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Ortus - The RPG of your Dreams


JimThermic

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Ortus.png

 

"It's like the best parts of all the classic RPGs in the last twenty years, put together into one game." - Commentary on the Ortus Exhibit at Avcon 2011

 

For all you RPG fanatics out there; ever feel like you're being railroaded into a storyline? Sick of video games that claim are 'all about choice' then end up giving you two decisions - both exactly the same? Or when you do find a game that gives you freedom, but the plot is about as deep as a puddle?

 

We share your pain! So instead of waiting for a multinational gaming giant to live up to their promises, we went about creating Ortus - a medieval fantasy RPG where you get to have your cake and eat it too. And we're almost done with it - we just need your help!

 

Everything in the world of Ortus is affected by your choices - your choices are your Reputation, Alignment, even Sanity, as well as the alliances you make, and eventually, the various combinations of endings you can get! And there's a lot of them.. players will be able to finish the game, go back to the start with a different approach, and experience the game in a completely new way.

 

Want to customize your character's abilities without being tied down to classes? You can do that too. Pick up new NPC companions; establish new friendships, romances and alliances or betray them! Our team like to think we're not just creating a game - we're creating a world for you to play in - full of as much backstory as there is good old hack-n-slash.We are essentially in the home stretch now, we are able to play-test through the vast story and put things together, but because of how ambitious the project is, funds dried up months ago, creating a difficult stress at times for the creators.

 

We've decided to open the floor to the large amount of people who have shown interest in the games' development by letting any of you participate in its creation, making your mark on what is already shaping up to be the biggest ever indie RPG to hit the gaming scene!

 

NOTEWORTHY FEATURES:

* 12 Main Endings and 80+ Ending Variations

* 12+ Companion NPCs to collect of different gender, race, alignments - romance or befriend them, each with a unique storyline!

* Different chain quests to complete

* Customize your character's look and skills how you want it!

* Only RPG (minus modded) where you can choose to work as a prostitute. Either gender, no kidding!

 

KICKSTARTER + VIDEO OF ORTUS

 

NEW: Behind the scenes video here

 

FACEBOOK PAGE

http://www.facebook.com/ortus.game

 

=== ORTUS MECHANICS IN DETAIL ===

 

Ortus utilizes a unique cross-shaped alignment/reputation system that keeps track of your choices throughout the game. Ever wanted to steal from a house in a game or kill an annoying NPC, but the guards somehow always find out no matter how you did it? In Ortus, you can do as many evil deeds as you want; as long as you cover it up, the people will still worship you as their hero!

 

Likewise, doing the 'right thing' may not always be popular - saving that starving bandit may lower people's opinion of you. Ortus also keeps track of your quirky or logical answers to different predicaments, changing people's opinion of your character. In Ortus, you need to use your gut to choose what decisions might pay off or you might end up paying for.

 

A four-tiered leveling system (Strength, Speed, Skill and Spirit/Magic) allows you to choose whatever abilities you want as you meet the requirements - allowing you to mix-and-match your character's abilities to make your perfect build. Like talking, sneaking - then throwing fireballs when you get caught out? Unlock skill and spirit skills with your level points! More of a fighter who likes to be fast and strong? Unlock abilities under strength and speed. Ortus's leveling system is designed to be as simple as it is expansive.

 

Collect non-magical and magical components for your weapons called Scions! Scions add special effects and bonuses to your character and item. Swap them around between your weapons and collect them from stores and enemies - slay more powerful foes for more powerful components! Collect unique clothing with inherent bonuses, stylize your character and make them your own.

 

You can also avoid battles through your skill in words; persuade, lie and intimidate your way through the world of Ortus with a silver tongue! Though be wary, not all your foes can be persuaded lay down their arms!

 

 

=== ORTUS PLOT IN DETAIL ===

 

 

The game begins in the land of Candor, a fledgeling nation founded by refugees fleeing from the oppressive Therion Empire 150 years ago. Constantly at war with their former oppressors, Candor's struggles are multiplied as its leader - the Triarch Argus - passes away leaving nothing but political turmoil and backstabbing in his wake. But the Empire is the least of Candor's troubles; as strange creatures are suddenly appearing across the land from the Wailing Wastes to the Greypeak Mountains.

