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Progress Report

Status report

Hello, everyone!

I know that I have been absent for a while. Like most of you, I'm full of work and personal matters. Finding time to work on a personal project is tricky, but doable.

I've shown Echoes of the Mind progress to friends. The comments that I receive are positive and encouraging. People encourage me to finish this project.

I'm determined to finish at least a playable demo that lasts for a couple of hours. I have invested so much with this, in both time and money, that I owe it to myself.

But as a matter of fact, the purpose of a videogame is to be played and loved by the player. Depending on how the game is accepted by the community, my followers and friends will be my guide to ultimately finishing the game.

It's not in my current plans to monetize the game, but it is something that I don't discard either.

I don't want Echoes of the Mind to be just another RPG Maker game, or just "another game". I want players to really feel the story, and revisit the game from time to time and interpret it in the way they want.

So, hold on, please, the game will be released. I don't have an exact date as of when. But I expect sometime in Q2 2021.



Actual gameplay

In case you haven't checked them out, here are two videos that demonstrate the game's atmosphere and narration style.

This video shows the game's introduction. Instead of using a direct narrator or narrating the game in first person, the game explains itself by exploring.

This video shows the first level, the forest, called Twidewood Forest. I think it perfectly shows the game's atmosphere and design.

Progress Report

Almost there

It's been a while since I don't publish an update. Don't worry, the game is in progress!

Two years ago I resumed this project and I'm more than happy that is looking the way I always envisioned it. I invite you to check the game videos. Even if they show little gameplay, they do show the game's atmosphere:

What is halting me from progressing the way that I would want is my studies. Currently, I'm in the middle of a master's degree and it consumes most of my time. But every available timespan is something that I use to work in the game.

Let me assure you, the game is in progress and will be finished! So far, we have just one more area to draw and the game's world will be basically finished.

What is also taking most of the production time is the battle system. The battle system takes heavy influence from action RPG's from the 16-bit console era, such as Legend of Zelda and Secret of Mana. The current demo is an old one that was published in 2006, but it can give you an idea on how the game plays, the final version has few differences in terms of game mechanics. Some adjustments needed to be done, my next post will be about that.

Here's a preview of what we're currently working on, these animations correspond to some of the techs/spells for each character.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Progress Report

Progress Report

It's been a year since I resumed working on Echoes of the Mind, and so far, so good. Even though I do not always spend the time I would like working on the game, progress has been steady.

I have shared few gameplay videos with friends and the rest of the team and I have received positive comments. These comments motivate into what should be the final goal of anyone here, which is to finish a game.

Today's progress report will be similar to the last one.

Like I mentioned before, every sprite in Echoes of the Mind is custom made. From left to right: The Gentleman, Harlequin II, Bone Stealer, Hat Man, Justice, Lurker, Beira, Death, Woman in Black, Viola, Patient, Outsider, Old Nick, Mask, Harlequin

From left to right: Chief, Clara, Sebastian, Jean, Officer Johnstone, Officer Lewis

So far, the sprite artist has created 15 enemies, all of them which also have their respective battle animations.

The map progress has been steady. So far, there are only 3 areas left to produce. After that, we may be doing revisions or something the script demands for that particular map.

Echo Realm entrance

Operating Room

Emerald Lake entrance.

The script is 100% written. I will modify certain events or dialogue, but, for the most part, it will remain written the way it is today. The script consists on almost 15,000 words.

As for the music I'd say it is a very delicate portion of game development. The way we are working, the music is produced one a whole scene is done. This song is played right in the intro, for example:
Echoes of the Mind - Poignancy

Until next time!

Progress Report

Progress Report

Back in November when I started working on Echoes of the Mind again I imagined the progress to come rather quickly since I was starting on solid ground. The Action Battle System and Custom Menu Systems were already done, so it was basically "glueing" altogether.

Little I did know how wrong I was. Professionally, I work as a software developer, and for me one of the hardest tasks we have is to give precise time estimates on the tasks we have to do.

I'm committed into delivering a great game. It's hard for me to tell when is Echoes of the Mind going to be finished, but it's easier to tell now seeing how we are making progress. I'm expecting a demo release in the first of second quarter of 2016.

The story is about 70% done. Like I mentioned in my previous post, there's a professional story writer assigned to that task; more or less he was written around 10,000 words for it.

All of the Echoes of the Mind sprites are custom, too. Here are some examples, some of these are not final:

From left to right: Viola, Harlequin, Lurker, Outsider, Woman in Black, Patient and Bone Stealer.

