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Growing up in the suburbs of Upstate New York was an often isolating experience . I was the awkward kid. The shy kid. And it should come as no surprise that I was picked last in gym class. It could have been a lonely and dreary existence, but modern technology ensured that I was never alone. Every day after school, and all weekend long, I explored the land of Hyrule, saved the World of Ruin from Kefka's tyranny, and cleansed the world of Sinistrals.
As I grew older, my love for RPGs and video games never diminished, and only grew stronger. I spent more time with Cloud and Tifa than my own family. I plunged the depths of every ruin across the face of Tamriel, and I still visit Ivalice from time to time. These games were my best friends, and they still live on as some of my most cherished memories.
But for some reason, in the past few years, Role-playing Games have fallen out of style. Every now and then we'll get a mediocre attempt, rife with special effects and devoid of real emotion, but mostly RPG fans have been left hanging in the wind. As a game designer, I knew that by not being part of the solution, I was only part of the problem.
When I finally began working on my own RPG, I knew it would have to be larger than life. How do you pack in a lifetime of adoration for a genre into a single game? I began by designing the enemies, the myriad elements of the game play, drawing up level maps and crafting spell effects; and before I knew it, the Temple of the Sun and Moon was coming to life before my eyes.
The game centers around an unnamed protagonist who finds himself trapped in the depths of an ancient temple, in possession of a divine artifact known as the Dragon's Heart. Torn from the chest of the Sun God, the Dragon's Heart has the ability to return lost souls from the land of the dead. As you venture through the levels of the Temple, you will face deadly traps, flesh-eating ghouls, and blistering dragon's breath. You'll barter with Orcish merchants and slay demons by the truck load, while uncovering the secrets of the Temple of the Sun and Moon.
Since beginning the development in late December, the game has evolved into a labor of love. The world has become as real to me as Hyrule ever was. Midway through the development cycle, the hard facts of life began to surface. That fact, as most know, is that the real world is not powered by dreams. It is run by money.
Pledge now and become a part of the dream and help bring this fledgling world to life. Let's breathe new life into the RPG genre by celebrating the old techniques that made Hyrule, Ivalice, and all the other countless worlds real.
The Sun and the Moon
Central to the gameplay is the mythology of the Sun and Moon. Put simply, the Temple was established as a place of worship for an ancient polytheistic society that worships the God of the Sun, who is commonly depicted as a Dragon, and the Goddess of the Moon, who is typically depicted as a beautiful maiden.
In the time before time, the God of the Sun warred with the Goddess of the Moon over who would rule the world. Perched at the tip of the highest mountain, the world was forged in the fires of war.
The lore on this subject is extensive, and to give it all away now would ruin some of the fun. Suffice to say: as it would turnout, neither God would prove victorious.
Equally central to this system is the day and night cycle. Each step taken inside the temple advances time by a set number of minutes. During the day, enemies with physical (Sun) properties are strengthened. This also effects spells and weapons with these properties. The same is true at nighttime. Magic-based (Moon) enemies are strengthened and your attributes are affected accordingly as well.
In addition, certain puzzles can only be solved at certain times of the day.
This means that each step taken in the temple has a definitive weight. Spending too long in an area may prevent you from completing a puzzle in time. Entering another area with many Sun enemies during the day might make your trip more difficult.
It can be fun to find hundreds of different weapons, but I always feel like something is lost in the process. The manpower required to make 500,000 different-looking weapons is just infeasable, so what ends up happening are "palette swaps". Artists will make a few weapon models and then make them glow blue or red or green and call it a new weapon. This works, but all the weapons begin to feel less and less unique. With the Temple of the Sun and Moon, I wanted to avoid this by creating only a set number of weapons.
Each new weapon is unlocked by overcoming a brand new obstacle. Some weapons can only be found by completing difficult puzzles and others will be unlocked by conquering new and powerful enemies.
Again the important point here is that I wanted to avoid recycling. There are no palette swaps on weapons and each one will have unique stats that change the way the character plays.
While designing the Temple of the Sun and Moon, I am constantly looking for ways to increase the touch-screen interactivity. A lever could be activated just by clicking, but it's more interactive to have the player actually PULL the lever by dragging on the screen. A locked door could be unlocked instantly, but what if you have to turn the key instead?
The same mentality was applied when designing the spells system of the game. Just like the weapons system, each spell is designed with a purpose. Each one changes the magnitude of the situation. An electric shield can deflect damage back at the aggressor. Absorption can turn damage into magical energy, and the Earth Wall can block an enemy's pathway, giving you the time you need to escape.
Best of all, each spell is cast through a unique finger gesture. Players who are focusing on playing primarily as magic users will have to think between each spell cast. You won't be just mindlessly clicking buttons.
Perhaps the most important part of any role-playing game is the role that you are playing. Your avatar is super important. You'll start the game by creating the most base connection, choosing a name for your character.
From there however, the decisions are up to you. You'll be free to allocate stat points affecting your character's strength, defense, agility, and magic. This will allow you to play a stalwart defender, a rapid attacker, a cautious mage, or any mix and range between. On top of that, you'll have resistance points that can be allocated to your defenses.
Strong moon affinity will make you a disciple of the moon and make your avatar stronger at night. Or you could become a disciple of the sun, becoming stronger during the day.
Something I have always loved about RPGs is the ability to work in a group dynamic. You must manage the capabilities of all your party members to act suitably. Unfortunately, the Temple of the Sun and Moon's premise doesn't allow for this because you're trapped in this tomb alone. I compromised by providing a separate health bar for each of your limbs. This creates a "party" dynamic without actually having a party.
Falling will damage your legs, or taking a heavy attack on the right side could deal critical damage to your right arm. The death of a limb will also change the shape of a situation. Broken legs will make you move slower. A dead arm might prevent you from blocking. A most dangerous situation for mages, a busted head can keep you from casting spells properly.
Managing your health potions and healing salves will be an important part of staying alive in the Temple of the Sun and Moon.
The first $3,000 will be used to buy the Unity Android Pro license. The rest will be used to cover development costs such as musical compositions, illustrations, and other licenses.
We owe a very special thanks to the people at http://kickingitforward.org for helping to spread the word about the Temple of the Sun and Moon!