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  1. Hello friends, and welcome to the 10th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! Last time we talked about character skills and in this diary we will take a look at traditions, which are very interlinked to them and can even be abstractly considered as “kingdom skills”. We will explain how these two features are connected, how traditions are gained, and how they affect the game. First of all, in KoH2:S the player does not take the role of any of the knights, nor really the king or his dynasty – knights, kings and dynasties rise and fall, and with their death their skills are also gone, but the game continues. Introducing this new feature for the series, the traditions, we wanted to offer an additional way for players to strategically shape the strengths of their main avatar in the game – the kingdom itself – and also to create long-term progression players are motivated to make. As almost everything else players do is more or less temporary, we felt that such a permanent component of their progression is much needed in our game. Yes, we already had the knights’ skills and province development, but knights perish, dynasties fall, and thriving provinces can get overtaken or separated from the kingdom one way or another. The second important thing we wanted to consider and represent well is that KoH2:S is not a civilization game. We want to capture a specific and rather short moment of time, the High and Late Middle Ages, and, debatably, we think that technological / development tree wouldn’t be very fitting for that goal. We’d like this feature to allow the players to boost their kingdoms in all possible aspects and how believable would it be to let you invent things like agriculture, stock farming, literacy and so on in that period, when they were all invented thousands of years before that? That’s why we crossed out this type of “inventions” and technological tree off our list. Kingdom traditions represent the knowledge of nations, built over the ages and are less of a “invention” and more of a “focus”. Unlike provinces or knights, they cannot be forcefully taken or destroyed by enemies. Once adopted, they endure even in the harshest crise and are only lost if a player prefers to replace one of them with another. An additional advantage they have is that their effects spread kingdom-wide and can provide bonuses to all provinces and knights. Thus, they are harder to acquire than skills. To each skill there is a corresponding tradition and, similarly, adopting them requires spending some gold and books, but this is the easier part. In order to gain a tradition, a kingdom must additionally have at least one knight that has mastered the corresponding skill (at level 3). In that regard, the kings are the quickest “gateways” to traditions, since each skill they learn is directly acquired at the maximum level. As a final requirement, there is a limitation to the number of traditions that can be acquired – in game terms, tradition “slots” become available with the progression of a kingdoms’ prestige, a statistic that represents the overall progression and stance of a kingdom and that we will probably discuss in more details in another DevDiary. A kingdom right now can adopt up to eight traditions, though we are still experimenting with that number and at what point and cost each slot will be available. Similar to skills, traditions can provide a wide range of effects and can be improved on through a cost of gold and books – their maximum level is 3, too. Some of them can provide statistical boosts, others – access to new actions, plots, or even more specific abilities like what kind of siege equipment can be constructed within a kingdom. They also boost knights’ abilities and some of these bonuses are restricted either to classes, governors, kings, etc. There is one very specific and powerful combination – traditions boost knights that have mastered the corresponding skill. Once again, we will illustrate this with the “Cavalry tactics”, since we gave it as a skill example in the previous diary. When this tradition is adopted, it makes the cavalry squads larger, which is a bonus, that applies to all cavalry squads in the kingdom – those led by knights, regardless of their classes and skills and even those stationed in garrisons. However, if the tradition is improved to level 2, marshals that have mastered the skill will gain an additional combat tactic from this tradition – “Chase and kill”, useful in pursuing retreating enemy troops. At level 3 of the tradition, these marshals will get another new tactic – “Shock charge”, especially valuable for those of them that lead considerable number of heavy cavalry units. Such combinations can be done in many aspects of the game and provide significant benefits in a chosen directions. What makes this strategy even stronger is that once a tradition is adopted, it is always available for learning by knights of that kingdom, so in this way players can ensure that they will be able to make the desired “combo” and no longer rely on random affinities of knights to learn that skill. In result, by choosing their traditions, players can define the biggest strengths of their kingdoms and build a long-term strategy, regarding what skills they want always available and boosted. To summarize it, we are trying to make that systems as something unique in KoH2:S and offer the players interesting choice and many possible strategies to explore. Skills are the path to traditions, and traditions, the path to skills; they work both as a boosting mechanic, shaping the strengths of a kingdom, and give an opportunity for interesting combinations as well. We will talk more about Traditions in our DevStream on Thursday, September 3rd, @ 4:00 PM GMT / 12:00 AM EST. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on that topic and always read and look into your feedback. Does the tradition system sound interesting to you? Do you think it would be too challenging for you to choose a favorite tactic and achieve it, or maybe it is just the opposite – do you think that even more complex system and tech-tree is more suitable for such game? Next time we will look into another class of knights. We’ve already talked about marshal and it is time to share more about the strategical benefits and gameplay possibilities of merchants.
