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Samhain: The Game That Almost Was (and may be someday but don't count on it)

Kayzee

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So it's probably been at least a month or two since I worked on my last project, my first and only attempt at actually making a game with some other people, and I realized I never really talked about it with much of anyone outside the project besides one or two vague hints or did any blogs about it or anything. So why not do this now?

 

It all started in October where, despite being possessed by a vile being of vile darkness that I of course opposed, RavenBlueIndigo decided to hold a contest. My friend Nya wanted to be in a team so I decided to contact her and see if I could help, despite being a bit nervous about working with other people. Anyway, long story short, she didn't have a game idea in mind, so I came up with the idea of a fantasy RPG based around the idea of a pre-christian Halloween holiday and the myths and legends surrounding it. Brank also joined in and was mostly responsible for finding a good tileset and doing all the maps.

 

I named Samhain as an example though I wasn't necessarily committed to a historically correct representation of Gaelic culture or mythology, though Nya seemed very inspired by it and it seemed a lot of the monsters she wanted to add were from that origin, which was fitting since a huge inspiration for wanting to work on a Halloween themed fantasy RPG in the first place was Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness which in addition to all sorts of classic Halloween tropes and monsters (as well as more then a touch of Lovecraft) was very much influenced by mythology and culture (Slavic mythology and culture to be exact, actually all the Quest for Glory games have a huge focus on various real world mythologies and cultures).

 

The basic plot, as it was, was that every year the barrier between worlds grows weaker, and people more or less make a big holiday/festival to keep everyones spirits up or else combined negative emotional energy can cause dangerous things to start leaking in from the spirit world in some places. The player plays a member of a secret order of hunters who's job it is to safeguard a town and keep the townspeople safe from any spirits that show up, and to keep them from panicking or even noticing anything is wrong. Though there may or may not have been some other force at work.

 

Most of the gameplay was going to involve going around the town when a spirit/monster shows up and taking care of it, preferably quietly and cleanly without anyone even knowing it is around. Most people can't see them but their presence can still be noticed, especially by superstitious townspeople who know all about the legends of strange spirits or creatures. There was going to be a "mood meter" of some sort which was effected by how well you did at containing the spirits without the towns people noticing, as well as other things like being positively effected if you did sidequests to help with the festival, and negatively effected if to many towns people are injured/killed, if you act hostile or use too much magic in public, and so on. The mood meter mostly effects what kinds of and how many spirits show up.

 

Sort of like how Undertale has it's Fight or Mercy options, taking care of the spirits usually meant either violently "killing" it (which doesn't always stick and just makes the spirit mad when it comes back, in addition to making a lot of noise), capturing it (which means you need to worry about how to contain it and keep it from escaping or keeping anyone from noticing it's there, but you can sometimes use captured spirits to cast/learn magic), or pacifying it (which just convinces the spirit to leave or become benign, but can be hard or flat out impossible to do i the spirit is too "evil", though those spirits will only show up if you are to negligent so panic or negative feelings spread too much).

 

I think the over all design was a bit too ambitious, even if I purposely limited the size of the world to just one town and some surrounding areas, using a quicktravel-like menu instead of a world map. I think I may have done the most work on it, but most of it was just coding lots and lots of weird subsystems that were probably mostly unnecessary. I had the idea of NPC events that were stored in one map and could be loaded into any map dynamically, then I made some complicated scheduling and conditionals and lots of hacks with additional event pages so that NPCs (and spirits, though they were just NPCs too) could kinda move around between maps when you did. I used my old "Event Battler" script for spirits so they could be NPCs too, and made "negotiation skills" that could call different event pages of a spirit's NPC event in battle.

 

But by the time I had accomplished most of this, the contest that this game was going to be for was already over. We all decided to keep working on it for a while, but Nya eventually had other things going on in her life she needed to focus on and I kinda never heard that much from Brank. I kinda lost most of my motivation to work on it anyway, so the project is kinda dead. I still like the idea, and some of the scripting work I did was kinda neat (if sloppy), but I donno when or if I will pick it up again at this point.

 

Anyway MV is already out. I haven't gotten it yet and probably never will unless it goes for like 90% off on some steam sale sometime (because seriously, I don't care how good a piece of software is, I am never gonna pay more then $20 for anything, and if I had my way I wouldn't even pay that because screw proprietary software), but that doesn't change the fact that I am behind the times and the world has moved on and I am stuck in the past. Honestly I am not sure if I will ever work on anything with RPG Maker again, but I probably will. Ether way, I am gonna stick around this community a while I think. :3



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Stay with us,please . We like you and you are my favorite fairy (but to be fair ,you are the only fairy I know )

And I think I say that sincerely but i may have been caught in  your fairy dust

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That project does sound very ambitious especially if you're the only one coding all that. Oh well. I'm glad you at least tried to make a game. I think you could make something really great if you can stay motivated (and not have the rest of the team bail). Halloween is my favorite holiday so I would have been doubly interested in playing it. Oh well, life happens. I'm glad you want to stick around. You always have unique insights and perspectives. We're polar opposites on some things so I get to see things from a totally different view. 

