About this project
A pledge of even a single dollar will get to play the game!
A mysterious Rift has torn it’s way backwards through time and space, echoing from an event that hasn't happened yet. Begin your journey in one of three timelines to unravel a sequence of events leading to the end of all life on Earth.
In 1200 AD, the forests of Europe are alive with magic and secrets lost to time. When the Rift tears through the land, whole kingdoms vanish, new threats and monsters terrorize the people. Once great Camelot lies in ruins, and rumors speak of Avalon appearing in the mists.
In 2000 AD, a world unlike the one you know, a history changed sometime in the distant past. A world of industry built upon Magic as a source of energy. With the appearance of the Rift the world is losing its magic at an accelerated rate. Society on the brink of destruction, a World War on the rise. A solution is promised, a machine to control the Rift and turn it against the enemies of Europe.
In 2400 AD, magic is all but lost in a world wracked by a war that nearly destroyed it. Society is split in two, the great Dome Cities rising above the ruins below. War has been declared again, but no one knows against whom. The Rift appeared the day the moon was split in two, the world is doomed to destruction, and no one knows who is responsible.
The mysteries at the core of each of these timelines, improbably connected across time, will reveal the threads of a plot spanning millennia. Secrets that will question the history of the world itself.
A storyline spanning across six major timelines and countless minor Rifts. Discover a world much like our own, as you uncover the lore of an altered history more and more divergent across time. Is there a source? A common point where something changed, or simply a picture of ‘a world that could have been,’ if myths and legends were true?
Whether you are a Gamer, Modder or a Developer, you may want to read through this section to know just what this project is really trying to accomplish.
I don’t just want to make this game. I want to inspire and empower other individuals to step forward and make the next leap in Indie Gaming. Some people love Indie Games. For others it’s a term synonymous with low quality, cheap advertising, and micro-transaction games on their phones.
To that end, I want to take the crowd-funded model in a whole new direction. With enough investment to properly make the game, and hopefully be able to eat for the next couple of years, I can’t honestly see any reason to continue to make money off of the game.
You might have to read that last sentence again. It’s okay, I really did type that.
I want to redefine what it means to produce a Free game with no micro-transactions or pay to win mechanics. More than that, I want to be able to turn around and make everything that went into this game freely available to anyone with an interest in game design. All the code and scripting released under Open Source licensing. All the 3d models, textures, and assets under Creative Commons to be freely usable by all. The Game itself DRM free, with no user analytics monitoring your gameplay, or a required net connection of any kind.
(Creative Commons Attribution4.0, and Open Source Apache2.0)
I want to create, not just a game, but a platform to hand the community all the tools they would need to go beyond just reviving a genre. This project has the potential to be one of the largest repositories of game development resources to be found anywhere on the web.
If you are a developer than you know that complete game projects are incredibly hard to find. And high quality project files with access to everything that went into the game just don’t exist for download and easy access. Something I feel is holding the growth of all of us back. Looking at the development and modding communities out there, I can only imagine what people could do with a full game to work with and learn from.
If we can work together to make this campaign a success, I hope it will inspire more developers to follow the same ideal. Crowdsourcing is a new and innovative means of financing, it deserves a new and innovative business model to go along with it.
Shattered Time is a Class-less and Level-less system. You will not be gaining mythical “XP” in ever more ridiculous proportions, handed out like candy in a back alley every time you help Timmy out of the well, or smack a sick and helpless baby Goblin over the head with a club.
Rather than gaining “Power” in bizarre and oddly unexplained leaps of ability, you will gain power and ability through the equipment and items you find throughout the game.
“Experience” is more or less assumed to have happened, since you will have had to acquire those items through some means. The more powerful the item, the more difficult it will be to acquire. Many of them will be wielded by someone or something else, requiring you to defeat the very item or spell you are trying to acquire.
This makes a very important change to the dynamics of quest rewards. For both the player and the developer. It means that quests can no longer be tossed into the game with a random decimal point increase on the mythical “XP” reward. There must be something of value to the player.
So how does a classless RPG system work?
At the outset of character creation you will be faced with direct choices in “Stat Alignment.” Your stats will determine what your character can do, rather than a specific class choice.
Lets take a look at the first character choice you will face:
Strength vs Intelligence
You start with equal points in both of these stats. A balanced “class” that is completely playable if you prefer to skip the character creation steps.
