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Announcement

Version 1.02 Now Available!

Version 1.02 Released!

Over the past three months, I've been hard at work bringing version 1.02 of Alcarys Complex to life. This is a cross-platform release, available on both Windows and Mac OS X. Trial versions are posted to the Downloads page.

This is a major update that contains the following additions and fixes:

  • OS X version (trial version is on the Downloads page)
  • Cross-Platform Gamepad Support
  • The game should now have wider compatibility on Windows, so if you tried to play 1.01 and couldn't, give 1.02 a shot!
  • Annoying game startup times have been ELIMINATED. The game now loads instantly.
  • Memory usage in Windows has been greatly improved.
  • Configuration options for vertical sync and interpolation (Windows only)
  • Various performance enhancements to GUI drawing and collision code
  • Players can now unbind nodes while in the field. Keyboard: hold down the hotkey of the offending node for three seconds. Gamepad: rotate to the offending node and hold down the node use button for three seconds.
  • Sale and High Demand shop items: sale items are marked down 50% from their final shop price (after shopkeeper markup) and high demand items are items that shops want to buy, so their sell price is doubled.
  • Shop prices have been cut across the board
  • The weather system (which was disabled in 1.01) is back with a vengeance.
  • Red-green colorblindness friendly mode
  • Death timer heal rate is now far more lenient than it was before
  • Various writing fixes


For the full fixlist, see: http://www.modestarcade.com/docs/bugfix.txt

In celebration of the successful release of version 1.02, I've sliced the price in half: the game's now only $10.

Alcarys Complex Review Program

Here's the skinny on this: pledging to write a review of Alcarys Complex for RMN will net you a full review copy of the game, no strings attached. If you'd like to do this, either post below or PM me for more information.

The rules are simple: write a review of Alcarys Complex that conforms to the RMN review guidelines, and I'll provide the review copy.

Note: I pledge to have no influence on the score you give the game. I've said this many, many times: a review methodically picking apart the game's flaws is just as useful to me as a review praising it to high heaven.

As always, let me know if you have questions or comments.

- J

Announcement

And We're Back!

Well, I didn't expect this to be the circumstance that brought Alcarys Complex back to RMN, but here we are.

A couple things:

  • You can get the game two ways (right now): you can buy it direct from modestarcade.com, or you can buy it on Desura for a lower price. If you liked what we did and you'd like to support our future endeavors, please buy directly from us - we get more money that way. If you just want the game, you can get it on Desura for less.
  • In the year we've been gone, we ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, redid the soundtrack completely (there's a sample on the Video page), and released a PC version of Alcarys Complex, with an OS X version on the way. We've changed a lot - and so has the game. Check out the trial here. The trial wall's very generous - you can play up to 1/3 of the game before you hit it, so let us know what you think! We love feedback, both positive and negative.
  • We're still open-sourcing all the code used! Check out the Alcarys Engine here. Sometime later, I'm going to deconstruct the engine layer by layer and submit a boatload of tutorials and articles for designing an RPG in Game Maker. The blogs on the Alcarys Engine game page will be used for that purpose, so subscribe to Alcarys Engine if that's something you'd be interested in.
  • If you feel like we're missing something on the game page, feel free to let me know. Content's going to be mostly focused on postmortem, with a few posts if we end up on a new platform or some other newsworthy thing happens. Technical aspects of Alcarys Complex will be provided on the Alcarys Engine game page.


To speak more generally, I feel like it's up to me to prove that this isn't just a naked cash grab and that I'm here legitimately. I worked on this game for years, I loved doing it, and I just happen to be selling it in order to fund future projects. If that offends you, I'm sorry, but it's not going to stop anytime soon.

Thanks for your support and patience.

- J

Progress Report

General Information / Page Closure

Hi. As you've no doubt noticed, it's been a while since I've updated the blog. It's nothing to worry about - we've been making fairly smooth progress all year (we even put out a demo a few days ago, which is rare for this game). But we haven't updated here.

Here's the reason for that: I'm fairly sure Alcarys Complex is going to go commercial, and, keeping this in mind, I have limited the amount of content I share here because commercial games are against RMN's submission rules.

AC was not always intended to be a commercial project (this is especially evident in the early days of its development), but as the need to recoup development costs and fund future projects grows larger and larger, it's a measure I feel I need to take. Who knows? It may end up freeware again someday. It's happened before. And the moment that happens, rest assured this page will spring up again.

Also, there may not be a gamepage for the actual game, but I will be posting a gamepage for the open-source of our engine. It'll have loads of resources detailing how to make an RPG in Game Maker, so if that's something you've always wanted to jump into, I'd be happy to help.

Anyway, I'll be leaving this page open for the next week in order to give subscribers time to adjust. After that, I will ask an administrator to deny this game profile.

Anyone interested in the future happenings of this project can go to our website. Thank you.

Miscellaneous

2010 Wrap-Up

2010 at a glance!


I'd say the main theme in 2010 was heavy polishing of what was already there. A few features present in the demo got dropped as more intuitive ways to handle the problems those features originally solved emerged.

Below is an approximate timeline of features.

- - - - - - -


51% of all main story cutscenes are implemented.
315 maps are implemented.
145 NPCs are written but not implemented.

January: most of the battle system logic was implemented, including character damage algorithms and hit/miss probability.

