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Progress Report

The Return

My last blog was...almost 3 years ago? Sorry about that :/
I gradually stopped coming by for a while because I had become too anxious to post anything, kind of lost interest in rpg maker after MV, and somehow wound up getting into the ME3 multiplayer and modding scene as some sort of makeshift exposure therapy. (Who knew that shitposting about turians was the key to get myself to talk to people again?) And there's been a user on here who has been ripping off a lot of my work in my absence and not stopping after being reported a long time ago, so that's pissed me off enough to return.

I've been refreshing myself with old notes to figure out where I was going, knocked out a bunch of old to-dos, and cut one scene because it was no longer needed. I'm also planning to reduce the scope further because some sidequests are a pain to test, and the light exploration I had in mind a long time ago no longer makes sense with the characters being forced to go into hiding due to plot reasons.

Looking at this project with fresh eyes, I realized that the status screen totally clashed with the other menus. Before, its description box was on the top and HP/FP was on the bottom, while the description in all other menu screens was on the bottom. But now they match! I also redrew Moshi's portrait to add more belts and make her look a little older.

After that, I drew a couple quick pieces of concept art for one of the oneiroi, an inhabitant of the astral plane/dream world. He already has a name and some dialogue implemented, but had no portrait until now.

I'm currently working on coloring his finalized waist-up ingame portrait which uses elements from the two drafts. Although he's not a party member, he'd be a major contributor to Moshi's storyline, moveset, and the title of the game as well.

Progress Report

Save System Revised

Something that had bothered me in the back of my mind, as well as being the main thing that had me put off playtesting for a while, was trying to work with the tiny amount of five save slots. The reason for having such a low cap at the time was because the script I had used in the demo (CP Luna Save) turned out to have a possible bug where it can't scroll down to show other saves. It wasn't until recently that I figured out what to do about it.

So after replacing that with the regular Luna Engine save scripts and making a small overwrite snippet, the save screen has now been updated with a slightly changed layout and a new maximum of 99 saves!

(I know it shows the incorrect frame of the walking sprite, but at least it works?)

Progress Report

A Coldness in Colors

So...the last time I posted a blog was a long time ago, huh? I guess I could try participating again posting what I managed to do lately. (other than taking almost 3 weeks to get myself to just post)

- Completed drawing the pixel art and setting up movesets for all enemies in the Albium Forest, such as murderous plantlife and cute little spiders
- Finished almost all scenes and and gameplay bits for the Undercity Prison and Albium Forest dungeons
- Wrote more cutscene dialogue. Although it includes the "stage directions" for the sprites, the script so far is roughly 14k words. Been thinking about going back to the outline and cutting more of the fat sometime...

I hadn't done much mapping in a while, and was looking for a way to get a rhythm back. I updated a tileset I was using for winter grassland areas, and it's mostly made of recolored pieces from other tiles.
The following image is a WIP example of it in action, from an area called the Road of Withering Sighs:

I wanted to make the northern region (Ryalis) "feel" cold and lonely without abruptly shoving the player from dying yellowed grasslands and cities to bright white snow, so I tried to put something in-between to ease the transition. There are some snowier places further north, but hopefully it makes the transition less abrupt overall.

This next one's a rundown game room/bar.

At first this was just a throwaway warmup and an experiment in making quick shadows with the light effect script instead of picture overlays, and experimenting with colorful lighting because i loved shadowrun hk so much, but now I kind of want to keep it. If only because I know where it'll be used (the Undercity) and I actually had a little fun making something in RM for the first time in a while...

Progress Report

Emerging from Crafting Hell

After transferring just over 300 sets of notetags from my notes to the game itself, I've finally completed implementing all crafting recipes and the special effects for the weapons, armors, and items that needed them. Although there's some item creation in there, I wanted to nudge the system toward an upgrade system of sorts.

Most of the characters get 4 unique (and unsellable) weapons and armors, which can be upgraded up to 3 times after getting the Schematic with the same name. Each crafted upgrade gradually unlocks a set of secondary effects for it. For example, this is the progression of "Rosethorne", one of Leiko's later guns:

level +1 (lv0 equips have no effects, just stats)

level +2

level +3 :)

Most upgrades require an item called the Ascendant Star. I wanted them to be kind of like makeshift skill points, but for equipment. They will be sort of rare and meant to stop the player from overleveling their stuff too early, and to stop me from wasting any more time calculating crafting fees with some downright crazy formulas. The equipments' stats haven't been adjusted for balance yet; I just wanted to throw some values down in the database within a certain range.

Other than that, I've been trying to fix (or work around) some bugs and script incompatibilities. This can take a lot of time, especially when you feel increasingly isolated from everyone and too anxious to ask for help. ...Anyway, I found that the "Persistent Data" script was causing severe battle lag, so it's been removed. So, future versions of the game will no longer have the system settings automatically apply to all files, but I'd rather lose that than have 4 person battles run in single-digit FPS.


