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.

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?