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87% and counting!

I’m really excited to say that with 10 days left on our campaign, Legend of Lotus has reached 87% of its funding goal!¬†Yay!!!

kickstarter progress

 

If you haven’t checked out our page yet, please do! We had a lot of fun making the promotional video, and we hope you have as much fun watching it. Even if you don’t pledge – or can only pledge a dollar or two – your support means the world, and spreading the word is just as big a help.

Another exciting development is that we are in talks with Donn and the lovely folks behind You Are Not the Hero in featuring their “non-hero” Petula for a brief cameo in Legend of Lotus. Donn approached us about this awesome idea – and J and I jumped on it immediately. For those unfamiliar, YANTH takes the classic tropes of old school RPGs and turns it on its head. You may remember Link, Cloud, and Squall taking a break out of defeating monsters to break into the homes and property of the people they purportedly want to protect, taking gold/rupees, and other useful belongings. When Petula encounters some “heroes” trying to pull a fast one on her, she vows to retrieve her stolen pendent, leading her¬†on a quest of her¬†own!

petula

Petula, as will be seen in LoL

As you can see, Justin and I have a lot of reason to be excited about Legend of Lotus’ newest developments – and we have YOU to thank for it! Thanks, all!

 

 

*UPDATE*

Even before publishing this entry – in just the time it took to write it, we’ve already been bumped up to 90%.¬†You guys – even if we had 100 $2 donations, we’d reach out goal – and this is the internet! This is the group that helped a guy make potato salad with like $40,000 dollars! Anything is possible!

kickstarter banner

Kickstarter Progress

kickstarter progress

With 18 days left on our Kickstarter, we have 55 backers and nearly 60% of our goal met! But I wanted to take this opportunity to thank some great peeps who’ve supported our project from the get-go:

The Otaku Judge – one of our first backers, most constant commenter, and great reviewer-of-anime – Thanks for turning Geek Out South-West’s attention over to us, thanks for your support, and thanks just all around. What a guy!

Geek Out South-West – thank you for the tremendous shout-out! Posted just today, we already got two additional pledges within less than an hour of your post. Hats off to you, sirs!

Ross Tunney – Another fantastic project creator you can find on Kickstarter – currently has a live campaign for his awesome, anime-inspired game, Data Hacker. Thanks for the shout-outs, Ross!

And I’d love to take this moment to thank not only anyone who has backed us, but anyone who has spread the word about Legend of Lotus – even if unable to financially back us. Please help us keep this campaign going! If any of your friends A) are rich B) love retro games or C) all of the above, send them our way for our eternal gratitude.

If anyone out there has ever wanted to take part in video game creation but lacks the time, the energy, the money, the skills or the… creativity, by backing even just $1, your name will be memorialized in our credits. By playing the demo and offering feedback, or becoming a $15 backer and downloading the game through its Beta stage, you can earn a special place in our credits as a consultant.

As long as we’re talking about Kickstarter, here are some great projects currently live:

Aegis Defenders – a visually stunning pixel art game

Steam Punk & Cthulu Soundtracks – a soundtrack production group to create awesome soundscapes for tabletop gaming

 

And finally, I’d like to give a preview of a new concept we’re planning to develop once Legend of Lotus is done:

1

We’re exploring 2D platformer construction using Unity – with a totally new art style. But not only will the art be completely different; the storytelling, game mechanisms/play, and goals will be completely different too.

aki

 

Without words, this game will tell the simple but moving story exploring the depths of the bond between a dog and her boy. It will be a pixel art game with puzzle mechanisms, and a simple, clear story with one goal: to get home with your boy. The above .gif is a rough design of the dog’s sprite, animated by yours truly.

Our goal to finish Legend of Lotus is January, provided the Kickstarter goes through. Production on Bound is slated to begin shortly thereafter. Wish us luck!

KICKSTARTER IS LIVE!

Sorry¬†if we’ve been seeming to neglect this blog, but we’ve had several developments, and you’re getting the scoop first!

The newly re-titled Legend of Lotus has now gone live on Kickstarter! There, you’ll find a video to promote our game, as well as a link to a real, working, downloadable demo!

kickstarter banner

Thank you all for your support! Please visit our Kickstarter, and share with any RPG/JRPG-loving friends you might have! Check out our awesome incentives, and feel free to provide feedback right here. (*Queue, “Right Here, Right Now” playing in my head).

