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Progress Report

Battle banter almost done (for now)

Yet another month that's been mostly about coming up with battle banter. I finished Arumarg's, did Fallon's and Mituni's, and got around halfway through John's. John turned out a little more work than I expected because I did a lot of variations for one of his skills, Morale Fiber (which weaves vines around an ally to increase their defense). See, a running joke I have with John is that his crow companion Scruvo is always trying to set him up with any eligible ladies they run into, so I decided having John use this skill on a female character should trigger this quirk. X) Here's a few examples:

Zelda: "Y'can always depend on Johnny-boy to protect a princess!" Scruvo declares proudly. "Why, he's so good at it, y'might as well keep 'im by y'side forev--" "That's enough, Scruvo!" >:P
Irina: "Makes y'feel safe, don't it?" Scruvo quips as John's protective vines wrap around Irina. "Just imagine how much bettah it'd feel if it wos Johnny-boy's arms--" "SCRUVO!" >P
Ruto: "Gotta say, y'look lovely wrapped in foliage," Scruvo remarks to Ruto. "I bet Johnny-boy'd be thrilled t'see ya walk down the aisle like--" "WE'RE NOT EVEN THE SAME /SPECIES/, SCRUVO!!!" DX<

Progress Report

Battle banter system continues some more

This has been a slow month for progress. I've basically just come up with battle banter for almost 3 of the heroes. The big one this time has been Arumarg, because he can transform into five other characters with his Mask ability. Each of those characters only has one special skill, but they all need banter for the basic actions -- Fight (which has 5 variations on its own), Defend, Look, and just skipping a turn due to status ailments. Come to think of it, maybe I should add even MORE variations to Fight depending on whether the characters have statuses like Blind or Mighty or Weak. X) On the plus side, doing this has forced me to come up with names for the characters Arumarg morphs into -- up until now most of them have just been 'Arumarg Kokiri form', etc.

Progress Report

Battle banter system continues

This month's progress has been mostly about filling out the battle banter system. Some of that was coding -- importantly, I updated the system to check for some common constructed key name possibilities like 'AubreyFightAnyBerserk' so that I don't need to write special code for every skill and situation that might crop up. Mostly, though, it's just been a matter of coming up with the texts, and I'm still nowhere near done -- I've only written banter for 5 of the 12 currently playable heroes, and it's only been what they say/do when they act, not reactions they have to being attacked or getting buffed by their allies. Surprising how long it can take on average to come up with a bunch of little quips. X) Xu was an especially big (though rewarding) challenge because her Song ability involves 6 songs * 5 effects/song = 30 effects, and I decided to do little 2-line poems for them. Here's a few gems for example:

Sacred Verse:
Xu sings, o/~ Be purified by sacred song,
O you who devise to do wrong! o/~

Xu sings, o/~ Fire's good for simple doom,
Just make your target go BOOM! o/~

Thorn Lash:
Xu sings, o/~ Thorny branches, whip and rake,
Ambush like a striking snake! o/~

Healing Rain:
Xu sings, o/~ Wash over us, O gentle rain,
Cleanse away our battle's pain. o/~

Fleeting Shadow:
Xu sings, o/~ Fleeting shadow, soft and swift,
Lend us your unnatural gift! o/~

Mental Clash:
Xu sings, o/~ Push 'till one side goes insane,
Let's see who has the stronger brain! o/~

Game Design

Character spotlight: John

This hero is a last-minute tag-in for the game, as I described in last month's progress post. John is a character of my own, the first new character I made since Triforce MUCK was converted to the Slack-based Zelda RPG, although he's had previous incarnations in other RP communities. The Zelda RPG version of John is a former soldier from the Dukedom of Lorranis, a distant offshoot of Hyrule. He has a backstory involving Dorjan which explains his trek to Hyrule and his garrulous talking guay companion Scruvo, but it's not especially important to the plot of Forgotten Gates. ;) Mainly what you need to know is that John is a detective by nature and he's very much willing to help out the good guys.

In Forgotten Gates, John is a jack-of-all-stats, although he leans a bit more toward magic than the hero he's replacing, Deccus. He fights with double-handed swords or axes, and his element is Forest, making him strong against Light and Water, weak against Fire and Shadow. John's special ability is Scout, which causes Scruvo to flutter by an enemy and mark it as the currently Scouted target. The unique Scouted status provides multiple small advantages against the marked target to the entire party, like decreasing its evasion while increasing the party's evasion against it, and similar tilting for critical hit rate. It even makes it more likely that the narrator will give a hint about that enemy's next action.

