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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsChronicle of Ruin - Ogre Battle meets FFVI
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RuinousA
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« on: March 19, 2016, 11:41:57 AM »



LIVE ON KICKSTARTER!!
www.chronicleofruin.com
@ruinousa

Chronicle of Ruin is a real-time tactical JRPG inspired by Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy VI, coming to PC, Mac, and Linux sometime next summer.

What's a real-time Tactical JRPG?

Yeah, it's a bit much, but it's difficult game to shove into typical genres. Ever play Ogre Battle? Yes? The game is heavily inspired by Ogre Battle and plays much like it, except with fully manual combat and the ability to explore all of the towns, forts, and other interesting places you might encounter in typical JRPG fashion.

Haven't played Ogre Battle? Well, here's the barebones basic points:

In Chronicle of Ruin, you command an army of up to fifty units spread across dozens of classes through the many stages of a harsh and morally complex world. In each of those stages, your forces are divided into squads, which you command in real-time across vast regions of the world. In these stages, your squads will be fighting in class-focused, turn-based tactical combat. They'll be accomplishing all sorts of objectives, ranging from annihilating the enemy to defending innocents to simply escaping the stage alive. They'll be exploring all the interesting, special, and wondrous places of each stage up close and personal. And they'll be doing all of it while working through an epic narrative inspired by some of the genre's best, include Final Fantasy Tactics and Tactics Ogre.


Commanding your units in real-time across the tactical map


Traditional JRPG-style cutscenes


Using map skills and engaging with enemy squads on the tactical map...


...in class-focused turn-based tactical combat


Assuming control of a hero character to explore the special locations on every map


And, obviously, lots and lots of character customization


The world map


A bit on the story


Nothing escapes the ravages of time. Stone crumbles, metal rusts, people grow old and die. All things end in dust, crushed fine by the turning of the ages. The lone weapon against such an inexorable force is constant vigilance.

But even that can only hope to stave off the inevitable for a while longer.

Amidst countless generations of unbound war and reckless destruction, peace had always been a distant dream. Twenty years ago, that dream was violently realized when the Traitor King Weyrin unleashed his curse upon the land. In a matter of weeks, the entire kingdom of Galamonde fell under its shadow.

The remaining great nations of Valessia, Ondora, and Zaragos managed to call off their conflicts quickly enough to hold the curse at bay, but the land it blighted endures, a festering threat in the heart of the world.

In the ensuing decades, what was once open warfare has devolved into simmering tensions and intermittent skirmishes, as the powers that be struggle to hold themselves together under constant threat of outbreak, uprising, and the inevitable resurgence of total war.

In Chronicle of Ruin, vigilance is the distant memory of a world unknowingly on the brink of the end. Centuries of chaos and strife have hastened it to this decisive moment, wherein one final push against its cracked foundation will send it all plummeting into the abyss.


As you can see, there's a lot to cover here. For a more direct look at the features in the game, I present that universally useful game-describing staple, the bulleted list:

FEATURES

  • Tactical RPG meets JRPG, with a real-time twist - Experience a unique combination of the large-scale army management of a TRPG with the intimate elements of classic JRPGs, while commanding your units in real-time across each stage.
  • An Engrossing Narrative - Journey with a cast of memorable, complex characters through a vividly detailed and morally ambiguous world.
  • A New Take on Strategic Turn-Based Combat - Battle in a refined version of the classic combat system, designed for creating engaging, tactical encounters with a focus on class interplay, timing, and intelligent battle management.
  • An Army at Your Command -Lead an army that grows from a handful of unseasoned units to up to 50 veteran fighters.
  • Nearly 40 Character Classes - Shape your army as you see fit by managing your units growth among 28 standard classes and 10 unique hero classes.
  • Dozens of Meticulously Crafted Stages - Adventure through detailed stages that combine the unique characters and compelling stories of JRPGs with the the strategic demands of TRPGs.
  • Deep Character Customization - Customize each of your units through a wide range of equipment option, hands-on stat growth, and flexible class design so that no two are alike.
  • An Expansive Crafting System - Outfit your army yourself by crafting everything from the most mundane consumable to legendary weapons.

