Author Topic: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion  (Read 35966 times)

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Offline Iambian

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Well... Aegis-Rin didn't pan out. Got bogged down by the details and tbh, was created to be a bit too general without any real knowledge on automating the build procedures that would be necessary to make using the system easier. So instead we started over again. With further in-depth understanding of Brass' macro system, we've got the whole thing eaiser to code and compile.

Oh. And we have an actual plan. A real. Plan. On a piece of paper. Showing what needs to be happening.

CURRENT STATUS
Update
* Most magic animations are now complete.
* Additional content added to Underdeep. It's now its own story arc.
* User and script-adjustable typewriter effect.
* Other things.

Demonstration of typewriter effect and some of the magic.
We have more down but I don't want to spoil too much.



Notes
Battle animations would've/should've been done sooner, but some of these things take a while to animate in a way that satisfies the whole team. There's still a few things left to animate, but it won't be long now before it's all done. After that and a few visual/bug fixes we get to do...

Cutscenes! Geekboy1011 is hard at work at the moment putting all the cutscenes together between the time you choose the "New Game" option to the time you gain control of your character for the first time. When I finish the battle animations and find myself satisfied with the system as a whole, I'm going to be jumping in somewhere in the middle to get the game's story stitched together. Zera/Escheron mentioned that the cutscenes he's been working on as of late are encroaching into Golden Sun-length territory. This could be a good thing.

There's also now no way in hell we'll be able to fit this game onto a normal TI-83 Plus without modifications. There's just too much content we want to add and compression we have isn't doing a good enough job. I mean, it's doing a fantastic job so far, but we just have so much to put in. I'm entertaining the idea of creating a miniature OS that contains just the basic calc functions so I can reasonably distribute this game as an OS update instead of an app. Something that would, on the surface, look just like the TI-OS until you try digging into the menus and realize they're all empty. While I do want people to play this game, I also want their calculator be usable as ... a calculator. This is planned after a release for the TI-83+SE / 84+(SE) monochrome calcs.

The Underdeep will have static floors interspersed between randomly generated floors which will also be randomly, but not repeatably, chosen where fun events can trigger and backstory can be told. Yes. The Underdeep now has its own story to it which further enriches the world of Escheron. I'm not privy to all the details for the same reason I'm not looking too deeply into the scripts for the game: I want to be able to enjoy playing this thing without too many spoilers once we finish coding the game.

TODO
* Remaining skill/magic animations
* Cutscenes
* Specialized transitions
* Update the Underdeep mapgen scripts

Quick update on my end...

The game is now fully scripted. All of the character dialogs and cutscenes are written, but their actual incorporation into the project make take some time, since working with the cutscene engine is a nightmare in itself. (And luckily, that task falls upon Iambian and Geekboy1011 instead of me, since I'm not as technically oriented with the systems)


Planned builds
  • 83+: on hold Project got to large. :(
  • 84+: Current supported platform.
  • 84+CSE: A compatability layer is included. Support for this platform will be limited.
  • 84+CE: Never due to needing to rewrite everything for it to function on this platform.

Current code is available here.
https://bitbucket.org/CFD_LLC/esor_bw/
as well as updates and stuff cause commits and things. ~ geekboy
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 04:28:41 pm by Geekboy1011 »
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Offline Sorunome

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2015, 05:39:09 pm »
looking nice, i sure hope that this will be finished :)

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Offline Art_of_camelot

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2015, 05:53:29 pm »
Good to see progress again. I have a question though, did you guys drop grayscale, or is that just not implemented yet?

Offline Geekboy1011

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2015, 05:57:21 pm »
We are dropping the grey scale in an attempt to make this...more sane to code? That being said we have some tricks up our sleeves ;) and 3 layer grey scale may show up. Who is to say still to early. But the projects current code name is E:BW or Escheron: Black and white.

Offline Escheron

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2015, 01:43:27 pm »
So, Iambian brought this to my attention. I don't really lurk the boards anymore, so I'm not quite up to date on things. I also keep forgetting the password to my old Zera account, but this account should be fine too.

