The format of the game is a typical action story-rich 3rd person view RPG. The player will be able to control one character directly and other optional party members by issuing commands and setting strategies. The focus of the game will be to explore, interact with the world (the NPCs and environment) and fight enemies using magic and physical attacks.
Please, don’t expect anything Souls-like or a slasher with a lot of combos and shiny attacks. We will focus on a much slower and more immersive, intense RPG experience. We aim more for Gothic-like vibe. And we would like to emphasize the role-playing as our main goal. As a player, you will be thrown into the world that is on the verge of a large civil war. During your exploration, you will uncover deeper secrets and new dangers that could possibly cause the whole world to end.
But you will still be able to do as you please. Your character will be overpowered from the start, at least compared to other people. That doesn’t mean there is no danger, and it will be looking for you.
The game world will consist of one large continent built to scale. The middle of the continent around the equator, is covered by a dense tropical forest. Deserts cover a large area around both tropical circles. Those change into savannas and forests as you move towards the poles. Both the southern and the northern end of the continent is covered in snow and ice.
You will be free to traverse this continent as you see fit. You can walk, run, fly (faster than the speed of sound) and teleport. All these modes of transportation follow rules described in the lore. As an elf, you can also walk on water. Swimming and diving are also possible.
The world will be huge. Right now, the plan is to use a map scale 15:1 of the real continent spanning from 60° North to 60° South. The planet itself, its tilt, distance from the local star and every other aspect will copy the real Earth. The reason for this is pragmatic. The text models used for progressing the narrative are trained using texts that were written in the past on Earth. Especially those describing the past. To be able to fully utilize the collected knowledge of mankind, we will try to emulate conditions as close as possible to the real places. That means realistic distances, day-night cycle, and seasons.
The game time will be also 15x faster than the real time. It will be possible for a player to skip forward by meditating. During meditation, the game will still simulate itself. The day and night cycle will be based on the real Earth day and night cycle and on a geographic location of the player. The same rule applies for the seasonal weather changes.
There is a reason the game time and game map are using the same scaling. To avoid breaking immersion as much as possible, we are going to map the game locations to the real world locations. For example, when you ask some NPC, how long does it take to get from the city A to the city B, we will map both cities to the existing cities in the real world, that are the same distance apart. Before the real query to the language model, we will translate A to, let’s say, Paris and B to Marseille. When the NPC responds that it takes five days on horseback to get from Paris to Marseille, the player will get the information, that it takes five days on horseback to get from A to B - five days in the game time.
Our goal is to create an immersive experience for the fans of role-playing. Instead of creating HP sponge monsters or hordes of enemies coming at the player all the time, we would like to provide a more mundane, but still captivating game loop. In our game, every interaction with an NPC can be captivating and fresh. No more knee-arrow lines over and over.
This time you will be thrown into the world, where you can kill anyone and no cut scene will stop you. Or you can help anyone, be kind or just ignore all interactions and grind in the wilderness. Don’t you just hate it, when the game ends and you are feeling empty inside? What if the game will continue as long as you are willing to play. And it will evolve all the time. There will be no endgame. The journey is the destination – this is the game we would like to create.
The Frozen By The Sun game will bring one feature that probably almost all players miss while playing other story games – freedom in conversations. Every time you start a conversation with an NPC, you will be offered several “best matches”, but will always have an option to enter any text you want. This will bring another level of immersion, not possible in standard games.
You will be free to start a conversation with every single NPC and tell them what you really want. And they will answer depending on your previous history together fed through language AI.
We will be looking into text to speech and speech to text converters and will license the best one we would find.
There will be very serious limitations. The culprit is the language model that will require a lot of CPU time. For this reason, we will try to leave in all graphical and gameplay functions that are GPU heavy (lighting, materials) and will limit heavily the functions that require a lot of CPU time or RAM space. Our aim is to use following component distribution:
Figure: Local and remote components
Please, read about game components on the dedicated subpage.
We have already prepared a simple proof of concept demo in the Unreal Engine 5. All graphical assets used in it are from the Unreal Engine Marketplace. The point was to run the demo and language model at the same time on a typical machine – AMD Ryzen 5800X with 32GB RAM and Nvidia RTX2070 8GB. The demo generates around ten queries (currently nonsensical, random) and pushes it into the fast language model. The demo contains movement, dynamic lighting (Lumen), realistic day-night cycle, attack animations and effects (Niagara) and some basic GUI to check, if the mouse cursor won’t warp too much.
Even without any optimization, the demo is playable. Our estimation is that any modern 8+ core machine with at least 16GB RAM, enough SSD storage and modern DX12 graphics card will be able to run the final game. That being said, the game won’t look as good as other modern games. This is very important to know before you decide to invest your money. Our goal is to have the best language model possible. It will be prioritized for the CPU time before the graphics.
In the real world, some horrible people are capable of acts of extreme cruelty. Our game is set in a medieval fantasy settings. And as you surely know, the medieval times aren’t exactly known as a time of civility and humanity. We have spent a lot of time discussing, how should we approach this subject. If our goal is a maximal immersion, the world should be as believable as possible and that includes heinous acts. Not necessarily committed by the player, but also by the powerful NPCs like lords and kings. On the other hand, some players may feel uncomfortable playing the game where they can come across and witness those acts taking place.
We have decided that we will release two versions of the game at the same time. One will be completely unlocked and uncensored. The other version will omit the most despicable acts, for both the player and the NPCs. This will be achieved by using two versions of a BMD processor module. The safe version will omit all questionable content during the compilation, so it won’t be possible to just switch from one version to the other by flipping a switch or changing some value in the registry.
The safe version won’t contain any actions of sexual nature, any violence against children and acts of mass murder or genocide.
The current generation consoles pose a real problem. Their limited hardware will probably not be able to run the game. There is a possibility to delegate the fast language model to the cloud and access it that way, but this will require a fast internet connection. At the moment, our priority will be the PC development, but we will develop a fast language model for both usages – local and in the cloud. This way, we will be able to port the game to the consoles later. This is the reason we don’t set any goal for console ports – we just cannot promise anything at this time.