Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

 
Advanced search

1351145 Posts in 62260 Topics- by 53954 Members - Latest Member: jasminejessy

November 16, 2018, 06:43:47 AM

Need hosting? Check out Digital Ocean
(more details in this thread)
TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Alchemist of Calcutta - An in Depth Magic Simulator
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: The Alchemist of Calcutta - An in Depth Magic Simulator  (Read 2253 times)
RofB
Level 0
**


View Profile
« on: January 03, 2017, 12:41:26 PM »



5 Word Summary
Papers please, but with magic

What is this game?
Alchemy is a "magic simulator" set in colonial-era India.

What makes it special?
This is a game I have wanted to make for a very long time. The game is centred around an in depth, logical, magic system. One with rules and intricacies, which can only be discovered by the player fiddling around and experimenting. There will be hints, but no spellbooks. The onus is on the player to discover and delve into how deep the system is, and hopefully, experience the joy of what it would really be like to discover magic.

This is a game for all the people who hoped they'd be getting a letter from Hogwarts. And those who covertly attempt to subtly Wingardium Leviosa now and then.

How does it play?
The game is "desk based". In that you will primarily be staring at a desk for most of the game (scope is what has kept me from making this game for so long). Without spoiling too much: You the player have recently moved into a new neighbourhoob and setup as a general problem solver. Whether that be curing a cold, or stopping a butchers meat from rotting. Your abilities are unlikely to remain unnoticed by the powers that be however, and you will inevitably be drawn into the politics of colonial era India. For better or for worse.

In tandem with this, you will also be managing your household and it's expenses. You have to care for a newborn baby and you're success or failiure directly impacts it, and many other facets of the story. This overarching background is somewhat inspired by Papers please.

So how does the magic system work then?
I'll write a post in a day or two that goes into more depth. But briefly: Like many games bearing the "Alchemy" moniker, the magic system is based on combining things. Where this game is different is that the magic system has a lot of nuance, rules and considerations. I have worked very hard to turn it into a pseudo-science of it's own.

Anything else?
Every previous project has been hamstrung by the fact I am a solo hobbyist, and thus game scope must be reined in. This represents the first game I've worked on where I am truly very enthusiatic about it. This excites me.

Also, the screenshot at the top of the post is the game. I like how cluttered it looks, but I am weary of it looking too busy. Do you prefer it, or this slightly less messy desk: http://imgur.com/vuaWVWb

Feeback of any kind, is as always very welcome.

xxoxo
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 10:09:47 AM by RofB » Logged

wizered67
Level 1
*


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2017, 04:48:58 PM »

I like the concept a lot! The idea of discovering the intricacies of the magic system sounds really interesting and fun. The game mostly taking place at a desk sounds a bit limiting but from what I've seen I have confidence you can pull it off! Looking forward to seeing more!
Logged
jctwood
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2017, 05:01:08 PM »

This really appeals to me and I think it has a huge amount of potential as a narrative. The idea that you are helping but your own innate curiosity has an impact on others around you.
Logged

TheGoatee
Level 0
**



View Profile WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2017, 06:59:39 PM »

WOW. Definitely interested in this, love the concept. Followed!
Logged

Jacob Wilkins- Freelance Multimedia Composer (Masochisia, Harmonia Saga, Crimson Trigger, ARMSMasters Animated Series)
Site: http://goateecomp.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goateecomp
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/the-goatee-1
RofB
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2017, 08:44:12 AM »

Making Magic (13 Jan 2017)


The above GIF illustrates a basic spell and how magic works in this game. You draw a magic circle, and then seperate that circle into parts depending on how complex the spell is. The above example is the most simple class of spell, where A + B = C. The placed ingredients are combined to form a product in the center. In the case of the GIF above, gunpowder is being combined with heat, creating an explosion spell.


Interesting, but not really as complex and "in depth" as I claimed right? Rest assured there is alot of depth hiding under the surface. In the GIF explanation I mentioned that A + B = C, however, if you change the central rune in the spell, you can make it so that A - C = D. The above screenshot has heat (The metal wiry stuff) combining with water, however because the rune is subtractive, the heat is taken away from the water. Resulting in ice.

Having both additive and subtractive/inversion runes is very powerful and opens the door for all sorts of creative spells. I do not wish to spoil too many spell recipes, but I'll leave you with the question of what happens when you use an subtractive/inversion rune on an explosion?


Both of the above images/GIFs show the simplest class of spell, where by 2 ingredient are involved to make a product. This is not however the only way to do things. You can use more complex geometries like the triforce in the above screenshot to combine more ingredients, and even combine the products.



