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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Himeko Sutori, 100+ unique characters in your army, all fighting at once

Default Himeko Sutori, tactical turn-based JRPG with massive battles

June 25th, 2015, 00:54
Hi everyone. I'm returning from my long silence now. The last time I was here I was announcing my game too early, but at least I think I gave a good interview: http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=27621

I'm slowly inching my way toward what I think will be a successful Kickstarter. I've learned that unless you invented Castlevania, you pretty much have to build your entire game first, then get it funded. I'm entirely self-funded for now, but it would be nice to get some backers at some point.

Well, here's what I've been working on:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izhw3qBrEhU

That's an older video, with poor lighting and old artwork, but that's an early gameplay example. Since then I've been adding more sprites:


More characters:


And I've been building new terrain types:





I'm keeping up a blog that gives some insight into what goes into the game:



And I've been adding lots of intricate gameplay changes that aren't quite ready to show off yet.

I'm not ready to announce a Kickstarter and ask for your money. I'm just here to show you what I've been up to, ask for your advice, and maybe share my experience with you and help you on the way to finishing your own games.

And now I guess I should tell you what my game is about:

Himeko Sutori is an epic tale, and a chance to tell your own with the included campaign builder, told in traditional grand tactical JRPG fashion, similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and Ogre Battle. But unlike the tactical RPGs of old, there is no more picking your top eight warriors for battle. Himeko Sutori puts you in command of an army of over 100 characters, each one a unique hero.

So there it is. I hope you like it. I'd love to hear any feedback you have.

More info:
http://himekosutori.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Himek…27806327359425
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile…/?id=385717966
https://twitter.com/HimekoSutori
Last edited by Nathaniel3W; July 31st, 2015 at 22:19.
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June 25th, 2015, 00:59
Not sure how a team of 100 should work (there is TLR that allows you to control about 20 of total in five groups), but count me interested.
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June 25th, 2015, 01:13
I'm glad to hear you're interested!

Yeah, with over 100 characters in your army, you can't control them one-at-a-time in a turn-based battle. That would take years. Instead, I take the Ogre Battle approach where you organize squads, control your characters at the squad level, and then each character takes actions based on his or her class. In a new gameplay invention for Himeko Sutori, your characters also go through a list of learned reactions that could be counterattacks, healing, buffs, or debuffs, when the enemy attacks.

Also, no one wants to follow the backstories of 100 different characters (and I don't want to write them), so the characters are unique the way your XCOM soldiers are unique: They have unique names, their own equipment, you level them up individually, you get attached to them over the course of the game, and you regret their deaths, but all of them did start life as a randomly generated rookie.
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June 25th, 2015, 02:48
Originally Posted by Nathaniel3W View Post
I'm glad to hear you're interested!

Yeah, with over 100 characters in your army, you can't control them one-at-a-time in a turn-based battle. That would take years. Instead, I take the Ogre Battle approach where you organize squads, control your characters at the squad level, and then each character takes actions based on his or her class. In a new gameplay invention for Himeko Sutori, your characters also go through a list of learned reactions that could be counterattacks, healing, buffs, or debuffs, when the enemy attacks.

Also, no one wants to follow the backstories of 100 different characters (and I don't want to write them), so the characters are unique the way your XCOM soldiers are unique: They have unique names, their own equipment, you level them up individually, you get attached to them over the course of the game, and you regret their deaths, but all of them did start life as a randomly generated rookie.
Oh, I played SNES Ogre Battle. Great game indeed! I wish you best of luck! I'm eager to see your game released!
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June 25th, 2015, 03:00
Thanks very much Henrique. I actually played Ogre Battle 64 first, and then I started Ogre Battle March of the Black Queen on Playstation, not knowing that it was older. At first I was put off by it, wishing for more Ogre Battle 64. But the more I got into it, the more I appreciated how much they had accomplished on such a primitive console.

I'm glad to hear that you're interested, and I really hope I can expand on that Ogre Battle experience for you.
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July 30th, 2015, 13:17
Hi everyone. Just a quick update here that I wanted to show off:


I'm completely rebuilding the combat engine. Mostly right now the difference that you'll see between this and the stuff I posted 6 months ago is the sprite variety and particle effects. But under the hood, there's a lot more going on: actions determined by character class; hit, crit, and damage calculations based on attributes, skills, elements, and equipment; defensive bonuses for holding position; one "default action" per round, whether it's on your turn or the enemy's turn; and spaces in the code to allow for reactions and missile attacks.

I'm hoping to have a new video up soon showing off all of the changes.

