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Action/Adventure/JRPG/Platformer/Diabloesque RPG Prototype

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So I've yet to do a proper post-mortem for Pixel Zombie Shooter. I will do one soon, but for now I'm very excited about the other project I've started working on, and I wanted to share it with everyone.

I've been thinking about this game for quite some time; since long before I completed Pixel Zombie Shooter (which was only about a week ago). So far, I don't have a name, but refer to it affectionately as 'Knight Proto'.

I have a ton of ideas that I'll list below (combing through emails to myself as I do so). But before I do, check out this quick video. Bear in mind that I've only put about 20 hours or so of work into this so far, and it's strictly at a prototype phase. Graphics are all placeholder free assets I've found on the Unity Asset Store (though I think what you see in the below video is more or less representative of the kind of style I'm going for), Turbosquid and Freesound. However, I plan on staying away from art creation for this project, so I'll either have to pay an artist, or rely on paid asset packs. On the flipside, all of the code is mine (except for some orbital camera stuff, and the lightning spell). But, Everything is hardcoded at this point; I really just wanted to visualize my ideas.

Here's the video. See below for a bit of explanation:

The first screen is the overworld map. This functions the same as it did in games like Zelda II for NES, or any Final Fantasy game up to X. Basically, you use it to navigate between different towns, dungeons, continents, etc. I've really missed these, and can't think of any modern-era 'free-roam' overworld maps. The closest thing I can think of to a world map nowadays is the level select screen in Shovel Knight. It seems like overworlds have disappeared completely in favor of linear based gameplay (in recent JRPGs like the newer Final Fantasies), or sandbox worlds like Skyrim, Fallout or Farcry.

This game is going to be very much a nostalgia trip (I was a Windows 95/SNES kid), so of course, I needed an airship :). Interestingly, the script for the airship, the overworld player controller, and the in-dungeon player controller are all the same (with a few inspector parameter tweaks). Talk about versatility!

I guess I should also mention that the time of day system is highly accelerated compared to what I expect it will be in any final version of the game. Also, the game is currently quite dark (not as bad as the recording, but still).

Here I'll also mention some ideas for the world map:

  • Digging for treasure
  • Fishing
  • Zelda II style encounters (where collision with an on-screen enemy object triggers the launching of a 'level' scene).
  • Hunting (using a mechanic similar to how the cherub in Actraiser fought enemies)

    The second screen we see is one of a few ways that I'll present 'levels'. It starts out in a bit of an isometric view (though I couldn't use an orthographic camera because deferred rendering doesn't support it, and I needed deferred for soft particles), and then goes on to show how the game camera can be manipulated to provide top-down, third-person, or side-scrolling gameplay. This diversity of play is really important to me, as I'm drawing inspiration from a ton of different games/genres, and perspective really matters when getting that across.

    I suspect that some levels or areas will be locked in a certain perspective (boulder-chasing-the-character-scene anybody?).

    The third screen shows more of a diablo-esque style of play. I'll certainly be drawing a lot of inspiration from that franchise, along with the many clones that spawned from it. I have a lot more to say still, so... Stay awhile, and listen ;).

    I guess that pretty much addresses what you saw in the video. So now I'll talk about some more of the general ideas I had.

    I'm not set in the art style. I'm definitely not aiming for high-realism (I suspect there will be a lot of [somewhat hidden] humor and nerd-references in the game), but I'm still not sure if I want to go true low poly (see Darwinia), or more of a handpainted style. I'm leaning toward the latter (I've found some really nice affordable assets I can use). No matter which route I take, I suspect I'll need to play with lighting quite a bit.



    Based on what I've read, mixing dynamic lighting with hand-painted textures is usually a bad idea. But I really want cool torchlight shadows and emissive particle effects, dammit! It'll take some experimentation.

    Lastly, as far as visual styles go: I thought it would be really neat to have pure medieval style armor in the game. The kind of things worn by actual knights (or at least as I imagine it) back in the day:

    As far as gameplay goes.... Well. That's a whole blog post in and of itself. But, here we go... point form:

    • Metroidvania: Oh, I can't open this door in this dungeon. What's that strange marking? Guess I'll have to remember this for later.
    • Modular armor sets. I'm talking old school--Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. Leather left gauntlet with a right Dwarven gauntlet? Wizard robe with chainmail? No problem!
    • Fully customizable character classes via armor/weapons/skill tree. At least three main skill branches which can be invested in at any time: Rogue-type, Warrior-type, Mage-type.
    • Dual-wield. I've got some significant thoughts on this, but.... In a nutshell: Magic/single handed weapons/shields can be equipped to either hand. However, bows are single handed until you are holding an arrow, so bows (though typically two handed), can dual wield with spells (but nothing else). LMB = left hand, RMB = right hand. If a shield is equipped, you must USE the corresponding hand (LMB or RMB) to block (see Apothen below, but think in 3D). Holding the block button and clicking the other mouse button causes a shield bash.

      That's pretty much it for now.

      I have a ton of ideas, and this will definitely be more challenging than my last project, but I'm really excited to see where this goes!

      Let me know what you think!

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Hey I do like this, love the lighting and shadows :-)


What long term plans do you have for this game?  I take it with you mentioning asset store you are using Unity?


Keep up the journal and the good work!

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Hey I do like this, love the lighting and shadows :-)


What long term plans do you have for this game?  I take it with you mentioning asset store you are using Unity?


Keep up the journal and the good work!

Hey, thanks for the kind words. 


Long term, I would actually like to SELL this game (and yes, I'm using Unity). My last one (Pixel Zombie Shooter) was a free-to-play online thing that I don't suspect I'll make much (if any) money from. If you take a look at that one, you can see that Knight Proto is waaaaay more ambitious. So long term? Greenlight? Kickstarter?


I'll be able to get most of my environmental assets pretty cheap, but I'm definitely going to need some custom stuff (thus the probable need for some kind of funding). Right now, the only custom stuff that I'm 99% sure I'll need are 2 base character models (male and female), in their underwear, and the modular armor I've talked about. I plan on having this armor sit over top of each corresponding limb of the character (but as children GameObjects of said limb), that way I can swap out each piece of armor as needed and (hopefully) everything should just work with my base model's animations.

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2 base character models

Depending on the models styles you maybe able to get them at a fairly low cost. 

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I started making my own models. Easier than I thought. It's really easy to make armor by cloning & scaling parts of the body mesh. Rigging and animation, not so much! :D

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