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Saturday, December 31, 2011
So you've heard us going on about how Malevolence is more than just dungeons, but now we have something to show for it!
We've said it before but we'll say it again. The in-game world of Malevolence is infinite. The dungeon exploration is just a small portion of what the game is all about. Outside of the dungeons is a literally infinite world filled with tombs, labyrinths, farmsteads, mountains, cities, towns and more. Our original plan was to release a demo showing off the dungeons to get you hooked, but our testers said "NOOOO you totally need to show the outside world too!" so we have been working our butts off to get it working to show you all!
We've done a heap of interviews since this project started and met with a LOT of negative criticism telling us that an infinite RPG world at a graphical level of The Elder Scrolls is not possible, but we are here to tell you that we can. Actually... We're here to SHOW you. We've talked about it for a long time, but now it's time to show it off! Here is the first introductory video showing you the system working beautifully!
This is a VERY early video, so there are only a few object types, terrain types etc. No water bodies, no weather, very little flora and zero fauna. It's basically a proof of concept to say "neener neener" to the nay-sayers who have been saying it's not possible.
Remember what the dungeons used to look like before we added in the advanced lighting, shaders and all the other trimmings? Well, what you see in that video is in an early, raw stage like that. But as the weeks progress, you're going to see it getting better and better.
Even in this very early, raw, prototype stage, the world is super fun to explore and find things. It looks very simple on the front end, but there is a phenomenal amount of nonsense happening behind the scenes to make it work.
Our lead music composer, Nicolas Lee, has been hand-crafting some INCREDIBLE new soundtracks for the countryside exploration. You can only just barely hear it through the microphone in the above video, but there will be some new videos soon which will feature the music prominently. The tracks are truly beautiful to listen to and he's done an amazing job, so keep an ear out for them.
We've also welcomed to the team two new writers, Saxon Bell and Jordan Glew! They'll be fleshing out the world of Ahkranox in ways that we couldn't on our own. A big thank you to everyone who applied, but it came down to these two and we couldn't choose, so we brought them both on! You'll be seeing some of their amazing work soon no doubt!
So that's it for now! From the Malevolence team, we hope you had a great holiday period and enjoyed your New Years! (and if it hasn't happened yet due to time differences, we hope you DO enjoy your New Years!)
So what sorts of things would YOU like to see in the overworld? Let us know in the comments!
And remember to join us on the social networks!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
In Malevolence's dungeons, the player will encounter these fountains. So far, they haven't had a function other than decoration, but that has all changed now! In a deliberate nod to the classic RPGs of yesteryear, drinking from fountains has now become risky business. You may get lucky and have the fountain rejuvenate your health or mana, or you may be very unlucky and become fatigued, limiting your mana or worse... Poisoned! It's definitely a gamble, but one that you may be forced to take if you find yourself stranded with no health potions to help you out!
Eventually the game will contain spells for the player to use to help purify these waters, but until then, you're on your own. Use them wisely, and good luck!
Also, please remember two very important things:
- We've been nominated for Indie Game of the Year and need your vote, and your friend's votes, and your family's votes, and everyone else's votes, so head on over to this link and vote for us before the competition is over!
- We're looking for a writer to join our team! We've had a few people apply but we're still compiling a shortlist, so if you or someone you know is interested, read here for more details or email us here to apply!
And, as always, please join us on the social networks!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Just a quick note to let you know that there is an open position on the Malevolence team!
We are after a writer to join the team! Experience or expertise in fantasy writing is a biiig plus. So, if you yourself, or someone you know might be interested in working on a very large game project, please get them to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with examples of their work!
Up until now, the only way to attack enemies from a distance was to hurl magic at them, but what about the non-magical characters? They need to use ranged weaponry such as bows!
For now, we've only got a longbow in there, but there will also be short bows, crossbows, shuriken, throwing knives/axes, etc for people to play with. Here's a video showing it all working. Some of the sounds are still missing, as our sound engineer is on holidays for a little while, but they'll be in eventually!
We've also been churning out heaps of bug fixes lately leading up to the 0.00.173 release to the test team, including a slew of torch bugs that we missed :-S but it's coming along swimmingly. We have a couple of UI fixes to do, then the addition of fountain functionality, then we'll be set.
You've all probably noticed that fountains that are occasionally dotted around dungeons. Well, old-school RPG players will remember what fountains used to do. Drinking from one was risky. It might heal you. It might poison you... It might give you a lasting buff, or it might really take you down. There were purification spells to help you out, but these were few and far between... Well, Malevolence will have this as well! Fountains will soon have a purpose other than sounding awesome and decorating the walls. Just to keep players on their toes!
Also, Malevolence got a story on TechZwn.com, so be sure to head on over there and have a read!
