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Fabular in the press and social media:
We're over 100% FUNDED! Stretch goals:
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Fabular: Once upon a Spacetime is a 2D Action-RPG in Space with Roguelike influences, set in a medieval, folktale-inspired fantasy universe.
As a young knight, go on an adventure in a surreal, storybook-like galaxy in your trusty spaceship. You need to be skillful in battle, upgrade and manage your ship well, and make the right choices during encounters. Only then will you be able to defeat the dreadful League of Black Knights who terrorize the realm.
Fabular aims to combine the tactical depth of classic action-RPGs with the procedural generation and text-based events of modern rogue-likes, meanwhile immersing players in a never-before-seen universe of surreal retro-futurism.
In this artistic mashup of the Middle Ages, folktales and outer space, you take on a hero's journey as the King's youngest child. You explore the furthest corners of the Galaxy in your trusty spacecraft and engage other space-faring knights and creatures in battle using a unique, techno-fantasy themed skillset.
- Top-down, physics-based action combat with stylish real-time-lit pixel art visuals and smooth animation
- An artistic vision of the Middle Ages infused with futuristic elements, as medieval knights clash in armoured spaceships
- Deep and atmospheric universe with dozens of procedurally generated out-of-this-world locations on an ever-changing starmap
- Hundreds of randomly generated text based events featuring colorful characters, locations and items inspired by classical tales such as Seven-League Boots, Table-Be-Set, or the Puss in Boots
- Multiple playable ship types, upgrades, skills, items, loot and lots of unlockables providing plenty of replayability
Explore a procedurally generated universe of hidden secrets and grave dangers by traveling on a node-based galactic starmap, where each place you visit yields a new special event or encounter. Decision making in these text-based illustrated events is key to your success in the game.
Plan your exploration well and be mindful of your choices, because resources and friends are scarce in Fabular's deep space, and they can make or break your adventure. The adventure and exploration part of the game is influenced by modern day Rogue-like games such as FTL: Faster than Light and Hand of Fate.
The meat of the game is the battle phase, in which you have to control your spacecraft directly from a top-down view, and use the skills and equipment of your spaceship to overcome the enemy. Our aim with the combat system is to make it deep and challenging with large 'build' variety allowing both action and tactics lovers to equally enjoy the game.
The outcome of battles depend largely on the condition and equipment of your ship. There is only so far your action skills can take you, if you are not equipped for the situation, you will likely perish. After each battle you get some form of loot, (currency, resources or items) which you can use to upgrade your ship, buy and sell resources at shops you come by and equip different items.
If you like a slower paced game with a tanky main character and you don't like to use a ton of active abilities, then the Knight will serve you just perfect.
The assassin class feeds off the speed stat which allows this fighter to be extremely mobile with lightning fast attacks and skill cooldowns. It is able to wield the fastest attacking melee weapon type; daggers and can be upgraded to be a devastating long-range fighter as well. The assassins usually have a few tricks up their sleeves, such as self-concealment and incapacitation of enemy units.
If you love fast action, big damage numbers and to live on the edge, then take the Assassin out for a spin. Guaranteed to keep you entertained.
The Alchemist ship class is like a techno-mage; it stuns, electrocutes, burns and releases automatons to do its master’s bidding like there's no tomorrow. With the biggest number of available active skill slots, it's arsenal is frightening. Increasing the Power stat allows the Alchemist to be more effective with skills and to quickly regain capacity that is spent on executing them. Getting hit in melee is not it's forte tho...
Choose the Alchemist if you are a true tactician and you love to use many skills at once and abuse the synergies they provide. Play it like a piano…
The Starmap is the strategic and exploration layer of the game. You jump from node to node consuming fuel in the process, which is a crucial resource and acts like food in a traditional Rogue-like game. Upon arriving at a new node, a text-based random event occurs in true FTL fashion. There it is decided if it boils down to the action combat phase, or if there is a solution without a fight.
Your goal on the Starmap is to find and defeat the Black Knight of each Realm and liberate it from oppression. You rarely know what dangers await at an unexplored node, but the little baroque sea map-like illustrations help to indicate possible danger or a point of interest in the vicinity.
In Fabular, you can visit lots of interesting locations and have dialogue with a colorful cast of characters via the illustrated random events. Occurring on the Starmap and during battles as well, these encounters serve to open up new dimensions in the game’s storyline. You can land on planets, visit a tavern, haggle with a shopkeeper and get advice from a hermit, all with the power of text, illustration and your imagination.
