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TRAILER


SYNOPSIS
After the rise of a secret organization named Providence, Jun, a mercenary, finds himself caught in the middle of a coup d'etat. To restore order, he and his best friend Ne'l must journey across the entire continent of Iris, helping citizens in need while liberating the Empire from a dark legacy.

FEATURES
  • Over 30 quests to experience.

  • Around 15 hours of gameplay.

  • 40 Achievements to earn.

  • Interconnected/open world.

  • Resource management-based combat system.

  • Grinding not required.

  • An all original soundtrack.


GAMEPLAY
This game has an interconnected world. Each village on the continent has characters seeking help, and their requests might send you on adventures all around the continent!

BATTLE SYSTEM
  • Enemies roam the world and will chase you when they see you. By walking, it is possible to sneak past them.

  • Combat in this game focuses on skills and the resource known as Anima.

  • All skills use Anima and have a cooldown.

  • Players can choose and equip skills. Develop your own strategy and moveset, from locking down enemies with status effects, to using skills that target enemies' Anima to prevent them from attacking!


BACKSTORY
On Iris, the term mercenary has changed to mean something different. With the start of peacetime in the Fourth Age, the Mercenaries' Guild found its new purpose by serving the government. The Guild became the acting police force, at the same time providing help to people who request it. Through the "Mercenary Request" system, people can request help from a mercenary to carry out tasks or odd jobs for a reward.

CONTROLS
Arrow Keys - Movement / Navigation
Z Key / Enter / Space - Interact / Select
X Key - Menu / Cancel
Shift Key - Dash (Hold)



ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
If you get an error about xinput1_3, please install DirectX.

If you get an error about F1AltEnterF12.dll, please install the Visual C++ Redistributable Packages.

KNOWN ISSUES
This is the list of already known issues - don't report these!
=Rare=
These are rare bugs, and may be very hard to reproduce. These bugs may only show up once or not at all in an entire playthrough. (If you can consistently replicate these, let me know right away!)
  • Random invisible walls can appear. Fixable by reloading the game. (4 Reports)

  • The game may randomly crash when enemy touches you. (1 Report)

  • An objective in the Quest Log will not be marked as complete even if it is actually complete. This is cosmetic and does not affect quest progress. (1 Report)

  • Enemies may block passage after being defeated. (1 Report)

=Common=
These are easily reproducible bugs. A fix for them may come in the future but it will likely cause save-file incompatibility.
  • Knight’s Will - Passive enemies still chase you if aggression level is set on the same map as the chaser.

  • Clicking out of the game will cause music to continue to run. (Inherent to RPG Maker games)

=To be Fixed in v1.0.4=
  • Players can no longer upgrade their Refined Pickaxe to the Guild Pickaxe without the Refining Powder.



NEED HELP?
If you are stuck with a puzzle or something else, I might have a guide on it on my website. If not, you can ask here.

Latest Blog

The Gate Closes: A Postmortem on Gate of Providence

Initially posted on my website.

I have placed the postmortem in the spoiler tags so that it doesn't make the page super long. View it here:

It's been eight months after the release of Gate of Providence. During this time, the game has received over 12000 views and 680 downloads. As usual for a postmortem, I'll be writing about what went right and wrong during the development of Gate of Providence, as well as some other thoughts.

What Went Wrong
Combat Balancing and Difficulty Levels
Balancing an RPG is always tricky. Players tend to find a combination of skills they like and stick with them. The problem with this is that players that chose only to use attacking skills would find themselves having trouble near the end of the game, when the level cap is reached, where status effects and debuffs have a bigger impact. On higher difficulties, defensive skills and items become important and in some cases, required. On the other hand, some players would find a really good combo and use only that combo for the entire game, making combat unengaging. Players would either breeze through or get completely obliterated. It becomes hard to tell if a player just has a bad strategy or if the enemies have too high stats.

