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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Negative - a dark, evocative, monster collection RPG
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Thylacine Studios
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« on: June 26, 2017, 12:41:11 PM »


I am pleased to announce Thylacine Studios' next game: The Negative! For those of you who don't know us, we created Siralim and Siralim 2, monster capture RPGs with roguelike elements for Steam, Android, iOS, Playstation 4, and Vita.


The Negative is an evocative RPG with a dark, gritty, and gothic undertone. Players take the role of a nameless plague doctor as they wander across an infinite, procedurally generated open world in an attempt to conquer an evil force known as The Negative. Along the way, players must capture and employ the skills of enemy monsters to fight for them.


Thematically, The Negative is all about conveying emotion; not only through its storytelling methods, but also in the environments and enemies themselves. I've broken down the concept of negativity into 7 main categories: depression, rage, jealousy, pessimism, guilt, anxiety, and grief. Almost every aspect of the game relates to one of these emotions in some way - there are 7 different environments to explore (and re-explore), each of which is modeled after one of these seven emotions. This means that, with a few exceptions, we won't be using any generic environment types you might find in other games, such as a "fire world" or "forest area".


The Negative definitely isn't a happy game, and it's unapologetic in the way it casts players into a lonely, desolate world where all hope feels lost. In most cases, players will often find their efforts feeling like they're taking an allegorical "one step forward, two steps back". In that way, it feels a lot like real life. Happiness is cyclical, and The Negative honors that fact in every way it can.


I have plenty more information to share with you, but it'll have to wait. Check back each week to learn more about The Negative! I'll leave you with a small FAQ.

Q. When will The Negative be released?
A. It's too soon to tell. I have probably 70% of the game coded already, but there's a lot more work to be done, especially in the art/music department. My best guess is an early 2018 beta release on Steam Early Access. While we're waiting, I'll possibly release at least one smaller game to sate your appetite.

Q. What platforms will The Negative be released on?
A. Definitely Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Playstation 4. I'd also like to release this game on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, but it's too soon to tell if we can make this happen. If any other major platforms enter the market between now and the end of The Negative's development cycle, I'll gladly consider those as well.

Q. What about Playstation Vita?
A. I'm developing The Negative using GameMaker Studio 2, which no longer supports Playstation Vita, so there's no way this is going to happen. Sorry!

Q. How much will it cost?
A. Right now, I'm thinking $19.99 USD is a fair price, but that's not final. The mobile (Android/iOS) version will likely use a different payment model.

Q. What are the controls like?
A. The game supports keyboards, gamepads, and mice. You can play the entire game with just your mouse, which actually works really well!

Q. Will there be any post-release content? Expansions? Sequels?
A. Yes, probably. If it happens, this content will be delivered and priced in a way that no other game has done so before. I'm excited to experiment with my own payment model, but it's too soon to announce any specifics on that!

Q. Does The Negative have multiplayer?
A. No, there are no plans to add multiplayer content for now. There might be some online-only events, but nothing like trading or PvP battling.

Q. How does The Negative compare to Siralim?
A. It's completely different in almost every way. You still capture monsters and fight with them, but everything else is completely different.

Q. Are you hiring for this project?
A. Not right now, but if you'd like to drop off your portfolio to [email protected], we'll be glad to keep you in mind for later on!

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« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 11:51:42 AM by Thylacine Studios » Logged


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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 12:41:32 PM »

Quick Links:

