Catacombs Raider

May 052017
 
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Welcome to this new Ghost of a Tale update! :)

We’ve been working on so many things over the last few weeks that I have a hard time keeping track! But just to summarize (in no particular order): new quests, dialogs for new NPCs (where Paul is doing a bang-up job as usual), optimizations, whiteboxing, Xbox One certification and new locations!

And speaking of new places you’ll get to explore in the game… As promised in the previous update here’s your first look at the catacombs sprawling under Dwindling Heights!

Catacombs!

The catacombs are the burial ground for soldiers and commanders whose bodies were entombed over the centuries since before Dwindling Heights ever became a prison.

As expected it’s a dark, eerie place. No doubts quite dangerous for a minstrel mouse!

Screen Shot 04-25-17 at 05.15 PM

It is whispered there might even be relics of the War of the Green Flame under there. And it’s probably haunted too! Although spiders might make quicker work of explorers than ghosts. But who knows…

One thing is for sure though, the Dying Lights lend a chilly atmosphere to the place. Their spectral blue flames do not give out any heat but they possess the distinctive feature of being virtually eternal. Indeed they cannot be put out by normal means. Which is why they’re often a fixture of pirate ships as even the strongest of storms won’t snuff them out.

Some sailors even say on a calm night while sailing on lake Vaelia you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the ghostly blue lights from long ago sunken ships deep under the waters.

Screen Shot 04-27-17 at 05.09 PM

(Oh and just to be clear: the catacombs are not yet in the early access version of Ghost of a Tale. We still have to connect several elements before you get a chance to explore them :) )

Magnet Aim:

One of the aspects of the game that was recently overhauled is the throwing mechanics. In the game Tilo can throw several types of items (sticks, bottles, slime jars, etc…) to different effects. For example if you time your moves properly you could throw a bottle at a guard’s head to momentarily knock him out.

But up to now it was a finicky business. You had to perfectly align your target then throw and after that it was literally hit-and-miss. In short there was really no way to precisely aim at something.

As a result the experience wasn’t really fun and didn’t feel responsive enough. So I recently implemented a system we baptized “Magnet Aim”. It’s not exactly a locking system in the traditional sense of the term as Ghost of a Tale is definitely not a fighting/combat game. So we came up with something else, as illustrated by this short video:

 

(Note that for the video I made the targeting distance longer than in the actual game, for testing purposes)

Basically you just need to aim roughly in the right direction and the targeting reticle with snap to the relevant place (within a certain threshold of accuracy). If you throw at that moment, Tilo will send the projectile flying with mostly predictable results.

Now of course if you deviate a lot with the camera (say you aim wildly to the side of your target) then the aiming reticle will snap back to the center of the screen and Tilo will simply throw straight ahead. Similarly if your target is moving fast then it might not be a sure hit anyway.

We feel it’s a nice mixture of getting a little help from the system while still requiring the players to know what they’re doing. Of course you can turn off that feature in the gameplay options if you prefer to solely rely on your skills.

Loading Speed:

In the previous update I mentioned our new reloading process. So I thought I’d just show you a short demonstration of its speed. Please keep in mind that my machine has a solid-state drive so it’s already pretty fast.

(Please note that in this video I’m reloading a save located at a completely different place and progress of the game)

 

In the previous version when reloading a save we also reloaded almost the entire game (in order to reset things back to their default state). But we reworked our data managing system (thanks to Cyrille) and are now able to surgically reset things in the game’s world as needed. So we don’t have to wait for all the game’s locations to be read again from the disk.

This might not seem like a big deal for very fast gaming PCs but it makes a lot of difference on consoles and more modest PCs.

That’s it for this update. Thank you for coming by and as usual don’t hesitate to leave your questions/remarks/support down in the comments section! See you in the next update! :)

  32 Responses to “Catacombs Raider”

  1. Those Catacombs look and sound great. This really does sound like the best Fantasy novel never yet written. I’m going to have so much fun playing this. Then like my favourite books, playing it all over again.

  2. … Been watching this for some time now. It’s a fucking gorgeous game.

  3. I’m really interested in this game. I love the art direction and the animation seems so natural. It’s sneaking mechanics are solid and it’s costume upgrades that I’ve see so far from demo videos from others are intriguing. The script writing is enjoyable and really builds the world you guys are trying to set; same goes for the characters and designs. I await more info from this game and how it develops. For certain, if it does get out of “development limbo”, I will buy the game for myself.

  4. I totally came here for the Xbox One certification but where’s the news on it? I want to buy this so bad for my Xbox.

    • It’s important to keep in mind the certification will take several weeks. And that’s if we don’t miss any step along the way (Microsoft’s requirements can be stringent regarding this topic). Also, this is literally a first for us (first game, first console release, etc…) so every step of the process is new to us.

      So muster all the patience you got and be sure that I will post here any news regarding the process to getting the game in Preview on the Xbox One! Bear with us!

  5. I want this so much. My patience is stretched to near braking point now. 🤓

    • Same here. It’s been announced and shown at the Xbox E3 quite a while ago. Hoping to play it this year. Hopefully certification went well.

      • I’ve been looking forward to this for some time. Watching the video’s of other people play due to my lowly status as a mere Console owner i’m loosing faith in it ever coming-out. There are so many good games out there, but the smaller interesting games that ooze the love and care that has so obviously been poured into them are what i cherish. Ori and the Blind Forest, Unravel, Child of Light to name a few. I’m gonna catch ‘Little Nightmares’ and ‘Seasons After Fall’ is out next week. But this . . . wow; i’m going to fall into this game like i do a good book.
        Take that comment in the article about “Artifacts from the War of the Green Flame”; and the Dying Lights that give no heat. I’m so hooked.