-D&J

Parallax Mapping, It’s all in the detail

I recorded what was probably… a 45 minute project (sped up to 5mins) of making the upstairs to a building in our game… Yeah, just a simple upstairs, 4 walls, and stuff. Back when I started with parallax Mapping I probably would spend twice as long, maybe more to build a single map.¬†(mostly because I didn’t know what I was actually doing) With our ‘Legend of Lotus’ project, we spare no expense when it comes to detail. Every tree, barrel, box, sword, signpost, rock… Yes I swear to you. Everything down to a rock is placed there individually, and methodically. It takes some planning, and eye for detail, and you guessed it, TIME! But who wants to play in a fantasy world that’s cookie cutter, or just plain boring to look at? We want Genos to feel vibrant and full of life. So we labor on each map to help bring these little sprites and their world to life. This is just one of many things that makes Legend of Lotus stand out.

Here is a quick video showing off one map of a few hundred. I wouldn’t say its a map with the most particular detail I’ve put into one, but you get the idea of what’s involved in a typical inside building.

 

Attack of the Ogres

Enemies are needed just as much as heroes. Unfortunately, the resources for enemy battlers are rather limited – at least for the monsters. I’m therefore making my own battlers based on resources provided by RPG Maker:

$BigMonster2

To make this sprite blend more with our battlers, I changed the center to a 3/4 view, and added an outline as seen on our other battlers.

I then animated it, but manipulating its parts, slightly.

His low-health state:

ogre

His primary attack:

ogre2

Expect to see more soon, as well as possibly our demo coming up soon.

Animated Battlers System

Hey, Justin here. Just a quick update on game progress. I worked long and hard for probably about two days polishing off maybe… 20 special abilities and the animated moves for our animated battlers. These are just the moves of the main 5 characters you’ll get to play in the upcoming demo! Check ’em out!

 

 

For those of you out there who would like to know a little bit of how this is done (possibly for your own game). Here’s a basic and quick tutorial.

First off you need Victors Basic Module + Animated Battlers script found here. Make sure to copy and paste the scripts and place them below ‘Materials’ and above Main Process.

Victor Engine – Basic Module

Animated Battlers

Actors Battlers

Tutorial 1

Follow the basic instructions in each of the scripts to get your actors assigned with their battlers. If you can use animated battlers like ours, provided by the awesome Holder. Also on wordpress! http://animatedbattlers.wordpress.com/

Now that your actors are setup, and ready to go. (you should be able to see them in battler, and have basic functions that are already animated such as Attack, Use Item, etc. Now it’s time to get our feet with editing the script to make a custom skill animation.

Quick Breakdown

Here is the script for you Axel’s¬†(Axe Guy) custom move you saw in the video.

tutorial2

Let’s break this down a little.

1. The first thing you’ll notice is the #, for scripters this is obvious as a safe place to label things, for easy reference for possible editing later.

2. Next we see the <action: power strike, reset>

This tells the script what action it is to perform, and then reset to normal once that action is completed.

3. Then we have the ‘move: self, step forward, speed 6; This simply means that we are going to move one of the battlers. Who? Yourself of course! and where is he going to move? The command step forward listed under Victors Manual, just makes the battler do that, they step forward a few steps, as though they’re about to do something awesome, which they are! The speed can be adjusting to your liking.

4. Now we have the pose: self, row victory, all frames, wait 12; This means that we are going to make the actor make a cool pose. the ‘Row Victory’ is row 11 of the animated battler sheet by Holder. This makes Axel strike that pose like he’s ready to do some damage. It builds the suspense, like he’s activating his skill. ¬†‘all frames’ means it will go through the complete animation on the battler sheet, and the ‘wait 12;’ means it will wait 12 frames after the pose is completed before moving to the next line of script.

5. Add in a wait: 8; the 8 meaning 8 frames. Throw these in just for little extra cushion as I call it between poses, and actions, etc.

6. anim: id 115; This means that it will now show animation 115 from the animations tab in your data base. If its not set to a specific target, such as yourself or enemies. it’ll simply show up the general center area of the screen.

7. move: self, move to; Time to fight! This will make the actor move right to the targeted enemy (move to, = move to enemy)

8. pose: self, row idle, all frames, wait 16; Row Idle will make Axel strike a cool pose before smashing the enemies face in. For dramatic effect of course.

9. pose: self, row skill, all frames, wait 12, y +1; Now the fun begins! ‘row skill’ will make Axel go through the animation of swinging his axe as though he’s attacking the enmy. the y +1 lifts the battler just slightly, giving the effect that he’s swinging hard and jumping a little bit while doing it.

