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I'm back, baby!

Hey everybody, hope you've been doing well. I'm pleased to say I was just recently discharged from rehab, so at long last after over a month I'm home. They ran a whole lot of tests on me and I had several surgeries, so I am finally no longer in danger of croaking. That means I'm finally free to double down on game development, when I'm not stuck sitting in some doctor's office that is. Thank you all for your well wishes, they went a long way towards improving my mental health through that strenuous time. Welp, that's enough chatter. I've got some game making to do.


Situational Update

Hey peeps! Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I've got more of a serious matter to discuss this time. Long story short, I was diagnosed with kidney disease and have been hospitalized for a long time. I've been receiving dialysis treatments, which is basically where they suck out all your blood, clean it, and put it back in you. The process has left me completely drained, and I need to continue the treatments until I can get a kidney replacement. It tanks, and has obviously affected my ability to work on the game.

This isn't to say I've stopped working on it mind you, but my progress has been significantly slowed, hence why I wasn't able to meet my goal at the end of the year. I apologize for that, but I want everyone to know that I'm still doing my best. I'd appreciate any thoughts and prayers you could spare me as I'm going through an extremely difficult time in my life right now. As always, thanks for being awesome.

Progress Report

Progress Report and Feature Update

Yo people! It has recently come to my attention that I haven't posted any information about the ultimate edition in the last 30 years. I've shared some details will individual players in the past, but not the community at large. Today I'm correcting that egregious injustice by telling you all about what I've been up to, just to prove I've actually been working on the game. That being said, allow me to share with you the features of Umbral Soul's upcoming ultimate edition.

New Scenarios

There are currently ten new scenarios I'm adding to the game; some revealing more glimpses into the past, and others fleshing out some of the less prominent characters. From the moment Pandora lost her innocence and became a killer to the time where Azrielle first met Ragnarok, the history of the game will be covered in greater detail. Unlocking these new stories will be pretty straightforward, so there's no need to worry about missing out.

New Evolutions

Two summons that were incapable of evolution before will now be enhancible, boasting higher stats and new moves. There is also one additional brand new summon that is capable of evolving once. Will you be able to bring out the full destructive potential of the beasts under your command?

Increased Item Drops

Enemies now drop more items, which can be sold at local shops. That means more money to spend on experience boosting items for your summons, allowing you to turn them into hero-crushing abominations faster than ever before.

Improved Mapping

I'm the last person who would consider myself an expert mapper, but my skills have improved a bit over time. I've improved several of the maps I was unhappy with before, which will hopefully make the overall game more enjoyable.

Improved facesets

The facesets of several characters have been upgraded to be more expressive, and many characters that didn't have facesets before are now sporting them.

New Characters

The ultimate edition introduces two new villains to the story, and while they don't actually join you on your journey to conquer the world, they do play a fairly significant role in the story. Who are these new threats to the world? You'll find out soon enough.

Madam Xelna's Fortunetelling Emporium

A fun little addition to the game I've added. Previously there was a building in Arcfall that was closed, but now Madam Xelna's Fortunetelling Emporium is open for business. You can now consult this mystical old woman to look into the futures of your party members, summons, and even Ragnarok himself. What does fate have in store for you and your cohorts?

Improved Movesets

Characters learn more useful moves earlier, and some of them gain new moves altogether. Additionally, moves have been tweaked to be easier and generally more fun to use. For example, Lanith's Soul Stealing Kiss no longer has a TP cost, but rather restores some TP. TP in general has been made into a more valuable resource, and Pandora's Infernal Awakening now restores the TP of whoever it targets, allowing your allies to unleash their strongest moves more quickly. Glitches with some of the moves have also been fixed, so transforming no longer renders a character immortal. Sorry guys, you'll have to break the game some other way, heh heh.

Player's Guide

While I designed the unlockables in this game to be rather intuitive, you might be wondering if you actually managed to snag them all. Well wonder no more my friend, because the ultimate edition will include a player's guide detailing how to unlock every last summon and scenario, as well as the solutions to all the puzzles. Included will be a complete list of all the moves playable characters learn at what levels, so you'll never have to grind in vain wondering if you've learned everything.

There are other surprises to come as well, but this blog is long enough so I'll keep them under wraps for now. I'm aiming to have the ultimate edition done by the end of the year, but only time will tell if I actually manage to meet that goal. If there's anything I've learned, it's that you can't predict what life is going to throw at you next. Thanks for sticking with me everybody!


Back from the Brink

Hey everybody, Wheelz here. What's this? This mook has the nerve to show up out of nowhere like nothing happened after all this time? The nerve! Well, allow me to explain my momentary absence. Long story short, I was stuck in the hospital, had a stroke, and have been spending a while recovering. Now I don't want anyone to worry because I managed to make a complete recovery without any lingering mental damage, so I am 100% completely fine. I just got out of the hospital yesterday and I feel like a new man. That being said, I want everyone to rest assured that the Ultimate Edition's production is still alive and kicking. To all the friends I haven't been in contact with and the players who had questions I'd like to apologize for my absence, but I'm back now and raring to go. Thanks for bearing with me everybody!

