RMMV THRONE | Dark Fantasy Soulslike RPG

Korthulhu

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I really love this concept, as far as the lore and the basic premise of the game goes! So many different games that claim to be "Souls-like" never seem to have that spark of creativity behind them that the originals had...but I kind of get that vibe from this!
Another thing I'd like to give credit to is the artwork that went into your mapping. Its always refreshing to see a game made with this software that doesn't just use the stock assets. The screenshots definitely evoke a similar flair to the Souls series, because its all seemingly innocuous...until you see the mouth of a cave that looks like an actual mouth. Really cool stuff!
Looking forward to checking out a demo!
 

alice_gristle

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The game references foreign kingdoms occasionally, so the world map is just for context. It's similar to how item descriptions referred to faraway places in Dark Souls. Actually, most adventure in THRONE takes place underground. I'm trying to give some general world building stuff rather than spoil things like character interactions.
Alright! Forgive me if I sound too prying, I'm just trying to get a better handle on your game to see how I could help! Are you planning on showing the world map to the player, or is it just for your own reference? I'm not sure which one is better, really, but I liked very much the vague Dark Souls style, where they just name-dropped stuff like Catarina and I had no real sense of where it was. On the other hand, maybe some players will like having the entire world map at hand. Or you could give the player just a torn piece of the whole?

Underground environments sound interesting. I'm also a bit afraid of how generic they can turn out to be, so beware of the "caves, caves, caves, and more caves" kind of setting. :biggrin: Also, if there's one environment I hate in videogames, it's the Generic Cave. Like, think of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - rooms, corridors, stalactites, low ceilings. Yaaaawn. Now that I think of it, I can't seem to come up with a videogame that really excelled in creating an underground environment (Izalith excepted - maybe)... so you're definitely taking on a challenge, which I approve! :biggrin:

Lastly, I'm pretty much immune to spoilers, so you don't need to worry, at least on my account!
 

thedeanreynolds

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[...] So many different games that claim to be "Souls-like" never seem to have that spark of creativity behind them that the originals had...but I kind of get that vibe from this!
Another thing I'd like to give credit to is the artwork that went into your mapping. Its always refreshing to see a game made with this software that doesn't just use the stock assets. The screenshots definitely evoke a similar flair to the Souls series, because its all seemingly innocuous...until you see the mouth of a cave that looks like an actual mouth. [...]
Thank you so much for the appreciation- especially the "spark of creativity" part. Comments like these reaffirm that all the passion and hard work goes somewhere. Keep your eyes open for updates on this thread!

Alright! Forgive me if I sound too prying, I'm just trying to get a better handle on your game to see how I could help! Are you planning on showing the world map to the player, or is it just for your own reference? I'm not sure which one is better, really, but I liked very much the vague Dark Souls style, where they just name-dropped stuff like Catarina and I had no real sense of where it was. On the other hand, maybe some players will like having the entire world map at hand. Or you could give the player just a torn piece of the whole?
You're not prying at all, and your support is valued :) At the moment, the world map is just a miscellaneous document players can find. (Similar to how Skyrim handled books.) I'll consider implementing a map of just Trople toward the start of the game. I can definitely see the value in having a self-contained world, in terms of focusing on the adventure at hand. Regardless of what happens with the world map, it's a useful reference tool.

Underground environments sound interesting. I'm also a bit afraid of how generic they can turn out to be, so beware of the "caves, caves, caves, and more caves" kind of setting. :biggrin: Also, if there's one environment I hate in videogames, it's the Generic Cave. Like, think of Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - rooms, corridors, stalactites, low ceilings. Yaaaawn. Now that I think of it, I can't seem to come up with a videogame that really excelled in creating an underground environment (Izalith excepted - maybe)... so you're definitely taking on a challenge, which I approve! :biggrin:
Lastly, I'm pretty much immune to spoilers, so you don't need to worry, at least on my account!
Yeah, caves can get really stale. Some games lose visual interest in a washed-out underground color palette, or never really elaborating on their initial cave formula. I'm inspired by how Hollow Knight divided its cave system into distinct areas. For example, one area in THRONE is a subterranean civilization where another area is filled with bio-luminescent mushrooms. The goal is to make adventuring underground just as exciting as adventuring above ground in another game.

