Vis_Mage

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Itchio Page: https://vis-mage.itch.io/mana-star

For the past several years, I've been working on an RPG project that's been heavily inspired by the Golden Sun series. It isn't a fan game, containing a completely new cast/world/assets/etc, but has been very mechanically inspired by the series. After years of work and planning, I’m excited to reveal my project, Mana Star!


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The story follows the young adult Merric, heir to the prestigious role of Archmage of Falter. Having much to learn to fulfill his eventual role as Archmage, Merric has spent the majority of his life in preparation for the title. Things have not been calm in the world, though. Unexplainable, magical phenomenons have been sprouting up all across the globe, putting extensive pressure on the magical leaders of the world to find the cause. However, while out on a research mission, disaster strikes. By the time Merric is able to make it back to this home, there is nothing left of the city. Everything and everyone having been sucked into an unknown magical void.

And so Merric, alongside his cautious and stern guard Tyra, set off on a quest to find out what's behind all the strange magical happenings, and find a way to save their home. Along their adventures, they'll encounter and team up with several others who have befallen a similar fate, coming together to save those they love, and discover the source of the mysterious events that are slowly consuming their world.


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Merric is an apprentice magician, training to eventually take over his father's role as Archmage. While realizing the weight and importance of this position, he can’t help but feel some level of resentment towards it, wanting instead to make a name for himself through his own accomplishments. He’s confident in his magical abilities given his status and noble upbringing, sometimes to a fault. However, he isn't very worldly, and grew up sheltered.

He loves both to see himself improve, and to help others improve as well. Has the passion to be a great leader, and the heart to empathize with the unfortunate, but can be blinded by his pride. Wants to help those in need, and be a leader to something great that he built himself, without his birthright given to him. He wants to prove he is more than his bloodline.

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Tyra was raised by her brother, William, from a very young age after they lost their parents. She sees William almost as an idol, the peak of honor, duty, and compassion. She aspires to one day be an Army Captain like him, and in doing so was assigned as the Royal Guard of Merric Solarus from when she first enlisted at 16. To her, this is both a blessing and a curse.

She’s strong willed, and more stoic than the rest of the group, at least outwardly, but like the others carries a fair bit of baggage of her own.

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Maria has long ago determined she finds the greatest joy in helping others in need, and decided on the path of being a cleric from a young age. She can be a bit childish and short-tempered, but is a very hard and honest worker, and puts the wants and needs of others before her own opinions.

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Nala is the daughter of a Ridge Island Academy instructor, and studies alchemical ingredient trait compounding. Encouraged by her father, she has developed an intense desire to learn all of the different traits and how ingredients interact with each other, and why some ingredient combinations result in unexpected potions. This has led her to be sent out into the world at a young age, something that hasn’t been without struggle.

While very intelligent, she is not very worldly and often oblivious to those around her. Her and Maria have been close friends since they were little, growing up in the same village.

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Mindas is the orphaned daughter of Arkaid Plasmid, right hand man of the Technomancer movement's former leader, Yvonne Pell. Even at a young age, she has proven herself a skilled engineer, and a prodigy in Technomancy. From birth, Mindas was paraplegic, being paralyzed from the waist down. She overcomes her inability to walk with her greatest invention, the Exo-Walker, a highly advanced magitech mech that she uses to get around and fight.

Mindas is an outcast for her race, being a Dreck.

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Raptor is a stoic, yet adventurous Talus warrior. He was exiled from his clan and had his true Tallus name stripped as a result of not only associating too often with outsiders, but ultimately saving the passing-by dreck Mindas from a group of Kodrin bandits. While it may seem a good deed to most, his Tallus clan, like many other clans, forbid intervening in conflicts between other races. Raptor believes he did the right thing and rejected any apology to his clan for appeasement of his actions, and so he became a quiet and protective friend of Mindas.

