23 Samurai battle it out against 23 Ninjas. Although it's still in a raw version it's shaping up pretty good even with some animations missing. Wait till I add blood effects, different weapons, dismemberment and enemies with horses. It's gonna get so awesome. Every character is a unique entity with his own stats/skills and style familiarities. For this video everyone starts with the same stats as to be balanced so the outcome is always random. Everything you see is AI I don't do anything.
Although it is a stealth game there would be times where the above would be necessary, of course on a level you would have to take care and think where this battles would take place. Kinda like in Total War games but instead of wide open areas you will have small areas and in cities/villages and other landmarks. So let me give you an example, you have your ninja been spotted by 5 samurai, as you already know without having first observe your enemies the battles would be very difficult so what will you do then? Run inside a house where you have strategically placed some of your own characters and let the slaughter begin!!!
I had a friend come over and we placed bets everytime on who is going to win, it was so freaking awesome, kinda like multiplayer without actually playing . I'm going to make this a mode in the final game and you would unlock characters by playing the main story.
Spend the whole week restructuring most of my scripts and optimizing them. As you can see I'm pretty happy with the results, given that prior to optimization with only 5-6 enemies on screen fps dropped to 1-2 and now it can stand 80+ agents. Most of the drop it seems it happens when all of the enemies have in their sight the player because it's based upon the physics engine so it's not NavMesh's fault. Anyway i think it's pretty good results. Of course in the final build they might not be that many on screen because of draw calls and other reasons but it's nice to know that the pathfinding can handle much without killing performance.
I've also spend the week experimenting with MoCap to streamline the process and sped up things for the game. I had some good results with it but there are some tests left with it and it will be ready to go. More on that later...
In this installment of the Devlog I talk a bit about the Campaign Map and new Combat Mechanics.
Most of the stuff on the Campaign Map I have mention them before so I'll go straight to the Combat.
The Combat now is skill based, meaning that even if you hit an opponent, he has a percentage to block your hit. That percentage is actually dictated by his level of skill and how familiar he is with the style you are using and your weapon.
If your tactics are to spam the attack button you'll have a hard time dealing with enemies, for example, let's say you are facing three opponents of the most basic level, they have a level of familiarity with your style of 1, if you are using a sword they have a 15% chance of blocking your hits, BUT! Attack them with this style 3-4 times (the exact number is different for everyone, it's dictated by the stats of the enemy) and not only will the enemy you are attacking will level up his familiarity but everyone who is currently seeing you fight! So more skillful opponents would be priority targets, you don't want them to learn even more about you.
"If you know the enemy better than you know yourself,
the outcome of the battle has already been decided"
Another thing I usually don't like in other games nowadays is the constant info on your enemy, you are always treated like an infant getting to know the world but sometimes it's just right out offensive. I'm seeing a gigantic monster wielding a cleaver coming out of a furnace, duh I don't need you to tell me that he is of a higher level and has fire resistance (Any resemblance to any Butcher is coincidental). So no magic floating numbers betraying the level of the enemy.
Now you are going to ask:
"How would you know then how familiar is an enemy with each style? Or his level? "
And I'll answer:
"By observing and using lore!"
Lore you say? What is that? Well enough with toddler behaviours, let's take a deep look into the Samurai culture.
As you may know or not, Samurai once upon a time were the military nobility of Japan. A Samurai literally means "to serve". Contrary to the popular belief of that every Samurai is instantly an expert with the sword, Samurai's abilities varied. For someone to become a Samurai, under the strict Confucianism cast system, he would actually have to be born in a Samurai family and carry on the tradition or prove himself through battle. Though there were always exception to the rules of course and the constant warfare helped in the survival of fittest as you can imagine. Another thing that is highly misinterpreted is that all Samurai were some kind of a high moral human beings or whatever and that every Samurai was actually following Bushido. It wasn't like that at all prior to the 12th century. Bushido is actually a modern term. Before the unification of Japan there were as good as any other veteran soldier of that era. The "peaceful" times of the Tokugawa era show the rise of the sword fencing schools and that is where the whole moral code for the Samurai started to give birth. Now of course they had a very good base to begin with, their military laws prohibited for a warrior to lose his sword in a battle, they took no prisoners and everyone had to take the head of the person who kill to instantly prove that it was him that killed him. Warlords never send assassins to kill another Warlord. It was regarded highly disrespectful if you took the life of your adversary outside of a battle, the only time it was allowed it was if he was forced to commit Seppuku, literally means "The cutting of the belly". Oh and one other thing, Seppuku is a ritual, not a suicide, if you did it alone in your room with no witnesses and no one to take your head off it's called something else, I don't remember right now and I'm not going to search 50+ books I have on the Japanese culture to find it out. So all this and the actions of Miyamoto Musashi show rise to the Bushi class of the Samurai, it wasn't long enough from there that every Samurai had to become a Bushi to be a true Samurai. The capital punishment of the goverment on those who didn't follow at least the basic lines of the "Bushido" code help the widespread of this way of living.
