RMMV Aberrating Light - a horrifying love letter [ABS added]

Lemonrice

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Well, after mentioning it in the October goals thread, I think it is time to finally introduce the concept I have been working on the past two weeks.

Some of you might have noticed, that I already have a game idea posted on this forum. That is correct and the project is not abandoned. It is just that, after spending the past days concepting and prototyping, and after comparing the game designs in their current states, I decided to push Aberrating Light some more since it is a lot smaller in scope. A LOT!

So, let's begin!

Genre: (Action) Horror Survival in a relatively modern environment

Introduction
All he wanted was to start over. Owen Andrews grew up in Cindervale and has always been fond of his childhood memories. Now that he is back, the comfort and safety of his former hometown seem farther away than ever and long forgotten memories have returned to haunt him. Trapped within the well known streets of his past, Owen needs to remember what brought him here in the first place.

Aberrating Light is probably best described as my love letter to Silent Hill. You’ll find some similarities such as the nightmare mode that turns the already eerie town of Cindervale into living Hell for Owen, but I’m really excited to add more features to the game which I will gradually introduce as I design and implement them into the prototype.

Gameplay
Sanity
Owens most valuable resource is his sanity. While he is in Cindervale his sanity will constantly drop. Not maintaining a regular schedule of sleeping and eating will cause his sanity to drop faster. So does walking around at night and each encounter with the horrors of Cindervale. Once Sanity drops too low, Owen goes temporarily insane, changing the already distorted image of Cindervale into a feverish nightmare. Experiencing such an episode will cause Owen to eventually collapse and wake up with some of his Sanity restored. Sanity can be restored through a variety of other ways, each more or less effective but not always accessible.

Health
Getting into a fight with one of the creatures of Cindervale can result in a temporary loss of Health. It can be restored with medication or sleep or just over time. If Owen gets knocked out he’ll wake up in a safe place with some of his Sanity gone. Owen can permanently lose some of his maximum health when walking through the town carelessly and getting a serious injury.

Sleep
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule will help Owen to stay sane. Staying awake for longer than 16 hours will result in a faster loss of sanity. A good night's sleep will be 8 hours long but Owen can also take just a 2 hour nap. Going to sleep shortly after getting up will count as slacking and also have negative effects on his sanity. Sleeping requires a bed, couch or similar option.

Nourishment
Eating on a regular basis helps Owen to stay sane. Nourishment can be ignored for quite awhile but to be most effective for his sanity, eating every 3-5 hours would be best. Different foods may have different effects. Overeating will have negative effects.

Item space is limited. There is only a certain amount of things Owen is able to carry but items can be found that increase Owens carrying capacity (like a backpack). Items can restore resources and/or needs, but some come with a penalty, are stationary or of limited use. You can find a list of their effects below.

Bed
Recovers sleep and sanity penalty free if used within the rule of the regular schedule

Regular food
Restores hunger and sanity when used within the rules of a regular schedule

Drink
Restore small amounts of hunger and sanity but can be used regardless of the last meal

Chips and chocolate
Restore a small around of hunger and a large amount of sanity but afterwards hunger will drop faster for a certain time

Music device
Recovers sanity (maybe over time while playing a fancy tune) but has limited use

Cigarettes
Restore a tiny amount of sanity

Alcohol
Temporarily restores a huge amount of sanity but also causes a huge drop afterwards and raises the need for nourishment

Newspaper
A gamble, good headlines restore sanity, bad headlines reduce sanity

Prototype Link
Currently built with RTP assets, only to demonstrate functionality:

->Download here<-

Currently implemented:
  • Day & Night Cycle
  • Sanity, Sleep and Nourishment drop
  • Sanity drops faster when in high need of sleep and nourishment
  • Sanity drops faster at night
  • Icons indicate the degree of malnourishment/sleep deprivation once the needs have exceeded a healthy refill cycle
  • Action battle system with one battle (attack with "y")
  • debug/testing event: dog refills sleep, cat refills nourishment
  • debug/testing setting: sleep and nourishment drop 6 times faster than normal
ToDo:
  • Implement and test Items
  • Implement and test nightmare mode
  • Implement and test sanity drop rate on encounter
Khas
SumRndmDde
Quasi / Quxios

Special thanks to @samkfj and @8bitBartabas for tons of help, input, feedback, ideas and being an awesome source of motivation in general!

Questions?
 
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Lemonrice

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I am so happy to tell you guys, that Aberrating Light is indeed, an action survival horror game! There will be no turn based combat, every enemy is encountered and fought on the map, thanks to QABS made by @Quxios.