Raptor’s birth name is not translatable to Common, but as he is a bird of prey, he decides others can call him Raptor, and he appreciates being allowed as part of the group, as he never was well liked in his clan, even before exile.

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Sham: Captain "Nord" Sham is the captain of the crew aboard the S.S. Sham, and is the oldest of the main case, being in his early 40s. After a tragedy that resulted in the destruction of his home city, and the passing of most of those who lived there including his wife, Sham has made it his mission to rebuild the once great city, using the treasures he acquires to fund the rebuild. Most of his cast are actually people who have met similar fates, causing the crew to act as more than just a ship crew, and instead be more of a family. Despite his livelihood as a pirate, he's a big softie, and a bit of a goof.

Captain Sham is a very jovial and kind man, and is the sort to carry the burden of others on his back, wanting only to see everybody happy in return. Deep down, he feels guilty about the fall of Eastport ten years ago, and builds Phemera City to atone for himself. He knows this isn't healthy, but finds a sense of belonging in it. Everybody in his crew is not just a worker, but family.

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Diana is Captain Sham's daughter. Of the two leading the crew, she's the more serious and level-headed of the two, despite her short temper. She doesn't have much patience for incompetence, and likes to tease those that are easy to fluster.

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Isshera lives near the Pearl Reef between Tyria and Holthehaven, being the only child of the ruling family. She's the princess of her undersea colony, and is well aware of the status and privileges it grants her. She can be sassy and stubborn, but is able to back up her words by being very capable of handling things on her own.

Isshera practices her singing each night, dreaming of seeing the world, and becoming a warrior. She is a self-titled warrior princess, with a habit of exaggerating her battle stories against the monsters of the sea. She dreams of traveling the world and becoming a famous warrior and commander. She is capable of magical songs and may truly be fit to lead a unit of soldiers one day.


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Wisps are the most central and defining mechanic and creature that you'll encounter in the project, being implemented in many different mechanics.

Wisps are small, elemental creatures that you'll encounter and collect through exploration. Each wisp has their own personality, and a unique design to reflect this. There are eight wisps for each element to collect, making 72 total.

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On the overworld, wisps provide a variety of overworld skills you can swap between to affect the environment, such as destroying rubble with a fireball or lightning, or shifting from the real world into a mystic plane that might feature a secret path or new enemies.

From the menu, you can equip wisps to each character. Each wisp provides a unique skill to it’s equipped party member, with this skill increasing in power for each wisp of that element that the party has befriended. This allows for additional character customization, and alters the wisps a character can call within battle. Obtaining new wisps is often tied to exploration and optional quests.

In battle, Players and enemies can upon Wisps by using the skills granted by their equipped Wisps, after which they become active and float around the battlefield. If an attack or skill is used that matches the element of a Wisp stack, that stack acts as a damage multiplier, and all Wisps of that element are spent. 1 Wisp is x2, 2 is x4, 3 is x8, and 4 is x16. Additionally, passive abilities can provide bonuses based on the number of Wisps, and some powerful skills might have a Wisp cost to use at all. The player must be careful with stacking too many Wisps for a high multiplier, however, as enemies may also put and use Wisps on the field, they are a shared resource.


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The game has a strong emphasis on exploring the world, with most objects being interactable for flavor text and item discovery. The items will most often be useful as ingredients for potions, or potions themselves for use in battles, as well as equipment and quest items. Some of the more useful items would only be attainable beyond obstacles and puzzles to be removed or solved with Wisp Skills. Wisp Skills are overworld skills you can swap between to affect the environment, such as destroying rubble with a fireball or lightning, or shifting from the real world into a mystic plane that might feature a secret path or new enemies.

Enemy groups roam around hostile areas and can have different roaming behaviors, and have awareness based on lighting in dark areas. Wisp Skills can be used to get their attention or avoid them, and when an enemy group is defeated, they are removed from the overworld. Players may choose to save or heal at a checkpoint, a Mana Crystal, however this will cause all enemies on the overworld reappear.


