Update #36

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Kieran, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Kieran

    Kieran Developer

    With the prelude released we've been taking on board a lot of new feedback and criticism. The physics and general complexity of the game are a big part of what make it interesting but can also make things a little difficult. Not everyone embraces change but we've done our best to filter the impatience of some from the genuine concerns of others. Tripping over too often in dark cluttered environments, fighting your own character when opening doors, some difficulty in precisely controlling your character when they are also at the mercy of physics and many others are legitimate issues that we've been striving to improve.

    With our latest release we've addressed many of these issues, made some important further advancements in our animation system and generally improved and fixed many things. The response has been very positive and we think the game has now overcome its major shortcomings and the difficulties brought by its innovative features. Now we can once again move to making some real progress. Our latest release of the prelude does already bring some important new features.


    We've completed our advancement system and the basis of our skill system. Our aim with the advancement system is to support and make viable any play style and to discourage grinding or repetitive things. We want you to play normally and keep doing what you want. Experience is awarded for every little thing you do and everything you see and discover. Nothing grants experience more than once and the world is fully persistent so essentially your characters must always experience new things. Experience is not given in large chunks but in usually minute quantities and in a very detailed way. Your character will gradually absorb this and learn from it over time. In Sui Generis there is also an element of occasional practice that is still designed to not reward you for stubborn repetition.


    The skill system has undergone a lot of revision over the course of development. We've stuck to our fundamental design but where our actual skills were initially closer to a more typical RPG system we felt that Sui Generis had gained a strong identity that did not support something so simplistic. All our skills are now designed to have meaningful and unique effects on characters and to complement rather than overlap with the already well established physics and player skill elements.

    There are 7 major skill categories: Close Combat, Ranged Combat, Shields, Armour, Insight, Concentration and Meditation. Each of these has 5 possible levels of expertise beyond Inept: Aspirant, Novice, Adept, Expert and Master. These levels are achieved by training a Technique for a maximum of 5 per skill. There are a total of 8 Techniques to choose from in each skill for a total of 56 techniques. Your character will have a total limit of known techniques to further diversify builds, you will be able to forget certain techniques and train new ones in their place however.

    The current skills work with the most important close combat mechanics. They model basic combat training well and diversify characters and tactics without affecting the simple control scheme and the nature of the combat.

    Click to enlarge


    An RPG needs its moving parts and environment interaction. In Sui Generis however it is not enough to play some animations and run some scripts. Everything that moves must be subject to physics and interact with everything else realistically; scripts are obscure to AI, prone to being too rigid and unable to account for truly dynamic conditions.

    We've added some important features to our physics engine to implement all sorts of mechanical behaviours and devices that are able to gracefully deal with meddling physics and players. In the latest Exanima release you can see levers, buttons, pressure plates, portcullises, trapdoors, pits, fire traps and puzzles. The important thing is however that you can jam portcullises, push levers or lock them into place with objects, push buttons and plates by leaning or dropping things on them, cross pits by laying planks across them and even divert the flow of fire. This opens up many possibilities that we've only just begun to explore and gives the world that consistent functional behaviour that we're so keen on.

    One of the core design concepts behind Sui Generis is that everything carries meaning. We use what we call "conceptual types" which describe every little thing in the game world, what it is, what it's used for, what its qualities are and how it behaves. Everything must operate by a well defined set of rules without exception and this information can be understood by AI which is then able to make connections and reasoned assumptions. A tool isn't a generic object, it's something with real applications within certain activities and professions. A mechanism isn't just an obscure script, but a functioning thing allowing any NPC to potentially understand its workings and purpose.

    All these things are created through simple graphical interfaces and well defined but flexible rules with complexity emerging from design and dynamic behaviours.

    Click to enlarge


    With the release of the prelude we were rushing to get many things in a fully functional and polished state but recently we've been catching our breath and looking again at the big picture. We've been making steady progress on many fronts and now we're looking at everything that still needs to come together in the future and making sure that everything for Sui Generis is still on the right track.

    With many core and other assets developed to satisfaction we've had a little more breathing room. One of the first things we did is take many assets we would have used, saved them for Sui Generis and taken the time to create new unique things for both games. The underworld plays a very important role in Sui Generis and the deeper you go the more strange it becomes. What you currently see in Exanima is intentionally unremarkable but that will change. It is this contrast that brings our low fantasy setting to life and makes discovery all the more exciting. Developing original designs that are true to the game's unique lore is the biggest challenge we've faced artisitically. Having now invested some more time in it we're very happy with how it has evolved. Sorry, no screenshots here because we want you to experience it properly!

