Project Resurgence: A New Oldschool cRPG

Created by Nectar Game Studios

In a mysterious world reborn from disaster, your choices are all that matter. Master magic and tech. Fight. Sneak. Persuade. Survive.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Final Hours & Gameplay Stretch Goals
over 3 years ago – Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 11:24:22 PM

Good day, Nectarines, one and all!

Rob here. So this is, we've reached it. The final countdown! And what a whirlwind ride it has been! But the fun isn't over yet! You guys have already and amazingly managed to blow past two of our stretch goals!

We already discussed the specifics of the Lvl 1 Accessibility stretch goal. All the Lvl 2 stretch goals, focus on gameplay upgrades, and we’ve broken it into several subgoals. AND since you guys have continued to surprise and delight us, we're dropping TWO more of them on you right now!

Lv2: Gameplay Upgrades includes the following features:

  • Adjustable Companion AI - Gain more control over your companions, and customize their behaviors (similar to Dragon Age: Origins or Final Fantasy 12)
  • Backgrounds - Choose from three backgrounds to further customize your roleplaying experience. This background grants a few small bonuses, and also affect lots of dialog.
  • Grit - Use these “heroic determination points” to gain an advantage on skills and combat rolls when you really need it.
  • Respec - Not happy with your character build? For a fee, you can redistribute all your level up points.
  • XP Challenge System - Gain small amounts of XP for playing the way you want.
  • More Quirks/Perks - More choices to make your character more unique.
  • Better Stealth Mode - More depth to the stealth system, including multiple levels of enemy awareness and noise detection.
  • 2-Hand Weapons - Much like one-handed weapons, but bigger!
  • Dual-Wielding - Or use a one-handed weapon in both hands. Guns and wands too!

I know we’re almost at the end, but remember that the money we make during our upcoming Slacker Backer campaign will continuing going directly toward our stretch goals too.

As we wind down our campaign, we’re going to be focusing on what's important: you guys. We couldn't have done this amazing thing without all your support and encouragement, and we can't thank you enough. So now in the final hours, let us know in the comments how it feels!  What are you most looking forward to about this game?!

The Kickstarter might be ending, but our adventure is just beginning! :D

FUNDED! Final Day & Accessibility Stretch Goal
over 3 years ago – Tue, Feb 09, 2016 at 09:35:20 PM

Congrats Nectarines!

WE ARE FUNDED!

Rob here again, and in case you missed it we passed our $160k goal yesterday right around noon EST. It was a great moment for us as a team, which immediately led me to make this face.

All the NGS team, including our ambassadors, stopped what we were doing for that moment just to let it sink in that we had actually done it, we had reached our goal. It was immensely gratifying to know with certainty that our dream was indeed becoming reality. And there was much rejoicing. :)

But we’re not done yet either! There’s still a day left on this campaign, and we intend to make the most of it. We think we’re going to start getting a lot more attention now too that we’ve surpassed the goal, so let’s keep spreading the word so we can make Resurgence even better with some sweet stretch goals!

In The News

We launched Steam Greenlight on Wednesday last week, and we’ve continued to shoot up to #16 out of 2,093 other games with 3,898 yes votes and counting! That prompted Logic Bomb to put us in his top 5 Greenlight games for the week. :D


“This week saw some pretty g*****n good titles on Greenlight. It’s not rare to find at least one diamond in the rough, but this is more than I bargained for.”

Luke George also a wrote a very encouraging article about us on HardcoreGamer: Project Resurgence Kickstarter Down to the Wire.

“With games like Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, XCOM 2, Guild Wars 2, and Icewind Dale (and many more impressive titles) in their collective portfolio, the guys from newly formed Nectar Game Studios might just have the knowledge and experience to pull it off.”

I also got to hang out with the Indie Game Riot guys on Friday night to talk about Resurgence, and a bunch of other indie goodness (warning: language)!


Backer Quests - 34XP

Tomorrow is the last day for the Backer Quests, but there’s still time to hit 40XP and unlock the t-shirt add-on and Talents voting! Here’s a quick list of each of the quests, and how close each one is to the next milestone:

Slacker Backer Campaign - Paypal

So we are nearing the end of the campaign, and you may think that there’s just not enough time left to reach any more stretch goals. Well think again! As I mentioned in a previous update, we know many people (especially our European friends) were waiting on a Paypal option that we couldn’t deliver on during the campaign. Or maybe you wanted to back at a higher tier, but were waiting on another paycheck. Either way, we’ve got you covered. That’s why we’re planning to launch a “slacker backer” campaign after this Kickstarter, using Paypal to collect additional pledges through our website.

We still need to confirm the details with Paypal and get everything set up properly, but that is very much our intention. Hopefully we can launch it soon after this Kickstarter, but we’ll keep you posted. You’ll still be able to get all the same rewards, just as if you had backed during the Kickstarter, and all those funds raised will still go towards more stretch goals too. The only exception there is that we may not be able to offer any of the limited tiers over $1k, since we’re not sure if we’ll be able to easily track and and show you which ones are still available. If you’re interested in supporting us through Paypal, stay tuned for more details!

Stretch Goals

Since we’ve blown past the base goal, that means it’s stretch goal time! Now any of you frequent backers will know that stretch goals often lead to scope creep, which is the death knell of many a Kickstarter game. We are well aware of this issue (we’ve been burned before too), and that’s why we’re only considering stretch goals that easily complement and extend the foundation we’ve already been planning on with our base goal. That means nothing crazy, that would jeopardize us being able to deliver the game in the timeframe we promised. For instance many of you asked about multiplayer and console/mobile release, and sorry to say we believe those are just too far beyond the scope of what we can deliver with this first episode. But, that’s not to say we couldn’t make it happen with a later episode, and we’re structuring the code to allow for the possible integration of those things in the future.