And lastly, there are only a couple of days left in the Indie Game of the Year awards! So please, if you haven't already, follow this link and vote for Malevolence! Get all of your friends to vote for Malevolence! Get your workmates to vote for Malevolence! Get everyone to vote! It only takes a couple of mouse clicks and we'll love you forever!
And, as always, be sure to follow us on the social networks!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
On the other side of the room a Minotaur sees you, its' beady, black eyes lusting for your blood. It charges at you, full speed... What do you do?
Well, so far in Malevolence, all you've been able to do was draw your weapon and stand firm. Or, if you're lucky, maybe lob a fireball at it and hope for the best...
But no longer! Because we've started doing work to put ranged weapons into the game!
It's only in its very early stages at the moment, but it's definitely looking pretty damn cool!
We're keeping the visible projectile white in the same way that weapon swings and blocks are white. We've decided to just stick with that look for anything representing the player, since in the final game the player will be able to find all sorts of different arrow types and even craft their own, so we're using one universal "flying arrow" graphic.
Also, the sounds you hear in this vid are all temporary until our sound engineer gets the final effects to us :)
So we'll keep you posted while this is worked on, as we're very excited about it!
In the meantime, please don't forget to vote for us as Indie Game of the Year for 2011, and, as always, join us on the social networks!
Monday, December 12, 2011
Talk again soon, folks!
This is actually a deliberate homage to the games we're trying to bring back to life. Back in the day, if you went into a dungeon without a torch or magic light spell, it was PITCH BLACK. We didn't want to go that far, but we wanted to make it hard for people to navigate without light. Torches will help fix that issue. They're fairly common in the game, but don't last long before they burn out. They also provide TERRIBLE light. It doesn't reach far, and it's very wavery. Because of this, your best bet is to find and learn a light spell, which is much more stable and illuminating.
You'll also notice that we've also done a really big overhaul of the combat graphics. The weapon swing graphic has been finalized, the new block graphic is in place, and there is now extra gore for when the player gets hit, just to make you remember that you're being hurt! Extra stomach-churning goodness! Monster blood has also been lightened up so that it's easier to see when you've landed a hit.
Keep an ear out for the wonderful vocal work of Samuel 'BossTrigger' Drake as the player character and the Imp, David 'AussieRoth' Doyle as the savage Lizardman Warrior and Steven 'Sarifus' Kelly as the Goblin and Ork!
Please keep in mind - as always - that the above video is a WORK IN PROGRESS, and, as such, it's still a little unrefined! So be nice :)
And, as always, join us on the social networks!
Sunday, December 11, 2011
But it's not over yet! That first round was just nominations, so now it's time for the actual awards, and we need your votes once again! Not just your votes either, but everyone you know! Everyone with a computer or smart device, tell them to go to THIS PAGE, select the Upcoming Role Playing category, and vote for Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox!
Thank you all so much for your support in this, as it has really motivated us to reach new and better heights!
Saturday, December 10, 2011
We've been hard at work adding in new content to the game. Check it out!
First of all, you might remember the last post where we showed you the early rendition of the procedural weapon icon generator. Well, we've since started adding some colour and texture to the generator! Check it out!
So that's really starting to take shape! We totally geek out about this whenever we run it.
We've also been doing some work on the attack graphics. We've thinned out the default weapon swoosh graphic, and added in a new block graphic (which we're not yet happy with, but it's a work in progress) and lightened the enemy blood to make it easier to see. Still no graphic for when the player gets hit, and all of what you see is still being worked on, but this is at least a good chance for you to see what the game plays like these days. Sorry for the frame rate on the video. Hard to capture when you're running the game over the top of a full development environment :-S
So yes! Coming along! Don't forget to vote for us in the IOTY comp! This is your last chance to do it! Click the pink vote button on our main page!
And, as always, join us on the social networks!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
It's in VERY early stages at the moment, and all black and white (the end result will be colour) but already it's totally cool. We're geeking out at the prospect of it being in the game!
The daggers you see above were made by our procedural engine by piecing together lots of small parts designed by our concept lead, Natalie. Basically it breaks it down into much smaller parts, and reassembles them from other parts. The video below shows what it can do with just 8 sets of dagger parts:
So as you can see it can be pretty damn varied! And that's only with 8 different part sets! The demo will have 50 part sets (that's over three hundred million combinations on its own) but we're also going to be making varying materials for each part, so there will end up being literally billions of different daggers in the game. You'll also find other weapon classes such as clubs, shortswords, longswords, axes, pole arms, etc, etc, so you'll never be at a loss for finding unique weapons!
We hope you're as excited about this as we are! We'll keep you posted how it goes as we get further along with it, as it's in a VERY early stage right now!
And, as always, join us on the social networks!
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Now people have no reason to email or comment saying that they hate the UI design ;-)
I'll say again though, that this was always the plan. We just took our time implementing it since it was fairly low-priority on the to-do list. But it's here to stay now, so we hope you enjoy it!