If you want to specialize, however, you will have to sacrifice one to boost the other. You can subtract points from strength, for example, and have a higher intelligence. Or subtract intelligence to increase strength.
Do you want to be a powerful spellcaster, or a trickster with gadgets and guile? Or do you prefer to wade into battle, armored head to toe and wielding martial weapons?
The choice is up to you, or create your own balance somewhere between.
Dexterity vs Constitution
Higher evasion for a chance to avoid damage altogether, or more hitpoints to just withstand it? Do you want higher critical chances or better concentration for memorizing spells?
Magic vs Tech
This choice is paramount in character creation, regardless of the “class” you are intending to create. Even a melee based character will want to use Magic or Tech based weapons and items, the power and abilities of those items will be determined by this choice.
There are three primary lines of skills and abilities in the game. All of them are found through gameplay rather than unlocked with levels or skill points.
Each of these have their own system and means of use described below.
(Functional mockup of the GUI system, not indicative of the final design.)
Your skills and abilities come from the weapons and items you use. Additionally each individual piece of armor is equipable. From left and right gloves and boots, to vambraces and shoulders, thighs and shin pieces. If you want those precious skills and abilities, you have to sacrifice an armor slot to equip them.
Do you want energy shielding, plasma rifles and cloaking generators? Then tech is probably more your style. Tech weapons and items run on Charges, which have to be recharged at specific places or by specific NPC's. Simple and easy to find in a future timeline, but in the medieval past, that fancy Phase Disruptor could run out of charges in the middle of a dungeon.
Tech is almost exclusively activated abilities. Occupying the familiar range of abilities from magic like attacks, to skills like stealth, picking locks, and even knockbacks.
Fireball spells, illusions, control spells? Magic might be more your thing. Magic works through memorization, and spells you have memorized will recharge slowly when your Concentration is full. There may be no charge packs to speak of, but with magic fading from the future it can have unexpected results with higher failure rates.
Magic is learned from spell tomes, then memorized. It’s the only means of gaining a skill without having an item physically equipped. There are still magic items as well, offering static bonuses, such as raising an Affinity, or even a primary stat.
Magitech really is a combination of both. It functions much like tech, acts like spells, and runs on the user’s natural magic power, requiring concentration instead of Chargepacks.
While it doesn’t suffer from increased failure rates in the future, or from lack of charge packs in the past, If your concentration is depleted, you won’t be able to use Magitech.
There are two types of Affinities: Physical and Elemental.
Offering more than just resistance to damage, they can also increase the damage and effectiveness of related spells and abilities.
Characters start with zero affinities. Raising certain stats during character creation offers slight bonuses from the start. Affinities can then be gained from equipment and items, raising an affinity to 100 will offer complete immunity to sources of damage, and even conditional effects related to that Affinity.
Physical and Elemental Affinities have some unique differences.
- Physical affinities, such as Poison or Slow, will max out at 100. Something that will require dedication and time to find enough pieces of equipment to achieve, and may leave you vulnerable to many other effects.
- Elemental resistances can be raised above 100, allowing a magic user to actually gain health from specific elemental attacks. Or even from his/her own attacks and spell failures. This additional tactical element comes with it’s own drawbacks, however, as Elemental Affinities are more often linked. An item which raises Fire Affinity will generally lower your Ice Affinity as well.
As the game progresses, more and more enemies will have higher Affinities of their own. This adds a much more tactical element to the progressive combat difficulty for all characters.
Spell tomes will not drop randomly from every squirrel, but rather each of the sixty planned spells for the game will be found in a specific location.
Similarly there will be many unique Tech and Magitech items and weapons, as well as the more powerful Legendary Armor. The Latter being divided among several quests.
Of course there will be plenty of things to buy and loot as well. Inventory management will be a bit more complex than most, but you won’t be constantly upgrading as you find slightly better items every time you gain a level.
There will still be points where the available gear may reach new heights and you will find everything is better than what you have. These will be less often, and hopefully much more challenging and rewarding when they do happen. Ideally the most powerful and difficult to acquire items will be useful for the entirety of the game.
One piece of a Legendary suit of armor, found during the first chapter of the game, will still be a powerful item by the end of the game.
Support tiers, even a single dollar will eventually have access to the public release of the game. Support the purchase of coffee, mineral water and Thai food that directly results in code output.
