Over the last week, I have created a few new maps for Tears of the King! I’m pretty excited for them – I think they’re the first new maps in a year and a half.
First, here’s a brand new city (the Imperial City):
This map is loosely based off of the Kingdom of Pandora city in Secret of Mana in that it is built on a couple of islands. Plus there will be a castle you can go into (you can see the base of the towers) in the top right of this map, again like the Kingdom of Pandora. That similarity was due to the way I laid everything out (and because I didn’t want the castle to be physically in this map). The castle isn’t built yet, and neither are the insides of the houses.
The Imperial City should be the final city in the game.
Also here’s a dock, complete with a ship! (I had to buy extra tiles to make the ship happen).
You reach the ship through either of the two paths in the right side of the Imperial City.
So what’s next? I have some more maps to build (the castle, the insides of the city houses, and an island where the ship will eventually take you). But I also need to go back over my notes and actually replay the game that I have made so far; it’s been so long that I only vaguely remember what still needs to happen.
There’s still a bunch of work that needs to be done, but I’m rather excited to see that the end (of map building anyway) is in sight! 🙂
I’ve been rather quiet on here since talking about refreshing my writing space and submitting that short story (omg I forgot to mention – it was accepted!!!) The reason was that I was working on a big freelance project that came my way. Once it was over, I had to deal with a couple of personal things (and honestly rest my brain!) I read four books over the last week, which was great (I hadn’t read any fiction since early September); one of them, Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker, was absolutely fantastic!
Today was a day spent catching up on email and whatnot. I went through all the Duotrope emails I’ve ignored over the last few months, looking into a few more listings that sounded interesting. I also signed up for my very first game jam, which will happen in mid-January. I don’t have a team yet (as far as I know, I’m the only local person who has signed up so far); I figure I’ll just make a small game on RPG Maker or Twine if no one else signs up (since I do not have the coding know-how to make an engine or anything fancy like that). I’m really excited though – I’ve always wanted to participate in one, and now there’s one being held locally (previously this particular game jam was held only in Sudbury – that’s not too far away, relatively speaking, but the time of year is so iffy with the weather).
So now I’m not quite sure what I want to be working on. I have two RPG Maker projects on the go (both Tears of the King and Memories), so I wouldn’t mind working on one of those. But I also wanted to write four polished short stories this year (and to date I’ve only written one). With just over a month left of the year, it’s looking like I may have to sacrifice one in order to achieve the other. So I’m going to take some time to decide on what exactly I want to be working on through December.
I should have written this post a few weeks ago, but I had to put Memories aside for a bit. I’ve thought about it long and hard, but I still don’t know how the game is supposed to end. So on the advice of my brother, I’m putting it aside to work on some other things for a bit. Hopefully with a bit of distance I’ll be able to figure out where the story is supposed to go.
I honestly feel a bit like a failure. I was really hoping to have the game done by now. But that’s not how it’s going, so time to focus on something else!
Life is pretty busy right now (when is it not?) but over the weekend I pulled out a short story I’ve been wanting to edit for quite awhile. The story was written as part of my NaNoWriMo blob. I originally wrote the story for a friend after his dog passed away, but I never felt right giving it to him (and let’s be honest: it was a super rough first draft that was crap – I wouldn’t want anyone to see it until it’s rewritten and edited). I came up with some editing ideas for the story last March, but never got around to implementing them until today. Even if the story doesn’t stay the way it currently is, I’ve added 300 words (it was originally about 600 words and is now over 900), and it is shaping up a bit (it’s definitely stronger than it was!)
I had a pretty fun couple of hours working on it. First I brought a notebook outside with me (it was a beautiful day!) and started writing. But after a page and a bit, I ended up grabbing my laptop and bringing that outside because I needed to be able to move some things around and expand on other things a bit. I took a break to go for a walk, then worked on it a bit more. I’m thinking tomorrow I’m going to print it out so I can do another editing pass on it (I prefer to edit on paper, at least for the first while – it’s satisfying to mark things I need to change up with pen!)
