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out the door

13 days before I am supposed to 'celebrate' being on this site for 7 years, i've decided to leave rmn as well. having grown uncomfortable with the circle-jerkers ( aka the devs whose games get the most attention and all their friends ) and the few rotten apples here, it's simply become an unhealthy place for me to hang around.

while i won't be posting here anymore, i'd like to stay in contact with some of the members here by ways of building an e-mail list ( yes, it's a little different from the usual chatrooms like discord/skype, but i see them as massive timesinks. i never get anything done ) informing subscribers about my future projects. so... if you're interested, drop me a pm and we'll see where the road takes us. the simple gesture would mean a lot to me, because it shows that some of you still care. who knows? maybe you'll get a surprise or two.


maybe some of you hate me for broken promises i couldn't keep, maybe some of you lost your respect for me because I couldn't keep doing what I loved to do. or maybe some people just hated on Enelysion because it became popular...

who knows? it doesn't matter anyway.
i'm going to keep on being a creative workaholic.

So long, and keep gaming
i was always too serious for this place, anyway

Luchi 'I did not spend 10,000 hours on RPGMaker to be mediocre' Chan


Going, Going, Gone

After seven years, I figured it is time to hang up my game development mantle and focus my creative energy on pixel art and creating resources for the greater RM community.

While it is painful to let go of a project I've been working on for close to three years, I've never felt more free, more happy and so unrestrained after I cancelled LoTL.

Now as to why I cancelled it:

I don't think any of you realise just how difficult it is, or how emotionally draining it is, to work on something you care about so much, only for it to be forgotten by the greater masses. I've been putting out demos to receive feedback for this game ever since June and the feedback, if I am frank, was pathetic. Now, I am not an attention whore, but how on earth can you expect a game developer to continue with his or her project if they have absolutely no clue as to how they faring without C & C?

Yes, to some of you, the project looks grand, an epic in the making, and sometimes I told myself that, just to give myself a bit of a confidence boost because despite what you may think, I have very low self-esteem in RL. No matter how awesome or epic LoTL may have seemed, I was still a human being who craved just a little bit of recognition of my work. And a video game, no matter how great it seems, will amount to nothing if its developer feels like an ant. Being human, we all crave a little warmth and attention. It is human psychology.

I was always under the impression that this community operated on the 'scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours' mentality. I.o.w, if you expressed interest in someone else's work, they would probably return the favour and support your own project. That's what I've picked up after studying 100s of blogs on this site. And it's always the same people who respond to certain game projects. To an outsider, this creates an almost 'elitist' mindset, and also explains why the vast majority of games on this site go unnoticed because the cool cats were too invested in their own work and the works of their friends. That's honestly how I feel, and my lack of inactivty on this site stems from that exact same mindset.

That subscriber count? Those profile views? They meant nothing to me. I would have exchanged all of it, for a few simple sentences of constructive criticism. Only my testers ever gave me that.

But the damage is done. I don't need anyone's sympathy or pity. I will stand on my own two feet, continue with my pixel art and maybe one day, just one day, sell them. Then I can finally have peace of mind from earning money from something
that I love doing.

Progress Report

Phantasy Emblem

Not much to report on but I still need to keep up appearances.

Probably the biggest challenge I'm busy with at the moment is the inclusion of pixel-art cutscenes, Phantasy Star IV style ( without the panel-style direction, because to be quite frank, drawing 300 individual images is too much of a hassle ) for the major cutscenes. I also went for pixel art because it's a lot easier than editing a high-definition image and it's also a fraction of the size of a raster image. What with my Audio folder being so large a mere six and a half hours in, I need to keep the size of my graphics folder as small as possible.

Sure, its painful what with using a mouse and all, but I've been using it for the last seven years for 99% of all my art, so I see no real reason to change.

It feels natural in my hand, I guess. My non-dominant hand, mind. xD I'm left-handed. It would be amusing to see the dominant right-handers trying to create pixel-art with their left hand.

Trianna, start to finish:

I got rid of the hand-holding because I didn't like the way it came out. I lost count of how many times I edited Ianna's head ><.

Colour gets added after extended editing. Yes, I deleted their hand-holding after adding colour, orz.

And in-game.

WIP of Tristian when she carries Ianna into the forest at the start of the game.

I use Paint Shop Pro 8, if anyone is interested.

Other images:

Just part of Ianna's journey into becoming the most powerful character in the game... Here she's actually altering the wind's direction to bring rain clouds over to end a drought. A prime example of Royals who Actually Do Something.

