It seems like forever since I have posted a Blog entry on the record. So right now I am gearing up for releasing the full extended demo of Liphidain: Dissonance of Darkness. I am not sure what other things I want to do to Polish up the last few parts of this game. I'm pretty sure I have all of the dialogue in a state fit to be seen I'm pretty sure I have placed in all of the easter eggs and interactable items. But I still need to finish up the Holder's battlers for 4 and a half Characters.... (half being that I am already half way through converting one of them.) the problem with those, is that because I want them to look like the characters in my games I end up having to edit 52 sprites (sometimes less if I can get away with it) and that is no easy task for someone with no artistic talent, but the real problem it poses is that each one takes me 2 weeks of intense focus to convert and I' havent even started on 4 of them LOL. The part of the problems I am faced with are, "do I really need those battlers?" the answer of course is 'no' but because I already have 6 characters that have fully functional battlers, it would be a shame to quit now just because 4 of them do not. So I have been looking at alternatives, even the character sprites that I already have work fine because of Victor Sant's Scripts but I still want them to be more detailed and fluid than they currently are. There is no easy answer I guess, so I will have to decide what I am going to do in the coming days.
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A walk through of the creation process of this game, and or series.
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So last night I was looking for some Emosets for some characters that I already have in my game. And although the search was fruitless for that character, I was able to find Emosets of some new characters.... LOTS of them!
This makes me excited, I don't like having characters (even if the impact is small that they have on the game) to be faceless nameless drones. I have been told that some of my characters are 2 demensional, that is actually ok with me, if you met someone one time and the only impression you had of them was that single experience, you might think "Hmmm that person is so flat and boring."
So when someone tells me the characters seem like they are fairly bland... that's actually ok. One thing I refuse to do is litterally make 2 dimensional characters like you would see in every single anime ever made. There are a few exceptions to this, but for the most part anime characters are so archetypal that it pains me to watch it.
Lets take William and Alice Haymes from the begining of the story, I have actually had 2 pieces of feed back on these characters and neither one of them were great. But I do not feel the need to change these people because we only get to see them at basically one point in the story (so far). However their relationship comes across as abusive, even though in reality it is not. The couple teases each other and they do squabble over things as well but in the end they really do have a loving relationship that gives the satisfaction and security that it should provide to either individual. If I were to take and change these characters to a more melow couple the complaints I am getting now would only increase. Because what might seem like bland is actually just human nature.
It's the reason why no one complains about Mr Whittham, because he is outside the norm. Mr Whittham has no use for other people and therefore has no social skills. This is something that is jarring to the person experiencing the character, and that makes him "colorful" and thats fine. Again all of these things are as of right now by design.
The only truely flat characters that I can honestly say I have not had a chance yet to tamper with are Laeron, and Vanter, Dirold's cronies. I have some ideas of what I want Vanter to become and also an idea of how I want Laeron to be viewed. But I feel that if I am going to make a "person" out of these characters they are going to require some faces not just sprites on the screen.
So I will continue to look for faces that I feel are not too far outside of how the RTP looks since that is the style I am going for. So far I have found 27 new Emo Facesets that I'll feature in the game, somewhere. The reason I got so many and will look for more is not to artificially pump the graphics through the roof but it is so that if I come across a character that I can only use an RTP face for I will have a few more options first, and possibly add a little more personality to them.
So, Today I wanted to speak about some of the edits I have made to the game.
First and foremost this may actually excite some of the "I hate random battles" crowd. I have removed SOME of the random Battles. Personally I don't actually like running into a sprite and then getting into what amounts to the same thing as a random battle, just for the sake of not having the encounters set up that way. However I have a fairly dark, difficult area where I would like the player to explore a bit more, there will be limited visiblity and because of this I would rather emphasize that than fighting. But since I don't want to take away the ability for someone to level, there will still be fights. They will just be sprite induced. This will include all areas where visibility is limited.
The next point I wanted to touch on is that I have now fixed the bugs on the event spawners, thanks to Kal (it kind of wasn't a bug, but it's fixed). So now the events will spawn as they are intended to, there are still a few points that I have come across where these CAN crash the game... Not certain as to why this happens I'm assuming it's in cases where the event is stifled from coming out of the spawner. But it only actually happened once out of 24 tests so it's not common.
And I have started up on the Extended Demo's Content. I wanted to start by going through and finishing the Prologue but since that requires mapping, and I am currently seeking a Commissioned mapper for this, I have started on the parts where I already have maps for. I am picking up right were the original Demo leaves off so to those of you who see a "Roll Credits" that is where I am begining. Now I may do ONE last update to the regular Demo before really digging down and getting into the Extended content. Currently V 1.11 of the Demo does not include the fixes and changes that are illustrated in this blog post. So I may do one more version of the 1.1 Demo (V1.12 to be exact).
