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.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week 6

The holidays are slowly creeping up on us and the free time I have to work on my project(s) is going to be severely limited. I've also got a couple of resource sets I really ought to finish before too long, and they'll be taking priority in the weeks to come.

Still, there's a few things I can update with this week:
The first is that I've gone back to the RTP - with some modifications. Despite the fact that I love RMXP RTP, the style is just too different. I could have modified the XP RTP to work better with the rest of the painted tiles, but it was a lot of work. In the end, I just decided to edit the Ace RTP. It's still going to be unique, but much more cohesive - and the cohesion is a huge must.

Other than that map, I've done a little work on the database and customized a few monster graphic. I have a super cool ice spider and a couple of imps that should make interesting enemies.

Next week, I want to finish Claudia's portrait/faceset and get more of the sprites done. Ideally, I want the entire party done before the end of the month. Even with an otherwise busy schedule, I should be able to meet that goal.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Graphic Freebies

This week, I bring more icons!
These icons were meant for a flower shop game that never made it past early planning stages. I think it was something I was going to enter in a contest, but I can't remember. The game itself was a simple farming game where you planted and cared for flower bushes and eventually made bouquets for customers.

They are custom-made and can be used in any non-commercial game.

And this is Aphrodite - a portrait to go with my Greek Goddess series (click here and scroll down to Mythology).

Credits go to me (Lunarea), PentagonBuddy and Enterbrain. Note that this uses pieces from the RTP of RMVXAce, so please don't use if you don't own Ace.

Terms: Free for non-commercial use in RMVXAce.
Do not repost/redistribute! Link to this blog post instead.
Credits: Lunarea 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Progress: Week 5

A holiday week means not a whole lot of game development got done. I've also been battling a pretty bad case of the flu, so things have slowed down to a crawl on pretty much all ends.

I started mapping a cave, but it will have to be remapped. I'm not the slightest bit happy with the results right now. I also have to fix up some tile pieces for the town and the mountain range map.

I've also decided to go with the custom sprite template, as I'll be making lots of sprites for it anyway. So, here's front-walking Alistair:
I've also finished one of the side views. The template is super easy to sprite on and I think it will give the game even more of a unique style (that hopefully makes it easier to remember).

And since I've decided on the custom style, I've got the opportunity to change some of the character designs slightly. I love Alistair just the way he is, but I wasn't 100% happy with some of the other ones.

This is Claudia as I used her in the early versions. It's basically RTP with a color change for the hair.
And this is how she could look (please note that the necklace was from one of Archeia's incredible portraits).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday Resource Highlight

I'm doing the Thursday post early, as I'm going to be busy with a big family feast tomorrow.

First, showing off some more sprites on the custom template:
Princess/Noble Females

Second, another free resource from the "not-released"folder:

Some Elemental icons I did for a project that never took off completely.

Floaty thingy that someone requested on another forum.

Mirror statue I was going to use in a pirate set that I haven't made yet.

Terms: Free for non-commercial use in any of Enterbrain's RPG Maker programs.
Do not repost/redistribute! Link to this blog post instead.
Credits: Lunarea
And that's it for today's release! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Progress: Week 4

I've mostly been tackling the database this week. I know that there are some people who love doing database work, but I'm definitely not one of them. The good part of doing the database is that I can be better organized. The bad part is that it takes very very very long and my head starts hurting from all the number crunching. I'm very seriously considering hiring someone to help me with the database - or, at the very least, help me with the battles. So not looking forward to battles ...

Here's a more detailed list of what I've done thusfar:
- Lots of labeling: class names, weapons, item names/types, skill types, some extra states/buffs/debuffs
- Redesigned two of the characters' weapons, skills and background.
- Got the battler graphics set up for the battlers in the first area. Also worked on some of their skills and AI.
- Redesigned the intro (again). Not entirely happy with it yet, so it will probably go through at least one more change.
- Started on configuring the quests in the quest script.
- Got all the icons into the menu.
- Started mapping some extra areas.
- Worked on NPC graphics. I may try for some poses at some point, but I think that will be something I do much later, as it's not essential.

That's my week in a nutshell!

Oh, I also played around with another sprite style:
Alistair (travel clothes), Alistair (bartender) and Cordelia (travel clothes)

It's a very cute style and it would make the game that much more unique, but I'm not sure that it fits the seriousness of the themes enough.

For comparison sake, here's how the same characters look right now:
Alistair (bartender), Alistair (travel clothes) and Cordelia (travel clothes)
 I really have to pick just one style and stick with that. It's pretty hard! :(

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday Resource Update

Normally, I'd be posting a screenshot of the awesome new tiles I've been working on, but they're not quite ready to be shown just yet.

Instead, I give you something from my vault of "I-made-this-and-never-released-it":
Free for use in non-commercial projects (any engine). Just credit me, please, and link to my blog. I'd also appreciate if you didn't repost this elsewhere. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekly Progress - Week 3

Despite a rather busy work week, I actually managed to get quite a bit of progress done on TUAH.

