Approximately one month ago I was approached by an angel investor to explore the possibility of flipping Hero's Realm into a commercial project. Like naive fool that I am who believes he has more time than ever, I tentatively agreed. (Details are still being hashed out).
While the month of June was hectic, July has slowed down and I have earnestly begun my work on cleaning up the game and getting it into a state such that custom resources can be created as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Hero's Realm is a large game that made very liberal use of Final Fantasy IV, V and VI rips, a ton of MIDIs for every possible mood and locale, and RTP resources. Minimizing this into a smaller more cohesive set while still maintaining the "feel" will be a tedious process, but it must be done.
A few weeks ago I compiled a list of all of the pertinent feedback that the game had garnered over the past 7 years since its release. I noted all of the major and minor bugs, suggestions on class balance and features, and general impressions left by the various facets of the game.
I also have a laundry list of small enhancements. Things like amplifying magic damage (spellcasters are underpowered), rebalancing classes, and rebalancing skills are all on the table. The Master classes will be toned down, weaker classes tweaked, some overpowered skills nerfed. I will also be adding 3 new Elite classes (Death Knight, Freelancer, and Assassin) to make greater use of the class change mechanic.
The numerous overt references to popular media will be changed to be more subtle. Dialog will be reviewed. The story, such as it is, will remain as is. If I have the wherewithal I would add a new final dungeon (something people identified as a weakness), but I am not certain yet.
This is all in the early stages. I don't have a timeline estimated yet (but I hope to get my initial work done within the next couple of months). The tentative plan is to NOT do a Kickstarter (too much hassle), but to do a Steam Greenlight, and then explore other avenues like itch.io. Stay tuned for notices about the Greenlight drive!
I am adamant about leaving up the original Hero's Realm for RM2k3 v1.5 up here on RMN. (It's already out there in droves so it's not like I have a realistic chance of scrubbing it out anyway). I hope that the enhancements, fixes, changes, and custom resources will be sufficient enough to encourage people to buy it over the original free version. And if it gets on Steam, the market is distinct enough that the free version wouldn't even be known. Plus, I couldn't give up the Makerscore.
If you guys are interested, I can post frequent blogs detailing my progress in my prep work. Otherwise I will just post announcements when major milestones have been achieved.
Looking for an anime artist, an animator, a music composer, and a sprite artist who will work for free
I am looking for earnest takes on this question.
I am a hobbyist developer on a small budget ($0 is small, right?) at the moment, with no experience releasing a commercial product. What I am doing right now is mulling over the practicality and feasibility of remaking Hero's Realm into a commercial game.
HR as a commercial game has always been a faroff idealistic fantasy of mine, but seems increasingly feasible with the release of MV, the expansion of Kickstarter to Canada, kids growing older, and the loosening of restrictions for games on Steam and other online game portals (judging by some of the crap that gets in there). People recently reached out to me about doing sprite work and music for it. It seems like it is all coming together slowly, despite me not doing anything, so I feel it is high time I actually took a serious look at it.
While I know a bit about hobbyist game development, I don't know shit about commercial game development. That's why I am mentioning this publicly. I am scared of the pitfalls I can't anticipate, some of the possible issues that might arise, the costs, the maintenance, and even to some degree stuff like ongoing support, refunds, and piracy. Validate my fears and/or alleviate them please. I don't even know how to break down a budget for a commercial game development project. I have never run a Kickstarter. Unlike other devs, I don't have a particular strength in one area (like, I am not a composer, spriter, scripter, writer, or artist). I am unfamiliar with the inner workings of any major distribution platforms.
For the aesthetic, I am sure you can guess, but I am going for an early SNES feel. Kind of like this: http://rpgmaker.net/games/7196/images/ but cleaner and with a better palette (and better charsets). My ambitious plan is to remake in in MV to take advantage of that engine's latest features, but my less ambitious (ie- cheaper less time consuming) fallback plan is to release it in RM2k3. It really depends on my analysis on the marketability and anticipated returns from this very generic retro RPG.