I like the concept a lot! The idea of discovering the intricacies of the magic system sounds really interesting and fun. The game mostly taking place at a desk sounds a bit limiting but from what I've seen I have confidence you can pull it off! Looking forward to seeing more!

Thanks alot for the kind words. The limitation to the desk is just to reduce scope. I have started creating many games, but finished very few. While I would like to take this magic system and incorporate it into an open world hogwartz-esque school of magic, I am but one man. In order to finish this game I need to rein in the vision, and keep the work load realistic.

This really appeals to me and I think it has a huge amount of potential as a narrative. The idea that you are helping but your own innate curiosity has an impact on others around you.

Thanks! The narrative will have both scripted and random events, and what spells you create in response to those events, and how well you create them, will effect how you progress through the story. There will be multiple endings, but I hope that secondary playthroughs will be more rewarding because you will, as a player, be more skilled at spellcrafting than your first time through.

You may, for example, only realise how to cure someone who has been poisoned halfway through your first playthrough. And armed with this knowledge, on your second playthrough you could save poor Jimmy Twoshoes, who regretably, on your first playthrough, you could not cure.

WOW. Definitely interested in this, love the concept. Followed!

Cheers! It means alot.
Logged

HOFFY
Level 0
***



View Profile WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2017, 01:12:00 PM »

This is really damn cool. It reminds me a little bit of MYST and how the game only offers you puzzle pieces to work with, but no oblique or obvious hints on how to put those things together.

I personally like the cluttered desk, because the objects on the desk actually factor into the gameplay.
Logged

I'll give your retro styled game an authentic chiptune soundtrack. Check out my music portfolio today.
odedro987
Level 0
**



View Profile
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 01:27:13 PM »

This looks awesome!
To be honest, I've always wanted to make again about alchemy, but never got the chance to.
The concept sounds really good, definitely something worth watching.
Logged

nu_muso
Level 1
*


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2017, 05:03:37 AM »

Different in a very good way. Keep going Toast Right
Logged
Kakapio
Level 0
***



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2017, 01:08:42 PM »

Whoa! This is really neat :D
Kinda reminds me of Doodle God, but cooler.
Logged

What will you make?

Twitter
Scarlet Tower DevLog
Connor
Level 8
***


Smooth talker, musician. Loves all things 70s.


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2017, 01:47:33 PM »

this seems legitimately awesome. im very interested ouo

edit: is it weird that this gives me a dust by notdoppler vibe? its got the whole put two things together and get a reaction thing too, but this seems like its on another level.
Logged

Firearrow games
www.firearrowgames.net

blitzkampfer:
https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=52009.msg1280646#msg1280646

too bad eggybooms ents are actually men in paper mache suits and they NEED to be agile
RofB
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2017, 05:24:15 PM »

Experimentation is Encouraged (12 Feb 2017)


One of the design problems i face in creating this game, is giving the player enough direction so that they can make progress, yet not giving enough direction so that there is still a real sense of discovery when the you find a new spell or mechanic.

In the early game of alchemy, you will have access to notes like the one pictured above. The mysterious and somewhat obtuse text is filled with all sorts of non-sensical jargon that gives the player just enough direction to get started making magic. The notes will however stop abruptly, and instead of functioning as an instructional text, become a journal for the alchemist's spellmaking progress.

This journal will be persistent between playthroughs, and in essence represents the players research into this frontier science: Magic.


As a game intended to be played many times, it is important that secondary playthroughs still give the player that sense of discovery felt in the initial playthrough. Subverting player expectations is key to this. The player will for example initially expect that all alchemy ingredients are accessed via the case to the right.

However, an astute alchemist may have noticed bugs occasionally scurrying across the desk. Ones that make such a satisfying sound when squished.


And perhaps a bored alchemist may even put these squished bugs into a magic circle... Just to see what happens.



A bit of a short devlog just to get back in the swing of things. Next time I'll have a write-up on the overarching game story, economy and how it all fits together.

This is really damn cool. It reminds me a little bit of MYST and how the game only offers you puzzle pieces to work with, but no oblique or obvious hints on how to put those things together.

I personally like the cluttered desk, because the objects on the desk actually factor into the gameplay.

Thanks! Your point about the clutter serving a purpose is spot-on, the moment I fill it with things you can't interact with is probably the moment I've taken the clutter too far.

This looks awesome!
To be honest, I've always wanted to make again about alchemy, but never got the chance to.
The concept sounds really good, definitely something worth watching.

