Where to start when thereaEUR(TM)s so much to begin with? My name is EdenAeternum, formally known as Fallen14894. The project I have been working on is a code name titled aEURoeInfinite Odyssey.aEUR? YouaEUR(TM)ve probably seen a variety of meshes across the title picture and perhaps it caught your eye. Maybe it was the art style, maybe it was the colors, hell, maybe it was the unusual interface design. Regardless, youaEUR(TM)re probably wondering WHAT this is.
Infinite Odyssey is a fantasy sim love child that is a weird hybrid between Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing, Zelda, and several RPG elements. I am not ripping off Stardew Valley or any other game, but rather IaEUR(TM)m taking the elements I loved about each of these series and shaping them into my own. Imagine a farming system similar to Stardew Valley, with a villager system similar to Animal Crossing, with Dungeon exploration similar to Zelda, only more RPG based instead of puzzles. That my friends, is what Infinite Odyssey is. Take a look at the sub sections and IaEUR(TM)ll break things down to make it easier to focus on.
Infinite Odyssey starts with a short tutorial and then you are subjected to live your life the way you desire the moment you cross the last stone on the bridge. From here you are now in the village of Valorfel (The name CAN be changed by the default is Valorfel for lore reasons). Grow crops to sell, go fishing, run dungeons for items, craft gear, craft items, interact with NPCs, build friendships, expand your estate, or run through the storyaEUR"this is all your choice to do as little or as much as you want. Your character can stay awake for 72 hours at a time so explore town at 3am on Wednesday and youaEUR(TM)ll see things you didnaEUR(TM)t see on Tuesday. Turn in quests for some extra friendship renown and an extra item or two, and turn that item into something else. Maybe you just want to run a business empire and build up your farm. I wonaEUR(TM)t stop you. Want to run dungeons for rare materials- I wonaEUR(TM)t stop you. The idea is to give you features and incentives so you WANT to do these things but you wonaEUR(TM)t be forced to do anything you donaEUR(TM)t want to do.
Featured below: Some of the crops in their "lootable" stage, and a well that is being built. Structures get built in phases so you can watch them grow!
At the end of the tutorial you are trapped within the mists where time has suspended you for over fifty years. When you emerge, you havenaEUR(TM)t aged a day but the world you remembered is gone. You cross the bridge leading into the new prospering human settlement Valorfel, only things donaEUR(TM)t look the way they were supposed to fifty years ago. The once prospering village has been destroyed twiceaEUR"once by beasts lead by dwarves, and again by a cataclysm. Your former Caravan captain Wilhelm, the young and humble soldier is now an old man torn by the events of the years gone by. Wilhelm gives you a new place to begin your life anew. Discover why the mists held you and what secrets they continue to hide. Or say screw it and build up your farm. Again, the freedom is yours to pursue ;)
At the beginning when you reach Valorfel, itaEUR(TM)s a small settlement. There are only about seventeen villagers and itaEUR(TM)s obvious everyone has their own struggles. Every character has their own story, and you are free to pursue all of them however, know your actions will have permanent effects! Each villager has a friendship rating from 0-15. At around tier three, most villagers will have a cutscene that introduces a bit of their past and a small crisis in their life. Some are strictly comedic, others are more severe. Around tier six youaEUR(TM)re introduced to another cutscene. Around this point you will have to make a choice. At tier ten or so youaEUR(TM)ll have to turn in that choice and at tier twelve youaEUR(TM)ll see a resolve that shows the results of your decisions. At tier fifteen you are introduced to one final cutscene that depicts the characters in their original life. (More on this later). Again, your decisions are impacting AND final! HereaEUR(TM)s an example from the BlacksmithaEUR(TM)s quest line aEURoeLonely Hearts.aEUR?
At tier three, the Blacksmith Ahrmen is sitting outside alone. He spends the majority of his days alone working so he doesn't have much time for socializing. He is shy of people. At this tier you have a conversation and he opens up about how he envies the animal handler because of the time she spends with all the animals.
At tier six we have another conversation with Ahrmen, only this time we're not alone! At the end, Serah, the animal handler schemes an idea to get Ahrmen a pet so he doesn't have to be lonely. You now have branching options. You can decline getting him anything, you can get him a dog, or you can trap a wild animal.
