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A new action platform RPG, inspired by all the people the heroes always ended up screwing over. Stupid heroes...
A new action platform RPG, inspired by all the people the heroes always ended up screwing over. Stupid heroes...
3,424 backers pledged $90,776 to help bring this project to life.

2015 Dev Update #3 - Plans, Screenies, Streaming, Etc

Posted by Donn Manalili (Creator)
26 likes

This may have been updated on the forum
Hello ladies and gents! As you know, our last update included our potential plans for a partial release in the near future. After charting our course through the next few months, I've come to a decision which I'll share with you during this update.

Rant #2

As you're all aware, I've been reluctant to hand off a set release date for the project. As an indie developer, I believed that release dates were the best way to sabotage a game. Too often we've seen amazing looking games in concept and theory only to be disappointed by a lackluster experience that looks and feels absolutely nothing like what was presented (Alien Isolation, Dragon Age 2 (damn you EA for that 1.5yr deadline!)). At the same time, there are obvious advantages to a deadline. Blizzard and Valve have both proven that time and patience (usually) equals amazing gaming experiences. Yet at the same time, release dates are important for all businesses. It stems off feature creep, provides (stressful) motivation to do things on time, and ensures something is actually released.

For an indie developer, time is of the essence despite our best intentions to make the best game we possibly can. We don't exactly have deep pockets. Because of our (relatively speaking) wildly successful KS campaign, I believed the budget would allow me to take a little more time to nurture the project. Of course as a new developer, I've already told you of the many situations I hadn't foreseen. In the last update I talked about how different it is to develop an RPG versus a platformer, shooter or sandbox game. Now I'd like to talk a little bit more about unforeseen time sinks.

I believe I've already mentioned to some of our backers about the overhead that I calculated added about 4-5 months of time to development. Constant contact with our backers, even if very enjoyable is a huge timesink. Keeping all of the data together for backer rewards, implementing rewards, ensuring everything is in order, and making sure everyone is satisfied is time consuming. Of course it's not true about all the rewards. If I had to do it again, I would definitely have charged more for sidequests.

Another thing I'd like to mention is the duration of the project so far. The Kickstarter campaign ended November of 2013, which was 18 months ago. It wasn't meant to stretch nearly a year past it's internal release date of September 2014. Although we have very loyal asset providers, not all of them have been able to stay on the project for this whole period. Many have come and gone, and I find myself realizing that correspondence between myself and my asset providers have taken up so much time meant for development.

In the indie development world, finding, engaging and keeping asset providers (contractors, teammates or partners) is a full time job. Turnover rate is worse than Walmart so having to find another artist, musician or programmer that can match the style, theme or experience respectively happens often, and even more so over the course of two years. Most if not all contractors are allowed to work on multiple projects at once to sustain themselves, and often they'll find a reason to leave over the course of a year. Up to now, I've worked with (approximately) 14 pixel artists, 5 programmers, 4 bust artists, 7 concept artists, and 1 musician (awesome Darren). I don't want to throw my teammates under the bus though. Darren, Steph, Drew have been with me since they joined the project.

All too often you hear about projects fizzling out of existence because the team has fallen apart. Whatever glue was used (money, passion, promises) to keep them together simply wasn't strong enough and the lead developer had to abandon it. For me, this is simply unacceptable.

For the sake of transparency, I'll share with my backers where their money has been spent, rounding up to the nearest 100th:

Kickstarter & Amazon Cut: $9,600
Uncle Sam's grubby hands: $23,000 (RIGHT? WTF!)
Operational Costs: $15,800 (hardware, travel expenses, online presence, tax help, backer rewards)
Development, Writing, PR: $15,000
Art, Music, Code: $18,600

Current Total: $82,000 +- $1,000

I've made sure to keep an amount of money available for the hard copies of the game to be shipped once complete, and I have contingency for emergencies. This leads us to my decision:

