RMVXA The Dark Heart | [Under Construction]

RCXDan

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"I've been waiting for you..."

Synopsis:

The dead slowly grow restless as devils crawl out of the shadows they call home. Something evil under the ground starts... stirring, inviting ghouls to your otherwise normal city simply by waking up. You, a relatively brilliant youth blessed with the power to control every element, have to go all across the globe to gather special keys so you can re-seal this evil force.

In the process, you discover truths about the world that had been erased from history and meet all sorts of interesting individuals; some of which become your new friends. Oh and one major thing: your choices matter.

-

This is The Dark Heart, a hybrid blend between an action game like Zelda and a traditional RPG, although more in the line of Earthbound or Undertale than anything else - both in the utilization of a modern setting, witty dialogue and meta elements. It'd also be accurate to say it's like Secret of Mana with how you can attack enemies on the overworld and complete puzzles using your equipment.

Features:


Features marked with aare in the demo, whileis for the full game release.

At least one dungeon
Quirky dialogue & humor to add levity to the game
A chase sequence oops did i say that out loud
Enemies on the overworld, no random battles
Being able to choose your gender and name the main character whatever you want
A bestiary that lets you see detailed stats about every monster in the game, even what species they are or where they're located
Being able to actually use weapons on the overworld
Your choices changing the narrative
Downing enemies in overworld combat makes turn-based combat easier
The Earthbound-style ability to instant kill enemies on the overworld without having to fight them if your level's high enough
Hotkeys for key items to avoid the tedium of going into the menu over and over
Dungeon keys you collect are added to the HUD so you don't lose track of them
You fully heal every time you level up
Autosave
Strafing
Regenerating MP for every character and limited item stack (aka. only 5 of this game's Megalixir at a time, etc.)
A Materia system, although it's limited to only one character at first
Cutscene skip
Quick-Swap. Pressing Q when you have more than one party member will automatically switch the characters around without having to go into the team-setup.


-

A crafting system in one specific area, only used to gain equipment or items you can't normally get
A maximum of 5 playable characters in a fight
13 playable characters each with their own unique skill or purpose (you don't get them all at once, of course, and they're spread up/change throughout the course of the journey)
A [redacted] that affects how characters react to you and the ending. You can go [redacted] or [redacted], and it's all up to you.
New Game +
A Mission system that lets you do side-quests
An Extra Story type of thing that lets you play an alternate scenario once the game is completed
A Class System just for the protagonist
Blue Magic for two characters
Characters that exist to subvert the Lost Forever trope - any important relic or unique item you didn't collect (say a town exploded and you can't re-visit it), they'll sell it to you for a price.
Big post-game where you have a fair amount of superbosses to fight

And quite a bit more.

Screenshots:







Characters:


* Protagonist (Canonically called Nero or Aurora Harmon) - A brilliant youth that lost their parents and home to the world's most powerful necromancer at the time. They have since been relocated by an eccentric-but-well meaning millionaire, and so far their life seems normal again... until the above happens, of course.

* Poppy Beaufort - A robot created by the genius heir of House Beaufort to serve as a flora and fauna surveyor. She's also an experiment to see if robots can not only act like people, but also have souls like them too. Super peppy and one of Protagonist's best friends.

* Hotaru Kuro - A brooding vampire gal that serves as the big sister of your group. She sticks around to see if you're being nice to Poppy and is devilishly skilled with a sword in combat due to her dark past.

* Doctor Lucius Dietrich - Said eccentric millionaire. His goals are a mystery, but he's a pleasant enough guy due to him letting you stay at his university dorms for free more or less.

Of course, these are just for starters.

WORLD & LORE (i promise it's short):


I'm not gonna tell you how exactly the world of Divixus came to be, of course. I'd much rather you experience it yourself and absorb all that info through the game itself, rather than me telling you.

But there is this: there's nine elements that govern how the universe works -
* Light
* Dark
* Luna
* Space
* Flame
* Frost
* Earth
* Storm
* Null

People can only be up to two native elements at birth (except Null, you can't dual-type Null), and learning anything outside of their scope requires spiritual training.

Magic is a daily part of life on Divixus, taking form through the elements and inherent in most of its people. There's also a lot more species than just humans; there's animal humanoids like bunny people, dog people, fairies and so on.

Deep beneath the earth lie horrible bio-mechanical demons that hunt any creature that crosses their path. Nobody knows where they came from, just that the barrier encircling the planet keeps the demons from surfacing.