After some feedback, adjustments to difficulty were made, resulting in the game becoming easier overall. In the end, I feel that this is the better approach for Gate of Providence. I'd rather not have a player take over twenty minutes in a single battle (it has happened) because of a poor moveset and difficulty level.

Difficulties with Art and Artstyle
There are notable inconsistencies with the art, with face portraits in particular. This is because the main characters (Jun, Ne'l, Theresa, etc.) were drawn by an actual artist, my friend David, while the villagers and side characters were drawn by me. Art is something I definitely need to improve on. In addition, the battler art was done by two people, with Providence members having one artist and everything else by another.

Another issue is with the RTP-styled sprites and tiles. While I make no attempt to hide the fact that Gate of Providence is a RPG Maker game, the reputation of the RTP makes the game look bad. Even though the game does contain a lot of custom tiles (by the community) and sprites (by me), to the eyes of someone not in the RPG Maker community, it looks the same as the garbage low-effort games you'd see on Steam. It's a shame because I actually like the RTP style, since it reminds me of the GBA-era Pokemon games.

Online Presence and Target Audience
Gate of Providence had essentially no marketing or online presence. People would only see the occasional screenshot in the weekly screenshot thread on r/rpgmaker. The trailer was made after the game was already completed, resulting in little to no hype. The website, twitter account, and devblog did not exist either. This was mostly because all my time was devoted towards developing the game itself. I still need to work on this, as evident by my very infrequent devblog posts.

The game was also exclusively marketed towards the RPG Maker community, mainly because of the RTP sentiment. For the most part, I feel the game has done okay with views/downloads, but the amount of feedback I got was disappointing. The forum thread I posted on rpgmakerweb has been viewed 1200+ times, but it does not have a single reply. Analytics from itch.io show that the game is being downloaded via rpgmakerweb referral, but I don't know how far people are getting into the game. The entry on rpgmaker.net was much better, though many comments were about not being able to run the game due to missing DirectX or some other dependency, which honestly was quite a shock. Even my grandpa's computer has those required files already installed!


What Went Right
Completion
The completion of Gate of Providence marks an important milestone for me personally. It is my first large/epic project that has attained completion. Dreamshot Dissonance was my actual first complete game, but that was required for a class. Gate of Providence was created on my own volition, with no pressure like grades or monetary gain driving me to finish the game.

Creating the game took three years. In those years, I was able to practice game design, level design and mapping, balancing, programming, art (digital and pixel), writing, and worldbuilding.

Worldbuilding
Many players enjoyed the worldbuilding and lore. This game was my first attempt at creating a world and I feel I did a decent job. It was fun writing lore books, even though not many people actually read them. They made the world feel bigger as they lay out the history of the world and other topics that non-player characters would not normally talk about in daily conversations. (When was the last time YOU casually talked about a historical event outside of an academic setting?) Players liked the down-to-earth feeling of the world as well, with much of the game being low-stakes.

Combat / Anima System
The combat system has also received some praise from players. For those who have not played the game yet, combat in Gate of Providence focuses on using skills that spend a resource called Anima. Every skill has a period of turns that the skill cannot be used again after being used, called Cooldown. Players can pick and choose skills they want to bring into battle. This lets players come up with their own strategies to suit their preferences. This diverges from the standard JRPG-style combat, where players focus on the "Attack" command and use skills only when needed (pretty much against bosses) to conserve MP. Since Anima resets every battle, there is no point in conserving for the long-term, so players can go all out with skills.

What I should have done was remove the "Attack" command completely. It was included to ease players coming from a JRPG background into the Anima combat system, but it led to some players using "Attack" continuously without realizing that it was not meant to be used frequently. For the sequel, I will follow through with removing the basic attack.


Other Thoughts
Experimental Development, Large Projects, and Scope
Gate of Providence was originally made as a test game when I learning how to use RPG Maker VX Ace. After making a minimum viable product (MVP), I expanded the game to include more features, such as puzzles and a deeper combat system. You can see this by the various amount of puzzles that exist in the game, such as crumbling floors, logic gates, Simon, tile flipping, stealth, etc. This was also how the "Mercenary Request" system came to be, where the majority of the gameplay comes from quests from villagers.

