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!

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Overseers

Homunculi were powerful. Too powerful. Not long after their first deployment in war it was decided their usage should be severely restricted. Eventually, homunculi ended up solving conflicts between the nobles and the city-states through isolated skirmishes, rather than full-scale wars. All of these fights, as well as the entire “lives” of the homunculi took place in an artificial magical bubble, separated from the rest of the world. This “dimension” was kept both isolated and under surveillance by the nobles through the most powerful amongst the magical constructs: the Overseers.

These individuals are the most mysterious members of the homunculi. They wear long robes, concealing their entire body and casting a deep shadow over their faces, leaving only their eyes visible with crackling energy pouring out of them. The Overseers both build and keep arenas running for homunculi confrontation. With their immense magical power, they can create anything they desire in their isolated dimension. Not only this, they are responsible for the supervision of fights, keeping score and repairing damaged homunculi for yet another round. Overseers are not incorruptible, however. From time to time it happens that they tip the odds of battle in a team’s favor due to a well-placed bribe or even worse: personal sympathies.

When such a rare occurrence happens, no one dares protest, as even the nobles know Overseers are gods in their own realm. The near-limitless power makes being an Overseer a very attractive perspective for many individuals. While the conventional route to becoming such a homunculus is to just be a noble before your transformation, even homunculi who were low-caste in their previous life can fight their way to an Overseer status if they have enough drive to prove themselves time after time. Another route is to prove they have what it takes to create arenas that are engaging for the bloodthirsty audience: Overseers do need fresh minds to keep the arenas interesting after all.

Screenshots from our first level (that the Overseers created):
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First Arena

In our earlier posts we discussed lore, our ideas regarding the mechanics and the careful integration between the two of them. We tried to do the same with the level design. We had a clear view about the theme and how it should be played out.

The theme is based on lore regarding the creation of the first homuculi. They were created in the mansion of the noble that first conceived the idea of artificial warriors. The vaults of the mansion were both used as an experiment lab as well as a dungeon for the specimens. The aboveground floors were the living quarters of the noble and his servants. With this scenario in mind we proceeded with the creation of beautiful concept art and schematics.

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The reason behind the decision to go with a lore-rich level has to do with a part of the game we have yet to discuss: The Overseers. Overseers are fundamental entities of OverCast. Since our wizard tournaments exist in extra pocket dimensions, (fearing another homunculi incursion the nobles decided to imprison them in another dimension in which the tournaments also take place), someone had to fulfil the role of keeper and warden. The absolute authorities of this place are the Overseers, who both manage competitions, and build and maintain the arenas for the confrontations.

Stay with us as next Friday we will be discussing Overseers and showing the first screenshots of our first arena.

Angle of Attack

The act of creating new spells is very fulfilling and there are a lot creative paths a player can choose to follow when they define a spell. Today we were discussing the various different shapes a projectile spell can take. As a team we agreed that a magic wielder should be able to create their unique signature spells. For example a player can choose to create a projectile spell resembling Piccolo’s Special Beam Cannon (Dragon ball Z)! The resulting spell may not prove that effective (the spiral movement will slow down the projectile because of the greater distance it will have to travel) but it would certainly be most impressive to see. Not to mention by spiralling the projectile will both be more unpredictable and cover a wider area. The usual portrayal of projectile spells is them traveling in either a straight line or a simple curve towards their target. That is not true in OverCast as the player will be able to change the positioning of spell nodes that determine the trajectory of the spell. This allows players with strategic thinking to predetermine their spell’s path to best suit their needs.

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We really wanted to make an interesting and fairly challenging game that players find intriguing and difficult to master. Having the ability to throw spells around corners or above obstacles with a predetermined artillery-like motion can be both satisfying and exhilarating, but we wanted more. Our own personal experiences from games with wizards (either video or pen and paper) suggested that spells are widely treated very strictly in rules: a fireball always travels in a set path, always does a predetermined amount of damage and always has the same splash radius. Lore wise however, the player gets the feeling that wizards use their minds eye to guide the arcane powers to form a spell and their eyes to direct it. In OverCast we tried to merge lore and mechanics as closely as possible, allowing players to see their spell’s path before casting it and even curving the trajectory on the run, their wizard improvising mid-battle. Players will create visual scenarios of where the spell will go keeping in mind the movement of the opponents and will try to achieve that on the spot or if they have strategic minds they will have the advantage of preordained spell paths set beforehand in the spell editor. We think that the whole process of bending the shape and angle of a spell, thinking of the next few steps ahead and visualising the possible outcome actually emulates a wizard in action awesomely. Enabling players to immerse themselves by controlling their wizards effectively in new ways will be very satisfying both to us and to our players. This is why we believe spell creation and curving are one of the most important characteristics of our game.

Animation, Controls and Movement

Hello everyone! This week we are discussing the controls and animation in our game.

Before we get to the point, let me draw your attention to our brand new website and forum!

The basic controlls are as follows:
W, A, S, D: Run.
Spacebar: Jump. This costs a little stamina, so bunny hopping will hopefully be discouraged.
Double tap W, A, S or D: Dodge. This can be done mid-air too! This also costs stamina.
Shift+W: Sprint. This depletes your stamina as you are sprinting.
Shift+W+C: Initiate slide. This also costs a bit of stamina, but is badass. The downside is that while sliding one cannot change their direction of movement.

Also be sure to check out our video of our animations! Please keep in mind what you see is in a very early pre-alpha stage, so models, textures, animations, movement speed and pretty much everything else will most probably change.