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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsStarshard - An anime-styled JRPG-inspired procedurally-generated tactical RPG
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Author Topic: Starshard - An anime-styled JRPG-inspired procedurally-generated tactical RPG  (Read 4044 times)
fetchQuest
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« on: September 04, 2015, 06:13:23 AM »


Starshard is a science fantasy tactical role-playing game with elements of procedural generation and stylised art inspired by JRPGs. In addition to playing through an expansive storyline, players can battle their way through limitless procedurally generated fields, amassing resources, units, and a variety of hidden characters. On top of this, they can challenge other players to extended one-on-one battles taking advantage of the turn-based nature of the game. Starshard is being developed in Unity 5 with C# and JSON targeting Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile devices.


Key Features

  • Tactical turn based combat
  • Expansive single-player story
  • Unlimited procedural content
  • Challenge other players to extended multi-player battles
  • Six playable races
  • Over 50 planned classes
  • Countless unlockable characters
  • In-depth item creation system
  • Dynamic day and night system
  • Dynamic weather system


Story Teaser

When the people of Ceres took to the skies over a thousand years ago, they did not do it alone. It was the gift of shards, granted by a previously unknown race, that bestowed upon them the freedom to roam the universe.

With limitless galaxies now within reach, their understanding of magic and science grew at an exponential rate. Trade was established with alien races - shards providing a universal currency with which to do business. The might of their warring factions, perpetually locked in a cold war fostered by unending tensions, provided an advantage - they could stand on equal footing with those races that boasted superior technology.

Today, the six major races live in relative peace, marred only by the frequent skirmishes amidst the border planets.

On Echelia individuals of all races can coexist in harmony. But this does not extend beyond its skies. War looms on the horizon as two races clash over conflicting ideals. The Nephilim will not yield while unbelievers denounce their divinity.

Far off in the frontiers, the Trailblazer Alliance of Independent Colonies seeks the remnants of long dead civilisations. Within the sealed halls of the ancients lie the keys to retaining their independence.

It is here that Karin's tale begins...


Screenshots

Just a few pre-alpha stage screenshots demonstrating a tiny fragment of our procedural generation and primary classes.


« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 11:41:43 AM by fetchQuest » Logged

flashysquirrel
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 06:57:00 AM »

look huge ! how many people are on this project ? your tiles look cool already...
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fetchQuest
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 07:18:36 AM »

Thanks for the comments! I'm sure our artist will be delighted to hear that!

Perhaps I should have mentioned it in the original post, but at this time our team consists of two members. One of us handles half the programming, audio design, music, and writing, while the other takes on the second half of the programming in addition to creating all of the artwork!
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Eldraev
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2015, 12:06:24 PM »

Thanks a lot (I'm the artist)

It's always great to hear that someone likes your art  Smiley

There is more and hopefully even better stuff coming  Wink
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2015, 01:15:09 PM »

I will keep my eye on this.
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fetchQuest
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2015, 10:47:39 AM »

How about a screenshot for #screenshotstaurday?

Here's a miniature procedurally generated forest map - some of these can turn out quite nicely!

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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2015, 11:16:00 AM »

Update 1: 06-09-2015

Today we take the opportunity to cast the spotlight on the six main playable races of Starshard. The limitless expanse of the universe is home to countless diverse races. Of these, six intelligent races share the regions of space in which our story will unfold. Each race comes with its own unique set of quirks, bringing with it countless opportunities to take advantage of their strengths, or exploit their weaknesses to dominate the field. Your choice of race can heavily influence your style of play, taking advantage of unique differences in movement, abilities, and even the available classes! Each race will be available in both genders.


The Ceresian Races

Our first three races, often termed the ‘Ceresian races’ for simplicity, all originate from the planet Ceres.


Cel

Of the three races born to Ceres, the Cel are the eldest. Known for their physical and mental diversity, they are often seen as the diplomats of the universe, driven by an intrinsic desire to expand their knowledge. This wide assortment of traits and personalities has led to the birth of numerous unique cultures, and as such, there is no one path to which the Cel adhere. Though they are often mistakenly seen as a singular entity by alien races, in truth several distinct – and often opposing – factions exist. Internal power struggles may be common to many races, but the Cel elevate this to an art form; it is rare to find peace amidst their warring branches.


Therians

Over the course of hundreds of years, the Therian race was born from the mammalian species sharing Ceres with the Cel. Centuries of poorly supervised magical experimentation led to a contamination which granted these creatures humanoid forms, in addition to their natural shape. As they evolved from a vast multitude of genera, there are countless varieties of Therian, each easily distinguishable by their distinctive tails and ears. In times long past, the habitual animal tendencies of the Therians often led to their exclusion from Ceresian society, though such days have long since passed. Today they are seen as equals – the second of the Ceresian races.


