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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsFalse Skies - GBC-styled class-based RPG
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Author Topic: False Skies - GBC-styled class-based RPG  (Read 6750 times)
Feenicks
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« on: October 23, 2020, 07:46:27 PM »

False Skies
[PC/RPG]

Demo: [here]

Itch.io page: here

False Skies is a classically-styled RPG, set in a roughly contemporary setting and featuring a class system inspired by my singular brush with Neverwinter Nights. Fight monsters, explore dungeons of varying stripes, and uncover the mysteries and troubles of a world dealing with a long-vanished civilization making itself felt.

Features
-Freeform class upgrades: Tired of having your fighter being a fighter, or feel one of your support classes could help with healing the party as well? Upgrade them to any of the next tier of classes, and have them start learning a completely different set of skills! There's several tiers of upgrades, too, so if you feel your choices have been lackluster there's always time to correct!
-8 base classes to choose from [plus 1 more that's a bit more restricted in nature], and 8 more to upgrade into, each with varying stat growths, equipment proficiency, and skills to learn
-Over 80 enemies to encounter [and easily 200-250 in the final game, at the rate I'm going]
-There's towns, there's equipment, there's random encounters. If you've played an RPG, you should probably be familiar with these things.

Status
I've been going at this, at various speeds, since 2018 [though I did draw some of the graphics back in 2016; I'm not counting that], and it's currently sitting at about the halfway point in terms of content. I feel the back half will be a bit faster, if only because I've done a lot of the systems work already and don't have quite as much commission work taking precedence.
As for why I waited until this point to make a devlog... I'm not sure, but now's better than never.
______

I've added a good bit, both in content and in quality-of-life features, since getting the demo linked above together [which I'll show off here at a later date], but half a dozen substantial dungeons should give you an idea of whether or not this game is for you.

I post screenshots of stuff in development [...among other things] on twitter, so follow me if you want progress on this in a less formal manner.

Screenshots:











screenshot 4 is in an area past the end of the demo, but having the train there feels important
« Last Edit: March 21, 2022, 06:32:36 PM by Feenicks » Logged

Feenicks
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2020, 03:30:56 PM »

Devlog 1 [Minimap, on-load summary]
Two relatively minor things that'll help a bunch:


Minimap
It may just be me, but a game becomes a lot more whole when you get a map of it all to look at.
This one automatically fills up as you go to new places, and also gives you the option of panning around the map [not shown].


On-load summary
The save point in this game are books, so it's thematically appropriate to get a reminder of what you've been up to and where you need to go upon loading up a save. I still have a ways to go before everything I've built is accounted for, though, so the level of granularity I'm currently going for may yet shift.
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QOG
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2020, 02:53:04 PM »

Looks cool so far, posting to follow.

The on-load summary seems like a cool idea, the sort of thing that's often needed in longer-form RPGs.
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DungeonDevDude
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2020, 06:57:31 AM »

This looks really cool. Gives me DQ3 vibes, which is my favorite of all the DQ games. Definitely giving it a follow. Best of luck!
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Ashedragon
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2020, 02:49:17 PM »

I'm also definitely getting DQ vibes and I absolutely love the pixel art.  Hard following! 

Secondarily it looks like it would be a lot of fun to make music for, haha.
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Feenicks
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2020, 08:25:40 AM »

Thanks for the comments.

@QOC: I added in partly because I could do it in a thematically-appropriate way, and partly because reminding playtesters where they needed to go tends to be a failing of sorts. I still need to finish all the cases in the game, but that's the work of an afternoon or two.
@DungeonDevDude: Dragon Quest definitely is one of the inspirations for how I'm doing the towns. There's some other things in here which are decidedly non-Dragon Quest, though, but I do want to try emulating the mechanic in some of the games where parts of dungeons are obscured until you walk into those areas.
@Ashedragon: Thanks for the offer; unfortunately, I already have someone making music for this.


Anyway: here's a screenshot from the dungeon I'm currently working on:

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Feenicks
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2020, 11:25:27 AM »

Devlog 2 [more minor additions]

I've largely finished up the museum dungeon and the town it's related to, and am now thinking of how best to do some sidequest things. In the meantime, though, I've been editing certain already-implemented things to be a bit more useful/fancier:


The bestiary's fine as-is, but an overall rate counter helps a lot in helping judge your overall progression through things.


