New Forum

March 2, 2011 at 7:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

(I’m just copying and pasting this entry from my main site)

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you guys know that thanks to my friend Kan, we finally have an awesome new forum for the website! It’s completely new, there are barely any footprints on it yet… So I want to invite all of you to come hang out and help get things rolling. Please feel free to post, share creative works of your own (art, music, photography, etc.), start up a dev log for a game or creative project you’re working on, or just chat about random things… In the future I’d also like to do some forum games (like mafia!), and for those who are interested in Melolune beta testing (or just want to know where to post feedback on the current build), there’s a whole section for that too ^_^

Updates

April 6, 2010 at 12:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you guys know that I’ll probably be making most of my updates over at my main wesbite. But I’ll keep trying to post more Melolune-specific information here as it comes…

IGF 2010 Finalists Announced

January 4, 2010 at 8:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Happy New Year everyone! I wish you all lots of happiness in the coming year ^_^ Well, I have a couple updates for you tonight: First of all, the 2010 IGF Finalists were announced just a few hours ago… congratulations to all the finalists, and to all those who shared their creative projects with us by entering their games into the contest! Sadly Melolune wasn’t an audio finalist, but I was still happy to have participated in such a great event. The IGF gave me something to focus on, which allowed me to get a ton of work done in a short period of time… I also had the pleasure of playing so many great games as a result. And for those who are interested, here are this year’s finalists:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:
Joe Danger (Hello Games)
Monaco (Pocketwatch Games)
Rocketbirds: Revolution! (Ratloop Asia)
Trauma (Krystian Majewski)
Super Meat Boy! (Team Meat)

Excellence In Visual Art
Shank (Klei Entertainment)
Owlboy (D-Pad Studios)
Trauma (Krystian Majewski)
Limbo (Playdead)
Rocketbirds: Revolution! (Ratloop Asia)

Excellence In Design
Miegakure (Marc Ten Bosch)
Star Guard (Sparky)
AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard For Gravity (Dejobaan Games)
Monaco (Pocketwatch Games)
Cogs (Lazy 8 Studios)

Excellence In Audio
Super Meat Boy! (Team Meat)
Shatter (Sidhe)
Closure (Closure Team)
Rocketbirds: Revolution! (Ratloop Asia)
Trauma (Krystian Majewski)

Technical Excellence
Closure (Closure Team)
Limbo (Playdead)
Heroes Of Newerth (S2 Games)
Joe Danger (Hello Games)
Vessel (Strange Loop Games)

Nuovo Award
Today I Die (Daniel Benmergui)
A Slow Year (Ian Bogost)
Tuning (Cactus)
Closure (Closure Team)
Enviro-Bear 2000 (Justin Smith)


Screenshots!
On the Melolune front, I finally finished all the maps for the Saphine Kingdom (the 2nd to last location in the game) so I’ve got a few screenshots to share:

This first one is inside the palace there… I designed this palace as a place I would want to live in. There are trees growing through the floors, hanging plants everywhere, waterfalls and fountains, depressions in the floors with pillows and blankets where you can take naps, stone and marble, etc. It’s really unconventional.

This screenshot is from a series of mini-quests the party members have to complete once they arrive… in this one, Hawk helps Andy take a bunch of children camping.

This is the kitchen… nothing much to say except that they don’t have a conventional kitchen. And there’s trees growing through the floors. I love when trees grow through the floors!

Awesome Art
And the last thing I absolutely must share is this wonderful fanart that Substance20 made for me… I really love it! I think my favorite part is how he wove several Melolune-filled staffs into the background… so cool. Thank-you very much!

Well, that’s about it for today! Again, I hope everyone has a great year… ^_^

Gameplay trailer

November 16, 2009 at 12:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

I finally got around to making a video with some gameplay footage for Melolune… hope you enjoy it!

