RMMZ Poppet Quest [Touch the Stars Game Jam][Action]

ImaginaryVillain

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Synopsis:
Poppet's a cursed doll "living" in the world's most cursed attic. Thankfully her curse is that she simply needs to look out a very specific window every night and see the stars. Or if she can't reach that window, she must do all that she can to try.

So each day she simply slept in front of the window, and by slept I mean fell lifeless as she’s only alive at night. And when she revived she’d be right where she needed to be… Until the strange man appeared one day.

Nobody in the attic really knows who he is, and he really only seemed to have one interest. He wandered straight to Poppet, and picked her up. Lifelessly she flopped in his hand. This seemed to disappoint the man. So he dropped her in a box on the other side of the attic, and left.

And that’s where our story begins, Poppet waking up in a box on the wrong side of the attic and compelled beyond all reason to reach the window on the other side. All that’s stopping her is an attic full of countless cursed objects and a very angry ghost of a child named Buggaboo.

Gameplay features:
1. The attic is always changing due to it’s ghostly ruler, so no two areas are the same.. Also they're a massive 200x200.

2. Characters have lots of frames of animation… Seriously, Poppet herself has 28 frames of run animation in each direction, 22 frames of cast animation for each direction, and 30 frames for each direction of her ghost form..

3. Ever wanted to be able to be a ghost? Well now you can at least temporarily. Poppet can literally change her form at will from doll to ghost and back again.

4. A strange leveling system where you can sacrifice your “experience” or in this case stars for more temporary power. Also leveling is area dependent, so you will have to attain more power on each map, not just overall.

5. Pixel movement, 1920x1080, 60FPS, and really just a lot of specs that will have you wondering if this really was built in MZ. :LZSwink:

Future plans:
Oh man… When I first penned the idea for the project there were 5 completely different biomes in the attic, and significantly more dolls with more items to pick up. Etc, etc. Basically like a Diablo except with less random loot because I knew I’d never get that done in time for this.

So if for some reason people see promise in this game, I’ll expand upon it and make it far better. Otherwise here’s the best I could do in a month.

Screenshots:
poppetQuest1.jpg
poppetQuest2.jpg
poppetQuest3.jpg


Download:
https://imaginary-villain.itch.io/poppet-quest

Final Notes:

Feel free to let me know all of the bugs, bad ideas (and I guess good ones if any). I already know how to even make some of the bugs happen. I obviously won't be changing anything until after the judging. But to be honest I'm most interested to see if it blows up computers or not. So if you want to help me test out how badly one can mess with RM MZ, go ahead and download it. :LZSwink:

Also... You will probably need a dedicated GPU to play this game. It tends to require 20-25% of my GTX 1060, to give you any kind of idea.
 
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RCXDan

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@ImaginaryVillain I got a steaming hot review for you:

+ First off, I really, really dig the whole American McGee's Alice/Alice Madness Returns artstyle you have. It's a very striking look that instantly says "hey, this is an ImaginaryVillain game" which I can imagine must be hell to pull off. Major props too because it does not feel like RPG Maker in the slightest and it's frankly insane.
+ Interesting settings for the title screen.
+ The music you chose works very well in delivering the "vibe" of the game.
+ I like Poppet's character design, she looks a lot like Tim Burton's work and really stands out.
+ Gameplay loop is decent for what it is and extremely ambitious for the engine. You basically collect tarot cards and kill the creepy clown heads to gain experience/points to fuel your ghost mode, rinse and repeat until you lose interest.
+ The amount of animation is frankly astonishing given the fact this is still an RPG Maker game of all things.
+ The "touch the stars" aspect of this was on point. You have the story with the window, yeah, but the whole astrology bit with the tarot cards and the stars you collect from fallen enemies is well-spotted.
+ My computer didn't explode while playing it despite how resource intensive it is! Like I was able to play it fine despite my general slowdown issues for literally any game I play.

= The clown heads make such cute little noises for what would otherwise be terrifying monsters.

- As much as I like the fact you control Poppet to actually access the title screen options, she's... quite slow.
- Is Poppet supposed to "flicker" when she's walking? There's also some occasions where her animations "double" like she has an afterimage, but I can't even begin to think of how that works.
- The game seems to have some trouble deciding on what colors it wants on screen when you're out exploring, and it's a bit distracting.
- Her running speed in "normal" mode is way too slow for me, especially given how big the map is. Like I don't like how the "fast mode" is your ghost mode, since it consumes the stars you collect as it is.

Her normal form feels sluggish and seems to focus more on the fluidity of her animation than actually getting around if that makes sense. Speeding it and the "firing your spell" animation up would definitely make the game feel less of a slog to get around.

Extremely ambitious art powerhouse for the engine with a decent game underneath that unfortunately feels a bit too slow for my liking. I'm not really a Diablo guy but the foundation of the gameplay is solid, if a little simple and repetitive. A good time waster if you don't want to invest in anything heavy.

The aesthetic is honestly the best part about this, though also not really my thing either (2D over 3D for me). The look is definitely unique and I hope to see more stuff out of you in the future. :LZScheeze:
 
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ImaginaryVillain

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Thanks so much for taking a look at it! :LZSexcite:

For what it's worth, there are other levels, you get the 22 tarot cards and find the door on the level to exit to the next story area. Regrettably I didn't really have the time to communicate that to the player as well as I would have liked. There's actually 11 areas with 6 bosses. The bosses are a set power level and largely force the player to constantly escape them while powering up to fight them.

In hindsight, I should have opted for 6 areas and doubled up the enemy types for variety. More for time constraints than actual desire to do so... Originally I was waaaaaaaaaaay too ambitious and planned to have 11 types of enemies. Instead I only had time for 6.

About Poppet flickering... Now that was something I was super interested in. Here's what happening and why, what you're seeing is around 30 different frames of animation for her every second. It is just adding and removing the images so fast that it appears to be fluid animation. This appeared to work great with my GTX 1060 graphics card, and Ryzen 7 2700...

However I noticed that if I was also doing something intensive like rendering with Daz at the same time as testing it would cause a flicker. So the illusion only works perfectly as long as the resources are there. Thanks for reporting it to me, I'll have to go a bit back to the drawing board for my animation plugin and see if there is a better way to shuffle the images to avoid that problem.

Though I'm super glad the memory manager and animation plugin managed to keep the game from any kind of slowdown. If nothing else that is the one thing I was hoping to see with this game.

As for the speed, yeah I could definitely see that. Largely what made me go with such huge levels was probably just hubris. Kind of a "Well I can so why not?" But in all reality, I'd probably be wiser in future versions to just add more stuff and compress the levels.

I'll have to devise something about Poppet's various movement speeds... Good old RM really doesn't have many speed options. Maybe I can fix QSpeed to work with MZ. Hmm... I'll have to figure something out.
As for casting, I might simply just replace her casting animation with a different shorter one. I actually originally considered giving her a wand. Gesturing with a wand takes less frames to be convincing.

As for the lights that's just me setting the memory manager's bubble too small. So it's removing and readding the lights too close to the screen. I'll have to tweak some settings. Thanks for letting me know!

You've given me a lot think about, I'm glad the whole Touch the Stars thing worked out, I was a bit worried I hamfisted it too much. I also know I need to toss in the mystery of the attic much earlier, as largely it's not mentioned quick enough apparently. More stuff for future versions.

Also glad the art vibe landed, I really am a sucker for Tim Burton stuff. So knowing that I got the feel of it right is a plus. Would you believe I actually intended full animations for the cutscenes? Oh man... the render times. Hubris... thy name be Imaginary Villain. :kaoswt:

Anyway thanks for the review! :LZSexcite:
 

RCXDan

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Glad to hear it! Yeah, if my toaster computer that goes to 100% CPU for literally everything can run it then much better computers should have no issues in terms of playing it.
 

ImaginaryVillain

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Based on your feedback I did a bit of work on it...

1. Poppet now runs faster. Not quite as fast as her ghost form, but noticeably faster.
2. I've increased the bubble around the player so the lights don't flicker as often. As a bonus it also reveals more of the mini map.
3. Poppet has a new wand animation. Along with new animations of her carrying it, and shadows. She also "appears" to shoot faster.

1. The Interface has been reworked.
2. New drops worth more stars have been added.
3. I've made the graphics for a new enemy.

I still hope to have 11 enemies, possibly more.
Different looks for other areas of the attic.
Additional Sound Effects and Music.
Improved enemy AI and attacks.
An improved story.

Conclusion:
Not going to lie, I'm basically using this as a test bed for ideas for my other game. And really just game dev stuff in general. Obviously no changes will be uploaded to Itch before the judging is over, so by next month I should have a very improved version of the game that's currently there. :LZSexcite:
 

Neptrone

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Awesome !! I think this is my first time playing RPG Maker Game with 1920x1080 resolution !!
 

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