Author Topic: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion  (Read 114687 times)

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Offline Escheron

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #75 on: August 25, 2015, 03:35:53 pm »
Also I came upon Escheron.pdf on the interwebs. I don't know if you are still using the story line as found in that file, but hell, the first two paragraphs sounded like something from a Sumerian legend.

The game's mythology wasn't inspired by any particular belief system, but is rather a mish-mash of elements from various mythologies - just whatever came to mind as I was trying to conceive a setting.

The game's creation mythology is a little complicated, but I'll try to detail it as thoroughly as possible.


There are four major planes of existence:

Escheron - The world of mortals
Arcania - The realm of the gods
Memoria - The mortal afterlife
The Netherworld - A sort of hell where mortals who were taken into service by the Rephaim became demons, and were sealed away by the Nephalim

Then there are three primary figures in Escheron's creation:

The Maker - The sole entity responsible for creating all life, including the lesser gods
The Nephalim - Lesser benevolent gods who used their powers to protect mortals
The Rephaim - Selfish gods who wanted to use mortals for their own agenda

The lesser gods were created with the purpose of governing mortals. To ensure that they would perform this task and act benevolently toward mortals, the Maker cursed the lesser gods with a symbiotic relationship: The lesser gods' life force would be sustained by the faith and dedication of mortals. If mortals didn't offer prayer and worship to the gods, then the gods would quickly lose their strength and eventually perish.

So, the gods had no choice but to earn the respect of mortals; but some of the gods were too proud to lower themselves. This caused the gods to separate into the two respective factions: The Nephalim and the Rephaim. The Rephaim ignored the Maker's orders, and in an effort to continue sustaining their own life force, tried to manipulate the mortals' faith by indoctrinating them with fear of retribution. The Nephalim intervened and attempted to suppress the Rephaim, resulting in a war that devastated most of Arcania and ended with the mutual destruction of the gods themselves.

Having witnessed this conflict, the Maker came to the conclusion that his creations were a mistake, and that the gods (and perhaps the mortals as well) were beyond salvation. He then departed the cosmos for good, leaving the mortals to determine their own fate.

It was then discovered that the life force of the gods didn't actually perish along with them, as this essence was indestructible. Coveting the power of the gods for themselves, many mortal men attempted to seize it. Conflict plagued Escheron for centuries to come, until an order of mages - calling themselves the "Arcanians" - appropriated the essence of the gods, keeping it out of mortal reach. Utilizing this power, they constructed great artifacts, including ships that could sail through the clouds, and a great tower that served as a gateway between Escheron and Arcania. Under the governance of the Arcanians, all conflict on Escheron had ended, and mortals flourished for many centuries.

7 years prior to the game's events, the kingdom of Asnoth put forth a declaration of war between the nations of Asnoth and Ragnoth. Under the counsel of a figure known as the Shadow Lord, Asnoth's ruler had become distrustful of the Arcanians' descendants and the secrets they were guarding. In the resulting war, most of the Arcanians' descendents were destroyed, and Asnoth's forces began seizing their artifacts and technology to bolster their own military strength. During the war, the last surviving member of the Arcanians - Maya Anson - was orphaned into a civil resistance faction at any early age. Seven years later, she's now grown up, and is setting out to avenge her descendants by overthrowing Asnoth and destroying the Shadow Lord. The game's events begin here.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Spoiler For Spoiler:
When Maya and her party confront the Shadow Lord, it's revealed that he's a demon from the Netherworld, who was once under the service of the Rephaim until he and the rest of his kind were sealed by the Nephalim's power. With the gods being mutually destroyed, the seal on the Netherworld was broken, and monsters came pouring into Escheron.

The Shadow Lord saw an opportunity to seize the gods' essence and become a god himself. To achieve this, he traveled to the summit of the Arcanian tower in hopes of using the gateway linking Escheron to Arcania. Once in Arcania, he would seek out the remains of the Rephaim and absorb them into his soul.

(The Arcanian tower serves as a beacon of magic for mortals. Because there is a gateway to Arcania situated at the summit of the tower, mortals can draw magical energy from Arcania and use it to manifest various phenomena.)

