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Messages - Escheron

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I attached an edit to the Dreadnought that may be more satisfactory. I was surprised to read that Iambian and Geekboy didn't seem to have knowledge of how to make map edits with CalcGS. (or perhaps I misunderstood)

For future reference:

* File > Open > select the Escheron tileset ("tileset.gsm", in the \calcgs_maps directory)
* Set the tileset resolution to 16x16 from the Tiles > 16x16 drop-down menu
* Map Editor > Open from the drop-down menu to open the map editor

The rest is straightforward.

Remember that the player's POV extends 3 tiles (or two-and-a-half) from the left and right, and 2 (or one-and-a-half) from above and below. All the maps are designed with these boundaries in mind, so out-of-bounds sections usually contain no tiles, or generic background pieces like dirt or cloud tiles. "Missing" tree halves or buildings that appear "broken" are intentional - I blanked out-of-bounds areas for my own reference.


Regarding my absence: I don't like to broadcast my personal life online, but I struggle with depression among other serious shit. It's very hard to focus on long-term goals and projects, and I feel terrible about leaving Iambian and Geekboy in the dust. I really hope they understand.

I rushed to cobble together the remainder of the game's scripts and assets so these guys would be able to finish the project on their own, and that took more willpower than I frankly had.

This post isn't intended to be any indication that I'm returning to the project, but maybe I'll check in on Omnimaga on occasion to see if Iambian or Geekboy need some quick fix from me.

There will be no further updates or contact from me following this post, and I have intentionally chosen not to leave open any channels of contact. In so many words, I do not wish to be disturbed. As for why, I have my personal reasons that are beyond the scope of anything related to this community.

Iambian and Geekboy1011 are now solely in charge of Escheron. They've been given all of the assets they need to continue, assuming they wish to do so. Of course, this means they have a complete artistic license in my absence, so whatever changes they may see fit are of no concern to me. As for things that might presently require my collaboration (more specifically, cutscenes) - I guess Iambian and Geekboy will just have to wing it based on the notes they already have.

To reiterate: This is an absolute and indefinite excommunication from the project, which I am surrendering to the whims of Iambian and Geekboy.

TI Z80 / Re: Ultima Memoria, or "The Existential Terror"
« on: May 26, 2016, 10:49:40 am »
Geekboy1011 and I have been in talks about making a move toward other platforms, so I don't think we'll be developing Ultima Memoria for the z80 after all. 2D B&W hardly does any justice to my vision of what Ultima Memoria should be. Ideally, we'd like to create a fully interactive 3D world with a real-time battle engine - a modern post-apocalyptic Dark Souls / Fallout crossover with tons of cutscenes? I'm not trying to stick my head in the clouds, but maybe we can hash out a proper development team, set up a Kickstarter and actually get something off the ground. One can dream, at least.

I'd nonetheless like to use existing z80 assets to produce a game that follows a similar theme, so maybe something in the likeness of Ultima Memoria on z80 will eventually come to fruition. It would be a shame not to do something more with the Escheron engine before retiring it.

Ya'll keep up the good work! I've been watching this for about a year now, and I can't wait till its finished. It really looks amazing! It really is inspiring to see such a well thought out quality game unfold. The graphics are the best I've ever seen in a calc game. There's a lot of time spent on plot and character development. I wish I had half the talent ya'll have, I'd be programming all the time. This will very likely be the most advanced calculator game that will ever be made.

Aw, shucks.

I do have a question though. I remember ya'll saying it will be too big for the TI-83+, but would it work for the 83+ Silver Edition? I presume it will work fine on the TI-84+. I have all three, I was just wondering.

Possibly. We'd like to maintain compatibility with the 83+, but it boils down to space constraints. Toward the end of the project, we'll definitely look into code optimization and see if we can't cram this sucker onto the 83+ after all. Alternatively, Iambian, may consider writing a custom OS loader to accomplish just that. It's also entirely possible that we could consider downsizing some of the game's assets. There are a lot of whats and ifs. It's hard to say anything until we get to that point.

On an unrelated note: Our biggest hurdle at the moment is working with cutscene magic. Cutscenes are rather painful to orchestrate, and there are a lot of them. It's not only a matter of scripting the character movements and interactions, but also rearranging dialogs across multiple text hives that are already packed to the brim. So yeah, this leg of the project may take quite some time. Just bear with us. It may begin to seem like we've dropped off the face of the earth with a lack of proactive updates, but most likely we're just completely engrossed in putting shit together.

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)

I appreciate your replies. In so many words, I guess I'm just asking for more detailed feedback about the project so that I can better incorporate what you guys want to see. I've gone over a lot of details about the game engine, and we've put out numerous builds so you guys could explore the game and get a feel for the characters and the world design - but no one seemed particularly interested in commenting on any of that. (Although I should note that I have redone several maps along the way, so any older builds still attached to earlier posts in this thread are likely very dated and should no longer be used for reference)

I don't want to see a sudden influx of negative feedback upon release because nobody could be bothered to point out any concerns with the game's design back when we did alpha testing or open beta. Escheron is the first semi-major project I've undertaken. This is a kind of trial run for me before I move on to bigger things, so I want to learn from my experience / mistakes here.


