of the Odyssey, staying true to the original text.
  • Engaging Turn-Based Combat inspired by RPG classic Fallout 2.
  • Detailed character creation. Determine your upbringing, racial background, skills and attributes.
  • Reactive questing with multiple solutions, no hand-holding.
  • Explore Homer's Greece through beautifully crafted isometric graphics.
  • Manage your army as you encounter mythological creatures such as sirens, giants and nymphs.
What could truly set the ‘Aletheia' series apart could be a community that shares a passion for authentic mythology games. We hope that Return of Odysseus becomes an opportunity to explore and reflect on the rich world of Greek mythology in a new and engaging way. But why stop at just Greek mythology? We want to dive into the myths of other cultures, such as Egypt and Mesopotamia. By coming together, we can delve deeper into the rich stories and themes of these fascinating worlds, and help create authentic games about them. Join the Discord server if you're interested!​

There are 27 comments on Aletheia: Return of Odysseus is an upcoming RPG retelling of Homer's Odyssey from Codexer Tavernking

Wed 7 February 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 7 February 2024, 20:43:08

Tags: ATOM Team; Swordhaven: Iron Conspiracy

https://store.steampowered.com/app/2108180/Swordhaven_Iron_Conspiracy/




Swordhaven is a fantasy cRPG inspired by Infinity Engine titles—Baldur’s Gate 1, Icewind Dale, etc.—as well as other classics.

You take up the mantle of a lonely adventurer on their way to the barely explored land of Nova Drakonia.

During your voyage, you are met by a dying man who trusts you with a peculiar artefact that will involve you in an adventure of a lifetime, and a plot that threatens everything you’ve ever known and loved.

Some of Swordhaven’s core features include:
  • A flexible combat engine. Experience battle as a tactician in turn-based combat, or hasten the pace with the real-time with pause (RTwP) mode;
  • A classless roleplaying system: each stat combination provides a unique gaming experience, distinctive dialogues, and novel ways to solve quests;
  • A classics-inspired yet modern User Interface with large customization possibilities;
  • A vast, nonlinear world filled with unique NPCs and multi-solution quests that reward exploration, always offering alternative approaches to satisfy any character build;
  • Dozens of hours of exploration, from quiet village hamlets to hidden temples of the ancients, horrid crypts, bizarre dungeons, and otherworldly locales…

There are 141 comments on ATOM Team's next game is Swordhaven: Iron Conspiracy, a fantasy RPG inspired by Baldur's Gate 1


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Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 7 February 2024, 19:47:53

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

https://www.paradoxinteractive.com/...oodlines-2/news/explore-the-world-of-darkness

Hello again,

This is my 3rd dev diary, and I have used the last two to talk about the 1st and 2nd pillars of the game: Feel Like a Vampire, which covered the player fantasy; Visceral Immersive combat, which covers the action gameplay. Today I want to tell you about our 3rd and final game pillar: "Explore The World of Darkness," which covers the setting, society, characters, story, and RPG elements of the game. We'll be talking in-depth about RPG elements at a later date, so today I am going to focus mainly on the setting, society, and characters.

The World of Darkness is the larger umbrella for the Vampire The Masquerade IP and the related games. It handles the supernatural in a mature and grounded way, basing it on the premise that vampires, werewolves, and ghosts are actually real, but are hidden from our contemporary human society. Video games offer a unique perspective on this world that other mediums don't, being able to walk around it and explore it. Our goal with this pillar was to create a version of Seattle that is authentic to The World of Darkness IP and makes you believe that this hidden side of Seattle, where vampires are in control, could be real and that in contrast the human world feels more alien to you and potentially unreal. To that end, we didn't set about making an exact replica of Seattle, as our priority wasn't to represent the human world, but the vampire one. The Seattle you experience in Bloodlines 2 is a kind of "best-of" Seattle where we've taken key landmarks and brought them in closer together. For example, Pioneer Square is a key location, and it speaks to us of the old city and its founders (some of which were vampires that you will meet), but we also have volunteer park, which in reality is on the outskirts of the city but we loved the idea of doing a creepy mission there that reveals something sinister beneath this iconic conservatory.

