Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 29, 2012.

Update #22

Stats and combat AI

27 comments
94 likes

In the new video we will showcase a number of environments and gameplay features including various weapon types, looting, item interaction, item properties and more... The video should give you a much more complete idea of what the final game will be like.

There are two main things we are trying to complete for the video at this point. One is the item and character stat system and the other is the new combat AI. Both these things are close to being ready to use and very key in defining the core gameplay. We're working on them right now so we thought we would explain what we're trying to achieve.


Item and character stats

Stats must play an important role in the game but player skill, action gameplay and physics are already playing a huge role. We want to retain the skill element and the fluidity of the combat, stats must interact seamlessly with this process and give advancement and loot a good purpose. The effect of stats compared to many other RPGs is quite small, you will never be 10 times as strong or do 100 times more damage, but that extra speed or force does make all the difference.

It's taken us some time to design and test a stat system that would work well. Weapons in particular are tricky because their shape and size alone have a huge impact on gameplay and character animations. Just the distribution of the mass of a weapon (this is accurate and based on the 3D mesh and can also be tweaked) can completely change how a character effectively wields it. We need to use the weapon's inherent physical qualities and allow them to interact with character skills and physique realistically, we also need to provide the player with an intuitive yet accurate overview of a weapon's qualities. We think the fact that every weapon feels and plays differently is great. We're thrilled with what we've come up with and you'll be able to see all this in game.

We've now got almost all our weapon types implemented with the notable addition of pole weapons. After all, what's an RPG without halberds? We're having to redesign all our animations yet again as we've made some changes to accommodate the effects of weapon and character statistics interacting with them. We've also added some new manoeuvres such as thrusts and more elegant parries which were previously entirely procedural.

We've been adding a lot of polish to the combat mechanics and made a huge number of improvements that show both in gameplay and visual realism, we feel we're rapidly approaching completion here and damn is it good. We have always firmly believed the combat was exceptionally fun and to this day we become excited every time we play, but with the latest improvements it's really shaping up to be breathtaking.


Combat AI

Combat AI is something we're taking very seriously. We're very keen on NPCs appearing lifelike and playing similarly to a human opponent. Combined with the physical interaction and motion, a realistic and clever behaviour really tricks our brains into thinking of the characters as alive, it makes combat feel very real and personal. We're also keen on AI opponents being challenging while playing by the same exact rules as yourself which contributes to this feeling.

To ensure that NPCs really do play by the same rules as players we're actually running them through the same exact controls, we're basically putting a virtual player in charge of them with their own cursor and buttons to press. Because of the full physics simulation however these need to be very smart, landing a good blow requires steering the character so that their weapon connects with force in the right place at the right time while overcoming the opponent's defences. When you play the game you'll see this is a very organic and tricky process, it requires skill from a player and it also does from AI. It's even trickier when you start to consider the hugely different weapons and other items that a character or their opponents may be equipping. That's just the beginning though, we want our characters to react with human like individual qualities; we need them to employ solid tactics and have good awareness of the environment, swinging a halberd into a wall, or worse into a friend's face, is a big problem. NPCs need to act cleverly in any situation or against any number of opponents. Oh, and we need you to be cursing at the little buggers with genuine outrage.

These seem like pretty daunting problems but we've been working at them and overcoming them for some time, we're close to integrating the first version of the new AI framework into the game and we'd like to use it in the upcoming video as the current AI severely limits what we're able to show.


Hopefully that contained some useful insights into what we're doing and why!


Best,

Bare Mettle

Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Berk on October 10, 2013

      @Luke Groves: yes, thats acceptable of course, I just meant an area strictly for testing things would dumb down the immersion and atmosphere of SG :P

    2. Missing_small

      Creator Ben Obikoya on October 9, 2013

      Leonidas, you'll be happy to know that that is pretty much the level of detail the AI will likely have in this game. Since they already have the lore and everything set up, I imagine that they'll be creating characters in situations to carry on from rather than develop into. But, if you find a daring miner, you should be able to convince him to come adventuring with you. And he'll will constantly re-evaluate whether or not his decision was wise and if he should just go back to his mine, or do something else entirely for that matter.

