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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsZealot - Brutal action / adventure game, inspired by Slavic mythology!
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Author Topic: Zealot - Brutal action / adventure game, inspired by Slavic mythology!  (Read 5792 times)
GrayTree
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« on: May 10, 2019, 09:21:13 AM »


Hey everyone!

My name is João and I'm a game programmer at Prime Cut games, and with this first devlog of Zealot we aim to make a brief summary of our game and team, to give everyone reading some context for future posts. If you want to  know even more about us and our project, check out our website!


Who are we?

We are Prime Cut Games, a very young indie studio founded in 2018 by four people of which some could be considered cool. The idea to form a studio first came from our project lead Eric, who arranged for all of us to meet: Vasco, Sam and João (me). At the time, most of us were finishing various courses at different universities. Since we all shared a big love for indie games in general and wanted to try our hand at working in the games industry, we accepted Eric’s offer and opened our own office space here in Lisbon, Portugal.  

The first thing we did was brainstorm a lot and develop multiple demos to showcase different ideas. Eventually we settled on a theme and gameplay style that we were all excited about and development on Zealot finally started.


What is Zealot?



Zealot is a brutal action / adventure game set in a world inspired by Slavic culture in the middle ages, where most of the land is tribal in nature and the people are completely devoted to Pagan gods.



Our main character is a forgotten priest of a long abandoned church in the middle of the first and only Orthodox settlement in the area, ruined and sealed long ago by those who feared change. Not knowing his purpose, our recently awakened zealot will arm himself in the name of the one true God and destroy the shackles that bind the pagans to their false deities.


How does it play?



The game is a top down action game at its core, focused on correctly identifying enemy patterns of attack to engage in a successful fight. The element of adventure / exploration comes from the existence of what we are currently calling boss items, collectible tools that, as the name implies, drop from a boss and have a combat application, as well as granting the player access to areas previously inaccessible in the game world.



In summary, think of the gameplay as a mixture of Diablo-like combat, with Dark Souls enemy pattern recognition and Metroidvania style of exploration.

Player progression will be done through creating new weapons and upgrading them in a blacksmithing station, finding reusable active items throughout the land that spice up the combat and recovering lost prayer sheets that when prayed to grant passive buffs, sometimes with drawbacks associated. We will get more into each of these progression systems in future devlogs, so watch out for those.


How does it look?

About the visuals, very early on we knew that we wanted to employ an artstyle that would set Zealot apart from other games in the genre, which is where the idea of mixing 3D environments with 2D characters (similarly to Xenogears or Breath of Fire IV) came about.



Being a small team with people from both animation and modelling backgrounds, we combined our strengths and decided on a low-poly aesthetic mixed with retro inspired pixel-art - all placed within the environment of a modern game engine (Unity) allowing us to take full advantage of newer lighting and post-processing technologies - which gives the game a nostalgic yet refreshing look.




Every week we will post a devlog here and at our website, and we want as much feedback as you guys are willing to share about any and all aspects of what we have to show so far, so that Zealot can be constantly improved on based on those that enjoy it.

To keep updated, follow us on on our social medias: Twitter / Facebook.

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NovaSilisko
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2019, 09:34:59 AM »

Woah! I love the combination of sprites and 3D. It works so incredibly well together. It looks amazing.

And thank you for putting a big focus on enemy patterns - some games don't really pay attention to that, and it really hurts them for it.
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2019, 09:02:46 AM »

100% agree with Nova. The art style certainly stands out and looks so good. There's such a great mood, and I'm very interested in the theme.
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2019, 11:57:00 PM »

This looks awesome! Great work with the aesthetic and the animations and combat look very fluid. Can't wait to see more of this.
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2019, 01:12:02 AM »

Oh wow, that looks good!

Great to see some unusual artstyles being explored, even greater to see it succeed like this :O
Looking forward to more of this.

What is the scope of this project?
How long do you want the game to be?
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GrayTree
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2019, 08:47:23 AM »

Thank you everyone for the kind compliments!

To answer stuffedwombat, we are currently still undecided as to the overall length of the game, but in terms of our game's world, we are planning on dividing it into 6 areas, including the tutorial zone. These areas will each take a similar amount of time to complete and can be completed in any order.

