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Four Years Ago

Yes, I know -- it’s been four years since this project was updated. And there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for it! I… moved on. Unfortunately, at the time, I had a lot of ideas in my head and I explored other game engines and dabbled a bit in coding (Python, C++). Four years is a lot of time, granted, but there’s something about this project that’s drawn me back to it.

So, what’s the plan? Hell if I know -- I will figure it out as I go. The project folder’s gone. I’ll be starting from scratch. We’ll see how this goes, and if it goes well, I’ll let you all know. I’m sure those of you still following this project are either inactive, forgot about it, or, for some odd reason, stuck around in the off-chance I did finish it. If it’s that last one, kudos to you.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at.

tl;dr: I moved on from Heartfire, got into actual programming, and then returned out of a desire to see this through. Four years, oh, man. Let’s go.

Game Design

What's Cut and What's Not

Hey, everyone. Hope you're having a great day!

I wanted to ramble (yes, intentionally) a bit about what to expect from Heartfire: A Born Again Saga - Act One. More specifically, I wanted to go over what's in and what's out in regards to features and implemented systems. So I've made a list and I'll just talk about each one.

- The story. All of Act One, minus two scenes between Aldo and Dilara, will be made available. Though, in fact, Act One is the shortest of all three. It basically sets the stage for what's to come.
- Exploration. All of the maps have been made available and they're littered with hidden chests and other goodies. Side-quests are also available, but there are only a dozen or so in Act One. There's currently one optional dungeon and mini-boss but I'm considering adding another by the time Act Two rolls around.
- Crafting. 50% of the planned features in regards to crafting have been implemented. There's a simple fishing mini-game, and you can use campfires or ovens to fry up what you catch. In the future, I plan to add various types of fishing spears, which will determine how successful you are at spearing fish, and of course additional types of fish, as well.
- On-screen encounters. There aren't any random encounters anywhere in the game. Every monster is displayed on-screen, and there's a simple line-of-sight and detection system in place. Monsters will chase you. Characters stop learning skills at level 5 in Act One due to balancing issues.
- Rejuvenation crystals. These are scattered throughout Calandor at key story locations. They restore the player's health, mana, and cure all ailments. However, you only get three uses per crystal.

What's not included:

- Multi-colored chests. I had this idea a little too late, so it hasn't been implemented yet. But the idea is pretty straight-forward: there are three different types of chests (red, green, and blue). Red chests contain items, green chests contain weapons and armor, and blue chests contain magical weapons and armor. This way, the player knows what to expect from each chest from a distance.
- Skill books. Another idea I had a little too late. Basically, you'll be able to find books scattered throughout the game, and even sold at the Academy for the Arcane, that'll teach you certain abilities the characters won't learn just by leveling up. Another incentive to explore!
- Ingredients. I didn't have time to go through and create/scatter ingredients. But in the future, you'll be able to find rare herbs laying around that you can sell to herbalists for rare items and rewards. Monsters, however, drop parts of themselves (for example, fur, eyeballs, wings, tails, etcetera) instead of gold and/or other items.

I'm sure that's not all, but it is most. The features and systems not implemented in Act One will be available in Act Two and most certainly Act Three. In case anyone's wondering, I currently don't have plans to release Act Two bundled with Act One as an individual release, so you could consider Act One the official/unofficial demo for Heartfire: A Born Again Saga.

That's all for now. Til next time, stay frosty.


The Final Touches

Hey, you wonderous people, you!

I've got good news (for at least sixteen of you). I'm currently putting the final touches on Act I and it will be ready for release come March 7th. It's been an interesting journey of developing this game so far, and while I'm not 100% happy with it, I'm going ahead with releasing the first act. Why? Because I need to know if I'm crazy and nitpicking the hell out of things, or if there are legit issues with the fun factor or anything else. I don't expect any game breaking bugs or major graphical glitches, however. It's very playable but I'm a perfectionist, so I'll never be completely satisfied. Anyway, I've drawn a lot of inspiration from other RPG Maker game's whenever I've felt the desire not to work on Heartfire, and so I'd like to give a quick shoutout to Luchino for her work on Enelysion and to the developer (your name slips my mind) of Incitement II (which I'm having a lot of fun with despite it being a few years old now). Anyway, I rambled and didn't include enough of my witty, dry humor, and for that, you're very welcome.


Progress Report

Si Clise!

Or, "So Close!" if my phone hadn't "auto-corrected" into that nonsense (if that's an actual phrase outside English, I apologize tremendously.)

I wanted to give everyone interested a small update regarding the release date of Act One: Unit 3-60 is Confused by Her Surrounds and We Can't Really Blame Her. Due to poor weather conditions in and around where I live, my power was out for two and a half days. Obviously, that cut a large chunk out of my development time, like a surgeon removing the diseased kidney of a fifty year old alcoholic. I might need those two days back, in which case the new release date will be: March 7th.

I'll know for sure after my legion of playtesters (really, it's just me) get back to me with their bug reports. Thanks for the support!

Game Design

Echo Bucks and Crafting Goodies

Okay, hi (give yourself a cookie if you caught that decade-old YouTube reference)! Everyone knows that these days most role-playing games have some kind of crafting system. Some are more in-depth and lenient than others. Unfortunately, Heartfire doesn't have one of those. What it does have is the ability to catch fish and find rare ingredients that can be burnt to a crisp and/or given to an alchemist in return for gold (because everybody loves gold) or crafted items, respectively. The reason I decided not to have a fully implemented crafting system is simple: Heartfire is too linear an experience. There's quite a bit of time spent in between major town hubs, and dozens of things are happening behind the scenes that cause certain parts of the game to lock, albeit momentarily. So, you see, you, the player, will go lengthy spells in between civilization and won't get many opportunities to capitalize on crafting items. On the flipside, the items alchemists create for you are extremely rare. You won't find them sitting idly at the bottom of a chest, and you won't see any merchants trying to get rid of them. Hopefully this is enough encouragement to gather what you find and turn it in. But if not, let me know and I'll see about adding in alternative awards. I'm manageable.

