April 2018 - Developer Update

Hello travelers, welcome to the Developer Update for April 2018!

We've been working on a new secret milestone, but we can still show you a few small things this month. We'll be going over the forests of the First Kingdom, the dungeon screenshots that we've been releasing on social media, and some more info on Expeditions!

Forests of the First Kingdom

The forests in the First Kingdom contain very tall redwood trees, bushes, and wildlife. Be careful as you tread through the forest, as you may encounter wolves that will call for their pack if you don't end them quickly.

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Unknown Dungeon

You'll encounter many dungeons in the world of Orterra. One thing we can tell you about this one is that it's found in the First Kingdom and that it has signs of corruption.

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As you explore dungeons your map will update automatically. You can share this data with others or even trade it for gold.

Expedition Difficulty Levels

Expeditions have different difficulty levels associated with them, which you can check at a Task Board along with the rest of the Expedition's information. "Regular" Expeditions below Legendary level can be completed by anyone, and anyone who completes it can receive the reward. As mentioned last month, a Legendary Expedition can only be completed by one person or party, so it's a race for the reward.

Here are three different types of banners for Expeditions. When you complete an Expedition, you'll receive this banner in your journal:

Thanks for reading, we'll see you in the next one!

March 2018 - Developer Update

Hello travelers, welcome to the Developer Update for March 2018!

It's been quite the busy month; we recently started work on our next milestone. We're going to talk about the compass, the task board, the emote/consumables wheels, and Origo's plaza. Let's get into it!

The Task Board

Task boards can be found in major cities and towns. Players can interact with the task board to find the latest Expeditions and Bounties.

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Expeditions are event-type quests that refresh every 4 hours. A player may undertake only 1 Expedition at a time. Expeditions will come in varying difficulties and rarities, with rarely appearing Expeditions tending to be more difficult. "Legendary" rarity Expeditions are limited: while any player or party may undertake and attempt one, only the first player or party to complete the objective will receive the reward.

Emote and Consumable Wheels

Emotes can be accessed in a wheel menu that you can easily open up by holding a key. Simply select an emote from the list and you'll perform that action! The same wheel design is also used for the consumables menu. Players can assign their consumable items to the wheel and change it whenever they like, making the consumable wheel an easy way to drink/eat things quickly without having to open up your Inventory.

Behind The Scenes: Compass

Your compass is one of two tools for finding your way around Orterra. The game will not include a minimap nor will it show where you are on the world map, so you'll have to be aware of your surroundings and traverse the Kingdoms using your compass and landmarks in the world.

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Behind The Scenes: Origo's Plaza

The main city in Blades of Orterra is Origo. As one of the biggest, grandest cities in the game, we want to do it justice. We've been working on the main plaza, which is the spawn point and starting area of the game. We're showing you the statue that stands in the center of the plaza. It's a work in progress (no textures at the moment), but let us know what you think!

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That's it for this month. We should have a lot more to show off next time, and we're super excited to reveal more of what we're working on!

Thanks for reading, we'll see you in the next one!

Your Feedback in Action

Hello travelers!

It's been a while since we've spoken (well, two weeks ago we had an update), similar to the blog about scope. I want to have a more personal post going through the state of the project!

About two weeks ago, we released the Combat Demo in hopes that we'd receive feedback on the combat system and potentially gain a few new community members, which we did! We received a ton of feedback and bug reports, so we'll talk about how your feedback directly helps us and the final game.

Before I get into this post, I want to give a big shout-out to a few of our community members, taking the time to report bugs and share their thoughts on the game- keep being awesome! For those who still haven't tried the demo, feel free to try it out now on Steam, and send us your feedback. We read all of it. :)

Thanks to:
Owain, Marshal, SinisterHeroes, Ninja, wantedrednight, Paawan, Treyhax, Riddion, Thaum, NiceDerion

Feedback on Combat

We've learned a lot about the flaws in our Combat System, but we've also learned that people found it fun! Of course, with any game, there's room for improvement. A few things that we want to improve upon are below:

 

Blocking

It seems that the blocking system needs some adjusting, specifically the detection system and how/when it can be used. We plan on adjusting the blocking so it looks, functions, and feels better. We also plan on displaying the block radius on weapons, giving some more visual information for different weapon types (idea inspired by Warhammer: Vermintide 2).

Stances

We had a few people point out that some of the stances just aren't worth using, and the Fast/Quick stance seemed to reign supreme. We plan on buffing and adding more to the Hybrid and Strong stances, such as knock-back, causing more stamina drain for enemies who are hit while blocking, and more damage. We'll be researching how we can make each stance stand out in their own way.

