Epsylon - The Guardians Of Xendron



Introduction

Epsylon is a game project based on the good old detective stories but taking it a step forward mixing it with an unconventional cast and a new game engine technology. Detective stories are in general static narratives with limited set of interaction and little replay value once the story is done. The player has next to no influence on the way the story unfolds. Here the Epsylon project hooks in and expands the game mechanics to allow the player to conduct investigation his own way. How the player conducts the investigation influences the world and people around him. An AI in the background reacts to the moves of the player potentially altering the course of actions. Besides the basic detective moves the player has access to some "characters" providing some special abilities that can be of help.

You are Georgo Valentino, a private eye. On your way looking to solve one of your longest standing unresolved cases you end up with a hunch leading to the parallel world Alpha-10. In this universe multiple worlds exist next to each other. Very little people know about this though. One of your friends, a scientist, does know. and he most certainly knows more than that.  He has a special "friend" himself that he met while researching what is called the "Xendron", the multidimensional space. Arriving at Alpha-10 Georgo is quite surprised finding his "friend" having dropped off his little girl at his side as he has "own business" to take care off. You should learn soon that this little girl (Sean) has some special abilities that can be of help to you. And if that is not enough the organisation you end up with has two special "agents" (Odjin and Bahatos) at their disposal that have their own set of abilities to bring to the table. The interesting part? The little girl and these two special agents are dragons of different kinds. As it looks like they play an important role in the case to unfold.

Will you be able to solve the biggest case you ever had?

Gameplay

All your actions have large influence on the events in the world. It is better to conduct your investigation without force if possible. As you are a stranger in this world people tend to not tell you all they know so you have to find your own ways to gather the informations you need to crack the case. There are multiple ways to solve the case depending on how you approach the investigation and with whom. Be careful though with whome you talk and what you do. The underworld is watching you and will react to your snooping around. Counter measures can range from making "vanish" information you seek all the way to trying to silence you or people you got in contact with. Various features can help you on your way:

  • The Dynamic Investigation System allows the story to adapt to your investigation style. Information can be dynamically created and destroyed. If you are not careful certain information can become hard to find.
  • The extended conversation system prevents boring multi-line selection conversations. Furthermore topics can be talked about from the pool of information you know. Some people don't tell you all they know unless they trust you enough. Some don't tell you in fear of something in their past. Sean has unique abilities helping you to break through these mental chains. Or you can try to confront them with evidence or flaws to throw them off balance.
  • The past holds the clue to the current events. In certain situations Sean can use her abilities to catch a glimpse into the past. While this won't solve a case it could yield the puzzle piece you need to fit all together.
  • The interactive environment allows you to use objects in various ways including computers to snoop around emails and documents. Be careful though that the AI can notice changes in their surroundings.
  • Different camera perspectives including the Dragon-View mode allow you to play the game the way you like it.
  • Implant systems are useful to get throught tight and deadly spots where other characters have troubles. Odjin and Bahatos are equipped with two kinds of augmentation systems. Infiltration and stealth or assault, for every situation there is the right man (or dragon). Some puzzle pieces can not be retrieved without taking a risk.
  • The investigation system helps you solve your cases. Keep track of information about various entities in the world as well as the progress on your investigation. Most of the time you are not told where the information is you are looking for so use the entity informations as well as snooping around to find it. You have to find "a" way... "your" way... you don't follow a predefined way.

One of the key points is that the story is part of the game mechanics. It is not told to the player by hitting NPCs. The story is the main case in the investigation. So to learn the story solve the investigation. Depending on how you solve it you can learn more or less about the story. It is therefore useful to look sometimes deeper than requested. And who knows what influence your choices have on the outcome... or members in your team.

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5 comments by Dragonlord on Sep 3rd, 2014

Conversation System Overhaul

    The main work went into reworking the conversation system from being game specific into a generic system provided by the game engine itself. This allows now anybody to use this sophisticated system. New conversation actions and conversation conditions have been added. loading classes are now ready-made to use for your projects. Some basic playback classes are present now in the game engine to build upon. Furthermore the conversation editor received tons of improvements and additions I might show in an extra technical video later on. The system is flexible so you can do anything from highly complex to simple and basic conversation, cutscenes and game mechanics. This had been quite an important rework since I'm using the conversation system in my game project not only for conversations but also cutscenes and entire game mechanics. This extra development time has thus been well spent in this system. See the video below for in-game use of the system or the ZPOC video here as an example for using the system in an entire different project.

