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