Captain’s Log: 0201218.073

So far, we’re up to 40 pages storyboarded, and begun on the next 2. It’s not great, but it’s constant forward momentum, which is all we need to finish the job. Well, that and the grace of God.

The focus on Genesis-to-Revelation overview of history with Christ at the center means that the Gospel of Mark is basically my go-to source. He’s got the action-packed supernatural showdown emphasis I am aiming for. But obviously, I’m pulling stuff in from Luke, and from anywhere else I find useful.

Awright. Yesterday was, in general, a good day, despite a town-trip eating half the day I got most of my chores done, four pages of storyboard AND a bunch of work on my Licensed RPG. WordPress was down, so I live-tweeted the process.

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What is the 8 Lives Left to Licensed RPG?

Breath of the Gameboy was at one point my dream game: a game that combines the open world and chemistry system sensibilities of Breath of the Wild with the tighter mechanics of Link’s Awakening.

Here’s a mockup someone did for Reddit.

Obviously, not 100% identical, and not using Nintendo’s precious properties or graphics. But a rough idea.

That’s a 10 year game or more, especially for one guy. So I pondered how to break it down into smaller pieces. The idea was, if I made each piece a game, that game could fund the next piece, and then the next, until the final product was finished.

My best plan was 8 Lives Left. It’s a good product plan. Just the combat system. You are a cat who has been murdered, and you decide to use your remaining 8 lives to get revenge. Like John Wick, only you are simultaneously John Wick and his dog.

These projects are not currently under development. I like them; I don’t like them enough to devote years of my life to them. I bring them up because a very sensible way to undertake a big project is to turn it into little projects. A great way to make a big game is to make part of that game into a small game.

So what’s the 8 Lives Left to my Licensed RPG?

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Background Music

I needed to make a mockup of the videogame I wanted to make. So I started with this:

I just grabbed a background off of DuckDuckGo. After all, there was no way I was gonna keep it. The actual background will be particular to the game.

Still, I wanted to stretch the grassy bit so none of the characters was floating in the air. And it would be nice if the backdrop fit the color palette I’ve been tweaking over the last three years. So I made an attempt to push it closer to my palette, and make it fit the characters. While I was at it, I smeared things around with a rough brush.

I shouldn’t’ve. It doesn’t matter after all. This will never be used in a final game. It’s wasted effort, it is.

Well, Sunday I don’t work on whatever my project o’ the month is. And since work on the background doesn’t count as work on the game, as the final game will have backgrounds made to order for the story, I decided to mess around with it a little.

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Thinking Out Loud

I’m just using the WordPress interface to plan.

  • Let’s start with Wizardry/Final Fantasy as our template; later we shall diverge.
  • You pick a party of 4 guys from 6 classes. We’ll call the red mage a ranger, the white mage a cleric, and the black mage a sorcerer, to stay honest to the D&D roots of the game. Always regress toward the source! We’ll throw in a generic piqha to use for NPCs, and a rat piqha to use for enemies (for now).
  • So, your class distinctives will be a ScriptableObject. We’ll make critters and, perhaps, NPCs work the same way, in case we want to make a game where you can attack innocent bystanders.
  • For now, we’ll do a single ATB bubble. When your bubble fills, you are ready to attack. We’ll want to create an animation wrapper that can present our combat system with the same interface whether we’re doing Spine shenanigans (in the future) or LeanTween shenanigans (now).
  • I want combat moves to be things. Like, you have a list of moves your hero could use, and then you equip the ones you want to have access to in combat. Maybe a fully empowered character can have as many as 8, but a low level character tops out at 4.
    • Interfacewise, they should form a radial wheel around a selected character. This is optimal for touch (just press the icon), for gamepad (just pick a direction with the D-Pad or thumbstick), or computer (click and play!),
    • Resources for stuff like spells should be less magic points and more either Action Points (but maybe let’s skip that for this first game) and the opportunity cost of filling in one of your action slots.
    • Even our bruiser should have different sorts of actions he can choose from. By all means, have a generic attack that everyone can do, but give our swordsman some shenanigans he can pull!
    • Here, again, a ScriptableObject is king.
  • For starters, we want to not bother overmuch with story or setting. Just make a series of combat encounters. Once the combat is fun, we can start building on top of that.
  • So we’ll have a character selection scene, and a battle scene. However, my plan is not to have battle scenes per se, but run all encounters on the map, like Chrono Trigger, so we need to keep in mind that the battle scene has to support non battle activities.

Awright, let’s steal code from my previous attempts to get ourselves a head start! Here’s a dialogue box.

Mostly taken from my previous RPG attempts, but I’m using LeanTween instead of an animator to animate my text boxes, etc.

Captain’s Log 0201027084: Dropping Pretenses

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Two weeks of wheel spinning. The work on Alpha Test is not nothing, but I’ve made zero progress on Hat Trick 0.

I’ve stated in the past that I have moved from a habit starting and leaving off projects to a habit of getting them done. And that is what 2019 indeed looked like. But 2020, I’ve looked like my old self, minus the emotional disorder.

Doesn’t mean I’m going to give up or lay down in die or stop making things. Just means I gotta stop bragging about traits I thought I’d acquired, but it turns out I haven’t.

I think come All Saints day, I’m going to switch from pretending I’m working on Hat Trick to a smaller project. Take a definitive month off. I may make it just part of my workflow, only to spend a month on any given project. If project A is not done at the end of month A, I switch to B, and then switch back to A at the end of month B. It might be a way to harness my twitchy/flakey instincts and make them work for me.

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That sweet, sweet, Gameboy Color Spirit

As stated before, I’ve been mulling over making a sprite comic to prototype my stories. Working name is Public Alpha. Although Alpha Test is a strong contender.

Here’s some images my mulling has produced:

The graphics follow some rules intended to give me hard restrictions that are, at the same time, maximally expressive.

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Captain’s Log 0201019.205: Gap

Lost all of last week. My tent was well suited to my working at a slow but steady rate, but now winter is making overtures.

Image

By the weekend I had settled on converting the basement into an art dungeon. And then I injured my knee, rendering large quantities of stair-climbing inadvisable.

My knee is just about good enough now that I can start building my art dungeon tomorrow. However, I also have a lot of busywork to catch up on unrelated to my comic, so my objective for this week is to catch up on responsibilities, and maybe, hopefully get a page or two done. My ultimate objective is to handle all my potential excuses so that I have no excuses remaining next week.

I’ve done some musing in the mean while.

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Piqha Color

So I’m thinking “What can I do to create the basis of my JRPG engine? Why not start by rebuilding Final Fantasy I, except my way!”

Or even Wizardry. Anyway, the point is not to end up with a Final Fantasy clone, but to create a small game using my RPG mechanics.

For that I need stand in characters. A real game developer (by which I mean a pragmatic game developer) would draw a rectangle, put an arrow on it so you know which way it’s facing, and make it different colors for different classes. I’m going to compromise. I’m not going to spend a lot of time animating, but I will print of several sheets of Piqha templates, and draw different Piqha over them, and since I’m thinking Final Fantasy I for my starting point, I’ll go ahead and take inspiration in these placeholder designs.

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