I think the FE portraits need to die now...

6.5 hours will become 7 soon. This game has a revolving roster much like FF4 meaning you have no say as to who joins your party, but it works for the game's narrative structure. Those two will eventually be separated, mind...

That's it for now ( disappears for another month before posting another blog ).

Game Design

Looking back

Most of us would probably save a blog like this towards the completed game's release date, but because I needed a bit of self-motivation, I dug around my Dropbox and to my joy, found the earliest known screens of LotL.

It's pretty screenshot-heavy.

Hints of political drama and earliest prototype screens of LoTL ( around June 2013 ):

The City of Lester was originally supposed to be the capital of Reglay, Tristian's Duchy. It will probably still make an appearance in the current game though.

The game was originally called Eridanus: The First War, but it sounded too generic, so the game went through several name changes ( check the comment sections of the main page, I really couldn't decide on a name >< ) and just went with naming the project after the game's titular heroine. The plot originally centered on Tristian as an embattled Duchess, trying to run her Duchy after the death of her father, but also trying to stem the unrest resulting from disdain her own people showed towards her.

Tristian was also originally going to search for her missing brother and had insisted on going alone. Although a Duchess, she was still a proud knight through and through and even in this early drafts, she was still Ianna's bodyguard.

...Whom she clearly still expresses concern for.

While there is a Bedivere in the current demo, he looks nothing compared to the above knight, and this lion-maned Bedivere was also supposed to serve as Tristian's love interest ( she was 100% straight in my earliest drafts but the whole concept of her falling for Ianna; who was her Queen, was still there ).

And yes, it was planned to be a TBS.

But it didn't give me the same level of depth as say, Fire Emblem, so I ended up scrapping the battle system entirely and going back to Yanfly's Battle Engine Melody. Another downside of using a TBS-battle engine and giving the game a Fire Emblem vibe was the fact that I probably needed a fairly large roster, to give that feeling of actually recruiting various characters who wanted to fight for their own personal reasons and fighting in your army ( though this isn't really true for FE in general; 80% of the cast tends to be either poorly written, a walking trope or an anime cut-out ).

Tristian still looks like an ice-queen. Although her game has undergone countless changes, her personality has more or less remained the same.

Of course, none of the above scenes, let alone the battle system, made it into the game. A lot of planned characters got cut as well when transitioning into the new rewrite. I'm still wondering how LoTL, in the beginning, went from a possible political drama rife with consquences, to an anime-plot JRPG of evil villians wanting to capture Ianna so they could use her blood for a resurrection of an evil-- yeah, you know how it goes, to its current incarnation ( which did a complete 180 and is back to being a political drama between two factions, kinda like FFT: War of the Lions ).

Nevertheless, I went back to the drawing board and continued with version 2.0:

Arrival of Disma and Co. and generic anime plot:

Though in retrospect I am wondering why I never kept the 'political drama' plot. Oh wait... I didn't write it down. Epic fail.

Anyone remember Disma and that creepy-looking armoured dude?

At least he/she? was honourable in his/her? own way.

Didn't stop his/her? cronies from hitting Tristian with some nasty dark magic and affecting her with an incurable disease... Which only gave her a year to live. Then Tristy needed to seek the help of some mystic to cure her ( this happened over a rather short time frame ). Said mystic informed Tristian she needed to return to her Duchy because of an apparent invasion by the 'evil empire' who invaded for no real apparent reason apart from being evil, with Dante at her side ( Ianna was kidnapped by Camus in the early drafts, which really hurt the developing relationship between her and her lady knight ). Of course, neither Trianna displayed any hints of real affection towards each other like in the current version of the game. Ianna was still meek and the dreaded damsel-in-distress and Tristian was still a stoic badass.

Yep. JRPG Plot #49594. I'm probably great at level design, but back in 2013-2014 my writing was pretty mediocre. I didn't even see the captured Ianna behind the magic crystal.

While the plot was awful, it did introduce some key characters such as Darcy and Trabant ( who would go on to become staples in LoTL's current plot )

LoTL Circa 2014:

She's still pretty much the same, though her role is much bigger now. In the old version, Darcy was just a wannabe rebel who styled herself as the 'Lightning Thief' ( she even broke into the manor of an old admiral to steal a valuable gold pidgeon >< ). The old demo also introduced party-splitting, but this idea was later scrapped. The last thing I wanted was a disconnected narrative like Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn ( whose plot still gets bashed today nine years after its release and for good reason ).