  • I've modified the weapons two characters are using. It actually made a lot of sense, since their home locations have also been changed.
  • I've started working on the database. It's going to be a huge undertaking, but I figure that if I take it slow and let LaMia do the bulk of the work (I'm not lazy, I promise!), I can get it done soon enough.
  • I've messed around with the enemies in one of the early areas. There's a total of 7, including the area boss. Not too shabby for the first area you encounter.
  • I had an awesome dream and it spurred an idea to start the game with a (hopefully) fun mini-game of sorts. I think you'll enjoy it, anyway. I just hope I don't have to spend multiple hours troubleshooting it.
  • I've gone through the plot plan again and added a few more details. I'm going to aim for quality, rather than quantity. Some of the things I've taken out will probably appear in a sequel/prequel – should I decide to do one, anyway. If not, I'll definitely post a short story or two set in the same universe.
  • I've started some light mapping:

     This is the revamped and redone version of Burgunda Port, the starting town.
     This is a screenshot of Neva Mountains, the first explorable area in the game.

I've also started restructuring the religion in Caeta. Even in its earliest incarnation, Caeta was a polytheistic universe. There were many gods and goddesses, and each town (and village, and some other random locations) had a patron god/goddess. It wasn't always an obvious one, either. For example, Ahmiran is located in the desert. Normally, you'd expect them to worship the god of the sun (or equivalent). However, the patron goddess of Ahmiran was the goddess of plenty – i.e. fertility. Unlike most desert towns where water is a rare and precious comodity, Ahmiran had plentiful water from a nearby mountain spring. (And there was a big long quest associated with this).

And while I absolutely love this idea, the gods and goddesses of other towns weren't as impressive. So, I started thinking about how to change the mythology to make all gods/goddesses more pertinent. And I think I've come up with a solution.

Caeta remains a polytheistic land, but they only worship female goddesses. And goddesses are born from mortals who have met tragic ends. The stars took pity on them and made them a place among them in the night sky, giving them the divine powers to perform miracles.

The tragedy element of the mythology will be very interesting to explore. Some people will use it as a model (becoming martyrs in some ways), and others will use it as a cautionary story of what to avoid. And because of this tragic element, it will be easier to explore the themes of fanaticism – though I'm not telling how fanaticism will play a role in the story, or whether it will play a role at all.

Guide for getting your request filled

I get a lot of requests from people, and I'm often asked why some requests are filled and others not. So, here's your guide to getting a custom-created resource:

 - Make it yourself -
Even if it looks absolutely terrible, try making it yourself. Show that you're willing to spend time on making the resource you need. More times than not, an artist will help you improve your attempt or provide you with a better version.

 - Prioritize -
I often see request threads asking for 10 characters + faces + poses. You don't NEED 20 original and fully custom characters. Yes, it would be nice of you had a custom cast for your game, but it's not going to completely ruin your game if you don't get them right away.
Think about what's important. Your main character is someone that the player will see through the entire game. You should aim for a custom main character and you can make a request thread for that main character. The rest of your cast can be just a little less special.

This point is especially important when it comes to tiles. If I see a request for “sci-fi tileset”, I don't consider doing it. Not because the request is boring, but because a full tileset is months of work and there's no guarantee you'll even be working on that game anymore.

Instead, ask for something that's really essential. For example, one of the requests I filled was for a large standing radio/jukebox. It was only one tile, but it was important to the user's game. I had no problems filling that request.

 - Use placeholders -
One of the things that a lot of artists don't like to see/hear is “Please help me! I can't continue my game without this!!!

Well, actually, yes you can. And you should. Your game development shouldn't be dependent on whether an artist is feeling generous or inspired at this particular time. Music and visual resources are things that you can replace with relative ease. But things like events, database or general game progression aren't.

Don't use a lack of custom art as an excuse to slack off. Keep working on your game.

 - Settle for less -
It would, of course, be fantastic if you had the best artists on the net making your custom resources. But it's very rare that they'll actually have time to do so. And you also have to remember that regardless of who is making your resource, their efforts are using time and energy. Even if the result is not perfect, please make sure you thank anyone that attempted to help.

What artists hate to see is “No offense, but that's not good enough.” It makes you look like an entitled jerk, and it potentially damages any relationship you had with the artist that tried to help. Thing is, people get better with practice. Maybe a few months down the line, that artist that helped you will see you using their resource and remake it into something better. I've done this several times, myself.

And lower your standards. Really. If the resource looks okay or it can be modified to look okay, use it.

 - Be willing to pay -
Paying for a resource is not a guarantee that you'll get it filled, but it could very well be the deciding factor. Saying that you are willing to pay for a resource is saying that you know the artist's time is valuable, and that you respect that.

But what do you do when you don't have money to spend on a resource? Well, try to find a way to make some. Here are a few possible sources of income:
  • Day Temp jobs through a temp agency. These types of jobs are extremely short-term (think a few hours of work) and they don't pay much. However, they would give you just enough cash to pay an artist for their resource.
  • Giving blood/plasma. If you're old enough, you can donate about once per month. Not only are you getting money to pay for your resource, but you're helping save someone's life.
  • Save money from birthdays/holidays.
  • Find a chore or small job you can do for your parents/neighbors/friends/etc and have them pay you: mowing grass, raking the yard, snow shoveling, cleaning bathroom, washing windows, babysitting, etc.
  • Find websites like Fiverr, where people pay you for performing, art, marketing, etc.