I'll go ahead and start working on the assets for a B&W version, along with the design documentation. You'll have to give me at least a week to get the assets ready and send them your way. I hope this is fine.

Offline Geekboy1011

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2015, 01:48:08 pm »
That's more than fine with me. I have been working with what you had given us concept wise to get Iambian stuff to work with. Thankfully that has been enough for now and it will continue to be enough for a while to go. That being said nice to see you around again.

Also I could reset your password again for you if you want I can also recommend updating your email for your Zera account as its still on your old email which seems to be defunct.

Offline Escheron

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2015, 04:14:31 pm »
Assuming we're basically porting the original game concept to B&W with the three-person party system and all, I'm thinking battles would look something like this. When a battle is initiated, you would see an overview of your party's status, and the pointer would allow you to select which character will input their command first.

Once a character is selected, the command menu would be superimposed on the screen. If you select commands like Magic or Item, an inventory would open. You'll notice a pointer at the bottom of the inventory - scrolling all the way down would jump to the next page of the inventory. When you've selected a command, spell or item to use, selection brackets would be superimposed on top of enemy sprites so you can select your target. Different spells have different targeting parameters. Those that target all enemies will superimpose individual brackets over all enemy sprites at the same time.

When all three party members have registered their commands, everyone then assumes their turn in an order specified by all participants' agility values. The bottom window that was previously used to display commands and status will read out a series of verbose actions, such as, "Maya attacks Gremlin A..." followed by a brief animation appearing in the enemy sprite section, if there's an animation associated with the action. Either way, when enemies take actions or take damage, their sprites flicker briefly.

That about sums up the gist of the battle menus. How does that sound?

Offline Geekboy1011

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2015, 04:23:15 pm »
Well currently we have been going by the info in this thread. Which is really just a paraphrase of your "rewrite" of Escheron. Its a little simpler with the same main story AFAIK. You would know better obviously :P . That being said that seems reasonable enough to me. I as of now have no issues with it. That being said I have been directing iambian in a slightly different direction this time then battle engine first. We are trying to get the main engine,Story,Events,ect done first then worry about the battle system. This way everything fits together nicely instead of us coding around making spaghetti.

Offline Escheron

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2015, 04:36:45 pm »
You may want to hold off on coding anything just yet. Give me some time to put together a consistent design documentation so we can be sure we're all on the same page with this. It shouldn't take me very long, considering I just need to rephrase some of the existing documentation to fit the scale of this project. I'll be more proactive about posting back here with updates.

Offline Geekboy1011

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2015, 04:38:32 pm »
Well like I said we are avoiding battle engine so far. And have been working on the raw engine as you can see from the screenshots above. We have been working on getting things for like cut-scenes and such in order. As well as the general overview of what an "RPG" needs to be well an RPG. Working text system menus and such really all the non "design" work lol.

Also any chance of getting you back on irc? Or is that a lost cause :P

Offline Escheron

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2015, 07:29:14 pm »
I have no desire to use IRC ever. Sorry. It shouldn't be that much trouble to collaborate the details through email, though. (or even through this thread, actually)


That aside, something I always have trouble with is setting up a status screen. Here's a concept of what I have so far, but the text isn't actually aligned according to how the game would normally handle graphics tiles. I believe everything has to align to a 4x4 grid, but I moved some text over a couple of pixels in this case.

I want to have one ubiquitous status screen that outlines all relevant details, maybe including elemental and status resistance properties. I suppose those aren't absolutely necessary though.


EDIT: Actually, I messed around with the status menu some more, and I like the results so far. I've also worked out some ideas for other sub-menu screens, such as the equipment screen.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 09:43:46 pm by Escheron »

Offline Iambian

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2015, 10:45:13 pm »
Just a quick note, we're not limited to a 4x4 pixel grid anymore. We've got a real font routine going on and since this is a black/white game, speed isn't really that much of an issue.

