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PASSAGE OF THE HOLLOW MOON
REMASTERED

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Introduction

In 2011, YouTube RPG Maker Creator Kelarly finished his fourth RPG Maker game: Passage of the Hollow Moon. While his previous projects were well made, I felt PHM was where he truly shined. The mapping, the characters, the story; I loved each and every bit of this game.

A few years ago now, I had to urge to play through my collection of old RPG Maker games and found myself replaying this very title. I knew that Kelarly was no longer actively making games, but had allowed another user to create both a sequel as well as a remaster of another game of his: Castle Oblivion.

Here was a game that I knew extremely well. A game that I'd played countless times. A game from a user that had led me to begin working with RPG Maker. I decided to give it a shot, and sent an email asking if Kelarly was open to letting me remaster Passage of the Hollow Moon. A few hours later, I had my answer: Go for it.

Now remastering a game is no easy task, but it did let me start with a completed game as a template. Originally I planned to convert the game to MV, but up-scaling the Mack Tiles simply wasn't working for me. I switched back to ACE (still an upgrade over the original game since it ran on VX) and began hammering away at the project. That was over two years ago.

Finally, after a summer of dealing with everyone's favorite global pandemic, I've got the time to put in the work needed to get this project off the ground.

Here's the plan for now, slightly tweaked after two years of inactivity:​
  • Dialogue: Every piece of dialogue is being reworked and rewritten. The story will stay largely the same, but you can expect more immersive cut scenes, a professionally edited script, and a reworked structure, providing better pacing. Some aspects of the story will also be expanded upon.
  • Mapping: Kelarly excels at this, but a few maps here and there a bit empty. Additional lighting and slight parallax touch ups will help bring the world of PHM to life. ACE's multiple tilesets will certainly help. As well, I'll be trying my hand at some sprite work of my own using Aseprite to touch up the maps. Furthermore, some of the larger emptier maps will be overhauled.
  • Graphics: While PHM:R will still use the original MACK Tileset, parallaxing will be added to create more detailed maps. Character graphics will be retouched. The UI and Icons will be completely new.
  • Combat System: A complete overhaul of the battle system, with a more fast-paced beat. Lower numbers overall, less slogging through mountains of HP, and reworked skills to make sure each party member feels as important as the rest. A new CTB system will be used and a Learn Skill system will provide an upgraded skill tree system for the characters.
  • Soundtrack: An entirely new soundtrack, using open-source or commissioned pieces to replace the original mix.
  • Much More!: A reworked equipment system, expanded character, side quest and story arcs, post-game content, and more.
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Early Work in Progress

Story Background

For hundreds of years, the two City-States of Lazzaria and Zuleika have been at each other's throats, each vying for control of the world's resources. Of particular importance are the three Hidden Powers; magical confluences of energy capable of granting immense powers to those with the will to wield it. Though their origin remains unknown, those with an affinity for magic can feel their presence, echoing and reverberating throughout the planet's interior.

The stalemate between Lazzaria and Zuleika is broken the day Lord Vulcan Jaharas of Lazzaria unearths the first of the Hidden Powers; the Everrock. Wary of the power contained within, Lord Vulcan instead grants a fragment of the power contained within the Everrock to a company of powerful mercenaries under Lazzarian employ; the Oortas. With the Everrock's power, each Oorta now wields a different element.

The Oortas, now possessing the capacity to wield magic, easily tip the war in Lazzaria's favor. The outlying settlements and provinces fall one after another, until only Zuleika proper stands against the Lazzaria. While the ancient, and magically reinforced walls of Zuleika prevent the Oortas and Lazzaria's troops from invading, they are unable to control territory beyond its reach. With Zuleika no longer able to mobilize troops, Vulcan orders the Oortas to find him the second Hidden Power as he consolidates his grip on the planet.

This is where our story begins...

