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Dimensions of 2 or 3?

This is a question we've long been pondering, and we've done a prototyping on both sides of the spectrum.

I want to ditch RPG Maker because of resolution limitations more than anything else.
Krisanna (artist) wants to ditch it because she's not good at spriting; environments in particular.

So we started working in 3D, and we've gone through a lot of tests, iterations, and prototype games (BoutallesTogether, Death Wish, even Ginger) to make stronger and better tools and learn our limitations, capabilities, and tools.

After several iterations we came up a 3D model design we liked and built it so it animates well:

So why 3D for a hobby game? Because we don't want to keep it a hobby game. I'd like to Kickstart and eventually sell the project.

While I enjoy making games and can do it in my spare time for fun, for Krisanna this is work - and as such is mentally exhausting.

So we need to either making money on some of these projects or she has to get a part-time job to help deal with the medical bills and costs of finding a residence in the city we moved to for my job.

The best solution to us seemed to be to do a commercial project. An unpleasant decision for me.

Trying to Kickstart or sell an RPG Maker game just felt... childish? Inappropriate? But I've seen a lot of successful people using it - people who aren't making junk games (though there are plenty of those.) So maybe keeping it 2D and in RM is a possibility?

So the questions we're pondering and would like some input on:
1. Do you think RM is okay to use and go commercial with?
1. Should we go with 2D or 3D?



Krissy here,

Totally started a Tumblr for game project updates:

It'll have more than just Aetherion on it, but I'm a blogging person
and Tumblr is a great place to spam with updates.
I never felt comfortable spamming this place.

Here is the latest update I did there, of a battler for a character not yet introduced:

So yes, we're still working on it, just a lot more slowly than we were before.
I'm sure there will still be blog updates here as well, just different ones.
Probably longer posts that include a lot more content than just an image or two.

So, here for important updates, Tumblr for spam. 8D YAY SPAM.

Look forward to it guys! We're still cracking!

Progress Report

Dev Blog: Mechanics Update 2 - Talents

Welcome to part 2 of the Mechanics Updates

Everyone has talents, some are good at music or art, others at math or science, and some are skilled at increasing the Break% of their skills 5% for each assigned talent point.

Not everyone starts off realizing their full potential, some you learn as you grow, others (in a more realistic approach) you need to find as a special item or as a quests reward.

You will probably get the point of the video after about 10 seconds

To promote the new talent system, we asked each person what their favorite part of this new system was!

Alaria: I appreciate how I can reassign my talents at any time; I like to be flexible.
Flynn: (I like her to be flexible too.)
Alaria: What was that?
Flynn: I was just saying you still need to unlock each level of talents by assigning the appropriate amount of points to the level before.
Edan: But that's... OW!
Flynn: ...exactly what I said!
Alaria: Hmph. What about you Edan?
Edan: Are you kidding? Did you see my talents? I can do CRITICAL DAMAGE! I bet criticals make a bone-crunching sound and are red numbers or something awesome.
Flynn: I'm a bit sad I can't cause a critical.
Alaria: (You cause a critical failure every time you open your mouth...)
Flynn: What was that?
Alaria: I was just saying you cause a critical failure every time you open your mouth.
Flynn: :(
Edan: Wait, how did you pronounce...

AND THAT is all we have time for today!

Game Design

Dev Blog: Mechanics Update 1 - 4th Level Skills

Welcome to part 1 of the Mechanics Updates, the first aspect of the Aetherion Plus project (ie. relaunching and more content!) I'll be covering all the completed mechanics and teasing some of the new features.

Level 3 skills are no push-overs; and they reset your attack bar to boot!
However, at some point in a game character's life, there comes a time when you need MOAR POWAH!

To realize your full potential, kick ass, or just chew bubble gum, if your fourth level skills aren't the answer, you're asking the wrong question!

Of course these skills don't come for free! Besides needing to build 6 attack levels, these skills leave your character in an Exhausted state. During the time it takes someone to recover, they stand, heads drooped, energy spent, taking double damage until their MP bar has cooled down.

4th Level Skills are focused on one aspect of a character, but usually are high-damage skills, allowing anyone the chance to shine, be it after a serious series of face-drubbings, or shielding the whole team and buffing them through the roof.

As an aside, you might notice that to help people appreciate the names and power of the skill before it's used, combat is paused whenever the skill window is open!


REQUEST: Beta Test new Combat System

I'm looking for a little beta-testing help!

I've revised the combat system significantly and am wrapping up the final changes, then I'll be revising the tutorials in the early game, the first revision for beta testing should be ready mid-day this Saturday (14th.)

What I'm looking for is a few brave souls, ideally at least one or two that can record their play so I can do a user test (see how a user reacts to a situation without any direct developer commentary, just what the game itself presents) to try out the new combat system changes.

The focus will mostly be thoughts on the combat changes, overall balance will still be heavily in progress, so more about the flow, controls, and what you liked and didn't like after a series of battles.

If you're interested please reply, I'd be extra interested in hearing from people who played the original combat system and either hated it or liked it.


New Version - Single Bug Fix

I've just uploaded a new version that fixes a bug with one of the advanced difficulty selections (Hard) - you can access from the "Download" button on the project (I had a variable name spelled incorrectly.)

If any judges didn't download the original version you can get the original file here: http://anamei.net/files/Aetherion.launch.exe


Summer Games Version Released!

First, a shout-out to Rei- for writing a really cool musical track for our project. Check it out!

