Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Several Months Later...


I did that post once, and then die for months thing again.

Time to rectify that...with an update! So, where's SEM been since I posted the last update? Where have I been? Good questions, which I'm sure you haven't asked, but I will supply answers to anyway!

Starting with myself, I have been mostly scarce on the game development side of things for the last couple months of 2014 due to life in general. Mostly working real jobs, trying to find a stable source of income, and basically just 'living'. Which meant that my work on SEM slowed down to a crawl. Admittedly, now, I'm essentially working full time, so it's not like I actually have the chance to speed up SEM's development, but I am pushing beyond all odds to do so.

Now, on the SEM front, the move to Ace has pretty much gone swimmingly. Scene and conversation flow have been implemented perfectly, the symbol map system has been improved from Sacred Earth: Promise, and I've done a good amount of work on the game's initial story events. The game's first 'chapter' can basically be played from start to end. The entire game's story has been written down for the first time in SEM's history, giving me a clear plan and idea of how to proceed at all points. All character designs have been updated, finally consolidating everyone into the same sort of style.

What's left now though? ...Quite a bit unfortunately. The game's combat system has not been set up still, and a lot of mechanics simply do not exist, which will require commissioning. Character battle sprites need to be edited, or even flat out created from scratch. I need to design and implement a main menu and sub menus, and of course, I need to create all of the story events from chapter 2 onward.

It's too much work for one man, frankly. And even though I've pruned this game down to the most manageable chunks I can over the years, SEM still manages to be a towering beast to the lone individual. There have been times where I considered giving in to the allure of crowdfunding and running a kickstarter, but...I quickly realize that's a dumb idea. And so I keep on the straight road, plodding towards the distance.

Thankfully I have friends helping me out. Of which I am eternally grateful for(And entirely unworthy), but nonetheless, I suppose that's enough rambling. Let's have some visual proof that I haven't been slacking off!

Conversation in town

                                     Current Symbol Map design

Character Concepts

And that's all for now. I'll try and update this more regularly, and keep a proper development schedule all around, but...when has that ever happened?

Anyway, till next time!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jumping Ship

I thought long and hard about this. Over the course of about two weeks. Weighing the pros and the cons. I thought long and hard about what I want to do, and how I can best do it. And at the end of the day, I came to a single conclusion, after hours of seemingly endless back and forth with myself.

If I want SEM to truly have a future; it can't be on RM2k3.

That said, I've decided to make the jump to VX Ace. Using Promise as a base, I'll transfer my work on SEM to the engine. This wasn't a decision I made lightly. I really loved the work I did on the 2k3 version of SEM. The battle system in particular was my magnum opus. It was the one thing I could always be proud of. And the main reason why I refused to jump to VX Ace till now was the fact that I knew that I could never replicate the SEM battle system in the engine 1:1. I mean, sure it CAN be reproduced. But I don't have the knowledge to do it. And that always kept me away. I didn't want to throw away my work for something ultimately inferior.

But in the end, I came to the final thought that my wanting to preserve the integrity of SEM's gameplay mechanics was the exact thing that was keeping SEM from going better places. So I finally made the decision to move. I still feel bad about the fact that I won't be able to replicate it 100%, but at this point, it's better to just make a game. And make a game people can actually play. So I'm cautiously willing to let the whole mechanics issue slide in favor of Ace's overall greater features...and ability to work on recent OSes.

And as a strike against RM2k3, the sheer lag present in the engine turned me off from working in it any longer. Like I said previously, that can NOT be fixed. And I am not going to wait for it to be fixed. My motivation to work on SEM was dead for nearly half a year because of 2k3. It's time to move on.

Besides, who knows? Maybe I can learn to script(Ha ha), or otherwise get the things left behind in the 2k3 version done sometime down the line? But for now, it's time to just make the damn thing.

So all that said, where does that leave me now? Back to the starting point of converting resources into HD for Ace. Thankfully with SEP, a lot of resources were already converted. So that only leaves a few characters who weren't featured in the game to be transferred over. And then from there, it's tinkering with the battle system to address concerns expressed with SEP previously, as well as implement new additions to the system. And then the big one...those damn menus. Now I can't script, and my mechanics are too personal for any random menu script, so I will be eventing again. Thankfully working on SEP has shown me that eventing is still viable. I was worried about picture count, but it seems that Ace has a 100 picture count. So no worries there either.

Anywho, that's all from me. I'll leave the 2k3 version download up because why the hell not? In the meantime, I'll be working on the Ace version. Have a preliminary design of the main menu in parting.