Progress Report

Finished John, started on battle banter system

This month I was able to finish up implementing John as a playable hero -- in fact, that was done pretty early in the month. I pondered doing another demo release since all the main heroes have been implemented (exceptions being the 'legacy' heroes who may not make it into the game at all and the Six Sages who'll be guest party members), but I decided to hold off on that until we're ready to actually start showing some STORY in this game. *o*

In the meantime, I turned my attention to a system I'd postponed because it's purely aesthetic: battle banter. I feel like I've mentioned the idea in these posts before, although from a search I can say it wasn't by that name at least. I did mention that I wanted enemies to sometimes give tells about their next action, and that's something that's already implemented in the game now, but I also want the heroes to say and do things mid-battle occasionally for flavor. Since the enemies do it, I had a pretty good blueprint for the technical mechanics of it, but I had to set up such to be triggered when heroes take specific actions, sometimes with special context -- for example, if a hero does a revive-and-heal spell, they may say something different depending on whether their target is currently in KO status or not, and even have special lines when using it on other heroes they have a special relationship with. I also ended up inventing a way to write out the lines in a spreadsheet and export them to a data file rather than putting them directly into the plugin code. I'll probably go back to the enemy tells system and rewrite it to use data files as well.

Game Design

Puzzle room type: bombchu maze

The second type of puzzle room I came up with was bombchu mazes. The player is presented with a room containing an enclosed maze-like structure and several switches. By toggling the switches, they can alter parts of the maze's paths. The goal is to set up the maze such that when a bombchu (or sometimes multiple bombchus) is released into it, it is guided to a target. Then, when the player presses the start button:

The bombchu maze puzzle type is really more of a fun spectacle than a mental challenge. In all the bombchu mazes I've made so far, there are three switches controlling parts of the maze's passages, mainly because it's tough to fit any more maze complexity than that in the limited space there is to work with. Since each switch has only two possible states, there's a total of 2^3 = 8 possible states for the puzzle as a whole, and it would probably be pretty lame if the starting state was the correct solution. X) So it wouldn't take very long to just brute-force try every state until you found the right one, even if you're too lazy to check the path with your eyes before sending the bombchu through. But hey, there's just something gleeful about watching those things whir through the path you set up and go boom. n.n

Progress Report

Started implementing John

Something I'd been pondering for a while is moving Deccus to 'legacy hero' status and replacing him with another of my own characters, John. Deccus's player disappeared from the Triforce MUCK/Zelda RPG roleplaying community quite a while back, and mechanically Deccus ended up very similar to Link -- a Forest-element sword-and-shield fighter with well-rounded stats. I was reluctant to oust him for my own character, though, because I already have three characters of my own as playable heroes in this game. X) But since I've implemented all of the other playable heroes (well, aside from the Six Sages), it was time to make a decision on it. I discussed the matter with the other players still around in Zelda RPG, and the consensus was Deccus's player probably wouldn't mind even if he somehow came back into contact with us or ran across Forgotten Gates.

So I got started on implementing John as a playable hero. I recycled some of the skill concepts I was planning to use for Deccus, but I also replaced some with new ones, particularly to be a better match with the team I expect John to be on for most of the game. I'll probably go into more detail about John in a character spotlight design post sometime not too long from now.

Progress Report

Finished Guay, made Fallon, released new demo version!

This month I finished up the Guay monster, then implemented Fallon as a playable hero. The ability to import animation data with DynDatabaseOverride came in very handy for several of Fallon's skills, most notably Whirlpool, which involved a bunch of swirling bubbles. I also ended up updating the Forest chipset and the related battle backdrops to make it easier to create the effects of Fallon's Geomancy ability. I changed the stone tiles to mud, giving me an easy-to-animate concept of a Clingy Mud effect, and I changed the bright-sunlight tiles to have some foliage shadows (animated even!) so that I could call the effect Dapple Dazzle. The battle backdrop for that one was quite a lot more artwork than I'm used to doing, but I think it turned out pretty well.

With that done, I decided this was a good time for a new demo release! :D Go download it if you'd like to try out Xu and Fallon.


New demo v0.2.5 available!

Yay update! Here are the changes:

  • Added playable heroes Xu and Fallon.
  • Added monsters Octorok and Guay.
  • Updated forest tileset and related battle backgrounds.
  • Replaced graphical plugin with newer version, making game window larger and
    fixing screen tearing issue.

Progress Report

Finished Xu, made Octorok and most of Guay

My progress this month was to finish implementing Xu, create the Octorok monster, and get most of the Guay monster done. Octorok's map behavior is pretty similar to that of the Deku scrub, the difference being that it actually moves around a bit. I ended up making a function for generic projectiles to cover both of the monsters' spitting behavior and hopefully many similar ones in the future. For the guay, I invented a swooping behavior in which it appears suddenly nearby and flies toward the hero, then arcs away and disappears if it didn't hit and thus start a combat. It still needs some work, particularly since currently if there are multiple swooping enemies, they all show up at the exact same time. e.ea