So I think I have pin-pointed the biggest hindrance to my development cycle. Maps. They really do not get along with me... I have all the creativity in the world when it comes to story, character design, depth and intrigue. Just today, I was telling my brother-in-law (who isn't by any means a game player and is not really even all that into fantasy) about all of the information my players won't get. The behind the scenes stuff, as well as the stuff that is going to happen from the latter half of the first chapter (which will include and then conclude the Extended Demo) and he was like "man I want to play that game". Then I was like " Yeah! I need to get working on it right now!" and then I sat down, and realized that I needed to create new maps for all of this... and it was like a syphon hose.
I got about 1/4 of the way done with 1 relatively small map and I realized I just do not care what is in it or what s not in it. I don't care what rudementry junk I throw in there it's just a damn map. But everytime there is something to critique that's the one largest thing that people get hung up on is the damn mapping. I am certainly not one to want to push out an inferior production but MAN this is the one thing I wish I had an easy button for. Oh well that's my rant...
tomorrow I'm going to finish up those maps and start eventing the new battle sequences for the intro, as well as tie the new prologue (to help ease the shift from epic to mundane in the first chapter).
Ok so now that the busy season for the Full working demo is over, it's back to what I was doing before I got all geared up to make the demo a large part of the development of Liphidain. There are somethings I'm happy about that happened as a result of choosing to complete the demo first, and there are actually some things I lament having not finished beforehand.
First of all, to keep things in a mostly positive light, I am glad that I am now able to get some attention to my work. This being said I hope that people seeing resource requests and the like from me, will not think to themselves "Oh great, here's another schmo asking me to put hours of work into a Emoset/portrait/song/whatever and he's going to give up 3 months in and my work go to waste.". I hope you don't think this, because it's not going to happen. I have a lot of free time to be able to spend on this. And some of the major stuff (at least if it's just pixel art) will be done by me. Also I have had this story moldering for little over a decade and REALLY want to see it come to fruition. So all of this combined, I will be very much aggressive in getting my game working in full.
One of the other things I'm happy with is that I will be heading to California in mid march with a few friends on a road trip. so I wil not be able to make a lot of progress during this time as my Computer is a 55lb monster that will not be coming with me in the car. So having this completed is really exciting because I feel like I can take a little break and not have to feel lost when I get back as there is a clear starting point to jump from.
One of the things I wish I had finished first was the Edit I was doing for Tharis' Holder Battler, I got about 1/3 of the way in and thought, "what am I doing? This is a resource I am making that won't be used for several more months if I am lucky, and can finish chapter one in a timely manner." (yes I speak to myself very formally, as I have a lot of respect for me ). But now that I sit down and look at the battler I'm lost... Art, as I have spoken many times, is really not my thing. I have very little skill, so once I get rolling I have to keep going untill I am finished, or I'll not know how to pick back up.
Another thing I wish I had done first, was make the game MUCH more playable and tested it SEVERAL more times. Nothing like a review that says the game is unplayable to set you back a few lightyears in the realm of public interest. This is not a criticism of the review or sour grapes at the reviewer and is obviously my fault. I am the only one working on the project. However all of the people that I asked to play the demo from my daily life (and trust me they were people I knew would actually play a J-RPG. haha I was not asking a group of guys who have never touched anything but an FPS to jump headlong into a game style diametrically opposed to their own preference.) totally flaked out, despite saying "oh yeah I'll totally play your game and tell you what I think"... days later... weeks later... "Ok well if you want something done, do it yourself." which then lent itself to me walking through the questlines I created, with ease and not really giving a chance to the objective user to win other than by pure chance, or telepathy, which I don't think apple has released yet. But no matter I think the coming weeks there will be more interest and obviously the game has been polished a little more there is a good chance that people may like what they see... or hell maybe people will unveil to me that my game is crap and should be tossed by the wayside... who knows? (the shadow?)
So I have recently added Modern Algebra's Quest Journal script to my game. This will give a MUCH needed "ease of use" feel to the game as there are some fairly intricate quests that are not always glaring you in the face to finish. Infact since the Main quest essentially intertwines with a few of the side quests, I have decided to even include some elements of the game that are not really quests, in the log, just so you don't miss them.
This has been a blessing to add to the game, as I didnt' want to have to make the characters constantly tell you what to do after having picked up a quest. However one funny thing I kept doing and was actually a point of frustration before I figured out what was going on. I am the kind of dumb dumb who uses my "shift" key in really odd places. While entering the code I would put "Complete_objective(4, 6)" in the script call (but not everytime, sometimes the capital C was lowercase) and then when testing the game it would crash. This would crash calling up a module that had nothing (or so I thought) to do with MA's script so I went through every line of code, checked it against the demo game as well and could not figure out what was wrong... til I copied and pasted the Demo quest into my own and set the tags for my quest. Vuala, this worked! But every now and again i'll get going too fast and forget NOT to hold the shift key down when setting up objectives. Then while testing the game... crash to my ever loving shame. You live and you learn right?
So, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the influences that have shaped the world of Liphiain over the years, where I got the idea from, and how it evolved into what I will be releasing now.