The reward screen was static beforehand, and also didn't give you a great idea of how far along you were to getting another level. I threw in some experience bars and had the experience to next level/experience earned counters count up/down quickly, and I feel that helps a lot.


I'm closing in on a point where I feel comfortable releasing a new in-progress version [demo feels like the wrong word for something that's multiple hours long], so I might need to find some people to try out what's here - but that's a problem for another day.
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Beastboy
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2020, 12:54:15 PM »

Seems like my type of game, strong phantasy star vibe on it.

Any eta on release?
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Feenicks
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2020, 08:04:38 PM »

The optimistic date is sometime in 2021; I've got the vast majority of the systems I want to have done now [with one or two more being low-priority for the time being], and hopefully with those out of the way I'll be able to keep a good clip with making the back half of this.

Granted, I want to put together some fancier dungeon mechanics for several of the next few ones, and some of those may take longer than others, whether it be on the implementation side or the design side. Will have to wait and see how time-consuming my ideas end up being.
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Feenicks
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2020, 04:10:55 PM »

Devlog 3 [early dungeon revision]

From what I can gather, the second main dungeon, the Plateau Cave, is a bit of a roadblock. Playing through it again, I can kinda see why: it's a fairly typical cave full of high defense but otherwise not very dangerous monsters, and doesn't have too much in the way of connection to the overall plot.

Completely redesigning the level feels a bit excessive, but there were a few things I did to hopefully make it more reasonable/interesting:

1. Throw more water in


I have the Plateau Cave pegged as a bit of a damp place in the on-load text, so it feels appropriate to strip out a bunch of the walls and throw in some water instead. It feels like a bit of a hackish and/or brute-force way of going about things, but I'll live with that.

2. Liven up the top floor


The top floor of the cave was previously completely static, so I added some things to change that around:
- A few field enemies were added in; these guys are fairly easy to dodge and probably won't kill you if you do end up running into them, but I don't think the second dungeon needs particularly lethal failure states.
- A second entrance up from the middle floor was added in. In prior versions, there was a bit of a red herring involving the boss that made you traverse all the way back through the dungeon; now you don't have to do that.
- A short scene's also at the end of the floor that ties some stuff together.

3. Add another enemy


To act as a counterpoint to the regular monsters of the dungeon tending towards having high defense and low speed, I added in something with high attack and speed, but low defenses [and as I had something appropriate from the sprites I was drawing up for November, used one of those].
Just adding it to the regular enemy pool didn't seem great, though, so instead they only appear in certain spots in the dungeon, having a high chance to replace the enemy formation that'd appear there normally. That makes it sound like they're rare... and I guess they somewhat are, but there's one or two places you'll very likely run into one.

_____

Early on in a game, it helps to mix things up a lot. Later on, when players are more involved and you can assume they have a lot more tools at their disposal? Sure, throw stuff at them. But the first few dungeons can afford to be more varied/setpiece-heavy, even if said variation here is dodging some slow-moving balloons.
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Feenicks
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2020, 02:40:21 PM »

Not calling this a devlog because it doesn't really count:



The names of towns/dungeons now briefly pop in when you first enter them.

I've also gone and uploaded a version of demo 3 with the changes/feature additions I've made since September [the minimap, title planks, new load menu, and a bunch of bugfixes/changes of varying severity]. There may or may not be a demo 3c at some point in the future, but that really depends on whether I decide I have a critical mass of systems that are relevant in the early game.
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vdapps
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2020, 03:21:55 PM »

Not my type of game, but I strongly admire your pixel-arting. This reduced palette gives it nice and soothing look. Very neat!  Gentleman
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Beastboy
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2020, 05:11:13 PM »

The optimistic date is sometime in 2021; I've got the vast majority of the systems I want to have done now [with one or two more being low-priority for the time being], and hopefully with those out of the way I'll be able to keep a good clip with making the back half of this.

Granted, I want to put together some fancier dungeon mechanics for several of the next few ones, and some of those may take longer than others, whether it be on the implementation side or the design side. Will have to wait and see how time-consuming my ideas end up being.

Can you elaborate a bit more on those mechanics? Are they something new that havent been used before in this type of games for the purpose of bringing something new or are they extreme polishd old mechanics that solidify the classic gameplay?
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Feenicks
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2020, 08:57:27 PM »

@vdapps: Good to hear.

@Beastboy: I'm not entirely sure if you're talking about the core game mechanics or ones involved with dungeons, but I'm going to say that it's a bit of both, honestly [even if there's a limit to how much one person can polish a mechanic].

