The horns sound, the ravens gather. An empire is torn by civil war. Beyond its borders, new kingdoms rise. Gird on your sword, don your armour, summon your followers and ride forth to win glory on the battlefields of Calradia. Establish your hegemony and create a new world out of the ashes of the old.
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14 juni

Dev Blog 14/06/18



Greetings warriors of Calradia!

Should you enter, let’s say, a castle for the first time, you would get lost in minutes. The debris of that ruined tower would not have fallen so handily as to be climbable to the top. The path to the Lord of the castle would not be perfectly illuminated with torches which leave empty, useless halls in darkness. And, should you enter a real battle, there wouldn’t be overturned carts conveniently distributed so you can move from one cover to the next. This is because there is a big (and obvious) difference between real life and video games: life doesn’t have to be fun. A level designer’s work is to create these set pieces where you live your great adventures: places and landscapes that present just the right amount of challenge, which, at times, guides you like an invisible, subtle hand, and evens the scales so that every fighter on the battlefield has a fair chance. In this week’s blog, we talk with Gökçen “Cuce” Karaağaç, one of our level designers, who will explain more about his job and what he is doing for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord.


NAME
Gökçen Karaağaç

FROM
İstanbul (Turkey)

JOINED TALEWORLDS
2016

EDUCATION
İstanbul Bilgi University, Visual Communication Design

OFFICIAL JOB DESCRIPTION
Level Designer

WHAT DO YOU NORMALLY DO DURING YOUR DAY?
Most of my time is spent on working with our scene editor. I bounce around between our engine and campaign teams depending on if we are working on new features or redesigning or polishing existing features.

In addition to this, there is always constant progress with multiplayer. I make new maps or improve existing ones, join combat-related tests, gather feedback, watch people play and make improvements for the next test.




WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT BANNERLORD?
Sieges! They bring together so many things that are unique to Mount and Blade, and with Bannerlord they become quite the spectacle. Sieges are the climax of your efforts in the campaign. When you are attacking you see the army you painstakingly built up slowly melt away as you approach the walls to claim your prize. As a defender, you fight to hold on to the gains you made after months of fighting and diplomacy. Sieges are where you see the result of your campaign efforts most clearly.

WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT THING THAT YOU SOLVED SO FAR, DURING THE PRODUCTION OF BANNERLORD?
Cavalry and foot interactions on multiplayer maps are what trouble me the most. When cavalry units can move at 4x the speed of foot units but are less manoeuvrable, while foot units have a perfect turn rate and can traverse tight corridors and sharp corners with ease, things tend to get a little complicated. On top of that, when you have horse archers, throwing weapons and 6 factions with different mounts, you have quite a few things to think about.

An area could be just large enough so that a heavy Vlandian knight can manoeuvre around enemy spearmen but still get punished for his mistakes, while the same area might be wide enough for the nimble Khuzait horse archer to stay completely out of reach. Likewise, swift Aserai light cavalry could just zip through one opening to another, barely exposing themselves while charging down enemy infantry. And while all of these things are all great for depth of gameplay, they could also be extremely frustrating if players can abuse them.

So, in pretty much every map, we try to add multiple elements to create fun interactions between cavalry and infantry: ditches to disrupt cavalry charges, serpentine corridors to slow them down, small fences that only cavalry can jump over, paths that are too time-consuming for infantry to use, etc.

I can’t say this issue is solved yet, but it is satisfying to work on! I often find myself tweaking a corner so that cavalry can approach from one angle but not the other, or by adding a place for a crafty spearman to hide and ambush unsuspecting horse archers.


WHAT DO YOU CURRENTLY WORK ON?
Nowadays I’m working on the world map; creating settlements and adding details. It’s a process I do together with our 3D Artist, Umit. That being said, most of my time is still dedicated to my work on multiplayer maps, and with creating new castle and city scenes.

This week I worked on this Sturgian coastal city:




WHAT FACTION DO YOU LIKE THE MOST IN BANNERLORD?
Khuzait: they offer the most of what is unique about Mount & Blade.

Aesthetically they have a great contrast to the other factions, with wide open maps, sparse landscapes, stunted horses, and eastern clothing. They play their part of invaders from a faraway land really well.

As you grow your army, you can see your horde riding towards the enemy, kicking up dust and filling the air with arrows. Soon after, the organised battle lines of your more sedentary rivals fall into chaos.