Originally (and mind you I came up with this when I was 16) Liphidain was supposed to be split up into 6 kingdoms, Liphidain itself, was not the name of the world but rather a kingdom in which Bayle, a small and insignificant island village in the forest, was located. I am having trouble remembering all of the names of the six kingdoms right now but a few of them will pop up in the current version of Dissonance of Darkness. Now also keep in mind that I was playing seiken densetsu 3 at the time and was an absolute fan of seiken densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana) So the Elemental wheel was a HUGE thing for me during those days. My goal was to have a character in the party who represented each of the kingdoms. There was Tharis, of Liphidain (the Water Kingdom), Firana (Later renamed Arysana) of Forvania (The Light Kingdom), Balidor, from a kingdom whos name is eluding me right now (it was the fire kingdom) Kaltor of Mogard (The Darkness Kingdom), and 2 characters who's, both names and places of origin are slipping my mind. Anyway you get the general cliched idea, at the time I wasn't really thinking that way.
(You might be thinking to yourself right now... wait! I thought the mana series of games has 8 Elements! Well if you thought this, congratulations we can now be friends. Secondly even though "Mana" does have 8 there are 2 of those elements that make no damn sense. So... Dryad, because thats about as much of a name of an elemental as "My foot", Is ridiculous because "Earth" should cover that. Play any RPG that uses Elementals and you'll often see "Teramancers" or "Geomancers" using WOOD and ROOTS and ALL OTHER KINDS OF PLANTS because "Earth" is all about the hmmm oh yeah EARTH! And Aura or Luna or whatever, is a slightly convoluted "Light" element. And actually, growing up I always thought that Dryad and Aura were supposed to be nature and avarice (I didn't know what avarice was back then but the idea of avarice was what i always thought it was... if you need to look up that word, don't worry, I'll be right here. Waiting in my tab for you to get back.). )
Ok back to the real discussion, Liphidain.
I also didn't think of how hokey it was that even though there are thousands/millions of people that comprise a "kingdom" or country, how utterly improbable it would be that the hero would select 1 single person who may not even be a significant contributor to the culture of their nativity, from all 5 other kingdoms, instead of just taking people they know and trust along with them from their own country (not to even mention the fact that they are likely not going to have as many ulterior motives for joining you, like say, pursuing influence in their homeland by subverting other nations...) nah it was an RPG who cares! Well who cares is me, now anyway, and there was no way in hell that premise was going to survive. So I got rid of things like Elemental Kingdoms and replaced them with more realistic working governments because, you know, even RPG NPCs need law and order and better road ways.
So the story was Very much different back then, it actually had only the 2 dieties Talinious (Light) and Morgairth (My foot oh sorry not Dryad, Darkness) and they would influence the other 4 elements to varying degrees. The fact that there were only 2 real influences beyond the mortal characters in the game, make for a dull "Good Vs Evil" plodding, and boring tale. so Exit Crystals (because Final Fantasy was the best thing ever when i was 16) and enter interacable, motivated, and personable new dieties. Well who wants to just have a bunch of Greek Gods standing around all the time (sorry Restaff) so let's remove some of them and we can tell you why they aren't there throughout the rest of the story... which makes it SOOOOOOO much more fun to tell, whether or not its fun to play... I have no clue. And yes this is a "GvE" storyline but there is so much more to it than that and you will see as the game unfolds how that actually works out and I am excited to get this full project done for that reason.
I may have to continue this blog post or make a sub blog for this kind of meandering stuff but as of right now my brain is getting tired and I can hardly think of what to write next though I know its up in that grey matter somewhere... Ill clean it out later and organize it when i feel like it though.
Well if anyone was actually interested in playing my Demo or was intrigued by the story of this game... and mind you I know there are probably not many (yet). I am making a big leap here, I went through and play tested my ass off and I am ready (I think) to drop this demo on you all!
The Demo of Liphidain: Dissonance of Darkness! (Code named: Project Dragon)
http://rapidshare.com/files/332324572/Dragon.exe (The newest updated version - 1.11.1)
Please feel free to let me know what you think of the game, the story, the dialogue anything I could change.
I am sure, some gramatical errors as well as misspellings if you notice anything of great significance please be my guest to let me know about it.
So I got done test-playing the demo, (which I think I am almost ready to release, I still want some feed back from some close friends of mine first though) and I really got excited to make the rest of the chapter and the Entire game. I really cannot wait for the rest of the story to unfold and as I progress the more I get Ideas that I really feel will help to bring the narrative together.
In short I cannot wait for people to try this out.
Hopefully (Cross your fingers) I'll have the Demo done by this weekend, I will be running some extensive bug tests but the basics of the demo are fleshed out.
The Main quest is complete, the few Mini sidequests are set up and working, the Dialogue needs a few proper proof-reads both in and out of game, all of the cutscenes are working (stil a little tweeking I want to do to the intro) but for the most part the demo is 90% complete.
