Development Update: November

Welcome back everyone!

It’s been a while since we updated the blog, so we figured we’d give you a quick insight into what we’re currently working on during these snow-stormy, rain ridden, windy and cold last weeks.

Art

Our artists are currently mapping out new areas in the game, as well as creating Concept Art for both characters and environment alike. It has been a busy period for our producer slash character artist, but she’s making steady progress. It’s beginning to look quite magical.

Programming & Design

Our programmers have been updating old code that was left-overs from the beginning of the project, when the game was just a proof of concept. Unnecessary code-snippets and convoluted code has been reworked and made smoother. We’ve also been working on getting the progression system, as well as the spell system in place – and it’s coming along quite well.

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Work in progress of the Magic Selector and Favor system. Placeholder graphics.

As mentioned in the last development diary, there’s a whole lot of balancing between spells, spell-costs and progression tied points (favor) to be done, and we’re in the final stages of implementing the system itself – so that said balancing can commence.

Other then that, our producer has been busy with Sting, the startup incubator (which we announced earlier this fall)  which will conclude soon.

That’s it for now! Have a great week.

//Tamarrion Development Team

Development Diary #12: Favour

Hi and welcome back to another installment of Development Diary!

Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about Favour – the “currency” that the player utilize in Tamarrion.

First off, in Tamarrion there’s no levels. There’s no levels, because we don’t want to lock our content behind level walls; but there is however issues in not having any barriers of entry at all. That’s where items and Favour comes into play.

Items allow the player to defeat higher tiers of bosses. But, Favour is directly linked with the progress of the game.

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Flowchart of the favour-system

In essence, favour acts as currency that allows the player to spend, hoard and recycle their favour in order to build their character.

Different spells, costs different amount of Favour. And this is where a lot of balancing comes in. We can directly balance the amount of favour a player can earn within a set amount of progression, as to not create unbalanced ability builds early on in the game, and also create a – hopefully – interesting red line of progression.

That’s it for today, we’ll be back with more information about favour and magic sooner than later. Have a great evening!

//Perkulatorn, Lead Game Designer

Development Diary #11: Builders and Spenders.

Hello again, and welcome back to the 10th (!) development diary. Today we’re going to have a little chat about how God Powers correspond to the “second to second” game play decisions.

God Powers

Each time the player casts a spell from a school of spells (there’s five of them), a percentage of the god power bar is filled up. Let’s say for example you cast the Holy field spell, the High Lord’s correspondent rune would will up 20%. If and when a God Power bar hits 100%, a literal God Power is unleashed; in the case of the High Lord your melee attacks gives you health each time you hit an enemy based on the damage you performed.

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Each of these bars fills up each time a spell that is not a “Spender” ability is cast.

Now, that’s all good and well, but there has to be some kind of reasoning behind using spells tactically. Which is why we’re going to introduce the concept of Builders and Spenders.

Builders and Spenders

Like in most MMORPGs or RPGs in general, there’s a concept of “Do Ability1 X amount of  times until you can do Ability2” – and in Tamarrion it’s not a whole lot different, we’re just experimenting with a little twist on the concept.

Most spells generate GP (God Power). Some spells and abilities generate more (and often have a longer cooldown), and some less. God Power is also drained if not used over time, meaning that you’ll be losing x% amount of god power when it is not being consumed or used. Also, hitting 100% god power means you unleash the ultimate god power (UGP) and all of your GP percentage is reset to 0 (and you can not generate GP while under a UGP). This creates an incentive for the player to build, spend and hoard GP as efficiently as possible.

Let’s look at an example, as we so often do (note: names are just examples):

Builders:

Holy Field: Generates 20% GP. Cooldown: 5s.

High lords Blade: Generates 5% GP. Cooldown 2s.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Since the GP decays over time, the player has to learn and time their GP spenders accordingly.

Spender:

Heavenly call: For each (rounded up) % of Holy GP, heal the player for 0.025 * (Devotion Power) and damage the surrounding enemies for 0.5 x (Devotion Power + Physical Power). Cooldown: 0s.

