Backstory IV (Making of the Eldritch Soldier)

Continuing with the story from last week, the second “design” problem of the constructs was that the magical properties they possessed were constantly consuming Jet (the magical stone they were imbued with). This meant that when the stone depleted of its magical properties the humanoid would stop dead in its tracks. Even worse, in the event they didn’t “feed” them fresh Jet stones, the state of their almost non-existent cognition reverted back, forgetting everything they were magically instructed to do.

To the abysmal dismay of the nobles that was not only a logistical mayhem (they had to keep tabs on each humanoid’s Jet stock) but it was also dangerous. They soon discovered that tampering with the construct in order to fortify it for the upcoming war had created a serious problem. As a soldier, the humanoid basic instincts were now to survive. They would attack and kill anyone who dared to touch them or keep them from consuming Jet. They furthermore possessed an uncanny ability to know were Jet was kept.

Farnstod was assassinated shortly after her magnum opus. Her rise in fame and hierarchy combined with the fact that the constructs were more of a problem instead of a solution brought her downfall. Nevertheless, she was always fondly remembered in the occasional social event.

The inability of the casting caste of OverCast (:o) to capitalize on the early success of Farnstod was frustrating. Moreover, it was the incentive people needed to create content that defamed the elite; various stories of failed tries by the nobles to salvage the situation or short-sighted orders that created funny situations during the training of the primitive humanoid army circulated and grew exponentially by the plebe.

One of these stories was ironically the answer to what the man-made constructs were lacking: According to that story a hunter in a drunken state was making jests comparing the lack of brains of the golems to the high-minded ones of the nobles.

Stay with us next week as we conclude the story of the Eldritch Soldier!

 

 

 

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Backstory III (Making of the Eldritch Soldier)

The highly logical framework that governed most of the OverCast societies would clash when the nobles’ greed demanded satisfaction. They understood that sometimes some of their actions were almost too risky to be worth undertaking, but the hunger for power and recognition outweighed the rational balance in politics they were aiming for.

One of the aforementioned actions was the creation of Homunculi or also Takwin.

Due to the nature of war in OverCast, it was really difficult for ambitious nobles to gain more territories or expand their rule to other city states. Even if the government body decided to invade a rival city state, they were lacking foot soldiers. The life expectancy of a soldier was one small fireball. Ways to defend against hostile spells existed but they weren’t coefficient. Auras of damage reduction and energy shields could not stretch wide enough to cover an army. The nobles could protect themselves and at a small radius around them their guards but the rest were dying like moths to flames.  Therefore, only small skirmishes were ever taking place between city states, mainly personal grudges instead of full scale wars.

That was until Farnstod, an unstable noble obsessed with her public presence decided she needed to observe the way she moves and dresses in order to be more impressive, thus gaining fame and maybe higher status in the hierarchy of nobles of her city. Mirrors were not enough for this: she needed to see herself from all angles, study every little aspect of the way she acted. An idea dawned to her mind: She could create manikins based on her image to accomplish the aforementioned goals.

The manikins were somewhat troublesome in the sense that Farnstod could not really order them to move around. Through trial and error she discovered a magical pattern that helped her control the constructs by simple spells. Her creation and discovery is considered the start of the homunculi era.

There is a lot of history regarding this period in OverCast but moving forward in time, the ruling body of Farnstod’s city state realised that the manikins  can also be used as cheap and resilient foot soldiers (with some modifications) due to their inherent magical abilities. The magical abilities came by the use of a magical stone called Jet, in the process of creation of the constructs. They could withstand and wield magic, they could be programmed to follow orders and they were expendable. That meant they were the perfect soldiers.

