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Neverend - New RPG in the Final Fantasy style
(hx) 06:30 PM EDT - Apr,24 2002

Slovakian developer Mayhem Studios sent us the first "beautiful" screenshots from Neverend, their yet unannounced fantasy RPG in the Final Fantasy style, which utilizes Mayhem's Doubleform Technology. The game plot seems to be cool too, according to the developers, "discovering the background of Agavaen, and determining her final personality is one of the main purposes of the game, which continuously appears as the principal plot is being resolved." Oh yeah, the main character is a female! I don't think it's a limitation :P  I'm really looking forward for this title, though must wait a bit. The game is slated for release in fourth quarter 2002. 

Here is the info sheet which fully describing Neverend:

Inside the plot: Discovering the background of Agavaen, and determining her final personality is one of the main purposes of the game, which continuously appears as the principal plot is being resolved.

There is a predefined part of this development, comprising mainly the revealing of the characters backgrounds and her transformation from a charming, yet rather unimportant magic-using girl heretic into a true ancient fairy, a divine being of some unexpected powers. This story is dosed and offered to the player in small fragments and their composition do not allow player to capture the entire complexity and sense of the whole until the game is nearing its final stages. There is plenty of room for anticipation of things to come and opportunities for further research of the past also are abundant. The concept is to give every player the main answers needed for the understanding of the story without forcing him to be too much concerned with completing the puzzle.

The second part of the personal evolution is completely free for the player to determine. As the story goes, Agavaen will finally become what she was originally supposed to be - a true fairy, Aure, an ancient being whose kindred left this world a long time ago. But the way how she achieves that final goal is completely free for the player to choose, with many open possibilities. There are two principal conclusions of the game, finishing as a "good" fairy, a true soul of nature and magic, or also an option, as an evil, dark one, which does not reckon the claims of men and aims to avenge the fall of the Auren they had earlier caused.

Character development:

The forming of the "inner values" of Agavaen is an important part of the game and there are options and events that directly influence her personal integrity. The entire game may hence differ strongly when played in different ways, ruling some options out as her character approaches the extreme values of good or evil. Furthermore, although there is no character creation as at the beginning of the game, it is provided by the game itself, through the great number of personal attributes that can be enhanced where again reaching extreme levels in one of them eliminates the chance of doing the same in another. Combined with the possibility of elaborate customizing of weapons and spells, the player has a wide room for creating his very own Agavaen, on which he can work until the end of the game.

This approach aims to combine the usual advantages of Role playing games where players choose and develop their characters as they suit them, and adventure games where the main character is usually predefined and the lack of choice is made good with a deeper personal story. In Neverend we have included both these options with the only limitation that the main character is a female. The reward is that during the game the player does not only see his chosen character to become an ever stronger version of its class as it is usual, but while not losing any further influence, he may behold and control an amazing process, as the female evolves and changes into a divine being of unexpected strength and possibilities. This combination allows us to provide the game with an especially complex and mysterious background story, concentrated on the main character, while keeping and enhancing most of the usual attributes of a Role playing game.

In the game:

In the locations, Agavaen will be represented through a 3D model and the player will command her through keyboard cursors. One key will access the in-game menu, with inventory, personal and weapon statistics etc., another the general menu, with the possibilities of saving and general options. For the character, there will be only one function command available at the same time, such as open door, start dialogue, pick up object etc., so only one additional function key will be necessary to activate it. At the beginning of any combat, the screen would switch into the combat room, and from that point the advanced combat commands will be available. The simplicity of the system makes the use of the mouse unnecessary.

On the map, Agavaen will be shown through a small symbol. Again, she will be moved via keyboard cursors, where the left/right cursors will accordingly turn the whole map, so that the player will always be facing forward.

 

Engine with Doubleform Technology:

In the past, all the computer games used one of the following options of graphics projection:Scene rendered real-time that most of the modern games use. Disadvantageous is that there is a low number of usable polygons with regard to the technical possibilities of computers.Scene is pre-rendered. It looks better but the disadvantage is an almost zero-level interaction with the surrounding. Characters move only in a chosen plane.

Doubleform Technology combines both of the systems. It draws a pre-rendered screen allowing more than 100.000 polygons to be shown. The scene is in the meantime also memorized in a fully 3D form without the textures and engine adapts the interaction of characters with the surrounding. The characters can therefore take full advantage of the 3D world and walk according to the shape of the terrain, over the hills and stones, stairs and uplands or use all objects. Doubleform Technology has been developed by the Mayhem Studios Company in cooperation with the scientists at the Comenius University.

 

The menus:

The principal menu will be the general inventory, from where the rest of the menus is accessible.The map: Neverend includes a full 3D map of the northern continent and the lands beyond, where the game takes part. An important part of the game takes part on the map, since the main character is supposed to travel much, and both predefined encounters with important NPC's and random combats with various opponents which take place on the map are numerous. When a map encounter happens, the screen switches into a randomly selected room, which resembles the terrain on the map. There are many such rooms available, at least two for every possible terrain type. Furthermore, the horizon of these rooms varies according to the place of the encounter, creating even more diversities.

Most of these events are combats with one or more opponents, where the opposing party is created in relation with the main characters combat values, so for the most part the player can expect to meet enemies that offer the right challenge for him, neither too week, nor too powerful. However, there is always as a small chance of an extreme value, so that surprises are possible too. The probability of meeting enemies on the map is also dependent on the route the player is taking, far from the civilization and the main lines of travel, the chance of meeting larger monsters grows, because the terrain influences the types of monsters that are likely to be met.

 

Locations:

There are different types of locations, there are large cities and towns, important landmarks as the ruined castles, but some exteriors, such as the mountain pass in Renebrann are also presented as locations. Locations are 3D environments, taken by predefined cameras, either static or scrolling in one or more directions. The locations are herewith divided into rooms, comprising the focus of one camera. Most locations have at least six rooms. The predefined positioning of the cameras allows the optimal positioning of objects and the presentation of structures and landscapes in the best possible angles. The angles themselves vary strongly, from overhead cameras to perspectives from beneath the players feet. Most of the story is resolved in locations, where there is a lot of travel between them through the map. Some rooms open only through special events, such as accomplished quests etc.

 

Combat:

Combat performance is important during the entire game, and the player is expected to constantly enhance his qualities herein and eventually select and practice some specialization. Both physical and magical combat are included and they are not in a negative relation. On the contrary, if the player is too succeed, he will have to master both well, selecting his principal weapon type as well as the preferred art of magic and expertise in each to be ready for the challenges of the game, for his final opponents will be masters of both sword and energy.

The combat itself is resolved in real time, where the player and his opponents choose their attacks. These take different times for preparations, so that many tactics are available. Wherever a combat begins, location or map, the screen will change and the camera will focus on a full screen "combat room". This can be a place in the location where the combat started, taken from a different angle, or a randomly chosen room from the map. The game relates between a duel and a fight with more opponents, the duel having a more dynamic ... as the opponents randomly change their initial positions. There are many attributes to consider, such as the principal behavior, where the optimal balance between offensive and defensive awareness is to be found, or the advanced weapon functions and special attacks. When higher skill levels are reached, there comes a further possibility of creating new individual tactics with the selected weapon. The weapons themselves are subject to eventual customization, through special weapon spells or skilled craftsmanship. A similar system has been build up around the use of magic, where the basic spells enhance with the skill of the user and they are at last available for combinations, creating completely new effects as the player determines them.



genre: RPG
developer: Mayhem Studios

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