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Announcement

Email List

Hi everyone!

After receiving a few messages asking for one, I've decided to launch a monthly email newsletter for those who want to stay updated on the progress for BR! These emails will help keep our followers updated on the upcoming Kickstarter campaign (including a launch date), without having to navigate through Twitter updates or RMN posts! I'll also be including developer journals, Work-in-progress Pixel Art, exclusive screenshots, video, and more.


Click Here to subscribe!

I hope to reach at least 400-800 subscribers by the end of January, so help me spread the word if you can! Also for good measure, here's a recent new screenshot. XD


Announcement

Pixel Portraits

Hi everyone!

Small update this time. I wanted to announce an exciting addition to our team - a new, secondary pixel artist - as well as a few stylistic changes I've made for BR's cutscenes.

One of the criticisms you often hear about RPGMaker games (especially those with a low resolution) is that the character's don't truly feel "alive" during the dialogue, even with the most eloquent or fine-tuned script. There are a couple reasons for this...but one remedy I've considered quite a lot was adding faces or full portraits to accompany the text. You see that often done with VX/VXA and beyond, but not necessarily 2k3.

Nonetheless, I've decided to commission full pixel-style portraits for every playable character. For the commercial version, I didn't want to pull any punches. ;)

At the risk of feeling distracting, I believe ultimately that this addition will work to the game's benefit. Not only will it allow the player to visualize the characters in greater detail, but accentuate the emotion in each scene as well. The cutscenes themselves are mostly finished, so I'll just have to swap in the portraits as they become available.



Anyone who played the demo might remember that the cutscenes are split into the "cinematic" sequences (those will use the portraits), and the more mundane moments, which utilize the standard RPGMaker text box. This will help them from feeling like overkill (..and save me from me having to pay for every NPC XD)

I was able to test it out earlier today - how's it looking in-game?

Announcement

Commercial Revamp

Hi everyone,

I had some downtime today, so I thought I'd make a (long-overdue) announcement here on RMN. I'm excited to announce this news, so this post is on the longer side.

I've told a few of my friends from the community about this transition already, but I hoped to keep it pretty discreet until progress was further along.

---

But yes, ye've decided to go the Ara Fell route, so to speak. BR will be reimagined into a full commercial project. In fact, I've been quietly working on the transition for about six months now. (And as you may have guessed, that is why there was never any public demo made available a few months back.)

This was something I had been considering since early 2016, shortly after the legalization of RM2k3. At first, I deeply resisted the idea, dreading how much work (and more importantly, $$$) it would require to "revamp" the game. Considering that BR was produced almost entirely with ripped graphics & audio, it seemed like an impossibly ambitious task to replace those high-quality resources. I also worried it might diminish my original vision.

But as I drew closer to finishing Act 1, I had second thoughts...

As some people know, BR is one of the oldest games on this website, with a tumultuous development history. I have worked on the game since high school, and I am now twenty-seven years old; so (for better or worse) it's a very personal and meaningful part of my life. It grew from a small, garbage REFMAP game I was making after school, to something I revised countless times over many years. I was heartbroken when I lost the files in a hard-drive failure in 2009, only to recover them again nearly 5-6 years later, when I restarted work on it. It has followed me from GW, to RMN, GameJolt, social media and beyond.

So it goes without saying that the project is very dear to me, in spite of its flaws. It was a labor of love - something I refused to give up on, no matter how unmotivated I might have been.

I was deeply inspired by the success of Ara Fell, To The Moon, and several other titles - some I had followed since the Gaming World days - which enjoyed newfound success in recent years. Many of them used the Steam platform, and the commercial viability of RPGMaker, to surpass the small audience of the normal RPGMaker websites.

It proved many things for me, but most of all that there was a still an enourmous hunger for retro-styled, high-quality JRPGs with a great story.

Many friends started to suggest I go down a similar route (especially LordBlueRouge, BadLuck, Little Wing Guy and Kaempfer, all of whom I can't ever thank enough for their support!) and expand Beloved Rapture beyond being merely a freeware project. After a lot of deliberating, and many mockups depicting what a commercial version might look like - I began to shift in my thinking. I realized that a "revamp" wouldn't diminish my vision, but maximize it.