Maybe I'm being a bit premature though. You guys really aren't getting the full picture until we actually incorporate all the dialogs and cutscenes, and you can naturally progress through the story as it was intended.

So, is there any sincere interest in this project, guys? I keep pushing Iambian to post these updates so the community can be up to speed with our progress, but here we are with little to no community feedback. We practically had to beg for beta testers, and trying to solicit any bug reports was like kicking a dead horse. The whole ordeal only detracted from the game's development. I've since taken on the additional workload of handling all the testing myself.

It gets under my skin, really. Iambian (especially!) and Geekboy1011 have poured their hearts and souls into realizing this project, and very few people can be arsed to offer them any positive encouragement? A little lip service here and there isn't doing anyone any favors. We'd love to see some real feedback for a change.

In case it's not clear, we ain't churning out some BASIC + xLIB "Super Autism Quest!" shit - Escheron is a goddamn behemoth of an ASM app that was forged from the blood of dragons, and you better believe Iambian's busted his balls off to get this game where it is now.

Let me reiterate that this project has come a very long way. All the underlying groundwork is there, and now all we need to do is finish scripting cutscenes and balancing the game's difficulty level. I do apologize that the biggest delay has been finishing up the writing, but Escheron has a novel's length of character interactions. Unless I start dropping amphetamines, I can't type this shit up any faster than I already am. But rest assured that Iambian, Geekboy1011 and I are proactively working our asses off to get this game off the ground.

tl;dr - A little encouragement goes a long way toward boosting morale, especially when games of this magnitude demand such an extensive amount of time and energy that they practically consume your entire life. Also, let me impart a word of advice to other aspiring indie devs: Be prepared to sacrifice your soul in the name of whatever creative vision you may have, assuming you don't want to settle for anything less than a *good* game.

(Also, don't take my little tangents personally. I'm just tired from all this goddamn writing. And I really, really need some caffeine right now.)

We're slowly progressing through the spell animations. The logic is there, but now we have to render suitable bitmaps for animation frames. Iambian and Geekboy1011 have done a great job of animating some spells so far, but there's still much left to do.

In other news, I went ahead and put together a PDF manual for the game, which I've taken the liberty of attaching to this message. It's pretty barebones, but I think it does an adequate job of explaining the game's mechanics and prefacing the basic plot details.

EDIT: Updated manual to fix errata and expand on a few things, namely status effects and character-specific skills.

Double post, because why not?

I've been working on some mockups of how the animated title sequence will go, although its implementation may be a ways off. Iambian and Geekboy1011 seem rather superstitious about rendering the title screen until the game approaches release state. Something about other projects ending up development hell. Anyway...

The in-game rendering may differ slightly, but this is the general idea. I may do a further mockup including the "New game / Continue" screen that follows, then additional mockups of the opening backstory text that proceeds any in-game cutscene rendering.

In related news on my part, I'm working out a few ideas to expand upon the Underdeep. Currently, the dungeon consists of nearly a dozen pseudo-random floors that all follow the same theme. What I plan to do is have the dungeon randomly select a few static floors that will be interspersed between the pseudo-random caverns that account for most of the dungeon. These static floors will have fixed positions where treasures can randomly spawn, and in some cases, the system will select groups of NPCs and mini-quests to be present on these floors. The execution is going to be similar to the bonus content found in the "Dawn of Souls" version of Final Fantasy I.

Due to some existing concerns about space constraints, I decided to orphan one of the maps and event sets from an optional area that was planned to appear in the game. Personally, I felt the area was superfluous and didn't really add anything to the already numerous side-areas available. The quest is nonetheless going to be integrated (in a slimmed down form) into one of the Underdeep's static floors, so it's not actually cut from the game after all.

"Yeah, yeah. That's nice. When the fuck is this game going to be released?!"

We're actually not that far off from release state. What's left? Iambian and Geekboy1011 have the groundwork for battle animations implemented, and are working out details in regard to the actual animation sequences spells will use. After that, we have to finish rendering the rest of the cutscenes in the game, balance out character statistics versus those of enemies, slap a title screen onto the game, and presto! Everybody will be playing Escheron in all its glory.

We're still mulling over the compatibility issue, but Iambian and Geekboy1011 have a few possible solutions in mind. One method is to write a custom OS for loading Escheron on the 83+. I'm not sure how tedious that will be, but it's something that may be considered later down the line when we approach release state.