  2. Hello friends, and welcome to the 10th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! Last time we talked about character skills and in this diary we will take a look at traditions, which are very interlinked to them and can even be abstractly considered as “kingdom skills”. We will explain how these two features are connected, how traditions are gained, and how they affect the game. First of all, in KoH2:S the player does not take the role of any of the knights, nor really the king or his dynasty – knights, kings and dynasties rise and fall, and with their death their skills are also gone, but the game continues. Introducing this new feature for the series, the traditions, we wanted to offer an additional way for players to strategically shape the strengths of their main avatar in the game – the kingdom itself – and also to create long-term progression players are motivated to make. As almost everything else players do is more or less temporary, we felt that such a permanent component of their progression is much needed in our game. Yes, we already had the knights’ skills and province development, but knights perish, dynasties fall, and thriving provinces can get overtaken or separated from the kingdom one way or another. The second important thing we wanted to consider and represent well is that KoH2:S is not a civilization game. We want to capture a specific and rather short moment of time, the High and Late Middle Ages, and, debatably, we think that technological / development tree wouldn’t be very fitting for that goal. We’d like this feature to allow the players to boost their kingdoms in all possible aspects and how believable would it be to let you invent things like agriculture, stock farming, literacy and so on in that period, when they were all invented thousands of years before that? That’s why we crossed out this type of “inventions” and technological tree off our list. Kingdom traditions represent the knowledge of nations, built over the ages and are less of a “invention” and more of a “focus”. Unlike provinces or knights, they cannot be forcefully taken or destroyed by enemies. Once adopted, they endure even in the harshest crise and are only lost if a player prefers to replace one of them with another. An additional advantage they have is that their effects spread kingdom-wide and can provide bonuses to all provinces and knights. Thus, they are harder to acquire than skills. To each skill there is a corresponding tradition and, similarly, adopting them requires spending some gold and books, but this is the easier part. In order to gain a tradition, a kingdom must additionally have at least one knight that has mastered the corresponding skill (at level 3). In that regard, the kings are the quickest “gateways” to traditions, since each skill they learn is directly acquired at the maximum level. As a final requirement, there is a limitation to the number of traditions that can be acquired – in game terms, tradition “slots” become available with the progression of a kingdoms’ prestige, a statistic that represents the overall progression and stance of a kingdom and that we will probably discuss in more details in another DevDiary. A kingdom right now can adopt up to eight traditions, though we are still experimenting with that number and at what point and cost each slot will be available. Similar to skills, traditions can provide a wide range of effects and can be improved on through a cost of gold and books – their maximum level is 3, too. Some of them can provide statistical boosts, others – access to new actions, plots, or even more specific abilities like what kind of siege equipment can be constructed within a kingdom. They also boost knights’ abilities and some of these bonuses are restricted either to classes, governors, kings, etc. There is one very specific and powerful combination – traditions boost knights that have mastered the corresponding skill. Once again, we will illustrate this with the “Cavalry tactics”, since we gave it as a skill example in the previous diary. When this tradition is adopted, it makes the cavalry squads larger, which is a bonus, that applies to all cavalry squads in the kingdom – those led by knights, regardless of their classes and skills and even those stationed in garrisons. However, if the tradition is improved to level 2, marshals that have mastered the skill will gain an additional combat tactic from this tradition – “Chase and kill”, useful in pursuing retreating enemy troops. At level 3 of the tradition, these marshals will get another new tactic – “Shock charge”, especially valuable for those of them that lead considerable number of heavy cavalry units. Such combinations can be done in many aspects of the game and provide significant benefits in a chosen directions. What makes this strategy even stronger is that once a tradition is adopted, it is always available for learning by knights of that kingdom, so in this way players can ensure that they will be able to make the desired “combo” and no longer rely on random affinities of knights to learn that skill. In result, by choosing their traditions, players can define the biggest strengths of their kingdoms and build a long-term strategy, regarding what skills they want always available and boosted. To summarize it, we are trying to make that systems as something unique in KoH2:S and offer the players interesting choice and many possible strategies to explore. Skills are the path to traditions, and traditions, the path to skills; they work both as a boosting mechanic, shaping the strengths of a kingdom, and give an opportunity for interesting combinations as well. We will talk more about Traditions in our DevStream on Thursday, September 3rd, @ 4:00 PM GMT / 12:00 AM EST. