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Default Minotaurs & Unicorns - upcoming classic oldschool retro RPG

November 9th, 2012, 15:19
Hi, I'm an indie developer and I'm working on an RPG in the style of good old RPGs of the 90s era.

The basic premise is to bring back the fun from the time of Dungeon Master, Eye of The Beholder, Champions of Krynn, early Might & Magic, Wizardry, etc. Not as a remake, but let's say, as if these were still made today.

The core concept:
* old, classic, retro western style RPG
* first person perspective, 90 degree rotation
* pixelated and simple yet colourfull graphics
* not a remake, but an original game that follows the spirit of the old era RPGs
* no excessive fat that would get into the way of your fun






When the game will be ready? The answer is the same all lazy developers say, I don't know But I'm quite sure it will be finished much faster than a typical game of this kind (making games is my only source of income, so I can't procastrate too long you know). Definitely not years, months at most. I hope to release a demo in one month and finish it in 3 months. Right now it's 30% finished.


UPDATE:
Early alpha version http://www.silverlemur.com/minotaursandunicorns/ (only basic stuff works)
Last edited by Archibald; October 17th, 2013 at 19:52.
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November 9th, 2012, 16:07
Whee, those are BIG pixels! Ok, I don't wanna be mean, I am always happy for another indie. However, surprisingly enough, there is now quite a glut of similar style retro blob RPGs announced. What sets yours apart (apart form pixel size )?
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November 9th, 2012, 16:26
I have to agree about the pixels. I love old school rpgs but that is waaayyyy old school graphics.
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November 9th, 2012, 16:36
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
Whee, those are BIG pixels! Ok, I don't wanna be mean, I am always happy for another indie. However, surprisingly enough, there is now quite a glut of similar style retro blob RPGs announced. What sets yours apart (apart form pixel size )?

glut?

I can only think of 2 (Frayed Knights and the next Underworld)

Cleave's was of course announced over a decade ago.
And there was something on KS with 4 preset characters.
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November 9th, 2012, 16:45
postin' in a troll thread
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November 9th, 2012, 17:13
I'm pretty sure my current project is part of the glut. It's a shame when I started it in 2010 there was no glut. Now there's a glut. Sigh. Then again, more is better, right?

We love these kinds of games, and now we have more!
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November 9th, 2012, 18:01
Yours is much more defined than the above, EF. Keep up the good work. As Charles-cgr proved, there is a niche market for the truly oldstyle games.
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November 9th, 2012, 18:03
Big pixels - hmmm, that's a hard one. I thought you would like it more (actually, I artifically enlarged these pixels to make it look more pixelated)… I'm not sure I can change it now, the project is in a quite advanced stage… Plus, personally I like these graphics (I hope I'm not a lone weirdo with unusual taste no one shares ).

Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
However, surprisingly enough, there is now quite a glut of similar style retro blob RPGs announced. What sets yours apart (apart form pixel size )?
Well, I was looking around and there is only one game (Legend of Grimrock) that is "similar" (and that's saying with a big stretch of the word similar). I was unable to find any other finished and released game in first person perspective and 90 degree rotation.
As for announced games, there is a total difference between "announced" and "finished". To my experience as a developer far less than 1% of projects are actually finished, so I will worry about those when I see a playable demo at the very least


But to be more specific about my game:

- it's turn based (monsters wait quietly when you go to make tea or something) while combat is still very fast (probably faster than average realtime combat). Which is quite rare (and nice in my opinion) combination. That's one of the core design decisions.

- it will have rather non linear feel. You can visit places in quite free order (as long as you can survive the encounter with monsters there, but there are not many artificial obstacles (like keys)). To make it clear, it's not one of these "huge empty worlds where in theory you can do everything but in practice it's empty and boring", the world will be compact, not too big but feature rich.

- it won't be too long (in terms of lenght of play). I know some will see it as a negative trait, but my goal is to make it so people who work and have not too much time can enjoy (and finish) it too. I strive it to be "a good trade of your time to fun" not "the longest game possible". Or to put it other way, I would rather have players say it was too short and wished it was longer that to say it was too long and they are fed up with it.

