Category: Weekly Updates
Hello there. I'm currently still with my girlfriend, and while it's a holiday and a break and so on, we're not really the types to really do exciting activities with our time or go out much or anything so we spend a lot of time just using computers or playing games together and things like that. As such, I've been working on Miasmon a bit and planning things about what to do after that game is finished.
Firstly, Miasmon. Since people kept complaining about the new 'sunset' sort of colours, saying that they looked 'dead' and such, I've decided to just change them back to generic greens and blues and other Earth-like colours. Sigh. I suppose there are benefits from having familiar colours, and it makes more sense that the green plant-related monsters and skills in the game would fit with the actual environment.
I've not done a whole lot of actual work on it beyond that in the last few weeks; I've mainly just been making areas and tilesets, which don't take very long, especially since there aren't many of them. Most of the monsters, music, etc still need doing, but once I get back, I'll probably be able to work through such things relatively quickly.
But it's likely that the title of this post may have got your attention, so I'll explain that now.
Originally I was planning to go through my planned games one by one, doing the easiest first and just generally having fun with it... But I've been bothered lately by the thought that I still don't have any kind of consistent income or anything, and the knowledge that I'll have to contact sponsors for all of the games that I make, which is something that I'm never fond of...
So I thought that it was about time to use all that I've learned to make one of my 'bigger' games, one of the ones which I'd make money from directly either via memberships or in-game purchases or things like that. Something I'd update over time, rather than waiting for 100% completion before releasing it at all.
I've been wanting to do Fig Hunter Online for ages, since it seems like it'd be appealing to people. For those of you that don't know, or just to remind those of you that do, it would be mainly based around user-made content; there'd be a relatively simple Map Editor sort of thing which could be used to make entire Adventures (each one consisting of various areas full of monsters and NPCs with a plot and quests and such), which could be played through and rated and so on and so forth.
However, that's a rather big project and I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to do it just yet. The framework would have to be secure and solid, so then I wouldn't want to keep editing it, and the game wouldn't have a distinct 'end' or anything so it'd have to be kept running indefinitely.
I've been playing Pokemon a lot recently and working on Miasmon, so my enthusiasm for monster-catching games is still fairly strong. This led to the thought that I could work on another of my games, Beast Signer... But I also thought about FHO's user-based content stuff and had an idea.
I'd want to remake Beast Signer from scratch with better mechanics and different graphics and such, but with the same general characters and story (probably, unless I can come up with something I like more). I'd make the starting parts the same as the current alpha version; you'd start as a 'remnant' in the real world and you'd end up becoming one of the Signer Elite at their headquarters, from which you could access the Virtual Worlds in which the beasts could be found.
In the alpha, you're given an initial mission and can warp into the world of Normos, which is fairly large; you can then wander around and explore to find your goal, but you can see that there are many other paths that you can't yet access, which you'd be able to travel down at later points in the game. It's sort of like entering a Pokemon-like region, with connected towns and routes and such.
However, it wouldn't require much change to alter that drastically in a potentially far more exciting way.
Instead of being given missions one by one, instead you could choose a mission from a list; a separate list for each world. There'd be Plot Missions which would move the story along, and which must be done in a set order (Plot Mission #2 wouldn't appear until #1 was done), but the rest would be sidequests, completely optional, perhaps with a recommended level that your beasts should be but nothing to prevent you from doing them at any level.
Each mission would take place in its own little world, with its own areas... Routes, towns, building interiors, caves, and so on. They wouldn't be connected parts of the same big region like in the original alpha. However, they'd all be in the same *world* in terms of visual appearance and stuff; all Normos missions would have 'modern' routes and towns and NPCs and stuff, while Scifide missions might be all techno and spacey.
The interesting bit, and the bit I'm borrowing from FHO, is that missions could be built by you, the players. There'd be a fairly simplistic Map Editor which you could use to build Missions, probably with limitations; if you chose to make a Normos mission, you'd only be able to use Normos-styled tilesets and NPCs, and you wouldn't be able to do anything particularly deep including coding or unique events or anything; instead, you'd probably just be able to set up a simple list of Goals like 'talk to [NPC]' or 'deliver [Item] to [NPC]' or 'defeat [Beast]'; simplistic enough that a child could probably use it (though I wouldn't really want children making missions...).
Importantly, there'd need to be some kind of quality control, and I don't know how I'd handle that. Not EVERY mission that people made would get into the game; that'd be terrible, since I'd imagine the majority of them would be utter rubbish and they'd probably be full of things like free EXP or rare beasts and so on rather than being balanced and reasonable experiences.
I suppose I could just Officially Approve missions that stood out from the rest, but I don't know how they'd ever come to my attention... I suppose I'd have to rely on them being mentioned to me or something. Or maybe there'd be ratings? I don't know. It gets messy since you'd take the same character and party of beasts between all the different Official Missions, but I wouldn't want to allow you to use this character in 'unapproved' missions just in case they were full of free bonuses that'd severely overpower your party, or rare beasts that you really shouldn't be getting at that point. Instead, perhaps I could make it so that each mission was created with a 'starting party' used for play-testing it, or something?
