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Mon 22 April 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Mon 22 April 2019, 23:54:55

Tags: Brian Mitsoda; Hardsuit Labs; Ka'ai Cluney; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

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Hardsuit Labs' Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 was announced a month ago. There have been several more articles about it in the press since then, including an extensive interview at VentureBeat and two interview videos at Shacknews and Noclip. No gameplay footage has been revealed yet. It looks we might have to wait until E3 for that. In the meantime, Paradox have decided to begin publishing Bloodlines 2 dev diaries on the game's official forum. The first entry is a brief introduction by producer Liz Starr. It's not particularly interesting but it is a good excuse to post those interview videos, which feature Brian Mitsoda and Hardsuit Labs creative director Ka'ai Cluney:

Hello, my name is Liz Starr, I am one of the Producers at Hardsuit Labs, and I have the dream job of working on Bloodlines 2. I am very happy to bring you this dev diary about Hardsuit Labs and the story behind our fantastic team.

Hardsuit Labs began in 2015 with Andy Kipling, Russell Nelson, and a team of about 20 people. We had all worked at another studio together before. When that place went out of business, Andy and Russ – then a Production Director and Tech Director – decided to ask a few of their former teammates to help start something new. Back then, we thought that it’d take maybe five years of bringing older games to newer formats for this band of veterans to gain enough reputation to pitch a full game production.

Two years later, Ka’ai Cluney, our Creative Director, burst into Andy’s office with an idea he and his friend Brian Mitsoda had come up with. Ka’ai is one of those people who seems to have been everywhere and done everything; from design at id Software and Monolith to building roofs in Alaska. He had worked with Brian (of Troika and Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines fame) before. Together, they came up with a concept that lured Brian out of his own indie studio, into our team.

More importantly, it convinced Andy and Russ to go all in and to start pitching that full game project three years earlier than we’d have guessed.

When I discovered that what we were pitching was Bloodlines 2, I was beyond excited. Not only because Paradox has released some games that I give much of my free time to, but also because I am a huge World of Darkness fan. I wish I could tell my LARPing younger Ventrue self that she would one day be working on this game.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one: One of the wonderful things about World of Darkness and Hardsuit Labs is that we have a lot of fans in the team. There’ve been off-hours Vampire tabletop games in the conference room since before the project properly started. Those who were new to the IP were gently introduced to the fandom and have also embraced it.

Nowadays, Hardsuit Labs is a good mix of seasoned veterans and recently bloodied developers of many different backgrounds. One example of strengthening this mix is Cara Ellison, who joined us early last year. Cara's known to some for her work as a journalist (at Rock Paper Shotgun et. al), to others for her work on Dishonored 2... and to even fewer for her testing on GTA4. We value our diversity of experience and the diversity of us as individuals; we know this brings more perspective to our work and company culture, and ultimately creates better games.

For Bloodlines 2, this team is putting all its passion and motivation behind the narrative of Brian and Cara. We can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into it!
It's a start, I guess. I wonder if they're going to publish these on a weekly basis as with Paradox's own titles.

There are 21 comments on Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #1: Who is Hardsuit Labs?

Sun 14 April 2019

Codex Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 14 April 2019, 01:56:35

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

The Copper Dreams backer alpha has been out since last year, but not too many people appear to have played it. That's a shame, because the game has changed so much since it was Kickstarted back in 2016 that I suspect most of us have long since lost grasp of what it's about. Only Joe & Hannah from Whalenought know where this train is headed, but what we can do is take a look at the currently available alpha build, which is what esteemed user Diggfinger volunteered to do. Here's an excerpt from his preview:

Speaking of guns, let’s get into combat. One of the novelties of Copper Dreams is its ‘strategic turn-based combat with time-based resolution’ system (Whalenought’s marketing department is working on a snappier term). It’s reminiscent of the combat in Grandia, in that turns take time to execute. You can issue actions in order of initiative, at which point time stops. But having issued your command enemies can act and adapt their action, e.g. seek cover from grenades or dodge. Actions take ‘ticks’ to execute, i.e. pulling an aimed attack might cost 6 ticks. This can create interesting dynamics, where enemies might stun you with a quick attack before you can carry out your planned headshot. So it adds an additional layer of strategic planning, with more factors to take into account before issuing your actions. In the latest version, you can even use the mouse wheel to advance time in ticks (i.e. 0.25 seconds) while watching your party members carry out their actions. It’s surprisingly cool, and especially handy for tough battles where you want to keep everything under control.

Loot is basically nonexistent at this point. I managed to scavenge a few laser-SMGs from the guards and later on some knives, but I could not search or move their bodies.

Also of interest is the wounds system. Hit points are completely absent. Instead, your character’s status is determined by the number of hits they have taken. Wounds are applied to specific body parts: head, torso, arms, and legs. The penalties you get differ depending on where you are hit. I.e. a shot to the head might decrease your chance to hit, while getting hit in the torso or legs can cause bleeding and affect movement speed. In theory this is cool, but it seems the negative effects on player characters are not fully implemented at this stage.

My thoughts on combat are mixed so far. On one hand, I like how the turn-based system allows more player agency and adds depth to the classic formula, and it generally plays well. On the other hand, it still needs a lot of balancing and polish in that everything seems to happen way too fast. After you issue an action, the screen just explodes with enemies, shooting/ducking/moving at a frantic pace for a few seconds before everything freezes again. Added to this is the lack of sound effects and general feedback, meaning you are often at a loss as to how the situation is progressing. I also found it bizarre how apparently different attack types (targeted, burst, quick etc.) have identical damage potential. Intuitively, using more ‘ticks’ should result in more damage to compensate for the time needed. Fortunately, I think these issues are the fault of the game being unpolished in its current state rather than the system being inherently ‘bad’. If they manage to polish and balance it well enough, it has the potential to be interesting.

I really liked the wounds system. Having no HPs seems radical at first, but the decent visual cues mean you barely notice their absence. Aiming at heads and limbs can lead to critical hits, instant kills and ‘shock-effects’ which is fun to play around with. Strangely though, it seems that applying medkits during combat costs no ticks. That means you can effectively stitch and heal up your wounds ad infinitum while the enemies politely wait around. This will surely be addressed but sticks out in the game's current state.

As for stealth, it’s difficult to really assess at the moment. As mentioned, it is not possible to move/hide bodies which was a big deal during the Kickstarter campaign and subsequent updates.