Here's some brief NPC dialogue at the entrance to the aforementioned subterranean civilization:
"Well hello, honey! Fancy meeting a pretty thing like you down here.
See that archway over there? Creepy sheep, right?
I mean... it's the most intricate stonework I've ever seen, but it drips with occult power.
You know what I mean?" (Y/N)
Y- "It's like darkness gives people some type of power-- that clarity after giving in to your most animalistic desires.
That's what these stonemasons had, honey.
They were living their lives to the fullest down here."
N- "I wouldn't expect a spooky broad like you to understand. Hehehe"

This is a man whose competency as an adventurer has led him to isolation. What decency remains in his personality is vestigial. He is fascinated with stone carvings, which have a biological quality.
 

alice_gristle

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Yeah, caves can get really stale. Some games lose visual interest in a washed-out underground color palette, or never really elaborating on their initial cave formula. I'm inspired by how Hollow Knight divided its cave system into distinct areas. For example, one area in THRONE is a subterranean civilization where another area is filled with bio-luminescent mushrooms. The goal is to make adventuring underground just as exciting as adventuring above ground in another game.
I haven't played Hollow Knight, but making distinct areas sounds like a good idea. At a glance, though, Hollow Knight's palette seems pretty monotonous, even if the areas have varied design... Also, the problem with making distinct areas can be that they turn out too, uh, how do I put this... too distinctly differentiated? Y'know, that you have Temple Area, then a door takes you into Sacred Farm Area, and there you have a door that goes into Water Processing Area. It's just neatly delineated blocks of areas one after another. What I'd find more interesting would be areas meshing more organically into one another, with random bits in between that belong nowhere clearly.

Then again, maybe other players will find neatly differentiated areas more appealing, so I guess that comes down to your choice as a designer. Just my two cents here! :smile:

So, am I getting this right, Trople is populated and acts as a hub, while the bulk of adventuring takes place underground, which is mostly devoid of people? Your dialogue seems very much out of Dark Souls, in that you're making the player character a mute, is that right? It's probably the best choice for a game that relies on exploration a lot, too, so I approve!
 

thedeanreynolds

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I haven't played Hollow Knight, but making distinct areas sounds like a good idea. At a glance, though, Hollow Knight's palette seems pretty monotonous, even if the areas have varied design... Also, the problem with making distinct areas can be that they turn out too, uh, how do I put this... too distinctly differentiated? Y'know, that you have Temple Area, then a door takes you into Sacred Farm Area, and there you have a door that goes into Water Processing Area. It's just neatly delineated blocks of areas one after another. What I'd find more interesting would be areas meshing more organically into one another, with random bits in between that belong nowhere clearly. Then again, maybe other players will find neatly differentiated areas more appealing, so I guess that comes down to your choice as a designer. Just my two cents here!
I'd say that Hollow Knight actually does a great job of assigning unique color identities to each area, even within the restricted color palette. Additionally, there is almost always a gradual transition between areas. Personally, I think games become stale when they are homogenized, and the subdivision of THRONE's underworld is an effort to combat this. Areas can definitely be too distinct- I think Dark Souls 2 suffered from this problem. If my efforts pay off, the game will be stylistically unified between areas without feeling homogeneous.

So, am I getting this right, Trople is populated and acts as a hub, while the bulk of adventuring takes place underground, which is mostly devoid of people? Your dialogue seems very much out of Dark Souls, in that you're making the player character a mute, is that right? It's probably the best choice for a game that relies on exploration a lot, too, so I approve!
Yes, Trople Isle acts as the populated hub! In comparison, NPCs underground are more sparsely arranged. The player character is effectively mute because she's hosting the moon goddess within her body. I think a silent protagonist was a good choice too; hopefully it makes vicarious experiences more attainable for the player.

Thanks for the insight once again, Alice! It's always a pleasure! :)
 

alice_gristle

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I'd say that Hollow Knight actually does a great job of assigning unique color identities to each area, even within the restricted color palette. Additionally, there is almost always a gradual transition between areas. Personally, I think games become stale when they are homogenized, and the subdivision of THRONE's underworld is an effort to combat this. Areas can definitely be too distinct- I think Dark Souls 2 suffered from this problem. If my efforts pay off, the game will be stylistically unified between areas without feeling homogeneous.
Yes, I see what you mean. The areas still seem monotonous to me, though - everywhere, cold colours or grays dominate. Probably a case of YMMV, though, so I'll let it rest for now. Do let us know if/when you want feedback on how your areas are turning out!

