The Book of Shadows (Released 9.12.19)

Kes

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Just spent my lunch break to play this. Going well. I thought I'd report a few things before I lose the bit of paper I jotted them down on.

The large fireplace in the opening abandoned bunker. Event says "...and see may bat nests..." Should read "many bat nests".
The book about status inflictions consistently says "aliments". Might be different in US English, but in UK English that should be "ailments" - aliment might be derived from alimentation - to give nourishment.
NPC Elmwood East, the one who wants something from the sale - she is walking right and always comes to a halt on the tile below the treestump and never moves forward. Is that intended?
Curse appears to be missing from the status ailment list.
If you go to Josie's room (604) after leaving the refectory and before going to room 717, there is a sprite next to Phoenix's locker which does/says nothing.
After they discover the teleporters aren't working, Josie says to go to the locker room for her weapon. But I've already done that and got them, as she gives the code there as well.

I probably won't have much time to play any more for a while, but I'm looking forward to continuing this. It's fun.

EDIT
Just added another thing to the spoiler - it was on the back of the piece of paper!
 
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bgillisp

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Thanks for the feedback. Aliment keeps passing spellcheck so I'll have to check more which it should be but I think you're right on the error. Curse is a debuff so it should be there...though I'll admit I think next game I'm going to just call buffs and status ailments the same like Fell Seal did for ease of reference.

I'll investigate the others at home. Surprised you could even go to Josie's room again I though an event would shoo you so it must not be triggering right.

Edit: Ha, surprised you got the weapons already, the odds of knowing that code is low as that requires a replay. I'll look into adding something for that check though, but it will require me to find a switch that is free (there should be some in the 900's I haven't used).

Fixed the rest of them before lunch. I'll wait to send a new build though to see if more come up.
 
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Kes

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On the weapons - there must be a glitch somewhere, as this isn't a replay (obviously) and yet she just handed the code out. iirc, I may just have hit accept with whatever was already showing (0006?), and Josie then said something about maybe a digit is missing, and gave the code.

Query - did you intend Disease Cure to be battle only? The condition remains, is not cured at the healing crystal, I haven't yet learnt a skill to heal it (not enough SP), leaving me with the option of living with 15% stat reduction (ouch!) or having to use someone's turn in the next battle to heal up. That seems weird to me.
 

bgillisp

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That might be it, as she is supposed to tell it in the scene before at the teleporters. And if you fail then she will tell you the code again so you don't have to hope your memory was good. One tester forgot to write it down and forgot it by the time they were there actually.

Disease Cure is supposed to work out of battle. That might be a glitch, will check more into that. For now the best solution is to have Liana hold her SP until she can learn Restore, which I know is far from ideal but it will work for now. I did settle on Disease lasting out of battle too, it's the only ailment that does though. I felt that at 15% curing it at battle end made it kinda weak long run early game, then you get a cure spell shortly after that, but I'm open to suggestions on this if someone feels differently. As you may recall it did used to drop max HP but I did cut that from the state in the end as everyone seemed to feel it was too harsh.

I will have to check the crystals though as I thought they were set to heal Disease, as they are meant to cure that one too.

For now though if you get in a bad spot due to Disease and get stuck you can PM me your save game and I can remove it for you. That will work until I can get a build update out.
 

Marquise*

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*cybermental clapping hands* I wish there was a way to throw a premiere party.
 

Kes

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I have finished the game, and I must say that it was a very satisfying experience.

I enjoy longer games, with plenty of exploration and side quests, and The Book of Shadows certainly delivers on those preferences. The length is due to substantial content, not padding. Optional content - of which there is a lot - added greatly to the fun.

I also enjoyed the battle system. Being able to swap party members during battle, or equipment, to respond to the way the battles are evolving was a huge plus. I didn't use all the skills, because some seemed more fitting for a different play style to my own. And that's a good thing, in my opinion. If you want to play more defensively or more aggressively, you have a real choice. I never felt that there was one "correct" strategy needed to win, but the resources were there for me to use to turn things around if I'd messed up.