Character progression also remains a mystery, as it is not featured in the alpha. According to Joe and Hannah, the game will start with the player being interviewed by the government officials. This will allow you to choose background traits, appearance and stats like aptitudes and proficiencies. It seems like you will be able recruits NPCs as well (including mind-controlled ones), a feature which is already somewhat present in the latest version of the alpha. But your followers just drone around, so I didn’t particularly enjoy that feature.

I’m slightly worried about the absence of XP points. Apparently, the goal is to scrap XP completely in favor of rewarding you with skill points for completing missions. Personally, I love getting XP both for killing enemies and completing quests. It’s a don’t fix if ain't broke issue for me, but I can see why Joe and Hannah want to try something different. Let’s hope it works out.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Preview: Copper Dreams Alpha

There are 23 comments on RPG Codex Preview: Copper Dreams Alpha

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Sat 13 April 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 13 April 2019, 01:23:55

Tags: Queen's Wish: The Conqueror; Spiderweb Software

Last year, Jeff Vogel went to Kickstarter to fund his new BioWare-inspired retro RPG, Queen's Wish: The Conqueror. The game didn't really look any more impressive than anything he'd created before, but that didn't stop Jeff's small but dedicated fanbase from dumping almost $100k on it. Since then there have been regular monthly Kickstarter updates, and now the game is close enough to release that it's time for a trailer and Steam page. You know the drill:

You are royalty of the mighty empire of Haven! Your mother the Queen rules, while you enjoyed a life of sheltered luxury. Then, one morning, you woke up to find yourself banished to a brutal war-torn land. Your job? Prove yourself by conquering it, or don’t bother to come home.

At last, you have been given wealth, magic, soldiers, power. The Queen thinks you will submit and join the family business. You might have other ideas ...

Queen's Wish: The Conquerer is a epic, indie fantasy role-playing adventure. Wander free through an enormous world, sink into a fascinating story full of surprises and interesting decisions, and use your cunning to outwit a multitude of dungeons and foes. In this open-ended adventure, you can build an Empire or free the oppressed. Serve the Queen or rebel. Fight or use diplomacy. Build fortresses, smith enchanted blades and armor, and deal with nagging relatives!

Queen's Wish: The Conquerer features:

  • Epic fantasy adventure with over 50 hours of gameplay.
  • Open-ended story in a variety of mysterious lands, featuring many choices, paths and endings. Lots of replay value.
  • Suspenseful tactical combat. Select from fifty different abilities. Build and rebuild your warriors to face rapidly changing foes.
  • Explore (and conquer) an enormous outdoors and a huge variety of dungeons and enemy fortresses.
  • Gain strength with a unique fortress system. Build and equip fortresses, making your warriors stronger in a wide variety of ways.
  • Not just orcs and elves. Features the unforgettable races and characters that make Spiderweb Software adventures unique.
  • Over 100 side quests and hundreds of magical artifacts to hunt for.
Enjoy a new adventure from Spiderweb Software, now celebrating 25 years of making fine indie fantasy role-playing goodness.
Queen's Wish is due out sometime this fall, which is a bit later than the May release date declared in the Kickstarter campaign, but that's expected. Mockery of graphics aside, the concept seems promising enough. Hopefully Jeff will find the right balance of Dragon Age and Avernum with this one.

There are 78 comments on Queen's Wish: The Conqueror gets a trailer, coming Fall 2019

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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 13 April 2019, 00:40:56

Tags: Ctrl Alt Ninja; Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

Ctrl Alt Ninja have published a press release announcing that Druidstone has entered beta. The game is now feature and content-complete and just needs to be polished to perfection, which they'll be doing with the help of a small group of carefully selected beta testers. The announcement comes with a new screenshot:


Having worked super hard on the game for the past weeks, we are proud to announce that Druidstone has hit beta and is well on its way to release this Spring. Before you ask, the beta will be a closed one and we will work with a few chosen betatesters we know. This has worked well in the past and we’d like to continue the tradition. Below is an official press release we just sent out. We’ll blog more about the beta and about recent happenings on the development side later this week.

Until then!


Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest has reached beta!

ESPOO, FINLAND – APRIL 10, 2019. Indie game developer Ctrl Alt Ninja Ltd., founded by the co-creators of the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock games, is proud to announce that their upcoming tactical RPG, Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is getting close to launch. By reaching beta, the game now includes all game features, enemies and levels present in the final game. “Druidstone is a brand new IP for us and we are excited to see how the fans of Grimrock will react to our take on the turn-based formula,” says Juho Salila (co-founder/artist). “The game is already very near shipping quality and the feedback we get from beta testers will allow us to polish every aspect of the game until everything is perfect and shining,” continues Petri Häkkinen (co-founder/designer-programmer). The beta will be closed, with access given to a carefully selected group of people. Keeping the beta closed allows the developers to personally interact with the testers, and thus get more accurate feedback.

Ctrl Alt Ninja has been working on the game in various forms for four years. The success of the creators’ previous titles provided the team the luxury of trying out different game ideas and working on several prototypes before they decided on Druidstone: the deeply tactical turn-based game of their dreams.

Druidstone, to be released in Spring 2019 for Windows, is a labor of love for its makers, who grew up playing old school computer and tabletop games. A tactical, single-player, turn-based roleplaying game, Druidstone combines the best qualities of modern RPGs with the elegance of tactical boardgames, presented in lush, colorful graphics that make its fantasy world come to life. Every action counts, and careful tactical thinking is a must, as players fight their way through the game’s painstakingly hand-crafted missions, which are as beautiful as they are challenging.

The peace and quiet of Menhir Forest is threatened by a cancerous corruption that spreads through it. Caught in the flow of events are Aava, the missing archdruid’s daughter, who must now shoulder her father’s responsibilities, Leonhard, a Warden of the forest with a mysterious purpose, and Oiko, the failed Red Priest who is living proof that one may be very smart without being particularly wise. Along the way, they meet companions and villains, whose unique personalities and abilities make every encounter memorable.

Get ready to venture forth and uncover the secrets of the Menhir Forest!
Too bad there's still no exact release date. According to one of the game's developers on Steam they're aiming towards "late spring in Finland", so perhaps it'll be in May.

There are 3 comments on Druidstone has reached beta

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Fri 12 April 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 12 April 2019, 21:36:43

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

Swen Vincke gave a talk about the making of Divinity: Original Sin 2 at GDC last month. It's been a year and a half since the game launched, but this talk was far more frank and detailed than previously released retrospectives, with a focus on various challenges that Larian encountered during its development. It turns out that they had severe difficulty coordinating its production, particularly in the areas of writing, scripting, voiceovers and playtesting. It's actually a small miracle that the game turned out as well as it did. The video of the talk is now available on the GDC Vault, and there's also a decent summary of it at USgamer:

In another life, I was a curriculum developer in charge of writing English lessons. Our process early on was to have someone write a lesson, then have everyone make notes on the document, which would then be addressed by the writer. Lessons wound up taking forever to finalize, and we quickly moved on to another process.

