In Order of Athanor, your party can be made up of 1-3 characters that you can freely swap control between, similar to the Mana series. Olivia’s dog Barry however is a unique case, as he is a package deal with Olivia, complementing her combat weaknesses. Although Olivia’s weapon is a pretty nifty ranged attack with a crossbow, it’s not particularly strong, and takes a moment to reload. Olivia excels more at support roles like using healing spells or items. Her defense and health are also rather low, so she is need of a bit of help. Enter Barry, her 10 year-old German Shephard and companion who has been with her since he was a pup.
Barry, being an older dog, also isn’t a very strong or aggressive fighter… unless an enemy gets too close to Olivia. Barry will then fearlessly defend his owner, providing some much needed defense for Olivia as she supports the rest of the party with alchemy spells or items.
On the technical side, Barry acts like any other party member, with his own health bar and own AI, but instead of following directly behind someone in the party like the other members, Barry prefers to sit right beside Olivia.
Last but not least, since Barry is such a good boy, you’ll be able to pet him at any time by holding down the action button for a brief moment when you’re near him:
In order to make combat more flexible to different playstyles and simply more fun in general, players will be able to pick up and throw a bunch of different objects for an environment-specific ranged attack, but look out – some enemies will do the same!
In addition to picking up objects and throwing them at your enemies, you can also choose to place them down gently. This can be doubly used for puzzles involving floor switches or other situations where you want to place an object in a particular spot.
Currently I’ve just added boxes and bushes but there will be many more objects added, like rocks that hit enemies hard but don’t break on impact or bombs that explode. Here’s some classic bush-throwing, which will mostly be for fun as they don’t do a whole of damage:
The biggest challenge from all of this has been the enemy ai scripting for throwing boxes. It’s a rather complex task, and involves logic like searching for the closest object to throw, pathfinding to it, how to walk to a spot that’s in-line with a player to throw it at them, and how to handle interruptions at different at different moments. For example enemies will put down objects when the player moves far enough away, or simply drop their object when hit with something. Having an enemy that can both throw things and also melee attack presents another challenge in choosing when to do what and creating a smart enemy that when close to the player will just attack them with a melee attack and not just run away for a far-off object to throw. There’s also moments with an enemy ai throwing objects that you don’t typically consider when controlling a player throwing things, like ensuring the enemy doesn’t just throw an object into an obstacle.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted any development updates here but behind the scenes I’ve been hard at work on a new (currently unnamed) project that I’m happy to share today:
There are some very unique key features planned for this game that will make the word “experimental” make more sense that I will share with future updates, when I have plenty of finalized screenshots and gifs to accompany those details. All I will say now regarding that is that the game will be released for Steam Early Access with the player community playing an immense, central role in the development of the game.
I’m happy to share some details on the foundational layer of the game today however! The gameplay is similar to several classic action-RPGs with the following features:
Three character party system like the Mana series, with local co-op available, and online co-op being a possibility later on depending on demand and reception.
An alchemy system where ingredients are used instead of MP/Mana to cast spells. This is the magic system of Secret of Evermore, a special favorite of mine which I haven’t seen any modern twists on.
A dynamic sandbox-like environment to allow for creative ways to fight enemies. Fire that spreads to other burnable objects, destroyable objects, throwable objects, spells and effects that burn, melt, freeze, or shock enemies and objects, friendly fire on some powerful attacks from both players and enemies, and smart enemy AI to use these features appropriately.
Puzzles spread throughout the world and in dungeons, with some being necessary to advance and other very difficult ones being for optional loot.
A lot of updates you’ll see in the near future will be new features for the dynamic combat and some puzzle design. When I have completed features finished for the experimental core mechanic, that will receive it’s own post, along with details on the characters and story.
During this game’s development I will be streaming dev work on Twitch at least once a week, with streams being a core feature of development after the initial release to Early Access. I’m excited to share more details as more work is completed, so stay tuned, and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Jetscout: Boot Camp a completely free jetpack-based platformer featuring the Jetscout Essential Training Simulation (JETS) for all new Jetscout recruits! Boost and flip through 3 unique missions, dodging deadly spikes, plants, lasers and more to master the basics of Jetscout flight!
When you’re ready, you can tackle your first real mission of exploring a distant solar system and uncovering the secrets behind the strange Valunian race in the game Jetscout: Mystery of the Valunians.