RMVXA The living among the dead

hinola

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Greetings
Time to present my submission for the no-travel game jam.


Let's say it now, the game wwon't be finished on time.
But I will post what I have for now.
Everything is ready, I just don't have the time to correctly create the content.
The dialogs and specifics of each area take time.
Few features are miss here and there...
Yet the game is playable, and the story can be started.

I will also update this presentation step by step, I post today to be in time, but things will evolve.

Presentation

The living among the dead is closer to an adventure game than an rpg.
My big inspirations and influences for this one are clearly Tomb raider and A plague tale : innocence.
I started the game the first week of april, with just a bunch of tilesets and scripts I made.

The story came up while I was traveling in France, crossing lost villages in the middle of nowhere.
I wondered what are the stories of these villages, if there were something unique behinf their walls.

And the story created itself in my head.
With a starting point of my own - Story about protecting or mentor a child, I added the idea of a dark and old secret.
The game I was playing then, A plague tale, helped me on that last point.

But I was driving, so I didn't write anything, and lost a lot I think.
And after adaptation, the game changed from the original story.
Meh

Synopsis

Son of feckless parents, raised in an orphan and recently out of some kind of military service, you have been asked to visit and investigate a village lost in the French countryside.
Placed at the edge of a wood, out of sight, several kilometers from the nearest hamlet, the village seems to live its life peacefully.
You are planning to stay here for three days, pretending to be a traveler, proposing your help.
You get to know very nice people in a warm setting. They even offer dinner with a few inhabitants every evening.

So beautiful and simple, it could be suspicious.
And when you add uncultivated people, the appearance of blood on the ground, the distrust of some, and the problems of a young woman, you understand that all this life will only last for a short ... period.

Download

Some of the topics covered may be 16+
Link to the itch.io page :

Features

Reworked controles
- menus are responsible to the mouse
- WASD or ZQSD movements
- Q or A to switch between windows (for the craft menu)
- R to switch between exploration and fight mode
- E to interact with pnjs and furniture
Exploration :
- SPACE to interact with environment (climb, jump)
Fight :
- mouse to orient the character
- mouse left to hit
- mouse right to guard
- E to perform a lethal hit
- SPACE to perform a special hit
- A to use accessory (In a later version)

Crafting and gathering
You can craft usefull items, gather materials, and refine them to create better tools.
- Bandages
- Surins and lockpicks (In a later version)
- Alchemical mixture (In a later version)

Learning skill
A simple tech tree to learn skills can be accessed in the camp fire menu.
You have 7 path :
- Guard
- Counter-attack
- Fight
- Kill
- Special
- Attack from the back
- Crafting
More will come :
- Alchemy
- intimidation

Technical section

Mapping
I choosed to do something I usually never do :
One big map.
As the jam them is "no travel", I wanted to anchor my game in that idea by creating only one outside map.
120*120, 90 events, and finally not so much dead spaces.
Because of the lack of time, there are actually dead spaces. But they will come to life with the final version.
The inside maps have to be the same size as the outside.
I cheat only a little bit on wall size and ignore them, but it's more for a praticability reason.

Menu
For the jam version, I let the player savec when he wants, and access the main menu.
For two reasons :
- I didn't made the final menu yet
- Because it's still a beta and saving is important, for tests and in case of bugs.
I will remove the save later because
- I often replace events on the map depending the progression, and even with the efforts I made, loading during the tutorial may make events go back to their initial place.
- Many things will be saved in real time not in the save file, but in the profile file.

Profiles
You have to create a profile to play. (just a clic)
Then, you can start a new game, and only one per profile.
(you can create a lot of profiles)
The reason is that some things you do in game will be saved in the profile, and will stay persistent.
But it will come fully with the final version, so I won't explain more for now.

AEC
My project have curently only one script for features : advanced events commands.
- An other one is for graphics reason (remove shadows) and one is more of a tool (mapshots) -
It allow me to draw windows, make choices, create menus...
It's my current main project, and will need soon a rework.
But it's functionnal, and saves me from using different scripts for this or that.
The project will never be encrypted, you are free to take a look.
Just a little thing I want to talk about :
I started something like that on XP back then to create a battle system in event.
Then I changed to VX ace and abandoned it, until the day a script named RME came up.
It was basically the same idea, but much much more advanced with tons of features.
I contributed as best I could, until I have to take a separate path.

You can still look at this one too, there is even a web site. (see below)

Medias

Screenshots
skills.png
plain.png
inside.png

Videos

All the video I uploaded till now are outdated.
I will upload more later !

