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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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Dynamic Conversations


The Dynamic Conversation system is an important part of the game mechanics so lots of time has been spend on it. One new feature is the Dynamic Directing system. This system allows conversations to be created with dynamic camera shots. In contrary to pure code based solutions this system here uses the Drag[en]gine Conversation System with a little help of in-game scripts (for collision testing). This gives the conversation artists full control over the dynamic camera shots. He defines the potential camera shots and uses the conversation system to decide what shots to use. This way all kinds of decision logic can be used. Doing the same conversation twice would not result in the same shots chosen. If required manual camera shots can still be used to get the best of both worlds.

Another change is the Topic Handling. The Dynamic Investigation System produced a complex Topic Selection which did not fit any more into the desired look and feel. The goal on the Dynamic Investigation is to force players to figure out what they need to know from NPCs to better simulate Detective Work. The many possible choices turned into a forest of UI buttons and lists and that's hardly player friendly. The solution has been a Keyword System. All entities in the game world the player can talk about have now simple keywords assigned. To talk about something the player enters it's name. For example if the player wants to talk about a person named "Harry" he enter "harry". And if he wants to ask instead where he can find this Harry he can enter "Where is Harry" or something similar. This game is not a connect-dots-on-cork-board detective game. It's about investigating. If you see, read or hear something try using it as keyword and who knows where this might lead you.

The video below shows the reworked system in action.


Security Park

Besides the conversation system a lot of work went into the Security Park map. This place is where the ISG organization is found the player is affiliated with while be plays the game. Important characters are located here. The map composes of manually and generated elements. Most of the buildings are generated. To handle all this various stuff has been worked on:

  • Improved generating content to be faster and with better support for nested generation (plot -> building -> floor -> room)
  • The Online/Offline AI Simulation has been improved to handle generated locations, operating on an agenda, travel between areas and adding more location specific AI
  • Generating location names for example road signs, direction signs or place names

The video below shows some impressions of the Security Park map at day and night and some new AI agenda routines to make the world more alive.


Coming Next


This time I will not disclose anything. Just be patient.


And don't forget to vote.


Investigate the Main Menu

Investigate the Main Menu

News 3 comments

Improved XML Gui-Theming and new Interactive Main Menu with a bit of detective theme.

Colorful Lights And Skies

Colorful Lights And Skies

News 3 comments

Sometimes you need to put some fancy colors into Lights and Skies. The Drag[en]gine makes this easy and fun.

DELGA and the Game-Def Editor

DELGA and the Game-Def Editor

News 1 comment

Even Dragons wrap up Gifts from time to time. And this one has some special content.

Content Generation and more

Content Generation and more

News 3 comments

Let's have a quick talk about generated content and other new stuff

Comments  (0 - 10 of 109)
Guest
Guest

Where can i find the download for this game?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
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+2 votes
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.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
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
cdtoaster
cdtoaster

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

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
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!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
SinKing
SinKing

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

good job though, still on course. Respect!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
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
Twitter

Latest tweets from @epsylongame

Quite some time passed since the last news post. Because lots has been done I split the news post into two: Game en… T.co

Dec 2 2018

This one took a bit longer than excepted but it was well worth it: XML Gui Theming and an Interactive Main Menu. Tr… T.co

Mar 2 2018

Sometimes you need to put some fancy colors into Lights and Skies. The Drag[en]gine makes this easy and fun.… T.co

Jan 3 2018

Even Dragons wrap up Gifts from time to time. And this one has some special content 😀: "Generate Environment Rooms… T.co

Dec 4 2017

Demonstration of how quickly Env-Rooms can be created straight out of in-game situations. Youtu.be .… T.co

Nov 22 2017

Time to explain Generate Content & some MacOS/HaikuOS Indiedb.com Youtu.be #indiedev #indiegames #SwissGames

Oct 2 2017

For Developers more Wiki pages up for Drag[en]gine IGDE Editors (WIP): Dragengine.rptd.ch. #indiedev #indiegames #SwissGames

Aug 1 2017

Dragon Sean is now Bend-y and Weasel-y around corners; with Test Dragon Parcour :D Youtu.be #indiedev #indiegames #SwissGames

Jul 30 2017

Meet Player-Base (WIP): Sleep, Review clues, Investigate CyberNet and more: Youtu.be #indiedev #indiegames #SwissGames

Jul 3 2017

Drag[en]gine, so cool it even runs off usb drive taking games/projects with you. Youtu.be #indiedev #indiegames #swissgames

May 1 2017

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