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I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more heroes!

Did we ever mention how important heroes are in Okhlos? No? Are you sure? Well, they are. Very. So creating heroes has been a task that we have been working on from almost day one, and something we will probably keep on doing until the very last day of development (or at least beta). Here is an update on some of the latest ones we have developed. Enjoy!



Now this is an old school hero. Before Heracles, before Perseus, before all these new kids on the block took the scene there was Bellerophon.

He started his journeys as an exile, seeking penance for a crime he had committed. He then proved to have the remarkable ability to make enemies in very high places, and as a result  he spent most of the time on seemingly impossible quests intended to kill him (sounds familiar, Heracles?). The most notable of these was the slaying the Chimera (the fire-breathing part-lion, part-snake, part-goat monster we have all come to love and fear), for which he got himself a flying steed, no other than Pegasus. Bellerophon’s fame and glory grew with each victory until eventually he thought he had earned the right to fly with Pegasus to the top of mount Olympus. Big mistake. The always nice and amicable Zeus politely disagreed and sent Bellerophon flying back to earth, blinding and crippling him in the process. Zeus also kept Pegasus because he fancied a flying horse, and  Bellerophon, disgraced and disfigured, spent his last days pitiful as a hermit, away from civilization.

What is Bellerophon’s part in Okhlos? Well, his tale was very interesting, and there were lots of elements from which we could create mechanics but in the end we focused on one aspect, the loner hero. Not only did he start as an exile and ended as a hermit, but at his prime he thought himself to be better than any other mortal, so we came up with a mechanic that plays around this. Bellerophon stats increase as the mob’s size decreases, and he gets weaker as the mob’s size increases. This makes him a very atypical hero, and the perfect choice for players who would like to try a run with a very small mob. Normally it would be close to suicide to face the gods will only a handful of people in the mob but heroes like Bellerophon make it possible. And perhaps this way Bellerophon will get his revenge on his old pal Zeus.

Sprite-wise, Bellerophon is the tallest unit so far. Roque wanted to transmit the idea of this larger than life hero, someone that looked like he could take on an army on himself, so his body was based on that of Sir Gregor Clegane, also known as The Mountain, from Game of Thrones. If you don’t know Gregor, his knickname should give you a hint about how he looks: massive, imposing, not that easy to find t-shirts that fit him nicely in most stores.



Pandora was another very interesting character. You probably all know her story, or at least some version of the story. Or perhaps not. All I knew before researching a little bit was there was a box involved, lots of evils coming out of it and some hope in the end. I didn’t know that according to the myth she was the first woman, created by Zeus to punish humanity for using fire to cook food and not starve to death (although that last part doesn’t surprise me at all, #ZEUSISADICK). There are also a lot of parallels between Pandora and Eve from the judeo-christian myth, but I think there is a story that bears even more resemblance to that of Pandora: the story of the Smurfette. Both were created by the villain, both were intended to harm the good guys, and in the end both were turned blond and became regular cast members. But I digress.

Back to Okhlos. While designing a mechanic for Pandora we went straight for the core of the myth: the box, or the jar, depending on the source. Let’s say container. We can all agree it was some kind of container. Probably not a Tupperware. Although it would have been a really good choice. You want to keep all those evils fresh. But I digress. Back to Pandora’s box. There aren’t that many containers in the game but we do have some: the item containers, the things you can destroy and find items inside. So we decided that having Pandora in mob would increase the chances of getting an item every time you destroy one these containers. However, her presence would mean that there would also be a small chance of a monster spawning from the container instead of an item. Pandora is one of those heroes that can be very useful but has a setback, which seemed to us was quite fitting with the myth, and also suits the concept of a Pandora’s Box.



So far most of the heroes we have added to the game were men, and the few women that we did include either had a downside (like Pandora) or were not as heroic as their male counter parts. Partly this is simply  because most of the heroes in the myths are men, but we thought we could still find some cool, kickass heroines throughout the mythos and so we did. Atalanta is a perfect example of this. As baby she left to die in the wilderness by her father, King Iasus, but she managed to survive, growing up in the woods and becoming a superb huntress and fighter. She took part in the most epic quest of her time, the hunt of the Calydonean Boar, was the first to draw blood and got to keep the hide of the beast. No small feat, considering she was competing with pretty much every hero around (except Heracles who had already killed another boar so he didn’t bother). Robert Graves also puts her as one of the Argonauts, being once again part of a dream team of heroes and kicking serious ass. However, she is perhaps best well know for almost supernatural speed.

