Location Concept Art

Posted on Posted on in category Categories Concept Designs, Locations

With our first post of the year being a big one, we didn’t really get a chance to update you on general progress. So before the post begins, a quick update.

Our New Year’s resolution this year is to get our posts out on time, and do some more gosh damn game work. We’ve cleaned the 2018 targets off our whiteboard and it’s time to start afresh with new goals.

Already there’s a lot going on in the background that we’re sure you’ll eventually get to see but isn’t quite ready to be shown. The new version of Unity has offered us some new toys, so we’ve been playing around with fancy super power effects and pretty lighting. We have new in game models that we showed off briefly in our battle system videos, they’re still not final but they’re improving with every iteration. Menus and core game features are taking shape and starting to display all of the information needed to make a game of this scale keep on going. And, of course, we still have 2 new characters to announce. We’ve already teased one in our past posts but we plan to unleash her very soon.

Now, let’s kick off 2019 with something that we can show you, concept art!

This time the focus is on locations. Manchester has been one of our big talking points, but we think we’ve told you enough about the city for now, it’s time to show you other locations that will feature throughout the game. We’ll start with the more mundane.

Plotting and revelations take place tucked away in the corner of a small cafe hidden just off the main street. As you grow your group and take on missions you find a place to meet, the cafe becoming a familiar backdrop for side missions and group discussions.

From humble beginnings (and not so humble in the case of some) the group work their way up to lucrative missions. Despite how much we talk about Manchester, some of the game takes place further afield, overlooking London whilst infiltrating a high end function, as an example.

Even further afield, the locations of Atropos aren’t limited to England, or this plain of existence. Weird and wonderful locations appear throughout, twisting familiar surroundings, or creating new environments.

We wanted to start to show you our process, even though art isn’t our strongest point, it is the easiest to showcase. This is the first time-lapse of hopefully many, but you may notice that a lot of the time lapses start with some progress already made, because Kadan forgets to start the recording software until half an hour into work, if at all (remembering things isn’t a strong point, they’re working on it). Expect more processes for in-game art and models, and more original music to come!

– Kadan & Dan – Team Atropos

The Pre-Alpha Battle System

Posted on Posted on in category Categories Gameplay

Well, that took a bit longer to get out that we planned, but it’s finally here, a demo of some actual GAMEPLAY! That’s right, there is actually a game here. Watch the video to see it in action, and I’ll detail some more parts of it below.

How Battling Works

Battling takes the form of turn based combat. Like all good turn based combat systems, this means each character takes a turn performing an action. At the moment, battles take the form of each character acting in order, but future changes may allow you to mix up the turn order, either strategically or via abilities.

In any case, once a battle starts, it’s time to act. There are four primary actions you can take, which are detailed below.

Weapon Attacks

Weapon attacks are exactly what they say on the tin, you attack with a weapon. Before combat, you can equip three different weapons, a small melee weapon, a large melee weapon and a firearm.

Small melee weapons, probably kept in a pocket, are light and fast to swing, although they often do less damage. This includes things like gloves and knives.

Large melee weapons, likely strapped on your back, are heavy, slow to swing and easy to dodge, but if they hit the target will certainly feel it. These would be things like bats and swords.

Finally you got firearms. These, probably kept in your pocket that doesn’t have a knife, are extremely powerful, but come with a limited ammo capacity. Being in the UK, real firearms are very expensive and very hard to find, although an air rifle could also work in a pinch.

Using weapons consume SP, one of the three meters for each character. Unlike AP, the meter used for powers, SP regenerates over time, even when taking a turn, so you shouldn’t need to worry about this too much. Getting low, though, could mean you being unable to use a weapon, or even performing an attack at all! Some status ailments could sap SP, so still keep an eye on it.

Battle Games

When you attack with a weapon, you’ll start a battle game. This is a very short minigame that allows you to determine your overall damage, as well as hit and crit rates. Win the game for bonuses, lose for a higher chance to miss. For example, Agi’s battle game is a form of Blackjack (Or 21 if you so choose). The aim is simple, with a number of cards, try to get to as close to 21 as possible. The closer you get, the more damage you do, but if you bust, you lose and have a higher chance to miss. In addition, you also win if you get to five cards without breaking 21.

Now, though, leaving your fate to random chance probably isn’t the wisest thing to do in combat. As a result, over time you can acquire cheats for your battle game. This would include things such as stacking the deck in your favour or increasing the chance to draw aces. The effectiveness of cheats and your chances of winning are also bolstered by luck, so be sure to get that as high as possible…somehow.

Finally, some enemies and bosses will also feature they’re own battle games, and they too like to cheat. Handily, you can also acquire anti-cheats that diminish the enemy’s effectiveness, or even rig the game for them to lose!

Power Attacks

These attacks, again as the name says, involve using your super powers to damage the enemy. This consumes the AP bar which, unlike SP, doesn’t regenerate. These powers skip the battle game entirely and tend to be quite powerful. Agi, for example, can throw a small fire ball, or send out a stream of fire that deals continuous damage over the attack duration. While not implemented yet, these powers are also a lot more likely to apply status ailments.

Marid, lacking powers, instead uses his technological powers on the enemies, performing things like using his modified phone’s flashlight to temporarily blind the enemy or hack their phones for info. For now though, everyone considers Marid’s abilities to be pretty similar to actual super powers, so he gets an AP bar too. Mental fatigue is real folks!

Item Usage

You use an item. Not much to explain really. This is probably how you’ll handle healing yourself, as well as restoring AP and SP. There may also be items you can inflict use on the enemy, we’ll have to wait and see.

Tactics

The everything-else-option. Here you can perform tactical actions, like running away! You’ll also be able to inspect the enemies from here, as well as perform potential special actions should they arise.

Character Stats

Unlike more RPGs, there’s no hard defined ‘level’ here, just your five core stats:

  • Strength – Affects defence and the effectiveness of large weapons
  • Agility – Affects dodging and the effectiveness of small weapons
  • Stamina – Affects the SP bar and health
  • Psyche – Affects the AP bar and powers
  • Luck – Affects hit and crit rates, battle games and other things

These values grow by training in them (Except for luck, who knows how that changes), and these values are then used to work out what rough level you appear as. Your level is just a rough guide for progress though – if you focus purely on Agility, don’t expect to be hard hitting too!

There are various activities in Manchester you can do to work on your stats, and battles tend to provide an all round improvement to your stats as well. While it hasn’t been decided yet, there may also be a system where neglected skills may decrease in time too, but we’ll tell you if we decide to take that route.

Winning

Defeat all the enemies or complete a special battle action (if any) to win. Pretty simple really. Afterwords your stats may increase and you might take things from the enemy. After all, you need it more!

Losing

Well, that wasn’t supposed to happen. Perhaps you were underleveled (well, under-stat-ed?), or otherwise made a bad decision. No biggie, unlike some games, we won’t punish you too hard (even if you haven’t saved for a while). Most battles you can retry right there and then, or else return to a recent checkpoint if you want to try a different route or set yourself up differently.

Conclusion

So, finally you get to see some proper elements of gameplay (I admit it, while the pigeons were very cool, they’re not really gameplay). We’d like to hear any feedback of this system, but be aware this is super early and is going to get a lot of refinement over time. We also have plans to show off some more game systems somewhat soon, so keep an eye out!

– Dan and Kadan – Team Atropos