Let's just hope that its not so shoestringed together that it takes almost as long to tie up the 10% as it took to lay out the 90% but I kind of fear that it might not be too far from that assesment. at any rate I have a goal that I am shooting for and hopefully get some people to play through the completed demo (roughly 33-50% of the full game's first chapter) and get some feedback on how playable it is.
Starting off with a quick announcement, I have decided I want to cut the player off at about 1/3 of the way through in the first chapter (in terms of content the player will get in the demo). Normally I would have said this would be about half way, but I think I want to add a bit more to the story of the early years of these characters. So chapter one is going to grow abit... the thing I like about this idea is that I do not feel that it's growth for the sake of growth. I just think that I want people to experience the characters a bit more in their kid form before I turm them over to the adult versions.
Second thing about this blog post, is that I am going to be REALLY mean to the players, so much so that I had to add a lot more healing items (more effective ones as well as just MORE of them) and add a new tier of gear for the players to find. I want you to feel like there is a sense of urgency to find all of the items you can. There will be definate strategies on how to survive the end of the quest in the demo and you'll need every last potion I give you (I assume there will be enough for you though...maybe.) just don't forget to level before you get to the point where you can't. Just sayin'.
So I am now almost finished with the main part to the main quest, I have added 2 mini side quests (and may add more, we will see) but since this is the introduction to the game thats all that they really can be for now... the player is rather limited to where they can go. To those of you who read my blog pages you may actually get a hint or two about how to over come some of the problems in the dungeon itself, to those who don't? I hope you still have fun.
Search EVERYTHING I spent a lot of time making just about everything in the game interactable so don't forget to search houses and places you wouldn't think about searching, also don't get kicked out of some place before you give it the proper run down, which means Talk to all the NPCs just don't do it till you search the place. This will almost be as crucial as leveling before heading into the dungeon, and although the immediate need for what I am talking about may not be apparent upon entering, you will definately know you forgot something if you end up dying before the boss.
Lastly I have decided to disable dashing, I may reenable it depending on the reaction I get, I just felt like the Dash goes TOO fast and I felt the player was fast enough that dashing makes you want to burn through the game instead of looking at the maps, searching the houses, talking to NPCs and the like. And I didn't design this game and spend all this time to have somone NOT look at all of the stuff I did (Even as amature as the game's design is) and after all we play games to spend time in another world, so why not spend a little time walking around that world and enjoy it?
So today I wanted to flesh out the events that come up just before the player is allowed into the first dungeon... and it turned out that I kind of created a dungeon to do that. I had planned on just making a small room and some simple puzzles, however I really didn't want to do the same old dungeon and detail the map so that people don't go "My sprite feels lost in here!" so my solution? make you get lost in there... Through lighting. Well thats how it started anyway.
But what actually happened is the effect made for a very creepy place and the idea behind the area that the player goes to is actually not a bad setting for some horror... but thats all you get to know for now (No spoilers here). Well other than I got some sounds from freesound.org and they are amazing! it set up the mood perfectly in a way that music (I think) really ruins... so I will have a small horror part to my game... and even though I really don't care about horror in a game I think in this case it will help to develop the characters as well as bring the audience into the mood. (I talked about switching gears... this was a switch I did not intend and actually am really pleased with.)
Today's Credits go to Victor Sant (for the lighting engine), Milo (Freesound.org),Stk13 (Freesound.org) This change to the pace of the game would not have been possible without these wonderful scripts and sounds.
Thanks guys for all you do.
So as was pointed out to me after frustrating hours of working on getting the parallax running the "Show Picture" command needed to be ended with an "Erase Picture" command which was told to me on these forums. Yep I know it was like the most simple thing ever... but when you don't know, you don't know. Now that I have worked with the editor for close to a solid month (and not having even touched an RM program for nigh close to 10 years prior to) I am slightly more confident in my skills.
So one problem I was encountering with the Parallaxed maps was that when moving from map to map, the old picture would carry over for a second. Well I am WAY too much of a perfectionist for that to go down so I came up with a little solution! I was quite happy this worked. Its a bit more work with the transfer events, but it basically sets a fade out screen just before the transfer (which would normally happen so doesnt appear to harm anything and the player would not notice), it then erases the picture, transfers the player, and then fades in (as it would again normally do). This has flawlessly worked on every map I have used it on so far, and since the parallel processes are showing the pictures indefinately they will reset themselves once the player goes back into the map that was parallaxed. It is quite a beautiful thing.
This evening began with me vowing I would stay ON TASK and move the main quest forward. I will have to say to my utter joy this happened for about 75% of the time I worked on the project. I am working toward getting a playable demo released soon and want to have that ready by the end of next week. I am creating a deadline for myself so that I will work more efficiently on it.
The main quest: Still stuck in the land of the kiddies (and somewhat ironically kitties) the story is plodding along ever so nicely as some of the more interesting points of character are now showing up in our cast's interaction with everyone around them and each other.