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on that topic and always read and look into your feedback. Does the tradition system sound interesting to you? Do you think it would be too challenging for you to choose a favorite tactic and achieve it, or maybe it is just the opposite – do you think that even more complex system and tech-tree is more suitable for such game? Next time we will look into another class of knights. We’ve already talked about marshal and it is time to share more about the strategical benefits and gameplay possibilities of merchants. View full article
  3. Game optimizations are an ongoing process, so it's difficult to tell you minimum and recommended specs at this time. What may be possible is if you send over your old machine's specs I could ask the programming team if they think the machine will work. There are a lot of options to help players with lower-end machines access the game by turning off different visual features, but the game can also be CPU intensive due to so many things happening in the world, and settings can't really impact that. We're definitely working hard to support the widest range of hardware while not compromising on gameplay.
  4. Completely reasonable to request and discuss language support (and we love the excitement), but agree the multiple topics have become spammy. Let's limit our discussion to one thread, please 🙂
  5. Moving to GD forums. We'll certainly be exploring a wide range of languages to support, and Turkish will be one of the ones we'll be talking about.
  6. As of right now, the only platform we've announced is PC/Windows. While we aren't speaking too much beyond that, I can confirm that there are no plans for bring the game to mobile devices like phones at this time.
  7. We're definitely doing MP different than the first game. MP will be focused on the grand strategy/world map gameplay and there will be a variety of gamemodes. We haven't determined how many players will be supported yet, but there will 100% be more than 2 supported, so you'll be able to play with a number of friends. There are still a variety of performance/optimization and gameplay factors that are being evaluated to determine how many total players we'll support.
  8. Hello friends, and welcome to the 9th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign!” In this Diary we shall return to a more gameplay-related topic – the characters’ skills. We already talked about the knights’ classes, but there is much more that makes each knight unique besides just his class. What we first wanted to figure out was the sweet spot for how deep and complex the progression of characters should be in our game. On one hand, the knights are an important part of the KoH series and we felt we could add a bit more content and flavor by expanding their functionality. In the first game, most classes had only ranks (stars) and only Marshals were able to learn unique skills. Though some of these skills were not as useful as others, it turned out they make the Marshals significantly more interesting than the other classes. This seemed like a good direction for us to explore in the sequel. As we now have more depth overall in the economy features and the other classes, we decided merchants, diplomats, clerics and spies all deserve skills as well. Another risk we had to be careful with was the importance and attachment to a particular knight. As in the first game, the knights are a valuable asset to a kingdom, but not a permanent one. They get assassinated, imprisoned, bribed, die in glorious battles, or simply become venerable and pass away. Losing an experienced knight shouldn’t be overtly painful, since that would force the players not to take any risks with their knights – and we don’t want that either. Thus, we reached the following conclusions: Number of skills shouldn’t be too high: a knight can learn up to 5 skills; Progression of skills should also be rather limited: each skill has 3 ranks; Progression should be fast: each knight can learn a skill immediately after being hired, and learning new skills or ranking them up should be just one click away, provided that the kingdom has the needed resources; Progression should be available on global, kingdom resources: knights can learn or improve a skill, by gaining experience from their deeds, but a price in “gold” and “books”, paid from the kingdom’s resources, is an option to instantly improve them as well; Skills should have supplementary effects: they should open new opportunities and strengthen the abilities of knights, they should feel rewarding and provide valuable benefits, but not earth-shattering effects. So, each knight, regardless of their class, can learn skills, and the skill set is shared between the different classes. They have strong affinities, though – the skills are “primary” and “secondary” to specific classes and many of the benefits of a skill are received only by a knight from a specific class. For example, Cavalry Tactics: an additional benefit Cavalry