We want you to feel like you are seeing Seattle through the eyes of a vampire, so we have also made buildings taller, lights brighter, and alleyways darker to give an overall heightened feeling to what you are seeing as if you are looking through the eyes of an apex predator. For a better explanation of this, I suggest you read Ben Matthews dev diary on our neo-noir art style.

In Bloodlines 1 you were a new vampire in a city with a large Anarch presence where the Camarilla don’t have complete dominance. For Bloodlines 2 we have flipped this on its head. You play Phyre, an Elder vampire (~400 years old) in a city where Camarilla has been dominant for decades, and any hint of Anarch sympathy is squashed. Phyre's number 1 loyalty is to herself, but she is wise enough to respect the power of the Camarilla and, more importantly, the Masquerade. Within the story Phyre earns a seat at the top-table of the Camarilla as the court's Sheriff, giving her the court's protection but also a powerful authority within Seattle's vampire society. This is an RPG, of course, so you can roleplay Sheriff in multiple ways, maybe you are a loyal Sheriff of the Camarilla, or an Anarch sympathiser working from within to undermine the court, or maybe you're a self-centred Elder vampire playing the different factions off each other to your advantage.

Phyre's motivation in the story is driven (at least initially) by regaining her power - she has awoken after 100 years in torpor (vampire hibernation) 6000 miles from home with markings all over her body which are limiting her powers. This sets up the narrative context of the ability tree (which we will show in due course) which instead of being about adding new powers to Phyre, like levelling up in the pen-and-paper RPG, you are unlocking her existing powers. Over her 300 years roaming the old world, Phyre had gained many powers, not only those from the disciplines of her clan.

An important part of the Masquerade is that vampires are hidden in plain sight in our society. There are several vampire hangouts in the city which, to a passerby appear innocent, but to those in the know, are important places in vampire society. For example, the little old lady who runs the all-night coffee shop may not be as sweet and defenceless as she seems at first glance. A key location the player often returns to, is Weaver Tower, a Seattle corporate HQ that is actually the front for the Camarilla, inspired by the downtown skyscrapers in Seattle and giving the city's Prince a skyline view over their domain.

Lastly, there can be no World of Darkness without light - the world of humans. The city is populated with "civilians," unaware that you are a vampire walking among them. Whilst this may seem great to a vampire - free-ranged food on every street - it also comes with risk, as using your vampiric powers or feeding in front of witnesses can trigger a Masquerade breach, and while you are Sheriff, even you are not above the law and could have the court's Scourge sent to deal with you if you are reckless on the streets of the emerald city. So make sure to hunt like a vampire: stalking from rooftops, hunting in alleyways, isolating your prey and if you are observed, deal with witnesses swiftly.

I hope you enjoyed hearing more about the setting and world of Bloodlines 2. We look forward to sharing more information with you in future dev diaries.

Good night!
Alex Skidmore, Project Creative Director​

There are 9 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #8: Explore the World of Darkness

Tue 6 February 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 6 February 2024, 20:00:38

Tags: Coin Operated Games; EMPYRE: Earls of the Deep Earth

https://www.terminals.io/games/empyre-earls-of-the-deep-earth/news/4304



Auburn, New Hampshire – February 5th, 2024 - Coin Operated Games is excited to announce that its upcoming Neo-Victorian RPG Empyre: Earls of the Deep Earth, will be coming to PC via Steam on March 12, 2024. Developed by a team of industry veterans from such influential companies as Crytek, Creative Assembly, Codemasters and Digital Reality, Empyre: Earls of the Deep Earth is a top-down isometric RPG that takes place in an alternate version of China circa 1899.

About The Game

EMPYRE: Earls of the Deep Earth
is the final isometric RPG adventure of the Empyre series, set in a Neo-Victorian era version of China. Struck with complete memory loss and wandering through a shadowy unfamiliar place, you find yourself on the hunt for the enigmatic Elias, a villainous rogue who is seemingly responsible for your amnesia. Players are invited to explore the secrets of an exotic land, bathed in an ominous and seemingly perpetual darkness. Will you be able to discover a way to restore light to an endangered empire?

Creating A New World

In order to design the new world that you explore in Earls of the Deep Earth, Coin Operated Games engaged the services of Stefano Tsai (Thor: Love & Thunder, His Dark Materials) to consult on specific details that we could use to properly portray Chinese culture and affairs. This partnership was invaluable in ensuring that the China depicted in the game was authentically and believably adapted for the Neo-Victorian setting of the Empyre series!