The story is very good, with some unexpected setbacks which the party has to deal with. The world is quite a deep one, with a well developed life of its own. I would have liked to know what it was about the new contract which had brought all the workers in the cheese factory out on strike, but that strike, and the towns' obsession over their monsterball teams, among other things, made it feel like this was a world which didn't just exist as a backdrop to daring deeds of heroism, which is often what worlds feel like.

This is a game which I can recommend. So congrats to bgillisp on finally getting this out. It's been worth the wait.
 

Indinera

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This game has gotten awesome feedback from my community, glad to have been given the chance to host and release it. B):thumbsup-left:
 

BlueMage

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So it has like 176 posts on the Aldorlea Games community, it seems to be better than i thought. But there isn't any youtube video about this game hmm (except of the trailer posted by Aldorelea themself, i mean a video of someone who have played this game)
 

bgillisp

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Working in it @BlueMage . I already contacted studioblue waiting response. I'll contact others soon too. If you can recommend others PM me.
 

Aoi Ninami

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I have some free time today, so I think I'll give the demo a try :)
 

Indinera

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So it has like 176 posts on the Aldorlea Games community, it seems to be better than i thought. But there isn't any youtube video about this game hmm (except of the trailer posted by Aldorelea themself, i mean a video of someone who have played this game)
It's a well-received game. My community loves a long RPG and TBoS delivers in that area.
 

bgillisp

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For those inquiring about videos, @HawkZombie has been nice enough to stream the Intro and Chapter 1 on his twitch stream. You can find the video on his channel here:
Code:
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/494758044
He plans to stream more of it tonight (Wednesday October 16th) on the channel starting at 8 pm MST if you wish to watch. Link to the current stream is here:
Also here is the youtube video of the same stream:
 
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bgillisp

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Work has started on the sequel to this game. Here is the early (rough draft) summary of it. Once it is a little less rough I'll make a new thread page for it. I'll put it in a spoiler.

Tentative Title: Montagor's Legacy

In the year 2015, Montagor was defeated by Brent and Christine in a battle in Washington D.C. Or so the legend goes. The truth is, no one has good records on what really happened that day, all we know is Montagor disappeared that day, as his body was never found. Also his daughter Julia was never found after that battle either, as to where she ran off to, or if she still lives, no one knows.

Now the year is 2043, and rumors are circulating that Montagor was not defeated, and in fact still lives. Members of a group who claim to be loyal to Montagor have found out about the portal between Earth and Esteron, and are attempting to claim it for themselves. What do these people want the portal for? Is Montagor still alive? And what does this mean for the people of both worlds if he is indeed still living?
 

jkweath

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Great to hear you're working on a sequel!

I picked up Book of Shadows a few days ago (as you already know). I haven't beat it yet, but I wanted to go ahead and post with my impressions. It'll probably take a long time for me to finish, especially since an RTS remake I've been looking forward to releases tomorrow.

I've been using RPGMaker for many years now, but Book of Shadows is the first RPGM game I've played from a developer besides myself. I've wanted to play other RPGM games for awhile mostly to see how other developers like yourself do things differently. I can definitely tell from playing Book of Shadows that there's a ton of improvement to be made on my end, so I'd call this experience a success!

I've made it just past the underwater portion about 6 hours in. I've had a great time so far. My thoughts and impressions below:

-After experiencing on-screen encounters for the first time, I can say that I'm definitely sold on it over random encounters. I know this for sure because I found myself not enjoying the switch to random encounters in the Blackmire and Underwater. I've always avoided implementing OSE myself just because it's a big hit to development time, but at this point I think it's worth the time spent.

-Like KES said above, the battle system is unique and tailored to multiple playstyles, which is a great thing. I'll admit it took me awhile to get used to how fast-paced the battles are; I do wish they were slowed down just a tiny bit so I can have the chance to read what's in the battle log during combat, but it's not a big deal. I was initially overwhelmed by the sheer volume of states, skill choices, equipment variety, and so on but it didn't take me long to catch up.

