2009 finds our game with a largely finalized plot, and art production (such as it was) moving along at a fine pace. But one area of focus was in greater need of attention: the actual gameplay and other technical aspects. This wasn’t just a visual novel after all!
Our system was still in the process of parting ways with much that was quite derivative of Fire Emblem. Though we still had experience points and levels, for instance, our game had started to slough off such things and take on its own personality.
“Relationship levels” (based on character interactions during intervals) were one such shed relic. I’d still like to have character dialogue in the intervals, but I don’t think players should be forced into conversations to gain benefits within battle.
I have to laugh at the fact that the skills I’d been devising for each character had nearly all been named after old industrial/EBM songs — Tevoran’s “Mockery” was originally “Mindphaser” for instance. Some of this lurks yet amidst the published game.
I’d also been considering the “cinematography” of actual cutscenes as well. The image up top is from my quixotic effort to create the entire opening scene within the Flash IDE — over 600 frames in total.
I somehow planned on doing this for every cutscene in the game! Thankfully, Crack had devised a method by which I would only have to script these scenes within XML files and not resort to endlessly tedious tweening and other such agonies.
Indeed, to make things manageable for me, many game parameters would be contained in XML scripts for easy editing. Just being able to play around with these, and instantly seeing the results in the first primitive test battles, really made this start to feel like a game to me.
One last note: around this time I’d been conjuring up some initial odd game titles. Noting that so many SRPGs included “tactics” in their names, I floated such inspired names as “Tactics Injection” and “Tactics Overdose”. By 2010 I’d grown fond of the rather overwrought “World’s End Chemical Tactics Experiment”.
I’m rapidly running out of novel media to show off as this history approaches Chapter 1’s release! Never mind that, though, for next time, I’ll delve into the finalization of the game system and our first forays into music.
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