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Back in 2007 (if I remember correctly) a forum-goer by the name of RPG created a joke post on Gaming World concerning the game Crystals: Legend of the Sword. It was everything you'd expect: cliche, bland, grammatically ignorant. The post was flooded with horrible screen shots and included the complete plot of the story (oh man I wish that thread was still alive). Needless to say everyone got a good laugh from it.

Around the same time I was working on my "main" project and had learned what I really needed was practice making a game. Game making, I realized, was like writing. You can't expect to write the next great novel on your first try. You have to mess up first, write something you'd wish you hadn't.

Thus was born Crystals.

I'm not even going to bother talking about the plot here because if you're familiar with the RPG scene you already know it: there's a big bad, a hero whose village is destroyed, some sacred sword you need, and a bunch of crystals to collect. Your hero is totally emo, your brother's evil, and your best friend is a muscle freak.

That's not to say Crystals is a bad game. The point of it, after all, was to practice making games, not go Duke Nukem Forever on the world. So while not shiny around the edges it still possesses fairly strong execution of the core gameplay mechanics, mapping, and balance. And despite it's simplicity I don't think it disappoints.

One note on gameplay: I know a lot of people like to hold down the shift key to speed through text when playing. I've setup most sections of the game to accept that input. However, certain cutscenes do include the auto-close message handler in order to time the words with events or the music. To be safe, try to avoid using the shift key during cutscenes, especially when you see the text move slowly (I know, I know! That's exactly why you'd want to use shift!).

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Game Design: Riyu the Hero

In case you missed the prior posts in this series, you can find them here:
Alex the Black Mage
Van the Warrior

As part of my continuing exploration of the characters of Crystals, today I’ll be discussing Riyu, the leader and primary protagonist of the first game. Despite Riyu’s design still being in development, I felt it was important to wrap up discussion on the trio that you take through the first three dungeons of the game (Riyu, Alex, Van).

Riyu the Hero


Riyu Rovgrex acts as the protagonist of the first game, and is therefore forced into your party throughout. This brings with it a special set of concerns for his design. Namely that he:
- Is relevant throughout the game.
- Displays a reason for others to follow him (to explain why Riyu is the leader).
- Is fun to play.
- Has a play style unique from other characters.

There are a couple common tropes for leaders in video games that I considered but ultimately rejected for Riyu’s design. My personal favorite hero trope is the knight: the strong, tanky, physical fighter. But Van is already the early game tank and Riyu’s character always struck me as more swashbuckler (his father is a pirate, after all). Another option is what I call the “omni-warrior,” or jack-of-all-trades. However, such characters risk being a “master of none” and serve little value to your party. I could make Riyu simply a master of all (an option I am generally not opposed to for game protagonists), but viability between characters is an important objective for Crystals, and “master of all” would go against that. The final option I call “customized,” which means the player can choose a path for Riyu to master. If Riyu were to be the protagonist for all future games, “customized” would be the obvious route to take. However, a new character will take over the protagonist role for the second game, and her design is less flexible. This creates imbalance that is not beneficial for the overall structure of the series. Therefore, “customized” is rejected as well.

In the end, Riyu is constructed like most any other character, with slight favoritism towards versatility and durability. The source material offered little in the way of Riyu’s character, mentioning only he wielded a sword, was often overly emotional, and was trained by his father. As a result, a large chunk of Riyu’s design is born from his initial creation in the Crystals demo.

In the demo, since Van and Alex were obviously not healers, Riyu was given that role. Riyu was also in-between Van and Alex in terms of attack power and durability. And to give Riyu some prestige in the group, I gave him a very powerful ability that one-shotted most enemies, but due to MP constraints could only be cast once initially. These three concepts ended up forming the backbone of Riyu’s design today.

Skills and Abilities

Riyu’s primary skill-set is Technique, which provides him slight healing powers for the early game, some situational skills (such as one which helps him cut through high defense enemies), and some inefficient but high damage abilities. Technique is intended to be situationally appropriate and not for general use, given Riyu’s small MP pool.

Riyu’s active is Boost. Boost increases Riyu’s strength by 300% for a single turn. On average this increase will double Riyu’s physical damage, but due to how the damage formula works, it is more effective with high damage abilities and less effective with low damage abilities. Combined with the inefficient but high damage abilities available via Technique, Boost makes Riyu a character who thrives in the difficult all-out matches. Indeed, even in the demo, Riyu’s ability to quickly dispatch a troublesome enemy is invaluable.

Riyu’s secondary skill-set is Cook. I am borrowing a food mechanic from Tales of Phantasia, where walking consumes food and slowly heals the party. To give the various grocery items more purpose in-game, Riyu can consume various grocery items in exchange for moderate in-battle effects. These vary from healing to buffs to damage, and balanced by their gold cost. When Riyu is looking to conserve some MP, Cook is a great alternative. Cook also gives a nod to the role he played in the Rovgrex household in the absence of his parents.

As mentioned, I am still finalizing Riyu’s design (and will likely continue to do so until I can play test him in-game). One notable absence in his kit is a passive. His planned passive was Synergy: Riyu deals extra damage to targets recently damaged by an ally (damage over time or self-inflicted does not count). I am always trying to build story into gameplay, and this passive had great potential. However, synergy was rejected because it fundamentally changed how one plays the game, which was too obtrusive to have on a mandatory character. I hope to repurpose Synergy on an optional character later.

Scan (reveal monster stats) was another ability rejected from Riyu, this time because of the protagonist switch in later games. I have not decided on how best to repurpose Scan, though it will likely be some in-game item that anyone can use rather than restrict it to a specific character. Scan may also disappear from the game outright.


