Dev Diary #15 - November's update

Hi, everyone Christmas are behind the door so we have some news and updates for you.

100+ members at Discord

Our discord channel broke first 100 of loyal members! As a thanks for your support we have some goodies for you. 5 large stickers and one black t-shirt (L size). If you will share our blog to any social media with hashtag #DEICIDES and share the link with us at our discord channel(social-posts section) you will have a chance to win one of the prices. Competition ends at Monday 3rd of December 10 am (London time).

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CHARACTERS

One of the first enemies -Security Guard- is in the game already and Mutated version follows straight after.

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ENVIRONMENT

First level to test our workflow is Asteroid Mine. Level and assets are still in progress but we want to share with you our direction and style.

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CODE IMPLEMENTATION

We are working towards basic combat experience. It involve few implementations which will help to get proper feel of it. So our coders created mouse-over outlines, floating damage system, flash on hit and basic enemy health bar. All is in stage of prototyping and not reflecting final look of implementation.

SCIENTIST CONCEPT

Another enemy in works is Scientist. Mutated version and necessary details in progress.

MUSIC

Last but not least our Sound designer put together couple of ideas and created longer combat track.

Hope you enjoyed our November’s update see you next month!

-LKR

Dev Diary #14 - Holidays Update

Hi, so after a couple of months of “Blog silence” (blame the holidays) we return with a large update. We have some characters, environments, code, design and even music sneak peaks for you.

Characters

Over the last couple of months we have been working on different variations of gear and the modifications of the Agility body-type.

EXO-SUIT - gear set for the agility body-type. One of the first pieces of equipment the player gets in the game, helping the player character to become an efficient contractor without any body modifications. Below you can see some examples of the Zbrush model, exo-suit in-game and also a running test.

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TECH MODIFIED

Another character piece we have been working on lately is the transformation of the AGILITY CHARACTER with Tech modifications. It's not fully implemented in-game yet but the images below are from low poly/ ingame version of that character.

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SECURITY GUARD

For our First enemy we started working on the Security guard. As this is the first enemy we thought we would go with something more generic and then push it more with mutations and more interesting attack mechanics. Below you can see the initial concept and zbrush sculpt of the Security guard.

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INVENTORY SYSTEM

It would not be an Action RPG without a proper Inventory system. As a starting point we created a white-boxed prototype of how it can all work and what sort of equipment type you can wear. Video below shows a few of the UX decisions we are working on to create a familiar and pleasant experience.

Environments

ASTEROID MINES - SPACE ELEVATOR

more progress done on the skybox especially on the space elevator for asteroid mines. Basic texturing and animations helping to set up the feel of the depth in the level nicely.

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Weapons

We also have a few more additions to our weapons design ready to be made. Namely PDW (one handed ranged weapon) , Double barrel shotgun and Energy rifle.

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Music

Last but not least below you can hear a few music tests and ideas for ambient sounds (safe zone) and Combat zones.

It has been a good few weeks and its great to see parts of the puzzle coming together.If you want to know more you can find us at our DISCORD CHANNEL.

See you next month with more updates. Thanks for reading

-LKR

Weekly Dev Diary #11 - System Design Introduction

Hi,

I am the gameplay designer at Hardwired. You can find me at our discord channel as Little_bastard22. Before I joined Hardwired as a system designer, the team had four things:

- really compelling high concept

- bunch of great ideas

- ballsy, but experienced team

- and they definitely knew what they wanted to make - an ARPG.

Good enough for me. I was in.

Going from High Concept to Ideas to Systems

System design is a curious work. You are basically trying to distill fun out of game mechanics and export it into boring spreadsheets, formulas and game logic, still respecting the game’s high concept and genre conventions.

 

Thematically, both cyberpunk and biopunk deal with the questions of identity, usually through the lens of body modifications. Bodymods tend to be rather extreme, completely changing person’s abilities, their appearance and sometimes even psychology and cognition.