And this battle screen still looks great. Definitely more aesthetically pleasing than a grid-based battle system. And its fast-paced too ( another reason I ditched the TBS, it's slow and can be a chore to play through if it's not designed well ).

It's pointless having a pretty shell of a game that sounds great but is slow to play through.

Out of battle skills: Might reappear again. Like Darcy using her bombs to clear previously unreachable areas.

I really loved some of the areas from the old game though.

The whole idea of a bustling town was lifted straight from FF12 ( my favourite entry in the series ).

Probably my favourite screen in the game.

The gameplay in battle also varied between turn-based to PTB-based ala SMT. But there was a glitch that allowed a powerful character ( like Ira/Trabant ) to score even more 'turns' by just re-selecting them again and again and targetting weak points. There goes the strategy of targeting enemy weaknesses. In the end, I went back to turn-based.

Now you'd probably ask me why the hell I redid the graphics as well in addition to the plot. Simple. I didn't want the game to look like Enelysion 2.0. xD I also figured that a more serious storyline needed more realistically proportioned sprites and didn't want LoTL to look like a generic RPGMaker game ( the chibi sprites tend to be dead-giveaways ).

Wrapping Up:

I could go on and on about LoTL itself, but I really need to finish off this blog. Writing about ( and looking at ) my past work not only shows me how far I've come, but it really is testament to how many hours have gone into making Tristian but I still have a ways to go. I've been RM'ing since 2009. I read an article a while ago about the '10 Years of Silence' and it pointed out that no matter how much talent/passion/drive you have, it takes at least a decade before you produce a particularly brilliant piece of work. Even brilliant musicians like Mozart only started producing their best work after Year 10.

So if LoTL really is going to be my magnum opus, I have to stick with it until late 2018-2019. If you read Addit and NTC3's reviews you'll probably get the feeling they were reviewing two different games and I suppose, again, it is part of my willingness to improve and eventually deliver a great product come release day.

Progress Report

Demo conquered. But the real test starts now.

Let this not be one of my epic-fail blogs like the ones over the last few months. Someone with close to 200 blogs ( 193 iirc ) to her name should not make epic fail blogs. Not to mention I didn't write a single one for the month of June. Bad Luchi, very bad.

Now that the demo is out of the way, I need to focus on the bigger task at hand... Getting this game done by December 2017. While I've been plagued with personal demons regarding the game ( I've come a hair's breadth to cancelling the project entirely, but the same thing happened during the last few months developing Enelysion, and I went on to complete it ), there's always been one thing that I've thought about before making such rash decisions. I can be impulsive, if not downright reckless, but that's just my nature ( quite sure all fire signs in astrology are like this; as a Saggitarius, I'm no different ).

I love my characters, plain and simple. Hitting that Cancelled tab would be like abandoning Tristian, Ianna and the rest of the cast that I've spent close to 2.5 years with now. And Tristian for me is the embodiment of my ideal heroine in a video-game ( she's a lot better than Laine, tbh, but this could simply be due to the fact that Tristian happens to be a better character. Lainey still wins on the design-stakes though xD ).

It would be tantamount to throwing all my work out of the window. But onto the game itself.

I'm making good progress so far, having just crossed the six-hour mark for the game, and it will probably reach the 7-8 hour mark once I start on the next couple of dungeons.

All the battlers done for the game so far.

Six hours down, 34 to go.

I don't know if anyone else found the Shovels segment of the game funny, but I tend to crack up everytime I hear their theme ( Ahoy Pirates! in the audio folder ). And their name is just plain silly. They become a force to reckon with later on, however...

The cockatrices are my favourite enemies, design-wise. While they are based off the default VX one, the colour palette is my own.

And doing some mountain-climbing.

Regarding the plot of the game so far:

While it may seem that Tristian and Ianna are merely doing odd quests for their new employer ( Trabant ), their actions ( especially Ianna's ) has further reaching consequences much later on. I've already lampshaded what Ianna might become in one of the game's earlier scenes, after all. Also, the player gets to experience what is happening in other terroritries like Concordia ( under iron-fisted rule by Duke Caliburn ).

This might be a game set during a period of strife and endless struggle, but imagine how the plot would have played out had Tristian remained a General of the Cerulean Order; imagine how boring the gameplay might have been: You would have been fighting horde after horde of human enemies, doing little to no exploring outside of fortress hopping and keeping Ianna on the sidelines ( and further
hampering her development as a character. And Tristian would have just remained this stoic badass who doesn't change much ).