As you get more experienced with the game you learn the possible outcome of some of these encounters and you can use this knowledge as a strategic advantage in each of your runs. We plan to update the game regularly with new events after the release to keep it fresh.
A hero’s journey is inevitably hindered by conflicts and challenges. In Fabular, you resolve these mostly by the steel-on-steel method but there is a lot more to our battle system than that. The most influential thing that shapes your repertoire in combat is your ship selection, but the items you equip and your upgrades also play a huge part.
Combat is mostly based on the timing of melee attacks, movement and blocking. Ranged and other special skills require different kinds of resources to be spent, so you will use them sparingly and with a tactical purpose. After you spend some time in the game and upgrade your ship and get better equipment, the frequency in which you use special skills may notably be increased.
The exact conditions awaiting you on the battlefield are shaped by your choices in the preceding text-based events, the general location of the jump-point your at, and the current difficulty level of the game. In the end you may succeed in battles by being skillful with neat reflexes, by being strategic with a deep understanding of game mechanics or by a mixture of both.
Items and equipment
Items - together with the upgrade system - play a big part in defining your own ‘build’ in a given run. Each item you equip on your ship may give you passive bonuses, and also active skills that can be used on the battlefield. The number of equipable items are limited, so you have to find the right combination of passive and active items with the matching upgrades.
Big part of the loot system are the so-called Fabular objects. These are our twist on classical folktale items such as Seven League Boots or Cat in the Sack. Each of these special objects are inspired by folk- and fairy tales, and they have several different uses in the game. You can equip them and gain unique skills or passives that dramatically alter your playstyle, you can consume them for a one-time greater effect, and you can even talk to some of the spirits living within them. Some Fabulars may even have an effect by simply having them in the ship’s cargo hold...
As you progress in the game, you may gradually unlock the possibility of newer item types to drop for you when you gain loot, so over time your chances may improve to defeat the game.
Each ship class has their own upgrade tree where you can spend your hard earned currency (Stardust) to enhance, modify or unlock new ship functions. Most of the time these upgrades add new game mechanics or enhance existing ones, but they can provide passive stat increases as well.
Choosing what upgrade is best for your playstyle, finding out what works best with your current gear and skill setup, and deciding when to upgrade is crucial if you want to counterbalance the ever-growing number and difficulty of enemies during a run. Stardust is also used for buying and selling resources and items in shops, so you have to think twice before spending it on upgrades.
Each Realm on the starmap has a ‘biome’ associated with it that determines the environment type for the majority of action battles that happen in that area. We plan to have around 15 of these unique environments, and 6 of them have already been implemented in the game prototype.
There will also be unique environment types for certain special events such as boss fights, and universal ones that can occur in more than one biome. Our vision for these space environments is to take familiar earth-like vistas and realize them in outer space in a fabulistic and painterly manner.
Depending on the current difficulty level and the Realm the player is in, there is always a chance that an encounter will contain a number of environmental hazards. The harder the difficulty, the more hazards can ‘roll’ on a given scene. These dangerous occurrences make life more miserable for all participants of the battle, and players have to be ready to counter them with clever playstyle or by equipping the right items.
- Infestation: asteroids have a chance to contain an Asteroid Wurm that preys on nearby ships by unexpectedly bursting forward from beneath the surface
- Ion mist: clouds populate the top layer of the playing field covering your vision
- Meteor storm: small pebbles rain constantly dealing damage over time to everyone on the playing field
- Solar breeze: constant wind-like gravity field pushing you from a set direction making navigation more difficult
- Jet streams: small, curvy river-like wind tunnels manifesting at random locations that pull ships along their path
- Vortex: enormous gravity field that constantly pulls everyone towards the middle of the playing field
- Geomagnetic storm: electromagnetic clouds form all over the field that confuse the controls of ships entering them
- Ice storm: icy clouds form all over the field that slow down every ship inside them
- Solar flares: fiery flares burn through the playing field at random locations, you have to be clear of the hotspots in time
- Dust Devils: small but strong whirlwinds travel around the map in an unpredictable fashion pushing ships around
- Seismic activity: normal asteroids have a chance to turn into volcanic ones that erupt and emit burning lava at regular intervals or explode into fiery bits when touched
You’ll meet a wide range of enemies during your journey through Fabular’s Realms. Some are small, some are large, spaceships, monsters or even buildings will stand in your way. Common enemies tend to be small and medium sized and they have a limited skillset and functionality. But if you are not on your toes and don’t study their behaviour they can be as deadly as a mini-boss.
