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Sui Generis is an original open world RPG for the PC featuring dynamic story and physics based gameplay.
Sui Generis is an original open world RPG for the PC featuring dynamic story and physics based gameplay.
6,931 backers pledged £160,055 to help bring this project to life.

Forbes Interviews Madoc

Posted by Bare Mettle Entertainment (Creator)

Hello again everyone,

It's getting late here, but the clock is ticking and Erik Kain from Forbes recently posted an interview with Madoc that is well worth a read. So here it is:


An Interview With 'Sui Generis' Developer Madoc Evans

The clock is ticking on the unique looking Sui Generis Kickstarter RPG. I talk with the game’s creator about his vision for the game.

I’ve written about the indie RPG Kickstarter Sui Generis twice now—once to give a brief preview of the game and its efforts on Kickstarter, and an update later on the evolution of the game’s combat. With just over 24 hours left to go on the Kickstarter drive, the game is still approximately £21,000 short of its £150,000 goal.

As enthusiastic as I’ve been about the potential Bare Mettle’s game and its remarkable looking engine, and as much as the philosophy behind the game resonates with my own personal tastes, many readers were hesitant. Where’s the story? they asked. Where’s the game?

Forbes: When I first wrote about Sui Generis, a lot of my readers said it looks more like a tech demo than an RPG. While I was enthusiastic about the nature of the game and the gameplay itself, many people worried that this was technology without a game.

So what is the story, and how will it figure into what we’ve seen already?

Evans: Well, we’re very keen on the concept of writing your own story. Our main focus is creating a world and sandbox elements that have lots of depth to them. Mostly it’s going to be about you discovering the world, learning abilities and growing into whatever it is you will become. The player character is special but what is special about them is that when they die they return to life. No saving and loading and no respawning as if it were normal, the fact that you come back is a big deal within the context of the world.

You don’t do quests and get rewarded for completing them, there’s stuff going and you can get involved. You might actually lose more than you gain by doing so.

Update #12 is intended as an example of a game experience from the player character’s perspective. The events there are dynamic, based on player actions. An apparently simple premise can escalate into almost anything and by doing things you always discover more things to do and get more deeply involved. No content is isolated, there’s an open world and a single vast interconnected underworld rather than a series of small dungeons. Similarly with events, we want everything to be connected and affected by whatever you do or happens.

The main plot is essentially just an extension of this. Theoretically it would be possible to avert the entire affair by accidentally rolling a boulder off a cliff and this landing on the main antagonist. The player would then play the game and perhaps never realise there was supposed to be some big problem to solve. Of course in practice this is quite unlikely!

It’s ambitious but we think this is what an RPG has to be. Who knows how much we can actually do but we have to try! We do have serious ideas about its implementation.

A lot of games promise character choice, dynamic outcomes, and so forth but this almost always turns out to be difficult to implement and few games do it well.

What sort of ideas do you have in regards to implementing this in the game? Do you think there’s a risk that an open-world game can be too open?

There’s no such thing as too open a world. This is not a game with a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s a world where you can do whatever you want and everything you do has permanent consequences. We won’t guide you, if you do something stupid like attack a castle or a group of thaumaturges on your own you’re just asking for it.

Basically what we’d do is take any “quest” or story element and break it down into its components, each component then has activating conditions that are as dynamic as possible. An NPC decision that is specific to a situation would still be subject to various weighted factors that support that decision, it would have to contend with other decisions, including general ones not specific to the situation, for priority. Each decision has associated risks and rewards that vary in degrees and the NPC’s personal characteristics or mood also weigh in.

We think this is something we can build on gradually, adding more variables, behaviours and ways for NPCs to achieve their goals, even intermediate goals that can improve their odds of reaching other goals. The biggest risk is that this will be limited in scope but we’re not fond of epics, we’d rather have a world that immerses you by being reactive than one that tells a grandiose story. To keep it interesting we want the world itself to be full of mystery and intrigue.

