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ConnorORT
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« on: July 10, 2016, 12:46:48 PM »





After almost 2 years of 90+ hour work weeks, the exciting new game Towards The Pantheon is out now on Steam & Itch.io!
Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/709510/Towards_The_Pantheon/
Itch.io: https://connorort.itch.io/towardsthepantheon

 


Towards The Pantheon is a turn based 2D RPG with unique twists on the classic formula. Gone are genre standards of elemental types, elixirs, elves, inns, and generic love stories. Instead players of Towards The Pantheon will ride hamsters, journey through a survival horror inspired mansion, collect dead memories, eat copious amounts of sushi, and partake in regular chats around the campfire.



In Towards The Pantheon, a group known as The Sworn Light have been gaining power throughout the world through divide and conquer tactics. While the humans, felines, electropunks, and ghosts argue amongst themselves, The Sworn Light are taking advantage of each situation in order to take ultimate control. One day Keltoi village chief Wuotan summons his strongest warrior Freyja to embark on a long and dangerous journey. Her mission is to trek towards The Pantheon to defeat the source of The Sworn Light before the world falls into chaos. Along the way Freyja and her party will battle deadly enemies, make new friends, and encountered long forgotten horrors!



Features include:

 - Over 10 hours of gameplay including sidequests and myriads of secrets.

 - Unlockable NewGame+ mode and cheat codes for additional replay value.

 - Ability to switch between party members in the overworld to use their unique mechanics.

 - An eclectic original soundtrack consisting of over 65 songs which incorporate elements from orchestral, noise, drone, breakbeat, and chiptune genres.

 - A massive fully connected overworld with the ability to ride Speedsters to cut down on backtracking.

 - Turn based combat system where each character has unique battle stats and mechanics.

 - Collectible cards and combos found throughout the world that can be used during battle.

 - More than 10 regions to explore including lush forests, cities full of kitties, electropunk metropolises, barren wastelands, and a dark mysterious mansion.

 - Dialog and support systems that allow for further character development and stat boosts.

 - A unique and complex overarching story line that ties together all subplots and backstories.

 - Over 45 unique enemies and a dozen boss battles.



We hope you enjoy the game!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitch, & Bandcamp!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 07:44:30 AM by ConnorORT » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2016, 10:36:17 AM »

It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 2nd devlog! You can read the first devlog above or at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp/


New area reveal; a dystopian cyberpunk city!

For the past two weeks, a lot of basic scripting for the game has taken place. Essentially I have been copying over and refactoring scripts from my previous games Overlooker and Overlooker 2 that are the foundation for the overworld mechanics. This includes things such as textboxes that pop up when you examine things such as signposts and bookshelves, an options menu that lets you exit the game, the ability to switch between the four main characters, basic movement, collision, and more.


Each character has unique overworld mechanics

I did encounter one of the most bizarre bugs I have ever seen. For the textbox I was using GML's draw_rectangle() function to draw a semi-transparent black box over half the screen so that the text on top would stand out more. When I tested it, objects such as trees in the overworld would disappear while cycling through the textbox, and then reappear when finished. I changed the depth of the textbox object and saw that for some reason GameMaker was taking the tree sprite and drawing stretched versions of it over the map. I have absolutely no idea why it would do that instead of drawing a rectangle, and it's even more bizarre considering that it was the same code I had used for textboxes in Overlooker 2. I could not find anyone who had a similar bug when searching Google, so I replaced the draw_rectangle() call with drawing a sprite as the textboxes will most likely have their own artwork instead of being simple rectangles anyways. Problem avoided, but still bizarre! That is the first bug I've had in GameMaker that was completely baffling.


Bam is decorating his house with snowcats

I have been working on sound design for the game's soundtrack, but have not posted any new soundtrack demos since the last batch. I am still having some trouble deciding on how the music should sound, but I think with the basic gameplay mechanics being implemented and artwork being put into the engine it will be easier to figure that out while playing the game.


Setting up the Korg Karma (and JV2080X) for sound design experiments!

Our artist Leandro has been doing great work, and we've revealed two new areas that he has worked on; the wasteland (below) and cyberpunk city (above). He has been working on tiles for other areas and sprites for the main characters, and more artwork and areas will be revealed over time so be sure to follow the Towards The Pantheon social media accounts below to keep up to date!


Testing out depth, walking, running, and recording gifs for social media

I am very happy with the progress so far considering I work a full time job, work with 2 other game development teams, and have other obligations. I will begin working full time on the game in less than 2 months, and I think I'll have a large majority of the game's mechanics implemented so I can focus on level creation, balancing, and playtesting. My friend Kyle Mountifield has helped me finish up enemy and boss designs, and he will be a big help in content creation and playtesting! I'm also fortunate to have some other great friends who will be helping out with playtesting throughout development.


Phenez and Mishima in the new wasteland area

That's it for this devlog, the next devlog will be posted roughly 2 weeks from now!

