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Member Since 23 Aug 2001
Offline Last Active Today, 12:34 AM

#5302118 Elium - Prison Escape

Posted by on 23 July 2016 - 03:14 AM



Elium - Prison Escape is a 3D single-player medieval-fantasy action dungeon crawler.
The player takes control of a war-weary prisoner with the need to find a way out, avoiding or eliminating guards and picking up items and equipment to make the task easier.

The following features are included:

  • 1stPerson / 3rdPerson melee action combat.
  • Action and Stealth playing styles.
  • Fight with a sword, add a shield, use your fists or even resort to fight with objects around you.
  • Random dungeon generation: a new level layout every time the game is played.
  • Rescue other prisoners to follow you and join the escape mission.


As you can already figure, the game is strongly focused on combat. Inspired by the combat in Mount&Blade, it's based on player skill and offers a wide range of combat moves. The player only fights against other AI human characters (prison guards) so it's about tough fights against equals.

It's a very challenging game that requires good reaction and timing but also positioning and situational use of the available moves (weapon attack, offhand attack, weapon push, dodge, kick, push) - button mashing only gets you killed.

This is a solo project. I started developing it as a more broad Action-RPG framework in 2011 when I picked up UDK, and rescaled into the current (more achievable) shape in mid-2012.
The core of the game is done and the desired design won't change, so the bulk of the remaining work is mostly environment art, as well as some more work on sounds, animation and code.
I plan to release it if possible via Steam. Once I get to do more environment assets (more eyecandy) and I finish and launch the website I'll try to get it on Steam Greenlight.



I have some older material but the gameplay and graphics have changed a lot since then, so I'll be posting new stuff here







I'll try to keep this place updated just as I try to update my Twitter, so keep an eye open!

#5185845 Designing a good feel ARPG melee combat system

Posted by on 08 October 2014 - 02:47 PM

I'm not sure what to do to remedy the fact that enemies run towards you. Maybe they should get close, then do something like boxers do when they circle. Adding a random time delay to their hits might also help to make it more interesting (although some games have extremely predictable enemies yet stay quite entertaining),

I thought Skyrim is your main reference? play it again, but check out how the enemies behave. you might as well watch some (real) swordfighting videos to understand movement a little bit better, although they might be too static for your liking. circling around would be a good addition IMO.

adding a random time delay would be a good first step as well. it all depends on how deep you want to go for programming your AI, which should translate to how smart or varied you want your enemies to be.

and all of this depends on what you expect your game flow to be like. do you expect the player to kill lots of enemies with little AI (Diablo, Serious Sam, or your best known modern zombie shooter) or is it more about having fewer but more interesting and challenging encounters?



On physics and biomechanics, I didn't think about things like that because of the great Realism vs. Fun argument. I am way more into fun than realism on this project, as opposed to your game, which seems to try to accurately portray swordfighting. I will still add some more physicality though.


And yes, I am aiming more for the 'A' part of ARPG. This is more casual FPS-style.

I don't see why Realism vs. Fun should be an argument, you can have both, or none, and it's also a matter of what's fun for every person. To me it's more fun to play the more realistic combat of Chivalry vs. the less realistic combat mechanics of Minecraft. Many years ago Counterstrike came out and it attempted a more realistic approach of a shooter vs. the more arcadey shooters from back then, and it was much more fun for many people. and if my game's combat wasn't fun (for me at least) I would've changed it long ago.

you also have a different form of realism: you can die. Minecraft's combat was fun because it was realistically dangerous


realism/fun aside, the fact of the matter is that you need to define a limit for the player's actions to an extent, and you already have the most basic example: there's a (small) cooldown between the player's attacks as opposed to allowing every click as a valid attack. it's the same for the guns in a shooter (at the very least there's a minimum fire interval).

from there on you can build up on it, by designing different limitations and actions. for example crouching in an FPS makes you smaller (harder to be aimed) but it also makes you move slower.

it's up to you to design how and where you would want to limit the player's actions, and how to make these interact with eachother (rock-paper-scissors)




Also, I ask that you guys talking about Chosker's game start a new thread or PM each other.


 I agree and that's why I initially said I didn't mean to advertise. however even if mine or Thaumaturge's game aren't Skyrim, I would've thought you to be interested in knowing how they work

#5185811 Designing a good feel ARPG melee combat system

Posted by on 08 October 2014 - 12:21 PM

I checked the stream (StarMire: just forward to 21:30). I agree with the comments from Thaumaturge

also I see a complete lack of sense of physics and biomechanics. you can spam the attack and get maybe 3 attacks in one second. there's no cooldown, no inertia, no penalty for missing an attack, no way for the enemies to block your attacks, or any other interesting factors beside attacking. the fact that the enemies run towards you like zombies doesn't help either


for some games having a sword attack is enough to call it a 'melee fighting system'. it usually boils down to something like "I was hit 8 times but I hit the enemy 15 times, so I won". Skyrim goes just a little bit beyond this (with blocking, stamina and staggers) but the "I can pause to drink potions" feature ruins all of this (plus aiming and body movement / distance is meaningless)

personally I have to say that a sword attack is only the beginning, and the real fun starts when attacks can be blocked causing a flow of back-and-forth attack attempts and blocks, making all combat decisions much more meaningful.