Steam Early Access

In our last update we expressed heavy interest in submitting our game to Steam's Early Access program. Many of you pointed out you would prefer to wait until the game is complete. Many hated it because the Early Access program is full of unfinished half-assed games. Some of you avoid Steam, so you cannot play the game. Many of you also loved the idea. It's a hard pill to swallow, and a harder one to admit, but we do need an influx of cash to keep going no matter how small. For those of you who do not use Steam, I'll be providing a DRM-free version of the game on your Humble Bundle accounts within the next few months. For those who believe this is a step towards oblivion, I want to reassure you. I don't have a reputation to uphold, but I do have a reputation to begin, and there is no way I'm going to be known as just another indie developer that sat on his laurels and cashed in on an incomplete game. I love this project too much, and my passion and determination, although tested, has never waned throughout development. I've said before that I've wanted to make this game since I was a child, and god dammit I'm going to finish it!

That being said, we're planning to release You Are Not The Hero to Steam's Early Access campaign this Monday, June 1st!
It will be sold at it's expected full price of $15.00 USD, although we may have a small sale at the beginning to boost awareness. I have yet to generate and send Steam keys to Humble Bundle, so it may take me a day or two, up to a week to get you your keys, depending on how complicated or convoluted the process is. I hope you'll show your support and help me spread the word!

Porting

As many of our Linux and Mac backers have suggested, we'll be doing a proper port of YANTH once it's complete. We'll also do our best to include a wrapper for you to use once the game has been out, though it will not be a permanent solution.

New Start Menu, Dialogue Options

I've revamped the start menu from the fancy but cliche one from before, to a more dynamic menu that may include an easter egg or two if I have some extra time before Monday. With full mouse support, the new menu also includes a credits roll that can fast forward, slow down, pause, skip up and down. This is because you, yes YOU, will be on there! Granted not on Monday, again unless I have some extra time (a lot of time. There's 3,000 of you!).

There will also be a dialogue option. Currently, we've planned for two sets of dialogue, a more serious, traditional version for the hardcore JRPG player who yearns for some emo, and a light-hearted track that includes the same quirkyness and 4th-wall breaking humor rampant in the original demo. In general, it's still the same storyline and much of the dialogue is unchanged between the two versions. The difference will be for certain scenes which are different, added or omitted depending on the version chosen. At the moment there is no way to switch between either track during gameplay, but that may change... but it may not. Depends.

Screens/Vids

The following are some screenshots I haven't shared with you yet. These are still a work in progress. Lighting in particular hasn't been added.
Elven Forest Village Ein Toer

Harpy Damage

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Streaming Game Development

Some of you have noticed that I've been streaming live development of You Are Not The Hero through my personal channel on Twitch.tv. I've been testing out the service and I've found that I tend to get more done while under heavy scrutiny, compared to normal. This is assuming I don't get bugged and sidetracked too much by my viewers. If you've got nothing better to do, feel free to drop by! I don't have a set schedule, but I'm usually on any time of the day anytime from 8am to 8pm PST.

http://www.twitch.tv/donn_m

Unraveled: Tale of the Shipbreaker's Daughter

"An adventure RPG, driven by the story of a little girl whose family has gone missing at a ship breaking yard. Based on real events, Unraveled takes you through a child’s imagination as she seeks out her parents. Relive your childhood fantasies on a journey that will make you think, laugh and tear up (just a little bit).

Unraveled takes you back in time with slick gameplay and a charming retro look reminiscent of the PSX days. Combat is infrequent, smooth and strategic — each battle feels unique and interesting."

Our friend Chancler has re-launched his campaign to get Unraveled funded. This time it looks like it's an easy road, with 3 days to go please don't miss out! His soundtrack will include tracks made by Secret of Mana's Hiroki Kikuta.