10. anim: targets, id 14; This displays another animation, this time it’ll appear right on the enemies, giving the effect that they we’re attacked and are now feeling the pain!

11. effect: self, targets 100%; Very important! Without this command the targets wouldn’t feel anything, as in, they aren’t effected by anything you just did, it’d just be for looks without the this command. This makes it register that the action is completed and it’s time to add action numbers and ailments for what just happened.

12. </action> seals the deal, making it the next actors/enemies turn in battle.

For a complete list of commands with definitions, and you definitely want to review them can be found in Victor’s awesome manual. Found here.¬†VE Animated Battler Manual

Now to actually make this animation possible to see and use. We need to do one more thing. In the Database, where the skill is listed. In this case it’s ‘Power Strike’ we need to add this into the note <action pose: power strike> This allows Victors Script to recognize that when this skill is being used, the appropriate animation should be applied here.

Now go and test it on out, don’t be afraid to experiment, There is a lot of room for bigger and better animations. I hope this has enlightened or even helped you with your own game.

 

 

Drawing Till My Hand Cramps

I was out sick today with a bad cough. So rather than the usual sick-at-home routine (soup, TV, nap, repeat), I modified it (soup, drawing WHILE watching TV, nap, repeat). Today, I was working on a rather large project:

map

So far, this is the world of Genos. You may be able to pin some of the screen shots we’ve posted with various points on the map. For example, the snowy capital region is to the North. The Dead Thicket is¬†near the center, south of the crater/bay. Arinnel’s forest home is to the west near the hills. Ren’s home is in the dry region southeast of the mountains..

Soon, the map will be labeled, and will contain icons to indicate landmarks such as cities and town, a compass, and perhaps a few other tools.

It has not been decided, yet, if this will be the functional/selectable map that Ren will use to navigate Genos, or if this will be presented as an in-game piece of art, as it may be beneficial to have your game map be in a similar style as the world, but we’ll probably run a test and see what the best style is.

It has actually be a great way to re-gather and organize. We had a general map for the game before, but talking it out and looking at it in color has made us re-consider the placement of some of the regions to ensure that it doesn’t look wildly unrealistic (such as snowy mountains right in the middle of lush, green springy hills.

In the mean time, what do you think for game maps? Should they be similar in style to game play or an artistic rendition?

RPG Maker VX Ace – Map and Character Creation

J has taken the lead on designing the game through RPG Maker (and he has done a great job!). I want to make sure that I can hold my own, though. So here today, I will give a brief tutorial on map and sprite creation with RTP-only tools (Run time package basically means the tools, tilesets, codes, sprites and faces that come with RPG Maker on purchase), so that this looks like any game a person may make with a fresh RMVXAce purchase.

For my following posts regarding RMVXAce game creation, I’ll be focusing on a very simple game, with a simple map and simple focus: you will be a character in your bedroom, whose mother demands that your room be picked up. All kinds of fun events can be done with this premise, though, and the principles in creating a simple item-retrieval game can be used in larger games, as well.

Game creation really starts with a map. Start by right-clicking the area that says the name of your game. You’ll notice that the below picture already shows that I have 2 maps – but I wanted to start fresh to be able to chronicle my map and event creation from square one. I wanted to make sure that I clicked the overall game, because selecting “New Map” when clicking on an already-created map will display that new map as kind of a “sub-map” to the first. It’s useful when you have, say a map of a town with houses in it, and want to show that each house is a “sub-map” within that town. For our purposes, though, we’re going to create a brand new map.

map building

When you select “New Map,” it calls up the dialog box depicted above. From here, you can change the name of your new map to make it easier for you to navigate your creations. I might name this room, “Poop Face’s Room” or whatever¬†the name of the character will be.

You’ll also want to set the size of the map. Most often, you may make the map bigger than what you plan for the actual space to be, especially for rooms, so that when roaming to a corner of map, the camera can follow the player all the way. You will also select your Tileset. Custom tilesets are available all across the web, especially on RPG Maker forums, but we’ll do every RTP for now. You’ll notice that in the dialog box above, four tilesets are included RTP: Field, Exterior, Interior and Dungeon. The tilesets are basically what they describe in their title. Field focuses on “fields” or plain landscape – which I actually find best to make in-game Map. Exterior has tiles for areas a player might roam through, as well as things one might run across while exploring the outdoors: exterior walls for buildings, roofs, exterior windows, flowers, trees, water, bridges, statues, etc. Interior focuses, of course, on things you might find inside a house or room: interior walls and windows, furniture, flooring, trinkets, and the like. Dungeon… well, you’ve all seen RPG dungeons.

