Roger Steel world: meet Christina


Time for another Roger Steel post! SOTW act 2 will come 99.99% tomorrow, meanwhile enjoy this new character art and introduction:

“Sidekicks are problematic characters. Too strong and they risk overshadowing the heroine or hero. Too weak, and you wonder why the protagonist bothers to have them tag along. (Multiply them by 8, and you might have some idea why Roger Steel is taking so long to develop!) Include in the ensemble, the eponymous Roger Steel who is the de facto head of the expedition (whether he remains the leader of the expedition is up to you to decide!), and you have a dense network of personal dynamics to juggle while attempting not to lose track of the story itself.

Personalities, skills, and worldviews all need to complement each other and hopefully add to the thematic resonance of the work itself. If we look around at our friends and lovers, we often find that they provide something we perceive as lacking in ourselves. They ‘complete us’, as the adage goes.

In Roger Steel and the Human Element, Ann and Arthur are overtaken by adventure whilst vacationing with their old friends, siblings Christina and Neville. As friends, the foursome know each other well even though they have spent a lot of time apart. Playing as Ann or Arthur, your relationship with your two friends will determine the whole mood of the story.

As anyone who has observed people for any length of time will attest, men and women relate to each other differently, no matter whether they are straight, gay, lesbian, or transgender. Equally, the relationships the player experiences with Christina and Neville will be different playing as Ann or Arthur, and straight, lesbian, or gay (or indeed entirely platonic). This is not a game where the only difference between the conversations you make as Ann or Arthur is the name accompanying the dialogue.

When writing Christina, I had to ensure that she is flexible enough to relate to realistically to all the dialogue and game choices available to the player, whilst retaining her own personality. I wanted her to have a quiet strength and dignity that would withstand the worst of Ann’s or Arthur’s behaviour whilst being open to developing a relationship with either of them in new and unexpected ways.

Christina has her own unique skills as a field medic and voice of reason and temperance. She is strong enough not to be overwhelmed by the hard-driving company she finds herself in, even though her self-confidence is not very deep. It takes some grit and determination to appear in public with her prosthetic leg, let alone adventure with it in places even the able-bodied might fear to go, and I think that the artist has captured a lot of Christina’s personality in his rendering.

I hope her open face and beautiful green eyes (not to mention that finely crafted mechanical leg!) will invite you to learn more about her as you explore the world of Roger Steel and unearth the dark secrets that lie therein.”

Posted in Roger Steel, roleplay games, sketches, sneak peek | 5 Comments

SOTW act 2 should come soon!

Riley showing of an unexpected six-pack (for a Mage at least!)

Yes I know that I announced several times an estimate release date for SOTW Act 2… but this time, I am fairly confident that could happen at mid-July :)

I finished coding the main plot until end of act 2 while I was waiting for Dingirra’s tileset art to be finished. Now is only missing the banners of the four families that run the town, but even if artist doesn’t make in time I’ll just use temporary placeholders.

There will probably be also some temporary skills icons, but the important is the gameplay, right?

So what is left to do? In practice I coded the plot like if was a straight linear story, but of course like in Act 1 you’ll be able to visit several places (even if for plot reasons this time will be more linear). I now need to “connect” all the scenes in a way that works with the tileset map and the passing of days, like with the first act, define maximum number of quests/location to give the bonuses, and so on.

Luckily this part is already big enough that I won’t need to add any extra sidequests myself. I might add some short ones, like “defeat this champion one on one” but nothing more, since is already big. Is probably the biggest part of the game, that’s why took me so long to code (even if 2 months is honestly not that much, considering I also had to release 4 new games on Steam!!).

Shea is starting to learn how it works.. even if Krimm doesn’t seem particularly touched!

During Act 2 there’ll also be the first “camp talks” with the romanceable characters, and the infamous bathhouse scene (will be also in Act3, just a different location).

So in summary, SOTW Act 2 could be out the week from 14 to 20 July, if nothing else happens (both in my private life or indie business side). I’ll update next Friday on the progresses made :)

Posted in development screenshot, roleplay games, Seasons Of The Wolf, sneak peek | 1 Comment

Roger Steel world: meet Ann


Above you see Ann in full color and some preliminary sketches done by the artist :) This week, a guest post by Roger Steel’s writer himself:

“Greetings, patient Roger Steel fans! Civilizations have fallen; continents have collided; the sun’s a little dimmer … or maybe it’s just my eyes. Yes, it’s been a while since my last appearance, I know, and for that I humbly apologize. But in the void, things are stirring. Progress is being made. The chronicling continues… but such is the nature of game development that, even as I write, Roger and the gang are being brought to life in another way – the artwork has begun!

It’s been a strange experience, the last few weeks, seeing characters that have only been resident in the musty confines of my imagination (believe me, there’s a lot of rubbish in there, and the light’s not too good…) for the last ‘few’ months being brought to life in another medium. A bit like the transition from book to film, seeing Ann emerge from words on a page to pixels into her full-colour glory has been an exercise in managing expectations. But the results are here, and they are great.

Ann is a complex character, and made more so by the need to have her develop over the course of her adventure with Roger Steel and the gang according to her player’s vision. (The same goes for Arthur, of course, but he will have his day in the sun another time.) Whether she develops as a tough-as-nails leader with a sarcastic streak or as an easy-going girl who is content to hang out as Roger Steel’s trusty lieutenant – whether you see Ann as your protégé or as your avatar – her portrait will have to resonate as true to your reading of her character.

In this respect, I think the artist has done a great job. The Ann he has brought to life shows just the right amount of resolution and vulnerability that players will recognize something of their Ann whatever particular conversational, skill, and plot choices they make when developing her character over the course of the adventure.

She is not the Ann that was in my head while writing her adventures, but in many ways it is a better realization of her than I could have hoped for. When I open her picture, she looks at me directly, her own woman: strong enough to tackle the perils that lie ahead, to open her heart to any of the people she will be traveling with, or simply get the job done without any romantic distractions at all – just rescue her idiot brother and hope none of this gets back to her parents before their return to India.

I hope you too, her potential player, will see aspects in her portrait of the character you envisage playing, and help define the memorable adventures you will experience together.”

I just want to add that, as you have noticed already, this time the characters use a “full rendering” technique. Something I’ve never tried in my other games before, but the results so far are great. Is time to experiment with new art styles, writing, and games! :) Stay tuned, the plan is to give a new character preview each week, though some week could talk also about SOTW and other stuff.

Posted in Roger Steel, roleplay games, sketches, sneak peek | 13 Comments