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Progress Report

My wife said I can't buy FFVI Remaster until I finish Hero's Realm

So I have extra motivation, I guess.

Anyway, I am working on battle animations these days. (Follow along on Twitter while that site still exists, if you like!).

I had done a thorough review of every skill and battle event in the game, and then mapped that to every animations, and from there to every battle animation sheet. I cross-referenced that with the animation sheets I had commissioned from visitorsfromdream. From there, I identified the gaps - the most significant gap being the space in my wallet (I have no budget left, really. That's what happens when you let a game project drag on for 5 years). So to fill in the gap, at the beginning of April I started to learn how to do simple pixel art, with a focus on small animations!

I started with simple laser effects, and then moved on to a study on sparkles and gems (a staple of every RPG ever). The sparkles will be used in a large variety of spells, especially healing.

I circled back to some more lasers, and small burst animations. The lasers were based on an animation that I had downloaded back in like 2003 and have no idea where it is sourced from. The bursts are based off of Chrono Trigger's animations.

You can see me working on it here:

Because some people think I have some sort of innate spriting skillz, I am showing you my current process - using references from SNES games!!

I tried to make a fissure like skill, based on our favourite end boss Lavos.

Today I took a crack at making the most complex sprite I've attempted to date - a large skull.

Naturally, I used my socks as a reference. (I also later googled skull art references, because I do not have a full grasp on how the human skull is actually shaped).


I have a long list, but so far so good in my first 3 week foray into the world of spriting! Still to do are more physical hit sparks and slashes, stealing items, more fire (ugh this is going to be tough), ice, lightning, wind, gasses, dark spirits, holy magic, explosions, and tarot cards!

(Also, I am focusing on spriting right now because it is fun, but MORESO to avoid tedious work I know I have do to. The battle events need a cleanup and revamp, and the prospect of working on that is daunting. Then there are the bug fixes and planned enhancements. And playtesting. Which will lead to more bug fixes.)

Follow along on Twitters if you want more real-time progress reports on battle animations. (where are we supposed to post going forward these days? Instagram? Tumblr? Y'know, for when twitter dies)

Progress Report

Skills of an artist (Titlescreen)

So I finally sat down and started learning some basic pixel art (purchasing Aseprite, following some tutorials like finalbossblues and saint11 etc.). I do not have a knack for art. I try, but I know that my works are amateurish. But that's not going to stop me (at least, not yet)!

Anyway, after gaining the bare-minimum in proficiency with Aseprite, I tackled a long outstanding item - the actual titlescreen!

Now, your first impression should be to realize that it bares a shocking resemblance to the mockup that Ocean made for me back in 2018 (omg... 2018... *sigh*)

(comment on it here: https://rpgmaker.net/games/9906/images/81978/)

I mean, I loved it and it was always going to serve as my inspiration. Thanks Ocean!

Shortly after receiving it, in fact, I had created a "composition" in Photoshop using my preferred font (Optimus Princeps).

I had envisioned even back then that the base would be some fantasy-like setting (castles, fields, mountains, or the like), so I cleared out that area. I also LOVED the sword Ocean made (obviously. It is great). You can also see where I was experimenting with a "company" name using a font I made with my own handwriting (yes, my handwriting is that bad). I used one of those handwriting-to-font services. The font name is Gbone btw.

Yesterday (or was it the day before?), I took this base and began in earnest. I flattened the font and neatened up the edges, mocked up some mountains and hills, and a castle.

If it looks familiar, then you know about the Bavarian castle in Germany!

This image formed the basis for my composition and castle layout. I shrunk it down to 320x240 and did a quick trace/freehand on it, and referenced it when I was spriting the details.

Next, I added details to my mockup mountains. I had a lot of fun doing this. Natural scenes at a far distance is my wheelhouse. I also mimicked the style that Ocean made for the font. I think it turned out pretty great, myself. The title really pops.

I then got to work on adding detail to the castle itself. (FYI layers are your friend).

I am not terribly happen with the final result, to be honest. It is quite amateurish. The scale, perspective, colour, balance, lighting, and textures are all off (some a little, some a lot).

I debated (and am still debating, tbh) removing the castle entirely (despite working for hours on it) - I am that dissatisfied with it. I moved it around, tweak things a bit, tried making some forest/trees in the foreground, shrunk it to half-size to see if that helped, even tinted it to see if muting the colours would help. I just don't have the skill or experience to figure out what I need to do to make it better.

