Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A rich, diverse Tactical RPG, envisioned by the master of the genre Yasumi Matsuno, Playdek, and you, the fans!
A rich, diverse Tactical RPG, envisioned by the master of the genre Yasumi Matsuno and you, the fans!
A rich, diverse Tactical RPG, envisioned by the master of the genre Yasumi Matsuno and you, the fans!
15,824 backers pledged $660,126 to help bring this project to life.

April Update - No Foolin Around

110 likes

Dear backers,

I want to start by apologizing for last month. I had a couple updates planned after the 1st of March, but our Shards the Deckbuilder announcement went over so poorly that I felt it was best not to spam anyone for a bit.

For Kickstarter updates going forward, we'll stick to just things related to Unsung Story. Also these updates are going to be getting a little dense. I'm exploring ways to balance the information so that backers who want this information can get it, and backers who only want to play the game wont get flooded with too many messages.

April marks an important milestone for us - the end of Pre-Production (mostly).

I'm proud of the team and the hard work they've been putting in. With the exception of Art, we have everything else fairly well mapped out. Art is going a bit more slowly due to some minor changes in direction. We've tried a couple things that didn't work. My goal is to keep working on concepts till I'm happy.

We are going to be planning a Twitch stream of the current build later this month. We will be sending out more details over Facebook, Twitter, and email to the folks who registered on LittleOrbit.com.

We also have our first developer blog going up in mid April. So look for that in the Unsung Story forums on LittleOrbit.com.

This month I've included shots from our latest prototype all through out the update.

The usual caveats apply. This is all work in progress so you're seeing very very rough temp art with an unpolished grid system and temp UIs. To help clarify some of the screenshots, I'm also sharing lots of design elements. Some of this will shift and change as we get further down the road, but here is a quick rundown of where we are at.

PROTOTYPE PROGRESS:

Lots and lots of work here. We've been able to further refine the triangle grid mechanics, assess the best size of levels, work with verticality, and try different combinations of players vs. enemies. 

This first shot is from our test level based on a map in Mission 7 near a small fortress where the player's objective is to capture an enemy unit. It illustrates that we have reduced the overall size of the level from previous screenshots. The red areas are placeholder "ladders" which allow you to travel up to higher areas. Elevation in the map gives specific advantages and disadvantages.

Test Map Mission 7
Test Map Mission 7

GAME DESIGN:

We're on the 2nd complete draft of the design. It's currently well over 100 pages. All 20 classes have been created, named, and assigned skills to give them a unique role in any party. We've tried to simplify what worked in Final Fantasy Tactics without sacrificing any depth. We also have in initial class tree and progression mapped. Remember these classes are split up across the 4 schools that we've announced: Technology, Mana, Divine, and Nature.

This feels a bit unceremonious, but you'll see plenty of references in the screenshots this month, so I figured it was fine to spoil them all now anyway. I'll let you guys try to figure out which ones go to each school.

Here is the complete list of classes:

