Mikkoku is a game that I've been working on from 2003 till now, using the tool RPG Maker 2003. Mikkoku is modelled after the classic J-RPG games of the SNES-PS1 era and tries to combine their best elements to deliver the ultimate retro RPG experience. I am not ashamed to admit that the game relies on RTP graphics and resources from websites such as charas-project, since that also adds to its retro vibe. The scope of the project is immense. The entire game is divided in 32 chapters, for a total of at least 60+ hours of gameplay. At the time of writing this, the first 31 chapters are done (save for bugfixes and finishing touches of course). After fourteen years of hard work, the game is finally nearing its completion game, so it's probably time for me to start talking about it and raise some awareness . Screenshots Setting & Story The game takes place in a medieval / high fantasy setting with some steampunk elements here and there. The world is divided into several continents with city-states, kingdoms, republics and empires. The world and everything in it is made up of the elements (not the scientific ones, mind you). In my setting, there's not just 4 of them (fire, water, earth and wind) but not less than 15: fire, ice, energy, water, earth, air, nature, ghost, light, dark, ore, slime, time, space and dragon. The essence of each of these is kept by a coin and it through studying these coins that mankind came to learn magic. Of course, these so-called elemental coins are also at the basis of the conflict that the game revolves around. Spoiler: Read the prologue here The Elemental Coins A long time ago, fifteen magical coins were crafted by the gods and then given to the world of man. Each of these coins possessed a single element; there was a Fire Coin, a Water Coin, a Light Coin, a Dark Coin, and so on. Through these coins, the gods basically granted mankind the ability to learn and use magic. For centuries, the coins remained safe in the hands of their appointed guardians. However, upon learning of their tremendous power, the emperor of the powerful Cerpian Empire set out to collect them all. He eventually succeeded and stored them at the heart of the Cerpian Empire, the imperial palace. Thousands of people flocked to the Cerpian Palace to study the coins. This marked the birth of the world's first magicians. Rise of the Empire There was a group of mages who managed to understand the power of the coins better than anyone else. They called themselves TEC: The Elemental Clan. The emperor acknowledged their strength and they were incorporated into the Cerpian Empire. TEC also constructed a Magic Academy where they would institutionally teach magic to students. Through the use of their new TEC Soldiers, the Cerpian Empire expanded rapidly and became the largest empire the world had ever seen. Many smaller kingdoms were destroyed as the Cerpian Empire gained many new territories, such as the arctic Snowdust and the volcanic Firebrand zones and the domains of the elves and the night elves. The Great Cerpian War For many years, the Cerpian Empire managed to maintain a firm grip on most of the then known world. Naturally, not everyone was content with this situation. Out of jealousy, resentment and worry, several neighbouring kingdoms secretly forged a conspiracy. It wasn't long before this this coalition, lead by the Kingdom of Grubmil, openly declared war on the Cerpian Empire. This marked the beginning of the greatest war in human history - the Great Cerpian War. Even the TEC Soldiers with their powerful magic could not win against so many soldiers, and after ten years of destructive warfare, the Cerpian Empire was defeated at last. The victors reclaimed the lands that the Cerpian Empire had taken from them, disbanded TEC and killed the emperor. However, when they arrived at the Cerpian Palace, to everyone's surprise, the coins were already no longer there. Some of them, such as the Light Coin and the Ice Coin, turned up shortly afterwards, and were quickly claimed by the ones who found them. The Aftermath The Cerpian Empire was now history for good. The power vacuum it left was quickly filled by the champions of the Great Cerpian War; the Kingdom of Grubmil, the Queendom of Lendarra, the Eagle Kingdom, the Kingdom of Woei and the Kingdom of Ikrihil. It was Grubmil that gained most from the disintegration of the Cerpian Empire. Immediately after the war ended, Grubmil conquered Snowdust, an area that had just been freed from Cerpian oppression. However, through fierce resistance, the proud Snowdustians eventually managed to break free from Grubmillian control as well. The king of Grubmil also claimed possession over the barren lands of Firebrand, but because of this quickly got into conflict with Woei, the kingdom that borders Firebrand to the south. After a short and indecisive war, both parties agreed to share ownership over Firebrand. Despite these minor wars, for the most part, the world was relatively stable during the century that followed. A New Threat But now, this situation suddenly changed when a new king bestowed the throne of Grubmil. The powerhungry king Elmer attacked Lendarra in order to steal the Energy Coin that had been kept there at the Xing