“It was great fun working with Coin Operated Games to make their version of China come to life,” said Stefano Tsai. “They were very interested in making sure that certain aspects were just right.”

There are so many elements to Chinese culture that are so hard to capture and implement correctly,” said John Randall, Creative Director of EMPYRE. “I don’t know how we could have done it without Stefano’s assistance.”

There are 2 comments on EMPYRE: Earls of the Deep Earth is the final episode in the shovelware series, coming March 12th

Wed 31 January 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 31 January 2024, 20:04:35

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

https://www.paradoxinteractive.com/games/vampire-the-masquerade-bloodlines-2/news/extended-gameplay



Good evening Kindred,

Today in our Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 stream we shared exciting news about the game and our first extended gameplay trailer. On the stream, The Chinese Room (TCR) Community Manager Josh Matthews was joined by Alex Skidmore, Project Creative Director at TCR, who shared insights on the game, the narrative background and how the game plays. If you missed the stream, you can check it out below.

The extended gameplay stream (below) contains several spoilers, and if you wish to avoid them, there are sections marked in the video timeline, or you can watch the trailer version of the gameplay video, which does not contain any major spoilers.

If you want a spoiler free experience, watch the Gameplay Trailer instead.

What's Next
Following this extended gameplay video, we will go into more details on each of the four base clans in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2, showing abilities and how to customize your playstyle.​

There are 72 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Extended Gameplay Reveal

Fri 26 January 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 26 January 2024, 17:38:50

Tags: Hibernaculum; Victor Pflug

https://store.steampowered.com/app/2789020/Hibernaculum/



WHAT IS HIBERNACULUM?
  • Hibernaculum is a retro inspired dungeon crawler that sets out to recreate the engrossing labyrinthine experiences of the classics of days gone by, whilst also building a modern, deeply unique & explorable world of survival, mystery and macabre intrigue.
  • Hibernaculum is a first person sci-fi/horror role playing game with survival horror roots.
  • Create a unique character to explore the depths of Hibernaculum & have the experience you want to have. Choices only matter, if they matter to you.
  • Non-linear gameplay allows for exploration at your own pace, and in your own fashion. Forge ahead and risk calamity or riches. Conversely, pace yourself and avoid harm.
  • Navigate a decayed industrial realm through environmental storytelling and a unique, brooding atmosphere.
  • Hibernaculum will be developed in C++ for PC (Windows) & Mac with hopes for porting to iOS & Nintendo Switch.
  • Hibernaculum will initially be available in English, French, German & Spanish.
  • Hibernaculum will be released DRM-free & available on Steam & GoG.
Hibernaculum has a sharp focus on exploration and atmosphere with a penchant for allowing the player to discover, uncover, salvage and piece together the mysteries of the Ship whilst emphasising mechanics that allow for emergent gameplay amidst the matrices of survival, combat and character progression.

With a raft of modern conveniences such as an on-screen minimap + waypoints, more aesthetic and navigable maps + hub areas, a more concise and efficient stat/combat system as well as many other UI and quality of life features we hope to make Hibernaculum the most playable, expansive, intriguing and absorbing game of it's type since the heyday of these games; the long forgotten primeval epoch of 1995.​

There are 55 comments on Hibernaculum gets Steam page, coming Q4 2025


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Thu 25 January 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 25 January 2024, 18:53:18

Tags: Spearhead Games; Unforetold: Witchstone



Why Early Access?
We are entering Early Access so that we can collect feedback on our unique influence system, sandbox RPG mechanics, the overall gameplay loop and how players can affect the world. We look to determine what changes, if any, need to be made in order to bring the game in-line with the expectations of tabletop RPG and CRPG fans.

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
We expect to be in Early Access for about a year.

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
The Early Access version of the game will feature roughly half of the game's final content including the overarching story, classes, abilities, etc.

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
The game currently has all major CRPG systems built in including character customization, turn-based combat, stealth, and our unique influence system. However, these are all works in progress, so we expect a lot of adjustments to be made to them throughout Early Access.

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
We expect the price of the game to increase at the end of Early Access, bringing it on-par with other major CRPGs.

