All about immersion

Hello everyone,

Today we are going to talk about our first “big” reveal, storytelling and immersion in Menyr.

In the last weeks we’ve been hard at work to clean bugs and polish the engine a little bit so we could record most of the features that already work in-engine. The result of this was the features trailer you probably saw and we posted on different platforms, especially Reddit that we particularly like. After this release, we saw a surge of attention, from subscribers to our mailing list to Discord newcomers and social media followers. This is great and we have been bombarded by questions I had the pleasure to answer.

I will summarize how it went: it was crazy and this community rocks!

We received nothing but positive feedback and encouragement to continue our work in the same direction. The amount of love and anticipation just took a turn and we’re feeling the pressure. The right kind of pressure.

Before we went public a few weeks ago, we were working on Menyr in the dark (figuratively, mind you) and probably less than 50 people in the world knew about this project, including the whole staff, friends and family. It came with it’s share of hardship and sometimes it was mentally challenging to stay motivated. I’ll give you a little story to illustrate:

back in spring of 2021, we were a few months away from being able to show our work and start meeting the community. Then Unreal Engine 5 got announced. We were working on UE4 at the time and what Epic announced in terms of technology made it almost impossible to avoid switching (this will be a dev blog post in itself). But switching to UE5 meant pushing an extra year to come back to exactly where we were in tems of advancement. During this year, we would redo huge chunks of Menyr that we had already done, develop thechnologies we haven’t planned to because they were not in UE4, we would see competitors announce and release their engine and it meant a huge money / time loss as we needed to pay our staff and work ourselves on the project during our time off. But as I’ll explain another time, we just had to switch so we bit the bullet: we started again, almost from scratch.

So when I’m telling you that reading your comments has galvanized the troops to work harder than ever before on Menyr is an understatement. See for yourself:

“This engine looks like the solution my group has been looking for! I am beyond excited”

“Goddamn looking through the roadmap and detailed features this looks unreal. This could revolutionize online DnD and maybe even put Roll20 out of buisness. I absolutely cannot wait, godspeed to you all.”

“Dude. I need this.”

“Holy shit, what have you made?? And just for TTRPGs? You got to market yourselves widely. Some tweaks and you got yourself an RPG game engine. […] In-fucking-sane. Well done.”

and like the top reply of a popular post we did on Reddit says:

“This looks fucking rad.”

We are SO proud of each other’s work here at NOG and very humbled by your collective reactions to our dream project.

To all of you helping us by spreading the word around you, or just sharing your excitement for Menyr: thank you!

The second topic I wanted to take a little time to develop today is coming from a very interesting subject started by a redditor.

I’m not going to copy/paste the whole conversation here, but I’ll use my answer as a base. The premise was basically that with an engine like Menyr, the fantasy part of “fantasy roleplaying” would be gone, and that you will spend hours of your time as a DM to build 3D worlds instead of doing storytelling. I believe it is a very important topic because it touches two of Menyr’s pillars: storytelling and immersion.

To address this first, a little bit of personal backstory that led me to influence the development of Menyr the way it is today. As a DnD DM, my preferred way of playing is “in-person” with a touch of digital immersion: I’m behind my DM screen, a large TV on the side I use to cast nature 4K YouTube videos or mood scenes like fireplace loops etc. My players are facing the TV and me, we’re doing cooperative storytelling during the whole session and when doing battle, we use an erasable mat or sometimes pen & paper. I’d love to one day improve to a digital table where you can cast on a flat tv at the center of it but for now I don’t have one. When the pandemic started, we tried to play on R20 but we really didn’t like the experience so kind of avoided to play online as much as possible.

This is how I will use Menyr to my advantage:

First and very important is prep time: I will be able to procedurally generate terrain up to 100km by 100km, dungeons and villages in a few seconds. If I want to move stuff around I can but it is not necessary. If I want, I can also go to the marketplace and download any map, scenario, or dungeon that someone from the community made and shared (and I’ve been in this community for long enough to know people are really generous).

When I’m satisfied with my maps I can save them in my campaign and start exploring to find interesting places. In the engine, I can use the Point of Interest tool that allows me to set up scenes: I like this particular view of this part of the forest, at sundown with a little bit of fog and snowfall -> save POI. I also like this desert at night under the stars’ scene -> POI. And this view of the village from the rooftops -> POI. Etc.

That’s it. When my players will come to play in session, I can cast my screen on the large TV and jump to any POI in one click. I can adapt the weather, season, music and even sounds (frequency or loudness of any SFX like birds, fire crackling etc) in real time at any point. I can setup the time in-game to go by in real time, seing the sun setting and the stars arise, or I can make time lapses in a few seconds. I can use the Game System in game to keep track of character sheets and inventory or continue using paper and use Menyr solely as a mood generator.

There is much more you can do in Menyr and of course, it allows you to play online if ever a player can’t be present. It reduces prep time necessary to almost zero if this is what you like, and allows you to focus on the actual story. I really believe Menyr will be able to enhance the experience to DMs and players that want to keep immersion and cooperative storytelling as the centerpiece of the TTRPG experience.

I hope this was instructive and entertaining. Until next time,