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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsSoul Appeaser [2D ARPG inspired by Souls, Berserk, AoT]
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mzn528
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« on: May 09, 2015, 06:06:19 PM »

The Game

Set in a dark, desperate world inspired by Berserk, Vagabond, and novels by Ayn Rand. Soul Appeaser is a 2D single player ARPG with responsive combat, unique character progression/development and subtle, interesting story telling mechanics.

The Story

In the peak of decade-long war between two religious countries, the sudden appearance of ungodly forces put a swift end to the conflict. Fighting against the demonic force, majority of human population quickly perished. Survivors from two countries were forced to retreat to the last mountain fortress at the edge of the border.

No human has then set foot outside the fortress due to fear and despair, leaving the land abandoned and plagued by the undead.

Years later, you have awakened in the middle of the aloof land with no past memory and one unique power.

Baffled with questions, your adventure begins...

The game has two different timelines:

One is the present, post apocalyptic world plagued by undead force where the human survivors were forced to create a micro-society in the last fortress. Throughout the story, if the player desires he or she will observe the clash between individualism (heroism aka the "prime mover" indicated by Ayn Rand in her works) vs. collectivism (the idea of merely surviving as a group and making all decisions to benefit the "greater good")

Another one is the past, a world torn apart by war and religious conflicts between two countries. Throughout the past timeline, the player will be able to get a glimpse of how powerless an individual can be (regardless of his social status) when his/her idea conflicts with the society. It will show us the greed, madness and hatred induced by collectivism.

The two timelines are interrelated, eventually the player will discover the cause of the demon invasion (which led to the human extinction) and essentially why the creator decided to allow it to happen.

Core Mechanics

Soul Appeasing - Throughout the continent you will find trapped souls of the victims in the present world. Your ability is to access their souls to consume their memories and view the most memorable moments of their lives before releasing their souls.

Soul Crystal – Souls of great warriors chose to linger in the present world for various reasons. With your ability and fulfillment of certain criteria you can view the most memorable moments of their lives and relive the last moment before their deaths. If you can successfully alternate their deaths, you will likely be able to acquire their powers (vocations) in the form of soul crystals, the crystals contains the memory of the dead and also act as magnifiers of your own abilities.

Transform – As an Appeaser you do not possess combative abilities. To battle against the creatures and human enemies, you must utilize the power of soul crystals by transforming into the forms of warriors to deal physical damages.

Game Play Gifs:





Main Character:
Idle

Attack

Transform for melee combat


Soul Fragments – Defeating enemies will release their souls and you will be granted fragments as a reward. You can use those fragments to strengthen your own abilities, increase the concentration level of your soul crystals, or convert them into consumables.

Features

Responsive, unique combat

As a big fan of Souls and Monster Hunters series, combat is one of my biggest focus in this game. Each weapon in this game will have its unique move-set, damage, speed, dashing distance, etc. There is no perfect weapon, with great damage comes the sacrifice of speed as you will feel the weight of the weapon.

To bring variety to the combat systems, aside from the regular attacks there will also be active skills available range from special melee attacks to traps and bombs.

Each move will consume your stamina, therefore button mashing will not work and it is advised to carefully plan your movements.

Examples:

Straight Sword - Squire (Starting Vocation 1)



Ultra Greatsword - Mercenary (Starting Vocation 2)




Katana - Vagabond (Starting Vocation 3)WIP




Challenging, fair game play

The goal is to make Soul Appeaser challenging instead of difficult, no attack is unavoidable (some are hard), and it is absolutely possible to finish the entire game with the starting class. The key is to learn the pattern to overcome obstacles.

Unique Character progression system

You start with three soul crystals as the three starting classes, each representing their vocation lines (there will be three: one represents Western culture (Knight, Paladin, etc.), one represents Eastern culture (Samurai, Ninja, etc.), and one neutral (Mercenary, Berserk, etc.) . You can only access the more advanced soul crystal once you have certain stats AND have already obtained its predecessor.

There are some individual soul crystals outside of the main vocation lines with non-melee unique play styles, including limited range attack options.

Non-linear, subtle story telling

The majority of the back story will be learned through soul appeasing, you get to experience the event happened during the war from different perspectives. It is up to you whether you want to explore the story by putting the different pieces together.

Open world exploration

There will be minimal guidance, it is up to you to explore the vast world and seek the adventures the world has to offer.

Multiple Endings

You are able to view the past, however the present and the future lies in your hand. Lead the human survivors? Become a demon hunter? Or join the demon to bring chaos to the world? Make your decision.


About me and this game (if you still have the patience to read my mumbling thoughts)

As a huge fan of dark themed anime (serious ones like Berserk, Vagabond, FMA, etc.) and ARPG games (Souls series, Monster Hunters…), I rarely found games that are perfectly suitable to my tastes (I am a weird person).

