Fortress Occident Developer Blog

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WHEELCHAIR COMPANION?

What you can see here are the capeside apartments, Rue de Saint-Gislaine 33A to be precise. The pier below has my favourite piece of urban romanticism from the game – the plaque reads: “Docking reserved for residents of: Rue de Saint-Gislaine 33A.” Simple technical worldbuilding.

Revachol’s waterfront and the surrounding islands of Ozonne and Archipelagos have civilian boat traffic. Modern Revachol – a “gossamer state”, an occupied territory where only international and property law is enforced – has developed a rich culture of waterways. People drive boats like they drive bicycles. Well, rich people do. Poor people can’t afford boats.

That’s just the facts of life, sunshine.

Another word on the screenshot – it shows off our antecentennial architecture style. Havana-inspired stuff from before the turn of the century. It’s pretty bombed out now, war torn and without renovation for 40 years. We started work on the style before Dishonored 2’s campaign started, so the similarities are coincidental, stemming from common inspiration I guess. Also, we have wildly varying architectural styles in Revachol, the antecentennial is just one of them.

Other than the disturbing lack of spumes and particle effects – the “water tech” is half finished – we’re pretty happy with this one.

A word on the HUD (heads-up display) maybe? It’s still very much a work in progress. But this is the first iteration we’re not embarrassed to show. On the portraits, the red bars are Endurance and the blue bars are Volition.

About those portraits – the third one in line is the one I wanted to talk about: Lena, the cryptozoologist’s wife. She’s into cryptids, the fabled hidden animals. And the whole world in general, not only the hidden part of it. If you take a closer look at the three characters standing underneath the red paint, you’ll see that one of them is in a wheelchair. That one would be Lena.

Since we have a modern setting, we can have people in wheelchairs. Ypa! This one is a fancy, gas powered, electric motor driven wheelchair. (The wheelchair pushing animation would be too much of a hassle, plus the gas powered engine has a nice sound to it.) So we’re thinking – what if we had a wheelchair companion? We like Lena, she’s turning out nice. She’s presented us with an interesting thought experiment. How would Lena as a squadmate work?

Currently – not so well. A gossamer state does not lay wheelchair ramps over the ruins of its monarchist past. Traversing the map becomes an instant problem. We had a look at Martinaise proper and most of it is already barricaded with those stairs that isometric level design loves so much. The rest has … navmesh problems. So we’re currently thinking of making Lena into a temporary companion for an atmospheric stroll kind of side-quest. Prototype it. Then maybe expand it into a more fleshed out thing in the future? Those navigational restrictions have some interesting gameplay and exploration possibilities …

Anyway, these are just thoughts. It’s not guaranteed we’ll get her in there at all. It would need to be a smooth experience. There are a lot of crazy what-if’s that keep it on “Maybe?” list as of now. Just wanted to clear that up so y’all don’t expect her as a squadmate and then get angry when the gossamer state’s “who-gives-a-fuck” social policy cuts her navmesh.

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Meet The Skills: Intellect

In Metric (our character system) there are six skills that comprise your Intellect: Logic, Rhetoric, Drama, Encyclopedia, Conceptualization and Visual Calculus. They are represented here by their work-in-progress portraits.

LOGIC

 

is raw intellectual power. If you want to analyze the living daylights out of the case, take Logic. Formulate theories about what happened, or detect inconsistencies in the statements people make to you. It’s useful for not getting bamboozled.

Logic loves being right, however. To a fault. It’s a brilliant lie detector until faced with intellectual flattery. Then it starts tooting its own horn. Your Drama skill might interfere: people are pretending, manipulating you, while Logic – blinded by its own brilliance – yammers on about how infallible it is.

In heroic difficulty rolls, Logic can induce near-transcendence-like pleasure from performing raw operations on events and numbers. (It also does maths for you.) And it states the obvious. Logic loves an easy challenge, whatever it’s claims.

RHETORIC

 

is your ability to debate. Nitpick, make intellectual discourse. It doesn’t need to be an argument, you can just shoot off your mouth and take hearty pleasure from it. But let’s be honest – mostly Rhetoric just bickers. About politics.

All political discourse falls under Rhetoric. You can mold it into a weapon of fascist sable rattling, evicting potato-loving kojkos and deformed himean pygmees left to right. Rid Revachol of aliens in transit! Or become the ultimate liberast (perpetrator of the sin of liberasty), extolling free trade and slimy personal freedoms at the expense of the downtrodden. This is achieved through researching political projects in your Thought Cabinet, then having them supercharge your Rhetoric skill.

A souped up, ideologically informed Rhetoric is an impressive beast, but it gets you into trouble. The twist here is that Rhetoric – our persuasion ability – doesn’t really persuade anyone. Most of the time it just makes you new enemies. While your beliefs calcify.

ENCYCLOPEDIA

 

is your knack for trivia. It’s perhaps the talkiest of all the skills, pulling out drawers of fascinating if questionable tidbits of knowledge. Sometimes real nuggets of gold too. It’s up to you to discern between the two.

Encyclopedia adores brands, marks, makes of pistolette and motor-carriage, street names, addresses, species of cockatoo, Great Century military leaders, rock music icons, Messinian ceramic manufacturers … Buy it and max it out, if you want a deluge of lore.

You may even find special, reoccurring places within your Encyclopedia. Like visions: a blackboard of names with all the cops in East Revachol on it, with all their confirmed kills and cases solved. Or a mysterious index of radio frequencies…

DRAMA

 

is a god damn liar. Deliver believable deviations from reality, sometimes with the goal to deceive people, but not necessarily. You may just want to entertain as well.

