It’s time for Towards The Pantheon’s 6th devlog! You can find previous ones at http://www.connorlinning.com/ttp.
I began working full time on the game 10 days ago and have been having a blast. I’ve been working on the turn based battle system, which will be the most complex chunk of scripting created for the game. Here is a gif showing the basic setup of the battle system, along with a few backgrounds and enemy designs:
There is clearly lots of polishing left to do, but my current focus is on getting the functionality down. I’ve decided to place the characters on the left side of the battle field similar to placement in Paper Mario. You can also see that each character has a unique subsystem that differs from the standard HP/MP systems in most RPGs. I will go into more detail about these subsystems in a future devlog. In the gif there are repeated enemies in each battle, but this is because we only have one completed enemy for each area as Leandro is focused on creating more important pixel art for the game. In the full game, you will be able to battle multiple enemy types at once and there will be multiple original enemies for each area, as well as boss battles.
I have finished basic attacks for each of the main characters and am now moving onto enemy attacks. Once that is completed, I will be working on healing spells and status ailments. I have been taking a lot of care in how I am scripting the battle system as unlike my work with my previous games Overlooker and Overlooker 2 (which were made in 22 and ~30 days respectively), I will be living with this code for the next year. I have also made sure to design it so that when a large chunk of code is written, it can be easily adapted for similar uses. For instance, after completing the code for a fireball attack shot from Mishima’s cybernetic arm, I was able to add a poison attack that Phenez can cast in under 5 minutes.
Leandro has also been working hard to create NPCs for each region of the game. Here’s a screenshot of some villagers in the first region of the game:
Maerel has also completed artwork for Mishima and is currently working on artwork for Bam and Phenez:
There are 4 new soundcloud Soundtrack demo tracks including “Sanity?”, “Thoughts By The Campfire”, “City Of Charcoal”, and “Stargazing”. Sanity? shows some experimentation trying to get a Silent Hill 1 sound that may be used in the Survival Horror influenced chapter of the game. Thoughts By The Campfire and Stargazing are drone / dark ambient experiments that may be used in portions of the game where the party is resting for the night and exchanging dialog. One of the most important story elements of the game for me is character development and there will be moments in the game where the player gets to listen in on conversations between the party members. There will be random bits of dialog the player can choose to read (similar to Fire Emblem) as well as scripted moments where the party sets up camp for the night and (hopefully) enjoy each others company. Some of my favorite late nights have been with my friends while listening to dark ambient and drone music by musicians like Akira Yamaoka, Fennesz, Ulver, etc and I want to create similar feelings in the player while playing Towards The Pantheon. City Of Charcoal is an experiment mixing chiptune VSTs, retro drum samples, and modern synths for a later area of the game. Looking back, I think the drum loop could certainly use some cymbals/hi-hats.
I am a huge fan of survival horror game soundtracks, and those often include elements of drone, dark ambient, and noise music. Most RPG games (especially those during the SNES and Genesis era due to hardware limitations) often have very orchestral and classical soundtracks. While I enjoy that kind of music, I am experimenting and trying different things for Towards The Pantheon’s soundtrack. A contention I’ve had with other soundtrack composers is that I find the trend for game soundtracks to move towards as realistic as possible orchestral sounds rather boring. I think part of what made the Resident Evil 3 soundtrack or the Mirkwood project by Austrian musicians Silenius & Protector so enjoyable is the fact that their orchestral patches sound synthesized. This gives the tone of their work some originality.
When you look at more extreme forms of electronic music, you can find some of the most original sounds possible as there is so much you can accomplish with modern synthesizers, whereas a violin is limited to sounding like a violin (unless of course you use plenty of effects afterwards, but then it might as well not be a violin anymore). I am trying to create some unique musical sounds for Towards The Pantheon that will match the plot, characters, and areas of the game. There will certainly be (synthesized) orchestral style sections, but I am trying to avoid that in favor of other genres I enjoy when possible. If you know of any 2D Pixel Art RPGs that have very unconventional soundtracks, please recommend them to me!
I have been working 10-12 hours a day on Towards The Pantheon and along with plenty of exercise, part of the schedule I have set for myself is taking time to sit back and watch movies, play video games, read books, and watch anime. This is to help avoid burn out throughout the year as well as to gain new inspiration for Towards The Pantheon. I’ve watched Evil Dead, The Exorcist, The Sixth Sense, and Halloween all for the first time and am halfway through reading Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. So far it seems that Metallica’s …And Justice For All is the album I am looping the most while working on the game along with Resident Evil and Silent Hill soundtracks, but I am also listening to lots of classical vinyl I have never heard before.
That’s it for this devlog! Livestreaming will begin at some point when I am working on parts of the game that do not take as much concentration as the battle system. This will be announced on the game’s social media pages, so be sure to follow for daily updates! Please help promote the game by sharing info about it on social media and with your friends. Thanks for reading!