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Balmung Cycle has recently passed the 3000th download mark. Thanks to everybody who has supported this and given the game a chance!

An outcast god consumed by despair threatens to bring the world of Midgard to its knees. Aided by a ragtag group of volunteer soldiers-of-fortune and a small loyal following, he aims to establish his kingdom once more. When reason and diplomacy with the outcast deity fail, the Aesir god Loki prepares to make a final bid to halt the ambitions of the heretic. What will become of the world should he be unable to succeed?

You are Blitz Ymir, a disconnected servant to the Aesir. The god Loki has offered you a limited freedom if only you were to complete a simple task in his name. When past obligations become personal choice, will you choose to live a menial life or continue to take up the sword in the name of the gods?

Key Features:
-Modified DBS, third place winner of the GW 2005 code-off battle system division
-Single consistent graphical style that always feels like you are playing the same game
-An original score not composed of commercial game music
-Standard RPG fare gameplay: Mini games, dungeons, puzzles, and more
-Utilizes weapon attributes to expand battle strategies (More info in the blog entry for 4-19-08).

The average length of the game is 6-8 hours long.


Development status: Completed. Part 2 in pre-production

Latest Blog

Balmung's Legacy: From 2011 and Beyond

Introduction
When I began Balmung six years ago, it was definitely the most ambitious project I had ever created. Designed for the sole purpose of stealing the show in Carius' code-off competition, I was certainly surprised by what my opponents fought back with (DE, I still love your Solstice game even today!). It took second place, an honor which I grudgingly shared with others like Legion, who threw up a Lovecraft horror story around his game (cheater, cheater!) This prototype like many of the entries was only designed as a stand-alone tech demo, which sadly meant many of its original features were cut.

From the original code-off demo to Balmung Chronicle, a lot happened to change. While I learned more and more about the engine, I feel that a level of complexity was lost in the battle system that made the original battle demo much more appealing. Trying to remedy this and a host of plot issues, I escalated the project's need for renewal and started over from the beginning. It was the summer of 2006 around the time, and while most people my age were working a job, I recall spending 8 hours a day working a little full-time job of my own. I didn't just set down tiles and slave away in the awkward database tabs, but also studied a myriad of SNES games to improve my mapping ability (most notably Treasure of the Rudras, as it was the game I was borrowing from!) In the modern community, it's hard to picture the members here and abroad taking their design to such an academic level. As the submissions chief, I've seen more than a share of aspiring new people on the scene who have seemingly never touched an SNES controller in their life. It's not very reassuring, but then again the newer generation of members will need ample time to catch up. It took several years before the Don Miguel community began experimenting with rips and tiles beyond the early REFMAP forests.

If there is one thing that Balmung managed, and thanks in part to me stealing everything from Rudra, it's graphical consistency: A pretty well-known term that has been thrown around here a lot. It's one of the many gears in a larger machine that helps a game operate outside the confines of "RPG Maker game", a rather damning title that causes much of the indie community to dismiss us entirely. While I'm not condoning or condemning the use of rips, they can seem mighty appealing today, when the vast majority of all projects utilize RTP graphics. While this is great for consistency, I think it prevents developers from really getting to know the graphics they are using inside and out, and as a result their project suffers.

Balmung's Past and Future:
That said, the game's package has really aged a bit in my opinion. Part of the reason for my long silence in development was due to the fact that I felt my skills were expanding faster than I could complete the game, and this kind of phenomenon has actually been apparent in classic titles such as The Chronicles of Haledos and Tarion Star. Were I to continue amongst that, part 2 was slated to be released as "The Symphony of the Stygian Queen", a story which took place predominantly within Asgard and detailed Hod's declining faith in the einherjar system and the fate of Elm's father Siegfried. While I did intend for it to be released in three parts, it would have been the final episode, which means sadly I would not have gotten to a point where it was revealed Loki was still among the living (gasp......)

