Azathoth Wakes: An Opera out of Space

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Azathoth Wakes: An Opera out of Space

#1 Post by Claretta » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:53 am

Image

Bigger image: http://i.imgur.com/dJzLgNY.jpg

The Dreamers Wake

In 2025, the Dreamers—Lovecraftian gods of nightmares, are awakening. As Templar Force-Marshall you must stop the inevitable before reality is destroyed, and along the way deal with a pesky invasion of England by US Military-backed Illuminati intent on the same goal. The Dreamers Wake is a fully-voiced strategy game that combines gameplay influenced by the war table and war assets of Dragon Age: Inquisition and Mass Effect 3, with an engaging story and 80% of the humor of Monkey Island. It features professional art and sound design, and has three totally different color-coded endings (that's a joke. I haven't actually written the endings yet. :p ).

Aesthetically, it's a cross between a visual novel and an interactive War of the Worlds-style audiobook (which was the effect I was going for with the narration and music). I do apologise for all the artifacts in the images here - the game is made for widescreen monitors and does not display particularly well at 800px width.

But you can watch a short video demo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plg-hBv ... e=youtu.be

(Uses WIP assets, so there are some obvious graphical errors and the voices have since been rerecorded - these are the actors' first takes.)

Image


Features
  1. Strategic gameplay influenced by Dragon Age Inquisition and Mass Effect 3
  2. Fully voiced narration, inspired by War of the Worlds
  3. Original soundtrack
  4. Professional art
  5. Parody humor

Setting

The game is set in an underground bunker from which you direct the war effort. You have several advisers you can consult with, each residing in the 4 main locations inside the bunker of War Room, Library, Armoury, and Barracks. Here is the armoury from where you can upgrade agents and trade loot on the Occult Black Market, and chat with a rather sarcastic and insubordinate armourer. Capt. Felicia Chambers here is one of the game's main characters, and is a very strong female character, and is the source of much of the game's humour.

The setting is a parody of the MMO The Secret World. It also has lots of other parodies in it, including parodies of Mass Effect and movies. I wanted to make a strategy game where players are laughing all the way through.

Image

Bigger image: http://i.imgur.com/flqAWM2.jpg



Gameplay

Gameplay is a combination of the Dragon Age Inquisition Wartable and the Mass Effect 3 War Assets systems, wrapped up in a War of the Worlds-esque audiobook style presentation (so much war...). Every day you send agents out on missions, and must decide whether to send your agents alone - weaker but not risking war assets, or to support them with your assets. Successful missions give loot that boost one of the three agent stats of Firepower, Tactical, or Occult, or a new war asset unit. You can keep loot for your agents or exchange it on the Occult Black Market for other units.

Every turn the Lucidity counter will rise, which is a measure of the Dreamers' wakefulness. At the end of the game you must exit your bunker and go on one, final mission to silence the Dreamers. How strong your forces are relative to the Dreamers will determine if you are successful, or not.


Image

Bigger image: http://i.imgur.com/9zExoXz.jpg


Research Investigations


Like any good strategy game, The Dreamers Wake has a tech tree, though this one is unlocked by solving puzzles. To solve these puzzles you need to ask advisers about particular research paths by finding hidden nouns in the text that correspond to clues. Each investigation is introduced by a cutscene parodying a movie, such as this one where a Templar agent appears on TV and everyone is left really, really confused at all his ranting.



Image

Bigger image: http://i.imgur.com/zti4Dw6.jpg

Image

Bigger image: http://i.imgur.com/J5xUBcQ.jpg

Demo release

The demo of the game will be released in October. Currently this is a non-commercial game.
Last edited by Claretta on Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:59 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#2 Post by Claretta » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:52 pm

Here are the four character sprites. Some edge artifacting happened in posting these, sorry!

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Adviser Marek, who gives you briefings in the War Room. He continues the fine The Secret World tradition of Vulcan cameos.


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Capt. Felicia Chambers, Cambridge-educated, insubordinate armourer you'll find in the Armoury. She advises on all the equipment you assign agents and handles transactions on the black market. Is highly sarcastic.


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Agent Dutch, unfortunately representative of Templar Agents. Uses a rifle and elementalism fire magic, which he focuses through cigars. His goggles let him see in the infra-red spectrum.


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Sir David Hornblower, Templar Librarian and narrator of comma-laden, BBC, documentaries, including the new Templar PR initiative "The Secret World Around Us". You'll find him in, the library, where he, gives information to solve, investigations.

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#3 Post by Claretta » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:39 pm

One of the CGs in the game. The bunker setting is broken up by more epic cinematics drawn in this style illustrating the war, with full sound effects and voicing. This is The Ur Lurker.

