Over the summer, I announced December 2nd 2022 for the release of Swords and Sorcery – Sovereign.
I set a high bar for motivational purposes and a quiet hope that I could pull it off. Now that the day has come, and while much progress has been achieved, many aspects of the game are still incomplete, from placeholders to parts of the plot still in pre-production.
No alternative route, like early access or the like seem acceptable for now.
I’ll set a new target date shortly and continue daily development until the big day finally arrives.
The older goblins played Wasteland. So there had to be a Scorpitronbot. It’s a nasty thing, just like the original. Thankfully (sort of), the goblins are clutzier than ever.
It’s a treat to just take off and cross that Endless Sea in a matter of seconds. Much safer than walking on Water and way more convenient than relying on a boat schedule. (Ah yes, it isn’t fully implemented yet but there will be time, day/night and schedules).
You’ll miss it if you blink but there are 4 schools of magic (Elemental, Light, Illusion and Necromancy. All 4 are available to any caster class. Eventually…
One of the most prominent NPCs is the Sultan of Sahalaad. A good justification for that incredible Middle Eastern architecture!
Goblins, Gnomes and other factions dabble in the arts of logic and science. Goblins still claim their genius is stolen by all the others, and they’re still delusional (see Underworld).
It’s very, very hard to post updates during development. It seems to be run by a completely different part of the brain that turns back on when projects near completion.
There needs to be a study on this.
So… years after my last post, finally some news!
Iron Ruler is set to release on July 19th July 22nd. Of this year! At least that’s what I told Steam, so now I’m accountable.
There’s a new trailer!
Check out the newly released tentative Steam page! You can even wishlist the game there.
Iron Ruler was a side project. When I lacked the enthusiasm or inspiration for Sovereign, I had something to fall back to with the perspective of adding a title to the collection. The AI stumped me for longer than I expected though, so it wasn’t the smooth ride I was hoping for. But it works nicely now. I lose to it sometimes 🙂
How much will it cost, you ask? Why, absolutely nothing! It’s not big enough to warrant a price tag and I want to focus on the RPGs. Maybe it’ll help sell those so I can announce the sequel to Sovereign (which already has a title, a main page, and it’s awesome if I dare say so myself.)
The most important of which turned out to be identifying and fixing an issue that remained a thorn in my side for years. There was an incompatibility with NVIDIA graphics cards. The game would freeze every 10 minutes or so on those setups. My desktop PC worked fine, but I had the issue with an old laptop. That led me to think the game was too resource hungry so I attempted to improve it on that end, but it was the wrong diagnosis.
Most of the reports on this issue included the player reassuring me that it was OK. They’d just quicksave often and the game loaded up fast enough. No big deal. Except it was a big deal, and I almost gave up on Sovereign because of it. There were enough negative reviews and refund requests caused by this to make me wonder if it was worth all the trouble, just to have another unstable game crippled by unsatisfied players.
Then one of the reviews included the player’s specs, and I thought to look into the graphics card. Finally.
Sovereign will be freeze free, as Underworld is today!
The idea was to replicate Underworld with a surface world. But I quickly envisioned more (as my announcement post suggested already).
It needed a new magic system. With lots more spells.
And lots of passive and active skills.
Then the event module, which worked nicely for Underworld’s scope, did not allow me to sustain something that much bigger. It was a mess. It’s nice and coherent now.
About 200 maps.
As for the main questline, let’s just say it changed a few times.
I’m working on a new video and a Steam page that I aim to activate as Iron Ruler launches. I’m thinking there might be some synergy between the two. Also it should allow for a somewhat more reliable ETA.
I’m looking at Q4 2022. But I’ve been overly optimistic before…
Gog turned down Underworld again. I’m guessing it’ll be the same for Sovereign. Oh well.
Swords and Sorcery – Sovereign expands on the formula by adding basic (gring-free, farming-free) crafting, factions, new skills and spells, and, of course, a very large open world that the world map hints at without quite revealing that it is only the known world. It does not display everything.
A few months have passed already since the release of Swords and Sorcery – Underworld’s Definitive Edition. The game was well received by players, as Steam comments suggest, which can only mean one thing. The sequel, Swords and Sorcery – Sovereign has moved to the #1 priority.
A greenlight campaign has been in the works, and the following teaser will be found on top of the page and followed by more details on mechanics. Character stats and magic have evolved. Interaction with NPCs will be somewhat deeper and factions are forming nicely. I am still on the fence about the crafting and combat is, as of now, still pretty much what it was in Underworld.
Swords and Sorcery – Underworld evolved quite a bit since it’s Gold version release… Almost three years ago. I scratched everything and built a new engine. Now I’m going to ease back into the habit I never had of making steady updates by showing a quick combat video. And commenting on the changes. The best stuff is at the bottom 😉
[Edit] – Following discussions with players of the previous version, I made various changes to the screen layout. Clutteredness is out. All enemies now appear on screen.
