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Author Topic: Shadowrun Returns  (Read 3461 times)

ackblom12

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Shadowrun Returns
« on: 26 Apr 2013, 18:49 »

The game is set to be released in June and they just released some absolutely fantastic news. They're actually going to do the Matrix. It's not something that you'll be able to access any time you want in its 'proper' form, but it's gonna be there. This is a pretty hefty undertaking, which you should know if you are familiar with the Tabletop RPG at all.

There's Something About the Matrix

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First, some sharing -- our air conditioning hasnít worked for about a week. Itís currently 88 degrees in the studio (and ironically, a breezy high 60ís outside). We are melting. Kohnert is wearing those goofy pants that unzip and become shorts. Although I mocked him this morning, Iím now thinking of tackling him and taking his pants. As the HBS Human Resources Representative, however, Iíve cautioned myself that this could be punishable by legal action or worse. I think Iíll grab some ice from the fridge and put it under my arms, instead.

                                                                             * * *

As you may have heard, our Decker gameplay has gone through a few revisions. More than a few, actually. When we began Shadowrun Returns, we knew that trying to simulate the Matrix as it works in the tabletop game would be a huge task that we couldnít commit to. So Jordan conceived of a system where the Decker would jack in and see an overlay on top of the physical world that displayed the local area network - what computers connected to others, what they controlled, and that sort of thing. An icon representing the deckerís avatar would then traverse the overlay and do stuff at different nodes. It gave us the ability to do some Matrix puzzle gameplay on top of the tactical combat system we were developing, but when we reviewed the design with our engineers, we realized that it would be challenging to integrate into our level editor, take too long to develop as a whole, and wouldnít be an efficient use of our budget. So we abandoned this approach and started exploring other design concepts.

The other day, I held my breath and dove past our reasonably up-to-date design document and into the repository that is our OLD STUFF, looking to see how many stabs at decking we took - at least on paper. I found five, plus a sketch, a diagram, and the beginnings of what looks to be a card game. I know there are a few more documents on local hard drives. . .

Some of these designs were written during (what some would consider) normal office hours. But most were written late at night, over weekends, and sometimes during holidays. Each was an attempt by the author to move the ball forward to make decking a satisfying experience.

Finally, this February, we got together to review several other mini-game approaches - all of which were met with silence. (FYI, Harebrained isnít known for its silence.) Thatís when Trevor looked down, shook his head, exhaled his special exhale, and said, ďLook, thatís not what Shadowrun fans want. They want decking. They want the Matrix.Ē

We all want the Matrix.

The issue was (and is) how we integrate the idea of a decker entering the Matrix with the rest of the game AND within the boundaries of our production reality. To do it (at least close to right) it would need its own look and feel. It would need new characters and environments and interface and sounds. It would need new gameplay features for cyberdecks and programs and intrusion countermeasures and Black IC and AI.

And, and, and. All the reasons why we said we couldnít do it. . .

But we felt like we HAD to do it. Itís as much a part of Shadowrun as spell slinging.

We worked fast. We worked longer and harder. We brought in an old friend to help. We found issues we hadnít anticipated. We got frustrated. We kept going.

So after all that, hereís how decking works in Shadowrun Returns. Throughout much of the game, your decking skill will allow you to hack computers in the physical world and gain information others canít. The sort of hacker stuff youíd expect.

But several times during our story, youíll jack in and enter a node of the Matrix that looks like this:


Among the people who created our visuals for the Shadowrun Returns Matrix is Dave McCoy, the artist who created the 3D Matrix art for the VIRTUAL REALITIES book published by FASA Corp.

To be clear, runs centered around the Matrix donít occur often and you canít jack in whenever you want to and travel the vastness of cyberspace. Nevertheless, Matrix runs should be quite a ride.

A Decker's Matrix avatar is automatically created based on his or her "meat-world" appearance. Every three turns a deckerís avatar takes in the cyberspace equals one turn the rest of the party gets in ďmeat-worldĒ. (Things moves faster in there!) While the deckerís consciousness is running around cyberspace, his body is inert in the real world and the rest of the party needs to defend him until he returns. To exit a Matrix LAN, the decker needs to leave from the same portal he entered or eject and suffer dumpshock damage to his physical body.

As the deckerís avatar navigates a Matrix LAN node, it will encounter Intrusion Countermeasures (IC) which will attack him. To fight the IC, the decker uses computer programs and deploys ESP - Expert System Programs - which are ďindependently operating artificial life simulationsĒ. ESP operate under the playerís control and each has its own abilities.

The decking skill is used to derive the deckerís ďto-hitĒ calculation and the ESP subskill determines the power of his ESPs. The deckerís cyberdeck determines how many and what level of programs can be taken into the Matrix. There are a variety of different programs for attack, defense, buffing, and debuffing. The cyberdeck is also the deckerís first line of defense - damage the decker takes is first applied to the deck which has its own equivalent of health points called IP. But Black IC or attacks from enemy deckers can damage the decker directly. Every Matrix LAN has an alarm threshold and every action the decker takes within the LAN moves him closer to that threshold. When an alarm is tripped, it might trigger the arrival of Black IC, an enemy decker, or bad things back in the meat-world.

With all the danger inherent in cyberspace, why go there? Because the Matrix LAN nodes can control things in the meat-world like doors, security cameras, automated turrets, security clearances, and even poison gasses flooding into room. And, of course, the Matrix holds the most valuable thing in the 6th world - information.

Although runs in the Matrix are rare, when you get to play one, itís pretty cool! We hope that the work that went into it pays off for you. Plus, the work weíve done gives you even more building blocks for you to play with when you create your own stories.

Speaking of which. . .

