Living In A Material World: Sui Generis

By Adam Smith on November 18th, 2013 at 9:10 am.

Sui Generis squeaked past the target of its £150,000 Kickstarter campaign and the latest pre-alpha video makes me extremely happy that it did. For those who don’t remember, it’s an open world fantasy RPG with ludicrously involved physical interactions and a new video shows impressive combat, weapons and shields clashing believably, attractively desolate landscapes and a player character tripping over a chair. Momentum causes her to tumble and after dusting herself down, she picks the offending furniture up and places it under the table. All is as it should be. I haven’t been so entertained by a comedic interaction with a chair since my last Harold Lloyd binge, or that one scene in The Big Lebowski. Watch in high definition to see the wonderful collision detection at work during combat.

It reminds me of nothing more than Ultima VII, which similarly existed in a world constructed of interactive components rather than on top of a painted background. On this evidence, this is a world that I want to engage with, even if I fear that I’d spend most of my time picking fights with the locals just to die by their swords.

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53 Comments »

  1. Shade399 says:

    Is it just me, or has the video phased out of this plane of existence?

  2. spacedyemeerkat says:

    Here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuOzmyED5qA&hd=1

    And here’s the downloadable version: http://sb1.baremettle.com/SuiGenerisPAG.mp4

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    c-Row says:

    That video already has a better story than DA2.

  4. Shade399 says:

    That was some of the best digital dueling I’ve ever seen. My only concern is how it will hold up when fighting multiple opponents. The multi-purpose blink spell was a good sign too. If all the spells are as dynamic as that, rather than the Elder Scrolls-esque “this is an orange projectile, this is a blue projectile” system, I’ll be impressed. There was a disguise mechanic in there too, which is neat. I really hope they limit the telekinesis thing though, otherwise that’d be a bit silly.

    • VCepesh says:

      Well, the combat was mostly wild flailing (and a very slow and ponderous one at that, as if the weapons weighted 10-15 kilos and were silly top-heavy) and there pitifully were few thrusts. It still looks potentially very nice. They have quite a bit of time to work on it.

      • El Huervo says:

        A sword like that wheighs easily around 30kg. And the Bardisch probably the same try swinging that around like a Raphael!

        It looks really entising though! Maybe a little bit wierd with the running but Jacket was running pretty wierd sometimes as well so I guess I shouldnt mind but I cant help meself when theres threedees and all!

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          RedViv says:

          That’s a rather common misconception there. Zweihander swords for battle would weigh maybe, at the most, 3kg or 6-7 pounds. The 10-15 pound swords that one might find historically produced are post-medieval parade swords.

          Exceptions of course being made for swords of legend that may or may not have seen use for really big (literally) warriors. The sword ascribed to Frisian hero Big Pier for example is far larger and heavier than most of its era.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            And those zweihanders were used mostly for disrupting cavalry, almost like spears. Not that the weight makes that much of a difference, swinging even a fencing epee around is incredibly hard work. Doing the same with a proper sword without being unbalanced would be one hell of a workput.

        • b0rsuk says:

          A Renessaince two-handed sword weighted about 2.5 kg.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Doesn’t look like wild flailing to me. You’d still have to time your movements very carefully so you don’t get caught in an enemy’s swing, and different weapons probably have different swing speeds and reaches, so there could be plenty of complexity to it.

    • trooperwally says:

      I think they need to make the characters look less drunk. I know swords etc. are heavy but when we can have the immersion breakingness of a polearm strike resulting in ‘oof’ rather than RIP we’re not really being very realistic. So I think they could trade some physics realism for making them look a little more sober.

      But overall it’s looking impressive. They said in the KS that the worlds would be procedurally generated. If the stuff in the video was proc gen then I’m very impressed (well, I’m still impressed if it was designed). The great big question which I think they still haven’t answered from the KS campaign is ‘how will this be any different to the masses of credible RPGs out there?’. I don’t think physics is a sufficient answer, it needs to have a good story/setting/lore which at the moment we haven’t had any real info on.

      • Derppy says:

        The “drunk” look is a tough issue to tackle with dynamic motion synthesis.

        Most games just have canned animations that are blended together. It’s relatively easy to make movement look realistic when you can define the exact place where each part of the body should be at any given time, or just use a motion capture suit and record it.

        Synthesized motion is vastly more complex. Only a few games attempt it, most notably the games using NaturalMotion’s Euphoria engine. It’s extremely expensive technology, because it’s so ridiculously difficult there’s really no competition for them.

        Yet still, even in the AAA games the Euphoria engine only kicks in when the characters receive impacts or are drunk, for the exact reason that creating fast algorithms to animate characters in a natural way is so hard.