If you enjoyed this devlog follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Follow Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2016, 11:38:40 PM »

I like your art style Toast Right
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ConnorORT
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2016, 04:08:26 PM »

I like your art style Toast Right

Thank you very much! I've hired Leandro Tokarevski from TokArts and he is doing a great job on the art Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2016, 05:57:21 AM »

That first soundtracks sounds really good, I wish I had someone make me that kind of music for my game  Shocked
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ConnorORT
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2016, 09:10:39 PM »

That first soundtracks sounds really good, I wish I had someone make me that kind of music for my game  Shocked

Thank you! Glad you like it. You can always email me about your project at [email protected] and if I think I have the time and think it's something I can make music for, we could chat about it! I also have some soundtrack composer friends I can highly recommend as well  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2016, 04:22:43 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 3rd devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.



I’ve been working on various scripts for the game. Above you can see a gif of Bam the cat walking around the mines with some basic fog and lighting effects. I will most likely make the fog more pixelated to match the art style in the future, but the main idea is there. You’ll also notice he is standing on minecart tracks. If I have time during the game’s development I’d love to make a minecart mini game!





Leandro has been hard at work finishing up the basic tiles for each area of the game! Here you can see new tiles for the sewer area and the insides of the forest region houses, and below you can see the insides of the viking houses that the cats live in. This means that we now have basic tiles for every area of the game. We now have a good idea of how the game looks, which allows Leandro to move forward with working on more of the art assets that are needed!



I’ve also been working on falling snow and mist effects for the snow region. There is still some work to do to make the effects fit better, but below you can see my first bits of progress. I will be continuing work on this during the next week and will post a new gif when progress has been made that looks better. The snow and mist are programmed so that I can increase and decrease the intensity as I see fit which will provide some variety throughout the region.



In Towards The Pantheon there are cute hamsters that you can ride to quickly travel between areas called the Speedsters. While exploring the different regions of the game you will come across rare tokens which unlock each Speedsters’ service, adding their station to the list of nodes you can travel to and from. This will drastically shorten the time you would have to spend backtracking through parts of the game. I began working on the theme for the Speedsters so check out the soundtrack demo on Soundcloud!

Leandro has also begun working on character portraits that will be used predominately throughout dialog, and I’ve begun implementing the dialog system. I still have work to do in making the dialog box more appealing to the eye, as well as possibly adding more sub-features such as a typewriter effect, but the basic implementation is working!



I’ve ordered myself some books on both European and Japanese culture and mythology to do further research, as two of the regions of Towards The Pantheon are heavily inspired by these cultures. It’s not a coincidence that two of the main characters are named Freyja and Mishima! I’ve also ordered some more green tea so that I’ll be able to drink plenty while working on the game full time starting sometime next month. I’ve been sipping green tea and listening to Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Golden Sun, and Super Mario soundtracks while working on the game so far and I can’t wait to work full time on this! Everything has been coming together quite well and if all goes according to plan I will have the first two chapters of the game complete before the end of the year. I can then send off the demo to my friends who have offered to playtest the game and get feedback while working on the remaining chapters.


A view of the main test level from inside GameMaker Studio!

I’ve also made an Imgur album to post progress in so if you frequent that site please follow and show some love.

That’s it for this devlog, the next devlog will be posted roughly 2 weeks from now.

If you enjoyed this devlog follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Follow Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2016, 07:46:43 AM »

It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 4th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.



I have been mostly scripting the past two weeks. If you click the image above, you can see a gif of Phenez moving through one of the snow region cities with snow and mist effects. I added more basic mechanics such as roaming animal AI, the dialog system having a typewriter effect, and I am now working on the battle engine. Click the image below to see the typewriter effect as well as roaming chickens in a test level!



Leandro has been working hard on the game's art, here's the first sneak peek at an enemy designed by Kyle Mountifield and myself for the game:



I'm still not going to reveal much about the enemies and battle system until it's fully implemented, but when it is I will be posting lots of animated gifs. One thing I have said though is that each of the four characters have their own unique battle mechanics that will make battling more interesting.

We've also shown some of the dialog system portrait art by Leandro for the four main characters Freyja, Bam, Mishima, and Phenez. We have various facial expressions for each character so that they change along with the tone of the dialog.



I have uploaded two new soundtrack demos "Nightshade" and "Battle Music test" on the Soundcloud playlist. The playlist will soon be reworked so that only tracks that are being used in the game will be featured. Many of these tracks were just sound design demos, but they may reappear in different forms in the games if I want to reuse the melodies. I finally feel like I've figured out more of the sound design and how much of a mix there should be of chiptune and modern synth elements in the soundtrack, so further along in development I will begin working harder on the final music. You can check out the music here.