Cadmi

Some claim that the Cadmi are no true race; this stems from the belief that – despite their sapience – a body which contains no organic components cannot truly be considered alive. Regardless of whether this holds any truth, they are acknowledged as equals by their creators, and granted a place alongside them as the youngest of the Ceresian races. Countless generations of enhancements and revisions have brought the Cadmi further and further away from their original designs, yet many retain the capacity to excel in their original functions. It is not uncommon to see a Cadmus adorned with relics of early design schematics, such as gears, antennae, or hydraulics.

The New Races

The remaining three each hail from their own distinct home worlds, and are often considered the ‘new races’ from a Ceresian standpoint.


Eldra

When the Ceresian races emerged into the wider universe, the Eldra were the first truly unknown race they came upon. Though they might share many similarities in terms of form, the Eldra are a naturally diminutive race – slight of build, and lacking the muscular strength on which so many races have relied. Yet not once has this trait impeded their progress, instead lending weight to their focus on magic and giving rise to their reputation as the foremost scholars in the magical arts. While the Eldra are often seen as a peaceful race, this is not due to a natural tendency towards harmonious resolution of internal conflict, but rather an active unwillingness to engage in any sort of strife between the varying viewpoints.


Nephilim

There has been much theological debate as to whether the Nephilim form the basis for the depiction of angelic beings throughout history. Many believe that the multitude of divinities encountered by early peoples were in fact members of the Nephilim race. With their fair skin, ethereal, refined features, and rigid sense of order, it is easy to see how such a conclusion could be reached. Led by a council of Archangels, the Nephilim pride themselves on their superior advanced technology and seek dominion over all other races, reveling in their manufactured godhood.


Daeva

It is not always an easy task to distinguish a Daeva from any of the countless species of monsters prevalent throughout the universe. While all Davea begin their existence in an impish guise, their true natures begin to emerge as they mature into adolescence, bestowing upon them their final physical form. There are countless possible varieties – determined by individual personalities and genetic lineage – granting the race an unparalleled level of visual dissimilarity. Throughout the known universe, they are one of very few races for whom no planet is considered a true home. Instead, the Daeva choose to live a nomadic life, travelling in clans from world to world, salvaging what technology they can.

There you have it! There are, of course, countless other races throughout the universe, including many intelligent races with whom you may cross paths during the game. But it is these six that will be the source of your armies. If any of these have especially piqued your interest, we’d love to hear from you!
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2015, 04:49:11 PM »

Update 2: 12-09-2015

Last week we took a closer look at the playable races in Starshard. Today I would like to talk a bit about how the designs for some of those characters came to be.


The Eldran Evoker



The first concept I did was of the Eldran Evoker. She was originally not intended to be an Evoker (since they didn’t even exist at the time) but rather just a random mage. Over time as we developed the classes further we saw that she actually fit the role of the Evoker pretty nicely so she got the job.

Eldra are the smallest and most delicate of all races. I intended them to be cute and childlike. At the same time however I wanted them to seem like they could be quite mischievous. I often draw a single fang on Eldran characters to put emphasis on their playful nature although I never really decided if that should be an actual anatomical feature. Since the ears of the Eldra are so long they are used for communication through body language. Folded down ears bear just as much meaning to an Eldra as a frown.




The Daeva Footpad



After that point we had all the base classes planned out and I started designing characters specifically to fill in those positions. The Daeva was a real challenge for me since I don’t really know how to design handsome characters. Yet the Daeva Footpad was supposed to be a handsome and charismatic character that charms you while taking all your belongings behind your back. So I had to find out what a typical good-looking guy could be (let me know if he actually is attractive). His genus is mostly similar to a Nephilim appearance wise other than the horns of course. The layers upon layers of cloaks, mantels and vests he wears provide plenty of room to hide whatever he doesn’t want to be seen. After the first design iteration was done we added the card in his hand as well because it just fit and he seems like he would be a gambler.



The Nephilim Wanderer



Finally we come to the Nephilim. The Nephilim are the tallest of all races and the most technologically evolved ones. They are often pretty stuck up and think themselves better than others. Since they are so clean and organized we gave him a uniform looking outfit. Their appearance is loosely based on angels. To put emphasis on that I gave him a halo. The halo is actually just a display for information. Think of it as the Nephilim version of a name tag. Of course their weapons have to match their level of technology. While a bow seems like a pretty archaic weapon this one actually utilizes energy stored in the power gloves to shoot projectiles of concentrated energy (which obviously is much more sophisticated). He also has a small device on his cheek which is used for communication.