Oh, I suppose I'll have to worry about such details later. Currently it's still just an idea, and I'm not sure if it'd work or not.
It'd be easier than FHO though because the missions would be far more limited than the Adventures were meant to be, as they'd have an existing setting and framing story (you are a Signer and you are helping out some people) rather than each having their own unique plot and world and so on. They shouldn't be grand epics full of characters and twists and turns; they'd just be sidequests.
There are a bunch of other technical details that I need to worry about as well... This article is already long as it is, but I'll try and describe some of the stuff anyway since I know that people often are interested in such things.
The Beast Signer alpha has pixel graphics on the field and vector graphics in the menus and battles, like MARDEK. However, Miasmon and Alora Fane used pixels exclusively; all the battles and menus are pixelated. I like this, since it gives a sense of unity to everything and feels more like a 'retro' sort of game. However, there are limitations; Miasmon has static monster sprites because animations aren't as easy with this style of graphics as they are with vectors.
So I've been wondering how to approach Beast Signer... Whether to use pixels like in Miasmon, or whether to go back to using vectors. I'd honestly prefer to use pixels, but then would people be okay with static sprites for monsters that don't animate in any way when they attack or anything?
Doing customised avatar characters would be a pain too for technical reasons. In the alpha, you can customise your face and wear different clothing and stuff, but I wonder whether instead to do away with this and just give you the choice of being a Male or Female character whose appearance would be set but their costumes would change based on the world you'd entered. Pokemon gets away with using a set character to play as, but I know that people do like that customisation sort of thing... It was a huge pain making what exists in the alpha though, and I'm not looking forward to doing that again. And how would battle models work, I wonder? Hmm.
I'm not going to copy exactly the evolution mechanics from the alpha, because they were a huge pain too; there were just too many evolutions and I never liked the dual elements thing at all.
However, I remember planning something similar but different a while ago, and I might stick with that, while also using some stuff from Miasmon.
Instead of elements, beasts would have Types, like those in Miasmon (or Pokemon, if you prefer). There'd be separate growth charts for each set of Types, so you could have, say, a Saur/Aqua family and a Saur/Flame family, each with their own branches and forms and such. There might be 'pure' families for things with a single type, like a Saur family, but they might not exist for every type; there might not be a Flame family, for example. But maybe there would be? Hmm.
Elements would still play a part, but monsters wouldn't explicitly have them. Instead, moves would all have a single element, and each Type would have elements associated with it, either negatively or positively.
For example, the Saur type could have an 'positive affinity' for the Fire and Earth elements, and a 'negative affinity' for the Water and Air types. A monster of that type could use all the skills it had learned of any element except Water and Air, its Fire and Earth attacks would have increased damage or success rate, it'd take half damage from Fire and Earth attacks, and double from Water and Air.
I'm not entirely sure that that's the exact way things will work, though; it's still just an idea. I may also divide skills by 'limbs' or something, so, say, a 'Fire Punch' skill would be a 'fist' technique and only beasts with the 'fist' limb could use it...
Each evolution form would learn a single skill when it evolved, like in the alpha, and the only way to get lots of skills would be to merge... which would work the same, sort of, except it'd use types instead of elements, so merging a Aqua/Saur and Angel/Flame would give an Aqua/Angel egg.
I'd have to add the forms and families gradually over time since there'd be so many of them, and I'd probably do a weekly 'design a beast' competition where people could submit their designs, and get them voted on; the winner would make it into the game as an official beast.
Oh, right, I didn't cover evolution properly yet. It'd work similarly to the alpha in that there'd be things like power and magic forms, but there'd be less of them.
In the alpha, the stage 1 form can become a power, balance or magic form, but for the sake of simplification, I'd instead just have power and magic forms. Then each of those could be a power or magic form, but the power-magic and magic-power forms would be the same beast, giving three stage 3 forms. Then there'd be a single stage 4 form, which any of the stage 3 forms could become, but only under certain conditions. Maybe. Perhaps not all families would have such a form? I'm not sure.
Here's an image to show you what I mean:
Each family then could have something like that... Some beasts might just be palette swaps of others or something, though; I'm not sure.
To make money off this, I'd probably have a virtual currency for the site - perhaps the Fig Coins thing - and you could use it to buy in-game items or something. If I had legendary beasts, I'd bet that some people would want to buy those! I'll have to think more about this later though; it's not the main thing on my mind when making this game, and I'll try to make most of it except for luxuries accessible to everyone for free.
I've probably covered most of the stuff about the game here. I'll finish Miasmon before working on this, so it might be a while before I get to it. But gasp, I'm finally getting back to Beast Signer after all these years! Isn't that so exciting?!/1/1