First of all, there are portraits. These are visible throughout the game but in combat there are a couple things to take note of.
They are layed out in their actual combat positions. There are three rows of two, which represents their actual position in combat. Therefore the first two are most exposed.
Characters (and monsters) are grayed out when out of melee range. (It does NOT mean they are inactive, nor does the highlighting indicate which character/monster is up). This allows for many things, including tactical positionning options. These include: join or leave melee, order everyone forward or to retreat, or move to the front. there is also the protect option (given the character carries a shield) which allows him or her to set themselves alongside or in front of a companion and physically “share their armor”. They effectively change position in the roster. Monsters can have similar behavior.
The combat log now appears in real time in the top left corner. This allows for much quicker combat since there is no longer a need for a pause to allow players to follow friendly and enemy actions.
Visual effect for spells.
All options appear in the bottom row and can be clicked or activated with their keyboard shortcuts (those appear on the left when hovered). Several actions are unlocked later with the earning of new levels. Naturally, spell casters are rewarded with new spells.
Ambidextria allows Knights and Rogues to use two 1H weapons.
Stun allows the rogue to immobilize a foe for some time (how many rounds depends on an accuracy and luck versus the monster’s endurance and luck check).
Burst allows the archer to shoot three arrows simultaneously (with damage per shot reduced by 25%).
Later, Barrage allows the archer to shoot all visible targets (up to 10) with a 50% damage score.
Berserk allows the Knight to hit all enemies in melee with a loss of 50% of his/her own life bar.
Bleed allows the Rogue to inflict cumulative damage over time, but you’ll need a high level for this one.
Powerhouse allows the Knight to replace 1H weapons with 2H weapons. Meaning potentially two 2H if he/she chooses to not carry a shield.
To make this work better, I redesigned both the monster and item database. Monsters now have the same attributes as characters. Some attributes like endurance, spirit, intelligence and luck are used in different checks, allowing for much more variety of resistances and weaknesses. This info can be collected with a spell called Read Mind that’ll help you figure out how to defeat the tougher enemies in later stages of the game.
Another example is the Rogue no longer systematically leaves stealth mode after an attack. An accuracy and luck versus intelligence and luck check determines whether he/she remains unseen or is spotted by the target. If the target is killed by an assassination, the Rogue will remain unseen no matter what.
Weapons now have a penetration and minimum strength score. I added this mainly to accomodate the Archer. The Archer’s damage now exclusively depends on his/her accuracy and luck (to a lesser extent of course), regardless of strength. But to use a more powerful weapon, the Archer will have to match the weapon’s minimum strength. Penetration is deducted from the target’s armor score before determining final damage. While this helps balance the Archer’s contribution to the group, it works the same for melee weapons (whose damage scores are determined by strength.) But bows tend to have higher penetration scores than swords or daggers.
To further accomodate this system, I changed the way weapons work as well. They no longer add to the character’s damage score but multiply it (+0.20*Base Melee, +5.5*Base Ranged…). The weakest ranged weapon (sling) adds 20% to base ranged damage (the accuracy score). The most powerful melee and ranged weapons exceed 10*. Scores of armor and special items have attribute bonuses and many can be enchanted later in the game.
I’ll explain in my next entry how the entirely new character creation and development system works in this context.
It is high time for a new update. It’s been almost a year!
I’ve been working on three things.
– The new engine for Sovereign.
– A rebuild of Underworld in the new engine.
– A smaller project called Iron Ruler. It is a turn based strategy board-game except there’s no board since it’s a computer game.
This update is about the new combat that will be featured in both Sovereign and the upcoming Underworld update.
Underworld Gold Plus… I’m running out of suffixes and it is getting a bit ridiculous…
If you are familiar with previous versions of Underworld, you’ll notice it’s changed quite a bit. Full screen, no fixed GUI, combat log appears in real time, partyand mobs are represented by portraits, out-of-melee combattants are darkened, the arena pic is used as background (only in arena fights), all spells are illustrated with a fading effect (both combat and non-combat), all options are represented by an icon (but keyboard shortcuts remain functional and you’ll be able to display them).
The skull at the bottom right still triggers autofight for quick resolution of easy battles (or suicide).
Spell casting has changed as well:
That’s it for today. There’s more to show, tons of images, new modules (like crafting), new character creation… Unfortunately I still can’t announce a reliable release date. Everything seems to take twice as long as initially expected. But I’ll try to post updates much more often.
I’ve been jumping back and forth from character creation, inventory, arranging combat, lore a small project on the side (to relax) and… Well all sorts of real life stuff that need be attended to. Updates are quite slow but I do have quite a bit I can show.
But do keep in mind nothing you’ll see here is in its entirely finished state. You’ll find some incoherences, misalignments and even some things missing entirely. Still, the following should give you a fair idea where things are going.
