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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!


Full version now available!

IMPORTANT UPDATE So apparently I am extremely terrible at catching bugs. It has been brought to my attention that the evolution events for 2 monsters, Slime and Abomination, do not actually add their respective summoning skill to the summon list. Also, there is a late game teleport error that will send you to the wrong location before the last dungeon. Version 1.2 has both bugs solved, so if you downloaded anything before that, please transfer your saves to the new version. If you've already evolved your slime, head to the Ebony Cauldron in version 1.2 to fix the error. As much fun as downloading the same game 6 times and transferring save files is, I expect this to be the last major patch for a while. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding guys.
Ladies and gentlemen, after 2 years in development I am pleased to announce that the full version of Umbral Soul is now finally available. It was a long road to get here, but I feel like the end result is something I can be proud of.

“But Wheelman!” you exclaim, “Why is the file size so huge?” An excellent question! See, there’s a whole lot of imported music, graphics and sound effects in there, and things add up quickly. Hopefully you’ll find the game enjoyable enough to spare the megabytage.

A few things you should know before you dive in; this is largely a character-driven game with a whole lot of story. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of chances to vaporize your enemies, but the game’s main focus is on battles and character development. Hey, even if that’s not your cup of tea, give it a shot anyway, you might just enjoy yourself!

I would like to take this time to give a few shoutouts to the people who helped make my dream of making a game a reality. First up, my buddy Luc, who encouraged me to turn this private project into a public release. Next I’d like to thank jstomp and BerryRMN for their constructive criticism, which allowed me to improve the game. Another great big thank you goes out to GreatRedSpirit and karins soulkeeper for helping me with a rather persistent scripting issue. I’d also like to thank Starmage, whose extremely generous review spurred me on to polish the game into something worthy of five stars.

Finally, I’d like to thank all you good folks here at RMN for your kind words and encouragement. Knowing that something I’ve done is causing others to have fun is a feeling beyond words. I thought I was pretty thorough with my testing, but if any nasty bugs show up, please let me know and I will squash them post haste. Thank you, and enjoy the game!

EDIT: I've added a link to an rtp inclusive version of the game, which contains everything you need to play. The main link will take you to the version without the rtp, so if you want the one with the rtp, click the "downloads" tab under the banner and select Umbral Soul v1.2 (rtp included). Thank you, and happy gaming!

Progress Report

The Beginning of the End

Greetings fellow rpg enthusiasts! It's been a good long while, so I thought I'd drop an update on the state of things. I am currently working on the game's finale, with most of the map work already completed. Now while there is a rather strong temptation to simply rush through the ending, throw my hands up and go "done!", I would rather take the time to make it memorable.

Of course even after the endgame is complete, there will still be some loose ends to tie up. Polish to add, enemies to balance, all the little pieces that make up a solid game. That being said, I'd like to thank everyone for their patience. I assure you, it'll pay off in the end.

I would also like to take this time to thank everyone for their feedback, as it has been instrumental in improving the game. Palnea Woods is now a few maps longer with a couple added surprises, so for those who have played the demo, it'll be worth traveling through a second time once the finished product is up. That's all for now, so until the next update, stay cool everybody!

Game Design

Being the villain

Have you ever fought a boss in an rpg, and thought to yourself; “Man, I’d love to play as that thing!” Be it a powerful wizard, a giant monster, or an all around overpowered jerk, the villains always seem to get the best powers. What then, would it be like to be in control of that power? This game was built around that idea. No longer are you in control of a gang of plucky young heroes rising up against overwhelming odds to defeat the forces of darkness and save the world. No, now you are the villain. Now we all know that there are a decent number of games out there where you play as the baddie, but many of the ones I found were either comedic or parody games. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good parody game, but I was a bit disappointed in the lack of villainous games with a slightly more serious tone. So, I decided to do what any good rpg maker would do and make one myself!

As a word of warning, this game is very cutsceney (which is clearly a real word). There’s a lot of backstory and character development I wanted to cram in there, but at the same time, I didn’t want to bog down the gameplay or the pacing. As a solution, I decided to include a cutscene gallery that unlocks additional stories about the various characters as the player goes along.Several of them are connected to sidequests, which will hopefully add a little extra motivation for the player to stray from the main story. Tired of grinding for a while? Just teleport to your castle, sit down with some popcorn and enjoy a cutscene.If you don’t like character driven stories...welp, that’s great! It takes all kinds to make the world go round, right? Who says we all have to like the same thing? Give the game a shot anyway, you might just have a good time regardless. Till the next update, stay cool everybody!
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