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TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.
7,231 backers pledged $293,184 to help bring this project to life.


Posted by Nerd Kingdom (Creator)

Companions are often some of the coolest and most memorable elements in the games we love. Whether it be the mysterious being bent on devouring your soul forced into servitude, the feral beast brought into submission with the offering of a tasty treat, or a friendly gunslinger you recruit into your service... one thing is certain about these allies -- they add a new dynamic to play that offers a greater variety of interactions. But how rewarding is it when you are already predetermined to find that companion, especially when all it takes is beating in their face or offering them a cookie, and really, how much does that relationship matter?

There are several types of companions within the world of TUG; some will be able to help you carry items or harvest them, some are there to fight by your side, and others are there to tag along and keep you company. But the things companions do are not all mutually exclusive -- what a companion is doing when you meet (or build!) them is subject to their relationship with you, or the components used to alter their behaviors. Is there any reason that a cute critter could not grow into a battle companion? Or even a mount? Logic would say no, but in a game where variation of play is one of the key objectives, such evolutions may be a critical element of gameplay.

How you find or acquire these companions will not be as direct or linear as you may be used to, and again, experimentation and discovery play a key role in finding and recruiting the most effective allies. A wandering blind traveler may be trading goods while lost in a forest, but treat him well enough and he may prove to be pretty handy with a blade. A beast may be seen as good huntin’, but there may be an approach that will allow you to make him something more than food. And ancient golems may be found seemingly dead in vast deserts or deep caves... activating them may not be as good an idea as you might initially think, at least not without the proper knowledge of what is going on.

Even the location, behavior, and appearance of certain creatures will give insight into their habits and some insight into what steps may need to be taken to find them again, or how to bend their will to your own. This is also something that makes the significance of visuals and associated logic incredibly important for play, and to negate a reliance on statistics, constant text, or random prompted icons that guide players on what to do. Such systems break immersion, and by extension, the presence of the user within the game.

How companion death is handled will vary greatly between different types of companions. Some creatures and pets may simply be lost forever... while others may be able to be repaired or rebuilt. And other companions will be treated similarly to how player death is treated... something we will touch on in a later update. Additionally, companions won't be reduced to inventory items that you can summon at will... if you want them to leave your side temporarily, you'll have to leave them somewhere safe, or send them away on a task. And who knows, some companions may prove extremely useful when it comes to guarding your property!

With a modular phase of development, and the support of this already amazing community, we are able to introduce increments of these systems over time and watch, in real time, how the game and world is changing. This allows us to be smart about our budget and not guess where time and money needs to be spent. Some systems will have little to no complexity, while others will have a greater amount of moving parts and complicated elements... seeing who discovers what, how, and when is actually very exciting and important for us to see, as developers. Understanding what people are doing and why with these systems allows us to create more content fairly rapidly with different rule sets that should make play very rewarding. This is also why data is INCREDIBLY important when it comes to making changes or introducing content.

These systems may seem very complex, but they ultimately come down to a web of information that triggers events based on statistical/mathematical values. This is often what makes these systems more complex than what most publishers want to handle (well, that, and thinking that gamers like to be spoon fed content). These complex systems are where we shine, and making those complex systems approachable -- what we like to refer to as “optional complexity” -- is really a science in itself. Some of those systems are also useful tech on their own that can be packaged and shared with other indie developers, or the modding community, to use for their own projects.

Another important task for us is making sure that the changes made during this modular or phased development are consistent with the changing world mythology. While a golem may be able to only do so many things in early phases of the of the game’s life, we don't want to break the significance of the world’s setting by just dropping new features into it. There will be subtle changes, like the introduction of single items or components that change the way everything else is done, which also is attributed to a web of information and values for us. And we will continue to add new content for as long as you all are playing and enjoying it.

This topic, like many others, may leave many people asking, “Well, will I be able to do this, or that?” and while it may be very contrary to the vast majority of this industry, we want give you the chance to experiment, break those systems into pieces, build off of one another, and challenge that complexity as a community, not let it challenge you. We believe this kind of challenge and experimentation says something amazing... not just about us as gamers, but about what we are capable of when faced with complex issues or challenges.