In other news, I decided to redo some of the game's maps since I wasn't very happy with my original designs. One of the more major changes was to the game's overworld. This was much to Iambian's dismay, as we had to redo all the warp coordinates, and the overworld is linked to several other maps - practically everything in the game. We nonetheless have the new maps and coordinates implemented.

We may be approaching open beta soon, so hopefully I'll get some feedback on the design of the game world. Attached is a current reference to the game's (revised) overworld. I'll probably be applying minor tweaks in the meantime - expanding forests and mountain ranges, arranging corners, etc. I'm not sure if the current amount of white space is an issue, but I may try to cut down on that.

Sadface about the TI-83+ support for the moment.  :'(

The lack of 83+ support isn't a definite thing. It's hard to say as of yet. Of course, Iambian and Geekboy1011 will probably try to optimize the code just before release to see if we can't maintain compatibility with the 83+. If worse comes to worst, we may consider cutting some of the game's optional content, but only as a last resort.

This is some excellent progress. The battle engine is coming along very nicely. Let me note that Iambian has also implemented elemental modifiers and critical hits in the meantime.

It's not said often enough, but you've put a lot of hard work into this project, @Iambian, and I hope the community appreciates your level of dedication. Coding such a feature-rich game from the ground up in assembly is no simple task, and people better believe Escheron is functionally on the same level as games like Final Fantasy, which normally take an entire team years to develop.

I don't know if it's been pointed out yet, but my only role in the game's development is conceptualizing the setting, writing the game script and designing the game's maps. Iambian and @Geekboy1011 have taken on a disproportionate workload by comparison, so I think I should give credit where credit is due. Keep up the good work, guys!

TI Z80 / Re: Ultima Memoria, or "The Existential Terror"
« on: February 20, 2016, 07:48:49 pm »
Some of the icons were indeed a pain in the ass to draw, but I managed. Actually, you can feel free to use any of those assets in your own projects, if you like. I've attached my current revision of the game's font.

TI Z80 / Re: Ultima Memoria, or "The Existential Terror"
« on: February 19, 2016, 05:17:50 pm »
Will there be a CE port?

Likely not, since this is based on the Escheron engine. The engine would have to be completely rewritten.

I want to get the most use out of this engine, so I'll probably be working on a handful of other projects for the Z80 as well.

Any timeline to bring this into fruition?

Hard to say since we're still actively developing Escheron. Iambian only recently began coding the battle engine. Once that's finished, we'll be orchestrating cutscenes and balancing things out. With Escheron in release state, I'll probably focus all of my attention on Ultima Memoria. I can't speak for Iambian or Geekboy1011 though, as they may have other projects in their backlogs.

TI Z80 / Ultima Memoria, or "The Existential Terror"
« on: February 19, 2016, 03:53:06 pm »
(... or maybe more aptly Escheron on crack)

Since the Escheron engine (once released - still a ways off) will give us a complete framework for future projects, I've been brainstorming ways to squeeze the most potential out of it. Although any formal announcement would be premature, I thought I would nonetheless tease a few details.

— Setting and Characters —

Ultima Memoria is set in a post-apocalyptic present, abruptly following the events of a nuclear holocaust. The story centers around Brennis, a 29-year old psion accompanied by his traveling companion Seschet. Brennis' past isn't very clear, neither to Seschet nor himself. Together, Brennis and Seschet aimlessly explore the ruins of civilization in hopes of triggering Brennis' memories and better understanding the cause of his amnesia.

Meanwhile, the surviving population is facing several threats in the form of lawless gangs, maddened occultists and an opportunistic faction of slavers that has declared martial law in the absence of any continuity of government. Brennis and Seschet must inevitably cross paths with these figures, potentially bringing Brennis closer to the keys needed to unlock his past.

— Features —

· The "Link" System - By coming into contact with certain places or events, Brennis may experience flashbacks, allowing him to recover repressed memories and abilities. Brennis' skills and physical status are largely shaped by how the player chooses to explore and interact with his surroundings.

· Very detailed setting with extensive character development. The story explores many existential and downright controversial themes as the cast struggles to adjust to the harsh conditions of a desperate world.

· Massively open environments. The player can freely travel anywhere at any time, unlocking Brennis' memories in a completely non-linear order. The player can also take quests from any number of factions, or ruthlessly conquer civilization for themselves.

· The remains of civilization are complete with several environmental hazards. The menu has a "rads" display that indicates characters' exposure to harmful radiation. As a character's exposure increases, all of their physical attributes begin to diminish. The player can find and trade chems that alleviate the symptoms of radiation sickness.

· A variety of psionic powers that both Brennis and Seschet can master - instantaneously regenerate wounds, move from location to location in the blink of an eye, or even cause enemies to combust spontaneously.

· A large selection of sci-fi implements at the player's disposal, including vibro swords, Gauss pistols, power armor and improvised arms - and plenty of mutant species, manmade constructs and other futuristic foes to unleash them upon.

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