The first step is for me to replay and assess the current Hero's Realm. I'll fix the bugs noted so far and any new ones I find, slightly tweak some of the balancing, and releast a v1.6 in the new official RM2k3. So if nothing else there's that.
I am not quitting my dayjob for this. But what kind of return would a top down retro RPG with no hook or gimmick or witty title expect, honestly? $100? $1000? $5000? $1 MILLION DOLLARS? I have decided it is worth the effort to feel it out and release v1.6 in the official RM2k3, but beyond that I am hoping you could weigh in with your advice.
It means that for the first time in forever I played this game! (I am not sure why you would assume anything more than that).
Seriously, though, I have dreamed of a day of making a commercial game and releasing it, just to have the experience of doing it, y'know? And this game has always been a candidate in my mind for converting into a commercial game. At least, it is my most successful one. But... ehhh... that kind of feels... not quite sketchy, but something like that. I mean, I released this full game years ago, and to go tweak it, get custom resources, and turn around and sell it...
And for custom resources? This game uses like 75% rips and unlicensed content (music, battlers, enemies, characters, etc...). That would be a monumental cost and effort, and I don't have any money to put into that.
So I will tell you what - I will take a look through the game again, play through the game again, compile the long list of outstanding bugs and balancing issues, and we'll see if I have the moxie to release an update v1.6. A commercial version of this game is not in the cards right now.
It is a sad day in the gaming industry, once again, and I am writing as both a whistleblower and a pissed off indie developer.
An anonymous source (feel free to identify yourself!) has tipped me off that Hero's Realm has been stolen and posted and claimed as their own. The offender's website is here:
I am not foolish. There are tons of RPG games out on the market and a lot borrow ideas from each other, but this is no coincidence!
I was being a tad facetious here, and mocking a bit of the whole Roam/505games thing
Anywho, the attempt is so feeble it's comical. I am not very concerned about my own game (it's 4 years old and non-commercial anyway (plus, the rips and whatnot that I am using)), but there are also attempts to steal Homework Salesman and Reincarnation. That is genuinely upsetting! There doesn't seem to be any place to report this or appeal, so I am not sure what to do except shrug my shoulders. (I suppose I should feel flattered? I'm good enough to steal from!)
A while back I was interviewed by a writer from Hyper Magazine regarding RPG Maker, its community and my personal experiences with it. He told me that it was for a future article on the greater RPG Maker community for his Australia-based magazine.
Two months later Hyper Issue #203 hit the shelves and lo and behold the article was published! Since it is not sold where I live, SGCN had kindly purchased the magazine and scanned in the relevant pages. I have re-uploaded the file here for your leisured reading!
This article is really good - much better than I was expecting (or was it fearing?). Liam did a good job overall at giving the community a fair shake, and juxtaposing commercial and non-commercial activities. All the interviewees gave great, honest answers that really reflect well back on the RM community.
It looks like that along with me, Drunken_Paladin and harmonic were interviewed by Liam (the Hyper writer), with DP giving it the creative outlet angle, myself going on about nostalgia, and harmonic giving his commercial venture perspective. Actually, I was surprised at how like-minded we are in a lot of respects!
All in all it is a great article! Thanks Liam, and thanks Hyper!
I reached a threshold I had only wished for when I posted this game. To be honest I never thought that this game would maintain its "popularity" - I expected it to have a brief surge (since I hyped it incessantly, and for some reason had a loyal following), and then for it to slowly die off and collect dust. But for some reason it's been steadily logging a handful of downloads each day, and even generates a new review every now and again.
Thank you everyone who played this game! You've given me such great motivation to keep on making games.
Deckiller has volunteered his time towards doing a blind Let's Play of Hero's Realm! He has no idea what he has gotten himself into. The game is probably around 15 hours long (some people have reported playing much longer) so I fear for his sanity.