2015 Dev Update #2 - Release-ish, Porting

Posted by Donn Manalili (Creator)
26 likes

This may have been updated on the forum.
Hello ladies and gents! Today I'm excited (and also a little worried) to announce our near-future plans for the release of YANTH. I'll start with the news most people just hate hearing. Despite hunkering down and concentrating solely on the project for the past month or so, I can safely say that there is no way I'll have the game finished by July. Scratch that. I CAN finish it by July, but would you want to play a game with a half-assed second half?

Ranting~

There was a problem I didn't wholly acknowledge when I chose to create an RPG for my first commercial project. While most games have a short development time because they're built around a specific mechanic (platforming games are just levels that revolve around movement, fighting games revolve around precise timing, etc) RPGs, in the traditional sense rely heavily on plot and engaging the players emotions. While the majority of other games' development center around balancing all of the mechanics, RPGs also need to have story, dialogue, interactions, character development, everything you'd expect from a narrative. In this sense, RPGs usually have a much longer development time. So companies compensate that by employing tens of hundreds of employees (hey Square Enix and Bioware). Of course this isn't true for all RPGs.

Anyway, my point is I'm the sole developer of (the majority of) YANTH. I have amazing asset providers (art, programming, music) who send me their work, and I implement their work into the game. As such, I hope you'll continue to remain patient and lend me your support. Now I'd like to discuss the options we've been considering with YANTH in the following months.

Release Options
Option 1: Steam Early Access

My first and preferred option would be to release the first half of YANTH as an early access title on Steam. Why the first half?
1: The second half of the game isn't complete.
2: I don't like the idea of releasing the whole storyline out before the game is complete.
With this option, we'll be able to release the game in an unfinished unpolished state. This means we can have it out within the next few weeks, as early as May 1st. All of our backers will receive steam keys for this early access period. We'll also be able to receive direct comments, feedback, and help with isolating bugs for the game. We'll also be able to update the game with additions.

Option 2: Episodic Release

The second option would be to release YANTH as an episodic game. The first half of the game will be released as Episode One, while the second half will be released as Episode Two sometime later this year. With this option, I'm confident I can release YANTH Episode 1 by June. With this option, both episodes will be paid for immediately. For those who don't have or don't want to use Steam, this would be idea. There are a few downsides to this option which I'd like to address:
1: We won't be able to receive player feedback before the first half is finalized and released.
2: Some people may mistake it as the full game, or mistake the price to be solely for episode 1
3: For those who will be receiving their boxed copies of the game, either the disc will only contain episode 1 with an update online to be employed later for Episode 2, or it will be released once Episode 2 is released.
4: Read the next section regarding ports.

Port of YANTH to Mac and Linux

I know many of you will be gaming on a Mac or Linux machine. I've been in contact with our porters for the engine we're currently using. For those waiting for a universal release to multiple platforms, I have some bad news. The porters require the full finished game to start working on the port. This means that the Mac and Linux (and any other platform we'll be releasing on) versions will be released after the PC version. Now there is another solution that I'm sure some Mac and most Linux users know about: Wrappers. We tested an early version of YANTH in a wrapper for Mac during the Kickstarter campaign. It was unbelievably easy, so easy in fact that it worked out of the box without any modifications to the wrapper. Performance was on par with its PC counterpart. Because this is a single player game, there's very little risk in employing a wrapper. There are also a few upsides to using wrappers:
1: We get to keep all of the profit of the Mac and Linux ports, instead of having a percentage go to the porters.
2: There's a very good chance that we'll be able to release it to all platforms at the same time.
3: Bugs will be cross platform, and solutions will also be cross platform, saving time and money.
4: Steam Achievements, Cards etc should work just fine with a wrapper.

I know there's at least one person waiting for the game to be ported and released at the same time as its PC counterpart. It simply won't be possible without delaying the PC release. If you'd like a refund please message me and we'll sort things out.

TLDR:

I'd like to release YANTH to Steams Early Access program. You'll all have immediate access. Sorry about not being able to port to Mac and Linux at the same time, UNLESS you're okay with us using Wrappers. Then I'm not sorry because it would be better for us. Your support means more to me and the team than you can possibly know.