That should make it easier to design stuff.
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Offline Escheron

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2015, 12:37:30 pm »
I found a nice tileset earlier that I think I'll incorporate into the game. The dithering works well for purely B&W detail. I would like a second opinion, though. Do you think the character sprites go well with these tiles? I didn't dither any of the sprites because I was afraid it would cause them to blend with the background too much. I figure having more pronounced white pixels will help keep the sprites apart from the background tiles.

Incidentally, this tileset seems like an improvement over the one I was using previously. Areas look much less... square?

What sort of upward limit is there on the number of tiles in the tileset, and the resolution of maps? I may be able to squeeze 128 tiles, but a limit of 256 would certainly be generous. Maps should be no greater than 128x128, but I may be able to squeeze 64x64.

The number of maps may be slightly smaller since I have a new idea for handling indoor areas such as shops. For the most part, walking into a door leading to a shop will just bring up a shop menu instead of having you explore a small room and having to walk up to the shopkeeper to initiate the shop window. Given the resolution of the screen, it's actually very difficult to create a room that has both counter space and a shopkeeper standing behind it, because part of the tiles gets cut off. I figure my approach makes a bit more sense. Some areas will still have explorable indoors though, such as taverns.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 02:34:07 pm by Escheron »

Offline Iambian

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2015, 03:51:52 pm »
Given the images shown, I think the tileset looks nice. I'll wait for a third opinion (geekboy) and see what he's got to say. I personally like the dithering on the background tiles.

The engine allows up to 64 unique tiles per tilemap, but may have up to 256 different tiles to a tileset. It's entirely possible to support more than that (so long as we don't back-reference a previous 256 tile chunk, duplicates allowed to help avoid back-referencing) but then we'll be doing shenanigans. The engine supports shenanigans. Note that things such as NPC's and sprites don't count as tiles. Our engine supports completely separate sprite entities, so if you absolutely need to exceed that 64 uniques per map, you can shore up the remaining with positioned sprites. Up to 256 different sprites, tho we can do shenanigans with that limit too.

Tilemaps (at the moment) are only 32x32, but may be allowed up to 64x64. We'll have to drop all pretenses of support for the original 83+ to have 128x128 maps (not that we intended on supporting those calculators anyhow). Maps larger than that will require an addition to the map abstraction module in the engine. Totally doable, tho definitely not general-purpose.

As far as shops go, it's perfectly fine to try to allow shops to have counter space and a shopkeeper behind it. While we haven't yet shown it, We have hotspot-based camera panning and offset to let you see both at the same time. I'll have to whip up something to demonstrate this.

EDIT: The screenshot below demonstrates a modified version of geekboy's text engine, along with scriptable hotspots. These hotspot can (though not explicitly demonstrated) distinguish between activation via walk-on versus talked-to (2nd key interaction). Talked-to was demonstrated with the statue, and walk-on was demonstrated both by the black-square-on-walking-on-a-certain-path and the shop camera panning hotspots.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2015, 04:12:13 pm by Iambian »
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Offline Escheron

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Re: Escheron: BW
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2015, 04:31:31 pm »
128x128 won't be necessary. 64x64 should be generous enough for the world map. I assume looping around maps is still possible? Only the world map needs to support this feature.

I can't foresee any instance of a single map containing more than 64 unique tiles, but the tileset itself may be just under 200 tiles total. I'll try to keep it down to 128, but I can't say just yet. I'm trying to be a little more efficient with the world map tiles. Instead of 6+ tiles used to make one forest or a series of mountains, I'm going to reuse the cave tileset to create mountain ranges (which does look a bit like the mountain tiles from early FF games) and maybe 2 or 3 tiles for forests.

A couple of other things to note: There are no animated tiles anymore, and there's no need for sprite transparency ever. With the way the water tiles are dithered, the screen's intrinsic ghosting effects will make them seem almost animated. Plus it would be awkward trying to animate dithered tiles anyway. I mean, there are so many pixels close together.

As for sprite transparency, I just don't see the need. Since everything is B&W, I'd have to draw a white halo around sprites to keep them from blending with the background, which itself leaves only 6 or 7 pixels around the sprite that end up being transparent. Besides, all of the floor tiles are mostly white, with no solid-black floors anywhere in the game.