StarMire, on 08 Oct 2014 - 07:29 AM, said:

Great references those! +1


The danger, of course, with such freedom can be disorientation.  You have to be careful with camera, and making the controls manageable.



indeed, but at this point I'm assuming the audience target (within the RPG world) is more the people familiar with FPS's rather than jRPG's - and from makuto's video I think it's safe to say he's aiming for something like this too






StarMire, on 08 Oct 2014 - 07:29 AM, said:


Chosker, on 07 Oct 2014 - 11:56 PM, said:

I myself am making a game of this swordfighting genre. here's a [ link ] to a 6 months old video, despite it lacks quite some new features and better combat flow it does give a good sense of what it is like. I'm not meaning to advertise, it's just that if you're interested I could invite you to my testers group so you can try it for yourself (on the condition that feedback is provided smile.png )

It looks awesome.  Is that an open invitation? biggrin.png Is there somewhere I can read more about your project?  I didn't see much on the site.


it's not an open invitation, but we could arrange it smile.png

also yes my website is just placeholder but [my blog] has much more info about it.



Thaumaturge, on 08 Oct 2014 - 5:19 PM, said:


That looks rather cool! If I may ask, how does the player control attacks in your game? I'm doing something similar myself, and am curious about your approach. (The download in the first post is old; the latest posted here should be in my last post in that thread (at time of writing).)

I know you're doing something similar, I was the first guy to reply to your thread biggrin.png

in my game the player controls how to attack like in Mount&Blade - you move your mouse up, down, left or right, and then click with the mouse.

I also added an optional alternative where instead the player needs to click and hold the mouse button, then move the mouse up/down/left/right, and then let go of the mouse button. my testers' opinions are divided between the two methods

on top of that there's some buttons that don't need mouse movement, like blocking or kicking, which are just regular keypresses.

#5185635 Designing a good feel ARPG melee combat system

Posted by on 07 October 2014 - 03:56 PM

I agree, we should have a video smile.png


have you tried some of the medieval swordfighting games out there? it's kind of a genre of its own and offers much more depth than Skyrim (which I love as a game overall, but the combat is shallow and dull). I'm talking about games like Mount&Blade, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare or War of the Roses.

Unlike Skyrim these offer freedom to choose different attack directions (either by mouse movement or by different buttons), and unlike the 'Souls games they rely on focusing the camera view on the enemy and aiming (first-person WASD movement and mouselook) and having more realistic limitations for movement (no rolling around)


I myself am making a game of this swordfighting genre. here's a [ link ] to a 6 months old video, despite it lacks quite some new features and better combat flow it does give a good sense of what it is like. I'm not meaning to advertise, it's just that if you're interested I could invite you to my testers group so you can try it for yourself (on the condition that feedback is provided smile.png )

#5166535 Single Combat with the Sword: A Prototype (feedback requested)

Posted by on 13 July 2014 - 04:00 AM

im naturally atracted to swordfighting games so I gave this a try. and I liked it

it feels natural to move the sword with the mouse like that, and since this is a duel fight with the view locked at the enemy you don't have the typical problem of the genre (my own swordfighting game included) of needing the mouse for something else (rotating the view)


I found two flaws:

- attacking doesn't quite work as you described it. the instructions say 'swipe the mouse with the left mouse button held'. this would mean I need to click and hold, then drag. but that didn't quite feel like it because just by moving one pixel counts as a drag, and this sensitivity makes it impossible to get the attack the way I intend it to.

it felt more effective to move the mouse first, and mid-movement just click the mouse button

- you can spam attacks indiscriminately, and the game becomes extremely easy


was it fun? yes, it's a fresh take on swordfighting

how challenging was it? not that much after the first try. the collision detection is way too broad and generic (ie. at any angle will your sword block the enemy's) so it's really easy to turtle. not so easy to hit him, sure, but if you keep parrying eventually you get there (or if you spam attacks). I also felt we both had too much health points, but maybe that's just my own taste of a more 'life or death' scenario in swordfights.



now you mention this is a game mechanic, so this tells me this is only a small part of your game. if you have the time to improve it and add variety I'd say it's worth it.


btw it works in win8, but MS smartscreen filter didn't like the installer at all

#5072673 Action RPG WASD Controls

Posted by on 25 June 2013 - 01:47 AM

ALT isn't too bad if you get used to tapping it with your SPACEBAR thumb...


to me, Skyrim set up a new standard by making Alt be Sprint instead if having Sprint at Shift.