 

We were quick to realize that body modifications should be our core fantasy. Cyberpunk (and biopunk alike) is when your body becomes the tool of your trade, whatever your trade happens to be. If you are a killer, your body becomes a weapon. In terms of ARPG vocabulary, the boundary between character and inventory becomes blurry.

 

To spare you all the genre theory and philosophical definitions, I will try to illustrate the idea with the language of every ARPG - the base statistics. We are taking a slightly different approach on them, but keeping it intuitive, quick to understand and somehow familiar.

 

We all know that there are usually three base stats - Strength (STR), Agility(AGI) and Intelligence (INT). Every now and then, they tend to go by slightly different names, but, essentially, they are the same - they describe your character’s physical traits such as strength, movement speed/reflexes and cognitive performance.

 

One of the ideas the team had was something called “grid system”. Every character, whether tech or bio, would have a statistic derived from the base stat, that would limit the equipment they could handle. You can mount a gatling gun to your wrist, but what good does it serve, if you don’t have enough juice to spin it? So there were certain requirements for your “power grid”, which in turn would be derived from your STR. For other types of equipment (say rigger’s gear), you would use different grid (e.g. INT-based ”processing power” grid), or some kind of improved reflexes for handling fast AGI-based equipment). 

There are no restrictions for any character bodytype to choose their equipment as long as you will support it with right grid booster modules, which will allow you to pick your play style.

WIP version of our inventory. Note the grid booster slots above the character.

WIP version of our inventory. Note the grid booster slots above the character.

This sparked an interesting question - can we do without derivative statistics and create a reasonably flexible system that would also make sense within our world and support our core fantasy? (Spoiler alert: Yes, we can.)

 

So I fired up Excel and quickly did some preliminary calculations - I knew that there will be three booster slots for each character. I also knew we would like to follow the classic ARPG progression - you gradually gain points to your base attributes via levelling. Given our three basic body types STR, INT, AGI), I wanted to give them a head start for their respective stats, but still wanted to provide enough variability to allow for hybrid builds.

NUMBERS GAME

So I started playing around with the numbers. First I took into the account our level cap and tried to do make a linear progression. I differentiated the progression for respective body types (slowed down and capped stats outside of the body type).

 

Pure progression, no skill points or boosters added.

Pure progression, no skill points or boosters added.

I added the boosters using similar linear progression and... It didn't work. Something was missing. There was no control over the progression by the player, and certainly no investment into the attributes.


Knowing that I needed to limit the growth of the attributes, give players some agency over their base stat and encourage them to dedicate to at least one of them, I started playing with the idea of effectivity. Regardless if biological or technological, things just don’t convert 100% of energy into other type of energy. But the effectivity can be improved.

 

So, for each attribute, I plugged in an effectivity variable into my formulas and started adding them into the (then non-existent) passive skill tree. It worked! Players can now start at say 50% effectivity for their grid and level up to 90+ percent. I created a few example builds and all of them made sense in a way! Of course, there are sacrifices to be made when playing hybrid builds, but regarding equip requirements, they should be more than playable.

You can become anything you want to, it will just cost you a few skill points & booster slots.

You can become anything you want to, it will just cost you a few skill points & booster slots.

Now we have a working system of base attributes, that ticks all the boxes - it gives agency to the player, scales well with level progression, feels familiar yet seems original and supports the core fantasy. It works on paper and I really hope it will work in the game!

 

Let’s just end this on a high note. See you next time, exploring another of our core systems!

 

- Little_bastard22

 

Weekly Dev Diary #7 - Brief History

Hello everyone! Thanks for your new or continued interest in our game! Today I would like to share a brief history of what happened to our world to make it the world we have in the game. You can find answers to how the whole biological and technical enhancements duo came to be and how it is not really a common thing to have a machinegun or a bone scythe replacing your hand. I hope you enjoy this post.

 

Path to singularity

2025.11

Mars base Established.

2027.3

Several investigations uncover clinics generically enhancing humans. Governmental regulators revoke their licenses and several individuals are imprisoned. Demand for enhancements rises in spite of authorities.

