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Game Design

Armour Upgrading Options

For those of you who have played the demo and now have a little better insight into the game and how it works, I pose to you all a question - how many options should I have when it comes to upgrading armour?

If you didn't know, I'm implementing a system whereby the character's only have one weapon and armour each throughout the game, yet are able to upgrade those things with items at any given time (provided they have the correct materials).

Now, I already have some basic ideas - obviously upgrading armour will help with HP, Defence, MDef, AGI - but should I leave it there? I might touch on some other parameters, like Counter Evasion, Magical Reflection - stuff like that.

The reason I ask is because I already have a full list of elemental and state resisting accessories - so with that in mind, would it be a little pointless to add options to increase ele/state resistances too? It feels like it.


RSW Demo Is Go~

Alrighty, now that I've sorted out a few bugs here or there, the initial demo for Blood Shard is out and ready to be played. It'll take about an hour to complete, give or take.

The response I've had so far is looking quite positive. The main stand out point for me is the combat, as that was a very hit and miss area in the initial demo if anyone recalls. Basically, combat in this game is TOUGH now, and it'll be tough if you don't prioritize strategically. There is some room for trial and error, but each encounter in the demo is unique in that there are different strategies for each one. It's very easy to get killed, but it's balanced out with healing items being instant use, and your skills being more than enough to stop the enemies from owning you. Basically, spamming attack will get you mauled. That was the main problem with the prior release, because just attack-attack-attack could get you through most battles.

Now, however, if you do that then you'll more than likely wind up dead.

So my general rules of thumb when it comes to combat - use your buff/debuff items, they stack twice and REALLY help against the harder hitting foes. Use your Forte skills because you'll really need them if you don't want to hit a brick wall of frustration. The battles aren't tailored for attack spamming, so I hope you all enjoy them.

Hopefully now then, that RSW is over, I can crack on with the rest of part one. I'm waiting on a script to be commissioned that'll give the characters a means of learning new Forte skills and boosting various parameters - a lot like Dragon Quest 8's, actually. It'll mean databasing will need to be redone, but I'll have a clear picture in mind of what I'm wanting to do. I'm now in the same stage I was after the VX demo, so it's time to get cracking on.

A question - would you prefer a new demo after part one is complete, or a demo after part one's kinda at the halfway point?

Progress Report

Progress Update & Checklist

Mapping music for today has been excellent.

Okay, so if anyone's been following this in a while you'll notice I've been on a little bit of a composing spree - I finished the first doppelgänger battle theme, and the theme for Northhurst Woods. So good progress on the composing side of things! Where the demo length stands now, there are five - six songs that aren't original - I might get round to doing them before the 4th, I might not. We shall see.

Happier news too, I finished all of the maps that you'll visit in the demo. So the Resistance hideout, Northhurst Woods, Arcontana - they're all done. I now never want to map a forest or cave again (which sucks considering the next places are another forest and an underground prison, woe is me).

Checklist for the demo now stands here;

- Eventing. Eventing. Eventing. A lot of the Arcontana stuff is a VX - VXA rewrite though, so that shouldn't take too long. The Northhurst stuff is completely new though.

- Databasing. I've commissioned a scripter for a new skill gaining system, but I doubt it'll be ready by May 4th - even if it is, whether or not I'll have enough time to set it all up is another story. Because a skill gaining system won't be in place, I'll probably have the characters in the demo unable to learn new skills. Heck, that might even help the balancing more.

But aside from that, all the visual stuff is pretty much done!

Other news;

- The combo system is gone. Too unbalanced, too gimmicky, too meh. Keeping it simpler now seems to be the best way for progress, whilst still retaining the fun.

- I think that's it.

Thanks everyone for the interest so far. I hope I don't let you down!


The Sound of Trees

So, I finished yesterday's song and figured out where it was going - this will be playing during the day when you first control Drake in Northhurst Woods! Because of events that happen at night, the song wouldn't really fit for then, but it fits nicely with the maps and ambience of the place during the day, when you're kinda free to explore for a while.

Here's the link to it, if you fancy a listen/download :)



A Song Without Purpose!

Now, I understand the general pitfalls of making something game-related without any clear motivation or purpose of use, but I started writing a song that seems really, far too nice to not use. So I pose the question to you! What do you hear when you listen to this song? Do you see it as character theme? A location theme?

I've got a few ideas for it already. I'm thinking it might be a nice theme for Alice, or perhaps Edward's base in the ruins of Esterwyn Castle. Hohum.


Game Design

One Weapon VS Lots of Weapons & Encounters

Hi all! This is really going to act as a discussion type blog to everyone who has subscribed so far, but I'm in a little bit of a pickle and would really appreciate some input!

Basically, the encounter system in Blood Shard works like this.

- There are no random encounters. To battle monsters, you can undertake hunting missions at various towns/areas flagged as base camps. You'd then go into the dungeon you're about to traverse, and find and hunt down the monsters for rewards. To that end, the concept of levelling your characters has been removed due to the sparse 'typical' kind of encounters.

- You can also go on 'hunting trails' in certain dungeons. These trails can be completed as many times as you like. This idea is kind've in limbo right now, because it seems a little counter-intuitive given that no EXP is rewarded for battles. So I'd need something to reward the player with.

- Boss battles and several other battles remain mandatory.

Because there is no levelling in game, it'll be perfectly acceptable to skip any hunts, though there are good rewards for actually completing them. Which brings me to my next point, UPGRADES~

I'm not wanting to lose the sense of progression and accomplishment, so to that end I've given each character one weapon and armor, that can be upgraded using parts. Not like, something in Dark Cloud or anything - think of it more like this. Here's an example:

Drake's weapon is the Propeller, a steam sword. Throughout the game you'll find parts for this weapon that will permanently increase its stats. For example, you'll come across a 'Pressure Regulator'. This part can be permanently attached to your weapon, and by doing so it will increase the weapons hit chance. You won't get another 'Pressure Regulator', because you've already added one.

Rather than having repeatable upgrades, party members can equip accessories to buff their key stats. Of course you don't need to play it like that, but there are a few accessories that are tailor made for each character. It's the accessories that can enforce a certain 'class' on each character, with some increasing magic power and others increasing strength.

Basically, my questions are:

- What do you think of the encounter system? Can you think of a way in which the hunting trail would work?

- Do you think that one weapon that can be upgraded throughout the entire game trumps a plethora of weapons that gradually get better, rendering the previous one useless?



Evolution of the Kingsroad Theme

Pheew, after a pretty long day of fumbling about with faders and VSTs, I am happy to announce a new theme for my game - The Kingsroad!

The Kingsroad spans from the edges of the Apricum Wastes, all the way round to Northhurst. It was once the primary highway for travelling royalty and leisurly strolls, but since Valburn invaded, the Kingsroad has been reduced to rubble. Countless sentries are posted all across the path, and the once grand buildings that surrounded it have crumbled in place of new technology and machinated structures. Even still though, the Kingsroad retains a serene beauty as the canopy of leafs that surround it whisper in the wind, and the delicate breeze murmurs lightly from the nearby coast.

This theme has actually been in play in Blood Shard for quite a while, though this its third incarnation. The first two were used for a world map theme, which doesn't exist anymore. I can tell you something though, I've came a long way since then. Here's what the first one sounded like.

And the second one:

And now the newest one, which you can download/listen to here.

I think it's vastly improved, and I am happy! (and you'd probably do well to ignore most of the other outdated songs on my channel, haha.)
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