Progress Report

A heads up on the Ultimate Edition's Development

Greetings fellow denizens of rmn, Wheelman here. Man oh man, it's been fifty years since I posted a blog up here hasn't it? So what's the occasion you ask? Well I thought I'd take the time to fill you in on the current situation on the Umbral Soul ultimate edition's production. Come on, it's right there in the title.

See, earlier this year someone asked me when the game would be finished, and I told them it should be done by the end of the year, provided life didn't punch me in the gut the way it did last year. Yet here we are in the merry month of December and still no game. What's up with that? Well you see dear reader, while life did not hit me with the gut punch/left hook/shoryuken combo that it did last year, it did indeed jab me in the nose. Repeatedly.

What is the source of said jabs, you ask? Well that would be my job. There's been a bit of a mass exodus from the company, with thirteen people leaving within the span of a week, and to make up for the lack of manpower, the rest of us have been feeling the crunch. That crunch can be summed up in two horrible words; mandatory overtime. Good for my wallet, bad for just about everything else. For a while now I've had to spend a good chunk of my Saturdays at work, in addition to the usual forty hours of toil. This has meant having less time to do the things I love, such as trading emails with friends, playing games, and engaging in what rmn affectionately refers to as, "gam mak." Hence why I haven't been able to meet said deadline.

So yeah, the game is still coming along, it's just taking longer than I had hoped. I had an interview the other day that I thought went well so hopefully I'll soon have a new less time consuming job to call my own. I'd love to give a proper release date but since that almost never works out for me I'm just going to hold my tongue this time. Thank you all for your patience and understanding, and for supporting me with your kind words all this time. Rest assured I'm trying to make something you will hopefully find worth the wait.


Shock and Speechlessness 2: The Shockening

Hoo boy, where to even start? I've been putting off writing this blog for a couple of days now because I'm not exactly sure what to say. Welp, let's start from the beginning. A few days ago, Umbral Soul won 3 and 1/3 Misaos: Best Protagonist/Characters, Best Intro, Best Gameplay Balance, and a three way tie with Lakria Legends and Sideways for Raddest Setting.

To be perfectly honest, I'm speechless. In fact, I've been speechless for 3 days, which is why this blog is coming so late. Once again, my good friends shock and speechlessness have shown up at my doorstep, carrying gift baskets filled with fruit and trail mix. I don't think I've ever felt like this before in my life, and I doubt I ever will again. It just isn't something you can put into words.

Let's get this out of the way; I am extremely flattered and thankful to this community for its kindness. When I joined this site and submitted this game, winning a Misao was such a far off dream that I never even considered it possible. Heck, I thought even getting a single review would be a stretch. I actually laughed when people suggested it could be even remotely possible for this game to win a Misao. Yet here I am, talking to all of you now, overwhelmed by a powerful mixture of disbelief and joy that that has socked me in the jaw harder than Mike Tyson in the final level of Punch Out.

I'd like to give a big fat thank you, not only to those of you who voted for the game, but who gave it a chance. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would become this popular. I'm going to do my best to live up to your expectations for future games, if for no other reason than to give back some of the joy this community has given me. And to you goofballs who voted for Umbral Soul in the "Best Fangame" category, you're all shmucks. Lovable shumucks, but shumcks. Thanks again, now it's time for me to get back to work and make you guys some even better games!


Thank you everyone

So a funny thing happened to me last night. I was browsing rmn just as I always do, when suddenly a notification popped up. "Nice," I thought, "Maybe one of the games I've been following has been updated!" Upon dragging my mouse over the notices tab, I was met with the words "You received a new achievement, the Game Featured!" Now at first I thought this must have been the result of a few possibilities:
1) It was a glitch
2) It was an elaborate prank designed to give me a heart attack
3) I had finally stayed up late for so long that I had lost the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

Clicking on the main page, I was greeted by that all too familiar purple and black castle. It was then that I had realized it was true. My game had been featured...
After squealing at the screen for what must have been upwards of five minutes, the reality of what had just happened finally started to sink in. This means more to me than anyone will ever know.

As I've mentioned before, Umbral Soul was originally a personal project I designed for myself, seen and played only by me. One day, while browsing rmn, I stumbled upon a game called Shinra Duel Adventures. I thought the mapping was great, and I could tell that an enormous amount of effort had gone into eventing the game, so I decided to show my appreciation for the dev's hard work by sending them an email. The two of us got to talking and he encouraged me to present my game to the public. At first I was hesitant, doubtful of my ability to create anything worthy of the public eye, but his support spurred me on to take the plunge.

