Project image
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$47,074
pledged of $1,000,000pledged of $1,000,000 goal
1,388
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Dec 4 2012
$47,074
pledged of $1,000,000pledged of $1,000,000 goal
1,388
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Dec 4 2012

An Overview

Posted by G3 Studios (Creator)

I have taken everyone’s comments and thoughts into consideration and I have decided that I will give you a general overview over Thorvalla at a macro level to make sure everyone gets a better feel for what exactly it is we are trying to build.

The game is essentially a group of components that work together and I will tackle them one by one for you.

Character Generation
This is where it all begins. Even though the player begins with a single character, you will be able to adjust many elements. Additional party members are recruited as the game progresses, but more on that later. 

Character stats will be quite detailed. Perhaps not the kind of super-micro-management we had in Realms of Arkania, but still detailed enough to allow for plenty of customized play.

The player can chose from eight classes.

  • Warrior
  • Scout
  • Shadow Dancer - a Thief-like class
  • Monk - a tank with some basic magic abilities
  • Druid - a tank mage with focus on magic based in nature
  • Wizard/Witch
  • Sorcerer
  • Demonizer - a spell caster class that draw its powers from demons of all shapes and forms


Characters will also have the following, fairly standard set of attributes. I am not sure I am entirely happy with these yet, so I may tweak these a little as we go along.

  • Brawn/Strength
  • Dexterity
  • Agility
  • Wisdom
  • Soul
  • Charisma

Combat skills are calculated from these attributes and cover Attack, Damage, Defense and Armor. Note, that Armor is not an armor class rating but an actual point value. I’ve always found that much more intuitive and easier to read while playing games.

In addition, there will be calculated general magic skills, of course, such as Magic Attack and Magic Defense. On top of those come the elemental magic armors against Fire, Water, Ice, and so on, which are item, spell or effect driven during actual gameplay.

Then, to deepen characters, there will be the traits and skills. Look for things such as various weapon skills for Swords, Axes, Two-handed weapons, staffs, projectile weapons, etc. Unarmed fighting skills will also be included, particularly for the Monk class, which you will find have tremendous bonuses here because I like Martial Arts. :-)

Other, more general traits will include things such as Charming, Taunting, Temptation - which is important because there will be succubi in the game -, Dragon Taming, Lock-Picking, Stealth, Tracking, Languages, Cultures, Herbal Knowledge, Poison and pure Luck, to name a few. As we design the story and quests, etc. we will make sure to create proper challenges and plot branches that make the most of each of these attributes so that you will feel that they truly have purpose.

Travel Map
The game will feature a travel map that is very similar in its looks and feel to the one found in Blade of Destiny. I always loved that relief look with the jagged line crawling over it representing the traveling party, and in high resolution it will look even cooler.

Since we are traveling overland like this, Camping will also be an important part of the game, particularly to restore health and mana. Yes, the game features a mana-based magic system that will restore itself over time and with rest.

Camps also serve for additional random encounters. Not only with monsters, and bandits and such, but also with other travelers, who might then happen to share information with you - or perhaps, they’re just out to slit your throats, after all.


The travel map will contain countless events, encounters and plot points that will be unlocked during the game. Some of them driven through the story, your characters, others through certain skills, others yet by chance. If you’ve played Blade of Destiny, I think you know exactly what to expect.

Towns and Dungeons
When we leave the map and enter towns, dungeons or other locations of interest, the game will switch to a top-down view. My preference currently is an isometric view that will give you a good overview of your surroundings and offer us the ability to make it look really cool. The environments will be interactive, so you can click on things to activate them. The same goes for monsters and NPCs that will wander these areas, naturally.

We will have demo screens for this shortly to give you a good idea what this top-down view will look like in the actual game, but I am sure all of you have played an isometric game at one point in their life. The screens will also give you a good impression of the level of quality and the look we are aiming for.

For us currently, one point of discussion is whether we should make it isometric, which is the way Planescape: Torment looks, or whether we should go for a different view in which the elements farther away from the viewer are scaled down to create a proper perspective, while still keeping monsters etc. as 2D sprites. The third option is to create it as a 3D world entirely, in which case it would look more like, say Diablo 3 or Star Craft 2. Needless to say, though, Thorvalla will play entirely differently than Diablo.

None of these are bad choices, but considering that each have their own unique strengths and limitations we have to spend some time on determining what is most important to us and which of these approaches fits our needs the most. I personally prefer the 2D approach but there are very valid reasons to use the other alternatives. My experience has taught me that time invested here is time well spent down the line, because decisions like these cannot really be reverted easy further down the line. It is truly where 30 years of making games pays big dividends.