Temple for the past hundred years. Meanwhile, others have started to search for them as well, and not all with the best of intentions. And so, the coins that have caused so much grief and suffering in the past, were once again at the centre of attention. Could history truly be repeating itself? Our story begins when a young man from the small forest community of Pikao, stumbles upon the Time Coin, another coin that has been sleeping undisturbed for the past hundred years. Little did he know that finding this coin was going to change his life forever... Characters Mikkoku features a very large cast. It utilizes a similar system similar to the Suikoden games in which you acquire your own castle fairly early in the game and you get to recruit characters to strengthen your band of heroes. 2/3 of them will join you story-wise, while the others can be recruited through optional sidequests and the like. There's over 50 characters who you can put in your party, and over 30 recruitable characters who will help you out in other ways. One of the things that I'm most proud of is the game's elaborate job system. While there are some characters who have the same job (there are two wizards, for instance), the majority of characters in the game each has his or her own job. In contrast to most games with a huge ensemble cast where most characters have somewhat the same gameplay (Suikoden comes to mind), almost every character is unique in Mikkoku. I've tried very hard to get all of the "canon" jobs that appear in the earlier Final Fantasy games and add a few more. Samurai, Thief, Monk, Gambler, Geomancer, Dragoon, Dancer, etc. - they're all present. Mind you, RPG Maker 2003 is not very flexible to work with so it required a lot of creative thinking and out of the box solutions to get this done. I'll finish this post by adding some biographies of a few of the playable characters in the game. Spoiler: Mark (18) - Black Mage Mark is a somewhat vague, unusual person. Nevertheless, it is he who acts as the real main character of the game. Mark is highly intelligent, but doesn't show this trait very often. Him being a semi-silent protagonist, you, the player has the option to choose most of his dialogue. In general, however, Mark doesn't talk a whole lot. Luckily he's always in the company of friends who can do the talking instead - or scold him, whenever he says something stupid or inappropriate. Mark's parents died when he was still very young, which resulted in him being raised by a gentle dwarf in the quiet, isolated island village of Pikao. The boy enjoyed a carefree youth, often playing in the forest with his best friend Tom and other buddies. One day, an amazing discovery takes place. The young boy Mark turns out to be naturally able to use fire magic, without any prior education or training at all. This prompts the village elder of Pikao to entrust Mark with a great and noble task, which is to protect the treasure that's been sleeping in the forest for so long... the Time Coin. Spoiler: Tom (19) - Knight Tom is Mark's best friend. He has a gentle nature and is generally very helpful and friendly towards anyone he comes across. On the other hand, he has a tendency to worry quite fast. Since Tom spent most of his time in a forest, he has grown towards nature, adoring both animals and plants. He also loves traveling and coming into contact with different cultures and traditions. Like Mark, Tom has been living in the small village of Pikao for his entire life, together with his parents and younger brother. His brother, however, already left the village a few years before the start of the game. Upon elder Bob's wishes, Tom is the first to join Mark's fellowship to gather and protect the coins. After receiving the Time Coin, the two leave the village and have many adventures together. Loyal and protective by nature, Tom is always there to watch Mark's back. He also develops close bonds with many others in the group, such as Arne, Lianne, Richard and Ralph. Although Tom initially walks in the shadows of Mark, eventually he will take fate in his own hands. Spoiler: Richard (19) - Summoner Not much is known about Richard's past. Even less is known about his intentions. But what is known is that he is highly interested in the coins. For instance, when it was announced that there would be a conference at the House of Heiwa, regarding the war between Grubmil and Lendarra and the fate of the stolen Energy Coin, Richard got there as fast as he could. Not only because he wanted to know what was going to happen to the Energy Coin, but also because he hoped he could learn more about the whereabouts of the other fourteen coins if he talked to the right people there. Richard claims he is after the coins because he needs their power to increase the strength of his summoning magic. But is that truly the only reason? However, behind this passionate coin-seeking individual, lies a warm person and a good friend. Once the heroes manage to convince him that they'll be more successful if they combine their strengths instead of looking for the coins separately, Richard will turn out to be one of the most reliable and dedicated allies they have. Spoiler: Delium (78) - Professor Delium is a wise professor