A new collectible system has been added to the game that also effects the battle system, but I will reveal more about that when it is fully implemented. When developing past games like Overlooker and Overlooker 2 I have tried to always decrease the scope of the game wherever possible instead of increase it. In this instance, once I thought of the idea and realized how easy it would be to implement I decided to go for it as I have already decreased scope in other areas. Since I will wait to reveal more about the system, here are some new screenshots. Click on them to view them full size!





This will be my second last devlog before I begin working on the game full time at the start of next month! After the next devlog I will begin streaming more of the game's development on Twitch, so be sure to follow me there and subscribe for updates as to when I go live. I will also begin writing devlogs weekly instead of bi-weekly, as I will be making much more progress. Besides roughly six part time shifts throughout September, I will be working full time on the game all the way until Summer of 2017 and I am very excited. See you next time!

If you enjoyed this devlog follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Follow Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2016, 02:31:10 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 5th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Full time development for Towards The Pantheon begins now, and new devlogs will be posted once a week! This devlog will be short and sweet, showing off some progress in the art department.

First off, Leandro has been hard at work finishing the logo for the game! He has also made great progress in pixel art that will be shown in future devlogs.



Secondly, Maerel has finished up some artwork for our silent protagonist Freyja!



Be sure to check out her artwork on Deviantart, Instagram, and Twitter!

And lastly, here are some new screenshots.









Tomorrow I will spend 10 hours working on the battle system, so there will soon be animated gifs of the battle system in action! I look forward to writing a longer devlog next week after a lot of focused hard work. Livestreaming will begin again during September, especially when working on music.

If you enjoyed this devlog, follow the game and us developers on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!

Follow Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube!

Thanks for reading!
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2016, 11:41:23 AM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 6th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

I began working full time on the game 10 days ago and have been having a blast. I've been working on the turn based battle system, which will be the most complex chunk of scripting created for the game. Here is a gif showing the basic setup of the battle system, along with a few backgrounds and enemy designs:



There is clearly lots of polishing left to do, but my current focus is on getting the functionality down. I've decided to place the characters on the left side of the battle field similar to placement in Paper Mario. You can also see that each character has a unique subsystem that differs from the standard HP/MP systems in most RPGs. I will go into more detail about these subsystems in a future devlog. In the gif there are repeated enemies in each battle, but this is because we only have one completed enemy for each area as Leandro is focused on creating more important pixel art for the game. In the full game, you will be able to battle multiple enemy types at once and there will be multiple original enemies for each area, as well as boss battles.



I have finished basic attacks for each of the main characters and am now moving onto enemy attacks. Once that is completed, I will be working on healing spells and status ailments. I have been taking a lot of care in how I am scripting the battle system as unlike my work with my previous games Overlooker and Overlooker 2 (which were made in 22 and ~30 days respectively), I will be living with this code for the next year. I have also made sure to design it so that when a large chunk of code is written, it can be easily adapted for similar uses. For instance, after completing the code for a fireball attack shot from Mishima's cybernetic arm, I was able to add a poison attack that Phenez can cast in under 5 minutes.

Leandro has also been working hard to create NPCs for each region of the game. Here's a screenshot of some villagers in the first region of the game:



Maerel has also completed artwork for Mishima and is currently working on artwork for Bam and Phenez (click picture for larger version):



There are 4 new soundcloud Soundtrack demo tracks including "Sanity?", "Thoughts By The Campfire", "City Of Charcoal", and "Stargazing". Sanity? shows some experimentation trying to get a Silent Hill 1 sound that may be used in the Survival Horror influenced chapter of the game. Thoughts By The Campfire and Stargazing are drone / dark ambient experiments that may be used in portions of the game where the party is resting for the night and exchanging dialog. One of the most important story elements of the game for me is character development and there will be moments in the game where the player gets to listen in on conversations between the party members. There will be random bits of dialog the player can choose to read (similar to Fire Emblem) as well as scripted moments where the party sets up camp for the night and (hopefully) enjoy each others company. Some of my favorite late nights have been with my friends while listening to dark ambient and drone music by musicians like Akira Yamaoka, Fennesz, Ulver, etc and I want to create similar feelings in the player while playing Towards The Pantheon. City Of Charcoal is an experiment mixing chiptune VSTs, retro drum samples, and modern synths for a later area of the game. Looking back, I think the drum loop could certainly use some cymbals/hi-hats.

Stream the soundtrack demos HERE.

I am a huge fan of survival horror game soundtracks, and those often include elements of drone, dark ambient, and noise music. Most RPG games (especially those during the SNES and Genesis era due to hardware limitations) often have very orchestral and classical soundtracks. While I enjoy that kind of music, I am experimenting and trying different things for Towards The Pantheon's soundtrack. A contention I've had with other soundtrack composers is that I find the trend for game soundtracks to move towards as realistic as possible orchestral sounds rather boring. I think part of what made the Resident Evil 3 soundtrack or the Mirkwood project by Austrian musicians Silenius & Protector so enjoyable is the fact that their orchestral patches sound synthesized. This gives the tone of their work some originality.