  • Sellsword: Mercenaries unbound by specialty, Sellswords are useful in several areas, but are masters of none. This is one of two beginning classes, along with the Physician. The Sellsword is used to teach players a few basic mechanics for melee combat, but also touches on some more metagame functionality such as boosts. They use Short Swords & Shields.
  • Physician: The player begins the game with the Physician unlocked, but it serves to teach them more advanced mechanics, such as ranged attacks, the use of items and cross-class abilities. Even though they start off weak, Physicians are capable of combining their items to create new effects. This becomes especially important in the late-game, where advanced items can only be created by combining two lesser items. They use Slings.
  • Guardian: Guardians stay at the front of combat, defending key choke points and fortifying their allies from harm. Stalwart warriors that protect those they deem worth protecting (which, incidentally, can include themselves). They use Long Swords and Shields . 
  • Archer: Archers are a simple but effective long-range attacker, capable of striking distant foes with ease. The backbone of any successful army. Archers are able to fire further from high ground, which allows them to out-range opposing Archers. This means the ideal situation for a Archer is to be on high ground, with friendly units fortifying them from melee enemies. They use Longbows.
  • Plague Weaver: These guys represent a power that humans would sooner choose to forget—rot, disease and decay. They are all about debuffing the opponent’s entire team from anywhere on the map. These debuffs are typically less likely to hit than one that’s focus-cast on a single target, but the added benefit of affecting multiple enemies at once can alleviate the risk.  
  • Elementalist: Elementalists focus on magical power in its most pure and destructive form. They deal lots of damage to single-targets. They use Staves.
  • Sharpshooter: The Sharpshooter sports a unique tool—known as the Infusion Rifle. They use nearby tiles to infuse their rifle and fire bullets with specific effects.
  • Necromancer: Necromancers are masters of death, of others and of themselves. They utilize corpses and debuffs. Necromancers can regain Health and Focus from enemy corpses, make them explode and even raise them as minions. They use Scythes.
  • Spellbreaker: Spellbreakers are powerful anti-magic tanks, capable of absorbing magical damage. They should be paired up to protect allies that are vulnerable to magic attacks, or used to hunt down enemy magic users to end them quickly. They use Two-Handed Maces.
  • Cavalier: The Cavalier is a "civilized" tank class who focuses on avoiding damage. The rapiers they wield have naturally high weapon evasion stats, allowing them to easily parry incoming blows. They also have some options for moving other units around the battlefield. They use Rapiers.
  • Scout: The Scout infiltrates enemy lines, sneaking up on a vulnerable backline enemy and finishing them off before the enemy team can react. They’re also capable of stealing equipment, which makes them essential versus powerful units, such as some bosses. Stealing isn’t easy, but results in not only disarming the opponent, but giving the stolen equipment to the player’s party. They use Daggers.
  • Priest: Priests are zealous wielders of healing magic, able to appreciate the value of life and taking measures to ensure it is preserved. They are backline support casters, keeping their allies healed through combat. They use Rods.
  • Berserker: Powerful—and possibly insane—the Berserker is a powerhouse in melee combat. They lose their wits as readily as they take lives, so must be guided with a cautious hand. They like to get up close and personal, taking heavy hits and dealing them in return. The Berserker focuses on buffing himself, then using special abilities that benefit from those buffs to deal damage, debilitate foes and keep himself alive. They use One-Handed Axes.
  • Wildlord: Wildlords are capable of learning the abilities of monsters they encounter and wielding these strange powers to great effect. They focuse on using Monster Skills, which means they have a great variety of skills to use in combat. However, they lack a specific tactical focus, instead serving to fill in holes in the team. They use Glaives.
  • Saboteur: These guys should rush ahead of their team, place as many traps as possible and then retreating to safety. Once behind allied lines, they can pelt the enemy team with bombs, dealing decent ranged damage in an area. They use Hand Bombs.
  • Shadow: Shadows are the unspoken and unseen hand of fate. They operate by inflicting themselves with status effects, then passing them on to foes and finishing them off with Killing Blow. They use a Sickle and Chain. 
  • Disciple: A Disciple is able to fight at close range, keeping his allies alive while dealing respectable damage. They have unusual ranges for all of their abilities, and are able to attack two squares away. They use Bo Staves.
  • Echo Knight: Echo Knights wield an unusual and incongruous power, warping the very fabric of space around themselves and their foes. They are able to move around the battlefield quickly and easily, ensuring they reach the best possible position to hold the enemy back. They use Two-Handed Swords.
  • Sword Speaker: These guys unite the arts of swordplay and spellcraft. Sword Speakers practice with all swords and have the ability to summon a magic version of any blade they have previously mastered.
  • Librarian: The Librarian focuses on speeding up the player team and slowing down the enemy team, allowing players to perform devastating attacks with much less risk of missing. If you've been following our forum updates, then you'll know Librarians are part of the lore and are part of the core storyline. They use Tomes.

Here are some shots of several skills we're playing with:

Necromancer Skills
Necromancer Skills
Priest Skills
Priest Skills

STATS & CALCULATIONS:

We've done more work on how stats are calculated behind the scenes and how raising a unit’s level increases these stats. While the numbers are prone to change throughout development, the equations should remain the same from here on. We are also starting to work through how to share this information with the player including the Stats/profile inspector, Turn queue, Character selection and other things like how items display info on the shop depending on what characters you currently have.