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
We will be collecting feedback on Discord and surveying players in order to make informed changes to the game. We are also looking into a built-in submission system for players to submit feedback directly to us.​

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1064120/Unforetold_Witchstone/

There are 20 comments on Unforetold: Witchstone now available on Early Access

Wed 24 January 2024

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 24 January 2024, 21:00:00

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

https://www.paradoxinteractive.com/...e-bloodlines-2/news/visceral-immersive-combat

In dev diary #1, Alex Skidmore, Project Creative Director at The Chinese Room (TCR) wrote about the first game pillar “Feel like a Vampire”, which sets the player fantasy as a guiding light for creative decisions. We’ve shown a lot of combat so far to give you a taste of the power and flow. What you’ve seen is influenced by the second game pillar: "Visceral, Immersive Combat" which directs the action gameplay. Today, Alex is back to share his thoughts on this important part of the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.

When designing Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 combat the goal was to create an action experience that can compete with modern titles. We think of it in three main gameplay styles we want to offer to you all - existing Bloodlines fans, and players who are new to the World of Darkness.

STRATEGIC STALKER
The 1st playstyle we at TCR call the Strategic Stalker: as the name reflects, fans of more strategic combat experiences where staying hidden and using the element of surprise is key will get their vampire predator fantasy. Did you enjoy the Dishonored series, or playing stealth-focused builds in Fallout or Elder Scrolls games? Me too! It gives you time to prepare what Discipline power you’d like to use and when. Once your plan is ready, summoning the powers of the blood, sneaking up on an enemy, distracting them, feeding on them before a fight breaks out or hit and run tactics are options for people who love to play this way.

ACTION BRAWLER
The 2nd playstyle we call the Action Brawler: For players who prefer to jump straight into the action and rely on their fast reflexes and combat skills. Any Clan can brawl but this is where the Brujah shine. You’ll see them in our January gameplay reveal video. Their powers are aimed at dominating close combat. References for this style are action-brawling games like the God of War series, Shadow of Mordor and Elden Ring. It is about being in the centre of the brawl and using your abilities to control the crowd so you can deliver as much damage as possible. We see the above playstyles as two extremes on the same action spectrum, with players being able to play any mixture of the two to find the balance of stalking and brawling that works for them.

NARRATIVE ADVENTURER
The 3rd playstyle we call the Narrative Adventurer: For players who are less interested in combat and action gameplay and want to focus on the fantasy, narrative and exploration elements of the game. We envision that a core of the Bloodlines 1 fans identify with this playstyle and also fans of TCR's titles to date (and a lot of the developers working on the game), so we’re making sure the gameplay pillar doesn’t add action at the detriment of these important players. You can still enjoy exciting battles without having to delve too deeply into the combat mechanics if things like characters and story are more important to you.

So, how do we go about achieving this? We focus on immersion over complexity: A streamlined control scheme with actions that are easy for all three playstyles to pick up and play. We then build depth on top of these to give longer-term mastery for the players that want it. For example, the defensive mechanic is a dash, allowing players to dodge incoming attacks or reposition. If dodge is used towards an enemy performing a melee attack, it becomes a counter, staggering the enemy - it is fine for players to never do this move, but for those that want a higher skill-ceiling, it is there. How we use abilities is also streamlined, to maintain immersion. Abilities are mapped to the face buttons (on gamepad), limiting the player to 4 available at one time. This is a small enough amount that a player can use them without breaking their flow, but also deep enough, through the different ways you can combine and use them that it keeps combat engaging and fun.

All of this serves our principal of Immersive Combat. We would rather players were thinking about what cool thing they want to do next, rather than how they do it.

Visceral Combat is a stylistic choice we have made as we believe being a vampire should be a bloody business. Feeding plays a huge role in any vampire story and we wanted to give you a cool reason to tear out throats in the middle of a fight. As an Elder vampire, Phyre has become desensitised to violence, and we want the same to happen to the player over the course of the game - maybe being shocked the first time they chop someone's head off, but after a while accepting that violent carnage is par-for-the-course when you are a 400 hundred year old vampire in a city where everyone is out to get you.

The final game pillar in Bloodlines 2 is “Exploring the World of Darkness”. I look forward to talking to you about that in the next dev-diary.

