Primetus is PhyNXT Interactive's first open-world action RPG.
Set in a fantasy environment, Primetus combines stylized graphics with immersive, implicit story-telling to promote a sense of adventure throughout the player experience, as well as to allow the player more freedom in developing their character's motivations and backstory.
Valera is the first world of the game and hosts several uniquely characterized races. We've carefully crafted over 10,000 years of backstory and lore to pack into the world of Valera alone! As of now, we have six additional worlds planned, as well as additional content we'd like to play with in Valera once the initial final release is done.
There are four primary factions within the world of Valera itself: the human empire of Aristos, the Dwarven Kingdom, the Elven territory of Miramadel, and the Beastmen capital, Baskeir.
To weave a narrative...
Peace has fallen over the lands of Valera…though it waits now for war. The petty squabbles of the lesser races do not recognize peace treaties, nor conquest. Their conflicts are as sure as the snow upon the mountain, that flurries and squalls.
But the dwarves, no, their dealings are quite important to the world below. How long ago it was they learned that riches could bring more than a sparkling gaze. Bringing food, drink, and the luxuries of the lands. Wealth of the kingdoms at their fingertips. Dwarves, those sellers of jewels and transporters of goods.
For it was not long ago that Achard, conquer of those lands brought about this peace. He was not a cruel king, nor an unfair conquer. He wished to unify the lands, to be a ruler of people, not corpses.
And one by one these cities succumbed to Achard, a god amongst men, who brought Aristos to full glory. Yet there are those who watch his kingdom.
And of Baskeir, the Beastman capital, nobody knows what goes on inside. The sound of moving parts and mechanisms can be heard clinking away, like rusted old clocks unwinding day by day. And at night, when all goes quiet, the yelps and howls of wild animals creep through the cracks in those ancient walls.
How long can this peace last? Where can it run? Where can it hide?
The people turn to their gods, proud beacons in a faltering light. But the followers are blinded, for they cannot see the weakness of their protectors.
Those who claim themselves gods, are mere men.
Perhaps there is hope from within Conversus, those people who are just and resolute. Them who do not care for the petty differences of race. Who wish to make this peace last, and would not see it unfold. And will try to maintain it, whatever the cost...
- The Bard Strix of Camloon, 773 a.v. (IIIc)
There's been little news squeaking out of this PhyNXT page for some time now and unless you follow us on Twitter, you probably wouldn't know that we've been back to work on Primetus.
Well, dusting off the project page here, and ignoring the internal team drama behind the scenes, let me go ahead and catch you up on where Primetus is currently at in development.
From the outset of our Indev 0.0.1 build, we wanted to achieve the following:
As of today, as you can see, most of that is done. What we're working on now is the quest system and the two representative environments mentioned. Seeing as the quest system is just about done and the environments are coming along at a steady pace, now is the perfect time for somewhat of a retrospective for us and an introduction/overview for the community.
So, when we came back to development, I had tried to pick up right where we left off with everything, but quickly found that to be an insurmountable task between half-finished and non-functioning code and a mountain of lore that was left in purgatory -- everything was a mess. The lore was easy enough to sort out, that was stripped to the basics while preserving core details (which I'll leave for a follow-up article next week), the code base, on the other hand, had to be completely thrown out.
With a new scene to start with, I found some premade assets to work with and got to it -- as an aside, a little about me as the lead developer here, my background is actually in physics, so while programming isn't a foreign concept to me, anything art related is -- to pay my respects to these asset gods, I'd just like to mention the AxeyWorks asset packs on the Unity asset store are great and the modelling tutorials by Sebastian Lague on YouTube are great!
Step one was to get an inventory system working. That was easy enough with Unity's UI tools and a couple of lists to hold items, the item database was improved from the last time the project was touched by switching from XML to JSON, not a big change, but, in my opinion, JSON is much more readable. With the inventory implemented, albeit with a few bugs here and there and lack of quality of life functionality, the equipment system was next and was just fully implemented last week.
The big problem with the equipment system the way I decided to implement it was for equipment with multiple attachment points (say gloves or pants, which have to attach to each hand or each part of the legs to be able to animate properly), the couldn't just be added as a single object, instead, they have to be "unpacked" from a prefab and attached to the appropriate points on the character when they're equipped. The unpacking part wasn't too hard, what was difficult was keeping everything modular. Modularity has been my mantra as I've gotten back to development, the idea being that if the code base were delegated to someone else to take care of, they could add onto it or remove a piece here and there to fix something, rather than have to start from scratch again.
Small details like the item details and health/mana displays were added while working on the equipment and inventory systems, I won't go into too much detail on them, but I will mention, another useful resource for the artistically uninclined (like yours truly) is Game-Icons.net. You'll also notice the gloves, boots, and helmet aren't exactly stellar -- that's programmer art, but it's getting better!
With the inventory and equipment systems, the next step was making a combat and stats system, which really became a matter of figuring out how we can keep things scalable going forward, not too complicated, but interesting. The combat calculations will probably change going forward, but for now, the important part is that Dave (our affectionate name for our current player model) can go around beating up slimes to his heart's content.
What was a headache for me, until yesterday, was dealing with a couple of unsightly and unexpected bugs with the enemy AI. Basically, I ran into an issue where if the player left the navmesh the enemy was constrained to and the enemy was still chasing the player, the enemy would eventually reach the edge of the navmesh and count that as having reached its stopping distance to the player, then proceed to attack and do damage to the player, even if they were on the other end of the environment.
A couple of conditional if statements later to make sure that the enemy has a path and is able to even reach the player before attacking cleaned that up, and I also added a minor behavior improvement where the enemy goes back from whence it came if the player gets too far away. The only thing left to add to the basic enemy AI is random patrols, but that's not a top priority item right now.
With all of that implemented on the programming side of things, our environmental artist (Megan) and animator (Ali) shouldn't be left out of the development mentions. Thanks to Ali's quick work, I was able to implement combat animations and get the combat system working in little more than two days. In addition to that, Megan's awesome modelling skills helped to be able to implement resource gathering for a variety of resources that will offer a huge pool of items for the crafting system as I get to work on that. Our team's level designer, Hiro, and concept artist, Jacob, have also helped pick up the artistic slack in helping to flesh out a style that fits the narrative we're striving to put together.
We've still got a long way to go, but at this point, we can start to put things together to show off to the community, and that has the PhyNXT team more excited and more committed than ever!
I'll follow up with an article dedicated to lore and storytelling next week to give a better introduction to the actual game beyond some technical mumbo jumbo.
Primetus is our first single player open world game that combines lore based immersion with real-time combat. The project has been underway for five months...
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