 

You, the player, have no knowledge of this - or anything - except a world of pain from which you narrowly escaped. Waking up in an old cottage in Southern Candor with no knowing how you got there, all you remember is the sneering face of your tormentor - and an eerie feeling that he is coming to get his escaped prisoner. With no clue where you are, you set out both looking for answers - and to evade your past. Stranger still, you are gifted with magic - a power unheard of in the history of Candor - save in the one man who helped shape it.

 

 

 

SOME PRE-BETA SCREENSHOTS

 

 

 

 

Some random snapshots, all these are pre-beta and subject to change. We'll probably have actual battle footage later this month, since we're putting the final touches on that engine. The PC character can already look way better than this generic baldy :blush:

 

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Gerrod.jpg

 

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All I can say is RELEASE DATE IS WHERE?

 

Current release is March 2012.

 

Oh yeah, if you've got any other questions about Ortus I can probably answer them. =)

 

Did I mention this game has a soundtrack with vocals done by Lisa Gerrard (who's done vocals for two other games - Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Diablo 3). She's also done vocals for Gladiator, Ali, Man on Fire etc.

 

The being able to be a prostitute bit is probably more important. :P

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I can't say the main story setup interests me at all sounds like another 'chosen one' plot with an evil empire thrown in and some greater evil rising in power behind the scenes.

 

But, then I'm playing through Planescape right now, so there ain't much out there that can match this crazy-ass world I'm going through.

 

And I damn sure support indy games, especially those that try to innovate or revitalized old, dead genres.

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I can't say the main story setup interests me at all sounds like another 'chosen one' plot with an evil empire thrown in and some greater evil rising in power behind the scenes.

 

But' date=' then I'm playing through Planescape right now, so there ain't much out there that can match this crazy-ass world I'm going through.

 

And I damn sure support indy games, especially those that try to innovate or revitalized old, dead genres.

[/quote']

 

Chosen one plotlines piss me off too =) That's why we've tried to make complex ethical decisions part of the plot. Or you can pretend to be the chosen one while killing everyone off behind the scenes. Or... you can end the game without being particularly memorable at all.

 

The Empire actually plays a very minor part in Ortus. However we *are* guilty of using the amnesia plot, though we try and use it more as a method to help you become acquainted with the world afresh.

 

But yeah, we're a bunch of guys who love those classic RPGs - and we're definitely trying to ressurect that old sense of immersion.

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Chosen one plotlines piss me off too =) That's why we've tried to make complex ethical decisions part of the plot. Or you can pretend to be the chosen one while killing everyone off behind the scenes. Or... you can end the game without being particularly memorable at all.

 

The Empire actually plays a very minor part in Ortus. However we *are* guilty of using the amnesia plot' date=' though we try and use it more as a method to help you become acquainted with the world afresh.

 

But yeah, we're a bunch of guys who love those classic RPGs - and we're definitely trying to ressurect that old sense of immersion.

[/quote']

 

With amnesia it isn't hard to spin it into something interesting. Planescape has done it quite well, with a protagonist that has lived different 'lives'.

 

Chosen one plots and stories that revolve around a Cthulhu-nameish 'Dark Lord' are the ones I don't care for. Anyone bound by 'destiny' is bound to fulfill it so there's no sense of dread when action is thrown into the mix. Unless you paint Destiny as a fickle bitch with a twisted sense of humor, the Chosen One tends to succeed with flying colors.

 

And don't get me started on 'Dark Lords'. People tend to make up monsters just so they don't have to gaze at their own actions and realize how 'monstrous' they are, but enough ranting on fantasy cliches.

 

I didn't mean any offense with my earlier words. I'm a blunt person when it comes to artistic work, I don't dilly-dally around my opinion. But good luck to you, you have my donation and approval for this ambitious description of your game.

 

 

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Chosen one plotlines piss me off too =) That's why we've tried to make complex ethical decisions part of the plot. Or you can pretend to be the chosen one while killing everyone off behind the scenes. Or... you can end the game without being particularly memorable at all.

 

The Empire actually plays a very minor part in Ortus. However we *are* guilty of using the amnesia plot' date=' though we try and use it more as a method to help you become acquainted with the world afresh.

 

But yeah, we're a bunch of guys who love those classic RPGs - and we're definitely trying to ressurect that old sense of immersion.

[/quote']

 

With amnesia it isn't hard to spin it into something interesting. Planescape has done it quite well, with a protagonist that has lived different 'lives'.

 

Chosen one plots and stories that revolve around a Cthulhu-nameish 'Dark Lord' are the ones I don't care for. Anyone bound by 'destiny' is bound to fulfill it so there's no sense of dread when action is thrown into the mix. Unless you paint Destiny as a fickle bitch with a twisted sense of humor, the Chosen One tends to succeed with flying colors.

