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October 19, 2021, 04:24:13 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsAnother Star 2 - a console style RPG with pretty pixel art
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Author Topic: Another Star 2 - a console style RPG with pretty pixel art  (Read 20998 times)
cynicalsandel
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« Reply #120 on: January 09, 2021, 10:55:55 PM »

i'm not good at words but i really enjoy following your project. keep it up!


this shit is killer
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neko.works
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« Reply #121 on: January 10, 2021, 05:32:32 AM »

Nice pixel-art! I'm a big fan of retro-jrpgs so... following Cool
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #122 on: January 13, 2021, 06:20:49 PM »

Dev Log #28
Toying With the Enemy



Generic encounters make up the bulk of play time in most RPGs, and Another Star 2 is certainly no exception. These battles can be dull padding if the developer is not careful. The original Another Star addressed this by speeding them up with its omni-battle system. Most of the strategy in battle was deciding which elemental attacks to use so that you could take out the biggest or most annoying threats first. Still, it's easy for battles to feel samey with enemies becoming no more than the same thing but with different graphics. Another Star was by no means innocent of this.

>Another Star 2 takes a slightly different route than its predecessor. Battles are still meant to be fast paced and not drag on past their welcome, but without the omni-battle system each character manually choose their target and a so lot of the first game's design decisions are no longer applicable. And even as quickly as the battles play out, they just aren't as fast. To make up for this I want to make sure that each enemy feels unique and gives players reasons to think about how they will approach them.


Take the humble Toad, for example. This is a very early game enemy, though one players will likely struggle with for their first few levels of progress because of the Toad's relative power compared to the player's initial strength.

Now, like all real-life amphibians, you can see that Toads have heavily armored skin on their backs. (Of course it's true. Why would I make such a thing up?) This is a good demonstration of one of the game's design philosophies: you should be able to gather clues about an enemy just by looking at their design. Sure, there are enemies that will purposefully defy your expectations to keep you on your toes, but observing new enemies is usually your first step to determining how best to confront them.

I also want to make sure that's there's not necessarily just one strategy to defeat an enemy. Again, the Toad is an excellent example. As I noted, Toads have natural armor. An obvious approach is to switch to a piercing weapon. As in the first game, piercing weapons ignore armor and deal damage directly to a target's natural defense. Toads are squishy beneath all that armor, so you can easily deal a lot of damage.

However, that's far from the only strategy. See, there's a trick to these Toads in that you can use what would normally be an advantage to their disadvantage. If you think about it, you may note that many amphibians survive the cold winters by burying themselves in loose, wet soil and hibernating. Thus, as you might suspect, Toads are immune to ice damage. But this is a two-edged sword. Have you figured it out?


If you hit a Toad with an ice attack, you won't do any damage, but you will put them into a deep sleep. While they're in this state, they won't wake up, even if you attack them! You can use this to your advantage by putting them into hibernation and then laying the smack down, or just ignore them and focus on any other enemies while the Toad is no longer a threat.

There's certainly not an endless array of strategies. Another Star 2 is by no means a game steeped in emergent gameplay, and I can assure you that the developer has not thought of everything. But if you experiment with your abilities and think about how an enemy behaves and reacts, you'll likely to be rewarded. Items, skills, and magic can take you a long way in battle if you put some thought into how best to use them. The work I put into the game's scripting engine is really paying off in that regard.
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #123 on: January 26, 2021, 05:30:56 PM »

A little mini-update today. Wanted to show off one of the enemies that you are most likely to encounter in your first battles of the game.


This is a "blight". Though it may look intimidating it's exceptionally weak, perhaps the single weakest enemy in the game. With only a handful of hit points, it's liable to go down in a hit or two even when you're still at level 1. They have no outstanding features, and are one of the few enemies to have no real weaknesses to exploit—other than the fact they probably aren't going to last past the first round of battle. Their sole purpose is to serve as early game fodder while players get used to how combat plays out.

