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.
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.
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.
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.
Be surprised... I won't disclose... at least not here. Follow on twitter for regular news or wait for larger ones here on IndieDB.
This time around the Audio System received some overdue additions in preparation for what is to come.
Putting the remaining pieces together for the navigation system with splicing.
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