I owed it to myself to make the most out of the game's potential, and I knew I had finally become competent enough to undertake that task. In 2016, I spent nearly nine months with LordBlueRouge and other writers, meticulously editing the old dialogue and cutscenes to be up to my adult standards. In 2017, I remade 60% of the game's maps, which was no small undertaking. And in January of this year, I made a financial commitment to beginning the process of commercialization, perhaps the most daunting task of all.

To give everyone an idea of what this process involves:
- Hiring pixel artists to remake every single tile-set, of which there are over 25.
- Licensing replacement music for every scene.
- Commissioning brand-new battle animations and sound effects.
- Downgrading from DynRPG to the "official" RPGMaker 2003.
- Hiring new character/illustration artists.

Additionally, the battle system was lingering from 2008 (a fact that EVERY tester happily pointed out) and needed a complete overhaul.

(..I'm sure a few people might roll their eyes at this news, and that's totally understandable! I have long-promised a public demo for RMN, and whoever might still be waiting for for it (all three of you lol), I do apologize. I will happily send over the freeware version for anyone who wants it, although I have long-since moved on from that build of the game.)

---

But with that being said, we're very excited about this news. I say *we* because I have hired a pretty competent team to assist me with development - primarily, a few great pixel artists.

Now that I've rambled a bit, I wanted to share a few of the progress shots below!

Endymion Games was the first to come on board, back in February. He helped out with some pretty neat temple-themed tiles, which we'll be using for one of the game's early dungeons. (All screenshots a WIP). He will also be designing battle animations later this year.





Our lead pixel artist is Fabian, who has done an excellent job reimagining the overall "aesthetic" of Beloved Rapture. His pixel art captures that SNES-era vibe that I was hoping for, without too much noise or excessive detail.
People who complained about BR's older cluttered maps will be happy to see that I've taken a more modest approach to the mapping.

(There's quite a bit more content he's completed, but because the tiles are a work-in-progress, we'll probably show them off at a later time).





Our new illustrator is Yioshka - replacing Lily Kat. She has been hard at work creating some pretty breathtaking promo art.



Another commission of hers below. John and Zach share a contemplative moment during the game's first dungeon.



As some people have already seen, we've also updated the title screen, with a new logo from Tardis:


Pixel art by Zedotagger and Caladium.

---

Even though I've used RMN less and less recently, it still has a special place in my heart as this game's original home. I hope the site will stay active for many years to come - because, in my opinion, it's still the best corner of the RPGMaker community.

When I'm ready to do so, all of the old screenshots here will be deleted, and the game-page will switch to "commercial."

Progress on this remaster started out pretty slowly, even at a snail's pace. But now that the project has found the right lead pixel-artist for the job, the speed has picked up dramatically. I'm able to revamp about 1-3 maps per day, if not more. Most of the cutscenes are already finalized from the freeware version, too.

Because of the way RPGMaker 2003 uses resources, we're also able to easily "swap in" new assets without having to remake the maps themselves. Of course, some areas are outdated and need updating - and that will certainly be done. But overall, this method will save us a mountain of work, and help provide a realistic release date.

If all goes according to schedule, we'll also be launching a Kickstarter campaign in August. I will be sure to update RMN when that time comes. Any help spreading the word will earn you my eternal gratitude. ❤

Lastly, if any pixel artists are looking for new commission jobs, shoot me a comment or a PM. I'm always in need of more help, as JRPGs require a mammoth-size level of assets.

---

It was a huge gamble to walk in this direction with the game. I could have released it this past April, and called it a day. But now I've invested several thousand dollars of my personal savings into the remaster.

But I'm quite optimistic. I truly believe in the game - perhaps more now than ever before. I believe in it not because of my own arrogance as designer, but because of the wonderful (and talented) friends I've made in the community, who have helped and supported me over the years. Without them, I would have probably given up many years ago. Without their harsh feedback, I would have never improved and refined my development style.

Whether or not the game succeeds financially is secondary - but I will be proud to finish this game as something visually and musically unique, something entirely my own.

Announcement

Act 1 Completed

After quite a long silence, I wanted to post a thorough update for everyone here. I'm very excited to announce that (if all goes as planned) the first download in more than five years will be released on RMN, before the end of March! But don't quote me on that.