Just a super quick note – I got the final memory functioning in Memories tonight! I had a couple of weird snags getting it working (and the dialogue is super clunky). But everything seems to be functioning! 🙂
I also found a fantastic piano song that was available to license under the Creative Commons; that song is going to be the song that plays during the game’s menu screen, as well as during the actual memory events.
So the next task is to figure out how the game is going to end. And unfortunately I have no idea. And neither do my characters!
This is literally the last conversation currently in the game!
But that is a problem for another day!
I actually managed to get a lot done while working on Memories over the last few days. And the title of this post is quite literal: I managed to get two new memories working within the game, bringing the total functioning ones up to 3 out of 4! I had a bit of trouble figuring out what would trigger one of the memories, but after a few hours of thought (and playing with my cat), I came up with something that works (at least for now). My next two priorities:
- Get the final memory functioning.
- Figure out how the game is going to end (I don’t want a big climactic battle because this game isn’t dealing with battles, so I have to find a satisfying other way to end it).
Once those two things are in place, I’ll need to fix up the dialogue and most likely clean up the game in general. To that end, I’ll need to get a few friends to play test it once the basics of the game are all built and working.
I was also thinking about making it so you can choose how to respond to NPCs in different ways depending on what memories you have remembered, possibly using branching dialogue (similar to what I did in Tears of the King but without a loop), with different options triggered by different switches. I’ve actually put the basic switches that would enable this in place within the game; I will just need to go back and have them trigger things. But that’s a problem for after I have the final memory and ending of the game in place.
So after my paper prototyping adventures last night, I felt like I was ready to actually work on a few of the important cut scenes in Memories. The only one I have somewhat built is the one I showed you in my post about tinting the screen (and that literally has “blah blah blah” as most of the dialogue). I didn’t feel like writing the cut scenes in RPG Maker right now because I wanted a bit more flexibility for editing. So first I thought to try using Chat Mapper, but that wasn’t a great fit when I started (I was thinking about the mechanics of how the program worked more than actually writing). I had the same problem with Twine. And then I remembered: I have Final Draft! Why not write the cut scenes with that?
Sure, it took a few minutes to remember how the program worked (it has literally been YEARS since I last used it), but that was no big deal; I was back up and writing in no time!
I forgot how easy it is to read a script for dialogue. Final Draft has been the perfect tool for my current needs because I don’t have to think about formatting, I can just focus on writing the words right now (and I can very easily edit whatever I write). I managed to get a couple of key scenes written before making dinner (and quickly edited one after dinner). Once I am happy with the text, I’ll be able to copy and paste it into RPG Maker. 🙂
Ugh, it’s been almost a month and I feel like I haven’t done anything. That’s not true (I’ve been doing a lot of reading, which has been great), but I haven’t done any writing or work on Memories. So that ended up one of my big plans for this long weekend – make some sort of progress on Memories. (I was tempted to sit down and write a short story or something, but decided in the end that I really need to finish this game first).
So I made a paper prototype of most of the game so far, and started trying to think things through a bit.
This has been great. I made little tokens out of paper with the characters, whether or not they have a heart, and what their job title is. I also made paper tokens of the keys you’ll need, and the memory triggers. This way I can move everything around super easily, which has allowed me to change my mind as to who will be in what room (and who will have the keys you need). Thanks to this, I’ve actually managed to properly think through some of the problems I’ve been having for the last few weeks regarding the second and third memories, which means I can get back to building the game! 🙂
I wasn’t prototyping the narrative, but sitting down and making this prototype reminded me of a GDC talk I attended about paper prototyping for your narrative design project. I know my friends and I were disappointed with the talk itself (he spent too much time on terms we were all familiar with; it was just starting to get into the good stuff when he ran out of time and had to hurry through the stuff we were more interested in), but if you’re interested in it, I found the talk on Youtube.
Oh yeah, I’m also renaming the wizard. For some reason, I didn’t realize his name started with an “E” when I named him. One of the families has an “E” as the first letter of their names, and I didn’t want it to be confusing. So he’s now going to be Godric. I think that’s appropriate – it means “power of god” plus “”power, rule.” Definitely appropriate for this wizard! 😉