This demo features part of the gameplay with an abridged story which was edited to suit the Gamescon pace. While many of the story related events are removed, there are still a few which will give you a glimpse into the game story and the personalities of Starsio and Arthur.
Thank you to all my followers who stuck with me over the years! Releasing the demo is a major milestone that I could not have achieved without the support of the community and my followers, and this brings us closer to the full game release! (more on that soon!)
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! And I hope you enjoy the demo!
I've really been looking forward to this game and I'm so happy you finally released a demo^^ I downloaded it and played it just now, so I'd like to give you little bit of feedback.
- I love the art. I can imagine how much work it must have been. You've made all maps, characters, menu, literally everything. And all the animations. As a fellow artist, I'm really impressed.
- The battle system is interesting. Especially the interacting part, it makes every encounter unique. I needed a little to get the hang of it and failed a few times, but your battle system does something very few do: It helps the player learn what they should do when they fail (I don't know how to describe it any better ^^° It's basically: "Ah, I should have done this!" And then you'll be able to beat them the second try)
- The way you showed a only a little bit of the story really makes me interested in what it's about. Before I played I only thought it was about two boys escaping. But I never expected that Starsio might have some illness or fighting exhausts him physically. I'd really love to know more about that.)
- Cats. Will there be any kind of reward when we adopt all?
- The battle system again, about the timed button press. Maybe it's just me and my slow reaction, but it seemed like there wasn't much time to react. Especially during the last enemy. The attacks he had did a lot of damage, so I think it would have been better to give the player a little more time there, rather than less.
In conclusion, it has a lot of potential and I'm really looking forward to the full version^^
Thank you so much for your feedback @BlackRoseMii ! I really appreciate it.
The battles do need some time to get used to. The full game has a tutorial battle, but it didn't make it to the demo for time constraints. Hopefully it will help players ease into the system more smoothly.
I actually got a few comments about the difficulty of that battle. I'm planning to release V3 of the demo today where I will alter the difficulty of it a bit, as well as address a few reported bugs.
It means a lot that you played the demo, and that you enjoyed it! Thank you so much, again!
Aha, yes! After all this time! "It is time", indeed!
For goodness's sake, the encounters. Each of them is loaded with so much character. The twins, the cannibal guy. Even the roach is fun. The game doesn't even need to be difficult when played this way; it's just a fun, enjoyable, and engaging time.
For the most part, my understanding of the battle system kind of collects into a few sections here.
So it seems like the main agency of the player here when it comes to attacking and conquering opponents is the mastery of this "Crux Octagon" thing. My main criticism here is that, while playing, I don't really understand how this thing "works".
Reading the README definitely did help; I did manage to match weaknesses to opponents and things. Each skill has a color, and if you hit your opponent with a color they're weak to, it deals more damage. That, I understand.
But what I find odd is that Starsio's "Strike" will evolve into "Double Strike", but their colors are different.
Whatever the relationship is between the Crux Octagon and the Colors of each skill, I want to know. As a player, I'm looking for these patterns so that I can remember what skills I should use on each enemy, and understand how enemies, their weaknesses, and my skills are related. Maybe it's just something I'm not understanding!
--TALKINTERACT || OFFENSEDEFENSE
So there's something interesting here.
After I beat the twins nonviolently, I did not gain XP.
When I beat them the hard way, I gained some XP and the boys leveled up.
The question is: how long can I win battles nonviolently before I CANNOT win with violence and skills anymore? Will one's stats not change that much when you level up, so that you can always decide to fight at any point in the game?
As far as I can tell (or assume), one's stats have no effect on one's ability to INTERACT or TALK. If I choose a violent path through the game, I can switch to a nonviolent one at any time. But, if I choose a nonviolent path, I'll be stuck with it forever since my stats and skills won't be up to par with the enemy.
That is, UNLESS a) XP and skills go up even if you win nonviolently or b) enemy damage is scaled down to match your current level or c) that's the whole point, and it is intentional.
Learning the new skills is really cool. The combo skills!? Really cool! Mastering the Crux Octagon, learning how to get Starsio and Arthur to work as a team is great. Even getting new States of Mind is fun! (Arthur doesn't like fighting but Starsio is okay with it...!) The Crystal Skills, too!
But none of that stuff matters if you pick a nonviolent route. Unless you fail the quicktime guard things (which, fairly, happens often enough) your stats, skills, or even States of Mind will not matter at all, as far as I can tell.
Again. Unless I am misunderstanding something.
"Juice" is a game-making word I picked up one time. It's little things you don't really need to add, but feel good and add to the experience in a positive way.
And this game has so much great juice!
Every little battle thing is animated!