  6. I love the edition of the blue flame- it adds a great new color set to the environment, whereas before every underground location was orange-lit! I was momentarily blown away when Tilo left the house in the loading video and went outside; the shadows on the ground felt so real! I’ve been following this game for over a year now. Thank you so much for keeping us informed on the fascinating process of building this world! I am so psyched to play it!

    • Thank you for your support, Joseph! Hopefully you’ll keep enjoying the updates until the game’s released (spoiler: it’s going to be this year). Fingers crossed!

    • Same to me. When Tilo left the fortress I instantly thought: “Wow. I must buy that!*
      I could hardly prevent my fingers from pressing the buy-button. I had to breathe deeply and must remember, that I bought this game already a year ago and being enyoqing it since then. :)

      Whenever you need money, don’t hesitate to ask. You will get it.

  7. I’m just excited that you came up for a plausible reason why the long-lost catacombs still have lit lamps without someone walking through them every hour or so and relighting them all.

    Tons of games just have torches that burn forever, but they never bother trying to explain how.

    Looking great!

    • I do think the level of detail in this game is impressive. It’s not a rolling RPG that can seem overwhelming, and get a little tedious after a while, but is self contained and plausible. I tell you, this feels like a wonderful book. I will be reading every page found in the world.

      I can’t wait.

      • That’s a very good remark. Indeed there’s no artificial padding in Ghost of a Tale: it’s not nearly as big as the Witcher 3 or Skyrim but whatever is there will be interesting to discover and explore.

    • I’m glad you noticed that. In Ghost of a Tale the torches are fueled by a mixture of goat dung which lasts a very long time. That being said, wherever you see lit torches in the game it means someone is making sure, at least once a week, to keep them going.

      Now the Dying Lights you see in the catacombs, they are in a league of their own…

  8. Are you aware your game can be hacked with cheat engine? Somebody I know disabled the trigger to end the demo at the entrance of the catacombs. He then fell through the map and saw your early models of the catacombs and some guards. Nice game by the way. As you progress in your project, try patching up the holes that let us see through the map. Maybe stick a rock in it or something.

  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf7xO3O1rBg This guy broke your EA game. Interesting what people can do to unity games these days.

    • Ah so I guess that’s what @RoguLevian meant!

      It’s Ok, the game’s not broken per se: the guy’s just using the same cheat engine that allows you go anywhere you want in the Dark Souls games (or any game for that matter). As I said, we’ll patch that in the next release. Thanks for the heads up! :)

  10. Yeah, I was caught off guard when I saw your rough draft work. I would usually expect people to place all related game objects under an empty and disable it; making all of the child objects hidden away from the scene (guessing you already done that).

    I’m also a unity user as well. I’ll eventually be in your shoes one day when it comes to patching game content 😀

    Just out of curiosity, are you looking for people to help you work on your game?

    • Hehe. Believe me, I appreciate your commitment to discovering more about the game! And indeed, those whiteboxing areas are unreachable for a normal player, without using external tools for hacking.

      The lesson here is you should always remove content from a game if that content should not be seen. Although I personally found this kind of stuff fascinating when I was modding existing games, years ago.

      And to answer your question: thank you but so far all the game’s needs are covered. :)

  11. Já pedi anteriormente e repito. Por favor, adicionem o idioma português brasileiro ao jogo, pelo menos nas legendas. E parabéns pelo progresso até então.

    • Hi Hugo. Yes, Ghost of a tale will have a Brazilian Portuguese version. That will most likely only come with the final version of the game though, as the script needs to be complete.

  12. This game really caught my eye. It seems to be a very smooth and enjoyable, with fluid mechanics. I want it so bad, but I do not own an Xbox or a good PC, hence, I expect a PS4 version.
    Best of luck!

  13. Bonjour je viens d’acheter GoaT,

    Juste pour dire que je suis tombé sous le charme de Tilo. Graphiquement c’est magnifique, comme la direction artistique. C’est très bien écrit, même si certaines chose m’échappent vu que c’est en anglais pour l’instant.

    Autre chose qui m’a frappé c’est le level design de haute volée (à la Dark Souls) et ça c’est le genre d’élément qui compte énormément pour moi.
    Et oh mon dieu ces costumes de toutes beauté et ce soin du détail (comme le reste du jeu).
    Tilo en voleur on dirait un chasseur dans Bloodborne <3

    Donc pour l'heure je me retiens vraiment de faire tout l'accès anticipé car je veux découvrir ce formidable univers dans son ensemble.

    Vivement qu'il sorte !

    • Bonjour Jerem, Merci beaucoup pour ces compliments et ces encouragements! Une chose est sure, le jeu complet sera dans la meme veine.

      Et puis je comprends, apres un premier contact de pre-release par curiosite (et pour etre rassure) il est tentant (et tou-a-fait justifie) d’attendre la version finale pour profiter de l’ensemble du jeu!

  14. Hello there!, I peak in from time to time to see progress you made. Also tried work-in-progress version on GOG. Its nice to watch the game coming together.

    Could you share more details on your “data managing system” and how do you “surgically reset things?” All my projects right now work the “slow” way, by reseting the whole thing and I would like to learn how did you do it.

    All the best
    Roman

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