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TIGSource ForumsFeedbackDevLogs[DEMO] Blade of Victory - A 2D turn-based RPG
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Author Topic: [DEMO] Blade of Victory - A 2D turn-based RPG  (Read 14880 times)
tchassin
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« on: March 19, 2013, 03:56:40 pm »

Hello fellow TIGSourcers, and welcome to the Blade of Victory devlog!


Blade of Victory is a 2D story-driven turn-based RPG featuring pixel art. The game is mostly inspired by JRPGs such as the Persona and Breath of Fire games. The game will take place in a medieval fantasy world, with all the sword and sorcery it implies (no orcs/elves/dwarves though). The plot will focus on themes such as duty, power, politics and betrayal, and I hope to be able to make it on of the strong points of the game.


This project started as a 4-people school project back in 2011  but after the project ended and the team members went their separate ways, I decided to pick up the project and rewrite the C#/XNA code from scratch in C++ with SFML. In early 2015, after years of development hell, I decided to stop making a game engine and start making the game instead, so I switched to Unity and started from scratch once again.

As of July 2016, 3 people are working on the game:

  • Pierre Guyot, who has been helping me with the story and game design since 2012. He is now also the art director and character/monster designer.
  • Luke Ford is in charge of sound design and music
  • Thomas Chassin (that would be me). I am currently the only programmer on board. I am also writing the story and dialogues, designing the game and in charge of the sprites/animations.

Unfortunately, none of us can afford working on the game full-time at the moment. At the moment, the game looks like this:


Right now the scenario is mostly done so we started writing the dialogues. The game is far from feature complete so I'm focusing on programming, hence the large amount of placeholder/outdated art. The good news is that Pierre can take his time to come up with nice designs until I start making better sprites.




We are aiming for a commercial release on PC/Mac/Linux at the moment. Releasing the game on console is envisaged, but the PC build is our main concern at this point. On the other hand, we are not planning on a mobile/tablet release.

We are currently working on having a playable demo in March 2017. Depending on the feedback we get and the awareness we manage to raise, we may consider having one person working on the game full time after that.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 09:04:07 am by tchassin » Logged

tchassin
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 07:34:38 pm »

Update 1
The prototype is coming along nicely, I implemented quite a lot of features today, and the only obstacle remaining before I can start experimenting is adding menus, my sworn enemies, so that the player can interact with the game.
Here is a little preview:


I can only display menus, navigation is on its way.

From a more technical point of view, I had some trouble with displaying text with SFML. It would seem that there is no simple way to display non-antialiased text, which bother me, since aa won't look good with the rest of the game...
Since I didn't write the graphical engine yet, I just might consider using another library if I can't solve this problem. Any suggestions ?
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pixhead
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 03:37:41 pm »

Awesome! I'm happy to see this project is still going. I literally just came across the old devblog 5 minutes ago, then searched for more, and found this!

Turnbased RPG's are my favorite genre, so I'm super psyched for this.

I'll try out the old demo once I get home.
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tchassin
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 04:35:30 pm »

Awesome! I'm happy to see this project is still going. I literally just came across the old devblog 5 minutes ago, then searched for more, and found this!

Turnbased RPG's are my favorite genre, so I'm super psyched for this.

I'll try out the old demo once I get home.
hey, thanks!
The old demo is a bit buggy and and poorly balanced since it was mostly meant to be shown by someone familiar with the game, the next one will be a lot better.

Update 2
I just finished the first version of the prototype. I haven't implemented items yet, but using skills, defending and resting work fine. I think it feels too slow for the moment, I'll probably double the damages.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 03:09:08 pm by tchassin » Logged

pixhead
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2013, 06:13:56 pm »

I tried to play the demo but I got a startup error:

Code:
The Application has failed to start because MSVCR110.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix the problem.
I think this means my computer is missing a run-time library, or something.
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tchassin
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 09:04:18 am »

Oops, no worries it's my fault, wrong compilation settings  Facepalm
Since the dll is installed on my computer I didn't notice

Apologies for the wrong link, I'll update once I'm sure everyone can run the demo.

EDIT: old links removed
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 03:09:43 pm by tchassin » Logged

pixhead
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2013, 10:03:34 am »

Neither worked, I did however change the name of the "msvcrd110.dll" file to "MSVCR110.dll" and got a different error message:

Code:
The procedure entry point _malloc_crt could not be located in the dynamic link library MSVCR110.dll

I already have Visual C++ 2010 so I can't reinstall the redistributable.

I'm running on Windows Vista x64, if that helps.

