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View Full Version : Termoil, a barely-announced tactical RPG by the maker of Proteus



icupnimpn2
13-06-2011, 01:02 PM
RPS just did one of their seminal "Oy boyo! Lookit dere" pieces on Proteus, an ambient musical environment non-game. Ed, the developer, was active in the comments. That made it a perfect time to ask about his next project, Termoil, mentioned in passing in the sidebar of his developer site at Twisted Tree Games:

"Termoil - (early development) a tactical RPG inspired by XCOM, Blood Bowl, Age of Wonders"

Inspired by the holy trinity?!?

I asked Ed to tell us about Termoil. He further describes:
"Anyway, it’s [going to be] a Tactical RPG ... with some dynamic inter-character plot stuff and an overgame that’s either Laputa, Apocalypse Now or Something Else."

And he passed on these wonderful screenies:
http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/th_Fxtest2.png (http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/?action=view&current=Fxtest2.png)http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/th_Termoil-2010-12-24-0002.png (http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/?action=view&current=Termoil-2010-12-24-0002.png)http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/th_iso128sample-2.png (http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/?action=view&current=iso128sample-2.png)

These are obviously a work in progress, with sprite in some shots having colors that bleed through their outlines, and in other shots having less shading. But let me just say that I think they look awesome, like little plastic army men vs little rubber monster toys. Yea there's that retro computer look to it, too, but I think that's secondary. The visuals make me feel like a little boy again playing out story lines and battles with my figures.

Unfortunately, Ed said:
"But for readability and ease of production, it might regress to looking more like this:"
http://desmond.yfrog.com/Himg442/scaled.php?tn=0&server=442&filename=kx8.png&xsize=640&ysize=640

I am very excited for Termoil, no matter how far off it may be. Since I love the look of the colored screens and Ed's ambition to make a game that plays like some of the turned-based greats and combine that with an epic storyline, I'd like to hear some other impressions. And especially, I'd like you to agree that Ed should not switch to the regressed mode.

pakoito
13-06-2011, 02:04 PM
So...Dofus.

groovychainsaw
13-06-2011, 02:09 PM
From what I played of Dofus though, it was nothing like xcom, blood bowl or age of wonders in terms of mechanics (and I found it mostly disappointing). IF those games are the inspiration for the mechanics behind a roving turn-based RPG this could end up being pretty good. Another one for my 'keep an eye on' list :-).

Wizardry
13-06-2011, 03:27 PM
Looks pretty interesting. Nice art style.

cwoac
13-06-2011, 04:01 PM
Certainly more games should draw inspiration from blood bowl. Possibly too many draw from xcom.

No, wait. Too many attempt to draw from xcom.

Still, I too will be putting a beady eye upon this one.

Ed K
13-06-2011, 06:52 PM
Hello!

I hear ya on the screens! I'll get back to you later tonight when i have more time to post, just wanted to say that I'm excited that you're excited!

It would need a bit of tidying up before I share it, but I could post a link to the download for the current build (really just a mechanics'n'interface test) and talk about some of the rationale behind the design. Exciting to have a bunch of XCOM/BB/AOW connosieurs to show it to!

(PS The colour-bleed one is inspired by '50s pulp comics and would require me to add shader support to the engine to do for real. Not impossible though!)

Lilliput King
13-06-2011, 07:04 PM
Ed: I really like the third (hand-drawn, big red monster) one. Looks terrific.

pakoito
13-06-2011, 07:06 PM
Hello!

I hear ya on the screens! I'll get back to you later tonight when i have more time to post, just wanted to say that I'm excited that you're excited!

It would need a bit of tidying up before I share it, but I could post a link to the download for the current build (really just a mechanics'n'interface test) and talk about some of the rationale behind the design. Exciting to have a bunch of XCOM/BB/AOW connosieurs to show it to!

