Ophiucus Games

Ophiucus Games
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I recently took a stroll down memory lane back to my early days of messing around with RM2K and re-downloaded Phylomortis II. When I first played it I found the dialogue impenetrable and the gameplay too damn difficult to be enjoyable - but replaying as a more mature gamer I realised how advanced the mechanics and how developed the world building and characterisation is. It's actually a great game - I'd go so far as to say seminal.

The one thing that hasn't stood the test of time is the graphics - being limited by RM2K specs of course, but also using rips from multiple games with totally different graphical styles, really hinders enjoyment for me. Just for fun, I had a quick 5 minutes re-edit of some of the character sprites so they are at least a consistent style.
Screen Shot 2021-01-11 at 18.24.38.png
It got me thinking - it would be a fun project to remaster the game and bring it up to 2021 standards. i.e. completely new (not ripped) assets in a more aesthetically pleasing and consistent style.
My questions are:
-Is RPG Advocate alive/active any more? The website no longer exists and the email address I found on putting phylomortis.com into the wayback machine is not active anymore. The first step would be to try and contact him/her if possible to get permission. If I can't get RPG Advocate's permission - is there any way to proceed (I'm sure it's not copyrighted as there were some many ripped resources used in it).
-Is anyone interested in being involved?
-Would anyone actually be interested in playing a remastered version or would it be a huge waste of time?
 

Lone Wolf

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Wow. There's a name I haven't heard in a long time. You're making me all nostalgic.

The internet was a lot more anonymous in those days. I doubt anybody's contact info from back then is still valid. I know mine isn't. (Mostly intentional because I was an edgy tween, but still.)

There's also the matter of how RPG Advocate was involved in the illegal translation and distribution of a few of the earlier RPG Makers (taking over for the illustrious Don Miguel), so I can imagine them wanting to stay distanced from that identity in the modern era.

This is just me, but I know I probably wouldn't want my stuff remade without my knowing (not that I've done anything worth remaking). A tribute project in the same style would probably be your safest bet.

That said, for the ultimate in old-school RM meta commentary, you could always limit yourself to putting out a really polished remake demo and then dropping it. That would draw attention the original work without devaluing it, and probably send a bunch of old fogies like me (I'm only 30) down memory lane.

You could then use that experience to make something original in a similar style, which is always what the RM community was about. Well, besides the (innocently) stolen assets, endless demos and wildly uneven "parody" games.
 

Ophiucus Games

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Wow. There's a name I haven't heard in a long time. You're making me all nostalgic.

The internet was a lot more anonymous in those days. I doubt anybody's contact info from back then is still valid. I know mine isn't. (Mostly intentional because I was an edgy tween, but still.)

There's also the matter of how RPG Advocate was involved in the illegal translation and distribution of a few of the earlier RPG Makers (taking over for the illustrious Don Miguel), so I can imagine them wanting to stay distanced from that identity in the modern era.

This is just me, but I know I probably wouldn't want my stuff remade without my knowing (not that I've done anything worth remaking). A tribute project in the same style would probably be your safest bet.

That said, for the ultimate in old-school RM meta commentary, you could always limit yourself to putting out a really polished remake demo and then dropping it. That would draw attention the original work without devaluing it, and probably send a bunch of old fogies like me (I'm only 30) down memory lane.

You could then use that experience to make something original in a similar style, which is always what the RM community was about. Well, besides the (innocently) stolen assets, endless demos and wildly uneven "parody" games.
Thanks for your thoughts. Yeah I am really keen to run it by the original creator as I also wouldn’t want someone messing around with something I’d put a lot of time and effort into.
A demo could work - even just as a proof of concept or to scratch my remastering itch.
There would be two ways of doing this - one would be simply to edit all the assets within the confines of RM2K (eg same resolution etc) but significant cleaned up and prettyfied. Using easyrpg player as an emulator removes the restriction of a 256 colour palette so even at low res a lot could be done. This would be the easiest and most faithful way.

the other way would be a remake in MZ with all the capabilities that brings, but retaining all Original dialogue, map design and mechanics.
 

HalcyonDaze

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The early days of RPG Maker feel like a lifetime ago. I never played Phylomortis, but I do remember hearing a lot about it back in the GamingWorld days.

I do think it's a cool idea though, remaking old RM2k games in MV/MZ. I highly doubt you plan on turning any profit from such a project anyway, so just as a sort of nostalgic tribute kind of thing, I don't see anything ethically wrong with an "unauthorized" remaster. It's not like you're claiming the story/concept is your own work, which would be a problem.

