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WIP: The Rise of Dagon a classic dungeon crawl RPG

Discussion in 'Works In Progress - Archive' started by melkior, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. melkior

    melkior

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
    Posts:
    199


    My name is Carl Kidwell and I'm an indie developer and The Rise of Dagon is a passion project I started using Unity 4 in April of 2014!

    Since launching the project I have come a long way, including at one point entirely swapping to UE4 to evaluate which engine was going to work better for me (hint: Unity won) as well as making the migration from Unity 4.3 to Unity 4.6 with the new UI and then making the migration from 4.6 to 5.x line and bringing PBR workflow to my project, which has really brought things up a notch graphically.

    I blog consistently on TigSource and my personal DevBlog if you want regular updates but now that the project is maturing and ready to show to a wider audience up I'll try to post here as well.

    First let's take a look at The Rise of Dagon (hereafter ROD) from the first few months compared to today.

    Firstly the state of ROD today:




    This second shot is back in Unity 4.3 when I was first prototyping level art and attempting to find the right workflow to create walls that looked good with normal maps and such but also had real physical volume behind them.



    As you can see things have come a loooong way in the time since I started!

    Speaking of how they've come along I - as I mentioned at one point I had fully swapped to UE4. I spent time attempting to bring the two projects to full parity between the two engines so I could make an honest comparison between the two - this is a shot from May of 2014 comparing my two projects at that time:




    Most important to me in consideration of the two engines was the fact that I'm just one guy. As I brought up the project it became clearer and clearer that while UE4 is a great engine - that Unity 3D was actively helping my workflow in many ways that made it quicker and easier to developer.

    Also while certainly at the place I was at my art was not taking any extreme advantage of either engine the arguments you often hear about graphics of one over the other was really a moot point. As a small indie developer, I'm never going to compete with teams of 200 AAA artists. I needed to use an engine that was going to empower me to move quickly and I felt Unity was that engine.

    As of todays writing (March 1, 2016) I've reached 60% completion of my core architecture of the game. Which is to say that every subsystem has at least a baseline implementation in Unity.

    I was able to leverage several nice assets in the Unity Asset store and wanted to call out props to Master Audio and Particle Playground as two especially great purchases I made that have really helped out and I recommend them personally.

    I've also leveraged a mix of my own personal art such as this Servant of Dagon I modeled in Silo 3D and sculpted in Mudbox:


    But I also picked up some really great assets like Mr Necturne's skeleton army pack for the skeleton's you will find in my screenshots and videos.


    Where we are at today.

    Today the project has reached a really solid alpha state but its become abundantly clear that the production tim e and expense of art is one of my biggest barriers so I have actually launched a Kickstarter campaign.

    You can check out my campaign launch page here.

    Also the current gameplay is featured in our launch video:



    I'd love to hear any feedback and I'll start posting regular updates as the project progresses.

    I'm really excited about upcoming screenspace reflection features and hope to show those off when I have some time to play around with them soon!
     
    CrisisSystem, mgear and ADNCG like this.
  2. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2014
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    7,790
    Good looking game. I really like the visuals -
    Two critique points I see. Animations would look better if the enemies only performed walk animations when they were moving, when motionless I think a static moving idle would look better.
    The entire environment looks a bit too clean and glossy.
    These two points I'm sure are on your to-do list for polish, just thought I'd point them out as a fan of these types of game.
     
    melkior likes this.
  3. SteveJ

    SteveJ

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
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    Nice! As a fellow dungeon-crawly-type-guy, I approve! :)
     
    melkior likes this.
  4. SteveJ

    SteveJ

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    You might be interested in checking out the "Dungeon Crawlers: RetroGaming" group on Facebook, if you aren't a member there already. A lot of developers there - pretty much everyone who's building an old-school crawler at the moment.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1534627476758967/
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  5. melkior

    melkior

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
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    199
    Hey there!

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Yes there's currently several bugs in the animation code I'm using for my monsters - the 'moonwalking' you've noticed is one of those. I made two attempts at fixing them before having to cut the video but both ended up having worse probelms so I tried to mitigate the moonwalking in the video through cuts but it still showed up a bit. But yes - very good eye - you are right!

    RE: the glossyness EVERYTIME I update Unity the glossyness changes!! I'm getting SUPER tired of changing the gloss/specular/rough maps and plan to do it more 'final' look when the game is getting closer to release but right now its in the right 'ballpark' as they say .. but I appreciate your feedback that its overly glossy for your perception - thank you!
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  6. melkior

    melkior

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
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    Hey SteveJ

    Wow thanks thats great - I don't facebook much (spend far too much time programming haha) so I had not seen that great recommendation - thanks!
     