If we were to go 2D, we would use a framework called Voodoo that I have developed, maintained and used for the past 10+ years. I recently decided to port it from OpenGL to SDL to make sure it runs on as many platforms as possible, but the graphic engine is only a part of Voodoo. It also includes all other sorts of components necessary to write games. If we decide to go 2.5D or 3D, the choice will be the Unity engine, very clearly. That just for the tech-heads among you.

Combat
Now we get into an area that is probably the most difficult to describe. My basic idea revolves around the concept of creating attack formations. If you have ever played Might&Magic: Clash of Heroes, you may know what I am referring to. But before you dismiss it, please let me explain this in more detail, because what I am planning to do is quite a bit more elaborate as to infuse it with the elements of true RPG combat.

Imagine you have two opposing sides. Like in a game of chess, both opponents have their “figurines.” This is where the card concept comes in that I mentioned before. Instead of having the player battle out his fight physically, he is using his powers to do so, represented by cards. It is an abstraction.

Here is an example. The player has a number of sword attack cards and they are dropped randomly on his side of the battlefield, along with some defensive cards, perhaps, traps, enhancements and spells - all coming from a deck of cards the player put together earlier. Now, the player has to combine these cards. He has a number of moves in each round to do so. He can, for example, combine three attack cards, turning them into an attack formation by lining them up accordingly. It is essentially the equivalent to selecting "Attack" in a traditional RPG.

From there he can then fine-tune the attack with a menu selection and decide whether he wants it to be strong, which takes time to charge, or fast, which results in a weaker attack but might be exactly what you need in order to destroy an opposing attack formation before it strikes you. While the attack is being charged, the player can then modify the attack formation with other cards to strengthen it, or to apply certain elemental damage modificators, such as adding fire to the attack, etc. Are you still with me?

Eventually, the attack unfolds and the player storms to the other side of the battlefield to attack the opponent. Now, the effects are determined in the traditional way RPGs are determining combat damage, etc. Your character’s stats determine the amount of damage you’re doing, your abilities will determine the chances to evade an incoming attack, and so forth. This, of course, is all shown visually on a hex-grid battlefield, again in an isometric view.

Magic attacks work essentially the same way, as do things such as traps, parries, blocks, etc. They will have to be activated by grouping them together and then unleashing them on the opponent. Of course, the opponent will do the same to you in return. So, round for round, each will work on a way to defeat the opponent, using their limited number of moves per round to maximize the impact of their actions.

Once cards have been used in a round they disappear from the battlefield and go back into the card deck. At any time the player can replenish the battlefield with cards from the deck - at a cost.

There is a certain randomness to the battle but most of it is decided by proper tactics. If you plan lines of attack carefully you can deal out devastating blows that can wipe out the opponent in a single attack.

I know that this kind of combat is highly unconventional and I also understand that it might be a bit tricky to envision right now. However, in my opinion it has tremendous strengths and can be a lot of fun, particularly because it feels much less repetitive than traditional combat. What’s more is that the player really has to get involved in the tactics of combat because the opponent’s AI can always counter your moves. In that respect it actually has a lot in common with chess.

It has enormous potential once you begin to think about the possibilities that present themselves here. Every new character in your party will bring new cards to the mix that you can draw upon and modify your combat strategies. To me it is a cool way to reinvigorate RPG combat in a way that is fresh but is still very much inspired and faithful to the capabilities of traditional RPG combat systems. I hope that now that I have explained it in a little more detail, you can also get excited about the concept. To me this is what Kickstarter is about. The ability to try something new, and I hope that you will support that notion. I cannot guarantee at this point that this combat system will be all that I think it is. Play testing will show that, but I also want you to rest assured in the knowledge that if I get the impression that it doesn’t play right and just doesn’t work out the way I had envisioned it, I will be the first to toss it out and replace it with a traditional turn-based system in the vein of the “Realms of Arkania” games. Just have a little faith in me and let us give this concept a fair shake. If it doesn’t work, at least we can collectively say that we tried, scrap it and go back to the roots.

Deck building
Since we are using cards for combat, we will also need a way to properly arrange and build the card decks to maximize the impact. The player will be able to create predefined card sets that he can quickly draw upon at the start of combat. He can have a specialized set to fight non-magic users, for example, another one against spell casters, a third preset for combat that is highly offensive, another preset that is more defensive and focuses on blocking incoming attacks as good as possible because they would be so devastating that they would instantly defeat the player. (Think dragons…)

Dialogue
The game will feature plenty of dialogue and as a result a proper dialogue system is imperative. To that effect, I am thinking of a text parser with natural language input. You know, the kind Text Adventures had in the 80s.