When you look at more extreme forms of electronic music, you can find some of the most original sounds possible as there is so much you can accomplish with modern synthesizers, whereas a violin is limited to sounding like a violin (unless of course you use plenty of effects afterwards, but then it might as well not be a violin anymore). I am trying to create some unique musical sounds for Towards The Pantheon that will match the plot, characters, and areas of the game. There will certainly be (synthesized) orchestral style sections, but I am trying to avoid that in favor of other genres I enjoy when possible. If you know of any 2D Pixel Art RPGs that have very unconventional soundtracks, please recommend them to me!

I have been working 10-12 hours a day on Towards The Pantheon and along with plenty of exercise, part of the schedule I have set for myself is taking time to sit back and watch movies, play video games, read books, and watch anime. This is to help avoid burn out throughout the year as well as to gain new inspiration for Towards The Pantheon. I've watched Evil Dead, The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense, and Halloween all for the first time and am halfway through reading Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. So far it seems that Metallica's ...And Justice For All is the album I am looping the most while working on the game along with Resident Evil and Silent Hill soundtracks, but I am also listening to lots of classical vinyl I have never heard before.

That's it for this devlog! Livestreaming will begin at some point when I am working on parts of the game that do not take as much concentration as the battle system. This will be announced on the game's social media pages, so be sure to follow for daily updates! Please help promote the game by sharing info about it on social media and with your friends. Thanks for reading!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2016, 08:07:41 AM »

The first teaser video for Towards The Pantheon is now up on Youtube!


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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2016, 08:15:53 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 7th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

On Wednesday I released the first teaser video for Towards The Pantheon. It contains 50 seconds of basic gameplay footage, the logo, some artwork, and 75 seconds of music for the game. Check it out!





The purpose of this teaser was to give an idea of what I want to do with Towards The Pantheon. I love comfy games like Harvest Moon and Rune Factory, but also love darker games like Silent Hill and Resident Evil. I love dark ambient music but also love music with a strong sense of melody. The game is still in the very early stages of development, but I am pretty happy with the teaser and I look forward to making future teasers as well as a full on trailer closer to release.

Leandro has been hard at work completing more of the pixel artwork needed for the game. Lots of our current assets can be seen in the teaser, but he has also worked ahead on things we have yet to reveal. Most of the compliments regarding the game so far have been on the visuals, and that's thanks to Leandro! He has also reworked Bam's dialog portrait sprite and we are much happier with this version. Here are the dialog portraits for our 4 main characters Freyja, Bam, Mishima, and Phenez.



Maerel has also finished up new artwork for the characters Bam and Phenez!





As far as scripting goes, there's not much of interest to report. I've done some refactoring and bits of coding while finishing up the teaser video and promoting the game, but now that the editing of the teaser video is over I look forward to having more scripting things to show off in the next devlog.

Five new tracks have been added to the Soundcloud playlist of soundtrack demos. These include "Save Your Game", "Together In The Future", "Teaser Video 1 Music", "Allowed To Dream Again", and "Bam's House".

"Save Your Game" was an attempt to create a Resident Evil save room style theme. In retrospect I'm not happy with my choice of synthesizer patches, but I am happy with the section after 1:10 when the piano has dropped out. What I'd like to do is write a central melody for the save room theme and have variations of it for each area of the game. I also had the idea of making that into a mini album similar to Ulver's Lyckantropen Themes album. I love how that album is based around a few themes and everything weaves in and out of each other.

For "Together In The Future" I experimented with some different synthesizer patches and chords that I don't often use. Each chord is a fifth with the ninth on top, and with the synthesizer patches I was trying to mix a bit of chiptune with a bit of VA11 HALL-A influence. If you haven't heard Michael Garoad Kelly's music, be sure to do so! The "Teaser Video 1 Music" track is pretty explanatory. "Allowed To Dream Again" is based on a guitar riff I wrote half a year ago. It is an attempt to make some music that sounds a bit more uplifting and hopeful. "Bam's House" shows my Paper Mario influence. With it I tried to make a track that sounds goofy and comedic so that when you enter Bam's house for the first time and meet him, the music already introduces you to his character.