I probably shouldn't have tried to tackle something so complex mere weeks after starting my pixel art journey. Ah well. Perhaps I will revisit this titlescreen in the future.

For now - on to battle animations!

Thanks for reading.


On this day in 2009...

...the full v1.0 version of Hero's Realm was released.

And look how far it's come since then! ...oh wait, you can't, because I haven't released anything since. Welp.

Anyway, I have been slowly plugging away on this project (and chugging away on double-doubles). Most recently, I reviewed my TODO list. Things were getting a little messy again, and as you all know, being organized is almost as good as being talented.

So, at a high level, this is what I am working towards:

(in roughly priority order)
x-ASSESSMENT: need to review the OVERVIEW of NEWTODO, for high level items
-PLAN: development plan 2023
-ASSESSMENT: review THIS document for all outstanding ideas!
-ASSET: animations
-ASSET: soundeffects
-CONCEPT: a proper concept paper, design doc, proposal, description
-ASSET: reach out to zDS and pianotm earnestly about finalizing music/OST
-IMPLEMENT: battle events
-IMPLEMENT: item reordering
-ASSET: class/character sheets
-IMPLEMENT: renaming all of the copyright infringement things (so many!)
-IMPLEMENT: bugfixes
-IMPLEMENT: rebalancing
-IMPLEMENT: enhancements
-ASSESSMENT: review the original game holistically again (weak points; areas for improvement)
-TESTING: playthrough + story review
-SHOWCASE: HR titlescreen/banner (+ gameprofile + twitter avatars etc.)
x-SHOWCASE: gather testimonials


Progress Report

Posting from a Tim Hortons

It would be a remarkable feat if there are still many fans following the development of this remaster. It was suggested that I post an update on the progress (or lack thereof) that I've made in the years since I started.

After a half-decade of hem-hawing about going forward with a lifelong dream of mine to commercially publish an RPG, in 2017, I finally convinced myself that it would be worth remastering my dear pet project Hero's Realm as a commercial endeavour. When it started, I was full of vinegar and hope and naivety that it might be a moderate success. I even envisioned that it'd be released sometime in, say, 2 years!

I reached out for commissions, and was graced with the skills of Avee (for art and sprite work), BigWig (for monster art and sprites)(he has since disappeared from my contacts - I really hope he's okay tbh), visitorsfromdreams for animations, and pianotm and zDS stepped up and offered music composition. I am very gracious for all the help I've received to date, and owe a debt of gratitude to all of you, especially for sticking with me after all this time. The works you have done are amazing.

Here is a rough outline of the progressbar (not to scale):

A brief recap/excuses of the past couple years:
(background: I announced this project in mid-2017. At the end of 2017 I received a shock that my company was closing up and was out of a job. I became an independent contractor and a self-employed. This has been the case until January 3rd, 2023, when I started a new position as an employee).
-so in 2020 the pandemic started. Kids were schooling from home, and everything was greatly disrupted. It's been tough, and I wish I had the wherewithal to have completed this remaster before 2020.
-late 2020 my dad died unexpectedly, so that sucked.
-in 2021 I moved to a new home (we had outgrown our first home of 10 years - the boys were sharing a bedroom and bunkbeds and could benefit from more space). Moving was hella-expensive and time-consuming,
-2020-2022 I was hella-depressed, too.
-the project got corrupted (there was a blog post about it) and I had to restore from a backup. Oh well.
-started a new job Jan 3rd, full-time, with a pension and healthcare and everything, so that's pretty cool.
-in conclusion, here we are.

Anyway, mid-2022 I started putting actual effort into the project again. Avee had invested a TON of time and effort implementing the tilesets for me in-game (wow!), so I had a great basis to work off of.

