45 hours on DtD as of October
102 hours on DtD as of today (57 since Oct.)
46 hours on the Hour-Long Adventure since project conception
103 hours of RPG Making since last October.
Estimated completion time for DtD: 200 hrs
Estimated completion time for HLA: 95 hrs.
I’ve only been devoting 14.5 hours per month to RPG Maker, total. DtD needs exactly that much, if not more, to be complete by December. I am literally halfway through my deadline and things are looking tense. I’m definitely getting more done than a few months ago but ‘slightly faster’ is by no means ‘fast enough.’ I will get distracted again. I will need a break. Things will go wrong, and I need to get ready for that shit RIGHT NOW.
Remember when I said DtD would take between 140 and 160 hours? Well, I was ALMOST right. I’m almost halfway done. and work is entering its 95th hour. The means, optimally, this will take 200 hours. It’s probably going to be more like 250. Remember how I started making this 7 months ago? Seven months from now is DECEMBER. I need to pick up the pace if I hope to finish this by 2014. I’m not giving up. 5 hours a week is still a reasonable goal. Hope I can make it ten.
Finally got the DtD party out of the base camp and heading to the Sage. There’s a lot of what I’d call ‘downtime’ between the party finishing things in town and making it to his house. The following technically happens: they eat dinner, they go to bed, they wake up, they eat breakfast, they leave town, they climb the mountain, they get lost in the blizzard, they make it through handily, they may or not face a rare encounter, then they finally knock on the fucker’s door. For the sake of maintaining everyone’s sanity, only two of those have been scripted and maybe two more are under consideration. I think the ones under consideration may get coded simply because it seems like too much is getting skipped between the sequences. It’s my job to direct the pacing, and I therefore direct that thanks to the internet, I can choose the amount of filler that needs to be inserted into the narrative.
I’ve been reading some books/manga lately and some of them cleverly hide their scene changes with that magical device called a ‘new chapter.’ With the magic of episodic Youtube videos, it becomes important to stretch an episode just long enough to be an episode but short enough to hold an audience’s attention. I feel sorry for creators of the old generation where you had to write so many pages or film so many minutes or episodes to fill a time slot. With the internet as the main provider of people’s entertainment, the world is no longer beholden to a broadcast TV slot, or a section of pages in a magazine. I think the new media reveals people’s attention span for disposable crap, and the ideal time without any deep plot being 3-5 minutes (like a song). Remember Ka-Blam!? Yeah, no complexity there, and they knew it. Love it to death, though.
Things are still plugging along. The party of DtD has arrived at the base of Mt. Tiramisu, had their drama, and will soon begin their ascent. My current issue right now is how to set up the next part. Do I show them the next morning for a tad? Do I show them getting lost in the blizzard (even though that’s looking unlikely)? I don’t want to get too wordy. Games move slower than movies, but my movie made inside of a video game still needs to be well-paced and entertaining.
I’m about at the point of writing scenes where my character and Milia start getting closer. This is probably the most awkward I’ve ever felt about creating something. This even beats 7th grade, when I learned about anime, tried to draw it, and got all embarrassed when I had to draw the boobs on girls.
Writing a love interest for yourself, if you’ve read any fanfiction, can be the topmost of cringe-worthy horrors. None of the scenes have been written yet, but I know for the sake of the plot they have to be in there. Milia HAS to like the party more than her childhood friend Jethro for certain events to occur. I would like to think, with my age and level of experience, that this won’t turn into a waifu situation. Here’s how I’ve planned (ie justified) it in my head:
Milia’s a teenage girl. If you’ve ever met one, they’re typically attracted to older guys who seem to have their shit together (since Cody knows everything about the game, this part is easy)
It won’t help that Cody (the character) will take pretty much anything he can get. If it’s cute and has two legs… He won’t be having the best interests of the plot or party in mind. (Not planning on writing a sex scene or anything, but there will have to be some sort of romantic tension)
Also, because of Cody and Adam’s accidental influence on the game, Jethro seems mentally weak in comparison, driving Milia away. It’s hard for the two guys who got sucked in to the game to process that Jethro, in his world, REALLY got corrupted by Dark Dagon, and all these older guys who don’t feel like sympathizing makes it difficult for him to cope.
This final part is the clencher: You know that friend you’ve had since childhood? The one that knew you when you were young and dumb and prone to doing dumb things? What if that friend never got over that old you? Milia’s like that. Young Jethro needed her patience and tomboyish confidence and ever since he’s been trying to become stronger for her. He’s competent in spells AND magic. He’s like the Red Mage of the party. He can do a lot of shit. However, after his encounter with Dagon, he’s been (understandly) shaken up, and having two sarcastic twenty-somethings leading the party are only aggravating his pain. Worst of all: Milia never got over seeing the weak Jethro; the crying Jethro. The pussy Jethro. It didn’t matter what he was fighting that day or if it was ten times tougher: If he came back to the village crying, that’s all she saw, blind to his struggle to be better. Maybe that was all she wanted to see. Maybe she couldn’t help herself. In the end, the damage will be done.