This is not a game where you rush through killing enemies and clicking on highlighted items, it’s a game where you can spend a significant time in every location, looking for keys hidden under objects, hidden switches, journals that may contain important clues, that sort of thing. Even a peasant’s home could hold some dark secrets.

I’ve seen your recent update on blood, fire, and shields. What is your philosophy behind the games combat, both offensive and defensive? What makes Sui Generis different in fighting terms?

We love character advancement but we also love action and a good challenging fight. What we want to achieve is character customisation that allows you to experiment with many different play styles. We want players to invent their own way of playing the game, whether it’s manual skills, tactical combat, stealth, strategy or a combination of things.

There is a lot to experiment with in terms of skills, thaumaturgy and just generally a world driven by massive interactivity and hugely dynamic systems rather than rigid, mechanical ones.

Your Kickstarter pitch makes a big deal out of the physics in the game. Some readers weren’t convinced. What makes the physics unique? Why is this important?

The physics are obviously crucial to the gameplay, even in close quarters combat you get a sense for the weight of your weapon, the forces acting on characters and it makes it deeply engaging. We want a realistic game and even a slight increase in your swing speed or the reach of your weapon can confer a huge advantage in combat. Much better than silly stats. Individual weapons feel different and you have to learn to wield them as a player.

Then there’s the environment, thaumaturgy and everything else. Even without thaumaturgy a table or a door can make the difference between life and death, even a chair. When you start playing around with thaumaturgy and all the ways you can manipulate things you’re opening up all sorts of gameplay possibilities.

And of course there’s realism, immersion. I think anyone who’s seen our video and doesn’t get caught up on the early state of animations or other obvious flaws, or isn’t expecting ninjas who defy the laws of physics, can appreciate this. It’s also just ridiculously fun, it’s easy to just repeat the same fight endlessly because it’s so engrossing, or even just watch someone else do it. Every moment is unique and just damn cool.

The combat looks like it could be quite fun, but a lot of the videos so far have shown a kind of repetitive swinging back-and-forth motion that doesn’t seem to capture the array of possible moves you would hope for. Will swords be limited to this sort of slashing, or will players be able to stab and thrust and do other types of moves as well?

We do plan to include additional combat manoeuvres.

For example, we plan to allow thrusting with a sword by clicking once and then holding the button down while aiming with the cursor. We plan to have other weapon specific attacks and also introducing WASD double tap behaviours that can be used for dodges or lunges. The current swinging however is more tactical and skilful than it might look. You execute your own manoeuvres by a combination of attacks, steps and turns.

The combat has a certain rhythm to it and the physics an implicit flow which you can predict because it’s natural, it’s about measuring the motions of your opponent and timing and executing attacks accordingly.

The goals you point to in your Kickstarter are ambitious. Multiplayer looks to be confined to LAN at this point but you write that your ultimate aim is to have some massively multiplayer elements. What do you mean by this? Many RPG fans have grown weary or a bit cautious about the MMO genre, and this sort of thing can be viewed as not only a possible detraction from single-player elements, but an awfully big and potentially risky investment.

We’re definitely not making an MMO and anyway I think it would be impossible with these physics.

When we say “massively multiplayer elements” we mean things like social interaction and perhaps trading within a larger player community and arena fights with spectators. Like a step up from but nothing more than that. The game is what it is, it’s not strictly a single player experience because it’s not really player centric.

It’s a world first design, the player is a pesky intruder who better watch their step! Things aren’t there to help the player or get killed by them, they’re there to protect their own interests.

As a “world first design” what sort of world should we expect? What types of environments, what scale of towns and cities? Will there be ships, mounts, or any other non-foot travel? Will the world be heavily populated?

It certainly won’t be a planet with continents. It will be relatively small in scale but hopefully densely packed with interesting locations. It won’t feature major climate changes, you can expect green pastures, more forested areas, wastelands and marshes but not much beyond that. We plan on having one major city and a number of towns, villages, castles, fortresses, farms etc. Horses are a pretty fundamental component of the society we want to create, we’re just hoping equestrian physics won’t be too much trouble!