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    1. Missing avatar

      Hipolito13 on

      @Victoria I agree that a genetics system would be cool but if it was too in depth it would be too confusing to most people.

    2. Missing avatar

      Kevin Sindlev on

      @Victoria, having a genetics system would be awesome!
      I remember it being a major success in Star Wars Galaxies and provided great customization!

      Please TUG, take this into consideration <3

    3. Victoria Lay on

      This being my first comment about TUG I am going ahead and saying my brother and I are extremely excited about this game. Now on to the companion system. I read in your description that breeding animals would be a part of the game. I was thinking about it and, loving biology myself, was wondering if there could be a sort of simple genetics system? This system could of course be simple cosmetic traits, like an animal being brown or black, and could possibly incorporate dominant and recessive traits. The system could also incorporate more useful traits, such as naturally stronger individuals producing stronger than average offspring. Thank you for creating this wonderful game, we have been looking for something like this for a long time. :)

    4. Glitch2210 on

      @Brian for the most part i agree with you though i have to say a human companion done well so as not to be over powered could still be interesting. since it could be viewed more as servant as an equal. though i will admit i am still up in the air about it since you made your points very well. where i disagree with you more is on the issue of pets. i understand you don't want to simply give people very powerful pets, however, if you look at the player and there combat pet as a single unit then you lose that issue of less reliance. since a player who spends all there time training there pet into becoming a powerful combatant will themselves have less time for personal development. so it goes back to the expression of having real choices to make. you can chose to raise a powerful pet and be lacking somewhat in combat skills yourself or to spend that time training with a sword and then become a powerful warrior. if the system is balanced properly this way a "beatmaster" and a "warrior" will be ruffly balanced in combat skills even though its technically 2 v 1. instead of looking at the companion pet as a replacement of a team mate, you look at it as a replacement for your sword. your pet should be more of an extension of your own character then a separate entity entirely.

    5. Missing avatar

      Brian Stottlemyre on

      "Such systems break immersion, and by extension, the presence of the user within the game."
      I love this. It shows that's you know what problems current mmos have. I respect that. Shows me you guys know what you are doing and care, not just there to make a quick buck.

      "well, that, and thinking that gamers like to be spoon fed content"
      Again. You know whats going on in the mmo industry... quick spoon fed piles of crap for an easy buck. Thank you for that observation.

      “optional complexity”
      Ha. Liking this. I used to call my idea i had long ago. Game Mechanic synergy.. same thing pretty much, lots of options.

      "A wandering blind traveler may be trading goods while lost in a forest, but treat him well enough and he may prove to be pretty handy with a blade."

      Right. As much as a rabid fanoy i am about this game i DO have to be critical about stuff i don't agree with. Mostly because i believe in you guys and dont want this to fail.

      There are several issues with having a human (exactly like the player) "companion". For the most part it breaks what i call "Immersion Synergy". For instance If you take the human npc along with you it eliminates the need for another player and ruins that opportunity to create bonds between players. Not only that, mentally it would make the world feel less real, as I know he wasn't another thinking being, just some emotionless object trying to be a human. As a roleplayer (you will get ALOT of roleplayers supporting this game) This would kill some of the immersion along with reminding people of other failed mmo who used human companions.

      The biggest point being it would hurt your need for human interaction, not a good thing for a game like this.

      Now onto animal companions. Those are fine. That's easy to roleplay with. keeps the immersion, and is an excellent idea wight along with taming, (excellent throw back to UO.. thank you.)

      HOWEVER... you still have to be careful. You need to strike a balance. If you have your wolf (something im going to go for ;) ) and hes just as powerful as a person, you run into the same problem as the human companion, you lessen the effect of having another person with you, bad bad bad. So he must be a bit less powerful than a person but DEFINATELY not there for looks (mini pets with no function other than to look good, another immersion killer).

      Anyway :p just my two cents, i hope you like it. Thank you for this section, fantastic as always.

