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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Epocha Tower [Pre-IndieGoGo] [Action-adventure RPG] [GM1.4]
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Author Topic: The Epocha Tower [Pre-IndieGoGo] [Action-adventure RPG] [GM1.4]  (Read 7796 times)
M0ti
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« on: October 18, 2017, 09:26:58 PM »



"There is still time for one more legend."

Epocha Tower is a mysterious monumental dungeon that everyone in the world dreams of beating. Live in the city at its foot and try to accomplish what no adventurer has done before.


STORY
Adventurous life means more than what you’ve heard in stories, boy. Yes, the time when your heart beats fast as you face the unknown, that’s part of it. But it's not all.
It’s also about meeting new friends. Getting fooled by a crook. Celebrating after completing a difficult quest. Trying to impress a lady with your courageous deeds. Or sleeping in the same room with a bunch of old farting geezers because you didn’t save enough money for a proper inn.
That’s what adventurous life means to me. That’s what I’ve experienced in the years I’ve lived in Nearest City, right in front of the Epocha Tower.

...

The legendary Epocha Tower. I couldn’t beat it, even after all those years. The inside of the tower is always changing. Where once was a hallway, now is just a wall. Quiet and empty room could instantly change into a dangerous place. And treasure chests would randomly appear or vanish throughout the floor in order to distract you from the right path.

...

Too bad you will never see it. Soon the gate of the Tower will close shut and it will stay sealed for one whole generation. Even if you leave right now, you will not have more than a few years before it happens.

...

But you will still try, right? I can see it in your eyes. The same flame I once had. It does not matter what I say. Your eyes are already set on your goal. You are such a fool, but that’s why you are gonna fit perfectly.



QUICK DESCRIPTION
  • Visual: Top down pixel-art
  • Planded Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Gameplay: Action RPG with equal focus on exploration and town life.
  • Main inspiration: Tower of Druaga (both game and anime), Zelda: A Link to the Past, Persona, Trails of Cold Steal
  • Main goal: not to send a player on adventure but let him live adventurous life

LATEST GIFS




UNIQUE FEATURES
Changing tower
While exploring the Tower, you will encounter many mysterious phenomena. Full treasure chest appeared out of nowhere when you were passing by. Walls started to shift, either to open up parts of level unavailable before, or just to change path to the exit.
These are just examples of many surprises, which The Tower has at its disposal to fulfil its purpose.

Nearest City (Working title)
Some cities depend on tourism, others thrive on industry. This city was built and still exists solely because of The Tower. Market is full of artefacts and devices of unknown purpose. Inns and other services are customized for adventurers as their main clientele. And some professions could exist only here, like catapult delivery service for example.

PROJECT’S VISION
Hi, I’m Emil Gašparec. I’m game developer from Czech Republic and I have been making games since 2011. During these 6 years we were making games in our free time, out of free will and … well … for free. It was a lot of fun, but I feel that it’s time to create something bigger. Something I no longer can make without a budget and a full time commitment. That’s why this game is being planned as a Kickstarter project from its conception and its future development is directly tied to it.
If I don’t raise enough money (this way or another), the project will be immediately stopped, so I’m willing to try anything that will improve my chances for success.
I honestly believe that this forum thread is one of these things, so I thank you all in advance for any comment you leave here.
  • If there is something you like about this project, let me know, so that I know what parts of the game to reinforce.
  • If you have any suggestion about the article or personal advice about fundraising to share with me, I will very much appreciate it.
  • If you want to work on this, please, please leave your e-mail adress or something, because our team right now is just me (game design and world building) and music composer. :D



LORE BITS

« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 11:13:30 AM by M0ti » Logged


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M0ti
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 09:27:20 PM »

( Shrug Reserved for who knows what.  Shrug )
« Last Edit: December 03, 2017, 04:58:16 AM by M0ti » Logged


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M0ti
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 09:27:48 PM »

Now, when the pitch is done is time to start working on the prototype. Never did top-down or fantasy setting so I needed to start with some research. Looking for a style, that will be minimalistic and manageable so that I can handle it until I find some graphic designer.
Here are some references I have found.