Devlog Post #1: An Overview of the Game
Devlog Post #2: Monsters
Devlog Post #3: Consumable Items And How To Craft Them
Devlog Post #4: Equipment, How To Upgrade It, And Its Role In End-Game Content
Devlog Post #5: Monster Spotlight - Redcap
Devlog Post #6: Monster Spotlight - Grimoire
Devlog Post #7: Monster Spotlight - Gallowbrute
Devlog Post #8: Monster Spotlight - Slitherwig
Devlog Post #9: Monster Spotlight - Breeder
Devlog Post #10: Skill Design
Devlog Post #11: Monster Spotlight - Pontiff
Devlog Post #12: Monster Spotlight - Spirit
Devlog Post #13: Monster Spotlight - Totemancer
Devlog Post #14: Monster Spotlight - Glumroth
Devlog Post #15: Monster Spotlight - The Crestfallen
Devlog Post #16: Monster Spotlight - Jotun
Devlog Post #17: Monster Spotlight - Asura
Devlog Post #18: Monster Spotlight - Soulcaster
Devlog Post #19: Monster Spotlight - Nix
Devlog Post #20: Monster Spotlight - Tokoloshe
Devlog Post #21: Monster Spotlight - Coercer
Devlog Post #22: Monster Spotlight - Wickerman
Devlog Post #23: Just checking in!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 08:58:00 AM by Thylacine Studios » Logged


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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 12:45:14 PM »

Devlog Post #1: An Overview of the Game

Today marks the start of a weekly (or sometimes bi-weekly) series of development updates for The Negative! Each post will give you an in-depth look at a certain feature associated with the game. In today's post, we'll discuss the general flow of the game (that is, a brief overview of how the game is played), and also reveal a unique game mechanic called "Positivity".

Please note that any visuals shared in these posts are simply meant to serve as proofs of concept. A lot of the game's art isn't finalized, and we're still using a lot of placeholders. In particular, the tileset we're using to show off today's features is a placeholder and probably won't make it into the final game.

General Gameplay


Players will start their journey in an environment modeled after the concept of "Depression". This environment takes place in a giant set of ruins that have been long ago abandoned, and consumed by snow and ice. Many of the objects and quests in this environment are related to snowfall (yes, The Negative has dynamic weather effects), and some objects can be used to manipulate the severity of the snow. Each environment has a "gimmick" similar to this one. The goal is for each environment to cause players to play the game in different ways.


Players must seek out towns (which are also procedurally generated) to complete a series of quests related to Depression, ultimately culminating to a major boss fight. In total, the player will travel through all seven of the branches of negativity as discussed in my last post: depression, rage, guilt, jealousy, pessimism, anxiety, and grief. The game's story concludes with one final boss fight.

Each environment also contains several "sub-environments" that players can enter. You might stumble upon a cave or an abandoned tower that you can explore. At the end of this sub-environment will be a powerful enemy that you can kill, rewarding you with a large treasure chest. These sub-environments are generally optional, although some main story quests and side-quests might require you to defeat a boss contained within. Be warned: these areas tend to be much more challenging than anything you'll find outside!

In order to give players the feeling of an open world, you might encounter dynamic quests during your travels. Maybe an NPC is being harassed by a pack of enemies, or a totem is being channeled by a powerful foe to empower enemies in the area. These quests are entirely optional but are intended to make the world feel more alive.


After you visit a world for the first time, you can visit it again any time you want - it's permanent. This means that the more you play the game, the larger your world will become. At any point in time, you can go back and visit the same NPCs and explore the same dungeons that you've encountered before. There are also a few items you can use to manipulate these worlds after you've conquered them.

After completing the main story quests, you can progress to the post-game content, which will be discussed in greater detail in a later blog post.

Battles

Later on, I'll dedicate at least one full blog post to discussing battles, but I'll also give you a brief overview of them right now.

During your travels, you'll come across a wide array of enemies. Some will chase you, while others will flee when they see you, depending on the monsters' behavior. Others will simply patrol an area, stay in place, or ignore you altogether. Some are fast, some are slow. Enemies can be caught in traps to hinder their movement. They are even affected by the weather - they'll move more slowly when it's snowing, and won't be able to see you as easily when it's foggy. When you make contact with an enemy, a battle will begin.


Battles are turn-based, and you can use up to four of the monsters you capture to fight for you. Monsters can attack, defend, use a skill, use an item, or move to a different area on the battlefield. After you defeat the enemies, your monsters will gain some experience points, and your character will gain the game's currency: Zeal.

