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Embrace the night. Live the nightmare. Climb from rags to riches as a modern Vampire in a city where your secret has been revealed.
Embrace the night. Live the nightmare. Climb from rags to riches as a modern Vampire in a city where your secret has been revealed.
3,934 backers pledged $136,128 to help bring this project to life.

Play The Nighthawks Demo!

Posted by Richard Cobbett
60 likes
The first hit's always free...
The first hit's always free...

Okay. I wasn't originally planning to do this, but enough people have asked if they could play the actual demo build from the trailer that I figured... okay, sure, why not? 

But with a few caveats! First, this was written with the specific goal of showing a vertical slice of the game, so it's much - almost infinitely - more restricted than the real thing will be. Second, it's not particularly optimised, and you may encounter some bugs. It should run fine, but please stick to 16:9 if given an option, and unfortunately this one is Windows only due to some video playback issues on Mac OS. Additionally, when you get to the end of the demo, it'll automatically quit. If you need out before then, press ALT-F4.

Download the demo from Dropbox!

(Feel free to stream, share, screenshot, or any of that stuff.)

My plan is that after Kickstarter, the rest of this year will be spent on programming and design, with the goal being to release a fully engineered, more comprehensive tech-test demo that will be explicitly for bug-hunting and similar, versus essentially 'built to run on Richard's PC'. I also have a long list of features I plan to implement, including support for controllers, colour-blindness tweaks, static backgrounds just in case your machine chokes on the video, and aspect ratios. Think of this one as a sneak peek, with the usual back-covering that we have no liability for anything going wrong if you download and run it. I'm not sure what could happen, but nevertheless, on thine own head be it if it does.

All of that said, hope you enjoy! The path is restricted, but there's a fair bit more dialogue that you won't have seen in the trailer video. And hopefully it'll give you the tiniest, tiniest taste of the atmosphere we're looking to bring you with the real game.

Remember, if you want to play the full game, pledge and share! We're entering the final week, and every dollar counts if we're going to bring you this cool RPG.

Keel Curtis, Red L, and 58 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      We'll be looking at options, but what I'm more interested in Ben and Ivan focusing on are allowing the characters to have different outfits, etc, for different things. Like, Becca has a few costume changes, and some of the NPCs have distinct looks for things like where they work and when they're out hunting with you. They're pretty detailed portraits, so they take quite a bit of time to make. We'll see how it goes though!

    2. Debbie Jackson on

      The issues around distraction and immersion breaking make sense :)

    3. Debbie Jackson on

      One thing you could do, I suppose - and this is entirely dependent on what direction your story actually takes - is to draw three or four versions of companion characters and change which ones come up depending on the situation. For example if one of them is injured or reduced to starvation at some point, they could have a raging, desperate, messy appearance.

    4. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      About character animation - we've considered it, but the basic problem is that half-animation is kinda more awkward than none, especially when you're going with posed characters. You see SOMETHING move, like lips or eyes, and it draws your attention to how the rest of the character is static. This is a common problem with 2D game lip-sync - the throat, the chin, the eyes etc being fixed, no matter how much the mouth is flapping around.

      Our approach is to try and (ignoring the ambient effects) capture a moment in time with the art-style, so that it's not literally 'Madame Lux is always holding up a playing card' or 'Becca is always holding that mixer', but that glimpse of her character lets you mentally fill in how she'd probably actually be moving and talking at the time. Also, the layout of the screen largely draws your eyes to the right, and too much movement on the left would be distracting.

      That's the theory, anyway! :-)

    5. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      Oblique options - I want them to be clear in terms of what you're doing, but the consequences certainly won't always be up front :-)

    6. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      Yeah, don't worry - there's going to be a lot of optimisation and options there, and I'm planning to do a test version to try and make sure that it runs on as much as possible.