Also do you want me to PM you instead? I'd hate to scare people away from your devblog with all this debugging jargon.
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tchassin
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2013, 08:25:34 pm »

Update 3
I think I fixed the dll problem, I tested the prototype on a friend's computer, it worked fine. I've doubled damages and I'm pretty happy with the results, and I also made the game harder, so the enemies are a bit of a threat.
I'm working on making the game a bit more user friendly so that it's easier to understand what's going on when you're not familiar with the code. Once I've got some basic animation and some help messages up, I'll upload the new prototype.
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pixhead
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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2013, 06:59:01 am »

Awesome! Looking forward to it  Smiley Hand Thumbs Up Right
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tchassin
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 05:25:37 pm »

Update 4
I managed to have the prototype run on Pierre's computer and could get some feedback from him. He pointed out that the game was a bit confusing so I added a couple splash screens at the beginning to quickly explain the controls, the characters and the UI instead of having a readme. I've also changed some equations to balance the game and prepare some coming features.

Latest prototype here

I also took some time to play Breath of Fire IV. It made me realize that the mockup fight  in the prototype is too long because the enemies are stronger, but also because the weakness/strength system is underused. I also realized that my sprites were total shit, and so I spent some making new ones. Since BoFIV has such great sprites, it heavily inspired mine.



The current sprite is on the very left. The new one will be a pain in the ass to animate, though. Since I have some experience with 3D modeling and 3D animation, I'm considering making the game 3D.

Pros:
  • Multiple models can share a skeleton, so animation would be easier
  • I can make bigger enemies (I suck at big sprites)
  • Most of the game takes place in mountains and valleys, so the environment would be better in 3D
  • 3D particles!
  • Cool cutscenes!
  • I know a few people that can help me if I need
  • (Alternative costumes ?)
Cons:
  • If the rendering is bad, EVERYTHING will look bad
  • 3D collisions  No No NO
  • I have no experience with textures
  • Not pixel-art

I must admit that I'm quite interested in working on a basic 3D engine, that could (would) be of use for future projects, and I miss 3D modeling a bit, but on the other hand, I love pixel-art, even though I'm not very good at it. The point is whether I can improve my pixel-art skills to a point where the game looks good enough, or manage to have a running 3D engine.

As you might have guessed, I'm having quite a hard time making a decision... I think I'll make some rendering tests with OpenGL once I'm done with the prototype. If the results are acceptable, I'll probably go for the 3D engine, otherwise I'll stick with pixel-art.


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tchassin
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 11:41:43 am »

Update 5
Since I didn't get much feedback on the game, I decided to carry on and start working on the actual game, not the prototype (it's getting hard to work with all the code smells accumulated).
The game probably had too little content to comment, so I'll try to focus on adding most of the main features (items, stat modification, etc.).
I also decided to keep the game 2D, so I simplified the sprite a bit to make it easier to animate. Here is a little preview:

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Ichigo Jam
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2013, 05:00:19 am »

The new sprite looks good!

I had a quick play of the prototype, and it seems quite promising (I won on my first attempt, but very nearly ran out of energy)

My main complaint would be that I found the ATB time bars to be too hard to read, with them being spread across the screen. It felt slightly cumbersome trying to figure out who's turn was next.

I'd suggest trying something else - maybe a bar along the top of the screen with an icon for each combatant, positioned so that you can see the upcoming turn sequence (like in the top-left of this Atelier Iris 2 screenshot: http://www.videogamer.com/ps2/atelier_iris_2/screenshot-16.html - the PCs icons go above the bar and the monster icons below the bar. All move the right at the same speed until one hits the right end, when that character gets a turn.)
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tchassin
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2013, 09:54:06 am »

@Ichigo Jam
Thank you for your feedback! Regarding the ATB time bar, Pierre and I had no problem with the separated bars, but if people find it confusing, we may just change that.
On the other hand, I was thinking of having skills that would empty the enemy's ATB time bar, or deal damages based on how filled it is, so individual bars seemed more appropriate.

Update 6
I'm still working on a clean, easily modified battle system. I should have something equivalent to the prototype in a week or so.
Pierre and I also fleshed out the battle GUI:



Keep in mind that the art is still placeholder, we focused on element placement.
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Trettyhan
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2013, 09:53:07 pm »

Looks very promissing!

I've played the prototype, nice work so far.

How's the progress?

Don't give up on this! Looks awesome and the world needs more games like this.

When I saw that last image, Suikoden came to mind instantly, because of the cool perspective. Breath of Fire IV, one of my favorites, it's a heavy influence to me too, alongside Arc the Lad and Suikoden (my all time favorite JRPG series), and so many others.

