Ghost Toast

Discussion in 'Games In Development' started by gruberik, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. gruberik

    gruberik Vein of Stars Veteran

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    ghost.gif
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    DEMO LINK (FULL): https://www.dropbox.com/s/f1y500afztoz6mk/Ghost%20Toast%20%28full%29.exe?dl=0

    DEMO LINK (RTP): *SOON*

     
    SYNOPSIS: This game is set in a modern world but, through a series of events, you find yourself unwittingly traveling to other worlds (fantasy, sci-fi, etc.). This game focuses heavily on using attacks and skills in the standard action-rpg tradition (think Zelda: A Link to the Past). The action system is made possible with Khas' Sapphire Action System which allows you to physically swing whatever item you have equipped and lets you shoot projectile-type magic skills. Additionally, a main feature of the game is the ability to become a "soul" and transplant yourself into different "bodies" you come across in your travels. For example, a if you complete certain quests, or cause certain variables to occur, you may unlock different bodies that will then be stored in a central location. At this body-harvest location, you can freely determine which body to take depending on which one you think will help you advance in the game. This game is very story based. It progresses in a very linear fashion at first but quickly opens up to a sandbox-style setting where you are free to explore and determine which quests you want to take. There is a strong story that leads you forward on a main quest but the large number of side quests will be given an almost equal focus. There is a fair mixture of action-fighting areas and laid-back adventure quests in local pubs and novelty shops. Finally, this game places a heavy-handed focus upon the acquisition and bartering of various key items. There are many items for sale in stores, rewards for quests, and found items in the wilderness that are critical for unlocking and completing a multitude of side quests that are designed to enhance the player's experience and provide variety to the game. For example, novelty shops are given a bigger spotlight than weapons and armor shops. These novelty shops contain many odd and unexplainable items that don't seem to have a use until you interact with the correct person or initiate the correct event that hints the importance of said item. In conclusion, the balanced mixture of an action fighting system, body-harvesting / soul-implanting feature, and item collection focus encompasses the major elements of Ghost Toast.
     
    CHARACTERS:
    -Dr. Toast. A genetic engineer who works for a seemingly evil research laboratory. He has his reservations about the type of work he is in but doesn't act on them since he doesn't want to lose his job.
     
    -Necroclay: The gate-keeper of the Underworld. He determines your eternal punishment.
     
    -Numros, God of Night: Once powerful, this being has been trapped in the Underworld. He longs to escape and return to his past glory.
     
    -Bonethought: Emissary of Necroclay. Lives in a cave waiting to devour souls.
     
    -(Body) Strength Monster: This body manifestation is a good choice for a solid bruiser who can fight fairly well.
     
    -(Body) Magic Monster: This body manifestation is a good choice when you need a magical presence that can use projectile skills.
     
    -(Body) Deception Monster: This body manifestation is a good choice if you need to avoid enemies or bypass locks.
     
     
    SETTING:
    Starts in a modern Earth type setting. Eventually, you will be forced into the Underworld and discover other worlds exist in the universe. From a central location, separate of time and space, you will be able to implant yourself into whichever world you choose.
     
     
    SCREENSHOTS:
    1.png
    4.png
    9.png
    10.png

    CREDITS:

    Scripts:

    Sapphire Action System IV (RPG Maker VX Ace) by Khas

    Pop messages by Yami

     

    Graphics:

    Celianna Tilesets by Celianna

    Volcano Tileset: [Copyright]© 2014 ENTERBRAIN, INC; creator: Sherman3D

    Sci-Fi Tileset: [Copyright]© 2014 ENTERBRAIN, INC; creator: Sherman3D

    DLC [Copyright]© 2014 DEGICA, LTD; Enterbrain

    Sprites/Tilesets Credit: Matseb2611 or Matthew Ashworth (either way is fine) Additional credit: Enterbrain

    CharSets: BlackPirate, Archer, Defender: created by Shiro

    Defender Faceset: Scinaya + Archeia

    CharSets: Orcs + Kobolds Credit to FSM Material for Original Kobolds and Orcs

    Dragon/Sheep Faceset: Avery

    Modern Shop TileSets: [Copyright]© 2012 ENTERBRAIN, INC; artist Lunarea.