I found myself flashing back to those days when Larian Studios founder Swen Vincke posted a screencap of a Google Doc containing notes on the story for Divinity: Original Sin 2. This massive story document was circulated between nine writers and various higher-ups for notes, all of which were subsequently addressed. It didn't go well.

"We were very polite people, and we answered every one of the comments," Vincke said a tad ruefully. Eventually, in order to get the project finished, politeness had to go out the window. But that was only the beginning of a grueling development process for Larian Studios.

It was all part of an attempt to build and improve upon the well-received Divinity: Original Sin, which had been released in 2014. Larian Studios had a cult following before Divinity: Original Sin, but its clever use of environmental combat, customization, and co-op play won it a new group of fans. It was good enough that I put Divinity: Original Sin at number 20 in our Top 25 RPGs of All Time list.

The sequel brought with it further improvements to combat, story, and customization. It included the ability to play as one of several character achetypes, all with their own backstories, as well as original customized characters. It further solidified Larian Studios as a rising studio in the RPG space. But as Vincke explained, it had its share of problems.

Over the course of his hour long talk at GDC, Vincke outlined the challenges that the Divinity: Original Sin 2 development team faced, many of which pertained to the story. Here are some general highlights.
  • Larian Studios was absolutely terrified of Middle-earth: Shadow of War, which was set to be released at roughly the same time as Divinity: Original Sin 2. "We thought they would obliterate us," Vincke said. As it turned out, the opposite was true—Shadow of War struggled to gain traction and was quickly forgotten. But one consequence was that Larian Studios felt pressure to release on time lest it be overwhelmed by other triple-A releases. This meant that the team was still making changes to the script the week of Divinity: Original Sin 2's release.
  • Out of the nine writers that Larian brought on to the project, only a few had experience writing dialogue trees. The rest were classical writers or TV writers. This brought a different flavor to Divinity: Original Sin 2, but it meant that Larian had to spend a lot of time training the writers to the point where they could handle complex dialogue trees. "Scripters would setup a situation, and writers were supposed to expand on that. And then the writers broke all the flags and conditions, and the scripters would complain... There was a bit of stress," Vincke said.
  • Timezones were a huge problem. Larian Studios initially decided to develop every act in parallel, with each studio being responsible for a single act. But a huge bottleneck soon developed as Vincke struggled to review dialogue coming in from Ghent while he was in Quebec. Ultimately, Larian shifted its resources to developing one act at a time, which Vincke says "saved the project."
  • The decision to voice record all of the dialogue was made in early 2017, about nine months from release. Larian Studios contracted out several voice recording studios and setup an automated pipeline to account for the roughly 600,000 lines of dialogue that needed to be recorded. By July, Vincke was making an emergency call to the contractors to tell them that the script had ballooned to more than a million words. Larian hadn't accounted for all the alternative dialogue that still needed to be added to fully flesh out the quests, which resulted in a massively expanded word count.
  • With changes coming in constantly, QA was quickly overwhelmed. "Imagine you're working in QA, and you have a test plan, but your test plan keeps changing because people keep flagging things as ready when it's not ready," Vincke said. Worse, Divinity: Original Sin 2 was incredibly long, with a single run taking up to two weeks to complete. Ultimately, automation saved much of the project, but journal bugs meant that one reviewer gave Divinity: Original Sin 2 a 7 out of 10, dragging it from a 94 on Metacritic to a 93. It was only one point ultimately, but for Vincke, it was a deduction that didn't need to happen.
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2's massive word count caught up with it at launch when Larian failed to finish the Russian localization on time. This resulted in Divinity: Original Sin 2 being review bombed by angry Russians, driving its Steam approval rating down from 96 percent to 70 percent. The team found itself doing damage control on Twitch and elsewhere, finally releasing a beta version of the translation to appease Russian players. "It was our own fault because we changed so many things," Vincke admitted.
All in all, it was a rough development cycle for Larian Studios. But it all worked out in the end. Divinity: Original Sin 2 received critical acclaim when it was released, including a perfect score from USG. Vincke called making a 120 hour game in two years a "huge accomplishment by the team."

"My lesson is that not compromising on quality is a good thing, but you need to figure out how to make the production work with it or you're going to keep running into problems," Vincke said.
Larian originally intended to create a much larger world for Original Sin 2, which they were forced to cut once they realized the magnitude of these challenges. You can read about that in PC Gamer's writeup about the talk, and there's also another one at PCGamesN. What neither writeup really mentions however is that at around 40 minutes into the talk, Swen basically admits that the game's controversial armor system was a failure and that in hindsight he'd probably have removed it. That sounds like good news for Divinity: Fallen Heroes.

There are 35 comments on Swen Vincke on the making of Divinity: Original Sin 2 at GDC 2019

Sun 7 April 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sun 7 April 2019, 14:49:20

Tags: Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

It looks like we're going to have wait at least one more month for the Colony Ship combat demo. This month's development update goes into more detail about the issues holding it up. The biggest issue is armor, which has suffered due to the hospitalization of Iron Tower's animator. The portraits are also taking a long time to finalize, so the demo will initially be released with placeholders. You can see some of those in the update's accompanying screenshots, which also feature a short-lived new hireling by the name of Mason.

[​IMG] [​IMG]

Random tidbits from the front:

1) Programming: We're feature-complete for the demo as of 2 weeks ago. In plain English it means that all the systems (character, inventory, combat, gadgets, dialogue, trading, etc) are done and working well other than the stealth system which we won't need for the demo). Right now we're bug-fixing and tweaking things. For example, what happens when a bullet misses the target by an inch (you see the bullets flying) but hits the energy shield? It's a minor thing but there are lots of them. Enemy's shields didn't shut down when they were killed, fixed it too. Things like that.

2) Art assets:

- armor is still about 30% done, which is our biggest workflow problem to-date. Ivan, our animator who also handles armor, got very ill and spent the last 10 days in a hospital. He's recovering now. We hope to finish armor needed for the demo by the end of the month. By armor I mean all wearable items: vests, jacket/coats, helmets, boots, goggles, masks, breathers. At 8-12 items per category that's quite a lot, but once it's done we won't have to worry about it and would be able to focus on building content.