As you may have noticed, we already posted our first stretch goal of Accessibility Features at the very top of the campaign page. We felt these features were particularly important, because we want to make sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to fully enjoy our game. We’ve determined the costs of this package of features just like any of our other features: break it down into specific tasks, estimate the work time across all disciplines, add a safety buffer, and multiply by hourly wage. We want you you be confident in that this is our best guess of the cost to accomplish these features, not just some arbitrary number out of a hat.

We’ll be deciding the next level of stretch goals based on the following criteria, in order: priority (how much it improves the game), difficulty (risk and cost), and demand (how much you want it). And to help us better gauge demand, we’ve created a public Trello board where you can upvote the features you’d most like to see implement in episode one. Instructions and color-coding key are in the “About this Board” column on the left.

And like I mentioned early, all funds from the upcoming “slacker backer” campaign will build on top of the final Kickstarter total to continue unlocking stretch goals for a limited time!

Lv1: Accessibility includes the following features:

  • Multiple Difficulty Settings - Change between easy, normal, and hard difficulty setting at any time. The base goal included a standard challenge level, with a forgiving but steadily increasing difficulty. This feature grants more control, for those who just want to enjoy the story or who crave even more of a challenge.
  • Custom Key-Bindings - Completely remap all the keyboard and mouse inputs to your preference. This feature is also especially important for players whose physical limitations prevent them from using the standard inputs.
  • Color-Blind Mode - Ensure all UI and color-coding are still easily usable for all types of color-blindness. If we can’t accommodate that in the standard UI, we’ll add a toggleable color-blind mode.
  • VO Barks - Companions and NPCs have a variety of quick voice-over lines for combat/exploration. This feature adds another element of audio feedback, to help you understand the current game situation.
  • Comprehensive SFX - Ensure all interactions have audio feedback. This feature is especially important for people with limited vision.
  • Adjustable UI, Text, and Font - Adjust the size and location of most user interface elements, as well as the size, color contrast, and font of all text. This feature is especially important for people with limited vision.
  • God Mode - Make your party invincible so you never get a gameover. This feature removes virtually all challenge, so anyone can complete the game. To be fair, it also locks any achievement progression.

Shout Out - Apocalypse World 2nd Ed.

Today’s shout out isn’t a videogame, but rather a very intriguing tabletop RPG. Many of us at NGS know and love the freedom and complexity of games like Dungeons & Dragons, with all the dice rolling, dense character sheets, and tactical grid combat that entails. But the beauty of Apocalypse World is that it strips away most of that complexity to create what the creators describe as, “a sexy, cinematic post-apocalypse, full of action, danger, mystery, romance, and horror.” It’s a critically acclaimed game, and this is the new and improved second edition. I first became aware of Apocalypse World through Dungeon World (a fantasy variant, and one of dozens of other games “Powered by the Apocalypse”). What I like most about these games is that instead of quest and plotlines, you have fronts, which represent looming danger that must be dealt with (or risk the consequences) and allows players to really pursue their own interests without driving game masters crazy. And instead of actions and abilities, both players and game masters have moves. Game master moves drive the action forward, and player moves let them react in amazing ways. This replaces slow-paced combat rounds, with pure cinematic action, where failure is just an opportunity for more exciting complications. It’s a game where the rules get out of the way, and let you really tell a fast-paced collaborative story with your buddies. You still roll dice and have character sheets, but the learning curve is way lower with much more focus on engaging roleplaying. If this sounds appealing, I highly recommend you check out their Kickstarter. With three weeks to go, they’ve already more than tripled their goal!

Dialogue System, Steam Greenlight, Teamstream #2, 3rd Quest Rewards
over 3 years ago – Fri, Feb 05, 2016 at 08:13:08 PM

What’s up, Nectarines?!

Rob here. Gah, only 5 days left guys! We’re making steady progress, but it’s looking like it’s going to come down to the wire. We’re certainly trying our hardest to keep spreading the word, but if you’ve got ideas we’d love to hear them. I just want to say again how thankful we are for all of you believing in us, and wanting to see this game get released in the final polished form it deserves. We are truly grateful for each and every one of you. So thank you so much, you guys are the best! :D

A couple quick reminders:

  • Add-Ons: If you weren’t aware yet, we have a bunch of add-ons available that can be added to any reward tier, including the art book and novella ($20), season pass ($35), and alpha testing ($85).
  • Manage My Pledge: You can adjust your pledge amount at any time, up to the end of campaign. For instance, if your buddies are waiting on a paycheck they can easily pledge $1 now (subscribing to our updates and be able to leave comments) and adjust that pledge amount whenever.
  • Paypal: We’ve been doing a lot of research on Paypal, and the verdict is they don’t really like projects collecting funds through their websites in addition to a live crowdfunding campaign. Makes sense, since that could make it a lot harder to issue refunds if that campaign happens to fail. But, we are planning to launch a “slacker backer” campaign right after the Kickstarter, for anyone who didn’t hear about us in time or prefers to use Paypal. We do need to make sure the Kickstarter is successful first though, for that to happen. So another option is to purchase a prepaid debit card, which you can then use to back through Kickstarter like normal.

Steam Greenlight

We launched Steam Greenlight two days ago, and we’ve already gotten 1.8k yes votes, ranking us #40 out of 2,302 other games! That is staggering and fantastic, but we need to keep it up if we want to be chosen by Valve. It’s not about hitting a certain number of votes, it’s about maintaining interest with the Greenlight community. So every vote helps, and if you want us to distribute through Steam go hit that Yes button right now!