Also, a nomadic collective of tribes ploughing through a disorganised empire is just the nature of the early medieval times.


WILL BANNERLORD FEATURE A USER-FRIENDLY SCENARIO EDITOR?
Yes! Modders will have access to pretty much what I’m using right now. Only, it will be more robust and have a prettier and streamlined interface.

WHAT IMPROVEMENTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO RANDOMLY GENERATED BATTLE SCENES COMPARED TO WARBAND?
We don’t have randomly generated battle scenes in Bannerlord. With our new engine and new map editing tools, we are much more efficient at making terrains with no settlements on them. We realised that we can have enough handmade maps for battle scenes. We designated areas on the world map with biomes and tagged our battle scenes according to their features.

This helps us to have consistent quality and fun gameplay with all of our battle scenes, with hand placed spawn positions, managed distances according to party size and many other small details to spice up your gameplay.


WHAT IS THE LEVEL DESIGN PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH AND HOW DO YOU CREATE LEVEL DESIGN VARIETY FOR BOTH MULTIPLAYER AND SINGLE PLAYER?
The process varies quite a bit depending on the type of the scene I’m making.

In our previous blog about castle design, you can see me going from ground up with a simple sketch while building a castle, deciding on various details as I make the map while trying to keep true to the vision I had in mind. It is mostly adding new buildings and walking around the map, checking the sense of scale and travel times. When the overall colour palette of the castle and terrain come together, I start to add details and scripts that turn the empty husk into a siege scene.

In comparison, multiplayer follows a completely form follows function approach. It’s theorycrafting, multiple versions of white boxes, as many tests as we can muster, people climbing places they shouldn’t, calculating travel times with various troop types, checking for possible spawn camping issues, the list goes on... At some point, you grow more confident about the layout and start to flesh it out with actual assets. We emphasise control points, differentiate one side of the map from the other, visually hide symmetry of the map, add landmarks for callouts, and many other small but significant details. We also try to make the visuals match the purpose (if a corridor lets you flank a choke point, it should be tight and dark, with small corners to create surprises). As always, the map making process ends with testing and polishing.




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7 juni

Dev Blog 07/06/18



Greetings warriors of Calradia!

Animation is a complex and well-developed art with a long story, even longer than cinematography. Creating animations for a video game might look similar than doing it for a film or TV show, but it’s actually quite different – and much more complex. An animated character in a video game is not linear: it has to answer to the players’ feedback, be it because you should be able to direct its movement (if it’s the protagonist) or because it responds to your decisions (if it’s an NPC). Thus, on top of the artistic work, there is a technical side of things to make them look and feel natural, transitioning seamlessly from one animation to the next. And in a game such as Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, where combat is so important, animation plays a key role in its gameplay: it gives you the visual feedback that you need in order to fight effectively, letting you know (in a subtle way) what your opponent is about to do. This is why Olcay’s work is so important, and today he will share with us some details about what he is doing for Bannerlord.


NAME
Olcay Mancılıkçılar

FROM
Bursa (Turkey)

JOINED TALEWORLDS
2013

EDUCATION
Uludağ University - Computer Technologies and Software Development

OFFICIAL JOB DESCRIPTION
Animator / Technical Animator

WHAT DO YOU NORMALLY DO DURING YOUR DAY?
These days, I spend my time cleaning up the motion capture data which we recorded for our town and village NPC's. I make sure that all the animations look realistic, clear and blend well together with the other animations.



WHAT DO YOU LIKE THE MOST ABOUT BANNERLORD?
The most important thing that differentiates Bannerlord from other similar games is that it contains a large number of features. While you can be limited by what you can do in most medieval games, Bannerlord is like a combination of other games which contains lots of sandbox content. I also like the unique combat system of Bannerlord. It's really fun to play and hard to master.

WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT THING THAT YOU SOLVED SO FAR, DURING THE PRODUCTION OF BANNERLORD?
It's definitely the two-handed animations. Actually making the animations was not the challenging part. What made it difficult was to adjust the animations for our combat system, which has lots of complicated features working together to give the players best Mount & Blade combat experience.

Another challenge was creating a dynamic rig and animations for our new mount, the camel. Our camel skeleton supports a dynamic neck and tail which helps us to create more realistic animations.




WHAT DO YOU CURRENTLY WORK ON?
Currently, I'm working on our new NPC animations. We are focused on animating different types of NPCs to create a living atmosphere in the game. This could be something as simple as seeing NPCs drinking and eating in a tavern or tending to crops in a village, but it goes a long way in making the world feel more alive.