- portraits: we're making progress, but still behind; we'll probably need 8-10 weeks to finish all portraits needed for the demo but we can start earlier with some placeholders.

- animations: probably 2-3 weeks of work, minor tweaks as we have all animations already. It's not just the animations but setting up the blueprints (Unreal 4 thing) and fixing problems like a character in cover standing up to fire a one-handed SMG even though we have a proper animation for that. Etc.

- the gadgets and the gadget parts are done (3D models and icons), still need to do the implants but won't need any for the demo

3) Design & Balance

- since we keep playing the demo daily ironman style, the balance gets better and better (meaning dying gets easier and easier but good tactics can still save the day).
- all dialogues and ending were done (written and scripted) a long time ago; the demo is playable from start to finish.
- we still need to set the prices for the store and write most item descriptions.

4) Interface
Everything is functional but that's about it. We have a lot of (necessary) changes planned already, but we can do during the beta test as so far it's a low priority item.
See the full update for more screenshots and images including descriptions. Hopefully this will be the last update before the demo is released.

There are 62 comments on Colony Ship Update #36: Combat Demo Update #3, Yet More New Screenshots

Fri 5 April 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 5 April 2019, 15:26:52

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

Copper Dreams has been in alpha since November, but still appears to be drifting in what seems like perpetual pre-production. The latest Kickstarter update details the significant changes that have been made to the game over the past few months, which include UI tweaks, new tiling implementations, and most importantly, the addition of fully controllable companions. The game's injury system has also been modified. I'll quote that part of the update here:

The Life of the Party

Our intention was always to remove the idea of Hit Points and replace them with wounds that individually reduce stats of a character. Getting that into a simple system that both feels organic during gameplay, and allows players to reasonably survive and enemies to be killed in predictable ways has been a challenge. With the newest tweaks in the last month of alpha testing, we think we've found a solution.

Characters accrue wounds specific to body parts. Different damage rolls do 3 tiers of wounds — lesser, greater, and mortal. In the alpha, we've introduced the SHOCK stat to make sure they all work together nicely, which acts sort of like a negative armor modifier.
  • Light wounds still just deter some stat points somewhere on your character, respective of body part. The higher end rolls of these can cause SHOCK.
  • Medium wounds deter stats respective of body part as well and always cause SHOCK.
  • Mortal wounds destroy/disable whatever limb they happen on.
  • If a character's torso or head is destroyed, they're dead.
So that's easy enough — destroying legs make enemies unable to move, arms reducing any ability to fight, and the vital parts are the torso and head (or non-humanoid equivalent, for you to find out). Rolling mortal wounds is required to do that, and that's where SHOCK comes in. Every SHOCK point a character has, regardless of what body part it was on, adds those points to any incoming damage rolls. This would allow rolls to be either more potent within their tier or jump from light to medium, or up to Mortal.

This allows a few gameplay features we struggled to design for with previous iterations:
  • Characters can be 1-hit killed.
  • No matter how armored a character is, they can we chipped away at with SHOCK.
  • Aiming for mechanical parts of the body (arms/legs types) is still viable toward reducing character abilities as well as helping towards finishing them off.
As we mention below, you can now automatically aim for body parts with any action, so you can always have some agency on what you're going for.

Bringing the Pain

The wounds your players accrue are now visibly seen on their person. Giant nails, gore blobs, embers, bone fragments — the locational damage of the wounds you get can be seen appropriately on your characters body parts.

Now those blood decals or arrows that stick into characters have some actual importance — check out enemy damage locations to see what to focus on or what's currently damaged.​

There's plenty more stuff in the update that I didn't mention, not to mention tons of images and animated GIFs, so check it out. Whalenought plan to release a gameplay video next week to demonstrate some of these new features.

There are 20 comments on Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #24: Alpha Progress Report

Thu 4 April 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 4 April 2019, 00:11:17

Tags: Bigben Interactive; Black Shamrock; Cyanide Studio; Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory

A year ago, we learned that the well-known French developer Cyanide Studio and the less well-known Dublin-based studio Black Shamrock were working on an RPG based on the satirical science fiction tabletop game Paranoia. Today the game was formally revealed as Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory, an isometric RPG with real-time with pause combat. It's being published by Bigben Interactive and is scheduled to come out later this year. The game's reveal trailer serves as a good introduction to the Paranoia setting. Here it is along with the announcement post:

In a show of benevolence, Friend Computer has declared that it is authorising BIGBEN to be part of a project that will make life more perfect for you and your fellow citizens! The company has just joined the ranks of willing servants of Friend Computer alongside Cyanide and Black Shamrock, and together they are announcing the development of Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory: a darkly humorous CRPG, adapted from the tabletop role-playing game created by Dan Gelber, Greg Costikyan and Eric Goldberg.

If you are reading this, Citizen, then you are a person Friend Computer officially trusts. In fact, you must be one of its favourites. And it wants to show you how much it cares – by officially appointing you Troubleshooter with Red clearance! Your mission is to unearth traitors of Alpha Complex and to neutralise them. Friend Computer will definitely maybe reward you for your loyalty!

Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy because Alpha Complex is not an entirely safe place, despite Friend Computer's unquestionable kindness. During your missions, you will be tasked with fighting Terrorists, treasonous Mutants and Secret Societies.

You must deceive and scheme to survive because even members of your own team can be a threat! Be warned, you are constantly being watched and it may be proved necessary to terminate you without notice at any moment. But don't worry! If that happens, at least you have clones available to try your luck again. Just don't expect the new clone to be completely the same as the original...

Despite everything you've just heard, be assured that Alpha Complex is and always will be a utopia. Thanks to Friend Computer, you will be happy every day. What's that look? Do I detect some doubt? Are you happy, Citizen? Be warned, not agreeing with Friend Computer is tantamount to treason, and treasonous actions are punishable by death...

The game will be released on PC and consoles in 2019, when Friend Computer feels like it.​

Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory doesn't have an official website but you can find more details about it on the game's Steam page. Hopefully we'll learn more soon. By the way, you might recall that Black Shamrock are the same guys who just recently announced that they were working on a RuneQuest RPG. Presumably, that game will be using the same tech they developed for Paranoia.

