About Me

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I am a gamer, an artist and a hobbyist video game designer. When I'm not doodling one resource or another, I love to read books, make paper crafts (cards) and bake yummy goodies.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weekly Screenshot

I bring you two screenshots from chapters 1 and 2 this week. I'm nearing the completion of the update, so you should be seeing a new download within a couple of days now.

This is the revamped CTN (Crystal Transit Network). It's a happy medley of technology and mysticism. The computers and wiring inside the walls creates several types of energy waves, which are amplified by the crystals. Each crystal has a microchip with specific coordinates embedded inside it, allowing the physical displacement (aka. teleportation) of individuals and groups.

The second screenshot is the revamped sewers. It was pointed out to me that the sewers were kind of bare and basic when compared to the rest of the mapping. So, using a few tidbits from the steampunk tileset, I've redone the general look! The puzzle (not much of one, I know) is still the same.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chapter 3: Locations

I wanted to share a few of the locations you will get to visit in chapter 3 - without spoiling the plot.

Arena & Tournament Grounds-
I know some players really dig battles, and I'm working on a challenge or two. But a lot of my ideas might be too difficult for a novice player. So, I thought I could include these ideas/fights in a tournament setting. The rewards will be upgrades to equipment, items and opening some side-quests. Since each character has an "ultimate" equipment set, at least one of them will only be achievable through winning tournaments.
The first tournament is plot-based, and will therefore be pretty easy. It should, however, introduce tournament rules (subject to change, I'm still working them all out):
- You can only wear the equipment provided by the tournament officials.
- You can only use items provided by the tournament officials.
- You are recovered to full after each battle, but you can only take a break/save at certain ranks (roughly every 3 battles or so).
- You can talk to your party members during breaks, giving you an opportunity to raise some relationship points.
- If you win, you get to keep all the equipment and left-over items, as well as automatically qualify for future tournaments.

Continent of Geldion-
Once you visit Geldion, you will be introduced to the political atmosphere of the world (Caeta). When Azazel and his armies entered Caeta, Geldion was the closest continent and so it suffered the heaviest damage. As a result, the continent is virtually barren and unsuitable for growing crop or keeping livestock. The survivors and refugees who returned to Geldion had to rely on their ingenuity and understanding of machines.
In the present, the nation of Geldion is known as the technological maven of the world. I'll be using the steampunk tiles I collaborated with Celianna on (and I'm very excited about this!). In terms of side quests, there will be several bounty-hunter type quests from the tavern boards, some basic fetch quests and there might also be a riddle or two.

It's the capital of Ahden, a very lavish and rich town. It has several museums and libraries as well as a big palace. I'm both excited about this town and slightly nervous, because getting just the right look might require a lot of custom spriting.

That's it for today's update! I'm still working on polishing chapters 1&2, but I've had a few graphic request that have eaten up a lot of time. I'm not giving a deadline, but I'm hoping to have more to updated by Saturday morning.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chapter 1&2 update: Battles (and weekly screenshot)

It turns out that the updated chapters 1 and 2 were not ready for release on Friday, after all. I can't entirely say I'm surprised, as I've had some trouble estimating just how long certain portions will take (sorry about that, people! I always underestimate how long testing and debugging takes). The database is well underway. The classes, skills and equipment is for the most part done. I've finished the animations for half of the characters, another 4 and some global skills left to go! I'm very grateful that Timmah has released so many wonderful animations, as they've really helped make the skills look unique.

Most of the damage/healing calculations and buff/debuff states are done. I've actually reworked the character-specific buffs/debuffs to target more than one stat, playing into the elemental affinities of their magical attacks. There's still a lot of testing left to do, however, especially when it comes to balancing enemies. One of the features I'm including is that the enemies have levels that are based on the average party level. So, you can expect each fight to be at least mildly challenging. However, I also don't want anyone to turn the game off in frustration, so there will be a couple options for lost fights. First is to retry - because let's face it, sometimes it's just bad luck! The second is to avoid the fight altogether. In this case, the enemy will disappear, but the party will lose half its gold.