Good night!
Alex Skidmore, Project Creative Director

What’s Next
As Alex mentions above, the next dev diary will be on the third pillar ‘Exploring the World of Darkness’, coming in two weeks. Before that you'll be able to see how everything comes together when we debut our gameplay trailer and deep dive on January 31.​

There are 16 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #7: Visceral Immersive Combat

Tue 23 January 2024

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 23 January 2024, 00:00:00

Tags: Avowed; Carrie Patel; Obsidian Entertainment

https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2024/01/22/avowed-developer-direct-side-quest-deep-dive/



At the recent Xbox Developer_Direct 2024 broadcast, Obsidian Entertainment shared its most comprehensive look yet at its upcoming fantasy-action RPG, Avowed.

But even that only scratched at the surface of what’s coming your way this fall. On today’s special episode of The Official Xbox Podcast, Avowed Game Director Carrie Patel and Gameplay Director Gabe Paramo shared an extended look at the quest showcased during Developer_Direct, providing more detail on the moment-to-moment experience of the flexible combat system, and where this side quest fits in the larger narrative of Avowed.

This latest look at Avowed gives us a good idea of what to expect from Shatterscarp, one part of the ecologically diverse island of The Living Lands, all in the same universe as Obsidian’s CRPG series Pillars of Eternity. But what makes Avowed a very ‘Obsidian game’ goes far beyond the commonality of setting in the world of Eora.

“It’s really about our player-centric approach to role play,” Patel shared during this week’s Podcast. “The way we really approach consequence and choice is giving players the opportunities to define who they are in this world, how they want to behave – what fantasy, what challenges they want to undertake.”

It’s all part of Obsidian’s “your worlds, your way” approach, and players will feel the weight of their choices moment-to-moment with every slash, parry, and spell cast.

What stands out is not just the variety of ways you can tackle combat – examples include the classic ‘sword and board [shield]’, samurai-esque sword and gun, and dual-wielding wands like a wizard in the Old West – but also how you’ll frequently want to (or need to) change your loadout to best suit what you find yourself up against. These loadouts are also complemented by skills, and Obsidian had a deep well of moves to pull from out of the Pillars of Eternity universe.

“We wanted to be able to grab as many abilities from the trees as possible – and categorize them a little bit differently so that the player doesn‘t feel locked into a single choice at the start of the game,” said Gabe Paramo, Gameplay Director. “They can mix and match between different abilities to get some variety. You can commit to being a fighter, but it’s not an enforced class setup.” And if you want to try out a new suite of abilities, you can always respec your character.

We saw great examples of this in the Developer_Direct: dual-wielding wands served as effective crowd control when a group of smaller Xaurips swarmed the player. But in a more one-on-one encounter with a slightly larger enemy, using an ice-imbued wand to freeze an enemy, then shattering the newly-frozen block with a charged power attack of an off-hand sword was supremely effective.

Paramo cited another devious combo: “With ‘Into the Fray,’ you can use a fireball ability that creates an AOE [area of effect] ability on the ground, and then pull the enemy into the fire.”

It’s all part of a comprehensive elemental system that comes into play both in and out of combat. Paramo continues, “you can light guys on fire, you can freeze them, you can shock them, you have objects in the environment you can interact with. They’re not just on weapons, on wands – you might find it on swords, certain abilities might cause elemental damage. And your companions [can] as well.”​

There are 20 comments on Avowed Extended Gameplay Breakdown with Carrie Patel and Gabe Paramo

Thu 18 January 2024

Development Info - posted by Roguey on Thu 18 January 2024, 22:55:00

Tags: Avowed; Carrie Patel; Obsidian Entertainment

https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2024/01/18/xbox-developer-direct-2024-recap/



Avowed Game Director Carrie Patel gave us a first deep-dive into the gameplay in Obsidian’s upcoming fantasy action RPG, from its dynamic combat, to its thoughtful reactivity, to its “colorful, vibrant, strange” world set in the Living Lands. Avowed continues Obsidian’s signature style of creating games with deep themes and player choice at the forefront.

Not only will you make narrative decisions that can impact changes in the game down the line, but Avowed is also looking to offer choice in combat. Gameplay Director Gabe Paramo discussed not only how varied your weaponry will be – with melee weapons, ranged guns and bows, and magic-based wands (even dual-wielded wands!) to name a few – but how flexible combat can be, allowing you to quickly change loadouts for enemy encounters. Swappable loadouts mean you can approach combat however feels right to you.