working at the court of King Yarno IV of Eagle, as he had served Yarno's father and even Yarno's grandfather before. The professor has been studying the use and the history of the fifteen elemental coins for his entire life. He is also one of the few persons who knows about most of their current whereabouts. Of course, Delium would never allow this information to fall into the wrong hands since he knows like no other what the coins are capable of. However, if you manage to save the Eagle Kingdom from a serious threat, Delium will join and share his knowledge with you. Throughout the course of the game, Delium will often provide you with invaluable advice and insight. In general, this old man is very serious about everything he does and he hates wasting time. It's a widespread fact in the Eagle Kingdom that the professor has actually forgotten how to enjoy himself. In fact, the only times when he actually smiles (let alone laughing!) is when he has discovered something new about the elemental coins. Because of this somewhat cold-hearted appearance, he does not get close with people easily. But he doesn't feel he has to - as long as he can continue his research, he is more than content. Spoiler: Cake (28) - Gambler This lady is the chancellor and most trusted advisor to Queen Elise Foldena - better known by her nickname Queen Pie - of the Queendom of Lendarra. Queen Pie never takes any decisions without consulting Cake. Cake is also a very adept diplomat who does her best to keep the somewhat difficult relationship with the rival Kingdom of Grubmil as friendly as possible. Being involved with practically everything related to the queendom, Cake is one of the biggest players in the political stage. She is also quite close with Commander Zeno of the Lendarran army, whom she secretly has a crush on. However, there's also a completely different side to Cake. Having grown up near the Mini-game Casino of Plaza Del Dinero, the great metropolis of the Free Delta Republic, Cake fell in love with gambling. She is especially fond of card games, but also enjoys trying her luck with lotteries, slot machines, and so on. After Mark and his friends had joined forces with Lendarra during the war against Grubmil, Queen Pie requested that Cake joined the group on heroes in order to assist them. Of course, she complied. While she's with Mark and the others, Cake acts both as Queen Pie's spokesman as well as Lendarra's formal representative. Yet, as much as she enjoys serving Queen Pie, she hopes that one day she'll return to Plaza Del Dinero and live an easy-going life with lots of fun and gambling. Spoiler: Tristan (26) - Engineer The son of the renowned engineer Theo, Tristan wants nothing more than to walk in his father's footsteps. However, this is not an easy task, as Theo was truly a genius - being the only man since the fall of the highly advanced Tunaquan civilization to fully understand complex scientific mechanisms such as combustion, steam engines, and even basic robotics. Sadly, Theo's dream to initiate a worldwide technological breakthrough was never realized as he was killed in an explosion when one of his experiments went horribly wrong six years ago. Overcome with grief, Tristan's mother and sister decided to leave their home in Alekrypol and move to the nearby port town of Theon. Young Tristan, however, stayed behind in Alekrypol where he continued his father's research with success and also succeeded him as the mayor of the city. Through his mother, he is also related to the high priest of the Indevs Church. Because of his superior intellect and knowledge of physics, chemistry and machinery, Tristan is a very valuable ally. Unfortunately, being both a highly intelligent scientist as well as an influential ruler made Tristan quite arrogant as he tends to look down on people easily. For instance, he has ordered the construction of high walls in his city to separate the wealthy middle class from the poorer population. However, according to his sister, his arrogance is really just a cover for hiding his fear of not living up to his late father's expectations. After all, as said before - walking in the footsteps of a genius is far from easy. Spoiler: Andrew (29) - Lancer "Chief" Andrew is the well-respected, albeit hot-headed, president of the Snowdust Republic. His honorary title "Chief" originates from the time when Snowdust was still organized as a tribal society. Currently, however, Snowdust has a very sophisticated political system - the republic. Every time a chief dies, all Snowdustians of the age of sixteen or higher are summoned to vote on the matter of who will become the new chief. After the previous chief died during the brutal Flamizard invasion of the Frozen Castle, the need for a new strong leader was imminent. Immediately after the remaining Snowdustians regrouped, formal elections were held. Because of his heroic endeavors during the Flamizard invasion, Andrew won the elections with a landslide victory. Andrew, who strongly opposes the idea of a single ruler, decided to share his leadership with five of his best friends who fought alongside him during the Flamizard invasion, each who has a distinctive fighting style; Donny the Knight, Eleanor the