So those were the original concepts for some the sprites you saw earlier. What do you think about them? In the future I will go more in-depth on the designs and appearance of the different races in general and post about more concepts so look forward to that!
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« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2015, 10:22:59 AM »

This week we're featured in the Indie Game Magazine Screenshot Weekly! Check out their short write-up on Starshard here!
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2015, 12:26:34 PM »

Update 3: 19-09-2015

No tactical RPG would be complete without a plethora of classes to send into battle against the hoards of monsters, so let’s take a look at the six (plus one) primary classes that feature in Starshard. Why ‘plus one’ you ask? It’s quite simple really – the lore behind Starshard only truly features six so-called ‘primary’ classes, with the remaining class falling just on the edge of the category, filling what would otherwise be a gap in one of the races’ capabilities. Why do we call them the ‘primary’ classes anyway? As in most tactical RPGs, each class in Starshard will have the possibility of evolution – something we will likely go into more depth about on another occasion. With time and experience, almost every unit will have the option of evolving into a ‘secondary’ or ‘tertiary’ class based on their race, unlocking countless new possibilities and strategies! Note that the following appearances represent only one race and class combination – each class will be available in multiple different races with completely different sprites.


Six Primary Classes


Enforcer

An Enforcer kills not with the strength to overpower their foe, but with the efficient dexterity and finesse of those who seek swift resolution to conflict. The history of the Enforcers originates with the creation of the Cadmi; initially designed to handle any task deemed too risky, it was only natural that they were quickly used as replacements for flesh and blood troops. Armed with their deadly blades and putting down undesirable elements with an unsettling degree of efficiency, their techniques have since inspired generations from countless races to take up the mantle of Enforcer. In the hundreds of years since their rise to prominence, their culture – and nomenclature – has weaved its way into many – if not all – schools of sword mastery.



Guardian

Strength and solidarity in the face of adversity – these are the key tenets of the Guardians. Few can best these ferocious warriors in feats of pure might. If the whispers of awed onlookers are to be believed, the fists of a Guardian are honed to such a degree that they can meet the cold steel of a blade head on, without sustaining even the slightest damage. Their hardened bodies allow them to weather harsh conditions, putting them at the forefront of exploratory missions.



Wanderer

For almost as long as humanoid races have existed, they have partaken of the hunt. As the gears of time ground ever onward, their importance to the survival of their races began to dwindle, their practices falling to disuse. Yet there were still those who held steadfast to their bows, keeping generations of tradition alive in their archery. Though the bow is the core of Wanderer discipline, their roles vary drastically from culture to culture; where some live apart from civilisation, becoming as one with the wilderness, others bring their weapons to the front lines, using the skills to further the territorial ambitions of their peoples.



Footpad

The term ‘Footpad’ does not refer to a strict discipline, but rather to a range of individuals who operate in a similar fashion under almost identical principles. While the term surfaces most frequently in the curses bandied by those who find their valuables misplaced, the people to whom it refers are not strictly thieves. All worlds have need of an underworld – a realm to which one can turn for those unspeakable, yet necessary tasks. From amongst these ranks come the Footpads and their brethren, acting quickly – and discreetly – to facilitate the desires of their benefactors.



Evoker

By contracting with beings from a higher plane of existence – colloquially known as ‘familiars’ – an Evoker is granted freedom to channel a small fragment of their benefactor’s strength, petitioning for its use through spoken word or chant. In the process of forming their contract, the Evoker is bound to the will of their familiar and assigned a unique task towards which they must dedicate their life. As their magic is borrowed, only healing and defensive magic can be utilised – familiars will allow no misuse of their gifts.



Invoker

Not all who seek the use of magic desire to be bound to the will of a familiar. As such, there exist those who learn to bend residual aetheric forces to their own will by way of glyph magic, utilising a wide assortment of tools as catalysts in the process. However, compelling the aether to conform to one’s will is not always a precise art, and as such, is unsuited for the more delicate touch required in healing magic, relegating the practice solely to offensive uses. As with all types of magic, the invoking of aether requires that the user possess at least a moderate concentration of Ath – the blood of magic – in their veins.

Plus One

Technician

Since ancient times, the Nephilim have given magic a wide berth, considering the practices to be one of their greatest taboos. To supplement what could have proven a fatal weakness in their military forces, individuals of high intelligence are subjected to a unique training programme and fielded with an arsenal of advanced gadgetry. Wielding this tech with an expert’s touch, Technicians are capable of performing feats that, to lesser beings, are indistinguishable from magic.