Attack Speeds

Some attacks are either way too slow or way too fast. These are animation issues that we'll adjust overtime. We'll also improve the feel of attacks. A warhammer should give the impression of slow but fierce attacks, and a rapier or shortsword should be quick while still delivering some power. We'll work on this and make sure that it's improved for the full game!

Stamina System

The current stamina system is pretty awful. There are some moments where stamina doesn't regenerate, and it can be exploited. We plan on completely refactoring the stamina system and changing how stamina regenerates, so the bugs that you may encounter in the demo won't happen again. Note that in the demo, sprinting drains stamina very quickly, but we don't plan to keep this in the full game. Don't worry, the stamina system won't affect your travel in the world as much!

Animation Improvements

You may notice that the animations are jittery, especially after abilities and as you block, attack- well, basically everything. We're going to improve the animation system as much as we can, taking out those jittery moments and making it feel more... epic. We want your character to look like a badass, and that's something that we'll work on.

There's a lot more that we want to talk about, but it's best if we wait a few months once we're in full gear working on the full game. Until then, have a fantastic day, and see you in March's Developer Update!

February 2018 - Developer Update

Hey everyone, welcome to the Developer Update for February 2018!

Today we're going to talk about the Combat Demo release and our current plans. Let's get right into it!

Combat Demo Release

The Combat Demo is now public and you can download it on Steam!

Join our Discord server to find and connect with other players!

Current Plans

For the next two weeks we'll be taking feedback/bug reports and working on the Combat Demo. We'll be tracking all of the feedback and keeping records so we can utilize your feedback in the full game.

Feel free to talk about the game and post any feedback or bug reports on our Steam Discussion Hub.

Forum Closure

Sadly, due to inactivity, we've decided to discontinue the forum. Feel free to talk about the game on our Discord or Steam Discussion Hub!

Thanks for reading, we'll see you in the next one!

January 2018 - Developer Update

Hey everyone, welcome to the first Developer Update for 2018!

We're going to be talking about a few things today, including our recent post about scope, a new addition to the team, updates to the combat, and more.

There are lots of screenshots and gifs for you today, so let's get right into it!

Post about Scope

We recently made a post talking about the scope of the project, which we highly recommend that you check out here.

In short, it talks about how we're lowering scope in terms of how many Kingdoms we'll be releasing.

New Programmer

We finally have a new programmer- please welcome Hock to the team! He'll be helping us with Gameplay and AI, and we're super stoked to have him on board creating Blades!

New Additions to Combat

We're close to the release of the Combat Module. We're currently implementing the final mechanics and features. Recently we added in hit reactions, buffs like Fiery, and environment clashing.

Hit Reactions: a visual indicator to show when you get hit

"Fiery" buff: light your sword on fire for increased damage, lasts for 5 seconds

Environment clashing: when your weapon is too close to the surrounding environment, your character will recoil after hitting environmental objects

 

Physical Materials

This is a minor addition that will help us develop many other features. We've set up physical materials in the engine, which will help us set up which parts of the map are made of stone, wood, metal, etc.

Physical Materials will allow us to have different footstep sounds, environment clash sounds, and much more depending on the surface material.

New Main Menu

Our past Main Menu was a little boring, so we spiced it up with an all-new environment created specifically for the start screen.

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What could be lurking in this dungeon?

 

Chatbox

We finally got a chat box in the Combat Demo, so feel free to talk with your friends (or enemies) in-game.

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That's it for this month's devblog, thank you for all the continued support! Next month will be even more exciting!

Let's Talk About 'Scope'

Hey everyone, Crimson here, I'm gonna be talking about scope today, something that has been in the talks for the past few months within the team and something that's been on my mind, I want to be as transparent with the changes as possible and why we're conducting these changes.

Let's talk scope, it needs to be discussed so we're not promising content that we can't deliver.

What is Scope?

First off, you're probably wondering what we mean by scope; scope basically means the extent of a project, how much we want to create and add into the game, and ultimately how ambitious it is.

A far better description coming from a third-party site, credit to GameCareerGuide:

The scope of a project is its breadth and depth. What are you making, and how complex does it have to be to achieve what you want?
Scope is something to be decided, not something to be discovered post-facto. This may seem silly, but many projects roll forward without someone taking a step back and asking, "What does doing this really entail?" 
Scope, most simply put, is the understanding of how vision meets execution. 