Zeal and Positivity

Zeal is used for just about everything. It is used to buy items, craft items, enhance your equipment, fuse your monsters into new ones, and much more. But Zeal's most important use is to level up your character. Unlike your monsters, who gain experience points after each battle, your character can only level up by spending Zeal. In addition, your monsters' levels cannot exceed that of your character. Of course, your monsters can continue to earn experience points even while your character's level is inhibiting their growth, so the experience points your monsters gain will never go to waste.

The amount of Zeal your character has also affects its level of "Positivity". In The Negative, your character emits a small amount of light all around it, and you can't see very well outside of that light radius. Enemies can ambush you very easily, and it's more difficult to see useful objects such as treasure chests and ore nodes when your light radius is short. You can expand this light radius by holding more Zeal. This means that players will sometimes need to make difficult decisions about which items to buy, when to level up, and when to explore the world. Should you buy that health potion to ensure your survival, or hold on to your Zeal so you can see farther into the distance? Some items can only be seen when your character is 100% "Positive", which causes the light around your character to become golden.


If your party is wiped out, you'll drop all your Zeal on the ground. You'll have one opportunity to find and retrieve it, but if you die again before retrieving your lost Zeal, it's gone forever. That's what I meant in my last post when I mentioned that The Negative feels a lot like taking one step forward and two steps back. Your character's Positivity is cyclical, and will come and go countless times as you progress through the game. You'll be forced to make difficult decisions and will sometimes suffer unavoidable hardships as you're forced to sacrifice one boon for another.


I hope you enjoyed our first devlog for The Negative! See you soon.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 01:00:39 PM by Thylacine Studios » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 10:55:22 PM »

Wow! Can't wait for this. I am an OG Siralim player, been playing for a very long time and Siralim 2 is even better. This looks amazing!! Who, Me?
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 09:16:03 AM »

I liked Siralim 2 and this looks to have tons of potential  Kiss
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 09:30:43 AM »

Devlog Post #2: Monsters

In The Negative, battles are primarily fought with the help of up to 4 monsters of your choice. You can customize these monsters to suit your needs. There are currently 120 monsters planned for you to collect, and each one is unique in terms of aesthetics, stats, skills, and the types of items they can equip. This post will provide you with an in-depth look at how monsters work in The Negative!


Monster Classes
Each monster belongs to one of 6 classes: Chaos, Death, Life, Nature, Sorcery, or Void. A monster’s class is primarily defined only for roleplaying flavor, but some skills and items also interact with specific classes as well. Monster fusion (the process of combining two monsters into a new one, which will be discussed in a future post) makes use of the class system as well.


Acquiring Monsters
You can acquire monsters in several different ways. The most straightforward way is to weaken an enemy monster in battle, then capture its essence using an item called an “Amulet”. You’ll want to make sure you stock up on Amulets before venturing outside of a town – you never know when you’ll encounter a monster you want to add to your party.

However, some monsters can’t be captured this way, and can only be obtained by completing certain quests or by fusing other monsters together to create new ones. The rarest monsters in the game cannot be captured, so you’ll need to explore every corner of the world in search of hints to point you toward the most coveted ones.


Monster Stats
Monsters have several different stats that affect their fighting abilities. These stats can be improved by leveling up your monsters, equipping them with more powerful gear, or using special elixirs in battle to temporarily bolster their strength.

Health: when a monster takes damage, it loses Health. If it falls to zero, the monster dies. Health does not regenerate after battle, so you’ll want to keep a supply of potions on hand to ensure your survival.

Mana: monsters can use skills in battle, and these cost a certain amount of Mana. Much like Health, Mana does not regenerate after battle.

Power: determines the potency of the monster’s attacks and skills. The higher a monster’s power, the more damage and healing it’ll do, and the more effective its debuffs and stat reductions will be.