But crafting is only half of what this blog is about. Echo Bucks are also thrown in there, though they're not relevant to crafting in any way. But they are the currency found inside, that's right, you might have guessed it: Echo Labs Incorporated. Those upper eschelon scientists and powerfigures stopped bartering with gold ages ago, opting for a digitalized form of currency instead. With the Echo Bucks you find, you can use them to purchase rare, one-of-a-kind items from vendors (machines, not people) also found within Echo Labs' facilities. Items include their famous Nuka Cola (give yourself another cookie if you caught that one), Stimpaks, Pain-Be-Gones, arm cannons, robot components and upgrades, and technologically superior visors that make those rusty iron helmets Outsiders wear obsolete.

At the end of the day, whether you're enjoying an afternoon by the lake, or digging through the lockers of Echo Labs' employees for their meagre earnings, both features have their rewards and perks. Hopefully you enjoy them more than I enjoyed implementing them. Because it was tedious at best.

Note: As of this moment, I am still on track to meet my deadline of later this week, as far as releasing Act One goes. Stay tuned!

WTL;DFR (Way too long, didn't friggin' read):
Catch fish and gather rare ingredients to obtain one-of-a-kind items. Additionally, spend Echo Bucks to purchase, again, one-of-a-kind items, weapons, and upgrades.

Game Design

Liberty Inspired Me

No, not the age old concept of individualist ideas such as freedom and the right to swear at your mother (God rest your soul), but our very own Liberty, who said something to me that resonated within.

And I quote, "Looking at your current maps, you seem to be intermediate/decent at mapping."

Now, in no way did I take this as an insult. If anything, it's a compliment. Looking at your own games, Liberty, I should feel honored that you would consider my mapping intermediate and/or decent. And I do. But, as Ricky Bobby's father once said, "If you're not first, you're last." I'm pretty sure that doesn't imply I'll ever be first at mapping, but Liberty's words did inspire me to go back through all 148 of my maps and meticulously add more details. From waterfalls and creeks to elevation and denser woods. There's even more shit hanging on the walls of the Bouncing Beaver.

Anyway, my point, if it hasn't been made clear yet, is that someone famous within the community (no, I'm not an ass kisser, thank you for wondering) said something that inspired me to better my makgam capabilities, and for that, I thank her.

Liberty inspired me to better my mapping skills. That's all you really need to take from this.

Game Design

Lord Killian and the Sacred Heart Shards

That sounds like the next Harry Potter novel, only with more Killian and less Potter. Jokes aside, I wanted to shed a little light on an interesting new idea I had: Heart Shards. Speaking in terms of lore, Heart Shards are magical crystals (no, I know, but stay with me) created by a race of ancient elves during the Storm Age. They were designed to store information that -- one day -- their creators hoped would be passed down to younger, less wise races, like the humans. And I know, I just threw a ton of cliches in your face and said, "chew and swallow," but there's enough history here to make it a little less painful. Besides, Heartfire is a parody game. The only way it works is if I make fun of the very ideas I'm secretly rebelling against.

But enough time wasted. The really important part in all of this, is that by collecting all twelve Heart Shards, not only do you get to soak in the semi-original lore, but you unlock a secret ending. And since most probably won't go out of their way to find all twelve, and those who do likely won't tell anyone, you can feel like the ending's tailored just for you.

Collect all twelve Heart Shards to unlock a secret ending.

Progress Report

Bug Squishing is Serious Business

So, you'll never guess what happened to me one very specific hour while I was squishing bugs with my Developer's Boots (actual in-game item). I had a life-altering epiphany, and realized a lot of my work was actually kind of sloppy. Believe it or not, the two aren't related. But I'm going back through the Prologue and Act I, stomping out any bugs and/or glitches I run into. Seriously, though, you do not want to see the inside of this engine. Between the numerous redos, which I've kept, and the dozens of test maps, which I've also kept, I'm surprised all of the transfer events even work.

Bug squishing aside, I'm making slow but steady progress inside the database, creating new items, weapons and armor, and balancing/tweaking character stats and combat. Why didn't anyone tell me about the tedious parts of mak-gam? It looks so glamorous from the outside.

Anyway, I just thought I'd update those who were interested (much excite to have fifteen subscribers) in how the game's behind-the-database progress was coming along. Maybe next week I'll upload come screenshots of Act II. Til then, keep on keeping on.


Act I of III - Coming Soon

I've been hard at work for the past month trying to meet self-imposed deadlines. 100% of Act I's story and mapping is complete. The only things that remain are filling out the towns with NPCs, quests, etcetera, and balancing combat.

You can expect a release in the next two weeks, at the most. Happy gaming, world.


Smaller or Larger Maps

Hello, world. I was messing around with some of the maps and noticed that I could put most of them together into one large map (100 x 100 style). For example, I took all of Hercules Forest, which is made up of eight 33 x 27 maps and turned them into one large 95 x 88 map. For fun, I threw the town of Lazarus in there as well since it's located in the heart of the forest. I've discovered that this actually helps to give me a clearer view of what's going on. All quests, story-wise and not, are visible to me, along with all of the NPCs and battlers. My only problem is I wonder if the player might get lost and become annoyed, even if there are roads and signs.

The above brings me to one question: do most of you prefer smaller or larger maps? So far I've only tested this with one wilderness area of the game and the Echo Labs Inc. facility inside the prologue. If you could give me your opinion, that would be super.
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