-I love the character portrait art. I actually laughed during the scene on the beach where Cedric gets out a fork and a knife before trying to eat a crab.

-Also love the map designs. Having huge, detailed maps combined with on-screen encounters makes the game really feel like an adventure.

-The only major complaint I've had so far can be summed up in two words: Dialogue Fatigue. I don't mind the frequency of the conversations at all. I appreciate how often the characters stop to talk since the conversations almost always result in character growth or world-building. That said, I've found myself becoming mentally exhausted enough from the volume of text in some conversations that I've actually had to take breaks from playing just to give my mind a rest.

I don't know if many other players have had the same problem (I have a really short attention span, so it really could just be me), but if so, I wonder if it could be remedied by cutting down a bit on "fluff text", i.e. dialogue that doesn't serve much purpose or have any personality to it.

I personally went on a mission to cut down "fluff text" in my own games with Finding Light and Knight Eternal by purposefully reducing the message box size to 3 lines, sometimes even just 2 lines if a name needed to be shown. This was a great exercise for me as it challenged me to word dialogue in a way that got the point across without cutting out necessary information or a character's personality traits.

I'm absolutely not recommending you put that limitation on yourself--but, if you find yourself filling up all four lines of a dialogue box, it could be helpful to ask "could I get the same result in three lines, or even two?". This could go a long way for keeping players engaged in the story without becoming exhausted.

-Cedric's "Defense Tips" auto-skill plays its animation on every individual party member at the beginning of every battle! I don't know if every auto-skill is like that, but it does start to get old after awhile!

And that's about it so far. I'm looking forward to finishing the game and definitely looking forward to the sequel!
 

bgillisp

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Thanks for the feedback! A couple comments:

-Glad you are liking it! For the encounters, blackmire is not random (though it will kinda feel like it I admit, maybe something to fix next game?), the enemies attack only on squares with plants. Once you defeat them the plant vanishes and they do not return. The swamp it is you can't see them due to the grass, but there are a fixed number of them. Underwater though is random but if you break level 17 (average) they stop attacking you.

-The dialogue one has been mentioned by a few I will admit.To fix it in future games, I'm considering an option to skip the dialogue or see a short summary instead next time. Might be a good idea for replays anyways.

-Most Auto Skills are not that way, that was a case of I didn't have another animation for it that worked. If I can find a good one for it that is on all I'll update it.

And thanks! I just hope the sequel doesn't take me 5 years to make like this one did.
 
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Indinera

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I, for one, love it when characters talk often and have long dialogues. I tend to pass it though on the first playthrough (too impatient to complete the game), and come back to it later in a second one, so definitely adds replayability imo.
 

jkweath

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+1 on the idea of allowing players to skip cutscenes--though I could see some players skipping a scene, only to immediately become confused if they're not reminded on where to go next. Then again, there's so much story and stuff to learn that, if a player finds themselves wanting to skip a scene, they're probably playing the wrong game to begin with. Still, could be worth looking into for a New Game+ sort of thing.

Yeah, I've also been enjoying the frequent conversations. I thought about it a bit and realized I've had far less dialogue fatigue after chapter 3-4 or so. I think some others have pointed out the spacing between conversations is better past a certain point as well.

Perhaps my problem is the pacing for chapter 1 rather than the text itself. There's a lot of conversations that occur in chapter 1 (and 2 as well, if I recall) without a lot of action in-between. It's understandable considering how vast the world and the story are. I don't know if or how I'd change anything, but it might be something worth taking into consideration for the sequel.
 

bgillisp

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@jkweath : Valid points. It's possible my timing of them improved as the game went in on dev too, which might be why most say it feels better later in the game. Hard to say.

Since in the sequel the characters know more of what is going on there shouldn't be as much a need to explain things in the beginning, so it should speed things up. Though I will put optional lore books and such if you want to read up on it.

PS: This reminds me, I still need to play Mari and the Black Tower! I bought it like ages ago, so hopefully I'll get to it soon and can let you know what I think.
 

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