Defense: determines the amount of damage a monster takes from incoming attacks and skills. Higher defense means your monster will take less damage from all sources.

Speed: determines the rate at which monsters can take a turn in battle to attack, use a skill or item, defend, or move to a new area on the battle grid. Extremely fast monsters can take multiple turns before others get the opportunity to take even one!

Luck: determines the chance and potency that monsters have to deal critical damage or dodge attacks and skills. Some skills also utilize Luck to affect their potency.

Resistances: monsters take more or less damage from each of the 6 classes depending on their resistances. Unlike all the other stats mentioned above, Resistances are the only stats that do not increase as a monster levels up. Resistances are determined by the type of monster, and can only be increased by equipping certain items or using elixirs in battle.


Personalities
Each monster has a certain personality which affects their stat growth each time they level up. For example, an Analytical monster gains more Mana and Speed than non-Analytical monsters when they level up, but also gains less Power and Defense. You may need to capture multiple monsters of the same type before finding one that has the personality you want.


Skills
Monsters have two types of skills: active and passive. Active skills must be used manually in combat and cost a certain amount of Mana. These skills can be used to damage enemies, heal allies, afflict nasty debuffs or grant helpful buffs to monsters, and much more. Passive skills are always activated, and tend to be more straightforward than active skills – they might increase the monster’s stats by a certain amount, grant them immunity to a certain debuff, or even do something more interesting like summon a skeleton ally at the start of battle.

Each monster will learn different skills as they level up. Each monster can have up to 4 active and 4 passive skills, and if a monster tries to learn any more than that amount, you must delete a skill first. However, monsters can surpass this limit by equipping certain items. For example, there’s a shield that grants the equipped monster the “Shield Toss” skill. This skill can’t be learned by any monster in the game and is exclusive to this item!


Monsters can also pass their skills on to their offspring after fusing two monsters together, but as I’ve said before, that won’t be discussed in this post.
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2017, 08:12:53 AM »

Devlog Post #3: Consumable Items And How To Craft Them

As you journey across the infinite world of The Negative, you'll encounter two different types of nodes that can be harvested: herbs and ore. Herbs are used to craft various potions and other consumable items, while ore is used to upgrade your monsters' equipment. Today, we'll discuss herbs and how they can be used to craft consumable items.


All About Herbs
There are 6 types of herbs in the game: Bruiseroot, Cinderleaf, Dragonvine, Fadegrass, Shimmerblossom, and Sorrowseed. While all of these herbs can be found in any environment, some have a better chance to grow in certain areas than others.


To harvest an herb, simply walk up to it and interact with it. Your character will cut down the herb, which will then appear in your inventory.


The Alchemist
Each town you visit will have an Alchemist. Alchemists can use your herbs (along with some Zeal) to craft consumable items such as health potions, battle elixirs, and other various tools to aid you in your travels.


Potions
The Alchemist allows you to craft several different potions. As you might expect, you can craft healing potions, mana potions, debuff curing potions, elixirs to boost your monsters' stats in battle, and even Ankhs to bring your monsters back to life when they die. However, herbs aren't very common in The Negative world, so you should carefully plan which potions you need the most, as well as when to use them.

Dungeoneering Tools

Most RPGs offer players maps of the world to help them find their way around. Some games even display an on-screen minimap so players always know their exact location, as well as those of the enemies and even hidden treasure. However, I don't think maps and minimaps belong in The Negative. The problem with these features is that they take away a lot of a game's mystery and excitement, and make the game world feel much smaller and less dangerous.

In place of maps, in The Negative you'll be given various tools to help you find your way around. One of the most basic tools you'll find is called a Glowstone. Glowstones can be placed on the ground to emit light, illuminating the area and also serving as a trail marker for you when you return to a certain area later on. Glowstones are available in several different colors: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, fuchsia, purple, and white. Note that the art for these is not final, nor is the lighting style itself - the following image is just a proof of concept.