For the purposes of the main quest there will be 2 dungeons for which quests are being worked on now, the entrance to one of said dungeons is actually complete but I will be creating a few events beforehand to flesh the game out around this entrance, then finally allow the player inside. After the dungeon is availible and worked through, there will be another, shorter dungeon later. The characters will then go to finish chapter one. Now that all sounds like its going to happen in a few minutes. I assure you it will not, unless the player is deadset on doing nothing but running straight through the game, and even then because of the items that you can only get by finding them or doing a quest for them if you were to not pick them up it would be incredibly difficult (which is by design).
Overall I am looking to have the Demo provide anywhere from 5-8 hours of gameplay and I MAY include a sneak preview of chapter 2 at the end of the demo. But it will probably just be the opening cut-scene I'm not sure I want to bite that off too quickly.
OH! one last thing I was going to mention, once the demo is released the demo version will include Victor's Animated Battles, however as planned for the release of the game it will not include Holder's Animated battlers (to stem confusion the final release of the game WILL include Holder's battlers, just not the demo). I would love to put Holder's battlers in, but seeing as How I would have to make 4 animated battlers, (1 of them from scratch) that is a time investment I am not able to give at the current moment. The animated battles with the in-game sprites (for now) is fine, but once all of the events of Chapter 1 are finished and Chapter 2 starts to loom closer I may think about finishing up the animated battlers for Ch.1.
So after a few weeks of thinking about it, I have finally decided upon a title! This game will be called Liphidain: Dissonance of Darkness (I have not seen this itteration of these words put together for a title, and furthermore don't care if there there really is one out that that uses the same title, this one is mine.).
Ok, also on todays plate was the starting of, enemy>numbers of enemies>level>equipment, balancing. So this test was done to give an idea of how difficult an enemy needs to be with a single character to defeat them but not to just knock them over. This is actually a lot of fun for me. I get to see how best to kick the crap out of the player and can actually imagine their progress through the first little bit (say while they are trying to complete one of the side quests) and what will happen after they complete it. I want to create a lot of gravity on getting one of my more difficult side quests done, but I dont want to make it a HAVE TO in order to finish the demo (which should be coming up soon, and by soon I mean a week or two weeks depending on how busy I am this weekend).
To start off I gave the character access to all the equipment in the game so far (which isnt much, 4 weapons, 1 helmet, 2 sheilds, 4 pieces of body armor) save one item that I need to make a simple animation for in Victor's Animated Battlers and it will be based on the bow attacks animation. and set up the 5 enemy types I currently have as well. Each enemy event once defeated switches to an enemy troop number of 2 so that I could test how easy one and then imediately see how 2 would perform against my weakest form , basic weapon no shield no helmet basic armor. which I will have to say took some time to tweek, because I do want the player to be able to win with this set up (other wise why set you up that way?) but I want it to be incredibly difficult because there are other options before you go straight out and fight (which I still want to have be an option) but that will be on you not me for not balancing it. I also wanted to make sure that the more intimidating enemies kill you and do quite an effecient job of it if you arent ready to start fighthing them. and I think I am going to require those enemies be fought by a party not a single player even with the best equipment. I mean you'll have 4 characters at the start so its not like you'll be wanting for damage haha.
anyway this is coming along quite nicely but I still have some adjusting to do until im finished with it but I think it will add nicely to the difficulty of the game untill you get all 4 characters in your party.
As is eventually going to happen when setting up conditional operations such as switches, variables, and branches, something somewhere sometime is going to break.
Yep we have all had it happen, and today was my first knot to untie. It has to do with a side quest I wanted the player to be able to have multiple outcomes to depending on the amout of effort was placed into doing the quest itself. IE you do the quest to the fullest potential you get the best reward, you half-ass it, it will at least give you something. well this is actually true in 2 cases because the quest actually gives 2 sets of rewards... so I'm sure you can see where this is going. That is a lot of damn branching and switching and bobbin' and weavin' and just all of it! AHHHHHHH!
Well I had set up a few events like this in the past (in fact this event actually does the multiple branches several times) all of which worked flawlessly both the full and half quest (reward endings) worked just fine. So coming to the point as to why this one actually didnt work was really frustrating. it would get to its breaking point which relies on a switch that you get from another character which was set up under and auto run after a conditional branch's parameters had been met. The switch turned on just fine and I know this because the character you get the switch from is actually attached to it and his text shows up just fine . So the question was "why wont the other character switch it up?" His switch comes after this one plays out and should play EXACTLY like the last one its set up upon a conditional branch for having finished his quest and getting the previous character's switch turned on. But nothing happened. Eager to get past this damn side quest and frustrated all at the same time I kept hitting my face on the keyboard till something popped into place in my brain.
I had at one point spaghetti stringed an event earlier back under itself and it had refused to work, after pulling the string back out from under its page constraint it was just fine. Well wouldn't you know? it was the same problem. This seems only to be an issue only when a self switch's trigger is set on a page after the trigger is to play out.... Ill show this to you since thats really hard to follow.