Image

This is probably a different format to what's usually posted on these forums. It has many visual novel stylings, but has a more traditional audiobook delivery format. It's a bit of a genre experiment.

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#4 Post by Googaboga » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:30 am

This seems very interesting and I look forward to being able to try it out when I can :3. Good luck with everything, I hope it all works out!

I love the art/presentation by the way.
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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#5 Post by Claretta » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:19 am

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it.

The other claim to fame this game has is it's made with a supercharged version of Twine. I took Twine and injected a large amount of Javascript and CSS into it, making it basically a real visual novel engine. When it gets released, it will likely be the most advanced Twine game ever made. A gradiose claim, but one I feel confident in.

I should update the first post though (I didn't eactly do a great job describing it). It'd be much simpler for me to describe this as a point and click adventure game, as that's basically what it is, just a rather text heavy version. The investigation mechanics are basically point and click puzzles.

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#6 Post by Noire » Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:03 am

Wow, absolutely epic artwork! And Lovecraft! It looks awesome!

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#7 Post by llamamama » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:09 am

Really digging the presentation! Especially the character art.

I like the idea of the war table - it's always fascinated me in Inquisition, will your war table be in realtime or will results happen instantaneously?

Either way looking forward to the demo and see what you do with this concept!

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#8 Post by Claretta » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:39 am

It's turn based. Closest existing example is Long Live The Queen.

Every turn you have 2 missions to choose between. Choosing either one will advance the clock by 24 hours to a new day, upon which you'll receive the results of your actions, including rewards like new loot or units, and a new set of missions will pop up.

So every day you have two main choices:

1. Which mission to go on
2. What to send on the mission. E.g. you might send your agents alone, or you might send them in with a gunship squadron if you needed the air support. But you always must send in agents, and only have 1 squad, which is why you need to choose between two missions in the first place.

So choice 2 makes it more than a simple branched narrative. If you make a poor choice on what forces to send, then you might fail the mission, and once you fail the mission that's it, clock advances anyway and you don't get a reward. Some choices which might boost success chances may either cost you war assets or might advance the strength of the dreamers faster. Example is if you choose to go out personally on missions, you'll receive a large boost since you're an uber-powerful semi-angel, but your mages need to expend more energy on keeping your presence hidden from airstrikes and the like, meaning less magic available to counter the dreamers so they wake faster, making the final fight more difficult.

Similarly, if you just choose to load up missions with everything you have, you'll quickly deplete your war assets. Agents have the unique ability to return from the dead with magic so they're basically invincible, encouraging you to use only them where possible. The best outcome comes from sending just enough forces to complete the mission but not too many that you're overcommitting reserves you need for the final fight.

Ultimately it's very much a puzzle game maybe along the lines of Long Live the Queen. That's the visual novel that most directly applies here. You make choices every day ultimately to try and maintain forces for the final mission at the end of the month.

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#9 Post by Claretta » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:01 am

Here are two music tracks from the game. Full release will have a 10-track soundtrack album. Because this is inspired by War of the Worlds, I wanted awesome music to accompany the narration, but not too awesome that it stopped you thinking...






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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#10 Post by Rinima » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:51 am

Omg tht art is astounding! (also, Lovecraft is pretty cool as well)
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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#11 Post by Claretta » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:16 am

Been mostly doing more and more voice editing, getting it to AAA quality. AAA-quality voicing and sound is going to be one of this game's main selling points. Will be promoting it more as an adventure game than strategy. Strategy is just a unique mechanic it brings to the adventure genre.

Here is an example (though it's mixed a little loud):


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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#12 Post by Claretta » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:47 am

I'm writing Monday development updates every week, but forgot to update this thread yesterday.


Image


(Proportions look kinda weird at small sizes... at a standard widescreen size this actually looks good being slightly off center.)

Monday Development Update

This week I'm implementing the investigation Once More Unto The Breach, Dear Chuck, which is a puzzle that introduces one of the main antagonists, "John", a disembodied entity. This investigation has been significantly expanded. It has 5 tiers for each of two (exclusive) reward paths, so that's a total of 10 possible tiers. You can solve each path concurrently up to the final tier, but when you get to the final tier of each you'll have a strong indication of the reward as you narrow it down. So before you tell your advisers to implement a chosen solution, you need to be careful and assess the investigation against the current strategic situation.

This investigation is solved by decoding Charlie Sheen quotes (they're strangely relevant to Lovecraft and also extremely hilarious - he talks of breaches and not being from this terrestrial realm and everything). I've thought a lot about the investigation mechanics and am tightening them to make sure they're fun and not too moon logic-y.