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Battles take place in a side-view CTB (Charge Turn Battle) system. Instead of choosing the whole party’s actions at the start of the turn, each party member chooses their action and immediately acts in order of their speed. A turn order ribbon is featured to determine who will be acting in the next several turns, and will display how much an action will move a player down the ribbon after they do their selected action.

The player characters can attack, use skills, use items, view basic enemy information, attempt to flee, but the real stars are the Wisps. Both the party and their foes can call upon Wisps. If an attack or skill is used that matches the element of a Wisp stack, that stack acts as a damage multiplier, and all Wisps of that element are spent. Additionally, certain combinations can be used to perform powerful summons! Some passive abilities can even provide bonuses based on the number of Wisps, while some powerful skills might have a Wisp cost to use at all. Be careful with stacking too many Wisps however, as your enemies may wise up to your plan, and use your plan against you!

Weapons and armor both play a larger role in combat than what is usually seen in traditional JRPG combat. Instead of a static Attack command, every weapon has 1-3 weapon arts, skills unique to that weapon that cost no MP to use. Similarly, some other equipment such as shields and talismans can change the standard Guard command into something more specialized for the types of encounters you are currently facing.


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In Calnern, there are several different humanoid races that you'll come across in your journeys, alongside several intelligent monster species. From the mole-like Moleders, to the sleek avian Tallus, you'll find that these different races each carry vastly different lifestyles, morals, beliefs, and more.


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Monsters aren’t just the baddies that dwell in caves and forests, they’re an integral part of the world and how it functions. Many types of monsters are kept as pets or companions, while others are domesticated to help perform tasks. Much of the world’s natural phenomena are dictated by monsters and their own unique abilities. Some are cute and friendly, others are a massive threat to nearby civilizations, and are treated as such. Others yet are even intelligent enough to communicate or barter with humans, and even have their own developed society. With over 400 unique monsters to discover, and a monster-fanatic leading the party, you’re bound to find some favorites, and stumble into many misadventures exploring just what makes this vibrant world of creatures so special.


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You can find the full, updating playlist here.



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As opposed to simply offering an Easy/Medium/Hard difficulty option, players are able to fine-tune a variety of aspects of the game, allowing people to play through the game just how they like it, and allows for built in challenge modes. Some examples of adjustable parameters include buffing enemy stats, preventing the use of certain gameplay mechanics such as wisp calling or item use in battle, preventing healing in battle, raising or lowering gold and item drop rates, disabling level ups, and even a perma-death mode for those wishing to push their skills to the limit!


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We also have a Discord set up for everyone that’s interested in helping out, or just wants to follow along with progress, so that we can all keep in touch easier. You can join us here: https://discord.gg/6sGtkR3


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Fooljastic

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Heyho

A golden sun inspired game? Count me in. Need know no more. (edit: as in watching this)

But apart from that... it looks good so far and even has a mage protag! Even will have a good way to adjust difficulty to ones liking? I am in again.

I say I am interested. Mightily so! I hope it survives, unlike all the other golden sun inspired fan projects I heard off.

The wisps, if you get that to work, sound amazing already.

Have a good day. And good luck to you.
 
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Reinarc

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This looks great! Excited to try out a demo.
 

Kurot

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I really liked the characters and the style and hud of the battle. However, I would like to see more printscreens of the maps. Great job so far, await new updates.
 

IvanForever

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I like what you made so far. I'm a huge Golden Sun fan too :)
 

ShadowDragon

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golden sun is a nice story and great puzzles, I love both version
and got everything for summons, sometimes its a bit hard to find,
so you need to search everywhere, even the hidden island that
is deadly to find the last djinn that took time.

but if you need a bugtester, let me know, it looks promising.
 

Vis_Mage

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Thank you very much for all your kind words everyone! :kaothx:

And pretty awesome to hear how many of you are fans of Golden Sun. Their definitely amongst my favorite games, if that wasn't already apparent, haha.

