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The site is in Japanese, but the program was in English for me.
During the GDC16 80.lv was fortunate enough to meet with Liminal Games. It’s a small indie studio, which is currently working on The Memory of Eldurim – an epic fantasy action RPG powered by Cryengine. In our interview they talked about the production of the game, different tools and some of the design decisions.
Liminal Games is a really small studio, only 3 of us working full time. Some of us grew up together and have been lifelong friends. We are from a rural town in the western part of the United States. We loved playing video games as kids and have always wanted to make games together.
The Memory of Eldurim
Our current project is called The Memory of Eldurim. It is a game that takes place in a fantasy world that we have been developing for a long time. The idea for the game started when we were still in school. It is our take on being an open world game like Skyrim, but with a fighting system closer to Dark Souls.
It has been difficult getting things off the ground. We have had to work really hard and learn a lot. When you have a small team everyone involved has to perform many roles. We try to help each other as much as possible. Most of all we just want to make the game the best it can be. In the future we hope to extend our team.
Building a rich environment is a monumental task. It requires good foliage, good meshes, and good design. We are aiming to make the environment large and dramatic. Most pieces get modeled in ZBrush. It helps us get a really high detail model for baking and a low poly game ready mesh. We have several different options for texturing, we use ZBrush Spotlight, Substance Painter, and always tweak it in Photoshop. Cryengine has a good renderer and material editor so we finalize there to make it look perfect in the game.
There are several things to consider when doing lighting. One of Cryengine’s greatest strengths is the lighting system. It allows for real time global illumination without the need for light maps or baking lighting. They also provide helper lights and environment probes which can really speed up getting your light just right in a scene. It’s important to have a large light range with really bright lights, and very dark areas illuminated by torches and magic.
When we began there was no question that Cryengine was the most powerful and most capable engine available. It remains an extremely powerful tool that excels in realistic graphics and fantastic environment creation. Initially the Cryengine was made for 1st person Sci-Fi FPS games so we’ve done extensive rebuilding to get it to be the 3rd person melee/magic combat system that you see now.
Building the Environments
We are always on the lookout for fantastic environment scenes to use as inspiration and reference images. We love utilizing vertical space, and allowing the player to climb great heights and then look down and see how far they’ve come. We build our mountains out of smaller meshes and create custom meshes that allow us to get the perfect look in our world.
A Dark Souls style combat system is all about good quality animations. Each attack essentially has 3 phases, the wind up phase — this broadcasts that the attack is coming, the attack phase — this is usually very, very fast and snappy, and the cool-down phase — this is the follow through of the weapon, on larger weapons it can last a long time, making the player have to pay a price for swinging such a powerful weapon. During each animation you trigger events that tell the player when he is allowed to roll out of the attack, or when his attack can be parried, and so forth.
The biggest challenge we’ve had is getting exposure to our project, and learning the things we’ve needed to know about making the game. It’s been hard but we’ve met some amazing people along the way and they’ve helped us out.
To smaller teams that want to work on an ambitious project I would say to work on getting small parts completely done, and build those small parts into bigger ones. If you want to build an RPG then be patient and realize that RPG fans have high standards and can be critical of your game because they expect the best experience you can offer. Have fun, and make the game you will enjoy to play yourself.