No, I’m just kidding, of course, but now that I think of it…

No, seriously. We will use a multiple-choice system for dialogues in the game. Time has shown us that it is the best way to deal with dialogue in games such as this to properly manage flow and make it user-friendly for the player.

Conclusion
That pretty much wraps up the overview of the game's key components. There is nothing in there to be afraid of. It’s essentially all stuff we have done many times before and have proven in the past that we can do it better than most other developers, whether it's the stat management, travel maps or hard core RPG combat. It's the reason why many of you are such ardent fans of our previous games. Not to mention the involving, deep stories and character interaction that we will include to wrap it all up in.

Tomorrow I will tell you a little more about Party Building because it also has an interesting aspect to it that I believe you guys will love, so look forward to that.

For now, thank you all for supporting us and for hanging in there with us. We realize that this project has difficulties, of course, but we are putting every effort into getting the necessary information out to you.

Comments

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    1. Nathaniel Gipson on

      no multi play ? :( I was hoping for a NwN flavor

    2. G3 Studios 2-time creator on

      @Daniel, first person was never even a consideration I am glad to report. :)

    3. Some Guy on

      Go all 3d and keep it Isometric. Do NOT do First Person please. I like looking at the environment around me and seeing the little details.

    4. Missing avatar

      David Nielsen on

      I am really excited to see that this might be another fantastic Unity powered game. I am a huge fan of that engine and its ability to bring games to every relevant platform known to mankind (pretty much).

      I am greatly looking forward to seeing where this goes, I am a classic p&p RPG gamer with a leaning towards light rules and deep story/setting. Thorvalla sounds like it will fill a niche for me, I am especially looking forward to a return to turn based combat. Real time combat always felt like it took away some of the joy I used to find in the old AD&D games on the Amiga, where you could plan your moves out and it genuinely felt more like combat as I set it up when P&P gaming.

    5. G3 Studios 2-time creator on

      @Alexander, I personally believe that negative traits are almost more important that the positive ones because they define how we actively react to any given situation, whereas positive ones act more as a reinforcement of what we would do anyway. Therefore, yes, negative attributes are part of the formula.

    6. G3 Studios 2-time creator on

      Thank you so much for the show of confidence, guys. It means a lot to all of us here. there is another update coming shortly with more specifics, so keep your eyes peeled for it. :)

    7. Aerouge
      Superbacker
      on

      Wow thanks for the update :) This fleshes out (roughly) what the game will be like and I like the idea!

      So now it´s up to us backers to get the word out... we need 33k$ per day to reach the goal and are already 2 days late ... so spread the word... I know I will :)

    8. ekster
      Superbacker
      on

      Thanks for the detailed update! I was a bit worried at first at the mention of cards, but I like the way it's sounding so far. Sounds like the combat will involve a lot more tactics that I had expected... which is great! I always loved the 'tactics' version of RPGs. And some kind of visual to get an even better idea would be great... even if it's in chicken scratch. :D

    9. Missing avatar

      Irenaeus on

      This update was life-saver for me. It's an impressive presentation.

    10. Darklord on

      Sounds good, innovation is rare, so fingers crossed this reaches it's goals!

    11. Stewart "Zoot" Wymer
      Superbacker
      on

      I suggest instead of Demonizer (who sounds like some sort of castigator) maybe the class of diabolist, infernalist? Demon-Dancer? Was impressed by the coherency of this update addressing some core concepts to the game. Enjoyed the RoA series and an extension of that, maybe with a slightly less arcane RPG game mechanic underneath it (Dragon's Eye has its charm, however, but I like what you've come up with yourself instead) and it's shaping up nicely.

      Maybe I'm slightly concerned about the Demonizer title since I want to be one :)

    12. Alexander Lyakhov on

      @Guido: Do you plan to implement some negative character traits? (phobias and such).

    13. G3 Studios 2-time creator on

      You know it, Damjan. It'll be filled with wicked stuff. We just talked about a bunch of cool ideas this afternoon.

    14. Damjan Mozetič on

      Guido, you really got me at Travel Map and Camping - oh, and Herbal Knowledge. That had to be the best stuff in the RoA games.

      If you and Neal manage to create interesting characters and twisty plot like in Betrayal at Krondor, that would be mind-blowing.