"Act 1" of BR is pretty much completed, and it feels extremely gratifying. I'm still negotiating exactly how long to make the entire episodic story, but the upcoming download will be at least 5-8 hours and cover a lot of ground. The game will enter a beta testing phase over the next several weeks. (Thanks to Little Wing Guy, Dyhalto, Kaempfer, Craze, LordBlueRouge and many others for their help!)

There have been a lot of instances (up to 3 months at once, sometimes) where my personal life/day job swallowed every drop of my free time. Thus, BR was placed on a permanent back-burner - and no work was getting done. It's been a very tumultuous road to even find the mental willpower to continue with this ancient project - which now probably has one of the longest development times in the entire community. There were many days when it seemed as though continuing work on the game was completely fruitless.

Toward the earlier half of 2017, my schedule finally opened up, and I was filled with a deeply renewed interest. After that point, progress picked up dramatically - and the momentum returned even greater than before.

---
Future Development

Over the past 9 months, there have been many exciting milestones behind-the-scenes; including the hiring of two pixel artists, a project composer, and a new illustrator. I will announce more details (and media) related to my overall plans at a later time, but here are a few example of the (WIP) content being produced.

New Illusration (WIP) by artist Yioshka


A "proof of concept" rough example of original tiles for BR


Official logo by Tardis/Finbeard



Finalized title screen by Zedotagger and Caladium


Thanks again to everyone in the community who have been extremely supportive and patient with me. The game still is far from perfect, but we've reached a pretty exciting milestone in finishing Act 1. (That isn't to say it won't be updated, revamped, or fixed up in the future). It feels like a nice opportunity to take a breather, release the download for RMN, and continue gathering feedback.

I believe there are many great games yet to come from Rm2k3 (Dethmetal and DHM, I'm looking at you tbh) and frankly, I'm both shocked and elated that an interest in the engine still endures after over a decade.

I'll keep everyone updated when exactly the game will be uploaded. A lot of it will come down to the testers' schedules.

Progress Report

Happy Holidays! (Year-End Updates)

Just wanted to pop in and wish everyone here a great Holiday season~

(We need joy and peace more than ever after this questionable year, right? XD)



I hadn't left the "vibe" for BR's development in a good place after my last update, but I'm happy to say that design work has finally restarted! Thanks to several of my testers, especially LordBlueRouge, I was able to piece-together several different copies of the game, and production started up again. Thankfully, I've been able to budget at least 5-10 hours a week to keep the momentum going.

What will 2017 see for Beloved Rapture?

Hopefully, a completed game! This wouldn't be a huge achievement, considering I'm over 12 months late on my release date goal. XD But, we all know how things roll around here. I'll be really buckling down to finish this thing, and I probably won't post many major updates on RMN until I've finished.

When I say "completed", I mean to say Act 1 will be released, which is the initial 5-8 hours, the "Fellowship of the Ring" of the larger story, I guess you could say. Act 1 will be largely self-contained, and contain 3 full dungeons. But will it have a proper ending?

...Well, I won't spoil that. XD

Beyond Act 1?

That's a good question. What I will say is that my plans for developing RPGs won't end with BR. Although the title is still tentative, I have been entertaining the idea of a much shorter prequel project (in the legalized/commercial Rm2k3) - which will be a much briefer, "tighter" project in both gameplay and story. It'll be a departure for me; being much more dungeon-focused and with a smaller cast of characters.

Hopefully, this will allow me to focus my energy more concretely on character-building and tightening up the gameplay itself, with the game's "universe" having been generally established.

Will it be freeware or commercial?

Act 1 will be a free game for the Tsukuru version of RPGMaker.

Future projects are up in the air. Although obtaining original art assets that match the original BR's visual quality will be challenging, we don't think it's impossible. I've already hired a composer to produce some preliminary tracks as well, which I'll share at a later time!

If the pieces fall into place, I'd certainly like to take a cue from Ara Fell (etc) and explore the potential of a fully-realized product; something I could confidently see on Steam some day.

(Again, just to clarify, Act 1 will be free - I'm referring to future prospects).

---

Again, I can't thank everyone enough for the support over these many years.
(─‿‿─)

Best,
Blind

Progress Report

Technical Troubles :(

Hi everyone,

I regrettably wanted to report that progress has been halted yet again on BR. ;___; (It's almost comical at this this point, right?)