I've been working on a loose remake of RM2k Survivor: NYSE in MV for a couple of years, recently moved it to MZ. I tried to email JOJOFACE when I started the project awhile back, but since it's been 20 years, the email addy listed for them from back then is probably long-abandoned. Basic concepts and ideas for games/books/movies cannot be claimed or copyrighted, so I know I'm in the clear. As I said, it's very loosely based on the whole bum/survival concept - different (not SNES-ripped) characters, all-new maps/tiles, better mechanics/more features. But it was certainly inspired heavily by the original.
 

Ophiucus Games

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The early days of RPG Maker feel like a lifetime ago. I never played Phylomortis, but I do remember hearing a lot about it back in the GamingWorld days.

I do think it's a cool idea though, remaking old RM2k games in MV/MZ. I highly doubt you plan on turning any profit from such a project anyway, so just as a sort of nostalgic tribute kind of thing, I don't see anything ethically wrong with an "unauthorized" remaster. It's not like you're claiming the story/concept is your own work, which would be a problem.

I've been working on a loose remake of RM2k Survivor: NYSE in MV for a couple of years, recently moved it to MZ. I tried to email JOJOFACE when I started the project awhile back, but since it's been 20 years, the email addy listed for them from back then is probably long-abandoned. Basic concepts and ideas for games/books/movies cannot be claimed or copyrighted, so I know I'm in the clear. As I said, it's very loosely based on the whole bum/survival concept - different (not SNES-ripped) characters, all-new maps/tiles, better mechanics/more features. But it was certainly inspired heavily by the original.
Yeah my intention would be to remaster the RPG Advocate game and credit it as their game with remastered graphics - basically a mod of the original rather than a remake-per se. A more ambitious actual remake in MZ would be cool too (although a lot of work).

I might try doing the first map just to see what it would look like and whether it's worth investing time in.

The RM2k Survivor remake sounds interesting! Would definitely like to play when it's ready.
 

Ophiucus Games

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So I was just playing around and decided to try some mock-ups of what this would look like.

So here is the original, un-modded opening sequence of the game:
Orig.png
Mod.png
Remake.png

So that was mainly just for fun and still haven't decided if/how I will pursue this - but would still appreciate hearing anyone's thoughts. Mainly I want to know - is B actually an improvement on A to the extent it would make the game more appealing to play?
And is the difference between B and C enough to make it worth the significantly greater amount of work that would be required to remake the game as opposed to just modding it?
 

Lone Wolf

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Honestly, I like version C best. Going for maps and visuals that look more like what they actually are is hardly a bad thing. It may seem like a lot fo work, but only because, well, it is.

Hence my suggestion of just doing a demo. It'll scratch the immediate itch, and also give you valuable experience you can make use of on your own projects (if you choose to keep at it).
 

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I'm not opposed to re-making new maps and characters from scratch, actually I find it enjoyable. There's also an element of re-imagining what the original creator's idea for what the Phylomortis creatures would look like, without the confines of just using the available RTP assets. (Like did he really want the flame thing to be a character or was it just what was available? etc.) - could it be drawn as a man in a suit with a flame instead of a head, for example? The ideas are abundant!

I think a demo of the intro up to the end of the first dungeon should be pretty doable. I realise I am procrastinating from working on my current main project though...
 

TheGentlemanLoser

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I didn't know what you were talking about at first, you should really use the game's full PROPER title for clarity: PSYCHOPOLITICAL DRAMA COLON: PHILOMORTIS COLON: AVANT GARDE" :owink:

Phylomortis was hilariously pretentious. Viewed as a joke, it's quite clever, and in places, outright hilarious. I enjoyed the plot/dialogue/skill names/item descriptions/monster names a lot on a

Anyway consider me an advocate of this RPG, although I'd say try not to take yourself too seriously; PSYCHOPOLITICAL DRAMA COLON: PHILOMORTIS COLON: AVANT GARDE is best enjoyed or apprehended w/ tongue firmly planted in cheek. I'm glad I'm not the only one who still remembers this here gam!

There's also the matter of how RPG Advocate was involved in the illegal translation and distribution of a few of the earlier RPG Makers (taking over for the illustrious Don Miguel), so I can imagine them wanting to stay distanced from that identity in the modern era.

@Lone Wolf: Really? I mean, these people were beloved miracle workers that brought RPG Maker into our lives at a time when there was no legal way we could possibly have gotten it. Their work (admittedly, Don Miguel a bit more than Advo) is the only reason many of us oldbies even know about Tsukuru. IIRC the first iteration of the engine to see an English language release was RPG Maker VX!

I really don't think these people would be in any kind of trouble or under any form of censure for what they did for the community decades ago...uh, right guys? I mean, I don't have hard data on this, but that doesn't make me any less certain that their pirated versions of 2k/2k3 basically CREATED the English market share for the software that Kadokawa/Degica (formerly Enterbrain?) sells. I feel like they should be proud of what they did, not in fear of some kind of official reprisal.

