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:

Teamstream #1 Recap, Character Creation, Leveling Up, & Quirk/Perk Voting
over 2 years ago – Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 07:58:24 PM

Good Show, Nectarines!

I mean that sincerely guys, we had a great first teamstream on Sunday! Rob here, as per usual. I was a little nervous (introvert not used to being on camera…) but I hope you got to tune in, hang out with us, get some questions answered, and get even more HYPED about our game! If you missed it, well you’re in luck since we archived the whole thing to Youtube, and I’ll be doing a quick review on the points we talked about below too.

Also, we’re very sorry we couldn’t get this update out yesterday. The thing is, three updates a week takes a lot of time to prepare (mostly from me), and that’s time that could be used to improve the campaign, spread the word, and communicate with you all individually. For reference, it often takes me 5-7 hours to write, revise, and publish each one of these updates (while still actively managing the team). So we’ve been thinking that scaling back to two updates a week might actually be a smarter choice for the good of the campaign. Trying to put out one less update gives me back a big chunk of time to focus on other things to help us reach our goal, which is of utmost importance. And hopefully I can even knock out setting up Paypal and Steam Greenlight in the near future too (crowdfunding with Paypal has a rather complicated application process…). :D

In case you missed out on day one, I wanted to point out that one of the limited Proprietor reward tiers ($3k) is now available again (both of those got scooped up right away). I spoke to that backer, and he was very sorry he unfortunately had to reduce his pledge. His finances were just tighter than he anticipated. He was adamant that he wanted to give as much as he possibly could though, to help make our dream come true. Got me right in the feels. :’(

In the News

Ty Arthur picked us as one of the most anticipated crowdfunding games on GameSkinny: The crowd funding report. Top of the list! :)

“This is a project that could really be taken into overdrive and even beat out the big developers if it gets some serious backing behind it.”

Quirk/Perk Backer Voting

Due to hitting our first Backer Quest Reward, we closed off submissions for Quirks/Perks on Friday night. Over the weekend, we reviewed those submissions and picked our favorites, based on what was fun, fit the lore, and we could feasibly accomplish. Stop by our forums to vote on your favorites, and we’ll put the 5 highest rated of each in the game. You can vote for your top 5 of each type, and we’ll close voting Friday at midnight EST.
Quirk Voting
Perk Voting

Backer Quests - 17XP

The Week 2 Bonus Quest ends tomorrow, and we need more pics! Keep those tweets coming! And don’t forget, you can comment on this Facebook post too if you prefer! Here’s a couple things we scrounged up, as a fun spin on some characters you might recognize ;)

Steampunk Star Wars Jawa by BjornHurri
Steampunk Master Chief by Moljnir
Steampunk Samus by Jason Cheng
Super Steampunk Mario by Adam Marton

Teamstream #1 Recap

If you missed the first teamstream, you can watch it right here! We plan to do it again in two weeks, date and time still TBD. Be sure to follow our new Twitch channel so you don’t miss the next one!


Here’s a quick summary on some of stuff that we elaborated on in the video above. Most of this deals with the choices you’ll be presented with during character creation, as well as how you can advance your character by leveling up.

Tribes - Refer to Update 6 for more details. 

  • Ragnar: ++STR, +FOC, -INT 
  • Baric: ++INT, +DEX, -STR 
  • Selysian: ++FOC, +CLT, -VIT 
  • Dresdi: ++VIT, +INT, -CLT 
  • Ashurad: ++Any

Backgrounds 

  • Guardian: +Psyche, +Persuade 
  • Wanderer: +Fortitude, +Awareness 
  • Criminal: +Reflex, +Thievery

Attributes 

  • Strength (STR): Melee Accuracy & Damage, Ranged Damage (archery & thrown), Health, Encumbrance, Throwing Distance, Strength Skills 
  • Dexterity (DEX): Action Points (AP), Ranged Accuracy, Reflex, Stamina, Initiative, Dexterity Skills 
  • Vitality (VIT): Health, Fortitude, Stamina, Damage Resistances, Vitality Skills 
  • Intellect (INT): Weaving (Spell Power), Ambrosial Damage, Clarity, Intellect Skills, Dialog Options 
  • Focus (FOC): AP, Accuracy Falloff Reduction, Crit Chance, Psyche, Clarity, Vision Distance, Focus Skills, Dialog Options 
  • Clout (CLT): Max Companions, Weaving, Influence Radius, Dialog Options

