CHRISTMAS MEGA-UPDATE!

Ho ho ho! Welcome to the Druidstone development MEGA-UPDATE! As they say, time flies when you’re having fun, but it’s still hard to believe three months(!) have passed since the last blog update. So what have been up to lately? Well, many things, glad you asked!

Druidstone Editor

For instance, we now have a full fledged level editor, which allows us to make much more detailed levels. A year ago, when the game design was more heavily oriented towards procedurally generated content, we thought that we would not need a level editor at all. The levels were supposed to be mostly generated with some manually crafted rooms thrown in. But as development progressed, we felt the need to make more and more hand crafted locations and the need for a proper level editor arose. We will still keep adding new features to the editor, but as it is now, it’s ready for some prime time and we can start making new content with it.

Druidstone editor

Some highlights of the Druidstone editor:

– Seamless integration to the game, so we can start playing the edited level immediately by pressing a button, and also summon up the editor whenever we’re playing the game.

– Tools for quickly painting objects, e.g. trees, plants, grass, on the ground with mouse strokes.

– Heightmap and texture painting tools, including configurable brushes and smoothing.

– Compared to the editor we made for Legend of Grimrock, everything is now much more wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get). For example, with the Grimrock editor you couldn’t see the effect of painting dungeon walls on the grid unless you hit the play button. Now we can just paint the walls and you immediately see them.

– Multi-level undo/redo. Pretty basic thing but nonetheless crucial to have.

More monsters!

Apart from the editor we also have made a bunch of new monsters, some of which have been featured in our Twitter feed. Here’s the screenshot of the Basilisk and some others behind the scenes material, in case you have missed them. We’ll probably keep updating Facebook and Twitter more frequently than this blog, so if you’re not already following us on social media and have been missing our updates, you know what to do 🙂

Basilisk monster concept

The Basilisk in game. Good luck fellas!

Eoten tribesmen

The winter has come to the Menhir Forest!

Oh, and talking about the new content, check out that new location and environment set above that we have been working on. It brings to the game much needed variation to the summery forests and dungeons you have been so far. And as I write this, Juho is already working on yet another completely new environment, which we’ll feature later as the work progresses. As you can probably guess from the screenshot, the world of Druidstone, the Menhir Forest is a magical place with several different kinds of areas with unique feel to them.

Battle music teaser

Some other highlights of development lately are the new outstanding musical masterpieces we have received from Scoring Helsinki. When done properly, the music really is at least half of the soul of any game, and the guys at Scoring Helsinki really know how to pull the right strings (pun intended!) and constantly surprise us with new awesome pieces. Receiving a new music drop from them feel always like opening a christmas present, so we thought it would be proper to share some of the fun with you guys! So enjoy this small glimpse into the musical side of Druidstone. It’s still work in progress, i.e. not fully mastered to the quality of the final version, but here it is, a small teaser of the battle music:

Druidstone battle music teaser

We also have added fourth playable character to the game and it’s unlike any of the other characters we have. But this MEGA-UPDATE is already getting long and the holidays are luring us in with the promises of feasts, winter wonderlands, red fat bearded men, presents and all…

So there you have it! The Druidstone team wishes you an awesome new year and merry winter solstice! See you next year!

Object decomposition in Druidstone

Warning! From time to time we are going to post some very technical material in this blog. This is one of those posts. Read on at your own risk.

Preface

Modern games tend to create new game objects by compositing them from separate reusable components. This is a very powerful concept as complex behavior can be built from relatively simple building blocks. Components can be things such as models, lights, animations, sound emitters and gameplay related components such as health and item components, just to give you some examples. In this blog post I’ll talk about how we use components to build the game objects in Druidstone.
Continue reading

About proceduralism

To our surprise, there has been some heated discussion about Druidstone being procedural. We didn’t really expect that but in hindsight it’s easy to see that we should have communicated more clearly what it means when we say Druidstone has procedurally generated content. Otherwise it’s way too easy to get the wrong idea.

So let’s talk about proceduralism in Druidstone. Procedural games can be roughly split in the following categories:

1. Fully procedural games like Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress and No Man’s Sky, which generate the whole world procedurally. Most of them have sandbox type of gameplay.

2. Procedural games with some predefined content. For example, most roguelikes have special rooms that are handmade (often called “vaults” in roguelike jargon).

3. Games with handmade, predefined content in randomized order. E.g. FTL has designed encounters but their order is randomized and Binding of Isaac has handmade rooms whose order is also randomized.

So, which category does Druidstone fall into? Druidstone has a story that unfolds as your progress in the game, so option 1 would not work. Telling a predefined story in a fully procedural generated world would be almost impossible. Technically options 2 and 3 would both work but in the end we picked option 3 because it just fits better into the game design and is just so much easier to accomplish.
Continue reading

Jussi joins the team!

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re pleased to announce that we have a new team member! Jussi Sammaltupa is joining the Ctrl Alt Ninja team as a programmer, essentially doubling the coding performance of the team. Personally I’ve programmed solo for so long that it’s refreshing to get to do team work and work together on those really hard coding problems that appear from time to time. Without further ado, I’ll leave the keyboard to Jussi so he can say hi. Welcome aboard Jussi!


Continue reading

Dev update #1

Welcome back, friend! It’s time for the first Druidstone development update! The last two weeks have been extremely busy and productive and we have made some big changes to the game. Let’s get started with the biggest of them!

Party-based gameplay. Yes, there will be multiple playable characters in Druidstone! This is something we have been talking about internally every now and then, but until now we weren’t sure how this would work exactly. The upsides to having a party of characters are obvious, like more varied and more tactical battles, and as big fans of the good old Gold Box games we have always wanted to get this feature in. But there are also many implications to level design, death mechanics and how the story is told. For example, the levels need to be more spacious (wider doorways, etc.). What happens if a party member dies? What happens if the main character dies? Is there even a main character (are all characters equally important to the story?) Is there inter-party dialogue (yes, please!)? How does the dialogue scripts work if a party member is dead? These are just a few of the issues that need to be carefully thought about.
Continue reading

Introducing Druidstone

All is dark. Your mind is floating in the endless reaches of the great void. Barely visible, mist and dim fading stars in the far distance are the only things you can discern. Then, suddenly something in the darkness stirs… “Your time has not yet come” a deep resonating voice booms. A bright light flashes so intensely that it pierces your mind!

You hear the rustling of autumn leaves. You open your eyes and see an ancient pillar of stone covered in pulsating runes. You are standing in the center of a stone circle in the middle of a clearing somewhere in the Menhir Forest. A woman with skin of purest white steps forward and smiles at you. Her eyes glow blue, like distant galaxies. “What took you so long?”

Welcome to the Druidstone dev blog! This blog is about the development of a fantasy roleplaying game called “Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest” which we have been working on since fall 2016.

Continue reading