    3. Missing_small

      Creator Leonidas on October 8, 2013

      I'm also a backer of 'limit theory' - a procedural space game.
      in his latest update he talks about using the AI in such a way that NPC characters can figure out that if their goal was to make money, they can do that by getting mining equipment, mining, and bringing it to market.
      I don' tknow if you have something similar, but you might want to have a conversation with him about how he did that.
      It would be neat to generate a world where individual NPCs mined, farmed, build towns, became bandits and lawmen procedurally before your character even stepped into it.
      would also be neat to get out of a spaceship and run around in armor with a halberd. :-)

    4. Rd.small

      Creator Jeremie Lariviere on October 8, 2013

      Looking forward to it!

    5. Dscf0008.small

      Creator Devon Mullane on October 8, 2013

      Sounds quite clever and rather awesome. Really looking forwards to everything you guys are working on. I think this is shaping up to be one of the best Kickstarter projects I've backed, super thrilled to be a backer.

    6. Nexusavatar.small

      Creator Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on October 8, 2013

      Sounds great and looking forward to the upcoming video

    7. Am%c3%a9lyssane.small

      Creator Lost-brain -Obsidian Order Dark Goddess on October 8, 2013

      Interesting update, even I can't wait for something more... concrete. Like the next video.

    8. Missing_small

      Creator Tomas on October 8, 2013

      Glorious - simply glorious. The wait was long, but it was worth it. Thank you Bare Mettle - our faith in your project has never wavered, but now it's stronger than ever.

      The only thing I'm waiting for now is the Alpha!

    9. Babyface.small

      Creator Marcel Schoen on October 8, 2013

      I have to admit - reading this update about how you want to approach the AI got me very excited. I'm a bit afraid you might bite off more than you can chew, though; seeing as many AAA-games are having a hard time getting any decent AI up until today. Whatever the result, I appreciate the effort. Impressive and surprising AI is much more important than superduper-high-resolution textures and all that shiny graphics stuff. Sure, it needs to look good too, but good AI is what makes a game world really come to life. So I'm eagerly looking forward to this...

    10. Kinghead1.small

      Creator Justin_Paplus on October 8, 2013

      Congrats to the whole team, you are really bringing something new to the videogame world. Can't wait to see that in action !

    11. Missing_small

      Creator ninjaman999 on October 8, 2013

      Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo
      Wheres the ink? :o

    12. Clark_gable_-_avatar.small

      Creator Luca on October 7, 2013

      ...Unpredictable and physics-driven complex combat is a must no other game of this kind has ever had... can't wait! This game has potentials to be a truly innovative gem.

    13. Movie_nightmare_before_christmas_3d_321965.small

      Creator Emil Gustafsson on October 7, 2013

      This does sound promising, but I do hope you gonna add team commands so the Ai tries to act as the leader of the group desires, instead of a mob who hack and slashes down each other as well the enemy.
      But Im looking forward to see this video.

    14. Spacebat_astronaut.small

      Creator Luke Groves on October 7, 2013

      Sounds great, I cannot wait to be playing this game!

      I eagerly anticipate the video, it sounds like there have been some massive improvements to the game.

      @Berk I can imagine there being some form of sparring arena and training area in the game, perhaps have one in your home village for training a militia?

    15. Missing_small

      Creator pascal swiercz on October 7, 2013

      Is there any consideration being put into whether or not environments will be dynamic/destructible? Not that I'm imagining there would be a lot of things leveling the environment, but I can imagine if there were say spells or some sort of explosion or collision that it might serve to impact the environment in some way such as crumbling a wall or destroying a cart, or knocking over a guard tower.

    16. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator theweirdn8 on October 7, 2013

      Did you get my message?

    17. Missing_small

      Creator David Elsea on October 7, 2013

      @Berk Looking forward to it! Overcoming a challenge is the best part!

      It would be cool to be able to see where the AI's cursor is, when they time attacks and such. But I suppose this can be accomplished just by playing carefully

    18. Tw2-wolf2_quadrat.small

      Creator LordCrash - OD | OOoE | WoOS on October 7, 2013

      Cool update, looking forward to the next video.

    19. Missing_small

      Creator Pontus Broden Svensson on October 7, 2013

      Wow that sounds awesome! Nice going to the entire team!