Hopefully this essay, and the finished product, will establish Milia as more of a full-fledged character instead of a piece of meat or what those neckbeards call a ‘waifu.’ In addition, I don’t believe I’ll EVER be putting myself in the main role of a video game again unless I go all Silent Bob on that shit. I’m not changing the story of Defeat the Darkness, but I will be mindful of its consequences.
The Hour-Long Adventure features a diverse cast I probably should have mentioned before the other post. Please read this AFTER you at the very least pick up the damn game. Who reads the commentary before playing? Seriously?
Prince Max - The Main Character, and the king’s only son. Tells his dad for the umpteenth time that he’s “going on an adventure,” and most are convinced it will end the same way as always: with him hiding in bed instead of doing any work. Spoiled and lazy. Could be a great fighter or leader if he ever bothered to try. Can use most weapons and armor. Learns a variety of magic. Gains Defense on level-up
Sir Gallant - Defender of the Royal Family. Born of a long line of royal guards. Will stop at nothing to keep Max safe. Uses the heaviest of weapons and armor. Wields everything two-handed, even shields. Learns a few mild buffs. Gains Defense on level-up.
Who? - A nameless rank-and-file solider with a suprising amount of sentience and a yearning to escape his rigid life. Can use most weapons and armor. Attacks vigorously with offensive buffs and swordskills. Gains Defense on level-up.
Theologious - The local bookworm. Highly intelligent, and a huge pervert. Sells smut on the down-low at discount prices. Can only wear the lightest of armor. Learns a variety of support and attack magic.
Sister Krista - A local nun in her late 30’s. Gave up a life of partying to pursue a holier path. However, the partying life never quite gave up on her. Can only wear robes. Wields a variety of holy magic.
Cherry - The most loyal of the Prince Max Fan Club. Completely unable to see how big of a douchebag he is, and will do anything for him. Often stalks the castle, and often spends time in the dungeon as a result. Can equip a suprising amount of weapons and armor. Motivates the party with her feminine charms.
Pojo - A seemingly ordinary chicken. Barely gets stronger on level-up. It would be worth your while to find a way to unlock his latent magical talents.
Vivaldi - The castle chef. Seems way too attached to his favorite knife. Extremely fast. Wears light armor. Can cook tasty dishes for the party.
Hand-Waver - A mime. He won’t tell us anything else. Wears light armor. Can conjure walls and invisible weapons.
Wanda - One of the castle maids. Still hasn’t lost her foreign accent despite working for the kingdom since birth. Wears light armor. Can clean ANYTHING
The Hour-Long Adventure has been my outlet for everything that isn’t the story in an RPG. This includes taking ten extremely diverse characters and sticking them in an environment that stays dangerous for ten experience levels, but not impossible if your dumb ass didn’t buy anything. This means that anything you bring/buy must be noticably more useful than not having it, but not completely overpowered. I’ve made some coping strategies:
LOW-LEVEL CHALLENGE: Pojo and Hand-Waver have high starting stats, but don’t grow much. They both attack multiple times per round. Sir Gallant is also very hard to kill
LOW-MONEY CHALLENGE: All three above become slightly less useful at higher levels, but bringing one to help level up a spellcaster (Krista/Theologious) will prove helpful.
MAXIMILLIAN CHALLENGE: Not even gonna lie: This will be centered almost completely around fighting the Lich on Thursday, while using whatever party members you bring, plus whatever equipment can be found in the castle. It will be an Acheivement. My game will feature ACTUAL Acheivements alongside the crappy ones.
SOLO CHALLENGE: If you find enough money, you should be able to survive the first few levels with good equipment and careful application of explosives and salves. Max gains Def points innately, and coupled with his spell list he becomes quite the powerhouse.
If I can’t access my laptop, but want to think about DtD, I start plotting out the story. Either on another computer, or a piece of paper, or on my phone. I’ve done it dozens of times, but every time I do it brings out new information and ideas. At this point I’ve got damn near everything memorized.
“So they go here, and…”
“And then this happens…”
“And then THIS guy shows up…”
“Then I put this joke here…”
For the first time today, I have a script listing specific events for every required event in the game. So, technically, every event is now 10% done, since it’s been concpetualized. More can be added, of course; I’m just very pleased to have such a robust skeleton.
After this last script write-up, I just realized that half the game has been coded. Half, with an H. Sure doesn’t feel that way. I’m gonna do everything I can to keep pace.
Unfortunately, computers don’t. They’re trapped in a tiny room reading instructions and flipping switches, and if what they see doesn’t match up, the whole damn thing crashes.
I released a demo of HLA and never bothered to link the castle and the shops outside of it. Also with DtD I keep making these big intricate cutscenes but forgetting to Take Over to the next event, so the cutscenes die halfway through and leave a gaggle of broken sprites hanging around. Oy vey.
Ever watch Baka and Test? The scene where Yoshii studies really hard for a test, and probably would’ve done well if he hadn’t put the first answer as his name?
“So my little brother is Alexander the Great!”
I feel like Alexander the Great right now… Most of RPGM is small, stupid, or petty busy work, but dammit if it’s not done the project can’t function. Always maintain a high standard of quality. It needs to get done at some point, too, but Miyamoto said it best: “A delayed game is eventually good; a bad game is bad forever.”
We can do this.