Maya's party defeats the Shadow Lord before he can activate the gateway, thus putting an end to his plot. Realizing that others may attempt to misuse the gateway, Maya decides to travel to Arcania and seal the gate from the other side. Because the tower serves as a source of magic, mortals consequently lose the ability to channel magic. Maya is also never seen again.



We're also planning a sequel set a few years after the events of Escheron, this time with Edmund cast as the protagonist.

MORE SPOILERS AHEAD:

Spoiler For Spoiler:
The game opens on Edmund - now the ruler of Asnoth - asleep in his chambers. In his dream, he sees a premonition of a goddess who warns him of a cataclysmic event. As Edmund awakens, he sees a vast darkness cover the land, and a strange beacon of energy emanating from the Arcanian tower. Edmund gathers his men and decides to investigate the tower ruins.

Upon arriving at the summit of the tower where Maya, Edmund and their allies once defeated the Shadow Lord, the energy in the tower begins to fluctuate, and the floor crumbles beneath Edmund's feet. Before Edmund's party can escape, they're swallowed up by a great chasm.

Edmund regains consciousness in new surroundings - a tower similar in design to the Arcanian ruins, but whose walls are comprised entirely of mirrors. As Edmund approaches his reflection, the image of the goddess reappears, and explains that she transported Edmund to the Arcanian realm just as the tower began to crumble. Here in the realm of the gods, the Rephaim have awoken and are mustering to reopen the gateway between their world and Escheron, previously sealed by Maya.

As the goddess explains, the Rephaim continued to abuse their symbiotic relationship with mortals even after death. Whenever mortals called upon destructive magic, the Rephaim would focus their essence into manifesting that phenomena, but in the process, they siphoned a small ounce of each mortal's soul, slowly empowering themselves with that energy. Unfortunately for the Rephaim, Maya's actions broke off this symbiotic relationship, preventing mortals from being able to channel magic ever again.

The Rephaim had not yet gathered enough energy to reform their physical bodies, but nonetheless felt that some decisive action needed to be taken with what limited power they had absorbed. To this end, they pooled together their remaining power and channeled it into the creation of an entity they call Exodus. Exodus became the physical manifestation of the Rephaim's collective will, and they are actively seeking to transport Exodus to Escheron to enslave mankind, cipher the rest of the mortals' power, and revive themselves from their previous destruction.

As part of the ritual to reopen the gateway to Escheron, the deities have called upon three God Princes - Matanbuchus, Beelzebub and Shaitan. The three entities stand at three focal points in the Arcanian realm, and are focusing their power into the center of the realm - the Ivory Tower. If the ritual is not disrupted, the gateway will soon reopen.

Now Edmund is tasked with seeking out and destroying each of the God Princes in their respective domains, then ultimately descending into the Abyss - the final resting place of the Rephaim - to banish Exodus and put down the Rephaim once more.

Maya's role in the story is more limited. Shortly after reaching Arcania, she became aware of the Rephaim's plans and managed to awaken the Nephalim goddess Isaria so she could establish a seal preventing the Rephaim from leaving the Abyss. The sealing ritual required Maya to sacrifice herself in the process, keeping her suspended near the entrance to the Abyss. To undo the seal and enter the Abyss, Edmund has to reclaim three key items from the three God Princes. Once Maya is freed from the seal, she joins Edmund in the final battle against the Rephaim.

And an early revision of the world of Arcania explored in the sequel:

(click to enlarge)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 06:42:59 pm by Art_of_camelot »

Offline Iambian

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #76 on: August 29, 2015, 02:25:39 pm »
For the past week or two (or three???), I've been hammering out additional details about the inventory menu, along with rearranging pieces of the project so I'll have enough space on page 0 to put all of this and more.

Equipment now has additional properties, such as elemental resistances, weaknesses, and attack. The confirm prompt in the shop is being reused to show item details in the inventory menu, and that confirm prompt is being upgraded to show off this information.