 - Be an active member of the community -
I cannot stress this one enough. Artists are much more likely to help people who are friends, acquaintances and generally more helpful to the community. No matter how attractive your request is, it's very rare that an artist will pick you over their friend.

If you just come in, make a request thread and never post anything but “bump”, you're basically saying that you have no interest in anyone except for what service they can provide for you. This is just a huge turn-off.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fairy Set

I've made some progress on other tiles, but nothing entirely worth blogging about. Next week should be less busy for me, so hopefully there will be brand new shiny screenshots to show.

I am, however, going to talk a little bit about the fairy set I will be making.

The participants of the Be my Muse contest all received this image (larger size and no sample text):
This cute little mushroom house is an example of what you can expect in the new set.

Here are some details I'm planning:
- A few types of houses/buildings: mushroom, pinecone/acorn, fruit and gourds.
- Some very large flowers and blades of grass.
- Town decorations: gazebos, lamps, benches
- Magic portal
- Bathing spring
- Cute furniture (maybe some common items used as furniture - like a bed made out of a matchbox, etc.)

More to come as I start making these tiles!~

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekly Progress: Week 2

Despite a pretty busy schedule, this week was very productive for Twice Upon a Hero:
- Reworked the game intro and first town.
The beginning of TUAH is supposed to teach you about the basics of the game, and yet it doesn't have any exploration, battles or puzzles until you get to the second location. So, that's been changed. The tasks of Burgunda Port will no longer be to just talk to a bunch of NPCs. It will be more exciting (and hopefully more fun).
- Made an amazing concept for one of the final locations.
I can't share what it is, but it's immensely cool. It will take a while to paint the tiles, but I think it will be worth the effort.
- Collected all the scripts I'll be using and started configuring them.
Redoing chapters 1 and 2 took forever because I had decided to upgrade some scripts. I love modern algebra's quest script, so I updated to a newer version mid-production. While it made the game much better, it was also a huge pain to update every script call, quest and switch. Definitely not doing that again!
- Started on the Database.
Another one of those "lessons you learn". I had to redo the database in the last revamp and just thinking about it now gives me a headache. This time around, the database is getting done first.
- Made final versions of the party and started on some NPCs.
 A few of the essential NPCs are complete (Diana, Flora, names-I-can't-mention-yet) and I've started on random villagers.
So cute! Loving this style, now.

And that's my week in a nutshell! There was also quite a bit of planning and discussion done about battles, puzzles, etc, but I'm leaving that for the next update.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tiles: Roman/Temple

A brief sneak-peek at the new tiles I'm developing right now:
They're roman/temple tiles with tons of statues, stonework and pillars. There will also be some pieces of classic roman furniture.  I'm also thinking about including some devious traps, but there's much pondering to be done there first.

Other tiles I'm working on are the Education/Culture add-on for the Modern Day set. I just may post some screenshots of that set next Thursday. Besides that, I've got 2 other super secret projects that are a little bit different (but just as fun!).

And then there's the winning tiles from Be My Muse contest (still a chance to vote for your favorite!).

Am I busy, or what?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekly Progress: Week 1

Now that I've made the decision to port TUAH over to Ace, it feels like starting over - though not quite as daunting.

I spent a little time going through my original notes, and I have to admit that they were way too ambitious. Originally, Caeta featured 250+ locations. I had enough of a plot to span over 30 hours of play, and featuring a staggering 18 chapters. Sometime after finishing chapter 1, I realized that this goal is completely unrealistic for me to achieve - not without sacrificing all the customization I was planning - from graphics to battles and more.

So, I adjusted my original plan a little: cut down to 10 chapters, cut the locations in half and started aiming for 20 hours of play. I stayed pretty true to the story and it seems that people enjoyed playing the first two chapters.

But going through the plan again, it struck me that it's still way too ambitious - especially when it comes to the story and the pacing. You didn't even get to meet some of your party members until chapter 9 - giving you just a chapter and a half to get to know them. Back when the game had 18 chapters, it wasn't a big deal to add the extra party members in chapter 9. You still had half the game to go.

So, I've made some major changes:
- I re-wrote the story.
Chapters 1 and 2 (which is what you can play with the current demo) aren't affected too much, but the later chapters are. I cut out a lot of filler bits and just focused on what's crucial to the story - particularly the ending.
- I cut out a staggering 100 locations.
Some of those locations were places that the player never got to visit - basically only there to show the vastness of the world. And thinking about it, I realized that it might be frustrating to see all these places and never explore them. Other locations were completely side-quest material - meaning that some players wouldn't get to see them either.
- I cut out a ton of features, ideas and quests.
I want to complete Twice Upon a Hero, and I really need to focus on that. I can always add more content via sequels, prequels or even something like DLC.
- I switched to a different sprite style.
TUAH is a bit more serious and dramatic than the cute chibi RTP can potray. So, I've switched to a taller sprite size. It's basically a happy mash of XP and VX/Ace. I think it looks pretty good.
- I am remaking the maps to be different.
This one was a tough decision to make. But taller sprites call for different mapping, and I want to get away from Parallax mapping. I only really used parallax mapping to avoid the VX tileset limitation. Since Ace has no such limitation, I'm going back to tiles.
- I am going to get some help for battles and the database.
As nice as it would be to say "I did this alone", getting help means I get everything done sooner. And that's much more valuable at this point. So, I have LaMia helping, and I might make a recruitment thread at some point for extra bits of help.