At tier twelve we have a resolve for the decision. If you brought him a dog, the dog lives in his home and you will get different dialogues. His hours and schedule may change too, leaving him to leave work early some days to play with the dog. If you did nothing, he will continue working late, depressed and having different dialogue sets. If you trapped a feral animal you get a much more comedic scenario where he often sleeps outside in a bloody mess because the animal took the bed and he walked in his house without knocking first. He will be in an abusive relationship while maintaining denial about the experience. You get a sense of comedy but you also get different results because the action you took (or failed to take). When your friendship is ranked you get your final cutscene where we see Ahrmen in his original life. Ahrmen actually lived in the house on the edge of town where his only friends were the animals he cared for. It gives a sense of understanding about his current world shyness and his envy of Serah who works doing what he loved. In his original life, Ahrmen wanted to do something to help people which is why in our "dream" world he is a blacksmith, creating gear to save lives.
Villagers will move in over time as you perform actions or as time passes. Rebuild the abandoned house and a new family can move in. Rank your friendship up and another family member might move in. Thirteen days pass, a new villager moves in. Take a certain action on a quest and someone may MOVE OUT. (The last one is limited to an event which will warn you before they leave on limited characters.) The point of this is I want a dynamic world where you donaEUR(TM)t instantly feel overwhelmed. Just start small, see how things flow and in time everything will sort itself.
In times of crisis I believe everyone has a small handful of people we can trust and rely on. In this project I don't see why that should be any different. I want to reward you for taking the time to make friendships and bonds. Every NPC holds a different piece of the puzzle, all building a stronger heart. By building those bonds, you will do two things: You will be introduced to a character's personal story with a branching effect, and you will be rewarded for the outcome.
Featured below: Your "neighbor." His house will change with the seasons and you'll see him either blowing bubbles, napping, raiding your trash bin, or any other series of cutesy behavior.
Combat and Dungeons
So I mentioned something along the lines of Zelda for dungeons, although that may not be the most accurate description. At this time IaEUR(TM)m planning on eight to twelve dungeons. The first time you run a dungeon you run it in a aEURoestory modeaEUR? similar to Guild Wars 2. When you return to the dungeon (There is a small number of days that have to pass before the mists let you return) you have an explorable route. Most dungeons have three to four paths with a combination of randomly generated and structure generated rooms. Once you start on a path, you are forced to resume that route, however along the way you will often be able to make a jump to a different route! Imagine starting in the dungeon on the first path, around the midpoint you can continue along or switch to the midway of path 2. Nearing the end you can finish on path 2, or move another direction. This leaves me plenty of room for various bosses and loot tables!
Combat is an important aspect! I want this to be fun and I want YOU to have more flexibility! You have access to both Weapons and Deities/Heroes. Let me break each of these down to avoid confusion.
Weapons are broken into four groups: Swords, Bows, Axes, and Lance/Spears. Each weapon comes with a small variety of skills. You have a regular attack combo and three additional abilities. Three doesnaEUR(TM)t sound like much but I would rather go on a smaller end with a better variety of useful abilities than offer a lot of no value. ThereaEUR(TM)s another reason for this, the deity system!
When you access the church you have a choice to follow a deity, or follow a hero from the lore. These can be swapped at any point so youaEUR(TM)re never stuck with one as they round out your abilities. You can follow Saosk the Human Paladin, Thane Bloodhammer the evil Dwarf Berserker, or any of the other six options and those grant you access to new abilities. You can swing your weapon (left click) use your deity secondary ability: Paladin's Bastion, Druid's Vine Wrath, etc (right click) either of your 3 weapon skills and either of the three deity skills in your 1-6 interface (ThereaEUR(TM)s a button to switch between two interfaces so youaEUR(TM)ll have 12 slots to start. IaEUR(TM)ll possibly try for a total of 18). At any given time that gives you access to 8 different attacks/abilities. We will most likely add a few extra to those if we need but again: start small and get it balanced and right THEN add as needed. In a way that sounds like a small number but with 4 weapons with 3 unique abilities a timed attack combo (2-3 hits), and 8 deities with 3 moves each plus a passive ability thats just around 50 different moves. There's also a small talent tree with the deities so you can modify some of the moves to adjust they're utilization. You've got an HP bar featured in the interface with an hourglass icon, when it runs empty you pass out and several of your consumable items will be missing in addition to gold as your penalty for falling. Weapon abilities run off of cooldown timers. I'm not penalizing anyone with mana requirements. Deity spells work a little different. They run a timer and an adrenaline buildup. As you give/take attacks your adrenaline builds up. At that time you can choose to fire away at some of your stronger abilities, bank the adrenaline so you can spam them as needed, or just store it for a tight scenario. At this time only the last deity spell will have a small cooldown so you think before using it. The others should just need a little adrenaline. This leaves weapon skills as quick attacks with the deity spells being your real damaging effects. Combat is going to be fairly fast paced, couple of hits drops most enemies, but a couple of hits on you and you get dropped.
