Sparrowhead and the Lost King

Haofeng

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This game is a work in progress, which is in the early stages of development! If you want to cut straight to the good stuff and judge me from there, there are screenshots to see.
If you are more interested in learning about the project, and me, go down to the Dev Notes where I've written some random things that you can check out.
 ​
06/06/2015 UPDATE - A few new screenshots added, along with some refined art for Aria in the Dev Notes!
 

 ​
Sparrowhead and the Lost King, at a glance;
Traditional RPG, modern ideas, bright art direction, original monster design, large maps, original characters, original menus, story-driven game...





It's just another normal day for quite a normal girl, Skye. When walking through the forest near her home, she stumbles across a sparrow at the bottom of a tree. This sparrow, however, can talk. Before she even has time to think about why this sparrow is talking, it pleads with her to help him regain his memories. Oh, yes. He also conveniently has amnesia. Always happy to help, and perhaps somewhat influenced by the fact that this is a talking sparrow(!), Skye agrees. The sparrow, who takes his place upon the top of Skye's head, suddenly whisks them away to another world, where their journey begins - a journey of discovery and rediscovery, and a journey to help a little sparrow find his way back home.

Little does Skye know, this new world is in turmoil. The King has been missing for around 40 years, and with no traces of him to be found, riots, fighting, invasion, and poverty and stricken the land. Although this place might seem fantastical, something sinister lurks just out of sight... Something which threatens the whole world.







A vast world awaits Skye, from rolling fields to bleak mountains. This is a Kingdom which at it's centre sits the Royal State of King's Perch. What once was a majestic and affluent place, however, has become a shadow of its former self. The peace of every corner of the vast kingdom is threatened, from the big cities to the smallest of villages.

The world is made up of several provinces, each with a distinct characteristics. Provinces are vast maps containing their own species of monsters, and several settlements to visit. Exploration of this huge world will be rewarded.

World Map coming soon! (When I get around to producing a lineart version...)







Sparrowhead is a more traditional style RPG in that it features a cast of four playable characters, which form the party. This means these four characters can have a greater focus for character development and also allows the player to more easily manage their levelling and general upkeep. Guest characters do appear throughout the story, however the four characters listed here make up the party for the majority of the game!

Check the dev notes for some concept artwork for the new character profile art. The artwork used in the profiles below is based on the in-game sprites, and as such, doesn't look so good blown up to these sizes. I will most likely replace these with updated art when I can finish them.

Note, this artwork is slightly outdated. The in-game sprite is based off of better artwork, which I've somehow managed to lose... Anyway, I'm not sure, I think her eyes are kind of oddly positioned in this one? Could be me, though. Feel free to give me feedback about this.















Confirmed Feature List:

  • Traditional style turn-based RPG gameplay, with a four character party.
  • Well written, engaging plot, filled with twists and turns, and all the things you'd expect from a great RPG story.
  • Expansive MMO style world, filled with large maps to explore. Maps contain numerous settlements, quests, dungeons, and overall have nice map design and realistic geometry.
  • Simple, but charming artwork with a modern art direction - cel-shaded character art, charming monsters, and appealing visual elements make Sparrowhead a pleasure to play.
  • Original monster design - no RTP monsters here!
  • Custom menus, battle graphics, message boxes, title screen, etc.
  • Unique gameplay mechanics for each playable character, such as magic synthesis and blacksmith systems.
Possible Features List:

  • Day/Night Cycle, with weather? Could be a possibility however it will need to look good and have an impact on gameplay.
  • CG artwork with in-game gallery.
  • Character schedules.




The part you've no doubt all been waiting for... I hope I somehow live up to your expectations!

New screenshots at the bottom! This is because a lot of people haven't seen the thread yet so I want to allow to see the screenshots as the game progressed, not in reverse.



Dynamic title screen, which plays directly into the opening of the game. The graphics will probably change since I'm a perfectionist and there some things that are slightly out of position to me. The map itself isn't actually finished yet anyway, since I still need to do a final shift-mapping, and sort out the grass and shadows.



A brief look at the opening scene, showing off the general feel of the game and the art direction.





Sparrow, fog, lighting... Things like that.



The menu screen, probably will change some elements, again because I'm a perfectionist.



Magic Synthesis screen, which is a fully working system, not just some mock-up.





The battle screen. It looks a little nicer when the full four party members are in battle, but it's just as good here I think. Also, showing some of the monster design.



Not the most attractive piece of mapping here, but I just feel like I need to make it apparent that I know how to shift-map haha. Also, the weather and lighting changes dynamically as you move through maps. The map itself is from a much larger first area of the game, seen below.



Shrunk down a lot, but that's the bottom half of the first game area, showing the scope of the maps.