On the core mechanics side:
- Skill families are a mechanic to deal with the sort of skill bloat a lot of RPGs have, where a good portion of your skillset are eventually obsoleted by functionally identical ones. Instead, if you'd learn a skill while knowing a weaker version of it, that weaker version is overwritten by the stronger one. Persona Q and to a lesser extent the pokemon games have a similar system, but they're rather different in the specifics so I'm willing to call this new.


On the dungeon mechanics side, I want to have some more mechanically interesting stuff going on, even just in terms of navigating through it. Whether or not it's 'new', I haven't seen too much serious large-scale puzzle stuff in RPGs, and I'd like to devote a dungeon or two to attempting those things.
Some examples:
-A dungeon that's a complete mess to traverse, but only because the central core has been locked off [this one's been around for a while]
-A warp dungeon that's a bit more obvious about where you'll be warped away to, but it's still a warp puzzle dungeon [...also been done for a bit]
-A dungeon centered around a multi-story bulkhead you can move around from the interior, but have to go outside of to change floors [this one isn't done]

Not sure this answers your question, but oh well.
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Feenicks
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2020, 12:04:39 PM »

I made a thread for playtesting purposes.

Also, it feels a bit risky due to there still probably being multiple major bugs lurking around that probably should be ratted out, but I've gone and started on stuff for the next dungeon. Ignore that the first picture is from a month and half ago and is probably not going to be representative of anywhere in the actual dungeon.

I'll make a properly-titled devlog post when I get the dungeon's main gimmick together.



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Beastboy
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2020, 02:55:12 AM »

@vdapps: Good to hear.

@Beastboy: I'm not entirely sure if you're talking about the core game mechanics or ones involved with dungeons, but I'm going to say that it's a bit of both, honestly [even if there's a limit to how much one person can polish a mechanic].

On the core mechanics side:
- Skill families are a mechanic to deal with the sort of skill bloat a lot of RPGs have, where a good portion of your skillset are eventually obsoleted by functionally identical ones. Instead, if you'd learn a skill while knowing a weaker version of it, that weaker version is overwritten by the stronger one. Persona Q and to a lesser extent the pokemon games have a similar system, but they're rather different in the specifics so I'm willing to call this new.


On the dungeon mechanics side, I want to have some more mechanically interesting stuff going on, even just in terms of navigating through it. Whether or not it's 'new', I haven't seen too much serious large-scale puzzle stuff in RPGs, and I'd like to devote a dungeon or two to attempting those things.
Some examples:
-A dungeon that's a complete mess to traverse, but only because the central core has been locked off [this one's been around for a while]
-A warp dungeon that's a bit more obvious about where you'll be warped away to, but it's still a warp puzzle dungeon [...also been done for a bit]
-A dungeon centered around a multi-story bulkhead you can move around from the interior, but have to go outside of to change floors [this one isn't done]

Not sure this answers your question, but oh well.

Thank you, yes that answers my question, i like the direction this is going
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Feenicks
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« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2020, 09:25:55 AM »

Cephi Palace, and a transition to widescreen

The next dungeon's mostly done, and thankfully came together a good bit faster than I had originally expected. So let's talk about it!



The Cephi Palace's main gimmick is a moving bulkhead, the moving around of which lets you access otherwise closed off or inaccessible locations within the dungeon. You can only move it around from within [and from the top of it, at that], so some spatial awareness [and some scouting out of each floor] goes a long way to figuring out the puzzle.

I made a video of it in operation; ignore the obvious placeholder segments.

I also made a more universal change, as suggested by jbarrios; this is now in widescreen! I'm going to have to go through the game again and make sure stuff plays out right with the increased horizontal screen space, but for the most part changing around menus and other scripts to play nice wasn't too terrible.

Some screenshots at the new resolution [in addition to the ones up top]:




Things will really open up after this dungeon in a multitude of ways, so I'll probably be tied up through the new year doing all the mapping and other things needed to tie that up. We'll see.
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ThemsAllTook
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« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2020, 12:37:01 PM »

Oh wow, this looks great! You've really nailed that classic RPG aesthetic. Looking forward to seeing how this develops.
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Beastboy
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« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2021, 07:07:04 PM »

Very good progress, the game personality vibe is strong
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cynicalsandel
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2021, 11:45:30 AM »

hell yeah
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