Thanks alot, I'm glad the concept appeals to others as much as it does to me.

Different in a very good way. Keep going Toast Right

Cheers!   Toast Left

Whoa! This is really neat :D
Kinda reminds me of Doodle God, but cooler.

I played alot of those sorts of games in the past, so they're definitely an inspiration. I will try my best to make sure it's alot cooler  Wink

this seems legitimately awesome. im very interested ouo

edit: is it weird that this gives me a dust by notdoppler vibe? its got the whole put two things together and get a reaction thing too, but this seems like its on another level.

Hah! I'm surprised anyone picked up on that. I absolutely adore/adored falling sand games. Defo a big inspiration, in the initial prototype stage I was considering making the main gameplay loop falling sand style, but eventually decided against it as it was too hard to make look pretty and just a little too sandboxy.



Logged

Zireael
Level 4
****


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2017, 05:56:09 AM »

Is that Arabic writing I spy on the screenshots? Because sure as h**l isn't Hindi.
Logged
InterGalactic
Level 0
***


Indigo Game Dev


View Profile WWW
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2017, 08:19:58 AM »

Very cool indeed, I always wanted to make a game involving Sacred Geometry. Do you know much about that, and of Thoth, and crop circles?
Logged

RofB
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2017, 04:11:09 PM »

Feel and Form (25 Mar 2017)


I've remade and streamlined the spell process so that you actually physically pick up ingredients to use in spells. It's a small change that makes the game feel a whole lot more interactive.

Furthermore, it allows for greater opportunities for subverting player expectations. Before, ingredients were fairly strictly located in the case on the right. Now, with the change, most things on the desk can be picked up and therefore potentially be used in spells.

I also added a day/night progression. Primarily so I could have shadows, but more on that in a day or two.

A fairly short devlog this time, I'll have a much bigger one tomorrow or the day after. I just wanted to try to put things out more frequently.



Is that Arabic writing I spy on the screenshots? Because sure as h**l isn't Hindi.

Close! It's Urdu. Which is near enough identical to spoken Hindi, but written in arabic script.

Very cool indeed, I always wanted to make a game involving Sacred Geometry. Do you know much about that, and of Thoth, and crop circles?

Thanks alot!

Can't say I know much about it outside of it's use as a visual representation of magic in various media (which ofcourse was a big influence). Once I had decided I was going to use geometry to form the basis of the magic system, I deliberately decided not to google around for similar systems. I tend to get "too inspired", and just end up copying.

As for Thoth, I know very little apart from that he's the God of Writing. Crop circles I know nearly nothing about.

« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 10:04:31 AM by RofB » Logged

RofB
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2017, 11:08:36 AM »

Aesthetics and Identity (22 Jun 2017)

Please note GIF recorded on a potato, real game runs silky smooth.

Man it's been a while. Life got awfully busy as it tends to do, so I haven't had the chance (AKA been too lazy) to update this devlog. I have however still been working hard on this game, and I'm happy to say that I've got a pretty large amount done. Most of the central game systems are done:

  • Day-Night System
  • NPC System
  • Conversation System
  • Journal System
  • Economy System. Currently in progress of implementing this
  • Spell System. This will continue to evolve and change throughout development

As such, I'm finally at the stage where i can start just filling the game with a load of content. Development has got alot more fun. Now onto a few key developmentations i want to highlight:

Aesthetics

Hopefully the first thing you noticed is that the game looks a fair bit prettier now. The prettification was primarily done to solve a big problem that was plaguing my games design:

A huge issue with my "desk based" game, was that you can't see anything apart from the desk (shocker I know). This meant that any NPC's you encountered would all seem the same because you couldn't see them, and could only get an idea of their character purely based on text.

A related problem was that the desk felt completely isolated and unattached to the world. I wanted the player to feel they were in a shopfront in a living, vibrant Indian city. Instead the rigid desk felt exactly what it was: A contrived scene picked for the convenience of the game dev.

Now one of my inspirations: Papers please, solved this problem by separating the screens into separate views (a desk view, an NPC view and a world view). The NPC view allows the NPC's to be viewed by the player, and the world view shows your desk's context within the game world.

I did not want to copy this for 2 reasons. Firstly, I don't want to resemble or copy papers please to closely. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the game I envisioned was always "desk based". Adding other views to the game felt both inelegant, and not in keeping with the original design.

Thankfully, I think I solved my problems while retaining my games original vision by adding a day-night cycle, and more specifically: Adding shadows.

