An action RPG with an innovative dynamic difficulty system designed around randomly generated enemies.
An action RPG with an innovative dynamic difficulty system designed around randomly generated enemies. Read more
About this project
In Rail Theory, you play as Flynn Whitera, the last human contact of a research facility on the planet Argenous. You must salvage working components from destroyed Argenian ships in an attempt to repair your own. However, an outbreak of a crystalline based life form known as the Rithamolous will not make this a simple task.
Download the PC demo at: www.railtheory.com
- Randomly generated enemies that adapt to play style and skill
- Dynamic difficulty system which affects enemy component generation
- Open world cause and effect environments which change depending on the order areas are completed
- Unique health system consisting of armor, trauma, and stamina
- Multi-purpose weaponry used for ranged and melee
Randomly Generated Enemies – Randomized components change the offensive and defensive characteristics of enemies. This will affect both individual and group components and behavior.
Dynamic Difficulty System – In game player statistics affect the likelihood certain components will be created on an enemy. This varies gameplay by changing enemy behavior and abilities.
The enemy on the right has more plate defense and a horn that can be ripped off to use as a weapon. In the demo, these components can always spawn on an enemy, but are more likely to spawn as a result of landing shots or taking low amounts of damage.The game will reward you for playing on the upper bound of your calculated skill.
Cause and Effect Environments – The order in which areas are completed changes the properties of surrounding areas, along with the properties of their enemies and boss fights.
Unique Health System – Made up of armor (blue), trauma (red), and stamina (green). As damage is taken, armor decreases and trauma increases. As trauma builds, the amount of total stamina available decreases. Stamina used starts at the current level of trauma, and caps when it reaches the top of the gauge.
Having high trauma also has other adverse effects, such as increased aim shake and reduced movement speed, making survival more difficult. Different enemy weapons do varied amounts of damage to armor and trauma depending on their properties. (blunt, sharp, caustic, etc.)
Enemy weapon properties will also change in real time. The first hit from a blunt weapon could cause it to shatter, turning it into a sharp weapon. Other effects such as caustic damage can also modify weapon damage.
Multi-Purpose Weaponry – The demo features a unique weapon used for both melee and ranged attacks called the Foyl Dredge. Ammunition types will include fire, ice, caustic and more.
Rail Theory’s gameplay will consist of the interactions between randomly generated enemies, the players health system, and the Foyl Dredge.
The Rith will generate random weapons which will affect the health system in different ways. The Foyl Dredge will be used in response to the randomized properties and components created by the Rith.
Deciding how to take on individual enemies will require observing what kinds of properties they have; then deciding the best course of action.
The Rith are an adaptive organism which will adjust to the properties of their surroundings. Enemies will also the inherit properties of the type of energy used against them.
Using fire shots on an ice enemy will do more damage at first, but as the fight goes on, the enemy will start to inherit the properties of the fire.
This means fire shots will not only do less damage over time, but the Rith’s damage will also begin to have fire properties. Enemies will always have specific properties depending on their environment.
A stretch goal is planed to bring Rail Theory to life with an original soundtrack.
In Rail theory, environments are just as dangerous as their inhabitants. The open level design of Rail Theory means you can explore areas in different orders, assuming you are equipped to take on the region.
Experimental reactors utilizing Argenite have long since failed without proper maintenance, creating areas of intense heat, cold, and corrosion. Adapting to these areas and their inhabitants will be crucial for safe exploration.
In addition, each environments will have unique effects on your health system. Some examples of these include:
Hot Environments - A section of the stamina bar will be taken up to account for the physical excursion of being in a hot environment. The size of this band can vary depending on how hot the area is.
This environmental effect stacks on top of trauma. In the example above, the stamina bar is maxed out to show the amount of stamina available with this effect in place.
Frozen Environments - The colder the environment, the more brittle armor becomes. When being hit, there is a chance brittled armor will fracture, receiving twice the damage armor would normally take.
The multiplier of damage received and the chance this will take effect will depend on how cold the area is, and the type of attack being received.
Changing Out Armor - To deal with these factors, the amount of armor being worn can be adjusted to suit different gameplay styles and needs.
Wearing less/lighter armor will decrease weight, thus increasing the size of your stamina pool. However, this reduces your total protection.
A mechanical engineer by degree, Kurt has taken his knowledge of control systems and combined them with a passion for video game development.
3D modeler, 2D artist, texture artist
Austin has a degree in digital art + design and enjoys bringing concepts to life through 2D and 3D mediums.
Rail Theory is a project we began working on in 2014. We spent several years practicing our skills as hobbyist, working through several iterations of the game, until we finally arrived at the demo build available on our website.
We’ve spent the last year building our skills full time working completely out of pocket. We now have enough practice to begin working on the game at the level of quality we’re happy with.
The final build will be the game made from scratch in our engine of choice.
After taxes, processing, and campaign costs, we will have roughly 50% of the total goal raised to fund Rail Theory's development.
The funding will also be used to create our studio. As this is our first project, we have no pre-existing game studio infrastructure.
Risks and challenges
Due to the small size of our studio and the scope of this project, we understand there are some risks. However, these are our plans to deal with them.
FINANCIAL RISK: We’re confident that the amount we are asking for will allow us to deliver our product with the systems and features we’ve proposed. We’ve worked completely out of pocket for 3 years building up the skill sets that would be required to make this project at a level of quality we felt comfortable with.
ENGINE SWITCH RISK: We understand the risks associated with switching from Unity to Unreal Engine 4. We are going to mitigate this risk by swapping as soon as development begins. Unity is a great engine, but unfortunately we weren’t able to reach the visually quality and performance level we were looking for with a large, continuous outdoor environment on consoles. This switch was not an easy decision but we decided it was for the best in the long run.
SCHEDULE RISK: The game's release would most likely have a delay if it meant ensuring the quality of the games experience in some regard. We wouldn’t want any aspect of the game to feel rushed, as we’re determined to deliver a gameplay experience worthy of your time. There is also time built into the schedule to account for learning Unreal Engine 4.
This is an incredibly ambitious project for a team of only two people. The proof of concept demo shows that we are capable of making the game and that we will deliver on the features we’re proposing. Making the demo also gave us insight on the amount of time certain systems take to make. This allows us to estimate workload so we can keep the scope of the game manageable.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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