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Stay with us,please . We like you and you are my favorite fairy (but to be fair ,you are the only fairy I know )

And I think I say that sincerely but i may have been caught in your fairy dust

Hehe, I will stay around for a while I am sure! If I did vanish it would probably be only after a long period of time where there is nothing relevant for me to say or do, and only then after finding a new place to belong. Oh and also: *sprinkles fairy dust on you*

 

That project does sound very ambitious especially if you're the only one coding all that. Oh well. I'm glad you at least tried to make a game. I think you could make something really great if you can stay motivated (and not have the rest of the team bail). Halloween is my favorite holiday so I would have been doubly interested in playing it. Oh well, life happens. I'm glad you want to stick around. You always have unique insights and perspectives. We're polar opposites on some things so I get to see things from a totally different view.

I should try something a lot more simple and stereotypical sometime really, rather then waste my time making big fancy systems and coding myself into a corner. I think the big reason I stopped working on Samhain was because I never figured out a good way to get NPCs/spirits to interact with each other for one thing, or did any real work on how that mood meter was actually supposed to work.

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Eh- It's been a loooooooong time since I seriously worked on an RPG Maker game. 8 months? More? Either way, ironically enough, RPG Maker is a pretty small part of the RPG Maker community.

 

The game concept doesn't sound too bad, though I think there should be some detriment for choosing to be pacifistic. Just as problems are not dealt with by not addressing them, enemies aren't defeated by slapping them on the wrist. A nice feature would be if narratively, or procedural, some enemies would become repeat offenders for letting them off the hook so easily.

 

Then again, it sounds like the game featured from some pretty lethal feature creep (object pooling in RPG Maker?). Perhaps a more involved pre-production cycle would have gone to the benefit of the game, though it probably wouldn't help with the burn-out your team seems to have reached with it. Hmm... probably something to keep on the table, at least.

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I got one for you, Eric must use his trusty hand axe to collect the Power Crystals to save the world for some reason :P

Hehe, don't tell rikifive, but I don't care for Eric much. :P

 

Eh- It's been a loooooooong time since I seriously worked on an RPG Maker game. 8 months? More? Either way, ironically enough, RPG Maker is a pretty small part of the RPG Maker community.

 

The game concept doesn't sound too bad, though I think there should be some detriment for choosing to be pacifistic. Just as problems are not dealt with by not addressing them, enemies aren't defeated by slapping them on the wrist. A nice feature would be if narratively, or procedural, some enemies would become repeat offenders for letting them off the hook so easily.

 

Then again, it sounds like the game featured from some pretty lethal feature creep (object pooling in RPG Maker?). Perhaps a more involved pre-production cycle would have gone to the benefit of the game, though it probably wouldn't help with the burn-out your team seems to have reached with it. Hmm... probably something to keep on the table, at least.

I am not sure it was really burn out (except maybe in my case), I think it was more a matter of everyone else having bigger priorities. I am not sure I made it that easy with making all sorts of weird systems to work with, but I very intentionally made the world very small and wanted to stick with a minimal over all number of characters. Like I said, I think I did most of the work myself and most of it was rather "behind the scenes". Still probably lethal feature creep, but I tried by best to limit what I did as to keep the game small and very tightly focused. I even discussed doing things like cutting out most equipment and RPG mechanics to focus exclusively on character interaction, making the game much more like an adventure game.

 

That said, there were plenty of things I just plain did not have a good idea about how to do, the most important being how NPCs react to each other. The event system is just not designed for events to do stuff to other events, nor is there any kind of pathfinding for them to find each other. I could make NPCs show up on the same map and probably do interactions in the background but walking around and interacting on the map would require a whole new system. Without a system for NPC crossinteractions, I couldn't really do a lot of what I wanted with spirits effecting the mood meter. So yeah, maybe I should have either dropped the whole idea or done something closer to a text adventure/visual novel where you don't really explore maps just chose everything from menus.

 

As for being pacifistic, like I said I was going to make it difficult or impossible to do for a hack of a lot of the more evil enemies. In fact I would probably go as far as to require that the more demonic enemies demand that you do more and more horrible things to keep them pacified (a "deal with the devil" type thing), and even then they don't always keep their promises (unless magically bound to maybe). The only way to really deal with this enemies is, like I said, preventing them from showing up at all by depriving them of the negative emotions they need to feed on.

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