So yeah, there's a lot to cover. As you hopefully saw in the trailer, I do have a Kickstarter planned for later this week, so I know that it's a little late to hop in here, but this is going to be the game's official devlog in the long term, now that I have the sort of stuff that I'm satisfied enough to show publicly. There's going to be lot more coming in the next few days, week and months, so stay tuned!
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 09:34:00 PM by RuinousA » Logged
RuinousA
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2016, 06:14:56 PM »

A bit on how classes work in the game --

Classes in Chronicle of Ruin are split among 4 class trees - Soldier, Scout, Disciple, and Mage. Each tree begins with the individual class that it's named for but eventually encompasses 7 classes between 3 tiers. You've got your initial class, which can upgrades into one of two options, and then those two can also upgrade into one of two options. Each class upgrade junction is designed to make your units more powerful, but more specialized, to send them deeper into their own niche in your army.

The trees' starting classes are...

Soldier

Soldiers are the game's basic tank unit. So, obviously, they have the highest defensive stats of all the starting classes. Their abilities include some solid crowd control, physical damage skills, a self-defensive buff, and, most importantly, skills that enable aggro management. After all, what's the use in being a tank if you can't make sure the other guy is going to hit you? When soldiers upgrade, either into a knight or raider, they can focus on improving their defensive capabilities (buffing, crowd control) or offensive capabilities (improved single target damage, access to AOE).

Scout

Scouts are rogue archetypes, if that wasn't obvious enough from the picture. They excel at dealing at single target physical damage, but aren't very tough. High STR, High AGI, High SPD, low defenses. They're also good at taking those cheap shots that debuff their opponents. Their skills include abilities that penetrate armor (at the cost of generating high amounts of aggro), status debuffs, and the only ranged physical attack among the starting classes. When they reach their class upgrade point, they can focus on their direct damage dealing by choosing rogue, or work as a super fast debuffer and debilitate the enemy as a trickster.

Disciple



The disciple tree is a hybrid in more ways than one. First of all, it merges two common healing archetypes in games -- clerics and monks, which essentially define their class choices down the line. They're also fairly jack-of-all-trades within the game in a technical sense. They specialize in both healing and tanking magic damage, but they also do pretty decent physical damage, are crucial for their ability to dispel buffs and debuffs, and can eventually gain access to solid magic damage skills depending on how they upgrade. With this varied nature, the disciples class upgrades are measured on a different scale than other trees. Rather than 'focus on this element or that element' your choices are to become a magic-resistant tank with the cleric, or a light, agile caster/fighter with the monk.

Mage

Mages are mages. High magic damage, capable of AOE, very squishy. Better than average magic resistance helps alleviate that problem a bit, but not enough to stop worrying about them with the HP that they have. And, obviously, they have great MP and MP regeneration in combat. Mage spells focus on two areas: elemental and arcane. They've got lightning that has a chance to provide heavy CC, ice that always hits with a little bit of CC, AOE with their fire, and resistance-piercing but MP-intensive arcane spells to boot. These two schools of magic define their upgrade options, which are the sage, an elemental mage specializing in nature magic that comes with a slew of bonus effects, or the arcanist, student of the arcane and on the path to straight up glass cannon.


On a more personal note, I'm still ironing out the attack animations displayed here, but even though I'm pretty happy with them (mage needs WORK), I'd would love to hear any tips that anyone might have!
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 06:42:00 PM by RuinousA » Logged
EvilDingo
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2016, 07:29:08 PM »

That all looks great! The only thing I can think of is the character face portrait close-up looks a little plain.
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RuinousA
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2016, 09:28:51 AM »

That all looks great! The only thing I can think of is the character face portrait close-up looks a little plain.

Thanks! And yeah, you're not the first person to tell me that my portraits are a bit robot-faced and/or fish-lipped, so yup, it's something that I'm working on.

On another note, if anyone watched far enough into the video, you know that I was planning a Kickstarter for tomorrow. I'm pretty comfortable with the campaign itself, but up until the last couple days I've pretty much completely disregarded the whole visibility aspect of the project. Like I said in the OP, that's generally because I wasn't comfortable with my art output for most of development. Now that I am, though, it's hard to not want to build a bit of an audience, or at least awareness, before I launch. Plus, I've had a few composers get in touch with agreeable rates over the last few days, and launching with a royalty-free song is a bit of a garbage move, regardless of how well it fits the tone, trailer, and current budget of my game.