 

And don't get me started on 'Dark Lords'. People tend to make up monsters just so they don't have to gaze at their own actions and realize how 'monstrous' they are, but enough ranting on fantasy cliches.

 

I didn't mean any offense with my earlier words. I'm a blunt person when it comes to artistic work, I don't dilly-dally around my opinion. But good luck to you, you have my donation and approval for this ambitious description of your game.

 

 

 

No offense taken, and thank you immensely for your donation and support! If anything we're a bunch of gamers who are as fed up with cliche'd plotlines as you are. :D

 

I'm going to have to check out Planescape now, that's one that I missed though I've heard good things.

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@stgmilleralive

 

Eh?

I happen to have an affinity for the classic "Dark Lords" on one of these two prerequisites:

 

A) "Evil" because the old regime allowed or committed atrocities (Example: [Wiegraf] Murdered family/something they really cared about), and now wants to watch the world burn.

 

B) Purely Evil for the sake of it and has little or no regard for life. (Example: Nyarlahotep [Fan of Lovecraft and the Persona games])

 

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@stgmilleralive

 

Eh?

I happen to have an affinity for the classic "Dark Lords" on one of these two prerequisites:

 

A) "Evil" because the old regime allowed or committed atrocities (Example: [Wiegraf] Murdered family/something they really cared about)' date=' and now wants to watch the world burn.

 

B) Purely Evil for the sake of it and has little or no regard for life. (Example: Nyarlahotep [Fan of Lovecraft and the Persona games'])

 

 

Below is my personal opinion presented to explain what I was referring to when I mention "Dark Lords".

 

The classic Dark Lord is always more of a tool to inspire dread than a character to me.

 

Evil just for the sake of it has always seem like an excuse a writer would take to make said Dark Lord seem even more evil. It makes the character seem unrealistic since people aren't just evil to be evil, events in an earlier time influence the choice to do socially-reviled actions later. Of course you can cite nonhuman characters, but such characters generally are hard to remember unless they are exceptionally interesting. (Sauron, Lovercraft-fiction, are the only two in my head, but I know I've encountered them far too often.)

 

The reason why I say they have to be exceptionally interesting is because they aren't human. Characters in modern fiction are meant to inspire as many emotions from us as possible while maintaining a set personality determined by the author. Dark Lords in the sense of nonhumans generally inspire just dread, that's it. IF they have any human emotion it's usually just 'ire', and thus their character becomes exceptionally boring from the get-go. I mean just imagine meeting someone that was angry all the damn time.

 

Of course this is fixed through a proper mix of engaging lore or mystery, but most writers just pull a Dark Lord out because they need something everyone can hate so they can band together and overcome said Lord, leading to the most overused plot in all of fantasy :D.

 

A Dark Lord that wants to watch the world burn is something else, on the other hand. They have a human side to them, thus people can feel sympathy for their actions while still being able to revile them for what they stand for. It's about understanding the 'monster', realizing where he came from and why he does what he does. This is a far more realistic model of a Dark Lord, BUT can become the victim of extremely heavy-handed writing.

 

What I mean by heavy-handed is that the writer does everything they can to tilt the view to the Dark Lord's suffering, to the point where it becomes so narrow it's like zooming in on this guy's life with a sniper scope. In this, a situation can develop where one side is at fault and the other was in the right. A black and white situation where realistically there is more to it than the Dark Lord or the people that wronged him know. This makes the Dark Lord seem human while still being nearly as trite and simplistic as the one who does evil shit just for the hell of it. Besides, it takes a hell of a wicked act to make you want to watch the ENTIRE world burn, not just the death of your child or the lose of your wife...calling it an overreaction is an understatement.

 

Of course, this can be fixed too by making the Dark Lord far more complex than his origin story let's on. You can place varying motives inside his soul or mold him in the famous model of the Byronic hero that just happens to be on the wrong side of the tracks when a war starts. But to me this model of Dark Lord is becoming as overused as the Classic Dark Lord, an evil guy in black armor sitting on his throne, the king of nothing but fire and death.