Tutorial Map

    The rest of the time went into assembling the different pieces together into a first tutorial map. This one combines now new stuff like:

  • improved soundscape based on OpenAL
  • dynamic footsteps adjusted to speed, actor type and floor material
  • tutorial system with dynamic content
  • various cutscenes realized with the conversation system
  • All the latest graphic changes enabled and included like the environment rooms
  • Modeling new flashlight which fits better than the old large brick
  • Remodeling the thunderpad into a smartphone type device including full real-time finger control input as well as adding some applications to it (upgraded from the old thunderpad).
  • Improving dual-use of flashlight and smartphone in your secondary hand.
  • Conversation over phone call support.
  • Lots of ideas, game sequences and story bits added to the design document
  • and a bunch of other changes that I forgot to mention since they are so many
  • little warm-up puzzle of the easy kind to get the player used to the game mechanics

   So all in all a lot of new things and everything plugged together in a playable tutorial map. Nevertheless it is work in progress and contains placeholder stuff like the voice acting (i suck at voice-acting... and more so on female kid voices like Sean's voice :P ) and stuff I experiment with (like Sean's mental voice experiment)

   So instead of text better moving pictures. Most probably I'll not make many more of those since the audio-desync on capturing is so costly to fix it's getting too problematic to work with. Before I get engine level video capturing working I'll keep videos to a minimum.

So here it goes, the tutorial map from entering up to a stopping point.


   And here some minor videos tapped in between like level changing by boarding the train or sean skulking around the city (including missing animations :P ).

All videos are also on YouTube so if you can't see/read something due to quality issues you can try there. Links are with the individual videos.

Feedback is always welcome and I'll see what I can include.

Outlook

   Next up tackling more engine tickets to work off and finishing up the first investigation sequence unrolling inside the building. The conversation system also needs some bug-fixes and stripping deprecated features so you get only what really counts. Until next time.

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Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 109)
Guest
Guest Aug 15 2014, 12:01pm says:

Where can i find the download for this game?

+1 vote     reply to comment
HeadClot
HeadClot Dec 4 2013, 3:45am says:

DragonLord - Do you need an Artist. I would be more than willing to help out where needs be. :)

P.S. - Where can I find the Binary version of the Dragon[En]gine? If there is one. I would like to mess around with the Physically based rendering pipeline.

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheDebonairNomad
TheDebonairNomad Oct 7 2013, 2:35am says:

Sweet Chocolate Christ mun. I remember you working on this way back when. You have some serious drive, keep at it man. Good work as always.

+1 vote     reply to comment
SkitZaY
SkitZaY Aug 3 2010, 7:15pm says:

Woah, you've been going on this for ages.

+6 votes     reply to comment
SkitZaY
SkitZaY Jun 13 2014, 6:26pm replied:

... and continues to. It's nice to come back after years and see updates. Keep going strong, guy.

+1 vote     reply to comment
CD_TOASTER
CD_TOASTER Jul 13 2010, 8:42am says:

i've been watching this for years (i dont mean this to say you should be working faster), good to see things happening

+2 votes     reply to comment
Dragonlord
Dragonlord Jul 13 2010, 10:37am replied:

Yeah I know it's not the fastest. But if you are forced to do all on your own things don't go fast. I'll though implement in the time to come some stuff which should help me to get things done faster. Not optimal but it should allow this project to get somewhere in a reasonable time.

+5 votes     reply to comment
Savci
Savci Aug 17 2010, 6:07pm replied:

I'm sure you know the 0 A.D. team a bit, that game's Alpha took 9 years I heard.
But yeah, we look forward to updates till then!

+2 votes     reply to comment
SinKing
SinKing Feb 27 2010, 5:24pm says:

you have to include some pretty pics in your updates, not just user interface pictures :)

good job though, still on course. Respect!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Dragonlord
Dragonlord Feb 27 2010, 7:12pm replied:

Sorry, don't have an artist. I'm limited in what I can do.

+3 votes     reply to comment
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Epsylon
Platforms
Windows, Linux
Developer
Team Epsylon
Engine
Drag[en]gine
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Official Page
Epsylon.rptd.ch
Release Date
TBD
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Adventure
Theme
Sci-Fi
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Single Player
Project
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Epsylon
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