    Futuristic TileSets: [Copyright]© 2012 ENTERBRAIN, INC; artist Celianna.

    CharSets: Kazzador's Fantasy Sprites

     

     

    Audio:

    Neverday by Quin Mithilden

    Sospiro by Quin Mithilden

    [Copyright]© 2014 DEGICA Co., LTD; Musician: Quigon

    Music Effects by Ms Littlefish

    Music Pack [Copyright]© 2012 Kain Vinosec
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2015
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  2. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I went to download, and got the error message that the file had been moved or deleted.
     
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  3. gruberik

    gruberik Vein of Stars Veteran

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    Sorry about that. Should be working now...
     
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  4. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Okay, I've actually spent quite some time with this, although I am not very far into the game.  The reason for the apparent discrepancy is that I ended up, in effect, beta testing this, not playing it.  And beta testing takes a lot longer.

    The following were my notes taken as I went along.  This means that they are somewhat impressionistic, but it gives a feel for what one player's reactions were to the game.

    I like the title screen, and it immediately gives the player the message that you are taking care of the visual aspect of the game.

    The title music is quite effective at establishing an atmosphere (now to see if that atmosphere is sustained during the game itself.)

    Opening map

    The test subject only says ‘Help me’ if you interact from the left.  I would have expected that to be from both sides and the bottom, because you don’t want your player to miss that.  Nice chilling remark from the other guy.

    Transfer event seems to be set to ‘Action Button.’  I think – especially for stairs – it is probably better if done with player touch so that the transfer is smooth and seamless.  If for some reason the player goes back to this room, that guy is blocking the way, and I can’t interact with him as I’m standing on the transfer event back down again.  Two things from this – it might be an idea to have that guy start one tile up or more, and secondly, most people prefer it when the transfer event takes them one tile beyond the event transferring them back again.

    Why is Zunda wandering around a totally empty room?  It looks like it might be some sort of staff recreation room, or a waiting room, in which case perhaps some magazines or something to make it look like the room is used.  People just don’t leave common spaces so pristine.

    Outside

    I waited and yes, the cat does get run over, but carries on anyway!  The car stops just a fraction too late.  I can walk up the grill in the wall to the left of the building I emerged from.  Why does the man on the bench not speak to me?

    I walked out into the road and a car halted touching me.  Now we’re glued together like long lost friends.  If I walk along the car moves, if I stop it stops.  It’s only when I move away vertically that I release it from captivity.  You put items on the sidewalk to prevent the player going to the edge of the map, so I just walk out into the road and skirt round the block and back on to the sidewalk.  I don’t really see what you can do about that, because the player will always be able to reach the edges of this map just by walking along the road if necessary.

    Next map

    House at the bottom, opposite the guy who says leave me alone.  If I interact with the door from below I get the knocking sound and the text.  However, if I stand in front of either window and face towards the door, there is an invisible block, I can interact with the door, and the door flies open.  I guess you’ve put the event on the ground.  I suggest you put it on the door itself, and if you don’t want it to open, remove the commands which open it.  If I continue along there, walking right next to the wall, on the tile before the purple door(?) I meet another block.  The same coming the other way. There is something about that purple whatever which prevents movement.

    On the higher bit of roadway, why is the beggar facing the wall?  Wouldn’t he be facing the road to see passers-by?  The door to the begger’s right has the same issue as the earlier door, but this time there’s no text.  Just a rattling door which opens if I’m standing to one side and facing it.  The same with the next door as well.

    I’m slightly disappointed that I can’t interact with any of the objects I’ve seen so far in 3 maps.  As a player I have now been ‘taught’ that there is no point looking for items or information on cupboards, tables, or anything else.  Is that your intention?

    Map to the right

    I can walk under the bonnet of the blue car and reach the other side.  I can activate the car alarm in the same way as I can activate doors, i.e. I don’t have to be facing up, I can do it from the side.