        I’m more than impressed by how far they’ve taken it with Sui Generis and that they’ve even attempted developing their own DMS. It looks a little goofy, but it’s still better than any I’ve ever seen. Hopefully they’ll spend time tweaking it and we’ll see more dynamic animation in the future.

        • trooperwally says:

          Thanks for the explanation, I learnt some interesting stuff there. Makes me think that even if this game releases with these animations it might actually be doing some real good in motivating the industry to try something new.

      • b0rsuk says:

        Check out Sumotori Dreams. It uses a similar technique, but looks much worse – the wrestlers look drunk out of their minds. Sui Generis looks VERY good by comparison.

        The only thing that genuinely bothers me is the running animation – feet are a bit out of sync with the ground.

  5. ViktorBerg says:

    Why’d he turn the character around when changing the shirt? Full body modelling, I bet.

    • Shade399 says:

      Yep. You can see it on the guard’s corpse he leaves behind.
      Behind. *ahem*

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        RedViv says:

        With that tech they should work on beating Dragon Age 3 in the Sexy Back category.

    • SuicideKing says:

      He turned the character around because it was a female character, and he was being decent.

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    Harlander says:

    Glad to see this project is humming along nicely.

    There’s gonna come a day when I suddenly end up with a huge pile of games off Kickstarter..

    • spacedyemeerkat says:

      Yes, me too. Loads of them. I think if some of them came around again, though, I probably wouldn’t have pledged. The folly of misguided enthusiasm in my case!

      • AngoraFish says:

        Easy said in hindsight.

        I’ve backed 71 so far, had a couple of misses to date, but I’m just happy I’ve helped to get a few independent devs going even if they don’t quite hit the mark first time around.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Battle worlds kronos was SUCH A LET DOWN…. wasteland 2 doesn’t look too good either… ahh let’s see about all the other ones…

      projects which I have backed and think they’ll turn out to be sloppy and/or shite:
      Project Eternity
      Torment: Tides of Numenera
      Jagged Alliance: Flashback
      The Stomping Land
      Satellite Reign
      Legend of Iya
      Wasteland 2

      projects which I’ve backed and am still hopeful about:
      Hyper Light Drifter
      Hand of Fate
      Divinity: Original Sin

      So far the best “investment” seems to be GRIM DAWN – however I have supported that before KS
      Worst investment, Battle Worlds: SHITOS

      • SillyWizard says:

        Your list is missing The Mandate.

        • Ultra Superior says:

          I know. You are spot on, again.

          The reason it’s missing is that I realized in time it would end up there, but I was very close to backing it.

  7. Meat Circus says:

    PHYSICS LEVEL: 110%

    *** WELL PHYSICS ***

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    DrScuttles says:

    Based solely on the knocking down of the chair, I’m convinced that the highest possible application of this engine would be to create a game in which the player staggers home after one too many ales at the tavern and must avoid knocking everything over on the way to bed. The mess you make ties into your partner’s disapproval of your drunken actions. It would probably control similarly to Octodad.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I was thinking more Minotaur China Shop-like. Looks pretty good, pretty good. Movements are a bit odd, but that’s understandable. The interactivity more than makes up for that fact, I’d say.

  9. Maxheadroom says:

    If only Shroud of the Avatar was looking this good in pre alpha

  10. Caiman says:

    Wow, that actually looks… what’s the word? I haven’t used it in a long time. Erm… oh, I remember… exciting! An actual exciting video about a forthcoming game of computers. A developer that is actually doing something I’ve always wanted to see in terms of physical presence / interaction with the world and the character you control. It’s a beautiful thing to see. There’s a lot more gameplay evident in this compared with the KS pitch video, and it looks like it’s heading in exactly the right direction.

  11. Shadowcat says:

    I really hope this turns out to be a good game, but even more than that I hope that the technology can be sensibly licensed and re-used.

    These videos are still purely tech demos; and while tremendously impressive on many levels, there is no game to speak of on display here (except, perhaps, a physics-based melee combat game — it seems to mostly comprise “wild flailing”, but it does look neat, and I’m sure it can be honed into a pretty nice timing-based system).

    It does seem as if it would provide a tremendous basis for an amazing game, however. So I hope that someone does that; no matter who it is.

  12. Evil_Knieval says:

    bricks and stoney things that occassionally get close to a relatively fIxed camera…I think tesselation could work wonders here

  13. VCepesh says:

    The engine certainly looks very well suited for combat – although the combat itself right now looks quite comical. There is a lot of work to do.

  14. antoniodamala says:

    Finally rpgs are advancing in technology.

  15. mikmanner says:

    All that flailing about in combat looks quite funny, it looks like the characters have no skill they’re just windmills, a little like that Sumotori Dreams but with a little extra balance. I do like what’s going on there with the physics though, it’s pretty dynamic even if it does look a bit goofy.