- it will be a consistent game. You know there are games with incompatible things, mixing genres, different quality and style of graphics, etc. For that one I want all aspects of it to be all from the same toy box.

- no innovation for the sake of innovation. There is this common disease among developers, they make a game and they think how to make it "original" and think about it so hard that they end up with some completely random features that not fit and break the game. I'm not one of these developers. If I can invent some unique cool mechanic for it, I will include it, if I can't and everyone will shout it's nothing new here I can live with it. All I care about is if the game is fun or not. Every single thing I put in this game is filtered by "will it be fun to my players?". I feel very strongly about it.
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November 9th, 2012, 20:30
Thanks for the info! I'll admit the giant pixels have a certain charm, but I am not so much into the vintage look than others.
Glut is maybe saying too much, but it started with Undercroft on my IPhone, then there is Underworld and it's announced sequel. Grimrock of course. Just recently Aaimie unfortunately failed it's Kickstarter. Forge of Legends. And, yes, there is (maybe) Grimoire. THen we have the locals: Lucky Day's Wizard war and whatever DArtagnan is working on. I think I may have missed one or two…
All have their differences of course, and I wouldn't even count Frayed Knights due to its non-grid movement.
Not saying its a bad thing, but there is enough choice that most of us are probably not going to play all of these. You are right of course, "released""beats "announced" any day.
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November 9th, 2012, 21:21
The more the merrier I say. Glad to see another classic western-style 1st person RPG coming our way!

I don't mind the big chunky pixels but if I may offer some critique - I think the use of those pixels could use some refinement. For example some of the button icons on the right are barely readable - I think there is an hourglass and maybe a save disk icon there but I'm not sure. If these are just placeholder images then disregard my comment.

Other than that issue the game sounds intriguing to me. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.
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November 10th, 2012, 06:14
It looks UGLY. Sorry, but Charles brought out version 1 of SSU last year and people refused to even try it since it too was ugly. Now he's made it MUCH more attractive and probably more marketable. Do yourself a favour and check out his updated version SSU-Gold and see what a little extra effort can do!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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November 11th, 2012, 22:35
Originally Posted by Myrkrel View Post
I don't mind the big chunky pixels but if I may offer some critique - I think the use of those pixels could use some refinement. For example some of the button icons on the right are barely readable - I think there is an hourglass and maybe a save disk icon there but I'm not sure. If these are just placeholder images then disregard my comment.
Yes, these menu icons are placeholders (portraits are placeholders too, the rest is either final or nearly final). Thanks for the feedback, it helps me to understand which parts of the game needs more love and attention from me

I was thinking about the graphics, and I decided to keep the overall style of big pixels (I will try to polish the actual graphics and colours, but no change to the pixels size). To be honest, I kind of like that graphics style (big, colourful), I guess not everyone shares my taste here, but I hope the rest of the game will be good enough to lure some of the peole who are not fans of this graphics style
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November 12th, 2012, 00:25
Originally Posted by Archibald View Post
I was thinking about the graphics, and I decided to keep the overall style of big pixels (I will try to polish the actual graphics and colours, but no change to the pixels size). To be honest, I kind of like that graphics style (big, colourful), I guess not everyone shares my taste here, but I hope the rest of the game will be good enough to lure some of the peole who are not fans of this graphics style
For me, good gameplay takes priority over pretty graphics. I guess growing up with horrendous CGA PC graphics of the 80s made me very tolerant. Anyway, Minecraft has proven that chunky, pixelated graphics can exist in a popular game if the gameplay is fun enough. The key is consistency of the art style, and using those few pixels to their full potential.