2029.7

First universal neural interface is demonstrated. Humans and machines can now be combined in a miriade of ways. Perfect prostethics are just the first step.

2030.1

Space exploration and AI research are two main scientific fields, attracting the brightest minds globally. Cheap space travel and universal, human-like AI have taken the forefront of research instead of curing diseases and renewable energy.

Dragon rises

2032.2

China Builds the first true Super AI, the Jade Dragon.

2032.4

A plethora of new policies and law are passed every month from the Party. Society is reshaped according to new ideas coming from Jade Dragon.

2035.5

China proudly presents a completely new generation of unmanned military vehicles with unprecedented effectivity, triggering global arms race.

2036.1

Russia gives away 30% of its territory to China in an unprecedented international deal. Both sides present this deal as very beneficial, but only speculations remain as to how exactly Russia benefited.

2037.4

Leaked footage allegedly shows a Russian Specnaz soldier with combat prosthetics. Discussions about the ethics of both cybernetical and biological enhancements of human beings are held at UN with no clear outcome.

2037.8

New Israeli High Precision Railgun technology makes ballistic missiles and all but low flying military aircraft obsole. New weapons are able to hit ICBM on re-entry with 99.9999% reliability.

2038.3

Protests start in China against another wave of new laws promoting a new education system. Western observers call new the education techniques pure and very advanced brainwashing.

2038.4

Protests turn into riots after authorities start taking away children from families of protesters on basis on "an upbringing harmful to the child". When drones are used to subdue the populace, conflict turns into full civil war.

2038.5

After rumors of full garrisons being killed by autonomous war-machines spread, the majority of Chinese military personnel join the rebels in the civil war.

2038.9

Cyberspace is swept by a crippling wave of attacks on banks and technology companies. Attacks are untraceable, but there is only one suspect, the Jade Dragon.

Human vs. Machine

2039.1

Chinese Exile government asks international community for help in fight with the Jade Dragon, which took control of the more advanced part of the armed forces and most of production facilities.

2039.2

World War III starts when Jade Dragon invades Russia to secure more resources. NATO quickly sends a response force to stop the expansion of AI forces into the South China sea and South Korea. Japan joins the war.

2040.5

Taiwan falls and Japan is invaded. USA loses two carrier groups to smart missiles and railgun fire. Reinforcements form Europe arrive to Russia. AI forces held on the line of Ural mountains. India and Pakistan join the war.

2041.3

Jade Dragon is contained momentarily at a great cost. Military casualties are counted in millions already, civilian estimated to be hundreds of millions on lost territories, as AI forces start to exterminate the populace. USA pushes for development and deployment of biologically enhanced troops as a counter to AI forces.

2041.6

UN assembly starts Total War with Jade Dragon. No resource is to be spared, as the fight is now for humanity's survival. USA demonstrates several bio upgrade packages for super-solider programs. Results are extremely potent, but no data on long-term effects are yet available. Volunteer units of enhanced soldiers are established in all armies.

2041.8

Operation Killswitch is started. All countries contribute to the war effort and the lines are broken through and AI is pushed back by the sheer number advantage of the coalition. Biologically enhanced soldiers are the spearhead of the offensive. They are nearly impossible to kill while their fast metabolisms result in energy to burn. Otherwise fatal wounds are healed in seconds.

2043.11

Jade Dragon is defeated at massive cost. Most of accessible resources were depleted. 1,7 billion people perished. New Chinese Republic is established with help of the Allies. Russian-Chinese border is put back in the state it was in 2035.

2044.2

A new ban on AI development is established and Artificial Intelligence Regulation Organisation is established with global jurisdiction. An era of de facto technological prohibition comes and every technology leading to more autonomous machines is heavily regulated. Only the largest corporations can meet safety criteria for machine learning and AI research.

New era of humanity

2044.3

With available resources dwindling and AI research hampered by regulation, companies and investors turn to Space Exploration.

2044.9

A huge archive with footage of some of the enhanced soldiers mutating uncontrollably when in contact with certain chemicals or environments is leaked. It is also revealed that enhanced bodies will metabolize themselves when energy reserves are depleted.

