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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Sacred Fire - a turn-based psychological RPG mixing narrative and tactics

  1. #1

    Sacred Fire - a turn-based psychological RPG mixing narrative and tactics

    Hi there,

    I am the guy behind Sacred Fire, a turn-based, psychological RPG about survival, power, and the search for meaning, inspired by ancient Caledonia.

    It's a passion project I've been working on for years. Here is the first teaser showing gameplay, visuals and storytelling. It's voiced by Doug Cockle, the voice of the Witcher: https://youtu.be/7vyu8DSo1es



    The newest screenshots are up on Steam Greenlight Concepts: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=800757379
    Some journalists scout upcoming games here, so if you like what you see, up-vote us! Every vote counts! We are already #1 Most Popular This Week, your up-vote can help us to get the coveted 5-star rating. Thank you!

    Subscribe and be the first in line to get Kickstarter Early Bird discounts when we launch in March 2017: http://www.SacredFireGame.com
    Last edited by kingfall; 12-06-2016 at 07:23 PM. Reason: fixing gif link

  2. #2
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Hey there. Wow, thanks for the heads up; I'm curious to see how this one turns out. A very promising premise though, and Geralt's voice-over is a HUGE added value! Subscribed to your newsletter and Greenlit you
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  3. #3
    Senior Modder YaK's Avatar
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    Wow!

    Great names there! Also Avellone!
    My mods: YaK's SSLTBS1 Unofficial Fixpack ( www.nexusmods.com/thebannersaga/mods/1 ) and Drake's & YaK's BS2 Unofficial Fixpack ( www.nexusmods.com/thebannersaga2/mods/2 )




    I think, therefore I am... I think.

  4. #4
    Thank you for the warm welcome and the upvote, it means a lot!

    There is a whole blog post about how we ended up with Doug Cockle, the voice of the Witcher in our game teaser: https://www.sacredfiregame.com/2016/...geralt-teaser/

  5. #5
    This is how the game looks in motion:


  6. #6
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Interesting take on combat. I like the narration-driven mechanics.
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  7. #7
    Thank you,

    yes, the whole point of using numeric personality models and have a ruleset governing your characters psychology is to blend narrative and action seamlessly and enable a new level of role-playing.

    We use the personality model to make the player's interaction with the story tactical. Choices, and their consequences, are the core elements of Sacred Fire:
    • You have to earn the right to make a tough call.
    • Ideas shape your character as much as actions.
    • You always know the consequences of a choice.
    • You have to earn the right to change the story.


    The combat in Sacred Fire blends powerful storytelling moments, personality tests, and turn-based tactical moves into one flow. Each turn the player chooses one of four goals of your attack or defense: survive, provoke, intimidate and gain renown. However, a wide variety of different actions result from these four goals based on by how much you overshoot the probability check. If the goal is to survive, you will defend and attack in the most efficient manner, affecting hit points only. To provoke, you can taunt the opponent, parry like you were sparring with a child, or play nasty and hit a sensitive place.

    To intimidate, you can split objects in half, shoot an warning arrow, or take a hit without nudging. To gain renown, you will intentionally dodge in the last possible moment, block arrows without dodging, or pull off a devastating attack.
    • You have to control your emotions to perform optimally in combat.
    • Equipment doesn’t win a fight. It only sets the stage.
    • Letting the opponent attack you from behind is a valid tactic.
    • You can win the game without killing.

    You can read more about how we are rethinking choice & consequence in Sacred Fire in the announcement/update on Steam Greenlight Concept page:
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=800757379
    Last edited by kingfall; 12-10-2016 at 05:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    All this sounds brilliant but a bit confusing too. I think we'll have to see them in action (knowing the characters and circumstances too) in order to fully understand what's going on, and how well and fluid it plays.

    • You have to earn the right to make a tough call. -- What do you mean?
    • Ideas shape your character as much as actions. -- Sound concept; curious to see how it is executed
    • You always know the consequences of a choice. -- Hmm, this is a double-edged knife. I'm one for determinism, so thumbs up
    • You have to earn the right to change the story. -- What do you mean?