A dangerous war almost broke out but before the conquest began, someone betrayed the secret of manikin creation to other city states. Mass production of these rudimental humanoid constructs by every city state started and in order to gain some advantage alliances were created. The manikins weren’t even tested in war when everything came to a crushing halt. That was because the first fault of the design of the humanoids came to light; they could only be ordered to do simple things. If a construct had to perform an elaborate act, to carry out a precise plan, it had to be programmed by delicate spells with lots of details.  A battle plan that does not change during a fight is seldom the case in an ever changing battlefield where alliances are temporary and spells can change the battlefield.

We will continue with the homunculi story next week!

Backstory II

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This week’s blog is about the story of OverCast, immersion and our belief that the first principle of a good game is to have solid foundations in every aspect of it. For example, a competitive and skill-based player vs. player game like OverCast does not necessarily need to have detailed lore regarding its setting but we felt that we have to create a deep and intriguing storyline nevertheless. Since the fundamental element of video games is interactivity, we are planning on presenting most of our lore details through the gameplay experience but as a sneak peek into the universe of OverCast we decided to summarize our ideas regarding the setting we are aiming for:

Fantasy setting:

  • It is a world of city states. There are no nations or even extended big states. The bare resemblance to the city states of ancient Greece or Renaissance– Post Renaissance Italy. The society is organised in castes/classes. There is no clergy or gods. There is no royalty.
  • The highest caste is the nobles. It is an oligarchy that is able to create magic and they are acting as the government body of each city state. There are plenty of intrigues and machinations between the nobles in order to gain higher positions. There is equality between genders. The only real measure regarding relationships is the potency in magic. There are no fixed ethics based on good and bad actions. There are no strong families or clans. Genes do not play a role in the ability to have magic, therefore regardless of their family, people who have the talent, also have a shot to become powerful.
  • There are however, some attributes that are kept in high regard. In practise there are only two actual classes in society. Nobles and the rest, or those who can wield magic and those who cannot. Thus, talent in magic and intelligence/efficiency are highly esteemed attributes that help a person excel. If people are not able to create magic, they can still gain some status by showing potential through managing situations efficiently, be that directing a simple farm or being good hunters or merchants.
  • The last attribute nobles care about is their fame/social status.  Indeed nobles are the absolute authority of a city. They retain the ability to judge, resolve and execute on the spot but they still keep in mind the public opinion and sway in beliefs of the plebe. Until the creation of arenas, attempts on influencing the public sentiment was almost the only option the lower caste had to spice things up (spreading rumours of the deeds of a noble) and a perfect tool for the nobles to defame rivals and ruin their chances to higher positions.

 

Share your opinions on the setting and lore in OverCast forums: http://forum.over-cast.com 

Game Conferences 2013!

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The creation of games is usually a team effort, a work done by a lot of people with individual views on what is best for gaming. Therefore a lot of colourful ideas are up for discussion. The best way to find which one of them is the best is to ask the audience.

The last few weeks we were part of some of the most inspiring game conventions such as develop in Brighton (UK), Eurogamer in London and Konsoll in Bergen, Norway. Our target was to get valuable feedback about the current state of the gameplay and mechanics of OverCast. We gained much more than that, having the opportunity to meet and discuss with many talented people and share our beliefs and ambitions towards creating fulfilling games.  At develop conference we had the chance to present our OverCast concept idea with basic gameplay. The discussions we had about mechanics and lore helped us solidify OverCast’s working prototype. At Eurogamer expo we presented the aforementioned prototype and were thrilled to see a big audience participating in our player vs. player/ team versus team level. The players’ feedback was invaluable. The audience’s positive remarks and enjoyment renewed our resolve to proceed with the creation of the best possible competitive experience. Last but not least at Konsoll game developers conference we had the opportunity to connect with the vibrant indie game community of Norway, learn a lot about the business of making games and gain valuable knowledge in the areas we were lacking.

The whole experience helped us regroup and focus even more on our core targets.

We are extremely thankful to all the people who spent time during these events to speak about or play OverCast, thus helping us in our quest to deliver a highly entertaining competitive multiplayer game. We appreciate your support greatly!

Check out some of the zesty photos we got!

