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!

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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!