The map progress is doing great, too. Like I mentioned in a previous post, all of them are hand drawn, they take around from 2 to 3 days to produce. These are some areas that I haven't shown before, keep in mind that these are not in-game screenshots:

Crescent Moon Park.

Tidewood Chapel

Tidewood Graveyard

John Bosco Memorial Hospital

As for the music, we have 4 tracks completed. The music is the final step in production, it is created once a whole scene has been made.
Guitar Theme

Stay tuned for more updates!

Game Design

About the music

Today I wanted to share the music that is being developed for the game. Similar to my previous post, video game music differs from movie music in some regard, the spotting process in somehow different.

Echoes of the Mind music is being developed once a scene is in production, or at least its known in advance what that scene elements are.

The composer for the game is a friend of mine, who has mostly worked in short films, I encourage you to check out his work.

Here are some samples that are work in progress. Silent Hill and The Last of Us are soundtracks of influence, and, of course, a personal touch of the composer.

The idea is to create simple tracks with few select instruments, particularly string instruments.

"Study and Forest"

"First battle"

"Humo y Espejos Final"

Game Design

About the story

It's been a while since I don't publish an update. But don't worry, the game is still going.

Today I want to share how the story of Echoes of The Mind is being developed. The reason of why I didn't finish the game six years ago was because I did not make a script.

I had an idea of what I wanted the game to be off, but not a script. I knew it would be an action-horror game, I also knew who the main characters were and some settings, and that was it. When I finished the menu and battle systems I was clueless of what I should do next.

After a while I lost motivation and production were halted.

Now it's a different story, the script is in full production too and it's doing great. I believe that a video game script is one of the most important aspects of video game development, not only RPG's. Even "old" games such as the first Super Mario for the NES have a script.

One of the differences between a movie script and a video game script is that video game scripts are driven by choices and objectives, and not always by a sequence.

The writer who is in charge of finishing the story is very talented, be sure to check his work out.

These links provide a more in-depth analysis and examples.

Under this logic, this is how our script is being developed:

Example script 1

Example script 2

Stay tuned for more updates!

Game Design

About the maps

Today I wanted to share the process that is behind the hand drawn maps and my decision for using this technique.

When creating games, most of the time we’re limited to the resources other people in the community have uploaded. Many indie developers venture in the process of creating their own custom graphics, but others simply grab what they can.

I think this limits the creativity of creating the game we desire, and we actually develop our game based on the available resources.

I started developing Echoes of the Mind in RPG Maker 2003, and my intention is to finish it using that engine. While modern engines such as RPG Maker XP, which is more flexible or Unity, an engine that basically lets you create anything, RPG Maker 2003 is very limited in terms of resource management, even with modern exploits such as Cherry’s plug-ins.

By creating custom hand drawn maps, I have the chance of narrating the game I want with the scenarios that I want. It also allows me the chance of migrating the game to other platforms, if I ever decide that. Lastly, it makes every scene of the game count since it is carefully planned.

Each map is hand drawn by a professional artist; I encourage you to check her work.

First, there is a map specification:
Map: Mansion Outside
Size (in pixels):576x352
  • The mansion is located in a forest, so trees should surround the mansion.

  • There should be one dead tree near the entrance.

  • There’s an entrance located in the south part of the map.

  • Our mansion has chimney inside, so be sure to put one in the roof.

  • A garden is going to be located in the northern part of the map (suggestion, dark roses). A fence should separate this; the player will only be able to get to the garden by navigating through the mansion, not outside.

With this description, the first sketch of the map is created. Certain adjustments are made. Also, since RPG Maker 2003 uses a 16x16 grid, the maps are actually built this way:

With this sketch, a block “blueprint” is created, which essentially measures up each of the main assets. It’s the base in which the assets are drawn within:

Here’s an example on how each asset is carefully drawn and painted:

Finally, the map is done:

The actual image is then separated into two layers, “up” and “below” layer. RPG Maker has a layer system, but we’re making use of a custom background. The “below” layer is set up in the parallax background, and the “up” layer is shown as an image. The images are downgraded to 8-bit depth, I’ve found IrfanView to be the best tool for decreasing depth without sacrificing much quality.

The final details are added in-game:


About the game

I started this project in 2003, as my first attempt to make a game using RPG Maker. Progress was slow but steady for the following years, and two demos were released (in 2003 and 2005).

After a while, I lost motivation to keep on workng in the project and production was halted. In 2009, I had to format my computer and I lost all the backups I had left for the game.

And now, in 2014, a friend sent me a copy of the game that once I sent him.

I am committed to finish this game once and for all.
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