After finishing an aspect of the game, the scope of the game was expanded to fit more content. The scope of the game kept on growing, and I kept on adding quests and puzzles. The game ended up being super long, even without combat padding game time. Many parts of the game were done, scrapped, and redone. Eria and the main quest, in particular, was made three times. All building interiors were redone as well, to incorporate a new tileset.

Game Length
I feel a lot of people are put off by the length of the game. Nowadays not many people are willing to spend tens of hours into an one-off game, let alone an indie game no one knows about. I will not be making long games again, mainly for this reason, but also because it takes a long time to develop. My target length would be around 4-5 hours maximum, which is about 2-3 movies worth of time.

This game took too long to make. Time spent on making a game does not equal quality, and also making shorter games also means I could make more games. Of course, there's "quality over quantity" but it's not like you can't try for both.

Unfinished Stories and Cryptic Content
One aspect of the game players disliked was Theresa and her quests. Players felt that she was only there to be cute and her quests didn't have any importance. This is not the intention - Theresa and her story was just poorly implemented. Her story ended up being WAY too cryptic. It was meant to be foreshadowing something big in games to come, but it didn't work out. I hope to retify this with a sequel, which will focus more on Theresa and her importance to the overall storyline.

Save Points
Players could only save at designated save points (save statues) that also acted as fast travel beacons. They were good for making the player explore the world, but it also meant that players would have to redo some progress if they got a game over. They also prevented the player from softlocking themselves if they couldn't figure out a puzzle or beat an enemy. However, the enemies and puzzles ended up not being hard enough to warrant having save points. This is a feature I will most likely not include in future games.

Grinding and Crafting Systems
Balancing a grindy aspect of the game is difficult, because everyone has different patience levels. Making an activity grindy but rewarding could mean more people will do it, but those with a lot of patience will be rewarded greatly. A Let's Player demonstrated this when he discovered the ore rocks in Elysian Forest, the very first area of the game. Before even starting the quest to liberate the Residential District (which essentially opens up the rest of the game), he grinded for around 40 minutes, acquiring over 80 copper and 80 tin (materials for bronze bars, which needs to mined individually), 50 wolf pelts, and gems worth 790K gold (1M is the max gold cap)! Later in the game, he discovered the games room and proceeded to play until he bought 99 (max stack) of EVERYTHING in the rewards shop. The result was that he had no troubles with gold for the rest of the game, and he was able to afford any item he wanted. My expectation was that people would only gather materials when they needed some, and fight enemies only because they were caught. The rewards were balanced for this situation and as a result people who actually grinded made everything too easy. A possible solution would be some sort of anti-grind mechanic, but I felt it wouldn't be fair to punish people for just playing my game for extended periods of time.

Crafting systems allow for an optional grind. Players could gather materials and make equipment and items, saving themselves gold or even making gold if they decide to sell the crafted goods. However, I feel crafting systems have been overdone, especially in RPG Maker games which add them just to have them. It works okay for Gate of Providence because it is sort of an open world game, but for most games I don't think they have a place. I think crafting in Gate of Providence could be improved further if I incorporated monster loot into crafting recipes, and revamped methods of gathering raw materials.

Sequel Talk
I talked about a potential sequel multiple times in this postmortem. While not totally confirmed, it is something I'm highly considering. A rough story concept has been drafted. It'll probably be made after I release 3-4 other games. Gameplay-wise, it will focus more on battles and a main story, and less on puzzles and sidequests. It will also not be as open world as Gate of Providence was, and will likely not have any sort of crafting. More importance will be placed on Gold and shops.


