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.
After some days off this project is back on track. Here little something to get you across to the new year: Navigation Splicing. The last time I showed navigation blockers carving out form existing navigation meshes. Now the last piece is into place. Navigation spaces can now have integrated blockers. This way they do not only carve out other navigation spaces they also splice in their own into the resulting holes. While doing so edges are automatically split to allow proper snapping together. This allows to dynamically upgrade navigation meshes by not only blocking existing path but also opening up new path for the AI. It's all working automatically without extra work, especially no re-casting of nav-meshes for example.
So what will this be used for in Epsylon? Actually for two things. First it helps to speed up creation of maps. Locations can be quickly created by placing a generic nav-space like rooms in LEGO style and placing in them various other objects. Navigation is automatically calculated at run-time to produce believable AI. The second use is for dynamic story telling. For example if you have to snoop around a place (or rescue somebody) the "location" is dynamically modified before first use to give you a unique experience with every play-through. This applies also to other situations. With this the final word is spoken for the navigation system in connection with meshes.
Another little upgrade happened in the conversation system. The conversation window received some touch-ups and has been reworked. The conversation control stay now out of your view while a conversation part is running showing up only when you need them. Furthermore scripting has been modified to allow for more game mechanics to be implemented later on using the conversation system. The entity display has now colored icones so the player better finds what he's looking for. Filtering has been also experimented with but will not be finalized until later on with more content to test what is really needed.
So here is the video. It shows the navigation splicing in action in the editor (shows how the path adjusts itself) and in-game (how AI can use dynamically altered navigation spaces). Furthermore the reworked conversation window in action.
Besides this there had been some other changes here and there:
More to come in January.