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Messages - Escheron

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is Escheron still being worked on?

The project was in a short hiatus so everyone could enjoy the holidays, but things are picking up again. @Iambian and I have been laying out the groundwork for the action strings that appear during battle sequences, and I've been putting a few touches on the maps. Iambian has also implemented some of the logic related to how enemy sprites appear in the battle window.

News / Re: Downtime
« on: December 05, 2015, 09:40:00 pm »
Someone recently tried to access my PSN account, which I haven't used for months since I no longer have a PS3. Sony sent me an email to notify me that my password was automatically reset to counteract any suspicious activity. When I got rid of my PS3, I removed any personal info and card data from that account, so luckily it's not an issue. Everybody else may nonetheless want to double-check any accounts they have connected to their Omnimaga email address.

My email was also bombarded with spam.

When it'll be published?

When it's finished. Unfortunately, we don't have an ETA on this. @Iambian is just now planning for the implementation of battle logic. @Geekboy1011 and I will continue to work on cutscene scripting and implementation, as often as his schedule permits it.

Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth / Re: E:ToR ~ Alpha Test thread
« on: November 17, 2015, 11:24:47 pm »
1) There are some overworld chests that won't open here:

Those are generic chests found in the debug room, which is the map you initially spawn in. They're not supposed to be filled, or they'll be filled at a later time when Iambian or Geekboy1011 decides to put something in them. For the time being, they're just placeholders.

2) The encounter rate is a little high in general. I'm getting encounters about every 5 to 15 steps, with the distribution closer to 5 than 15.

We're working on balancing that. I feel the encounter rate in the Underdeep is especially too high.

3) The dreadnaught confuses me in the balance of scripted and random encounters. The frequency of scripted encounters, in my opinion, would dictate there be fewer, if any, random encounters. I once went from a scripted encounter, took a single step, and ran in to a random one.

The scripted encounters shouldn't seem confusing, since you actually have to walk up to the guards and speak to them to initiate a battle.

Regardless, the Dreadnought is a late-game dungeon, so it's naturally more of a pain in the ass to navigate.

4) The item limit. I use a few potions, and can only buy up to a certain number back so I can have a total number of items combined. I know it's nitpickey, but it feels arbitrary. I don't know how your item data is stored, though, so it might be necessary.

Intentional design choice, even though it is rather arbitrary. We're going for the look and feel of retro console RPGs, including some of the limitations they imposed on players.

To be fair though, 32 items max is pretty flexible, given the amount of content in the game.

5) I get weird encounter text when I step on this skull. Debug thing, maybe?

Intentional. It's a forced encounter tile, similar to those you'd find in the original Final Fantasy. There are a few other instances of this found in the game.

Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth / Re: E:ToR ~ Alpha Test thread
« on: November 13, 2015, 04:26:01 pm »
I'll give some feedback over the weekend. Promise.

That would be much appreciated. Any feedback you can submit will be helpful.

Are you guys going to need testers for the CSE version?

Insofar, the CSE port is just the base game with a compatibility layer tacked on. Escheron won't be properly ported to the CSE will full color support because that would necessitate a complete rewrite.

Whether or not @Geekboy1011 will want to submit a test release is entirely up to him.

TI Z80 / Re: [Idea] "Caldera's Wrath" - a text-based RPG
« on: November 12, 2015, 08:19:28 pm »
I had considered the idea of a first-person perspective with scenery, but adding graphics would eat up valuable screen space. If I'm going to describe the player's surroundings in vivid detail, I'll need all of the screen reserved for lines of text.

The reason I wanted to use a text-based approach in the first place is because sprite-based graphics are rather restrictive. With text, I can describe any level of detail I want. Not so much with two-dimensional sprites and tiles.

Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth / Re: E:ToR ~ Alpha Test thread
« on: November 12, 2015, 08:07:05 pm »
The alpha phase was supposed to end about a week ago, and unfortunately the only volunteer generous enough to submit any findings was calcdude84se, whom we appreciate very much.

As for our other volunteers - @Chirlian, @merthsoft and @pimathbrainiac - all of them seem to be MIA. As a result, Geekboy1011 keeps pushing the deadline further. Bear in mind, we're losing valuable development time waiting for these reports to come in. If you guys have lost interest in the project or simply do not have enough free time to continue, I would appreciate your forwardness.

