OnceLost Games is a relatively new independent game studio with huge expertise when it comes to classic RPGs. The studio’s producer and technical director have previously worked on Elder Scrolls Arena and Daggerfall.
However, their next project is far more ambitious. They plan on creating The Story Engine, a dungeon master AI that will let players create the story and character they want almost like a real person dictate their next move based on his/ her decisions.
During a recent QnA video on Youtube, OnceLost Games’ members talked about their next project, an RPG that will integrate the Dungeon Master AI in order to create the ultimate RPG experience. Vijay Lakshman (executive producer), Ted Peterson (design director) and Julian LeFay (technical director) took turns to talk about the studio’s future, detailing some of their engine’s features. Lakshman opened up the conversation on the Story Engine by saying:
“It started in infancy at Arena and was very primitive, Daggerfall was more involved and then every once in a while, years after, it was obvious that a story engine would be needed, and it would get more advanced every time I was on educational products.”
“We hope it will be able to drive stories that would simulate a real person, Dungeon Master specifically, and continually keep the player with some decent stories but also make sure that there is continuation to these stories that would affect the world in a meaningful way and in a persistant way so there is meaning in the short term to the quests and meaning after the quest is completed. That’s the idea and it looks like after all that time, the technology will be able to do something like that.”
Seeing an independent studio going to such lengths to provide a better RPG experience for fans is a pride that not anyone can take on. For OnceLost Games, this decision was almost natural since their experience in the industry as well as the current technology opened up the opportunity for such feature to surface.
Ted Peterson better explains the concept behind the Dungeon Master AI, when asked about their game’s features. He goes on by saying that a real dungeon master or game master would have to adapt to the players’ decisions to go on a side or main quest, instead of the other way around.
If what he says reflects their true purpose, then we should expect their RPG to be more like playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons than Skyrim for instance, where a side quest is nothing more than a grind for experience and loot.
There’s still so much we don’t know about OnceLost Games’ first project, the team has shared some information on their Discord server. Their RPG will have a huge dynamic world with rich lore and a robust character generation and advancement.
To top that, they promise non-linear and branching endless quests which will evolve the world like a great virtual game master. We can’t wait to see that project taking shape. For now, the studio is teasing their game through screenshots and minor developer updates, so we’ll know more in the months to come.