[2D RPG] Towards The Pantheon

Discussion in 'Game Development' started by ConnorORT, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

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    Summary
    Story

    For a thousand years the world has believed itself to be at peace. But behind the scenes, the forgotten group once known as The Terrorforce has reawakened and are using divide and conquer tactics to destabilize the world’s economic, social, and political norms. Tensions are rising between the many races of the world but luckily a small number of people remember the past and are determined to not let history repeat itself.

    Towards The Pantheon is a 2D top down role-playing game in development where players journey through lush forests, freezing plains of snow, dystopian cyberpunk cities, and barren wastelands to find and defeat the source of The Terrorforce at The Pantheon.

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    Gone are the RPG clichés of potions, wars between elemental gods, and the journey where someone accidentally stumbles upon a unique magical power that enables only them to save the world. Instead Towards The Pantheon is a unique and unusual game that follows the unlikely team of Freyja the warrior, Bam the cat, Mishima the cyborg, and Phenez the dead on their simultaneously lighthearted, fun, dark, and painful journey.

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    Features
    • Ability to switch between the four main characters, each with unique overworld mechanics.
    • Turn based combat system where each character has unique battle mechanics.
    • A huge fully connected overworld with an additional transportation system.
    • More than 10 regions to explore including lush forests, freezing snow lands, cyberpunk cities, barren wastelands, and a desolate mansion.
    • Dialog and support systems that allow for further character development and stat boosts.
    • A full original soundtrack that combines modern production techniques with SNES/GBC/Genesis era synthesizers. The soundtrack will be released as both an Original Soundtrack (~70 minutes) and Complete Soundtrack (containing every song in the game).
    • A unique and complex overarching storyline that ties together over 5 races spanning over 10 regions, each contributing to a deep and rich lore.
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    Characters

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    • Freyja is a young warrior who has yet to find her self confidence and as a result she has yet to say a word in her life. She is loved by her kin for her passion, dedication, and warm heart. Freyja has been chosen by her thorp’s elder Wuotan to journey towards the Pantheon and defeat The Terrorforce. Her years of training and hard work can be seen in her impressive melee attack abilities. Freyja‘s battle system uses Health Points (HP) and Stamina Points (SP).
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    • Bam is a cat who longs for adventure outside of his university studies. He is known around his town for his whimsical and comical ways, playing pranks on fellow cats, and always going back to get seconds during breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner… and midnight snacks. While he has basic attack skills, Bam‘s strength shines through in his ability to heal and cure both himself and his team mates. Bam‘s battle system uses Health Points (HP) and Energy Points (EP).
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    • Mishima is a cyborg residing in the outskirts of her cyberpunk society for which she has been ostracized. She has not yet decided whether or not to replace her organic heart with a computer chip and as a result struggles with acceptance from her cyborg peers. Although she can often leave a first impression of being shy and distant, Mishima will open up to the right people when comfortable. Mishima has a cybernetic arm that allows her to hack computers, pick locks, and attack in a variety of deadly ways. Mishima‘s battle system uses Central Processing Unit Points (CPU) and Graphics Processing Unit Points (GPU).
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    • Phenez is a ghost from the dark past. He was a part of the army led by legendary warrior Aeternatus, but was unable to fulfill his duties to himself and his people. In his search for redemption and honor, Phenez joins the party and offers his skills in invisibility and dark magic. Phenez‘ battle system uses Necro Points (NP).
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    Soundtrack

    Towards The Pantheon‘s soundtrack by Connor O.R.T. Linning will be available for purchase on Bandcamp upon release of the game as both an Original Soundtrack (~70 minutes) and a Complete Soundtrack (containing every song used in the game). While the soundtrack includes symphonic, chiptune, and synth elements often found in RPGs, elements of genres such as noise, drone, and dark ambient help set the soundtrack apart from the standard RPG formula.

    Listen to the current soundtrack demos HERE.

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    Links / Social Media

    Towards The Pantheon
    Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Instagram, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

    Connor O.R.T. Linning
    Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Instagram, Bandcamp

    Leandro Tokarevski
    Facebook, Twitter, Tok Arts Media, Twitch, Youtube

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    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  2. Dendro Batidae

    Dendro Batidae Quite the Cynic

    Messages:
    3,726
    Sounds really cliche, bro.
     
