Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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KickStarter Himeko Sutori, tactical JRPG, 100+ unit armies - Kickstarter funded

Discussion in 'jRPG Weeaboo Discussion' started by Nathaniel3W, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. Niektorygender: ⚧ one of some Patron

    Niektory
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    I'm not saying to avoid all engines, just the closed-source ones. Many engines (both free and commercial) do grant you access to the source code, which gives you the means to fix any engine problems you encounter yourself.
     
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  2. Kevin Wongender: ⚧ Barely Literate

    Kevin Won
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    Hey guys,

    I'm the composer for Himeko Sutori. A few updates:

    We're currently 80% funded! The pace has slowed considerably however, so we'd appreciate your support in spreading the word or pledging.

    We're going to prepare for the final week by something called Thunderclap. It's a social media platform that works similar as Kickstarter, all or nothing. We need to gather 100 "signatures" that will agree to share our message before the end date. If successful, it will spread all the shares simultaneously, creating a wave in the internet, or a 'thunder clap'. Here is the link:
    https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/40918-himeko-sutori-rpg-kickstarter

    Also, regarding the music. I must admit myself, the way the Kickstarter video music turned out wasn't exactly what I had envisioned for the soundtrack. I'm hoping for it to be more subtle, almost militaristic/patriotic in sound to help portray the civil war that is going on between the three factions. Valkyria Chronicles, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, something like that. I'll be uploading some new music soon, a track I had written for the intro sequence.

    Thanks a bunch!

    -Kevin
    www.kevinwonmusic.com
     
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  3. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    Hey Kevin,
    This campaign needs more non KS related update. Do you plan to write one about the music, your inspirations...?
    Other suitable updates would be more details about the game system, the universe, or even a wall of art with some text.
     
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  4. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Self-Ejected

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    I won't participate in this. I hate using social media for these types of things. But I wish you good luck!
     
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  5. Kevin Wongender: ⚧ Barely Literate

    Kevin Won
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    Hey, I'm still waiting on a gameplay update from Nathaniel before giving a music update... but just for you guys. Here's the intro song to Himeko Sutori. There is an accompanying video but I won't show it yet until after.

     
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  6. Mr. Pinkgender: ⚧ Travelling Gourmand, Crab Specialist

    Mr. Pink
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    almost there lads, $40 pledged :salute:

    edit: congrats on meeting your kickstarter goal
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
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  7. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Self-Ejected

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    Congrats on meeting your goal! Pledged $40 as well.

    Glad I was able to pledge on this :)
     
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  8. Crooked Beegender: ⚧ wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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  9. FuriousGamer87gender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    FuriousGamer87
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    Congrats. I look forward towards the game release.
     
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  10. Nathaniel3Wgender: ⚧ Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    Thanks so much everyone. The Codex really helped me out a lot with this campaign. I'm looking forward to releasing the game to you! I'll be in touch.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Mr. Pinkgender: ⚧ Travelling Gourmand, Crab Specialist

    Mr. Pink
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    might be too late to change, but full frontal character portraits are really awkward and rarely seen in games for a reason. ask your artist to try 3/4ths portraits.
     
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  12. SerratedBizgender: ⚧ Magister

    SerratedBiz
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    [​IMG]

    *disapproving stare*

    Not that this game's portraits are good, though.
     
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  13. Make America Great Again Perkelgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Perkel
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    Great to see you succeed. Hope game will come along and not wizzle out mid dev.
     
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  14. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Self-Ejected

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    I've been thinking of the issue of having 2D sprites with a 3D environment. Then I saw a Grandia video. How the hell are they pulling this off? Is it because of the zoomed in perspective? Because there seems to be camera rotation, but none of the issues that Nathaniel3W is running into...

    EDIT: On second thought there doesn't seem to be *free* camera rotation, but a veriety of camera rotation angles, for which different angled sprites are used. Am I thinking about this correctly?

    Nevermind. Sprites are not that numerous. Plus, it seems the camera is just locked onto the character.

     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
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  15. Nathaniel3Wgender: ⚧ Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    Hey Mustawd if you take a look at the still frame on that video before you press play, do you see the guy on the right side of the screen? If he were in 3D, he would be tilted to the right slightly, following the line of corner of the building behind him, or the line in the fence in front of him. (It might be easier to see at about 16 minutes in, as the guy is walking around.) It doesn't look too bad because it's very zoomed in. I don't know how big the field of view is, but it's pretty small, maybe less than 30 degrees. I think they made the right decision with how they combined the sprites here, and I think it's very similar to how I tackled the problem. I just didn't have my own game engine from the beginning that would draw sprites directly into the scene, and I had to fake it by putting a plane into the scene, draw the sprite on it, and then stretch the plane to counteract the 3D camera perspective.

    The camera does spin, but during exploration mode, it follows the main character. During combat does the camera move around more? And yeah, they do only draw the sprites from a few angles. They're 8-directional sprites, but they're mirrored so they only have to draw the sprites from 4 angles. You can see that the girl switches which arm she's holding the green toy in.