 

To me, an Antagonist today (Loghain, The Houses in ASoIF) needs to be multi-layered, capable of pulling our emotional strings with his or her voice, actions, or morality. We need to feel more than just fear or sympathy to see this Dark Lord as a true monster. He or she must be 'human', capable of making us laugh, cry, hate, join, or love. When your 'Dark Lord' is another complex character you have the makings of a powerful plot. When your Dark Lord is like a person you would meet in real life, someone who lives their life and does things their way, you give a very frightening amount of weight to their actions.

 

AND Of course, I have nothing against characters that are there to be hated, but when your Antagonist, a centerpiece of your story, is born from a cliche, is a cliche, and remains a cliche, you have a character destined to be forgotten. My entire argument has exceptions to cliches, as writing always does :dodgy:. Which cliches are used for a reason.

 

But...

 

The best way to understand my point is for you to answer this question yourself.

 

Of the Classic Dark Lords you've seen everywhere, how many can you remember, vividly, that you read about over five years ago? Ten?

 

If the number is small, it is very understandable. When your character isn't engaging on a multi-leveled plane you have something destined to obscurity. If that character follows the models of those whom came before, you have repetition, which is a hell of a hole to crawl out of. Fantasy will always have cliches, which even master writers will use. The key to it all is using the cliche either subtly or creating something from it that is so crazy and unique that the reader forgets the archetype and remembers the character.

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@stgmilleralive

 

Eh?

I happen to have an affinity for the classic "Dark Lords" on one of these two prerequisites:

 

A) "Evil" because the old regime allowed or committed atrocities (Example: [Wiegraf] Murdered family/something they really cared about)' date=' and now wants to watch the world burn.

 

B) Purely Evil for the sake of it and has little or no regard for life. (Example: Nyarlahotep [Fan of Lovecraft and the Persona games'])

 

 

Below is my personal opinion presented to explain what I was referring to when I mention "Dark Lords".

 

The classic Dark Lord is always more of a tool to inspire dread than a character to me.

 

Evil just for the sake of it has always seem like an excuse a writer would take to make said Dark Lord seem even more evil. It makes the character seem unrealistic since people aren't just evil to be evil, events in an earlier time influence the choice to do socially-reviled actions later. Of course you can cite nonhuman characters, but such characters generally are hard to remember unless they are exceptionally interesting. (Sauron, Lovercraft-fiction, are the only two in my head, but I know I've encountered them far too often.)

 

The reason why I say they have to be exceptionally interesting is because they aren't human. Characters in modern fiction are meant to inspire as many emotions from us as possible while maintaining a set personality determined by the author. Dark Lords in the sense of nonhumans generally inspire just dread, that's it. IF they have any human emotion it's usually just 'ire', and thus their character becomes exceptionally boring from the get-go. I mean just imagine meeting someone that was angry all the damn time.

 

Of course this is fixed through a proper mix of engaging lore or mystery, but most writers just pull a Dark Lord out because they need something everyone can hate so they can band together and overcome said Lord, leading to the most overused plot in all of fantasy :D.

 

A Dark Lord that wants to watch the world burn is something else, on the other hand. They have a human side to them, thus people can feel sympathy for their actions while still being able to revile them for what they stand for. It's about understanding the 'monster', realizing where he came from and why he does what he does. This is a far more realistic model of a Dark Lord, BUT can become the victim of extremely heavy-handed writing.

 

What I mean by heavy-handed is that the writer does everything they can to tilt the view to the Dark Lord's suffering, to the point where it becomes so narrow it's like zooming in on this guy's life with a sniper scope. In this, a situation can develop where one side is at fault and the other was in the right. A black and white situation where realistically there is more to it than the Dark Lord or the people that wronged him know. This makes the Dark Lord seem human while still being nearly as trite and simplistic as the one who does evil shit just for the hell of it. Besides, it takes a hell of a wicked act to make you want to watch the ENTIRE world burn, not just the death of your child or the lose of your wife...calling it an overreaction is an understatement.

 

Of course, this can be fixed too by making the Dark Lord far more complex than his origin story let's on. You can place varying motives inside his soul or mold him in the famous model of the Byronic hero that just happens to be on the wrong side of the tracks when a war starts. But to me this model of Dark Lord is becoming as overused as the Classic Dark Lord, an evil guy in black armor sitting on his throne, the king of nothing but fire and death.

 

To me, an Antagonist today (Loghain, The Houses in ASoIF) needs to be multi-layered, capable of pulling our emotional strings with his or her voice, actions, or morality. We need to feel more than just fear or sympathy to see this Dark Lord as a true monster. He or she must be 'human', capable of making us laugh, cry, hate, join, or love. When your 'Dark Lord' is another complex character you have the makings of a powerful plot. When your Dark Lord is like a person you would meet in real life, someone who lives their life and does things their way, you give a very frightening amount of weight to their actions.