I'll leave you with this snippet~

 Devil's Bluff

"When a Halloween party in a mansion full of secrets turns deadly, can you survive the night?"

Back in November I mentioned Devil's Bluff, an awesome game that reminded me about an old mode in Starcraft where a single player controls a Dark Templar who acts like a killer, while everyone else controls a civilian. Although their first campaign wasn't successful, they're back with a new campaign, a playable demo and it looks better than ever! Check it out!

Unraveled: Tale of the Shipbreaker's Daughter

Posted by Donn Manalili (Creator)
17 likes

Hello ladies and gents! I wanted to make a special update today seeing as the project I'd like you all to look at is nearing its end.

Unraveled: Tale of the Shipbreaker's Daughter

"An adventure, an RPG, a platformer, an interactive story — the story of a little girl whose family has gone missing at a ship breaking yard. Based on real events, Unraveled takes you through a child’s imagination as she seeks out her parents. Relive your childhood fantasies on a journey that will make you think, laugh and tear up (just a little bit).

Unraveled is heavily story-driven and features slick gameplay with a charming retro look reminiscent of the PSX days. Combat is infrequent, smooth and strategic — each battle plays like a boss encounter, with the occasional random encounter thrown in."

I was lucky enough to try out the game long before it was put up on Kickstarter, and I believe its criminal that it may not be funded on time. The part I wanted to focus on is how the game brings to the front the real issue of the life of a shipbreaker. The business of dismantling decommissioned ships has been taken to underdeveloped countries where poor families are paid meager wages while being exposed to toxic fumes and waste. Often they have no choice but to continue working under horrible living conditions. The game revolves around a young girl who lives in this world, and hopes to find a better future. Although it sounds like a very bleak and depressing story, Unraveled manages to capture the imagination of a child and give it full of life.

If you've got some time, go ahead and check out the project by clicking on the title above.

As for updates on how the game is going, it's been crunch time for awhile now and I've been dedicating most of my time to finishing the game. I'll hopefully have another update up fairly soon about how things are going. Thanks for your time guys!

2015 Dev Update #1: Systems, Screenshots, Reminders

Posted by Donn Manalili (Creator)
31 likes

This post may have been updated on the forum.
Hello ladies and gents! Welcome to the new year! I've got quite a bit of new screenshots to show off to you guys, introducing some nearly-finished systems and artwork. Before that, I'd like to remind all of our backers with in-game content. Some copy-pasta here for you~

Quick Reminders

I wanted to remind all of our backers of the last update regarding specific backer tiers: If you have a Gravestone and you do not yet have a place for it, or you have not submitted your quote, do so now! [Place your Gravestone] [Submit your Engraving]

If you have an NPC to put into the game and you have not yet signed up for any casting call, please do so now! [Sign up for Casting Call #5 here]

If you have a sidequest in the game and you have your own storyline you'd like to implement, please iron out all the details in your sidequest thread on the forum! [Access the Side-Quest Discussion Board]

NPC References and Descriptions

Many of you have NPCs that will be appearing in the game. For those of you who have a CUSTOM NPC (The $120 tiers and above) you should have already signed up for the bust and sprite workshops. If you haven't yet, now is the time. Make sure to send your reference pictures and descriptions ASAP! [Bust Workshop] [Sprite Workshop]

If you have a non-custom NPC ($55 tiers and above) then please send any descriptions or reference pictures to me ASAP either through the forum or on Kickstarter. Your best bet would be to upload any pictures onto Imgur.com and send me the link to the pictures. If you care about privacy for your pictures, Imgur does not share your pictures without your permission. If you're a little more picky, you can send it to me as an attachment on the forum. [Imgur.com] [Access the forum here]

Here are a few of the more important details we'll need in the description. Feel free to give a more in-depth description past the basics.
Description Specifics:
NAME & Race! (race based on your role)
Hair Color & Style
Eye Color
Skin Color
Facial Hair (if any)
Body Type

Remember that if you do not send in your reference pictures and/or descriptions in on time, your NPCs may be using placeholder graphics until you send them in and the game is updated throughout the various gaming platforms.