Battles will be rare but tough and are designed to make the player think twice about whether it's really necessary to fight this monster or if there is another option. The protagonist is not the fighting type - in fact, he's a social worker. And that just reminded me, I really need to introduce him xD

You can test a very ugly version - because i didn't bother to create sprite sheets yet - in the current prototype. I have also enhanced the testlevel a little to have more room to test the features as i implement them.

->Download the prototype here<- or in the introduction post.

EDIT: completely forgot!! Attack with "y" xD

EDIT 2 - new controls

Keyboard: wasd movement optional (arrow keys still usable), use SPACE to attack
Controller (xbox): A=ok, B=cancel, Y=menu, X=attack, R2=sprint
 
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hiddenone

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Gave the prototype a try during my break, it's a bit hard to nail down any specific suggestions because it's so short. I did run into a big issue with the fact that there was only one enemy and it didn't respawn, so I had to keep restarting the game to be able to mess around with it. :rswt At the moment I don't think the prototype has enough meat to it to really help you get solid feedback, but I made some assumptions so I could share my thoughts, so please take my comments with a grain of salt.
First up, I think 'Y' is a terrible button for attack, it's nowhere near where the hand rests while playing a rm game... Please consider switching it to something much closer to 'spacebar'. It's important that the player is comfortable while playing a game with ABS since if they have to hold their hands in odd positions to hit buttons then they probably will play for shorter amounts of time because of hand pain.

Since there was only one enemy I restarted it a few times to test out different things. It's probably because I'm not good at hitting buttons quickly, but there was no way for me to win against the enemy without healing (and there was no apparent way to heal besides using the Heal skill, which I assume isn't meant to actually be used... But since it was there, I used it to win). :rswt I tried to sneak around the enemy, but because of the dense fog it was hard to see where the enemy was. And by the time I could see the enemy, it had spotted me and giving chase. There was the upside that the enemy just disappears if you get too far from it and goes back to its spot on the map, but that means that I can't easily lure it away and then sneak by. I don't know how complicated the ABS plugin you're using is, but I think it would be a good idea to decide early on if you want to give the player the ability to lure enemies away (and if so, then you'll need to figure out a way to keep the enemy from disappearing like it currently does).

Nourishment and sleep bars can go negative with no apparent consequences. While it's obviously a prototype, it's still a good idea to give the player an idea of what negatives will happen (or set them up so they don't change at all in the prototype). I have no idea what those circles meant on the bars, so I can only assume they're supposed to be bad.
negative nourishment.png
I was hoping to see what would happen with negative nourishment and sleep, but nothing happened even after they both hit -2000. :rsad:

Last up is some minor graphic suggestions. This is just personal preference, but the streetlight flicker is too strong and bothers my eyes, especially during the nighttime, so it would be nice if you weakened it a bit. Please give a light glow around the player, it's too hard to see when it's nighttime since there's so much darkness and fog. The glow doesn't have to light up the screen, but it would be nice to be able to see what's around the player (and makes everything outside that glow even spookier).

Overall, as I said it's hard to get a good feel for the game with this prototype, but I didn't run into any bugs so good job with that! :rwink: Before your next prototype, I'd suggest getting more of the mechanics set up so the player can really give the game a go (so set up some places to rest and find food, and include more enemies to fight/avoid!).
 

Lemonrice

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Gave the prototype a try during my break, it's a bit hard to nail down any specific suggestions because it's so short. I did run into a big issue with the fact that there was only one enemy and it didn't respawn, so I had to keep restarting the game to be able to mess around with it. :rswt At the moment I don't think the prototype has enough meat to it to really help you get solid feedback, but I made some assumptions so I could share my thoughts, so please take my comments with a grain of salt.
First up, I think 'Y' is a terrible button for attack, it's nowhere near where the hand rests while playing a rm game... Please consider switching it to something much closer to 'spacebar'. It's important that the player is comfortable while playing a game with ABS since if they have to hold their hands in odd positions to hit buttons then they probably will play for shorter amounts of time because of hand pain.

Since there was only one enemy I restarted it a few times to test out different things. It's probably because I'm not good at hitting buttons quickly, but there was no way for me to win against the enemy without healing (and there was no apparent way to heal besides using the Heal skill, which I assume isn't meant to actually be used... But since it was there, I used it to win). :rswt I tried to sneak around the enemy, but because of the dense fog it was hard to see where the enemy was. And by the time I could see the enemy, it had spotted me and giving chase. There was the upside that the enemy just disappears if you get too far from it and goes back to its spot on the map, but that means that I can't easily lure it away and then sneak by. I don't know how complicated the ABS plugin you're using is, but I think it would be a good idea to decide early on if you want to give the player the ability to lure enemies away (and if so, then you'll need to figure out a way to keep the enemy from disappearing like it currently does).