Lastly, a gentle reminder: Volunteers not actively participating in the alpha will not be included anywhere in the game's credits.

TI Z80 / [Idea] "Caldera's Wrath" - a text-based RPG
« on: November 08, 2015, 06:07:44 pm »
I had an idea earlier for a text-based adventure for z80 calculators. The idea is to create an experience similar to MUDs - or "multi-user dungeons" - but with respect to the constraints of a z80 calculator. Let me be clear that this is strictly in the conceptual phase, as I'm unsure if memory or processing limitations will even permit it. Nonetheless, I thought I would share some of the ideas I've put together so far.

- Environment and Gameplay -

The game world would consist of a series of interconnected "rooms." Rooms are abstract and not measured by any tangible standards such as width or height, so there's no logical restriction on the number of features or interactive objects a room can contain. A room can be a house, a chamber, a trail in the wilderness, a dungeon floor, a pool of water, etc. Some of these rooms contain obstacles that make passing in certain directions more difficult. The player character has several skills at their disposal that are used to determine their probability of success when interacting with these rooms. For instance, there's an athletics skills that determines how effectively the player can climb walls and mountains, or swim across bodies of water.

Upon starting the game, the player rolls a character from one of five distinct character races. The player's choice of race determines their starting stats and major skills, and what (if any) special feats they'll possess. Instead of assigning a rigid class-based role to their character, the player powers up by training all of their skills independently. Each major skill has a sort of experience level associated with it. Every time a skill is successfully put to use, it gains experience points and eventually levels up. There are no necessary restrictions on what equipment or spells the player can learn to use, as long as they train themselves to meet the necessary prerequisites first.

The player's environment is largely interactive. The player can mine resources and harvest food, poach enemies for their furs and leathers, recruit NPC allies to fight alongside them, propose marriage to specific NPCs, or go around killing friendly NPCs and taking over villages and kingdoms. Some of these actions have long-term consequences or will invoke alternate endings.

- Plot and Setting -

The setting spans two major regions - Ardenvale and Anomyr. The player is free to explore the entire game world at their leisure, and can even bypass major quests and head straight for antagonist's stronghold, assuming they've amassed enough power to survive the conflict.

The plot centers on Ardenvale, which has recently come under the threat of the blackguard Gul Wraith, who is plotting Ardenvale's destruction from his stronghold at the summit of Caldera. Gul Wraith has unleashed four demon generals to lead an army of hellspawn in a conquest of the regions. Gul Wraith continues to draw strength from the terror wrought by his minions, and is mustering to use this strength to awaken the inactive volcano Caldera, blanketing the sky in ash and plunging the world into an era of perpetual darkness.

Lord Caelendal's armies are beginning to thin at the hands of Gul Wraith's minions. Out of desperation, Caeldendal pulls several prisoners from the dungeon depths, offering to pardon them if they will serve in the volunteer brigade. The player assumes the role of one of these prisoners, who undergoes basic training in Caeldendal's "Hall of Beginners" before being thrust out into the world to fend for themselves. The player can report back to Lord Caeldendal for major quest markers or general direction, or they can assume free reign over the world and engage in a number of sidequests. In fact, they can even ignore the threat of Gul Wraith, return to Caelendal after becoming significantly more powerful, and attempt to take over the kingdom for themselves.

Attached to this post are a couple of concepts - a mockup showing the basic textual interface, and a map design outlining all the wilderness areas between the two regions the game takes place in. Villages, castles and dungeons are all sub-maps that will be documented separately.

All in all, I estimate a total number of rooms in the game will range from ~1100 to ~1500. The wilderness areas alone comprise around ~550 rooms.

Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth / Re: E:ToR ~ Alpha Test thread
« on: November 07, 2015, 10:50:49 pm »
    • Exiting a map back to the overworld sometimes puts you on the space corresponding to the map, and other times one square in some direction which varies per map. It'd be nice if you consistently came out the same way.

    Do you want the player to appear directly on top of the warp? Since you can enter some areas from multiple directions, I can't place the character one tile away from whatever direction they entered from. IMO, I just didn't think placing the player directly on top of the warp felt right.

