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Showtime !

It’s been some time, heh. Views dropped alot lol, time to catch up.

I’ve been busy but I’ve managed to make a simple video to show more or less how the battle system shall work.

Each character has two movesets, which he can use in order to attack. In this case, it’s Slash (move 1) and Thrust (move 2) …. (Tales of Anyone?), which may have one or more hits, depending on the attack. It could even be a magic attack, whatever.

Well, I’m not very talkative today, so let’s watch rather than talk:

(Watch in 720p or 480p and Expanded so you can see it right)

Comments, as always, really appreciated

Ahem.

The sprites below are from Capcom® and are used without permission. They’re merely used to “graphically” fill the engine tests until our original sprites are done. None of these sprites will be used in the final game. We ask for understanding since it’s being used merely as dummies to show the game engine. Thank you. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Still without Ryu’s taking damage animation, and some sounds missing. The defense bar is still being discussed so it’s not present.

Enjoy!

Ah….Evolution. Discussed among many, proven by none. Every RPG game has its own evolution system. Some are more level-oriented, some are more point-oriented,item-oriented,magic-oriented,whatever-oriented… Ours won’t be that different (or will it?)

Dämmerung developers are quite fond of the Final Fantasy series, as you noticed. We don’t deny there are many factors of influence coming from these games, and the evolution system takes a twist around it and go its own way.

I present you the Orbit System:

Orbit Chart

(This is a sketch, susceptible to changes)

At first it looks a lot like the Sphere Grid System from Final Fantasy X. But it’s quite different.

1 – The Ability Star

2 – The smaller ones are Attribute Stars.

Red -> Strength

Green -> Endurance

Blue -> Energy

Cyan -> Resistance

Orange -> Accuracy

Grey -> Evasion

White -> Agility

Yellow -> Luck

3 – This is the Orbit Path. It’s where you travel between Stars and Orbits.

4 – The name of the Orbit

5 – Orbit Crossroads… where you may choose to change your path.

When you defeat enemies, each character gain XP (Experience Points). The Max XP Points earned, when attain certain values, level up your character. Leveling increases slightly your attributes. And at any time you can use the XP you gained to travel through the Orbit Chart. Each Orbit has a Travel Cost, which increases with each level, and varies among other orbits. At start, you travel in a clockwise direction, but that can be changed in the Orbit Menu.

When you get to a Star, you may choose to ignore it, or to “absorb” it. By absorbing it you gain its powers. Each color means an attribute, and magenta stars are Ability Stars, which give you new skills,techniques or magicks. Stars cost XP to absorb them, and the value varies depending on the star. Once a star is absorbed, it morphs into another one, for + 2 times, until it’s deactivated. So to complete one Orbit, you need to pass through it 3 times.

Since this is a sketch, i didn’t put the other attributes: MaxHP, MaxSP, and the Elemental Tolerances. They’ll be added as well.

Each Character has its own Orbit Chart, and depending on the path you choose, your character will have a different “Class“. You may opt to try Pantheon and Imperishable Fortress and become a real tank… or Sword of the Samurai and Ninja Realm to increase your evasion and assassinate enemies.

When you complete an entire Orbit, it massifies into one giant star. Then you can absorb it to get greatly increased attributes and an awesome skill/technique/magick. But it costs more than just XP, it costs Loot or Key Items among other things. Then it’s permanently deactivated.

When you face an Orbit Crossroad, you have to decide if you’ll continue your path along the orbit, or change to the next one. Changing to the next one for the first time has a cost too.

Well, this is it for now, thanks for the views! Comments are highly appreciated!

Laters  ~

Gameplay is a bloody thing. It’s something your player will have to bear for hours (sometimes, 50+ hours) and still not be bored. Battle systems vary from well-accepted recipes (why not) to completely new systems (risky). Or a fusion of the both: simple systems with new custom features.

The System featured in Dämmerung is combo-based, as we want a fast-paced arcade-like action, but it’s not fast enough to overwhelm the player. Its functionality works around 3 main concepts:

  1. The ATG Active Time Gauge
    • For those who played Final Fantasy IV+ , this is familiar. The plain old Active Time Gauge which determines who’ll be acting when.
    • It’s based on the Character Agility + Bonus (haste/slow/other effects)
    • In Ambushes, starts at 0. In Preemptive strikes, starts at 100. In everything else, starts at 10-50%.
    • Active Time Gauge

  2. The Defense Bar
    • For those who played Ar Tonelico, this is also familiar, except there is no Attack/Defend Phases. While you’re not selecting your actions, you’re susceptible to attacks which you can defend (take less damage)  if you press buttons at the right time.
    • The combo system is not based on time, but instead, on successful attacks and defenses. If you land a Great or Perfect while defending, your combo meter keeps going. But if you miss an attack or a defense, the combo resets to 0.
    • Status Effects affect the Defense Bar in a unique unusual way. When your character has haste, it’ll slow down so you increase your timing accuracy. While your character is blind, the defense bar is invisible. While your character is floating, the defense bar buttons keeps floating as well. These, among other effects, will increase the overall purpose of status effects.
    • Defense Bars