Derived Stats 

  • Health: How much damage Player can withstand (VIT + STR) 
  • Stamina: Resource to activate physical abilities (melee) (VIT + DEX) 
  • Clarity: Resource to activate mental abilities (spells) (FOC + INT) 
  • Armor: Reduces damage from all attacks by flat value (Armor) 
  • Deflection: Chance to totally avoid attacks (Reflex + Shield) 
  • Reflex: Instinctive dodging, increases the chance to avoid damage from AoE attacks and traps (10 + DEX - Armor Penalty) 
  • Fortitude: Hardiness, chance to recover from poison and sickness (10 + VIT) 
  • Psyche: Willpower, chance to avoid fear and mental attacks (10 + FOC) 
  • Damage Resistances: Reduces damage of certain types by percentage (Slash, Bash, Pierce, Fire, Cold, Electric, Nature, Spirit) 
  • Reaction: Modifier applied to interactions with NPCs (social skills, buy/sell) 
  • Action Points (AP): Speed, number of actions Player can perform in one round (4 + Dex + Foc) 
  • Grit: Heroic luck/determination points that can be spent to surpass limitations 
  • Melee Accuracy: Chance to hit with a melee attack/spell (STR) 
  • Ranged Accuracy: Chance to hit with a ranged attack/spell (DEX) 
  • Falloff Reduction: Reduces penalty of long distance ranged attacks (FOC) 
  • Melee Damage Bonus: Increases damage for melee attacks (STR) 
  • Range Damage Bonus: Increases damage for ranged attacks (archery & thrown) (STR) 
  • Ambrosia Damage Bonus: Increases damage for ambrosial attacks (wand & staff) (INT) 
  • Crit Chance: Chance an attack hits a vital spot, dealing extra Crit Damage (FOC + Weapon) 
  • Crit Damage: Extra damage dealt from a Critical Hit (Weapon) 
  • Max Throw Distance: Range to throw weapons (STR) 
  • Weaving: Increases effectiveness of spells (INT) 
  • Health Regen: Rate of Health recovery (VIT) 
  • Stamina Regen: Rate of Stamina recovery (VIT + DEX) 
  • Clarity Regen: Rate of Focus recovery (FOC) 
  • Deathclock: How long before Player bleeds out at 0 Health (5 + (VIT / 5) rounds) 
  • Initiative: Priority to act first in Turn-Based mode (0-20 + DEX) 
  • Move Speed: Number of meters player can move for 1AP 
  • Vision Distance: Range to reveal Fog of War and spot enemies (FOC - Light) 
  • Encumbrance: Maximum weight/bulk character can hold in inventory (STR) 
  • Influence Radius: Size of radius around Player aura abilities affect (CLT) 
  • Max Companions: Maximum number of companions in party (CLT)

Leveling Up 

  • Every level: +Health, +Damage Resistances, +all Skills 
  • Every 2 levels: +1 to two different Attributes 
  • Every10 levels: +1 to all Attributes 
  • Player’s Stamina and Clarity do not increase just by leveling up. 
  • Player does not distribute additional points at character creation. Level 1 characters all start with similar values with slight variation based on their tribe.

Shout Out - CONSORTIUM: The Tower

We recently became aware of this sequel to CONSORTIUM, from Interdimensional Games, and we are very impressed. Described as, “The original Deus-Ex combined with Die Hard,” this game actually has a lot of similarities to Resurgence, with the biggest exception being its first person perspective. My personal favorite aspects are that you can initiate conversation with any character at any time, and depending on your actions you can actually get kicked out of the titular organization that has sent you on this mission. You’d think that would be a game over, but no! The game doesn’t end until you die, so you can take on a whole new mission and go on to subvert your previous employers. They’re promising “waterfall” style immersive storytelling, where all your actions trigger cascading repercussions throughout the rest of the game. This game also reminds me a lot of Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, and that is a very good thing! They’ve got 24 days left on their Kickstarter campaign, so show these guys some love! :D

Meet The Team & Teamstream #1
over 2 years ago – Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 11:19:57 PM

Good day Nectarines,

Happy friday! Rob here, and if you’re in the eastern US like myself I hope you’re all staying warm and safe today as Snowtorious B.I.G. descends upon us. As they say, winter has come.

First off, I wanted to direct your attention to a couple very nice mentions we got in the media:

Ryan Donovan wrote a flattering article about us on Golden Cartridge: Kickstart This! Project Resurgence. He gets it! :D

“The love for the genre shines through the game play and lore to only prove that past RPG’s have inspired current developers to make something real again. After reading through the Kickstarter and watching the videos there should be no doubt in your mind that this game needs to be made.”

We were also selected as one of this month's top indie game Kickstarters by Indieformer:  


Teamstream #1

It’s been two weeks, and as promised we’re preparing for our very first live teamstream! Check out our brand-spanking-new Twitch channel, and we hope you can join us for Q&A, gameplay discussion, and sweet artwork! We’ll be going live Sunday afternoon at 2 PM EST. Get your questions ready, and hope to see you then!

Backer Quests - 15XP

Great job with the Week 2 Bonus Quest so far guys! We love retro-futurism, from an art perspective as well as just imagining how a world could be so different if its technology had advanced down a slightly different path. We’ve seen some great examples of art so far, but we’d love to see more costumes and crafts too! We also recommend not starting your tweet with @NectarGS, since Twitter treats those as replies. And don’t forget, you can comment on this Facebook post too!

Last Call: We’re locking down Quirk/Perk submissions tonight at midnight EST, so get those ideas in!

Meet the NGS Team

We were originally going to post these team profiles on the main campaign page, but then we discovered that page has a strict character limit! You may have noticed that list shrinking over time as we needed more space, so we decided to just put the whole thing in an update instead.

First, a little history. In early 2013, Cohh and I began assembling a team of industry veterans and talented newbies to realize our vision of a game that would help usher in the resurgence of a beloved genre. As the team grew into the dozens, their years of collective game dev experience rose to the hundreds, and Nectar Game Studios came to be.

Previous Work

This is our first project as a studio, but team members have also worked on the following titles:

We currently have 30+ people contributing differing amounts of time, but here are some of the key team members:

Rob Buchheit is Co-Founder and CEO of Nectar Games Studios and acts as Producer and Creative Director. Rob is an “in the trenches” sort of leader, facilitating all aspects of development, and is always on call. He has a passion for storytelling and game design, with a background in graphic design and creative writing. @Robsurgence

Ben Cassell is best known as the Twitch personality "CohhCarnage." Ben is Co-Founder and Vice President of Nectar Game Studios and acts as Game Designer and Worldbuilder. He loves games with depth, style, and lots of freedom, and is passionate about advancing livestreaming as a medium. @CohhCarnage

Chris Jones is a 3D Environment Modeler. His very first game job was at Interplay as a tester, but he soon joined the art team for Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment. He has also worked for Shiny and Double Helix, and can’t take a serious photo to save his life. Website

Si Tran is Lead Animator, and wins the most AAA experience award. He’s worked for a number of high-profile studios, including 2K Games, Crystal Dynamics, Electronic Arts, and Industrial Light & Magic. He spends his time iterating on dynamic animations, and is thrilled to be part of a labor of love project. Website

Seth Black is our first and longest Programmer, joining shortly after leaving Timegate. He writes code to bring the action to life and create a solid framework for the designers. He loves tactical RPGs, and his command of English grammar and snark always crit.