The underworld is also a huge aspect of this world, it’s basically a gigantic non linear “dungeon” that changes and features new elements the deeper you go. It has many entrances and many ways of getting around it. In the underworld you can expect to find themes that are quite in contrast with those of the overworld, it has a very long history predating anything on the surface.

Do you have any plans to license out the engine you’ve created to other developers or publishers? Also, the ease with which you can apparently build terrain and add content to the world seems like it would make for incredibly simple and robust modding—will you provide support for mods?

Definitely. I’m already licensing the engine for non game applications though I have an understanding with the licensee. Obviously it’s going to take quite some work for the engine to be made ready for use by anyone. Modding tools seem like a logical intermediate step towards that licensing goal, but in terms of the game we’re focusing on the game without any concern for how modding might fit into it.

What will be the business model for the game once it’s finished? Are you looking at free-to-play or any other alternative revenue options?

Honestly we don’t have a business model, we’re just making the game we really want to play. We really badly want to play this game. Really.

The only thing we like is the old school way, you buy the game, you’ve got a game to play. We might charge for a significant expansion but never micro-transactions, we really hate that stuff. We hope to be able to continue doing work on the game and providing some new content and features free of charge to anyone who bought it. If we provide online services and need to cover costs then we’ll probably charge a very reasonable subscription fee.


The original article can be found here:

Shout to Erik for writing this.

Fawzi Menkhour, Falaiel, and 1 more person like this update.


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    1. Robert Krondorfer on

      Did the project die?

    2. Nick Hanson

      @Devon Thanks for the pointer but I created my own setting and the game mechanics weren't the issue. Ars Magicka while interesting looking is focused heavily on magic and my preference is a more low magic setting (similar to Sui Generis). Also I had the setting created, the NPC conflicts (with each other) set up, the cultures outlined, everything I just didn't know what side the players would pick and how their actions would effect things going forward. Because everything was already set up the idea of rotating the "Story Guide" role would have been a nightmare as my players were not supposed to fully understand the motivations of the NPCs, cultures, etc. from game start. I just wanted them to be free to decide if they were going to free the princess or do something else in todays gaming session. And whatever they chose I wanted there to be consequences (not saving here when people perceive you as capable of doing so would not endear you to the locals for example). In fact I wanted them to be free to decide not only to not free her, but to help her captor in kidnapping the rest of her family if that's where they wanted to go.

    3. Motorsheep on

      @Nick Hanson, I would have loved to play your campaign.

      I played one of this kind for a short time once. One of the party's first ideas was to travel to a famous city on the other side of the country. Our motley crew got together in a tavern to discuss preparations for the voyage, which resulted in the partial destruction of the tavernand the group being shipped off to a prison island.

    4. Missing avatar

      Sangster on

      Congratulations! Now quit your day jobs and get busy!


      (And never be swayed from your vision by anyone who thinks they know better.)

    5. Sam Galloro on

      Congrats on the funding! It was a close shave at first!

    6. Devon Mullane on

      @ Nick; you might look into Ars Magicka or find players who are. It is meant to play out more the way you are speaking of. The system people are familiar with is what will dictate their perceptions of it how 'it should be played'. Of course, it takes a very talented story teller to pull of what you are talking about, the idea of a lot of PnP games is that, at the start of the adventure, the legwork is done and the players are ready to get started on a goal. They've heard of the job or bizarre doings in a small town and are on their way to investigate.

    7. Missing avatar

      Evan on

      Nick, I agree, I've tried the same thing and it really depends on the players. That said, one of the greatest campaigns ever started out "you've just arrived in a city you know little about, you're cold hungry and wet, it's pouring rain, it's a big intimidating city full of busy people who don't necessarily want to talk to you, now what?" That said, free form problem solving is the strength of pen&paper, and the great weakness of computers. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't try. And the internet's a big place, you don't need to appeal to every single person out there.