Teamstream #2

We hope you enjoyed our first live teamstream, because we’re doing another! Follow our new Twitch channel, and we hope you can join us for Q&A, gameplay discussion, and sweet artwork! We’ll be going live Monday afternoon at 2 PM EST. Get your questions ready, and hope to see you then!

Backer Quests - 30XP

Week 4 Quest
Here’s your new bonus quest for this final week:

Here’s the link: Final Week Tweet.

The deadline for this Bonus Quest is 10PM EST on Wednesday 2/3 (exactly when the campaign ends).

New Add-On Unlocked
Congrats Nectarines, we reached 30XP and that means you unlocked the third Backer Quest Rewards! That means all backers can now purchase a physical copy of the soundtrack for $10 (shipping not included).

I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t I already getting the soundtrack with my pledge?” Well, yes probably. Anyone who pledged at the $15 Dawn Seeker level or higher is already getting a digital copy of the soundtrack, but now you can buy a physical copy too! The only other way to get it is by backing at the $200 Dresdi Collector tier or higher.

If you’d like to get this add-on, just click the green Manage My Pledge button and add $10 more to your pledge. Your reward tier does not change, just your pledge amount.

Headgear Voting
Head to the Headgear Voting thread so you can vote on which items you want to see in Resurgence! You can vote for your top 5, but get those votes in before Monday 2/8 at midnight EST.

Buff/Combat Item Community Voting
And more! We’re also opening up voting for the community designed Buff/Combat Items submissions! You’ve got until tomorrow to get in any additional submissions. Here’s a quick rundown on important dates regarding voting:

  • Design Deadline - All Buff/Combat submissions must be in by Saturday 2/5 at midnight EST
  • Team Review - We will review all the submissions and pick our favorites the following day. 
  • Voting Opened - We will open community voting on Sunday 2/6
  • Voting Closed - Voting for Quirks/Perks will close Wednesday 2/10 at 10PM EST.

Wallpapers
We added 5 more landscape wallpapers to the Goodies Dropbox, based on each of the tribes.

Keep helping us spread the word and unlock even more awesome stuff!

Dialogue System

Kelly here! Exploration is one of the key gameplay pillars of Project Resurgence, and by that we mean exploring characters (their personalities, motivations, and backgrounds) through conversation just as much as moving through the environments of Lumen. And in true roleplaying fashion, we find the most compelling aspect of character interactions in being faced with difficult decisions that truly make you consider the motivations and potential consequences of your actions. We intend for these moral decisions to be various shades of grey instead of an oversimplified black and white dichotomy. The concepts of “good and evil” are almost never so clear cut in reality, and so too will we delve the murky complicated areas in between. We want our story to be told like a novel, gripping and engrossing, where every choice you make matters; casting ripples into the future that will continue to affect your personal story and the fate of Lumen itself across all five episodes. The game is not segregated into story and mechanics, since the way you build your character and how you play directly change the story.

So, let’s start talking specifics. Persuasion is an art, and we offer 3 variations: reason (Persuade + INT), intimidate (Persuade + STR), and charm (Persuade + CLT). Appeal to a character’s sense, fear, or desire to get your way. Occasionally we will have extra options show up too, such as “bribe” (Persuade + cash) or “bluff” (Deception + CLT).

Obviously, not all of these will be equally effective for every character and situation. A thug might be more likely to be bribed than charmed, but a scientist might be more persuaded by reason over intimidation.

We also want options to change based on your interactions with characters. For example, if you interact with a character that you previously roughed up, it might take a lot less for you to intimidate them. A character might stick to their guns if you try to persuade them, but if you helped them out on a previous quest they might be more responsive to your suggestions. A character that you abandoned to die probably won’t be charmed by you...unless you can bluff your way around the situation.

One of the first quests we have in the game is to secure a room for yourself at the local tavern. The proprietor, Talia, wants you to get rid of a local gang member named Andar Hest who’s squatting in one of her rooms. There aren’t any other rooms available, but if you get rid of Andar, you get the room.

From the point of getting the quest, I wanted there to be several options for how you can resolve it. These options start the second you reach Andar’s room. His door is locked, obviously, and if you want to get inside you can knock, attempt to lockpick the door, or smash it in. Knock doesn’t have any skill check, lockpick uses your Thievery skill, and smashing the door uses Brute Force. Once you’ve gotten inside the room (through whatever means necessary) you have to deal with Andar. Now, a successful lockpick means that you’ve just snuck into the room, and Andar is snoring loudly in his bed, dead to the world. If you are a bloodthirsty type, or you just like to deal with problems as quickly as possible, you can actually kill Andar right then and there. No muss, no fuss. Otherwise, you can wake him up. Once he’s conscious, you can try to intimidate or bribe him to leave the room, or you can simply fight him. If you pick a fight, he’s a coward and will give up once he’s lost enough health. At this point, you can either kill him or send him away with his tail between his legs. As always, how this whole situation resolves is totally up to you, and how you choose to apply your abilities. It’s just a matter of how you want to play your character, and dealing with the consequences of those actions. :)

So, let’s run through this interaction with some of the actual dialogue options as pulled from our actual dialogue doc! I’m going to be choosing the options to go through (as if I were playing the game) to illustrate the range of possibilities and to make this explanation as simple as possible.

First, a note on the options! We are using a system where only one word is displayed on the UI, but when you hover over it the entire dialogue line is shown. That way our interface stays compact, but there aren’t any nasty surprises, like when a choice of, “No,” somehow turns into, “I HATE YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR YOU FILTHY ANIMAL!” So for reference below, the parentheses show the single word “trigger” (UI button), while full line text is show before that (displayed in dialogue box).