Art Director Matt Hansen then explained how the Living Lands is a mysterious island made up of wildly varied regions offering visually diverse backdrops and intriguing settings to explore. With secrets hidden throughout the regions, you’ll take in barren deserts, verdant forests, blighted wastes, volcanic biomes, and more.

That’s not all for Avowed, however – make sure to tune in to the Xbox Podcast on Monday, January 22 for an exclusive interview with some of Obsidian’s developers, offering even more information on the gameplay reveal.

Get ready to carve your own path through Avowed when it launches this fall for Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Cloud – and arrives with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass on day one. For more information, please visit the Avowed website.​

There are 136 comments on Avowed Deep Dive at Xbox Developer Direct 2024

Wed 10 January 2024

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 10 January 2024, 23:00:00

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

https://www.paradoxinteractive.com/...e-bloodlines-2/news/mission-scripting-and-ink

This week we have Technical Director Nick Slaven joining us. He’s going to share his thoughts on the important tools we’ve developed to build all the things we need for our narratives, like cutscenes, missions and dialogue:

Quests and princesses and chat, oh my.
Here at the Chinese Room we are all about storytelling. Our games are rich in narrative and the way we tell them, and for the story to make sense, we need to give the player something to do, other than just walking.

My name is Nick and I make sure that our team are able to tell stories and give the player things to do.

As a studio working on two large projects, we have to be smart about how we use our technology. We’re building systems that are used on both Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2 and Still Wakes the Deep and fits the needs for both those teams and makes everyone’s work easier. As a narrative studio, that means tools for storytelling.

Storytelling involves more than just the spoken word. We may want to travel across the land to obtain the magical artefact that unlocks the door to the princess’ castle. I’ll stop here before I embarrass myself more with my lack of narrative ability. The point remains, in a few words I can describe something of a story and it materialises in your imagination.

Let’s back up a bit, it’s easy for us to interpret, but how do we get the game to recognise that you have got the magical artefact and how does picking it up then unlock a door to allow you to progress in your quest. How do we do that?Our answer was to develop a way of describing the story as a sequence of events that the game engine can interpret, we call this mission scripting.

Mission scripting is a high level way of representing a sequence of events that the player may need to solve in order for the story to progress. For instance, you may need to find a key to open a door. We do this by representing the state of the game story and the event that will drive the story forward. In this case, opening the door; we look for a key, and only once we’ve found the key can we open the door, and face whatever is in the room.

That’s the doing bit, but what about the talking?
Branching narrative is complex. From each decision point the story can go many ways. Rather than write our own tech for this we decided to use Ink, an open source narrative scripting language created by Inkle studios. We needed to port this from C# to C++ to get it working with Unreal, but this was way quicker than writing our own narrative scripting system from scratch.

Ink allows our narrative team to create the spoken word that accompanies the mission scripting to tell the story of the game. This is written as a narrative script, much in the same way that screenplays are written for film and tv.Arone, our principal narrative designer, had this to say about using Ink for narrative creation.

How do we then make that into animation and audio?
Our solution was to introduce the ‘dope sheet’. We stole this name from the animation industry, but essentially for each line of dialogue the authors create, we can specify an audio event, along with animations for the face and body and a bunch of other things. The dope sheet is like a spreadsheet in excel, but with bells and whistles that allow us to preview audio and animation as we set up the scenes for dialogue in the game.

When the player makes a text choice in the game, the system presents that choice to the Ink runtime, in return we get a text response which we cross reference via the dope sheet to get the animations and audio to play to show back to the player.

Combining mission scripting and Ink have given us a very flexible and powerful system in which we can tell stories. We are using these systems on all the titles we are creating.

As we’ve had so much of a step up from using ink, we thought it only right to give something back, and so we have created Inkpot, which is a lightweight blueprint friendly wrapper of our C++ port of the Ink runtime. This is now freely available from our GitHub site. You can download this tool and use it in Unreal for yourselves. If you do, let us know! We’d love to see what people create.

