Realms Beyond – A classic turn-based fantasy RPG

Combat Alpha – Gameplay Video

Finally, we completed the first iteration of the combat system and recorded a HD video to demonstrate it to you.

If YouTube starts the video in low, blurry quality, please change the resolution manually to 1080p60 or 720p60.

Please be aware, due to the nature of alpha versions, the user interface (especially placeholder icons) and other elements such as sounds, camera, FXs and animations are still work in progress and therefore not final.

If you wonder about the Wizard’s overcrowded spellbook: We made every spell available (according to his 9th level) for testing purposes. Under real circumstances, he wouldn’t had so many spells already unlocked.

We appreciate hearing your feedback and suggestions for improvements related to the combat system.

Also, based on your feedback to previously pu...

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Combat Alpha – First Screenshots

While the user interface of our combat alpha is still in the final polishing process, we can already present two screenshots from the upcoming scene.

A warband of orcs (along with a troll) ambushed the player’s party in morning hours while traveling through the wilderness.

Combat Alpha - Morning Mist

Combat Alpha - Morning Mist Zoomed

Edited:
Some more variations with customized grid settings.

Dark variant – medium opacity

Bright variant – high opacity

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Combat Development and Goblin Barbecue

We haven’t posted much lately because we focused all our efforts into developing the first playable iteration of the combat system. This combat prototype (or let’s say Combat Pre-Alpha) will include almost every action and spell of the classes Fighter, Barbarian, Cleric, Wizard, Ranger and Rogue (about 100 actions and spells in total).

Along with animations, character models and visual effects, we already implemented the sound for various weapons, spells and hit effects.

Until we can show you a detailed insight of the combat system, this little preview video will give you a first impression of the Fireball spell at a higher character level. Those poor Goblins never had a chance and died many deaths during the development.

Except for the combat grid, we completely hid the user interface bec...

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World Building #3: Faces of Argea

During the last two weeks, we have been occupied with one of the most important visual elements of traditional RPGs: Character Portraits.
We needed to find a good compromise between quality and quantity because every NPC in our world that the player can interact with, must get his/her very own unique face. For us, that’s one of the most crucial points if you want to realize a believable world.
A small but expressive 2D portrait can deliver much more personality and individuality than a high-poly 3D model with fancy shaders and physically simulated hair.
After some experiementation with various Photoshop techniques, we finally figured out a proper way to create portraits in a reasonable amount of time in decent quality. The world of Realms Beyond, Argea, will be initially populated with at ...

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Combat System #3: Battle Crowds

In an earlier post (Combat System #1) that discussed the combat system of Realms Beyond, we wrote that from the beginning, our aim was to make a turn-based game. However, we also mentioned that we carefully evaluated other variants, such as the Real-time-with-Pause (RtwP) combat system of Baldur’s Gate in particular. We are grown-ups that make games in an industry that still focuses mostly on kids as their key demographic and most of us were still teenagers when turn-based RPGs vanished and made room for the new era of real-time games.

Even if the pros and cons of different systems sometimes come down purely to personal taste, we believe that no one would argue that turn-based games tend to be less “action-packed.” It is the nature of the beast...

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Storytelling #1: Bringing your party to life

At this time, we had planned to post more details regarding the game’s combat system, but lately, we were also busy adding a large number of story elements to Realms Beyond and while doing that, we decided to switch tack and share with you instead our thoughts about storytelling in a party-based CRPG. Needless to say, we will deliver the promised info about the combat system next week.

You may recall that somewhere in our initial blog posts we raised the subject that most modern RPGs these days tend to tell the journey of a single character. The player is the hero, the central figure around everything else revolves, etc. This approach oftentimes leads to pre-determined companions being added to the party over time, who typically bring with them their own personalities. Since Planescape: T...

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Combat System #2: Hexes vs. Squares

As you may recall, we touched upon this particular subject some time ago very briefly when we talked about our die rolling experiments with D&D 4th Edition: Six sides are better than four. Let’s elaborate.

This particular subject led to some of the most heated discussions among ourselves while we designed the combat system for Realms Beyond. There are times in the development cycle of a game that can lead to actual combat. Only in those cases, it typically gets resolved with arguments and words rather than the use of force and weapons.

Players of traditional D&D campaigns and those of the SSI Goldbox Games used to prefer dungeons and battlefields that were based on a square grid. Wargames and virtually every turn-based strategy game, on the other hand, favor hexagons...

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Source of Inspiration #5: Phantasie

Phantasie boxesBy now we can safely assume that you have heard about roleplaying games, but have you ever heard of a Roleplaying Odyssey? Let me introduce you to Phantasie, a game where the front of the box promised such an experience. And for the most part, we can acknowledge that it pretty much reflects the memory we have of the game.

Looking back, Phantasie might have been a pure Ultima derivative. It featured a large world for you to explore on foot as you searched for the next town or dungeon. However, it did not feature 3D dungeons. Instead, you would kind of unveil the passages of each dungeon on some kind of map screen...

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World Building #2: Where do you start designing an open world roleplaying game?

Dragon Avatar

Up to this point, most of our blog posts have covered sources of influence and inspiration and some general game mechanics. What we have not covered at all so far, is the world of Realms Beyond. That’s where I come in…

Some of you may know me as “Dragon” in our forums and I am the Creative Director of Realms Beyond, which means, I am overseeing the creation of the content that you will eventually play in the game.

I do have a background in game design and I’ve worked on numerous roleplaying games before, in a variety of capacities, and when I joined the Ceres Team some time ago, the first order of business was the general world design.

Dungeons & Dragons Player HandbooksWhile we’re using assets and code from the never-released Chaos Chronicles project, we decided early on to create the actual content for Realms Be...

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Source of Inspiration #4: The Bard’s Tale

The Bard's TaleWhen The Bard’s Tale by Michael Cranford was first released, it foreshadowed a feature that would become standard in games today—an intro. In the case of The Bard’s Tale, it was an animated title screen that was reminiscent of a cartoon, showing a bard playing a song. Bard's Tale Intro Screen
Naturally, the lyrics of the song appeared as text only on the screen but this was pretty impressive stuff in 1987 on the C64! The bard would stop playing to take a sip from his mug once in a while. One of the listeners sitting next to him would imagine the adventurous scenes portrayed in his odes, appearing and disappearing in graphics bubbles above his head.

One of the interesting and often overlooked things about The Bard’s Tale is that its character system was actually pretty similar to that of D&D...

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