    In other news, I have an update for all of you:



    You can see what I'm doing with sprites there, and although I have 4-directional sprites, they're not mirrored, so you can see things like the front and back of the shield. And each character's appearance changes depending on what he/she has equipped.

    Also, I've had my head buried in development so long I've neglected to post some other cool developments, like Kevin Won recording the Himeko Sutori prelude music with AIR Studios as part of his master's program:



    That guy is awesome. I still can't believe how lucky I was to run into him. I might be biased, but I think that's the kind of track you might pay Nobuo Uematsu 100 times as much to compose and record.

    So that's it for now. Still moving along. Got lots and lots and lots of equipment and associated sprite sheets that I need to add to the game. And then more features that I'll want to add to the game engine. And then eventually I might start actually making the game.
     
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  16. Nathaniel3Wgender: ⚧ Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    New video, showing off combat starring randomly generated characters:



    Before, I had to manually create each possible combination, which took a very long time, and in the end I made only just a few combinations: 3 skin tones for only some of the main character classes. But now with the random character generator, I feed it a list of possible hairstyles (sprites consisting of top hair layer, bottom hair layer, and facial hair and bangs, and I match those with the portrait artwork), and then give it a list of possible body types (male/female, three different skin tones for the naked sprite base, matched with the same skin tone for the portrait, with variations of eye color), and give it a list of permitted character-class/equipment-loadout combinations. And I give it a list of names to choose from. I don't know how many possible combinations that is now, but it's a lot.

    I tried cleaning up the look of combat, replacing the baroque squad-direction arrow thing with a plain triangle pointer, and replacing the blurry pathfinding indicator with a sharper black-outlined path.

    Making a game takes a long time, especially when you're just working on it nights and weekends. It's late here. I'm going to go get some sleep.
     
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  17. Nathaniel3Wgender: ⚧ Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    OK, so, updates!

    November video, showing manual squad placement and automatic equipment optimization:


    And December's video, showing menu sounds, equipment stats on mouseover, and the new shopkeeper system.


    We're approaching a feature-complete game engine. I have only a few remaining major systems to implement:
    • World map with avoidable random encounters
    • Level-up cards
      Show Spoiler
      [​IMG]
    • Combat reactions--allowing your characters to take a second action during combat based on certain events
    Then I have a couple of major overhauls to do:
    • Weapon and armor stat-balancing
    • Changing in-combat healer behavior: delaying action if no allies are wounded, healing wounded allies when ordered to hold position
    • Improving combat AI
    And I still have some content to produce:
    • Sprite sheets for a few more armor sets
    • Sprite sheets for more monsters
    • Music and sound effects
    • Sprite sheets for weapons, helmets, and other smaller items
    And in the December video you can see that I have some strange fail-to-load-game bug to figure out.

    Of course, it's pretty likely that as I'm working on all that, I'll come across lots of other things I need to do, but that's the remaining to-do list as of right now.
     
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  18. laclongquangender: ⚧ Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Hay Nathaniel3W I'd like to put in my 2c before it's late:

    Make a full CG girl treament: choose a female character ingame, make a few high res image of her in various situation and armors/clothes. It make for easier marketing later on.
     
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  19. Nathaniel3Wgender: ⚧ Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    That's not a bad idea. I'll take a look at my options there. But I would hate to have a cliche advertising pic. I like the stylized hand-painted look of


    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    But I would hate to fall into the trap of

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    A while back I played with the idea of an advertising logo while using my 10 free images from Adobe Stock. I came up with

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    which I probably shouldn't use unless I want to provoke the wrath of Squeenix.

    I was kind of partial to

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]


    but no one else really seemed to like it.

    But I guess I'll just see about what it would cost to get an actual artist (2D or 3D) to make me something.
     
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  20. Jinngender: ⚧ Cipher

    Jinn
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    I prefer the bottom one to the top one for sure. Top one has Final Fantasy X colors that trigger me.

    Also something a little more painted looking for the silhouette would have a more elegant effect.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  21. laclongquangender: ⚧ Arcane

    laclongquan
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    Three point of order

    1. Lighting. That light source should be behind her ass, and through the gap of the thighs. OR. Behind her back and shine somewhat so that it emphasize her tit(s). Stressing her feminity, so to speak, without stressing it too far if you go the silhouette style.

    2. With a name like Himeko Sutori, the fan expectation is a katana, not a rapier or western longsword.

    3. If leather armor doesnt work, go full toga-cloth or bind-chest.
     
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  22. Mr. Pinkgender: ⚧ Travelling Gourmand, Crab Specialist

    Mr. Pink
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    I don't like it. Anything resembling Amano Yoshitakos iconic logos just look cheap compared to the real thing.

    I think it's really important to have a distinct art style and "cover", even if everything is digitally distributed. Honestly, good cover art is almost as impactful as actual game quality when it comes to sales. Anything that gives off an impression of 'cheapness' will turn off buyers before they even click on the logo. you really only get 100x250 pixels to prove your game isn't shovelware.