Formatting Reference:

  • CAPS - Character speaking. Their portrait is also displayed on the UI. 
  • (Parentheses) - Single word summary of the dialogue intent. 
  • Bold - An action, not spoken dialogue. Sometimes these speak louder. :) 
  • [Brackets #] - Skill check, with target difficulty (0-50)

Example Dialogue

When you, the player character (PC), reach the door to Andar’s room.

NARRATION: You hear snores rumbling from Andar Hest’s room. It sounds like he’s dead asleep in there, which is fine with you.

PC: 

  • Knock on the door (Knock) [Thievery 15] 
  • Pick the door lock (Lockpick) [Brute Force 10] 
  • Bash in the door (Bash)

(Knock)

NARRATION: You hear a few snorts from behind the door, but no other response.

PC: 

  • Knock louder (Again) [Thievery 15] 
  • Pick the door lock (Lockpick) [Brute Force 10] 
  • Bash the door in (Bash)

(Lockpick) - Success

NARRATION: The door opens with a quiet click. You step lightly into the room, taking care to muffle the sound of the door as it closes behind you. You see Andar, a large man who apparently wears an eye patch while he sleeps, passed out on the floor.

PC: 

  • Hello, Andar. (Hello) 
  • Slap him (Slap) 
  • Kill him (Kill)

(Slap)

ANDAR: The slap seems to shake Andar out of his sleep. He stares at you blearily with his good eye, then shoots up out of his bed after he realizes you’re a stranger. “Who the hell are you?! I was sleepin, damn it!”

PC: 

  • [Intimidate 15] You need to get out of this room, now. (Out) 
  • [Bribe 10] 10 gold can get you a much nicer room than this one, don’t you think? (Gold) 
  • Fight (Fight)

(Gold) - Fail

ANDAR: Andar looks at the gold in your hand. Then he looks around his room. He goes back and forth for a bit, before putting the pieces together and and shaking his head. “10 gold? That’s all you got? That’s pathetic.”

PC: 

  • [Intimidate 20] You need to get out of this room, now. (Out) 
  • Fight (Fight)

(Out) - Success

ANDAR: It looks like Andar finally realized that you’re not here to wish him sweet dreams. He sizes you up and quickly backs away. “Okay, alright, I get ya,” he says, stepping toward the door. “You want the room, you got it. No hard feelings, right?” Before you can answer, he closes the door behind him. You take stock of the room. It smells a little musty, and there are more than a few empty bottles on the floor, but outside of that, it’ll do just fine.

***

Now that ends our interaction with Andar for now. There are a few other ways this scenario could have gone. For example, if I had bashed in the door it would have become much easier to intimidate Andar (since bashing down a door is pretty scary). If my bribe and intimidation had both failed, I would be left with no options but to fight Andar, though I could still choose whether to kill him or not.

Andar does pop up later in the game too, and your interaction with him now can determine how he interacts with you later. If you bribed him, he’ll be more likely to help you out...for a price. If you intimidated him he’ll likely be more belligerent with you, but if you beat him up he’ll just want to do whatever it takes to get you out of his life. Of course if you decided to kill him he’s gone for good, but we’ve found a pretty fun way to deal with that situation as well. ;)

So hopefully that gives you a better idea of how dialogue, narration, and mechanics all blend together to create the vivid and highly reactive storytelling experience we’re trying to achieve. We’re also planning for a number of passive and active Talents, to make you better able to read and influence NPCs through conversation. If you want to build a silver-tongued character that can talk their way through any situation, we want that to be just as viable and enjoyable as any other specialization. What do you think? What other things would you like to be able to do in our dialogue system?

Shout Out - Knights & Bikes

Rob here. As RPG fanatics ourselves, we’re always on the lookout for other cool games that are doing something interesting, and we think you definitely need to check out Knights and Bikes by Foam Sword. First of all, just look at that art style! We love that stylized whimsical look, and it very much feels like you’re seeing the world through the eyes of the two young leading ladies. It’s described as, “A co-op adventure about childhood inspired by The Goonies & Earthbound, from developers on Tearaway, LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank.” It’s very much an action RPG, inspired by the 80s and Super NES-era games like Secret of Mana. You can also play the whole thing single-player or with a buddy. You also team up with a pet goose, talking head, and fight with a Power Glove. Oh, and bikes! This game just oozes, personality, fun, and adventure, and we really want to see it succeed. They just launched their Kickstarter, so show them some love and tell them we sent you. :)

Sound Design, Game Art Overview, Headgear Voting, & Digital Books Add-On
over 3 years ago – Tue, Feb 02, 2016 at 10:25:43 PM

Greetings and salutations, Nectarines!

Rob here. We’re into the single digits now guys, and we have only a little more than a week left to reach our goal. The good news is the number of numbers are starting to pick back up again, and we’ve broken through 2,000 backers and are nearly 80% funded! Keep up the great work helping us spread the word, and let’s finish this thing out strong! HYPE! :D

In The News

We are now featured at the top of the International Game Developer Association (IGDA) curated Kickstarter page. I’m actually one of the founding members of my local Cincinnati, Ohio chapter, and it’s quite an honor to be featured by the largest game developer organization in the world.

The awesome Crowfall guys also gave us another shout out in their latest backer update!

Backer Quests - 26XP

We passed the 25XP mark, and that means we’re half way to unlocking all the quest rewards! Remember, there are a total of 60XP available across all our quests but you only need 50XP to unlock everything!

