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Author Topic: I'm Gonna Share Some Things  (Read 762 times)


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I'm Gonna Share Some Things
« on: December 10, 2018, 09:23:05 pm »

Hi guys. First of all, this is my favorite community maybe anywhere. I've been off and on, mostly lurking haha, for a very long time. It's dwindled down now to a poking in on the front page and checking out what Toady has been up to every once in a while, and occasionally I'll think about all the good times I could have had sharing and creating with you guys when I was younger and less troubled. I guess I'm just not super consistent. But I've been trying really hard to change that, boiling down a lot of what I know to try to make a game with a piece of software called Game Maker Studio 2. A lot of you have probably heard of it, the software spawned that super-famous Undertale not so long ago. It's a pretty good tool for beginners, I think, and I've gotten way farther into understanding coding concepts than I have in any other environment. It kind of dangles the carrot as it were, since a lot of concepts are pretty simple to implement.

Uh, I just quit my job. Haphazardly, with no plan and only one interview in my back pocket. I've got enough money to keep me going for a month. That's not me soliciting, that's not me asking for sympathy. I did that to myself. But I'm sharing it because I also wanted to share why, and in turn why I think communities like this one are so important. I hated my job more than most people hate their jobs. And looking back I was pretty consumed with hating every job I've ever had. All of that's my fault too. I lacked a lot of short term drive, or maybe it's something like ADHD that's going on in my head. It's hard to keep on one task, I want to do so much! But there are methods for circumnavigating that and I was not responsible enough to figure it all out. And yet despite all that I still find myself telling everyone I meet about all the things I'm trying to do, and about games that deserve the attention like Dwarf Fortress.

And man, nobody really wants to listen, I don't think. It kind of sucks, you know? I get it, but it sucks, because I think that this kind of stuff is the most inspiring, amazing, wacky, and heartfelt stuff I've ever seen come from one man's fingertips and two mens' noggins. And he survives on the charity of his community alone. To me, THAT is what life's about. Not working menial jobs, sucking up or playing by anybody else's rules. I mean, not to sound ridiculous, I donít mind good rules of course. But I know he only got there by really trying his hardest to capture his vision -- just like anyone else who creates and is successful at it. And I need to work harder on trying to figure out how to get myself there, with the right skill sets and the right mindset.

Anyway, that's why life's kind of brought me back here. I think I'm going to be okay. But for now I think what's most important is that I get out there and start talking with some people who might appreciate what I have to offer. And like I said, I'm all over the place sometimes, so it's not toooo much haha. But it is mine!

So, anyway, let me start yapping about the cool stuff. My goal is to create an EPIC FANTASY ADVENTUREô. And I want to do it in more a series of games than in just one, so I can explore a lot of different gameplay concepts and play around with things. But, baby steps, of course. I take a lot of inspiration from teams like the original Interplay boys, the better parts of Bethesda games (and have a particular thing for Michael Kirkbride's art and story work), and, yes you guessed it, Dwarf Fortress. The main focus is player freedom. Well, that's what everyone seems to say, but I mean it as not something that's just handed to you right out the gate, but as in something you can see and might eventually obtain. As soon as you jump out of the tutorial area the plan is to let you go anywhere. It's going to take a tremendous amount of forethought in the balancing department, so as its not frustrating, but there will be plenty that you just can't do until you either a) understand the game better or b) have explored and experienced enough for the challenges to be feasible. Yes, that means walking right up to the big bad the minute you escape tutorial island (watch out I have a lot of lame jokes). So, to make it concise, let's refer to this as "Caged Freedom (also ô)." The world being the cage, the input and ability to express oneís desires in game being your freedom. Your one goal in any of these games is really to unlock that cage.

So that's the fundamental concept. But really the meat and bones of the whole thing is what the world and characters are like. To coin the entire collection of stories, we will call it the SKHUL BUCKO UNIVERSE. Now that name actually refers to one specific character. Skhul Bucko. Skhul is sort of the pseudo-main character. I don't think I'll necessarily let you play as him (unless the time is right), but Skhul represents that already obtained freedom. He does whatever he wants. He says whatever he wants. And nobody can get in his way, and heck dude, nobody really wants to. They might think they do though. Skhul is at the root of every story in this universe and he's just one normal guy who happened to swipe the inter-dimensional goggle-thing prototype from the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful members of the insane alchemist trio known as the Triad-sra.