We will go more into this in future devlogs, so watch out for those! Smiley
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GrayTree
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 11:32:15 AM »

Devlog 2 - The Priest

Hello everybody!

For this week's devlog we thought it would be interesting to talk a bit about Zealot’s protagonist and the inspirations behind his design.



Once we knew the narrative of the game would be about the confrontation between Slavic and Orthodox beliefs, we were sold on the idea of having a priest as the main character, it just seemed like the obvious decision. So that became the main influence for his design, specifically, Great Schema monks from the Russian Orthodox Church, which are members of the religious group who believe they’ve reached the highest level of spiritual excellence.



Given the 3D nature of the game, every design decision had to be made very carefully, since for every animation we would need to make 3 to 5 different directions (the same is true for every character in the game), so it was all about finding the sweet spot between a design detailed enough to be recognizable, yet economic enough as to not break our creative bank. As you can probably tell, we took some liberties regarding the vestments for the sake of readability, and gave him some pauldrons for a more “battle-ready” appearance.

Currently, the Zealot has 297 unique frames of animation and counting!



We hope you enjoyed this bit of insight about our character, let us know what your thoughts are about this devlog and stay tuned for future ones!

To keep updated, follow us on on our social medias: Twitter / Facebook.

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litHermit
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 11:39:16 AM »

Love the look and theme of this
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GrayTree
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2019, 11:42:01 AM »

Hello everyone!

Starting now we'll also share our #screenshotsaturday Gifs here, so here is today's one, teasing our main character's charged attack!



To keep updated, follow us on on our social medias: Twitter / Facebook.

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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2019, 12:47:46 PM »

looks really cool
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GrayTree
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2019, 10:15:19 AM »

Devlog 3 - The Heretics

Hey everyone!

On today’s devlog I’ll cover our main enemies for the tutorial zone, the decisions behind their design and tease a little of our future plans!



Thematically speaking, the demo’s enemies are candle wax covered humanoids, skin charred and feral minded. Their appearance is based on the idea that some humans of Zealot’s land, after seeing the power that the deities wield and the influence they hold over the populace, decided to live a life of fear and seclusion, purposely covering themselves in wax to ward out any outside interference with their minds. With time, the constant self induced paranoia of these hermits made them feral, turning them aggressive towards anyone who is unfortunate enough to be spotted. Some say that most of these hermits are descendants of the Orthodox colonists from centuries past.

In terms of gameplay, we wanted from the get go to have a balanced group of enemies in the demo, a cast diverse enough to challenge the player, especially when thrown together as groups. We decided on three very distinct types of enemy, each one introduced at a different point in the demo, allowing for a natural increase in combat difficulty, while also helping with learning enemy attack patterns and behavior.



For starters we made a basic type enemy, a fast unit capable of easily outrunning the player, that will swipe away when in range. The fodder type unit that isn’t that strong alone but considerably dangerous when grouped with others of its kind, or even with the other types of enemy below.



Next is the heavy type enemy, a slower unit featuring larger health values, and gifted with the capacity to charge at the player when in range, following up with a devastating combo when it successfully hits. When not charging, the heavy will also unleash periodic high damage swipes in close quarters.



Lastly we complimented the two melee types with a ranged enemy, slightly easier to kill than a basic one but capable of lighting on fire a flammable projectile and throwing it in an arc. The projectile itself explodes on contact , leaving a damaging trail of flames in the collision area that fades away after a while, encouraging the player to move around the battlefield.

Each of the attacks that any enemy performs has a predictable tell, allowing for an attentive player to counter or avoid damage by correctly identifying the attack animation.



As for the future, we are planning on having different enemy types for each area, with some more general ones being re-utilized mechanically, but with a visual overall, something like a basic tribal grunt whose look will change depending on what tribe he adheres to.

Let us know what you though of our enemies so far, and look forward to the next devlog!

To keep updated, follow us on on our social medias: Twitter / Facebook.

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GrayTree
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2019, 08:55:23 AM »

Hello everyone!

For this week's #screenshotsaturday, a teaser for our gate opening animation!



To keep updated, follow us on on our social medias: Twitter / Facebook.