After selecting “New Map,” you¬†will typically default to Map Mode at this point – but you will notice two additional possible modes, being “Event” and “Region.” Today, we’ll focus on Map.

map 2

 

Map mode will look like the above, with your tileset to your left and a drawing area to your right. You may only draw within the space you selected in the starting dialog box. You will notice that my above map has empty space in the form of blue squares around it. Worry not. They will look like black space during gameplay.

Familiarize yourself with your toolbar; at the top, you will see a pencil, polygonal and elliptical tool, as well as a fill bucket. Each has its own use. The pencil too is great for stamping down select objects. The polygonal tool will allow you easy drawing of straight lines (like my walls above). The elliptical tool… so far I haven’t really needed to make anything circular, but I’m sure it’ll come in handy some time. The fill bucket is great, because once you have your walls drawn, you can simply fill in your flooring – or it can be used for much more. Next to those tools is your scale/zoon selection.

The RTP tilesets are quite handy. They’re pre-coded so that they look like continuous walls if next to another “wall” of the same kind, but look like corners if next to flooring or a wall of a different dimension (that helps add perspective to a 2D world). You’ll see that above, while the “ceiling” tile looked like it had a nice edge everywhere else, where I doubled it up, the ceiling tile directly blends into itself so that it doesn’t look like two tiles next to each other, but rather one large, smooth one.

My completed map:

completed map

“Wait, what?!” you might ask. “I know you said simple, but this is blank!” That, my dear reader, is because any objects I hope to eventually interact with by collecting it, fixing it, or in any other way altering the appearance of, I will add during event creation. Eventually, my room will look like this:

completed map with events

The reason I’ve chosen to add that bed, the money bags, the bottles, the fish dinner, the flipped chair, the broken windows, and the shelf as events only and not inherent parts of the map is because an event graphic will simply lay over the images of the map. If anything is a different size, then, it might poke out from behind the new event image that I want to show at a later time.

Now that you have a world, however large or small that it may be, you need someone to occupy it. That’s where character¬†generation comes in.

Look at your tool bar, to the right of modes, tool shapes, etc:

character generation

The little dude next to the eighth note couplet triggers the character generator upon click.

character generation 1

Play around with the different options until you get a look you want. You’ll notice several choices and then associated color schemes. Once you’re satisfied, click both “Output Face” and “Output Character” to save in a system file. It’ll ask you for a name; usually, that would be the name of the character, or a description for NPCs.

Now, if you’re building a game with hand-drawn portraits, this step would be a little different. Since I don’t want to be limited by the small selection of looks offered by the RTP, I actually usually will draw a character first and then generate a sprite, and then edit the sprite through Photoshop or GraphicsGale to match it to my character. Justin, on the other hand, will often generate a sprite to fill an immediate need, then send me the sprite so that I can draw a portrait based on that. I would say that the second option is easier and quicker (since if you match the portrait to the sprite, you don’t need to edit the sprite), but it gives you less freedom.

If you have a character that will interact with your player, you may also choose to create those at this time. Conversely, you may choose to create several of them at one time, then plug them into your scene as needed.

Now that you have your main character, you must set it as the player. For that, refer back to your toolbar, where it says “Database”databse

The screen shot says that the database is your best friend, and you can’t argue what the screen shot says.

When you click database, you’ll be met with… well… a database:

set player

Under the “Actors” tab, we can select the character sprite, the portrait, the starting equipment (which admittedly doesn’t seem too important for a game about cleaning your room). If you’re afraid you’ll forget details about a certain character, there’s a field for notes. You can enter the name, the character type, etc. etc. Meet Poop face, a hand ax-wielding soldier. Or school girl if looks are to be believed. Simply by entering her as the first character, she defaults to the player.

And from there, you can lay her in a spot on your map quite easily. Change your mode from Map to Event. Select a spot. Right-click and…

set start point

Er… not too sure what’s next…

This was basic but already quite a long post, but I feel we made progress. Great job, everybody! …Everybody? What’s that? I haven’t told you anything you couldn’t figure out on your own? Huh? You’d rather have just tooled around for a few hours? Hey! Leave my mom out of this! …Oh… you weren’t talking to me? You turned on¬†House re-runs several hours ago? Well… well… that’s disappointing.

Anyways, next time, I’ll do a little walk-through on simple events, like an auto-run conversation. This is where I’d make a “Your Mom” joke, but as I understand it, she’s a classy lady.

So to that I say, Stay Classy, San Diego.