Healer, Vincent the Wizard, Ignat the Monk and Neal the Ninja. As the new leaders of Snowdust, it was up to Andrew and his squad to lead his country's defense against the vicious flamizards who had started to attack the Snowdustians on a regular base now. However, despite their best efforts, they were not able to prevent the flamizards from destroying the Frozen Castle and using their magic to turn the Snowdustians into snowmen. Andrew's primary rival during the elections was Nero, a man who prefers to call himself "The Dark Knight". Although a very powerful warrior, Nero was greatly disliked for his crude and uncompromising personality, while Andrew was greatly admired for his courage and honesty. After discovering a dangerous conspiracy against him, Andrew had no choice but to ban Nero and his followers from Snowdust. Ever since then, Andrew and his friends have given their uttermost dedication to lead what's left of Snowdust and to keep the Ice Coin safe, hoping that they will one day have their revenge against the flamizards. Apart from his hatred of flamizards, Andrew has also developed a really strong feeling of resentment against Grubmil for their refusal to help Snowdust against the flamizards. This was very apparent during the Heiwa Conference, when Andrew was quick to choose Lendarra's side and vividly oppose King Elmer of Grubmil. Spoiler: Kaijin (25) - Paladin Truth to be told, no one in the entire roster of characters is as pure as this girl is. Kaijin wants nothing more than for all (demi-)humans, animals and plants to live a peaceful and safe life, and will go to any length to ensure this. When she was very young, she already knew that this was the path she wanted to walk. According to her, it was revealed by divine powers in a dream when she was only nine. So at her eighteenth birthday, she left for the Paladyne Magic Academy and started to study swordmanship and light magic there under the famous High Paladin Raijin. After successfully completing her elementary training, she was let into the Orders of the Paladins, the military arm of the church. The paladins answer directly to High Priest Perry and their primary objective is to vanquish demons and other evildoers who pose a threat to the world. Once a paladin has completed his or her training, he or she will get the honorary '-jin' or '-ijin' suffix bestowed upon their name to distinguish them as a paladin. Accordingly, Kassandra Stavros (as is her real name) was known as "Kaijin" from that moment on. It wasn't long until High Priest Perry acknowledged her fine spirit and great bravery. When High Priest Raijin mysteriously fell during a reconnaissance mission to the Nameless Swamps, Kaijin was chosen to succeed him as the new High Paladin. As a High Paladin, she has been the high priest's right hand for more than two years already and she hopes to retain this sacred position for the rest of her life. Spoiler: Arne (18) - Samurai Arne is a young man from the town of Jih-viuh, in the western part of the Kingdom of Grubmil, where he had lived an easygoing life with his parents and younger sister, although the word 'easygoing' may not be very fitting when we're talking about Arne. As a young boy, Arne had many friends, but for each of them, he had at least two enemies, because of his really bad temper. A few years before the events of Mikkoku, when Arne had just turned fifteen, a young girl and her family moved to Jih-viuh. Her name was Lianne. Ever since he saw her, Arne harbored deep feelings for her. Within a few weeks, he managed to win the girl's heart. And he promised that he would never let anyone hurt her. The two loved each other so much, that after a couple of weeks, they went to the Indevs Church to exchange wedding vows. The first stop on their honeymoon would be the nearby country Ikrihil, but then, something went horribly wrong... Because of his aggressive and impulsive nature, Arne tends to get himself and the people around him in trouble easily, but through his amazing courage and determination, always manages to come out of any dire situation. Thanks to his loyalty and reliability, he soon becomes one of Mark's and Tom's most trusted adversaries and he also often assumes a leading role whenever a brave, strong-minded leader is required. Spoiler: Lianne (19) - Dancer Lianne is originally from Elour, a town in the eastern half of Grubmil. She was still fairly young when her parents decided to move to Jih-viuh in the west. Here, she met a young trouble-maker called Arne. It was love at first sight, and a true case of 'opposites attract'. While Arne is very dominant and upbeat, Lianne is very passive and calm. You could say she's had a good influence on him, because ever since they became a couple, the easily flammable Arne has become slightly less hot-headed. On the other hand, with Arne around, Lianne has felt more secure than ever. After having a stable relationship for three years, Arne proposed to Lianne and she accepted. The two immediately packed their stuff and went to High Priest Perry of the Indevs Church to get married. But before returning to their home in Jih-viuh, they first wanted to make a long journey that would take them to all edges of the world. Their first