 

AND Of course, I have nothing against characters that are there to be hated, but when your Antagonist, a centerpiece of your story, is born from a cliche, is a cliche, and remains a cliche, you have a character destined to be forgotten. My entire argument has exceptions to cliches, as writing always does :dodgy:. Which cliches are used for a reason.

 

But...

 

The best way to understand my point is for you to answer this question yourself.

 

Of the Classic Dark Lords you've seen everywhere, how many can you remember, vividly, that you read about over five years ago? Ten?

 

If the number is small, it is very understandable. When your character isn't engaging on a multi-leveled plane you have something destined to obscurity. If that character follows the models of those whom came before, you have repetition, which is a hell of a hole to crawl out of. Fantasy will always have cliches, which even master writers will use. The key to it all is using the cliche either subtly or creating something from it that is so crazy and unique that the reader forgets the archetype and remembers the character.

 

I agree with you that fantasy, if not all writing, will always have cliches. It's inevitable that anything you write has been written in some form, by someone before. If not currently, by some jerk in ancient Greece who came up with your neat concept 3000 years before you did.

 

I would also agree that using dark lords are, as a rule, a not bad idea as long as they are unique enough to make their cliche bearable - much like amnesia. For instance, if they say 'nyahahaha!' and say 'you have foiled ALL my plans, you meddlesome pest!' and then try and kill you after ranting on about the nature of existence like a bad JRPG boss... that's pretty damn cliche.

 

Ultimicia in FF8 talking with a lisp about those 'Akkursed SeeD' and then talking about how 'nobody can stop time, everything is futile' made me want to bash my head into the controller. Repeatedly.

 

I hate that you can never join the big bad, no matter how hard you try. I really wanted to join sides with the drow in Neverwinter Nights:HotU, but obviously the writers didn't want to take time to create this path. You can't join the Sith in KOTORII... even if you wear Sith robes and go around doing Sith things - they still call you 'the Exile' or 'The Jedi'. This is something we're tried to fix in Ortus, obviously. *Shameless self promotion end*

 

However as you said, enemies like Sauron break the stereotype rule. What's good about Sauron? One, he doesn't really talk. He's a big freaking eye that everyone's terrified of. Nobody wants him to get the ring. Nobody's even met the guy personally. But you can feel the fear of him right across middle earth, even him LOOKING in your direction is considered terrifying. Not one word spoken and yet he makes his presence felt - that's a pretty cool dark lord.

 

Then you've got Emperor Palpatine - he seems evil just for the sake of being evil. It's never explained *why* he does anything, like Anakin is explored. But damn, he makes a good dark lord. He's even got the added hinderance of being CALLED a dark lord.

 

But then sometimes your grey villains can be not particularly memorable. I LOVED Baldurs Gate II, but I didn't find John Irenicus particularly appealing as a character. I knew the writers were trying to get me to sympathise with him... but in the end I just found him a spoiled jerk, and his backstory a bit of a time-waster. If anything, I found Sarevok a bit more interesting - and he was much more stereotypical.

 

So... pretty much reading over what I've written I agree with you. Also this method works *stupidly* well on almost everyone. Pat The Dog

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I agree with you that fantasy' date=' if not all writing, will always have cliches. It's inevitable that anything you write has been written in some form, by someone before. If not currently, by some jerk in ancient Greece who came up with your neat concept 3000 years before you did.

 

I would also agree that using dark lords are, as a rule, a not bad idea as long as they are unique enough to make their cliche bearable - much like amnesia. For instance, if they say 'nyahahaha!' and say 'you have foiled ALL my plans, you meddlesome pest!' and then try and kill you after ranting on about the nature of existence like a bad JRPG boss... that's pretty damn cliche.

 

Ultimicia in FF8 talking with a lisp about those 'Akkursed SeeD' and then talking about how 'nobody can stop time, everything is futile' made me want to bash my head into the controller. Repeatedly.