So Sir Bedivere just does all the fighting after expelling one of his best generals, leaving the player free to get into Tristian and Ianna's new identities: The swordswoman Ira Cross, and the young mage Guinevere.

Granted, there isn't much yuri between the two yet, but its more implied than stated, and if you've been screaming at either of them to just admit their feelings for each other, then I am sorry. It will happen, just not now. Of course, if there was no yuri, I would have just crack-shipped Ira/Striker. Or the original TristianxDante ( for those of you who can remember the earliest drafts of the game ).

They will just stand there until I write their lines...


LoTL Demo finally available.

So, it's finally here. After several months of testing, the first 5 hours of LoTL are finally ready for your playing pleasure. Because it is an open 'test' demo of sorts, it may or may not represent the final game, and I'm open to any suggestions that might improve the game as a whole. At 185mb, it's a little big for a demo ( blame the audio, visuals are only 29mb in size ><). I'm looking for additional testers too, and maybe another proof-reader.

A few hints/tips:

Use your AP ( Ability Points ) wisely. You will not be able to redistribute stat points afterwards.

You can kind of exploit Tristian's 'auto-protect Ianna' ability by keeping Ianna under 50% of her maxHP. Note that Ira does not have this innate skill.

I'd recommend buffing Ianna's SPD/MAG stats, since you can pick up a Sentinel Orb for her ( grants +10 DEF ) for her quite early in the game. A 40+ MAG Ianna can wreak havoc in the later parts of the demo.

Try to save enough money to obtain a Reverse Scroll ( it costs 7999 Diadon ) and it will be a lifesaver against hard-hitting enemies. Units like Darcy and Ianna make wonderful use of it.

You can also buy some nice gear for Ianna on the Ferry bound for Trent. It's a once-off buy though...

Don't neglect the MAG/Magic stat. More magic means more LP healed through a Lifeforce Orb (trade in 5 Water Crysalii). Everyone save Ianna can equip it. She can boost her HP through her Royal Blood skill, provided you obtained it before she changes classes ( from Princess -> Mage ).

Healing items are expensive to purchase, so watch your resources.

Explore every nook and cranny of the maps. There are no random encounters, and observant players may end up with more Crysalii than they've bargained for...

Bosses are weak against numerous status effects.

Press 'Q' when scanning common foes/bosses ( or button 7 if you're using a controller ) to look for elements marked with a 'red' emblem. It means your foe is weak against that element.

List of Orbs and their abilities:

Ardor Orb: 5 Fire Crysalii
PWR +10, DEF-5 Critical +15

Lifeforce Orb: 5 Water Crysalii
User recovers HP equivalent to base Magic stat.

Invigorate Orb: 5 Ether Crysalii
Grants +20HP when equipped.

Sentinel Orb: 5 Earth Crysalii
Grants +10 DEF when equipped, resists the Bleeding state.

Aggressor Orb: 5 Thunder Crysalli
Allows the wearer to strike twice in a row.

Swift Orb: 5 Wind Crysalli
Boosts the SPD stat by 10 when worn.

I think that's about it. Have fun! =)


How to Get Away with Making a Forty-Hour Game

Okay, okay, so maybe the title isn't accurate, but I couldn't think of anything wittier. ><

This isn't so much a game-development blog as a personal one, so please bear with me. I hope it is of some use to anyone who reads it, especially the ones who are struggling to finish their projects.

As I'm sitting here at my desk, as sick as a dog, trying to muster up the ability to type another blog after a month-long hiatus, I realised that something incredible had happened to me last night. And it drove me write this particular post.

It was something I hadn't felt since developing Enelysion late in 2014. It was as though a fire had been lit in my belly, and it was burning with that unmistakable feeling of euphoria that you can't explain. Even as I am sitting here at work, trying to get through another Friday, the burning passion that I had thought I had lost had come back to fuel my dormant creativity. In fact, I was ( or am so passionate ) that I found myself waking up at 5:30am, after having breakfast, to work on LoTL before leaving for work at 6:45. For the last month, I found myself doing this.

An unmistakable enthusiasm to work on, and create, my greatest work yet, and at this point in time, I didn't care how long it would take, nor did I care how many times it would take to refine LoTL. I wanted it to shine. No, I want it to shine. Every single day, without fail, do I picture the game's success. But only after many failures and adversity ( this includes toxic people ) will you succeed.