    Next day

    Why is the guy who belches still there when no one else is?

    Why does Demarcus say “Long time no see?” when we spoke only the evening before?

    When he asks if I know how to shut down and I say yes, why doesn’t the fryer activate?  If it’s not a genuine choice and question, then you shouldn’t ask the player.  Because I was replaying this bit (for reasons given below) I knew what to do.  It was fine the first time round, I didn’t know what to do, but you should allow for replays and not force the player to ask questions unnecessarily.

    The reason I was replaying was to find out what would happen if I said ‘Yes’ to the question.  Okay, now I know, I shall pick up from my save file and continue.

    There is a bit of a glitch at the end of the corridor that the hooded character is taking me along.  When we get to the end there is something of a ‘stutter’ in the cut scene and I have to manually move it on with the action bar.

    The black ball at the bottom of the screen (after Necroclay has gone) doesn’t give any text.  There are patches in the center of each of the edges of the map where movement is distinctly slower, as if I'm walking through thin treacle.

    I thought for some time that I had a game breaking block on the map after I got my new body. until I finally remembered about punching my way through.  When I want to walk into the town on Region of Jack, I actually walk over it and past it and cannot get in until I hit the action bar.  This is one place which definitely should be ‘Beneath characters’ and ‘Player Touch’.  That is how all the ‘quick set’ transfer events are by default, so I assume that you are doing these manually.

    There are so many passability issues; so many tiles seem slightly misplaced, with blocks to the side of things, or extending down far further than I would have anticipated.  It does make navigating and interacting both tricky and tedious.  E.g. the barman in the pub Vagrant’s Rest.  I can’t stand in front of him, I have to interact from one tile to his left (and then all I get is another belch.)  The inn door and pub door are neither directly in front of me, I must be slightly to one side or another.

    Your transfer events on stairs have got ‘Retain’ for direction (I’m guessing here, but I’m pretty sure I’m right) which means that when I go upstairs in the pub I’m facing the wrong way when I get there, and the same when I come back down.  You need to set these so that the player is facing the correct way, not leave it to the default.

    In the shop I can walk all over the counter on the left side.  My guess is that the items on the counter have been left with a O passability, which overrides that of the counter.  Once I’m on the other side, I can walk on the book case too.  Ditto along the shelves and the other counter.  And the armor and weapon signs by the doors.  It looks like you have not set the passabilities on any of the objects on that tile sheet.  In Swiftcharm’s shop the table does not act as a counter, I have to go behind it and interact with the shopkeeper directly.  Somewhat pointless as I have no money, and I don't think I've missed any chests or anything.  But maybe I have.

    I’ve now been through the town thoroughly, and cannot interact with any object again.  I do find this disappointing, and I think many players will feel the same.

    I walk all over the big tree and it doesn’t do anything until I hit the action bar at exactly the right moment to enter it.  Try the tent, the same thing.  Oh, but alleluia brothers – a chest, the first of the game (unless I’ve missed something).  And I think I may have picked up my first side quest, but I’m not sure about that, and don’t seem to have any way to check or be reminded if I have to stop for a day or so.  Jack Harbour doesn’t seem to be offering anything, so it looks like it’s the big tree or nothing.

    That was the quickest, cheapest death I’ve had inflicted on me in a long time.  No preparation, no battle tutorial, no warning, no nothing, just death and I didn’t have a save file for some time.  Not amusing, not challenging, just irritating.  All NPCs up until now have been friendly.  How exactly is the player to know that these are different?  There have been no directions at all so far except go and get the Stone.  At least I know not to bother going round the town again, so I save many minutes of useless exploration and minimise the wasted time.  And as the first reindeer is before you get to that notice warning you not to feed the wild reindeer, no that doesn’t count as a helpful direction.  I bet you most players will interact with that reindeer before they get to the sign.

    I skip round to the bucket, avoiding the reindeer, get the 10 coins, but I’m trapped in the narrow path by a reindeer which has chased me.  I hit A to punch, but nothing happens, so I die again.  So I stop.  I wonder if many players would have gone to investigate that bucket.  As I mentioned above, you have trained the player not to expect to find anything inside objects and furniture.