There are 36 comments on Cyanide and Black Shamrock's Paranoia RPG revealed as Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory

Sun 31 March 2019

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 31 March 2019, 00:49:09

Tags: Charles Staples; Leonard Boyarsky; Megan Starks; Mikey Dowling; Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds; Tim Cain

Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, along with lead designer Charles Staples and senior writer Megan Starks, were at PAX East this weekend for their scheduled panel about The Outer Worlds. The panel began with the usual introductions but quickly moved on to a gameplay demonstration showcasing a new area - the elegant city of Byzantium, capital of the Halcyon colony. At first they played it straight, sending the player (joined by Felix and Nyoka, the latter now confirmed to be a companion as well) to audition for a propagandistic action movie using live ammunition. The dialogue was fairly amusing, but it suffered from the lack of voice acting, which isn't in the game yet. Maybe that's why the Obsidian guys decided to kill the movie's director and embark on a murderous rampage throughout the city instead of doing more quests. Along the way, we got to see a new Science weapon that glitches enemy's faces and had our first look at the game's (apparently still WIP) character and inventory screens.

The gameplay demonstration was about twenty minutes long in total. It was followed by a 30 minute Q&A session, which wasn't very interesting unfortunately (sorry, no Epic Games Store drama). Hopefully we won't have to wait until E3 to see more.

There are 39 comments on The Outer Worlds Gameplay Footage at PAX East 2019

Fri 29 March 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 29 March 2019, 20:03:16

Tags: Operencia: The Stolen Sun; Zen Studios

Back in December we received the surprising news that Zen Studios, a Hungarian studio that specializes in pinball games, were developing a turn-based dungeon crawler called Operencia: The Stolen Sun. And it looked pretty decent, too! But then in January they announced that it was going to be an Epic Games Store-exclusive and many people were sad. The game had a couple of developer diary videos after that, and then last month's Steam release date leak revealed a launch date of March 29th, which turned out to be accurate. The game is out now, so here's the launch trailer:

I believe Operencia is the first Codex-relevant title to be released as an Epic-exclusive (though like The Outer Worlds it's actually also available on the Microsoft Store thanks to an Xbox-exclusivity deal on the console side of things). That seems like a bad fit for this sort of game, but it'll be interesting to see how it does. You can grab Operencia from Epic or Microsoft for $30.

There are 48 comments on Operencia: The Stolen Sun Released

Thu 28 March 2019

Codex Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 28 March 2019, 23:13:50

Tags: Disco Elysium; ZA/UM

We first previewed Disco Elysium back in 2017, when it was still called No Truce With The Furies. A lot has happened since then, but the game remains stubbornly unreleased. When is it coming out? Hopefully the answer to that question will be revealed at one of this year's industry events. In the meantime, we figured it was worth checking up on it again. It just so happens that our man Tigranes was in San Francisco last week during GDC. He wasn't there to attend the conference, but with a few quick DMs to the right people, we were able to arrange a special preview. It begins thus:

In 2016, the Codex was visited by a delegation of strange Estonians. They cold-called our resident newsbot to promise what they called a "story-driven isometric role playing game about being a total failure". Since then, Prime Junta previewed the game in 2017, describing it as a 'work of art in progress'. And now, because ZA/UM still haven't learnt their lesson, I've managed to take another look in person.

Now, this isn't a full blown preview/interview. It just so happened that a filthy Codexer was wandering the even filthier streets of San Francisco, and ZA/UM were showing Disco Elysium at the GDC. The filthy Codexer had neither money nor doritos to procure a GDC pass, and instead cavorted with them in a hipster cafe. What follows are a bunch of personal impressions from a sub-hour hands-on playthrough, and some chatting with the devs.

Where's your RPG badge, boy
What is an RPG, anyway? I don't know, but usually I know it when I see it. There's a familiar pattern that we all recline on: a comfortable blend of looting, pillaging and lying, or the obsessive numerical optimisation of the perfect murderhobo. Disco Elysium, from that perspective, is an odd one. The game constantly feels like both something you've played and loved before, and something you've never played before.

In the first five minutes, I thought I was going to say Disco Elysium feels like an adventure game. There's a point-and-click system in place, and an attention to detail in your environment that's the hallmark of the genre. But then, your physiology starts to talk to you. Electrochemistry wants you to smoke, or at least to think about smoking. How you respond helps shape your character. There are 'thoughts' you can pick up as a result of your decisions, which in turn define future options (more on this later). There's even highly customised, pseudo-turn based combat sequences (more on this later too), though I didn't get far enough to see one myself. It quickly lays on gameplay elements that feel clearly RPG-ish in spirit, but often distinct from the kinds of systems we are used to seeing.

At the same time, this is a game that knows exactly what it is and what it isn't, and it's a game that has gone through a great deal of iteration. There aren't any half-baked systems that are included just because we expect them from RPGs; every piece of the game works together in a natural way, to communicate to the player what kind of world they are in. Within 5 minutes, I understood what I was: a drunk fuck whose life is as fucked up as his room - which would translate into every interaction option, every dialogue line, and even skill names. Within half an hour, I birthed the grand ambition for the playthrough: to be the dirtiest, smelliest, most deplorable Herr Hobocop I could manage.

Choices & Consequences
In an earlier time, when the Codex was the bastion of civilised tastes, C&C was the holy grail of a good RPG. In my mind, C&C will be the difference between whether Disco Elysium ends up an interesting adventure game-RPG hybrid or a truly memorable classic. There's no combat system to provide variety in terms of party-building or tactical encounters, so the extent to which you can shape your character through dialogue, thoughts, interactions, is really the meat of the gameplay. In my sub-hour playthrough, Herr Hobocop struggled to get dressed (and partially failed), got insulted by almost every NPC he met, and nearly mutilated a corpse trying to steal its belongings. The real question, then, is how much those bumbling interactions are going to remain fresh and consequential.

From chatting with the devs, it seems they are fully behind branching paths & real consequences as a design goal at least. They're not particularly worried about making sure every player gets to see all the content, or that every option is similarly rewarding. I'm told that depending on your skills and choices, you might get to, say, a cafe, and see very different interaction possibilities; and if your particular guy can't even start a conversation with the barista, that's just how it goes.

Two design decisions, to me, indicate that their heart is in the right place. First, I'm told that anticipating & designing interesting failure states are a key part of the design. Though some catastrophic failures lead to game over, many others are par for the course, and update the state of the world in interesting ways. Second, choices are (partly) limited and irreversible. Interaction options are classified as white or red. Red options can only be tried once, and you roll with the result; white options can be tried again, but only after levelling up relevant skills, and/or changing something else in the world so that the odds of success have been modified. From my sub-hour hands-on, there's no way to tell how successful they'll actually be at this, but at least they understand the nature of the problem.