Okay I might have lost you there. Suffice to say, the Triad are basically demigods, who have obtained a sort of "mortal perfection" through chemical/elemental reactions, study, and discipline. They are granted visions from the other dimensions, and they call these visions Inner Destiny, and they never ever stray from it -- which is why they are so powerful and CAN do so much, and yet they don't. More on that later! Anyway, Skhul has made some serious enemies by swiping these goggles and parading around like an irresponsible maniac, though not necessarily from the Triad. It's the people who follow the Triad that want Skhul dead. Which... well, it's most of the world at this point. Rough, huh?

The world itself is called Sin-sra, the Planet Black. It's pretty broke. The land has, since long ago, turned a grey to black gradient and the dead plains stretch for miles. Remnants of a million civilizations with a million equally broken voices dot that landscape and give the player plenty of opportunity to explore and learn. Learning in these games is intended to be crucial, as that was something I thought was particularly satisfying about games like Morrowind. You really have to come to understand a lot of the lore and culture presented throughout the course of the game to be as effective as possible. The art style pretty accurately represents this whole decay concept, as most of the mock-up sprite work I've done is in simple white outlines with black filling. A lot of the environmental artwork, when I get to it, will probably be varying shades of grey.

But thereís still plenty of life on the old spinny ball. Cult City is the prime example; a sprawling metropolis that runs rampant with conflicting opinion, disease, and technology too advanced for the populace to fully embrace. Could you imagine such a place? And at its center sits Triad Tower, home to, of course, the almighty Triad-sra. Cult City is primarily three sectors representing followers to each member of the Triad, and Gotwa forbid you ever get these people together. Weíre talking full blown riots, panic in the streets, the whole nine-yards. Itís a nightmare! And the people know it, but maybe just donít do anything about it because theyíre waiting for the Triad to. I havenít fully fleshed out a lot of what I want those sectors to be or feel like, but weíre getting there.

The Mommazowa Tribe is another good example. Theyíre nomadic as all get-out, and you can find tribe encampments sprung up all over the place! Thankfully for Skhul, and people like the characters you might command, they donít follow the Triad. They follow Gotwa, She Who Sees. Did she gotcha? Well she might have, considering the Mommazowa believe that she is the birth of all things. As such, she is not necessarily just a being but also an event andÖ well everything else. Of course any good Mommazowa elder will tell you tales of the sightings theyíve had of a pristine, glowing visage and all the good-will and fortune she has spread in her talks with the tribesmen. In factÖ they might talk about it too much. The Mommazowa are also obsessed with their riches and possessions, though they are not bad people by any means. They just believe in personal growth and a drive to obtain enough to lead comfortable lives. Which is fine. Right?

Then, far removed from Cult City, the old Portmanue series of sentient robots have banded together to build deep underground and form a life separate from the hatred represented by the humanoid races above. They will often venture out to scavenge from old ruins, trying to find replacements for various limbs or important internal components, as the art of true manufacturing was intentionally left out of their programming. Sadly, as much as they want to be left out of the conflicts outside their humble homes, they can never truly escape the war that plagues their surroundings. As such, they have slowly become adept at combat, and are truly a forced to be reckoned with if you decide to make them your enemies!

There are also the Luvinot Circle of Druids. The Luvinot are sort of how Konkwei, one of the members of the Triad was born. Really theyíre in the same circle of learning -- alchemy based on nature and its beasts. A lot of the nightmare amalgamations roaming Sin-sra were created by the Luvinot, at some point in their long history. They tend to do a lot of experimentation with adapting themselves genetically and applying various animal appendages to themselves. Spooky! But, they do this because they believe it brings them closer to the outer dimensions, and that the genetic code is the one secret needed to unlock boundless passage through time and space. They just have to get it right once, so by golly theyíre going to keep trying! No matter what it takes. The Luvinot are also incredibly secretive, apparently. I wonder if youíll be able to make contact?

So, hopefully Iíll come up with some other cool concepts for the people you might meet soon, but thatís what Iíve got for now. But now we get to some of the cooler stuff! The Triad themselves! Neat! Iíve done some concept art for the three, though nothing is set in stone of course. In particular, I think Jarvaa is going to need some sort of full body plate suit to make him feel more imperialÖ or regal, uh, because thatís kind of his thing.