After Dark Souls there’s a sense of emptiness and that was when I find out I need to start making my dream game to put my vision, rage, and nightmares together. Since then I tried to teach myself game developing and pixel arts and here is the product, I am getting slightly better in the process and hopefully this will attract people who think alike. Playing a good game is like communicating with its developer face-to-face, and my one and only goal is to share the story and vision in my mind with you (so that we can become imaginary friends or archenemies).

I know this will only attract a limited amount of audience but I do not wish to sacrifice it purely to attract more people. Soul Appeaser will be a dark, gritty, melee combat focused single player experience. Any other way will not work and as of now I am not willing to try something else simply because it is more popular (will listen to suggestions carefully though).

Oh yeah, if you have any feedback, please don't hesitate to let me know, honest feedback is the most precious gift you can give me!

Thank you and I love you all!
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 09:53:43 AM by mzn528 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2015, 12:04:59 AM »

Damn, looks really awesome! Though there's something that I don't like about the characters. Some of the poses they make just seem weird and unnatural. For example the guy with the giant 2hander look great, but the rest of the guys seem like they have very short legs or something like that. Also the sword and shield guy makes really weird poses when hitting, the sword arm looks especially weird, like the shoulder is not moving and he's only turning it from elbow and below. But even with that, it still looks pretty good. Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2015, 08:54:58 AM »

Damn, looks really awesome! Though there's something that I don't like about the characters. Some of the poses they make just seem weird and unnatural. For example the guy with the giant 2hander look great, but the rest of the guys seem like they have very short legs or something like that. Also the sword and shield guy makes really weird poses when hitting, the sword arm looks especially weird, like the shoulder is not moving and he's only turning it from elbow and below. But even with that, it still looks pretty good. Smiley

Hey aamatniekss, thanks a lot for the good word!  I knew there is something wrong with the proportions of the characters, and the reason why the 2hander guy looks good is probably because he is the only guy with no cape/lower body armor. Hmm I will look in to that and try to fix it. Also points taken on the attacking animation... time to get off my lazy ass and start fixing the details...

Btw, I saw your work on both GMC and TIG and /r/pixelart, big fan here and please keep us updated of your awesome caveman!
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b∀ kkusa
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2015, 12:56:06 PM »

I am curious about how you're going to give the illusion of vast world with a beat-em-up engine.
Are you going to lock the screen when there is a fight? will the enemies go offscreen when you push em too far?  Is it going to be straight-lined like Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow over Mystara? with an overall map?

I never played Dragon's crown so i don't exactly know how they handled those little frustrating thing in beat-em-ups in general.
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mzn528
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2015, 02:05:40 PM »

I am curious about how you're going to give the illusion of vast world with a beat-em-up engine.
Are you going to lock the screen when there is a fight? will the enemies go offscreen when you push em too far?  Is it going to be straight-lined like Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow over Mystara? with an overall map?

I never played Dragon's crown so i don't exactly know how they handled those little frustrating thing in beat-em-ups in general.

Hey @bakkusa thanks for the kind word! To answer your question:

1. It is difficult but doable, beat em up set up suggests only horizontal movement and themes, but it is entirely possible to integrate horizontal entrance to other themes/rooms with either slopes( go up hill/down hill, secret cave entrance, etc.). Also when I say vast world I was talking about the variety of themes and the number of places you can go, not necessarily means the sheer size of each area. There will be something like that to give a illusion of a grand scene (for example, a scene with a huge lake/mountain in the background).

2. As for the combat, think of a 2D Dark Souls(if you played it before), no combat (except for boss fights or the process of appeasing as mentioned in my introduction) are unavoidable, you can choose to run away whenever you feel like and it is definitely doable. When you run past the enemies for a certain distance they will stop chasing you indefinitely, enemy will respawn each time you rest at a check point instead of switching scenes. And there will be invisible walls (for dev purposes) to stop the enemies from going to places they should not go.

Not sure if I answered your questions correctly? Doing this in this setting is definitely hard, but I am pretty confident it is doable possibly after I fail 100 times or so and with great feedbacks from you guys!

If you never played Dark Souls, GO PLAY IT. If you never played Dragon's Crown, meh.. I said that to simply use it to illustrate my set up since this is not exactly a side scroller.
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2015, 03:20:05 PM »

I completely understand where you are coming from when you see there was a feeling of emptiness after finishing Dark Souls. The story-telling and world-building is so subtle, but for the right kind of people, it's completely engrossing, right?

That said - since you are going for that darker sort of vibe, you might mess with your color palette a bit and see if you can maybe make things a bit darker/less cartoony. I know the art and everything is still in a very early stage - just something to keep in mind.

And you definitely need a Brawler/Caestus class Smiley  It's one of my favorite ways to play DaS.