That's it for this week's update! If you like what you are seeing and hearing, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2016, 01:08:26 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 8th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

I missed posting a devlog last week as I was working on the game itself and didn’t want to be taken away from that. Over the last two weeks, we’ve gotten a lot done! I livestreamed some work on music and just recently Leandro and I livestreamed pixel art and programming work. We had it set up so that you could see both our screens as well as both our webcams, and I worked on adding features (and fixing bugs) to the battle system while he worked on NPC portrait art. Be sure to follow my Twitch channel so that you can jump in and hang out next time we go live! Here is some pixel artwork Leandro did of a Terrorforce soldier:



Here’s a first look at some artwork for some forest region NPCs:



I’ve worked on a few new soundtrack demos that aren’t quite at the level where I’m comfortable adding them to the current Soundcloud playlist. For this devlog however, I’ve uploaded them to instaud.io so you can check them out (and hopefully send me some feedback!) The first is an ambient track that has some instruments playing a 4/4 loop while others play a combination of 6/4 and 4/4 loops. The second is a potential boss battle theme. It currently does not have any melodies or chord progressions as my focus was on rhythm, bass, and ambience. Aside from the classic Sega Genesis drum sample, the drums sound a bit too modern and will likely be replaced when I return to work on the track.

I’ve also released some wallpapers for desktops and smartphones to the game’s main webpage! Some are of single characters and others are of all the characters together, so you can choose what you like best. Pixel art wallpapers will come in the future as well.



I’ve also worked on various programming tasks, such as Phenez’ invisibility mechanic, more battle system mechanics (enemy attacks & AI, entering/exiting battles, ability to cast healing spells, etc), and more. I’ve also changed the dialog system so that I can add descriptions in between characters talking (ie. *Freyja pats Bam’s head.*) in case I want to use that. I’m currently working on fixing some NPC pathing, the inventory system, and adding emotes during dialog (similar to Golden Sun) should I decide to use them.





Our first teaser video for the game has just passed 1K views after two weeks. Thank you to everyone who has checked it out and supported the project, we really appreciate it! Please keep spreading the word about the game!

I’ll cut this devlog short so I can get back to programming! I’m looking forward to finishing up gameplay mechanics so that my focus can shift on building levels and the’ actual game itself’ that will end up in your hands. Seeing the project slowly but surely come together is very exciting, since I’m not making any compromises and it’s going to be exactly the game I want to make.

That’s it for this week’s update! If you like what you are seeing and hearing, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, & Pinterest!

Follow Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, & Bandcamp!
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2016, 12:54:42 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 9th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

We've had a very good week of progress in the Towards The Pantheon camp! The focus of the week has been on game mechanic scripting, so let's dive right in. I've gotten functionality working for the player inventory, stats screen, options menu and for picking up items. The current UI has placeholder programmer art that will change when Leandro and I go over it further along in development. Here's a gif that shows picking up an item (green tea) and using it (to heal some HP):



I am taking my time scripting everything in the game so that it is as easy to use as possible. When adding a new item into the game, all I have to do is fill in some variables such as name, sprite, and value (what happens when used). Similarly when adding a new enemy into the game, I just have to type in some information and it all works!

I fixed up the NPC pathing mentioned in last week's devlog so that you can stop an NPC and have them turn to face you and talk. Here's a gif of that:



In the options menu you can increase or decrease the volume levels of music and sound effects (as seen in the following gif using sprites of Bam's head), exit the game, and soon I will add functionality for saving/loading the game and remapping keyboard and controller configurations.



This week has been extra exciting as it feels like all the scripting I have been doing is really coming together. The core gameplay of any turn based RPG - battling enemies, finding items, leveling up - is now there and working! I remember the excitement of the first time I played Chrono Trigger and found a power tab, or the first time finding a super block in Paper Mario 64 and being able to give a stat boost to a party member. Being able to walk around my test level, pick up some protein powder, and give a +1 attack boost to Freyja was a fist-pump-the-sky moment for me. That was an exciting and fulfilling moment!

My plan is to have the rest of the gameplay mechanics completed by the end of the month so that I can start working on the actual game itself in November. Leandro is currently working on more enemy sprites and forest region tiles so that I have everything I need for the first chapter of the game. We've shown off some more villager portrait artwork over social media during the last week, but in case you missed it here they are:



I haven't done much soundtrack work this week but you can listen to the current 20 demos on the soundcloud playlist. I did make new music for our friend Jesper's

as I am the soundtrack composer for the game. Be sure to check it out!

I've been working full time on Towards The Pantheon for the last month and I finished my last part time shift yesterday which means between now and next summer I will be doing only game and music work! I've been average around 40-60 hours a week working on Towards The Pantheon and I'm hoping to increase it now. Before the next devlog I plan to work on the leveling up system, which is similar to the weapon upgrade system in Dead Space, as well as implementing shops, battle effect shaders, and a few minigames.

That's it for this week's update! If you like what you are seeing and hearing, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, & Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

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« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 03:09:26 PM by ConnorORT » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2016, 07:49:52 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 10th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

This devlog is going to be split into two parts; the first part is about our progress this week, and the second part contains some more info on our main characters.




Our pixel artist Leandro has begun making videos where he he shows the (sped up) process of creating pixel art for the game! We plan to release one every week or so, and each video will also contain Towards The Pantheon soundtrack demos as well as some of my original music prior to starting development of the game. This first video shows off his work on Towards The Pantheon's logo! This week he has also completed more tiles that will be used in areas we have yet to reveal.

