1 reviews
  • Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS



At this time Shadow's Reach is on pause - largely because although it is a labour of love other projects have recently been more important (although not being able to find my latest version of the game build may have something to do with it!). For the time being production on this game is halted in order to focus on completely original games with scratch built systems, graphics and music.

Shadow's Reach is an on-going pastime for me which has been worked on over multiple years whilst between other projects. It's my last big farewell to RPG Maker 2000 and at some point it will see conclusion. I intend to upload a demo of the current build as soon as I can locate a recent version and conclude gameplay at a point that makes narrative sense. Please keep an eye out for the release of this demo soon.



Appologies to those of you looking for the original Shadows Reach demo (V1.1) as it has recently been removed. The reason for this is that the games demo was of a file size large enough for me to warrant hosting it on Megaupload.com - which due to the American federal government being frankly stupid and attempting to vet the internet (Team America World Police gags on standby) has been closed. The site now only shows this message: http://www.megaupload.com/

What this means for my demo is that it was deleted immediatly, without notification by the American government that it was going to happen - dispite the fact that I was a paying member of the site and entitled to know. As a Graphic Designer and Illustrator by profession I have regularly uploaded artwork too big for clients to have emailed to them to Megaupload and have found it a valuble resource these past few years. One I will miss. I am an Englishman doing legitimate business, Megauploads was based in Hong-Kong, the only reason the Americans felt they could touch it was because it used Paypal for business transactions and Paypal is American - this seems a very fine line to me and I think we will be seeing them overstep the mark with increasing regularity over the next few years. Wikipedia and other sites went black to express how they felt about these proposed actions and I'm not sure we've paid this issue enough attention. This week I will be re-supplying nine clients artwork they've lost because they kept the backup on Megaupload.com rather than on their harddrives for file size and easy access reasons.

For Shadows Reach this isn't too kig of a problem - I was planning on releasing a second 'tweaked' demo with new areas and a bigger chunk of the story to enjoy soon anyhow. However the game is BIG in file size as it contains so much and uses some big wav files, leaving me in search of a new home to host it. Please be patient as I finalize the demo and do so and I appologize for any inconvenience.



I've been getting a lot of messages that read along the lines of the following 'nice game, but why is it in RPGMaker 2000?' to which I thought I should probably respond.

I've been a fan of RPG Maker 2000 since I first discovered it back in my university days and spent a lot of time playing with it on small projects before deciding to commit my energy to making a full game. In this time I also experimented with the (then relatively new) 2003 edition and found that whilst it had some cool new features, I didn't like it as much as the 2000 version. So I began work on SHADOW'S REACH, building elements of the game and populating the worldmap with towns, cities and other locations whilst working on the script and such simple things as item descriptions and names. By the time they announced that a new version of the engine was going to be released for windows XP, I was already well underway and had put in a lot of work at the early stages of the game (visable in the demo).

It's always been my aim to make a game that has the fun look and feel of the old SNES games, and when the XP edition was released I felt that whilst the games on it were awesome, they no longer felt like they'd just dropped out of an old-style cart. This is completely understandable, since XP and VX are fully fledged professional tools. Similarly the content I'd already made wouldn't shuffle across to the new system and I have no understanding of the scripting language they use. So I march on with 2000.

I sometimes think that 2000 gets a bad rep just for being an older model. It works, there are some fantastic examples of games made on it that are just as fun as the newer ones are, and if you can live with a level cap of 50 then why not? True, most games churned out in those early days and most examples of 2000 and 2003 since are horrible rtp based messes, but this game isn't and stands on its own merits. When I have completed Shadow's Reach there is a very good chance I will buy a proper copy of VX and with a TEAM create something 100% original and new. Right now I'm an army of one working on a game with a broad scope and lots to do, and 2000 serves my needs for working in that way. So in summary? Love 2000, don't mind the rest, don't mind playing on an older model as long as the GAME is fun. If somebody wants to not play the game just because it's in 2000 then that's their choice.