    6. Glitch2210 on

      Personally i love the idea of companions. and not only those super strong monsters most people like to walk around with. the concept of being able to "grow" your companions across roles i find very appealing. taking animals or companion npcs and growing them into unexpected places can have a larger personalization effect. in a dnd game i played i had a cow who i used as a mount and to pull my small cart. the cow was nothing really special just a normal cheep cow but it was my cow and being able to apply it to the different purposes i needed (i.e. a mount and a work animal) meant i did not need more animals and was able to appreciate and get a richer relationship with mah cow bella. =) its that kind of attachment i think a system like this can really nurture.

    7. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Alexander, there is certainly a balancing act. And what is unique about information is more than just where the information comes form, it is where it leads to. Anyone can look at information, but it takes a deep understanding of that to know where it is leading and what it means. So when many people enjoy fishing, and drop off at a certain point, that does not just indicate something about fishing, it also has to do with what other things they do after, or things that lead into it. Information is multi dimensional if you know what to look at. This also is a big defining factor that separates scientists to analysts.

      We will share our methods and approaches more in depth as we act on them, and even encourage other people to get involved in it as well!


    8. Missing avatar

      Alexander Saritas on

      I'm hoping that you're actions will reflect in your possible pets behaviour, I found that notion in Black and White very apealing but very limited. After all, they say "like dog, like owner.

      But why I realy felt the need to make a comment was the bit when you mentioned how you will gather data from how players play the game and based on that create content. Not an exact quote, but that is how I understood it.
      This set of quite a few alarms in my mind.
      So heres my thought, if I understood correct, you will spend development time on things people like to do within the game based on what players are actually doing. But my concern is that people will only realy enjoy things that are fleshed out to begin with and neglect things that has potential for the simple reason that you can't play potential.

      For example, I enjoy the aspect of fishing within a game, I find it relaxing, however based on implementation I might fully neglect it because of a number of reasons ranging from:
      It's not rewarding.
      It's to simple and requires nothing of me as a player. Like a meter filling up.
      It's to fast paced to make up for the fact of the simple implmentation, making it a none relaxing experience.
      Fishing location doesn't factor, breaking immersion and the exploring aspect.
      etc etc.

      So how are you going to go about this? And what about completely new content altogether?

      I'm sure you have thought of this, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

    9. Robin Andersson on

      A personal favorite of mine is finding a seemingly useless companion that can with care and no small amount of effort grow into a nearly unstoppable juggernaut, such as a small cuddly kitten growing into a fearsome sabre toothed tiger, that farm boy who wants to see the world growing into an experienced fighter and adventurer or perhaps you crafting your very first mechanical companion, only it is a small barely functional pet that you can improve on as you learn more of what makes golems tick.

      what can I say, I just love companion progression, sounds like you guys have something like that in mind already but I'd thought id throw my thoughts on the matter out.

      p.s being able to find a beast egg and care for it until it grows up would be awesome

    10. Richard Steel on

      I love the idea of tracking and observing a creatures behavior before deciding on the best way to approach. It can make getting a companion an adventure and you will value your offsider more than a twenty silver piece battle pig from an auction house.

    11. Pete Berthet on

      I'm thinking how to tame your Dragon as animation reference.

    12. Nerd Kingdom Creator on

      @Tary, EXCELLENT!!!!!!!! Monday will be one update to look out for most definitely!

      @Lorenzo, Great ideas! They are noted! I think you'll be very happy with what we already have planned for the companion system AI design (many elements similar to what you mention) in the long haul.

    13. Lorenzo Gaetani on

      i hardly find good companion mechanics in a game, and good companions, i loved "companion" in bastion, anyway i would like to see a big variety of companions, i'll make examples to make it simply: (1) super-friendly companion with small firepower, but super-attached to you and always ready to follow you, like mushu in Mulan; (2) another could be a war machine, maybe an ancient golem but so strong that he barely help you, just when he pleases, like Charizard in pokemon anime (remember just evolved?); (3) or maybe a scholar one, not strong in fight and unable to carry items but he could find you recipes for craft and little information on lore\world\places to find rare raw materials or creatures.
      i could go on but the post is so long and sorry for this but i really wanted to share theese ideas.
      What do you think?

    14. Tary Taylor

      Every update that's posted makes me more excited!!! All my family is sooo tired of hearing me talk of this game already!