Boss fights usually require a completely different approach than normal enemies. Not only they are bigger and stronger opponents, but they need strategy, your full concentration and a lot of patience to figure out how they behave. They have complex movement and attack patterns and they may consist of bigger parts that can be destroyed individually, so you have to be really vigilant to defeat them.
Kroink - Marauder Warchief
The Warchief of the Umbra Clan, Kroink likes to be carried around so that he can enjoy the calibre of his plasma repeater while speeding in a frenzy. Two Slicers serve as his horses while he holds the reins in his fortified turret dispensing some mad Marauder justice.
Deep Space Fortress
Legends say that the entrance to the 7th Realm is guarded by a giant Deep Space Fortress of once Royal origin. Who’s operating it is unclear, and this colossal yet beautiful castle of destruction may hold additional surprises.
The Black Knights
The Dreadful League of Black Knights consists of former Tournament winners who got so cocky with themselves that they thought they stood above everyone else. They sought out dark magicks to become even stronger but it has corrupted their souls and constantly drains their life force ever since. Now they are only alive by stealing energy from the Realms and usurping their inhabitants.
The Black Knights are the main bosses in the game. Each Realm contains one Knight that holds it in terror. You have to defeat all seven of them and free the Realms to find the Sun stolen from your Kingdom.
The King sent his army, his most loyal men and even his two older sons to reclaim the Sun, but none of them returned ever since. It is now down to his youngest to go across seven mythical Realms, defeat each Black Knight and restore equilibrium to the Kingdom.
The story and visual direction of Fabular combine interesting, almost contradictory themes together, such as the Middle Ages with futurism and fables with dark fantasy. We felt that by mixing medieval instruments with Joe’s deep, richly detailed and glitchy compositions, we get a music style that fits this mashup perfectly.
We are Spiritus Games, an independent studio consisting of industry-veteran game developers with almost 15 years of experience developing various AAA titles including The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, Deathtrap and the Codename: Panzers series.
We are a passionate three-man team wanting to make something memorable with everything we've got. We believe in artistic intent, creating original content and having high standards. The three of us have been colleagues and friends for more than 10 years now and we’ve always loved working with each other. We feel that this relationship and the creative freedom we gain by having our own company could lead to something special.
The Spiritus Games Team
Zed Milner, a.k.a. Secretman. His identity and whereabouts are highly classified. All we can reveal is that he’s a high profile code-assassin who’s been operating in the videogames profession for more than 20 years now. His pragmatic approach and wide range of coding skills are augmented by a strong affinity towards game design, making him an ideal asset for an indie team.
Joe Domozi (soundcloud.com/planet4) is a prominent figure of the underground music scene in Budapest. His contemporary glitchy, textured sounds and dark vibes create a unique experience that is almost infinitely replayable without getting old. He is a good friend of ours and is very dedicated to Fabular’s cause.
We need a little more than a year to finish this project with our current manpower and that’s how we’ve calculated our budget. Two team members live in Budapest which allows for reduced living costs and salaries on their part. Music and sound is very important for us, and it’s something we’d like to outsource to a contractor. We feel we can write the story and events in a high enough quality ourselves, but if we happen to exceed our funding goal then we'll definitely hire a professional writer as well. This would speed up the development process while also making the end-result better.
Risks and challenges
Let’s get this right out of the way: this project is quite ambitious, especially for a team of three. But we definitely feel we are up for the challenge. All of us have over a decade of experience making various sizes of games in a professional environment and have worked together for many years on a number of projects as team leads in our respective fields (design, art and code).
In the last two years we’ve been working in our free time to establish the background universe for the game, which we feel is integral to its success. The basic characteristics are set in stone, so we can create new content such as locations, characters and stories very fast because we have guidelines to refer to. Very few question marks remain regarding world design and more than 150 pages of pen&paper concept art will attest to that.
Parallel to the universe building, we’ve been busy creating a gameplay prototype as well to test the action battle phase of the game and the intended visual direction. This also helped us tremendously, because we’ve been able to see with our own eyes what works and what doesn’t. We are now confident that our game mechanics work very well and they provide for an entertaining and deeply layered game loop. Just as in the case of the universe, we have our solid guidelines regarding gameplay, and all that’s left is to build content for it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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