Demo version 0.20 Available

The previous demo was old as hell and doesn't really represent what the game has become now, so here's a new version out of nowhere!

Version 0.20 includes:
- Rewritten dialogue
- New black & yellow interface, made with Luna Engine
- New skills added
- Elemental skills split between "Physical" and "Magical" types so that non-casters can also benefit from skill books
- Tutorial cards that better explain game mechanics

Some old images on the gamepage have been updated. The ones that showed maps and content no longer in the game have been deleted.

Since this demo is mainly a technical update, and the later plot stuff hasn't been implemented yet, the demo ends at the same place.

At first, I wanted to hold off on releasing anything at all until I finished what would have been "Act 1 of 3" (about 15 main quest chapters long), but since I keep losing time by repeatedly doubting my decisions, a release date for that would have been way far off from now. I thought it would've been better to push something now instead of making people wait much, much longer for anything.

But I hope you enjoy it anyway!

Progress Report


I've been getting a lot of things done lately:

Finished making all of the playable characters' personal skills, including the animations and Symphony notetags. Almost all of their Purge skills are finished too, except for two characters who don't have the full set of 4 purges yet. I'll come back to those later when I have more ideas. Kinda wore myself out there. >_>

As for graphics, I finished another dialogue portrait for Yukita--an armored dress, which can be viewed over here. This outfit makes her look more like royalty, I think. The walking sprites for both outfits are also done.
I'm still working on converting the rest of the menus to Luna Engine, and cobbling little compatibility scripts for pesky little windows from other scripts. (Luna doesn't affect those, afaik)

The script used to count combos has been changed, and it looks a bit more Tales-ish now! The hit counter will keep going up until a party member gets hit, breaking the combo. Here is a quick test shot with some random actors and enemies:

(bottom half removed because the hud's nowhere near done! :o)

Finally, since my dev time has been increasingly inconsistent these days and my plans years ago did not account for how much time I would now spend turking as well as having a job, I decided to cut some stuff in order to streamline development and tighten up the game overall:

- The number of planned sidequests has been reduced, leaving in only the ones that were directly related to a party member or had some interesting backstory or lore that I was still interested in writing about. The nice thing is that it was all still in outline form, so I don't have to hunt down script calls or switches to delete.

- The affection system will likely be removed from future releases. Eventing the system was more of a hassle than it was worth, and it seemed tacked-on to me. It never "felt" right, if that makes any sense. While working on the plot outline and practicing dialogue drabbles, I realized that only two characters really had any chemistry with Moshi anyway, and one of them has bad ending written all over it. (By "chemistry" I mean "the least likely pairings to be completely written badly".) Besides, the character POVs shift often enough that you wouldn't see the "Affection" option in the menu most of the time. However, the existing and future dialogue choices it used will be left in; I think I'll use them as cute little divergences in the cutscenes or something.

Progress Report

Character portraits completed

I recently made the switch from Paint Tool Sai to Clip Studio Paint, and it somehow rekindled my enjoyment in doing digital art again. The interface and brush settings are much more intuitive to me than Sai ever was. Picked it up during a sale and it was definitely worth the money.

Since I'm rarely in those art-drawing moods nowadays, I wanted to speed through it before the urge faded. In the end, I finally finished the dialogue portraits for all the major characters! There are a couple of older ones that look inconsistent and I may redraw those in the future, but that's low priority for now.

These are two most recent portraits I finished in CSP:

Officer Shiraz - A skilled fencer as well as Emperor Aidus' other bodyguard.

Queen Yukita - the reclusive ruler of Ryalis, who wants nothing to do with industrialization.

They're shrunk and cropped for dialogue boxes. Fullsize versions are available on my tumblr blog if you'd like to see them:
- Shiraz
- Yukita

And then for the hell of it, I also tried using CSP to make tile edits in the painted VX style. My first attempt was a birdcage.

It was made with pieces of Celianna's tiles and the steampunk tileset, and the top part was drawn from scratch. I'm kinda content with it! One day I hope I can cobble together big objects like airships or something.
and then over-entitled douchebags immediately steal them lol

I'll put the finishing touches on the Characters page--and leaving out those whose existence would be major spoilers--when I can find enough downtime and the willpower to do so.

Have a good weekend

Progress Report

Cumulative July Progress

The following post is a collection of what I've done this month. Most of this was posted before on my twitter or tumblr, but here they are in one place!

- Increased the game window size to 640x480, and fixed all interface elements to fit the new size. I changed it because the game looked tiny as hell on my new 1920x1080 res monitor. My favorite thing about it is that I can include the info that the player actually needs on the status screen, like accuracy and evasion rates. For example:

(lol @ Lei having two books)
Had to remove the colorful stat bars, but that's okay because they didn't show up in any other menu screen anyway.

- Completed all battle sprite poses for Remi and Altair. I'm just over halfway done with all the playable characters at this point! That's nearly 500 sprites in total, before subtracting duplicate non-animated poses, and the "enter" pose that is not used at all in Symphony.