(PS The colour-bleed one is inspired by '50s pulp comics and would require me to add shader support to the engine to do for real. Not impossible though!)
Some design document or ruleset explanation or something would be terrific, thanks.

dehimos
13-06-2011, 08:58 PM
OMFG... i like this.

Vexing Vision
13-06-2011, 09:19 PM
I wonder why everyone lists X-Com as their reference, and very few list JA2.

That said, it sounds good, and if we could get a sneakpeek at the ruleset and mechanics, you'll most likely have another pre-order in tow (I don't care for graphics, as long as the UI is clear and usable).

icupnimpn2
13-06-2011, 09:32 PM
Ed: I really like the third (hand-drawn, big red monster) one. Looks terrific.

I like the blue guy in the same pic. I imagine he's a member of George Washington's Continental Army.

Ed K
13-06-2011, 09:53 PM
Ed: I really like the third (hand-drawn, big red monster) one. Looks terrific.
This is actually the original mockup, so it's the oldest one! I could certainly get back closer to that style, as my main issue with the iso stuff was that it was getting very time-consuming to produce. That simple outline style is much easier.

My motivation for doing the square-on Laser Squad/Rebelstar style is that it's much easier to make it readable and much easier to produce. I can switch the engine between tilesets and iso/square projections fairly easily, so it might be that I get the rules working in the square version (or an even simpler version) and then convert back.

I don't have a design doc... or rather I DO have design *docs* - lots of notes and a few online things, but much easier would be to share the build once I've cleaned it up a bit. It doesn't need much doing to it, but I would like to make it a bit cleaner and I don't have much spare time at the moment. Maybe I'll try and squeeze it in this week.

Regarding JA2 vs XCOM, I guess I preferred the neatly encapsulated missions* in XCOM and the slightly simpler combat mechanics. Didn't dislike JA2, just didn't grab me the same way.
(* I should say I'm a total sucker for that neat tactical-strategic split as found in XCOM, Total War and Age of Wonders. I just love the way the two halves provide context and support for each other. Magic!)

Ed K
13-06-2011, 09:56 PM
(I don't care for graphics, as long as the UI is clear and usable).

Oops, meant to repond to this: I am a total usability whore, so clear and usable UI and controls are very important to me.

dehimos
14-06-2011, 12:57 PM
Inspired Blood Bowl? mmm, I think that is interesting only use all system: injuries, deaths, penalties and glorious skills.

Vexing Vision
14-06-2011, 01:14 PM
@Ed K - Sounds good, even though "simpler combat mechanics"... oh well. I'll reserve judgement for later! (The more complex, the better, in my books. Stats, skills, abilities, each of which mechanic- and rule-changing would be bliss!)

Please keep us up to date! Not interested in betatesting anymore, but I'd definitely love to demo a finished product.

Spacewalk
14-06-2011, 01:41 PM
That art style is to die for. The characters remind me of novelty erasers or the little rubber figures you used to be able to get out of vending machines. No problems with readability here, even in the thumbnails I could tell what was what.

Malawi Frontier Guard
14-06-2011, 06:26 PM
I don't have a design doc

Good.

Now get to work.

Ed K
14-06-2011, 08:25 PM
Inspired Blood Bowl? mmm, I think that is interesting only use all system: injuries, deaths, penalties and glorious skills.
Could you clarify? Do you mean I should use the whole blood bowl system (or similar)? I'm certainly planning on doing something very similar for injuries, (perma)deaths, and maybe skills. The part of bloodbowl that I'm not sure I can rip-off (heh) is the tackling dice-roll system, because it's so linked to the american football setting. I'm not sure I would want to rip it off quite that much anyway, as it's so nice and distinctive to that game.

Ed K
14-06-2011, 08:35 PM
@Ed K - Sounds good, even though "simpler combat mechanics"... oh well. I'll reserve judgement for later! (The more complex, the better, in my books. Stats, skills, abilities, each of which mechanic- and rule-changing would be bliss!)

Please keep us up to date! Not interested in betatesting anymore, but I'd definitely love to demo a finished product.