 

I hate that you can never join the big bad, no matter how hard you try. I really wanted to join sides with the drow in Neverwinter Nights:HotU, but obviously the writers didn't want to take time to create this path. You can't join the Sith in KOTORII... even if you wear Sith robes and go around doing Sith things - they still call you 'the Exile' or 'The Jedi'. This is something we're tried to fix in Ortus, obviously. *Shameless self promotion end*

 

However as you said, enemies like Sauron break the stereotype rule. What's good about Sauron? One, he doesn't really talk. He's a big freaking eye that everyone's terrified of. Nobody wants him to get the ring. Nobody's even met the guy personally. But you can feel the fear of him right across middle earth, even him LOOKING in your direction is considered terrifying. Not one word spoken and yet he makes his presence felt - that's a pretty cool dark lord.

 

Then you've got Emperor Palpatine - he seems evil just for the sake of being evil. It's never explained *why* he does anything, like Anakin is explored. But damn, he makes a good dark lord. He's even got the added hinderance of being CALLED a dark lord.

 

But then sometimes your grey villains can be not particularly memorable. I LOVED Baldurs Gate II, but I didn't find John Irenicus particularly appealing as a character. I knew the writers were trying to get me to sympathise with him... but in the end I just found him a spoiled jerk, and his backstory a bit of a time-waster. If anything, I found Sarevok a bit more interesting - and he was much more stereotypical.

 

So... pretty much reading over what I've written I agree with you. Also this method works *stupidly* well on almost everyone. Pat The Dog

 

The problem with grey villains is that most writers don't know that the 'human' element matters more than the 'grey'.

 

Tyrion Lannicaster really fits the bill of a grey villain. He is a member of the House directly opposed to the Starks and commits quite a few evil deeds while his story plays out. But, you see the human side of him more than the 'grey' side. Every chapter with him in it shows you his view on everything, his opinion presented in a very realistic way. You know why he does everything and can agree that you know he's doing it because he believes it will benefit him. He's not some anti-hero fighting to protect the world, he's a person with motives and emotions, fictional but still real enough.

 

As for why certain villains are memorable despite being cliche is that you need to remember that entertainment also plays a part in the matter. If it wasn't for Palpatine's "UNLIMITED POOOOWER!" moment, we might remember him only as that old dude sitting in a chair at the end of the third movie. If you match Palpatine's introduction with the ending scene of Return of the Jedi you have the recipe of something that isn't hard to remember. Palpatine as a character is bland but in a movie where he's shooting lightning and his death heralds the most emotional moment in a saga, he serves his part.

 

Darth Vader, on the other hand is a badass in the original trilogy, he picks a guy up by the fucking neck, force-chocks his commanding generals whenever he pleases, and he wears a god-damn cape. He IS a Dark Lord incarnate, but his unique relationship to the main character is something you didn't see coming when you watched it in the theater. Plus the breathing shall forever remain an iconic sound in movies.

 

Badassery is always a dynamic of a character.

 

Sauron has this because of the fact he's so terrifying, but if you strip the badassery you have Sauron as a character. Sauron as a character is a long and storied history buried extremely deeply in Tolkien's lore. He's there but he's more of a historical monster than a person like you or me. But Sauron is the original OG, you can't talk shit about him; he's just a sodding eye that can stare down the crazy, nastyass honey badger, it's hard to find a Dark Lord that is as unique as that.

 

I tend to see things like this. Not everything trite is born from a cliche, but most things are...

 

Oh and btw what do you think of the line "We've got company!".

 

I really want to see a character get slapped before they say the line. Or at least mix it up a little.

 

"Captain! I'm detecting a large concentration of assholes in the area, shall I dispense a proper greeting for them?"

 

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Ah' date=' but damn I'm hijacking this thread.

 

How will you be presenting the world of Ortus. Will you be going for a Baldur's Gate setup(sectors of the world free to explore) or something more reminiscent of Planescape (chapters set in a large, explorable are)?

[/quote']

 

I love discussing this stuff just as a fanatic gamer, honestly =D Tyrion is the best, but he has the added advantage of being either in a written book or TV medium - which makes it a hell of a lot easier to communicate an antagonist's backstory. Unfortunately in a video game, you mostly have to either A) have the option to temporarily play the bad guy B) Recruit them later C) Have an incredibly long villain-y exposition about how their pet was once run over D) Flashback sequence. There might be one I've missed, probably third-party medium telling you the bad guy isn't that bad.

 

But yes, Ortus! We're having it start in one location then opening the world map, so from the tutorial location you can go anywhere in the game that you know about. Obviously quests and world-shifting events change available locations. It's not 'free roaming' in the same way as Oblivion (world sized map) but rather quite a lot of location maps.