Weíd planned to release the editor at the end of the month but the Matrix work and other issues pushed it out a bit. We'd rather give you the right thing a little later than something a little broken right away. Early Access Backers will be getting a direct mail with more details and an updated ETA for the early release ASAP.

Also, weíre setting up two forums for the Editor on shadowrun.com. One is a Q&A that our designers will respond to and the other is a general Editor forum. Theyíll both be publicly visible, although Early Access Backers will be the only ones able to post questions to the devs in the Q&A forum until the game is released. We're also working on a Wiki that will document the Editor and in which you can share knowledge, tips, and tricks.

Oh, and Iíve just been tapped on the shoulder and asked to remind you that pre-orders on harebrained-schemes.com end 4/28. So let your friends know that this is the last chance theyíll have to pre-order the Collectors Edition of Shadowrun Returns and get their hands on those USB Dog Tags. Take care.

Itís time to get back to the sauna.

Mitch
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GarandMarine

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #1 on: 26 Apr 2013, 19:23 »

Yes~ Yes~ YES!~

Unf, I just about humped my screen when I saw the Matrix release update. So pumped for those runs.
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Parkour Lewis

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #2 on: 30 Apr 2013, 22:37 »

Rockin'.  I used to play Shadowrun religiously all the way back to first edition.  Still my favortie game, even though I don't really play tabletop anymore.
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de_la_Nae

Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #3 on: 01 May 2013, 10:18 »

I'm listening.

Parkour Lewis

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #4 on: 07 May 2013, 16:13 »

I'm listening.

Can you hear them?

Can you hear the weasels closing in?

DON'T STOP DANCING.
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When heaven's in the music, Hell is in control.
The Angels got the phonebox but the Devil's got the rock and roll.

ackblom12

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #5 on: 25 Jul 2013, 10:05 »

I'm installing this shit as we speak FUCK YEAHHHHHH
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ackblom12

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #6 on: 25 Jul 2013, 12:10 »

I already love this game.
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GarandMarine

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #7 on: 25 Jul 2013, 12:53 »

9 minutes. Curse you game! Install faster by the gods!
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I built the walls that make my life a prison, I built them all and cannot be forgiven... ...Sold my soul to carry your vendetta, So let me go before you can regret it, You've made your choice and now it's come to this, But that's price you pay when you're a monster with no name.

ackblom12

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #8 on: 26 Jul 2013, 13:22 »

I've put a few hours in and I'm really happy with it. The art style is great, the writing is really, the aesthetic in general scream Shadowrun, the soundtrack is great for a cyberpunk setting and from what I gather the editor is ridiculously powerful and there's already an alpha build out for a SNES Shadowrun remake. One of the other things I noticed early on though is that there is a refreshing number of speaking characters that are Persons of Color.

The downsides are that it's apparently not terribly long (about 12 hours or so) and it's pretty linear. I don't really consider the linearity a problem, especially with such good modding tools available, but I can understand the concern. The character creation allows for a hell of a lot of build options though and I suspect I'll be playing through at least a couple of times while waiting for the Berlin expansion and mods.

Edit: Also forgot to mention, there's no VA (not a downside as far as I'm concerned) and there is no manual saving. The game instead auto saves every time you change maps. This isn't a big deal to me, but it is an odd thing to not include.
« Last Edit: 26 Jul 2013, 14:35 by ackblom12 »
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LeeC

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #9 on: 26 Jul 2013, 18:31 »

wait, wasnt this the big multiplayer first or 3rd person shooter from when xbox live dominated online gaming?
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ackblom12

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #10 on: 26 Jul 2013, 18:44 »

That was titled Shadowrun but didn't really have anything to do with the actual IP.
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Blyss

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #11 on: 30 Mar 2014, 14:14 »

So I downloaded this, and the Dragonfall expansion...

Holy shit.  This is the style of gameplay I've been wanting to revisit for quite some time.  The last time I remember anything remotely like this was Storm Watch, and hell even finding a copy of that that isn't completely glitched all to hell is a near impossible task.

Suffice it to say, I REAAALLLY like Shadowrun Returns.  Having a blast.
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de_la_Nae

Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #12 on: 30 Mar 2014, 21:34 »

Bought it but haven't gotten to it yet.
I know I know, but Skryim! and Geneforge.

Neko_Ali

Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #13 on: 31 Mar 2014, 08:26 »

I need to get Dragonfall. I've run through the campaign it came with a few times now with different characters. And tried a few of the modules people have released on Workshop, to varying quality. I need me some more Shadowrun. It's funny that when I first heard of the concept I scoffed. You got your magic in my cyberpunk? That sounds stupid. Then a friend ran a game once and I realized how awesome it was. It has remained one of my favorite systems and settings since then.
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GarandMarine

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Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #14 on: 31 Mar 2014, 09:46 »

I just completed a Shadowrun campaign in meat space using the old 4th edition rules.

Does "never make a deal with a dragon" count as a hard and fast rule for sleeping with one? Cause my high charisma Street Samurai is heavily implied to have gotten it on with our contact, who is amost 90% certainty a dragon walking around in elf form.
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I built the walls that make my life a prison, I built them all and cannot be forgiven... ...Sold my soul to carry your vendetta, So let me go before you can regret it, You've made your choice and now it's come to this, But that's price you pay when you're a monster with no name.

de_la_Nae

Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #15 on: 31 Mar 2014, 14:33 »

If it makes you feel any better, '*always* make a deal with a dragon' is a pretty hard rule for players. Since it makes things more FUN.

de_la_Nae

Re: Shadowrun Returns
« Reply #16 on: 08 Jun 2014, 20:20 »

Man.

<spoiler> Fuck me, that graveyard scene went to shit even faster than I thought it would.

I got as far as hearing the scratching in a crypt. WELP NOT LIKE I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. </spoiler>
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