UPDATE - 06/06/2015:

Some people told me that they don't think the deep purple colours are very suitable considering the screenshots I uploaded previously were all in dark environments. The game actually has a lot of scenes in the daytime that weren't completed when I took the screenshots. So, here a few taken in mid-afternoon... What do you guys think of the colours?





(The cloud overlay continues into battle, which is kind of odd... Not sure if I like this haha)



(Aria's debut! Kind of haha. The shadows in this map aren't completed yet, which is why it might look kind of odd)



 

More to come, no doubt.


This is where I'll post my random musings, and any other visual stuff that doesn't have a set place.

UPDATE: 06/06/2015

Building on the concept art I uploaded a few days ago, I've refined Aria. The entire image is done, however I want to redo the shading, so here is a preview of her face.



 

UPDATE: 03/06/2015

I've done pencil sketches of what will most likely be the character portraits used for promotions and in the status screen... This probably won't replace the in game sprites already in use, because those looks better at smaller sizes, but will no doubt replace the character profile art. They're both still early rough sketches on paper, so expect a few mistakes and some proportion issues.

Skye:



Aria:



02/03/2015:

Thank you for making it this far, and please leave absolutely any thoughts and opinions. Be as harsh as you like with criticism, I'd rather know than go along with something which someone later tells me is absolute trash!

Right now, the game is in a very early stage of development where I'm still making everything look how I want it to visually, and implementing all the gameplay systems. As such, the story content isn't implemented yet, expect for the bare minimum to give me some room to test various gameplay mechanics and other stuff. As of now, two out of four of the gameplay systems tied to the characters are done, and the majority of the visual aspects are done. I'll tweak them, no doubt, but the only other visual aspect is the save/load screen, which I've yet to do.

The story itself is fully planned, and I know exactly where I'm heading, in that respect. Implementing it, however... That's another story.

I feel like it might be useful to briefly introduce myself since I'm rather new to this forum.

I'm Connor, or haofeng93, and I've been using RPG Maker for well over ten years now. I've pretty much constantly been tinkering with something on RPG Maker all this time, and this is my first serious project with serious aims. I like to believe I'm pretty competent with RPG Maker, so I hope it shows. I'm a university student myself, majoring in Chinese, so any Chinese members can approach me with any questions if they'd like to haha.

That's all I really have to say about myself.
Some final credits:

A full list of script credits will be done later, but if you notice a script used in the demo which happens to be yours/someone you know, thank you immensely for being vastly more intelligent than me and being able to script these amazing things. I'll give you full credit soon, so I hope that you don't mind until I have made a full list! You'll definitely be credited should this project be released!

The artwork and design was done entirely by me, and me alone, with the exception of the monster design. Those were done by a close friend who will also be credited. I produced the final lineart and sprites for them. I know my artwork isn't exactly the best, so feel free to give me criticism about it! Friends tend to avoid telling you how it honestly looks, so an impartial judge is far better.
 
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Miss Nile

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Ooh I like the looks of this game. The story is interesting and I am already liking the characters, especially our little sparrow. ^^

The screenshots are looking lovely too. One thing that's bugging me though is the purple windowskin and menu interface-it just contrasts too much with the rest of what the screen has and covers about half of the map. Not very eye-pleasing to be honest. So yup, if anything needs to be changed in my opinion, it would be that.
 

Schlangan

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Okay, from what I see, the mapping is good, though two of the three example maps are a bit dark.


From my opinion the menus are in contrast far too flashy; pink/purple/fuchsia is a bit excessive for a background color. I'm not sure I could play more than few minutes with such aggressive colors. Also, why are the skills in battle almost out of the corresponding window ?


Edit : Miss Nile was faster than me :o
 
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Haofeng

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@Miss Nile, Thanks for your quick response! Which part do you mean in particular? The message box or the actual menu screen?

@Schlangan. Thanks to you too, you responded basically just as fast haha. I deliberately chose quite a bright colour but maybe it is a tad on the aggressive side lol. What colour do you think would work better? I've had some people tell me they like the saturated colours, but it'd be interesting to know what kind of colour scheme others think would be good. Colours can be quite a divisive thing, after all.

As for the skills being outside of the menu, it's just how I designed the message box. I don't mind the skills being partly out of the window since the design theme was originally intended to be kind of non-uniform and somewhat 'messy', but if you think it looks a little odd then it's definitely a very easy fix, and I actually don't mind it that way either! 

And general comments, the map in the screenshot is very dark because it's the first area which is mainly rainy... But since it's huge I haven't had a chance to get the player out of it and into a more bright and cheerful environment. Maybe the colour scheme does stand kind of at odds with the screenshots since it is so dark for the first part of the game. Perhaps I can make a test map to have a look how it'd work in a more bright and sunny environment?
 