Originally the original game's "weedgora" enemy was going to play this role, but even the weedgora has strengths and weaknesses. I wanted to mix it up a little with an even simpler enemy, and to let this game grow its own identity with a new enemy for players to encounter in the early game.

In my next proper dev log I want to talk about the game's exploration, and how I want the game to present serious dangers players while exploring without completely discouraging them from wandering off the beaten path.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #124 on: January 27, 2021, 12:34:49 AM »

Oh wow, this is a large devlog to catch up on Who, Me?

Looks like it's worth it though!
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Ishi
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« Reply #125 on: January 27, 2021, 12:31:21 PM »

Really enjoying the recent updates! It seems like you're putting a lot of thought into the basics of the combat and encounters which is great.

Unique effects like the hibernation of the toad enemy could add a lot of interest to battles. I think there's potential there for having interactions between the enemies, for example a fire-based enemy that emits heat and nullifies any ice damage to the enemy team - so if you encountered it with a toad you couldn't use the ice->hibernation trick until you've defeated the fire enemy first. Or an ice-based enemy that explodes when defeated (maybe only when defeated in a certain way?), causing ice damage to the other enemies which you could then exploit to put the toad to sleep even if you don't have ice magic yourself.

I also like your thoughts about making items useful in battle. Hopefully you can prevent the typical RPG thing where consumable items just hang around in the inventory never getting used!
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #126 on: January 27, 2021, 02:21:09 PM »

I think there's potential there for having interactions between the enemies, for example a fire-based enemy that emits heat and nullifies any ice damage to the enemy team - so if you encountered it with a toad you couldn't use the ice->hibernation trick until you've defeated the fire enemy first. Or an ice-based enemy that explodes when defeated (maybe only when defeated in a certain way?), causing ice damage to the other enemies which you could then exploit to put the toad to sleep even if you don't have ice magic yourself.

I hadn't really thought a lot about doing something like that, but it would be pretty cool. It shouldn't be too hard to script even with what I already have, either.
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #127 on: February 03, 2021, 05:49:16 PM »

Dev Log #29
The Fishing Hole




While incomplete, this part of the world is where your adventure begins. The lookout tower is where you take your first steps in the game.

From your starting point, you can begin to fan out into the wider world, but as you continue along the road, you'll immediately stumble upon a little pond that flickers into being with the sound of a chime. This is the game's first "hidden" area, purposefully placed in plain sight so that you can hardly miss it.


I've talked about these before in past dev logs: places that aren't visible on the overworld until you get closer to them. This pond quickly teaches the player to expect them, and it's only the first of many you will stumble upon.

Now, those of you who have played Another Star will know that there were only 2 or 3 NPC types that I reused all throughout the entire game. Yeah, this game is not that game. I want the world of this game to really come to life. You know how in most RPGs, you can easily spot the important characters by whether they have face sprites for dialog? I wanted to change player's expectations of that right off the bat.


Every NPC is supposed to be an adventure in their own right. They have personalities and, in my opinion, are just plain fun to watch. Notice how the map sprite even blinks in unison with their face sprite! A small detail, but I'm proud of it. The flip side to this is that there are going to be so many different NPCs that I have to remind myself to move on, even if they aren't perfect. A number of them will likely get tweaks and slight redesigns as I go on, but I'm forcing myself to finish each NPC and then move on. There's just me. I can't spend all day making every encounter perfect.


Most areas have their own little story or history. Some even have a narrative that plays out. Often they'll loosely connect to the game's central plot in some way, but even they are likely to be be self-contained. This particular area, you learn, is a fishing hole that is a local favorite. The characters here even make it clear that you're supposed to explore in order to find more cool stuff like this.


Of course, just like the first game, the main thing you're looking for in places like this is loot! This game even includes a nifty feature lacking in the first game, where if you don't have enough room for an item the character will leave the chest open just a crack instead of closing it back up all the way so that you'll know you've already searched it.


