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Progress Report

Well that took a Dark Turn. (I'M BACK!!!!)


How have you all been? Good? Great! If you wanna chat about anything I'm going to discuss, please leave a comment down below.

"I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain."

1. Aaaand I'm back!

After a lengthy bit of time spent in Retail Management for over a year which sucked out all of my life and energy, I've now found myself in a much better job which allows me far more free time! So that being said, I am back.

And I'm working on Hero Panic!

This is the only game I plan to work on for the time being. The whole "start a new project and abandon it part-way through" was great and all -- and legit led to some finished games! -- but it stretched me too thin and didn't allow me to focus on one solid project. Which is why I'm only going to focus on Hero Panic, and I want to tell you what's going on with it!

I won't be as active on these forums as I used to be (maybe?), but I'll certainly be around for a while as I work on this project. Chat with me down below!

2. A New Direction!

Hero Panic! Wait, did I drop an extra Hero from that title? I did. Why, you might ask? Because, well, it's headed in a different direction than before. How different? Allow me to explain.

The first iteration of Hero Hero Panic was a short game I was making which focused exclusively on battles. It was a cool concept, and I made some fun mechanics that I think you all would enjoy. The thing is, it was only focused on that, and the story was paper-thin. It was about fighting, getting characters, and doing more fighting. I had come up with plenty of content to keep you all fighting for days! Maybe.

In reality, I burned out early on by making art for everything. So then, I cranked it way down, made everything scarce as far as art went, and then I lost interest in the whole thing.

Funny how that works, eh?

But then I was inspired about another amazing RPG Maker game (and I will tell you all about it if you drop a mention in the comments below!) which challenged my perspective on this whole thing. This developer and artist made an incredible collection of games with their own art, and their story was amazing. And that lit a fire within me. I loved making content exclusively for combat, but the story got to me, and I realized something: I love combat focused games, and there's some people who love that too. But nothing will churn your stomach or flood you with emotions more than a good story. And that's something I want to evoke. I'm not an amazing storyteller, but I want to tell you all a story through this project.

Today's iteration of Hero Panic is shaping up quite differently. Combat is still emphasized. You'll still be collecting heroes with unique skillsets and fun powers. However, everything is much more story focused. There's lots of CGs, large character busts on screen for conversations, and I've made all of the art. Except animations, because forget that. I'll deal with those in post-production if I feel like it.

The art is quite different! My art style has changed and taken on a new life, and I feel it lends itself to the type of story I want to tell. Hero Panic deserves a fresh coat of paint for this purpose. So it's getting one! Character busts, a whole bunch of cgs, and an overall very different aesthetic. If you want to test it, you'll notice a departure from the older, place-holder graphics (all bright and pastel!) vs the newer, sketchy and abstract ones. Enjoy that dichotomy!

Rin running for her life. Such a nice scene!

Tone-wise, the game is much darker now. I want to prepare you for that.

I've re-written the story entirely from the ground up. Things have changed.

Have you played my demo for @JRL / Joanna? It's pretty dark and depressing! That will give you an idea of what I'm going for.

I've noticed that with a lot of my games: the tone shift. From TWIDAIABOY (when I worked with Luiishu535!) to @JRL, my games have taken on a darker, more satiric tone. This one, in comparison... well, it starts out innocent enough, but it doesn't stay like that. And it's not so much satiric as it is... well, just experience it for yourself. I want to know what YOU think about it.

Hero Panic is much more story heavy than its previous incarnation. Now it mirrors something like a VN infused with combat to break up the story beats. It's quite a hybrid, and I don't know too many games which head this route. Either they tend to focus on a traditional story-telling format (cutscenes and battles leading to the next story beat), or they go VN style (de-emphasized combat, if any, and a focus on story beats). In this case, it's both.

There's some great characters here that live in a unique world under exciting circumstances, and I hope you like their stories.


What!? That's right, I'm actually about to launch a demo! If all goes well, that is!

I'm looking for some volunteers to play through it and give me feedback, comments, criticism, and generally share your thoughts about the story and where you think I could improve.

It has some placeholder art assets in it, and it's not fleshed out yet, but I want to get some early comments as I push towards a demo.

It takes me 45 minutes to get through, but I know how everything functions. Look forward to about an hour of gameplay (minus the infinitely repeatable stuff).

Let me know your thoughts down below, and click subscribe if you want to keep track of how this is going!