As you can see in the GIF above, the shadows allow the NPC's to be visually represented, and also gives the previously ethereal desk an anchored place within a wider world. It may seem like a small change but it has made things like characterisation and a sense of escapism so much eaiser to achieve. And it felt so good to solve a flaw in the games design that I have been aware of for so long, previously unable to figure and good way forward.

Identity (Feedback Pls)

So I have settled on a name for this game: The Alchemist of Calcutta

Any feedback on your gut reactions (good or bad) are very much appreciated. I've struggled to come up with a name that sums up the game nicely, and even now I am not sure about the current name.

Here are a few of my previous ideas for names:

  • Indo-Alchemy
  • The Occult Science
  • The Indian Occult
  • Kalaa Jadoo (Black Magic in hindi/urdu)

I settled on the current name because it fairly obviously tells a reader that the game is about magic/alchemy and takes place in India.



Well that's it for today. As always, feedback of any kind is welcome.

My next post will be within a week, as I have a whole lot of development saved up. I'm trying to style it as a developer log too, as opposed to a consumer centric blog which is what I was previously trying to do.


Logged

Kakapio
Level 0
***



View Profile
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2017, 12:22:43 PM »

The name is pretty good. Tell me if you need any testers Tongue
Logged

What will you make?

Twitter
Scarlet Tower DevLog
RofB
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2017, 05:08:20 AM »

The name is pretty good. Tell me if you need any testers Tongue

Will do Wink I'm aiming to get a demo out in about a month to drum up a bit of interest, I'll hit you up then if your still interested.
Logged

jctwood
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2017, 06:24:01 AM »

The idea of adding shadows is absolutely genius and you have executed it beautifully! I am so glad you are still working on this project, I really love it. The Alchemist of Calcutta is really nice, it is easy to search (Calcutta is hard to misspell) but original. I have to be honest I did not know Calcutta was in India so you have taught me something new, my memory for geographic names is terrible though.
Logged

RofB
Level 0
**


View Profile
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2017, 11:34:22 AM »

Fonts and Feeling Foriegn (30 Jun 2017)

One thing I really wanted to hammer home to the player was the diversity of culture and language in colonial era India. As the titular Alchemist of Calcutta, you will be servicing all who walk past you shop window, be they maharaja or merchant, prince or pauper, from the Punjab or from Portsmouth.

Representing the diversity of these clients would be very straight forward if I had a voice acting budget, as I could simply get voice actors to put on an accent, or even speak a different language to represent the NPC's.

However, having no VA budget means I'll have to try and be a little more clever if I want to give the clientelle of Calcutta some ethnic flavour. I've decided to do this by using a variet of fonts, to represent language, accent and sometimes even something more abstract like religion or gender.

A standard font that will represent the majority of Englishen in Calcutta.

A font intended to represent Urdu, which is aurally and phonetically nearly exactly the same as Hindi, but is based on Arabic script. Note how the text is written from right to left (Like Urdu/Arabic). Most muslim clients will speak in this font. (This font is very WIP, and will be changed)

This font is supposed to represent the common Hindi spoken by the lower classes. Perhaps a bit more country than the Hindi you'd find spoken in courts or by kings.

A more formal and posh version of Hindi. Perhaps if you're lucky enough to attract the patronage of a Maharaja, they would speak to you in this font.

I will also be playing with things like text speed. So if you have a particularly old client, they may speak excruciatingly slowly. I'm pretty much trying to do everything I can to make different characters feel like they have unique personalities.



The idea of adding shadows is absolutely genius and you have executed it beautifully! I am so glad you are still working on this project, I really love it. The Alchemist of Calcutta is really nice, it is easy to search (Calcutta is hard to misspell) but original. I have to be honest I did not know Calcutta was in India so you have taught me something new, my memory for geographic names is terrible though.

Thanks alot man! <3

Out of curiosity, where did you think Calcutta was? Did you still think it was in the wider Indian area? I was considering making the name "The Alchemist of Dehli", but it didn't seem to roll off the tongue as easily. Calcutta was also the capital of British India, so it somewhat fits with the narrative I'm going for (not that I'm trying to be strictly historically accurate).
Logged

jctwood
Level 10
*****



View Profile WWW
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2017, 12:41:56 PM »

The fonts representing various cultural backgrounds is wonderful. I'll be completely honest I thought Calcutta was somewhere in europe maybe near Germany. Again my knowledge of places and geography is terribly lacking. Looking forward to seeing more.
Logged

Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Theme orange-lt created by panic