    Combat goals for each turn (survive, provoke, intimidate or gain renown) again sound awesome I really love a livid combat description in a book, and I think that's what you're targeting there.
    • You have to control your emotions to perform optimally in combat. -- Thumbs up!
    • Equipment doesn’t win a fight. It only sets the stage. -- So, now +1298657865 damage magic items?
    • Letting the opponent attack you from behind is a valid tactic. -- Um, ok. But why?
    • You can win the game without killing. -- That reminds me of good ol' Fallout 1&2! Thumbs up, again


    By the way -- The last hyperlink on your post is broken.
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  9. #9
    You are right, more explanation is in order And thank you, I fixed the link.

    Choice Making

    You have to earn the right to make a tough call

    If a story choice you want to make is out-of-character or simply tough for the personality you’ve developed, you need to pass a probability check. To boost your chances you can use willpower points.
    As a reward, making a tough choice develops your personality and helps you level up.

    Ideas shape your character as much as actions

    Inner monologue give the player’s character the ability to interpret and comment on what’s happening in the story. What are your thoughts on failure, injustice, or brutality in a scene? What is the motive behind your choice to help someone?
    It’s your interpretation and motives that affect your character’s empathy, create guilt or strengthen your ideals.



    You always know the consequences of a choice

    We never mislead the player into a wrong choice. Our goal is to create an experience where the player always has a smart option out of a tough spot. Notice a trap, sense an ambush, spot a hidden blade, make a leap of faith. You just need to have the will to make the extra effort to actually use it.

    You have to earn the right to change the story

    You do not start out as a leader; you have to compete for influence within the group of potential rivals or allies. NPCs don’t just get angry if they don’t agree with your choices. They have their own agendas and will try to undermine your choices.

    Combat



    You have to control your emotions to perform optimally in combat

    Fear weakens your attacks. Anger makes you ignore your defense. Save your willpower points; you will need them to help you keep your cool. This way you can intimidate, provoke, and wear out your opponent.

    Equipment doesn’t win a fight. It only sets the stage

    Collecting and crafting beautiful items is important, but not only for the protection they provide. Items such as armor also affect how comfortable and confident you feel, and how memorable, attractive, and menacing you appear to NPCs.
    But what wins a fight is using your willpower to overcome fear. Use these willpower points to boost your chances of keeping your cool, to ignore pain, and to regain self-control when you go beyond your physical ability.

    Letting the opponent attack you from behind is a valid tactic

    We’ve all seen the scene. The hero stands still, the opponents circle him, and the hero dodges in the last moment. It’s good storytelling, but horrible tactics.
    What makes this a valid tactic in Sacred Fire is that IF you pull it off, a display of confidence and skill like that intimidates your opponents and affects their performance. Furthermore, showing control and courage like that will earn you the respect of NPCs.

    You can win the game without killing



    All fights have context within the story, and a winning condition other than defeating the opponent. In some, if you can gain enough respect through displays of skill, your opponent will give up, or you can intimidate them into fleeing. In others all you have to do is survive until help arrives. Combat in Sacred Fire is all about the tactical choices that you make.

    The game AI recognizes if you choose not to land a decisive hit, or if you do not use lethal-force in combat at all. All NPCs you fight have complex agendas and their own survival is high on their list. They will rarely fight till their last breath.
    The writing also gives options how to avoid, prevent or end a fight before it gets out of control.

    If you like what we are doing, up-vote us on Steam Greenlight Concepts: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=800757379
    Last edited by kingfall; 12-11-2016 at 04:53 PM.

  10. #10
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Thank you for the details on Choice-Making and Combat, and for paying attention to our forums All this sounds quite exciting and innovative; all it needs to shine is a great story! I'll be following your project closely
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  11. #11
    You are very welcome, thank you for having me here!

    You are right, a great story is key to this experience. Writing and storytelling is my true passion. We have intentionally not revealed much about the story, only the characters, but we are very excited with what we have.

  12. #12
    Factions veteran stoicmom's Avatar
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    Success to you! I, too, will be watching closely as we draw closer to your release

  13. #13
    Thank you for letting us know and for your kind words! Sorry for the delay, we are very happy to have another fan

  14. #14
    It's Screenshot Saturday, so here you go, a new screenshot from Sacred Fire. If you feel like smashing an axe to get some order into politics these days!