I had a lot of late nights where I sat at my computer and stared at my project for a good hour before shutting down. I wracked my brain day after day to come up with new features, and then I'd add one and test it, liked it, and took no consideration to the level of work any of them would add. But I kept adding, like a fool. And eventually those little details grew into mountains of work. I felt I was no longer enjoying the creation of Hero Hero Panic anymore. I would sit at my computer, work for an hour or so on some new work I created for myself, and eventually get frustrated with the sheer volume of work I made, and then walk away. So I silently took a haitus. Some things have changed, now, and I'm happy to say...

Hero Hero Panic is back in business!

During my last blog, I mentioned stretching myself super thin. And it was totally true: I was stretching myself razor thin with all of the work I created for myself! I talked about it in my blog, FEATURE CREEPER. In that blog, you all gave me advice on my problem: I had been so focused on adding in the little details, that those little details quickly turned into mountains of work. Instead of just making a character graphic, I had to make a large on-screen faceset, then adjust that faceset into a smaller frame so that it can be seen in menus and in conversations, and then I would go on to make a much larger picture so they could come sliiiiding onto the screen with a huge graphic taking up a good 1/3rd of the viewport. Not only that, but certain cutscenes had a new image of the character all together! So I cut a lot of that down.

I cut out a good bit of stuff, to tell you the truth. Instead, I focused on my strengths. Let me explain, and I'll tell you about how Hero Hero Panic is coming, and how much closer this project is to the ending.

What was cut?

I'm glad you asked! A few things were cut entirely, and I'm gonna' be honest with you and tell you what they were.

First, the cutscenes. Don't get me wrong, there's still cutscenes in the game - and plenty of them! - but they are no where near as elaborate as they once were. Before, I found myself having to draw a bunch of background artwork, then draw character portraits to match it, all for having a cutscenes which the player would experience for maybe ten seconds, and a good portion of my playbase would probably rather skip the cutscenes anyways (after all, you're here for that sweet, sweet progression, aren't you?).

There are still plenty of cutscenes in the game. More, even. They're simply not as elaborate as they once were. I think my problem was focusing more on trying to wow you all with my art (and let's be honest, it ain't wow-worthy!), and less about making a good story with solid dialogue and pacing. So I simplified many of the cutscenes and kept with a more basic format which I can re-use more often. I think you'll like the new cutscene style!

Secondly, the relationship system was cut. I know, I know, you all likely looked forward to building relationships with your several heroes. But I think it's truly for the better. Building a relationship with a character like Marle, for example, would require you to chat with her several times, complete some quests, build up favor, find her an object that she desired, and then complete one final mission to unlock her bonuses at max-relationship. Plus, I had to account for the fact that relationships can fluctuate positively and negatively. It was a metric ton of work. So I cut them out.

Instead, I have character "missions" still in a game. These missions have different objectives for opening, some of them obvious, some of them hidden secrets. Marle, for example, will have a mission that provides a nice bonus if completed, and there are certain requirements that must be in place in order for that mission to come available.

Rather than come up with many small filler quests in order to have the player do things, I decided to cut to the heart of it. This allows me to pour more work into her mission, into the dialogue and outcome, and come up with a much more solid small arch which sheds some light on her backstory while opening up new venues moving forward. In other words, this new system I am using for personal missions is less quantity, more quality. I think you'll like discovering characters' backstories and unlocking their bonuses without worrying about building up a meter and "picking friends" to do so.

I also cut out the overload of environment art. I ended up simplifying this to quite an extent. I was making tons and tons of art for locations which would be seen for maybe five seconds. I realized that was stupid about 2.5 seconds after finishing yet another image of a city which would never be seen after one cutscenes. There's still environment backgrounds in the game that I made, but I cut out a good bit of it and simplified the background. This has made the game much more enjoyable to create, instead of having to make new art when the player turns every corner.

Finally, I cut a big portion of the initial story, and have changed the main game page to reflect that. Instead of coming to work for Superbase as a manager, Rin finds herself in the middle of feuding factions. As a result, the entire story has been rebuilt from the ground up, and I feel it's much more satisfying to experience now. You actually begin to care about the characters and their stories, and I think you'll all enjoy unraveling the many mysteries of the world of Everdawn City.

That's cool, but what was added?

What was added, was a whole lot more which fits the game and is smooth enough for me to produce.