Tactics provides to Marshals is the “Hit and run” tactic. Imagine how valuable this can be for a marshal of a steppe kingdom, having large variety of mounted units and often fighting in vast grassland terrains. Additionally, knights have significantly higher chance to have skills, primary to their class, available to learn in the first place. When a new skill can be learned by a knight, they have a few choices that are presented. Now besides the aforementioned class-related affinities influencing the random skill options available, there will be mechanics where players can make a specific skill available to learn, but without taking advantage of those mechanics, the available skills will be random and weighted towards their class’s preferences. You’ll have to wait to learn more about how this works in a later DevDiary though, since these mechanics are part of other game elements and systems. Once learned, there are different effects a skill can have. Some provide statistical or production bonuses, others increase chances of success when performing related actions; many unlock specific abilities, effects or even battle tactics. Usually a skill provides a combination of all these features with a variety of factors determining how useful it will be for a knight. This depends not only on their class, but on other factors as well – for example there are governor-related bonuses or even some skill effects that only apply if the knight is a King himself! As an example, let’s take a look at the “Bargain” skill. It is primary to Merchants and increases the gold from trade to merchants. Spies and Diplomats can also learn this skill of course, but their benefit is the cost reduction of certain actions, e.g. bribery and others. But if the knight, skilled in bargaining, governs a province, there will also be an additional gold income, generated by the goods, produced in that province, and if that character is king, the price for hiring knights in the royal court will be significantly reduced. Now for some good news for our fans that want to get creative: skills, and their balance and even which effects they will have, are completely and easily moddable – this part of the system is rather straightforward for modding and very powerful. So, if you are fond of creating your own “house rules”, you’ll be able to change a lot here and have some fun! We will talk more about Skills in our DevStream on Thursday, August 6th, @ 4:00 PM GMT / 12:00 PM EST. Note the time is one hour later this DevStream, we’re trying a new timeslot as some have mentioned the previous time was a little too early. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. Needless to say, we are still testing different possibilities and balances of skills – making changes big and small – which might and probably will continue even during the beta. So, as always, we’d love to hear your opinion on this topic and we are open-minded to suggestions! What is the preferred depth and complexity of the skill system in such a game for you? Would you prefer to focus on your kingdom and not manage knights’ progression at all? Do you think knights should gain experience from their own deeds, or do you see their progression and “education” as something, that is more of a function of the kingdom itself? Next time we will continue this topic and shed some light on Kingdom Traditions – a different system, yet strongly related to skills, and a very important part of the game!
  9. Hello friends, and welcome to the 9th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign!” In this Diary we shall return to a more gameplay-related topic – the characters’ skills. We already talked about the knights’ classes, but there is much more that makes each knight unique besides just his class. What we first wanted to figure out was the sweet spot for how deep and complex the progression of characters should be in our game. On one hand, the knights are an important part of the KoH series and we felt we could add a bit more content and flavor by expanding their functionality. In the first game, most classes had only ranks (stars) and only Marshals were able to learn unique skills. Though some of these skills were not as useful as others, it turned out they make the Marshals significantly more interesting than the other classes. This seemed like a good direction for us to explore in the sequel. As we now have more depth overall in the economy features and the other classes, we decided merchants, diplomats, clerics and spies all deserve skills as well. Another risk we had to be careful with was the importance and attachment to a particular knight. As in the first game, the knights are a valuable asset to a kingdom, but not a permanent one. They get assassinated, imprisoned, bribed, die in glorious battles, or simply become venerable and pass away. Losing an experienced knight shouldn’t be overtly painful, since that would force the players not to take any risks with their knights – and we don’t want that either. Thus, we reached the following conclusions: Number of skills shouldn’t be too high: a knight can learn up to 5 skills; Progression of skills should also be rather limited: each skill has 3 ranks; Progression should be fast: each knight can learn a skill immediately after being hired, and learning new skills or ranking them up should be just one click away, provided that the kingdom has the