We thought long and hard about how deceit is handled in RPGs and decided it needs to be more about performance in No Truce With The Furies. We want each of the skills to be a little world of it’s own, an investment worth considering. So lying became stagecraft, an amalgam of fourberie and deceit, with entertainment – and even singing. You can do karaoke with Drama, or perform spot on imitations of people.

Drama is also the counter to Drama. It informs you when Drama is being used on you. And although Intellect skills in general are more mentally oriented, Drama has its uses in combat as well. Feign death. Do drunken fighting. Maybe even quadrupedal movement…

CONCEPTUALIZATION

 

is your capacity for original thought. Make fresh associations, really delve into the concepts of the world – from Jan Kaarp’s postmodernist karperie, to Revachol’s arabesque architectural style dideridada, or even the concept of hardcore as deployed by the burgeoning dance music scene – then add your own contribution to these works! It’s your general purpose cultural theorist, used for both criticism and creation.

Okay, I’ll level with you. Conceptualization makes you into an Art Cop. You get extra lines of description in scenes, and you get to come up with stuff like poems, one-liners and a cool nom de guerre for yourself. An artist’s name, if you will. Conceptualization is the difference between hanging yourself and jumping into a live volcano. (No literal live volcanos are present in No Truce With The Furies for the time being.)

VISUAL CALCULUS

 

is your forensics skill. It represents your grasp of the laws of physics, motion particularly. Create models of past events in your mind’s eye, trace dotted lines across the room, read tire tracks to recreate an automobile accident. Even notice tactical opportunities in combat situations – then take advantage of them. (Perception + Visual Calculus = the ultimate sniper)

We’re building a special, stylistic overlay that covers the world when certain Visual Calculus checks succeed. This lets us visualize shards of glass falling out of the window, a car backing into the fence, or political prisoners standing in front of a firing squad, half a century ago… all painted into the isometric world around you.

It looks great and I’m really sorry we haven’t shown it off yet. Just a few more tweaks first though…

I’m going to be candid and say Visual Calculus is a really cool skill and you should probably take it if you don’t want to miss out on all the cool. The only reason not to take it is that it’s a luxury. You need more essential stuff to stay alive and on top of things.

So to wrap it up – Intellect does not make you get on well with yourself, or with other people. It lets you peel off layer after layer from the world, getting to its inner workings, modelling its events and bending it’s structures. If that’s what you want, stick five or six points into it at character creation and later buy two or three skills to boot.

It’s been my ambition as a pen and paper DM to make heavy mental labour as engaging and wildly entertaining as combat, or even more so. Of the four main Attributes, Intellect was perhaps the hardest to nail. What it really comes down to is how the actual situations are written in the game — and most of all, how interestingly you play them out. The skills are just prompters in the play you’re starring in, whispering suggestions to you from within. It’s up to you to decide whose ideas you want more of, and what to do with them. But naming and dividing between areas of juristiction is everything in systems — and I’m certain this cast was worth getting together all these years.

(Next time we’ll introduce the Psyche skills to you. Inland Empire is my favourite.)

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Humble Bundle will publish No Truce With The Furies

So Humble Bundle is now a publisher, and we’re “presented by Humble Bundle”. This is the red hot piece of news we’ve kept ourselves from sharing with you for a while now. Since we just got an e-mail saying…

EMBARGO LIFT IS PLANNED FOR FEBRUARY 9. 2017 10.05 PACIFIC NOON TIME

I think it’s safe to say the cat is out of the bag. Dear friends, fans of indie and role playing games, here is the cat:

Humble Bundle Launches Multi-Platform Publishing & Funding Initiative


New initiative brings developers together with Humble’s over 10 million customers; Humble will be evaluating games to publish during GDC and PAX East

San Francisco, CA February 9, 2017 – Humble Bundle announced the launch of a multi-platform publishing and funding initiative. The starting lineup includes seven games across a range of genres and styles, for PC, console, and mobile platforms.

A Hat in Time – The perfect ode to old-school 3D platformers, with a hat-swapping spin

HackyZack – A sticker-collecting, precision-platforming, puzzle-stunt game

Ikenfell – A heartwarming turn-based RPG about a school of magic and its troublesome students

Keyboard Sports – A cheeky adventure with Master QWERTY that uses the entire keyboard

No Truce with the Furies – An isometric role playing game that blends cop show antics with a genre busting “fantastic realism” setting, offering absurd new heights of non-combat gameplay for RPG fans

Scorn – Gripping first-person survival horror set in a nightmarish universe

Staxel – Grow your farm, meet the villagers, and join your friends online in building your world

Publishing Lead John Polson says, “Since Humble’s launch in 2010, we have earned the trust of over 10 million customers across our products. In a time when it’s harder than ever for games to find their audience, publishing feels like the next logical step in the services that we can offer to our developer partners.”

“All of our games will be ‘presented by Humble Bundle,’ carrying a seal of quality and curation that fans have come to expect. For each aspect of publishing, developers can choose the services they need, making Humble Bundle a truly modern and adaptable publisher.”

There you have it. Now we have a publishing and funding partner to fight the good fight along side us. That is: to bring No Truce With The Furies to you at the end of 2017. It’s shaping up to be a real treat for fans of story and roleplaying.

Lets end by wishing the best of luck to all the games sharing that cool-as-a-cucumber line-up with us, especially Scorn. A lot of Scorn fans here.