Towards The Pantheon Devlog #14: Night Skies And Snowfalls

It’s time for Towards The Pantheon‘s 14th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.towardsthepantheon.com/index.php/development-history/.

Let’s start with pixel art. Leandro has been hard at work and has uploaded 3 new speed pixel art videos since our last devlog:

The night sky tiles were particularly important as they will be helpful during character development sequences. Campfire sequences in RPGs have become a bit cliche since Chrono Trigger, but the general idea for having them actually came from an optional section of the Gameboy Color version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When you reach the top of Hogwarts, you can choose to look at the night sky through a large telescope. I remember finding that really cool as a kid, and hope that people will enjoy our night sky sequences as well.

Leandro has also been working on new NPC portraits, enemy sprites, item sprites, and more that we will be showing off in future videos! You can find more of his work at https://tokartsmedia.com/ !

On the gameplay side of things, I’ve been building more levels for Chapter 1 as well as fixing up and optimizing general code. You can now fully play through about half of Chapter 1 with all gameplay mechanics working properly. Here is an animated screenshot of a later part of the game using the night sky artwork seen in Leandro’s video above, and another screenshot of the autumn forest area in Chapter 1.

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I’ve also been working on all the stats needed for the battle system – how much health each enemy should have, which enemies should spawn in which areas, how much certain attacks deal to certain enemies, etc! It’s challenging and I imagine there will be a lot of balancing going on when all the levels of the game are closer to completion. We’re going for more of a Paper Mario 64 and Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars style of gameplay and general difficulty as far as battle style goes, as well as that exciting feeling from not knowing what to expect when adventuring and exploring.

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There is no news as far as audio goes as audio development is currently on hold until more levels are completed for the game. You can still check out our current soundtrack demos on Soundcloud though! The “Cats Love Snow” track might get you into that RPG winter holiday spirit.

Leandro and I had an interesting conversation about realism in old school pixel art games. He pointed out that items such as sushi rolls in the overworld have to be unrealistically large so that the player can see them. When you compare the size of a sushi roll to Freyja in the overworld  it would be the equivalent of having a 3 foot tall sushi roll next to me in real life! While it may be unrealistic, it can also be charming and wacky. I pointed out that in some levels of Donkey Kong Country 2 you play as chimpanzees who ride carts made out of skulls during a carnival to collect bananas and jump on Kremlins. It makes no sense and the scenario is never really explained, but that’s part of what makes the Donkey Kong Country games fun! We plan to have elements like this in Towards The Pantheon that make the game goofy and entertaining, but they will be done appropriately. The ice region where the cats live will feature more of these goofy elements, while the survival horror inspired mansion section will be serious both thematically and visually. Speaking of Survival Horror, I had to put some cranks in the game. Can you hear the infamous *creak creak* sound in your head?

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Starting in 2017 I plan to start streaming more often. I’m generally a private person and don’t like to be the center of attention which is why I haven’t streamed during 2016 as much as I probably should have. I’ll be streaming programming, music, and level development of Towards The Pantheon as well as speedruns of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil Survivor and some casual gaming. First up for casual gaming will most likely be Donkey Kong Country 3 as I had never beaten it as a kid, and the DKC series have that fun and imaginative feeling I want to capture in Towards The Pantheon. I’ve got a big list of games ranging from those I’ve mastered to those I’ve never played, so hopefully you’ll join the stream so we can chat about games as well as which ones have influenced Towards The Pantheon and how! Follow my Twitch account so you get notifications as to when I go live. I will also announce when I’m going live on my personal and social media accounts. Links are at the bottom of this devlog.

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There may not be a new devlog throughout December as I will be pretty busy during the holiday season. That doesn’t mean I won’t be working on Towards The Pantheon and other projects – it just means I’d rather spend the time working directly on the game itself. We had our first snowfall of the season where I live, and I want to start working on Chapter 2 levels as soon as possible as that’s when you’ll meet Bam the cat and also where the comfy snow levels begin! This month I am also working on 2 new solo albums; a follow up to my piano/ambient album Reves and a Quake/Doom style instrumental metal album. Check out a current demo from that metal album here! This way I will be able to release new solo albums throughout 2017 while directing the majority of my focus to Towards The Pantheon. You an check out my previous musical work via my Bandcamp and Youtube pages if you want some music to tide you over until the release of Towards The Pantheon’s soundtrack!

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That’s it for this week’s devlog! If you enjoyed it please share it around and follow the project on social media, and if there are any topics about the game and its development that you’d like us to cover in a future devlog be sure to let us know!

Follow Towards The Pantheon on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Soundcloud, IndieDB, Twitch, Google+, Imgur, Pinterest

Follow Lead Developer Connor O.R.T. Linning on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitch, Bandcamp