On the scripting side of things, I've gotten quite a bit done. Items can now be used in battles, a battle escape mechanic has been added, you can buy and sell items at shops, and I'm currently working on saving and loading your game. Last devlog I said that I will most likely begin working on levels and the actual game by the start of November, but if this pace continues I may start before then. I haven't run into any serious obstacles yet, although at one point I wrote some terrible code that made my framerate drop to 30. I quickly fixed it and have it running well above my goal of 60. After that incident I spent some time refactoring and now my code is more efficient and even easier to work with than before.




I haven't made any new soundtrack demos this week (as I'm pausing most soundtrack work until I have a handful of finished levels) but I did get to release the main theme I made for a homebrew Dreamcast game called SLAVE. Check it out on Youtube!


Since most of my recent work has been relatively uninteresting to talk about in devlogs, I figured I would share some more information about our main characters Freyja, Bam, Mishima, and Phenez.


Bam the cat is based off my real life cat Bam. Bam is known around our house for being silly and goofy which caries over to him being the comedic character of the game. Bam is a law student who is tired of studying and wants to go on an adventure just like I did when I began coming up with Towards The Pantheon during my final year of university. His adventure involves saving his and other civilizations while my adventure turned out to be creating Bam's adventure! I want the player to instantly know the type of character Bam is the moment he or she steps into Bam's house. The way of doing that is through both the music and visuals, so check out my current soundtrack demo of Bam's house on Soundcloud! I'm going to be buying my real cat Bam a green scarf for either Halloween or Yule so that he can cosplay as himself. Instead of a standard HP/MP system found in many RPGs, each character has a unique system in Towards The Pantheon. Bam has Health Points (HP) and Energy Points (EP).

Freyja follows the trope of an RPG protagonist being mute, but part of her backstory is that she's a warrior without confidence. She is praised by her friends and family for her skills but she hasn't found that confidence within herself, which is the cause of her silence. Her opportunity to prove her skills to herself comes when she is called to journey towards the pantheon. She is the first character you control in the game, and is the most traditional RPG character as far as battle system and gameplay mechanics go. Freyja has Health Points (HP) and Stamina Points (SP). The norse godess Freyja (from which the name is taken) coincidentally had a chariot pulled by two cats, and cats are one of the many races in Towards The Pantheon. Since the game is heavily based around my personal life and interests, there is often a lot of purposeful as well as coincidental overlap in the game.


Phenez and part of his backstory are based on a friend of mine who committed suicide a year and a half ago. This summer I was listening to the audio book of The Hobbit while driving at work. I had never asked my friend why he had named one of his music projects Eikenskaden, which is German for Oakenshield, and when the character Thorin Oakenshield was introduced I immediately wanted to ask if The Hobbit was an inspiration. The next second I remembered that I am not able to ask him. Dealing with the passing of someone who I admired as a musician for many years and later got the opportunity to befriend and make music with has been very difficult. I started wondering what it would be like if we were somehow able to contact those who had committed suicide since the act leaves so many unanswered questions. This was a big part of what would become Towards The Pantheon's fourth race; a tribe of 'ghosts' who had committed suicide but still exist as they have some form of unfinished business in the world. The full backstory of Phenez is fictional and not based around my friend's life, but the general theme of the character is. When I had yet to meet my friend, I thought of him as a musical legend since very little was known about him or his personal life. After I became his friend I got to know the man himself. Now that he is gone, him and his music are almost mythical to me. The character of Phenez is my way of dealing with the loss of a friend. This tribute to him is my way of saying thanks, something I wish I had said more often while he was here. Phenez has Health Points (HP) and Necro Points (NP).


The character of Mishima was initially inspired by concern over the well being of another friend. Eventually I found overlap between that and some social/political issues as well as some of my views on society and people, and that formed the basis of the character.

Having mentioned that, Towards The Pantheon is not an overtly political game. Some of it is inspired by world history and political/philosophical issues, but I have never liked games or music that push any political agendas. I prefer to leave any questions or themes open ended, so that the player decides for his or herself what the answers are or what meanings can be found (if any). For example Silent Hill 2 can be enjoyed on the surface level as a horror game, but if you look further into its themes of love and violence you can enjoy it in a completely different way. I want Towards The Pantheon to be enjoyable as a game in and of itself for those who want a good RPG while also have a lot of depth and content for those who like to dig deeper.

Mishima is half human and half machine. Parts of her society believe humans to be inferior and that it is an insult to technological innovation for her not to replace her organic heart with a computer chip. Her name comes from the Japanese author Yukio Mishima who wrote 'Confessions of a mask'. Some of the themes of that book, along with the title and the fact that Yukio Mishima committed suicide in 1970 influenced various aspects of both Mishima and Phenez. Mishima has Central Processing Unit Points (CPU) and Graphics Processing Unit Points (GPU).