Thomas Edison once told a young boy after being questioned about his failures ( he tried close to TEN THOUSAND times to get the light bulb right): "Young man, I didn't fail 9,999 times, I discovered 9,999 ways not to invent the light bulb."

We could use the same analogy for our game development. Not that I'm saying to need to re-design and refine your game 9,999 times. Instead of trying to push our failures to one side, we should see them as opportunities to create an even better product. And this includes everything. You need to embrace the ugly and the beautiful on your journey as an indie-game developer. Take critique to the chin, be thankful for the people who have subscribed to your games ( I most definitely am, and the only way I can reward them is to give them a great game and good blogs ) and try to keep your head down and just work on your game. For me, this means staying away from the forums ( the actual forums, not the site itself ).

Think of your player-base as consumers, and you are providing them with a product. And we all want to deliver good customer service, right?

I discovered this myself when LoTL was in private testing ( it still is ), and not being one to dismiss criticism, I simply accepted it and went straight back to the drawing board. The mark of a true developer is the one who turns their failures into their strength, not the one who shies away from it and tries to brush it under the rug.

I most certainly wouldn't have become the dev I am today had I not listened to the feedback of others as early as mid-2012 ( I started RM'ing in 2009 ). While at the moment my pixel art is average at the moment, I know I can still refine it into something better over time. Writing? The same thing, even if it means throwing all the game's dialogue into a Word document and editing it over time. And Dyhalto is a genius, if I say so myself. Gameplay? I'm happy to have Craze and Zeig on board to help me.

To the ones who ignore criticism, I am sorry to say this, but if your work remains a turd, don't bother to polish it. Move on and create something better. We all create balls-ups once in a while. I most certainly did.

There was another saying I came across while doing research ( and my research is not limited to reading articles about reverse-designing FF6 or reading up on Chrono Trigger and what made it great ) but rather, self-improvement articles that I found rather relevant to making our games.

"Fall in love with boredom."

This sound odd, but it reinforces the habit of repetition, kind of like picking up a graphics pen and drawing on a tablet. You'll only get better with constant practice. If you can't sit down every day day and work on your project, chances are you'll never complete it, or rather, you'll never improve upon it. Sitting down in front of your PC/laptop and opening up RPGMaker needs to become a habit if you ever wish to get better. Even if you can spend just 5 minutes on it. 5 minutes every day for 7 days a week give you half an hour of gam-mak. Progress! Well done! You've achieved something. Reward yourself for it.

And that's exactly how I will manage to pull off a forty-hour game by December 2017. I don't look at the 40 hour-long project and go, "Omg, I can't finish this, it will take too long! It's too big! And the pixel art will take forever!!" That in itself is probably a blog/article on itself that I will cover later on. Of course, I will spending far more than just five minutes every day on LoTL.

Expect a demo release around late June. =) Six hours of political intrigue, false identities and yuri. Of course there must be yuri. xD

Progress Report

Worldbuilding 102: Makin' Magic

I was mulling over what to write about for my next blog, but then an idea sprang into my mind which pretty much governs the laws of how most rpg-skills work: Skills and Magic. Where does magic come from? Where does it originate? How do developers fit their game lore into their character's skillset? Or is it the other way around?

First off, LoTL is rapidly approaching the 5-hour mark. Bear in mind that I'm only on Chapter Two of a proposed ten chapters, so this going to be a very long game indeed, though hopefully I won't bore the player at any point. I think I know enough about game dev by now to know when the player starts losing interest. I've learnt a lot from Enelysion's rather sluggish 'first 2 hours' phase and LoTL is a game where the plot moves at a constant rate.

So let's talk magic.
Who can use it in-game? Only Ianna and Dante.

Ianna the Cutie and Dante the Muscle Mage. Both of them are descended from powerful magis who went on to form one of Liguria's many Duchies: Dubhan went on to establish the royal House of Genoa, whereas Laeveii, Dante's ancestor, went on to establish the mage House of Connaught.

Ianna doesn't start off by learning magic naturally the way Dante does, but rather casts spells from equipable tomes that can be swapped during battle and can wield magical blades. She gradually learns single target spells but doesn't learn AoE spells until much later on. Ianna's only AoE spells are limited to her heritage, aka Light spells.

But I can tell you now she's probably the most powerful unit in the game, and not only from a gameplay perspective. I suppose I could sum it up like this without spoiling anything: Ianna basically creates her own legend over the course of LoTL's
ten lengthy chapters.

So why is magic so interesting here when it's so common in most JRPGs?