Perhaps the story was never really meant to be told, it was far too lofty for a rather weak and shaky part 1, which reveled more in its game design and likeness to an SNES RPG than a compelling RPG narrative. At the very least, there was some sense of conclusion that I was able to leave the player on, however incomplete it may have been. One thing that I know people were very split on was the inclusion of Alrick, who I like to describe as Klarth from Tales of Phantasia minus being cool. He was meant to be a flawed character with visible weaknesses, as I felt Blitz was far too perfect and was less of a character to the story as he was an observer who was merely partaking in the happenings in the game world. For that reason, I don't think as many people were ever truly pulled in. Like Blitz, they were stuck looking through a window on the outside while a family gathered around their dinner table to discuss the day's events.

But Balmung didn't lack story. The story was clearly there, what it did lack was strong scenario direction and writing. This differs completely from the broad story, as a scenario should be written more as a day to day event that does not necessarily find itself driven by the total sum of events in your plot. It was something I didn't understand proper back then, and it is something I'd like to improve on in my future. Perhaps not with Balmung, but with something.

Consider this then, the project's final goodbye. It was very flattering to see multiple projects spring up that closely mimicked my game, a phenomenon which I've never really seen in the community before save for when Legion Saga was HUGE. For all you still working on those games, good luck! I hope your plundering of Balmung's resources will take your projects to new heights. As a special note: Our very own NicoB is working (with?) a staff of people to bring you a game that no doubt achieves the same nostalgic feelings. It's called Forever's End, and is a rather riveting tale that takes place on the northern unexplored continent of Balmung Cycle! ;)

Into the future and back to the past!:
A lot of people can argue nobody has any business working with RPG Maker 2003 in this day and age, and they're probably right. Though my mind cannot comprehend the true form of Enterbrain's intentions: RMXP lacks hardware acceleration, forcing anybody using it to be locked in a circle of hell where fires burn at 20FPS. I can only imagine this came to be when some stupid temp "accidentally" spilled coffee over the programmer's computer after he got sloppy with a harujuku girl on the hood of the intern's car. Whatever the reason, VX popped out a few years later promising to fix everything! That's right, all of RMXP's flaws fixed, for the low price of losing functionality for multiple tilesets. At last, you can make the game of your dreams as long as you resign yourself to designing another knockoff Dragon Quest clone.

Maybe I'm just bitter and disillusioned, that's a good word for my situation. But regardless of the advances and in light of the limitations of the modern Enterbrain lineup, I think I'd still prefer to take my chances with an engine that is old, but has proven itself to me time and again. No, I'm not talking about OHRRPGCE, I'm referring to RPG Maker 2003. Why, you ask? Why did Constantinople refuse to yield to the Ottomans? They were stubborn, as am I.

Fortunately, those who choose to use 2003 despite it approaching nearly 10 years of age, there's a lot of good going on. Between Easy RPG and Wolfcoder's 20XX engine, we're getting RPG_RT replacements that can modernize an engine for those who prefer to keep clicking instead of scripting. Cherry of the German community continues to release patches that expand the functionality of RPG Maker 2003, and in the coming months anybody will be able to create a custom battle system in the program with relative ease. To the script snatching members out there who can't understand why anybody would look forward to that: It's a comfort thing.

Closing:
Having been in the community for nearly 11 years, I've seen it change multiple times. In the early days, RPGMaker.net flourished under the administration of RPG Making legend Rast, and then died shortly after. From the ashes came RPG2knet, Gaming Ground Zero, RPG Wolfpack, Skytower Games, RPGinfinity, and Gaming World; the last of which I think most here are familiar with. This in my opinion was really the golden age of RPG Maker, with so many different communities, the diversity really allowed for a massive exchange of ideas that is far greater than today. One by one however, these communities closed their doors to either financial issues or waning interest by its members. Today, there are still a hand full of communities, but they're much more divided in general. Perhaps it's just the age of VX, but people don't seem to be as focused and goal-oriented anymore. That is reflected sometimes in the communities themselves, many of which just happened to install a forum and call it a day. Will we be able to bring back the golden age? That's really not up to me, but to the members of this community and abroad.

So what am I working on? Well, I've been in league with the creative minds from #shmup for a while, which in popular opinion seems to be viewed as an isolationist fringe community (they'd be partially right ;) ). The notoriously elitist IRC channel #rm2k was viewed like this before it imploded in on itself, and a few of the better minds from there went on to create RPGMaker.net, so you'd better all watch yourselves..... The future of the RPG Making community will be written in blood and twilight................