Naturally, the Nephilim will not be the only race with restrictions placed upon class choices, but those are details for another time! With that, we conclude this brief look at the primary classes that will be available for recruitment during the early stages of the game! Have any thoughts? Let us know!
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2015, 01:25:00 PM »

Awesome art! I hope you succeed! Loved classes, esp. the invoker!

If that's not an issue, any tips on getting some traction? I can't figure out how to get it for my game, Computer Virus Simulator (just click link in the description).
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2015, 01:16:59 PM »

Thanks! We appreciate it!

I'm not certain we're the best people to get tips on gaining traction from, but all I can really say is to keep getting the game out in front of people who might be interested in it.
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2015, 10:32:52 AM »

Update 4: 26-09-2015

This week, rather than focus on one single aspect of development, we’d like to give a brief overview of a few different things we’ve been working on.

Karin Orr, Seeker of Lost Technology

The first of these is a proper unveiling of the main character of Starshard – the quiet-but-confident Karin Orr, along with a related early sketch!


Thirteen years ago, Karin lost everything. Born in the magnificent city of Sky, situated on the neutral planet Echelia, she should have been granted a life of peace and prosperity together with her siblings. But the will of the universe had very different ideas; it was her father’s bloodline that eventually brought chaos to their door, casting her down into the depths of the city’s underworld at only five years of age. The Eldra – to whom blood holds more meaning than any other – do not always look favourably upon halves. Royal halves, such as she, were almost unprecedented.

Months passed in the darkened streets – taking with them her two siblings – before one arrived who could recognise the fire that had blossomed in her eyes.

Now eighteen, Karin flourishes under the wing of her master – Mathis – destined to take his place at the helm of a vast space colony within the coming years. Though her past has long been left behind her, she remains slow to trust. Yet to those she allows into her heart, she can be fiercely loyal. Mathis taught her many things over the years, from swordplay and invoking, to science, history, and the arts. As such, though she remains a quiet and often reserved individual, Karin harbours an unwavering confidence in her own abilities. Following in his footsteps, Karin aims to master the art of archaeology, joining him in seeking out lost technology amidst the countless husks of ancient civilisation scattered throughout the universe. Her chosen purpose in life: to better the futures of all races.

Time’s Embrace (Music)

While we would not consider it to be the main theme of Starshard, ‘time’ certainly falls in amongst those we see at the forefront of the game. For this reason, the first track we’re unveiling in a draft state is Time’s Embrace, which you can hear below. This track was written with the cyclical nature of time in mind – the continuous repetition of the past making up a large chunk of its ostinati as time moves ever onwards.

You can hear it here!

The Diurnal Cycle

To close, we’d like to give a look at what we’ve been working on this past week. Tying in with the overall theme of ‘time’ and our promise that Starshard would be a game featuring a dynamic passage of time and weather system, here’s a very shallow overview of what we have implemented to date! Below is a (sped up) gif depicting the passage of time over the course of a single day during a battle.


At this time, the number of hours in a day can be completely arbitrary, allowing for planets with any type of orbit. Day and night are designated by setting times for sunrise and sunset, leaving the system to calculate what sort of light levels should be achieved. This allows for fields in which daylight hours can be extremely long or extremely short in comparison to night which can lead to some interesting situations where certain worlds will never achieve full darkness or full light.

Of course, the diurnal cycle does not exist only for cosmetic reasons: The passage of time, along with the variance in darkness levels and weather changes, grant a variety of bonuses and penalties to units and monsters on the field. As an example, darkness levels in a particular area cause penalties to accuracy levels for most classes, in particular ranged classes. Nocturnal Therian genera, along with monsters, are granted general stat bonuses at night, while vampiric beings suffer penalties during the daytime. These are only a small sampling of the changes that can be brought into effect depending on the time of day – the mastery of which can help lead to a swift and decisive victory in battle!
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2015, 01:44:04 PM »

Update 5: 03-10-2015

Hey, it's me again.
This week I have some more designs as well as a new concept to show. Get ready for concept and pixel art.

Monster

To finally get to the point where we can actually implement foes on randomly generated worlds I was making some monster designs earlier and we ended up deciding on the nymph (work in progress name) as a first opponent to be put in the game for testing. She is a kind of nature spirit, which is why I gave her the ability to float hopefully making her seem more magical. Her attacks will obviously be water based and most likely magical. You will undoubtedly find her as a monster around bodies of water protecting them with all her might (and cuteness).