Really, having to hold a key for a while is much more comfortable using the thumb rather than the pinky finger.

#5058580 Tolerance for character attributes in FPS game?

Posted by on 02 May 2013 - 04:15 AM

besides the matter of taking control away from the player I want to emphasize more into what Prinz Eugn is saying.


you mention your characters reacting in a negative way based on negative situations (becoming frightened when under heavy fire), and reacting in a positive way on positive situations (battle is going well). to me this sounds like you're giving the winning team an extra advantage just because they're winning, and punishing the losing team making it even harder for them.

from what I've played in competitive games that use this sort of game mechanic (see: Heroes of Newerth / DOTA), the result can be a match that builds up in a fair way give and take, until one player makes a good move, gets his team to lay a successful ambush or gets a lucky streak, or until one player makes a small mistake and dies. after that the match unbalances itself and from that moment on its pretty much over because it becomes more and more an uphill battle for the losing team.

and the more competitive the game is, the more slight this 'good move' or 'error' needs to be to cause the decisive inbalance.

of course there's a lot of comebacks but they require the losing team to perform MUCH better than the winning team.

#5057534 Elium - Prison Escape - Intro

Posted by on 28 April 2013 - 02:45 PM

Hey guys,
it's been 2.5+ years since I started using UDK, learning it, prototyping, producing, going big and back to small again. It's been all my work in my spare time, including programming, 3d modelling, texturing, animation, level creation, UI and menu work, sound recording and editing, music creation, maintaining my blog, etc.
Finally I've finished the intro for my game, Elium - Prison Escape.

This video has been captured from an in-game level, because this is also the same cutscene that will be in the game when it starts.
Of course all this time hasn't been spent only in this intro, but also in the game itself, which is in beta stage.

Anyway, without further mumbling here it is:


so what's next? well I need to work on some armor for the guards and make some level props to work on more rooms of the prison, and with that I'll take some screenshots and I'll try to get it up on Steam Greenlight. after that, time and the response it gets will determine how much this might become an opportunity to go for full-blown development or if I keep at it as a hobby, but I'm focused to finish it either way.

I hope you like it smile.png


[oops! sorry I posted this in the wrong section (this is where I usually lurk). should've been in the Lounge. I can't delete and re-post, so can an admin please move it?]

[also I'd love to post this on the IOTD but anywhere I look it says I don't have permission]

#5047170 Combat System for First Person RPG

Posted by on 27 March 2013 - 02:19 AM

if you haven't already, you might want to check Mount & Blade and Chivalry Medieval Warfare. they both feature 1st and 3rd person combat (there's no difference between 1st and 3rd person in both games, they're both mouselook FPS-like), and on their own ways both have been designed to offer the player different attach choices that are both meaningful and strategic.

to save you up some time I'll explain a little.

(crap DaveMS beat me to it while I was typing)


Mount & Blade offers a 4-way attacking system. at any time when you move your mouse up/down/left/right it updates what will be the attack direction if you attack (along with a HUD indicator), so if you press LMB it will attack using 1 of the 4 attacks accordingly. left and right attacks are horizontal slashes, attacking down produces a vertical overhead attack and attacking up produces a forward thrust, though non-pointy weapons do an overhead when attacking up instead.

parrying in Mount & Blade has two settings: manual and automatic. hardcore players prefer the manual version in which to parry with another weapon you must select the direction (just like you do for attacking) and then press the defend button. the automatic setting makes you so that you just need to press the parry button without needing to select the attack and the character will direct the parry to the apropriate direction. both versions come with timers: there's a minimum time a parry move will take you, so you can get feinted into parrying to the wrong direction.

blocking with a shield is easier (you just need to press defend and face your enemy in enough a threshold) but shields in M&B have a low health, after which they get destroyed.


Chivalry offers 3 different attacking moves. LMB causes a horizontal slash, MWheelUp causes a forward thrust, MWheelDown causes an overhead slash.

parrying is activated with RMB and parries automatically adjust to the incoming attack type, but comes with both a minimum activation time and a maximum time you can hold the parry. the trick about parrying in Chivalry is that you must aim your parry towards where the attack is coming from.

blocking with a shield is easier, you're allowed to turtle without a maximum blocking time and shields last forever. however you still need to aim your shielding just like you need to aim parries.