    • The speech boxes sometimes have little arrows in the bottom corner to indicate continuation. However, it's not a reliable indicator of that, since a good amount of multi-screen dialog doesn't always use them.

    This is intentional. The arrow indicates a thought / sentence that exceeds the length of the window. When a thought / sentence is completed, any subsequent dialogs spawn new windows instead of being directed by arrows.

    I hope that explanation made sense.

    • Selecting a spell to display its description shifts the upper border down by 1 pixel, which I find distracting

    Ditto. I also have my gripes with the small amount of black space in shopkeeper's inventories. I think Iambian says the menu layouts involve a bit of compromise.

    • If you can't equip something, an error message explaining why would be helpful

    I think this has been in planning.[/list]


    Do you have any thoughts on the game's aesthetics? e.g. World size, dungeon layouts, etc. Map designs are subject to change as well.

    Escheron: Twilight over Ragnoth / Re: E:ToR ~ Alpha Test thread
    « on: November 01, 2015, 07:17:21 pm »

    * Equipping armor / armlets does not apply relevant Agility adjustments.

    * Equipping armor / armlets does not apply relevant Intellect adjustments.

    * Magic shops claim that characters have no room left, even though they do.

    * Spells cost 0 MP to cast.

    * Poison status has no effect.

    * Stat-up items have no effect if a character is dead. Shouldn't they be usable either way?

    * Essentially every (weapon) shop inventory has incorrect listings. For example: Ragnoth's weapon shop (in the village) offers Collosus claws, Ebony armor and Spartan clothes. Its inventory should be Staff, Clothes and Fairy armlet. The erroneous listings actually have the same buy values as the items that are supposed to be there.

    * The flame in the Tristran lighthouse cannot be extinguished. (At least, not by Edmund?)

    * Why isn't the aforementioned flame animated?

    * The guy in Ragnoth's root cellar has a line that should end with a quote: [have to use swords."]

    * Floor 6 of the Underdeep dropped me into a room filled with random tiles. (See screenshot)

    * On the airship / party swap, Maya should be facing up, not right.


    * The item properties string "Has no spell charges." should perhaps be without a period to appear more consistent with other menu strings.

    * The Emergency Exit tile in the Underdeep doesn't enclose the period inside the quotation marks. This is inconsistent with my style of grammar.

    * The encounter rate in the Underdeep is still fairly high. Considering the length of each floor, the encounter rate should probably be closer to half of what it is now.

    * When navigating to the equipment or magic screens, the cursor retains its position depending on which character you selected. In the case of the equipment screen, this results in the first item highlighted being the shield slot or armor slot. Shouldn't the cursor position be reset each time you enter a new menu or sub-menu?

    * For ease of navigation, should pressing a directional button while on the status screen switch to another party member's status?

    So, where are we now?

    · All maps designed and implemented
    · All warp points integrated so that we have a fully connected world (aside from the Feywood, which Geekboy1011 has been drafted assigned to finish when he gets a sufficient amount of free time)
    · Designed and implemented a randomly-generated dungeon
    · All menu elements implemented
    · All equipment and magic inventories implemented
    · All shop inventories implemented
    · Actual shop / inn routines implemented
    · All villager NPCs and their dialogs have been implemented, and they can be interacted with by the player
    · Party swap feature implemented
    · Several minor cutscenes and sidequests implemented
    · Working save system that actually keeps track of flags such as treasures and sidequests
    · Some major cutscene elements implemented (but are actively being redone by Geekboy1011 since there were recent changes to the script system)

    Alpha is imminent.

    The Underdeep is home to one of two superbosses that can be found in the game. The idea behind the dungeon was to give the player something to do post-game. Since the floors and loot are dynamically generated, it's a slightly different experience every time the player enters. Incidentally, it's also a good spot to grind since the dungeon houses the strongest enemies in the game, and stat-up potions are littered throughout most every floor.

    There are numerous other side-areas besides the Underdeep, and many of those can be completed much earlier in the game. In fact, game balance will sometimes require the player to do some exploring and retrieve equipment upgrades from optional areas before they'll be strong enough to advance through story areas.

    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.


    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.

    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.

    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.


    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.


    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)

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