As a small indie development team, we have a certain limit as to how far we can go with the project, sometimes we have to 'take a step back' and ask ourselves how much is too much. You may have seen that some certain texts on the website have changed, specifically the number of Kingdoms that we want (from 100 to dozens), now why did we do this?

Picture hundreds of worlds, all unique and different, full of life and adventure; that sounds and looks great in your head but how can that be executed by a small indie team? Well, it just can't. Unless of course we want to continue this project for the rest of our lives, until we're old and growing gray beards, which that won't be happening.

Many indie teams end up in this deep abyss called feature creep, something I've been through in the past and thankfully I've learned from. Now, let's be honest, we've seen it before and we see it time and time again, indie teams showing nothing yet promising so much, it really helps with marketing, gets the hype going, and gets the imagination pumping. But when will that game that promises so much release? Probably never, or it does and most of the promises were lies.

We've decided to lower the scope, we're still going to have a lot of the features that we're aiming to have, but the amount of Kingdoms had to change for our sanity, and so we're not over-promising to our community.

The New Scope

So here's the things we have planned for Early Access release and for official release, and possible things that might come through:

  • The goal of 100 Kingdoms (which was over-ambitious since the beginning) is now 10 Kingdoms for release
  • Early Access release will contain from 2-5 Kingdoms, this is essentially an Alpha release, giving you all the mechanics and features, but still working on content
  • Possibilities: DLCs and additional content after the 10 Kingdoms, we don't plan on stealing your money, if DLCs are released, they'll be full of content, at a super reasonable price

Covert Games Studio doesn't plan on working on Blades forever, in fact, our goal is to only work on it for 2-3 years, then move on to the next title; something that may be more exciting and potentially higher in scope, that's the future though, right now we're completely focused on Blades of Orterra!

TL;DR: We're lowering the scope from 100 Kingdoms to a dozen or so for final release.

See you guys in the Developer Update, thanks for all your support, love you guys!

- Crimson
Creative Director

December 2017 - Developer Update

Hey everyone, welcome to December’s Developer Update!

Sorry for the late update, but we're back! We've been mostly working on fixing bugs but we have a few things to show you! We look over the new 'Prepare for 2018' video, health bars, and improvements to the Hall of the King's lighting. Let's get right into it.

Prepare for 2018

We made this video showing off development highlights from throughout the past year. Check it out and see how much the project has progressed in 2017!

Improvements to Lighting

Lots of testing has shown that the Hall of the King was a bit too dark, so we've improved the lighting by adding in more chandeliers, adjusting the position of the sun, and more.

Health Bars

Initially, enemies did not have visible health bars, but after receiving feedback from our testers we added health bars and damage numbers. The visuals are being improved further, but we're liking how it looks so far. Let us know what you think.

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The New Forum

We finally have a community forum! You can talk with other fans about the project or about miscellaneous topics, and we'll be using the forum for bug reports, suggestions and ideas, and much more!

Register now, and prepare yourself for an upcoming giveaway!


That's it for December's Developer Update. Keep looking forward to the Combat Demo, because we're aiming to complete it soon!

November 2017 - Developer Update

Hey everyone, welcome to November's Developer Update!

This is one of our biggest developer updates ever. It includes progress on the worlds of Orterra, progress on our Combat system, and much more.

Buckle up, this is gonna be one hell of an adventure!

The Combat System

The most important aspect in Blades of Orterra is the combat, and that's exactly what we've been working on this month:

The combat in Blades of Orterra is inspired by Dark Souls, Mordhau, and a few other games and mods. As we develop the combat system we’re experimenting with different mechanics and ideas in order to make it as fun as possible.

Basic attacks can be comboed with other basic attacks for fast, repeated strikes- when basic attacks are chained together they are called Combo Attacks. A player that has a maximum of 2 Combo Attacks can perform a chain of 2 consecutive attacks. Players can also perform a basic attack and then quickly initiate a Sword Ability for higher damage. Sword Abilities count as Combo Attacks for chaining purposes.

Stances

Players can switch between 3 Stances at any time by pressing Q (keybinds can be changed in the Settings). Each stance has unique traits, but all weapons can be used with any of the 3 Stances.