This is Alrick signing off, saying "o-owow i am sooooOOo drunk!! zzzzZ"

  • Completed
  • Magi
  • RPG Maker 2003
  • RPG
  • 04/18/2008 05:18 PM
  • 11/16/2013 06:44 AM
  • 10/30/2008
  • 159980
  • 101
  • 9162

Posts

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Huh, I had a letter delivery quest, but then the game skipped 7 years. I hope this doesn't lead to the quest giver trying to sue Blitz.
Where are you supposed to go after the duel on the mountain?
Goosh, I really hate to ask for aid when I'm supposed to get it done myself, but what's the password?
Okay, I playtested this and right before entering midpoint checkpoint (Close thing near the spring) the whole game crashed, or at least I could not move.

The mapping in this game isn't bad but the battles and money balance are bad.
Personally I didn't liked this game, and having no music at no map (is this a bug ?)
made it pretty boring. But I like that you added a minimap on the world map ;)
Personally I didn't liked this game


but now you do?

fix your grammatical tense or i'll balmung your cycle
Alright, I just played through quite a bit of the game, and I'm done with it. I didn't finish it, but I quit. Here are my thoughts (not going to put it in a review since I'm not pointing out every aspect of the game, just a few things I liked and the big things I disliked).

The story is alright. I'm not much for the mythology/lore surrounding the story/characters, but it was entertaining. Aldrick (I believe that was his name) was my favorite character. Plenty of personality, and I loved the scene in the guild town with the whole pub thing. That was great, and the minigame right after that was fun.

I loved the dungeons, too. The whole Zelda feel I got from the Yggdrasil Spring and the Phantasmawhatsit Manor were great, and it was very nice to include a map.

The music was good, too. I enjoyed the battle music, especially, although the style of music did get a little old after a while.

One thing I didn't like was the difficulty. It felt inconsistent, to me. Like, in the forest where you had to light the torches, I could cut through enemies like butter, but then the boss in the forest could take down nearly my entire party with just two or three powerful spells. That was irritating. And I never knew how to feel about if I was at a good level or not unless I overleveled, because enemies hit so hard that it never seemed like I was making progress. It just felt like my health was going up with each level.

But another big irritant were the glitches. I encountered I don't know how many glitches throughout the game that really hindered my progress. Two times I encountered game breaking glitches. In the Yggdrasil Spring I pushed the pillar into a bad spot in the one pillar sliding puzzle, and I was stuck. There was no way to leave, so I had to reset and lost a good deal of experience.

Also, there must have been an event in the game that slowed Blitz's speed, because the forest with the torches was absolute hell. I moved so slowly that I kept wondering how in the world anyone was supposed to be able to navigate the forest. It's a wonder that I was even able to get to the rightmost phantom in the forest, because I literally talked to him a split second before the timer was up, and that was after heading straight to him from the nearest torch (and no, I wouldn't have been able to reach him by stacking torch timers, like I had to do later on). After I got out of the forest and entered the Phantasmawhatsit Manor my speed increased somehow, so I know that it was a glitch and it wasn't just my imagination.

Speaking of the Manor, I was grinding in the manor because I felt underleveled (I was level 22ish) and I got another game-breaking glitch. I was going to be pushed off a ledge by one of the guards, but I hit down at the last second, so I moved back to a safe spot, but since the guard must have touched me, I got stuck in the being pushed animation. That was the last straw, as I had no choice but to reset, and I would have lost a ton of experience from running around the manor trying to level up, so I just quit.

So, sorry that I wasn't able to finish the game, but a combination of the difficulty and game-breaking glitches just irked me to no end. Guess it doesn't matter so much, since it's not like the story will ever have an ending, anyways, but it was alright.

Okay. I'm trying to play this game but Ive NO IDEA how to bring up the main menu. Im friggin mashing keys here and Im getting NOTHING.
edchuy
You the practice of self-promotion
1554
Have you tried to press "Escape"?
I've just completed the cave with the mermaid in it and I must say, very impressive game despite what you call "showing age." Very well polished I must say.
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