Development Diary #6: Update 1

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Howdy!

My name is Oskar “Perkulatorn” Lidh Frykmark, and I’m the lead designer of Tamarrion.

I figured that today I’d talk a little bit about how far we’ve come, and what will be featured in the upcoming version that we’ll be releasing on the website in the coming week(s).

Skillshots and movement

Tomas, our lead programmer, has been busy rewriting the camera, controller and spell system from scratch.

What we’ve got right now is a rough sketch of how the new skillshot system will work. We’ve talked a bit about this in earlier development diaries, but we’ve actually got two skills that are being worked on that we can talk about (note that everything discussed in development diaries are subject to change at any moment).

“Radius Arcanum” – Spelltype: Magic

Straight-Line Skill Shot/Channeling

Cast time/Windup: 2.0s

Duration: 6.0s

Description: Channels a beam of pure energy straight forward. Damages the enemy every 0.5s for x% weapon damage. Every 1.5s the player manages to damage the same enemy, the damage increases ((x%) * 2). If at any time the spell stops hitting the same enemy continuously, the damage resets back to x% damage.

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Classic Straight Line Free Shot (Beams/Projectiles)

“Sacred Ground” – Spelltype: Holy

Circle Skill Shot / Instant Cast

Cast time: instant

Duration: 10.0s

Description: Casts a Circle of healing that turns an area into sacred ground, damaging enemies for x% weapon damage per second. If at any time the player moves into the area, the area starts healing the player for (x% – difficulty) weapon damage. Whilst healing, the area does not hurt enemies.

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Sacred Ground (Circle Freeshot) Bonus: Strafing!

These two spells will be up for testing in test build soon®. They are merely a proof of concept, and should not be seen as final spells.

We’ve also, as mentioned earlier, converted all movement from a xbox/ps controller, and mapped them for mouse and keyboard. This included strafing, which required us to create new animations. They are now implemented (!) and are being polished as we speak.

New Boss Mechanics

We’ve also included a new boss mechanic for Lord Valac (our first and only functional boss so far), as well as a whole new minion ai system in the game.

The new mechanic enhances the Ray of Death® soft-enrage mechanic, being worked on by our gameplay programmer Sebastian. When Lord Valac casts RoD, minions spawns randomly in the alcoves around the room (amount of minions varies from difficulty to difficulty), and charges towards the player. This system is VERY early days, but it’ll hopefully make the boss more interesting towards the very end of the boss fight. It’s all about that dramatic curve!

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Minions!

Sorry for keeping y’all waiting for a week, we’ll try to keep you updated on our further development as we enter crunch-time!

Cheers,

Perkulatorn

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Art Time! #8

We are working hard getting ready for a new release of Tamarrion, if you want a chance to test it go to our website tamarriongame.com and sign up! For us artists this means that we have continued working on the environments, which will be ready for the release after this one that is coming up this weekend!

The major update at the moment is that we have implemented the new model of Tamarrion and finalized her textures, which we showed you last week.

This also means that we have finished transferring the animations that we talked about last time. But with the new controls that we are about to test, we needed new animations, we also need animations for the new boss character that we are working on. This meant going into the Motion Capture studio for a shoot!

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It was very tiring, took us a long time and was a lot of fun!

Most of the shoot can be watched here:

For myself that meant spending the rest of the week cleaning the mocap data for Tamarrion’s animations and starting to work on them in MotionBuilder. It was somewhat of a bumpy road and they are still a work in progress but we will have some new animations for the upcoming release!

Since I feel generous today, I will cheat and end this post with a little something from this week. When implementing the new model properly into the game and adding Dynamic Bone to her hair, our Lead Programmer found a little problem with the skinning.

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That is it from me this week!

Love
Cobrabird

Art Time! #7

For this week’s Art Time we would like to give you an update on what the artists were doing last week.

We have been working on Tamarrion’s animations, retargeting them to the new and updated model that has now been tested in the game for the first time. This caused some frustration and a lot of interesting results.

Apart from retargeting the animations we have also been working on an updated version of Tamarrion’s texture. We will be increasing the resolution in her textures and push the hand painted style further. The new diffuse maps are now nearly complete, but here is a sample of what it looked like at the end of the previous week.

We have also been continuing working on the updated version of Lord Valac’s chamber. Last week was completely focused on creating High-poly models in Z-brush.

That is it for us this time!

Love
Cobrabird

Lore Day #3 – The Necromancer Part 2

One day a young Lord rode into the village with his army, killing and plundering, leaving no survivors in an endeavour to please his father by expanding their realm. He found the, now fourteen year old, girl watching as three, clearly dead, ravens were killing a wounded villager that had tried to flee. Her laughter was so innocent and her eyes gleamed.