Above you can see how her sprite was made if you are into that kind of stuff and below is a screenshot showing her in-game.



Environment


Although we have only shown off the forest biome so far, that is of course not all that will be in the game. To get a better idea of what biomes might look like I made a small concept for a cave. Now keep in mind that this might not really reflect regular caves in-game. You probably won't find big artefacts and ruins like this everywhere. Still caves will play an important role in the game since they will provide you will with all kinds of resources and other things. Treasures as well as monsters just wait to be discovered here.


So that's it for this week again. I hope something could catch your interest and if you would like to see more check out some of our other posts.
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2015, 06:31:40 PM »

This looks amazing and I love the story! I'm already really excited to hear more about the narrative. The Dirunal cycle I s also a really unique addition to the combat. I'm definitely gonna keep checking in on here for updates!
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« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2015, 02:59:18 AM »

This looks cool!

Always nice to see more ambitious jrpgs from small teams on tigsource! either i'm doing something ok, or we're all crazy! Wink
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2015, 03:37:27 PM »

Thanks for the kind comments! We always love to hear that people are interested in Starshard!

This looks amazing and I love the story! I'm already really excited to hear more about the narrative. The Dirunal cycle I s also a really unique addition to the combat. I'm definitely gonna keep checking in on here for updates!

Glad you like the lore and the concept behind the Diurnal cycle - they're both things we're putting a heavy emphasis on during our development (along with the art direction of course) so it's great to hear that they're appreciated.

This looks cool!

Always nice to see more ambitious jrpgs from small teams on tigsource! either i'm doing something ok, or we're all crazy! Wink

I'd be inclined to say we're all crazy, but who's to say that's a bad thing?!
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2015, 03:48:35 PM »

Update 6: 11-10-2015

Hi everyone, in this weeks update we got a new little critter for you. It’s just not actually that little and rather murderous. Soooo… enjoy!

First, a short excerpt from Karin’s Log detailing the creature in question:

Bestiary Entry 14: Skitter


Over the countless millennia since the dawn of time, many have sought mastery over the living beasts which inhabit all corners of the known universe. For those who failed at every turn, the promise of artificial lifeforms hold a particular allure.

None know who created the first clockwork creatures – the details have long since been lost to the annals of time. What we do know is that the beauty of their craftsmanship has endured for aeons, weathering the ages in an almost supernatural fashion. Despite this, few such clockwork beasts remain in working order, most reduced to heaps of scrap by opportune adventurers seeking a quick source of income.

Of these survivors, the Skitter is undoubtedly the most feared. The characteristic clicking and scraping that echo through the hollow metallic halls of their lairs has been known to cause severe cases of arachnophobia in even the bravest of souls.

Concept

This monster is the first in a series of clockwork monsters. As you might have guessed from the name, their designs are based on actual clockworks. It goes far beyond that though. Within the metal and glass case a mysterious ancient glow powers the creatures and gives them life. To the untrained eye it might seem like it’s just any modern shard technology but don’t take those creatures lightly. The mechanical gears of a Skitter can be turned into gruesome weapons in a blink of an eye. The saw-like gears on the abdomen are especially deadly. Their whole body is full of sharp edges of hardened metal ready to slice you up. I mean just look at their feet. Yet they are made of precious metals and carry valuable scientific resources so it might just be worth picking a fight with them.

So what does this fearsome creature look like when I meet it in-game you ask? Let me answer your question with this little gif of the Skitters idle animation.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 12:05:02 AM by Eldraev » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2015, 11:09:10 AM »

Update 7: 17-10-2015

Hey everyone! This week we made some progress towards getting all basic map features in the game. There are also a few new objects themed around primitive civilization.

Let’s first take a look at this little map I made to show off the new stuff and then take a closer look at the details. Here is a zoomed out screenshot of it.

Civilization

As mentioned before there are some signs of civilization now. Namely we added basic roads to the game as well as lanterns, signposts and buckets lying around. In the future more stuff like this will be in the game including even small villages. Here are some close-ups to give you a better impression of the new objects:


 
Tiles

As you might have noticed from the earlier screenshots we now have slopes. These tiles will be very useful to reach higher locations and often mark important strategical positions. For example check out this little hill:


Furthermore, as you can see the grass now grows on actual dirt instead of rock as it did before, which I might add is much more realistic for a forest.

So that’s it for this weeks update. It’s not the most exciting stuff but those are all important steps towards getting the map editor and map generation done so look forward to that.
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« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2015, 12:12:33 PM »

A very early look at our dialogue system for Screenshot Saturday!

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