Long story shot --

  • Kickstarter is pushed back to a TBD date
  • If you're a composer or know one that's open for work, feel free to get in touch
  • If you know someone that might like this game, let 'em know!

You can reach me here or via [email protected]. Also, if anyone wants to take a look at my KS, send me an email/tweet and I'll get you a link because I would really appreciate the feedback. It's generally been all good stuff, so some really tough, targeted, criticism would be very welcome.
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RuinousA
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2016, 11:57:05 AM »

Combat, as is probably obvious, plays out in pretty typical JRPG turn-based fashion. You on the right, the enemy on the left, initiative bar up top that units move across according to their speed, etc. Chronicle of Ruin's combat distinguishes itself from a standard JRPG in a few ways, though: the emphasis on class counterplay and formation, timed hits, and the aggro system.





Class counterplay and squad formation - The single most defining aspect of the game's combat is its emphasis on classes and the balance between them. You're generally able to scout out the opposition before you fight them, so ensuring that you face them with a favorable matchup is an important part of success. Things begin pretty simply with the four starting classes, but the complexity ramps up fast as units diversify into stronger and more specialized classes. You don't want to take your assassin kill squad into combat against an enemy that'll render them all blind in a turn or two. You don't want to use a bunch of physically-resistant vanguards as tanks against a magic-heavy squad when a paladin or two could go a long way towards nullifying all those nukes. And you definitely don't want to make every squad a do-everything jack-of-all-trades, because that just means that you could almost always be performing much, much better by sending in the 'right' squad for the fight, instead of the 'meh' one.

Timed hits - Timed hits are a pretty simple concept that've been used often enough before -- Lost Odyssey, FFVIII, Legend of Dragoon to name a few. My personal favorite use is still one of the first, though: Super Mario RPG for SNES. For those of you who aren't familiar with timed hits in JRPGs, it's essentially a feature that rewards you with bonus effects or damage for pressing a button at the right time during an attack or spell. In Chronicle of Ruin, timed hits are an integral part of combat, and only apply to basic attacks, which is why you'll see all of the attack animations in the game have a bit of a 'draw back' and pause before launching --



Why only basic attacks? Because it turns each them into a viable, skill-based strategic decision, instead of something that you do just because you don't have anything else to do. You think "I can use this spell to finish the guy off, but I could do it with a timed hit too, and for free, but if I miss, he's still alive and going to chunk me." If timed hits were a feature of every spell and attack, the number of branches on the decision tree between them remains the same. Having it just on basics, though, adds another layer.

The additional damage from timed hits is determined by AGI. There aren't any crits in the game -- if you want that bonus damage, you make it happen yourself. I think that this works well as a gameplay mechanic, but it's also nice from a development standpoint, because it allows me to tune the strength of things on an additional level by adjusting the length of the 'hit' frame and steer players towards depending on timed hits more or less with certain classes.

The Aggro System  - The game also uses an aggro system, which old people like me will know from MMOs, and everyone else will know just from being on the internet anymore. There are two defining traits to the aggro system - one, it's fairly clear cut in its mechanics, and two, it isn't absolute. Regarding the first point, aggro levels range from 1 to 6, with all characters starting combat at 3. You'll know when you increase or reduce the aggro on a character because it's always explicitly mentioned in skills, so, unlike an MMO (or most games anymore) you aren't feeling your way blind through an invisible mechanic. You will know the exact aggro level of each character, and therefore their likelihood to be attack. That leads into the second point, because the aggro system isn't going to give you any guarantees. It isn't a leash that allows you to pull the enemy around like a dog and say to them, "Attack here, now!". What it does is let you stack the deck in your favor and play the odds in the long run like a poker player. But that doesn't mean you can't still get crushed by a straight flush on the river, or an arrow through the eye of your mage who's hiding behind three tanks.
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RuinousA
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2016, 11:34:31 AM »

Close to finishing up the forest background after putting some time in this week --



Puts me at a nice milestone for having (nearly) game-ready battle backgrounds for the four primary 'terrain' types that battles occur within. Of course, looking back on all the others now, they could definitely use a fresh coat of paint... but my wrists and fingers just aren't up for it at the moment.

