On the 29th Novembre, we will be releasing Edge of Eternity on Steam in Early Access.
Edge of Eternity is an indie game made by a handful of people (9 actually) aiming to create a great, open-world JRPG with lush landscapes, a sense of epicness, fast and tactical turn-based combats, etc.
What might interest you specifically is the fact we will be releasing our own in-house modkit at the time of the Early Access : the Eternal Forge.
To compare the Eternal Forge to already existing tools, it's practically a mix between Unity, RPG Maker and the Creation Kit. In a nutshell, the Eternal Forge will allow modders to :
• Asset swap Entity Models, Weapons, Audio, FXs
• Create or alter entries in Edge of Eternity's databases (Actors, Items, Spells, Quests, Dialogues, Events, etc.)
• Create new maps or modify existing ones with Unity multi-scene system (And adding stuff like npcs, events, cutscenes, dialogs, quests, rewards, etc.)
• Creating your own standalone adventure by changing the beginning of the game to your custom map and completely create a different story with new actors, npcs, etc.
• Coding in C# to extend the game in a limitless way (we just block access to a few critical function that would endanger computers of the players, but otherwise there is no limit to what you will be able to do.)
Basically, if you want to add a super cool dungeon to the game, with your own custom-made monsters, your own special loot and questline, you can.
If you want to add a companion that will follow the heroes throughout the story, have their own lines, their own dialogues, their own special attacks, you can.
If you want to throw all of Edge of Eternity through the window and create another world altogether, with its own setting, its own plot, its own characters, you can.
What differentiates The Eternal Forge from, let's say, Bethesda's Creation Kit is that it has the typical J-RPG rule set : turn-based combat, combat on a hex grid, character progression curve, etc.
So, how will this actually work?
- First you need a modkit compatible version of the game - either on day one on the Early Access, either you will already have a key if you volunteer for beta testing (more on that later) : https://store.steampowered.com/app/269190/Edge_Of_Eternity/
- Then download the latest version of Unity (2018.2.x) (personal, plus or pro) https://unity3d.com/get-unity/update?_ga=2.248832772.282857975.1536254704-1879879926.1453973314
What's important with the Unity version is that it must be the same version as ours. We will publish update and links so that you know which version is the right one.
- And finally open one of the sample mod project on the EOE modworks github with Unity https://github.com/zelerj/eoemodworks
(You might also be required to download a databank file where all of the game's assets are contained. But we are looking into ways for you to skip that step.)
So, let's have a closer look at the modding tool in itself. For instance, one of the first thing you will probably do before even starting your mod is to enter your mod metadatas.
Those metadatas will serve the purpose of displaying the mods infos to the player and creating the unique path of the mod based on its Mod ID.
Of course, every Mod ID should be completely unique, if you have installed two mods sharing the same Mod ID they will overwrite themselves and not works correctly. To insure there are no overlap, you might want to set a very particular - and unique - mod ID.
When you start with the Eternal Forge, one of the mod you can make without too much hassle is a model swap mod.
The swapping part in itself is quite easy : we have a simple tool called the Asset Override Tool that you can use to override any path used by the game asset loader. Replace an asset by another, and that's it!
But in order for your new model to animate properly, walk, move, attack, you will need to rig it first, so its model is not all over the place. Never rigged any 3d model before? Have no fear!
To do the rigging part you will be able to use the Unity Humanoid Animation System, it is an automatic system that allow you to map your new model to an humanoid skeleton.
Then if you wish to you can alter the Actor's stats, behaviour, spells, abilites, components, etc. you will be able to do so within the "ActorDatabase" screen. Please note that for the sake of simplicity, all npcs, player characters, monsters are treated as actors.
Once you're done working on your mod - and compiled it through the build option in the Eternal Forge - the mod will be ready to use! You can directly put it into its dedicated spot : "Edge Of Eternity\EdgeOfEternity_Data\StreamingAssets\Mods"
And voila! All set to go. All that remains for you is to toggle the mod on/off in the dedicated section of the in-game menu.
Ingame view for the players who downloaded your mod.
Also, here is a sneak peek on the quest creation tool - there is a simplified interface, for rather small quest (this one below) ...
Simple Quest Database, one of the two ways to make quests in EOE.
...and a more complex one, which will allow you to integrate cutscenes, branching dialogues choices, different endstates, or conditions for solving a quest, etc.
Nodal system with a dialogue event that spawn a timeline cutscene and then start a battle.
So, yes, you will be able to create your own cutscenes with Unity's Timeline - with camera angles, movements, animations, etc. But that's a rather difficult task we'll not delve into right now. (It is also not essential for quests and dialogues.)
And last but not least, you can also add C# code to Edge Of Eternity with the modkit, you can do simple things like creating a Custom AI (Battle and Exploration) or a custom AuraScript for battle or more complex things by inheriting from IModInterface. That topic is - too - for another time.
As you can see, the Eternal Forge is already pretty fleshed out (well it basically includes almost all of the tools we use ourselves) but it is still a work in progress. We need to work the accessibility, and include some more features. It will take time (especially since we're also working on Edge of Eternity itself.) But we're pretty confident that you will be able to make some cool mods from the get-go.
We will of course need some feedback to improve the Eternal Forge - letting us know how you feel about the tool, what could be improved will be vital for us in order to improve it. Keep in mind we are a small team of fellows, and that new implementation will take time. But we will nevertheless be listening to you.
So, if you're even remotely interested for the game and its modkit, don't hesitate to wishlist it! https://store.steampowered.com/app/269190/Edge_Of_Eternity/
Releasing a modkit for our game is really significant for us, and we are excited to see what kind of mod you guys will come up with!
Thanks a lot for reading!
PS : We might also need beta-testers before the actual Early Access... but since we can't just distribute Steam Keys around when the game hasn't even been released, we will probably be a bit picky about who we'll give Steam keys to.