February: hotkeys

March: bridge mechanisms were implemented so that the player can go over and under bridges.

April: the HUD notice system was implemented. April was also a big map month.

May saw the design of the crux of this game: the Sociability system. In the first version of the Sociability system, the player gets points for experiencing cutscenes and talking to NPCs they can use to increase their stats. In the second version (designed in October), the player's Sociability level increases as they experience more of the story. Each character can still gain Sociability points, and once they pass a certain point threshold, they can directly apply points to their character like in the demo (until they run out of all points in excess of the threshold). May also saw the design of a location database: it feeds the engine location description, whether the place is in a town, and weather data.

In June, the PAX 2010 RC1 demo was released in time for the PAX 10 competition. I'd like to personally thank everyone who played the RC1 demo, as the problems people found as well as more general issues allowed us to make the final game better. After the demo, our emphasis was on making combat faster, easier, more manageable and more fun. To this end, a few systems were incompatible with this goal, so they got dropped.

In July, joypad and analog mapping was implemented. Analog control in Alcarys Complex allows a greater degree of control over the direction of your character, but I consider the fact that joypad mapping exists at all to be the bigger feature. Also, all configuration variables were removed from save files and placed in a separate file called alcarys.cfg.

In August, the Journey Support Project system was implemented. The system utilizes a number of maroon treasure chests where you get the item in the treasure chest and place an item in the chest for the next traveler, which results in concrete benefits and rewards for giving away expensive items. This also allows me to place traditional treasure chests 'off the beaten path' where they are less likely to be found.

September and October focused almost solely on map and NPC design. 53 maps were completed in this period, resulting in a total of 315 maps. 145 NPCs were written (but not implemented) in this period as well.

In November, the Skill Meter system in the present demo was replaced with the Node system. In this new system, each character in your party has a number of nodes they can place items, skills, and special attacks in by using the Nodes menu in the main menu or by pressing keys 1-6 for empty nodes. Each node has a charge time depending on the complexity of whatever occupies it, as well as a couple of other factors. This change means you can go from field to skill/item use in as little as two button presses, while the old system took a minimum of four button presses.

As a result, the Command Menu was greatly scaled back and overhauled to accept the new system, and the Assault Pack was completely removed. I determined the Pack in particular to be too full-featured for the kind of combat speed I was trying to accomplish. It also complicated treasure and key item pickup.

In December, the Special Controller was overhauled to use less of the player's time per skill. The changes made allow combat to be quicker and more fluid.

Note: if a month seems slim on content, please remember that debugging accounts for the vast majority of the time investment into programming this game. There isn't really any month in the year where I just sat on my hands and did nothing.

- - - - - - -


The vast majority of programming, design, environment, and character design is complete, along with a respectable portion of music and sound effects. So, what now?

Our 2011 will focus on finishing the game in a satisfactory manner. I'll have an announcement about the circumstances of the release when I'm confident that we can meet any determined release date. Note that the last time I posted anything to this game profile was in July, and I don't generally put out information unless I know I can back it up, so it might be a while!

Thanks for watching!

Miscellaneous

Minor Update (0.5.13)

This update addresses the following issues.

- fixed the bug where the placeholder sprites would appear after AI state was set to DAMAGED
- fixed the door knock freeze bug. a freeze_off statement wasn't added to the necessary scripts.
- fixed the placard freeze bug, which was (somehow) completely unrelated to the door knock bug. the root cause of this was conflict with open banter boxes. since the message interrupts the banter, the banter is never able to complete. thus, the game freezes.
- changed the names of and organized the majority of actionqueue commands in order to put them into distinct categories
- made an abstraction script to change the names of old actionqueue commands to new ones
- fixed still frame issue with AI when teleporting to a new map
- added workaround for the 'hole in surface' bug some users were experiencing
- flagged the Xirdalani customs house as being in a town to prevent weapon use

Standalone .exe (for those who have already downloaded the game, please replace your current .exe with this one): http://www.modestarcade.com/documents/Alcarys_Complex.exe
Full package: http://www.modestarcade.com/documents/Alcarys_Complex_RC1.zip

Miscellaneous

Demo now available!

Hey, I just wanted to say that the demo's now available. I feel dirty crossposting content from my site, so I'll just say that there's some stuff over here and I'll write something original for this blog instead.

Tiered Status Effects

Status effects carry up to three grades of severity, one being the lowest and three being the highest.

Poison: Target gradually loses HP.
Stun: Target is unable to move or issue commands. A good hit will often knock a target out of this state.
Sleep: Target is unable to move or issue commands.
Blind: Target is unable to see, and is more likely to miss when attacking.
Slow: Target’s movement speed is decreased.
Confuse : Target is confused. If the Party Leader is confused, the movement controls will become scrambled.

I just want to elaborate a bit on the tier system.

When you inflict (or are inflicted with) a status effect, the level inflicted is usually random, with a few exceptions. One of these is that since Corvallis uses a non-lethal weapon, he doesn't do damage - he inflicts Stun instead, and the level of stunning corresponds with the amount of hits. If you hit a target three times, expect level three, etc.

For embedded skills and most other ways of inflicting status effects, the level is random. I'm thinking about adding some items that will give the player a higher chance of producing a desired level, especially for slow, because level three slow stops the target.
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