And yes, they've heard of Age of Decadence.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Preview: Disco Elysium

There are 79 comments on RPG Codex Preview: Disco Elysium

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 28 March 2019, 00:00:10

Tags: Divinity: Fallen Heroes; Larian Studios; Logic Artists

Wow! It was just the other day that LESS T_T spotted three new domain names that Larian had registered last week. With PAX East coming up it seemed like an announcement couldn't be far off, and indeed it was not. Today Larian announced Divinity: Fallen Heroes, a mission-based tactics spinoff set after the events of Divinity: Original Sin 2. In Fallen Heroes, the origin characters from Original Sin 2 join together once again to confront a new threat looming over Rivellon, only this time they'll be fighting alongside squads of generic troops. Larian are classifying Fallen Heroes as a tactics game with RPG elements rather than a full RPG, but it will also feature decision-making sequences inspired by Dragon Commander. The really cool thing is that the game is being co-developed by none other than Logic Artists, developers of the underrated Expeditions series, who have apparently been keeping themselves busy. So here's the announcement trailer and press release:

Developed as a co-production with Danish studio Logic Artists, Divinity: Fallen Heroes is a new standalone game in the Divinity: Original Sin 2 universe. Fallen Heroes marries rich tactical gameplay with RPG choices and consequences, and introduces a wealth of new features and mechanics to the D:OS 2 engine. It will be released on multiple platforms later in the year.

Delve deeper into the world of Rivellon as you command your troops aboard the Lady Vengeance. Explore new lands and wield new weapons and skills. Build your squad and vanquish never-before seen corners of Rivellon. Divinity: Fallen Heroes features two player cooperative play as well as a single player mode.

A new threat looms over Rivellon. Lead aboard the Lady Vengeance and enlist the help of new and existing heroes. Join Malady, Fane, Ifan, Lohse, Sebille, Red Emperor and Beast in a tactical game with all the depth of an RPG.

Aboard the Lady Vengeance, manage your crew through diplomacy. Your choices affect everything. Lose faith and you lose heroes. Rally your troops, and you restore hope.

Vanquish the deserts of the Lizard Empire and the snowy climate of the Dwarven Kingdom. Master a revised combat system and take on over 60 missions with narrative objectives where your decisions greatly affect the story.
  • Gunpower comes to Divinity. Lock’n’load with an arsenal of guns and rifles.
  • Oil, Fire, Ice, Water and Poison surfaces are joined by the new Sulfurium surface, affecting hero positioning on the battlefield.
  • Play with mysterious hero character Malady for the first time in a Divinity game, as well as an all-new character. Or take control of the famous Godwoken.
  • Select from 30+ different unit types to create the perfect squad, and equip them with over 200 skills.
  • Decide which technology to research and what artefacts to obtain to give your troops that extra oomph.
  • Simultaneous Co-op Gameplay allowing you to take turns and combine abilities at the same time.
  • Unlock devastating source powers for your flying battleship, The Lady Vengeance, that will turn the tide of battle.
  • Recruit unique veteran troops, but be careful: if you lose them in battle, they are gone for good.
  • Optional objectives and challenges will push your tactical acumen to its limits.
An early version of Divinity: Fallen Heroes will be playable at PAX East in Boston, March 28th, to allow the development team to gather feedback from the community. Hands-on for press can be organised.
Rock Paper Shotgun and PC Gamer have published previews of Fallen Heroes. Both sites mention that combat now uses an XCOM-like turn order rather than Original Sin 2's controversial round-robin system, so that's good news. Perhaps at PAX East this weekend we'll learn whether the game addresses its predecessor's other flaws as well.

There are 49 comments on Divinity: Fallen Heroes is an Original Sin 2 tactics spinoff co-developed by Logic Artists

Wed 27 March 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 27 March 2019, 01:22:54

Tags: Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown; Silver Lemur Games

Legends of Amberland: The Forgotten Crown is a fun-looking turn-based, open-world retro blobber by Silver Lemur Games, a one-man indie studio from Poland run by Krzysztof Koźmik AKA LordArchibald. It's inspired by a variety of classic grid-based blobbers and in particular Might & Magic 3-5, which it resembles to no small degree. The game has been in development for a while now and has reached the stage where it could use some testing via a Steam Early Access release. Here's the launch trailer:

That's some delightfully chunky pixel art. Legends of Amberland is available on Steam now for $25, with a 10% launch discount until next week. As the Early Access FAQ states, the game's final release is expected in June.

There are 30 comments on Might & Magic-inspired retro blobber Legends of Amberland released on Steam Early Access

Tue 26 March 2019

People News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 26 March 2019, 23:46:34

Tags: Chad Moore; InXile Entertainment; Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson is the most low-key member of the trio that created Fallout and went on to found Troika Games. For the past eight years he's worked for multiplayer shooter studio Turtle Rock, creators of Left 4 Dead and the failed Evolve, and for a long time it seemed that the RPG world had lost him forever. The gaming industry has been undergoing many changes in recent months however, and it looks they finally reached him. Thanks to a tweet from Chad Moore, another Troika vet who recently made the same move, we learned yesterday that Jason has joined inXile Entertainment.

Against all odds, the Troika has been reformed under Microsoft, albeit split between two different studios. Was this your plan all along, Phil Spencer? Jason actually briefly worked at inXile a decade ago, so this is a homecoming in more than one way. Let's hope he and Chad are working on something good.

There are 35 comments on Troika co-founder Jason Anderson has (re-)joined inXile

Fri 22 March 2019

Editorial - posted by Infinitron on Fri 22 March 2019, 21:43:25

Tags: Arnold Hendrick; Darklands; Microprose; The Digital Antiquarian

Darklands, the 1992 historical sandbox RPG by Arnold Hendrick, is a true cult classic - a game beloved by Josh Sawyer and Darth Roxor both. It's the subject of this week's article by the Digital Antiquarian, who is less of a fan. Although the Antiquarian finds the game to be meandering and repetitive, he tries to give it due credit for its authenticity and innovation. Once again, the article is made up of three parts - a history of Darklands' troubled development, impressions of its gameplay, and a reflection on the game's legacy. Here's an excerpt:

We’ve seen in some of my other recent articles how companies like Sierra and Origin, taking stock of escalating complexity in gameplay and audiovisuals and their inevitable companion of escalating budgets, began to systematize the process of game development around this time. And we’ve at least glimpsed as well how such systematization could be a double-edged sword, leading to creatively unsatisfied team members and final products with something of a cookie-cutter feel.

