Sunday, October 28, 2012

20121027 + Thoughts on Chivalry: Medieval Warfare

It's 4am, so I'll keep this short. First, I was planning on doing a figure study today, but didn't start it until very, very late. I've decided not to dwell on my studies either, so I'm not going to continue on this one tomorrow. It'll remain as it is now, I'll just have to take what I've learned and push forwards with something new next time. It's become quite clear to me that I have a lot more to learn when it comes  to the human figure (well, I knew this to begin with, but it doesn't hurt to repeat it), so I think this week I'll try and focus on doing one figure study each evening.

Now, why did I start my study so late? Because I got caught up in a game, of course! I haven't played anything for over a month, so I figured I'd treat myself today, and bought Chivalry: Medieval Warfare (technically, bought 4 copies, and handed them off to friends). I had heard of the game when it was nearing the end of development, and was attempting the whole kickstarter crowd funding thing, and had considered throwing a few dollars their way (but unfortunately, did not).

Anyways, Chivalry is a fairly simple game in concept, with a slightly more complex and satisfying execution. It doesn't boast much of a progression system, aside from unlocking a few weapons, but for what it is, it is very good. It is essentially a medieval combat game, where all you do is fight. You're thrown into a variety of semi-realistic medieval settings (battlefields, castle sieges, arenas), armed with different weapon and armour types and pitted against another team in a fairly large scale battle.

I'm not going to lie, what we see here is a larger scale incarnation of what I wanted to accomplish with my senior project - thankfully, they more than succeeded where we failed. The controls are simple, but quite effective, and give a very visceral quality to the combat. At times things can be a bit awkward, but it seems to match the nature of the weapons used. Wielding a longsword is slow and cumbersome, and really requires you to commit to your actions. Similarly, if you don't consider your actions, you get killed very easily. Blocking, and more specifically timing your blocks is integral to surviving, and using varying types of blows is no different. I'm really surprised at how Chivalry makes use of the mouse wheel as an extra form of attack input (scrolling up will result in a thrust, scrolling down delivers and overhead swing) along with the default LMB swing. It's a very simple idea, yet not one I've seen before. Furthermore, blocking is no longer something that is held (a mistake we made with Carnival), it is a momentary action that has to be timed correctly.

Yes, Chivalry leaves a lot to be desired, and doesn't necessarily feel like an entire game. But then, with a price tag of only $25, it isn't priced as one either. I really hope to see more from this studio, and I hope that the particular control schemes and combat styles shown here are used in other games - especially in MMOs like Darkfall Online, which has been using its own skill-based combat system for years, but has never achieved something this effective.

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