Bring on 2017 + Project update

ps-rmxp-ghull-dungeon2

With just a couple of hours before 2016 comes to a close I wanted to make a little post with some updates. I know this site has been silent for the past half year. That isn’t because there’s nothing to report, but because I wanted to focus all spare time available on the PS RMXP. So what’s the status as of now?

Where are we now?

Alright let’s cut to the chase. Of the 5 planned chapters the first 3 are as of now entirely programmed and playable. The first part of chapter 4 is almost near completion. Considering the time it took me to complete chapter 3 (which I expected to be done last summer) I’m not going to wait until I finish chapter 4 for the beta. Otherwise it’ll be another year or so.

I expect to be working on finishing part 1 of chapter 4 in Q1. Then in Q2 the game will be available for test players and hopefully at the end of Q2 it will be available for everybody as a beta. The remainder of the year I’ll finish chapter 4. And what happens after I’m not sure. Chapter 5 is going to be a lot of work, since it is only outline and not entirely written. So we’ll see.

Hope to see you all in 2017!

moonDUST

ps-rmxp-italp-temple1

Say a little prayer in front of Mother Issoria, maybe then the game will be finished before 2018;-)

 

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Thru’ these architect’s eyes

PSRMXP Domed Farm

Inside the domed farm

I’ve been meaning to update this blog for a while now. Finally found some time to do it. Progress is a lot shower than I would like it to be. Creating something like this turned out to be¬†a lot of work. This is in part due to my neurotic attention to detail. I really want it to be as perfect as possible. But there is good news.

Testplaying

The past three months I’ve been busy testplaying and putting some finishing touches on the scripts for chapter 2. The ‘problem’ with these test runs is that new ideas keep popping up; wouldn’t it be cool if you see some familiar faces in the Clone Lab pods or how about the possibility of a random nightmare while resting and what if‚Ķ etc? Things just keep growing.

PSRMX Dialogue Draft

Polishing the dialogue

I’ve also spent some time fixing bugs. This is always a challenge since I’m not a scripter. So it’s a little trial and error. But I’ve managed to take out some annoying ones.

Windows 10

Other good news is I found out the game plays perfectly ok on Windows 10. I’ve been developing this on an XP computer and hadn’t had the chance to test it on a new computer. It even works with an Xbox controller. So you can really go all the way in old school gaming ūüôā

Status

Anyhow the current status is that chapter 1 and 2 are now ready to go. I was a bit too optimistic in a previous post about finishing this game. Especially with the current pace. The new plan is to finish up at least the first part of chapter 3. Story wise things really kick into higher gear in that chapter. So I want to give you guys a taste of that in the beta.

The first part of chapter 3 is coming together nicely. I just finished a level called The Citadel which plays a key role in that chapter. Enjoy this picture of the main entrance for now.

PSRMXP The Citadel

Welcome to The Citadel

BTW Windows 10 allows me to capture game footage very easily, so expect a test run video very soon!

moonDUST 

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Location: Tyresta Mountains

PS RMXP Tyresta Mountains

Don’t get lost in Tyresta

Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s been a while since my last update, but like I said in other posts that usually means I’ve been extremely busy working on the game. This time is no different. I made nice progress programming levels for chapter 3. ¬†So in this post a little sneak peek of¬†a location which plays an important part in that chapter: The Tyresta Mountains.

Welcome to Tyresta

PS RMXP Tryesta Map

Early design of the Tyresta Mountains

Tyresta is an extensive mountain range system located in the north of Issoria. The mountains divide the district into three parts. Three cities can be found in the Tyresta district: Vaaraan, Osoa and Pars. Other locations of interest are Italp Temple where the Espers scholars study the ways of the Holy Light, The forest of Chaar where the demonic Fiara live and the Domed Farm in the Albufera area.

Pilgrimage
A pilgrim path connects the three parts of this district with eachother. In ancient times shrines for the various divines could be found along the route. Espers and other pilgrims would travel from the Ceremony Square in Osoa City all the way up to Italp Temple to pay them their tribute.

PS RMXP Italp Temple

Complete your pilgrimage at Italp Temple

In modern times the pilgrim path is still a compulsory part of Esper training. It is, however,  impossible to complete the northern part of the route. The City Board of Vaaraan ordered to block the passage near the city out of precaution now tension with Nomads is reaching its boiling point.

