Low poly, no flatness

If you’ve been following me on twitter or facebook, you know that I have been busy redesigning the low-poly look of the game’s buildings. While I haven’t altered the poly count, I went with much more detail on the texturing front.

At first, the idea and inspiration came from my favourite game of all time – Betrayal at Krondor – but as I went on, searching for the look, I knew such minimalist graphics wouldn’t cut it. I wanted more detail. So I tried my hand at texturing, by applying UVs in Blender and drawing the actual textures in Affinity Photo, which I wholeheartedly reccommend as a cheap and equally valid alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop.

The result you can see in this photo.


Of course the rest of the land was just too flat at that point, so I went to add more detail to the roads.


Pictured is the before/after result. I’m not quite satisfied yet, but it’s an improvement.

I’ll report as more progress is made. Thank you for reading!

Be sure to follow ongoing and more detailed development of the game on Patreon.

On Converting

Yes, I have made a conclusion. I am switching over to Unity for good.

So far it’s been incredibly smooth sailing converting the Swift code into Unity’s C#, since the two languages have – to my initial surprise – much in common. Mostly it is just a matter of replacing keywords and adding brackets and semicolons.

And let me tell you something about parsing XML. While in Swift I’ve struggled with 3rd party libraries to read XML and turn it manually into game objects, in C# it is almost automatic. I’ve already got a couple of objects set up by parsing the original XML files and it took me what, an hour together with figuring out how to do it. What a time saver, especially if I decide to rename or add a field in the XML, I don’t have to modify the parser, since there is none.

Most of the hard work ahead of me is converting all the SpriteKit and GameplayKit-specific calls into whatever Unity’s got, but I figure it is going to be fun, since learning is fun.

On the other side I’ve managed to crash Unity a couple of times, but that was me initializing objects at incorrect places. Still I’d love Unity to catch such occurrences and report them to me, instead of crashing with no error message to refer to. Also Monodevelop has been crashing from time to time with no apparent reason. I’ve read people switching to other code editors, but this one has a built-in debugger, so I may stick with its shortcomings.

Unity

I have enough of you Apple.

It’s been a while now that I’ve been struggling to see solutions to mundane development issues with Swift/SpriteKit. On top of a constantly changing (but wonderful) Swift language requiring me to rewrite large portions of my source code every couple of months, I kept hitting bugs in the compiler and frameworks, and encountering issues with stuff that should just work in the first place.

A couple of days ago, I’ve decided to take another look at Unity and what has changed since the last time I’ve played with it a couple of years ago. It turns out, a whole lot! The support for 2D is amazing, the GUI system looks simple and powerful and none of the issues on the Apple platform seem to exist here. And although I really love Swift, I don’t see any problems switching over to C#…especially when it comes equipped with so many powerful libraries.

I am also looking forward to the prospect of having CoS run on pretty much any platform I want, and not just OS X and iOS. I know many of my friends will be glad for it.

I will spend a couple more days/weeks making sure that Unity has what it takes to suit the particularies of Call of Saregnar, then I will most probably jump on that bandwagon and hopefully, never look back.

The Thief of Dreams

UPDATE: The kickstarter is live! Go and pledge!

From the writer behind the hit computer games Betrayal at Krondor and Dungeon Siege comes The Thief of Dreams, a new fantasy novel set in a world where magic is forbidden, where sorcerers are spies, and where a force beyond imagination threatens to transform the long simmering cold war between the nine kingdoms into a cataclysmic, world-shattering conflict.

The Thief of Dreams

NEAL HALLFORD has been writing for the computer gaming industry for over twenty three years, and has been lauded for his work in a number of benchmark fantasy games including Betrayal at Krondor, Dungeon Siege, Might & Magic III: Isles of Terra, Planet’s Edge, Champions of Norrath, Lords of Everquest and many others. Over the years his work has been experienced by millions of game players. His game Betrayal at Krondor was novelized into a New York Times best-selling book by Raymond E. Feist, and Dungeon Siege was adapted into the movie In the Name of the King, starring Jason Statham. Hallford now lives in San Diego, California where he’s also an independent film producer at Swords & Circuitry Studios which he operates with his wife, Jana.

Launching on Kickstarter on April 10th at Noon (Pacific Time).

Midkemia Online

Sometimes I wonder how the hell can something that I am completely and totally interested in, slip by and get unnoticed. Well, today while browsing the internets I stumbled across a MMORPG based in Raymond E. Feist’s Midkemian universe. Being a huge fan of Feist’s works and role-playing games in general, I couldn’t help but stare at the discovery. Having really enjoyed his books and played both BaK and RtK games (a gazillion times) I got really eager to jump into this game.

Well this is a text-based RPG, which means all you do is stare at a terminal window reading and typing in commands to interact with the game. At first I was all excited to join the game, but despite the fact that I was eager to give the text-based world a shot, I discovered just how shallow the game really was. The main thing that put me off was the very unmmaginative quests – go fetch that and bring it to me type quests. In short, that was it. I think I’ll be better off reading Feist’s novels.

Top 10 RPGs With Great Stories

10th place: System Shock Series

A wonderful mix of an RPG, adventure and shooter, with an enticing story and unique gameplay, which are definitely the highlights for this game. You really sense the feeling of being there, and the story carries a lot of surprises. The occasional visit to Cyberspace also adds a lot of atmosphere to the gameplay.

