[2D RPG] Towards The Pantheon

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

  1. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Recruit

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    It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 13th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

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





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

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

    Towards The Pantheon Demos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you!
     
  2. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Recruit

    Messages:
    41
    It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 14th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

    Let's start with pixel art. Leandro has been hard at work and has uploaded 3 new speed pixel art videos since our last devlog:







    The night sky tiles were particularly important as they will be helpful during character development sequences. Campfire sequences in RPGs have become a bit cliche since Chrono Trigger, but the general idea for having them actually came from an optional section of the Gameboy Color version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. When you reach the top of Hogwarts, you can choose to look at the night sky through a large telescope. I remember finding that really cool as a kid, and hope that people will enjoy our night sky sequences as well.

    Leandro has also been working on new NPC portraits, enemy sprites, item sprites, and more that we will be showing off in future videos! You can find more of his work at https://tokartsmedia.com/ !


    On the gameplay side of things, I've been building more levels for Chapter 1 as well as fixing up and optimizing general code. You can now fully play through about half of Chapter 1 with all gameplay mechanics working properly. Here is an animated screenshot of a later part of the game using the night sky artwork seen in Leandro's video above, and another screenshot of the autumn forest area in Chapter 1.

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    I've also been working on all the stats needed for the battle system - how much health each enemy should have, which enemies should spawn in which areas, how much certain attacks deal to certain enemies, etc! It's challenging and I imagine there will be a lot of balancing going on when all the levels of the game are closer to completion. We're going for more of a Paper Mario 64 and Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars style of gameplay and general difficulty as far as battle style goes, as well as that exciting feeling from not knowing what to expect when adventuring and exploring.

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    There is no news as far as audio goes as audio development is currently on hold until more levels are completed for the game. You can still check out our current soundtrack demos on Soundcloud though! The "Cats Love Snow" track might get you into that RPG winter holiday spirit.

    Towards The Pantheon Demos

    Leandro and I had an interesting conversation about realism in old school pixel art games. He pointed out that items such as sushi rolls in the overworld have to be unrealistically large so that the player can see them. When you compare the size of a sushi roll to Freyja in the overworld it would be the equivalent of having a 3 foot tall sushi roll next to me in real life! While it may be unrealistic, it can also be charming and wacky. I pointed out that in some levels of Donkey Kong Country 2 you play as chimpanzees who ride carts made out of skulls during a carnival to collect bananas and jump on Kremlins. It makes no sense and the scenario is never really explained, but that's part of what makes the Donkey Kong Country games fun! We plan to have elements like this in Towards The Pantheon that make the game goofy and entertaining, but they will be done appropriately. The ice region where the cats live will feature more of these goofy elements, while the survival horror inspired mansion section will be serious both thematically and visually. Speaking of Survival Horror, I had to put some cranks in the game. Can you hear the infamous *creak creak* sound in your head?

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  3. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Recruit

    Messages:
    41
    Starting in 2017 I plan to start streaming more often. I'm generally a private person and don't like to be the center of attention which is why I haven't streamed during 2016 as much as I probably should have. I'll be streaming programming, music, and level development of Towards The Pantheon as well as speedruns of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil Survivor and some casual gaming. First up for casual gaming will most likely be Donkey Kong Country 3 as I had never beaten it as a kid, and the DKC series have that fun and imaginative feeling I want to capture in Towards The Pantheon. I've got a big list of games ranging from those I've mastered to those I've never played, so hopefully you'll join the stream so we can chat about games as well as which ones have influenced Towards The Pantheon and how! Follow my Twitch account so you get notifications as to when I go live. I will also announce when I'm going live on my personal and social media accounts. Links are at the bottom of this devlog.

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    There may not be a new devlog throughout December as I will be pretty busy during the holiday season. That doesn't mean I won't be working on Towards The Pantheon and other projects - it just means I'd rather spend the time working directly on the game itself. We had our first snowfall of the season where I live, and I want to start working on Chapter 2 levels as soon as possible as that's when you'll meet Bam the cat and also where the comfy snow levels begin! This month I am also working on 2 new solo albums; a follow up to my piano/ambient album Reves and a Quake/Doom style instrumental metal album. Check out a current demo from that metal album here! This way I will be able to release new solo albums throughout 2017 while directing the majority of my focus to Towards The Pantheon. You an check out my previous musical work via my Bandcamp and Youtube pages if you want some music to tide you over until the release of Towards The Pantheon's soundtrack!