    Overall assessment

    There is a definite suggestion of an interesting and slightly unusual story.  I would have like a bit more interior monologue at the very beginning so that I have some slight understanding of Dr (whatever his name is - see? He made so little impression that I've forgotten his name because I think I only heard it once.  Dr Ghost was it?).  I think there could have been a bit more interaction between him and the serpent thing, not just the list of questions.

    Mapping layout is okay; in a couple of places I think you could have done a bit more.  Passability issues are literally too numerous to mention.  Placement of events needs re-thinking in some instances.  I would strongly urge you to make most, if not all, of your transfer events 'beneath characters' and 'player touch'.  These, plus the passability problems do make navigating around awkward and time consuming.

    I think you need to think about how to introduce the player to battle.  I couldn't see how to fight the reindeer.  It starts hitting and doesn't stop until I'm dead.  I was hitting A because I couldn't think of anything else to do, but I did not seem to be causing even slight inconvenience to the reindeer.  I would be surprised if many players would be happy about being trapped and automatically killed in this way.  If you are thinking - but it's obvious what you should do! my response would be that the player cannot know the game as well as you do, and so far the player has been given only one bit of information which is hit A to punch - again unless I've missed something, but basic tutorial material should not be easy to miss.

    EDIT

    Forgot to say explicitly - I don't think you did enough beta testing before making the demo public.  At lot of those issues - like the passability ones, the weird doors and so one, should have been picked up earlier.  I strongly recommend you to get into the habit of beta testing everything several times, and even then you will be guaranteed to miss something, so have a friend beta test it as well.  Players always do things differently from what we as developers do when we play our own games, and you need to know the consequences of someone playing it in another manner.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2015
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  5. gruberik

    gruberik Vein of Stars Veteran

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    Great comments! I definitely can see you've spent some time on the game and I appreciate the feedback. A lot of your concerns are legitimate things that I never thought of or couldn't see because I am too close to the game. I'm not 100% sure about the passability issues and why it's causing a problem but it may have something to do with pixel movement vs. the tile movement. I'll change the transfers to "Player Touch" and see if that helps enough.

    Like I said, lots of good comments and I will address them.

    Thanks for checking it out!
     
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  6. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Oh yes, pixel movement, didn't think of that as a possible explanation.  There is definitely something weird happening.

    I think you're right about being too close to the game.  This, I think, is true for everyone.  If i could make a suggestion?  Once you are better known on the site, got to know a few people, you might think of getting a 'buddy' arrangement with someone.  That is to say, you have someone reasonably experienced and knowledgeable who commits to properly playing through your game in stages as you produce it and giving you feedback, and you do the same for that person.  I have such an arrangement, and it is highly beneficial to both of us.  It also means that you have someone you can bounce the odd idea off of, because they will know the context of what you are thinking of doing.
     
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  7. gruberik

    gruberik Vein of Stars Veteran

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    After much trouble-shooting, I am fully convinced that the passability issue is solely due to the pixel movement. I'm mitigating this problem by adding lots of 'Player Touch' and 'Through' on events that would warrant it. This should fix a lot of the weirdness although pixel movement will not go away due to the need for 8-direction movement for seemless fighting.

    I'll post an updated demo soon after I scrub everything.

    And...here's a new screenshot of the starting building...not looking so sterile. 11.png
     
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  8. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    If it's just 8 direction that you want, then there's no need for pixel movement scripts.  Michael has done a simple script for arrow movement and if you're using Shaz's mouse script, there's a mod for that as well.  I have 8 direction in my games, and never have problems with the passability thing.
     
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  9. UNphiltered_khaos

    UNphiltered_khaos Game Dev. Artist. Veteran

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    Hey man, did you ever post an updated version of this? I am looking forward to giving it a shot, but I would also like to know the issues ksjp had brought up have been smoothed out. Loving the concept and the body changing thing...I am curious, do you have a little sample of it in your demo, and I wonder how you accomplish it in your game. 
     
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