needed resources; Progression should be available on global, kingdom resources: knights can learn or improve a skill, by gaining experience from their deeds, but a price in “gold” and “books”, paid from the kingdom’s resources, is an option to instantly improve them as well; Skills should have supplementary effects: they should open new opportunities and strengthen the abilities of knights, they should feel rewarding and provide valuable benefits, but not earth-shattering effects. So, each knight, regardless of their class, can learn skills, and the skill set is shared between the different classes. They have strong affinities, though – the skills are “primary” and “secondary” to specific classes and many of the benefits of a skill are received only by a knight from a specific class. For example, Cavalry Tactics: an additional benefit Cavalry Tactics provides to Marshals is the “Hit and run” tactic. Imagine how valuable this can be for a marshal of a steppe kingdom, having large variety of mounted units and often fighting in vast grassland terrains. Additionally, knights have significantly higher chance to have skills, primary to their class, available to learn in the first place. When a new skill can be learned by a knight, they have a few choices that are presented. Now besides the aforementioned class-related affinities influencing the random skill options available, there will be mechanics where players can make a specific skill available to learn, but without taking advantage of those mechanics, the available skills will be random and weighted towards their class’s preferences. You’ll have to wait to learn more about how this works in a later DevDiary though, since these mechanics are part of other game elements and systems. Once learned, there are different effects a skill can have. Some provide statistical or production bonuses, others increase chances of success when performing related actions; many unlock specific abilities, effects or even battle tactics. Usually a skill provides a combination of all these features with a variety of factors determining how useful it will be for a knight. This depends not only on their class, but on other factors as well – for example there are governor-related bonuses or even some skill effects that only apply if the knight is a King himself! As an example, let’s take a look at the “Bargain” skill. It is primary to Merchants and increases the gold from trade to merchants. Spies and Diplomats can also learn this skill of course, but their benefit is the cost reduction of certain actions, e.g. bribery and others. But if the knight, skilled in bargaining, governs a province, there will also be an additional gold income, generated by the goods, produced in that province, and if that character is king, the price for hiring knights in the royal court will be significantly reduced. Now for some good news for our fans that want to get creative: skills, and their balance and even which effects they will have, are completely and easily moddable – this part of the system is rather straightforward for modding and very powerful. So, if you are fond of creating your own “house rules”, you’ll be able to change a lot here and have some fun! We will talk more about Skills in our DevStream on Thursday, August 6th, @ 4:00 PM GMT / 12:00 PM EST. Note the time is one hour later this DevStream, we’re trying a new timeslot as some have mentioned the previous time was a little too early. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. Needless to say, we are still testing different possibilities and balances of skills – making changes big and small – which might and probably will continue even during the beta. So, as always, we’d love to hear your opinion on this topic and we are open-minded to suggestions! What is the preferred depth and complexity of the skill system in such a game for you? Would you prefer to focus on your kingdom and not manage knights’ progression at all? Do you think knights should gain experience from their own deeds, or do you see their progression and “education” as something, that is more of a function of the kingdom itself? Next time we will continue this topic and shed some light on Kingdom Traditions – a different system, yet strongly related to skills, and a very important part of the game! View full article
  10. Hello friends, and welcome to our 8th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! This time we’re having our first deep dive into the music and audio of our game, a topic we’ve heard many of you are excited about. The composers of “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” bid thee welcome! Yannick and Robin are from Audinity and, after having worked on many strategy video game titles in the past, are having a blast working on the sequel to one of their favorite childhood video games. In fact, the hours Robin spent in the medieval world of “Knights of Honor” exceed the 1000-hour mark and both still have the game installed in their Steam library to this day. So, with all this in mind, there has been a lot of discussion and eagerness on how to approach a game that is near and dear to both! First, after playing the development build, it was clear that a game of this scope and style would need some brainstorming on how to approach the soundtrack. Everyone sat down and brainstormed, working collaboratively from both the composer and