And there we have it. My super productive week in a nutshell.

Friday, October 26, 2012

TUAH - Port

Whats this? Two entries in a row?!?

I have a news tidbit I'm excited to share and I just couldn't wait.

After much deliberation, I will be porting Twice Upon a Hero to Ace! I've been going back and forth about this decision since Ace came out, pretty much. I much much much prefer Ace over VX, and switching back to VX to work on TUAH was a bit demotivating.

I also have help from the very talented LaMia, who will be helping me set up the database and transfer events/dialogue/etc over. She's a jack-of-all-trades, so she will also help with graphical transitions.

Speaking of graphics ... Since this new direction is basically like starting over, I've been playing with the idea of maybe going non-RTP with the character style.

This is how the party (well, the party members you've met, anyway) looks like right now:

They look very cute and tiny.

And this is how they could look:
Taller and more detailed.
 Possible armors for Alistair.

I haven't decided which direction to go in, quite yet. LaMia can help redo the NPCs and faces (though most of the faces won't need any adjustment), so it wouldn't be a huge undertaking.

Which version do you prefer?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Regular Updates

Archeia's started a new thread (Game Making Drive - check it out!), and it's inspired me to go back to having regular updates in here. I confess, the blog's been looking pretty sad with just one or two teeny entries per month - most of which have me apologizing for not posting in forever.

So, I'm designating Thursdays and Sundays as my update days. This means that there will be at least one post every week that will talk about what I'm doing. I think I will save Sunday updates for my game updates and Thursdays will be a little of everything. If you readers are interested, I might post same samples of tileset work I'm doing.

I leave you with a screenshot of the updated NPC map I linked in this update.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A quote

When ego is siphoned off creativity, when creativity becomes one more thing we do, like the laundry, then it takes far less time to do it. Much of our desire for creative time has to do with our trying to coax ourselves into being in the right mood to create. We want to “feel like it,” and when we don’t, or don’t quickly, we think the solution is more time. Actually, the solution is less attention to the vagaries of mood. In short, creativity needs to become something daily, doable, and nonnegotiable, something as quotidian as breathing.
When we make a special occasion out of our art, we rob ourselves of the time we actually have. When we make a ceremony out of the right paper, the right noise level, the right pen and precise circumstance, we are actually creating many false conditions that make our art not more possible but more impossible. “I can’t think when it’s noisy” or “when the kids are home” or “when the phone’s going off.” We may not like thinking under those conditions, but we can think under them and we owe it to ourselves to learn that we can. By making our creativity nonnegotiable, we do it a little every day no matter what our mood and no matter what our judgement of our work. What we are after is the gut-level knowledge that our creativity is both doable and portable.
… The less precious we are about how and when we do our work, the more precious it can be to us. We are like parents who take their infant everywhere. The child learns to thrive in many environments, and so, too, can our brainchild, art.
- Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper

A very inspiring quote sent to me by a dear friend. I think this is something I need to reflect on.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


A very brief post to note that I'm still working on Wish Upon: Starlight. I finally found some free time yesterday and worked on one of the NPC homes:
It looks like the kind of house I'd want to visit! 

The biggest mapping time-sink for Starlight is the main star city. It's the largest of areas you will get to visit, and thus has all kinds of homes, shops and other interesting areas. It's also the first area you visit at the beginning of the game, so it has to be finished before I can move onto other areas. Phew! It's going to be so much work!

I'm going to try the new thing of mapping non-puzzle/exploration areas first and making the events, cutscenes and puzzle areas as I progress with the game.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Work and more work

I haven't posted in over a month, and it's mainly due to the fact that I've been pretty hard at work on these. Yes, they're finally on sale. I can now sit back and enjoy a breather while I ponder what I'm going to be working on next.

I have a lengthy list of themes/ideas/concepts and it's so difficult to choose just one! I've also got to make more progress on the Modern tiles. I know of quite a few folks who are waiting on those!

I may also make a character pack first. It'll likely be a base pack with heroes, villains and NPCs. Then I'll move to other themes I've tackled (or am about to tackle) with the tiles. Phew, so much work!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Starlight: NPC faces

Making faces for NPCs is incredibly fun. Not only do I get to practice my art (and goodness knows I could use practice when it comes to character portraits), but I get to give them all kind of wacky emotions. I can go for a subtly smug look, or a look of utter boredom. Or maybe even insane grin or two.

It also helps quite a bit with dialogue. As I'm drawing a character with dialogue that's ready, I can really play up the emotions. Or if I'm drawing the character first, their look gives me ideas about what kind of personality they may have. It's a pretty fun process.

I'm definitely glad I decided to make NPC faces, too. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Starlight: Update

If you've been following my progress on Wish Upon: Starlight, you probably know that I did a whole lot of going back and forth about facesets (particularly style) and the font. I think I have finally made a decision about what to do for both.

First, the facesets:
 You can see all the faces in my project thread.

I added some slight shading, definition and better-looking eyes. I think it's the perfect happy medium between having a resource that looks good and still being able to create them relatively quickly. I will be able to create the faces for all NPCs - or at the very least, the most important ones.