Lord Valac saw an ancient form of magic that he knew would be very useful in his crusade; it was thought to be near extinct. He took her in and gave her a home in his palace. For the first time in her life the girl had plenty of food, fancy clothes, jewellery, anything she wished the Lord would provide. The greatest gift was the laboratory where she was free to experiment on prisoners he brought back for her, dead as well as alive.

He called her “Nihteana” – My Bird of the Night.

Lord Valac brought in a priest of Malchrad, although worshipping him had been forbidden for centuries, to teach her to better control and grow her abilities. The servants were left in charge of teaching her the ways of the Lord’s court. Nihteana was treated like a princess and spent some years training and experimenting in the palace before following her Lord into battle. She would rarely leave his side, he was the only living being that she cared for and her hatred for the villagers grew to extend to all living people. Together they drove each other to new levels of madness and with, a now powerful, necromancer at his side Lord Valac would not only use his own army in his wars but let her raise the fallen enemies to fight for him.blogconceptniht2

The surrounding nations joined forces in one last desperate attempt to stop the wicked Lord just outside the gates of his palace. They managed to defeat Lord Valac’s army after a long and gruesome battle. The scattered remnants of his forces fled back to the palace with his body and buried him.

When Nihteana, who had stayed in her laboratory in the palace to experiment with an ancient recipe that they had found on a scroll deep in the ruins of a temple of Malchrad, learned that Lord Valac had fallen and the enemy army were near breaching the gates, she gave in to the anger and madness that she had carried for so long. Even though she did not have the time to finish it, she used the potion that was meant to give her tremendous power, knowing its strength would kill her. She was determined to take as many as possible with her, before either resurrecting her Lord or following him to the end. For a moment she managed to raise every fallen soldier to do her bidding, but it was not enough to win the fight; or bring him back. It is said that her laughter echoed over the entire battlefield before the potion took its toll.

When the attacking army found her body in the ruins of the palace they buried it in a crypt in the mountain. Priests of the High Lord who still knew the writings of the paladins sealed their tombs with holy symbols and made sure that the bodies were buried whole so that their souls would not be able to enter the world of the living.

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Development Diary #5: Progression

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Welcome back to the fifth installment of the development diary! My name is Oskar, and I’m the lead designer on this project.

We’ve covered most of the new features coming up soon on the test build, but we haven’t actually covered the player progression in the game.

Definition of progression in English:

noun

[MASS NOUN] The process of developing gradually towards a more advanced state:good opportunities for career progression[COUNT NOUN]: a steady progression towards your goals

So let’s dive into what you, as a player, will actually do in the game!

First off, we’ve got to define what kind of progression we’re talking about, and how each type of progression works.

Game ProgressionHow does the game move forward? What’s the purpose of defeating a boss?

Character ProgressionHow do you, as a player, progress in the game?

End Game ProgressionWhat do I do when I’m pretty much finished with the game?

With these definitions in mind, let’s look a bit closer on what each of them entails.

Game Progression

So, if you haven’t followed this project earlier, Tamarrion is all about defeating bosses using the tools that the game gives you as a player.

The game is built around something we call “Wings”, or just zones that contains bosses with its own story arc, lore and mood. These zones contains one or several boss monsters. Each time a wing is cleared on whatever difficulty, a new, or several new zones opens up, each telling their own story in the overarching story-line, moving the story forward.

You mantle the role of a demi-god type of character, with immense powers, but – as all good stories, you’ve got to develop yourself and learn to control these powers. So the earliest areas might include squaring off against corrupted bandit lords, whilst at the other end of the spectra, several hours into the game, you might be squaring off against Giant dragons from the past. We’re working hard on creating a universe for you to explore; a universe that can be expanded upon, allowing us to update and create new content for players for a long time, long time.

Character Progression

There are several ways of progressing your character in-game. Now, it’s worth mentioning that it’s still early days for our gear and spell systems, but we’ve got some grandiose plans.

Each time a boss is killed, items drops from a randomized loot table (I’m not ready to talk about the loot system right now, but let’s just say that it’s going to be quite expansive, Hint: Something that starts with “C” and ends with “rafting”), making the player more powerful for each boss killed. There are several different pieces of gear that the player can equip and use. Whilst a lot of games are purely stat-based, we’re looking at a model that allows us to create items that are actually interesting, rather than just being an item that upgrades your strength by +1.

Amulet of Eir

Amulet of Eir

The character will be able to unlock spells by defeating earlier mentioned boss monsters. At the outset we’re looking at about 50 (!) spells to explore and use in conjunction with our new spell interaction model. Which leads us to:

End Game

“So I’ve killed every boss in the game, what do I do now?”