    All in all things are going very well. We've put so much effort into getting all these innovative features first off the ground and then to flourish. We've stayed true to our goals and gone beyond, succesfully achieving much more than we thought we would. It's great now to be working on this wonderful game and focus almost entirely on features and content. The only major development goal still ahead of us is completing the AI and dynamic event system for Sui Generis. With a solid foundation and what we've already put behind us we're striding ahead with confidence.


    Bare Mettle
    AW8, Marc, Shalani and 27 others like this.
  2. Elaxter

    Elaxter Insider

    This is why I love you guys. I can feel the passion radiating off the last paragraph. Great work guys, don't let it go to your head!
  3. NachoDawg

    NachoDawg Member

    Lovely to hear about things in general, thanks for taking the time to write this!
  4. burgzaza

    burgzaza Insider

    Wow that's super cool to hear that you guys do that well :)
    I'm loving the update. The game feels a lot better now, way easier to handle the character, and I still die a lot, have fun, and always learning the game mechanics.
    The level 1 is now amazing :D
    Great job on all the new furnitures and weapons too, as always perfectly modelised and with sutch sexy collisions :D
  5. turtleman155

    turtleman155 Insider

    sui generis alpha hltv confirmed for december :D

  6. Jetcutter

    Jetcutter Supporter

    Outstanding update.
    Rock on moving forward!
    You folks are the "Bestest" :p
  7. Nynuc

    Nynuc Insider

    You guys have become my favorite developers of all time.
  8. Holy.Death

    Holy.Death Insider

    I will lay down my thoughts about this update.

    First of all - I do enjoy how progress and skills work (although I suspect that intermediate levels for skills are not yet implemented, so it might get even better). Starting a new character feels like a fresh experience and became interesting in itself. With more skills, procedural generation of items from containers and non-scripted combat I am very positive on that aspect of the game.

    I am fine with traps and nicely surprised with mechanisms, but I do have my doubts about puzzles. It comes mainly from the fact that unlike other puzzle games (such as point'n'click adventure games) there are absolutely no clues how to solve a puzzle (or give hints about the rules governing them at the very least). I mean mostly the levers on the very first level (or perhaps they're a hoax)? So... I end up pulling a few levers here and there and moving on. There is no foothold for me in here. Perhaps it's just me. Or perhaps I am approaching this incorrectly?

    I like changes to environment. They are often very subtle, but managed to introduce fresh, unique looks to many places that felt same-ish before. Big plus to the developers for that. I have noticed many objects I haven't seen before, objects that gave many rooms more individual character.

    We still have a lot of individual keys that look and are named in the same way, so I came up with a thought playing earlier today: could it be possible for us to name keys in game? I sometimes mix them up and I'd like to keep notes which key (named after a room, or a person, or an object) opens what. Carrying them all clutters the inventory window somewhat so being able to name them could help a bit.

    Overall it's a strong, very refreshing update.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  9. Moppy

    Moppy Supporter

    I like the skill and exp system too. In a lot of other rpg games, I'm always thinking how I can maximize the amount of exp for whatever I'm doing (and ofc the grinding). I think that they've worked around that.

    For the puzzles, I guess it depends on what you expect. Considering the other aspects of the game, my thought process would be "this thing was built by people I don't know, for reasons I don't know. Could be broken, lead to nothing, or be impossible to solve without knowledge of how it works." It's up to you decide if it's worth it or not.

    Well, that's what I would think if I didn't already know that the one in Exanima would be solvable with rewards at the end.

    I think those levers in the beginning just toggle the locks on the two gates, can't remember.

    I agree on pretty much everything you've said. :) Being able to name keys or mark them would be nice too.

    My only disappointment was the lack of a thrust attack, since I thought it would be in this update for some reason.
  10. NachoDawg

    NachoDawg Member

    I honestly hoped that future puzzles will be designed as if they had a real life purpose. That instead of some "pull these weirdly large levers in a particular order to open the gate" that there will be more of a mystery solving aspect than a "this is a puzzle game" thing.

