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, 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.