I will be working on some more maps/events when I get some free time. Between making resources and doing other work-related things, I've found myself with very very little free time left. And because I often feel brain-dead by the time all the work is done, I end up playing a game to wind down instead.

However, I will definitely make a very big effort to go back on track with the game production. I think it will just take some organizing and making sure I've set time aside for game progress.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Community Character

Scinaya (with a bit of help from Archeia) made this super awesome portrait for me:
Isn't it awesome?!? Scin is one talented lady!

Here's my post with my community character info. It includes a faceset and a character set along with a link to a download with all the portrait emotions.

Now you can add me to your game. How cool is that?

Friday, July 13, 2012


I will not have time to make a proper entry this week, since I will be very busy finishing up the add-on pack for the modern tiles. So, I leave you with a graphic:
This was a tree that someone requested a few months ago. I just got to finishing it up today. Sorry for the delay, Paul!

Expect a more proper entry sometime next week.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer contest

We're holding a contest at the official RM forums:
Summer Fun Contest

This is your chance to win a copy of Ace, or any other product that's currently on sale at the official store. The deadline is in 3 weeks, and all you have to do is create a summer-themed mini-game! So, if you've been itching to get your hands on Ace or if you even want to just have an extra copy of Ace to give to a friend, think about joining the contest.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


My surprise is still on track, which I am very happy about. It will be unveiled on Saturday, the 7th at whatever time I'm up and awake. It's been a bit of a mad rush to get everything moving smoothly, and I'm still wishing I had more time for it. But between chores and other duties, I've had precious little free time.

I am still working on the tile add-ons for the Modern Day pack. I'm hoping to have them completed within 2-3 weeks - depending on how much details are still left to paint. So far, I've completed the grocery store, the clothing store and some of a newspaper kiosk. I've still got a few ideas to go through and then it'll be all about assembling and quadruple-checking the tiles.

Other than that, I can't really think of anything else that's important enough to report. Just the usual "Luna is busy like a bee!" type of thing.

And just so this update is not completely useless, I give you a random mug shot (thank you Jalen for the chibi base!):

One of these days, I will sketch up the whole RTP.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

No Title

I was recently interviewed for the official blog, so I figured I should toss a link to that. There's a bit of info on my current projects, how I go about making tiles and how I got into art. It's not a terribly long read, but some of you may find it interesting.

Other than that, I'm taking a much deserved break. The past couple of days have been spent in a mad rush to get the modern tileset ready for sale. I am just blown away with how much support we've received for it already. Thank you soooo much for buying the tiles, everyone! It's inspiring and motivating me to keep making more tiles.

Lastly, there's a matter of a super secret something that will be unveiled in two weeks. I'm very much teasing you all with it right now, but I think you'll like it. It was something I've done to challenge myself and hopefully inspire others to rise to the same challenge. So, stay tuned~!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Starlight: Weekly Update 1

In between fancy tile making, I've found a bit of time to make some faces. As I've mentioned already, I'm using Jalen's chibi base and making faces with that base is almost ridiculously fun. Each face takes very little time and I know that using them will give those characters so much more personality!

And since pictures speak more than words, here is a sample of some of the NPC faces I've finished:
They will be a little less fuzzy in game.

Other than the fun artsy thing, I've also got most of the gameplay planned out. I'm actually very excited about it because it sounds both fun to make and fun to play. I'm going to try finish making the database soon, so I can be better organized through the development process.

Things to do next week:
- Finish more NPC faces for the main town hub
- Get started on skill and item icons
- Finish up items database (for stuff that's planned so far, anyway)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Future of TUAH

I've got a few pm's from you guys wondering if Twice Upon a Hero is cancelled or on hiatus now that I've unveiled the new project. The good news is that I'm still working on TUAH. The bad news is that it's taking me way too long to produce significant content.

Here are the things that take up the longest:
1- Parallax mapping.
I love it, and it's what gives the game so much of its visual appeal, but it's very time-consuming. I'm lucky if I can get one map done per day - and this is assuming I actually get hours of free time to work on said map.
2- Database.
Despite having spent weeks getting everything organized, there's still a ton of work to do. Between setting up all the skills, adding the appropriate items and setting up the quests, I have several weeks worth of work before I can use the database effectively.
3- Eventing.
Hours worth of dialogue input, several puzzles that need to be implemented and just more gameplay in general. After getting feedback from you all, I really want to incorporate more of actual play (as opposed to just a series of cutscenes).

After much thought, I'm leaning very strongly toward porting TUAH over to Ace. Although it means redoing the first two chapters, using Ace would pretty much fix all the current issues I'm having with development length. I can move to using editor mapping again, the database can be organized better and I can put in all the bits of gameplay I was planning to put in. Things like shops, bartering, ways to earn and spend money, more quests, more areas to explore, etc.

The only thing that's holding me back is that I will be delaying release, once again. I hate to disappoint those of you who are eagerly awaiting chapter 3 (and onward). So, I'm still taking some time making a final decision.

If you have any opinions about whether I should stick with VX or go to Ace, please let me know! :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dun dun dun dun ... Ta da!

Since a few of you have seen glimpses of the super secret project, I've decided to create a thread for it and share quite a bit of information about the game. You can read about Wish Upon: Starlight right here.