Page One: (Check) Self Switch A is ON
Trigger: action button.
Page 2 (Check) Previously Activated Switch
Contents: "Show Text" : Hello my name is Bob, and you are a moron for having evented this wrong, dummy!"
"Control Self Switch A = ON"
Trigger: action button
What would happen here is even though page 2 would be the page that would pull up initially because the switch controlling that one has been activated, It would not jump to page 1 even though the program SHOULD tell it to (and actually does if its a universal switch). I don't know why that is maybe its a bug maybe it was designed that way all I know is, it doesnt work... Solution? Switch the page order so that Page 1 becomes page 2, simple. This is why if said problem is an actual bug, and not an intended "spaghetti break", that no one has talked to Enterbrain about it, because its easy enough to fix without having to update the Editor on the publisher's side.
Now Im sure there are some that are thinking "well duh!" but to be honest with you when the program tells an event to "If A is active play switch A" then it should do it. Page numbers should mean LITERALLY NOTHING! the only thing those numbered tabs at the top should mean is a way to keep the information separated and somewhat orgnaized it should be meaningless to the eventing itself.
I may have eluded to this before but I will come out and explain how I wanted to present the game as it unfolds to you the player. First of all the intro is designed in a way that you get some information, see a few recognizable characters for future reference, and have a LOT of questions as to what is going on (trust me I don't hate you I just want to build anticipation, it really is where all of the fun of an RPG -for me- is). I also want to set the overtone of the game as being largely serious/dramatic and make you care about progressing through the next little bit. However to this end I did not want to make the begining boring or make you hate the story by the end of the 4th chapter.
(as a quick side note I decided to scrap the playable prologue and will actually break up its events through out the game as you progress. I have left in the intro cutscene to play out just before you gain control of the game, I feel like this will help to tell the narrative a little bit better and give the player some hunger to discover what is actually happeneing.)
To keep the tale from becoming dull I will be having a major gearshift in the first chapter of the story. So you will be taken from the battlefield of a hellish plain to the quiet village of Bayle. The perspective being that of children not being able to wait to grow up. I feel this will do 2 things for the player, it will allow you to see some of the characters (Principally Our main characters most of whom come from this village.) in a light that will reflect on them as adults and add to their overall makeup and secondly it will help you to "Grow up" with the characters and share some of the things with them that make being a kid fun. To sum up here the first chapter will actually take a quite light hearted approach to story telling, not unlike that of some other RPGs where you start as kids.
And although I do plan on having some light comedy throughout the game I feel like the first chapter is where I can get all of that out of my system and not have it be distracting to the player as I reset the mood back to being more dramatic. However I really feel like this will make playing through the first chapter actually quite a bit of fun. Also because kids are quite inquisitive there will be A LOT of interactable things, just about everything will have something or another whether that is just the character making a comment or it starting a light hearted conversation between the characters.
Now this is also something that I am going to experiment with here, it will give me some practice for another project I am planning but have not yet started. I will try to have as dynamic of conversations between the characters as possible, this will be A LOT of work and I mean its going to take what would be 1 page and 3-5 "Show Text" commands in an event to 4-5 pages of conditional branches and variables all of which will have 3-5 (or many more) "Show Text" commands ... its certainly not going to be easy to event this, but I feel that its a worth while sacrifice to make as it will add a LOT of depth to the players' experience when making their way through the demo.
Ok so, there was a lot of dramatic conversations in the last content update with the intro cut scene. Today takes quite the 180. This is something I am going to need to be careful with which is; although I love to interject comedy into the dialog to keep things interesting, I don't want to over do it. So now my challange is when to make it funny, and when to have the game take itself seriously. If I had the battlers for my young characters done already, I would probably release a demo soon just to get some feedback. Untill then anyone interested in this project (which I assume are few and far between at this point) will have to get info on it straight from me.
So to kind of break down what I have so far.
Cut-scene begins: An unembodied voice laments a loss and eludes to a revolution.
Scene-1: Talinious' Council room
War plans are laid and sent to troops to employ the beginings of battle.
A fiery demonic plain where the last of the fighting takes place (taking note of course that I really need to talk with an experienced eventer because making a battle scene the way I did -and really the way I WANT to- will require hours of tweeking or a simple script which likely will make it easier and faster and overall look better.)
The fortress-lair of the overarching antagonist (the Satan of Liphidain) Morgairth, where his masked underling furthers their evil machinations.
Jump to Bayle Village
Intro Tharis Beolve: A thoughtful and somewhat sarcastic young man. He is generally kind but does have a bit of a mischevious side, also becomes snarky when irritated.
Goals: To become a great warrior like his father was when he was younger. In Tharis' mind there is no greater calling than protecting your home country.
Current Activities: In the morning Tharis runs deliveries for his fathers grocery-store. once those daily chores are complete he is free to do what he will untill sundown.