Now that we have all this clear.
Knowing the lore of the game (or the Samurai lore in general) would actually give you a tremendous advantage over the game. It was nice reading books in Baldur's Gate and learning everything about the world but it didn't have much to add to the game, you could take hint of were something or someone could be but that was all.
With Kagemusha now everything you see it would have a meaning. For example, it is no secret that Samurai always carried two swords, so what you will think the next time that you'll see an enemy that only has one? That he is not a Samurai, that screams low skill! But of course whatever shines is not gold, so you'll have to look for other clues, take hint in where the level you are playing is based on the Campaign map. Is it close to the city? Is it close to a village or a forest? Does he have a reason to be here? Every region it usually had it's own style, for example the Satsuma Sword Style was focused a lot on the first strike, so they had small tsubas on their Katanas (Don't get me started on the term Katana), the sword guard. The way someone is dressed, his behaviour on the level and the location of the level betrays a lot for him, you will just have to spend the time and invest on the game and it will give back
And no. enemies won't be standard, they would be semi-randomized at the start of each level but on unique levels that are story based they would be always the same.
As you can see in the video, all this things are implemented, some things of course they would be more clear with time and when they are more polished.
Keep in mind that I'm not a Historian. All my knowledge comes from personal research and years studying martial arts and common logic, so if something is not that accurate, well I don't really care.
I've added a new weapon into the game, the dreadful Naginata. A Naginata consists of a wooden shaft with a curved blade on the end, think of it as the European halberd that is as sharp as a Katana. In the right hands this weapon can be deadly, perfect against cavalry it can dismount a rider without much effort, there are even legends of a monk that reflected a hundred arrows by moving the Naginata in a helicopter fashion above his head and cutting them in half. Later during the Edo period as there were not that many battles the Naginata became a symbol of social status for women. As son's would inherit a family sword, daughters often would be granted a Naginata as a wedding gift. The most common images associated with the Naginata are those of Onna-bugeisha (Female warriors) or those of the Hojo monks but it was widely used.
I'm also thinking of changing the name of the game, I'm constantly having videos flagged by youtube's automated system because apparently it thinks that a Japanese word can be copyrighted....
Somehow the basic system of combat mechanics which I've create it, made it so easy for me to add a new weapon, it literally took me half an hour to have it set it up and running both for the player and the enemy. You know what that means right? Tons of weapons! Another cool thing I've added to the Naginata is that when it breaks instead of dropping just broken parts, the blade part of the Naginata can be used as a regular sword, which is actually a legit technique! If you look at videos of Naginatajutsu the participants would regularly grab the Naginata higher up and just under the blade and use it as you would use a Katana. I will showcase this in a later video because there's not really much to it right now.
I've also started thinking adding more the ability to change your sword style in game, after playing with the Naginata and how easy it was to add it would be pretty simple to do it. The only problem with this is that the amount of animations I need just keeps multiplies more, that's not a bad thing but it's a big weight upon our timeline.
Here's a video of the Naginata in action and it's aftermath!
We all have played a game which utilizes a counter attack mechanic, the idea is always the same, it's basically a QTE, well how boring that turns out to be? And usually everyone turns out to spam it all the time breaking the immersion of the game.
For games that are primarily stealth (you know which ones I mean) they turn out to be just a power fantasy in the end with no reason to change your tactics, so...