Notice how the Spender does not have any cooldown, and is thus only connected (and able to be used) when there’s GP in the corresponding gods favor. The numbers are just made up on the spot, but they’re indicative to how the spell would work. In short, the more GP you’ve built, the stronger the Spender – but the player has to be vary of using up all of your GP, in case you really really need that strong UGP buff.

That’s all for this week, I’ll be back talking about more design decisions in two weeks.

//Oskar “Perkulatorn” Lidh Frykmark, Lead Designer

Development Diary #10: Level Design!

Welcome back to another installation of development diary. Today we’re talking a bit about the level design and the reasoning, how and why around the levels in Tamarrion.

Level Design

Originally, the game was not supposed to feature “segwaying” between boss-locations in the level, neither were there any plans of creating trash monsters that roamed the halls and locations of Tamarrion. This utopian idea of the ultimate “raid instance” where there was no waiting between bosses did not bode well for the overall pacing of the game.

So, we expanded our levels, redesigned and did a complete rethinking of how our levels would look, feel and play. Since Tamarrion is all about mastering mechanics, the space between Boss A and Boss B provides ample room for mechanical improvement, and for us as designers to introduce new mechanics to the player. This gives the player a feel and understanding of upcoming mechanical situations, as well as room for improvement in both play-style and skill; as well as some breathing room between said bosses.

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Environmental/Mechanic Features between two bosses in Tamarrion (Credits: Måns Löf)

The picture above illustrates a hallway between two bosses in Tamarrion. There are several things to take into account when creating space in video games, especially when the game focuses heavily on a specific features – in our case Boss fights.

  • How do we introduce boss mechanics before the boss?
  • How do we generate proper pacing between two boss fights?
  • What kind of situational challenges can we create?
  • Does said challenges fit the physical room?

“Environmental Hazards”

One of the first things we introduced when we introduced larger space between bosses, was the idea of having, what we call, environmental hazards. That is, non-boss monster mechanical challenges (think platformer games) that fits the pacing of the physical 3D space.

In the example above, there are several different environmental hazards, that couples with others. Let’s have a look:

  • Zombies – A mindless zombie that pops out where you least expects you to. They’re placed in such a way as to obstruct view and distract you from other mechanics that might be lurking around a corner.
  • Fire Trap – Literal Fire spewing out of the wall in patterns.
  • Cave in – A mechanic from the upcoming boss – making the roof cave in and dropping stones all around the player.
  • Desecration – The hands of the dead rises from the ground, slowing the player down. Coupled with Zombies and Cave ins, they can become a serious issue.
  • “Ray of Death” – Another important mechanic from the upcoming boss, which creates a gauntlet event that the player has to overcome, whilst battling all other Environmental Hazards.

This is just one small area of the game; which hopefully will be enjoyable for the player to explore, defeat and overcome.

That’s it for todays Development Diary. Have a great week!

//Perkulatorn – Lead Designer

Development Diary #9: Magic and UI!

Hi again! Long time no see.

In this Development Diary, we’re going to talk a bit about the new magic selection system that is tied in with the game’s progression, as well as UI in general.

How UI works in Tamarrion

In Tamarrion, all changes to the character are made in the game, inside of UI and menus; just like any other RPG. Items, stats, maps and spells can all be customized, changed and sorted within these menus. As a general philosophy here at Frostfyr, we want the player to be able to take full control of the way they approach the game, so we’re working on giving the player as many options to change and customize their play style as possible. This means that changing abilities and items has to be both balanced, interesting and easy.

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Tamarrion’s inventory system. This is a work in progress, and does not represent the final product.

The inventory system for example is divided into three sections, an inspector, a currently equipped section and the List of items. The inspector shows the Name, the lore and the stats of the items, as well as comparing the stats of the items to your currently equipped item. The list shows your hoard of loot that you’ve acquired through the game, and allows you to easily equip and change items by double clicking the item. The same design of this system is applied on our Spells and Abilities menu as well.