Here are the key character stats that we have decided on:

  • Strength: determines physical damage with most weapons.
  • Intelligence: determines the power of most abilities and some weapons.
  • Speed: determines how frequently a unit acts.
  • Agility: partially determines evasion rates and partially determines the damage of Agility Weapons.
  • Health: determines how much damage a character can take before they’re killed.
  • Focus: determines how many spells a character can cast before needing to restore their Focus (our version of magic power).
  • Natural Strength: a character’s starting strength based on several factors.
  • Natural Intelligence: a character’s starting intelligence based on several factors.
Sellsword Attack
Sellsword Attack

ITEMIZATION & EQUIPMENT:

We've got a solid Weapons List. It isn’t finalized, but its a good first-pass. There are a few major things we are still working out. The biggest are the special effects of some weapons and how to limit their power. There's a scythe on the list that I'm rather partial towards. It helps you regenerate Focus every time a unit on the battlefield dies. We've also spent some time working through the consumable items. This is useful for the engineering team to start on implementation of the Physician, who can make consumables.

Necromancer putting out a weak cadaver
Necromancer putting out a weak cadaver

SCREEN FLOW & WORLD MAP:

Lots of work nailing down each screen in the game and the flow between them. This flow helps us visualize where the player will be spending the majority of their time in game.

We'll be revealing a couple special things about the World Map in updates to come.

SHOPS & RECRUITING: 

Again not quite final, but it’s getting close. We are working out where and when its okay to access the shops, some more information on armor/accessories and the cost of items. We've spent quite a bit of time working through recruiting new units. We are currently designing for permadeath with any non-Story character units. This means that when they die, you'll need to replace them.

Additionally each potential unit that you can recruit will look different. Their appearance is randomly generated to provide a lot of fun visual diversity - something that Final Fantasy Tactics couldn't do with their units due to the 2D sprite implementation.

STORY & LEVELS:

We have completed bubble maps for nearly all of the levels in all of the chapters. The designers have gone through each one and identified the location, story character requirements, and primary objectives. I'm starting to see "gray box" layouts for various maps which gives us an opportunity to get them up and running in the prototype as quickly as possible.

Gray box layouts are a bit more detailed than what you're seeing in our prototype shots. These are much less blocky and have actual level geometry.

Elementalist taking advantage of height
Elementalist taking advantage of height

Archer moving his way up
Archer moving his way up

That's it for now! Hope everyone enjoys their time off.

Thank you for your continued patience and support.

Sincerely, Matthew Scott

Luka Krstulović, Tal P., and 108 more people like this update.

Comments

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Shiru XIII on April 14

      Great update !

      I really hope that story characters will have their own special skills or even classes.
      That would be great.

    2. Missing avatar

      Vale Nagle on April 11

      It sounds like things are going well. I wanted to echo Brian Zabell's sentiment about customization for generic troops. It wasn't an option for the Tactics Ogre/Final Fantasy Tactics days, but I have come to think of it as an integral part of the tactical RPG genre. Disgaea's an interesting mix of a comedic storyline that isn't for me, an anime art style that isn't what I usually like, but then a depth of character visual customization that's hard to ignore. Having any ability, any amount of control over the customization could really attract the attention of genre-savvy players.

      Can you imagine what Final Fantasy Tactics would have been like if you had any control over just the color of your units? Or if you could use the hatless thief model? On the surface, it's silly, definitely. I'm at a point where the little aesthetic customizations in games that allow me to set my army apart are a part of the experience that I value.

      Thank you again for saving this project. I look forward to seeing the final product and all updates in between.

    3. Peterious on April 9

      I love the little robot guys.

    4. Missing avatar

      Shane Coates on April 7

      Loving every update and bit of information provided. I do have a suggestion: like in FFT hopefully you can give the story characters their own special classes/abilities. Something to differentiate them from the random characters.

    5. Nathan A Newsad on April 6

      Great update all! Living the height on the terrains, too many games just use flat boards now a days.

    6. Christopher 'Tiffani' Hilton on April 6

      Keep up the great work Little Orbit!