What's my approach to this? Instead of just hitting a button on the keyboard, you have to click the GUI button which spawns randomly around the enemy. Now the size of it depends upon the enemy's skill and familiarity with your moves, but even if you do manage to counter attack that doesn't mean you will get instant kills, the weapon you have and the skill of the enemy play a major role in the outcome of the counter attack but at least you will be sure that you have broken the attack of the opponent. I believe this adds a lot more to our previous talk about "Observation before action" so knowing the level of the enemy will give a significant weight on your decision of your course of action. Although the Counter Attack mechanic is very powerful, you'll have to know when to use it!
But I have to admit, when you are making a stealth game you can be so unapologetic with the combat difficulty :P
It tends to get a little bloody sometimes...
A close up from a counter attack
I've also created a FB page if you are into that sort of thing.I plan to update it with stuff from the game or not that relevant to it, but a lot about the samurai/ninja lore, link below
I'm giving it extra work on the AI that's why it takes so god damn long, what I'm going for as a game mechanic is that the player won't have a way to show him the level of the enemies, so he would have to figure it out by observing their AI if he doesn't he would be too outmatched in a fight. For every enemy there is a rank and a bravery level, if an enemy bosses other enemies around, he is of higher level, low rank enemies kneel to high ranking enemies, better clothing, the presence of armor, what kind of weapon does he hold, how many swords does he carry etc. But high rank doesn't always mean bravery, so the player would have to watch for signs to also figure out the level of bravery, while high levels of bravery fight harder and won't give up easily, the player should watch for the cowards also, because nothings cuts short a sword fight more than a concealed firearm! This is were the bird's eye view comes to play (among other things). I believe that in stealth games observation is the key mechanic, in contrast to games like AC where every enemy is just an enemy and you know that if he sees you, he would just attack you, here enemies might retreat and call for backup, they might surrender and when you come close attack, they might challenge you without calling for backup and lot's of other stuff. If somebody approached the game without taking the time to observe it, it would seem to him that everything is random but that's not the case, for every enemy there would always be clues for them, you can even make your character give you feedback on them, but every character has a different personality so you would have to know them pretty well, an arrogant character might feel that is superior from another enemy and that could lead to problems.
That's only for combat, for normal behaviours is another big talk :P . I have most of this things working but they need a lot of polish at the moment, on my next dev vlog I would explained all of this in even more detail or at least the parts that I have polished enough till then.
Basically the main idea for it was taken from Monty Pythons quest for the holy grail. When King Arthur passed two villagers and one says to another "He looks like a King" the other one asks why so he replies "Well he doesn't have feces all over him" :P . In every modern game now there's just too much information on the screen, they don't let the player explore the world around him, I remember memorising the map of GTA 3 and Mafia and I always knew exactly where to turn and where to go, just because there was no way of guiding you, now with all that GPS added into them that's a feature missing, it might be more easier now to find your way around but I believe that makes the game more remote from the player and doesn't let him invest so much as they used to.
With the addition of a campaign map in the game where the player would have to face "searching parties" I want him to be at the position where he would say "You know I should retreat to that level because if I'm attacked here the plain terrain won't give me much choices to hide if I can't beat them" kinda like the total war series but without the random levels, so memorising almost everything would be crucial.
I'm also expirimenting more with the cutscenes and their art style so here is a quick scene I've made, tell me what you think!
Experimenting with some cutscenes, I like the manga-esq appeal with this one and the use of sequential panels means I won't have to waste hours animating full cutscenes rather than focus on Key Animations and poses.
Been busy the last couple of weeks, creating the campaign map, creating a database for all the levels and their stats/states and finally coding the enemy AI (around 3000 lines of code and still growing). So as a break from all this I decided to add even more flair to the game with mounts! Still a work in progress but it turns out pretty good!! Check the videos below
This is an intro scene for the game.
Take it also as an announcement for mounts to the game!
Here you can see them on action, keep in mind they are still WIP
I haven't found out yet how to do the mounted combat, except from ranged combat that is, but I'm working on it. As for the ranged combat on horseback, be prepared to face some tough and mean sobs, unfortunately you won't see them in this update though, they still need some nitpicking...