    20. Missing_small

      Creator Berk on October 7, 2013

      Lovely update BM as always !
      @David Elsea: No training mode is likely gonna ever exist, you gonna die A LOT which is pretty likely !

    21. Missing_small

      Creator David Elsea on October 7, 2013

      Since the AI have the same inputs a player does, is there anyway we could see what the AI is doing to perform certain actions? I'm imagining a training mode or a combat arena of some sort.

      I'm anticipating being bad at the game and wanting to get better :)

      Keep up the good work!

    22. Missing_small

      Creator saluk on October 7, 2013

      I always am fascinated by fancy AI systems - and in my own game development I tend to wander down that rabbit hole and never find my way up. I think it's important to remember to keep it fun - the older zelda games for example had very poor ai, but the enemy patterns were interesting and varied enough to keep combat exciting, even though the monsters couldn't even navigate the maze to get to you. Very excited to see what you are coming up with. Thanks for the update!

    23. Ninja-squirrel-thumb14176769.small

      Creator Grommy on October 7, 2013

      Now that's an amazing update!

    24. Kickstarterpain.small

      Creator Donald M Pollack on October 7, 2013

      Sounds fantastic. Can't wait to see what you guys have been cooking up over the last 10 months.

    25. Missing_small

      Creator Louis DAURAT on October 7, 2013

      yeah! definitely!

    26. Missing_small

      Creator Ola Fornander on October 7, 2013

      Looking forward to the video!

6,931
Backers
£160,055
pledged of £150,000 goal
0
seconds to go
Bmelogo.medium

See full bio

  • Pledge £10 or more
    You selected

    3871 backers

    Digital copy of the game on release, at a low price for your early support. Downloadable DRM free directly from us.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £15 or more
    You selected

    297 backers

    Previous reward plus digital soundtrack.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £20 or more
    You selected

    1534 backers

    Previous reward plus early access to beta versions of the game and our insider forum.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £30 or more
    You selected

    150 backers

    EXTRA TIER: Digital copy of the game and soundtrack on release, plus exclusive access to frequent downloadable videos of commentated game footage showing new features as they are developed. *PLEASE NOTE THIS TIER IS NOT INCLUDED WITH HIGHER PLEDGES*

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £40 or more
    You selected

    604 backers

    Previous rewards plus access to alpha versions and an additional copy of the game upon release.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £60 or more
    You selected

    125 backers

    Includes everything from the previous reward tier plus exclusive access to frequent downloadable videos of commentated game footage showing new features as they are developed.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £80 or more
    You selected

    164 backers

    Collector's edition. Physical boxed copy of the game on release, which will include the soundtrack and manual. Includes all previous reward tiers.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add £5 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £100 or more
    You selected

    67 backers

    Collector's edition+. Physical boxed copy of the game on release, which will include the soundtrack and manual. Includes all previous reward tiers plus an additional two digital copies of the game.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add £5 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £150 or more
    You selected

    20 backers All gone!

    Use a dedicated tool to design the appearance, traits and outfits of a character that will appear in the game. You can suggest a name and background but we reserve the right to adjust them. Includes everything from the £100 reward tier.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add £5 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £150 or more
    You selected

    20 backers All gone!

    Design the appearance and provide a short description of a weapon that will be appear in game. We will create something based on your guidelines and provide you with inside information on where it may be found! Includes everything from the £100 reward tier.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £250 or more
    You selected

    9 backers Limited (11 left of 20)

    Use a standalone editor to design a 60 by 60 metre section of terrain that will be integrated and featured in the game. You will also be able to place some structures. Subject to our relaxed guidelines and review. Includes everything from the £100 reward tier.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add £5 to ship outside the UK
  • Pledge £300 or more
    You selected

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    Have a one hour VOIP call with Madoc Evans during which you can discuss any aspect of the game. Includes everything from the £100 reward tier.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £2,000 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Spend a day with the 5 core members of the development team doing whatever you want (within reason). You can even try your hand at designing something for the game using our full blown toolset. You can bring one other person with you. Includes the £100 tier rewards. Must be able to travel to Siena, Italy.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)