Jean Charles Doublet is a UI/VFX Artist, and also daylights at Spiders in France. He designs all of the game’s interface elements from sketches up through final graphics. Jean Charles is especially interested in games with an interesting take on moral polarity, and designed the famous Predator Angrinator. @LordFriteuse, Twitch

Lynne Startup is a 3D Environment Artist, and created lots of the environmental assets seen in our prototype. She is a versatile artist, also skilled in graphic design and animation, and has worked on over 35 games to date. She is a big Whovian, and patiently awaits the arrival of her blue police box. Website

Kelly Herreid is our Lead Writer, handling most of writing for quests and dialog. A screenwriter and novelist, she also is a driving force in the plotting of the game narrative, companions, lore, and history. She has a habit of creating tabletop RPG characters more often than playing them. @KJHerreid

Nik Hagialas is our lead Concept Artist, and designed the five Tribes aesthetics and most other characters in our game. He also self-published the comic book Edge of Extinction. He loves creating believable fantasy worlds, and is a diehard metalhead. ArtStation

James Brisnehan is a 3D Environment Modeler, and one of the most dedicated members of the team. He is always willing to learn new things and jump on whatever needs doing, and helped with most of the graphics and video on the crowdfunding effort. James is also physically incapable of passing up a bad joke. Website

Max Alvarez is a Level Designer, and ensures all our environments have great flow, atmosphere, and seem like real spaces from start to finish. He’s also worked our booth at every convention thus far, and Max is also a proud member of the GDC CA community. Neon shirts assemble, so CA we all! Website

Manuel Marino is our Lead Composer, creating music that defines the emotion and mood of each scene and location in Resurgence. He lives in Italy, and loves creating a very detailed world where you can command your character development through a twisting storyline and vibrant locations. @ManuelMarino, Soundcloud

Shout Out - Hero’s Song

Many of you probably heard about this one, since our own Cohh is involved with the project as a game design consultant. And just to be clear, his role is a minor one, and won’t interfere in any way with his responsibilities as a co-owner of NGS. Since many of us are big MMO fans, we were quite excited to hear about this game from the minds of John Smedley (Everquest) and author Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind, Torment: Tides of Numenera). Described as, “An open world rogue-like fantasy game done in a beautiful pixel art style,” we’re most intrigued by each server having it’s own specific biomes and history, based on the pantheon of gods you choose when creating it. And having your character eventually able to ascend to godhood is pretty cool too. They’ve been listening to the community and adjusting their reward tiers and are already closing in on $100k and 2.5k backers. Definitely worth a look!

Combat System, $100k Funded, & Week 2 Quest
over 2 years ago – Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 09:25:22 PM

Hey hey Nectarines,

Rob here. Today is a momentous day. We’ve reached a huge milestone, and as of this afternoon we reached the $100,000 pledged mark! I can’t even express to you how good it feels to see six digits of funds raised on our campaign page. When Cohh and I first started talking about this project three years ago, I could not have imagined how gratifying it would be to know this many people believed in our dream and wanted to share it with us. We haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but I just wanted to thank you all again for wanting to take this journey with us. Each and every one of you is awesome in my book! :D

Oh, and you want to hear something crazy? I just crunched the numbers and realized that if every one of our backers told one friend about our game, and that friend pledged only $37 we would hit our goal tonight. One friend. Funded TONIGHT! I make it a point not to request anything from you guys (I believe Kickstarter is about giving, not pushing), and that’s why you’ll only hear it this one time. I’m asking you to find just one friend you think would love this project and tell them about it. And if we get lucky, then we can start talking stretch goals for all those extra nice features we know you all want. :)

Week 2 Quest

You guys did a great job with last week’s bonus quest, hitting 5 out of 6 milestones! If you forgot, there’s still time too. You’ve got until midnight EST tonight to tweet or comment on this Facebook post with your favorite cRPG memory.

And here’s your new bonus quest for the next week:

The deadline for this Bonus Quest is Midnight EST on Wednesday 1/27. We’re only going to count one image per person. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #ProjectResurgence or we won’t see it! We don’t want to leave the Facebook crowd out, so we’ll make a post specifically for this quest on our page again too.

Backer Quests - 13XP

We’re super close to the next milestone on a few quests:

And just a reminder, we’re closing down Quirk/Perk submissions on Friday. Then the voting starts! :D

Combat System Breakdown

The subject that we’ve gotten the most comments and questions about is undoubtedly our combat system, particularly how we’re going to pull off both turn-based (TB) and real-time with pause (RT). So today, I wanted to elaborate further on what exactly we’ve been planning. My hope is that this will alleviate some concerns, but also stimulate more discussion on how we can best implement BOTH of these combat modes. We’ve already got a thread going for this on the forum, so drop in there if you have additional thoughts. And let’s not forget, combat will be largely avoidably all together by characters with the proper skills. Since combat is such a complex topic, this is going to be another longer update. Buckle up!

