Posts Tagged ‘Bare Mettle Entertainment’

Premature Evaluation: Exanima

Exanima has an unusual relationship to the body. Its physical simulation of every limb creates a greater sense of your avatar as a real tangible object. And yet, at the same time, the fact that you can’t control it with the same instancy as you can your own body actually distances you from the avatar, perhaps to a greater degree than a less nuanced control-scheme might. I feel like comprehensive physics simulation could go through the same sticky patch as motion control did on consoles, where it proved a less efficient conduit between player intent and avatar expression than just pressing a button.

Each week Marsh Davies lurches drunkenly through the dank cloisters of Early Access and brings back any stories he can find and/or spasms like a misfiring physics object caught in a doorway. This week he wobbles and flails in the low-fantasy RPG Exanima, a smaller standalone “prelude” to the Kickstarted open world game Sui Generis.

Exanima isn’t like other RPGs, the Steam store page tells you with some insistence. It’s true for several reasons, but the most obvious is its fully physics-modelled combat which renders close quarters engagements as tense, tactical affairs conducted between two or more appallingly drunk people. Every collision has a physical effect, as subtle or extreme as the speed with which it occurs, and so combat is about caution and timing, dodging incoming swings and finding the time to wind up, directing your weapon in a sweep to connect with your opponent’s most vital areas with the most momentum possible. At least, it’s about these things inasmuch as these things are even possible while piloting someone with a near-lethal blood-alcohol level.

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Living In A Material World: Sui Generis

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.

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I Want Every Game To Be Made In The Sui Generis Engine

Yeah, and they're terrible at screenshots.

I’m not sure how that will work for driving games or football managers, but people can work around it. I was being very impressed by the lovely-looking Miasmata earlier, there with an engine written by just one guy. And the same is true for Sui Generis. But this engine looks like it might be the sort of thing licensed by anyone wanting to make an RPG in the near future. Using technological magics, Madoc Evans has created a physical system that allows 3D objects to automatically behave according to their shape – complex objects can be entangled with each other seemingly without clipping, or revealing invisible limits. Then with dynamic lighting, on-the-fly terrain modelling and procedural generation, there’s a combat system of the likes I’ve never seen.

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