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Friday, May 11, 2007
Empyreal Nocturne is a third-person aerial action game in which you combat enormous flying objects by commanding a legion of birds. These objects are connected by orbs, which are fiercely defended by birds of its own. Defeat each creature by destroying their weak points, then fly into a portal to access the next stage.

Use the W, A, S and D keys to navigate your ship, or press the space key for a temporary speed boost. This move is limited to the number birds you have accompanying your ship, though these will replenish automatically as time passes.

The mouse wheel can be used to switch between attack and defense mode. Hold the left mouse button when you have acquired a target to queue missiles for launch. Restore energy by pressing the right mouse button, and use the C key to switch camera mode.

Name: Empyreal Nocturne
Developer: Double Hawk Games
Category: Action
Type: Freeware
Size: 30MB
Blogger gnome said at 5/10/2007 08:29:00 AM:  
Lovely eye candy...
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/10/2007 08:35:00 AM:  
Just downloaded the digipen games avaiable right now. Going through them alphabetically and just played this one. I thought it was quite nice, but I guess I should get myself a gamepad sometime, i think it would play much better than with a keyboard.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/10/2007 08:57:00 AM:  
Okay. I played it again, and finished it. Quite enjoyable once you've got the hang of it, although the controls are a bit weird sometimes (and the camera too). Overall a very nice game though.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/10/2007 12:36:00 PM:  
It's funny that this game could have been 4 times smaller (like 7 Mb instead of 27) if the guys who made it were more reasonable with sounds. And the controls are somewhat weird. I like it nonetheless.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/11/2007 07:15:00 AM:  
Replaced the "bird" model. Now I can finilly tell which way is up, so camera is less of an issue.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/11/2007 09:10:00 AM:  
Hey guys,

I am one of the two developers of the game. You are right about the sounds, it was a last minute decision and care was not taken with regards to total file size.

I was just curious what you used for your replacement "bird" model?

One of the main changes we will be makings to the game is fixing the controls and making it easier to tell where the player is facing.

Thanks for playing,

Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/11/2007 09:48:00 AM:  
I keep on getting an error when trying to start this game: it says something abouta file in the non-existent \Source\snd_CSound.cpp
in line 25.

Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/11/2007 10:02:00 AM:  
Here's the model I replaced that little octahedron with:
Slapped it together in Anim8or.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/11/2007 11:31:00 AM:  
Reed here again,

I was just curious if anyone else was getting that sound error when starting the game.

There are many possible reasons for that message.

The most probable is that a sound file the game is looking for doesn't exist.

Another possibility is that something is wrong with your sound card and Fmod cannot initialize itself. I will look into fixing it for future releases so it won't break the game.

Blogger Bez said at 5/11/2007 12:40:00 PM:  
I think the problem with the camera /controls is just that there is an axis which you're playing around, but you can't SEE the axis. There is no percievable "up" so to speak.

It'd also be nice if you could loop the loop, because again, there's no percievable reason why you should stop increasing pitch at either maximum angle.

I'd recommend using quaternions rather than pitch/yaw/roll, so that your left and right turns don't turn into rolls when you're aiming straight up or down. It'd make sense for this to be so if it were more of a top-down game with a landscape, but this feels much freer than that - like it's in free space.

Really quite beautiful though. I like what you've done.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/11/2007 01:00:00 PM:  
Well I appreciate the comments and feedback from everyone.

I just wanted to say that I put up a forum on the game's site so that any matters of the game can be discussed further.


Blogger Unknown said at 5/11/2007 01:06:00 PM:  
The file is larger than it needs to be because we are using a very large cube map(25mb) for the skybox. It is fairly high resolution so that it blends in with the existing clouds. Without it the download would only be a few MBs.

The controls and identifying the birds orientation are two things we are still working on.

As for the camera, we ARE using Quaternions. The preferred up vector was something we chose to do by design, mainly because the player and his flock are supposed to be birds and we didn't want it to feel like a space shooter. We are aware of the issue of identifying the horizon/ground plane and have discarded all previous attempts to make it identifiable because they just didn't work out very well. Any ideas?

The ideas/comments/suggestions are very helpful and we will use them to make the game better.

The official forum is here:
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/11/2007 03:59:00 PM:  
didn't get sounds besides the ambient wind & thunder, and despite the developers' intent, I really wish the flight mechanics felt more like Freespace 2. Then again, I've been playing a lot of Freespace 2 lately :\
Blogger Bez said at 5/11/2007 11:34:00 PM:  
Ah quaternions for the camera, sure. The actual orientation of the "bird" certainly feels like it's locked to a vertical axis... has all the hallmarks of an angle vector implementation, atleast!

If I have any advice for you guys, it's to remove some aspect of the game play, and make the remaining ones really count. Think about not having the WASD based controls at all, perhaps? Be willing to simplify and refine.
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/15/2007 10:31:00 AM:  
I played this a bit more after finishing it. Switching camera mode depending on what you're doing helped me a lot. Basically when I swept in for an attack, the 'look where i'm flying' mode worked best, and when I retreated I thought the 'point at the monster' mode was nice so I could see where it was going.

I'm still of the opinion that this is definitely the best game out of at least the first batch of downloadable digipen games for this year. I just saw that there are new ones, so I'll check them out too, but I'm sure this'll keep a high place on my list. :)
Anonymous Anonymous said at 5/16/2007 05:20:00 AM:  
Yeah, it's like the previous batch. There are still a few I want to check a little bit more.

Intercepted Trancemission, which is Invalid Tangram + side-scrolling shooter. Cosmic Armageddon which had a bit sluggish controls, but otherwise seemed like a fairly good 3d arcade shooter. And Pandemonium, which I haven't had the chance to play at all yet.

Ballocks might be fun, haven't had the opportunity to try it out with someone else (it's multiplayer only).

All other games seemed a bit so-so, or just didn't run at all on my computer.