Additionally Chivalry offers an unblockable kick move which knocks the enemy back, staggers him and lowers his defense.


also Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a good example of how to add variety to a fighting system, but I played it so long ago I can't really remember why smile.png



so back to your own case, I believe your 'way to simplify it' goes through simplifying the way defending will work, else it definately won't be user friendly.

however you need to ask yourself what variety having 8 slashes and 8 thrusts would really add, and if each of those 8 would really be meaningful. playing a game of rock-scissors-paper with 8 options sounds like a pain, but making them all the same seems useless and confusing.


And like Ashaman stated, it will all change depending on your controls. and taking this one step further, since you say you're making a first-person game I'll assume you just want the typical mouselook FPS controls. so now your design problem lies in the control scheme: how you want the attacks to be input-activated.


you're also trying to make it more complex and realistic by adding situations like armors being effective in regular attacks but not through its holes. and yet again the control scheme comes back to bite your ass, how do you plan on having the player slide a dagger through a hole in the armor of a moving target?

making aiming in a melee FPS feel precise is hard because of one thing: as opposed to shooters where you usually get an instant shot at the point where you're aiming (except for grenades, rockets, etc), at a melee game when you press the button the guy only starts the attack animation and then it takes him some time before it actually lands on the enemy. it's like playing an FPS with insanely slow projectiles.

so with a standard aiming system, situations where the dagger actually goes through the hole and not just clash with the plates will happen very scarcely and will mostly be perceived like a random or lucky happening.

unless you script it, but that's a matter of what you want in terms of variety vs. control of attacks. ie. how much 'cinematic-like' and 'based on situations' attacks can be (in which the player inherently loses some control), or if attacks always are the same (in which the player has more control)




my own in-dev hobby game is something along the lines of M&B btw, so I can talk here with proof of concept smile.png

if you want you can check a [thread] I did some time ago where I asked/talked about my own combat system, basically in terms of variety vs. control of attacks, but also covering some in-depth mechanics (Ashaman was there too smile.png)

#5045429 How to escape a prison cell?

Posted by on 21 March 2013 - 06:14 PM

Hey everyone


the game I'm currently working on is about escaping a prison, in a low-fantasy medieval-like universe.


here's how it looks so far (the HUD is a placeholder, the level's is a WIP and the character still needs a proper prisoner-like hair)



if I'm able to complete all the features I want without cutting anything it'll offer one-handed swordfighting, fist fighting, an oblivion/skyrim-like inventory system, a randomly generated dungeon (the prison itself), a stealth factor and suitable AI. As bonus it might also offer an online scoreboard with a ranking based on time to escape, number of guards killed (both for killing much, and for killing little), etc.


anyway to make things a little more interesting, lately I've been toying with the idea of including the usually overlooked but apreciated feature of allowing the player to solve a problem in multiple ways.

However the game is still down to escaping a prison, which you can do by force (easier to get killed since there's no health regen) or using stealth (though, get caught and you'll have a horde of guards upon you).

There's also the option of maybe freeing a few prisoners out of their cells (the player character is a POW, so it's not like you'd be freeing criminal scum), and once freed they would pretty much follow you everywhere and help with fighting guards - though coding an AI for friendly followers usually ends up as something clumsy, specially having a stealth factor.


And finally, maybe the option of escaping your prison cell in multiple ways, but the problem is how.

My initial idea is that after some time of scratching the walls for loose rocks in the cement, he's able to tear a couple off and eventually build two lockpicks out of grinding them. Of course if you start the game with the lockpicks already at hand there's no need for a different way to escape the cell. If on the other hand I were to include different options that are not too obvious would force the player to think, but then needing a grinding mini-game is just silly, saying he instantly got two lockpicks after scratching the walls sounds silly too, and a black screen with the text 'some days later' just sounds too easy and uninvolving.

I don't want the whole 'escaping' to seem like something very easy to do, after all the jailors are not idiots.


so besides my initial idea (which might just be silly itself!), I've thought about the typical 'fake you're super ill, wait for the guard to open the cell and ambush him', but this one seems very instant in nature while choosing to grind stones to build lockpicks seems like a longer-term plan, so it doesn't seem to me that they can fit together as 'decisions'


I'm looking for some input here. what other ways can you guys come up to for escaping a prison cell?

and in general, ideas to allow different choices would be good too. and better if they don't require too much extra dev effort smile.png

#4992314 Advantages of higher ground.

Posted by on 20 October 2012 - 06:39 PM

some more:

- the guy in the lower ground will usually move more slowly because his sight is locked upwards and so his peripheral vision does not include the ground he's stepping on (might trip and fall if you run at full speed)
- if the guy on the higher ground is at the actual top of the hill, he's much less likely to recieve splash damage from an explosion because there's nothing behind him that will act as rocket explosion area