WHAT FACTION DO YOU LIKE THE MOST IN BANNERLORD?
Khuzait, because of their horse archers (which I like to play most!).

HOW DO ANIMATIONS IMPACT ON GAMEPLAY BALANCING?
Since the animations are the visual result of the gameplay system, they are very important and have a large impact on balancing.

As you know, Mount & Blade has unique and responsive combat mechanics. Everything in our combat system depends on timing, speed and readability.

This is where the animations come into play. We make sure that every attack can be read by the player and their opponent. We do a lot of playtests and adjust each of the animations to increase the visibility of each attack.


WILL MODDERS BE ABLE TO USE SKELETONS AND ANIMATIONS THAT USE A DIFFERENT AMOUNT OF BONES THAN THE HUMAN OR HORSE SKELETONS?
Yes, they will definitely be able to use different types of skeletons! For example, our new camel mount has a brand new skeleton and animations which we easily added to our engine.

We try to make sure that modders will be able to add any type of skeletons and creatures to our engine without having any issues.


WILL WE BE ABLE TO ADD CUSTOM ANIMATIONS TO A CUSTOM ACTION?
Yes, you will be able to add custom actions and animations!



In next week’s blog we will be talking to Level Designer, Gökçen “Cuce” Karaağaç. If you have any questions you would like to ask him, please leave a reply in the comments and we will pick one out for him to answer.

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Over dit spel

The horns sound, the ravens gather. An empire is torn by civil war. Beyond its borders, new kingdoms rise. Gird on your sword, don your armour, summon your followers and ride forth to win glory on the battlefields of Calradia. Establish your hegemony and create a new world out of the ashes of the old.

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is the eagerly awaited sequel to the acclaimed medieval combat simulator and role-playing game Mount & Blade: Warband. Set 200 years before, it expands both the detailed fighting system and the world of Calradia. Bombard mountain fastnesses with siege engines, establish secret criminal empires in the back alleys of cities, or charge into the thick of chaotic battles in your quest for power.

SIEGE GAMEPLAY
Construct, position and fire a range of heavy machinery in sieges that will test your wits and skill like never before. Experience epic, sprawling combat across ramparts and rubble as you desperately hold on to your castle or seek to seize one from the enemy.

Historically authentic defensive structures offer the ultimate medieval warfare experience, as you batter a rival's gate with your ram or burn his siege tower to ashes. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord lets you live every moment of a chaotic battle through the eyes of a single soldier.

DIPLOMACY
Engage in diplomacy, with meaningful consequences that impact the world. Strike historic peace deals that win land for your kingdom or free you to take on a new foe. An all-new barter system gives players flexibility in cementing deals, from marriage offers to treason pacts, offering all the options available to NPCs. Use a new influence system to direct your faction's energies or strangle the aspirations of a rival.

SANDBOX ECONOMY
See the availability of goods ebb and flow in a simulated feudal economy, where the price of everything from incense to warhorses fluctuates with supply and demand. Invest in farms and workshops, or turn anarchy to your advantage by being the first to bring grain to a starving town after a siege or reopening a bandit-plagued caravan route.

CRAFTING
Craft your own weapon, name it and carry it with you to the field of battle! A deep, physics-based system gives each weapon you create a unique set of attributes, strengths and weaknesses. Forge a finely-tuned killing machine to match your own prowess and complement your play-style, or take the sword of your enemy and brandish it as a trophy of war.

MODDING
The engine and tools used to develop Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord are being made available to the community, so that modders can re-interpret Calradia or create their own worlds! Players can now combine different mods, making it easier than ever to play the game of your dreams.

ENGINE
An all-new tailor-made game engine, developed in-house to fulfill the unique needs of the series, offers the perfect balance of performance and graphical fidelity, scalable with the power of your hardware.

Experience Mount & Blade with richer, more beautiful graphics than ever, immersing you in the world of Calradia, rendering the game's magnificent battles with equally spectacular detail.

Systeemeisen

    Minimum:
    • Processor: Intel i3-2100 / AMD FX-6300
    • Geheugen: 4 GB RAM
    • Grafische kaart: Intel HD 4600 / Nvidia GT730 / AMD R7 240
    • Opslagruimte: 40 GB beschikbare ruimte
    • Aanvullende opmerkingen: These estimates may change during final release
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