Credits

Graphics
Enterbrain

Sounds
Enterbrain
Firefly studio

Musics
Enterbrain

Scripts
Enterbrain
- RME team
even if I don't use RME anymore
- Yanfly
for the edited dll to expand the game window by 32 px
- Hime
for the mapshot script
- Abt Plouton
for the shadows remover
 
Last edited:

GoodSelf

Zhu Li! Do the thing!
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Congrats on posting your game! Hopefully you can push out a finalized version by the end of day tomorrow! I'm rooting for ya!
 

hiddenone

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I gave your game a try, it's clear that you tried to do a lot in the limited time. There were some ideas that I liked, but unfortunately it took me a while to really get to the gameplay.
These are my notes as I play, sorry it's not rewritten but there are still so many games I've got to play...

⦁ Odd, Spacebar doesn't let me start a new game in the menu

⦁ White font on a light background can be tough to read. If you're going to have a lot of writing, make sure that it's easy for the player to read (either have the outline be very dark, or darken the background a bit so the white words stand out

⦁ The concept for the opening is pretty neat, the painted style on the right side is a nice touch

⦁ The save menu is in French, as is the main menu

⦁ Why can't I speak with the farmer again? It seems odd that I can't check back in with him to get a reminder of what I need to do

⦁ If the player reenters the barn, then the farmer moves back to his original spot and repeats his dialogue. Looks like a switch needs to be turned on so that doesn't happen

⦁ Getting experience by gathering plants is a nice idea

⦁ The crafting system is a cool idea, but there's no tutorial so it's hard to tell what's happening. I made some Bandages, but only after clicking randomly. Always assume that your player isn't familiar with systems like that, so give them a quick tutorial to make sure they know what's up

⦁ I love the interior maps, but the lighting from windows seems a bit too strong. Using some tints could also make the maps even better

⦁ The writing could use a proofreader, it's okay but there are quite a few grammar errors that make it a bit difficult to read. Let's use this dialogue as an example:
writing ex.png
I can understand what is meant, but a clearer version would be something like "You're not going to take more potatoes? You usually eat a lot of them like a glutton." (Mind you, there are much better options than mine, this is just to give you an idea). Since your game is so story-focused, it's important that the writing is clear and understandable to the player​
⦁ Battling with the mouse is awkward, mostly because I'm left-handed so I can't use the WASD keys at the same time as my mouse... I have to change my setup completely. Hopefully there aren't many battles in this game ^^;

⦁ This feels like the tutorial for a larger game. Not a bad thing, but since I'm only playing about an hour of this game I wish I could get to the meat of the game quicker

⦁ The story is suddenly very dark after fighting the two would-be killers, which personally I'm not a fan of. I can understand wanting to have a serious plot, but having Marie stand still and explain all the evil in the town doesn't quite convey it well. Obviously you don't want to show everything, but having part of it play out as a flashback instead could have made it more impactful

⦁ Having to cut the line to let the log in the river move into the right place is a cool idea, though it took me a while to figure out what I needed to do

⦁ The Butcher killed me in two hits. I think I'm going to stop here

Overall this was an intro to a much larger game. The concepts were good, but since I didn't get to do too much with the crafting or battle systems I couldn't judge if they worked great or not. Personally I wasn't a fan of the story, but I know there are players out there who would like it. It's clear that you're planning on working more on this game, so good luck! :rwink:
 

EuphemiaArtoria

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Hi! I played through this and wanted to give my thoughts. First though, I did get this warning message when trying to use the .exe file linked off itch:

TlatdError.PNG

I had to ignore this message to unpack the game. I don't know whether there's a way to avoid this (maybe uploading the unpacked game as a zip?) but I was very hesitant to run it and I wonder a little whether this has put other people off too? In any case I was able to unpack it successfully, but it's a pretty scary message to get!

Anyway, moving on to my thoughts on the game.

It took me about an hour to complete.

I really loved a lot of the presentation. The journal in the introduction, which had text on the left hand side of the screen, and watercolour pictures on the right, looked really really good and developed a lot of atmosphere. The title image is also very evocative and establishes the theme of the game. I also liked the conceit of the player character writing in his journal when he saved. It really helped to bring out his voice.

I enjoyed the final sequence where you move through the town, climbing through windows, jumping over gaps, etc. This part felt like I had the most control, and the areas felt very well put together. It was quite fun figuring out which way to go, or how to solve little puzzles. This was probably my favourite part of the whole game.

