The well of Yore – Making of
The making of TWOY ?
It came as a long time dream from a kid immersed in the golden age of video games. David Deschenes played two pivotal video games that would forever change the course of his life in that industry: Atari TX-1 (1983), (available at the first Canadian video game museum he founded, also available at the FunSpot museum, Usa) and the classic RPG on the Sega Master System called Phantasy Star (1987). Since then, he kept reading electronic books, programmed and worked hard with his career advancements and eventually founded a company that would support his plan to make future video games in his life. Other games besides Phantasy Star that influenced David to make Iona was : Shinning the holy ark (Sega Saturn) and World of Warcraft (Blizzard). TX-1 is not a RPG but would trigger another project called DGRacing and later ‘Desgraff Stance Club’.
Phantasy Star (copyright SEGA) is one of the pivotal starting point for the inspiration to make a video game like Iona: theses fantastic worlds David experienced for the first time, full of incredible cities and 3D dungeons would be his target eventually. Here is a nice documentary of this old game by TheSegaJunkie on Youtube:
Here is a clip on Youtube of Shinning The Holy Ark another excellent game of its time:
Really nice with the vivid colors found in World Of Warcraft design and styling:
So, he went on to found a digital art studio, two digital art schools, and worked with the very best teams he could find. Would his version of his RPG see the day?
At the time, David asked his employees to build five levels for a dungeon that would introduce different races and would immerse the player in a unique gameplay. David’s team asked him one question ‘How would the hero of the game find himself trapped in a closed environment?’. He replied ‘Just make him fall into a well. The hero was being silly and did not listen to advice. Now he has to go through 5 levels to finally come out of the well’.
Other premises would be to use minerals instead of skills or magic and to limit gameplay violence to non-humanoid combats. The goal is not met yet ! The World of Ionix MMO is the final destination for David for this project. TWOY is a single player RPG that serve to introduce the second game.
At the beginning, he would learn to program for long periods of time until he started to develop his 3D Game engine called ‘Decoy3D’ (Seen on Gamedev.net, devmaster.net and German magazine). The name of the game was temporarily named ‘Amaze’. Almost at the completion of the engine, David faced a serious problem! The beginning of Shaders in the industry would force a major rewrite of is engine’s code. Following this event amazing 3D engines on the market like Unity 3D and the fact that exportation of the game would signify that another coding dilemma would occur to bridge to consoles. So, we had to re-start again the coding for the game, adopt the Unity3D engine, remodel the story and the characters from scratch because of market expectations.
Starting from 1987, the desire to produce an RPG was founded and the learning curve was set to get there. From 1999-2017 serious time and actions were taken by David and his team to make this game (The well of Yore). See, there was two adventures, David’s struggle to get the game finished and Zaak’s struggle (our hero) to get out from the maze onto freedom!
hoping you’ll enjoy this RPG,
Recent French press article about the official launch of the game on june 10th 2017:
Some of the developments highlights over time :
One of the older version of the Decoy3D engine and game RPG editor.
The Decoy3D engine was designed especially for the Iona RPG video game. It’s early production dates back to 1999. This is when one of the ideas on that 3D engine was about making cultural e-learning battle system. Other ideas would be implemented if we have the budget for it one day! On this picture, we can see an early version of the Walkies and their designs changed quite a lot over the years! Also, in that picture, you can see the final version of Decoy3D engine’s logo.
The Decoy3D engine wasn’t entirely a waste of time after all. It’s the Decoy3D engine that would generate the final map of the planet Iona that will be in use for the sequel ‘World of Iona MMO’. Also, we ordered from that engine the EBS, e-learning battle system.
So here is what we wanted: The starting point was a small village on the planet Iona and that Zaak the main character would accidentally fall into a well.
Here is another early planning document with the 5 levels simple map:
First graphics in 2006 of the adventure: We wanted Zaak to look different so we went for the blue hair:
Some of the first drafts back in 2006+ :
Some early designs of mobs you could find in the dungeons. Half of them were dropped, others were added over time.
Some of the new characters added/replaced over time in TWOY.
Early introduction animation draft of Zaak falling into the well of Yore back in 2015 :
Final version of the introduction animation got much better (2017) :
Level 1, all the work :
Render test under the Unreal and CryEngine…
Level 1 was the very first attempt under the Unity engine. We also tried the Cry Engine, and UDK. But the choice was Unity for its simplicity and exportation features. Level 1 of the Iona RPG has a bit of a Frankenstein graphic war going on. That is because Desgraff got better and better at making games over time. Levels 3 to 5 are attractive and sharp. This caused us to do a lot of touch-ups on level one and two to have a constant game experience and quality. Here are some of the results now:
Huge map of level 2 :
Level 2 of TWOY was very problematic, the main issue was that we had to redo all the walls in the dungeons. First, they had modeling issues and were paper thin and graphical quality was not quite where we wanted to bring the game. Replacing the level with new walls was also very difficult because the main scene was already set so to make all fit was quite a challenge. The walls on the picture are completed and flawless.
Here are some snapshots of the older walls in the same area in level 2:
Needless to say,, …theses walls had to go!
New walls integrations in level 2. This was a severe change in this level. It included updates with collisions and loading zones, quests etc…
Much better !
From 2013-2014, we built 2 Legends Of Iona TWOY arcades for people to try them at many trade shows. The response from the public was very positive! Some of the visitors said it has a great future and one of them said they notice major upgrades in the game since the previous year.
Level 4 : Ok the main problem with level 4 was occlusion and LOD. Since most of the adventure resides in this huge sand city, the frame rate seriously had a bad time. We had to come back much time on the code to optimize the scene until it finally worked!
Level 4 : Again another challenge with level 4 was the Arena. We notice after battling 5 times that the 5th time would make the game crash! It turns out we finally discovered that a piece of code was asking an object in the game to do something without being created. So we changed the order and voilà!
Level 5 is the last level. Pat our designer for this level had to scrap everything and start again because he had a better idea on what to do with the structure to fit the story line.
Level 5 is very beautiful and is worth your time playing it! Fights Golems with the all the 5 Ionix crystals!
And before you get out from the underworld to your freedom… you must fight the big boss!
Copyright Studio Desgraff, Legends Of Iona. And all other copyrights to their respective owners and congratulations for the great games they made.