Now, ages later, I've made many new friends, connected with other devs, received a ridiculous six reviews, had let's play's posted on youtube, and finally been featured on the front page of the website that I have admired from afar for years. Heck, even Liberty said she was going to give it a go! This community that I had been so afraid to join for the longest time has shown me so much kindness, it is completely and utterly overwhelming.

None of this would have happened if my friend hadn't spoken those kind words to me. If not for him, Umbral Soul would've remained locked in a folder sitting on my desktop forever. That is why I want to encourage anyone who has a game in development. If you're reading this, don't give up. Don't doubt your abilities. Don't stop learning, tinkering, experimenting and growing, because you can make something special. Don't create the project someone else wants to see, create the game you want to see. The key to seeing a game through to the end is enjoying what you do.

You aren't on your own, either. This site is filled with kind and experienced people who are willing to share the tips and tricks they've learned. Game making can be daunting, but as you learn, new and exciting possibilities will open up for you. If there's anything in this game you'd like to know how to do, send me a message and I'd be happy to share.

So I'm giving a great big thank you to everyone; the players for giving my game a shot, the devs that provided me with knowledge and inspiration, the mods for electing my game worthy to be featured, and you for reading this long-winded rant from a guy who is way too happy for his own good. Thank you all, you're all awesome. Rpg maker forever, baby!

Progress Report

Update: Umbral Soul Reverse

Greetings fellow rpg lovers. So I'm sure you're asking yourself by now, "What's taking so long?! That lazy bum Wheelman is taking forever to post the Ultimate Edition! I should form a lynch mob and string him up by his toes!" Well since I do rather enjoy my toes, I figure it's about time for an update.

I have already corrected the various spelling errors and glitches that have been brought to my attention. The game is now at least 70% "thier" free. I've also added added several scenarios to add further detail to the story and a put the spotlight on some of the lesser developed characters. There has also been some major re-balancing done to the game's stats and I've tweaked a few movesets. Players who have beaten the game will find themselves having to use alternate strategies than those employed in their first playthrough. Not only that, but I've added a snazzy new status menu.

Now 30% more malevolent.

"Oh come on Wheelman," you exclaim, "You can't honestly tell me it's been taking you THIS long just to do that." That's very perceptive of you, reader. What has been really eating up time is the special surprise I've been working on. I was going to keep it a secret until the release, but now I think it would be better if everyone was in the loop.

I have been working on an alternate campaign called "Umbral Soul Reverse" where you experience the story from the perspective of the Serene's party. How did they meet? What were they doing while Pandora was amassing her forces? What dangers did they have to overcome in their quest for world peace? Now you'll learn the answers to those questions. It is for all intents and purposes, an additional game.

At the same time, I'm working with BerryRMN on our post BaconJam project, which is coming along quite nicely. It will feature quite a bit of amazing art Berry has whipped up himself. For an example of his art style, check out the demo of his game, Concordant. https://rpgmaker.net/games/8374/

So yeah, there's a lot of good stuff coming in the future, so you can look forward to it. As always, thanks for your patience and stay cool people!


Ultimate Edition in Production

Greetings fellow gamers! I realize I've mentioned releasing another version of the game in passing, but I never actually made an official announcement about it, so...here you go!

I just want to start by saying that I have been completely taken aback by the sheer amount of positive feedback, constructive criticism, helpful suggestions and various bug reports this game has been receiving. That being said, I will not be comfortable walking away from it to move on to the sequel until its issues have been fixed.That is why I intend to release another version with more fixes and content.

"Oh come on Wheelman!" you exclaim, "I've already downloaded this game 4 times, you can't expect me to download it again!" That's a fair argument humble reader, which is why I intend to sweeten the deal with more scenario's and a very special surprise I think you'll enjoy. It's going to take a bit of time to put together, but it won't stall the sequel's production too much and I believe the end result will be worth it.

Thank you all for your kind words and support, I intend to repay that kindness with even more games for you to enjoy in the future.


Dark Rebirth patch now Available!

The final version of the game is now up for download. All of the bugs brought to my attention have been fixed, including several evolution bugs and the infamous duplicate Abyssal Portal glitch. I've also added a few features to make the game more enjoyable. Saves from previous versions are transferrable, but if you want access to the new moves, a new game is required.

-Pandora now learns a healing spell, a more powerful damage spell, and a spell that damages all foes.

-Damien now learns 2 spells that make him effective against bosses.

-Demon's Draughts now grant 600 exp instead of 300.

Also fixed a few spelling and passibility errors on various maps. It's a huge game, so I don't know if I got them all, but in its current state, the game should not have any major issues. Version 1.2 is still perfectly beatable, if not a bit glitchy, so feel free to finish your game using that version if you'd like. Thank you and as always, have fun!
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