We also wanted to mention that even if we don’t reach the XP thresholds to unlock more community voting, we will still consider all community design submissions for inclusion in the game. You just may not get to vote on them, but we’ll still put our favorites in regardless. :D

Headgear Voting

We closed submissions for Headgear equipment last night, and just created a new forum thread so you can vote on which items you want to see in Resurgence! You can vote for your top 5, but get those votes in before Monday 2/8 at midnight EST.

Week 3 Quest

We’ve heard a bunch of awesome tabletop memories, but we want more! The deadline for this Bonus Quest is tomorrow at Midnight EST, so tweet us those stories or comment on this Facebook post if you prefer. :)

New Add-On: Art Book & Novella

You asked for it, and you got it! A number of you brought to our attention that you’d love to get the art book and novella listed in the $100 tier, but since that tier also contains physical items the shipping costs were an issue for some locations. So we decided the best thing to do is keep the reward tiers as is, and also package the art book and novella together as a digital add-on for $20. Keep in mind this is the special Kickstarter price, and we will also make them available as DLC later, just at a higher cost.

If you’re interested in this add-on, just click the green Manage My Pledge button and add $20 to your current pledge amount. Your reward tier does not change, just the pledge amount. If you’re already pledging at the $100 tier or above, you’re set since both these items are already included anyway.

Sound Design

Well hi! I am Sean Boyle, one of the sound designers at Nectar Game Studios. Today I’m pretty jazzed to tell you a bit about how we approach the sound design in Project Resurgence.

If you’re like most people, sound in a game probably doesn’t grab your attention much. Don’t worry though, you are totally normal! I still fall into that same trap sometimes, even after having made my career in audio. Sound is an integral piece of all video games though, and if you think it is unimportant I'm here to convince you otherwise. :)

First, let’s talk brains. When you hear a sound, it is processed in your temporal lobe. This is also where your memories and emotions are accessed. As a result, what you hear will very likely stir your emotions and memories, even if you are unaware of it. Pretty crazy, huh?

Here’s an experiment: try turning a game’s sound completely off. Does the game suddenly seem more dull? I think you will likely find it like a poorly cooked steak, dry and lacking flavor. While the game is visually complete, a core aspect of the experience is missing. Your mind is struggling more to process what is happening in game, due to a lack of audio feedback, and turning the sound back on should feel like a breath of fresh air.

At NGS, our goal is to make a rich and immersive soundscape for Project Resurgence. To do this, we are planning several major audio features, and today I’m going to elaborate more on character movement.

When I think about character movement, I immediately hear footsteps in my mind. But why not the rustle of armor and cloth? Why not the jingle and jangle of equipment? While being a subtle sound, footsteps are actually much more engaging for the player and also require greater diligence to create. Part of the reason is that footsteps are important gameplay feedback, giving players a sense of where other characters (especially enemies) are located in the game world. In addition, especially with RPGs like Resurgence, footsteps give you a sense of exploration and adventure where every step adds to the immersion of the environment.

As I’m sure you know though, some games don’t spend much time on footstep sounds. The simplest method is to record a small number footsteps on each type of terrain (dirt, grass, snow, sand, cement, stone, wood, etc), then just randomize the pitch. This method is quick, but it’s very limited and yields repetitive results. This repetition is even more glaring with sounds you hear almost constantly!

We think simple and repetitive is lame, so we’re planning on a more elaborate footstep system. As crazy as it might seem, this system will likely take longer to develop than any other single component of Resurgence’s soundscape. In a RPG that is all about exploration (a whole lot of walking), we need a system that is versatile and full of variety to keep players engaged with our virtual world. Our plan is to split footsteps into two parts: heel and toe. The factors of how a character is moving (run, walk, uphill, downhill, stairs, etc) will determine whether the heel or toe part is played first, how intense (loud) they are, and how much separation is between the two elements. The sound will also be modified based on the type of footwear characters have equipped. This means we will have to record every type of footwear on each core surface. And to add some terrain flavor, we will then layer in the sound of grass, gravel, leaves, water, creaking boards, you name it! All of these components will blend together in real time, with some randomization, to make every footstep unique. :D

Thanks for taking the time read about the sound design of Project Resurgence. All of us at NGS cannot wait to share this world with you, and to fully engage your eyes, ears, and brain!

Game Art Overview

Hello everybody! I’m James Brisnehan, and I’m a prop/environment artist. We’ve seen some questions about the artists and what exactly we do, so I wanted to take a minute today to give you a brief overview.

I’m sure you’ll all agree that having a great team of artists is very important to modern games. Without artists, games would still be fun and playable, but there wouldn’t be anything interesting to look at and make you really feel like you’re in a different world. They’d probably look like that one mining game (you know the one), and that’s if we were lucky! Needless to say, game artists spend insane amounts of time and energy filling these virtual worlds with color, detail, and beauty. Basically, we make games look good. :)

You also may not have known that there are a whole bunch of different types of game artists, and all these varied skill sets need to gel together to make up a solid art team. The number and type of artists needed of course depends on the type of game being made, but most teams will need at least one person partially covering each of the following roles. For some indie teams, there’s only a single person covering all of them!