MicroProse, suffice to say, didn’t go that route. Stealey took a hands-off approach to all projects apart from his beloved flight simulators, allowing his people to freelance their way through them. For all the drawbacks of rigid hierarchies and strict methodologies, the Darklands project could have used an injection of exactly those things. It was plagued by poor communication and outright confusion from beginning to end, as Arnold Hendrick and his colleagues improvised like mad in the process of making a game that was like nothing any of them had ever tried to make before.

Hendrick today forthrightly acknowledges that his own performance as project leader was “terrible.” Too often, the right hand didn’t know what the left was doing. An example cited by Hendrik involves Jim Synoski, the team’s first and most important programmer. For some months at the beginning of the project, he believed he was making essentially a real-time fighting game; while that was in fact some of what Darklands was about, it was far from the sum total of the experience. Once made aware at last that his combat code would need to interact with many other modules, he managed to hack the whole mess together, but it certainly wasn’t pretty. It seems there wasn’t so much as a design document for the team to work from — just a bunch of ideas in Hendrick’s head, imperfectly conveyed to everyone else.

It’s small wonder, then, that Darklands went so awesomely over time and over budget; the fact that MicroProse never cancelled it likely owes as much to the sunk-cost fallacy as anything else. Hendrick claims that the game cost as much as $3 million to make in the end — a flabbergasting number that, if correct, would easily give it the crown of most expensive computer game ever made at the time of its release. Indeed, even a $2 million price tag, the figure typically cited by Stealey, would also qualify it for that honor. (By way of perspective, consider that Origin Systems’s epic CRPG Ultima VII shipped the same year as Darklands with an estimated price tag of $1 million.)

[...] Combined with the only slightly less disastrous failure of the new point-and-click graphic-adventure line, Darklands was directly responsible for the end of MicroProse as an independent entity. In December of 1993, with the company’s stock now at well under half of its IPO price and the creditors clamoring, a venture-capital firm arranged a deal whereby MicroProse was acquired by Spectrum Holobyte, known virtually exclusively for a truly odd pairing of products: the home-computer version of the casual game Tetris and the ultra-hardcore flight simulator Falcon. The topsy-turvy world of corporate finance being what it was, this happened despite the fact that MicroProse’s total annual sales were still several times that of Spectrum Holobyte.

Stealey, finding life unpleasant in a merged company where he was no longer top dog, quit six months later. His evaluation of the reasons for MicroProse’s collapse was incisive enough in its fashion:

You have to be known for something. We were known for two things [military simulators and grand-strategy games], but we tried to do more. I think that was a big mistake. I should have been smarter than that. I should have stuck with what we were good at.
[...] But then, Darklands has been polarizing its players from the very beginning. Shortly after the game’s release, Scorpia, Computer Gaming World magazine’s famously opinionated adventure-game columnist, wrote a notably harsh review of it, concluding that it “might have been one of the great ones” but instead “turns out to be a game more to be avoided than anything else.” Johnny L. Wilson, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, was so bothered by her verdict that he took the unusual step of publishing a sidebar response of his own. It became something of a template for future Darklands apologies by acknowledging the game’s obvious flaws yet insisting that its sheer uniqueness nevertheless made it worthwhile. (“The game is as repetitive as Scorpia and some of the game’s online critics have noted. One comes across some of the same encounters over and over. Yet only occasionally did I find this disconcerting.”) He noted as well that he personally hadn’t seen many of the bugs and random crashes which Scorpia had described in her review. Perhaps, he mused, his computer was just an “immaculate contraption” — or perhaps Scorpia’s was the opposite. In response to the sidebar, Wilson was castigated by his magazine’s readership, who apparently agreed with Scorpia much more than with him and considered him to have undermined his own acknowledged reviewer.

The reader response wasn’t the only interesting postscript to this episode. Wilson:

Later, after 72 hours of playing around with minor quests and avoiding the main plot line of Darklands, I decided it was time to finish the game. I had seven complete system crashes in less than an hour and a half once I decided to jump in and finish the game. I didn’t really have an immaculate contraption, I just hadn’t encountered the worst crashes because I hadn’t filled my upper memory with the system-critical details of the endgame. Scorpia hadn’t overreacted to the crashes. I just hadn’t seen how bad it was because I was fooling around with the game instead of trying to win. Since most players would be trying to win, Scorpia’s review was more valid than my sidebar. Ah, well, that probably isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever done when I thought I was being fair.
This anecdote reveals what may be a deciding factor — in addition to a tolerance for complexity for its own sake — as to whether one can enjoy Darklands or not. Wilson had been willing to simply inhabit its world, while the more goal-oriented Scorpia approached it as she would any other CRPG — i.e., as a game that she wanted to win. As a rather plot-focused, goal-oriented player myself, I naturally sympathize more with her point of view.
These days, Arnold Hendrick still haunts his game's Steam forum on occasion, answering questions while dreaming about what it would take to make a big budget sequel. That particular overambition will probably never be realized, but at least the inspiration lives on.

There are 30 comments on The Digital Antiquarian on Darklands

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 22 March 2019, 15:20:29

Tags: Brian Mitsoda; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Paradox Interactive's two month-long Tender ARG concluded as expected last night with the announcement of a new Vampire: The Masquerade RPG by Hardsuit Labs. What was less expected is that the game turned out to be not just a Vampire RPG, not merely inspired by Bloodlines, but a full-blown Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 with Brian Mitsoda himself onboard as lead narrative designer. The game is indeed set in Seattle, with the player taking on the role of a clanless "thin-blood" vampire recently converted in an illicit Mass Embrace. After escaping execution by the vampire court thanks to a mysterious firebombing, you'll find yourself on the streets and begin your new life as an up-and-coming vampire. Bloodlines 2 has quietly been in development since 2016, but for now all Paradox are willing to reveal of it in public is this cinematic announcement trailer, carefully labelled "NOT ACTUAL GAMEPLAY".

However, members of the press did get to see a private thirty minute demo of the game, and their impressions are quite positive. According to their previews, it's very much in the spirit of the original Bloodlines, with much-improved combat, immersive sim-style exploration, and a focus on factional choice & consequence. Here's a round-up of all the previews we've been able to track down:

Unlike a certain other game, Bloodlines 2 will be launching simultaneously on Steam, GOG and everywhere else. In fact, it's already available for preorder - $60 for a standard edition, $70 for one that includes a bunch of item DLCs, and $90 for the Season Pass edition (three story expansions are already planned). The game is currently scheduled for release a year from now, on March 2020. Let the drama begin!