Relationships: As the game begins Tharis and his father have just moved to Bayle recently his runs through town help him become familiarized with the people that live there but as of yet has not made any lasting impressions with anyone who lives there. Tharis and his father Larik have a good and loving relationship, Larik trusts his son to do the right thing and often gives whimsical jabs to keep him mentally alert.
Intro Larik Beaolve: A strong-willed and determined man of action. Larik settled into the more laid-back lifestyle of a small town so that he can raise his son and teach him to one day be a good man. Larik often likes to dole out punishments as if they were almost being asked for it is his intent to teach Tharis that his own actions are the cause of a punishment and not that his father is being arbitrary with him.
Goals: There is nothing of greater importance to Larik than that Tharis become a stout-hearted righteous man.
Current Activites: Currently Larik is a grocer, just recently having moved from the city of Forvania, after the occupation of the Mogard Empire ended. It is very likely because he wanted to spend less time in the Army and more time raising his son Tharis.
Relationships: Larik has many connections within the Army of Forvania as well as many good friends in that city none of which are important at the begining of the game. He as of yet knows very few people in Bayle, but recognizes that there is spirit in this small town and has taken the money he earned in the military to opened a shop here. He hoping to start a new life for his son and himself. Larik loves his son Tharis and will do anything to protect his future, and although not guarded about his feelings for Tharis they are often laced throughout unspoken sentiments.
Intro William & Alice Haymes: A couple rarely seen apart who bring a new meaning to the term "Madly in love" (and probably not the way you are thinking, sorry - well and maybe the way you are thinking but this isnt that kind of game so it certainly won't be shown). The beauty of William & Alice is they are really one character which more or less argues with itself constantly. Like a perfect Yin-Yang they create harmony and chaos within one another and therefore are a perfect grouping in terms of personality.
Goals: There are no goals which could be divined from the day to day activities of either William or Alice, they seem content to live in Bayle and own the weaponshop.
Current Activities: William is Bayle's weaponsmith, he often forges weapons that really do not find action in battle, and mostly for the townsfolk exclusively. Since he owns his house, this is more of a hobby than a means of income. However because Bayle is on the road between two major cities, there is often enough repair work to be done for travelers that, the income for William is sustainable for his and Alice's lifestyle. Also this is why William has never acheived much in terms of his weaponsmithing and can still only work in basic materials and with basic designs and is perfectly content to do so.
Alice is a loving house-wife (even though William works at/from within their home) she makes sure the store and home look presentable for guests and potential customers alike. Often because her knack for decorum clashes with the fact that what they sell is a means of ending something's life it becomes a point of argument for Her and William. She is determined that Axes and flowers can coexist with lucrative benefits.
Relationships: William & Alice alike know just about everyone in town as they both grew up in Bayle.
Intro Mr. Whittham: A crazy old man in a shack.
Goals: Must find the spoon.
Current Activities: Searching, and accumulating mounds of junk. (mostly at night)
Relationships: Mr Whittham has lived like hermit for many years, and actually does not know a single person in town, except the head preist of the Shrine of Astris and they have not seen nor spoken to one another for close to a decade. He has recently met young Tharis Beaolve who made a reasonable impression upon him (partially because he was the first human being that Mr. Whittham has spoken to in quite some time.)
Most of yesterday for me was spent finishing up the intro cutscene. This was quite invigorating, so much so that I didn't realize I had stayed up till 6 AM finishing it and I wasnt even tired. I am very pleased with how the story unfolds during this event, it gives you just enough to get you to understand a few fundmentals about the world, but leaves a lot more in the realm of speculation. I will probably have a Demo ready in a week or two.
One thing I was having trouble with was the fact that some of the autorun events wanted to not allow the parallel processes to work, or that the parallel processes wanted to restart before the autoruns had finished. I will admit there was some jimmy rigging on the eventing to get everything to work smoothly but in the end the player isnt going to have any idea that any of that is going on,,, and thats what I want.
To the credit of many game developers some games (speaking mostly of RPGs) have risen heads and tails above the rest. There are some that were fun to play, some that were graphicially vibrant, and others whos story gripped you from moment one, all the way through to the end. These are several reasons for greatness but what I want to focus on is the reason I personally feel these games have the most gravity for us to care about what happens in them.
With few exceptions the best games (again RPGs) are character driven. We are introduced to the person who we will (for the most part) journey with for the next 14-19 hours, through what generally amounts to months of their life. We become them in some small way (because you know, controlling the every move that someone makes is rather invigorating to us gamers) they lead interesting lives that we want to emulate, and even if their life isnt interesting now we know that shortly it will be. We ride the high wave of accomplishment when we help them to win, we feel the piercing agony when they loose, we laugh with them and their friends, we are the digital groupy (minus the sex with the band or other digital groupies) and we love it.
