We finally got to see the first stages of Shroud of the Avatar as a working model. And there was a lot to take in. My first impression is that it looked very good and gives a good sense of what the game will evolve into. Let’s keep in mind this is only 3 months worth of work and is merely a prototype. Many things will change. A lot will be added. However, if you take a step back, almost all of the game elements are there. The basics of combat are in place. The conversation system is in place. Players can walk, look around and interact with buildings and objects. The basics of crafting are usable. The two maps are in place – there is the outside/overview map and there is the “over the shoulder” view.

The bits and pieces are there, it all just has to be hooked up and refined. That said, I’m excited over the look and feel of the game and think this was a really neat demo. If you want to skip ahead, click the video below to see the demo in action. It’s about 18 minutes of Chris playing and Richard showing off the game elements. There was more to the presentation, but seeing the game is what most people wanted.

Some of the things Chris showed off:

– Crafting – He went out into the woods, gathered some lumber, made a chair and placed it in his Knight’s House. We get to see the plot of land as well as the layout of a home.

– We saw the inside of the Knight’s House which had three levels, many pieces of furniture and even some art pieces by The Hairy Man

– In the distance were other homes including the Sorcerer’s House and Druid’s House

– We got to see the inside of FireLotus’ Tavern

– Chris showed off the conversation system with the bartender in the Tavern, which was very cool. It’s natural language and responds to certain keywords in the text. Keep in mind, no blinking icons, no help about what you need to say, no quest log, no arrows or exclamation points. You have to figure it out. I think this was pretty sweet and really think this will enhance the game. This will truly be interactive.

– We saw a tiny bit of the combat system as Chris battled a spider while gathering wood and as he attacked both skeletons and the Lich in the cave system he had to venture into. This was based on information from the bartender, but it wasn’t listed as a “quest”. As a player you have to take the initiative to seek out the Lich.

– We saw the Lich scene that Stephen actually modeled and built for us during one of the Pen of the Avatar episodes. The bone chair was showcased that you can drag off to your home

All in all, it was very exciting. Some really neat features and it was pretty exciting to see the artwork Stephen has been working on appear in the game. Keep in mind this is somewhat basic, but as Chris stated, they’ve been working on this “in earnest” for 3 months. Like I said, all the basics are there. From here on out it’s setting the flags, adding the right objects and linking the story elements. Richard also stated he planned Shroud as a 10 year project. That is pretty sweet!

You can see a video of just the demo in the video below or at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKcoeH1ijjU

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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