I've also decided to promote this game more as a point-and-click puzzle game. It doesn't have the strategic "depth" of a true strategy game like AI War or Civilization, but with the voice acting and pop culture humour it's closer to Monkey Island, so that's the comparison I'm more interested in drawing. It's basically designed as one big meta puzzle of how to get through the final mission, interspersed with lots of smaller puzzles in the form of investigations. People who love point and click games will definitely love TDW, so I'm making sure it falls squarely in that niche, with the use of some innovative aspects like the text presentation and strategy to set it apart.

I've also gotten new art done for the Occult Tech Tree, but it's one of the funnier pieces in the game, so I don't want to spoil the laugh when it appears. The previous piece was creative commons, but I failed to spot a little fine print of "Not for games because I have moral objections to creative commons art in games". Which is wtf, but whatever. So instead I'm using a piece of original art drawn by one of my cutscene artists.

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#13 Post by Claretta » Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:41 am

Title screen, music and achievements:


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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#14 Post by Claretta » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:05 pm

agentfiring.png
Pew pew pew – One of the Mission Success! backgrounds

These pieces are influenced by the classic XCOM style of single-character action shots. They’re fairly simple as text is overlayed directly on top, but bring the game alive more in the same way as they were used in XCOM.


Monday Development Update: Innovating in the Adventure Genre

Well the past week has seen my 33rd birthday come and go. And I’ve put a lot of thought into answering the “So what?” question. Why should anyone care about The Dreamers Wake?

I’m excited for this game because it does some original and innovative things in the Adventure genre, despite being a parody. Take the investigation mechanic where you have multiple paths through each investigation. Most adventure games are a series of linear puzzles. You solve one, then you move on to the next. Even if a game has branches, the puzzles within a branch are still linear: Just a series of roadblocks. Boring.

By incorporating a strategy layer to contain its puzzles, The Dreamers Wake puts more choice into the puzzles. Not only do you have to solve the individual puzzle, but you also have to choose which puzzle to solve in the first place. This is what I meant when I wrote above "when you get to the final tier of each you'll have a strong indication of the reward as you narrow it down."

The rewards from different investigation paths are not equal – they’re designed to be good for different missions, which you’ll see in the Once More Unto The Breach, Dear Chuck investigation. Two thematically similar rewards, but what they do is very different. One is tactical and defensive, while the other is offensive. Use one on a mission suited to the other and you’ll fail.

Once you’ve chosen the investigation to solve, this then requires you to be careful about what missions you undertake, since it’s very easy to lose your hard-won investigation rewards if you blow them on the wrong missions. Some missions will be extremely difficult if you chose the alternate investigation reward.


Every decision matters

The second innovation is something seen more often in AAA RPGs rather than adventure games. The Dreamers Wake rapid fires decisions at you and every one of them matters for the end game, just like every small action in an RTS contributes to your victory. There are no forked paths in the game – the broader plot stays focused, but throughout it’s an onslaught of tiny decisions that shape your forces for the finale.

Contributing to this feel is the RTS soundtrack that drives the game along, and not to mention the “poke unit” buttons. I wanted to evoke the feel of playing an RTS in adventure game format.

You’re running a clandestine operation so don’t influence the broader course of the war. Instead you prepare a special force for what comes at the end while the rest of the Templars duke it out with the Illuminati. Presumably the Illuminati are doing the same thing.

This focuses the game away from a forked path model and into a systems model, which is key to being able to present so many decision points and still keep the scope tight.

tokenalliances.png
Diplomacy missions give additional choices to tailor your force makeup. On this day you choose whether to go on a combat or diplomacy mission. If on combat, you then choose the forces to deploy. If on diplomacy, you choose the faction to support.

Having innovative mechanics like this gets me really excited for making the game and I think it will be appreciated by the Adventure gaming crowd that are always looking to see how their genre are evolving. From the outset I wanted to do something new and push the genre forward (there’s only so many classic remake Kickstarters one can stomach).


With all this in mind, I’ve refined the game’s selling points

The Dreamers Wake is an adventure game with:

• High quality professional voice acting and sound design
• Innovative strategic puzzle mechanic – don’t just solve the puzzles as linear roadblocks, but make decisions on which puzzles are important to accomplish your goals and ignore the rest
• High-definition 2D art supporting resolutions up to 2560 x 1600
• Original RTS-style soundtrack
• Lots of pop culture humor in the style of Monkey Island

These five points are what will excite people about the game. It is a parody, but it also has a lot more going for it as well.

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Re: The Dreamers Wake [Strategy] [Lovecraft] [Parody] [Voice

#15 Post by wayward » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:17 pm

This really looks good. ur lurker is awesome, that is exactly how i think monsters should be: monstrous.

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