Like, it may not have been up to the building code at the time, but they laid the foundation this house is built upon.

editeeee: wow, those are some sexy sprites you made, both the "modded" ones and the remake ones (although personally I prefer the modded ones slightly). Like, REALLY fine quality work. If you don't wind up sticking with this PHILOMORTIS: REVIVAL idea--or even if you do--it'd definitely be worth at least considering releasing these publicly. He said. Not at all out of a mad lust for MOAR chapsets available to be available to the public.
 
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Ophiucus Games

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I didn't know what you were talking about at first, you should really use the game's full PROPER title for clarity: PSYCHOPOLITICAL DRAMA COLON: PHILOMORTIS COLON: AVANT GARDE" :owink:

Phylomortis was hilariously pretentious. Viewed as a joke, it's quite clever, and in places, outright hilarious. I enjoyed the plot/dialogue/skill names/item descriptions/monster names a lot on a

Anyway consider me an advocate of this RPG, although I'd say try not to take yourself too seriously; PSYCHOPOLITICAL DRAMA COLON: PHILOMORTIS COLON: AVANT GARDE is best enjoyed or apprehended w/ tongue firmly planted in cheek. I'm glad I'm not the only one who still remembers this here gam!



@Lone Wolf: Really? I mean, these people were beloved miracle workers that brought RPG Maker into our lives at a time when there was no legal way we could possibly have gotten it. Their work (admittedly, Don Miguel a bit more than Advo) is the only reason many of us oldbies even know about Tsukuru. IIRC the first iteration of the engine to see an English language release was RPG Maker VX!

I really don't think these people would be in any kind of trouble or under any form of censure for what they did for the community decades ago...uh, right guys? I mean, I don't have hard data on this, but that doesn't make me any less certain that their pirated versions of 2k/2k3 basically CREATED the English market share for the software that Kadokawa/Degica (formerly Enterbrain?) sells. I feel like they should be proud of what they did, not in fear of some kind of official reprisal.

Like, it may not have been up to the building code at the time, but they laid the foundation this house is built upon.

editeeee: wow, those are some sexy sprites you made, both the "modded" ones and the remake ones (although personally I prefer the modded ones slightly). Like, REALLY fine quality work. If you don't wind up sticking with this PHILOMORTIS: REVIVAL idea--or even if you do--it'd definitely be worth at least considering releasing these publicly. He said. Not at all out of a mad lust for MOAR chapsets available to be available to the public.
Thanks for your comments! Glad you like the screenshots. The “C” sprites are broadly similar to the main project I’m working on.

One of the things I love about the original games is the tongue-in-cheek, pretentious approach to lore, naming and dialogue - yet at the same time they are actually well made games with thought-through mechanics and gameplay. I guess I should give up hope of contacting RPG Advocate - 20 years is a long time on the internet.

also phylomortis: revival is a cool name!

edit: in true RPG maker fashion it would also be cool to do as a community project - perhaps if a short demo garnered sufficient interest.
 

TheGentlemanLoser

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I am by trade a writer; aping RPG Advocate's unique style seems challenging even for professional writers, let alone for people that haven't done that for a living (in a cardboard box, on the side of the highway). If this does become a community project I'd be happy to contribute in that respect.

If I'm not mistaken, way back in the day RPG Advocate would pretty reliably appear when he was mentioned in forum discussions, almost as if he had a Google alert for his name, although I think this was before Google alerts was even a thing. That was a long, long time ago though. Although who knows, anyone in this thread could secretly be Advo (although to be clear, I am not lol).
 

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@Lone Wolf: I really don't think these people would be in any kind of trouble or under any form of censure for what they did for the community decades ago...uh, right guys?
About 40% of why I said what I did was just to educate the audience following along at home like, "Who is this RPG Advocate guy and why does he matter?" (Also, you forgot about Don Miguel's version of RM95, though I don't remember if that one was actually translated first or not.)

I don't think they'd be in any real legal danger, but I do know that the stuff corporate lawyers think they need to do to protect copyrights is kinda nuts from the layman's perspective. Posting something here as "RPG Advocate" now would be like shouting, "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow!" in the middle of Port Royal. A legend, to be sure, but from an age that ended a long time ago.

But to be clear, I am also not RPG Advocate. Or Spartacus, for that matter.
 

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Wow phylomortis now that's something i remember. mainly playing Advent Garde for XP really impressed how challenging and difficult it was especially the battles even if it was a demo. Though it did show what you could do with XP back in the days.
 

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