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 work done focused mostly on player feedback received so far. This includes various bug fixes, improvements of interactions and reworking/cleaning up script code to get it into a good shape for a release later on. Especially the interaction improvements is worth a section on its own.
One of the main issues players had with the game interaction had been the complexity of the key bindings and when you can do what with objects in the game world.
These issues have been addressed now by removing various key bindings. They have been collapsed into a simple primary action (left mouse button) using Interaction Prompts.
Furthermore various interactions (both in-world and in-hand) have been modified to give prompts for the important actions at all times. Now it should be way easier to play without guessing or trial-and-error.
Also added Foreign Property marking. If an interaction shows up in red this means you can get into troubles if you do certain things. If an interaction shows up in green then it is save. Sometimes it is possible to use red stuff. In general foreign property you can not put in your inventory. You have to put them back where you found it.
Another point of players had been that it is not always clear you hold a prop in your hands. To help there Wield/Use Interaction Prompts are shown on the left side if you wield a prop. For some props these prompts change depending if you just wield them or use them. Your smartphone or memo pads are such props.
Also crouching or sitting on chairs confused some players so prompts for these have been added to. They are located also on the left screen side.
For computers the button to leave has been also marked with an additional "Exit" text to make it clearer how to get out of computers.
Some players wished for wield props (like your smartphone) to line up with the view so they are always visible. This has been done now with props following horizontal rotation but not vertical. In addition the "Take Picture" mode of your smartphone now sticks to the player view using IK. This should make taking pictures much easier. Taking pictures is not for show so you can use them for different purposes in your investigations. See if you can find them all.
All in all the various changes make game play more fluid and easier to pick up for new players. The video demonstrates the various changes in the test map.
Feedback on the changes are highly appreciated.
Next up will be the work on the game mechanics revolving around Sean.
First time doing a booth at HeroFest and a lot of work on both the sound scape for the game and the game engine to getting it released soon.
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