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Game Design

The Locker - Developer Insight 1

Greetings Vampire Hunters!

Today's blog is going to be a bit different. I'm going to be changing how I make blog posts moving forward, but don't worry! I'll still keep you up to date on all the cool new things that I'm working on.

Moving forward, the blog post scheduled for the 15th of the month will not actually be a progress report, but instead a blog depicting some of the insights of the developer (me). This could be anything from the reasons I started this project, why I made some development choices, how I created certain functionality, or even a Q and A if I get more questions that could be answered in a blog format. However, the blog post released on the last day of the month will still be a progress report, and will include all the changes and progress that was made during that month, rather than just a two week period.

So with that, let's jump in! Our topic today? The loot system. I'll probably make a couple different blogs diving into this topic, since it is a completely unique feature for a game made with this platform (to my knowledge). The loot system is entirely custom, and I've yet to see something quite like this made with RMVX. Ace had some pretty unique systems, and I've seen a lot done with the newer engines, but I've always used VX, and I've found that there's little that can't be done with the engine if you know what you're doing.

Today, I'd like to share some insight as to why I made certain design choices surrounding this system. Next month I'll probably dive more into how the system actually works, but for now let's talk about one particular feature that this system enables: the Locker.

Once you get past the opening sequence, you gain access to three storage lockers. One is for gold, and is entirely evented. Another allows you to store and retrieve up to 10 weapons, armors, and items that you find (also a custom system that was actually a byproduct of the loot system). And the last one allows you to store ONE weapon and ONE armor, but with a unique caveat: the items stored in this locker can be retrieved from ANY save file. If you put something in this locker on File 1, you can retrieve it from File 3.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about how I made this system, but it involved adjusting how the game saves and loads weapon and armor data. At any rate, with this system you could find a Legendary weapon on one file, but eventually your characters will become too high of a level for it to be relevant. Now, you can stash this weapon and use the Locker to move it over to a new save file when you become a high enough level to use it on the new file. That way, if you find a great weapon, the amount of time you get to spend using it can be expanded indefinitely.

That's great, and it's a very unique feature for this engine, but there's a problem. This allows for item duplication. How so? Well, if you saved your game in two separate slots, you could load one file, transfer a weapon into the locker, load the other file, and retrieve it from that one, thereby giving yourself a duplicate item with very little effort and no bugs or cheating. So, how do you fix this?

Well, my solution was to limit how you can save the game. When you start a new file, you get an account. You can only save to that one account. The account cannot be overwritten by other files, and you cannot change which slot that account is saved to. Essentially, you get one save file per playthrough. If you want a second save file, you need to start a new game. This prompted two more necessary changes. First, I had to ensure that you could erase your save file to make room for new files, since normally you could just save over old files. This was simple, and just meant including an "Erase" option from the main menu. The second change, however, was to ensure that players could never softlock the game.

The problem with limited save systems is typically softlocks. If you get stuck, but you've saved your game, you can't reload an older save. There can only be one. So, this meant removing game overs entirely. I had to spend quite a bit of time considering how I would canonically include respawns to the game, and I kind of just realized that it wasn't important to the canon of the game. So, I recoded how lost battles are processed. Instead of triggering a game over, the player is simply warped back to the home base. But this prompted yet another challenge: how do you make lost battles something punishing and to be avoided when you hardly lose any progress? I considered having the player lose everything they were carrying, but if you had found a really rare weapon or armor in your travels and lost it due to a bad encounter, that would really suck.

In the end, I went with lost battles costing the player all their held gold and consumable items. This further improved the usefulness of the already-implemented storage systems, as now you had a reason to stash gold if you felt the risk of a lost battle was fairly high. Stored gold is not lost, nor are stored items.

Now, there's one more feature that was prompted by the inclusion of the Locker. Level requirements. The idea was that you could find a high powered weapon at level 99, transfer it over to a new file, and have a level 1 character use it. That wasn't something I wanted to have happen, as it would essentially invalidate that special weapon you found at level 20, which was the whole point of the Locker in the first place, extending the usefulness of early game rare items. So, to that end, I added a level requirement for weapons and armor to ensure this system couldn't be cheesed. It's still pretty useful, and accomplishes its goal, but I wanted to share with you how implementing one system can necessitate the implementation of others, and how no one system works on its own, but rather in conjunction with all the other systems surrounding it.

I'll close this by saying that while this solves the majority of the problems, there are still workarounds. You can still technically duplicate items, granting yourself infinite money or a full set of super powerful gear. Will I tell you how to do it? Nope. If you can figure out how, awesome, good for you. You earned it. But keep in mind, if it isn't something that I've included in the normal gameplay, it is technically a cheat in this context. It's your save file, you can do what you want, but I do want to make that totally clear from the developers perspective.

Anyway, that's it for this mid-month blog! See you all again at the end of September for the next progress report!

Progress Report

The Elites and Eleston - Progress Report 4

Good evening Vampire Hunters!

Trying out a new introductory phrase, let's see how that goes.

Well, this month has been pretty productive, honestly. Especially the last half. Life has been extremely busy outside of gammak, so I haven't been able to gammak every day, but I got a lot done in the time that I had. For starters...

Eleston is finished!

Once you've finished the first dungeon (available in the demo), you'll get access to three more dungeons that can be completed in any order. One of them is Eleston, an overrun city swarming with Vampires and their minions. For the last two (three?) months, I've been hard at work developing the maps and cutscenes for this dungeon. This seven floor dungeon has twenty-one maps that comprise it, and each map took on average around two hours to complete, so this dungeon basically took a full work week to map out, plus the time spent developing cutscenes for the introduction, the boss fight, and the return to Hollow Keep, and from four different perspectives at that! Needless to say, I'm pleased that it's finally finished and I can move on to the next one! What dungeon will I work on next? Well, you'll have to wait for the next progress report to find out!

What else is new for the month of August? Well, I decided to add some functionality that I'd been considering, but never fully implemented yet. That functionality is...

Elite enemies! If you've ever played Diablo, you'll be familiar with this concept. To begin, I changed the way that enemies spawn, so that instead of having specific troops with specific enemy sets, there is now one troop for every enemy type. In that troop, you'll have one common enemy of that type (let's say Goblins, for example), then a 50% chance to spawn a second enemy of a random type. That type has a 50% chance of being normal, 10% chance each of being Fire, Ice, Shock, or Weak element, and a 10% chance of being Elite. This then repeats for two more enemies, leading to a total of four possible enemies in any given encounter, with randomly selected elements! Only the second and third enemies can be Elite, however, never the first or the fourth.

Now that we've covered the new way that enemies spawn, what are Elite enemies? Simply put, they're a stronger version of the common enemy. They have all around stronger stats, access to Fire, Ice, and Shock magic, a Weak element physical attack, and no inherent weaknesses. But that's not all. Every time an Elite enemy spawns, they will have a unique affix that affects every enemy in that troop. They could have the Regenerator affix, like in the picture above, which causes all enemies to regenerate 5% of their max HP per turn. Or they could have the Explosive affix, which causes all allies to take damage every time they kill an enemy in that battle. There are six affixes so far, and I can easily add more as I think of them. Also, if two Elites spawn in one battle, they both get affixes, and similar affixes have stackable abilities. With these new enemies, there's a chance that your regular boring old encounter will get much more challenging.