Quick links

November 3, 2009 at 12:49 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

I wanted to share my game’s new theme song which plays during the introduction:
Melolune main theme

And here is a quick link to the IGF demo of “Melolune” in case you don’t want to read that long babbling blog entry that I just wrote, haha (my apologies… I just can’t be brief sometimes):
Melolune IGF demo

Melolune

November 3, 2009 at 12:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Hi everyone! I’m really happy to say that I’m finally nearing the end of production on my game, and I’ve submitted a demo of it to the Independent Games Festival! Ever since I finished up work on Plants vs. Zombies I allowed myself about 6 months to basically work full-time on my game. It’s taken a toll on my wrist (never spend 13 hours mapping and setting passabilities and priorities on your maps… for whatever reason, that type of clicking is like 10x harder on your wrist than playing a game of DoTA I kid you not)… but I’m really excited about how everything’s been working out. I’ve imagined for years how the cutscene about Aero’s history would play out… and to actually have it finished and be able to watch it makes me so happy…

Anyways, I wanted to announce that I changed the name of my game to “Melolune,” so I figured I’d make a post explaining the meaning of the title. My old demo’s intro gave you a glimpse into the protagonists’ childhood world, but for the most part it was pretty ambiguous. I went back and redesigned the intro so that more about his past would be revealed upfront. Basically, Achaius came from a place where people collected song fragments (called Melolune) in order to keep their world alive… then his parents died and he was separated from his twin due to reasons unbeknownst to you. You play as Achaius after his separation (and after he was adopted by the tribe of Leebles)… and the rest of the game is spent figuring out how and why this happened (along with a bunch of other things). For a while now I’ve been developing a fairly unique musical dungeon mechanic where you solve puzzles by collecting song fragments… as Achaius, you have the power to put them together in order to absorb various abilities that help you get through dungeons and explore the world.

I have to say… I love this mechanic because it’s sort of my expression of what I like about composing and arranging. When I was a kid I used to sit there listening to the music from old Megaman games. I always tell people that when I was around 8-10 years old I recorded Megaman 3′s “Hard Man” stage onto casette tape so that I could listen to all the various parts and figure out how they blended together. I probably learned more about composition from this than from my piano lessons! Basically, I wanted to find a way to share this concept with others… and this mechanic is sort of the result ^_^

Anyways… if anyone is interested in checking out the IGF demo, it’s about the same length as the 2nd demo (it ends where you’re on the boat going to Ciro) but it’s got a lot of new stuff. I wanted to submit something much longer (I’m actually about 80-90% finished with the linear gameplay), but George recommended that I submit only the section that was polished and bug-tested… which I think was sound advice, hehe. The IGF demo has a new battle system, new menu, new introduction which offers more insight into Achaius’ childhood world, the new musical dungeon mechanic, redesigned maps, and a couple more sidequests. I have to say, the battles are much more fun now. They’re still not as cool as Chrono Trigger or anything, but they’re quite a bit improved from the 2nd demo. So without further ado, here’s the link:

Melolune IGF Demo!

Cool fan art

July 23, 2009 at 2:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I had to share these as well… Some of my friends from Spongen made some really lovely pieces of fan art:

This first one is from Avadan :)

Avadan

This one, called “Finders Keepers” is from Professor Yoshi :)

Professor Yoshi

And Reives did this lovely rendition of Traces!


Thank-you everyone, these are so awesome!

July updates

July 23, 2009 at 2:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I have to apologize for not having updated in such a long time!  I’ve gotten several emails asking about whether or not I’m still working on “The Blue Star” and the answer is definitely yes ^_^  So I figured it was about time for me to post a bit about my progress.  First of all, thank-you to everyone who has played the 2nd demo and left me feedback either here or through email… your support is greatly appreciated and truly motivates me!  Since my last post:

Sophie's_workshop Mark's Clockshop

1.) I’ve managed to finish the tilesets and maps for the next several locations in the game (The pirate’s ship, The OEG (Orderian Engineer’s Guild), Ciro’s Capital, and the Taezu Freedom Fighter Base).  Above is a picture of Sophie’s workshop.  Sophie is an aerial engineer who works for “Aerial 5,” a faction in Ciro that designs airships and other related technology.  Despite being only 14, her younger brother Ethan was recently recruited into Ciro’s army and stationed somewhere in Taezu. But her hope is that when Ethan returns (and when she can afford a Steamshod for her personal airship), they can start up a brother-sister courier service.  Until then, you can meet her in the OEG… she has goggles and a purple braid :)