In other news, new trailer song is coming, and the Kickstarter is likely to be April 19th! Taking it easy today, but gonna do a big write up tomorrow.
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RuinousA
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2016, 11:54:52 AM »

Been a busy week or so! Got a composer for the game and a final trailer song -- putting the finished trailer together now. Should be done later tonight. I'd love to hear some feedback, so if anyone wants to take a look at it when I have it together later, let me know and I'll PM a link. I'll hopefully be able to get a larger post in later tonight as well talking more about the game itself.
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2016, 05:29:02 PM »

Just found the devlog - ilke the idea, be happy to check out the trailer! Smiley
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RuinousA
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2016, 09:23:01 PM »

Just found the devlog - ilke the idea, be happy to check out the trailer! Smiley

Great, thanks! PM'd you the link.

I probably should've covered this aspect of the game first, but have put it off a few times because I was still figuring out how to explain things clearly and concisely. No more putting it off, though; today, I'm talking about the tactical map.

Like it says in the OP, Chronicle of Ruin takes place across numerous stages that span the world, just like Ogre Battle, or similar to games such as Final Fantasy Tactics or Tactics Ogre, if you need a more well-known reference point. Each of these stages is defined first and foremost by its tactical map, a representative depiction of a region of the world.



Every tactical map is a unique arrangement of terrain, areas that can be visited and defensed known as garrison points, enemies, and secrets that provide an equally unique set of challenges for you to overcome. Unlike the Ogre Battle games that most heavily inspired it, stages in Chronicle of Ruin include a variety of objectives, including (but not limited to) the typical all-out annihilation of the enemy, scouring levels for hidden threats, defensing points against an enemy onslaught, and just getting across the stage alive. And no escort missions! Unless enough people (inexplicably) ask for them, I guess.

So, how do you complete these objectives? Who do you explore the tactical maps with? Just what is your means of interacting with the world? The answer to all those questionsis... your squads!



Squads are groups of five units that you deploy and command across the tactical map. Each squad is composed of 4 standard units and 1 hero unit with a unique class. To put it in FFT terms, a unit would be something like Ramza and 4 generics. As I talked about a bit further up the page, class composition and squad formation are vital parts of combat, but a squad's niche is defined even further by its unique hero character, because heroes grant their squads unique passive bonus and active skills on the world map.



You can see two in this gif from the OP. One character is able to open up waygates that allow instantaneous travel across the map, while another is able to smite the opposition, stunning them in place for a short time. Each of the game's 10 hero characters has their own unique ability that provides them with an incredible advantage when used properly. In addition to their active map skills, heroes all have their own passive map bonuses that include things like increased movement speed through rough terrain, a chance to spot ambushes and secrets from range, improved regeneration speed, combat bonuses when sieging and defending garrison points, increased chances for a preemptive strike in combat, and more.

The combination of these map skills and bonuses gives you a variety of strategic options and challenges in every stage. For instance, going back to the tactical map back towards the beginning of this post, there are clearly two paths to go down as you move from the upper-left to the bottom-right. Do you split up and explore the whole stage, or do you play it safe and bundle everyone together down the same path. If you split up, who do you send where, and with whom? Then there's always the third option, straight up the middle -- but the rough terrain will slow down many of your units and is a prime place for the enemy to lay an ambush. How you handle the stage is entirely up to you and your playstyle, army composition, and personal goals within the stage.

More tomorrow, hopefully!
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« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2016, 04:03:35 PM »

Something I noticed in the trailer... I would change the character sprites when they're taking damage. It would give the attacks more of an 'oomph'.
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RuinousA
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« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2016, 08:06:46 PM »

Something I noticed in the trailer... I would change the character sprites when they're taking damage. It would give the attacks more of an 'oomph'.

The characters sprites do have a single 'hurt' frame, maybe I should make them more exaggerated? Animations would be nice too, but that's a whole lot of work that I'm not sure I have the time for, with all the classes the game has and might have in the future. Or are you referring to the units' corresponding icons in the HUD? That might be a good idea too, and definitely something that I can work in.
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2016, 10:19:09 AM »

Two pieces of news today -- First off, new trailer! Check it out by clicking through below:


And, if you've been through the trailer, then you should know the next bit -- Chronicle of Ruin's Kickstarter is launching April 19th! Now to spend every second between now and then making sure every single person possible knows about it. If you're a fan of the game or just want to support the project at all, please help spread the word!