    15. Kahuna Kevin on

      Exactly! Dungeon Master, Eye of The Beholder, Grimrock... Not just exploring but managing your light source, carefully looking out for traps, listening for monsters, searching for food and stumbling upon rooms of loot just don't have as much nail biting suspense at the newer, faster paced fully 3D games.

    16. G3 Studios 2-time creator on

      There is something to that one step at a time kind of exploration of dungeons, isn't there? "Legend of Grimrock" reminded me just how engaging and suspenseful that can be.

    17. Kahuna Kevin on

      Chiming in just to say I fully support an overhead 2D project, even a mix of simulated 3D first person grid based dungeon crawling. Too many 3D free roaming RPGs as of late. Bring it back to the basics, i.e. the games and mechanics we all fondly remember while playing these newer "better looking" games with overly simplified mechanics. As long as there's a real sense of exploring the unknown, adventure (land/sea), deadly surprises around dark corners and engaging game play, I really could care less if it looked like Tunnels of Doom on the TI-99... thumbs up!

    18. G3 Studios 2-time creator on

      I think people who have played my games before know that I am not afraid to challenge the player. It's the reason why I said this game will be hard. You will save your game and you will save it often.

      You are making a very valid point here but I've found that in practice it's actually working surprisingly well. There is some learning involved and it typically looks like this…

      First you go in with all guns blazing but you lose because you realize the opponent actually fights back and you need to set up some kind of protection just to survive.

      The next step is that you begin to play extremely defensively. It will work at first but you soon realize that the fights take forever because you spend virtually all your time keeping your defenses up and never have the time to actually launch any attacks.

      At that point you try balance your play and you try to fathom out your opponents weaknesses so that you can go directly for the throat. You ramp up defense where it's necessary and create lines of attack where they do the most damage. From there you will develop an instinctive sense for the game almost that will yield results.

      Sure, you will still die frequently, but you will learn from it because it shows exactly you what you did wrong, where your defenses were weak or that your attack was too weak or in the wrong place.

      I find this kind of play very, very satisfying, especially because once you defeat the opponent you know that YOU played a major part in it and that it was not just a matter of one guy's stats eclipsing the other's. That satisfaction creates a sense that you want to try it on another, stronger opponent, and voila, you have the player hooked…

    19. G3 Studios 2-time creator on

      Thanks for the show of faith, guys. I truly appreciate the sentiment.
      As for a representation I'd love to show you guys what it actually looks like but the mock-ups I have here are so dog-gone hideous - I'm not much of an artist, really - that I can't show them. We'll still try to find a way to get something to see in that respect as soon as possible.

    20. Sheggo on

      ....how to begin?!.... :)
      first of all: I'm very happy to read the new detailed infos about combat systems. I read the first infos earlier and today I thought "wow, he really means CARDS; not just as a phrase" :D
      after thinking about this fact for a little time I have to say: yeah, it really has a high potential and a huge grade of tactical depth!

      BUT (of course a BUT ;) ) the complete gameplay rises and falls with the grade of AI and balancing. nearly every game with tactical depth I played comes to a point where the player is absolutly overpowered or just cannon fodder. what if the player skilled "wrong" (not matching to the deck)? or the player is a tactical dumbass? He won't have much fun with the game at all...

      Don't missunterstand me. I'm really looking forward to the game. I need a real challenge and best entertainment after that stupid CODs and BFs and, yes, Skyrim.

      @Guido: I'm sure you do the best you can and I hope there are enough players interested in difficult games ;)
      The first step should be to reach many more backers. Show more artworks, videos, etc. Just visualisation for some rich kids around...

    21. Alexander Lyakhov on

      @Guido: May be it will be useful to make some graphical (schematic) presentation for combat mechanics.
      It`s indeed difficult to describe it with text only.

    22. Dan Porsa on

      Good to have faith rewarded, didn't think I was backing a 'back of a fag-packet' project. don't worry too much about the negative comments, people just love to weigh in with an opinion online, and they love to pick a loser, almost as much as they like to be on the winning side. KS is a marathon, not a sprint. Big successes have blinded people to it's real nature. Keep pushing it, because the people those people who aren't calling it a failure (so soon!) on the boards, don't think it is, or will be.

    23. Storm Blade on

      Aye, sir, that is indeed a good start.

      "raises a mug"

    24. Missing avatar

      Sami on

      That's an excellent start ! Thanks for reading through the comments section & acting on the community's recommandations.