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The first development update for the recently announced tactical RPG Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest brings some exciting news. The game is now going to support multiple playable characters. Apart from that, the script is being written, and the animations are getting some love too. Check it out:
Party-based gameplay. Yes, there will be multiple playable characters in Druidstone! This is something we have been talking about internally every now and then, but until now we weren’t sure how this would work exactly. The upsides to having a party of characters are obvious, like more varied and more tactical battles, and as big fans of the good old Gold Box games we have always wanted to get this feature in. But there are also many implications to level design, death mechanics and how the story is told. For example, the levels need to be more spacious (wider doorways, etc.). What happens if a party member dies? What happens if the main character dies? Is there even a main character (are all characters equally important to the story?) Is there inter-party dialogue (yes, please!)? How does the dialogue scripts work if a party member is dead? These are just a few of the issues that need to be carefully thought about.
Anyway, I spent several weeks testing party-based gameplay in a separate development branch, tackling the technical issues one by one and testing gameplay in practice. There are still some issues left, especially related to the story and how its told, but we are confident now that we can tackle them. So party-based gameplay is definitely a go!
Large object support. Multiple playable chars led naturally to another big refactoring in the codebase that I’ve been thinking about recently. Up until now objects in Druidstone were limited to 1 square in size. That limitation is now gone, so we can have, for example, 2×1 square doorways, 2×2 stairways, etc. Also more importantly we can now have some truly huge monsters! In fact, Juho made a new bad-ass huge monster which we’ll save for a future blog post *evil grin*
Script writing. Janne Sundqvist, our part-time writer was also here last week and split our initial synopsis into act structure and began working on the script of the game. The script is going to be our holy book and it’s going have all the encounter and character dialogues which really helps the game to come alive. These onsite visits are really great because we can throw around ideas quickly, test them in practice and make sure everyone is on the same page about the vision of the game. Hopefully we can have another session with Janne soon!
Animation rework. In the meanwhile Jyri has been going through all the animations of Leonhard, our man in green. The initial rig, particularly the cloak has proven out to be inflexible for the sort of maneuvers we’d like Leonhard to do, so unfortunately Jyri had to modify the rig, which meant he had to go through all the 54 animation files which Leonhard currently uses and reanimate the cloak. That’s a lot of work! But it was better to make the tweaks now rather than later, because the number of animation files surely grows a lot bigger as we add new features to the game.