  • Art/Creative Directors lead the art team, making sure all of the art is heading in the right direction, has a cohesive style, and is getting done on time. Their main tools are spreadsheets, reference images, and red ink. 
  • Concept Artists define the visual style (look and feel) of the game. They start with simple sketches based on input from the design team and Art/Creative Director(s), which they iterate and refine until they have tons of polished illustrations for everything that will eventually appear as an asset in game (environments, characters, items, everything). Their work then becomes the guidelines and inspiration for all the other artists. Their main tools are Photoshop and Google.
  • Environment Artists build all the actual levels and areas that make up the game world. In 3D games, they are also called Environment Modelers or Hard Surface Modelers. They create the shape of all environment assets (interior and exterior) out of virtual meshes, focusing on efficiency and modularity. This is very important for game performance, since highly reusable assets with simpler meshes greatly reduces the occurrence of framerate drops and lag. They work directly with Level Designers to create beautiful and rich worlds that are worth exploring, and facilitate the best gameplay possible. Their main tools are Maya and Unreal. 
  • Prop Artists are similar to Environment Artists, but they focus on all the smaller objects that fill the game world. This is especially important for objects that characters can directly interact with (like weapons, items, and destructibles), because of the extra care and detail they require. Their main tools are also Maya and Unreal. 
  • Character Artists create all the people and creatures that fill the game world, including variations (face and hair) and anything the characters wear. Basically anything that has a skeleton, or needs to bend and move according to one. In 3D games, characters are composed of virtual meshes focusing on efficiency and movement needs. Character meshes are often much more complex than objects (faces especially), so efficiency is even more important here, but they also need to be dense enough to avoid weird deformations when animations are applied. Character Artists work with Riggers and Animators, to create characters that look and move in a believable and visually interesting way. Their main tools are Maya and Unreal. 
  • Texture Artists create the texture maps and shaders for all game assets, so the “materials” (a collection of parameters that defines the color, shine, reflectiveness, texture, etc) all look as lifelike (or more stylized) as desired and respond believably to lights and shadows. This is where much of the visual detail comes from, since textures can create the illusion of details to look much more complex than the mesh actually is. On small teams like ours, all modelers typically create all their own textures too. Their main tools are zBrush, Photoshop, and Unreal.
  • Riggers work on everything that needs to move. They create the skeleton, joints, and “skin” (giving weight to the surface of a mesh) inside all the characters, creatures, and props so they all move in a fluid and believable manner. On small teams, Animators typically do their own rigging too. Their main tools are Maya and Unreal.
  • Animators take the fully rigged skeletons, and bring them to life by creating every movement needed for the game. They do this by repositioning bones, setting them to keyframes, and saving them into chunks of repeatable movements that can be linked together and called up by the engine whenever needed. And then they add variations, so you don’t get bored of always seeing the same animations all the time! Their main tools are Maya, Unreal, and video reference.
  • Tech Artists push the engine to get the best possible visuals while also ensuring stable performance. This is accomplished with lots of experimentation, research, and working directly with both the art and code teams. This role has become increasingly important as graphic capabilities continue to improve, but also requires a rare combination of both creative and analytical mindsets. On small teams, this role is often distributed among all the artists (and programmers) working in engine. Their main tools are Maya, Unreal, and Google. 
  • Visual Effects (VFX) Artists put the final polish on the world, and add another aspect of visual feedback for players. They make the action more exciting by adding particle, mesh, and post-processing effects (like bullet trails, fire, explosions, magical sparkles, etc) so everything you do in game is visually interesting and also clearly shows that your character is in fact following all your inputs. Their main tools are Maya and Unreal.
  • User Interface (UI) Artists design all of the menus, buttons, icons, and displays that help players understand and interact with the game. This is also a very iterative process, to make sure the interface is as intuitive, clear, and streamlined as possible, and relies on a feedback loop just as much as balancing gameplay mechanics. Their main tools are Photoshop and Unreal.

So now you know a bit more about video game art and all the types of artists who need to work together to create a visually impressive experience. Hopefully, the next time you play a game you might just stop and think, “Wow, that is one gorgeous rock,” or, “This UI is great, I don’t even have to think about using it,” or, “Those flames look so real!” But even if you don’t, the art team here at NGS is still going to make the best dang art we can so you’ll want to keep returning to this world that we so lovingly and painstakingly created for you to enjoy. :)

Shout Out - Children of Zodiarcs

Rob again. For today’s shout out, we thought you might be interested in Children of Zodiarcs by Cardboard Utopia. It’s a tactical jRPG very much in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics, Tactics Ogre, and Shining Force 1-2, but even more interesting is the inclusion of cards and dice mechanics. Yeah, it’s basically the lovechild of FFT and Magic: The Gathering. It’s described as, “A story-driven, single-player Tactical JRPG that combines traditional strategic gameplay with the thrill of collectible cards and craftable dice!” By that, they mean you’re still moving around a grid, trying to out-position and defeat your enemies in turn-based combat, but the cards you draw every turn determine what abilities you can use and you enhance those abilities with dice. So there’s an extra wrinkle to the strategy, by trying to build the best deck and dice combo possible for your guys. I also like that this is a team with AAA talent who decided to go indie to follow their passion and have a closer connection to their fans. Their Kickstarter has already blown past their base goal, but you’ve got about two weeks left to get in on the action and help unlock new stretch goals. Take a look! :)

Dieselpunk Influence, Week 3 Quest, & 2nd Quest Rewards
over 3 years ago – Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 04:26:04 PM

Hiyah Nectarines!