  3. The Action Slots
    • Again, for those who played Legend of Legaia, this is similar to the fighting commands, except now there are only two commands (Variable, each character has his set of attacks) and the magicks, techniques, and items consume action slots as well. For instance, the main character has Slash and Thrust, each with its properties, and many techniques are composed by sequential combos: Slash->Thrust->Slash->Technique. Items consume action slots as well, how much will depend on the item effect. Attacks and Techniques consume 1 slot.
    • Characters start with 6 action slots, with a maximum of 12 slots (acquired along the game).
    • Stronger magicks may be combination of lesser magicks. A “Level 2” fire magic will be something like “Fire + Fire”.  First Level magicks consume 2 action slots.
    • Summons consume the entire turn, as well as retreat.
    • You can change your target whenever you want. Notice that if you kill an enemy you’ll keep hitting him as long as the combo goes on, so it would be nice if you knew when to change targets. Changing targets doesn’t consume action slots.
    • Note that sequential actions may have different animations. It’ll be that way so if you choose Slash+Slash+Slash+Slash+Slash the character won’t look like fish outside the water.
    • Action Slots

Visually speaking, here’s a draft:

Now, a short disclaimer:

The sprites below are from Capcom® and are used without permission. They’re merely used to “graphically” fill the engine tests until our original sprites are done. None of these sprites will be used in the final game. We ask for understanding since it’s being used merely as dummies to show the game engine. Thank you. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Here’s the screen:

Note that the action slots and the combo counter aren’t done yet in this version. And the defense bar was moved to fit things accordingly. It’ll be probably shorter and more transparent, so it fits the battle scene. And closer to the character now so you’ll see what’s happening.

Videos are coming as soon as I finish the Battle Sequence.

Thanks for the views, comments highly appreciated.

Laters!

You have been poisoned!

Hello. Today I’ll show some of my engine tests regarding the battle system. For now you’ll se two things: the Defense Bar and the Message Box. The sprites of the defense block are edited from somewhere else, but they’re not final, as they’ll be replaced with our own images. Ahem.The rest is original.

The Defense Bar will be mainly used to (duh) defend from attacks while you Active Time Gauge fills up. It’ll also be susceptible to status effects (positively or negatively) in a certain way.
Defense Bars

The battle itself will be some mix-up between old FFs, Legend of Legaia, and something else. It has a combo system that, instead of depending on time, will depend on your abilities to defend attacks. (So you don’t need to rush and ruin your strategy)

The game button pattern itself will be D-Pad + 4 button + 2 upper buttons + start button.

Here’s a dummy screen:

PS: You’ll notice there’s some empty space after the MessageBox. It’s where the Combo Counter will be.

And the test videos:

There’s more done already, but I’m thinking twice before posting sprites I do not own (even if it’s just for testing).

Comments appreciated.

Laters!

Before moving on visual stuff (I’ll be able to make a video soon,by the way) let’s talk about music.

Soundtrack in RPGs are always an epic factor. That awesome music playing while your hero is ready to kick some ass, or that sad music when someone dies, or even that adrenaline music when you have to escape the cave in 5 minutes or you’re toasted.

One ridiculously funny example is Matoya’s Cave, Final Fantasy I, because it’s named after a minor cave in the game, and it’s just plain AWESOME. Sometimes you would enter the cave just to hear it.

So, to date, we have a few samples of music we might end up using. All done in Fruityloops, and susceptible to changes. As I said before, still not awesome, but not bad either. Passable. (I’d risk saying it’s better than some random games out there)

Tears of a Fallen Soul:

https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/1-05-TearsofaFallenSoul.mp3/%20

Aurora of Haunted Existance: (Probably the best one so far)

https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/1-04-AuroraofHauntedExistence.mp3%20

Flavor of Reverie: (Kinda annoying, but seems nice for shops or minigames, if pitched down a little)

https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/1-02-FlavorofReverie.mp3%20

Magical Reanimation: (Needs some working, but seems fine)

https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/1-06-MagicalReanimation.mp3%20

Eloquence of the Antimatter:

https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/1-03-EloquenceoftheAntimatter.mp3%20

Unveiled Motionless Disaster (Too noisy, but with some work might be good as well)

https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/1-01-UnveiledMotionlessDisaster.mp3%20

Choosing a name was a weird task. The possibilities were unlimited, but we knew we would do something foreign-esque.

We coudn’t bear to choose something like Twilight because after that Movie anything “Twilight” sounds 300% worse. So, Dämmerung means twilight in german, in an attempt to save the meaning of the word.