Bam has come inside for the night and he wants to play, so that means this is the end of this week's update! In future devlogs I may write more about the game and my influences and inspirations. If you like these devlogs, please follow the project on social media and help spread the word!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, & Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 03:09:12 PM by ConnorORT » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2016, 03:15:46 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 10th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

We've made a lot of progress this week and things are getting even more exciting! Our pixel artist Leandro released a new Youtube speed art video showing his creation of our initial main character portraits.





This week he has been hard at work on more character portraits, as well as tiles and sprites that we needed to fully begin level design since we're now past the initially scripting stage and are building levels. We currently have a placeholder title screen and intro sequence and are creating levels starting from the beginning of the game. This means that all the elements of the game we have been working on since the start of the summer are finally coming together, and after enough levels are created the team will begin playtesting demo builds. Here's a gif of the placeholder title screen I put together in 2 minutes - don't worry, the final result will look much nicer!



Since it is now autumn, we thought it would be appropriate to reveal a new area of the game with a screenshot featuring Phenez and Bam:



We've also uploaded two new soundtrack demos 'Homesick' and 'Horror Sound Design Test 1'. The 'Horror Sound Design Test 1' track is completely improvised and shows my experimentation with unconventional production techniques trying to create unique sounds for the horror chapter of the game. You can listen to them here: https://soundcloud.com/connor-ort-linning-wip/sets/towards-the-pantheon-demos

Some people have asked about the tools we have been using to create the game. For pixel art, Leandro has been using GraphicsGale. The engine we are using is GameMaker: Studio, and for audio I use a mix of FL Studio and Sonar X2. My favorite VSTs include Rob Papen's Blue-II, reFX's Nexus, Spectrasonic's Omnisphere, Linplug's Albino, Image-Line's Morphine and many more. I also use live guitar, bass, vocal, and drum recordings, along with my KORG Karma and Roland JV-2080 synths.



I thought for the second half of this devlog I'd talk a bit about Towards The Pantheon's influences.

The Silent Hill series springs to mind immediately - I can still remember listening to the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack for the first time and deciding that I must become a soundtrack composer and game developer. One of my favorite things about those games is that they are often more than just horror games. Silent Hill 2 can be enjoyed on the surface as a great horror title but underneath that is a great love story that explores themes that game developers often shy away from. With Towards The Pantheon, I want people to be able to enjoy the game as a great RPG on the surface, but also be able to look deeper and think about the various themes and questions that have inspired the storyline, lore, and character backstories.

Paper Mario 64 has been a huge influence on Towards The Pantheon in various aspects. The game broke away from many RPG cliches such as the earth/wind/fire/water elements being the basis of the combat system, having potions as standard items, and each party member had unique battle and overworld abilities. Similarly, Towards The Pantheon does not have the earth/wind/fire/water element system, does not use potions as standard items, and each party member has unique battle and overworld abilities. Instead of potions, I included Green Tea as a healing item and our teammate Nicolas suggested adding Coffee based on one of our in-jokes. My memories of playing Paper Mario 64 are also what influenced me to make Towards The Pantheon instead of making another survival horror game. Of course, one chapter of Towards The Pantheon is heavily inspired by survival horror games.



In my previous devlog I mentioned author Yukio Mishima as an influence for our characters Mishima and Phenez. His work, along with the works other authors such as Osamu Dazai and books like Stephen King's The Shining are what led me to make Towards The Pantheon a personal game instead of a standard RPG. This made me think of including the Fire Emblem style dialog system where you can listen in on character discussions and gain stat boosts. This allows me to explore the characters more in depth than classic RPGs and create as much character development as I can. As far as movies go, The Shining, The Divide, and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have been big inspirations for the horror chapter of the game. Anime and manga are also a big influence. I'm trying to catch up on reading Attack On Titan as Leandro is dying to talk about what has happened in the manga past the end of the anime's first season!

At the end of the day, I am trying not to be overly influenced by other games when it comes to Towards The Pantheon. Instead of looking to other RPGs for ideas, I am trying to look at other media and the personal lives of our teammates for inspiration. I hope this will result in a more unique game for you to enjoy!