So why do I care so much about characters? Because they create the connection we have to another world possible. How many people still use Cloud Strife as a jumping board for their characters? Personally I feel like too many of them do, but the point is he was the first character to exibit a range of emotions that those young minds (many of us) seeing him, wanted to capture within themselves. Cloud embodies a very wide range of feelings for a person, he is often quiet, reflective, and thought driven. He is not afraid to show anger, is on occasion scared, he is not the "I know just what to do" leader and often has many self doubts. In short Cloud is emotionally damaged goods this is why as we follow him through his journey it almost breaks us as well when we [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[((((((((((((((((SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!))))))))))))))))))))]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] (oh and by the way if you havent played Final Fantasy VII yet, get on that) watch Sephiroth kill Aerith, not only did most of the players of the game choose Aerith for Cloud's love interest (not me I chose Tifa) but she had helped him through so many emotional pitfalls that you can't help but feel the connection between the two. It really was an emotional part of the story and it was a FREAKING GAME! if ever there was a scene in a video game that you could use to make the argument that video games are art, it would be that one.
Now, personally I feel like Cloud is often over copied and even though he is somewhat unique (or at the time was) I feel that he is a little too subdued for my tastes. I am not a brooder so although I enjoyed Cloud as a character he was not my favorite, nor was Final Fantasy VII for that matter. However I see the appeal that the character draws to the game. Anyone who is looking at the game from a relatively objective perspective will be able to see that Cloud really is the central point to the narrative. The only other character that cannot be removed because the absence would cause the game to become flat and bland is Aerith. You could even have put in a different bad guy. Sephiroth was an interesting one but reflected Cloud too well [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[((((((((((((((((((((((((((((SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!))))))))))))))))))))))))]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] and for obvious reasons, because Cloud was Sephiroth's failed clone.
So now that you might think this is a psychological analysis of Final Fantasy VII Let me get to why this matters to MY game. I will not be having my character be anything like Cloud Strife. However what I hope to achieve with Tharis is his ability to make you like him. To show why THIS is the main character and why I didnt go with the "emotionally damaged super sonic the hedgehog with a sword the size of a truck". Despite the fact he is nothing like Cloud still allow you to see strength to bring together a group of otherwise perfect strangers that will inevatibly follow him to the ends of the earth which Cloud as a character does quite exceptionally.
What I hope you take away from Final Fantasy VII and hopefully my game (when it is released) as well is an idea of how your chracters can also showcase the desired personality that: One, does not FULLY reflect you as a person (obviously we interject some of our personallity into the main chracter, probably a lot more than the supporting cast); Two can allow for the player to connect with them on an emotional level; And three can leave a lasting impression upon the player so that were you to ever make a sequal people would enjoy playing it, and possibly ask for more. (Again look how many people are STILL begging SquareEnix for a faithful sequal to FFVII)
As a quick side note: The problem with a sequal to FFVII is that it will never be able to live up to the original, because of aforementioned spoilers which I do not want to bring up again haha.
So taking a few steps out the door of planning and onto the journey of finishing the project. There is a long way ahead but I honestly feel that given the amount of effort I plan to put into this project I think it will be a worth while venture.
A brief summary of what Liphidain actually is. Liphidain is the staging point, the epicenter if you will, of a much broader wider story told about the character Tharis Beaolve. Liphidain is his first experience with mortality and the events that happen upon this world set him up for many stories to come that do not happen in his home world. Liphidain finds itself in a very deep trench of turmoil upon begining Tharis' story (because it would be utterly boring if nothing was going on in the world, am I right?) and (without giving away too many spoilers) There has already been some dramatic changes in the worlds pantheon a few thousand years ago that no one living on Liphidain remembers.
Tharis' quest sets out initially to join the ranks of the Forvanian army as news of the war in the north trickles back that the invading forces of the nation of Mogard are being pushed into their home territory. Eager as many young men are to prove that he is more than just a boy he sets out to become the soldier that will change him forever. what he will find is a destiny far greater than the glory of winning a war.
This game will feature many "Cliched" as some would put it ideas in terms of content the game itself will be nothing more than a typical JRPG, however I hope to achieve a mark above other titles with quite a few developed, lovable, dispicable, down right hatable characters that will make you continuously want to find out what happens next. This is where I feel RPGs actually shine, the gameplay can be nothing more than a few challanging stratagies (of which I will do my best to make sure are balanced and fun) in a turn based setting and then of course imense character depth with a compelling narrative to give them structure. There is one twist (which I will obviously not give away here) that I hope may suprise even the most veteran JRPG players.
This project is being worked on by Myself, and Sirkibblesnbits (Aka Da Mage), a very aloof member of the rpgmakervxace.net community. There are however Many other (some unwitting) generious contributors in terms of resources that will be credited in the final release of the game. Contributors of note so far are Linni, Holder, and Victor Sant, in the order of which I discovered and began to use their materials which were provided and appreciated at no cost to myself.
The current progress being done on the game is in its first and third chapters (out of 4) with the emphasis on the first chapter so far. after I get the story set for chapter one I will work on the prologue and chapter 3 content as those have a lot to do with one another.