Yes, Trople Isle acts as the populated hub! In comparison, NPCs underground are more sparsely arranged. The player character is effectively mute because she's hosting the moon goddess within her body. I think a silent protagonist was a good choice too; hopefully it makes vicarious experiences more attainable for the player.
Oh, I like the host idea! Is the moon goddess trying to prevent the rising of the sun, or what's her agenda? Not sure if I like the idea of hubs anymore, but I guess they're a staple and a lot of players will feel better if they've got a hub to fall back to.
 

thedeanreynolds

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Oh, I like the host idea! Is the moon goddess trying to prevent the rising of the sun, or what's her agenda? Not sure if I like the idea of hubs anymore, but I guess they're a staple and a lot of players will feel better if they've got a hub to fall back to.
The host idea interests me because it forces a divine being under human constrictions like maintaining physiological health and mental well-being.
Yes, the moon goddess "Zeda" is attempting to prevent the sun from rising. It's been night for millennia, and the sun usurping her throne would mean the end of the known world. She can't leave her throne behind, so she chooses a mortal avatar to intercept the sun instead.
I greatly enjoy hubs as a staple of soulslike games, especially as something to loop back to later in the game. Hubs can definitely become boring, but a growing list of characters and gameplay options helps to prevent that problem. Firelink shrine from DS1 was probably the ideal in terms of characters. There weren't so many as to become overwhelming, but things changed enough overtime to remain fresh.

I'll definitely post some mapshots for critique soon.
 
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alice_gristle

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The host idea interests me because it forces a divine being under human constrictions like maintaining physiological health and mental well-being.
Yes, the moon goddess "Zeda" is attempting to prevent the sun from rising. It's been night for millennia, and the sun usurping her throne would mean the end of the known world. She can't leave her throne behind, so she chooses a mortal avatar to intercept the sun instead.
Sounds cool. Is there a possibility to find the throne and see the moon goddess on it? It might be fun, sorta like walking in a dream and finding your own sleeping body. :biggrin:

I greatly enjoy hubs as a staple of soulslike games, especially as something to loop back to later in the game. Hubs can definitely become boring, but a growing list of characters and gameplay options helps to prevent that problem. Firelink shrine from DS1 was probably the ideal in terms of characters. There weren't so many as to become overwhelming, but things changed enough overtime to remain fresh.
Yes, DS1 did the hub thing pretty well. I guess my biggest gripe is a hub where you're periodically forced to return to, in order to check/talk/build all the requisite things. Like going down a checklist. I didn't like the hub in DS3 as much for that reason, whereas going back to Firelink Shrine in DS1 was more incidental, like, oh yeah, back in Firelink Shrine again, been a while... so if you're taking cues from that, I guess you're going in the right direction. As far as my tastes go, anyway. :biggrin:
 

thedeanreynolds

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Sounds cool. Is there a possibility to find the throne and see the moon goddess on it? It might be fun, sorta like walking in a dream and finding your own sleeping body. :biggrin:
There is a possibility.
Yes, DS1 did the hub thing pretty well. I guess my biggest gripe is a hub where you're periodically forced to return to, in order to check/talk/build all the requisite things. Like going down a checklist. I didn't like the hub in DS3 as much for that reason, whereas going back to Firelink Shrine in DS1 was more incidental, like, oh yeah, back in Firelink Shrine again, been a while... so if you're taking cues from that, I guess you're going in the right direction. As far as my tastes go, anyway. :biggrin:
Glad to hear it! I like the idea of most character progression happening mid-adventure. I always thought it was a weird decision to remove leveling from bonfires starting with DS2.
 

alice_gristle

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What kind of puzzles were you going for, by the way? Asking because I hate puzzles. :biggrin:

Also, no idea if you're into lit at all, but there's a great pair of books that might help your lore: Gene Wolfe's Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete. They've got the whole mysterious, bygone-but-present pantheon of gods, same as Dark Souls, and it's all told through barely decipherable allusions. Plus, it's even got a divine usurpation subplot, like your Sun vs. Moon, although like the rest, it needs a lot of deep reading to work out.
 

thedeanreynolds

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What kind of puzzles were you going for, by the way? Asking because I hate puzzles. :biggrin:

Also, no idea if you're into lit at all, but there's a great pair of books that might help your lore: Gene Wolfe's Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete. They've got the whole mysterious, bygone-but-present pantheon of gods, same as Dark Souls, and it's all told through barely decipherable allusions. Plus, it's even got a divine usurpation subplot, like your Sun vs. Moon, although like the rest, it needs a lot of deep reading to work out.
I'm going for puzzles inspired by la-mulana. THRONE's should be much simpler, but I like the notion of lore-driven puzzles. For example, you might need to interpret ancient poetry to find a hidden path forward. You can expect smaller puzzles involving awareness of surroundings, or pushing objects as well.
Also, thanks for the book recommendations! I did a little research, and they sound up my alley! I'd never heard of Gene Wolfe before this. :)
 

alice_gristle

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I'm going for puzzles inspired by la-mulana. THRONE's should be much simpler, but I like the notion of lore-driven puzzles. For example, you might need to interpret ancient poetry to find a hidden path forward. You can expect smaller puzzles involving awareness of surroundings, or pushing objects as well.
I think I played La-Mulana once! For, like, half an hour. :biggrin: I forget the reason why it didn't grab me.
 

thedeanreynolds

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Here's a new screenshot:

The guards are from the “Fraternity of Knara”, a militant religious organization. Let me know if the gate looks too sharp, because I'm using a different method to downsize graphics lately.
This is another new thing:

Players may encounter these unusual structures deep in the ruined city beneath Trople Isle. Votive idols hold liquid offerings to Zeda, goddess of the moon. Whatever contaminated drink lies within is yours for the taking…
Any questions, comments, or feedback are greatly appreciated! :)
 
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Treynor

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I like the graphics style. I'm a big fan of hand drawn art, but I'm wondering about enemy designs; are you going to follow a 'surrealism' style or is that enemy in the screenshot just an exception?
 

alice_gristle

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Oh yeah, now that I remember, will there be party members, or are we gonna adventure solo?

I like the offering bowl! It's just cool that whatever's inside is actually meant for you. Why are liquids sacred to Zeda? Because of tides?
 

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This looks great! The atmosphere of the art makes me want to play...
 

thedeanreynolds

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I like the graphics style. I'm a big fan of hand drawn art, but I'm wondering about enemy designs; are you going to follow a 'surrealism' style or is that enemy in the screenshot just an exception?
Thanks for the comment! It depends on what you mean by "surrealism". What I can easily tell you is that the game stays fairly suspended in a low-fantasy style, but gets progressively more surreal. The visual style of that enemy is a little atypical because I drew it pretty early in development. Did you have any critique/thoughts regarding surrealism?

Oh yeah, now that I remember, will there be party members, or are we gonna adventure solo?
I like the offering bowl! It's just cool that whatever's inside is actually meant for you. Why are liquids sacred to Zeda? Because of tides?
There are several other optional party members to adventure with, including a thief, a huntress, and a mage. Players shouldn't expect them to mindlessly join the cause though- each has responsibilities and traumas to resolve. My plan is to release more specific character profiles over time. Also, thanks for the compliment!
Zeda has most command over the liquid element, which is evident in tides. Devotees from the old city are said to have sipped from the offering bowls in lunar ceremonies. These people believed taking holy liquids would allow the goddess more sway over their actions.

This looks great! The atmosphere of the art makes me want to play...
Thank you, friend! I enjoy the dark undertones to your pixel art, so it means a lot coming from you specifically. :)
 

Treynor

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Thanks for the comment! It depends on what you mean by "surrealism". What I can easily tell you is that the game stays fairly suspended in a low-fantasy style, but gets progressively more surreal. The visual style of that enemy is a little atypical because I drew it pretty early in development. Did you have any critique/thoughts regarding surrealism?
I think surrealism can be nice if used in the proper setting. Your game gives me more a Diablo 1 vibe.
 

thedeanreynolds

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I think surrealism can be nice if used in the proper setting. Your game gives me more a Diablo 1 vibe.
I think it will work out well. Surrealism can give a nicely absurdist flavor to interactions with the divine, for example. Look at the golden age arc of Berserk, especially how it was handled in the 1997 anime. I dont want to spoil anything, but if you've seen its conclusion you know what I mean. The realistic setting makes the crazy, surreal stuff carry more emotional weight later on. Other similarly great uses of surrealism in dark fantasy would include ash lake from Dark Souls 1 and the boss design from FF6.
 
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Treynor

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I think it will work out well. Surrealism can give a nicely absurdist flavor to interactions with the divine, for example. Look at the golden age arc of Berserk, especially how it was handled in the 1997 anime. I dont want to spoil anything, but if you've seen its conclusion you know what I mean. The realistic setting makes the crazy, surreal stuff carry more emotional weight later on. Other similarly great uses of surrealism in dark fantasy would include ash lake from Dark Souls 1 and the boss design from FF6.
Regardless, you had me at Dark Souls.
 

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