    Like the fire puzzle. The two letters gave us enough hints to figure out how to solve it. Some of the weird trap door puzzles just seemed comical in comparison.
    Faelivrin likes this.
  11. Madoc

    Madoc Project Lead


    Actually the entire "puzzle maze" does make sense but you need to understand its purpose. It's for retreating groups of soldiers to make an escape through and kill or trap their pursuers and ultimately prevent intrusion even if it costs them their lives. If you understand that this is its purpose you will see that it actually makes a lot of sense. There is a bit more lore context to it but I don't want to give any spoilers. We designed this aspect of the first map for lore reasons long before we had any means of doing any "puzzles".
  12. Anthony Obilor

    Anthony Obilor Insider

    @Madoc any possible estimates on when we will see other techniques added?
  13. Don Kanaille

    Don Kanaille Insider

    I don´t want to go into the details of your update now (which is awesome) but I do have some questions:

    Is this limited to each playthrough or global? So, if I discover the map and kill some enemies with character 1 and then die and start anew, will character 2 not get any experience from discovering those rooms and killing those enemies again?

    When can we expect thrusts/stabbing? Personally I feel being able to thrust will change how combat plays quite drastically, and the sooner you implement it the sooner we can gather feedback and help you refine it. The longer you wait with that the higher the chance that a lot of the fine-tuning you do now will be moot once stabbing gets implemented and changes the whole picture again. Or at least that is what I fear.
    ... ontop of just wanting to finally be able to stab someone, to be honest :3
  14. Tony

    Tony Moderator

    All experience is limited to once per character. If you die and start a new game that is considered a new character so you will gain experience again for everything you do.
    Don Kanaille and ZaratanCho like this.
  15. Iscandar

    Iscandar Member

    I'm still very interested in what the other 4 close combat skills are going to be. Special moves perhaps?
  16. Hedgehog-of-Fog

    Hedgehog-of-Fog Member

    Hmm... maybe something like disarmament, dual-wielding, stun blow (that's too arcade-like, I know) or some special fighting techniques (as in Witcher)?
  17. Tony

    Tony Moderator

    Disarmament isn't likely for the same reason the devs are not going to implement weapon durability/breaking: they don't want mechanics that aren't fun. Instantly dying because you dropped your weapon would be a cheap way to die and it wouldn't really add anything to the gameplay.

    Dual wielding is already confirmed.

    Stun blow is also not very likely; it doesn't add much to the gameplay and it'd not be very fun to be stun-locked and killed. Also, how would a stun be determined? Wouldn't you have to actually hit the opponent on the head to activate it? Wouldn't it require a certain amount of force and momentum? Doesn't make sense for this to be a 'technique' one could learn.

    Madoc has discussed adding fighting stances to the game that would allow you to change your stance and perform different types of attacks. Whether or not these would be trainable techniques I do not know.
  18. Hedgehog-of-Fog

    Hedgehog-of-Fog Member

    Me just looked on the picture up there and saw the signes of other skills (why I did not pay attention to it ingame?!)
    Show Spoiler

    Well... first looks like a cleaving (as in Neverwinter Nights series), second and third... hmm, dunno, some up&down strikes... fourth is similar with dual-wielding... or weapon-blocking...
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
    Tony likes this.
  19. Don Kanaille

    Don Kanaille Insider


    That does sound like a good idea. However it doesn´t really make sense to me how this would work if you can easily go around the entire trap-maze area. The very last room is guarded by an entire maze of
    Show Spoiler
    trap doors, sliding gates and fire pits
    on one side and only a single gate at the other side... which you can reach by taking a shortcut through the hospital area. It seems like potential attackers are actively encouraged to butcher all the wounded instead of going through the dead zone.
    Even if the trap maze is supposed to be a defense from attackers coming from the gates leading to level 2, the point still stands that you can easily avoid the trap maze by taking a detour through the hospital.

    If the maze entrance was across the barricaded room with the iron doors, for example, and the only way to reach the inner parts of the dungeon was to go through there, then your explanation would make total sense. But unless I did not overlook something it seems the layout has some serious design flaws.

    Edit: Well either that or the whole hospital part was build later than the maze part... ?
  20. Anthony Obilor

    Anthony Obilor Insider

    I believe the upcoming techniques are: slash, thrust, cleave? /overhead?,and dual wield.

    Madoc has mentioned a slashing mechanic where you use a button to make your character pull his weapon back allowing you to do slash damage or for hooking enemies with polearms
    Holy.Death likes this.

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