It's been a long road, but the game is almost there. And by 'there', I mean the intersection where I get to take a right turn onto an even longer, more difficult road. But I'm looking forward to it! If you want an early look at the KS campaign to throw some feedback my way, just let me know and I'll get a preview over to you. Thanks!
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 08:08:21 PM »

Chronicle of Ruin is live on Kickstarter!

Don't expect much to happen until tomorrow morning, but if you've been following the game and like the campaign, please share it around and help spread the word! Hopefully there'll be good things happening in the next couple of days!

*fingers crossed*

Wish me luck!
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2016, 01:15:21 AM »

Good luck :-D
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2016, 01:45:08 AM »

Gorgeous game, good luck with your kickstarter!
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2016, 09:41:08 AM »

Good luck :-D

Gorgeous game, good luck with your kickstarter!

Thanks, really appreciate it!

If anyone has any feedback on the campaign page or things they want to see in updates, I'd love to hear 'em.
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2016, 07:05:58 PM »

Update #2: FAQ Round 1!


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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2016, 09:39:29 PM »

This is looking really nice! Good luck with it.
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« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2016, 07:08:30 PM »

Hey man, the work you have done so far looks really awesome!  Super interested in where this game goes.

The KS page looks really good, my only feedback is with the trailer.

Overall I really like it!  2 minutes is the perfect length and the music and visuals really stand out.
From 0:47 on (where the tactical and battle shots start) it is really excellent.  I think the battles are the biggest immediate draw of the game and they show really well, especially the ones later in the video that you timed to the music.
The quick cuts of individual scenes play well (Dalia's is better than Ruger's, probably because it is a proactive line), since they flesh out the characters a bit and basically say "there is a story here" without demanding any real investment from the viewer.

The negative is that the front half of the video doesn't do you any favors.  The face-off is cool, and I like that it plays somber here and exciting later in the trailer because of the music, but the trailer needs to grab the viewer from the start, and the scenes immediately after that don't get to it fast enough.
The standard rpg "king sends you on a mission" intro is OK for the game itself, but I don't know the characters or the world, so it doesn't have any impact and overstays its welcome!

I think it would be really good if you made it:
- Fire scene and overhead kingdom shot
- 3-4 seconds of Ruger entering the castle
- One of the king's lines (probably the second or third)
- More shots of battle/action scenes (would play really well at the music change around 0:23)
- a couple more catchy character moments to fill out the time until 0:47

Please take this as constructive!  Like I said, I think the trailer is really excellent overall.

Your game looks really great and I hope you can hit your funding goal!
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RuinousA
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« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2016, 10:14:02 AM »

This is looking really nice! Good luck with it.

Hey man, the work you have done so far looks really awesome!  Super interested in where this game goes.

The KS page looks really good, my only feedback is with the trailer.

Overall I really like it!  2 minutes is the perfect length and the music and visuals really stand out.
From 0:47 on (where the tactical and battle shots start) it is really excellent.  I think the battles are the biggest immediate draw of the game and they show really well, especially the ones later in the video that you timed to the music.
The quick cuts of individual scenes play well (Dalia's is better than Ruger's, probably because it is a proactive line), since they flesh out the characters a bit and basically say "there is a story here" without demanding any real investment from the viewer.

The negative is that the front half of the video doesn't do you any favors.  The face-off is cool, and I like that it plays somber here and exciting later in the trailer because of the music, but the trailer needs to grab the viewer from the start, and the scenes immediately after that don't get to it fast enough.
The standard rpg "king sends you on a mission" intro is OK for the game itself, but I don't know the characters or the world, so it doesn't have any impact and overstays its welcome!

I think it would be really good if you made it:
- Fire scene and overhead kingdom shot
- 3-4 seconds of Ruger entering the castle
- One of the king's lines (probably the second or third)
- More shots of battle/action scenes (would play really well at the music change around 0:23)
- a couple more catchy character moments to fill out the time until 0:47

Please take this as constructive!  Like I said, I think the trailer is really excellent overall.

Your game looks really great and I hope you can hit your funding goal!

Thanks, and I appreciate the advice! Will definitely keep it all in mind moving forward.

Didn't want to puff things up with 'procedural' Kickstarter updates, so here's a content one --

Update #4 Encounters and the Experience System


Goes a bit into how you'll meet enemies in the field, how they behave, and how encounters and the experience system are being managed to remove the need for grinding from the game. Hope you like it!
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