There were a few elements that I struggled with, or found less successful, when playing. The controls and user interface was part of this. I was very surprised to realise I was supposed to be using the mouse midway through the game. There were some menus, such as crafting, that didn't work well unless I used the mouse, but I didn't realise I had to. I'm not sure the mouse controls really added anything to the game, I think I'd have liked it just as much if it were purely keyboard. I also found the combat a big clunky. I got through the couple of mandatory fights without trouble, but I wouldn't say it was particularly fun. I was glad that there wasn't any more combat, and that it wasn't any more difficult.

I personally disliked not being able to move around freely for the first section of the game. There were points where the character would say "I haven't seen the North of town", and I couldn't tell where was north and where was south, because I'd been teleported around. I would rather have walked to the orchard to get an idea of the layout, etc. But maybe this is personal preference.

Another part that troubled me was the crafting. I didn't find it difficult (once I understood to use the mouse), but I don't see the point of it in a short game. Crafting systems are great in big, long games with lots of different ways to use and acquire items. In this game, although I crafted at least half a dozen different items, I only needed to use 1 bandage. It would have been simpler for the developer and player if you were just able to find bandages ready made. I know crafting systems are very popular, and I want to be clear, I don't think the solution here is to add more items to craft. In a small game I think it's better to steer clear of it altogether.

There were a few language issues - when saving, it was in French, and when opening the menu in the overworld it was also in French. Sometimes the grammar wasn't quite correct, e.g at the very start of the game "You never really know what mysteries is hiding in the shadows" - this should be "what mysteries ARE hiding in the shadows". Overall, the English was quite good for a non native speaker!

I found the subject matter very heavy, and at odds with RPG Maker's cute graphics. I don't want to get into it too much but the story lost me a bit.

Overall, I enjoyed it. As I said earlier, the final section was my favourite, and I think the care and attention was clearest there. The style and presentation were top notch, especially in the game's opening.
 

hinola

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Thanks for playing my game

To answer both of you, I will have first to give some context

I'm more a system and maps maker than content maker.
So I spent a lot of time on menus and map, and when I was working on the battle system I decided to switch to the content to have something to actually play.

About the battle system
So the battle system have been a bit left behind, as there were not many battles yet.
The second thing I didn't realised I didn't make was a first tutorial on that page
The game is played with the mouse, WASD, Q and E.
I will come back to this later ^^

About the story
And yes
The story is suposed to be (really) dark. And get darker later, on the choices you can make and on the fightings results. One big part of the game is based on that but it's not implemented yet.
I knew I wouldn't finish, and I don't want to submit the final version for a jam, but for a more warned public.

⦁ Odd, Spacebar doesn't let me start a new game in the menu
⦁ Battling with the mouse is awkward, mostly because I'm left-handed so I can't use the WASD keys at the same time as my mouse... I have to change my setup completely. Hopefully there aren't many battles in this game ^^;
There were a few elements that I struggled with, or found less successful, when playing. The controls and user interface was part of this. I was very surprised to realise I was supposed to be using the mouse midway through the game. There were some menus, such as crafting, that didn't work well unless I used the mouse, but I didn't realise I had to. I'm not sure the mouse controls really added anything to the game, I think I'd have liked it just as much if it were purely keyboard.
I will try make my game left-handed friendly then. But I have to know what keys to use ^^
I can't not use the mouse, for different reason sadly.
But I will totally add a game controle section to explain how to play. (I will talk about the crafting menu later)
I know a few of RPG maker games use the mouse, but the battle system as it's supposed to be when finished can't just use the keys (to protct yourself from different angles, or hit an opponent)

⦁ The save menu is in French, as is the main menu
I forgot about the save menu, but the main menu is supposed to disappear later. So I didn't do much on it. I will change the save menu.

⦁ Why can't I speak with the farmer again? It seems odd that I can't check back in with him to get a reminder of what I need to do
⦁ If the player reenters the barn, then the farmer moves back to his original spot and repeats his dialogue. Looks like a switch needs to be turned on so that doesn't happen
For the farmer, I will check all of his pages, but you are supposed to be able to talk.
Noted.

⦁ The crafting system is a cool idea, but there's no tutorial so it's hard to tell what's happening. I made some Bandages, but only after clicking randomly. Always assume that your player isn't familiar with systems like that, so give them a quick tutorial to make sure they know what's up
Crafting must remain super simple. And I will not add much items on it.
I'm working on better windows system which will allow me to put all the item and materials on the same window.
(Q is the key to switch from one window to an other, but as I said, I didn't give the basic commands ^^')
And the required materials may not be visible enough, bottom left.
Noted.

⦁ I love the interior maps, but the lighting from windows seems a bit too strong. Using some tints could also make the maps even better
There is a tint.
I will try to rework that. Actually, it was really rushed.

