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

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

Atroplot

Posted on Posted on in category Categories Story

Hi guys! Sorry for the very delayed post, with Tumblr’s recent decisions -especially the one where they decided to remove custom themes- we’ve been working on an alternative for our main platform. We’ll still post everything over here, but now we also have our own website atroposgame.co.uk! (it’s a work in progress)

With all of the work we’re doing on the website and the game, we want to delay the showcase of the battle system a little longer, so we can iron out some kinks and make it look its best. In the meantime we realised we’ve talked a lot about the setting and the gameplay, but apart from Character announcements, we haven’t talked much about the story of Atropos.

Unfortunately, the story is something that we’re going to be keeping very quiet about. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way that we’re trying our hardest to keep secret from even our closest allies, so it can be experienced first hand. But at its heart, Atropos is a game about fate, and breaking away from expectations. We had our hearts set on a dynamic experience, with the changing of the seasons and the city, and what we have planned for combat and character levelling, so it only made sense for the story to feel the same.

Your choices as the player will affect the outcome of the game and the fates of the characters. As you make decisions the path branches, leading to worlds where allies become enemies or enemies become friends, where you save a city or where your failure could decide the fate of many. In Atropos you may need to go back and try again to get the ending you want.

(The plot diagram on our Atropos wall, with all of the spoilers covered up, of course)

At the moment Atropos is shaping up to have quite a few major endings, with some softer, less final endings thrown in along the way. Even though we have the basic plot down we’ve learnt that it’s far from final and we’re constantly changing things around as we find ways to make the story flow.

This is all we can really say about the plot for the time being, since we really don’t want to give too much away. We’ll let you all know when atroposgame.co.uk is up and running at full capacity. And just in case we get swept away and don’t manage to get another post in before the end of December, we hope you all have a lovely festive season, whether you celebrate anything this time of year or not.

Happy Holidays! – Kadan & Dan – Team Atropos

UI Designs

Posted on Posted on in category Categories Concept Designs

Sorry for the late post this week, we’ve both got birthdays in the last half of November and things got a little sidetracked.

Since we’re starting to show off more of the game, now seems like a good time to start showing off UI designs, which honestly isn’t the most exciting subject, but UI design can sometimes make or break a game. A lot of it is very sketchy, but after all it is concept. We just hope these scribbles might help get our vision for the game across, since some elements of the UI might still look ‘functional’ compared to what we want to achieve.

This is a long one so take a look under the cut.

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Battle UI: The first concept is the initial design, with the second being less fleshed out, but more up to date and a lot closer to what you’ll see when we release our dev update on the battle system very soon.

We mentioned in Q&A 1 that the combat mechanics are based around card games, and we really run with that when it comes to the UI design. Card motifs appear throughout the game, but especially in battles. These aren’t the only designs we’ve had, and they probably won’t be the last.

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Menu: Our videos last week showed off the phone in it’s default form, as the overworld map, but it also takes on the role of the main menu. With apps that lead to all required functions like chatting with friends, game settings and saving. It acts as the central hub for the games menus.

At the moment the phone’s designs are in portrait, but we’ve very recently made the decision to change that to make better use of the space. We just haven’t got around to moving it all just yet.

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Etherchat: A large part of the game will be spent building up friendships and dealing with everyone else’s problems. We wanted the Messaging App to feel close to the dialogue system that we’re going to show off eventually, and a lot of the UI has the distinct rhombus shape (seen in the HUD and battle UI.) We wanted a kind of comic book feel since the game, for the most part, focuses on a group of young adults with superpowers.

That’s all we have for UI at the moment. We’re still fine tuning a lot of things that function, but don’t look their best. Even now a year down the line we’re still making pretty big changes as we learn what works and what doesn’t.

Don’t worry next week will be a lot more exciting as we finally show off some actual core gameplay!

– Kadan & Dan – Team Atropos

Manchester

Posted on Posted on in category Categories Concept Designs, Locations

We recently decided to do something that we’ve been putting off for a while and took a trip to Manchester, the primary location of Atropos. The weekend we went was Pride, hence the rainbows, but despite the colourful celebrations we were there on business.

Looking over our photos from the weekend, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to let you guys know a little more about the setting and expand on Manchester and why we chose it.

 

We both have very close connections to Manchester and wanted to inject a little of Northern England into gaming. The game features the City Centre and Northern Quarter heavily, but with the changes that a few years and an alternate reality could bring. With that in mind, the city features not only as a backdrop, but as a part of the story. Iconic and recognisable parts of Manchester can not only be visited by the player in the semi-open world aspect of the game (similar to the Yakuza series, you are able to explore a large portion of the city) but also appear in the combat aspects of the game. However, differing from our influences and more true to life, the odds of getting attacked in the city centre in broad daylight are incredibly slim.

Of course Manchester is a bustling city, and we really want to encapsulate that and make it feel like you’re walking through the centre of a busy city filled with people, and it’s common feathered residents. We want it to adapt with the time of year, with altering weather and varying amounts of sunlight, bringing events such as Pride and the famous Christmas Markets. As the story adapts so will the surroundings, events and decisions may find the city feeling more bleak, or it could bring unexpected encounters with newly found friends. We’re hoping to make the city feel alive.

– Kadan & Dan – Team Atropos