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RPG Platformer Chasm Coming to PS4 This Year

James Petruzzi's Avatar + Posted by James Petruzzi on Apr 30, 2014 // Founder, Discord Games, Inc.

Chasm on PS4

Hello, PlayStation fans! My name is James Petruzzi, and I’m the Producer of Chasm, a procedurally-generated RPG Platformer coming to PS4 later this year. In Chasm, players take up the role of Daltyn, a young soldier sent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a mining crew in the remote mountain town of Karthas. Upon arrival you learn the town has been cut off from the outside world by supernatural forces. Now trapped, you are left with no option but to explore the mines below the town and uncover the source of the disturbances. Only by gaining new special abilities, evading dangerous traps, and defeating hordes of deadly enemies can you hope to save Karthas — and possibly the world!

One of the hardest parts of game design is creating a unique and interesting world for players to explore. The Metroidvania genre has always been popular among exploration fans, and utilizes unlockable items or abilities that help the player reach previously inaccessible areas. The goal of our latest game is to make an authentic Metroidvania-style experience that utilizes procedural generation to keep the experience fresh for repeated playthroughs. Let’s quickly explore how we approached world design in Chasm.

Chasm on PS4

The world of Chasm is based upon a simple four-tier hierarchical structure. Let’s start with the most basic building block: the Room. A Room in Chasm is a container that has collision tiles to walk on, one or more doors, and data for possible procedurally placed elements like enemies, traps, treasure, and more.

When creating a new room, the first task is deciding on its size. Should it just fill one screen, or should it scroll multiple screens vertically or horizontally? Next, we place the collision tiles for the player to walk on, and lay out spawn zones to define what things can spawn where. At this point, we can play the room in the game and see if it’s fun, decide what enemies or traps work best (or don’t work at all), and do general tweak ups. Once finalized, an artist visits the room and styles it with the area’s tileset.

Chasm on PS4

A typical Sub-Area in Chasm (Red = Save Point, Yellow = Door)

Repeat this process many times, with many different sized rooms, and all of a sudden you have a big repository of possible options for generating a dungeon. When you start a new game, our dungeon generator lays out these rooms into the next building blocks of the world: the Sub-Area. A Sub-Area is comprised of around 10-15 rooms connected together in a unique configuration. All Sub-Areas have several things in common: a difficulty level, a save room, connections to other Sub-Areas or Areas, and the chance for “special” rooms to appear like puzzle rooms, trap rooms with waves of enemies to battle, or story rooms with ruins or notes to examine. Most importantly, we can guarantee certain items or NPCs will be somewhere in a Sub-Area for the player to discover.

Chasm on PS4

Area layout for the Mines

An Area is formed when multiple Sub-Areas are connected together. Areas are designed to create a core set of goals and a path for the player. For instance, in the Mines your overall goal is to reach the boss in Sub-Area 2, but in order to reach it you first need to gain the Slide ability in Sub-Area 4. In order to reach Sub-Area 4, you must have repaired the elevator after acquiring the part in Sub-Area 5. In this way, we can ensure the area is properly paced, and the player has both short and long term goals to attain.

Chasm on PS4Chasm on PS4

Lastly, the Areas are connected together to form the World. There will always be events that happen in the same order (ie. the player always goes to the Catacombs after completing the Mines), and in true Metroidvania fashion, there will also be backtracking between Areas. There may be a special treasure chest on a ledge you have to come back for later with the Ledge Grab ability, or perhaps a rather wide chasm blocking off the next area that requires the Flip ability to be crossed.

I hope this has shed some light on how the world of Chasm is designed, and gives you a better idea of how the game will play. By utilizing procedural generation, we hope to make the “room to room” exploration experience always new and exciting, while still providing a directed and well-paced experience. Finding the perfect blend between procedural generation and hand-crafting is a tricky endeavor, but one we think is more than worth exploring further.

//Add Your Own

37 Comments   9 Replies

1

+ D-Squad3 on April 30th, 2014 at 3:53 pm said:

yes


2

+ g-sweeper_6 on April 30th, 2014 at 3:54 pm said:

This looks like a lot fun! Can’t wait to see more!