There are 191 comments on Paradox announce Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 with Brian Mitsoda onboard as narrative lead

Wed 20 March 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 20 March 2019, 22:54:30

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds

Despite enjoying an extremely positive debut and having the marketing muscle of not one but two major publishers in its corner, the powers that be have apparently decided that The Outer Worlds must make moar money. At their GDC keynote today, Epic Games announced that The Outer Worlds will be launching on the Epic Games Store, which offers an an advantageous revenue share. It won't come out on Steam until a year afterwards. The game is not quite an Epic-exclusive however, since it's also launching on Microsoft's own Microsoft Store platform, and on consoles of course. There's no fancy trailer or press release for this announcement, just this tweet:

As you can see from the replies, many people are upset about this. Patrice Desilets' Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, another Private Division title, was also announced as an Epic-exclusive at the keynote, so it appears to be a publisher decision. If you're an Epic-hater at least you've got the Microsoft Store option, although that means dealing with UWP or whatever it's called.

There are 159 comments on The Outer Worlds to launch on the Epic Games Store and Microsoft Store, only coming to Steam in 2020

Tue 19 March 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Tue 19 March 2019, 18:06:14

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; System Shock 3; Warren Spector

Despite the loss of their publishing arrangement with Starbreeze, OtherSide Entertainment pledged last month that they would proceed with the development of System Shock 3, which they claim is now more than halfway completed. Yesterday at the Unity Keynote at GDC, we finally got to see what they've come up with since the game was announced way back in December 2015. Headlined by a curiously non-bespectacled Warren Spector, the presentation was primarily a technical discussion about lighting algorithms and rendering pipelines, but it began with the unveiling of several images from the game's current build (available on the official website) followed by a brief teaser trailer:

That animated SHODAN won't be to everybody's liking, but otherwise the game looks certainly looks more impressive than Underworld Ascendant. OtherSide still don't have a new publisher, and I imagine that with this prototype they intend to attract one. We'll see how that works out for them.

There are 46 comments on System Shock 3 teaser trailer revealed at Unity GDC 2019 Keynote

Thu 14 March 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Thu 14 March 2019, 14:11:26

Tags: Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

The Colony Ship combat demo has taken a bit longer to finalize than Iron Tower hoped for, mainly due to issues with getting armor to appear on characters properly as well as a lack of portraits. For that reason, this month's development update is very similar to the previous one - a progress report and a batch of screenshots. The most visible new feature of the game's latest build is a mouseover targeting info display.

[​IMG] [​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

We made good progress with things that matter (but hard to show) like programming, balance, and scripting but poor progress with relatively minor but highly visible things like armor models and portraits. As (probably) mentioned previously, the demo is fully playable and has 14 fights, 2 of them optional. We're still playing it on a daily basis, ironman-style as there's no save/load system yet, so the demo has already received 2 balance updates as a result. The engine is great and very stable. I didn't have a single crash yet (despite daily updates); there were some occasional freezes earlier (for example, if one enemy knocks you out and his helpful buddy shoots in the face, scoring a knockdown) but I didn't have any in my last 2-hour long play session.

The feats are now working and two gadgets out of three are done (the energy shield and the distortion field). All gadget parts (each gadget consists of 3 upgradeable parts that increase its properties such as shield's regen rate or damage resistance) are nicely modeled and textured. The main new addition is the targeting info (see the screens below). It gives you a full THC breakdown, which will help the player to understand how it's calculated and helps us make sure that bonuses and penalties are implemented properly. RNG is working great, so far the balance between hits and misses is perfect.

So far the armor thing (the delay) is our biggest problem, which is a good indicator as I can think of worse things to screw up. It's slowly moving forward, so I hope that we'll have it done in 3 weeks. Similar to the weapons, the armor is split into 2 main categories: common Ship-made ballistic armor and rare Earth-made combat and anti-riot armor. You can expect 10 unique models for each category: helmet, body armor, jacket/coat, boots, goggles, mask/respirator. Right now we have about a third (talking about the models).

PS. We'd appreciate if you take a moment to click on that big follow button here:
The wait continues. Check out the full update for a few details about the combat scenario showcased in the screenshots.

There are 41 comments on Colony Ship Update #35: Combat Demo Update #2, More New Screenshots

Wed 13 March 2019

Game News - posted by Darth Roxor on Wed 13 March 2019, 21:16:54

Tags: Julian Gollop; Phoenix Point; Snapshot Games

Phoenix Point, everyone's most eagerly anticipated nu-xcom-but-not-really-actually-nu-xcom spiritual successor of X-COM by none other than Julian Gollop, the creator of the X-COM series, has been going through some interesting developments ever since it was successfully crowdfounded at Fig.

Fans and backers alike will no doubt rejoice about the fact that Phoenix Point has finally found a welcoming home and financial stability by signing up for a 1-year-long deal of exclusive presence on the brand-new Epic Store. "Exclusive" is just another word for "exceptional" and Snapshot Games founder Julian Gollop is as positive about this auspicious endeavour as anyone would be. From the official announcement:

I have some major news to share: we have signed a deal with Epic Games to bring Phoenix Point exclusively to the Epic Games Store for its first year of release on PC and Mac.

This deal is a real game changer for our studio, because, thanks to Epic’s support, it is certain that we will be able to update and expand Phoenix Point for years to come.

We want to share our success with all the backers who have helped us get here, so we have a special benefit to announce: if you backed or pre-ordered Phoenix Point at any time since our crowdfunding campaign until today, you will receive a year of free DLC.​

A year of free DLC? Sounds exciting! But what does it mean for fans who really, really wanted to get the game DLC and DRM free on a platform such as GOG? No worries, because Snapshot's got you covered. From the official FAQ:

I really wanted the game on Steam or What can I do?

Whichever delivery option you had originally opted for, we’re still positive that you will have a fantastic experience with Phoenix Point on the Epic Games Launcher.

All backers up to this point will also STILL receive a Steam or GOG key after the 1 year exclusivity period. The Steam/GOG key will also receive the same 1 year of free DLC which came with the Epic key.

If we really can’t tempt you over, we understand. You can cancel your pre-order (this includes crowdfunding backers) at any time in the next 28 days for a full refund.​

Good guys provide their fans with multiple options and Snapshot Games are no exception. And in case you're worrying that any prospective refund made by you would harm the game's development, worry no more, because the community manager confirmed on the official Discord channel for the game that Phoenix Point can, and will, manage just fine without you.

Keep in mind that we knew there would be backlash. We knew there would be refunds. If we had to refund 100% of currently pre-orders, we'd still be in the black. We didn't make the decision lightly.​

Truly gets the noggin joggin'!

There are 140 comments on Phoenix Point now an Epic Store Exkloosive

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