    SteveJ likes this.
  7. melkior

    melkior

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
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    SUPER HILARIOUS .. so I go to join the group and see how you tried to share my Facebook post .. and somehow Facebook picked up one of my mobile games from about 3 years ago as the icon -- I just bust out laughing - as you noted "The chicken icon kind of lessens the effect of my post, but just ignore that." so I shared that with my family and all of us were laughing out loud at it :)

    Thanks so much for the share- much appreciated :)
     
    SteveJ likes this.
  8. melkior

    melkior

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
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    Hi CrisisSystem,

    Thanks for your feedback!

    I'm going to have to agree to disagree with you (at least initially) on mobile.

    I've shipped a nice handful of mobile titles and desktop titles now as well and there are some experiences and some observations as I have that are informing my choices:

    1) A large portion of mobile 'gamers' aren't really people who self-identify as 'gamers' at all. (NOTE: I did not say none of them are gamers though) A large chunk of them are people with a phone and 5 minutes to use up in the dentist office or at work in between meetings or on the can.

    As such they want a cute little disposable distraction that is free. This is so bad that premium apps have become far and few in between and even the price point of .99 cents is a major barrier to entry.

    Furthermore, according to research, they are just as likely to download it and *never even play it* as they often just download it and never even play it.

    Why does this matter?

    We'll they don't really care about your game - it was a distraction that will be easily forgotten.

    I've found this isn't the target audience whom I want to develop for is my first point.

    2) Adding on to the above the fact it's also incredibly hard to make money in the mobile space because the tactics you need to employ to make money are disgusting and antithetical to good gameplay.

    In fact mobile gaming techniques of paywalls, in-your-face advertising, and predatory psychology to entice customers they call "whales" to spend ungodly amounts of money in "play-to-win" mechanics are fully disgusting to me and I refuse to employ them in my games: as such I'm never going to do well in the mobile marketplace.

    I'm an indie developer and I can choose to at least attempt to make a game that people want to play because it's fun to them and satisfying their desires for certain kinds of gameplay.

    If I were part of a big corporate mobile studio I'd have to swallow my pride and do what they tell me - but hey I'm not. So I'm going to do what I want.

    3) In contrast to the above two points, Desktop games and gamers are specifically purchased by people who really want that game and more often by players who identify as gamers.

    This is where I self-identify - and this is the group I want to develop for.

    I want someone who is engaged and interested in playing an RPG to see my game and go "Oh I love RPG's .. oh I remember Eye of the Beholder, this looks like that game that I loved!".

    These people are willing to put down 10,15,20 bucks for a fulfilling game experience with 30-40+ hours of gameplay and they might even go register at your forums and get involved in your community and get involved with you and tell you what they liked about the game, what they don't like and what they would like to see more of.

    All of a sudden you have something that has a lot more value than .99 cent transaction on a mobile device - or a "whale" as the mobile studios like to call their customers. No, what you have instead is a fan.

    The desktop games I've shipped have made something on the order of 3000% more than my mobile games and I didn't have to treat these people like "whales".

    4) But gamers are only going to become a fan if you make a quality game that has great gameplay, and that's the kind of game I actually want to make.

    The final item here is one of the most important ones to me and that's the quality of my game. I want to be proud of it. I want it to be "fun" not a pay wall. If someone picks up my game that loves dungeon crawls I want to have delivered the gameplay experience they are expecting.

    As such I simply can not reconcile dumbing down my interface or gameplay elements to suit a mobile devices limited input capabilities and therefore let down the gamers on desktop who want a rich and complex game with an interface that was designed top-down to suit desktop machines.

    Gamers can pick up on when a game was delivered for a different platform such as a game that was made for consoles and then ported to the PC often lacks proper controls because it was developed specifically for input that was limited to a gamepad controller.

    The same thing applies to mobile games - the dumbed down interface shows when it gets ported to PC. Or lets just say we try to develop it for "both at the same time" you are going to be making decisions about what you can and can not do on the mobile half and then have to make sacrifices because it will not work on mobile.

    So I'm just not feeling mobile for this title. Its a bad fit for the wrong market and there's little to no prospect for profitability in that segment and I see it as a distraction to my real goal of making a quality game for desktop gamers.

    To your point that older gamers might be looking to squeeze in a few minutes of gameplay as a guilty pleasure when they can't afford the time any longer to play on their home computer : I do certainly feel that myself.
    But for the reasons stated above such as dumbing down the gameplay or interface to suit the mobile devices I just can't make it that way.

    Thanks!
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  9. CrisisSystem

    CrisisSystem

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    Good points, and I admire your unwillingness to succumb to the crapshoot of monetizing mobile games. All the best to you, melkior.
     
    melkior likes this.