And remember to vote for us in the Indie Of The Year awards! Just go the Malevolence IndieDB page and click the pink "vote for this game" button! We'll love you forever if you do!
And as always, please check out and join up with our social networking pages!
Saturday, December 3, 2011
So in the last post we discussed the new attack graphic idea. In this post we show you what it would look like!
In case you missed the last post, we were toying with the idea of getting rid of the visible weapon in the player's viewport and replacing it with a sort of "swoosh" graphic when you swung your weapon. A bit like a modern version of what you used to get in the old classics that Malevolence is paying homage to.
Why would we do that after having the visible weapons for so long? Well, there are a couple of reasons:
1) The visible weapons can often look tacky to the fans of the classic old games (and we're really aiming this game at them)
2) The items in the game are procedurally generated, which means we'd have to model, texture and animate hundreds of different weapons so that the player would have some sense of variety in their weapons, which would add literally months to our development time.
We had quite a few people suggest that we just allow users to toggle the visible weapons, which is all well and good, but that doesn't solve problem #2 above...
So to better outline what we were going for, we did up a rough version of what it would look like and made a video of it in action for you to have a look at and tell us what you think!
The video is also a chance to check out some of the amazing artwork by Rachel and Natalie, as well as hear the incredible vocal talents of David Doyle and Samuel Drake! But let us know what you think of our 'swooshes' because we're really liking them a lot over here!
Also, please keep in mind that Malevolence is in the running for this year's Indie Game of the Year award, and it needs your votes to do it! So please go to this page and click the big pink button at the top to give us your vote! And tell all your friends!
And, as always, be sure to join us on the social networks!
Friday, December 2, 2011
This is what we like to see! In case you didn't know yet, Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox has been nominated for Indie Game of the Year! It's very exciting but it needs as MANY votes as possible since it's up against titans of the genre such as Minecraft, Terraria and Really Big Sky. So tell EVERYONE you know to go to THIS link, scroll down a little and click the big pink "vote now" button!
If you do, we'll love you forever! Promise!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Got a quick question for the fans/watchers of the project!
So we've been doing a LOT of work on the procedural item generation and we've decided that we really want to give you more weapons to play with in the demo, but we've had a bit of a change in direction regarding the way we're thinking of using weapons.
Fans of the classic RPGs that we're inspired by will notice a large, glaring difference between the classics and Malevolence, and that is the fact that the weapon you're holding is visible on the screen, and you can see it during combat. In the old games, that wasn't the case. You just got a "swoosh" or "blood splat" sort of graphic come up on the screen when you attacked. Perhaps an arrow would appear if you were using a bow.
So what we're thinking of doing is possible removing the visible weapon from the game, and making Malevolence keep a little truer to the classics. Instead of the visible viewport weapon we'd probably tweak the UI to have an icon of your readied weapon in the sidebar.
Really what we want to know is wether you, the future players of Malevolence, would prefer it to be kept the way it is, or keep it old school. We're leaning towards old-school, but we'd like to know what you think!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
This is our first time in the running for it and we're up against some incredible games, but the more votes we get the more of a chance we have! So tell everyone you know and get them to send in a vote!
We'll have more updates for you soon, too. Sorry for being so quiet lately, but we're been hunched over the alpha code trying to sort out all of the bugs that are present before moving on to the countryside portion of the game. No point moving on until the dungeons are working perfectly! So because it's all bug fixes, we haven't got too much to show for ourselves lately!
But thanks again for stopping by!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
As you probably know by now, Malevolence is infinite, and since the game is infinite, it needs a pretty unique stat system. Normally in RPGs, stats are based on numbers, but in an infinite game, you could theoretically get to level one million and have 500,000 skill points to use. That isn't good for a game as it just gets ridiculous.
What we have in Malevolence is a simplified front-end to a very complex back-end. On the front end, the player has six core stats. Everything in the game, every ability or skill, makes use of one or more of those stats. If you're swinging a sword at an ork, you're using Strength and Dexterity. If you're casting a spell, you're using Wisdom. If you're disarming a trap, you're using Intellect and Dexterity. If you're haggling with a merchant you're using Charisma and Intellect. The list goes on, but you get the idea. Some skills use one stat, others use 2, 3 or even 4.
Here's where Malevolence differs. These six core stats are represented as percentages, rather than numbers. Instead of having a strength of 50, you'll have a strength of, say, 30%. As you keep performing feats of strength, that percentage will (very) slowly rise up and up. But the higher your Strength rises, the more other skills will fall. First things like Wisdom and Intelligence will start to suffer, then Dexterity and Charisma and so on. The reason that this happens is that all six stats, when added together, must always equal 100%.
