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MikeVitt
11-21-2007, 08:30 PM
Hello,

I would like to present the demo of my RPG “Birth of Shadows.” It is currently in Beta, but the game is close to release. The demo should provide around 45 minutes of content. I have limited it to about half of the first board. You can also see a bit of the editor, but the file features are disabled.

Requirements:
Windows, 256 meg RAM, GeForce or better video card, DirectX 8.1 or higher
(You will need a more powerful video card for larger resolutions due to fill-rate)

Description:
Learn the dark arts of a Shadow Knight to rescue your fiancee. Discover the cause of a plague that is ravaging the local towns. Slay enemies and destroy strongholds using an innovative combat system. Advance your character by gaining prestige, magic gems, and experience versus different creature types. Create new boards using a variety of content, including the option to add your own quests. Play these boards alone, with friends over the Internet, and share them with others.

Demo (http://www.precisiongames.net/demo/BoS_Setup(demo).exe)
Features (http://www.precisiongames.net/birthofshadows)
Screenshots (http://www.precisiongames.net/birthofshadows/screenshots.html)
Web site (http://www.BirthOfShadows.com)

I am mainly looking for some feedback on performance issues, bugs, and gameplay. I especially want to hear about anything that is confusing or too difficult. If you have any questions please just ask. I hope you have some fun with the demo. Thanks for your time :)

http://www.precisiongames.net/images/screens696/BoS_game1.jpg

bignobody
11-22-2007, 08:25 AM
Sorry, I haven't actually tried it out, but I wanted to make a comment based on the screenshots.

The artwork is pretty good, but what is really killing the visuals for me is that you only seem to have one tile per terrain type. Even though the tiles blend together at the edges nicely, the repeating pattern is obvious. Also, forests made entirely of identical trees just doesn't look right. You should really have at least two additional variants per tile type.

Regards,

Ricardo C
11-22-2007, 10:13 AM
I played for a bit. My review's gonna be on the negative side, but hopefully constructive, as I DO like the game, or rather, the core of it:

- The writing sucks. Sorry, but it does. I like the plot. I like the idea of being essentially marooned with a stranger while my fiancé-with-a-secret goes missing. But the introductory text is too exposition-heavy, and the conversational, casual tone of the writing doesn't sell me on the medievalesque setting. And the plot's progression is uneven. All of a sudden the mysterious mage dubs me a "shadow knight" and tells me of how I will learn the dark arts, and my character seems to find all this perfectly dandy. Then, I start walking around, and I acquire abilities without having done anything. Later, after I finish the first quest, I'm told to go kill some demons like it's the most natural thing in the world. It feels like a mission-based game without level breaks.

- Also, it would be nice to be told what my abilities do. Sure, I know how to walk and interact with objects, but I see "Decay" appear on-screen and I have no clue how to use it till I've already been killed once.

- The graphics. The animation of the lead character is not exactly realistic. He looks like he's walking on a treadmill, or trying to ape MC Hammer, can't figure out which.

- The controls could stand to be simpler. Yeah, I know having to use both mouse buttons isn't exactly demanding, but I think you could manage with a single "action" button for everything.

I think the game has potential, and like I said earlier, the story sounds pretty cool. But the storytelling, and some of the visuals, need work. Good luck :)

MikeVitt
11-22-2007, 11:25 AM
Hello, thanks for the comments :)

bignobody: There's actually 10 variations per terrain type for 100 total. Plus, I have 127 pieces of scenery and some other art assets. I might not have chosen the best screenshots to show the variety. I might need to make my detail texture stand-out a bit more. It doesn't seem to show up as well for the swamp terrain. I can add some variation for the trees. I'm going to be tweaking a bunch of stuff in the next 2 weeks.

Ricardo C: I'll definitely work on the writing. I personally like the intro portion, but I can see how the transition in game needs improvement. The mission-based style is due to the training you receive at the begining of the game. The story is spread out over multiple NPCs (50+) after you gain some abilities. I purposely use a fast pace at the start to make sure players get the core abilities so they don't get bored.

I'll see if I can explain the first ability. The others are explained as part of the dialog. The first ability is a simple damage spell so I wasn't sure if I should explain it. I can see how it might be confusing if you aren't used to MMORPG-style combat (selecting target and using ability hotkey).

I appreciate the feedback. Thanks! :)

DayDream
11-22-2007, 12:24 PM
One Problem with the art imho is the fact that the ground tiles look like they were blurred beyond recognition with only the colour left but hardly and texture. Looking at some of the screenshots on your site the texture in those is out of proportion (eg. pebbles on the ground the size of big rocks).

For a game this size 100 tiles don't seem much.

Proportions and consistency in the art is another big issue - your art doesn't match as far as brightness, contrast and colourscheme goes. Everything on the screen has the same importance as far as brightness and "standing out from the background goes". It destroys any atmosphere you could create with a more balanced colouring/ lighting according to importance.

The next issue is the GUI - simplicity is nice but a little bit of art and atmosphere wouldn't hurt. A nice board as a background for the icons at the bottom of the screen for example instead of just a black box. Those buttons look like quick templates of some webdesign tool but do not add to the game.

It's a shame as I like RPGs and really love the work of Mark Jones - but those those screens are enough to turn me off downloading the game.

MikeVitt
11-22-2007, 09:26 PM
Hi DayDream, Thanks a lot for your comments.

I'll see if I can improve the terrain as you suggested. There are a few things that I can probably do to help. It's a bit hard for me to see the difference in brightness. I'm also not sure how I would go about making something more important as all scenery is potentially interactive by design.

I agree about the buttons and text box. I'm going to work on making that part of the GUI more interesting. I have a few things that I still want to add to it.

Thanks again :)

DayDream
11-23-2007, 09:05 PM
Let the images speak... :)

http://spriteattack.cator.de//mocks//BOS_titletest_1a.jpg

http://spriteattack.cator.de//mocks//BOS_tiletest1c.jpg

Escapee
11-24-2007, 08:21 AM
Haha ..:D Daydream's art is lot better .

MikeVitt
11-24-2007, 01:41 PM
DayDream's art is always amazing ;) He was kind enough to email me and I sent him the source assets, which were used to make the mock-up. I'm currently trying to incorporate some of it into my game. In particular, I'm hoping to add shadows to the scenery. Some of the lighting/shading effects will have to wait for the next game, though :)

Elder
11-25-2007, 10:02 AM
Your game cannot turn wrong with Daydream's art ;) Amazing, and a lot more promising.

Coyote
12-10-2007, 11:34 AM
Woops... cat got out of the bag a little, it looks like...

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