But what's the point, you may ask? Just to make the game harder? Nay. There are rewards for defeating Elite enemies. Normal enemies only have a small chance to drop uncommon or common loot, but Elite enemies are different. Every time you kill an Elite enemy, they will be guaranteed to drop at least one item, and possibly two. And every item they drop will be Rare (Blue) rarity or better. These enemies are now great ways to get some really powerful equipment, or rare and useful items!

That's quite a few really good changes, and some great progress for the month! But is that all? Not quite!

I've also launched a YouTube playlist called the Thrall Developers Showcase. I am by no means an expert at creating videos, and I honestly don't even have a microphone yet, but I plan on releasing at least one video every two weeks showcasing some of the development aspects of Thrall! The first video is already up, and showcases the skill tree of Damien, and especially his Overkill skill. Some of these videos may be showcases of different game mechanics, some may reveal my mapping process, others may actually just be videos of me describing my thoughts as I went into developing this game. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, send me a message or comment on this blog post and I'll probably answer them in a video at some point. The first video is available in the Media page of this game profile.

Anyway, that's all for the month of August! See you all again mid September!

Progress Report

Playtesting Works - Progress Report 3

It's blog time!

So, I've been making some progress. Still not as much as I'd like, things have been rough the last month. But things are starting to come together, and I've been able to resume a somewhat-normal development schedule again. I'm not doing game dev every day like I used to, but I'm slowly getting back to that point. I've returned to work, at any rate, which does bring a sort of normalcy to life again, and allows me to have a more consistent schedule, so working habits into my daily routines should be a lot smoother now. With that said, let's go over some of what's new in the development of Thrall!

So I finished several more maps in the second dungeon, I've got less than ten left to do now. Two weeks tops and those will be done. Same with the cutscenes, I have half of the cutscenes in that dungeon completed as well. I should be able to have Eleston finished by the end of August. I was aiming for the end of July, but that obviously didn't happen for... reasons. But I'm making steady progress, and I'm back on track now.

In addition to that, however, I did some work re-arranging the skill trees. Now, the trees are a little more symmetrical, properly center aligned, and most importantly they all have names!

Now, each individual branch of each characters skill trees has a sub-class identifier. Why? Simple, to make it easier to communicate among players how they've specced their characters, as well as give some identity to the specializations. For example, if Lionel is specced into his "Soldier" tree, you're more focused on weapon specializations and damage dealing. Whereas the "Medic" tree focuses much heavier on healing and team support. Now yes, the skills themselves tend to provide this sort of identity without being explicitly named, but I found that this gives a little more clarity as to the focus of each tree, and adds a little extra flavor that wasn't there before.

Coming out of these changes, I had my brother do a playtest of the game so far. We've chatted about the game pretty heavily, and he's a big fan of both the Borderlands and Diablo series, so I figured he'd be a great playtester, falling right under my target audience. And his feedback was not wasted! I made several changes as a result of some of the oversights he'd pointed out. I've always heard it said, "pay more attention to how your players play rather than what they say," which is great advice if you can be in the room when someone is playing your game, but not so great for online feedback. This being the first time I got to witness a playtest, I learned a ton about assumptions that players make as opposed to the developer knowledge that I possess. So, with that in mind, what else did I change?

First of all, I added a cooldown timer for Action Skills. Now, there's a number that will appear next to the skill names that indicates how many turns are left before the skill can be used again. This also makes it a lot easier to see the passive effects of certain skills. Aside from that, I reduced the rate at which enemies drop loot (again), driving more focus on getting loot from chests as opposed to monsters, leading to less inventory management and more time spend playing the game.

I also noticed that my brother had an especially difficult time staying alive, and was not finding many healing items. To that end, I added three healing items to the starting inventory, and added more weight to healers when finding items in loot. Along that same vein, I found that my brother never used status healing items. You know, the things that remove Burn or Freeze status. I got to thinking, what would make those items more useful?

My first thought was to increase the duration of the status effects, but that could have unintended consequences. First of all, it might not actually encourage item usage, and only cause frustration. Second, it could upset the balance of other areas of the game. So, my alternate solution was to make status healing items add a temporary elemental resistance and status immunity in addition to healing the status. Now, when you use a Fire Cherry, not only will you cure Burn status, but you'll gain 20% Fire resistance and immunity to Burn for 10 turns. Suddenly, these items are not just reactive, but can instead be proactive items. Facing an enemy with Fire attacks? Use a Cherry and gain the upper hand.

What else? Well, I noticed that my brother was consistently getting confused about enemy weaknesses and resistances due to the health bars. And it makes sense, I sometimes get confused myself, but since I made the game I didn't realize how much more confusing it would be to someone else. So, I changed the way that enemy weaknesses and resistances are identified. Enemies will still have their HP bar change color, but now that color represents the enemy RESISTANCE. Not weakness. In other words, an enemy with Blue HP resists Ice. Enemies with Purple HP resist Shock. Etc. However, enemy WEAKNESSES are instead identified by the shape of the cursor when targeting that enemy. Oh, you're targeting an enemy, and the cursor looks like a fireball? Maybe try a Fire attack against that enemy. This was my solution for Colorblind mode, but is now available in any game mode.

And the last major change I made was the ability to unequip weapons and armor. I had to remove that functionality early on due to how this loot system works, but after a day of coding I managed to re-enable it, so now you can completely unequip your characters if you choose to. Why would you do this? Well, let's say one of your allies is at low HP, but all your REGEN armors are on another ally and you've got nothing to swap them with. Now, no problem. Just unequip the ally, move the items over, and swap them that way. Problem solved.

I made some other minor adjustments such as changing text color in certain places and reducing the material costs for crafting, but none of those are noteworthy enough to go into detail over. Regardless, the last two weeks have seen some decent progress, albeit more on the coding side rather than the dungeon creation and story development side. That's about all for this update, so I'll see you all again at the end of the month!

Progress Report

Moving Ever Onward - Progress Report 2

Hi guys.

It's been a full month since the last progress report. I was going to have a regular release schedule on the 15th and the last day of every month, but life took a pretty dark turn in July. I haven't been able to spend as much time working on Thrall this month as I'd like, but I guess I should be happy with what I've managed to do.

If you saw the user statuses this month, you may have seen the reason why, but I'll explain it here as well. On July 9th, my dad unexpectedly passed away due to a heart disease that nobody knew about. He was only 68, and looked and acted like he was in his early 50's. He was one of the most lively and vibrant people I knew, and we were very close, meeting up usually once a week if not more. There's been a lot to do with settling his estate, planning a celebration of life, and just learning how to live without him. My siblings and some other extended family have really banded together and have been a huge support, but there's really no way to process something like this quickly. I've still had to work full time around this as well, and carry on with living a normal life, so I've been busy to say the least. I'm still working through it all, and it's not going to be a fast process. Because of all of this, I haven't been able to keep up with the development of Thrall as much as I'd like, but I was still able to get a few things done that I'm proud of. And honestly, this project has really helped me to focus my mind and pour my energy into something constructive as opposed to just sitting on the couch all day playing video games. My dad wouldn't have wanted me to stop living or stop working on things that I'm passionate about, so in an effort to carry on his wishes and make him proud, I'm going to continue doing whatever work I can on this game and ultimately see this project through to completion.