developer side to form a concept and approach that everyone could get behind. This wasn’t just about finding the right tone, but also figuring out how to technically approach how we’d leverage music in the game. It may seem like an easy thing, but we assure you, there’s a lot of little details that make it quite complex. As you probably know from the previous DevDiaries, KoH2:S features various cultures. One of our primary goals is to write unique music for a variety of these cultures in the game. After all, playing as a Western European faction should feel and sound different than playing as an Arabian faction. We also wanted to find a tone that would feel very much like “Knights of Honor”, too, and spent lots of time listening to the old soundtrack and discussing with some of the original KoH team members how the music was developed back then. This led us down the route of devising different playlists for the major, unique cultures. These playlists feature authentic short tracks – which we call “snippets” – for creating the appropriate cultural mood as well as big orchestral signature tracks as musical accents. We want the players to feel the impact of their decisions to medieval Europe through the music, but we do not just want a plain ambient underscore, we also want the music to give direct feedback to certain gameplay elements. Just like the cultural direction of a region can change (think about the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula), the music can change as well in order to create a more adaptive music system that reflects some of these changes. So, if for example the Iberian Peninsula is partly Muslim and partly Christian, you might be able to hear music from both the Christian/European and the Muslim/Arabian playlists when you are in that region for a longer time. The musical changes will be quite subtle first and depending on how significant the cultural changes, the level of musical adaptation increases. If a European/Christian region gets conquered by Pagans, you might first hear one Pagan music track here and there. If the region remains Pagan for a while, more Pagan tracks can be added. This means that over time, the amount of “Christian/European” music in the playlist can decrease, just like the actual Christian/European influence in that region. We think this could be a cool way to have the music and culture work together and reflect how your decisions are impacting the world. In addition, we’re also experimenting with short tracks that can trigger based on certain impactful gameplay events to add musical feedback and support the mood. For example, if the Pope calls for a crusade, there may be a specific musical flourish to help build the atmosphere. Also, we want the music to react to the political situation and stability in your realm. If your people are rioting heavily or if several other nations declare war on you, you might be able to notice a change of music towards more tension tracks that indicate “woops, something is happening!” As most of you know, the game’s setting reflects the real world during the medieval era, where you create an alternative path forward based on your actions and decisions. You are the Sovereign, the medieval leader, and we want the music to support that mood as well. That’s why we want to feature many authentic traditional instruments in our score. In European/Christian tracks you can often hear the lute, viola da gamba, recorders and many more. We also plan to record an old zither that Yannick inherited from his grandmother! Arabian/Muslim regions will feature traditional instruments as well, like the Ney flute or Darbuka. To give the music a true historical vibe that fits the setting, we also plan to incorporate the famous “L’Homme Armé” (“The Armed Man”) melody, which is an actual authentic medieval tune fitting perfectly to the game’s theme. All the music samples you’re hearing in these clips are both works-in-progress and digital versions made with our computers. We’re excited to use both orchestra and featured traditional instruments in our music, and we’re planning to record with live musicians for the game, including some authentic soloists, which should be a real treat. That said, we didn’t want to wait until our recording sessions to give our fans a taste of the music, so hope you enjoy this preview, and can keep in mind that the final tracks will sound much much better! We will talk more on this topic in our DevStream on Thursday, July 9th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic. Not only will we be grabbing responses from this post, we’ll also be showing off more music, with some new footage, during the stream, so you won’t want to miss it! Of course, we want to produce the best soundtrack possible, both as music composers and as die-hard fans of “Knights of Honor.” We hope you’ve enjoyed this first sample of what we’ve been cooking up and would love to hear your opinions on how things are starting. Do you like the idea of music reflecting the culture of an area, or do you prefer having more direct control of the tracks that play? What are your thoughts on the first tracks? Do you have a specific track or melody from the first Knights of Honor that is really memorable to you, and why? We can’t wait to hear your feedback and write even more great music for you to enjoy. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!