  3. Ice Apollo

    Ice Apollo Anime is HARAM

    Messages:
    2,262
    looking really good so far the music for the game sounds cool
     
  4. GrossMcloss

    GrossMcloss Senior Member

    Messages:
    966
    Looks cool, the sprite work remids me a lot of GBA rpgs for some reason, i like it. Like the music too, definitely goint to listen to more on your Bandcamp.
     
  5. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
    58
    It is the first commercial game I am directing so I am not trying to be overly innovative (and fall into the development hell trap of biting off more than you can chew), so there may be some cliches. There are other aspects of the game however that I think take some sharp turns away from the standard RPG formula. If it ends up being too cliched for your tastes then that's just how it goes and I can understand. Feedback is always welcome if you happen to hear about my game in the future and thoughts on it that you'd like to share.

    Thank you! :)

    Thank you! I did reference some GBA games like Fire Emblem to my artist so that may be where that comes from. I hope you enjoy my music!
     
  6. Dendro Batidae

    Dendro Batidae Quite the Cynic

    Messages:
    3,726
    Like what?
     
  7. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
    58
    Survival Horror didn't exist when many classic RPGs were made (you could argue Alone In The Dark and Clock Tower, but I'm talking Resident Evil and Silent Hill that pushed much further). There is a full chapter of the game that is inspired by survival horror.

    The soundtrack draws from the drone, industrial, and noise genres which is rare for RPGs.

    Similar to adventure games like Banjo Kazooie or Zelda, the characters gain overworld abilities that allow you to solve puzzles differently and explore previously inaccessible areas.

    While most RPGs have an HP/MP system that is standard to all characters, each character has their own battle system that requires you to learn each character and plan differently depending on each scenario. The experience point / level up system works similar to how you upgrade weapons in Dead Space, where you gain a node and place it on a grid to unlock particular upgrades. The game does not use the typical fire/earth/wind/water element system.

    The game has a system similar to Fire Emblem where you can listen in to random character conversations for further character development and stat boosts.

    There are also instances where I am choosing to using cliches, such as the silent main protagonist cliche, but the character has a backstory that ties into that and it has a purpose.

    There is more I am probably forgetting, but again I am not trying to be particularly innovative with the game. I am working towards hopefully building a solid RPG with some twists and some elements from non-RPGs that make the game memorable and interesting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  8. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
    58
    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 5th devlog! You can find previous ones at Towards The Pantheon – Connor O.R.T. Linning.

    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.

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

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

    And lastly, here are some new screenshots.

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    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 on social media for more frequent smaller updates!

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

    Thanks for reading!
     
  9. Ice Apollo

    Ice Apollo Anime is HARAM

    Messages:
    2,262
    can,t wait to see the battle systems
     
  10. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

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    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 6th devlog! You can find previous ones at Towards The Pantheon – Connor O.R.T. Linning.

    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:

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    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.

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    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:

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    Maerel has also completed artwork for Mishima and is currently working on artwork for Bam and Phenez:

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    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.

    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, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

    Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp
     
  11. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

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

     
  12. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
    58
    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 7th devlog! You can find previous ones at Towards The Pantheon – Connor O.R.T. Linning.

    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.

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

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    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, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

    Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp
     
  13. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

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    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 8th devlog! You can find previous ones at Towards The Pantheon | Connor O.R.T. Linning.

    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:

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

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    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.

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    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, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

    Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp
     
  14. Ice Apollo

    Ice Apollo Anime is HARAM

    Messages:
    2,262
    its coming along nicely :)
     
  15. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

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    58
    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 9th devlog! You can find previous ones at Towards The Pantheon | Connor O.R.T. Linning.

    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):

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    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:

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    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.

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    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:

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    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 Scrap Galaxy teaser 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, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

    Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp
     
  16. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
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    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!


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    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.

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    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.
     
  17. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
    58
    [​IMG]

    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 means 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).

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    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, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest


    Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  18. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
    58
    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 11th devlog! You can find previous ones at Towards The Pantheon | Connor O.R.T. Linning.

    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!

    [​IMG]

    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:

    [​IMG]

    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: 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.

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

    Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp
     
  19. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Established Recruit

    Messages:
    58
    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 12th devlog! You can find previous ones at Towards The Pantheon | Connor O.R.T. Linning.

    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:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    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.

    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!

    [​IMG]

    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!

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

    Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp
     
  20. Ice Apollo

    Ice Apollo Anime is HARAM

    Messages:
    2,262