Characters
  • Renee Parvati, Venus of the Oortas: A young woman seeking only to do what's best for her brother, Venus aligns herself with the Oortas to care and provide for him. Her loyalties are tested as her personal beliefs clash with the Oortas goals.
  • Miken Parvati, Bernharst Dragoon: A young man who cares deeply about justice, and defending those who need it most. He has no love for the Oortas, and worries about his sister's fate.
  • Salomon, Shaman of the Eastern Border: An aging shaman from Espen Town, Salomon's past is shrouded in mystery. He seeks to study and understand the Hidden Powers, and discover their origins, as well as their true purpose.
  • Noelle, Zuleikan Resistance: Though their city will not fight, Noelle believes a pacifist approach towards Lazzaria will only lead to ruin. She seeks to take out both the Oortas and Lazzaria. Only then does she believe she will find peace.
  • Lord Vulcan Jahalas, Emperor of Lazzaria: A tyrant, Vulcan rules with an iron fist. He seeks only personal gain, and Lazzaria is simply the best tool he has to enforce his will.

  • And countless more.
How to Help

Due to the nature of the project, screenshots will mostly come later as the story is re-written first. Commissioned pieces will also be made only near the end of the project, once the majority of the game has been remade.

If you would like to contribute to Passage of the Hollow Moon, we are accepting any and all resources. On top of that, if players would like to play the original PHM and provide feedback to us, that would be even better.

Click
the image below to be taken to the rpgmaker.net page for the game.



December 2020
Still Currently Working On...

Bernharst

 
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Canini

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Very cool! I think I speak for all writers/game creators when I say that sometimes we just wish someone could come along and fix all the little niggles in our old projects.
 
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Glad you think so! It's a great opportunity for me as well. I tend to get stuck with writer's block, so a remaster helps me by giving me a complete template to work with.

Definitely a fun thing to do.

Will have more screenshots in the coming weeks!
 
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Indeed it has!
This project's coming out of hiatus! Now that Osagai's being paused for a while I figured I'd resurrect this passion project. After debating switching to MV to use that sweet, sweet Octopack Battler, I ended up sticking to ACE to keep the Mack Tileset.

I'm still recruiting players to play the original and provide gameplay and story feedback if anyone's interested.

Look forward to steady progress every couple of days!
 
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Another year come and gone
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It feels like we're always staring at the same introductory cutscene aren't we? Well that's because the project's still not much further than this. You'd think with all the free time a global pandemic gives I'd have had the time to advance it a bit. Well, I spent a lot of time see-sawing on whether or not to return to RPG Maker MV, but honestly, it just wasn't working. I love the battle plugin I have for MV, but it's not worth losing out on the MACK Tilesets, no matter what my mind says every couple of months.

I've consolidated the scripts, I've written down the notes, and I'm putting in the work again.

No promises on more screenshots weekly, but this project's getting finished!
 

Dalph

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Great job so far! I was a fan of Kelarly's old VX games, not many here will recognize him because he was active on YT and is now pretty much retired.
His games technically weren't that good, but the writing in them was superb and kept me hooked till the very end.
This one was always my favourite and his best work too.

Thrilled to see what you'll come up with in this new version, I remember the intro and I can already see the improvements.
 
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His games technically weren't that good, but the writing in them was superb and kept me hooked till the very end. This one was always my favourite and his best work too.

I always enjoyed the characters and the world building. The combat and gameplay definitely feels a bit outdated at this point. PHM was always my favorite, too. I've replayed Feral Dreams a few times but PHM is the only one I've replayed at least six times.

Definitely got my nostalgia glasses on, but I think when it comes to remastering a game that's a good thing.
 
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PHM:R Update Log - November 2020
Rubinite Cave, OST, and more!

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My goodness! An update, and it's not even been a whole year!

Progress is starting up, once again. With my new PC, I now finally have a better workstation for RPG Maker development, especially with the second screen.

The first dungeon, the Rubinite Cave is map-complete. I'm starting by making every map in the game, as well as general Events before jumping in and making the cutscenes. Luckily, the original PHM gives me a fantastic template to work with. At this point in the game, there's not much for me to add beyond lighting (thanks to Khas Arcthunder for the Khas Awesome Light Effects script).

I've progressed on the Soundtrack to the point where I'm only missing a few tracks to consider the first pass complete. It's been a lot of fun (and work) hunting down tracks that I can use.

I continue to wrestle with RPG Maker VX Ace's battle systems. I'm not finding the one that I want. I'm so used to MV's Octopack Battler that working with anything else feels disappointing at this time. For now, we're back to using Yanfly + Symphony's default battle system and it's doing fine for now.

I've been able to get solid feedback from a few playtesters who've gone and jammed through all or most of the original PHM for data and feedback. Still hoping to get more, but it's a start!