Keep up the nice work.
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tchassin
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2013, 11:57:14 am »

@Trettyhan: Haha no worries, I won't give up on this game: I'll finish it or die trying!  Evil

Update 7
I'm a bit down for the moment, so I'm hardly making any progress. I've reached the first milestone for the battle engine: it works but the action is impossible to read. I must add some UI and delays for animations, but I don't have the motivation to do it right now Sad
Since I'd like to show some more appealing graphics in the next demo, I've spent a ridiculous amount of time making minor changes on Victoria's sprite, which will serve as a base for the battle sprite, but I failed to find a good battle stance for her.

Here is the latest version:
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happymonster
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« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2013, 12:15:47 pm »

Looks very good! Smiley
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tchassin
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2013, 03:46:43 pm »

Update 8
I'm feeling better and started working on the project again!  Coffee
I started working on a more complex graphic engine supporting cameras, shaders, and scenes with complex elements.
However I noticed that using the framerate limit is not applied properly: if I set the limit under 65fps, I get ~33fps and if I set it between 65 and 200+ fps, I get ~66fps. I don't really know what's going on, but it's a minor issue since the game runs at more or less 60fps...
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tchassin
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« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2013, 05:36:30 am »

Update 9
I recently replayed the demo with a friend and realized the fight was quite long. However some characters die pretty fast (Cornelius is basically a glass canon that can die in a single turn), and the enemies are not even that strong.
So it mean that I must balance the game so that a character with a low vitality stat can at least survive a turn, which means that a fight against n enemies would last at least n+1 turns.
Quote from: tchassin
As for battles, I expect them to be 2-3 turn long
Oops.
So much for the "short but hard" battles Facepalm. In fact short but hard would feel pretty unfair if you don't have the initiative and the enemy kills your healer before you can even play, wouldn't it?

That's why I'm dropping the "short" and going for fewer encounters with high risks/high rewards. These encounter will be longer than the average, but it will allow the player to use different tactics and give the game more depth (I hope). You can think of each encounter as a mini boss fight, with a high amount of exp, gold, etc. at the end.

That was the reward, but what about the risk? What happen when the party is wiped out?
Well if I learned something from Dark Souls, it's that when the player dies a lot, he must be able to retry quickly. Therefore, no "load game or return to title" in Blade of Victory. I think I'll go for reverting the game to the state it was at the beginning of the room and add a "retry" option for boss fights.


I also finished the new graphic engine and started implementing it, but I don't have anything interesting to show for the moment
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tchassin
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« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2013, 03:49:31 pm »

Update 10
It's been quite a while since I posted anything here (not sure anyone missed it, though). In fact, I was very busy taking exams then being on holidays, but now I'm back at it. Since last update, I polished the graphic engine and finished implementing it, along with a very basic and dull combat system.
It still needs a bit a fine tuning, especially regarding GUI handling, but hey, it works. Coffee
I also played a little lot and discovered the wonderful world of image crawlers, so I have some ideas to make the game interesting, for the eyes, and the mind.
I also happened to get a Modo701 license, so I'm thinking of making low-poly models to use them as a base for sprites (another idea from BoF). That being said, I have very little experience, so it will take a while before I can actually use this technique to make sprites (if I ever can). Even though I still have to go through the basics, it would be really cool if anyone could point me some nice low-poly tutorials or anything related to use model as a base for sprites, or animation.
For now, I'll focus on the final touch to the basic combat system, then Pierre and I will sit for a while and think of ways to make things interesting.

In the meantime, here is a little preview of what I currently have:

Yes, it took me three month to get back to where I started, but:
1) I'm going through the painful process of learning through failure. And I'm learning A LOT.
2) Even though it may not be visible on this preview, the code is a lot cleaner and more flexible, so adding features is a lot easier.
3) Progress is slow, but steady. Cheers  Beer!
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tchassin
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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2013, 02:51:33 pm »

Update 11
This week, I've been commenting a lot of code, since I was starting to be unsure about the use of some functions. I've also removed a lot of dirty, temporary code and reorganized the game data and resources, and somehow ended up implementing multilingual support in the process. Well, the sooner the better I guess.
Also I've slightly improved the UI and started having something closer to the mockups by adding a background to menus, but I found some bugs while playing around with them. Dammit UI, I'll get you!  Angry Hand Shake Left
I also wrote code for a camera, but haven't tested it yet. Maybe I'll try to upload a gif when it works.
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