Glowstones are as basic in concept as they are versatile, and will hopefully allow players to devise their own means of navigating around the world.

Glowstones are just one of the many dungeoneering tools you can find or craft in The Negative. For example, Bell of the Lost allows you to instantly teleport to the entrance of a dungeon, while the Homeward Wing allows you to teleport to the nearest town you've discovered. Other items focus more on your own survival, such as the Plume of Whispers, which temporarily prevents enemies from being able to see you in the overworld.

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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2017, 09:44:58 PM »

Oh god why.. this is gonna be another massive time sink for me too isn't it?   Who, Me?
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2017, 11:09:15 PM »

Awesome aesthetics, although I would change the font type.
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 04:05:11 AM »

Awesome aesthetics, although I would change the font type.

Thanks for the feedback! Do you have any particular font style in mind that might look better? Something pixelated, or...?
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 05:00:33 AM »

Awesome aesthetics, although I would change the font type.

Thanks for the feedback! Do you have any particular font style in mind that might look better? Something pixelated, or...?

Yes!
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 01:37:35 PM »

That is maybe one of my only criticisms of Siralim, I always thought the font never matched the game. I used to always use the pixel font in the first one, lol. Maybe do like Risk of Rain and make your own?
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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2017, 10:14:29 AM »

Devlog Post #4: Equipment, How To Upgrade It, And Its Role In End-Game Content

Your monsters can each equip up to 4 pieces of gear. Each monster can only equip gear that belongs to certain “slots” – for example, the Ashen Witch can only equip rings, necklaces, leg armor, and chest armor, while another monster may be able to equip only weapons, shields, rings, and helmets.

Each type of equipment has exclusive properties that are available only to that specific slot. For example, weapons can give a percentage-based boost to Power, while shields do the same for Defense.

Acquisition
Equipment is obtained by defeating monsters, looting treasure chests, and completing quests. Unlike in a lot of other games, you will not be able to craft your own equipment. My hope is that, as you find new equipment, it will naturally and dynamically change the way you approach the game. You can, however, upgrade and slightly modify equipment to suit your needs.



Types of Equipment
There are 7 different types of equipment for you to collect: Helmets, Chest Armor, Leg Armor, Weapons, Shields, Rings, and Necklaces. As I mentioned before, each monster is restricted to being able to equip only 4 of these types of equipment. One monster might be able to equip weapons, while another cannot. This means that, when deciding which monsters to add to your party, you should also consider the type of equipment they can use.



Unique Equipment
The rarest (and most powerful) equipment in the game is called “unique” equipment. While most equipment is randomly generated, I’ve designed the unique equipment by hand. Each piece of unique equipment has a predetermined name, and typically has properties that you won’t find anywhere else. Some of this equipment even grant exclusive skills to your monsters that you won’t find anywhere else. Each monster can only equip one piece of unique equipment.


Upgrading
You can upgrade your equipment by collecting ore and taking it to a blacksmith. Each piece of equipment can be upgraded up to 10 times, with each level making the equipment more powerful than before.


Unique equipment requires a special type of ore called “Godstones”. This ore is much harder to find than normal ore, so you should save it only for when you find a piece of equipment you plan to use for a long time.


Salvaging
The blacksmith can also salvage unwanted equipment, yielding a small amount of ore. This feature is especially useful for when your monsters have out-leveled the usefulness of the equipment in your inventory. You can re-invest the resulting ore into upgrades for new equipment.



Role In End-Game Content
One of the many end-game activities in The Negative revolves around a “loot hunt”, much like ARPGs such as Diablo. After completing the game’s main storyline quests, you’ll be able to challenge ultra-powerful bosses that drop exclusive unique equipment.