The screenshot below is not fully representative of what the final interface will be like. The confirm prompt is supposed to be paged, but I haven't gotten that far yet, so for now it just shows equipment properties. In the future, you'll be able to push up/down to cycle through equipment information.



If you've noticed, weapons show an "ATTACK" string, while non-weapons show a "RESIST" string. This is because weapons are not allowed to have a resistance, and thus, have no need to show a RESIST alongside it. Likewise, armor/accessories are not allowed to have an attack affinity (not even shields) so they have no need to show an ATTACK.

Not shown: Some equipment, when used as an item in battle (Final Fantasy (1) style), can unleash spells for free. Unlike FF1, this will be listed on the 3rd page. Also, the game has eight affinities total, but only five are shown. It's up to the player to figure out what those are and what equipment has them, either via experimentation, or by reading the manual.
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Offline CKH4

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #77 on: August 29, 2015, 05:06:52 pm »
Wow this looks really really nice. I can't wait for this to get finished (I've been waiting for like 3+ years). Don't rush though because this is starting to look sweet.
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Offline Eeems

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #78 on: August 29, 2015, 06:24:01 pm »
Quick question, can armour be weak to certain elements? So basically negative resist?
/e

Offline Iambian

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #79 on: August 29, 2015, 06:30:38 pm »
Quick question, can armour be weak to certain elements? So basically negative resist?
Indeed, it can. It indicates that by showing a '0' under the element instead of a '+'

EDIT: This is no longer true. Some discussion on IRC later, and it was decided that weakness is denoted as '-' and a no-effect as '.'
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 12:16:00 am by Iambian »
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Offline Escheron

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #80 on: August 30, 2015, 11:39:39 pm »
The map planning phase is almost complete. I just need to draw up details for a couple of maps and put some finishing touches on a few others.

We're still working out a consensus on how we're going to approach one of the game's optional dungeons. I wanted to implement a randomized or pseudo-randomized dungeon in this particular case, but if we can't implement some sort of logic for that, then I'll design a set of static maps instead.

On a side note, Escheron actually has more side areas than story areas. I didn't want the player to be forcibly tethered to the story progression at all times, so exploration and sidequesting are very abundant, and encouraged. You can in fact access a number of side areas from most any point in the story.

Offline Iambian

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #81 on: September 01, 2015, 05:56:17 pm »
Changes and additions, in order of appearance:

* Revised character status summary, also now able to display status effects
* Status effects show up on status menu top area
* Consumable item use and context-sensitive character selection
* Equip from inventory menu
* Resistance indicators in status menu (and that the logic works)
* Paging through equipment information
* Tossing items and attempting to toss items you can't part with



Todo:

* Get equipping logic so you can't do things like equip four swords
* Make magic functional
* Probably improve equipping starting from Equip rather than inventory.
* Start planning a cutscene script system
* Maybe think about the battle system
EDIT, note for self: * Put in additional weapon type and update all equipment stats
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 11:37:17 pm by Iambian »
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Offline Escheron

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #82 on: September 04, 2015, 05:03:25 pm »
It just now occurred to me that I should take the opportunity to outline some of the game's mechanics, for those who may be curious. (Although all of these details will be covered in the manual, as well)


Character growth

Characters don't gain experience levels like in conventional RPGs, rather their abilities increase at specific intervals based on the number and rank (challenge level) of enemies defeated.

How much power characters will gain depends on the type of equipment you train them with. For instance, having a character wield a sword will result in their physical attacks becoming stronger over time, and wearing heavy armor will make the character's defense power and hit points rise more rapidly.

With this in mind, the player has free reign over how characters are developed. Although Maya begins the game with extensive training in sorcery, the player could for example deck her out with a sword and a suit of armor. Over time, Maya's hit points, strength and physical defense would skyrocket, but at the expense of neglecting her ability to use magic.

Once a character reaches a certain degree of power, they can no longer benefit from fighting weaker monsters. The player will have no choice but to venture into more challenging areas to continue developing their party. Fighting boss enemies always results in the party being powered up, regardless of the boss enemy's challenge level.