Design Philosophy

First off, let me hit the main points on exactly what we wanted to achieve with our combat system:

  • Both TB and RT should be equally viable choices in all situations, and the player is never forced to use either. The choice comes down to player preference. 
  • Both TB and RT operate on the same underlying ruleset. Player input is the major difference. 
  • The combat mode can be switched during combat (between rounds). 
  • Combat difficulty is balanced with TB mode in mind (to avoid being too easy). 
  • RT mode is faster and more difficult (more prone to human error). 
  • RT mode requires good companion AI (ideally customized to player preference). 
  • Most combat encounters can be avoided if the right requirements are met.

Arcanum Thoughts

As many people have noted, yes, Arcanum: Of Steamworks And Magick Obscura has always been one of our biggest influences. Part of that was because of how they attempted to use a dual TB/RT combat mode as well. There are many things we loved about Arcanum, but the combat unfortunately wasn’t one of them. The RT mode is pretty broken, especially with high level speed buffs in the mix, making it almost unplayable with anything but a melee focused character. I point this out not to disparage Troika in anyway, but to say that we think it still is very possible to design an effective and fun dual-mode combat system if planned that way from the very beginning. Especially since we’ve given a very thorough look at lots of RT and TB games, regarding what they did well and poorly, and how best to marry those two systems together. We also want to note that we are making sure all actions require AP, buffs have very rigid stacking limitations, and characters can’t knock themselves unconscious by running out of stamina. We still may not have cracked the code yet, and that’s why we’re looking to you all to make sure we get it right. :D

Combat Basics

Ok, so sticking to our design principles above, here’s a quick rundown on how our combat works in its current form. Like I’ve said before, this is the best design we’ve come up with so far, but we are open to any changes that make the game better. So let us know what you think!

Both Modes

  • Characters have resources that determine how much damage they can withstand, and which actions they can use at a given time. 
  • Characters that hit zero health start a bleed out timer. If they aren’t revived (or combat ended) before that timer runs out, they die permanently. 
  • Characters have several defenses, and attacks can target any one of those defenses. 
  • Characters can spend resources to use Talents and Items in combat. 
  • Characters fighting at melee distance are considered Engaged. Moving through that area (or fleeing it) can provoke attacks as a Reaction. 
  • Ongoing effect (buffs/debuffs) durations are always divisible by 5 seconds. 
  • All ranged weapons require ammo and must be reloaded (some melee weapons too). 
  • Each character has a Quickbar of favorite Talents, customized by the player. All known Talents are also accessible through a popup menu. 
  • Each character can keep 5 Items in their Pockets for combat. Grabbing stuff from the inventory is possible, but takes a lot more time (AP).

Turn-Based (TB)

  • A Round represents 5 seconds of time, and includes 1 turn for all combatants. 
  • Player can switch to RT between rounds. 
  • All characters act in order of their initiative scores (allies & enemies mixed together) . 
  • All character’s have an Action Point (AP) resource that determines which actions they can perform on their turn. 
  • Up to half a character’s AP can be saved and spent on the following turn. There is no other advantage to ending a character’s turn early. 
  • Characters can act out of turn with Reaction abilities, triggered by specific criteria. 
  • Ongoing effects trigger at the beginning of a character’s turn.

Real-Time w/ Pause (RT)

  • Player can switch to TB at any time (once all inprogress actions have resolved). 
  • All characters act at the same time. Player actively controls one character at a time, while others stick to their set AI behaviors. 
  • Player can switch to any companion character at any time, and actively control them. 
  • Player can pause at any time and queue up commands for the whole party. 
  • Speed of character actions (animation time) is determined by their max AP. 
  • Reaction abilities are toggle mode abilities, still triggered by specific criteria. 
  • Ongoing effects trigger every second (1/5 of the TB equivalent).

Action Points (AP)

As mentioned above, AP are obviously the backbone of this whole system. In TB they are an easy to interpret number, that illustrates exactly how many more actions that character can perform. In RT, they are an unseen stat that determines how fast animations play. So a character with 10AP max will move and attack twice as fast as a character with 5AP. Currently, characters start with 5AP but can get up to 15AP with the right build. AP is derived from both the Dexterity and Focus attributes, and Talents. The bottom line is that AP will make it very easy to see how far a character can move, what actions they can perform, and that will be exactly the same in RT mode. Some actions can even take longer than a single turn, like picking a lock or casting a powerful spell.

Movement

A common concern regarding both modes is character movement. In that TB requires more precision, and that is much more difficult to accomplish in RT (with characters constantly moving about). We’re combating this issue with the Engagement system. Basically, characters have to stand still to attack. So melee characters get locked into an Engagement when they attack, and they can’t break that Engagement without the enemy getting a free swing. It also prevents characters from running all over the place, since you can position your melee characters to create choke points and they’ll (attempt to) stop any enemies trying to run through. Ranged characters also can’t shoot on the run, and will likely be sticking to cover points. We will also be placing “Nexus” points on the battlefield, which enhance the magical powers of casters, and also encourage them to stay in one spot. Not to mention it will be fairly easy to direct characters to whatever position you desire in RT using pause commands.

