Dressed to kill and concepts

primetide - 06.04.2013 3:18PM

It has been a while since we last sent out an update, but things have been crazy around here as always. We are bringing our current released game Jagged Alliance Online to Steam and we have been getting in more artists and QA to help us work on SRO.

But since you have been waiting for an update for some time, we will give you not one but two topics today: Armour/Clothing and some more concept art, so sit down with your favourite Soykaf flavour and enjoy the read.

Clothing and Armour in Shadowrun Online or: The Ubiquity of the Lined Coat

As you know, we are favouring a modular system for our gear, allowing you to individualize your characters both visually and stats-wise. Following this philosophy, here is our take on how we handle armour and clothing.

For us, Shadowrun has always been about looking cool just as much as it was about being deadly – so the armour system will incorporate both aspects. The one thing we want to avoid is everyone wearing the same bit of silly spiked armour, just because it has the best protection value – on the other hand we’re not too fond of battle-armour grade steel thongs either.
So briefly, here’s how it works in our version:
Each character can wear different types of clothing items. These are equipped via the inventory (featuring a 3D pictre of your character) where you’ll also be able to equip weapons, cyberdecks, foci and almost everything else a Shadowrunner might need. Cyberware will work somewhat differently because let’s face it – it’s not exactly a DIY-thing, but by and large this is where you gear up.
The individual items are independent of each other, so you can mix and match shoes, pants, gloves, coats as well as t-shirts. We are currently working on figuring out how to efficiently combine layers of clothing so you can wear your favourite overcoat, armour suit or bandoleer with whatever shirt, blouse or body paint strikes your fancy.
Functionally each item of armor has a number of slots which allows you to add stuff – like Kevlar Lining or Ballistic Plates for extra protection, smart circuitry to improve your hacking and many more. Some of these will carry some sort of trade-off – if you add lots of smartware or combat tech to your clothing you will be more vulnerable to hacking attacks, if you decide to go with lots of foci to boost your magical prowess, expect trouble because they will make you very noticeable to whatever the opposition has stalking the astral plane.

But what about the style you ask? Well, while it isn’t completely independent of what you want packed in, there is wide range beyond everyone’s favourite synth-leather long-coat.
Visually there will be a general distinction between armors that can be tanked out, and those that can’t – i.e. armors that have more slots for protection will be armor jackets, lined dusters or combat armor while those that can take more ‘ware will look more like regular streetwear that may have AR-visible effects. But even you see-through stockings and your fedora can be decked out with some protection…The general idea is, that you chosen style shouldn’t be cramped by having to wear a bullet jacket, but if you want to be a human tank, then that is going to show at some stage.

Different types of clothing have different slots of course – glasses can be upgraded with smartlinks or flare protection, but will never be armor-plated while upper body clothing will usually have at least a slot or two for protective inserts.

In general you’ll usually see what flavour an item brings, but you’ll normally not be forced to go for one piece of armour just for its uber-stats.

This way, you can choose to look cool and still have the proverbial ace up your sleeve. Of course if you want a Mortimer’s coat with an extra slot for protection, you have to cough up the Nuyen, but who said life was easy?

Our concept art shows two very different examples of clothing. And we have also added a black and white gallery, to show we aren’t all about bare chested female street sams in corselets…

For a while now we have been looking at how we can create character types off the beaten paths with our system, allowing players to express themselves, while maintaining a balance with the amount of assets we have to create. Being a small project, technical considerations such as “Can we make the same shirt fit a male Troll and a female dwarf or do we have to create separate versions?” are quite important. Of course we can imagine a huge number of clothings styles and cool assets, but with the several races of Shadowrun, male/female, layered clothing (Jacket over shirt and so on), creating the assets for the game becomes quite a challenge- especially across all platforms. A large amount of thinking and code went into allowing us to have tools to create and adjust assets quickly and make things auto-fit as much as possible. From an intelligent layering system for clothing to allowing tattoos or visible cyberwear, our artists are facing quite a challenge in creating enough gear to satisfy the wish for individualization. The good thing about being online is- we can always add more stuff as we continue the game, so while we may not have the full clothing line from the get go, we will surely stock up!

That’s it for today, next time, a sneak peek at our storyline. Two hints: Some of the threads already start in Stormfront (upcoming from our good friends at Catalyst) and it turns out, when we choose an unknown dragon for our campaign image flying over a city, we weren’t that far off the mark.

See you in the Shadows