2044.12

A world wide ban on both cybernetic and biological enhancements beyond "normal human functions" is imposed. Research is continued for military purposes, but testing on human subjects is forbidden.

2045.6

The third Space Race begins. This time for establishing profitable mining operation in the Belts.

2046.12

China and Russia form first Mega Consortium, the Ruhan Corporation, more than 70 companies were melted into one big entity having all the resources and technology necessary to compete for the riches of the Solar system.

2047.5

With Ruhan gaining lead, three more Consortiums follow. The Euro-Indian Consortium, or EIC. The Pan-american Union, consolidating all countries of the Americas and the Pacific Space-faring Corporation, uniting African and Pacific countries including Australia, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.

2050.1

All hopes now point to the sky. Consortiums hold all the cards and people working for them gain special social status. All nonrealted industries are limited to minimum, poverty soars as there is no need for an extensive work force, and most resources are prohibitively expensive.

2050.7

A Mars base - named Utopia because of the location where it was founded - has grown rapidly with an influx of rich and talented people escaping from Earth's surface and orbit. Local government redefines what "normal human functions" means, effectively lifting the ban on bio and cyber enhancements on the surface of the Red planet.

2052.8

Multiple incidents of violent crimes against visually enhanced people are committed on Mars. Fear of inferiority of natural humans sparks wave of hatred that limits voluntary enhancements to minimum.

2054.12

A massive breakthrough in ion engine construction brings unparalleled effectivity to space travel. Engines can be in full burn for months with just a few kilograms of actual solid fuel.

2057.3

Mission Providence of Pan-american Union successfully reaches the asteroid belts and establishes the first mining base, New Yukon. EIC's Ganesha Base and PSC Mariana Outpost were established later the same year.

2058.9

After a failed first attempt, Ruhan's mission to the belts succeeds and The Emperor's Stand is established.

2060.1

More than five million workers are moved to the belts in a massive investment race that splits the whole belt into four segments by Consortium influence. Most of the mined resources are poured into local mining infrastructure and primary resource processing facilities.

The Last World War

2063.4

The Uprising starts. Peaceful protests on resource distribution disparity end with shooting into protesters. 5 year old Jemal Musri is killed. A recording of his death sparks a global riot. All movable assets are transported to orbit. There are thousands of dead and millions wounded just the first week.

2064.6

What was left of national states crumble in a global civil war. Citizens against Mega Consortiums.

2064.11

With extraterrestrial populations still having very low natality because of people's focus on careers or living luxurious life, and 93% of all humans still living on Earth's surface, the Consortiums still need the surface population to expand workforce. AI is still considered too much of risk to be applied on larger scale.

2064.12

Reconciliation program is started. It is promised, that 25% of belts resources will be delivered to Earth's surface to provide food, medical care and education to the population. In return consortiums can still recruit the brightest that Earth can offer.

2068.2

The Reconciliation program has reached 97% of the Earth's population, the dream for most of people is to become a spacer. Elite that is assigned to a job in space, that pays enough to pull whole family out of poverty.

2068.3

Talents are picked at the age of 14 and put into Space Academies, where they spend next 5 years in intensive and expensive preparation for their future job.

2068.8

Workers start at age of 21 with a considerable debt for the training provided that takes 15 years on average to repay. If a worker is deemed no longer suitable for the position as a result of his own actions before repaying, the remainder debt is transferred to the family. In this form, slavery re-emerges.

2073.5

The term Starcrook is coined for Spacers who lost their contracts with the Consortiums. This breed of mercenaries ranging in profession from security guards, through to pilots, medics to scientists is used for unofficial consortium business to keep plausible deniability.

2079.8

Bases have been established on most usable bodies in all corners of the Solar system, settlements, security outposts along the common routes and remote science outpost studing various phenomena.

2081.7

An unmarked research base is located by a surveyor craft at the fringe of Ruhan space. Investigation finds marks of combat and some evidence pointing at computer, possibly illegal AI research conducted there. No proof pointing to any particular consortium is presented.