So yeah. Life kind of sucked in July. But, I do want to share with you some of what I did accomplish, as well as touch on some subjects relating to the premise of this game's development. So, let's kick it off.

One of the things I did was revamp some of the unique rare weapons and armors, and add a few new ones. I've re-coded the "Fiend" staff, so now it has a completely different effect. Now, it will randomly change elements with every hit. This works beautifully with Mel's left skill tree, as she can change her buffs based on what element the staff changes to. I also added a new axe called the Gravity which cuts your DEF stat in half, but increases your DMG stat by the reduced amount. I've had some neat innovations with different bits of code that I'm really proud of, and I can't wait to bring them to you in a finished product.

I also wrote some new code for boss fights relating to the HP bar script. Now, there's double boss functionality. I modified the script to allow for multiple boss HP bars to be displayed at the top of the screen with proper spacing, and even allow for respawns while keeping the HP bars original coordinates. That's a bit technical, but basically it means you can expect to see some pretty interesting dynamic duos in the boss fights later on.

I added a bunch more maps for Eleston, but did not reach my goal of finishing that dungeon by the end of the month. I also added a ton of cutscenes for that dungeon, and it's one of the most interesting narrative points I've ever written in any game I've ever made. I don't want to spoil it, but it's a pretty intense set of cutscenes.

Anyway, that's actually about all I was able to accomplish this month. Not as much as I'd hoped at the start of July, but probably more than I could have expected to get done given the circumstances. With that in mind, however, I wanted to take this time to explain something about why I decided to make this game, and why I chose to implement certain mechanics the way I did.

So, Thrall is a loot-driven turn-based RPG. It's based heavily on the loot system from the Borderlands series, with random dungeon generation similar to the Mystery Dungeon series but inspired by the Diablo games. Now, all of those games are great, but two of them in particular had some pretty glaring flaws that I wanted to rectify in my own game. The first flaw was from the Borderlands series, and specifically Borderlands 2 and onward. In that game, Legendary weapons and armors had unique effects that made them drastically different from common items, with such varied effects that could literally change the entire way you play the game and build your character. Oh, you found a Harold pistol with a Bee shield? Boom, change your build to focus on shield recharge rate and fire rate, don't worry too much about gun damage. Oh, what's that? You found a wicked rocket launcher that has massive explosive damage? Great, change your build to focus on blast damage and reload speed. The gear you found would strongly encourage experimentation with new builds and equipment, and could lead to drastically different playstyles. Except... there was one problem. Named enemies could drop SPECIFIC Legendary items if you farmed them enough. What did this mean? Well, if you knew exactly which enemy dropped the exact item you wanted for your ONE specific build that you like, then you could just farm that enemy 100 times every time you gain a few levels to get a better version of that item. Now, experimentation goes out the window. So does fun. Now, instead of simply PLAYING the game and hoping you'll find something good, you're spending hours FARMING for something that will match your build, and you're not trying any new builds because why would you have to? Just kill Boll 100 times until you get a new explosive Fastball. That'll get you through the next 10 levels.

Now contrast that with a game like Diablo 3. In that game, ANY enemy could drop just about ANY item at ANY time, with a few minor and inconsequential exceptions. Now, you're encouraged to simply play the game, and along the way you'll find new and better gear for your character. There's not much point in farming one specific boss or enemy, because they won't drop specific loot (except for things like Leoric's Crown, which who really cares?). But, there's still a problem. In Diablo 3, most Legendary equipment doesn't really have a radically different effect. For the most part, you'll just end up using whatever gives you the highest damage per second. Maybe you'll slightly adjust your build to do Fire damage instead of Lightning, or focus a little more on skills with cooldowns as opposed to resource spenders, but at the end of the day, a sword is a sword is a sword is a sword. One Legendary weapon doesn't typically give you a radically different playstyle, which means you'll likely be using pretty similar builds throughout the entire game until you get to the late game stuff like Nephilim Rifts.

So, on the one hand you have a system that has radically different loot that encourages experimentation, but allows for farming which DISCOURAGES experimentation and playing the actual game. On the other hand you have a system that doesn't really allow for much farming, encouraging playing the actual game and making use of whatever you find on your journey, but doesn't have such radically different loot as to really make experimentation all that important. How to fix this?

Well, that's what I'm going for with Thrall. In Thrall, the weapons and armors with unique effects can have some RADICALLY different effects and usage, but no one enemy will drop any specific item. This means that you get what you get. No point in farming a specific enemy or boss, just play the game and you'll find better gear. But because the effects are so different, you may be encouraged to respec your characters and try new builds with the gear you find, leading to very different playstyles with each run of the game.

For example, say you find a Legendary Reaper axe. This buffs your CRIT chance by a massive 35%, but gives you a 10% damage recoil. In other words, any damage you deal to an enemy, you'll take 10% of that damage yourself. Now, you may want to focus on speccing your character into high max HP and critical hit damage, but equip armors that provide decent HP regen. Ah, but what's this? A sword called the Atlas? Ah, so if you spend a turn to Defend, your next attack with this sword deals 50% more damage. Okay, so with this sword, I'll spec into Defend skills, things that provide passive buffs like perfect accuracy or HP regen when using Defend, as well as things that buff my total damage, and I'll equip armors that provide bonuses to things like Action Skill Cooldown, or halving the chance of getting hit with critical hits.

It's not a perfect system by any means, but I think this solves the issues present in the games I mentioned. You're not grinding out specific enemies, you're simply playing the game and making use of whatever you find. You're also not stuck using the same build throughout the entire playthrough, and you're encouraged to experiment with your builds. And because the equipment can have radically different effects, it's not simply a matter of buffing your stats as high as possible, but adds some creativity and uniqueness to the gameplay.

So that's what I'm going for with the development of Thrall. And honestly, most of the mechanics are already in place. Now it's just a matter of creating the dungeons and the cutscenes and story. Let me know what you think! What kind of equipment systems do you like to see in games, and what are some of the pitfalls that certain games fall into with their systems? What are the solutions to those pitfalls? I'd love to hear the thoughts of the community. And since I'm back into development, I'll try to resume my blog release schedule, so I'll see you all again on the 15th of August!

Progress Report

Thrall Demo Re-Vamped! (Ha, get it? Like "Vampires"?)

It's the end of June! That means it's BLOG TIIIIME!

So, this month has seen some pretty crazy developments for Thrall! HUGE thanks to Red_Nova, d7Gaming, and the RTP (Rarely Typical Players) crew for doing streams of this game and providing their feedback. It was definitely taken to heart, and a lot of changes have been implemented. Which brings me to the next announcement...

Thrall demo v0.4 is now available!

I know I said I wouldn't be releasing demo after demo, but in this case I think it's worth it. While I do NOT intend to release countless demos which basically include additional story content (thereby essentially making an episodic game), I think it's important that the content that the demo DOES contain properly reflects what the final release will look like. A lot of the mechanics, story, and overall game functionality has been heavily modified, so this demo reflects that. No additional story content has been added, just a huge remodel of the existing content.

So, what's been changed? A ton. I'm going to hide the updates in a spoiler tag to condense the post size, but there really aren't any spoilers. It's only a 2 hour long demo, after all.