    7. Little Orbit Creator on April 4

      @Brian - Lots of good feedback there. We'll take a look at what we can do. Thanks!

    8. Missing avatar

      Brian Zabell on April 2

      I understand that you're responded to another backer to this effect, but I highly recommend that players are given the option to customize the look of recruits rather than leave it to RNG only. The feature to customize the way your recruit looks alone is something that would definitely catch the eye of people who otherwise might let this title slip past them.

      Heck, to bring up Firaxis' XCom games, XCom 2 was developed with a lot of recruit customization in mind as a result of the very positive feedback from players who enjoyed customizing their soldiers in XCom: Enemy Unknown. I would attribute its customization features as one of the major reasons people purchased the game. The newer Disgaea games give you a lot of freedom for the coloring/voicing of recruits which I know appeals for a lot of the players who play that series. And that's just tactical RPGs; Bethesda games like Fallout or Elder Scrolls draws a lot of appeal for players just for the ability to customize characters.

      I don't know how variable you intend to make recruits look different, but I personally think that the option to customize recruits' looks (along with a random generator for those not interested in such a feature) is not just a system that sounds fun to me, but also just a feature that I believe would draw customers' and reviewers' attention were it to be announced as a launch feature.

    9. Missing avatar

      Michael Stem on April 2

      Well I don't speak for everyone but I really enjoyed this update. Its great to hear ya'll making progress. Looking forward to the development update when it comes.

    10. Missing avatar

      Jonathan Armstrong on April 2

      I'm really happy to see some early screenshots that actually look like the game that was funded.

      Obviously some work to do with visual styling but very encouraging to see progress.

    11. Little Orbit Creator on April 2

      @Paul - Unsung Story will feature both pre-built Story Characters (1-2 per chapter) and customizable player units that stay with the player all through out. We randomly generate the appearance of the player units, but the player will be able to choose classes and customize their own units beyond that. And we are even exploring rewards and bonuses that allow you to change the appearance of your units.

    12. John Getty on April 2

      Please please please please please don't go for a realistic art style. The last dev's was fugly and the concept art from your previous stuff looks hyper generic.

      Stylization is a huge part of what makes FFT timeless! Don't make an art style that nobody is going to fall in love with because it's so effing generic.

    13. Brooke Phillips on April 2

      Given the actual years of radio silence on this project prior to Playdek coming on board, I can't imagine why anyone would be critical of these excellent ongoing updates. I for one am grateful for how much you're doing to turn this project around, and it must be a real ongoing PR nightmare. Thank you for what you're doing! I'm looking forward to trying out Shards.

    14. Missing avatar

      Matthew Roberts on April 2

      I didn't realize the Shards thing didn't go over well. I thought it was a good gesture. I've also not felt like we've had too many updates either. Do what you do, people who don't want that many updates can always opt out.

    15. Paul Scott on April 1

      Hi guys! Very excited to see a game actually happening! Definitely put me down in the "more updates is better camp".

      One comment: please be careful with how much control you take away from players with regards to their generic (non-story) characters. There's sort of two ways people tend to play these Tactics style games: one is focused on primarily playing with story characters because they're actually part of the plot and more powerful, while the other entirely uses "customized" generic characters named after friends/family/whatever to partially tell their own story. If you make generic characters somehow more "expendable"/"consumable" than story characters or don't give players the ability to name/customize them, you can expect to turn a group of folks off from the game. (Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is an example of this.)

    16. Rik Spruitenburg on April 1

      Thanks for the update, I trust we will hear more next month!

    17. Joshua on April 1

      -I hate permadeath, unless it's done the way FFT does it. It's pretty pointless to really 'have to replace when they die', better to just reset.
      -I hope starts are consistent based on job rather than any sort of stat bonuses on leveling. That is to say, someone who is in class A for 30 levels and then changes to class B should have the same (relative) stats as someone who was in class B the whole time.
      -Random recruits are well and good, but I much prefer to choose the appearance. Especially if other stuff is also randomized in some way (like Br/Fa and Zodiac are in FFT)

    18. Missing avatar

      Brian Smith on April 1

      I think the freebies for Shards was a kind gesture (even if I didn’t want it myself), and I really hate that people with poor attitudes probably spoiled any such future gestures. You guys have done a ton to seemingly turn this project around and I think you deserve more respect and positive attitudes.