Lastly - have you ever played any of the SMT (Shin Megami Tensei) games? The reason I ask is, the way you are describing the endings, it almost sounds like the way SMT games always have Light/Neutral/Dark endings. I really like that - and think it's a great design choice.

Can't wait to see this progress!
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mzn528
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2015, 06:42:13 PM »

I completely understand where you are coming from when you see there was a feeling of emptiness after finishing Dark Souls. The story-telling and world-building is so subtle, but for the right kind of people, it's completely engrossing, right?

That said - since you are going for that darker sort of vibe, you might mess with your color palette a bit and see if you can maybe make things a bit darker/less cartoony. I know the art and everything is still in a very early stage - just something to keep in mind.

And you definitely need a Brawler/Caestus class Smiley  It's one of my favorite ways to play DaS.

Lastly - have you ever played any of the SMT (Shin Megami Tensei) games? The reason I ask is, the way you are describing the endings, it almost sounds like the way SMT games always have Light/Neutral/Dark endings. I really like that - and think it's a great design choice.

Can't wait to see this progress!

Yep, I really loved the hidden lore and that's why I want to apply similar things for my game. No mandatory cinametics is a big big plus for me!

Thanks for the feedback on the color, the background you are seeing right now is actually something I did a LONG time ago, that's why everything is ugly and all, plus it is the very first scene of an area, as player gets deeper the scene will become darker and more distorted.

Another thing is I am pretty bad at color but I am trying to bring some color varieties into the game... this is something I am trying to get better at and that's why I am experimenting with colors...

Don't you worry about the class, there's 31 playable classes I have in mind (sucks to be me) and a brawler class is one of them haha!

As for the ending, my case is actually not quite a light/dark/neutral endings as in the lines are blurred between light and dark. Each ending will help you discover a piece of the truth, and the ultimate ending will really explains everything (why there's monsters, etc.)

But yeah I played SMT and loved it, awesome game!
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2015, 08:32:11 PM »

oh dude, didnt know it was you who did this, I saw this game early today and I liked it a lot, mostly amazed that only you are doing it, first thing I thought is one programmer and one artists, but if those are your art skills you are a good package man!

also we are neighbors xD , we are both working in games inspired on the souls series, (will check that Dragons Crown)

only feedback I can give at the moment, is that in my opinion you can give even a more fast feel to the parts of the animations where the action happens, for example, here, I increased the speed on the frames where the action is happening, look

here is the current speed


here is the action frames acelerated


besides that, I like a lot the style of the great sword guy, was about to say that the background could be darker but someone already did, looking awesome man, keep the progress
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mzn528
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2015, 09:27:52 PM »

oh dude, didnt know it was you who did this, I saw this game early today and I liked it a lot, mostly amazed that only you are doing it, first thing I thought is one programmer and one artists, but if those are your art skills you are a good package man!

also we are neighbors xD , we are both working in games inspired on the souls series, (will check that Dragons Crown)

only feedback I can give at the moment, is that in my opinion you can give even a more fast feel to the parts of the animations where the action happens, for example, here, I increased the speed on the frames where the action is happening, look


besides that, I like a lot the style of the great sword guy, was about to say that the background could be darker but someone already did, looking awesome man, keep the progress

Howdy neighbor, good to see you again haha! Thanks for the good word, I've been learning both pixel arts and game developing, each is hard and interesting in their own ways and your encourage means a lot to me!

As for the speed, I actually made him really slow on purpose to really make each character/playstyle distinctive. For example, if you take a look at the first animation (knight), the knight is attacking really fast compare to the greatsword. It will probably make more sense once I implement the damage and enemy knock-back effect (when get hit it gets knock back a certain distance). In this case, the straight sword (knight) will deal medium damage/small knock-back because it has an advantage of a medium attack speed and medium range; but the greatsword guy will deal a huge amount of damage and has a big knock-back with a long range, while sacrificing the attack speed.

With the above, the knight will have a complete different play style(less stamina consumption on attacks, you go in and attack aggressively) than the greatsword(you have to time your attack when you see the enemy is coming).

But did I make him too slow..?

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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2015, 09:42:52 PM »

oh in that case its ok, dont mind me I just have this thing for fast things xD

but yeah, seems like you have thinked in the balance, tho you can still have those slow times, I didnt mean speed the whole animation just those action frames, but will need to see how the game works to give my opinion about it

btw, if you need sound effects, we found some nice free packages in reddit and other websites, I can pm if you want those (from swords to magic to moves, a lot of things)



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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2015, 09:55:03 PM »

Nope , i think you nailed the right speed. We can feel the heaviness of the sword à la Beruseruku.

What worries me is the speed at which you're going to evolve your art skill. Just being realistic, i know it takes time.
And keep in mind that it's kind of dangerous to start a project saying this is like a 2d Dark Souls = people expectation.