  11. Hello friends, and welcome to our 8th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! This time we’re having our first deep dive into the music and audio of our game, a topic we’ve heard many of you are excited about. The composers of “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” bid thee welcome! Yannick and Robin are from Audinity and, after having worked on many strategy video game titles in the past, are having a blast working on the sequel to one of their favorite childhood video games. In fact, the hours Robin spent in the medieval world of “Knights of Honor” exceed the 1000-hour mark and both still have the game installed in their Steam library to this day. So, with all this in mind, there has been a lot of discussion and eagerness on how to approach a game that is near and dear to both! First, after playing the development build, it was clear that a game of this scope and style would need some brainstorming on how to approach the soundtrack. Everyone sat down and brainstormed, working collaboratively from both the composer and developer side to form a concept and approach that everyone could get behind. This wasn’t just about finding the right tone, but also figuring out how to technically approach how we’d leverage music in the game. It may seem like an easy thing, but we assure you, there’s a lot of little details that make it quite complex. As you probably know from the previous DevDiaries, KoH2:S features various cultures. One of our primary goals is to write unique music for a variety of these cultures in the game. After all, playing as a Western European faction should feel and sound different than playing as an Arabian faction. We also wanted to find a tone that would feel very much like “Knights of Honor”, too, and spent lots of time listening to the old soundtrack and discussing with some of the original KoH team members how the music was developed back then. This led us down the route of devising different playlists for the major, unique cultures. These playlists feature authentic short tracks – which we call “snippets” – for creating the appropriate cultural mood as well as big orchestral signature tracks as musical accents. We want the players to feel the impact of their decisions to medieval Europe through the music, but we do not just want a plain ambient underscore, we also want the music to give direct feedback to certain gameplay elements. Just like the cultural direction of a region can change (think about the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula), the music can change as well in order to create a more adaptive music system that reflects some of these changes. So, if for example the Iberian Peninsula is partly Muslim and partly Christian, you might be able to hear music from both the Christian/European and the Muslim/Arabian playlists when you are in that region for a longer time. The musical changes will be quite subtle first and depending on how significant the cultural changes, the level of musical adaptation increases. If a European/Christian region gets conquered by Pagans, you might first hear one Pagan music track here and there. If the region remains Pagan for a while, more Pagan tracks can be added. This means that over time, the amount of “Christian/European” music in the playlist can decrease, just like the actual Christian/European influence in that region. We think this could be a cool way to have the music and culture work together and reflect how your decisions are impacting the world. In addition, we’re also experimenting with short tracks that can trigger based on certain impactful gameplay events to add musical feedback and support the mood. For example, if the Pope calls for a crusade, there may be a specific musical flourish to help build the atmosphere. Also, we want the music to react to the political situation and stability in your realm. If your people are rioting heavily or if several other nations declare war on you, you might be able to notice a change of music towards more tension tracks that indicate “woops, something is happening!” As most of you know, the game’s setting reflects the real world during the medieval era, where you create an alternative path forward based on your actions and decisions. You are the Sovereign, the medieval leader, and we want the music to support that mood as well. That’s why we want to feature many authentic traditional instruments in our score. In European/Christian tracks you can often hear the lute, viola da gamba, recorders and many more. We also plan to record an old zither that Yannick inherited from his grandmother! Arabian/Muslim regions will feature traditional instruments as well, like the Ney flute or Darbuka. To give the music a true historical vibe that fits the setting, we also plan to incorporate the famous “L’Homme Armé” (“The Armed Man”) melody, which is an actual authentic medieval tune fitting perfectly to the game’s theme. All the music samples you’re hearing in these clips are both works-in-progress and digital versions made with our computers. We’re excited to use both orchestra and featured traditional instruments in our music, and we’re planning to record with live musicians for the game, including some authentic soloists, which should be a real treat. That said, we didn’t want to wait until our recording sessions to give our fans a taste of the music, so hope you enjoy this preview, and can keep in mind that the final tracks will sound much much better! We will talk more on this topic in our DevStream on Thursday, July 9th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic. Not only will we be grabbing responses from this post, we’ll also be showing off more music, with some new footage, during the stream, so you won’t want to miss it! Of course, we want to produce the best soundtrack possible, both as music composers and as die-hard fans of “Knights of Honor.” We hope you’ve enjoyed this first sample of what we’ve been cooking up and would love to hear your opinions on how things are starting. Do you like the idea of music reflecting the culture of an area, or do you prefer having more direct control of the tracks that play? What are your thoughts on the first tracks? Do you have a specific track or melody from the first Knights of Honor that is really memorable to you, and why? We can’t wait to hear your feedback and write even more great music for you to enjoy. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer! View full article
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