I changed the battle system formulas and remade all of the characters using the new style. The original system I had, made you deal with a lot of single digit numbers in combat. As I was making these, it occurred to me that I was oversimplifying combat for the ease-of-creation. So I stopped that, and I changed the formulas for everything. What I have now is a system with much more balance than before, and I think you'll enjoy it.

I jumped all over the place when creating this new battle system. I had a lot of unique ideas which I had to scratch. First, I wanted to remove levels and just have you acquire gear, but then I realized that wasn't a whole lotta fun. I do enjoy the process of leveling up, of feeling your character getting stronger. In addition to that, I love the idea of still finding useful gear with which to empower and customize your characters. This was a core gameplay change, and I think you'll have fun with it.

I also rearranged how the players' skills work. Some characters, like Rin, primarily use EP (MP) in combat for skills. Others, such as Stumpy, primarily rely on building TP, which can at first appear limited, but she grows stronger as battle goes on. In the middle are the hybrids which do a little of each.

I added a bunch of items and gear. Yup, my database is in, and with a solid template in place, creation of items and gear is going much more smoothly than before.

Players will have five slots of gear to fill. The first is their Relic, which is an item obtained through the reward of a quest, or the clearing of a "hideout" (my equivalent of dungeons in this game). Every character can wield one relic, and they come in two primary flavors. Some are stat boosts, and others are lesser-stat boosts, but come with a special skill. This has been quite interesting to design.

The second slots are three of the total: Gear. Yup. Simply called "gear", these items can be worn by anybody, allowing you to customize and play to certain characters' strengths, or to fortify their weaknesses. Rin, for example, uses a mix of physical and magical skills, and depending on the ones you like, you can customize her gear to take advantage of them.

The final slot the player can fill is their Artifact, which is only acquired through special shops which sell them.

Among other things added, is Everdawn City's overworld. That's right, Everdawn City will no longer be access through menus, but can be explored through the overworld map, pictured below.

There's plenty of icons to be found on the map, all of which tell you something about what that area has to offer. I condensed the play area of the game to Everdawn City, but trust me when I say this: even though it's only one map to play on, it is a very detailed and fun-filled map. I love moving Rin around on the map and fighting enemies, completing missions, and unlocking secrets. It definitely looks more like a board game now, but I think making that pixel art was a good call. You now have a large city which gradually unravels with more and more stuff to see and do, and the map serves its purpose well as a guide to you getting around town.

The Factions have been added, solidified, and partly operational. Thankfully I created a system which allows me to piece in content to these factions, as opposed to creating something new from scratch every time you talk to them.

A good bit more has been added, and honestly, I'm not quite sure what they are at the moment.

That sweet, sweet progression.

I mentioned this earlier, and now it's time for me to talk about it: progression. Yes, I am a lover of progression. I love seeing my characters level up and get loot. I like the idea that they can keep rising in more and more power. The player wants to play through the game at as low level as possible? That's fine. If the player wants to level their character indefinitely and create as strong as a fighter as they can, that's fine to. In fact, I have removed level caps temporarily, so the most dedicated of players can sink their time into building their party into godlike powerhouses. Hey, if a player wants to level their character up real high so they can feel good about steamrolling a boss, more power to them. I suspect you guys will like this new system. After all, Rin can level past 99 with enough dedication. I'll be sure to add plenty of content to keep the ball rolling on this.

Please ignore some of the placeholder RTP characters.

You'll find lots of loot through hunting enemies and raiding hideouts. A lot of the root shares some RNG, just to keep things a little unpredictable. This has turned out surprisingly fun, though a tad overwhelming at times. It feels great to find a piece of armor, meant to resist physical attacks, but the RNG happened to tune its Resistance reduction, and turn it into a positive, therefore giving you both physical AND magical resistance in one piece.

I like the idea of RNG producing these rare and unique effects, and I'm finding my new loot system to be an absolute blast. I hope you like it too, but there's plenty of loot to find!

Your contribution?

So what would you like to talk about? How do these concepts sound to you? How do you like to progress your hero? Do you like progression to be focused on one character, i.e. Rin, or on the entire party? Any neat combat features you'd like to see me look in to?

Finally, I'm going to be looking for some play testers real soon, as the first part of the game is almost done. I think I'm going to forego the whole demo thing and just release the game in a chunk. Let me know if playtesting is something you're interested in!
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