I'm working on a beat-em-up actually, project that evolved from a 2d platformer Darksoulslike and I know that it's not that easy to do this.
I think that Death Gambit and Eitr are the 2 games in TIGdevlogs that managed to give the Dark Souls vibe at first sight, you should check them.
You should check Salt & Sanctuary too. <-- this one nailed the 2d Dark SOuls vibe

Good luck on this project.
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2015, 10:58:36 PM »

oh in that case its ok, dont mind me I just have this thing for fast things xD

but yeah, seems like you have thinked in the balance, tho you can still have those slow times, I didnt mean speed the whole animation just those action frames, but will need to see how the game works to give my opinion about it

btw, if you need sound effects, we found some nice free packages in reddit and other websites, I can pm if you want those (from swords to magic to moves, a lot of things)





Muahaha if you like fast things stay in tune for my third starting class, the vagabond character (samurai), he's the character with fastest speed, medium-long range and fast movements!

I am a long way from alpha demo but I am getting there! I really want to play your game though, it looks pretty impressive in so many ways!

That would be lovely!!! Sound is definitely something I need to worry about in the future! Thanks a bunch!

Nope , i think you nailed the right speed. We can feel the heaviness of the sword à la Beruseruku.

What worries me is the speed at which you're going to evolve your art skill. Just being realistic, i know it takes time.
And keep in mind that it's kind of dangerous to start a project saying this is like a 2d Dark Souls = people expectation.


I'm working on a beat-em-up actually, project that evolved from a 2d platformer Darksoulslike and I know that it's not that easy to do this.
I think that Death Gambit and Eitr are the 2 games in TIGdevlogs that managed to give the Dark Souls vibe at first sight, you should check them.
You should check Salt & Sanctuary too. <-- this one nailed the 2d Dark SOuls vibe

Good luck on this project.

Hello Bakkusa and thanks for the good word! My love for Berserk will definitely be reflected in this game haha

Oh boy did it take time, it took me a good five months to get to this point from scratch... But fingers crossed hopefully I will get better as I progress!

It is good to have people raise their expectation, pressure will force me to never be satisfied with my game. I have a pretty clear image in my head and I will not release the game if the product does not fit it perfectly :D

Link me your devlog/game, I'd love to see it! and yeah... it is nothing but easy, with the dimension restriction for sidescroller/beat em up, it is really difficult to deliver the "soul-like" environment and combat.

I've bookmarked them both, they really impressed me when I saw them and thanks a lot for the suggestion! I will definitely go check out Salt & Sanctuary!
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2015, 07:13:08 PM »

05/11
-Added "running to stop effect" to smooth out the transition between running to idle
-Also added an "attack stop effect", when the combo stops in the middle the transition to idle state will be smoother, similar to above (coding complete, animation needs a few extra frame)

Both demonstrated in this gif: (only a small detail but made animations smoother)


-Fixed proportion issue with the main character animation
-Updated transformation animation


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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2015, 09:38:04 PM »

05/13
-Idle animation and design complete for the third starting vocation: Vagabond (wielding katana and he is the starting vocation for the Eastern Kingdom vocation tree, the character has fast speed, long reach but low damage and defense)


-Create a really smooth 16 frame running animation for the main character, since he runs relative slower as a non-combat character


-"Attack finish" animation and "Running finish" animation for the other two characters

Cheers.
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2015, 03:01:06 PM »





dude your art skills are actually really good, what program are you using to animate?
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2015, 05:16:09 PM »





dude your art skills are actually really good, what program are you using to animate?

Thanks man! This took me forever but he(the main character) is the only one who needs a 16 frame running animation so phew.

For program, I am doing pixel arts, so graphicsGale fo life. It is pretty much the best program out there for pixeling, and it is free, give it a try if you ever need to do pixel arts  Grin
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2015, 06:12:03 PM »

Gale and Sai are my software siblings xD



also, dont know if it helps, but something that speed a lot my use of it was setting keys to "forward and back frame"
a guy from twitch show me that and it really speed the process (cause other wise you need to use the cursor to move between frames)

File/Preferences/Key


keep posting, I like to see this game dev
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2015, 06:20:59 PM »

Gale and Sai are my software siblings xD



also, dont know if it helps, but something that speed a lot my use of it was setting keys to "forward and back frame"
a guy from twitch show me that and it really speed the process (cause other wise you need to use the cursor to move between frames)

File/Preferences/Key



Thanks for the tip but I've set the hotkeys already so no worries (otherwise the mouse actions would've driven me crazy a LONG time ago..). Thanks for the good word!! I see your game is also developing nicely, good luck to the both of us and we will keep each other updated!
keep posting, I like to see this game dev
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2015, 05:35:05 PM »

05/16
-Another enemy (not sure how I feel about him..)



-Defense and dash systems
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2015, 10:57:39 PM »

You had me at Berserk  Kiss
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