Tamarrion will come with several different difficulties, clearing a wing in one difficulty will unlock a new one, with its own new mechanics and it’s own new, and improved, loot table. If you’ve ever played Diablo, World of Warcraft or even Warhammer:Vermintide you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

We’re looking to create an environment, with an updatable client, that allows us to generate more content for the players who wants to progress in the world that we’re building. And a community that strives to explore, defeat and gather everything the game has to offer.

That’s it for this week, but I’ll dive deeper into all of these types of progression individually as we get closer to finishing the systems.

Cheers,

Oskar “Perkulatorn”

Art Time! #6 – Nihteana Character Concept

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The initial idea for the boss character now known as “The Necromancer” or Nihteana was a low to mid ranked officer in Lord Valac’s army. The story was about a man who was commanding and fighting in the ranks and he was supposed to be fast and agile to teach the players some of the mechanics that Lord Valac has.

When starting up production again and I was getting ready to start creating concepts for him we discussed what kind of fighting style or weapons that he would use. Originally he was meant to be using a sword, but we felt that we wanted to create a contrast against Lord Valac and show more of the game mechanics and style in the demo that is currently under development. Therefore we decided to ditch the entire idea of melee and make him a spellcaster instead.

This lead me to thinking what kind of spellcaster he would be, in order for me to know what he would look like. Somewhere along the way we decided that he was supposed to be a necromancer, which got me to start working on the very first super fast sketches, trying to find something that I could develop further.

First one minute sketches exploring different takes on the character

First one minute sketches exploring different takes on the character

It was during this stage that I had the idea of making him a woman instead, we felt that it could be one thing that makes our version of a necromancer different from others as we all had just assumed that it would be a male. We also felt that this could further the contrast to Lord Valac and it led to the very first sketch, as you saw in the right corner, from which Nihteana was born. I based this sketch upon some requests of one of our programmers which I reworked into my own version and continued to develop. Both making her a spellcaster instead of a soldier and a woman also meant that I had to rewrite her entire character background to base her appearance on (which you can read about in the lore posts).

Dress and shoulder guards exploration

Dress and shoulder guards exploration

The areas that I was unsure of were mostly the top of the dress and the shoulder guards so I created some variations of that, just trying to explore different angles. It was a combination of these that the team decided that we liked best and I continued working on. I knew that we needed something that would tie her to Lord Valac, so that they would look like they actually belong together in the same level apart from both being dead. As his symbol is a distorted lion skull we considered using that on her to show loyalty, but in the end we went with her having her own animal symbol, still using skulls.

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Development from the first sketch

I also did a first colour test, based on the general lighting that the level was supposed to be. The aim was to test how the character would work in  the lighting that we wanted and a first exploration of what colours to use. This painting was used as a base for the full coloured concept art later.

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Initial colour test

The next step was to create a turnaround of the character, drawing her from four different angles so that I would be able to model her. The design of the skirt layers were left quite loose at this stage as we felt that it would be better to leave some decisions to the 3D modeling in order to find what works in 3D and animation.

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Character turnaround

Finally we have the, still a work in progress, coloured action pose, or Concept Art painting, showing off our boss in action!

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Love
Cobrabird

Lore Day #2 – The Necromancer Part 1

More than a lifetime ago, a child was born in a cottage outside a small village. With her father killed while serving in the local Lord’s army and her mother dying from childbirth she entered this world as an orphan. She was taken in by an elder couple that had no children of their own, at the turn of her second birthday the man died from the fever and the village was pestered with illnesses and famine. The lady who still took care of her was also taken by the fever when the little girl was six years old. The villagers had been talking for years, staying away from the cottage where they were sure the little girl was playing with dead animals. After all these years in despair they started blaming the little girl for the diseases and animals dying. They shunned her and did not welcome the poor girl into the village; at the most they would throw out some scraps of food before locking the doors.

The girl stayed alone in the run down cottage just inside the ridge of the forest. She was completely alone and had no one to talk to or care for her, no one to sing her lullabies when she was afraid of the dark. She had no one to play with apart from the dead cat that she hugged tightly at night and by day she would make him dance for her. She had always had that fascination of dead things and they seemed to come alive before her.

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Years passed by, the little girl grew but even with the aid of the dead animals that she raised to help her find food she was thin as a stick. The villagers would still have nothing to do with her and deep inside there grew an anger and hatred towards them, a small seed of darkness that grew as she did. The now prosperous village still feared the girl, and rumours were wide spread about dead animals coming to life and her walking around the graveyard at night, they would run away and make warding signs if they saw her, no one even knew her name. She would stay away from them as well; always carrying that anger inside, she liked dead things better anyway. Or watching them die.

One day a young Lord rode into the village with his army…

End of Part 1