Hope to get back to all of you soon with even more progress!
 
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PHM:R Update Log - November 2020
Imperial Chambers, Bernharst

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Progress on the maps continues this week as I carry on work on the early-stage maps. I'm also taking the time to replay the original (and keep trying to recruit new players to try it) to gather data.

There's many more plot points to resolve than I'd remembered, and it's going to be interesting to see how tackling them will turn out. I'm keeping a very detailed OneNote document at the moment and it's helping keep everything nice and organized.

It's crazy to think how a throwaway line of dialogue can impact a whole plot point.

I'm also greatly considering changing the Character graphics to Mack full-sized characters. Going to give a shot at making some myself, but I may end up needing to commission two dozen of them to cover the important characters.

As always, if you're interested in helping out by playing PHM Original, let me know!
 
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PHM:R Update Log - December 2020
Bernharst

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Finally finished Bernharst's first map. It's definitely the biggest map I've had to remake so far, in terms of sheer quantity of detail. It was a blast finally getting to add lighting to this scene, and I'm looking forward to getting the NPC Dialogue done for the town.​
I ended up keeping most of the map the same, minus a few alterations, and I'm looking forward to working on the interior soon. The church took the biggest changes, as I'm not keeping the cross symbolism, and instead creating a new one to represent the new and more detailed Lazzarian Orthodoxy and the worship of the Tritheon.​
A little bit of lore for everyone: Bernharst is the first town you visit in the game. It's the center-most settlement on the western continent, being south of Espen and north of Willanham. Nestled just below the sprawling Elin Forest and boasting a sizable amount of arable land, Bernharst provides both ample food and lumber to the Lazzarian capital. Unlike Willanham, Bernharst is relatively independent in its day to day, with only a small Lazzarian encampment stationed there.​
PHM:R spends a bit of time in Bernharst right after the introduction, and you return here once more during the course of the main storyline.​
 
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PHM:R Update Log - December 2020
Bernharst, Part 2
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Bernharst's two maps have finally been completed, and work on the building interiors continues. I streamlined the process by creating over a dozen basic house templates, which will help speed up interior map creation by a non-trivial amount.​
After being personally done with the whole "barging in and stealing things" methodology of past JRPGs, I've made a few changes. Now, you can knock at doors and be welcomed in. Casual discussion with the NPCs within will yield information and the occasional item, meaning you get the same reward as you normally would by breaking and entering, but now with 100% less guilt.​
I've finally made progress on the Combat system as well. Yanfly Battle Engine and Yami Battle Symphony & Battle Mechanism - CTB are working well together, and the gameplay's feeling pretty smooth. I'm slowly building my envisioned "Skill Tree" progression for the Yanfly Learn Skill/Equip Skill module. Depending on whether or not I can get Passive Skills to work with the Equip function, I'll be able to add more shared skills and depth to the progression. I'm a huge fan of having a greater array of available skills, but needing to commit to trying different builds. A few playtesters I'm working with have agreed that they'd definitely enjoy more variety and customization.​
The next step before the big winter holidays arrives will be to finish up this map, and then I'll try and get the combat and gameplay system operational enough to have the cutscenes catch up to where I've mapped.​
Thanks again to everyone (and anyone) who checks out this project!​
 
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PHM:R Update Log - December 2020
Combat!

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Finally had the time to mock up some custom graphics for the CTB Combat UI. It's always nice to see, even if it's just a small thing.

I'm considering putting out an early demo around the 1h mark, same as the original did. It'd give the players a chance to tackle the first handful of bosses, try out the combat system, and get a feel for the world-building and story.

In a big departure from the original, I'm working with a much smaller number system for the combat. I've managed to keep the numbers just big enough that I have flexibility when it comes to the stats, which is always something you want to be careful of when working with smaller number combat systems.

I've also progressed adequately on the maps. Bernharst was fun but the nearby Fields were almost as long to design. I'm really looking forward to getting to the end-game maps so I've got to keep hammering away, given I'm working on this chronologically.
 
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I like how using field art for battle makes it immersive

Thank you! It's something the original did and I always enjoyed it. It doesn't take much time to make them either, which always helps!
 
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PHM:R Update Log - November 2021

It's always wild just how long it takes to get back into the flow of certain projects, but I guess that's just how things go. I got heavily sidetracked by finishing a custom MTG set and giving Pokemon Essentials a try, but now we're back once again.