That's it for this week's devlog. If you enjoyed it, please share it around and follow the project on social media! We just made a new Instagram account for the game so be sure to follow us there!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 03:08:58 PM by ConnorORT » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2016, 04:56:11 PM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 12th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Last week I took a break from writing devlogs so let's jump in to some of the progress we want to share from the past two weeks. Leandro has released two speed pixel art videos showing his work on our forest areas and main character sprites:









He has also completed all the pixel art work for chapter 1 of the game and is moving right along to chapter 2. We have also revealed one of his new tilesets:





Last week I sent demo builds of test levels to my teammates, and after getting feedback I've continued working on levels for chapter 1. I spent a full day working on new music as I needed a game over theme, cave theme, title screen theme, forest battle theme, and more. I've uploaded 4 newer demos to the soundcloud soundtrack playlist which includes Fallen Warriors (the aforementioned game over theme), Cats Love Snow, Go! Fight!, and Rancor.

https://soundcloud.com/connor-ort-linning-wip/sets/towards-the-pantheon-demos

I've also spent a bit of time working on sound effects, which means I set up my turntables and Korg Kaoss pad. You can check out some of the sounds I've made with just a microphone and Korg Kaoss pad in the last 20 seconds of my song ConTroL. Using unconventional techniques to make the soundtrack and sound effects for the game will hopefully make the audio unique. I've also been enjoying listening to classical vinyl on the turntable while working on new levels along with some Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Masters Of Doom, and The Shining audio books over top!



These devlogs serve as a kind of weekly recap, but I still update Towards The Pantheon's social media pages almost daily with new pictures and screenshots so be sure to follow us! The fact that I'm finally building the actual game itself and seeing the pieces come together is very rewarding. It's hard to decide how much of the game to reveal over time. I remember a few years ago that I was really looking forward to a new game and the developers released a video that showed the first 40 minutes of gameplay. While it was cool to watch the video, I remember being bored during those 40 minutes when actually playing the game as I had seen it all before. I am trying to avoid revealing too much about the game itself so that if you've been following our progress the game will be fresh and exciting, but also reveal enough to attract new supporters. Be sure to let me know what you think of our social media presence so far!



I'm going to make this a short devlog as I want to get right back into building levels and play testing. One thing I will share is that I plan to film a "making of" video for the game's soundtrack, which should release sometime in January if all goes according to plan.



That’s it for this week’s devlog, which we will end with a screenshot of Freyja waking up after camping for the night! If you enjoyed it please share it around and follow the project on social media, and if there are any topics about the game and its development that you'd like us to cover in a future devlog be sure to let us know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 03:08:46 PM by ConnorORT » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2016, 05:01:28 PM »

I enjoy this. it's good stuff! i like the way it looks.
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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2016, 09:16:46 AM »

Didn't know you had a devlog on TIGS! Nice seeing you here buddy   Wink Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2016, 10:08:27 AM »

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 12th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.

Let's start the devlog off with some of Leandro's recent speed pixel art videos:









I've also been showing some of chapter 1's enemies throughout my social media updates. Here are some of the Ferrets you'll be fighting to learn the basics of the battle system before you get mixed up with much tougher enemies!



There are no new soundtrack demos to talk about this update, but my soundtrack demo playlist is still up if you want to hear all of the sound design experiments so far. Soundtrack and SFX work is on the backburner until more of the areas and levels are finishing so that I can make sure the audio fits the visuals. As I mentioned in the previous devlog, 'making of' videos for the soundtrack will start being released in 2017 as audio work begins to ramp up.

https://soundcloud.com/connor-ort-linning-wip/sets/towards-the-pantheon-demos

I have a lot of levels and areas completed for Chapter 1 now. Things are progressing well but I don't want to share too many details about level design as I don't want to spoil too much of the game. Instead, here are a few of our latest screenshots!







One of the things I love about Tolkien's works are the attention to detail and how each area has its own names. In Towards The Pantheon, each river, mountain, cave, bridge, city, etc has a name that ties into the lore and backstory of the game. I think it will also help players remember where certain areas are in the world.



Harvest Moon on the Super Nintendo has been a huge influence for me as a game developer and musician. I love games like Silent Hill 2 that put as much detail into the game as possible, and I couldn't help put the famous Harvest Moon crop pattern into Towards The Pantheon. I'm making efforts to put detail into the smallest things that most people might not notice. Even 15 years after playing the first three Donkey Kong Country games, I still find hidden areas and secrets. I hope that players of Towards The Pantheon will get that same kind of enjoyment out of the game!

We're hard at work on our current tasks and updating daily on our social media accounts. Once Chapter 1 is finished, I'll most likely start making more animated gifs of gameplay instead of still screenshots, and will show more of the combat system and some dialog with NPCs. A new teaser video will be made sometime in 2017, and then a full trailer video will be made before release. There's a lot of excitement here right now, but I want to hold off from showing too much. The team is looking forward to what we'll have to share in the future though!

That’s it for this week’s devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it around and follow the project on social media, and if there are any topics about the game and its development that you'd like us to cover in a future devlog be sure to let us know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Imgur, Instagram, & Pinterest!

Follow lead developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, & Bandcamp!

Follow lead artist Leandro Tokarevski on Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, & Youtube!

I enjoy this. it's good stuff! i like the way it looks.

Thanks, glad you like it! Smiley

Didn't know you had a devlog on TIGS! Nice seeing you here buddy   Wink Hand Thumbs Up Right

Good to see you too bud! Smiley
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 03:08:32 PM by ConnorORT » Logged

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