Equipment and inventory system

The party has a shared inventory of up to 32 items max, and each character has four equipment slots: A weapon slot, a shield slot, an armor slot and a slot for armlets / accessories

There are no restrictions on which characters can use which types of equipment, but there are logical penalties involved in using heavier equipment. For instance, heavy armor will allow a character to absorb a lot of damage, but it hampers their reaction speed and limits their ability to invoke magic effectively.

Other rules and restrictions apply to weapon and shield usage. A character can actually drop their shield and grip a weapon with both hands, resulting in stronger attacks; or a character can wield two weapons at once, granted they have enough agility to perform such a feat.

Magic

Any character can learn any magic spell, provided they have enough MP to invoke the spell. Spells are purchased from magic shops scattered throughout the world. A character may memorize up to a maximum of 12 unique spells.

Unlike physical attacks, spells will always hit their targets), assuming the target doesn't have some kind of special resistance to that particular spell.

Character-specific skills and "trigger state"

Aside from magic, there are two other subsets of skills used by characters. First, every character possesses their own unique combat ability. For example, Maya has the ability to "chant" a random spell, but the result is usually marginal. Edmund can "rouse" the party to boost morale, resulting in all characters becoming physically stronger.

Characters additionally have last-ditch attacks that they will unleash when they're brought to critical health. This is referred to as "trigger state," as it triggers a powerful retaliatory attack the moment the character nears death.

Offline Iambian

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #83 on: October 04, 2015, 10:45:07 pm »
It's close to an alpha/early beta release. Over the past month or so, quite a few additions were made:

EDIT: For clarification purposes, some of the equipment/magic is not available in the actual storyline. The screenshots were made using a special save file crafted for debugging purposes. This includes any spell that has 0 cost and the "Circuit" series items.

* Magic menu fully functional and descriptive, including the "Teleport" spell (where applicable).


* Shops now have prices.
* Inns now supported. They can't remove status effects nor revive people, but those who are still alive will benefit.


* Vehicular travel fully supported.


Not shown:
* Equip logic in place, so there's limits to what you can equip where.
* Enemy bitmaps and stat data in place.
* The world of Escheron is fully interconnected. It is possible to explore most of the world now.
* The world of Escheron is fully stocked on treasures.
* Tons and tons of tweaks to collision and maps.

TODO:
* Figure out if the cutscene script system is actually usable.
* Airship-as-NPCs for overworld atmospheric effect and cutscenes.
* Battle system.
* Maybe an actual title screen? I dunno.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2015, 11:11:17 pm by Iambian »
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Offline Sorunome

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #84 on: October 05, 2015, 10:09:58 am »
Can't wait for a demo! I still think that when moving fast the water is looking gray :P

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Offline neuronix

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #85 on: October 11, 2015, 12:11:10 pm »
When is a demo out?

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #86 on: October 11, 2015, 08:34:27 pm »
Great to see some progress on this  ;D Hopefully this will be finished before I die loose interest in calcs the next mosquito summer season  :)
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Offline Geekboy1011

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #87 on: October 12, 2015, 04:11:09 pm »
A demo will be out When it is ready. Iambian and Zera are working really hard at getting all the things worked out so a closed alpha can be released. More on this when it happens. That aside internally we are currently working on getting most of the shops and stuff implemented as well as npc placement and such. And getting all of that tested and tuned.

Offline Iambian

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #88 on: October 12, 2015, 04:30:22 pm »
The world of Escheron is currently being populated and scripted. I've been taking care of the general area scripting while Geekboy has been working on the various cutscenes that helps greatly in the narrative.

We will have a closed alpha available once enough of the game is scripted such that it can be reasonably played from start to (hopefully) finish and feel comfortable enough in the ability to get to that content. The battle system has nothing coded in it apart from a debug display that dumps current encounter state, so that will be a whlie yet, tho thankfully, is not a necessary element to test the events.
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Offline TIfanx1999

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Re: "Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth" — progress updates and discussion
« Reply #89 on: October 12, 2015, 09:56:44 pm »
Not much to say other than keep up the good work guys. :thumbsup: