Heirukichi

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Thank you all for your feedback, it is much appreciated. There are things that we have yet to implement, of course, but early feedback is a great way to point the path we should walk.

That UI look good in battle but i feel like it doesn't really useful outside of battle or even take up screen's space.
The whole HUD can be completely hidden when outside battle, as shown in the video (the HUD is absent in the first part of the video and I toggled it a couple of times after the battle), by simply pressing a button. If the player wants to see more of the background, he or she can hide the HUD completely. However, it is necessary to have that kind of HUD outside battle to get a quick grasp on things that we will implement later on.

It is an interesting design! I've never seen anybody do this in VXA.
I am very glad you appreciate our design, the reason why we have a "get rid of the stigma" tag is exactly because we want to propose something that is different from usual RPG Maker games, something that has a unique vibe to it and can really stand out. We think that RPG Maker is a great engine and can be used to make great games, much better than what the common knowledge would depict them. One of our goals is to change the way RPG Maker games are seen outside of RM communities. I know it is ambitious and we both know that we have to put a lot of effort to achieve that, but it is definitely one of our goals.

I agree with the post above with regards to the animated enemies. It's a little static, so maybe a few frames or even a "breathing" effect would bring it to life more.
This is something that we will definitely keep in mind, we might be able to implement some simple animation to make enemies feel more real. I doubt we will implement anything too complex, but something to move enemies up and down a few pixels just to make them feel alive is definitely something within reach. I want to express my thanks to both of you for reporting this.

Looking very promising on all fronts.
Thanks a lot for your encouraging words, they are more useful than anyone could imagine. Reading something like this really makes us want to continue working on this even more.
 

Heirukichi

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We have treasured the feedback you guys gave us and we can finally show a few animated elements in our battle system. They are by no means related to enemies, but considering how many times this is going to be refreshed, we believe that it adds a certain degree of life to our battles.



Being a GIF we had to cut parts not relevant to the animation itself so it does not show what really happens in battle. Truth be told, it is also possible to see the selected target in the turn order, so that players can pick their target knowing where in the turn order it is placed and not just how much health it has left.

As you can see, the acting battler is clearly highlighted by that circle with a liquid animation in it. This is something we came up with after seeing that the acting battler was not enough visible. @JosephSeraph did an amazing job with the animation itself, it literally takes hundreds (the plural here is not a typo) of frames to be completed, and it also changes color depending on whether the acting battler is an actor or an enemy.

We had to work on this kind of animation for many days before we were able to reach a point where we were actually satisfied. Its brightness, the duration of its transition and the synchronization with the flipping coins were all things that we had to keep in mind when working on it.

Not long ago we were discussing about skills and parameters balance and we have been brainstorming ways to reward the player for the skills displayed, together with ways to allow players to reach a level that is higher than expected should the challenge prove to be too difficult. All these aspects were carefully brainstormed and I have spent a whole week making calculations to check possible breakpoints. In the end, we have reached a conclusion that we both liked very much.

Truth be told, I originally had in mind a different system, but after hearing Jo's opinion on this matter and merging the two ideas together, what came out is something that...well, I think it is safe to say that it really made both of us proud of it, and we sincerely hope that you will like it. Our future plans are quite simple: get a working internal demo ready for being tested by the end of November 2019. Doing so would allow us to test the features that we have already added to the game, together with battle mechanics that have been tested only on a theoretical basis so far.

Starting from the next week we might already be able to show you guys a few videos of our dungeon, as the textures are almost complete and all the planning for the 3D map has already been done. What is left is just creating the actual map inside the engine and we will be able to play it for the very first time.

We will be glad to hear your feedback on our turn order display and I hope that you will all stay tuned for the upcoming juicy updates.
See you guys!
 

JosephSeraph

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Thankssss!! I'm glad you like it :D
Our first internal prototype is so close I'm so excited. Today I made some progress as well by testing step sounds and a very subtle and gradual screen tint based on the player's coordinate (a small way to make the environment more varied and easier to locate yourself in)

Can't wait to be able to share videos and whatnot! Although, I still need to create the battle animations for our current database items first. And Heirukichi needs to iron out some kinks in the battle system too, with the intro and victory screens, etc.
 

JosephSeraph

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Finally, we can show our first video demo! The baby's coming to life! I hope you're half as excited as we are hahahah, this is always such a fantastic moment... :kaoluv:
The video also features the first original song of the game, scored by our newest team member Sam Oz! Welcome to the team!
(he's been with us for a while already. We were just waiting to announce with the song is all.)
Quite a bit in this video is still a WIP:

  • The footsteps are having their volume reduced.
  • Combat, while functional, is yet to be databased beyond placeholder test skills. ( @Heirukichi is working on this.)
  • The dungeon's layout is final, but it's lacking tile variants (as they're tied to gameplay).
  • The dungeon is also lacking decoration objects, as we have discussed a specific performance-light implementation.
  • The resolution of the dungeon is still a WIP.¹
  • The Victory screen is a placeholder.
  • The portraits are placeholders / concept artwork.
  • All sound effects and battle animations are going to be replaced.
  • The song will have a battle-version with pronounced drums. It's also a 6 minute long song and you couldn't hear a third of it in the video! I'm so happy to be working with such talented people. :kaoluv:
¹we're going to implement some level of player-control over graphics settings, which is still being talked about and is yet to be implemented. Achieving some things within RMVXA and FPLE can be quite performance intensive, despite the 300-frame animation that runs seamlessly throughout the whole battle in the Turn Order gauge making one think otherwise.