Conclusion
The development of Gate of Providence has truly been a journey. This massive undertaking has provided everyone involved with lots of experience, and I hope that our future games will be as good, if not better than Gate of Providence. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
  • Completed
  • Xehryn
  • RPG Maker VX Ace
  • Adventure RPG
  • 03/19/2018 01:13 AM
  • 08/25/2018 11:38 PM
  • 11/30/2017
  • 16926
  • 11
  • 577

Posts

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Got this trying to open game.

Script "8" line 654:Runtime error occurred
Load Library xinput 1_3

Will start over and try again.
author=dnel57
Got this trying to open game.

Script "8" line 654:Runtime error occurred
Load Library xinput 1_3

Will start over and try again.


You need to install DirectX. Here's a link. Typically people already have it, but sometimes people don't.
I'm just before fighting Taal and I think I've gotten everything except the Dragon Armor, where can I obtain the Rare-Herb Tea?
author=Frejo
I'm just before fighting Taal and I think I've gotten everything except the Dragon Armor, where can I obtain the Rare-Herb Tea?


Rare-Herb Tea is part of a trading sequence. I have a walkthrough for the Dragon Armor on my website. If you want to figure it out yourself, just make sure you have an Avatar Heart, a Strange Token, and Dragon Hide. The NPCs you need to trade with are all indoors.
Well, I think I've done everything now (though I'm still missing the achievement about activating all the statues, though I'm pretty sure I didn't miss any). Overall its a great game!

Story wise, I think it was nice how there wasn't a whole lot of exposition from the characters themselves but instead it mostly came from books you could read (though sometimes it feels a little bit chaotic since each book generally details specific events/traditions). There also was a fair bit of character backstory and interaction in the sidequests.

Gameplay wise (I played on Lunatic), I would say The World and Judgement are way too strong, with proper buffs and debuffs Judgement can one-shot almost every single boss in the game, and The World gives you a whole 5 turns to set it up (once you get past mid-game, you can defeat a lot of bosses without ever giving them a chance to attack). The Rooster stance+Death combo also kinda trivializes any non-boss single enemy encounter. On the other hand the Ram stance and The Hierophant feel pretty weak. Pan's Ring is also way too strong on Ne'l in my opinion, since he can combine it with The Chariot to reduce most of his cooldowns to 2-4 turns.

Finally, I believe the Dive Battles are way too easy since you access them when you've probably already beaten everything else in the game (plus in this game there really isn't any kind of significant penalty involved in successive battles), plus you also have the powerups. The unique rewards that you can obtain from it are also kinda useless since, again, you probably already beat every other boss in the game. A suggestion I have would be to make them available earlier in the game, and maybe changing it to simply fighting empowered versions of the bosses to obtain rewards (ie you fight Pascal, Elena and Victor at the same time and you get the Skirmisher Armor if you beat them).
author=Frejo
Well, I think I've done everything now (though I'm still missing the achievement about activating all the statues, though I'm pretty sure I didn't miss any). Overall its a great game!

Story wise, I think it was nice how there wasn't a whole lot of exposition from the characters themselves but instead it mostly came from books you could read (though sometimes it feels a little bit chaotic since each book generally details specific events/traditions). There also was a fair bit of character backstory and interaction in the sidequests.

Gameplay wise (I played on Lunatic), I would say The World and Judgement are way too strong, with proper buffs and debuffs Judgement can one-shot almost every single boss in the game, and The World gives you a whole 5 turns to set it up (once you get past mid-game, you can defeat a lot of bosses without ever giving them a chance to attack). The Rooster stance+Death combo also kinda trivializes any non-boss single enemy encounter. On the other hand the Ram stance and The Hierophant feel pretty weak. Pan's Ring is also way too strong on Ne'l in my opinion, since he can combine it with The Chariot to reduce most of his cooldowns to 2-4 turns.