stop: the Kingdom of Ikrihil. Unfortunately, upon arriving there, their honeymoon would meet an abrupt end when Lianne was kidnapped by the savage werewolf Tiny and it was up to Arne, aided by his new friends Mark, Tom and Jun-Jie, to save her... Spoiler: Jun-Jie (21) - Hunter Jun-Jie, the infamous werewolf hunter from a village faaaar away known as Wu. At his birth it was already clear that he was "the chosen one" to follow in the footsteps of his aunt, who was a great werewolf hunter when she was young. She succeeded in wiping out all threatening werewolves, except for one - the evil Tiny from Kyouchou. Jun-Jie's life is devoted to tracking down and killing Tiny. This proves to be quite a difficult task, because Tiny's army consists of zombies while ironically, Jun-Jie is zombophobic. Still, it is safe to assume that without Jun-Jie's help, our heroes would not even stand a chance against the vile Tiny. Jun-Jie has a somewhat strange, unorthodox personality and there are only few (such as Tom, Mark, Arne and Lianne) who dare to befriend him. Because of his apparent inability to take things serious and his liking to "borrowing without returning", many people tend to find him annoying. On the other hand, he has a very strong bond with his siblings; his brother Jun-Da and his sister Si-Ying. He's also quite popular in his hometown of Wu. If you manage to look past Jun-Jie's crazy personality, you'll see someone with a heart of gold. Spoiler: Max (24) - Healer Dr. Maximillian was a loved and well respected doctor working in the big city of Gaknuxu. In fact, his superior knowledge of medicine and white magic have gained him a reputation as the world's best doctor. Unfortunately, his shyness and introversion made living in a crowded city like Gaknuxu very difficult for him. Even though he really enjoyed helping people, he felt very uneasy among so many strangers he didn't know. Eventually he was forced him to retreat to a little cottage on the beach. Here, he rarely receives people, except for a couple of close friends. Despite his lack of social skills, Max has a very gentle and calm personality. He is not one to get upset easily and gets along well with most people in the group. The heroes will come to rely on Max when a young girl's life is in danger. After this, he sticks with the group, seemingly slightly against his own will. Or does he secretly enjoy being in the company of his new friends? Since Max is not very talkative, especially not about the way he feels, I guess we'll never know what really goes on inside of him. Spoiler: Astrid (17) - Stalker A young girl from the desert kingdom of Woei, Astrid is very brave and ingenious, but at the same time... she tends to be a little annoying at times. She's not necessarily unfriendly (quite the contrary), she just tries too hard to make new friends, even to the point of stalking them. Of course, this never works as she plans it to. In fact, because of her habit to be rather clingy and obsessive about people she likes, she unwillingly turns a lot of people off. As a result she never really had a lot of friends after all. Her extremely talkative nature is a sharp contrast with the shy, quiet Max, so as you would expect, these two personalities don't mix very well. When her hometown was invaded by zombies, Astrid was one of the lucky ones to actually survive the attack. When she tried to flee Woei through te Urcan Pass, a couple of zombies caught up with her and trapped her. At that moment Arne and Lianne came in and saved her from the zombies. Feeling she is indebted to him, she has never left sight of Arne and his companions (especially Tom and Richard) ever since, following them anywhere - much to their annoyance. Eventually her journeys led her to the city of Paladyne, home of the great Paladyne Magic Academy, where she managed to befriend the highly skilled mage Hans. Spoiler: Jordan (17) - Rogue Jordan is a young, cheerful boy from the small town of Pelargir in the Queendom of Lendarra. During the prologue of the game (Chapters 1 till 3) Jordan occupies the role of main character. In a sense Jordan is your typical RPG hero: he is courageous, energetic, honest and always willing to help others in need. He never ever seems to be in a bad mood; even when something really bad happens he always tries to find something positive in the situation. This optimistic attitude is a major inspiration for the people around him, which makes him a surprisingly good leader. Unlike many other RPG heroes, Jordan has pretty much enjoyed a carefree life with both of his parents alive to take good care of him and a dog to be his companion. A significant aspect of his youth is his close friendship with Leen, the girl next door. Truly, these two have been inseparable ever since they could walk. Jordan knows for sure that this is the girl he wants to marry when he's a little bit older. Jordan is also very passionate about defending his country; as soon as he reached the minimum age for joining the army (17) he signed up. Little did he know that this action would set him on the course of his greatest adventure yet to come. I think that should be enough to give you all a proper impression. If you have any questions, feel free to ask .