    7. Debbie Jackson on

      I've had a try of the demo and I really liked it! Unfortunately, as expected, it didn't run that well on my current computer - in fact the graphics card struggled to render anything that was animated and it crashed to bluescreen maybe twenty minutes in. I am going to pledge anyway - but, I hope that when the game is released, I will be able to properly run it! So here's a big seconding vote for the idea of including static backgrounds for those on older systems! And I did like Ralph's idea for eye-blinks or other minor animation on at least the companion character, for systems at the higher end. Obviously actual lip sync is a major ask but some minor movement could really bring life to them (haha) - see Banner Saga and/or This War Of Mine for examples of low-intensity variants of that sort of animation. Again, though, an option to turn these off for older systems would be welcomed.

    8. Missing avatar

      Amy Huang on

      Can't play the demo, being on a Mac, but I'm a very new backer and loved the atmosphere in the trailer! One question: have you considered writing the player's choices more obliquely? Torment (both Tides of Numenera and Planescape) did this very well -- e.g., "You touch the artifact," where it's not clear what the intended (or actual) consequence will be. It could make the decisions feel a little less cut-and-dry, if that's in line with your goals.

    9. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      Glad you liked it! The characters aren't going to be animated, for a few reasons. I quite like the hyperlink idea though. It worked really well in Pyre and a couple of other RPGs. I'll add it to my list of things to look into. Though there won't be that much lore stuff that you need to know. I've deliberately kept it very, very light on weird terminology, group names, etc, so that you can quickly slip into what's going on without feeling like you need a splatbook.

      And yeah, I'd love to do something like Shadowrun Returns. Maybe next time :-)

    10. Missing avatar

      Ralph Damiani on

      Loved the demo! I suggest you guys add hyperlinks to your lore in the dialogue trees and descriptive text. Would also be nice to have some basic lip sync and eye blinks for the characters in the final version, just so they look a bit more lively.

      The general vibe is pitch-perfect. Very Bloodlines. Soundtrack is one area where you can go for the feels. Hope it's a big hit and that you consider an isometric version closer to Shadowrun Returns in the far future. :)

    11. Blessed on

      The demo is very good, definitely this will go down well with anyone thinking of making a pledge, and if someone is thinking to up their pledge, this will help them make up their mind.

    12. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      Glad everyone's enjoying it! :-)

    13. Ivan on

      Great demo. It is just a teaser that make me wants more.
      I will look out for more cash to bolster the pledge.

    14. Andy Linea of Sin - DOoD on

      Well, the weekend is going to be busy but I will find and suck dry enough time for the demo! Cheers

    15. AliceGarden
      Superbacker
      on

      i just play it and i really love the mood in the bar.

      The voice are perfect !

      Good job, i really want to play the full version now <3

    16. Missing avatar

      CJ Lake on

      Vampire: The Masquerade and Bloodlines is what that was supposed to say. The joys of typing on a phone. Anyway thanks again for sharing an early sneak peak!

    17. Missing avatar

      CJ Lake on

      Thank you so much Nighthawks team! I leaped on this one as soon as I saw the Kickstarter being shouted out on the Sunless Skies Kickstarter and trust both the studio (played Technobabylon) and lead writer (great content in Sunless Sea) so I'm desperate for this one to get funded. Maybe ask the Skies Team for one more plug in a couple of days? It was a great way of raising awareness.

      I shall whet my appetite with the vertical slice although I suspect it will just make release seem even more distant and the wait interminable, haha.

      One other thing - I'm not a bad writer and knowing the novels' worth of content you guys and girls have to create, I'd love to help. Location descriptions, flavour text, anything really; pro-bono and no obligation, obviously but I've been gaming since the late 80's, have played every infinity engine game, read hundred's of fantasy novels and loved Vampire: Masqueradeand Bloodl Drop me an email if you're interested

    18. Justin
      Superbacker
      on

      Downloading now, also going to push this update out to some folks, hopefully drum up a bit more interest :)

    19. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      Glad to be able to release it :-) Just hope it works okay for people. If you stick to 16:9 then it should be fine.

    20. Blessed on

      Ah it stirs :) Thank you Richard!

    21. Richard Cobbett Collaborator on

      Yay! :-)

    22. Missing avatar

      Lars Tangvald on

      My PC must be similar to Richard's, because it ran without any problems :)
      I'm a fan of the "Choice of Games" games, but the addition of high quality art and music definitely add to the atmosphere.