The main benefit of this method is you can optimize your character as you see fit. If you want to be a bow using Paladin, have at it. If you want to be an axe using druid for irony, have at it. By being able to swap around you can experiment and try builds for fun, optimize for the most damage, or optimize for the most survivability.
This present a new problem: Character's DO NOT have an individual level. We're not throwing a bunch of stats at you like dexterity, strength, etc. It's a simple system: You have health, a weapon, and your player skill. Combat has its own experience tree, farming has its own tree, fishing has its own tree, etc. That is one feature I greatly enjoyed in stardew valley and I want to build a similar structure and redesign it differently. So what about armor and defense? This is where the larger struggle comes in at: I don't want a defense stat. I would rather make enemies have moves that do a fixed range of damage, say 2-3 for attack B or 10-15 for attack C. If they're enraged attacks do 1.5x more damage etc. There's two benefits to doing this. For starters I can balance ALL dungeons. The goal for the start is eight to twelve dungeons: 4 accessible once you do the prerequisites and 1 thats only accessible for each season. If I make defense a stat and you don't realize how to unlock the spring dungeon until summer when its no longer accessible: 1 game year can take up to 36 playhours depending on how you choose to play and how often your character sleeps. That is a LONG time to outlevel the stats of a particular dungeon so the next game year it may not have anything of use other than for collecting purposes. The other addition to doing things a bit differently is if I kill the defense stat you're now encouraged to dress your character however you want! Sure, your starter armor will be simple, but what if you really like a druid helm, or an assassins mask? Shouldn't you be able to just enjoy looking however you'd like? Yes you could just do armor skins and then actual gear but then whats the point in that? Why not give you absolute freedom to look like a Pirate, a Paladin, a Druid, a Rogue, a fisherman, or whichever other set or combination of suits you? By that logic we can have unique dungeon armor sets so you have a purpose to keep running the multiple paths so you can find sets that will last as long as you remain interested in them. From there we can also do some armor bonus perks where wearing three pieces of a fisherman's outfit boosts your fishing ability, or 3 pieces of rogues gear can grant a small bonus to crit. It helps round out some extra utility without breaking the game to where you don't feel penalized for not having that particular set but you do feel rewarded for using it for a purpose.
The last small section I want to touch on is the interface. I am just one man and I never really considered myself an artist in the past. I understand several of the basics and I've been doing pixel art for years now but I know I have a long ways to go and much to learn. With that being said, I want the interface to be fun! That's why each year your seasonal interface design will be different depending on the season, and your chat text bars will also be different. Some people have said the art is top notch, others have called it "High Res stardew valley." I'm trying to create something beautiful for you guys and I want it to be fun and full of small details. That in my opinion is half of the excitement. Those of you who are following will get some of that stuff spoiled but imagine your first time walking out in summer and your interface is now completely changed, the music is different, the maps look different: it's an exciting feeling and when we have some real progress and playable work I want to showcase this at some of the conventions and see your faces as you get to experience a lot of this first hand. I don't want the traditional long interface display with just 1-12, I love the small circular ones that frees up your screen view, and the time clock is reminiscent to the HP bars of Earthbound. It takes a lot of time but I'm happy to do it because there's so much that can be done and I want to give you guys the best that I can put out!
This is a lot of information to start on so IaEUR(TM)m going to leave this here and update it again in a few days and try to answer any questions that you may have. If you took the time to read all of this, thank you! You guys are part of what makes crossing every one of these stones a worthy adventure of my own.
Featured below: a small example of some of the water effects and some of the different trees.
Final feature, an unfinished test map where we were testing crop growth. Note, the blacksmith house is not finished! I just needed to get some stuff up so we could start working on things.