Luckily most of the route can still be reached form the Albufera area. Sadly many shrines didn’t survive the test of time or were plundered by treasure seekers. A recent example is the shrine of Dagora which was destroyed by Nomad Hunters.

PS RMXP Ingol Shrine

Some shrines still remain…

That’s it for now. More update will follow soon!

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The writing on the wall

Exploring a relic site in S RMXP

Some ancient writings…

Its been a while since my last update. A long silence is usually a bad thing, but I actually made huge progress. I simply didn’t have time to update the blog. The reason is I’ve been writing and programming like a madman. Phantasy Star RMXP will consist of 5 chapter and as of this month the main dialogue for the first four chapters has now been written (with a minor gap in chapter 2).

Originally I wanted to release a demo, but now the finish is in sight I ‘d rather continue and release everything at the end of the year.¬†So what’s the current status? Chapter 1 is completely written and programmed and ready to go. Chapter 2 is almost entirely written and programmed. Chapter 3 is entirely written but the¬†designs of 3 levels are¬†not yet ready. Chapter 4 is almost entirely written (it needs some additional dialogue), but needs some more level designing and programming. Chapter 5 is still a lot of work, nothing has been programmed so far.

So¬†don’t worry,¬†everything is going the right way. I’ll try to make a teaser video soon!

PS RMXP Toilet talk

Sorry Kay’l, you’ll need to wait a little longer…

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Bring on the battler

PS RMXP Hakenleft make-over

The Hakenleft make-over

As mentioned in a previous post the battler sprites in Phantasy Star RMXP are fully animated. The game features battlers from every title in the game, but the bulk of it comes from Phantasy Star II. All but one enemy group are in RMXP. 

The little details in color
During capping I once again fell in love with those PSII battle sprites. The animation detail of those fairly simple sprites is beautiful. Also all monster groups used unique battle effect animation, which is a nice touch since all the games that followed use basically the same effect animation with little variation. During capping it also became clear that in order to make the battlers from the other games mesh with the battlers from PSII a little tweaking was needed.

PS RMXP Mika uses her SUV

A palette swap to update PSI sprites

Especially the End of the Millennium sprites needed a lot of work, because of the different shading style. Main color palettes in PSII use at least 5 different shades of the same color while End of the Millennium rarely uses more than 4 shades of the same color. So some of the sprites had to be redrawn a bit like the Hakenleft group shown above.

Surprisingly the used Phantasy Star 1 battlers needed little tweaking. Most of them already looked great by using a better color palette. The challenge here was to come up with idle pose animation. The Generation of Doom sprites were also a challenge. Some needed resizing and all of them needed extra animation and color palette adjustment. There are a decent amount of Generation of Doom sprites in the game. I already previewed Banshees in previous post, but you can also expect to see Rappies, Lizzards and Fires.

PS RMXP Neried attacks

PSIII sprite get all-new battle animation

Enemy groups
All enemies are divided in groups and each group can be encountered at very specific types of locations. This opposed to for instance PSII where you could encounter biomonsters in every level early in the game. So in burials you’ll find spirit lifeforms while on the fields you’ll encounter biomonster and synths are the primary enemies guarding facilities.

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Location: Kogu District

Kogu Desert Burial in Phantasy Star RMXP

Welcome to Kogu Desert

I’ve already spent quite some posts on game design. I thought it would be nice to tell a little something about the world of Phantasy Star RMXP (without spoiling too much). So in addition to posts on the game progress and design I’ll be doing some posts focussing on¬†locations within the world of PS RMXP. Starting off with a rather large location: The Kogu District.

The planet Issoria is divided into districts.¬†The Kogu District is a vast desert wilderness and is located north of the Athalia District. The district is divided in two by the Hondsrug Mountains. Two cities can be found: Leeloo, the district’s capital, and the port city Arden. Nomads can also be encountered in Kogu. Both¬†the Routenim and Ycarg Ybab tribes have camp spots in¬†the district and Nomad sailors can be found at the port market in Arden¬†selling their wares.

Leeloo City in Phantasy Star RMXP

One of the few remaining green places in Kogu: The City of Leeloo.