The Kingdom of Liguria is rather on the low-mag side of things, simply because it's setting is a bit more realistic than the average JRPG setting, where mages are treated as just another set of long-range units, rather than having every Tom, Dick and Harry (Potter) flinging Firagas all over the place.

Another point to note is that in LoTL, where war is one the most prevalent themes of the game (and indeed, its catalyst), any side with access to powerful magic would be able to win the war easily and just obliterate their opposition's legions of armour knights, infantry and longbowmen. So not only does magic form an important plot point later down the line, but it does give me, as a developer, the ability to create more interesting and diverse magical foes. Which leads me to make more powerful equips, items, accessories etc, which leads to a richer game play experience.

Sure they look imposing, but the Gatekeepers don't present much of a challenge if you've got a buffed Ianna on your team. ;)

But still incredibly dangerous... But like all Armours, they're weak against Thunder. Since they you know, get electrocuted.

As for the other characters, their prowess in battle stems simply from whether they've been trained from a young age as a military cadet, or whether they're just another ordinary soldier on the front lines. This also helps diversify skill sets of my characters. i.o.w, Lance will never be as powerful as Tristian, and Darcy will never be as strong as Striker. I just go by rule-of-thumb. If the game's pliot dictates that your are awesome, then your character's base stats and skill-set will reflect this.

Comparison sake: Taking Tristian and Lance at the same level (10).

Tristian: Level 10 General

LP/HP: 49
MP: 21
Str: 24
Mag: 18
Def: 21
Spd: 26

Lance: Level 10 Soldier

LP/HP: 35
MP: 12
Str: 16
Mag: 8
Def: 16
Spd: 13

That's before altering their stats through the AP ( Ability Point system ) of course.

I've never really been a fan of settings where magic is widespread, because all of it would have to fit into your game's lore and you'd have to establish certain rules like:
Who can use it?
Is magic genetic or is a learned skill?
Is there an established pantheon of deities your characters worship?
Is magic restricted in certain parts of your game world, and if so, how do player characters react to it? Are there strict rules in place?
Can magic only be used in dire circumstances, or is it an everyday thing? If it is, how is it incorporated into daily life?

And so on. I could write an article about this, but that's for another day.

Indeed, you'd need to build some kind of genesis explaining the creation of magic to make it mesh with what you are creating. And shoe-horning things later on never work. Making magic scarce and self-contained makes it a veritable force of nature where it can turn the tide of battle in an instant.

That's all fine and well, but where's the yuri?

Oh, it's still here alright. Just... very subtle. I'm not too fond of the 'in-your-face-romance or flirts' type of romance. I like to keep players guessing. But no yuri for today's update.

And a few new faces:

Viceroy Dorner is under increasing pressure to deal with the rebel group known quite simply as The Mountain, led by Darcy, who are causing havoc with their pseudo rebellions. Then again, Darcy has every reason to be rebelling against Dorner and his goons. He's used to people poking fun of his hairstyle.

A twin he is, but will he be as interesting as Tristian? Only time will tell.

Fun fact: I spend anything from 30 mins - 2 hours composing and formatting my blogs. It's also not unusual for me to get up at 5:30am to get some work on the game done before going to work. =)

And that's it for my bi-monthly update. See you the end of April for another. =)

Progress Report

Still at 12%. Shoot me.

A thousand apologies for being a month late with my latest blog (I'm two weeks overdue orz).


Still 4 out of a possible 25 hours done. I haven't moved forward at all ( don't crack the whip, please >< ) since I've been testing and polishing the first four hours of the game after receiving very helpful feedback and advice; both on the writing and actual gameplay, from my private testers. I'd rather spend another few weeks polishing the first few hours, than have to rush the whole game and spend
another good six months fixing up problems from the earlier halves of the game, which would be disastrous for my planned December 2017 release date. In hindsight, it is probably a poor release date, because the FF7 Remake would probably be due...

But I will be thirty by then, so it is fitting that Tristian would be my swan song after 9 years of working with RPGMaker.


On-map encounters will no longer spawn. This also prevents player-grinding, so the player will have to rely on AP ( Ability Points ) and those neat little Crysalii that can be found in most areas for stat ups. I'll probably have to increase the AP rate though ( it's currently 1 point per level gained, which is too low for a controlled encounter rate system ). I'll probably use Yanfly's Swap Random Monster script to diversify enemies even more ( and it will stop players from becoming too complacent ).

