RMVXA [Revamped Demo Ver. 1.2] Battle Castle: Shadow From the Past [Story-Focused Dark Fantasy]

Beregon

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After some feedback, I've made some changes and fixes. The updated demo is uploaded.
  • Made a new title screen and modified the game over screen
  • Modified skills so spamming attack is less attractive
  • Added dummy skills that show what attack and dodge actually do
  • Made Joseph comment on Draxus stealing people's stuff
  • Made the main Mountain Village pathway less snow covered so you can tell where they go
  • Changed the battle music and after combat music
  • Decreased HP, MP, and TP bar color saturation
  • Made a conditional branch that checks if you have a bow equipped or in your inventory before going into the forest
  • Changed the quest journal icons to match the player status icons
  • Fixed a few other minor issues

Ok, so I've tried the new demo. I've got to the part where Ralir joins the party and we have a quest to go to Battle Castle. However, it seems I can't leave the Mountain Village. Whenever I try to leave through the southern road with the signpost, Draxus says "The guard said the old mine is through the forest, that's eastwards." like I'm still at the "explore the mine" stage. And there's no other exit from the village that I can find. Is that a bug or does the demo just end there?


Anyway, here's my thoughts on what I've played so far:

Thoughts As I Played The Demo: Alright, the prologue is much better. Draxus has better reactions to things around him, the dialogue is much more believable without being dry, there's no random people breaking into monologues or talking about their personal history like before... atleast so far. I can dig this, you really nail the feeling you seem to be going for.

Also, that nonsensical opening from the original demo where Draxus and Joseph decide to just follow a shady cultist down a well for no reason is thankfully absent and replaced with a quest to forage for berries. When the cultist dudes show up, it doesn't feel out of place unlike in the original. Great!

By the way, the Mountain Village look good before, but now it looks amazing! The new music is also much better fit than what was there before.

Alright, so they find a man dressed in a cloak that perfectly conceals their features. You know, the stereotypical shady bloke. Yet when they go to report it to the guard, they don't mention how suspiciously dressed he was. Just that he was looking at some stone archway and then fled. That seems like an oversight, one would think that would be the first thing they'd notice as odd about them.

Maybe also mention something about those berries around the stone archway being rotten? Something like "that place seems like bad news, maybe someone should have a look at it" and the guard could be like "very well, I'll see to it that the lord is aware of it" or something along those lines.

Might be a good idea to add some flavor text to the place where the cultist fled, something like "He went into the deep forest, it's not a good idea to chase after him." or something like that.

It seems Draxus and Joseph have switched personalities from the original a bit. In that version, Draxus unquestioningly went to whatever danger he could find, while Joseph was hesitant. Here, Draxus is the hesitant one and also a bit scared, while Joseph is eager for adventure. Interesting contrast.

"I've become part of the mountain's shadow. Unmoving, unchanging." That line seems a bit heavy for the scene it's in, but it reveals more about Draxus's character nicely.

Draxus and Joseph just attacking the cultist in the mine seems a bit out of place. They didn't really witness anything that warrants that reaction yet. Maybe have the two witness the cultists doing something evil beforehand or maybe have the dialogue before be more malevolent to make it obvious that these guys are bad news and a threat to the whole village to make the actions of the protagonists seem more justified.

Draxus has an inner dialogue with himself, kinda neat.

The Dodge skill seems pretty useless so far. Maybe I just have really bad luck, but I didn't manage to dodge anything so far.

Might be a good idea to add an autosave before the cultist fight, so that you don't have to watch the cutscene and pick up random gemstones again if you fail. The fight isn't exactly trivial.

The heavy exhaustion status symbol sometimes shows up even if Joseph just has Mild Exhaustion, it returns to normal when you open skill menu.

Alright, so after talking to the Lord, they go to Draxus' house, once there, they say a few sentences, then the guard tells them to return to the Lord and suddenly Ralir is there too. This is a ridiculously short timeframe for that to happen. Makes the world feel much smaller than it should be. The village they live in is presumably some small, backwater mining settlement, not something that's stone's throw to the capital, the news shouldn't travel that fast. Or give some reason why it is like that.

Maybe there could be a timeskip after Draxus and Joseph have their little chat in the house. Maybe Draxus could then go to sleep and have another dream like at the start, but this one is different somehow to keep the mystery going? Then after he wakes up, Joseph knocks on the door and says they have to see the Lord again. Maybe have him talk about some fancy mage that arrived to the village in the morning (Ralir).

Or maybe have it be that Ralir was already in the village for some reason, but he was on some errand somewhere when Draxus and Joseph return from the mine and they needed to wait until he returns.

For some reason, you can't talk to the Lord after Ralir joins the party. He could atleast say "Safe travels!" or something.

I have a quest to go to Battle Castle. The only way out of the village seems to be the road that goes South, but whenever I try to leave, Draxus says "The guard said the old mine is through the forest, that's eastwards." This is either a bug or the end of the demo.


Notes: Really great title screen.