Remi has had the most weapon changes during development, from staves to throwing items. In the end I decided to give her a cane sword, because it was the easiest one to edit from Holder's sprites, and it fits the time period pretty well.
(and cane swords are neat)

- Renamed some skill books, and revised the system to split them between Physical, Magical, and Support skills. Magic skills are found in spellbooks, and can now only be equipped by Mage and Cleric-class characters. Physical and Support books can be equipped by everyone (except Remi), though.
Lore-wise, it didn't really make sense to have magic spells be learned by most non-mages. The presence of magical abilities is inherited by birth, and it's also one of the bigger rifts in the relationship between mages and clerics. Gameplay-wise, it could result in the party members becoming too similar to each other by the endgame and tossing out 37891-combo wind gusts.
These changes are not in the current download; I'd like to end at another cliffhanger before I release another update.

- Finished portraits for Garrett and Vanya. You can see samples on the Characters page!

- Finally, working on the Dream Factory. There's this mental block I'm still trying to get over, trying to picture the dumb thing in my head and mapping it accordingly, especially when I haven't really touched tiles or parallaxes in quite a while in favor of spreadsheets and notes. >_>

I like to think I'm doing okay, though

Progress Report

Mapping Meandering

My progress has been slower than I'd like it to be because I've needed to spend most of my free time on mturk to pick up whatever pocket money I can find. During the slow days (or mini bouts of burnout) I put a little bit of work into the game, such as making plans outside of the editor, and chipping away at my giant mapping to-do list.

Since the last time I updated on here, I've finished editing tilesets for various nature areas. These include plain green grassland, snowy areas, and other variants of "dying" land that reflects how industrialization and its resulting pollution has been slowly warping and killing nature.

I've also completed many interior maps for Misthaven Cliffs, as well as almost all of the maps for Tribane Valley, an optional area that opens up to the player after completion of a certain prison dungeon that I've put off working on for months. It's not even the second dungeon anymore, either--it's been pushed back in favor of a different one that introduces Remi and Altair. However, there is something foreshadowed in the Remi/Altair storyline that later affects Moshi's storyline, as well as giving a greater understanding to what she does in prison when the plot's focus comes back to her.

The hardest part is getting started, though. I know what to do, I have the to-do lists to check off, and the desire to get this part of the plot over with so I can finally move on, but the problem is that I keep telling myself that everything I write concerning this plot point sounds extremely stupid. Eh...I'm hoping to push through it in time.

Thanks for reading.

Progress Report

Lights ~ End-of-Year Progress Log

My productivity has spiked lately, mostly going HAM on filling database entries and notetags. So here's what's been done over the past few weeks:

1) I've completed the majority of each party member's unique skillsets (Tools, Gunplay, etc). While testing them, I've noticed that the battles have been running much faster too. On my laptop, showing damage numbers during an animation hasn't slowed down the game lately. Not sure why it's happening, but hell, I'll take it! :D

2) Converted some in-game tutorials to images so that they're easier to understand and remember. Example screenshots will be posted soon.

3) Purge skills have been revised to be more useful and available, so that you don't have party members unable to do anything with 100 Tension most of the time. Starting in future releases, Purges will be split into two types with different icons. Here's a sample of Altair's new Purges in testplay. His purges focus on damage and healing.

(Bright Storm does low elec damage, but is tripled against undead; Radiance heals the party to full)

Purges with yellow icons can be used without being in Chain Bonus mode. Purges with the red icon can be used only during CB mode. My current plan is to have each character learn up to 4 Purges. Each character will start with 1 yellow Purge, and new ones will be learned over the course of the story. (So, Moshi will start with a self-heal, and Leiko gets an Attack & Agility buff.)

4) I'm still rebuilding a separate project file called "Catharsis Map Plans", used to create the base layers of parallaxes, and planning the tilesets that will be used in the actual game. The older version was lost when I had to reformat my computer a couple of months ago.
To speed up development, I've decided to go back to tileset mapping for some places, mostly outdoor/nature areas, and dungeons. But if a map will end up needing too many events for layering, I'll parallax it instead. Houses and shops will be more likely to be parallaxed, because I just love doing those haha

5) While working on CMP, I had a neat little idea with the windows. Now, when it's nighttime in towns, some streetlights and windows will be lit up. And inside of a building, the windows will be dark or have a night sky with stars in them. This old Misthaven Cliffs test screenshot is the basic idea, but window edits were not made until a while later:

During the day, those streetlights will not be lit, so the gaslight wouldn't be there either. My inspiration was from other rpgs with time-of-day systems, but I have no plans on implementing one in this game. The time of day will change automatically with the narration. In any case, I thought it'd be a neat little detail. :)

That's about it for this update. Thanks for reading, and happy early new year!

(by the way, if you enjoyed the demo released earlier this summer, please consider nominating/voting for it for the misaos! your vote will be going to a game that is still regularly being worked on!)
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