Tattered Sky (The Game)
If you have followed this project in the past, you will know that this has been a giant project for me. It all started when I was re-reading Magician: Apprentice (and the whole Rift War saga). I was amazed at the level of detail and harmony of style that Raymond E Feist maintained through what is now too many books to count (and one horrible video game). After digging further I learned that he sat down with friends and wrote the entire world before he even started to look at the frist book. He had geography, powers, history all written and documented so that the stories wrapped around that as opposed to trying to fill in blanks as he wrote.
Six or so years ago I started to do the same thing. I started with an idea, actually one drawing that I did, and started backwards. The drawing became a snapshot of one thing in the world a hundred years after the start of the world. (The world was created in one event, handily giving me a year 0).
I wanted a world with a different type of magic, and the idea of the Keepers was born. While the Keeper is the central plot element to the stories I wrote, it became just a part of the world that got bigger and bigger.
So fast forward to today, and while the novel is still a project I am working on, the world needed more and I needed to play in a different medium. When I had more time on my hands I would download old NES games and play them on emulators. (Alas my real Nintendo is lost to time). The Dragon Warrior games and the original Final Fantasy games have always held my attention and I’ve replayed them countless times. There is a beautiful simplicity to them that we have lost to the allure of graphics and online play. I enjoy the sprite and tile based graphics and I enjoy that the games can have a rich story without being bogged down by the new technologies.
I have found the tools for creating such a game to be played now. This is a daunting task though, as the framework that I have been provided is quite weak. There is a great community though of people who provide different pieces that I might be lacking myself. I have been able to implement a job system, mini maps, and my own flavor of skills and magic that allows more depth in game play. There is still much to do though..
The story is told from the perspective of four people from one of the colonies of the ruined lands around Daer’Kalon. These colonies are seperated not by oceans, but perched on the tops of mountains high above a poisoned cloud cover that hides the rest of the world from view, and isolates them from all but fleets of airships. The central city, the original raised land Daer’Kalon, is losing its grip on the colonies and civil war is brewing. Not all is what it seems though in a world where Keepers can remove or alter memories, Magi can twist the elements to their will, and the common people know little more then survival against monsters that stalk them on the isolated lands.
The system is very close to the basic combat system enjoyed by the old school RPGs I am paying homage to. Strength, Speed, Spirit, etc etc etc. I like this system because it is enjoyable without being too simple, and not so complex that formulas take hours to understand. (I’m horrible at commenting code). I’m still playing with the advancement system because I am a big fan of customization with advancement so subclasses may or may not make it into the game. I need to understand balance in larger and more advanced battles to ensure I’m not ruining the challenge.
I have the entire world hand drawn, each city hand drawn, and planned. Making the cities in the game is a labor of love and I enjoy it, but it is a slow process to get it all right. I have the first two cities done in game, as well as the two first dungeons. The theme is fantasy of course, with a slight steampunk feel. Having my pre notes on climate of different colonies has helped a lot to streamline my tile choice and sprite design.
Skills and Spells
Bah, this is my next project and I am not looking forward to it. Creating spells is easy, and again my pre work has helped a lot. Balancing my casters with some skills on the melee side though has already put me in my place several times. I feel that the melee do need something to look forward to, but I also don’t want the equivilant of a melee meteor swarm.
Items, Weapons and Armor
One of my favorite things to do is create equipment. I think I have eighty percent of it done now. I’ll be sad when I’m done or someone mentions that too many choices are bad and I have to start editing. Tile set design for this was my favorite part.
Another great project that I am enjoying a lot. Monsters not only includes the design of the monster, but what regions of the map they are found on, how they group with other monsters, and how they react to the party based on the game. A little more then just making the right cute picture. I am fifteen monsters in, and have most of the hand written work on around eighty more.
There is a lot more, but I will get to that when I get to that. A lot of it can be done much closer to the end: Music, cut scenes, etc.