Expect more art, screenshots and info soon! ~

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Art = decided, Livestream

I'm so happy right now! I've finally decided what I was going to do with the art for faces/portrait in the super secret project. I kept going back and forth on the decision. I really wanted to do original art, since it's fun and a great practice for my own artistic skill. But even with the flat colors and sketchy lines, I still hesitated that it would take too long.

I've solved the issue, however, by switching to Jalen's super adorable chibi base. It's super cute, it allows for a lot of detail and it's just fun to work with.

So, here is one of the portraits/faces you will be seeing:
 So cute! :3

In other news, I've done a livestream video of my tile-making the past couple of nights. If you're ever interested in how I make tiles, or if you want to chat while I'm making tiles, you can head over to my livestream channel. I usually post a profile feed on the official RM forums before opening the stream.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Back to development

I have been absolutely terrible about updating you guys on what I've been doing lately. Besides a resource-making spree (check out the tiles right here), I also had a lovely (and very busy!) visit from my parents. All together, it translates to no game development being done over the last 2 and a half weeks.

I'm hoping to be back on track next week. I've missed making a game and this super secret project has been poking my brain like crazy!

I leave you with a screenshot:
Yes, you do get to visit and eat at this lovely restaurant.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Art is therapy. Therefore, after feeling a bit tired and drained today, I decided to just doodle a bit for Super Secret Project (I swear, I need to give you guys a name!). I just drew the main character's faces in a very quick 5 minutes. And then, surprisingly, I loved the result so much that I started to think about using that instead.

Here is the original face (style 1):
Cute, right? It's straight from the pre-order Ace bonus.

Here is the face I drew (style 2):

This is actually closer to how the character looks in my head.

Two things to keep in mind ... If I went with style 2, it would stay as you see it now. So, slightly messy lines and a flat color. However, because it's so quick to create, it means I could make faces for all NPCs as well as the characters.

So, which one do you prefer?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekly Screenshots

A couple of screenshots of areas that are now mostly complete (save for NPCs and events).

The first screenshot is of a forest that will be one of the areas you explore for various quests and to gather materials for alchemy, cooking and blacksmithing. I fixed that one spot in the waterfall since.

The second is a gypsy camp, filled with wonderful music and a lot of spirituality. This is the quest hub for the other side of the forest as well as a resting place between the forest and the caves.

I'm currently mapping a major town, which is the home base for your party. Look forward to more spiffy screenshots once I'm done! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Progress Report

I have not had a lot of time to do any game development lately.

I am still slowly working on TUAH, though it's going at a snail's pace. I've been chatting with some of you about possibly transferring it over to Ace. It would be a huge setback and it would really require a ton of work. But it should allow me to make future updates much faster! So, I'm very much on the fence about it. Almost all of the scripts I was using are either translated or have an equivalent script available already. The database will be a giant pain, of course, but a huge chunk of it will be very simple thanks to traits and custom formulas.

I'm happy to say that I have finished a total of 14 maps for the side project (3 whole areas). Since Ace has unlimited tilesets, I'm just going to stick with primarily tileset mapping, and it's much faster. Once the tilesets are set up, that is. At this rate, all the maps I'm planning for the demo should be completed within a month. I'm a bit amazed at this, to be honest, because it took me a solid 4-6 months of mapping to have the same amount done in parallax for VX.

I've felt tempted to make this side thing my main project for now (which is sort of how I ended up working on TUAH in the first place), but I don't want to disappoint anyone by putting TUAH on hiatus. So, I'm spending roughly the same amount of time on either project for now. We'll see how long that will last!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

S. Project: Decisions

Well, I've had a chance to spend a bit more time working on this secret side project, and I have a few more things to share.

1) I'm not going to do battles.
After thinking about it long and hard, I've decided against a battle system. It's something that makes sense story-wise. It also allows me to focus on what I want to achieve with this project - which is to have emphasis on gameplay and exploration.

In that sense, this will be more likely closer to the adventure genre then a classic rpg.

2) There are 4 separate elements I'm going to focus on.
- Various quests, most of which will be chosen by the player instead of being introduced in a completely linear fashion. There will still be a degree of linearity, as I don't want to tackle a completely open world. But I want to give you more to do than just follow a straight path from A to B.
- Synthesis system, primarily cooking and alchemy. This will involve gathering resources, so it should encourage exploration.
- Puzzles. I'm not going to go with complex puzzles, mind you. Mostly it will be using one or two simple concepts and making use of field skills/items.
- Classic adventure play. Things like fetch item X to advance through area, or use Y skill to open up the path.

3) I have waaaay too many ideas and way too many ways to add features. I want the project to be simple, but what I've planned is already more complex than what I'd imagined. So, I'm going to have to cut out some things.

One of the things I really wanted to do was art scenes for the intro and the endings. But there's a total of 10 endings, each of which would require at least one picture. And the intro would require at least 3. While 13 pictures isn't a gigantic amount, it's still way more than I'd be comfortable requesting from any one artist.

Thankfully, pictures are easy to add, so I can always change my mind and add them in at a later time. Completing this game will still take some time, so maybe the art bug will bite me and I'll have a bout of motivation.

That's all for now, folks. I will try to update again soon and let you all know how I'm doing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Secret Project: Some info

In this entry, I'm going to talk a little bit about the Ace side-project I'm working on. I won't be sharing too much about the plot, mind you, as I'd like most of it to stay a surprise until I can give you guys a demo.

