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  #1  
Unread 01-11-2014, 03:25 PM
Arlie Rahn Arlie Rahn is offline
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Default Grey Dog Software Announces "Imperium: Arena of Death" - Dev Journal

Grey Dog Software is pleased to announce the launch of a brand new title, "Imperium: Arena of Death". Designed and developed by Derek DiBenedetto, Imperium is a unique career-based sim that takes place in a world of bloody gladiator battles, kings and shadowy pacts where you guide a team of 3 gladiators on their quest for victory.

Use your influence to buy them advantages and your cash to spread the word about your warriors glory, send them on Soul Quests to build their skills, or train them in the disciplines of your choosing. Watch as they compete in ultra-detailed matches and even influence their aggressiveness before and during the match, use illicit means to give them a leg up, and deal with the effects of injuries and age.

More information on this exciting new title will be revealed over the coming weeks.
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  #2  
Unread 01-11-2014, 04:25 PM
Derek DiBenedetto Derek DiBenedetto is offline
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I'll be using this thread as a temporary Development Journal as the game progresses for screenshots, details and feature analysis. I'm excited about how this is shaping up, but since the project is only about 70-75% complete, it could and may change over the next few weeks leading up to Alpha and Beta testing. Comments, etc are of course always welcomed. I'll be posting a current update in the next hour or so.
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  #3  
Unread 01-11-2014, 05:22 PM
SlytornSpacer SlytornSpacer is offline
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Absolutely excited about this! I've actually been waiting for a game like this. I think they're a very untapped subject. Along with Samurai and Mobsters. Really looking forward to playing this. It sounds like injuries will have lasting effects, even after they've healed. I've always loved injury systems in game. I feel like they bring out a certain amount of realism that some games lack.

Last edited by SlytornSpacer : 01-11-2014 at 05:32 PM. Reason: Adding content
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  #4  
Unread 01-11-2014, 05:37 PM
Trev3454 Trev3454 is offline
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I've always been really fascinated with gladiatorial combat and the people involved in the arena and behind the scenes, so this is very exciting news to me. I really like Arcadia: Guild of Heroes so I'm excited to see what you have in store for us this time around Derek.

It's early days of course, but I may be telling you to shut up and take my money in a bit.
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  #5  
Unread 01-11-2014, 09:59 PM
Derek DiBenedetto Derek DiBenedetto is offline
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It's best to start at the beginning with this one.

Imperium: AOD is based on an old game of mine (about 8 years ago or so) called Coliseum, which had a similar concept. I designed it at a time in my life where I really was burned out from game design (i'd made 6 games in the previous 3 years) and I had little money or time to really test it the way I wanted to. Not an excuse, I know, but...as they say, it is what it is. It was reviewed poorly (it did make it to PC Gamer and Computer Gaming World - the latter gave it 2 1/2 out of 4 stars actually), and that combined with publisher apathy caused a spiral for the game that was impossible to stop.

The game was originally published by a indie publisher I shall not name, who basically sat on their hands and did little with it promotion wise (with predictably poor sales), and after my contract with them was up, they passed me back the rights to the game again, and I put it away for safe keeping, wondering what I could do with it down the road. I had to perform a rare "post-mortem" for me, which are always bruising to the ego.

Among the reasons it failed, IMO: slow season pace/seasons too long, poor graphics on many of the screens, and some game issues and imbalances around the "enchantments", gambling on matches and deaths that I realized after people played it for awhile. I sought to rectify all of those issues with my "reboot", so to speak. I read every negative review regarding the gameplay I could find and tried my best to correct and rebalance the game.

I'll be posting more and more about the game as it approaches Alpha, and trying to put screenshots, progress reports and details about my thinking behind game decisions. Comments are welcomed of course.
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  #6  
Unread 01-12-2014, 02:57 AM
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Capelli King Capelli King is offline
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I remember playing a game called Coliseum. I think there was a second version of it as well. I made my own game (Lordempires.com) and i know how tough it can be. There is so many things to think about and you need a crap load of money (well it was a crap load for me).

Lets hope you pull off a winner here.
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  #7  
Unread 01-12-2014, 12:53 PM
Antonin Antonin is offline
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I have a few questions.

Why does the player have only 3 gladiators? From the description, this doesn't sound like a game where you are managing a gladiator school or guild.

How much of a fantasy element is there? Are there magical spells? What is a "Soul Quest"?

I'm interested in gladiator game that deals more with gladiator combat as it was historically. It sounds from the description like this game would not be my cup of tea, but I thought I should at least ask.
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  #8  
Unread 01-12-2014, 01:03 PM
Derek DiBenedetto Derek DiBenedetto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonin View Post
I have a few questions.

Why does the player have only 3 gladiators? From the description, this doesn't sound like a game where you are managing a gladiator school or guild.