Reactions

One feature that we’re particularly excited about and haven’t seen much in cRPGs is our Reaction abilities. Similar to “delaying an action” in tabletop games, these Talents let characters wait to perform a specific action when requirements are met. Engagement attacks are one example, and Overwatch is another. Characters set to Overwatch are keeping an eye out, waiting to strike the first enemy that moves into their range. For instance, say you just ran into a nasty enemy and fled to an adjacent room. The enemy is trying to break down the door, while you desperately try to revive a downed ally. So you put the rest of your allies on Overwatch by the door, to onload on that monstrosity as soon as it busts through. Exciting, right? Another example is the Unravel Talent available to casters, where they actively try and hinder enemies from using their spells.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As we all know, AI is extremely important to creating an interesting and engaging combat system. This is especially true in the case of RT. Quite possibly nothing is more frustrating than having companions who run right into the line of fire, accidently harm allies, waste resources, or generally mess with your strategy. “Why would you throw a grenade right next to me?!” This can be overcome to an extent in TB or with excessive micromanagement in RT, but the point still stands that good AI is essential to your experience as a player. I can tell you right now, creating good AI is a problem every developer struggles with, but here are some of the things we’re planning to do to overcome this:

  • Behavior Trees - Unreal 4’s native AI system is designing specifically for creating general behaviors, and building on top of those with more specific behaviors. We’re looking into how we can leverage this system to give players as much control over those behaviors as possible. 
  • Character Roles - The basis of our current AI system involves “roles” and “subroles”. Since we don’t have set classes, we still need to give friendly and hostile characters a role to define their most basic behaviors. Roles are things like melee, ranged, support, and subroles are things like aggressive, defensive, sneaky, etc. These combinations of roles and subroles will allow us to dictate a character’s basic behaviors, like what actions they prioritize, if they pursue enemies, etc. If possible, we’d love to implement some sliders here, so you can really tailor each character to your preference. 
  • Aggro System - Many games make use of a similar system, where characters accumulate “hatred” for different enemies, and that determines their next target. Our thought is that a character’s role can set their initial level of hatred for each enemy at the beginning of combat (always go after casters first, for example). Then that hatred level can be adjusted as the rest of the battle unfolds (character takes damage, for example), so we are dynamically determining a character’s priorities and sending them off in that direction. We’ll of course want to make it easy for players to override that with queued actions too. 
  • Specific Action Scripts - In addition to the above, we also really want to let you customize behaviors for each individual character, much like in Dragon Age: Origins and Final Fantasy 12. This will have to be a stretch goal though, since it represents a big chunk of design, programming, and playtesting effort beyond what we budgeted for in our base goal. Those systems weren’t perfect either, but we think it’s definitely a step in the right direction to let you create whatever strategy you want. And personally, I loved the trial and error of coming up with good tactics that kept me from having to micromanage constantly. :D

Encounter Design

Another point that has been brought up is the difference between TB and RT in terms of challenge. That is a great point, and one of the hardest things for us to keep balanced. I can tell you that we have no intention of having any “trash mobs” though (filler encounters that just create more action, but have no story relevance). We’re looking to follow the example of games like Planescape: Torment and Dragon Age: Origins, where every encounter is a well crafted experience that serves the story, adds variety, and presents a new and interesting problem for you to overcome. We will be designing encounters with TB in mind, to make sure the difficulty is challenging with the precision that mode allows for. RT will undoubtedly be a bit harder, since it relies more on your reflexes and noticing what’s going on. We’d love to implement multiple difficulty settings, and maybe combat speeds, but those are also stretch goals.

Non-violent Objective Resolution

We’ve been talking all about combat today, but I just wanted to mention again that it is not always the only (or best) option. We touched on that a bit in our Quest Design update, but expect more info on how you can bypass or talk your way out of danger soon! And remember, most experience is awarded from completing quests, so you won’t have to fight constantly just to level up either!

Shout Out - Battletech

Ever since they launched their first Kickstarter for Shadowrun Returns, we’ve been big fans of Harebrained Schemes. Not only were they an inspiration to us on how to run a great campaign, but they also revived the original fantasy/cyberpunk series in style. In similar fashion, they’ve brought back Battletech for their latest game. Though it isn’t an RPG, it does have a strong focus on tactical turn-based combat, with five distinct factions battling for supremacy. If you missed the campaign, they unfortunately just closed their slacker backer option, but you can still join the community on their website. This is a team that is dedicated to crowdfunding, and giving fans exactly what they want. Show them some love! :)

Tribes & 1st Backer Quest Rewards
over 2 years ago – Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 08:47:10 PM

Nectarines, assemble!

Rob here, and welcome back to another edition of “What’s up NGS?” First off, I wanted to highlight that we’ve had a few more big shout outs since our last update including one of our favorite writer/designers Chris Avellone (Planescape: Torment, Pillars of Eternity), the founder of Larian Studios Swen Vincke (Divinity: Original Sin), and the Crowfall team in their latest newsletter! Woohoo! :D

2 Week Stretch Goal

Well it’s day 13, and that 2 Week Stretch Goal deadline we announced back in our Update 3 is looming. Sadly, I think it’s unlikely we’ll hit that goal tomorrow night. But that’s ok! The fact that we’ve come so far in only two weeks is something we can all be proud of. I mean, when I look at the numbers and see that we’ve gathered together almost 1.5 thousand people, who have collectively donated nearly $100 thousand, my brain still can’t properly process those numbers. Just try and picture that, each of you gathered together and individually placing your hard earned cash in my hand saying only, “I believe in you.” This truly is a game for gamers, by gamers, and I promise to do my damndest to not let you down. We’ve got more fun stuff planned for the rest of the campaign too, so look forward to that. :)

Backer Quests - 12XP

In brighter news, we reached 10XP and that means unlocking the first Backer Quest Rewards!

Wallpapers

Yeah, wallpapers for days! You wanted more free wallpapers, so you got ‘em! You’ll now find a bunch more backgrounds (13 landscape and 23 portrait) added to the Goodies Dropbox. Pick your favorite or collect them all!