Not every NPC is completely unique. I don't have that much time! But even repeated NPCs are made a little less noticeable by the fact that various NPC designs include a number of variations. These scouts of the Pioneer Alliance come in multiple flavors. You should keep an eye out for them, by the way. They have helpful advice about adventuring and can clue you in to the game's mechanics.


This one makes it clear that, like the first game, sub areas have more difficult enemies than the overworld. In fact, in this game, the enemies in areas like this are much tougher. When you first encounter this area at level one you are likely going to have to play smart or outright ignore some battles in order to survive to reach the goodie chest at the end.

Even then, though, the game further uses this area to showcase a few anti-frustration mechanics that encourage you to press your luck instead of discouraging you from exploring. But that's best left for another entry.


You really never know what you'll find in this game.
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cactusanctuary
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« Reply #128 on: August 04, 2021, 03:47:44 PM »

Just discovered this while looking for indie retro RPGs, and I felt the need to create an account here just to post that this game looks like a gem in the making!

Gorgeous art, interesting designs for world as well as battle, and to top it all off, great write-ups about the process over time.

I hope you're doing well in these times, and that if you have the time and energy for it, the game is progressing well!
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #129 on: September 23, 2021, 08:26:50 AM »

It's been a really long time since I've posted anything here, so I think it's time to clarify a few things. I made a video that hopefully should sum up what has happened to this project. Sorry to keep you all waiting!



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Alain
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« Reply #130 on: September 23, 2021, 11:19:01 PM »

Thank you for sharing all these ups and downs with us, Dale. I just wanted to watch a few minutes but got sucked into your story and watched the whole thing Wink

I love that you do not sugarcoat things and go into the details on the difficulties you encountered during the development so far and life around it. Don't be too harsh on the decisions you made like making the emulator in the beginning of the project, because this in some way was a stepping stone you had to walk over. Another Star 2 is a wonderful project, the visuals are stunning and it is clear that you put so much love into it. After hearing you talk about it, I know that you will finish it, even if it takes a bit longer because of your day job.
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Ramos
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« Reply #131 on: September 24, 2021, 01:38:44 AM »



I like the authenticity of your video content.

And I must say that I agree with your decision to make tools. They will boost development speed in a long term and will make life easier if you plan on adding content later such as expansions and DLC.

 Gentleman
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Andersk
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« Reply #132 on: September 24, 2021, 02:03:12 AM »

I really enjoy the overall feel of your project. The animation and art direction is spot on!

I know what it's like to have to make some decisions due to personal life like work and etc. I feel the same way! I've been working on an RPG, too. It's been a very slow burn since I have to balance personal life and things as well. So I understand what you mean when you say that you want to cut back on the scope of the game.

Nevertheless I am wishing you the best and would love to play someday!  Wink
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TheGrandHero
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« Reply #133 on: September 24, 2021, 04:10:38 PM »

And I must say that I agree with your decision to make tools. They will boost development speed in a long term and will make life easier if you plan on adding content later such as expansions and DLC.

In hindsight, the tools shown in the video aren't the best examples of why I think the work put into most of them was a waste of time. The map editor and especially the sprite editor are excellent tools that are super useful and make my life easier! But then there's things like the item editor.


Putting this together required a fair deal of work, plus I have to maintain it. Even minor changes to the way items work sometimes require overhauling chunks of the editor. Not to mention that any minor goofs when tweaking the code that saves and loads data files and poof all the items in the game are gone because the data file got corrupted somehow (which actually happened at one point). As noted in the video, it would have been easier just to use a text data file, even if it was pre-parsed with a generic parser. It would have been just as simple to edit the items in that text file. Maybe even more so, because most items only need like two or three fields out of that entire window.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #134 on: September 25, 2021, 01:59:00 AM »

On the other hand, making these tools also forces you to think of the way you structure your data in the game, and that might be a worthwhile exercise in itself
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qMopey
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« Reply #135 on: October 04, 2021, 11:16:52 AM »

Cool video! Really liked it
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