So anyway, without further ado, I present Jarvaa, the General!  (Also sorry if google drive links aren't appropriate, just let me know and I'll swap it up.)

I know itís kind of rough still. Like I said heís probably getting a whole redesign, but the mask definitely stays. Jarvaa is the ďstrongestĒ of the Triad, (though all of them own supernatural strength) typically depicted as tossing mountains and crushing armies. However, he is also the most charismatic of the three, owning most of the personal appearances representing the whole of the Triadís will and a lot of the army and societal management stuff. People crush pretty hard on Jarvaa, though heís not much a ladyís man considering he towers over nearly all of them. Now all of the Triad are renowned alchemists, but each most closely represents one of the main elements (more on that later) and each has a source for that alchemical work. Alchemy is intended to be a bit more abstract in this world, anyway, more closely connected to the elemental structure of things. Jarvaa likes to get his alchemical reagents from only the most stalwart and hardy of individuals, valuing hard work and perseverance above all else. Of course, he lets them come to him of their own volition. Typically youíll find his concoctions majoring in physical aesthetic, but also on intense physical strength and durability. He is the reason the Triad stands so tall, after all!

Next up is Konkwei, the Druid!

Oh yeah, heís a looker. And those eyes! My brand! Konkwei has the structure of some shriveled old gentleman up to the neck, where his genetics morph his head and face into a rocky, sickly substance that protects the valuable brain inside. Delicious. In some parts of the world he is also known as the Beast of a Thousand Eyes, because they often times do bob around and in a million different shapes and textures. Most people think theyíre hallucinating when they see them, in fact, because they have a way of always holding your gazeÖ no matter how many people are in the roomÖ or if you try to look away or close your eyes. Itís almost too spooky, man. Another cool thing to note is a set of sick black raven-like wings sprouting from his back and, once I seriously sit down and finalize the design, an open chest cavity exposing a small glimpse into all the genetic code compiled within this immaculate monstrosity. Neato! Of course, like his Luvinot ďbrethren,Ē Konkwei experiments with and on nature and its creations, favoring the souls of plants and animals for his alchemy reagents. He has strict beliefs on natural cycles and enjoys nomadic interpretations of culture -- peoples that live in natural symbiosis with the land.

Finally, we have Berenja, the Mechanist!

Berenaja is the most technologically gifted of the three, and most of Cult City has him to thank for their technological resurgence. As you can see he has a nifty spotlight that probes the dark for unanswered questions and scientific wonders, and a lot of his internal components have been swapped out for mechanical ones. Sometimes he even re-purposes some of the fleshy bits to accomplish some of his more complex mechanical wonders, like the heart he removed from his chest -- a perfect pump for pushing out unwanted toxic byproducts! Youíll also notice from the waist down he has a bit of a mechanical snake thing going on. This bit does move, like a snake tail, and it does do snake-tail-like-things. But more importantly it serves as a sort of connector to some of his personal machines. This will give him access to plenty of forms if he ever decides he should have a boss battle with you! Berenajaís machinery is based heavily on organics, elements, and pure reactions, and as such he might work with reagents from anywhere or anything, but they have to be the purest physical form for him to even consider it. As you might imagine, Berenaja values scientific pursuit above all else.

Wow that was a lot of text. Iím sorry guys. Iím in deep. But I hope you liked some of what you read! If you read it all! Like dang I donít know if I could do that myself, so good on you. Iíve always got a lot of ideas swirling around, so let me know what you think! Especially if this post is too wordy or silly! Trust me I totally get it. Iíll post more about what Iím up to if anyone is interested. And critiques are seriously welcome. Just keep in mind a lot of the setting will be leagues more serious than maybe my tone suggests here, except for scenes involving Skhul Bucko himself, since thatís obviously supposed to contrast.

Oh, and the first game is going to be a turn based RPG. The combat is almost set, and I donít have too much to show because Iím still learning a lot and need to learn a lot, but I am proud of what Iíve accomplished so far. I know a lot of people donít like them, but hopefully I can manage to make it pretty interesting and versatile.

Until next time!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 10:02:05 pm by Exlo »
Clearly, this represents six side-by-side wheelbarrows, as indicated by the right half of the icon.  The left half indicates they are carrying babies with hats in these wheelbarrows.

Presumably, they are lining up to dump them into the baby furnaces.