I took another look at what needed to be done, so here's what we have as we slowly finish up 2021.
  • Recruit additional playtesters to go over the original and provide feedback. I've found two more friends from among discord groups so that's already a positive start.​
  • I'm currently replaying the game and taking additional notes, primarily on story beats.​
  • I'm setting aside combat/skills for now and instead focusing on recreating all the maps first. That way, I can do a "Story" test run of the game and see how it flows without combat.​
  • Practice more on Aseprite and Photoshop. I want to get more comfortable when it comes to retouching ACE sprites and adding tweaks.​
I can't wait to be able to show you more gameplay!
 
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PHM:R Update Log - November 2021 (Part 2)
As part of my ongoing process to remaster PHM, I streamed the entire original game in a 4-part 14h marathon on Twitch (my first twitch stream ever, too). You can catch on my Twitch channel by clicking on this Twitch Link!

I go through everything I love and a lot of things I'm looking to spruce up with the remaster.

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For the next few weeks I'll be focusing on progressing the remastered maps while revisiting the early cutscenes. As I mentioned last Friday, I'm hoping to be able to do a "Story" run of the game with no combat and just the dialog/cutscenes by the end of the year.

We're still hoping to find additional playtesters to replay the original game!
 

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PHM:R Update Log - November 2021 (Part 2)
As part of my ongoing process to remaster PHM, I streamed the entire original game in a 4-part 14h marathon on Twitch (my first twitch stream ever, too). You can catch on my Twitch channel by clicking on this Twitch Link!

I go through everything I love and a lot of things I'm looking to spruce up with the remaster.

View attachment 206124

For the next few weeks I'll be focusing on progressing the remastered maps while revisiting the early cutscenes. As I mentioned last Friday, I'm hoping to be able to do a "Story" run of the game with no combat and just the dialog/cutscenes by the end of the year.

We're still hoping to find additional playtesters to replay the original game!
I watched through your entire playthrough at work this week. It was super entertaining, and I'm looking forward to watching you play some more RPGM games. I pretty much agree with most of your criticisms on PHM. Back when I made it, I didn't fully understand how to balance the gameplay. Also, I am not the best writer, I am more of a math guy, and re-watching the dialogue... it's pretty cringe and poor some times. I am glad you enjoy the base of the story and want to maintain the general story layout. It can definitely use some re-working.
While watching, I came up with a lot of stuff I would change myself, but I would probably never go back and re-hash the game, so glad to see you are following through on the remaster.
Let me know if you need some help on ideas or want to run anything by me. Otherwise, it's all yours now.
 
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I watched through your entire playthrough at work this week. It was super entertaining, and I'm looking forward to watching you play some more RPGM games. I pretty much agree with most of your criticisms on PHM. Back when I made it, I didn't fully understand how to balance the gameplay. Also, I am not the best writer, I am more of a math guy, and re-watching the dialogue... it's pretty cringe and poor some times. I am glad you enjoy the base of the story and want to maintain the general story layout. It can definitely use some re-working.
While watching, I came up with a lot of stuff I would change myself, but I would probably never go back and re-hash the game, so glad to see you are following through on the remaster.
Let me know if you need some help on ideas or want to run anything by me. Otherwise, it's all yours now.
I do mention multiple times to users just how long ago you made this game, and honestly, to this day it's still in my top 3 full length RPG Maker Games. I wouldn't want to make the remake unless I loved it.
Just playing through Tales of Vassya you can see how much you've progressed, and I can tell you, my first rpg maker games back in high school were so bad I wouldn't share them with anyone today.

You truly made something special with PHM and all my complaints/critique really just comes from a desire to want this game to keep succeeding. The characters, the story, and the world are just so great and have stuck with me for over 10 years now. There's really no other RPG Maker game (besides some short ones like Rootbound) that I've gone back and played multiple times.

I will definitely be reaching out as the project continues!
 

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Made a lot of progress on the tileset for the more sumptuous interior areas for the priory
I keep thinking up of new changes or improvements... Edit: Forgot to add the image Gimpwork.JPG
Hello, my nickname is Rigomor, but I am also known as Mopsikus. I work on RPG Maker games, and are currently working on a game called Peony of War.

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