GREEN KNIGHT

What is GREEN KNIGHT? Welp, that’s the $1.99 question, my friend!

GREEN KNIGHT is my baby. And I love it dearly.

It’s a StrategyRPG currently in development for the PSVR and PC. It’s an ode to my childhood, and the implementation of several gameplay mechanics I’ve planned for over a decade now. 

GREEN KNIGHT is made with UE4, and is currently in Alpha. I use 3ds Max, Zbrush, and Substance Painter/Substance Designer for modeling and texturing. In addition, I also use Illustrator, Photoshop, GIMP and Blender, depending on the circumstances. I used C++ (obviously) to implement various custom gameplay mechanisms, and heavily modified the engine itself (particularly draw order during rendering) to better suit the aesthetic I envisioned since early in the concept phase.

Out of all the work I’ve done on GREEN KNIGHT thus far, the Enemy AI has been the most demanding challenge to me, personally. While UE4’s default behavior tree is certainly robust, for GREEN KNIGHT there were a number of unique traits I wanted to implement that have necessitated a fair amount of leg work to achieve. The complexity of creating formidable AI increases as individually simple factors like fog of war, terrain hazards (lava, acid) and enemy placement/enemy movement come into play. In other words, the more factors at play, the more thought and consideration must be devoted toward ensuring the AI responds intelligently by displaying patience when circumstances warrant several turns of inaction, or prudence when a tactical retreat or defensive formation would prove advantageous.

Victory is both hollow and trivial when enemies simply charge straight at your characters, as the saying: “Like shooting fish in a barrel” implies.

For GREEN KNIGHT, I built my own asset creation pipeline, which greatly speeds up my workflow and is tailored to my own requirements.

Among it’s more useful features:

  • A “smart” output utility, which composites and sends screenshots of both WIP and finished work to a central viewing hub, which can be linked a variety of display devices, as well as several brands of digital photo frames. It’s incredibly helpful in passively judging and appraising work that’s in progress in my off-hours around the house.
  • A configurable timer which allots predesignated time allotments for ongoing work, saves incrementally, opens and closes files, and switches between apps according to a centralized, checkbox-driven management utility.
  • Completed work can be flagged and, depending on the object type (prop, character, terrain), can be dropped to ” simple” coordinates (i.e. far left corner of room, center of basement L2, etc).
  • Identifies and flags problems in real-time, and sends notifications to the desktop upon detection. Also conforms to “human” standards: all errors as uniquely named, rather then prefix/numeric based errors.

I’m proud of GREEN KNIGHT. The gameplay is unique, and I consider it an evolution of the Strategy RPG genre. While many games laid the groundwork for the genre, those that focused on squad level tactics represented the most successful formula, in my opinion. GREEN KNIGHT is my first solo foray into a genre I know and love intimately. To put it best, games like Starcraft and Age of Empires involve large scale battles in which the player acts as the general commanding forces from afar. In a Strategy RPG, you control five to ten characters at once, and your role is akin to a captain or lieutenant. Awareness of the weapons and armor your units have equipped, as well as their own abilities and traits, is crucial to success. 

The character design was extremely important to me, and something I take a great deal of pride in. I wanted to ensure a large diversity of units, with very specific abilities and traits, and I wanted the character design to reflect that diversity. Good art kicks hard, as I always say.

GREEN KNIGHT is going to take you places. You won’t be sheltered, and you won’t be coddled. You’ll learn to capitalize on your character’s strengths, and the taste of victory will always be sweet. It’s not a game that encourages you to dig in and fortify your defenses. Far from it, actually, but we’ll discuss that a bit more as time goes by.

Things are gonna get weird real quick. Trust me on that.

You’ll be surprised. You’ll hurt. You’ll cheer for *YOUR* hero.

You’ll have to find a way to cheat the odds, as any good commander is expected to do.  You’ll need to win where others have failed. Trust me when I tell that it won’t be easy. You’ll discover new realms, and you’ll kill things there that you’ll never forget.

Because I don’t want you to.

I want you to remember the purple skies, the red dirt, and the forces arrayed against you. I want you to remember the feeling of returning home with treasures pried from the grips of dead nightmares and tortured ghosts. You will remember.

Because I will make you remember. 

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