  16. ViktorBerg says:

    They need to rework the body physics and animations. I understand their desire to go for skeletal muscle system, but what it actually does is make the movements weird – it’s impossible to simulate the 200 or so bones in a human body plus the countless muscles on every charater, and the simplified system is too rigid. What they should do is what Wolfire does with Overgrowth – make character animations based off inverse kinematics, which means they move realistically (from mocapping, for instance), but are still affected by environments and enemy attacks.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      It’s almost brilliant, and I think they could lose the “puppetish” look just by adding rocking the body up and down while running. If they can’t afford mocap animations etc.

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    RedViv says:

    Faction armour!

    “Certainly, come right in, Fre- Hey wait a second. Something is wrong!”
    “…”
    “Frederick! Since when do you have these massive bumps on your chest?”
    “Uuuhm…”
    “By the gods! Go get to a healer when your shift is over. Anyway, come right in!”

  18. The Random One says:

    Call me a negative nancy, but I’m sad such an excellent comedy engine is wasted on a regular RPG. (Or should I say… a sui generic RPG.)

  19. Jupiah says:

    Wow that is one insanely overpowered teleportation spell. Jump across vast distances and heights, dodge attacks in combat, or even teleport your enemies off cliffs! It doesn’t even use up that much magic meter!

    With all that talk about extreme physics interactions and dynamic animations I was kind of hoping to see some crazy parkour going on, but aside from stepping up a knee high incline it’s all teleporting. Would have been awesome to see the player character physically climb and jump across the castle roof.

    It certainly looks interesting but as others have mentioned the animations are wonky and there’s no real game here. At least I sure hope the final product doesn’t involve you going around killing everyone you meet and no one every speaking anything but “oof”, and a bit of house decorating in between.

    Also I think I’d love to see a game built on this engine with a first person view.

  20. Keyrock says:

    This does look good, those physics are lovely. My question is, will there be interesting things to do in the world?

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      golem09 says:

      The quest / story system is just as groundbreaking, as it’s purely AI interactivity you participate in, or just watch unfolding. google their second dev update for more.

  21. Tjee says:

    Sounds awesome, but is the main character supposed to fight like that all the time or did I miss the point where he is supposedly drunk during the entire video?

    He has literally no balance, I can’t imagine the swords being so heavy that you can hardly do a simple swing without almost falling to the ground. Well, not unless you’re drunk.

  22. SuicideKing says:

    Looks lovely! The shadows and lighting effects are really done well. Plus the physics! Can someone please make this into an RTS one day?

    BTW: was the presenter playing as a female character? Couldn’t tell.

    EDIT: On watching in 1080p, yes, the character is female.

  23. Saarlaender39 says:

    Wow,…that looks awesome!
    I sure hope, they manage to create a game, that honors the looks…equally story and gameplay-wise.

  24. Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

    This makes me happy.

    It’s the only game I’ve ever helped Kickstart, and I can’t wait to play it. But I’m afraid no amount of greatness will ever satisfy its alpha fan base. Perusing the message boards on the SG site is a humbling experience of how frustrating it must be to be a PC game developer. The level of detail some fans expect in this game is borderline psychotic. Fans want realistic armor, weapons, physics, sounds, a completely open world with endless exploration, deep AI and morality systems…the request list goes on and on. Oh, there’s a quest to kill the king of the neighboring land? Well, sir, I should be able to complete that quest with my sword, my thief dagger, my crossbow, my magic, or by synthesizing chemicals from the local flora that I can use to drug the queen’s tea for three weeks, inducing her to fall in love with me, and convincing her to have a 3-way with me and the king, during which I shall gouge the king’s eyes out! Oh you can’t do that? I want my money back.

  25. dean93 says:

    its so cool..Google is paying 75$/hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. On sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. its the best-job Ive ever had.It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you dont check it out http://goo.gl/f6e95V

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Impressive. Animation still needs tinkering (the run especially), but they seem to have improved it a lot compared to earlier versions. I’d like to see them play around more with light and colour. The big question mark for me remains the world and atmosphere: So far there doesn’t seem to be a lot of life and character to the world… it’s sort of lacking its own identity. If they combine this tech with interesting characters and a unique setting this could be amazing.

  27. hypocritelecteur says:

    I was trying to decide what exactly that running animation reminds me of when my toddler waddled by and it hit me.

    That is precisely how someone runs when they have just shat their pants.

  28. hungrytales says:

    Very nice indeed. My only gripe would be crenelations. Taken rather from Disney than from history of medieval military architecture books. They really never were even spaced as that way they provide no cover for archers. Rookie mistake.