 

And so far there's no way to 'break' the game as to not be able to continue the plot. And that's without breaking it and the game glossing over your actions without consequences (like killing everyone in Albion and still becoming the King. Ugh.)

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Hm, I see mention of character customization, but if its there I don't see mention of picking gender.

 

I might back with $10, but the cut of date is a little near for me to manage it I think. Asking people to donate so close to the holidays is terrible timing. Any other time in the year and the interest this has drawn in me might have inspired $50. The idea of your own NPC is cute, even if I can't afford (and if it wasn't too late) for them to have any depth. Will the game not even end up being made if it doesn't hit 20k?

 

The idea of romances with characters and the fact the 'teaser' doesn't shy away from blood and gore give me hope that the game will be more Game of Thrones in approach to violence, characters and sexuality, rather than LOTR. It will be intersting to see what comes of in the long run.

 

Interesting. But then, this has been the year for interesting indie titles popping up. :P

 

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Hm' date=' I see mention of character customization, but if its there I don't see mention of picking gender.

 

I might back with $10, but the cut of date is a little near for me to manage it I think. Asking people to donate so close to the holidays is terrible timing. Any other time in the year and the interest this has drawn in me might have inspired $50. The idea of your own NPC is cute, even if I can't afford (and if it wasn't too late) for them to have any depth. Will the game not even end up being made if it doesn't hit 20k?

 

The idea of romances with characters and the fact the 'teaser' doesn't shy away from blood and gore give me hope that the game will be more Game of Thrones in approach to violence, characters and sexuality, rather than LOTR. It will be intersting to see what comes of in the long run.

 

Interesting. But then, this has been the year for interesting indie titles popping up. :P

 

[/quote']

 

You can choose gender, race (but not species), orientation (through dialogue choices) and abilities - there's no set class, you simply meet the prerequisites for skills.

 

Well I'm on the LoversLab forums, so you can expect I'm not shying away from a certain amount of violence and sexuality - you can work as a prostitute after all or hire them, having romance in RPGS is always a gamebreaker for me - so there's a load of that in Ortus as well.

 

Worth noting is that there is a flirt menu for some companions, so when in a peaceful location (such as a town) you can opt to compliment, kiss or... retire somewhere quiet with them =) This is after you've officially hooked up with them as part of the companion storyline.

 

As for gore, the normal way enemies die is by exploding into a mass of blood, bone and organs. Usually you can see people's liver after you kill them. There is also mention of dark themes that occur in war, such as murder of the innocent and rape (though Ortus doesn't allow you to initiate in the latter).

 

You can also kill children, as many of us were personally annoyed with this omission in games like Fallout 3. That decision *might* end up being controversial, but we feel it's worth the risk.

 

As for the time of year, it's not so much as we had all year to choose - we ran out of funding in July because we only had funding for a flash game. As you can see, this game has become much more than a flash game - it's now a full blown indie RPG. Thankfully the Flash 11 player means that it will run directly off people's graphics cards, not relying on the awful hindrance of only using active memory of previous flash versions.

 

If we don't get the 20k funding (which is the minimum we need to survive) we will still bring out Ortus... but we'll be forced to do other work in order to survive since we're doing this full-time now. Because of that the March 2012 Open Beta time will become unfeasible, and the game might be pushed months.. if not longer.. back before release.

 

Oh, and I *love* Game of Thrones. And any donations are super helpful! (Every little bit helps)

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Glad to hear about these things, thanks. Yeah, I was surpised to see you here, hehe, and figured it might be the case - still thought it best to ask.

 

I understand you didn't choose the date, but I am curious why there is a deadline on it? Hopefully the 10k you're at right now will at least lighten any work you end up having to do on the side. Hopefully you guys make it to 20k.

 

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Glad to hear about these things' date=' thanks. Yeah, I was surpised to see you here, hehe, and figured it might be the case - still thought it best to ask.

 

I understand you didn't choose the date, but I am curious why there is a deadline on it? Hopefully the 10k you're at right now will at least lighten any work you end up having to do on the side. Hopefully you guys make it to 20k.

 

[/quote']

 

Unfortunately kickstarter is an all-or-nothing site, so if we don't reach the 20k then we don't get anything at all. :( But there's 17 days left and we're at almost 10k, so hopefully we'll get there. :)

 

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But yes' date=' Ortus! We're having it start in one location then opening the world map, so from the tutorial location you can go anywhere in the game that you know about. Obviously quests and world-shifting events change available locations. It's not 'free roaming' in the same way as Oblivion (world sized map) but rather quite a lot of location maps.