I've followed a handful of spiritual successor projects, although sadly each of them had ended up disbanding for one reason of another. It's part of the reason why I wanted to wait until I was a bit into development before sharing the project. I've finally reached the point of having a solid base for the project, although a proper demo will still take a while to complete. Even if it takes a long while to complete the game though, I'm in it for the long haul!

I'll be sure to post updates every so often to keep you all in the loop! If there's anything in particular you'd be interested in hearing more about though, just let me know.
 

IvanForever

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Anything that is influenced by Golden Sun is interesting in my book.
I agree. Will want to play anything influenced by it.

I'll be sure to post updates every so often to keep you all in the loop! If there's anything in particular you'd be interested in hearing more about though, just let me know.
When do you think you can release a demo?
 

Vis_Mage

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When do you think you can release a demo?
I'd estimate the first proper demo would be ready within a few months or so, partially due to me being out of town for a good portion of January. It'll still be pretty early on in the game, but should hopefully help introduce a lot of the major characters and mechanics, and help me collect a bit of feedback.
 

IvanForever

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I'd estimate the first proper demo would be ready within a few months or so, partially due to me being out of town for a good portion of January. It'll still be pretty early on in the game, but should hopefully help introduce a lot of the major characters and mechanics, and help me collect a bit of feedback.
Okay, thanks. I look forward to it. Keep me updated and good luck!
 

Vis_Mage

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Hey everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well. After being gone for a good portion of January, progress is moving along again. I'm thinking of making update posts every few weeks, to go over the biggest bits of progress that has been made.

Most notably, the Nature and Earth Wisps have received a lot of love, and now each have their complete set of 8 fully designed! Let me know what you think of how they turned out. :)

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Zakarijah

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Hey everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well. After being gone for a good portion of January, progress is moving along again. I'm thinking of making update posts every few weeks, to go over the biggest bits of progress that has been made.

Most notably, the Nature and Earth Wisps have received a lot of love, and now each have their complete set of 8 fully designed! Let me know what you think of how they turned out. :)

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JUST found your project and LOVE it. I especially love the 'Wisps' (Djinni) because I too have ALWAYS wanted to do something similar.

I love body-shape differences between the earth ones. and while I love the variety in the plant ones, I'd love to see a more than just hair/tail differences, exa; could one be floating on that cotton ball, instead of having it as a head/hair/adornment.

I'm also working on monster designs though rn, so I totally understand how much easier it makes the entire process when they're the same creature with similar modifications. :)
 

Vis_Mage

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Hello, sorry that I've been pretty quiet lately. The past week or so has been very difficult on me. I lost someone very important to me, my childhood puppy, and have been really struggling since. Although it's been incredibly difficult, I'm hoping things will start to return to normal.

Here's a look into a few things that were started before a few weeks ago, but are now being polished up. First off is a few new Wisp variants for the light and dark Wisps. Of note, the first of each element was made with a specific character pairing in mind, the light Wisp was given a more crystalline/mirror-like look for Merric, while the dark Wisp was given an imperial armored knight look for Tyra.

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Additionally, something that I haven't fully decided on yet was visually incorporating the Wisps into the battle scene a bit more, when calling them or unleashing skills tied to them. Not entirely sure if or to what degree this would be done, but it is a work in progress, to keep an eye out for!

Lastly, is the first look at a concept that may or may not be used in some way. Quite a while back, I toyed with the idea of having some Wisps able to "fuse" in some capacity. At the time, the Wisps were using a simpler elemental-orb based design, and so for their Hybrid designs, I was literally just going to have a half-and-half of their two sprites. Now that Wisps have gotten much more fleshed out designs, their potential Hybrid designs would receive a more thought out design as well.

Here's the first look at one of these potential Hybrid Wisp designs, being Earth/Dark, and based off of obsidian. Something interesting to note, is that their colors aren't just picked at random. The primary/secondary colors are the exact middle-point between the colors used on the Earth and Dark Wisps.