Now for the good stuff!

Some screenshots being aboard the Winged Zephyr. The main deck and the rear bridge are featured here.


Screenshots of the world map as well as piloting the airship. Airship graphic is currently placeholder ;x

This screenshot shows off the dynamic respawning resources you can find on certain maps, along with a few wild creatures/monsters you might encounter along the way.

The last three screenshots show off the shop system in-game. The item placement menus are currently placeholder and will be changed. While running your shop, you'll encounter customers, rare customers looking for specific items, salesmen trying to sell you items and people who may ask for your help outside of the shop.

2014 Dev Update #13: NPC References and Descriptions, Reminders

Posted by Donn Manalili (Creator)
21 likes

This post may have been updated on the forum.
Hello ladies and gents! I'm a little late in mentioning that it's been a year since the Kickstarter campaign was funded. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for making this project happen. Every single contribution to the campaign was felt by us in the development team, and we're really blessed to have you all supporting us.

Quick Reminders

I wanted to remind all of our backers of the last update regarding specific backer tiers: If you have a Gravestone and you do not yet have a place for it, or you have not submitted your quote, do so now!
[Place your Gravestone]
[Submit your Engraving]

If you have an NPC to put into the game and you have not yet signed up for any casting call, please do so now!
[Sign up for Casting Call #5 here]

If you have a sidequest in the game and you have your own storyline you'd like to implement, please iron out all the details in your sidequest thread on the forum!
[Access the Side-Quest Discussion Board]

NPC References and Descriptions

Many of you have NPCs that will be appearing in the game.
For those of you who have a CUSTOM NPC (The $120 tiers and above) you should have already signed up for the bust and sprite workshops. If you haven't yet, now is the time. Make sure to send your reference pictures and descriptions ASAP!
[Bust Workshop]
[Sprite Workshop]

If you have a non-custom NPC ($55 tiers and above) then please send any descriptions or reference pictures to me ASAP either through the forum or on Kickstarter. Your best bet would be to upload any pictures onto Imgur.com and send me the link to the pictures. If you care about privacy for your pictures, Imgur does not share your pictures without your permission. If you're a little more picky, you can send it to me as an attachment on the forum.
[Imgur.com]
[Access the forum here]

Here are a few of the more important details we'll need in the description. Feel free to give a more in-depth description past the basics.
Description Specifics:
Hair Color & Style
Eye Color
Skin Color
Facial Hair (if any)
Body Type

Remember that if you do not send in your reference pictures and/or descriptions in on time, your NPCs may be using placeholder graphics until you send them in and the game is updated throughout the various gaming platforms.

Sketches-The Animated Series

"A new cartoon series where life gets animated!" Sketches is a new, great looking animated series that'll be free to watch on YouTube and other video platforms. Bill Karalius, our very own narrator will be producing and lending his voice to the series! Check it out when you can and send some love from us!

Devil's Bluff

"Every player is a suspect in this retro-themed online murder-mystery adventure. Can you out-wit your opponents & survive the night?" You had me at online murder-mystery adventure! It's best summed up like so: "An online-only isometric action game for up to 10 people for Windows, Mac, and Linux (and hopefully Tablets and Consoles), our goal is to put you inside a new type of survival horror game where every character you encounter is another player - and one of them is a killer. " Although not exactly the same, it reminds me heavily of an old Starcraft mod (map, really) where each player had a few harmless civilians to command, but one of the players are given a dark templar (invisible killer). It played like a mystery game where you could see everyones civilians, and you had to run away from the killer. It's not the same but as soon as I saw the concept I had to back it.