Magic!

So, in the same way as items are equipped, spells are also interchangeable and use the same basics of the aforementioned system, with a couple of changes.

Spells are divided into five different categories:

High lord – Holy

Revenna – War (Melee)

Eir – Defense

Verristien – Arcane Magic

Aiana – Nature (Support)

Each of these gods has their own “tree”, meaning that they are sub-categorized in different tiers of worth and power. Each tier can contain more than one spell and/or a passive ability, but can only be unlocked if connected (look at example above).

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Mock-up of the tiered Magic Selection Tiers

Let’s look at this made-up example of the Melee ability tree (or Revenna the god of War):

Tier 1: Charge leads to both Tier 2 abilities, whirl and slam, but is also connected to its own passive ability that makes the Charge a better ability.

Tier 2: Slam also has a Passive, but is a Tier 3 ability. The Tier 3 Ability is not connected to the rest of the tree, so it does not allow the player to chose another spell, but rather just upgrades the Slam ability from Tier 2. Whirl on the other hand leads directly to a Tier 3 ability, and does not allow the player to chose the Passive (which wouldn’t be of much use if the player had not chosen Slam anyway).

Tier 3: In tier 3, only Rampage would connect further down to a possible Tier 4.

This might look a bit complicated at first, but if you’ve ever played World of Warcraft or perhaps Grim Dawn, you’d quickly understand the system.

Progression of abilities

In order to unlock the spells of the different tier, favor of the god has to be earned. There are several ways of earning favor.

  • Defeating Bosses
  • Unlocking Achievements
  • Exploring and finding lore snippets in the world
  • And so on.

These favor points may be used to unlock abilities in the Spell trees. Each tier ups the favor cost, so the player has to chose which abilities they want to spend their hard earned favor on.

That’s it for this week! Another Development Diary will be out in two weeks!

//Perkulatorn

Development Diary #8: January Update

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Welcome Back!

It’s now February the 1st, and it’s been a while since our last update. So, today we’re going to recap what we’ve been doing all January and what we’ve got in store for the future.

January and forward

We released a Demo version with completely overhauled graphics, improved gameplay, new UI elements and a brand new control scheme and camera.

It seems to have been received well by the people who downloaded it (Download here!), and we’ve gathered a lot of feedback which will hopefully improve our next iteration (see below!). We’ve also seen a small community grow on our sub-reddit (Tamarrion Subreddit), which will hopefully grow in the future as we continue development.

Other than releasing, we went straight back into production, and this time with a larger scope than before. The demo was the culmination of a complete redesign of the game, and it seems to have been well worth it, as we’re moving forward.

We’ve been talking about new bosses and new areas before, but we actually did not have the time to implement any of the new areas and bosses before releasing the small demo. So, that’s why we jumped straight into new content creation after releasing the demo; we’re done with the base systems (although we’re working on a complete HUD and UI overhaul) and are now free to focus on content creation.

This new content creation focus means that we’re creating areas, designing new bosses and working on new spells. In short – more, more, more!

Måns, our Environmental Artist is busy creating the entire “Undead Wing” as it is internally known. We’re about 70% done, there’s only one area that is still being designed. Cobrabird is busy creating the characters that will inhabit the Undead Wing.

Which leads me to;

Future

Whilst we want to provide as much free content as possible, we’ll sooner or later want to start thinking about publishing the game. So, that’s why we’re going to keep updating the game for free until we’re done with the entire wing. When we’re completely done with the Undead Wing (polished deluxe), we will release the entire thing for free as our OFFICIAL demo.

We are still unsure if we’re going for a greenlight project on Steam with an early access program, a kickstarter (most likely not) or if we’ll look around for a publisher when we reaches this stage. But we’ll make sure to update y’all as soon as we know.

For now, enjoy the version 0.4, and we’ll make sure to release 0.5 as soon as the next area is complete (we like to be a couple of steps ahead before we release something, as we do not want to release anything too buggy).

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading.

//Perkulatorn, Lead Designer