I hope you enjoy this and look forward to our next updates! I'm looking forward to showing off the sidescroller town portions also, but that's still a ways off. And that's mainly because my next task within the game is... Battle Animations!

The coolest part is, I'll submit the battle animations as a pack (hopefully through the Degica store) too! This way you can support the development of the game and get a bunch of cool animations for your games. :kaoluv::kaoluv::kaoluv: i love this emoji

This is around what the animations in Records in Blue will look like (but a little better, these are a bit old already.)




Anyway, thanx for stickin' around! Hope yall have a grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr8 day! :kaopride:
 
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Heirukichi

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Hello everyone, this past week we have been further improving the game balance. The main subject this time has been the experience gain. Our objective is that of allowing the player to grow past the expected level for a certain dungeon, but, at the same time, discouraging excessive grinding, because that is a kind of aesthetics that we absolutely want to keep outside of our game. In short we want to create an environment that is not unforgiving, but that still represents a real challenge as the player grows.

To achieve this goal, we have decided to assign experience points dynamically. After reaching a certain threshold, the player is going to earn less experience from the same enemy when leveling up, which would be a clear sign that it is about time to move on to the next dungeon. The experience gained is going to be lower and, after surpassing the threshold limit by too many levels, each enemy in a dungeon that is meant for a lower level is going to only reward the player with 1 experience point. Hopefully this will serve the purpose, but we want to hear your feedback on this as usual.

Hopefully, in the next post, we will be able to show you a GIF of one of our new skill animations; we sincerely hope that you will like it.
Thank you for your attention and stay tuned for more updates.

P.S. Alma is definitely not going to be as OP (compared to the other characters) as she looks in the video we uploaded the last week.
 

Kes

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I am hesitant about reducing the EXP reduction too much, particularly if it goes down to one.

I think that finding the correct spot where reduction kicks in is something that developers find hard to gauge accurately, because we know our own games too well. Even putting it out to playtesters won't necessarily reveal what it will be like for the average player interested in this type of game. That is because playtesters, precisely because they are testing the game, come at it with different expectations. What happens to the less skillful/experienced player who is enjoying the game, but needs a few extra levels in hand to compensate for their lack of skill? Even experienced players, from what I read on assorted forums and game threads, tend to have higher levels than the dev expects, hence the frequent complaints that new party members join at too low a level compared to the rest of the party. The dev has incorrectly judged what the average level of players will be at that point.
 

Heirukichi

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@Kes I am glad that our game interested you and I am particularly thankful for your useful feedback.
I am hesitant about reducing the EXP reduction too much, particularly if it goes down to one.
I would like to spend a few more words on this because I think it is a matter worth discussing. When studying character progression in depth we have indeed encountered a roadblock that is the one you mentioned. We have then tried to find possible solutions to circumvent that kind of problem. What we came up with is a different level progression compared to the default one that the engine allows (we have completely rewritten how levels are gained).

We decided to use a simple quadratic formula (formula below) and get rid of all the cubic elements that the default RPG Maker formula includes. On top of it, we decided to use multipliers that are smaller than the lowest number the engine allows you to use (10).
Code:
total_exp_for_level_up = level * (8 + 7 * level)
This means that every time you level up, the amount of experience required for the next level is always this:
Code:
exp_for_next_level = 8 + 7 * level
As you can see, even at level 20, where the amount of experience required to level up is 148, a single fight (which always rewards the player with at least 3 experience points) is still going to represent 2% of the total experience required to level up, even if those enemies were originally thought to be fought at level 1.

Not only that, since we wanted to factor in the possibility of players having to cover for lack of skill with levels, the threshold at which enemies experience starts to drop is not the expected level for a dungeon, but the expected level for the next dungeon + 3 (in our calculations the player is supposed to beat the game at level 32-38 so 3 represents a margin that is around 7-9%). As an extra safety measure to avoid that, the ratio at which the experience gained decreases is so that the player will still get a considerable amount of experience (over 50% of the total) for an extra 3 levels, stretching the total "cushion levels" to 6, covering for 16-20% of the whole game.

