Darkfall Developer Journal #2: The Video

In their second in a series of bi-weekly developer journals, Tasos Flambouras discusses the recent gameplay video that made the rounds. You can first watch this video here

Darkfall Developer Journal #2: The Video

In this journal I’d like to pass on some information and developer commentary about the latest Darkfall video. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can get it here.

The video was made from internal testing gameplay footage we took using Fraps. Ricki and Henning spent the most time on it, which wasn’t more than a few hours. Panayiotis, our sound engineer, wrote the music. The test builds we use are optimized for testing and not all elements of the game are enabled in them. The footage consists of highlights from developers testing on older test builds. Darkfall is in a more advanced state at the moment. The graphics for the video footage are set to “default” which means that you’re not seeing dynamic shadows, among other things.

Two different regions are shown in the video. BT Oren describes them:

“Monkfield lies just west of Sanguine, the human capital. A walled mining village called Longstowe lies in the heart of this region, in the in the shadow of the majestic, snow-clad Hermitage mountains. Elsewhere in this mountain range, a dwarven village clings to a narrow plateau among cloudy peaks, while goblins have carved out a precarious home on the steep northern slopes. Away from the mountains, Monkfield is dominated by sparsely wooded, grassy plains which are home to a rich variety of game, as well as a small but vicious tribe of gnolls.

The Stormcove Islands is an archipelago in the Mirrorsea, which lies west of Agon’s main continent. The largest of these islands is home to Threshold, a bustling freeport which welcomes visitors of all races and moral inclinations. On a less hospitable note, the Stormcoves are home to several tribes of hobgoblins which were recently united by an ambitious warlord, and a necromancer who is disturbing the dead of a long-ruined dwarven colony.”

We see three different mounts, the horse, the death pig, and I believe we catch a glimpse of the garmir. In one scene the mounts are crossing a river and they are actually swimming across. In another, you see the death pig doing a frontal attack.

There are four character races shown in the video, the ones missing here are the Mirdain and the Alfar. Both are done but they didn’t exist in the test builds. We’ll showcase them properly in the future.

We can see a great variety of armors and weapons being used and mixed in with other items. Even so, these are developers playing around and they don’t go to great lengths to pimp out their characters, they’ll just throw on whatever.

The fighting starts with a human and an ork fighting outside a gate. Some of you get this scene, and it was nice to see that. The human character uses distance well, anticipates the ork’s miscalculated attack, moving out of his striking range, and then moves back in for the hit as the ork misses and overextends. This scene, while very commonplace in Darkfall melee combat, illustrates what we mean by Darkfall real-time combat. You see a simple example of player skill and timing at work. Henning wanted me to point out that there is much more than the hack and slash attacks you get to see here, many different skills and special attacks that come into play which weren’t enabled in the test builds.

We can also see some fast paced and seemingly chaotic FFA combat. It’s not that chaotic if you’re in it. Sure you can just swing wildly and hope that you’ll connect to something but that’s not going to put you on top as we notice with the orkish-human duel we see earlier in the video.

You may realize the precision and purpose of the human female character killing the ork standing in her way using dual wield daggers as she moves off to her next target which is standing behind. The well-placed exploding firebolt spell blowing two opponents apart is used like that for maximum damage. They continue moving apart on their own, both on fire, as they keep taking damage by the explosions. You may also notice a couple of human characters working together to box in a couple of orks which they kill.

In the naval combat scenes we notice several types of ships including a pretty large one which can hold more than 30 cannons. This is not our largest one. Kjetil likes to describe the largest ship we have as being “as large as a Quake level.” We see naval attacks on the coast, a coastal dragon cannon firing against the ships, a fireball slamming into one of the ships, ships smoking, and one sinking. When a ship sinks, the passengers get to swim. Those inside the ship have to swim out or drown trapped. Henning also wanted me to mention that the ship’s sinking animation does have many more effects to it than what we see in this video. We see an ork running to man the helm of one ship and in another scene a boarding party taking hold of another one.

The mounted combat scene where the human rider seems to be a bit too far to achieve the hit on the ork rider, Claus explains is because the striking distance, and swing radius values are a bit high at the moment for testing purposes.

The cannonball graphics you see are placeholders, and Kjetil explains that per-pixel motion blur, not enabled in the testing, makes it look good.

Claus explains that the cannon’s rate of fire is indeed higher for testing, and that the load time will be activated in beta and well balanced for release. In the first person cannon scene where it appears that the cannon is firing repeatedly, there are two rows of cannons below the one we see firing and more on each side, which are also firing, as well as cannonballs hitting, all of these shaking the ship so it’s hard to say what’s going on.

Ricki explains that the slight choppiness some people reported about in the battle scenes, doesn’t exist in the game and the perceived choppiness might have something to do with recording / playback issues. We’re running in debug mode but we’re still getting really good framerate.

We’re glad you enjoyed the video. Claus had pointed out that this is a very small hint to intensity, fun, and action possible within the Darkfall combat system. There’s so much more to Darkfall, and now that we’re at a much better position to produce video fairly quickly, we’ll follow up with another one as time permits.

Tasos Flambouras
Associate Producer – Dakfall

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