  15. #15
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingfall View Post
    If you feel like smashing an axe to get some order into politics these days!
    Haha I suppose it has its uses! All those modifiers (+1 Renown; +1 Fear), they apply to the characters they are drawn over?
    Last edited by Aleonymous; 12-19-2016 at 08:41 AM. Reason: typos... everywhere!
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Aleonymous View Post
    Haha I suppose it was its used! All those modifiers (+1 Renown; +1 Fear), they apply to the characters they are drawn over?
    Exactly! Here's the screenshot from before the axe was smashed:



    I had to use willpower to increase confidence (from 50 to 60%). It's not to easy to smash your axe in front of the queen. But it was worth it.

  17. #17
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    (Oh my, typos every 2-3 letters! "it was its used" was supposed to read as "it has its uses")

    Are your character designs & poses full-3D/CG-rendered, or hand-drawn? They seem hand drawn but seem to have that CG "quality" to them...
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

  18.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #18
    Art Director Arnie's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks Aleo for highlighting this thread.
    Very cool looking game you've got here, I look forward to seeing mrore! I dig me some ancient Caledonia.
    In referencing the norse stuff we're doing with Banner Saga I got interested in the Saxons, which then got me interested in the ancient Briton's before them which took the search up to Caledonia...etc. Best of luck with the project!

  19. #19
    @Aleo Your question presents a great compliment, as that was our goal, to make the art look hand-drawn, but produce it fully based on 3D so we can use realistic cloth, fur and hair simulations. We like to think of it as our unique aesthetic, the same way anime does it own thing or Banner Saga has it's own beautiful art style. Developing a visual language for your aesthetic and figuring our what the base blocks are, what works and what doesn't is a creatively very satisfying process.

    @Arnie Thank you for your kind words, coming from you it's a great compliment! I am a big fan of Banner Saga since its Kickstarter. The art style and norse setting immediately clicked for me. Long time ago, after college, I contemplated moving to Canada to work at Bioware, and when I saw the Banner Saga KS, run by ex-Bioware devs, I remember the thought crossing my mind, wow maybe I could have been a part of that Instead I went indie, level-up my skills for 10 years and now have Sacred Fire to show for it. Hopefully 2 great games will exist this way instead of one, so all is well

    What I like about Caledonia is how a small group of people resisted an Empire and the reasons why they succeeded. I have the advantage of having no agenda when interpreting the history. The pro-Romans say, ah you survived only because we didn't care. And pro-Caledonians say, we won because we were tougher. I think that the true reason lies elsewhere. Sure they were great warriors, and hardy people, they knew their land well and used the winter against the Romans who bathe in warm water

    But the key factor why they withstood Rome to me was cultural, sociological. They were a nation of free people, equal to each other, families, each carrying for its own. There was no leader, no elite. So there was no small group to corrupt, no one to bribe. And also no one to lead them into one big battle to be slaughtered by the Roman war machine. I like how the Michael Fassbender movie Centurion displays them: as disciplined and cunning, knowing well they can not defeat Rome head on, but have to use it's biggest weaknesses: arrogance, and greed. So by giving them neither glory nor shame of a big defeat, no spoils of war, it became a pointless war to Rome, with no way to justify the costs politically.

    Another important moment that made me choose this setting was when I came across a source explaining the etymology of the word the tribes north from Hadrian's Wall used to describe themselves. It claimed they thought of themselves as the 'people of design'. This became my focal lens when building the world of Sacred Fire. And the more I learned about their buildings, successful resistance war against the mightiest Empire, their heritage, it all suggested, that they were indeed cunning people. So while most people represent them based on the image seen by their enemies, as naked painted daemons on the battlefield, it only proves to me how well they deceived their enemies and how they used design and psychology to their advantage.

    This all makes it a perfect setting for a game about outsmarting your opponents in direct combat encounters, in the political arena and in a century long war conflict. So there is an important long-term strategic aspect to the game besides the fast flowing blend of choice making and combat:

    Last edited by kingfall; 12-20-2016 at 09:12 AM.

  20. #20
    Today is a great day for Sacred Fire, as we got our first media coverage and it's on PC Gamer of all sites: http://www.pcgamer.com/how-a-debutin...e-its-trailer/



    Thank you all for your support!

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