Eurogamer Excitement!

 

Hey all, this week’s blog post is all about Eurogamer Expo 2013 (London, UK) and our participation in it.

In Eurogamer’s homepage, visitors can read: “The UK’s biggest and best games show! This year’s Expo will be filled to bursting point with playable versions of the most anticipated games for this Christmas and beyond. We also welcome the world’s leading game designers who will present their latest work directly to attendees in our dedicated auditorium. Plus we have tournaments, competitions, indie games, a retro zone, the Games Industry Fair, cosplay and more.”

Indeed we are absolutely excited to be part of this huge games event! The sheer volume of jubilation that can be felt in such an impressive games show, impelled us to give our best.

As developers, we learned to enjoy much more the technical details of a game (we actually revere in them), to appreciate much more the discreet game mechanics that procure memorable experiences and much more the creative process that drive us to forge video games. Although to be a game developer can kill the joy of gaming, we are still pure fans of it. Even better, the combination of the aforementioned roles provided us with incentive to work really hard during the previous weeks, in order to have a bug-free multiplayer game built version of OverCast.

After all, just as we cannot wait to enjoy a lot of playable demos, similarly we want to provide a demo that will delight the audience of Eurogamer Expo 2013.

We have been constantly motivated by the thought of people who will want to try our game. To that end, if you are one of the lucky people that acquired a ticket for the Eurogamer Expo 2013 (London, UK) come and visit us and enjoy playing OverCast!

As we are all Kingston University Alumni we have been fortunate enough to be able to display OverCast in their booth at this year’s Games Industry Fair.

Character forging!

Discussing what we wanted our game to be, we reached the point where we had to design character-creation.

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Although we decided to keep our prototype as simple and clean as possible, we felt that it also should be meaningful, that players should be able to empathise with their avatars, so we made plans for the final version of the game. For example, on character creation players will be able to select a background for their character (noble, mercenary, farmhand etc.) flavouring their play style and immersion. When players create a team, they will be able to set their team colour and shape, creating their own Team Emblem. Furthermore, they can upload an image to act as their banner.  These colours will not only be visible on each team member while in a game. The selected banners will proudly hang around each level, clearly marking each team’s territory. We are also planning on adding a customizable trophy room for each player which will contain trophies they earned from their epic battles. The players can show of their trophies via inspection. Moreover, a guild hall/conclave tower will be included for conclave (guild) members to customize and flaunt in front of both friends and competition. Another system we have planned is achievements, rewarded through winning of tournaments and ranked matches. We will also keep a detailed record of players’ statistics (for example accuracy) to further enrich the experience and establish a deeper connection between players and their avatars.

For the time being however, as we are in the process of polishing the prototype, character creation means colourful  flags and team colourswhich we feel still act efficiently in declaring each team’s nature, character and goals.

Stay with us, as next week we will share with you the video we have prepared for our Eurogamer Expo 2013 participation!

Brainstorm of Titles

This week while we’re polishing the prototype, we decided to discuss something that relates to the origin of the game: the names we considered for our game.

After a week of brainstorming during which we had buckets of fun (!) we came up with a number of suitable names, but we wanted to get the best one for our game, so we hastily create a marking system and put the names to the vote. At the time there were only three of us, so it was easy to vote for each name with a number between 0 and 10 and compare the total scores.

Here is a chart detailing our first vote (we used our favourite colours to mark our votes).

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When we were done with our first vote, we further discussed the meanings of the titles, as well as other possible side effects they could cause: abbreviations, associations with other words or games and so on. We removed a few of the names from the list, added a new one (Vademon) and voted again!

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The results pointed at an undisputed winner: Overshoot.

A few days later we got a few pieces of feedback about the fact that Overshoot sounds like it involves firearms. Furthermore, the point of the game is to cast spells in weird angles!

Thus, our final title: OverCast.

Which name sounds best to you?  Let us know on the blog, website forums or Facebook!