I've completed a sequence in which one of the characters the gamer knows less about is forced to walk a 'Spirit Path' and undergo a solo-dungeon where elements of his personality are brought to the fore. The dungeon itself is a sprawling teleport-maze with a heavy sparkly-lights and blue tone that cumulates in speaking to a goddess. I've tried to keep combat to a minimum on this dungeon, featuring only 'Shadow Selves' of the character that deal low damage and run away when harmed. You would think that this wouldn't make them a threat at all, but with many of the traps in the dungeon able to reduce your HP it develops an interesting 'fight or flight' take. More importantly the Shadow Selves have a 2% chance of dropping the most powerful weapon for this character in the game, further complicating the decision. Delving into the conciousness of just one character is interesting, especially since it forces you as the games designer to be more creative with their backstory and internal debate than you would normally have to be. After all, not everyone can have daddy-issues or such-like.

Of course it wouldn't be fair to have one character take all the spotlight, so while he's away the others get to go on a large 'save the child/slay a dragon' sub-quest which sees you having to utilise local plants to gather the attention of giant eagles to ferry you up a mountain.

I'm aware that it's been a while since my last post on RMN (further compuer issues have slowed work greatly and I've had to hault progress for over 2 months) and I am hoping to provide some new screenshots giving an idea of the new elements that have been added to the game soon.



After a scare that saw my computer crash, taking with it a considerable amount of the game and forcing a rebuild of most of the second worldmap (I now have a complete backup on a purpose brought USB memory stick that gets an update after every major mod to the game), things are finally back on track. The rebuild is complete and the game continues to press on into new territories, coming close to the close of the second big chunk of gameplay. I have split the game at five points, each of which provides access to a different theme, overworld map and main character's plot development. Chunk one currently makes up the demo and serves as introduction to both the setting and offers up an open ended quest that draws the player slowly closer to the main story arc. Chunk two forwards this arc considerably whilst adding loads of new subquests, optional dungeons and events, ultimatly ending in a shift to new territory for the game and making way for a third chunk that channels an intense period of mini-missions and tower defence as the conflict goes from mystery to world-wide attack.

Of course the game retains the many subquests and mini-games that it always has enjoyed, and advantage has been taken to ensure that each scenario has space for the New Game + feature to be implimented, if this is something as simple as an alternate take on a scene or as large as a whole second explorable area. This is a game with the express intent of pushing the feeling of mixing the open-ended Western RPG dynamic with the strong focus and plot sensative nature of an Eastern one. Essentially meaning that there will always be the option to take time out from your quest to do anything from playing a card game to playing matchmaker or hunting boss-like monsters on the overworld.

I am currently debating wether to upload a second demo for the game that encapsulates the complete second chunk in addition to the first. This would be a HUGE amount of play area and delve much more deeply into the plot than the current demo, and the file size difference would be almost non-existant (possibly smaller than the current one in fact). Contact me if you think this is a good or bad idea, as obviously I don't want to give too much of the game away early before the final product.



Having field tested the synthesis system for the game through myself and six other test-players we've come to the decision to remove it entirely. The system didn't really add anything to the game, and whilst working perfectly it was decided that it made the more item-based and individually named weapons that are recieved and purchased throughout play somewhat redundent. Putting aside the build that included it for possible future projects (it does work very nicely indeed, but breaks the sense of 'world' that Shadow's Reach has, feeling too 'gamey') the game has now gone back to how it was prior to its inclusion.

So what remains? Well the musical themed dungeon and meeting with the Goddess of Travellers remains intact, and is a nicely plotted sequence. Instead of providing access to the synthesis system after meeting her, she will now dish out subquests for rare item-based rewards. This also makes the Goddess more of a character and less of a game device, which she had come close to becoming.

In other news the Final Fantasy 'victory theme' has been removed from the post-battle sequences to try and get away from the cliche that is too many FF tunes, though some will remain in the current build because they best sum-up what is happening in the game. As I find new music that I feel is better suited and more original, these will be slowly replaced. But I'm not going to rip them all out to replace them with sub-standard music for the sake of not having anything FF, atmosphere is the most important thing to preserve here. A second city even bigger and with more to do than Ravensburg (as seen in the demo) has now been built - and is the central point of the second worldmap! My god it is HUGE!!