[/quote']

 

The best way to convey a video game villian (imo) is to make them well-known enough so that everyone has something to say about them. Like Darth Revan in KotR or Loghain in Dragon Age. When you have enough main characters sharing their opinions when you ask you start to paint a picture of a man even if you've never seen him in the game. This is added too especially if this antagonist has already done something that affected you even though it was a more unintentional consequence rather than anything else.

 

How to handle Dark Lords is a similar fashion too although you can delve into the lore and 'trick' players into creating two different Dark Lords in their minds. I've used this trick myself and it's worked charms on impressionable fantasy minds.

 

But one of things I've learned with speaking with game developers and novelists is that the consumers on the sneakiest, most cunning bastards on the planet. They'll catch things you've never assumed could be drawn from it or they'll break your game like a Gallagher in a warehouse of watermelons.

 

I am wondering of course how you're going to rein in the plot. Just how important can your character be to the world? No spoilers needed but of course too much importance will be crazy-hard to effectively balance with the ignominious ending you also hint it.

 

 

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But yes' date=' Ortus! We're having it start in one location then opening the world map, so from the tutorial location you can go anywhere in the game that you know about. Obviously quests and world-shifting events change available locations. It's not 'free roaming' in the same way as Oblivion (world sized map) but rather quite a lot of location maps.

[/quote']

 

The best way to convey a video game villian (imo) is to make them well-known enough so that everyone has something to say about them. Like Darth Revan in KotR or Loghain in Dragon Age. When you have enough main characters sharing their opinions when you ask you start to paint a picture of a man even if you've never seen him in the game. This is added too especially if this antagonist has already done something that affected you even though it was a more unintentional consequence rather than anything else.

 

How to handle Dark Lords is a similar fashion too although you can delve into the lore and 'trick' players into creating two different Dark Lords in their minds. I've used this trick myself and it's worked charms on impressionable fantasy minds.

 

But one of things I've learned with speaking with game developers and novelists is that the consumers on the sneakiest, most cunning bastards on the planet. They'll catch things you've never assumed could be drawn from it or they'll break your game like a Gallagher in a warehouse of watermelons.

 

I am wondering of course how you're going to rein in the plot. Just how important can your character be to the world? No spoilers needed but of course too much importance will be crazy-hard to effectively balance with the ignominious ending you also hint it.

 

 

Hmm, can't say I've ever had that problem with readers/players before - probably because I usually deconstruct the story backwards from what would be considered spoilers then think of what their typical assumptions would be. Then I encourage (or at least don't discourage) thinking along the lines of these false assumptions, while still keeping true to the story lore and probability. This usually increases the shock-factor when an aspect of the plot is revealed.

 

But really, I probably never think as deep as that when writing. Usually I only think as deep as 'hey, this would be neat, probable and probably unexpected'. It's worked so far at least. If I constantly made the obvious the least likely, that too would become a cliche.

 

But you know what? I hate when individuals are central to a plot by virtue of being PCs, either in campaigns or in video games. And I'd like to think this is reflected in Ortus - we're not building a game, we're building a world for you to play in. This world would exist independently of you - and you can impact it how you wish. I think this approach is why it's so easy to write multiple endings for the script where you are either very important or not.

 

I'm probably not being clear; an example would be the Guardian of Northern Candor - the ruler of a vast state the size of a kingdom in Ortus. Now in some RPGs, you would automatically gain audience with him for being the main player.

 

In Ortus, this is not the case. The game senses you have below 50 Reputation, therefore you cannot continue the plot (at least via talking to him) without doing acts that catch his notice. Whatever these acts are, are up to you. These acts might be immoral behind the scenes, but publically people might think you're the cat's meow.

 

So in a sense you 'earn' your importance just as you would in reality. I guess another good example how you can be both pivotal and ignominious in an ending would be historical figures who shaped nations but in the end faded into obscurity because of circumstance.

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Some random snapshots, all these are pre-beta and subject to change. We'll probably have actual battle footage later this month, since we're putting the final touches on that engine. The PC character can already look way better than this generic baldy :blush:

 

299555_237574542950727_176135149094667_670222_1842418_n.jpg

 

305470_265146130193568_176135149094667_754767_106187100_n.jpg

 

Gerrod.jpg

 

3houses_1.jpg

 

Screenie33.jpg

 

Screenie334.jpg

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