⦁ The writing could use a proofreader, it's okay but there are quite a few grammar errors that make it a bit difficult to read. Let's use this dialogue as an example:
Sometimes the grammar wasn't quite correct, e.g at the very start of the game "You never really know what mysteries is hiding in the shadows" - this should be "what mysteries ARE hiding in the shadows". Overall, the English was quite good for a non native speaker!
Nooooo not the first text of the gaaaaaame ><
i know that ^^
I'm not a native english, so the texts may need some time before beeing perfectly written. But I'm working on it ! And the review help me on that. So, I will start by correcting that.

⦁ This feels like the tutorial for a larger game. Not a bad thing, but since I'm only playing about an hour of this game I wish I could get to the meat of the game quicker
I understand that, but I really want the player to take the pace of the early game, and learn some mechanics and the story before beeing dropped in a hostile town where everything goes wrong.

⦁ The story is suddenly very dark after fighting the two would-be killers, which personally I'm not a fan of. I can understand wanting to have a serious plot, but having Marie stand still and explain all the evil in the town doesn't quite convey it well. Obviously you don't want to show everything, but having part of it play out as a flashback instead could have made it more impactful
I get the idea.
I don't like flashbacks, I like when we see all through the eyes of our characters.
But suggestive images and sounds may do the work, as if it were the images of his imagination. I will do that I guess.
Illustrate this long speech could only make it better.

⦁ Having to cut the line to let the log in the river move into the right place is a cool idea, though it took me a while to figure out what I needed to do
Yep, it will not be the only piece of gameplay like this, but it's supposed to be the first.
So the player should be used to it later in the game, and it's normal for this one to not know what to do on the moment.
I may paint the stake in blue, as many interactive elements are blue, but this time I will do nothing more.

⦁ The Butcher killed me in two hits. I think I'm going to stop here
I also found the combat a big clunky. I got through the couple of mandatory fights without trouble, but I wouldn't say it was particularly fun. I was glad that there wasn't any more combat, and that it wasn't any more difficult.
They are both really strong for a reason : they have weapons.
The butcher won't be the first guy you fight, so you should know better the mecanics when you enter this area.
And the main part of the problem is, as I said, the battle system isn't finished and a few little details are supposed to help the player :
I can't yet change the attack speed of the enemy, which is supposed to be his weakness. Pushing him (space bar) is supposed to be his counter, but it will be for a later version. As the game doesn't go a lot further, I just consider its end after the talk with Marie. Anything after is just "work in progress".

I personally disliked not being able to move around freely for the first section of the game. There were points where the character would say "I haven't seen the North of town", and I couldn't tell where was north and where was south, because I'd been teleported around. I would rather have walked to the orchard to get an idea of the layout, etc. But maybe this is personal preference.
I wanted to focus on small parts of the town and a small part of the inhabitants. So when the player is finally free to go, he can rediscover all these places differently.
And I though it would increase the sensation of "you don't have the right to do what you want here" with the northern town ... But I may make the player visit more places during a cinematic.
It's noted, but as it's a choice for story telling reason I will wait more returns, and maybe find an other way to do that. But it's not in my plan for now.

Another part that troubled me was the crafting. I didn't find it difficult (once I understood to use the mouse), but I don't see the point of it in a short game. Crafting systems are great in big, long games with lots of different ways to use and acquire items. In this game, although I crafted at least half a dozen different items, I only needed to use 1 bandage. It would have been simpler for the developer and player if you were just able to find bandages ready made. I know crafting systems are very popular, and I want to be clear, I don't think the solution here is to add more items to craft. In a small game I think it's better to steer clear of it altogether.
You are in a hostile place, where people don't want to share anything with you.
I added the crafting line for the "survival" side of it. You have to do almost everything by yourself to heal you, or defend you.
I will not make a lot of items to craft tho. And I may reduce the crafting interface size later, and make it clearer.
Also maybe adding a line of text to explain the survival thing could be an idea.

I found the subject matter very heavy, and at odds with RPG Maker's cute graphics. I don't want to get into it too much but the story lost me a bit.
First part have to be cute. As you are in the best part of the world and everyone is happy.
But yeah, I have to work more and making the second part of the game darker.


Well, that's a good list of thing to improve.
First the clunky controls on crafting menu and battle. (and a rework of the crafting interface)
I use a selfmade script for a big part of the game and I'm reworking it to allow to do the changes I need, so it may take time. But it's noted.
And I hae to make the fights as interresting as I wanted.
I think the controls are a big drag for now, but with better feedback to the player, I think I can imprive that.
To be continued

Thanks again for playing, I will notify when I do change on what you said.
 

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