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The lands of Arafinn are afflicted by a smoldering conflict that outlasts hundreds of generations. When the North fell, Nangrim, home of the Stonebeards, soon got overrun by the invaders. Now - centuries later - it is the player’s quest to discover this forsaken place and reveal the secrets buried in the cold depths of Nangrim.

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Return to Nangrim is a first-person fantasy adventure with RPG, survival and puzzle elements. The game involves exploration, research, tool and weapon crafting, epic puzzles and defense strategies in order to unveil the secrets and story of Nangrim.

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During his journey, the player will find books written in a runic scripture that provide information, story, and hints. In order to be able to read those books, the player must learn to translate those runes. To do so, he is given hints for example in the form of translated fragments, which over time and with additional research, allow translating the ancient language of the Stonebeards.

Entering the deep mines of Nangrim.

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During the process of discussing our game’s environment, it soon became clear that, even if our game is set in a fantasy world, we wanted to keep the mechanics as realistic as possible and in accord with real-world laws of physics. This means that interactions with objects and the environment should not happen based on ‘black-box behavior’ (I’m using this term as a synonym for ‘not further specified or comprehensible behavior’) but should follow well-defined rules. This was (and still is) quite a challenge, as it required us to really dive into the world we’re creating. We must ask ourselves what living in Nangrim must have felt like:

How was it to spend one’s days deep down inside the mountain, only occasionally seeing the light of day?

How did the humidity of the cold stone feel on one’s skin?

What difficulties would have arisen from the smaller stature of the Stonebeards when compared with real-life humans?

What consequences – both physical and psychological – might have occurred due to open-cast mining?

As well as some basic, but no less important, questions, like:

What did they eat? Where did they sleep? What was their social life like?

As you might have guessed, this is quite a time-consuming task and requires a lot of documentation, commitment and networked thinking.

A good example of this is how we worked on our door mechanics:

First, we began with the look. This was the easy part, as we all had plenty of ideas for how an epic dwarven door could look.

As a second step, we asked ourselves what different kinds of doors would have been used in Nangrim: Wooden doors, stone doors, massive doors, smaller doors, two winged doors – plenty of different materials, shapes and sizes – but there was one very important feature that challenged our gray cells: some doors need to be lockable.

The easiest solution would have been to say: ‘ok, we’ve got a door, it has a lock and we’ve got a key that opens and closes it’. Probably in 99 percent of the cases this would have been sufficient, but then again, we’re back to our black-box-magic. And what if there’s a broken door somewhere? Shouldn’t part of the underlying mechanics be visible for the sake of realism?

So we did a lot of research on locks and keys and how they were engineered in ancient times. Did you know that Homer mentioned a lock on a temple door in his Odyssey? Well now you do!

Based on this newly acquired knowledge, we worked out our own concept for the door mechanics in Nangrim.

So, if you come across a closed door in Nangrim, rest assured that there’s some functioning real-world mechanics behind it!

Sycoforge has been selected as one of the 10 most desirable gaming solution providers

Sycoforge has been selected as one of the 10 most desirable gaming solution providers


Sycoforge is an elite gaming solution provider located in Zurich, Switzerland. It aims at creating unique gaming experiences for avid gamers. At Sycoforge...

Introducing a brand new Storybook line from the team at Sycoforge

Introducing a brand new Storybook line from the team at Sycoforge


On Christmas Eve, Sycoforge has launched their first interactive storybook entitled: 'Tales of the Stonebeards - The Last Guardian', which is planned...

Arafinn - Return to Nangrim on News Watch TV

Arafinn - Return to Nangrim on News Watch TV

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Sycoforge Games, an interdisciplinary team of engineers, mathematicians, artists, and other types of creative media individuals based out of Zurich, Switzerland...

How to build worlds and tell stories in VR

How to build worlds and tell stories in VR

Design/Concepts Tutorial

This June I held a presentation at the Forward Festival in Zurich about worldbuilding and Storytelling in VR. I used the dwarven Stonebeard family from...


Nice to this great progress!

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This is looking super awesome! Can't wait to play it! :)

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Arafinn - Return to Nangrim
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Latest tweets from @sycoforge

RT @CodeMechanic: In case you missed my blog entry about worldbuilding and storytelling in VR: you can now also find it on @gamasutraT.co

Oct 17 2018

Our @codemechanic just wrote a blog entry about storytelling in VR! Check it out here: Ecs.page.linkT.co

Oct 15 2018

RT @CodeMechanic: A few months ago, I held a talk at the Forward Festival about storytelling in VR. Here's my blog entry covering the… T.co

Oct 15 2018

RT @ArafinnUniverse: A selection of dwarven chandeliers. Which is your favorite? Which one would you like to see in Return to Nangrim?… T.co

Oct 13 2018

RT @ArafinnUniverse: After a hard working day in the mines, the tavern waits. #indiedevhour #indie #indiedev #indiegame #gamedevT.co

Oct 10 2018

RT @ArafinnUniverse: Those that have been at the game dev bbq probably know what's in those kegs ;) #screenshotsaturday #indie #indiedevT.co

Oct 6 2018

Our friends @strayfawnstudio just released their game @nimbatusgame! Support them and get your early access copy on… T.co

Oct 4 2018

RT @Sycoforge: It’s VRDAYS! Come and join us in Halle622 Zurich Oerlikon! #gamedev #indiedev #swissgames #indie #vr #virtualreality T.co

Sep 29 2018

RT @ArafinnUniverse: The lights better not go out in the mines, so we need some good chandeliers and torches!  #screenshotsaturdayT.co

Sep 29 2018

RT @David_Mullich: Starting a game studio is tough, but sustaining it is even harder. Here are some best practice guidelines for busi… T.co

Sep 29 2018

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