-I revamped the hero classes, and implemented the 3 new classes
-I imported all the great resources that Avee and visitorsfromdreams made
-I mapped the class graphics to the battlechars and weapons that Avee made
-I recentlyish mapped all 401 monsters to the 389 monster sprites (with over 95 unique sprites and recolours!). It was quite the undertaking.
-I documented all of the monsters, spells, items, weapons, battle scripts and more into my Excel spreadsheet (this will come in handy when I make the guidebooks and manuals)
-I am currently in the process of mapping the battle backgrounds to tiles
-I am also currently in the process of refactoring the battle events - they desperately need a cleanup and the new skills (an better implementations of existing skills) need to be added. It'll be fun redoing all 977 battle troops. I am leaning on the work I have done in Generica. Hero's Realm - being the first project I ever completed - was a prototype in a lot of ways, and it is evident the messiness of the scripts.
-As part of this battle events process, I will be implementing the new battle animations from visitorsfromdreams AND revisiting the skills and their balance/implementation.

These pieces are all required before I can truly embark on the next phase of the project - polishing and playtesting. This will include leaning once again on pianotm and zDS to prepare a finalized version of their amazing tracks. And eventually putting a call out for official play testers.

Then in parallel, I will need to reach out and ask for help with
-creating multimedia (like videos!) for showcasing the game
-signing up for Steam and figuring out publishing (so many of you have done this now - I would love your expertise!)
-signing up for itch.io

I will also be making my planned guide material, like
-monster lists
-equipment lists
-OST (maybe! if zDS and pianotm are up for it!)
-other cool things

Then finally - publish the damn game.

So yeah. I'm almost done my double-double and my son's soccer practice ends soon. I will wrap this up now with a promise to you that I will post updates more regularly. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.

Progress Report

also not dead

I'll put actual progress proof when I have energy but yeah I haven't given up on this yet lol.

Progress Report

Heartbreak + Setbacks

I have a disappointing update to post. Some time between March 2020 and October 2019 I managed to corrupt the game's database, and didn't notice until today.

It had something to do with the Battle Screen tab (a tab I apparently rarely visited! I only noticed it because whatever corruption was happening/happened spread to other areas.

You can see my topic here on it:

I restored my backups retroactively, looking for a non-corrupt one and thankfully I found one... from Avee, after he replaced the tilesets with his work, dating back to October 2019. So nearly 18 months ago! That's nearly... 7 hours worth of work!!!

Seriously, I haven't worked on this game much in 2020, and not at all since my dad died in October 2020. I spent most of 2020 (and 2019 tbh) quite depressed, that absolutely sucked any drive I had. I think I have finally turned a corner in in early January and fired up RM2k3 again for the first time today - to discover the corruption.

I am sorry for this downer of an update.

I am getting back on the horse now, though.

Thankfully, so much of the project depends on the work of the resources creators Avee, zDS, pianotm, visitorsfromdreams, and mattthulhu

Cover Art

A cover art I commissioned via Twitter from @mattthulhu. I hope to use this in gameprofiles and promotional material. The inspiration comes from the cover art of NES Dragon Warrior games (primarily DWII).


In 2020, zDS and pianotm were revitalized and created several more tracks for the remaster. I have a snapshot of the current track list below. 44 incredible tracks are slated for this game, and I couldn't be more proud.

I hope to showcase the latest works in a new blog post soon.