The Excavator Guilds were founded to both combat these creatures and explore the ancient ruins they often reside in - basically my excuse to have old-timey adventurer groups in a modern setting.

Current Staff:


Only me. I am the game's primary programmer and writer, and I'm content with that being my job. Forgive me for the use of default assets and gaia online avatars though, since I am not that skilled of an artist or a musician - this is all placeholder as it is. Yeah, I can draw a mean monster or two, but I kinda need help in this regard.

You can find a credit list of all the resources I've used in the game's files, though. It's also the notepad file I've attached to this post.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...

THE DEMO!

[Currently removed as I'm fixing things, sorry. :kaocry: ]

Known bugs or things I can't fix on my own -

- Victor’s Moving Platforms is completely incompatible due to how the ABS engine uses tools, seeing as Moving Platforms requires pixel movement to work properly.

- Screw that we have a bigger problem. There’s a glitch where items can be used without consequence: items to revive characters can be wasted on living characters, consuming them for absolutely no reason. Why is it like this? You got me.

- Unable to fix the size of the icons for Yanfly Battle Engine, and this is a problem because the icons block the character portraits. (What I'm looking for is to shrink them slightly and place them away from the character.)

- I have yet to get Sturdy from Pokemon to work (aka. surviving a lethal hit with 1 HP)

- I’ve yet to figure out the speed up/slow down state thing. Best example I can give you is like, the skip sandwich from Earthbound where if you eat it your overworld movement is increased for a while.

Extra:


Oh, and for those interested, here is a playlist of all the major things I've done while testing things out and making the game. The stuff in here dates as far back as 2017, back when I first started getting serious with the engine.
 

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RCXDan

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Oops I completely forgot to upload the video of what the gameplay looks like!

Here it is:
 

RCXDan

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Update bump regarding the world:

There's six different towns located across the world and eight major dungeons, all of them based off of one of the elements. This is, of course, withholding information regarding any of the mini-dungeons or smaller places you come across during your journey, but I like to keep that stuff a mystery so when it's time you can see it for yourself.

* Larenne - A beautiful town loosely based off of Marseilles, France that serves as a hub of industry and commerce for the Moon Kingdom, Lunera. It's renowned for being at the foot of Reflection Summit, a legendary mountain where "people discover their true selves", or so the legend goes. This is where the demo actually takes place and is more or less your hub town for the real game.

* Alba - A border town between the Light Kingdom Soleria and the Dark Kingdom Umbreal, originally founded after the two countries had settled down from an tense cold war between each other. The town is split into two halves, light and dark, with a massive cathedral and mansion splitting them down the middle. However, the original town was said to be destroyed twenty years ago... whether this is true or not has never been properly confirmed. (This place is inspired by Italy in general, by the way.)

* Verdance Meadow - A sleepy village in the countryside of Terrantia, the Earth Kingdom. It is also the home to Queen Mani's Night Court, the premier hub of fairies in the world of Divixus. She and her court watch over the history of the world, as well as protect the secrets of the hidden Drasil Mansion from outsiders. Norway inspired if my notes and the names are anything to go by.

* Rusalka - A bustling port town located in chilly Glacientyr, the Kingdom of Frost. Named after a legendary sea nymph that's known for her benevolent nature, the town also serves as the headquarters of Excavator High Command. An island off the shore contains the Cascade Cathedral, an intricate underwater temple created to serve as a safe haven in ancient times.

* Miraja - A spicy hub of technological advancement located in Ignell, the Flame Kingdom. It's a part-desert, part-metal construct city located next to the famous Atla Volcano - which is thankfully dormant. Miraja is also home to the coliseum, a home for fighters of all skill levels to duke it out (non-lethally, of course). Hidden inside Atla Volcano is the defunct Zenith Arms Factory, an ancient superweapon manufacturing factory once facilitated by angels for... unknown purposes today.

* Oniwa Province - A town that's a mix between small humble neighborhoods and a big, busy technology-crazy district. This place is located in the Storm Kingdom of Venturia, and is based off of Japan (primarily Akihabara). This place is home to the Sky Shrine, a sacred temple floating high above the clouds. It's guarded by its terrestrial counterpart, the Land Shrine.

* Aeon Research Tower - [???]

* Libra Reformatory - [???]
 
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RCXDan

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I genuinely don't know what to talk about without massively spoiling my plans or asking for feedback on the demo, so have this picture of a cat I drew:


She will be important in the actual game, this isn't just me messing around. (Okay, maybe a little bit.)
 