I will say that it's a fairly lighthearted and sweet game that will be relatively short. I want to complete it quickly, preferably before fall. I guess all will depend on timing and how much work I can do in a given day. To this end, I've settled on a total of 30 locations. This includes all dungeons/exploration areas, towns, and cut-scene places. The map count will probably be only slightly larger, and that's mainly due to having individual maps for inner town homes.

I haven't decided whether I will be including battles or not. On one hand, I think most players find them quite fun and they're pretty necessary. On the other hand, I seriously despise all the hair-pulling database work that comes with it. Maybe I will recruit someone to help me with that portion of the game.

The rest of the game will be focused on doing variously-themed quests. There will be a single item shop in the main city. A blacksmith, a cook and an alchemist will have equipment and items you can trade materials for. And, of course, doing quests will give great rewards.

There won't be any morality points, but there will be opportunities to build relationships with party members. Doing quests that fit into the party members' area of expertise will also raise your relationship with them. This will unlock possible endings (yes, multiple endings!) and quest trees.

I have to pace myself to not add too much stuff, so I want to aim for 6-8 hours of total gameplay.

I'm also archiving some ideas for possible sequels.

Lastly, a screenshot (which most of you have probably seen by now):

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I had been doing research on going commercial for a while now. Mostly it's been market research and general game theory. I figure that I have the best chance to make a profitable game if I know what kind of thing sells. Gamers can be a difficult bunch to please!

One thing that I had left for last was the personal business aspect of it. Things like establishing a business license, taxes and that sort of thing. In part because this info wasn't as easy to access, but also because I wanted to know enough about how the business works before investing time/money into personal business paperwork.

After chatting with a few developers, I've come to the conclusion that it's not something I want to do right now. I like the process of making games, drawing art etc, and I'm afraid that going commercial will result in me spending more time on the business part than the design. Not to mention that there is incredible pressure that comes with being paid to do any kind of work.

So, this little VX side game will be free.
And here's a little eye-candy screenshot.

I'll probably make a more elaborate post once this super-secret project is more underway.

Friday, March 30, 2012


I bought VXAce (pre-ordered, really, for the discount and the shiny bonuses) and I've been playing with it a bit here and there.

One of the things I'm seriously considering is creating a commercial game with Ace. I've been researching the market and the whole process of going commercial for a while now. I still don't know everything I should (marketing and taxes, primarily!), but I'm hoping that I will get a chance to pick someone's brain about it. Obviously, I need to actually conceptualize and finish the game first. And then there's the matter of figuring out where/how to sell it, how much to charge etc etc.

Would any of you be interested in buying a complete game I created? If so, how much would you be willing to spend?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chapter 1 & 2 Download

Here we are, guys!

Chapters 1 and 2 are finally available for download.

Chapter 1 + 2 ***
* Note that there is a Font folder with 3 files included. Please make sure you install them prior to playing.
** You will need to download and install VX RTP (you can find it here).
*** Special thank you to Reives from Freebird Games for being gracious enough to provide me with free hosting on his server.

Let me say that the list of things that have been changed is extensive. New graphics, new content, fixed issues, and much more! This is as close as I'm going to get to a complete release. There will be only a few very minor changes to these two chapters with Chapter 3 release. It's mostly a couple small cosmetic changes to the text and adding a couple side-quests for Ahmiran. It's nothing that will require you to re-start the game, however. Your save files should work just fine from this point on. But, just in case ... I'm going to be providing save files from this point on.

Major thanks to the beta testers! Especially Ronnie and Volrath who were absolutely amazing with their feedback.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Just a quick note... Betas will be sent out tonight.

That is all.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Beta (meep!)

*sigh* I really suck at ETAs, don't I?

Well, the good news is that the beta is 95% done and ready. The bad news is that it's not 100%.

4% of that is battle-related and requires a lot of hair-pulling database work. I would use placeholder battles, but that sort of defeats the purpose of having a beta test. The last 1% is just cleaning up the folders so you don't have to download a 700MB+ sized file (yes, lots of unused graphics and music that will probably find its way into the game eventually).

When's the beta coming out, then? I want to try to make it before or during this weekend. I have no other plans until next week, and I'm hunkering down with coffee and croissants until it's done!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

*insert witty title*

I'm just going to come out and admit it. Virtually nothing got done this past week. I suffered a raging (and quite debilitating, I might add) migraine for 3 whole days. The rest of the week was spent playing catch-up with various chores and work. I've also worked a bit on requests, since they've been piling up and my request-ees have been very patient.

On the bright side, this unplanned break did not squelch my motivation. I'm still very much committed and eager to work on TUAH. I've blocked off this weekend and I will try to get as much done as possible.

Other than that, not much to report. I'm still looking for a beta tester or two. Please let me know if you're interested!

