The Smartest Phone

Posted on Posted on in category Categories Gameplay

In Atropos, your phone is one of your biggest assets. As well as being how you can communicate with your friends, it’s also where you manage your missions, your inventory and even track your health. The phone comes with a large number of apps to aid Agi, and can even be modified by Marid to provide more features.

Please note that any images below are EXTREMELY in progress. We’re only aiming for basic functionality for now, proper art and design will come in the future. Also note that the notification icons on the phone are not implemented at all – that’s what the white squares at the top represent. Finally, in this universe people tend to use their phones a landscape orientation. Definitely an important feature relating to the backstory of the world and totally not an excuse to avoid the fact that otherwise two thirds of the screen would be unused because everyone uses a phone in portrait.

Ether Chat

This is the messaging app. Here, you can talk to your friends, both individually and in groups. From a development standpoint, you can’t exactly “talk” to them like you would a real person – we’re not creating a true AI here – but rather you can ask your friends to hang out in the city centre, join you at the arcade or decide to adventure in the latest dungeon. You can also be part of groups chats, including the formal mission chat and the “Dankest Memez” chat that Yuuki inevitably makes. Friends will also talk to each other without your input, so feel free to lurk in the chats and know what everyone else is doing on particular days.

StuffTrackr

This app is your inventory manager. Here you can check what you have in your inventory, as well as manage equipment like weapons and armour. Finally, this is where you also use items outside of battle such as healing items. Pretty self explanatory.

TurboFit

This is where you track your overall stats. As stated in the pre-alpha battle system post, you don’t gain experience or levels in Atropos. At least, not directly. Instead, you have a number of “fitness attribute” stats that you can improve individually, and your level is then determined by these stats. You can see how far you’re progressing on each stat via the yellow bar directly below them, with a complete bar increasing your stat point by one. Your stats even include a step counter, and since you’re friends all share each other’s data, you can see these stats change in real time.

Secondly is a list of abilities. These act as general global modifiers to your abilities. For example, you could become very proficient in using small melee weapons, granting you a permanent buff to hit rate and damage, or you could learn how to lockpick better and whatnot. All of this will be visible in TurboFit.

Finally you can also track the progression of your powers (not yet implemented). You will eventually be able to see progress trees showing your current powers and progress towards newer ones. This progress will improve mostly by using powers earlier on in the tree, but you will also generally improve all powers too over time. This is something that we will expand upon in a later post.

Cepetopedia

Your portable well of knowledge! Here is where all the information you collect on your journey will end up, including details on locations, characters and groups. This will also store things like notes shared between you and your friends, as well as those found in the environment.

Oh, by the way, “Cepet” is Javanese for ‘Fast’ or ‘Quick’. Definitely no relation to that other online encyclopedia.

Maps

Maps is the default app that’s open while your phone is minimized, acting as a minimap. When fully open, maps provides a…map…of the surrounding area, as well as allowing you to fast travel outside of dungeons. In cases like Manchester, the entire map will already be fully available to you, but in dungeons you’ll need to progressively map out the area by exploring. Maps will also highlight points of interest such as shops, friends and enemies.

Camera and Gallery

Like any good phone, it’s got to have a good camera. You can take pictures of friends and the environment, or use the spooky and totally realistic ‘Third Person’ mode to take pictures from anywhere, perfect for taking press shots to show off a game!… While this feature is a long way off, we plan to add your standard set of options such as Depth of Field, filters and character posing (Not just you, but any nearby friends too). And if we get it working, we’ll also allow you to save pictures of a larger resolution than your screen in case you want to make a billboard of Oleander being disgusted by some pigeons. Finally, pictures taken here can also be used as your phone background should you wish!

TODO (The app)

Your typical to-do app. Here’s where you track all the tasks you have to do, as well as any deadlines such as actually tackling a dungeon, or more benignly meeting up with a friend.

Save and Settings

Save allows you to save your game. Pretty self explanatory. Settings allows you to set your game settings, so that’s also pretty self explanatory too. Settings will include phone settings though, so at least that probably still counts as a sort of in universe app.

Conclusion

No, conclusion isn’t an app. Anyway, here’s a brief look at some of the major features your phone can do. We may eventually add more apps, or otherwise change how they work, but as of writing these are the main apps and their purposes. We’re excited to show you more soon, but we hope this new look into one of Atropos’ core features provides some deeper insight into what the game is going to be like. We’re still very excited to show you more, but given the scope of the game and the fact that we’re just two people working full time, it might take a while before more substantial things are shown.

In any case, that’s all for now!

– Dan & Kadan – 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

Dev Update 1 – First Videos

Posted on Posted on in category Categories Characters, Gameplay, Locations

Today we’ll finally be showing off some in-game videos! We’ve got two to show today, with more planned for the near future (We’ve just got to actually finish some things first).

First up, meet Agi and Marid in game!

And second of all, the most important gameplay feature of all, PIGEONS!

After all, we did promise pigeons! The pigeon was modelled by Kadan (as were Agi and Marid, but they’re not important right now) and remains unrigged and unanimated by Dan. Here’s the very highly detailed reference file Kadan worked off of:

image

Look at that beautiful round boy or girl! We’re not ahead on gameplay or anything, we just wanted to make pigeons, and I think that’s quite indicative of our development style…

Oh well!

We’re planning more videos very soon, included a demonstration of our battle system. Hope to see you then!

– Dan & Kadan (But mostly Dan this time) – Team Atropos