Extreme district
Kogu was once a subtropical green district. After TETRA introduced Domed Farms in Kogu the soil of the district started to deteriorate. The public blamed¬†TETRA, while¬†TETRA blamed it on Issoria’s changing climate. Scientists were unable to reach consensus on the matter, but under public pressure the company did close its large Domed Farm park in East Kogu. In order to support the district’s food needs a few farms in West Kogu remain operational. The closure of the other farms however didn’t halt the erosion process and in little over a decade the green fields of the district changed into a desert.

This extreme change is reflected in¬†the district’s wildlife behavior which is¬†starting to become a matter of big concern. Packs of wild Koltova’s and Elephants looking for food make traveling by foot very dangerous. While the city of Leeloo increasingly suffers attacks from Sandworms and Locusts.¬†Because of that the Issorian Guard has constructed a small outpost in West Kogu and does repeated¬†‘hunting sweeps’ to contain the wildlife problem.

So far the city of Arden has been spared from this wildlife problem, but Nomad sailors visiting the town expressed their concerns about the amount of young Leviathans they observed in the waters near the port city. It is however unlikely that the City Board will take action now that Teleport Service has made traveling by boat obsolete.

Enemy encounter in Phantasy Star RMXP

Bring on the Locusts!

Before recorded time
Legend has it that long before the modern era Kogu was the heart of a thriving¬†civilization. Knowledge of this ancient culture has been lost thru’ ¬†the ages and the last known place with clues, the ruins of the City of Klotten, was destroyed during the Great War. Some Nomads however insist that in the difficult to reach upper areas of the Hondsrug Mountains traces of this civilization still remain. The districts’s extreme climate and dangerous wildlife sadly have prevented archaeologists¬†to succesfully explore the mountain areas making it impossible¬†to verify these claims.

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Project Cancelled?!

Game Over screen Phantasy Star RMXP

Don’t worry it’s not game over yet!

No this project is not dead! I got some questions in the mail regarding the long silence over here. Don’t worry Phantasy Star RMXP is still going strong.¬†The long silence on the blog didn’t mean I haven’t been working on the game. Quite the opposite; the last two months I made huge progress on the animation front.¬†Nearly all enemy battlers and weapon animation I want in the game have been capped and animated, and that are quite some caps!

Animaniac
One cool thing¬†about the Phantasy Star games (something the Generations remakes completely missed) is the fact that when you bought a new weapon in a new town you didn’t only get better stats, but also the bonus of¬†a new weapon animation in battle. So for PS RMXP I wanted weapons to have unique battle animations as much as possible.¬†I remember I was hugely disappointed after grinding for while¬†in the Camineet¬†area in Generations to be able to buy a new weapon¬†only to see¬†it had the exact same animation as the one I was already using!

With 8 playable characters and an average of¬†8 weapons each that’s a lot of weapon animation. In PS RMXP there are I think only¬†two weapons that share the exact same weapon animation. Others might share the same animation, but will have at least a palette swap and a different sound effect.

Phantasy Star RMXP Weapon Animation Sword of Ango

Some familiar weapons will have new animation

Something new
Like in other areas, the weapon animation is almost exclusively taken from Phantasy Star II. For some weapons this meant I had to create some new animation. Claws for instance only have 3 different animations in Phantasy Star II. And while the End of the Millennium animations for them are nice the two styles don’t work well together (in fact only one weapon animation from PS4, a gun, found its way into the game).¬†So for PS RMXP I created 4 new claw animations.

Then there are some weapons featured in the game that weren’t featured in Phantasy Star II¬†at all, like bows. For those all-new animations were created. I must say I’m very pleased with the results. Especially the animation for the Laser and Planar bows turned out quite nice. There are also some more cool new animation for special weapons, but I’d rather not¬†spoil the surprise. You’ll have to play the game to find out.

Phantasy Star RMXP Lune Slicer

A legendary PS III slicer against a PS III enemy…

Can you hear me at all?
As good as the visuals may be, the animation isn’t complete without good sound effects. I’ve seen Phantasy Star fan-games which are actually quite nice visually, but completely ignore¬†the sound department. So I’ve sampled each and every battle sound in Phantasy Star II and some additional sounds from End of The Millennium to get the best
Phantasy Star battle experience as possible. There are 8 weapon families in the game and each will have unique sounds!

That’s it for now. More on other battle animation in a future post!

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