The character creation screen above shows one of several steps involved in creating a character: choosing the character portrait. The first few steps involve choosing a class, a race and a gender. these three are listed at the top left. The chosen portrait will be there as well as the character’s name. With these choices made, you get to distribute five aptitude points. These can either go in attributes, resistances, skills or craft. The first decision you will be confronted to is whether to concentrate on attributes or whether to include skills or crafts for a better rounded character.
– Hovering over a choice makes a description appear, which includes (or will include) requirements.
– Some skills require other skills and cannot exceed their value. Swords, for example, require proficiency in pugilism. If your character has a score of 3 in pugilism, sword proficiency cannot exceed 3. Other skills require and cannot exceed one or several attributes. Pugilism cannot exceed strength, accuracy and dexterity divided by three and rounded down.
– The same goes for crafts (they can have either attribute or skill requirements, or both). Crafts are optional and choosing to learn or improve one instead of adding that point to an attribute or skill typically makes a less proficient combattant. But it is a big world awaiting you and not everything will be about winning battles.
– Skills marked with an @ are active skills. These add options in battle whereas passive skills unlock other things. Two Handed for example is a passive skill that allows the character to wield two handed weapons, given he/she has the skill to wield the one-handed variety. Even if the two-handed score is higher than the weapon skill that corresponds to the weapon the character has equipped, the score that will be taken into consideration will be the lowest of the two. @Stealth, on the other hand, is an active skill that gives the character the ability to “become unseen”, which in turn allows the use of other skills. While rogues start with good knowledge of Stealth and associated manoeuvers (without need to spend aptitude points), any character can learn to do the same if you choose to have them do so. There will, however be a limit to the number of skills and crafts a charactercan learn.
Character inventory is divided into three important parts. The first column on the left is the list of equip slots. Each one corresponds to a specific part of the body. (I) and (J) are respectively the right and left hand.
– When you hover over an item, wherever it is, the corresponding slot in the equip list turns blue. Likewise, the corresponding part of the paper doll on the right turns blue. There will also be a definition of the item at the bottom right part of the screen (not implemented yet) and a list of comparisons on the bottom left. The screenshot shows that when you have a short sword equipped and you hover over a walking stick, choosing to swap these items will result in a gain of -6 damage (shown in red when negative, white otherwise). There will be other comparisons but as of now damage is the only one implemented.
– The second list in the middle is the character’s backpack. All slots there can be used by any item.
– The third part is the character inventory. It is itself made up of a list of 8-26 slots (depending on the type of container) and 5 container slots. When one of the slots is used by an available container a small chest replaces the empty white square. In the screenshot above, the highlighted container slot is a simple cloth bag with only 8 slots. With five 26 item containers, the party can potentially store 130 items in addition to those characters have equipped or in their personal packs.
Note: right clicking on an equipped item removes it and adds it to the character pack. Left clicking on an item selects it. Once an item is selected, clicking on a destination slot causes the item to be moved there. You can also click on a portrait and the item will be stored in his/her backpack.
The above is the character’s statistic screen. It is read only and gives a quick overview of the character’s attributes and known skills or crafts.
The icons on the bottom left of the status screens allow navigation between these. They respectively give you access to inventory, stats, skills and crafts (where available attribute points can be alloted to learn new skills/crafts or improve known ones), factions (for consultation) and exit.
Spells, crafts and magic will be accessible for use via another option in the main GUI.
There’s still a lot of work to do, but it is getting there slowly but surely 🙂
It’s been a while since my last update but things are moving along steadily. The post I announced about character creation is underway but there is still a bit of tweaking to be done (skill descriptions, cross-requirements…). That post will be up soon, but for now I thought I’d give a peak of a GUI I’ve been working on:
This reveals a couple new things:
– Sovereign will be much more intuitive and mouse-friendly than Underworld was. Even if the GUI continues to evolve, this will be a priority.
– Portraits are in! Right now only the human portraits are finished but it is just a matter of weeks before the others roll in.
– A new town environment.
Naturally, all comments and suggestions are welcomed 😉
Progress is being made on several fronts for the next installment of the Swords and Sorcery series: Sovereign. Namely the world building. And one way to make great progress on that front is to map said world.
This is now done! Click on the map for a better view. It is low resolution but still readable and a high resolution image is set aside for the game.
There are 17 towns, some of which will span over several maps, 48 surface maps, underwater maps, caverns and even a few uncharted territories… Environments are, as the map suggests, very varied (mountains, forests, glaciers, desert, ocean, marshes, caverns, dungeons). Great progress has also been made on the backstory, expanding on lore elements hinted at or developed in Swords and Sorcery – Underworld (and the much older Peregrine’s Song). So far about 30 pages of backstory have been written. The character creation system is also almost functional and sets the bases for very deep, active character development (many skills and crafts!)
Expect more development news very soon, as well as one or two surprises! If you’ve missed them click here to see previous posts.