How simple is too simple? Blood Bowl? Age of Wonders? Those kind of things I'm thinking of, as opposed to Jagged Alliance level of detail. I'd still like to have lots of depth to the combat - my point here is to avoid too much pointless clicking and moving around.
I have a half-formed theory about this, but I'll save that for a blog post when I resume work on the game.

@Spacewalk - Thanks! I will definitely go back to that style and refine my process and solve a few graphical bugs. Here's a nice (but rambling) dev article that resonates with this sort of stuff http://altdevblogaday.org/2011/04/25/action-figure-fun/

@Malawi Frontier Guard - Sure, let me give you my bank details...

dehimos
14-06-2011, 08:59 PM
Could you clarify? Do you mean I should use the whole blood bowl system (or similar)? I'm certainly planning on doing something very similar for injuries, (perma)deaths, and maybe skills. The part of bloodbowl that I'm not sure I can rip-off (heh) is the tackling dice-roll system, because it's so linked to the american football setting. I'm not sure I would want to rip it off quite that much anyway, as it's so nice and distinctive to that game.

Sorry, my english is poor xD

Blood Bowl is fascinating because your "people" die or lose skills. Today, all games are rewards, achievements, skills, etc.

In my opinion, a game where players can lose your legs or die (even veteran warriors with multiple skills) is hilarious.

Ed K
14-06-2011, 09:31 PM
Aha ok, then I agree! (I mean, with your statement, not that your English is bad!)
I'm hoping I can make injuries create interesting situations in battles too, like "Bob is limping on one leg, can we drag him back to safety or are the monsters going to overrun him?"

Wizardry
14-06-2011, 10:29 PM
Is this an RPG? Have you been inspired by other RPGs? Is this game inspired by other tactical RPGs? If so, which ones?

Ed K
14-06-2011, 10:54 PM
Well, maybe calling it an RPG is pushing it a little... There won't be lengthy dialogs with NPCs, but I do intend to have dynamic procedural situations develop between characters in the team, and maybe between the team and enemies (tease!).
It's a team of characters working through an overarching plot, with their trials and tribulations along the way emerging from the interaction with the team members' "personalities" and the player's choices.

As far more text-centric RPGs, I love the old Bioware games and the Fallouts. Who doesn't, right? I'm somewhat influenced by stuff like Fire Emblem, but I think it does a lot of things wrong.

Wizardry
14-06-2011, 11:24 PM
Well, I couldn't give a damn about plot, characters and dialogue myself. I'm talking about deep character customisation with their statistics affecting their interaction with the world.

icupnimpn2
15-06-2011, 02:26 PM
Plot isn't a huge deal for me, either, but I do enjoy the odd framing sequences from the Advance Wars games with enemies yelling at each other on the same comm channels.

The impression I get from these screenshots is of time-lost soldiers fighting bugaboos. The stone works and paths do not look modern. Plus that lets me reconcile the appearance of what I still think is a colonial soldier from the American revolutionary war.

Don't know what you have in mind, Ed, but I'd love to see soldiers from different eras banding together to blast monsters after falling through some sort of vortex. How fun would it be to upgrade the colonial guy with a dead squad-mate's smg and found mystical loot?

Vexing Vision
15-06-2011, 02:34 PM
You shouldn't have started a dialogue, Ed. Now we want the perfect game.

Incidentally, I want depth of abilities and stats of Dominions, procedural interaction of characters from Wizardry 8 and Realms of Arkania 3, vastly different ways to approach levels a la Deus Ex 1, Xcom's base- and squadbuilding, a mix of Fallout 2's, JA2's and Xcom's combat system (different hit locations a must), at least five times as many individual abilities as Blood Bowl, vehicles in strategic maps, psionics, a procedural generated storyline that is at the very least on a level with Planescape: Torment (only completely new every time you create a new game), and a pony that shoots lasers.