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

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


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

    Ice Apollo Anime is HARAM

    Messages:
    2,207
    this is exciting to hear that battle style was very enjoyable
    are you going to use and mild active battle system like the newer entries in the series ?
     
  5. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Recruit

    Messages:
    41
    I haven't played any of the Paper Mario games past The Thousand Year Door, so I'm unsure what battle systems you are referring to. The current battle system is turn based like Paper Mario 64, Super Mario RPG, and the Harry Potter Gameboy Color games. It's possible that I might add some extra things like action commands seen in Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG as development progresses.
     
  6. Ice Apollo

    Ice Apollo Anime is HARAM

    Messages:
    2,207
    thank you for the response
     
  7. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Recruit

    Messages:
    41
    Happy new year everybody! It's time for Towards The Pantheon's 15th devlog. You can find previous ones at Development.

    Let's start with pixel art. Leandro has released a couple new Youtube videos showing the creation of our snow area, snow enemies, and cat portraits!







    In my previous devlog I talked about how I planned to livestream a lot more throughout 2017. So far I have streamed every day since the new year, and now have a rough outline of a streaming schedule. Starting sometime around 10 AM PST on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I plan to livestream development of the game including programming and level design in GameMaker: Studio. Around 10 AM PST on Wednesdays I plan to livestream some casual gaming and speedrunning, and during the weekend I might livestream randomly when I want to. For the casual gaming streams I will be playing games that influence Towards The Pantheon so I can chat about their game design aspects, and will also be playing new games and old games that I've never had the chance to play. Leandro is in a different time zone than me but he plans to livestream alongside me when he's available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, as well as possible weekend streams. Be sure to follow me on Twitch (Twitch) to get updates as to when I go live, and follow my and Towards The Pantheon's social media accounts as I also post when I'm about to start a stream.

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    While I got some work done throughout December, I didn't get quite as much done as usual due to the holidays. However I've been working hard since the start of the year, and have got the cards and combos systems working. Note that the screenshots I'm showing contain placeholder art and UI design. In Towards The Pantheon you can find cards that contain powers and combos that allow you to use those powers (if you have the cards needed). For example if you need to heal during a battle and Bam (who's primarily a healer) has fainted and you've run out of health items, you can use a combo to cast a special healing spell if you have the right cards.

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    Each card also has a bit of backstory and lore attached to it, so these cards and combos serve as collectibles, as battle attacks/spells, and as parts of the story telling. Those of you who have played the Harry Potter Gameboy Color RPGs will be very familiar with this gameplay aspect.

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    I also started and finishing all of the Speedster programming during some of the livestreams. The Speedster mechanic is similar to Funky in Donkey Kong Country, the cauldrons in Banjo Kazooie, or the fly mechanic in early Pokemon games. you can pay a Speedster coin to a Speedster to unlock his services and after doing that, you are able to use the Speedsters to travel back and forth to any previously unlocked areas of the game. This significantly decreases the amount of time spent backtracking which is important as there are lots of hidden goodies throughout the game to find!

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  8. ConnorORT

    ConnorORT Recruit

    Messages:
    41
    The Towards The Pantheon twitter page hit over 300 followers just as the New Year struck. We're also gaining followers on all of our other social media pages (like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc) and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been supportive of the game! We're working very hard to deliver a great new RPG for you. Please keep spreading the word around about the game, we appreciate it!

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    In my development notes I have the game divided up into 4.5 "chapters" and I am nearing the completion of the 1st chapter. There will be actual chapters in the game (similar to Paper Mario) but they may not be divided up the same way I have the development of the game divided up. Each chapter should prove easier to finish than the last as previously completed programming carries over, and what is left to complete is mostly level design and testing. On the other hand, each chapter is larger than the previous as far as length/scope goes, so it's hard to use this as a measurement of how quick development is going. Either way, I feel development is going great, and am looking forward to finishing up "chapter 1" and sending it to the other guys on the team!

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    For those interested in the soundtrack, I have decided to put off work on the soundtrack (and sound effects) for as long as possible. Ideally, I will finish the vast majority of the game before going beginning audio work again. This way I have all the gameplay and visuals I need to ensure the music fits what the player sees and experiences. That means I will most likely not be updating the soundtrack playlist for quite some time, but also means that it will be fun to livestream a ton of soundtrack work further down the line. Those who are interested in the creation of the soundtrack will be able to tune in regularly and watch the progress in real time.

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

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

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