The Stances and their traits are listed below:

Fast

  • Able to perform 2 or more Combo Attacks, smaller weapons have more attacks
  • Will be able to move around while attacking
  • Has the lowest stamina consumption, however also has the lowest initial damage output and lowest knockback of the stances

Hybrid

  • A middle-ground between the Strong and Fast stances
  • Able to perform 1 or more Combo Attacks depending on the weapon
  • Can move around during the first attack in a combo, but the second attack will restrict movement (where the player can't move freely during the attack and the character will move according to the attack's animation). However, the direction of the attack may be able to be influenced depending on the attack
  • More damage, stamina usage, and knockback than Fast stance
  • Slower weapon swing speed than Fast stance

Strong

  • Able to perform only 1 Combo Attack- can't execute combos of basic attacks
  • Allows charging-up of attacks for stronger hits by holding the attack key, charging can be cancelled at any time
  • Highest attack rating, any enemies hit are staggered and their attacks are cancelled
  • Uses the most stamina out of all 3 stances

 

Defending Against Attacks

There are three ways to defend against attacks. Each uses up stamina and has different effects:

  1. Dodging
  2. Blocking
  3. Parrying

Dodging grants a split-second of invincibility and moves your character, which can allow you to find a better strategic position. Blocking stops stamina regeneration, uses up stamina each time you're hit, and decreases your movement speed, but will completely defend against attacks. Parrying is trickier; it requires that you parry at the exact time that you're about to be hit. An unsuccessful parry will leave you unable to do anything for about a second, but a well-timed parry will immediately stagger the enemy, giving you time to make a counter attack or create some breathing room.

The First Kingdom

We've made some progress on the First Kingdom of Orterra. While we can't show the progress just yet, here's two small sneak-peeks of Concept Art from which our Kingdom is being built from:

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Loadout Selection

The Combat Module has a Loadout Selection screen that appears at the start of every round.

The player can choose from:

  • 3 Armour Types
  • 18 Different Weapons
  • 24 Sword Abilities
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WORK IN PROGRESS: Godsend Stones

Jacob Parise is another new artist on our team. He's on board helping out with the 3D side of the game. His work will be this month's WIP show-off, the Godsend Stones:

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The godsend system refers to a set of stones that grant the player a small passive bonus when activated. Only one of these stones can be activated at a time, and the buff received from activating these stones cannot be removed unless swapped with another stone’s bonus. Each Kingdom has a single stone that provides a unique benefit to the player. These stones are difficult to locate, but are typically discovered in a very scenic location.

Thanks for reading this month's developer update, see you in the next one!

October 2017 - Developer Update

Hey everyone, welcome to October's Developer Update!

We have quite a bit to show off for this month's update- all of the weapon models for the Combat Module are complete! We'll also be talking about the current development schedule for the Combat System. near the end of the update, we'll talk about our new Halloween-themed tavern, our tavern music, and the nearly finished Light Armour. Let's jump right into it.

The Combat Module's Weaponry

The Combat Module includes 18 different weapons, split up into 6 weapon types. Today we'll be showing you all of them!

Lances/Spears Halberd Guan Dao Shinwa Spear
Sword and Shield Round Shield Roman SQ Shield Kite Shield
Warhammers Lucerne Hammer Morning Star Dwarven Warhammer
Shortswords Cutlass Broadleaf Blade Elven Shortsword
Longswords Shamshir Katana Rapier Longsword
Greatswords Bastard Sword Claymore Steel Greatsword

These weapons will have different stats, including damage, range, and speed. We'll be balancing them throughout the Combat Module's lifetime. Note that all of these weapons are Tier 1, that means they're not meant to look fancy!

Combat System Refactoring

The most important part of the Combat Module is the actual combat system. Due to some complications in schedules, we’ll be cleaning up the combat system to make it easier to work on. Crimson will be streaming this process every weekday throughout November on his personal Twitch channel. Check it out and watch as the game develops!

Halloween Tavern

The Tavern was dressed up for Halloween this month! We showed it off during the latest Tavern Talk. This is the first arrangement of seasonal maps where the world changes dependent on the current day of the month. We’ll be looking into decorating the Starting City for festivities like Christmas and Halloween.

Tavern Music

We finally got some official music for our Tavern, created by our music composer, Stratosfyr. We’ll be looking at making more tracks for the Tavern in the future. Have a listen!

WORK IN PROGRESS: Light Armour

The Light Armour is about 90% complete. We just have a few little details that need to be adjusted but other than that, players can walk around in the Light Armour set! Next up is the Heavy Armour. We’re excited to get all of these in the game so you can play with them.

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That's it for this month! We hope you have a fantastic start to November, and Happy Halloween!