Other Features added:
1.You can pick up any weapon from the ground and the character would change his style
2.Breakable Items and Weapons
3.Enemy makes morale checks and acts accordingly (currently 5 states of actions for them)
4.Enemy communication and Character responses (Everyone has a response according to their personality)
5.Day/Night time cycle in the campaign map and on certain levels.
I'll be adding and some wallpapers to download soon, so you'll be able to spread the love around!
If all goes well we might be talking about an alpha pretty soon(a couple of months perhaps) I'm working furiously to bring a playable demo that's not bug ridden and it's a good taste of the whole pie till the end of the year.
After a long meeting with the head of the studio, which is me talking to myself, I came to the conclusion that i want to expand the game even further. Instead of having just simple levels loading one after another I wanted to give the player the ability to choose what would be his next move and to have more weight on his options, instead of boring dialogues and choices. I wanted the consequences to derive from what he is actually doing and not by what he just selects on a dialog. And instead of just a typical map to just move around, now this is going to play a major part in the game, strategic positioning of characters would play a significant role to how levels progress and how difficult the levels themselves are. On what the player would give priorities would also effect the progress of the story with unforgiving results, you could even lose main characters to defection according to your choices. This game started as a Commandos clone, now it's growing to be a mix of Commandos with Jagged Alliance and Total War games. That's all i'm saying for now, big things are coming in the future, stay tuned!
Here's a timelapse of creating the map of Japan:
Here is an overview of the demo level WIP
Here is an overview of a level that is going to be in the final game, the brown buildings near the top are the same models in both pictures, for scale references.
Finally i made offmeshlinks to work properly with animations, i used a curve to control the agents speed for more realistic velocity of the jumps. Pickable objects are still at a testing phase
since people asked for more explanation i'm pasting my answer from reddit for others to see
all animations have curves in it and i linked the speed of the agent with them,so the velocity of the agent is not always the same and is more realistic, for example when you are going downwards you should move at a higher speed than when you are jumping upwards etc.
I don't use bi directional off mesh links because they tend not to work as expected, i had some problems with them in the past, so you will have to make one for every each one direction, then have every direction with a tag to play the animation you want.
Now my real problem was that most animations are heavily unoptimized (thus the name Raw MoCap i guess) so the root sometimes flies away, to tackle this i chopped most animations to 2-3 parts and have the root to the apropriate place, always leaving the transition to the final part (the landing) to be decided from a boolean which is turned on when the agent reaches the end transform.
Curves are pro only though, or you can use only one in the free version i don't really know. So if you don't have them you can fake them by adjusting the speed overtime, but this would mean that you will need to have every offmeshlink of the same type at the same length (it's easier than it sounds but it's not easier than using curves).
I hope i was clear enough, if not tell me and i'll paste a sample code
Hi all folks, just want to inform you that this project is alive and well, been awhile since i updated but i'm on a coding frenzy and PR is getting me out of focus, here's just a little tease, in the next few weeks i will make a video explaining tons of changes and updates in AI and combat.
stay tuned and don't forget to drop by the games indieDB page HERE
Bio and stuff: 4+ months ago i quit my job in the service industry, after five painful years i saw my paycheck go so down the hill it made me loose sleep for months. So i said fuck it, i quit with no other job in mind. My only goal was to focus on something that i love, that is video games, the only problem was i didn't know anything about coding and my 3d modeling skills were next to nothing (i didn't even know how to texture correctly). Anyhow, thanks to Unity's and Blender's amazing community and support i've come to a realy good level of coding,modeling and animating. The hard part is that i do everything by myself, the fun part is that i do anything by myself, so if i want to put a feature in I just ask my self "Do i want this in my game?" :) in tribute to that i decided to name my studio "Developer Without A Crew" . Today i present you my 4+ months of work. Fans of old school team based stealth strategy games like Commandos BEL/2/3 (not the abomination SF) would love it. It's still very early in development but i just had to share my work, Warning: developer in desperate need of motivation, up untill now only few close people have seen my work and my brother who believes i'm wasting my time, i believe he is an idiot.
Please feel free to critisize and comment, but keep in mind that is just a pre-alpha at this stage. If you have any questions please also ask, i'll be happy to help. In my next video i'm gonna showcase the AI a little more because this one feels a little combat heavy.