First, let's go over some of the changes that have been made to enemies. Starting with the Spider boss, I've removed the slimes that spawn in with him. While I do believe it's necessary for bosses to have minions due to how many Kill Skills you can unlock, it's not necessary for such an early game boss to have them, at least not on the first playthrough. In addition, I've modified how the HP is displayed for this boss. Instead of fully healing between each phase, his HP properly reflects how much damage you've done throughout the fight, but he does have the same actual HP that the first version had. This just makes it clearer that you're actually making progress towards killing it, but doesn't actually change the gameplay.

In addition, I've added a chance for weapon wielding enemies (Thralls mostly) to spawn with an elemental weapon. Now, Thralls may have a chance to inflict elemental damage and status ailments, increasing the need to actually use status healing items.


Now, moving on from enemies to talking about loot. I've increased the drop rarity during the prologue to provide a better variety of loot, instead of useless common items. In addition, I modified the levels of dropped loot to a 10/80/10 ratio. What this means is that 10% of the time, the dropped item will be one level below the average party level. 10% of the time it will be one level above, and 80% of the time the dropped loot will be at your level. This means a lot less waiting around to use the items you find, and you can just equip them right away, but you can still find something that you may need to work for on rare occasions.

Also, I've nerfed the drop rate for loot. By like, a lot. It used to be that EVERY enemy you killed would drop 2 items. This means that if you fight 3 enemies, you're getting SIX items after EVERY battle. That's a lot of time spent in menus, looking at and comparing loot, most of which is complete garbage. Now, every enemy only has a 10% chance to drop ONE item. After testing this out, it actually seems to work just fine. The majority of loot now comes from chests and item bags. You're still not hurting for loot, and what you DO find is typically actually worth using. This means a lot less time spent in the menu and equip screens, and more time spent playing the game.

And while we're on the subject of comparing loot, I've modified the loot tables to better reflect game mechanics. Now there are large button prompts in the label windows that actually describe what you can do in those windows. L and R to scroll between categories, and X to compare. In every stream I watched, I don't think I saw ANYONE compare loot in the table even ONCE. So, now it's blatantly clear that you can actually do that.

OH! And I realigned the loot tables and equip scenes and changed the text color for stats. Now it's much more readable, properly aligned, and it's much clearer when an item is better or worse than what you've currently got.

Visual Language

Speaking of clarity, I noticed that a lot of players tended to ignore the chests in the first dungeon. That's my fault. The chests looked exactly like every other decoration in the area. Now, the chests are bright red, same as the items bags scattered throughout the dungeon. Basically, red means interactable. It should now be very clear what you can use and what's just for decoration.

But that's not all. I've also modified the tutorials. Instead of the characters blatantly shattering the fourth wall, the characters will say something relating to the game world, and a system message will pop up explaining the mechanics, assuming you've enabled tutorials. I've also made an effort to properly tutorialize mechanics that are unique to this game (such as what DEX does).

However, since I know a lot of players will tend to skip tutorials or forget them, I've included one other feature to help players learn the game. A guide. In the map room of the Hollow Keep, interacting with the bookshelf will open a guide that explains just about everything you could possibly want to know about the game. What do the status ailments do? How is loot generated? What do my stats mean? What does KNOCKBACK on this sword mean? What are the exact details on how this passive skill works? All of that is available in the Guide, and it's available at any time after the prologue.

I've also made some modifications to the Colorblind mode to fix some oversights regarding stat comparison and anything relating to text colors. If someone is actually colorblind and plays this game, I would love to know how effective this setting is, since I have no way of really knowing whether or not it works as intended.

Characters and Skills

Moving on to the characters, I've made some adjustments to both character personalities and skills trees. Mel was pretty bland as a character, so I've altered some of her dialogue to hopefully fix that. Problem is, I know how the character sounds in MY head, but not how she sounds in someone else's head. I had intended for her to be kind of a nerd. Really into research and sciency stuff, almost to the point of being oblivious to her current situation, but not so much of a nerd that she has no social skills. I wanted her to have empathy with both her friends and foes, but have a burning curiosity that can sometimes override that empathy. I hope I was able to successfully communicate that this time, but it might take more diving into the story to really flesh that out.

As for skill trees, almost everyone has had a bit of an overhaul. Lionel and Brutus are mostly the same, save for some buffs and nerfs to existing skills, but Damien has had a couple skills switch places entirely. His mid-tier and capstone abilities have switched places in the right tree, and Mel has had her entire right skill tree almost completely remodeled. Her focus on her personal skills is now based on RESISTING status ailments, and gaining buffs when she successfully does so.

Speaking of status resistance, I've actually modified the armor resistances of elements and statuses. Now, instead of halving the damage or chance of application for each armor piece, it reduces it by 20% instead. Cumulative, instead of multiplicative. Just balances things out a bit more.

Mechanics and Misc.
Now, moving on to some of the more fun stuff. I've implemented a simple crafting system for this game. Once you unlock the blacksmith, you can ask him to craft you a new weapon or armor, free of charge. Well, sort of. Crafting does not cost money. It DOES cost Materials, however. How do you get Materials? By Salvaging any leftover loot. Now, when you discard loot from a chest or enemy, you won't simply "Discard" it, but rather "Salvage" it into a generic Material. The higher the rarity of the item, the more Materials it will produce. You can also now Salvage weapons and armors from the menu, instead of needing to enter a loot table to do it.

When you take these Materials to the blacksmith, you can trade them in for a new item. Here's the cool bit: you get to choose the rarity. Got 1000 Materials? You can make a Legendary weapon or Armor, free of charge. Got only 250? Make a rare one instead, maybe it'll be better than what you've currently got.

The idea behind this is that you could technically go hours between finding a good loot drop, since everything is random. It's not likely that would happen, but it could. Now, even if you don't FIND anything good, all the stuff you discard can be turned into something good that you can make yourself. It's a way of balancing the odds. Oh, you went six hours without finding a legendary? Well, now you have enough materials to go ahead and MAKE one. Feel like save scumming for a specific one? Who am I to tell you that you can't? You've earned it.

So, that's crafting, but there's still more. I've added a Difficulty slider to the Settings menu. I've had a wide range of feedback regarding difficulty. Some people died the moment they entered the first dungeon. Others just mashed space bar until the won. Some found it too challenging, and not fun, and others found it too easy, and not fun. Uh... games are supposed to be fun. So, to that end, there's now an adjustable difficulty. Enemies slaughtering you every turn? Tone down the difficulty a bit until you find some better stuff. Are you yawning through every battle? Crank that difficulty up! There's actually an incentive to do so! Higher difficulty means tougher enemies. Tougher enemies means better loot! The higher your difficulty, the higher the rarity of enemy item drops.

I've also modified the damage formulas. The old default RMVX damage formulas are fine for a typical RPG, but in a game like this where you can have WIDE stat ranges, it's easy to buff your DEF stat so high that you're literally not taking any damage from enemies. Now, damage formulas are a little more balanced. No matter how high your DEF or RES stats get, you'll never fully eliminate the damage dealt to you. Likewise, no matter how high an enemy's DEF stat gets, you'll always be able to damage them. Oh, make no mistake, you WANT high DEF stats. It does a lot to reduce the amount of damage you take. But you can't become invincible anymore. While that can be fun at times, it's not really intended for this game. As mentioned above, however, you can change the difficulty at any time if you find yourself taking too much damage.

