Game Introduction

14Aug12

Terra Melior is an old-school sci fi RPG with a focus on artistic graphics, and a chilling story.  The adventure takes place on Terra Melior, a harsh planet of ice and snow that unprepared colonists are sent to after fleeing earth.  Gameplay will be in the old-school RPG style, but also include rock climbing sections and submarine-piloting episodes.

The game will be released on Windows and Mac, and probably will be 1-2 GB.

Gorgeous soundtrack provided by me 😛  I’m hoping to finish the game this winter or spring.  I’ve been programming for 14 years, but I’ve never released a game before, so I can’t be sure how long it will take.  Judging from how it was releasing an album, the legal part is not going to be fun… :\

I decided to test out some of the parts of the game development I was worried about (human modelling in particular), and the results aren’t perfect, but they’re better than I had hoped for.  😀  Hence the whole “telling the internet I’m working on a game” thing.

Here are some early renders that aren’t finished… The “sea monster” picture is just a graphics test, and is meant to be kinda funny (tiny lake with sea monsters!?).  Keep in mind that I’ve been using Blender for only about 2 months and I’m still learning things and adding details (click to enlarge):
Image

Image

The planet doesn’t have any features yet – I just wanted to test out the lighting for it.  Think of it as a grey marble in space, with a sun rising behind it.  Later on, I’ll make the planet surface and the cloud layer.  I also have a male character, but I haven’t put much time into editing him so he doesn’t look very impressive yet.

I’d also like to note that the female character has a few mistakes I’m going to correct.  The worst are the corners of her mouth, the skin material (I have a new one in testing), the eyeballs, and where her hair is parted.  I’ll address all of these, but keep in mind that these images are larger than you’ll ever see her in game.  You will have some close-ups, but nothing that takes up an entire screen.

Right now, I’m working on the graphics, modelling, and the first stages of the game engine.  Most of the graphics are going to be pre-rendered in Blender, allowing me to make them much higher quality, and also to use Blender’s hair system.  For closeups, I’ll probably be using around 60,000 hair strands.  I’m also going to be using Ambient Occlusion, and Subsurface Scattering (it’s what happens when you hold a flashlight behind your ear).

I had really debated what to do for the combat system.  Specifically, whether to have magic or not.  It’s incredibly hard to do an old-school RPG without magic, because only having firearm and melee attacks doesn’t leave a lot of options.  I know you can have special “gun abilities”, like being able to gain HP by hitting enemies, but those aren’t realistic anyways, so they might as well be magic.

For the sake of the gameplay, I decided to use both the magic, and the unrealistic gun abilities.  To a lesser extent than most RPGs do (making the player feel incredible powerful does NOT fit with the feel I’m going for), but enough to allow different playstyles, and give the battles more variety and strategy.  I’d also like to have “energy” and “warmth” bars that are used to perform different actions.  That will be the motivation to do the climbing “puzzles” well – saving as much energy as possible for the battles.

I’m not going to give away too much of the story yet, but I will say that I’m trying to make a game that feels like Penumbra, except with more people to talk to, and without being a horror game.

If you’d like to keep updated on the game progress, please sign up for the newsletter by sending an email to TerraMeliorRPG@yahoo.com.

And if you’d like to listen to some music I’ve composed, and some classical guitar covers I’ve recorded, here’s my Youtube channel:  www.youtube.com/user/BryanFranzMusic

Here are some of the soundtrack pieces I’ve written.  They are probably not going to be in Terra Melior as I want a different orchestration for that, but they show some of my other styles:

http://youtu.be/Ss5-NRSGOVI

http://youtu.be/nA_XitYWvt8

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