As I wrote in a status about a week ago - my primary usage laptop was severely damaged, and unfortunately nearly 5+ weeks of progress has been lost. The hard-drive seems to have failed. This was incredibly frustrating for me, as I was so very close to completing the final touches on the demo (and perfecting a newly-implemented dungeon). If not for this incident, Act 1 could have been released later this month. ~_~

I took the computer to a specialist, but the quoted price to "restore" the Hard-drive's files was nearly $900...a bit ridiculous considering the minuscule number of files. In the meantime, I may continue to shop around other options, but it wasn't too encouraging.

I won't be too dramatic, because I know I'm hardly the first person this has happened to...but it's still very disappointing. XD I've experienced a lot of personal/creative burnout over the past few months, to the point where I need a break from working on the project. I may also take some time away from RMN until I can find the motivation to start working again.

I don't want to see myself come to resent my own project (like I've seen with some other developers here..), so I think clearing my head a bit will be ultimately the right decision.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the past two years (and even far beyond that), through BR's almost nonsensically-long development history. (I thought I would get this out BEFORE Final Fantasy XV, and I was pretty damn close. XDD)

For anyone who's dealt with this before, have you found any innovative ways to access a Harddrive that simply won't mount properly?

Miscellaneous

Screenshot Shameless (Act 1 Nearly Done!)

SO VERY CLOSE to getting the summer demo for Act 1 up on RMN. xD #Hype

This release has been delayed for over 6 months now. It's been a long and grueling ride, but the project is finally something I'm quite proud of—especially the evolution of the game’s writing. The testers thus far have had really great feedback, which has been truly flattering.

More than half the battle getting this damn thing done; has been days and days of tiresome revisions...which I'm learning is a pretty sizable chunk of the creative process.


author=LBR
To summarize it, very briefly, the dialogue’s improved, the cutscenes have improved, the mapping has improved, everything is a more coherent whole – the only thing I haven’t touched upon yet is the battle system which I’ll get to later on – But, I know parts of the demo aren’t quite finished yet, but overall, as I said numerous times over skype, you have something here. If you can get a reliable, team together, so you can start delegating tasks, in order to work on Beloved Rapture more diligently, I can very easily - and I would really to see - Beloved Rapture eventually come to steam.

author=DragoonHP
A really good RPG, something I could see myself paying for. The world you have built is amazing.
* Writing is again, amazing and the mapping is absolutely gorgeous to look at (and something not many RPG's can boast about). I especially like the fact that the maps are "alive".
* Characters are relatable and their responses feel natural.
* Overall a great great with a lot of potential. It can be the next "Forever's End"
Overall, you have made an amazing game and something you should be proud of. :)


As I said before, "Act 1" (the demo soon to be released) will comprise the first 5-8 hours of the game. Each 'Chapter' will have a distinct tone, cast of Heroes, and even visual tonality (as you can see below, it varies widely)

I want to preemptively thank everyone who has supported me over the years...it feels surreal that so many months of work is finally culminating to something whole.

Included a boatload of screens below- both new and old. XD (Everything seen below is included in the demo..!). Compared to the old versions of the game, I've toned down BR's infamous clutter quite a lot.







Just one more round of testing to go - and then Act 1 will be uploaded to RMN, GameJolt, Facebook, and elsewhere.

(I have a few users already in mind, but PM me if you're interested!)

Progress Report

More Testing

May 2016 Update

Hi all,

Just a quick update, since I've been awful at maintaining this blog. xD

(As usual) progress has been quite delayed - but I (finally!) sent out finished copies of the upcoming game.



A lot of personal distractions have come up over the past few months, taking the bulk of my time away from working on this. (It probably should have been released months ago.. XD) Still, I've managed to get back on track! Such is the cycle of a struggling amateur.

Act 1 is close to completion now, except for 2 or 3 cutscenes that I can't quite seem to get right.

In total, the released Demo will have a dense 5-10 hours of gameplay & cinematics.

But I've sent out the beta for some last-minute play-throughs. A few of the testers include:
  • LordBlueRouge
  • Giznads
  • KoopaKush
  • BadLuck


If you're interested in testing, just shoot me a message or comment! I'm willing to pay (via Paypal etc) for any more comprehensive feedback.