I remember when I used to search “Twilight” on google images and found stuff. Now I just find a retarded girl and some vampires wannabe.

Anyway (enough Twilight flaming), Dämmerung is a 2D RPG Game in development, using C# and XNA (Possible XBOX Port? Who knows)
with fast-paced battle system and story depth.

So far, there’s few “visible” stuff, but the main engine is around 70% complete. Our main problem is the lack of good artists, and, well, when we put a programmer to draw, here’s what we have:
Zexen? D'Oh

Which is not that bad considering my experience (zero), but for the leader of the most powerful army in the world, well, it kinda sucks. Now imagine drawing an entire town? it’s a no-no.  It’ll look like lego anime-face people living in boxes.
Too expressiveThat’d be the evil genius.

And since we’re talking about students developing stuff, no one is paying no one. So, who wants to work for free? (Well, just other students, searching for something to put on their portfolio or whatever). Well, you WOULD have your name shining on the credits. But how many would read it ? It all depends on the success of the game.

As soundtrack is concerned, we’re somewhat better. Not good enough, but passable. (Any similarities with other music are merely a coincidence, or my twisted subconscious)

Tears of a Fallen Soul – By Me:
https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/1-05-TearsofaFallenSoul.mp3/%20

Of course, it’s not as good as professional stuff:
(Here’s a song from Melty Blood)
https://sites.google.com/site/dammerungrepository/14-HelpMe!.mp3?attredirects=0&d=1%20

(Of course, I picked a bad example since “Help Me!” is all exciting and stuff and “Tears of a Fallen Soul” is slow music, but anyway…)

Programming-wise, everything is working smoothly fine, no issues.

What’s not so great is that asking for help is complicated. I need people who won’t ever abandon the project until completion, and well, that’s hard to assure. Imagine we all have 300+ nicely drawn sprites, and the sprite guy jumps out. Then, we need a master-piece sprite for the last boss:
Wicked SickGreatest boss. Ever.

So I sincerely wanted to learn everything and do everything (except some stuff the rest of my team does, dialogue, map-making, symbols, concepts)

But time is not unlimited. I do have a life, as everybody else does. It’s almost impossible to make a really good game alone.

In the next posts I’ll probably show more stuff about the game and explain everything we need. Good thing is, if you like the concept of the game, you’re welcome to help ! (yay) There’s always something for you to do.

Laters!

I must confess. Every time I watch a rpg fangame video, or look at those brand new RPG games on the market, I keep thinking the same thing: As cool as they might look, boredom comes after 5 minutes of gameplay. Then, we have sparkles, explosions and whatnot, which keeps us playing for… 1 hour, and then we’re bored as hell again. This cycle repeats until we give up or end the game, which well, seems fine for any company, since we bought the game anyway. And if anyone asks, we always say it was a great game but we didn’t have time enough to end it.
What the?

Who doesn’t want to play an adventure based on filling these barren pages?

Of course, I’m not telling you the classics are perfect. They’re just good enough to keep us going. Their system is attractive enough to balance the fun between battles and story, and their characters are charismatic enough to draw our attention. But let’s face one thing: they’re lacking. And most games could be that epic if only they took things a little more to the edge.

There’s one thing that revolves (or should) all these kind of games: Chaos.

Chaotic situations become better and better the more chaotic they turn to be, unless they are too predictable. Funny thing, how so many RPGs start with a happy boy in the village, doing stupid quests until something real bad happens and you start your real quest. Why not start with the “real bad” thing first ? You can explain your past life later in the game, and avoid starting the game playing with your grandpa and doing some bunny hunting. Players need action, depth, fun, even if it’s easy at start. Putting a soul into the character as soon as the game begins.

Bad Dudes

Who didn’t get shocked when

**FF8 spoilers**edea hit squall with that ice lance in ff8 after the plan went wrong**FF8 spoilers**
Nothing happened here.

Simple scene, but cool enough to let you freakin’ curious about what’s going to happen. Also, that game fills you in with details that sometimes you don’t even need to know at that time, and that kind of makes you blend into the scene.

Pretty much like movie-making techniques to draw your attention. When bullet-time was something new, it was the coolest thing ever.

This is what we’re thinking while developing Dämmerung: mixing in action,depth,chaos, and ambience. Remember when we didn’t have astonishing graphics, so we had to fake it with effects and techniques? When movies didn’t have 3Dish people who look like plastic?  This is what I call return to the classic, while keeping things over the edge.

Of course, we don’t have a Tetsuya Nomura, or Nobuo Uematsu, so it’s not quite easy. Lots of trial and error and slow progress, but because of that conceptualization is trying to be top-notch. In the next posts I’ll describe what the game is about, and what is already done.

Laters!

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