3

+ MapleStory on April 30th, 2014 at 3:55 pm said:

Absolutely love the graphical style (sort of reminds me of Ys 3 mixed with SOTN!) and it looks/sounds like it’ll be amazing. Any chance it’ll be on PS3 or Vita? Keep up the great work!


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    + James Petruzzi on April 30th, 2014 at 4:01 pm said:

    Thanks – we love all of those games of course!

    We’re definitely interested in Vita as well, but without a solid Monogame port in place it would require a total code rewrite. Hopefully we’ll have something to announce later this year!


4

+ vstarwow on April 30th, 2014 at 3:55 pm said:

must have!


5

+ Edzo04ps on April 30th, 2014 at 3:57 pm said:

cant see a game like this holding my attention on a console. this just screams handheld. please consider a vita port once this releases


6

+ spearrage on April 30th, 2014 at 4:03 pm said:

From all the shown indie games, this is probably the one i am looking forward the most. Is good to know the PS4 is turning out to be a great consoles for both indie and AAA, as indie currently tackle type of games AAA usually don’t. And the terrible quality control on steam have created a bloat that doesn’t allow the good indie games to shine, so PS4 putting those games on the spotlight is necesary… now we need FTL on PS4, thought that would be a challenge


7

+ Otaku_Power on April 30th, 2014 at 4:06 pm said:

Oh my god, it looks amazing! Can’t wait :D!


8

+ the_FREELANCER on April 30th, 2014 at 4:08 pm said:

Beautiful game!


9

+ tusunami on April 30th, 2014 at 4:30 pm said:

I like how this looks and from what i’m reading this looks like a game that I can get into.


10

+ Nazotchi on April 30th, 2014 at 4:39 pm said:

Oh MAN I remember seeing the concept art for this a long time ago and trying not to get my hopes up since it seemed too beautiful to get made. I’m overjoyed to see this!


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    + James Petruzzi on April 30th, 2014 at 4:46 pm said:

    Awesome, that’s so cool to hear :)


11

+ wilfareus on April 30th, 2014 at 4:42 pm said:

Please consider a Vita release!
#BestOnVita

and Cross-Play (and Cross-Buy)

there are some really awesome teams out there that can help with the porting right! :D -cross fingers-


12

+ DemoniOtaku on April 30th, 2014 at 4:47 pm said:

If there’s not news about Vita’s version I could buy it on PS4 later this year when I buy one. But this type of games look better on Vita’s OLED screen (ips LCD for new buyers).


13

+ LionAlliance on April 30th, 2014 at 4:50 pm said:

Ohhhhh man, totally feel in love with this game!
Any chance of a Vita port as well?


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    + James Petruzzi on April 30th, 2014 at 4:59 pm said:

    Definitely a chance, hopefully we’ll have something to announce later this year!


14

+ Souledge94 on April 30th, 2014 at 5:13 pm said:

Thanks for bringing this over.It looks awesome.


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    + James Petruzzi on April 30th, 2014 at 5:16 pm said:

    Our pleasure, thank you!


15

+ Angelcurio on April 30th, 2014 at 5:15 pm said:

I have always had my doubts about procedural generated levels in games, since each dungeon or level doesn’t have the personal care of something small being built to fit in a bigger picture. I must admit that this one looks interesting, will definitely check it out.


16

+ MushThePainter on April 30th, 2014 at 5:29 pm said:

I second third and fourth a Vita port please. Either way I’m still interested and looking forward to hearing and seeing more


17

+ GRomulus91 on April 30th, 2014 at 5:58 pm said:

thank everyone at the studio for this game ! looks absolutely amazing ………. will double dip instantly if vita happens :P


18

+ BlueGnosis on April 30th, 2014 at 6:00 pm said:

Shall I ask the burning question on everyone’s mind? I shall! Will there be a NG+ to help us through our second foray into the wonderfully randomized world of Chasm?


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    + James Petruzzi on May 1st, 2014 at 8:27 am said:

    Our goal is to have the game be a bit different each time you play, regardless of a New Game+. We are going to try our best to add an actual mode though with some new items and tougher enemies for your beefed up character if we have enough time before release :)


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19

+ Tom Happ on April 30th, 2014 at 6:33 pm said:

Really digging your detailed explanation of how the procedural generation works!


