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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Inventory Handling

News

A few technical things stood on the list of things to do in the last couple of days. I put them up here for a change since they include game mechanic stuff.

New Inventory Handling


On the game mechanics side there had been some improvements here and there. One of the larger changes I wanted to do since some time is the change of Inventory Handling. This is due to the goal of No HUD just real interaction. Since interactions are real interactions the HUD gets in the way so it has been more and more removed. The last remaining piece has been the Quick Use Slots. Interesting fact: it has been one of the earliest scripts in the project. Things evolved for the better.

The inventory is now entirely off-view. To see it the player uses the mouse wheel (or whatever key you bind to inventoryNext and inventoryPrev. The panel shows first all quick-assigned items in your jacket then all others. This way you can access all things you picked up for example to inspect them from up close (the examine mode shown in the tutorial map video). With the panel open the player can now assign quick-use to items by pressing one of the quick-use keys. The text color indicates VIP Items. You can not drop those items by accident but you can hand them over to NPCs in certain situations. This short video shows how this now works:

Left are now some debug HUD elements gone in the final product. Now it's where it should be: only real interactions and no HUD.

Long Range Rendering


This is a problem I for some time now and many will know: the dreaded Z-Buffer Artifacts. Since I need rendering up close dealing with Z-Problem had been an important topic. A good test case for this had been the ZPOC test-case which easily uses 2km draw-range and more. Epsylon does not need this much of a draw range but solving the Z-Problem one way or the other solves all problems at the same time.

I tried different ways to solve the problem and it requires a certain level of GPU to work but it is working now they way it should. The fix applies to everything: Camera rendering and Shadow rendering. It is interesting how many problems the changes caused to various shaders all around but it has been worth the trouble. There are some small issue remaining with the SSR but that should be sorted out sooner or later. Just some compare screenshots on the way.


Up Next

Be surprised... I won't disclose... at least not here. Follow on twitter for regular news or wait for larger ones here on IndieDB.

Let's Play: Tutorial Mission

Let's Play: Tutorial Mission

News 1 comment

This video here is taking you from the start all the way through the tutorial mission. New content, new game mechanics, new tricks, and more snooping...

Dynamic Audio System

Dynamic Audio System

News

This time around the Audio System received some overdue additions in preparation for what is to come.

AI! AI, Everywhere!

AI! AI, Everywhere!

News 1 comment

During the last month a lot of work went into AI development, performance optimizing scripts and the usual feature improvements and bug-fixing.

Navigation Splicing and more

Navigation Splicing and more

News

Putting the remaining pieces together for the navigation system with splicing.

Comments  (0 - 10 of 109)
Guest
Guest

Where can i find the download for this game?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
HeadClot
HeadClot

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.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
TheDebonairNomad
TheDebonairNomad

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.

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SkitZaY
SkitZaY

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

Reply Good karma Bad karma+6 votes
SkitZaY
SkitZaY

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

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
CD_TOASTER
CD_TOASTER

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

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Dragonlord Creator
Dragonlord

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.

Reply Good karma+5 votes
Savci
Savci

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!

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SinKing
SinKing

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

good job though, still on course. Respect!

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Dragonlord Creator
Dragonlord

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

Reply Good karma+3 votes
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Epsylon
Platforms
Windows, Linux
Developer
Team Epsylon
Engine
Drag[en]gine
Contact
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Homepage
Epsylon.rptd.ch
Release date
Game watch
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Style
Genre
Adventure
Theme
Sci-Fi
Players
Single Player
Project
Indie
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Latest tweets from @epsylongame

Reworked inventory. Goal: No HUD just real interaction. Youtu.be #indiedev #indiegames #swissgames

Jan 16 2017

No more Z-Fighting in the free Drag[en]gine Game Engine Indiedb.com. No more camera tricks: #indiedevT.co

Dec 17 2016

Let's Play: Tutorial Mission! Indiedb.com. Don't forget to vote; #ioty #infiedev #indiegames #swissgames Youtu.be

Dec 8 2016

Floating, impersonal Mini-Maps are boring. Epsylon gives you real in-game Mini-Map: Youtu.be #indiedev #indiegames #indiedb

Nov 29 2016

Combine all stuff: snooping around, nicking files, checking files on your smartphone Youtu.be. #indiedev #indiegames #indiedb

Sep 26 2016

Found some security footage on the laptop snooping around. Who might this guy be? #indiedev #indiegames #indiedb T.co

Sep 18 2016

New document reader app for snooping around and nicking files to your smartphone. #indiedev #indiegames #indiedb T.co

Sep 13 2016

Improving Video Textures for painless SFX Effects and more. Theora and APNG support: Youtu.be. #indiedev #indiegames #indiedb

Sep 1 2016

More UI improvements (functional and sugar coating). Happy snooping around. #indiedev #indiegames #indiedb T.co

Aug 21 2016

Improving "Application" UIs and script bug fixing. Can you find the password? #indiedev #indiegames #indiedb T.co

Aug 14 2016

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