GitHub - The-Chinese-Room/Inkpot: Inkpot - a container for Ink

What’s Next
Coming later this month is the much awaited extended gameplay reveal video. In another two weeks we will also bring you a developer diary.​

There are 15 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #6: Mission Scripting And Ink

Tue 9 January 2024

Codex Review - posted by Darth Roxor on Tue 9 January 2024, 17:34:49

Tags: Gorasul: The Legacy of the Dragon; Silver Style

It seems that no matter what you do, you can't escape Baldur's Gate clones past, present or future. If it's not another creatively bankrupt studio announcing one, then some guy submits a review of it. Finally, when you're spared either, out comes community member lukaszek with his arm shoulder-deep in the bargain bin to fish out another clone from 20 years ago to present you his retrospective on Gorasul: The Legacy of the Dragon.

Lukaszek discusses many things about the game, including the finer points of the Polish voice acting and sneak archery, so you can be sure that you'll learn everything there is about it. Have a snippet for your convenience:

Exploration is a mix of BG1 and BG2. Clearly the devs couldn’t decide which one they liked more. Locations will appear on your map based on your interactions with NPCs. Sometimes however it will be a wilderness location and you’ll first have to enter that one and leave via a proper exit. A few times, locations will disappear as devs are goading you to do x/y/z first. As you travel, you might run into a standard ambush – a wilderness area with trees that is recycled on each encounter. Technically you can easily farm XP in them as the enemies there can be quite high level. However, your weapon will wear down quickly and you also won’t find any good loot there. As such it’s only something that mage characters can do freely.

[...] As an aside, there are a few important features that can be found only if you carefully scroll through all the hotkeys. One is auto running, another is quick save – which is mapped under ctrl+s so you can feel like you’re at work – the proper German experience. It also overwrites your active save, which is a curious implementation.

While Gorasul is focused on combat, it’s not an encounter-driven game. There is a strong narrative and plenty of dialog involved. It’s all quite a pleasurable read even though it doesn’t offer much in terms of C&C. Not of a book/masterpiece variety, more like a short, high fantasy story that you read before you hit the bed.

In fact, you might get into trouble with a munchkin/murderhobo mindset.​

The review was extremely helpful in persuading me to never play this thing, so I highly recommend diving right in! Read the full article: Retrospective Review: Gorasul: The Legacy of the Dragon

There are 34 comments on RPG Codex Retrospective Review: Gorasul: The Legacy of the Dragon

Mon 8 January 2024

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 8 January 2024, 20:10:58

Tags: 4 Dimension Games; Archaelund



Why Early Access?
Because the feedback will make the game much better. We have a very dedicated and active community and group of testers, and the EA content has been thoroughly tested and adjusted, but before embarking in the completion and release of such a vast game we want to know what the players think, and how fun the game is to them.

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
Our priority is making the game as good as it can get, and make it huge, so we have no dates set in stone. But we do have a detailed roadmap, which you can check to know more details about what is coming and when.

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
  • The Early Access version will include a small portion of the whole planned geographical areas.
  • Some of the already available areas might be improved during development.
  • The Early Access version covers the character progression up to a limited level, based on the available content at the time.
  • Many more Advanced Careers and playable races are planned, as moving into new Careers is an important part of the character development once mid and high levels are reached.
  • The first Early Access release only includes the first chapter of the Main Quest.
You can find more up-to-date details in the Discussions section.

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
It includes all the core mechanics of Archaelund. Plenty of races and careers, dozens of spells and talents, and character progression up to level 4. It features the initial chapter of Archaelund's main quest, plus a large region to explore freely with plenty of side-quests, dialogues, challenges and secrets. While the main quest first chapter can be concluded in about four hours, exploring the whole content should take around 15-20 hours.

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
We will gradually raise the price during the Early Access stage, as we add content and features.