Also, speaking of enemies and dungeons, I've modified the level requirement to trigger the Auto Kill function. You used to need to be 5 levels above enemies. Now, if you enable to function, you just need to be one level above enemies. And yes, enemies do scale to your level, but only to a certain point. Dungeons have a max level that enemies can spawn at. If you exceed the max level of the dungeon, you'll be able to trigger Auto Kill.

And finally, the last major change has to do with sound. I've replace all the sound effects in the game. No more RTP sounds. I bit the bullet and bought a sound effect generator so that I could create my own unique sound effects for this game. Personally, I've never played a game that used these effects, but maybe someone else has? Let me know. Either way, they're used a LOT less than the typical RTP sound effects, so hopefully it won't feel too samey.

And finally, I've fixed a large variety of bug fixes, graphical issues, and overall quality of life issues that were present in the initial release. No need to really go into detail with them, but you can check the Devlog blog post for more information if you're really curious.

Whoo! That's a lot of changes. There's more, but there's not much point in going into them, since you probably aren't likely to see them in the demo, even if they are present. Regardless, it's been a busy month, and I'm looking forward to diving back into dungeon creation, and getting the story back on track. Thanks again for everyone who played this game and offered feedback, you really opened my eyes to a lot of things that needed fixing! Here's to a busy July! Happy looting!

Progress Report

Enter Eleston - Progress Report 1

So, today being the 15th of June, I've decided to start a bi-monthly progress report for what I've been working on for Thrall. This is just a blog series that I'll be doing to share some of the progress I'm most proud of, the cool things I've discovered how to do, or just an update for how the game is coming along. I'll be doing these on the 15th and the last day of the month moving forward. I will also update the very first blog post I've made for Thrall on the 1st of the month with the record of the previous months devlog.

So, with that premise out of the way, what's been going on for Thrall?


First and foremost, I've been hard at work on the next dungeon for the game. But it's not really a dungeon. I mean, it is, but the setting is a bit unconventional. In truth, this is a large city that's been overrun!

Eleston Gate

During these progress reports, I'll try to avoid any story spoilers, so I won't describe what the setting is or why you're going there, but rather aspects of the design. However, if you've played the demo through to completion, you can probably guess what this city is.

Uh, did I say unconventional? Hmm, surely no game has ever had a dungeon with a ruined or overrun city as the setting before... Except for this, this, this... I think you get the point. I took some inspiration from a bunch of games for this, but I do like the idea behind it.

So, turning a city into a dungeon does pose some challenges, however. One of them being, how do you go from one "floor" to the next? In the Bloodstone Mine, I used a hole in the floor. Perfectly serviceable for a cave. But a city? That's just weird. Couple bits of feedback I got were to use a doorway, but that's also kind of weird, because you'd enter a home only to appear back out on the street. Someone else suggested a well, but the problem with that is inconsistent visual language. So...

It's a hole.

At the end of the day, I determined that consistency trumps sensibility. Although it looks weird, and doesn't make a ton of sense, at least players will be familiar with this and know what it means from the previous dungeon. It'll look even weirder when I'm doing the forest dungeon, but that's okay. Heck, the Mystery Dungeon series used a literal staircase, and I always thought that looked bonkers. So a hole it is. If anyone has another idea, let me know and I'll consider it.

But that's not all! I've been hard at work coming up with the boss room as well, and it looks great!

Eleston Cathedral

You may actually recognize the second image if you've ever checked out Celianna's Ancient Dungeons tiles. It's heavily influenced by the screenshot provided to show how the tiles work. I made some adjustments and brought my own flavor, but the map design is very similar. It was just such a gorgeous cathedral, I felt the need to pay homage to the tile source.

So that's been keeping me busy, but I've still got about another 20 or so maps to go with the city before I have enough rooms for the random dungeon generation to really be effective. Should have it done by the end of June.

Except... well, that's not all I've been working on. Thanks to the stream that Red_Nova did about a week ago, I came away with a ton of feedback and things I needed to fix. I've addressed most of them, but still have a few small things to do. However, one of the big things was that there wasn't really any way to see what each stat did, and some of the descriptions for the skills weren't descriptive enough. Unfortunately, making the descriptions too long also made them unreadable, due to the engine restrictions.

So, with that in mind I brought over a script I'd worked on in my other game. The Guide. You may recognize this if you've played Bloodstained Hands, but essentially this is an in-game guide that details various aspects of gameplay. I've modified the script, however, since it was incredibly slow. Load times were atrocious. It basically took a big chunk of text, reformatted it several times, and spat it out. It was slow, it was ugly, and it was literally just text. But now...


It's much faster. It loads a single picture, as opposed to multiple paragraphs that need to be formatted. Load times are basically gone, and in addition I can add color and pictures to the text! This Guide will describe everything you need to know about Combat, Mechanics, Status Ailments, and even a detailed breakdown of what each passive Skill does, including formulae for those who like to geek out over that kind of stuff. In game prologue tutorials are still a thing if you enable them, but this Guide is accessible at any time, so if you ever have a question about something, you can just look it up right then and there.

So that's some of the things I've been working on. There's a lot more, but that's the highlight of the first half of this month. See you all again at the end of June!


Thrall Demo is now available!

The demo for Thrall is now available!

And one day early, at that. The last few weeks have been spent working on the first main dungeon, literally spending every lunch hour at work designing the maps, as well as several hours before and sometimes after work. Because of that, I was able to get this ready on time, and even a little ahead of schedule!

For the most part, I think I was able to root out most of the major bugs, but if anyone encounters anything game-breaking, please let me know. This demo is sort of a "minimum viable product," so it doesn't necessarily have a TON of content, but should at least give you an idea of what the game is about and what it will look like on the full release.

Having said that, most of the mechanics have actually been nailed down, and are present in the demo. You likely won't see many of those mechanics, as they require a higher player level, multiple playthroughs, and just more story progression, but if you feel the urge to explore the game, there's lots to see!

As always, I'm open to constructive criticism, so please let me know your thoughts! If anyone decides to do a Let's Play or First Impressions, I would greatly appreciate a link to the video! I always enjoy seeing how other people employ mechanics that I worked on.

Anyway, with that, I hope you enjoy!

Progress Report

The Making of a Game

So, this project started with an idea I had back in early February. I wanted to play Diablo, but I couldn't. I don't have a TV, or a Switch, or really anything that actually allows me to play video games anymore with a few minor exceptions. Long story, but it was ultimately my choice to do that. But this didn't cure the itch. I still wanted to play Diablo.

Or more accurately, I wanted to play a looting game.

So, what does a game dev do when he can't play a game he wants to? Makes one, I guess.

I had this crazy idea about a rarity based loot system that could technically be just barely possible to make in RPG Maker VX, but I wasn't totally sure. Still, I had nothing better to do and needed a creative outlet, so I busted out the laptop, created a blank project with VX, and got to work.

That was February 11th, 2023.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I managed to find new and creative ways to make this idea I had work. Each new discovery lead to another, which in turn caused me to come up with more ideas. What if this game utilized a skill tree system? What kind of save system does this game need to have to make sense? Is is possible to have passive effects based on your current equipment or what skills you know? This all culminated in the project you see here. And the reason I can accurately say what day I officially created this project is because for the first time, I actually documented the entire development process. Every day that I worked on the game, I would end the day by breaking out the Devlog text document and jotting down what I did that day.