Episodic Release Structure:

As I mentioned in some of the older blogs, BR's release will now be episodic. I've yet to determine if I want to crowd-fund (or pay out of pocket) for future "installments" or spinoffs, to generate truly original tiles & music. That might hinge on the success of this first Act.

The entirety of BR will be told across 3 "Acts", with each being split up into smaller segments/chapters.

How exactly will they play?
"Act 1" will contain the following:

Prologue - Intro, Field Exploration & Tutorials
Chapter 1 - Cinematics & Dungeon & Boss
Chapter 2 - Field Exploration & Boss
Chapter 3 - Cinematics, Field, Dungeon & Boss

Some of the Chapters will be cutscene-heavy, while others emphasize exploring towns and dungeons. Each will range from 1-3 hours. The chapter's won't necessarily be linear, since not all of them have full dungeons, and often leap between characters.





I'll toss up a lengthier blog post probably mid-June, immediately before the Demo. ;')

Announcement

Act 1 & Release Date

Hey all~

Thanks so much for the continued support, as always!

Although I haven't posted on here much, I'm happy to say that progress on Beloved Rapture is more consistent than it's been in over a year! I wanted to share an important tidbit about the project, for anyone I haven't filled-in yet.

If I've ever had a single downfall in my professional/creative life... it's surely been a knack for perfectionism - and a consistent overzealous attitude toward game-design. (To be fair, that's a problem for many developers on this website.. XD).

Taking a cue from many RPG Games these days, both commercial and Indie alike, and due to the increasing scope of this project - I've made the decision to make BR an episodic game. This wasn't an easy decision... after so many years of hiatus with this project, I did feel as though certain RMN members deserved a full release. But after weighing the options, it seemed in the game's best interest to simply get something out to the public that was playable.

Barring any unexpected bugs, I'm going to officially work toward a release of Beloved Rapture: Act 1, for January 8th of next year. "Act 1" will contain the first three chapters of BR (plus the prologue), and will be about 5-8 hours in total length. (It'll be a demo, for sure, but also a self-contained experience.) Some more details below:



Why go this route?

  • The project's increasing scope.
    Since I returned to the Game Dev scene last year, and decided to rekindle this game, I've made a lot of stylistic design choices that simply didn't occur to me as a younger adolescent. In June 2014, I made a Kickstarter for the game (which was somehow successful!).. Admittedly, the campaign was a bit of a joke fundraiser that was prompted by some guys in #shmup (lol)... but after getting my feet wet again for a couple of months, I decided I genuinely wanted to do something great with the funds.

    Since that time, I've commissioned two different artists to create over 14 High-Res artworks, hired a composer, and am even looking into custom tile-sets (..to complement all of the original character sprites ^-^). Rm2k3 is a legalized engine now, so why not step things up a notch, right? XD
    .

  • The game was always episodic.
    Even since its first iteration on Gaming World, BR was always closer to a visual novel than traditional RPG Fare. My writing, of course, has thankfully evolved and matured since those days.

    Since last Winter, I split the game up into "Chapters" - different character scenarios that appear unrelated, but ultimately culminate toward a cinematic conclusion. Each chapter has its own mini-story, dungeon, boss, and gameplay style. Frequently, you'll even switch between several characters within a single chapter, or jump several years through the game's timeline.

    Making the game more rigidly split into "Acts" will strengthen the idea that the story is told over a long narrative, with different sub-plots, story-arcs, etc...

  • No exaggeration - BR has been stuck in development Hell.
    Again, this is something most people can probably relate to. I've invested so many years of my adolescence, and now my adult life (which has pretty limited free time tbh) working hundreds of hours on this game. Instead of downsizing to something modest... my vision has only become more nonsensical and grand, in terms of what I really want to pull off.

    But I'm not exaggerating when I say... if I truly held off for the Full Game (we're talking Legacies of Dondoran length), this game wouldn't be out for another year or more. Ironically, I even casually mentioned to Kentona this project would be completed last January... only to find myself still toiling away a year later, lol.