In short, each player will be able to safely gain 6 extra levels by grinding in a game where the expected end-game level is 32-38. We are planning to have 11 dungeons in total, which also means the player will always have a "low-level" dungeon where to gain experience to be slightly over-leveled; what we absolutely want to avoid is for players to gain that experience always in the same dungeon, without any need to explore nor to experience the challenges in the game.

We also took another safety measure regarding players' growth, but since that involves heavy calculations I am going to simply mention that growing after a certain point is not going to help you as much as before, meaning that the player can become tougher and more powerful, but that the extra power gained is not going to be tremendous.

I hope this will be enough to stem the issue you mentioned from escalating out of our reach.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -​

EDIT
I forgot to mention this, but the experience obtained from the average enemy (at least in our first dungeon) is going to be 5, so 1 point still represents 20% of that. Something tells me that this is a vital information to understand how the system works, but I completely forgot to mention it...I am terrible.
 
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Kes

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@Heirukichi That makes a lot of sense, and allays my concerns. Thank you for taking the time to explain your system so carefully.
 

Heirukichi

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It is still a bit early for big updates, but I was unable to contain my excitement. Today our first internal alpha prototype of the first is live and we have been able to test it with all the enemies involved in its exploration. Our main goal was that of draining around 40% of the total party resources (MP and HP) before reaching the boss room, so that the player could spend the remaining 60% of his or her resources in a somewhat epic fight.

Well, this is one of the play-test results right before the boss room (which is on the right side, where the mist comes from). I am honestly amazed to see how close this result is to our predictions.


Just to give you an idea of how close it is, I am going to disclose our actor's starting parameters.
Code:
  Alma   | Shinta  | Unnamed | Priest
---------|---------|---------|---------
 HP: 570 | HP: 570 | HP: 590 | HP: 550
 MP: 140 | MP: 160 | MP: 140 | MP: 150
Total Starting HP: 2280 - Total Starting MP: 590
Total HP before the boss-fight: 1444 (63.3% of the starting value)
Total MP before the boss-fight: 353 (59.8% of the starting value)

Average amount of resources left: 61.5%

I consider this being a huge success. Of course, there are other bugs that need to be fixed, as it happens for the alpha version of every single game in the world, but this result is heartwarming. I ran calculations for two whole weeks to balance the game before testing it and, knowing that, we were not expecting the final result to be too far from our goal, but, even so, never had we thought to get something THIS close.

It goes without saying that a result like this speeds up the process quite a lot. Hopefully, in a few weeks we will be able to disclose more information about our first play-test of the game. Stay tuned.
 

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Eagerly following this one, so I was curious if there is any progress to report on. Keep up the good work anyhow!
 

JosephSeraph

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We report primarily on our devlog at Tigsource, though we'll mirror it to Itch.io soon! That being said, there is progress! We're working on the equip menu now, while I model the pre-rendered background of the village outdoors :D
 

EuphemiaArtoria

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Wow, this is the first time I've seen a first person perspective game made in RPG Maker! I'm just gobsmacked seeing this, it's so different, so cool, I'm really keen to see more!

I like your plot synopsis, it has a good air of mystery to it that draws me into the story. All the character sprites look great, and I love the look of moving around the dungeons - I'm a huuuge fan of big textures where you can see the pixels, like Minecraft, and so I like the look of the dungeons especially. I wonder sometimes whether later versions of RPG Maker went too high res and lost some of this retro appeal, but that's beside the point. In the latest video, I also wanted to say, I like the sound of the footsteps, they're a good quality and add to the immersion. I know repetitive noises can become a sore spot, but I like these.

A couple of small points; when text boxes pop up at the start and end of combat, they're large and grey and they obscure two of the character portraits in the UI. Something strikes me as weird about this, the way the UI trips over itself. In combat you have a smaller text field that appears at the very bottom of the screen and doesn't clip so much, maybe you could use this rather than the normal text boxes? Or else, slim the text boxes down to the space in the middle of the screen? It's hard to express clearly, but it just seems like if these UI elements are all going to be on screen at once in the usual loop of play, they shouldn't be be fighting for space.

Also, seems weird that two characters are listed as "Unnamed1" and "Unnamed2" in all the screenshots. Even if it's just a placeholder, surely they should have some sort of name?

Anyway, love the look of this, will keep an eye out for demos in future!
 

Heirukichi

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Hello @EuphemiaArtoria and thank you for your feedback. We are glad that you appreciate the game that we are developing and we hope that we can provide more contents soon. We are currently working on the inventory menu, which might sound easy, but we are using almost none of the standard RM built-in windows for that and it is taking a while, and on the side-scroll town.

when text boxes pop up at the start and end of combat, they're large and grey and they obscure two of the character portraits in the UI.
We are aware of this issue. That message is actually just there for testing purposes, it literally has the default window and will be deleted before deployment. Of course, the same goes for our unnamed characters. Those were simply placeholders, right now they have fitting names.

Thank you again for your feedback and stay tuned for more updates.
 

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