How much of a fantasy element is there? Are there magical spells? What is a "Soul Quest"?

I'm interested in gladiator game that deals more with gladiator combat as it was historically. It sounds from the description like this game would not be my cup of tea, but I thought I should at least ask.
It's 3 gladiators mainly because a single gladiator's record is used to determine whether they make the "championship" round or not. If there were too many gladiators, odds are you would never compile enough wins to make it.

Many of the "fantasy" elements have been removed now from this version. It now is "favors" that you purchase (no magic spells), such as watering a certain section of the sand to create mud to slow the other warrior down, or making their shoes fall apart during a match, etc, "rigging" a match so to speak, that are secretly planned by shadowy figures using your Influence points, making it closer to the historical feel of gladiator matches.

Soul Quests are basically a way to send away a warrior to explore the lands and "find himself", gaining experience, gold and probably ability points in the process. The downside is he would be unavailable until he returned from the Quest, unlike War School Training, which is a little slower, but you have better control over his availability. You can precisely target certain stats with training as well, such as Agility, Strength, etc.
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  #9  
Unread 01-12-2014, 08:13 PM
Antonin Antonin is offline
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@ Derek - Hmm. Well, whether or not the game is "historical" enough to appeal to a middle-aged gamer like me, I hope it will please a large audience. Grey Dog is a nice company and you are in good hands with them.

I hope all of your work with them is successful.
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  #10  
Unread 01-13-2014, 02:10 AM
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RayW RayW is offline
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Woah, I'm away for a few days, and this happens. Well done Derek, looking forward to this one.
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  #11  
Unread 01-13-2014, 01:23 PM
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BYU 14 BYU 14 is offline
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I think a lot of us who knew of, or played the original are looking forward to this. I bought Guild of Heroes mostly to support this game down the road
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  #12  
Unread 01-14-2014, 06:05 PM
Derek DiBenedetto Derek DiBenedetto is offline
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Tuesday, Jan. 14th, 2014 - 71% completed:

The first thing I did was completely redo all the interface screens with a new standard: clear, readable and attractive, to set the "mood" of the game up. The old game had some butt uuuugly screens, if i'm to be honest. It was made a shoestring budget, and I wasn't quite as skilled a designer as I am now really, having done projects for Matrix Games and several other larger companies since then. I wanted to bring that experience to Imperium.

The first decision I made was to have the game in 1024x768, that way everyone could play and it avoided any issues with older laptops, etc. thus skirting the res issues I had with Arcadia. Not much of a challenge since the original game was 1024x768 as well.

The next decision was to have it based on more real-world and slightly historical contexts, rather than the more medieval feel of the old game, Coliseum. It isn't set in any extremely specific scenario (Greece, Roman, etc) but tilts towards the world such as in "Spartacus" the TV show. Spells (Enchantments) were eliminated, and using your "Influence" points to call in favors were added. Influence points can be gained several ways, the main one being winning matches of course.

My third decision was to address the slow season/game pace, one of the biggest complaints about the old game. I shortened seasons (from a default of 40 Days or Matches to 20 Days, with selectable options for 10 and 15 Days seasons if desired) and made some other little tweaks to speed up the pace of the game.

The opening menu screen I wanted to be simple but nice, here's a sample: Opening Menu Screen

Here's the screen where you admin your Gladiators, select a Primary Fighter, Release them, Train them, etc: Roster Management Screen

My goal with this main interface hub is to lay things out logically with all the info you need, yet make it nice to look at. I think i've succeeded so far, what do you guys think?

Comments or questions on this update are welcomed.
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  #13  
Unread 01-14-2014, 09:28 PM
blockrocker blockrocker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonin View Post
@ Derek - Hmm. Well, whether or not the game is "historical" enough to appeal to a middle-aged gamer like me, I hope it will please a large audience. Grey Dog is a nice company and you are in good hands with them.

I hope all of your work with them is successful.
I feel the same way. You seem to be doing a good job of finding the line between fact and fiction so far. I look forward to seeing this game develop and will certainly download and play the demo to see if its right for me. Best of Luck!
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  #14  
Unread 01-15-2014, 08:52 AM
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BYU 14 BYU 14 is offline
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Like the look of the screens Derek, question on the matches, how detailed will the descriptions be? Will there be play by play, or quick resolution?
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  #15  
Unread 01-15-2014, 10:48 AM
Derek DiBenedetto Derek DiBenedetto is offline
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BYU: Matches will be extremely detailed, play-by-play in nature, with sound effects and transition text too between some rounds. My intention was for it to be quite varied and read almost like a good Robert E. Howard Conan novel or something similar, and it works pretty well. You can control the pauses between each text line yourself in Options (more of that customizibility I know GD fans like).
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