Atalanta was the fastest runner alive at the time, able to beat anyone in a foot race. So when her father the king (who after seeing that her daughter had slain the boar, beating all other heroes, decided to forget all that nonsense about leaving her to die in woods and take her back) told her she had to get married,  Atalanta, who wasn’t into that marriage thing,  said she would only marry the man that could beat in her in a race (and would kill any who failed, just to spice things up).  Many did die trying to beat her until the pesky gods once again interfered, Aphrodite this time, and one man Hippomenes was able to defeat and marry her. And then one of the gods, either Zeus, Rhea or Aphrodite herself, turned them both into lions. Because that’s what the gods do.

Anyway, Atalanta’s role in the mob was easy to figure out. She was a perfect fit for the stat boosting heroes. Who better than the fastest runner in the ancient Greece to improve the mob’s speed modifier? So if you get Atalanta, she will provide a huge bonus to the units’ speed, making everyone run faster. And also she will kill as many cyclops, centaurs and other Olympian spawns as she can while everybody is running around.


And that is all for now. We have been working on several other heroes these last weeks, but that we will leave them for another time. Until then, here is the updated hero count!

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Indie game, indie trailer

Showing your work is incredibly important in this industry. A trailer can be your calling card. Putting together a nice-looking trailer can help showing the features of a game, without the need of having the game finished. Because of this, we wanted to to set up a trailer for Okhlos.

We had already made a few videos, but we wanted something fancy for our first “official trailer”. It ended up being much more work than we expected. However, we feel that we learned a lot, and that it might be a good idea to share some tips based on the insight we gained while making a gameplay trailer.

First of all, a little disclaimer. I’m no pro at video editing, so this probably will be totally useless for anyone who has some experience in the subject. These tips are aimed mainly at anyone with no professional experience who wants to make a trailer, much like our case.

Disclaimer aside, here we go. At first, you might think that making a gameplay trailer is easy, because you only  have to show gameplay, but trust me on this one, it’s not so simple.



One of the things we learned, is that carefully planning what you want to show will save you lots of time. We established which were the cool parts that we wanted to show to the world, and we made a list out of them.

Well, any kind of list is good enough.

Then, you have to set up the narrative of the trailer, and the order in which each segment will be shown. That will take you some time but it’s important to have the pace and climax of the trailer clearly lined out.

Setting the pace was kind of easy, because we had the track made by @ashellinthepit, so we could work having the course set by the track. It was a good kind of restriction, because it gave us a very solid structure.


Footage, footage, and some more footage

You might think that recording a few play sessions is enough, but you need LOTS of footage.

We knew which things we wanted to show, but in order to have some variety (keep in mind that at the moment of making the trailer we only had the first level completed) we had to take multiple captures of each feature throughout different playthroughs. Changing the how the level looks and having a different mob also helped to make each segment feel different.

So,  be ready to record A LOT of footage. We made 61 video captures. We had 20gb or 10 minutes worth of videos JUST for this trailer. We knew the length of the trailer (45 secs approximately) because of the track. And I think having footage worth 10 times the length you are aiming for, is a good ratio.

Morale of the story, you need to make multiple recordings of each feature. You will need them in the editing room.


Embrace the editor

Having drafts of each segment, we noticed that there were a few things that we didn’t have implemented at the time. Also, assembling different kinds of mobs we wanted to show would have taken too much time if we did it playing the game. In this context, using Unity really helped us a lot. We could simply threw out things in the scene and capture them on video.

This is an unnecessary wide screenshot, but is cool to show the behind the scenes.

So, being able to edit the game in whatever way we needed, on runtime, was really helpful while making the trailer.

The only problem was that, as of version 3.5.7, Unity doesn’t allow you to display the editor view in fullscreen. So, all the footage we captured this way, had to be scaled in the video editor. For this, I recommend recording always with the window at the exactly same size, and in the same position, so when you apply the cut, you can save the numbers and do it automatically.