Other end-game activities grant you the opportunity to imbue your favorite equipment with new properties. However, since this post isn’t really meant to discuss all of The Negative’s end-game content, I’ll save the details about this for a future post.
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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2017, 10:56:07 AM »

I like that there is no crafting. That was one thing about Siralim that you could easily get carried away with and sometimes all the item management would end up taking away from the fun of just playing the game
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2017, 09:37:59 AM »

Devlog Post #5: Monster Spotlight - Redcap

I’m relieved to announce that we’ve added a new member to our graphics team for The Negative! Well, more like re-added. JC has been working with us for the last 4 years and was mostly responsible for drawing the spell effects for Siralim and Siralim 2. I’m happy to announce that he’ll now be working on all the skill effects for The Negative! Unlike the spell effects in the Siralim series, the skill effects in The Negative will be more visually complex and will sometimes even include particle effects.

Meanwhile, Maarten has been busy drawing new monsters for the game, many of which we’ve been showing off on social media. This means that we don’t have a lot of screenshots to showcase for new features and environments in The Negative, so for that reason, the next several blog posts will be dedicated to revealing new monsters and discussing their skills. Since these posts won’t be as long as normal ones, you should sometimes expect an additional post each week!

Keep an eye on our social media accounts to get a glimpse of new monsters before they’re discussed in these blog posts!
Thylacine Studios’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThylaStudios
Thylacine Studios’ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThylacineStudios/
Maarten Boot’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaartnBoot



Redcap (Balance)

In today’s post, we’re going to discuss the Redcap.


Redcaps belong to the Balance (formerly called “Nature”) class. Redcaps are designed around the emotional concepts of anger and rage. While they’re very frail on their own, they can summon their inner hatred in the form of a Maniac – a wild berserker with no inhibitions. Maniacs can not only dish out a lot of damage, they also protect the Redcap and keep it safe from harm.

Let’s take a look at all the Redcap’s active and passive skills.

Active Skills
Slash: Deals a small amount of damage to the target and decreases its Defense by a small amount.

Tantrum: Deals a moderate amount of damage to the target. This skill has a chance to deal critical damage based on how much HP this monster is missing.

Bolster: Your monsters gain a moderate amount of Power.

Hellions: Summons 3 Maniacs. Maniacs have the same stats and skills as this monster, but have 10% HP.


Passive Skills
Fury: When this monster attacks, it has a 50% chance to attack again. This effect can only occur once per turn.

Inner Turmoil: After this monster attacks, summon a Maniac. Maniacs have the same stats and skills as this monster, but have 10% HP.

Bodyguard: When this monster takes damage, a random summoned monster in front of it takes the damage instead, then dies.

Mimicry: After this monster attacks or uses a damaging skill, each of your summoned monsters have a 20% chance to use the same attack or skill on the same targets.

Suggested Playstyle
As you might have guessed, the Redcap’s first priority is to amass an army of Maniacs to help defend it, or simply to dish out some extra damage. While using Slash and Tantrum can each be used to summon a Maniac, it might sometimes be beneficial to start some battles (such as boss battles) using Hellions in order to save a couple turns. Next, the Redcap can either buff up its army using Bolster, or simply continue Slashing or throwing Tantrums – after all, the Maniacs will do whatever the Redcap does!
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2017, 05:13:43 PM »

Really love the Redcap design - sort of a berserker take on a pet class? Very intriguing

Gave you guys a follow as those monsters you're sharing all look real cool
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2017, 11:25:40 AM »

Thanks! Followed you back as well.
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2017, 01:33:12 PM »

definitely the style of game art I love!
I'm eager to see more on this game.
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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2017, 03:12:00 PM »

Solid work!

I love the splash screen/cover artwork and I can imagine myself browsing through Steam and getting hooked by it.

I'm just not sure about the typography there. I'm not sure roman letters are the best option there - I'd either try something more organic or a classic steampunk font.

Anyway, great work overall! Following Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2017, 08:50:25 AM »

Thanks for the responses!

I've been experimenting with different fonts to try to find one that might fit a little better with the UI. I'll post some screenshots when I get a chance, and we'll see what everyone thinks is the best.
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