Surrealistic Whereabouts by Rei-

Second, Aetherion: Summer Games Edition has been released. The game is 'complete' and playable from beginning to end. It should be mostly bug-free, but we are aware of a few minor issues that crop up near the end of the game in areas we didn't get to test as thoroughly. Please feel free to report bugs or other feedback here.

I am pleased to report that this isn't the 'end' for Aetherion, from the beginning of the project's life we always intended to continue working on it after the contest ended. We have plenty of ideas for additional playable characters, bosses, enemies, and stories. Where we go from here likely depends on the type of feedback we get- Anaryu is very interested in seeing how people react to the combat. A friend of mine, for example, suggested the game needed two things:

1. The ability to pause in combat!
2. A better way to identify buffs/debuffs.

Both of these have been noted and will be looked at.

Other than that, I expect the game will continue to move forward in new and exciting directions. This will likely mean lots of new art from Krisanna, possibly additional musical compositions from Rei-, lots of cool combat from Anaryu and more of whatever the hell it is I actually do on this project.

Let's keep this pain train rolling!


Casting Call! Part 3 of 3: Alaria

So, funny story. After this game page went up I got a few comments from people who noted that Edan looked an awful lot like Lexi from Avarice. This apparently caused some confusion over Edan's gender.

Don't worry guys, I promise this one will be way easier.

Alaria Reinhardt

View count x10 multiplier.

Dev. Codename: Ice Chick
Aspect: Water
Weapon of Choice: Spear of Ice
Likes: Music, polite conversation, flowers, overachieving.
Dislikes: Disorder, indecisiveness, Flynn.

Alaria is also a veteran Watcher who seems to come from a noble family. Although from the same year as Flynn, she seems to be much more well-regarded and respected. Her incredible talents and scholarly pursuits have earned her the status of “elite” at a remarkably young age.

Alaria is both strong and brilliant, and extremely capable, taking to any task with ease. She is, however, very overzealous and headstrong, possessing a confidence that some would say borders on arrogance, and her stalwart dedication to her duties can make her seem distant, and even cold. She is generally very formal and proper, but she seems to have an unpleasant history with Flynn which brings out the worst in her. Alaria has power over ice and uses it to form deadly weapons and projectiles.

In combat, Alaria has a mix of offensive and defensive capabilities, and the ability to freeze enemies solid.


She's looking at you, and she's judging you. Maybe she saw what you were looking at a few seconds ago...

I'm not sure what she's looking at in this one. It's probably more interesting than you, though.


Casting Call! Part 2 of 3: Flynn

Dear God, I posted two blogs less than twenty-four hours apart! This clearly makes me a bad person and I should be punished for this.

Or, you know, I could share more cool artwork with you. Cause I like you guys a lot.

Flynn van Lucia

Cue dramatic wind.

Dev. Codename: Windy dude
Aspect: Air
Weapon of Choice: Staff
Likes: Pranks, sarcasm, trickery, tea, a good book, fine art
Dislikes: Obtuse people, people with no sense of humor, being wrong, ever.

Flynn comes from a long line of talented mages, and has been a member of the Institute for many years. Though quite experienced and extremely skilled, he has currently been taken off of active duty for reasons that are unclear…at first.

Flynn is too clever for his own good, and knows it. He is quick-witted and generally good-natured, though he definitely has a mean streak and sometimes can’t resist giving someone a hard time. His carefree prankster persona, however, seems to be a cover for something else. Flynn has power over fierce and destructive winds which he can apply to multiple purposes.

Flynn’s specialties in combat are healing, supportive abilities and area-effect attacks.

Also he can fly, apparently.

Walking is for chumps.

So devious he gets a chin-stroking face.

Hidden within this sketch is Flynn's deepest, darkest secret. Can you discover it?


Casting Call! Part 1 of 3: Edan

So this surrealism thing is a bit of a challenge. I’m not an artist. I can’t really do surrealism. I’m not even sure I could tell you what surrealism even is. I kind of think that’s the point.

Anaryu and I had a pretty hard time trying to adapt the theme into the project, and whether we succeeded or not is probably questionable, but it’s the thought that counts! What we thought was most important was to have a fun, interesting game with cool mechanics. I think he’s done well with that part so far, to say the least.

So what is this game about, anyway? Well, in honor of the theme and the spirit of originality, we have decided to go with a completely unique premise: cute schoolkids fighting otherworldy horrors. That’s original, right?


So! Let’s meet our contestants!

Edan Mekaisto

He’s smiling because he doesn’t realize his hand is on fire.

Dev. Codename: Firedude
Aspect: Fire
Weapon of Choice: HE DOESN’T NEED A WEAPON
Likes: Food, sleeping, food, barbeque, friends, and food. Also food.
Dislikes: Hunger, studying
Trivia: Edan is an Irish name. It means “Little fire.”

Edan is a new Initiate at the ARC Institute, selected to join the ranks of the elite Watchers who protect the world from the unearthly powers of beyond.

Edan is a country boy who enjoys simple things and doesn’t take things too seriously. He feels out of place in such a structured environment, but he always tries his best. He is affable and good-hearted, always trying to see the best in everyone. He has power over fire and can harness it to destroy danger and to protect his friends. However, his power is very dangerous and hard for him to control, and he is very self-conscious about it.

Edan’s specialties in combat are direct damage and offensive abilities.

Edan, seen here performing his vaunted “Kick-You-In-The-Face-Attack.”

It takes a lot of effort to look this clueless.

Original Concept Artwork

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