Update 1, 12/11/2017
I wanted to write here for those who are following/watching this project and provide an update!
First off, thank you for playing and for those of you who provided feedback (on itch.io or otherwise). I went into this contest as a way to get started on game making, and even though I only had a little over two weeks the contest deadline helped me keep focused and get something in (and helped me learn how to use RPGMaker and plugins). I never expected to have anyone aside from the judges play the game, and although I'm not unhappy about what I submitted, it's a far, far cry from what I was intending to submit (originally I would have had the full 4-5 weeks for the contest), so I intentionally have been avoiding any promoting of this version.
However, looking at statistics, despite the large file download (I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it - but I'll be addressing this for any future posts) I know there're a good number of you who might be interested in an update on what's to come, so here it is!:
- The scope of this project has changed. This was originally meant to be a small (~1 hour) just-for-fun project to show a bit of the story for a potentially larger game and show a few of the features (like conversation system, affinity system, and skill morph system). I did intend to extend it to 3 hours, but I have since decided to extend this to a 'full' game that will span roughly 9-10 hours (and, depending on reception, I have enough story to continue and make a sequel). This story actually interweaves with another story which I intended to be the first 'real' project I do, but I've fallen in love with the characters as I've written out more of the story, so am happy to detour and get this story expanded and polished.
- I have fixed quite a few last-minute bugs. Polish and play-testing is exceptionally important to me (I come from a QA background, actually!). I actually play-tested the game a few dozen times (and specific parts even more times), but as many of the experienced Devs will tell you, a majority of the bugs come from last-minute implementations, which is what happened for me (I had 2-3 typos along with a couple tiles that allowed the player to walk through boundaries - the latter was due to my misunderstanding about tiling and pass-through inheritance in the engine). There were a few other minor glitches as well which have been resolved. If I decide to do more public updates, I'll be providing full patch notes on fixes/changes/etc.
- I've re-worked the battle UI entirely and hand-made a vast majority of the new UI. The new UI is based off modern-day RPG in regards to how compact it is, and I've made adjustments so it's not only far better looking, but also more functional (being able to see everything at-a-glance, including allowing multiple conditions/status effects to be displayed simultaneously).
- I've re-worked dialogue (again) to be warmer and more natural, and expanded a few things while cut a few others for pacing.
- Crafting is now implemented, along with a semi-random loot system that rewards exploration.
- I did a new round of skill balancing - the last round should have been fine (I literally played through the combat a few dozen times to test various combinations of skill morphs together to make sure the challenge fight was doable), but I adjusted the combat to flow a little better (slightly faster) and skill descriptions to highlight details like damage, speed of the skill, etc. so players can make more informed decisions when purchasing upgrades.
- I'm working with my talented artist on a whole new set of illustrations, including replacing battlers completely with custom-made assets/animations.
- The story as provided in this alpha/beta version for the contest is vastly expanded (and my original intention was to have the story played out over 2-3 hours anyways). I actually already had additional content that I simply cut for the contest submission (I erred on the side of less content rather than content I only tested 2-3 times), so I've restored that (I actually had the main floor of the Academy already fully mapped, as an example, along with a puzzle based on a Haiku). I'm still implementing more of the content, but there is a lot more gameplay that will be available.
- There's actually a lot more fun stuff coming (or done), but I'll keep that as a surprise :)
I haven't decided on exactly how much I'll update in terms of uploads here on itch.io since I'm aiming to making this good enough to go commercial (which, in turn, will allow me to invest even more to make even better games) - but I wanted to provide this devlog update for those who tried the game and thought it had potential. For those of you who support the game and want to see it go further: Thank you.
Please know that I honestly consider the version listed here is nothing compared to the version I am now working towards releasing - not to say I'm not somewhat happy of what was doable in such a short period of time (and as a total noob at that), but that I chose to get into game making to create something players will truly love, so I have set an extremely high bar :)
Anyways, thank you very much!
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