The portraits have different facial expressions depending on emotion, nice touch!

Really great mapping, music choice and overall presentation is really good!

That waterfall in the Mountain Village is awesome!

Really great tileset!

The dialogue is much better than before, Draxus and Joseph have more personality now. Draxus himself seems less naive, it fits the new tone of the game more, even if I miss the uber-pure Draxus of the original game.

During the cutscene where Draxus and Joseph encounter the wolf, Draxus and Joseph are at the same tile after transfer, might be better to temporarily disable followers for that cutscene and have Joseph show up as an event beside Draxus. Or maybe just have Draxus take a step forward after transfer so that Joseph is visible.

Heroism and similar skills could use a better skill description. I know what "Self-target Rate" is, but for someone unfamiliar with RPG Maker it would be much harder to deduce.

When Draxus and Joseph are hiding from the cultist dude, might be better to have Joseph somewhere else other than the same tile as Draxus.

The combat system is better than the original demo, pretty good and original!
 

cthulhusquid

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@Beregon
Thank you for your response, your praise of the new demo means the world to me! :kaoluv:Getting the dialog and combat right was really challenging, but I'm proud of the end result.
Now, as far as your specific points:

Alright, so they find a man dressed in a cloak that perfectly conceals their features. You know, the stereotypical shady bloke. Yet when they go to report it to the guard, they don't mention how suspiciously dressed he was. Just that he was looking at some stone archway and then fled. That seems like an oversight, one would think that would be the first thing they'd notice as odd about them.

That's definitely an oversight, and will get fixed. I'll also consider adding some more flavor to the clearing with the archway.

Draxus and Joseph just attacking the cultist in the mine seems a bit out of place. They didn't really witness anything that warrants that reaction yet. Maybe have the two witness the cultists doing something evil beforehand or maybe have the dialogue before be more malevolent to make it obvious that these guys are bad news and a threat to the whole village to make the actions of the protagonists seem more justified.
The cultists are trying to stay hidden from the Village, so they are avoiding any outwardly evil actions. I'll make the dialog more evil instead.

The Dodge skill seems pretty useless so far. Maybe I just have really bad luck, but I didn't manage to dodge anything so far.

Might be a good idea to add an autosave before the cultist fight, so that you don't have to watch the cutscene and pick up random gemstones again if you fail. The fight isn't exactly trivial.

The heavy exhaustion status symbol sometimes shows up even if Joseph just has Mild Exhaustion, it returns to normal when you open skill menu.
  1. You did have bad luck, but the evasion chance was only at 50%. I'll bump it up to 80%.
  2. I'm not sure if that's possible, but I can look at the autosave script I'm using to see if I can do specific script calls.
  3. That's a graphical glitch, it has something do with how states refresh at the start of your turn but I have no idea how to fix it. It doesn't affect the gameplay though.
Alright, so after talking to the Lord, they go to Draxus' house, once there, they say a few sentences, then the guard tells them to return to the Lord and suddenly Ralir is there too. This is a ridiculously short timeframe for that to happen. Makes the world feel much smaller than it should be. The village they live in is presumably some small, backwater mining settlement, not something that's stone's throw to the capital, the news shouldn't travel that fast. Or give some reason why it is like that.

Maybe there could be a timeskip after Draxus and Joseph have their little chat in the house. Maybe Draxus could then go to sleep and have another dream like at the start, but this one is different somehow to keep the mystery going? Then after he wakes up, Joseph knocks on the door and says they have to see the Lord again. Maybe have him talk about some fancy mage that arrived to the village in the morning (Ralir).

Or maybe have it be that Ralir was already in the village for some reason, but he was on some errand somewhere when Draxus and Joseph return from the mine and they needed to wait until he returns.

For some reason, you can't talk to the Lord after Ralir joins the party. He could atleast say "Safe travels!" or something.

I have a quest to go to Battle Castle. The only way out of the village seems to be the road that goes South, but whenever I try to leave, Draxus says "The guard said the old mine is through the forest, that's eastwards." This is either a bug or the end of the demo.
I agree, it's a really short timeframe. I really like your idea of Draxus sleeping and having another dream, I can do some cool foreshadowing with that. I can also play around with other reasons for Ralir to arrive so fast.
That is the end of the demo, so I will add an option to either go back to the title screen or keep playing if the player wants to explore more.

During the cutscene where Draxus and Joseph encounter the wolf, Draxus and Joseph are at the same tile after transfer, might be better to temporarily disable followers for that cutscene and have Joseph show up as an event beside Draxus. Or maybe just have Draxus take a step forward after transfer so that Joseph is visible.

Heroism and similar skills could use a better skill description. I know what "Self-target Rate" is, but for someone unfamiliar with RPG Maker it would be much harder to deduce.

When Draxus and Joseph are hiding from the cultist dude, might be better to have Joseph somewhere else other than the same tile as Draxus.

I'll fix the tile transfer issues as well, and change the skill descriptions to something more natural.
 

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