Schlangan

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The colors may be highly saturated, but with a lower brightness then. Indeed a brighter environment would create less contrast, post one when you can ^^. As for the message box, irregular contours are good, but I think it would be better if the text still remained inside. You can just shift it by 10 pixels or so towards the bottom.


Oh and also, you should decrease the opacity of the HELP? words in the Help window, it makes it a bit messy to read the actual help.
 

Haofeng

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@Schlangan, Yeah, it's not a huge deal to change it so I'll just shift it slightly. As for the HELP? in the menu, it actually scrolls which makes it kind of easier to read the text above it since the background portion isn't set in place, but I agree it could do with a slightly decrease in opacity, so I'll do that too.

Thanks again for your feedback, it really means a lot!

UPDATE: New concept art added to dev notes!
 
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Haofeng

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Bump!

I've added new screenshots showing the game running during a daytime scene, so people can get a feel for how the colours of the HUD look with a brighter atmosphere. Let me know what you think!

There's also new concept art, and character art in the Dev Notes, which will eventually replace their character profile art and status screen art (the sprites will remain the same since they look good smaller).

Thanks in advance everyone!
 

Schlangan

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Well personally I still don't like the fuchsia color, but that's just my personal opinion ^^ From an objective point of view, though, it's indeed less aggressive in bright environments. But, keep in mind that at some point the player will reach the dark areas, and our concern will then persist in that case. Maybe going a bit towards blueish colors would be better, I'm not sure.


Concerning the fog over the battle, since you chose face battlers, it's indeed a bit strange. Also, for the "NPC" face, do you plan to put faces on all NPCs or just letting NPC written for non important characters ?
 

Haofeng

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Well personally I still don't like the fuchsia color, but that's just my personal opinion ^^ From an objective point of view, though, it's indeed less aggressive in bright environments. But, keep in mind that at some point the player will reach the dark areas, and our concern will then persist in that case. Maybe going a bit towards blueish colors would be better, I'm not sure.

Concerning the fog over the battle, since you chose face battlers, it's indeed a bit strange. Also, for the "NPC" face, do you plan to put faces on all NPCs or just letting NPC written for non important characters ?
Thanks for your fast response again!

Yeah, indeed it might be a bit bright. When I get a chance I might play around with altering the colours, but since that fuchsia is kind of reoccurring throughout the menus and battle HUD, it might take some time to change them all. If that fails, I might just have the message window change saturation depending on what scene is playing, something which I had originally planned for certain characters anyway. So when it's daytime, the box is bright, and when it's night time, it becomes more desaturated. Just a thought, though!

As for the NPC circle, it was mainly a place-holder. However, because I'm doing all the art myself, I decided I might use the NPC circle for anyone who isn't in a story scene. So, people wandering around villages would have it. The world is pretty huge, so I'm not sure if doing art for every NPC would be viable.

Can I ask what you think about the new direction is art in the dev notes. Like I said, I had planned on using these for their profiles and status images, and keeping the more simplistic and 'cute' sprites for in game. I personally think the sprites look better when their shrunk since that was their initial use (as you can see in the screenshots), but I don't like how they look blown up in the character profiles. What's your opinion on this, if you don't mind me asking?
 

Schlangan

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Like I said, I had planned on using these for their profiles and status images, and keeping the more simplistic and 'cute' sprites for in game. I personally think the sprites look better when their shrunk since that was their initial use (as you can see in the screenshots), but I don't like how they look blown up in the character profiles. What's your opinion on this, if you don't mind me asking?
I have a hard time understanding exactly what you mean; what do you mean by "in game" as opposed to the "profiles and status images" ? Did you mean to keep the current pictures for battles, wheras you intend to switch to the new ones for menus ?


Anyways, I like the new images, and I'm curious how to create shading, since that's something I clearly lack in my own facesets (done with... MS Paint xD). It looks like far better than simple coloring. Now, to decide whether it is better or not inside the game, you'd have to put some screen captures to show what it would look like at that point. That would be easier for us to tell you what we like the most.
 

Haofeng

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I have a hard time understanding exactly what you mean; what do you mean by "in game" as opposed to the "profiles and status images" ? Did you mean to keep the current pictures for battles, wheras you intend to switch to the new ones for menus ?
Sorry, I realise what I wrote was kind of confusing. I was going to treat the new art as their character portraits, and display them on the Status screen and use them online on the character profiles. I was going to keep the sprites for when they talk and in battle the same, since I have to draw a lot of those and the more simple style is easier for me to manage.
 

Schlangan

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Okay, that's why I partly understood. Concerning the NPC, you should still do something else than writing "NPC", it's a bit sad for a roleplay game :D


You could for example draw a shape of a body in dark or something, just to show that there is someone, but that his face does not need to be shown.
 

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