Your turn! ;)

Ed K
15-06-2011, 07:32 PM
@Wizardry Right, then we're talking about the same sort of game. I'm no writer...

@icupnimpn2 Probably will stick to one era, just for the sake of practicality, but as a taster, I have toyed around with "Haunted WWI Desolation", "Jules Verne aliens crash amongst sorta-Aztecs", and a few others. The "colonial guy" is actually a tracing of a pirate miniature and his enemy is a tracing of a Rancor! This is clearly a bit cheeky, but there is still a disguised rancor in the current build.
Oh, about the comm channels stuff - I am planning on doing similar dialogs semi-procedurally based on things happening in the mission and the characters ranks and friendships.
Couple of random bits from my reference folder:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Helmet_Pollack_Memorial_de_Verdun.JPG
http://www.faslondon.com/images/vbig/Edward_Wadsworth_5417.jpg
http://www.brainplucker.com/wolvertons-brain-bats-of-venus/

@VexingVision Hahah damnit! Well....
I should check out Wizardry 8 and ROA3. I think those are new to me, so at least you have given me new reference material!
I tried to get into Dominions after hearing the guys on Three Moves Ahead talk about it so much, but just couldn't manage it :(
Base-building and vehicles are "maybes" - one of the inspirations is the huge vehicles in Miyazaki's Daydream Data Note (http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/manga/zassou.html)

Is it OK if Termoil 2 is the ultimate game, and Termoil 1 is actually achievable? ;D
Seriously though, this thread is really helping me hone and reinforce the plans for this, and it's very encouraging!
I am even wondering if this game would be worth a kickstarter-like scheme to allow me to quit my job and go full-time to make it.
An even easier scheme would be to sell a single preorder for 40K. Anyone know any lottery winners?

icupnimpn2
17-06-2011, 01:56 AM
@Wizardry Right, then we're talking about the same sort of game. I'm no writer...

@icupnimpn2 Probably will stick to one era, just for the sake of practicality, but as a taster, I have toyed around with "Haunted WWI Desolation", "Jules Verne aliens crash amongst sorta-Aztecs", and a few others. The "colonial guy" is actually a tracing of a pirate miniature and his enemy is a tracing of a Rancor! This is clearly a bit cheeky, but there is still a disguised rancor in the current build.
Oh, about the comm channels stuff - I am planning on doing similar dialogs semi-procedurally based on things happening in the mission and the characters ranks and friendships.
Couple of random bits from my reference folder:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Helmet_Pollack_Memorial_de_Verdun.JPG
http://www.faslondon.com/images/vbig/Edward_Wadsworth_5417.jpg
http://www.brainplucker.com/wolvertons-brain-bats-of-venus/


Any one of those scenarios sounds like fun to me. Still loving the miniatures look.

That Wolverton link reminds me a lot of a particular story from Paul Chadwick's "The World Below."

http://www.paulchadwick.net/zombies.html

Also, for some reason, the Ren and Stimpy episode "Marooned"

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v140773973AdJ2XRQ?h1=Marooned

Ed K
17-06-2011, 10:24 PM
Oh wow, The World Below looks great, will have to pick that up! Couldn't really watch the R&S as it was so blurry, but I feel like I can invent some Ren & Stimpy facehugging alien grossness :)

Thinking about the setting for Termoil today, I reckon I might have something. Going to mull it over for a while...
Might play about with graphics over the weekend and see what happens (in between Proteus coding)

Ed K
19-06-2011, 11:40 AM
Progress on the environment and setting:
http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/Termoil/th_indust_test.png (http://s294.photobucket.com/albums/mm90/tigshrimp/Termoil/?action=view&current=indust_test.png)
Characters haven't had any love yet but I think if I can get this simple style working to my liking, it'll be much easier to produce the assets than where I was previously heading with the iso stuff.

Idea for the setting is coming along nicely. Gonna keep my cards close for a little while though :P

dehimos
30-07-2011, 05:35 PM
oh shit, this screenshot is awesome.