Rob here. We are so close to 75% funded guys, I can taste it! We’ve got a little less than two weeks left, and I’m feeling pretty optimistic. Projects typically see a surge in support in the last two days, often on par with what happened in the first two days. Mostly because all those people who just clicked the “Remind Me” button, will get an email when there’s 48 hours remaining in the campaign and then not want to miss out. So right now, we just need to stay the course, and keep spreading the word however we can. HYPE! :D

You might have noticed we got a nice bump in the our total funding amount yesterday, and that was because John Smedley and the guys at Pixelmage generously decided to contribute $6k! I wonder what kind of companion character they have in mind? Thanks Smed! <3

Last time, we asked about going down to two updates a week for the rest of the campaign, and on Twitter you said loud and clear that was just fine. For the next two weeks, you can expect our updates on Tuesday and Friday then. Thanks for understanding! :)

Backer Quests - 21XP

Quirk/Perk Backer Voting

There’s still time to vote on the Quirks and Perks you want to see in Resurgence! You can vote for your top 5 of each type, but get those votes in before tonight at midnight EST!
Quirk Voting
Perk Voting

Week 3 Quest

Here’s your new bonus quest for the next week:

What's your favorite tabletop pen-and-paper RPG memory? We're talking Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Star Wars, Shadowrun, GURPS, World of Darkness, Dungeon World, whatever! This can be your memory, or just a great story you heard. Just be sure to mention the game and edition.

The deadline for this Bonus Quest is Midnight EST on Wednesday 2/3. Feel free to tell multiple stories, but we'll only count one for XP purposes. You can also comment with your stories on this Facebook post if you prefer.

New Add-On Unlocked

Congrats Nectarines, we reached 20XP and that means you unlocked the second Backer Quest Rewards! That means all backers can now purchase additional game keys for Episode One as add-ons (10 max).

If you happen to think one copy of Project Resurgence: Episode One just isn’t enough, well you’re in luck! You can now purchase additional game keys, and give them to whoever you want. Got friends who would love the game, but don’t like backing Kickstarter projects? Hook them up! Or maybe you’re a streamer who likes having game giveaways. Do it! Give one to your mom, your neighbor, your cat, whomever, that’s your business. These are purely extra copies of the basic game though, they won’t come with any of the other perks included in our reward tiers.

If you’d like to add additional Episode One game keys, click the green Manage My Pledge button and add $15 for every extra key you would like. Your reward tier does not change, just your pledge amount.

Headgear Community Voting

In addition, we’re also opening up voting for the community designed Headgear submissions! You’ve got the rest of the weekend to get in any additional submissions. Here’s a quick rundown on important dates regarding voting:

  • Design Deadline - All Headgear submissions must be in by Monday 2/1 at midnight EST
  • Team Review - We will review all the submissions and pick our favorites the following day. 
  • Voting Opened - We will open community voting on Wednesday 2/3
  • Voting Closed - Voting for Quirks/Perks will close Monday 2/8 at midnight EST.

Keep helping us spread the word and unlock even more awesome stuff!

Dieselpunk Influence

Hi guys, Kelly’s back! One of the questions we’ve heard most is about out dieselpunk influence, and what exactly that means for the world and gameplay of Project Resurgence. So today, we wanted to go into more detail on the role of Lumen’s technology, specifically our focus on dieselpunk, and how you will interact with this technology in the game.

For starters, let’s talk retro-futuristic subgenres. If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, here’s a quick history lesson! According to Wikipedia:

“Retrofuturism is a trend in the creative arts showing the influence of depictions of the future produced in an earlier era… Characterized by a blend of old-fashioned ‘retro’ styles with futuristic technology, retrofuturism explores the themes of tension between past and future, and between the alienating and empowering effects of technology.”

This genre is sometimes used interchangeably with “punk punk” (TV Tropes), but we prefer the term “retrofuturism” since it’s more clear. This whole creative movement gained momentum in the 1960-70s as people began to question whether science would actually achieve its earlier promises (flying cars and such), and it really took shape in the 80s with the near-future dystopian novels that would later be called cyberpunk. Steampunk developed a bit later, focusing on an alternate history Victorian era where futuristic technology could be created using only steam power. Steampunk opened the floodgates, popularizing all sorts of derivatives focused on other time periods or literary genres including: dieselpunk (The Rocketeer), atompunk (Fallout), biopunk (Bioshock), cattlepunk (Firefly), and more!

With that in mind, let’s talk more about dieselpunk and its specific characteristics: 

  • Usually set during, or in a world very much like, the time between WWI and WWII. 
  • Diesel is a primary fuel source and electricity is common. 
  • Art style strongly influenced by the Art Deco movement. 
  • Pulpy and noir-like characters and themes. 
  • A lot of big, dirty, metal machines. Dirty machines everywhere.

When we first began creating Project Resurgence, we saw it as being heavily influenced by gothic steampunk, with the cosmopolitan setting of Dehrgada and shadow of the Mist weighing heavily on the atmosphere of the game. As our lore, designs, and art evolved, we realized that “steampunk” didn’t quite fit the aesthetic we had in mind anymore. We started looking less at waistcoats and steam engines and more at gasmasks and internal combustion. The atmosphere shifted from one of post-apocalyptic, to post-post-apocalyptic. From the story of a people only just recovering from the Cataclysm that forced them underground, to that of a people thriving and changing in a world they’ve begun to retake. Even then, the specter of the Cataclysm and what could have forced their ancestors underground still looms in the minds of the tribes, and some believe that the new technology that seems to appear everyday might cause them to repeat history.

Though no label is an exact fit, dieselpunk best fit with the world we have in mind. It had the right combination of nostalgia, grit, and modernity that we want for the world of Lumen.

Role of Technology

As far as our technology level, Lumen is in the early stages of their industrial revolution, spurred on primarily by Baric engineering and discoveries. While this influence is minor in some areas, such as the Ragnar lands and the Selysian mountains, most have wholly embraced these new technological inventions. The city of Dehrgada, a melting pot of all tribes and ideologies, has always been an early adopter of any new marvels that come its way. Anything that could make life easier (for those who could afford it) was quickly accepted and spread throughout the city like wildfire. For some that travel to Dehrgada, the Anbarotram that circles the city, fueled solely by the city’s anbaric power grid or the Baric fuel ships huddled in the harbor are their first look at the scientific wonders they’ve only heard of in rumors.

