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.