    19. malvin henry on April 1

      You had me at Final Fantasy Tactics!!!!

    20. Missing avatar

      Shachihoko on April 1

      That is a *long* list of classes, but they look pretty fascinating! I hope they'll be introduced in a fairly logical fashion within the game, to make them more manageable for players to get a feel for.

      Check me on a closely related detail: Is Unsung Story going to have all the characters 'pre-designed,' in the vein of Fire Emblem and FFT? Or are we going to be recruiting characters more freely, along the lines of Disgaea, etc.? I can't remember if this was touched on previously. If you're going the "free recruitment" route, then you'll probably want some kind of structured introduction of classes ...

    21. Missing avatar

      James Arnold on April 1

      I've been watching silently since Day 1 and I think it's time I took a minute to write in support for everything the team has done. I also work in the games industry, and I recognize how important it is to have constant feedback and support. I see a lot of blood, sweat, and tears here; even though there is still a long way to go I just wanted to add another positive voice to the conversation. You're all doing great work and many of us will be here cheering you on from the sidelines. Thank you for this incredible story in the making.

    22. PK on April 1

      Little Orbit. <3

    23. Andrés Stein on April 1

      Man, I'm loving this. Brings so many memories of olden times.
      Between this and BattleTech I can see my time filling up quite nicely!
      Always awesome to see a company that's so upfront and transparent. Specially considering how embattled Unsung Story's been.

    24. Blarghedy
      Superbacker
      on April 1

      I love the transparency in this campaign. It went from being one of a few that didn't communicate at all to one that communicates just about the best. I've backed hundreds of Kickstarters. This one is doing fine.

      I didn't particularly care about the deckbuilder announcement but only because I don't particularly like the cerberus engine. People who are offended by it are overreacting. "I'm going to unsubscribe because you gave me a free thing! How dare you!" etc. Bleuh.

    25. Little Orbit Creator on April 1

      @Peter - There is a progression and we have primary and secondary classes so players can mix and match to create the perfect strategy for them.

    26. Missing avatar

      Daniel Ortiz Nieto on April 1

      Good going! This is way more than I ever expected after the frist year under Playdeck... Actual screenshots of a working concept! Keep up the good work!

    27. Zombra on April 1

      P.S. Every unit, even hired grunts, has a unique randomized appearance? Not just color swaps?
      Wow, that's fantastic. Really looking forward to seeing what that looks like.

    28. Justin
      Superbacker
      on April 1

      Thanks for the information and continued communication, it's really great getting to check in on how things are progressing :)

    29. Zombra on April 1

      Wow. I'm really liking everything I'm seeing here. Also great to see such substantial monthly updates. Keep up the good work!

    30. Peter S.
      Superbacker
      on April 1

      From the FFT reference, and just out of curiosity, will the classes have a similar "basic" and "advanced" class progression? That is, I can see 20 classes being:

      4 basic classes (one for each of Tech, Nature, Mana, Divine)
      4 advanced single-realm specialist classes
      6 advanced two-realm hybrid classes (one for each pair)
      4 advanced three-realm hybrids
      1 advanced four-realm generalist

      That gets to 19, and one thing I enjoyed in FFT was the mix-and-match nature of the job system there; I can kinda see how the classes might slot into that kind of structure. Just wondering, really. :)

    31. sean inch on April 1

      keep up the good work it looks very promising

    32. Michaeljack on April 1

      Really sorry to hear the Shards thing went so badly. Personally i'm only mildly interested in it but i certainly didn't consider it spam or a waste of my time.

      Liking the detail level of this update too, please keep it up!

    33. Timothy Hames on April 1

      Thank you for the outstanding update and turning this project into a game.
      Many thanks

    34. Little Orbit Creator on April 1

      @Chris - Sure. That makes sense. We did get some negative private feedback last month about too many posts, so we're trying to be sensitive to that.

    35. Missing avatar

      chris leko on April 1

      Can you please send the info about the twich out through the kickstarter? I dont have a Facebook, use Twitter, or will ever register for a newsletter.