Greetings fellow gamers,
So this is technically the second devblog, the first one was uploaded half a year ago and since then, quite a few things have drastically changed and one of them was the art direction. That said, you could call this the first written devblog. I am aiming to release weekly updates from now on.
Despite Dead Monarchy being a one man project, I still occasionally outsource work and as such, I am closely working with a 3D modeler. Initially the armor design and general aesthetic was going to lean more towards fantasy however it was never my first preference. At the time, I had to work with what was available so I ended up purchasing a few fantasty-esque models from the Unity store. That was when I uploaded the first video showing some basic combat and I quickly realized just how out of touch it felt. After I wiped the vomit from my mouth (not to say that the models were bad), I decided I had to go all in, so I took out my life savings and hired a professional modeler to help reduce some of my workload.
While graphics are not everything, which I'm sure is a saying that has been thrown around a lot, it is important to have a cohesive art style. High fantasy armor has also been done to death and for me personally, it is quite a big turn off. The themes that I will eventually touch on in Dead Monarchy are grounded in reality and as such the world itself needs to feel grounded in reality too. Everything from the architecture, environments and people, need to feel "grounded" in terms of something that represents a more historically inspired medieval world.
Steel is the best your gonna get, if you love the color silver then this is where it's at. No mithril, no adamantite, just cold steel. That said, there will be leather, riveted and padded armors but in terms of materials, steel is king.
Factions also play a pivotal role in the story of Dead Monarchy, which is something I'll save for another day. Let's just say that each faction needs to be unique and as such, how they are visually represented is very important. With each faction looking unique, the stories that surround each faction then become that much more captivating as you can clearly frame each faction in the context of their stories. When you read a book, you'll end up imagining the environment and the characters, when you read and learn about each faction if all factions look similar, no matter how good the story is, the effectiveness of it will be reduced. You would have already visually referenced what the factions look like and the stories just won't feel as authentic, due to something like "the factions were restricted by technical difficulties or budget issues". Unfortunately, 1 man and 1 hundred don't discriminate and while I don't have a huge budget either, I make that up with passion, boatloads of passion and dedication to a game that I myself, want to play.
But that is enough ranting, some of you may not agree but these are the experiences that I have gathered and deduced over the many years of gaming.
As mentioned, each faction in Dead Monarchy will have their own unique look and vastly different cultures, will have different fighting styles which may end up augmenting your current combat strategy.
If you played the demo, the current armor system is a tiered system for where each armor type going from 1 to 5 only has a slight armor increase and visual difference. In the demo, there was then a "Free Company" (mercenary) version and a "House Stanek" version of which both had their own unique look. I've decided to condense and merge those two things together and to take another pass at the armor progression between different sets of armor.
Having armor sets with a small increase of +10 armor was more or less meaningless as players always opted for the highest tier armor in the armor type. Having an armor set with +10 armor rating was also quite useless against the majority of weapons. The visual differences between each tier were also quite minimal. From now on, armor increases by +50 per set and there is no tier system (1-5) within each armor type IE Gambeson armor. There are however, still various versions of say Gambeson armor that all give +50 armor. Factoring in future unannounced factions as well, it makes more sense to proceed with this new direction. The same thing applies to helmets but in a smaller capacity. There will still be various models for helmets, but a great helm with decoration vs a plain great helm won't have more helmet rating. There will also be faction variants of helmets, just like there is for armor. That said, it won't be as numerous or diverse as armor. The armor models are not disappearing either, they are just being shifted around to ensure that each set is visually unique at a glance, instead of suddenly realizing that only the difference is the chainmail pixane.
Aside from armor changes, I have been working on formation AI this week and should have an update on that next week. If you made it this far, here are the pictures. This is the Gambeson armor set, with a Gambeson hood for the helmet slot. So far there are 6 variants, but more will be added. So far, there are 5 great house variants and 1 mercenary variant. I'll quickly note that I separated the hoods from the helmets and now the hoods themselves can be used as helmets and are more or less the earliest head protection you'll acquire.
Until next time!