I've also changed the general look of the blog today. I hope you like it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Here is my list of things that need to be finished for revamped chapter 1&2:
- Finish mapping 2 extra areas for Bethlam Tower.
Thankfully, the two maps are monster/exploration maps and those don't take as long as town maps. I can churn out the two maps in a day or so. There's also virtually no eventing involved, save for populating it with chests and monsters. Since I'm using visual monster encounters, I only need to create one event that will cycle through troop possibilities and copy/paste it around the map.
- Finish skills and AI for 6 bosses.
The most difficult part about this is balancing the stats for the bosses. Obviously, they should be tougher than a regular fight, but not outright kill you on the first turn either. I've also done a few changes to the boss line-up that should make them much more interesting.
- Delete unnecessary maps and resources before compiling.
Although I know TUAH will inevitably end up as a large-sized game, there's no reason to include all the resources at once. Especially since you'll have to download the newer chapters again.
- Playtest and playtest.
Just to make sure everything is running smoothly. One thing I've learned is that no matter how much time I spend testing, I can't catch all the bugs/typos/etc. So, I'm not going to spend an excessive amount of time testing. I will try to catch any game-breaking bug, however.

Phew! That's a rather short list. I'm not giving an ETA, but I really hope I can finish all of this within a week.

In other news, Joerao is awesome and will be composing a couple of tunes for me. Volrath is also awesome and may be making a trailer for TUAH. I'm so excited!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Progress update

I'm still hard at work on finishing up the release. All the graphics are completed, as are the extra maps. The only part that's left is the much-hated database (I'm looking forward to having that all done), rebalancing the battles and test playing. I'm both looking forward to testing everything and dreading it. I'm almost tempted to take the "super lazy developer" route and have some poor beta-tester check the game instead of doing it myself. If I wasn't determined to give y'all a quality game, I would totally do that *insert crazy laugh here*.

I leave you with two gifts. One is another screenshot of revamp maps:
General Store. Don't you just want to shop there?

And the second is a portrait and faceset I did:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Adding Content

As I was organizing the database last night, I realized that there wasn't a whole lot of "playable" content in TUAH so far. Chapter 1 has the player exploring Bogden forest, which is all of 3 maps in size. And outside the main-quest related fights, you don't even get to fight anything! Chapter 2 is not much better. Gullad mountains is supposed to have a huge mine, yet it only had 2 types of enemies. Worse yet, the tower had absolutely nothing outside the boss fight -which, let's face it, was a pretty sad one at that.

So, I will be adding more stuff. More maps, more fights and more treasure chests.Thanks to Thalzon's fantastic battlers, I've got a ton of fun enemies for you to encounter. I've already mapped out the enemy types. I'm moving onto their abilities and testing after that. Then it will be a matter of adding more maps.

Is this going to delay the release? Well, no. I'm still planning on releasing the updated graphic version sometime this week. The extra content will be added and released with chapter 3.

In the meantime, here's an extra screenshot for you guys:
~Spiffy Ahmiran~

Monday, January 16, 2012

Graphical revamp is done!

I finished the very last map needed for the graphical update last night. Phew, what a lot of work that turned out to be. Not the map itself, but the update in general. While I'm very pleased with the results, I will definitely not be doing it again.

The rest of the update isn't that time-consuming. I have to finish up converting script calls for Quest Log 2.0 (which is a handful of quests, so it's not too difficult) and play through the game to make sure that everything is in good shape. I'm also probably going to add a few more places where Alistair can interact with the environment (examining bookshelves, anyone?) and add more instances where personality/relationship levels are altered. This will, hopefully, only take a week.

So, from this point on, all you should see is new content. Hooray!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Old and New

One of the things I did while away from the computer was to take a good, hard look at the features I wanted to include. While they're all really fun and interesting, I've found that some of them are unnecessary. The "lose gold when you run away from battle" is a good example of such a feature.Sure, it's fun and I got it to work with the simple use of a common event, but it's one extra thing to worry about when eventing. Not to mention that it could be a source of a lot of frustration for the player.

Other changes that have been made:
- There are more opportunities to gain/lose relationship points via cutscenes as well as character-based side quests.
- Addition of a "gift shop" where you can buy special gifts for your party members.
- More instances of where interacting with the environment (checking a bookcase, for example) will result in party chatter or relationship-altering cutscene. I'm on the fence about whether there should be an indicator (small arrow, for example) or whether the mystery would be more fun to the players.

Lastly, I'm working on revamping Sparrowight Academy, as it was the only area that still had the "old" maps. This is how Sparrowight used to look:
While the mapping isn't horrendous and I really like the layout, it's very different from the more recent maps. So, here is an updated version of the map and an extra screenshot for fun:

 Much better!

Over the next week, I'm planning on focusing on eventing rather than just art. As pretty and fun as mapping gets, I do want the player to actually play the game rather than just look around.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to normal

Things are slowly coming back to normal around here and I'm finding myself with time to actually sit down at the computer for longer than 2 minutes. This means that TUAH is finally back on track! I haven't completely stopped working on it for the past month, but most of the work has been behind the scenes: writing up dialogue, fiddling with the plot and expanding on the puzzle ideas. That kind of work is much needed, but it's not something that can be shown off. Well, I could technically take a picture of my notes, but they don't make much sense unless you're aware of some major spoilers.

I've also been trying to get into the swing of arty resource-making. I've finished a priestess portrait:
If you're interested in seeing all the portraits and such, I have a thread here that's finally been organized. Definitely register! There are people around there that have waaay more talent than I do.

Anyway, look forward to the weekly updates again!~ I should have something to show very soon.