4 reviews
  • Add Review
  • Subscribe
  • Nominate
  • Submit Media
  • RSS

Commercial Revamp

  • Blind
  • 07/12/2018 01:44 AM
  • 1716 views
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.

Posts

Pages: 1
Whew man, all of this is just looking so gorgeous! I know you've been bidding your time with decisions and careful planning, and it's all really showing off!

Just keep it going and never let that passion falter, you have the vision and ambition, let's get it! Consider me an always loyal supporter :)
Exciting stuff! I'm looking forward to the Kickstarter!
Really looking forward to playing this when it's out. :)
I always seemed to miss the download windows for when demos were released, haha.
author=KoopaKush
Whew man, all of this is just looking so gorgeous! I know you've been bidding your time with decisions and careful planning, and it's all really showing off!

Just keep it going and never let that passion falter, you have the vision and ambition, let's get it! Consider me an always loyal supporter :)

Thank you buddy! Yeah, I definitely spent quite a lot of time putting my team together, I’m glad it’s finally paying off. Your support means a lot. :)

author=Giznads
Wow, dude. Looks fantastic!
author=Kaempfer
Exciting stuff! I'm looking forward to the Kickstarter!
author=sixfootblue
Really looking forward to playing this when it's out. :)

Thanks all!

I’ll keep everyone updated on the campaign!
I'm glad that you've decided to develop your game properly, but you really need to handle your second kickstarter campaign better. This time it's all or nothing, so you can't allow yourself to keep silent for months again. I wish you success.
author=KyleLascar
I'm glad that you've decided to develop your game properly, but you really need to handle your second kickstarter campaign better. This time it's all or nothing, so you can't allow yourself to keep silent for months again. I wish you success.

Thank you! Were you one of the original backers, by chance? If so, look forward to a free Steam access code. :D

Just to clarify, the original KS was only for "fun." It was in 2014, before Rm2k3 was legalized, so there was no possibility of making it a serious commercial game at that time. And I never stated as much. Most of that money went into promotional art (that I have posted here over the years), music, pixel animations, and so on.

Now that the assets we need has increased dramatically, it's a different story. Those old funds ran out a long time ago, so I am digging into my own pocket to get this remaster off the ground. I'm happy to do that, of course! But as you know, it would cost at least 10-20k to fund even a small-scale RPG. So I hope people understand why I'm launching a proper campaign now. ^-^
Thanks for the explanation. I've watched your game since its first kickstarter campaign, but I wrongly assumed that every kickstarter campaign is launched with the specific purpose of a commercial release. As far as I'm concerned, JRPG developers should make as much money as possible as long as they deliver a proper product, since we all know they - sadly - won't get rich anyway.

I wasn't one of the original backers, yet I appreciate that you'll give them free Steam codes. That's the right way to go. Chances are that I will buy your game and pester you with all the tiny details your testers will have missed. ;)
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
5334
Go for it, man! Best of luck!
I'm not on here very often anymore, and I struggle to balance work and working on my own game, but If you need a beta tester again, holler man. Always down to try and break it. xD
Much love, mate.
author=Giznads
I'm not on here very often anymore, and I struggle to balance work and working on my own game, but If you need a beta tester again, holler man. Always down to try and break it. xD
Much love, mate.

Thanks buddy. You were a great tester in the past and I'll definitely be taking you up on that! :D
Deckiller
Just a random RMNer once again.
18122
The mapping is definitely a lot more balanced now :) I've been trying to scale back clutter in some of my own works. There's a happy middle ground between detail and functionality.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
6318
Whoa this is big. Good luck!

author=Blind
When I'm ready to do so, all of the old screenshots here will be deleted


Please before or after doing so, do a blog post about how BR has visually developed since 200x.
author=Cap_H
Please before or after doing so, do a blog post about how BR has visually developed since 200x.

Great idea! I think I'll plan on posting a "before and after" shot for some of the game's locations.
Pages: 1