The "Developer Access" tiers have been removed. The source files for the game will be made availible to everyone shortly after the forums are up and running. Anyone will be able to offer input, modifications, and suggestions during the course of the entire project.
Early Access Tiers, support the development process and gain access to the game and other rewards six months before the official release of the game.
Special Access Tiers, support the technology that will make this project happen. Starting with the Special Edition early access package. And with the developer access tier you can have access to the source code, models, textures, sound files and other game assets six months before the project is released.
Creative Input Tiers, support the entrepreneurial Open Source initiative. It's not just my own dream I want to bring to reality. Setting myself up to essentially forfeit any monetization of the game post-launch is out of my desire to give back to the community. These tiers will give you a voice within the game, an opportunity to tell your own story.
Additionally, all physical rewards will be one-time prints specifically created for backers. Featuring unique cover art and dedication pages for all those who made this project possible.
There will also be a number of contests and rewards, both digital and physical, given out on the forums over the course of development which will be available to all backers.
Risks and challenges
There are two kinds of "Indie Game" and there are two kinds of "Indie Developer."
There are Developers gone Independent: embracing crowdsource funding to get out from the thumb of overarching publishers. Big names leaving big money behind and getting back to the roots of what makes a game worth making.
And then there are Independents gone Developer. Starting out and stretching their roots to do what they love and make something amazing. Coming from nowhere and risking everything to achieve a dream.
The biggest risk is that I am firmly in the second category. I don't have a name or a history in the gaming industry to fall back on. The best thing I have to show is what I can do. I'm setting myself up for the biggest challenge of my life. But honestly, I want to rise to that challenge as much as I want to make this game.
There are a number of potential issues with a project this size. Skills and ability aside, I am still working on my own, developing a game typically reserved for much larger groups. If I am sick, injured or even just traveling / visiting family, productivity decreases. Generally this becomes a planning phase, where ideas and processes are set in motion to be acted upon as soon as i am able to.
Additionally, the legal requirements for creating an Open Source game preclude me from simply "buying" my way to solutions. Nothing can go into the project unless it can be given away for free when the game is complete.
It's ultimately preferable to create as much of the content as I can.
Reaching out to the community for assets is certainly a possibility. A number of projects out there are "crowdsourcing" their art assets to make development easier, and potentially faster. I think this is a great idea, but it's not a solution I intend to rely on, or even plan for. I have all the skills to produce everything the game would require, and often function at my best when multitasking. Though it remains an option further into development.
The additional primary challenge will be in the story creation. Creating a dialogue driven story with three basic options per tree is roughly equivalent to writing three different stories. And the personality system I have in mind is quite a bit more complex than that on the development side. I'm planning on the game having 300k words of dialogue, minimum. I want much more than that.
Story creation is a challenge I don't expect to have an issue facing. It will just require time. Content and story creation are expected to be 80% of the time spent in development. The gameplay and mechanisms should see a near complete state within six months. Alpha stage 1 to be released by the end of the year. Feedback at that point will be of utmost importance for further development and refining of the gameplay mechanics.
From that point, baring any major changes after Alpha stage 1, work will be almost exclusively content creation and story. Don't expect to find a single item in the game without lore attached.
Still not sure if you should pledge? Surely, a single dollar is worth the risk for a project of this scope.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Unity is a closed source game engine, how is Shattered Time going to be an open source game? What license do you plan to release under?
I certainly don't have claim to release the Unity "engine."
What I am going to do is release all the game assets under creative commons, and all the scripts under Open source. The "core" of the game. Unity is closed source, but the indie version (which I am currently using) is free to download and use. The only thing the paid "pro" license has, really, is better tools for optimizing the game, more rendering options, and more realistic water effects. "Polishing" tools to make the final game look and run better.
That said if I update to Unity pro, (the optimization tools would be useful) I intend to be certain the project file is compatible with the free version on release. Unity only disables specific features related to pro, so there is no inherent compatibility problems with a project built in pro.
The end result being that anyone can download the free version of Unity, the project file for Shattered Time, and immediately load up the game ready to be rebuilt or modified on a whim.
Unity Technologies' own credo, that anyone should be able to develop games, is very much in line with my own ideals for this game. And nothing else allows for crossplatform development with nearly the ease that Unity3d has.
As for which license(s) I intend to use for the scripting, I honestly haven't decided yet. I don't have any desire to maintain rights beyond the name of the game. I believe http://opensource.org/licenses/Apache-2.0 serves my needs.
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