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Prinsessa
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2019, 11:20:01 AM »

Fantastic art style and palette, and those candle people are an amazing concept and design!
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2019, 11:43:22 PM »

Mmm candle people! :D

But seriously, the palette and the atmosphere match well, seems like a fun game!
It WAS a while since I played Diablo...
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« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2019, 01:18:55 PM »

Looks great so far, any reason the team decided to go with 2D characters?

Great atmosphere so far... I hope the team will add a bit more atmosphere to the environments, like fog maybe? Great stuff!
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2019, 01:21:36 PM »

This one looks awesome, following!
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GrayTree
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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2019, 02:46:30 PM »

Looks great so far, any reason the team decided to go with 2D characters?

Great atmosphere so far... I hope the team will add a bit more atmosphere to the environments, like fog maybe? Great stuff!

We are glad that you, and everyone else who commented like what we have showed so far, thanks for the kind words of support!

The 2D characters mixed with the 3D environments was a concept that we all loved and wanted to try in a project. It also blended well with the different skill-sets that our team artists have, one focused on 3D modelling, and one on pixelart!

It's hard to notice due to GIF compression but we do have a fog effect running, although it could be improved upon for sure, thanks for the feedback!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2019, 03:04:08 PM by GrayTree » Logged

GrayTree
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« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2019, 09:21:35 AM »

Devlog 4 - The Cathedral

Hey people!

In this week’s menu, we’re going to be talking a bit about one of the biggest setpieces in Zealot’s world: the settlement’s cathedral.



This is the original concept piece that Vasco (our 2D artist) drew for the cathedral, which dates back to the very first month of Zealot’s development. Back then we weren’t sure what it’s purpose would be aside from being the place where our main character awakened, but since then it’s evolved into what is essentially a hub area for the game, a place the player will find themselves constantly returning to perform various upgrades, changing up their arsenal, and to pay respects to his god, of course.



In search of inspiration, the team organized a field-trip to the All Saints Russian Orthodox Church, which is found in our hometown of Lisbon, Portugal. When we arrived there the church was closed, but the church’s keeper was kind enough to let us in to take some reference pictures and ask some questions regarding the symbolism behind the imagery found within it. Overall it was a very informative and worth-while experience that further fueled our imagination to help create this very important landmark in the world of Zealot.



Knowing that this would be a reoccurring location, it was very important that we got the mood for the area just right. Since this was once a place of worship now desecrated by the Pagan counter offensive, there’s a deep seeded nostalgia that’s felt by the player character, and we wanted to transmit that same feeling to the player too!



Entering the cathedral, you come across a number of paintings depicting various saints and the great prophet himself. These serve the purpose of reminding the player of their predestined mission: to bring back the old glory and reinstate the one true faith. The four saints are Orthodox representations of the major four Pagan deities the player has to defeat in order to purify the land, can you guess who those might be?



We sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this week’s devlog and be sure to let us know how you felt about it and whatever feedback you have to give.

In another note the team wanted to give you our most sincere gratitude for helping us reach 500 followers on the Zealot Twitter! We couldn’t ever have imagined our first month of sharing our humble project could have had such a well-received turn out. So a big big thank you from everyone at Prime Cut for all the likes, retweets, and positive comments and feedback you’ve left us across Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and here on the TigSource Forums! We’ve got a lot more coming in the future, so stay tuned for that!

To keep updated, follow us on on our social medias: Twitter / Facebook.


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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2019, 03:28:51 AM »

Loving this so far :D
The candle goons appeal to the Games Workshop fan in me, and that's a pretty unique protagonist - will he get other weapons/equipment/robes/beard creams?
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GrayTree
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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2019, 05:54:28 AM »

Loving this so far :D
The candle goons appeal to the Games Workshop fan in me, and that's a pretty unique protagonist - will he get other weapons/equipment/robes/beard creams?
Glad you enjoy what we have shown so far, thanks!
Our stoic priest won’t be stylizing his beard anytime soon but he’ll get new weapon types, upgrade existing weaponry and lastly but not least he’ll find and equip various holy relics , items used in combat which we will get more into on future devlogs, so look forward to those!!
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