And here's the real kicker: I never missed a day. Until life happened and now I've missed a couple days but oh well.

Every single day since February 11th, I have dedicated time to making this game into what it is. Literally hundreds of hours have gone into this, and it's all documented. The only days I DID miss were days that my laptop was getting repaired since it wasn't charging, and yet even on those days I was brainstorming ideas in my notebooks to implement the moment I got my laptop back.

I'd like to share that devlog with you, to give you an idea of what went into this project, and what it takes to release a polished demo. This isn't necessarily a benchmark, and certainly demos can be released with a lot less work put into them, but it's something that's been close to my heart for the last several months, so I thought I'd share it with the community. Here you go.

- Created Project
- Created randomized loot drop system with six different rarities for weapons and armors
- Added in-menu colored text for all specified rarities as well as items
- Implemented variable atk stat to dropped weapons (affects all weapons with same ID)

- Added templates for Mythic and Legendary weapons
- Created a loot drop scene to display all dropped weapons, and be able to move them into backpack. Items left in loot table are discarded. Items can be moved from backpack to loot table
- Created single-instance weapons, so old weapons are not overwritten
- Added randomized loot to shops that change on a timer
- Added limited backpack space

- Removed ability to unequip items
- Added a confirmation dialogue to loot table when discarding items
- Added labels to the loot and backpack in loot table
- Added weapon levels

- Imported Equip scene from BSH
- Added all fields to weapon stats window in loot scene
- Adjusted crit bonus values and added crit bonuses based on weapon prefix
- Added armor to loot drops and loot table
- Added ability to switch between armor and weapons in loot table backpack

- Added loot chest capability
- Organized database and added slots for loot, shops, storage, backpack, equips, and templates
- Added storage locker for weapons and armor
- Added variable backpack and storage capacity

- Added remaining weapon templates
- Added uncommon weapon prefixes

- Added shop capability for weapons
- Added variable drop rates based on monster quality
- Added prefix functionality
- Fully implemented random stat generation
- Added weapon type stat variations
- Added weapon levels and level requirements

- Added custom item and equip screens that display all item stats
- Added armor templates
- Added armor prefixes and functionality
- Added armor shop functionality
- Added armor loot generation
- Submitted game page for approval

- Imported and initialized Tankentai SBS from BSH
- Added weapon animations
- Added unique legendary traits
- Added status ailment animations
- Added animated battlers and FSM characters
- Implemented unique movesets based on weapon type
- Cleaned up stat window display
- Adjusted equip screen resistances and applied statuses

- Fixed bug where weapons wouldn't save when reloading file
- Tested Overdrives and added one ability
- Balanced weapon accuracy
- Cleaned up stat display
- Adjusted drop rates

- Modified Battle HUD
- Uploaded game to RMN

- Removed base actor stats except HP
- Added compatibility for removing and adding party members

- Changed functionality of "Serrated" accessory to increase crit damage

- Added remaining prefixes and functionality for weapons
- Revised weapon templates

- Turned 29 years old (Happy Birthday)
- Added remaining weapon templates

- Added unique legendary weapon traits
- Balanced DMG and DEX calculation

2/28/2023 - 3/2/2023
- Added and modified unique legendary and mythic weapon traits
- Added some legendary overdrive techniques

2/28/2023 - 3/2/2023
- Added and modified unique legendary and mythic weapon traits
- Added some legendary overdrive techniques

- Added "Compare" functionality to the shop scene

- Cleaned up the loot table script
- Fixed "Compare" functionality and item screen
- Added new legendaries and new unique traits

- Cleaned up the comparison UI
- Added legendary flavour text
- Added cross-save storage
- Added last legendary weapon

- Removed current armor templates
- Added all helmet, armor and shield templates
- Modified the item screen to display backback capacity and align icons
- Configured loot table script for new armor slots

- Added stackability to armor accessories (regen, bonus exp, non-crit)
- Added Thorns and Bonus HP accessories to armor

- Added icons for armor accessories

- Added armor accessory templates
- Revised "Heavy" weapon accessory, removed stat changes and added turn delay on hit
- Removed "Light" weapon accessory
- Added DEX based "Heavy" weapon prefixes

- Minor bug fixes
- Adjusted "Reaper" unique effect
- Added Rare armor prefixes
- Added Epic and above armor prefixes
- Adjusted "Halfcrit" armor accessory

- Added unique effects for several legendary armors
- Raised stat caps

- Added more legendary armor traits

- Added remaining legendary armor traits
- Created an "Account" style save system

- Improved comparison window to display equipped item instead of just stat changes
- Displayed stat changes in item stats window
- Added a Town Map and modified the Dungeon for demo purposes

- Added monster templates with elemental types

- Added save points
- Loading a save when not at save points will now warp to the most recent save point
- Started work on random dungeon generation

- Furthered work on random dungeon generation
- Added randomized exits
- Randomized room generation, prevented multiple occurances of same room
- Set chests based on floors
- Added dungeon level

- Implemented "Autokill" to random dungeons
- Fixed damage output of elemental enemies
- Added colored HP bars to indicate weaknesses

- Imported MA's Recharge skill script

- Implemented Deity's Skill Tree script
- Added Cooldown armor functionality
- Added unique Icarus trait
- Added "Elementalist" class with first 7 skills
- Fixed text font bug

- Re-configured skill tree layout and cursor movement

- Coded in the first skill tree for the Hunter

- Hid icons for status ailments (not kill skills)
- Played a sound effect when action skills have cooled down
- Finished Knifeman skill tree for Hunter
- Coded most of Stalker skill tree for Hunter

- Finished coding remaining skill trees for Hunter

- Added icons to all Hunter skills
- Started coding skill tree for Elementalist

- Coded skill trees for Elementalist

- Added icons for all Elementalist skills
- Remodeled and renamed main characters

- Coded Crusader's Aura skill tree

- Coded Crusader's Medic tree
- Cleared Overkill damage upon death
- Minor bug fixes

- Added weapon swap capability in combat
- Coded remainder of Crusader's skill trees

- Added icons to the Crusader's skills

- Added all skills in Berserker's Rage tree and Hellborn tree
- Coded all skills in Rage tree

- Coded Berserker's Hellborn and Fury trees
- Added icons to Berserker skills

- Added new character models
- Added new consumable items
- Added random item generation
- Added items to loot pool and item shop

- Added "Warp Nut" item and coded functionality
- Imported and configured Yanfly Menu System Options

- Added repel, limit onion, heal mushroom, and torch items
- Added Auto Kill to system options
- Configured menu settings to better display categories and fill empty space

- Added Spectral Pepper, Hearty Tomato, Gravity Leek, Revival Fig, and Golden Key items
- Added Legendary item category

- Added placeholder Overdrive techniques and assigned them to weapon templates
- Added randomized weapons to enemy equips

- Fixed bug with items not saving with files
- Fixed bug where item window would not disappear when selecting item target
- Disabled window that displays enemy names from appearing
- Enabled cursor on non-targeting skills, disbaled cursor movement
- Added Thrall enemies and randomized Thrall graphic
- Added new item and skill animations
- Added bomb throwing animation
- Added monster level scalability
- Added dungeon min/max levels

- Added monster stats up to level 5
- Added character graphic to equip screen and comparison window
- Imported Scene Menu Redux and re-configured settings
- Added ability to rearrange party leader