---- HOW TO GET IT ----

At the top of a towering optional dungeon within the second worldmap of the game (the Ripallan area, which you enter just as the demo for the game ends) lies a prize that will make the tricky music-based puzzles you had to answer worth all of the effort to unlock the highest level. It is here that you can meet the Goddess of Travellers, who will grant you an audiance and fuse your excess items together into newer and more powerful artifacts called ORBS.


What are Orbs I hear you say? Simple. Every item in the game falls into the realm of one of the four key character stats (strength, Speed, Defence and Intelligence). Give one of these items to the Goddess and she will turn it into an Orb of that type. The basic orb is a simple +5 to that stat when equipped to a character.

---- SYNTHESIS ----

We all know that a +5 to any stat is pretty much useless later into a game. However, now that you have a healthy supply of Orbs you can start to fuse them together for greater effects. Fusing 10 of a single type of Orb together increases it to a single +20 Orb, and 5 of these will create a +50, and so on, etc. This form of synthesis is called FUSION SYNTHESIS.

The second type is called COMBINATION SYNTHESIS and involves fusing Orbs of different traits together in order to give multiple stat bonuses from the same single item, and again works in much the same way.

Through the use of synthesis characters can become powerful very quickly, however they do not possess the added bonuses of equippable items such as armour or weapons, such as critical factors, immunity to status effects, etc. It is up to the player to decide which path they ultimatly want to take. Still, it does wonders for culling the useless items you pick up throughout a game ;)



It may sound like it's a little early to be thinking ahead to post-game play, but I've been working in a number of little treats into some of the maps that cannot be accessed in the first playthrough, and instead can only be accessed after the end credits by selecting the new game + option.

New game + will restart the game from the beginning, but will keep characters at the level they were at the end of your last playthrough as well as giving you all the non-plot related items and money that has been amassed over the course of the first playthrough. In addition to this you will also have access to new sub-quests and cut-scenes that further flesh out elements of the world setting, and can venture into the Master Dungeon. This 200 level deep dungeon will feature new powerful monsters, 5 bosses and a surprise waiting in its lowest depths that will add a new and interesting twist to the story.

Obviously, the concept of a New Game + system is anything but new, but hopefully this will add even more life to a game that is fast becoming the biggest project I have ever worked on in my life and provide some extra fun for the players.



NAME: Athena
SEX: Female
AGE: 20
CLASS: Thief

After the hard and somewhat cold attitude of Aren, the introduction of the sassy and sexy Athena gives a somewhat more feminine edge to the game. A prominent thief across the border and with a playful nature, her life-choices make her clash with the straight-arrow Dante in a sibbling-like way.

Thieves come with a variety of useful abilities, largely based around amassing treasure. With Athena in your party you'll be able to steal Health and Magic power from your enemies as well as items, and her ability to pick locks will open up whole new areas of the game previously unaccessable. In addition the overworld will now be a place to seek out treasure, and digging it up will provide its own rewards. Whilst not a combat dynamo like Dante or Marcus, her out-of-battle abilities will be essentialy in some missions.

The first character introduced who doesn not have an immediate link to the overreaching story arc of the game, but who will bring a whole new dimension of comedy and mad capers to proceedings. Athena is set to be a firm player favourite.



NAME: Dante
SEX: Male
AGE: 21
CLASS: Paladin

The first character we meet in Shadow's Reach is the young Paladin, Dante. His fight with the mysterious 'man in black' leads to a sound thrashing and his apparant death in the opening sequence, however with a little help from the Goddess Elyen and a Billowick family he is revived and sets out on his journey to seek revenge against the one who destroyed his temple.

A mixed class, Dante is part healer and part warrior, meaning that his skill-set largely revolves around the use of Light and Healing magics, but that he also kicks out quite a lot of damage with his sword as well. The biggest difference between Dante and other characters however is his ability to pray to the Goddess Elyen in battle, granting him large temporary boosts to his primary stats to aid in attacking or magic casting. Whilst at first this makes him sound overpowered, it becomes obvious over the course of playing with Dante in your party that he's a well balanced character. More of a reserve healer than Aren and learning his skills at a slower rate than the power-house of Marcus.

Dante's quest is one of primary importance to the overall plot of the game, but even he has no real idea of just how important his role will be, or the depth to which the man he hunts plans to go in order to achieve his own goals.
Pages: first 12 next last