Finally, I believe the Dive Battles are way too easy since you access them when you've probably already beaten everything else in the game (plus in this game there really isn't any kind of significant penalty involved in successive battles), plus you also have the powerups. The unique rewards that you can obtain from it are also kinda useless since, again, you probably already beat every other boss in the game. A suggestion I have would be to make them available earlier in the game, and maybe changing it to simply fighting empowered versions of the bosses to obtain rewards (ie you fight Pascal, Elena and Victor at the same time and you get the Skirmisher Armor if you beat them).


Thanks for the feedback and thanks for playing!

Have you fought the superboss yet?
author=Xehryn
Thanks for the feedback and thanks for playing!

Have you fought the superboss yet?


Yeah, I did as soon as she became available, wasn't too bad, except for the fact that other than Judgement most of my other attacks didn't really deal much damage. I just repeatedly used Judgement while stalling while it was on cooldown. For the shadows I just pinned them down with statuses (Poison, Sleep, Paralysis and Stun) until they died of Poison damage. The fight would probably have gone much faster if I had obtained Pan's Ring beforehand.
I get this error whenever I try to use the quest log



Do you think it has something to do with me using a gamepad? (X360 Controller)
I get this whenever I try to open the game


Script '90' line 19: RuntimeError occurred.
LoadLibrary: System/F1AltEnterF12.dll
author=kalledemos
I get this error whenever I try to use the quest log



Do you think it has something to do with me using a gamepad? (X360 Controller)

That's interesting... I don't think it has anything to do with controllers, since quite a bit of players have used it. How far are you into the game?

author=Antcat
I get this whenever I try to open the game


Script '90' line 19: RuntimeError occurred.
LoadLibrary: System/F1AltEnterF12.dll

Please ensure that the dll is inside the System folder and nothing is tampered with. If something is missing you might need to redownload. If it still doesn't work, you might need to install this. Usually most people already have it installed (like with DirectX) from other programs/games. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
author=Xehryn
author=kalledemos
I get this error whenever I try to use the quest log



Do you think it has something to do with me using a gamepad? (X360 Controller)
That's interesting... I don't think it has anything to do with controllers, since quite a bit of players have used it. How far are you into the game?

I'm at the beginning of chapter 1; just got the mission to find the brute.

author=kalledemos
author=Xehryn
author=kalledemos
I get this error whenever I try to use the quest log



Do you think it has something to do with me using a gamepad? (X360 Controller)
That's interesting... I don't think it has anything to do with controllers, since quite a bit of players have used it. How far are you into the game?
I'm at the beginning of chapter 1; just got the mission to find the brute.



Hmm... This is definitely some sort of rare glitch with the quest log. Could you try sending me your save file?

Hopefully if you aren't too far in, you could try starting a new file... Otherwise you can just continue without using the Quest Log.
author=kalledemos
Here's my save:

https://rpgmaker.net/media/content/users/14072/locker/Save03.rvdata2


This is very strange. I'm able to open the Quest Log without any problems. Maybe try opening the Quest Log again? Sorry that this is happening. If you'd like to keep playing I could put an online version of the Quest Log on my website.
Hello, Im stuck in Elysium, what I need to find here? I cant go back once I entered this place, Ne'l says that we need to check everything. And I dont understand what. I found 6 books and thats all, help me pls
author=TakamotoYukia
Hello, Im stuck in Elysium, what I need to find here? I cant go back once I entered this place, Ne'l says that we need to check everything. And I dont understand what. I found 6 books and thats all, help me pls


There's two more books; make sure to check indoors as well.
author=Xehryn
author=TakamotoYukia
Hello, Im stuck in Elysium, what I need to find here? I cant go back once I entered this place, Ne'l says that we need to check everything. And I dont understand what. I found 6 books and thats all, help me pls
There's two more books; make sure to check indoors as well.

everything is okay, maybe it was a lag lst time, i could not open 2 chests,idk why. Thanks again
Hi, could you please tell me where to find refining powder?
author=canim
Hi, could you please tell me where to find refining powder?


It's a quest reward from the mercenary request "Force of Nature". You will need to finish the request "Rocky Liberation" and chapter 3 to unlock it.
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