- Added item animations

- Added weapon and skill animations
- Modified menu scene windows

- Added monster attack animations
- Minor menu bug fixes

- Added weapon overdrive names and descriptions
- Altered how critical hits are calculated and determined in scripts
- Added critical hits to physical skills
- Coded some overdrive technique funtionality

- Added more overdrive animations and functionality
- Added a boss HP bar at the top of the screen for boss fights
- When Damien stacks overkill damage, the OKD will now only double on critical hits, and base damage is subject to normal critical hit calculation

- Added Black Death Overdrive technique
- Laptop charging port broke down, 4 - 6 weeks to repair

- Managed to get laptop to barely charge
- Coded in all remaining Overdrive techniques
- Added monster skills and items
- Players will now revive to 1HP after each battle

- Added a new battle cursor
- Fixed Elementalist skills
- Kill skills will no longer wear off after battle
- Randomized dungeon monster sprites and enemy pool
- Randomized chest placement and rarity
- Elemental Burst now deals damage based on weapon
- Added the "Holy Aremen" promotional legendary weapon
- Fixed save point functionality and removed items and gold when saving in a dungeon

- Added character HP stats
- Added placeholder functional stats for enemies
- Added 50% HP restore on level up

- Added "Boss room" to random dungeon generator
- Fixed Menu system options variable assignments
- Fixed "battle result" victory processing

- Added starter map

- Added custom face window

- Repositioned face window based on message window location
- Created custom faces for Lionel, Mel, Damien and Brutus
- Created custom sprite expressions
- Developed first introductory cutscene
- Took laptop in for repair

- Brainstormed ideas for game name

- Settled on the name "Thrall"

4/24/2023 - 4/25/2023
- Twiddled my thumbs in frustration of not having a laptop still

- Picked up repaired laptop
- Enabled all players skills and overkill/fury to persist after battle, but reset on a new floor, battle loss, etc.
- Changed Mel's character sprite and portrait
- Added single-item drops to dungeons
- Created custom title screen
- Added new music
- Fixed bug with enemy pathfinding and resetting
- Added Objective Log functionality

- Added Hollow Keep
- Developed full introduction cutscene, added ability to skip introduction
- Altered Objective Log
- Created a list of all switches and variables, as well as their functionality for future reference

- Added Hollow Keep interior, first boss fight, and first critical decision
- Added cutscene after boss fight
- Added more music

- Finished developing first chapter from all four perspectives

- Purchased Celianna's "Ancient Dungeons" tileset packs
- Created first release map

- Created custom angled wall from Celianna's tiles
- Started on the Hollow Keep map

- Finished the exterior wall of Hollow Keep
- Added new Battle Start transition
- Started on surrounding forest of Hollow Keep

- Finished surrounding terrain of Hollow Keep
- Started fort decor of Hollow Keep

- Worked on Hollow Keep exterior map

- Finished Hollow Keep exterior map
- Added switch based scripted collision detection

- Started on Hollow Keep interior

- Added rarity sorting capability to item, equip, and loot scene for weapons and armor
- Created full Legendary weapon and armor guide in the notes folder

- Mapped the Forge and Storage in the Hollow Keep
- Increased turn duration for kill skills and action skills to 15 turns

- Mapped remainder of Hollow Keep interior main floor
- Added soldiers and Keep members
- Re-coded respec functionality
- Re-coded capacity increase functionality
- Added training dummies to Keep exterior

- Fixed save and load functionality with new maps
- Added wandering shopkeepers in dungeons
- Added Jessica the bartender for side jobs
- Added faces for each keep member
- Fixed warp and battle loss destination coordinates

- Added functionality for unique rare armors and weapons to be generated as quest rewards
- Added the Seraph staff, Curse helmet, Sanctity amulet, Camouflage cloak, and Turtle shield unique items

- Added new unique rare weapons
- Mapped and programmed the basement of Hollow Keep

- Mapped the remainder of Hollow Keep, including map room
- Added more unique rare weapons

- Added a horse for fast travel
- Fixed minor collision detection bugs
- Fixed shop resetting frequency
- Added "Useful Tips" guide in notes folder
- Started on Bloodstone Mine maps

- Added Bloodstone Mine entrance map
- Developed intro cutscene and tutorial for first dungeon

- Worked on Bloodstone Mine maps

- Added monsters to Bloodstone Mine
- Altered chest appearance
- Modified Spectral Pepper functionality
- Added a level indicator to enemies below CTB gauge
- Added Colorblind Mode with altered battle cursors and item rarities in names, with altered text colors and tutorials

- Worked on Bloodstone Mine maps

- Worked on Bloodstone Mine maps
- Added manual drop rate adjustment for bosses
- Added Bloodstone Mine boss
- Altered Boss HP bar script to only display special HP bar when switch is active, allowing for common and boss enemies with one battler

- Added boss room to Bloodstone Mine
- Added boss cutscenes
- Altered cooldowns to only start when action skills wear off
- Submitted game page to RMN, adjusted CSS

- Added two more maps to Bloodstone Mine
- Added pages to the game profile on RMN
- Added devlog blog post

- Added Laurel and Avatar unique armors
- Altered Burn status ACC reduction to -30%
- Altered Mel's "Rigid" skill and replaced "Side Effects" with "Overcome"
- Added Bloodstone Mines map
- Fixed broken prefix functionality
- Added "Prefixes" page to the game profile on RMN

- Added Bloodstone Mines map

- Added Bloodstone Mines map
- Added alternate perspective to Boss room cutscene
- Fixed broken armor prefixes
- Completed "Prefixes" page on game profile

- Added Bloodstone Mines map

- Added Bloodstone Mines map
- Added alternate perspective to Boss room cutscene
- Increased battle transition speed

- Added two new maps to Bloodstone Mines

- Added final map to Bloodstone Mines
- Developed final perspective to cutscene in boss room
- Re-coded cutscene functionality in Hollow Keep map room
- Added first perspective of the return cutscene in Hollow Keep
- Added post-demo message and reward

- Changed status ailments to persist between battles on same floor
- Added remaining perspectives to return cutscene
- Increased enemy count in elemental troops
- Separated used resources and removed RTP necessity
- Added Credits folder to Notes
- Started playtesting

- Finished playtesting
- Uploaded demo to RMN

- Modified "Rage" and "Stalking" to apply instantly, not costing a turn
- Reduced enemy damage
- Removed enemy respawns from first boss fight

- Reverted previous days progress due to bugs
- Changed "Stalking" to be a concealing skill, rather than damage buff
- Increased damage buff of "Savage"
- Added sprite blending changes while "Stalking" is active

- Adjusted "Stalking" to prevent afflicted from being targeted no matter what
- Changed "Camouflage" to last for 5 turns after "Stalking" ends
- Added sprite blending while "Aura" is active
- Altered "Aggression" to apply while "Stalking" is active
- Changed "Stalking" animation
- Added color and tone changes to "Rage" and "Aura"
- Increased duration of "Rage," "Grudge," and "Resolve"
- Increased HP threshold for "Numb" and "Resolve"

- Started mapping for Eleston
- Added Newblood random enemies
- Added Goblins and Imps
- Added enemy elemental weapons with assigned animations
- Added random enemy weapon elements for rare weapon wielders