System Shock Screenshot

9th place: Gothic Series

Gothic is an action role-playing game franchise, created by Piranha Bytes and currently published by JoWooD Entertainment.

The Gothic games stand out for their compelling story, complex interaction with other in-game characters, and interesting graphics.

Gothic Screenshot

8th place: Dragon Age: Origins

Dragon Age: Origins is a single-player role-playing video game developed by BioWare’s Edmonton studio and published by Electronic Arts.

Set in the mythical kingdom of Ferelden during a period of civil strife, the player assumes the role of a warrior, mage or rogue who must unite the kingdom to fight an impending invasion by demonic forces.

Dragon Age Origins Screenshot

7th place: Fallout Series

Fallout is a series of computer role-playing games (CRPGs) published by Interplay and later by Bethesda Softworks. Although set in and after the 22nd and 23rd century, its retrofuturistic story and artwork are influenced by the post-war culture of 1950s America, and its combination of hope for the promises of technology and lurking fear of nuclear annihilation.

Fallout Screenshot

6th place: Baldur’s Gate I & II

Baldur’s Gate is a popular series of computer role-playing games that take place on Faerûn, the main continent from Dungeons & Dragons’s Forgotten Realms campaign setting, set in the years after the cataclysmic Time of Troubles (1358 DR).

The games are based on a real-time modification of the second edition AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) ruleset. The player’s party can have up to six members, either created by the player according to the AD&D rules or NPCsrecruited by the protagonist from the game world. Numerous side quests and plot twists are associated with particular NPCs and can be activated if they are found in the player’s party. Through extensive, context-dependent dialogue, many characters inside and outside the player’s party are fleshed out and given an added level of complexity.

Baldur's Gate Screenshot

5th place: Planescape: Torment

Planescape: Torment is a computer role-playing game developed for Windows by Black Isle Studios and released on December 12, 1999 by Interplay Entertainment. It takes place in Planescape, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) fantasy campaign setting.

The game is primarily story-driven; combat is given less prominence than in most contemporary role-playing games. The protagonist, known as The Nameless One, is an immortal who has lived many lives but has forgotten all about them, even forgetting his own name. The game focuses on his journey throughout the city of Sigil and other planes to reclaim his memories of these previous lives.

Planetscape: Torment Screenshot

4th place: Deus Ex

Deus Ex is a cyberpunk-themed action role-playing game developed by Ion Storm Inc. and published by Eidos Interactive in the year 2000, which combines gameplay elements of first-person shooters with those of role-playing games.

Set in a dystopian world during the 2050s, the central plot follows rookie United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition agent JC Denton, as he sets out to combat terrorist forces, which have become increasingly prevalent in a world slipping ever further into chaos. As the plot unfolds, Denton becomes entangled in a deep and ancient conspiracy, encountering fictional versions of organizations such as Majestic 12, the Illuminati, and the Hong Kong Triads throughout his journey.

Deus Ex Screenshot

3rd place: The Witcher

The Witcher takes place in a medieval fantasy world and follows the story of Geralt, one of a few remaining “witchers” — traveling monster hunters for hire, gifted with unnatural powers. The game’s system of “moral choices” as part of the storyline was noted for its time-delayed consequences and lack of black-and-white morality. The game is based on the book series of the same name by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.

The Witcher Screenshot

2nd place: Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995.

Chrono Trigger takes place in an original world similar to Earth, with eras such as the prehistoric age, where early humans and dinosaurs share the earth; the Middle Ages, replete with knights, monsters, and magic; and the post-apocalyptic future, where humans and sentient robots struggle to survive. The characters often travel through time to get allies, gather equipment, and learn information to help them in their quest. The party also gains access to the End of Time (represented as year ∞), which serves as a hub to travel back to other time periods. The party eventually acquires a time-machine vehicle known as the Wings of Time, nicknamed the Epoch. The vehicle is capable of time travel between any time period without first having to travel to the End of Time.

When you hear all the faithful loyal followers of Chrono Trigger saying that Chrono Trigger is the best rpg game out there, you tend to expect the game to be just that – and it sure may be! A marvelous sotryline, full of twists and interesting characters, all spiced up with a cool time-travel mechanism makes this game a must play! However, I just couldn’t award it first place, because it is reserved for…

Chrono Trigger Screenshot

1st place: Betrayal at Krondor

Betrayal at Krondor is a fantasy role-playing game produced by Dynamix and released in 1993 for the PC.

The game’s plot is based on The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist, and it takes place roughly 10 years after the events described in the Darkness at Sethanon. That, and Mr. Feist’s supervision on the story (actually written by Neal Hallford), was a guarantee that the game would pull you deeper and deeper into its world as you progress through the game’s 9 intriguing chapters.

What else can I say, if you love RPGs, you just have to play this game and if possible get the CD version which features great music for that extra bit of wow.

You can download the game for free on gameogre.com.

Betrayal at Krondor Screenshot

Sources: Wikipedia.

Betrayal at Krondor – Neverwinter Nights 2 Mod

Wow, just wow. Today, while casually browsing the web I found out the user Batmansis64 at the NWN2 Vault is working on a NWN2 mod of my favourite RPG of all time – Betrayal at Krondor. And as you can see, it seems to be coming on very nicely.

Head on to the project’s site by following the link below.

Betrayal at Krondor — Neverwinter Nights 2 Vault.