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
By listening to the players. Player feedback is the most valuable resource in game development, and is also the main reason we release an Early Access game instead of calmly proceeding to complete the game by ourselves. We are aware no matter how much thought and work we put into a game, the interaction with players and listening to their opinion is essential to reach the full potential of Archaelund.​

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1082970/Archaelund/

There are 50 comments on Archaelund now available on Early Access

Tue 19 December 2023

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 19 December 2023, 23:00:00

Tags: Phantasie; Phantasie II; Phantasie III: The Wrath of Nikademus; Prophecy of the Shadow; SNEG; Star Command; Strategic Simulations, Inc.

https://www.gamespress.com/SSI-and-Mindscape-Classics-from-SNEG-Available-Now-on-PC

London, UK (December 19, 2023) - SNEG, renowned publisher of long-lost classic titles, is proud to announce that its next collection of SSI and Mindscape-era games is available now on PC via GOG and Steam. This collection — which features Phantasie, Star Command, Great Naval Battles, and more — follows previous releases such as the Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box and Silver Box Classics collections, the 5 Star General games, and Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace.

Watch trailers for each game here.

In addition to a new collection of Mindscape and SSI titles, SNEG is offering discounts on several of its previously released games, including a Dungeons & Dragons classics bundle for 65%+ off (GOG | Steam) and an SSI classic strategy games bundle — which includes new releases — for 65%+ off (GOG | Steam).

“With this latest collection, we continue our goal of honoring the legacy of classic games and their creators and sharing important parts of gaming history,” said Oleg Klapovskiy, Director at SNEG. “As the number of titles SNEG publishes grows, we hope that more and more people will discover how these games helped establish and evolve genres and mechanics we still see today.”

Celebrate gaming history by diving into this star-studded collection:

Phantasie Collection [Phantasie, Phantasie II, Phantasie III: The Wrath of Nikademus]

(1985 - 1987)
Face the wrath of Nikademus through the three distinct entries spanning an unforgettable saga. Assemble a party of six adventurers and set out to save the world, and Ferronrah, once again (and destroy an orb or two), this time with years of wisdom on your side!

Star Command
(1988)
Players command and customize a crew of eight, embarking on missions to earn credits and enhance their skills. The adventure deepens with planet explorations for hidden treasures and tactical encounters with disabled enemy ships. Engage in thrilling battles, commandeer rival vessels, and navigate through a universe brimming with possibilities.

Great Naval Battles Collection [Great Naval Battles: North Atlantic 1939-1943, Vol. II: Guadalcanal 1942-43, Vol. III: Fury in the Pacific 1941-44, Vol. IV: Burning Steel 1939-1942]
(1992 - 1996)
Command fleets and navigate rough Atlantic waters as you dive into the strategic intricacies of WWII’s maritime conflicts. From the Pacific to the Solomon Islands, to the Pacific Theater and Mediterranean, global naval warfare is delivered as a unique blend of historical accuracy and immersive action where you choose your own fate.

Wargame Construction Set Collection [Set I, Set II: Tanks!, Set III: Age of Rifles 1846-1905]
(1986 - 1996)
A definitive wartime gaming experience comes together for a strategy-simulation experience just as you remember it. Edit your battlefield for strategic advantage or self-inflicted challenge, go all-in on armored warfare, and sharpen your military tactics mindset, all against a rich historical tapestry.

Prophecy of the Shadow
(1992)
Framed for the murder of your master and on the run from Mage Hunters, it's up to you to break the prophecy and prevent The Shadow Lords from entering our world. Learn forbidden magics and clear your name while bringing an end to a string of events foretold before you were even born.

Renegade: Battle for Jacob's Star
(1995)
Command your own squad of fighter pilots in this first-person space flight action-adventure game. Originally praised for its story, character development, and strategic gameplay in a sea of sci-fi starfighter games, Renegade: Battle of Jacob’s Star weaves a terrific story as you battle the Terran Overload Government’s invasion force.

Savage Warriors
(1995)
Travel through time in this unique fighting game where warriors from across the centuries battle across interactive terrain with fist and blade. Battle with magic or modern weapons, unlock new characters, and engage in the original fighting game designed specifically for the PC.

WarBreeds
(1998)
Fight for survival and planetary domination in a war-torn galaxy! Defeat your enemies and steal their genetic material to expand your clan’s skills and firepower. Engineer and customize your army with a vast mixture of advanced bio-technological weaponry. Then use your shrewd strategies and brutal fighting skills to lead your clan to victory and become ruler of the fallen Empire.​

https://store.steampowered.com/app/2702050/Phantasie_Memorial_Set/
https://af.gog.com/game/phantasie_memorial_set?as=1649904300

There are 57 comments on Phantasie series and other SSI classics released on Steam and GOG

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