To be quite honest, I found the respawning too repetitive when traversing the same areas again and again ( in fact, some dungeons will have warp crystals that will warp the player back to the beginning of the dungeon if it dead-ends ). And to make up for less encounters, the battles themselves are a little bit harder than usual. It all boils down to player strategy in the end.

For example:

Tristian is weak against Thunder. You're facing a group of Thunder Elementals ( in worst case scenarios, there will be a Water Elemental thrown into the mix. If they Drench you, you take double damage from thunder spells ). You probably know from your previous playthroughs that they can easily 2RKO her. And you don't have a Thunder Bracer ( halves Thunder damage ) or a Donar Boost item ( which will give your character a Thunder-affinity weapon but will also make them immune to Thunder for 2 turns ). So what to do?


Unequip Tristian's armour. Her armour makes her weak against Thunder enemies, not her actual chemical makeup. Unless she's a robot, lol ( she's immune to Light due to her heritage though ). Even the wrong equipment in battle could spell doom at times, so analysing your foes' weaknesses in battle is key to winning them. You'll also come across Back-Row enemies who are immune to all melee weapons ( swords, axes, spears and knives ) but can be targetted with Bows, Crossbows and Magic. Nearly all flying enemies and some defensive soldiers ( like the Bannermen ) are Back-Row enemies. And they are often the pests you'd need to eradicate quickly.

Or you know, just silence 'em with Ianna's little stick.

Even so-called useless weapons like staves will have status-inflicting effects on your foes. At the expense of having lower hit rates, that is.

Sometimes the best strategies are often the simplest.

Also, level-ups are better implemented. I was having a bit of a problem with an ATS script that was causing the level up messages to go wonky, but I fixed it in the end. A real simple fix. ><


Still a thing, but I've refined it a bit more and made them more diverse/unique for every character, like Tristian's Iron Will ( reduces all damage taken by 10 ), Ianna's Double Heal ( healing items become 200% more effective ) or Striker's Aggressor ( allows him to strike twice in a row ). Passives will also be less about increases character's stats ( like HP/MP/SPD ) and more about trying to make all seven ( eight if you count Tristian/Ira separate ) playable characters useful in their own way. Nothing grinds my gears more than a useless/dead-weight unit that
is still useless after training.

I'm not too sure if I should add a passive that allows a character to use another type of weapon ( like Lance being able to use bows or axes ) when he promotes from a Conscript to a Paladin. Aka Class-Changing might be a thing. It adds all sorts of replayability and depth to a game, so its probably not a bad idea.

The whole playable cast. A 50/50 split between gals and guys.
Top row, left to right: Tristian the Ice Queen, Ianna the Adorable Princess, Ira the Hot Chick with a Sword, Darcy the Genki Girl.
Bottom row, left to right: Striker the Ryu/Ike wannabe, Lance the Knight-version of Patrick, Trabant the Bamf, Dante the unlucky in love mage.


While I still feel writing is not my strongest suite ( at least, when comparing it to my level design ), I am still working extremely hard to get the scenes just right, without making them too long or devoid of that all important character development.

I rewrote this scene so that Ianna doesn't come across as a sobbing mess.

I just love writing Ianna's lines. She has so much potential. And adorable to boot. <3

Also. Happy (late) birthday, Ianna.

Love from Tristy.

Progress Report

Only 12% done? Better crack that whip!

Time for my bi-weekly update as usual. Lots to talk about.

Ever since the game's plot re-write, I've never given a complete breakdown for the reasons for the political strife in the Lady of the Lion. So, with the help of my scenario writer, Dyhalto, I'd like to give you guys a short little 'primer'. You might want to read the Thirty-Year backstory segment first, whilst trying to break down things for you.

This was originally under the game page section, but few people ever check those tabs.

--- Begin history lesson

The Thirty-Year War

It was a series of conflicts between the various duchies of Liguria, where alliances and adversaries kept shifting. King Auster III would have intervened to put an end to the warring Dukes, but being generally weak of will, he was easily manipulated and controlled.

The 30 Year War eventually came to an end with the Battle of Yalger ( a fortress situated on the borders of Reglay and Caliburn ) when Duke Avalon, on the orders of King Auster, marched his own forces and that of the Cerulean Order in between Duke Caliburn's army and his home Duchy, cutting off his ability to supply his army. Without aid, and pincered between Reglay's defences and Avalon's standing army, the Duke's army withered and were easily defeated.