Instead of individual statistic numbers, what the player has is what is called a 'stat pool'. This number is based on what level you are. When you first start a new game, each of your stats is sitting at 16.67% (adding up to a total of 100%) and your stat pool is 100. That means, rounding up, that each statistic is worth 17. However, if you buff your strength up to 30% by using your muscles a lot in the game, your Strength value will be closer to 30, but your Wisdom and Intelligence will now be sitting at 10 each. You spent too much time practicing with a sword and your magic studies suffered for it.
When you go up a level, your stat pool number increases, but your individual stat percentages stay exactly the same. This way, your stats DO go up, but the actual balance across them all stays put.
So what does this mean for you as a player? Well, it means that everything you do in the game has consequences, however, the game is actually monitoring everything you do, and letting you be better at the things you do most, while atrophying the areas that you use least. For a player who wants to be a straight fighter, or a straight mage, this is no problem, as they just have to play the way they play and things will just work out. But for someone who wants to multi-class, then they will have to actually train - just as in real life - to maintain the balance of their statistics.
To speed up the process, however, or to correct deviations, you will be able to pay money at various guilds to train certain statistics up and get the most out of your character.
An example is the Fighter's Guild. A warrior can pay to train his Strength and Constitution, or a ranger can pay to train their Dexterity, but other stats will suffer from it. It'll just mean you don't have to grind it out to get your stats where you want them ;-)
But now you know! That's how the game works! You'll never see your stats' exact numbers, just their effect on the game itself!
I hope this confirms a few things!
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
So we've finally made a call on it. We're pushing back the demo. Here's why!
We posted a question about it in the last news post. We were concerned that the demo we had planned for you guys wasn't going to be representative enough of the final game, but we also didn't want to disappoint people by pushing it back. But after much discussion amongst the team, and must commentary from you guys (thanks, btw) we've finally decided to push the demo release back until the halfway point of next year. Here is our justification:
- Firstly, we don't want to give you guys a rushed demo. We want the demo to make you salivate for the full game! That means more content, more excitement and more quality.
- Secondly, the original demo release date of this Christmas was just too far away from the full version release. Even if you DID like the demo, a year is a long time to wait for a game when you have the demo in your hands.
- Thirdly, we really feel that the demo should include more of what will be in the final game, and we're determined to do that.
What all of this means is that yes, it will be another six months before the demo comes out, but when it does come out, there will be so much more for you to play and enjoy. We hope you understand.
We will, however, keep you thoroughly up to date as always with plenty of new screenshots, gameplay videos, and our testing team will be leaking out the occasional "let's play" video for you to watch! When they do, we'll try our best to link you to them from here.
We'll keep you posted on development as always, and please remember to check us out on the social networks!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The people who keep asking us this must be too young to remember this, but back in the late 80s and early 90s there were some incredible turn-based first person RPGs out there. Let me show you some screenshots:
First of all, there was the Might & Magic Series:
Back in the 80s they looked VERY basic, but they had this amazing core mechanic of turn-based, grid-based movement through vast an intricate worlds. The back-ends of the games were incredible, but due to the limitations of the day, the graphics were less than spectacular.
But then computer technology started improving and by the early 90's the Might and Magic series started looking more and more amazing. Character portraits started coming in, textured environments and animations were all happening, but still the games kept their turn-based, grid-based gameplay style, and still their worlds were massive and exquisitely detailed.
Other games were coming along too, and using similar gameplay styles, and they proved just as popular with their audiences. Titles such as Eye of the Beholder (above) and the Wizardry series (below)
All of these games had a lot in common in terms of graphical style, gameplay methodology, world size and progression. But they also all shared a similar UI. After all, these games had a lot of info to show, since they were a computer proxy for traditional role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. The player needed to know info about their characters, about what they had readied and what was going on. The game window was just a part of the HUD, not the main feature of it.
Yes, young ones, before people played with this:
They played with this:
And they LIKED it. So please, the next time you plan on commenting on our game and asking us "what's up with the UI?" or "Why do you use that dorky grid-based movement?" keep in mind that Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox is not trying to be the next Elder Scrolls game. It is not trying to be the next WoW. It is a homage, a re-imagining of a bygone era of role playing games. A re-birth of an old genre into a new world. And it is done like that DELIBERATELY.
To put this complaining of non-classic RPG fans to rest, please be assured that Malevolence DOES have a slimline UI option for those who are either too young or too close-minded to remember or appreciate the classics, or for those who simply prefer the sleek new look because you were never into that sort of game:
Much as I hate to rant, these ridiculous questions have been asked of me so many times, sometimes innocently, other times quite rudely (as in "The UI looks gay and the movement system is stupid" or "Are you making it grid-based because you're a bad programmer and that is easier?")
While I have said it multiple times before, you now have a visual representation of it, so hopefully it sticks better. There is a slimline UI option coming in the game. It is optional for those who aren't classic RPG fans.
Problem solved. Now I'm going back to fixing bugs in the alpha so the testers don't shoot me ;-)