Edit: I just now realized how much more powerful the magical attacks are than the other attacks. The magic wand weapons that the mages have equipped actually have a much lower attack power than the swords. But everyone also has much lower magical defense. I think I'm going to have to try to balance that out better. My wish was for AoE attacks to do less damage per target than a melee attack, but to do more damage overall when there are four or more targets. It feels good to be at a stage in development where I'm thinking more about game balance than game features.
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Default New Screenshots

August 23rd, 2015, 04:47
I took the last couple of weeks off to study for the GMAT, but with that behind me, I'm back to work on Himeko Sutori. I'm working on a new combat demo level that's going to incorporate a lot of new features: victory conditions, mid-battle dialog, ranged attacks, and all of the nifty visual improvements I've been accumulating.



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October 9th, 2015, 23:10
Hi everyone. Thanks for all of your advice and input. I'm starting up an emailing list for when I'm ready to relaunch the Kickstarter. You can join the list here. I think I'll shoot for a Kickstarter relaunch in spring 2016.

For now, I'm working on ranged attacks, which will add a lot of depth to the combat:


I'm still working on the game with all of my free time. More details on what I've been doing over at my latest blog post. Maybe next year I'll have something ready for you to try out. Thanks again for all of your help.
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October 10th, 2015, 03:59
While I would say that this looks OK. Why is ALL of the world in such relatively "nice" gfx while the characters are crappy cell shaded pseudo japanime?
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October 10th, 2015, 15:11
Hi cutterjohn. I got started on this game wanting to make something similar to Final Fantasy Tactics and Ogre Battle 64. Those games featured 2D sprite characters in a 3D game world, so that's what I wanted to do too. There were no game engines out there that offered a ready solution. I had to do a lot of work modifying UDK to work with 2D characters, and it was a fun and interesting exercise.

Also, I'm going to be offering a campaign builder that will allow everyone to make their own characters, their own weapons, their own armor, and their own enemies. Drawing a spritesheet is a lot more accessible to more people than 3D modeling. I think that sprite characters will offer something new, fun, and relatively easy for people wanting to make their own campaigns.

And beyond that, if you really feel that the characters look crappy, then you're free to feel that way, and you're free to not buy the game. But I think that there's a very large community built up around RPG Maker, and they're OK with 2D sprites, and they would be interested in using the resources they already have to build something more complicated and more robust than what they can do with other game engines.

In short, I went with the sprite characters because that's what I wanted to do, that's what I wanted the game to look like, and I have a target audience that I hope will really like it.

That being said, I know that I've had a challenge trying to unite the visual style. I added a Sobel edge detection filter in post-process (which is a technique often used with, but is totally separate from cel shading) to try to unite the 2D and 3D elements visually. I've heard some people say they like it, and some people say they don't.

Maybe when I have the demo ready next year, you'll give it a try, and you'll want to make your own campaign, and you'll think the sprites really aren't so bad.

Thanks for your comments.
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October 14th, 2015, 05:11
New dev build gameplay video up at https://youtu.be/5YjFra6FVtA.



You can see new character classes, ranged attacks, some bugs I need to fix, and lots of game balancing that needs to happen. In the video, you'll see the rogue who targets the weakest enemy in the squad. The ranger can launch ranged attacks without fear of melee counterattack, but ranged units and casters take 1.5x damage in melee combat. Also, knights who have high defense, mages who have an AOE attack, and clerics who will heal the most wounded ally. You'll be able to make specialized or well rounded squads and play however you like. Next up I need to make the barbarian, who will target the strongest enemy and deal extra damage.
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November 7th, 2015, 15:36
A frequent complaint has been that the difference between the 2D and 3D art is too jarring, so I've been trying to tie the look of the game together with pixellated, cubey, saturated backgrounds. Also, terrain height is working as intended, with the foundation laid for terrain height bonuses and flying units:



A couple other screenshots up at http://himekosutori.com/?p=427. Also, if anyone is interested in backing, you can sign here up for a reminder email when the Kickstarter campaign goes live. I promise I won't spam you, just send you an email when the Kickstarter starts, and one more reminder before the Kickstarter ends.
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December 27th, 2015, 22:08




Development still ongoing. The squad menu is mostly completed. I made some animated .gifs to show off what I've been up to. I'm hoping to relaunch the Kickstarter in early 2016. I think I'm almost ready. Details at http://himekosutori.com/?p=472. Kickstarter reminder opt-in at http://himekosutori.com/?page_id=362. No pressure, but Kickstarter pledges from the community will definitely help get Himeko Sutori released. Thanks everyone for taking a look!
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