Duke Avalon argued for punishment to befall Duke Caliburn, as well as the lands seized by Caliburn during the 30 Years War to be returned to their respective duchies and all debts owed to him repudiated, but the King was manipulated yet again. Duke Caliburn got off untouched and maintained all of his ill-gotten gains.

After the war, King Auster let his decision to send Duke Avalon to end the war get to his head. Feeling the need to look like a strong king, he enacted a bunch of punitive taxes on all the Dukes. Knowing absolutely nothing about economics, he didn't foresee that this tax would simply be passed down to the peasantry. So between his inability to put a stop to the 30 Years War, followed by his levying crippling taxes, the cry for "Down with the King" started erupting all across Liguria.

As things now stand, Duke Avegin is spear-heading the anti-Monarchist movement, calling for a democratic revolution...

Original scenario by Dyhalto. Paraphrased by Luchino to avoid potential spoilers. The original version is far longer ><

---End history lesson

And between all this, we have our two heroines, Tristian and Ianna: Both of them have had rather large burdens placed upon their youthful shoulders; Ianna unexpectedly finds herself as Liguria's future Queen and unwilling becomes the target of blood-thirsty anti-royalists; Tristian, our titular heroine, finds herself on the run with her Princess but at the same time, finds herself running away from her very own duties. Tristian only recently inherited the Duchy of Reglay from her deceased father, a Duchy who finds itself caught up in its own problems.

Coming face to face with their eventual roles plays a pivotal part in Tristian and Ianna's character arcs. Both of them have the potential to be rather amazing characters,development-wise, and I hope the player will follow it with keen interest as well. Of course, the yuri-subtext does make things a bit more juicy...

Btw, they do cuddle. Don't you see there's only one bed? ;D

Occurs about 4 hours in. This scene references another scene right in the beginning of the game.

Sometimes I ask myself if the plot would have remained the same had Tristian been male, or had Ianna been a Prince. I do ask myself why I decided to go for girl-on-girl romance ( and it was long before LA came along too ). I suppose Tristian and Ianna were meant to be expies of two of my favourite video game characters, who have one of the most touching bonds that I have ever seen in the medium, but sadly, they were never really major characters, taking a back-seat to a far more bland male lead. Plus, I just find it more fun to write female characters, period.

Not only because I am female, but eh.. I've never been drawn to male leads. Maybe I've had a inherent dislike for them ever since I played Phantasy Star IV ( my first RPG ) and hating Chaz. His mentor Alys was way cooler. Besides, too many JRPGs involve sausage-fests with a token (healer) chick as the love interest. But I am avoiding the 'lol make them lesbians so the perverted player can check out steamy make-out sessions in the bathtub'. Just no. I write people first, then add in sexuality afterwards ( if it even matters ). I research my characters to the point where I look up certain traits of their zodiac sign. If you check out the Capricorn and Piscean for Tristian and Ianna respectively, you will be sure to find some of their traits there. XD

Graphical stuff:

First off, I've starting 'arting' again. I'd really love to do those comic-style cutscenes ala PSIV, but it will be rather painful doing it all with just a mouse. Wait, all the stuff I've shown you guys was done with a mouse... ><

The cutting of her hair becomes symbolic later on.


Yes, even I make improvements to my maps. I always felt my water areas appeared too flat, so I went and made an evented animated cliff-tile graphic after altering some areas.

Looks like this in the editor. 100% proof I do not parallax. :D

And like this in-game.


Now let me talk passives ( I know this blog post is getting a bit lengthy, but I only do 2 blogs a month, so bare with me >< ).

I need some Passive Skill ideas for my characters. Namely Striker ( Mercenary ), Darcy ( Thief ) and Lance ( Recruit ). As you can see from both Ira and Ianna's screens, passive abilities differ depending on the class.

More like Super Swordmaster.

Also, natural healing spells don't exist unless you character is a true magic user ( like Dante ).

Also, the player will no longer just find Crysalii on the world map or as rare drops, but are ingeniously hidden on most wilderness maps. It also gives the player to traverse every inch of my lovely maps ( XD ) scouring out those lovely stat boosters or just hoarding them to turn into powerful skill Orbs.

On a larger note:

There's a demo that's finally ready for testing as well, so I'll be sending it out for a private beta via PMs.

Sometimes I feel I work too hard on a game that is entirely free. Hey, at least LoTL is better than the piles of poo sold on Steam, amirite?

Yes, the title is not misleading you. I only have 3 ( maybe 4-5 hours when I'm done with the new areas ) hours of gameplay done, out of a projected 25 hours. ;_;