    8. Missing avatar

      Nik on

      It's being backed! Thank you everyone!

    9. Missing avatar

      Pavel Samsonov on

      Woo, the game is funded! I was getting really worried there for a little while.

    10. Missing avatar

      Ren-Wei Yang on

      less than 5.5k left!

    11. Nick Hanson

      The difficulty here really strikes a chord with me. Several years back I tried to run a pen and paper RPG in my own game world. It was designed very much like Sui Generis in that I had no specific missions planned and instead created a complex world with lots going on around the players and wanted them to have the freedom interact how they liked and become whatever they wanted. The players were completely confused not now how to get the module started, not understanding the plot, etc. It was intended as a "sandbox" game in a dynamic world where there actions (and even inaction) would have lasting consequences... exactly the game I would love to play but my players were apparently all of the "theme park" variety and had no idea of what to do and wouldn't even give it enough of a chance to see that even their inaction was causing relations among the NPCs to change. My campaign was considered by the players an epic failure and I have not been asked to run another. I refuse to run players through a set of pre-made (by me or published) adventures, I want them to have the freedom to find out a Princess needs saving and decide to just walk away and do something else, but apparently my circle of gamers just don't understand that concept. This seems to be the same issue Sui Generis is facing and I really hope it doesn't end the same way as mine. This is exactly the type of RPG I've been wanting to play since I started playing RPGs (computer or pen and paper).

    12. Mark Hollingsworth on

      I'm not sure if anyone else is having this problem.

      A friend told me about the campaign, the first few times i checked this page, the last update being showed was Nov 22nd.

      I can only just now view the more recent updates, (as of a few minutes ago). Not sure what caused this

    13. Devon Mullane on

      I'm cannot understand how this hasn't funded yet. I believe this is exactly what Kickstarter is for, taking a chance on something that might not otherwise get one. I guess their opening hand was a bit weak, so I'm looking for a big push or an angel donor!

    14. Missing avatar

      Kay Are Ulvestad on

      I agree with Ryan, this information could probably have given the campaign a much better start. Not much to do about that now, though, and better late than never. I have posted about this and and commented on the bits I am most excited about on a couple of forums, hopefully this will contribute to helping more people see the light. You have some great ideas here, I believe this could become a unique and brilliant game.

      Yesterday was a great day for new backers. Things looked bad earlier on, but now I firmly believe this will get funded. :)

    15. Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on

      Great that there is more media coverage; hopefully it will help with that final 15K push.

    16. GhanBuriGhan - WOOS Wose on

      Finally an interview. ItI enjoyed the read and I agree - something like this earlier would have helped tremendously. Thanks to Erik Kain for the interview and support of the project in general. If the campaign succeeds, he will have had a significant part in that.

    17. Missing avatar

      tykho on

      " It won’t feature major climate changes, you can expect green pastures, more forested areas, wastelands and marshes but not much beyond that. "
      No snow? How come? :/

    18. SDKC on

      A bit late for the interview, only a day away from kickstarter's goal, like Ryan said. But This is pretty nice to know.

    19. Missing avatar

      Ryan on

      I don't mean to be rude but THIS information should have been on Kickstarter straight away.

      What I mean is, I've been following this project since it began but didn't pledge much because I was unsure. If I'd read what I just read above days ago, I would've pledged immediately!

      I'm upping my pledge now that I've read about these wonderful features! Starting to get excited!

    20. Missing avatar

      Patrick Dawson on

      There are plenty of indie devs who would pay reasonable fees (on par with Unity Pro, say) to license both the engine and your full set of medieval/fantasy assets. I know it's a long way in the future, but I hope you'll do that after finishing the game.

    21. Missing avatar

      Mitchell Oram on

      Good luck Hoping This will Reach Its Target

    22. Jesper Bratt on

      Really nice to get a view inside Madocs head. He's got so many great ideas :)