And fear not about exact dimensions, we’ve specifically designed two-sizes-fit-all wallpapers! The landscape oriented backgrounds are perfect for any desktop or laptop screen, and the portrait oriented backgrounds will fit any smartphone or tablet. No matter what size screen you apply these backgrounds to, the good stuff isn’t going to get cut off. :D

Quirks/Perks Community Voting

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

  • Design Deadline - All Quirk/Perk submissions must be in by Friday 1/22 at midnight EST
  • Team Review - We will review all the submissions and pick our favorites over the weekend. 
  • Voting Opened - We will open community voting on Monday 1/25
  • Voting Closed - Voting for Quirks/Perks will close Monday 2/1 at midnight EST.

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

The Five Tribes: A People Divided

Hello again! Kelly here, and for this update we're going to be delving into the five tribes of Lumen with a little more depth.

Each of these tribes share a common ancestry, and they are all descended from those who first fled underground during the Cataclysm that killed most life on the surface. They're still human (for the most part) but their separation underground changed them in distinct ways. Each tribe has their own unique culture, values, abilities, and ideas about the nature of the Cataclysm. We wanted to make sure each tribe was balanced for gameplay, so while they do have their own particularities (distinct abilities and stat bonuses) their variations are more for roleplaying purposes than huge gameplay advantages.

Note: If you've been following us for a while some of this might be familiar to you, but we have some new information on tribe gameplay here, too!

Ragnar

Gifted hunters and woodlanders, the Ragnar are the tribe most connected to the natural world. Focusing more on the primal aspects of the human body, such as melee weapons, nature skills, and simple equipment, the Ragnar excel in disciplines that others would call basic. Their culture teaches a humble worldview, seeing themselves as mere cells in the living organism that is Lumen, along witl all other life she sustains. As such, they tend to value physical attributes including strength, speed, and will as well as honor, self-discipline, and the needs of the group over that of the individual. To defend their peaceful lifestyle, a select few Ragnar are chosen to undergo a lifelong devotion to the art of combat, becoming a terrifying force with an unbreakable will and the prowess to wield any weapon as if it were an extension of their own body.

  • Attributes: +2 Strength, +1 Focus, -1 Intellect 
  • Defenses: +2 Fortitude, +1 Reflex, +10% Nature Resistance
  • Skills: +2 Awareness, +2 Natural Knowledge 
  • Tribe Talent: Tenacious - [passive] gain a bonus to damage while below 50% health.

Baric

Renowned for their ingenuity and infamous for their cunning, the Barics—or the Children of Baric, as they call themselves— have a checkered history with the other tribes of Lumen. Gifted with unstoppable minds and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, the Barics emerged from the underground and saw the world as a prize for the taking. To them, rediscovering all the knowledge that was once lost was the only worthy path. If that meant uniting the world under their banner, then so be it. For generations the Baric war machine marched onward, and any who impeded it were cowed before it or struck down. It was only the Selysians, with the reveal of their powerful ambrosial magic, who stepped in to end the Barics’ conquest. Though the Barics were forced to free their war slaves, their legacy as relentless imperators had already been writ in blood.

  • Attributes: +2 Intellect, +1 Dexterity, -1 Strength 
  • Defenses: +2 Reflex, +1 Psyche, +10% Electric Resistance 
  • Skills: +2 Mechanics, +2 Technical Knowledge 
  • Tribe Talent: Eyeshine - [passive] able to see better in darkness, but sunlight is blinding (without eye protection).

Selysian

The most reclusive of the five tribes, the ways of the Selysians have always been shrouded in mystery. Very few ever willingly take leave of their island home, and those who do tend toward solitary travel. The first to discover the supernatural properties of the abundant ambrosia crystals found in their mountain home, the Selysians found that with intense discipline and training they were able to harness the energies of the crystals with their own minds. The Selysians called this ability "Weaving," referring to the way they controlled and manipulated the invisible threads of energy coursing through Lumen. Once the Selysians revealed their hidden might, it wasn’t long before “The Gift” was recognized among the other tribes and the practice of Weaving spread throughout Lumen like wildfire.

  • Attributes: +2 Focus, +1 Clout, -1 Vitality 
  • Defenses: +2 Psyche, +1 Reflex, +10% Cold Resistance 
  • Skills: +2 Concentration, +2 Ambrosial Knowledge 
  • Tribe Talent: Natural Channel - [passive] can cast without having an item with the channel tag equipped, and acts as if character has an additional channel for determining Weaving bonus.

Dresdi

Shrewd and industrious, the Dresdi are a mostly nomadic people, often living in small caravans that travel across their island from oasis to oasis. Due to the harshness of their home environment, the Dresdi strive for mastery in a variety of skillsets, namely anything that improves their ability to survive. Unlike many other tribes, they value ambrosia and technology equally, viewing both as two different means to the same end. Due to the scarcity of resources on their island, Dresdi culture has developed a somewhat suspicious and condescending attitude of the outside world. In fact, “Outsider” is a common title for those of other Tribes on Dresdi land. The phrase, “Easier to earn a Dresdi’s trust,” is common amongst the other Tribes, referring to something that is nearly impossible to accomplish.

  • Attributes: +2 Vitality, +1 Intellect, -1 Clout 
  • Defenses: +2 Reflex, +1 Fortitude, +10% Fire Resistance 
  • Skills: +2 Stealth, +2 Barter 
  • Tribe Talent: Mirage Step - [passive] ignore the movement stop of Engagement and gain a Defense bonus against disengagement attacks.

Ashurad

Gifted, versatile, and resilient, the history of the Ashurad has been one of calamity and loss. Their origins have been lost, both due to the passage of time as well as subjugation by the Barics, leaving them a people now fractured in mind and spirit. In the Ashurad, the Barics found what they believed to be perfect slavestock. They were naturally strong and beautiful, incredibly resistant to disease and infections, and they had the curious knack of being able to attain mastery in a single field with extraordinary ease. Though many rebellions sprang up during the Ashurad’s centuries of bondage, it wasn’t until the Selysians confronted the Barics and forced their hand that the Ashurad finally knew freedom again. Most Ashurad now call Dehrgada City their home, and with their old ways long destroyed and forgotten many strive to find their place in the world.