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    + James Petruzzi on May 1st, 2014 at 8:25 am said:

    Thanks Tom! Axiom looks amazing :)


20

+ PrimeroIncognito on April 30th, 2014 at 7:04 pm said:

I love these kind of games. Now I just need to get a PS4.


21

+ GrafUlrich88 on April 30th, 2014 at 9:36 pm said:

Hey James,

You guys did a wonderful job! I look forward to buying this as soon as it’s available.

Another must buy for me this year. I will also be getting this for my boys PS4 as well. So you just got 2 more copies sold (mine and my boys PS4′s).

Cheers!!

Graf


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    + James Petruzzi on May 1st, 2014 at 8:28 am said:

    Awesome, thanks so much Graf! :)


22

+ Option1live on April 30th, 2014 at 10:00 pm said:

Looks sick! I’m excited to see you guys get some press. Take Arms was my favorite XBLIG!


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    + James Petruzzi on May 1st, 2014 at 8:29 am said:

    Woah, we got an old school fan here! So cool to hear Take Arms was your favorite XBLIG :)


23

+ AizawaYuuichi on May 1st, 2014 at 12:43 am said:

I love the look of the graphics. While retro, they definitely have a lot of life to them (the character sway and hair movement, for example). There were so many indie game announcements today, but this is by far my favorite. It looks like Symphony of the Night 16-bit Edition. Day One Purchase on PS4. If it gets a Vita port and a separate trophy list, I would even double dip to have it on the go. Looking forward to more info and a release date.


24

+ auron1014 on May 1st, 2014 at 1:41 am said:

I’ve been excited to play this for a long time. Totally stoked to see it coming to PS4!


25

+ Volken_us on May 1st, 2014 at 5:00 am said:

As you mentioned it in your replies, I’ll wait for the VITA version … anyway I have no other choice coz it’s my only console :)


26

+ BlawxEX on May 1st, 2014 at 6:46 am said:

Yes please! Looking forward to the game.


27

+ er910 on May 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am said:

Thank you. I love this style of game.


28

+ Death_bass on May 1st, 2014 at 7:29 am said:

Loved the game, looking forward to play it.


29

+ LokeSTL on May 1st, 2014 at 7:34 am said:

No TB menu driven combat = not a true RPG.

But still interested in this “metroid-vania” style action-adventure game. Love the look and the description. Keep the details coming! Release window? Pricing?


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    + James Petruzzi on May 1st, 2014 at 8:32 am said:

    Yea, it’s definitely more Action-RPG vein. Glad to hear you liked it. We’re shooting to get it out late this year – the price will most likely match the PC version.


30

+ RenderMonk on May 1st, 2014 at 8:16 am said:

The game looks really cool. Def right up my alley. I’ll enjoy the game on Vita via remote play more than likely.


31

+ iREVOLTER on May 1st, 2014 at 8:28 am said:

Played the demo in PC, now I want this one on PS4! Waiting … (sigh)


32

+ doctorSTRANG on May 1st, 2014 at 11:08 am said:

This game would be amazing on Vita. and/or ps3. Im still not buying a ps4 and I love indie games. I usually play them on pc, but I really like to see them coming to consoles. Specially to the portable ones.
I think that metroidvania games really fits portable consoles.


33

+ reverendnja on May 1st, 2014 at 5:37 pm said:

Wow, this looks amazing — looks to be an amalgam of some of my favorite games, definitely a day-one buy. I would also love to have this on the Vita as well, I’d end up buying them both (unless you spoil us and give us cross-buy!).


34

+ BlueBl1zzard on May 1st, 2014 at 6:22 pm said:

Man, just reading about how the world is created really has me excited for this game. I will say that you have a definite buy from me if you guys put out a vital version, but I may pick this up for PS4 as well.


35

+ Elvick_ on May 4th, 2014 at 1:43 am said:

Game looks awesome. Would love on Vita, but I’ll pick it up on PS4.


36

+ shinyidol on May 8th, 2014 at 1:41 pm said:

Backed it on Kickstarter! Looking forward to playing it! Love me some Metroidvania action!


37

+ Boston_Brawler on May 28th, 2014 at 3:14 pm said:

I know this says coming 2014, but is there a more precise time frame? I’m very eager to play this game. I’ve been waiting for some good Metroidvania styled games, and I’m excited to see many indie releases coming up with this style.


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