It helped me to create some idea about what kind of visuals I would like for the game. Especially the archer at the left. I would like for characters to have eyes. It’s simple but still enough detailed to make her feel like a unique character with a personality.
But unfortunately that’s not something I can draw so for now I would need to go with this:

Made some color variation because I was really indecisive about it. My favorites right now are II. and III.
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M0ti
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2017, 09:28:28 PM »

And so i started programming.
Before the kickstarter, all my prototypes will be made in the Game Maker Studio 1.4. Final game will be probably in Unity, but because GM is the only engine I know how to use, it has to be enough for now.
Because I wanted to learn something knew, I started with mapping character movements on analog stick. First of all I set the dead zone so that the game doesn’t respond to the slightest tilts. About that I knew beforehand.
But then I’ve found that my left analog stick can’t reach its full value when completely tilted to the left. It only goes to -0.98 instead of -1.
Because the controller is almost new, I can only presume that it’s probably a possible deviation which was already there from the factory.
To make sure I have it somehow covered I made a rule, that when the value is greater or equal to 0.95, it’s rounded to 1.
Did anyone ever encounter something like this? If yes, how did you dealt with it, if you had the need to?
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 11:24:23 PM »

This game looks awesome! I love the concept, good luck with development  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 02:24:17 AM »

Looks cool so far! I like the grey-ish minimalistic color scheme alot
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M0ti
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 09:42:05 PM »

This game looks awesome! I love the concept, good luck with development  Smiley
Thank you for your encouragement. I hope that It will help me to bring some satisfying progress soon.

Looks cool so far! I like the grey-ish minimalistic color scheme alot
Thank you. What you can see now is just test environment but if I do not get enough funds I will consider it as possible art direction.
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M0ti
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 12:42:00 PM »

I'm not sure why but as the first feature I started programming the shield. I knew that the combat will be the last thing I want to do, so I thought my first feature would be something like a treasure chest or a trap. Even though I don't know from where this impulse came from I had instantly clear idea about how I would like it to work.
  • Activating the shield creates a collider in the direction hero is looking.
  • It also locks hero's direction so that he can move backwards without turning around and uncovering his back.
  • As the previous point suggests, hero is still vulnerable from other directions or areal damages. (For example standing in the fire or on spikes should logically still hurt)
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2017, 09:31:02 PM »

I really dig the graphics, pixel-art goes a long way imo. Looks interesting overall! Looking forward to see more of it.
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M0ti
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2017, 11:16:34 AM »

I really dig the graphics, pixel-art goes a long way imo. Looks interesting overall! Looking forward to see more of it.
Thank you for your kind words. Yesterday I realized that I have completely overlooked writing and revealing of the game's lore. I hope that by correcting this error the project will start to look even more interesting.
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2017, 11:52:19 PM »

Last week I tried to make a pit you can fall in and a trap object.
The pit is made by bunch of 32x32 objects, which do only one thing. Once they are created they check if above them is also obj_pit or not. If there is not, they change their own sprite from complete black to the sidewall sprite. So I don't have to manage it manually.

In editor / In runtime

With the traps I couldn't find something as automatic. The trap is waiting to be step on and once that happen, it
1. Changes its sprite to triggered trap
2. It gets through the array of ids and in each of these objects change some values to start them.
This array I need to write individually into each trap's creation code.
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2017, 07:54:01 AM »

  • The tower, created by the last demon king, is still standing unconquered even after four hundred years.
  • It's undoubtedly the largest building in the world and to make it even more bizarre, it was created in a blink of an eye.
  • The first floor is almost constantly plundered and the reason behind it is quite simple. Because every adventurer must go through the same entrance, the first floor is full of people even in the late night hours. It’s probably the only part of the tower which can be truly considered as conquered. When loot or monster appears here it is usually gone within a minute. Even tourists can enter here without a proper equipment or combat skills.
  • The tower is mechanical, which means there are “inaccessible” parts of the level or even the whole floors, full of gear which ensure the tower’s self-sufficiency. Here, empty treasure chests are refilled, broken weapons or lost items of beaten adventurers are reused or recycled, and also, monsters are distributed through here.

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« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2017, 07:51:09 AM »


Pixel art is a real science!
To be clear I never underestimated it. It’s just that when I need to consider the continuity of tiles or resizing on export atop of actually thinking about how to draw something… honestly, I barely survived. The only help I could think of was to pull out the calculator. It didn't help ... not much at least.
Initially I thought that for prototyping I will use free assets from opengameart.org. I especially fell in love with a tile set called A Blocky Dungeon from Buch.

But because it didn't suited my needs I ended up by completely redrawing it from the scratch. I still ended up using the same colour palette, at least for now, so that I don’t have to think about it.
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M0ti
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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2017, 04:41:27 AM »

Choice of perspective

I honestly can’t find some kind of all-solving answer for this matter.
I know that I would like the game to be top down, but strict top down is not an option. First of all it reduces too much information from the environment. Also characters and their animations feel a little unattractive to me personally.