How to record

To capture video we use Fraps, which is a super cool program to do it. It’s proved to be really helpful but there other things you should know while capturing video:

  • Keep in mind that recording video is a very intensive task for your machine, so try to do it in the more powerful machine you could find. We captured the video in my computer, which is the most powerful computer we have in the office.
  • Ideally you want to have two HDDs. One, were the SO and the game are, and another in which you output the data recorded. Fraps its not so good when it’s reading and writing the same HDD
  • Something very importante, is taking the time to carefully rename each segment you record. When you have 60+ videos called Okhlos2014-[…].avi, you don’t want to have to decipher the thumbnail, or having to open each video to see what’s in there. Rename every capture you take, with a declarative name, like why you recorded that segment.
  • Also, try to keep the segments short . It’s better to have thousands of little files, than two or three incredible large files. You will have to edit the clip on the editing software anyways, but if you are editing and find out that you will definitely not use a clip, its easier to erase it.

Aside from this, an amazing thing I found out, (a little late maybe), is that the awesome VLC, not only is an awesome player, but also EDITS videos! This was an amazing finding, because it allowed me to remove long movies from the video project and instead use smaller ones.

You have to enable advanced controls, and there you have it! You can transform larger videos in smaller ones! It looks something like this:

You have to press rec to start recording, and again to stop recording. This will generate a video in “My documents” folder (I didn’t spend much time trying to change the output folder).

So, in short, using VLC will save you lots of time, and a more malleable video project.


The Software

Finally, a few notes on the software I used to edit the video.

As I’m no video editor professional, I went for the easier choice, which is to use Adobe Premiere. It’s pretty straightforward, and once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to manage clips. I can imagine that there are more professional software for this, but Premiere gives you all the tools you might need for an indie trailer.

Having a multiple monitors setup, really helps previewing the work, while arranging the timeline, or your files.

Another thing I learned using premiere is that pressing Enter really improves the fps of the preview window. What it does is still a mystery to me, it has something to do with a render, and it will take a lot of space from your HDD. My educated guess is that renders everything in the preview size, for better handling.

On a final note on the software issue, something that really helped me a lot is to have some configuration guidelines for youtube videos.

So, here you are. The important parts are H.264 in format. VBR on Bitrate, and the target resolution to be 1920×1080 (at least for 1080p on Youtube). Previously, Youtube didn’t support more than 30fps, but as for now, they can reproduce 60fps. Also, it’s very likely that you will be making more than one video, so save these settings into a preset for future projects.



As I said before, the audio was made by Gordon, who is our musician and sfx guy. At first we thought that the track alone would be enough for our first trailer, and it was an invaluable aid to set the timing, but once we had the trailer, Gordon offered to add some SFX.

Adding sound effects really boosted the experience of the trailer. You can really notice the difference between one and another. So, if you have a musician, don’t hesitate on using him/her for the trailer.

Now, If you don’t have one yet, but you want to show your work, you can always search for a creative commons track. Besides that, is important to turn off any music (final or placeholders) that you might have in the game. If you have sfx integrated, try to capture the video with the audio, and lower the audio volume of the clips.


Now, do it again

What might be absurd in any other context, in art it’s a very common thing.  Iterate.

The thing that most helped the trailer, was to do it twice. I made an early version of the trailer, from which I learned a lot, but I did it very quickly. I finished the first trailer in almost a day.

This is how the first version looked . We changed the name for Gameplay video because it was no trailer. Also, we uploaded the video, but we didn’t share it, or make fuzz about it. Once I had the video, I shared it with a few acquaintances. This provided me lots of feedback for the final version, but what I found more interesting was seeing what each person thought was the most important part in Okhlos. Some wanted to show large mobs, others absurdly non practical camera zooms. Every person had a different view of what Okhlos was, and thanks to the trailer, we could explore some of those requests and boost expectation of the viewers on some weird psychological level. [Dubious][Citation needed]

With all this feedback, I remade the trailer. I captured everything I needed again, and we made a lot of changes from the original idea.

Remaking the trailer from scratch might sound dumb, but in this day and age, a good trailer is your packaging. So spend all the time you might need working on it. If you are more organized than I am, you might not need to recapture video, but you will most definitely have to make more than a version of your trailer and iterate on it.


Taking all that into consideration, here is a look at our new trailer. You might not think it is the best trailer the industry had seen, but all the advice given will definitely help you show your work in a cooler way.






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