Nourishment and sleep bars can go negative with no apparent consequences. While it's obviously a prototype, it's still a good idea to give the player an idea of what negatives will happen (or set them up so they don't change at all in the prototype). I have no idea what those circles meant on the bars, so I can only assume they're supposed to be bad.
I was hoping to see what would happen with negative nourishment and sleep, but nothing happened even after they both hit -2000. :rsad:

Last up is some minor graphic suggestions. This is just personal preference, but the streetlight flicker is too strong and bothers my eyes, especially during the nighttime, so it would be nice if you weakened it a bit. Please give a light glow around the player, it's too hard to see when it's nighttime since there's so much darkness and fog. The glow doesn't have to light up the screen, but it would be nice to be able to see what's around the player (and makes everything outside that glow even spookier).

Overall, as I said it's hard to get a good feel for the game with this prototype, but I didn't run into any bugs so good job with that! :rwink: Before your next prototype, I'd suggest getting more of the mechanics set up so the player can really give the game a go (so set up some places to rest and find food, and include more enemies to fight/avoid!).
Hello :kaohi: thank you for giving the prototype a try and providing feedback! Yes, it is a very early version - but I'm making these deployments anyway so I might as well share them. :LZScheeze:

The good news is: I think most of what you've written is already on my todo list.
I just uploaded some quick changes:
  • Attack is now usable with SPACE
  • Controller input (xbox): A=ok, B=cancel, Y=menu, X=attack, R2=sprint
  • reduced fog to medium density
  • reduced delay from input to execution for the attack (the attack comes faster after pressing space)
  • the enemy now respawns
  • removed the skills (but i kept heal until i have the items in)
Now for your other questions / suggestions

Battle System
So far, I've only scratched the surface of what the battle system is capable of and I only have a vague impression of what can be done with it. The most important goal for this version was to get it working, otherwise I would have had to rework a large part of the gamedesign. I have already thought about different designs for enemy behaviors that I would like to test, being able to lure an enemy away is part of that. But for that I have to dive deeper into the ABS plugin.

Resource Bars
Right now Sleep and Nourishment are only linked to Sanity. The lower these values get, the faster sanity will drop (per ingame minute). The dots are indicators when a threshold is reached and sanity drops faster now.
I'll lower the amount of sanity to make the decrease more noticable and probably add a simple explanation to the game. And I'll look for a set of icons to display the states like hungry, hangry, starving...
I can provide more insight on the design behind it, if you are (or anyone else is) interested. Ultimately I also want to link these states to effects like sluggishness but since the bars drop so fast at the moment I imagined it would be annoying to have them in at this stage of development ^^

Graphics
You're not the only one bothered by the bright light :) It's actually the first comment every tester makes xD I also think it's too harsh and the flickering too frequent but I'll have to look into the plugin (I think) to adjust that so I didn't change it right away but - it's one of my top priorities.

Up next
I'll add the first items that add different effects to the character's sanity, sleep and nourishment needs and then dive deeper into the ABS and see how intelligent/stupid I can make those enemies.

Thanks again for taking the time to take a look and give feedback! If you have further or more specific questions just ask away.
 
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hiddenone

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Gave the updated prototype a try, I think some things are better but there's still a lot for you to tweak. :)
I don't think 'space' being attack and interact works. Technically it works fine, but I find feel like it's odd to try to interact with a door and then also attack it (and when trying to refuel at the animals it doesn't feel right to see the slash against them, even if it doesn't actually hurt them). It will take more work, but I think you either need to have attack be a separate button, like 'v' or something, or find a way to not attack when interacting with non-enemy events.

It's a lot easier to see around the map now, but I still think there should be a slight glow around the player during the night. It could just be my monitor (it does tend to run dark), but it's hard to spot the character on the map when it's the middle of the night. You don't need to make it super bright around the player, even just a small glow the same size as the circle in the fog would help.

I'm sorry to say, but your attack delay reduction broke attacking. :rswt Now if you hold down the attack button, you can pretty much make a shield of slashes to keep the enemy from being able to reach you. If there were more than one enemy then it may not work as well, but it still seems broken. Figuring out the best delay time will probably just take some work to see what feels good.

Your ideas for both the battle system and resource bars sound good, so good luck learning all you can about the plugin to bring your ideas to life. :)

I hope you're able to keep working on and improving this project, I'll probably give it another go once the items and different resource bar effects are implemented.
 

Lemonrice

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Hello! I am still working on the project :) But between renovations,a frustrating kitchen apointments and packing i only find little time to do so. I have started with the first map to set the general tone of the game for those areas that will not take part in the city.

This is the busstop where our protagonist Owen Andrews will arrive. The interface is currently not visible as I am still working on that. Once the sounds are in and the Interface is a bit more ... bearable to look at, I'll release a small playable version for you to explore.





maker mv
visustella modern city
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khas ultra lighting
galv mv layers
yanfly core
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