TSR

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Looks interesting, but only for PC..
I tried, sorry....
 

RCXDan

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Looks interesting, but only for PC..
I tried, sorry....
It's alright, fam. I have considered making a Mac version since I want to show this to my cousin too, but I have no idea where to even start on that.
 

TSR

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For what I know, you just select Mac OS format upon deploying the project from the editor...
But after that, you'll need a mac to test the app
 

Tatsuya

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Looks interesting
 

RCXDan

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I've updated a few critical and non-critical things (thanks @HawkZombie for streaming it, I appreciate it, man. Everything you said was written down), so consider this a tiny version update post for the demo that already exists.

In order:

* Quick-Swap. Pressing Q when you have more than one party member will automatically switch the characters around without having to go into the team-setup.
* The chase sequence has been improved so that you automatically run in the right direction before you regain control
* The strafe button has been fixed to D on the keyboard.
* A proper cutscene skip has been implemented - instead of a prompt that shows up before the cutscene, it can be skipped while it's playing.
* A third booklet for basic movement has been introduced and mapped to 3 on the keyboard
* The trapped treasure chest has been made more obvious, with a warning beforehand
* The end of the demo is more clearly marked
* Shift no longer speeds up the text boxes, so no accidental text skipping because you're running into a character.
* The ABS skillbar button layout is now W-E-R-T-Y instead of what it was before
* Certain things have been made more clear
* The reason the BP/TP bars weren't showing up in battle is because the skill (X-Cut) wasn't using TP in the database. I'm using Yanfly's Cost Manager and gave it a percentage cost originally, but that's since been fixed. (Also, X-Cut is no longer restricted to a specific weapon.)
 
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RCXDan

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* There is now a more clear icon replacing the mysterious fist icon at the end of the ABS skillbar.

* Skills that require weapons are now placed in their own skill category and have icons marking which weapons are required.

Also, two major fundamental gameplay additions for the future:

TP/BP is getting overhauled from just being a second MP bar to something more akin to a fighting game's super meters. For starters, the maximum is getting changed from 100 to 400.

The cost of TP attacks are now exact variations of 100, with the most expensive being 400 (taking up the whole bar). The idea with them is that depending on the cost, the moves unleashed will have unique effects - usually extra devastating the more expensive it is.

Thanks to Yanfly's TP Manager, I can configure it so that certain actions give exact, flat rates so players can consistently strategize with the TP moves.

(Also something something enemies can use this system too, but that'd require testing)

I plan to include a "reason" command that the main protagonist can use, where they can converse with enemies on the battlefield to pacify/talk them out of fighting. That said, there will still be a lot of enemies who don't care and will attack you anyway, such as monsters or wild beasts.

(To make it extra obvious though, enemies that can be reasoned with will have either their names colored a certain way or have an icon next to them. Depends on what I go with)

The reason for this is primarily due to the [REDACTED] in the game. That said, you will still get experience and rewards even if you do it non-violently, primarily because it's also a valid form of winning the battle.
 
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RCXDan

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Another update for a major gameplay mechanic:

I have overhauled Falcao's Pearl ABS system to my liking - more specifically, the ABS skillbar.

Before it functioned like:

#1: Weapon
#2: Tool/Left Hand
#3: Item 1
#4: Item 2
#5: Skill 1
#6: Skill 2
#7: Skill 3
#8: Skill 4

But now it works more like:

#1: Weapon
#2: Tool/Left Hand
#3: Item 1
#4: Item 2
#5: Item 3
#6: Skill 1
#7: Skill 2
#8: Skill 3

Four skill slots was bothering me to begin with, seeing as there's a much greater emphasis on using items on the overworld anyway.
 

RCXDan

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March update now that I've had some time to breathe from college:

Plot -
* Spoilers.
* But in all seriousness I work on the story and world daily to enhance the experience. Probably to the extent where I'd be a little better off working in the editor :rswt
* I have been thinking of revising some older cutscenes to make them flow better

Gameplay -
* Fixed a softlock glitch towards the end that I somehow caused through revising a cutscene
* Fixed collision of some tilesets
* Made better use of the map space I already had
* Miscellaneous stuff like having the Status effect list divided by what different states do, like Turn Loss Statuses, HP Loss Statuses, Unique Statuses, Beneficial Effects and so on.

There's also the actual reason I made this post: this recent test of how to expand enemy reactions for combat. The details are in the description but I feel this will further expand what I can do with enemy encounters to make them even more engaging.
 

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