Riyu is a bit emotionally unstable, sees himself as a failure, and constantly looking for meaning in life. He regularly objects to actions taken by his older brother Alex, yet can’t bring himself to do anything meaningful to intervene. Similarly, he has deep seeded unhappiness towards his father for abandoning them, yet continues to respect his father’s teachings and look toward them for guidance. Ultimately it is Riyu’s desires and ambition that drive the main storyline.

Another characteristic of Riyu is the sword Excalibur, which was gifted to him by his father many years ago (apologies for the name Excalibur – it is, unfortunately, from the source material). His father also trained Riyu in the art of sword fighting using Excalibur, but despite hinting at the sword’s importance, Riyu’s father never provided details or concrete direction as to the sword’s use. This seems like as good a time as any to remind everyone that the subtitle of the game is “Legend of the Sword.”

In normal game play, Excalibur is heavy and weak, forcing Riyu to choose other weapons in battle.
  • Production
  • hedge1
  • RPG Tsukuru 2003
  • RPG
  • 05/05/2013 04:29 AM
  • 07/04/2017 06:49 PM
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  • 28713
  • 13
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Since someone suggested it, here it goes:

The game demo is pretty good but it has some flaws (my opinion):

-the quest with the sand gathering is tedious (20 pieces is way to much!)

-way to many random battle encounters

-i had all ingredients but it wouldnt let me make the antidode, so i couldnt finish
the quest with the poisened person

-i had to grind alot to kill certain enemys or advance the plot

-the battle music is annyoing at some point, it wouldnt hurt to get more than 1 battle music theme for normal monsters

thats it, i liked everything else about the demo...
Thanks for playing! You make me curious who suggested it.

- I'm glad you found the wood easy enough to find. Honestly, that's what I've always been worried about. Concerning the quantity, in my practice games I always collected them "as I went" since there was a lot of other stuff to do there (collect the chests, heal up for the Mirror battle, and a few trips to take out the Sand Worms). But I can see how it could be painful if one were to simply walk there and try to collect 20 in one go. Related, I can see how the random encounters in the same location could get annoying as one wonders for the wood. I'll add it to my list of fixes to reduce the number of required wood.

- This is going to sound blasphemous but I always enjoyed the random encounter mechanic. Other options can be better but are almost never implemented properly and therefore I feel should be avoided. Along those same lines I find that random encounters can get annoying since people like going places and it can feel like red lights all over the place. That said, a good game should be able to minimize that annoyance. Looking over the rest of your comments I'm guessing (hoping) that the annoyance is mostly derived from the difficulty curve being a bit too steep and the tedious quest. If those areas are fixed perhaps the random encounter rate won't need to be lowered that much.

- I'll have to double check the requirements but I'm certain the coding works since I've done it a bunch of times. Did you have the Ant Egg (from the blue chest in the forest)? How many Ant Antidotes did you have at the end? Maybe my story script didn't say the correct number. The demo's ending is as cheesy as the rest of the game, but I would have liked for you to have seen it.

- Could you be more specific on where you had to grind? Given that this is my game and I know exactly how to play it the issue of it being a bit on the difficult/grinding side has come up before. I'm guessing (and perhaps hoping again) that your issue starts at the Wooden Forest rather than the first cave? Even if it's "everything" if there's a section that's worse than the others I want to know so I can adjust accordingly. I do want the beginning of the game to be somewhat easy and the first dungeon to be traversable in a single go for the average person without the need to use healing items.

- I'm trying to theme the music to various battle types (you'll notice I use four different tracks in the demo) so rotating tracks for common battles isn't a preferred option. So I guess I'll look into getting better battle music. Or maybe just a better version of the one I'm using. Or maybe just give the player the option to change the standard.

Good to hear you liked the rest. Thanks again for playing and thanks even more for leaving some feedback.

EDIT: OK, so I just checked my code and I am referencing the wrong items to trigger the ending. For now maybe just consider the Vile Centipede boss the end of the demo. Sorry for that.
-Yeah, I killed everything in the desert and then went for the sand, thats why it was kinda tedious.

-The random encounters where only annoying when i wanted to go to certain places, because I took like 15 steps and boom monster.

-Maybe I was to dumb to kill certain enemys, like the 4 sand worms or the mirror things, so i leveld a few times to make it easier or maybe it was the fact that I almost never used healing items or bought any (im greedy xD).

-Well, it is up to you to change anything or not, because this is just my opinion and it is you´re game.

-Yeah, the Egg thing didnt work, i had the thing out of the blue Chest and the 5 Antidotes.

Pretty good game demo so far, keep it up and I was kinda surprised you said it was only a practice to get better at game making, because it was quite enjoyable.
How many Ant Antidotes do I need?? I have 15 and still nothing happens.
5 Ant Antidotes is all you should need, but the demo was looking at the wrong item location for counting. I uploaded a fixed version. Your existing save should still work with the update. All you're missing is a single cut scene before the demo ends.

Mind sharing your thoughts about the game? I'd love to hear them!
Is this game finished or is it still a demo I am interested in it, like super interested in it but I don't wanna be left hanging if its a demo you know ^^
The download is still a demo, so if you don't want a demo, don't bother. I'm happy you're interested though! I know the official download hasn't been updated in ages, but the project remains active. Out of curiosity, are you familiar at all with the source material this is based upon, or interested for other reasons?
I am not familiar I like the design of it and the plot and stuff. and the graphics though I would like to know the main source of it.
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