Ciro - ballroom

2.) The bulk of my time as of late has been going towards creating gameplay for the new areas; designing NPCs and their dialogue, eventing cut-scenes, and adding quests and puzzles.  I like to make it so that folks who enjoy reading dialogue have the option to talk to some of the NPCs a couple times and get different messages.  Above you can see a shot of the Ballroom in Ciro Castle.  I took this screenshot a while back, so it’s changed ever so slightly since then.  This part of development seems to take me the longest since I try to put a lot of thought into all the dialogue… my brain is always exhausted after working on cut-scenes >_<

3.) I redesigned the town of Basho so that it doesn’t look so bland and spread out… now it’s easier to navigate, and looks a lot nicer.  I also added a little sidequest there called “Atelo’s Cake” that I’m quite partial to.  It’s not a forced quest though, so if you say “no” enough times you won’t get to do it :)

Updates

December 11, 2008 at 9:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Well, I think it’s about time for an update! It’s been a while, but I’ve been slowly making progress on “The Blue Star” and this week I finally finished the 2nd demo. In addition to having new areas, I’ve made a ton of changes:

-There’s lots of new original artwork: Several maps have been completely redone, the Leeble village has new treehouses, there are new character facesets with over 60 different expressions, etc.
-Extended gameplay: This demo is on average about 4-5 hours long.
-Balance: I went through all the feedback that I received, and spent a lot of time balancing battles, stats, items, etc. Aero is now stronger when she rejoins the party, there are more HP/MP restoration and save points, etc.
-New original music!
-There is plenty to explore: The final town in the demo has over 50 different NPCs with lots of personality and optional dialogue for those who like these sorts of things.

Anyways… if you get a chance, I’d love for you to check it out! There are still a few things that need to be changed. The menu/UI right now is only temporary; I plan to implement a customized one when the game is almost finished because I want to make sure it really matches the feel of the whole game. My friend and I will also be working on a new battle system (a Chrono Trigger style one with animated battlers, an ABS, and combo attacks), but that won’t be in-game for a little while. But besides that, things are pretty set! Feedback and comments are always appreciated :) Thank-you!

Recolored Aero

March 29, 2008 at 10:47 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I realize I haven’t updated in quite some time… Unfortunately, the month of March has not yielded a whole lot of progress for The Blue Star. I have several new VGM projects amongst other things that have monopolized my time as of late. But just this past week I jumped back in again… can’t stay on hold forever! I decided to redo Izaya… I was inspired by the excellent mapping in some of the projects over at rmxp so I took it upon myself to improve my technique. I’ve learned a few things:

Izaya with sunbeams
(This is my new version of Izaya… the sunbeam fog is purely cosmetic right now, I haven’t figured out how to add it in game yet)

-The more water you can work onto the map, the better. Streams cutting randomly through things, waterfalls adorning the mountainside, etc. It makes everything look nicer.
-Rounded and diagonal autotiles go a LONG way in making a map look more professional. The original RTP water autotiles are square, causing your streams to look like blocky staircases. I spent countless hours trying to make my streams look decent before, but with rounded ATs it’s so much easier.
-Fogs, especially animated ones can really add to a project. I played one game called “Imagine a World” that made excellent use of moving sunbeams and clouds, and now I really want to learn how to implement something like that into my game. I have scripts for lighting particles that I should really take advantage of too.
-What seems cluttered and repetitive might actually make the map look better. At first I tried my best not to reuse tiles (like, you’d never see 2 of the same flower on the screen at a time if it could be helped). But after playing some rmxp demos, I noticed that really nice looking maps often utilized the same tile over and over again (trees and bushes for example), and it actually made it look great! So I tried it out for myself and low and behold, it improved my map!

I was also very thankful for the help of Sharky who recolored Aero for me. Now she blends well with the RTP…

Recolored Aero

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