 

See you next time,

-Vaclav

WEEKLY DEV DIARY #2 - TECH vs. BIO

Hi my name is Lukas Kraina(discord name LKR) and I am art director behind Deicides. First off all I would like to thank everyone who subscribed to our blog. Its nice to see people showing interest in our dream project. I would like to show you part of our character creation process which will hugely influence your experience as a player.

When you start your journey as a private contractor you will soon find out that the human body has its limitations, so after a while you will face a life changing decision...

BIO or TECH 

Choose your path wisely, because there is no way back. Once you alter you genes or start replacing your nerve system with synthetic neural network you have to live or die with that decision. 

Agility body type comparison - Basic , exoskeleton , tech and bio version.  equipment not included.

BIO

DNA alterations and mods are as common as plastic surgery; there is nothing that money cannot buy. Bio mods can change your body completely - from hardened bones, a second heart, faster metabolism or even a bone scythe extending from your forearm. Human may become something else, but at a cost. The side effects are unknown; your body will refuse any common technologies. 

TECH

Installing a neural network is just the first step in transforming your body in to a fully synthetic killing machine. If you desire robotic arms that can punch through concrete walls, neuro-links allowing them to remote control several drones at one time, eye-nerve port for your sniper rifle or just stilts like leg for speed and long jumps you will find right modification which will suit your style.

 

If you have any suggestions for nice bio or tech mods feel free to post it in comments or on our Discord channel

 

Thanks! LKR. 

 

Weekly Dev diary #1 - Deicides

Hi,

My name is Vaclav and I am a designer/writer at Hardwired. I am about to share a short story with you that should get you familiar with the world we are placing our game, Deicides in.

 

Outer Shanghai, 2097.

          Gina was sitting in the hallway, back to the wall with her body still, but her mind racing. She knew that her life support was not compromised, but still, looking at the charred remains near the opposite wall, she could swear she smelled the burning flesh.

          She was considering her options. Her order said, this was pharmaceutical facility, C grade, party drugs. But the order was usually overly optimistic about the danger, so the forward payment can be smaller. It was this forgiveness and permission wise thing, most probably. Or just greed.
          This looked at least B grade, performance enhancers, military stims or something. She would know when she gets lower, to the actual labs. No reason to complain so far, all the equipment for salvage was definitely worth the risk.
She liked this part of the deal. Since this facility officially does not exist, this lab equipment does not exist either. And so there is no offence happening, if it appears on black market for a reasonable price. She kept her Mule Drone busy moving everything worth the money back to her ship.
          The other part was much worse, and was weighing heavy on her. Those people here, they also don’t exist. Nobody knows they were here. No one will know what happened to them. In fact, she does not exist either. But these disasters were her livelihood now. She was a special kind of scavenger and cleaner.
          When corporation has a black project that goes wrong, they don’t send their security team, in dropships with their logo on it to clean up. They send one of the specialized mercenaries. They have many names, Yellow Vultures, being equally mine canaries and carrion birds, Cleaners, for taking care of the mess or, if it was one of the god projects, Godslayers.
          She hoped so much this was not one of these. She was not really on the level to do a deicide. When people dabble with things they don’t understand enough, driven by short term gain and create something that is much more powerful than their underfunded security estimated, results are always bad. In this respect, science was coming closer to black magic from the legends. But these titans, gods and demons were made from carbon, titanium alloys or source codes.
          Rogue super AI, super soldier program, super killer drones, super plague. There is still to be one of these ‘super’ things to be grateful to their creators.
But maybe it is just professional bias. Maybe there are many successful god projects. Just people like her are never called if it all goes as planned.

          Whir of an electric motor signaled that the security override worked. Elevator was moving. She jumped to her feet in one fluid motion. Her mechanical arms moving like her own. She picked up the flamethrower and walked to the elevator door.

          Last glance at the blackened remains.She could still back out. I bet this guy didn’t think it was worth it.

“Hope it will be for me.”