The random enemies will either be visible on the screen, or require some sort of action - like the rats in the Bethlam Tower, where you had to shake the barricade to make them appear. There will be a few "trap" type encounters as well, where you trigger battles by stepping on particular tiles, but they will limited to certain areas. My goal is to provide plenty of battles for those of you who enjoy battles, but not force them on the players who would rather not fight. I should also mention that all states will be cleared after the battle (including death) and all characters will be healed to 50% of their health and mana. So, those moments when you're on your last potion and still have half a dungeon to go should be rare.

I'm also pondering the notion of adding a few more exploration areas to chapter 1 and 2. The forest path to Summervale, for example, is very linear and short. When I was developing the area, I had a much bigger set of maps in mind, but I shrunk it down for convenience. You would, of course, get to explore those areas when you went back to Summervale (chapter 3). But would you rather see them right away?

Now, as promised, here's a screenshot of a map in Chapter 3:

Where could Alistair be now? And what awaits him in this cave? Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Databasing Woes

Fiddling with the database is my least-favorite thing to do. I don't mind the calculation, balancing and notetags too much, though it does get tiring after a while. No, the biggest reason why I hate it is because it brings out that OCD part of me that has to have everything uber-organized. I can't just add more entries and keep the special equipment at the bottom of the database. Oh, no, I've got to have it labeled, organized by type and rank, and with precise and witty descriptions.

There wasn't anything particularly bad about the database before, you see, but after having switched to Melody, I had to remake the skills and the states. And they looked so pretty that I then had to remake the weapons. And the armor. And it looks like I'm going to be redoing the objects, too. I can't have 3/4 of the database clear and one big item-y mess!

Does this put me behind on the release? Well, a little bit. It does involve going back through all of the events and changing out items being handed out as well as the loot messages. Thankfully, Melody text scripts allow me to easily write the icon + item name in the message, so it's just a matter of switching a couple of numbers.

I may pull an all-nighter, dear readers, but I still aim for Friday release of updated Chapters 1&2. Sunday, I will be updating with a teaser screenshot of Chapter 3.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weekly Progress: Twice Upon a Hero

Despite having a pretty busy week (spring cleaning is no joke!), I got a considerable amount of work done for Twice Upon a Hero.

I bit the bullet and integrated Yanfly Battle Engine Melody, along with several smaller scripts that helped create a few unique skills and states. I'm still setting up all the character skills, and the enemy skills are far from being finalized. Things are well on their way, however. Alistair, Cordelia and Penelope's skills are done. I'm finishing up Claudia's skills and I have a basic outline for the other characters. It's just a matter of setting up some animations (thanks to Timmah for gorgeous particle work, and IceDragon for awesome icons) and fiddling with the cost/damage ratios.

Melody also came with a simple message system that allowed for some features I've been wanting to use: basic text formatting (italics, bold text, ability to change fonts), a way to add icons in text and a name box. I've loved the namebox idea ever since I first started using Ccoa's UMS back in RMXP. It's a great feature that identifies the speaker without taking up a whole line of text. Of course, the downside to this great message system is that I've had to go through hundreds of messages to change the code.

I've also fixed a couple of small bugs that all you faithful players caught - one being a missing switch that gave you access to the sewers. Now, you can only explore it if you've accepted a side quest.

Thanks to Modern Algebra, I've created a few tutorials that should help newer players. They're completely optional, but they do give some useful items if you can sit through them. I'm finishing up a basic battle tutorial, as well. It's not too complicated to create, though it still takes time and lots of play-testing.

Other things I finished:
- Fixed up one of Closet's facesets because it was a tad messy and didn't fit in the quality of the rest of the faces.
- Sprited an original windowskin. As much as I liked the old one, I wanted something that was a little cleaner and simpler.
- Changed the font to something a little bigger and more readable.
- Also mapped one of the first areas of chapter 3. I'll post some screenies when I'm a little further along mapping that chapter.

I'm hoping to release the updated version of chapter 1+2 by the end of the week.