GROSS! SIZZLE! All the explosions from attacks have so much character!
The skill cut-ins, too!
The cats!!!! I can always come up with a name!
States of Mind, especially; that's such a neat way to link game mechanics, storytelling, and characterization all at once.
I adore it.
With all the plugin, coding work, and art you did, you've really made RPGMaker work for you; you've really made Black Crystals your own.
Does Starsio sing!? Is he going to sing in this game?
Am I understanding the Crux Octagon correctly?
Will any battles require both battle skills and Talk/Interact in order to win?
Why was Starsio like "I'll take the broom and the spray bottle but forget that second broom we won't need that" and then Arthur's just like "Dude, why do you get the broom? That's way more effective than a spray bottle."
That's not really important I just thought that was really funny.
Will this game have "grinding", or will you only fight each opponent one time?
I really enjoyed this. Part of me worries that I make a lot of my judgements without a full picture of the game, which I apologize for.
But allow me to repeat myself for good measure:
With all the juice and hard work you put in, you really have RPGMaker working for you; Black Crystals shines and is truly your own. And you should, um. Be proud.
@ScientistWD Thank so much for the detailed review. I appreciate it immensely! To answer your questions:
1) Yes! Starsio is a singer! He will sing in the game. There is a sneak peak in his Hum and Sing skills.
2) The Crux system, yes, you understand it perfectly! The skills are powerful or weak depending on where their colour falls on the enemy's octagon. The full game will have a tutorial battle at the very beginning, along with a feature called "Tell points" which give hints about the enemies cruxes before key encounters, so the player can equip skills and accessories accordingly.
3) Yes! There is a battle right after the Noah one which will need a combo of both offence and interact.
4) In link with the Crux system and the learned skill colors, A skill and all skills in its potential will have the same crux color in the full game. This will be a design change that still needs to be implemented. The original design was that a learned skill could be any color and the player would need to plan by viewing the skill potential from the menu, but watching people play there were many cases where a learned skill turned out weaker on the enemy than the original skill due to the crux. So, yes, this will be changed. I plan to also have items in the game which you can use the change your skill crux permanently for added strategy.
5) Haha, the broom fiasco! I guess it will be a bit clearer in the full game
6) the game will have random encounters, so grinding is totally possible! The four battles in the game are one-time battles only though.
7) On XP, the player will gain XP from non violent route as well. It was just not implemented properly in the demo (there are even some cases where winning violently will give 0 XP, which I'm investigating now, so players will level up in stats from all encounters won regardless of method.
8) Also, There is a stat called Mindful that will affect the ease/difficulty of the interact QTEs.
I'm really sorry if it sounds like a lot of things are still in progress. I learned a lot from seeing people play the game and have taken notes as to how to improve it. I really really appreciate your feedback and your kind comments. I would have loved to include a bit more of the story in this demo, but I think it will be worth it to have the entire story in one instalment. I will work hard to improve on the mechanics for a great experience as well!
@potatopoofer The sprites are 102 x 220. I don't use any specific plugins for the sprites, but I use Quasi Movement to set up collisions.
Changes in this update are:
1- Made interact and guard QTEs have more contrast.
2- Interact and Guard prompts now allow for a bit of reaction time before the QTE starts
3- Corrected a few spelling errors
4- Corrected location of QTE result notification (now on top right corner)
5- Corrected coding related to combo checking
6- Added WASD support through the Keyboard Configuration Options in the “Config”menu
7- Fixed behaviour of Enraged Slugger skill.
8- Skills in the same Learn Curve all have the same color now.
9- Cat names input uses keyboard input.
10- Added little tips at the beginning of couple first battles.
11- Experience is now gained from encounters, not enemies.
That will be it for updates on the demo. Thank you everyone for your valuable feedback!
I will still record all feedback received on the game, but all changes will now be included in the full game.
Hello everyone! I haven't updated this thread in a while. I have been busy these couple few weeks with demo upgrades and with working on battle animations. Here's a few!
Chant Unite animation:
Chant animation closeup:
Starsio spinning animations that will be used in Unites:
I dearly appreciate all the feedback I have received on the demo. Many of the observations noted by players are already incorporated in the latest demo update. If you haven’t already, please consider giving the demo a try and let me know what you think! Feedback is invaluable to ensure Black Crystals is the best it can be!
Hello everyone! Today I thought of showing something other than battle animations (which are not done yet btw D: )
I showed Starsio’s performance costume in a bit of a scene a while ago. We get to control him in this costume for a short bit in the game. I really like this costume and would love it to become an alt costume for Starsio, but this will have to wait till long after the game is done as the amount of work required is… better not to be thought about right now!!