    If I wanted to make a cover/logo with the 90's jrpg aesthetic, I'd try to emulate traditional media and watercolor over pencil, and slap on a nice su-fami box art border on it. That kind of hand drawn old school manga style box art isn't really seen anymore so it would definitely stand out among the sea of mediocre rpgmaker anime girl face + logo banners, faux retro pixel crap that you see on steam.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    One criticism that I have (and have been bringing up in p much every post in this thread) is about the lack of cohesive art direction. The contrast between the art ingame and the portraits and other elements isn't nice to look at. compare the chunky character sprites to the fairly high rez UI, unity assets, particle effects and portraits and it's like they all came from different games. the look of the game suffers from a lack of an art-dictator who can get everyone to use the same color palettes and art style.It's absolutely worth sacrificing graphical fidelity if it means ending up with a more polished looking game. One example of a game that is 2d sprites on 3d plane that has excellent art direction would be disgaea and every nipponichi game.

    [​IMG]

    Also, in many screenshots I think the colors are quite garish, especially compared to the incredible attention to color that artists back then had to have because of their limited color palette. I don't know a thing about 3d art but some fancy shaders might help keep the colors looking consistent (although there's really no replacement for an artist that understands color theory).
    [​IMG] .

    looking forward to seeing the final product though.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  23. Nathaniel3Wgender: ⚧ Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    Thanks very much for the input Mr. Pink. As always, your views are well thought out and much appreciated. I guess I'm going to look into commissioning some painted box art.

    As for visual style and color, that's something I'm still working on. Regarding a topic I brought up over in the Codex Workshop, but discussed at a different site, someone gave me this critique:
    That phrase "1-person amateur" was kind of a wake-up call for me. I've put a lot of effort into the game, but it still definitely has that 1-person amateur look. It's a little frustrating for me because art direction is outside my skillset, and as a more technical person I just want to develop the game, adding features and fixing bugs. But deep down, I know that the look of the game is every bit as important as the gameplay. So for the last week or two I've been trying really hard to at least bring the palette together.

    I'm studying the UIs of other games...
    [​IMG]
    ...the palettes of other games...
    [​IMG]
    ...studying and trying to use color grading...
    [​IMG]
    ...and now I think I might try putting together a post-processing screen-space pixelizing shader. I think I'm also going to ditch the Sobel edge again. (It's the Borderlands-ish dark outline around things.) It's just more trouble than it's worth.

    In the end though, it's like I can see where the problems are, I can see what I would like my end state to be, but I'm just not sure what the exact steps are in order to get there.
    [​IMG]
    I'll keep working on it though.

    Oh, and by the way, in the bottom row in the color-grading screenshot, that's a hexagon-shaped rock that I made in World Machine. I think today I'm going to try making a whole hexed map. Last night I finished up a little experiment that I'll need to explain:
    [​IMG]
    I had World Machine make me a UDK Landscape that was covered in small hexagon-shaped hills. Or actually, they're actually pretty big hills. The blue and white hexagons are the same size as the hexagon cells in previous screenshots, and the landscape vertex density is the same as the vertex density in the screenshots above. That map that I had World Machine generate is big enough for 3 days of in-game travel. (I figured the player would travel 3 hexes per hour, 12 hours per day, if he doesn't get sidetracked, get into battles, or travel through rough terrain.) The landscape tiles are exactly 3x too big for the in-game hexagon cell objects. That means that with this size of landscape I can either give the maps 3x the tiles without sacrificing vertex density, or I could give the maps 3x the vertex density (by shrinking the landscape).
     
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  24. Habagender: ⚧ Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Yeah, I think that is pretty important thing. Consistency is the key, it doesn't matter if the elements themselves are "simple", as long as they don't clash against the each other. It is really hard to give feedback on that as an amateur, it really requires a "trained eye".

    Looking at your combat videos, what is your take on the visual feedback from combat? You are going for the cutesy JRPG style, but what about the signs of violence? Namely are there going to be corpses/blood remaining behind? If you are still set to go for larger scale fights, it will be really hard to keep track on what happened if the enemies simply vanish into thin air. With so many guys on the field, it will be easy to miss something (hey what happened to the priest?)

    By-product of having something remain behind from defeated enemies and party members is also more lively screen shots. Every picture has more of a story to tell. Just look at X-Com or Battle Brothers as examples. (And you get to have more sprites, haha)
     
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  25. Nathaniel3Wgender: ⚧ Rockwell Studios Developer

    Nathaniel3W
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    I was thinking about making a death particle for each character. I have the variable for each character, but it's still blank. Now that I'm thinking about it though, I could turn the character's sprite into a face-down decal that just stays on the ground. Yeah, I should do that. It could still play a death particle effect (nothing too violent, like sprays of blood). I'll just have to put it on the to-do list.
     
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