  • Attributes: +2 Any 
  • Defenses: +1 Fortitude, +1 Reflex, +1 Psyche, +10% Spirit Resistance 
  • Skills: +2 Persuasion, +2 Brute Force 
  • Tribe Talent: Mist Resistance - [passive] gain 25% less Mist Infection from all sources.

So that’s a quick rundown on the five tribes of Lumen. Understandably, we haven’t gone into much detail on how Attributes, Defenses, Skills, and Talents all work yet, but we will be digging deeper on those fronts soon too. We hope this will at least give you a better idea of how each tribe fits into the larger picture from a lore and gameplay standpoint.

What do you think? Do they each seem balanced, unique, and interesting? Which tribe are you most excited to play? Let us know in the comments below! :D

Quest Design, 50% Funded, & 1k Backers!
over 2 years ago – Sun, Jan 17, 2016 at 05:51:48 PM

Well met Nectarines!

Rob here. So yesterday was pretty outstanding! Remember that tweet from Brian Fargo I mentioned last time? Well, inXile was also nice enough to give us a shout out in their latest Torment: Tides of Numenera update! Just getting that kind of recognition from one of our favorite developers was pretty surreal, but the avalanche of new backers that followed was even more so. Yesterday was our second best day (after day one), and we raised a total of $14,705 from 337 new backers! That put us over the 50% mark and 1k backers. It was a great day. :D

Backer Quests - 9XP

You guys have been doing a great job with the first Weekly Bonus Quest! We’ve already gotten 19 responses, and we love hearing about your favorite cRPG memories! To get in on the action, just tweet using #ProjectResurgence or comment on this Facebook post. We’re so close to unlocking that first Backer Quest reward!

Designing A Quest

A wild writer appears! Hi guys, I’m the lead writer, Kelly, and today I'm going to take you on our first behind the scenes look at our development processes. Since this is our first in depth update, it’s a little on the longer side. Definitely let us know if you’d like to see more updates like this in the future! So, let me be your guide as we journey into the glamorous and exciting world of quest design!

Now, the first thing I need to know when writing a new quest chain is the scope, importance, and story relevance of what I'm working on. With Project Resurgence, we have three general denominations of things that demand the player’s attention:

  • Objectives are the most content-filled, furthering the plot of the episode/game and introducing important NPCs (including party members). 
  • Quests are optional side content that help expand the world and setting. 
  • Narrative Encounters are interactions with NPCs or an environment that lends flavor to the setting. Narrative Encounters are the only ones not added to the player’s journal, since they are self-contained mini-stories and don’t require any work from the player.

As an example, let's say that I'm writing out the overarching plot of Episode 2. Considering it’s the plot of an entire episode, that definitely qualifies as an Objective. For Objectives, I always break it down into a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should set up the conflict of the story, all of the important characters, and then lead into the middle. The middle should delve deeper into the important characters and up the stakes of the conflict. I find the middle is the trickiest, because it can be kind of nebulous and difficult to make it stand on its own. At any rate, the middle should push into the end of the quest, where the conflict reaches its climax. I tend to treat all of these parts as a kind of quest-within-a-quest, that have their own beginnings, middles, and ends as well. For this update, I'm going to focus on how I would develop the beginning of an Objective and how I would flow from that to the middle.

Now, before I even start working on an Objective, I have to gather some information ahead of time. Typically I already have plenty of notes from Rob and our design meetings. This covers the areas in the setting; the NPCs in those area (including potential party members); and a general idea of story beats to hit (big set piece finale, number of potential party members, different factions in area, very loose overarching plot). If any piece of that puzzle is missing, then I start asking more questions.

So let's imagine that for Episode 2 our general (silly) ideas are:

  • The overarching plot is about the player discovering an underground illegal duck-fighting ring (you can choose sides and either shut the ring down or join in). 
  • The finale takes place in an abandoned munitions factory (still with many exploding barrels for you to enjoy). 
  • You can gain a companion character from either the Duck Fighting Gang (DFG) or the Duck Protection Brigade (DPB).

From there, I have to start filling in the details. I usually start with an outline of how I want the objective to progress and build upon it. Something like:

Beginning:

  • Player gets quest: Investigate Duck Fighters. 
  • Meets Duck Fighting Gang NPC, meets Duck Protection Brigade NPC.

Middle: 

  • Player delves more into both sides, does quest for either.

End: 

  • Confrontation at Munitions Factory between Duck Fighting and Duck Protection Forces. 
  • Player either joins Duck Fighting Gang or Duck Protection Brigade, and fights the other side.

Not a lot there yet, but it helps me keep track of all my moving parts. Now I fill in more detail. Who should give the player this quest? Who would be invested in duck welfare? Well, let's say that for this episode, you have been lodging with a farmer named Mr. McDuck. Perhaps he’s even a friendly duck farmer! And McDuck has been noticing that some of his ducks have been going missing lately, and he's heard about a secret duck fighting ring that has sprung up in town. Would you mind poking around to get more information, and try to figure out the truth of the ducks' disappearances?

Setting the objective up this way has a few advantages: 

  • If your are lodging with McDuck then we don't need to introduce another NPC to get the main objective rolling. 
  • You already have contact with McDuck and at least one potential reason to want to help him.

To give the player more freedom in whether you accept the quest or not, I also have a few avenues that I could play with. Maybe you could try to haggle with McDuck, for discount lodgings. Or maybe McDuck could offer you his best hunting rifle as an incentive to help him out.