- Added HP regen for Vampires
- Fixed "Radiant" Crusader skill to include state slip restoration
- Added bats that can turn into Newbloods
- Added Eleston Gate map
- Added first perspective Eleston intro cutscene
- Added another map for Eleston

- Added new map for Eleston

- Reduced Spider boss HP for first encounters
- Adjusted collision detection and overlays in Eleston
- Added a new map for Eleston

- Fixed broken animation sequences
- Added a new map for Eleston
- Added ability to skip turn with the same key that causes escapes

- Added Eleston Cathedral exterior map
- Fixed Imp Death Bloom pacifying in Eleston
- Added a new map for Eleston

- Added Eleston Cathedral interior map

- Started on cutscenes at Eleston Cathedral
- Added Eleston boss fight
- Added stat comparing compatibility to colorblind mode
- Improved drop rate during prologue
- Added ability to skip entire prologue
- Changed Bloodstone Mine boss fight visual mechanics
- Changed levels of drops to 10/80/10 ratio
- Made chests red for consistent visual language

- Added variable chance for random enemy elemental weapons
- Gave Thralls 4/10 chance of spawning with elemental weapons
- Changed tutorials to system messages between character dialogue
- Added Bell Cranel and Hestia knife
- Fixed HP bar script to properly update
- Added proper tutorialization for combat and mechanics
- Allowed Action Skill to unlock immediately, increased skill cost of capstone abilities by 1
- Updated game page presentation
- Moved "Neutral" skill to further down skill tree
- Replaced "Grounded" skill with "Impervious"
- Replaced "Calm" skill with "Clear"
- Replaced "Insulated" skill with "Safeguard"

- Added a new map for Eleston
- Started work on the Guide

- Continued work on the Guide

- Continued work on the Guide

- Continued work on the Guide

- Added Crafting to the Blacksmith
- Added ability to Salvage leftover loot into crafting materials
- Changed elemental and status ailment resistance from armors to 20%
- Continued work on the Guide
- Updated status ailment bonuses to increase by 20% instead of 2x
- Changed tutorials to reflect Salvage mechanic
- Changed Golden Chest graphic
- Fixed skills that cost MP (enemy skills and enemy items)
- Fixed Spider Boss HP settings

- Finished work on the Guide

- Added "Spite" shield
- Updated "Unique Loot" page on the RMN gamepage
- Altered weapon Overdrive functionality, providing variety between weapon types
- Fixed map kill animation for Bloodstone Mine enemies
- Reduced level requirement for auto-kill

- Fixed enemy auto-aggro when revisiting a dungeon floor
- Altered text color and alignment in loot tables stat window and equip window

- Adjusted text alignment in loot and equip tables
- Added ability to Salvage items from the inventory

- Fixed status ailment buffs to be cumulative instead of multiplicative
- Changed temporary buffs to be in the Battler class instead of Actor
- Changed damage formulas
- Changed enemy levels and stats during prologue
- Fixed status icons not displaying when using an item from the menu
- Altered menu UI to display more status icons

- Altered enemy stats
- Changed HP gauge color in menu
- Resumed work on Eleston maps

- Added new custom sound effects
- Added a new map for Eleston

- Added more sound effects

- Added more sound effects, finished system SE

- Altered cutscene dialogue
- Added more sound effects
- Adjusted HP regen on certain skills
- Update Guide to reflect changes to skills

- Finished replacing current sound effects

- Added prompt to open comparison window in loot tables
- Adjusted drop rates to 1/10 from monsters
- Adjusted crafting costs
- Improved quality of shop loot
- Improved rarity chance of drops by 50%
- Increased base stat minimums of all weapons and armors
- Adjusted monster stats and ally HP
- Added chests to Hollow Keep prologue
- Added difficulty slider to system menu
- Added variable monster stats and drop rarity based on difficulty

- Altered chance of dropping items from enemies and chests
- Added message when new skill points are unlocked
- Added icons to battle end messages for EXP and skill points
- Added icons to loot table to indicated commands
- Altered formula for difficulty adjustment
- Added "Royal" sword and "Demolisher" axe
- Updated Guide will a section on Difficulty

- Tested difficulty settings and new functionality
- Released updated demo
- Posted Blog on game page

- Updated material costs for crafting
- Updated Guide to reflect crafting changes

- Continued work on Eleston maps

- Replaced more sound effects
- Added drip BGS to Bloodstone Mine
- Finished first perspective to Eleston boss fight

- Added Eleston replay boss fight
- Added double boss battle functionality

- Finished first perspective Eleston return cutscene

- Fixed broken HP bar script

- Added a new map for Eleston

- Implemented variable drop rate and EXP gain based on difficulty
- Added a new map for Eleston
- Altered cutscene dialogue relating to Eleston
- Added red tint to face sets when angered

- Added a new map for Eleston

7/10/2023 - 7/11/2023
- Family matters

- Resumed work on Eleston maps

7/13/2023 - 7/18/2023
- Family matters

- Added a new map for Eleston (1/2 done)

7/20/2023 - 7/24/2023
- Family matters

- Added "Gravity" unique axe

- Added alternate perspective for Eleston intro cutscene

- Resumed work on Eleston maps

- GIMP reset, spent time resetting my hotkeys, settings, etc. >:(

- Added a new map for Eleston

- Fixed the "Mirror" shield effect to keep rarity
- Changed the "Fiend" staff effect to a random element with each hit
- Added a new perspective to the Eleston Cathedral intro cutscene
- Added a new map for Eleston

- Added a progress report blog to RMN

- Added a new map for Eleston

8/2/2023 - 8/6/2023
- Family matters

- Worked on second perspective cutscene for Eleston boss fight

- Day off

- Finished second perspective cutscene for Eleston boss fight

- Re-arranged skill tree layout and added names to each tree

- Reduced item drop rate from enemies
- Added a turn counter for skills on cooldown

- Watched brother playtest, took notes and feedback

- Changed hit ratio formula for more reliable results
- Added oranges to common item loot pool as a rare drop
- Added healing items to starting inventory
- Altered status healing items to provide a temporary resistance
- Reduced crafting material costs
- Modified elemental weakness and resistance identifiers
- Changed loot table label window text color

- Added ability to unequip weapons and armors

- Removed Bell Cranel and Hestia Knife
- Changed the Saria from a Spear to a Knife
- Added the Chastiefol Spear

- Added a new map for Eleston

- Started on a new map for Eleston

- Worked on Eleston map

- Re-categorized the Gold as a unique Rare knife
- Added the "Conductor" Legendary knife

- Added Overdrive technique "Overcharge"
- Added a new map for Eleston

- Added "Elite" enemies
- Changed enemy troops to create random troop sets

- Added new Elite affixes

- Added remaining Elite affixes

8/24/2023 - 8/26/2023
- Took a break

- Finished second perspective cutscenes for the return from Eleston
- Added a new map for Eleston

- Added a new map for Eleston
- Finished both remaining perspectives for Eleston introduction cutscene

- Finished remaining perspectives for Eleston Cathedral intro cutscene
- Added a new map for Eleston
- Started Thrall Development Showcase Youtube channel

- Added remaining perspectives for Eleston Cathedral boss fight cutscene

- Finished remaining perspectives for return from Eleston cutscenes
- Finished final map for Eleston
- Added new blog post on RMN
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