Have you by any chance been to the TIGSource forums? TIGSource = The Independant Gaming Source, a community site for indie game developers. I mention it because they tend to be receptive to retro-style pixel art like this. The Creative / Art subforums might offer some useful critique. I always find it inspiring to browse through there and see what people are working on.
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November 12th, 2012, 00:50
[QUOTE=GhanBuriGhan;1061170251 I think I may have missed one or two…[/QUOTE]

QuestLord's game applicably named Questlord.

GBG, I wouldn't call mine lo-res but it is definitely oldskool 2D and turn based. The images are rendered - I did roughly 100 for the maze alone. Originally the walls were lo-res but I upgraded them to a long time ago.

Arch - I think the graphics are quite charming. Its like if the Atari 2600 had a decent amount of memory to work with.

I'm glad you clarified the resolution was by design. After working with mine I couldn't see why there was a "glut" of these games coming out seeing as every modern smart phone and tablet I know can handle photo realism.

You do have the benefit of working in lower-res devices by doing it that way. I had thought about making mine compatible to 11 of the last 12% I am currently not be using my old lo-res walls strictly for those devices.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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November 12th, 2012, 06:02
Oh I wasn't considering resolution in my list, just the general style of grid-movement, party-based RPGs. Grimrock is quite HiRes, e.g.
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November 12th, 2012, 10:54
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
It looks UGLY. Sorry, but Charles brought out version 1 of SSU last year and people refused to even try it since it too was ugly. Now he's made it MUCH more attractive and probably more marketable. Do yourself a favour and check out his updated version SSU-Gold and see what a little extra effort can do!!
What does SSU stand for? Couldn't find it on the Google.


Originally Posted by Myrkrel View Post
For me, good gameplay takes priority over pretty graphics. I guess growing up with horrendous CGA PC graphics of the 80s made me very tolerant. .
I feel the same, but those are some really big pixels! I'd certainly be willing to try a demo, but I think the art might be distracting. Or who knows, maybe you get used to it after a while.
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November 12th, 2012, 11:25
SSU is Swords and Sorcery:Underworld!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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November 12th, 2012, 11:52
Originally Posted by Myrkrel View Post
Have you by any chance been to the TIGSource forums?
Unfortunatelly, yes They were great fans of this graphic style, which kind of made me assume others will love it too. Oh well, too late now, there is no choice for you to learn to like it too I guess

GBG, I wouldn't call mine lo-res but it is definitely oldskool 2D and turn based. The images are rendered - I did roughly 100 for the maze alone. Originally the walls were lo-res but I upgraded them to a long time ago.
Prerendered… I did it in the past, it was horror, that's why I switched to 3D. But since 3D nowadays is too detailed and makes it feel modern I had to counter it somehow and thought of using these big pixels. These big pixels distact people enough to not make them notice too perfect lighting
With prerendered it easier to achieve the old school feel, but still this horror… Do you have a script in 3DSmax to prerender all these?

I feel the same, but those are some really big pixels! I'd certainly be willing to try a demo, but I think the art might be distracting. Or who knows, maybe you get used to it after a while.
Strange, I thought that after Minecraft people would not find this kind of art style unusual…
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November 12th, 2012, 21:25
Originally Posted by Archibald View Post
Unfortunatelly, yes They were great fans of this graphic style, which kind of made me assume others will love it too. Oh well, too late now, there is no choice for you to learn to like it too I guess
Not sure if I was clear or not - but personally, I like the pixel style! Remember though, there's no way to please everyone. This site is just a small set of possible players of your game. Make the game you want to make, in the style you enjoy - or it will be hard to find the motivation to finish making it.
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November 14th, 2012, 01:36
The pixel style does give your game a distinct personality, but it might also scare away some people. I for one don't think it looks bad, in fact, I find it better if indies keep their games intentionally low-res and "simple" looking instead of trying to make something that looks more "modern", as it far too often results in a game that looks far worse.
And there was a comparison with Underworld earlier in this thread. I actually think that this looks better, in a way. Underworld just looks "incoherent", if that makes any sense (don't get me wrong, Underworld still looks like a fun game, and I fully intend to play it in a near future, but it is not a looker).
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