OrderPurposeSong Title (ideas)FilenameComposer
1Main Theme / Title screenA Hero's RealmA Hero's Realm.mp3pianotm
2Intro musicThe Introduction of a HeroHoldanawithIntroArachnoSF.mp3pianotm
3Chapter 1 Overworld / Holdana's ThemeHoldanaHoldana.mp3pianotm
4Chapter 2 Overworld / Enobong's ThemeZefyrinZefryins_Theme_New_Hard_To_Kill_Hard_To_SpellzDS
5Chapter 3 Overworld / Otojiro's ThemeBloodsportAkios Theme.mp3zDS
6Chapter 4 Overworld / Rana's ThemeRajRanas Theme.mp3zDS
7Chapter 5 OverworldThe Ruin of RealityThe_Ruin_of_Reality.mp3pianotm
8Skiff sailingSkiffscapeshipslower.mp3pianotm
9Ship sailingShipshapeship.mp3pianotm
10Airship sailingTouch the SkyTouch the Sky2.mp3pianotm
11VillagesQuaint VillageVillage 1.mp3zDS
12Sad villagesAktemptohero sad village.mp3zDS
13TownsFolksy TownTown 1.mp3zDS
14Sad townsMelancholy TownHero Town 2.mp3zDS
15Eastern Villages (Chapter 4)Exotic VillageArab Village.mp3pianotm
16Snow villagesPowderPowder.mp3pianotm
17CitiesBustling CityCity 3.mp3pianotm
18CastlesRegal CastleHero's Realm Castle Version 2.mp3zDS
19Temples / ShrinesPietyPiety.mp3pianotm
20Inns / RecoveryThe Plucked DucklingInn.mp3pianotm
21ShopsYe Olde ShoppeHero_Shop_sorry_its_not_dq1_town_song.oggzDS
22FunhouseThe Price is BrownCasino_Updated.oggzDS
23ColiseumHeart of a BattlerArena_Intro_Maybe.mp3zDS
24Paranor / Guru's ThemeWorld of RuinWorld_of_Ruin.mp3pianotm
25Barracks / Final areaMarital VowsMartial_Vows.mp3pianotm
26Futuristic compoundApocolyptica FuturaApocolyptica_Futura.mp3pianotm
27Menacing areas / cutscenesCreepyCreepy.mp3pianotm
28CavesDark CaveHero's Realm Cave.mp3zDS
29CatacombsLa Serenite du ChauchemarLa Serenite du Chauchemar.mp3pianotm
30TowersNew TowerNew_Tower.oggzDS
31Aetherial dimension dungeonsLost in QuintessenceLost in Quintessence.mp3pianotm
31Catacombs alternateNiddly CatacombsZefyrin's Theme.mp3zDS
32Frozen cavesFrozen WindFrozen_Wind.mp3pianotm
33Futuristic compound ruins / baseTechnoBabelTechnoBabel_synthbass.mp3pianotm
34Final dungeonThe CrucibleThe_Cruciblepianotm
35Select dungeons / cave alternateMenacing Dungeonhero tower.mp3zDS
36Megafunhouse or Recurring Boss Theme ?Tracer Bulletcasino.mp3zDS
37Battle themeHeroic BattleHeros_Realm_Battle_12022017.mp3zDS
38Boss battleHeroes v BossHeroes Boss-02.mp3zDS
39Chapter boss battle theme / midbossEnd of Chapter BossTertiary Battle Theme or mini boss.mp3pianotm
40Intro to the big boss battle themeThe Intro from Beyond Space and TimeT_B_S_T__Intro (1).mp3pianotm
41First Big Boss battle themeThis Isn't Even My Final FormT_B_S_T__Form_I (1).mp3pianotm
42Final Battle themeFinal FormT_B_S_T__Final_Form (1).mp3pianotm
43Entire final battle themeThe Thing from Beyond Space and TimeThe_Thing_from_Beyond_Space_and_Time (1).mp3pianotm
44Outtro / End CreditsA Hero's EndHoldana Variant.mp3pianotm

visitorsfromdreams implemented 43 separate battle animations for spells and weapons in mid-to-late 2019

You can read more about it here in this blog post:

They are incredible!

Wow, where do I even begin!

Avee has gone above and beyond any reasonable expectations for this project, and without him I'd have been completely sunk.

He has finished a veritable mountain of monster sprites (360 monster sprites, counting all recolours)

He completed all of the tilesets AND took it upon himself to replace the graphics in 879 maps with them! This is, in fact, the backup that I am going to have restart my work on.

He is hard at work now creating battle backgrounds, and has provided 33 already! I am going to showcase them soon so that we can all marvel at them.

So a huge thank you to all of the resource creators on Hero's Realm remaster.


Art Corner: Bosses and more monsters

Showing off some more enemies (the last ones to appear in this Art Corner) and a couple of early bosses!
I hope you all have a nice end of summer (or winter for you south hemisphere peeps). It's already getting cooler here in Cadana.


Art Corner: Monsters!

Let’s have a look at a few of the 80+ enemies in Hero’s Realm: Heroic Edition!


Art Corner: Master Classes

Presenting the Master Classes and special characters! Those two don’t join your team permanently but make a strong impression when seen in action, so I tried to make their physical appearances as memorable as any other class’s.


Art Corner: Advanced Classes

Hiya! It’s been a while.
Avee here, presenting the next Art Corner, but first let me say that in these trying times I hope that all of you are safe and healthy.

The more powerful Advanced Classes can be acquired later in the game. Three of these are completely new in the remaster and it was fun to design them from scratch. Please try them out!

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