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I haven't entirely decided how (or if) Wisp fusions/hybrids will actually be used, but if they were, I would want to implement it as more than just a cosmetic change, with the fusions granting different skills and stat boosts based on the types of Wisp used in the fusion.

I'm hoping for updates to be more frequent going forward, so be sure to keep an eye out. And as always, I'd love to hear any feedback you might have regarding the project so far, or if you have anything you would like to hear more about.

Have a great day!

@Zakarijah
Hey, thank you for the feedback! :)

I'm glad to hear that you like what you've seen so far with the Wisps in particular! The Djinn were always one of my favorite aspects of Golden Sun (and similar collectable element creatures in a few other games, for the matter).

I totally get what you mean about diversifying the appearance of Wisps a bit more, though. I've definitely been focusing on keeping them all easily identifiable as their element of Wisp at a glance (and not mistaken as a new monster altogether), but I'll definitely keep it in mind that some Wisps could use a bit of diversity in poses and body-type.
 
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Vis_Mage

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Hey everyone!

Hope everyone is doing well. Today, I've got a pretty wide range of odds and ends to show and discuss.

First off, I have a few new Wisp designs to share. Namely, four new variants for Ice Wisps!
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Additionally, continuing with the Hybrid-Wisp idea from my previous update, here's a look at a second design for the Water-Light hybrid.
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Next, we have the first draft of the world map! This map isn't final, and additional story-relevant locations will be added over time, as well as ocean mapping.
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And building off the previous point, we also have a new song prepared for one of the newly revealed location on the world map, the dangerous, lightning scorched range of Mt.Magnet!

Finally, to wrap things up, is a first look at a few new character battle sprites. Specifically for Diana, and her father Captain Sham!
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As far as non-visual progress, mapping and Wisp overworld interactivity has been at the forefront of my focus as of late. Hopefully I'll have some new updates regarding both of those in my next post.

Take care everyone!
 

kimo

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Golden Sun? Darn, I'm old and apparently the only person here who hasn't heard of the game. I'd love to see your demo when it's ready. If I like playing the demo, I would like to join @ShadowDragon on the bug squisher list.

Hello, sorry that I've been pretty quiet lately. The past week or so has been very difficult on me. I lost someone very important to me, my childhood puppy, and have been really struggling since. Although it's been incredibly difficult, I'm hoping things will start to return to normal.
Sorry for your loss. I'd like to say it gets easier as you get older ... but it doesn't. I've only had to put 2 pets "to sleep" because of terminal diseases and I held them each as they closed their eyes and slipped away. In fact my eyes have tears thinking about it just now even though it been 3 years since the last one passed.

But, just like an ex-girlfriend you only seem to remember the good stuff about them and how much each of you changed the life of the other. :wub
 

GalacticGod

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A lot of great looking custom assets and a pretty cool premise; any news on a demo?
 

Vis_Mage

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@kimo
Hey, thank you very much for the interest, and for the kind words. It's still difficult, but I'm in a much better place now than a few weeks back. She was a little sweetheart.

@GalacticGod
Thank you! I'm not quite sure about an ETA for the first demo, but progress is getting back into the swing of things after the last month and a half of slowed progress, with a lot of odds and ends being worked on. I'll definitely make an update ahead of time when everything is nearing enough polish for a demo. Sorry for the half-answer, haha.
 

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added a Panic gauge to battle. it fills up according to your actions. each character has a different passive that activates once the gauge is full. also once full, a countdown starts and after each action taken, the gauges decreases. with each character, the decrease is different.
Genuinely considering making a thread informing people how to Google.
It's time for Da Update...

Prototyping some overworld abilities. Some of the characters you'll meet on your journey can use special overworld skills to travel around. This can be something like digging holes in the ground or getting hints towards your next objective.

Even more things I made.
Equipping Abilities is very important.
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