My second option will be similar view as you can find in Zelda: Link to the Past or for example in the upcoming Moonlighter.
Here you can see all walls, if they are at the border of the level, but everything inside the space is pointing in the same direction, which is down. It works, but it also creates some visually confusing moments. For example when Link is going into the doors at left or right. Here he looks as if he was lying on the floor.

The last option will be the one I’m using right now. Everything on the screen is pointing down. It’s without visual inconsistencies, but it greatly limits game’s level design. Everything interesting or important needs to be placed in the front. Especially if it’s something on the walls. There is also a lot of unusable space on the screen, because it’s hidden behind walls. I can somehow highlight hidden hero, but placing enemies or items there still feels undesirable.

Well, at the end I'm almost decided to use the approach the Zelda is using, but before that I wanted to ask:
  • Do you know some other option that I didn't consider?
  • While playing or watching Zelda or other games using this perspective, did you find it immersion-breaking or uncomfortable?
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« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2017, 07:40:34 AM »

This week (mostly yesterday) I’ve made treasure chest and it’s animations. Going in and out is the same animation, with just image_speed set to negative. This way it works even when you try to send the treasure chest back, when is halfway out.
What was a little tricky, was how to completely disable it’s collision mask when it’s fully underground. At that time player should be able to go through that space like nothing’s there. GameMaker doesn't have simple way to fully disable collision mask of an object. You can resize or move it but there will always be at least one pixel you could stuck against.
The solution for this was to create empty sprite, to which you just don’t assign a picture (not even transparent png file. You just stop after naming the sprite.) and then change collision mask of your object to this empty sprite.
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2017, 09:27:25 AM »

Just like last week I focused on bringing into my game at least bit of an movement. This week by hiding  and appearing of the horizontal walls. Unlike the treasure chest, I have spent most of the time with programming, because for some reason I wanted for each part of the wall to start hiding in different time to create the cascading effect.
I re-wrote it few times already and it still isn’t perfect, but for now it’s enough.
The floor trigger, as in the previous case, is changing the state of another object (this time the wall) from “WAIT” to “APPEAR” or “HIDE”.
Moving wall objects are all the same, but can be set to different behaviour by changing their variable unit from it’s default value “LISTEN” to “CONTROL”.
What “CONTROL” does, is that once it’s state is changed, it will go through the list of listeners and set them to the same state value. It also set them delay timers including itself, to make them start differently.
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2017, 09:37:03 AM »

just wanted to send along my encouragement. things are coming together piece by piece. keep going.
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2017, 01:27:40 AM »

Thank you for your encouragement. It really does start to get a shape bit by bit. It's going to be difficult for me to do some proper work in December, but right with the start of 2018 I should be back on the horse again.
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« Reply #18 on: November 26, 2017, 04:16:40 AM »

I also pondered the 2d perspective question recently for my own game. My original intent was to create a gameboy style rpg such as pokemon, and I wanted to understand a bit better how the perspective of those old games should work. To do so , I rendered some assets in 3d using typical 2d style camera projections, and varied the camera angle.
Eg:

 vs


I realised that a steeper projection can give you the benefit of a top down look (ie, less space wasted from hidden areas behind walls), while maintaining consistency. However if it's too steep, like in that second version, it still looks weird like in zelda, because you somewhat lose the illusion of ortho projection, and you do expect to be able to see walls from different angles as if it was 3d. I personally settled for something I felt was just about the right mix of being steep enough to not have too much wasted space vs shallow enough not to have that bad illusion. In the process I lost all the stylishness of the old gameboy games that I originally intended to follow, as I've followed a procedurally simpler method to validate the consistency of my own work.

Another option is to do something like the early GTA games, and have a fakish 3d effect, where the tops of buildings/walls actually do have some depth and do change with the camera angle. I didn't choose that option since I've written my engine from scratch with the explicit intent to be a 2d game.

If we are honest to our selves though, I think most people just don't care about slavish consistency of perspective, as proven by pretty much every 2d game ever.
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« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2017, 12:50:26 AM »

Thank you very much for your elaborate reply. It's nice to see that there is someone dealing with the same question. It's good to add the angle of steepness to the other considered factors.
And right now, just like you, I've got to the conclusion that anything will work, because it worked in the past. The deciding right now is more for my own inner peace, so that when the visual content starts to increas on its volume, I would be set and minimum re-drawing would be required.
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