As is often the case in dieselpunk fiction, our story will most certainly be dealing with the seedy underbelly of industrialization and urbanization. When science and industry advance this quickly, there will always be those who desire personal gain regardless of the cost. Our thought is that when magic is added into the equation, this effect will be even further multiplied. With the characters and factions you encounter, we plan to ask questions like:

  • How valuable is progress and innovation, compared to human lives? 
  • What happens when a working class finds their jobs increasingly replaced by machines? 
  • Which would you fight for, order or freedom? 
  • Is it better to know the truth, regardless of the costs?

We plan to present these questions to players, with no agenda or “correct” answer. It is totally up for you to decide which sides to support, and how you go about that action. Each choice should be difficult and satisfying in its conclusion, but still make you think about what these actions say about your character and you as a player. The repercussions of these choices will be shown in both immediate and long term ways, primarily voiced through the companions you keep by your side and their views on your actions. The implications of these decisions will also be readily apparent in the people you choose to help or hinder, which could in turn have larger implications for the locations you visit and the events that unfold there as well. The bottom line is that we view morality as a highly personal and subjective thing, and within the turmoil of this world, your decisions will be at the forefront.

The 3 Affinities

As mentioned before, the fundamental building blocks of our world are our three power sources, or “affinities.” Every item, ability, tribe, and area belongs to one (or more) of these affinities:

  • Physical: Heavy reliance on the natural world and physical “manpower.” 
  • Technological: Heavy reliance on technology and science. 
  • Ambrosial: Heavy reliance on magic and ambrosia manipulation.

For Resurgence, we really wanted players to be able to fully explore any of the affinities. As such, one of the big things we wanted to make possible was a combination of technology and magic. In a lot of fiction, there is usually a dichotomy between magic and tech. They are in direct conflict with each other, to the point of cancelling each other out. But in Lumen, machines and magic coexist, and can even be combined to create new and exciting devices. There might, for example, be a gun that shoots fireballs when loaded with ambrosial bullets. Or a motorcycle that hovers on gusts of air, conjured from within its hull. Our only rule is that every machine must seem “plausible,” in its function and construction, so the suspension of belief is never broken.

Don’t get us wrong though, we are considering Lumen a “medium level magic” world. Many things are possible with our magic system, but it still has clear rules and limitations. The same goes for technology, both should be grounded, believable, and with an air of verisimilitude that makes sense in the context of the world. We want our characters to deal with real human problems, so we’ve chose to make “powerful magics” like raising the dead, mind control, long distance teleportation, and time travel all but impossible. The only exception to that rule is the existence of ancient Ascendant tech: devices from before the Cataclysm that are so far beyond the understanding of the modern tribes that their effects should be impossible. Yet, they aren’t.

Tech Character Builds

Most of you are very familiar with the types of warriors and wizards you can typically play in other fantasy cRPGs, so we wanted to take a moment to talk more about the types of characters you can build with a tech specialization and how we’re keeping that balanced with the other affinities.

  • Physical: Inexpensive equipment, low resource management, focus on raw power and passive bonuses. 
  • Technological: Moderately-priced equipment, reliant on ammo and equipment, focus on versatility and preparation. 
  • Ambrosial: Expensive equipment, high resource management, focus on control and less frequent burst of high power.

So tech character builds mostly focus on overcoming obstacles through planning and cunning. Tech characters often favor ranged weapons (guns), utilize a variety of gadgets and traps, and enhance themselves with chemicals to gain an advantage. Tech specialists also get access to unique equipment which grants even more options to handle dangerous situations, with built in functions such as hidden blades, multi-tools, auto-injectors, etc. If you’d like to scout out a battlefield, use traps to disorient and weaken enemies, snipe the stragglers, and then dart from the shadows to interrogate the last one, playing a tech specialist might be right up your alley! Not to mention, all those abilities can be mixed and matched with the physical and ambrosial sets to create any kind of skill set you can imagine!

So hopefully that gives you a much better idea of how technology will affect the lore and gameplay of Resurgence. With that in mind, what affinity do you think you’ll favor?

Shout Out - ChemCaper

Hey, Rob again. Speaking of science, today’s shout out goes to ChemCaper by ACE EdVenture Studio! I’ve never cared much about education games (except Wordmuncher, WORDMUNCHER FOREVER!), since most of the ones I’ve experience just aren’t that fun. The learning comes at the expense of poor gameplay, and as a game designer that just seems wrong. But, ChemCaper actually looks like a pretty fun RPG where you might inadvertently learn something too. Described as “The World’s First Chemistry RPG,” the game is clearly oriented towards the younger crowd, but it also draws on mechanics from jRPG greats. You play as a young Moon Being, seeking his parents and the lost deity of his people. This takes you on a journey to the land of Camp Ungku (which is modeled after the periodic table), where you collect Petticles (a play on pets and particles) and combine them into a number of different allies to aid you in your quest. The combat seems like a combination of Chrono Trigger and Pokemon, and I’m intrigued by translating the basic principles of chemistry into a fun system of optimal party experimentation. If you’re a fan of jRPGs, chemistry, education games, or just know some young gamers that you want to introduce to our favorite game genre, ChemCaper is definitely worth a look. Their Kickstarter has just about 2 weeks to raise another $15k and reach their goal. Check it out! :D