    For the people following this project, and even more-so own personal stamina... I think it's time this game saw some kind of playable demo again (where's Release Something when you need it?! XD) Especially considering the immense change in quality it's received since the last time I uploaded a demo, the time feels right to just put it out there. ^-^

    ---

    I'm still working out some of the smaller details... such as whether I'll keep the Save Files consistent between the Acts, if I want to start a second game page, whether I'll hire a pixel artist to do custom assets for the next part, and so on... XD

    But more on that soon~

Progress Report

General Development Updates

Hello all,

Some of you have been asking for one, so I just wanted to toss up a quick development check-in!

I've been pretty swamped with outside responsibilities this past summer (settling into a new job, vacations, etc), and thus development progress has admittedly suffered. (..Seriously, screw adulthood. xD) I've tried to be pretty inconspicuous with my updates on RMN. Tbh, will there even been any 2k3 users left by the time this comes out?!?

Just kidding, Rm2k3 lives forevah.

Despite all that, I'm proud of this project for continuing to chug along. It's overcome a lot of adversity, disapproval, a hard-drive crash, delays, lost team members, and so on. But whenever the eventual release date (it's anyone's guess xD), realizing your adolescent vision is most definitely its own reward.

So, what's actually been happening?

~ Artwork Progress

I've kept the promotional art pretty discreet, but Lily has been steadily working on new commissions every month! Since BR is such a cinematic game, her managa style has been invaluable to the project thus far, fleshing-out the nuance of the cast.

Here are a few of the pieces she's come up with this summer:


Promo Poster 2015


From top to bottom: Draco, Isolde, Alex, Crystal, Aiden, Zach & John.

John-Aiden Bromance



~ Script Rewrites

LordBlueRouge, the swell guy that he is, has been a tremendous help on the storytelling end of things. Seriously, this guy is an amazing playtester. xD

Over the summer, the two of us have combed through all of the dialogue from the old version, a very tiresome endeavor. LBR has done critiques for Rainbow Nightmare, Phantom Legacy, and other notable RM projects in the past, so I knew I was in good hands.

A lot of the reason this process had been so time-consuming, had mostly just been me obsessing on keeping the "spirit" of original, while still updating the dialogue and cut-scenes to reflect my more adult experiences (the game's relationships have changed, for example). Ultimately, in trying to reconcile that, I realized I was holding onto a lot of exposition for purely nostalgic reasons... so a lot of the fluff has been cut.


~ "Open World" Maps

It's a bit of a stretch to call anything made in RPGMaker an "open-world" (lol), but that's what I've been trying to achieve with these maps.


What I mean more specifically, is that I want to induce a sense of exploration, a further incentive to venture off the linear path, if the player so chooses. The above map for example, and dozens of others, are entirely optional.

BR is obviously story-focused, so it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling like an Adventure game at times, or even a visual novel. While I won't deny that's increasingly the game's direction from a gameplay point of view, I tried my best to include enough jRPG elements to whet the appetite of some players who wanted more interaction.


Clearly, my criteria for mapping is tediously high, so this has been time-consuming as well. xD

The game takes a page from, say, Link to the Past, in that it has a central "field" overworld, that the player can eventually traverse freely. From there, they can eventually revisit old maps, find treasures, take on Guild side-quests, grind enemies, and so on. Alternatively, they can also just proceed to the next story location without much hindrance.

~ Graphic/Map Overhaul

The game's "budget" (i.e. my pocket) is pretty much going entirely to the artwork (and some music), so unfortunately, at this time I couldn't consider adding custom tiles.

With that being said, I did want the game to have more of a singular vision, a more consistent graphic style. In the Gaming World days, I scoured rips galore (as we all did xD), but ultimately, it led to a lot of mixed resources and inconsistency.

Since I came back to the project last year, I've tried to "mesh" the resources I had, but modify them to the point that it felt natural and not jarring - as though they'd all come from the same source. Hopefully, this creates more of a believable and coherent game world.



~ Release Date (?)

Hmmm.. what~?? ^-^~

In seriousness, I apologize to any testers I may have reached out to, or anyone that's reached out to me! I don't mean to have been flaky. xD I think though, that it's in the project's best interest to not have too much conflicting input as I do these revisions and continue to develop the game.

Anyhow - I won't ramble on too long! Thanks for the continued support, everyone!
Haha tbh if I asked myself 5 or 10 years ago, I never could have imagined I'd still be churning out an Rm2k3 game.

You can also find weekly updates on BR's Facebook Page!
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