Once I have Farmer McDuck introduce the objective (find out more information on the duck fighting ring), I need to think about how the player can go about this. So, this town (let's call it, Duckberg) has a shady saloon called the Beagle Boy. We had already planned to have some quests available there, but I think it also makes sense to let you dig up some information on the nefarious duck-fighting ring here. The barkeep of the the Beagle Boy is a woman named Magica, who's known to have her finger on the pulse of the more dubious happenings in Duckberg. Now, I don't want to force you to talk to too many NPCs to get to the next step, so I'm just going to have Magica give you the information needed to move forward. Maybe you have to flirt, persuade, or intimidate the information out of her, but if you fail you just have to pay for it or get partial information. Either way, by the end of the conversation you still have some idea of where to go next.

This is where things get a little trickier. What do I think would be a good way for the player to end this part of the quest? Well, I think you should have the information that McDuck wants: whether the duck-fighting ring has been stealing his ducks. I also want to introduce the potential companions in the beginning of the quest, since I want you to get to know them a bit before choosing one. So what’s a neat way to do both? Perhaps you have to find a duck fight. This provides many opportunities for the game: an interesting set-piece for the area (how many games have duck-fighting rings in them?), a fun opportunity for some skill usage (maybe you have to lie or force your way in), and a chance to role-play with some NPCs (you could make some bets on the fights, have a few drinks, and play some games of chance).

Introducing the Fighting companion is easy in this case, as they could be the one running the fight. For the Protection companion, I have to do a little more brainstorming. How about the local sheriff has had it with all these alleged duck fights, and is sending in an undercover officer to investigate? This gives the Protection member a reason to be there, and also something for you to discover while talking with them. Now I think it would be fun if there were a divergent choice here, too. So, let's say the Protection member asks you for help break up the duck fight. You can accept right out, decline, or ask what you get out of it. Either way, you end up with an objective: break up the duck fight.

But, you can also talk to the Fighting member here. Let's say that through them you end up with the information you need about the duck thief. The Fighting guy also relays how he gets ducks through legal means, but he know some participants resort to thievery. The Fighting member disapproves, because it brings more heat from the law. Speaking of the law, he has also heard rumors that someone from the sheriff's office is trying to scope out the operation. Would you be interested in helping find out who the snitch is? There'd be a nice reward in it for you.

Once again, I think the PC should be able to outright accept, negotiate, or deny the request. I always like giving the player the option to play both sides. So, let's say, if you have already talked to the Protection member, you have a couple of options: you can sell-out the Protection member to the Fighting group, OR you can lie and sell-out somebody else. That way, the Protection member can still be around to help you break up the duck fight. I think a good way to accomplish that goal is to let you sneak into where the ducks are being held and set them free. You can then meet back up with the Protection member and relay what you've done.

This opens up some more opportunities for interesting consequences and role playing. Let's say you get caught trying to free the ducks. You could try to talk your way out of it, or take down whoever catches you. Maybe you get caught trying to deceive the Fighting member, and have to cover it up or get kicked out of the fight.

Or, you could have chosen either side outright, and sold-out the Protection member or broken up the duck fight. This could have interesting consequences later, with you potentially lying about why you chose either action when meeting up with those characters again if you want to play both sides (maybe misleading the Protection member that someone else sold them out, or telling the Fighting member that you had to end the duck fight or else it would be shut down by the undercover Protection member).

Or maybe you just decide to watch a duck fight and win some money. Even if you don't agree to either of the side quests, you know that one of the Fighting members IS stealing the ducks, but more work must be done to figure out who it truly is. When you return to McDuck's farm, you will have that portion of the objective resolved.

So now, the outline of the beginning of the Objective will be somewhat more fleshed out:

  • Player gets Objective from Mr. McDuck: investigate duck fighters. 
  • Player finds out about duck fight from Magica at the Beagle Boys Tavern. 
  • Player infiltrates the duck fight: meets the DPB NPC and the DFG NPC. 
  • Player can accept Quests from either of them to turn in the DPB or end the duck fight. 
  • Player gets information from DFG member about duck thieves: working with duck fighting gang, but not sure who they are. 
  • Player turns information in to McDuck after returning to farm.

Definitely more thorough than it was in the beginning! From that point I would start actually writing the dialogue out, with a rough idea of where I want to go for the middle section of the plot to help plan out further consequences and reactions from characters. Then, once the beginning is written, the process begins anew with the middle section!

And there you have it—an insider's look into how I go about designing quests. What do you think about our approach? Writers and Designers, what do you do similarly or differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Shout Out - Divinity: Original Sin 2

Speaking of quest design, today’s shout out goes to Larian Studios for their newest crowdfunded project Divinity: Original Sin 2. Unfortunately they are no longer accepting preorders, but we wanted to make sure they were on your radar for interesting cRPGs in the works. We are big fans of the first Divinity: OS (also crowdfunded) especially for its tactical combat, elemental combination system, freeform character advancement, deep crafting, and the fact that you could play the whole game with a buddy. Oh, and stealth mode also means pretending to be a bush/rock. The sequel takes everything great about the original and cranks it up to eleven. Now you can play with three friends, and each of you can tackle quests in different ways ALL AT ONCE! They’re calling it cooperative/competitive multiplayer, with each player pursuing their own objectives however they see fit. Perhaps the thief wants to sneak in, the fighter wants to bash some heads, and the wizard is already talking to a cow. You can do all of that, and each character gets new objectives as the experience dynamically adjusts to your team’s individual character traits and actions. Needless to say, we’re very excited for Larian’s next offering!